Thursday, February 28

Leap Day!

Ken Beck, reporter for the Tennessean newspaper, called me last week because he was gathering responses from various local celebrities about Leap Day. Since it is a special day that only comes around every so often, he wanted to know how Dr. Gangrene would be spending Leap Day. Here's my response:

"Ah, excellent question. Leap years are very exciting. Here at Gangrene Manor we follow the old Transylvanian tradition of Leap Day. On the 29th minute of each hour you have to leap over a different deadly animal. We placed fresh piranha in the pool, cobras in the kitchen, and scorpions in the study. It will be a grand time!"

Wednesday, February 27

Ambition Withdraw

During my internet radio interview with Cult Radio a Go Go Saturday night, I was asked if I had ever done any film roles. I answered yes, and mentioned a couple of them, including one called AMBITION WITHDRAW. In it, I host a documentary of a band called the Unsatisfied. It is a strange mix of horror host and band documentary, but it certainly makes it unique.

A couple of days after I did the interview I happened across the trailer. I had not seen this trailer before, and didn't know it was online - but it turned out pretty good.

Ambition Withdraw - The Unsatisfied movie trailer

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Tuesday, February 26

Horror Host Homework

After thinking about the Oscar award winning films I've seen (and more specifically not seen), it got me thinking about what movies I HAVE watched, and in particular the horror movies I've seen. Before I started this gig as a TV horror host, I really hadn't seen a lot of horror movies. I had seen the basic Universal package - Frankenstein, Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. I had also seen a pretty good selection of mainstream 80s and late 70s movies, as well as a scattering of rentals from video stores. But when it came to low budget, obscure, or foreign films, I really was pretty much a novice.

I made up ground quickly, however, especially where low budget public domain films are concerned. I have easily watched hundreds of horror movies over the past 9 years, and I'd be scared to see an exact count. I devoured movies over those first few years, watching them whenever I got a chance, doing my homework, so to speak. It was like a new love, when you just can't get enough of each other.

I have always felt that was one thing that added to the success of my show. I was genuinely excited about the films I was showing, and often times was seeing these films for the first time along with the viewer. It was always my philosophy to never assume anything when it came to the viewers. For instance, I never assumed the viewers knew Lon Chaney Jr. played the Wolfman, or that his father played the Phantom of the Opera. I think that is one thing that made my show so accessible to younger viewers.

As many movies as I've watched over the past few years, there are still many more I want to see. For instance, I just borrowed the Coffin Joe movies from my friend Troy (Thanks Troy!) and look forward to seeing those for the first time soon. I haven't seen the Blind Dead movies, or many of the Naschy films, or a lot of Bava films. But I will eventually.

In a way, I feel lucky to see a lot of these for the first time as an adult, when I can truly appreciate them on multiple levels. It gives me something to share with my viewers, and keeps it fresh for me.

Now excuse me while I go fire up that Coffin Joe film!!

80th Academy Awards

I watched the Academy Awards Sunday night, and during the presentations they showed a montage of all 79 previous winners for Best Picture. I kept count of the ones I had seen from this list, and am embarassed to say it is under 20. Wow - that surprised me. My wife and I decided we need to take some time to sit and watch more of these. Time. Yeah, that's the trick - seems there's never enough time - I have stacks of movies I want to watch, and never enough time to view them all.

The one movie I came away wanting to see the most after the awards show was "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.). I'm going to be on the lookout for this one.

The horror category was woefully under represented this year, as usual. Sweeney Todd is the only horror movie I remember seeing nominated in any of the categories. Transformers got a couple of nominations, and I was glad to see Ratatouille get several nominations. Surprisingly, 300 didn't get a single nomination, not even for visual effects. Interesting. Matter of fact, of the list of films nominated for Best Movie in the Rondo Awards, only Pirates of the Caribbean got any Oscar nominations at all, and those were for technical categories.

Take a look at the list below, and you'll see some very worthy nominees were left off the Academy Awards list. I'm not surprised, but let me tell you, I bet over time I'll find myself watching the movies off the Rondo list way more than those on the Oscars list.

