October 2019 has been a banner month for horror hosts and comic books. We’ve all heard the news regarding Svengoolie joining the DC Universe and the Chicago-gone-national host taking the Big Apple by storm at the New York Comic-Con. Today, yet another horror host has found his way in print courtesy of Dark Horse Comics – Count Crowley! What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of Count Crowley? Well, that’s because he’s the brainchild and alter ego of actor David Dasmalchian. Yes, the co-star of the MARVEL Ant-Man films as well as DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad is not only a big fan of comic books but horror hosts as well. Aside from his current admiration for Svengoolie, he grew up with Kansas’ most beloved horror hostesses, Crematia Mortem! I first became aware of Crematia about ten years ago when I saw the documentary American Scary (now available on Amazon Prime) and have had the honor of seeing some of her old shows through trades. When David reached out to me last month, I was delighted to hear his memories of her as well as his agreeing to an interview. So sit back and enjoy David’s insights on “Count Crowley” and the living horror hosts who inspired him.
For me, one of the biggest draws for this year’s Days of the Dead Chicago was the appearance of Cassandra Peterson a.k.a. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times before (the first of which I discussed HERE) and later enjoyed her brief reboot of Elvira’s Movie Macabre on our local Chicago station WCIU; the same channel as Svengoolie before he’d go national via MeTV a few months later. That was an exciting time since they were the two hosts I’d grown up with. From age eight to fourteen, I idolized Rich Koz’s Son of Svengoolie (now simply “Svengoolie” with the blessing of his predecessor) before our local WFLD 32 station got swallowed up by the corporate FOX. It was also around that time when I discovered Elvira after renting some of her “Thriller Video” hosted films from my local mom & pop video store. I also remember making frequent road trips in my ’20s to all neighboring Illinois and Indiana Suncoast Video stores in an effort to collect all of her Midnight Madness VHS tapes. That’s one thing we collectors have lost in our modern Internet world; that good old fashioned thrill of the hunt!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to announce the return of The Horror Host Report! Yes, back when this blog was relatively new we set out to do what no one else had…create an all-inclusive weekly update of what the world’s horror hosts (commercial TV, public access, internet) were up to. It proved to be one of our most popular features and both Terror Daves enjoyed working with all the hosts immensely. Through the report, many of the participants also became personal friends and we had nothing but positive experiences with them during its nearly three-year run.
Unlike the last few years, 2013’s March Horrorhound Weekend featured only a sparse number of horror hosts which, in many ways, seemed like a “last stand.” After the Vampira Tribute in 2010, Jason Hignite continued the Horrorhound Weekend/Horror Host tradition with a Zacherley Tribute in 2011 along with “inducting” at least ten horror hosts into the Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Horror Host Hall of Fame. The tradition of choosing ten random hosts for induction would continue in 2012 and, despite the lower turn-out, took place again this year.
There is no question that one of the most enduring and influential Horror Hosts of all time was the late Bob Wilkins from the San Francisco Bay area. Less garish than that of many hosts, Wilkin’s style was about as simple as one could get; Just your average guy wearing glasses and sitting in a chair while smoking his cigar. Yet through his dry wit and demeanor was a charm that was undeniable.
As Chicago was amidst one of its worst heat waves to date; with temperatures hitting the triple digits several days in a row, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a baseball game. I’m by no means a sports fan and the last time I went to any such event was probably about 20 years ago. I’m not sure of the circumstances, but you can bet it involved me being dragged there. This however, was no ordinary game. Taking place far from Chicago’s “US Cellular” & “Wrigley Fields,” in the town of Joliet, Illinois, is a lesser known stadium called “Silver Cross Field.” On this Friday night, it would boast a “Fright Night” horror theme while featuring, as its guest of honor, National Horror Host, Svengoolie! In a situation such as this, I was much more eager to indulge in “America’s favorite pastime.”