Monday, November 19, 2012

Good food, good friends and good times.

By - Steve Mezo

A long time ago in this galaxy I was given a video tape by Mr. Tim Ferrante by the name of "Mad Ron's Prevues From Hell". I had written an article/review about it and little did I know I would be meeting the creator of "Prevues From Hell" and "Celluloid Bloodbath - More Prevues From Hell" as well as two of the stars months later. 

 James F. Murray

 Happy Goldsplatt and Nicholas Pawlow 

I really wanted to go to "Chiller Theater" this year, but my work schedule didn't allow it. Nick and Jim have been reading my site here and Nick was hoping to meet me at the Chiller Convention. When he found out that I couldn't make it he got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in meeting Jim and him at another date. 

I thought that would be great and asked him if he would mind it being at a diner. I figured it would be easy to get to for all of us and give us a place to talk. Nick liked the idea and after a little research and found Gus's Diner in Manalapan, New Jersey. After we all met we ordered our food (which was great) and started talking.  

The first thing they did was give me a bunch of really cool autographed items.      

 Yup, that's a unused "Prevues From Hell" VHS box.

DVD covers for Celluloid Bloodbath, a press kit page for Prevues From Hell and concept art for Prevues original working title"The Ultimate Horror Show".

11x17 Prevues From Hell poster

 11x17 Celluloid Bloodbath poster

And an 11x17 Autographed by Joe Zaso, Raine Brown, and Debra Lamb

 And a very cool booklet by Nick Pawlow on Ventriloquism
(I'm going to talk about this later) 

After I had thanked them for everything we talked about our backgrounds and were really surprised by how many people we mutually knew over the years. And we talked about all of our favorite Grindhouse Horrors, Horror Magazines and Horror Comics.

Then Jim had asked me about Newt Wallen's "Midnight Show" and how "Prevues From Hell" was one of the inspirations for it and how they had allot in common with Newt as far as working in movie houses and a love of those old Grindhouse Horror Classics. Then I had found out from Newt later on that he actually went to the the theater where "Prevues From Hell" was taped. 
Then I explained to them how it was different from their movies. Where instead of having a collection of the classic Grindhouse and Horror movie trailers Newt had asked some very talented directors to create tribute trailers of their favorites as well as ones written by Newt himself.

We even talked about all of the current talents out there like Tom Berdinski, Christian Jude Grillo and Christopher Inlow (Slo Frank) from Jerry Moore's "Monster Madhouse" as well. I just wished there were more hours in today because it was so wild getting to talk about everything we liked in horror and at the Chiller Conventions. Like how great Zacherley was at their latest appearance, and how movie props have skyrocketed in value due to the internet making the world smaller. I remember going to a convention back in 89' and seeing Fancisco X. Perez (Frank Carriosa) with the screen used tank from Prince of Darkness for sale along with other screen used effects props. And the sale prices they were back then would be an opening bid at auctions now.   

Then after we were done eating I went outside with Nick and Jeff and got to meet Happy Goldsplatt. It was so cool getting to see Nick bring him to life/ undead? After I got some pictures thanked them again we all headed home. 

Oh yeah Nick's Booklet for when he did his lecture/workshop on ventriloquism!

I read it the second I got home and it was so cool reading how Nick had taken a almost opposite road from me when it came to ventriloquism. We both had a love of Famous Monsters magazine since we were four

But I had fallen hard for ventriloquism when I was six when I saw this ad in a comic book
 and was really good at it by the time I was twelve

But I my father wanted me to start thinking about getting a trade and when I started working construction with him I had found out about a man named Tom Savini. The cool thing is allot of what he does deals with building materials so my father had no problem with me teaching myself how to do casting and other F/X work. While Nick started with F/X and had found ventriloquism later.

Then the booklet had told the story of how Nick honed his craft and had gone through changes in his routines. Then created some very funny characters that were brought to life in puppet form with Nicks imagination. And it's not an easy thing to do, you have to pretty much have a life story for the characters as well as a personality. Because if you don't believe that the character has his/her/it's own personality your audience isn't going to. 

And now that I think about it, all of the training I practice I did as a kid with my act helped me survive years of being a body puppet performer at events and private parties. If you've never done it before kids are a tough audience and they have little to no mercy if you can't deliver.  

And it blew me away to read how Nick had developed a character that I thought was a riot, but freaked people out. Then had created another that should have been seen as gross, but the audience found funny.   

And then there was the evolution of the puppet that instantly got me hooked on Prevues From Hell.  
  "Happy Goldsplatt"

Nick had sculpted, cast and poured "Happy The Zombie" himself using the F/X he had learned before becoming a ventriloquist. And this Happy had fluid rigs that would ooze during the routine. 

Then after a re-sculpting and casting of the first "Happy The Zombie" Nick was approached by Jim Murray about being in Prevues From Hell. The only thing was Jim didn't think "Happy The Zombie" looked creepy enough on camera.
This is when Jordu Shell (One of the F/X Artist hired to work on Prevues From Hell) Sculpted, cast and poured the head and hands for "Happy Goldsplatt", and another by the name of Jay Kushwara had given him his moving eyes. 

Then "Happy Goldsplatt" got the part in the movie stole my heart and helped me make two new friends twenty something years later. 

See Nick Heeeere's Charlie!     

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey for me and Turkey for You!!!

By - Steve Mezo

Next week is Turkey Day, and I am all kinds of ready!
I know I can eat a Turkey and all it's friends any day while watching some much loved movies, but for some reason Turkey Day just makes it so much better. 

I was never into Football when I was a kid so while all of the adults were in the living room I was in my cousin's room watching  

King Kong

War of The Worlds

Mighty Joe Young

And every couple years 
Son of Kong
The only complaint I have is I wish King Kong and Son of Kong had Mighty Joe Young's ending. And it's funny that no matter how many times I watched them over the years I kept hoping that they would do it different each time.

But sadly no... King Kong is shot and falls to his death and poor Son of Kong drowns beneath the waves. Then just when I'm all sad Mighty Joe Young waves to me happily from the ranch, and right after Army Men fight Alien Spaceships for the fate of the Earth. Soon after I would have my turkey dinner plate and all was right with the world.

Now I own all of them all on DVD and keep the tradition alive. 

And as far as my dinner I get it from Boston Market. But I almost bought this prop turkey from a local thrift store. Think about it! I get the homey home cooked meal look without having to thaw it out, figure out how many hours to cook it and learn how to carve it.
All I would need is some artificial cooking turkey smell and it could be the new Artificial Christmas Tree!   

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And it explodes like this!

By - Steve Mezo

I thought it would be fun to post some writings about the old days when making horror movies, managing a costume shop, body puppet acting and managing a haunt were my daily routine. 

I had some great times and I thought it would be fun to share the memories. The first one I'll start off with was when my friend Bennett "Mr. B" grabbed the wrong container from his Pyrotechnics kit. 

Back in the old Days of The Costume Shop when it was in it's third home The Red Bank Mini Mall Bennett made a big bang.

A customer had come in for some pyros while I was getting a costume rental ready for another customer.

So Bennett came out and started to help the customer and had taken some flash powder out of storage with a blast plate. So he went out the front door of the store with his supplies to give the customer a sample in the main part of the mall.

Well instead of flash powder it was bang powder that's supposed to be used in small amounts in a tube. He hits the igniter and all I heard was "WAHBOOM"! Followed by a huge plume of smoke floating past the door. The lady I was getting the rental ready for almost had a frigging heart attack and I nearly died of a laughing fit.

The lady looks at me and yells "How could you think that was funny?!" I said "You should have seen the time we tried Zel Gel in the stores old location. I think it took three coats of primer to cover the scorch mark on the ceiling when we almost burned my hand off."

"The Zel Gel Incident..."
or "Flame on!
or "How Not to Use Zel Gel..."

Years ago in the Broad Street home of "The Costume Shop" Bennett and me had ordered a jar of Zel Gel. Now for those of you not in the know Zel Gel is a gel that stunt people use in fire stunts to keep from getting burned.

We went halves on it and it was still crazy money for it even back then. So when we tried it we used as little on my hand as we thought we could get away with. We didn't know that you had to use almost the whole jar to get any real protection.

And there I was in the old office/workshop and Bennett squirts a crazy ammount of lighter fluid on my Zel Geled hand (Because Lighter Fluid is cheap we used allot of that). He lights it up and the flames hit the ceiling and for about five seconds it looked really cool till it almost comepletly fried my hand. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Monster Toy Interview with Newt Wallen.


By - Steve Mezo

I really needed to get to The Abandoned Mom And Pop Video Store just to get myself back into gear again. So I got the lights on and brought a big cooler full of "Little Hugs Fruit Barrels"

 for a Monster Toy themed interview with Newt Wallen 

Newt has so many irons in the fire right that it's mind blowing that he has time to sleep. He has a comic book out by the name of "Girls, Guns and Ghouls", a soon to be released movie "Midnight Show" and his being part of the creative team of The "Underbelly" show. As well as guest hosting all kinds of conventions. Seriously does he even know what the insides of his eyelids even look like anymore? 

Even with that all going on he was still able to stop by and talk about all of his favorite things from his past. 

What was your all time favorite monster toy or playset? (Monster themed games count too).

I was a monster freak as a pup in fact still am. Had all the Godzilla, Ghost busters and Star Wars creatures i could get my hands on as a product of the 80's.

Were Green Army Men ever involved in your monster toy play?

Weird I don't remember ever having little green army men. I would use GI JOE's or the little guys from MASK as the army when it came to fighting back MOTHRA or the RANCOR.

Were you loyal to one type of monster series or were you a "As long as it's a monster it's for me" type?

Started with the Wolfman loved him for the same reason I loved the Hulk. Something so cool as a kid about the idea of being small then turning into this big powerful creature. Then I discovered the slasher films and loved Friday the 13th waaay more then nightmare.

Favorite monster model kit from Aurora or MPC?

Never had a single model kit till the 89 batman came out and I remember having one of the Keaton Batmobile.

Which monster do you wish was available as a toy but never was?

Well now you can get a million copies of Ash. But I saw EVIL DEAD 2 as a little kid. my mom thought i was sleeping but I snuck downstairs to watch scary movies and BAM Evil Dead was on Prism and I was hooked. I wanted to team Ash up with my superheroes sooo bad. So I would pretend my Peter from the Ghost Busters was Ash ha ha.

Which monster toy do wish was available when you were a kid to play with, but was out way before your time?

Not toys. But wish I could have gotten my hands on some of the 50's and 70's horror comics as a kid. The art captured my imagination.

Was there a toy that was so scary or creepy that even you wouldn't play with it?

Some one on my dads side of the family gave my parents this creepy ass monkey doll that was plush but with a hard plastic face and I hated it. and they would wait till I fell asleep and put it next to me so when I woke up they could have a good chuckle and take, sounds like abuse when you say it out loud.

Which monster toy were you surprised to get for a holiday or birthday present?

Very cool thing, not a toy but my dad took me to see Monster Squad as a kid at the Marlton 8 and talked the manager into giving me the poster and I still have it and that was like Christmas.

Which monster toy had the best commercial?

I always loved the madballs commercials.

What was your favorite place to play with your monster toys Backyard, Bedroom, Basement, Living room or Bathroom?
I live alone so I can play with my monster where ever I choose.

Which recent monster toy do wish was out when you were as a kid instead of as a collectable now?

The Mcfarland stuff. I mean imagine being a child of the 80's and having a Killer Clown from Outerspace or The Thing toy to play with.

What was your favorite monster bathtub toy?

My Godzilla toys cause Godzilla rose from the ocean so yeah you know...just made sense.
What was the one that got away? As far as a monster toy you wanted in the worst way, but had to  wait for the invention of Ebay to get it.

A Tauntaun from Empire.