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

Xmachina Opens The Gates Of Hell…..

March 21st-23rd 2014 marked another year that Baron Von Porkchop, Susie The DJ and I were guests at HorrorHound Weekend, a convention that we all look at as home and the place that the Horror Host Hall Of Fame takes place at. This year was a little different from the years past as we didn’t even know if we had a table due to some issues brought on by the convention center cutting space, and a rumor was going around that the Horror Hosts were all going to be thrown in a room at the hotel across the street! This was bad news for us as Baron and Fritz The Nite Owl have become hosting buddies and this would have us across the street from them who would be in the convention center because they were having a screening of their hosted version of Trick R’ Treat.  Not to mention, we had the very talented artist Rachel Lare with us and her art would not get to be seen by the mass convention goers if she was placed in the hotel. While we wanted to be at the convention center, we also didn’t want to be so far away from the rest of out host family like Halloween Jack, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Dark, Victor Von Scary, Janet Decay and many others! We meet up in the morning as Susie The Dj drove Baron, Rachel our friend Mike McGraner (who is the main man behind the rebirth of Nite Owl Theater) and myself, and we all packed into the car and were off for another amazing HorrorHound Weekend adventure. The sad part is the fact that Fritz The Nite Owl got sick and was not able to make it, and that’s a shame as it’s always a treat for us to chat with Fritz. When we arrived at the convention we found out that Mike had a table for Nite Owl, but sadly Baron did not…lucky for us, Mike is a great person and friend and he allowed us to share his table! The weekend was filled with good sales, great friends and a great time! The table was in a great spot as we were right next to The Vortexx, the online TV station that is all about Horror Hosts and next to them was The Horror Host Hall Of Fame Table where our pals Halloween Jack and Dale Kay were and on the other side was the lovely Sharni Vinson of the films You’re Next and Step Up 3-D, who I must say was one of the sweetest celebrities that I have ever had the pleasure of being next to at a convention.  The way she treated her fans was top notch, and she truly is a class act. It was really cool getting to spend some time with Susie The DJ and Baron and catch up with them on what’s being going on in New Burlington as well it was nice to get to talk to Rachel about art and life in general. Plus hanging with Mike is always great as he is also a very creative person like myself and also directs a horror host so we both know the hard work that goes into making a quality show for the fans.  Plus Mike is one of those guys thats just so much fun to shoot the bull stuff with. Also at the event were great friends like Jesy and Jermie Anderson, Amber and Bryan Brady, Fred and Shelby Vogel, David J. Getz and so many more friendly faces. Over all once, more the event was a fun one that always makes me look forward to the next one.  Oh, I guess I should say that the year’s big Guest was Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame.

Baron Von Porkchop and Sharni VinsonBaron Von Porkchop Horrorhound 2014 PhotoBaron Von Porkchop and Halloween Jack 

The Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014 took place at that Horror Hound the Saturday at Noon and was done in front of a packed house, as the auditorium filled up fast with fans of hosts as well as fans of the Evil Dead who had a Q & A panel after our ceremony. This years event was the best yet as everything came off more smooth and organized. This year Jason Hignite placed the event into the hands of Halloween Jack who took the ball and not only got the touchdown but also spiked the ball and did a shuffle much like Bengals player Icky Woods would have. Baron Von Porkchop got the honor of inducting Grandpa Munster into the Hall Of Fame for his work on the TBS show Super Scary Saturday. Baron and Myself were very happy to find out that we doing this as Baron is a fan of The Munsters and I myself grew up watching Super Scary Saturday and it was really a great experience for me to watch the Host I dug up induct a host that meant a lot to me in my youth. Baron researched and wrote a very good induction speech and delivered it well in front of the crowd who also seemed to enjoy it. I was really proud of Baron Von Porkchop and I hope someday that he gets into the Hall Of Fame and a host who inducts him is just as happy and honored to do so as Baron is for those he has inducted. Baron and I really love The Horror Host Hall Of Fame event and this makes the second icon of hosting he has inducted as last year he had the honor of ushering Shock Armstrong into the hallowed halls. If your a Horror Host fan and go to HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio make sure you attend the ceremony as the 2015 Class is being discussed and some major players could get the honor as well as some news on a physical Hall of Fame might just get announced! So as Grandpa Munster would say “Be There Or Be Scared”!

