Horror Host Icon: Sivad

GOOD EEEEVENING! The people of Nashville, Tennessee were treated to a show in the 60’s that lasted into the 70’s featuring a vampire undertaker that would treat them to horror, thriller and science fiction films.  This show was called Fantastic Features, and its host was named Sivad. He was must watch television for young and old alike. Sivad has been a big part of the culture of Tennessee, and his show has influenced many creative people and helped create many monster kids from the era. Much like Ohio, Tennessee has a very large amount of Horror Hosts that have entertained over the decades like Dr. Lucifur, Sir Cecil Creape, Dr. Gangrene and Dungeon Doug to name a few, and at the top of that list is Sivad, who is a true icon of that state. So it’s with very high honor and respect that I give to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Sivad! So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at a truly amazing Horror Host.

Sivad was a vampire who dressed as an undertaker.  He loved the world of cinema and enjoyed presenting the movies to the viewers, many of whom were seeing these classic monster movies for the first time via their televisions! While a bloodsucker, Sivad was a goofy vampire who loved to share jokes and spew cheesy puns! He wore a black top hat, a black suit, cape, white gloves, a bowtie, a red belt and a sash that featured his family crest. Sivad had long fangs, bushy evil looking eyebrows, and spoke with a thick Tennessee ascent that was muffled due to his fangs. While Sivad looked evil and mean, he was very much a lovable vampire who enjoyed hosting his show and sharing these shocking films with his viewers. Besides hosting his show Creature Features on Channel 13, he also loved to make appearances at state fairs and local movie theaters and each time was a main attraction as hundreds, if not thousands, would flock to meet him! It’s also said that he sold over 800 tickets at a movie theater in Jackson, Tennessee while hosting a double feature, and during his introduction and before his song, he was drenched in coke that the kids in the audience threw at him, and he would not return to that town for years to this incident! Sivad was not only an amazing Horror Host but he also was a very good musician and would treat fans to songs. Sivad hosted Creature Features from 1962 to 1972 and walked away from it when he felt they ran out of classic horror films to show. Besides a handful of public appearances in the 70’s, Sivad retired from the Horror Hosting game but still remains as popular as ever even still to this day. I want to also make note that Sivad hosted Creatures Features live and like most live-aired shows there is little to no footage that survived, but that’s how talented this vampire was, he hosted live multiple times a week at times!

Watson Davis was the man who behind Sivad, and he was a man who was made to entertain! Davis was the advertising director for Malco Theaters in Memphis area and would do all types of great things to promote the films like dressing up as Frankenstein’s Monster and even building a giant King Kong to thrill movie goers. He would make these films entertaining for movie goers and would come up with great gimmicks to get them into the theater and would even do prize giveaways that the winners would win spooky trips complete with actors putting on a show for them like he did when winners of a coloring contest got a trip to Goat Island. The thing that set Davis apart from many theater advertisers is that he truly loved the Horror, Thriller and Science Fiction films they showed and would put lots of efforts into making their showings special. He even won an award for his work doing these promotions and got to meet his favorite actor Vincent Price! He developed Sivad while still working for Malco Theaters, and the name Sivad is just is last name Davis backwards as he wanted his Horror Host character to be just one name that stuck out like magician Houdini’s did.  While still working for the theater he started work on Fantastic Features as well. After retiring from both Malco Theaters and Creature Features, Watson Davis spent the rest of his days enjoying life and fishing while living in a small mobile home and stayed there until is death in 2005. While retired Davis would still for a short time play Sivad at fairs, paradise and public appearances and even at one time there was talk of having him as Sivad along with fellow Tennessee Horror Hosts Sir Cecil Creape and Count Basil to host some films at a theater, but sadly that never came about. Watson Davis enjoyed playing Sivad and doing these promotions for Malco Theaters as he enjoyed to entertain kids, and he was a truly great person who is missed by all those who knew him in real life and as Sivad.