Rondo Awards - Best Movie of 2007
-- BEOWULF
-- '1408'
-- GHOST RIDER
-- GRINDHOUSE
-- HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
-- THE HITCHER
-- THE HOST
-- I AM LEGEND
-- THE INVASION
-- THE LAST MIMZY
-- THE MESSENGERS
-- THE MIST
-- THE ORPHANAGE
-- PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: WORLD'S END
-- ROB ZOMBIE'S HALLOWEEN
-- 30 DAYS OF NIGHT
-- 300
-- 28 WEEKS LATER
-- SPIDER-MAN III
-- STARDUST
-- SWEENEY TODD

Academy Awards - Best Picture
--Atonement
--Juno
--Michael Clayton
--No Country for Old Men
--There Will Be Blood

Sunday, February 24

Cult Radio a Go Go

The interview with Cult Radio a Go Go went off well last night. Hopefully they'll post the file of the entire evening's show for download - if you missed my CURE FOR THE COMMON CORPSE SHOW #1 - HORROR HOST TRIBUTE SPECIAL, you can download it below:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/680egn

Thursday, February 21

Ben Chapman passes away


Just found out Ben Chapman, the gillman (on land) in Universal's Creature from The Black Lagoon, passed away. Here is the information on his website, the-reelgillman.com :

Ben Chapman passed away at 12:15 am Hawaii time on Thursday, February 21 at the VA hospital in Honolulu. His health began to deteriorate February 12 and he was admitted to the hospital on February 20. His life support was turned off Wednesday around noon and his pacemaker was turned off shortly before he died. He died peacefully with his wife, Merrilee, and son, Ben Chapman III, by his side.

His body will be cremated and a memorial service will be held at a church near the beach in Honolulu. More information will be distributed as it becomes known.

Ben was a great guy and will be missed by his fans and friends everywhere. Over the past few years he had traveled the convention circuit and seemed to legitimately enjoy it. I'm glad he got the chance to meet the fans and see firsthand what impact his performance had on people who still have fond memories of this, the last great Universal monster. I was honored to get to meet Ben on several occasions, and the last time I saw him he remembered me from a previous meeting and told me he had just been thinking of me because he had met someone else from Tennessee lately. I have a terrific interview with Ben that I will post on youtube soon and put up here too.

Farewell Ben.

Cure for the Common Corpse Show

I was recently asked to do a radio show by Cult Radio a Go Go, one of the Rondo Award nominees for Best Audio Horror Site or Podcast. This is one of the new categories in this year's Rondo Awards.

I decided to accept the challenge, and the result was Dr. Gangrene's Cure for the Common Corpse Show. It airs this Saturday at 3:30 Central time. The first episode is a Special Horror Host Tribute episode.

Actually Saturday is an entire block of horror host shows, starting with mine, followed by Uncle Roy Hoggins, Count Gore DeVol, Dug Graves, and Splattertude Radio with A. Ghastlee Ghoul.

Later that evening, at 10pm central, I'll be interviewed live on the Cult Radio a Go Go Live show. So make plans now to join me at www.cultradioagogo.com, and listen to them any time of the day or night you feel like it, live streaming and screaming!!

Wednesday, February 20

Singing the Cemetery Blues

I recently made the online acquaintance of a budding young comic book illustrator who has a terrific mini-series released through Image comics. His name is Thomas Boatwright, and together with writer Ryan Rubio they have created a delightfully dark and funny comedy called Cemetery Blues: The Haunting of Henseburg.

The title CEMETERY BLUES made me think of the song TOMBSTONE BLUES by Bob Dylan. There is no connection, apparently, as well as no connection to the song "Cemetery Blues" by legendary blues musician Sam Lightnin' Hopkins, who, by the way, has a statue erected in his honor in Austin and was named to their list of 100 most influential people. One of his guitars is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio, too. (Incidentally, before I became a horror host I tried my hand at publishing comics, and one of our early endeavors was a comic called Tombstone Blues. And yes, it WAS titled after the Dylan song – I just loved the title and insisted on it) - but I digress.


This is a 3 issue mini-series published by Image Comics through their Shadowline Imprint. The characters were first created for an anthology called Sequential Matinee that was self published by the duo for Free Comic Book Day. The two went to a local Office Depot, made copies, and handed them out free to customers at their local comic shop. They collected input, and of all the stories featured, Cemetery Blues was the best received – so they proceed to flush out the characters and develop them into a mini series.

The story features a bumbling pair of monster hunters named Ridley and Falstaff. They are an unlikely pair of heroes, as they would rather spend time drinking than tracking creatures of the night.

We first meet them on their way to a cemetery to dispose of a ghoul they have captured. Turns out they are under the employ of a ghost named Willhelm Lear, and there are hints that there may be dark reasons they are forced to help the spectre. Lear is on a quest to destroy a necromancer name Orlock, and is trapped on Earth until his work is finished. There are strange occurrences outside the village where this cemetery resides, and Ridley and Falstaff are employed by the local priest, and ordered by Lear, to help.

