Monday, May 31

Go Green with Doc Gangrene PSAs for 2010

Sunday we shot a new series of PSAs for this season. We got together around 7 downtown at Memorial Park, a section that has some terrific monuments dedicated to the history of Nashville. It is located just below the state capitol. We managed to shoot 4 total psas, although probably only 3 will air right away. It was a very productive Sunday morning - we wrapped shooting around noon. Here are a few pictures of the shoot - special thanks to my director Cameron McCasland, his sister and brother in law, Abbie and Brandon McEnturff, and werewolf extraordinaire, Jonathan Earl.









Saturday, May 29

I put a Spell on You....

When Screamin' Jay Hawkins recorded his signature tune, I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, he utilized a unique technique - he was drunk out of his gourd! Here is a snippet of an interview with Jay discussing recording that track...

  ... l wasn't the only one there. lf you notice, you hear me singing but there's a band there too, and every member of the band was drunk. And the man who was the A&R man, his name was Arnold Maxim for Columbia Records - he was drunk! And the engineer, who was mixing the sound and doing the mastering and the editing - he was drunk! Yes, because we had a record called "I put a spell on you" which was recorded previously for Grand Records, and it was a ballad, something like Johnny Ace or Roy Hamilton would sing. And I'm only sorry l didn't bring that copy with me, it's right here in England, it's at the hotel. l brought a whole cassette - it's got about eight songs l did on Grand Records: "$10,000 Lincoln Continental", "Take me back", "I is", "I put a spell on you"... They wanted to destroy the master, or they were supposed to, that's why you see on this one, if I'm correct, it would say "Hawkins and Slotkin", underneath the title.

lt certainly does.
 
Slotkin had Grand Records, he wanted a piece of the pie. l had a manager named lrv Nahan, who was supposed to have taken the master and destroyed it, and he took me to Columbia and we came out on the Okeh subsidiary label. And Arnold Maxim said, "With a song title like that it's got to be unusual. I heard the original on Grand, and it was a straight ballad, this song must be weird, it's got to be scary. So how do we go about it?" And nobody said nothing. Nobody said nothing. Then Arnold Maxim decided it was too quiet and he said, "Look, what do you guys do when you do it in a nightclub and you're really having a good time?". And we said hell, we're so drunk we don't know what we're doing. And he said, "That's it!". And he turned around and he spoke to somebody and a half hour later, they came in with boxes and boxes of booze, and boxes and boxes of chicken. He said, "This is a party, it's not a recording session - a party, everybody drink, everybody eat. Then when l think you're right, then well make it a recording session."

Screamin Jay Hawkins in 1957

That's the only way to be.
 
Well we partied and we partied, and somewhere along the road l blanked out. Then ten days later, they told me, he says, "Here, learn this. It's on the market, it's selling, you've got a hit record." So l said, "What's it called?". He said, "It's 'Spell'". l said, "Oh, oh, 'Spell'". So I played it and I listened and I said, "No that wasn't me." He said, "Yes it was". Then he showed me weird pictures which l destroyed right quick and l got the negatives and I destroyed them. And I'm glad, because it was horrible. I made parts of "I put a spell on you" laying on my back on the floor, with the microphone in one hand and a bottle in the other. And everybody was going crazy. Mickey "Guitar" Baker was on guitar - he lives in Paris, France now - he was stoned out of his head. Sam "The Man" Taylor was on tenor sax and you've never seen a drunken saxophone player who couldn't put his lips on his own mouthpiece; you should have seen that, it was really a comical thing. But nonetheless, we did that and the other side, "Little demon", then we made "You made me love you" and "Darling please forgive me". Then we came back the next day, and we did that album called AT HOME WITH SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS.


You can read the full interview here

And here is a snippet of an interview with Jay from 1987. This man was a character...

Friday, May 28

The pioneers of horror rock - Screamin Jay Hawkins

As a huge fan of horror rock n' roll I thought I'd spend a little time looking at some of the pioneers of the genre. There are lots of bands that might have dabbled in horror with a song here and there, but any true discussion of horror rock has to start with Screaming Jay Hawkins.

