Horror Host Icon: The Creeper

Dayton has had its fair share of Horror Hosts with Dr. Creep of Shock Theater on Channel 22 being the most well known and loved. After Dr. Creep went off the air in 1985, the Horror Hosting void was filled years later thanks to public access and Hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Freak, Iris & Retina, Baron Von Porkchop, Commandant Gore and The Creeper who entertained and brought back the local host to TV airwaves. Growing up I have spent lots of late nights and early weekend afternoons watching Horror Hosts on the TV, and one that in my opinion has been way over looked here in the Dayton, Ohio area is The Creeper who hosted a great little show called “Moraine Playhouse Theater” that provided so many moments of entertainment for me and my brother Bryan. Thinking about it, I think The Creeper and A. Ghastlee Ghoul both started their Horror Host careers at the same time in 1989, making them both the official first Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts to fill the void of the legend Dr. Creep! So it’s with complete honor that I present to you again, and for some the first time, a host who brought so much joy to my youth and one that should be remembered for all he has done for not only Public Access TV but also the city of Moraine.  So welcome to this long overdue update as I bring to you Horror Host Icon: The Creeper!

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The Creeper was a host who enjoyed hosting locally shot Horror and Science Fiction no budget films on his show called Moraine Playhouse Theater that started in 1989 and aired on the public access stations MVCC and later DATV. No one is sure what The Creeper’s backstory is or why he loves to show cheesy locally shot movies but did know that he as well thought the armature films were stinkers but highly enjoyable. Over the shows run The Creeper had two looks that stuck out the most with me, with one being eye glasses with huge fake eyes, a red nose and a Halloween mask worn on the top of his head and backwards given the appearance that he had white hair and the more used and normal look for the later years of the show was a mask that was bald on top and white hair on the sides with an older vampire appearance that showcased wicked long teeth at the top of his mouth. But The Creeper’s appearance changed many times turning his run on public access even wearing a Jason Voorhees Hockey Mask! The Creeper just like Dr. Creep was known for his sinister high-pitched laugh that he would deliver through out the episode and would be something viewers would look forward to hearing. The Creeper’s style for hosting Moraine Playhouse Theater was that he would open and close the movie and would tell you at the start the films title and who was acting in it, while at the end he would most the time promote the film some more with also at times telling us about the next film to be shown. But while in most cases having a Horror Host only host during the opening and closing would not fair well with viewers it worked for The Creeper as Moraine Playhouse Theater was about an hour long and never felt like it over stayed it’s welcome with the armature cheesy film. One things for sure those who grew up watching The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater understand that this nasally talking, high pitched laughing Horror Host was truly a great way to fill the void of Dr. Creep as our local Dayton, Ohio Host and made No Budget Horror films cool to watch and make.

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The Creeper was played by Dave Miller who at the time was working for the City of Moraine in the Parks and Recreation department and even as of this update he is still working for the city. He started his public access career in 1979 with the show “Moraine Recreation Update” and from there he and his friends would later go on to make their own No Budget Films and created “Moraine Playhouse Theater” as an outlet to show the films as well and encourage fellow Ohio viewers to write, produce and direct their own films with a chance to be shown on Moraine Playhouse Theater or better yet able to help on one of their films. For his time on Public Access Dave Miller has won many awards including an Arnie and as well is respected for all the stuff he has done for the city of Moraine. Dave also in his free time likes to hike looking for history and also enjoys going on ghost hunting adventures! Dave Miller is a man who takes pride in his city, state, family and making entertainment! I want to also note that he had a show called “Moraine Teen Theater” that was much like Moraine Playhouse but the films were done my teenagers!

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The Creeper never had any real sidekicks on his show but he did have many recurring characters in the movies he would show like the Paranormal Investigators, who were a group of scientists who would look into legends and cryptozoology creatures. They were very popular amongst the viewers and I can remember talking to kids at school about them as well as my brother and me would try and predict what other monsters they could have them hunt from Bigfoot all the way to Frankenstein’s Monster in future movies. We also had Deputy Cheeks, Sheriff Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear all who lived in Colorado and hated the masked killer Jason Myers. But hands down the most popular character and the one that almost anyone who watched this show remembers is the hockey mask wearing supernatural serial killer named Jason Meyers who starred in four films that aired on the show and even was interviewed by The Creeper on one episode of the show! So while no characters shared the hosting duties with The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater, the show did have many of the returning characters in the no budget movies feel like a part of the shows lore because they where! Below is a picture of the Paranormal Investigators as well as Jason Meyers all whom made this Horror Host show even more special for us the viewers.

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While the Jason Myers Friday The 13th knockoff films are some of the most iconic flicks that The Creeper had hosted one other has always stuck out to me! Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 7 were he hosted the film “Trail Of The Werewolf” that was an adventure of the Paranormal Investigators who travel to Minnesota in order to stop a killer werewolf who has been making short work of the locals. The Creeper segments were nothing to special and had him wearing a hockey mask in what appears to be a kitchen and while he is as entertaining as ever it was the over all cheesiness of the film that stuck out the most to me. The werewolf was just a man in a half faced werewolf Halloween mask, but to be honest I think that’s what I love about it the most. The effects of the kills was pure backyard stuff and tame and the soundtrack like most of the movies made for this show was taken from Night Of The Living Dead. My favorite scene from the film is when The Werewolf attacks a gravedigger in the cemetery, so fun and holds the true spirit of independent no budget cinema. You see I have always been a fan of werewolves and as you long time readers and friends know my first ever original shot on video film was “Werewolf Of Ohio” and with Trail Of The Werewolf being made years before it, I wonder if maybe this film and episode of Moraine Playhouse Theater helped inspire my cult shot on video film, it’s very possible as I know that this show was my introduction to armature local shot on video films. The copy I got of this episode came from the master tapes of The Creeper and while it has glitches I still found it to be as entertaining as it was in the past and this could be my favorite film of the series with my favorite host segments being on Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 4 aka the episode that shows Jason Still Lives Part 2: The Ski Resort Murders. So I want to send out a big thanks to The Creeper and the cast of crew that made this show and its movies as they helped shape this aging Monster Kid into what he is today.

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After about 15 years of being away from TV screens across the Dayton, Ohio area I had to look high and low in every local graveyard and abandon video rental stores to find him and I am proud to say that The Creeper has been found and was nice enough to take a few moments away from watching his shot on video no budget horror films to give me a interview! So here it is 5 Questions with The Creeper…

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Matt: Welcome to Rotten Ink Creeper, and I guess my first question for you is when did you decide to become a Horror Host and unleash Moraine Playhouse Theater onto the viewers of MVCC Public Access?

Creeper: Growing up I enjoyed watching Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and Christopher Lee horror movies and from that interest I purchased a super 8 movie camera.  My friends and I in high school began making silent movies in 1973 and trying to add sound to them with a tape recorder.  In 1979 working for the City of Moraine I was introduced to MVCC and began filming, writing, editing and hosting Moraine Parks & Recreation shows for the municipal access channel.  In the late 1980’s I began the Moraine Playhouse Theater shows hosted by The Creeper.  We wanted to write, act in and show our movies on TV and thought that some kind of horror host character would work good to introduce and make fun of our own movies.

Matt: So what if any Horror Hosts inspired you to become a host yourself?

Creeper:  Growing up before cable TV my television at home could only pick up four local channels and if the weather was good I could get one Cincinnati channel and one Indianapolis channel.  I watched Dr. Creep in Dayton, the Cool Ghoul in Cincinnati and Sammy Terry out of Indianapolis.  They were funny and played all the Universal classic monster movies.

Matt: So over the years us viewers always wondered why you changed your appearance so much, was it to keep us guessing at what was next from you?

Creeper: I really didn’t want to change the appearance of The Creeper.  I had a creepy looking half ghoul/ half old man mask that was perfect for The Creeper.  But I used it every year for Moraine’s haunted house attraction (which became Slash Moraine) which we ran three or four weekends every October for Moraine Parks & Recreation.   So eventually the mask wore out.  So in some Playhouse Theaters I grabbed whatever mask was handy, one time just grabbing the Jason hockey mask and wrapping myself in a bed sheet.  It added to the cheesy-ness of our productions.

Matt: Your show Moraine Playhouse Theater has had many fan favorite episodes, but what is your favorite episode?

Creeper: We began in 1989 and through 1999 we had over a dozen shows.  Among them we had four movies centered around the “Jason” character, one movie where we battled a werewolf, another movie aliens and UFO’s.  But my favorite movie was when the Paranormal Investigators battled a vampire in “Trail of the Vampire”.  It was classic poor acting, cheesy special effects, but a good story line which always keeps us laughing every time we watch it.  My second favorite is “Cops & Robbers” (we spent a lot of time on that creative title didn’t we?) which is a fast paced police tale in which the detective’s are on the trail of a criminal genius named “The Viper”.  Depending on the availability or lack of availability of the person playing the Viper, if you look real close sometimes the Viper has a full head of hair, sometimes he is going bald.

Matt: The final question that is on all the minds of us who grew up watching your show is will their ever be new episodes and will we ever see “Trail Of The Zombie” the lost adventure of The Paranormal Investigators?

Creeper: I am going to say yes you will see it by years end.  I need to learn digital editing at MVCC because editing and creating the final product is the most fun aspect of moviemaking to me.  We have a zombie footage scene that we filmed in back in 1991 and have filmed scenes for this movie at least four or five other years.   I guess it is time to try to come up with a plot to tie them all together (if that is even possible) and finish filming this epic movie.  And yes, The Creeper will host the show and I am sure he will mock the script and the poor acting.

Matt: Thanks for all these wonderful answers Creeper!

WOW! That’s fantastic news as it would be great to have another Dayton, Ohio Horror Host active to go alongside Baron Von Porkchop. And with rumors of a new episodes by Iris & Retina of “Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go” being in the works, Dayton might just become a hot bed for Horror Hosts again! I want to thank The Creeper for taking time away from his no budget films to answer these questions for me and my readers as it’s always fun to chat with a Host!

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So we are now at the part of this Horror Host Icon review where we take a look at the episodes I have on DVD-R.  I want to thank Andy Copp, who, a long time ago for my birthday, got me a copy of Episode 4.  Also, a big thank you to Dave Miller and the staff of MVCC who got me all the remaining episodes.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Cops And Robbers
Starring – Tim Clark & Dave Miller     Not Rated      199?

Host: The Creeper, wearing a skull mask, introduces the 6th episode of the series and hypes up both films that will be shown! The first is called “Cowboy And Indians” and acts as the warm up film as it’s a vintage 1970’s super 8 film. After the first film, The Creeper is wearing a goblin Halloween mask and explains that he will be going Trick Or Treating and then introduces the second film, a detective themed flick. At the end of the show, The Creeper wishes everyone a Happy Halloween and tells us about the next film that would appear on the show.

Movie: Jack Hammer and Joe Monday are two good detectives who are in the big city and must try to end the crime wave of the evil masked crime lord, The Viper, and his sinister henchmen!

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1989

Host: The Creeper comes out of a coffin and informs us that the night’s film is inspired by the Friday The 13th film series and will showcase the talents of many of Moraine, Ohio’s top armature actors. At the end of the show, The Creeper is drinking blood and introduces his son The Leper who is over 200 years old and briefly interviews him and shows his son’s short film “Fleshy Headed Mutants 2051”!

Movie: Jason Myers is a hockey masked killer on a cruise ship who comes ashore and starts killing people in Ohio! Can the local cops put a stop to his rampage or will this killer on the loose rid the town of its entire population?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives 2
Starring – Scott Golden & Dave Miller    Not Rated   199?

Host: The Creeper is once more in a great mood as he brings us the second film in the Jason Myers series.  He is so happy that he also gets to interview the killer live on the show! But joy turns to terror as the silent killing machine Jason does not take kindly to The Creeper’s judgment of him and attacks our host!

Movie: Jason Myers is back and now in Colorado on a murdering spree during a blizzard that leaves Sheriff Cobb and Deputy Cheeks on the hunt for the madman, all the while braving the cold and getting the help of a mountain man named Billy Joe Black Bear! In the end Jason has his final stand on a cliff that leaves the hockey masked killer falling to his death…or does he?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Return Of Jason 3
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1992

Host: The Creeper is walking down a hall and notices the viewers.  He lets us know that today’s first film is a comedy short called “Junior: The Mean Little Boy,” changing up the pace from horror to silly comedy. The Creeper is now in master control of a TV station and tells us that today’s film was requested by fans and that it took two years to complete! But sadly this episode is not complete and is not only missing the end of the movie, but also the end of The Creepers closing segment.

