Category Archives: Interviews

Interviews

10 Questions with: Fred Olen Ray

Fred Olen Ray is a low budget exploitation film legend. For 40 years, he has been working in Hollywood, writing, directing, and producing films. He was kind enough to take some time out of his day to answer my 10 questions, so without further ado, here he is:

1: Could you introduce yourself to our readers in 100 words or less?

I’m Fred Olen Ray. I’m a film-maker, producer, writer, director. If you don’t know anything about my career you should probably move on to some other blog right now, and find somebody you do know something about. I’ve been in the business a long time, and I’ve made I don’t know how many films, I’ve lost count, and hope to continue doing the same for a few more years.

2: What made you want to pursue a career in low budget horror/”B”/Exploitation Movies?

Well, I wanted to be a film-maker, but I wasn’t necessarily interested in being a director. I wanted to be a make-up artist. I started in the business as a special effects make-up artist, but I found myself in between jobs all the time, so I was looking for one position that paid enough money that it would carry me over until I found another position. And it turned out that I was pretty good at being a director, and directing horror films was what I wanted to do, but I learned almost immediately that you couldn’t just make low budget horror and live the lifestyle that I wanted to live. You had to be able to make horror films, action films, comedies, westerns… whatever the market needs I tried to be good at. And I liked being in charge, I liked being at the top of the food chain. I don’t like being told what to do a lot, although everyone has a boss and there are people who tell you what to do, but it trickles down. It helps to be second from the top of the ladder.

3: What has been your favourite experience whilst making a film?

I think the thing I liked most about film making when I first got into it was being able to hire actors who I admired, and wanted to learn something about them on a more personal level. I loved working with people like Lee Van Cleef, and Telly Savalas, Martin Landau, John Carradine, Cameron Mitchell, Sybil Danning, Barbara Steele… I mean being able to be the director and cast actors who had delighted me in the drive-in and whose work I had enjoyed was probably my favourite aspect of film-making.

4: What makes for the quintessential “Fred Olen Ray production”?

I tend to be a creature of habit. If you’ve done a good job for me I’ll bring you back over and over and over again, so there was almost a stock company of players who would repeat from film to film to film, because we all got to know each other and it was easy to do it. And you could rely on them, and they understood me and I understood them. And I used to try and go out of my way to find older actors who nobody was hiring anymore and out them back into films so there fans could see them. People like Robert Quarry and Martine Beswick, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Kirk, you know. This is what I would try to do and this would probably be the earmark of a Fred Olen Ray show.

5: With the rise of video streaming sites on the internet, such as YouTube, what do you think the impact has been on prospective film makers?

I think YouTube, and sites like that have opened the door to film piracy in ways that we’ve never seen it before. And the lack of responsibility demonstrated by YouTube is startling. We’ve had “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” (and) had to take it down off YouTube, the entire movie, 25 times or more. And you would think that after removing a content with a title like “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” 25 or 30 times, there would be some sort of red flag that goes up on YouTube when someone goes to upload the entire movie. But no. And our films are pirated and scammed on YouTube constantly and I think that someday soon they’re going to have to be held responsible for what they know is illegal activity that they are promoting.

6: What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path into low budget films?

The market for the kind of films that we used to make doesn’t exist anymore. Today it’s a television, TV movie market. And there is a market for Christmas movies, there is a market for Lifetime channel type women’s thrillers, but that’s the bulk of what’s out there if you want to make a living, as opposed to simply getting something on DVD that you can point at and say “Oh, I did that”. The problem with that is that you have to be very proficient professionally. And as we look around in our own world of being a DVD distributor, we see a lot of independently from around the country, and most of it is not professionally produced. It’s amateurishly produced, from a standpoint of it wouldn’t fly with Lifetime Channel, or Ion Channel, or UP TV, or Showtime, you know… sometimes there is, but for the most part, most backyard productions are people learning how films are made. And if you want to become a professional film-maker your films have to have that professional polish and gloss. Most people’s cameras that they are using are like still cameras that record video, and a lot of these cameras would not pass QC, which means quality control. But now distribution of your own work on DVD is very, very easy. What’s really hard is to make a real profit with these films. It’s really tough.

7: If you could work with just 1 actor/writer/director above all others, who would it be and why them?

I always wanted to make a movie with Vincent Price, and I came very close and was invited over to his house one afternoon to discuss the project that was “Mob Boss”, but he was just too sick to perform and I was very disappointed. I always wanted to work with Christopher Lee, and of course that is gone now as well. Beyond those two there isn’t anybody that overwhelms me in the business anymore. I love the times that I’ve worked with Roger Corman, I’d love to work with Roger again. But that’s kinda… that’s it, right there.

8: What do you consider to have been the worst professional decision you have made regarding a film?

 I’m not sure, to be honest with you. (repeats question) I don’t think there is, I don’t think there is such a thing on one of my shows.  I mean, some films I wish I hadn’t made them at all, because I think maybe perhaps down the line they hurt my career, and I should have said no to some shows that I said yes to, and I probably said yes to some shows that I should have said no to, so that would probably be the answer to that one.

9: Out of the current crop of genre directors who excites you the most?

There isn’t anyone in the current crop of genre directors that excites me.

10:Finally, if you could travel back in time to your first day in the film industry, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell my younger self to shut up and do your job. I think I was way too opinionated, I think I was too fast to give out my opinion. I think I was too micro-managing, and sarcastic which I still am, but I think today looking back, I am less micro-managing now, and yeah, I’m still opinionated but I’ve learned to shut up and do my job. And that’s what I would advise everyone else to do. Thank you.

 

No, Sir, thank you for being gracious enough to answer my questions.

You can visit Fred Olen Ray on Facebook at The official Fred Olen Ray Facebook page

 

 

10 Questions with…. Ellie Church

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1: Could you introduce yourself to our readers in 100 words or less?

I am a lover of all things peaceful,  but can also get down with a chaotic environment when ready. and that’s my daily life , large doses of peace with brief stints of welcomed chaos. I love my family, I love/crave adventure, and the outdoors, which is why the winter is my mortal enemy.

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Ellie Church in “Interstellar Civil War”

2: What made you want to become an actress in low budget horror/”B” Movies?

. I wasn’t aware that it was a possibility for me where I lived until I started working for Lloyd Kaufman,  he introduced me to several local directors and kind of grilled me about why I wasn’t  pursuing acting . But once you get started , it’s like drugs. It’ll ruin your life, but it also makes your life beautiful while you’re doing it.

3: What has been your favourite experience whilst filming?

That’s tough, but I don’t know if I can pinpoint an exact moment. I think the thing I love most though,  is working with a completely new group of creative individuals every time, and very quickly getting to know them. A lot of those relationships remain very dear to me.

Behind the scenes with Ellie on "Frankenstein Created Bikers"

Behind the scenes with Ellie on “Frankenstein Created Bikers”

4: What has been your worst experience whilst filming?

It’s probably not best to talk about my worst experience. .lol.

5: Which of your films are you currently most proud of, and why?

I’m most proud of Headless and the two films I did after Headless , Frankenstein Created Bikers and Harvest Lake. There was a definite line drawn in my head when I got my role in Headless . And hopefully every film I do from now on can be the same.

On the set of "Harvest Lake"

On the set of “Harvest Lake”

6: What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path into low budget films?

Don’t do it for money, do it because you can’t not do it.

7: What is your favourite horror/sci fi film and why?

It changes from month to month, if a movie makes me feel something, I will love it. I’ll name a few. Martyrs, The Shining, Pet Semetary. I mention Martyrs not because I got done with it and was in love with it, but because I couldn’t sleep after I watched it. If I have to watch an episode or two of SNL before I can sleep, and still have trouble, that’s a good movie. Something that stays with you, haunts you. That being said, I don’t want to ever watch it again.

8: If you could work with just 1 director above all others, who would it be and why them?

I’m going to be typical and say Tarantino. I love his work. Period. I would love to just know how he talks to his actors , what insights he gives. I could die after that.

Head shot from "Headless"

Head shot from “Headless”

9: How does it feel to know that you have fans out there on the internet?

Great. I love feedback , constructive criticism , inspiration,  and I get all of that when I ask for it or need it.

10: How important to you has it been to follow the path you have taken?

Like I said before, it’s a drug to me, it’s very important,  improvement is important,  better roles are important, working with more and more experienced directors is important. I wanna do it all.

The Pit of Doom would like to thank Ellie Church for her kindness in agreeing to this interview. Go check out her online presence:

Twitter: Ellie Church official Twitter

Facebook: Ellie Church Official Facebook page

An interview with Lesbian Bed Death

Lesbian Bed Death have long been a favourite of mine. Introduced to them by the bands rhythm guitarist back when they had just 1 track recorded (with a male vocalist), I immediately took to their goth meets punk meets glam style.

To celebrate the upcoming full release if their 4th album ‘The Devils Bounty Hunters’, I conducted an interview with the band (via the powers of that eldritch and evil medium… Facebook!):

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LBD circa ‘Riot of The Living Dead’ L-R: Mr Peach, Danny Stigmata, Kittie Racchea, Will Power, Chuckmaster C.

1: LBD began as a side project for yourself, what prompted you to begin this?

(Mr Peach) When I started LBD, my full time band was Razorwire, which is much more of an aggressive, Hardcore-meets-Rap-Metal beast. As much as I loved Razorwire, I wanted to do something a bit more light hearted and fun.

I grew up listening to Heavy Metal , Goth and Punk  bands (all of which now seem to be referred to as Classic Rock), so I wanted to do something in that vein. I also wanted to develop my writing skills, so a zero pressure side project was really helpful.  Razorwire’s music was complicated. Lesbian Bed Death could be three chord Gothic Punk and get away with it. Nice easy songs that are fun to play, and designed solely for the purpose of rocking out. I also got to incorporate my love of 80’s Horror films into the lyrics, and subsequent music videos.

When we made the debut album, it was also an excuse to work with a number of friends from my local scene. There are a lot of special guests on that album, and it had a real community vibe. It was recorded on the cheap, and was a lot of fun to do.