Screaming Jay was born in Cleveland Ohio on July 18, 1929. He studied music as a child, and performed as a musician in the Air Force during WWII.

He began a career as a blues singer after the military, and the fateful day that started his legend as a horror performer happened when he recorded his signature song, I PUT A SPELL ON YOU. It was a huge success and afterwards he was offered $300 by radio deejay Alan Freed to emerge from a coffin onstage. He accepted and the coffin became a regular stage prop. He kept coffins in various cities across the country so he wouldn't have to cart one around all the time.

His onstage persona began to slowly become more horror oriented, and he began utilizing many other horror props onstage. The most famous of these was Henry, a skull on a stick that he would carry onstage and shake at audiences, even addressing Henry onstage between songs.

The moniker Screamin' was an apt one as Screamin' Jay Hawkins had a huge, booming voice, one that was powerful and instantly recognizable.He would go on to influence many other bands, many of which I'll look at over the next few weeks. Here's to you, Screamin' Jay, for all your crazy, scary, bluesy rockin horror tunes - Feast of the Mau Mau, I put a Spell On You, Alligator Wine, Voodoo, Frenzy, The Constipation Blues... insane genius!

This video is from 1984 - Screamin' Jay got up onstage and performed with legendary garage rockers The Fuzztones. It was surely the highlight of their career!!! Just listen to this cat GO!!

Thursday, May 27

Flood Relief Fundraiser

Tomorrow night in Franklin TN my band, Spookhand, is playing at a fundraiser for flood victims. It takes place at THE POND and the bands playing are us, The Creeping Cruds, Radio Death Wave and some others, I think. If any of you are looking for something to do tomorrow night, come rock out with us and help raise money for some folks that could really use it.

Should be a pretty interesting set as far as Spookhand is concerned. Our drummer is out of town, but Boomer, the drummer for the Creeping Cruds, offered to sit in on a few songs with us. We have never practiced even once with Boomer, but I have faith in him. he's a pro and he has our cd, so he'll be familiar enough with the stuff that we can pull it off without too many problems, I think. Oh well, will be entertaining - that's punk rock!!

Daily Comic - Tombstone Blues page 10

The daily comic has been not-so daily lately. Whoops - been busy with other stuff. So to make up I'll get back on track now with pages 10 and 11.





Wednesday, May 26

Happy birthday to Classic Horror Icons - Cushing, Lee & Price!

The two day span of May 26-May 27th were an influential one for classic horror fans. May 26th marks the birthday of Peter Cushing, and May 27th is the birthday of both Vincent Price and Christopher Lee!! It's amazing to think all three of these performers were born within that two day span, albeit several years apart (Cushing 1913, Price 1911, and Lee 1922).

I had the pleasure of showing THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD not once but twice on my show, Creature Feature. It features both Cushing and Lee - and best of all, I was able to air it on May 27th, so it actually was on the air during Lee's birthday. very cool!

What would have been even cooler is if I could have shown House of Long Shadows or Scream and Scream Again, both films that have all three of these actors in them. I will keep my claws crossed that either of these show up on the station's movie list next quarter.

Here is the trailer for The House that Dripped Blood.It is a GREAT Amicus anthology featuring four short stories and a wrap around segment. Easily my favorite movie I've hosted on Creature Feature.


Tuesday, May 25

Shamblin' - My Top 13 Zombie Movies

 No self respecting mad scientist worth his test tubes could go through life without creating a favorite zombie movie list. So, just so I don't lose any street cred, I thought it high time I did the same. Now first off I have to qualify what makes a zombie on my list. I disqualified the Evil Dead movies, because those are demons. Yes there are reanimated dead beings, but this is because of demon possession, so they're not on my list.

I also disqualified the Reanimator films. Once again, while there are dead beings now moving again, they are more Frankenstein creations brought to life through science. If I qualified them I'd have to accept Frankenstein and all the variations of that story, so no, that's out.

