Nothing to fear

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AMC Fear Fest
Tuesday-Saturday, AMC

The folks at AMC are taking the term “fear” a little broadly for this year’s installment of the annual horror-movie marathon. Now through Halloween you can catch supernaturally themed flicks on the channel non-stop. But many of the selections this year are more comedic than scary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the original movie version), Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein are all in the mix. Then there are the unintentionally funny ones, like the Arnold Schwarzenegger-versus-the-apocalypse flick End of Days or the Tony Shalhoub/Shannon Elizabeth vehicle 13 Ghosts. Just make sure to check in at some point after noon on Saturday for the good stuff: the original Halloween (noon), plus three consecutive showings of Night of the Living Dead.

“Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space”
Wednesday 8pm, NBC

Earlier this year I took my 8-year-old nephew and 3-year-old niece to see Monsters vs. Aliens. It was animated, it had monsters and aliens, and it was in 3D. What could go wrong? A lot, apparently, as the movie turned out to be boring, unfunny and curiously dated. (One of the gags was a riff on the song “Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop—a movie that came out 25 years ago.) Worst of all: The theater didn’t even show it in 3D! Many expensive snacks were demanded of Uncle Eric in order to rectify that injustice. Here’s hoping this new Halloween special can redeem the franchise, because the voice talent is great: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Rainn Wilson, Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert.

“Smallville”
Friday 8pm, CW

I actually considered dressing as Clark Kent for Halloween this year, but ultimately thought better of it. My decision to abandon the human guise of Kal-El might have been a subconscious reaction to poor “Smallville,” which keeps plugging along through Season 9 even though its creative gas mostly ran out long ago. With both Lex Luthor and Lana Lang long gone, the past few seasons have seen the introduction of new sidekicks like Green Arrow and Lois Lane, and new menaces like General Zod. This season look for more comic characters to infiltrate the show, including the Wonder Twins (ugh), Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy, and the Justice Society of America. Here’s hoping the Hawkman costume lives up to my prurient expectations…

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