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Horror Host

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The Crypt Keeper, hawking EC Comics' wares.

"AHAHAHHA! The doctor is in! It's your ghost host, with the most! It's Dr. Wolfenstein!"
Dr. Wolfenstein, House of 1000 Corpses

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. Horror Hosts then spread to horror comics, most notably EC Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt. Soon these Hosts appeared in movies, and then television.

During the 1950s and 1960s, a horde of Horror Hosts haunted television viewers across North America. There were hundreds of local presenters on low-budget shows based around cheap B-Movies. Sometimes, the host trope was used to tie together otherwise unrelated material into a single episode for broadcast. By the 1980s, the genre had nearly died out completely — possibly due in part to changing audience tastes, but more likely due to general cost-cutting that resulted in the end of most locally-produced non-news programming in favor of syndicated fare. While not as popular as it once was, by the late Aughties and The New '10s Horror Hosts have made a comeback in the form of Video Review Shows, Caustic Critics who talk about their favorite horror movies in honor of the Rod Serlings and Elviras of their childhood.

The Horror Host 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 may be grotesque in some manner, possibly with a backstory of his or her own, but ultimately most Horror Hosts are presenters, not protagonists. Their personalities are revealed in various skits, often featuring Black Comedy, morbid props, and puns. 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 the presenter (usually) won't be is scared.

In a Live Action TV context, the Horror Host is often the mock-sinister antithesis of the Excited Kids' Show Host. 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.

Talkative cousin to the Metal Band Mascot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The unnamed curator of the Black Museum, a museum that holds memorabilia of peculiar Scotland Yard cases, in the short-lived manga The Black Museum introduces the stories, although it's always a guest of hers that tells the actual story.
  • Gakkou no Kaidan (Anime Video Joukan) has eight hosts to present the segments. They are Hanako of the Toilet, the Ninomiya Kinjiro statue, a jinmenken, the kuchisake-onna, an anatomy model, Beethoven's portrait, an undead rabbit, and a triple-piece totem.
  • The Laughing Salesman is a anthology about Fukuzou Moguro, a Traveling Salesman who grants wishes to his clients. Since he's a Jackass Genie, this rarely works out well. He also gives a opening narration of who he is and a closing narration in which he makes silly jokes about his clients in a very horror host kind of way.
  • Orochi: Blood by Kazuo Umezu deals with both psychological and supernatural horror. Each tale is told from the perspective of the ever-observing Orochi, a woman with seemingly eternal youth and supernatural powers.
  • The Outer Zone Manga by Mitsuhara Shin. A Twilight Zone/Outer Limits-esque romp through the occult and supernatural led by your elven-eared hostess, Misery.
  • Thriller Restaurant has a number of horror hosts. The main one is the Ghastly Garçon, who is responsible for the episode as a whole, while another employee of his arranges the menu each episode.
  • The stories of Zekkyou Gakkyuu are narrated by Yomi, a teke-teke.