Baron Von Porkchop Inducts Grandpa Munster

At HorrorHound I bought some cool stuff like Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula t-shirts, Return To Nukem High on DVD and lots of CD soundtracks to be played on WYSO’s Sunday night show, Alpha Rhythms.  I spent a lot of money at composer Richard Band’s table and got his score work for such films as Troll, Re-Animator, From Beyond, Prison, Bride of Re-Animator and more. I also got the soundtrack CD for People Under The Stairs from the composer Don Peake, who is one cool guy, and I really enjoyed chatting with him about how he made some of the score music for the original Hills Have Eyes and even the history of the tapes they were recorded on.  Peake was a class act whose music you should check out. One of the things I bought from HorrorHound was a comic book that I had never seen before, a comic that was being sold by two hot blondes sitting behind a table, a comic that was marked $50.00 though they gave it to me for $40.00, and this comic is one based on a film made by horror icon Fulci.  Of course I am talking about the only issue made based on the film The Gates of Hell aka City Of The Living Dead. I was drawn to the comic that was placed on a pegboard behind their table that had a sticker on it that said rare.  At first I walked away from it when they told me the price was $50. I thought to myself, that seems really high for an independent comic book, but as Baron and I walked around, the idea of reading it and reviewing it for you my readers kept popping into my mind and that’s when I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. The comic was made by a small company called Xmachina who only made a very small handful of comics and all were based on popular horror films like Halloween and Phantasm. After buying it, I went over to my pal Pete Bell who owns the amazing comic store Bell, Book And Comic, who was vending, and he had also never seen it before and said he thought I paid a good price for it. When returning back to the table Baron Von Porkchop wanted to give the comic a quick look through and seemed to enjoy what he saw.  So I am really hyped to read this comic for the first time and discuss it with all of you. But before we start, I would like to give you all a little crash course on the director of the film the comic is based on as well as talk about the film and its terrible sequel.  Ao let’s get ready to open the gates of hell and see what’s on the other side.

Baron Von Porkchop Reads Gates Of Hell

When any horror fan thinks of Italian horror cinema directors names like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Joe D’Amato, Lamberto Bava all come to mind as does the master of splatter, the godfather of gore Lucio Fulci who would have to be at the top of anyone’s list of great horror icons to come out of Italy. Fulci was born in Italy in 1927 and grew up to studying medicine in college as well as worked as an art critic. In the early 1960’s he turned his attentions to making films, and his genre of choice was comedy where he made a total of 18 films before moving on to making thrillers like “A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin” and “The Psychic” before also making some Westerns like “Four For The Apocalypse” and “Massacre Time.”  At this time Fulci was also called into court over what viewers thought were real animal deaths in the film A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, and he had to prove that no animals were harmed in making his film. Also around this time he was accused of being anti-Catholic even though he was brought up in that religion, but out of these shockwaves came the boom of Fulci’s horror work that included “Don’t Torture A Duckling” and “Beatrice Cenci”. His main horror hit film came in 1979 when he made Zombi 2, a sequel in Italy to George Romero’s film “Dawn Of The Dead” that was simply called Zombi there.  The film was a hit not only in his native land but also in the USA and England. The film was packed with eye popping gore and to this day is considered a cult classic among horror fans. After the success of Zombi 2, Fulci filled the 1980’s with many other splatter horror classics like “Gates Of Hell”, “The Beyond”, “House By The Cemetery”, “The Black Cat”, “The New York Ripper”, “Manhattan Baby”, “Murder Rock”, “Zombi 3” and “Touch Of Death.” But even while making splatter films, he also directed a few made for TV films as well as a barbarian flick called “Conquest” and wrote many others. During the 1990’s he also made a few films that made impacts on Horror fans like “Demonia”, “A Door To Silence” and “A Cat In The Brain”, but the 90’s was also the time we lost the man as Fulci sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 68.  His last work was a film called “Wax Mask,” a team up film that would have had Dario Argento helping him. Fulci wrote the script outline for a kind of remake of the Vincent Price classic “House Of Wax,” but he passed away before he could truly be involved with the film that was later made and mostly re-written. Fulci was an amazing director and really knew how to chill the blood of movie goers. I grew up watching many of his films on rented VHS tapes and always found them very entertaining so much so I would always end up tracking them down to buy! Later in his life Fulci found out just how popular he was in other countries and this took him by surprise and I am sure truly made him feel special.  This tiny write up doesn’t do this man’s legacy justice.  Make sure to watch his films and read books like “Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci” for complete information about the man’s life and work. While he might be gone, like the old bumper sticker in honor of the man said “FULCI LIVES” on in our hearts and TV screens. My favorite films by him are Zombi 2 and House By The Cemetery for those of you readers wondering.