Movie: Deputy Bud Cheeks and Sheriff Cobb are upset when the body of Jason is missing after falling off the cliff at the end of the second Jason film.  They go back to the scene of the crime and find that the killer could be alive still! After a phony press conference, Cobb and Cheek know that they must really stop the killer once and for all. Now Jason Myers is loose again and starting his killing spree on all those who get in his wicked path for revenge, but this time in Chicago.  So our Colorado law enforcement team of Cheeks, Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear comes to Chi-Town to save face for lying.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Part IV
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    2000

Host: The Creeper is in a living room, covered with a blanket and introduces the day’s film, the fourth in the chilling Jason Myers series.  Our host informs us that this film was 8 years in the making. He also informs us that this is the show’s Halloween episode and ushers us into the film.

Movie: Jason Meyers is brought back to life at his funeral after a relative of one of his victims breaks into the funeral home and brings the killer back to life by accident. Deputy Bud Cheeks is once more on the hunt to bring down Jason and tries to get Billy Joe Black Bear to help him on the case again but instead must go to Chicago alone to bring him down. Can the world’s favorite goofy deputy do it?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The UFO
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1991-1997

Host: The Creeper is chilling in his office and shares a short film called “The Return Of The Vampire” and then chats about aliens & UFO’s and the new adventure of The Paranormal Investigators who star in the day’s film. The Creeper ends the show wearing a tux and thanks us for watching both films and dares us to join him for the next episode.

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt for a UFO that has been tormenting a small town. When they themselves are abducted and wake up with missing hours, they wind up in a farmhouse with an alien outside with a message for NASA and the human race.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Vampire
Starring – Dave Miller & Tim Clark    Not Rated    199? 

Host: The Creeper brags about how his show won an Arnie Award, meaning that they are the best of Public Access! He then informs us that this is the first in a series featuring The Paranormal Investigators that will always be on the trail of some sort of monster!

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt to stop a vampire outbreak that has lead to many deaths and points back to Count Dracula! Can our team put an end to his blood sucking curse?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Werewolf
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1992

Host: The Creeper is now wearing a Hockey Mask and a blanket and once more is very hyped to bring you the best of the worst of Moraine shot on video horror and ushers us with glee into the day’s movie. After the first movie, The Creeper brags about how bad the films he shows are but also delivers another short film for us to enjoy called “Janitor Man”! Once the film’s over, The Creeper wakes up from a nap and closes the show.

Movie: Harry is a wildman who is wandering around the town and at night, during the full moon, is a werewolf! But on the case once more are the legendary Paranormal Investigators who are going to stop the werewolf’s rampage!

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The Creeper and Moraine Playhouse Theater were truly staples of my childhood viewing as he and the cheap movies he showed always brightened my day. I can remember watching his show in Waynesville and when traveling with my parents and brother to Kettering to visit my grandparents, talking with my brother about the show. So I want to say a truly big THANK YOU to The Creeper for all the years of public access entertainment he has delivered, and I for one think he should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he helped inspire me as well as other creative people in the Dayton area. For our next update, we are going to walk away from the world of Horror Hosts and into another chilling “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2014 film I, Frankenstein! So until next time, watch a Horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a shocking good time with Frankenstein’s Monster known as Adam.

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The Undead Files: The Dead

What is it about zombies that strike not only fear but also entertainment value with people? TV is filled with shows like The Walking Dead, Z-Nation and iZombie. Video games like Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising and Resident Evil are strong sellers. Not to mention comic book shelves are filled with many undead titles like ‘68, Walking Dead, Marvel Zombies and many Night Of The Living Dead titles. But what is it that draws us to the notion of the dead coming back to life to eat our brains or flesh? Why are we so obsessed with zombies, and why are they so ingrained into our culture now? In this Undead File Update, we will be taking a look at a comic book series made by Arrow Comics that pushed the envelope of gore and started many comic readers’ love for the underground gore comics and a series that inspired many artists and writers to make zombie comics of their own, The Dead. So be prepared to walk among the dead as we talk about this cult comic series among other things of the living dead nature.

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The Lane To The Dead is an urban legend around these parts that was brought to the light of day thanks to the book series “Haunted Ohio” written by Chris Woodyard, who did a small write up about it.  I also heard other stories from people who claimed they knew about it as well. The story goes that there is abandon graveyard that sits deep in the woods that is walled off with not only brinks but also barbwire and razor wire to keep people out and something in! You see the graveyard in this undisclosed location is said to house zombies that were created by the government during experiments and when they found that they could not kill them…again they trapped them all in this cemetery that acts as a dumping ground for them. It’s said that you must walk a long dirt lane that leads to woods and when entering them you must walk miles deep to get to the cemetery, and you know when your close as the moans and noises of the zombies can be heard. When living in Waynesville when I was like in 4th or 5th grade a classmate who’s dad worked for the government told him that they have reanimated bodies but that they can only keep it “reanimated” for seconds before they pass again, does this story fit in with The Lane Of The Dead…I doubt it as I don’t believe what my classmate told me as almost the whole school watched Night of the Living Dead on TV the weekend before. When I was in my late teens Josh Weinberg and I tired all we could to find the Lane To The Dead and failed, as it’s doubtful it’s real…but if it is the undead walk among us here in Ohio!!

What I Think Lane Of The Dead Looks Like

The Toraja people of Indonesia have a ritual for burial and death, their culture has a fascination with it and can be seen all over their villages. You see they believe in the afterlife and this leads to them the funeral that can some times take place weeks or months after death as all family members must be present. The bodies are stored in the church in limestone caves or even in the house of a loved one, during the wait the corpse is cared for as if it’s still alive given baths, groomed, dressed regularly and even offered meals! Once the family is all present and the money raised for burial the funeral starts that can as well last for days as depending on the wealth of the family consists of feasts, mourning the dead and animal sacrifices that they believe the dead animals will help the soul of their loved one cross over to the other side faster. The bodies are placed in a wooden coffin and then placed in a burial chamber carved into the side of a large rock as they think this is the between Heaven and Earth and will help the spirit find its way…but wait this is not the last you will see of your loved one! Once a year in August loved ones will pull out their dead loved ones and wash, groom and dress them, then make repairs to the coffin and then “walk” them to their place of death and than back to their coffin. And this repeats forever no matter how long your loved one died you show them this respect. And some smaller tribes of people claim that the dead are walking themselves, while others claim its all a trick done by the funeral people. Does the dead truly walk or is this all some sort of tradition that we all just don’t understand, one things for sure and that these peoples loved ones are never forgotten. Below is some photos of the “walk” of the dead.

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I love independent horror films and that’s why I have made my own No Budget Epics and have produced Horror Films for such directors as Andy Copp, Henrique Couto and Chris Seaver over the years and that’s why I have chosen this zombie film that should and could be made into a comic series called Zombie Chronicles that was released in 2001 and put out by Sterling Films and Brain Damage Films on VHS and DVD. The film is about a reporter who picks up an old man named Ebenezer Jackson who is heading to the same small town as her, along the way they make a stop and he shares some real life zombie stories with her! In the end she finds out he himself is a ghost and she might be the real target of the living dead. The film is as backyard as they come and looks as if it was shot on Super VHS or something along those lines and the effects are pure backyard stuff with some being really good including one woman who’s face has been ripped off and she gives her last dying breath. Most of the zombies are in cheap looking masks or terrible Halloween makeup bought on discount from K-Mart. But this could be a great series of comics and follow Ebenezer as he wonders around America finding people on lonely stretches of Highway and tell them chilling stories of the undead, with no budgets holding it back this could be as brutal as any zombie comic in history. Each issue would have a motorist, traveler or drifter coming in contact with Ebenezer who would tell them two to three zombie stories while they traveled the road or even stopped for the night at a rundown motel or camp site aside the road. After each issue the person hearing the stories would be marked in some way from not just physical but mentally as well. This would have to be done as a independent comic in order to truly up the gore and pack in some nudity as well, I would say a company like Rough House Publishing or even Studio Akumakaze would be great companies to make this comic come to bloody life and out of my artist friends that would make this amazing would be Rachael Lare, Damien Brunk or Jeff Potter all who would capture the horror nature of the series. This comic series would never happen sadly as no one remembers it nor when it was released did it come out to major fan fare as it went direct to video and faded away into horror film obscurity. Oh yeah the film was directed by Brad Sykes who made such other low budget films like Camp Blood 1 & 2, Demon’s Kiss, Death Factory and Mad Jack to name a few, the film also stars Janet Tracy Keijser who is easy on the eyes even if she is a little off acting in this film. Z-Grade flick check it out of you like your horror with a little cheese.

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When WWE bought out ECW and tried to re-launch the brand on the Sci-Fi network in 2006, it was a shell of what it was.  Gone were the days of New Jack using a cheese grader on Hack Meyers as blood poured out.  Gone were the days of Raven fighting Tommy Dreamer in a barbwire match all for the attention of Beulah, and what we got instead was a watered down version with Big Show being a top star as well as supernatural wrestlers like The Boogeyman, vampire Kevin Thorn and yep, The Zombie! Tim Roberts was the man with the cheesy gimmick who made his debut on the first episode of ECW on the SCI-FI Channel and was quickly beat down by The Sandman and his Singapore cane, you see the network wanted “monsters” added to the roster and this was the WWE’s way of saying we will add them and they will be used as jokes and get beat down fast and easy. The Zombie would float around for a short time loosing matches until he quietly disappeared from the company. Roberts was better known under the ring name Tim Arson and was a pretty big attraction in multiple Puerto Rico wrestling federations and won many belts over his career there, he also toured independent federations and even took on Matt Striker under the Arson gimmick that aired on WWE Heat. After becoming The Zombie for ECW he would also take bookings under that gimmick for small wrestling promotions. Sadly on January 7 2015 Roberts died of unknown causes at the age of 38. While he might not have been a household name here in America his fourteen year long wrestling career sported him fans all over the world.

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People love zombies so much that Adult XXX films have been made about them! Yeah films that have male and female zombies getting busy with humans and each other have seen the light of day. These kind of Adult Films just shows you how much the American Culture loves Zombies that they want to see them not only eat humans but also do it with them! Many of these films also have a Horror Film nature to them and add gore and twisted storylines to these films, while others have no plots and are just scenes of goofball actors in masks and cheap Halloween makeup doing the deed with females who are there to collect a paycheck. There are parodies of George Romero dead films as well as The Walking Dead and everything in between, so if this is your thing and you find Zombies sexy I am sure one of these odd adult films will be sure to please.

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Here in Dayton, Ohio we have lots of Food Trucks and one of the most popular is a gourmet hotdog truck called Zombie Dogz that people line up for rain or shine to get a tasty large sized hotdog! Each hotdog has a horror themed name like “Hunk A Hunk A Rotting Flesh,” a tribute to Elvis Presley that is a hotdog with bacon, pan seared bananas flambéed in banana liquor topped with homemade cashew butter.  Or you could try “Gem City Slasher” that has the hotdog with avocado salsa, white truffle oil, red onions, bacon bits and cilantro sour cream! My favorite one is called “Calling In Dead” that has truffle oil mac n’ cheese and cracker crumbles all placed on top of the hotdog! Besides the Dayton area, you can also find Zombie Dogz as a food vendor at Horror Hound Weekend Convention in Cincinnati, and for comic book readers they are also spotted many Fridays at Bell, Book and Comic. If you’re ever in the area and enjoy a good specialty hotdog, check them out as I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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Arrow Comics was created by Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr in 1985 and was a black and white independent comic company that the pair started by publishing a magazine called “Fantastic Fanzine.”  After seeing how much of a hit the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was, they decided to open a comic book branch and gathered local talent like Guy Davis, Susan Van Camp, Randy Zimmerman and Vincent Locke to name a few and Arrow Comics was born! Issues of titles like Deadworld, The Realm, Tales From the Aniverse, System 7, Oz and Nightstreets hit comic shops, but by 1989, they were in trouble due to revenues for some of their top selling titles being tied up, causing them to have to move some of their titles to Caliber Comics. After a few years of silence, they tried to make a comeback in 1993 and released a savage zombie comic called The Dead, but sadly the re-launch was very short lived. In 2008 they made another comeback and started to make webcomics called Spank The Monkey and Rebel Nun and plan on giving many of their titles comebacks in this modern world of comic books. Being a long time comic reader as well as a Monster Kid, I can remember seeing these issues at local comic shops and even had a few of their OZ titles, but never did have any of the zombie ones as I think most of those were behind the counter kind of titles and I was too young to buy them. But while Arrow Comics was never as impactful as many of the other small companies of the time like Malibu, Now or Innovation, they still made huge impacts on their readers who enjoyed something different than Superman or Captain America. I must also state, I love their motto “Our Target Is Entertainment; Our Aim Is Quality”.

