Wednesday, November 30

Dr. Gangrene Presents - Moon of the Wolf

I've gotten several requests to put episodes of my new show online, and I have finally done just that. Episode 9 featuring MOON OF THE WOLF, starring David Janssen. Also features an interview with horror author Jason McKinney. Enjoy!



And let me know if you'd like to see more of these by leaving me a comment.

Bela and Boris

Thought I'd post this great publicity shot of Bela and Boris, two great actors who's paths kept crossing through the years.


They appeared in 7 movies together:

The Black Cat 1934
The Raven 1935
The Invisible Ray 1936
Son of Frankenstein 1939
Black Friday 1940
You'll Find Out 1940
The Body Snatcher 1945

IMDB also lists them both as having appeared together in uncredited roles as Indians in 1920 in The Last of The Mohicans. I really am not too sure about that one, however. It also lists them both in cameo appearances in a 1940 musical called Gift of Gab, too. Again, one I'm not familiar with.

(from You'll Find Out, shown w Peter Lorre)

Tuesday, November 29

Lugosi's Original 1931 Dracula Cape for Sell!

Got a spare $2 million dollars? If so, you could own the original Dracula cape owned and worn by Bela Lugosi in the Universal classic!


 I first heard about this auction at the fine blog Vampire Over London (which if you're not reading you really should check out) and knew I had to share with you guys here. The auction is being held through Profiles in History. I was always under the impression Bela had been buried in his Dracula cape, and that is true - HOWEVER, it wasn't the cape worn in the movie. Rather he was buried in a lighter weight cape he used for personal appearances. Bela gave the official cape to his ex-wife Lillian, to pass along to his son Bela Jr. She did just that when she passed away in 1981. Bela Jr. kept it since then but is now putting it up for auction, along with a number of other items.



This is an amazing item I thought was buried forever, literally - and I personally think it'll go for more than 2 million. The auction takes place December 15 - 16, 2011, and you can place bids online. Can't wait to see what the final selling price is.

But if you can't afford 2 million, never fear - in the very same auction is the much more affordable Al "Grandpa" Lewis' Munsters cape!!


Monday, November 28

Frankenstein/Dracula Mexican Lobby card


This is a Mexican Lobby card advertising the rerelease of Frankenstein and Dracula from sometime in the 1960s. Appropriate to the posts from the past couple of days here is the fact Dwight Frye appears in the Frankenstein card (as Fritz) from the memorable censored scene "Now I know what it feels like to be God," and Edward Van Sloan appears in both the Dracula card as Van Helsing (as the casket is cracked open revealing the count inside) and the Frankenstein card as Dr. Waldman (trying to calm an overexcited Dr. Frankenstein).

Good stuff - click to enlarge image.

Sunday, November 27

Edward Van Sloan - Is there a Doctor in the House?


Another actor who appeared in both FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA is Edward Van Sloan. Van Sloan played Professor Van Helsing in Dracula and Dr. Waldman in Frankenstein, and also delivered the unforgettable opening dialogue before Frankenstein.



 The Universal version of Dracula wasn't the first time Van Sloan and Lugosi had worked together, however; the two had appeared together in the American stage version of Dracula years earlier, working together night after night.


I like to think the two were, while perhaps not close friends, at least friendly with one another. They were cast in two other productions together - THE DEATH KISS in 1932 and the serial THE PHANTOM CREEPS in 1939.

Like Dwight Frye, Van Sloan was somewhat typecast after Dracula, with the majority of his film roles being doctors, professors and wise men of some sort much like Van Helsing. Fortunately for him that provided many more opportunities than poor Dwight Frye was offered, and Van Sloan appeared in over 80 films, the last in 1950. Van Sloan also appeared in the Universal classics THE MUMMY, 1932, (as Dr. Muller) and DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, 1936, (as Professor Von Helsing). He passed away in 1964 at age 81. I consider Van Sloan one of the classic Universal horror actors, and a huge part of Dracula and Frankenstein, the two films we're celebrating this month. Here's to ya, Edward.