I also disqualified 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. The "creatures" in those movies were infected humans and not the actual dead coming back to life. So any films along those lines, viral infections that affect the living, are out as well.

The zombies in my list are the classic undead - shambling once-living lumps of flesh that seek the living to feed upon. Your classic zombie archtype.

I realize there are many, many more zombie movies than the ones I've listed here. These are my favorites among the ones I've seen. There is no way I (or anyone else for that matter) could watch every zombie movie out there. Take a look at the list below if you don't believe me. There are hundreds of them now, and the list is growing all the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_movies


now... let the brain munching begin!!
___________________________________________

#13 - White Zombie- 1932
This one makes the list simply because it's the grandaddy of all zombie films. The difference between these zombies and the rest on the list are these are your traditional voodoo zombies, controlled by the zombie lord played by Bela Lugosi. Zombies, voodoo, Bela Lugosi, and it's a pretty good movie, too.



#12 - Zombieland - 2009
This is a VERY entertaining movie. Funny, fast paced and high production value. Definitely worthy of being on my top 13 films list. Doesn't add anything new to the zombie genre, however, which had been pretty well played out by the time this one was made (2009) - but it is a soild movie nontheless. Highlight of the movie is definitely twinkie-challenged zombie hunter Woody Harrelson.



#11 - Children shouldn't play with dead things - 1972
I love this movie. Directed by Bob Clark - who would go on to make A CHRISTMAS STORY and PORKY'S - it tells the story of a group of college actors who travel to a remote island as a prank. They hold a mock seance to resurrect the dead, all in jest - until the dead actually do come to life! Very low budget film, but that adds to the creepy vibe of this movie.



#11 - Cemetary Man - 1994
This is an Italian film directed by Michele Soavi. It is the story of a caretaker named Francesco in a cemetery where the dead won't stay dead. Along with his assistant Gnaghi he buries the dead by day and kills them again by night. Interesting job. This film is part horror, part humor, and part romance - a unique blend that has a dreamy quality to it.



#9 - Tombs of the blind dead - 1971
The Blind Dead films are a truly unique take on the zombie mythos. This is the first in the series of four Blind Dead films. Made in Spain by director Amando de Ossorio, it features undead horsemen called the Knights Templar who were executed for their evil atrocities. While their bodies hung on the gallows their eyes were pecked out by crows.  They managed to return from the dead blind, however. They hunt by sound and feed on human flesh. Truly creepy stuff.




#8 - Night of the Creeps - 1986
Another zombie comedy - of which several entries in this list fall, interestingly enough. This was written and directed in 1986 by Fred Dekker. Aliens brain slugs crawl into people's mouths and turn them into zombies. Lots of homages to other films in this one, such as lead character Chris ROMERO, his girl Cynthia Cronenberg, and police detective Landis and Sergeant Raimi. A really fun movie and direct inspiration for the 2006 film SLITHER.




#7 - Brain Dead (Dead Alive) - 1992
Also known as Dead Alive. Made by a young Peter Jackson this might well be the goriest movie ever made. The incredible lawn mower scene at the end has me howling every time I see it. An incredible movie with a wicked black sense of humor throughout. Zombie horror romance. Good stuff.




#6 - Day of the Dead - 1985
Romero's third entry in the series has some really interesting elements to it, primarily Bub the zombie, a zombie that seems to possesses some limited intelligence. This film takes place primarily in a military institute where the humans have holed up from the zombie hordes and are actually studying them in hopes of finding a cure for this epidemic. It is an interesting study in human nature, and like all Romero movies, thick with social commentary.




#5 - Zombi 2 - 1979
Made by director Lucio Fulci this film takes place primarily on an island where a zombie plague has broken out. Fulci titled this Zombi 2, misleading many to believe it a sequel to Dawn of the Dead (whose alternate title is Zombi). It is, however, one bloody good zombie movie. Among the gorrier of the entries in the field, it features my favorite scene from any zombie film - the infamous zombie vs. shark scene.You have to see it to believe it.




