Getting an interview with Chicago’s classic (and modern) horror host, Svengoolie, isn’t easy. Aside from his numerous responsibilities to his station, WCIU, he is also a local celebrity and active in his city. Worse, I had the nerve to make this request amid one of his busiest months of public appearances (last October) that I had seen to date. I was, therefore, surprised when he agreed and answered my questions within a few short weeks. Rather than ask the usual biographical questions I, as a lifelong fan, already knew the answers to, I decided to go a different route. I asked myself, “If I was ever locked in an elevator with Rich Koz for an hour, what would I ask him?” Below are the questions I, as a devoted Svengoolie fan, really wanted to know. For anyone less familiar and interested in some you can check out his site HERE and my memories of Svengoolie HERE.
DAVE: The highlight of your show has, for me, always been your parody song. On average, how long does it take you to choose the prefect song and re-write the material to fit your presentation? Can you take us through the process?
SVENGOOLIE: Choosing the song is not an exact science. Sometimes, I’ll think of something right away that has a phrase in it that will work perfectly…other times, I will have to wrack my brain over a couple days to come up with something. Most of the time, I come up with a song that has one or two definite phrases that I know will work with the subject matter (with a little sound-alike tinkering)…I’ll then call Doug Graves, who does all the arrangements and instrumentation, tell him what song it is, and how much of it we’ll do…before I actually write it. then, when I sit down to write the whole show, which I usually do in one long session, I’ll write all the lyrics. so, maybe a day or two to choose the song and figure out how much we’ll use- then, pretty much an hour or so to write the song…
DAVE: Of all the parodies you’ve performed, which are you the most proud of?
SVENGOOLIE: Hard to say what I’d be most proud of- I love when I can get the parody words to match the original wording fairly closely. I still love “Boogie Woogie Boogie Man of Berwyn” – as well as “Werewolves of Berwyn”- the parody we did for one of the Mummy flicks of Pink’s “You and Ur Hand”… “Hit the Road, Drac”… wow, the thing is I can’t remember them all right now, so it’s tough to pick favorites. I did like the parody of “Holiday for Strings” that mentioned the titles of a lot of the movies we’d shown…
DAVE: In a few instances, you’ve taken your parodies a step further and made actual music videos (e.g. “Zombie #5 & “Tomb Digger”). How long does it take to put one of those together and are there any plans to do any more?
SVENGOOLIE: The music video type songs take fairly long taping sessions, and often, multiple takes for the various parts, which is what limits us from doing more- we only have so much production time. We have sometimes had to have a separate production day to do one of those.I always liked our Ricky Martin take-off “Putting the Heat on Hope-uh” for GHOST BREAKERS, which required dancers, me made up as Bob Hope, and even a rigged dolly shot…yes, if we have a good video to parody that we can pull off, we’ll do more...
DAVE: You just completed one of your busiest seasons of Svengoolie public appearances. I’ve been to many of these and am amazed at how diverse your fans are. Is it me, or does it seem like the lines are getting longer? Can you highlight some interesting interactions with your fans?
SVENGOOLIE: It does seem the lines have gotten longer! We usually do a two hour signing, and it’s very rare that we don’t have to cut off the line early to make sure that we’ll end on time.The reactions of the fans are amazing to me- they are so sincere, and lately, a lot of them thank me for still doing the show. I hear about how it’s been a bright spot in people’s lives for years, from their childhood on (yes, I AM old!)- how my show is a family viewing tradition- how it has brightened a dark part of someone’s life,or made someone who feels like an outsider feel special. I’ve had interaction with deaf fans, blind fans, people who have gone through or are going through tough physical illnesses, and it’s so touching that they feel like I’m a good friend.
DAVE: Your HD presentation of THE BIRDS was a ratings winner and definitely one of the highlights of 2010. Do you have any plans to do any more HD shows in the future?
SVENGOOLIE: We may do more HD- that’s the way the business is going, obviously. The problem is that a two-hour show shot in HD uses up a lot of space in our servers, as far as editing and storage, so that may limit us from doing too many shows like that for now…
DAVE: If you could gain the rights to show ANY movie which would you choose?
SVENGOOLIE: Wow- the wish list would be sooo long- but one I would absolutely LOVE to show is “Fiend Without a Face”- we’ve had so many requests for it, and people have such vivid memories of it- plus, we’d be able to have a lot of fun doing segments to surround it.
DAVE: I loved watching the “Night of the Svengoolies” where you and Jerry G. Bishop (the original Svengoolie) shared a stage for Q&A. I know you mentioned that in the early “Son of Svengoolie” days Jerry made an appearance on your show. Was he in costume and have the two Svengoolies ever been seen in costume together?
SVENGOOLIE: Yes, Jerry was on, as himself…he was in town to visit, didn’t have his costume with him, nor would he have put it on…he just didn’t want to wear the stuff anymore (and I think he himself said “I can’t even fit in those pants anymore!” -I know the feeling…) especially after we had worked at WMAQ radio and, as an event for radio sponsors , they had a “Svengoolie wake”- with a dummy of him as Sven in a coffin! That was actually kinda creepy… so, no, actually, we never were both “Svenned-up” at the same time on a show…
DAVE: Your latest Svengoolie shirt design has out sold previous designs and I love your button collection. Any plans to expand your merchandising including perhaps DVD’s?
SVENGOOLIE: I have a meeting in the next two weeks to discuss further merchandising…we’ll have to see what comes of that. We discuss doing a dvd all the time, and have some choices to make before we actually do it. Isn’t doing things legally a pain?!
DAVE: Your blog has brightened many a dreary day at work. I am always amazed how you manage to not only post daily but never cease to run out of material to talk about. How do you find the time to do this? Do you plan your entries or do they just come to you?
SVENGOOLIE: I never intended to write the blog daily- until one production manager told me that was what they wanted. I write it even if it means staying up past my bedtime to have enough time to do so. I usually don’t do to much planning- it’s whatever hits me, or that I see or hear about. Naturally, when we have a show or event to plug, that becomes a subject. It’s kind of like writing a daily newspaper column- and shows me that, actually, I could do that! It’s really a matter of keeping your mind open to subject matter, and being willing to do research at times.
DAVE: You are currently sharing a station with The Mistress of the Dark. I know when I met her in March she clearly admired you. I asked her if she had heard of you prior to 2008 Flashback Weekend and she lit up and asnwered, “Definitely!” Any chance we’ll see you share a stage again with the great Elvira again?
SVENGOOLIE: Elvira was absolutely a charmer, and so incredibly nice! I was very flattered that she even knew about me- when we met at Flashback, she – an incredible horror icon- had said, “it’s nice to finally meet you after hearing so much about you”- and I was floored -”YOU heard about ME?!” She was such a good sport to break away from her signing to come up onstage with me. I’d love to do something with her again. I’d love to do some combo promos with her here at the station. She is so cute and funny,and, yes, guys, just plain gorgeous.
There are so many types of horror movies out there…slashers, vampires, werewolves, inbred families, etc. It seems like most of these come and go in cycles. One successful movie will come out and then all of a sudden you will be inundated with similar movies and television shows. One type of movie though doesn’t seem to subscribe to this…the zombie movie. It seems that they have always been there, lurking in the background ready to strike at a moments notice. With the exception of a period during the 80′s, we have never really been overwhelmed with zombie films. They are sporadic and there certainly seems to be more hits than misses. The movie I am talking about here is certainly one of the hits!
THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD was released on August 16, 1985. This film was written and directed by Dan O’Bannon (also known for writing such genre films as ALIEN, LIFEFORCE and the remake of INVADERS FROM MARS) and John Russo, one of the original writers of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). What O’Bannon did was take a tried and true type of horror movie…added a comedy element…and managed to do what most horror/comedies have failed to do. He managed to make it work! In fact it worked so well that critics raved about it (which you don’t see very often with horror movies). This type of movie is rare simply because it does work on so many levels. The humor is dark, the characters are fun, the special effects are fantastic and the soundtrack is one of the best rock soundtracks ever released.
Though this movie is not meant to be a sequel in any way to any of the George Romero zombie films, it does reference the original zombie classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The plot is interesting in that the two main characters, Frank and Freddy (played brilliantly by James Karen and Thom Mathews) discuss the 1968 film stating that what happened in that film was a variation of an event that actually happened. In the “real” story a chemical, 2-4-5 Trioxin, is created by the Army to spray on marijuana. What the Army ended up discovering though was that the chemical caused corpses to reanimate. So they placed the bodies into some sealed drums and shipped them off to be stored safely. But, due to a “typical army fuck up” the drums ended up at the Uneeda Medical Supply company, where Freddy is learning the ropes on his first day at work. Frank, wanting to impress Freddy, takes him into the basement to show him the drums and accidentally breaches the seal, releasing the chemical into the supply house.
Not only are Frank and Freddy exposed to this chemical, but so are things within the warehouse. Split dogs, mounted butterfly specimens and cadavers used for ballistics testing all come back to life. To rid themselves of this problem, the reanimated items are brought to the crematorium next door. As they are burned, the ashes and the chemical go up the chimney mixing in the atmosphere, only to be brought back down to earth, and into the nearby cemetery, thanks to a sudden rainstorm. Isn’t it interesting how most horror movies have a rainstorm? This of course reanimates all of the corpses in the cemetery.
