Look Out! It’s The Ghouligans! Misunderstood Monsters Looking for a Place in This World!

IMG_5185(1) THE GHOULIGANS! MINI-SERIES (2xDVD’s, 3 half hour episodes per disc, 2013)

by MR. LOBO

This is a critical review as well as a general article about these “cool” creeps and the challenges they obviously face. With decline of broadcast and DVD, the stranglehold of corporate media, the glut of amateurish horror content on the internet, and the attention span of the average monster kid diminishing to about 4 seconds…a lot of you reading this may have yet not taken the time to actually watch THE GHOULIGANS!

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We’ve had the DVDs in our possession for some time. Why did it take us so long to check it out? Mr. Lobo saw some of their old black and white stuff, with the now absent Count Farnham, years ago and liked it. That was THE GHOULIGANS!(2006) B&W DVD, 60min. As an independent producer myself, I often deal with the reality of my peers and potential fans–who really love the idea of my show–putting off actually watching it for months or many years. Is it fear of disappointment? Is it ADD? Is it Jealousy? It’s understandable–Who doesn’t secretly want to do their own comedy-horror show? Is it “not wanting to have to look the creators of the show in the eye” at conventions or shows and tell them the truthfully how they feel about what is obviously a back breaking labor of love. Many fawn all over the plight of the independent film director but few share that same support for independent TV producers. It’s not as simple as that old saw,

“SyFy Channel should pick them up…”

The technical and legal hoops one must jump through to get on network cable are discouraging to say the least.

Let Mister Lobo end the suspense for you right now. They’re good.

Here’s the trailer…

DIXIE DELLAMORTO, MISS MITTENS, and MR. LOBO sat down and watched both DVDs straight through–that’s 6 total episodes–and two bonus cuts.

http://www.philebrity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/6a010534ca5d8b970b010535ae6ed9970c-800wi.jpgEven with the potential “Bro” vibe, it’s balanced with some heart…and it’s very often smart in it’s knowledge of the genre and in it’s satire. Mr. Lobo had grown up watching Filmation’s THE GROOVY GOOLIES–a spin off of SABRINA and ARCHIE from the comics, Hanna-Barbara’s THE DRAK PACK and both the Saturday morning version of MONSTER SQUAD from the 70’s and the Fred Dekker film of the 80’s…
ALL featuring good guy versions of classic monsters. The SLACK PACK, the team behind THE GHOULIGANS!, had a lot of burned in memories to compete with! To make this review process even more complicated, we’re also big fans of our long time friends and colleagues from GHOUL-A-GO GO, also from New York, who have a long running black-and-white show featuring monhttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/_oXsV5Js58Dg/SP_4_dNSAYI/AAAAAAAAAi4/NyLoqfU1-hw/s320/82788201_l.jpgsters hosting a kiddie show. In the interest of full disclosure, you must also consider the bias that Mr. Lobo produces and hosts his own show CINEMA INSOMNIA. However, it was fun, over the course of all the THE GHOULIGANS! episodes in this mini-series, to see them find their own thing and set themselves apart from the influences we all share.

 

This show is incredibly ambitious and kudos to everyone involved in this homegrown Independent series. IMG_5107These guys are horror heroes. When you watch you sometimes forget that they are up against a lot and this is an amazing undertaking for such a low budget show! Everyone must be doing the work of 10 people and you can sometimes see the seams as they lose focus. The make up effects range from brilliant to barely passable. Sometimes it’s unclear–Who is their audience? The humor is often too adult for kids and too kid-like for many adults. Is it a struggle to find their audience? A struggle to find their own voice? Or just a reflection of the many different personalities involved?

On the plus side–there is something for everyone.

Whatever the case may be, as a viewer, you are always rooting for these guys and you always want to “Be True to Your Ghoul” even at times when the DVD feels like a sampler.