Saturday, November 26

Dwight Frye, henchman unparalleled!


Continuing the tribute to the 1931 Universal classics FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA, (each 80 years old this year), I would be remiss not to take a moment to honor a man who appeared in both films - Dwight Frye.


Dwight had the distinction of playing henchmen in both films, and being an integral part of the plot in each as well. He played Renfield in Dracula and the hunchback assistant Fritz in Frankenstein. In addition to both of these landmark films he also appeared in a number of Universal's finest horror productions: The Invisible Man (reporter), The Bride of Frankenstein (Karl, Frankenstein's assistant), Son of Frankenstein (villager), Ghost of Frankenstein (villager), Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (villager), as well as a number of non-universal films, 60 in all. He did such a fine job as Renfield, and later as Fritz, that it became both a blessing and a curse. He was typecast in the lunatic role and mainly offered support parts, despite a proven ability from years of theater to pull off leading roles.


 Frye died at the too young age of 44 of a heart attack while riding on a bus in Hollywood, in 1943. I have no doubt in my mind that had he not passed away he would have been cast in House of Frankenstein the following year (1944), if even in another bit part as a villager.

Here's to you, Dwight, the man who set the mold for crazy assistants forever!

Thursday, November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!


In honor of today's holiday here's the trailer for Eli Roth's THANKSGIVING, from the movie Grindhouse. Here's hoping he does indeed make this movie and it's as awesome as this fake trailer! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Wednesday, November 23

Happy Birthday Boris Karloff

Today is the birthdate of Boris Karloff, born William Henry Pratt on Nov. 23rd, 1887.
click to enlarge pics...



Tuesday, November 22

Dracula/Frankenstein 1951


Terrific poster for the 1951 rerelease of Dracula and Frankenstein. Love this art and design of this poster. I definitely wouldn't be able to resist advertising like that!

Monday, November 21

Dr. Gangrene Scares Up Three Emmy Nominations


NASHVILLE, TN (11.20.2011) The Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences  announced their Midsouth Regional EMMY Award nominations on Friday, November 18, at a party hosted by Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) on Nashville’s legendary Music Row. Among the nominations were three for the creative minds behind television horror host, Dr. Gangrene.

Larry Underwood & Cameron McCasland picked up an EMMY nomination in the Entertainment category for the made for television movie “The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special” as well as two more nominations for Best PSA Campaign, and Best Short Form Writer for the “Go Green With Dr. Gangrene” series.

The good doctor said of the nomination, “This is a huge honor and it's great to see all our hard work appreciated. A big thanks to all the cast and crew who helped make these projects possible. We had a lot of fun with them and look forward to more horrific projects and collaborations in the future."
The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special pairs TV horror hosts Penny Dreadful & Dr. Gangrene together. The duo finds themselves readying for the upcoming Halloween season when suddenly all things go awry. It’s up to the physician of fright, Dr. Gangrene, and the eerie enchantress, Penny Dreadful, to set things right and save Halloween for everyone in this half hour special. Narrated by Washington DC’s legendary horror host Count Gore De Vol, this Halloween treat is packed with fright.

The “Go Green With Dr. Gangrene” series is a continuing collaboration between Underwood and McCasland and provides ways to make a safer, cleaner planet while using a horror theme as their backdrop. The 2011 installment featured Frankensteins monster, The Werewolf of Nashville, and The Creature from the Nashville Lagoon. The three newest shorts entitled, “Wolfbite”, “Creature Cooler”, and “Heating Up” provide tips on conserving the planet by cutting down on excessive waste, littering, and keeping tabs on pets. All three were filmed in and around Nashville landmarks, and are shot in glorious black & white as a loving nod to the classic monster films of yesteryear. McCasland was previously nominated for an EMMY in the Best Short Form Writer category for his work on “Go Green With Dr. Gangrene” in both 2008 and 2009.
Larry Underwood & Cameron McCasland
McCasland said of the nomination, “We’re just so happy that people like our show. Dreadful Hallowgreen was such a blast to make, and I'm not sure if we could ever pull something like that off again. Go Green has been a great joy for me to work on, and this past year even more so, as I got to bring in a lot of people who I had worked with in the past to play small parts. We’re just out there with rubber monster masks, and people seem to love it.”

