Horror Host Icon: Tim The Enchanter

Many Horror Hosts over the years have aired on TV and been streamed online with some even having direct to video episodes….but what if I told you about one that was only seen on a VHS tape that was passed around to friends…could your heart and nerves survive learning about Scary As Hell Theater and its host Tim The Enchanter! That’s what I love about Horror Hosts, the world is filled with so many that you find new ones all the time and many of them are very entertaining and make you wonder why they did not get the fame that others have. I found Tim The Enchanter while surfing around YouTube and came across some clips of his show and knew that I had to cover him here on Rotten Ink, so it’s with great fun I bring you readers “Horror Host Icon: Tim The Enchanter”!

Tim The Enchanter is a wizard who hosted his show Scary As Hell Theater from 1998 to, well, 1998 for the show’s original run that had him hosting Black Sunday. Tim is a man with a long white mustache and bushy white eyebrows who wears a skullcap, carries a staff and dons a robe who loves to jam out to the sounds of Jethro Tull all the while hosting his creature feature from his living area. He was not an evil wizard but does have a sharp wit with a sinister side and didn’t mind taking a few jabs at people in the film’s productions as well as other pop culture stars. His hosting style has a very The Ghoul vibe to it as he adds his own sound effects and movie bits into the evening’s flick, adding to the comedy aspect. Scary As Hell Theater started in 1998 and only lasted one episode (that Tim hosted, more on that later) that acted as a pilot and a way to entertain friends of the host Tim The Enchanter. Stevie Gothing is the man who created and played Tim and made it for a fake TV network called SPUD-TV that he as well created. So while Tim The Enchanter might not be a household name, he is a Horror Host that you should check out as he has a very classic approach and look. I have also heard a rumor that Tim and his show Scary As Hell Theater might have a return some Halloween season down the line. Oh and I should also note that while only a small amount of Scary As Hell episodes were made, Tim The Enchanter himself made many other appearances on shows that appeared on SPUD-TV.

Tim The Enchanter is a very interesting Horror Host as he truly was a specialty host who was only marketed to friends of the host himself. So while searching the World Wide Web as well as all the magic shops I could think of, I found the one and only Tim The Enchanter who has been nice enough to take a few moments to chat with us and answer 5 Questions! That’s right we are going to have 5 Questions with Tim The Enchanter!

Me: Welcome, Tim The Enchanter to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?

Tim: First of all, thanks so much for the opportunity to dust the cobwebs off of the old SPUD-TV footage, and revisit my vintage “Scary As Hell Theater” activities… Well, my formative years were spent in Southern California, during the 1960s, when regional television stations all seemed to harbor a great deal more initiative and creativity than they do these days. My very first glimpses into the realm of Horror Hosts came with the arrival of KCOP Channel 13’s now-legendary “Jeepers Creepers” broadcasts, which was anchored by three different hosts over the years that it appeared on the air. My memories are understandable fragmented, retained in my awareness as marvelously spooky vignettes, steeped in sort of a misty dream state — but that only adds to the macabre allure of it all, I think. Actually, it required a genuine effort for a 7, 8, 9-year-old to successfully keep his eyes open until the 11 p.m. starting time on Saturday nights, and most often, I have to admit, I would typically be able to see the host’s introductory segment, the first piece of whatever movie they were showing, the second host segment, a little more of the movie… and then fast asleep I would invariably to go. But at the heart of it, I was inevitably charmed and delighted by the host’s gloriously spooky attire, their exceedingly creepy demeanor, all of that fake fog wafting in the on-screen atmosphere, and the ornately fashioned coffin as the studio set’s centerpiece. To me, at that highly impressionable age, it didn’t so much matter which movie they were exhibiting — it could’ve been one of those grand old Universal Horror films (so many of them particular favorites of mine, then and now), or it could just as easily have been one of Bela Lugosi’s el cheap-o Monogram flicks, but it was truly the host(s) that lastingly captured my imagination, and ultimately brought me back for more the following week… Furthermore, it cannot be under-estimated how much of an almost spectral presence and massive inspiration dear old Zacherley was during those times. While he was primarily regarded as an East Coast TV personality, enough of his larger-than-life persona and macabre humor seeped into the prevailing mix of things, through various means (novelty recordings, monster magazine articles, and so on) to help reinforce his presence within the wider Pop Culture of those times… A bit later on, more towards the early 1970s, the other measurably significant host whom really made a lasting mark upon my consciousness was the great Larry ‘Sinister Seymour’ Vincent (who notably did time on KHJ-TV and KTLA-TV, respectively). Since I was a bit older by that point, I was primed to understand and appreciate a lot of the over-the-top cynicism and sarcasm employed by him, and to a great degree, that’s where I really got a lot of the sense of how best to conduct my own grass-roots Horror Hosting efforts.

Me: Sinister Seymour, a true Hosting Icon indeed! Tell us how did Scary A Hell Theater as well as SPUD-TV come about?

Tim: My wife, my son and daughter, and I rather abruptly found ourselves relocating (by the mid 1990s) to a small collage town in Idaho, where my wife was employed (following graduate school at U.C. Berkeley) to teach English and Native American Literature courses at the University in Moscow. Truly a wonderful prospect in terms of her early academic career — but as time went on, to be honest, despite the beautiful scenery and charmingly rustic downtown culture, it became a little tedious having to cope with some of the thorny drawbacks of making a life in those surroundings. I won’t go into dreary detail, but some of the indigenous folks could’ve been from another planet entirely, and their strong suit didn’t include tolerance of people basically seen as ‘outsiders’. But hey, it’s entirely possible that they thought we were from another planet as well. Who’s to say? Regardless, all of us tried very hard to make things work, since there was clearly a lot at stake. After my wife and son gave me a video camera for one of my birthdays, I resolved to let off a little steam by creating a mock TV operation, and an exaggerated cast of characters to populate my various video projects, all of it very much fashioned upon the old-school regional TV station dynamic experienced during my younger years. In a way, it was very much a release, and a way to (hopefully) retain my sanity amid some of the lesser desirable aspects of living in Idaho. I lampooned the whole experience through my many video segments, and they were eventually shared with a small circle of friends that resided in other parts of the country (Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Diego, San Francisco, and Minneapolis). Owing to my inherent love of Horror Hosts, one of my characters became a rather arrogant / pompous fellow known as Tim the Enchanter, and he would host an array of short subject offerings, and macabre clips of one kind or another, things like that. Those segments were always delivered under the title of SPUD-TV’s “Scary As Hell Theater”. Well, the time ultimately came, however, to mount a full-blown program, wherein Tim would host a proper Horror film. I selected Mario Bava’s “Black Sunday” (a.k.a. “The Mask Of Satan”), because I had just seen Tim Burton host it on the old incarnation of American Movie Classics for the Halloween season, and off to the races I went with it all. Naturally, I don’t have to tell you exactly how much work it is to put together such an endeavor. And I was just one guy, and I did absolutely EVERYTHING. I wrote it, I taped it, I performed it, I edited it. It was exhausting, but also great fun. I loved it!!! Also, because I was operating in the murky realm of private home video release, I felt as though it was entirely appropriate to stick in whatever snippets I wished from any given source — whether it was a few song samples from a Goth band, or a goofy novelty recording, or even a Monty Python movie quote. I loaded it on pretty thick with Pop Culture references by design, and I ended up being pretty pleased with how the pilot episode came out. Not too terribly shabby for a beginner, but it was like I had been gradually preparing for most of my life to play the part of a Horror Host.

Me: So there is a rumor of you coming back, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what antics we can expect?

Tim: Funny you should ask that. Well, yes, I’ve spent some of the past month or so in feverishly planning a return and a kind of swan song for “Scary As Hell Theater”. Contrary to my earlier hopes, it won’t end up appearing any time this year (2019), due to equipment problems and health care issues. But I have every hope that 2020 will see the return of Tim, perhaps in an ominous threesome of hosting stints, which I would call the “Scary As Hell Theater” Bat film trilogy. Three public domain movies from the olden days: “The Vampire Bat” with Lionel Atwill & Dwight Frye, “The Devil Bat” with Bela Lugosi, and “The Bat” with Vincent Price. And woven into the mix will be something of a behind-the-scenes story thread, which will show Tim in new surroundings, while being required to adjust to these public domain properties, and occasionally vexed and otherwise tormented by his gray-haired CRAB-TV show runner, who will come off as an effective enough foil for Tim’s brand of cranky / never-entirely-satisfied personality. All in all, it’ll be a real pleasure to revisit “Scary As Hell Theater”, and finally see Tim off into the sunset with these episodes. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Me: Amazing news, and I myself am looking forward to Scary As Hell’s return! When you bring back Scary As Hell Theater will a new episode be released every Halloween time?

Tim: Despite what the fortune cookies may say, the future is unknown. Naturally, I would love to say “YES!”. However, we’ll have to see where we stand after the Bat film trilogy. Time and energy are at something of a premium these days, especially with doing everything myself as I would have to do. We’ll just leave it open-ended. A return is always a possibility, of course. I mean, if Universal Studios could resurrect their Frankenstein Monster, no matter how they might’ve cruelly dispatched him in the previous film, and if even Mr. Spock can be miraculously brought back from the land of the dead, then anything is conceivable. Still, we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out. Sorry to be so vague in my reply. As long as my heart continues to beat as it does, I will always adore Horror Hosts (both classic and contemporary), and I very much like the notion of popping up now and again.

Me: So if you could host any film, what would you pick?

Tim: Ah, what a vastly appealing prospect! Geez, how to chose? There are so many wonderful possibilities. Hmm, I would say (mostly because I had temporarily flirted with this idea just recently) it would be a real blast to host Rob Zombie’s “House Of 1,000 Corpses”. Just sayin’. The glorious possibilities for unbridled riffing, for genre-aware jokes, for pounding into the host segments presentation (preferably with an over-sized clown hammer) my own spin on all of the cinematic and real world references — it would be an extraordinary opportunity. Just think, to be able to drag my best Bill Moseley impression out of the moth-eaten closet, and send the audience into it by exclaiming: “I’ll bet you’d stick your head in fire if I said you could see Hell.”, and / or the classic “HOPE YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE!!!” And if I actually did it, sure, it would be massively satisfying beyond all earthly measure. But hey, thanks to the Copyright Overlords, only a very few people within my circle would ever see the result of those ambitious toils, as it would need to be released privately, with a painfully short list of prospective ‘victims’. Oh well, it’s a nice dream, isn’t it?

Me: And lastly, do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?

Tim: In all likelihood, I would say: “Let your freak flag fly, my children!” No, seriously though. My advice, offered most humbly, would be to throw all caution to the wind and demonstrate your love of the Horror genre by adding your voice to the esteemed crowd. It’s not only a declaration of appreciation for everything which inhabits the realm of Horror (cinematic, literary… in whatever form that you might covet it), but it’s also an opportunity for self-expression and for adding to the magnificent community which is Horror Hosting. It’s also a way to honor the Old Guard, our Horror Hosting heroes. Most of us have them, regional personalities illuminated by the light of our shared times together, during our most impressionable years. All you need is a camera and a little imagination. Go for it, and never let anybody discourage you. Years ago, I sent my hosted “Black Sunday” episode to a friend of long standing, and I was quite excited to eventually hear what her reaction to it would be. Well, it came in its own time, and wasn’t really what I had hoped to hear. She simply said: “Wow! You must have a lot of time on your hands!” I’ll freely admit, I allowed that to somewhat dampen my spirits, and to hinder my momentum in continuing with a series of similar hosting ventures. Don’t let anybody rain on your parade! If you have the energy, the drive, the passion to do it, then by all means, allow no-one to chip away at your resolve. A decade or so ago, I actually had tangible fears that Horror Hosting might be fading away. Happily, I was mistaken. It has come on stronger than ever once again, all over the country, and it shows no signs what-so-ever of being rudely extinguished. You can be a part of all of that, and you will be, if your heart is dark and filled with desire… In any case, I offer my sincere thanks for your time.

Me: Great advice Tim, and thank you for answering these questions that my readers and I enjoyed! I am very much looking forward to seeing the Bat Trilogy, and I will make a promise to you readers that once they are done, I will have them up here on this very update as a well….so I guess you could say it will be an update to an update!

So we have heard from Tim The Enchanter himself and about the future of Scary As Hell Theater…but one thing I am sure you readers did not know is that a second episode with the movie being Evil Dead 2 was made but was not hosted by Tim The Enchanter! That’s right, Tim was replaced by a Host named Graveyard Guy who a little more raunchy and slightly more mean spirited, and yet still held a goofy tone. In fact this version of the show aired on the fake station called CRAB-TV and is surly the nemesis to Tim! So while Graveyard Guy is part of Scary As Hell Theater’s legacy, he is no Tim The Enchanter and let’s hope that in the new episodes Tim gets his show back and he and SPUD-TV show why their Scary As Hell Theater is the only one that matters!

I have always said that to me there is no such thing as a Horror Host that is too big or too small and that every host means something to their fans and viewers, and Tim The Enchanter is a prime example of that. And now we are at the part of the update where I will showcase the episode I have of Scary As Hell Theater. As always, I will not be rating the episode and will take the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and I will write about the crazy antics of Tim during the episode. So if you are ready, let’s see what Scary As Hell Theater has in store for us.

Scary As Hell Theater: Black Sunday
Starring – Barbara Steele & John Richardson      Not Rated      1960

Host: Tim The Enchanter starts the episode lip-synching to a Jethro Tull song and then gives us a history of the night’s film as well as cracks a few jokes. During the movie he inserts himself into it to be part of jokes that he plays off the dialogue the characters deliver. He then comes back with a parody of The Blair Witch Project where he apologizes for the show and movie to all the viewers and their families as he freezes outside doing so. He then talks about witches and how much fun they can be! Tim closes the show with his staff and presents a cool look at classic Horror Host Sinister Seymour and then disappears.

Movie: A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch’s beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl’s brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.

So as you can see, Tim The Enchanter is one of those Horror Hosts that only a few diehard Horror Host fans know about, and I hope that this Horror Host Icon update brings him more attention and more viewers and fans for Scary As Hell Theater. I am sure many of you also have caught on that Tim The Enchanter got his namesake from Tim The Enchanter, the character from “Monty Python And The Holy Grail”…pretty cool stuff indeed. So for our next update I will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be heading to the world of the frontier as we will take a look at Night Of The Grizzly and the DELL Comic adaptation of this adventure/western film with a dash of Horror. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Beware the grizzlies are they are meat eaters!

Horror Host Icon: Rayne

Dayton has had its fair share of male hosts with names like Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, The Creeper, Baron Von Porkchop, Retina and Dr. Freak all coming to mind and being some of the most popular ones. But when thinking about female hosts from Dayton there are far fewer with Iris being the only full host and the others being co-hosts like Baroness Von Porkchop and Suspira…but did you readers know that we did have a second female host that sadly only lasted three episodes? Her name was Rayne and her show was Studio Cinema. Behind Iris I think she is the area’s second fully fledged female Horror Hostess who had her own show, making her very important when it comes to the rich history of Dayton Hosts. So for this quick update it’s with great honor that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Rayne as I continue my look at the Horror Hosts of Dayton for 2020…wait her show is set at the 2020…it’s a perfect year to cover her!

Studio Cinema started in 2015 and made its premiere on YouTube with the first episode being uploaded on September 10, 2015 to give viewers a taste of what was to come. Two more episodes would be filmed, and they would go direct to DVD and could be purchased at the 2020 where the show was set. The show was created by Carl Merritt who directed a vampire film called “Abe’s Tomb” and is the owner of the 2020 as well as Stacy Rayne, who is a model and the show’s host. The show’s vibe was fun and had a real indie horror touch that made each episode feel like its own little mini movie. In each episode Rayne and the models have to deal with goofy, creepy and terrible customers. The show has a really indie horror feel to it and the pacing is set in place that showcases the annoying customer as well as the pushing of Rayne who must deal with the issue by dealing death. The customers in each episode would be played by an Indie Horror Movie director or a local photographer that would go on to be interviewed later in the show about their work. The show would come to an official end on November 2, 2016 when director and producer Carl Merritt made the announcement on the show’s Facebook page. While the show did not last long it still made a splash with local Horror Host viewers and earned its place in the history books of Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosted Shows.

Rayne is a host like none other in our area as she is a manager of a photo studio who does her day-to-day job, and when pushed by terrible customers, she deals with them in brutal ways. You see when Rayne is sent to the edge, she changes into Hunter. a killer who gets joy in dealing with these pains and deals out a helping hand of murder with her knife, machine gun or whatever else she can get her hands on! Rayne wears a pink shirt that has The 2020 on it and while friendly, she does have a sinister edge to her. Meanwhile Hunter wears all black and is 100% violent, as she will kill in order to protect the models and keep The 2020 a safe place for all. Rayne is lovely and deadly and is Dayton’s second Horror Hostess and delivered three solid and fun episodes to her viewers before retiring for Hosting in 2016. Will she ever come back and bring new episodes of Studio Cinema to Dayton…only time will tell.

Like all good Horror Host shows Studio Cinema had its own co-host/sidekick with model MC Arthur who helped the customers at The 2020 as well as delivered her own silly jokes as she wanted to also become a stand up comic. The cool thing about MC is her blonde hair and overly bubbly nature made her a great contrast from Rayne/Hunter. Plus MC is in all three episodes and is the main focus in two of the episodes as the rude customers are the ones who give her guff. So while she is not the host, MC is clearly the show’s co-host and is the nice balance to play off Rayne. I’m not really sure why they didn’t just turn the show over to MC when Rayne retired, as I think she could have done a good job of hosting at least a few episodes.

Studio Cinema and its Hostess Rayne are a part of Dayton history, and I want to thank the show’s creator Carl Merritt for hooking me up with DVD copies of this show as well as allowing me to share some of the photos he has taken of Rayne while she was modeling. So I am sure you have guessed that we are at the part of this Horror Host Icon update where I will be talking about the episodes I own on DVD, and I want to remind you that I will not be grading these episodes and that I will be taking the film’s write ups from our friends at IMDB with the host segments write ups done by me. I want to also say that I had to make the cover for the first episode as it was an online release only, so that’s why it’s not as cool as the official ones. So if you are ready, let’s travel to The 2020 and see what Rayne has in store for us!

Studio Cinema: Giant Gila Monster
Starring – Don Sullivan & Lisa Simone     Not Rated     1959

Host: We start the show and meet Rayne, the manager of photo studio the 2020 that offers not only models to photograph but also Horror Movies on DVD! Ryan has to yell at a customer who is touching the model M.C. rudely as she is trying to book a customer over the phone, but the photographer keeps touching the model and gets his final warning from Rayne to stop! When he does not listen, Rayne deals with the handsy creep once and for all. Rayne goes on to give a fact about the night’s movie before M.C. has to clean up the body parts of the now dead customer. Next she interviews a local actor about his weird roles, and then shares a story about a real life serial killer who killed his own mother. While working on paperwork, Rayne is visited by M.C. and she tells a really bad joke as she says she wants to become a comedian. In the end Rayne thanks us for watching and warns the viewer that Hunter will rip their tongues out if they don’t have nice things to say.

Movie: A couple of teenagers are reported missing in a small Texas town, and it is thought they eloped. Sheriff Jeff turns to his friend Clarence Winstead, a garage mechanic and leader of a hot-rod gang, for help. After a series of tragic motor accidents, it becomes apparent that a giant Gila monster is roaming the area depleting the town of its citizens and visitors, including two hot-rodding teens, and planning to attend the big record-hop party.

Studio Cinema: Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Starring – Jason Evers & Virginia Leith     Not Rated     1962

Host: Rayne welcomes us back to the studio and tells us about the night’s film and also shares what business the 2020 has set up for the day. Rayne next gives some trivia facts about the film and then gets a visit from Ray, a client who wants to buy some Horror Movies and also comes off very sleazy and puts down the selection of films to model MC! And when Ray gets out of hand, Rayne turns into Hunter and uses a switchblade to gut him like a hog! Hunter turns back to Rayne and she once more talks about the film as well as the customers that do business with the 2020. Rayne once more shares a true crime story about a man who threw his own guts at the comics! We next join Rayne as she has a sit down interview with director Ray Basham who made the film “Hillbilly-Bob Zombie”. And once the movie is over, Rayne ends the show and plugs some websites and lets us know she will see us for the next episode.

Movie: Dr. Bill Cortner has been performing experimental surgery on human guinea pigs without authorization and against the advice of his father, also a surgeon. When Bill’s fiancée Jan Compton is decapitated in an automobile accident, he manages to keep her brain alive. He now needs to find a new body for his bride-to-be and settles on Doris Powell, a glamor model with a facial disfigurement. Jan meanwhile doesn’t want to continue her body-less existence and calls upon the creature hidden in the basement, one of Bill Cortner’s unsuccessful experiments, to break loose.