I always assumed that it’d be a ‘one off’. I didn’t consider it to be commercial at all. After all, we were called ‘Lesbian Bed Death’. This was going to be a one off Gothic Punk album, made for fun.

Ironically, it quickly outsold every Razorwire album put together, and we were receiving amazing feedback across the world. Unfortunately the chaos surrounding the band prevented it from becoming my priority, as it could have imploded at any time. It soon stopped being fun, so LBD was put on the back burner. However, the videos on YouTube grew in popularity, and more and more people were asking for another album. I decided to give it another shot, and the second album was made. Unfortunately we soon ran into the same problems as before. Bassist Magic Andy quit after the first day in the studio, and we ended up ‘parting ways’ with our lead singer before the album had even been released. As much as I loved the music and the fans’ reaction to it, the bad outweighed the good, and we had to make some tough decisions. We’re the masters of starting over.

2: LBD seems to be in a creative hot spell in the last couple of years. Why do you feel this is?

(Mr Peach) After the meltdown that happened before the second album came out, we decided to turn LBD into a proper band, and not merely a project. The chaos had brought the remaining band members closer. When we found Kittie Racchea, we were whole again. The problems were solved. The five band members were all friends and full of renewed enthusiasm. We were all focussed and full of creative energy, so there was definitely a “creative hot spell” at this time. This is why I believe the ‘Riot..’ album is so good. We needed an awesome comeback, and an album that really defined ‘Lesbian Bed Death’. I feel that we achieved that.

Being in an independent band is tough. Life can get in the way. Will and Danny quit being permanent band members, due to other commitments. They still play shows with us from time to time, but we had technically become a three piece again, Kittie, Chuckmaster C (who’s played on every album and has been our live lead guitarist from the beginning, and me.

I thought the best thing to do was to pick ourselves up and jump straight into a new album. I wanted to prove that we weren’t broken, and we could be just as good in the studio as a three piece. Due to the fantastic response we’ve had to the album, I think we’ve made our point. I was genuinely worried that we wouldn’t be able to top ‘Riot..’, but I think we have. We’re all really proud of ‘The Devil’s Bounty Hunters’.

Another point I’d like to make is that all my favourite bands from the 70’s and 80’s used to release a bonafide classic album every year, or in some cases twice a year. Just look at Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden etc. When bands leave several years between albums, it makes me suspicious. Are they really still into this? Have they started running out of money? I love writing and recording, and I think that while the creative juices are flowing, you should jump on it. I couldn’t stand waiting several years between albums.

3: Can you describe the LBD ‘sound’ for our reader who may be unfamilliar with yourselves?

(Mr Peach) Gothic Punk meets Hard Rock. Our albums are quite varied, but that description covers most bases. We do have a cheeky splash of pop music in our sound too.

4: The last 2 LBD albums have been funded via ‘Pledgemusic’. Does the band feel that this is the way forward for independent artists in the ‘MP3’ age?

(Mr Peach) ‘Crowdfunding’ is a great way to fund an album, providing there’s the fanbase willing to take part. I’ve seen a number of unsigned / independent bands fail, as they’ve asked for too much money, or simply don’t have enough fans. The groundwork needs to be done first, before jumping into a campaign on PledgeMusic, Kickstarter or whatever.

I think the MP3 age is a myth, as physical media still outsells digital. I think people confuse sales with illegal downloading, which is a different topic. Interestingly, the vast majority of pledges on our album have been for a physical CD, and only a handful of pledges were for just MP3s or T-Shirt/MP3s. Almost everyone wanted a CD with the artwork, lyrics etc. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, as I still love physical media. I love MP3s for the convenience, but I’ll always want the real thing.

I think we’ll see an increase in older, already established bands using crowd funding. Especially if they’ve been dropped from a major label for falling out of fashion. The loyal fan base is already there. The spirit of ‘sticking to the man and going it alone’ is also very appealing to people, as well as the personal touch and community vibe that goes with it. Older bands tend to have many older fans who’ve been following the band for some time, so naturally they have more disposable income. Young fans of college bands probably won’t.’Crowdfunding’ is still in its infancy, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

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LBDs current line up: Mr Peach, Kittie, Chuckmaster C.

5: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you came to be a part of LBD.

(Mr Peach) I’m the founder member. I’m an avid fan of rock music, and have been since I was a kid.

(Kittie) I’m Kittie and I’m a badass. Yep. I became part of LBD when the guys where scouting for a new singer.  I knew our old drummer (Danny stigmata) and he recommended me to them and it all went from there really! I was a bit nervous of stepping into someone else’s shoes, but the boys have been very supportive of me and so have the LBD fans.  I’m happy to be a part of this disturbing little family. When I’m not pretending to be a rock star, I have a fashion blog that I write for fun!

(Chuckmaster C) I’m Charlie, also known as Chuckmaster C. My main role in LBD is lead guitar, though on the latest album Mr Peach also let me play bass & drums too. In my spare time I’m a secondary school Music teacher & muso nerd. I was first involved with the band during the early Johnny Hell days when the band needed a second guitarist for live shows. I’d played drums in another band with Mr. Peach for many years & loved the horror / gothic themes of the music & the prospect of playing more guitar. Since the release of Powers… Peach & I have worked together to write for the band along with Kittie.

6: In the decade or so LBD has been in existence, what would you say was the most satisfying experience you have had as part of the band?

(Mr Peach) I love that we have a genuine fan base. It’s satisfying to know that we’re not screaming in space, and that our music and videos have an audience.

(Chuckmaster C) I’d say selling albums, gaining dedicated fans worldwide and being asked to do interviews for various random websites and magazines is pretty high profile. Better than being completely ignored or going unnoticed.

7: How would you describe the quintessential ‘LBD Experience’?

(Mr Peach) I have no idea. Listen to the albums, watch the videos, then come to a show, perhaps?

8: What would you say has been the bands most high profile moment?

(Mr Peach) We’ve always been an independent underground band. High profile moments are usually reserved for bands with high profile managers, labels and agencies. However, it was really cool seeing our ‘Moonlight’ video on television.

9: What advice would you give to anyone who like yourselves has a desire to make music?

(Kittie) I would say go for it. Don’t hold yourself back. I did that for years and years and only really got into singing in public a few years ago. I wish I’d not been such a little pussy about it!!! Take inspiration from everything but above all, if you watch a horror movie, write a song about it.

(Mr Peach) Just make it. Surround yourself with cool musicians who are on the same page, and make music. Play live and get some experience. If you’re still together and love your songs, record them and see what feedback you get.

 Many thanks to the band for taking the time to answer my inane questions. If you haven’t already done it, get your behands out there and purchase the album: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/lbd4

http://www.lesbianbeddeath.net

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From the Vault: 10 Questions with Bruce Campbell

NOTE: This email based interview was conducted around the time of the Bubba Ho Tep DVD release in the UK (2005-2006). My interview technique wasn’t quite as good as it maybe could have been (infact, its bloody cringeworthy).

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1: Bubba Ho Tep. Your first major role for a while to get a cinema run. What attracted you to the script?

Bruce:Because it was the weirdest one I’d ever read, but it also had a nice, sweet underlying story of what you do with old people.

2: What were your feelings on playing perhaps THE American Icon of the 20th century?

Bruce:It wasn’t that big of a deal, because nobody has done him at 68 years old, so I was really just going for a bitter, dried up old southern man.

3: How do you feel about the way Hollywood marginalises \’genre\’ production, despite its obvious commercial power?

Bruce:Well, I never have cared about that, because it’s the world that I know and love. Hollywood is a bore sometimes, because they’re too afraid to try interesting or different stuff.

4: If you could play any role in any film past, present or future, which would it be?

Bruce:I never play that game. I take the lemons as they come (as in roles) and squeeze them for all they’re worth.

5: Why?

Bruce:Because I may do make believe for a living, but I live in the world of reality.

6: What do you consider to have been the worst professional decision you have made regarding a role in a film?

Bruce:I have too many to tell you, but the only things I regret are the things I didn’t do.

7: The Evil Dead videogames: Do you feel that the stories contained within them could fit into the already twisted ED mythos?

Bruce:Well, the games are in the spirit of the films if that’s what you mean, so I suppose so.

8: I really enjoyed your foray into documentary film-making with ‘Fanalysis’. Is this a direction you can see your career taking in the future?

Bruce:Yes, I love docos, because they tend to evolve as you go and write themselves. I’m editing a very big land use documentary currently.

9: What are your thoughts on seeing ‘horror’ directors like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson finally getting budgets that allow them to fully visualise their imaginations?

Bruce:I think it’s absolutely fabulous.

10: And finally, given the rumours of a proposed ED re-make, who would you like to see Ash played by?

Bruce:We’re not that far along yet, so we’d better not go there. More news later.

Thank you very much, Mr Bruce Campbell

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From the Archives: Lloyd Kaufman

And its time for another treat for all you loyal Fiends and Fiendettes out there. This interview hails from 2005, and was conducted via email with the legendary Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Studios, the longest running still active 100% Independant film studio in the USA (and probably the world). Enjoy:

 

Oh yes, I cannot believe how lucky we are here at the pit, as ANOTHER living legend joins the ranks of Pit Alumni……Gynos and Gentlemen, I give you Lloyd Kaufman!

1: Writer, director, producer, editor, actor, the list goes on……..Is there anything you HAVENT done in relation to making films?

Well thank you very much! But I did notice that you forgot to mention the beginnings of my career in film… I was well known as a legendarily poor fluffer on the gay film sets in Hell’s Kitchen! In fact, it was when I was finally promoted to mop-boy in the jerk-booths that I came up with the inspiration for one of Troma’s most lasting icons. That’s right –Dolphin Man! Oh, that sheen still gets me hard.

2: What kind of impact do you see the current US administrations heavy lean to the right having on the independant film sector?