    Comic Books 
  • The Ur-Example in comics wasn't technically horror. The pioneering crime comic series Crime Does Not Pay featured a character called "Mr. Crime", a ghoulish spectre in a "CRIME"-emblazoned top hat who sometimes acted as a gloating narrator for the stories, and sometimes directly intervened to tempt the villains to worse acts.
  • EC Comics was probably the Trope Maker, at least for comic books:
  • Examples from DC Comics, most of whom went on to be supporting characters in The Sandman (1989):
    • Cain and Abel in House of Mystery and House of Secrets
    • Lucien in Tales of Ghost Castle
    • Destiny in Weird Mystery Tales
    • Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred, The Three Witches, in The Witching Hour
    • Eve in Secrets of Sinister House and later Weird Mystery Tales
    • The Mad Mod Witch in The Unexpected, who cameo'd in The Sandman as "the Fashion Thing".
    • Judge Quentin Gallows in The Unexpected (who wasn't used by Neil Gaiman, but did appear as an antagonist in a Len Wein story within the Spin-Off series, The Dreaming)
    • Charity in Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion (who also wasn't used by Gaiman, but did go on to appear in James Robinson's Starman)
    • Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (see below) was the licensed host of House of Mystery in The '80s (no, she didn't appear in The Sandman either, though she was obliquely referred to in one Alan Moore Swamp Thing story featuring Cain and Abel.)
    • Death (not to be confused with Dream's sister from The Sandman) hosted Weird War Tales, usually in the form of a skeletal soldier or The Grim Reaper.
    • Squire Shade, who briefly hosted Ghosts, was visually identical to the DC supervillain known as the Gentleman Ghost.
    • The Joker himself played this role in Joker's Asylum, though the stories, eerie or not, were more crime than horror based (since they consisted of the Clown Prince of Crime giving accounts of events experienced by himself and his fellow members of Batman's rogues gallery).
    • Justice League Dark vol 2 #7, "Tales from the Otherkind", is an anthology, with Man-Bat telling the reader four stories from his files about members of the team battling the Otherkind, and getting increasingly worried himself and wondering if he should burn the stories instead of reading them since he's not sure he remembers writing them all up. It turns out the Upside-Down Man is writing them when he's asleep because the Otherkind feed on belief and fear.
    • The tenth issue of the 2004 Plastic Man series, where Plas and Agent Morgan take in Edwina after confronting the teenager's vampire stepfather, was presented to the reader by a cloaked figure calling himself the Cartoonist Wrangler.
    • Tales from the Dark Multiverse consists of famous DC Comics stories being retold in ways that involve the events being altered so the characters are subjected to horrific fates and things end in tragedy. The one presenting these tales is Tempus Fuginaut, a cosmic being who scours the Dark Multiverse in vain hopes of finding a universe within where good triumphs.
    • Dark Nights: Death Metal had an anthology of more Dark Multiverse stories (albeit going their own direction rather than being darker rehashings of established DC storylines) in the tie-in one-shot The Multiverse Who Laughs, which had the Robin King present the stories in a prologue titled "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Multiverse".
    • Tangent Comics (which consisted of recycling established names of DC Comics characters for widely different characters who had little in common with their namesakes) had its interpretation of Green Lantern consist of a mysterious woman with a magic lantern that can raise the dead. This Green Lantern serves as the narrator for two one-shots, the first having her tell three instances where she resurrected a deceased person to help them finish their Unfinished Business and the second (titled Tales of the Green Lantern) having her tell three different possible origin stories of herself.
    • The 16th issue of Keith Giffen's run on Doom Patrol began with a horror show spoof presented by a vampire named Count Suckula.
    • Every issue of the main Knight Terrors miniseries opens with Deadman introducing the story from a different location: the circus ring, a news studio, a theatre stage, and finally a Victorian study where he's been reading old horror comics.
  • Warren Publishing's black and white comics magazines had several:
    • Uncle Creepy in Creepy Magazine.
    • Cousin Eerie in Eerie.
    • Vampirella for the first eight issues of Vampirella, after which she was reinvented as a lead character.
  • Creepy and Eerie have a Spiritual Successor in The Creeps whose Host is called The Old Creep. He in turn is succeeded by his sister Aunt Shudder hosting Shudder Magazine. There's also Vampiress Carmilla who's more or less an Expy of Vampirella.
  • Devilina was technically a horror host in the spirit of Vampirella, but the amount of times she did any hosting are few.
  • From Britain's 2000 AD:
    • Judge Dredd character Judge Edwina Strange in "Judge Edwina's Strange Cases"
    • Henry Dubble in "Tales of the Black Museum"
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch briefly served as an EC-style Horror Host in the 1972-1974 Archie Comics series Chilling Adventures in Sorcery As Told By Sabrina. It was actually pretty strong stuff for Comics Code-approved material in its day, and especially for Archie Comics — straight-up horror, albeit still drawn in the Archie house style.
  • The short-lived 1969-1970 magazine Web of Horror (published by Major Publications, best known for Cracked) was hosted by Webster the spider.
  • Marvel Comics had a few:
