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.
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!