From fluffers to shitheads! Don’t get me started! Troma and Roger Corman are the only truly indie studios left!!! First, Bill Clinton finished what Reagan started. And now Bush? Hey — did I mention Bush was my classmate at Yale? If only I knew now what I knew then… I would have charged him twice as much for all that dope! (I could use the cash to support me in my later years as a struggling independent filmmaker!) These bigots and hypocrites have got to go, starting with the Senator of New York, who’s felching cash from the left with one mouth, and fellating the right with the other. Yes, boys and gynos, it’s time for a regime change in both our government and the elite conglomerates who run the fart- er… artworld.

3: How do you keep going, mentally and emotionally, with all the problems Troma has faced over the years?

Problems? Who, me? What? I’m okay. Why are you looking at me like that? Goddamn, okay — it’s a trial. The dank mega-corporations try to poison us daily — both as audiences (with the automated filmic crap they’ve been shitting out ceaselessly) and as filmmakers (by trying to strangle us out of any distribution in the market). But as long as the film keeps rolling in those cameras, and as long as independent filmmakers can still have any voice, I can keep going. Oh god… who’s outside my door?

 

4: For those who havent read either of your best selling books (for shame on them!), tell us a little about a day in the life of Lloyd Kaufman.

Well, first of all, I’d tell them to go out and buy either of them at amazon.co.uk — they’re filled with as much sex and guts and vomit and piss and shit as any of my films, and every one of my dreams. (Did I tell you about the dream I had last night? Filled with piss and shit — both of them. I mean in seperate dreams, but still. What do you think this means? Write me at lloyd@troma.com and let me know what you think.) Anyhow, if you’re not going to buy a copy, then I’ll tell you all about the rats. The goddamn rats. Every other producer in Hollywood has assistants, and assistants to their assistants, and assistants to those fucking assistants. And me? Me? I’ve got rats. Literally. All over the fucking basement, shitting everywhere. All over the original negative for The Toxic Avenger. All over the penis monster prosthetic. It’s terrible! As soon as I finish this interview, I’m headed into the basement with a shovel and a can of mace, to take care of those fuckers. After that I’ll track down Andy Deemer, and find out how the fuck we can shoot “Poultrygeist: Attack of the Chicken Zombies!” in four months if we don’t have an army of chicken zombie prosthetics! (Now if you have any experience with prosthetics, go to www.poultrygeistmovie.com and send in your resume! We need zombie chickens!!!)

5: How surprised were you at the critical response to Terror Firmer? Did you feel vindicated? Relieved? Bemused?

Relieved. Really fucking relieved. I held back for fourteen months just so that opening day I could pee all over the fucking trash newspapers. Let me tell you — to piss across Elvis Mitchell’s hailing of the film as “truly scary, and funny” was an experience indeed.

6: What is your opinion on the way some of your low budget peers from the 80s/early 90s (Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson) have infiltrated the mainstream in Hollywood? Is this good for the film industry?
Let spill no ill will from these fine lips of mine. No, no, no… actually, Raimi, Jackson and Trey Parker are geniuses, and all good, good guys. (Trey Parker, of course, wrote and directed Troma’s “Cannibal! The Musical”) They’re having a great effect on the industry, bringing their early influences with them into the mainstream. I also expect Troma alumni James Gunn (of “Tromeo & Juliet”, as well as writer of the “Dawn of the Dead” remake) to join their illustrious ranks soon!

7: Has there ever been a time when you were tempted to move the whole Troma operation out of New York? If so, why?

Yes, once. On November 7, 2000. The day that two-faced Hillary Clinton, the notorious White House silverware-thief, was elected to the United States Senate as a “representative” for New York. Represent, my ass. See my comments above for further explanation, if it’s even neccessary.

8: Out of the current crop of genre directors who excites you the most?

Of course there’s Eli Roth, director of the gore-filled “Cabin Fever” and the work in progress “Hostel”. And I expect grand things from my good friend (and Tromeo & Juliet collaborator) James Gunn, who’s in production on his feature directorial debut, “Slither”. (Keep an eye out for yours truly in the “Sad Drunk” role.) But most of all I’d have to say Japanese genre-bender Takashi Miike. Audition, Ichi The Killer, Dead or Alive: they’re all wonderful and so fucking splatter filled. I love it. “Poultrygeist!” is Troma’s fromage to The Happiness of the Katakuris. As long as Andy can get me those damn prosthetics! (see above)

9: Apart from the money, what made you want to write books?

Money??? I had to pay St. Martin’s Press to get my last damn book published. Plus, I had to give some guy a blowjob. (When I say “had”, it’s all relative. I’m not even sure he neccessarily worked there. But I didn’t think it could hurt.) No, I actually wrote the books to inspire people to become independent artists, and to give them a helping hand along that road. Hell — if idiots like us have been making our own damn movies for the past 30 years, anyone can do it! I like to see Troma as more than a film company — and book company now. Instead, I see it as a grand artistic movement, fanning the embers of indie film into a huge blaze. (See Tromadance.com for more information on that wild fire!)

10: You apologise at the start of Citizen Toxie for the Toxic Avenger parts 2 and 3. Are you really that dissapointed with those films?

I think that they are both great movies in general, but that I personally made too many artistic compromises. I regret this.

11: Tromadance 2005 has just passed. Could you tell the readers out there a little about what went down this year?
For those that don’t know, TromaDance is the first film festival wholeheartedly devoted to filmmakers and fans. Unlike every other film festival, TromaDance does not charge filmmakers to submit their films. It features a range of films made independently, usually without big stars, big money and far removed from the Hollywood studio system. The official selections of TromaDance have been made with nothing more than passion, courage, integrity, and raw talent.

TromaDance is an opportunity for everyone who’s ever picked up a camera to have their work seen without the compromises required by elitist cartel interference.. TromaDance is proud to be the first and only film festival of the people, for the people, and by the people.

This year, it all went extraordinarily well. I recommend people check out the website, at tromadance.com, or pick up a DVD of some of the best entries! You can get those at buy.tromamovies.com.

12: Would you agree with the statement that in the current cinematic climate the distribution chain (filmaker to cinema) has returned to the pre 1960s ‘Studio System’ whereby the major players control what product the cinema goer gets to see? Can you see this changing?

Again, I’d have to recommend my ‘Roid about the Oscars. (See “Lloyd’s Roids”, http://www.troma.com/lk/oscars2005/) Yes — the American film industry has become dominated by a terrifying oligarchy that has wrested control from independent filmmakers like myself, and independent distributors like Troma. Directors and producers are becoming little more than “work for hire” providers, sating the devil’s every whim. The only way it’ll change is if more independent filmmakers speak out to the media and the government, both of which are unfortunately dominated by the same few faces that own the distribution and production channels. Murdoch. AOHell. Slime Warner. Disney. It’s an uphill battle, but I’m determined to make my mark.

There are also promising advances with the new technology and the internet… these may unseat the cartel of devil-worshipping media conglomerates who are the traditional gatekeepers, and economic blacklisters of independent art.

 

13: Why do you hate Digital Video so much?

If it looks like shit, and smells like shit, and even tastes like shit, it must be… goddamn, this is shit!!! What the… I thought I cleaned up this fucking spot!!! Goddamn rats. Ech. (Did I mention that I’m writing this from the basement of the Troma building? It’s the only place where we can leech the wireless internet connection from the McDonalds next door.)
No — the real problem is that most digital movies don’t have properly-lit sets and actors, and have crappy sound. Both of these can be a real problem when you’re trying to fall into a feature or short. But go buy a copy of Make Your Own Damn Movie, or check out the (about to be released) DVD boxset… I certainly don’t *hate* Digital Video — I just prefer film. (Oh, you should see the Troma library projected on Nitrate film stock — now there’s a technology worth returning to! A pity it’s so explosive.) No, you should check out some of Troma’s latest releases: Giuseppe Andrew’s white-trash Trailer Town, and Mark Hicks’ action-packed sci-fi epic Actium Maximus. And Suicide (aka FinalCut.com) is a splatterotica masterpiece. These are all grand features that make full use of the low-cost and ease of DV. And don’t miss the ninth tenet of Dogpile 95: “The film format must be Academy 35… er 16mm… er video… just make your movie anyway you can get it done. As long as it doesn’t suck.” More info at http://www.dogpile95.com

14: Do you have any word of encouragement for any budding filmmakers reading this?

Do what you truly believe in. “To thine own self be true.” That phrase was coined by William Shakespeare, the legendary bard know for his best-selling “101 Money-Making Screenwriting Ideas.” Otherwise known as “Hamlet”

Many thanks Lloyd…..now, about those rats…………………………..

An Interview With: The Bone Jangler

And the final part of todays Horror Host mania, The Bone Jangler!

From the darkest crypt in the oldest cemetary comes……THE BONE JANGLER!!!!!

1:Tell the folks out there in cyber-space a little about your show:
Well, the show, on one hand, is a return to the classic Horror Host shows of old, like Vampira, and Zacherley, where the camp factor is at a minimum. I’m not really a fan of deliberately campy shit. On the other hand, we kind of dragged the genre, kicking and screaming into the new millennium.
You know, a lot of the people who do this, they’re still aiming at mimicking what went on in 1963. To me, that’s been said, and done. It’s not like Ghoulardi sat around, trying to copy what went on in 1923. It was fresh, and topical, and more of an in-your-face approach. That’s what we do. It’s not aimed at little kids, although many of them do watch it, alongside their parents. Those poor parents, having to explain some of the things we say, and do, on the show. (laughs)
I have a 2 1/2 minute disclaimer before the shows, warning the potential viewers that not everything they’re about to see is all soft, and cuddly. I make sure to give ’em an idea of what to expect, so, the disclaimer is laced with nudity, etc. (laughs)
I’ve had a lot of people write me, call me, and approach me at various conventions, thanking me for “modernizing” the genre. To be honest, there wasn’t any kind of plan, when we started. We just did what we’d want to see, and threw it out there, hoping that someone would appreciate it. I’m glad to say that most people who’ve seen it do.

