BackThrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat

The Thrillville Beat

By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo Waa! - Waa!


By Will "the Thrill" Viharo



If the temporary recall of the recall has not been overturned by the Supreme Court, or any other lower court appeal, by the time many of you read this, California may have a new Governor, less than a year after a legitimate election already gave us one, long before he was allowed to finish his fairly won second term. I’m already scared of the outcome and its ramifications for this state, if it actually happens. If it’s anyone but Gray Davis in office, that will mean the rabid, ruthless Republican right wing has once again overturned my vote and rendered it irrelevant. The first time it was of course back in 2000 – yea yea yea, Bush supporters say he would’ve taken Florida anyway, but no one will ever know for sure, because like this whole recall rigmarole, the electoral college is a legalized loophole desperate conservatives can leap through to force feed their uptight, restrictive and bigoted agenda on the rest of us. The fact is, Gore got more votes than Bush, and last year Davis got more votes than whoever wins this bogus recall if it eventually makes it to the polls. None of this seems to matter. Good old-fashioned democracy seems as extinct as those other out-dated relics of American history, good music and good movies. The young 21st Century world is a loud, rude, noisy, pushy, obnoxious, unoriginal, ugly, polarized, embittered, amoral, confused, and dangerous little brat who needs a serious bitch-slapping from Someone Up There, I don’t care if it’s Jesus, Buddha, Allah or Elvis. This shit is just out of control. Every day, it seems, there's a major news story - either concerning Iraq, or the recall, or one more icon passing away (RIP Charles Bronson, Johnny Cash, John Ritter and any other beloved celebrity who bites the dust before I finish this sentence.) It's like the Cool People are bailing out of this mess for a better life elsewhere. And we're left behind to deal without them.

Of course, on the upside, as of this writing, there's a good chance there won't be any recall election at all, or at least not until the presidential primaries next March, which means the Demos will most likely show up in full force and "terminate" this bullshit altogether (which they should be doing anyway). Right now, it's an eerie re-run of Florida November 2000, with the Republicans once again crying to Daddy Supreme Court to stack the deck in their favor so they can steal a crucial seat without actually earning it. If the recall is indeed postponed, or better yet, cancelled, that means Democracy might have a shot at survival in the 21st century, despite the best efforts of well-heeled fanatics trying to usurp control of the country, any way they can, even if it means bypassing and even shredding the Constitution to do it.

Halloween is coming up, but try finding a movie that is spookier or more shocking and revolting than the evening news. It's like watching the TV news from Robocop - but it's real. It’s all one epic, silly, reality television horror series. Thank God (or Whoever) for TV Land - I'm loving the reruns of Mr. Ed! But you always have to find the bright spot, especially in the darkest tunnel. If it is Governor Schwarzenegger - and that's no longer as sure a thing as I feared it would be - the one (relatively) redeeming quality he brings to office is that he’s married to a Kennedy, which might give him a sense of balance. And, unlike all those uptight, morally superior egg-tossers from left and right, I also really, really dig the fact Arnie used to be a greasy doped-up gang-banger – we haven’t had that kind of balls-out sleaze in high office since my boy Clinton left (and they compare Arnie to Reagan – pshaw!). It’s kind of like when I boycotted the offensively awful remake of Ocean’s 11 – I freely admitted that George Clooney did have at least one positive attribute, and that was the fact he’s Rosemary’s nephew. See? Despite my bitching, I’m really a very positive guy.

And anyway, no matter who is Governor of California – or President of the United States – that situation is fleeting and fluid. There will always be only one Chairman of the Board (Frank Sinatra), one King (Elvis Presley), and one Mayor (yours truly) here in Thrillville. I don’t know how much consolation that offers anyone, though, except me.


Last month I suggested my man Howard Dean would have the best chance of beating Bush if he chose Bob Graham – a rich Southerner who shares the Doc’s anti-Iraq War stance – as his running mate. I’ve changed my mind (as I warned I might). After seeing former General Wesley Clark interviewed on Real Time With Bill Maher recently, I now believe Dean should tap this tough guy as his VP. Clark is considering running himself, not a bad idea, though I still prefer Dean, but if it turns out Dean winds up on the bottom half of this bill, it’s still a winning combination, as far as I can see. Clark is a strong, handsome, forceful, gracious, patriotic, level-headed, fair-minded, no-nonsense military man, and a Democrat who isn’t ashamed of the liberal label, wisely and correctly pointing out that this country is founded on liberal principals of dialogue, dissent and tolerance for difference, regardless of one’s personal theologies, which should not be allowed to dictate the policies of an entire society. Plus, he’s physically imposing, which would balance out Dean’s own short stature - not a liability to guys like me, but in the superficial eyes of the world, height matters almost as much as looks, but Dean more than compensates his shortness with his combative charisma.

