Horror Host Icon: Sivad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Waxwork

Welcome back to our 6th countdown to Halloween 2017 and another in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” series.  This time around we are going to take a look at the underrated and one of my favorite late 80’s horror films Waxwork and the Blackthrone Comic based on it! This Horror film mixes scares and laughs and is packed to the brim with monsters from Dracula all the way to an ax murderer looking lumberjack! This film has so much going for it, and I truly think that it’s an underrated Horror film from the 80’s that has enough blood, guts and gore to make Gorehounds happy and enough humor to make people with dark sense of humors chuckle. So if you’re ready to take a tour of this WaxWorks on a day they are celebrating the theme of From Horror Movie To Horror Comics, then I am 100% ready to as this is an update I have been waiting to do for a very long time.

Before we go on we must first look at the main villain of the film and that’s David Lincoln and his sidekicks Hans and Junior. David Lincoln is an evil man who has not aged in decades due to black magic amulets that hold the spirits of some of the world’s most fearsome and murderous creatures and killers. His hideout is a wax museum in the middle of a neighborhood that he hides the amulets in with the displays of the killers.  His goal is to have innocent people stumble into the displays where they will be killed and their souls taken.  Once he meets his goal of 18 souls, the monsters and killers will once more be freed into our times! David seems to have supernatural powers as he is ageless, can appear and disappear and seems to have control over his butlers Hans and Junior as well as the killers whom he is trying to bring back. David also seems to want the world to be in chaos and wants it to end with humans being killed by monsters. He also can use guns really well and has the gift of talk as he is able to come off as a nice guy even though he has sinister intentions. He is pretty strong and has killed people with his bare hands, and his is very smart making him a very dangerous man. His weakness is the fact that while he does not age, he still can be killed like a normal man.  Hans is one of his butlers who is a little person and has the attitude of a bully while Junior is a very tall man who has the mind of a child.  Both are very loyal to David and his cause of world destruction. While he might not be as unstoppable as some Horror Movie bad guys, David Lincoln is just as dangerous as he has lots of evil talents and friends in very low places.

But while David Lincoln is our main villain, I feel like we should also briefly talk about the fact most of the killing and soul taking is being done by the monsters in the wax museum as they rule their own display and dispatch those silly enough to enter them. Among the madmen that are waiting to rule our world are The Phantom Of The Opera, Frankenstein’s Monster, Alien, Man Eating Planet, Evil Demon Baby, Invisible Man and Jack The Ripper to name a few. Our main killing machines after our cast of characters are the blood sucking Count Dracula and his vampire family, a crazed werewolf, a shuffling head crushing Mummy, flesh eating zombies and the master of erotic murder and torture Marquis de Sade all who take pleasure in killing their targets. Each of these killers and madmen have their own powers and methods of killing making them all very evil and very dangerous! So to sum it up, David’s team is filled with some of the top madmen in cinema.

So now that we are up to date on the villains of WaxWork, we should now dive into the film itself as well as its sequel and see what makes this series tick. As always our good friends at IMDB will supply us with the films write up and I will follow them up with some production notes, film facts as well as chat about my first time seeing them. So let’s take a stroll through this crazy WaxWork and see if we can give ourselves a scare or two…or at least learn a little something about this underrated film series.

Waxwork (1988)

“A waxwork museum comes to town, and a mysterious man invites some teens to come to a special showing at midnight. Once inside, while viewing different exhibits, the scenes come alive and the viewer is sucked into the story being portrayed.”

WaxWorks was limited released in theaters on June 18, 1988 by Vestron Pictures and was been said to be the first self-referential horror film way before Scream and its many clones. The film when released was not a huge Box Office hit in the USA only bringing in $808,114.00 on a $1.5 Million dollar budget and coming in at # 183 for the year. But while it was a limited release, it did however beat out some other cult classics like Maniac Cop, Prison, My Best Friend Is A Vampire and Ghost Town to name a few. Not to mention 1988 was a great year for Horror Movie fans as such films as A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Child’s Play, The Serpent And The Rainbow, Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood, Halloween 4: Return Of Michael Myers, Poltergeist III, They Live, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Return On The Living Dead Part 2, Bad Dreams, The Blob and Phantasm II to name a very few all hit theaters! WaxWorks was met with mixed reviews with critics and fans being split on how much they enjoyed the film or didn’t. The film however did find success on the home video market as the sales for the VHS were solid and helped it get a sequel some years later. The film would also go on to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray and has gained a solid and loyal cult fan base. The film was directed by Anthony Hickox and stars Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson and Dana Ashbrook as the college kids with John Rhys-Davies, J. Kenneth Campbell and Miles O’Keeffe as the monsters! And David Warner plays the sinister David Lincoln and does a fantastic job at bringing this character to life.

I first saw this film back in my teen years when my brother Bryan and I rented it from K&L Video as it was one that we had heard of thanks to Fangoria Magazine and other horror related books. I can remember it was a day we rented a number of flicks and loaded up on junk food and soda and that night was a mini horror movie marathon.  I would say that WaxWorks was my favorite of the night as I don’t remember the other films we watched that day. After watching it, I ended up buying it on VHS and watched it from time to time as the film was one that was filled with classic monsters and gore and this made it up my ally. As VHS went away, I have gotten it on DVD and still find myself watching it at least once a year, sometimes even more. I also always recommend this film to Horror Movie fans whom have not seen it as it’s entertaining and always is a hit with them when they watch it.

Waxwork II: Lost In Time (1992)

“Mark and Sarah survive to the fire in the wax museum, but Sarah is followed by a severed hand that kills her father. Sarah becomes the prime suspect and goes to trial. Mark and Sarah search evidence to prove her innocence and they go to Sir Wilfred’s house. They find a footage prepared by Sir Wilfred with a puzzle based of the Alice and the Looking Glass. They solve the puzzle and find a compass that opens portals through time. They travel to the most different places in time seeking something to help Sarah in her trial in a dangerous journey.”

This sequel was direct to video and followed up right after the events of the first film. It was released by Electric Pictures on June 16, 1992 and was directed by Anthony Hickox again and starred Zach Galligan, Monika Schnarre and Patrick Macnee as this time around in cameos you have Martin Kemp, Drew Barrymore, Bruce Campbell, Buck Flower and David Carradine! Plus I should note that Godzilla is also in the film in a weird American kind of way. The film never captured the viewers like the first film, and while it’s entertaining, it is lacking a little in the gore and is missing a main villain as David Lincoln does not return. This one focuses way too much on a character called The Master. This was another film I saw via VHS from a rental at K&L Video, and while I enjoy it and it’s an okay sequel, it is lacking the charm on the first film for me. On a side note I want to also say that a clip of this film is used in the film Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, another film directed by Hickox. This film in 1992 was joined by the following films for Horror Fans to enjoy Candyman, Dead Alive, Dr. Giggles, Army Of Darkness, Dust Devil, Demonic Toys, Stepfather III, Critters 4 and Night Of The Executioner to name a few. So if you enjoyed the first film, this one is worth a watch.

In 1988 when WaxWork was in theaters independent comic company Blackthorne Publishing was trying to lock its place in comic stories, and they did so by offering something different from the other guys and that included 3-D Comics and comics based on Horror, and with this came them doing a comic based on WaxWork! I originally got this comic way back when from Mavericks Cards And Comics and re-bought it years later from Bell Book And Comic so I want to thank them for having it in stock and for reuniting me with many of my comics from the past. So as we enter this WaxWork, I see some rules on the wall about not being late and only one person walking in each display but I also see one that wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story! So with that Hans has allowed us to go in and let’s see what horrors await us, shall we?

WaxWork # 1  **1/2
Released in 1988     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone     # 1 of 1

A homeless man is looking through the garbage outside of a Wax Muesum when he sneaks inside and is killed by Jason Voorhees! This traps his soul and allows owner David Lincoln to only need six more people in order to free the world’s worst killers and madmen! The next day Mark along with his friends are walking to school when they are greeted by David Lincoln who invites them all to visit the museum tonight for a private event, and they agree. Later that evening Mark and friends along with Professor Wilfred all attend, and soon many of them fall victim to the monsters in the displays as Dracula, Jack The Ripper, Zombies, The Mummy, a Werewolf and Marquis de Sade all claim victims and open the rift to allow them all to live again! Mark, Sarah and Professor Wilfred figure out what’s going on and set the place on fire all the while trying to defend themselves from the killers! Mark takes down Jason, while Sarah chops off Dracula’s head and before they can escape David Lincoln shoots Professor Wilfred as he stabs David and the WaxWorks falls down around them. In the end Sarah and Mark are greeted by the paramedics and are taken away as a lone Zombie Hand survives the fire.

When I was younger I really enjoyed this comic as it changed the plot and characters and made it a very loose adaptation of the film giving me as a reader and a fan something a little new.  Some of the changes that worked was adding a 80’s slasher killer like Jason Voorhees, but what didn’t work was how fast the story goes and that they take away any and all of the impact of the monsters as well as really downplay David Lincoln.  Also while Junior is around, he is very different and Hans is left out all together leaving grown up me thinking the comic was just okay. The plot is this: a group of college kids and their professor go to a wax museum, and some of the friends die inside the exhibits. After a brief time, they figure out that they have to burn the place down in order to stop the monsters from entering society. That’s the major issue with this comic adaptation, it all happens really quick and fast and besides the exhibit attacks all the horror and scares are gone as is the personalities of the characters, as Mark, China, Sarah and the others just come off as generic friends and villains who lack any real depth and charisma that made them cool characters in the films. Plus characters change roles as Sir Wilfred, who is the great grandfather of Mark in the films, is his professor in the comic, and he no longer leads an army of old timers that are trained to kill the monsters, but instead just figures out that they need to set the Wax Museum ablaze to stop the evil. David Lincoln is a minor role in this comic and barely gets to show off the characters evil side. The comic also cuts back on the gore and blood.  While it’s a little of a letdown, it still has some of the red stuff so it tried to at least please splatter fans. While it sounds like I am down on this comic with pointing out all its flaws and shortcomings, I do want to stress that I still enjoyed this comic after all these years.  I think lots of it has to do with that I am a sucker for Horror Comics based on cult films I love. The cover is pretty cool and is taken from the movie poster and has Hans opening the door to the WaxWorks with evil spirits all around. The interior art is done by Nigel Tully and is solid work.  While most of the characters look nothing like the actors who played them, it still holds a charm of its own. So I think if you enjoy the film and want to read almost a reimagining of the story then check this one out, but for those looking for the humor and gore of the film in these comic pages, I would say you might be disappointed. But while it’s not perfect I will say it’s a fun read and a comic that I enjoy having in my collection. Check out the artwork below to see what the art style is in this comic.

