It was just over three years ago when the Rondo Award winning Penny Dreadful (Danielle Gelehrter) released her eighth season of Shilling Shockers. Long before she’d share a name with a hit Showtime series, this New England horror hostess was presenting scary movies while treating fans to some rather hex-cellent sketch comedy. Penny Dreadful XIII is also one Salem witch that doesn’t shy away from a challenge either. This was never more apparent than during the aforementioned Season Eight when she shattered conventional wisdom by featuring all silent films; not something today’s viewers generally clamor for. Nevertheless, with an unholy mix of sweat, spells, and skill she’d pull it off with the help of her director, Rebecca Paiva, who worked tirelessly updating the scratchy Public Domain offerings with new “title cards” along with a vibrant storyline that had the host and her feral sidekick, Garou (played by real life husband, Magoo Gelehrter) hilariously venturing into different time periods.
Back to Monster High: Penny & Garou relive their teen years in Season 8!
But despite her character’s ability to tread into the future, no one could have predicted the real-life heartbreak that would follow. In late 2012, Magoo was diagnosed with cancer and, despite a courageous battle, would succumb to the disease less than two years later. It was a shattering blow to both Danielle as well as her alter ego and left a legion of shocked fans in mourning while silently pondering the fate of Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers. It was a valid if not morbid question.
If the old adage about the great loves of this world existing between those who “share the love of many things” is true then there could be few better examples than Magoo and Danielle. Their mutual love of classic horror and vintage physical comedy (Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, etc) would inspire them to expand their fandom into the realm of horror hosting. Garou’s comedic skills, though brilliant, never upstaged the host and made him an essential part of the success of Shilling Shockers. He even inspired us Daves to do an Ode to Horror Host Sidekicks blog and interview with him during our earlier days.
However, abruptly ending the show was not an option as, prior to this tragedy ,a successful kick-starter campaign had been waged to raise money for a ninth season. This meant that Penny Dreadful had no choice but to continue whether Danielle was emotionally ready or not.
Yesterday at 6pm EST a weekend long marathon of Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers will be taking place via The Kreepy Kastle! The 24 hr a day Horror Host online channel will be featuring some of the show’s greatest hits while also allowing viewer chat. It was only recently that the horror host world was given a less pleasant shocker with the news that Penny’s sidekick (and real life husband) Garou had been spending the past year battling cancer. The Terror Daves learned of it back in October but kept mum as it was not known to the majority of the public. At the time Penny stayed positive stating that only silver can truly harm her furry companion and, while we’re also hopeful, it does not take into consideration that they are facing steep medical costs that no mere spell can make disappear.
It was great seeing my Horror Hosts friends this past weekend at MONSTERBASH! Count Gore de Vol, Son of Ghoul, Penny Dreadful, and Mr. Lobo are regulars there as well as Chilly Billy whom I met for the first time! Check out these pics…
One of the best parts of any convention for the Daves is re-connecting with the many horror hosts we have met since we began this site in July of 2010. The only downside is that in many instances, there is so much going on that it is hard to really spend some quality time with them. Between them signing autographs and taking pictures and us covering the event, down time is rare. Luckily this changed somewhat at the ROCK & SHOCK Convention in Worcester this year.
Karlos Borloff, Dr. Destruction, & The Bone Jangler!
DAVE F: If you attended the 2011 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend, with the intention of finding the many horror hosts in attendance, you should have had no trouble in doing so. Occupying their own room this year, most were together in a single spot (with the exception of Sammy Terry & Joe Bob Briggs).
We had passed this section on our way to the celebrity rooms and noted a few familiar faces. As we entered, we immediately saw Roxsy Tyler, Midnite Mausoleum, and Dr. Calamari. Dr Calamari (easy to recognize as the guy with the tentacles coming out of his face) is part of a troop of performers called DARK CARNIVAL.
Living in Rhode Island, we have never really had our own horror host. The horror hosts I have seen over the years for the most part have been because of cable television and recorded shows that people have sent me. Thankfully though, the closest horror host we do have is also one of the most popular…Penny Dreadful from Massachusetts. Penny has been the subject of multiple blogs on our site and my co-blogger Dave Fuentes has an article coming out on her in the spring issue of SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE. Her show, SHILLING SHOCKERS, can be seen locally on cable access as well as on internet channels like THE MONSTER CHANNEL and ALTERNATE REALITIES TV.
Ever since Vampira cooed to her pet spider, “Rolo,” and the great Zacherly whispered “my dear” to an invisible paramour just outside the camera’s reach, sidekicks have been a common feature of horror hosted shows.
These companions are often as colorful and diverse as their host creators. Some are the skeletal variety such as Svengoolie’s Tombstone or Wolfman Mac’s conniving Boney Bob. Others are even more bizarre and imaginative such as Doktor Goulfinger’s Count Zygote (the world’s first horror host fan), Ms Monster’s..”ahem”.. melons “Tit & Tat,” or even a coy houseplant whom Mr. Lobo affectionately refers to as “Miss Mittens.”