Model Building Model Shop News, Reviews, Mad Ravings Miscellaneous Goodies

The Horror Host Hotel Proudly Presents:

   

Count Gore
De Vol
!

A DC area icon for more than 20 years, Count Gore DeVol continues his show on the net each week at www.countgore.com.  The first horror host of the internet, Gore now approaches his 10th anniversary online and reaches over 100,000 viewers a month.

 

First, a personal note:  I had the great pleasure of watching Count Gore De Vol on WDCA 20 after my family moved up to the Northern Virginia area (NOVA, as we call it) around 1977.  I was a horror junkie when I came to the DC area, and I could not have asked for a better host.  Not only did Gore have the always entertaining backdrop of Washington, D. C. and the madness of the 70s and 80s, he made brilliant use of interns, volunteers, fans and technical people around the studio to create a remarkable program.  (For those nostalgic fans, let me invite you to read a more personal tribute here.)

Gore has been a groundbreaking figure among horror hosts and one of the true icons of the craft.  He was the first horror host in the USA to show Night of the Living Dead uncut, the first show in the nation's capital to broadcast in stereo (surreptitiously!) and the first to feature a Penthouse Pet of the Year as a county building inspector!  He is also the first host to produce a show for the internet!

When I first published this article, Count Gore invited me to contribute to his award winning site, www.countgore.com with a monster modeling column called, The Pit.  It has been my honor for more than two years now. 

   

Gore shot from the hip from the beginning and is the epitome of local TV brilliance.  I encourage readers to pick up copies of his DVD films and collections of greatest hits to hear production staff break up off camera, see an indignant vampire do a strip tease, and enjoy tremendous "Monster Music Videos" and satiric commercials.   And the whole time, you can enjoy the ambiance of creaking doors, howling wolves, screeching cats, and organ music.  Wow!  (CreatureScape issue #3 features a few of these great out takes.)

   

It was a better time in many ways--Universal horror films were on local TV and channel censors inspired creative innuendo.  But, today we have digital technology and the Internet!  Fortunately, Count Gore is still going today as the world's first internet horror host--one of many groundbreaking moves in his long illustrious career.  On July 11, 1998, Count Gore De Vol introduced Creature Feature: the Weekly Web Program which has grown and expanded beyond Gore’s wildest expectations.  Freed from the shackles of TV broadcast program directors and bean counters, the program delved into new areas with the help of new and exciting members of the horror community.

 

Now, 10 years later, the Web Program has Gore hosting streaming video of public domain films, horror book reviews and writer interviews by The TombKeeper, horror writer J. L. Comeau and video reviews by a rotating collection of horror hosts and film producers.  You can download the movie as a podcast too.  In addition, New Jersey horror host Halloween Jack looks back at the history of horror related personalities and movies for that particular week and Prof. Griffin, the noted horror host in Austin, Texas provides a weekly lesson in the lore of monsters.  And, of course, tips on monster modeling in The Pit from your CreatureScape editor.

 

Gore also does special feature pieces and celebrity interviews as the opportunities arise and for the greedy, there are regular contests, usually with quality DVD horror films as prizes!  Not to be overlooked are regular updates of upcoming movie releases, horror and science fiction conventions, current film reviews, general horror related news, and letters from viewers.

 

All of this is available on the Internet and viewed by more than 100,000 unique viewers from literally around the world each month!  In other words, no matter where you live in the world, if you have an internet connection you can get the horror host experience at www.countgore.com.   Someone had to do it first and that was Count Gore De Vol!

 

But who is this mysterious character?  Where did he come from? Who is it that pulls the strings behind the scenes?  To answer those questions, we turn to Dick Dyszel, the man in the shadows and Gore’s alter ego.

 

1. What prompted you to begin broadcasting as a TV horror host?

Well, I didn’t begin broadcasting as a TV Horror Host. I was a news anchor and director for a the first UHF TV station in Paducah, Kentucky in 1971. I was then tapped to also do Bozo the Clown for a daily live one hour children’s show and lastly, after one too many beers way too late at night, I was convinced to become a horror host...in addition to everything else. You have to love small market TV!