The story was actually inspired by a traditional English folk legend of Herne the Hunter, which involves a hunter who saves his king's life from a cornered deer but is mortally wounded in the process, and revived by a wizard. He eventually is framed for a crime he didn't commit and his body is found hanging from an oak tree, which supposedly resides at Windsor Castle in England. It is sometimes said that Herne is the physical manifestation of the Celtic horned god.


The creators of Cemetery Blues are fans of Hammer horror films and its influence shows up frequently in these stories. The artwork is a visual treat, presented in glorious black and white with a combination of ink washes and a touch of computer rendering, underused perfectly for maximum effect. The art has a cartoonish quality to it and an energetic line quality; if Thomas doesn't eventually work in animation I'll be greatly surprised.

The story has a modern flair yet retains several references to traditional fiction, such as the afore mentioned Legend of Herne the Hunter and the opening segment of book one, which is a nod to Dracula. Each issue gets better as Boatwright and Rubio grow accustomed to one another's creative styles and their characters. There is a great sense of humor in the stories and a playful style in the art that work well together. The story wraps up nicely in 3 issues and leaves plenty of room for future adventures.

I want to take a minute and applaud the Thomas and Ryan for the creative approach they took getting this book off the ground. I know firsthand how much work is involved in producing comic books, and it’s obvious these guys have put the time in. But to go to Office Depot and make their own copies to hand out on free comic day shows a tremendous amount of ingenuity and drive. Here’s three thumbs up guys, keep up the ghoul work!!

The first issue of Cemetery Blues is out right now. Check it out! In case you'd like to order this comic, and have trouble finding it, here are the Diamond order codes to help your local shop find the book:

CEMETERY BLUES #1 NOV072012
CEMETERY BLUES #2 DEC072084
CEMETERY BLUES #3 JAN082072

Monday, February 18

Monster University

Here's a really fun video I stumbled across on Youtube. Great stuff - Zacherley and Jack Davis art together in one? I'm there!

Saturday, February 16

My thoughts on Cloverfield

I finally got a free afternoon to check out this movie. I'd been looking forward to seeing Cloverfield since I first saw the trailer a few months back. Thought I'd share my thoughts on this film.

I had an idea in mind of what to expect going in, as I'd heard a few things about it, seen a couple of different trailers and heard some word of mouth. Unfortunately, that can't be avoided when you have to wait a few weeks to see a movie. I prefer to go into a movie with no preconceived notions and no idea what to expect. Almost all of my favorite movie viewing experiences have been this way, when you are totally pleasantly surprised by what transpires on the screen in front of you.

This time, however, that wasn't the case. Not that that is a bad thing, just the way it was. My friend Eathen and I arrived a few minutes before the show started and the theater was almost empty. We settled in and after a half dozen or so trailers and a couple of commercials the film started. Now, I had been warned that it was shot as if with a hand held camera, a-la the Blair Witch, but I was still unprepared for the amount of shakiness on screen. After a half hour of this my head was a bit woozy - after an hour of it, I was downright nauseous. Maybe I'm just more susceptible to this than most folks, but I had to stop watching the screen and just listen to parts of it to avoid getting sick, glancing up whenever possible to keep up with the action, but looking at the floor the rest of the time to avoid heaving. The entire video camera gimmick got old after a very short period of time. The same story could have been told with the same characters without it being done so entirely through a hand held video camera.

Speaking of which, that was exactly the thing that I had the most problems with. I found it easier to suspend my disbelief in a giant rampaging monster than in this video camera technique. I work as an audio visual guy in my day job - or at least that is a large part of my job duties. I know cameras, and let me tell you, if they have one on the market like the ones these folks were using I want one.

Have you ever dropped a camera? I have, from a distance of about three feet, and it was never the same again. This camera was dropped from a distance of about twenty feet, survived a helicopter crash, and lasted through an explosion I can only assume was a nuclear one, and whatever magnetic pulse would have been generated. That is one tough camera.

Not to mention that the characters never, at any time, change tapes or batteries on this camera. Standard mini-dv camera tapes are 60 min long. There are 80 min tapes available, but I’ve never seen any in stores, only online. This movie is 85 min long, and since what we’re seeing is real-time, that means they would have to have at least 85 min of tape in the camera. There is no way that these characters, who barely seem to be able to operate a camera, would have the longer tapes, they would be shooting on whatever is readily available.

It is possible they could have shot this in LP mode, and gotten 120 min of footage, but the quality would look bad, much worse than what we were seeing.

And then there are the battery issues…the battery on my consumer camera wants to start crapping out after I film just one of my son’s basketball games, which is about 40 minutes. It goes out quicker if I film it through the pop out window, like the characters are doing in the shot below.

