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For this month’s installment of “TV Terrors” we revisit horror’s own take on the Academy Awards, the Spike TV Scream Awards, which aired from 2006 through 2011 on Spike TV.

Another year has come, and it’s another year where the horror genre has been all but shut out from the most prestigious film awards, the Academy Awards. While a lot of fans don’t really give a flip about the ceremony, there is a sub-set of horror buffs that have been anxious for the genre to receive its much deserved respect and accolades. Over the years, though, some major networks have at least tried their best to offer up their own prestigious awards ceremonies to rival the majors, such as the Cable Ace Awards, and the still-running MTV Movie Awards.

One of the more notable, and memorable examples on that list was the “Spike TV Scream Awards.” Presented on the (now defunct) “guy channel” Spike TV, the “Spike TV Scream Awards” was a yearly award ceremony and horror bash that celebrated the best and most acclaimed content in horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Created by executive producers Michael Levitt, Cindy Levitt, and Casey Patterson, the ceremony aired on or near Halloween with much hype and fanfare, and for two hours audiences could celebrate everything they loved about the genre.

There were huge stars, montages, tributes, gruesome displays, and even big performances from bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, and My Chemical Romance, to name a few. Similar to the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, Spike held a huge ballot on their website prior to the awards ceremony, allowing fans to have a say in what would be celebrated that year. I voted at least three years in a row. The results would then be tallied and affect whoever won during the live broadcast, often inspiring big fanfare and some considerable ballyhoo.

Among the various categories, there was Best Scream Queen, The Ultimate Scream, Best Horror Movie, Best TV Show, Most Memorable Mutilation, Most Vile Villain (or “Best Villain”), and The Scene of the Year Award. The latter category was renamed to the “Holy Sh!t” or “Jump-From-Your-Seat” award in varying years. There were also non-horror categories for science fiction, fantasy, and comic books, collectively. There was even a Comic-Con pegged award. The Spike TV Scream Awards (later renamed as simply “Scream,” and then “The Scream Awards”), depending on who you ask, was a bang up awards ceremony, at least in its early years.

Those early broadcasts were filled with a maniacal atmosphere and fantastic vibe that worked perfectly with the impending arrival of Halloween. There was a great energy to the whole event, especially as it seemed to really be aiming to please an often overlooked section of pop culture fans with good intentions behind it. Of course, like every awards broadcast, it had its fair share of stumbles and awkward moments, all of which were buzzed about after the show. But the shows were extremely dedicated to delivering fan service, most of all.

Some of the event’s most memorable banner moments included the 2006 ceremony where the trio of Rosario Dawson, Marley Shelton, and Rose McGowan opened the show to present the first award and promote Grindhouse. Stan Lee appeared to accept a Comic-Con Icon award in the 2009 show, and there’s the 2010 ceremony where Bill Murray appeared in full Ghostbusters regalia (the demand for a new Ghostbusters movie was high at the time, and it was the first time Murray got back in the suit in many years). We also got a Back to the Future reunion with co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox appearing in front of a DeLorean, and Darth Vader and George Lucas even accepted the “Ultimate Villain” award at the 2011 ceremony.

There was also a remote appearance by Andrew Lincoln and Jon Bernthal at the height of “The Walking Dead’s” popularity. The annual show was a prime platform to promote a lot of upcoming projects, with John Cho and Karl Urban appearing to promote Star Trek, and the stars of Scream 4 – along with Wes Craven – showing up to premiere “exclusive footage” from the then-upcoming sequel. The ceremonies were filmed at various theaters across Hollywood, with the final one (a la the “Horror Hall of Fame”) conducted on the Universal Studios back lot.

Sadly, with Spike TV in the midst of re-formatting and even changing their channel name (once again), the Scream Awards slowly dwindled in popularity, and the final ceremony was held in October of 2011. Outside of Fangoria, it’s too bad that not many companies are willing to try their hand at a genre themed Oscar-type ceremony anymore, with the advent of streaming and digital platforms allowing for innovation in that field. Nevertheless, the “Spike TV Scream Awards” were a dynamic, satisfying, and fun television novelty that tried their damndest to properly celebrate the horror genre each and every year, warts and all. We need more of that love today.

Is It On DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming? None of the broadcasts have ever been released on physical media. However some of the complete, uncut broadcasts can be found on YouTube.

Horror and science fiction have always been a part of the television canvas, and constant attempts have been made over the years to produce classic entertainment. Some have fallen by the wayside, while others became mainstream phenomena. With “TV Terrors,” we take a look back at the many genre efforts from the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s, exploring some shows that became cult classics, and others that sank into obscurity.

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