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32 Days of Halloween Part VIII, Day 19: The Golden Age of Radio Advertising

Andy Warhols Dracula Promo 45

Back when radio was much, much bigger than it is today (sorry, Rob), if you were releasing a film of any kind, you were faced with a dilemma. A huge arena for promoting your film was radio–but how do you promote something that’s primarily a visual experience with just audio? Especially if you’ve got a horror movie coming out–which is, genre-wise, even more visual than most? Answer: you do a radio spot. And you do it…badly.

Let’s look at some examples. First up, The Amityville Horror from 1979…a few from this film. One thing you’ll notice in all of these is a great deal of repetition. That’s if you have something worth repeating. And “Get Out!” is definitely worth repeating. But that’s a more…mainstream, respectable sort of horror film. The sort of radio spots I adore are ones like this for Werewolves on Wheels from 1971.


I know, right? Did you even know you wanted to see a motorcycle horror film before you heard that last promo? Probably not. But seriously, open with a scream and then “Hey, horror fans!” That is priceless.

Next, we answer the question…what if you don’t have snappy patter like that? What do you fall back on? The answer is obvious: Creepy Sounding Voiceover Guy(TM). And if you want to fill time, repeat the title. What if you have even less, though? The answer? Go Creepier(TM) and throw three films together…in a thirty-second spot!

Oh, man. Those were the days. And like the 45 up top…you can find these hanging out on eBay from time to time. And, obviously, YouTube. If you have any favorites, share them in the comments. (I couldn’t find any of Mel BrooksYoung Frankenstein radio spots…they are classic. “Young Frankenstein! In black…and white! No offense. Rated PG.” And such.

Oh, and just because we can…one of the best ever: Richard O’Brien threatens you to go see his movie.