Even if they had the longer tapes, or were shooting in LP mode, they would have to recharge the battery or have backup, charged batteries. I kept thinking about this during the movie. “Damn, those are some long lasting batteries.” I know I come off like some nitpicking nerd here, but these technical issues pulled me right out of the movie.

Telling the story from the perspective of a bystander caught in the grip of this catastrophe was really a great idea. The emotional impact was incredible and there was a real 9-11 feel to certain parts of it, particularly at the beginning as a building collapses and a giant cloud of debris rushes down the street toward the main characters. It looked almost exactly like footage from 9-11, especially since this was happening IN New York City.


Overall I think the film works, and is very powerful in areas, but suffers from the very techniques that make it unique. Any technique can be overdone, and should be used only as much as appropriate. The fact that I felt physically nauseous made this a way overdone gimmick for me.

I've read that there may be a sequel in the works soon. If so, I hope they decide to lose the hand held technique and just tell a good story. It would be easy enough to follow a group of individuals through this crisis with a tripod mounted camera, and I don’t think the effect would be lessened at all. This hand held technique was old after about five minutes of the Blair Witch, much less 85 minutes of Cloverfield.

Thursday, February 14

Ingredients of a Horror Host

When I was just a wee ghoul the only horror host I saw was Nashville's host on WSM, CH4, Sir Cecil Creape (pronounced CREEP). His show, Creature Feature, came on past my bedtime, and although I only saw it a couple of times I was still plenty intrigued; even more so when I saw his promos and commercials (he did a line of product endorsement commercials for Purity's Creature Coolers) on television during the daytime. I actually met Sir Cecil Creape once at a boy scout event. We were given patches that day that read "Sir Cecil's Ghoul Patrol." I still have mine and sewed it onto the lab coat I wear on the show as a tribute to Sir Cecil Creape.

Besides Sir Cecil the only television horror hosts I remember seeing were non-costumed hosts of a weekday afternoon movie program that ran in Nashville called THE BIG SHOW. It came on after school on CH 5, and I am pretty sure that weatherman Bob Lobertini was the host of this show (but it could have been Huell Howser, or even Chris Clark, both local news people at that time). The host of the Big Show would introduce the movie and come on screen during special events like Dialing for Dollars, a charity fundraiser. Now, these memories are clouded from over 30 years of time, so if anyone remembers more details, please write and let me know.

It was on the Big Show that I saw all the Universal classics for the first time. I especially remember their theme weeks where they would run similar movies each afternoon, like a Creature from the Black Lagoon week, or a Frankenstein week with all the Frankenstein films. Good memories! These were a huge influence on me as a kid, and a big part of why those Universal films still hold a special place in my heart.

One more influence that comes immediately to mind is Alice Cooper. Once I stumbled across his music and stage show I was hooked. I must have listened to my Welcome to my Nightmare cassette hundreds of times. I later bought all of his albums on vinyl, and in fact still have the Billion Dollar Baby album, which is a giant replica of a snakeskin wallet, complete with giant fold up Alice Cooper dollar bill inside.


I like to think that someday there will be some person sitting down and listing his or her own influences, and that Dr. Gangrene will be at the top of his list. That is what makes this whole crazy endeavor worthwhile. That and having a legitimate excuse to dress in a Halloween costume all year log!

Wednesday, February 13

Tuesday, February 12

EC for me!!


After writing yesterday's blog about William Gaines I got to thinking about EC comics and their influence on me. It seems through the years their influence keeps popping up time and again.

As I mentioned yesterday, I didn't read a lot of EC books as a young mad scientist in training, but I did get my hands on plenty of their imitators. I had a nice sized stack of horror and sci-fi comics that I read and reread regularly. Their campy sense of humor and dark, gory stories were right up my alley. I later bought the EC reprints and of course loved those too.

When I got out of college I started my own company and went the self-publishing route. Together with my good friend Chuck Angell we formed Out of the Cellar comics. The first comic we ever produced was, appropriately enough, a horror anthology comic called Monkey Stew, which featured a creepy old man hosting a series of stories to a young couple whose car broke down in a rainstorm.

This past summer I got my first tattoo. I had thought about getting one for a while, but couldn't decide what I wanted engraved on my skin for permanently. I tossed a lot of ideas around in my noodle, until I finally found the perfect tattoo:

It's a picture from the opening splash panel of the Ghastly Graham Ingels story HALLOWEEN, from SHOCK SuspenStories No. 2. It was perfect because reflected several of my interests all in one image – 1st, the image is from a comic, reflecting my comic book past, 2nd , it is a horror image so it represents my horror host career and love of horror, and 3rd , representative of my lifelong love of the Halloween and everything associated with the holiday.