Let’s talk about the name for a second. For those of you who lost your slang thesaurus, “Ghouligan!” is a compound word made up from the word “Ghhttp://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070115044937/mst3k/images/8/8b/Joel_3-5_cast.jpgoul” and the derogatory remark “Hooligan!” Hooligan is a dated insult meaning “Thug!”  or “Troublemaker”– mainly used by old people and square adults in old movies and TV shows. However, there doesn’t seem to be many “adult” characters in their world. You get the sense that they are roommates entering middle age and their days hanging out at the malt shop or giving the crusty principal at the high school a “hot foot” are behind them. They are still binge-drinking and still trying to get girlfriends as well trying to  fit in with their monster peers.  Like in the opening of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000–repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show, I should really just relax.”

http://reelybored.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/wolf.jpgWOLFGANG W. WOLGANG–seems the most confident and is a natural performer and as such is often doing the heavy lifting in scenes. A biker clad werewolf and selfish party animal who often gets the other two main GHOULIGANS in trouble.

BORIS STEIN–a man made monster, is established as the smartest and most responsible…but his better qualities are not always present depending on the skit. His make up also seems the most complicated and unfortunately, the most volatile.We love Werewolves and “Frankensteins”–but for us, VOID seems to be the most consistent, most original looking, and most dimensional character…a lonely, shy, blue zombie, with a knit hat a la Mike Nesmith of the Monkees .

http://pthumb.lisimg.com/image/5371898/250full.jpgWith the first episode MR. LOBO was immediately hit with bright colors, toe-taping music, and the broad comic vibe of THE KROFT SUPERSHOW–complete with laugh track–which would seem to disappear as the shows went on. Showing their influences, second series was called THE GHOULIGANS! SUPER SHOW(Color, 42min. 2008) and seemed to have had wall-to-wall canned laughter.
This series features some very funny pop-culture references to unlikely 80’s fare like NEVERENDING STORY and black and white parodies of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD(1969) and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE(1955).
The Second Episode, the MOMMY’S CURSE, had a very well done spoof of SCARFACE(1983)– Something for the stoner crowd, I expect. They introduced BOB TUTANKHAMEN–who in a later episode does a great fake local ad for his own Pyramid building business.


Seems like by the end of episode 2 they lost the laugh track.
There is even a spoof of masked Mexican wrestling movies in here for all you SANTO and BLUE DEMON fans.
KRILL GRILL–is another favorite character. At one point he drops his beach bum monster from the surf persona and imitates angry smoking comedian DENNIS LEARY from the 90’s. A highlight for anyone who actually remembers Dennis Leary.
Much of the writing is farcical and I found myself looking for more of a plot than the writers seem to allow. These are self aware characters doing “a show” and they seem to bounce from situation to situation like Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

The Jackass type “reality TV” spoofs of pranks played on VOID by WOLFGANG and BORIS are all funny and well done…even though it seems out-of-character for usually-square BORIS to pull such shenanigans. Like I said, there is a lot of bouncing as far as tone, style, and story. No laugh track at all in the 3rd episode but on the Second Disk in the 4th Episode the canned applause is back briefly and BORIS is suddenly shiny again like he was in the first episode. There are some Inconsistencies in the make up here and there–especially with BORIS STEIN and make up coming off hands and around the neck–But ALL are Very loveable though-out and all the quirks give it it’s charm.

Slimy Disco vampire COUNT FLEMING is introduced as well as some more adult humor–Less KROFT SUPER SHOW–More MAD TV. There are a few unexpected edgy Moments –like a Mexican Stand off with pistols in the bathroom with VOID putting a gun to HIS OWN head at one point. There is another bit where he actually shot himself through the head–very upsetting but somehow funny and in character.
In one episode they are leaping from world to world with a magic TV remote and my wife Dixie leaned over an said http://images2.makefive.com/images/entertainment/television/tv-shows-that-should-be-made-into-feature-films/quantum-leap-7.jpg“QUANTUM LEAP references will get you everywhere!” Well, it does with Dixie and Mr. Lobo caught himself giggling, too.