#4 - Shaun of the Dead - 2006
I struggled with where to place this one on the list. It is a comedy, so i wasn't sure if I felt comfortable placing it this high... But after much reflection, I realized that I consider this not only a great zombie movie, but my favorite film of the entire decade of the 00s. It is a smart, funny, and charming film about a bumbling pair of knuckleheads in the midst of a zombie outbreak. I stop and watch it every time I see it on tv. Great movie.




#3 - Dawn of the dead - 1978
Ten years after the original George Romero resurrected the dead again. This time we follow the story of a group of survivors of the zombie plague who hole up in a shopping mall. They battle the dead and each other in a movie many consider the finest zombie movie ever made. Shot in color this time, the gore factor was ratcheted up. Tom Savini's groundbreaking special effects make this one a fan favorite.




#2 - Return of the Living Dead - 1985
How could I possibly list Return of the Living Dead above Dawn of the Dead? Blasphemy! Well, this is my list, and I happen to enjoy Return a bit more. Made in 1985 by Dan O'Bannon, this movie is a horror-comedy, with lots of humor injected throughout the film. But it also has some pretty intriguing moments - watch the scene with the half-corpse that is strapped to the table. They interrogate it to see why it wants to eat human brains. "Because it makes the pain go away." The corpse informs them it is in pain because it can feel itself rotting. Creepy stuff! This movie has lots going for it - great special effects, killer punk rock soundtrack, and Linnea Quigley's boobs. Nuff said!




#1 - Night of the Living Dead - 1968
The penultimate zombie movie. Made by director George Romero in 1968, this movie inspired legions of filmmakers to follow in his footsteps. Romero's original set the benchmark for zombie movies and is as powerful today as when it was made. The fact that it slipped into the public domain due to a copyright notice being left off the final print probably helped bring this film into notoriety - not that it helped Romero in the pocketbook any. Very disturbing movie. Shot in black and white as a monetary decision, it actually works in the film's favor to make it even scarier. Definitely my all-time favorite zombie movie.




And last but not least, if you have a favorite zombie film that didn't make the list drop me a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear what you guys think...

Monday, May 24

Evil or Devine?

So did you guys hear about this so called church that was planning to picket the Ronnie James Dio funeral? I am not making this up. It's been reported for a few days now, and I struggled whether to even mention it here, as publicity is what these losers are after. I decided to discuss it without mentioning the “church” by name. Not going to give them that satisfaction.

What kind of sick bastards would picket a funeral? The fact they’re so-called “Christians” makes it that much worse. They claim Ronnie James Dio was a Satanist, and evil, therefore their protesting is both warranted and justified. They are the same group of lunatics that protest at funerals of soldiers and homosexuals. These are the type of folks that give religion a bad name.The funeral was yesterday, but I haven't heard any news from it, so I assume there were no incidents.

You know, I watch a lot of horror movies, read horror literature, sing in a horror band and listen almost exclusively to horror rock – but in the end it’s all in fun. I try to live my life the best I can, follow my creative muse, and be good to my fellow man. I know right from wrong and this, my friends, is a clear cut example of wrong. These folks are low life hate slinging publicity seeking assholes. I wish for nothing but the worst for the lot of them in life. Amen.

I just have one last thing to say to those folks. Hope you enjoy being universally hated. You are a joke, a laughing stock, and pathetic. This next video is dedicated to you. Cheers.

Dio - Holy Diver

Saturday, May 22

Donnie Dunagan Live at Wonderfest

I was going through some videos the other day and stumbled across this one. It's from the 2006 Wonderfest Convention. I had the pleasure of introducing Mr. Donnie Dunagan and hosting his panel. As you'll see, I pretty much just steered Donnie in a general direction then sat back and watched as he took the ball and ran with it. Donnie is an energetic guy, a great story teller and he's worked with some of the legends in the horror field. Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price - all as a young child actor. Interesting stories and an equally interesting guy - he's 72 here and more fit than guys half is age.


