Category Archives: Horror Nostalgia

(WATCH) Revisiting The Horror Hall Of Fame Awards III- 1992

It’s been 30 sad years since the Horror Hall of Fame Awards aired for the third and final time and I need some closure. While The Horror Hall Of Fame III wasn’t exactly on par with the previous two award shows years before, presumably because 1992 was sort of a weaker year for the genre, I respect the fact it happened goddammit and I wish the tradition had continued for years to come.

Brought to you by Butterfinger, Speed Stick, and a grainy VHS recording (but also grateful to have it) of the 1992 ceremony, let’s revisit the 1992 Horror Hall Of Fame!

In a world where national treasures of the horror genre like Child’s Play 3 and The Addams Family can’t get an ounce of respect from the cinematic awards world, we had the Horror Hall of Fame with Robert Englund hosting along with a hilariously gory illusion act from the late Vegas staple, The Amazing Johnathan in between inductee segments following with pesky Gremlins annoying the audience.

It goes without saying that the annual event held at Universal Studios, Hollywood was a complete cheese-fest. But, for someone like me, it was the most delicious piece of cheese to this ten-year-old. It wholeheartedly felt like an award show catered to young horror fans such as myself year after year, and the third chapter of the horror event was no exception. Although this ceremony in particular felt a little less jazzy than the two prior, maybe it was the absence of the co-hosting Crypt Keeper this year, it’s still a fun watch. Especially that Monster Mash dance with Bobby “Boris” Pickett and Beetlejuice that exemplified what the Universal Studios park once was back in the early nineties. Seriously, I have a fantastic recording of that daily Universal Studios Beetlejuice show on a Polaroid VHS somewhere. I really need to dig that bad boy up.

Anyway, the awards show opens up with a ceremonial tribute to Frankenstein’s mate and the James Whale film that was just as great, if not better than its predecessor. Followed by fellow inductees Alien, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Night of the Living Dead. For the third and what would be the final time, we got another fun segment of Scare Tactics from master of effects Steve Johnson with Linnea Quigley serving as his guinea pig showing how to make up some monster teeth, and gap wounds for Halloween.

The inductees and awards for this year were as follows:

  • Film- Bride of Frankenstein
  • Film- Alien
  • Film- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Film- Night of the Living Dead
  • Publisher- Famous Monsters of Filmland
  • Publisher- EC Comics
  • Production Company- Universal Studios —- I mean, why not give it to themselves, right?

Nominees for best horror film were Gremlins 2: The New Batch, The Lawnmower Man, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Child’s Play 3, Alien 3, Pet Sematary 2, and The Addams Family who took home the win for Horror Film of the Year.

In what had sadly turned out to be the final year of The Horror Hall of Fame, even though host Robert Englund said they would be back for the Horror Hall of Fame 4, it brought with it a bit of a sadness to young horror fans such as myself who had become accustomed to this, albeit short, an annual celebration of the best in the genre when we realized it wasn’t making a return as 1993 came and went. As we come to the end of Horror Hall of Fame memory lane, let’s grab some Butterfinger BBs and an Ecto-Cooler, and watch this partial home-recorded version aired in 1992 thanks to YouTube uploader Doug Tilley! Of course, it’s missing some segments mentioned above but hey, it’s better than nothing folks!

Enjoy nuggets!

[Watch] Remembering An Icon Of Gateway Horror: Zeke The Plumber

The Nickelodeon block in the early 90s’ was something really special folks and nestled right in-between Hey Dude and Are You Afraid of the Dark on a typical Saturday afternoon, was Salute Your Shorts; the light-hearted show about a group of kids spending their Summer at Camp Anawanna. We held it in our hearts, and when I think about it, it definitely doesn’t make me want to fart. That is reserved for the Zeke the Plumber episode where we not only farted but shit our pants entirely.

The episode entitled “The Ghost Story”, came out swinging as the second interlude in season one, and goddamn that shit should have had a warning label put on it! The campers channel their inner Midnight Society and try to scare each other with PG tales of terror until good ol’ Budnick (Danny Cooksey), the camp douchebag, breaks off this Freddy Krueger like-story about Camp Anawanna’s former toilet cleaner that lost his sense of smell because of an angry parrot in the Philippines, (I have since looked at said beautiful birds with a watchful eye now). The story goes, according to Budnick, Zeke was digging a hole and hit a gas line. With no sense of smell, the poor custodian couldn’t detect the gas leak and for some reason lit a match, causing an explosion. Or by Budnick’s own colorful description, becomes a “human party popper”. His body was never found, but his plunger remained among the ruins and the only remnant of a sad toilet cleaner’s life. The legend states, anyone who finds and touches the plunger is cursed with nightmares of Zeke.

If this isn’t a pre-curser gateway to some of the greatest slasher films of our generation, then I don’t know what is. Camper Z.Z. (Megan Berwick) even states, “What is this guy, the Freddy Krueger of custodians?” Yes dear, Z.Z. You are correct.

Michael (Erik MacArthur) and Telly (Venus DeMilo Thomas) both have an unpleasant night full of Zeke nightmares where they are threatened with murder. MURDER FOLKS. In a daytime kids program, that’s pretty traumatizing to the right age crowd. For the younger generation of the 90s’, Zeke the Plumber was the stuff of nightmares and quite literally, a true gateway to the world of the horror genre. Played by Kirk Baily (Ug), who sadly passed away at 59 due to lung cancer recently, I felt there was no better way to honor a Gateway Horror Icon of our childhoods than to give the guy credit where it’s due.

