Nothing beats the Christmas season. Baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies- it’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood. But ABC Family’s supposed “25 Days of Christmas” can sometimes put me in one.
Every year ABC Family advertises that they will be playing Christmas movies for the entirety of the twenty-five days leading up to Christmas. This is a great concept. Who doesn’t want to huddle around in the living room watching classic movies? Unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. Don’t believe me? Simply watch a commercial for the monstrosity. ABC Family advertises the Harry Potter movies, Pixar movies, made for TV movies about dancing…all of this is included in that supposed “25 Days of Christmas”. It’s almost as if they think that advertising “The Incredibles” with some snowflakes in the corner of the television screen and some vague sleigh bells in the background will make it a Christmas movie.
Now on one hand I get it, they probably feel like if they solely show Christmas movies then they’ll isolate their viewers who don’t celebrate the holiday. But they advertise the event as the “25 Days of CHRISTMAS” so they’re isolating the minority of viewers that don’t celebrate it by calling it the “25 Days of Christmas”. Honestly, other channels such as Hallmark and Lifetime show nothing but Christmas movies during the holidays and if anyone should be worried about losing viewers, it’s those channels since they only have about twenty to begin with.
There’s nothing wrong with this non-Christmas movies. After all, both Harry Potter and Disney are delightful. But it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit with some holiday movies when holiday movies are not being played despite being advertised.
Then when ABC Family does get around to playing some actual Christmas movies, they play the same handful of movies each night. More Christmas movies exist then Jim Carrey’s version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”.
All of that being said, ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” is a time honored family tradition in many households and it’d be sad if they stopped doing it. But for God’s sake, if you’re going to play Christmas movies for a month then PLEASE just play Christmas movies for a month.
Attention all Halloween lovers and movie fanatics: 13 Nights of Halloween has officially started on ABC Family! It technically started last week, but this week is when they play Halloween movies non stop, and really good ones at that!
Last week ABC started by showing a Harry Potter marathon and The Addams Family. Now that we are at the week of Halloween, however, they have been showing Halloween movies all day and night, every day and night. They have moved up from Casper and are now airing the classic Hocus Pocus and beloved Tim Burton’s films such as Corpse Bride and A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Some newer movies are being played as well such as Paranorman, an animated movie about a boy who can see and talk to dead people and must save his town from the walking dead taking over.
Frankenweenie is also a newer movie that is animated and tells the story of a boy who brings his dog back to life and the rest of his neighborhood and classmates bombard him to bring their pets back to life as well.
Another classic that hasn’t been showed in a while is Sleepy Hollow, which will play several times on Halloween night along with Hocus Pocus which will play back to back! Halloween is the perfect time to enjoy some creepy, and even a little funny, movies when the air starts to get crisp and chilly and the leaves start to fall. It will really get you in the mood for the winter that is on its way.
Don’t miss out on the classic and new Halloween films this year! ABC Family has done a brilliant job of scheduling the movies so that you can catch them at some point throughout October and also have included a great variety in which movies they are airing. Click here and get the full schedule of 13 nights of Halloween on ABC Family and enjoy your spooky Halloween the fun way!
“Scariest Places on Earth,” though it has been off the air since 2006, is still a Halloween favorite for many, and with good reason. The show takes you inside old buildings to get a look at some terrifying places. Here is the history of a few of them that are right here on the east coast and even in our own backyard. If you think you might be interested in visiting a real haunted house for Halloween, here are a few that have the fear factor written all over them.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Featured on ABC Family‘s “Scariest Places on Earth,” the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a place that would give me nightmares. I hate the idea of asylums and this one doesn’t help change my mind; in fact, it made it worse.
Waverly Hills is located in Louisville, KY and was originally founded as a one room school for the daughters of Major Thomas H. Hayes who bought the land in 1883. Teacher Lizzie Lee Harris named the school Waverly School and the property that became Waverly Hills. The Board of Tuberculosis Hospitals bought the land and constructed the sanatorium from 1908-1910. They decided to keep the peaceful name to accompany the quiet, wooded surroundings that would help the patients recover. The two-story building, which was only supposed to hold 50 patients, was soon overflowing with 100 more as the spread of TB grew to epidemic proportions. The building finished expansion in 1926 to accommodate over 400 patients and perform treatments such as Heliotherapy (exposure to hot temperatures to kill bacteria), Pneumothorax (deflating a portion of the lung so it can heal) and Thoracoplasty (surgically removing up to 7-8 ribs for breathing ease) along with healthy diet and fresh air on the screen-windowed solariums, which are large, open rooms with no closed windows. Without antibiotics, the deaths piled up near 63,000 and the body chute, a 500 foot, pitch dark tunnel, was used to transport the bodies out of the hospital to the bottom of the hillside so that the other patients wouldn’t lose morale. This tunnel is said to be extremely haunted and has sparked enough interest to inspire a movie called “Death Tunnel” (2005).
It remained a tuberculosis hospital until 1961 when it was renovated by Woodhaven Medical Services and opened again in 1962 as a geriatric hospital until 1980 when it was closed by the state for patient abuse.
The many hauntings of the building include an older woman in chains crying for help that appears in the front entrance hall; an eyeless girl, possibly named Mary, on the third floor; the image of a nurse in room 502 (two nurses working in that room committed suicide); and shadow figures on the fourth floor. These are only a small sampling of the reported hauntings. And now, everyone can experience these frightening experiences for themselves by taking guided tours of the entire hospital. Creepy? Yes. No wonder it’s one of the scariest places on earth.
Eastern State Penitentiary
This old prison in Philadelphia, PA, was open October 23, 1829 to help relieve overcrowding from another nearby jail. This prison, built in the shape of a wagon wheel, was part of a controversial movement to correct inmate behavior through solitude and labor. The solitude included feeding doors so the guards would have minimal contact and was even so extreme that they gave the 250 inmates masks to wear during their rare trips outside their cells. Their only source of sunlight came through tiny windows or slits in the ceiling. This complete solitude drove many of the prisoners insane. And if that didn’t, the punishments would. The water bath (being dunked in ice water then strapped to a wall for the night), the mad chair (tightly strapped to a chair for days without food, water or movement), the iron gag (an iron clamp was placed on the tongue and then connected to the prisoner’s wrists, which was behind their back) and the hole (a dark pit dug below cell block 14 where prisoners were left for weeks with no light and only bread and water) were the typical torments of the day. No wonder the place is supposed to be haunted.
Originally a single story building, it was expanded in 1835 to include a second story to include four more cell blocks and 450 cells for the ever increasing inmate numbers. These expansions would continue for decades reaching numbers as high as 1,700 prisoners and 14 cell blocks, leaving hardly any space between the buildings. As the years passed, the idea of total solitude was abandoned and prisoners could exercise and eat together. There were over 100 escapes from the prison and 99 were recaptured. Riots broke out regularly until the prison was closed in January 1970 due to its poor mechanical and electrical conditions. Some notable inmates during the prison’s 142 years of use have been the infamous gangster Al “Scarface” Capone, bank robber William Sutton and even women like Freda Frost, who poisoned her husband.
Many paranormal groups, including “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” along with “Scariest Places on Earth” explored this building and had some interesting findings. Whispering, giggling, weeping and even shadowy figures and ghostly distorted faces are found in many of the cell blocks. Very spooky.
St. Albans Sanatorium
Right here in Radford we have our own supposed haunting. Even though it was not featured on “Scariest Places on Earth,” St. Albans Sanatorium has gotten a lot of attention. So much, in fact, that “Ghost Hunters” members Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango came to the abandoned hospital on Sept. 25 to show their support for the building’s preservation.
St. Albans first opened in 1892 as school for boys but was closed in 1911 for lack of funding and interest. Dr. John C. King then reopened the facility in 1915 as a sanatorium for mentally ill patients. Some of the reported treatments conducted at the hospital included opium, mercury and belladonna extract (all are very dangerous poisons) along with insulin-coma therapy, hydrotherapy and electro-convulsive therapy. Many of these treatments resulted in brain damage and death.
The sanatorium was absorbed by the Carilion Health System, but the hospital was moved in 2003, leaving the building abandoned. It was given to Radford University in 2004 but was up for auction and bought in 2008 by Tim Gregory, who was a patient of the hospital when he was 14. He hopes to preserve the building as a historical landmark and is willing to allow paranormal investigations. This site is said to be very active with EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon), strange noises and shadows. Maybe Steve and Tango could come back one day and have a ghostly experience at St. Albans.
These are only a few frightening places with chilling ghost stories. “Scariest Places on Earth” may not be on TV anymore, but there is always the internet. Go find some scary places and enjoy!
It’s been 12 years since ABC Family first aired its 13 Nights of Halloween. This year’s nights include various movies young and old in addition to Halloween-themed episodes of ABC Family TV shows. The celebration kicks off Tuesday, Oct. 19 and continues until Halloween night. If you’re looking for a break from studying and midterms, check out all the entertaining shows on ABC Family.
Tuesday begins with a Halloween-themed episode of ABC Family’s original series “Melissa and Joey” at 8 p.m. The best part of this show is getting to see Melissa Joan-Hart and Joey Lawrence again. Hart was the star of “Clarissa Explains it all” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Lawrence played Joey Donovan in the 80’s NBC sitcom “Gimme a Break.” Thankfully they still have the ability to make good comedy. After the half hour sitcom, “The Goonies” will search for one-eyed Willy. The Goonies is a classic story of underdogs ending up on top.
Wednesday night’s line-up looks eerily familiar. “Melissa and Joey” will re-air, as well as “The Goonies.” The only difference is on Wednesday at 9 p.m. the Sanderson sisters spook up the screen. The best Halloween classic ever, “Hocus Pocus,” will entertain this night. Thursday kicks up the laughs with a Halloween-themed episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” followed by “Van Helsing.”
Friday allows ABC Family the chance to air “The Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl.” While USA airs the pirate trilogy on a regular basis, this is a first for ABC Family.
Night five is expanded throughout the day beginning at 7 a.m. with “Casper Meets Wendy,” showing Hilary Duff as a child actress. Next comes “Teen Witch,” a 1989 movie displaying a teenage girl who puts the magic in high school, followed by “The Little Vampire.” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”begins at 1 p.m. then “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” begins at 3:30 p.m. ABC Family then decides to repeat “The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” and “The Goonies.” The night ends with “Bridge to Terabithia” from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday Oct. 24’s lineup begins at 7 a.m. as well, but mostly repeats movies from Saturday. It changes at 6 p.m. with “Corpse Bride” and “Disney’s Trick or Treat.” Also on Sunday is “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” While none of these seem particularly scary to us now, it’s nice to watch what used to scare us at night.
The second week of 13 Nights of Halloween covers Oct. 25 and ends on Halloween night. The movies for this week are “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Practical Magic,” “The Haunted Mansion,” “The Mask,” “The Black Cauldron” and “Clue.” The worst part of 13 Nights of Halloween are how many times they repeat movies and shows during the 13 days. There must be other movies out there to add to this. On the bright side of the numerous airings of the same movies are the numerous times to catch your favorite Halloween movies if you missed them or to just want to watch them again. I know I will tune in to “Hocus Pocus” every time it’s on. I just can’t get enough of those Sanderson sisters.