Arrow Comics logo

In 2015 Rough House Publishing, a comic company run by Derek Rook, who was the man behind Xmachina Comics, the company who brought you the “Gates Of Hell”, “Halloween: The Return To Haddonfield” and “Phantasm” comics as well as worked on the adaptation of Fulci’s “Zombie” graphic novel, released an amazing graphic novel called “The Dead: Omnibus” that collected all issues of the Arrow Comic series and more! It’s a must-have comic for fans of horror comics and for those looking for something more brutal than Walking Dead.  It’s my honor to present to you this 5 Questions with Derek Rook, the man behind Rough House Publishing and the rebirth of The Dead.

rough house publishing logoDerek RookThe Dead Omnibus

Matt: Welcome to Rotten Ink, Derek, and thanks for taking time away from your busy schedule to chat with me. Growing up were you a comic reader, and if so, what comic characters did you like?

Derek: Thank YOU, Matt! I appreciate the opportunity to hang with you. I WAS a giant comic book reader as a child. When I was young, I’d go grocery shopping with my mother and I would always hope that she had a couple bucks to spare so I could grab some comics off the news stand. I wasn’t aware of comic book shops at that time, so I’d get mine at grocery and convenience stores and sometimes at a Mom & Pop book corner store. I always loved The Incredible Hulk (especially the adult-oriented Marvel Magazine The Hulk), Rom – The Space Knight, Moon Knight, Conan, Godzilla…I always enjoyed characters that were misunderstood loners as I too was one of those as a child.

Matt: What was the first comic book you ever made of your own, and what was it about?

Derek: The first comic book I ever formally published was called NIGHTFALL. I published it in high school and with the help of my art teacher, Joseph Degnain, The book was standard slasher fare, but was heavily critical of religion, government and of many world views that we are dealing with today. We printed off 50 copies using all of the schools resources and equipment. In some ways, he believed in my dreams more than I did as he was responsible for the entire output process. All he wanted in return was one singular copy. I sold them to students for $1 and sold out in four days.

Matt: You have done some great comics based on such films as Gates of Hell, Zombie, Halloween and the upcoming Nightmare City remake – what has been your favorite one to work on?

Derek: It’s popular to answer that question by saying, “it’s like picking the favorite of your children”…and that’s true, But that’s not hard for me. If my books are “children”, then some of them were some real fucking bastards (laughs). Thus far my personal favorite as far as just my art would have to be THE GATES OF HELL. That book was a decades long journey through one of the most formative and tumultuous years of my life. I think the determination to complete that project shows in the finished product. It’s a great body of work. My favorite publication as a whole would hands down be THE DEAD – OMNIBUS. We all were just an unstoppable freight train during that project. There’s so much love and pride there, it’s staggering.

Matt: What three horror films would you like to turn into a comic book series or adaptations for Rough House Publishing, and why?

Derek: As we go forward with ROUGH HOUSE, I think you’ll be seeing us move away slightly from licensed projects, in lieu of more creator-owned stuff. Licensing is sometimes hard to get with the type of stuff we are interested in making books out of…BUT, if I could magically do three more, I personally would want to do THE BRONX WARRIORS (as a trilogy), the un-filmed original script for George Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD and probably CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. If you ask some of the other Rough House crew, you’d probably have an even bigger list.

Matt: With The Dead: Omnibus being one of your first releases from Rough House Publishing, I would guess you grew up a zombie comic fan. What is some of your favorite zombie or even horror comics going now?

Derek: Sadly, I’m not a fan of most modern comics in general anymore. Most of them lack the spirit and savvy and genius of some of the comics I grew up with. Maybe I’m just bias. The entire institution has become very corporate and are usually a means of advertisement for a much bigger and more profitable franchise. I think Image is publishing some interesting stuff like AIRBOY and BIG MANS PLANS. The original Garth Ennis’ CROSSED by Avatar Press was ground-breaking at the time, I loved SATELLITE SAM by Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction…as you can see, most are not horror. HAUNTED HORROR is the closest ting publishing to my favorite comic book being published today, but those are are all reprinted stories from over 60 years ago…so I guess you can see where my roots are truly planted.

Matts: Thanks, my friend, for taking your time to chat with me!

Derek Rook At Work

As always Derek is a class act and a true artist in the world of horror comics and one of my favorite artists going today alongside Javier Trujillo as both capture the true nature of horror. So for about a year now I have been itching to check out The Dead as Rough House Publishing put it on my radar with their release of The Dead: Omnibus.  This started my quest to find the single issues that were released just so I could finally read them and cover them for this Undead File update! Thanks to Ebay and Lone Star Comics, I was able to track them down and enjoy them for the first time in all their gore-tastic glory! But before we walk among The Dead, I should remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that out of the way, let’s see what all this brain eating and gut munching horror is all about!

The Dead 1

The Dead # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $2.25    Arrow Comics    # 1 of 2

Davey is a young man who is going to be a military man someday soon and is on a camping trip with his family and friends.  They are having a good time, and it seems like a perfect trip complete with campfires, fishing and walks in the woods making it seem like nothing could go wrong. As the wives are alone, a knock on the door leads to death as a farmer zombie in overalls and a shotgun blows one of the mom’s heads off and then proceeds to eat the breasts off the other! The Zombie Farmer is not alone and as the other zombies start to eat the flesh of the woman, the husbands show up and they as well become lunch as once more the Zombie Farmer uses his shotgun to blow the head off of one of them! Davey is smart enough and gets all the kids into the RV and saves their lives as they head to the nearby town for help they soon find out it has been set on fire.

This is a perfect example of an underground horror comic as it’s packed with lots of gore, boobs and monsters and is done in glorious black and white. The story is about two families on a vacation in the woods that are attacked by zombies who seem to not only want to eat them but also get enjoyment from killing humans. The story follows Davey as he tries all he can to save his siblings and young friends from a brutal death, all the while having to come to grips with the fact that his parents are dead. Davey is a interesting character who’s young but yet acts mature as his goal in life is to be a military man just like his father.  Despite the shock of seeing his parents slaughtered, he is still smart enough to use his brain and get in the RV and get the heck out of dodge as he sees the zombies coming for them. The rest of the kids are your normal generic kids who sneak and smoke pot and act silly and tough when you know without Davey’s guidance they would all be zombie lunch. The Zombie Farmer is one twisted sick undead psycho who not only kills his victims but also psychologically tortures them by allowing them to beg for their lives only to kill them with a brutal glee. The things we know about Zombie Farmer: he can use a shotgun and is good with it, he loves female boobs and he cannot die with damage to his body. The rest of the zombies seem to listen to what the Farmer says and are into eating the victims and causing chaos and mayhem. The comic is filled with lots of blood, brains and head exploding, all things that horror comic fans love and crave. The issue’s story and plot was done by Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr with art done by Jason Moore that is a very fitting style for a independent horror comic from the 90’s. The cover for some reason reminds me of Raiden from Mortal Kombat and is eye catching but in no way warns the reader of just how brutal the comic is! So far I’m very much enjoying this comic and am looking forward to issue two as well as the second volume of The Dead so let’s get to issue # 2!

The Dead 2

The Dead # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993    Cover Price $2.25    Arrow Comics    # 2 of 2

Davey and the gang watch as the town is burning and come up with a plan to try and get food, medical supplies and weapons from a trading post deep in the woods run by an old man named Zeke.  As they start their journey, Zombie Farmer in a pick up truck packed with zombies tries to stop them using firebombs and bricks to slow the kids down, but Davey has a plan that has motor oil being flung onto the windshield of the truck causing the Zombies to crash off a tiny bridge and explode! But before they get to the post, a zombie is able to get into the RV and bite one of the girls on the neck before it can be bashed leaving its brains all over the floor. The group tend to the wounded girl as Davey and the guys go into the post that has been clearly attacked by the undead.  They scavenge for food and get 10 boxes worth before Zeke shows up, now a zombie, throwing knives that injure one of the boys’ legs before they escape and head back to the road and the unknown! It ends with a naked woman who’s a prisoner of zombies who must rat out a location of other humans, and for her help a zombie eats her private parts!

More twisted and gruesome moments are packed into this growing story of Davey and the kids trying to get help and get away from the living dead who are out for blood and guts and a murderous good time. This issue’s plot has Davey and the kids trying to get to a safe place to gather supplies all the while dodging zombies who want to stop them and kill them. Throw in a strange zombie at the end who is forcing a living female for information and you have this strange issue summed up. Davey becomes more in charge as it’s clear they are being targeted by the zombies.  He comes up with the idea to get the Zombie Farmer off his back as well as comes up with where to get the supplies they will need to survive. The rest of the kids are becoming more useful and understand now that they are all in danger and when one of their own is bitten on the neck by a zombie, they know that death could await them at any turn. The zombies are very mean spirited and use bricks, cocktail bombs and knives to attack and they will not stop until the kids can escape them or kill them. Zombie Farmer returns for a short time and is driving a pickup truck and is trying to run the RV off the road, and is only stopped when his truck drives off a bridge and explodes, is he dead or not I cannot say for sure. The issue is packed with more gore that includes a neck bite, knife to the leg and a woman’s private parts being eaten by a zombie showing that they were all about the blood. The cover I have to this issue is X-Rated and depicts the poor woman being eaten by the Zombie, and this I am sure was never on the shelf at Mavericks Cards and Comics or The Bookie Parlor. The story and plot was once more done by Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr with Moore doing the art again that is super fitting for a comic of this nature as he understands the style of making a good zombie attack come alive. The downside is that the story is not finished as only two issues were made for Volume 1 so I am hoping that Volume 2 finishes this story or at least tells us the readers what happened to Davey and his siblings and friends. This comic series seems like fans of The Walking Dead could enjoy it if they don’t mind crude gore mixed in with their Horror Drama. And yes, the green zombie heads added to the cover was because I had to censor it, sad to say.

the dead vol 1 art 1

So that was volume one of this series so up next lets take a look at the second time around they tried to deliver The Dead to Horror Comic Readers with this 1998 released zombie romp issues! Does this series follow what happened to Davey….I don’t know but I hope if not they at least make a small attempt to tell what his the teens fate was, but lets not waste no more time the living dead is starting to crowd around and I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to be bitten.

The Dead 2.1

The Dead # 1  **
Released in 1998    Cover Price $2.95    Arrow Comics    # 1 of 3

Jerry, Marcus and Megan are paramedics who are responding to a terrible multiple car wreck in Chicago that has many injured as well as many dead. They rush to the hospital with two survivors but quickly find out that the hospital is a warzone as the dead are coming back to life and eating the living! Just then one of the wreck victims dies and comes back to life and attacks Marcus and this causes Jerry to wreck the ambulance, this leads to Megan being thrown from the wreck and attacked and killed by Marcus who is now a zombie who turns Megan into a zombie who bites Jerry who escapes but is now on the run from his two former partners as well as the two wreck victims who are also flesh eaters! Jerry runs to a nearby gas station and meets a young woman who thinks he’s crazy as he rambles on about zombies, but she soon finds out he is no crazy as the zombies come for them and they both must run for their lives. The second story takes place in Michigan and has an old man fishing and drinking beer watching as a young couple is attacked and zombies come from the lake, he rushes to get his guns and warn the couples friends but it might be to late as they think he’s crazy and open the door to the living dead.

Right off the top I must say this second series lacks the gore, nudity and characters of the first series and while good felt a little lack luster. Plus this far we get zero follow up on Davey and his crew and instead we are following new characters as they are dealing with the zombie outbreak. The plot is broke into two parts with one following Jerry a paramedic and the other following an old drunk man and his dog as they deal with zombies and the people around them. Jerry is kind of a moron who does not help Megan who is begging for help after her injuries that was caused by his crappy driving, once he let her day I found myself shaking my head and wondering when he would die and hoping it was gruesome. The Old Man who has yet to be named seems ok this far and was just wanting to drink some beer, hang with his old dog and fish, but when the zombies come he at least tries to save others. The zombies are your Italian Zombie movie style who go for neck bites and are slow and only driven by the hunger of flesh. Over all not feeling this first issue as much as I did the 1993 The Dead issue 1 as this one kind of sadly feels generic in some ways, again not terrible just average. The cover is bland and shows the old man with his gun, and the art inside is pretty cool and classic 90’s horror comic stuff and is done by Matt Mason. I am hoping that issue two packs a little more blood and gore punch as series one set the bar very high and this issue felt like a light Marvel Zombies issue.

The Dead 2.2

The Dead # 2  **1/2
Released in 1998    Cover Price $2.95    Arrow Comics    # 2 of 3

The Old Man who’s name is Rick fights off the zombies and pushes them out of the cabin, but not before one boy is bitten by one that snuck into the house via the back window! The Old Man’s plan is for them all to load into the van out front and drive into town to get help, but the zombies have other plans as they block the path to the van. Rick sends some of the kids including Jennifer out after they find the keys to a four-wheeler, the injured boy goes with her and they travel to the neighbors house who own a truck. While there the boy turns into a zombies and the neighbors are all ready zombies and Jennifer must blast her way through them to get the truck to pick up the others just in time as the zombies were about to over take them. Now back to Chicago where Jerry and the female gas worker are running the streets for their lives away from the zombies that are all around, the bite on Jerry’s arm is getting worse as the pain is becoming unbearable. Meanwhile the Zombies are attacking and killing anyone they come in contact with and a brutish biker saves Jerry and the Clerk from a zombie attack and warns them to leave town and to get away as far as they can! The clerk and Jerry steal a car as his pain is getting worse they soon find themselves in a zombie traffic jam.