The cast of ROTLD is second to none and they all do well in their roles, providing just enough comedy and terror to help make this movie succeed on the level that it does. Some of the notable actors and actresses include Clu Gulager (who plays Burt, the owner of the medical supply company), Don Calfa (who plays Ernie, owner of the mortuary/crematorium), Beverly Randolph (who plays Freddy’s girlfriend Tina) and scream queen Linnea Quigley (who plays Trash, a woman whose biggest fear about dying actually comes true). In my opinion it is the chemistry between James Karen and Thom Mathews that makes this film. Their characters are believable and they are the type of people you would want to hang out with. That takes nothing away from the supporting cast though!
Beverly Randolph, who plays Tina, is another fun character to watch. She is the girl next door type who every guy wants to be with. She is cute, innocent and yet still likes to be with the bad boy. It is obvious that she loves Freddy and will tolerate hanging with his friends, who may not be her normal type of person to hang with, just to prove that love. Even though this movie is rated R, and the “F” bomb is dropped, Tina would still rather say “Oh fudge!” which endears the character even more. I finally got to meet Beverly Randolph at the ROCK AND SHOCK CONVENTION in Worcester, MA and all I can say is that she really is Tina! She is one of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met!
Since I was a teenager in the 80′s I was no stranger to the scream queen trio of Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer and of course, Linnea Quigley. I believe it was this movie that really put her on the map, thanks in part to her nude dance on top of a crypt. I remember back when this was out on videotape (this was before you could afford to buy movies and you had to rent them) and watching this movie, I found that the tracking would always get messed up during this dance. I found out later that this was due to people pausing and watching this scene over-and-over again. It would actually wear this section of tape down!
Another star of this film are the zombies themselves. A combination of outstanding makeup, animatronics and puppetry bring the living dead to life. Perhaps the best known zombie in ROTLD is Tarman. Tarman, played by Allan Trautman, is a site to behold. He is so slimy and rotting that you can actually smell the decay. Never has a zombie looked, or moved this good, in any zombie flick! Another standout character is the half female corpse that we see on the table as she discusses why they eat brains. Tony Gardner should be commended for this amazing effect. Though it is done through animatronics and puppetry, it is just so beautiful to behold (if a torn in half rotted corpse could actually look beautiful)!
What else is interesting about this film is how the zombies move. Everyone talks about how the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD introduced us to the fast moving, even running at times, zombie. This is so not true as the zombies in ROTLD run in many scenes! Though it is more realistic that zombies should move slowly, it certainly is scarier to have them running after you!
Overall this is just one of those rare gems that comes along not often enough. To date, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD has spawned four sequels, each one progressively worse than the previous. Though part two was enjoyable on its own, it just did not stack up to the charm and fun of the original. The last two entries, parts four and five, made their debut in edited versions on the SyFy Channel, which tells you right there how bad they are, which is a shame. Hopefully when people see these later entries it will not prevent them from enjoying the original, which still holds up today as well as it did when it was released in 1985.
RESPONSE FROM BEVERLY RANDOLPH VIA FACEBOOK 1-25-2011: “I just read it and love it! Thank you so much for all your kind words and fabulous pictures. It is so well done!!! XOXOXO”
Coming soon! My review of the book “The Complete History Of The Return Of The Living Dead” by Christian Sellers and Gary Smart. You can order your own copy here!
Recently my co-blogger, David, stated he was going to try and watch the entire series of THE X-FILES from beginning to end (nine seasons/a couple episodes a day). As he and I sometimes influence one another regarding what shows to watch, I suddenly felt that this was a great opportunity to revisit the series as well. I hadn’t watched it since back in the 1990′s when I was in my roaring 20′s and an avid X-Phile (sort of the of THE X-FILES equivalent of a “Trekkie” if you’re a STAR TREK fan).
Not long after I began re-watching the series, I found myself becoming enthralled, once again, with Agents Mulder & Scully as well as all the great “monsters” and government conspiracies they relentlessly pursued. As they’d uncover one government plot, new ones would develop, making their search for “The Truth” akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
For those too young or living under a rock during the 1990′s, THE X-FILES was a FOX television series featuring two FBI agents assigned to investigate the bureau’s more “unusual” cases. Fox Mulder was a brilliant agent whose belief that his sister had been abducted by aliens causes him to focus his talents on an obsessive search for the unknown. In contrast, Agent Dana Scully was a no nonsense, non-believer who had the dubious task of trying to reign in her partner while, at the same time, trying to reconcile the things she’s seen and can’t explain.
The series struck a chord with the public, especially those of us who have long believed that the United States Government can’t be completely trusted. It reached its height during the Clinton presidency and it can be argued that our sometimes popular, yet rarely deemed trustworthy, 42nd President aided in its popularity as well. Regardless, past historical events such as the Kennedy assassination and Watergate had inadvertently created a “twenty-something” generation of viewers more willing to believe in extraterrestrials than an honest government. The series became an unlikely hit, was lots of fun, and the chemistry between the shows lead characters created some of the best sexual tension ever seen on the small screen.
Accompanying my new-found admiration for the series was a flood of memories regarding that period of my life when the show still aired. I was 22 when the series began and it appealed to me on a somewhat personal level. Unlike most fans, my father was an actual FBI agent. He was also quite successful in the Bureau and reached great heights in his career before his recent retirement. With a strong sense of direction, he worked his way from a dismissed, teen-aged father to a lofty government position. My parents had divorced when I was eleven and my father and I had never been close. In terms of his priorities, career was EVERYTHING to him while family and children ranked somewhere in the basement next to Mulder’s file cabinet.
Today, my father is the first to admit this and I don’t hold any animosity towards him. Not everyone was cut out for fatherhood and he certainly was good at what he did do. He also never shirked his financial obligations even while completely abandoning his emotional ones. Objectively, I would have to say that he made the world a better place in his own way. In the 1990′s, however, I wasn’t quite so wise nor forgiving.
Poster that hung prominently in my room in the 90′s
In the age of Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, public opinion regarding the FBI was less than stellar. I understood why he wasn’t pleased that his eldest child believed he and his fellow agents were spending the tax payer’s money tracking down “little green men.” At the same time, this small token of rebelliousness had drawn me to the series even further.
For the record, the show never suggested it was The FBI nor The CIA that were responsible for keeping the bulk of the secrets. Rather, it presented a “shadow government” - a behind the scenes power elite controlling world events while manipulating the ever-ignorant public. This notion first became popular after the Kennedy assassination and the belief still holds among many to this day.
I was also seeing my future wife, Connie, at the time who watched the show with me. We had been “friends” for awhile, having not quite crossed the line into an actual relationship. Much of the tension between the characters onscreen seemed to carry over to us off-screen. Making it even more fun was the fact that Connie was the stoic, non-believer while I may as well have carried Mulder’s office poster over my head stating “I WANT TO BELIEVE.” This gave us an opportunity to indirectly discuss what was going on between us while officially addressing the show. For example, I had been interested in taking our relationship to the next level and always stated how great it would be to see Mulder & Scully get together. She’d argue that things would soon spoil and it was best kept the way it was.
In 1998 I ended up marrying my “Scully.” Exactly two weeks later we attended an X-FILES EXPO in Chicago. It was jam packed with fans and featured guest appearances from Mitch Pileggi (Agent Skinner) and The Lone Gunman, a lovable band of super nerds who occasionally assisted Mulder in his work. It seemed, at that point, nothing could stop the hit series but, soon after the new Millennium, it quickly began to falter. By the 8th season Mulder (and most of the core viewers) had left the series. Without the weekly Mulder/Scully dynamic, the show had little resemblance to what had made it so great in the first place. Like the recent TV series LOST, by the time it was over, viewers had become dizzy and fatigued from the constant plot turns.
The show spawned two movies, most recently 2008′s I WANT TO BELIEVE. I had high hopes about this film but ended up being disappointed by it. Hearing that they were planning a departure from the on-going alien/government conspiracy “mythology,” I looked forward to a great Silver Screen “monster of the week” show. I, and many other fans, were disappointed with the dull final result which I’m still not sure how to classify. Plus, after years of “sexual tension,” it was downright anti-climactic seeing Fox Mulder and Dana Scully lying next to each other in bed looking bored out of their minds.
Really wanted to see a return of “The Flukeman” in the new movie!
2008 would also be the year that my father would retire from the Bureau. I flew out to the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington DC to attend the ceremony which would also feature a speech from The Bureau Director himself. Before gaining special access to the famed Pennsylvania Avenue fortress, there was a vestibule featuring numerous historical items from the FBI’s now 100 year history (also being celebrated in 2008). I was immediately drawn to a glass case in the middle of the room containing a familiar sight. I smiled as I gazed inside and saw the special Mulder & Scully “Barbie & Ken” dolls put out by Mattel during the show’s run.
Apparently since the show’s demise, the Bureau had learned to, at last, embrace THE X-FILES. At least enough to grant Mulder and Scully access to the same building they had fictitiously worked at for nearly a decade.
I must say that I don’t blame The FBI for finally embracing the duo. When you’re a 100 year old agency, representing a government that few people trust, you have to appreciate any show (including one that has you chasing monsters) that manages to make you look downright sexy.
And for that kind of a make-over, who’s really interested in The Truth?
