I didn’t catch Holliston until 2013. It came out in 2012, but I was a little late to the party. Not as late as most of the people reading this article, but tardy all the same. Be that as it may, I’ve been praising this series for approximately seven years. I’ve supported it in every way I know how, buying the blu-rays, digital formats, spreading the word, etc… But when I heard it was coming to Shudder this month, I was nothing short of ecstatic. There’s simply no better way I can think of to get Holliston to the audience it deserves.
Back in 2013, we didn’t have Shudder. If you were looking for a horror movie platform, you were limited to two options. There was Chiller and there was Fearnet. I wanted both, and I wanted them bad, but I’m from small town North Carolina. Prior to 2013, in my town your only options for TV service were Charter (now Spectrum) and Dish or DirecTV. Charter didn’t have Fearnet or Chiller, and where I lived they didn’t allow satellite dishes, so I was stuck with Charter. But sometime in 2013, Uverse came to my little town and Uverse offered both Chiller and Fearnet. It was an immediate decision for me to switch over to Uverse.
Chiller was okay, but it played a lot of reruns of older shows, some classic movies, I remember the show Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction was on all the time. Chiller was a bit of a disappointment. But Fearnet was actually good, and that’s where I discovered Holliston.
So what exactly is Holliston?
First off, it’s not a horror series. Technically, it’s a sitcom. But it’s a sitcom about two horror nerds (Adam Green and Joe Lynch) living together in an apartment, trying to make ends meet and hopefully one day, fund their independent horror film called Shin Pads. It also stars Laura Ortiz, Corri English, and the late legendary Gwar Frontman, Dave Brockie, as Oderus Urungus. Laura Ortiz plays Joe Lynch’s Girlfriend, Corri English plays the woman Adam Green is head over heels in love with but who won’t give Adam the time of day, and Orderus Urungus lives in Adam Green’s closet and is basically Adam’s imaginary friend. Also, lest we forget, Adam and Joe work for a local TV station and Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) plays Adam and Joe’s ‘80s glam rock obsessed boss.
Without being hyperbolic, Holliston is my all-time favorite sitcom. Hell, more than that, it’s one of my all-time favorite television shows. It’s chock full of iconic horror cameos (Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, John Landis, and plenty more) and I simply can’t imagine any horror fan not loving this series.
Be that as it may, Holliston is criminally underseen and that really comes down, I think, to the fact that Fearnet folded shortly after Holliston’s second season ended. Which really sucks, because that basically meant no third season or beyond. Or at least that’s how it felt at the time. To make matters infinitely worse, Dave Brockie tragically passed away in 2014.
Now make no mistake, I still want a third season of Holliston, and I hope enough people check it out on Shudder that it may inspire them to make a third season. And if a third season is made, I’m positive it will be great. Having said all that, Dave Brockie’s pop-ins as Oderus every episode were one of the shows highlights, and should the show ever receive a third season, his absence will be deeply felt. Brockie was a mad genius and every time he was on camera (both in Holliston and otherwise) the audience could see his comedic brilliance flying in every direction. Still, Brockie wanted Gwar to continue without him, and I’m positive he’d want Holliston to go on as well.
The thing about Holliston that can’t really be summarized or explained in any article is the absolute love you feel coming from Adam Green and Joe Lynch for their audience and for the show as a whole. Watching Holliston feels like a familial experience. You bond with the characters, or at least I did. And also, it feels like the characters are bonding with you. It’s difficult to describe, which is why it’s so imperative that you watch this show if you’ve never seen it before.
Personally, I’ve probably watched it front to back at least 7 or 8 times since I discovered it in 2013.
If I were pressed to name a high point of the show, I’d say “just watch the whole thing.” But if you kept nagging me, I’d have to go with the episode titled “Candyman.” Without giving too much away, I’ll say it stars Tony Todd playing himself, but not as you’ve ever seen him before. Todd is nothing short of hilarious as he takes advantage of Adam and Joe’s fandom throughout the entire episode.
Holliston is packed with horror reference after horror reference, inside jokes, and over the top humor, but it’s not just some cheap cash grab exploiting the average horror fan and tricking them into watching just because it has a few recognizable names. The show has heart. More heart than most shows and certainly more than most sitcoms. It’s the ultimate escape for me and I hope it will be for the influx of new fans who will finally discover it when it hits Shudder on September 14th.
I’m going to tell a story that may seem unrelated, but I promise it pertains to the subject at hand. This article just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t delve in to how personal this show is for me.
I didn’t know it at the time—or perhaps didn’t want to admit it—but in 2013 I was in a bad relationship. Worse than that, a bad marriage. My ex-wife and I, we were not good for each other. We wanted so badly to be good for each other, but we weren’t. I was toxic, she was toxic, we argued a lot, there were great times followed by the worst of times. No consistency, just an utter nightmare of a relationship. No physical abuse, but we wrecked each other emotionally back and forth like we were playing a game of Satan’s tennis. Neither of us are proud of how that relationship went.
There’s no single person to blame, we just didn’t work. And as simple as I may be making it sound, it was an unimaginably complicated situation. Complicated because there was still a lot of love between us, but not the kind of love that needed to be there. We didn’t split up once and for all until November of 2019 and it was a soul shattering breakup.
All throughout our relationship, I’d be emotionally wrecked for one reason or another, and one of my biggest escapes from that turmoil was watching Holliston. I can’t explain why exactly, but it was always there for me like an old friend. Probably because Holliston, at its core, is an extremely wholesome show. Sure there’s crude humor and bloody special effects on occasion, but the show is about a bunch of people who deeply care for one another. And it channels that so well because it’s made by a bunch of people who actually care for one another.
Adam, Joe, Laura, Dee Snider, Dave Brockie, it’s clear that they’re all great friends off camera and that chemistry between them shows up on the screen. So, when I say this show is an escape, I mean it quite sincerely.
I don’t know what kind of relationship you might be in, or even if you’re in one at all, but 2020 has been a bad year for just about everyone I know, so Shudder couldn’t have picked a better time to bring this to a wider range of horror fans.
If you’re looking for an escape from the nightmare that has been 2020, look no further, because Holliston is going to slap a bigger smile across your face than you thought was possible in 2020.