Thursday, October 11, 2012


I thought I'd share this little short story I wrote a few years ago, appropriate this time of year...

by Larry Underwood

     Her earliest memory was of being lifted, held, and embraced. A sense of acceptance overcame her. This was, of course, after being separated from the cord through which food and sustenance and life itself flowed. Yes, this was her earliest memory, followed by the sensation of being laid in a warm area, surrounded by soft coverings.
     Somewhere within her consciousness the idea of individualism first took seed. “Who and what am I,” she wondered, “and how will I know when I am complete?”
     She felt herself being lifted again, and carried by firm hands. She felt a sense of purpose in this task, as if she were being carried to meet her destiny.
     The pain was sharp with the first incision, but soon dulled to a steady throb of contentment. Her destiny was being carved before her. An inner weight was being lifted, scraped, and dragged from her being as she felt herself changing.
     The cool air flowed across her innards like a soothing salve. She felt the joy of refinement as each successive incision brought her features a bit closer to the surface. She felt different, new, and fresh - outwardly as well as inwardly. She somehow knew the transformation was complete, and she wished for the world to gaze upon her new self. Her inner light illuminated the darkness as the candle was placed within her shell. She felt herself beaming as she was lifted and carried into the cool night air, and for the first time she felt a sense of purpose. Grinning into the night, she beckoned for the world to look at her.

Been a long time...

It's been almost 2 years since I posted here on the 11th tier. When I started this blog I felt that I needed a little separation between myself and the Dr. Gangrene character, and I also felt that some of the personal posts I was putting on the  Dr. Gangrene blog didn't really fit there - they sort of felt out of place. But I slacked off over here and just sort of relapsed into posting everything at the gangrene blog. But, the positive byproduct of that is that traffic has increased by leaps and bounds there. I'm getting hundreds of page views a day, and thousands of visitors per month. Feels good to know people are reading and enjoying what I post over there.

SO, getting back to THIS blog. There have been a lot of changes in my life lately, personally and show-wise. I think I need to utilize this space again for posting stuff that just doesn't really fit over at the other blog. For those interested, I'll be posting a bit more regularly over here and maybe sharing a little more of myself outside of the media stuff.

For my first post, since it's the Halloween season, I thought I'd post some of the decorations we put up at my house this year. We started putting stuff up the last weekend in September. Any earlier than that just doesn't feel right. I added a larger than human size death figure this year in the graveyard. I also put up a dummy in an electric chair on the opposite side. And this year I also think I'll drag my video projector outside and show movies on the wall too. Gonna be a good time - I plan to drag the fire bowl around the front and sit by it too, make our place a hang out spot for folks to warm themselves by the fire and watch some Universal flicks outside!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rob Zombie in Concert

I traveled with my 12 yr old son Luke last night to Louisville and saw Rob Zombie in concert. Man, what a FANTASTIC show - easily one of the top ten shows I've ever seen (and I've seen a LOT of concerts in my time, believe me)!

Before the show there was a soundtrack of horror music and clips from Universal horror films - definitely set the mood.

There were two bands opening - Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures and the Necromantics. Captain Clegg were featured in the Rob Zombie film Halloween 2 (which I still haven't seen yet - I need to watch that soon) and they were terrific. They have a steel guitar player in the band and a cool country vibe with a rockabilly sensibility to them. Their singer has a great voice and is very charismatic. They definitely wave that horror flag high and I love their costumes - kind of a groovy undertaker look. Good stuff, and a great live show. You should catch them if you get a chance. 

AND they even came out to the merchandise table afterwards and met their fans, signing autographs and cds and shaking lots and lots of hands. I saw this fat toothless woman come up and have them sign her belly - talk about a horror show - hahaha!

Necromantics were next and they were really good, too. They brought their Psychobilly horror set to the crowd there and really rocked the place. They're playing in Nashville in a week along with Blitzkid and Hillbilly Casino (a KICK-ASS Nashville-based band) and I am planning on catching them again there. They're a 3-piece band with a female drummer - she rocks! 