I added the three bats at the top, one for each of my three boys. It was done by Ben Dixon at Lone Wolf Tattoo here in Nashville, and he did a terror-ific job on it. I even managed to work it into a segment of a recent episode! So here’s to EC comics, the Crypt Keeper, the Old Witch, and the Vault Keeper, horror hosts extraordinaire!!

Monday, February 11

Bill Gaines for the Hall of Fame!

I’ve made this nomination for the Monster Kid Hall of fame each of the past two years, but I'll probably keep making it until he gets elected... I nominate William Gaines for the Hall of fame.

After inheriting his father's floundering comic book company Bill Gaines changed the direction of the company and steered it headlong into horror, turning Educational Comics into the EC comics we all know and love. If William Gaines was the general of the EC army, then Al Feldstein would be his field marshal. Al was right there with Bill, writing and drawing comics in addition to helping Bill plot EC’s financial decisions. In fact, a case could be made that the two should be inducted simultaneously, as they worked hand in hand to turn Entertaining comics into a successful business.

Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Shock Suspenstories, etc. probably had more to do with my becoming a horror host than any other single source. I didn't read Famous Monsters that much as a kid (but I sure would have liked to!), but by golly I sure loved my horror comics! Whether EC comics themselves, reprints, or cheap imitations - I loved them all!

They weren’t officially the first horror comic (see http://www.watt-evans.com/theotherguys.html for a great article on other horror comics of the 40s – 50s), but they were the best. They were a visual representation of the old radio horror tales. Caught in the censorship crossfire of the congressional hearings, thanks to Dr. Frederic Wertham (who should win some kind of Anti-Rondo award), EC eventually was forced to fold. But even that was short lived, as EC crawled from the grave and is more popular today than ever. The Crypt Keeper is a star baby! I actually encouraged Curtis Prather, the webmaster of the website www.horrorhosts.com and one of the founding members of the Horror host Underground, to add the Cryptkeeper to the website of current horror hosts, which he did.

They may be cheap, tawdry, and crass - but they are also entertaining, funny (in a dark sense), and almost always pack a morality tale. They also had some of the most amazing art in comic book history, with contributions from the likes of Jack Davis, Ghastly Graham Ingels, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig - the list goes on and on! These comics probably had as big an influence on the horror community, (writers, artists and fans alike) as any other single source. Long live EC comics, and here’s to Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and all the artists and writers of EC comics!!

Quick thoughts on the Grammys

How ironic that Amy Winehouse couldn't appear live to accept her Grammys for her hit song "Rehab" because she was in… Rehab?

Vince Gill wins the award for best line of the evening.
After accepting his award for best country album, Gill remarked, "I just got an award presented to me by a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?" He was referring to Kanye West, who won best rap album, proceeded to tell everyone how terrific he is, and even refused to leave the stage at one point as the band started to play him off.

Best acceptance speech
Herbie Hancock. Herbie won album of the year, and showed complete class and the very opposite of Kanye's arrogant self centeredness with his gracious acceptance speech. "You know it's been 43 years since the first and only time that a jazz artist got the album of the year award," Hancock said, as he honored "the giants upon whose shoulders I stand, some of whom like Miles Davis, John Coltrane ... unquestionably deserved the award in the past. But this is a new day, that proves that the impossible can be made possible."

Foo Fighters – rock. Simply put. Always kick ass. They won best rock album. Well done.

Sunday, February 10

Universal Sci-fi ULTIMATE Collection Volumes 1 & 2

Got an update today from Scott Essman at Universal about an upcoming DVD release. In the seemingly never ending quest from Universal to repackage previously released material comes their latest release, The Classic Sci-fi Ultimate Collection. In fairness, though, it is a tremendous collection of films in one set. No word on extras, if any, and the retail price is kinda high, but for those folks who missed out on the first collection, which now is selling for as much as $150.00 used or more, (there is a new set listing for $375.00 on Amazon right now) this is their second chance to get these films at a reasonable rate. Here's what Scott had to say:

Universal
has set The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection: Volumes 1 & 2 for release on DVD on 5/13 (SRP $59.98). The set will feature 10 films on 6 discs, including Tarantula, The Mole People, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Monolith Monsters, Monster on the Campus, Dr. Cyclops, Cult of the Cobra, The Land Unknown, The Deadly Mantis and The Leech Woman. All will be in their original aspect ratios, and the widescreen films will be anamorphic.