WaxWorks might not be a household name like many of the other 80’s Horror films, but it is one that I do truly think has been overlooked and deserves a cult statues. And it’s a film that mixes classic monsters and splatter effects wrapped around a horror comedy shell and is one of the better Horror Comedy films ever made. But with that we are going to leave the WaxWorks and head to out main attraction for this Countdown to Halloween as we will be playing a game and meeting the killer Jigsaw when we explore the world of SAW! So until then read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you on Halloween, boils and ghouls!

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Morbius

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Channel 9 fans of late night horror films tuned into Saturday Nightmare and was treated to the antics of a goofy bolding vampire named Dr. Morbius and his show not only entertained but also inspired those who were the Monster Kids of the 80’s. One thing about the world of Horror Hosting is that it’s filled with many Doctors, Barons, and werewolves and of course Vampires! Dr. Morbius fits in both the vampire and doctor categories and is also a Horror Host that I don’t think gets the respect he deserves, so for this second update to the countdown to Thanksgiving I am very proud to present Horror Host Icon Dr. Morbius! Now I need to also say that this was a very hard Icon update to do cause sadly not much information is out their about Dr. Morbius and some that is out in the world conflicts with each other so what I have done is try my best to research him not only on the web but also talked to fans who grew up watching him during his run. So sit back and enjoy this wild zany ride of the bolding vampire Dr. Morbius.

Dr. Morbius 1

Saturday Nightmare started out hostless in early 1986 and KCRG Channel 9 decided that when they launched the show they would also hold additions for a permit host and held auditions on August 26 1986 that had hopeful ghouls, ghosts and witches come out of the wood work to be considered for the host gig, this included Slime the Hosting hopeful we interviewed back on the Marvel Lifeform update. The audition tapes would air during a broadcast and by vote from fans the new host would be selected and while Slime might not have gotten the votes, Dr. Morbius did and became the shows permit host for the shows run from 1986-1988. Saturday Nightmare would show a single Horror or Sci-Fi film and would have the good Dr. hosting the film from inside his castle that he named Castle Mare, his shows opening theme was Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach and his castle was lit with candles. Dr. Morbius himself is a vampire from Transylvania who moved to Iowa in order to get away and retire, and finds fun ways to pass the time by hosting Horror Films and teaching the viewers not to trust anyone besides their Doctor…meaning himself. His appearance was a long black cape with red lining, a button up white shirt, black pants, a thick mustache and sometimes his face would be painted green while other times it was flesh colored. His accent was thick and sounded like your typical impersonation of Count Dracula and helped add to the idea that Dr. Morbius was truly a vampire from that part of the world. While is time on air was short his iconic memory lives on for fans who grew up watching him and new ones who have watched his clips on Youtube.

Dr. Morbius 2Dr. Morbius 3Dr. Morbius 4

Bruce Gantenbein aka Bruk Gant was the man behind the cape who was born in September 3, 1951 in Iowa and was always an entertainer at even in High School he played basketball and was the Captain his senior year in 1970. Bruce also was a singer and played the guitar for many bands and solo music projects of the years that include being members of Kelly And The Komb-Overs, Gambler, Last Chance and for solo work went by the names Bruk Gant and Big Bruce, music was his passion and by all accounts he was good at playing it. Besides music and being a Horror Host he also was a Stand-Up Comic and was a regular performer at Penguin’s Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids and tickled the funny bones of all that came to see him. Think about all the ways he entertained people he was a Horror Host, a Musician, a Basketball Player and a Comedian. Another interesting fact is that Bruce was an officer for Iowa City Police Department from 1978-1980 as well became a Campus Officer for University of Iowa and later a Security Officer for UI Department of Public Safety. Sadly on August 10, 2013 at the age of 61 Bruce “Dr. Morbius” Gantenbein passed away and the world lost a very talented entertainer. This update is dedicated to the memory of Bruce Gantenbein as well as his family, friends and fans who he has touched with his performances and friendship.

Dr. Morbius 5Dr. Morbius 6Dr. Morbius 7

In 1986 Dr. Morbius alongside The Invisible Band teamed up with KCRG Channel 9 to releases a 45” Record that featured two rap songs written and sung by Morbius that sold for $2.75 via local shops and over the air orders. The first song was called “Morbius Rap” and was about how great the late night host was at showcasing cheesy films on his show Saturday Nightmare, you know the typical kind of song you would expect from a Horror Host! And on the flip side is a song called “Hawk Rap” that is a tribute to the Iowa Hawkeyes College Football Team and is equally filled with cheesy lyrics and a goofy beat, just think of the Chicago Bears Superbowl Shuffle song. Funny enough many Horror Hosts have tried their hands at Rap Music in the 80’s like Commander USA, Elvira Mistress of the Dark and Dr. Morbius! I can imagine that all through the late 80’s and early 90’s that Hawk Rap was played at the games as well as on local radio to amp up players and fans. The 45” is a collector’s item now but for those fans wanting to hear them they are both on Youtube, so make sure to check them out in all their glory!

Dr. Morbius 8Morbius Rap vinylDr. Morbius 9

On March 15, 2016 at Horrorhound Weekend Dr. Morbius was inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame with the honor going to Baron Von Porkchop to induct him! As always we looked at this induction as an honor and Baron did lots of great research and delivered an amazing speech, sadly with Dr. Morbius being passed away he was not able to accept the plaque but I am sure he was looking down with a smile on his face. Before Baron’s induction speech they rolled a classic clip of Dr. Morbius and the crowd seemed to dig what they were watching, once more I would like to thank Halloween Jack and the HorrorHound Weekend for allowing Baron Von Porkchop to have the honor of inducting a classic and well loved Horror Host like Dr. Morbius! Below is some photos taken from the induction and showcases the plaque that was given in his honor.

Dr. Morbius Hall Of Fame awardBaron Von Porkchop holds the Dr. Morbius Hall of fame award

So we are now at the time of the Icon update that we take a look at the episodes I own of Dr. Morbius and break down not only the Movie (write up taken from IMDB) and the zany adventure of the host. I searched high and low for episodes of Saturday Nightmare I checked trade sites, download torrent sites, contacted fans and sadly was only able to come up with one episode for this update and for the one found I need to thank my brother Bryan for it as he was able to hook me up. So with that lets get our cheap vampire cape on and take a look at Dr. Morbius at work in this classic episode taken from it’s broadcast showing!

Saturday Nightmare Creature From The Black Lagoon DVD

Saturday Nightmare:  Creature From The Black Lagoon
Starring – Rico Brown & Julie Adams   Not Rated   1954

Host: Dr. Morbius is relaxing by fishing out his window and trying to catch whatever he can from the moat below, only to be pulled from his chair! Dr. Morbius then spends time making cheesy jokes and ushering back to the film or commercial breaks. Morbius then reads some fan mail and answers the questions his fans have for him. And closes the show with more jokes and tells us all that next weeks show will be Bride Of Frankenstein.

Movie: A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Dr. Morbius 10

One thing I must point out is that Dr. Morbius and his show Saturday Nightmare loved them some Pizza Hut as almost every commercial break showcased that greasy pizza joint, or should I say Pizza Hut loved Dr. Morbius and paid for advertisement to air during it. This was a very fun episode and was a nice way to see just how Dr. Morbius hosted and now I understand why he entertained the masses of late night viewers in Iowa! While his time on air might have been short his fans still remember his late night hijinks and this was a true honor to pay him respect. But our next update will take us away from Horror Hosts and into the world of Greek Mythology as it has become a tradition for me to cover the one and only Hercules on Thanksgiving and this year we will be taking a look at the Marvel Comics Version! So make sure to visit back for that Holiday Update, so until next time Support your local Horror Host, read a comic or three and have a safe and fun lead up to our Holiday season.

Marvel Hercules Preview Logo

The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

Spanish Dracula 1931 Still 1Spanish Dracula 1931 VHSSpanish Dracula 1931 Still 2

After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

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Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 1Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 2Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 3

So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

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Horror Host Icon: Grampa Munster

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

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Al Lewis

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

Super Scary Saturday SlimSuper Scary Saturday FangSuper Scary Saturday Deadrah

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Dr Phibes dvd

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Back To The Planet Of The Apes DVD

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

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Ben DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Boy Who Cried Werewolf

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Day Of The Animals DVD

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

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

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

SuperScary Saturday Dracula Has Risen From The Grave DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Frogs DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Gargoyles DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Ghidrah DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla Revege dvd

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Godzilla vs. Sea Monster DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Island of Dr Moreau DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday King Kong vs Godzilla DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Mothra dvd

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday The Mummy 2 DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Mystery Of The Wax Museum DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Rodan dvd

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

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday The Thing DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Valley Of Gwangi dvd

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday War Of Gargantuas dvd

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

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Minotar DVD

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday Willard DVD

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

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

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

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

Super Scary Saturday TV Ad

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

Dick Tracy Logo preview

Horror Host Icon: Vampira

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Marie as Vampira 1Lisa Marie as Vampira 2Lisa Marie as Vampira 3

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

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

Vampira T-ShirtVampira The Movie CD SoundtrackVampira Model

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

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

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

Vampira HorrorHound Tribute

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

The Vampira Show - 13th Guest DVD

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

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

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

Vampira and The Misfits

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

Star Trek The Next Generation Logo

The Conspiracy Of Sexy Cyber Vampires From College

Welcome back to another update here at Rotten Ink.  It’s crazy to think that 2016 is already here, and this is shaping up to be one heck of a year for horror films as well as super hero flicks as this year we get a new Conjuring, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Phantasm as well as a new Captain America, X-Men and Superman! For this update I decided to take a look at a comic based on a film and maybe share some more stories of working on one of my own micro budget flicks! The comic we will be covering is the last of the Draculina photo comics based on a film called The Vampire Conspiracy, and the film of mine we will take a look at is The Sadness.  So get your mind ready for the world of low budget films and enjoy this update.

