Not long ago, I popped open one of my horror movie binders and fished out an old favorite that I’d forgotten about. Back in 1993, my friend Suzanne gave me a call saying she wanted to go out to see a movie. This meant that, per our usual custom, SHE would pick out what we’d see though I never complained as I was always happy for an opportunity to do something social. Especially, at that time, if it was with someone of the opposite sex. I can honestly say that it never bothered me that 90% of her choices were forgettable nightmares. Of course even a broken grandfather clock is right at least twice a day and, every once in a great while, Suzanne would pick a winner. This was definitely the case on the night she’d chosen us to see FIRE IN THE SKY.
More ghoulish characters featured at the 2012 Horrorhound Weekend costume contest…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….it’s always the fans themselves that are the best part of any genre convention! Especially the ones that decide to dress up in costumes. These folks don’t need Halloween to strut their sinister stuff on the killer cat-walk and both Daves are always amazed at the incredible creativity that goes into many of them. There were quite a few monstrous characters walking around the 2012 Ohio Horrorhound Weekend but, fortunately, we were able to catch many in one spot as they converged for the Saturday night costume contest!
When I originally heard that this movie was being made I thought that perhaps it was an EVIL DEAD rip-off, especially since said cabin looked very similar to the one from the 1981 film. To be honest, I actually had no interest in seeing this film until I saw the preview, stating that it was co-written by none other than Joss Whedon, of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and FIREFLY fame. After seeing that I knew this was a film that I wanted to see and eagerly awaited it’s April 13th release.
Last Friday, for the first time in 30 years, commercial TV Horror Host, Mr. Mephisto, donned his signature make-up and stood before the cameras once more. The appearance took place in Kenosha on the set of Dr. Destruction’s Crimson Theatre at The Time Warner Studio. Mephisto, Dick Flanigan, arrived around noon and was greeted by a full set of cast members and guests as well as local new crews.
From 1969-1982, Dick Flanigan’s Mr. Mephisto would entertain Madison, Wisconsin horror fans as their host extraordinaire! Though not the first incarnation of the character, Flanigan would not only inherit the name but irrefutably make it his own. Late Friday nights, viewers could catch their favorite horror host courtesy of WMTV/Channel 15′s “Ferdie’s Inferno” and later “Lenny’s Inferno.”
Flanigan was working as an art director for the station before being given an opportunity to showcase his versatility via Mephisto – a chalk-faced ghoul sporting a dark wig, hat, and goatee. The grouchy Mephisto often sat at his desk while being irritated by various other character’s, most notably a voice from a box (performed by the late John Sevum who would also play other bit parts). Mr. Mephisto’s shenanigan’s made him a local favorite while, behind the scenes, his own persistence would help bring quality, classic horror films to Madison fans.
Mephisto’s influence can still be seen today courtesy of his devout fans, most notably Rich Peterson – Director of the Annual Madison Horror Film Festival. Peterson remembers discovering Mr. Mephisto back in 1975 and hasn’t been the same since. This is illustrated by him adopting his own alter ego, “Freakshow,” and as this character he was given the honor of inducting his idol into The Horror Host Hall of Fame at Horrorhound Weekend last March. Flanigan, himself, arrived in Ohio to accept the award and stated that he “was thrilled to be here.” He also stated that he was “really impressed” with the festivities” and “honored” with the whole experience.
It was at this event that Flanigan would come into contact with another horror host, Dr. Destruction. Destruction asked Flanigan if he’d be willing to make an appearance on his Sunday AM radio show, “Dr. Destruction’s Big Top Theater,” and was ecstatic when he accepted. Two weeks later, during the broadcast, he pressed his luck further by asking Flanigan if he’d be willing to host a movie with him on his own show while also putting back on the make-up. “At first he was reluctant to do so,” said Destruction, “but he finally agreed!”
When the big day arrived, Destruction paced his set while constantly checking his watch. A habitual texter, I wasn’t surprised to receive several texts from him saying, “He can arrive at any time!!!” When the moment arrived, Destruction greeted him like a dignitary and the two sat down for a one on one chat. “Just listening to him talk, you could feel that this was an amazing moment and that he was a remarkable man,” Destruction would later recount.
Though the event was, in many ways, like a political summit, these similarities would end when the two men put on their familiar make-up and took to the stage. If Mr. Mephisto was nervous about walking before the cameras again, he was greeted by other ghoulish faces to ease the transition.
The two men then sat down and together hosted QUEEN OF BLOOD. They also filmed a clip together which shows Mr. Mephisto still has his dour magic.
The full hosted episode will be available on line soon so keep an eye out for the next Horror Host Report!
Last summer I wrote about Sarah Michelle Gellar and one of my all time favorite TV shows, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (story HERE). Despite the allure of that show’s main powerhouse, Buffy, it was the supporting characters and their interactions with one another that was tantamount to the show’s success. The character I related to the most was Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) the nerdy, comic-book reading guy who didn’t quite fit into any clique (including the nerds) and usually, in terms of the opposite sex, found himself the “best friend” rather than the boyfriend. This frustration, along with the usual teenage fear of being insignificant, was masked with a quick sardonic wit, usually at his own expense. If there was one lesson that Xander and I both knew full well, it was that its better to make fun of yourself before someone else does it for you.