 Rob Zombie finally hit the stage and man, it was amazing. An absolute barrage of light, video, and sound that was almost overwhelming. Rob had a giant screen behind the stage that played clips from horror movies, animation and more throughout the entire show. There were two more led screens onstage that played different video clips and animation, again from horror movies. I saw everything from Universal monsters to Nosferatu, Witchcraft Through the Ages to El Superbeasto. Amazing. Rob is a real monster kid, let me tell ya.

 The music was so tight it was ridiculuous and the band sounded great. Rob was in top form, dancing and running around stage. He even came out into the audience with a giant flashlight he shined in the crowd, and he stopped and stood on the seats right in front of me and gave me a high five, nodded at my son and headed on around the stadium, working the crowd while his guitarist absolutely shredded the guitar with a smoking solo.

 It was, again, a great show. Rob is touring in support of an upcoming cd, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2" that is coming out in Feburary. If he tours again, make plans NOW to go see him. You won't regreat it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dr. Gangrene PSA nominated for Emmy

Our Werewolf of Nashville PSA got nominated for an Emmy - specifically director Cameron McCasland in the writing category. Congrats Cam!! That's the PSA on cleaning up after your pets in public, and in it I get to throw the line "Remember, it's not what you don't do - it's what you DO do." doodoo. classic.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Roger Corman receives Oscar!

Legendary movie director/producer Roger Corman received an honorary Oscar award this past Saturday, November 15th. Corman is one of my favorite directors. I've read his biography "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime."Truly inspirational and a great read too. Corman is one of the guys on my list of people I'd most like to meet. He is a legend in the movie business and fully deserving of this Oscar. Congratulations, Roger!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A package arrived in the mail on Halloween day from my good friend Lewis D'Aubin. Lewis is better known as Professor Milo T. Pinkerton, the lead singer of the band THE C.O.G. (Consortium of Genius). Lewis had run across a CD at a local Halloween store and knew I’d want a copy – it is a CD of children’s scary stories called SHIVERS – Weird and Creepy Tales.

Now ordinarily I wouldn’t be all that interested in this CD, but there was one thing that made this one a bit different – or I should say, some one. The narrator of this CD is none other than legendary horror host John Zacherley! Zach introduces each story with little skits and narration, and returns at the end of each story to wrap it up. The stories are definitely geared for younger kids, very much in the Goosebumps mode, and kind of corny. But Zach’s bits make this pretty fun. I wound up scanning through the CD to Zach’s bits and skipping the stories.

I have never seen this CD before. It was made back in 1999 and apparently they made at least 3 different ones, although I’m not sure if he narrated them all. I’m going to track the others down on the internet – if you’d like a copy of this CD, you can find it here:
at good ole Be sure to tell em’ Doc Gangrene sent you.

And to find out more about The C.O.G. go to:
They are a trio of musicians and mad scientists who have been cranking out music for the better part of a decade now. They’re based in New Orleans, and are very much fans of sci-fi and horror. You can find them on Myspace and Facebook, and at the website above, too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dr. Gangrene Newspaper Article

The following article ran in a number of newspapers across Middle TN this week. Just thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment, along with a few pics they took too - Happy Halloween!!

Eerie things are going on in an old tool shed in a Hendersonville backyard.
Special to Main Street Media

It’s nothing new, because strange things have been brewing in the madcap mind of Nashville TV horror host Dr. Gangrene for 10 years.

Gangrene, who is host of “Chiller Cinema,” at 1 p.m. Saturdays on WNAB-Channel 58, tapes his show in his secret hidden lab, aka Gangrene Manor, in the midst of suburbia, but all normalcy ceases once mortals cross this threshold.

Turn to the right inside the tool shed turned studio and spy Styrofoam bricks painted to appear like a dungeon wall with curious laboratory equipment awaiting the doctor's maniacal touch. To the left looms a creepy Victorian-style mantelpiece with a pair of skulls, a fireplace, tattered old wallpaper and a midget knight in armor. And, if a visitor doesn’t watch his step, well, just beware of a trapdoor somewhere underfoot.