All the World's a Purple Knif

The Rondo Awards have grown by leaps and bounds since it began in 2002. The original ballot contained 14 categories - this year there are 27, almost double! Every year there are more voters as the word spreads about the Rondos - 1480 people voted last year, and founder David Colton said voting for this year is on pace to break that number once again.

The Monster Kid Hall of Fame was introduced in the Rondos second year, 2003. It is a special category established to honor those people who have helped keep classic horror alive through the years. The winners each receive a plaque with Rondo Hatton's image on it (once again a sculpted likeness of Rondo Hatton). There were 6 inductees in the first year, and a more worthy six could not have been honored. They were: Forrest J. Ackerman, James Warren, Zacherley, Vampira, and Bob and Kathy Burns.

Here's the complete list of previous inductees into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame:
Bob and Kathy Burns, Forrest J Ackerman and James Warren, Zacherley, Vampira, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Alex and Richard Gordon, William K. Everson, Rick Baker, Basil Gogos, Roger Corman, Dick Klemensen, Gary and Sue Svehla, James Bama, Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, Paul and Jackie Blaisdell, Joe Dante, Don Glut, Jack Davis, German Robles and Frank Frazetta.

This category is a write-in category. There were two horror hosts honored that first year (Zacherley and Vampira) and this year I propose there should be one other added to that list - Ernie Anderson, a.k.a. GHOULARDI.

Ghoulardi began hosting horror movies in1963 in Cleveland, Ohio. His show quickly became so popular they added a second show on Saturday afternoons in addition to his Friday night show. It was a wacky, crazy show - Ghoulardi had a true beatnik sensibility about him. He referred to himself in third person, wore a fake van dyke beard, called people knif (fink spelled backwards), blew up things with boom booms (fireworks) in studio, and often wore crazy items on his head like hats, helmets, and even a faucet! Ernie was a former DJ, and the Ghoulardi show became famous for it's use of music during the show, the best known of which was "Papa Oom Mow Mow" by the Remingtons. His catch phrase was Stay Sick - Turn Blue!

I consider Ghoulardi one of the unholy trinity of horror hosts, alongside Zacherley and Vampira. His show was a major influence to thousands of viewers. I still meet people who remember watching Ghoulardi, even down here in Tennessee - Drew Carey recently gave a quick Ghoulardi history lesson on THE PRICE IS RIGHT when a contestant wore a Ghoulardi t-shirt to a taping. Ernie left the show in 1966 and moved to California where he became the official voice of ABC television.

After the Ghoulardi show ended it changed to the HOOLIHAN AND BIG CHUCK show, hosted by Bob Wells (Hoolihan) and Chuck Schodowski. Chuck had worked on the Ghoulardi show, and was a natural choice to host the show. Hoolihan later left and was replaced by John Rinaldi, and it became THE BIG CHUCK AND LITTLE JOHN SHOW. It was the longest running hosted movie program of all time. Big Chuck and Little John finally retired in 2007.

A second show spun directly off the Ghoulardi show as well - The Ghoul. Hosted by Ron Sweed, it began in 1971, also in Cleveland. Ron was a fan who won an appearance on the Ghoulardi show and became a gofer for the show. He also worked for a while on the Hoolihan and Big Chuck show. He received permission from Ernie to use the Ghoulardi character, (but not the name as it was copyrighted), so he became the Ghoul. He also wore the trademark lab coat, van dyke beard, and fright wig, as well as a pair of sunglasses with one lens missing.

Ernie Anderson passed away in February 1997 of cancer. The movie BOOGIE NIGHTS was dedicated to his memory, as well as a 1997 episode of THE DREW CAREY SHOW. His show is fondly remembered and there is even a Ghoulardi-fest convention in Ohio every year.

So my recommendation for Monster Kid Hall of Fame is Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson. His memory lives on in the hearts of viewers across the country. It's time the Rondos recognized him as well.

Stay sick, Turn Blue!

Check out these clips from a Big Chuck and Little John Ghoulardi tribute show:

Thursday, February 7

Rondo Awards - Best Website

One of the things I like best about the Rondo Awards, besides the acknowledgement of the achievements of the individual candidates, is that it exposes voters to a fantastic array of classic horror material they might not previously have been aware of (and in many cases would likely never know about). All of the categories do an excellent in this respect, but perhaps none more so than the BEST WEBSITE category, which contains a variety of sites that every monster kid should spend some serious time exploring. Just take a look at the entries below.