Zombie 2 PosterLucio FulciHouse By The Cemtery Poster

The Gates of Hell is the film we are going to break down here as it’s the main focus of the comic book I am going to review.  So here goes nothing. Gates of Hell was made in 1980 and is about Father William Thomas, a man who hangs himself in the cemetery.  By doing so he opens the gates of Hell, letting out evil zombies who all have weird and strong powers and are going around killing people in strange and brutal ways. The only hope we as humans have of closing the gates is a reporter named Peter Bell and a psychic named Mary Woodhouse. She herself died only to come back after being buried alive…or was that dead? The pair of unlikely heroes must find a way to close the gates in Dunwich, New England, the hot spot of the evil before All Saints Day…can they do it? I first saw this film on a terrible VHS copy I bought new off the racks of Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and was hyped to see more bloody good horror from Fulci.  I was not let down! When I first watched the film, I had my pal Jason Gilmore over and we both sat in wonder and watched the mayhem unfold before our eyes.  One scene that stuck with both of us was when one young lady has her eyes start bleeding and proceeds to puke up her own guts.  We both so wanted to figure out how they did the effect so that we could do it in one of our low budget flicks. When the film later came out on DVD via Anchor Bay, it was one the first films I upgraded next to the Halloween and Hellraiser films. It’s a great film with a spooky plot, great gore, likable heroes and evil baddies.  If you have not seen it and are a fan of Italian cinema, then shame on you because you should watch it.

Gates Of Hel 1Gates Of Hell PosterGates Of Hell 2

In 1988, a cheap film that’s real title was “Through The Fire” was made and later called “The Gates Of Hell Part II: Dead Awakening” that was about a woman looking for her missing sister who finds one cop who is willing to help when the plot of a cult that worships a demon comes into play. The film is very poorly made and is not worth watching or really talking about. I also got this film from Suncoast and only watched it once and warned all my other friends about how bad it was.  The acting was blah, and the gore effects were super cheap and to boot it has ZERO to do with the original film and is a sequel in namesake only. I feel like we wasted enough time on this film so I think it’s best we just move on…nothing more to read or see here…okay, maybe some stuff to see.

Gates Hell two 1Gates Of Hell Part 2 dvdGates of Hell two 2

The Gates Of Hell was not a main stream horror film like A Nightmare On Elm Street so it didn’t spawn a mountain of merchandise like toys and Nintendo games but over the ages it did have some cool stuff besides this comic I am about to read.  There were Halloween masks, soundtrack CD’s, t-shirts and hoodies, not to mention many articles in magazines like Fangoria. I for one would love to see a video game based on this film because I think it could really give Silent Hill a run for its money in the creepy department. I also would like to see a full comic book series based around the film and the legends it created, not to mention Father Thomas would make a perfect comic bad guy! If you’re a fan and a collector, try and enjoy what little goods the film has spawned for us.