Zeke the Plumber is a combination of the holy trinity of horror icons Freddy, Michael, and Jason. Zeke died in a fire and is badly burned; also haunts your dreams, (Freddy). He then hides his face with a stiff as hell human mask that is probably more terrifying than what’s hidden underneath, (Myers). And of course, he terrorizes campers, (Jason). To be quite frank, Zeke was way scarier than he rightfully should have been. That mask was nightmare fuel for many years and traumatized the shit out of an entire generation. Much more so than the network’s actual “somewhat scary” program, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? In all honestly, Zeebo the Clown didn’t have shit on Zeke.

There truly is no better introduction to the slasher genre than Zeke the Plumber to a group of young, curious kids. And if you’re in the mood, the entire episode is available here via Halloweengoodies and Dailymotion!

RIP Kirk, aka Zeke. Thanks for all the nightmares including a fear of parrots and plungers.

KENT BROADHURST ELEVATED ‘SILVER BULLET’ FROM CAMP TO CLASSIC

It’s a phenomenon that has existed since the advent of cinema. A day player walks onto a set and so dominates a scene that it comes to define the picture.

Thirty-six years ago–October 11, 1985–with Corey Haim on the cusp of becoming a household name and Gary Busey at the height of his stardom (just six years removed from a Best Actor nomination), it was a character actor from St. Louis, Missouri who held audiences rapt for 103 beautifully agonized seconds.

SILVER BULLET was an adaptation of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf novella that told the tale of a lycanthrope terrorizing the town of Tarker’s Mills, and the young, wheelchair-bound boy (Haim) trying to stop him.

Too often, werewolf movies focus on carnage and transformation scenes, and as a result fail to connect with viewers on a personal level, but SILVER BULLET was not most werewolf movies.

When Marty’s best friend was torn apart by the beast, King (who also penned the screenplay) and first-time director Daniel Attias elected to make said murder more than a blip on the body county radar and instead used it as the vehicle that would propel the rest of the film.

Angry townsfolk, at that point convinced that the culprit in the untimely and brutal deaths of their neighbors and friends was a psycho wandering the woods, assembled at the local watering hole to devise a plan to put a stop to the unseen monster terrorizing their home. They were planning private justice.

The appetizer to Kent Broadhurst’s game-changing main course.

When Sheriff Haller (Terry O’Quinn) stormed into Owen’s Bar to order the throng back to their homes, local loudmouth Andy Fairton (the ever reliable Bill Smitrovich), upset that he’d been defeated by Haller in a recent election for the constable position, attempted to discredit the lead lawman with the proclamation that Haller “couldn’t catch a cold.”

Pub owner Owen Knopfler (Lawrence Tierney) immediately sniped “shut up, Andy” but Fairton’s “don’t tell me to shut up” was interrupted by an off-camera, almost whispered, “Yes. Shut up.” Everything came to a screeching halt as that camera panned, and Broadhurst assumed center stage.

Portraying Herb Kincaid, the father of Marty’s slain friend Brady (Joe Wright), Broadhurst stepped to the fore and shared that he’d just come from his son’s funeral. Haller quickly moved toward Kincaid in an ill-conceived attempt to comfort him with “I know how upset, how grief-stricken you must be.”

Orbs reddened from mourning, Kincaid responded “upset? Grief-stricken? You don’t know what those words mean.”

When Haller acknowledges that he knew that Kincaid’s son had been torn to pieces, Broadhurst pulled a crime scene photo from within his jacket and offered a glimpse to the would-be militia, roaring “my son was torn to pieces!” A cut to the armed and bundled inhabitants of Owen’s Bar was all of us: heartbroken and incapable of response, because what do you say–what can you say–to a parent who so gruesomely lost a child?

Broadhurst refocused his simmering sorrow upon Haller, and with exhausted eyes wondered aloud “and you come in here and talk to these men about private justice?” before sneering “you dare to do that?”

At that point, it was Quint waxing Indianapolis a decade later: every screening room in the country where SILVER BULLET was playing sat tomb silent.

“Why don’t you go out to Harmony Hill,” a brief pause allowed a disgusted snarl to form on Kincaid’s face at the officer’s ineffective investigation before he forced himself to say his name, “Sheriff Haller, and dig up what’s left of my boy Brady, and explain to him about private justice.

Would you wanna do that?!”

Though the interval between that query and “as for me, I’m gonna go out and hunt up a little private justice” was but mere seconds, it hung in the air for what felt an hour, because Broadhurst’s somber-turned-seething speech made us believe that the anguish behind it was authentic.

In that moment, SILVER BULLET was no longer a goofy werewolf movie where gore and mind-boggling practical effects were the highlights, but a story about loss and fear and pain, because Broadhurst communicated quite clearly that deaths in this film were not entertaining, they were excruciating.

It was an execution that any actor would be proud to call their own. An entire career of stage and screen work culminated in less than two minutes that opened the door for the very human performances to come from Busey and Robin Groves and Megan Follows.

You can have the transformation from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF (1981), I’ll take a minute and forty-three seconds of Kent Broadhurst every time out of the gate and regret nothing.

(Broadhurst begins at 1:17)