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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
page and buy a kit!