fangoria 29Gates Of Hell MaskGates Of Hell T-Shirt

Before we fling open the Gates of Hell, I would like to take a moment and talk about a story that has been on the internet for a while now, the Sounds Of Hell legend or myth depending on who you are talking to. It’s said in 1989 a group of Russian scientist lead by a Mr. Azzacov were drilling in a unknown location in Siberia.  At some point in the drilling they got to 9 miles and broke into a cavity where they decided to lower a heat tolerant microphone into the hole that was letting out a temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They were shocked at what they heard as they picked up sounds of fire, peoples screams of pain as well as random evil laughter…they had found Hell and were listening to the screams of those who were damned. They stopped the drilling and were scared of what they heard as now the world had proof of Hell.  The recording was saved and later played on Trinity Broadcast Network, a religious station, to prove the evils and tortures of Hell. Later accounts also reported that a bat like creature flew from the hole as well showing the release of a demon into our world. In 1997 the story was an internet topic and flooded message and chat boards with questions and theories to if it was real or simply a hoax. Even Art Bell of Coast To Coast AM played the sounds live on the air causing more panic and speculation about whether the sounds were real. Over the years, as with most things that walk the line of the unknown, people try and debunk it as a hoax and The Sounds Of Hell as well has come under attack as many people believe that the sounds are really just a mash up of different sounds even one coming from the 1972 Mario Bava film Baron Blood.  Others say that it was made by the folks of Trinity Broadcast in order to go along with a made up story to make their viewers worry and think about the horrors of Hell. So is the Sounds Of Hell real or fake…I for one am not sure but what is fact is that drilling was going on in and around Siberia in 89 as well as there is proof that Mr. Azzacov NEVER excised so this story is one that you will have to make up your own mind about…And if the sounds are real, I sure do feel sorry for Baron Blood because it seems like he might just be in Hell.

Flames of HellThe Sounds Of HellBaron Blood

So there you have, it we took a look at HorrorHound Weekend 2014, the Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014, the true Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci (Sorry Hershel Gordon Lewis that crown’s Fulci’s), the film Gates Of Hell as well as we talked about the creepy Sounds of Hell.  So now it’s time for us to open the gates and take a stroll around and see what Xmachina has to offer the world of horror comics. So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s go on in and see what we have!

Gates Of Hell 1

Gates Of Hell  # 1  **1/2
Released In 2002   Cover Price $4.95   Xmachina Comics   #1 of 3

Mary Woodhouse is a special woman with special powers.  During a séance she dies a sudden death, but not before she warns her friends that evil is coming back! While this is going on, she is seeing the evil undead priest named Father William Thomas as he has done some real horrific stuff that all lead to terrible murders and even his own suicide that has caused him to be this undead monster! It’s the shock of seeing the suicide and knowing that the Gates of Hell have been opened that kills the young woman. The cops are called to Mary’s house where she is now dead and don’t believe her friends as they talk of the evils that are coming, but when one officer is killer by an unknown force on the steps their eyes start to open! Peter Bell is a down and out reporter who is looking for a big story to make his comeback to.  He had lost his respect in the news world when he became an alcoholic, and he thinks that the sudden death of Mary might just be his key to get back on top! Peter goes to the graveyard to visit the newly dug grave for Mary and hears from inside her coffin screams for help and rushes to save her from being buried alive! After he saves her, he finds that the two of them are now tangled in a higher plan that has chosen them to close the gates of hell for good. All the while, Father Thomas is killing people and sending the souls to hell to make the opening to Hell stronger. We end learning that if Peter and Mary don’t stop it, Father Thomas will unleash an army of Phantom Undead killers onto Earth killing all life as we know it.