-- Arbogast on Film (Blog for the love of film)
-- Britishhorrorfilms.co.uk (If CHFB was in England ... )
-- Cinefantastique Online (The magazine continues)
-- Cinema Dave (Quick-footed movie blog)
-- Creepy Classics (Monster Bash and latest product news)
-- The Drunken Severed Head (Max Cheney's unique blog about it all)
-- DVD Beaver (DVD comparisons, shot by shot)
-- DVD Drive-In (news and DVD views)
-- DVD Maniacs (news and DVD views)
-- DVD Savant (news and DVD views)
-- Eccentric-cinema (One of earliest cult sites)
-- E-gor's Chamber of TV Horror Hosts (amazingly complete)
-- Film Noir Foundation (For fans of long inky shadows)
-- Frankensteinia (If it didn't exist it would have to be invented)
-- G-Fan.com (John Lees' giant monster army)
-- Groovy Age of Horror (Not for faint-hearted)
-- Horrorhosts.com (Home of the horror host rebirth)
-- Kreepsville Industries (blogs, sounds, guest art)
-- Latarnia: Fantastique International (all things Euro and more)
-- Lugosiphilia Yahoo Group (Bela. Just Bela)
-- The Many Faces of the Frankenstein Monster (like it says)
-- Midnight Marquee online (Editor Gary Svehla's new blog)
-- Mobius Home Video Forum (No detail too small)
-- Monsterama.blogspot.com (Friendly creeps from Jay Stevens)
-- Monster-Maniacs Forum (discussions of monster conventions)
-- Movie Morlocks (TCM blog, many contributors)
-- Scarlet Street (message board to continue)
-- SciFilm.org (Home of Dave Sindelar archives)
-- Secret Fun Spot (Home of Flip! -- and your childhood)
-- Serialsquadron.com (Cliffhangers, restored serials and talk)
-- Solar Guard Academy (Calling all space rangers!)
-- Themonsterclub.com (Still excited about monsters and thrills)
-- Thethunderchild.com (Scifi, fantasy web magazine)
-- Trailers from Hell (Joe Dante, pros comment on trailers)
-- Unimonster's Crypt (Web pioneer John Stevenson reborn)
-- Universal Monster Army (Now a full-fledged message board)
-- Video Watchblog (Tim Lucas goes deeper than even his magazine dares)
-- Zombos' Closet of Horror Blog (John Cozzoli new generation blog)


That list is a collection of websites that are a true celebration of classic horror - and one of the most impressive sites on that list to the demented mind of this southern fried horror host is E-gor's Chamber of TV Horror Movie Hosts.


E-gor's site is run by George Chastain, a lifelong fan of horror hosts. His was one of the first sites I found on the internet about horror hosts, and was probably one of the first ever created. It is, without a doubt, the single greatest collection of data on horror hosts, past and present, that has ever been complied into one archive.

http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/

There is a terrific book titled Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires, Mad Scientists and Other Denizens of the Late Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed. It was written by Elena Watson, and was one of the first printed reference materials of horror hosts. It chronicles the history of horror hosted movies as well as the careers of the founding fathers and mothers of the genre – hosts such as Zacherley, Vampira, Ghoulardi, and Sir Cecil Creape, my own childhood host. It sports a picture of the greatest host of all time on the cover – the one and only Zacherley.

Elena Watson's book was the blueprint upon which George has built his labor of love. This website is a result of years of research, information gathering, and archiving. Looking through his list of hosts is truly entertaining, as in addition to the information on the hosts and their programs there are also stories and letters from viewers, pictures of many of the hosts, and dates and times they aired.

George has also included samples of his art, and let me tell you, he is one talented guy! http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/


Take a look at the tribute poster below that he did for my pal Bob Burns, below – it's an 11 X 17 serial spoof playing off Bob's Major Mars movie (which we showed at Wonderfest a couple of years ago). It's fantastic! As well as the Zacherley spoof Aurura box - amazing!


George is a talented illustrator with a true flair for graphic design. He also did the cover for last year's Rondo Award winning Zacherley cd.



So for any of you folks looking for an illustrator or graphic designer for your projects, give George a shout. He'll do you proud and who knows, maybe YOUR project will win a Rondo Award too!

Wednesday, February 6

Rondo Awards - Best Horror Host

This year is the first that the new Horror Host category was added to the Rondo Awards. Rondo founder David Colton had toyed with the idea in the past, but this year went ahead and made it official by adding BEST HORROR HOST to the ballot.

This category is for active hosts working today, which excludes the first generation of horror hosts who have retired or passed away. However, they are long from forgotten - two of these, Zacherley and Vampira, are in the Rondo Monster Kid Hall of Fame and I expect others will be added in the future. I personally think Ghoulardi, played by the great Ernie Anderson, should be the next horror host inductee to the Hall of Fame. His influence in the Ohio area is legendary, and I still meet people all the time who rememeber his show fondly.