Erik, THE PHANTOM who appeared in the first episode comes back…you’re not supposed to like him and you don’t. He represents the worst of the more hammy humor. On the second DVD there are more well done movie spoofs like KRILL GILL as “Bruce Gillis” in FRY HARD a parody of DIE HARD(1988).http://i.ytimg.com/vi/y3bzrzkA2UQ/maxresdefault.jpgSome of the bits are a little thin and run a bit long. As much as we love WOLFGANG W. WOLFGANG–there is a George Michael music video parody that got a big laugh at first–but then overstayed it’s welcome. Their Corny humor–is self aware and addressed in one of the better fake ads from Ulcer Corp. for THE GHOULIGANS! ACTION FIGURES. It shows children doing dangerous things with the figures and gleefully watching ahttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/ch6dF69DBcE/mqdefault.jpgs their dad is eaten by the real THE GHOULIGANS! Perhaps they made that commercial just to make it painfully clear that the shows are not intended for younger audiences.  The second disk has more gross-out humor–there is a belly busting bit with a proper English butler who throws up everywhere in a fake sit-com pilot called “HEAVESWORTH”.

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indexTHE GHOULIGANS! MINI-SERIES(2013) is full of variety, surprises, memorable humor, and remarkable production value considering it’s budget. They obviously have a lot of great people who believe in them and are helping them in their unholy quest to save comedy-horror from itself! One gets the feeling that these mad scientists are tooling and re-tooling themselves for Prime Time. Overall, THE GHOULIGANS! shows are creative, colorful, and infectious. In a perfect world, they would have a blank check and world wide distribution. For now, it is your duty to purchase your own copies of their fine work and load up on their merchandise. Look out puny humans! Here comeTHE GHOULIGANS! Go get ’em, lads!

IMG_9896All The Ghouligans! full episodes will be released on DVD/VOD/Streaming next summer through Wild Eye Releasing and it’s available streaming now on ROK TV’s The Monster Channel, as well as some goodies on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

A Witch’s Best Friend Is a Werewolf – Rest In Peace Magoo Gelehrter

GarouthinkerWe express our deepest condolences to the friends, family and fans of our beloved colleague Magoo Gelehrter–the smiling face behind the beloved werewolf Garou from the cult TV program PENNY DREADFUL’S SHILLING SHOCKERS.

Dixie and Mr. Lobo, here on our Horror Host and Creature Features website, did an article a while back about the fund raiser to help pay their enormous medical expenses.
With wolf-man like strength this man has been fighting for his life. He had been unable to work due to the pain and the strength it took to fight and cope with chemotherapy and the side effects. They were struggling to make ends meet as their insurance did not cover all of their medical expenses. This may come as a big surprise to fans but most Horror Hosts do not make a lot of money–Elvira is the 1%.
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We have recently got word that Magoo’s fight is over and we already miss him.
For those of you who haven’t seen Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers. It’s a truely great piece of horror hosting and Mr. Lobo and Dixie are fans. Garou is the werewolf husband, henchbeast and “snarling darling” of Penny Dreadful. He is the very embodiment of feral, unbridled energy and enthusiasm.
As the story goes, One night, Garou discovered the mysterious portrait of Penny Dreadful. The werewolf fell madly in love with the witch’s painting, and howled mournfully at the moon every night after finding it. After much searching, Garou learned of a forbidden rite. He proceeded to initiate the strange ritual and his actions resulted in Dreadful’s return from the beyond. It was love at first fright.

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Farewell Karen Black

By Mr. Lobo

HHCF cover Karen Black alt webKaren black 1 webGoodnight, Karen Black. You don’t have to fight that horrible ampullary cancer of the stomach any more. Slumber in Peace. You have earned it. You have given so much to so many of us and will be missed. The popular mainstream press will tell you and tell you that she was the actress best known for her role in FIVE EASY PIECES(1970) as The Waitress opposite Jack Nicolson. Of course, she was in classic independent films like NASHVILLE(1975), THE GREAT GATSBY(1974), and EASY RIDER(1969) and won Golden Globes and was nominated for Oscars.


That is NOT the actress we are going to talk about here. Prestige and awards make a nice obituary… but to us, to MR. LOBO and DIXIE DELLAMORTO, the staff at CINEMA INSOMNIA, ZOM-BEE TV, along with HORROR HOSTS AND CREATURE FEATURES, and including all our friends in the horror and low budget genre film community…to
US…KAREN BLACK was an ICON. Karen Black appeared in more than 100 films and often portrayed women who were eccentric, attractive, and in danger. We are lucky she worked extensively in the low budget horror genre.