I want to say that this comic captures the raw and gloom dark brooding mood of the film, but also adds its own pinch of dread and terror making for a good read for a fan of the film like myself. The downside of the issue is that it’s only part one of three, so this first issue is really more of a set up to the true horrors and terror that were to await us in issues two and three! In the first issue we have the set up for Peter and Mary to be the world’s heroes, and we set up that Father Thomas is one mean S.O.B. who will stop at nothing to open those gates to Hell. Mary Woodhouse is pretty likable even though in this issue she has very little stuff to say as she is dead during most of it, but her first appearance in the comic as well as her “rebirth” into it, you know she is a major player in the story. Peter Bell is okay.  He comes off a little shady, but I truly think that was the plan to make a guy you’re not so sure about a hero (I feel the same way about the film). Father Thomas is one evil priest who loves to kill and brutalize his poor victims.  While most of the people he kills have committed sins, his style of murder is just extreme and includes disemboweling and eyeball removal to name a few. The comic is filled with lots of gore, demons, death, naked women, murder and all other things we horror comic fans are looking for making it a really fun and good read, not to mention the fact it’s tied into a Fulci film! The art is done by Derek Rook, a talented artist who has done other horror comics like “Halloween Returns To Hadenfield”, “Zombi 2” and “Voices From Deadworld,” and his style is very raw and brings out the scary nature of the characters he is drawing.  He makes the scary scarier! The cover as well is very eye catching and well done and drew me in even at a Horror Convention with so much other stuff to see. It’s worth a read, and I wish there were more issues.

Gates Hell Art 1Gates Hell Art 2Gates Hell Art 3

When I bought this comic off the two hotties from HorrorHound, I thought that it was a single comic that was the full film adaptation of the 1980 film.  When I found out it was only issue 1 of 3, I was only slightly letdown because it would have been a challenge to find the others in the set, but when I found out that the other two issues in the series never seen the light of day, I can 100% say I was disappointed as I would have loved to have read them and shared my thoughts of them with you. I am going to place Xmachina with such companies as Fangoria Comics, Northstar Comics, Topps Comics and Dead Dog Comics that went away far too fast and could have given readers many more great issues of things of a spooky nature. I would have loved to see Xmachina do comics based on such films as Demons, Cannibal Holocaust, Baron Blood, Tombs Of The Blind Dead and so many other great European horror films that would have made great comic series. So while I am in the Euro Horror mood, I think that for my next update I will be taking a look at a comic based on a Jess Franco Frankenstein film.  So make sure to come back for my look at that one! So until then, support your local comic Store and Horror Host, read a comic or three and check out HorrorHound Magazine if you want to read a magazine that covers all types of horror. 

Lust For Frankenstein Logo

Chuck Norris as Chuck Norris in Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos!

In the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s, larger than life action stars were box office hits.  Names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and many more were flooding the market and being idolized by young males across the world. I was a huge Stallone fan and loved his films like Rocky, First Blood and Cobra, but there was always one action star long before it became “cool” and a “fad” to like that always captured my dad, brother’s and my attention – Chuck Norris! Way before hipsters thought Walker Texas Ranger was funny and before his facts were an internet sensation, Norris was kicking ass in films like Missing in Action, Breaker Breaker, Hero and the Terror, Silent Rage and Lone Wolf McQuade proving that he was one of the best B-movie action stars of the time. I remember as a kid watching Missing in Action 1 & 2 and wanting toys of lead character Colonel James Braddock, and while I understood that being a P.O.W. was a bad thing, years later when I was a teenager I understood the real message in the film. Another funny story about Chuck Norris is when my brother was younger he loved the movie Meatballs and one day my dad was watching Silent Rage on HBO and told him that it was Meatballs II.  My brother sat with wonder and watched waiting for the Alien to appear, instead he got a film where Norris was going up against an un-killable killer! This freaked my brother out and added for chuckles many years about Meatballs II. If you want to check out any of Norris’s films you can find them on Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray!

invasion usa dvdMissing in ActionHero and the Terror DVDBreaker BreakerDelta Force

In 1986, Chuck Norris also was involved in a cartoon called “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” in which Chuck Norris plays a government operative in charge of a team of martial arts commandos that battles a organization called VULTURE lead by The Claw and his right hand man Super Ninja. It lasted one season for only 5 episodes and was made by the great Hanna-Barbera company. The cartoon also from time to time airs on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. Growing up I never watched the show that much, and while I remember it airing, I never found myself wanting to view the animated adventures when I could just watch the live action films. The Karate Kommandos has been released on VHS and DVD-R and has become a cult classic.