The mischief maker behind this mixture of hilarity and hauntedness is a nearly average guy by the name of Larry Underwood, whose day job for 15 years has been as a graphic designer for the V.A. Medical Center and veterans’ events in Nashville.

But on nights when the moon is full, or when it’s time to tape a show, Underwood transforms into the somewhere-between-the-goofy-and-the-ghastly Dr. Gangrene.

“Dr. Gangrene is mad scientist with a large ego who loves all things monster and Halloween,” says Underwood. “It’s his wish to make it Halloween all year long. He endeavors to do so by showing bad monster movies and cooking up strange experiments in his lab.

“Over the years Dr. Gangrene has become more like me. I’ve worn less makeup and the and costume has sort of changed,” said Underwood, who garbs his psychotic physician in white lab coat and black goggles.

The self-effacing TV show host concocted his character after tiring of writing and drawing comic books with creative partner Chuck Angell.

“I decided it would be neat to do a show of the type we had when I was growing up, a horror TV host that I remember, Cecil Creape and his ‘Creature Feature.’ I had a friend doing a cable access TV show at the time, and he suggested I give it a try,” Underwood recalled. “Chuck thought it would last three weeks, and here 10 years later, I’m still doing it.”

Doc Gangrene and his “Chiller Cinema” debuted July 1999 on the Hendersonville cable access channel and then hopped to the Nashville cable access channel and then to the UPN station before landing at The WB about three years ago.

His inspiration was a blend of two TV characters: Sir Cecil Creape, sort of his monster mentor, who was portrayed by the late Russ McCown, and Anthony Edwards, star of the now deceased NBC sitcom “E.R.”

“When ‘E.R.’ was popular, I was getting stopped by people and told, ‘You look like that guy from ‘E.R.’, Dr. Green (Edwards).’ I thought it would be funny to do a twisted version of medical doctor from Dr. Green to Dr. Gangrene,” said Underwood.

“I waned to do a show liked Sir Cecil Creape, who I met once when I was a Boy Scout. I got a patch that said ‘Sir Cecil’s Ghoul Patrol.’ The first thing I did when I started my show was sew his patch on my lab coat. It was real important to keep the show family friendly like Sir Cecil did.”

(McCown’s “Creature Feature” aired in the early 1970s on WSM-Channel 4 and was resurrected on The Nashville Network or TNN in the early 1980s.)

Nashville native Underwood graduated from Stratford High School before earning a degree in graphic design at Middle Tennessee State University. He and wife Karlee have three sons: Rob, 18, Ian, 17, and Luke, 12.

He has had four sidekicks over the decade as Linda Wylie currently fills the bill as Nurse Moan-eek. Gangrene’s henchmen included Oogsley and Lump, while Karlee used to portray Nurse Deadbody and fortune teller Madame Fortune.
Larry and Karlee celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on Oct. 29.

“We were gonna get married on Halloween at a bonfire, but my parents found out,” said Karlee. “They wanted us to have a church wedding.

“Larry’s a natural as Dr. Gangrene. I was proud to see how far he’s come with it from cable access TV to regular commercial television on The WB. All of the boys grew up around it. The oldest two are more athletic, but our youngest one loves it.”

Underwood’s “Chiller Cinema” can take as much time as 40 hours to tape and edit an episode. For his efforts, he was nominated for a local Emmy Award and has captured two Rondo Awards (for classic horror excellence) for best Web site and for public service announcements that he has done for the state of Tennessee on littering and a fasten-seatbelts campaign.

He also has met many stars of classic horror films at conventions while taping interviews for his show. Those include director George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead”) and actors Gunnar Hansen (the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), Michael Berryman (“The Hills Have Eyes”), and Ben Chapman and Julie Adams (“The Creature From the Black Lagoon”).

Recently, he has taken his horror hobby one step further as a vocalist with the horror punk Band Spookhand as he warbles about monsters and blood, etc.