Studio Cinema: Little Shop Of Horrors
Starring – Jonathan Haze & Dick Miller     Not Rated     1960

Host: On this third and final episode of Studio Cinema, Rayne introduces the night’s film as she is very happy to show this classic film. A new model at The 2020 is with a photographer who likes to scare people, and when he scares the model, he is yelled at by both Rayne and M.C. who tell him to knock it off. Once back Rayne once more delivers some trivia about the nights film and is disrupted by a door to door sales man who is way too pushy, and for this Rayne turns to Hunter and he is shot and killed. Once back as Rayne she shares once more a twisted tale of true crime that fits into the death of the door-to- door salesman. Later the prankster photographer sends the model to change as he nabs a nearby Halloween mask and scares the models again, and with this Rayne turns to Hunter and throws the photographer out the window to his death. After this Rayne interviews a Dayton area photographer about what motivates him and his styles. In the end, Rayne chats about her love for the movie and so ends Studio Cinema.

Movie: When the clumsy Seymour Krelboyne spoils two flowers of a client, the owner of a small florist shop Gravis Mushnick is ready to fire him. However Seymour tells that he has mixed two plants of different breeds at home and created a hybrid named Audrey Jr. and Mushnick decides to give another chance to his employee. On the next day, Seymour brings Audrey Jr. that becomes the pride and joy of Mushnick, his other employee Audrey Fulquard and clients. Out of the blue, the flower seems to be dying and Seymour accidentally learns that she likes blood. One day, Seymour is upset since he does not know how to feed the flower and he walks along a railroad. When he throws a stone near a railroad track, he accidentally hits the head of a man that falls on the track and is a train runs over him. Seymour brings the pieces of the man to the shop and finds that the plant likes flesh. On the next morning, Audrey Jr. has grown and become the attraction of the shop. But how will Seymour feed his plant.

So as you can see, while Rayne and Studio Cinema had a very small run, they still are very much apart of Horror Host history in Dayton, Ohio. With the year being 2020 and The 2020 still being opened, who knows if the show will ever return and if Rayne/Hunter will return to deal with terrible customers and bring viewers cheesy Horror Movies….only time will truly tell. So for the next update we will be stepping away from the world of Horror Hosting and will be heading back to the world of comic books as we will be taking a look at a Marvel Horror character Zombie as we will be doing another Marvel Horror Showcase update. So until we meet again, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh and beware of the zombies as not all of them are flesheaters.

Horror Host Icon: A. Ghastlee Ghoul

It’s late night in Dayton, Ohio and you are flipping stations waiting for the midnight hour so that you can turn to public access and catch a Horror Host that was like none other in your area. His show was a mix of Night Flight and Shock Theater and was filled with crude humor and off the wall skits, and if you were lucky the episode might have porn clips (minus all nudity) set to the song “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”! This magical show was called The Ghastlee Movie Show, and its host was A. Ghastlee Ghoul. No joke, this was on my must-watch list every week as this show was so crazy, so fun and so off the wall, it really was something I looked forward to watching while relaxing in my room after a long week of school and laughing my butt off to Ghastlee and his cohorts’ zany segments and skits.

While Dayton has had its fair share of Horror Hosts like Dr. Creep, The Creeper, Dr. Freak, Baron Von Porkchop and Iris & Retina and all of them are top notch, there is only one A. Ghastlee Ghoul. It’s my complete honor to bring you readers this very special Horror Host Icon update that is all about the one and only master of the late night puns, A. Ghastlee Ghoul!

The Ghastlee Movie Show started in 1991 and was spawned off another public access comedy show called “The Underground Sideshow” from 1988 as it started off as a skit about a reluctant Horror Host. And with that skit, a new breed of Horror Host show was born in Dayton as it took over the time slot of the show that spawned it and became a late night hit with viewers.

The show lasted for decades, and Ghastlee was a Horror Host that I can remember kids talking about once I moved from Waynesville to Kettering as everyone enjoyed the rapid fire pacing and the chaos of the skits with the use of music and visuals. His show was like nothing seen before from a Horror Host…at least in our area!

A. Ghastlee Ghoul became such a popular host that he also began appearing on other local access shows like “Media Only” and even “New Shock Theater,” teaming him with one of his biggest inspirations, Dr. Creep! Ghastlee’s zany show even helped spawn the world youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak and this even lead to him appearing on his show “Cult Theater” and giving the film Zombie 4 the old “Mystery Science Theater 3000” treatment. The show’s popularity among public access viewers grew and this lead to A. Ghastlee Ghoul becoming the official second most popular Horror Host in the Dayton market and lead to so many other cool appearances that we will get into a little later.

One of The Ghastlee Movie Show’s most watched episodes had him starring at the camera the whole time looking sad, and this both worried and puzzled viewers as they just didn’t understand what was going on…and that was the point and it had them coming back for more! Over the years The Ghastlee Movie show has slowed down with new episodes coming only in the form of the occasional special or Ghastlee appearing on other shows like Baron Von Porkchops Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. But while The Ghastlee Movie Show might be entertaining viewers and fans with reruns right now, plans of new episodes are in the works as of this update! I will say never count A. Ghastlee Ghoul out as who knows when a new Ghastlee Movie Show will emerge from the depths of Dayton and introduce a new breed of viewers to this innovative and one of a kind show.

When I first moved from Waynesville to Kettering, I hated it so much as I was always the strange monster kid who loved to talk about Horror Movies and draw pictures of monsters and demons…and this new school was not about it as the kids were all fine but 97% of the staff was not and thought I was in some sort of cult and was dangerous…it was the satanic panic all over again! But while Kettering Schools sucked ass, it was during this time that I discovered The Ghastlee Movie Show. I had seen him on other shows like “Media Only,” but while here in Kettering I really got to discover just how amazing his show was.

I watched every Friday night and would even tape it and watch the reruns. His show was that mesmerizing to this then-teenage monster kid. My favorite episode to watch was when he hosted the film The Manster as he inserted himself into the movie and did some great comedy bits that fit perfectly with the events of the film. I also saw his starting at the camera episode and watched the whole thing…in fact several times…I know that explains a lot!

I first got to meet Ghastlee in person at one of the Horrorama Movie Marathon events and became life long friends with him when I answered a trivia question about his show and won a prize. After this, Ghastlee and I emailed each other from time to time, and I was even lucky enough to be on his show once (more on that later) and would go to events he was hosting like screenings at Neon Movies. We also both would be at many of the same conventions once my friends and I started the SOV film company Independent B Movie.

A. Ghastlee Ghoul is like a second father to me and has always watched out for me as well as has always been around when needed and has supported all my weird creative outlets as I have always been around for him. He is a true friend who has helped inspire many of my projects including the creation of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop that I created back in 2010 alongside my cousin Stephen. I am a very lucky person as I have lots of great people in my life, and I am lucky to call many of the Horror Hosts I grew up watching friends like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Creep, Dr. Freak, The Creeper and Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go all who are Dayton Hosts. So here is a big thank you to Bob Hinton, the man behind A. Ghastlee Ghoul for all his years of friendship and for being an amazing Horror Host and a great person.

A. Ghastlee Ghoul was just that – a ghoul who has a pail white face, a goatee and long hair who has a twisted and fun sense of humor and is filled with random and off the wall thoughts and jokes. His original look was wearing all black with a long black coat and a strange looking glove that was deformed looking. His attire would later change to a long red & black coat with a red hat, and this became his signature look.

Ghastlee’s sense of humor is a little twisted, and he has no filter and a manic style of hosting. While Ghastlee has hosted films, he mostly was known for hosting clips that had a gonzo style of editing that included clips of adult films mixed with old commercials and horror movies all set to music. While a ghoul, A. Ghastlee Ghoul is not the flesh eating kind and is more of the pun infested kind who enjoys making people laugh as well as become shocked by his brand of humor.

Besides his show and hosting movies, Ghastlee is also known for playing in bands in the area as well as hosting a radio show, making him a multi talented Ghoul! Besides being the host of The Ghastlee Movie Show, he has also guest starred and hosted many other shows like New Shock Theater, Cult Theater, Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, The Spooky Movie, Weird Web Theater and many more! While A. Ghastlee Ghoul might not be of the flesh eating variety, this Ghoul how ever is the type to both humor and frighten you with his quick wit and zany personality.

Like any good Horror Host show, the Ghastlee Movie Show has its fair share of co-hosts and sidekicks! With one of the early ones being the one and only Uncle Jasper! But then was added Lou The XXX-Mas Devil, who is smooth and a ladies man and an amazing co-host that adds lots of fun moments to the show. Then came Jeff McClellan, American, a cigar chomping pro American who has strong right views. Grimsburger The Doorman was his grunting, raw meat-eating doorman, and lastly was the Horror Hostess Suspira who added a horror lady charm to the show. Plus over the ages he had many other guests that include Dr. Creep, Dow Thomas, Dr. Freak and Baron Von Wolfstein! And for those who might not know, I once played a character on his show and was called “Son Of A. Ghastlee Ghoul” who was indeed a fraud when his real life daughter showed up and fronted me out! That was such a fun time, and the episode had both not only me but also my pal Jason Gilmore. All the co-hosts are so important to this show and each added their own touch to making Ghastlee Movie Show even more special for viewers.

Good old Ghastlee has also spread his madness to many great events as well as he is a staple at many conventions over the years with his main appearance being at Cinema Wasteland in Strongsville, Ohio where he even hosts an event called “Ghastlee Night At The Movies” that showcases his zany games and even musical performances and this is a staple for Wastelanders. In 2004 Ghastlee even had his own convention here in Dayton at the Convention Center called “Ghastlee’s Scary Camp” that was a great time for everyone who attended and had many great guests like Sid Haig, Conrad Brooks, Bill Hinzman and Heather Leigh Davis to name a few, not to mention David “The Rock” Nelson was also running around!

A. Ghastlee Ghoul also has been in many bands around here with his two most popular bands being Rat Sass and Splattertude, and they have played at many great venues and has even had “A. Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s” events at the classic Gilly’s Jazz Club! He has live hosted movies at theaters like Neon Movies, Page Manor, Englewood Cinema and even Danbarry Huber Heights and even has co-hosted charity movie marathon Horrorama off and on for years. He also did Frightfest, a meet and great at a Blockbuster Video in Middletown, a very cool idea that brought video rental store and Horror Host together. He has written many short stories as well as co-authored the cult classic novel “Underpants Of The Dead” as well as wrote two of the stories used in the comic book series “Shocking Macabre Theater” that also showcases Ghastlee as one of the main characters! Not to mention he has even hosted comedy and freakshow acts alongside Baron Von Porkchop at Wiley’s Comedy Club!

In his early days as Bob Hinton, he ran many haunted houses….and this is just a drop in the hat of all the amazing things A. Ghastlee Ghoul has done in and around the Ohio area, showing that this Horror Host and the man behind it truly is a creative mastermind. Oh man I should also say that in 2004 he made the horror comedy film “Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire” that also showcased many other Horror Hosts including Dr. Creep & Dr. Freak! And he even has done radio with his show “Wackadoo Wax Radio” with co-host Comrade X…man A. Ghastlee Ghoul/Bob Hinton really is a man of many talents! One more thing that is very important to Horror Host fans around the world is Ghastlee is also one of the founding creators of The Horror Host Underground, a very cool group that allowed viewers from all around the U.S to see hosts from other states!

On March 19, 2016 at Horrorhound Weekend, the “2016 Class of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame” induction took place and in this class was the one and only A. Ghastlee Ghoul. To me this was long over due as Ghastlee truly is an iconic host who had a style all to his own, setting him apart from the pack. For this event Ghastlee was inducted by Halloween Jack and Baron Von Wolfstein, and I was honored that he wanted me on stage with him during this time for him to be honored for all his years of hard work being a Horror Host. A. Ghastlee Ghoul was joined in his class by the likes of Feep, Ivonna Cadaver, The Great Zucchini and Ghost Host to name a few. It was great to see Ghastlee get the respect and honor he 100% deserved as he really is a true icon of Horror Hosting and has done so much for Hosting on screen and off it!

Shocking Macabre Theater has two issues released by Sparkle Comics so far and features Dayton’s best Horror Hosts like Dr. Creep, The Creeper, Baron Von Porkchop and of course A. Ghastlee Ghoul all sharing scary stories with the readers. Artist Damien Brunk is the one who brings the host parts alive on the pages. But what people do not know is that when Sparkle Comics first started in 2016, one of the first comics in development was a comic based on A. Ghastlee Ghoul that would have him and Lou The XXX-Mas Devil going on Scooby-Doo style adventures. The art for this series was going to be done by my friend Brett Prescott who also would have helped write the adventures along with myself, and we would have had A. Ghastlee Ghoul also help with the stories. The idea would have taken Ghastlee and Lou all over the state of Ohio and would have had them running into local legend monsters as well as would have had an enemy known as The Phantom who would wear all black and would almost be like the Super Goof baddy Phantom Blot but way more sinister and mean. This sadly got sidelined and never made it into full production as we mostly just worked on character designs and loose plotlines. As of now, the comic is one the list of comics that are no longer being developed, but who knows, maybe one day Brett and I will work on this comic series and at least deliver a one shot issue. Check out some of the art design below to see how this comic would have looked.

Before we get to the episodes, I would like to take a moment to talk about his most iconic one in which Ghastlee starred at the camera for 30 minutes straight as candle smoke entered the frame. The watchers of Dayton public access were mesmerized by this episode as it was met with mixed reactions! Many viewers just watched in amazement to try and figure out if Ghastlee was pulling a joke; many others thought he was trying to steal their souls or hypnotize them and it was part of some sort of devil worshiping ritual! When I saw the show when it originally aired, I picked up more of a sad vibe, almost like Ghastlee’s heart had been broken and this was his way of dealing with it. Ghastlee himself would go on and say that the episode was an experiment to see if people would watch the full episode and find a meaning in it. This episode lives on still to this day as people who love Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts talk about this episode amongst themselves, I think one amazing thing about this episode is the fact that people wrote in to the station to complain about it and this causes major stress between Ghastlee and the station. This episode is truly one that needs to be seen as it’s one of the oddest episodes of The Ghastlee Movie Show you will ever see.

So as you can see, A. Ghastlee Ghoul is a true Dayton original Horror Host entertainer who has entertained, confused and inspired many viewers over the years of his show. And now it’s time for me to take a look at some of the shows I have of A. Ghastlee Ghoul on DVD as part of my horror host collection. I want to thank Bob Hinton himself for getting me almost all of these episodes as well as fellow Horror Host tape traders. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films’ write-ups coming from our pals at IMDB. I am also not going to cover the DVDs of “Best Of The Ghastlee Movie Show” nor “Grimsburger Raw” as those are clip shows and I want to showcase the full episodes. I also have a ton of episodes and these are the ones I selected at random to showcase The Ghastlee Movie Show. Some of these episodes are the ones that made me a fan all those years back. So if you’re ready, let’s dive into the weird and wild world of A. Ghastlee Ghoul and his movie show!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Alcohol Patch
Starring – Uncle Jasper & Erin Ghoul         Not Rated       2000

Host: Ghastlee, wearing a fur coat, is hanging out with Uncle Jasper and once more welcoming us to the show with his super quick wit and racy humor. He also talks about the theme of the year as well as how only 141 people watch his show. He also showcases the new alcohol patch and then brings on a group of teens who are his live audience. He talks more about the patch and interviews the teens and shows some random clips and skits before ending the show. Also his daughter shows up to end the show properly as he is on the alcohol patch.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Anther Dimension
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul   Not Rated   1998

Host: Ghastlee joins you from another dimension to host the night’s show and treat us to soothing music over psychedelic colors and images. Ghastlee returns to warn the viewers about being trapped in another dimension and tells them all not to get stuck in one as it’s bad! Then back to the music; this time set to clips from movies. Ghastlee comes back and asks for help to escape from the other dimension and that really this episode is just a concept as he has run out of ideas! Then back to clips and skits that include classic skits used on classic episodes. Ghastlee joins the viewers again from the dimension and ushers them out of the episode.

Note From Matt: This is episode 52 of The Ghastlee Movie Show.

Ghastlee Movie Show: Bad Trip At Creepy Crick
Starring – Jesse Nutt & Gary Davis     Not Rated       1992

Host: Ghastlee shows up a little way into the movie and is upset they started the show without him and is even more mad they are showing this shot on video B-movie! Next time we show Ghastlee, he is on set and shows a fake commercial for foot care. And when the film is over, Ghastlee enters the film and beats the actors with a stick! He also shows a music video and a Little Lulu cartoon.

Movie: A group of friends are fishing at a small creek and are warned by a Monster Hunter that a fish monster is on the loose and people have been turning up dead! The group of friends decide to stay instead of leave and to their horror the monster shows up! The group of friends turn the table on the monster and find that the creature is in fact not real and is just the Monster Hunter dressed up. And in the end a twist happens and the film quickly ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Bill
Starring – Bill Hicks       Not Rated     1994

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is sitting in his home and is ranting about how companies are using music from the likes of John Lennon and Janis Joplin to sell products! He also does a silly musical bit about Seattle as well as talks about his sadness of the passing of Bill Hicks.

Movie: What is shown is the last stand-up act of comedian Bill Hicks in Arkansas.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Chili Cook Off
Starring – Dr. Creep & Dave Sullivan     Not Rated   2002

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul, alongside Jeff McClellan, is heading to an Irish Pub in Brookville to meet with Horror Host Icon Dr. Creep to eat chili at a cook off! Also on hand to eat chili is Wild Man Dave Sullivan of show Media Only. Ghastlee and crew eat chili and rate it and are having a great time do so for charity. In the end, they event takes to long to pick a winner, and Ghastlee lets the viewers know in his book # 28 was the winner.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Coming Around The Mountain
Starring – Dr. Creep        Not Rated       1997

Host: Ghastlee starts the show talking about his show being “TV M” and that people should tune in because boobs. And he takes jabs at the city of Moraine as well as terrible commercials being aired. He then shows the classic “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” skit that has the song mixed with porn clips. And then he talks about his most viewed episode –  of him just starring in the camera the whole episode and the how people complained about it. We then show Ghastlee with Dr. Creep at the Inferno club talking about running for President. And once more he starts up about being TV M and how raunchy he can be now because of it and proceeds to tell dirty jokes.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Community Watch
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul      Not Rated       1993

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is very concerned about the community and wants to talk about censorship of books and how terrible it is that a local church is doing book burnings and how terrible it is that libraries are taking books off shelves. Ghastlee returns to his normal set and talks a little about the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula and says the movie sucks! We are then treated to skits and music montages clipped together in Ghastlee fashion. This episode also shows a live White Zombie video filmed here in Dayton, Ohio. In the end, Ghastlee makes more jokes and thanks viewers for watching.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Death Of A Rude Dude
Starring – Rick Martin & Dr. Creep     Not Rated     1995

Host: On his set Ghastlee tells some jokes and then shows a short film called “Death Of A Really Rude Dude” that ends up just being about him bragging about himself to the female workers of Public Access. And later in his set, Ghastlee starts drinking and being angry with his crew and has a guest named A. Smithee who was flown in from Hollywood. Smithee gets upset when he realizes that Ghastlee has never seen one of his films. After Smithee storms off the set, he plays a few funny spots, and then gets a visit from Dr. Creep minus his makeup who warns him to change his behavior, and after the visit he goes to the control room and gets a package that has a dead rat in it. Once back on his set he talks about boobs on public access and asks viewers if they would like to see them, and once more Dr. Creep visits with a warning, as Ghastlee keeps being rude and crude and his final warning comes while Ghastlee is in the restroom. In the end A. Smithee grabs a knife and stalks Ghastlee down the halls, and finally Smithee with a samurai sword cuts off Ghastlee’s hand and head!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Elvis Lives
Starring – Lou Vuto     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee welcomes us to his show while he tells some crude and silly jokes on his set. He also interviews an Elvis impersonator named Lou Vuto and even ends the show lip-synching to an Elvis song.