I know what you’re thinking. “This is a going to be a scathing review of a crappy B movie,” right? Well, you’re wrong, though I certainly understand that a title like HARPOON: WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE probably doesn’t evoke images of Academy Awards nor high critical acclaim. While it is true that neither events are likely going to happen for this film, I would strongly encourage horror fans to get themselves a copy. You see, despite the gratuitous title, this movie is clever and a LOT of fun!
I was wandering the aisles of the local video store when the title caught my attention. Ever since THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I am naturally drawn to titles with the word “Massacre” in it. To me, it implies that the viewer is in for some great gore-filled thrills as witnessed in that 1973 classic. Thus began years of collecting any “Massacre” title I could find.
Made in Iceland in 2009 (original title HARPOON: REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE), this horror import was just released in the United States in December 2010. As the US was just ending a rather weak year in horror film releases, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Unlike the aforementioned “Massacre” films, this movie actually does pay homage to TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Not only does it feature one of that film’s alumnis (Gunnar Hansen) it also features a similar plot; inbred family of cannibalistic psychos feasting on those unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Instead of the dry Texas dust-bowl, or the lush West Virginian woods (as is the case in the similarly themed WRONG TURN) this film takes place in the open ocean. This also provides a bit of historical context and a clue to the film’s title.
Probably the most disturbing aspect of the film is in the opening credits that feature actual whaling footage from Iceland’s past. This is a country which prospered during a time when whaling was at its peak and may never have fully recovered since its end. As an animal lover, I find whaling to be a dreadful practice. Regardless of your feelings about the whaling industry, the fact remains that there is NO humane way to kill Earth’s largest animals. The movie, however, does a fairly good job in not only portraying the dissenting viewpoints of the debate, but also pointing out just how ridiculous members of both sides can be.
This is just one of the reasons this film is more than just your average “body count” slasher. It also has some rather interesting characters that break the stereotypical list of victims. The film features a racially diverse group of whale watchers who are all pretty despicable people. That is with the exception of the lone African American who finds a fate similar that of “Ben” in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Other than that unfortunate victim, it is safe to say that the rest of characters (be they killer or victim) are about as loathsome as can be. That is not to say, however, that they are lacking in entertainment value. My favorite of which was a wily Korean woman who could very well have written a book afterwards titled, “How to Make a Traumatic Situation Work for You!”
There’s also some cool death scenes, including a whale’s-eye view of an incoming harpoon (though not targeting an animal). And speaking of whales, there’s another memorable scene that will cause you to never look at “Free Willy” the same way again!
Last Friday, the Horror Hosting world was rocked with the news that their beloved friend, and fellow host, Barry Hobart a.k.a. Dr. Creep had passed away. As neither of The Daves had the privilege of meeting Dr. Creep nor had any familiarity with his show, we did not feel qualified to present our own tribute piece. Instead we felt it would be more appropriate to hear from his peers, as well as those whom had met and worked alongside him. Before his death we felt it unfortunate that we never me Mr. Hobart. After reading some of the amazing tributes below, it is even more regretful.
A GHASTLEE GHOUL: I still vividly remember watching the very first episode of Shock Theater with Dr. Creep. I was eight years old. My parents had gone to bed and I was flipping through the channels and adjusting the rabbit ears when this scary man appeared on the screen. Yes, Dr. Creep was SCARY for the first few episodes, with fangs and a more menacing countenance than the big teddy bear we all came to love. Up to that point, even at that young age, I’d fancied hosting a kid’s show like Captain Kangaroo when I grew up, but once I saw Creep I wanted to be THAT guy! Staying up to watch his show became a weekly ritual, and soon the good Doctor also began co-hosting the local afternoon kid’s show, Clubhouse 22. A horror host AND a kid’s show host! He was my hero.
It would be about nine years before we ever met in person. I was co-chairing a Jaycee’s haunted house and we went on Shock Theater to promote. By then the show had moved to Saturday afternoons and was being pre-recorded, after some wild debauchery during a couple of the live episodes! Even as a semi-jaded teen it was like going to the North Pole and meeting Santa. Anyone who ever met Barry knows his genuine kindness and sense of humor. You only had to meet him once to feel like he was a good friend.
He came out to our haunt that year for an appearance and was so much fun, going through the house several times with the crowds, his distinctive, infectious laugh carrying above the screams. We had a tape loop playing outside telling the story of the “legend” of the house, the old “man murders entire family forty years ago and may still be at large on the property” kind of thing. I was standing outside with Barry when he leaned over and asked, “Is that true?” What? Had Dr. Creep, purveyor of all things scary, fallen for some schtick I’d written? That was Barry, a big kid at heart, and always on the hunt for a real ghost story. He gave us a great idea for a scene for the house that night too, which we built and surprised him with the following year. His eyes lit up when he saw his idea come to life.
Over the next nearly twenty years he appeared on my show many times, and I popped in on the New Shock Theatre revival that Andy Copp produced on public access. I called him my “Illegitimate Stepdaddy”. Barry took that a step further toward the heart and called me his son, which, in the horror host family sense, I suppose is true. What an honor and privilege! In 2002 he came on my show, bringing an attractive lady vampire named Suspira with him. He came in saying “Ho, ho, ho! I brought you something!” Little did anyone know at that time that the joke would carry over to real life. In 2003 Dr. Creep was my best man at our horror host wedding at Cleveland’s Cinema Wasteland convention, perhaps the greatest night of my life. Just one more way Barry changed the course of my life, as he did the lives of so many others.
Over the years we appeared at a lot of events and conventions together. Barry was never at all territorial or competitive with other hosts, he embraced us all as family. Barry loved people, and people loved him. On road trips and while at conventions and events he was always engrossing us with stories, some we had heard but never tired of, others that made you say, “Wow! Why haven’t I ever heard THAT one before?” A truly fascinating man with so many facets, beyond the makeup. He was a DJ on Voice of America, wrestled professionally, and was even an Elvis impersonator! Many times I’d be listening and flash back to that little kid watching that first episode of Shock Theater, and appreciate how fortunate I was to have this man in my life.
Barry’s kindness, humor, generosity made him much more than just a legendary horror host. He was the kind of person who affected everyone he met in some positive way, from his never-ending charitable work to the simple warmth of his handshake and smile; he made the world a brighter place. He will live on in the hearts and special memories of countless people. As I’m happy I never missed a chance to say: We love you, Barry.
BARON MONDO VON DOREN: Dr. Creep was an inspiration. One of the true greats of the glory days of horror hosting and a man who loved what he did and did it very well. Barry Hobart was a wonderful person. A friend who took time to offer a fledgling host advice and regale me with stories for hours as we sat together, talking and laughing at Cinema Wasteland. The world is a little dimmer for having lost them both.
Mike Ensley aka The Baron Mondo von Doren
BARON VON PORKCHOP: I would like to say some words about the late, great Berry Hobart a.k.a. Dr. Creep. I never had the honor of meeting this horror host legend, but through the things I have read, seen, and heard, I now wish I would have had the chance to sit down and chat with this fine gentleman. Being new to the world of horror hosting, I was introduced to Dr. Creep’s work through my Director Matthew Brassfield. Mr. Brassfield is a long time friend of Dr. Creep and had many stories to tell about the man Berry Hobart and the legend Dr. Creep. After showing me many episodes of Shock Theater and The New Shock Theater, I was hooked. The magnetism and charisma of Dr. Creep was enough to keep you watching for hours. Every episode was fun and entertaining, I found myself laughing out loud at some of his charming antics. His work has been a huge inspiration for me personally and for our show and from reading some of these other tributes, for many other horror hosts as well. Dr. Creep will be sorely missed, but his legend will live on through everyone he has inspired and helped through is charitable nature. My dearest condolences to his family and friends.
THE BONE JANGLER: It’s not often that I find myself speechless, as I tend to speak as if I’d just invented the mouth only moments ago. However, something happened on Friday, January 14th, that has left me both saddened, and disoriented. What happened was that my friend Barry Hobart passed away in a hospice at the age of 68.
Barry Hobart is a name that, perhaps, may not be familiar to you. Dr. Creep, on the other hand is a name that anyone who even remotely considers themself a Horror Host fan should, indeed, know quite well. Barry Hobart was inspired to create his beloved Dr. Creep persona by his uncle Doug Hobart’s “Dr. Traboh’s Chamber of Horrors” traveling spook-show. Dr. Creep made his debut on Saturday night, January 1st, 1972, on a Dayton, Ohio program known as “Shock Theater.” Instantly, Dr. Creep became a sensation, with many viewers, and “Shock Theater” became a destination point for countless fans. Barry had actually been supplying creepy voiceovers for another program, “Science Shock Theatre,” prior to this, but, it was as Dr. Creep that his legend began.
When I first became a Horror Host myself, back in September of 2001, I wanted to make a splashy entrance into the genre, and knew that it was necessary to do so at a popular genre venue. This venue was the infamous Cinema Wasteland convention. So, Nocturna & I made our way to NE Ohio. Held only a few short days after the 9/11 tragedy, the atmosphere at the hotel was thick, and a little uneasy. We’d arrived late Friday afternoon, and spent many hours in the hotel lounge, discussing our goals, and plans, before finally making our way into the actual convention ballroom. We were quite incognito, seeing as no one knew who we were, and, we were dressed as mortals, trying to blend into the woodwork, and get a feel for the layout, and the show itself. That night, we hung out until the wee hours with The Son Of Ghoul, and his crew members, Bob Ferguson, and Joe Cole. But, that’s another story for another time. This is about Dr. Creep.
