Horror Host Icon: Superhost

Hello, dere! The state of Ohio has a very rich history when it comes to Horror Hosts with names like Dr. Creep, Ghoulardi and The Cool Ghoul leading the way.  Also at the top of that list is Cleveland’s very own superhero, Superhost! It’s amazing to think that the world of Horror Hosts is filled with lots of mad doctors, vampires and ghouls but only two Superhero ones that come to mind are Commander USA and Superhost, both of whom delivered lots of laughs alongside the movies they hosted. When selecting hosts to cover this year, I knew that I had to cover Superhost as he is a true legend in the world of Horror Hosting and is a true icon of funny fright here in Ohio. So join me on this Horror Host Icon update as we take a heroic look at the one and only Superhost!

Superhost began his hosting career on WUAB Channel 43 in Cleveland, Ohio in 1969 and hosted back to back shows for much of his career with “Supe’s On!” being the pre-show that lasted an hour and would show “Three Stooges” and “Laurel And Hardy” shorts and would later show TV Shows like “The Munsters.” And then he would host his main show called “Mad Theater” that would have Superhost hosting two back to back films and later one film for the viewers at home. His shows would air on Saturday Mornings and was a great way for Monster Kids of the late 60’s-80’s to enjoy classic horror and comedy. Superhost would greet his viewers with his classic catch phrase “Hello, Dere”and would entertain them with his silly humor and even more goofy skits that would be parodies of famous TV Shows and people. Superhost was a fun loving kind of hero who wore a baggy light blue outfit that had his classic SH emblem on it, red boxer shorts, a large red cape. He had a red nose and seemed to enjoy bringing the movies to the viewers even sometimes taking jabs at the films’ quality and budget. Superhost’s set was mostly in front of a movie theater (called Superhost Theatre) that had glowing lights and the movie(s) or shows’ title on the marquee. With TV growing and the popularity of syndicated shows like Pro Wrestling, Mad Theater went through lots of changes shortening its run time and even changing its format but Cleveland’s favorite Host lasted on air until 1989 giving him a very great 20 year run on the air. During this time, he made public appearances and even appeared on other Horror Host Shows like “Hoolihan & Big Chuck” who also were iconic Horror Hosts from Cleveland on the rival network. Say what you will but Superhost is truly an icon of Ohio TV and his popularity lives on thanks to fans who trade his shows and chat about his silly ways!

Marty Sullivan is the man behind Superhost and was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 1, 1932 of Irish decent. Before he was on Cleveland airwaves, he survived in the Navy, went to college and worked a little a little as a radio newscaster. But he really made a name for himself on WUAB Channel 43 and not just for being Superhost as he also was the floor director and staff announcer and fill in movie host for the show “Prize Movie” and did that up until 1993 as well as did the news breaks from time to time for the station. He also had a background in radio and was really a jack of all trades when it came to media. Marty was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall Of Fame in 1991 and is still very much respected for all his hard work at WUAB. Marty is 86 years old at the time of this update and has long been retired from the world of broadcasting and is enjoying his days living in Oregon, chatting with fans who grew up watching him as the one and only Superhost. And for those wondering, yes, he does dress as Superhost from time to time for interviews and skits that appear on TV, but these appearances are very far and few.

The year was 2015, and the place was Horrorhound Weekend.  The event was the Horror Host Hall Of Fame and in this class Superhost was long overdue to be inducted! The honor of inducting Superhost went to Dayton, Ohio Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop who told me he was extremely honored to have been asked to do so, and he did all his research and watched many of Superhosts skits and shows and did a fantastic job of honoring a Host legend that paved the way for him and many others who followed. It was amazing to be in the crowd watching a Host I created inducting a super iconic Host from our home state and hearing people cheer as Superhost was officially added in and many of his fellow peers and fans witnessing this special moment. The only let down is that I wished Marty Sullivan could have made it and accepted his award as it would have been an honor to have met him in person. So if your reading this, Superhost, I hope that you enjoyed Baron Von Porkchop’s speech as it was our pleasure to pay you the respect that you deserve.

The strangest thing about Superhost for me is I cannot remember how I first heard about him, but I feel like I have known about him for many years including when I was a teenager. I am going to guess I had to have read about him in a magazine, newspaper or saw him on the news or even heard about him from some of my Horror Host friends. One thing is for sure, once I was able to track down episodes of his show I was all over them as he is considered a Horror Host legend here in Ohio and I had to see him in action.  From day one I was not disappointed as it seemed to me that he was having a blast doing the show, and I could see how viewers at the time made it must see television. Superhost is a real master of the Horror Hosting craft as he talked to the viewers and made watchers feel like they were his friend.  He would poke fun at himself as well as the night’s movies doing what he had to do to get them to laugh. It’s a shame that Superhost never made it to the world of comic books as he would make for an amazing all ages comic character…someone should do this….maybe Sparkle Comics could do a comic one shot about his silly adventures one day. But one thing is for sure, Superhost is well respected among Ohio fans and fellow Horror Hosts coast to coast. Here is to you Marty Sullivan for being a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting.

So its that time when the Sups Is On and we need to take a look at episodes I own of Superhost with many of these episodes coming from Trade Lists and friends like James and Darren who made this update even better with episodes they have sent me. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films coming from our pals at IMDB. So lets watch some Horror Flicks with the one and only hero of TV Superhost! Oh and to keep it easy I am just going to call all episodes Mad Theater to keep it simple. I also want to say I did have a DVD called Superbits that featured moments from the show but decided to leave it off of the review.

Mad Theater: Attack Of The Crab Monsters
Starring – Richard Garland & Martha Hunter       Not Rated       1957

Host: Superhost reads fan mail about getting his show and they are all made up and silly and then he promises that later in the show he will have big name guests, and then ushers us into the movie! Superhost comes back and chats with Herman Pincher, an expert in crabs, and the interview goes bad as Herman is crazy and thinks he is on the Tonight Show. All the while we are treated to cheesy Superhost bumpers where he always welcomes us back to the night’s film. At one point Superhost eats some crabs and says that’s how they should have dealt with the crab monsters from the nights movie. After the movie Superhost changes out of his costume and ends the show.

Movie: A group of scientists travel to a remote island to study the effects of nuclear weapons tests, only to get stranded when their airplane explodes. The team soon discovers that the island has been taken over by crabs that have mutated into enormous, intelligent monsters. To add to their problems, the island is slowly sinking into the ocean. Will any of them manage to escape?

Note from Matt: This appears to be a fan reproduction of the episode and is missing all commercials.

Mad Theater: Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Dwight Frye     Not Rated       1931

Host: Superhost opens the show giving us a few facts about Frankenstein and shows off some drawings of The Monster that were sent to him before going to the movie. Next up Superhost shares some local events that are happing around town like plays, festivals, haunted houses and fish fries! And his announcements for the community events lasts break after break and he does so with grace and charm. And sadly his final bumper is missing from this episode.

Movie: Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.

Mad Theater: Most Dangerous Game
Starring – Fay Wray & Joel McCrea       Not Rated     1932

Host: Superhost tells a few fun facts about the night’s movie and tells the viewers that it’s a really good movie! And sadly that’s all we get to see of Superhost from this episode as the person who recorded it removed his segments and the commercials.

Movie: After their luxury cabin cruiser crashes on a reef, Bob Rainsford finds himself washed ashore on a remote island. He finds a fortress-like house and the owner, Count Zaroff, seems to be quite welcoming. Apart from Zaroff’s servant Ivan, the only other people present are Eve Trowbridge and her brother Martin, also survivors of their own shipwreck. Other survivors are missing however and Rainsford soon learns why. Zaroff releases them into his jungle island and then hunts them down in his grisly “outdoor chess” game! Then after Martin disappears, Bob realizes that he and Eve are to be the next “pawns” in Zaroff’s deadly game.

Note from Matt: It’s always a shame when an episode of a Horror Host program is uncovered and who ever recorded it removes all or even some of the Host segments. Just really makes you wonder what Superhost did in this episode.

Mad Theater: Wizard Of Mars
Starring – John Carradine & Vic McGee       Not Rated       1965

Host: Superhost starts with reading a letter that had a triva question and gives the answers.  The film is the second feature of the day, and he gives us quick little facts about it and rushes us to the movie. Superhost welcomes us back to the show after a break but does say to us viewers that it’s a great day outside and that kids should be outside playing, but also make sure to say or stay in and watch the movie. We next join Superhost as he reads off some local events that are going on in the coming weeks, and so he does for a few more breaks. Superhost then closes the show and tells the viewers that next on is King Kong and wonders why his boss didn’t give him that to host.

Movie: In 1974, four astronauts, silver shoe-clad Dorothy, overweight Doc, goofy Charlie, and wooden Steve, crash land on Mars when taking readings, with only four days of supplies. They must try to survive on the surface, which is barren except for some canals with huge maggots with fins. After embarking through a golden igneous cavern, braving a storm and finding an unmanned Earth vessel, they discover a golden road which leads them to the unchanging ruins of what was once a beautiful Martian city. The Martians are modeled on the Flatheads of Oz, and their collective consciousness, the “Wizard,” forbids them to leave until they perform a very small task.

Mad Theater: Wolf Man
Starring – Lon Chaney Jr. & Bela Lugosi     Not Rated     1941

Host: Superhost starts the show off by reading a letter from a fan who sends his list of favorite Horror Movies and on that list is The Wolf Man that happens to be the day’s film! We next join Superhost as he says alerts us to some local events happening and shows us a drawing a fan did of Frankenstein’s Monster! And when we see him again Superhost must spend more time telling us about events going on around Halloween, and this goes on for a few more breaks. And sadly his final break is missing from the episode.

Movie: Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns from America to his ancestral home in Wales. He visits a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by Bela, a gypsy who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf but is bitten during the fight. Bela’s mother tells him that this will cause him to become a werewolf at each full moon. Larry confesses his plight to his unbelieving father, Sir John, who then joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. Transformed by the full moon, Larry heads for the forest and a fateful meeting with both Sir John and Gwen Conliffe.

Superhost really is a great Horror Host and really has inspired many creative people from the Cleveland, Ohio area and beyond. Superhost has a friendly and calming voice that made the viewers feel like one of his close friends. And what shows that Superhost was such a great Host with a great show is the fact he lasted on air for two decades and is ranked as one of Cleveland’s top Hosts and ranks up with the likes of Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Son Of Ghoul, Big Chuck & Little John and Mad Daddy to name a few. So to sum it all up, Superhost is a true Icon in the world of Horror Hosting and deserved to be inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame! But sadly for our next update we must leave the world of Horror Hosting behind and travel to the world of Bones! Yep we will be talking an epic journey with Malibu Comics and their series simple called Bones. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon for an adventure with a skeleton hero!

