An Interview With The Girls From MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM!
If you are a fan of horror hosts, then unless you have been living under a rock, you should be fully aware of the show MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM, hosted by Marlena Midnite and Robyn Graves. The show, available on over 50 channels across the United States has become a favorite among fans and fellow hosts and even if it is not shown in your area, there are places online you can check it out (like on THE MONSTER CHANNEL every Friday night at 10 PM EST)! Both Marlena and Robyn were nice enough to take some time out of their busy schedule of filming new shows and convention appearances to sit down with me and answer some questions.
DAVE A: Were you a fan of monster movies growing up? If so, what are some of your favorites?
MARLENA: When I was really young I liked GREMLINS a lot. as I got a bit older I became a fan of the Corman Poe flicks and my interest in other horror movies grew from there.
ROBYN: I was absolutely terrified of monster movies growing up. I was the kid who couldn’t go into a dark room until someone turned on the light for me. THE BIRDS, CHILD’S PLAY and CANDYMAN tormented my nightmares as a wee little lad.
DAVE A: Did you follow any horror hosts growing up? If so, who?
MARLENA: From a VERY Early age I can remember watching (Son Of) Svengoolie on cable so I saw more of his stuff than anybody elses and about 5 years ago they did a short-lived revival of The ACRI Creature Feature who were our local hosts. The original run of that show was before my time but I have seen bits and pieces through video I have collected over the years. Of all the stuff I have collected and seen I am particularly fond of The Ghoul and Sammy Terry.
ROBYN: My dad made me watch HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT with him a lot but other than that I never was exposed to any sort of horror hosting until I was older.
DAVE A: What made you decide to be a horror host?
MARLENA: Blake and I were always fans of various hosts and were in the first stages of developing our store idea (now MIDNITE’S COMICS, CARDS and COLLECTABLES) and we came up with the idea of doing our own horror host S\show to promote it and hopefully run on a local channel. The show would promote the store and the store would promote the show but the show grew into something else entirely.
ROBYN: The stars aligned at just the right moment I suppose. This whole opportunity just popped up out of no where, but I’m so happy & grateful that it did. I think the horror community is such a warm and welcoming family, it’s really comforting to find a place surrounded by such talented and fun people.
DAVE A: What was your inspiration for your character?
MARLENA: Well Blake and I had already come up with several titles for the show and all of them had the word Midnite (Midnite Hour…etc ) but I eventually thought of Mausoleum and within an hour I had a character sketch drawn up and we had a whole premise for the show. Making the show take place inside a mausoleum I instantly became Marlena Midnite, who was a resident of the Mausoleum.
ROBYN: Robyn is a more carefree, PG rated, dumbed down version of myself. I like to think of Robyn like Gir from Invader Zim.
DAVE A: This one is directed at Marlena. Two of your characters, Wolfred and Franklin, are puppets. Were you always interested in puppetry?
MARLENA: The puppets and making them are my FAVORITE part of the whole show. I was always interested in puppetry but Wolfred and Franklin were the first 2 I ever made. We also have a newer one called Cleo she is a mummified cat. With season 4 there will be ALL NEW puppets (New Wolfred, New Franklin).
DAVE A: Will we be seeing any new puppet characters in the future?
MARLENA: Cleo will have an occasional appearance,and Thaddeous Bones returns in season 4. Soon we will have 2 new puppet characters that I want to keep under wraps for now but I can tell you that they are a plant and a snail.
DAVID A: Was it difficult getting MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM off the ground?
MARLENA: We spent a month preparing. We built sets in the basement, I built the puppets and Blake and I both scripted. We shot our original 12 web episodes over a 4 day period in March of 2009 and put a short preview video on the web. We were lucky and got a radio interview right away thanks to Beth Davis from the Dwyer and Michaels Morning Show on 97X radio. By the time our web episodes came out on a weekly basis they would have hundreds of views each week. It only expanded from there.
When we decided to go with full length episodes we added Robyn (Episode #113) as the mail girl. Corpse S. Chris from HORROR HOST GRAVEYARD got our first TV episode run on an access station in NY on September 5th 2009 and by December of that year we were running on 10 stations. That is a much simplified version, it was not easy because we did and still do nearly everything ourselves, but we also got a couple of lucky breaks. We also got tons of help from TackFu and everyone at PATV 18 in Iowa City and Leon Worden from SCVTV 20 in Santa Clarita, CA. There are too many people to list who have helped out in so many ways.
DAVE A: In an industry dominated by male hosts, did you experience any problems getting accepted?
MARLENA: We have been very fortunate, it doesn’t seem like we have had any problems being accepted. We currently run on tons of stations across the U.S. so if there IS someone out there NOT accepting us, I guess I would not know the difference. There will always be emails slamming the show, or me or Robyn occasionally but that’s what the delete button is for.. focus on the positive!
DAVE A: Do you watch any of today’s host shows regularly?
MARLENA: Dr. Gangrene, Ormsby, Eerie Shivers… anyone who sends DVD’s to the store for us to play. Outside of that we really don’t watch a lot of current hosts because of lack of time and because our show developed in a vacuum (we figured at the time that there were about 10 active hosts out there) and we want to keep it that way. There are quite a few hosts out there but we just like to continue down the road we started and so I guess we kind of keep to ourselves more
than some others because it keeps us on track.
ROBYN: . I love Uncle Eerie’s show! I try to keep up with everything that he posts online. And The Atomic Age Cinema monsters make really fun DVDs that always make me giggle. All of the horror hosts are doing a really amazing job right now. I try to take time to appreciate all of their work….but it’s hard! THERE’S SO MANY OF US!
DAVE A: Today’s hosts are usually limited to public domain films to show on their programs. If you could choose just one movie, no matter what it was to show, which movie would it be and why?
MARLENA: DUNE (the David Lynch version). I am a big David Lynch Fan and DUNE is one of my faves.
DAVE A: This past year you had an “adults only” DVD called Eurosleaze that sold really well. Do you have any other big plans for the future? Anything you can share with us?
MARLENA: The “adults only” DVDs allow us to do movies with too much nudity, etc that we could never do on television. Our bits in those feature very adult humor as well. It was a lot of fun and a change from doing our TV show which we like to keep strictly PG rated. We are always working on new items such as t-shirts and DVD releases of our seasons. You can check out what we have to offer HERE!
DAVE A: Recently you and Robyn had hilarious parts in Thomas Berdinski’s GIANT RUBBER MONSTER MOVIE. How did this come about?
MARLENA: We have kept involved with Thom Berdinski ever since we met him at HorrorHound Indianapolis 2010. We shot the summer camp episodes with him plus he’s in 2 other MM episodes. He wrote a part for us in the script and we shot it in December of last year. We actually will be much more involved with Thom in the future with MANY crossover and stand alone projects.
DAVE A: Do you plan on making any other cameos in similar projects in the future?
MARLENA: We are in another short film that he is doing that will be out soon, but can’t really give any details about it.
DAVE A: Let’s talk about you being a comic book store owner. What made you do this and how is the business venture going?
MARLENA: The store is a lot of fun and business is doing fine actually, especially lately. It does create a problem we didn’t foresee though. We are gone a LOT of weekends (take October for example , EVERY weekend we are at some other event) so in my opinion, we are simply GONE too much to run a store so we might see if another local wants to take it over or something similar.
If you haven’t checked out MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM, definitely give it a try…you will not be disappointed!