Son of Ghostman is a spirited little micro flick that hit the market recently. It’s unique in the fact that it is highly successful in being a stellar genre effort, thoroughly entertaining romantic comedy (I know, that’s rare) and kick ass homage piece, simultaneously. Seriously, the flick rocks on all fronts; this coming from a self-declared hater of romantic comedies. See, Son of Ghostman is just different. Really, really different. But in an amazing way. Amazing enough that we’re going to launch a full blown promotional campaign to help see this sliver of celluloid reach the masses. Because it deserves to be viewed on a grand scale. The budget may not be there, but the end result is magnificent just the same.
Dig on this personal piece from Kurt Edward Larson, who not only stars in the pic, but also wrote, directed, produced and edited.
My Horror Host Remembered
By Kurt Edward Larson
Life has a way of shooting fog into your face when you least expect it. Thankfully I, and thousands of other classic horror fans, know how to get back up. We’ve been taught the art of self-effacing humor, all courtesy of the strangest entertainers we’ve ever had the privilege of laying eyes on- The Local Horror Host.
My family used to have one of those old wooden box television sets, the ones that featured a new type of swivel function, enabling you to view said set from a variety of locations. I can only deduce that the swiveling was meant to distract you from the fact that the entire piece must have weighed north of two hundred pounds. To be honest, I would have thought the TV was specifically marketed towards Chicago sports fans, as that seemed to be the only entertainment in my house that ever came out of it.
That was until I discovered the man who would alter my life forever. The man running around my TV screen with long hair and makeup, the one making bad jokes and singing silly parody songs. That same man who showcased black and white monster movies of the past. The man who threw rubber chickens at the screen.
Son of Svengoolie.
It’s impossible to get across just how monumental an effect Son of Svengoolie had on me, something I’m still grasping years later as I age. I always liked Sven, but only now realize just how influential he was on me. Some people might even call me a weirdo based on my love of Sven, and the importance I think our time together was.
The Chicagoland suburbs of the early 1980’s were fraught with anxiety, an effect of the burgeoning gap between have and have-nots. My parents, armed with only high school diplomas, worked all hours of the week in order to pay for the necessities of a single-family trying to make it. We didn’t see them a lot, and my older brother Eric was tasked with watching over me much of the time.
He did his best, but the seven years age difference often proved to be too challenging. Rare was the occasion my teenage brother could scurry off with his peers and watch slasher faire like Friday the 13th . All he wanted was to drink a few beers and try to score with frizzy-haired ingénues in his class. Instead, he was saddled with Star Wars action figures and his little brother Kurt. No wonder he unceremoniously threw the Millennium Falcon into our bedroom wall one random summer afternoon. The bomb of teenage angst had arrived, and in its wake left a beheaded Chewbacca, cracked cockpit, and an inevitably strained relationship.
Thankfully, Saturday afternoon proved to be a refuge for both of us, a time and place where the looming stress of our family seemed to dissipate. You see, Saturday afternoons where were we found Son of Svengoolie, delightfully dishing out a variety of creature features we soon would not forget. I was hardly five at the time, but something about this strange man connected with me. There was simply no one else on television even remotely like him. He talked to the viewer, made a mockery of the films he showed, and seemed to literally come out of the screen. I was hooked, and I wasn’t alone.
The first movie memory I have is of seeing Tod Browning’s 1931 Dracula, a film that I still think is the greatest horror film of all-time. To be fair, I would have thought the same had I seen Frankenstein first, but alas, I didn’t. I was transfixed with the creepiness of the film- staring in awe at the lighting, the music, the cold black eyes of Bela Lugosi. And those bizarre hand movements! I had never seen such a thing. I loved it so much I sought out the backstory, pouring over monster books at the library for hours on end, hearing about all of these other monster movies featuring Universal characters. In fact, it was the first time I heard the term actor, and discovered Dracula wasn’t real at all, but played by someone who became Dracula. I didn’t know it then, but after I started imitating Lugosi on a regular basis, my fate was sealed. I became an actor myself.
Without Svengoolie to usher in the wave of Universal monsters, I may have never pursued acting. And I certainly wouldn’t have made my first feature film, a horror host romantic comedy called Son of Ghostman. Since I self-financed the film myself, I knew I had only one shot. I knew the technology would be crude, but I still wanted it to have heart, the type of movie people of all generations could enjoy. A random internet research session reminded me of Sven, and the memories of my youth came flooding back to me. I knew it immediately, and knew I had to honor him the only way I could. All other ideas were scrapped.
Now 36, I’ve come to learn that hundreds of horror hosts existed, fluttering in the background of dreary cities nationwide. There’s something so right about a horror host from the Midwest or Eastern part of the country. Most of us from those parts of the country spend hours of our childhood down within the spooky caverns of our basements, dreaming up tales of good vs evil. It’s only natural the best of the horror hosts would emanate from there, as somehow the coasts offer up far too much brightness for a middle-aged man or woman running around in monster makeup. You need the wind, the cold, the grey skies. A place where monsters creep around the corners of large wooden trees stoically looking at you from afar.
My brother and I are fairly close these days, and there’s no question the bridging done by people like Svengoolie have a lot to do with that. Fond memories shared “getting” the beauty of something like a horror host last a lifetime. In this day and age of modern horror, the horror host seems to have gone by the wayside, something that saddens me deeply. And yet, their spirit lives on in a variety of forms. Like any good monster, they find a way to keep on coming back from the dead. I’m hopeful my film has helped add something to the horror host resurgence, as it’s my way of paying back good old Sven.
Some people want an Oscar, but not me, I just want my film to one day be hosted by Son of Svengoolie himself. I guess you can call me a weirdo.
To learn more about Kurt’s new flick (it’s a beauty!) check out the official Son of Ghostman website!