Movie: The movie section of this episode is clips and music mixed together in a Night Flight kind of way. Also thrown in are some silly skits from Ghastlee and his old comedy troop of friends. Also plays a few Elvis inspired music videos that include the animated “All Dug Up” video of a skeleton Elvis in his coffin.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Jimmy Hoffa   Not Rated   1991

Host: This starts with Ghastlee doing a skit about hair loss and a hair club that will help you grow hair…because you are a werewolf! Ghastlee Ghoul emerges from a black and red screen and welcomes the viewers to the show and tells some Halloween and Pee-Wee Herman jokes and does a skit about Jeffrey Dahmer. Ghastlee next talks to a chunk of concrete that is Jimmy Hoffa and a filmmaker who claims he has slept with many famous females. Ghastlee then tells some news from the afterlife and then his friends go and share “ghost” stories. Ghastlee returns and has a segment called “Be Funny Or Be Dead” and if they win they get free White Castle burgers for life or die by them; the comedian dies by a giant burger. Ghastlee ends the show dancing and telling the viewers he will see them next week.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 4
Starring – Sock Puppets         Not Rated       1992    

Host: This episode starts with a man being killed with a hammer, and then Ghastlee starts the episode singing the blues with funny lyrics, that then goes into a talk about discrimination against the dead. And then he goes into silly skits about MTV Camera school that teaches you how to film young women. He then shows Night Of The Living Dead done with sock puppets, and Ghastlee is mad as he thought it was the real film! Ghastlee fires his producer and shows cheesy trailers for fake movies, and then reads the plots for some movies that he could possibly show. Ghastlee then just shows some clip style music video he put together.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 18
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Angry Neighbors     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee starts the show off with his set going crazy and then tells some of his normal crude and funny jokes about dead people and Dhamer! And after skits he returns with some more crude jokes and takes us to a segment called “Life’s Eternal Mysteries.” Then he goes to a White Zombie music video and then a skit about an old people stunt school. Back on the set, Ghastlee is visited by two guys that want to throw Ghastlee out of the neighborhood as they think he is causing issues with their TV as well as all the buried skeletons…and a mob is outside waiting to railroad him out of town for good! Ghastlee escapes, and then he shows a few more skits before the show ends.

Note From Matt: This episode is a little rough in quality at the start.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 59
Starring – The Clapper     Not Rated   1999

Host: The episode starts with a Betty Boop cartoon set to music, and then we are treated to clips and music! The clip is from an old Sword and Sandal movie ,and he has a man clap over and over as a man whips a female prisoner as more clips are overlaid with music and voices added.

Note From Matt: This episode was dubbed the “Labor Show”.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 62
Starring – Erin Ghoul & Dave Sullivam           Not Rated           2000

Host: We start with a skit making fun of hillbillies and Kentucky, and then we are treated to some music over clips. Ghastlee is shown dancing around and falls when his daughter Erin shows up and opens the show. He then takes back over and starts his quick-witted jokes once again. And after dancing and falling again, we are shown more clips set to music and sound effects. Then he shows the trailer for the unreleased horror comedy film “Stop It Your Killing Me!” Back to Ghastlee on the set who ends up talking Wild Man Dave Sullivan for public access show “Media Only” and the pair go back and fourth. We then get some music performance by a metal band. Wild Man and Ghastlee once more share shots back and fourth and then talk about how Public Access is Free TV. We then cut to music with clips, and then Erin Ghoul ends the show and tells viewers not to watch her dad’s show as it rots your brain!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 64
Starring – Uncle Jasper & Lou The XXX-Mas Devil     Not Rated     2000

Host: This episode Ghastlee is on set and is on the phone stretching his leg high up over his head and is shocked when the viewers are there! He then shows some clips from Neon Movies and one of his Ghastlee Night At The Movie events he held in the theater. During this he also shows shout-outs from other horror hosts like The Ghastly One, Count Gore de Vol and Halloween Jack! And then to the Cannibal Harry’s fake commercial along with other odd skits are played. And then there’s more footage from Neon Movies of Uncle Jasper on guitar playing Werewolves Of London as the crowd howls!

Note From Matt: Sadly this episode has a few audio issues from the master tape at the start of the episode.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Episode 70
Starring – Count Gore De Vol     Not Rated     2000 

Host: This episode starts with clips of Ghastlee, almost like a greatest hits package and then shows a vampire girl mixed with weird clips and footage of Blair Witch Project with the song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” playing over it. And then he shows a trailer for a film called “The Devil’s Sex Slave” and then as well shows clip from a SOV horror comedy film. And then once more we go into a crazy music videos of clips from all types of movies, shows and videos set to different music tracks. He plays a fake foul car commercial followed by the zombie Elvis “All Dug Up” animated video. And then we get a quick message from Horror Host Legend Count Gore De Vol about Ghastlee Ghoul. We then go back to the music videos one being the video for “Terror” by the band My Ruin that is mixed with movie clips.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Equinox
Starring – Edward Connell & Barbara Hewitt       Rated PG       1970

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is in the bathtub with the Necronomicon, and horror hostess Madame Mortem reads from the book and finds that a curse has been put into place that has all horror hosts having to host the 1970 film Equinox! The next break we get a visit from Count Gore de Vol who talks about the real equinox. Next up are Remo D and the following Professor Griffin, Dr. Fear, Halloween Jack, Dr. Creep, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Bone Jangler and more with Ghastlee showing up throughout to spread his zany brand of humor and ends the show with a singing SpongeBob SquarePants and the Necronomicon!

Movie: Four teenagers go on a woods hike and encounter a creepy forest ranger and a crazy old man. The old man is a scientist who had found a mysterious book bound in human skin, the Necronomicon, and when he had read its cryptic symbols it conjured monsters into existence. The teenagers keep the book, and are then pursued by monsters, a demonic cult, and the ranger. The ranger turns out to be a red flying devil in human disguise.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Frightvision
Starring – Jeff McClellan & Sleazy P. Martini      Not Rated      2000  

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is at Frightvision Convention and is meeting with his fans and takes a few moments to also chat with his fellow Horror Hosts and celebrities like DJ Neil, Sleazy P. Martini of GWAR, and he is joined by Jeff McClellan, American. Ghastlee also shows off his view from his hotel room and shows Jeff dancing on his bed to the song “Jungle Boogie.” Jeff also wanders around and films the antics of the convention, and Ghastlee at one point walks around and chats with some folks. He also shows a clip of Sleazy P.’s new video at the time.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Get Out Of Hell Card
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul       Not Rated       1992

Host: Ghastlee is on his set and is paranoid about people being after him, and then comes the Ghastlee style quick wit jokes! Ghastlee then does an impersonation of George Takei of Star Trek fame and then tries his best to do a female auction and all the girls tell him NO to being on the show. In-between Ghastlee’s jokes, we are treated to music video set to clips and cartoons. In the end after making some God jokes, he tries to use his Get Out Of Hell Free Card and the set blows up in a ball of fire!

Note From Matt: The end of this episode has lots of bad tracking issues and while you can hear it the picture is gone for long moments. And finally before the episodes over the recording stops.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Giant Gila Monster
Starring – Don Sullivan & Fred Graham         Not Rated           1959

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul decides to host the movie The Giant Gila Monster and puts himself in the motion picture and cuts jokes and delivers snarky remarks. And Ghastlee does this for the whole movie with funny results. We later cut to Ghastlee on his set as he has a guest that was a man who was once eaten by a Gila Monster, but when he finds that his guest was a fraud, he really does feed him to a Gila Monster! Then we go back to the movie, and once more Ghastlee inserts himself into it. At intermission Ghastlee eats something from the bottom of his boot and shows a fake coffee commercial before going back to the movie.

Movie: A couple of teenagers are reported missing in a small Texas town, and it is thought they eloped. Sheriff Jeff turns to his friend Clarence Winstead, a garage mechanic and leader of a hot-rod gang, for help. After a series of tragic motor accidents, it becomes apparent that a giant Gila monster is roaming the area depleting the town of its citizens and visitors, including two hot-rodding teens, and planning to attend the BIG record-hop party.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘94
Starring – Scott Huff & Dow Thomas     Not Rated     1994

Host: The episode opens with the song Christmas in Heaven set to all types of clips. Ghastlee on his set is with the body of his dead neighbor as a young woman in a bikini dances around. He then shares more clips and skits including 1800-HiScott about a chubby man who charges you to chat with him as well as Scott’s parade footage, and then Ghastlee on his set again ushers us to more skits including Dow Thomas singing Jingle Bells as Bob Dylan. Dow Thomas then joins Ghastlee on the set and gives Ghastlee a skull for Christmas and then treats the viewers to a couple of songs. Ghastlee breaks down the film “It’s A Wonderful Life” and then we get more skit clips. Ghastlee then talks to a man claiming to be Santa, and then a clip of an elf who is mad about his treatment. Ghastlee next talks to a guy named Bo, who talks about seeing Santa and being kidnapped by him! In the end he ushers the viewers out of the episode with a song by Dow Thomas.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘98
Starring – Dow Thomas & Scott Huff     Not Rated     1998

Host: Like always, this Ghastlee Yule starts with some music and clips and we then join Ghastlee in studio covered in Christmas garland and is singing his own Christmas song about getting sex for the holiday. He then tells viewers that as always he will be running reruns and so starts skits from the past Ghastlee Yule specials that include “1900-HiScott”, Dow Thomas singing Christmas songs, Bikini woman dancing and of course Ghastlee talking about Christmas in off the wall ways.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ghastlee Yule ‘06
Starring – Suspira & Jeff McClellan     Not Rated       2006

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul is on his set along with Jeff McClellan, Grimsburger The Doorman and Suspira. While she plays the video 12 Days of Christmas and animated short, Ghastlee leads the guys in carols about William Shatner. Next Suspira and Mayhem Zann of the band Splattertude give a quick gross countdown, and then we are treated to a Christmas Cartoon. Later Ghastlee has a massive joint and then ushers us into a Bob Hope picture being set on fire after he tells some fun jokes. We then are treated to some classic segment from past Ghastlee Yule specials. In the end Ghastlee and his crew wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and he does a William Shatner impersonation on reading the twelve days of Christmas.

Note From Matt: Sadly most of the end credits are missing from this episode

The Ghastlee Movie Show: HorrorFind 2001 Pt. 1
Starring – Bruce Campbell & Michael Berryman    Not Rated     2001

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan are at HorrorFind 2001 Convention and are walking around showing the amazing stuff for sale as well as showcase some of the stars on hand at the event. Ghastlee takes a moment and talks to Michael Berryman from the Hills Have Eyes. He next talks to Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell about making movies and the pair zing off each other. Ghastlee next films the costume contest at the event hosted by Count Gore de Vol and Bruce Campbell…in the end after the winner is picked the show ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: HorrorFind 2001 Pt. 2
Starring – Edgar Allen Poe & Drew Williams     Not Rated     2001

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan are still at Horrorfind Weekend, and before they show more convention hijinks they visit the grave of Edgar Allen Poe and Ghastlee reads a passage from one of Poe’s story. Ghastlee then shows a few moments of Horrorfind, and then we join Jeff McClellan at the grave of Poe and he as well reads a passage! Then back to Horrorfind, and then they walk around a haunted house that was apart of the convention! He then has an interview with Phantasm actor Reggie Bannister, and the pair talk trees, politics and guitars. He then interviews special effects god Tom Savini, and they chat all about getting home after a long weekend.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: I’m Sick
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul      Not Rated       1993

Host: The show starts off with clips as Type Of Negative music plays as well as other rock music, and as well as an animated Jerky Boys prank call. We catch up with Ghastlee who is sick in bed and is under covers and whining and farting….but really he is faking it and wants to go out and party! We are then treated to more clips, music and odd skits and even a Type O Negative music video for Black # 1. We next join Ghastlee as he is throwing up in the toilet, and we go to another music video as the show ends.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jan-Gel
Starring – Conrad Brooks & Dale Clukey       Not Rated      2000

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan are on set with a VHS copy of the film Jan-Gel made by director/actor Conrad Brooks! They both take shots at the film as well as Conrad Brooks as they are clearly not fans and say that the film is the worst film in history. And of course throughout the film Ghastlee adds in his own edits and sound bits. He comes back and talks to Athens, Ohio Horror Host Lizzy Ax (who as far as I know never did one episode), and they usher us back to the cheesy movie. When we join Ghastlee next he is with his neighbor and they once more poke fun at the film and then take us back to the film. In the end Ghastlee with Lizzy wraps up the episode by showcasing his show and once more trashing the night’s film. And then we are treated to a music video that features clips from Chris Seaver film “Mulva Zombie Ass-Kicker”.

Host: Without doubt, the most intriguing caveman epic of our time. Jan-Gel, thawed from his 50,000 year sleep, dedicates his new life in the present day to mutilating anyone he can find as he roams the hills of Maryland and West Virginia. Dresses in a leopard skin, and not much else, he wreaks havoc and still finds the time to fall in love with young Beth Simmons. However, special agents Conrad Brooks and Gary West are hot on his trail. Can they stop him before he finds his next victim?

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jeff McClellan
Starring – Jeff McClellan     Not Rated     1999

Host: This episode has A. Ghastlee Ghoul welcoming Dr. Creep back to Horror Hosting with his public access show New Shock Theater! Ghastlee also lets the viewers know that this marks his 10 years on the air and that he is going to start throwing crap at the viewers and see what sticks…but Ghastlee is soon taken off the air when Jeff McClellan American shows up and hijacks the show and answers calls from viewers giving his pro American advice. In the end, Jeff McClellan pulls out a gun and Ghastlee rushes him and the episode ends with a cliffhanger!

Note From Matt: This appears to be the first appearance of the co-host character Jeff McClellan American and makes this a true key episode in the series as Jeff would go on to be the one of the shows most popular co-hosts. This is also episode # 55.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Jeff McClellan Pt. 2
Starring – Jeff McClellan    Not Rated     1999

Host: This episode has Jeff McClellan having a debate on who will be the host of the show with A. Ghastlee Ghoul who is being backed up by Lou The XXX-Mas Devil and as their secret weapon they bring porn clips to try and get the votes. The pair take calls from viewers and give answers to questions that are all off the wall and with the dash of the classic crude humor. The debate ends with a to be continued!

Note From Matt: This is the second appearance of Jeff McClellan and is also episode 56!

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Koala
Starring – Stuffed Animal & Candles       Not Rated      2000

Host: This episode is just a plush toy koala bear sitting on a counter with candles and incense lit as music plays from bands like Type Of Negative, Phish, Journey and Jim Croce. The whole episode goes this way.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Lap Dance Computer
Starring – Corn Dervish       Not Rated      1999

Host: A. Ghastlee Ghoul has gotten himself a Lap Dance Computer and has fun with the machine and even runs around the set naked! He even has a fan join him on the episode named Corn Dervish! Not to mention, Ghastlee as always has his fair share of clips set to music to entertain the late night viewers, and after messing with Corn, he ends the night’s episode with looking on the bright side of life.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Leslie Nielsen
Starring – Leslie Nielsen & Green Jello     Not Rated     1993

Host: Ghastlee is on his set and starts the show off by telling some jokes and is mad that viewers are mad about him showing White Zombie videos and instead shows a video from the band Green Jello that was filmed in Dayton, Ohio. After the video, Ghastlee shows some things that fans have sent him in the mail like a glass, VHS tape and sunglasses. He next shows a segment of Grace Jones reading Little Red Riding to kids that of course ends with her freaking them out. Ghastlee next pops on and chats with Leslie Nielsen, and the interview goes awkward and the man turns out to be a fraud and is really be a human bomb that explodes on set. In the end, we are treated to another Green Jello live shot video from Dayton.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: The Manster
Starring – Peter Dyneley & Jane Hylton       Not Rated         1959

Host: In this episode Ghastlee decides to host the movie Manster and adds a twist as he adds himself into the film as well as gives his own joke remarks during scenes! And I mean really, Ghastlee shows up on screen in the movie and cuts jokes and one-liners! During a break in the movie Ghastlee interviews a drink Doctor and after drinking the powerful drink, he grows another head!! And then back to the movie… Ghastlee ends the show with his second head disappearing and talking to Neal from Public Access’ Metalmania who gives Ghastlee a bomb that blows up.

Movie: An American reporter in Japan is sent to interview an eccentric Japanese scientist working on bizarre experiments in his mountain laboratory. When the doctor realizes that the hapless correspondent is the perfect subject for his next experiment, he drugs the unfortunate man and injects him with a serum that gradually transforms him into a hideous, two-headed monster.

Note From Matt: This is one of my favorite episodes, and many of the jokes in this one crack me up with the “Wish You Were Here Larry” bath scene one for me being the best.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Messiah Of Evil
Starring – Michael Greer & Marianna Hill       Rated R       1973

Host: Live from the Monstercast on the Monster Channel has A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan hiding under a bed with their Bozo The Clown doll and are chatting about the night’s first film of the evening Dead People aka Messiah Of Evil and are lured out from hiding with a beer by Suspira! But the movie is really scaring them as Suspira and Mayhem Zann are mad about them being scared so they bring in a man’s man in who makes Ghastlee and Jeff eat raw meat! And at one point Lou The XXX-Mas Devil is trying to sleep as Ghastlee and Jeff talk about the night’s second movie Funeral Home.

Movie: Messiah Of Evil A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.

Note From Matt: Sadly this is only the first movie of the Monstercast so the rest of the show is not on the disc.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Moving Show
Starring –Baron Von Wolfstein & Grimsburger     Not Rated         2005

Host: Ghastlee is moving and needs to bring down his set and move all his props as he calls this episode “The Ghastlee Moving Show” his only help is Horror Host legend Baron Von Wolfstein and the crazy Grimsburger The Doorman! After feeding Grimsburger some meat and drinking some beers, they start the task. During this time for breaks he shows some clips of Scary Camp, Twisted Nightmare among many other Ghastlee Ghoul related things as well as shows the short movie Joe Nosferatu. In the end Ghastlee and his helpers show the old set that is now barebones. Clips of Conventions and the short film Joe Nosferatu are shown.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Pantomime
Starring – Jeff McClellan & Grimsburger The Doorman     Not Rated     ???

Host: Ghastlee and Jeff McClellan start to show lip-synching to a trailer of the Caddy that has bad words as bloopers. He then shows music montages before we next join Grimsburger The Doorman who is listening to bad music! We then get more lip-synching between our hosts Jeff and Ghastlee to celebrity bloopers, and of course more montages of clips and trailers thrown in for good measure! Jeff then interviews Rosetta Workman who was at Cinema Wasteland working the table for filmmaker Andy Copp and even chats with Dr. Creep for a second about how women make better sales people at conventions.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Prison
Starring – Neal Turpin & Dow Thomas     Not Rated     1992

Host: Ghastlee Ghoul opens the show from a TV Screen and is in jail for giving the finger to a cop when Neal Turpin from a local music show enters the set and takes over the show! Neal spends the time making fun of Ghastlee and showing music videos from bands like Judas Priest. All the while Ghastlee acts as if he is doing a special to show how bad prison is, and he is scared when a creepy prisoner sneaks up behind him! Between the videos he also shows a comedy short done by Shock Theater icon Dow Thomas. Neal starts to give away some of Ghastee’s stuff, and he gets mad about it and once more appears on the set as everyone leaves him all alone.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Psychomania
Starring – Nick Henson & Mary Larkin     PG      1973

Host: Lou The XXX-Mas Devil is in charge of the show and is at the new set with a drunken guy named Matt, and all the while A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Jeff McClellan are in Tennessee with Horror Host Dr. Gangrene of Chiller Cinema on his set as well as a haunted attraction he was part of for Halloween. In the end Lou shows a very shortened and music over dialogue version of the film Psychomania.

Movie: A gang of young people call themselves the Living Dead. They terrorize the population from their small town. After an agreement with the devil, if they kill themselves firmly believing in it, they will survive and gain eternal life. Following their leader, they commit suicide one after the other, but things don’t necessarily turn out as expected.

Note From Matt: This is episode 84 of The Ghastlee Movie Show, and the episode oddly has no end credits.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Scary Camp Preview
Starring – Reverend Zealot & Ken Kish     Not Rated     2004

Host: This episode features Joe Nosferatu Homeless Vampire pushing for viewers to attend Scary Camp, a very cool horror convention in Dayton that was put on by A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Joe then does his best to showcase the guests that include Sid Haig and Tom Sullivan to name a very few. We are also treated to clips of films some of the guests are in as well as clips from films showing at the event. We then are treated to a revival done by Reverend Joe Bob Billy Jean with guests that include New Shock Theater’s Reverend Zealot as they try and save the souls of those horror fans who like CGI effects.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Staring
Starring – A. Ghastlee Ghoul & Candle   Not Rated     1996

Host: A Ghastlee Ghoul starts the episode with no opening credits, but instead starts it off just starring into the camera with a candle lit underneath his face and nature sounds playing in the background almost making its own ambient music. Every once in a while you will hear someone cough in the background adding a new layer off weirdness to the episode. Ghastlee does not speak a word and just stares at the viewer, he struggles not to blink as his eyes even start to tear up. In the end he swirls some incense around, and the episode ends with a message that thanks the viewers for watching this experiment.

