The Travel Channel is snapping up our horror icons one-by-one and enlisting them for spooky documentary shows, and oh how I wish I still had cable. What package do you even need to get the Travel Channel? Probably an expensive one.
Following January’s news that recently-retired Deadite exterminator Bruce Campbell would be hosting a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! reboot for the network, we now have word that Freddy Krueger himself will be hosting a horror-themed series as well. In Shadows of History, Englund will read old American newspapers to find some spine-chilling tale or mystery within, and then he will recruit scholars and historians to find the truth behind the reports. I can already see the splashy shots of newspaper headlines under heavy grain filters and hear the sounds of disembodied screams and gunshots as Englund delivers his hammiest reading of the story. Will there be reenactments? Oh god, I hope there will be reenactments.
Somehow this all taps into a deep-set creepy crawly feeling from my childhood more so than movies. With a horror movie, there was always a group and everyone knew what they were getting into. There was also the promise that it was fake. An entirely different sort of eeriness surrounded staying up late watching the History Channel or whatever and coming across shows about unsolved murders, macabre rituals of the past, and possible supernatural monsters still stalking your back yard. Those kept me up at night and fueled a sense of wonder about the world.
It also helped that it was harder to find out how much of the History Channel’s content was bullshit back then, which made it feel more real.
I’m probably more excited than I need to be about a simple Travel Channel series, but this sounds fun and like a cool fit for these cult celebrities who have largely aged out of the roles they shaped into icons. I can only wonder what we’ll see next. Maybe Doug Bradley can get a show where he tastes America’s most deadly burgers called You Opened the Bun, We Ate.
A boy can dream.