Much like the oh-so-trendy zombie, the spooky, ooky options on TV just keep coming

Posted 11:38am on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

It seems that almost every night of television, year-round, is like Halloween nowadays.

There's a zombie apocalypse on Sundays, a haunted asylum on Wednesdays, vampire angst on Thursdays, fairy-tale monsters on Fridays and more.

Meanwhile, armies of reality-show ghost hunters are scurrying everywhere.

With so much creepy, scary, bloody, gory material available all the time, there's only one way for the actual Halloween to stand out: It's going to take all-out sensory overload.

So the next two weeks of television will be bursting at the seams with new and returning trick-or-treat-themed programming.

But do you want to hear something even scarier? Once October is over, TV switches straight into full-on Christmas mode. Hallmark Channel's first new holiday movie premieres Nov. 3.

But for now, here are some of this year's TV Halloween highlights.

Where the zombies walk

AMC will air dozens of horror films -- with a heavy rotation of the Jason/ Friday the 13th and Michael Myers/ Halloween slasher flicks -- during its annual "Fear Fest" celebration, every day for the rest of October. It's hosted by director Kevin Smith.

Highlights include a Stephen King movie marathon (including Pet Sematary, Cujo and Christine) on Oct. 28, and a "Halloween" marathon (beginning with the 1978 original that introduced the infamous babysitter killer) on Oct. 31. But the best reason to watch AMC is The Walking Dead, which began its third season last week and airs at 8 p.m. Sundays.

A month of treats

Syfy, which has turned the entire month into a "31 Days of Halloween" programming event, has an army of the living dead as well. Mariel Hemingway, LeVar Burton and Danny Trejo star in Rise of the Zombies. The movie, premiering at 8 p.m. Oct. 27, has survivors of a zombie plague fleeing to an island refuge, Alcatraz, to find a scientist who has discovered a cure for the disease.

Other highlights: the Face Off season finale, airing live for the first time, with viewers determining the winner, Oct. 31; a Scare Tactics marathon Oct. 29; and new Ghost Hunters episodes at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Paranormal Witness episodes at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.

Hitchcock revisited

There's no denying that Alfred Hitchcock, the iconic director who was known as the "Master of Suspense," was an odd bird. And his lifelong obsession with cool, beautiful, blond leading ladies was never more disturbing than when he tried to sculpt Tippi Hedren into his dream woman. HBO's The Girl, premiering at 8 p.m. Saturday, tells the twisted story of the director's love/hate relationship with Hedren during the making of The Birds and Marnie.

How could poor Hedren have known when Hitchcock discovered her that the scariest parts of The Birds were the perils that would come from behind the camera? The film stars a couple of uncanny look-alikes: Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Hedren.

'Pretty' scary stuff

ABC Family's annual "13 Nights of Halloween" programming event begins Friday and includes a spooky new episode of Pretty Little Liars at 7 p.m. Oct. 23, in which the girls board a ghost train and encounter Adam Lambert. (The episode is preceded by a marathon of the show, beginning at 6 a.m.) Movie highlights include a marathon of Tim Burton films Sunday (including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands), a live-action Scooby-Doo twin bill Oct. 24 and a "Poltergeist" movie marathon Oct. 30.

Ghostly highways and byways

The Travel Channel's October lineup is jam-packed with real-life ghost chasers and ghost facers. The highlights include a new episode of The Dead Files, in which Detective Steve DiSchiavi and medium Amy Allan revisit paranormal activity on an old Texas homestead (9 p.m. Friday). Other ghostly travel series include new episodes of Paranormal Paparazzi (6 p.m. Friday), Ghost Adventures (8 p.m. Friday) and Making Monsters (7 and 8 p.m. Sunday).

Season of the witch

Catherine Bell is back as Cassie Nightingale in Hallmark Channel's highest-rated and longest-running original movie series. The Good Witch's Charm, the fifth "Good Witch" movie, has Cassie back to her bewitching ways when a video of her disappearing turns up on the Internet. Meanwhile, she's juggling a newborn daughter and her job as town mayor. It premieres at 8 p.m. Oct. 27.

When every episode is Halloween

Here are some of the TV series with spooky themes that practically make Halloween a weekly event: Once Upon a Time (ABC, 7 p.m. Sunday), Dexter (Showtime, 8 p.m. Sunday), 666 Park Avenue (ABC, 9 p.m. Sunday), Supernatural (CW, 8 p.m. Wednesday), American Horror Story (FX, 9 p.m. Wednesday), The Vampire Diaries (CW, 7 p.m. Thursday), Beauty and the Beast (CW, 8 p.m. Thursday), Grimm (NBC, 8 p.m. Friday) and Fringe (Fox, 8 p.m. Friday).

Prime-time treats

Here is a rundown of new Halloween-themed series episodes: The Middle (ABC, 7 p.m. Oct. 24), Guys With Kids (NBC, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24), The Neighbors (ABC, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24), Modern Family (ABC, 8 p.m. Oct. 24), Suburgatory (ABC, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 24), The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 7 p.m. Oct. 25), The Office (NBC, 8 p.m. Oct. 25), Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25), Blue Bloods (CBS, 9 p.m. Oct. 26), Haven (Syfy, 9 p.m. Oct. 26), Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 9 p.m. Oct. 29), Raising Hope (Fox, 7 p.m. Oct. 30), Ben and Kate (Fox, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30), New Girl (Fox, 8 p.m. Oct. 30), The Mindy Project (Fox, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30).

An oldie but goodie

It keeps coming back because it's a classic. ABC revives the Peanuts classic, 1966's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, at 7 p.m. Oct. 31, on ABC.

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