VHS the forgotten art of making movies

In 2005 I was itching to make a movie.  At the now defunct  Precinct 13 Video in Kettering, I was talking to my friend and shop owner Jason about an idea I had about a supernatural style killer who targeted women and video taped the aftermaths of his crimes. Jason liked the idea, and I went to the normal Independent B Movie alumni Dave Wean and Josh Weinberg and told them the idea as well, and got the same feedback! The idea stewed around in my brain for a few months, and I decided that the killer I created for “Long Dead Winter,” a film never finished by Mike Ritchie, would be used as the killer.  His name was The Sadness. I kept the idea from the unfinished film of The Sadness hearing his father’s voice in his head driving him to kill no matter what.  The Sadness went from a serial killer to a cold blooded Michael Myer style slasher in a blink of an eye. At the time I had just gotten out of a long relationship with a young woman named Misty, who viewers of our films know for her parts in Razor and Farmer Joe, and had just met a young woman who I fell head over heels for named Lindsey who was a sweet and caring person.  This was to be a short lived thing as all things in life change and she stopped calling and we stopped hanging out with one another…but with this came the motivation to complete my script and make The Sadness come alive on the TV Screen. I spent months with my notebook and wrote scene after scene. I added a character named Jason played by comic artist Jason Young who was as confused as me about a woman he cared for.  I added a radio DJ character as we had access and permission to film inside Wright State University to use their media area.  Garrison Kane came back to play The Sadness just as he did for the footage for Long Dead Winter. I then cast the rest of the spots with great actors and friends like Josh Weinberg, Mindy Becker, Andrea Seay to name a few, and production was soon on it’s way. The script was mostly a dark mood with lots of effects kills and lots of drama elements between characters. The plot has a woman witnessing the murder of her neighbor and decides to talk about it on her collage radio show.  Big mistake as this draws the killer to the college as he is silent, deadly and never leaves a witness alive! I should also say that The Sadness is a cold blooded killer who does not talk, does not feel pain, does not have remorse and wears a red and black mask, has long black hair and always has a black suit on. The dumbest mistake we made with the character was trying to use and change up a WWF Kane mask as his face plate.  If I could go back, I would change it 100% to just a solid red mask like all the character’s promo art. I should also note at the start of filming I had just met and started dating Jennifer.

The Sadness Killer 1

We decided to shoot all the college footage first as it was the most demanding of the sets as students were still in the building even as we filmed for many days starting at midnight! The area we picked next to the radio booth was perfect for our location as lots of scenes took place in the radio room as well as the waiting room.  On the first day of shooting things were going pretty well for the most part. Jason, Sam and Mindy were hitting their marks but things went south pretty quick as I would soon find out the Mindy had snuck alcohol in and was getting more and more drunk as the filming went on, and by 5am she went missing in action! I was annoyed but realized that she did not mean to get that out of control.  So I filled the rest of the first night with shots of The Sadness wondering around the college. The second day of filming was way more relaxed with everyone showing up and having fun, I even allowed for some ad-libbed lines that were comical to bring the mood up for the DJ characters to show they were just fun loving students. But we did have an accident that night as Garrison as the Sadness could not see out of his mask and wig and really stabbed Jason in the back! After checking the wound and seeing that it was not that deep, Jason was a sport and continued the shoot. After all the DJ stuff with The Sadness as well as the final scenes of the film were shot, I finished up all the inside college shots of The Sadness chasing Jason as well as him stalking the hallways. As I got this footage shot, Jason Wilson from Precinct 13 Video was uploading it and started to do the first edit of the film. What followed next was some of the outside shots of The Sadness killing random people, getting the voice over of his father played by a co-worker of mine named James as well him preparing for his kills and other small fill in shots. By this time Jason Wilson informed me that the film needed another kill so I had to add in a couple of new college kid characters and re-film at the school of them being introduced and the female one being killed off, for these shots I had to have Josh Weinberg fill in for The Sadness as Garrison was swamped with his day job. Jason added these scenes into the film and made the pacing a little better for a drama slasher film the extra kill added some more horror to a film that was quickly becoming a drama about lost love. In a odd twist I was able to talk Lindsey into playing the part that was based on her and she did a fantastic job of what lines she was give, it was nice to see her and for her to understand that I had to make the film and way I needed to as I was a person who was amped up and need to get the hurt, anger and ideas out of my brain and into this movie. Josh Weinberg stepped up and became my assistant director and even filmed some shots as I was also at this time hired to play a big part in a film directed by my film mentor Andy Copp called Fun In The Old Town Tonight. The final day of filming was the films opening kill and I was so hyped when my close friend Andrea Seay took the role of the first victim and we spent the whole night filming the scene that I not only had to direct but also do the special effects for, this being the end of the movie that was a personal one made my emotions run high as I was one happy film maker to get this off his chest on questions of why people drift apart, and like a bonehead I made a terrible mistake that coasts me my best friend and someone who I still care about to this day as one of my actions made Andrea and my friendship come to an end. Looking back all this time away from this film and production while it was a great experience to be able to get heartbreak off my chest and that came via Misty who I had to break up with for both of our sanity and Lindsey who just was not meant to be, got to work on special effects and watch a killer from my own mind come alive, have friends come together to make something personal of mine alive, the worst part of this production was loosing Andrea as a friend as she was always their for me as I was always around for her. Even if I have not spoken to her sense 2006 I still think very highly of her and hope that some day the wounds can be healed.

The Sadness Killer 2The Sadness Tub Kill 0The Sadness Killer 3

As Jason Wilson finished editing, I obtained music for the film and was able to get tracks from the likes of Centerfold, Winter of Discontent, Patrick Neeley, Society’s Whore, David Wean and Ed vs. Radio, and with their music, we added a whole new level of entertainment to the film. The film premiered at Precinct 13 Video in 2006 and showed at midnight.  I was happy to see that the place was packed and many people were hyped to watch the film. It was super cool to hear people clap when my name popped up as director and even cooler to hear them clap and cheer when the film ended. Many people who attended came up to me and loved the idea of a drama slasher film and got the nature of the film.  Others came up to me and didn’t like that the film was more dark and only had some comedy to it as they wanted more Werewolf of Ohio type films from me….it was very split and this was really amazing to hear the two sides out. For me the film was made to let out stress and was packed with drama, comedy and horror with a touch of cheese and was meant to just entertain and allow me to make a killer like Michael Myers of Halloween who is my favorite slasher icons and I did what I set out to do! The film came out on DVD by Bloodline Video for a short time, would play on local TV, and screen at conventions as well as come out via Warlock Home Video a few years back. The film is pretty much out of print nowadays, and while it may be gone, it’s not forgotten as I have had people make comments to me about the film in the past year as well as The Sadness himself will have a cameo in the comic series We Kill The Dead alongside the likes of other independent horror characters. In 2008, I started to work on The Sadness II that would have followed up right after the events of the first film.  We filmed a first kill scene, and quickly it was clear that the rage was missing from the script and it was nothing more than a slasher film that would have been packed with way more gore and boobs and no heart and plot.  So as soon as I started filming, I quickly pulled the plug on the film. Now in 2016 I have the bug again and really want to make a reboot to The Sadness and bring him to modern times and explore his back story, his anger and his legacy.  So who knows, maybe soon I will film this and share the experience with you readers. Out of all the old no/low budget films I have shot, I think I am the most proud of The Sadness as it truly did capture what I was trying to pull off, and while it is flawed, I still find it to be one of the best things I did for Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video. Below is the cover for the film’s first DVD release.  Yeah, it was cheesy and was made by Patrick Neeley.

Original The Sadness DVD Cover

On January 1st 2016 my cousin Stephen had a get together at his house to play a POG tournament! That’s right POGS the game that I had not played sense I was in the 9th grade mostly against my friend Jade during breaks in-between classes and during lunch. For those who don’t remember this game you would stack 10 or more cardboard POGS on a mat or the ground and use a heaver metal or plastic round disk and slam it onto the pile hoping to turn them over and for each one you got a point, in the end the player with the most points wins. I remember that I use to collect POGS and that we would play for keeps, as the winner would win all the caps they turned over during the match. My go to Slammers where a Universal Monster Dracula one that was made of plastic and a thin metal one that had a big haired red skull face skeleton creature on the front with the message No Drugs on it. I owned many other slammers like Star Wars and other comic and cartoon characters as well as other generic ones but those two were my favorites. This POG rebirth sparked from a small POG Tournament set we bought in at Game Swap and after seeing it Stephen bought it and we chatted and before we knew it a tournament was set for New Years Day! Looking at the invite that was sent out on Facebook and seeing the likes of friends like Thomas Smith, Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane, Spencer Lucus, Jeremy Hoyt and Theresa Lopez to name a few all saying they were entering I new the competition was going to be tough and then hearing that comic artist Jason Young as well my own girlfriend Juliet were entering I knew I had to get the perfect Slammer Team in order so I hit Ebay and Amazon and dug deep to find what I considered the best of the best in Pog winning greatness, and now I will present them to you in all their glory, also cue Sirius by Alan Parsons Project! The first one I bought was “Jaws” a red light metal slammer featuring the icon of cinema of the same name, the second Slammer to join the team was a light plastic one featuring a large sharp toothed islander looking guy called “Da Cruncher”, next was a metal slammer that featured the MTV cartoon character “Butthead”, then I was lucky and found the red skull big hair skeleton just like I had when I first played so “No Drugs” became my third metal Slammer and my final main roster Slammer was a Universal Monster thicker plastic one that I call “Universal The Mummy” as that character was featured on the front and that those were the ones I selected as my starting line-up. I also for safe measure I brought a few fill in Slammers just in case any of my A-Team failed me in a match and they where a plastic Star Wars one that had “Han Solo” on it and for good measure I brought the worst slammer in the world called “Bad News” that featured a Grim Reaper on the front and was a medium plastic one that had no grace or style. Below is a picture of my Slammer Team and the back ups.

