Many Horror Hosts over the years have aired on TV and been streamed online with some even having direct to video episodes….but what if I told you about one that was only seen on a VHS tape that was passed around to friends…could your heart and nerves survive learning about Scary As Hell Theater and its host Tim The Enchanter! That’s what I love about Horror Hosts, the world is filled with so many that you find new ones all the time and many of them are very entertaining and make you wonder why they did not get the fame that others have. I found Tim The Enchanter while surfing around YouTube and came across some clips of his show and knew that I had to cover him here on Rotten Ink, so it’s with great fun I bring you readers “Horror Host Icon: Tim The Enchanter”!
Tim The Enchanter is a wizard who hosted his show Scary As Hell Theater from 1998 to, well, 1998 for the show’s original run that had him hosting Black Sunday. Tim is a man with a long white mustache and bushy white eyebrows who wears a skullcap, carries a staff and dons a robe who loves to jam out to the sounds of Jethro Tull all the while hosting his creature feature from his living area. He was not an evil wizard but does have a sharp wit with a sinister side and didn’t mind taking a few jabs at people in the film’s productions as well as other pop culture stars. His hosting style has a very The Ghoul vibe to it as he adds his own sound effects and movie bits into the evening’s flick, adding to the comedy aspect. Scary As Hell Theater started in 1998 and only lasted one episode (that Tim hosted, more on that later) that acted as a pilot and a way to entertain friends of the host Tim The Enchanter. Stevie Gothing is the man who created and played Tim and made it for a fake TV network called SPUD-TV that he as well created. So while Tim The Enchanter might not be a household name, he is a Horror Host that you should check out as he has a very classic approach and look. I have also heard a rumor that Tim and his show Scary As Hell Theater might have a return some Halloween season down the line. Oh and I should also note that while only a small amount of Scary As Hell episodes were made, Tim The Enchanter himself made many other appearances on shows that appeared on SPUD-TV.
Tim The Enchanter is a very interesting Horror Host as he truly was a specialty host who was only marketed to friends of the host himself. So while searching the World Wide Web as well as all the magic shops I could think of, I found the one and only Tim The Enchanter who has been nice enough to take a few moments to chat with us and answer 5 Questions! That’s right we are going to have 5 Questions with Tim The Enchanter!
Me: Welcome, Tim The Enchanter to Rotten Ink. My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?
Tim: First of all, thanks so much for the opportunity to dust the cobwebs off of the old SPUD-TV footage, and revisit my vintage “Scary As Hell Theater” activities… Well, my formative years were spent in Southern California, during the 1960s, when regional television stations all seemed to harbor a great deal more initiative and creativity than they do these days. My very first glimpses into the realm of Horror Hosts came with the arrival of KCOP Channel 13’s now-legendary “Jeepers Creepers” broadcasts, which was anchored by three different hosts over the years that it appeared on the air. My memories are understandable fragmented, retained in my awareness as marvelously spooky vignettes, steeped in sort of a misty dream state — but that only adds to the macabre allure of it all, I think. Actually, it required a genuine effort for a 7, 8, 9-year-old to successfully keep his eyes open until the 11 p.m. starting time on Saturday nights, and most often, I have to admit, I would typically be able to see the host’s introductory segment, the first piece of whatever movie they were showing, the second host segment, a little more of the movie… and then fast asleep I would invariably to go. But at the heart of it, I was inevitably charmed and delighted by the host’s gloriously spooky attire, their exceedingly creepy demeanor, all of that fake fog wafting in the on-screen atmosphere, and the ornately fashioned coffin as the studio set’s centerpiece. To me, at that highly impressionable age, it didn’t so much matter which movie they were exhibiting — it could’ve been one of those grand old Universal Horror films (so many of them particular favorites of mine, then and now), or it could just as easily have been one of Bela Lugosi’s el cheap-o Monogram flicks, but it was truly the host(s) that lastingly captured my imagination, and ultimately brought me back for more the following week… Furthermore, it cannot be under-estimated how much of an almost spectral presence and massive inspiration dear old Zacherley was during those times. While he was primarily regarded as an East Coast TV personality, enough of his larger-than-life persona and macabre humor seeped into the prevailing mix of things, through various means (novelty recordings, monster magazine articles, and so on) to help reinforce his presence within the wider Pop Culture of those times… A bit later on, more towards the early 1970s, the other measurably significant host whom really made a lasting mark upon my consciousness was the great Larry ‘Sinister Seymour’ Vincent (who notably did time on KHJ-TV and KTLA-TV, respectively). Since I was a bit older by that point, I was primed to understand and appreciate a lot of the over-the-top cynicism and sarcasm employed by him, and to a great degree, that’s where I really got a lot of the sense of how best to conduct my own grass-roots Horror Hosting efforts.
Me: Sinister Seymour, a true Hosting Icon indeed! Tell us how did Scary A Hell Theater as well as SPUD-TV come about?