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In 1986 Kenner also made action figures to go along with the animated series and much like the toon it was based on, the toy line was also very short lived. Multiple figures based on Chuck Norris were made as well as all the Kommando’s and Super Ninja. Also vehicles were made as well as plastic weapons rounding out the merchandise that was made around the short lasting series. I did however own some of the figures, and all the ones I owned were Chuck Norris.  The figures themselves were well made and well sculpted toys for the time. In school I knew a few kids that had some of these figures, and the most popular one I saw the most kids have was the purple Super-Ninja. In fact, I still have my Norris figures, and Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics has one in store!

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Chuck Norris fever has died down a little and seems to have passed as one of those annoying hip references that made you want to punch the hipster spewing it who clearly never seen a Norris film in their self absorbed life. But this did not stop the wave of Norris-inspired merchandise that included books, t-shirts, mugs, folders, posters, notebooks, key chains, stuff dolls, bobble-heads and so many other products! So if you are a true Norris fan, there is some great stuff out there for you!

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Chuck Norris, who as of early 2012 is 71 years old, was in the Air Force as an Air Policeman, and while stationed in South Korea, he decided to learn the art of self-defense in the forum of Tang Soo Do.  This started the path of an action superstar, but not before Norris became a karate champion and a teacher of the art of self defense teaching such stars as Steve McQueen, Bob Barker and Donny and Marie Osmond in schools he opened. In 1969 Norris began his acting career in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew and has been making movies since! Some of his best known film work includes Missing in Action, Delta Force, Way of the Dragon, The Expendables 2 and Lone Wolf McQuade. Norris also made it into the TV world, not only known for the 1986 short lived cartoon “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” but more so for his 1993 series “Walker Texas Ranger,” which ran on CBS for over eight years.  Norris also became a spokesman for products like The Total Gym Work Out Machine and the computer game World of Warcraft. Noris is also known for being a diehard Christian and Republican has also written several books on his beliefs. In 2005, Norris also became a internet hit when “Chuck Norris Facts” started to infect everyone’s Myspace page who thought of a funny way to show just how kick ass Norris is in a tongue in cheek kind of way. Norris continues to be an icon in the world of action stars and will always be known as one bad ass dude!

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Before I get into my look at the 4 issue run of The Karate Kommandos from Star Comics I would like to share some memories I have of Chuck Norris. I always remember watching Chuck Norris on the then Ted Turner owed station TBS, that seemed to always be showing a Missing in Action film or Breaker, Breaker, and I can’t count how many times I would sit and watch these films over and over.  I always remember wanting an action figure of Norris’s character Colonel James Braddock of Missing in Action because of watching those movies on TBS. That’s one thing I miss about TV, now that Turner is no longer in control of TBS and TNT, all the amazing programs those stations delivered to me in my youth. I mean I grew up watching many of the programs they would air from all the old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island and Little House on the Prairie to hosted programs like Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervison, Grandpa Munster hosting Super Scary Saturday and even Dinner and a Movie with hosts Paul Gilmartin, Annabelle Gurwitch and chef Claud Mann. One of the things on TBS in the 80’s my brother and I would look forward to was watching NWA and then later WCW wrestling, and nothing was more epic then the PPV type event that was free to watch called Clash of the Champions where you would be able to watch wrestling legends like Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, The Rock n Roll Express and many more battle in matches that had so much build up.  Those truly were the days. I have great memories of watching old NWA shows on winter Saturday evenings at my grandparents’ house as the fire place was warming the room, and my grandpa, dad and brother all sat around and watched the likes of the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes. Also I love how back in the day all shows on TBS started five minutes later like 6:05.  Odd, I know but a great gimick. I wish Turner would come back to bring a new station to airwaves and give us back some of this classic shows he once aired.  Say what you will about the man, but he knew what he was doing when it came to cable TV.  I mean his stations gave you a little of every thing if you wanted to see sports, news, classic shows, movies, horror hosts, wrestling, original programs and much more then look no further then a Turner owned station. So here is to Chuck Norris, Ted Turner, TBS and TNT for some great memories growing up, and here is to hoping Turner will return to doing what he does best, making one hell of a great TV station.

