Reelz Channel ups the real fear factor of Halloween programming

Note: This post is sponsored by REELZ; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.

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We are only just a few days away from Halloween, but the fear is far from finished this season. This is especially the case over at Reelz Channel, where they are still in the throes of their unique 13 Nights of Reelz Scary programming. But what is making this particular slate of October content notable is that Reelz is kicking up the real fear factor by exploring freaky facts behind favorite movies and popular scary stories.

For instance, last night on the network, our skin was crawling with their true crime shows that built the tension leading up to "The Silence of the Lambs." Before Dr. Lecter started licking his lips over chianti and fava beans (and a little human liver), the programming block kicked off with an episode of "Murder Made Me Famous," about the gruesome works of serial killer Ted Bundy. Following that was "Behind the Screams," a docu-series that connected the dots between Bundy and how it inspired the character of Buffalo Bill in "Lambs." The 1991 Jodi Foster/Anthony Hopkins classic then rolled, and was followed by a behind-the-scenes documentary about the film, featuring cast and crew interviews.

See what they did there? Build the tension using real (and horrific) scary stories, then lead into a great Hollywood flick. Although the programming is not strictly paranormal-themed, the "Behind the Screams" episodes detailing the disturbing lives of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy are darkly compelling -- as are the effects the killers had on the entertainment industry.

But there is actually quite a lot in the paranormal pop culture realm to scare the pants off you. Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, a "Behind the Screams" episode titled "Witches Among Us" explores the haunting tale of the Perron family, who you'll remember from "The Conjuring." This installment adds a level of creepiness to the movie with the first-hand accounts you may not know about. Also tonight is the story behind a different case of Ed and Lorraine Warren: "The Amityville Horror Murders." The doc takes a critical look at the murders and the supposed hauntings to determine whether the reports were true or not. There are also "Behind the Screams" entries this week focusing on the "true story" accounts of some of the most famous paranormal movies, "The Exorcist" and "Fire in the Sky."

Even if you don't end up tuning, or setting your DVR, into the 13 Nights of Reelz Scary, check out their site for pretty cool/creepy supplemental content. One of the things I really got into was a gallery of exorcisms depicted in art, from 1300 to 1900. They also include a breakdown, and listing, of the Latin exorcism ritual.

And if you need a little appetizer to get you ready for some scary programming, check out the YouTube vid of supposedly real footage from hauntings and poltergeist activity.

I won't say any of it's legit, but it is worth sticking around to watch the whole thing. Though the one beginning at the 1:28 mark is the best, in my opinion.

-Aaron Sagers