I was happily surprised to run into Mr. Lobo and Dixie at the annual FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST in Kentucky! As mentioned in our recent Atomic Age Cinema piece, horror hosts were slated to appear at this event but Mr. Lobo wasn’t one of them. Needless to say, the sight of the spectacled host wearing his signature suit & green/black striped tie was a welcomed one at that! I found the mastermind of Cinema Insomnia chatting with Blake Powell, the guru behind Midnite Mausoleum, and wasted no time interrupting the two late night TV mavericks.
Despite my intrusion, Lobo was as warm and friendly as he had been when the other Dave and I first met him this past March. Ironically, I had another opportunity to chat with him just the previous week via “Dr Destruction’s Big Top Radio Show.” I joined the Kenosha host and his co-host, Charlotte, in the WLIP studio during its debut broadcast – an event that featured phone interviews with Lobo, Stella Desire, and A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Despite my best efforts, however, I was unable to get a word in edge-wise! One thing about Mr. Lobo, he does not fumble for words and busily recited “on-air” all the work that he and Dixie had been up to this past summer. I made a couple of awkward attempts to chime in (particularly regarding his newest “Elvira” issue of HORROR HOSTS magazine) but, as it turns out, Lobo didn’t even know I was in the station. Fate, however, was prepared to give me a second chance.
Mr. Lobo was embarking on a cross-country journey back to his native California when he and his fiance’/business partner, Dixie Dellamorte, decided to make a pit stop at FRIGHT NIGHT. We stood in an entryway that connected the main dealer room to a hallway that featured the hosts – Midnite Mausoleum, Horror Dungeon, and the host friendly Thomas Berdinsky from THE ITALIAN ZOMBIE MOVIE and had a nice conversation.
Lobo reiterated what he’d stated on Destruction’s radio show; he had just wrapped up work in Virginia on a film spin-off of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, worked with film-maker, Sean Kotz, on a documentary featuring classic Virginia host – The Bowman Body (see story HERE), and spent some time hanging out with fellow host pal – the incomparable Karlos Borloff from MONSTER MADHOUSE!
Both David and I are great admirers of Cinema Insomnia and I mentioned to Lobo some of my favorite CI moments. Moments such as the racially ambiguous jokes from his presentation of MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET, his disgust of Peter Graves participating in BIGFOOT: MYSTERIOUS MONSTER, and the awkward yet hilarious exchanges between himself and his idol, the late Bob Wilkins, during a past Halloween Special to name but a few.
I also made a point to tell him how much I enjoyed his music. Cinema Insomnia’s anthem – “I’m Watching TV” successfully captures the 1970’s “Banana Splits/Creature Feature” era I grew up in and receives year-round play in my household.
Another favorite Lobo song, “Halloween Candy,” is performed by the man himself and, despite being packed with lots of tricks, is a definite musical treat! This irreverent, seasonal favorite of mine has been featured on The Dr. Demento Halloween Show and highlights the signature, dry sense of humor that makes Lobo so “laugh out loud” funny. I was happy to have an opportunity to convey this to him personally – while encouraging him to create his own novelty CD. Lobo stated he is currently working on a seasonal music collection featuring scary sounds ala’ vintage Walt Disney.
Even more exciting is the highly anticipated next issue of the aforementioned HORROR HOSTS Magazine featuring The Mistress of the Dark! Glimpses of its cover show a skillfully crafted Elvira/mummy whose bandages in NO way detract from the physical attributes that helped make her famous. This cover, like last issue’s amazing Al Lewis portrait, was created by both Lobo and Dixie – a clear indication that this is one artistic couple who knows how to harmonize their skills. The actual painting will be given to Elvira (who participated in this issue) after the magazine’s printing. For those of us who can’t get enough of the “gal in black, who works on her back,” this will definitely be a must read!
HORROR HOSTS Magazine is prepared to go deeper than a mere expose’ by seeking the origins of Elvira’s famous look. While many will be quick to site Vampira as her direct influence (which of course she was) and Vampira’s to Morticia Addams – HORROR HOSTS Magazine will take us even further back! I was shocked to discover that our culture’s image of the archetype sinister female (svelte, macabre woman wearing a black dress) actually pre-dates The Adams Family and am eager to get my hands on the next issue to learn more!
This is the very essence as to why Mr. Lobo’s Cinema Insomnia works so well for me as an adult fan. Lobo manages to keep a respectful eye on classic horror hosts & their history, while forging ahead as a unique, modern one. This was illustrated last March at the Horror Host Hall of Fame Ceremony (conducted at Horrorhound) where Lobo gave an emotional explanation for why fans who grew up with a commercial host (such as myself) have such a deep/admiration for them as adults. “He was your guy.” said Lobo. (MORE QUOTES FROM INDUCTION). At the same time, he shows no obvious influences from previous hosts; portraying himself as both snarky and self-depreciating – a contradiction Lobo balances well. Whether the joke is on him, the viewer, the movie, or one of his guests it is almost always funny and has me quickly seeking out another episode. And, in that regard, the future is bright…
As mandated by his recent successful telethon, Mr. Lobo will soon be filming his next full season of Cinema Insomnia in which he promises to continue his quest in presenting films less common in the hosting realm. This is a challenge to most horror hosts operating today but Mr. Lobo has already established himself as one who has no trouble overcoming odds. This was never more evident than his recent triumphant fund-raising campaign which saw him reach his goal of $10,000 despite being conducted during an economic crises and amid the holidays! It was a risky gamble but, in the end, his devoted Cinsomniacs would not let him down and we can now all look forward to new episodes.
The next day we met up again in the dealer’s room and said our goodbyes. Just like I did when we parted at Horrorhound, I always give Dixie a big hug while singing a slow, acapella version of “Watching TV.” Sort of like having an end “theme song” like the old Carol Burnett Show or Donnie and Marie Osmond. It’s humorous and more than a bit odd I must admit.
What can I say? Being around Mr. Lobo and Dixie somehow makes me feel nostalgic….and that’s a feeling we horror host fans live for!