Thursday, May 20

Tombstone Blues Page 7

Wonderfest and The Gruesome Twosome

Hey guys - I've been a bit more sporadic than usual posting here, as it's been a very busy week, but in a good way. Starting last Thursday my band played at the Muse in Nashvile. That show went GREAT!  Turnout was good for a Thursday night, and all the bands that evening were really good. For out set I wore a werewolf mask and a wig the entire night, despite the heat. I'd been wanting to wear that thing for a while now, and finally broke it out Thursday. Looked pretty cool onstage, i have to say.

On Saturday my youngest son, Luke, Cameron McCasland and I headed to Wonderfest. The three of us had a fun little roadtrip, and the convention itself went really well. I met new friends, saw lots of old ones, and hosted IT CONQUERED THE WORLD Saturday night before a packed crowd. It went over really well, and during the show we called Bob Burns on speaker phone. That was my favorite part of the night, and lots of other folks favorite part too, according to all the remarks I got afterwards. We all missed Bob being part of the show, so it was nice to have him there in whatever way we could get him!


Monday was back to work and the usual routine for one day, then on Tuesday Luke and I headed out for another roadtrip to Knoxville, TN to see Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie in concert together. They called it the Gruesome Twosome tour, and there was no way I was going to miss that one. We got there about an hour before the doors opened and wandered around a bit. I was amazed at how many t-shirt bootleggers were working the crowd.

We eventually made our way inside and to the merch table where I sprung for a t-shirt for Luke at the amazingly low price of $35 dollars! Ouch!

When the show started Alice Cooper played first. I figure they must be alternating who opens from show to show. Alice was, in a word, amazing. He looked great, sounded even better, and put on a totally kick ass show from start to finish. He kicked the show off with three classics: School's Out, No More Mr. Nice Guy, and I'm 18, three songs I thought would be closers. It was a triple punch to the forehead that really got the crowd rockin!

His choice of songs was surprising to me. They only played one song off the new album and a variety of songs from older albums like Goes to Hell and From the Inside. All the shock rock antics were in full swing, including beheadings, hangings, decapitations and more. Alice showed these kids how to rock proppa like, and the show was one big theatrical presentation that was so good I had actual tears in my eyes.

Rob came on afterwards and rocked the house in a barrage of sights and sounds that were a near  sensory overload. Constant non-stop movie images, cartoons, pictures and flashing lights accompanied his techno metal music. It was pretty impressive.  I am a big fan of both artists, and it was a treat to see them together on one bill. Alice was especially impressive, and even better then the last time I saw him perform (The Constrictor Tour in 86).

So here's to Alice Cooper, the king of Shock Rock! You still got it, buddy!

Monday, May 17

The Mob Rules

In honor of Ronnie James Dio, here is the segment of the movie Heavy Metal featuring music by Black Sabbath with Ronnie on vocals, the Mob Rules. Awesome song, great energy, cool scene...

Daily Comic Upload

Okay, call me wishy-washy, indecisive, or just plain crazy - but I changed my mind again and am moving the daily comic back to the main post section of the blog. I just like seeing the pages reproduced larger, and think it makes it easier to read than having to click the small link on the sidebar. All the pages will still be archived together in the comics tab.

Here are all the pages to-date to get you newer viewers caught up. Click to enlarge each:

Sunday, May 16

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio

Been away for a few days at Wonderfest in Louisville. Just got back and heard thet Ronniw James Dio passed away. Man, I'm bummed.

Dio was one of my very favorite singers. He embodied the metal singer. Just doesn't get any better than RJD. I saw him in concert once in the 80s and it was an awesome show.

Here are the first few minutes of the Tenacious D movie PICK OF DESTINY. Dio is in it, and it's the best opening sequence ever in a movie.

TOTALLY ROCKS!!!