When I moved to Washington, DC in 1972 to do the Bozo show there, it took a lot of hard negotiating and a name change (M.T. Graves to Count Gore De Vol) before they would let me host horror movies in the nation’s capital!  But there was just so much juicy political material to work with; it was a blast!

2: Which other host/s did you see as a role model?

My only exposure to the horror host genre was Marvin of Shock Theater in Chicago during the late 50’s.  He was this ghoulish beatnik character who had a beautiful blond sidekick, whose face we never saw and a live band. I learned all about the Universal classics watching his showcase.  But, since I had a cape (after all it was the 70’s), plenty of clown white make-up from Bozo and could do a reasonable Transylvanian accent, I decided on a vampire character and had to create and evolve the character from there on my own.  I really am sorry I didn’t get to see the likes of Zackerley and Dr. Paul Bearer, but since horror hosting was a “local” TV phenomenon and the country was so big, it just wasn’t to be.

3: What is your most abiding memory of your time as a host (on or off camera)?

This one is hard because there were so many great memories. During the mid to late 70’s we would have annual visits from Penthouse Magazine Pets! These were always fun and the visit of Dominique Maure, Pet of the Year for 1978 was particularly fun, because she was quite a good actress and I did get her in my coffin!

   

The return to the air on a weekly basis in 1984, after four years of specials, was also particularly gratifying. We had a huge new studio and the first digital special effects and I certainly tried to abuse them. Creature Feature got to be the first show in DC to be broadcast in stereo and I finally got Forrest J. Ackerman on my program.

   
Off camera, my fondest memories came from the two live Halloween shows we did in 1984 and 1985.  We had a great big old theater, complete with pipe organ that raised out of the floor and a large stage to work on. Over 300 guests in costume came to each event and working with a live crowd was a very stimulating experience.

   

4: What do you get from being a horror host?

Fame, gratification, ego boosts, and debt!  I was a staff performer during my TV days.  I got paid the same whether I did Creature Feature or not.  Being a TV vampire allowed me to bite necks at will and without worry of sexual harassment lawsuits. People thought I was cool and who was I to disagree with them?  Becoming the first horror host on the Internet in 1998 was fabulous, but since I don’t permit advertising and generate all the shows income from branded product sales on the web and at conventions, I don’t generate that much income.  However, it is enough to allow for the new digital equipment necessary to make the web program possible and it’s studio segments, some of the best streaming video on the Internet!

5: What are your interests outside of horror?

I love entertaining and pay the bills by owning and operating a mobile DJ service. I love doing wedding receptions in particular.  It’s just fun being around people having fun. I am also a big science fiction fan; both books and movies. I scuba dive, sail, play a bad round of golf now and then, have a classic 30 year old motorcycle and love to travel.

6: If you were left on a desert Island, what 5 films would you take with you? Why?

This is the question I used to ask my guests! But I stopped because the answers were too boring.  However, I’ll do my best to make them somewhat interesting.
 

My first choice would be “Young Frankenstein!”  I just love this film! I have multiple copies and have watched it countless times. I never grow tired of it and it always brings a smile to my face.  For something that would scare me, I would choose, “Alien!”  It’s the perfect space horror film.  Hey, I would have to have one James Bond film and that would be “Goldfinger.”  Can’t get enough Pussy...Galore that is!  Because I would want to remember my friends, I would also choose, “Alien Factor, “Nightbeast,” and “Galaxy Invader!” Yes, I know that’s six, but hey, these last three are low budget films by Baltimore’s own, Don Dohler and they should only count for two! I was in all three as were many of my friends and I would always want to be with my friends.

7: You are somewhat of a pioneer in the field of Horror Hosting.  You are the first to produce a dedicated webshow.  What impact do you feel that the Internet/digital broadcasting will have on hosts?

In the whole world of Horror Hosting, I was just another of many second generation (70’s & 80’s) hosts, most of them on local UHF stations.  Now, most of them are gone.  I don’t think there are a half dozen “broadcast TV” hosts left in America and most of them are in Ohio!  So, since the powers that run TV don’t want horror hosts, there were only two places to go, local access cable or the Internet.  Access channels can be tricky because of local standards and politics.  You also have a very limited audience potential.  That, however, hasn’t stopped them from being the breeding ground for the next generation of horror hosts. Dr. Gangrene, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Halloween Jack, Dr. Sarcofiguy, Baron Mondo Van Doren, and Laslo are just a few of the names that come to mind.  Many are members of the Horror Host Underground (www.horrorhosts.com).

