It’s a funny thing being a horror fan, because the deeper you climb into the pit, the more fellow fiends you come across. While we are fans first, we’re all involved in our various “real life” jobs and projects which keep us busy between film festivals and horror cons. However, it’s great when we can also manage to slip a little monstrous fun into our daily routine.
Such is the case with good pal and filmmaker Jeff Herberger, whom I first met five years ago while shooting segments for Midnight Marquee’s Fanex Files: Hammer Films and Midnight Madness documentaries, which he directed and co-produced. Jeff’s latest project is a young adults program called The Adventures of Louanna Lee, which currently airs every Monday afternoon on Maryland’s AACT Channel 98. The engaging and entertaining show – which follows the intrigues of a teenage detective (Lee) as she solves mysteries and problems around her community – fits the bill for anyone looking for solid homegrown family fare not branded and packaged by the Mighty Mouse Machine.
But Jeff, being the fan that he is, can’t help injecting a little mad scientist serum into the goings-on.
Cast as the young sleuth’s grandfather is none other than George Stover, one of indie filmmaker Don Dohler’s repertory company members. The legendary Stover appeared in numerous Dohler creature features, all of which were shot in and around the Baltimore area, including Alien Factor, Nightbeast, Fiend and Galaxy Invader. Cult film aficionados will also recognize him from several of John Waters’ early efforts, such as Female Trouble, Desperate Living, Polyester and Hairspray. Meanwhile, Baltimore staple Leanna Chamish, the sexy and fetching star of such “classics” as Stakes, Vampire Sisters and Terror in the Pharaoh’s Tomb, is cast as Louanna’s mom.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Recently, Herberger and his Louanna Lee crew decided to set an entire story arc around Chamish’s past relationship with a late night TV horror host. And who should they find to play said prince of darkness? None other than Count Gore Devol (aka Dick Dyszel), longtime “main-stake” of Baltimore’s Creature Feature. Dyszel, whose on-air show ran from 1973 to 1987, also lays claim to being the “First Horror Host of the Internet” and was awarded the 2010 Rondo Award for Favorite Horror Host.
While the show is ostensibly a showcase for the rising young singer/dancer/actress, the real fun – for genre fans, at least – comes from watching these savvy veterans fill their roles with a gleam in their eye and zest in their hearts. (The scenes with Chamish, Stover and the Count contain more snap-crackle-pop than your local supermarket’s cereal aisle.) Hats off to Herberger for giving them such juicy parts to sink their fangs into – looking forward to more fun in the shadows!