The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special - In a few words, what is it about?
is a cross-over between myself and fellow horror host Penny
a pumpkin shell, all things Halloween-related have begun to go screwy.
Pumpkins are turning pink, candy corn tastes sour – and it turns out
the combined efforts of Gangrene and Penny caused everything to go
haywire. It is up to the Physician of Fright and the Spooky Sorceress to
set things straight.
Your character in The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special,
first came to fame as horror host of the horror movie show Chiller
Cinema. A few words about the show, and the origins of the character?
wanted to recreate the type of show like the horror host programs of the
golden age of television. In Nashville we had Sir Cecil Creape - His show,
Creature Feature, aired every Saturday night at 10:30 in the early 70s.
Cities all across the country each had their own unique host who
introduced that evening’s movie to the audiences. No one was doing this
type show when I started in the late 90s, so I thought heck, I’ll do it
with Penny Dreadful
A few words about your co-star Penny
Dreadful aka Danielle Gelehrter?
first met Penny at Wonderfest a few years back and we hit it off right off
the vampire bat. She and I really share the same interests and sense of
humor, and it was kind of eerie how similar we are in a lot of ways. I
absolutely adore both her and her husband, who plays her sidekick Garou on
the show. We’ve all become good friends and I just wish we lived closer
to one another.
Dreadful-scenes of The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special
were shot in a different studio in a different part of the country. How
easy or difficult was this kind of collaboration?
really couldn’t have been any easier considering the distance involved.
Penny shot her parts in Massachusetts and I shot my parts here in TN. The
tough part came with the initial editing, which I did myself. Going
through the footage to make everything match up was a lot of work, but it
all turned out fine in the end.
Who came up with the concept of
The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special
in the first place?
When I first asked Danielle if she’d be interested in collaborating
on a project together she said sure and pitched the exact idea I had in
mind for the story back to me! We were on the same wavelength from the
get-go, and simply tossed the story back and forth between us until we got
it the way we wanted it. It was a true collaboration.
What can you tell us about the writing
The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special, and did you
actually meet your
Dreadful/Danielle Gelehrter during scripting at least?
would write a chapter, or segment, then send it to her and she would write
the next and send it back. Both of us decided right away that we each know
our own characters best, so if I wrote something she didn’t like or
vice-versa we would simply change it. No egos or conflicts of any kind.
Like I said, we are really, really similar, and even write similarly. We
never met while scripting but talked through email and over the phone a
couple of times, I think.
can you tell us about audience reception so far?
screened it at Wonderfest and the audience loved it. I was really glad
that Penny and Garou were able to be there too – they won a Rondo Award
for Best Horror Host last year and drove to Louisville to receive the
award, so they were on hand and got to see the audience reaction too. I
get emails and tweets from people who have seen it and loved it – the
only complaint being that it was too short. They wanted more!
with Cameron McCasland
words about The Dreadful Hallowgreen Special's co-director (and
collaborator) Cameron McCasland [Cameron
McCasland interview - click here]?
and I have been friends for a long time, and it is terrific working with
him. He is a talented guy and brings a lot to the show, not just on the
set but with promotion and marketing too. We met through the show and
stayed in touch, and when my previous director left I called up Cameron
and asked if he’d be willing to help me out. He jumped onboard with both
feet and has breathed new life into the show. We have a lot of fun on set
and are always brainstorming new projects.
You have recently also played a role in Cameron McCasland's movie The Lashman. A few
words about that movie and your role in it?
This is Cameron’s first feature film and is a throwback to the 80’s
slasher genre. More than anything else I think Cameron wanted to get that
first film done and out of the way, and this was something he felt
comfortable with and could have fun shooting. My part is a really small
cameo, kind of a nod to the old man in Friday the 13th, Ralph.
I was going to kind of underplay the role but Cameron really wanted me to
go over the top with it, get crazy, so it was a fun part. I cackle and
laugh and hop around for the 3 or 4 minutes I’m onscreen. And I get to
die violently, too. Haha – oops, that’s a spoiler there, isn’t it?
You have over the years also
acted in a handful of features both in and out of the Dr. Gangrene
character. Why don't you talk about those for a
independent films shot locally. I have been killed in a couple of films,
hosted a couple as Dr. Gangrene
and played monsters in some, too. The most
involved shoot was with the movie Demon Sight, by director George Demick,
where I played the lead demon Xorto. I wore a full head prosthetic
application took a couple of hours to put on. It looked great and I had
fun wearing it. I drove home with it on afterwards – got some strange
looks on the highway!
my parts have been cameos or small parts mainly because I’m so busy with
the show, my family and my full time job that I just can’t commit to a
big role. I’ll give it a go one day, though, for the right project.
I’m hoping maybe someone like Rob Zombie will give me a cameo in one of
their films – that’d be a blast!