The way I see it, Dean can ably cover the domestic front, especially in areas of civil rights, healthy care and the environment, and Clark can helm the complex foreign situation, with grace, intelligence, fairness and most importantly - experience

So now I’m revising my recommendation, as if anyone out there really cares: Dean/Clark for 2004. That’s the official Thrillville presidential endorsement. At least until next month.

The Bush Administration reportedly is drooling over the prospect of frontrunner Dean as their opponent (and I backed him since he was an underdog), since they think a socially liberal outsider from a small state with no foreign policy experience (hmmmm….) would be easy pickin’s. (Of course, with Clark on the ticket, this would effectively disable the old Republican argument that Democrats can't defend this country.) They say this with the same blind arrogance that got us into this tragic quagmire, the same bold ignorance that believed they could go it alone in Iraq without a UN supported mandate, and is now begging for international aid in cleaning up their mess. They seem to saying to a Dean campaign: “Bring ‘em on.” And I predict the results will be just as disastrous for them as when our bull-headed beady-eyed commander-in-chief made that chickenshit challenge half a world away from the actual combat zone. Casualties are just statistics to people like him. They’re keeping score and insisting we’re “winning” as evidenced by the “numbers.” I find W. and his ilk to be contemptible specimens of the human species, and I just don’t want them representing us to the rest of the world anymore. It’s depressing and embarrassing.

I mean, does that ridiculous Bush doll in the flight suit sicken anyone else as much as it does me? Talk about discrediting and disrespecting our military. This is like mass marketing a doll of a nerdy RCA record exec wearing an Elvis jumpsuit. Let’s give credit where credit is due: Bush started this conflict, and he wants American’s youth to finish it, no matter how many generations and lives it takes, even though it is sure to endure well into his own comfortable retirement and beyond. That offensively stupid Bush doll should be burned in effigy. It’s a shockingly irreverent symbol of the most notoriously insensitive, self-obsessed and power-mad administration this country has ever endured.

But after the Democratic primary, I still plan to re-register as an Independent, as I’ve threatened to do for a year now (causing nary a ripple in the outside world!). The Democrats are whiney, pathetic losers and I’m tired of being associated with them. All political parties are magnets for bullshit, and all politicians play a dirty game. But the Republican’s hostile takeover tactics – despicable and morally outrageous as they are – are working. They don’t want a two party system. Party’s over. I personally think we require a multiple party system, to accurately reflect the diverse demographics of this eclectic nation, but that will never happen. We’re stuck with the two party system at least until the Republicans figure out a way to totally dominate the Demos and make them submit to their prejudicial, religiously appointed agenda. The problem for me is, any party favored by the balance in power will try to shove their views on everyone else – both the far right and the far left have little tolerance for opposing viewpoints. The only difference is, the militant and organized far right is much more devious and successful in achieving their aims (at least so far). The far left is still too weak, idealistic and fractured - and probably too stoned as well - to actually make a significant impact on the political landscape. That’s why they’re continually relegated to the fringe while the conservative extremists are surging to the forefront of the culture. I believe that eventually all fanatics fall, so I’m not too worried. Or I try not to be. I still cling to hope that simple social reason and the will of the majority will prevail over dogmatic dictatorship.

I really, really, really hope the Democrats can get their act together once this recall crap is over and focus on winning back the White House, applying the same underhanded but effective strategies and principals that ousted Davis (presuming this happens, current polls as of this writing indicate it will, but not with my help) into recalling George W. Bush, for the same basic reason – turning a budget surplus into a historic deficit. I mean, it’s stunning to me no one on this side of the fence has called for W.’s Impeachment outside of the Santa Cruz City Council. W. has the absolute worst record of any president in modern history, on every front, and he cheerfully lies to the people as a matter of routine. Yea, yea, Saddam’s been knocked out of power and W’s personal scorecard is even as far as he cares about it. But most of the rest of the world – including Iraq – still resents and distrusts us and in many cases, would like to see us go down. Our economy is in the toilet, the environment is also turning brown, and civil rights are being flushed down the sewer.