On Saturday morning, The Bone Jangler, and Nocturna, made our way into the show. It took a while, as we were stopped every few inches of the way by people commenting on our appearance, etc. We were there to make ourselves known. We headed over to The Son Of Ghoul’s table, where we were serenaded by SOG. A few short moments later, Dr. Creep made his way to the table. Nocturna & I were instantly blown away by the man’s extraordinary kindness, and his ability to effortlessly make you feel as if you’d known each other for years. He was quite inquisitive, asking us who we were, and what our “angle” was. He had his seal of approval, just like that, and that meant, and always will mean, a lot to us. I mean, we’re talking about Dr. Creep, a legendary Horror Host with a tenure that few others could boast of. Dr. Creep, with that booming voice, and laugh, was in our corner. We couldn’t believe it. His seal of approval gave us goosebumps. That day was an important day for us, meeting not only The Son Of Ghoul, and Dr. Creep, but Dr. Creep’s “son” A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Many photos were taken that day, more than I can count, and, as we made our way back to Chicagoland that afternoon, we couldn’t stop talking about it, and, in particular, Dr. Creep’s overwhelming kindness.
Barry Hobart was an extremely generous man. He created the Project Smiles program, designed to help needy children, and his charitable work is unmatched by anyone in the Horror Host industry. Nocturna & I have many memories of both Barry, and Dr. Creep, happy memories. While we are deeply saddened by the loss of this extraordinary man, we celebrate his life, a life that touched countless numbers of people. Also, it’s clear that, while Barry Hobart may have passed over into the Elysian Fields, Dr. Creep can never die. Dr. Creep Lives!
BUTCH R. CLEAVER: Barry Hobart aka Dr. Creep was not only a horror host inspiration to me but someone I grew up watching every weekend. I distinctly remember a our “horror club”: kids in my first grade class that would get together each Monday to discuss what cool monster movie we saw on Dr. Creep’s Shock Theater. Dr. Creep was my first horror host and introduced me amazing creatures like Frankentein’s Monster, Dracula, The Green Slime and Godzilla and he turned me on to all those wonderful Amicus films.
I stumbled across the horror host underground in early 2002 and became pals with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, who resided in Creep’s hometown of Dayton Ohio (just an hour north of our home). Through Ghastlee I was able to meet Dr. Creep, my childhood tv friend of so many years. It was a fantastic honor to not only meet him as a fan, but over the years to become his friend and to get to know the man behind the moniker. Barry was immediately warm and welcoming, he was supportive of our work as he was with all hosts he met. He was so humble and grateful when we would discuss his past hosting and he would share so much knowledge and so many stories of not only hosting, but of dark shows and film production and the world of television in the 70s. I have so many fond memories of spending time chatting and hanging out with Barry and Ghastlee.
Dr. Creep always believed in us even when we doubted ourselves. One example that really stuck with me was when we all shared a table at the Cinema Wasteland convention in Cleveland, Ohio…during one of the slower periods we asked Dr. Creep if he would mind watching our meager stack of MCT videos while we ran to grab a bite to eat…he graciously agreed. When we returned one of our tapes was gone and Barry handed us 30.00. He said he chatted up one of the guests into buying one of our tapes and sold it for 25.00 more than we were asking. He told us to “believe in your abilities and never sell yourself or your work short.” It was an amazing gesture from someone I had long admired and I’ll always treasure that advice.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and befriend a childhood icon such as Dr. Creep. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. I take comfort in knowing he has touched so many lives during his time with us…and in the end that is one of the most amazing legacies one can leave.
CHUCK DeCLOWN: It’s not everyone who gets the call to become a horror host. Hell, most of us never had the opportunity to grow up with one at all even. When the call came to me and I answered I decided to research those that had been before me and see wut the deal was. Dr. Creep and his antics on Shock Theater offered a great deal of inspiration for my own show and the work that I do. There have been many hosts and personalities, some better than others, and while his may not have been the greatest there was there is no denying that Dr. Creep was a strong influence on the entire horror host community overall. Our internets make the world a much smaller place, one where people who have never met can actually get close. Dr. Creep was one that I got close with. My sorrow is that I shall never be able to meet him nor thank him personally for his work and inspiration. My delight is, thanks to the internet, there will always be a memory of Dr Creep and his great work to share with us all forever. He will be missed.
COUNT GORE DE VOL: I’ve had the honor of spending a couple of weekends with the good Dr. Creep at Cinema Wasteland. At all times I found him to be a kind and generous person who thoroughly loved the art of horror hosting, as well as his fellow hosts. I will miss him.
COUNT GREGULA: Countess and I had the privilege to meet Dr. Creep at Cinema Wasteland in October of 2003. He vas very gracious and velcoming to us into the horror hosting community. Ve vere still new to the scene and not quite so familiar about other hosts outside of Chicagoland, yet he took the time to tell us of all the great people around the country including himself that have been hosting for years and their involvement in a group for horror hosts called the HHU (Horror Host Underground). I vill alvays remember him for his generous knowledge and DVD recommendation that led me to give hosting a try. R.I.P. Dr. Creep. You sure influenced many and vill be sorely missed by all.
DR. GANGRENE: Dr Creep is the best. Suffice it to say he was one of the kindest, nicest men I’ve ever met. Always quick to think of others, always quick with a compliment, and boy did he have some stories – and that laugh… Hoo hoo ha ha ha. Priceless.
HALLOWEEN JACK: It pains me to talk about those sad days when the luminaries that we love and idolize so much, depart this world. Though, you feel somewhat detached when it’s someone you know only through their work and not personally. It still pains me, but I can’t say that I hate it. Until it’s under circumstances like these. When it hits close to home, then I hate it more than anything in this world.
It’s with a heavy heart that I talk about the passing of one of our own. A dear friend, a great, generous, kind person. Someone who inspired and paved the way for many horror hosts.
Yesterday we lost Barry Hobart, who we had come to know and love as the iconic horror host, Dr. Creep.
There has been and there is going to be much written about him on all the social networks. His accomplishments, his charitable work, his brilliance and his love for this business. And all deservedly so. Volumes can be written about the talent and generosity of this man. There isn’t much I am going to be able to add to that, so I want to draw from my own personal memories.
When I received the news of his passing, I flashed back on our first meeting. It was in 2001. A. Ghastlee Ghoul had been doing all night movie marathon’s at the Neon Theater in Ohio. One sad day, new owners had made a decision to turn the classic theater into a cinema, so the grand finale of the Ghastlee all-nighters was fast approaching. He put the call out to his fellow horror hosts, stating that if you ever wanted to attend one of these, now was the time. So Bago Bones and I packed up the car and off we went to the vast outback of the Sierra Umphweephwee region of Southwestern Ohio!
It was a grand experience meeting some of my fellow horror hosts for the first time, and friends such as Robin Hershey and Bob Ferguson, who were as much a part of the history of horror hosting in Ohio as the hosts themselves. The hosts in attendance were Dr. Gangrene, Curtis Prather – the producer of “The Spooky Movie,” the young – but old beyond his years Dr. Freak and of course, the legendary Dr. Creep.
As with many of the horror host icons I’ve had the pleasure to meet, I knew of Dr. Creep’s work through trading tapes with various friends over the years. When I heard he was arriving, I was excited, but nervous. I even found that I was trembling ever so slightly. After all, he was as much a legend to me as Zacherley or Vampira. In through the doors walked this larger than life presence, smiling, shaking hands, signing autographs. Everything a horror host should be. After introductions were made, he treated us to stories of his time on the air. He had this wonderful quality about him. He made you feel comfortable, as if you were old friends. And he was a master story teller.
As much as we didn’t want to break away from the campfire atmosphere, with Dr. Creep holding us all spellbound, it was show time! We were ushered into the theater and onstage where we were introduced to the audience and played a quick trivia game called “Stump the Hosts,” and stump us they did! The questions that the audience asked were incredible. One for example, “what was Henry Spencer’s apartment number in the film Eraserhead?” Huh? We were bombing out big time. Finally someone asked “What serial killer was the film “Deranged” based on?” “Wait,” I thought to myself. I know this! I yelled out “Ed Gein!” Finally, one for the hosts. Then from his side of the stage, Dr. Creep walked over to me, grabbed me by the arm and said “Halloween Jack, you saved us!” Then came that booming laugh that I had heard so often on tape. Hearing it in person gave me chills and goose bumps. I felt that night was my passage, my acceptance, my ticket into the world of horror hosting.
Flash forward to a few months ago. Right after the 2010 Horror Hound weekend, I talked to Dr. Creep on the phone. He sounded wonderful and in good spirits. You never would have known that during that weekend he had an episode which put him in the hospital. He seemed to have pushed that out of his mind and gushed on about all the wonderful people and horror hosts he had met. Some, ever so briefly, but enough to make an impression on him. He sounded like a child who gets to meet their hero or childhood idol. I couldn’t help but think this was a little bit backwards. He was acting like they were the legends! But, that was the humble, generous nature of this sweet man. He adored everyone and was grateful for the love and respect he received in return.
As I am writing this, I find myself choked up and at a loss for words. Two things that normally don’t happen to me, but such was the impact of this man on my life.
My heartfelt condolences to Dr. Creep’s family and all his friends. He will be missed, but never forgotten. He will forever be in our hearts and will forever be a part of Horror Host History.
R.I.P. Dr. Creep.
