World of the Weird Monster Show Rises from the Depths! Season 3
Okay…the show never went anywhere, so the subject line is kind of a stretch…but this blog did during the holiday! And now it rises again.
So…season 3. 2006. As with between seasons 1 and 2, we took a slight break between 2 and 3. Which left us refreshed and ready to begin again. Season 3 was a very solid season. We were firing on all cylinders and we knew what we were doing now…which allowed us to experiment in some episodes and do some new stuff. It was definitely the time when we had the biggest cast. From beginning to end, there were a LOT of people involved in season 3. We started off with many people who had been there from the beginning…and a few left the show over the course of the season and we ended up with more or less the beginnings of the cast we have now. And it was some of the people leaving–or more correctly, just having a hard time getting free to do the show–that led to the recruitment of one of the most important people in the show’s history.
Season 3 was the birth of the “Girls of the World of the Weird Monster Show.” Almost all of the “Girls” had been on the show previously, but this was when we made a bunch of posters in the style of old lobby cards for sci-fi/horror flicks with the girls from the show. We made a calendar and everything out of these as well as prints for our convention appearances (something I’m thinking of doing again as we may be at 3 cons in 2011…recreating old movie posters with our cast on green screen.)
This was also our second year at Flashback Weekend…and it was a blast, setting the stage for a lot of future activities as well as a couple brief brushes with possible fame and more exposure.
We also did our first Christmas Special in season 3, it was the first season I directed an episode personally. And the first time we resorted to doing a clip show.
So, as with previous entries, I will go over this season episode by episode. Unlike season 1 and 2…I barely have any dvds of our 3rd season episodes so I couldn’t watch that many. so there won’t be as many instances of “This is the first appearance of….” etc. But as I go I’m sure I’ll remember lots of juicy details.
I do believe it was somewhere in this season that we started showing trailers of old films. anyway, here we go!
Okay…so we were fresh from our break and hot off the success of what was our best episode to date…ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS. But still, as with our premiere episode of season 2…we didn’t actually finish this episode. We broke this streak in season 4. But yes, a couple plot lines are left open and Tom’s character disappears completely since he had to grab a camera and help us finish. And the big fight scene (which we actually rehearsed in a park outside my apartment) was shot in 5 minutes at the very end of the shoot…and it shows.
But this was a fun episode. Our characters went to Japan (we even had Raiders style map with the red line that went from Viseria to Japan.) Demonia, Johnny’s assistant was a prominent character…she had much more screen time in season 2. Sadly, this was her last season. Demonia was in this episode, reappeared in 3.5 and then made her swan song in our Christmas Special at the end of the season. At the beginning we made a big deal about Johnny hitting on Demonia…we stated that Dementia had left Johnny for a fling with Zontar, while they were on his home planet making TV shows during their hiatus (as explained at the end of ZONTAR. Sheesh.) This was also…much like Season 2′s premiere, a pretty much Dementia free episode. Dementia appears at the very end–I’m assuming because she couldn’t be at the station till a certain time for some reason.
Tom played one of my favorite characters–who I just had back in our latest episode (WHITE ZOMBIE…which premieres on 12/3!) HarveyBob Weinberg….a two headed asshole who was a parody of the Weinstein Brothers and Dimension studios (who churned out crap sequel after crap sequel and killed movies…as well as bought the rights to great foreign horror filcks and then sat them on a shelf.) I took a toy lightsaber, broke it in half and attached it to a t-shirt with duct tape so it rested across the back. Tom wore this under his jacket and we taped it to him. The other head was attached to this spike. Tom has said this was incredibly painful and I don’t doubt it…it was a funky rig. But it was funny and he did great!
This was a very fun episode. This was the first time we did something really different. Also, I believe this was the first time where the show was not “the show.” While in season 2 our BLACK SABBATH episode focused on Undead Johnny’s Creepy Room…it was still our show. This episode is an entirely different show on Channel 666 altogether…a special tribute to Silent Films by Channel 666 show’s Slasherpiece Theatre and World of the Weird Monster Show hosted by Peter Graves.
I had wanted to do a silent film for awhile. There are a lot of good, fun, cheesy public domain horror films…but not a whole lot of classics. There are a few, but not many. Some of the silent films are definite classics…like Nosferatu. But I didn’t want to do something like Nosferatu without making it special somehow…different from a normal episode. So I came upon the idea to make our versions of silent film classics. Let me tell you, parody is so much easier when it’s brief. By doing one movie a segment, you can take the cpl of things the film is known for, make a play on it, and there you go. Short, sweet and hopefully funny.