She won our hearts immediately with the telefilm TRILOGY OF TERROR(1975). Three stories interwoven together by two other genre legends Dan Curtis, producer and director of Dark Shadows, and Richard Matheson, who penned episodes of The Twilight Zone and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH(1964). totOne story is about a college student infatuated with his teacher. Next, a paranoid tale of a good sister and an evil sister, and the most famous segment, about a sawtoothed African Zuni Fetish Doll doll that comes to life and terrorizes a woman in her apartment. Karen plays the leads in all three stories…that also makes her the female Peter Sellers of anthology horror! This is one of those films that stuck into the minds of many youngsters who grew up in the 70’s…and a piece of it broke off and stayed with them their whole lives.
One of those deeply effected was Disney Storyboard artist Larry Scholl. “I think my all time favorite Karen Black moment was that split second shot in Trilogy of Terror when she is trapped in the closet, sees the suitcase, the door flings open, the doll prepares to charge, then we see that priceless shot of her looking determined…almost grinning with delight as if to say: ‘Come and get me!’ to the doll! I’ve never seen any heroine in a horror movie with a grin for a moment while being chased. It showed she had had enough! Although she was terrified she managed to do more damage to the doll in their chase! Unheard of in a horror film at that time, and certainly not on a TV movie!”

Terror struck in the skies as well in the celebrity-rich hit disaster film AIRPORT ’75. The mention of that film, parodied famously in AIRPLANE!(1980), has fans imagining Black’s frantic call for help, “This is Nancy. Something hit us! Oh, God Help us!”

936full-burnt-offerings-posterShe then appeared in the Haunted House chiller, also from Dan Curtis called BURNT OFFERINGS(1976). Karen Black and Oliver Reed are summer caretakers moving into gothic house with their young son. It’s considered by fans to be one of the scariest haunted house movies of all time. The house rejuvenates part of itself with each death that happens within. And the last scene in the attic made Mr. Lobo jump.

family_plotThat same year she starred as a jewel thief in Alfred Hitchcock’s last movie, FAMILY PLOT(1976).

Even before these strong entries Karen did horror films. Those of you who watch the Roku channel ZOM-BEE TV may have discovered an oddity of cinema, a yawner called THE PYX(1973). Karen Black is a prostitute who supposedly commits suicide by jumping from a high-rise building to her death, and Christopher Plummer is the investigator who uncovers a strange devil cult. The film flashes back with events from the previous 24 hours, in which she is sucked into the cult by her sinister madame. The plot is slow and boring but pyxKaren Black is so compelling that Dixie and I have watched it 2 or 3 times now. She also sings the main theme of this film–another talent that she has brought to several of her films including NASHVILLE. Our facebook friend, Tony Howard, goes nutzoid for Karen. “I admired her mostly for the fact she did not make her own personal life, angst, whatever, part of her job as an actress. Matter of fact, I didn’t know anything about her personal life or angst. Actresses today have thrust their own personal misfortunes/addictions/egos into the limelight to the point I find them utterly unattractive as women or performers. To me, Karen was not like that. No female celebrity ever captivated me so totally as a teen/young man, and she remains a favorite, if not THE favorite woman performer for me. She was 100% woman, but she was also 100% talented performer, and that Karen black 3combination puts her into the same class as the most revered of any time period. I am not a person to revere a celebrity, I don’t see what others see in many of them. Karen just appealed to me in every way. There is a little known Canadian movie about a witchcraft cult known as The Pyx. Anyone who comes away not impressed with Karen Black in this movie has the emotions of a stone statue. Her career impressed someone that is almost impossible to impress, and she will go down as my favorite actress. Karen, hoorah!”