Pog Slammer Team 2016

Juliet and I showed up ready for battle as my Slammer Team was about to be put to the test as the competition all seemed ready with their chosen Slammers. My first opponent was my good friend Jeremy Hoyt and my slammers of choice were Butthead and Bad News and with a semi quick match I won and moved on in the tournament thanks mostly to Butthead who was a slamming beats! The Second round I faced Stephen Basile a really nice guy whom I have meet through my cousin Stephen with the same slammer combo I started out strong but by the end of the battle Basile smoked me and gave me my first loss. But with this loss I was not out of the game as I dropped to the lower bracket and would have to earn my way back into the race for the trophy and the $10.00 prize, my third match was against Justin Barlow and this was one epic pog match as we ended up at a tie and had to go into sudden death the first of the night, just barely I was able to pull off the win thanks to slammers Butthead and Jaws! Moving back up my opponent was Charles “Bubba” Walters who is my uncle and Stephen’s dad and I must say I really stunk in this match and Charles made quick work of me as Butthead and Jaws really failed to deliver and with this loss I was out of the running to win. Juliet however beat her first round opponent Jennifer Barlow and then forfeited her spot as she had to bartend at her second job….yeah she left the game. But this was a blast and I am hoping that Stephen decides to do this again next year as I for one would enter again and try even harder to win a torphy and bring it back here to show off on Rotten Ink. For those wondering who won the rundown is this Josh Weinberg won 3rd place, Charles “Bubba” Walters won 2nd place and the 1st place winner was Theresa Lopez! And the best part about it was that Theresa didn’t lose one match she cleaned house and is one amazing pog player! Oh I should also say that other players that have not been mentioned yet who entered and played were Thomas “Maurice” Smith, Garrison Kane, Ashley Knox, Nate Stevens, Dan Lopez and Spencer Lucas all great Pog warriors who made the event even more fun!

Pog 2016 thrid place WeinbergPog 2016 second place BubbaPog 2016 Champ Theresa Lopez

On February 3rd 2016, a quest to visit a Haunted location was on the books and Josh Weinberg and I traveled to Camp Chase Cemetery, a Civil War graveyard that houses over two thousand confederate soldiers who were prisoners of the war, many of whom died from smallpox and lack of food. After the war, the camp became mostly a forgotten cemetery with cheap wood makers placed for tombstones with no care the site started to fall into shambles. It was not until 1895 that the poor souls buried at Camp Chase got the proper respect as retired Union Colonel William Knauss took it upon himself to lead an effort to restore the site and give the soldiers stone tombstone markers as well as held a memorial service for those who were buried there. By 1902 a new stone wall was built around the cemetery as well as a statue of a rebel solider above a boulder with the simple word American on the archway. The ghost that is said to haunt the area is Louisiana Rainsburgh Briggs aka Lady In Grey who is said to have been in love with a solider that died and is buried there named Benjamin F. Allen a private from the 50th Tennessee Regiment, and it’s said you can see this woman in grey wonder around the tombstones and cry at the grave of Private Allen as well as leave flowers for her lost love. On this day the weather outside was sunny with a cool breeze blowing as it was in the upper 50’s when finding the cemetery the first thing I noticed is that it sat between a home and a closed for the season ice cream shop with a school being behind it. We parked at a nearby BP Gas Station and walked to the iron gates and entered and noticed that the area was way smaller than we expected, we walked the among the tombstones looking for Ben Allen’s tombstone and when finding it we first noticed that no flowers were at the grave, we then waited around hoping to see or hear the Lady In Grey and all we could hear was the mass amounts of traffic that was driving on the busy street the cemetery is on. As we left we both agreed that while the area was amazing for the history aspect as a haunted location it was lacking as the noise of the busy city killed the element of atmosphere and the Lady In Grey was nowhere in sight. Fun trip over all and great place to visit and see a history landmark, check out some pictures I took below including the grave of Ben F. Allen!

Camp Chase GatesBen Allen Grave at Camp ChaseCamp Chase Graves

After the long yet fun holiday season and the tragic loss of my cousin Norman D., I decided that once more Juliet and I needed to have a Horror Movie Marathon to unwind from the stresses of work and the post holiday blues so Tuesday February 9th 2016 became the date with horror film destiny. We decided to do a pre-show Monday night and we started off with the cheesy film “Guru, The Mad Monk” about a crazed monk and his vampire girlfriend and hunchback assistant who all run a church where the guilty go to die.  Throw in a love story between one of the jailers and a woman from his past, and you have this no budget cheesefest. “Teenage Slumer Party Massacre” is about some girls having a sleepover on Spring Break and being stalked by a goof in a old man mask wielding a power drill.  This one was a real stinker! To my surprise. Juliet enjoyed Guru, and we shared lots of laughs about its terrible yet fun nature. Teenage Slumber Party Massacre was a complete bore and could have been best summed up with cute girls talking about guys and hotdogs with very little slasher action, super lame. After the films, I read a couple of comics and went to bed with visions of horror films in my head.

At 7am Tuesday we started the event and as always loaded up on snack foods and prepared Breakfast Casarole and made slow cooked a roast in the crockpot for dinner. The film to kick it all off was a Universal film called “Night Monster” thats stars Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill and is about a mansion that holds murder and mystery when doctors end up dead while staying with a patient they left crippled. The 2nd film of the day was the zero budget film called “Alien Beasts” that is about enter dimensional beings attacking Earth and a group of government agents that try and stop them. The 3rd haunting flick was “Amityville Theater” about a young woman who’s parents have died and she inharites they old theater only to find out like everything in Amityville the ghosts and demons don’t rest! The under rated slasher “Alice Sweet Alice” was the 4th film of the day and is about a murder of a young girl that is blamed on her sister, but did she really do it? Paul Naschy as the Mummy Amenhotep was in the 5th film of the day called “The Mummy’s Revenge”, a Horror Movie Marathon is just not the same without a Naschy film But sadly we did not get to finish Mummy’s Revenge as two different copies of the film on DVD-R’s had such bad digital breakup that the film would freeze, DVD-R’s really suck and anytime we have had issues at a marathon it has been with films on this format, for shame that it had to be the Nachey film that had issues. The 6th film of the day “Born Of Earth” is about creatures that live in the ground and steal people and one mans fight for the truth about his missing children. Movie # 7 was the Full Moon Entertainment flick “The Dead Want Women” thats about 1920’s silent actors who were murdered by a fellow actor return to to life during present day to find sexy ladies. “The Reeker” was the 8th film of the marathon and is a monster slasher film about a group of friends out of gas in the desert and a foul smelling ghoul with death on it’s mind is stalking them one by one. The 9th film is a guilty pleasure film for me called “Rocktober Blood” about a 80’s Hairband Singer who slashes his friends from beyond the grave or is he? Number 10 keeps the slasher theme as its “Cinco De Mayo” about a killer in a Mexican skull mask killing collage kids who don’t want to learn about heritage. Another slasher film called “The Mutilation Man” was the 11th movie and was about a killer getting revenge on some people that got away with a crime from the past, also this is not to be confused with with Andy Copp’s film of the same name. The 12th and final film of the night was “Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” that follows the Daughter of Henry Jekyll who is battling her families curse that is mixed with the werewolf folklore and makes you wonder is the curse real or is someone trying to drive her mad!

Another great Horror Movie Marathon in the history books and it was the pefect way to combat a day that was filled with snow and cold winds! As always, after the films Juliet and I sat and chatted about the films of the day and picked our worst and top 3 best of the day.  This was a pretty tough one as I enjoyed many of the films we watched. For me the turkey of the bunch was The Mutilation Man as I found it to be boring and kind of bland in terms of the reveal of the killer’s identity.  The gore worked pretty well, and the acting was okay’ for this films budget level. Juliet’s Golden Turkey of the day went to Alien Beasts as she felt it made no sense and was too scattered to be entertaining. My top three list goes like this: # 1 hands down is Alice Sweet Alice, a film I grew up watching on TBS and find to be a great slasher with twists and turns and some great creepy moments. # 2 goes to Rocktober Blood, a film I have been a fan of since I was a teenager.  The music rocks, the story is silly, and the killer Billy Eye is so cheesy they should name a shredded cheese after him! And # 3 has to go to Daughter of Dr. Jeykll, a great classic black and white horror film that captures the mood and feeling of the book the film’s characters spawned from. Plus a femele version of Mr. Hyde who is represented as a werewolf is some great early horror film stuff even if they were just nightmares. But I also really enjoyed The Reeker, Night Monster and The Mummy’s Revenge that would have taken the # 3 spot it we were able to finish it. Juliet’s Top 3 went like this: # 1 Alice Sweet Alice, # 2 Cinco De Mayo and her # 3 was Rocktober Blood with The Reeker coming very close to making her list. Once more this was a great way to unwind, and I am looking forward to the next big one I will be holding in April, and of course when it’s over I will cover it here on Rotten Ink.

