I’m one of those geeks who does TiVo searches using “radio” as my key word in order to ensure that I’m not missing an interesting radio-themed pop cultural moment. For some reason this week’s television listings offered up a bounty of radio nuggets, from the classic 1990 teen angst film Pump Up the Volume, to the 1987 retro-themed Woody Allen film Radio Days.
There were also a handful of children’s animated series with radio themes, including:
Postman Pat: in which “children put on a radio show at school”
Edgar & Ellen: watch as “Ellen becomes a mystery pirate DJ”
Beavis & Butt-head: tune in to see “The boys become disc jockeys for the day”
But what really caught my eye were the horror movies and thrillers set in radio stations. Premiering today on The Movie Channel, this year’s straight-to-DVD release Dead Air promised a “radio station fighting for survival” amid a terrorist attack.
Additionally, a 2001 episode of the series Night Visions called “Dead Air” aired this week, in which a late night radio shock jock deals with horror following some creepy calls. 1994’s Radioland Murders was also broadcast this week, with its tale of murder amid the launch of a new radio network in 1939.
Although horror can take place in any setting, there’s something particularly scary about the presence of a late-night DJ alone at a radio station. As I read the synopses for a few of these films and episodes I couldn’t help thinking about Play Misty For Me, in which a crazed caller is every DJ’s worst nightmare. With that, here are a few horror movie selections that will keep graveyard DJs awake at night:
1. Play Misty for Me (1971): Clint Eastwood directs and stars as late night DJ who is being stalked.
2. Dead Air (1994 made for TV movie): Gregory Hines stars as the DJ and a caller might be a killer.
3. Dead Air (2009): Late-night talk radio DJ holds down the fort at a station during a terrorist attack.
4. Radioland Murders (1994): Death abounds during the launch of a radio network in 1939.
Can you think of other representations of DJs in horror films?
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