There were thirteen nominees for Best Horror Host in this year's ballot. I'm honored to be included in this list along with the likes of Count Gore DeVol, Svengoolie, Dr. Morgus and many others. The Rondo Awards also accept write-in candidates, so those folks whose local host wasn't listed can cast their vote appropriatly.

I want to give a big tip of the goggles to David Colton and all the ghouls responsible for adding this category. This year couldn't have been a more appropriate one to add the category, as we've had a number of horror hosts pass away lately. I. Zombie, played by Hayden Milligan, passed away recently, followed by cable access horror host Gotem Shreek (who sadly committed suicide). Legendary host Vampira also passed away recently as well as Chattanooga's Dr. Shock.

Vampira in particular was a major influence on the field. A couple of years ago I celebrated my 40th birthday, and invited a bunch of people over for a party. Something I had always wanted to do was play music, so I got together with a couple of friends and we worked up a few tunes. We each selected one we really liked - and the one I insisted on, and insisted on singing, was VAMPIRA by the Misfits.

So here's to the Rondos, horror hosts past and present, and Vampira.

In the words of Ghoulardi - Stay Sick!

























_



Vampira
by The Misfits

Black dress moves in a blue movie
Graverobbers from Outer Space
Your pulmonary trembles in your outstretched arms
tremble so wicked

Two inch nails
Micro waist
With a pale white feline face
Inclination eyebrows to there

Mistress to the horror kid
Cemetary of the white love ghoul well
take off your shabby dress
Come and lay beside me

Come a little bit closer
Come a little bit closer to me
Vampira

Monday, February 4

The perfect season

This post has nothing to do with Creature Feature, Dr. Gangrene, or the horror industry in general. So if you're disappointed join me back here tomorrow when I'll get back on topic. Promise.

No, today I'm writing this post as a lifelong football fan. Super Bowl XLII concluded Sunday night with a 17-14 victory by the underdog New York Giants. It was, without a doubt, the best Super Bowl game I've ever watched.

All week the main topic of conversation leading up to the game was how great the Patriots are – that and an unrelenting comparison between them and the 1972 UNDEFEATED Miami Dolphins. It became in vogue to bash the 72 Dolphins over the past couple of weeks, mainly because of their famous yearly champagne toasts when the last undefeated team falls.

You know what? Those 72 Dolphins have a lot to be proud of. They defeated every team that stood in their way. They went all the way to the Super Bowl and beat a Redskins team that was picked as the favorite. To get there they even had to go on the road to Pittsburgh in their final playoff game and beat the Steelers. And they were the only team EVER to do so.

I am going to quote a section from a post on one of my favorite websites, www.phins.com . This is part of an article Curt Fennel, webmaster, wrote about his beloved 72 Dolphins. (To read the full post go to http://www.phins.com/op/op1-02.php) Look at these stats, and judge for yourself about this team:

The 1972 Miami Dolphins had the number 1 offense and defense, in terms of yards gained and yards allowed. They also lead the league in both points scored and points allowed. They were so dominant running the ball, they had two 1000 yard runners in a 14 game season, both of whom averaged over 5 yards per carry for the year.

The team averaged 4.8 yards per carry running the ball and averaged over 200 yards PER GAME in rushing.


And while the passing game was overshadowed by the run, the Dolphins' top 3 receivers, Paul Warfield, Howard Twilley and Marlin Briscoe EACH averaged over 18 yards per catch. Hall-of-Famer Paul Warfield averaged 20.9 yards per catch.


The 'No-Name' defense, for their part, allowed an average of just 12.2 points per game by opponents.

Yeah, they were that good. And THAT is why they won all their games. And you know what? They didn't have to cheat to do it.


More information surfaced this week about the Patriots videotaping the Rams before the 2002 Superbowl. Belichick showed his complete lack of class after the game, where he left the field early with 1 second left. You think Shula, or Tony Dungy would have acted that way?

The first thing I taught my kids when I coached basketball and soccer was you win AND lose with class. Guess no one ever taught Belichick that. He has a complete disregard for the game, its fans, the rules or anything else except himself and winning. I'm glad the Patriots lost. Karma baby. Karma.

I'm posting some links to some hilarious videos and websites below. Check these out for a good laugh!


http://www.rbk.com/us/perfectville/

http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s6i29908

http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a25c392179bd29c01179cb408ac0003


And now for a viewpoint from someone who definitely DOESN'T win with class - HERE"S Carl!!





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