Guru The Mad Monk DVDTeenage Slumber Party Nightmare DVDNight Monster DVDAlien Beasts DVDThe Amityville Theater DVDAlice Sweet Alice DVDThe Mummy's Revenge DVDBorn Of Earth DVDThe Dead Want Woman DVDReeker dvdRocktober Blood dvdCinco De Mayo dvdThe Mutilation Man 2011 DVDDaughter Of Dr. Jekyll DVD

One film that I would love to see be turned into a comic book that’s also about sorority girls is Evil Toons.  It was released in 1992, directed by Fred Olen Ray and stars David Carradine, Dick Miller and a ton of beautiful woman like Michelle Bauer, Monique Gabrielle, Susanne Ager and my favorite of the bunch Madison Stone. I first saw this film when my brother and I rented it on VHS from K&L Video in Kettering, and from the start, I found myself loving this film and went and found it on VHS to buy. It’s about a demon who is accidentally unleashed from a spell book by four sorority girls who have been hired to clean a old big house before the new owners move in. The demon, who is a cartoon, attacks and kills the girls and anyone else silly enough to get in his way. This is a perfect source for a mini-series of comics that has the book of spells being delivered once more to a wrong address, this time a sorority house filled with all types of college babes.  On Halloween night, they all have a mass sleepover where they watch horror films, eat junk food and by mistake read a spell that sets the demon free, and it runs loose in the dorm killing and possessing as many young woman as he can! The lead in the series would be a sweet woman who grew up in a small town and was taught not to mess with evil and her knowledge is what keeps the few who live alive! The comic would be part horror and part comedy and have enough blood and nudity to please fans of the film. And if they really wanted to spice things up you could mix Evil Toons with Ghoulies and have mayhem at the college as both set of demons try to out do each other in the kill department. If this comic was to get made I would like to see Fred Olen Ray’s own company Retromedia release a line of comics based on his movies, and if one of my friends were to tackle this project I would say Bruce O’Hughes or Damien Brunk as both would understand the cheesy sleazy nature of the comic. Maybe Ray is reading this update (doubtful) and will like the idea and make a comic based on this film as well as his other work come alive…

Evil Toons 1Evil Toons VHSEvil Toons 2

So while I have the chance, I should also talk about Madison Stone from Evil Toons as I won’t get the chance to for any other update, and with the lack of info about actresses from The Vampire Conspiracy, this seems like the best time. Madison Stone was born on January 12th 1965 in Miami, Florida and started her acting career in adult films where she ended up starring in over 100 titles with such classic names as Jail Babes, The Anus Family and Voodoo Vixens. Her adult film career was so big, she is a member of the AVN Hall of Fame, and in 1993 she was voted XRCO Fan Favorite! Madison went on to be in “mainstream” movies like Evil Toons in 1992 and Daylight in 1996 alongside Sylvester Stallone! Madison continued to appear in adult films until 2004 when she retired. She is known for her raven dark hair and now for her tattoos and piercings, even having one named after her The Madison Piercing that’s at the front of her neck! She is now a tattoo artist and owns her own shop in California called “Madison Tattoo Shoppe” and sings in bands like Kiss The Monkey and Four Ugly Women. Even now at the age of 51, she is as stunning as the first time I saw her in Evil Toons! If I ever were to make another independent horror film and had a good budget and she was willing to come out of retirement, I would for sure cast her as well as it would be cool to have her on a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Check out some classic pictures of her below.

Madison Stone 1Madison Stone 2Madison Stone 3

The Vampire Conspiracy is directed by Geoffrey de Valois and was released in 1995 to the direct to VHS market as filler for ma & pa video rental stores around the good old USA. The film starred such talents as Heather Lemire, Liddy Roley, Barbara Savage and Jasmine Jean and is clearly a softcore film sprinkled with horror elements as the plot is about cyber vampires selecting a collage sorority to be their breeding slaves…this film reeks of pure sleazy cheese and to be honest while I have seen the cover box on video store shelves and on the pages of Alternative Cinema Magazine, I never took a chance at renting or buying it as it looks like it’s terrible. That’s the thing that younger people who didn’t have the joys of walking around a good well stocked video store will never have, the memories of walking around and looking at all the cover boxes and wondering what film awaited you on the VHS tape or DVD disc. Reading this comic will be the first time I have had any contact with this film so I am pretty hyped to see how it stacks up against the likes of Lust For Frankenstein, Tender Flesh and Mari-Cookie in quality and enjoyment. Before I even open this book, I want to make a few predictions on what this photo comic will showcase and that’s lots of bare female breasts and terrible lines of seduction. Below is the VHS Cover as well as the only still from the flick I could unearth on Google. Another thing I could not find much on was the actresses, so sadly no showcase on any of them.

The Vampire Conspiracy VHSThe Vampire Conspiracy still 1The Vampire Conspiracy Vampire

So we covered The Sadness, Evil Toons, a recent Horror Movie Marathon, a POG Tournament and took a look at the film for The Vampire Conspiracy so now I think it’s time we let the cyber vampires feast! The clouds have uncovered the moon and the dust has settled, as I am proud to say Rotten Ink is at the final issue of the Draculina Photo comic series as I have finally gotten my hands on The Vampire Conspiracy thanks to Ebay! Before I dive into this photo comic I should remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle some large chested cyber vampires, we should jump right into this review with garlic and some holy motor oil!

The Vampire Conspiracy 1

The Vampire Conspiracy # 1  *1/2
Released in 1998    Cover Price $4.95    Draculina    #2 of 4

Lisa is a strange woman who wants to join The Beta Sorority and is at the beach with the girls who all dislike her because they find her odd. But things are cut short when a vampire woman named Jana attacks and kidnaps some of the sorority girls to take to the Vampire HQ so that they can be breed with vampire DNA and the mindless offspring can be used as slaves. The lead vampire also runs a adult video company and makes vampire female centerfold videos, as Jana tortures the prisoners. As Lisa is dealing with her personal issues, the video that’s sent out is a way for the vampires to turn some viewers into vampires who have a trait in their blood, and shocker, Lisa turns out to be just that person.  After killing the coeds that teased her, she heads to Vampire HQ and decides that she wants to be the Queen of the Sorority and saves her fellow students and kills the Vampire King with a cross! In the end she is still a vampire as is her friends, and they decide to open a new all female vampire sorority.

Yep, this is what I thought it would be: page after page of naked boobs and a story that is as weak as ice melting in the hot summer sun. So the “plot” of this stinker is vampires want to use young woman as breeders for hybrids that will be used as slaves, and they are using all types of ways to turn people into vampires including a VHS tape that has the power to make people turn.  It’s up to the oddball girl to chose between saving her fellow coeds or joining the King of the Vampires. The main character is Lisa, a pretty woman who wants to be voted queen of her sorority and feels like she never fits in.  She is turned into a vampire by the video and kills those who tormented her and even takes out the Vampire Queen! Is Lisa a good person…no not at all as she kills her fellow coeds as well as her shrink in cold blood. The Vampire King who is the main bad guy is pretty lame and mostly barks orders, makes love to his assistant and gets his ass kicked really easy in a fight with Lisa. Lana is a sexy vampire in leather who gets joy in torturing her prisoners, but while she is badass in beating up humans, she as well goes down like a chump. The rest of the characters are all disposable and add nothing but pairs of boobs to the story. While the woman are nice to look at, the photos put together loosely make a story and for the most part this is a very forgettable read. After this photo comic I don’t think I would ever really track down the film to watch as I didn’t enjoy what I saw and read here. Not much more to say; vampires and boobs are cool, but that only takes a photo comic so far.

Vampire Conspiracy Art 1

So that’s the end of the Draculina Photo Comics, and I must say it ended the way I thought it would and that’s on a low note! While photo comics are a good idea and Draculina was onto something that could have been an amazing idea, I think they chose the wrong films to do this with as the films they gave this treatment already had weak stories and became even weaker when squeezed into a comic. But let’s wash the taste of this vampire comic out of our mouths as our next update will take a look at the Queen of Horror Hosts, the one and only Vampira! So until then read a comic or three and enjoy being around your loved ones.

Vampira Logo 0

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Of Dracula

Welcome back, readers!  I know that one of the top questions on your mind is what did I do for Friday The 13th in September 2013…did I go to Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang at Gillys Jazz Club to see bands Nightbeast and Todd The Fox with performers like Sunny Wonderland? Nope. Did I stay home and watch Horror Host Riggor Mortiss on DATV hosting the film Five? Nope. What I did was something I love to do, going to a haunted location in Ohio with friends to see if we can experience anything from the unknown.  That night we decided to go to Fudge Road in Gratis, Ohio. Fudge Road is spoken of as being filled with legend and myth, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either the most haunted road in all of Ohio or is a road that is filled with nothing but B.S. stories. Now before I get into the story of us going there and what we saw or didn’t see, I want to give you all a little run down of all the odd things/creatures/people that are suppose to be on the road.

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Cry Baby Bridge

Every small town has this legend.  The small village of Gratis is no exception, and has a few stories about the bridge. One is that sometime in the 1800’s, a mother tossed her baby over the bridge, and the infant’s spirit is suppose to haunt the cold waters below. Another ghost that is supposed to haunt the bridge is that of a truck driver who drove his rig off the side of the narrow road and into the ditch near the bridge, and he died at the scene. Another legend speaks of the ghost of a woman who was killed on the bridge by a biker gang who beat her with baseball bats even knocking one of her eyes out.  She is said to haunt the bridge and the woods around the bridge. The most famous ghosts of the bridge are those of a mother and child.  When the child passed away, the mother was so struck with grief that she hung herself on the bridge, and now late at night you are supposed to park on the bridge and say “Mama” three times and wait to hear a baby cry and sometimes see the ghost of the woman who in turn seems to be looking for her child. Also some people who have gone to this haunted bridge have claimed that they have seen dead animals such as deer and dogs hung up and gutted hanging by the neck from the rails under the bridge!

White Fur Monster

The Cocker/White Fur Monster

The Cocker is a white furred humanoid, Bigfoot-type creature who is said to have been spotted numerous times around the woods near the “Midget House”. The creature is known to make loud high pitched screams sounding like a woman and seems to not have a pattern on when and what time to witness it. Some accounts say that the creature is more of a killer and is known for killing animals and leaving their mangled bodies as a warning to all those who enter his domain. The creature is said to be about 6 foot tall with long white hair all over and is ape-like in appearance. Some also think that this creature is from another dimension and moves through portals and that’s why it’s seen less than other spooky “attractions” on the road.