Like all good Horror Hosts, Sivad had some great merchandise behind him that gave his viewers and fans something a little more special to enjoy and showed just how popular this Horror Host was! His fans were able to get their hands on such cool items as a Sivad Halloween Mask that kids in the 60’s could wear and scare their friends and neighbors. They could also get their hands on an official “Horror Club” fan club card that was endorsed by Channel 13 and Sivad and was a sure way to impress all your friends on the playground! For kids who liked to make art, a very cool Sivad coloring book was made and allowed them to make masterpieces for the family refrigerator. Also in 2010, a cool book called “Sivad Scrapbook” was released and showed old ads from the 60’s and 70’s that featured our classic Vampire host. Not to mention his image has graced many magazines, posters, ads and fan art. And the most amazing collectable for Sivad fans to sink their fangs into is the 45 rpm record of two songs he sang called “Sivad Buries Rock And Roll” and “Dickey Drakeller.” These songs played on Memphis, Tennessee radio and this record is now highly collectable. So as you can see, Sivad was and still is a true icon of Tennessee who is one of the states most beloved TV Personalities.

In 2013, Sivad took his place as an official member of the Horror Host Hall of Fame and secured that he is in fact one of the most beloved and influential host to grace viewers TV Screens. He was among such hosts as Svengoolie, Commander USA and Shock Armstrong who were part of the third class to get this high honor. The Horror Host Hall Of Fame is an honor for hosts who were and are at the top of their game to the respect they deserve, and Sivad, in my opinion, should have been inducted in the first class as he was truly an amazing host who set the bar for many who followed.

So we are at the point of this Horror Host Icon when we will be taking a look at the episodes I own, and the one I do have is clearly a fan reproduction episode because as of this writing, no full episode has been uncovered. So this is what us fans have to watch. I will not be giving this episode a star rating. The movie write up will be taken from our friends at IMDB and the host write up I myself will be writing. So let’s sit back and pretend its 1962 and we are watching Creature Feature, and Sivad is about to take us on a thrill ride!

Fantastic Features:  Fortress Of The Dead
Starring – John Hackett & Conrad Parham     Not Rated     1965

Host: Sivad rides in on his horse-drawn hearse carriage and removes the coffin from the back and we are set for Creature Freatures! Sivad then in studio welcomes us to the show and interrupted by a voice of a producer who tells him to talk about the TV Shows and other programs from WHBQ-TV Channel 13. We go into the movie as Sivad makes a joke about how pushy the producer is. When we join Sivad next he is wishing us a good evening and ending the show.

Movie: Guilt-ridden sole survivor of a unit wiped out on Corregidor in WW2 returns to the island 20 years later.

Note From Matt: This is a fan made reproduction of a classic episode of Fantastic Features and used footage from when Sivad hosted a promo for his home base station

Sivad was a host that made his viewers feel as if they were close friends, and while a scary looking vampire, he had a warm and inviting feel to him that captured the hearts of his viewers. While the world of Horror Hosts has its fair share of vampires and while many of them are legends and top notch hosts, they all still fall a little short of the magic Sivad had. As we leave the world of Horror Hosting, our next update brings us back to Greece as it’s Thanksgiving and that means we will be joining Hercules once more. This time around, we will be seeing what Radical Comics has to offer when it comes to our favorite demigod! So until next time, watch a Horror Host Show or two, and as always, support your local Horror Host! See you next update for the The Thracian Wars and for another great Turkey Day Holiday.

Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk

Over the decades, Horror Hosts have aired on TV stations all over the USA, and just like Ohio, the state of Tennessee has had its fair share of iconic hosts that have entertained viewers with their funny or spooky antics all the while delivering a shocking horror picture to chill the blood of their viewers. And while many of the state’s Horror Hosts had long running shows and made major impacts on the culture of the area, the one we are looking at today was a short lived host who might not be a household name. He still had a small following and meant something to his viewers who rushed to their TV sets on Friday nights to catch his show and watch his movies. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk! So sit back and enjoy this update and remember your time watching Benedictine or even discover him for the first time…Roll the blog update, Red!