So we shot them all in Black & White and various shades of sepia. And we just had a great time. Not having sound made things go so much faster, hahaha, cause we could shout at the people on camera. One of my favorite bits is when Johnny shoves Gunderschloss into the black and white frame of our Nosferatu parody….where he half heartedly kills the vampire.
I also liked how Peter Graves introduced each film with completely the wrong information. For Hunchback he described “Rudy” For Metropolis he described Superman. For Phantom of the Opera he described Phantom of the Paradise and for Nosferatu he described Blacula and Scream, Blacula, Scream. Johnny also says Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is about a killer cabinet roaming the German countryside.
This was also our first episode more or less with Matt gone. I believe…it was around here. I know he left towards the end of Manster and Tom and I shot the fight scene. As I stated before in Season 2…I think it just got frustrating for Matt…we have to do things so fast, and many times, it’s not what any of us want, but that’s how it is. And not being able to get things the way he wanted them just got to him I think. At least that’s how I saw it. There were no “bad terms” or anything…he came back to write and direct an episode later in the season, but that was pretty much the end.
3.3 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Hey! Didn’t you guys already host this movie?
Why, yes, yes we did.
So what’s the big deal?
Well…if I remember correctly, we were supposed to shoot WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY…when Holly had to back out for some reason. So there we were, we had a shoot day scheduled and we couldn’t do the episode I had written. So we did what any self respecting television show would do! We mounted a clip show!
Yes…except, unlike most shows, like Stargate, our clip show was not just there so we could save money for effects on the big season finale. It just was there. I wrote up a quick (and not too great) script about how Dementia couldn’t come to the station for the shoot since there was record breaking sunshine in hell and she couldn’t leave her dungeon (told you it wasn’t great.) So, not thinking Johnny could do a show himself, she cancels the WEREWOLF shoot. Johnny responds by trying to do a show anyway, so Dementia, knowing it’s an emergency, shows up. Yeah…kind of stupid. But aren’t most Clip Show framing devices?
I don’t even know what we showed. I do know we showed a 15 min version of our Zontar segments…the rest, I can’t remember beyond a montage of all the times Johnny was hurt/killed.
3.4 WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY
So then we finally shot the episode that was supposed to be 3.3. This was well into the time now when I didn’t pass the scripts around before we shot…meaning for another eye to look at them. Astute readers will remember that while I was story editor and head writer, I did have Matt looking over scripts for the 1st two seasons. Now the scripts were pretty much unadulterated me. The show had always come from my head…and as anyone who edits knows, being the editor also gave me a huge amount of control of the overall feel of the final project. But now that was even more so since I didn’t write for someone else anymore…but just entirely for myself.
This episode was a lot of fun. Greg was back for a big role and he is always fun to have on the set. Holly and Irina were dressed a school girls…score. And Nicole made a super cute Red Riding Hood. That was for a bit Tom, Nicole and I shot at my apartment. Red Riding Hood was defending werewolf rights and had been living with a werewolf and the footage showed their idyllic life together—then Dementia had footage showing trouble in paradise. It was very funny.
There were some great Igor/Johnny moments as well as a couple cool shots of the station hallways with wolf howls over them, etc….very American Werewolf in London. We steal from the best! And of course, the episode ended with us all breaking out into dance and freeze framing. Because…well, just because!
3.5 MUNSTER GO HOME
So Matt came back with this episode which he wrote and directed. he also brought back Keith (Bela) for this episode as well. Now this episode sounds great….Johnny has an idea for a sitcom, which is basically the Dick Van Dyke show but with Johnny. Cut to our version of the Dick van Dyke opening credits, complete with music. Then Johnny in a B&W sitcom home and then the office of the variety show he works at. While there, he remembers his past jobs and we have parodies of WKRP, CHEERS and TAXI…which are three of my favorite shows as well as Matt’s. And while it’s not that bad…in fact, if you watch it now it doesn’t really seem any worse than some of our other episodes…and some of the bits from these shows are quite well done….overall this ranks as most of ours least favorite episodes and one I pretty much never air. Why? I don’t know. I don’t think we had a very fun time making it. Matt was back, but we had now done one or two shows without him….and the script was pretty funny and he really loved these shows….but we just couldn’t recreate them well enough on our time and no budget. So I think he wasn’t thrilled as we were shooting which rubbed off. I don’t know. It’s not that bad…but it’s not remembered very fondly by many of us.
3.6 DEEP RED
Well, we may not have been happy with 3.5, but from this point on, we just killed the rest of the season with some really solid episodes. starting with this one. I had wanted to do a “tribute” to slashers if you will for awhile…as well as bring back some blood into the show…it’d been awhile since we were nice and gory.