Horror Host Icon: Grampa Munster

The USA Network ruled the Horror Host market on cable TV in the 80s and 90s with shows like Commander USA Groovie Movies, USA Up All Night and USA Saturday Nightmares, but cable networks TBS and TNT (both owned by Ted Turner) were not going to allow them to dominate that market unopposed when they started to air Super Scary Saturday on TBS and Monstervision on TNT, not to mention Dinner And A Movie that also aired on TBS. For this Horror Host Icon update, we are going to take a look at Grampa Munster, who hosted Super Scary Saturday and was the rival of Commander USA for a short while. Super Scary Saturday aired at noon on Saturday’s and was my source for seeing many of the Godzilla films for the first time as well as films like Willard, Ben and many of the Planet Of The Apes films that were made from the live action TV show.  This was another Horror Host show that I was glued to and always wanted to see what film he was showing by checking the local TV listings in the Sunday paper. So Beware and Be Scared as I am proud to bring to you an update I have been biting, I mean waiting, to do for years as I proudly present Horror Host Icon: Grampa!

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In 1987 Ted Turner and his TBS Superstation decided to try their hand at Horror Hosting on Saturday afternoons at 12:05 to capture the attention of all the monster kids of the 80’s who were watching cartoons and needed a fix of horror and comedy and so Super Scary Saturday was born. Hosted by Grampa from his lab and surrounded by the TBS movie vault, this vampire would select a film, and along with his pals Slim the Skeleton and Igor the Bat, they would host the day’s movies. Sometimes on his show he would have guests appear to weigh in on the day’s movie and to add a little more fun and silliness to the show. Grampa would always seem to be so hyped that the viewers were joining him for the day’s movie and would howl with laughter and spew cheesy puns and would end the episodes with his catchphrase “Be There Or Beware.”  For me that was something I always looked forward to hearing him say. One thing the show always did was imply that Grampa was Grandpa Munster, but they never said it outright.  On one episode, they even had his Grandson appear, played by Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster on The Munsters! The opening credits and theme for Super Scary Saturday are still something I remember to this day as the song had a scary, then upbeat tempo over credits of movie monsters popping up and making us viewers play the What Movie Is That From game and also would spark the “Oh Look It’s…” excitement. Grampa was one of those Horror Hosts, like Commander USA, Dr. Creep and Joe Bob Briggs, that made me look forward to watching TV, and like them, he always made me feel like he was not just a host on TV but also a long time friend who enjoyed sharing cheesy movies with me. Super Scary Saturday was not only the first way I saw Godzilla films but also many of the Hammer Horror films and such cult classics as Williard and the 1972 made for TV film Gargoyles. But like all good things in life, TBS cancelled Super Scary Saturday in 1989 and ended Grampa entertaining me on Saturday mornings. I should also note that Super Scary Saturday was the only Horror Host show from my youth on broadcast cable TV that would many times show reruns as well as would re-use segments for different movies, but say what you will about it, this show was very important to me in my younger days and still holds a very special place in my heart. So with that I want to say thank you Grampa and all the cast and crew that made this show possible, and thank you Ted Turner for making original Horror Hosting programs for all us Monster Kids of the 80’s.

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One of my favorite episodes and one that stuck with me all these years is when Grampa hosted King Kong vs. Godzilla as not only do I love this terrible cheesy monster battle film but also because the skits for the episode were so fun that they are burned into my brain. This was also the episode that I can remember airing a few times and was also one that I recorded on an old Beta tape and watched it all the time. One of the major reasons I enjoyed this episode so much was also because it had guest NWA Pro Wrestlers Michael “P.S.” Hayes and Jim Cornette who acted as King Kong and Godzilla’s guest managers. The episode also treated the film like it was a build up to a big wrestling match and Grampa being all hyped up made me all hyped too! To this day it remains one of my favorite episodes and was a must have for me when I started to collect Horror Host shows. Below are some stills from that episode.

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Al Lewis was born Albert Meister on April 30, 1923 in New York, New York, and for years his true past was a mystery as he told many stories and many of them have no records of being fact.  Lewis has claimed to have been born in 1910 and even has said to have a Ph.D in child psychology from Columbia University which the University claims to have no record of.  Al found that his true calling was in acting and entertainment as he worked in many burlesque and vaudeville theaters as well did a few shows for Broadway like “Night Circus”, “One More River” and “Do Re Mi” in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He made the move to TV and took roles in shows like “Decoy”, “Route 66” and “Naked City”, but his first major role came in 1961 with “Car 54, Where Are You?” where he played Officer Leo Schnauser but his most beloved role came in 1964 when he played Grandpa Munster in the hit CBS show The Munsters. He would go on to have a guest role on “Lost In Space” in 1967 and then made the move to movies and throughout the 60’s and early 70’s starred in such films as “Pretty Boy Floyd” and “They Might Be Giants,” not to mention he would reprise the role of Grandpa Munster in two movies “Munster, Go Home!” from 1966 and “The Munsters Revenge,” the 1981 made for TV film. One cool yet uncredited role he played was in 1974 when he played a hotel lobby guard in the film “Death Wish” starring Charles Bronson. Throughout the 80’s, he did many TV and film projects that included “Super Scary Saturday” in 1987 and the 1988 film “Married To The Mob”. Al Lewis also starred in a few horror films like “Fright House” from 1989, the kid friendly 1992 film “My Grandpa Is A Vampire” and his final film the 2002 flick called “Night Terror”. Besides acting, Al Lewis has also worked as a game barker at Coney Island, was in a video game for the Atari 7800 called “Midnight Mutants”, opened up not only a restaurant called Grampa’s Bella Gente but also a comedy club he called Grandpa’s On New Drop Plaza, both in New York. He also did some stand up comedy and was a favorite guest of radio shock jock Howard Stern. Al also ran for governor of New York in 1998 as a Green Party candidate, but sadly did not win….he did however have his own radio show on WBAI that was a political themed show. Al was married twice and had three sons, but sadly later in life he fell on poor health and had to have his right leg from the knee down amputated as well as his toes on his left foot due to complications from heart issues, and on February 3, 2006, he passed away of natural causes. Al Lewis and his legacy of entertainment will live on through his body of work, and I will always remember the way he, with many of his roles, made my young life a very fun time!

Super Scary Saturday Al Lewis

While Grampa was the main host of Super Scary Saturday, he had four sidekicks that made several appearances during the show’s run on TBS.  They were Igor his vampire bat assistant and the roller of the day’s film, Fang a blue fuzzy sharp tooth little creature, Slim a walking skeleton who was along for the fun ride of whatever Grampa had them doing that day for the show and lastly Deadrah a female mannequin who was created to be Slim’s girlfriend. Each sidekick had their own personality and each added something special to the episodes they appeared in. The most popular among me and my friends when we were kids was Egor as that bat was not only the projectionist but also was always trying to help Grampa or even one up him. Slim, his goofy and silent skeleton sidekick, has become my favorite now as an adult as he is always doing some silly gag from hanging himself to playing baseball all for a laugh. Poor Fang is the third sidekick who is almost always forgotten as this tiny little blue fur ball with a roar that could shake the lab always seemed to be a background player but was always nice to see in episodes. Deadrah as well is just a background player but helps add to the wacky cast of sidekick characters. While none of these characters had voices and would make noises, they seemed like real life creatures and each made their mark on this fun Saturday Morning program. Below is a picture of Slim, Fang plus Deadra, and like Grampa, I want to thank them as well for making my childhood rock!

Super Scary Saturday SlimSuper Scary Saturday FangSuper Scary Saturday Deadrah

Besides hosting movies on Super Scary Saturday, Grampa also hosted films on VHS tapes for Amvest Video that would have him standing in front of a cheap green screen and shouting at Igor to start the movie among other back and fourths. This tape series was part of what was called “Grampa Presents.”  The back of the box would also give his rating of the film, that was of course done with bats! Grampa was doing this video series in 1988 the same time Super Scary Saturday was still airing on TBS, and growing up I would have loved to have owned this video series as he hosted such cheesy movies as The Snow Creature, Creature From The Haunted Sea, The Ape and many Bela Lugosi films like The Corpse Vanishes that our good friend and fellow blogger The Northeastern Video Hunter covered here on one of his updates.

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On March 22, 2014 at Horrorhound Weekend, as part of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame, Grampa Munster was inducteed in the 2014 class by none other than Baron Von Porkchop. This was a very surreal moment for me as I watched the host I helped create induct a host that not only entertained me in my youth but also was part of what inspired me to create a horror host show for the Dayton, Ohio market. As always, Baron Von Porkchop did great research on Grampa and was equally as honored as I was to induct such an iconic horror host and all around TV celebrity into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame. Baron’s speech went over well, and the audience gave him a nice clap and cheer for his speech.  Sadly with Al Lewis passing away, he was not able to accept the plaque but I am sure he was looking down from heaven with a cigar in his mouth and given that classic Grampa laugh.

Horror Host Hall Of Fame Grampa 1Horror Host Hall Of Fame Grampa LogoHorror Host Hall Of Fame Grampa 2

So now we are at the point of this update where I will share write ups on the episodes I own of Super Scary Saturday from the Superstation.  This is one of the fun aspects of doing a Horror Host Icon update, getting to re-watch the episodes and remember back to when I first watched them on broadcast TV, or in some cases see them for the first time. I want to thank many people who over the years helped me get these episodes I am about to watch like Stumpy Disks, my brother Bryan, Kristy Langford and my friend Darren, all of whom helped made this important Icon update possible. So with that, pull up a seat in the screaming room and get a little taste of what Grampa and his show Super Scary Saturday offered us who watched him back in the late 80’s. As always, the episodes will be done in alphabetical order with the film’s plot being taken from IMDB and the show’s plot being written by me.  So stock up on your favorite plasma themed drink and let’s have some fun with Grampa.

Super Scary Saturday Dr Phibes dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Abominable Dr. Phibes
Starring – Vincent Price & Joseph Cotten    Rated PG-13    1971

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and is very happy to bring you the day’s film because it stars Vincent Price as a crazed doctor.  He and Igor exchange some quick ideas for a dream day that includes fresh blood and pretty bat ladies. In between commercials, Grampa delivers cheesy jokes and puns that are sure to make you chuckle. In the end Grampa is very happy, and he and Igor break down the film’s deaths then invite us to join him next week.

Movie: Doctors are being murdered in a bizarre manner: bats, bees, killer frog masks, etc., which represent the nine Biblical plagues. The crimes are orchestrated by a demented organ player with the help of his mute assistant. The detective is stumped until he finds that all of the doctors being killed assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of Dr. Phibes, but he couldn’t be the culprit, could he? He was killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife’s death.