“I do Dr. Gangrene for the fun of it. I haven’t really made any money at it but do it just for love of the genre. I have to have a creative outlet of some sort and this is it,” says Hendersonville’s only dad who moonlights as a mad scientist on TV.

KISS ALIVE 35 last night

I took my 12 year old son Luke to the Kiss concert last night. It was a GREAT show. I was really impressed - I've seen KISS 5 times in the past, and this was perhaps the best show I've seen. Here's the tours I've seen:

01/19/85 Nashville Municipal Auditorium - Nashville, TN

11/30/85 Nashville Municipal Auditorium - Nashville, TN

Crazy Nights
09/02/88 Nashville Municipal Auditorium - Nashville, TN
Alive Worldwide
April 6, 1997 Nashville Arena - Nashville, TN

Kiss Alive 35
October 28, 2009 Sommet Center - Nashville TN

The band was really tight and the new guys, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are terrific musicians. Tommy is, IMO, a better guitarist than Ace, and Eric destroys Peter Criss on drums.
The set was really impressive with two large screens on either side of the massive stage and a GIANT screen behind the band - in addition there were a series of Amps stacked backstage with screens on the front of them too. They did all the KISS stage antics - spitting blood, breathing fire, flying into the rafters, zip line to a small stage out in the audience, drum solo, guitar solo, explosions, fire, confetti - Kiss definitely knows how to put on a show!

Great setlist - They played a bunch of songs I expected, and a few I didn't, like Parasite. Crowd was across the board, age-wise, from kids younger than my son to folks much older than me. Lots of faces painted in Kiss makeup.

Opening act was Buckcherry - they were okay. Not the worst I've seen but far from the best either. Best part of the evening, though, was seeing my son rock out and have a great time. Good stuff!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alien Resurrection Reviewed

I have avoided watching Alien Resurrection for years – twelve years, to be I know why. This movie, to quote my 11 year old son, "is terrible."

There are gonna be spoilers in this review – if you've not seen the Alien movies, be warned.

In Alien 3 we discovered Ripley has an alien growing inside her body. She takes the Nestea plunge into a fiery vat just as the alien erupts from her chest. Thus ends the tortured life of Ellen Ripley.

But not so fast – the powers that be apparently thought you couldn't have an Alien movie without Sigourney Weaver, so they concocted an explanation for her inclusion in Alien 4 – cloning. Thank god they didn't use the other obvious answer, time travel. That would have been even more ridiculous than this sequel…but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Alien Resurrection takes place 200 years in the future from Alien 3, onboard a spaceship called the Auriga. On it, a team of scientists have successfully cloned a new Ripley from a blood sample recovered on the prison colony where she became Shake and Bake in the last film. This time around the scientists aren't part of The Company as in previous installments – no, in the past 200 years the Company was bought up by Walmart (no lie) and no longer exists. These scientists are part of the military, and are interested in studying the aliens for weapon research

Enter the first unbelievable plot device, and it's the crux of the entire film. Not only did they clone Ripley, but somehow that drop of blood also contained the DNA of the alien parasite inside her. So when they cloned her they also got the alien as well. You know, I'm no expert on cloning, but I think if someone had a parasite like, say, a tick or a tapeworm, and they were cloned from a sample of their DNA, that parasite wouldn't be included in that clone. But in this film that is exactly what happens. AND not only that, but somehow the DNA from both parasite and host intermingled in the cloning process, resulting in an alien with some human characteristics (more on that later) and a human with alien characteristics.

As a result of this intermingling of DNA Ripley gains a host of new abilities, including lightning reflexes, enhanced strength, advanced fighting abilities, and acid blood to name a few (including shooting basketball like an NBA star). AND best of all, she is able to somehow regain a lifetime of learning within 4 days!! This is another gift from the Xenomorph blood now coursing through her body.