Tuesday, May 11

Spookhand practice

Had band practice as we get ready for Thursday's show. We're still breaking out three new songs - should be a fun time. We rewrote the chorus on one tonight, changing it up slightly and making the song better, in my opinion. Talk about last minute changes!!

New comic page up in sidebar - excelsior!

Monday, May 10

R.I.P. Frank Frazetta

Sad news - I found out today that Frank Frazetta passed away. I just wrote about Frank last week - he was truly one of the most inspirational artists of all time, influencing thousands or aspiring artists with his beautiful paintings and comics work. He're's to Frank Frazetta, his work will live on forever.

I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the painting below, staring at it for who knows how long. The word masterpiece comes to mind...

Tombstone Blues continues

I moved the daily comic to two places on the blog here - you can find the latest page in the sidebar to the right, and all the pages will be archived in the comics tab at the top of the page.

Excelsior!

Sunday, May 9

Singing the Tombstone Blues - new daily comic

Back in 1997, two years before I started my gig as a TV horror host,  I was self publishing comic books and put together a book that was a sort of tribute to my favorite horror character, Frankenstein. I had previously written and illustrated short stories and anthologies. But I decided it was time I tried my hand at writing a complete book, and I naturally wanted to do a horror comic. My partner in comics, Chuck Angell, illustrated the book, and the cover was done by Chuck and painted by Eric Powell.


We called it TOMBSTONE BLUES OR DEAD GIRLS NEED LOVE TOO. Now the reason for the double name was basically indecision on our part, or a difference of opinion, whichever you wanna call it. Chuck wanted to name the series "Dead Girls Need Love, Too" to capitalize on the bad girl comic craze that was HUGE at the time, and I wanted to call it "Tombstone Blues" as I was on a big Bob Dylan kick and thought that name made a great title. So the compromise was to use both.

This was the highest selling comic we self-published. I don't remember the numbers exactly but remember it was somewhere over a thousand nationwide. You'll see lots of homages and nods to both FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN in the pages that follow. We published a second issue with a different artist, and finished a third issue that was never published.

I thought I'd share this with the readers of this blog. If it goes over well I'll put issue 2 on here, and perhaps the unpublished third issue too, if interest continues. I also have plenty of these books left, so I'll post them for sale in the store section of this blog if anyone wants an actual copy.

But in the meantime, I'll post a page a day. Enjoy!


Tombstone Blues: Page 1
(click to enlarge)

Frankenstein in 60 Seconds

My buddy Scott Essman directed me to this... pretty cool 60 second synopsis of FRANKENSTEIN!!

Thursday, May 6

The Times they are a Changin... are Video stores a thing of the past?

I tell you what I miss… I miss mom and pop video stores. They are all too quickly becoming a thing of the past.

My favorite video store was a place called Video Depot that was located just around the corner from my house. It was run by two brothers (identical twins, actually) who knew most of their customers by name. They rented VHS and DVD movies as well as video games. They went out of business last year and I tell you, it was heartbreaking to see it go. I miss walking in to rent videos or check out the new releases and being greeted with “Hey, Larry what’s new?” from one or both of them, or their dog running out from behind the counter to greet customers, or seeing other people I knew renting videos there. It was a real community place and I miss it.

But I understand the decision. They just couldn’t compete with Netflix, Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and Redbox. The Hollywood Video in Hendersonville has become the latest casualty. They are closing shop this month, and I wonder if perhaps Blockbuster isn’t far behind it. We still have Redbox’s around town, but I really dislike those dispenser style rental kiosks. They are so impersonal, and waiting in line behind someone indecisive at one of those things is excruciating.

Fortunately there is still one other video rental place in town called Captain Video. It is part of a local chain of stores, but it still has that independent feel to it. In addition to renting videos they also have tanning beds. Yep, you read right, tanning beds. That’s a throwback to the 80’s, ain’t it? Who uses tanning beds nowadays? Apparently plenty of people in Hendersonville, TN as there always seem to be more people getting microwave tans than movies when I’m there. Nowadays I rent all my videos from Captain Video to help support them. Their older movies are just one dollar each for a 5-day rental. Not bad, plus their selection is better than Redbox and I don’t have to wait for my movie in the mail like you do with Netflix. Over the past year they dumped all their VHS tapes and only carry DVDs now, which is fine, but I sure would like to stumble on a place that had VHS tapes for rent, just for the nostalgia factor if nothing else.