    • Headstone P. Gravely (alongside his cohort, Roderick "Digger" Krupp) hosted stories in Tower of Shadows and Chamber of Darkness. Digger would later be incorporated into the regular Marvel Universe, with it being explained that Tower of Shadows and Chamber of Darkness were in-universe TV shows that he acted in before going crazy and becoming a supervillain. He still talks like a horror host, at one point calling himself "the king of dead dad jokes".
    • None other than Stan Lee himself served as a "fill-in" host for Headstone P. Gravely for a story in ''Chamber of Darkness.''
    • Captain America, of all people, could be considered one, albeit only on a technicality. The last two issues of his Golden Age title were retitled Captain America's Weird Tales, because horror was selling and superheroes weren't. Cap didn't actually introduce any stories "on panel," though. In issue #74, he appeared in a regular Captain America story (albeit one with horror aspects, as he fought the Red Skull in, literally, Hell.) He didn't appear in #75 at all, except in the title.
  • Gold Key Comics had Grimm's Ghost Stories whose host was an old hag of a witch called Hephzibah Grimm.
  • Charlton Comics had an especially large and colorful stable of Horror Hosts:
    • Impy the Imp, a tiny ghost in an all-white costume, hosted Haunted.
    • Dr. M.T. Graves (usually just "Dr. Graves") hosted stories in several titles, including The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves. A heroic ghost hunter, Dr. Graves sometimes starred in stories of his own.
    • Mr. I.M. Dedd of Ghostly Tales, despite his horns and pale blue skin, was rather dashing and handsome by the standards of Horror Hosts.
    • Baroness R.H. Von Bludd, a more mature expy of Vampirella, was a beautiful redhead vampire who hosted Scary Tales.
    • Professor Cyrus Coffin hosted Midnight Tales with his lovely niece Arachne.
    • Winnie the Witch was a beautiful young woman with deep blue skin and a penchant for "mod" fashion. She hosted Ghost Manor.
    • Baron Weirwulf hosted Baron Weirwulf's Haunted Library.
    • Even more obscure Charlton Horror Hosts include Mr. Bones, Colonel Whiteshroud, the Old Witch, Mr. Dee Munn, and Mortimer Tishin.
  • Nightmare Theater was a four issue limited series from ‘’Chaos! Comics’’ whose hosts were Mister Mischief and Pyschotica.
  • Dr. Death, the cadaver-like host of This Magazine is Haunted, a series published by Fawcett Comics and then Charlton Comics (which purchased most of Fawcett's properties when Fawcett got out of the comics business), in the 1950s.
  • Jack Kirby had Horror Hosts for his series in the abortive "Speak-Out" line of adult-targeted magazines that he created for DC Comics in the early 1970s:
    • Dr. E. Leopold Maas, a parapsychologist, was the host for Spirit World, which featured tales of the paranormal.
    • In The Days Of The Mob featured Real Life stories about gangsters such as Al Capone. But its host, Warden Fry, nevertheless qualifies for this trope, because he's literally the warden of Hell.
  • More recently, the horror comic, Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave, published by Monsterverse, features the legendary actor himself (back from the grave!) as its host, alongside beautiful vampire groupie, Nosferina, and Hugo, a deformed dwarf.
  • Before that, Boris Karloff was the host of Gold Key/Whitman Comics' Boris Karloff: Tales of Mystery, which continued for a good decade after his death! (1963-1980; Karloff died in 1968)
  • Haunted Horror is a series by IDW Publishing imprint Yoe! Books that repackages stories from pre-code horror comics that have fallen into the public domain and features newly-created horror hosts to present the stories to the reader. The majority of the series alternated between three horror hosts named Forelock the Warlock, Mr. Karswell and Madame Clizia, with five issues featuring a guest horror host in their stead who served as an Author Avatar to the issue's guest editor (The Howlernote , Toxic Tommynote , Dr. Oddnote , El Diablonote  and Tillman the Terriblenote ).
  • Trailer Park of Terror has the lovely Norma spin her tales from the titular trailer park.
  • Jay and Silent Bob parody this trope in Clerks: The Lost Scene.
  • Several British girls' comics also used this trope. A summary can be found here. In addition to the ones for specific strips, Misty had Misty herself, who claimed "the publishers send their very bravest men" to learn her stories.
  • Supreme had an EC Comics pastiche issue, "The Age of Gold", which homaged the GhouLunatics as the MayheManiacs: the Morgue-Minder, the Tomb-Tender, and the Old Hag. Their role was a little different in that, while some of their visions were horror-related, the themes were that of EC's other titles — the allegories of Weird Science, the "social realism" of Crime / Shock SuspenStories, and the lampoons of early MAD — and they appeared at the ASA's New Year's Eve 1949 party to taunt them with the reality that the world they once knew was now effectively over.
  • Diablo House has its horror stories presented to the reader by a morbid Surfer Dude named Riley.
  • SuperNaturals: Despite being a comic series to promote a toyline, the SuperNaturals magazine doubled as a horror anthology series. While the good ghostling Spooks handled the letter page, the evil ghostling Scary Cat hosted a section that invited readers to send in a script for a horror comic. The winner would get 10 bucks and their comics would be drawn for and published in the next issue. Scary Cat didn't make any quips, but she did introduce each comic and reminded readers to send in scripts afterwards.
  • Madame Dragonfly from Black Hammer acts like one, presenting macabre tales to the comic's reader about the myriad horrors lurking in the rooms of her haunted interdimensional cabin. However, she is also one of the main characters in the comic's actual plot: the other heroes interrupt her at one point while she's trying to tell the reader a story, leaving her very annoyed as she goes to see what they want.