Much like the magic plot device of Batman's utility belt or MacGyver's handyman-itude, cloning is the catch-all for any plot problems in this movie. Why does Ripley have superhuman abilities? Cloning. How can she suddenly learn a lifetime of abilities and processes (from basics like walking, talking, thinking, and processing emotions to regaining full-blown memories of Ripley's former life) within days? Cloning. How does Ripley have an empathic link with the Aliens enabling her to sense where they are, what they are doing, and even smell if someone has a parasitic chest-burster growing inside them? Oh yeah, cloning.

In this film Ripley becomes a cartoon character, a bad comic book superhero with little resemblance to the Dan O'Bannon creation of the original film. Makes me wonder why they even needed her if they just wanted to change her so much. Why not use a less contrived storyline, one that didn't struggle so obviously to find a hokey method of resurrecting Ripley. There are a whole host of ways you could include her and still be true to her character - have the characters watch recorded messages of Ripley from the past, or listen to ship's logs, or use flashbacks – hell, a creative script writer could have come up with tons of great ideas. But. alas, that was not to be.

As we learned in Alien 3 (a whole other set of problems there), the alien inside Ripley wasn't just any alien – it was a queen alien. So the scientists on the Auriga have themselves a queen that they keep trapped in an isolation chamber for study. It quickly grows to giant size and begins laying eggs.

This is where the plot gets confusing time-wise. Ripley’s parasite was removed and she regained her memories and full capacities within 4 days. But by that time the queen is fully grown as well, plus there are also other fully grown aliens running around too. Thirteen of them, we later learn.

From here I can just imagine the script writer's next thoughts - Okay, so we've resurrected Ripley – brought the aliens onboard - what next? Oh yeah, a cyborg. That was cool in the first two movies. We need to have that. Except this time the twist will be it'll be a woman cyborg – cool!

This time around the cyborg is played by Wynona Ryder (whose character is named Call). She lands onto the Auriga with a crew of mercenaries onboard a space ship named The Betty. They are delivering cargo (humans, actually, who are in cryosleep). Turns out these folks are to be human hosts for the eggs the queen has laid. It isn't clear whether these humans are the same ones that become a meat-house for what ultimately grows into the 13 rampant aliens previously mentioned, or are in addition to those, but it doesn't matter – The aliens are onboard and replicating, that's all that is important. Here there be aliens.

Okay, from here you can probably guess what happens – the aliens escape, start killing humans, and it's up to the mercenaries and Ripley to defeat the aliens.

The twist is that the Mother alien, as I mentioned before, has gained new abilities from Ripley too, and she not only lays eggs but actually gives birth to an alien/human hybrid through a human-type womb.

What I love about this scene is how they add a commentary to keep the viewer up to date on just what the heck is happening. There is a conscious human, one of the lead scientists on the ship, in some sort of cocoon along the wall, very similar to what we see at the end of the first movie. There are several other humans in cocoons spread about there as well.

This lead scientist for some reason has taken on a sort of symbiosis with the mother – unlike similarly cocooned humans in previous movies who screamed in terror, this dude is really, really into it. He is in tune with the queen alien and keeps prattling on about how beautiful everything is, and gives a nice convenient running commentary explaining what's happening. Honestly it is a good thing he is there, because otherwise the audience would have no fucking clue what is happening. Basic storytelling 101 says show, don't tell – but when you have a turd of a script like this, you have to tell.

Well, the baby tears its way out of a skin sack, which is connected to mama's belly. Her offspring turns out to be a pink, fleshy alien with somewhat human facial characteristics. It is unintentionally hilarious looking, and when this thing appeared onscreen my son laughed out loud. It spots Ripley, who has conveniently fallen into the pit with the mamma alien just as it gives birth to this hybrid, and turns toward her. It advances and stops inches from her face (now where have I seen this scene before?). It then begins to rub its face over hers, licking and caressing her.

We are told by our boy in the cocoon that the baby has now accepted Ripley as its mother. Still dripping with embryonic ooze, this baby then turns on mamma alien and kills it. The queen was a badass in Aliens, but in this film the newborn baby easily and quickly dispatches her.