So I came up with having 3 girls, a’la Halloween (they were even named Jamie, Nancy and PJ) come to Channel 666 as interns. They’re stalked and killed by Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers (with a crowd pleasing Scream-Ghostface Killer cameo.) This was the first episode I directed as well…only because I had it so clear in my head. This was one of those episode like ZONTAR, CARRY ON SCREAMING, HORROR OF PARTY BEACH where things just fell into place and you knew it was going to be something cool while you were doing it.
We had a ton of fun making it. Got a lot done in a short time and go nice and bloody. We screened this episode at Flashback Weekend and got a great reaction and sold a ton of dvds. This was just one of those cases where everything went right.
It was also the first episode we did an audio commentary for as well!
GIRLS OF THE WORLD OF THE WEIRD MONSTER SHOW CALENDAR
So before we get to our next episode, which was for Flashback Weekend, we should cover this. After our first Flashback we thought it would be cool to have more stuff at our table to sell. Mike, who created Flashback, loved the show (had been on it as a zombie) and he always gave us two tables together so we had room…one for the show, one for the girls. So we didn’t want to just take “cheesecake” style shots of the girls and sell them. I decided to make fake movie poster lobby cards–in the style of old horror flicks/exploitation films. It was a lot of fun. The girls had a great time dressing up and goofing around on set. And it was fun to create the posters. We did two series of these, but I’ll cover them all here….or at least some of them. The fans really dug them. Cause they were still sexy pics of the girls they liked on the show…but they were also kind of kitchy horror posters as well.
First, some behind the scenes shots:
And some of the posters:
3.7 HORROR EXPRESS/ FLASHBACK WEEKEND SPECIAL 2006
So here we were, back at Flashback! Now that we had one con under our belts, this one we were a little more prepared for. Meaning we didn’t drag the coffin couch to the hotel. We had more episodes on DVD ready to go…and better ones, frankly–as some of our better work didn’t come until after the first Flashback Weekend. We had the Girls of the WOWMS Calendar (We brought like 5 I think…sold out.) As well as individual posters of many of the pictures. We had a good chunk of the cast there. We were ready and we had a blast!
It’s hard to say which Flashback Weekend was the best…but this was a fun one for sure. We had a great time. Got lots of the celeb guests to do bumps for the show (which I need to find…we have all these people who did stuff for us, from Robert England as Freddy to Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Sid Haig, Lance Henrikson, Ken Foree, Danielle Harris, Heather Langenkamp and on and on and on…and we never use them in other episodes! we need to correct that.)
Our neighbors were Troma. Which was a delight. I met some great people there and we bonded with Troma right away. Obviously we have slightly similar sensibilities and we just got along real well. Lloyd did a bunch of stuff for our show and we gave Ron and everyone at the table (including good friends Merrie and Jeremy….Jeremy who then went on to guest in an episode in the 4th season.) This of course led to many things. In 2007 we were Troma’s neighbor’s again and had a blast. I went on to do numerous editing jobs for Lloyd. I’m not sure if it’s out yet, but on the Produce Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set, I edited the interviews with Monte Hellman, Mick Garris and Steven Paul (and I think another one…it’s all a blur.) Lloyd gave a speech about Media Consolidation in Washington and he had me edit together that speech with his one from Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in Chicago and a few other jobs. Was always a pleasure and whenever I’d see Lloyd he was hugely appreciative…which is why Troma can get all of use working for free! We even went so far to submit for Lloyd a Demo of the “Troma TV Primetime Movie” which would be us hosting Troma films. But more on that later in season 5-6 when we get to it.
Another cool person we met was Joe Sena from Fearwerx (who is now also the brainchild of 100 Years of Monster Movies at 100YMM.com. Joe was great, we gave him a bunch of our episodes, which he watched the first night of the con. He even went so far as to take a bunch of episodes to Fangoria TV (this was as it was about to launch…it never happened of course.) He of course didn’t…and couldn’t promise us anything, but he liked our show’s sensibility and humor and thought it would be great for the network if it got up and running. We also got a bunch of Joe’s Z.E.R.O. line of merch and even used it and the organization–with Joe’s okay–on our Christmas episode. We’ve seen Joe a couple times over the years at Flashback and he’s such a nice guy. We always make sure we give him copies of our latest El Santo episodes.