Fudge road Midget house

The Midget House

There is a strange tiny house that sits back aways from the road on a plot of land that is said to be a place that houses giant pigs or also sometimes reported dogs that are used in scarifies for witches and or the KKK. The pigs in some stories also are said to be man-eaters, and those who trespass on the land could find themselves in their bellies! The house is said to also be a source of evil, and those who walk around it get odd feelings and feel as if they are being watched. The white furred Cocker monster has been spotted around it a few times making it a major source in spotting it. The house cannot be seen at night via the road as it has no lights in or around it and is surrounded by a barbwire fence. Also around this part it’s said that a barn sits somewhere nearby that was the site of 17 teens who were murdered. The Midget House location is one of the most popular attractions on the road next to Cry Baby Bridge.

Fudge Road Old Lady

Crazy Old Witch Lady

The locals of Fudge Road don’t like wanna-be “ghost hunters” or thrill seeking teens to drive up and down the road, and one of the worst for hating these people is a shotgun carrying old woman who also video tapes everyone that drives up and down and also is known to chase them down the dark and narrow road. She is said to own all the houses on the road besides one and that many of the houses are really empty but she leaves a lamp on in each to make it look as if someone is home. Some reports have her riding around with an older man in a black/red truck and chasing people down the narrow road video taping and firing guns in the air as warning shots. Some reports also have her hiding in the woods and the corn fields on the road ready to call the police or even fire her trusty shotgun at you. Many say that she is a witch and that she is known for killing animals and having large satanic gatherings in the woods and can place curses on those who drive down her road. Is she a witch or just a batty old lady with a shotgun? All that’s really known is it’s not safe to ask her!

Fudge Road Baby on Bridge

So on that Friday The 13th after work around 8:15pm at night Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg and myself decided to go visit a haunted place for the night.  We went through a list of possible locations that included the classics like Carpenter’s Road and Frankenstein’s Castle, but Fudge Road ended up being the winner so we piled into Stephen’s white Lumina and headed out to the famed road in Gratis.  On the ride there, I used Stephen’s smart phone to look up stories to read aloud in the car to help build the mood of the spooky road we were about to visit. We found the road with no issues and turned onto it.  On one side was a farmhouse with lots of land and a shed, while on the other side was a massive corn field.  We made jokes about Children Of The Corn and even killer Scarecrows as we slowly drove down it keeping our eyes open for a white furred monster, ghosts and yes, the crazy old lady with a shotgun! As we reached the bridge, we saw that it was blocked off.  So we turned around all hyped on just how creepy this smaller part of the road was. and we knew we had to find the other end of the road to see what spooky horrors it held. We stopped at a small gas station and filled up with gas and some drinks and headed back out to find the road. After driving a few minutes, we found the other side of the road and traveled down it.  The road was dark, and the worst part was the road was barely big enough even for one car, let alone two! We passed a carload of kids who were leaving the area and clearly were also there to find a good scare, and they were nice enough to pull all the way over to allow us to get past them and get deeper down the dark road. The sites from the road were odd as many of the houses did seem empty with just one single light on in each, making me wonder if the crazy old lady really did own most of the road. We past one house that was boarded up with a big fence around it as well as no trespassing police tape, but it was clear that someone or something had lifted part of the fence to allow people to sneak onto the land. Some parts of the road had some wicked turns and with it being pitch black and both sides covered with deep woods, you had to pay more attention more where you were driving. When we made it to the other side of the closed up Cry Baby Bridge, we parked the car and we all got out.  While Steve and Josh walked over to the bridge, I began snapping pictures around the car wanting to get as much of the creepy atmosphere as I could so that I could share it here on Rotten Ink. The Bridge was covered with graffiti with words like R.I.P and a number of names, and as I snapped pics, a flash of light went off in the woods near the car. I waited and saw it again…it was super fast and almost reminded me of a cellphone being awoken from sleep mode.  So I alerted the guys, and we headed back to the car and got out of dodge! We began talking about what we thought the light could be, and I stuck with my cellphone theory.  As we pulled out of the road we noticed a cop drove by, turned on Fudge Road and blocked it from anyone else going down it.  I truly think that the light was the Crazy Old Woman calling the cops on us! On the way home, we talked about the creepy feel of the road and wanted to find another haunted location to visit.  We ended up not going to another and while we have talked about going back to Fudge Road, we never have made the journey back. While we didn’t see any white furred monsters or even giant pigs in a tiny house, we did, it seems, have contact with the Old Lady of the road, and while no shotguns or car chases happened, it’s clear as day she doesn’t want you around. Below are some of the pics I took that night of the road near the bridge as well as the Corn field straight out of Children Of The Corn.

Fudge Road CornFudge Road BridgeFudge Road Woods

But enough of Fudge Road, let’s talk about Count Dracula also known as TV’s Count Dracula of “Horror Incorporated” that ran from 2000-2002 on Channel 45 in Minneapolis. Count Dracula began his hosting career in 1984 on a show called “Count Dracula Presents” that lasted for two years on Channel 29 out of Minneapolis, and after the show ended, he came back to TV and did a few more shows before landing the host gig on Horror Incorporated that for years was a un-hosted program.  This was in 2000, and for two solid years he hosted the show with his vampire charm. I just wanted to make you readers aware of Count Dracula and don’t want to spew too much knowledge about him just yet because who knows, maybe in the future I’ll do a Horror Host Icon update about him!

Count Dracula (host)

As you all know, I am a video game player and enjoy sitting with my controller in hand and playing the newest Resident Evil or WWE game on a big TV screen. Growing up during the good old days of handheld games, I always found myself not buying a Gameboy, Game Gear or even an Atari Lynx and would choose a console game or even a Tiger Handheld game instead. So this last winter, my girlfriend Juliet’s mom and dad gave us an Apple iPad, and the only thing we use it for is games. Juliet plays a game called Smurf Village, and I play Simpsons Tapped Out and an odd little gem called Zombie Cafe, where you build a cafe and have zombies and monsters act as your waiters! As of June 13th 2014 I have a total of 6 main waiters on staff that include Mummy Fritz, Female Mummy Megan, Zombie Hipster Gary, Female Zombie Eliza, Zombie Construction Worker Jason and my long time staff zombie Alex. This game is silly and a way to waste time on a bored night. The game also allows you to send your workers to another cafe and attack them and some of these cafes are owned by the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster! If you’re looking for a fun, simple and free game to play on your iPad, I would say check this on out. Below are most of my staff minus Mummy Megan as she joined the staff a little later on.

Zombie Cafe Workers

Growing up, for one Christmas I got some Imperial Universal Monster toys for The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, and I loved them and played with them a lot.  I even have them to this day, and then when Juliet and I went to Monster Bash this year I was able to finally get my hands on The Mummy.  With him I was only missing one of the figures from the series so I pulled the trigger and ordered it from Ebay and that figure was for the Vampire King Count Dracula! The figure has a very loose likeness to Bela Lugosi and stands taller than The Mummy. The figure I was able to win at opening bid of .99 due to some paint loss to its fingers and hair, but over all I think its a nice display figure. If you’re a classic Universal Monster fan and collect action figures based on them make sure to check out the Imperial line.  They fit in very nicely with your Remco and Marx figures. Check out the pic below for what the Dracula figure looks like.

Imperial Dracula Toy

Now that we talked about Fudge Road a haunted location in Ohio, iPad game Zombie Cafe and a little about Horror Host Count Dracula, I think it’s time we get to the main attraction, Eternity Comics’ mini series called Ghost of Dracula! Now I have to be honest many years back when I was a teen I had some of these issues from this mini series that I got from Mavericks, but when I could not find all the issues I never fullly read them and they got sold way back when with almost all my comics to pay rent for me and my then girlfriend Misty. So it being 2014 and getting the whole set thanks to Dark Star Books, I can finally read the whole series. Just a friendly reminder I graded on a star 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. So let’s sit back and see what kind of Ghosts Dracula has, and if we should also call the Ghostbusters for him!

Ghosts of Dracula 1

Ghosts of Dracula  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #1 of 5

The year is 1925, and the city is London as a man named Mr. Beck is asking for help not to fall asleep from a doctor who in turns makes the mistake of drugging the patient who then transforms and kills his would be savior. Meanwhile in New York, Count Dracula is roaming the streets and snacking on people late at night! In Amsterdam, Professor Van Helsing is dealing with his wife who has slowly slipped into madness and is in an asylum, and returns to London when a rash of murders breaks out that has victims with ripped out throats. Dracula meets Harry Houdini who exposes a fraud medium, and the two exchange stories of trying to contact old loved ones.  Dracula turns into a bat and disappears as Van Helsing finds that Mr. Beck, his old friend, is in fact the killer and is a demon! Dracula barely makes it back to his coffin in time and it’s shown he has a female vampire named Ellen who he does not care for but uses her to keep his coffin safe.

This is a fun issue, and a great way to kick off a mini series based on Count Dracula! I love the way it has numerous stories going at once and not only shows you what Dracula is doing but also shows that a demon killer is on the loose and shows all the crappy stuff that is going on in an aging Van Helsing’s life. The addition of real life magician Henry Houdini is also bad ass and a great way to keep a person like me truly interested in the story. The issue’s plot is this: London has a killer that is a demon, and Van Helsing goes to stop him thinking it to be Dracula, while Dracula himself is in America looking for a way to contact his old love. I also like Ellen who is clearly crazy and wants nothing more than to be a full fledged wife of Dracula, all the while he wants nothing to do with her and treats her like a cheap porn star! The art work is that pure 1990’s independent horror comic look, and Count Dracula has short curly style black hair and a classic 70’s porn mustache and looks like the love child of Burt Reynolds and Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Van Helsing looks like a crazy old man, a perfect look for an aging hero. Over all I dig the art work and think that issue 1’s cover is just okay. I am looking forward to see where this story goes. Oh I should also say that for a horror comic this has very little blood and is more of a story driven issue than a blood bath.