2: What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?
After years of watching the genre dwindle away, as commercial broadcast stations turned their backs on local programming, I decided that, from everything I’d seen, and heard, the people really did, and still do, want this kind of entertainment. I figured that it’d be fairly easy to pull off, as we’re naturally evil, and sinister, and all of that good shit. (laughs) No need for make-up, or sets, here. (laughs) Cable access, here in the States, provides the perfect outlet for this kind of thing, especially for us, seeing as it’s not regulated by the FCC.

3: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?
I don’t know that I saw any of them as role models. (laughs) The best Horror Hosts, in my humble opinion, aren’t exactly what one would call “role models”. (laughs)
As far as who I saw that really made an impression on me goes… Let’s see… Well, certainly the original Svengoolie, Jerry G. Bishop, from Chicago, made a lasting impression. He’s easily my favorite Horror Host of all-time. Cleveland’s Ghoulardi inspired the creation of Svengoolie, and Ernie (Ghoulardi) Anderson really blew everyone in NE Ohio away with his antics, and, especially, his irreverence. Out of all the current Hosts, I’d say that, oddly enough, we’re more like him than anyone, because of that shoot-from-the-hip irreverent quality. I thought Indianapolis’ Sammy Terry was, and still is, great. He’s got that eerie thing going for him that many others have foregone in favor of zany antics, etc.

4: What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host? (on or off camera)
Hmm… There are so many memories, it’s hard to single one out.
I guess I’d have to say that, more than any one thing, what has stood out in my mind is that we’re making so many, many people so very happy, making them forget their cares, and their worries, for 2 hours at a time.
When you have people from all over the globe, places like, but not limited to, Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and even South Africa, writing you on a regular basis, telling you how much fun you’ve injected into their lives… That’s pretty fucking powerful, isn’t it? I mean, our show doesn’t air outside of the continental United States, yet, here are all of these people discovering, and finding ways to enjoy your work. It’s not as if we’re doing webcasts, or anything. These people are finding us on the ‘net, and in magazines, and doing what they can to get their hands on our shows. It pleases me, greatly.

5: What do you get from being a horror host?
For me, it’s doing something I enjoy, and have enjoyed for ages. That it makes people’s richer (laughs), and that so many appreciate what Nocturna & I do, what comes quite naturally for us, I’d like to add, that kicks ass.

6: What are your interests outside of horror?
You mean aside from your Earth women, and smoking the mean green? (laughs)
I have lots of other interests. For one, I’m a musician, and music, much like everything associated with the show, is my life. Nocturna & I are very much connoisseurs of most creative endeavors. I also happen to own a used bookstore/comic book shop.

7: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?
Hmm… I’d have to take “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein”, as it’s my favorite film of all-time. I love the way the 2 worlds collide, while staying true to their respective fields, for the most part. There is the whole “Why is Dracula seen in the mirror?” thing, but, I can handle that small infraction. (laughs)
David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” is another must-have. Dennis Hopper’s performance is just sooo damn over-the-top, a quality which I admire, one which has been pointed out about my show, as well. A jaw-dropper for anyone who’s never seen it.
Ed Wood’s “Orgy Of The Dead” is one I’d have to take along. It’s not that it’s particularly fabulous, but, it does a have a certain charm to it, a peculiar atmosphere that one such as myself can enjoy. Take away the endless parade of zombie strippers, and you don’t have much. But, it does have Criswell, Ghoulita, and the lovely Pat Barrington.
“Help!” is another one I’d take with. It’s sort of like “Hard Days Night” mixed with a touch of James Bond. The songs are great, the locations are great, and the lads are stoned the whole time, being themselves, and having fun. I’ve always been a fan of The Beatles, although I prefer the “Revolver” through “Magical Mystery Tour” era.
Not sure what else I’d take. Maybe “The Seven Year Itch”, because Marilyn Monroe looks pretty good with that white dress blowing up. Oh, and, uh, Tom Ewell’s pretty funny in that, too.

8: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.
Typical shoot, eh? It’s pretty simple, really. Before we shoot, Nocturna & I watch the movie we’re doing, and take notes. I denote where we’ll be making the breaks, etc. Then, it’s just a matter of turning on the cameras, and letting what happens happen. It’s all very live, in that sense. Very rarely do we do a second take of anything, usually only when there’s a problem with the dreaded mortal technology, like when my mic drops out.
People ask me all the time, “Are you on live?” Since we don’t ever, ever use scripts, it just flows, warts, and all. Doing it this way, some of it’s kind of just whatever, but, the gems are there, and it just seems a whole lot more authentic. I much prefer it this way, which is good, because I can’t memorize a script for shit. (laughs)

9: What is the all time worst movie you have ever broadcast in your career? Why?
(laughs) “Worst” in what way? It’s like “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. They always that it’s the worst movie ever, yet, many people find it to be extremely entertaining. To me, the worst movies are the ones where they spends zillions of dollars making ’em, and they’re just plain boring. By my way of thinking, they’ve all been pretty good. (laughs)

10: And finally, what message would you give to any wanna-be horror hosts?
I’m glad you asked this.
I regularly hear from aspiring Horror Hosts, and I strive to be as honest, and insightful, as I can. It’s funny being approached as if I were an elder statesman in the genre. (laughs) I usually tell them to be as original as they can, starting with their names. In the last few years, I’ve advised, if you that’s what you’d like to call it (laughs), Ohio’s The Mortician, Minnesota’s Gortem Shreek, Indiana’s Doktor Tom B. Stone, and Gravedigger Grimm, as well as Chicago’s Undead Johnny, Dead Wood, and Freaky Fred. There have been others, but, I have yet to see anything from them… yet.
The Horror Host genre, up until about 3, or 4, years ago was kind of on a downswing, which is not to say that there weren’t any out there. There most assuredly was. People like Son Of Ghoul, Count Gore De Vol, Dr. Creep, and others, were all out there, keeping this thing alive, and, they’re still here. Nowadays, there’s a proliferation of Horror Hosts, which I see as a good thing. Hollywood’s been doing more high-profile things, as has the comic book industry, and the Horror Hosting iron’s getting hotter by the minute. People have always wanted this, and the people in power have begun to take notice.
It’s a good time to be a Horror Host. So, to anyone who’s been toying with the idea of becoming one, I say, pick a unique name, figure out what your concept is, try to put something in the mix that’s not been done to death yet, and get off your ass, and just go for it. It’s a lot of work, believe it, or not, but, people like myself are proof that it can be done.
Thank you for the interview, and thank you for allowing me into your Pit Of Doom!
– The BONE JANGLER

And thank you, Bone Jangler, for a most enlightening interview.

Visit the Bone Jangler at The Bone Jangler.Com

An Interview With: Baron Von Wolfstien

Horror Host mania continues with another archive interview, featuring Baron von Wolfstien!

From deep within his crypt, the Baron graces our corner of the web with his patronage.
Learned Robb:1: Tell the folks out there in cyber-space a little about your show.
BvW: Thank you, most Learned Robb, ’tis my pleasure to be here!
I must say, ’tis a cozy little Crypt you have here, nestled neatly among the gallows and graveyards of Cyber-Space!
To delve into a wee bit of ancient history; my TV show:
BARON Von WOLFSTIEN Presents SATURDAY NIGHT With THE MONSTERS, ran for 40 episodes back in AD 1978, on WTTV Channel 4 (Bloomington-Indianapolis), measurably inspiring the future career of one of my fans, who was to become known as the erstwhile A.GHASTLEE GHOUL, whose Interview already graces your charming Site.
The TV station taught me reams about TV politics, in that they broke their promise to me (the very first week of airing) that I’d not be placed in a time-slot opposite SNL in its Belushi, Ackroyd, Murray ‘Glory Days’.
‘Twas lamentable proof that The Station, despite their glowing inferences to the contrary, weren’t going to invest much in my show.
But, my show derived a lot of input from fans, in the form of letters, artwork, and, the like, as well as MICHAEL WHITE’S keen, and, steadying influence. Being on the commercial Telly, an exact figure of 58,000 steady viewers tuned in on a weekly basis, according to the Neilson Ratings.
My Best Friend (and, Technical Director par Excellante) MICHAEL B. WHITE, whose expertise provided the high quality that routinely gave our show a very Professional stature, shares all kudos for shouldering the large responsibility, which led to the show’s success.
TEN EPISODES of my olde work survives, due to my foresight of dubbing myself a copy whilst I made the originals for the weekly show… a big debt of thanks is, likewise, imputed to the frugal viewing of said tapes, as supplied by elder brother, MICHAEL WALLACE HERRON, over a period of two decades. I am most happy to relate that MICHAEL WHITE procured the first translation of the olde 3/4 inch tapes onto the 1/2 inch format for widespread public access, a scant 23 years after he’d first recorded them.
Aided by the sterling efforts of A.GHASTLEE GHOUL, and, E-GOR, said tapes shall be available for public consumption in the very near future, via VHS & DVD.
My new show, BARON Von WOLFSTEIN And FRIENDS, is still in its infancy, matrixed, mostly, as irreverently-alloyed segments into GHASTLEE’S Show.
Other segments are shot specific to kindred, talented, and, bizarrely-fixated souls such as:
SHADOWGOBLIN/DR.FRIGHT in Pekin, Illinois,
HALLOWEEN JACK’S HAUNTED THEATRE in new Jersey,
PROFESSOR ANTON GRIFFIN’S MIDNIGHT SHADOW SHOW in Austin, Texas,
DR. FEAR’S MYSTERIOUS LAB in Enid, Oklahoma, and, numerous other Host’s Show throughout the HORROR HOST UNDERGROUND.
Check out all the Vonderful ‘New Blood’ at:
Horror Host Underground.com
I expect to be producing a ‘solo’ weekly format once again, beginning in OCTOBER, AD 2003. I suppose that I am obliged to mention that BARON Von WOLFSTEIN is a ‘Transcendent’ WEREWOLF.
L.R:2: What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?
BvW: I’ve always possessed a sense of wonder, and, of purpose, about this Mystery in which we are immersed, and, identify as ‘LIFE’.
The Monsters represented a finite expression of the Supernatural, just as Dinosaurs had held my undivided attention in my youth, by representing the curiosity of power, fascination, and, extinction, in the temporal sphere.
There were lessons to be gleaned, learned, and, shared.
To contribute insight, knowledge, and, illuminated patterns of educated choice are the best use of the time we’re granted on this glorious pebble in space. To Bind by the Fascination, but, to Free by the Message- that is part and parcel to my Life’s Quest.
The notable points in the evolution of my HORROR HOSTING CAREER are listed below:
I have the right to hold the curiously auspicious title of:

Founding Father of HAUNTED HOUSES FOR CHARITY due to the success of the HAUNTED HOUSE that I created in Cincinnati, Ohio, waaay back in AD 1971, which, in turn, inspired the phenomenom that persists to this present day… and, whose arc of success seems fated to run the duration of the Course of Time itself!
For some unexplainable reason… Humans LIKE to be SCARED! Go Figure.
We (The Sycamore-Deer Park Jaycees, along with sponsoring radio station, WSAI) took our act on TV, unleashing a plethora of our Monster-ous brood on the BOB BRAUN SHOW/Channel 5 WLW-T in Cincinnati, for several years running. That always provided great advertising for our HAUNTED HOUSES.
With a strong background in Theatre, Make-Up, and, Acting, it was a logical inevitability that my focus would breathe ‘Life’ into my passion for The Classic Monsters on a grander scale… and, parlay those HAUNTED HOUSE Experiences into something more recordable… bringing the message of the Monsters as a weekly ‘fix’ through the magic of Television.
I had an ‘Inner Knowing’ that such a task would fall to me, quite early on; it was crystalized, once I saw my first Monster Movie, and, discovered FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, and, all the other magazines of that era (the very early ’60’s).
BARON Von WOLFSTEIN ‘happened’ as a Character that I’d created to advertise my 1977 Bloomington HAUNTED HOUSE via newspapers and TV. vJust that summer, I’d done repertory theatre in Vincennes, Indiana, and, been cast in BORIS KARLOFF’S Role, (evil criminal mastermind and serial murderer, JONATHAN BREWSTER) in the stage-play, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE.
In homage to BORIS, I did my best to imitate his vocal timbre and cadences… loved it so much, in fact, that it became the undeniable choice for BARON Von WOLFSTEIN’S ‘Vocal Chops’.
Wanting as much exposure as possible to ensure the success of the Bloomington HAUNTED HOUSE, I finagled a guest spot on the Children’s TV Show, COWBOY BOB, on WTTV Channel 4 (The Indianapolis Station).
Cognizant of my audience’s tender years, I appeared as a “kinder, gentler, Vampire”(of the LUGOSI DRACULA Persuasion).
That appearance sparked the Station Management’s interest, and, they immediately offered me a slot as a HORROR HOST. However, it took them half a year to make good on their offer. BARON Von WOLFSTEIN started up in April of AD 1978, running weekly through the end of December in the same year.
The original BARON Von WOLFSTEIN Facial Prosthetic was courtesy of my dear Brother, KEVIN HANEY, who has won THE OSCAR and Multiple EMMYS in the Make-up Category. (I did minor ‘alteration’; the mask started out as an Indian…)
L.R.:3: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?
BvW: Although Cincinnati’s COOL GHOUL,(Dick von Hoene) surfaced in my teen-age years, just prior to College, and, although I admired his work, his particular TAKE on HORROR HOSTING, it wasn’t quite my cup o’ tea. That same discontent prevaded my viewing experience of SAMMY TERRY whilst majoring in Theatre at Indiana University in the late ’60’s.
I knew that my HORROR HOST was to inform, and, promote a REALITY, and, be, sincerely, Supernatural… Mind you, I’ve nothing against the Vaudeville style, and, charm, of these afore-mentioned HORROR HOSTS. In fact, I knew both of them…
and, on the set with GHASTLEE, DR.CREEP, and, JEFF McCLELLAN, AMERICAN, I can lapse, quite easily, into the Vaudevillian work ethic… why, you’d hardly surmise, watching our little band of Inspired Lunacy, that Vaudeville had ever gone the way of the DODO… not to be confused with the way of THE DOO-DOO! (There are ‘skid marks’ aplenty to substantiate that! Not to mention the ‘unique fragrance’ that discerning nostils would easily identify, if we were seen in SMELL-O-VISION!)
But, I digress; pardone moi!
My elder Brother, MICHAEL WALLACE HERRON, was a Cameraman for THE COOL GHOUL show.
DICK Von HOENE (THE COOL GHOUL) and I met in AD 1968, when we were slated to perform the play DRACULA together. He was to be the Blood-thirsty COUNT. I was to be RENFIELD, his assistant vampire-in-training.
“You want FLIES with that?!”
Due to professional commitments, Dick von Hoene had to bow out of the role as the Vampire King.
In AD 1973, I did HAUNTED HOUSES, simultaneously, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and, Bloomington, Indiana. We hired SAMMY TERRY to join our Bloomington venture for an evening. His task was to stand in the foyer, and, greet the visitors to our Haunted Attraction.
In my formative viewing experience with the olde UNIVERSAL CLASSICS, those movies were, by and large, un-Hosted.
So, my Life-choice as a TV MONSTER was neither tainted by any pre-conceived notion, nor, subject to a Template-pattern of which my choices for a HORROR HOST Character should follow; or, to which I might be expected to conform.
I derived my direct inspiration from the MOVIES themselves, and, from the massive charisma and talents of the actors and artists, who rendered such finely believable slices of meaningfully masterful cinematic meditations. KARLOFF, LUGOSI, The CHANEYS… Actors were my inspiration, along with the Brilliant Creativity of UNIVERSAL’S Resident Shape-Shifter, JACK P. PIERCE.
L.R:4: What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host? (on or off camera)
BvW: Memorably favourite ‘Gems’ on Camera are too numerous to relate, however, where on and off camera reality merged into a unified, successful whole, the episode that stands out most consistantly in my mind is the ‘SATURDAY NIGHT DEAD’ Joke I created for our screening of KARLOFF’S THE MUMMY.
Utilizng a funerary urn, which my Mother, BARBARA had purchased for her Mum, (but, which, somehow, never made it to my Grandmother DIEFFENBACH’S final resting-place, and, therefore, ended up in my ’employ’) I sagely envisioned its being capable of exhibiting the ‘unique talents’ that KARLOFF’S MUMMY, ARDATH BEY/IM-HOTEP, conjured up, in the MYSTIC POOL within his lair in Cairo.
Of course, I gave MICHAEL WHITE Ample Time to bring the required Special Effect to pass… all of about 20 minutes… *sigh* yes, as proof that I was a MONSTER, filled with inhuman cruelty, I told MICHAEL WHITE, 20 minutes prior to taping, what I needed… ’twas one of the few times that I witnessed the normally implacable WHITE brow being furrowed by vexation.
He walked away, cogitating upon this perplexing task at hand, whilst I finished donning my costume. ‘Tis my pleasure to relate this, that, by the moment of commencing the Episode’s filming, MICHAEL had ingeniously resolved the very daunting task. The effect called for the Mystic Urn to appear filled with a dense, foggy mist. Then, questions, and, answers were to materialize out of that shrouded fog.
In this case, the exact lines were: A) Appearing via ancient script, in the foggy opening of the Mystic Urn:
“WHAT DO YOU CALL AN UNDRESSED, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT MUMMY?”
B) Baron von Wolfstein repeated this aloud, as he pondered this mysterious riddle, and then, addressing CARLYLE, THE INVISIBLE WIZARD, his chief co-hort, he said:
“I don’t know… CARLYLE, what do you call an undressed, anti-establishment MUMMY?!”
C) The camera panned back to the opening of the Mystic Urn, as the answer roiled up, becoming visible on the cauldron’s surface:
“A REBEL WITHOUT A GAUZE!” D) At which point, the camera cross-faded back onto the BARON’S Visage, and, he spat out this line, directly to the Camera, barely able to conceal his contempt at playing ‘straight-man’ to a wise-cracking urn:
“Hmmm… CARLYLE, ‘twould appear that we’re watching SATURDAY NIGHT DEAD!”
L.R:5: What do you get from being a horror host?
BvW : Aside from the vast sums of money, you mean? Well, I suppose there’s the traditional element of a job-well-done.
Also, there was the time I got a rather nasty rash!
I suspect that it was due to dining upon some undercooked Wolfs-bane; a dish, which, in my later years, I’ve had to forego, due to its severe toxicity levels.
Both in retrospect, and, via present experience, I’d have to say that HORROR HOSTING provides me a lot of FUN! Plus, I get to toss in my Tuppence on issues regarded as Supernatural; whether They be the Good, the bad, or, the downright ugly!
L.R:6: What are your interests outside of horror?
BvW: Aside from women, you mean? Oh, the usual things, I suppose: Broccoli, Earthworms, Hang-nails, and, World Peace, topping the list. (But, not necessarily in that order…)
I sing. In choirs, bands, and, in the absence of those, KARAOKE!
I paint, sculpt, make masks, write, act, compose music, do pantomime, work-out, and, explore the Mystical EVERNOW side of LIFE.
I’m a poet, as well, published in America and Europe.
I love the field of Nutrition; I try to keep apace with all he rapid advances of supplements, olde and new, in order to keep my olde corporeal manifestation ticking briskly along.
I love to make order out of chaos; cleaning, dish-washing, laundry, etc.; I’ve been a janitor since I was a wee lad. It is as valuable as anything else I’ve ever done. As one Saint learned:
“Whether one builds the Cathedral, or, merely sweeps it out, it is all the same in GOD’S Eyes, for, all Human activity is as nothing, when compared to the DIVINE REALITY.”
L.R:7: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?
BvW Will you toss a TV/ MOVIE PROJECTOR Into the Bargain?! Thanks everso… Hmmm, ONLY 5 Movies… Wow, that’s a Tough One… Pass me, the popcorn, won’t you… oh, that’s right, I’m all alone on this island.
1) ALL OF THE UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTER MOVIES; Yes, I am fully aware(wolf) that the entire package counts as MORE than ONE movie. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention! A fellow can dream, can’t he?! OK, then… LUGOSI’S DRACULA (or, RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE).
2) BORIS & CO. in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
3) ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN
4) THE SEVEN FACES OF DR.LAO
5) MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, the original
Of course, this list is subject to change…
I am correct in my assumption, am I not, that, your generous offer of an isolated, exotic, island vacation includes a round-trip ticket, and, that you’ll also pick up the tab on the electric bill, as well. ;^}
L.R:8: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.
BvW Ahhh, the DIFFERENCE that a Quarter-Century makes. Back then, it was on the station’s dime. I had to fit into their schedule. I was able to pre-tape, which was good, because I did several different characters, two of them had fairly involved make-ups.
Early on the time restrictions were very tight because I had a camera crew. As I became saavy to the TV time-frame, I was able to dispense with them, and, totally rely on MIKE WHITE to accomplish the crew needs of camera and control-booth. Usually, all done in one take, or, at the very most, two.
Picking up with GHASTLEE and COMPANY: we simply turn on the camera, and, improvise… if we like it, we keep it. Other Hosts are amazed at how ‘natural’ and ‘effortless’ we make it all look.
We’re all seasoned PROS… with a bit too much curry powder.
If we don’t like the first effort, then, it’s on to TAKE TWO!
Actually, my ancient show was more conservative, and, solo… much of what we do nowadays was illegal to do, or, say, on TV back in ’78.
The entire medium has stretched its boundaries, with cable-access leading the way. So, it’s a brave new world, insofar as The BARON & FRIENDS are concerned… but, their consensus is that they all like it.
L.R:9: What is the all time worst movie you have ever broadcast in your career? Why?
BvW: ‘WORST’, as a definition, as a yardstick of measurement, can cover multiple directions.
There’s ‘WORST’ as in ‘BO-O-O-O-R-R-R-RING’;
Or, ‘WORST’, as in: “TURKEY!”
“GROSSO-MUNDO STINK-BOMB!!”
“SAVE ME! E-E-E-EEYUCH!!!”
And, as you might guess, the latter is much more FUN to Host than the former….
Into that more scintillating bracket would fall the unforgettable:
DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN Fortunately, it was around THANKSGIVING Holiday that Channel 4 foisted it upon me, and, I passed along the VAMPIRE TURKEY to the Audience. (Lovely PROP!)
It turned out to be a brilliantly ‘CAMPY’ Hosting opportunity!
Not only did I baste the TURKEY, with a “THIN SAUCE OF LOGIC NON-EXISTANCE”, (THIN, hell, it was as INVISIBLE as “The Emperor’s New Clothes”!) As the cameras rolled, I even garnished THE VAMPIRE TURKEY with REAL (Dried) RED HERRINGS!
Boy, did they ever stink up the place; when I opened the bag that contained these vile fishies unleashed a most repulsive odor; the smell that wafted out was so strongly offensive that I nearly blew lunch!
I finally had to drive a stake through this UNDEAD BIRD’S Heart (not that I’m sure that it had one, but, it worked!) Wickedly Funny, and, a totally artistic Put-down of one of the worst films to ever escape… er, uh, I mean to be released…
L.R:10: And finally, what message would you give to any wanna-be horror hosts?
BvW: You all owe me $1,000,000.00! I expect to be paid in full before you even think of touching the camera! HUMOUR-EH! As ROBIN WILLIAMS was wont to say as MORK.
Seriously, anyone who chooses this Profession should love the GENRE, be inventive, and, try to inform your audience, as well as make them laugh, cry, and, SCARIEST OF ALL: THINK! Oh, annnnd, JOIN THE HORROR HOST UNDERGROUND:
http://www.HorrorHosts.com
Well, LEARNED ROBB, you’ve asked some fine questions; I’ve expended a great deal of energy in my answering! I’ve really worked up quite an appetite!
I am correct, am I not, that I was assured that this Interview was to take place over an evening’s repast?
Since I’ve seen nary a whit of edible foodstuff in your tidy little cyber-crypt, I regret to inform you that most people would give an arm and a leg for the History with which I’ve provided you… so, that’s what I’ll exact from you…