KARLOS BORLOFF: I had met the good Doctor a few years ago at Cinema Wasteland. Such a great fellow and a legend that’ll never be forgotten. Hats off to Barry, his family & illegitimate son Bob Hinton (A. GHASTLEE GHOUL) for fighting the good fight for a long time.
MARLENA MIDNITE: I first ran across some of Dr. Creep’s material around 5 Years ago, his shows had an incredibly funny and easygoing style about them. I did not grow up watching Dr. Creep because I am not from his area, but have certainly seen a lot of his skits and several of his shows. When Robyn, Blake and I got to meet him this past November at HORORHOUND WEEKEND in Cincinatti it was truly an honor. He was not in the best of health but was certainly aware and glad to be there.
It was great to see how appreciated he was by the people who grew up watching him, perhaps the greatest gift a host can receive. He was incredibly kind to everyone and when we tried to buy some of his DVD’s that he was selling, he INSISTED on trading for DVD’s of our show. We were shocked and flattered. I guess we kind of had our own perception that a host who had spent many years on Television was sort of a different breed than hosts like Robyn and myself who have only been doing it for a couple years. But I don’t think he saw things that way, his love for the genre (“art form” if you will) over rides such minor distinctions that we were making. He was truly an incredible man and the people who grew up spending late nights with Dr. Creep are very lucky people indeed.
MIKE MURPHY (SON OF FROGGY): I wish to thank A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Suspira, and Sue Cantrell for giving me the opportunity to learn who Dr. Creep really was. I didn’t grow up with him (he wasn’t on here in Michigan). I had never seen his show. At first he was just one of many new people I had met that worked in the genre. In October of 2005 I was invited to Troy Ohio to see him appear first at Around About Books (with A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Suspira), later as the guest of honor at a masquerade ball. Over the course of an afternoon I got to know him through the eyes and hearts of his fans. Each person I watched him interact with greeted him like a favorite uncle, and he responded in kind. The love I experienced there that day was wonderful. I listened to the conversations, and soon found out many of the fans came to see him not only for his work on television, but also for being touched in one way or another by the charity he co-founded (it makes me happy to think of how his face would light up when later we talked about Project Smiles). I feel blessed to have been able to spend that day with him, and for the time I had with him after. To me, Barry lives where all great people always are and always should be…….in the minds and hearts of those they touched, and those that love them.
MISS MISERY: “Dr. Creep will be forever in my heart, he is a huge inspiration and one Horror Host I have not had the pleasure of meeting. But from what I hear about him I know for a fact I could of learned a lot from him. He will be missed deeply.” Reyna Young
MR. LOBO: It’s a deep hurt to lose your horror host. I lost my horror host, friend, and mentor, Bob Wilkins in 2009 and it still hurts. I wont pretend I knew Dr. Creep. I saw clips of the good doctor years ago via the makers of American Scary and he always seemed like a nice man and 100% professional. There are many more qualified than I to talk about him. His fans have approached me with great stories–THEY are the ones who will carry on his memory. Any more maudlin praise from Mr. Lobo would appear like I’m exploiting his passing for self-promotion. As entertainers we must be self aware and remember when the attention should not be on ourselves. Our hearts and attention should remain with Barry Hobbart’s fans, friends, and family.
PENNY DREADFUL: I will always regret that I never had the chance to meet Dr. Creep. I had always wanted to meet him but our paths never crossed. His show was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed his work. His loss is felt by all his fellow horror hosts. It is clear that he was both a beloved performer and a dear friend to those who knew him. Dr. Creep will live forever in the hearts and minds of his many fans.
RICH KOZ (SVENGOOLIE): Unfortunately, I never met Dr. Creep- but have read about him, and know that he was the inspiration for several horror hosts who used to watch him in Ohio. He obviously was a beloved host, and also a kind and generous man.Yet another member of our horror host legacy who will be missed.
SALLY ZOMBIE: I’ve known Barry (aka Dr. Creep) for nearly ten years. Barry was very warm and kind to me. I loved sitting down with him for hours and just listen to his stories. He was fun to listen to. Barry’s life was was as rich and diverse as his talents. For many years, Barry played Dr. Creep in front of the camera. Dancing and playing and just have a grand old time. When Barry wasn’t in front of the camera, he was busy caring for hundreds of Ohio-area needy residents through “Project Smiles.”
Barry had a big heart and loved to help others when they had no one else to turn to. There was more to Dr. Creep than just a top hat and cap.
Dr. Creep brought joy to tons of fans across the country and he kept up going until he was too sick to perform. I spoke with Barry many times over the years and I always made sure I stayed in touch with him. I loved his conversations and the time I was able to send with him.
I was very lucky and honored to have such a good friend and I will miss him terribly. I wish I had more time to spend with Barry and I wish I was able to visit him more often but I am grateful for the time spent with him.
Goodbye, Dr. Creep. I love you and will miss you and I promise I will make sure no one forgets you.
SINISTER MINISTER: I had never met the good Dr., but have heard so many good things about him, I feel that I did…So, we at the Chap-Hell of Horror send our most sincere condolences to all family & friends of Dr. Creep…
Video courtesy of William Adams (aka The Nightmareman)
So we all have our favorite movies and we all have our personal reasons as to why they are our favorites. We all also have movies that we can just watch over and over again, never tiring of them. That is what this list is all about. What is interesting about this list, is that some of my all time favorite films do not even fall on it. Even though a movie may be a favorite of mine, it doesn’t mean that I can watch it repeatedly and still enjoy it as much as I did the first time I watched…this aspect is actually rare in a film for me. As much as I love DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979), THE FOG (1980), THE THING (1982) and HALLOWEEN (1978), I cannot watch these movies repeatedly and usually limit them to one viewing a year. This list comprises those movies that I watch multiple times a year, sometimes more than once a month…they are THAT good to me! I have listed them in alphabetical order since I do not necessarily prefer one over another.
1. AVATAR (2009)
There is a reason that this movie is the top grossing movie of all time…to put it simply, it’s great! To truly appreciate a film like this it must be seen in the theater and it must be seen in 3-D. This is by far the most visually stunning film ever made to date. The planet of Pandora, where this movie takes place, is breathtaking to say the very least and the fact that it was created entirely in a computer makes it all the more amazing. I found the story to be entertaining and the characters, to me, were very relatable. The relationship that develops between Jack and Neytiri is also a lot of fun to watch and there are some great action sequences. There were a lot of critics that panned this film (many of which were the ignorant who won’t watch it simply because it is popular, which I never understood. Get your head out of your ass already). I was pleased to find that this movie held up very well on Blu-ray and was still visually stunning (though nothing compares to the depth of the landscapes created by the 3-D). I have not seen this in 3-D on Blu-ray and really hope it is as good as it was in the theater. Though this movie is 3 hours long, it goes by fast.
2. CLOVERFIELD (2008)
My response after seeing this movie initially in the theater was “Holy shit!” I have always been a kaiju fan and grew up on Godzilla and Gamera. When the trailers for this film first started showing, the rumor ran rampant that it was a new American Godzilla film. Thankfully it wasn’t. It was a completely believable and realistic portrayal of a giant monster on the loose in New York though (and to date it is the best film portraying this type of attack). Again, this film was panned by many critics, with the biggest complaint being the technique used to film it. A group of friends, filming a farewell party, capture the event on their hand-held camera. I certainly understand and can appreciate that there are those that get dizzy and nauseous from the camera shake, and this is unfortunate. Thankfully the camera shake does not bother me so I can fully enjoy movies like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) and QUARANTINE (2008). The characters here are very likeable and the special effects are just amazing to witness. The creature design is original and scary and there is plenty of suspense throughout, especially the scenes underground shown in night vision through the camera lens. If you haven’t seen this film…what are you waiting for?
3. DEAD & BREAKFAST (2004)
This movie for me was an impulse buy at Wal-Mart one Saturday afternoon. I had never heard of it and had no idea what to expect. The box included some quotes saying how great the film was, but then again, how many times have you seen these quotes from people you have never heard of, only to find out the movie was actually horrible? To be honest I went into this movie with low expectations and boy was I surprised! This movie is awesome! It is a horror/comedy/musical and I can certainly see why certain horror fans would not like this! People think, “How can a movie like this actually work?” Well, let me tell you, it does. The characters are fun and quirky and the plot, though simple, is entertaining. The gore effects are great (and there is a lot of them) and the musical numbers, performed between scenes to further explain the story, are well done and catchy. This is one of those direct-to-dvd titles that I really wish I could’ve seen in the theater!
4. DEATH PROOF (2007)
This movie, by Quentin Tarantino, is one of those films you either love or you hate (and thankfully most people do love it and those that don’t really do not know what they are talking about). Unfortunately, when this was released as a double bill with Robert Rodriguez’s film PLANET TERROR (2007) it was panned by the critics and a lot of people just didn’t understand the magic that these two geniuses created. Not only did they put together an awesome double feature but they created two films that stand fine on their own. People complained that this movie was too “talky” and that there wasn’t enough blood and guts. If the only thing that draws you to a movie is the amount of blood and guts then there really is something wrong with you. This film centers on two groups of attractive women and how they relate and interact with each other, just like in real life. The conversations are authentic and you truly believe that these girls are best friends. This is where the magic is…these women are real and not one-dimensional characters just put into a movie to look good and then get butchered. Yes, the first group of women do get butchered, in graphic detail, at the hands of Kurt Russell’s character Stuntman Mike, but this is done for a reason. You spend the first 50 minutes of the movie getting to know these women, to care about them as they are established as main characters and then they are all killed in an instant. When this happens your only thought is “What can happen next?” This is where the second group of women come in.
