I love all types of movies, but horror flicks have always been my favourite. Since I'm far too poor to subscribe to Sky or any online service, I have to make do with Freeview and Freesat.
Actually, there's nothing wrong with Freeview and Freesat as there are plenty of channels with a wide range of genres available.
Sure, you won't get premiership football or the latest movies, but there are plenty of unofficial websites that take care of that, if you know what I mean.
One channel that's been around for a good number of years on British TV is the Horror Channel
(formerly Zone Horror).
Strictly speaking, the Horror Channel isn't just horror related, but also shows sci-fi, action and thriller shows and movies usually with a dark theme. In fact, I can remember getting quite excited when it 1st launched on sky/satellite free-to-air TV over 10 years ago. The Horror Channel finally made its debut on Freeview in March 2015 and can now be accessed by 20 million homes in the UK.
The Horror Channel has had a bit of a spotty history financially wise. According to some guy on Wikipedia the Horror Channel went into administration on 21 September 2004 until the original team formed a 2nd company (Amore TV Ltd.) writing off the £200,000 investment made in the channel by venture capital firm, Northern Enterprise.
Since then, the channel has gone on to be owned by Zone Vision Networks Ltd, and is now part of the CBS brand, which has several channels on the Freeview and Freesat platform, such as Horror, CBS Action, CBS Action and CBS Drama.
Okay, since the Horror Channel broadcasts free to air it isn't going to have the newest or best TV programmes or movies available. Despite that, when it comes to the daytime TV listings, the Horror Channel isn't actually too bad.
You can catch some classic shows such as Land of the Giants, Tales From The Darkside, The War of the Worlds, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, The Lost World and Highlander. It even had classic Doctor Who episodes and Dark Angel, featuring the very lovely Jessica Alba earlier this year (2016).
But when it comes to movies or bigger budget TV shows, the Horror Channel is a massive letdown. Like I said previously, I don't expect them to have the newest movies or TV shows available, but where are the classic 70s, 80s and 90s movies they could be showing? Since they are now owned by CBS, you would think their budget would stretch further than just showing constant crappy B-movies night after night.
I'm not against B-movies, in fact, every now and again you can catch a fairly decent one, but they are few and far between, on the Horror Channel. It almost seems that they deliberately go out their way to find the cheapest and dullest movies they can find, rather than deliver some of the finest horror films to fans across the UK.
That's not to say that the Horror Channel never broadcasts a decent horror film. They have in fact shown some good ones such as Grave Encounters (2011), Prince of Darkness (1987), American Psycho (2000), Basket Case (1982), Death Proof (2007), Night of the Living Dead (1990) and Doghouse (2009) featuring the Horror Channel's very own Emily Booth. I even love the classic British Hammer Film Productions, such as the Hammer House of Horror series that the Horror Channel shows from time to time.
But it's that constant barrage of crappy low budget B-movies, that's the big problem. Every night I go to bed at 9 PM thinking surely there must be something decent on the Horror Channel tonight, only to tune into a B-movie that averages a score of 3/10 on the IMDb.
Overall, I would say there's probably no more than 2 or 3 decent movies per month on the Horror Channel. And that's being quite generous.
For example, when the Horror Channel launched on Freeview on Friday the 13th, March 2015, they could have shown the classic 1980s horror film, Friday the 13th (1980) at their 9 PM or even later slot. But they didn't. I mean, come on, what better movie to kick-off and celebrate your launch on the UK's largest digital terrestrial television platform.
That pretty much sums up the Horror Channel's film selection. They seem to have an extreme phobia towards quality and classic horror films. Sure, they've definitely made big improvements to their overall lineup since they've been available on Freeview, but the film quality just isn't consistent enough.
I know that some film production companies can be fussy and not all of them will rent out their films and TV series to certain TVs channels, and I know that the Horror Channel has a limited budget, which is funded by television ads.
But, I just find it hard to believe they can't go that extra mile and get their hands on hundreds of quality and classics movies from the 70s, 80s, 90s and even early 00s.
Will we ever see films such as The Shining (1980), The Omen (1976), Dawn Of The Dead (1978), The Thing (1982), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Creepshow (1982), Phantasm (1979), The Blob (1988), Candyman (1992), and so on, on the Horror Channel?
How about great TV mini-series such as Tales from the Crypt (1989–1996) or pretty much every single thing written by Stephen King. Though, to the Horror Channel's credit, they have shown the excellent The Stand (1994), The Langoliers (1995) and The Mist (2007), but where is the rest?
Despite my criticism, I really don't dislike the Horror Channel. In fact, it's introduced me to some absolutely cracking TV series and movies over the years that I've never even heard of. It's just that the Horror Channel could so easily be a premier horror/sci-fi TV channel on terrestrial TV, but seems to lack the ambition (or budget) to go that little bit further and deliver some of the finest horror related programs and movies made over the last 40 years to both new and old horror fans.