Ghosts of Dracula  2

Ghosts of Dracula  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #2 of 5

Harry Houdini is a mess after seeing Dracula and comes to grips that vampires are real, but in acting strange, he is pushing is girlfriend Bess away! While Dracula himself is hung up on Lucy (from the novel), Ellen uses her blood and charms to seduce the vampire king, but makes the mistake of mentioning Lucy causing Dracula to freak out and set her free no longer in his control or bond.  This leads to Ellen jumping off a cliff to her death. Van Helsing meanwhile tries to get an ageing friend to help him in his Dracula/demon hunt and is turned down and returns home to find Mr. Beck there asking for help! Houdini, after one of his shows, gets information about a person who can help him, but is warned by Dracula not to go and if he does death awaits him. In the end we see that the man Houdini is supposed to meet with his Van Helsing and the threat from Dracula does not work as he prepares to travel to London. Meanwhile at the town morgue, Ellen is alive and well and is now a fully fledged vampire!

Issue two slows the pace a little, and with this much story, it makes sense to flesh out the true missions of each of the characters. I like how it’s clearly showing that Harry Houdini is being geared up to be the mini series’ hero and Van Helsing seems to be spinning his wheels and knowing he is too old to do this alone.  Also I am not 100% sure yet, but I think the friend he goes to and asks for help from was none other than Sherlock Holmes! While the issue does not say the detective’s name, his look and hat are a giveaway, and I hope that this is looked at further in the series. Dracula in this issue seems to be an emotional mess and has Lucy on the brain; he even makes the mistake of giving into Ellen who he hates! Plus love the fact Dracula could kill Houdini but doesn’t because he respects him as a human.  Wow, Dracula must love magic in order to spare his life! Mr. Beck almost seems like a Jeykell and Hyde type character as the good side wants help and the evil side just wants to kill. The art is still great in this one, and this time they add a tiny bit of blood and the cover is a tad bit better than issue 1’s. Over all the story in this one is good but a little crammed making this one a solid issue just not as impactful. I can’t wait to see what issue 3 has in store and hope that these characters all start interacting I mean a Dracula and Mr. Beck demon fight could be epic! So let’s get onto issue 3.

Ghosts of Dracula  3

Ghosts of Dracula  # 3  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #3 of 5

Both Dracula and Houdini cross the sea to Europe to get the answers they seek. Van Helsing takes Beck to a church where there is a young girl named Angelica who has the power to heal anyone she comes across that needs to be saved, but each time the young girl does this she herself becomes more and more weak and even gets the wounds of Christ. Not to be left behind, Ellen also comes across the sea to be close to her beloved Vampire King! Beck is taken to the church’s dungeon where he once more turns into the evil Demon and scares all the nuns as Van Helsing gets a late night visit from Dracula who now has Houdini as his servant after he forces him to do his bidding! Dracula and Helsing meet outside on a cold snow filled night in a epic stare down.

Wow, this issue takes some twist and turns and takes Harry Houdini who you think is going to be the hero of the series and turns him into Dracula’s slave! I didn’t see that coming at all, and in fact, you find yourself cheering for Harry to break the spell. Dracula in this issue is pissed and kills a bunch of sailors and dock workers letting everyone know that he is not to be messed with. Ellen as well shows a little more of a mean streak and kills a young woman who is thinking of suicide and takes a dock worker who has a family as her slave. Beck as the demon is one scary soul stealing creature of hell, and when even being inside a holy place doesn’t seem to bother him, you know Van Helsing has his hands full. Speaking of Van Helsing, old age seems to have slowed him down a little, but he still is a warrior of fighting for good. Angelica is an interesting character that is as pure as snow and seems to be a young woman with such amazing power. The story is starting to heat up, and now all in one place are Dracula, Van Helsing, Demon Beck, Angelica and Houdini so let’s just get into issue 4 and see what big battle is about to go down! Oh yeah, the art work is still good, but this cover is a little lame and has zero to do with the comic.

Ghosts of Dracula 4

Ghosts of Dracula  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #4 of 5

Demon Beck has escaped and has kidnapped Angelica and taken her to a castle that belongs to Dracula! A horrified nun runs out in the middle of the Dracula and Van Helsing stare down and tells them that Angelica is gone.  The two along with Houdini put all their differences aside and decide to team up to save the young girl who is the key to something they all want or need. For Van Helsing, she is the key to saving the soul of his friend Beck; for Houdini she is the key to talk to his dead mother and for Dracula it’s so he can talk to Lucy, his lover who died many years back. Ellen travels to Dracula’s castle and has visions of what, why and how Dracula became the vampire he is to this day, but while there she sees the demon and tries to save the young girl and get this demon out of her master’s house.  She fails as Dracula and crew come in and challenge the demon!

This is a good issue that serves as mostly the back story of Dracula, and while it’s cool and a fun read, I almost feel they just added this all in as filler and to get one more issue out for this mini series so that it would be one issue longer. Dracula and Van Helsing having to team up to save Angelica is a cool concept and makes one wonder what if Universal or Hammer decided to do this in their films, how would fans have taken that idea. Plus it’s nice that already Houdini has broken the hold Dracula has on him and is like yeah, this ain’t happening no more. Ellen once more shows that she is way too in love with Dracula who up to this point uses her and dislikes her to the point of hate, but it is cool to see her try and take a stand against the demon Beck even if she does lose fast. The players are all set for an epic battle of good & evil and something in-between. The artwork is the same as other issues, and Dracula still looks like a porn star of the 70’s mixed with Tony Stark.  The cover this time around is pretty cool and eye catching.  The use of the bright red I am sure helped it get some attention on the stands when released in 1991. So with this let’s move onto the final issue and see how this epic final battle plays out.

Ghosts of Dracula  5

Ghosts of Dracula  # 5  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #5 of 5

The demon Beck is not impressed with the team-up before him, and it’s clear that Dracula is the only one who stands a chance in fighting him. Dracula sends wolves after demon Beck, and Van Helsing rams a stake through its body allowing Beck to turn human for a few moments.  Houdini shoots him in the head killing Beck, but this frees the demon who now is ready for all out war. While Dracula tries his best to fight the demon, Van Helsing and Houdini take Angelica away and try to get her to safety. Dracula puts up one hell of a fight but is no match for the raw evil power of the demon, who then goes after Angelica who in turn awakens and is able to defeat the hell spawn herself. After the battle, Van Helsing goes and rams a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Angelica uses her powers to answer many questions.  For Houdini, she tells him she is truly able to speak to the dead; Dracula even in death in now able to find peace, and Van Helsing comes to the realization that his wife is a vampire and must not be protected but destroyed for his own mental health.

If this issue and even series teaches you one thing, it’s don’t mess with Dracula even if you are a demon from Hell, cause when he’s mad he is going to try his best to kill you! Dracula in this issue is still a a bad guy but he knows that he must team with these humans in order to rid the world of an evil demon that is trying to open the gates making the world a dangerous place for humans and vampires alike. Dracula, while a mean blood sucker, also shows compassion and love as he is shown to care for Lucy, and in death is finally able to find that inner peace and light that he has been lacking for centuries. 70’s porn mustache Dracula is a well written character and is clearly the antihero from start to finish. Van Helsing is still a noble hero, but it’s clear that he is old and broken down and has the stress of the world on his shoulders.  His hatred for Dracula is out of control and consumes him at times. The real cool aspect of the character this time around is that his true love has been affected and now a vampire herself, and he is in denial that she has becomes what he hates most. Plus while Dracula gets a happy ending, Van Helsing only kind of does and he kills his wife and then spends his time in a cell for murder! Angelica is a powerful young woman who has unknown powers racing through her body.  It would be cool to have seen just all the things she could do, and would have been a great ally for Van Helsing if he would have continued to hunt and kill creatures of the unknown. Houdini is a character that adds something to the story that’s hard to place your finger on.  While he doesn’t do anything too heroic nor does he kill any of the enemies at hand, there is just something so cool about this magician’s appearance that helps add a level of cool to this mini series. The demon is one mean sucker who kills and torments anyone who gets in his way.  It’s saying something when you as the reader are worried for Dracula, the world’s most powerful vampire when he has to step toe to toe with this powerhouse of hell fire might. This was a well done series that showed with the right writers and artists, a Dracula comic series can be done well.  I for one would have loved to see another mini series done with Houdini, Van Helsing, Dracula and Angelica going up against another major threat to all kind. The artwork in the series is done by Seppo Makinen and is fantastic and has that classic early 90’s horror comic look to it, and I would like to see some modern Dracula comics done by Seppo. While a horror comic, the series is bloody but not too over the top adding a level of Hammer Horror charm turned up a bit for more shocking aspects. Over all this is one fun comic series and was worth revisiting and completing for sure! Below are some of the artwork from this mini series of Dracula and his ghosts.

Ghost of Drac Art 1Ghost of Drac Art 2Ghost of Drac Art 3

Folklore and magic collided in this comic series that was surprisingly very good! It was nice to see yet another adventure being done around Count Dracula and taking him out of the same old same old element and placing him in a position where he must come face to face with evil that is straight from Hell. Taking an iconic horror character and turning him more good was really cool to read and was way ahead of the Dracula TV series on NBC that was kind of doing the same before it was canceled. And it looked like we didn’t even have to call in The Ghostbusters to help with Dracula and his Ghosts! Well, while May is in mid month, our next update will be about a giant and not just any old giant but that of an icon of the squared circle known as Andre! I want to also remind everyone that Ghost of Dracula was supposed to go up in August 2014, but due to the issues being misplaced before my write up was complete, it was placed on the back burner, and finally Dracula got his time in the sun…oh great I forgot he dies in the sun! So make sure to go out and enjoy this weather, and visit a amusement park or two, read a comic under your favorite tree and watch a big blockbuster movie at your favorite theater and as always support your local Horror Host.

