‘Tis the season…for chills, thrills and scares

Local horror fans spread love of scary movies

Gruesome Graves, the host of Haunted Hotel, which shows classic horror and sci-fi movies Fridays at 10 p.m. on Comcast Channel 57 and FIOS Channel 27.
Caitlin Hobbs, left, and Amy Chesser host the Nightmares on Netflix podcast where they break down horror movies on a weekly basis.

For Caitlin Hobbs, it’s The Ring.

She still remembers how, as an 11-year-old at the theater with her mother, she could not bring herself to watch the images from the cursed video tape at the heart of the Naomi Watts film. 

For Amy Chesser, it’s Stephen King’s It — featuring a clown so creepy she swore off horror movies for most of her teens.

And for the man known as Gruesome Graves, it’s Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds — a movie so powerful to the then 6-year-old shivered whenever he spotted two or more of birds perched upon a power line on his way to school.

We all have that first movie that scares us so much it sticks with us for days.

Years even.

It’s that time of year again when it’s totally cool to celebrate those movies as they take over the television or maybe begin to crowd our Netflix and Hulu queues. And luckily here in Fort Wayne, there are plenty of opportunities to get your horror fix — thanks to die-hard horror fans who are spreading their love of scary movies, whether they be the old monster flicks of the 1960s and 1970s or the new psycho-thrillers or zombie movies of today, to others.

“These movies mean a lot to me, and I like trying to introduce a new generation to them,” says Graves, the moniker for the host of The Haunted Hotel, a show that focuses on old horror movies and runs every Friday night on Public Access — Comcast Channel 57 and Frontier Channel 27.

The show is a throw-back to the programs that ran on late-night stations from the 1960s to the 1980s, where a host would introduce a horror movie and maybe have little vignettes interspersed during the commercial breaks throughout.

Think Elvira Mistress of the Dark, only Graves grew up with local talents like The Shroud on Channel 55 and Asmodeus, a vampire on channel 21. A love for all things monster-movie and the hosts of yore led Graves to looking into the possibility of doing a show himself.

This Friday marks the fourth Halloween for Haunted Hotel TV.

“It was always something in the back of my mind,” he said of hosting his own show.

Hobbs and Chesser are part of the new generation of horror fans.

Hosts of the podcast dubbed “Nightmares on Netflix,” the two 20-somethings watch at least one horror movie on the streaming service a week — two per week during October — and then post their break down of the movie for all to hear.

It’s the duo’s second attempt at a podcast — the first they called “Movie Vegabonds” — but this one is more structured, with a regular schedule and recurring sections within the recordings like “The good, the bad and the ugly.”

“We wanted to do what it takes to be successful and to get people interested,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs was the horror expert going in, being a huge fan ever since her first experience with The Ring. Despite her fear of Pennywise the clown, Chesser hopped on board the horror express after meeting Hobbs about four years ago.

Now, even when a movie with subtle horror like The Witch fails to scare her, Chesser can rely on Hobbs to explain all the intricacies of what’s really behind the movie to make the fright well up inside her even days after viewing. 

“She’s my horror professor,” Chesser says.

But what is it about these movies that enthrall some of us?

Some dread these odes to ghosts, demons, slashers and monsters; but then there are those of us who adore them. Even when they make our heartbeats go up or our palms sweat, we keep coming back time and time again.

We can’t explain why.

We get scared.

And we like it.

“You either get it, or you don’t,” says Graves.

If you’re new to horror movies, or maybe you’re looking to get your annual Halloween fright fix, there are plenty of places to look. So turn down those lights, grab your favorite blanket or snuggle up with someone on the couch, and turn on that monster flick or that zombie movie or whatever nightmare cinema you’re in the mood for.

And never mind that noise outside.

Probably jus the wind.


Horror Happenings

The Haunted Hotel celebrates its fourth anniversary on Halloween night at 10 p.m., showing classic horror movies and sci-fi tales. And join host Gruesome Graves every Friday on Comcast Channel 57 or FIOS Channel 27. Also spooky stories are told on WELT 95.7.

Nightmares on Netflix podcast is running two episodes a week this month, and Caitlin Hobbs and Amy Chesser will continue to break-down horror movies — both good and bad — on a regular basis for your listening pleasure long after the Halloween season ends.

Need some horror with an audience? Cinema Center has got you covered. The Sound & Shadow Silent Film Series is showing the movie Häxan with live music by Lost Lakes this Friday night at 7 p.m. The theater is also showing screenings of John Carpenter’s classic Halloween leading into the holiday. For more info go to the Cinema Center’s website


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