L.R: Ermmmmm……my, those teeth look sharp, errr, yes, I really must be going now…..
.Dont forget to visit him on the web at: Horror Host Underground

Many Thanks to The Baron for this eccedingly good interview……. now, where did I put that Silver Bullet………

An Interview With: Dr Gangrene

Its horror host mania today folks, with another vintage interview , this time featuring Dr Gangrene!

Lurking in Tennesse, forever plotting, is Dr Gangrene. He recently took time out from his atempts at global domination to answer a few of my pesky questions……
LR: What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?
D.G: Before losing my mind and becoming a horror host I was losing my mind and running a comic book company called Volunteer Comics, self-publishing comic books. This had sort of run its course and my comics partner (Chuck Angell) and I were looking for something different to turn our creative energies toward.
I had a friend who had a cable access program. After talking with him that seemed like just the sort of creative outlet I was looking for. I needed to figure out what type program to create, and after thinking about it for a while there was only one type of show that interested me; a tv horror host. Nashville and Middle TN hadn’t had a regular host in more than a decade, and I thought it was about time someone brought that back! Chuck agreed to hop onboard with me, and Chiller Cinema was born.
LR: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?
D.G: Definitely the host I grew up watching, Sir Cecil Creape. He was the main reason I started Chiller Cinema. I wanted to give Middle TN the type of show I grew up with, a local host who is spooky and fun. Other than Sir Cecil the only other host I had ever seen was Elvira, and of course Joe Bob Briggs on TNN. But it was Sir Cecil I remembered most fondly.
Sir Cecil’s show was called Creature Feature, and it ran in the early seventies. I didn’t get to watch it often, but when I did it was amazing. I remember promos for his show that would air during the daytime, and always thought he looked cool. Then I later met him at a Boy Scout event, where I got my Sir Cecil Ghoul Patrol patch. I sewed it onto the lab coat I wear on the show as a tribute to Sir Cecil.
LR:What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host? (on or off camera)
D.G:Two things come to mind immediately. First was a shoot we did at a local haunted house one Halloween. When we did the final bit, a group of kids gathered who had been through the haunted house already. I was asking them questions like „was it scary,‰ etc. and a big clown came over and choked me as I cut to the next break. Well, when we wrapped the kids all went their separate ways, except for one kid, a boy about 8 or 9 years old. He took a few steps off, stopped, turned around and said „Thanks! This is something that I‚ll remember!‰ That was amazing ! I mean, right there, that is why I do this. To have a kid tell me it meant enough to him that he‚ll remember it. Wow!
The other thing that comes to mind is when my own son, Ian, dressed as Dr. Gangrene for Halloween one year. I mean, how many people can say their kid dressed as them for Halloween. It was really cool!
LR: What do you get from being a horror host?
D.G:I think more than anything else it is a sense of creative satisfaction. This is something I take pride in, and I try to make the show as good as possible. Over the years we’ve made a lot of strides as far as the look of the show is concerned, although I still see room for improvement. Chiller Cinema is a great creative outlet, and I enjoy seeing what we can achieve on little to no budget!
I also take a great sense of pride in bringing the horror host tradition back to Nashville. It is a lost art form, this hosting job. I grew up with Sir Cecil Creape and now a new generation of kids can grow up with Dr. Gangrene. I love the idea that some day in the future a group of young adults will be sitting around talking about watching Dr. Gangrene’s show back in the good ole days.
Plus I was always SUCH a fan of Halloween growing up. I loved it, and still do matter of fact! This way I sort of get to celebrate Halloween all year round.
LR: What are your interests outside of horror?
D.G: My kids mostly. I have 3 boys, and most of my time outside the show is devoted to them. Besides that, I love going to the drive-in to catch flicks as often as possible. There is just something about a drive-in that you don‚t get at the hard top theaters. There is a real sense of nostalgia, and a feeling that you‚re taking part in a great American tradition. I‚m also a big football fan, of the Miami Dolphins in particular. I keep up with them and read the Miami newspapers daily for news updates. I‚ve also become a big hockey fan, in particular a Nashville Predators fan.
LR: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?
D.G: Young Frankenstein ˆ This is my favorite film, hands down. It combines the perfect blend of horror and humor, and is really, in a lot of ways, still faithful to the Frankenstein mythos. It‚s really just an amazing film.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein ˆ Once again, this is a big, fun, silly movie that remains very faithful to the Universal Monster universe.
Planet of the Apes ˆ I‚m talking about the original here, dammit, not the Tim Burton disaster. This is an awesome movie, and one of those that blew me away as a child. You can just feel Rod Serling‚s influence in the writing.
Anything with Vincent Price in it. He was the master, and I love everything he did. House on Haunted Hill, Tomb of Ligea, The Haunted Palace. Hell, I‚d be happy with any of them. For arguments sake, The Haunted Palace (it has Lon Chaney Jr. in it too)
The Hideous Sun Demon ˆ Got to have one camp classic in there, and I adore this movie. Robert Clarke as a man who turns into a monster in the SUNLIGHT ˆ you just have to love that!!
LR: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.
D.G: Well, we shoot at a studio at my house. My cast and crew all get together around 9:30pm, after my kids are tucked to bed for the evening, usually on a Friday night. Then we get ready with wardrobe and make-up, run over the shooting schedule for the night, and head out to the set, located in a shed behind my house. We shoot until we‚re through, which usually lasts until 1 or 2 in the morning, although occasionally it has gone even later! Everything is loosely scripted, and there is a lot of ad-libbing. (Usually a good bit of beer is involved as well)
LR: And finally, what message would you give to any wanna-be horror hosts?
DG: Just do it. Don‚t wait until you have the best camera and a brand new computer for editing. Just get shooting and use what you have. The better equipment will come if you decide you want to stick with it. Most cable access stations have equipment you can use or borrow, so check with your local station. Find out what their requirements are and join. Just do it. It amazes me how many people talk about wanting to do various things in life, then never even try to. Life is way too short ˆ if you want to do something just get off the couch and go do it. It is pretty simple. Just get a camera and host a damn movie, even if it‚s you sitting in front of a camera that is mounted on a tripod, or a table. If you want to be a writer, write a story. An artist, draw a picture. Just do it!
Many thanks to Doctor Gangrene . Dont forget to visist him on the web at: chillercinema.Com

An Interview With: Count Gore

And another horro host icon interview is ressurected: Count Gore de Vol!

