Horror Host
The dark and disturbing presenter of a horror tale.

(permanent link) added: 2011-05-15 09:08:35 sponsor: DaibhidC edited by: terpsichoreus (last reply: 2012-07-06 05:04:15)

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The Horror Host is a narrator who presents harrowing tales to his audience. This eerie character first appeared on radio serials, creating continuity between otherwise unrelated stories. They then spread to horror comics, most notably EC Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt. Soon they appeared in movies as well as television. In the early days of television, there were hundreds of local presenters on low-budget shows based around cheap B-Movies. The most famous examples today are probably Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and The Crypt Keeper. Sometimes, the host trope was used to tie together otherwise unrelated material into a single episode for broadcast.

He often takes a sadistic glee in the events of the story, and cannot resist making the implication that the reader might meet a similarly dire fate. He may become an Interactive Narrator, but is usually content to stay at home, whether it be a tomb, a featureless void hung with paintings, or a broom closet with a cardboard coffin. The Horror Host is usually sadistic, may be grotesque in some manner, and may even have a disturbing backstory of their own, but ultimately they are presenters, not actors. Their personalities are revealed in various skits, often featuring Black Comedy, morbid props, and the Incredibly Lame Pun. These asides usually comment on the themes and morals featured in the episode, making this an example of a Framing Device.

Instead of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant, the presenter may be The Stoic, and remain aloof. The one thing they won't be is scared. More recently, this character has been fictionalized, appearing as a 'type' in films and movies, or being parodied by characters within a show, often as the introduction to a Halloween Episode.


Comic Books

  • Boris Karloff hosted Black Sabbath as an unhinged version of himself, as well as starring in the third of the featured short films.

  • Raymond of The Inner Sanctum, he of the creaking door, Hurricane Of Puns, and final wish of "Pleasant dreeeams?" Often bantered with his Mandatory Plug co-host, the Lipton Tea Lady.
  • The Mysterious Traveler, voiced by Maurice Tarplin, who told his stories on a train.
  • The Strange Dr Weird, also voiced by Maurice Tarplin, and who was based in "the house on the other side of the cemetery".
  • The Man In Black, voiced by Valentine Dyall in The BBC's Appointment With Fear and The Movie The Man In Black. And by Mark Gatiss in The Remake of the radio series The Man In Black.
  • The Whistler of the same show, known for his eerie whistled theme tune and always having one last twist revealed in The Stinger.


The Stoic

  • Every now and then, a somewhat creepy storyteller-narrator character appears on Jack to tell disturbing stories. He often gives his own thoughts while the story is in progress.

Web Original

Western Animation
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