Ripley runs away and she and the surviving mercenaries board the Betty and launch into space, away from the larger ship, which is on a collision course with a desolate part of Earth. But, and I know you'll find this to be a surprise, guess what? The alien baby snuck onboard and there is a fight to the finish between it and Ripley and the android, Call (again, where have I seen this scene before?).

In what I have to admit is the single coolest scene in the entire movie, the alien is defeated by being sucked through a hole in the ship's window. It is ripped into shreds of meat and ejected into space in pieces. The ship conveniently gains Earth's atmosphere just in time to save Ripley and Call from a similar fate, and we see the larger military vessel, the Auriga, crash into Earth and explode. The Betty lands on Earth and we see it is a wasteland, in complete ruins. Earth has been destroyed and apparently abandoned.

I have to admit I am a fan of the Alien franchise. The first film was a masterpiece, blending science fiction and horror and creating one of the scariest movie monsters ever. The second is more of an action film, true, but it still maintains the spirit of the original and expands the storyline in an interesting direction. The third has problems – the biggest of which is the arbitrary extermination of Hicks and Newt (who survived in Aliens). An early draft of this script called for Hicks to be the main character, with Ripley as a support character, (plans were for her to return in the 4th installment as the lead character). What a great movie that could have been. Despite its flaws Alien 3 still has one consistent element – Ripley. She is still the same Ripley, right to the end where she sacrifices herself to destroy the alien inside her.

This 4th installment pisses all over the previous alien films. There are silly plot points, (such as the mercenary who, hands up at gun point, ricochets a bullet off a ceiling - bouncing twice, no less - to hit his captor in the head and escape), that would be more at home in a B-western. Clich̩ one liners from Ripley ("Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?" or "There's a monster in you, and I'm its mother" or in answer to "I thought you were dead" Р"I get that a lot") that sound like they're straight from a corny Schwarzenegger action flick.

Not only did the filmmakers wreck Ripley's character (insisting on including her yet changing her – what's the point?), dismantle The Company (the real villain behind all three previous Alien movies), and reinvent the aliens (which were the coolest movie monster ever and didn't need reinventing), they also did away with the entire population of Earth.

Writer Joss Whedon is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – which pretty much explains a lot of the cartoon silliness that, while it worked perfectly in that series, has no place in an Alien movie. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a Frenchman, which explains why the ruins of the Eiffel Tower are seen among the ruins of the city in the final shot. Looks like Jean-Paul was paving the way for a possible future sequel with super-hero Ripley and her cyborg sidekick Call in a post-apocalyptic France. That might make for an interesting movie, but it doesn't have any place in the Alien franchise. I hope that movie never gets made. Far as I am concerned, Ripley died in Alien 3 and that is the end of her character.

In retrospect, perhaps time travel would be better than this cartoon monster flick.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Christopher Lee Knighted!

Now this is cool!

Friday, May 29, 2009

What I've been up to...

I've been busy.

Haven't blogged much over on this side of the blogspot, my personal Larry side, this 11th Tier site. But that isn't because nothing is going on - pretty much it's exactly the opposite.

Where to start... the good and the bad. I'll start with the bad. Whenever I am asked that question I always choose to hear the worst first - that way I can get it out of the way and absorb it, move on to better news. Kind of my approach to art projects too - if I have a stack of projects in front of me I like to tackle the biggest one first, get it out of the way. That way I'm not dreading it the entire time I'm working on the other, smaller projects.
But I digress...

The bad. I lost two pets over the past month. First, and hardest, was my beloved dalmation, Kelly. This is the finest pet a man could ask for. Best dog I ever had - best dog in the world. She was old, blind, deaf and losing her bowel control. We put her down and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Second, was my cat Sara. Sara was a male who we named mistakenly until a vet trip for spaying revealed to us that, no, Sara can't be spayed because HE has to be neutered. Gulp. Too late - the name stuck. They called him Mr. Sara at the vet. Well Mr. Sara passed away this past week. Went missing for several days, we feared the worst. I came home from work last Friday and knew immediately that he was in the house - somewhere. I searched, and finally found him behind my son's dresser where he had crawled to die. I just saw the tip of his orange tail sticking out of the back of the dresser. He was old, and frail and his time had come.

