To Serve a Big Big Man – Richard “Jaws” Kiel 1939-2014

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream>

TO SERVE A BIG BIG MAN

by MR.LOBO

At 1:01:01 on the timeline in CINEMA INSOMNIA’s PRESENTATION OF EEGAH! THE NAME WRITTEN IN BLOOD(1962) you will see Mr. Lobo’s interview with a Gentle Giant. 7ft-2in actor, RICHARD KIEL was a hero to me and–I assume–tall weird kids everywhere! As a youngster, everyday in school, I put my tin foil from my lunch in my mouth and pretended to be the metal toothed villain JAWS from the 007 Movies THE SPY WHO LOVED ME(1977) and MOONRAKER(1979).
Mr. LoboJaws showing teeth Moonraker saw Richard Kiel’s serious side when he gave me a lecture about being professional–I was late to our scheduled interview. I felt even smaller but learned an important lesson from a pro. In the same meeting I also saw his generous jovial and sweet side as our interview unfolded–as you will see in the clips we used for EEGAH!

He told me, he started his career as an actor just so he could buy clothes that fit him and sleep in a be that was his size. He starred in dozens of movies over the span of 50 years. He was bulb headed alien, The Kanomit, in the iconic and popular episode of Rod Serling’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE called TO SERVE MAN.
CInsomaniacs and MSTies know he was in THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS(1965) and was inside the unforgivably hot and uncomfortable dopey-dog-looking-alien costume in PHANTOM PLANET(1961).

He had lots of bit parts in legendary TV shows like GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, THE MONKEES, MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., FALL GUY, I SPY, SIMON AND SIMON, WILD WILD WEST, KOLCHACK: THE NIGHT STALKER, SID & MARTY KROFT’S LAND OF THE LOST and BORIS KARLOFF’S THRILLER. I remember watching movies like SILVER STREAK(1976) and SO FINE(1981) on TV and getting excited that he had cameos in them.

Though he traveled extensively to many conventions to meet his legions of movie fans–he was wracked with health problems and limited mobility–the curse of many GIANT performers. The body has to work a lot harder to support such a large frame and the bones break down. Everyone who visits autograph shows knows Chewbacca walks with a cane and JAWS is on a scooter. At some of these shows we were booked at side-by-side..he and his lovely wife were neighbors at our Wondercon appearance. We had to move both our tables to make room for the scooter. Once behind the table he would switch to a regular chair and summon this amazing energy for his fans–all signs of his weakening health became instantly invisible.

Kiel, a Fresno California resident, had broken his leg last week. Reportedly, a family member said he passed away this afternoon in a Fresno hospital. However, he will always remain LARGE and IN CHARGE on the BIG SCREEN and in our hearts. Mr. Lobo would like to think he just traded his scooter for wings!

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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The Weird Weird World of Mike Vraney and Something Weird Video

something weird cover webTHE WEIRD WEIRD WORLD OF MIKE VRANEY AND SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO

By Mr. Lobo with Will Viharo, Lisa Petrucci, Daniel Griffith, and others.

Cover art by David Hardy with Dixie Dellamorto

SWVSpiraleyesEarly this month, a friend notfied MR. LOBO–and our staff here at HORROR HOSTS AND CREATURE FEATURES, that SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO founder and visionary MIKE VRANEY “faded to black” after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 56. It hit me hard. This news is something bad…and something sad for many Misunderstood Movie fans and pop culture cultists. SWVsomething_weird_poster_01Many argue that he has done more than any other single person to rescue obscure genre and exploitation films from the brink of oblivion. The works of HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS, DAVID F. FRIEDMAN, HARRY NOVAK, JOE SARNO, MICHAEL and ROBERTA FINDLAY, DORIS WISHMAN, DON DAVIS, BARRY MAHON, JOSé MOJICA MARINS, and hundreds of other filmmakers are discovered, re-discovered, reviewed, studied, talked about, and enjoyed by newer generations of fans because Mr. Vraney could see they still had value. Archivists and Collectors are rarely celebrated as heroes–but the work they do is vital to our lot–even if they may not particularly be angels.

