Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my love of bad movies and the B-movie hosts of the past. Previously I’ve examined many of those beloved figures including Randy and Richard from The Texas 27 Film Vault and many others. This time I’ll take a light-hearted look at figures who would have made perfect movie hosts themselves.
4. SHRIMPENSTEIN – Created by Michael Dormer and Lee Teacher, Shrimpenstein the pint-sized monster was the central figure of his eponymous television show on KHJ television in California from 1966-1968. Gene Moss portrayed Shrimpenstein’s fictional creator Doctor Von Schtick and also sang the show’s opening theme song. The program aired and made fun of the VERY limited animation Marvel Comics cartoons of the 1960’s like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk.
Supporting figures on the show were Wilfred the Weenie Werewolf, a hot-dog hungry lycanthrope plus the Tijuana Bats, bat puppets who would sing sendups of popular songs. The good doctor and Shrimpenstein often took irreverent potshots at their show’s sponsors, too and when you add this all together I can’t help but feel that the show would have stood with the other great Movie Host shows if it had been a program airing and mocking the many horror and sci-fi schlockers of the past.
3. LOLA FALANA – The talented Lola Falana was a noted singer, dancer and actress in the 1970’s and 1980’s. She had starred in a few b-movies herself, like the blaxploitation flick Lady Cocoa aka Pop Goes the Weasel and the Spaghetti Western titled Black Tigress. Regrettably she did not play a female gunslinger in the latter film, but portrayed a saloon singer manipulating various men competing with her in a search for a fortune in gold.
If Falana seems like an odd choice allow me to dredge up a fact that is often forgotten: Maila Nurmi, the original Vampira, stated in the past that when she was working with producers on reviving her iconic B-movie program she was supporting the notion that Lola Falana should be the hostess, sort of a Vampira for the 80’s.
Eventually, Nurmi’s story goes, the station wound up going with Cassandra Peterson as Elvira instead and named the show Movie Macabre, with the rest being history. I always wonder how Falana as the hostess would have fared. I definitely think she would have been almost as popular as Elvira albeit not as funny. Falana’s personality and charisma, to say nothing of her talent, would have soon landed her a bigger tv role I’m sure, but it would have been great to see how Lola would have done as a sultry B-movie hostess.
2. JEFFREY COMBS – Combs has had roles in various science fiction shows but he’s best known as Herbert West the maddest of mad scientists from the cult hit Re-Animator and its sequels, Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator. As H.P. Lovecraft’s Dr West Combs was a perfect blend of obsessed madman and calculating anti-hero as his experiments with the dead inevitably created monstrosities that his dark genius would then help destroy.
Jeffrey Combs’ skill with dark comedy in those films plus the horror film From Beyond always made me want to see him as a mad scientist B-movie host. I could picture his schtick being a tongue-in- cheek sendup of his Herbert West persona while offering clinical dissections of the cinematic turkeys being presented.
Here and there some really macabre Mr Plinkettesque jokes could be thrown in to highlight how deranged his character is. Combs could have shown some of the nastier items from the horror film hinterlands, the kind of hard items Joe Bob Briggs specialized in with his 1980’s cable show Joe Bob’s Drive- In. Combs’ cult status would probably have made such a show a monster hit. “My god, they’re using tools!” … Had to be said.
Number 1. PERSEPHONE – Performance artist and power exchange icon Persephone is a lady of many talents. She’s also a huge fan of the B-movie hosts of the past and has an encyclopedic knowledge of horror and sci-fi film history. This Goth Goddess of Grand Guignol has made a career out of combining horror elements with Old Hollywood glamour and envelope- pushing erotica. Her screen presence and wry humor make her the definitive figure for this “Shoulda been a Movie Host” list.
I could easily picture Persephone hosting a show titled something like Persephone’s Cinema Netherworld, possibly with her playing her name to the hilt and posing as the Queen of Hell unleashing various celluloid abominations on the damned souls she rules over.
In addition, she would presumably thrive on Host Segments that carried on the long Movie Host tradition of abusing the show’s second banana ala Zacherle with his wife “My Dear”, Morgus the Magnificent with his lab assistant Chopsley and countless others . One or more of her infernal lackeys could be subjected to outrageous abuse in sketches blending the humor of Charles Addams with Itchy and Scratchy style violence.
Plus Persephone would be the perfect figure to offer sardonic commentary on the more extreme and blood-soaked Driver’s Ed shorts of the past like the infamous Red Asphalt, Signal 30 and so many others. For more about this creative lady see Balladeer’s Blog’s interview with her.
AND FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MOVIE HOST RANDY CLOWER CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2011/12/22/randy-clower-balladeers-blog-interviews-a-movie-host-legend/
FOR MORE MOVIE HOST ARTICLES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/movie-hosts/
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