This second issue brings back blood and gore and adds enough survival horror drama that you find yourself as the reader being drawn into the plot and wanting to see how any of the survivors will make it out alive. The plot for both stories has our heroes and fellow survivors trying to escape the grips of the living dead and coming up with plans to do so. Jerry this time around while as useless as ever at least saves the clerk from becoming zombie lunch, but does just yell at the zombies instead of fighting them like a man. The Female Gas Station Clerk is by far the bravery of the two and wants to not only find help for Jerry but also get out of town and save her own butt. The Old Man Rick is one bad mofo as he blasts his way through zombies as well as comes up with a plan that works and gets the survivors away from the lake and cabins that are being over run by the undead. Jennifer who is one of the young ladies at the cabin also seems like she could be a player in the survival game as she is very strong willed and understands that she needs to fight to stay alive. The Zombies are as always brutal and craving flesh and will not stop no matter how many gun shots you pump into them, unless you aim for the head. The gore and blood are back and while not as brutal as it was in series one, it still great to see in this series. The cover is better and has zombies eating a man and the art inside is good and done by Matt Mason again. Solid brutal issue with lots of zombie horror fun, looking forward to the third and final issue in this second series and see if it has an ending or if Arrow leaves us hanging again.

The Dead 2.3

The Dead # 3  **1/2
Released in 1998    Cover Price $2.95    Arrow Comics    # 3 of 3

The Store Clerk gets Jerry through the zombie roadblock, but Jerry has died and is becoming a zombie! Jerry is not just some ordinary zombie as he can talk and think and wants nothing more than to rape and eat the clerk! He tricks her into stopping at a drug store by saying he needs medication and bandages for his bite wound and then has her follow him into the back storage room as the zombies start to break in.  He attacks her and leads her into the zombies who all listen to him.  He tells them to eat her and claims he is the King of The Zombies! The second story follows a group of teens at a house babysitting, eating pizza and watching some flicks when a police officer who’s the brother of one of the girls shows up and warns them all to stay inside as murders are happing all over. In the end the parents of the young kids show up and are infected, and the teens lock themselves in the house and prepare for a horrific night of terror.

The story of Jerry has an ending as he becomes the first smart and talking zombie of this series, he is so slimy and only wants to feed his urges of human flesh both in a hungry way and a horny way! I 100% hate Jerry and so wanted the Female Store Clerk to survive and blow his brains out….sadly this did not happen as she became zombie dinner. I however must say I did like the journey of Jerry from being an every day guy doing his job to being bite by a zombie to being in pain and dying from said bite to finally becoming a zombie and learning he has powers the others don’t like speech and a mind that still works for plotting. The second story is pretty cool and reminds me of my friends and I getting together back in High School and having Horror Movie Marathons in my parent’s basement. But while the story on that one was just getting started from all I could gather the 4th issue never came out and left readers hanging once more. The story of Rick and the lake survivors as well did not get a closing as in this issue they are not shown at all. The issue showcases some blood and gore as well as nudity as the Female Gas Station Worker has her top ripped off by the sleazy zombie Jerry. This second series while good failed to capture the raw magic of the first series, and with that said I still enjoyed these three issues and they were well worth tracking down for this update. The cover on issue three is pretty cool and just showcases a zombie and reminds me of pure independent punk rock horror comics, the art inside is Matt again and is good stuff and very fitting for the nature of this series. One thing I should point out about this series that was really cool was that you could pay to put yourself in the comic! You could pay a fee from $250 to $25 and select to be a zombie, a victim or a Zombie Hunter and even pick just how gross your death would be! That’s a fantastic gimmick and one that should be in use today, oh wait “We Kill The Dead” the new upcoming Horror Series did do something like this for their Kickstarter…Good Work Guys, as I find this to be an outstanding idea. Over all The Dead’s third issue is much like the first two in this series good stuff and worth a read for zombie comic fans like myself. Below is some artwork form this second series.

the dead vol 2 art 1

The Dead is clearly one of the horror comics alongside the George Romero Dead films that inspired The Walking Dead as lots of elements seem to be borrowed from each in the comic as well as the show. If you enjoy your zombies dripping in blood, guts and gore and enjoy a little nudity thrown in for extra sleazy, I would say The Dead is for you, as I found myself loving every black and white page of the undead on a rampage for flesh and glory. Make sure to check out The Dead: Omnibus by Rough House Publishing as they collect all the issues as well as unprinted stories in one glorious book! And keep an eye out for more of their releases as they are the true horror comic fan’s outlet for amazing titles. For the next update I am going to try and have a showdown with an NES game that has foiled my attempts to beat it for years, but now I am ready to beat Werewolf: The Last Warrior as well as review the mini comic that came with the game on release! So until next time, avoid the dead, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host!

NES Werewolf Logo

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Creep

Saturday January 1st 1972 might have been New Years Day, but in the Dayton, Ohio area that night belonged to a horror host with vampire fangs (that were dropped from the character pretty quickly thereafter) and white grease paint on his face.  That host was Dr. Creep, and his show Shock Theatre was taking over late Saturday nights on Channel 22. Kids and adults at the time could not get enough of Dr. Creep’s antics and silly skits.  While at first he played the part scary, he quickly changed into a bumbling lovable ghoul. With his popularity high, Dr. Creep also became a co-host of the after school kids show Club House 22 that would feature all types of cartoons and live action kid shows as well as the hosts doing silly skits. In the 1980’s, the show had a name change, and Shock Theatre became Saturday Night Dead.  Sadly by March 1985, the show was cancelled for good on Channel 22. During his long run on TV, Dr. Creep was joined by all types of friends and co-hosts like Uncle Dow Thomas, a comedian good at playing off the wall characters and making up fun songs, and Obieyoyo, a pinheaded puppet and all around goofy guy.  His most popular sidekick was Duffy The Dog, a giant white shaggy dog who would go along with Creep’s ideas, and there were so many more memorable characters that shared the TV Screen with the good Dr.  At one point Spider-Man even appeared on an episode! At the peek of Dr. Creep’s popularity, he made many public appearances while driving around with his hearse and had a heart of gold, as he would do anything for charity and sick children. Creep even opened up his own charity called Project Christmas Smiles that would help get toys for less fortunate kids. Dr. Creep was the biggest celebrity in Dayton and was a household name.  When I was a youngster, I knew the name and even meet him with my parents before I started kindergarten.  While I don’t remember the meeting, my mom does and told me all about it. My first memory of Dr. Creep, as you readers know, came from a story and picture that my brother Bryan told/showed me after meeting him at a movie theater that his school took him to, and this also lead to the first episode I got to watch with my dad and brother. I know that my dad was a Shock Theatre viewer as was my mom from time to time, and this might explain why watching and making my own horror host show is in my blood. So welcome to Horror Host Icon: Dr. Creep, an update I am very proud to bring you!

Dr Creep 1Dr Creep 2Dr Creep 3

Sadly when Shock Theatre started I was not even born yet (as I was born in 1979) so by the time I was old enough to watch it, I only got the tail end of the show before it went off the air. So what I would like to do is have a few of my friends who grew up watching Creep during this time share some of their memories of watching him during his first run. I think that by having them talk about watching him you’ll get a better idea of how much he impacted young lives here in Dayton. I wish my friend Andy Copp was alive to tell you about how Creep brought his family together, how he had homemade Dr. Creep pjs and how he almost drowned at a local pool when he was a kid running to meet Dr. Creep, all great stories and only his own words could do them justice. Up first to share his story of watching Shock Theatre on Channel 22 is a horror host from Dayton, Ohio, a man who I call my second dad and a person I call a close friend, the one and only A. GHASTLEE GHOUL!!

A Ghastlee Ghoul (Bob Hinton)

I was nine years old when the very first episode of Shock Theatre with Dr. Creep aired. It was January 1st, 1972, New Year’s Day evening. That is, the end if the day following New Years Eve. My parents had gone to bed, likely still shaking off hangovers from the night before, while I stayed up flipping through the three local channels we had at that time in search of something to watch. Little did I know what I was about to find, and how it would change my life. On the screen appeared a scary, fanged visage of horror that beckoned to a fledgling monster kid: Dr. Creep, and yes, in the beginning he was SCARY! Far from the loveable character he would eventually evolve into, the one who would later host Clubhouse 22 in the afternoons and have children clamoring after him like a Halloween version of Santa Clause, this Creeper wasn’t here to provide gentle comic relief from the movies he hosted, he was here to usher you into a dungeon of horrors and slam the door tight behind you. He had me at the first “Hoo-Ha-Haaah!”

In all honesty, I only saw about half of that first episode. The Doctor was hosting the classic Italian film Black Sabbath. I made it as far as the scene where the woman’s corpse came back in search of her stolen ring, took one look at the stretched rictus of vengeance on her face, switched off the TV, ran to my room and lay there in terror with the covers pulled tightly over my head. After that I would tune in every week.

As I said, I’d always been kind of a monster kid. I loved the old Universal films, Godzilla, and TV shows like Night Gallery and The Outer Limits. I also had it in my mind that it would be very cool to host your own TV show, but before I saw Shock Theater I really wanted to be Captain Kangaroo or Soupy Sales. That would quickly change once I saw Dr. Creep. I knew I wanted to be THAT guy!

Years would pass before I got to meet the man in person. I was co-chairing the haunted house in Huber Heights and we went on Shock Theater to promote the place and invite him out for a personal appearance. It was so surreal being on the set with him that first time, standing in the “dungeon” with my hero, looking past the cameras at the news set across the studio. He was so kind and funny. I don’t think I said two words. I was in awe and the time flew by like a whirlwind dream. When he made his appearance at the haunt I finally got over being star-struck enough to have real conversations with Barry, and he even gave us an idea for a scene for the house that we built and surprised him with the following year.

Skip ahead another few years, and making a long story a little shorter, I was hosting the first full season of my cable access program The Ghastlee Movie Show. There was an article in the Dayton Daily News about Barry and the sort of sad course his life had been taking since Shock Theater’s cancellation. The article mentioned that a Best of Shock Theater tape was being made available, and had a contact number that turned out to be Rick Martin’s. I called, we talked, and the next thing I knew there he was, Dr. Creep on the set of my silly little cable show! It was very nearly as surreal as that first time I was on his set. We joked and laughed together like old friends, the way Barry made everyone feel, and after that day we truly were close friends for years to come. I called him my “Illegitimate Step-Daddy.” He called me his son. In a way I was, and am, his offspring.

Dr Creep 4Dr Creep 5Dr Creep 6

Great memories from Ghastlee Ghoul and a perfect way to show the impact Creep had on the lives of people in the Dayton area. Creep impacted Ghastlee so much that he went on to make his own show that in turn has sparked another generation to be creative. The next person on the list is a good friend who since 1999 acted as Dr. Creep’s manager and business partner, the one and only Rick Martin.

Rick Martin (Manager)

My first time seeing Dr Creep was, I believe, when I was six or seven and my brother, sister and I were watching Clubhouse 22 in the afternoon. Here, amongst, Malcolme and his puppets, was a bumbling ghoul of a man doing magic tricks. Then I saw him on Shock Theatre. I believe he was showing Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. The Frankenstein monster scared me to death but I loved the Wolf Man. Dr. Creep helped keep it together for me even when the monster was freaken’ me out. When I was 10 or or so, we had a Back Yard Carnival for MD and I got sick that day with the flu. Dr Creep and his assistant gave me autographed 8 1/2 x 11 pictures and wrote for me to get well soon. A few months later I was on Clubhouse 22 and had a chance to meet Dr Creep. After 1985,when his show was cancelled, I met him again working as a guard at the Living Room, a local strip club. We talked and became friends. He came to the first official playtest of a game I wrote with my friend Anthoney Hensely called “Robots and Rockets”. A few years after that, I started a company with Dr Creep aka Barry Hobart and we managed to get the rights back for Barry to once again don the cape of Dr. Creep. He was my friend until his passing. I miss him every day over these many years since he let slip his mortal coil. I love you Doctor Creep…”

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In 1985, when Shock Theatre went off the air, Dr. Creep’s alter ego Barry Hobart stayed on at the station as a master controller for a few years until, with bad blood between them, he left the station for good. For years Hobart was not allowed to wear the Dr. Creep make-up or use the name because Channel 22 “owned” the copyright to his image and name or so they claimed. Barry took assorted jobs like being a bouncer at a strip club and even was a security guard for a while. For 14 long years, Dayton was without Shock Theatre, and A. Ghastlee Ghoul popped up and filled the void, carrying the torch with his show “A. Ghastlee Movie Show” and helped hold the interest of the fans who were looking for the next Dr. Creep to fill their late nights with horrors and laughs. This is a prime example of how much your hometown horror host can mean to your town.  His show was popular, and Dr. Creep was a major celebrity in the area.  I can remember him sharing memories of being booked for store appearances and how much money they would pay him and the lines of people that would come to see him. While the money was nice, Dr. Creep really did it because he loved his fans.  He loved the entertainment he brought to them and the late night chills he gave them. I would be so bold to say that if you lived in Dayton in the 1970’s and 80’s, you probably met Dr. Creep at some department store, school, movie theater or restaurant and you walked away from that meeting filled with joy and the feeling you had just made a new friend. While in this modern time when people are more glued to Netfix and iPhones and not watching local TV as much as they should, the horror host still holds special places in the hearts of those fans who watch them.  Just ask the likes of Baron Von Porkchop and A. Ghastlee Ghoul about the support and love from their fans. Because of this love and respect, the late 80’s and most of the 90’s were really rough on those who loved Dr. Creep and Shock Theatre due to the lack of his presence of on the local airwaves.

