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Onslaught of TV horror — we’re dripping with it

Published: Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 11:37 a.m. CDT

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The onslaught of horror television series is growing — and growing — to the point it’s now hard to believe there was a time when networks shied away from the genre.

This week brought us the new season of AMC’s zombie hit, “The Walking Dead,” as well as FX’s second round of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story.” In case you’ve been living under a rock, “AHS: Asylum” has Jessica Lange as a real twisted sister — a sadistic nun presiding over a 1960s insane asylum where torture and other horrible, disgusting, depraved and demented things happen.

And there’s more, much more. A&E is preparing to bring us “Bates Motel,” a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic, “Psycho” — and yes, it’s a series. Freddie Highmore (so adorable as young Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with Johnny Depp!) plays the young Norman Bates.

Lifetime is getting into the act with “Witches of East End,” based on Melissa de la Cruz best-selling novel. Julia Ormond and Jenna Dewan-Tatum star.

On the broadcast side of things, we already have this season’s “666 Park Avenue” on ABC and the second season of NBC’s “Grimm.” Ahead there is “Hannibal,” as in Lecter, coming to NBC. Who would have ever thought a cannibalistic serial killer would star in a series? Mads Mikkelson, recent Cannes Film Festival Best Actor prize winner for “The Hunt,” will play him, with Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham.

Speaking of serial killers, over at Fox they’re getting ready to unveil “The Following” — Kevin Williamson’s midseason serial killer thriller starring Kevin Bacon, with a premise that has multi-murderers across the land banding together for a bloodletting bonanza.

“Dracula” is on his way to series stardom on the peacock network, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. You can’t keep a great vampire down.

ABC has “Dress to Kill” from “American Horror Story” writer Jessica Sharzer — described as an erotic murder thriller/soap set in the New York fashion world.

We’ll leave it to psychologists and social historians to ponder the reasons behind the current public appetite for monstrous stuff — perhaps dark times bring dark themes. No doubt the successes of “Dexter,” “True Blood,” and “Vampire Diaries” fueled the horror extravaganza going on now. How long non-horror fans must wait for the trend to diminish is anyone’s guess, but until that happens, be careful channel surfing. You never know what hideous sights you could be exposed to.

MORE GRIMM NEWS: Speaking of “Grimm,” Russell Hornsby tells us it’s not unusual for fans to hang out around the show’s Portland, Oregon location sites to get glimpses of scenes being shot and stars coming by to say hello.

“We do get a lot of onlookers, people who watch the show,” he says. “We get a lot of young people. I’m actually surprised how young some of our viewers are. A lot of young kids come up and ask for pictures and autographs. When we were shooting a commercial for the show, these two little girls came to myself, David (Giuntoli) and Silas (Weir Mitchell) and gave us a card to tell us how much they loved the show. And they couldn’t have been more than five or six. It was so sweet.”

Hornsby says the “Grimm” cast expects to work straight through till “November 18 or something like that, then we take a holiday season break and then go back and shoot until April.” The hours are long and the work can get grueling, especially when Portland night shooting gets cold and wet. However, Hornsby is loving it.

“I’ll tell you, employment beats any other alternative,” he says. “Everybody is very happy. I wouldn’t want to change a thing anytime soon.”

ALSO SCARY: At first brush, it’s hard to believe that ABC is developing a comedy series for Michael Bolton, who comes off so stiff and humorless in interviews, as he did during his turn on “Dancing With the Stars” and scores of other times His SNL “Jack Sparrow” video was a hoot — mocking Bolton’s image as he seemed ridiculous and out of step with the young guys around him. No doubt that’s what he’ll do in the proposed “Michael Bolton’s Daughter is Destroying My Life.” William Shatner and David Hasselhoff have made millions exploiting their own cheesiness, why not Bolton?

To find out more about Stacy Jenel Smith and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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