Then, about a week after Flashback, we were contacted by a MyNetworkTV in Rockford. Now, Rockford, Illinois is where I am from originally. This was after UPN and the WB became the CW. Most of the UPN stations went back to being indies and the one in Rockford was becomming a MyNetworkTV. They had a Saturday night movie slot already on the books for 1030pm and were curious about whether or not we’d like to syndicate our shows to them. This was super exciting for many reasons. 1) Recognition. It’s nice to be liked. 2) 10:30pm, Saturday and even the same channel was the time slot I grew up watching Uncle Don’s Terror Theater…which would be amazing to be on at the same time. 3) Money!
So I contacted some family I had who knew about such things and we went cheap and said $100 an episode. The idea being if it did well, there were MyNetworkTV’s all over and if it spread from city to city, that $100/episode would start to add up. Where it fell thru was a) we would have to reshoot all our shows since we weren’t formatted for commercial breaks, the right length segments, etc. And we couldn’t give them enough episodes to start with. b) Although public domain, we didn’t own the films we showed…meaning we didn’t own a print (not too mention much of the music we played was not PD.) This station, Channel 39, lost most of their movie library to a flood (including all the tapes of Uncle Don’s terror Theater!!!) so while they had movies to play obviously, they didn’t have many of the old horror stand bys and we would have to shoot all new episodes, etc Which, at the time there was no way we could do on a weekly basis, etc. What it came down to was them pretty much wanting it wrapped up and handed to them right away for like 20 weeks…and since it wasn’t, they just went ahead and showed the films like they originally planned. We were kind of a last minute after thought. But nice to be asked!
We hosted our FW show from the Dream Reapers set they had there. Dream Reapers is an amazing Haunt here in Chicago. Pat Mcspadden took some amazing shots of us and did a photo shoot with Dementia and Holly at the haunt after the con on Sunday. It was a blast.
We met so many cool people…people we were friends with for years afterwords (and still are!) and had a lot of cool stuff come from the con. As well as learning that people actually watched us!
3.8 FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD
Back in the studio! So I realized the Burgermeister Johan Gunderschloss was a pretty bad Burgermeister. I mean, he was all fierce and full of monster killing vigor in his first few appearances. But then Johnny said he’d make him a TV star, he hung out at Channel 666…he lost his way. Plus I figured that if he spent all his time hanging out with monsters…he was a pretty crappy monster hunter. So I had the village of Viseria fire him.
In his place they hired the bad ass Ilsa Kronos. As she was an actual threat, Johnny got nervous. Since she would try to kill Dementia–and as Johnny saw it, no Dementia=no show. So he arranged to make a game show where the prize would be the job of Burgermeister for life! So he rigged it.
Dementia also hypnotized Ilsa with her boobs. Yeah, that’s how I write.
It was pretty funny and featured one of our best “Game Show” sketches to date.
3.9 FRANKENSTEIN VS THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE
Okay…so I had been working on some ideas for LADY FRANKENSTEIN when I was contacted by William Winckler. William had just finished a film called FRANKENSTEIN VS THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE and was looking for ways to get his film out there. I helped him get in touch with a bunch of horror hosts who showed his film all over the country. It was a fun movie, in B&W, that had a frankenstein monster, a bride of frankenstein, ghosts, a creature from the blac lagoon type creature…and nudity! Was a blast. We were thrilled to show the film aHals Halloween season was approaching and this would be perfect! Also, we got to show a more recent film as well as help out an indie filmmaker. William was awesome to work with (we showed another film of his in season 4)
I wanted to make this a special episode since we were doing something out of the norm…showing a new film! So we went all out with lighting, sets, etc. I crammed in a Frankenstein monster (who was a female so it covered the Bride aspect as well.) We had a werewolf, complete with lap dissolve transformation, as well as a Vampire. We had a blast. It got really rushed towards the end as we ran out of time, but we did it and it stands as one of our best episodes. Certainly the best looking.
We were allowed to show the film for one year. After that, we repurposed the segments and used them to host…LADY FRANKENSTEIN.
One thing to note in the above is the mention of a “Carrie” to play the vampire that Holly ended up playing. I’ll address this more at the end. Also, note there was going to be a Mummy as well as all the others, played by Marissa, but she bailed out of the shoot and we scrapped all those scenes. I should dig em out, I think they were funny!
3.10 PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE/ 2006 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL
This one was fun! I remember sitting at home one night, trying to think of TV conventions we hadn’t made fun of yet, like Soap Operas, etc….when I thought: Telethons! So I decided for our Halloween Special you would see the tail end, the last two hours, of a ridiculously long telethon hosted by Undead Johnny and Dementia…where we lost money.
It featured “previews” of 666 shows your money would support. We really had fun with this. It also featured a cross over with the Bone Jangler and Nocturna at home watching the telethon, as Johnny sings Monster Mash a’la Shatner. We had a Peter Graves “Inside the Horror Actors Studio.” We had “I Can’t Take it Anymore” which was our suicide game show. And of course Father Murder’s Satan Hour (sponsored by the Happy Time Bunny Store…which we made a commercial for in Season 4.)