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In 1998, thanks to Rick Martin and RMM Agency, fans got a fix of Dr. Creep and Shock Theatre as a “Best of” VHS tape was released, and Barry returned as Dr. Creep for public appearances. Word of the tape and Creep’s return spread quickly throughout the Dayton area, and rumors swirled about a possible return to TV.  The VHS tape was a great seller and would spark a volume 2, and t-shirts were also made to mark the return of Dr. Creep. Many local video rental and media stores booked Dr. Creep to make appearances and to push the sales of his tapes, and the fans came out in full force to meet their horror host idol and gobble up his Best of tapes. I can remember Dr. Creep telling me how he was taken aback at the number of people who during his first return back to the grease paint came out to see him and it touched his heart to see how many people remembered him. I was just out of high school when this happened, and I can remember how much of a buzz was going around about Creep’s return.  I will be honest, I did get a little nostalgic as that old picture of he and my brother popped into my head and the memories of talks about the man echoed in my brain. My brother was also feeling a little nostalgic as he bought the VHS of Volume 1 and the Dr. Creep Lives T-Shirt from local record shop Renaissance Music and wore the shirt proudly.  He would later give me the shirt, and I would also wear it around town with pride. Later, as VHS made way for DVD, both Volume 1 and 2 of the Best Of Shock Theatre made their way to a single DVD release that is still being sold to this day. A major thanks has to go out to Rick Martin for the return of Creep and the wonderful thing that was to happen next!

Best of Shock Theatre VHSDr Creep Promo 4The Best of Shock Theatre DVD

Andy Copp was a local film maker here in Dayton, Ohio who had made a film called Mutilation Man and also grew up watching Shock Theatre as a kid.  He pitched the idea of bringing Dr. Creep back to TV for a whole new generation to watch and enjoy to Rick Martin and so spawned the relaunch of Shock Theatre that was now dubbed Shock Theater or better known as New Shock Theater. At first I think the idea was to try and get the show back on Channel 22, but things did not work out so the show found its home on local public access stations MVCC and DATV. I can remember the hype about the first show, and I and my Brother watched it on MVCC while munching on a huge bowl of popcorn.  As the show started, we knew that Dr. Creep really was back! We would try and catch every new episode, and I even found myself watching the reruns and enjoying all the zany new fun. The show was different from the original show and had a storyline that would run throughout the episode at the series start.  Later it would become horror convention interviews and even sit down topic discussions on events. Also missing were classic side characters of the past as it had no Duffy The Dog or Uncle Dow, but there were some great new ones added like Reverand Zealot, a religious cult like leader who loved zany cult films, and Geraldo, a hunchback worm faced mongoloid who loved to have fun. Gone were the lip synch dancing numbers to old tunes but in came Cult Corner hosted by Zealot, a place to showcase films that many viewers may not have known about. One of the biggest changes to the show was the age of Dr. Creep, who, at the time of filming, was in the early stages of very poor health and was having a hell of a time just moving around.  With his limited movement also came a limit in what they were able to pull off for episodes. But even with all these changes, the show was great and showed that Dr. Creep did not miss a step in hosting and once more he was embraced by the viewers. The show was a staple of late night viewing for me, and this marked the true golden age of Dayton area public access as Dr. Creep and other horror hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Dr. Freak filled the airwaves and entertained. The New Shock Theater had a VHS run of select episodes that was sold at Dr. Creep’s public appearances at Foy’s Halloween Store and charity horror movie event Horrorama as well as conventions like Cinema Wasteland and Fright Vision. When DVDs took over for VHS, Rick and Andy released one DVD-R of the first episode of New Shock Theater. The impact of New Shock Theater is still felt to this day in the Dayton area, and thanks to this show, Dr. Creep was introduced to a whole new group of kids and monster movie fans.

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Dr. Creep even ran for President twice and while he never won his Slumber Party Campaign was classic Horror Host stuff! He first ran in 1980 with his Vice President being Dow Thomas and they spent many episodes campaigning as well as talking to local Dayton residents about voting for Creep. In 2000 Dr. Creep once more put his top hat in the ring and tried once more to become President under the Slumber Party ticket with this time Vice President A. Ghastlee Ghoul! On many episodes of the New Shock Theater the two would have Q&A’s with members of the audience and had such ideas as ban all Disco Music and every American must watch a horror film a week. Both runs for the office Creep also made bumper stickers that had the slogan “Put A Creep In The White House”, and I can remember seeing many Creep and Ghastlee bumper stickers on cars that included one of my very own vehicles! I should also note that many people I knew in 2000 wrote in Dr. Creep’s name but sadly he did not even come close to winning, as George Bush stole the election…as in really stole it…like his brother helped rig it…like yeah. But if Creep would have really ran and won makes you wonder what our country would be like today don’t it?

Put A Creep In The White House Bumper Sticker

In 2001 local Dayton band The Lawn Jockeys released a CD called “Amazing Sounds Of Shock Theatre: Starring Dr. Creep” that was a mix of jam band, horror & cult film clips and of course Dr. Creep! The CD was a pretty big deal when it was released and I can remember my brother going to Renaissance Music to pick up a copy, and us both listening to it and playing name that movie when clips would pop on.It was great to see a local band pay tribute to the king of late night Dayton Horror Hosting and many tracks on the CD are simply fantastic like Creep 303 and The U.F.O.’s Have Landed. From time to time we will also play some tracks off this CD on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO. If your a weird experamental jam band fan or are into Dr. Creep I would say make sure to check this CD out as it can still be bought on Amazon.

Amazing Sounds of Shock Theatre CD

Around the time of New Shock Theater is when I got to know Dr. Creep and got to travel the convention roads with him as the no budget film company me and friends created called Independent B Movie was taking off and selling VHS copies of our movies. You see my brother had became close friends to Andy Copp and from that I got to become good friends with Andy and through him is how I got to become friends with Dr. Creep. I can remember the first convention we ever did was one called Fright Vision and Dr. Creep was nice enough to share part of his table with us and even tried to help sell our films like Werewolf Of Ohio and Suicide 2 as he would shout at people walking by. And that was just the start of our convention journeys as we attended several Cinema Wastelands together as well as other conventions like Scary Camp and Horrorhound Weekend. During this time I was also lucky enough to run camera on some episodes of New Shock Theater and helped set up interviews with celebrities, and was able to pick Creep’s brain about horror hosting and his career as one. Listening to his stories of on set and off set adventures are things I will cherish and always remember from his biker bar fun with a young woman to his chat with Vincent Price all fascinating and enjoyable. Cinema Wasteland use to be the go to convention for Horror Host fans as they had a section of tables that was called “Horror Host Ally” that had the likes of not only Dr. Creep but many others including Son Of Ghoul, The Bone Jangler and Baron Von Wolfstein and they all would sell copies of their shows, t-shirts and mingle with the fans. But being at this convention for years and watching him shine among his people was heart warming and welcoming for a creative person like me who would later go onto film and direct Baron Von Porkchop. While Wasteland no longer does a host gathering fans of this art can go to Horrorhound Weekend every March and find a large amount of Horror Hosts in attendance as well as the Horror Host Hall Of Fame Ceremony. Below is some pictures of Dr. Creep at Cinema Wasteland over the years.

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Speaking of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame Dr. Creep was inducted into the first class in 2011 by A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Andy Copp, Rick Martin and myself accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Creep. That moment I was filled with pride for my friend as I seen all his hard work in hosting paying off and a room full of his peers who all respected what he did and loved him as a part of their family clapping in his honor. I just wish Creep was around to have seen his induction, you see Dr. Creep who’s real name was Barry Hobart passed away early in 2011 from complications from strokes at the age of 69. It was a sad day when I got the phone call from Rick who told me the terrible news, everyone at my work was sadden by the news and in his honor we played episodes of New Shock Theater for two days on the stores TVs. But while Creep was not with us on that day in body he was in spirit and his legacy will live on forever in the Horror Host Hall of Fame! Bellow is some pics of Creep and Reverend Zealot when they attended Horror Hound Weekends at two different times.

Dr Creep Horrorhound Icon 1Horror Host Hall Of Fame Dr Creep 1Reverand Zealot Horrorhound Icon

In 2014 I heard a very interesting rumor about Channel 22 wanting to relaunching Shock Theatre with a new host they would have called Professor Creep who would have had the classic Dr. Creep make-up but would have worn a graduation cap and gown as his outfit. The set was to be green screened and the show would have shown classic horror and science fiction films but would also have been used to promote upcoming events and products for sponsors of the station. I am not sure who they would have casted in the part of Professor Creep but one things for sure and thats Channel 22 must have gotten cold feet as the show never made it past the planning stages. It would have been interesting to see how classic Shock Theatre and Dr. Creep fans would have responded to this suddo “reboot” to the beloved show many of us Dayton folks grew up with, I for one would have welcomed the show as I would love to see another local made Horror Host on Dayton television and it would have been cool to see maybe a cross over with Baron Von Porkchop Dayton’s current Horror Host. Below is a mock up of what the character Professor Creep would have looked like if the show would have been made.

Professor Creep idea

Before we get into the New Shock Theater episodes I really want to take a moment at talk about my friendship with Dr. Creep and the man behind the grease paint Barry Hobart. In my youth as you can see I had meet Dr. Creep and seen his picture when he meet my brother at a movie theater function for his school but I didn’t fully get to meet the man and become his friend till I meet Andy Copp and Rick Martin (thanks to my brother Bryan) who were doing The New Shock Theater for Public Access Television. I want to not get to mushy and talk about how much Barry/Creep meant to me cause if you really know me you know how much I cared for him so in this spot I just want to share some funny stories about my time hanging out and being around him. One of the first times I really got to be around Dr. Creep as he worked and showed why he was an icon of Horror Hosting in Dayton was when I helped on a LIVE episode of New Shock Theater that was airing on MVCC, I played a Mexican Wrestler who ran onto the set and took away Reverand Zealot for “stealing” Mexican Cinema as one of the films they showed that night was The Brainiac. Watching him live answer viewer calls and talk to guests like they were on a talk show was amazing and in between segments Creep would go out of his way to chat with me and all the other people on set, as everyone on set that day was his friend and he knew it as it was a cluster of cool people on set for that show the band The Lawn Jockeys, Horror Host A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Henrique Couto, Andy Copp, Josh Weinberg, Rick Martin, Bryan Brassfield as well as so many others. It was a magical day of TV show making and one I will not ever forget! Another great memory I have of my friendship with Dr. Creep is when he shouted at people to buy my old shot on video film Werewolf of Ohio 2 at Fright Vision as well as many Cinema Wastelands while we both were vending at those events, he use to tell me that it didn’t matter the budget of the films I was making as long as my heart was in the films I made the viewers would see that and be entertained, very wise words and something I always remembered as I made no budget films for Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video. Speaking of Cinema Wasteland I can also remember many of times Dr. Creep would want to go and shoot interviews for his convention specials and Andy Copp would be tied up working his Nightcrew Video table and would ask me to follow Creep around and film and set up the interviews I use to enjoy watching him chat with the likes of Sid Haig and Bill Hinzman, one of the best was watching him deal with adult film actress Marilyn Chambers who he was a big fan of…the icon of Horror Hostsing was so star struck around her it made me chuckle inside. I also was able to film some of his interviews at Dayton’s Scary Camp as well as some others at random conventions, I can remember sitting with him at his table as we talked about the past and his days on Channel 22 as well as funny stories of some of his public appearances, the one story he would tell me a million times was the time he got to meet and interview Vincent Price and how he wished I could find that lost footage of his show Shock Theatre that aired in the 80’s of this meeting. I use to love to sit with him during breaks between movies at Horrorama the charity event that he created with Andy Copp and Rick Martin that they allowed me to help out at and hearing him try and get fans to get him Hot Dogs and Mountain Dews both things he was not allowed to eat! Plus being at the event and hearing him boom out with a silly one liner during the film and the audience laughing always put a smile on my face. Some of my favorite times with Creep was when we would check out ladies together at conventions, yes I would check out women with Dr. Creep who would say lines like “Ohhhhh Would You Look At Her” among other creepy and silly things! Creep loved the ladies and I must say the ladies loved him as well as he had a charm to him that drew them in like humming birds to a flower. One thing that I have always regretted is not filming new episodes of Shock Theater with Dr. Creep in 2009 as we had many ideas planned and this would have given his fans as well as Creep himself new and scripted out adventures to air on DATV and beyond. I find myself like many of his friends thinking about Barry Hobart and his Dr. Creep character all the time as he was a one of a kind person who made everyone feel special and helped teach this strange monster/metal head/comic geek/gammer kid that it was ok to be who you are and to always not let others hold you back. I love ya Barry and this update is for you and to honor what you did for not just me but the millions of others your kindness touched.