    Fan Works 
  • Drama Heart plays herself up as one of these as part of her career in Manehattan's Lone Guardian, specializing in puppet shows and illusion-based stageplays. As Burning Salamandra, she passes herself off as a well-traveled storyteller and resident of a Creepy Cemetery. She keeps her stories tame for matinees, knowing that foals are likely to be in the audience, and reserves the truly macabre tales for her adults-only evening performances.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The sexploitation flick The Casting Man opens with the director dreaming that he's talking to the hostess of Channel 69 - Lusty Leanne Thompson. Her Audio Erotica however goes into Mood Whiplash when she starts berating him for cutting her out of a writer-producer credit and shrieks that she'll be suing him - before he wakes from the Catapult Nightmare.
  • As part of its horror offering, Universal made six Inner Sanctum Mystery films in the early 1940s. Each film is introduced by a face (David Hoffman) floating inside a crystal ball.
  • Boris Karloff hosted Black Sabbath as an unhinged version of himself. He also starred in the second of the featured short films.
  • Fright Night (1985). Peter Vincent was the host of the Show Within a Show with the same title, which consisted of him introducing horror movies to his TV audience.
  • The Creeper from Creepshow 2 qualifies, although he barely showed up in the first film.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch featured an in-universe horror host named Grandpa Fred (whose look was lifted directly from Grandpa Munster) who hosted Z-grade horror movies at Clamp Cable. When the plot starts to pick up momentum, he teams up with an excitable Japanese(ish) cameraman to report on the activities within the building and keep the outside world informed. At the end of the movie, Clamp, having witnessed his reporting skills during the total chaos of a gremlin infestation, promotes him to an actual news anchor, causing him to instantly start his first news report on what a total makeover for men costs today to get rid of his horror outfit.
  • Dr. Francis B. Gröss, the narrator/host of the infamous Mondo Faces of Death. Like the film itself, "Dr. Gröss" had a number of imitators. In the Faces of Death series itself, Dr. Gröss was succeeded by "Dr. Louis Flellis," who claimed (in separate installments) to have accidentally killed Dr. Gröss on the operating table, or that Dr. Gröss committed suicide after having been driven insane by witnessing so much death.
  • Brain Damage, the mascot of Brain Damage Films. A few of their releases have an intro by him, and in them he's played by company founder Darrin Ramage.
  • A 1986 horror film called TerrorVision features an in-universe busty horror host called "Medusa" who perfectly fits the Gorgeous Gorgon trope.
  • Balan from Murder Collection V.1, a Genre Throwback to the shockumentaries mentioned above.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space has Criswell addressing the audience directly and introducing them to "the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space."
  • In Body Bags, John Carpenter plays an oddball character with creepy fixation with the dead called The Coroner. He brings the viewers three tales centered around the cadavers in his care. The ending of the film reveals that he is actually one of the corpses at the morgue who has come to life as a zombie while the real coroners were away. As the real coroners return, the Coroner quickly removes his scrubs and props himself onto a gurney before zipping up his body bag. The real coroners then unzip his bag and start to do an autopsy on him, much to his horror.
  • The 2005 film The Roost uses this as its actual Framing Device, with its primary tale presented as a weekly Frightmare Theater! episode. It's introduced by a creepy bald butler from a cheesy cardboard Haunted House set, where he badmouths the Bat Out of Hell main story and deadpans terrible puns.
  • The Criminolgist from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, narrates the movie from his office and is implied to be investigating the events with witness statements and police reports.
    • The original play and the remake have The Usherette, a cinema ice cream sales girl who sings the opening song and its Dark Reprise.
  • The Mortuary Collection has Montgomery Dark, a creepy and eccentric, but not particularly malevolent mortician played by Clancy Brown. Deconstructed somewhat, since his behavior has made him a social pariah, which he is not particularly happy about.
  • Tales from the Hood and Tales from the Hood 2 have Mr. Simms, an eccentric mortician with a propensity for telling horror stories and acting as unhinged as possible. Justified, as the ending of both films reveal he’s actually Satan; in the former, he is toying with his latest victims, while in the latter, he uses his stories to lead a Corrupt Corporate Executive and his equally corrupt staff to their doom.
  • Kild TV: The Show Within a Show is Dr. Perseco's Late Night Horror, which Milton hosts under the Dr. Perseco persona.
  • Flavor Flav plays this role in Nite Tales: The Movie. He would reprise the role in the Spin-Off series.

  • Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror was more or less a literary continuation of Freddy's Nightmares. Krueger did a cheesy intro and outro for each book, though he was also somehow involved in the plot of every story, unlike in the TV show, where only a few episodes revolved around him.
    David Bergantino: Meanwhile, the most interesting guideline for writing the Tales of Terror series was... Freddy Krueger couldn't be in them! It was a guideline from New Line. I believe it was because the more he would be in a novel, the more chances one might have to violate his mythology. So... I was only allowed to have him bookend the story like the Crypt Keeper. He could also appear briefly at the very end of the main story for the big reveal of which character he was possessing, as he did in each story.
  • Every entry in the Goosebumps: SlappyWorld series of books contains an intro, outro, and "intermissions" done by Slappy the Dummy. Before that, the Hall of Horrors series had The Story-Keeper, while the Most Wanted line had R. L. Stine.
  • Tales from the Haunted Mansion has Amicus Arcane, the Mansion's head librarian, who offers bolded commentary within the text of his own narratives. It's implied but left relatively vague that he's the attraction's Ghost Host, as his appearance is rather close to the "Hatchet Man" portrait identity of the character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Big Chuck and Li'l John
  • Winston Essex from NBC’s short-lived Circle of Fear / Ghost Story.
  • Elvira, Mistress of the Darknote 
  • Ernie Anderson (Ghoulardi), who spawned The Ghoul, The Cool Ghoul, Son of Ghoul, and Paul Thomas Anderson.
  • Marvin
  • Svengoolie (originally Son of Svengoolie)
  • Vampira, the 1950s Los Angeles inspiration for Elvira also infamous for her appearance in Plan 9 from Outer Space.
  • Voluptua was a very short-lived romance host in 1955. An explicit counterpart to Vampira, the so-billed Living Goddess of Love did what horror hosts do but did it for romantic films. Her jokes were more sexy than creepy and there was some pseudo-stripping involved in the hosting.
  • John Zacherle was famous for being one of the earliest television horror hosts, being most well-known for hosting Shock Theater, an anthology show where he presented pre-1948 Universal horror films while playing a sinister character named Roland (pronounced Ro-land).
  • Rod Serling was one of the rare examples of The Stoic host on TV, in both The Twilight Zone (1959) and Night Gallery.
  • SCTV's Count Floyd was a Horror Host parody. In-Universe, he was Floyd Robertson, co-anchor of SCTV News, who moonlighted as the host of Monster Chiller Horror Theater.
  • Washington, D.C. station WDCA-20 had Count Gore DeVol hosting Creature Feature from 1973 to 1987. Played by Dick Dyszel, who also appeared as the Spock-eared alien Excited Kids' Show Host Captain 20 in the daytime.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida station WTOG-44 had Dick Bennick, a.k.a. "Dr. Paul Bearer", hosting a horror movie show (also called Creature Feature) from 1973 until his death in 1995. The show was revived in 2015 with Richard Koon taking over the role of Dr. Paul Bearer.
  • In the TV series Freddy's Nightmares Freddy Krueger himself served as host. This includes episodes where he pulled double duty by starring as the Monster of the Week, giving the impression that he's Reminiscing About Your Victims before the viewer.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 provides an unusual take on the trope, as Joel Robinson/Mike Nelson and the bots might be considered unusually genial Horror Hosts, while Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank could be considered more typically sinister Horror Hosts of the Show Within a Show that the Satellite residents are forced to watch.
  • Off Beat Cinema has three laid-back Beatnik horror hosts, who are less sinister and more into "digging it."
  • The Hunger had two of these, one for each season. Terence Stamp did the honors for Season One. Season Two went further by casting David Bowie (who had a key role in the movie that inspired the show) as an original character: Mad Artist Julian Priest. Unusually for a Horror Host, his backstory is complicated enough that the first episode of the season ("Sanctuary") is devoted to telling it, so he doesn't address the viewer until the final sequence. Subsequent episodes use traditional bookends as he muses over the themes of the stories in question, with touches of Black Humor here and there. He's rather elegant and melancholy for a horror host too, but that only makes his sadistic (and sometimes masochistic) moments all the more unnerving.
  • The Munsters features an episode with a fictional Horror Host named Zombo, who, to Eddie's disappointment, isn't a blood-thirsty ghoul outside of his television show.
  • Balrok and No Name, a pair of frat boy demons, hosted the San Francisco-based Creepy KOFY Movie Time in the early New '10s. Besides running a public domain film each week and making the usual jokes about it, their host segments featured a house band, some scantily-clad lovelies, chats with contemporary B-movie makers, and a guest stand-up comedian, making for a goofy Variety Show.
  • Salem the cat was a horror host during certain Halloween episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Joe Bob Briggs, a persona created by Dallas film critic John Bloom, was the host of Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater on The Movie Channel from 1986-96, MonsterVision on TNT from 1996-2000, and The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs on the streaming service Shudder from 2018 to the present. Unlike many horror hosts, he didn't put on a "spooky" persona, but instead played an Affectionate Parody of a Texas cowboy who lived in a trailer, spoke with a thick Southern drawl, and watched horror movies mostly for the blood, guts, and T&A. One of his most popular bits includes cataloging the various methods of violence and mayhem in the feature film and listing them out with "Fu" attached, such as Car-Fu, Chainsaw-Fu, etc. The Last Drive-In introduced a younger Distaff Counterpart co-host in the form of the Ms. Fanservice Darcy the Mail Girl.
  • Alfred Hitchcock himself provided the hosting duties for the eponymous Alfred Hitchcock Presents, airing from 1955 to 1965 on CBS and NBC. Hitch's macabre drollery and frequent use of props such as guillotines and gallows makes him a classic Horror Host, and colorized footage of his introductions were used in a 1985 posthumous revival.
  • Roald Dahl presented the first two series of Tales of the Unexpected. His quiet, avuncular manner and comfortable surroundings (overstuffed armchair, cozy fire, knit cardigans) usually managed to make the audience feel more disturbed, thanks to the contrast between his introductions and the bizarre stories that usually followed.
  • Boris Karloff's tenure on Thriller.
  • In the '80s Detroit station WKBD had Count Scary (Tom Ryan), a wisecracking Bela Lugosi-type vampire who not only hosted occasional horror films, but starred in local comedy specials as well.
  • Discontinued Canadian horror channel "SCREAM" had several horror hosts. Mistress Olga was a goth/vampire/dominatrix who hosted monster movies, Tiff was a Dumb Blonde cheerleader who hosted slasher movies and Nancy was a British schoolgirl who hosted supernatural and occult movies. They were all played by the same actress, Jane Meikle.
  • Several two-parters of the television adaptations of the Goosebumps were given intros and outros hosted by the books' writer, R.L. Stine himself, with Cryptkeeper-esque jokes and puns, but mixed with stoic Rod Serling-esque delivery. For unknown reasons these were abandoned after season two.
  • The 2001 BBC horror-parody series Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible included a parody Horror Host in the titular character, played by co-writer Steve Coogan.
  • Parodied by The Two Ronnies in "The Bogle of Bog Fell", where Ronnie Barker (as the Laird of Cockahoopie Castle) introduces the eponymous ghost story.
  • USA's Up All Night midnight movies were hosted most notably by Gilbert Gottfried, who would joke about the films in his classic persona. The films included horror films as well as various B-movies and sexploitation films.
    • Prior to this was Commander USA's Groovie Movies, a B-movie block which ran on weekend afternoons from 1985-89. Lots of horror movies were featured, but the title character eschewed traditional horror host trappings — he was an uncouth, cheerful subversion of The Cape who lived in the basement of a shopping mall!
  • Parodied by two skits in A Bit of Fry and Laurie featuring Stephen Fry as Gelliant Gutfright, host of The Seventh Dimension, who is a Horror Host combined with Weird and Loquacious Stephen Fry Character:
    Gelliant Gutfright: Between imagination and desire, between reality and ambition, between what is known and what is feared, between purpose and despair, between sense and shite, between the visible world and the inner world that straddles the curtain hung between what we know and what we think we suspect is a dark veil that waves gently between the beckoning finger drawing us into the world of what could be and what never couldn't be impossible to dread. OR DO THEY?
  • Darkroom was hosted by the owner of the eponymous darkroom, a mysterious photographer played by James Coburn. The German version of the show replaced the photographer with a shopkeeper played by Carl-Heinz Schroth.
  • Sinister Cinema, a mid-1970's horror movie show that was broadcasted on KATU-TV Channel 2 in Portland, Oregon, was hosted by Victor Ives, who dressed like a Classical Movie Vampire and was frequently accompanied by a long-haired, creepy individual named Ravenscroft and a disembodied head named Head.
  • The first season of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction was hosted by James Brolin (whose segments took place in a dark void) while the subsequent three were hosted by Jonathan Frakes (whose segments took place in a mansion). Don LaFontaine also acted as the announcer for the first three seasons, but was replaced by Campbell Lane for Season 4.
  • Damien's Dreadfuls, airing in the mid-Atlantic U.S., is hosted by an amiable Scottish laird-cum-vampire, Damien MacDonovan. He spouts more movie-trivia than puns, plays The Straight Man to satirical drop-in guests, and has an active in-character presence on Twitter.
  • Brazilian creator José Mojica Marins, better known as "Zé do Caixão" ("Coffin Joe"), was the host of a horror show named Cine Trash, which aired in a Brazilian channel in the 90's.
  • Mr. Lobo's Cinema Insomnia is a nationally syndicated show that also runs on Roku and Twitch. You can also get DVDs of his shows.
  • The Canadian kids' show, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein used Vincent Price to introduce the show and close it. He also introduced some segments, and all of it with poems, playing on his horror persona.