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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.  So with that, let’s kick some butt with Chuck Norris and his Karate Komman

Chuck Norris 1Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 1  **
Released in 1987     Cover Price .75    Star Comics    1 of 4 

Too Much is the youngest member of the Karate Kommandos, and while at school he and his classmates are held hostage by evil ninjas led by Super Ninja, who works for Claw. They are there in order to exchange the kids for a government anti-terrorist vehicle that is packed with state of the art weapons. But things don’t go as the ninjas wanted as Chuck Norris along with his Karate Kommandos that include Kimo a sword expert, Reed a young man Norris has taken under his wing as well as his sister Pepper who is a master of repairing and driving cars, wolf the team pet and Tabe a sumo wrestler who loves to eat, all come to the rescue and clean house of the evil doers and saving Too Much and all his classmates.

This issue was pretty weak to start a series off by and focuses way too much on Too Much who for all accounts is a brat who blows off school work and uses his friendship with Chuck Norris to act popular with his peers. Chuck Norris walks around like a silent badass who only gives one liners when needed and then turns into a walking PSA about working hard in school.  The rest of the team for some reason kept reminding me of the gymnastic teens from the Mr. T cartoon mixed with the A-Team but not as nearly bad ass. I think the biggest problem with this issue is the lack of character development, like who are these Karate Kommandos and why is a movie actor like Chuck Norris the head of the team?  Who is Super Ninja and why didn’t he come to the school himself if this was such a huge operation? And why is The Claw never shown? Given the fact that the cartoon was bombing on TV and kids weren’t flocking to Children’s Palace or Toys R Us for the figures, you would think that Star would have put a little more background into this issue to help push this comic series to do better then everything else attached to it. Not to mention the storyline in this issue is weak and seems like a back up story for an issue that ran short. The artwork is your typical Star Comic look so I kind of like that, and the cover is pure cheese so it does have that going for it. Over all this issue is not impressive and a very bad way to start off Chuck Norris’ first comic book run.

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Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   2 of 4 

Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos are hired to protect a new super computer that has been targeted by VULTURE, but when it’s Reed and Pepper’s turn to watch the super machine, sibling fighting happens and Reed storms out and meets Margie, a young woman who’s mom is sick and has been hired by The Claw to steal it for cash to help her mom who needs an operation. Meanwhile Ninjas break in and steal the computer and kidnap Pepper.  Reed returns at the same time as his team and all get a shock to find they have failed to keep it safe. Meanwhile the ninjas as along with Margie have Pepper and are trying to force her to show them how the computer works, only for Margie to take a stand and help Pepper escape just as Chuck and the Kommandos come in for the save. In the end Chuck gives the reward money to Margie for her mom’s aid.

This is more like it; a comic filled with action, drama and takes the focus away from the youngest member of the Kommandos, Too Much, and showcases the brother and sister team of Reed and Pepper and has them showing real sibling rivalry. The messages are clear in this one: always be there for family and you should never abandon your responsibility. Chuck takes more of a back seat in this one and is only used when needed. As for action, while it’s not every page, the times it’s used it really works! The bad guys in this issue are all the generic ninjas of VULTURE and Super Ninja nor Claw make an appearance.  This doesn’t make much sense and adds no major threat to Chuck and his crew. I will say that I also feel that this issue captures more of the cheesy charm of the cartoon. Over all this is a step in the right direction for this series. The art work is same as last issue, and the cover is in your face with Chuck Norris landing a flying kick. Let’s see how issue three goes in this “action” series.

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Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos  # 3  *1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   3 of 4 

Chuck and Kimo are practicing with swords to see who’s the best in a friendly way as Tabe is in the kitchen making himself a feast. During a break in the spar Kimo hears Tabe giving advice and life lessons to fellow Karate Kommandos.  First up is Too Much, who is having an issue that involves his friend and him being forced to have spelling bee against each other in school.  So Tabe tells him about the first time he met Chuck that had them sparing with sticks on a log to impress friends. Reed is next and talks about how some friends are going to cheat at a sporting event, and this time Tabe tells a different story about how he met Chuck that pertains to the situation.  This continues with Pepper, who is having guy issues. In the end Kimo asks Chuck who has returned to spar how he met Tabe, and none of the stories he told was correct!