Dr. Creep and Me at Foys

Those are just some of the memories I have of my friendship with Dr. Creep and I am sure if you were lucky to be his friend or even ever truly meet the man you have some amazing and fun stories that you could share, and I hope you do so in the comments as I am sure others and myself would love to read them! So it’s at the point in the update were we will take a look at the episodes of Dr. Creep I own and given sadly at this point no known full original aired broadcasts of Shock Theatre or Saturday Night Dead have been unearthed we will take a look at all the episodes of New Shock Theater! The Host Write ups are done by me and the movie write ups are done by IMDB. So lets take a trip down memory lane and take a hosted trip with The Creepster!

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New Shock Theater: Assignment Terror
Starring – Paul Naschy & Michael Rennie     Not Rated    1970

Host: Two brain dead grave robbers are sent to bring Dr. Creep back to life and by doing so they have also brought back SHOCK THEATER! Dr. Creep once more steps into Horror hosting with out even missing a beat and shows Paul Naschey’s classic Monster romp called Assignment Terror, and along this re-birth journey we are treated to Reverand Zealot’s “Cult Corner” were he looks at the Peter Jackson classic “Meet The Feebles”, Get a video postcard from Duffy The Dog and show a “Home Made Shock” that has a killer vacuum cleaner directed by a young Andy Copp all this and fake trailers and PSA’s show the true Icon of Dayton hosting is back! And yes he makes those Grave Robbers pay for waking him from his 14-year sleep.

Movie: Aliens from a dying world plot to conquer earth by praying on man’s superstitions. Bringing two dead scientists back to life, they use their knowledge to re-animate various earth monsters, including the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy Tao-Tet, and the vampire Count de Meirhoff.

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New Shock Theater: Daughter of Horror
Starring – Adrienne Barrett & Ed McMahon    Not Rated    1955

Host: In this second episode Dr. Creep gets a strange package that seems to be crying from the inside! When he reads the note attached it’s from a lady he went on a romantic trip to the Bermuda Triangle with and this opens more questions to what is in that box? Along the way he talks to a drunk Ed McMahon, we see some great movie trailers and get another “Home Made Shock” film called “JUNGLEBORG: Man of Mystery” directed by Joe Mackanzie, we visit Reverand Zealot’s Cult Corner has the master of cult looking at the film “Cannibal Ferox”, and more important we do find out what’s in the box!

Movie: As the narrator invites us to explore the horrors of an insane mind, a young woman wakes from a nightmare in a cheap hotel room. We follow her through the skid-row night and encounters with an abusive husband; a wino; a pimp and the rich man he panders for; a flashback to her traumatic childhood; violence; pursuit through dark streets; dementia. Filmed in film-noir style throughout; only the narrator speaks.

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New Shock Theater: The Killing Of Satan
Starring – Ramon Revilla & Elizabeth Oropesa    Not Rated    1983

Host: Dr. Creep has a visitor it’s a little boy who idolizes Satan and wants nothing more then to be Satan! But the MPA shows up and threatens to take The New Shock Theater off the air! All the while a magic voice is given wrong voiceovers about the events. The strange little Boy will not give up on being evil and wanting to be Satan so its up to Dr. Creep to cure the youth of his sinister ways…and does so but you must watch to see how. Also Reverand Zealot treats us to another “Cult Corner” this time it’s the shot on video horror film called “Original Sin” and we get trailers form other public access shows and horror and cult flicks.

Movie: A man who is chosen by his dead uncle to battle the forces of evil. He fights a being called “The Prince of Magic,” who shoots rays from his hands, makes heads spin around and hypnotizes people. He finally faces Satan himself and engages him in a battle of magic.

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New Shock Theater: Mill Of The Stone Women
Starring – Pierre Brice & Scilia Gabel    Not Rated    1960

Host: A stranger breaks into Creep’s crypt and hides a cursed nose, the Nose just knocks over and over causing Creep and his female fan Guest wonder what is its cause, and worse now Creep has a nasty cold and so does his guest. Reverand Zealot joins in on the search and they find the cursed nose! Can Dr. Creep and Zealot defeat the nose? Who Placed this cursed nose in the crypt? And why is there a “Ghost” child walking around the crypt all those questions and more will be answered in this episode! And also Reverand Zealot’s “Cult Corner” this time showcases Dario Argento’s classic “Suspira”, we get more trailers and vintage commercials.

Movie: Hans arrives in a town near Amsterdam to write a story on the reclusive sculptor, Professor Val, who lives on an island in the old mill house the locals call the Mill of the Stone Women. Hans meets the professor’s beautiful and seductive daughter, and begins feeling passion for her despite his true love for Lisa Lotta. Slowly he becomes aware of the nefarious experiments being conducted by Val and his furtive assistant Dr. Boles, and local women continue to disappear.

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New Shock Theater: Strange Behavior
Starring – Michael Murphy & Fiona Lewis    Rated R    1981

Host: In this episode Dr. Creep is worried about the youth of today with their rap music, and pop culture and remembers back to his time of youth! And when that Strange Satan kid is back, Creep along side is hunchback friend Geraldo decide to turn the strange Kid into a normal kid! And the Geraldo is hit by a car after playing in traffic! The “Cult Corner” returns with Reverand Zealot has the splatter masterpiece “Cat in the Brain” directed by Lucio Fulci as his selected film. But by turning this creepy kid into a normal kid does Creep release something worse on he world..like a young republican!!

Movie: A scientist is experimenting with teenagers and turning them into murderers.

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New Shock Theater: Rat Man
Starring – David Warbeck & Janet Agren    Not Rated    1988

Host: This episode of “The New Shock Theater” is filled with bloopers and outtakes, due to the Good Dr. taken some time off for Easter. And we get a “Homemade Shock” called “No Fun” directed by Andy Valeri just for a little more fun.

Movie: A maniac butchers a fashion model on a Caribbean island and leaves the body to be eaten by rats. The model’s sister suspects something isn’t quite right with the police investigation and decides to go snooping on her own. With her friend, Fred, their investigation lead them to an unknown part of the island where they discover a monstrosity of a rat like man. The creature is killed by Fred, but the true horror of it’s nature is just beginning…

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New Shock Theater: When Women Had Tails
Starring – Senta Berger & Frank Wolff     Rated R     1970

Host: This is a special episode were Dr. Creep sits down with director Andy Copp and producer Rick Martin to talk about the tragic killings at Columbine High School that took place April 20th 1999. This episode is very serious one and really breaks down their thoughts on the massacre and the way the media handled it.

Movie: A bunch of 7 orphan cavemen grow up on a little island all by themselves. After a fire burns all vegetation they set out to find a new place to live. Here, one day they trap a strange animal, looking very similar to them, only softer and with longer hair. She (Filli) feels attracted to one of the brothers (Ulli) and convinces him, that a certain kind of playing with each other is far more satisfying than just eating her. He hides her and serves the other cavemen a goat. Soon Ulli and Filli are playing the Johnson-Game quite frequently. But the others find out about this and want to see what’s so great with “johnsonning”. After they all force Filli to show them the game too, she manages to flee with Ulli. Being pursued by the 6 men of Ulli’s clan, they meet the rest of Filli’s clan: A tribe of about 150 unsatisfied women, who just love to have new men around for playing.

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New Shock Theater: Thing With Two Heads
Starring – Rosey Grier & Ray Milland    Rated PG    1972

Host: Dr. Creep is back and shares his vacation photos with the viewers and his special guest – a real two-headed transplant! Dr. Creep shares a book he’s been reading and everything comes to a head when the two-headed transplant announces it’s desire to marry itself and live in magical Yellow Springs! All this plus trailers and homemade commercials.

Movie: A rich but racist man is dying and hatches an elaborate scheme for transplanting his head onto another man’s body. His health deteriorates rapidly, and doctors are forced to transplant his head onto the only available candidate: a black man from death row.

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New Shock Theater: House Of Exorcism
Starring – Telly Savalas & Elke Sommer     Rated R     1975

Host: Dr. Creep waxes nostalgic for the days of the drive-in theater and shares his memories of the now closed drive-ins around Dayton, Ohio. He shares a Halloween drive-in story about a friend named Trapper John and the pranks they pulled. So come and re-live the great days of the drive-in with Dr. Creep and be treated to trailers and classic drive-in spots!

Movie: A total re-edit of Mario Bava’s gothic classic Lisa and the Devil (1973) for US release in 1975. Cheesy exorcism scenes were shot to try to capitalize on the success of The Exorcist (1973).

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New Shock Theater: Touch Of Satan
Starring – Michael Berry & Emby Mellay     Rated PG     1971

Host: Dr. Creep has invited a group of psychotics from the local insane asylum and wants to know how Satan has touched their lives. He meets the spawn of Satan and his mother, a man who has turned into a monkey, a goofy man-child – all whose lives have been affected by the lord of darkness. Home-made Shock returns with the film “Requiem” directed by Andy Valeri.

Movie: On his way to California, Jodie decides on a whim to make a brief side trip to a farm, where he meets and falls in love with Melissa, the proverbial farmer’s daughter. Or so it seems. In between the overlong dramatic pauses, we learn that Melissa is in fact a 120-year-old witch, and her remarkably spry “great-grandmother,” Lucinda, is actually her sister, who has been pitchforking people to death in her spare time. When Lucinda murders a local policeman, things start to get real complicated for Jodie.

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New Shock Theater: Last Man On Earth
Starring – Vincent Price & Emma Danieli     Not Rated     1964

Host: In this episode Dr. Creep and Geraldo The Hostess Monster have the crypt invaded by a group of monsters that include a mummy, a witch, a werewolf and a monkey man, all running away from normal people. This gives Creep the idea to open his crypt as a Monster Sanctuary and to keep the “Normals” away! Dr. Creep also speaks of his time interviewing Vincent Price on Channel 22, and we are treated to more trailers from classic horror films from years past.

Movie: When a plague devastated life on Earth, the population died or became a sort of zombie living in the dark. Dr. Robert Morgan is the unique healthy survivor on the planet, having a routine life for his own survival: he kills the night creatures along the day and maintains the safety of his house, to be protected along the night. He misses his beloved wife and daughter, consumed by the outbreak, and he fights against his loneliness to maintain mentally sane. When Dr. Morgan finds the contaminated Ruth Collins, he uses his blood to heal her and he becomes the last hope on Earth to help the other contaminated survivors. But the order of this new society is scary.

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New Shock Theater: The Skull
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee     Not Rated     1965

Host: Dr. Creep has a guest in the crypt and its The Jewish Stud and they are attacked by The Skull of Drexel! This leads to Dr. Creep sharing true ghost stories and odd going on’s in the state of Ohio, from a headless ghost in Cincinnati to Hamilton Ohio’s Lover Lane skull ghost! And just spends time having fun in his crypt. Cult Corner returns with Reverand Zealot and he speaks to us about Letterboxing compared to Full Frame movies.

Movie: A collector of esoterica, Dr. Maitland, buys an unusual skull from his ordinary source of artifacts. The skull is what remains of marquis De Sade. Much too soon he discovers how the skull affects him: by turning him into a frenzied killer.

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New Shock Theater: Samson In The Wax Museum
Starring – El Santo & Norma Mora     Not Rated     1963

Host: In this episode Dr. Creep visits Cinema Wasteland 2001 in Strongsville Ohio and shows you the fun and good times that was had by all, he also interviews Son of Ghoul, Col. Klink and Cult film Director Andy Copp interviews Kevin Van Hentenryck of Basketcase fame.

Movie: El Santo, the masked Mexican wrestler, investigates a series of kidnappings. He discovers that the mysterious Doctor Caroll is using the victims as part of his experiments to develop an army of monsters. Naturally, El Santo is able to overcome them all – with wrestling!

