Thursday, October 28, 2010

Son of the Crypt of the Horror Hosts

So the fun levels returned to normal around the Dork Forty today. Sure, everybody’s real excited about the possibility of a visit from the Great Punkin in three days’ time. But it was back to business today. The blood fields have been exsanguinated, but now it’s time to start wranglin’ the shrunken heads and pickin’ out the punkins we’re gonna be carvin’ in effigy this weekend. A busy day. But not so busy that I can’t share a couple more of my favorite working horror hosts with you for Night 28 of the Countdown to Halloween. Tonight, it's Dr. Gangrene, and this guy...

I capitalize the header above because Karlos Borloff is a capital letters kinda guy. Aside from having maybe the best horror host name ever, Borloff is also the most in-your-face excited and enthusiastic host I've ever seen. His love of monster movies is palpable every time he comes on-screen, and that makes his show, Monster Madhouse, a pure-fun joy to watch. The premise is simple, and gloriously stupid: Borloff has gathered a collection of monster hunters to destroy or (even better!) recruit dangerous monsters! And then they all get together to show monster movies and try to make sense out of them.

Debuting in the Washington, DC, area in 2006, Monster Madhouse is complete chaos. The current cast picture at the website...
...features no less than ten characters, and that seems like a serious under-representation. To watch Monster Madhouse is to fill your screen with bizarre characters swirling around a set that sometimes looks like some kind of Transylvania Labor Day Telethon, with Borloff as a monster-metal Jerry Lewis at the center of the maelstrom. The cast often expands to include even other horror hosts! Jeremiah Buzzard, Dr. Sarcofiguy, and Sally the Zombie Cheerleader have all been members of Borloff's gang at various points, joining regulars like Lizardman, Sasha Trasha, Freak Daddy, and (my personal favorite) the Countess Contessa Vanessa. Sometimes, it's a wonderful mess... as you can see if you make the jump...

Other times, it's a... less wonderful mess. 

Yeah. Sometimes, you can tell that Monster Madhouse is mostly ad-libbed... But regardless of how much the show might run off the tracks, or descend into cheesecake pandering, I never fail to laugh when the Monster Madhouse crew is on-screen. The show has an infectious, child-like enthusiasm that I can't not like. Plus, the Monsterminators are a kick-ass monster metal band!

And that's all the Monster Madhouse I can take tonight. That is some exhausting shit. Time, I think, to relax with a slightly more laid-back kinda horror host...

Dr. Gangrene

Note the Doctor's Sir Cecil Creape merit badge!

Dr. Gangrene debuted in 1999 in Nashville, Tennessee, with the public access show Chiller Cinema. Unlike Monster Madhouse, which throws just about everything up on-line, there's comparatively little Dr. Gangrene footage to be found. But here's the most infamous bit from Chiller Cinema: the night they burned a Bigmouth Billy Bass on-camera...

Heh. Cheesy as that sequence is... There's something just a little bit disturbing about watching that thing burn. I think maybe it's got something to do with the way it keeps singing while its skin falls off...

But Dr. Gangrene's perhaps become more famous for the live shows he hosts at various horror conventions. Here's the opening segment from one he did in 2007, in which he leads the crowd in reciting the rousing Monster Movie Maniac Code of Horror:

In recent years, Dr. Gangrene's landed a hosting gig on a genuine local station as the host of CW58's Creature Feature, and become something of a respected figure in the horror hosting community. He's also become a respectable member of the Nashville community, winning Emmy nominations for a series of PSAs called Go Green With Dr. Gangrene.
But the project I'm most excited about is The Dreadful HallowGreen Special, in which Dr. Gangrene and New England horror host Penny Dreadful team up to save Halloween! Penny's a particular favorite of mine, and the whole thing's narrated by Count Gore DeVol! So basically, it's a horror host dork's dream! Here's the trailer:


Heh. Can't wait to see it. Go here for a list of broadcast stations, or check out Alternative Realities TV to see it in streaming video on Halloween.

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