SWVTeaserama (1955)

Vraney said this about his schlock-tacular vision-quest in his own words:

“In my mind, the last great genre to be scavenged were the exploitation/sexploitation films of the ’30s through the ’70s. After looking into this further, I realized that there were nearly 2,000 movies out there yet to be discovered. So with this for inspiration, my quest began and wouldn’t you know, just out of the blue I fell into a large collection of 16mm girlie arcade loops (which became the first compilation videos we put together). Around the same time I received an unexpected phone call that suddenly made all this real: my future – and hands-down the king of sexploitation – Dave Friedman was on the other end of the line. SWVvraneydavfriedmanThis would be the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship for both of us. Dave’s films became the building blocks for our film collection and he has taught and guided me through the wonderful world of sexploitation, introducing me to his colleagues (Dan Sonney, Harry Novak, H. G. Lewis, Bob Cresse and all the other colorful characters who were involved during his heyday) and they’ve been eager to dive into the business again.” – Mike Vraney

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Under the Unforgettable Spell of Svengoolie

Sven cover
               JERRY G. BISHOP 1936-2013

UNDER THE UNFORGETTABLE SPELL OF SVENGOOLIE

By RICH KOZ (SVENGOOLIE II),     MR. LOBO, and THE BONE JANGLER. Art by DAVID HARDY and DIXIE DELLAMsvenguitarORTO.

“The time has come for scary things like monsters, ghosts, and vampire wings, with horrible movies all drippy and drool-y, and horrible jokes, like me – Svengoolie!

 

He slipped away SammyCoverfrom us squares here in the real world in a cloud of psychedelic smoke  last month.  We were still feeling the sting of losing the great BOB CARTER AKA Horror Host SAMMY TERRY when the word got to our desk here at HORROR HOSTS AND CREATURE FEATURES. Although, many have written wonderful memorials since September about the ORIGINAL SVENGOOLIE from SCREAMING YELLOW THEATER, we felt the need to do something special…Image0001 …And that required the help of today’s top television horror host RICH KOZ–the man who has not only extended the legacy of the ORIGINAL SVENGOOLIE but has become a legend himself, first as SON OF SVENGOOLIE and later as just SVENGOOLIE. The avalanche of pre-Halloween 2svensbobligations on his side and ours created delays…but somehow it seems right that this memorial appears before you in the days before Halloween. The eve of All Saints Day, Hallowmas, the time of year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs, and the faithful.
JerryGAssaggioamscaryThose Horror Host fans who are not from the windy city may remember JERRY G. BISHOP speaking from the streets of San Diego(where he owned the Greek Islands Cafe, and Asaggio Pizza & Pasta) in the documentary film AMERICAN SCBishopARY(2006). And although I was a researcher on that film and enjoyed watching his work immensely I feel I am not qualified to tell his story or sing his praises.
You may have seen RICH KOZ as SVENGOOLIE on ME-TV, broadcast in markets in every state in the union. Take a moment know to hear the origin story of this Chicgoan and now National institution as told by the heir to his groovy-ness, RICH KOZ…(who is still  very much alive despite an apparently easy to confuse internet generation.)richkoz
“The man who first gave us the character of SVENGOOLIE- and who was generous enough to help me get into broadcasting – JERRY G. BISHOP – passed away at his San Diego home recently. TWCFLhere’s so much I want to say in his memory- probably more than everyone’s time and patience would allow. Jerry was my mentor and my friend. I was originally a fan of his radio shows- an incredible talent- so quick-witted, inventive, and engaging as a personality. He made me laugh while doing funny stuff as he  played the Top 40 rock hits of the day on Chicago’s WCFL. He loved playing his four-string Martin guitar (given to him by one of the guys in the Kingston Trio) and singing various tunes. When he moved on to television at WFLD,  I enjoyed the various programs he did there- including  DIALING FOR DOLLARS, which he always joked about, saying that, back in those days, the late 60s, his random calls to people often were met by- “we don’t get that channel”!(This was before most sets had UHF tuning.)