She was in one of Mr. Lobo’s favorite conspiracy thrillers CAPRICORN ONE(1977) about a faked mission to Mars and the astronauts who are marked for assasination when the empty capsule burns up upon re-entry. She was also in “The Ransom” episode of one of my dad’s favorite TV shows THE INVADERS–that was about aliens who live among us and the one man who can stop them. Karen played the dedicated granddaughter to Laurence Naismith.

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Take some time today to visit Karen’s IMDB page…not sure if it’s complete but you will find tons of TV shows and movies that will make you go–“Oh, yeah…Really?….She was in that, too?” Don’t these sound great? IT’S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE(1987), INVISIBLE KID(1988), EVIL SPIRITS(1990), FATAL ENCOUNTER(1990), OVEREXPOSED(1990), TWISTED JUSTICE(1990), ZAPPED AGAIN!(1990), HAUNTING FEAR(1990), MIRROR MIRROR(1990), THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN(1991), LEGEND OF THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN(1992) RETURN OF THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN(1992), BOUND AND GAGGED: A LOVE STORY(1993), STARSTRUCK(1995), PLAN 10 FROM OUTER SPACE(1995), DINOSAUR VALLEY GIRLS(1996), CHILDREN OF THE CORN: THE GATHERING(1996), INVISIBLE DAD(1998)… Who needs an Oscar when you can bring sunshine into a hard working movie geeks heart.

Karen black 2 webThe original INVADERS FROM MARS(1953) is a cult classic, and much appreciated by your humble writer who saw it on TV as a small child–However, Mr. Lobo saw INVADERS FROM MARS(1986) when he was teenager–and there were no elitist film snobs around or internet to tell him that remakes are automatically bad. I loved it! The cast was greatespecially my two heart crushes of the time, Laraine Newman and Karen Black. Her one-of-a-kind screen presence is as showcased here as it is in her more celebrated films. Karen’s real life son, Hunter Carson is the imaginative and brave child lead and is perfect in an 80’s way for the role. This film is finally being appreciated more–it’s an overlooked classic.

out of the darkAnd the award for the most forgettable title on an otherwise a great slasher film goes to…

OUT OF THE DARK(1988).

In it an evil clown stalks the women who work at a phone sex company. Karen Black is particularly great in it. And if she didn’t give it enough “cult cred” it has cameos from Divine and Paul Bartel.

And speaking of cameos,
she was also in a favorite gem that Dixie and Mr. Lobo obsess on, Ed Wood’s I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED(1998) staring Billy Zane. It’s a holy grail VHS find for Ed Wood fans.

mother FireflyIn 2003 she was introduced to a new generation of devoted fans when musician/director Rob Zombie put her in his first feature HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES as Mother Firefly. Zombie had this to say “She was a very special lady and I was very fortunate to have been able to work with her on my first film. She was a one-of-a-kind actress and will be very, very missed.”

Bill Moseley also had the pleasure of working with her on that disturbing and groundbreaking film and had some warm thoughts to share. “Such a sweetheart & a pro, an infectious laugh and, like me, originally from Illinois (well, I grew up there). Love & condolences to her wonderful husband, Stephen Eckelberry, her daughter, Celine, and her son, Hunter Carson. We lost a huge talent with a beautiful singing voice, a love of words and a great sense of humor. I’ll miss you, Karen.”

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Miles Miniaci who like Mr. Lobo was an on stage host of Sacramento’s long running film fest TRASH FILM ORGY said “Almost anyone who knows anything about me knows of my absolute obsession with this woman over the years–I garnered more than a few stares by regularly naming her as my fave film actress. But what was not to love? Smoldering sensuality married to the heart and gifts of a great character teethactress…and an enduring affection for the genre movies so many of us love. A true icon such as her may be gone, but will never be forgotten.”

It is this commitment to low budget genre horror films that is the reason why we are morning her deeply and why a punk band would name itself The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, who in March of 2010 set up a fundraising page to help collect donations for experimental treatment in Europe, wrote this on Facebook Thursday.

“Thank you all for all your prayers and love, they meant so much to her as they did to me” 

We will miss you Karen Black. Thanks for working so cheap and being in so many fun and freaky films. You were the scream queen’s scream queen…and an amazing talent. You have inspired us and left behind a legacy on screen to be enjoyed again and again.