The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special is distributed in the U.S. on home video and DVD by Alpha New Cinema. It premiered locally in Nashville on WNAB CW58 during Halloween weekend 2010, and was syndicated around the country. The made for television movie is a co-production of Shackle Island Studios and Peculiar Productions.

The 26th Annual Midsouth Emmy Awards will be announced during a live telecast in Nashville on March 17, 2012 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. For a full list of this year’s nominees please visit http://nashville.emmyonline.org/


Jennifer Lane of Decosimo Vaden. CPAs, who tabulated the ballots, announced that the 700 entries for the Midsouth Emmy Awards were judged by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter, the Mid-America Chapter based in St. Louis, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter based in Philadelphia, and the New York Chapter. She said Sixty-five television stations, production companies, and independent producers are named on the list of nominations.

Larry Underwood is an award winning writer and television producer. Outside of his role of Dr. Gangrene , he writes a regular column for Scary Monsters Magazine and daily musings in his Tales From The Lab Blog at drgangrene.com. Recently he was featured on the cover of Nashville Scene Magazine and in four color ink solving crimes alongside Dick Tracy in the classic comic strip.

Cameron McCasland is an Emmy nominated film maker from Edgewood Texas who has called Nashville home since 2001. His work has been seen on MTV, CMT, and film festivals around the globe. His upcoming feature film “The Lashman” is currently in post production.

Founded in 1957 The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to fostering excellence in television. The academy has 19 chapters with 15,000 members nationwide.

Doghouse – Review – He man women haters club


A Facebook friend recommended the movie DOGHOUSE, available on Netflix streaming, so I settled in late Saturday night with a 2 liter and a bag of popcorn and gave it a whirl. Doghouse is a British film made in 2009. It is billed as a horror/comedy zombie film – which made me initially think of Shaun of the Dead, (especially in the pub scenes) - but this film quickly develops its own style. It was written by first time film writer Dan Schaffer, and directed by Jake West, who has previously shot mostly short films and documentaries.

Doghouse tells the story of a group of guys who decide to get away for the weekend for a boys only vacation. Their friend, Vince, is going through a rough divorce so they take him away to a town called Moodley for a weekend of drunken debauchery, as the female population in Moodley is 3:1 women to men. Once there they discover things aren’t quite as picturesque as they’d imagined – in fact, all the women in the village have been turned into homicidal maniacs who feed on the flesh of men. Their rage is only directed toward men, however, due to a military created virus designed to turn half the population against the other half. The town of Moodley was their test case, since it’s in the middle of nowhere, and the boys unwittingly stumbled into town at the wrong time.

Okay, where to start with this thing… first and foremost, I know it’s a comedy, and not to be taken too seriously, but c’mon – a virus that only affects women? I get that you’re looking for a different twist on the zombie plague, and appreciate that, but this is the best you can come up with? Dumb dumb dumb. And even worse we are later introduced to a device, again military made, that emits a high frequency sound that “can only be heard by women” that stops them dead in their tracks, leaving all the women helpless to the mercy of men. Puts the date rape drug to shame!


This film is hopelessly misogynistic, from the plot device of the virus to the very name of the town, Moodley - get it? Moody women, MOODley – how clever. The women in the film are either a parade of zombies in sexy attire or hideously ugly and fat – no in between. Let’s dress up this one as a sexy bride with an axe, a sexy hairdresser with scissors, a sexy goth, a fat housewife, etc. In fact, at one point the guys, who are all varying degrees of chauvinistic assholes, have a discussion about which zombird, their pet name for the zombie women (bird being a British slang for women, of course) they’d still bang. There is one gay guy in the group but of course he is killed, along with all the fellas with any redeeming qualities to their character. Toward the end of the film Vince finally burns the picture of his soon to be ex-wife that he carries around, as he realizes his independence from the evils of women. About damn time chimes in his buddy.