Note From Matt: This is one of the most iconic episodes of The Ghastlee Movie Show as viewers truly were confused by what they were watching! This also was his most watched episode and triggered people to write in to the Public Accesses station to complain about how they felt the episode was demonic. True classic Ghastlee at his best, and this is also episode # 38.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Ted V. Mikels
Starring – Ted V. Mikels & Shanti     Not Rated     2000

Host: Ghastlee opens the show letting the viewers know that he and Jeff McClellan have just gotten back from the horror convention Cinema Wasteland and shares Jeff getting beat up by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! But the main attraction is Ghastlee interviewing cult film director Ted V. Mikels and actress Shanti about his long history of making classic drive in films like Astro-Zombies, The Corpse Grinders, Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils and is promoting the film The Corpse Grinders 2. Ted and Shanti have a blast talking about the making of the film The Corpse Grinders 2, and it’s clear Ghastlee had a blast chatting with them. Ghastlee ends the show with saying he has to send Ted a copy of this interview and then is amazed that Ted will be watching The Ghastlee Movie Show.

Note From Matt: This is episode 66 of The Ghastlee Movie Show.

The Ghastlee Movie Show: Toxic Zombies
Starring – Charles McCrann & Beverly Shapiro     Not Rated     1980

Host: It’s Ghastlee’s Halloween Special and it starts with Horror Host Remo D wishing us all a happy one! We then show that Ghastlee is hanging out at a haunted attraction with Jeff McClellan and chats with some of the folks going to the haunted path as well as the world’s youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak! Later Ghastlee, Jeff, Dr. Freak and Suspira start to walk around the haunted path and meet some of the creepy monsters and the people who paid to walk it. All the while, Ghastlee breaks the rules and runs wild at the attraction with his band of cohosts. In the end they run into Tommy Gunn of Freakshow Deluxe who tells the haunted history of the land, and they as well see the legend Dr. Creep and they chat about Toxic Zombies!

Movie: After drug crops are sprayed with a chemical by a passing airplane, the growers of the crop are poisoned by the chemical and turn into zombie-like mutants.

A Ghastlee Ghoul is a true legend of Horror Hosting, not only in the state of Ohio, but the world, and any other Host of the past or present cannot match his style and wit. Ghastlee is a host all his own that some have tried to copy, but none have mastered. If you are a fan of Horror Hosts and have never seen an episode of A Ghastlee Movie Show, check out this unique show.

I also hope that Ghastlee himself enjoyed this long overdue Horror Host Icon update as much as I enjoyed writing it. Check back on this update from time to time as I will be adding new episodes from time to time to make this update even more epic!

For our next update, we are walking away from the weird and wild world of Horror Hosts and will be entering the world of Malibu Comics and taking an adventure with the ultra team Exiles! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I will see you next update as I am very much looking forward to writing about Malibu Comics again!

Star Trek III: The Search For Comic Book Spock

Welcome back to Rotten Ink Update Log 434:90. As we are into 2020, a new year, it means that we will be taking another look at a comic adaptation of a Star Trek movie and this leads us to taking a look at Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, the most overlooked sequel in the series and one that I really enjoyed as a youngster and still enjoy as an adult! With Star Trek not being a powerhouse at the Box Office anymore and rumors that Quentin Tarantino might be getting his mitts on the franchise to make a R rated feature, I think here at Rotten Ink it will always have the respect and be a draw for you readers. So if you are ready to beam aboard the Enterprise and go on a search for Spock with the crew and Rotten Ink, we should start this amazing update.

So let’s start this off right and begin our talk about The Search For Spock with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this third Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this third and over looked Star Trek flick.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)

“In the wake of Spock’s ultimate deed of sacrifice, Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at Spacedock, they are shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Even worse, Dr. McCoy begins acting strangely and Scotty has been reassigned to another ship. Kirk is forced to steal back the Enterprise and head across space to the Genesis Planet to save Spock and bring him to Vulcan. Unknown to them, the Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis Device for their own deadly purpose.”

Paramount Pictures was riding high on the over all success of “Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan” and when director Nicholas Meyer stepped away after an argument with Paramount, they went to Leonard Nimoy who was excited by the aspect of bring Spock back and became the film’s director. Harve Bennett stepped in to not only produce the film but also write it as they loved his work on Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and during the writing stage Bennett and Nimoy worked close together to do the return of Spock right for fans. And once the film was written and all parties involved were happy with it, Paramount gave them $16 million dollars for the budget and most of it went to the film’s special effects as they hired Industrial Light & Magic to make the film’s props and sets look just right. When filming started, Paramount and Leonard Nimoy were very protective of no spoilers being leaked and did their best to try and prevent any of the workers from spilling the beans on any of the film’s major plot points, though sadly in the end the Enterprise’s destruction was leaked before the film hit theaters. The filming of the third film was very stressful and demanding of both cast and crew, and at one point a studio fire at Paramount held up production as an arsonist had set some sound studios ablaze. Rumor has it that William Shatner among others helped battle the fire from destroying their set with water hoses as the set for the Genesis Planet almost went up in a blaze. Once filming was done, they had to add in the special effects and later the score music that was done by James Horner who was returning from Part II. Star Trek III was released to theaters on June 1, 1984 and was a hit for Paramount at the box office bringing in $87 million worldwide and places at # 9 over all for the year in America. Star Trek III beat out such films as Purple Rain, The Terminator, Friday The 13th Part 4: Final Chapter, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Supergirl and The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai to name a few. The critics gave the film positive reviews and fans as well seemed to enjoy it with President at the time Ronald Reagan being the only major stick in the mud when he was quoted as saying “It wasn’t too good” when asked about it after seeing it with White House staff. The film would later find its way to cable as well as home media being released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray over the years.

Growing up I was a major fan of Star Trek, both the TV Show and The Movies starring the original cast, as it always seemed to be on my radar when a new one was being released to theaters or even home video, and for some reason this third movie has always stuck with me and I can say one reason why….and it’s cause Spock returns from the dead in the end! When I was younger and watched as Spock dies of radiation poison, I was devastated and I can remember my Mom telling me that he would be okay, and when the next movie was released called Search For Spock I knew her words was true. But I would have to wait till the film hit cable before I could see just how Spock returned, as weird as it sounds my Dad who liked the original Star Trek TV Show would never go to the theater to see the movies so we would have to always wait till it hit cable or home media before we got to watch it. After seeing the film for the first time I found myself truly enjoying this entry in the series and loved the aspects of the Klingons wanting to get their hands on the Genesis Project so they could use it for war purposes, not to even mention that Christopher Lloyd played Kruge, the head Klingon. Even some years later my mom bought my brother and I a Kruge action figure that she found at an Odd Lots. And now being an adult in his 40’s, I can say that Star Trek III still is a great film and I still enjoy watching it ever so often. It’s sad to say that so many of the original cast are no longer with us and that means we will never get a new film or show with the original cats, though I have heard rumors of a streaming show about Captain Kirk played by William Shatner being in development and this old school Trekkie hopes it’s true as I would love to see more adventures of Captain Kirk. To sum it all up, while Star Trek III is not my favorite film in the series, it is in my top three for sure and I suggest you give it a watch and enjoy the return of Spock.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock, like all movies in this series, had its fair share of very cool merchandise to keep fans happy that included action figures, posters, novels, calendars, comic books, soundtrack, card game, shirts and Taco Bell even did amazing collectors glasses! Growing up I had some of the action figures that were built more like classic 3 ¾” G.I. Joe action figures and the novel plus comic adaptation. But one of my favorites was the Taco Bell Glasses that we would find at garage sales and our Mom would pick them up. I cannot count how many glasses of Chocolate Milk, Mt. Dew and Kool-Aid I drank out of them over the years. I must also say that I still do have all these items I had from my youth. While some are not the ones from my past, I made sure to get them back when I got older.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock has always been one of the films with the original cast that has always stuck with me as I found it to be solid and also a great way to end the Genesis Project storyline. Plus no joke, I cannot tell you readers how many times I have watched this film over the years as in 2017 for the longest time I put on the original seven before bed! Well I think it’s time to see just how well DC Comics has adapted the film into a comic, and to be honest I am looking forward to rereading this comic as I had it when I was a kid and want to see if it holds up! I also want to remind you all that I will grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also a big thanks to Game Swap Kettering for having this comic in stock and making this update possible and for getting me a copy of the comic again for my collection. So let’s head out to space and see if we can find Spock with DC Comics and the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek III: Search For Spock # 1  ***
Released in 1984     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The Genesis Planet is growing fast and word is that the vessel that houses the body of Spock has landed on the man made miracle planet, and Captain Kirk’s son David along with Saavik are aboard the Grissom in order to study it. Meanwhile Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise are heading into dock and all are filled with sadness over the death of Spock, and weirdly enough Dr. McCoy is acting very strange and even acting like their deceased friend. Meanwhile rogue Klingon commander Kruge and his crew are obsessed with getting the secrets of the Genesis project, and they are now on their way to the planet to gather what information and secrets they can. When Kirk and crew return to base they are all sent on leave besides Scotty who is to report to a new fancy ship, and the Enterprise is set for retirement and Kirk is told he is not to speak nor go to the Genesis planet! Meanwhile David and Saavik are on Genesis and find Spock’s burial tube empty, but worse the planet itself starts to become unstable! While on leave Kirk and his crew are together when Sarek, the father of Spock, shows up and tells Kirk that he needs to bring Spock’s body and Dr. McCoy to Vulcan so they both can find peace, and Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise know what they have to do and that’s steal the ship, get McCoy out of Federation watch and save their friends! Meanwhile on the unstable Genesis planet David and Saavik find a young Spock who is a shell of himself with no spirit, and they now need to protect him from the world around him and The Klingons have destroyed the Grissom and a land crew are on their way to the planet to take them as prisoners. As the Enterprise reaches the Genesis planet, they get into a space battle with the Bird Of Prey ship commanded by Kruge and both ships take major damage and Kurge uses the prisoners on the planet as his bargain chip, and after killing David things get real cold as Kirk tricks a large group of Klingons to beam aboard the Enterprise as it self destructs and his crew beam down to the Genesis Planet and save the growing Spock and Saavik from the Klingon guards. Kirk makes a deal with Kurge that he will share the secrets of Genesis if he beams his crew aboard, and after doing so Kurge comes down and he and Kirk fight to the death…and this leaves the Klingon dead and the Enterprise Crew taking over the Bird Of Prey and head toward Vulcan. Once at Vulcan they are able to meld the spirit of Spock into the new body of Spock and they crew celebrates as they have their friend back.

This DC Comic adaptation of the Paramount Pictures film Star Trek III: Search For Spock is fantastic and shows that these movie comics can be done right! The plot has Kirk and his crew trying what they can to stop a rogue batch of Klingons who stand between them and the body of Spock as well as they themselves going rogue and disobeying the Federation’s rules making them outlaws now. Captain James T. Kirk is as always our hero and in this comic he breaks all the rules in order to be loyal to friendship, and while some of his choices lead to devastating actions like the death of his son David and even the destruction of the Enterprise his loyal nature to his friends is inspiring. Kirk also shows why he went from Captain to Admiral as his strategies are solid and always seem to work. Doctor Leonard McCoy in this issue has some mental issues as inside his mind is not only his own thoughts but also that of the deceased Spock! It’s also really cool to see that McCoy himself is very upset about the death of Spock and misses his friend and is willing to risk is own safety in order to try and bring him back. Spock in this issue as a person is a shell of a being who does not speak and is growing at a superfast rate, his spirit however does speak through McCoy from time to time. In the end when Spock fully returns its great to see him start to remember his friends and that his own father wanted to see his return. The rest of the Enterprise crew are around and while not major focuses they all are very much important. The Klingon Kruge is a madman who is obsessed with gaining the knowledge of the Genesis Project and has no issues killing to gain it, and he does kill and even orders the deaths of others…in other words he is very cold and self centered. The comic much like the film is a chess game as each move made has a response and each move also has an answer with some being good and others being very bad. I think DC Comics did a really great job of capturing the mood, drama and action of the movie and delivers a great read that shows just why Star Trek in all media means something to the series fans. The cover is very interesting and for the most part I really like it as I find it to be very Sci-Fi paperback novel looking. The interior art is really good and has that DC look and is done by Tom Sutton. To sum this adaptation up I would say if you are a fan of the film or just enjoy the original cast of Star Trek, I would recommend checking this comic out. Check out the art below to see the mind meld of McCoy and Spock to see they style used in this comic.

While Star Trek III might not get the respect it deserves with many fans as I think for them its over shadowed by Wrath Of Khan and Voyage Home, I still find it to be a great film that made a great comic! And be ready as next year we will be taking a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic Adaptation of it. And when thinking about the next update I decided I was having fun in space and while we will be walking away from the crew of the Enterprise we will be joining Captain Chris Galland as he and his crew visit the Planet Of The Vampires! That’s right its time to take another look at the world of Atlas Comics. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as he try to survive a world run by bloodsuckers!

Horror Host Icon: J.R. Ghul

Well due to misplacing my issue of Star Trek III comic adaptation by DC Comics, I decided to treat readers to a quick Horror Host update until I can find it. The state of Texas has had its fair share of Horror Hosts over the decades with names like Dr. Zekow, Professor Cerberus, Gorgon The Gruesome, Professor Anton Griffin, Miss Jami Deadly and the short lived one we will be looking at today known as J.R. Ghul! This host is very interesting as while his show “Bloodshot Theatre” carried on for years, his time as host was very short as a host named E.Spanto took over, but he will be covered in a future update I am sure. So as I have said before, in my book there are no too big or too small Horror Hosts as they all mean something to their fans and viewers and I feel that J.R. Ghul’s time to shine here at Rotten Ink is now! So it’s with great honor that I bring to you this fast and spooky update called Horror Host Icon: J.R. Ghul. So sit back, relax, and let’s take a trip to the Bloodshot Theatre.

J.R. Ghul was the singer for an 80’s rock band called Tortured Skull and after playing a gig at a Taco Land restaurant, he was driving home when he crashed into a tombstone at a local cemetery. The impact left him hear death, and as he emerged from the wreck, he crawled toward the headstone he had hit only to fall into the grave that was freshly dug, and oddly enough the coffin inside the grave was filled with VHS copies of Horror Movies. The lid closed shut and J.R. died in the pine box that was reburied. His car was towed, and rocker J.R. Ghul was missing in the public eye. In the early 2000’s, on a Public Access Station in San Antonio somehow the undead spirit of J.R. Ghul has hacked in to the feed and hosted Horror Movies in short 30-minute segments. J.R. would bring his rock n roll style to hosting and would brood and yet take pleasuring in introducing the film to viewers. His cold and cool delivery always made for an eerie opening and his all black clothing played well off the red light that was always present. The undead ghoul J.R. Ghul hosts his show from an unknown tomb-like area and is still a rocker at heart. While it’s not really shown, I would say that J.R. Ghul is more sinister then fun loving and is one that might take a bite out of you. While not a full fledged Icon of Horror Hosting, he did mean something to his viewers who enjoyed his micro dose of horror every week. I want to also say that J.R. Ghoul became a character again when the show turned into an animated series and was joined by a werewolf sidekick.

Bloodshot Theatre started in 2004 and aired on Channel 20 in San Antonio and was a spooky and fun time for viewers. The show was unlike anything else in Texas public access at the time and was a pretty different idea for Horror Hosting as well because instead of showing the full film for the episode he would instead bring you the first 27 minutes or so! The show would air and switch hosts and even at one point became animated and ended its run as far as I can tell in 2015. The show was seen on San Antonio Public Access as well as via The Horror Host Underground (all over the US) and later via the Internet that seemed to be the show’s main source to watch. During the show’s 11-year run, it gained a cult status and fans still remember J.R. and hope someday for a comeback. It’s always so interesting when these lower key shows are rediscovered and the host finds a new fan base.

So as you can see, while not the show Bloodshot Theatre’s host for very long, J.R. Ghul still was the original who first drew viewers in. I am sure you readers are wondering how I heard of Bloodshot Theatre and host J.R. Ghul…well the answer is easy as it was thanks to A. Ghastlee Ghoul and his tape archive of Horror Host Underground episodes! And while helping him archive his show, I came across one single episode on a tape and knew I had to cover it! I want to remind all your readers that I will not be giving this episode a star rating and will take the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and I myself will write about the host segments. So let’s see what this one and only episode of Bloodshot Theatre I own has in store for us.

Bloodshot Theatre: The Pit (part 1)
Starring – Sammy Snyders & Jeannie Elias     Rated R       1981

Host: We start the show with a rubber bat on a wall with all the lighting in the room being bright red. We then show J.R. Ghul who is relaxing in a chair and welcomes the viewers to the show and then tells us about the night’s movie The Pit from 1981. He then ushers us into the first 27 minutes of the film before the rubber bat on the wall returns and the end credits roll.

Movie: Twelve year-old Jamie Benjamin is a misunderstood lad. His classmates pick on him, his neighbors think he’s weird and his parents ignore him. But now Jamie has a secret weapon: deep in the woods he has discovered a deep pit full of man-eating creatures he calls Trogs… and it isn’t long before he gets an idea for getting revenge and feeding the Trogs in the process!

So as you can see, J.R. Ghul was a host of few words, and I really wished I could have found more episodes in the Horror Host Underground Archives in order to deliver a longer update and bring you more a taste of his style of Hosting and his show’s format fully. And to be honest I even did some web searching to find J.R. himself, as it would have been fun to have had “5 Questions” with him and got into the undead rockers mindset and motivations of hosting Bloodshot Theatre, but it was not meant to be. I do hope that this Horror Host Icon update does help readers discover this host or even maybe let those who watched him remember him and all the ghoulish good times you had watching spooky movies with him. But for our next update we will be leaving Bloodshot Theatre behind and will hopefully be going to space to finally find Spock! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Let’s hope Spock is found to make this update finally happen!

The Holiday Challenge Of The Go-Bots!

As I have said many times here at Rotten Ink in the early and mid 80’s robots ruled the world for kids as so many cartoons, toys, comics, video games, model kits and movies showcased them and the young and young at heart could not get enough. For many the King of 80’s cartoon/toy robots are the Transformers followed by Voltron…but for me the top are the Go-Bots! Yeah I know many of you are laughing out loud and saying how in the world could you put the Go-Bots over Transformers, Voltron, Robo Force and the answer is very simple as I liked the fact they were in scale with my G.I. Joe’s and Star Wars figures plus I liked many of the characters like Leader-1, Scooter and Cy-Kill! For me this update is lots of fun to cover and write about as The Go-Bots deserve way more respect than they get from toy collectors and it’s about time they get a proper comic book series! I also want to remind you all that Go-Bots was my # 5 out of 10 for my Should Have Been A Star Comic way back in 2013 and it took till 2018 for IDW to make this happen! So if you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane and chat about the Go-Bots lets get to it!

Go-Bots hit toy shelves in 1983 thanks to Tonka Toys who was able to get molds from a Japanese toy company Popy who had a series called Machine Robo that was going strong there. Tonka wanted to cash in on the Robot-Mania that was going strong in America and taken an unknown toy series and rebranding it for the US market seemed like a quick and easy way to cash in and deliver a cool toy line for kids who would buy them up. And this worked as Go-Bots became a pretty popular toy brand and had a good following with youngsters who enjoyed these simple changing robots who were in scale with their Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. These guys also ended up getting their own cartoon series in order to help push the toys and give the figures more character. The figures like all good 80’s toys had good guys called Guardians that were lead by Leader-1 who could turn into a jet and the Renegades lead by the motorcycle transformer bot called Cy-Kill and they were bitter enemies who lead their respected sides into battle and every day life. But Go-Bots time at being the most loved changing robot figures was cut short when America was blessed with Transformers both as toys and a cartoon in 1984 and they dominated pretty much ever sense when it came to robot action figures. The figures even though loosing the grip of being must have transforming robot toys for kids survived until 1987 when the final GoBots were released. Tonka sold the Go-Bots to Hasbro in 1991 and that is were the brand is still to this day, even having modern figures that were made for very youngsters. While they might not be as respected nor collected like Transformers the Go-Bots are still a very cool toy and cartoon brand that was spawned in the 80’s! I for one remember using the figures in my toy wars and Leader-1 was always in the planning room with Luke Skywalker, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk and First Sergeant Duke!

Hanna-Barbera in 1983 to go along side the toys made a cartoon mini series to help push the figures and give the characters a backstory as well as personalities. The main series “Challenge Of The Go-Bots” started in 1984 and lasted 65 episodes with 2 seasons and ended in 1985! The episodes followed the war between the good guys lead by Leader-1 as they try and stop the evil ways of Cy-Kill and his band of evil bots! Each episode ran for 22 minutes and was made by Hanna-Barbera Productions and was a semi popular cartoon for the time. I mostly remember it airing in reruns on USA Cartoon Express on the USA Network, and with this sparked my love for the figures even more! It’s crazy as just like the figures the cartoon is often over looked and forgotten about as it’s our shadowed by Transformers even in the toon world, and while the cartoon is great and I have lots of great memories of watching it…I must admit that the Transformers toon is a better show over all. The cartoon has been released on VHS as well as on DVD and are worth watching if you grew up with the Go-Bots as its are true blast from the past viewing.

