I recently interviewed Jad Fair and knowing so many of his songs talk about monsters and that he grew up in Michigan, I had to ask him about Channel 50. Sure enough, he watched a lot of early monster movies there and was lucky enough to grow up with various movie hosts, including Sgt. Sacto.
Channel 50 was a UHF channel based in Detroit, and was viewable in parts of Michigan and Canada as far as I know. It was a pre-VHS smorgasbord of bizarre genre programming that made for some glorious weekends. Channel 50 was where it all started for me. Godzilla movies every weekend, various low budget martial arts films, science-fiction like The Green Slime (1968), and horror that ranged from the laughable to intense. The Vincent Price/Poe movies were favorites. Well, really anything with Price or stop-motion animation was probably a favorite at the time.
One afternoon when I was in kindergarten or first grade, I watched Tourist Trap (1979). When my mom saw that this was beyond even the surreal absurdity of Price’s Red Death, she told me to stop and go outside. So I went to my neighbor’s and finished it. And then I couldn’t sleep that night. I think she knew something was up.
Over at The Terror Test, I got asked to write about some of the not-so-classic horror films that have a high tolerance for thanks to Channel 50. The first one I talk about is the almost-Hammer production The Creeping Flesh.