It’s well known I enjoy me some B Horror. What is not so well known is why I have such an affinity for looking through the cheese darkly. When I look back upon my short and strange life on this dark hayride, I find everything that made up who I am today began with one simple, evil pleasure. That pleasure was Sammy Terry.
But just what is a Sammy Terry? Simple — Sammy Terry (a play on “cemetery”) was a fictional character (played by Robert Carter) that served as a ghoulish host for horror films in the 60s and 70s. The show, Nightmare Theatre, was a WTTV (Indiana) favorite every Friday night and had Sammy Terry doing his campy schtick (along with his pet rubber spider George) during commercial breaks. The show was MST3K for horror well before the tasty cake snackin’ robots had their time to shine. And Nightmare Theatre helped to make me who I am today.
Nightmare Theatre ran while I was but a boy. At the time I had already become enthralled with the likes of The Drac Pack, Groovy Ghoulies, and anything the Universal Monster Army could throw at me. But I seemed like an outcast. I remember feeling alone on my dark path in elementary school. No one wanted to read “spooky books” and Halloween was nothing more than a means to a candy-high end (and not a celebration of all things frightening).
But Nightmare Theatre changed that. Whether it was the campiness, that gloriously wicked laugh, or just the overall fabulousness of Sammy Terry — it didn’t matter! What mattered was that thing, that dark, scary thing I called my best friend was being held up on a pedestal of popularity and I didn’t have to duck and cover every time I wanted to talk about monster movies, scary books, or my next Halloween costume (even thought Christmas had yet to pass by).
But beyond the cheese-tastic creepiness of everything Robert Carter brought to the screen, what Sammy Terry and Nightmare Theatre taught me was that life was nothing more than one theatric after another; and everything deserved its moment in the spotlight — even a rubber spider named George.
To Sammy Terrry and George the Spider I arch a knowing eyebrow and wave my pink and black satin cape. You brought so much fabulous to a young boy and helped to shape the creep into an adult male. You are a gentleman of a crypt keeper and a shaper of lives.