Super Scary Saturday Back To The Planet Of The Apes DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Back To The Planet Of The Apes
Starring – Roddy McDowall & Bobby Porter    Not Rated    1981

Host: This episode is a poor man’s hack job as the slob who taped it did his best to cut out all of Grampa’s opening and ending segments! I got a brief look at Grampa with a bag before it’s clipped. The episode has Grampa using a time machine and has him packing for his time jump as well as making all preparations for his trip to the past. And while sitting in his time machine, he turns it on and in a flash of the eye he is gone! Grampa makes it back to with a smile on his face and a laugh on his lips…and the recording stops.

Movie: Three twentieth century astronauts travel through a time warp and crash on Earth in 3085 A.D.. One of the astronauts is killed in the impact, and the two survivors, Alan Virdon and Pete Burke, find that they have returned to an Earth where their loved ones are long dead, where technological civilization has fallen, and where humanity is subjugated by intelligent, talking simians who live in jungle cities and preside over pastoral hinterlands. The two astronauts are captured by horse-riding gorillas (the ape army) and taken before an orangutan tribunal. They are deemed a threat to ape security and sentenced to death. The two condemned men are visited in their cell by a curious chimpanzee named Galen, who is fascinated by their accounts of an advanced human civilization centuries past. After Galen accidentally kills a gorilla and is charged with murder, Virdon, Burke, and Galen all escape the ape city and are fugitives hunted by a determined gorilla named Urko. Virdon manages to salvage.

Note From Matt: I almost left this episode off my update due to the terrible record job, but decided to add it because while it might not be a full episode and have only snippets of the opening and closing segments, it’s still apart of Super Scary Saturday’s legacy.

Super Scary Saturday Ben DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Ben
Starring – Lee Montgomery & Meredith Baxter    Rated PG    1972

Host: Grampa has a rat in the lab, and along with Igor and Slim, he is trying to rid the area of these pests.  Grampa builds the ultimate rat trap that would have had a weight drop and crush the rats, but instead he finds himself with a massive headache as he is the victim of the weight as it backfires and bonks him on the head. Grampa’s next plan is to use the Red Pages and calls The Piped Piper Rat Catcher service to come to the lab and get rid of his rat issue…..but sadly the episode is not complete and cuts off at the end of the film.

Movie: A lonely boy befriends Ben, the leader of a violent pack of killer rats.

Super Scary Saturday Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Super Scary Saturday: Boy Who Cried Werewolf
Starring – Kerwin Mathews & Elaine Devry    Rated PG    1973

Host: Grampa is having a Blood Beach Party along with Slim, Deadrah and Igor and is enjoying the moon. He also sees his friends Mummy-O and The Invisible Man as they chill out on the beach. They use coffin lids as surfboards, and Grampa goes surfing alongside Slim and each try to out do each other to become king of the beach, and this causes Grampa to wipe out. They also relax and listen to the newest beach band called The Rolling Bones, and everyone on the beach lends a hand by playing a instrument or even just dancing as does the zombie babes who have joined the party. Grampa and his beach gang play one last song as the sun is about to come up, and they rock n roll their way to closing the show.

Movie: Richie Bridgestone (whose parents are divorced) goes to spend the weekend with his father at his secluded mountain cabin. During a moonlight hike, they are attacked in the darkness by a creature that he recognizes as a werewolf. During the struggle, the werewolf falls into a ravine and is impaled by a wooden fence, but not before biting his father. Upon investigation, they find their attacker to be human and the sheriff concludes their attacker was an insane drifter. He spends the rest of the film trying to convince his mother, and his therapist that his father is now a werewolf.

Super Scary Saturday Day Of The Animals DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Day Of The Animals
Starring – Christopher George & Leslie Nielsen    Rated PG    1977

Host: Grampa is using his spell book to create a ghoulfriend for Slim who is having a hard time finding a date. Grampa uses all types of odd objects, from a hourglass to a dog’s bone and stirs them into a kettle pot and takes the liquid and pours it inside a crate onto a body.  While they wait for the ghoulfriend to wake up, Grampa selects the day’s movie Day Of The Animals. While we wait for the ghoulfriend to be awaken, Grampa, as always, entertains with puns and cheesy jokes, even holding a contest to have dinner with him and win his supply of noodles he created. In the end, Slim’s new ghoulfriend comes to life and the world gets their first look at Deadrah!

Movie: The depletion of the earth’s ozone layer causes animals above the altitude of 5000 feet to run amok, which is very unfortunate for a group of hikers who get dropped off up there by helicopter just before the quarantine is announced.

SuperScary Saturday Dracula Has Risen From The Grave DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
Starring – Christopher Lee & Veronica Carlson    Rated G    1968

Host: Grampa along with Fang, Igor, Slim and his date are all in the Screaming Room as today they are going to watch old home movies and feel happy and reflect on the frienship they have had for many decades. Sadly, I am pretty sure the episode is missing the end segment.

Movie: When his castle is exorcised, Dracula plots his revenge against the Monsignor who performed the rites by attempting to make the holy man’s young niece his bride.

Super Scary Saturday Frogs DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Frogs
Starring – Ray Milland & Sam Elliot    Rated PG    1972

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and has tired blood, and when Igor drops an iron on his head, he thinks he might have an iron deficiency! Grampa is hyped for the day’s movie like always and later wants to work on something that will pick him up. Grampa creates a drink that includes sweat from the NWA World Champion, the protection eye glasses from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a half eaten taco from Dom DeLuise and half a cup of bean sprouts…but he has the help of Slim who gives him Jack and the Beanstalk’s! Grampa drinks it and grows large and into a giant.  He needs help to shrink back to normal, and Igor goes to get help while Slim hides as Grampa is not happy at all. Igor brings a tailor from a Vampire tall and fat shop, who is no help at all, but on his own Grampa shrinks back to normal size and feels good and ready to prowl the his castle lab.

Movie: Jason Crockett is an aging, grumpy, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for his birthday celebration. Pickett Smith is a free-lance photographer who is doing a pollution layout for an ecology magazine. Jason Crockett hates nature, poisoning anything that crawls on his property. On the night of his birthday the frogs and other members of nature begin to pay Crockett back.

Super Scary Saturday Gargoyles DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Gargoyles
Starring – Cornel Wilde & Bernie Casey    Not Rated    1972

Host: Grampa has an alarm installed on his casket and catches Slim in the act of trying to stake him through the heart! Grampa then tries to read some fan mail but soon finds that Egor gets double the amount he gets, but this doesn’t stop him from also introducing us to Fang, his new pet! Grampa also talks about how he and Egor have been friends with Gargoyles and that the day’s movie was really just a home movie they left for us all to watch. In the end Grampa is moon bathing, and Fang is cranky and hungry and thus ends another episode of Super Scary Saturday.

Movie: After receiving word about a mysterious carcass/skeleton unearthed in the Arizona desert, a father and his daughter decide to remove it from the burial grounds for further study. Once they do so, they, as well as the town, are besieged by a colony of gargoyles living in some nearby caverns.

Super Scary Saturday Ghidrah DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Ghidrah
Starring – Yosuke Natsuki & Yuriko Hoshi    Not Rated    1964

Host: Grampa digs in the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and finds the day’s movie as he picks Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster and is very hyped to present it and has Egor run the film. Grampa comes back to deliver some quick jokes about the monsters from today’s film just to spice up those boring commercial breaks. By the end Grampa breaks down the highlights and the rules of the battle between Ghidrah as he took on Godzilla, larva Mothra and Rodan.

Movie: A princess from a small Himalayan country becomes possessed by the spirit of a Venusian (a Martian in the American version) and escapes a plane just as it explodes. As this happens a meteorite falls from the sky containing Ghidrah, the monster responsible for her planet’s destruction. At the same time, Godzilla and Rodan emerge from hibernation and not only attack Japan, but each other as well. Mothra, along with its twin priestesses, attempt to convince Godzilla and Rodan to stop their fighting each other and to team up to fight the new monster. At the same time, the princess is being hunted by a group of assassins who want to kill her so that her enemies can take over her homeland.

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla
Starring – Raymond Burr & Akira Takarada    Not Rated    1954

Host: This is the first episode of Super Scary Saturday, and our host Grampa is so happy that we have joined him in the lab to watch the day’s movie! He goes to the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and digs around, passing on such films as Mommy Dearest and Death Wish, and finds Godzilla and is super hyped as it’s one of his all time favorites. Grampa sits in the screaming room and has Igor pour popcorn on his head as the movie starts. Grandpa hangs around and does a few silly puns in-between segments, and our first episode ends. I want to say that the last segment is missing from this recording.

Movie: Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk. At first, the authorities think its either underwater mines or underwater volcanic activity. The authorities soon head to Odo Island, close to where several of the ships were sunk. One night, something comes onshore and destroys several houses and kills several people. A later expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyôhei Yamane, his daughter Emiko, and young navy frogman Hideto Ogata (who also happens to be Emiko’s lover, even though she is betrothed to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa) soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now, the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan but the rest of the world as well. Can the monster be destroyed before it is too late, and what role will the mysterious Serizawa play in the battle?

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla Revege dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla’s Revenge
Starring – Tomonori Yazaki & Sachio Sakai     Not Rated    1969

Host: Grampa is in the Screaming Room and is saying today’s movie is Monstermania and is the Wrestlemania of monster fights as Godzilla takes on all comers. Grampa also allows both monsters to give an interview (done by NWA Wrestlers) about how bad they are going to beat each other up! In the end Grampa interviews Godzilla live from the lab! Best part of Godzilla in the lab is that its a blow up toy!

Movie: Ichiro is a highly imaginative, but lonely, boy growing up in urban Tokyo. Every day he comes home to the empty apartment he shares with his railroad worker father and his restaurant hostess mother. His only friends are a toy maker name Shinpei Inami and a little girl named Sachicko. The only other kids that are around is a gang of kids led by a bully named Gabara. To escape his loneliness, Ichiro imagines that he is on Monster Island where he befriends Minya, the son of Godzilla. It is through his daydreams that he watches Godzilla and Minya fight other monsters, including one also named Gabara who is just as bad a bully as the one that is tormenting Ichiro. It is through these daydreams that he learns that it is okay to fight back and face his fears. These lessons also help him to outwit a couple of bumbling bank robbers as well as finally have the guts to stand up to Gabara and his gang.

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla vs. Sea Monster DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Godzilla vs. Sea Monster
Starring – Akira Takarada & Kumi Mizuno    Rated PG    1966

Host: Grampa enters that lab cackling like a mad man and looks in the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and digs up some movies that just wont do until he finds the afternoons movie and its Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster! He also introduces us to the Egor-Cam a small camera that is attactched to his bat sidekick! Grampa also claims that this film is the best sports movie ever made! Grampa ends the show by showing highlights from what he calls the first ever monster tennis match and shares clips of the film with Godzilla and the Sea Monster tossing a rock back and fourth.

