Halloween masks. Some people hate them, some people love them and others just don’t understand the attraction. Growing up I always had to have some kind of Halloween mask with my costume. When I was young I started with those Ben Cooper costumes with the vinyl body suit and plastic mask with the rubber band that held it to your face. As I got older I graduated to rubber monster masks, most of which had little to no resemblance to what they were supposed to be. Times certainly have changed!
Yes, faster than you can say, “Svengoolie”, I’ve found myself hopelessly entangled in the horror host web, and I couldn’t be happier! While I was doing exhaustive research on Svengoolie and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, I found out about a documentary entitled American Scary that was all about horror hosts. I found it online, and began to watch it. From the very beginning, I was captivated. I think my first clue that it was going to be amazing was when I saw none other than Neil Gaiman sitting in front of the camera. Thanks to Mr. John Aranza of the Horrorbles store in––– you guessed it––– Berrrwyyyn, I was able to obtain a copy of it on DVD. As I watched it again on my television, I remember making mental notes about the various hosts I saw that particularly impressed me and whom I might look into more, including Count Gore De Vol, Mr. Lobo, Dr. Sarcofiguy, and Professor Anton Griffin.
Let me start by being totally honest. I had NO idea what to expect when I received my copy of THE GIANT RUBBER MONSTER MOVIE: SASCRATCH VERSUS AFRODESIOUS! Sure it’s a great title! Sure a lot of the people who are in it had a lot of great things to say about it. But could it really be THAT good?!? The answer? ABSOLUTELY!!!
Dave F: Ohio is one of the most prolific states when it comes to churning out horror hosts. Therefore, it was not surprising that several inductees to The Horror Host Hall of Fame would hail from there. One of these was Dick Von Hoene a.k.a. The Cool Ghoul!
Classic commercial horror hosts were also professional broadcasters and Von Hoene was no exception. In the early 1960’s, he worked on Cincinnati radio and was featured on a show called “Bob Smith’s Monster Mash.” It was there that The Cool Ghoul character was born, though it would not be until the latter part of the decade (after he moved from radio to television) that the character would be given its official “look.”
Horror and comedy were two genres I wasn’t always keen on mixing. Over the years with movies such as SHAUN OF THE DEAD and LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS, however, I’ve slowly gone from skeptic to outright fan. Needless to say, I was delighted when actor, David Fultz, found me on Facebook and introduced me to the latest project he was involved in – MY BLOODY WEDDING!
One of the great celebrities we were privileged to meet at The Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend last March, was the legendary Barbara Steele! The 72 year old actress, most notable for her role in Maria Bava’s BLACK SUNDAY (THE MASK OF SATAN), was one we had flagged as a “must see.”
Dave F: Over a decade before the Svengoolies would become synonymous with Chicago horror hosting, the Windy City’s very first host was a “near-sighted madman” named Marvin! Former Ventriloquist, Terry Bennett, was working for Chicago channel, WBKB, in 1957 when the station received the infamous “Shock Theatre Package” of films. It was Terry, himself, who created the character of “Marvin” and urged television management to allow him to present these films to a Chicago audience.