Horror hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, Elvira, and Svengoolie have been adding their wit and wisdom to classic horror films for decades, establishing themselves as icons in the industry. Media has seen a major shift toward on-demand and streaming programs, making it both harder to find new horror hosts and difficult for those hosts to stand out from the crowd. If you hope to follow in these hosts' footsteps, Briggs encourages upcoming talent to put the films they highlight at the forefront of their efforts.
"Well, first of all, there are many horror hosts, that they have been on cable access TV for years," Briggs shared with ComicBook.com about the current state of horror hosts. "They acquire public domain titles, and they do a local show on their cable access station, and there are many of those all across the country. And most of them I have met, either through email, or at conventions, most of them do costumes, and sketches, and things, to go with the movie, and quite a few of them have asked me for advice. And my advice to them is always, 'Base everything you do on the movie. Start with the movie, and go out from there.'"
Briggs made a name for himself in the horror genre thanks to programs like Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and MonsterVision, the focuses of which were to add insight and anecdotes about the film that made for a more enriching experience. The host regularly included his sense of humor into each segment, though inside industry information was always the most important element of his shows.
"I'm not saying, 'Don't do comedy, don't do sketches, don't do goofy things, don't do silly things,' I'm not saying any of that. I'm saying base all your goofy, silly sketches, and everything on that particular movie, so that you're always directing the audience back to the movie," Briggs shared. "You're coming out of the movie, going back to the movie. Don't just tack on weird sh-t that doesn't belong with that subject matter. In other words, show profound respect for the movie, and your audience will love it. That's my advice to all those guys."
With horror being such a broad topic, attempting to cover such a wide range of material could also work against potential hosts, with Briggs also advising it could be helpful for new hosts to get more specific in the movies they cover.
"There's definitely room for more guys," the host admitted. "If I were trying to break into that world, I wouldn't do horror, though, I'd do some other genre, to distinguish myself from all the horror hosts. That's a crowded field."
Fans can check out Briggs' new specials, Dinners of Death on Thursday, November 22nd at 9 p.m. ET and A Very Joe Bob Christmas on December 21st, both streaming on Shudder.
Who are your favorite horror hosts? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!