Movie: Some teenagers want to obtain a boat to find a brother. When they look around a boat without permission, they find a thief who takes them on his escape. They are caught in a storm and arrive at Letchi Island where natives of Infant Island have been enslaved by the terrorist organisation Red Bamboo. Red Bamboo runs a heavy water factory to process a juice which holds off the monster, Ebirah, which otherwise traps them on the island. The young men meet beautiful but tough Daiyo and wake up Godzilla to put an end to the Red Bamboo.

Super Scary Saturday Island of Dr Moreau DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Island Of Dr. Moreau
Starring – Burt Lancaster & Michael York    Rated PG    1977

Host: Grampa is taking a trip down memory lane in the labs basement and is showing off items of his past like his first coffin and Blood Light a drink him and Slim use to guzzle down. He then shares that he was good friends with Dr. Moreau and drifts into memories of his past as Igor roles the days film. In the end Grampa is dressed in his old collage colors and gear and is pretty happy about his life and stays in the basement as he ends the show.

Movie: A ship-wrecked man floats ashore on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is inhabited by a scientist, Dr. Moreau, who in an experiment has turned beasts into human beings.

Super Scary Saturday King Kong vs Godzilla DVD

Super Scary Saturday: King Kong vs. Godzilla
Starring – Tadao Takashima & Kenji Sahara    Not Rated    1962

Host: Once More Grampa is very hyped for the days film as it pits Godzilla against King Kong in fight thats as epic as Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat and is truly the match of the centery! He also introduces the guests managers that has NWA Pro Wrestlers Michael Hayes in King Kong’s corner and Jim Cornette in Godzilla’s and each share why their monster will win the fight! Grampa inbetween commercials is still amped up the fight and is still filled with puns and site gags that he delivers with a smile. In the end Grampa shows highlights from the fight and Michael Hayes and Cornette argue on what monster really won the fight!

Movie: Mr. Tako, the chairman of a pharmaceutical company, learns the roma tomato-sized berries that grow on Farou Island are a miracle cure, and that the natives worship a god called King Kong who has allegedly grown to giant size from eating the berries. What better way to promote the product, Tako figures, than to bring the creature back to Japan? He leads an expedition with Sakurai and Furue to get the berries and the monster. Meanwhile, some American pilots discover the chunk of the glacier Godzilla was sealed in back in 1955. Sakurai’s sister’s boyfriend Kazuo is busy trying to sell an invisible but super-strong wire, which of course no one wants until Kong escapes.

Super Scary Saturday Mothra dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Mothra
Starring – Furanki Sakai & Yumi Ito    Not Rated    1961

Host: Grampa enters the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and passes on films like “Body And Soul” and “Beat The Devil” and decides to select Mothra for the days movie but before he can fully start the movie he is attacked by Mothra who is flying around the castle! Inbetween the film Grampa delivers puns and jokes about Mothra being a big Moth. In the end Grampa chats about Mothra really being a good guy but he can forgive it for being a hero!

Movie: Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru Island (Infanto tô), which was previously used for atomic tests. The interior is amazingly free of radiation effects, and they believe that they were protected by a special juice that was given to them by the island’s residents. A joint expedition of Rolisican and Japanese scientists explores Beiru and discovers many curious things, including two women only one foot (30 centimeters) high. Unscrupulous expedition leader Clark Nelson abducts the women and puts them in a vaudeville show. But their sweet singing contains a telepathic cry for help to Mothra, a gigantic moth that is worshiped as a deity by the island people. The giant monster heeds the call of the women and heads to Tokyo, wreaking destruction in its path.

Super Scary Saturday The Mummy 2 DVD

Super Scary Saturday: The Mummy
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee    Unrated    1959

Host: Grampa has been selected as a guest on the show “This Is Your Death” with host Carl Crypt who brings Grampa into the lab and brings people from his past back into his life, but Grampa wants nothing to do with this and tries his best to take out host Carl before the show can even go on! But the show still continues as Grampa gets a call from his Mom and she tell him to do the show so we see such characters as Slim his skeleton collage friend and co-host of Super Scary Saturday, Igor shows up who was a flight school friend and as well co-host of this Horror Host Show! Lenny The Louge Lizard a dinosour headed man who use to dig up ghouls from the grave and stole Grandpa’s best ghoul and lastly his grandson Eddie shows up and the show ends with a happy reunion.

Movie: In the 1890s a team of British archaeologists discover the untouched tomb of Princess Ananka but accidentally bring the mummified body of her High Priest back to life. Three years later back in England a follower of the same Egyptian religion unleashes the mummy to exact grisly revenge on the despoilers of the sacred past.

Super Scary Saturday Mystery Of The Wax Museum DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Mystery Of The Wax Museum
Starring – Lionel Atwill & Fay Wray    Not Rated    1933

Host: Grampa is upset about all the bills that are pilling up and are all past due! He soons finds out that the money is being spent by Slim for his new mannequin girlfriend! The lab looses power and they must use candles to light it up and start to host the days movie, and Grampa ends up beating up Slim for using all the money! In the end Grampa gives his thoughts of the movies bad guy and closes the show with Slim who has a black eye and his head wrapped.

Movie: In London, sculptor Ivan Igor struggles in vain to prevent his partner Worth from burning his wax museum…and his ‘children.’ Years later, Igor starts a new museum in New York, but his maimed hands confine him to directing lesser artists. People begin disappearing (including a corpse from the morgue); Igor takes a sinister interest in Charlotte Duncan, fiancée of his assistant Ralph, but arouses the suspicions of Charlotte’s roommate, wisecracking reporter Florence.

Super Scary Saturday Rodan dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Rodan
Starring – Kenji Sahara & Akio Kobori    Not Rated    1956

Host: Grampa is in a great mood and comes dancing down the stairs and heads to the Superstation Movie Mausoleum were he takes the shovel from Slim and finds such films as The Exorcist and I Was A Teenage Werewolf but gets really happy when he finds Rodan and selects it as the days movie! Grampa loves the film so much he gives it 4 pints and two fangs up! Grampa, Slim and Igor ever judge Rodan’s dive into the water and as always inbetween the film Grampa delivers cheesy jokes and puns.

Movie: In the Japanese mining village of Kitamatsu, miners ares starting to disappear deep inside shaft number 8. Some of the men sent to investigate are killed but one who has managed to escape brings back a tale of a giant insect. Soon, the giant prehistoric insects are attacking the village. Not long after, something traveling faster than the speed of sound is found flying in the sky. It is Rodan, a giant flying prehistoric reptile that has come to life. It spreads terror throughout Japan and is seemingly invincible to any weapon they may throw at it.

Note From Matt: Not 100% sure if this episode is complete.

Super Scary Saturday The Thing DVD

Super Scary Saturday: The Thing
Starring – Kenneth Tobey & James Arness    Unrated    1951

Host: Grampa is in the screaming room and shares the plot of The Thing From Another World to the viewers as a planet grows bigger and bigger blocking him from the camera and the viewers. In-between the film Grampa once more tells the viewers about his contest to have dinner with him in New York to eat at his very own restaurant and also treats us to his jokes and puns based on the day’s film. In the end Grampa introduces us to Spudnic, a potato man who by the end of the show is attacked by the growing plant and is saved by Grampa!

Movie: Scientists at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out!

Super Scary Saturday Valley Of Gwangi dvd

Super Scary Saturday: Valley Of The Gwangi
Starring – Richard Carlson & Gila Golan    Rated G    1969

Host: Agent Friday The 13th is a part of Drac Net a group of Vampire Cops, his sidekick is SGT. Skeleton, and they must help Grampa as Slim is missing! Agent Friday The 13th gets to the castle and gets the facts from Grampa about the last time he saw Slim, and Igor even tries to help when he finds a ransom note that says the kidnapper wants pints of blood for the return of Slim. After investigating more clues, Agent Friday The 13th and SGT. Skeleton decide that they know who the kidnapper is and head toward the graveyard near the beach where the ransom blood was to be dropped off and find that the kidnapper is none other than Slim himself who wanted to prove a point to Grampa that he feels like he has been taken advantage of!

Movie: Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.

Super Scary Saturday War Of Gargantuas dvd

Super Scary Saturday: War Of Gargantuas
Starring – Russ Tamblyn & Kumi Mizuno    Rated G    1966

Host: Grampa is in the lab and gets a call from the Transylvania Army, and it’s his duty to report in.  His mission is to save the Transylvania Blood Bank that is being held hostage. Gramp decides to send in Slimbo, an elite fighting machine and sends Igor to get Slimbo’s pardon from jail.  When freed, Slimbo gets ready for war to free the hostages. While the battle is brutal, in the end Slimbo is able to save the day and free the hostages. Grampa also gives Slimbo a purple heart for his seek and save mission.

Movie: An experimental lab animal called a gargantua escapes from his captors and is suspected to be the creature that is killing people all over the countryside. But when the gargantua from the lab appears at the same time as the evil gargantua, the two begin to battle across Japan.

Note From Matt: This is my second favorite episode of Super Scary Saturday as it’s take on Rambo is super fun and has some of the best segments filmed for this Horror Host series. In closing “Last Blood Slimbo” kicks butt!

Super Scary Saturday Minotar DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Warlord Of Crete
Starring – Bob Mathias & Rosanna Schiaffino    Not Rated    1960

Host: Grampa, Deadrah and Slim are in the lab and wants to teach us all about Transylvania home cooking that uses such ingredients like worms and shark eggs. Grampa is truly the Monster Chef and even credits his one time friend Jaws for helping him get some of the items he needed. He teaches the art of making salads as well as navy beans soup and crab soup. Throughout the episode Grampa and his assistants show us all types of gross food as well as ones that are just terrible puns like a fish on a sword that he says is of course a swordfish.  Egor as well shows up just to add some annoyance to Grampa as he tries to cook. In the end Grampa shares the main attraction: the meal’s desserts that include lady fingers, chocolate noose and upside down cake that turns the camera upside down!

Movie: King Minos sacrifices the ‘required’ virgins to the Minotaur. As his wife lies dieing, she confesses that her daughter has a twin she has secreted to avoid giving one of the girls to the Minotaur. The daughter raised by Minos tries to have her twin killed, but failing in her first attempt, continues to try to have her given to the Minotaur. Theseus, the Greek hero, tries to prevent it.

Super Scary Saturday Willard DVD

Super Scary Saturday: Willard
Starring – Bruce Davison & Elsa Lanchester    Rated PG    1971

Host: Grampa is having a rat in the lab and along with Igor and Slim he is trying to ride the area of these pests, and Grampa builds a ultimate rat trap that would have had a weight drop and crush the rats but instead it backfires and he finds himself with a massive headache as he is the victim of the weight as it backfires and bonks him on the head. Grampa’s next plan is to use the Red Pages and calls The Piped Piper Rat Catcher servise to come to the lab and get ride of his rat issue…..buts sadly the episode is not complete and cuts off at the end of the film.

