Mykki Newton on Ms. Mykki's Monster Madhouse
I mean, who wouldn't want to be a horror movie show host? Remember those late Saturday nights as a kid when your parents let you stay up late to watch Shock Theater or Creature Feature or maybe even USA Up All Night with Rhonda Shear in the 90s?
The history of horror movie show hosts dates back to the early days of television. Late night horror movie show hosts exploded on the scene in 1957. That's the year Universal sold a package of 52 horror films to television. The now classic movies were just sitting collecting dust in a warehouse and the new studio management didn't think they were worth much. It was the first time many of us had ever seen Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932), and The Wolf Man (1941).We were hooked! Today, we call ourselves Monster Kids.
John Zacherle as Zacherley
Shock Theater, Son of Shock, and Creature Feature gave birth to the horror host. Almost every television market had one. There was Zacherie in New York City. Vampira in Los Angeles, Marvin in Chicago, and Morgus the Magnificent in New Orleans to name a few.
Maila Nurmi as Vampira
Terry Bennett as Marvin
Sid Noel as Morgus the Magnificent
Cassandra Peterson as Elvira
"My mother sent me a picture of me in my very first Halloween costume. She’d asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween, and I said “the Queen of Halloween. Five years old, that’s what I wanted to be. Pretty creepy, right?"
Cassandra Petersone a.k.a Elvira 2019, Interview Magazine
Rich Koz as Svengoolie
"One of the reasons the monsters ore so popular is because people really do like being scared."
-Rich Koz a.k.a Svengoolie, Monsters in the Media interview
So, in 2014 I started my dream hobby of being a horror movie show host thanks to the internet. I don't have the classic Universal horror library to choose from, but you would be surprised by what classics or almost classics are in public domain. Here are some of my favorite episodes of Ms. Mykki's Monster Madhouse you can watch, if you dare.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
(1962) The unusual love story about a handsome young doctor's search for a hot new body for his fiancée's severed head, which he keeps alive in a laboratory tray. The betrothed noggin has developed telepathic powers and controls a mysterious monster in the closet. This version contains deleted scenes considered to shocking for television.
Night of the Living Dead
(1968) The ultimate Horror Cult Classic. The one that made audiences fall in love with a zombie apocalypse. You know the story...complete strangers stuck in a Pennsylvania farmhouse battling the dead who have returned to life and are hungry for brains!
A Bucket of Blood
(1959) Don't let this low-budget Horror/Comedy fool you. It's a serious statement about the pretentiousness of artists and the art world. Coffee house busboy Walter wants to be an artist, but the beatnik poets and painters treat him like crap until his all too realistic sculptures make him famous.
Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told
(1967) Lon Chaney, Jr., Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner, and Sid Haig star in this dark comedy horror about…well, let’s just say it’s a really weird family thing. The whole damn film is weird, but it’s weird in a really cool cult movie way.
The Wasp Woman
(1959). The owner and face of a major cosmetics company has broken 1950s patriarchal law…she is aging and losing her looks. So, she subjects herself to wasp jelly Fountain of Youth treatments with side effects not even Max Factor could fix.
Attack of the Giant Leeches
(1959) A small, backwater swamp town filled with discarded Tennessee Williams characters has a river filled with giant kidnapping leeches.
The Atomic Brain a.k.a. Monstrosity
(1963) An elderly woman uses her vast fortune to convince an eccentric yet brilliant scientist to transplant her brain into a new, youthful body. The bodies are provided by three immigrant young women who are hired to be servants. The old woman then chooses which of the girls she finds to be the most beautiful, and sets about replacing the young woman's brain with her own. Oh yeah, the doctor also give a cat a human brain. That was a mistake.
Atom Age Vampire
(1960) A mad scientist, a disfigured stripper, and an atomic beauty serum walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Whata' you have?" and the mad scientist says, "We'll all have some blood-sucking murders for the sake of glamour, and a round for the house on me."
The Snow Creature
(1954) American scientists discover and capture a Yeti in the Himalayas and move it to Los Angeles where it escapes and explores the city on a killing spree via the L.A. sewer system.
The Little Shop of Horrors
(1960) The original Roger Corman classic love story about a boy and his talking, man-eating, giant plant, with a memorable cameo by a 23-year old Jack Nicholson.
The Mad Monster
(1942) Sam the bartender from Gunsmoke (Glenn Strange) plays a sweet, simple-minded gardener, werewolf serial killer.
The Killer Shrews
(1959) Produced by and co-starring Festus (Ken Curtis). Island scientist mess around with the local rodent population and now they have shrews the size of hound dogs.
The Giant Gila Monster
(1959) Rock and roll, fast cars, and a giant teenager-eatin' lizard. What else do you need to know except it is another horror film produced by Festus!
And finally I offer you this. It's not a straight-out horror movie, but it's the first movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich!
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
(1968) One of two adaptations of the 1962 Soviet Science Fiction film Planeta Bur (Planet of Storms) produced by Roger Corman. Bogdanovich chose not to have his name credited on the film and instead used the alias of Derek Thomas. He added scenes starring Mamie Van Doren and narrated it himself.
In this version, Russian cosmonauts land on Venus, battle the elements and man-eating creatures, but somehow never notice the beautiful hippie chicks in bell bottoms and seashell bras hanging out at the shore.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!
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