Night of Svens
It was in 1970 that he started what would become his beloved SVENGOOLIE character- he just happened to be the live staff announcer on duty during the Friday night horror flicks. He started goofing around with the voice-over announcements he had to read- and started doing them in, as he put it, a Yiddish Transylvanian accent! This evolved into the character that he and one of the engineers dubbed “SVENGOOLIE”- a sort of hippie vampire with his red-white-and blue bell-bottoms, sandals, sweatshirt, and green hippietumblr_mtackyovwF1qf83cro3_1280 wig , hosting the weekly grade Z horror flicks, who told jokes, sang songs, did commercial  parodies- and became  a popular favorite of Chicago viewers. In actuality- Jerry himself was nJerryGEasterSealso great fan of horror movies- the show was just a springboard for his entertaining shtick.
It became part of MY history when, as a fan, I joined the many viewers who sent in jokes. I also wrote bits for him to do, and, it appeared he appreciated them- because he would ask me to come up with more. He once told me “it was a good thing you came along when you did, because, at that point, I had pretty much done everytImage0002hing I know!” This turned into a writing job (for which he paid me out of his own pocket- the TV execs didn’t get why he needed some kid  to assist him). He invited me to attend the taping of the show, and he had me do off-camera voices, artwork, and various go-fer work, as well as public appearances with him. When the show was cancelled by the KAISER Broadcasting geniuses, Jerry thought enough of me to take me along to his next gig- at WMAQ radio, as writer, sidekick, ”producer”, etc. At any point, he could’ve just used material I wrote, said “thanks a lot kid”, and gone on his way alone. He didn’t, and I was always complemented by the fact that I was helping this top personalitberwynsvengooliead1980y to do his shows- and that he actually liked what I was doing! He taught me so many things, about broadcasting, achieving any sort of fame- and, in general, how to handle many aspects of life.
Time passed- we went in our own directions  (not that we wanted to- Jerry had gotten other positions that had no place for me) but, again- he helped open the door to me working with the fantastic DICK ORKIN, creator of “CHICKEN MAN” and other radio features, and some of the finest humorous radio commercials ever.
 The whole idea of there being a “SON OF SVENGOOLIE” was Jerry’s idea- a friend had suggested that, as a limited summer fun project, he bring back the Sven character. Jerry was actually reluctant to be Sven again- he had various reasons, including the idea that he may someday horror_son_svengoolieactually want to run for a local political office, and it might reflect badly on him! He decided that I should be “SON OF SVENGOOLIE”- and he and I would produce the show together. Though nothing came of the idea then, after some false starts, when he was moving to the west coast, and asked what I was thinking of doing- and I said I might try to pitch a local station on some kind of show- he said “if you want to try the “SON OF“ thing, you have my blessing”- which led to me  finally doing so.  Jerry was  so generous to allow me to continue the SVENGOOLIE character- again, it’s such an honor that he felt I could do justice to the franchise he had made successful.  We stayed in touch as our lives progressed, and he was always there toimages make me laugh, to show concern, and remain a part of my life. He was so much more than just someone I had worked with- he was a kind and caring friend, a devoted family man, and a truly versatile and greatly talented performer. He was my mentor, and everything I have ever aspired to be. I am proud and honored to be continuing what he created- as a tribute to him.”Image0003