Movie: A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only friends are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates. (And their increasing number of friends) However, when one of them is killed at work, he goes on a rampage using his rats to attack those who have been tormenting him.

Note From Matt: This also has the same skits as Ben and cuts off the same time, how does Grampa rid the lab of the rats, dang it?!!!

Super Scary Saturday TV Ad

Super Scary Saturday was a great way to unwind from the day’s cartoons when I was a kid and also acted as an alternative to Commander USA when he was off air for tennis matches.  While Grampa might not have been as iconic in the Brassfield house, he still was a big part of my childhood and once more I must stress he was the first to introduce me to Godzilla in movies as well as many of the Hammer Horror films and for that alone he is a true icon of Horror Hosting in my eyes. I must also note on some of these episodes they had a contest were you could win a trip to New York and have dinner with Grampa at his own restaurant or even win a life time supply of Grampa’s Home Pasta! Man, that would have been amazing to have dinner with Grampa.  If I would have won this as a kid I am sure he would have loved me talking about horror films, cartoons, toys and comics nonstop! So to wrap up this Horror Host Icon Update, I want to say once more thanks to Grampa, Slim, Igor and Fang for help making my childhood amazing and filled with monsters and horror. Our next update will take us out of the Superstation Movie Mausoleum and into the world of crime where thugs like Mumbles, The Brow and Flattop run the streets and only one man can bring them to justice.  That man is Dick Tracy, and he will be the subject of our next update so I hope to see you back here for that one. So until next time, Support Your Local Horror Host and Be There Or Beware for my next update!

Dick Tracy Logo preview

Horror Host Icon: Vampira

The art of Horror Hosting is something that has been going on for many decades and has showcased so many talents over the years from 1960’s The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre to 2015’s Arachna of Beware Theater and so many amazing hosts in between. And like every form of entertainment there is a queen of the bunch, and in the case of horror hosting, every host pays respect to the glamour ghoul Vampira who is the first horror host in history and paved the way for them all! Imagine being a youth in 1954 and staying up past your bedtime as the glow of the TV screen filled the night air and you watched as a sexy dark haired woman glided down a hallway through the fog.  As she got close to the screen, she let out a loud blood curtailing scream that sent shivers down your spine and what followed was her hosting a classic Universal Monster movie like Frankenstein or The Mummy.  At that moment you became a fully fledged Monster Kid! That must have been something to witness as history was made and the Queen of Horror Hosting took the world by storm with her macabre appearance and pun filled one-liners. So with this update it is truly an honor to write about her as I bring you Horror Host Icon: Vampira.

Vampira 1

Vampira is a vampire ghoul who had straight jet-black hair, wore a long skintight black dress, had peaked eyebrows, long fingernails and had a tiny waist to boot and had a sexy voice and a scream that could shatter glass. Some people think she is a vampire but most know her as a ghoul who enjoys smoking cigarettes from her long holder as well as drinking a bubbling steamy drink all the while relaxing on her couch and seductively and playfully in a gothic manner introduced a cheesy horror film and entertain her viewers all the while also drawing them into not just the movie but also her exotic beauty. The thing about Vampira is her background is a mystery, and this aspect of her makes her even more interesting and draws those who want to know more about her in like a moth to a flame. Maila Nurmi, the actress who played Vampira, in a interview said that Vampira was a woman who pretends to act evil but really walks with Jesus…very strange that the character so much embraced by the goth and punk world is a fake evil doer. So is she a ghoul or is she a vampire? In the end it doesn’t really matter as Vampira is so amazing and groundbreaking she lives on until this day for horror host fans and beyond.

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Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi was born in Petsamo, Finland on December 11th 1922, and when she was two, her family moved to Ashtabula, Ohio where she stayed until 1939 before they moved to Oregon where she finished school and would set her sites on living in Los Angeles. While in L.A. she started modeling for Bernard Of Hollywood, Man Ray and Alberto Vargas and her beauty and charm helped land her a role in the 1947 film If Winter Comes. By 1944 she was cast in Catherine Was Great on Broadway, but was fired after star Mae West felt as if she was being upstaged by Maila who was gaining lots of attention from the viewers. But after being fired, she did not have a hard time finding work as she was cast in the creepy midnight show called Spook Scandals where she honed her skills of screaming and being seductive in a horror themed setting and later became a showgirl for the Earl Carroll Theatre as a chorus line dancer. In 1949, she married silent actor Dean Riesner who went on to write such films as Dirty Harry and Play Misty For Me. By the 1950’s she went back to being a model as she became a pin-up for such magazines as Glamorous Models and Gala, plus she worked as a hat-check girl on the Sunset Strip. Her life would change when in 1953 she went dressed as Morticia Addams to Lester Horton’s Masquerade and caught the eye of Hunt Stromberg Jr. a producer for KABC-TV who loved her gothic look and wanted to hire her to host horror films on the station as they had just bought a package of Universal Monster films called the Shock package.  Maila and her husband Dean talked about the idea.  He came up with the name Vampira, and she agreed to become the worlds first Horror Host! What’s really cool about this was Maila was really trying to get the station to do a live action version of the comic strip The Addams family, but they didn’t want to pay for the license to do so and with that Vampira the horror hostess was born. During her time on the air as Vampira, she became friends with actor James Dean and the tabloids had a field day of reporting on the rebel and his dark mistress friend. During this time she was so popular that she was even nominated for Emmy Award that sadly she did not win. Maila would get married two more times as each marriage would fail.  Her second husband was John Brinkley who she married in 1958, and her third and final husband was Fabrizio Mioni who she married in 1961. After The Vampira Show went off the air, Maila would take roles in many lower budget films like The Magic Sword, Plan 9 From Outer Space, I Passed For White and Sex Kittens Go To College showing that she was still in demand even after the show’s run. In 1962, she made her living working installing linoleum floors and refinishing furniture and would go on to open her own boutique called Vampira’s Attic that sold antiques as well as Maila’s homemade jewelry and clothing. While she was loved by many, she did also have her haters such as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper who claimed that Maila really didn’t know James Dean as well as she claimed and that she was a scam artist claiming that she could speak to Dean after his death.  Whether Maila could do this or not is up to debate as is how well she knew Dean…but those close to her all claim she and Dean were friends. But even with the haters, almost everyone who meet her loved Maila and her alter ego Vampira. One other crazy aspect of her life was on June 20th 1955, a man broke into her house and kept her captive for four hours terrorizing her with the main goal to kill her! By luck she was able to escape and call the police for help, really scary stuff and glad she was able to escape this loony tune.

maila nurmi 1Vampira 5maila nurmi 2

On April 30th 1954 at 11:00pm KABC-TV viewers got their first look at Vampira during a preview show they called Dig Me Later, Vampira in which they showcased their horror hostess and let the viewers get a peek at her stunning character. The next night May 1st 1954 The Vampira Show premiered at midnight, and the world was changed forever as the first horror host was born and Vampira screamed her way onto TV Screens all across the Los Angeles area. The show was very laid back and mostly had Vampira on her couch cutting cheesy twisted puns and enjoying cocktails and smoking, but while nothing too in your face, this was a new genre and captivated viewers who were not only drawn to watching the horror films but to just see her host them. Her theme song is very classic and eerie and sounds like it could be taken straight from a late night horror film that she could have easily shown on her show. Her set was nothing more than a couch with some tables that housed candles with the background being dimmed and black. Her late night ratings were high, and she became a superstar overnight.  For publicity, the station had Vampira ride around Hollywood, had her run for late night mayor, Life Magazine did a feature on her as well as booked her on many other sketch television shows, but none of this helped as in 1955 KABC-TV canceled the show.  Its rival station KHJ-TV picked up the show for a short time in 1956, but sadly it didn’t last. The reason Vampira was canceled from KABC-TV was that ABC wanted to own the rights to the character and Vampira was not having it so they did what any big company does, they pulled the plug on something that fans loved to watch all over the greed of money. The Vampira Show lasted for one season and had slightly over 50 episodes in its run.  While talks in 1981 were in place to bring her back to TV, this was not in the cards as she would be replaced and the show would be changed to another…but that subject will be a little later in our update. Sadly, no known episodes of The Vampira Show are around as it was aired live and the station did not backup any episodes.  The only known footage of her is taken from a promo reel she did for the station to try and get sponsors. While her show did not last long, her impact on horror hosting and horror culture is still felt to this day. I should also note that the sidekick for the show, was her pet spider she named Rolo.

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Edward D. Wood Jr. was a low budget filmmaker with a vision, and in 1956 with his small crew and the last shoot footage of horror legend Bela Lugosi, he decided to make a film that was called “Grave Robbers From Outer Space” that would later be changed to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Ed Wood wanted to hire Vampira for a role as one of the ghouls, and she at first refused to take part in the production and was insulted that Wood would even have the nerve to suggest she be in his production. But over time and with The Vampira Show being off the air, she took the role of a female ghoul. She claims the lines she was given were so bad she asked if she could play the part mute! The look of Female Ghoul is that of Vampira, and she looks just like her horror host self, and by doing this she marked herself even more so of becoming an icon of horror. But Plan 9 was not her only film role as she also played a hag in the 1962 sword and sandal film “The Magic Sword”, oddly enough they had her covered up with so much makeup it’s hard to tell it was her! Other titles she starred in include “The Big Operator” in 1959, “Sex Kittens Go To College” in 1960 and the short 1996 film “Dry” to name a few. She also has been in a number of documentaries talking about her horror host career or working with Ed Wood and these titles include “The Haunted World Of Edward D. Wood Jr.” in 1995, “American Scary” and “Vampira: The Movie” in 2006. While she might not have been a box office bombshell, she still made her mark on cinema for sure.

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In 1994, Tim Burton made a bio-pic on Ed Wood and casted actress Lisa Marie as Vampira, and I must say she was a perfect fit as her beauty did justice to Maila’s stunning good looks. I have heard that Lisa to prepare for the role spent some time with Maila and did as much research on her as possible in order to play her the right way. The film is my favorite Tim Burton movie next to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and if you have not seen it make sure to check it out to see not only Lisa Marie’s portrayal of Vampira but to see a fun film that captures the dream of so many no budget directors who believe in their art.