So I buried both pets at my mother's house, which is out in the country a bit. They have a nice little pet cemetery going. Morbid as it is, the Ramones song did pop to mind afterwards. Both pets are missed, but particularly Kelly. She will always be my baby girl and I think about her every day.

I missed Wonderfest this year. I was unable to attend and really hated not being there. I missed the show but most of all I missed all the great friends I have who I only get to see once a year at Wonderfest – friends like Bob Burns, J. Sorrels, Frank Dietz, Dave Conover, Donnie Waddell, Dave Colton, Eileen Colton, Tim Lucas, Donna Lucas, Kathy Burns, Gary Prange, Joe Busam, Harry Hatter, Jim Clatterbaugh, Marian Clatterbaugh, Kerry Gammill, and so many more that there is no way I could possibly list everyone, as well as all my friends from down this way who attend annually. It's like a big family get together and I really missed it.

Now on to the good...

Missing Wonderfest was necessary because at that time I was at my son's high school graduation! Actually, we had multiple graduations to celebrate - my wife graduated from college and my oldest son graduated from High school. I am SO proud of them both. My wife graduated magna cum laude, and we went to both their graduation ceremonies this past month, as well as an elementary graduation ceremony for my youngest son. Three graduations in a month! Huzzah!

Another fun offshoot of the Wonderfest weekend was the winning of a Rondo Award! Myself, Cameron McCasland, and Linda Wylie (Nurse Moan-eek) were all given Rondo awards for the series of PSAs we did last year in our "Go Green with Dr. Gangrene" campaign. It's just such a great honor to be recognized by our peers for the work we do, and I want to say thank you again to everyone who voted for us, and to David Colton and everyone at the Rondo Awards for the nomination. Cameron collected my statue for me and it now resides on the shelf next to my other Rondo (for Best Website).

I've been reading quite a bit. I read four complete collections of EC Comics: The Crypt of Terror (Vol. 1 of Tales from the Crypt), The Vault of Horror Vol. 1 & 2, and Haunt of Fear Vol. 1. These collections of EC books from the 50s are awesome. I LOVE EC comics. GREAT stuff.

I also read a biography on the Ramones called "Hey Ho Let's Go The Story of the Ramones" by Everett True. Great background on the history of the punk pioneers.

I've watched a BUNCH of movies - first I was on a western kick, and watched several Sergio Leone Eastwood movies - Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and the Good the Bad and the Ugly. I seen all these multiple times, but they were just as good this time around and I saw them in letterbox form off dvd, so they were really enjoyable.

Then I somehow got onto a Dario Argento kick, and watched several of his films: Tenebrae, Phenomena, Do You Like Hitchcock and Trauma. I still have one more that I plan to watch soon – The Card Player. I like all these movies, but my favorite of the bunch still has to be Phenomena.

I also re-watched ZOMBIE, the Lucio Fulci classic, just because I was in the mood for it.

And now lately I have become hooked on the TV show LOST. I was recently loaned the first season, and it sat on my vcr for about a month before I finally popped in the first disc. Now we're hooked, and my wife and youngest son and I all sit and watch two or three episodes a night. GREAT series and I can't wait to see where they're going with it!!

I saw Wolverine, Star Trek and A Night at the Museum 2 at the theater. I really enjoyed them all, but surprisingly liked Star Trek best of the three. I wasn't expecting to like it, honestly. But I went in open minded and other than a bit of a hang up about the time travel method I was okay with this reboot. They managed to reset the series without totally invalidating the original adventures, which was important. These are the same characters but set upon a new path with totally new set of circumstances, familiar yet different. Ought to be a fun franchise to watch – Gene Roddenbury would be proud, which is probably the best compliment I could give it.

I started a new video project. It is a series for youtube that I'm calling the Recommended Movie of the Week - not really a review but more of me as Dr. Gangrene highlighting a movie each week that I like and highly recommend. You can find them over at both my Gangrene blog and my youtube channel. I've done 6 so far as well as one other video showing off some of the goodies folks have given me over the years. Got a couple more of these coming up too.