Thank you, RICH. Just as we bobwilkinshad said about SAMMY TERRY in our memorial article to BOB CARTER, the same applies here. SVENGOOLIE IS NOT DEAD! JERRY G. BISHOP gave the character to RICH KOZ as BOB CARTER handed NIGHTMARE THEATER down to his son MARK CARTER, just as I have been given the torch to carry by my childhood horr2svensor host BOB WILKINS from CREATURE FEATURES in California. In Cleveland, THE GHOUL got GHOULARDI’s blessing,  In Omaha, DR. SANGUINARY spawned SON OF SANGUINARY, In Florida, DR. PAUL BEARER continued his dads undertaker biz. This is how the tradition remains a tradition.
RICH’s help here with this article is an example the tremendous amount of good will these kinds of shows create. It’s obvious we alBoneJanglobol feel we want to pay back the debt we owe to this grand tradition by honoring our heroes and telling their story.
Another, current Horror Host, Chicagoland’s BONE JANGLER posted a tribute on his website to his hero. In it are some amazing details about Jerry’s early days.
“In the early Seventies, on Friday nights, at 10:30pm, if you were looking for me, you knew where to find me. I was in front of the TV, my eyes glued to the screen, watching SVENGOOLIE on “SCREAMING YELLOW THEATER“, waiting for that large cheese and sausage pizza from Little Red Schoolhouse to arrive, hoping that it came during a commercial, so that I didn’t miss a second of the onscreen hijinx. The delivery driver would often ask, “You watchin’ Svengoolie?” And, then they’d say something like, “Yeah, it sucks working Friday nights. I end up missing most of his show.”
Jairus “Jerry” Samuel Ghan was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3rd, 1936. Later, he performed in a folk trio, graduated from, Wright Junior College, the University of Illinois, and Columbia College of Chicago. In 1961, He got his first job in broadcasting as the drive time DJ at WNMP-AM in Evanston, Illinois. Before long, he worked at stations insvencoffin Rockford and Springfield, Illinois, and in Washington, DC. It was when he was night time DJ for the hugely popular Cleveland radio station KYW, at the suggestion of program director KEN DRAPER, that Jerry shortened his professional name to “JERghoulardi-1RY G.”
Meanwhile, a man by the name of ERNIE ANDERSON reigned supreme on NE Ohio television, hosting horror movies as “GHOULARDI” on WJW-TV in Cleveland, with a 70% share of the late night viewers. There is no doubt that JERRY G. saw some of this Cleveland phenomenon.
In 1967, KEN DRAPER had become the program director at Chicago’s WCFL-AM, and hired JERRY G. as the station’s morning show host. DRAPER asked Jerry to add a last name to his moniker. Jerry, and his wife Liz, thumbed through a Cleveland phone book, and settled on the name “BISHOP.”
With Draper’s keen direction, and on-air talent like JERRY G. BISHOP, WCFL became serious competition for rival powerhouse WLS-AM. JERRY G. refers to this time as “rock radio’s greatest era.” Back then, programmers would allow their rock jocks to stretch out, svenbishop200Cget creative, and find their niche. In 1969, following a change in management at WCFL, Jerry was let go, and “replaced” by the comparatively milquetoast HOWARD MILLER. At this point, JERRY G. went over to fledgling Chicago UHF television station WFLD channel 32, looking for work.
Program director CLIFF BRAUN hired him to host the daytime movie show DIALING FOR DOLLARS. Jerry would call a phone number randomly found in the phone book and ask the often bewildered recipient if they knew what the current  prize jackpot was. Jerry sometimes anchored the station’s newscast, and also provided a variety of offscreen announcements as booth announcer.
When WFLD dehqdefaultcided to air horror movies on Friday nights, JERRY G. provided off camera narration, and commentary, between segments, using a voice reminiscent of BELA LUGOSI. As Jerry spoke, title cards, and movie stills, were shown onscreen, often while LINK WRAY’s RUMBLE played underneath.
Viewers wanted to know who that voice belonged to, and JERRY G. approached management about adding a comedic live host onscreen.  SVENGOOLIE was the modern hippie coun200px-MarvinHorrorHostterpart to ERNIE ANDERSON’S beatnik GHOULARDI of Early-Sixties Cleveland television. And, while we had previously had our own beatnik Horror Host (TERRY BENNETT’s “MARVIN”), Chicago had never seen anything like SVENGOOLIE. SCREAMING YELLOW THEATER was the show to watch, and channel 32 was the place to be, on Friday nights, and SVENGOOLIE was the king of cool, and often corny vaudevillian humor.o-SVEN-facebook

JERRY G. BISHOP and the ORIGINAL SVENGOOLIE, and those long ago nights of hilarity, horror, and cool, will live forever in the hearts, and minds, of his family, his friends, and his unfathomable multitude of fans, including me. God bless my hero JERRY G. BISHOP. Thank you for everything, Jerry!

His hero, among many Svengoolie-image-2other influences is why you can watch the wild and wooly BONE JANGLER host horror movies on Aurora cable channel 99 Friday Nights & Saturday Nights. You can read his complete tribute about the ORIGINAL SVEN  on The BONE JANGLER’s Website message board.bone..

MR. LOBO feels the writings of these two “fans who became hosts” added a doubly deep perspective to this article that could otherwise not exist. And THIS host who did not grow up or work with JERRY G. BISHOP has become a huge fan as well. We would also like to thank artist DAVID HARDY and DIXIE DELLAMORTO for the cover art. I’ve saved my most profound and way-out thanks for you–for taking some time to “tune in” this electronic love fest for a beloved giant in the world of broadcasting and HORROR HOSTS.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!0jerryG

 

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.

karen-black3

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

Missing Saturday Afternoons with Dr. E. Nick Witty

WELCOME DEAR GUEST TO THE DEN OF E. NICK WITTY

ALAN MILAIR 1931 – 2012

By Jerome A. Dolan
Art By Mr. Lobo

"Mr. Milair does his tademark laugh for the crew of Monster Mansion Memories..."

Baby Boomers and Monster Kids of Syracuse are mourning the passing of veteran TV personality Alan Milair who died peacefully on April 22, 2012. He was 81. Born in Charleston, WV, He moved to Syracuse to further his career. Mr. Milair had a 30 year career with WSYR in their Radio and television departments. He was a newsman, weatherman, and host of talk shows. On the radio he hosted MUSIC JUST FOR YOU. He also presented many classical music programs. He retired as AM/FM Program Manager for WSYR Radio. He will be remembered fondly as a local broadcasting legend. Continue reading