But the reality is: by and large, the Republicans are punks, and the Democrats are pussies. We need some steel balls in this fight if we want to prevail. How many times can I say this? DEAN/CLARK 2004 – OR CLARK/DEAN 2004 - OR BUST. In any case, I’m declaring my political Independence once this race begins, though I will always support a liberal, unbiased, open-minded, non-judgmental, secular, and even-handed social platform, as our Founding Fathers so decreed. No one is saying Christians can’t hate homosexuals, or claim they’re anti-abortion and pro-life even while they’re also anti-gun control and pro-war (?). As much as their views boggle my own mind, it’s their basic right to choose any lifestyle and belief system that suits them, so long as they don’t impose those views on anyone else. Bombing churches would be just as horrible and un-American as bombing abortion clinics. I’m saying that under our Constitution, religious beliefs should never influence policy and law, because that’s simply unfair to people who cherish the freedom to follow their own paths to enlightenment, even if that path leads up some dude’s hairy butthole. To me, the battle line is drawn right here – the freedom to choose and follow your own ideology without interference from the government or those who want to control it. That is America to me. God bless us (please, and hurry). You are all free to love it, leave it, or love it and leave it - like Johnny Depp.

Now there’s a guy I would vote for, especially as Ambassador to France. Meantime, I’ve chosen from the fez hats already in the ring-a-ding-ding. At least until Mr. Ed and Wilbur announce their decision….


Anyway, I’m sorry to announce that legendary Creature Features host Bob Wilkins will not be visiting Thrillville for a fourth consecutive October, as he will be otherwise engaged with personal family business out of state during this period. His famous and knowledgeable successor John Stanley will be on board as usual, for two big events, and this year, instead of another “Creature Features” live reunion stage show, I’m introducing a whole new concept: HORROR HOST-PALOOZA!

There have been many Rock-a-palooza concerts, and even a Lounge-a-palooza CD. So why not a show assembling some of the greatest horror host talents this sad, pathetic era has to offer, while bringing back one from the Golden Age, all on one stage, as a tribute to this television tradition once ubiquitous in metropolitan media markets across the land? I couldn’t think of a reason why not – and if you can, too late now - so here it is.

First, many of you already know Berkeley’s Number One Cable Horror Host DOKTOR GOULFINGER , mastermind behind The Hip Crypt (, from previous Thrillville gigs, including his big birthday bash last March featuring The Monster of Piedras Blancas. Well, this time, our Sacramento comrade, the mysterious MR. LOBO, who hosts his own syndicated horror/B movie series, Cinema Insomnia (, will join the suave and savvy Dok on The Parkway stage. Lobo has made several unannounced cameos in Thrillville here and there before, but this is the first time I’ve put this funny wolfman on the bill as a featured attraction. What Dok, Lobo and me all have in common – besides insanity and lotsa toys - is a deep affinity for the icons that preceded us in the supernatural impresario biz. Both Dok and Lobo – California boys -- grew up with Creature Features out of Oakland and Sacto, hosted by Wilkins and then Stanley (on KTVU only). My local weekend fright fiend, being a Jersey boy, was Doctor Shock out of Philly in the ‘70s (Mad Theater and Horror Theater, every Saturday afternoon on Channel 17.) But while I consider myself more of a B movie lovin’ lounge lizard than a true blue horror host – and I’m not even on TV when I’m not protesting remakes of Rat Pack movies – Dok and Lobo are sincerely and successfully carrying on this tradition, which has spawned an international underground network of other freaks, ghouls and misfits introducing public domain horrors via cable access and anyone that’ll have ‘em, meeting in national conventions, and in general preserving a once thriving subculture as a vital and viable mode of entertainment for 21st century consumption. I’m proud to be considered a part of this “movement” by Thrill seekers like Nik Seizure, who wants to one day open a Horror Host Museum right here in the Bay Area, a Mecca where we can all pay tribute to the likes of Zacherley, Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Vampira, etc. In fact, Dok Goulfinger is the official consultant for a new documentary on horror hosts called American Scary being produced by an enterprising group of filmmakers. I’m convinced this will be a hot cinematic property, watch for it and remember you heard about it here first.