Issue three is all about Tabe, the lovable slob sumo wrestler who loves to eat and as this issue exposes, tell lies! This is not a very good message to teach young readers as Tabe lies several times to trusted friends in order to give them guidance that will help them with an issue that is bothering them, but even a white lie is still a lie.  The worse thing about this issue is the fact Tabe makes himself out to be this amazing hero in every one of his BS stories. Tabe is my second least favorite character from this comic/toon series, and this issue is all about him, making this one a so-so read. VULTURE and all its members take a backseat in this issue, and at no time during Tabe’s stories do you feel that he or Chuck are in any real danger, making this pretty lackluster in the action department. Issue three is clearly the weakest so far, and while some parts are fun, like the silliness of all the different ways he says he and Norris meet, its all the other fluff that makes it bland. The artwork is as it was in the past two issues, and this kind of holds the charm of the cartoon. The cover makes this issue look way more action packed then it is, and with this let’s move on to the final issue in the series.

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Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 4  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   4 of 4 

Chuck Norris has a visitor at the secret headquarters of the Karate Kommandos, and Its Jack Fredericks, who is taking over the West Coast Office that runs secrets teams like them.  While there he is witness to Chuck and gang getting a mission that has them saving the daughter of a snotty Doctor named Johan Belson who has had troubles with Norris in the past. The daughter has been kidnapped by a gang of goons who are working for Claw and want secrets that Belson knows.  With a distrust for the man they are helping, Norris and the Kommandos save the daughter and teach Belson what it is to be a man.

This is the final issue in the series, and they seemed to finally get that what they had was Chuck Norris action superstar along with a team of rough and tough Kommandos who were about fighting for freedom much like G.I. Joe.  In fact this adventure reminds me of a Marvel Joe comic. Chuck Norris takes control in this issue and uses not only his kicks and punches but his brains and out smarts the baddies and uses his leadership over his crew to get the job 100% done. Normally annoying characters like Too Much and Tabe are far less unlikeable, as members Kimo, Reed and Pepper take a back seat to showcase Norris. Again the Super Ninja and Claw don’t make an appearance, and this time they use not even the ninjas but lame normal guys who try to put up a fight just can’t.  This issue should have been the first in the series and all issues after this should have followed this style and formula to have made a good run of comics. The art work is the best it’s been in the series and seems as if someone who worked on Marvels G.I. Joe or Transformers comic lent their talents to this final issue. The cover’s pretty weak but can be compared to other late 80’s action covers from Marvel. All in all I can at least say that Chuck Norris Karate Kommando’s ended on a higher note then it started. I would like to thank Bell Book and Comic & Lone Star Comics for stocking these issues to make this review possible.

Thinking about the comic and cartoon series made me realize that the toon only lasted one more episode then the comic run making one see why this STAR comic run was doomed to being canceled from the start. And this series also got me thinking about pop group the Spice Girls because of the character Too Much having the same name as their 1997 hit song from album Spice World. Then I remember being a teen and thinking how hot those british girls in short skirts and tight cloths were and how damn catchy their songs were. My two favorites to look at were Posh Spice and Baby Spice, and I will not lie, I did have their CDs and also watched Spice World on VHS when it hit video stores. And did anyone else notice Baby Spices love for suckers, and how so wrong yet so right it was? Just take a look at the center picture, and Spice Up Your Life indeed!

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Well in this update we looked at the movie and cartoon career of Chuck Norris, took a look back at Ted Turner owned TBS & TNT and even talked a little about the Spice Girls, but in the next update the gloves are off as we look at shock rocker Rob Zombie’s take on a legend we all know…..no, not his remakes of the Halloween series but his take on the crypto creature Bigfoot! So be here for the next shocking update.

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