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Vampira was super important to the world of female horror hosting, and she has inspired many that would follow in her footsteps. I am sure if you asked the likes of Ms. Monster, Stella Desire, Marlena Midnite, Susie D. Rott and many other horror hostesses, they would say she inspired them in some way. But now we come to the point where we have to talk about the elephant in this update, and that’s the Vampira and Elvira situation! In 1981 KHJ-TV hired Vampira to come back to TV and recreate The Vampira Show.  Some say that she would have come back on air, while others claim they just wanted the name to use with a new actress. But what is known is talks stalled and Vampira quit after the station wanted to own the name, character and trademark! In 1982, a year later, Elvira Mistress of the Dark hosted a show called Movie Macabre, and the similarities between the two were astounding, and worse, the company that was slated to do the Vampira re-launch were the people behind Elvira! Vampira stated that there were 150 similarities between her and Elvira and a lawsuit was filed as Vampira took on Elvira in the courts.  People took sides and some fans didn’t seem to pay it any attention as both hostess, while similar, added entertainment late nights, plus Vampira sadly had not been on TV for decades at that point. Vampira even took to the late night TV show Arsenio Hall to talk about the case as well as deliver her trademark scream. Vampira was very angry at Elvira and took pot shots at her whenever she could, while Elvira was more hushed about it and claimed she wished the two could just get along as the plan was to have Vampira cameo on Movie Macabre. The case was later dismissed and the two made some tiny amends as Vampira stopped trashing Elvira and took her words toward the company who made the show. I for one would love to have seen Vampira return to TV, but also I can’t down play the impact and popularity of Elvira who almost all boys of the 80’s had a crush on. I really couldn’t imagine TV without Elvira, but I am also sad Vampira didn’t get one last ride to chill the blood of late night viewers while hosting cheesy horror films. Was Elvira inspired by Vampira? Absolutely. Did she rip her off? …not sure…but what I do know is that the world of horror hosting is better off with both Vampira and Elvira.

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Let’s move away from a dismissed lawsuit and onto some more pleasant things. One thing about Vampira is that many decades after her show ended and the mass amount of her footage were lost or taped over, this queen of gothic beauty has became an icon for many people who are into not only horror hosting but also punk rock, goth life and she had lots of great merchandise for her fans. Things like posters, t-shirts, models, soundtracks to films she’s in and even purses, jewelry and custom figures and dolls! Growing up, my brother Bryan had a poster of Vampira from Plan 9 From Outer Space in his room, and we both have had t-shirts with her image on it over the years. Working many horror conventions for Independent B Movie, Nightcrew Video, Andy Copp and Baron Von Porkchop over the years I have seen so many Vampira items like magnets, mirrors and costumes at vender tables and have seen many horror fans wearing her image. Still to this date 2016, if you are a Vampira fan, you can find something new to add to your collection. My favorite piece of merchandise I own of Vampira is a t-shirt that I will share it’s image below.

Vampira T-ShirtVampira The Movie CD SoundtrackVampira Model

One strange thing that I must point out is that Vampira, while appearing in comics based on Plan 9 From Outer Space, has never had a comic book one shot or series based around her and that’s very odd to me as she is so recognizable and is a icon of horror that it seems like a no brainer that she should have her own comic, I mean Elvira Mistress of The Dark as well as several other horror hosts have had comics made about them.  From Wolfman Mac to Sammy Terry, they have all made a leap from TV to comic pages! I would have loved to have read a comic based on Vampira when I was a teen and could even still imagine the twisted adventures she could have had along with her pet spider Rolo.  The comic series could have taken the Tales From The Crypt route and had her host horror stories or even better could have followed her life in Hollywood and had her mix it up with monsters and ghouls and gave a true look at this vampire of sexy fright. In 2014, I noticed a Vampira comic book cover that was on Google and I looked high and low for information on it.  Sadly, it turned out to be just an art print for the film “Vampira The Movie” and poof – my hope of covering a Vampira comic went up in smoke like the fog on her set. Do any of your readers out there know of a comic based on Vampira? I am sure if one was made it has to be a underground one, but here is hoping that some day soon Vampira will have her own comic book adventures. Below is some fan artwork that shows how cool she could look in a comic.

Vampira Art 1Vampira And Me Fake Comic CoverVampira Art 2

On January 10th 2008 Maila “Vampira” Nurmi passed away in her Hollywood home from natural causes at the age of 85.  This was a true sad day for horror hosts and fans around the world as the original queen of scream was no longer with us. The world on that day lost someone special: an actress, an artist, an shop owner, a painter, a horror hostess, a kind spirit, a person and so much more.  She was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the Griffith Lawn section. I can remember getting the news from my brother Bryan and friend Andy Copp about her passing, and all of us were really bummed out.  I know many of the horror hosts were saddened to hear of her passing as she was a inspiration to so many. In closing I must say while I never knew her personally I want to say thank you, Vampira, for being the first horror hostess and bringing so many wonderful chills to your fans, and may your spirit rest knowing that you were loved by many. Rest in peace, Vampira…

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On March 26-28th 2010 at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana, the world’s largest gathering of horror hosts took place all to pay respects to Vampira as they held a tribute in her honor. Many great hosts came to the event to pay respects to the Glamour Ghoul, The Queen, the First Ever Horror host Vampira.  Names like Joe Bob Briggs, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Count Gore De Vol and many more came up and talked about the legacy she has paved for horror hosts of the past and present. A truly special event that ranks up there with her being inducted into the first class in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame. Sadly I missed the event as I was stuck at work.  This tribute also gave many something to worry about as Dr. Creep fell ill while at the event and was not able to participate in the tribute due to the fact he was in the hospital. But I wish Vampaira was with us and could have seen all these hosts coming together to pay respects to all she has done for this art.

Vampira HorrorHound Tribute

For most of the horror hosts of the 50’s and 60’s, episodes were broadcast lived or the tapes used were wiped and reused for other shows to save money, and this of course is the same thing that happened to The Vampira Show. But unlike many others, a reel was found of Vampira doing a few of her bits on her set and this was cut together with the film The 13th Guest and added was old commercials directed by Ed Wood Jr and out came an official reproduction of her show! So I am proud to say that I have a copy of this show and would like to share it with you all. Here is hoping that some day in the future that more footage of Vampira will come to light as well as other classic horror hosts so fans can watch again or for the first time. So with no more wait, here is a look at Vampaira “hosting” 13th Guest.

The Vampira Show - 13th Guest DVD

The Vampira Show:  The 13th Guest
Starring – Dick Purcell & Helen Parrish     Not Rated   1943

Host: Vampira glides down her foggy hallway and lets out a shriek and opens the show by drinking a vampire cocktail and delivering a few puns and smocking a cigarette. And by the end she wishes us all unpleasant dreams!

Movie: The Morgan family’s patriarch is soon to die. He hosts a dinner party for the family to tell them all he’s setting aside his last will to be opened by his nearly 8-year-old granddaughter thirteen years in the future when she turns twenty-one. Thirteen years later, she returns to the abandoned family house to open the will, per his instructions. Murder follows shortly thereafter. Police Lt. Burke and Private Investigator Johnny Smith are soon on hand to investigate when guests of the old dinner party thirteen years earlier seem to be bumped off according to the past seating arrangement.

Vampira and The Misfits

This was such a fun update to research and re-live Vampira’s influences on my own life.  It’s a shame that she has passed away and that her 1981 comeback never happened as it would have been nice to have footage and episodes of the character for young horror host fans to watch, collect and be inspired by. Could you imagine if she was still with us when Horrorhound Weekend did the tribute to her? Just imagine her coming to the event and being honored and worshiped by her huge fan base as well as all the horror hosts who were influenced by her would have gotten a chance to chat with her. For our next update, I am handing Rotten Ink back over to Juliet and she is going to cover something that is near and dear to her heart and that’s Star Trek: The Next Generation and DC Comics first run based on that epic TV show! So until then make sure to have unpleasant dreams and support your local horror host! See you next update for a true fun space adventure with Juliet and Captain Picard.

Star Trek The Next Generation Logo

The Old Time Defenders Of The Planet Earth

When the world thinks of super hero teams, many come to mind like The Avengers, Justice League of America, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Teen Titans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course at the top of that list are the Defenders of the Earth, right? Okay, I know most of you have never heard of them or if you have, I am sure you have forgotten about them until now. So let me tell you who the Defenders of the Earth are, and I can guarantee that you will know most the names mentioned. King Features Syndicate made comic strips, and some of their most popular ones were Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake The Magician.  In 1986 they decided that it would be a great time for them to put these characters together in a cartoon that would spin off into toys, video games and comics. Flash Gordon of course is the star football player who got lost in space and became a hero when he went up against the evil Ming The Merciless.  He was so popular that the character had toys, film serials and films made about him.  He was created in 1934. The Phantom was created in 1936 and is a costumed crime fighter in Africa.  His costume is a purple skintight body suit that covers most of his skin besides his face, he also wears a small mask that covers his eyes making them seem solid white. His costume set a standard in super hero history. Mandrake The Magician was created in 1934 and is a crime fighting magician who used his tricks to bust gangsters and other forms of low life. Throw in Mandrake’s assistant Lothar and all or their kids, and you have The Defenders of the Earth! And guess what, Star Comics did a four issue run about this “amazing” team and in this blog entry we will be taking a look at them.

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The 1986 cartoon was an action adventure series that ran for 1 season but had 65 episodes. The cartoon’s plot was that Ming The Merciless had used up his home planet of Mongo and has set his sight on Earth in the year 2015 with the help of ice robot Garax and his ice robot men. Flash Gordon’s wife Dale Arden has been kidnapped and killed leaving Gordon mad with his teenage son Rick Gordon goes to Earth to protect it from harm and along the way they team with The Phantom and his daughter Jebba Walker, Mandrake and his adopted son Kshin, Mandrake’s strong and loyal assistant Lothar and his son L.J and all come together to forum The Defenders of the Earth.  The group’s headquarters also has a super computer that has the sprit of Flash’s dead wife inside called Dynak-X that helps them on the way. The cartoon was on when I was a youth, and while I watched it I never found it to be as exciting as other cartoons based on super heroes. The Phantom was the only one in the series that I was a fan of, and I am sure most of that came from his kick ass ways.  Plus it’s funny how they changed the character to give him super powers when he chanted, this changed who and what the Phantom really is from a normal guy trying to do good in an area that’s plagued with crime. While I was a fan of Flash Gordon thanks mostly to the live action 1979 film that had the rocking music by Queen, he was just not a drawing power to get me to tune in every episode. As for Mandrake, I had no clue to who he was, and while a classic character, he just didn’t make a fan out of me.  Plus adding a bunch of teenagers and kids is a sure way to lose me in any series. And to spice things up, Ming was not the only bad guy in the series but most of the others did not have the evil nature like him making them feel like filler, only there to fill up time and episodes. Again, the cartoon was not bad, it just did not, in my opinion, have that special something that made me want to catch every episode and draw me into buying the other products of the show. BCI and now Mill Creek has released the series on DVD so if you were a fan of the show, the characters or want to check it out, it is out there.