Tim: My wife, my son and daughter, and I rather abruptly found ourselves relocating (by the mid 1990s) to a small collage town in Idaho, where my wife was employed (following graduate school at U.C. Berkeley) to teach English and Native American Literature courses at the University in Moscow. Truly a wonderful prospect in terms of her early academic career — but as time went on, to be honest, despite the beautiful scenery and charmingly rustic downtown culture, it became a little tedious having to cope with some of the thorny drawbacks of making a life in those surroundings. I won’t go into dreary detail, but some of the indigenous folks could’ve been from another planet entirely, and their strong suit didn’t include tolerance of people basically seen as ‘outsiders’. But hey, it’s entirely possible that they thought we were from another planet as well. Who’s to say? Regardless, all of us tried very hard to make things work, since there was clearly a lot at stake. After my wife and son gave me a video camera for one of my birthdays, I resolved to let off a little steam by creating a mock TV operation, and an exaggerated cast of characters to populate my various video projects, all of it very much fashioned upon the old-school regional TV station dynamic experienced during my younger years. In a way, it was very much a release, and a way to (hopefully) retain my sanity amid some of the lesser desirable aspects of living in Idaho. I lampooned the whole experience through my many video segments, and they were eventually shared with a small circle of friends that resided in other parts of the country (Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Diego, San Francisco, and Minneapolis). Owing to my inherent love of Horror Hosts, one of my characters became a rather arrogant / pompous fellow known as Tim the Enchanter, and he would host an array of short subject offerings, and macabre clips of one kind or another, things like that. Those segments were always delivered under the title of SPUD-TV’s “Scary As Hell Theater”. Well, the time ultimately came, however, to mount a full-blown program, wherein Tim would host a proper Horror film. I selected Mario Bava’s “Black Sunday” (a.k.a. “The Mask Of Satan”), because I had just seen Tim Burton host it on the old incarnation of American Movie Classics for the Halloween season, and off to the races I went with it all. Naturally, I don’t have to tell you exactly how much work it is to put together such an endeavor. And I was just one guy, and I did absolutely EVERYTHING. I wrote it, I taped it, I performed it, I edited it. It was exhausting, but also great fun. I loved it!!! Also, because I was operating in the murky realm of private home video release, I felt as though it was entirely appropriate to stick in whatever snippets I wished from any given source — whether it was a few song samples from a Goth band, or a goofy novelty recording, or even a Monty Python movie quote. I loaded it on pretty thick with Pop Culture references by design, and I ended up being pretty pleased with how the pilot episode came out. Not too terribly shabby for a beginner, but it was like I had been gradually preparing for most of my life to play the part of a Horror Host.
Me: So there is a rumor of you coming back, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what antics we can expect?
Tim: Funny you should ask that. Well, yes, I’ve spent some of the past month or so in feverishly planning a return and a kind of swan song for “Scary As Hell Theater”. Contrary to my earlier hopes, it won’t end up appearing any time this year (2019), due to equipment problems and health care issues. But I have every hope that 2020 will see the return of Tim, perhaps in an ominous threesome of hosting stints, which I would call the “Scary As Hell Theater” Bat film trilogy. Three public domain movies from the olden days: “The Vampire Bat” with Lionel Atwill & Dwight Frye, “The Devil Bat” with Bela Lugosi, and “The Bat” with Vincent Price. And woven into the mix will be something of a behind-the-scenes story thread, which will show Tim in new surroundings, while being required to adjust to these public domain properties, and occasionally vexed and otherwise tormented by his gray-haired CRAB-TV show runner, who will come off as an effective enough foil for Tim’s brand of cranky / never-entirely-satisfied personality. All in all, it’ll be a real pleasure to revisit “Scary As Hell Theater”, and finally see Tim off into the sunset with these episodes. I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Me: Amazing news, and I myself am looking forward to Scary As Hell’s return! When you bring back Scary As Hell Theater will a new episode be released every Halloween time?
Tim: Despite what the fortune cookies may say, the future is unknown. Naturally, I would love to say “YES!”. However, we’ll have to see where we stand after the Bat film trilogy. Time and energy are at something of a premium these days, especially with doing everything myself as I would have to do. We’ll just leave it open-ended. A return is always a possibility, of course. I mean, if Universal Studios could resurrect their Frankenstein Monster, no matter how they might’ve cruelly dispatched him in the previous film, and if even Mr. Spock can be miraculously brought back from the land of the dead, then anything is conceivable. Still, we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out. Sorry to be so vague in my reply. As long as my heart continues to beat as it does, I will always adore Horror Hosts (both classic and contemporary), and I very much like the notion of popping up now and again.
Me: So if you could host any film, what would you pick?