The 2nd group of women all work in the film industry, and two are actually stunt women. One thing Tarantino likes to create is strong female characters and none of them are as strong as Zoe Bell (who plays herself in this film). What she does in this film is nothing short of phenomenal and has to be seen to be believed. YES it is actually her on the hood of the car going at high speeds and many of these scenes will have you on the edge of your seat! I have seen this movie well over a dozen times and my heart still races during the last 3rd of the movie as Stuntman Mike is pursuing this new groups of victims, only to have them turn the whole thing around, making him the actual victim!
5. GAMERA, GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (1995)
What can I say? I am a sucker for Japanese monster movies…always have been, always will. For those of you, like me, who grew up on these films you know there were two super monsters…Godzilla and Gamera. The Gamera films of the 60′s and 70′s never gained the popularity that the Godzilla movies of the same period garnered due to their cheesier effects and stories that catered to children. Yes, Gamera was the friend of all children and because of this I always prefered the Godzilla films. This changed though in the 90′s when this film was released. Even though Godzilla movies were still being made, their quality varied greatly from movie to movie, both in storyline and special effects. What this film did was do what the Godzilla movies had not been doing…it provided a good storyline, likeable characters (with no annoying kids) and beautifully shot miniature effects. The director, Shusuke Kaneko, perfected in one film what had been sorely missed in kaiju films. Yes, the idea of a giant, fire-breathing turtle is ludicrous but if you can suspend belief, it really works in this film and the sequels GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION (1996) and GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS (1999). On the plus side, after the release of these films, Toho (the company that brings us Godzilla) started making better quality Godzilla films.
6. HATCHET (2006)
I know some people are anti horror/comedies but when done right, they can make for a fun evening. HATCHET, written and directed by Adam Green, takes the horror/comedy to a whole new level. I found all of the characters in this film to be very likeable and feel they all have a great chemistry. The comedy timing is perfect and the movie is genuinely scary at times. Victor Crowley, the killer in this movie, is a great creation and could hold his own against Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and he is very brutal in his attacks. The gore effects are extreme, funny and they are really well done. I have never been a fan of John Carl Buechler and his special makeup effects but he does shine in this film. If you are a fan of Adam Green you will recognize a lot of the actors in this film as they are regulars in his cinematic world.
7. JENNIFER’S BODY (2009)
I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and not being sure what to make of it. I figured it was just one of the many teen-horror films being made at the time, most of which were horrible. I waited until this came out on DVD before I actually saw it and I was not disappointed. What I found to be interesting is that this film was written by Diablo Cody, the same person who wrote JUNO (another movie that I really enjoyed). Believe it or not, one of the reasons I was hesitant about seeing this movie is because I am not a fan of Megan Fox. She may be attractive but she is not one of the best actresses out there. Amanda Seyfried on the other hand, who I am a huge fan of, is a good actress and she has great chemistry with all of her co-stars, elevating them. This was true in this movie as well and the friendship between Jennifer and Needy in my opinion is genuine and sincere. Needy’s relationship with her boyfriend Chip is also realistic which is why this movie rises above the normal slice-and-dice film. The characters are real and you do care about what happens to them. Fox’s performance is a step above what she did in the TRANSFORMERS movies so it is nice to see she does have some range, albeit limited. It’s nice to see a female director (Karyn Kusama) making such a fun and interesting horror film!
8. LAKE PLACID (1999)
I have always been a fan of those nature running rampant films and LAKE PLACID is a gem. This is another film that I regret not seeing in the theaters. It is a fun movie with a great cast (including Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman and Oliver Platt). The cast has great chemistry (especially between Oliver Platt’s character of Hector Cyr and Brendan Gleeson’s character of Sheriff Hank Keough). I have never been a fan of CGI monster effects but they are almost flawless in this film and work beautifully. Though many scenes are played for laughs there is also a fair degree of tension and many “jump out at you” scares. Betty White is also here, in a surprise role, with the mouth of a trucker. This movie is a great example of why Betty White is such an amazing person! Since I am not a fan of sequels I have not seen any of the other LAKE PLACID films but if you are looking for a fun, monster on the loose flick, then I highly recommended this one!
9. PLANET TERROR (2007)
Like Tarantino, I have always been a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez. Face it guys, these two know how to make fun films! I love SIN CITY (2005), MACHETE (2010) and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996) and when I saw the previews for the GRINDHOUSE double feature, I knew that PLANET TERROR was going to be cool. Whether you watch it as the double feature (available only on Blu-ray) or as a film by itself, this is a fun zombie film (though keep in mind that the single movie releases of this film and DEATH PROOF do feature footage cut from the double feature release). This movie has all of the ingredients of a great horror film: hot girls, great looking zombies, awesome special makeup effects, explosions, great cameos and a girl with a machine gun for a leg! This film really captures the feel of the old grindhouse movies too with the extensive scratches on the film and missing scenes. As I mentioned before, some people just didn’t get the concept of this film and I actually feel sorry for them.
10. SERENITY (2005)
I was a johnny-come-lately when it came to Joss Whedon’s series FIREFLY. When I saw the previews for the Fox show, I wasn’t sure how a western in outer space actually would be. This series was cancelled after one season and I found the series on DVD on sale so I figured I would give it a try. What I saw greatly surprised me. This was a fun series, with great characters and great special effects! I loved it and was so disappointed that it had been cancelled. I attribute this to Fox themselves…they do not know how to market shows and are rarely willing to give anything a chance, even though overall reaction to this series was very positive. I was thrilled when the movie SERENITY came out and even more excited that it got great reviews from the critics. One thing I will always regret is not seeing this on the big screen…yes, I waited for the DVD release. I think one of the reasons this film was so well received is because you didn’t need to be a fan of the show to enjoy it (but you will enjoy it more if you did watch the series). The characters are a lot of fun and Nathan Fillion is perfect as the captain. The chemistry is genuine between the characters and in true Whedon fashion, the writing is clever and witty. Summer Glau, as River, is amazing to watch in her fight scenes…she is graceful, beautiful and she kicks all kinds of ass! The visual effects are stunning and the aerial battle near the end, in my opinion, blows away anything ever seen in a STAR WARS movie. This movie was definitely a great way to end a great series!
11. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
This is another one of those films that you either love or you hate (and to be honest, I am shocked that anyone hates this film). This is one of the best zombie films to come along since the original DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979). It is very well written, with great special effects and a great cast (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are one of the best comedy duos to come along in a while also). This film is in no way a parody of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or DAWN OF THE DEAD…it is actually a tastefully done tribute to them, with many references throughout. This is another one of those direct-to-dvd releases that you really wish had actual theatrical play here in the United States. One of the reasons that this movie stands up to repeated viewings is because of the references and the background details…the more you watch, the more you see or hear!
12. SLITHER (2006)
What can I say other than I love this movie?!? Sure I am a huge fan of both Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks, but this movie also has a great story and great special effects! I have always been a fan on the alien invasion films of the 50′s and this is a loving tribute to those films, with a lot more slime. In fact, it is reported that more slime was used in this movie than any other movie made…now that is saying something! The chemistry between the characters is believable and some of the exchanges between them are hysterical. The slug creatures, though simple in design, are creepy and at times very gross. The gore effects are over the top and very gruesome and yet at the end of the movie, you feel good about things. Go figure!
13. TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007)
To me, besides John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN (1978), this is THE BEST film to watch for the Halloween season. I cannot believe all of the bureaucracy that occurred that prevented this amazing film to ever be released in a theater. Not only does this movie introduce us to a new character to fear at Halloween, in the form of a childlike menace called Sam, it also reminds us that some traditions and myths should not be taken lightly. There are four stories that are interwoven beautifully to create this holiday classic. The cast is top-notch (including TRUE BLOOD’s Anna Paquin) and the special effects are great. It is nice to see a new take on werewolf transformations and I found the character of Sam to be genuinely creepy. Check this movie out…it just may become your favorite Halloween treat!
14. ZOMBIELAND (2009)
This is one of those movies that I watch almost twice a month…I enjoy it that much. The story is great, the cast is perfect and has great chemistry, and even though it is hilarious at points it is genuinely scary at others. I can’t tell you how many people said to me that they refuse to watch this because Woody Harrelson is in it! How lame of an excuse is that? What’s wrong with just seeing a movie because it is fun? You don’t even have to be a fan of horror movies, or even zombie movies, to enjoy this film. Four strangers, through no choice of their own, are thrust together in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. What starts out basically as a tale of boys vs. girls vs. zombies ends in a tale of humans vs. zombies. Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock all have their own ideas on how best to survive, but in the end it is them staying together, as a new family, that ultimately works. Woody Harrelson shines in this film and Emma Stone proves once again why she is the break out star to watch (plus she’s pretty damn cute).
Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully you feel the same way I do with at least some of these amazing, and fun, films. If you have movies like this not on my list, please feel free to share them in the comment space below!
