Horror Host Retrospective: Stella

Stella, the Maneater from Manayunk, AKA the Daughter of Desire

Real name: Karen Scioli
Years active: 1984-1990, Pennsylvania

As witnessed here, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There have been many mad scientists, a gaggle of ghouls, and countless counts. Stella, however, decided to put the ‘vamp’ in vamp. Playing the traditional vamp, rather than a vampire, actress Karen Scioli donned a fake beauty mark and a push up bra and greeted fans each to her show Saturday Night Dead, which funny enough aired directly after Saturday Night Live.

Stella, along with her talking bed Bedda Lugosi and other assorted oddballs, vamped and camped through various B and lower films out of her haunted condominium.

The jokes were a bit more risqué than other hosts, but by the 1980s, things were changing. Stella hung on through the 80’s, but the world of horror hosting was considered dying by the end of the decade. Obviously that is not the case, but for a good stretch of time it seemed as if horror hosts were going to be regulated to the dustbin of memory.

Stella provided enjoyment more often than the films she presented, and she left behind a good body of work. In the end, isn’t that the best we can say about someone?

Saturday Night Dead began on KYW-3 in 1984 and lasted until 1990. Ms. Scioli is alive and well and makes the occasional appearance at conventions.

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