Benedictine the Mad Monk hosted horror films on WZTV Nashville Ch17 on Friday nights for a total of about 3 weeks. He is said to have gone made and killed all his fellow monks and lived underground for centuries with his friend Red who is a skeleton with a red afro wig. For years he spent his time making wine in his cellar home and watched cheesy horror movies. But Benedictine’s perfect peaceful life comes to an end when the TV station WZTV was built on top of his wine cellar. So he does what he thinks is right and on Friday nights highjacks the airwaves and to show the films that he wanted to and generally be a thorn in the TV station’s side. Benedictine himself was kind of a crazed jokester who seems to enjoy sharing his movies with you and also likes to make and drink his wine. He has a bald head on top with long white hair on the sides. He also wears a brown monk’s robe with a rope belt. While he does not come off mean spirited, he clearly is not stable as he has killed off his fellow monks and also seems prone to fits of madness. So as you can see, Benedictine is a crazed wine making madman whose only friend is a wig wearing skeleton and one of his enjoyments in life is high jacking TV airwaves and sharing horror movies on the air.

Phil Valentine is the actor who played Benedictine the Mad Monk for WZTV for the three short weeks the show ran, and he himself was more than just an actor. Phil was born on September 9, 1959 to U.S. Democratic Representative Tim Valentine and his wife Betsy. In college Phil entered radio at East Carolina University and switched to Connecticut School Of Broadcasting in North Carolina where he majored in radio. This love for radio lead to him working for WWTN as a conservative talk show radio host who is on daily and is even in syndication airing on about 110 other stations! He also is an author as he has released three books this far all about conservative views and government greed. But he also has been in films and TV shows with 1989 being his start as Horror Host Benedictine the Mad Monk. He also starred in the film “A Letter From Death Row,”  written and directed by Bret Michaels lead singer of the band Poison. In 2003, he played a radio host on the TV Show “Threat Matrix” for one episode. He wrote, edited, produced and hosted the documentary film “An Inconsistent Truth” in 2012. Two years later he played a character named Eugene Lawson in the film “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”. And his last movie role as of this update was in 2015 in the film “The Secret Handshake” that also starred Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant. So while Horror Hosting might not have been his calling in life, he found his career in being a talk radio host.

Benedictine the Mad Monk did have a sidekick that lived with him in the wine cellar and helped him make and drink his wine, the skeleton Red! Not much is really known about Red besides the fact he wears a giant red wig and is friends with Benedictine. Oh and his role on the show was that he was the one who ran the films. I am guessing that Red made very little appearances during the show’s short run, but I am sure he still had his fans. I just wanted to mention Red as I am sure he had been sadly forgotten by most for his time as a Horror Host sidekick.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episode I have of Benedictine the Mad Monk. This is the only episode of his known to have survived and was taped off TV, as his short run made it hard for his shows to have made it to the Horror Host trade lists. I want to thank my friend Larry for getting me this episode and making this update possible. So let’s take a look at this episode of Benedictine the Mad Monk! Oh and I want to also say that it looks like the show aired after reruns of Cheers.

Benedictine the Mad Monk: Taste The Blood Of Dracula
Starring – Christopher Lee & Ralph Bates       Rated R       1970

Host: Benedictine the Mad Monk starts the show by coming down the stairs and introducing himself and his friend Red Skeleton. He also is very happy to introduce the night’s film Taste The Blood Of Dracula that he says sucks! We next times we see Benedictine, he gives us pointers on Dracula as well as delivers cheesy jokes and puns! At one point he even goes over his checklist of wine that he has in his stock before he has Red roll the movie again.

Movie: Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula’s servants, Lord Courtley. In a nightly ceremony, they restore the count to life. However, the three men killed Courtley and, in revenge, the count ensures that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own children.

Note from Matt: The end of the episode is missing so we get no closing segment of Benedictine the Mad Monk!

So while Benedictine the Mad Monk might not have been a long lasting host on TV and had a “if you blink you’ll miss him” career of sharing his love for Horror films with his viewers, he still had his fans and made his mark in the world of Horror Hosting. I for one really enjoyed what I saw on this episode and hope to some day track down the remaining two episodes and see what cheesy jokes he delivered on them. Once more I want to thank my friend Larry “Dr. Gangrene” Underwood for getting me this episode and making this Horror Host Icon update possible. One of my biggest goals for these updates is to showcase the Horror Hosts, and no matter how big or small their following and impact was to the art of Hosting, they have a home here at Rotten Ink as I want to share their stories and bring back memories for their fans and my readers. For my next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosts and entering the world of comic strips and paperback comic books based on cartoon TV Specials of the characters…so if you guessed Garfield Halloween, you would be right and should treat yourself to some candy and lasagna! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a spooky good time with a orange furred cat.