Great Moments In Television History #26: Siskel & Ebert Discuss Horror


This may not actually be a great moment in television history but it is an important one because it framed not only how horror films were discussed by many critics but it also is a big reason why many horror fans were not fans of this iconic duo.  Despite Roger Ebert being one of the only critics to defend Wes Craven’s Last House On The Left when it was initially released, both he and Gene Siskel had a reputation for being anti-Horror.  That reputation is largely due to a 1980 episode of Sneak Previews, in which they condemned what they called the “Women in Danger” horror films.

This originally aired on September 18th, 1980.

In Siskel & Ebert’s defense, they’re problem is more with slasher films than horror films.  Do you agree with them?  Siskel & Ebert criticized the way that audiences reacted to the films but is that the fault of the films or of the audience?  Is it really fair to compare films like Don’t Answer The Phone and I Spit On Your Grave to films like Friday the 13th or When A Stranger Calls?  It’s interesting to note that they defend Halloween as being an exception to the trend but Halloween was also a film that popularized showing scenes from the POV of the killer.

For a counter-point to this episode, check out a later episode in which Gene and Roger recommended horror films that they felt had been overlooked.

Previous Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK
  6. Freedom’s Last Stand
  7. Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share A Duet
  8. Apaches Traumatizes the UK
  9. Doctor Who Begins Its 100th Serial
  10. First Night 2013 With Jamie Kennedy
  11. Elvis Sings With Sinatra
  12. NBC Airs Their First Football Game
  13. The A-Team Premieres
  14. The Birth of Dr. Johnny Fever
  15. The Second NFL Pro Bowl Is Broadcast
  16. Maude Flanders Gets Hit By A T-Shirt Cannon
  17. Charles Rocket Nearly Ends SNL
  18. Frank Sinatra Wins An Oscar
  19. CHiPs Skates With The Stars
  20. Eisenhower In Color
  21. The Origin of Spider-Man
  22. Steve Martin’s Saturday Night Live Holiday Wish List
  23. Barnabas Collins Is Freed From His Coffin
  24. Siskel and Ebert Recommend Horror Films
  25. Vincent Price Meets The Muppets

3 responses to “Great Moments In Television History #26: Siskel & Ebert Discuss Horror

  1. Pingback: Great Moments In Television History #27: The Final Scene of Dark Shadows | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Great Moments in Television History #28: The WKRP Turkey Drop | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: Great Moments In Television History #29: Barney Pops On National TV | Through the Shattered Lens

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