Tim: Ah, what a vastly appealing prospect! Geez, how to chose? There are so many wonderful possibilities. Hmm, I would say (mostly because I had temporarily flirted with this idea just recently) it would be a real blast to host Rob Zombie’s “House Of 1,000 Corpses”. Just sayin’. The glorious possibilities for unbridled riffing, for genre-aware jokes, for pounding into the host segments presentation (preferably with an over-sized clown hammer) my own spin on all of the cinematic and real world references — it would be an extraordinary opportunity. Just think, to be able to drag my best Bill Moseley impression out of the moth-eaten closet, and send the audience into it by exclaiming: “I’ll bet you’d stick your head in fire if I said you could see Hell.”, and / or the classic “HOPE YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE!!!” And if I actually did it, sure, it would be massively satisfying beyond all earthly measure. But hey, thanks to the Copyright Overlords, only a very few people within my circle would ever see the result of those ambitious toils, as it would need to be released privately, with a painfully short list of prospective ‘victims’. Oh well, it’s a nice dream, isn’t it?
Me: And lastly, do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?
Tim: In all likelihood, I would say: “Let your freak flag fly, my children!” No, seriously though. My advice, offered most humbly, would be to throw all caution to the wind and demonstrate your love of the Horror genre by adding your voice to the esteemed crowd. It’s not only a declaration of appreciation for everything which inhabits the realm of Horror (cinematic, literary… in whatever form that you might covet it), but it’s also an opportunity for self-expression and for adding to the magnificent community which is Horror Hosting. It’s also a way to honor the Old Guard, our Horror Hosting heroes. Most of us have them, regional personalities illuminated by the light of our shared times together, during our most impressionable years. All you need is a camera and a little imagination. Go for it, and never let anybody discourage you. Years ago, I sent my hosted “Black Sunday” episode to a friend of long standing, and I was quite excited to eventually hear what her reaction to it would be. Well, it came in its own time, and wasn’t really what I had hoped to hear. She simply said: “Wow! You must have a lot of time on your hands!” I’ll freely admit, I allowed that to somewhat dampen my spirits, and to hinder my momentum in continuing with a series of similar hosting ventures. Don’t let anybody rain on your parade! If you have the energy, the drive, the passion to do it, then by all means, allow no-one to chip away at your resolve. A decade or so ago, I actually had tangible fears that Horror Hosting might be fading away. Happily, I was mistaken. It has come on stronger than ever once again, all over the country, and it shows no signs what-so-ever of being rudely extinguished. You can be a part of all of that, and you will be, if your heart is dark and filled with desire… In any case, I offer my sincere thanks for your time.
Me: Great advice Tim, and thank you for answering these questions that my readers and I enjoyed! I am very much looking forward to seeing the Bat Trilogy, and I will make a promise to you readers that once they are done, I will have them up here on this very update as a well….so I guess you could say it will be an update to an update!
So we have heard from Tim The Enchanter himself and about the future of Scary As Hell Theater…but one thing I am sure you readers did not know is that a second episode with the movie being Evil Dead 2 was made but was not hosted by Tim The Enchanter! That’s right, Tim was replaced by a Host named Graveyard Guy who a little more raunchy and slightly more mean spirited, and yet still held a goofy tone. In fact this version of the show aired on the fake station called CRAB-TV and is surly the nemesis to Tim! So while Graveyard Guy is part of Scary As Hell Theater’s legacy, he is no Tim The Enchanter and let’s hope that in the new episodes Tim gets his show back and he and SPUD-TV show why their Scary As Hell Theater is the only one that matters!
I have always said that to me there is no such thing as a Horror Host that is too big or too small and that every host means something to their fans and viewers, and Tim The Enchanter is a prime example of that. And now we are at the part of the update where I will showcase the episode I have of Scary As Hell Theater. As always, I will not be rating the episode and will take the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and I will write about the crazy antics of Tim during the episode. So if you are ready, let’s see what Scary As Hell Theater has in store for us.
Scary As Hell Theater: Black Sunday
Starring – Barbara Steele & John Richardson Not Rated 1960
Host: Tim The Enchanter starts the episode lip-synching to a Jethro Tull song and then gives us a history of the night’s film as well as cracks a few jokes. During the movie he inserts himself into it to be part of jokes that he plays off the dialogue the characters deliver. He then comes back with a parody of The Blair Witch Project where he apologizes for the show and movie to all the viewers and their families as he freezes outside doing so. He then talks about witches and how much fun they can be! Tim closes the show with his staff and presents a cool look at classic Horror Host Sinister Seymour and then disappears.
Movie: A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch’s beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl’s brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
So as you can see, Tim The Enchanter is one of those Horror Hosts that only a few diehard Horror Host fans know about, and I hope that this Horror Host Icon update brings him more attention and more viewers and fans for Scary As Hell Theater. I am sure many of you also have caught on that Tim The Enchanter got his namesake from Tim The Enchanter, the character from “Monty Python And The Holy Grail”…pretty cool stuff indeed. So for our next update I will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be heading to the world of the frontier as we will take a look at Night Of The Grizzly and the DELL Comic adaptation of this adventure/western film with a dash of Horror. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Beware the grizzlies are they are meat eaters!