It’s as if this script was written by a horny high schooler working out all his pent up frustrations toward women on paper. The film is so blatant with its disdain toward women I felt I had stumbled into a monthly meeting of the He Man Women Haters Club from The Little Rascals. I was really embarrassed for it – despite decent production value and effects I definitely cannot recommend this one, as it’s every bit as insulting as some man hating Lifetime channel movie. Doghouse is more like dogshit. Avoid it and just rewatch Shaun of the Dead instead.

Frankenstein Premiered this day in 1931

November 21, 1931 Universal Studios released their big screen adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel, FRANKENSTEIN. Although not the most faithful adaptation it is still the greatest, in my opinion. Happy 80th, Franky!



Friday, November 18

Scripts from the Crypt!


Wanted to tell you ghouls about a great new book called SCRIPTS FROM THE CRYPT. This is the first in a new series of books from prolific writer Tom Weaver, and features the original shooting script, behind the scenes interviews, archival stuff and other goodies and curios. It's available from BearManor, Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

This volume features a gorgeous cover by my buddy Marty Baumann, and when you flip the book over  you get the same treatment for "Bride and the Beast" with a cover by Kerry Gammill. Next up: THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN with similar awesome treatment!!

I have to admit a real soft spot for The Hideous Sun Demon. I LOVE that picture, flaws and all - it's my favorite B-movie!

By the way, speaking of Marty Baumann, be sure to check out his awesome website THE ASTOUNDING B MONSTER http://www.bmonster.com - No longer updated regularly it is still a terrific resource with some great articles and interviews. While active Marty won the Rondo award annually. Once he retired it opened the door for some other sites to win (like this one) but The B-Monster is still the king in my book!

http://www.amazon.com/Scripts-Crypt-Hideous-Sun-Demon/dp/1593937008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321632622&sr=8-1

Frankenstein 1931 Film Herald

Continuing the celebration of the Universal gems DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN, today I share a beautiful film herald announcing the upcoming release of Frankenstein, 1931.



 What is neat about this particular surviving herald is the fact the back is blank, demonstrating the way these heralds arrived. The theaters would add their own information onto the back of these heralds, such as the one below from 1932, which chose to use that space for advertising non-horror films coming up in March of 1932. Frankenstein premiered on November 21st, 1931, so it must have still been playing at this theater, the Central in Ephrata, PA, in February of 1932.


 Universal had a bona fide hit on their hands, and in 1935 shooting began on the sequel, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

Thursday, November 17

Dracula Movie Herald 1931

This is a Movie herald for the premiere of Dracula, Feb. 12, 1931. I love the line on the back page - COMING TO THE ROXY THURSDAY, LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY, FEBRUARY 12

The artwork on this poster is really terrific but it's interesting to note Dracula really doesn't look like Lugosi here. However the artist nailed all the other actors, especially Helen Chandler, so he was certainly capable of capturing people's likenesses. Could this art have been designed before they settled on a lead for the film? Another interesting thing about this poster is the blacked out section on the back above the date. I took it into Photoshop and was able to lift out the original text. It reads: Next Friday, February 13th.

Looking at a calendar for 1931 there was indeed a Friday, Feb. 13th. So someone made the decision to change the opening date from Friday the 13th to Thursday the 12th, and advertise it as Lincoln's birthday! Could that have been a better sales gimmick than Friday the 13th? Perhaps Friday the 13th didn't hold the superstitious impact back then that it has gathered over the years. Of course Lincoln was shot in 1865, sixty six years before this movie premiered, so it was still fairly fresh in the public consciousness. Heck, there was less time between Lincoln's assassination and this premiere than this premiere and it's 80th anniversary, if that puts it into perspective!! By contrast, it's been forty eight years since Kennedy died and people certainly still remember it well, and I doubt that will change in the next 18 years, (which will be the same amount of time between that event and modern day as Kennedy's death to the Dracula premiere.)

You would never see a movie advertised as premiering on a president's birthday nowadays - it's a real comment on our country as well as the respect our country's leaders garnered back then. Definitely a different time. 80 years is a long time - but then again, it really isn't, in the grand scheme of things.