  • Eminem, with the blessing of the Alfred Hitchcock estate, used Alfred Hitchcock Presents as the theme for his 2020 album Music To Be Murdered By, sampling Alfred's commentary into songs and skits. In addition, the Eminem persona, The Storyteller of Eminem's trio of personas, takes on a horror-host themed role throughout the album, occasionally referred to as "Alfred".
  • Vincent Price was this on Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare introducing the song, "The Black Widow".
    If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that man has ruled this world as a stumbling demented child-king long enough! And as his empire crumbles, my precious Black Widow shall rise as his most fitting successor!


    Puppet Shows 

  • 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 Edward de Souza and Mark Gatiss in remakes of the radio series, Fear on Four and 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 Shadow started out as the host of a crime-drama series, but became a character in his own right when audiences found him more interesting than the stories that unfolded. Not strictly a horror host, but his voice was chilling. He could be called the Ur-Example, since he was the very first host character for an ensemble series.
  • Old Nancy, the Witch of Salem, who introduced The Witch's Tale from May 21, 1931, to June 13, 1938. She was played by Adelaide Fitz-Allen, Miriam Wolfe, and Martha Wentworth. Although The Shadow predates her, she is still the trope maker as the very first horror host.
  • Vincent Price hosted The Price of Fear produced by The BBC during the 1970s. Unlike many other examples, the short stories that made up each episode were adapted to feature him as a character: sometimes he simply recounts a story that was supposedly told to him by one of the people involved, while other times he's portrayed as a witness to the story's events, investigating the mystery, trying to save people, and/or finding himself in danger from the spooky thing of the week. A rare case where the horror host sometimes is scared, when he finds himself Alone with the Psycho or sees someone get gruesomely killed in front of him, though except for particularly shocking moments he tends to remain outwardly relatively stoic, and still has a fairly morbid sense of humour at times.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Mutants & Masterminds setting Emerald City, Madame Macabre was originally a "scream queen" in low budget horror movies, before getting a job as an Elvira-clone on local TV, and then accepting a Deal with the Devil to become an actual Lady of Black Magic, because she was worried about losing her looks. She's still got the personality of a horror host, with both an enthusuasm for the genre and a fondness for macabre jokes, and is actually Affably Evil if she meets a fan. She lives in a dimensionally-enhanced haunted mansion called the House of Fear, a riff on how many horror comics are named after an Eldritch Location where the host is based.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios has their annual Halloween Horror Nights which frequently features one or more of a cadre of horror host type mascot characters. The first of which was the Crypt Keeper, but others such as the Storyteller a mysterious old women telling macabre tales, the Usher who shows you to your seat in a haunted theatre to take in a horror show, or the Director who creates horror movies with unwilling subjects most resemble arch types of someone who might be hosting a show for a horror hungry audience. These mascots are typically dubbed the "Icons" of the event and have been featured in stage shows and haunted houses over the years.
  • The Haunted Mansion has the Ghost Host, a haunting voice that guides the visitors to a supernatural experience which varies from park to park.
  • Woodland Hills, California had a haunted attraction called The House at Haunted Hill, which revolved around a ghost story narrated by a talking jack-o-lantern named Jack (voiced by Corey Burton).