Anyway, Dok and Lobo will both be on hand with their own individual segments as we present HORROR HOST-PALOOZA, Part One on Thursday, October 9 at 7:30 at The Parkway. As in years past, this Halloween celebration will be a creature double feature, this time with an undead theme, as we kindly ask you to stomach the gory glory of Lucio Fulchi’s notoriously graphic and sleazy masterpiece ZOMBIE (1979), in a new 35mm print courtesy of The Werepad network. This is the one with the (in)famous underwater zombie-shark fighting scene (one of my favorites in cinematic history, in any genre), something you don’t see every day. But the one quality these Italian zombiefests have over their American counterparts – even their most obvious inspirations, George Romero’s Night and Dawn of the Dead – is gratuitous nudity, so you can do some serious navel-gazing along with the vicarious flesh-munching. Nice to see some real live titties mixed in with all those appetizing intestines. Watch for the eyeball-piercing scene, too, it’s a true crowd-pleaser. Also on the bill, as if this won’t make you sick enough, is some obscurity The Werepad offered me called VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST (1974). I don’t know a thing about it, but considering the title and the year it was made, how could I possibly pass on it? If we don’t see it now, we may never get another chance, in any format. And if all this still ain’t enough to fill your barf bag, local monster maker Chuck Jarman of Bump in the Night Productions ( – as seen on Evening Magazine! – will be interviewed by the boys onstage as he shows off a plethora of masks, makeup and other monstrosities from his remote and sinister Vallejo laboratory.

Two weeks later at The Parkway, on Thursday, October 23 at 8:30, it’s HORROR HOST-PALOOZA, Part Two. Dok, Lobo, me and The Tiki Goddess (who will also be, for the fourth consecutive year, the Awards Girl for the SF Weekly WAMMIES the previous Thursday, October 16) will be joined by the man himself, John Stanley. We need to team up so we can properly and proudly present a big screen uniting of supremely monstrous forces: the Bay Area theatrical premiere of the brand new Toho stompfest GODZILLA-MOTHRA-KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK, released last year in Japan to widespread scorn and acclaim. This revisionist masterpiece – absolutely the greatest giant monster rally since 1968’s Destroy All Monsters, which I plan to show January 1 – was directed by the genius behind Gamera’s revival, Shusuke Kaneko, who brings a whole new dimension to the endless Godzilla saga by casting the Atomic Lounge Lizard as the bad guy – and his old nemeses Mothra and three headed Ghidorah as the good guys defending the Earth from Big G’s onslaught! This is one epic, action-packed, ass-kickin’ monster-a-thon, and only a motley crew of rag-tag horror hosts like us could bring it to you in suitable style! Also on this very special thrill-bill: the thrilling live theremin of our old friend Robert Silverman, absent from this stage for too long, plus some choice shorts from the eclectic collection of Buzz Bob Ekman including an episode of Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. Of course at both shows, we’ll also feature vintage drive-in sci-fi/horror trailers from Uncle Bill, The Trailer King! Thanks to swingin’ Strephon Taylor for two moregorgeous posters this year, too.

John Stanley, Robert Silverman and Bob Ekman will join me once again as we present our third road show at the classy, cultured showcase known as COPIA in Napa, John’s hometown. This year it’s THRILLVILLE’S HALLOWEEN BEACH PARTY featuring Del Tenney’s beach bunnies ‘n’ beasts B movie classic HORROR OF PARTY BEACH, featuring fistfights, motorcycle gangs, surf bands, bikini babes, googly-eyed nuclear fishmen with mouths stuffed with hot dogs, voodoo stereotypes, bad acting, bad dialogue, and authentic East Coast atmosphere, circa 1963. Recently an enterprising band, led by Mark Klein, from San Jose wrote and recorded the soundtrack to a musical version of this psychotronic wonder – sanctioned by Del Tenney himself! - and it positively rocks, like a cross between Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but better than both! I’m working with The Werepad to try to get it produced, stay tuned. Meantime, you can also catch this aquatic atrocity on Halloween itself, Friday October 31, on a double bill with Ed Wood’s immortal PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1956) at THE CONGA LOUNGE in the Rockridge District of Oakland, as Bob Ekman and I team up for our first TIKI HALLOWEEN PARTY! All of these prints are in glorious 16mm, too, with scopitones, trailers and cartoons from Bob and Scott Moon also featured at both of these traveling spook show spectaculars.

Horror of Party Beach was Bob Wilkins’ first “Creature Features” movie on KTVU back in 1971. Thanks to crazy cats like Doktor Goulfinger, Mr. Lobo and John Stanley, his legacy lives on, and the slogan on the sign behind his rocking chair rings truer than ever: WATCH HORROR MOVIES, KEEP AMERICA STRONG!



BackThrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat