Mercado on TV: Happy Halloween with thrills, suspense and horror


Seven’s Grace, Fires finale, Invasion, Day of the Dead, Dragula, and Elvira

Halloween is coming and that means horror is everywhere on the box. There are monsters (The Freak on Wentworth finale, Tuesday on FoxShowcase), natural disasters (Fires finale later this month on ABC), movies (Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin, October 29 on Paramount+) and ghosts (Ghosts, Saturday on Paramount+).

There is also Grace (Above – Sunday on Seven), a new UK crime drama about a detective with a touch of the supernatural. Roy Grace (John Simms) uses a medium for missing people cases, even though his bosses forbid it.

Grace is based on the books from Peter James and Seven has two telemovies so far (the second will screen on Halloween night). Filmed on location in Brighton, it looks good, and there are 15 more novels waiting to be adapted next.

Aliens are always good for a scare and Invasion (Apple TV+) is the latest to include every cliche. There’s an Oklahoma cornfield, a New York family with cute kids and a sheriff (Sam Neill) working his last day before retirement. Or maybe not.


Sam Neill in Invasion

Along with a new TV series of George Romero’s Day of The Dead (Saturday on SBS On Demand), I Know What You Did Last Summer (Amazon) has also been revived. There have been three movies about a group of teens who cover up their killing of a fisherman, but now the victim has changed.

Centred around twin teens in Hawaii, this one is the dumbest and most convoluted yet. And just like every other US high school drama, there’s a wild party in a huge mansion with unlimited booze and drugs. The only new thing to see here is a naked drunk boy pissing into the pool and maybe that’s something nobody needs to see.

The craziest entry for this year’s Halloween is The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula (on horror streaming platform Shudder), a blood-soaked rip-off of RuPaul’s Drag Race. In it, contestants like Sigourney Beaver get buried alive for extermination, which is quite the re-invention of a lip sync challenge for elimination.

Shudder also has Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special in which the “Mistress of the Dark” delivers witty commentary during three classic movies. What a great way to freshen up old movie repeats.

Australian TV once had late night horror show hosts like Vampira, Deadly Ernest and Tabitha, but now all there is to watch on Friday and Saturday nights is the same US and British repeats that air every other night of the week. Sigh.

See also: More Mercado on TV columns

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