Horror Hosts: Ranking the Top 5

These Horror Hosts are the Ghoulest of All!

Moarte:Hello, my children! And welcome back to Longbox of the Damned! Ahahahaha! You know, maybe I should appreciate the cape-and-costume crowd a lot more. After all, what other group of characters dies so frequently, only to RISE from their graves just as often, eh? And what better example of that, of monster and man together who dies and lives again than… The Hulk?

Longbox of the Damned “Immortal Hulk” (Season 9, Episode 1)

Who doesn’t like horror stories? Readers are confronted with the strange, the macabre, and the ghastly in print and on screen. Even banal scary stories are often elevated by something that mocks the shlock and praises the worthy. A Horror Host. And what a coincidence, we have one here! Spooky Side, take the stage!

Heeheeheehee…I am Spooky Side, your Master of Scari-monies. And while you may not know me, there are many Horror Hosts you’re quite familiar with. Some are lone (were)wolves, while others bond into frightful families. They could be terrifying tellers of tales or quick-witted witches. So, boils and ghouls, who are the Top 5 Horror Hosts? Find out… if you dare!

#5 Mystery Science Theater 3000

Hosts: Joel Robinson Mike Nelson, Jonah Heston, Emily Connor, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot
Actors: Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, Jonah Ray, Emily Marsh, Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu

Tom: [training a new Host] “You quipped your way through Night of the Lepus, but this is the real thing, son, this is the big time! Mark Singer walks out in a loincloth! What do you say?
Mike:Uh… now I know why the show is called V!”
Tom:Good, not bad. OK, meatball, word association: Robert Lippard!
Mike:Uh, good! [sees Crow shake his head] Bad. I meant bad.
Crow:Ok, good Mike. Your training’s not been wasted. But there’s just one thing we gotta know, one last piece to the puzzle! Sid. Melton.
Mike:Little monkey boy.” [The Bots cheer]

Mystery Science Theater 3000 “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” (Season 5, Episode 13)

It’s quite rude to talk at the theater, don’t you think? A horror movie can be good or bad, but hearing people chatter takes you of the moment. If you want to endure some of the worst movies ever filmed, you’ll want these Horror Hosts to keep talking. Enter the nightmare-fueled world of… Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is about a poor human who is launched into space and forced to watch terrible movies. Mad scientists Dr. Forrester and T.V.’s Frank monitor the host’s brain to find a movie they could use to conquer the world. The host’s only chance at staying sane is to joke about the movies alongside wisecracking robots Tom Servo and Crow.

The show’s style changed with the host. Under Joel, it was an episode-of-the-week series focused on casual jokes and prop humor. With Mike, the host segments told a serialized story featuring more energetic riffing. The riffs come a mile-a-minute while Jonah is the host and the story focuses on The Mads. Newcomer Emily returns to the casual style with a penchant for musical numbers.

MST3K is a treasure trove for sci-fi and horror fans. Monsters, robots, mad scientists, Joe Don Baker, Manos: the Hands of Fate, and other nightmares are often the order of the day. Even episodes about other genres were horrific as you had to sit through awful moves to get to the jokes. The crew would have been higher on the list if the references didn’t often go over the head of anyone not yet collecting Social Security.

Fun Facts: In a comic adaptation, Crow T. Robot temporarily became a more traditional Horror Host called The Crow-Keeper.

#4 Horror Host: Cain and Abel

Series: The House of Mysteries, The House of Secrets
Actor: Sanjeev Baskhar, Ashim Chaudhry

Abel:H-h-help! I-I’m, Abel – caretaker of the House of Secrets – and I’m still not sure w-what the heck happened. I was trying to get the bugs out of the l-latest issue — and I guess they didn’t like being evicted! They have taken up residence in my r-room, instead.”

House of Secrets #98

Two households, both alike in dignity, in The Dreaming, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge breaks new mutiny, where brother’s blood makes brother’s keeper unclean.” Or for those who aren’t fans of Kill-iam Shake-Spear, let’s just say these Horror Hosts’ sibling rivalry raises Cain whenever Abel.

These star-crossed siblings are not the Biblical brothers, but were created by The Sandman to star in the first story, that of The Murderer and The Victim. Cain loves his brother, but is forced by the nature of their story to kill Abel, who will resurrect shortly afterwards, traumatized but whole.

The hosts are caretakers of Cain’s House of Mysteries and Abel’s House of Secrets. They regale visitors with horror stories while occasionally being menaced by their homes. Cain and Abel played host to other DC Horror Hosts, including The Three Witches of The Witching Hour, Lucien from Weird Mystery Tales, Eve from Secrets of Sinister House and others prior to all of them becoming The Sandman’s supporting cast.

Guests can also ask Cain and Abel for information. They will respectively offer a mystery or a secret. Cain’s mysteries are fiendishly difficult to solve, but the answer can be freely shared once discovered. Abel will reveal the secret through a story, but anyone sharing the secret quickly forgets it.