Upon hearing the news that the latest issue of SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE had hit the stands, I immediately headed to my nearest “Borders” bookstore. This is a magazine I have loved since its early years and the latest issue was very special to me. Back in May I had submitted a fan piece and interview on Michigan horror host, Wolfman Mac & The Chiller Drive-in. Now the story would finally see print along with an article I had written for Chicago artist, Jeff Carlson. Jeff, as you may recall, created an amazing replica of the famous medallion worn by Bela Lugosi during the original Universal classic, DRACULA! To revisit the blog piece we did on Jeff, please click HERE and then go get a much more in depth description on the piece and ways you can get your own in the newest issue of SCARY MONSTERS!
While heading over to the bookstore, I remembered my first introduction to publisher, Dennis Druktenis’, masterful magazine. I was visiting my local comic book store when the bright green cover of his 5th issue featuring The King of Monsters himself, GODZILLA, grabbed my attention. I was pretty well hooked ever since and the magazine (now entering its 20th year in publication) seems to get better and better.
My first Scary issue of SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE!
The Magazine evolves
Many seasoned horror fans will site FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND as their favorite periodical growing up and for being an influence on their adult lives. I’m not sure if it was my age or the fact that I didn’t have access to many specialty stores growing up that I must confess I only had a few issues of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE was to be my first real foray into a “Real” monster magazine and remains one of the few publications that I routinely read “cover to cover” to this day.
What I liked about both of these periodicals was that they were never about creating Pulitzer Prize winning articles and ALL about fan enthusiasm. Before the Internet, us “monster geeks” were scattered across the country and rarely in contact with one another until adulthood. If you were fortunate to have a fellow monster friend growing up they were, without a doubt, your BEST friend. More of us were far less fortunate and relative loners who tended to adopt our “friend’s” interests while keeping our monster fervor on the back burner. What a thrill it was to read the excitement of others who shared this interest along with pictures of your favorite monsters. Even now, as an adult, I can’t help but smile when I read the MONSTER MEMORIES of a fan who grew up 1,000 miles away and yet shared some of the very same experiences I did.
FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND has recently been reborn after years of hiatus due to legal wranglings and power struggles. It has also seen the loss of its beloved creator, Forest J. Ackerman – a legend in the monster fan realm. The new magazine is printed on thick glossy paper, has bright colors, exclusive Hollywood interviews, and top notch journalism. It looks like an “official program” you’d buy at a sporting event with an expensive cover price to match. I think it is an absolutely stunning magazine that, unfortunately, has retained none of the charms of its former self. Those pulpy black & white pages made it almost like reading a macabre newspaper that fueled your imagination of the monsters even further.
Understand that I am not a staff writer for SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE nor suggesting a nationwide boycott of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. By all means, save your pennies and support BOTH magazines as well as any other periodical that pays homage to our favorite genre. After all, monsters are monsters and I still can’t get enough of them! But when you want to relive that special connection to our genre that many of us fans take for granted in today’s world…. remember that SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE is the only REAL answer.
*And don’t forget to to run out and obtain YOUR copy of the latest issue featuring Wolfman Mac on the cover! SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE is available at book stores such as BORDERS and BARNES & NOBLE. You can also obtain an issue from THE SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE website as well. My recommendation? Go the website and obtain a subscription! If you are a fan of classic monsters, you won’t be disappointed. Fans of horror hosts will definitely want to subscribe as more host articles from “The Daves” are slated for publication including my co-blogger, and best friend, David Albaugh. His story on Nevada’s host, Zomboo, will be appearing in the 2011 Yearbook coming in March!
If you are a mask collector then more than likely you have heard the name David Lady at least once (and more than likely you actually know him and have either talked to him on the phone or have e-mailed with him). When I first became aware of David it was in the late 1980′s. At the time the big mask companies were Don Post Studios, Distortions Unlimited and Be Something Studios. Though I bought masks from all 3 companies, a trend was starting to develop where what you got greatly differed from what you were ordering from their catalogs. So, I started to look for other options and found companies like Death Studios and one of my all time favorites, the now defunct House Of Horror Studios. In my quest to find better quality masks I came across a group called The Halloween Society. This society, run by Ron Magid, Dante Renta, Guy Thorpe and yes, David Lady, introduced me to a whole new area of collecting…an area I was unaware of. Apparently there were artists out there creating limited edition masks and busts of all of the great monsters I grew up on and it was through The Halloween Society’s magazine “The Halloween Gazette” that I started to see these pieces being offered.
“The Halloween Gazette” was an informative and very fun magazine to get. Not only did it do spotlights on the various mask companies, but it also covered the limited editions being produced, some of which were actually commissioned and released by The Halloween Society themselves (and which are highly sought after collector’s items today). In addition to promoting these companies and pieces, there were also movie reviews, costuming tips (like how to make your own mummy costume) and pretty much anything having to do with Halloween masks. One of my favorite things in the magazine were the classified ads…sure they weren’t as cool as the Captain Company ads in the back of “Famous Monsters Of Filmland” but the ads introduced me to other mask companies…and David Lady.
One of the reasons I was drawn to David was because he was so prominently featured in “The Halloween Gazette”. Not only did he write articles and provide photographs from his impressive collection, but he also did a lot of the original artwork and always had ads of masks he was selling. Being a zombie fan, and seeing that his Deadalus and Bonaparte masks were only $30, I immediately ordered them and that started a friendship that has lasted to this day. It was obvious from the start that David was the go to guy in the mask collecting world. Not only does he have one of the most impressive mask collections around, he is also the most knowledgeable person on the subject of Halloween masks and busts that I know of.
David Lady is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Phone conversations with him are always filled with laughs because of his quick wit and subtle sense of humor. Our friendship developed quickly and in 1991, my then girlfriend at the time and I went to visit David, his wife Laura and his friend Guy Thorpe in West Hollywood for a week. We did the normal West Coast things…Disneyland, Universal Studios, celebrity house tour…but the highlight was definitely the time spent with David. He was the perfect host and kept us entertained the entire week showing us many famous Hollywood locations and fun stores. Each evening we would all gather together in Guy Thorpe’s hearse and cruise Hollywood, visiting various locations and eating at fun restaurants. Two that stand out in my mind were The Spaghetti Factory and Ed Debevic’s, a 50′s style diner where you interact with the waitresses and they would actually yell at you if you didn’t eat all of the food off of your plate. One day he introduced us to Daniel Roebuck, actor and fellow mask collector (Daniel has been in many movies including RIVER’S EDGE, THE FUGITIVE, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS and BUBBA HO-TEP). He even brought us to Bronson Canyon, the site seen in so many science fiction movies of the 50′s as well as the 1960′s BATMAN television series. One of the nicest nights was near the end of the vacation where we just hung out at David’s apartment, watched music videos on MTV (yes, MTV used to actually show music videos) and discussed masks, monsters and horror movies.
Since that visit to West Hollywood, David and his lovely wife Laura have moved back to their hometown in Ohio. David continues to make masks (with Laura doing the intricate hair work), he does his own haunted attraction (Horror Hotel), he has his own horror host show (The Late Dr. Lady Show) and is mayor of his town! He has also authored books on making masks as well as the only picture guide to collectible masks. It’s not often that you hear of someone being able to do something they love so much as a career but David has done it and he is one of the reasons that I find mask collecting so fun. Even though he is very busy he is always willing to take the time and discuss his true love…monsters. This is what makes David such a classy guy…there is no ego and he genuinely loves and appreciates his friends and fans of his work.
David was also generous enough to do a Q & A with me and I am going to share that with you now, as well as some pictures he provided of his amazing collection! ENJOY!
DAVID A: Were you always interested in monsters?
DAVID L: Only since birth. I don’t recall much about childhood, but the first things I remember owning were a poster of Bela Lugosi as Dracula, which I loved, especially since my evil grandmother hated it, and a Monster Colorforms set my mom bought me. It was a little mad scientist lab, with a green monster you could put together and a hairy-faced guy who may have been either a mad doctor or a wolfman.
DAVID A: What are some of your favorite monster movies?
DAVID L: I have too many favorites to list! A few that come immediately to mind are FRANKENSTEIN, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, DAWN OF THE DEAD, CREEPSHOW, PHANTASM, THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, HORROR OF DRACULA, the original three STAR WARS movies and tons of others.
DAVID A: What was the first mask you ever bought (or was bought for you)?
DAVID L: My first truly high-end, collectible mask was a Don Post Creature From The Black Lagoon. My first full-head mask of any kind was probably a ripoff of the Don Post Wolfman made by the old Traveler’s company. He had black fur and he came from a store called Helen Gallagher Gifts, which later became Spencer’s. Before that I had some cheapies like Ben Cooper plastic masks and some badly-made Topstones.
DAVID A: Were your parents supportive in your love of monsters?
DAVID L: I think my dad was always disappointed that I didn’t get into the same things he liked, such as football, cars and beer. But he never tried to discrouage me from doing whatever I liked. My mom was VERY supportive! Her birthday is Halloween like mine (um… different years, of course; Mom was born first), so I always got masks and spooky toys as birthday presents. Mom always bought me Don Post masks for Christmas and other occasions. She’d order them from the Captain Company ads in Famous Monsters magazines, and when we took summer vacations I’d always get a Don Post mask from the magic shop at Disney World. I had this really wonderful great-aunt and uncle too. Aunt Ruth bought me my first subscription to Famous Monsters and, being a wonderful cook, she made me and Mom a special birthday cake every year with a witch or a black cat or a monster of some kind on it. Uncle Chuck would always wrap my birthday and Christmas presents, using a rubber bat or spider or skull instead of a bow. Now that I think about it, that might have started my love of customizing everything with a macabre touch. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Chuck were two of the most kind, thoughtful, intelligent and pleasant people I’ve ever known, and I miss them all the time. They were my mother’s aunt and uncle, so I already thought of them as “old” when I was little.