LR: What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?
CG:Well, I didn’t begin broadcasting as a TV Horror Host. I was a news anchor and director for a the first UHF TV station in Paducah, Kentucky in 1971. I was then tapped to also do Bozo the Clown for a daily live one hour children’s show and lastly, after one too many beers way too late at night, I was convinced to become a horror host…in addition to everything else. You have to love small market TV!
When I moved to Washington, DC in 1972 to do the Bozo show there, it took a lot of hard negotiating and a name change (M.T. Graves to Count Gore De Vol) before they would let me host horror movies in the nation’s capital! But there was just so much juicy political material to work with; it was a blast!
LR: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?
CG: My only exposure to the horror host genre was Marvin of Shock Theater in Chicago during the late 50‚s. He was this ghoulish beatnik character who had a beautiful blond sidekick, whose face we never saw and a live band. I learned all about the Universal classics watching his showcase. But, since I had a cape (after all it was the 70‚s), plenty of clown white make-up from Bozo and could do a reasonable Transylvanian accent, I decided on a vampire character and had to create and evolve the character from there on my own. I really am sorry I didn’t get to see the likes of Zackerley and Dr. Paul Bearer, but since horror hosting was a „local‰ TV phenomenon and the country was so big, it just wasn’t to be.
LR:What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host? (on or off camera)
CG: This one is hard because there were so many great memories. During the mid to late 70’s we would have annual visits from Penthouse Magazine Pets! These were always fun and the visit of Dominique Maure, Pet of the Year for 1978 was particularly fun, because she was quite a good actress and I did get her in my coffin!
The return to the air on a weekly basis in 1984, after four years of specials, was also particularly gratifying. We had a huge new studio and the first digital special effects and I certainly tried to abuse them. Creature Feature got to be the first show in DC to be broadcast in stereo and I finally got Forrest J. Ackerman on my program
Off camera, my fondest memories came from the two live Halloween shows we did in 1984 and 1985. We had a great big old theater, complete with pipe organ that raised out of the floor and a large stage to work on. Over 300 guests in costume came to each event and working with a live crowd was a very stimulating experience.
LR: What do you get from being a horror host?
Fame, gratification, ego boosts, and debt! I was a staff performer during my TV days. I got paid the same whether I did Creature Feature or not. Being a TV vampire allowed me to bite necks at will and without worry of sexual harassment lawsuits. People thought I was cool and who was I to disagree with them. Becoming the first horror host on the Internet in 1998 was fabulous, but since I don’t permit advertising and generate all the shows income from branded product sales on the web and at conventions, I don’t generate that much income. However, it is enough to allow for the new digital equipment necessary to make the web program possible and it’s studio segments, some of the best streaming video on the Internet!
LR: What are your interests outside of horror?
CG: I love entertaining and pay the bills by owning and operating a mobile DJ service. I love doing wedding receptions in particular. It‚s just fun being around people having fun. I am also a big science fiction fan; both books and movies. I scuba dive, sail, play a bad round of golf now and then, have a classic 30 year old motorcycle and love to travel. I just love the Albert and Victoria Museum in London and the city of Bath!
LR: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?
This is the question I used to ask my guests! But I stopped because the answers were too boring. However, I‚ll do my best to make them somewhat interesting.
My first choice would be “Young Frankenstein!” I just love this film! I have multiple copies and have watched it countless times. I never grow tired of it and it always brings a smile to my face.
For something that would scare me, I would choose, “Alien!” It‚s the perfect space horror film.
Hey, I would have to have one James Bond film and that would be “Goldfinger.” Can’t get enough Pussy…Galore that is! Because I would want to remember my friends, I would also choose, “Alien Factor”, “Nightbeast”, and “Galaxy Invader!” Yes, I know that’s six, but hey, these last three are low budget films by Baltimore’s own, Don Dohler and they should only count for two! I was in all three as were many of my friends and I would always want to be with my friends.
LR: You are somewhat of a pioneer in the field of Horror Hosting. You are the first to produce a dedicated webshow. What impact do you feel that the Internet/digital broadcasting will have on hosts?
CG: In the whole world of Horror Hosting, I was just another of many second generation (70’s & 80’s) hosts, most of them on local UHF stations. Now, most of them are gone. I don‚t think there are a half dozen “broadcast TV” hosts left in America and most of them are in Ohio! So, since the powers that run TV don’t want horror hosts, there were only two places to go, local access cable or the Internet. Access channels can be tricky because of local standards and politics. You also have a very limited audience potential. That, however, hasn’t stopped them from being the breeding ground for the next generation of horror hosts. Dr. Gangrene, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Halloween Jack, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Baron Mondo Van Doren, and Laslo are just a few of the names that come to mind. Many are members of the Horror Host Underground (www.horrorhosts.com).
I, however, decided that the eventual future for hosted horror films might be on the Internet. Since someone had to be first, I decided it should be me, so in 1998, I took the plunge and created “Creature Feature the Weekly Web Program.” Initially streaming video wasn’t good enough and there were still too many people using 28.8 modems, so I tried to create the feel for my old TV show in text. Some of the text features today include video reviews by no less than three different reviewers, theatrical film reviews, book reviews, weekly summaries of events in horror history, contests, Tarot card readings, author interviews and more, from six regular contributors. With faster modems and more broadband connections, plus improved compression technology, I’ve now added a significant amount of streaming video, including myself hosting public domain films along with celebrity interviews and special features.
The hardest part has been trying to get the word out that this is a weekly “program”!
It really is not just another website or even a e-zine. It truly is an enhanced TV show that you can watch anytime time, day or night for a full week, when more than 70% of the content will change!
LR: What was your motivation for going into the digital medium?
Quite frankly, with MiniDV tape and cameras interfacing with computers loaded with professional editing software, I now have more production power than a 5 million dollar TV station had in 1987! Digital was what made this possible! Many of my contemporaries are now switching over to the digital formats and I encourage them to do so!
LR: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.
The studio portion of the web program is shot on a permanent set that was built to duplicate the set I had on WDCA in Washington. The main difference is the lack of the TV station’s very tall ceilings. Everything is planned and shot film style with one Sony MiniDV camcorder. I have wireless lav microphones for myself and any guests. The lighting is permanent and professionally set. Depending on the number of films in the pipeline I shoot once a month and each session take about 4 hours.
Of course, I do take a videographer on every convention and personal appearance, where I get material for various interviews and special interest features. For convention interviews I actually use a two camera set-up. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing such wonderful actors as Dee Wallace Stone, Michael Berryman, Brinke Stevens, Glori-Anne Gilbert, Tom Savini, Bruce Campbell, Kevin McCarthy, director Stuart Gordon, producer/director Don Glut, haunted attraction expert Leonard Pickel and Ed Douglas one of the creative musicians of “Midnight Syndicate.”
LR: Were you disappointed after the second cancellation of your show?
CG: Actually I was glad when it happened. The new owners who bought the station in 1986 made it clear that they were going to shut down all locally produced programming and liquidate two of the finest studios in Washington. For six months I watched as one by one my long time friends and coworkers were fired. So when the end came it was almost a relief to get it over with and move on!
LR: What is the all time worst movie you have ever broadcast in your career? Why?
CG: My goodness, there were sooo many bad ones…..let me think…..I would probably say it was….”Beast of Yucca Flats.” As to why, well, in spite of Tor Johnson staring and Conrad Brooks appearing in the film, it was so bad overall I couldn’t even figure out how to make fun of it!
LR: And finally, what message would you give to any wanna-be horror hosts?
CG: Don’t attempt horror hosting unless you really really love bad horror movies and entertaining people. O, and don‚t ever plan on quitting your day job!

Many thanks to count gore. Dont forget to visist him on the web at: Count Gore.Com

An Interview With: A Ghastlee Ghoul

Ressurected from Waaay back in 2003, here is my chat with horror host A Ghastlee Ghoul!