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New Shock Theater: The Headless Eyes
Starring – Bo Brundin & Kelley Swartz    Rated X    1971

Host: Dr. Creep is back after a battle with sickness and welcomes Reverand Zealot to the crypt and they discuss the film at hand “The Headless Eyes”. Then they talk about films that are so bad that they wish they could remove there own eyes to get out of watching! A tell jokes about what you don’t wanna hear the doctors say during a surgery as written by Shock Theater Icon Dow Thomas, and just some idol chatter among Creep and his guest. On Reverand Zealot’s Cult Corner he showcases the David Cronenberg film “eXistenZ” and along with this we get trailers for other cult films and Public Accuses Shows.

Movie: Poor artist gets eye gouged out while committing a robbery. When his eye heals, he goes on a killing spree and cuts out women’s eyes with a spoon.

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New Shock Theater: Giant Spider Invasion
Starring – Alan Hale Jr. & Steve Brodie     Rated PG     1975

Host: Dr. Creep this time around is being attacked by a giant fly as he tries to host the show, so in order to put a stop to this annoying fly he calls 1470’s and gets a Exterminator that drops off an even bigger spider to capture the fly. Will Creep get ride of the fly or will his own fear of spiders get to him first? And what will happen when Reverand Zealot tries to come to Dr. Creep’s rescue.The Cult Corner with Reverend Zealot he shares an underground film called “Ice From The Sun” directed by Eric Stanze, and as always we are treated to trailers for films and public accuses shows.

Movie: A black hole hits North Wisconsin and opens a door to other dimensions. Giant 15 meter spiders emerge from it, who have an appetite for human flesh! Dr. Jenny Langer and Dr. Vance from the NASA try to save the world.

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New Shock Theater: Goke Body Snatcher From Hell
Starring – Hideo Ko & Tomomi Sato     Rated PG     1968

Host: Put a Creep in the White House! This showcases Dr. Creep’s thoughts on the issues that drive the good old USA. He runs on the Slumber Party ticket with his running mate, A Ghastlee Ghoul. Their platform includes banning nothing (except disco), and requiring that all Americans watch at least one horror film a week. Will this cracker jack candidate team win the White House? Only time and your vote will tell. This episode also includes a variety of trailers.

Movie: The survivors of a plane crash in a remote area are attacked by blob-like alien creatures that turn their victims into blood-thirsty vampires.

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New Shock Theater: I Eat Your Skin
Starring – William Joyce & Matt King    Rated PG   1971

Host: The quest to Put a Creep in the White House continues. Running mates Dr. Creep and A. Ghastlee Ghoul appear on a candidates forum hosted by Reverend Zealot. They’re joined by Andy Valeri of Big Beef records and discuss Dr. Creep’s recent collaboration with the Lawn Jockey’s. They take questions from concerned voters and discuss strategies for moral decency in America. Also included in this episode: trailers and the first appearance of the Hell-O Satan Dancer.

Movie: A cancer researcher on a remote Caribbean island discovers that by treating the natives with snake venom he can turn them into bug-eyed zombies. Uninterested in this information, the unfortunate man is forced by his evil employer to create an army of the creatures in order to conquer the world.

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New Shock Theater: Macumba Love
Starring – Walter Reed & Ziva Rodann     Not Rated     1960

Host: Dr. Creep is once again at Cinema Wasteland 2001 and goes around the convention interviewing the stars such as Ken Kish owner of Cinema Wasteland, Chris Seaver, Teen Ape, Kurvs Girl, Bill Blair from Babylon 5 and Maniac Cop himself Robert Z’Dar! Also filled to the brim with great trailers for other bad cheesy films.

Movie: J. Peter Wells, an expose writer, arrives on an island off the coast of South America (no country identified), to complete a book on voodoo, ju-ju,macumba, mojo and other cult beliefs, which he believes is responsible for unsolved murders on this island. Wealthy land-owner Venis de Vias warns him against stirring up the natives, especially any efforts to lessen the prestige of the reigning VooDoo Queen Mama Rata-loi. The arrival of Wells’ daughter, Sara, and her husband, Warren, on a honeymoon trip, starts the pot to boiling and making the natives restless. Most restless of all is Mama Rata-loi, who asserts her powers and puts a spell on Venus de Viasa. The next thing honeymooner Warren knows is that he is trussed up and about to become the one chosen to die in a voodoo ceremony.

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New Shock Theater: Devils Wedding Night
Starring – Sara Bay & Xiro Papas     Rated R     1973

Host: In this episode of “The New Shock Theater” Dr. Creep is in the studio with Dayton band The Lawn Jockyes as they record the album “The Amazing Sounds of Shock Theater” and shows you all the behind the scenes stuff that lead to one of Ohio’s most popular CD’s! We also get treated to come classic 1993 footage of Dr. Creep at the Neon Movies for the premiere of Peter Jacksons “Dead-Alive”, along for the fun is Independent film icon Jim Van Bebber and Geoff Burkman as zombies wondering the streets of Dayton! Also shown is some classic old trailers.

Movie: The 1800s: scholarly Karl Schiller believes he’s found the ring of the Nibelungen, which holds great power. It’s at Castle Dracula. His twin, Franz, a gambler, asks if vampires frighten Karl; Karl shows him an Egyptian amulet, which may protect him. Franz takes the amulet and sets out ahead of his brother, arriving at the castle first. There he finds a countess who invites him to dine. Later that night, Karl arrives. Coincidently, it’s the Night of the Virgin Moon, a night that falls every fifty years and draws five virgins from the surrounding village to the castle not be heard from again. Can Karl protect his brother, find the ring, and rescue any of the women?

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New Shock Theater: Devil Doll
Starring – Bryant Haliday & Alan Gifford     Not Rated     1964

Host: Dr. Creep goes to “Renaissance Music” to promote the CD “Amazing Sounds of Shock Theater” and chats with the owner Geoff Burkman who played a zombie in “DAY OF THE DEAD” and has been a local legend of film and stage star for many years. The two chat it up over all types of subjects that include Frisbee Golf and even George A Romero! Also includes trailers and a music video for The Lawn Jockyes song “Creep 303”.

Movie: Vorelli is a ventriloquist & hypnotist, with an amazing dummy, Hugo. Vorelli meets and pursues a beautiful heiress (Marianne); he mesmerizes her, and induces a baffling coma. His buxom mistress (Magda) fears he’ll dump her for the younger woman, and threatens to expose him. Vorelli tricks Hugo into killing Magda while he’s safely elsewhere. Marianne’s boyfriend Mark investigates. He discovers another killing in Vorelli’s past, of a man called Hugo. The girl wakes from her coma, and announces she will marry the hypnotist. When the triumphant Vorelli tells Hugo his plans for Marianne and a new, female dummy, a final confrontation yields surprising results.

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New Shock Theater: Attack Of The Beast Creatures
Starring – Robert Nolfi & Julia Rust     Not Rated     1985

Host: Dr. Creep with time invades the horror convention “Fright Vision” in 2002! Dr. Creep once more along with his camera man goes around and gets interviews with guests that include Hayden from Witching Hour Video also known as Horror Host “I, Zombi”, Actress Lilith Stabbs, Horror Host Dr. Shock and the guys of Brains on Film. Also we get trailers and some footage of The Lawn Jockyes playing while Belly Dancers dance taken from a classic “Live” New Shock Theater.

Movie: Survivors of a shipwreck wash up on an island, and run into small vicious creatures.

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New Shock Theater: Ghastlee Wedding Special
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Dr. Freak     Not Rated     2003

Host: At Cinema Wasteland October 4th 2003 horror host A. Ghastlee Ghoul married Horror Hostess Suspira in the worlds first and only Horror Host Wedding! Dr. Creep (who’s also the best man) brings The New Shock Theater crew to the event and this you have “Ghastlee’s Wedding Special” so sit back and join in the fun and watch history unfold before your very eyes! Along the way Dr. Creep and film maker Andy Copp talk to people at the convention about the wedding and the event.

Movie: Clips from Cinema Wasteland 2003.

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New Shock Theater: Scary Camp Special
Starring – Tommy Gunn & Conrad Brooks     Not Rated     2004

Host: May 28th -30th 2004 was Ghastlee’s Scary Camp, Dayton, Ohio’s first Horror film convention and Dr. Creep shot a very special edition of New Shock Theater! The show is hosted in the Crypt by Dr. Creep and the Reverand Zealot who show clips from the amazing event. Dr. Creep interviews A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Conrad Brooks (Plan 9 from Outer Space), Joe Estevez, Sid Haig, Make-Up artist Jeff Krodel and Ken Kish of Cinema Wasteland. Also shown is a full “Freakshow Deluxe” performance from Tommy Gunn, a look at the Evil Dead Museum and some weird and wild clips. 

Movie: Clips from Scary Camp 2004.

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New Shock Theater: Eegah
Starring – Arch Hall Jr. & Richard Kiel     Unrated     1962

Host: Dr. Creep and Reverend Zealot have a relaxing time on the set and chat about the nights film as well as the actors who made it come alive.

Movie: While driving through the desert, a teenage girl is frightened by a seven-foot giant which appears in her path. After escaping, she returns to the site with her boyfriend and her father in an attempt to find the giant. They do, and it proceeds to terrorize them and the rest of Palm Springs, California.

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New Shock Theater: Flesh Feast
Starring – Veronica Lake & Doug Foster     Rated R     1970

Host: Dr. Creep and Reverend Zealot are back relaxing on the set of New Shock Theater and chat about the nights film Flesh Feast as well as the actress Veronica Lake. They also chat about Dr. Creep’s uncle Doug Hobart who was a star in many films shot in Florida.

Movie: Dr. Elaine Frederick has just perfected a way of using maggots to make her test subjects not only look younger, but actually become younger. When they hear of the results of her experiments, her first clients, a team of hispanic neo-nazis, are delighted with the news. It seems they have a very elderly VIP in their group who needs to be rejuvenated before he can begin rebuilding his thousand-year reich. As their plan moves toward its completion, Dr. Frederick’s habit of experimenting on stolen corpses begins to attract the attention of an investigative reporter.

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Live New Shock Theater: Impulse & The Flesh Eaters
Starring – William Shatner & Ira Lewis    Rated PG/Not Rated    1974/1964

Host: It’s April Fools Day! Dr. Creep and crew have decided to show a double feature of cheesy films…and they do it all LIVE! It’s The Groovie Shock-A-Thon! This was the first live Shock Theater is nearly 20 years and it’s filled with live calls. Cameos and a live in-house band! Guests featured include The Lawn Jockeys, Reverend Tommy Gunn, Henrique Couto and Andy Copp.

Movies: Impulse – A paranoid, leisure-suit-wearing conman/gigolo named Matt Stone seduces lonely women, bilks them of their savings via an investment scam, then kills them. When he begins seeing an attractive widow, her daughter Tina becomes suspicious of his motives. The Flesh Eaters – An alcoholic actress, her personal assistant, and their pilot are downed on a secluded isle by bad weather, where a renegade Nazi scientist is using ocean life to develop a solvent for human flesh. The tiny flesh-eating sea critters that result certainly give our heroes a run for their money – and lives.

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Live New Shock Theater: Brainiac & Blood Freak
Starring – Steve Hawkes & Abel Salazar     Rated  X/Not Rated     1972/1962

Host: The second live episode of New Shock Theater took place in 2001. Dr. Creep chats with fellow Horror Hosts A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Dr. Freak as well showcases his in house band The Lawn Jockeys.

Movies: Blood FreakA biker comes upon a girl with a flat tire and offers her a ride home. He winds up at a drug party with the girl’s sister, then follows her to a turkey farm owned by her father, a mad scientist. The father turns the biker into a giant turkey monster who goes after drug dealers. The Brainiac – In 1661 Mexico, the Baron Vitelius of Astara is sentenced to be burned alive by the Holy Inquisition of Mexico for witchcraft, necromancy, and other crimes. As he dies, the Baron swears vengeance against the descendants of the Inquisitors. 300 years later, a comet that was passing overhead on the night of the Baron’s execution returns to earth, bringing with it the Baron in the form of a horrible, brain-eating monster that terrorizes the Inquisitor’s descendants.

The One And Only Dr Creep

There is also a lost episode that only aired once; it was a Christmas episode and had Dr. Creep hosting The Deathmaster.  After the original airing, someone at the station stole the tape, or that’s what director Andy Copp told me some years back. It’s also really sad because in the final episode of New Shock Theater (Flesh Feast) Dr. Creep is so happy and gives a list of films that he will be hosting soon.  Sadly he never did get to host them as his health and Andy Copp getting busy with other projects kept the episodes from being shot. On a good note and something that might make fans happy I have come across most the raw footage for this episode and at sometime in the future I might try and recut the episode as the best I can and release it on DVD as well as show it on the Kreepy Kastle online Horror Host station. Dr. Creep impacted the lives of those who watched his show in the 70’s all the way to the 2000’s and still does even to this day and it shows in the shows of the hosts that followed as almost all of them credit him for their interspersion hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop, Dr. Freak and Iris & Retina all from Dayton who cared on the tradition he started here and all do it with pride and to honor Creep who paved the way for them. This update was a fun one to write and so many great memories came back and flooded my mind about Barry.  Next to Commander USA, this has been my favorite Horror Host Icon update I have written to date! If you have a fun story about Dr. Creep, please share in the comments, and if you have any original broadcast episodes of his Channel 22 days, please contact me as I would love to get a copy from you. To continue the countdown to the Halloween update that will be a surprise custom comic made by my good friend Eric Shonborn, our next update will be about The Fly and IDW’s sequel to the series started by David Cronenberg in 1986. So make sure to come back for that one and bring some Raid and a flyswatter just in case of a infestation..and as always read a comic or three and support your local horror host.

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The Short-Lived Story of AniMax

Hello all and welcome back. The next series of comics we are looking at is called Animax, based off a failed toy line and released by Star Comics, the kids’ branch of Marvel. This book is different from The A-Team and Smurfs as I had never heard of it in any shape or form when I was a kid. The first time I found this book was 2011 when I found issue one at Mavericks Cards and Comics for a whooping 25 cents! That’s the one good thing about living in Dayton, there are many great places to get comics. Besides Mavericks, we also have Bell, Book and Comic, Bookery Fantasy, Half Price Books, Superfly Comics, Dark Star, Fearless Reader, Game Swap Kettering and a few other places you can find issues.

Every store is different and each carries something that sets it apart from the others making them all worth checking out if you ever find yourself in the area and looking for comics, toys, books, movies, video games, card games, sports cards and everything else that will send your nerdom into overdrive. In fact this review is possible thanks to both Mavericks and Bell, Book and Comic where I found all four issues in this mini series. So thanks, guys!

Star Comics has always fascinated me and to this day I still find myself always looking for issues that escaped me when I was younger. Marvel Comics started Star back in 1984 and closed it in 1988. The four year run was enough time for them to gobble up properties like Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, Silver Hawks, Muppet Babies, Care Bears, Star Wars and many more popular toy and cartoon lines. Star gave the properties short comic runs to satisfy kids who craved all they could get of their favorite characters. But Star also gave us some great original characters like Planet Terry, Wally The Wizard, Top Dog, Spider-Ham and Royal Roy. While fans didn’t know these characters at first, we eventually learned to love and respect them. The best and most loved from the originals was Peter Porker (Spider-Ham), a pig man who turned into a Spider-Man like hero – great silly stuff. He was followed by Wally The Wizard. It’s a shame that Marvel didn’t give Star enough time to fully grow and become the next big thing in kids’ comics since Archie. I am sure that Star’s fall came with poor sales and high payouts to get licensed properties. But years after shutting them down, Marvel continued to put out books based on cartoons from Captain Planet to the Toxic Crusaders. I missed Star Comics when it was gone and would have loved to see the company put out some issues based on other toy lines of the day. Look for a followup blog soon about the toy and cartoon lines I wished they would have done.

AniMax made its first appearance at the 1986 Toy Fair and was the brain child of Mel Birnkrants and Schaper Toys (the folks who brought you Ants in the Pants, Cootie and Don’t Break the Ice). The toy line featured Max Action and his vehicle Jungle Max as they led the AniMax as the evil X-Tinctor and his vehicle Obliterator led the mutant Car-nivores in a future world where both sides clashed in order to see who would rule their world. The AniMax vehicles were alive, half animals and half automobile, controlled by helmets that the riders wear. The toy line was a hit at the Toy Fair, with its live actors and cool figures. The hype was in place for this to be the next big thing in action figures. Later in 1986, Schaper sold to Tyco toys, and this started the beginning of the end for AniMax.

The toy line was a second thought to Tyco who wanted other properties within Schaper, and so the toys were half assed with poor cheap paint jobs and no commercial push, making them flood the shelves at toy stores and quickly go straight to the markdown bin. A funny note: both main characters Max Action and X-Tinctor never actually made it out to stores. AniMax was also supposed to get a cartoon to fuel the fire. Much like the commercial support, the cartoon never happened making the name and toys fade away without so much as a whisper. But out of the grim future of the toyline came one glimmer of hope to help make kids care about the cheap looking toys: Star Comics issue # 1 of AniMax!

Star Comics decided to take a chance on AniMax and made some issues to try to draw some buzz. But sadly without a cartoon or a solid toy line, the comic lasted only four issues before it landed in the cancel bin. It’s odd that these pretty cool characters with a really great storyline never got the fair shot they deserved. My knowledge of this subject and amazing pictures are thanks to Mel Birnkrants and his website who had all the history of this failed toy/cartoon line.

Now it’s time to take a look at this short Star Comics Mini series and see just how well the idea of this series translated to comics. Remember, I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story.

AniMax # 1 ***

Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Star Comics   #1 of 4

This issue is “Days of Wrath” and has Max Action and his AniMax Jungle Max (Lion Machine) battered and dying at the feet of X-Tinctor and his evil band of mutants, who have set up the hero. Tiger Trakker and the rest of the AniMax swoop in and run off the mutants to find their weak leader who dies in Tiger’s arms. They take Max’s body and send Jungle to the junkyard. All hope looks lost for the people of Peoplopolis. Heater and her Mother own the Museum, and unbeknownst to Tiger and his men, they have a clone machine that they use to bring Max back to life! When some mutants sneak into the compound Tiger comes face to face with the clone who moves and acts like his fallen friend and leader. In the battle Mother is killed, and Max must prove that he is who he says by saving Jungle Max from death’s door. As more mutants come in for the attack, Tiger and Max flee the city to save Jungle Max and to get the proof that the savior is alive.

What a fun action packed first issue that pulls no punches and starts with the main hero dying, one of many deaths. When the mutants sneak into the compound, they shoot and kill two humans, and the panel shows the bullets passing through the bodies, making this the first Star Comic I can think of that features that much violence. This issue’s plot is the start of a war between the humans and the mutants and is the restart of the warrior known as Max Action. The death of Max Action is shocking to start the issue off with and his rebirth is true classic sci-fi/Frankenstein inspired stuff. On the downside, the issue don’t explain much of who, why and what the AniMax universe is all about and for the most part flings you in as if their history is common knowledge, or as if it was coming off a cartoon series. But even after being flung in, the storyline is pretty cool and for some reason drew me into wanting to see what was going to happen next. The issue is also packed with lots of action, making it very exciting. The art is well done and is very much that Marvel style of the late 80s. The cover is also great and very much eye catching, showing action and Max and X-Tinctor. Over all it’s a nice start to the series and made me want to see what is going to happen in issue 2. 

AniMax # 2  ***

Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Star Comics   #2 of 4

“The Siege of Peoplopolis” is the second issue’s plot and has X-Tinctor and his mutants launching a full on attack to the walls of Peoplopolis, pushing the rest of the AniMax to fight harder to save the innocent people. Tiger Trakker takes Max to the living jungle and has mini-Animax help him track down Jungle Max who is on the highway of death, as he holds off the mutants that were tracking them. Max finds Jungle, and the two reconnect. While still injured Jungle and Max help Tiger out and head back to town. The walls of Peoplopolis have fallen, and X-Tinctor has entered the city and the remaining AniMax know they can not win, until Max and Tiger show back up and open a can of woop ass on the Mutants who flee…for now. The town and his fellow warriors are shocked to see Max as Heater shares her feeling for the hero. Tiger tells Max his secret of being a clone is safe with him as they take Jungle to get repaired. X-Tinctor meanwhile has a evil plan the he will execute in the next issue.

Issue two is good but not nearly as well done as the first though it’s still fun and action and drama packed. The plot has X-Tinctor trying to bring down the humans and kill or make the remaining AniMax join his side while Max is trying to come to grips with being a clone and trying to save his lion friend Jungle Max from the graveyard. This issue brings up lots of great emotions as Max must come to grips with the fact he is not the original but is the face of hope to many people and also touches up on his love for Heater. It then builds up the true friendship of Max and Tiger and gives it an almost Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms (Masters of the Universe) bond that has one keeping a major secret for the other. Plus the road of death sure does look a hell of a lot like the yellow brick road of Wizard of Oz fame. While drama-filled, this issues still packs in action as the mutants attack the city’s walls and Tiger Trakker fights a bunch of blood thirsty ones as well. This is a nice follow up issue, and let’s you a little more into the world of AniMax, fleshing out characters a little better. The art once more is well done as is the cover that again pops with action. Over all it’s a nice follow up to issue one.

AniMax # 3  **1/2

Released in 1986    Cover Price .75    Star Comics   #3 of 4

“The Retread Plot” is the third issue’s name and has the cloned Max Action wondering if he is as good as the original because of his lackluster shooting. Tiger is also concerned now and thinks the clone might not be able to handle being a leader. Max goes to visit Heater in Peoplopolis as X-Tinctor unleashes a giant rubber air man named Retread to find the hideout of the AniMax, following Max to the secret location. Retread, who can float when releasing air from his massive frame, sets off the hideout’s alarm, and the AniMax go after him. But X-Tinctor and the Mutants show up to save their man and to get the info he has tucked away before he deflates and forgets all his knowledge. All looks dim as the Mutants take Retread over the bridge of doom and into the dark side of Earth. But one well timed shot from Max hits the rubber man deflating him and saving the location of their secret hideout.

This issue is very cheesy and does not pack the drama of the action of the first two issues. The story has a few moments of drama as Max and Tiger both question his ability to lead the world’s only hope team, but the quickly follows Retread as he tries to get away with the knowledge of the AniMax base. I was not a fan of the cheesy comedy and wished they would have stayed closer to the style of the first two issues’ plots. However even with the terrible shift from action-drama to action-comedy, the reader is treated to more of what and who the AniMax are showing that they are the humans’ last hope in a world that was left in terrible shape after doomsday. Plus I like how they showed the Bridge of Doom, a gateway the separates the Light Side from the Dark Side. X-Tinctor also himself to be another bad guy who just can’t seem to get that win putting him alongside Skeletor, Moonstar and many other 80’s cartoon bad guys. Over all issue three is not as good as previous issues but was still a solid read. The art in this one is pretty good but a few panels seem rushed, not to mention the cover on this one smells of pure cheese. 

AniMax # 4  **

Released in 1986    Cover Price $1.00    Star Comics   #4 of 4

This is the fourth and final issue and starts off with Max and crew fighting X-Tinctor and crew on the Bridge of Doom over a human slave girl. In the fight Max is hit with a large dose of radiation and fellow AniMax Tarmac who controls the horse is kidnapped. X-Tinctor has a plan to learn about the bond that allows the humans to talk to their machine animals. If he can learn this power and take control over his machine animal to unleash its full power that would be able to bring the end of mankind. Meanwhile as Max lies dying once more in the hospital, the AniMax machines learn a way to take some of their riders’ pain unto themselves but if they take too much the bond between the two will be lost. In the end X-Tinctor and his mutants attack, and all looks grim as the riders and the machine animals are loosing their bond, but with the help of Tarmac and Max getting better from his illness, they are able to use the pain energy to rid the world of X-Tinctor once and for all…or so they think.

This last issue seems rushed and the storyline is a little over done. The plot has the riders and machine animals having such a tight bond that they would take each others pain in order to save their friend, and X-Tinctor wants to exploit this and gain that ability himself to use his machine to destroy the human population. Max Action is hardly in this issue and spends most the time in a hospital bed, making you wonder why they hardly used the main hero of the book in the final issue. The action also seems rushed and was a quick way to kill most of the mutants off to end the saga. X-Tinctor’s death is also very lame and is one weak way to get rid of a bad guy that issues back seemed to strike fear in the hearts of humans. This was not a fitting way to end the series and once more makes me wonder why AniMax had a curse that allowed it to be treated so poorly. The art in this one is well done, but as for the cover, it just seems very generic and not thought out. Also the price on final issue, as you can see, was raised by a quarter making it a dollar. Shame on you, Marvel, for not given this series a proper send off.

Going into this I did not know anything about the AniMax universe and after reading Star Comics’ four issue run and reading Birnkrant’s webpage, I found myself enjoying my journey into their world. I did notice that this series is very heavily influenced by Masters of the Universe and M.A.S.K – more so Masters. Let’s break it down real quick: look at Max Action and compare him to He-Man (Prince Adam). First, they both have a secret that only a few know; Max’s is that he is a clone, Adam’s is he is He-Man. Both have a main villain that has a skeleton face; Max with X-Tinctors and He-Man with Skeletor. They both have a giant cat they ride and are best friends with; Max with Jungle Max and Adam with Battlecat. Both in some ways are leaders to people who need their protection. Both had a limited comic run at Star Comics, and both have blonde hair. It’s very clear that this was inspired by Masters of the Universe and was just changed to fit in a more apocalyptic world. But I am ok with that. I am sorry I didn’t have any fun stories of me blowing up AniMax figures or having my Godzilla toy crush them, but like me, I hope you found this entry entertaining and insightful on a basically forgotten toy line and the mini series that it spawned. Next up: the giant monsters that live under us, The Inhumanoids!