10 Questions for Cinema Insomnia’s Mr. Lobo!
One of the funnest things about doing this site is dealing with the actual people we write about and getting their support. Horror hosts are stars to me and to be able to talk to them and e-mail with them is a dream come true! It was a great pleasure doing my piece MR. LOBO’S CINEMA INSOMNIA and the positive response from both Mr. Lobo himself and his assistant Dixie Dellamorto was such an inspiration. Here I present to you a 10 question Q&A I did with Mr. Lobo and I want to say to him that I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to answer these questions! I really appreciate it!
DAVID: Growing up, what were some of your favorite monster movies?
MR. LOBO: Movies always fueled my playtime as a kid and I had many favorites. I loved anything with FRANKENSTEIN–I had a Don Post mask and I used to wet it in the sink to make it look more gross. I also wrapped myself up like THE INVISIBLE MAN. THE BLOB was great and I used to squish MATTEL’s SLIME all over my MATCHBOX cars. When RIDLEY SCOTT’s ALIEN came out, I begged to have the 15 inch action figure for my birthday even though I was too young to see that film in the theater—I was terrified of the thing! First, I kept it in my closet–But I couldn’t sleep knowing it was there. Then, I moved it to the hall. Then, downstairs. Then outside the sliding glass door and finally, the garage to hang out with PULSAR and STRETCH MONSTER STRONG! DESTROY ALL MONSTERS was a favorite film as it had GHIDORA the 3 headed dragon VS. all the other giant monsters on Monster Island: GODZILLA, BABY GODZILLA, MOTHRA, RODAN—EVERYBODY!
DAVID: Did you have a favorite horror host (or hosts) growing up?
MR. LOBO: So many hosts influenced me growing up! (Although, I feel like I’ve only really grown up in years—not in maturity) I was hit hard by ROD SERLING, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, THE PHANTOM STRANGER from DC comics, COUNT FLOYD from SCTV, and I very much enjoyed ELVIRA as a teen emerging into young man-dom. However, my local host BOB WILKINS is my main influence because I had a deeper connection with him. Some of my earliest memories were of me watching Bob on TV. Back then, I was so terrified by those movies! I was the kind of kid who ran in the other room when The Skipper would yell at Gilligan—so Hammer Horror was pure torture! I wanted to be close to my dad who was asleep in the recliner. But it was Bob who was calming me down and talking to me between fits of fright-Not Dad. Bob was a calming presence and as an odd-ball kid who didn’t fit in–Bob was a person who seemed very comfortable being square. He didn’t care how he came off, so he came off as cool. He was the geek he wanted to be—and the geek I wanted to be too! As a fan, I know the kind of impact a host can have…and it’s an impact I strive for.
DAVID: What made you decide to become a horror host?
MR. LOBO: I always used to “play host” in the mirror or do skits with my friends who ran 16mm films as a hobby. Y’know—come to think of it, I was always “The Narrator” in school plays. Meeting BOB WILKINS as an adult changed my life. He was so unassuming and enormously supportive of everyone he came in contact with. He would encourage you to pursue your dreams and if he thought you were particularly gifted—he’d open a door and kick you in the pants. Bob suggested that I take a stab at horror hosting. I also had a friend named MIKE STRANGE at the ABC TV station in Sacramento, where I worked at for 5 years in the production dept. and he wanted me to do a show also. In July of 2001, there was finally a real opportunity—the station ran a movie at 3AM that ran 20 minutes short every week. I offered to fill the time and nobody stopped me. Eventually, in mid 2002, the show ended at that station and I decided that I wanted to continue…I started making the episodes myself and syndicating them to other markets.
DAVID: Your character of Mr. Lobo is different from most horror hosts. You are basically just a regular person…no vampire, ghoul or ghost host for you. What made you decide on this personification?
MR. LOBO: Rod Serling was just a “regular”guy but VERY effective as a spectral narrator and guide to the unknown. I never saw that many guys in make up and cheap Dracula capes as a kid. I guess, that’s the Northern California tradition if you look at BOB WILKINS, JOHN STANLEY, WHITEY GLEASON, etc. I didn’t really pick up on the fact that ELVIRA was a costume—I wanted to believe she was like that 24/7. Also, as a kid I couldn’t tell the difference between local and national TV—I didn’t really identify it as a genre. I do believe I have more freedom to show different types of weird movies in different genres and can lend my “character” to other types of projects. However I don’t think of Mr. Lobo as a character–and not really a “regular guy”either. Well, he is and he isn’t. He’s closer to the real me than the person I pretend to be for bill collectors, ex-wives, and most family members. BOB WILKINS, who passed away in 2009, was a regular guy and I began the show as a parody and homage to that kind of host. Bob actively advised me until he was too ill to do so…I continue to take inspiration from Bob’s life–he was a warm, funny, and brilliant man who helped people. You wanted to hang out with him on Saturday Night.
DAVID: You participated in a Godzilla event with Dr. Goulfinger. Are you a Godzilla fan?
MR. LOBO: Yes.
DAVID: Do you keep in touch with Dr. Goulfinger (or any other hosts for that matter)?