 

I, however, decided that the eventual future for hosted horror films might be on the Internet.  Since someone had to be first, I decided it should be me, so in 1998, I took the plunge and created “Creature Feature the Weekly Web Program.”  Initially streaming video wasn’t good enough and there were still too many people using 28.8 modems, so I tried to create the feel for my old TV show in text.  Some of the text features today include video reviews by no less than four different reviewers, theatrical film reviews, book reviews, weekly summaries of events in horror history, contests, author interviews, the world of monster modeling and more, from a number of regular contributors.  With faster modems and more broadband connections, plus improved compression technology,  I’ve now added a significant amount of streaming video, including myself hosting public domain films along with celebrity interviews and special features.

 

The hardest part has been trying to get the word out that this is a weekly “program”!  It really is not just another website or even a e-zine. It truly is an enhanced TV show that you can watch anytime time, day or night for a full week, when more than 70% of the content will change!

8: What was your motivation for going into the digital medium?

Quite frankly, with MiniDV tape and cameras interfacing with computers loaded with professional editing software, I now have more production power than a 5 million dollar TV station had in 1987!  Digital was what made this possible!  Many of my contemporaries are now switching over to the digital formats and I encourage them to do so! 

   

9: Talk us through a typical shoot for your show.

The studio portion of the web program is shot on a permanent set that was built to duplicate the set I had on WDCA in Washington. The main difference is the lack of the TV station’s very tall ceilings. Everything is planned and shot film style with one Sony MiniDV camcorder. I have wireless lav microphones for myself and any guests. The lighting is permanent and professionally set.  Depending on the number of films in the pipeline I shoot once a month and each session takes about 4 hours.

Of course, I do take a videographer on every convention and personal appearance, where I get material for various interviews and special interest features. For convention interviews I actually use a two camera set-up. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing such wonderful actors as Dee Wallace Stone, Michael Berryman, Brinke Stevens, Glori-Anne Gilbert, Tom Savini, Bruce Campbell, Kevin McCarthy, director Stuart Gordon, producer/director Don Glut, haunted attraction expert Leonard Pickel and Ed Douglas one of the creative musicians of “Midnight Syndicate.”

10: Were you disappointed after the second cancellation of your show?

Actually I was glad when it happened. The new owners who bought the station in 1986 made it clear that they were going to shut down all locally produced programming and liquidate two of the finest studios in Washington. For six months I watched as one by one my long time friends and coworkers were fired. So when the end came it was almost a relief to get it over with and move on!

   

11: What is the all time worst movie you have ever broadcast in your career? Why?

My goodness, there were sooo many bad ones.....let me think.....I would probably say it was....”Beast of Yucca Flats.”  As to why, well, in spite of Tor Johnson staring and Conrad Brooks appearing in the film, it was so bad overall I couldn’t even figure out how to make fun of it!

   

12: And finally, what message would you give to any wanna-be horror hosts?

Don’t attempt horror hosting unless you really really love bad horror movies and entertaining people. Oh, and don’t ever plan on quitting your day job!

   

 

The Rules:

  • Actually PRACTICE your hobby.  Just do it because it makes you happy and don't worry about it.  Geeze . . .
  • But DON'T BUY RECASTS.  Artists need support to keep doing it and recasts are typically crappy anyway.
  • If you want to use some of our images, cool by me . . . just credit the source as www.creaturescape.com
  • If you want to link to us, knock yourself out.  Use our banner if you like and contact us so we can return the favor.
  • If you find an error, problem, bad link or foolish statement, let us know, but don't be a butthead.
  • Support our sponsors because that is how we stay afloat.
  • Support horror hosts at www.horrorhosts.com by buying their products
  • Support rockabilly radio at www.rockabillyradio.net by giving them money
  • Fight the power, wash behind your ears and for heaven sake, if you are surfing the web right now, take a minute to think about how cool monster models are and go immediately to our sale page and buy a kit!

©  2007 CreatureScape, All Rights Reserved Callahan