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Thursday, June 3

Women in the Rondos Hall of Fame… or lack thereof

Driving home from Wonderfest I got into a conversation with my buddy Cameron McCasland about women in the Rondo Awards Hall of Fame. If you look through the awards you’ll notice that there aren’t that many women who have made it into the HOF, which is probably to be expected as the genre tends to be a male slanted one. But there are plenty of women who have contributed to the horror field, so we started discussing some who we felt were worthy of inclusion.

Before I get into that I have to say I am still a little cloudy on the criteria for the Rondo Hall of Fame, but David Colton cleared it up quite a bit in the interview he did with me here on this blog. He said it is sort of the second generation of monster kids they’re aiming for - Those who were influenced by the classics and that influence in turn fueled their creative endeavors. OK, cool – makes sense.

Top on both of our lists was  
Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira. 

As a TV horror host myself I have to say she definitely is one of the most influential people of all time in the field. From time to time I find myself describing what I do to someone who just doesn’t get it – they have no idea what a “horror host” is. In such cases I say, “Think Elvira,” and they almost always know who I’m talking about. She is probably THE most widely known horror host, even eclipsing her predecessors Zacherly and Vampira in popularity. She had nation-wide syndication, two motion pictures and more marketing and merchandise than you can shake a well-stuffed brassiere at! She is funny, smart, and an icon in the field. I would love for Cassandra to make it into the Rondo Hall of Fame.

Poison Ivy, (a.k.a. Kristy Wallace)

Poison Ivy of the band The Cramps is a woman who should definitely be in the Hall of Fame. I wrote David Colton after Lux Interior was added to the Hall of Fame and asked him if she could be added too. If you’re going to have Lux Interior In there, you’ve gotta have Ivy too. Lux was the front man but Ivy provided that cool rockabilly rhythm that made it groove. The two were a couple for 37 years – they wrote everything together, and were a team. In my book most horror rock boils down to two camps – The Misfits and The Cramps. The Cramps were rockabilly garage punk and influenced a generation of musicians. Ivy’s guitar playing was a huge part of that.

Jessie Lilley 

Jessie Lilley is a woman who I think has a good shot at winning monster kid of the year this year. She is the newly named editor of the revived Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. She is also, in a sure sign of insanity, simultaneously Editor in Chief of Mondo Cult Magazine. How she’ll manage this juggling act I’m not sure but hey – more power to ya Jessie!  She is the former publisher and co-founder of Scarlet Street Magazine, Editor of Worldly Remains, A Pop Culture Review, and also served as Managing Editor for Retro Vision Magazine. She’s even acted in a few low budget movies to boot. She should be in the HOF for her years of dedication promoting the field.

Jovanka Vuckovic 

Jovanka Vuckovic is a woman who has a huge fan follow and is probably destined to get there eventually. What’s not to love about Jovanka? She’s smart, talented, and has that cool rock n’ roll vibe that she brought with her to Rue Morgue magazine. Under her leadership as Editor-in-Chief Rue Morgue Magazine became arguably the most popular genre magazine on the stands today, and the well oiled machine that has swept the Rondos the past two years.  She’s worked as a writer, visual effects artist, actor (as a zombie in the Dawn of the Dead remake and in Land of the Dead), and soon to be director. She may need to work in the field for a few more years to solidify her impact, but I certainly think she’s on her way.

Lorraine Bush 

Lorraine Bush is a painter specializing in classic monsters. Talk about someone fitting the description David laid out for the Hall of Fame, Lorraine is it. She picked up a passion for monsters and horror as a child, passed on from her dad. In 1993 she entered the painting competition at the Famous Monsters of Filmland Convention and won first place. She is the official cover artist for Monster Bash Magazine, and has won a Rondo for Best Magazine Cover. I think she should would be a nice addition to the Hall of Fame.

Dinah Cancer (a.k.a. Mary Sims) 

Dinah Cancer (a.k.a. Mary Sims) is another rocker who gets my vote for the Hall of Fame. She started her career in the 70s – her first band was an all woman punk band called Castration Squad. She sang for a couple other bands before forming 45 Grave in 1980. They sang exclusively about monsters and horror and were an early influential band in the field of horror-rock. In 1984 they recorded their signature track, “Party Time” for the cult classic Return of the Living Dead. You can’t think of that movie without hearing that song in your head. She has been in a number of other bands including Penis Flytrap (LOVE that name) and Dinah Cancer and the Graverobbers. She’s been an extra in a number of movies including Rock n’ Roll High School and Fright Night 2. Most recently 45 Grave have reformed and are performing again.

So there are a few of my choices to sort of get the ball rolling. There are. Of course, there are many other women out there who have kept that horror banner flying high, so feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions.


  1. You raise an interesting point considering a shortcoming in the Rondos, and provide good suggestions for how this deficit can be overcome in future years. I would add that I'd like to see the award and voters give more attention to serious work in promoting the cultural, social, and historical aspects of horror.

  2. Thanks John. The Hall of Fame is where the lack of women seems most prevalent. It is the one category that isn't based strictly a fan vote, and therefore the one that seems most in need of female representation.

  3. Very interesting story, Dr. G. And let's not forget Debbie Rochon. She's been scarin' them silly for a long time in the B movies. She deserves a "scream out" as well.

  4. Arlene Domkowski is the associate publisher of Scarlet: the Film Magazine, carrying on the grand traditions of classic horror film appreciation and analysis. She is not only classy and gorgeous but smart!!!

    And then there is me, Deborah Painter, a genre writer since 1979 and contributor to the Warren Publishing Company's Famous Monsters of Filmland. I've written for Scary Monsters Magazine, Filmfax, Spacemen and Spacewomen, and many more!! I've covered many a convention and done oodles of interviews and I have written two books!

  5. I love Debbie Rochon - she's terrific. I just interviewed her in Nashville a few weeks back at the tattoo show, matter of fact. She certainly has put in many years acting in the horror genre.

  6. Hi Deborah - nice to meet you! I fully intended this article to be a starting off point for discussion, and hoped some other folks would chime in with other great nominees. Thanks so much for doing so! Great suggestions!

  7. Larry, it's grand of you to have said those things about me. Thanks so much.