    Video Games 
  • Creeepy Castle: The protagonist is guided by The Crypt Creeper. No reason is given why he helps or so much as a hint as to who he is, but he does have some quips ready to lighten the mood.
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: The games are hosted by "The Curator," who appears every so often to comment on how each game's story is progressing and occasionally offer cryptic hints to the player.
  • The Quarry: Eliza is an elderly fortune teller who the player convenes with between chapters to receive her occasional commentary on the story's proceedings as well as tips on what choices in the game's Choose Your Own Adventure format might have what outcomes - provided they (independently of the player characters) find her lost tarot cards during gameplay. Eliza also has a role in-universe as she's the ghostly Hag of Hackett's Quarry and is trying to influence the player to make choices that harm the Hackett family. Long ago, they destroyed her traveling sideshow to set her young werewolf son free from his status as an attraction. Multiple members became infected with lycanthropy after he bit one while transformed, resulting in the family turning to hunting him to cure themselves.

  • 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. At the end of the last arc to feature him in that role, he revealed that he was in hell and so is the reader.
  • Theodore Tremaine was a daytime newscaster for a local TV station on weekdays. On Friday evening, however, he took on the persona of Father Fiore, host of the Friday Night Freakwatch! Unfortunately, however, he's no longer in a state to be hosting much of anything.
  • Bound by Law, an educational webcomic about copyright law and public domain, opens with a creepy old man in a Spooky Silent Library inviting the reader to the study of "a subject that makes strong men and women tremble" — the law.
  • The Marvel Comics Infinity Comic Strange Tales (2022) uses the vampire Victor Strange (brother to Doctor Strange) in this role, although the stories he presents aren’t always horror.
  • The greater part of one chapter of Sluggy Freelance, in which several characters visit a Town with a Dark Secret for a retreat, is presented as an episode of "Bun-bun's Theatre of Horrors" with Bun-bun Breaking the Fourth Wall to take the narrator gig.
  • Minor Something*Positive character Gaspar Baugh, Lisa's dad, used to host a show called Midnight Macabre, and he and his daughter still share cheesy monster jokes.

    Web Original 
  • In the Homestar Runner toon "Doomy Tales of the Macabre," Strong Sad plays this role, suggesting various horrific fates to befall his friends.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall's annual Halloween segment Longbox of the Damned, reviews of horror comics were conducted by the undead Moarte (a Bela Lugosi parody with occasional outbreaks of the original Toblerone), always greeting viewers with "Hello My Children!"
    • For the summer 2016 edition of LOTD, The Twilight Zone: Chain Reaction (which covers exclusively Twilight Zone comics, Moarte has been replaced with, naturally, a Rod Serling Expy known only as "The Host." The next regular edition had Moarte briefly do the Serling voice while covering another Twilight Zone comic.
  • For TGWTG's fifth anniversary special, an anthology of shorts called The Uncanny Valley, the host is The Webmaster, played by none other than Nash Bozard.
  • Phelous' Blip channel is also home to Halloweenie who is HORRIBL— Halloweenie who is AWF— Halloweenie who is a horror host.
  • Radio DJ Wolf the Dog of Pretending to Be People serves as this for the show, giving announcements, recaps, and snarky commentary to listeners. Oddly enough, not only does he exist in-universe and provide announcements on the player character's behalf, he appears to be a separate, immensely powerful entity with an agenda of his own, primarily centered around the Contention PD and his love of garbage.
  • The host of Fascinating Horror is a sedate and respectful example, as he narrates stories of real-life accidents and tragedies.
  • James A. Janisse of Dead Meat does this in his Kill Count videos, with an emphasis on the body counts in the horror movies he covers, complete with a "Golden Chainsaw" award for the coolest kill, a "Dull Machete" award for the lamest kill, and snarky commentary throughout. He also goes into depth on the films' productions.
  • Played with when it comes to Vampire Reviews. Elisa Hansen portrays a vampire obsessed hostess called Maven of the Eventide, who reviews various vampire-related movies, TV shows, novels and comics.
  • ContraPoints portrays such a character in her Pronouns video; Lenora Le Vae, who wears an enormous bird-like headdress and speaks with numerous candles in the background, to hype up the Faux Horrific of talking about right wing personality Ben Shapiro.
    "And then, my dreadful dears, the western world shall surely succumb to renewable energy, affordable healthcare and video games for lesbians!" (*cue Evil Laugh).
  • Nick Nocturne (and yes, that is his real name), of Night Mind, discusses various Alternate Reality Game projects, Creepypastas and other such oddities in a smooth, soothing voice He's a more modern take on the concept, calmly leading the audience along explanations of horror-themed works and taking them on a journey to explore their themes and meaning.