DAVID A: What started you in mask making?
DAVID L: A friend, Chris Striker, used to come over and see my masks all the time, and helped in my annual Haunted House. At some point he asked me why I wasn’t making my own masks, since I was already an artist-illustrator and obviously loved masks so much. He said I should come over to his garage and try using this old airbrush he had, which he wasn’t using anyway. Pretty soon I ended up buying some plaster and clay and liquid latex and so forth and went over to Chris’s to make a shambles of his garage. I had fun trying things out and learning to sculpt and paint and all. Pretty sure I broke up Chris’s first marriage, too.
DAVID A: Were you self-taught when it came to sculpting, molding and painting?
DAVID L: Yes, mostly, but only because there wasn’t anything much available as far as mask-making instructional reading back then. Remember, this was in the 1980s, before inventions like the Internet, cell phones, or the wheel. I think James K. Polk was President. So, yeah, there was a lot of trial-and-error involved. Particularly error.
DAVID A: It’s not often that someone can make a career out of something they love. What are some of your fondest memories of mask collecting or mask making?
DAVID L: The great thing is, every time I get a new piece today, it’s still just as cool and fun and exciting as it was when I was a kid. My motto is “we can’t stay young, but we can stay immature”.
DAVID A: If you could only choose one favorite mask of all time, which one would it be?
DAVID L: Hard to say. No, make that “impossible”. But a few of my all-time faves are the Don Post Frankenstein, Mummy and Creature masks, Distortions’ Pickman’s Model, Harry Inman’s Shuna Sassi, the movie-mold Darth Vader helmet, the Halloween Society Metropolis and Golem busts, as well as some ‘generic’ ones like B. Garret Theta, Erik, and… oh, I should quit now, huh?
DAVID A: Is there one character that you still hope gets made into a mask/display bust someday?
DAVID L: No, there isn’t one. There are DOZENS. I’m waiting for someone to do masks of Octa-Man, Zaat, Stephen King’s Night Flier, the zombie from DR. BLOOD’S COFFIN, the dead witch from BLACK SABBATH, Onslow Stevens as Edelmann from HOUSE OF DRACULA, Clancy Brown as the Frankenstein Monster from THE BRIDE, Dr. Caligari and Cesare from the silent CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, Tessek the Quarren from RETURN OF THE JEDI, and also Luigi Montefiore/”George Eastman” as Klaus the cannibal ghoul from THE GRIM REAPER, Ewa Aulin’s rotted corpse face from DEATH SMILES AT MURDER, the Cthulhu-looking guy seen near the end of DAGON, Mystique from the X-MEN movies, and probably dozens of others. It’s frustrating that so many mask artists keep doing the same things over and over, like more Michael Myers and Universal Frankenstein masks, which have been done to death-and-beyond by now. I hope to see some new blood.
DAVID A: What would you consider to be your greatest influence(s) in doing what you do?
DAVID L: The old Don Post mask ads I’d see as a kid and all the old monster movies I used to stay up late and watch on TV, back in the days when TV was still interesting and entertaining.
DAVID A: How many masks/display busts do you have in your collection now?
DAVID L: I don’t know the exact number but it’s over 500.
DAVID A: Is there any mask, past or present, that you never got and totally regret that it’s not in your collection?
DAVID L: None that really bother me. Although there are a lot of old ones I used to have that I miss.
DAVID A: Do you have any recommendations for anyone who is interested in either mask collecting or mask making?
DAVID L: It would probably be very crass and tacky to say something shamelessly self-promoting like, ”Buy a DR LADY mask!”, so I won’t say that. It would probably also be tacky to mention that I still have a few copies left of my world-famous, earth-shattering, legendary book DR LADY’S COLLECTOR’S GUIDE TO MOVIE & TV MONSTER MASKS, available through my website. Come to think of it, I suppose it might also seem too self-promoting to say that I also wrote a mask-making handbook called EXTREME MASK MAKING: A HOW-TO GUIDE FOR HUMANS, which is loaded with useful information and is also available from my website, which is also where folks can see lots of pictures of our mask projects, Horror Hotel tours, and other fun stuff. But I probably shouldn’t mention any of that, huh? I wouldn’t want to sound crass or anything…..
I want to thank David Lady for taking the time to answer these questions and for providing the amazing photographs used in this article! If you would like to buy the books he mentions you can click here. If you would like DVD’s of his show The Late Dr. Lady Show or his latest release, Dr. Lady’s Monstrous Mask Photo Archives, you can click here. To see what masks he is currently offering for sale click here. If you want to order his cd’s click here.
With the arrival of the New Year, many of us have made “Resolutions” as to what we’d like to accomplish in 2011. Topping most lists, of course, is the usual losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, and getting organized. While there isn’t much advice I can give regarding the first three, I may have some helpful tips regarding the last. Not to worry, horror fans, we’re not compromising our site by trading in Penny Dreadful for Martha Stewart (though it can be argued that she’s the scarier of the two witches). Organizing your collection is not only ascetically pleasing, it makes for much easier access.
Most of us horror movie and host show collectors have amassed quite the DVD collection over the years. It’s great adding new rare and wonderful shows to our database but, at the same time, we are left with a terrible dilemma; how to get them cataloged and organized! A few DVD’s on a shelf can soon lead to a pile of unorganized discs in the closet! So let’s roll up our sleeves and get started!
The most important thing that needs to be done, first and foremost, is cataloging the collection. This not only lets you know what you have but also be readily available to send out to other collectors you may wish to trade with. An alphabetized list is a must! There are many ways to go about this and much of it depends on what type of operating system you’re working with. While I can not speak for Mac users, I can say that for those of us that use Windows, the 2007 Office package is best. Here you will have access to Word as well as Excel which is what I use. Excel is nice because it leaves room for note-taking which is especially helpful regarding International films carrying multiple titles and for hosted shows as well. I may be in the mood to watch Dr Destruction but also want to see the show where Count Gore de Vol made a guest appearance. Excel makes it easier to locate the correct episode. Also, if you do collect host shows, keep a separate list from your mainstream movies.
Okay, you know what you’ve got and now you’re staring at piles of discs that need a home! Store bought DVD’s come with their own cases but, in my case, I started running out of room and the last thing you want to hear from friends and loved ones is that you have too much crap - leading to a possible intervention. If space is an issue, you may want to turn to binders. The binder system works quite well and is the route I chose for my non-hosted horror films. It has not only conserved on space but also allowed me to place films in alphabetical order for easy access. If ink isn’t an issue, you can also make your own custom covers to place in the binders.
One important factor when using binders; always purchase one that is larger than what you need. There are few things more time consuming (and exasperating) then shuffling entire binders of discs to make room for new acquisitions. Best to leave extra space and pages to accommodate. I use the largest binders (520 disc capacity) but purchasing a good one can cost an arm and a leg. Rather than take out a second mortgage, I opted to buy cheap ones via ebay. The problem is, they tend to be delicate and even more so once full. Reinforce the rings with metallic silver duct tape to prevent the loss of pages and NEVER try carrying your binder with its side handle.
Last Spring I made the error of trying to incorporate my horror hosted movies along with the non-hosted ones. As a result I quickly ran out of room and was stuck constantly rearranging my binders despite the extra space I had allotted. No matter how good my intentions, I was ill prepared for adding over ten copies of THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE, etc. To rectify this issue, I decided to look outside the box or, rather, “inside” of one! I sought out boxes that could be used to file hosted movies while also keeping their work separate.
It was a funny thing trying to figure out what type of box to use. There were some located in electronics by the DVD binder and media organization section. The problem for me was that they seemed too short and, in some cases, had those “hanging file” dividers. They’re usually numbered and, had I chosen this option, would be stuck once again having to reorganize constantly. Instead, I found a cheaper option at Target over in the “Office/School Supply” section. These boxes were longer and much better suited for my purposes. Discs fit in nicely and I could use regular CD/DVD sleeves for the discs (or in my case the plastic sleeves) while easily rearranging the shows for alphabetizing. They were also nearly $10 cheaper!
I was happy with the boxes but not exactly thrilled with the color & design. After all, these are being used to store horror movies and not cooking recipes. So I opted to get creative and customize them (Martha’s really kicking Penny’s butt in this blog). This was done using decoupage and images that best fit each boxes contents. Supplies needed are 1) decoupage from a craft store, 2) paint brush, and 3) whatever images you want to use to decorate the box.
Fill a small bowl with the decoupage solution. The solution looks and has the consistency of Elmer’s Glue. Be sure to work in a well ventilated area as the fumes can get overwhelming. Keep a wet rag nearby in case you make an error and wear clothes that you don’t mind ruining. If decoupage gets on your clothes it is almost impossible to get out.
It is not advisable to do an entire box in one sitting. Give a couple of sides time to dry before moving on to the rest. While it dries fairly quickly, I recommend giving it 24 hours before going back to it.
Congratulations! You’ve now gotten an organized collection that not only allows easy access to the shows you already have but the new ones you’ll be getting in the coming year as well. Anyone who has any other ideas or suggestions, please leave comments. What works for some may not work for others.