Fun Fact: Cain is not The House of Mysteries’ first owner. It has also served as the headquarters of Justice League Dark and an inter-dimensional pub where drinks are bought with stories.

#3: Freddy Krueger

Series: Freddy’s Nightmares
Actor: Robert Englund

Freddy: [on a cooking show] “You got some eggs, a-one, a-two, a-three! Some flour, mmm! A little sugar, don’t forget the butter! And you’ve got your chopped meat! [looks around] Where’s my chopped meat? [a restrained victim is wheeled in] I said chopped! [looks aside] This’ll just take a second, folks.”

Freddy’s Nightmares “Love Stinks” (Season 1, Episode 17)

Most Horror Hosts are genteel ghouls. We know you dear viewers want to face your fears and enjoy some scary stories. But then you get the really bad eggs. Some want to do more than scare, they wanna hurt you. Feh! Unworthy of the title, though this one cut into the list through reputation. Introducing the Springwood Slasher: Freddy Krueger.

Freddy Krueger is a serial killer and pedophile who was finally caught. The arresting officer forgot to read him his rights, so Freddy was released on a technicality. The outraged parents cornered him in a factory that they set on fire. Freddy encountered a trio of Dream Demons that turned him into a living nightmare. He gained the ability to enter dreams and the murders began anew.

Freddy’s Nightmares is a spinoff of A Nightmare on Elm Street, with Robert Englund reprising his role as Freddy. He cracked dark jokes while introducing segments, often ending with a threat to the audience. Each episode told two stories, with the protagonist of the second introduced as a minor character in the first to link them.

Slashers, serial killers, masked marauders, and other people who make bad life choices when given sharp objects around moronic teenagers were the threats du jour. Freddy frequently took part in the stories he hosted, either during the set-up or as the main antagonist. His already dangerous control over dreams was elevated to reality warping, meaning victims rarely survived.

Fun Fact: Several episodes set in Springwood High were filmed at Torrance High School in California. This school frequently appears in TV shows and movies because of its proximity to Hollywood. Many of you may remember it as Sunnydale High School from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To think, we may have seen Freddy vs Buffy if that show had started a decade earlier. 

#2 Horror Host: The Crypt Keeper

Series: Tales From the Crypt
Actor: John Kassir

The Crypt Keeper:From writing novels to scream-plays! Ahahahaha!

Tales From the Crypt “A Slight Case of Murder” (Season 7, Episode 3)

Freddy is so passé, but we’ve found a more charming Horror Host. The scream of the crop with jokes that’ll knock you dead. Have a knife time with… The Crypt Keeper.

The Crypt Keeper is the undead child of a carnival attraction and an ancient mummy. He began telling horror stories to viewers that often featured a twist ending before closing with his corniest jokes and trademark cackle.

Tales From the Crypt was shown on HBO where it exploited the lack of FCC oversight. Episodes were filled with sex, violence, gore, and other exciting and disgusting things. The show also featured unexpected celebrity guest stars that included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Whoopi Goldberg, Daniel Craig, Ewan McGregor, and Christopher Reeve.

Fun Fact: A cartoon spinoff called Tales From the CryptKeeper featured everyone’s favorite ghoul as he traveled the world and told horror stories to children. There was naturally no sex or gore, but plenty of silly antics when other hosts tried to steal his spotlight.

#1 Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Series: Elvira’s Movie Macabre
Actor: Cassandra Peterson

Elvira:I’m beat, beat, beat! What made me think I could sit through a triple-feature? The Brain Eaters, The Brain from Planet Arous, They Saved Hitler’s Brain… If I had any brains, I would have left after the coming attractions!

Elvira’s House of Mystery Special #1

Crypt Keeper’s shock value and army of celebrities made a strong argument for our number one spot, but let’s change the channel and see if there’s someone classier on the boob tube. Ooh, here we go! One of the most famous Horror Hosts, infamous for two things: her quick wit and love of the macabre. Boils and Ghouls, meet Elvira!

The brainchild of actor Cassandra Peterson, Elvira is a voluptuous gothic valley girl who introduced audiences to B-horror movies. She was the first nationally syndicated Horror Host and achieved a cult following by riffing on the actors, characters, and plots. Peterson spun Elvira out into other shows, video games, ads, and even a pair of cheesy movies starring the character.

Elvira gets around when not hosting a show. She’s crossed over with Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, The Super Mario Bros, and more. Elvira was a major player in Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo!, with Batman villain The Scarecrow hatching a scheme to meet her in person because he’s a fan. That sounds strange, (and it is), until you learn Elvira was once the caretaker of The House of Mystery and technically canon to the DC Universe.

Fun Fact: Cassandra Peterson came out as sexually-fluid in 2021. She feared that being honest about herself would tank her career. She also revealed that she has been in a gay relationship for decades. Remember folks: it’s never too late to come out, whether that be as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, a werewolf, a vampire, a mummy, or what have you.

Who is your favorite Horror Host? Is there one you like better than these? Tell us in the comments. We’re dying to hear from you! Heeheeheehee…

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