MR. LOBO: I haven’t heard from the Dok in a long time. I tried to visit his website recently and sadly it was gone. I try to do as many collaborative projects with other Hosts as possible. I have done several events and projects with JOHN STANLEY, MISS MONSTER and WILL THE THRILL—also, I have done several film shows with ELVIRA and PEACHES CHRIST—all in the SF Bay Area. I’ve been on COUNT GORE DE VOL’s CREATURE FEATURE several times and in his biopic EVERY OTHER DAY IS HALLOWEEN, also in the Washington DC area I have been on KARLOS BORLOFF’s MONSTER MADHOUSE and hosted another documentary that covers these two great men and scores of other hosts called VIRGINIA CREEPERS and I stay in touch with many of them. I helped JOSH HADLEY in Wisconsin do several hosted movie shows and we talk frequently. This year, I made a lot of new horror host pals–I taped a show with JEBEDIAH BUZZARD, I hosted BLOBFEST with New York’s GHOUL A GO-GO and Philly’s STELLA and finally met DR. SARCOFAGUY! At MONSTER BASH I hung out with PENNY DREADFUL, GAROU, PROFESSOR VON BULOW and LUNA from Massachusetts and BONE JANGLER from Chicago and got to meet IVAN VON CRYPTOSIS. I wrote a comic book about the current crop of horror hosts with artist BRIAN MAZE called 13 HOSTS and many of them are dear friends!
DAVID: Who would you say your favorite hosts are, past and present?
MR. LOBO: Some of these I mentioned before, ZACHERLE, SVENGOOLIE, GHOULARDI, ROD SERLING, WILLIAM CASTLE, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, THE PHANTOM STRANGER, COUNT FLOYD, THE CRYPT KEEPER, COUNT GORE DEVOL, BOWMAN BODY, MORGUS, GRAMPA, UNCLE EERIE, KARLOS BORLOFF, DR. PAUL BEARER, GHOUL A GO GO, JOHN STANLEY, MARVIN, VAMPIRA, CRISWELL, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, RHONDA from USA’s UP ALL NIGHT, ELVIRA and, of course, BOB WILKINS.
DAVID: You were missed at the HorrorHound Vampira tribute in Indianapolis this past March. Do you plan on doing any big appearances where we may see you at?
MR. LOBO: Thank you. I wanted to be there. It looked like fun. I would love to be booked for next year…I’m like a vampire I have to be invited…and you have to feed me. I did my own personal tribute to Vampira—I wrote her obituary for my local paper—that has been reprinted in several fan publications and I made a small (very small) donation to her burial. I kind of felt there were a lot of glory hounds at that event…that took away from the hosts who were there for the less selfish reasons in my opinion. I go where I am wanted…or needed. When I am at a show making an appearance–I’m not there for myself—I’m there for the fans. If I am not a legitimate draw for the fans then I don’t need to be there. I’ve been doing big events across the country. I love Indiana. I hosted the B-Movie Celebration there in the past and enjoyed it immensely. They brought me out and I worked VERY HARD to give the fans and the organizers their moneys worth. We just did a LIVE episode of CINEMA INSOMNIA at THE GUILD theater in Sacramento featuring THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS to great response. I’d like to duplicate that coast to coast. I’d like to tour the country and tape segments for my show in front audiences everywhere.
DAVID: I became aware of you through your DVD releases. Where can people see you actually on tv? Any plans on expanding where you can be seen?
MR. LOBO: There are always plans to expand—our goal is every state in the union! Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, Wichita, Orlando, Vegas…our syndicator AMGTV puts it up on a satellite and it’s available for downlink to more than 150 stations and anyone who still has a big backyard dish. It’s also picked up by 100’s of cable systems and in some areas on dish network. Karlos Borloff and other hosts have aired my material on various stations to spread the love to the less fortunate.
DAVID: Will you be releasing more DVD’s in the future for those of us not fortunate enough to have you broadcast in their area?
MR. LOBO: We have over 25 titles currently available at http://www.thegrindhouse.net and we put out at least one DVD every month. We also retire titles on a regular basis for many reasons–hard to manage more than 25 CINEMA INSOMNIA titles at a time—especially at shows. Right now, we have a 4 hour DOUBLE DISC DANGER PACK of our 2 episode Halloween special featuring ERIC MILLER’s indy cult film MARK OF THE DAMNED. We have a special signed and numbered limited orange cased edition of CINEMA INSOMNIA’s 2002 BOB WILKINS HALLOWEEN SPECIAL that included 3D glasses and giant pumpkin seeds! THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS are due out later this year. You can also see CINEMA INSOMNIA episodes on http://www.cinemainsomnia.com via livestream 24 hours a day. And if you still cant get enough Mr. Lobo, I also do a weekly CRISWELL PREDICTS! On YouTube to promote my role in DARKSTONE ENTERTAINMENT’s new PLAN 9 movie.
In closing I also want to thank Mr. Lobo’s assistant Dixie Dellamorto for providing the pictures used in this article!
Just a quick update. I want to thank Mr. Lobo for his kind word about our site on his Facebook page. This is what he had to say:
Mr. Lobo would like to begin by thanking the Daves who worked hard putting the website together and for covering Mr. Lobo in not one but two great pieces. Part one is an article from perspective of a skeptical horror host fan who was won over by Mr. Lobo’s non-traditional approach. Part two is an in depth Q&A Between one of the Daves and Mr. Lobo, where Mr. Lobo was able to talk about his Mentor, his inspirations, and his love of horror movies as well as talk about his favorite Host (himself).
He also had this to say:
Mr. Lobo would to thank David Albaugh for putting together a great two part article. Mentioned in the interview: Will Viharo, Jonathan Morken, Karlos Borloff, Gore De Vol, Ghoul A Go-Go and many others.