Over the next few years we may just see the complete demise of video rental stores and that’s a shame. I think we may even see the end of physical movie copies, with everything turning digital. Instead of buying DVDs in cases we’ll buy downloads onto hard drives. I guess that’s the nature of technology, it’s ever-changing, but I still hate to see the mom and pop shops close.

Wednesday, May 5

They did the mash...

Just thought I'd post a couple more of my old Monster Mash cartoons today. These were fun to draw. You know, I should have signed them Scary Larson - haha!!!






Tuesday, May 4

Every Other Day is Halloween - Reviewed

I first met Curtis Prather back in the early 2000’s in Dayton Ohio at an all-night movie marathon. I was struck by the passion Curtis had not just for horror movies but horror hosting as well. Curtis is one of those guys who have no ambitions in front of a camera, but behind the lens is another story. For better than a decade he has produced THE SPOOKY MOVIE, hosted by Dr. Sarcofiguy (just love that name) a.k.a. John Dimes, Washington D.C.’s host with the most.

In addition he has helped out on a variety of other hosted shows, most recently producing the award winning MONSTER MADHOUSE hosted by Karlos Borloff and his band of crazies. As if that wasn’t enough, Curtis is also the brains behind Washington D.C.’s SPOOKY MOVIE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, now in its 5th year, and an author of a soon to be published novel called UNDERPANTS OF THE DEAD.

I recently received a screener copy of EVERY OTHER DAY IS HALLOWEEN, a documentary on the life and career of Washington D.C.’s legendary horror host Count Gore DeVol. This documentary was written, produced and edited by none other than Curtis Prather himself, a man I consider infinitely qualified to head such a project. So it was with great anticipation that I finally sat down to watch this documentary.

Count Gore DeVol is a horror host played by actor Dick Dyszel. I first met Dick in 1999 in Chicago, shortly after I had begun my own path as a TV horror host. At the time I didn’t know any other hosts existed until I received an email one day from Dick. Count Gore is a Transylvanian vampire whose name is a takeoff of Gore Vidal. He first started hosting movies in the early 1970’s at a small station in Padukah, KY before moving to Washington, D.C.

This documentary traces the career of Dick Dyszel from those early days to the present. It chronicles his career not just as the Count, but also as kids hosts Bozo and Captain 20, both characters that Dyszel played at station 20 in D.C. Dyszel hosted three separate programs before cutting back to just Count Gore in the late 70’s. He was off the air for a while but returned for a second run during the 1980’s. Most recently Count Gore has moved his show onto the World Wide Web where he broadcasts a weekly web program. He won a Rondo Award last year for Best Horror Host.

Various coworkers, friends, associates and viewers share their stories and fond memories of watching Dyszel at work through the years. You get a real sense of just how much influence his characters had on his viewers. Vintage footage of Dick as all three characters is woven throughout the documentary as it moves chronologically through his career. The footage is a real treat to see, much of it being unveiled for the first time since initially airing in the 1970s.

My main criticism of EVERY OTHER DAY IS HALLOWEEN is the fact that there are actually two separate documentaries rolled into one here. There is the story of Dick Dyszel and his career through the years, and there is the story of the horror hosts that have followed in Gore’s footsteps. At some point in the documentary it sort of changes gears and shifts to these other hosts, and stays on this topic for a pretty good length of time before returning to Count Gore’s story. However, you get the feeling there is more to tell here, and I’d like to see it flushed out more. Each subject is equally interesting and worthy of its own separate documentary.