I did a cameo for the new George Demick zombie movie DEAD START - George asked me if I wanted a part in his movie, and I told him I would under one condition... I wanted to be a reporter on the scene talking about the zombie epidemic, as an homage to horror host Chilly Billy Cardille who did the same role in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. So he agreed, and in fact really liked the idea. I even named my character Russ Bramming, an amalgamation of names of both of Nashville's former horror hosts Ken Bramming (Dr. Lucifur) and Russ McCown (Sir Cecil Creape). Makes me smile to think of that, and I hope someone out there catches that when it comes out on dvd. There was a tremendous turnout that day - 500 people showed up to be zombies. 500 people! and they took names to prove it. Was quite a sight. I got killed by a mob of zombies led by a zombie belly dancer - yeah! There is a clip on youtube of my scene that was shot and posted by fellow horror host Dr. Pureblood who was a zombie extra in this movie. Good stuff! More on this movie as it gets closer to release...

And last but certainly not least, I have started a band. This is a project that I've directed a lot of energy toward the past couple of months, but which I'm REALLY enjoying. The band is called SPOOKHAND. The name comes from a nightmare my oldest boy had one night when he was about two or three. When we got him calmed down and asked him what was the matter he said, "There's a spookhand waving at me from the closet." Creepy! When we were searching for names for the band I remembered that story, and threw that name out there. It stuck, and here's the logo for the band.

It is a horror punk band, kind of Ramones-ish in flavor. All the songs are, of course, about monsters and horror movies and assorted fun. What else? There are five members: Steve Die on Guitar, Grim Jim Vegas on drums, Roamin D. Graveyard on guitar, J. Ghouls on bass, and me, Scary Larry on vocals. We practice once a week at a GREAT practice space in Nashville called Rockin Rande's Garage (if anyone in the Nashville area needs a great practice area drop me an email and I'll get you his info) and we recently played our first show at my friend Troy Guinn's (of the Exotic Ones) Birthday Bash. Went over well and everyone really seemed to like it. We added a new song just this week, which brings our total of originals to ten, I think. We have a show coming up at The End next month on the 17th.

This is something I've always flirted with but never pursued. After the Ramones/Misfits cover set I did last year (with Jeano of the Creeping Cruds as the Coffin Burys at last year's Horror Hootenanny show) I got the bug and really wanted to pursue it more. I figured hey, if I don't do this now, I probably never will. So I posted a Craigslist ad, got a few guys who responded, and ran with it from there. So far it's been a ton of fun and we do have a myspace page with songs up now – you can find it by typing simply

And besides all that I have a couple of other projects in the works that I'll talk more about in the near future... so yeah, I've been busy. But you know what? It's been a fun couple of months, and I look forward to an equally fun summer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dead Start zombie film in the news

The Tennessean newspaper ran an article about the George Demick movie Dead Styart today. There is also a great photo slideshow with audio interviews here:

still can't get over 500 zombies - very cool!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Been a long time...

It has been quite a while since I wrote anything on here. I have been very busy with a number of projects and events. I will try and catch you all up on some of these this week, and try and do a better job posting regularly... but no promises!

I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon today being a reporter in a zombie film. It is the latest George Demick movie, DEAD START, filming in Smyrna Tennessee. I got there at 8 am to find 500 EXTRAS who all showed up to be zombies! Wow! Talk about an army of the dead!! It was tremendous!

George had asked me a few weeks back if I wanted to do a bit part in the movie - I said sure, but only if I can do it as an homage to Chilly Billy Cardille, the horror host in Pittsburgh who appeared in the George Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. So I did play a tv reporter in it, and I called my character Russ Bramming, which is a combination of names from the first 2 horror hosts in Nashville, Ken Bramming and Russ McCown.

It was a fun time and I got killed by a zombie belly dancer. Doesn't get much better than that. I'll post pictures as I get them...

here's a link for more info: