Greetings Fright Fans, Fiends, Freaks, Perverts and Sickos. After months of hard work and anticipation the day finally arrived for Master Vyle Presents: The Titans of British Horror Triple Feature, my first solo live event. The road to this event began in July, as I sat in on a conversation with Zephyrhills Home Theatre general manager, Deano Dotson, and our good fiend Paul Bathrick, as they discussed plans for the theatre events for October. Deano said that he wanted to have horror movies all through the month to get into the spirit of the Halloween season. And as I sat there, on the very bench in the background of the above photo, I had an idea come to me which I immediately voiced. I suggested a Masters of Horror Triple Feature, which would showcase the films of the screen's greatest horror duos: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre, and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (of course all done Vyle Style and R Rated). As soon as I finished relating my idea I added that there was so much work involved that I would never have it ready in time for October. Deano and Paul had other ideas. Both loved the idea and were confident that I could pull it off. When our other fiend Roger Boyes came outside to join us, they ran it by him, and it was pretty much a done deal, and I was committed to making my ten minute old idea a reality.
I had already worked out a script for Horror Express with Cushing and Lee earlier in the year. It had been planned as a special episode, but I put off doing any work on it because I had just done The House of Master Vyle Presents Swamp Women Steamy Summer Special and did not want to debut another special until a few more months had passed. So with one script in hand I was a third of the way done on the writing front. The other movies I named off in that first conversation were The Black Cat with Karloff and Lugosi, and The Comedy of Terrors with Price and Lorre. That was where the project hit its first snag. The copies available of The Black Cat were oversaturated in white and blurred. Being a brilliant comedy in the first place I decided after watching for about ten minutes that The Comedy of Terrors was nothing I wanted to add to. So the idea evolved into a Titans of British Horror triple feature, with the idea of showcasing Cushing and Lee individually, and then using Horror Express as the finale.
Well, that wasn't really easy street either. Both of these men were in some brilliant films. A Lee solo film was easy enough, as I had Horror Hotel (one of my favorite Christopher Lee films) penciled in as a potential second season feature for House of Master Vyle Presents. To find a riff worthy Peter Cushing film? Well that took time. In fact I had watched several films over a two week period before I remembered that I had seen him in a real stinker, Night of the Ghoul, which would do just fine. As a bonus I realized that John Hurt was also in that film, and Valentine Dyall was in Horror Hotel, all three having the Doctor Who connection. So more Doctor Who references than I had initially planned were added to the scripts, and as I realized other actors in Night of the Ghoul had also guest starred on Doctor Who, it bloomed. I decided to add a pre-show called Meet The Fiends, to give the uninitiated a taste of what watching Master Vyle was like, and so they would not be lost on who's who. Then I added a pre-pre-show with some classic bits from my early "Video Vaulted" episodes. And finally I decided to do three POE COUNTY Trailer Park of Terror episodes of classic trailers for Cushing and Lee to further celebrate their careers, which also lead to more Doctor Who connections, which lead to the inclusion of some Doctor Who guest star sight seeing and trivia added in.
In the middle of August I finally had everything pretty much scripted, and I got together with Scary Sid to film the first bit of video footage for the show, a guest spot in Meet The Fiends and a Night of the Ghoul host bit. In September the lady vyle has gastric bypass surgery, and while I was staying home with her I filmed all the host material. Once that was done I began to assemble the Featured Creatures in the third week of September. The deadline I had set for myself, feeling that if I didn't have it done before then it was never going to happen, was the end of the month.
I was just beginning the assembly of the video elements for the last feature I had to put together when Felicia, Deano's wife and co-general manager of the theatre, informed me that the theatre was going to be closing, and that my show would be the last show there. I'm not going to bore you with the details of why the decision was made to close the theatre, they are many and varied. The main struggle I had was that I felt that it would be more appropriate for Doctor Xombie and his Ghoul School fiends to close the theatre with the Friday Night Fright, that was scheduled the day before the show, as it had been their home for several months, both in front of and behind the scenes. On the other hand I felt that it would be great for all those fine fiends to be able to sit back and relax, and get to enjoy a show while someone else did most of the work.
On October 2nd, a couple of days past my deadline, I had completed all of the video elements for the show. All that was left for me was rehearsal and to work out some choreography.
On Friday I joined Doctor Xombie and Friends for their final Friday Night Fright at the Zephyrhills Home Theatre (at least for the foreseeable future). Overall I think it was one of our best shows, and attendance was high, people who had come in the early going of the show, the later run of the show, those who did their best to make every show, and even a couple who had never been to one before. As we wound things down fright fan Sharron Rummel joined us to present us with pictures from Friday Night Fright's Home Theatre run. When she thanked us for all our hard work I felt compelled to take the mic and tell her, "No, thank you." I went on to say that it was people like her that we all did the things that we do as horror hosts and fiends. And that as long as just one person showed up to a show and was entertained that I would put on my best show to make sure that happened.
Saturday came, and I think that my own show had all the earmarks of a first live show. For some reason the audio on Night of the Ghoul didn't agree with the theatre's sound system, so the movie audio was at a whisper and could only be turned so high to prevent all the host audio from blowing everyone out of their seats. And, that other hallmark of a first live show, especially with someone only as well known as myself, poor attendance.
It is the nature of the beast. I already knew beforehand that two hardcore fright fans couldn't make it due to being out of state. There were also a few others who had prior commitments. My best friend couldn't make it due to his place of employment being short staffed on the weekend. I am sure, as happens to us all, that life probably got in the way of a good many other fiends and kept them from being able to attend the event.
So, I ended up with Sharron Rummel, but she did not have to be an audience of one. Roger Boyes and one of his work fiends was there, as well as Heather Spivey, who watched between attending her meager few customers at the snack bar and other errands. Deano and Felicia were in an out at the last part of the show. Our good fiend Mark Freeman, the mastermind of Dash Cunning Photography was able to stay for our first feature. Once he was off work Paul rushed to the theatre with Dawn and was in time to see Horror Express in its entirety. And of course the lady vyle was there, tired from having to work an extra day that morning, but soldiering through to the end, and I think perhaps seeing sides of me she had yet to know existed.
No, not everyone was able to stay all day, but with a triple feature or marathon it's, again, the nature of the beast. I had a total audience of ten, and with each of them I feel I did what I sat out to do, and that's keep them entertained. And in the long run having that small audience of the woman I love, some of the greatest friends I have ever made, and a few hardcore fright fans, I feel, will make this show the most dear to my FART... I mean heart. (I had to do it, because after two days the tears are finally in my eyes too.)
Over the past couple of days I have called The Titans of British Horror Triple Feature a once in an AFTER-lifetime event. I'm not sure if I will ever be given another chance to host House of Master Vyle in a live venue again, and even if I do it might not be on such a grand scale. Again I have to give Felicia and Deano a huge thank you, not only for giving me the opportunity to do this show, but also for being great friends through Friday Night Fright and the parts we have all played in it. I credit so many people for inspiring me to become a horror host, but through them and being able to work live in the theatre, I credit them with helping me develop into a better host. I fully intend to be a part of any live event where I am welcome and requested. And when Doctor Xombie makes the call to let me know that the Fright is ready to run again in a new venue, I'm ready to answer it.
As a tribute to the theatre I intend to run Horror Hotel and Horror Express as a double feature. It will also give those who wished to attend the event, but were unable to, a chance to see what they missed. Of course Night of the Ghoul and certain live bits are going into the Video Vault, to help preserve the unique experience of my audience of ten, and for the sake of your sanity, and other stuff. Again, it was a once in an AFTER-lifetime event. Hhehehehehehe.
Like Doctor Xombie and his Ghoul School fiends, and Friday Night Fright, this is not the end for me, but, as I say, just the beginning of the beginning. The Wardrobe of Master Vyle has gone through a slight change, as I have added the most comfortable footwear I have ever owned to the ensamble, beginning back at Bearer-FEAST 2. (Hey, any horror host can wear slacks coordinated with their jacket, but how many can pull off buckskin boots?) And beginning tomorrow the Video Dungeon of Master Vyle will be going through renovations. (Yes, I know, as it is at the moment it has only appeared in a handful of episodes, but you'll like it even better once it's done, so after October be ready for an "All New, All Different" Video Dungeon of Master Vyle.) The official launch of The Peninsula of Horror is next week, and I hope you will join myself and Professor Gillman for a night of asthma attack inducing fun. And, hopefully in December, be on the look out for new episodes of House of Master Vyle Presents when I present The Women In Crime Double Feature.
Thank you, to all the fiends and fright fans who came out to the ZephyrKILLS Home Theatre, whoever you are, whatever you are, and for whichever event. Thank you, lady vyle, for always being by my side. Thank you to Doctor Xombie and all the Ghoul School fiends: Scary Sid, Dawn of the Dead, Spiderina Spinneratte, "Z", Dead Elvis Deano, FIEND-licia, Random, Hannah Banana and of course Ooey. And thank you Home Theatre for being there, and helping make 2013 "The Year of the Florida Horror Host" that much more a reality than just words from me.
Stay TOMBED Fiends, the best is yet to come!
See you after vyle.