Andre The Giant Logo

World’s Lamest Stunt Man…The Cougar

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today’s topic is The Cougar! Now I know what you’re thinking, we are covering that apex predator also know as The Mountain Lion, the vicious man killer meat eater of North America..but you’re wrong We are not talking about the Mercury car called the Cougar that’s first run was in 1967 and last was in 2002. And no, we are not even covering that terrible 2009 reality TV show on TV Land about older women who love younger men.  We are not even covering Barry “The Cougar” Dawson, the black belt of man skills who was the mascot for Fosters dark rum & bourbon in Australia. We will be covering Jeff “The Cougar” Rand, stuntman and hero from Atlas comics 1975 comic series called The Cougar!

a cougarthe cougar tv showBarry The Cougar Dawson

The last time I covered an Atlas Comic was on my birthday, September 8th 2013 when I covered The Brute as well as closed and missed local comic shop The Bookie Parlor, and I felt it was long past time that I cover another series from this amazing comic company. But before we dive into this, I would like to briefly talk about another local business that is no longer around, and that’s Crazy Cats Arcade! I know, I know, I spelled it wrong the last time I talked about it on this blog and was spelling it like Krazy Kats, which is the way the local Tattoo Parlor spells their name. Crazy Cats was located in Van Buren Shopping Center.  The windows were tinted black and had decals of a cartoon orange cat dressed in a pirate outfit that graced their windows. The parking lot was always filled, and many kids hung out outside the building drinking pops and some smoking cigarettes. Once you opened the door, the sounds of arcade machines and pinball would fill the air and the place was lit with very low dimed lights…this was THE place to play video games…sure The Dayton Mall had a large arcade and Magic Castle was around and sure Captain Boogies Golf and Games showed up later, but Crazy Cats was the king. Some of my memories of going and playing games at Crazy Cats were with my brother Bryan, cousin Stephen and his dad and my uncle Bubba.  You see, when Stephen would get good grades on his report card, his dad would take him to the arcade and give him $10.00 in tokens and let him loose! Bubba would always ask our parents if we could come too, and this was really a fun time.  Family time in an arcade playing games with loved ones is stuff of the 80’s and early 90’s that’s lacking nowadays. The tokens at Crazy Cats were great and had the cartoon cat on the front doing his famous pose, while on the back it had him playing an arcade machine.  To this day, I have a few Crazy Cat tokens and even late last year gave one to Stephen as a reminder of those fun times. Some of my favorite games to play at Crazy Cats were WWF Wreslefest a wrestling game that had the Royal Rumble, Creature From The Black Lagoon Pinball (I can’t tell you how many quarters I wasted on that one) and Primal Rage, the fighting game that pitted giant monsters against each other. Sadly sometime in the late 1990’s Crazy Cats closed its doors for good, and rumors went around that it was because too many teens were fist fighting over rivalries on games and also they said drug deals were going down and disrupting the other business in the shopping center. Now I had been to Crazy Cats many, many times and I will go on record and say I never saw a fight nor drugs being sold when I was there.  While I am sure that it was possible I don’t think it was as out of control as Kettering would like to have had you think. I think the real reason it closed was because Krogers didn’t like having teens around and Kettering likes to take the fun out of everything! While gone, it’s not forgotten by those who entered.  You are missed Crazy Cats, and this update is for you and all your workers that made it such a special and fun place. 

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He ain’t Superman, and he ain’t Captain America.  So before we move onto the comics, let’s introduce you readers to Jeff “The Cougar” Rand so you can have a feel for the character. Jeff grew up in the swamplands of Louisiana and learned his fast and daredevil stunt skills from swinging from trees and acting as if he was Tarzan. His only friend growing up was an old witch named Hattie who told him the secrets of the swamps, and she was run off by the rudeness of his brother Rick. After his mom and dad were murdered and his brother went missing, Jeff moved to Hollywood and became a stunt man for the movies though at first he wanted to be an actor but his first major role in a film called The Cougar bombed at the box office. Jeff is called The Cougar by his friends because of his cat like speed and agility and is the best in the stunt man business. Jeff wears a red skintight body suit complete with a cougar head belt buckle and is a man of action! His powers and skills include great hand to hand combat, quick minded and quick on the defense.  He also don’t break under pressure and is used to seeing things of a super natural level. He can be compared to Marvel’s The Human Fly and even early Wonder Man. So there you go, you now have a little more knowledge of who The Cougar is and what he is about.

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So now it’s time to go to the Hollywood back lot with our safety helmet on and see what crazy adventure and stunt our good friend The Cougar is going to do next.  I want to remind everyone that I grade comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So as Darkwing Duck use to say “Let’s Get Dangerous”! 

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The Cougar # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #1 of 2

The Gore Of Dracula” is a new horror flick being filmed on location at a small village complete with a old spooky castle and it’s own vampire legend! Stuntman Jeff “The Cougar” Rand along with his friend Harve are working on the picture with a complete jerk of a director.  After the day’s shoot the stuntman goes into town along with make up girl whose boyfriend has to stay behind to set up the castle for the next morning’s shoot. While Jeff and friends are in town drinking it up, the young lady’s boyfriend finds on old coffin with a stake driven through an old dusty cape and thinks it’s a movie prop and removes it setting free a real vampire named Count Krolok who kills him and enters town and falls for the make-up girl who looks like his dead lover! Krolok tries to take the girl as Jeff and Harve swing into action.  The fight leaves the vampire girl-less, Harve with broken ribs and Jeff with lots of questions. When the body of the boyfriend is found the next morning, Jeff has had enough and is going to stop the vampire once and for all.  When Krolok gets the young woman, Jeff must travel to the castle and save her from his bite! Jeff does so with the help of a wood table he shatters and rams a stake into the chest of the vampire during combat ending his blood sucking ways.

I have to point this out first the fact that Jeff The Cougar walks around town in a red tight spandex suit with a cougar head belt buckle is classic 70’s cheese, and this guy should have had his own live action show and been played by Lee Majors! Jeff is a cocky stuntman who laughs in the face of danger and even seems not to be afraid of a vampire who up to this point no one thought existed.  His fast movements and hand to hand combat skills seem to be what allows him to be so fearless and ready for adventure. But while he is daring and a butt kicker in this first issue, he lacks a personality and charm making me not attached to him just yet.  The fact he seems not to be bothered by the fact his friends ribs had been shattered and a fellow film worker is dead, those are just second thoughts as he is now worried more about the young hot make-up girl who he almost seems to be putting the moves on by the end of the issue even though she just lost her boyfriend to murder. The vampire Krolok is just as cocky and walks right into his death in the end of the issue that the likes of Count Dracula and Morbius would have seen a mile away.  I will say that his power and strength did make him a very powerful villain for a stuntman to fight. One thing that also lacking a little is that all the other characters are full fledged background players and none of them shine or make you care about them. While it sounds like I didn’t like this comic, it’s the opposite.  It was a lot of fun, and I loved the 70’s action film/show feel to it.  The art was done by two artists, Dan Adkins & Frank Springer, and it looks pretty good, not on par with major Marvel and DC books at the time but it looks well for this comic. The cover is cool, but not a very good one for a first issue and would not have drawn too many Super Hero readers in as much as it would draw the monster kids of the 70’s. Just as cheesy as I remember it back in the day, so I am hyped to see how issue 2 holds up after all these years!

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The Cougar # 2   **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Atlas Comics   #2 of 2

Jeff “The Cougar” Rand is working on a new flick and during his big stunt, he finds the dead body of a man whose neck has been ripped out! This murder triggers a memory in Jeff’s mind about his youth, growing up in the swamps of Louisiana and how his friend, an old witch placed a curse on his mean brother Rick that years later turned him into a werewolf that killed their parents and disappeared into the night. And when Jeff’s cousin is killed, he knows his brother is in town, but the police just aren’t fully sold on his werewolf theory. But while his new girlfriend, Janie, a lead singer for a band, plays at her sold out concert the werewolf attacks and Jeff goes on the offense and uses a silver knife to kill the werewolf who is of course Rick, but the fight leaves Jeff injured and paralyzed for life due to a spinal cord injury.

Well this was the final issue of The Cougar that Atlas released, and just imagine if DC ended Batman like this when Bane broke his back…just yep he is paralyzed and that’s the end you don’t need to know anymore. It’s a shame that the series ended as fast as it started thanks to the closing of Atlas. This second issue also tries to add a little more to the life of cocky Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and even tries to explain that silly suit he wears around town, explains his humble beginnings and even gives him a girlfriend who is a popular singer. The telling of why he wears the costume as a joke for a film he stared in that was a bomb is really silly as is the fact that his brother is a werewolf who killed his parents and after their deaths he just goes on with his life…he doesn’t even try to look for his brother? His girlfriend Janie seems to be just flung into the story because in issue one there is no mention of her, but in this issue they act as if they have been a couple for awhile. His brother Rick is given very little to do, and the show down while he is a werewolf is a little weak. The art in issue two is done by Frank Springer and seems a little more sloppy in spots.  The cover is pretty good and shows action with another super natural being. Once more this series tries to mix superhero and horror comics and is a pretty average read.  It’s truly a shame this series did not get time to blossom into something really good because the route this was going, I could Frankenstein’s Monster and The Mummy on the plate for The Cougar to fight.

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While Jeff Rand in the world of comic book stuntmen is not as well known as Johnny Blaze or Wonder Man, nor is he as well known as real life stuntmen like Evil Kanivel, he was Atlas comics only stuntman and he had to do. But our next update we will walk off the Hollywood set and into hot jungles of South America as we go on the hunt for The Predator! That’s right, we will be looking at Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the cult sci-fi action thriller.  So be ready to be watched from the shadows and look into the skies because The Predator is waiting for us! Until next time, make sure to support your local comic shop and read a comic or two.

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