EVERY OTHER DAY IS HALLOWEEN is a warm-hearted look at a man whose passion for performing has kept him going for close to four decades. Producer/Director Curtis Prather grew up watching Count Gore on television, and this is his loving tribute to his childhood hero. The disc is packed with extras, including complete segments of many of the vintage clips shown throughout the documentary.

You can find out more about this documentary at the official website:

http://everyotherdayishalloween.wordpress.com/

Or at the EVERY OTHER DAY IS HALLOWEEN Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Every-Other-Day-Is-Halloween/178849154707
 
Count Gore’s website is here:

http://www.countgore.com
 
Overall this DVD is a real treat for fans of horror hosts and definitely worth owning. You can pick up a copy online at Amazon.com or bestbuy.com.

Monday, May 3

Nashville Monsoon

Couple of pics from my neighborhood...


Notice they are level to the TOP of the stop sign. They are on top of a truck. These kids were fortunately rescued. This was about 2 miles from my house.


I mentioned bad traffic earlier today - now I know why we were being diverted off the interstate. This is Vietnam Veterans Blvd, a highway/interstate I drive every day to and from work. It is completely submersed in one section - this is about a mile from my house.


It really was an amazing amount of rain in a very short period of time. Here is one of our local weathermen describing the oncoming storm in a way I REALLY don't think he meant to - yes, this is a bit juvenile, but c'mon - That's some funny stuff there!


One Weird Weekend...

You know what they say about the best laid plans of horror hosts and men… or, something like that. Seemed everything was screwy this weekend and nothing went as planned. It began with the torrential downpour of rain that caused flooding all over Middle TN, as I mentioned in a previous post. Fortunately Gangrene Manor is on a hill and the rain didn’t cause us too many problems.


BUT the rain did cause us to cancel the Spookhand gig we had at The Muse in Nashville. We were wise to cancel, however, as these were floods of biblical proportions. If you think I exaggerate, take a look at some of the pictures on Google; houses entirely underwater, cars submerged, and utility sheds floating away in the rapids.

Saturday’s broadcast of Creature Feature didn’t happen as planned either, I’m sad to report. There was something screwy about the master tape we turned in, and the station was unable to air it. What was strangest of all was the station’s choice of a replacement movie. They showed THEY CRAWL, a movie we hosted last fall and which I had originally mistakenly reported here as the film that would be airing Saturday – but this time it aired without our host bits. Very strange and I am not really certain what happened other than gremlins at the station were playing tricks.

Saturday evening the rains subsided and we braved the weather to take a trip to Target to buy a birthday present for my nephew. While there I stumbled across a true find – Season 1 AND 2 of TALES FROM THE CRYPT on DVD for nineteen dollars! I was happier than a vampire at a blood bank and quickly plunked down my cash and bought that baby. BUT, (and the way this post has gone you just knew there had to be a but, didn’t you) when I got home and opened up the DVD disc one of Season one was missing! No DVD, just an empty space where it was supposed to be.

Worse yet, I looked at the clock and it was already after 10pm by the time I got home and opened it, and the store had closed. I got up nice and early the next morning to find it pouring rain again, and to make matters even worse Target closed for the day due to flooded roads! Arrrgh!!

So this was one weekend I was glad to see go away. Traffic was hell this morning, as many roads were shut down due to flooding.  I will return my DVD tonight and get another, and take a look at the master tape of THE HOLLOW later this week to see just what the heck is going on with that damn movie. This is the second attempt to air that episode that has failed. I didn’t edit this one originally, so don’t know what the problem is. But I will find out.

Sunday, May 2

Recommended Movie of the Week - Rated Z


This week's Recommended Movie is rated "Z" - for Zorro. It's the 1940 film, THE MARK OF ZORRO. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and the always impressive Basil Rathbone, this is one of my top ten favorite films of all time. I first saw this one on a matinee movie one Saturday afternoon at home, and it has always stuck with me. I bought it on dvd as soon as it was released. This movie has THE BEST sword fight scene ever filmed. Definitely a great movie, in my book, and my favorite Zorro movie.


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