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The show’s toy line was put out by Galoob in 1986, and the figures had a dial on their backs that when twisted made them perform fighting action and came with a weapon. The line consisted of Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician, Lothar, Ming The Merciless and Garax. Not only could fans get the figures but also vehicles were made such as Defenders’ Claw Copter, Phantom’s Skull Copter, Flash Sword Ship, Garax Sword Ship and Ming’s Serpent Monster Mongor. The figures were not bad, and while I only had two I found them to be fun and for the most part well made toys.  My only issue with them is that the joints seemed to become very loose on one of the ones I owned. The first figure I ever got was The Phantom, and I got him at Odd Lots brand new for $3.00.  A year later I got Flash Gordon at a garage sale for under a dollar. One summer when we were moving from Waynesville to Kettering, we stayed at my aunt’s house while she and her family went to Greece and we waited for our house to be cleared to move in.  Behind their house was some small woods, and one day I went back there to check them out and found a lot of broken toys behind there.  I was older at the time like 16 or 17 and laughed as I found many broken Power Rangers that were missing arms and legs, and found a few that seemed to have been set on fire and this brought back memories of The 4th of July.  But one thing caught my eye as I saw a broken Flash Gordon who was missing his legs and arms and was faded from the sun.  I took the torso and later made it into a wheel chair bound Captain Pike (Star Trek) style figure for the fun of it.  Yeah, I had a sick sense of humor.

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Like all cartoons of this time, more merchandise came out besides the action figures that included lunch boxes, VHS tapes. kids books and of course a game for Commodore 64. When all this came out in 1986, I could not think of one kid I knew who owned anything Defenders of the Earth, or if they did no one talked about it or brought it around the school yard. I think one of the things that worked against this cartoon and its products was the fact the heroes were too dated for many kids to get behind. 

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So now that you know who and what Defenders of the Earth is all about, are you ready to look at Star Comics 4 issue run? Oh and guess who helped write issue one, the one and only Stan Lee! While Lee has done a lot for the comic industry, I also feel that he takes credit for a lot of things he didn’t or had really very little to do with, but with that said ya still got to respect the guy for all he has done.  So here is to you, Stan The Man Lee! Oh and after our look at Defenders I thought a cool little bonus review was due for all you great readers out there! I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 Star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.

Defenders of the earth 1

Defenders of the Earth # 1  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #1 of 4

 Flash Gordon crashes on Earth at the home of Mandrake The Magician, his adopted asian son Kshin and strong as an ox assistant Lothar and his son L.J.  Gordon is knocked out from the crash, and Mandrake uses his magical power to hide Flash from a race of ice robots lead by Garax who have been sent by the evil Ming The Merciless. When Flash comes to, he tells Mandrake that Ming has kidnapped his wife and son and is coming to Earth to take it over and that they must stop him! Flash, Mandrake and Lothar go to the jungles of Africa and meet The Phantom and his daughter Jebba Walker and they join the group to save Flash’s family and to stop Ming. The kids are left on Earth as the heroes head to Mongo. Dale Arden and son Rick Gordon are captive.  Rick escapes with the help of a strange creature named Zuffy, but her son’s escape leads to Ming torturing and killing Dale.  When the heroes get there they save Rick, and Flash learns of his wife’s death.  Before they can capture Ming, he and his son Kro-Tan escape and land on Earth and make a base in the Arctic. Zuffy finds a crystal and gives it to Flash that holds his wife’s spirit. With Ming loose and on Earth and to avenge the death of Dale our heroes Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician and Lothar decide to stay as a team called The Defenders of the Earth!

I must say this is a great first issue and did a great job of keeping old heroes exciting for the younger reading crowd.  I am sure that this was mostly thanks to Stan Lee who wrote this issue, and while I hate to say it, Lee does have a way to make characters interesting to kids. The plot is the set up of how the team Defenders of the Earth came together and was a way to add some major drama with the death of Dale Arden.  I am sure that for long time Gordon fans it was shocking to see a beloved character killed off in a kids comic/cartoon. Mandrake The Magician is the only one that in the comic still comes off dated, and they try so hard to get him over in this issue, even with being dated I found myself liking him. The Phantom is clearly the star of the comic and it’s so obvious that Star Comics knew that he would be the one kids would flock to. The big change for The Phantom is the fact they gave him supernatural powers that he gets from the jungle.  I am sure they did this in order to spice him up and make him appealing to kids who like heros with power like Spider-Man and Captain America. Lothar seems like a waste and really isn’t given anything to do in this issue besides be a body and an extra hero for the new team. The kids of the heroes are a waste and are very much not needed and seem to be thrown in just to make it so young readers can identify with them.  If they have more time in the following issue it could be what takes me out of the series. Like any good 80’s cartoon/comic there is a little sidekick, that while annoying always seems to be there and fall ass backwards into saving the day, and in this series it’s Zuffy, a strange tiny purple alien with a mop top hair style who can’t speak but sure as hell get his message across via movements. This issue also does a good job of making Ming the Merciless come off as a complete and total evil S.O.B and does so as he murders Dale and then comes to Earth to kill us all! Good work on keeping this close to the cartoon and good work with the art that is clearly done by some of Marvel’s top artists.  The cover is super eye catching. Can’t wait to see how issue 2 is! 

Defenders of the earth 2

Defenders of the Earth # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #2 of 4

The Defenders of the Earth need a base, and Mandrake’s mansion just wont do.  So Flash calls in an alien race called the Cryl lead by Morbius to help build a headquarters, and the crystal with Dale’s soul in it has been put into a super computer made by Rick called Dynak-X. Ming The Merciless has picked up on the area of the base and sends out Garax and his men to ambush the Cryl and kill all of the Defenders of the Earth. Flash goes up to meet his friends and takes his place in the battle as the ambush happens.  Mandrake uses his magic to make an illusion to save his friends as Kshin and Zuffy find an opening in the side of a volcano near the mansion. After outsmarting Garax and his men, The Defenders of the Earth and the Cryl turn the volcano into their new base, and use the lava to power it. Ming is very upset and sends Garax and his men to bomb the Mansion and everything around it, and as they do so, the blasts trap the Defenders inside.  With the help of Dynak-X and a well placed bomb by The Phantom, it appears as if they all die and Ming basks in his winning glory. But this of course just gives them more time to come up with a plan to bring down Ming once and for all.

This second issue is average and seems to be way more talkie than issue one.  It doesn’t keep the total action pace up, giving moments that drag. The issue’s plot is just that The Defenders need a base and while trying to build it they come under attack. The Phantom in this issue is pushed more to the back, and Flash Gordon seems to be more of the focus.  Once more Mandrake is used a lot and does the same tricks as he did in issue 1. Lothar again is wasted and just is filler, but this issue also has the teens and kids as more of a major part of the plot.  While most are okay, Kshin is an annoying little turd who I can tell is going to be a character I will hate. One thing they did in this issue is play up on the hurt and sorrow that Flash and Rick are feeling about losing Dale.  This aspect adds some deep drama that is pretty shocking for a kids comic. This issue also builds up that Kro-Tan is plotting to over throw his father and be the new ruler of Mongo and every other planet they conquer.  I hope this subplot goes somewhere and is played out. The comic’s action is spaceship battles and not nearly as cool as hand to hand. The art and cover is great again and both very much eye catching.  The plot is as stated before very average. Let’s see if issue 3 is any better. 

Defenders of the earth 3

Defenders of the Earth # 3  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   #3 of 4

Everyone is trying to make the volcano hideout feel like home, and Jebba along with The Phantom have made their own little African jungle in one of the caves. But in Africa the Bandar tribe is under attack from Kurt Walker (The Phantom’s brother) and two of his goons.  Kurt is trashing The Phantom and claims he should be their ruler, and when they refuse him and his men storm off. Kurt makes the mistake of telling the goons where the tribe hide their jewels and gold and is attacked and thrown from a bridge by those who now want to rob the tribe.  The water carries him to a cave where he finds a strange suit and hood, and after putting them on he becomes a weather controlling wizard/demon named N’Dama! N’Dama returns to the tribe and freezes his two goon friends to death ushering in a huge snow storm with a threat to the tribe to take him as his ruler or die.  The Phantom and Jebba rush to their jungle home, and The Phantom must come face to face with his brother who is now more demon than brother.  In the end The Phantom watches as his brother is consumed in fire caused by his own new power, and Ming has created Frost Men who he is ready to unleash on Earth.

This is back to being a good solid issue and goes back to the meat and potato of an action comic.  This issue’s main focus is The Phantom and his daughter Jebba returning home to take on a family member who is corrupted with extreme power. The action of the comic is when The Phantom goes toe to toe with N’Dama, and while not a slugfest like a Spider-Man vs. Kraven The Hunter fight it still makes for the most exciting part of the issue. This also makes for most the drama as it’s brother vs. brother and family issues come out. Another plot that seems to be starting up is the tension between Rick Gordon and Jebba Walker who both seem to be crushing on each other but neither making a move. It also surprises me that Rick, Jebba nor L.J. get on my nerves given my track record when it comes to unnecessary teens and kids being in media for no reason. I still do however dislike Kshin and thank God he gets very little panel time in this issue. It’s clear that with this issue Star Comics knew that doing a full issue around the most popular member of the team, The Phantom, would drive up sales with kids.  I am not sure how well this plan worked but it did make this now 32 year old reader happy. Another nice thing to see is that Ming nor Garax are the main bad guys, and this gives a breath of fresh air to the series and makes it so the two main villains aren’t played out. This one also has it all: a good plot, great art and an eye catching cover, and this one is what action kids comics should be like! Let’s see how the 4th and final issue holds up.

Defenders of the earth 4

Defenders of the Earth # 4 **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   #4 of 4

Mandrake thinks it’s time that he starts to teach Kshin the art of being a master magician and takes him to a special room in the now destroyed Mansion. Mandrake tells his young son of how he gained the magic that involved the death of his parents via an avalanche and being rescued by a group of magical monks. But in another dimension Dr. Dark, an evil magician, is deep in thought of revenge upon the one who trapped him there :Mandrake.  Ming picks up on the evil power he has and frees him to Earth,  Ming tells his new ally that Mandrake and all The Defenders of Earth are dead, and Dr. Dark busts his bubble with the fact they are not! Dr. Dark goes to the mansion and has a magic fight against Mandrake, as Rick and Jebba see some of Ming’s Frost Men at a rock concert, and it’s shown Jebba can read minds. Mandrake is whooping up on Dr. Dark until the evil one uses Kshin as bait and leads to Mandrake’s life ending when nearby candles burn out.  Dr. Dark leaves to get his army to team with Ming’s to battle the Earth as Kshin uses all he has learned to save his dad. In the end The Defenders of Earth know that War is coming against both Ming’s Frost Men and Dr. Darks evil servants.

