The origin and rise of television horror hosts is directly linked to one important event.

In August 1957, Screen Gems was to release 52 films in a package available for screening by television stations throughout the USA.

The package was "Shock Theater" marketed as "Shock!"

The tagline was "52 of Universal's most spine-tingling, full length feature films for first run television".

Other distributors soon joined in with their own packages.

The packages contained a mix of horror and science fiction movies; as well as other shocking movies, such as mysteries, thrillers, teen related, westerns and war movies.

To promote Shock!, Screen Gems issued a pressbook which contained suggestions for local TV stations on ways to promote the package, synopses and news releases for each movie, and biographies of some of the cast members in the films. The press book is now in the public domain.

"Shock Movies Press Book" from The Professor's Scary Clips on Vimeo.


Allied Artists Television American International Television Associated Artists Productions
Atlantic Television M And A Alexander Medallion TV Enterprises
National Telefilm Associates Prime T.V. Screen Entertainment
Screen Gems Teleworld United Artists Television


August 1957 October 1957 May 1958
Screen Gems
Shock Theater (Shock!)
Associated Artists Productions
Screen Gems
Son of Shock!
1961 1961 February 1962
Atlantic Television
Atlantic Television
Thrills And Chills
Allied Artists Television
Sci-Fi for the 60's
February 1963 May 1963 September 1963
Allied Artists Television
The Exploitables
United Artists Television
Science Fiction-Horror-Monster Features
Screen Gems
February 1964 1964 June 1964
M And A Alexander
Chiller-Science Fiction
Medallion TV Enterprises
Creeping Terrors, Vol. 1
Medallion TV Enterprises
Creeping Terrors, Vol. 2
September 1964 January 1965 March 1965
American International Television
Amazing 65
Screen Entertainment
National Telefilm Associates
Horror 5
September 1965 September 1965 October 1965
American International Television
Thrillers From Another World
American International Television
Amazing 66
American International Television
Thrillers From Another World Group II
April 1966 1966 1966
Medallion TV Enterprises
Creeping Terrors, Vol. 3
National Telefilm Associates
Science Fiction-Horror
Prime T.V.
Science Fiction-Horror
November 1966
Teleworld 12

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Last modified: February 2023