A short time after the Challenge Of The Go-Bots ended Hanna-Barbera Productions and Clubhouse Pictures teamed up and made “Go-Bots: Battle Of The Rock Lords” an animated movie that hit theaters in March 21, 1986! The film is about robotic transforming rock people from space who need help from Leader-1 and the Guardians to return to their planet and overthrow the evil Rock Lord Magmar who is killing his own kind to get their power sceptres! And of course Cy-Kill joins the fight and helps Magmar and his evildoers. The film did very poorly at the Box Office here in the US only taken in $1,338,264.00 and worse critics and fans alike also trashed the film as they thought it was a poorly made family flick….not to mention “Transformers: The Movie” was also released that year and once more it out shadowed Go-Bots in another medium…is it just me or do you feel like Transformers was the bully of robot properties in the 80s? GoBots: Battle Of The Rock Lords was released on VHS and has yet to get a proper DVD or Blu-Ray release here in America. While it might be the weakest of the 80’s toy line movies released it still is a flick that entertained fans of the Go-Bots. I can remember renting this movie on VHS and liking it, but it sadly was a shell of a film compared to “He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword”, “G.I. Joe: The Movie” and “Transformers: The Movie” all that are amazing watches and captured the mood and feel of the toys and cartoon series that spawned them.

Growing up I had lots of Go-Bots that I would get from stores, garage sales and even trades with fellow kids and they seen lots of play as I really did like them, while I know they are very basic in their transforming features but they held a special place in my toy collection. I had many favorites as Cy-Kill and Turbo were at the top but for me the best figure was Leader-1 as he just was such a cool figure as both robot and jet and he was always a major part in my Toy Wars and always looked after the droids during battle. As I got older many of my toys were donated to my cousins and in that batch was my Leader-1 figure and while I am glad he made them happy and they were able to have adventures with him, he was one figure I missed. But lucky for me while at Mavericks Cards And Comics one day they had a near mint one for very cheap so I was able to get one back and now he sits on a shelf at my job looking over the store. I can remember many of my friends growing up who had Go-Bots always mentioned Leader-1 as one of their favorite figures from the line. So if you grew up with the Go-Bots or still love them to this day leave me a comment and let me know what character was your favorite.

Also besides the toys and cartoon the Go-Bots also spawned lots of cool merchandise over the years for the fans to get their hands on and for them to bring in extra money for the brand. They have and had Halloween costumes, magazines, posters, home media, lunch boxes, shirts, computer game, comic books, books, soundtrack, coloring books, card game, board game and so much more! Over the years I have had many of these items like the cartoon on VHS, a T-Shirt of Leader-1, some of the books, coloring books & magazines and of course I have the comics from IDW as they are the main attraction of this update! So if you are a fan of Go-Bots there is some great stuff out there for you to collect.

I have worked for both a Comic Book store as well as several Media stores and a topic that has came up at many is the Go-Bots or Transformers talk and I have always found it very interesting as in all the talks I have been apart of most have a very weird hatred for GoBots as the fans of the Transformers are very rabid when it comes to the honor of their favorite changing robots, and to be honest besides myself I can only think of one other coworker who would take up for them during these topics. One phrase that is said so much during talks is that Go-Bots were the K-Mart versions of the Transformers, and to me this is a silly statement as while they might not have been as detailed nor as popular they were released before and did bring transforming robots into the minds and hands of the kids to pave the way for the Transformers. Plus most modern mass market Transformers in my opinion are really junky and are bargain basement level toys. So I also need to stress I love Transformers and grew up watching the cartoons, playing with the toys as well as reading the Marvel Comics and they were a major part of my youth, I just want to take up for Go-Bots as they seem to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to respect for them when it came to 80s toys and cartoons. Plus the art below is pretty great and well played to whom ever the artist is!

So as you can see I am a fan of Go-Bots and I know many of you readers are or were a fan at one point and had at least one in your collection. So now lets get to the comic reviews and I want to thank IDW for making them and Mavericks Cards And Comic for stocking them. And for me this is really a great way to start the countdown to Christmas Eve as Go-Bots really does make me flashback to my youth. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready like I am, as I have wanted a comic series based on the world of Go-Bots sense I was a youngster and now its time to finally read one.

GO-BOTS # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 1 of 5

The Go-Bots are leaving among humans now and Leader-1 and human Mark are one secret missions to save prisoners of war. Scooter along with his human friend A.J are hanging around and while she is at classes he is getting paid to drive people around to get extra money for A.J. And the world’s top sport now is racing Go-Bots and Turbo and his human rider Matt Hunter are champions of that sport. And after winning the big race Matt and Turbo are approached by. T. Coriander Banks who takes them to an underground fight arena and the witness Cy-Kill kill other Go-Bots and robots. And Matt and Turbo soon find that Banks has tricked them and wants them to fight with Cy-Kill and they decline and barely escape alive. They return to the site of the arena and everyone is gone besides dead bodies of Go-Bots and Humans! Meanwhile Mark and Leader-1 get a new mission to stop a rouge band of Go-Bots and once found Leader-1 is tricked and all his programing and codes stolen by Cy-Kill who is running the pack of evil Go-Bots as he wants to kill all the humans and rule the world! A.J meanwhile goes to have a quick meal with her teacher Professor Braxis who informs her that he as well has his own Go-Bot and shoves her into his basement were she see’s Vamp who approaches to attack when Scooter busts in and saves her and roughs up the Professor who claims he was just joking. Once outside the world is going crazy as the Go-Bots have turned on humans due to the stolen codes and A.J asks Scooter if he is going to turn on her as he stands with his fist clinched.

This first issue shows that Go-Bots are not just kid’s toys anymore as this issue is filled with murder and death plus does a great job of building this comic universe. The plot of the comic has the Go-Bots being programed to obey humans and work alongside them and for our entertainment and when Cy-Kill the evil robot decides he wants to take over the world he and his followers start a Go-Bot revelation and turn on the humans they once served. And all of this is set in motion when Leader-1 is tricked and defeated and all his secrets and codes stolen. Leader-1 and his human friend Mark are heroes who help our government in secret missions and really is a hero who don’t care to take a human life in order to save those who are in need…that is as long as Mark allows it. Scooter and Turbo as well are good bots that as well have befriended humans and seem to do their best to protect both Matt and A.J who are their pals. This far hands down my favorite good Go-Bot is Leader-1 as I find him to be smart, brutal and yet noble. Cy-Kill is as evil as ever as he does not mind killing his fellow Go-Bots as well as humans and robots and wants nothing better than to kills anyone who opposes him on his quest to take over the world. Very evil Cy-Kill is and the perfect bad guy for this series and really is a baddie that you can fear and I look forward to see just how bad he will get as more issues are released. To be honest I have read lots of IDW comics based on toys/cartoons over the years and I must say that Go-Bots # 1 is the best I have read and really makes me hyped for this series as a whole. The cover I have is very eye catching and showcases Leader-1 who is the true icon of the Go-Bots. The interior art is done by Tom Scioli who also wrote the script and at first I was a little “blah” on the artwork when seen in previews but once reading the full book I must say I really liked it and I feel he captured the look of the characters as well as has a dash of the old school yet has a modern and updated feel. So lets see what issue two has in store for us.

GO-BOTS # 2  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 2 of 5

Cy-Kill listens as Screw Head who tells of how he and a human were working in a dangerous mind that ended up taking the like of the human and leaving the robot hurt showing mankind does not care about the Go-Bots! This sets Cy-Kill off who demands some of his followers to dump Leader-1 in a junkyard as he and his crew cause chaos and damage that will hurt mankind. Meanwhile we find out that Scooter fights the urge to attack and tries to get A.J. to safety and they end up running into Turbo and his driver Matt Hunter and they quickly know that they will have to all stick together as they are found by police Go-Bots who want to break up these do gooders. Meanwhile Leader-1 barely escapes being crushed and kills his captives and is now our for revenge. Scooter and Turbo ditch the police bots and make their way to Tonka as they hope to find a patch that can fix all this and meet a programer and his forklift Go-Bot Spoons and are informed that this has nothing to do with the chip and is all about the fact the Go-Bots are having a revolution! Once outside A.J., Matt, Scooter and Turbo figure out that they must fight to live and find T. Coriander Banks who is dying and admits he is the cause of this all and as he dies the evil GoBots attack Turbo and Scooter who fight for their lives as well as of their human friends. As things look bad for our heroes they are saved from death when Leader-1 and a band of good bots show up to take on Cy-Kill and his renegades as the humans also make their play with the army! As Leader-1 and Cy-Kill have a bloody fight that leaves them both injured its Leader-1 that comes out the winner and he is surrounded by both sides who want them to lead them…one sides wants to get things back the way it was with humans in charge while the other side want to take over…what is Leader-1 to do.

This second issue is fantastic and brings GoBots to a whole new level as the Renegades as cold blooded and enjoy not only killing humans but also fellow robots who are loyal to mankind. The plot of this issue has Cy-Kill leading his Renegades to war with the humans as Turbo and Scooter along with their humans try to survive and almost are killed until the once injured Leader-1 shows up and wins a massive battle that now leaves him with a decision to make on to help mankind or be loyal to his own GoBots who are sick of being used and taken advantage of by man. I love that this issue leaves us on a cliffhanger that leaves the hero Leader-1 with a decision that will change the lives of many and will give him not only power, but will also make him a hated figure as he will not be able to please both sides. Leader-1 in this one is a hero who steps up and becomes the warrior we all know that he is, plus I love that even with his face cut halfway off and bleeding like a stuck pig he never gave up and was able to defeat a well more rested Cy-Kill. Speaking of Cy-Kill he is 100% cold blooded and gets joy out of killing and loves that his followers do so blindly and do whatever he says. Turbo shows that he as well is a fighter and even with the odds against him is willing to fight to save his human friend as well as do what he thinks is right, meanwhile Scooter is kind of a chicken who is by no means a fighter and quickly begs for his life when things go bad. I also love that Tonka is the company who make the GoBots and they through up their hands when things go bad and say well people should have treated them better! And somehow I feel this is a hidden message for toy collectors who always seem to trash GoBots and treat them like they are generic dollar store toys. The cover for this issue is great and showcases Cy-Kill and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli, again his style has grown on me. So lets move onto issue three and see what Leader-1 decides and if Cy-Kill will once more rise to cause an issue for humans and robots alike.

GO-BOTS # 3  **1/2
Released in 2019      Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 3 of 5

On GoBotron the planet of the Go-Bots and under the rule of Leader-1 is being visited by a group of astronauts from Earth who is with space shuttle bot Spay-C and are attacked by Zod a massive dinosaur robot who is the terror of the planet! And before the attack Leader-1 and his followers chase Zod off and take Spay-C prisoner and it’s clear that Leader-1 is running his world with an iron fist as he sets Spay-C to be reprogramed the next day, and the astronauts are lucky enough to escape, and they risk their lives to save him. Leader-1 has a vision and returns to ask Spay-C to help him and his followers and as they start their journey they are attacked by Cy-Kill who once more has followers and has also got Zod as an ally and this causes Leader-1 and his crew to flee to space but the renegades give chase, but are tricked and left behind. Leader-1 and his group hyperspace to the other side of the planet and Leader-1 explains that the item they seek is here, as the enter the inner layer of the planet its clear its not like the above world as this one is covered in rocks and sand and Spay-C runs off only to fall and become injured, he is later found by Turbo and Scooter who share with the astronauts that Leader-1 is not the kind Go-bot he claims to be, and as Spay-C tries to attack Turbo the astronauts run off and find Rocklords as well as that the planet they are on is Earth!

This issue takes place way after the events of issue 1 & 2 and has Leader-1 ruling over the world and is paranoid about his enemies trying to over throw his rule, but while once noble he is now more unfair and has no issues killing those who do not follow as well will brainwash to get allies. And when he meets a Go-Bot from space he thinks that he has the answer of how to bring peace to the worlds, but of course Cy-Kill and the Renegades want to rise to power and will do whatever they can to stop this quest. In this issue Leader-1 really is not a nice robot as he comes off as a crazed paranoid leader who will do whatever it takes to keep his power…and this makes him very dangerous. Cy-Kill is as power crazy as ever and seems like he will not stop until he takes over. Zod who is a massive dinosaur robot that is such a killer that all the Go-Bots fear him, plus once he joins forces with Cy-Kill all bets are off! Spay-C is an interesting character who goes from protecting his human friends to drinking the Kool-Aid that Leader-1 is forcing on him. The true hero of this series is Turbo who really is the one who watches after humas as well as his fellow Go-Bots like Scooter, he really is the most heroic bot of this series this far. I like also how in this issue the Go-Bots under the rule of Leader-1 build their own world GoBotron over Earth causing the world as we know it to be forever changed. The series has taken a real downbeat turn as it’s clear that there are very few heroes left and the world is filled with lots of greys that seem to be only looking out for themselves. The cover for the issue I have is pretty cool and showcases Spay-C and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli again. I do also want to say that while I enjoyed this issue it’s story does seem a little disjointed and that hurts it slightly when it comes to the star rating. But while flawed still highly entertaining and I cannot wait to see what issue four has in store for me.

GO-BOTS # 4  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 4 of 5

The astronauts are shocked and sadden by the fact Earth is now a shell that is the underbelly of a world created by the Go-Bots. Turbo meets up with the humans and forces Spay-C to explain what happened to the world and he lets them know that he has been looking out for them as from space he witnessed the destruction and was waiting to wake them from sleep chambers when things got better…but they never did. As Turbo shows the astronauts the remaining humans who have devolved Cy-Kill and the renegades appear and snatch up some humans causing Turbo and Spay-C to spring into action and save some of them. But the Renegades drop Zod who is ready to kill all in his way, and during the drop the ground shakes and Leader-1 has a vision of the Go-Bot God named Courageous and sets his way to find the Lazer Lance a staff he thinks can kill Zod and stop this fighting once and for all. After the explosion Spay-C is down for the count and Leader-1 runs into Turbo and Scooter and tries to call for a truce and asks them to help him find the Lance so they can all defeat their enemies, and Scooter knows the location! So they all climb to a skull cave and even have a run in with some of the Rock Lords, but once in the cave the run into Professor Braxis who is old and crazy and has created an army of Vamps who attack Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots but lucky for everyone during this fight the Lazer Lance is found and the Vamps flee as Leader-1 goes outside with lance in hand just as Zod and Cy-Kill and the rest of the Renegades appear! Just as Leader-1 is about to use the Lazer Lance it’s taken from him by Cy-Kill who breaks it and all looks bad for our heroes until the Rock Lords help them and cause all the Renegades to fall into a pit! Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the repaired Spay-C with the astronauts all join forces and use the damaged Lazer Lance to take down Zod once and for all as he explodes and causes a massive earthquake! As they regroup they notice the Go-Bots Command Center approaching and it open fire and many blasts hit Leader-1 and it even beams up Scooter and other Go-Bots…and we learn that Cy-Kill and the Renegades are the ones controlling the massive ship, and Turbo and Spay-C decide to go on a suicide mission to try and get Scooter back as the Go-Bots mourn what looks like the death of Leader-1.

This fourth issue is a great read and one heck of a great chapter in this mini series! This issues plot has Leader-1 still on his vision quest to get a lance that is his only hope to finally stop Zod, but along the way he must face Cy-Kill and his band of evil doers as well as make peace with Turbo, Scooter and the Rock Lords! Leader-1 in this issue comes off a creepy, crazed cult leader who has a vision and makes his followers follow him on a quest blindly. While in this issue Leader-1 starts off a little power crazed, by the end I think he is starting to realize that he has become a monster himself and tries to rebuild a friendship with the likes of Turbo and Scooter. And while Leader-1 was gunned down at the end of this issue and it looks like he is dead…I am going to say he is not and will be back for the 5th and final issue in the mini series. Turbo once more is the real hero as he looks out for his now dimwitted friend Scooter, is man enough to put his fight with the Go-Bots aside in order to bring down Zod. Cy-Kill is a psychopath who guns down and kills many Go-Bots, tortures humans for his own amusement and is just as power hungry as Leader-1 as he wants to rule the world. Spay-C in the issue comes around and fights on the side of good, glad to see him have a bound with Scooter and Turbo. Oh I also really like that Cop-Tur tries to step up and challenge Leader-1 to become the leader and gets his block knocked off…great stuff! One element I also found very interesting in this issue is the addition of Courageous who is a God like figure for the bots, I also like that the Rock Lords are around and have been created by the “Gods” and they are the more pure versions of the Go-Bots. While the story again jumps oddly in spots it is a great read that is packed with action, drama and even some cool cliffhangers. The cover I have is a little weak and does not do this issue justice. And like before Tom Scioli did the interior art and does a fantastic job. So with that lest see what the final issue in this mini series has in store for us, and most important lets see what the fate of Leader-1 is!

GO-BOTS # 5  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 5 of 5

Spay-C drops Turbo off on the command center that has been taken over by Cy-Kill and his Renegades in order to get his friend Scooter back and bashes and smashes all that get in his way. He finally makes it to the control room and confronts Cy-Kill and gives him a choice fight him and die or let Scooter go and let them leave…Cy-Kill decides to fight and his gunned down. Turbo finds Scooter and the pair try and leave but are found by Crasher who ends up becoming allies with them and both want to end this war that was started by Leader-1 and Cy-Kill! The newly allied Go-Bots return to Earth and Spay-C and some of the Humans are going to try time travel while the others stay and find that the Earth has been under attacked by an army of Vamps being controlled by Professor Braxis and they meet a younger generation of Go-Bots who are now fighting this war, showing that the fighting will never end. The new Go-Bots decide to head to space and make their own world and even take the bodies of Cy-Kill and Leader-1 and rebuild them as one new Go-Bot. While the humans on Earth along with Go-Bots start their own quest to rebuild the planet and in the end Spay-C and some of the some of the astronauts return to the past to warn the world about the uprising of the Go-Bots…but like always those in power do not listen so it as it appears our future is doomed.

This mini series is fantastic and has a surprise connection that I will discuss a little later in this issue review, as it’s a big spoiler. The plot of this issue has Leader-1 dead and Turbo on a quest to save his friend Scooter from the command center that is being controlled by the coldblooded killer Cy-Kill. Once Turbo finds his enemy he kills him and saves his friend only to find that GoBotron has been attacked by Vamps and that the younger Go-Bots have grown in size and have no ties to Earth and want to make their own way on a new planet so they leave. And with that the humans that are left as well as many of the old Go-Bots must find away to rebuild the Earth that has been left in terrible shop after the rise of the Go-Bots. Turbo once more shows that he is the true hero of this series as he does not care about this war that rages on over two Go-Bots egos and just wants to save his friend and respect humans and their lives. I like the fact Turbo don’t want to be in charge and really just want the world to get along and for both humans and Go-Bots to live together. I also like that this series had the guts to kill off both Leader-1 and Cy-Kill who are the franchises two biggest characters, and this move reminds me of how they killed Optimus Prime in the Transformers Movie. I also like how the astronauts decide that they will try and make the best of the new Earth and will help and try and educate the remaining humans who have almost became cavemen again. Plus its so true to life that with major warnings of doom for the world we all share, those who have power choose not to listen as they don’t want to change their lifestyles to make a difference. Now I have to talk about the series main spoilers so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of the review…..Ok I need to stress I think that it’s amazing that the younger Go-Bots will grow to be the Transformers and that the artificial planet GoBotron will become Cybertron! That’s right we get a sneak peek of Optimus Prime who is GoBot Road Ranger as well as Bumblebee and the bodies of Leader-1 and Cy-Kill and are turned into Starscream! I love that finally someone gives Go-Bots the respect they deserve, as they are really the first major changing robot toys! The cover for this issue is cool and yet silly and has Leader-1 holding the body of Cy-Kill and I must also say again the art of Tom Scioli at first was not my cup of tea, but this series made me a fan. Check out the art below to see the style of Scioli.

Go-Bots really do make me think about my youth and Christmas time so this comic mini series was the prefect way to get me into the holiday season! I would love for IDW to do more as I feel that many other stories could be shared about Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots. And for the next update and our countdown to Christmas Eve I will be staying in the world of classic toys turned into comic book heroes as we will be looking at Stretch Armstrong! So until next time readers and friends read a comic or three, watch a Christmas Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a stretching good time.

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another of my Horror Host Icon updates that will breakdown a legend in the world of TV Horror Hosting, and to me there is not a too big or too small Horror Host as no matter how long their show ran or where they aired on from TV to the internet, they had a following and meant something to their viewers and for that they deserve to get this update treatment. And for this update we are traveling to England to take a look at their first and only Horror Host who went by two names with Dr. Terror being his most popular! Imagine living in England and not having a Horror Host to guide you through late night movie watching till 1992, and it’s crazy that Dr. Terror does not get more respect and fanfare just for that fact! So if you’re ready to travel to scary old England and pay a visit to the one and only Dr. Terror, we should begin this Horror Host Icon update!