You have also shot a handful of PSAs known as the Go
Green With Dr. Gangrene-series. What can you tell us about those?
They are a series of award winning PSAs featuring Dr. Gangrene
various monsters talking about environmental issues such as littering, pet
safety and recycling. We won a Rondo Award for these PSAs and they have
been nominated for two local Emmys.
hosting Chiller Cinema versus acting in an actual plot-driven film -
what's the difference, and which do
They are totally different and I guess if I had
to pick I’d say hosting the show, mainly because I don’t have to
memorize anything! I am self conscious of my acting, whereas with the show
I have done it for so long it's second nature. I can stand and talk about
pretty much anything in front of a camera and be right at home. Acting is
mostly mental. I tend to overthink it, and am too conscious of what I’m
doing and saying rather than just letting it flow naturally. With some
practice I could probably learn to be just as comfortable acting though.
future projects you want to talk about, both in and out of the Dr. Gangrene-character?
We are just about to shoot the
next season of our program. I’m thinking toward doing some other Dr. Gangrene-movies, and I’m finding myself getting pulled back into drawing
comics. I am making, right at this moment, a series of Dr. Gangrene
mini-comix that will be included with our DVDs. I’m also preparing to
release some of our older stuff, too. And I have an ongoing series of
videos and reviews up on youtube. In addition I write a regular column for
Scary Monsters Magazine.
Since you are known primarily
for being a horror host - is horror a genre especially dear to you, and which types
of horror do you prefer?
yeah – ever since I was a kid I was just drawn to this stuff. Between
the great shows we had growing up – The Munsters, Addams
afternoon monster matinees – horror comic books and awesome music like
Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath I was hooked. Halloween was a big deal for
me, and still is. It just has something magical for me that no other
holiday has. I try to tap into that vibe and keep it alive with my show,
which in fact was my tagline for years – Chiller Cinema, where it’s
Halloween all year long!
especially like horror movies with a sense of humor, like Shaun of the
Dead, Young Frankenstein, and the EC
Comics-anthologies like Tales from
the Crypt and Vault of
Horror. Especially the EC-stuff, where there is
always a twist and the bad people get what they deserve in the end.
They’re like morality plays, and that stuff just really is my favorite.
I love shambling corpses – not modern zombies, mind you ( although I
like those too) – but the reanimated corpses that come back for revenge.
Those are my favorite.
Is it true that before you
became a horror host, you for a time wrote and drew comics?
did – I wrote and drew comics and even self-published my own line of
comics before quitting to pursue horror hosting. Most of what
we published was, naturally, horror oriented. We even published Eric
Powell’s first printed art, the prototype for his character The Goon. At
that time he was calling it Monsterboy.
did you initially hook up with the movie and TV-industry, and did you have
any formal training as an actor or something?
I put my show
on cable access initially because that’s what I had access to. I later
moved the show off access onto pay TV, selling ad time to sponsors to pay
for the timeslot. Later the station gave me my own slot where I didn’t
have to bother with sponsors any longer, and I now air on our local CW
station. Over the years local directors would contact me to be in their
movies. I even had one group drive up from Chattanooga to my set to have
me host their documentary. I don’t have any formal training but it seems
I’ve been in front of crowds my whole life.
Your favourite movies?
My very favorite film is the original Planet of the Apes. I’d have to throw
in the original Night of the Living
Dead, Creepshow, Tales from the
Crypt, Psycho, Curse of the Demon, the Universal-classics – there are really too many
to mention. I’m a fan of all of it, good bad and silly, and appreciate each
for different reasons, you know?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
of course, films you really deplored?
detest the Psycho-remake. The original is a masterpiece, and that ham-fisted remake is a real disgrace.
Facebook, whatever else?
website is www.drgangrene.com.
I have sort of combined the website and blog into one site for now, and
try to post on it daily. Right now in honor of the 100th
birthday of the late Vincent Price [Vincent
Price bio - click here] I am celebrating by writing 100 posts
on Vincent. There are links to all my other sites off of it – Facebook,
youtube, etc. My twitter is @drgangrene
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I have always
claimed my biggest inspiration to be Alice Cooper, and I now front my own
band, SPOOKHAND. We are a horror punk band but I have incorporated some
shock rock theatrics to our show. I also host a yearly rock event called
Dr. Gangrene’s Horror Hootenanny, which is held in Nashville TN. I get a
real kick out of hosting horror events in the heart of Music City. Haha.
This year will be the 8th annual Horror Hootenanny and we’re
holding it in conjunction with the Nashville Zombie Walk on October 8th.
For details visit my site and we’re about to launch a new site too,
Thank you. Stay scary and like
Sir Cecil used to say – Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the
beddie bugs bite!