3.11 EL SANTO VS DRACULA Y EL HOMBRE LOBO
So I decided to do another El Santo episode…and ever since we now do one a year. One episode that focuses on El Santo and El Johnny No Muerto. And I have to say, they get sillier and more stupid ever time. For this one we had…well…lots of really stupid goofy things. And it ended up being fantastic! Just great if I do say so myself. Eric took over the role of El Santo’s brother and nemisis, El Malo. And he was amazing.
The best part was dressing an inflatable dummy up, and getting him to stand by stringing him up in the middle of a parking lot…and then hitting him full speed with a car so it looked like Brian got run over. It was the height of stupid…and so much fun!
I could go on and on….this was just a pleasure. The El Santo eps allow me to be as crazy and silly as I want. And from the White Snake training montage to the end wrestling match…this ones a keeper!
3.12 SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT/ 2006 CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
This ranks as one of my all time favorite episodes. You know…as a kid you grow up watching all kinds of stuff. And some of your favorite shows do specials and they end up being something you watch ever year. To me, this episode fits the bill. It’s silly, stupid and bloody…and to me it just gushes with Christmas spirit and joy. I really feel like we did something special.
I was excited to write a Xmas Special. I decided we would have Johnny try and get Jesus as his guest…the birthday boy! Of course he wouldn’t come to hell so Igor got a zombie to play Jesus…as Jesus was the world’s 1st zombie. Zombie Jesus then bites Igor, setting off a full fledged zombie outbreak inside Channel 666. Dementia calls in ZERO and Capt Buck Murdock and his troops show up to deal. Demonia returns in a super cute santa girl outfit, Johnny introduces the “Undead Johnny Christmasettes” El Santo sings Felize Navidad…it’s just fun. and Buck Murdocks dialogue is some of the funniest I’ve ever written.
I also made a point of bringing back the blood–as again–we had lightened up a bit. So the pantyhose filled with mashed potatoes and covered in karo syrup blood made a triumphant return!
The other thing I remember about this episode is it marks the first day I met someone who is super awesome and who I’ve been proud to know and call a very good friend.
We had been thinking for awhile that we…well…needed a “female Tom.” That is, a woman who could act in a variety of roles each week. Dementia and I, for 99% of the time, have to be Dementia and Undead Johnny. Tom could play different people every episode. We needed a girl to do that. So from time to time we thought about it. Everyone who had ever been on the show till now was known by somebody. If not my friend, then matt’s. or Roxanne’s, etc. But we had a profile on a model network site (mostly with the calendar stuff) and there had been two girls we came close with. I never actually met either. One…hell, I don’t even remember the original role we wanted her for. The second, Carrie, was slated to be in BLOOD COVE as the vampire. And it didn’t work out. Which was fine.
So then I think I commented on a picture of a model named Salome. She wrote back, having read our profile. She had acting experience, having been on stage and in some low budget horror films. She had no problem with gore or skimpy clothing…and she was pretty damn beautiful. Seemed like a win! So we arranged for her to come by the Xmas shoot just to hang out and see if she thought it was something she’d like to do.
So, she showed up and we showed her around….now listen…we are NOT actors. We have learned what we know simply by teaching ourselves and just by doing the work. Our studio is small. Our set is cheap…our effects cheaper. My scripts, while some have moments of gold (I think) are usually rushed. We don’t have huge amounts of time to shoot an episode. What I’m trying to say is…we can look awfully stupid to someone coming to watch.
At one point, Salome went outside for a bit. I didn’t know that. And I honestly thought she left. Just took one look at our stupid little production and split. I can’t tell you how anxious I was doing my lines, etc while she watched.
But at the end, as we were shooting the Christmasettes eating guts (which…btw…we did by buying a fake ‘fat’ belly, taking out the stuffing and filling it with the fake pantyhose/potatoes/blood guts—so they could rip out his stomach) anyway…at one point we needed more blood and up jumped Salome, grabbing the tupperware and dumped a bunch of blood on the fake wound. I knew right there we’d be okay. and now she’s my current co-host as well as a very good friend of mine!
So Season three was a lot of fun. Some people who had been with us from the beginning said their goodbyes, but we also gained some new people…as well as met one of the most important additions to the show we’ve had. We met tons of cool people, did a lot of cool stuff and really had fun. Besides one or two here and there, it was a pretty stress free season and we had a blast!
Coming soon….Season 4!