Late night movie fans will soon see the end of a nearly 10 month hiatus when Baron Von Porkchop returns to the local airwaves on August 16th. The Arcade Fever Special of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre will air at 11:59pm on DATV (Time Warner channel 5 or streamed at datv.org)
The 75 minute episode features local horror host Baron Von Porkchop’s quest to play a classic arcade machine at a local shop and is filled with quirky characters both old and new (including an appearance by your humble author in my recurring role as Susie the DJ). In between the Baron’s adventures, viewers will be treated to a cheesy staple of the B movie catalog, The Beast of Yucca Flats, which features Thor Johnson and Conrad Brooks of Plan 9 From Outer Space infamy.
The special will serve an appetizer for fans as the Terrifying Tales of the Macabre production team finishes work on season 3, set to air later this year.
“It feels good to be getting back in the saddle,” says writer, producer and director Matt Brassfield. “I really enjoy bringing this kind of programming to the Dayton area. We usually take a small break between seasons, but this year our cast and crew experienced two tragedies that kept us away from filming much longer than we originally intended. It’s nice to finally feel ready to get back to doing what I love.”
Earlier this year, two Terrifying Tales of the Macabre cast members died suddenly. In January, Brassfield’s mentor and fellow filmmaker Andy Copp passed away. Copp played Reverend Zealot, who shared his insights on cult films in a segment called the Cult Corner. In the spring the show lost, local musician and Brassfield’s longtime friend and coworker, Max Ervin, who played Sleazy Tom, the Baron’s goofy neighbor.
“Both Max and Andy were great friends and played great characters,” says Brassfield. “The zaniness of Sleazy Tom, who was one of our original concept characters, will definitely be missed as we move forward. Andy’s Reverend Zealot brought us great information on cult movies and is a character that originally appeared in New Shock Theatre, which Andy also directed. So he gave us not only his film knowledge, but a great connection to the shows that paved the way for us. Max and Andy were not only a big part of the show, but each was a big part of my life and are sorely missed.”
Brassfield created Terrifying Tales of the Macabre and the Baron Von Porkchop character in late 2010, having previously worked with Dayton’s own Dr. Creep and A. Ghastlee Ghoul. The show’s name comes from a movie concept that was being developed by Brassfield’s first film company, Independent B Movie.
“It was supposed to be an anthology film, kind of like Creepshow, says Brassfield. “With different scary stories through the film, connected through a sort of narration story.”
Brassfield had tapped Dr. Creep to be featured prominently in that narration story, but the film soon fell by the wayside as other projects and responsibilities took priority.
Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, the TV show, is produced through Brassfield’s current film company, Bloodline Video. The first two seasons and holiday specials follow the misadventures of the Baron, a Victorian era ghoul, in a modern setting with each episode’s storyline appearing in segments between a classic B movie or modern independent film. The third season will also follow this formula with a slight twist – Brassfield is enlisting local and regional filmmaker friends to write and direct some of the new batch of episodes.
“We’re always looking for ways to do new and creative things on the show while still staying true to the style we’ve developed,” says Brassfield. “For me, it’s going to be really cool to see filmmakers I’m friends with and whose work I admire, like Henrique Couto, Dusty Austin Joe Craven and Jeremy Hoyt, put their touch on what we’ve created.”
Despite the gap between the Arcade Fever Special and the launch of season 3, late night DATV viewers will still be able to get their horror host fix. Brassfield has curated a lineup of horror host programs from around the country to air in the Terrifying Tales of the Macabre timeslot until fresh Baron episodes can be delivered. The shows are part of a network called the Horror Host Underground, in which horror hosts from different parts of the country share episodes with one another to help promote hosting across the country and expose viewers to the wide variety of hosts that exist beyond their local market.
“I’m really excited about running the HHU block because I can expose the Dayton market to such hosts as Miss Misery from California, Nevada’s Sinister Minister and Cleveland’s Janet Decay. I really take a lot of joy in giving fans the opportunity to meet new hosts through their televisions and find the ones that they really connect to and identify with.”
If you want to learn more about the history of horror hosting in Ohio, be sure to check out Matt Brassfield’s Ohio Shock articles here on DMM. For updates on Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, check out the show’s Facebook page.