Star Comics has done it again, much like Inhumanoids this series ends in the middle of a storyline, making you wonder what was to happen during this major war.  This makes me very annoyed with Marvel for pulling the plug on series from Star that should have played through. This issue’s main focus is Mandrake and his son Kshin as he teaches his son magic.  Father and son must team to undo what their main nemesis Dr. Dark has set in motion. The magic battle reminded me a lot of Dr. Strange and for the most part I am okay with that. Again it was nice to see a new bad guy (Dr. Dark) who unlike N’Dama is teaming with Ming to rule the Earth.  Plus Dark’s Phantom of the Opera face is pretty sweet. Flash Gordon and The Phantom take the backseat in this issue as Mandrake takes the wheel and Lothar has a little more panel time then normal. I also like the way this issue builds up that Ming will turn on Dr. Dark to gain his raw power. Over all this issue was an average romp that was a fun read but a terrible way to end a series.  Worse, it leaves you hanging for an issue 5 that never came.

The Defenders of the Earth Star Comic series was a good fun adventure comic that despite flaws and some annoying characters still held entertainment value. As a youth I more then likely would have judged this comic a little harder for the lack of major action and way too much dialogue, but now I can see that the comic was trying to build up a story and flesh out the characters. I find this 4 issue run to be thus far some of Stars better written stuff, but the lack of respect that Marvel gave us the readers by just ending the series is very fitting for a company who tries to over charge for issues nowadays. Plus it’s nice to see that while it follows the source martial, this series also created its own, with the only major change coming from Ming’s daughter being MIA. If you like any of the characters on the team, loved the cartoon or love Star Comics then I would say check this series out.

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As an add-on bonus, I am going to be looking at a comic that was a free give away on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2010, and cost me a dollar at The Gem City Comic Con based on Michigan horror host Wolfman Mac and his Chiller Drive-In! Chiller Drive-In (formerly Nightmare Sinema) hit TV airwaves in 2007 on public access and became such a hit that by 2009 it had been shown on RTV, a national station. Wolfman Mac is a werewolf from the 1930’s who while being chased by angry villagers stumbled onto an abandoned drive-in theater, and being a lover of bad cheesy flicks, he decided that it would be a good idea to re-open the drive-in once more. Wolfman Mac is an all around good guy (or is that creature?) who seems to worry about the viewers and tries to stop others from bad ideas.  He is a great classic style host who seems to be very much kid friendly. He is joined by Boney Bob, a 1920’s actor who died in order to avoid taxes.  In the 30’s he spent time back in Hollywood as a skeleton extra on the set of horror films, but when work dried up he was downgraded to school room skeleton at a local college.  He left the job and hid out at that same drive-in that Wolfman Mac stumbled on. Boney and Mac are business partners and now spend time rebuilding and running the drive-in. Boney, while a good skeleton, is a con man and will do anything to get money. The show also has many other characters that pop in that include Son of Froggy, Trog a robot, Professor M. Balmer, Undead 50’s Sex Kitten Rebulla, Scarlett LeFever Wolfman Mac’s dead girlfriend and many more great silly off the wall characters. Fans of horror hosts of the 70’s and 80’s will really dig the style and show of Wolfman Mac. 

Wolfman Mac 1Chiller Drive In LogoWolfman Mac 2

I have never gotten to meet Wolfman Mac in person but have spoken to him via Facebook, and he seems like a werewolf who loves his craft. While at Horrorhound Weekend in March 2011, Baron Von Porkchop and I were able to meet Trog and The Son of Froggy from Chiller Drive-In and that was a fun time to be had by all! And we then ran into Son of Froggy again at Cinema Wasteland in October 2011 during “A. Ghastlee Night at the Movies”. That’s one thing I will say about all my horror host friends is that they are more like family.  They understand and get The Baron and I, who are both goofy horror freaks. Baron has it rougher then me being a ghoul from the early 1800’s who I dug up in late December 2010.  He is way out of touch with most normal folks. But here are a few pictures I took of Baron along side cast members of Chiller Drive-In. 

Baron and Son of FroggyBaron and Christmas Robot

So now that you know a little about Wolfman Mac & Boney Bob, let’s take a look at this comic book version of the show. Remember I am going to grade this comic on a standard one to four star rating.  I am going to be grading the story, the art, how true it was to the source martial it was based on and its entertainment value. So let’s see if this chills my blood!

Chiller Theater 1

Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-In # 0  ***
Released in 2010   Cover Price Free   Chiller Drive-In Comics   #0

 Zombies Gone NAG” All the zombies that work for Wolfman Mac and Boney Bob at the Chiller Drive-In have gone on strike and have formed a Union called N.A.G. (The National Association of Ghouls) and have demands before they get back to work that include Brain Breaks and an extra half an hour for lunch.  They use a Gravedigger to work on the deal that Wolfman Mac agrees to and rolls into the issue’s main story called “Return From The Grave.”  At a funeral a vampire pops out of his coffin and attacks all who are attending and is about to feed but before he can T. Stone McAllister, Monster Hunter, comes and saves the day. Back at the Chiller Drive-In all the Zombies are on break and Wolfman Mac is down because no work is getting done. And so ends Issue 0 for now!

 This is a nice free little comic that was a nice way to promote the show and the artist involved, and I would have loved to have had this comic to give out when I worked FREE COMIC DAY at Mavericks. The downside is that this is a very quick read and the main story seems very rushed and not as big of a build up as one would have wanted. The Chiller Drive-In parts are fun and really cartoonish and is clearly geared towards young readers as it even has an anti-smoking spot. The only two characters used in this issue is Mac and Boney Bob, and this gives it a nice feel, like part of the show’s universe. The art in both The Wolfman Mac and Return From The Grave is well done, and sticking close to the source material this is a nice fun very quick read that is worth a check out for fans of Wolfman Mac and Horror Hosts. This issue also teases a full issue # 1 in the summer of 2010, and it seems that this has not happened.  That’s a bummer; I feel that this could have been a fun read for those of us that enjoy this type of book.

wolfman mac

While we are on the subject of werewolves, this would be a perfect time for me to talk about the first no budget film I ever directed called Werewolf of Ohio.  After high school I worked as a bagger for Kroger in the now shut down Van Buren Shopping Center and made lots of great friends like Sarah Boian, Jason Shivadecker and Jason Gilmore, not to mention I worked with already friends of mine Josh Weinberg and Garrison Kane.  At my work is where the legend of The Wolf Man of Ohio began! While working at Kroger at Halloween time we got in a shipment of Universal Monsters Halloween masks, and I was drooling looking at them, in particular The Wolf Man one due to the fact that it is one of my favorite movies of all time. I went around all day talking about how I could make a movie based around that mask, and even spouted some nonsense about putting The Wolf Man in a “Suicide 3” movie if we made it.  After hours of hearing me talk about the film ideas I had for that mask, the cashiers and baggers did something super cool when they bought me the mask and told me to make some movie magic.  And that’s what I set out to do with Josh Weinberg who had left Kroger at this point and was working for Click Camera who loaned him a VHS Camcorder! 

Werewolf of ohio VHS

In late 1999 Josh and I, armed with our on loan camera from Click and our werewolf Halloween mask, set out in his beat up stick shift truck and hit the roads thinking of what my new Wolf Man film could be about, and while driving the story just popped into my head! Josh would play a young man who is on a quest to hunt down The Wolf Man (played by me), a werewolf who terrorizes Waynesville, Ohio and killed his parents and younger sister some years back.  Now he, alongside a camera man (originally cast as Kevin Kinsley but turned out to be played by Brandon Womeldorff), sets out to get evidence that the beast is real and to document its death at the hands of Josh.  We loved the idea and went out to film this twisted sad tale.  We drove around during and after a huge rain storm and filmed moments after the rain stopped around Bellbrook and Kettering (State Farm Park again).  It was just the two of us.  I would act as the Camera Man and Josh would talk about his anger, sadness and need for revenge.  When The Wolf Man was on screen, Josh would run camera. The Wolf Man wore a hood and robe and walked around in daylight and night, making this beast a bigger danger then most werewolf legends. We even drove to Waynesville to film the town’s sign just to add that “real” feel of this “found footage” film. We filmed the climax at State Farm Park and filmed at night as Josh spots The Wolf Man who in turn chases him and the camera cuts off ending the film, or so we thought. After looking at the film we found some scenes just didn’t fit like a talk show interview with Josh that just came off to goofy. Some just were shot bad like the ending were Josh didn’t get The Wolf Man chasing him in one frame making the film’s total runtime about six minutes. I was really disappointed in the film and knew we had to film more to save the film from being a total waste, but the film did fall onto the back burner for almost two full years. By the time I got back to the film I had worked on a few more films and was ready to “save” this film from the trash pile, so I sat down and watched the footage and wrote out a script to finish the film out, Josh was back on board, and Kevin Kinsley was going to step into the role of The Camera Man making it easier for The Wolf Man to interact with them.  In 2001 we started the process of wrapping up the film. Things were going smoothly, and then Kevin was fired for over sleeping on the first day of shooting and Brandon Womeldorff stepped into the part and proved to be a better choice as he also offered ideas and angles. The second part of the film has Josh waking up after the attack covered with blood (yep more ketchup) and buying himself a gun and once more rants and tries to kill The Wolf Man who now wears a red flannel. After the last day of filming, it was rushed into editing at Fairmont High School and Brandon had it cut and ready in one sitting! It then was packaged and ready to be sold at our first horror convention called Fright Vision. While the film sold like hotcakes on VHS and has even gotten a cult following, I have always loved the film for being my own first film but also always find flaws in it after every viewing. I also found that The Wolf Man is my favorite character I have ever played, and one day hope to step into the mask for a new film. The film was followed by a sequel and has made it to DVD in a way but that’s for another update.

Josh and Camera ManWolfmanCamera mAn

Here are some fun facts about Werewolf Of Ohio:  Local filmmaker Andy Copp once wrote about Werewolf of Ohio in the local paper as low budget films/makers you should keep an eye on. Chris Seaver of Low Budget Pictures (LBP) put The Wolf Man in his film “Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape”. The original title of the film was Wolf Man of Ohio.  Werewolf of Ohio is the second best selling VHS release in Independent B Movie history.  At a number of conventions horror host icon Dr. Creep of Shock Theatre and New Shock Theater helped push the product to buyers,  Centerfold frontman Patrick Neeley did the end theme to the film, and its title was “An American Werewolf in Dayton. The film’s original release had random girls running and a number of other girls in the deleted scenes they were added as filler from stock footage found at Fairmont High School. My brother Bryan once said Ohio should use Werewolf Of Ohio as a travel video, due to all the scenery shots and drive scenes. I hope you enjoyed this look at my “classic” film! Below is the master tape with the original title.

WOO vhs

Well, we have Defended the Earth for 4 issues along side Flash Gordon and friend,s and we took a quick pit stop at the Chiller Drive-In to visit Wolfman Mac and took a look back at some fun young moments of my life and told a tale of the Werewolf of Ohio.  So what is next, you ask.  Next update we will take a look at an epic action star who had a cartoon and toy line and lead a group of Karate fighters.  This 4 issue series from Star Comics is CHUCK NORRIS AND THE KARATE COMMANDOS! So I will see you then.

chuck norris karate kommandos LOGO