Monday, September 6, 2010

Late Night at the Horror Hotel: The Hee Haw of Horror

You know what I love? No, really. Besides surprise boobs in scary movies? Besides a veritable truck load of gore being dumped upon Perez Hilton? I love people who are actually out there keeping the horror hosting tradition alive and well. I especially love that this is being done not two hours away from the good doctor in Philadelphia, PA. That's right graveyard ghoulies... Late Night at the Horror Hotel is in full force in Philadelphia brought to you Thursday and Saturday Night at 12 Midnight on Philly's public access television - PhillyCAM on Comcast 66/966 & Verizon 29/30. I must admit that I have not actually had the pleasure to watch them "live" on public access as I'm fucking two hours away. The distance between me and the cool stuff is the bane of my existence. :sigh: OK, enough wambulance driving for Dr. Terror. Let's get take a look into the Freudian musings of two of the funniest, up and coming, gents in the horror biz.

You've got dueling hosts on this one. Rob D.(the D stands for Doomsday, Death and Dimension... OK it's really just for Dimension) and and Chef John Cannon (what kind of fuse is that? Cannon fuse. What the hell do you use it for? A cannon!). These guys are succeeding at resurrecting the comedy of Laurel & Hardy and/or Abbott & Costello only taking it to a very dark and magical place. Rob Dimension loves his phsycial comedy and is a master in the art of masochism (I've seen him blow himself up and cut his own hand off... that's dedication). Chef John will entice and dice your taste buds with some of the most interesting sounding meal preps I've ever heard (Armadillo eggs? yes please!). What you've got here is a combination of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 with Dinner and Movie and add some jokes straight out of the Munsters/Vampira/Zacherle playbook for garnish. It's like a variety show; Late Night at the Horror Hotel has magic tricks, genre commentary, movie and music reviews, and, SKITS! A perfect recipe for keeping your audience entertained and hungry. Now that I've sucked up enough (and I assure you it won't be the last time in this blog) let's get down and dirty with the show's content, format... the guts!

I watched three episodes of Late Night at the Horror Hotel and rather enjoyed them all. Their focus seems to be giant monsters from Japan which is absolutely fine, but I don't often classify these giant monsters as strict horror. I guess the title of the show is throwing me off. If it's the "horror hotel" why is it more like a "monster island". Maybe it's distribution rights, copyright obtained... or maybe it's just that I've wandered into three episodes in the middle of a genre exploration. I'll tell you that I've never been a strict follower of this genre, but I'm starting to love it post-Rob/John treatment. So the doctor wants a little more horror in his hotel (does the hotel have an hourly rate?).

Episode 3: Gammera. (Starting at this point in the shows life cycle is like watching Star Wars: A New Hope I'm certain). Our creepy cast members are still figuring out what works. On the menu was Armadillo Eggs which is just hysterical. There's a stake sandwich (yes, I spelled that correct) and an undying commitment to the love of schlock. Rob and John choreograph an entire military campaign against Gammera using army men and a toy replica and teach the audience how to cook something totally strange. This kind of entertainment is destined to jump off cable access and straight to AMC.

Episode 4: Attack of the Monsters (more Gammera and brain feasting aliens!). Best quote from this movie, "The spacemen won't hurt you. If they flew here, they're civilized. You're dumb." Perhaps my favorite scene is Gammera vs. the meteor. Thrilling and apparently Gammera goes Mach 33. Whoa! I think Gammera may be the new Mighty Mouse after this one (the music made me look more than once for Gammera's bright red cape). R/J do some reviews on a some more giant monster flicks. A man in a Luchador mask brings the mail. That's very creative and had me yucking it up for more than a couple of minutes (but I am easily amused). I'm a huge fan of Jambalaya, but the Turtle Soup recipe sounds delightful. When do we eat!? Make sure to label the dish Gammera Soup otherwise Gammera will come and get you at Mach 33.

Episode 5: With this one we go into a double feature format and celebrate the 100 Years of Monster Movies, "a yearlong multimedia event that celebrates a century of a very specific movie genre that is both terrifying and fun: the monster movie". The Late Night portion of the shows name is emphasized effectively with the opening sequence brought to you by "The Lord", a very spooky introducer indeed. The canned laughter/applause really works for this one (remember, it's filmed in front of a live studio audience). Yongary, Monster from the Deep and Cappa, Monster from a Prehistoric Planet are our film selections for the evening. Again, I'm learning to love this sub-genre a bit more with every installment from R/J, but these have got to be bordering on an historic low for the giant monster genre (but maybe it gets worse?). I definitely laughed this evenings selection, but I'm still waiting for the horror hotel to give me the turn down service and complimentary Continental breakfast the name suggests. There's a movie review: Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (and I'm glad that we're environmentally conscious... this is definitely a great public service announcement).

Rob and John highlight an appearance at Severed Sinema in Stroudsburg, PA during this episode. The fact that this horror double feature is a mere hour way or so from me begs me to make the drive. Severed Sinema showed Freakmaker and Waxworks, that's like crack to the Doctor T. Rob and John make numerous public appearances around the tri-state area so keep your peepers peeled.

Also featured was Pigamortis and an assorted bag of magic tricks. I firmly believe this will set them up for a guest appearance by The Count from Sesame Street (guys... make this happen... it has definitely potential ans Sesame Place is so close!). Buttermilk Fried Chicken is on the menu, and I'm totally comin' for dinner. I think the only thing you miss with this double feature installment is the "MST3K" treatment. The movies are really just that bad and you need someone to show you where to find the jokes you're missing.

Chef John and Rob Dimension evolve with every episode and really find creative ways to get laughs out of you. If you're fan of truly B movies, then this is something you need to sink your teeth into. Despite my praise for this show I think I have two main gripes. 1. The show needs to focus on varying the selection of movies. While my giant monster movie education is clearly important to the future of America, I want some blood or some guts or some brains or a movie referenced in a Misfits song (although I realize that I've missed episodes and Night of the Living Dead was the first episode)2. I want to see Chef John cook those meals. I love getting recipes, but I'd love to see the finished dish (not necessarily it being cooked I suppose, but I'm sure that with enough knives around these guys can make cooking hilarious and gory). Keep watching the skies for these guys. I hope to good Hell they invade your living room (bedroom?) or wherever you watch you late night horror.

Late Night at the Horror Hotel won't scare the piss out of you, but you'll wet the bed laughing. To steal one of their own gimmicks: I think Late Night at the Horror Hotel is clearly the Philadelphia cheese steak of horror hosting: greasy, cheesy and sure to leave a stain on your shirt (but hold the onions, please)!

-Dr. Terror Seal of Approval... given

PS Work on getting one of your giant monster compadres to eat Perez Hilton and then vomit him back up... then eat him again... repeat.

-Late Night at the Horror Hotel Blog
-Late Nigt at the Horror Hotel on Facebook
-100 Years of Monster Movies
-Severed Sinema

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