Click to enlarge pictures:


Wednesday, November 16

80 Years Ago...

1931 has always seemed a pivotal year in film history to me. As a matter of fact, when thinking of films I always sort them in my mind as pre-31 and post-31, that year marking the start (to me, anyway) of the modern movie era and moving away from silent cinema. 1931 is also a pivotal year because it saw the birth of not one but TWO horror classics from Universal studios, DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN.

Dracula premiered February 12, 1931 at the Roxy Theater in New York City. Frankenstein premiered ten months later on November 21, 1931 at the Mayfield Theater (also in New York City). These films served as spectacular (and gruesome) cinematic bookends to the year, and both films are still highly revered as genre classics 80 years after their release. Speak the name Dracula and Lugosi's face pops to most folks minds. Mention Frankenstein and Jack Pierce's iconic design of Karloff's monster is the image burned in the public consciousness. It is amazing to me to think that two films as influential as Dracula and Frankenstein were both released in the same year - by the same studio. Not sure what it was about the year 1931 but Universal was definitely on a roll. This was pre-WWII, as the conflict started in 39. It was depression era America, and times were tough. Perhaps real life struggles such as hunger, food and shelter served as inspiration of even darker terrors - and faced with such awful real life problems the escape of a darkened theater was more than welcome.

Whatever the reasons the results can't be argued with. I am going to spend some time over the next few weeks celebrating both films!

BTW - these pics are huge, so click to ENLARGE!



Tuesday, November 15

80th Anniversary FRANKENSTEIN book!

It's my pleasure today to present a terrific new booklet celebrating the 80th anniversary of everyone's favorite monster.  Frankenstein premiered in 1931, and here, 80 years later, my buddy Scott Essman put together this loving tribute to a true classic of the silver screen. They don't make em like this any more. 

IT'S ALIVE!

Click to enlarge photos and read the text...












Monday, November 14

Hatchet a cut above



I finally watched HATCHET (2006) this weekend, and have to say I really enjoyed it. As the poster suggests, it's old school American horror. Well made film with great sets and atmosphere, gratuitous amounts of boobs and blood and special effects that are first rate. Big thanks to Cameron McCasland for putting this in my instant cue when he was at the house last weekend, HATCHET is definitely recommend. Now what's this I hear about a sequel...?

Interview with horror writer Jason McKinney

    We welcomed a special guest out to the lab recently, Nashville based horror author Jason McKinney. Jason stopped by to talk about his books, DOG WORLD and MEMOIRS OF THE WALKING DEAD. A shorter interview with Jason will be featured on next week's episode of DR. GANGRENE PRESENTS (our Thanksgiving turkey episode featuring the made for TV movie MOON OF THE WOLF - look for that to air Nov. 26th). However, I wanted to talk a bit more with Jason about his books than time allowed for in that episode, so I invited him out to Shackle Island for a chat about werewolves, zombies and more. Here is the longer interview on Youtube:


Jason's books are available on Amazon.com and definitely worth looking up - I also believe there are digital versions available, too, for you kindle readers (I'm still hopelessly addicted to paper - I know, not environmentally friendly or politically correct, so sue me). Look him up on twitter @jason_mckinney and tell him Dr. Gangrene sent ya!Jason's Blog: http://jasonmckinney.wordpress.com/

Sunday, November 13

FREE Fright Rags Tshirt giveaway - THEM!

Kicking off a new contest here, giving away a free t-shirt from FrightRags.com - it's a t-shirt from the sci-fi classic, THEM! To enter, subscribe to my youtube channel and leave a comment on the page. That's it.

Go here to leave a comment and enter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EChnZ8RiN44

and here's the video embedded:

Thursday, November 10

Free Spookhand EPs

Hey ghouls, have you downloaded copies of the free EPs of Dr. Gangrene;s band, SPOOKHAND?  They probably won't be available forever. There are 2 EPs currently available at: http://spookhand.bandcamp.com/

Grab em' now while the getting is good.


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