One of the most unusual and wonderful things happened to us Daves at the last Horrorhound Weekend in Ohio. It started that opening night while we were perusing the main convention hall, ogling the unique items that the dealers had for sale while dodging fellow guests – many dressed as blood-soaked killers. Somehow, in the midst of all this pandemonium, my eyes focused on our dear friend, J.D. Feigelson. Feigelson, as our readers should at this time be well-versed, is the talented writer of one of my absolute FAVORITE films – DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARCROW. Now if you’re new to this site, and haven’t caught the numerous posts we’ve done both on Feigelson or that movie gem, we urge you to go back and do so. Feigelson was, and always will be, one of the nicest celebrities out there and one we are proud to also call “friend.” As before, he was all smiles and a genuine pleasure to talk to. This time, however, that signature smile appeared to have maniacal overtones as, unbeknownst to us, he was harboring a bit of a surprise…
In the earlier days of this site, I attended The 2010 Chicago Wizard Con (story HERE) and was not a happy camper. Granted the intense crowds did give me a bit of satisfaction knowing that, in the 15 years since I’d quit collecting comics, us geeks had clearly inherited the earth. Unfortunately, this was tempered by my perception of us fans being treated like cattle along with having to deal with their pampered celebrities. This is the first year I attended C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) and it was a last minute decision. Still recovering from Horrorhound (and, yes, we still have much more to discuss regarding that event) I had requested my C2E2 Press Pass late in the game and was surprised when it arrived last week. The event was HUGE and took place at The McCormick Place in Chicago.
Throughout horror movie history, there are few films that have been able to grab viewers with the sheer raw intensity as the original THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Tobe Hooper (who both produced and directed) took a handful of unknown actors, a scant $300,000 budget and created a film that plays with such gritty intensity you almost feel like a voyeur watching one of those infamous “loop” films many believe exist despite none having officially surfaced.
Growing up a monster kid in Rhode Island had its limitations. We did not have a local horror host though we did have our weekly Creature Double Feature, a long running series of some of the best monster movies ever put on film. As the 70′s came to an end, so did the interest in monsters it seemed. The Creature Double Feature wanted to go in a new direction and they brought in the Son Of Svengoolie. I wasn’t sure what to make of this character when I first saw that the format changed but it didn’t take long for me to become hooked on this top-hatted ghoul.
When I was in Junior High School, I had an amazing art teacher named Mr. Ray. He was known for his quick wit, hilarious commentary, and a penchant for dropping unruly kids into an industrial-sized waste basket (Ah…the good ole days!). Mr. Ray also was a fan of horror films and, aside from boasting a 1979 ALIEN figure on his classroom shelf, would also host a “Horror Video Club” after school. If there was ever a good reason to be kept after class, this would be it! Our parents had to all sign a consent form as he’d be playing scenes from Rated R horror films, and it was he who introduced me to the prom night vengeance of CARRIE, the genius directing of Hitchcock, and other great examples of horror/sci-fi/suspense treasures.
Ever since watching the quintessential horror host documentary, AMERICAN SCARY, a couple of years ago I’ve been enthralled with Stella Desire. Most people site Elvira as the bawdiest (and bustiest) of the 80′s hostesses but, just as The Mistress of the Dark was the irrefutable “Queen of Camp” on the West Coast, there was another who would dominate the East.
One of the celebrity encounters I was most looking forward to was Tippi Hedren. Ms Hedren, of course, will be forever remembered for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS. While this film is often panned by critics in lieu of The Master of Suspense’s other achievements (eg.PSYCHO, VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW) this has always been the film I find myself re-watching the most. I’m sure that is, no doubt, due to my love of animals as well as a good “man vs. nature” flick (of which there are few).
It is with teary eyes of appreciation that we thank all of our readers and friends who helped make us “The Best Horror Blog” of 2011. The Rondo’s are like the Oscars of Monsters and I’d been voting for my favorites pretty much since they began ten years ago. We started the site in July 2010 and were shocked last year when we were nominated. It seemed too good to be true and, while the adage “it was such an honor just to be nominated” might seem cliche,’ it was absolutely true in this case. We didn’t win but we came close and that was unbelievable to us.
When I awoke this morning and saw the numerous texts heralding the news, I honestly had to check the calendar to be sure April 1st (Fool’s Day) had passed and this wasn’t a joke of some kind. I think I am still in a bit of shock.
We want you to know that we are truly humbled by this award and know that we could not have done it without all your votes. We’d especially like to thank ALL of our friends in the Horror Host community for embracing us as they have and allowing us to cover them and their macabre exploits. We would also like to thank our readers who took the time to do this as well. It means more to us than you can imagine.
NOTE: for full list of winners, click HERE!
The Terror Daves: Dave Fuentes & David Albaugh~
This year’s HorrorHound Weekend in Columbus, OH was a tribute to women in horror, featuring such awesome guests as Lori Cardille, Cassandra Peterson, Pam Grier, Julie Adams and Tippi Hedren. One thing that amazed me though were the women guests in costumes! Every horror convention is loaded with people in costume, usually showcasing that person’s favorite character from their favorite horror film. More often than not these costumed characters are guys, but at this event we were treated to a lot of women in costumes. What was even better is that in almost all cases the costumes were original creations and I was very impressed!