In 1992, the BBC2 aired an All-Night Halloween Marathon that was hosted by Dr. Walpurgis and featured five horror movies that included Creepshow and Curse of the Werewolf alongside mini documentaries and specials based on horror media. This horror marathon was a major hit and helped spark the idea of a full time Horror Host for the BBC. But in 1993, Walpurgis got a name change, and he became Dr. Terror and got his own show called Vault Of Horror that ran for a total of three seasons and chilled the spines of British TV watchers. Dr. Terror himself is a strange demon like man who has a serious sinister side but also has a goofy, silly side that helps mellow his scare factor. His appearance is very monstrous as he has a long face with a big chin as well as very big pointed ears. He also is very fashionable as he is always wearing a very nice suit. He also seems to have a sense of humor and sometimes it’s a little dry. Dr. Terror also seems to be very educated and for the most part is very well spoken showing that he knows his facts about the night’s movie or movies. He also is known for hanging out in a library or at a twisted and haunted amusement park. We as the viewer never do get a clear answer to what Dr. Terror is, or besides the love for Horror Movies, why he hosts movies on the BBC. I want to also really stress that when Dr. Terror originally started he was more straight-laced and grim and by his later years he was more fun loving and filled with bad jokes. Say what you will about Dr. Terror, but if you have seen one of his episodes or even host segments then you know that this guy is a fantastic host and should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Guy Henry was the actor who played Dr. Terror, and he is quite the actor in British TV and beyond and is well respected. Guy began his acting career in 1967 on a TV Series called “Look And Read” that lead to him playing the part of Sherlock Holmes in the 1982 TV Show “Young Sherlock: The Mystery Of The Manor House” and with playing Sherlock Holmes opened the door to many more roles in films and shows that include “Another Country” 1984, “Lady Jane” 1986 and “Rumpole Of The Bailey” TV Series from 1987 and this role of becoming Dr. Walpurgis aka Dr. Terror England’s first Horror Host in 1992 hosting spooky Horror Movies in “The Vault Of Horror”. Guy Henry became an in demand actor over the years and some of his biggest roles that I would like to highlight are playing Guy Reynolds on the TV Show “Walking Dead” and nope not the AMC show based on the classic Image Comic Book. In 2005 he played Heyer in the comic book movie “V For Vendetta” and in 2007 he played Cassius in the cable show “Rome”. He would also be casted as Pius Thicknesse in the films “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2 from 2010 and 2011 respectively. And in 2016 he stepped in and was the body double for a CGI Peter Cushing in the film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and with this I heard many people compare him to this generations Cushing and really makes me wish Hammer would hire him to star in a Horror Movie. And the last role I will touch on is that in 2017 he played Dean Of Westminster on the TV Show “The Frankenstein Chronicles” showing that this guy should be hired more often in Horror. While Guy Henry is not a household name he is a great character actor who seems to not be slowing down anytime soon.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episodes I have of Dr. Terror who has always captured by attention with his look and style. I want to thank all the Horror Host trade lists for getting me these episodes and making this update possible and mostly Stumpy Disks for having many of these episodes. So let’s take a look at these episodes of Vault Of Horror! Oh and I need to also stress that I am not sure if these episodes are full broadcast versions or if they are fan reproductions. And yep I notice as well that the DVD covers have the wrong name for the show!

Vault Of Horror: Body Parts
Starring – Jeff Fahey & Kim Delaney      Rated R      1991  

Host: Dr. Terror in this episode is at his haunted amusement park hangout and talks about medical issues of the minds of those who make some of the shows for BBC! He as well introduces us to his “wife” that is really just a long haired, bearded man standing behind a picture cut out of a circus fat woman.

Movie: When Bill Chrashank loses his arm in a car accident, the arm of an executed death row inmate is grafted on in its place. The only problem, as Bill soon discovers, is that the arm is possessed by a force he cannot control.

Note From Matt: This episode seems to be missing its end segment as well as any middle ones if this episode had those.

Vault Of Horror: The Ghoul
Starring – Boris Karloff & Ernest Thesiger     Not Rated     1933

Host: In this episode Dr. Terror is hanging out with a laughing clown at the amusement park and talks about the night’s movie (not really) as well as brags about the master actor that is Peter Cushing!

Movie: Aga Ben Dragore, a knife-wielding, enigmatic Egyptian Arab, is seeking a sacred jewel which has been stolen from an ancient tomb. The thief tells him that he sold it to Professor Morlant, a fanatical Egyptologist who fervently believes in the pagan power of the ancient Egyptian gods. Dying from a mysteriously disfiguring ailment, Morlant entrusts his faithful manservant to bandage the jewel in his hand and warns him of dire consequences if his dying wishes aren’t carried out. After his burial in an Egyptian-type tomb on his estate, an anonymous robber steals the precious stone from the corpse. Although the ghastly-looking dead man rises at the next full moon to seek revenge, neither he nor the audience know which member of the household possesses the powerful jewel.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit as the film he talks about in the opening segment is the 1975 film The Ghoul that starred Peter Cushing and the film shown on this DVD is the 1933 film The Ghoul starring Boris Karloff. This episode also has no end or middle hosted segments.

Vault Of Horror: Legend Of The Werewolf
Starring – Peter Cushing & Ron Moody     Not Rated     1975

Host: This time Dr. Terror is in front of the Haunted Hotel trying to get people to come see the amazing wolf boy and also talks a little about the night’s film and praises Peter Cushing.

Movie: A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral “wolf boy”, who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous, overprotective crush on a prostitute, leading him to attack her client, incurring a pursuit by a determined police surgeon.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit and only has the opening segment.

Vault Of Horror: The Mummy
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee     Unrated     1959

Host: Once more at his amusement park hideout, Dr. Terror is riding in a boat traveling down a dark tunnel and chats to us about the Hammer Horror movie The Mummy! But not before telling one of his bad jokes.

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.

Note From Matt: No ending segment here as well, makes me wonder did he even have an end segment for his show?

Hands down, Dr. Terror is an amazing Horror Host who delivered great scares and a spooky good time to viewers in the U.K. and I am glad that he has gained a small cult following here in America. And to me it’s crazy that he has not been inducted to The Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he is the first host of the U.K and just his shear delivery of being a Horror Host is top notch. I am going to try my best to get him in the class of 2020! So for our next update we are going to leave the world of Horror Hosting behind but still stay in the world of Horror as I will be doing another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update (or is that From Horror Comic To Horror Movie?) as a part of our countdown to Halloween, and I will be taking a look at the movie Rottentail! 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 update for a killer bunny man good time!

Oh and on a side note Dr. Terror is now on the 2020 ballot for the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Horror Host Icon: Iris and Retina

Not all of Dayton, Ohio’s Horror Host’s are Doctors, Ghouls, Creepers or Barons. Some of them are just very cool cats who enjoy life and all the joys movies, music and companionship bring us all. The hosts I am talking about are Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, a show like no other in the Dayton area as they blend mondo and horror together for one entreating show. Iris & Retina in my opinion are often over looked when it comes to the impact they have made in Horror Hosting in Ohio as they have always meant something to their viewers and delivered a show that was like none other in the area before or even after it. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Iris & Retina, an update that has been long over due!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go started in 2007 and took viewers of Public Access by storm as hosts Iris & Retina were unlike the hosts that preceded them and their show took a way different approach to Horror Hosting. Each episode was very different, as they would take us from locations like their home all the way to skits in cemeteries and everything in-between, and unlike most Horror Hosts of that time, they did not have a regular set and would show all types of films not just in the Horror Genre. The show would last around seven episodes as of this update and plans for more are being talked about as Iris & Retina have more films to share with viewers, and this blogger does know for a fact that one episode has been partly shot and at some point will be finished. Mondo Smash A’Go-Go aired on DATV, MVCC as well as The Monster Channel and got released on DVD by Iris & Retina and has built a following among Dayton viewers and beyond. To this day their episodes air of DATV as part of the Horror Host Underground that airs after Baron Von Porkchop on Friday Nights. Their episodes can be found on YouTube as well so do yourself a favor and give them a watch as they are highly entertaining and are truly different from the rest of the pack of Dayton Hosts.

Iris and Retina are two lovebirds that live in a world of psychedelic Americana and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of movies with the viewers as well as their love for music and even snack recipes and really gets into hosting. Their tagline for viewers is “From Our Living Room To Yours,” and they mean it as many episodes do take place in the couple’s living room, but they also do travel outside it and each episode seems very surreal and almost hypnotic. Both Iris & Retina, besides being talented Horrors Hosts, are also talented musicians, and they will also play a little song for the viewers on some episodes! The thing that also sets these two apart from all the other Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio is that neither Iris nor Retina are the co-host and each share the same amount of the hosting duties! While Hosts like Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop have very important sidekicks and co-hosts, they are the solo star of their shows while on Mondo Smash A’Go-Go both are the main host! Plus another thing that sets them apart is that they are just normal people doing cool things and bringing you movies in a world of colors and imagination. Iris & Retina are great Horror Hosts who have made their mark in Dayton and beyond with their cool lucha laidback explosion style of hosting, and I for one would put theme in my Top 5 favorite Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio!

When not Hosting Horror Movies on Public Access, Iris & Retina who are played by Louie and El Bean Lerma put on their luchador masks and becomes El Muerto and Infinity, part of one of the area’s top psychedelic surf bands Team Void who rock the Dayton area and beyond! One cool thing about Team Void is that they have played at The Baron’s Ball hosted by Baron Von Porkchop and “A Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s,” both events that took place at the iconic Gilly’s Jazz in Dayton and teamed them up with fellow Ohio Horror Hosts. Team Void is a pretty popular band in the Dayton music scene, and if you ever find yourself in town when they are playing, do yourself a favor and check them out.

So for this Horror Host Icon update, I am lucky enough to have been granted a 6 question interview with the one and only Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go! So sit back and see what this cool cat has to say about his life as a Horror Host in Dayton.

Me: Welcome, Retina to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?

Retina: Loved horror movies in general growing up into my adulthood. My father was in the Air Force and was able to travel USA and abroad. My first horror show host was a gentleman, husband of my 2nd grade teacher, his host name was Sea Creep. To begin each show, he would climb out of the ocean onto the beach and chase his fellow co-host Marilyn. I thought that was so cool! When we came back to the United States, stationed at Dayton, Ohio Wright Patt. 1972 I became addicted to Dr. Creep! I was able to be on his final show, playing Bass for a local band called THE DATES -XXX. What a THRILL!!! I also tuned in to horror show hosts like The Cool Ghoul/Cincinnati Ghoulardi/Cleveland, Bob Shreve from Pat Prime Playhouse, and in a weird way, Uncle Al kids’ show host from Cincinnati. Dug Capt Wendy’s Go-Go Boots the most! From Indianapolis was Sammy Terry!!! All big influences on Retina’s career.

Me: So out of your first classic episodes of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go, what is your favorite one?

Retina: My favorite MSAGG is -of course the final one we did. The beginning of Season 2, “Night Of The Living Dead” with you and the Baron Von Porkchop’s help… also we had a killer band, Akillis Green, their song, “Cannibal Love” really fit the theme. Personally, I love the 2nd episode, “Wild Guitar” – we had such a blast making it in our living room. It was the first time we danced and played music as a duo, Iris and me, and also played multiple characters. And then we did “Bloody Pit Of Horror” the first season finale, that was in Mondo Vision, our version of 3D processing. Iris and Retina also cracked up the audience with their studio being haunted by an entity, calling another show, WRAPS and TABS to investigate and exorcise the spirit making for a funny scene! Also of course Iris and Retina were playing all roles again.

Me: There is a rumor of a new episode that is in the works, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what you and Iris get up to in the episode?

Retina: Hmmm crazy… we started to finish our 2nd season, we have much in the can with the movie, not to give anything away, it’s a classic Gamera movie. Iris and Retina will be hosting as marionette puppets traveling into space to reach Gamera for an interview but ran into Godzilla first so we interviewed him as well! Bonus! We have plans for other titles “Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster” one of my favorites, “Not Of This Earth” Roger Corman classic, as well as “Undertaker And His Pals”

Me: When this episode is released, are there plans for more Mondo Smash A’Go-Go’s to be unleashed on the viewers?

Retina: As I mentioned Q3 there are plans to finish our 2nd season. We ended 2nd season’s premiere, S2 “Ep1, “NOTLD.” Iris and Retina to share the movies and be seen to the public in different ways: marionettes sculpted by Luis Lerma. We have lined up musical guests. Also special guests, pop over to help us out throughout the season. We’ve had a nice break from our movie playback escapades pursuing our music career; TEAM VOID is at our tenth year! MSAGoGo will come out in our eleventh year, est 2008. Looking forward to bringing more MSAGoGo Movies from our living room to yours and our versions to you, Spoiler Alert… look for Mondo Vision to evolve.

Me: So if you guys could host any film what would you pick?

Retina: For me, I would like to do a Triple Feature, “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” actually make that a Quadruple Feature: “Blood For Dracula,” and finish it off with “How To Make A Monster!” They were all released in 1959 the year I was born. I have watched them all on television growing up. And then I will hand this question over to Iris, she loves “Dirty Dancing”…we would have a great time traveling out to the locations for a dancing cool life experience. Then travel to England for a fun run with “Witches” because she loves all the author Roald Dahl’s strange tales. And finally run through hosting and toasting “Hold That Ghost” rocking Abbott and Costello movies with “A and C Meet The Mummy” and loves all Billy Wilder, and all Trinity with Bud Spencer Movies!! Travel around the world for her favorites… We are also fans of the Beach movies, Peter Sellers movies, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, John Waters collection, William Castle mad fun, the Raimi’s Franchise,”Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety” and “SIN CITY”… the list goes on.

Me: And lastly do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?

Retina: My advice is to watch as many movies as you can! Enjoy them, experience them, and learn from them, watch them again! True fans of horror movies make a great horror show host. Find your identity and how you want to express yourself to your audience, and be informative, as well as go all in to entertain your audience! You watching you, do what you like! Be original. Stick to sharing your excitement with telling the story to host a great show! You can be creative using what you already own on the DIY editing systems, cameras, find local locations. Remember production value is important and embrace happy accidents like trains passing thru the background of your shoot, or a reflection in your car windows to add a deeper story, etc. etc. etc.

I want thank Retina for taking a few moments of his time for this interview and really do hope the world gets more Mondo Smash episodes, and while Iris & Retina and their show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go might not be as talked about as Shock Theater, it still has made its mark on public access viewers and much like Moraine Playhouse Theater their show is safe for viewers of all ages and has top notch hosts attached to them. I for one also think that they should some day be put into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as they are truly great Horror Hosts!

So let’s now talk about the episodes I own on DVD, as lucky for me and you readers, I own all the episodes they have released so far and really want to thank both Iris and Retina for them as I bought and was gifted these episodes from them! I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and will be taking the film’s write ups from our pals at IMDB and I will write about the Host segments to give you a little taste on what Iris & Retina are up to in them. So sit back, relax and groove with Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Oh and I am going to do these episodes in order of release!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Santo vs. Vamp Woman
Starring – El Santo & Lorena Velazquez      Not Rated      1962

Host: Our Hosts Iris & Retina welcome the viewers to their living room to enjoy a classic Mexican action horror movie that is a renamed El Santo film and give us some history of the night’s film as well as its Lucha star. Next break they teach the viewers how to make some very tasty nachos and guacamole for a movie snack! We next join Iris & Retina as they have Team Void play a song for the viewers with a Lucha twist. In the end Iris & Retina tell us about next week’s film and play us out with a song by Team Void.

Movie: The vampire women in Mexico have awakened from their sleep, commanded by their master, The Evil One, to find him a bride. They choose as their target the beautiful daughter of a local professor. To rescue his daughter, the professor calls El Santo (Samson in some US versions), a silver-masked wrestler for justice.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Wild Guitar
Starring – Arch Hall Jr. & Nancy Czar      Not Rated      1962

Host: Once more from their living room Iris & Retina welcome us to another episode of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, and Retina with his guitar in hand tells us about the night’s movie as Iris dances and as well shares facts about the flick and its stars. We next join Iris & Retina who on this break decide to teach the viewers how to do the dance the twist, before taking us back to the movie. We next join Iris & Retina as they go up against two other couples in a twist contest that include a female vampire and a werewolf! But in the end Iris & Retina win the contest and show that Horror Hosts are the best at everything! After the movie our hosts tell us about the movie that is coming up on the next episode and then play us out with a song inspired by Wild Guitar.

Movie: A young Arch Hall, Jr. is given a shot at the big time by the unscrupulous owner of a small record company played by Arch Hall, Sr. (aka William Watters).

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Carnival Of Souls
Starring – Candance Hilligoss & Herk Harvey      Rated PG      1962

Host: Iris and Retina welcome us to the show, and they share some facts about the film as well as its cast and crew. Iris and Retina are drinking cups of coffee during the break, and Iris explains how much she enjoys being a Horror Host! Iris becomes scared when she sees a zombish version of Retina in a mirror and doesn’t want to watch the movie alone! In the end Iris is dancing with the ghostly Retina, and the pair tell the viewers what next weeks film is! As the credits roll, both Iris and Retina are ghostly and dance and wish us all a good night.

Movie: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off of a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual insouciance.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: White Zombie
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Madge Bellamy       Not Rated        1932

Host: Iris & Retina have been invited to Haiti to attend a friend’s wedding and talk about the night’s film as well as its crew and cast including Bela Lugosi. We next join Iris & Retina who are at a small table having a cocktail when Iris falls into a trance over a rose Retina was going to give to the bride! During one break, they show the short film “Betty Boop Meets Dracula” for the intermission of the episode. Iris & Retina bring you a 3-D Three Stooges Short film after the film to help add to the episodes fun time! In the end our hosts Iris & Retina share what the next film will be.

Movie: Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont’s motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre’s zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving ‘widower’ Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: A Bucket Of Blood
Starring – Dick Miller & Barboura Morris       Not Rated       1959

Host: Iris & Retina are at a coffee shop and are doing an open mic, and Iris is hyping up their show via spoken words, and once done they talk about the film as well as its cast and crew all the while cleaning the tables of the coffee shop…the film is also being shown in Mondo-Vision! Through out the episode the people around Iris & Retina act like beatniks as our hosts serve drinks to them as a snitch named The Fink keeps calling into his “boss”. The snitch figures out that Iris & Retina are frauds and their show is really just a drawing on a TV Screen that is static! In the end they coffee shop still celebrates Iris & Retina and they show a trailer from the next film to be shown!

Movie: Walter Paisley, nerdy busboy at a Bohemian café, is jealous of the talent (and popularity) of its various artistic regulars. But after accidentally killing his landlady’s cat and covering the body in plaster to hide the evidence, he is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor – but his newfound friends want to see more of his work. Lacking any artistic talent whatsoever, Walter has to resort to similar methods to produce new work, and soon people start mysteriously disappearing.

Note From Matt: This is the first episode that Iris & Retina brought in background actors to fill roles of people at the coffee shop. Plus is the first film shown in Mondovision that required special glasses to watch.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Bloody Pit Of Horror
Starring – Mickey Hargitay & Rita Klein       Unrated       1965

Host: Iris & Retina are in their living room once more and give us viewers a little history on the night’s film as well as its crew and cast. They also call friends of theirs from a ghost hunting show called “Wraps & Tabs” and try and get them to come over. The night’s film is also shown in Mondovision! Once back they welcome Wraps & Tabs to their home, and these guys are going to try and help them find a weird shadow and voice that seems to be coming from a spirit! Iris & Retina give the ghost hunters and viewers a tour of their house and show some of the spots they think are haunted. The next segments have Wraps and Tabs investigating the house as odd things happen around them. They soon make contact with the spirit that was really just the show’s executive producer who was yelling at them to get the episode done and turned in so that it could air! In the end Iris & Retina show back up and end the show with a trailer for their next film “Manster” that was never made.

Movie: Writer Rick and his publisher Daniel Parks finally find the ideal location in Italy to shoot some photographs for Rick’s Horror photo-novel when they come across an ideal spot. The seemingly deserted castle looks perfect from the outside, so Rick and Daniel, accompanied by his secretary Edith, their photographer Dermott, and his five young models decide to break in. They soon find the castle is actually occupied by former actor, Travis Anderson, who initially is annoyed with these visitors until he recognizes Edith, his ex-fiancée amongst them. He decides to give them permission to use his castle, but warns them that the dungeons are off limits. Will they heed his warning?