    Western Animation 
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had Sir Raven, a creepy robe-and-fez-wearing anthropomorphic corvid pop up as a narrator in a few episodes.
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenhole has a live-action introduction to each episode which lovingly parodies the low budget Horror Host.
  • Frankelda's Book of Spooks has the title character Frankelda, the energetic ghost of a horror author, and her cautious enchanted book, Herneval, a cursed demon prince. Together they have been trapped in a haunted house by a much more powerful entity and telling stories to the audience allows them to "live again" and slowly gather enough strength to try and break their curse, though the dark entity stirring from its slumber often cuts things short.
  • Tales from the Cryptkeeper, being an Animated Adaptation of Tales From the Crypt, naturally followed the format of its parent show by having the Cryptkeeper open and close each episode by narrating the story.
    • Interestingly enough, the second season episodes begin with The Crypt-Keeper fighting against The Vault-Keeper and The Old Witch for the rights to host the episode.
  • Count Floyd (see Live Action TV, above) also appeared on The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley.
  • The Simpsons examples:
    • An Elvira parody named Boobarella shows up occasionally.
    • The Treehouse of Horror episodes often have the regulars spoof famous hosts, like Bart as Rod Serling from Night Gallery or Mr. Burns as the Crypt Keeper.
    • "The Springfield Files" is hosted by Leonard Nimoy. He bails halfway through, necessitating he be replaced by the Squeaky Voiced Teen ("Keep watching the skis!") This doubles as a spoof of Nimoy's In Search of... hosting stint in The '70s.
    • An example from the "Treehouse of Horror" comic book - one story has Bart find a "Tales from the Crypt"-esque story entitled "Harvest of Horror", which is hosted by the Old Lamplighter.
  • Two episode of Tiny Toon Adventures featured Buster Bunny in parodies of Tales from the Crypt and Night Gallery, and at least partially owning to the similarity of their names, another had "Elmyra, Mistress Who's a Dork" as a spoof of Elvira.note 
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror" is hosted by Mr. Macabre of the Macabre Book Mobile.
  • Larry and Maurice from Freaky Stories. The former was a cockroach while the latter was a maggot, and they both lived in a greasy spoon called Ted's Diner.
  • The eponymous stories in Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids are presented as shorts being shown in a theater owned and operated by Uncle Grizzly and his pet spider, Spindleshanks. Uncle Grizzly would be replaced by his half-brother, the Night Night Porter, when the show "moved" from the Squeem Screen to the Hot-Hell Darkness during the short-lived revival and changed the formula a bit so that the naughty children described in the stories were read from entries in the Night Night Porter's book and the Night Night Porter would explain what became of the children after the events of their stories concluded and they found themselves inmates of the hotel.
  • While Mosley "Mo" Moville was the main character of most episodes of Moville Mysteries, in others he acted as something of a narrator or Greek Chorus, commenting from the sidelines or off-screen as supernatural phenomena bedeviled a resident of Ouigee Falls.
  • Gravity Falls episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" had a Halloween Episode parodying horror anthologies, with Grunkle Stan playing the role of the Horror Host. Of course, this being Stan, the stories he comes up with actually are meant to advertise the various objects in his shop to convince a visitor to buy them- something he's absolutely shameless about.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Sleepless in Retroville" features Dr. Dark, a program designed by Jimmy to tell scary stories, represented by a floating holographic face with sharp teeth.
  • One of the countless Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts that didn't have the fortune of being picked up for a full-fledged series like The Fairly OddParents!, ChalkZone and My Life as a Teenage Robot was "The Forgotten Toybox: Curse of the Werebaby", which had the plot of a selfish and immature man being cursed by an enchanted doll to periodically transform into a giant infant until he learned to act his age, the Framing Device having the story presented to the audience by a living ventriloquist dummy named Mr. Beasley, who would apparently rummage through the titular toybox to show a different toy related to the current episode's story had this become its own show.
  • The Fairly OddParents! episode "Dimmsdale Tales" had Timmy Turner take up the role of horror story narrator by telling three scary stories to his dad and the rest of the Squirrely Scouts.
  • Garfield and Friends had a two-part episode titled "The Horror Hostess", where Jon Arbuckle falls for a woman named Vivacia who hosts horror films on TV. Garfield and Odie arrange a meeting, but end up having to save Jon when it turns out Vivacia has added Jon to her collection of shrunken baseball players so she can use them to entertain her guests of various monsters.
  • The We Bare Bears episode “Charlie’s Halloween Thing” as well as its sequel “Charlie’s Halloween Thing 2” features Charlie the Sasquatch acting as one, telling tales of terror starring the bears and other characters on Halloween night.
  • Parodied in Count Duckula, where the unseen narrator who speaks at the beginning and end of each eisode (and also in the build-up to the lyrics in the intro theme music) has the narration style of the classic Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant Horror Host, but his show really isn't that scary at all. His most memorable trait, being unseen, is his catchphrase with which he closes each episode: "Good night out there... whatever you are..." (cue Evil Laugh)
  • The Smiling Friends Halloween Episode "A Silly Halloween Special" featured a live-action Framing Device where the episode is presented by a nameless gray-haired man in a suit, who rambles about how the one thing everyone should fear is fear of the unknown and in the closing portion gets in trouble with the police for loitering.


Video Example(s):


Uncle Grizzly

Uncle Grizzly serves as the horror host of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids for the first six series, presenting them as films he plays from the projector at the Squeam Screen theatre.

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Example of:

Main / HorrorHost

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