Chicago Legend Rich Koz Talks “Svengoolie” Legacy, Favorite Halloween Movies
Svengoolie is now in its 52nd year on television, and despite that fact, I still feel like he's underrated. In Chicago, however, he's debatably bigger than Mystery Science Theater 3000, or even Elvira.
For those unaware, Svengoolie is a late-night program. It now airs nationally at 7 pm CST on Saturday nights. Hosted by Rich Koz (playing "Svengoolie," a caricature in skull-like makeup donning a moustache, goatee, wig, and black top-hat), the program features a low-budget horror film.
While the movie is played in its entirety, sound effects are incorporated into the film to provide a "riffing" sort of experience. Svengoolie pops up before and after commercial breaks to crack deliberately corny jokes, contextualize scenes, or perform parody songs.
Just in time for Halloween, I was fortunate enough to get to chat with Koz himself. Koz has been an affable presence on Chicago, and more recently national, airwaves for decades. Throughout the month of October, Koz has been hosting Svengoolie's Halloween BOONanza, which features back-to-back horror movies presented by Sven himself along with a litany of spooky episodes from classic TV series.
Being that it's Halloween season, I couldn't resist asking Koz himself what some of his favorite Halloween movies are:
I have to say as far as more modern stuff, I don't like real gory stuff, but going back to what I consider the more modern age of classic horror, you know A Nightmare on Elm Street and the original Halloween are two well-crafted movies and they're really great. I have to bring up Nightmare because I've become friends with Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger [....] I always go for the old classics, the original Universal monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, those will always be my favorites.
Svengoolie airs on MeTV every Saturday night at 7pm CST. KWWL has a MeTV affiliate for those in the Dubuque-Cedar-Rapids-Waterloo market (channel 7.3). For those, such as myself, who have difficultly picking up over-the-air channels for one reason or another, there's another way you can watch the program! You can subscribe to Frndly TV for a low price and get access to MeTV among other channels (you can even record it too)!
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Gallery Credit: Tom Ehlers