Note From Matt: This is the second film in the series to have a film shown in Mondovision that required the special glasses.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Night Of The Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Judith O’Dea       Not Rated        1968

Host: As always Iris & Retina welcome us to the show and introduce the night’s film and talk about it as well as the cast and crew as well as tell us about guests Team Void and Akillis Green! While in the cemetery, Iris & Retina are attacked by a pair of zombies who chase them into a near by house. Later in the cemetery a News Reporter and his Camera Man are reporting on the zombie outbreak as Team Void show up and are interviewed by him as this Lucha Rock Band are master zombie killers. They also update the viewers to locations in the area that are safe. As Team Void gun down zombies, we go back to the classic movie. Once back to the house Iris & Retina run into band Akillis Green, and they perform the song Cannibal Love, but the zombies get in and bite band member Dave who they lock in the basement as the rest go out and protect the house from the zombie horde, but in the end all of the band dies in a zombie attack. In the end Team Void is still killing zombies in the cemetery as the News reports on the safety! Iris & Retina also return and thank the special guests and so ends the final episode of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go…for now!

Movie: Barbra and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Karen Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute.

Note From Matt: In this episode Baron Von Porkchop plays the News Reporter as well as one of the zombies, Count Van Lambchop plays one of the zombies and I play the News Camera Man!

Iris & Retina take their place in the history books of Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio, and they truly are the most unique Hosts as they have a style that is unlike all the others. I for one am a fan and very much looking forward to new episodes, as Dayton needs more active Horror Hosts! I also want to thank Retina for the interview as well as alerting me to Sea Creep, a Host that I now must find footage and learn all about, and who knows maybe one day if I can uncover footage he may get a Horror Host Icon update! Also if you want to check out Mondo Smash A’Go Go, episodes can be found on their official YouTube page, so make sure to check them out if you enjoy Hosting and good classic Public Domain films. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be taking a look at the world of Horror Fan Films, those amazing films made by fans that keep characters alive and bring new scares to viewers. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a new update that I hope will become yearly!

Avengers Assemble…We’re Needed

Welcome back, True Rotten Ink-lievers!  Juliet here, on this momentous occasion where we’ll be covering one of the greatest team-ups to grace both the page and the screen. I’m talking about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, John Steed and Emma Peel.  That’s right, I’m joining you to talk about The Avengers….but not those Avengers. We’ll be looking at the spies played by John Macnee and Diana Rigg in the 1960s British television show, The Avengers, and their 2012-13 comic book series from Boom Studios.  So grab a bowler hat and a stiff drink, readers, we’re needed.

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Although knowledge of the show is more widespread these days, there are many people that don’t realize that the Avengers existed both before and after the Emma Peel years.  The show premiered in 1961 from the English ABC (Associated British Corporation), focusing on the espionage adventures of Dr. David Keel with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed showing up in the first episode offering his assistance.  Steed would remain in the assistant’s role for all of series one, which was cut short due to an Actor’s Equity strike. When production resumed in 1962, Steed was now the focus of the show partnering briefly with Dr. Martin King and Venus Smith and more permanently with Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman.  It was during this time that the show as we know and love it really took shape: Steed’s look was established as the bowler-wearing English gentleman spy, while Cathy donned leather catsuits, which Emma Peel would also adopt along with the latest in mod fashion.

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In 1965, the show was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (also ABC) and became one of the first British shows on to air on American television. The show moved from shooting on videotape to 35mm film, and in October, Diana Rigg debuted as Steed’s new partner Emma Peel.  We’ll discuss more about Steed and Peel momentarily, but for now let’s focus on the show itself. Along with Emma Peel, this new era of the Avengers introduced science fiction, fantasy and the occasional fetishistic elements to the plot. With the fifth series (aka season since we’re talking about British TV) in 1966, the show began shooting in color.  This was also the year that several of the show’s signature elements were introduced.

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Two of the best known elements that in truth only lasted for 15 episodes, are “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” and the “Steed does/Emma does” tags, both appearing at the start of an episode after of course the murder or inciting incident for the case had been established. We’d see Emma doing something ordinary. She’d then receive or encounter the message “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed” at which time Steed would appear from seemingly nowhere and their adventure would begin.  The tag would show up under the episode title and give a comedic description of each character’s actions during the episode. For example, in “The Winged Avenger,” the tag is, “Steed Goes Birdwatching. Emma Does a Comic Strip”

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Diana Rigg left the show in 1967, gone was Emma Peel and gone were the sci-fi/fantasy elements with her.  The producers opted to return to the more realistic spy adventures that viewers had seen in the Cathy Gale era, and this time Steed’s partner was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.  This sixth series would also introduce the characters of Mother and Father who would be central characters in the 1998 movie remake of the Avengers (more on that further down). But series 6 was to be the last as, although the show was popular in the UK and Europe, in the U.S. it was airing opposite the then number 1 show in the country Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and just couldn’t compete.  When the show cancelled in the U.S., the finances became unsustainable and Avengers ceased production in May 1969.

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Now that we’ve talked about the history of the show, let’s get into the characters and the people who portrayed them.  Born of a noble family and having served in the RAF in WWII (like his portrayer Patrick Macnee), John Steed is an agent in an unnamed British intelligence agency that some claim exists in the same universe/canon as James Bond.  In his initial appearances in Avengers, Steed was less refined than the character we’d come to know and love, but fairly quickly, he adopted the signature suave look of a three-piece suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, which would become his signature look. Steed is both sassy and sauve, and although he can be playful, when the time comes, he’s an ace spy and is well verse in hand to hand combat and swordsmanship. The role of Steed came around at the precise right time for actor Patrick Macnee.  After serving in WWII for England, he began his acting career in Canada with smaller roles but didn’t meet with much success. By the late 1950s, he was smoking and drinking to excess and had nearly given up on acting opting to produce documentaries when he was offered the role of John Steed, which he would play until 1969. Macnee helped establish the character’s look and personality, insisting, for example, that Steed never use a gun, in part because of the horrors that Macnee had witnessed in WWII.  He wrote two novels based on The Avengers and later hosted a documentary about the show. Macnee would go on to be in a James Bond film, Magnum P.I., The Howling and more, including a cameo in the 1998 Avengers remake (I promise, we’re getting there). Patrick Macnee died in June of 2015 at the age of 93.

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Dame Diana Rigg made her stage debut in 1957 and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959.  When Elizabeth Shepherd, originally slated to play Emma Peel, left the production, Rigg auditioned for the role having never seen The Avengers.  She was an instant star, despite making very little money for her work on the show, which is what ultimately drove her to leave after two years. Rigg went on to star in both film and television roles, including a stint hosting Mystery on PBS (taking over for Vincent Price), and she continued her work on stage. More recently, she’s captivated a new generation of TV viewers as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones.  As for Rigg’s most iconic role, Emma Peel is a great mix of brains, battle-readiness, and sex appeal. She’s an accomplished scientist and martial artist who dabbles in many other fields, especially when it aids her investigations with Steed. Born Emma Knight, Mrs. Peel’s husband Peter is a pilot whose plane went down in the Amazon rainforest prior to her work with Steed. Peter was presumed dead for many years, returning as a plot device to write Emma off the show and introduce Tara King when Diana Rigg decided to move on.  Though the leather catsuits were introduced in the Cathy Gale era of Avengers, they became Emma Peel’s signature look along with the mod styles of the day. A quick wit with a silver tongue, Emma was the perfect verbal match for Steed, and their back and forth was part of what made the show such a joy to watch.

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I first encountered The Avengers on VHS at my local library.  I was lucky enough to grow up with two awesome libraries close by, one of which had an amazing selection of science fiction paperbacks and the other sported any amazing VHS selection, featuring a lot of British television and foreign and classic films. In the same way I have an affection for both really good and really cheesy science fiction, I adore both really good and really cheesy spy movies and TV shows, and I feel like The Avengers fall right in the middle.  It’s as classic as James Bond, but has an entirely different feel that’s so completely of its era. In the last five or six years, I’ve managed to watch the entire Emma Peel run of the show on DVD thanks to Matt, who bought me the Emma Peel Megaset after we found it at Half Price Books. In the same spirit as ST:TNG and the X-Files, I have certain favorite episodes that I go back to again and again, but I can also watch the series as a whole all over again and enjoy it, securing The Avengers’ spot among my all-time favorite TV shows.

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In 1998, Warner Brothers and director Jeremiah Chechik (of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame) sought to revive Steed and Mrs. Peel for a new generation on the big screen.  The film, simply titled The Avengers starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel and Sean Connery as weather obsessed villain Sir August de Wynter. Rumor has it that Warner refused to pre-screen the film for reviewers to prevent negative reviews after test screenings prompted the studio to cut it from 115-minute to 89 minutes, removing key plot elements.  An original cut of the movie has never emerged, though Jeremiah Chechik has offered Warner Brothers a director’s cut for free. The movie as it stands is universally regarded as one of the worst movies ever, but I have to tell you something, dear readers: I love it. Okay, okay, it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, but I see the campy potential in the look and feel. Plus, it came out at a time in my life where I was actively seeking out very cheesy spy films and novels, the more bizarre, the better….and this one is certainly bizarre.  To parrot Stefon from SNL, this movie has everything: Uma Thurman with a bad English accent, giant teddy bears, a weather device, human sized hamster balls, Patrick Macnee as the Invisible Man, Eddie Izzard. If you have an open heart for utterly ridiculous trash, give it a try. It has little to nothing to do with the original TV series, but it’s silly fun if you’re up for that sort of thing.

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In terms of merchandise for the TV show, the modern fan can enjoy the series on DVD as well as a plethora of Steed and Mrs. Peel-themed goodies on sites like Etsy.  More classic gear includes trading cards, and most interesting, paperback books. The first novel, simply titled The Avengers and written by Douglas Enefer, was published by Consul Books in 1963.  It’s the only book of the original run to feature Cathy Gale. Many novels featuring Emma Peel and Tara King would follow in the UK and US, including several co-written by Patrick Macnee who was one of the first actors to write licensed spin-off fiction of their own shows.

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The Avengers first made it to comics in the U.K. as comic strips in TV listing magazines (similar to the US’ TV Guide).  Their first American outing was a 1968 collection of these strips released by Gold Key called John Steed Emma Peel because, of course, Marvel made it impossible for them to release a comic called The Avengers. In 1990 Eclipse released a three issue series called Steed and Mrs. Peel with script by Grant Morrison and art by Ian Gibson.  Boom Studios would re-release that series in early 2012. For our purposes, however, we’ll be covering the 2012-13 Steed and Mrs. Peel series from Boom Studios, written Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe. Before we begin our adventure, I must remind you that here at Rotten Ink, we grade comics on a 1-4 star scale and look for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get started, dear reader, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #0  *** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #0 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel investigate the mysterious of Agent Colin Whitcomb. Although the cause of death is straight forward (he was shot pointe blank), the strange part is that the missing agent has aged significantly.  Their only clue is the scent of a particular cheap perfume on Whitcomb’s body, sending the daring duo to the Hellfire Club, or rather the “New Hellfire Club” to investigate. There they meet the future obsessed Cartney who leads Steed into a fight with Father Time.  Meanwhile Emma outwits Futura, the automotan, and dons her outfit as a disguise to locate the missing Steed. Steed awakens older and grayer discovering that it’s no longer 1966, but the year 2000, and that he’s now a part of the National Archives, having served as an agent of much acclaim.  But of course Steed is on to the true plot of the Hellfire Club, using an aging serum to fool intelligence British agents. With Emma’s expert martial arts skills, the baddies, which include their old Hellfire nemesis Cartney, are defeated. With the aging serum’s effects wearing off, Steed treats Mrs. Peel to a concert.

When I first heard that Boom Studios would be doing a comic based on The Avengers, I was nervous to say the least.  The charm of the show is so particular – there’s a formula to the stories, but moreover the way Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg portrayed the relationship between Steed and Peel is so very specific.  I was hopeful once I saw that Mark Waid was writing, and he did not disappoint. This introductory issue was everything I had hoped for – it felt right at home in the universe of the show, teasing a time jump but keeping things firmly in the 1960s.  Longtime fans of the show got recollections of the Hellfire Club (**find out the name of this episode) and Emma’s spiked collar, cybermen (who also appeared in Doctor Who), the familiar “We’re Needed” start to the action. Most importantly, the dialogue was perfect.  I could hear MacNee and Rigg’s voices in my head as I was reading. Steve Bryant’s art is a good balance of realistic and stylistic and captures both the feel of the 1960s and the action well. I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I first read it in 2012, and 7 years later, it’s still a great read.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #1  ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #1 of 11

Masked men infiltrate a secluded base and launch a missile attack on London.  Steed and Mrs. Peel watch the carnage, along with Lord Bailey, in an underground bunker, but just as everyone has a moment to absorb what’s just happened, an alert sounds and our heroes leap to action.  A fire in the bunker forces Emma and a fellow scientist to lead everyone in the bunker topside, but once there, Mrs. Peel discovers something unusual. Although London is leveled and their instruments are showing radiation, there’s no effect on the soil or water.  There’s no time to question it further, however, because their fellow survivors spot a figure in the distance rapidly coming towards the group. The figure is some sort of mutated creature, and it’s not alone. Steed and Mrs. Peel battle the horde of monsters, and the book ends with them getting a vital assist from none other than the Hellfire Club.

This proper first issue of Steed and Mrs. Peel begins with action that’s sustained through the book.  Our heroes seem to be in some kind of post-apocalyptic disaster scenario, which is such a perfect melding of Cold War-era spy show sensibility and our modern obsession with post-apocalyptic stories (I see you, The Walking Dead and your many and varied progeny).  The action is such that we don’t get a lot of information about what’s happened other than London has apparently been nuked, and I like that because we’ll get to discover what’s happening along with Emma and Steed. The dialogue between the two is once again spot on thanks to the team up of Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe, and the artwork, this time from Will Sliney, is really great, classic looking comic style that lends itself to both action and dialogue well.  I know you’re probably wondering, like me, what the Hellfire Club is doing there and what they do or don’t have to do with this disaster so let’s get to the next issue.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #2 of 11

Steed, Mrs. Peel, and the British MPs they were previously sheltering with are now all guests of the Hellfire Club in their lavish bunker.  Although most of the other guests seem pretty comfortable, Steed and Emma are worried that they’ve not seen Lord Bailey, General Crampton or Mr. Stanton, the other scientist, since arriving. Although our heroes don’t yet know it, we see the general being brainwashed by a member of the Hellfire Club.  She and her brother, both the offspring of Cartney, chat a bit about how Steed and Mrs. Peel will of course be the hardest to break but it’s worth it get revenge for father. Steed and Mrs. Peel work on a plan over a game of chess. Emma goes to talk to Miss Cartney about the missing general, and gets attacked.  Later Steed stumbles into another brainwashing session and is also taken out, but when he awakens, it’s revealed that his attacker was Mrs. Peel, decked out in a familiar outfit, her Hellfire Club leather and spiked collar.

More of the mystery is unraveled and new twists appear in the second issue of this story arc.  While it’s no shock that the Hellfire Club is up to no good, what their goals are and who the mysterious Dirigent is remain a mystery. Also a mystery is whether or not this story ties in some way to the Cartney time-travel story in issue #0.  I like that we don’t know (and I genuinely don’t remember if it does from my first reading of this series seven years ago). As with issue #0, I love that this story is taking elements directly from the series and expanding them on the page, especially since they’re using one of my favorite plot elements that the Avengers shares with X-men: the Hellfire Club.  Is Emma once again brainwashed or she pretending to gain the trust of the Club? Onward to Issue #3, we’re needed.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 ***
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #3 of 11

Steed is hopeful that the leather-clad Mrs. Peel is simply undercover, but alas, that’s not the case as she sends him through a wall behind which the younger Cartney is enjoying his lavish Hellfire existence. Steed snaps Mrs. Peel out of her brainwashed state using some trigger words they had developed “after the first few times someone tried this.” After Emma knocks her brother out, Miss Cartney arrives with her henchmen leading Steed and Mrs. Peel to flee.  They commandeer a motorcycle (and a new outfit for Emma) and lead the Hellfire Club on a chase into the nuked out wasteland. After fighting hand to hand with Miss Cartney, Emma shoots a flare, signaling the British Air Force, who she and Steed had secretly been in contact with after figuring out that the nuclear attack was a hoax and they the MPs had been kidnapped and taken to the South China Sea. Steed and Mrs. Peel sail off into the sunset, and back at the Hellfire Club the Cartney brother plots his next move.

Thus concludes the first story arc in Steed and Mrs. Peel…sort of.  Although they’ve solved the mystery of the fake nuclear blast and London’s destruction, something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Hellfire Club in the least.  This one is the last issue for which Mark Waid did the story and Will Sliney the art, but luckily scriptwriter Caleb Monroe sticks around for the rest of the series. There’s a temptation to say that the story wrapped up too quickly, but honestly it felt right in line with the TV show, and the pacing of these three issues felt like the pacing of the hour-long episodes.  So what’s next for Steed and Mrs. Peel? Let’s find out!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #4 ** 1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #4 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a ball. In full fancy dress, they, along with many British dignitaries attend the masked party of author Lloyd Cushing.  As part of the evening’s entertainment, they meet Mr. Blackwell, an eccentric conductor accompanied by his two Butoh dancers. But a party can never be just that for our two heroes as they’re soon called upon to investigate the murder of a man who turns out to the the real Mr. Blackwell.  Trading her ball gown for more action oriented clothes, Emma joins Steed in the ballroom where all of the guests are now missing. Steed tracks them outside where the Butoh dancers are to blame for the mass exodus. Meanwhile Emma confronts the imposter conductor, who turns out to be the Hellfire Club’s hypnotist Dirigent from their prior island adventure.  Dirigent explains that he can manipulate high frequency sound to bend people to his will, but he’s no match for Emma. As Steed and Mrs. Peel continue their previously interrupted dance, we zoom out, all the way to out space where a satellite baring the Hellfire Club logo looms over us all.

Upon first glance, the is your typical post-story arc issue, a one-shot where the characters get to have a minor adventure and perhaps some fun before the next big thing.  But actually, this issue, although basically a one-shot, continues our Hellfire Club storyline and presumably is going to bridge the prior arc with the one to come in Issue #5.  Although this one has significantly less action than the last few issues, there are some really nice things happening in the dialogue, both between Steed and Peel and among the other characters.  I feel like this was perhaps Caleb Monroe’s chance to provide some of his analysis on the original show and characters, and as I fan, I really enjoyed reading it. Yasmin Liang takes over on artist duties for this issue, and although she doesn’t capture Steed and Peel’s expressions as perfectly as Will Sliney did, she’s a great addition to this story, and I’m excited to see how she tackles the action scenes that are surely coming in the next book.  So let’s get to it!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #5  **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99     Boom Studios    #5 of 11

The fallout from last issue’s ballroom party gone awry continues as Steed and Mrs. Peel find out that his friend Trevor Seabrook has been arrested for a theft related to his wife’s disappearance from the party. The curious part is that the kidnappers tasked Seabrook with stealing a seemingly empty jar, but the truth is the jar contains something that has regenerative properties, which is of course of interest to the Hellfire Club’s Dr. Peter Glass, previously presumed to be dead.  Seabrook’s wife is returned, Steed and Mrs. Peel begin to piece things together, and Glass unveils a special piece of tech as this issue ends.

The interesting thing about this issue is that both everything and nothing happens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the prior issue, this one was low on the action but high on information that’s obviously leading to the next chapter in the Hellfire Club’s evil plans that Steed and Mrs. Peel are constantly working to unravel.  

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #6 **
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #6 of 11

Through a flashback and conversation, Steed and Mrs. Peel reflect on the aforementioned Dr. Glass and his death, for which Steed was an eyewitness.  Seabrook’s wife is awake but only repeating the words “bleeding heart” so Steed and Emma decide to regroup. On the way, however, Emma is tricked by Glass’ assistant Jamie and kidnapped.  Meanwhile, Steed is nearly ambushed when inquiring about Seabrook’s stolen empty jar, but soon our heroes are reunited in Glass’ lair where it’s revealed that the mad doctor survived his untimely death using special goggles sported by three versions of Jamie that allow him to time travel. As Glass is apprehended, one of the Jamie’s slips away to inform someone on the other end of a video camera that this phase of the plan has failed.  Steed and Mrs. Peel end our issue reflecting on the practicality of time travel over a drink as a rocket launches on the horizon.

One of the things that I really love about this series is the layered story.  Each arc leads to another and contributes to a larger story. This is especially interesting because the show generally did not do this, but I wish it had.  All of that said, this wasn’t the most exciting arc. Granted, this issue had more action than the prior two, but the payout felt a bit weak. Although thinking of it in the grand scheme of a larger story makes even a weak arc feel important.  So let’s get to the next one, and hopefully we’ll find out who Jamie was talking to and what dastardly plans they have in store for Steed and Mrs. Peel.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #7  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #7 of 11

Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to a small Welsh mining town to investigate an unprecedented wave of suicides. Posing as scientists (though Steed is the only one posing, as he points out), they begin their investigation by consulting with Dr. Mortimor, a psychologist specializing in suicide.  After tea with Moritmor, our duo walks back to the inn where they’re staying, taking the scenic route to stop by some of the scenes of the some of the crimes. On a seaside cliff where several people fell to their deaths, both Steed and Emma seem to lose control of themselves and nearly jump off the cliff, the other stopping them just in time. They of course realize that Dr. Mortimor and his terrible tea is to blame.  The evil doctor explains that he’s not a murder, merely an experimenter in the weaponization of suicide. Steed, Mrs. Peel and the gathering crowd of villagers are less convinced of this excuse.