LR: What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?
AGG: “I had been a horror host fan from age eight when I saw Dr. Creep’s first episode of Shock Theatre. Before that I wanted to grow up to be Soupy Sales, but the dark allure of this guy who was similar to a cartoon show host, except that he showed these COOL scary movies, wove it’s way into my psyche. From then on I was drawing and writing about monsters, and even built my first haunted house at age eleven ( Scared the Bejeebus outta some folks too!). By the mid-eighties I was running haunted houses for the local Jaycees, and writing short horror stories. I had been toying with the idea of this character A. Ghastlee Ghoul, but didn’t know how to go about producing it or pitching it to a station.
Long, long story short– I had been collaborating on some stories with my friend Scott Huffman, who took a yen to do standup comedy. I wrote some material for him which he wouldn’t use, so I went and did it myself ( He was right, the jokes were awful!). Through doing standup I met a bunch of comics who wanted to do a cable-access sketch-comedy show. One character I brought to the table for our group effort, The Underground Sideshow, was the festering idea of Ghastlee. The Ghastlee Movie Show became a sketch. Life working as it does, everyone else involved eventually drifted away from the Underground Sideshow, the GMS consumed that which had spawned it, and I became what I was originally a parody of– much to my delight! We will have been doing this silly, silly thing for 15 years on Halloween 2003. Whew!!! And there is no end in sight.”
LR: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?
AGG: “The ‘Unholy Three’ I call my illegitimate stepdaddys — in that they all helped inspire my bizarre behavior– are Dr. Creep ( Barry Hobart), Baron von Wolfstein ( Timothy Herron), and The Cool Ghoul from Cincinnati ( Dick von Hoen). These are the guys I grew up watching and learning from. They are three distinctly different types of hosts, and we were very lucky to be able to pick them all up here in Dayton back in the 70’s. It’s hard to say exactly what qualities I picked up from each one, but I would credit (Or blame!) Creeper for my bent toward the double-entendre’; The Baron and his producer Michael White for the pun-fun and my leanings toward the psychedelic in post-production; and The Cool Ghoul for my more manic tendencies.
Without outlining the exact ‘bloodlines’, which could be a novel, the horror host roots run deep here in Ohio. They trace back to Cleveland’s Ghoulardi, and beyond our State-lines to Zacherley, Morgus, and to the castle drawbridge of the Universal Monsters themselves. Before that were the novels, word-of-mouth tales, and legends that have kept us shivering in the dark since we first crawled up from the slime-pits. Where it started and where it will end is anybody’s guess, but I’m inspired every day by the labors of love my compatriots are turning out. It’s almost a perpetual-motion machine!”.
LR: What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host? (on or off camera)
AGG: “Oh, definitely the relationships I’ve formed with other hosts. Many of us work together now, contributing segments for one another’s shows, and running one another’s shows in our individual areas. When we all get together at conventions etc. it’s like meeting up with long-lost family. We are such a diverse group, but have all found ourselves heeding the hosting call.”
LR: What do you get from being a horror host?
AGG: “Not rich, that’s for sure. It’s like any other form of entertainment, you do it partly as a creative outlet and partly for the attention. It really just comes down to it being a lot of fun acting a-fool, and when you find out that people are actually watching it that is a real kick. It’s a sort of egotistical exhibitionism.
A couple of generations have grown up on the show now, and it’s always a kick to run into someone in a business suit who waits for everyone else to leave and then says,’ Man, I’ve been watching you since I was a KID!’. I did one show that was JUST for me, where I stared into the camera for a half-hour without saying a word. The reactions were hysterical. They ranged from ‘I couldn’t seem to switch the channel’, to, ‘I think he was trying to hypnotize me’, to even, ‘ I think he’s the DEVIL!’.
I still laugh about that. Is there anything so much fun as a good mind-screwing?”
LR: What are your interests outside of horror?
AGG: “I’m a musician/ songwriter, writer, and sometimes cartoonist– though horror manages to work it’s way into those pastimes too. I also recently became a Grandpa!”
LR: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?
AGG: “Oh man! I didn’t know you were going to make me THINK! If I was on a desert island would I even have electricity to watch films? I’d probably be scrambling around trying to find food and shelter– and trying to get in Maryanne’s shorts!
Ok, ok. Let’s see here…
1) Creepshow. Stephen King, George Romero, Tom Savini– and it’s five movies in one.
2) Clerks. So many great one-liners in there! I can watch it over and over and laugh myself silly each and every time.
3) The Ghastlee cut of the 1963 cult-classic, The Manster. Have to keep my big ol’ ego fed!
4) Terror in the Aisles. A retrospective of some of the greatest horror films of all time crammed into one film. If you can’t have 100 horror films with you, then this would be the next best thing.
5) Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Hey, every once in a while you just need to be manipulated.
Not all necessarily my favorite films, but good ‘emergency rations’!”
LR: What impact do you feel that the internet/digital broadcasting will have on hosting?
AGG: “ I love that question! The very fact that we are doing this interview is a glowing testimonial to the power of the internet to bring like-minded folk together. A very few years ago it would have been pretty unlikely that this conversation would have ever taken place, much less read by anyone else. The ‘net gets such a bad rap over porn and music download sites, but beyond that there are amazing exchanges of information going on out there. The world really is right at our fingertips more than at any other time in history, and everyone from horror hosts to pot-holder enthusiasts to people who actually doing something serious with their lives are out there “networking”.
I was introduced to, and/or hooked on, the ‘net just a little over three years ago. Before that Dr. Creep and I could have been the last horror hosts on Earth so far as we could tell from our insular little world here in Dayton, Ohio. Then a friend offered to build a website for the show, and the reality that “We are not alone” slapped us upside the head. I discovered Count Gore DeVol’s weekly webshow, Creature Feature at www.countgore.com, and from there his Horror Hosts Mailing List, where many other hosts, fans, and hosts-to-be were also just discovering each other’s existence.
Friendships began to form, and before long we were meeting in person/persona at conventions, live movie shows that some of us were doing in our own areas, and even at Edgar Allen Poe’s final resting place. We began to work on group projects like The Spooky Movie Thanksgiving Leftover Special, which was produced by CW Prather from Northern Virginia, and The Attack of the B-Movie Horror Hosts, produced by The Nightshadow, who is from Los Angeles. The networking was in motion, and we began sending shows off to one another to run in our respective areas.
So was born The Horror Host Underground! www.horrorhosts.com . The HHU works on two levels; one being the website, which is a reference guide to currently active hosts. After only being up for a week the site attracted the attention of the BBC’s Sci-Fright hostess “Nina”– or at least her promotional folks– who asked, “Hey can we get in on this, or is it just for you yanks?” (Or words to that effect!) Suddenly the HHU was international! It all just came together that naturally and easily, thanks to the technological miracle of the ‘net.
The second aspect is the HHU Network. The idea here was not only to present a unified front and give us a common flag to fly over the shows we were each sending out across the Country, but to also offer a package of hosted programs to underprivileged areas that are starving for our variety of entertainment. At no cost, we’ll send shows to anyone who wants to sponsor them on their local cable-access channel. Right now The Ghastlee Movie Show is being seen in at least 10 markets other than our own, and I recently gained the distinct honor of being the first horror host EVER in Maine, as the first to play as part of the HHU block there.
Even better than the shameless self-promotion though, is the honor of being able to present folks like Halloween Jack, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Doctor Gangrene, The Bone Jangler, Professor Griffin, The Nightshadow, Baron Mondo von Doren and El Sapo De Tempesto, Remo D., I. Zombi, Doctor Zombie, Ghoul A Go Go, Mr. Lobo and others to our audience here.
A lot has happened, and is happening, in the hosting world that is directly traceable to the free flow of information and the ability to meet kindred spirits out there in cyberspace. There are folks out there hosting right now who were inspired to get into it through Count Gore’s Mailing List. I’m actually sitting here right now with my long-lost brother and illegitimate-stepdaddy, Baron von Wolfstein, thanks 100% to the ‘net and Count Gore. We probably never would have met without them.
Count Gore has not only brought many of us together through what he calls “the infernal machine”, but is also showing us the wave of the future with his web-broadcasts. While the rest of us are still trading tapes like primitives, Gore is sending his show out to the whole world every single week! He gets fan mail from all over the globe! This is very exciting stuff, and I really do believe is the future not only of horror hosts, but of television.
As in the Golden Age of tv, homegrown productions are exploring the new frontier. HDTV and cable modems are slowly bringing the two media together into one, and in the very near future your tv and your computer will be one. The boys at Brains On Film www.brainsonfilm.com made the leap from access to the internet a while back, and they are reaching far more viewers than a local broadcast– or even a tape-trading network– could ever hope to bring in. Orwellian nightmare or the ultimate empowerment of the people, which way it ultimately goes still remains in our hands to determine. So far, the digi-age has been a positive BOON to horror hosts.”
LR: What message would you give to any wanna be horror hosts?
AGG: “Don’t get started on the greasepaint, kids. Sure, it’s fun at first, but before you know it you’re hooked and there is no going back. All of a sudden it’s no longer just something you do in the evenings or on the weekends to relax, but something you HAVE to do! Then you move on to pancake makeup and glitter– the hard stuff– and it all starts with that first tube of clown-white.
Keep it clean kids; going cold-turkey on cold-cream is not pretty…”.
LR: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.
AGG: “We usually tape on Saturday mornings. After years of packing the set and props up and dragging it all across town to the studio, I finally moved just set it all up at home and we tape here, which has been really convenient. So I get up at around 7 or 8am, slam down a bunch of coffee and a breakfast beer or two, then start going through notes and congealing them into some kind of order. More jokes will usually come to me as I’m organizing everything, so I add ‘em in and come up with a basic beginning, middle and end for each segment.
We work very spontaneously, so there isn’t a whole lot of word-for-word scripting, just an outline to keep us on track. Sometimes I like to keep back a line or two from the rest of the cast just to get a genuine, unrehearsed reaction out of them on camera. It has been observed before that the show has become a sort of running in-joke inwhich my sidekick, Jeff McClellan: American, and I just try to make each other laugh. Sadly true; we are one another’s best audience!
By about 10am the ever-growing cast begins to roll in. For the first 10 years I did the show without any regular players. A lot of folks made appearances and wrote jokes for the show, but would inevitably bow out when they started to get recognized on the street! Over the past five years though, I’ve somehow managed to attract a hearty band of helpers who do as much, if not more, behind the scenes as they do on camera.
So Jeff, Louu the Xxxmas Devil, the beautiful Suspira, and Grimsburger our “doorman” metaphorically and sometimes literally kick me in the ass to motivate me to grudgingly glop the makeup on. By about Noon I’m suited up and have begun passing around what we call our “internal makeup”– otherwise known as the vodka bottle– and we head to the set.
From there we just turn on the cameras, fire up the fog machine, and improv around the outline I’ve scratched out. We leave the camera rolling between takes most of the time, because that is when some of the funniest stuff happens. A lot of times we’ll go in to shoot one show and end up with enough extemporaneous material for another one or two. Sometimes we shoot for an hour, then other times the entire day passes before we know it. Two of my “illegitimate step-daddies”– the legends Dr. Creep and Baron von Wolfstein– have been joining us a lot lately, along with Dr. Freak , “The World’s Youngest Horror Host”. When we get together hours pass like seconds. Great chunks of our lives are pissed away having the times of our lives! As the old beer commercial said, “It just doesn’t get any better…”.
A big part of the show is done in the post-production. I love to edit, and will spend many more hours in the week or two following a shoot piecing segments together, doing audio/video drop-in’s, and just generally playing. Sometimes it seems like work, but when it’s done and I see it on the air, it’s all the motivation I need to do it all again!”
LR: Many thanks, Ghastlee. That sure was an informative, enlightening interview. Keep up the good work. You can visist A.Ghastlee Ghoul on the web at: Ghastlee.com