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Sammy Terry Lives

SammyCoverBOB CARTER 1929-2013

Yesterday there was An Open to the  Public Visitation at Singleton Mortuary in Indianapolis. As we could not be there, we thought we might have a memorial of sorts right here at HORROR HOSTS AND CREATURE FEATURES. Take a moment. Turn off your phone. Sit in a dark quiet place and read along. Continue reading

Careers That Pay For Horror Hosts

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CAREERS THAT PAY FOR HORROR HOSTS

By Mr. Lobo

It’s tough to be a horror host-no question. It never was a fool proof get rich quick scheme by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, the most fun job in the world and the cost of that is everyone who ever tries it–never wants to quit and everyone who sees a horror host in action wants to be one.

Because of the decline of local broadcast and terrestrial TV, a lot more serious horror fans with no sense of humor, budget cuts for Public Access, shrinking budgets of TV stations and networks, tighter licensing and copyright restrictions on films, high cost of decent capes and make up, and a rise of DIY hosts who do the work for free, all contribute to a rough, competitive job market and hard times for so-called professional Horror Hosts.

People ask Mr. Lobo all the time for advice. I Even get emails from long time veterans who are considering calling it quits, or worse–getting a day job. There are a few careers that make good money that may allow you to perpetuate your character until the market for Horror Host booms again.

Super Villain: Hold the world hostage or steal the world’s biggest laser! This is a job that pays well and will earn you respect from your loyal goons.

Dominatrix: Chances are you already have a dungeon, black lipstick and and high heels. Why hot give a weathy businessman his own personal horror show.

Drug Dealer: Surrounded by losers who are up all night watching terrible movies? This job may be an easy transition.

Sign Spinner: You already wear a stupid outfit and beg for attention. Standing on the side of a busy street with a sign and a foam Statue of Liberty crown could earn as much as $12 an hour.

Professional Wrestler: Vampires and Mad Scientists aren’t real either. Shout into a microphone and use your horror themed character to threaten opponents and charm the low-brow sports world.

Bouncer: Use your intimidating presence and people skills to throw underage kids out of a Goth club and accept juicy bribes from scenesters.

Toll Booth Worker: You may have to trim your fingernails–But you can stand there and riff on each car that goes by.

Walmart Night Shift Associate: Not great pay. But it’s pretty clear that you don’t need any special skills and they don’t care what you look like.

Artist: Face it. That’s what you are. You look like a weirdo and you know where the good coffee is. If you weren’t motivated by creating art–it would be easy to pursue something more financially stable.

And these are just off the top of my head. Mr. Lobo must admit, looking at this list now…it’s pretty enticing. They say a smart business man always has an exit strategy…but “smarts” was never my best subject.  If you’re a struggling host, you are not alone. Here’s hoping a Horror Host “head hunter” finds you and puts you to work! 

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Movie Host Mr. Lobo Speaks Out On Recent Colorado Tragedy

Mr. Lobo is shocked, disturbed and saddened by the events at a Aurora, Colorado movie theater last night. It is a double tragedy that people seeking escape and fun in their local movie house would have both their fantasies and realities shattered by a real maniac with a gun. A movie theater is a safe sacred palace of our collective dreams – the pain and violence of the outside world we leave behind when we attend a theater has no place there. To the good people of the Denver area we are sending our love, support, and hope for your community to heal.

To everyone else, enjoy the few public places we have left and take in the arts. Enjoy the world of entertainment and each other and do not let the random acts of a lunatic deprive you of a rich life filled with fun, fantasy, and the company of others who share your love for the movies.

SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE or The Incredible Shrinking Teenage Monster Tarantula Creatures From Outer Space Vs. Jack Arnold

By Mr. Lobo

There comes a time in a horror movie host’s life when they must reacquaint themselves with the classics. You forget things like talent, taste, and atmosphere and what they bring to a film. Mr. Lobo has sort-of made a career hosting movies on television and most of them are not considered the cream of the crop. Sure, they also rise to the top of the bowl…but that’s because they’re considered crap not cream.
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