What a breath of fresh air after that slightly lackluster last arc!  Although the story was a bit predictable, it shone because of both the art (great panel structure in this one!) and the writing.  We got a lot of great little moments of Steed and Emma quipping back and forth while working to solve the mystery, and these moments are golden.  I didn’t realize how much of this was missing from the prior issue until I read this one. The chemistry between them, both in the dialogue and the artwork, was so spot on, and this definitely felt like an episode of the show that I would have loved. With that, let’s see what our next issue has in store!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #8  **1/2
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #8 of 11

The Cartney family is back!  Steed and Emma’s beachside holiday is interrupted with the news that Joan Cartney has been broken out of jail by a strange silver man.  While Steed and Emma investigate, knowing there’s more to this than meets the eye, the Cartney siblings are reunited with their father who is alive, but not well. Donning costumes to make them look like Steed and Emma, the younger Cartneys set out to fulfill their mission of killing our heroes by blowing up Steed’s flat, while their father undergoes a procedure to rejuvenate his body…as a Cybernaut.

With last issue’s palate-cleanser, I’m ready to dive into a new story arc, and this one sets up our story nicely.  It’s no surprise that the Cartney’s are back, and we learn that it was, indeed, them that Jamie was contacting in Issue #6.  As we set up our villain’s story, we once again get really cozy fun interactions between Steed and Peel, making me thinking that writer Caleb Monroe has gotten into the same comfort zone that Mark Waid began the series with.  I’m eager to see where the Cybernaut story is going so let’s get to the next issue!

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #9  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #9 of 11

While Cybernaut Cartney shops for a suit, his children learn that even a bomb can’t take down Steed and Mrs. Peel.  The siblings’ bickering about what went wrong is interrupted when their intended victims confront them, and quickly things turn into a street fight (with swords!). The Cartneys get away, but of course that was the plan as Steed, harkening to the original Cybernauts TV episode, plans a transponder his umbrella which he allows them to escape with.  After a quick wardrobe change, Steed and Mrs. Peel head to the Hellfire Club’s base of operations where they spy General Seabrook smuggling army tech to the enemy. Although they’re able to sneak in undetected, Cybernaut Cartney uses his super strength to bust through a wall and grab our heroes.

With the last issue being mostly set up for the new story, I was worried this one would be more of the same.  But happily, this issue is heavily on wonderfully drawn action with some great dialogue to accompany it. The way the panels mimic the style in which the show was shot is a really nice touch and combined with the coloring gives the book such a great retro feel.  My only concern moving forward is that there are only two more issues, and I honestly can’t remember if the book ends at the conclusion of an arc or if we’re going to be left hanging. I guess there’s no way to find out until we get to the next issue….

AvengersComic10Steed and Mrs. Peel #10  ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99    Boom Studios    #10 of 11

Cybernaut Cartney is about to kill our heroes but Emma appeals to the villain’s hedonistic side, saying that if he kills them now, it’s all over. This is much to Joan’s chagrin as Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a thorn in her side for far too long, but father knows best…..only Cartney isn’t really her father. Joan and her brother discover documents in Cartney’s desk revealing that they’re a young married couple who went missing and were subsequently brainwashed by Cartney in what he calls, “my greatest practical joke of them all.” After her husband (formerly her brother) is killed by Cartney, Joan sneaks back to the prison to get help from a former ally.  Meanwhile Jamie is torturing Steed in the Hellfire Club dungeon forcing Emma to strike a bargain with Cartney – Steed’s life for her hand in marriage. The issue ends with Cartney presenting Emma to the rest of the Club as his fiance and the new Queen of Silver.

This issue has so much going on!  The reveal about the Cartney siblings (or rather the not Cartney, non-siblings) was really great.  I truly didn’t see that coming, and in addition to being a great twist, it packed an emotional punch.  Cartney’s line about this being “my greatest practical joke of them all” was an amazing touch. In this issue we get more about Cartney’s weird obsession with Emma, which is framed in both flashbacks and present moments, something I like because it really gives the reader the sense that Cartney is an absolutely twisted villain.  I also loved the touch of the Silver Court being introduced to the Hellfire Club. But my concern from last issues remains; there is a lot to resolve in one issue to wrap up both the arc and the series. I suppose the only way to know how that works out, however, it to read on.

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Steed and Mrs. Peel #11 ***
Released in 2013     Cover Pice $3.99   Boom Studios    #11 of 11

We open in a church where Cybernaut Cartney stands at the altar with a silver bedecked Mrs. Peel.  The officiant asks if there are any objections to the union, and right on cue, John Steed drives his car through the window of the church.  He shouts Emma’s trigger words, but she doesn’t need to be un-brainwashed this time, she was merely buying time for Steed. While a battle ensues in the church, Joan sneaks into the room containing John’s human body that’s feeding the Cybernaut and gives him the brainwashing serum, prompting the Cybernaut to seek out its human body to destroy it. Emma and Steed follow, and Emma uses the aging serum from all the way back in issue zero to prevent the Cybernaut from destroying human Cartney.  But alas, he dies shortly thereafter anyway. The issue ends with Joan escaping to make a better life, and Emma and Steed watching the sun set and reflecting on this latest chapter in their adventures together.

This issue does a pretty good job of wrapping things up.  Yes, the Steed crashing the wedding scene is ridiculous, but it fits the show quite well.  I really liked that the aging serum from issue 0 comes back into play, but the sequence of Cartney dying anyway was slightly confusing.  The ending with Steed and Emma watching the sunset was quite lovely, and I do like that the Hellfire Club story wasn’t so final that they can’t come back again in some future series.  Speaking of future series, Boom Studios would try for another arc in 2014 called Steed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed, but alas, what was to be a six issue series only made it three, and quite honestly those issues didn’t hold a candle to this series. Avengers22

Part of the reason I chose to cover this particular comic version of The Avengers is that, in my opinion, it’s the most faithful to the spirit of the show, and despite a few missteps, uses the structure of comics to create an ongoing story in a way that the show didn’t back in the 1960s (though I suspect a modern rendering would).  For our next update, we’ll be leaving the world of spies, but staying in the 1960s as Matt kicks of a month of Kaiju updates in anticipation of Godzilla: King of the Monsters with a look at Reptilicus. In the meantime, read a comic or three, and support your local horror host!

mst3k_reptilicus

The Bright Colored Fur Balls Known As The Popples!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my place on the World Wide Web that brings my past and present together and allows me to chat about things I enjoy from comic books, movies, video games, music and Horror Hosts. It’s crazy to think that it’s already 2019 and 2018 is in the history books. Before we start our look at Popples, I am going to answer a few questions that I get asked by readers and friends about what are some of the most popular posts on this blog! I will break them down and share the top two posts for some of the most popular update themes, “Horror Host Icon” and “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” the ones you readers seem to love the most and the ones I get the most requests to cover. The “Horror Host Icon” updates are hands down one of my most popular themes as they hit home for many of you readers who grew up watching Hosts on TV and even modern viewers who catch their favorite’s on the internet. The top three most read Horror Hosts I have covered as of this posting are: Morgus The Magnificent being the most read Icon update followed very closely by both Commander USA and USA Saturday Nightmares! As for the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that has been the most read, that honor goes to Phantasm and is followed by I, Frankenstein and The Willies! So there you have it and with more updates in both of those themes, who knows what updates will be the top in 2020! So with that out of the way, I think it’s time we once more visit that magical world of Star Comics and chat about their mini series based on the popular 80’s plush dolls The Popples. So get your cool 80’s gear on and let’s travel back to when plush dolls were cool and no one had a smart phone glued to their face.

Popples were stuffed dolls that were weird looking animal creatures who could roll up into a ball and were a craze for a short time in he 80’s. So let’s take a look at Popples: the doll, cartoon and comics! American Greetings company Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC) was the company behind the creation of Popples as their employee Susan Trentel was the designer who invented the roll up action of the dolls as she drew inspiration from rolling up socks! Susan was also the designer who brought to life Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake showing that she was a pioneer of 80’s toys and characters. She along with Thomas Schneider created the first Popples prototype. They went to toy company Mattel, and in 1986, these stuffed dolls were unleashed in toy aisles as well in the world of cartoons thanks to DIC Entertainment and comic books thanks to Star Comics. The dolls would last until 1988 and would have many waves and styles released during this short run including Pocket Popples, a line that was almost like action figures. The cartoon would run for 44 episodes and would go off the air in 1987 with three episodes never airing. The comic series would last for 4 issues and would come to an end in 1987. This sadly is much like many of Star Comics releases based on toys and cartoons. But while the Popples did not make their way into the 90’s and the toy industry moved on, they had two short lived comebacks with the first being in 2007 when Playmates released new Popples figures that only lasted four releases and in 2015 Netflix did a new cartoon series for their streaming service and toy company Spin Master ended up doing a toy line based on this new show. What does the future have in store for the Popples? In 2018 they were sold to Hasbro leaving them open to be made into more toys, cartoons, comics and even video games!

Growing up a kid of the 80’s and 90’s was glorious. As you have heard me say before, we had so many amazing movies, video games, comics and toys and it really was a great time growing up! In these times before the internet was all the rage, many of the big deals that were the talk on the playgrounds was stuff like video games, wrestling, comic books and the newest toys that were on everyone’s must own list…and I can safely say that while I heard them mentioned from time to time and even saw some of the girls have them, the Popples were never a major deal at my school. I remember my neighbor Joanna had some and that’s how I got to first interact with one, and while it was cool that they could turn into a ball, I never did want one as by the time they were released so many other toys, games, comics, horror movies and one special girl were on my radar. Now I need to stress I had nothing against the Popples, they were just clearly more geared toward girls and they were just not something many boys were flocking to. In fact I can remember many toy ads for these plush dolls showing up in comic books I was reading at the time, showing that the toymakers were really trying to make youngsters pay attention to them and help create the demand for them to be on every child’s Christmas and Birthday list. So while Popples were around and a part of my youth, I never really had a major connection to them and by all accounts they just were viewed by my friends and I as girl toys.

So like all good 80’s toys at the time Popples were just not dolls and action figures as these little puffballs have graced all types of other merchandise! The Popples also had the cartoons released on VHS. They had their own vinyl records, books, coloring books, lunch box, board game, shirts, cake pan, bowls, TV tray, stickers, valentine cards and much more. In other words the Popples were everywhere, and they were being pushed to really be a powerhouse in the kids market. While they had a good run, they never did capture the market like Care Bears, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake did before them.

Stuffed Dolls in the 80’s and early 90’s were very popular among the youth as besides Popples ones like Pound Puppies, Care Bears, My Pet Monster, Rainbow Brite, My Buddy and Teddy Ruxpin were all on kids must have lists and many of my friends as well as myself had many of these plush. So let’s now dive into the world of Star Comics who made a very short lived comic series based on the cartoon version of the Popples and see how well they were as kid comic stars. I want to think both Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and making this review possible. I must also say that I am very shocked and yet really not that Star Comics decided to do a comic series based on Popples in 1986 as they ignored some vey popular toys from the time like Teddy Ruxpin, Jem And The Holograms, My Pet Monster, Nerfuls and so many others. Plus I still really wished that they would have done a comic series based on one of my childhood heroes and icons Commander USA, who was a Horror Host that would have made an amazing kids comic book hero. But let’s not talk about would could have been and instead, let’s focus on what was, as we take some fun adventures with the Popples. Oh and what would an update be without me reminding you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.

Popples # 1   *1/2
Released in 1986      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 1 of 4

Youngsters Billy and Bonnie have gone into New York to go shopping, and after some time passes, the Popples decide to follow them and wind up wandering the city. While walking the streets they come across a dog who has stolen an orange from a stand and follow it back to a limo where they find Alice the young daughter of the ambassador, who has decided to run away from home and hide in her father’s car. Some of the Popples follow the dog into the mansion and find out the young girl’s babysitter is really Madam Spy who is looking for top-secret information! When Alice decides to go back home, the Popples warn her of Madam Spy and they all escape in the limo as a Popple uses magic to drive and Madam Spy puts on jogging shoes and gives chase! Madam Spy wants to get to the Ambassador first so she can take him hostage and find out the big secret, and Alice with the Popples want to get to him to warn of the spying! In the end the Popples and Alice warn her father of the danger and Madam Spy and her helper are arrested with Alice learning the big secret is she is going to be a big sister! In the end the Popples find Bonnie and Billy who hide them in their shopping bags and set out for home.

This Star Comic first issue based on an 80’s toyline is not very good and is so far the weakest I have read from Star to date as I found this kids comic very boring and the characters of the Popples really annoying! The plot of this issue has the Popples going to New York and helping a sad young girl to warn her father of the evil Madam Spy who wants to steal all the secrets he has. The Popples who are the heroes of this comic are riddle talking, bouncing around little fuzzy goofballs who just want to have fun and help capture a spy by accident by stumbling in on the crime. Plus I need to say the Popples also all have weird names like Potato Chip, Party and Puffball to name a few. Madam Spy is the main baddy in the issue and she is by no means dangerous, she just really wants to steal secrets and bring them to the league of spies. Alice, Billy and Bonnie are all just goofy kids who enjoy shopping, oranges and having fun. The thing about this kids comic is that it really is kind of dull and never once did I feel like Alice, her father or the Popples had any danger around them. The cover is pretty eye catching and has that true 80’s kid comic charm, and the interior art is good and done by John Costanza and has that Star Comics style. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue besides it was a below average read, and it makes me hope the rest of this series is not this bland.

Popples # 2   **
Released in 1987      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 2 of 4

Bonnie and Billy come home from school super sad, and the Popples find out that they have both lost their positions on the sports teams and are down in the dumps over it. Some of the Popples stay home to try and cheer up the kids while the others go to the school to see who replaced their friends on the teams. And while there, they meet Tina Terrific a young lady who never jokes and laughs and is good at everything and have replaced Bonnie as head cheerleader and Billy as quarterback. All the other kids fear and dislike her as she shows them all that she is the best and likes to rub it in their faces. After practice a Popple tries to make Tina laugh and find himself being kidnapped by her, and as the others find out the all give chase to get their friend back and that includes Billy and Bonnie. Finally the Popples are able to get their friend back and try to make Tina laugh, and even inform her that people dislike her over her behavior and attitude. This upsets the young girl who runs away and into Billy and Bonnie who end up inviting her to a party at their house and find a new friend in her as she also changes her way of thinking and becomes a fun person.

Issue two brings this kids comic in the right direction as it offers a lesson as well as a fun and goofy adventure for our heroes the Popples. This time around the Popples meet a young girl who pushes herself to be the best at everything and has an ego about herself that drives her peers away, and our fuzzy little friends must show her the error of her ways. This comic has a message and that’s make sure to have a little fun in your life and don’t treat all other around you as if you’re better than them, it also has a message of don’t judge people before you really get to know them. The Popples in this issue are the same fun loving, cheesy joke spewing fuzz balls who just seem to be wandering through life spreading joy and laughter. Tina Terrific is a lonely young girl who has no friends and is so good at everything she walks around school like she’s pro wrestling icon Ric Flair! The thing is she is just a sad youngster who would love to have friends but doesn’t know how to make them. I want to also point out that Puzzle Popple is a jerk as he with no thought tells a young kid that nobody likes her, I mean my gosh I was surprised he didn’t just tell her to kill herself! Puzzle Popple, you’re a terrible little creature with no respect. The pacing of this issue is better than the first issue and while better is still about and average kids comic based on toys. The cover on this issue is just okay and nothing special and this time around again John Costanza does the interior artwork. Over all not a terrible issue and was entreating for the most part, so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Popples # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics      # 3 of 4

The Popples are on a camping trip with Billy and Bonnie and have decided that they wanted to explore the wilderness for awhile and have fun by building a campfire and telling stories. Meanwhile at one of the nearby cabins, a young man named Seth who only watches TV that features aliens is forced to go outside by his mother and freaks out when he sees the Popples in the woods as he thinks they are aliens! As the youngster runs for his life he runs into real aliens Yuckle, Buckle and Clive of the Kelvin Empire who look like normal people and decide to investigate these fuzzy aliens the youth is telling them about. And once the aliens find them the Popples welcome their new friends to spend time around the campfire and play and this scares the aliens out of their minds! The aliens think that the Popples are bloodthirsty war machines and run for their lives as the Popples chase them thinking they are playing chase, the aliens make it to Seth and them have themselves beamed back up to their mother ship. With the aliens gone the Popples end up talking and playing with Seth who learns they are not aliens and has made new friends.

Issue three of the Popples this far is the best in the series as it really captures the true fun and silly nature of a kid’s comic and brings more personality to them. The plot has the Popples on a camping trip were they meet a new friend who is a fan of Sci-Fi films and as well unknowingly save the Earth from an alien invasion as their fun ways chase them off. The Popples in this issue are in nature and enjoying life by playing and telling stories by a fire, and thanks to their good nature attitudes they are able to scare off aliens who wished to do us all harm. The Aliens who look like little kids start off as war focused and fearsome on wanting to take down Earth and soon turn into cowards when they come face to face with the Popples magic. What makes this issue work for me is the fact it’s a camping issue as I feel that kids comic based around doing this activity always makes for a good atmosphere and brings back so many memories of being a kid running around the woods. The cover is pretty good and is eye catching with the use of the color yellow that always makes a cover stand out. The interior art once more is done by John Costanza who really does great work in the world of kids comics done by Star as it has a really cartoonish look. Over all this is a solid and fun read and mixes Kids comics with Sci-Fi comics and this far is the best issue in the series, I wonder if the next and final issue will be as good or better…so let’s not wait and find out.

Popples # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics     # 4 of 4

Bonnie and Billy are down in the dumps as they do not have enough money to buy their mother a gift for her birthday, and this even has the Popples a little down. But when Billy comes home with a flyer for a pet show that pays $50.00 to the winner the Popples are go out into the world and is going to find a pet for their friends they think could win. While across town at the mansion of the Van Ritz their pet French Poodle Prince who is sick and tired of being treated like a puppy by his owners and escapes the house via the fireplace that turns his fur black and while on the streets he is being chased by a dog catcher and is saved by the Popples who take him to Billy and Bonnie as their new pet they name Champion! But things look rough as Champion due to being babied his whole life does not know any tricks or the ones he does he completes them all wrong. But the Popples and the kids don’t give up and end up training Champion so well that he becomes the winner of the contest! But during his award ceremony Champion has an itch and by scratching he knocks off the black color and the Van Ritz come alive when they see their lost dog Prince is in fact Champion! So the Van Ritz’s get their dog back and Billy and Bonnie win the money and end up buying a puppy for their mom for her birthday.

The fourth and final issue in the Popples comic series from Star Comics is a pretty good read for fans of these fluffy plush dolls and those who love 80’s kids comics. This issue’s plot has the Popples and their human friends finding a stray runaway dog and training him to win a dog show so they can get the prize money and buy the mom a great birthday gift. This one is fun as it really felt like a cartoon episode that you would have seen on Saturday Morning Cartoons back in the 80’s and as well had a little Harvey Comics feel. That’s the one thing that for me always set Star Comics apart from the other Kids comics being made in the 80’s and even early 90’s is they always delivered entertaining adventures for home grown characters as well as others that came from toys and cartoons. And while I do think that the Popples is one of the weakest series they released, it still holds lots of nostalgic fun for a reader like me who grew up in the 80’s and know what the Popples are. The Popples not only in this issue but in the whole series are silly, happy go lucky fuzz balls who enjoy pranking, partying and laughing and its clear P.C. Popple is the leader of this group as he has the true magic touch and can do what ever he wants just by snapping his fingers. Billy and Bonnie are just good kids who enjoy as well having a good time but also show they focus on being active and doing the right thing. This ones cover is ok and is eye catching for fans of these guys and once more John Costanza does the interior art and shows that he has true talent for drawing kids comics. Over all this comic series was just ok and this could be one of the cheesiest and lowest rated from me this far on Rotten Ink, but I still had lots of fun reading it and revisiting the 80’s and when Popples originated no matter how little they impacted my youth. Check out the art below to see the style of Costanza and see what I mean that his style really does fit for kid’s comics.

So now that we have had a fun time with the Popples and shared some flashback memories with many of you readers, I think my next update will be something cool from my past that did mean something to me and impacted my youth and that’s the original Star Trek and the film Wrath Of Khan! As I promised back on my update for the Marvel Comic Star Trek series, I think it’s time to start the adaptations of the films and our next update will do just that. So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a 80’s toy or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for another space adventure with Captain Kirk.