My Road to Horror: The Beginning…Chiller Theater by guest blogger Thomas Scopel

(Thomas is the author of the novel Twitch and I think you’ll find his beginnings are very similar to many of the horror hounds out there.)

Even before I had my first taste of Chiller Theater, I read horror comics and magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland. So, I can say I’ve always been drawn to the macabre.

At seven years old, I first watched “Chilly Billy” Bill Cardille onPittsburgh’s channel eleven’s Chiller Theater. I don’t recall the name of the movie, but I can tell you the movie surrounded astronauts marooned on Mars and when each one died, the remaining astronauts buried them and the dead person would rise and attack. Someday I’ll find out the name of the movie and I’ll re-watch. I suspect the film won’t have the same effect and will be considered cheesy by today’s standards. I won’t care and simply view with fond reminiscence.

Regardless, with my father snoring on the couch and me sitting in the dark watching fear, it was the night I became a true horror junkie.

 Although that specific night offered clear weather and the reception, unbeknownst to me, was better than typical,  I set my sites for watching again the following week. All of a sudden, Chiller Theater had become, with the first viewing, one of my all-time favorite television shows. Coincidently, along with Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and most Hammer Films featuring Peter Cushing and/or Christopher Lee, I would be hard pressed to choose just one.

But the following week’s planned horror viewing extravaganza was not to be when I learned how lucky I had been to watch the previous week’s episode. For where we lived (one hour southwest of Pittsburgh) and in a valley, the top of the house antenna had a rough time tuning in the distant channels and in cloudy weather, the channel offered a little more than shadowed snow. I may have been disappointed, but I wasn’t deterred…for I had a solution.

My Aunt Sandy and Uncle Dave lived eight miles up the road, on top of a hill, and their reception was exceptional. So, I started spending my Saturday nights with them. They always allowed and even joined me in watching the usually ghoulish films, at least until they fell fast asleep on the couch and in the chair respectively. Typically, I would make it through the first feature and just barely into the second before joining them in slumber on my spread out across the floor blanket. Of course, I always woke up with the sun in my eyes, angry at myself for missing the second feature and would secretly vow to remain awake the following week.

And so, for some time following, this routine became my Saturday night norm. Eventually though, after being fortunate enough to have a portable black and white television in my bedroom, I learned tin foil makes a wonderful adjustable antenna and I started watching alone in the darkness of my room, surrounded by miscellaneous monster magazines and various horror based plastic models I had started to build.

Click here to read more about Twitch and order your copy today!

I wasn’t yet a writer, but the seeds were firmly planted. 

 Twitch is available for download at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble dot com for only 99 cents. Want to win a free copy of TWITCH (digital) along with a signed photo? Simply email winacopyoftwitch@yahoo.com and indicate you read this on https://huntershea.com/. If you are the winner, I will request your mailing address for sending the signed photo. And, rest assured, I will not use it for anything else…I promise.

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

5 responses to “My Road to Horror: The Beginning…Chiller Theater by guest blogger Thomas Scopel”

  1. Blaze McRob says :

    I’m so old I remember when TVs looked like aliens: round glass head on top, antennae, and a thick body. Yes, we used the foil ,too.

    But I watched the old horror shows and enjoyed them, the same as Thomas. Inspiration. Not necessarily to write but to dream of things that might be, of ways to beat the monsters, and to instill balance in a chaotic life.

    We both turned out okay. I think so anyway-don’t forget the man’s a butcher!

    Great post!

    Blaze

    • Hunter Shea says :

      In a way, I miss my old 9 inch black and white TV with the little earpiece I could plug in if I didn’t want anyone to hear I was up later watching monster flicks (or Johnny Carson). I’d like to say there was a special magic back then, but I guess everyone’s childhood is magical.

  2. Anthony V says :

    Although I can’t specifically remember a movie that aired on Chiller Theater, I’ll never forget the intro with that cartoon hand rising out of the ground….

  3. MC says :

    Hey…..chiller theatre was awesome. I know it used to freak out a lot of the chicks at school…..at that age I bet it was hard for them to imagine the beauty albeit terrifying the magic of the six fingered hand.

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