Afterhell for the UK!

Exciting news!  Scifind Limited has just picked up “Afterhell” for UK distribution.  To start it off, next month they will offer a new edition of our first episode — in a DVD slimcase with new artwork and a few extras.

For those of us on this side of the pond, this is a glimpse of things to come.  And if somebody is out there listening… yeah, maybe we’ll do some new episodes too.

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Written: Feb 14, 2009

Farewell, Mr Excitement

Another sad, nostaglic bye-bye.  Maybe it’s a bad habit, but hardly one I’m able to quit.

So who is this “Mr Excitement” to whom I’m bidding a fond, reluctant farewell?  The man’s name is Bob Wilkins.  He was the host of the San Francisco Bay Area’s “Creature Features” late-night show and “Captain Cosmic,” a little known sci-fi program showcase for kids.

Unlike other horror movie hosts, Bob Wilkins didn’t ham it up — quite the opposite.  He sat in a rocking chair, surrounded by skull candle-holders and cobwebs, smoking a huge cigar.  Instead of putting on a schlocky get-up and chortling about the next cinematic horror to come, he was cordial.  Unflappable.  Aloof in a neighborly Norman Rockwell kind of way.

And more often than not, he’d tell you to watch something else.  “Don’t stay up tonight,” he often said.  “It’s not worth it.”  It horrified his sponsors, at least until they saw the ratings.

For nearly ten years, Bob Wilkins’ deadpan drollery made “Creature Features” on KTVU Channel 2 a local Saturday night institution.  He announced each film with affectionate, blank-faced mockery.  He’d tell you it arrived at the KTVU studio in a brown paper bag, or how certain creatures in tonight’s movie had fallen on hard times.

Did you know that one of those teeny, tiny women from the Mothra flicks eloped with the Tidy Bowl Man?  Don’t gimme that look.  Bob Wilkins said it, so it must be true.

And once in a while, Bob Wilkins delivered a dark, dusky cinematic jewel — a choice Hammer film, one of the Universal Pictures horror classics, or something totally obscure and twisted.  His show was one of the first, if not the first, to run the dreaded “Night of the Living Dead” on television.

So you can imagine how thrilled my parents were to catch me, still in the zygote age-bracket, watching this godawful dreck hundreds of hours after my bedtime on a Saturday night.

Then one day Bob Wilkins showed up on daily afternoon TV.  And it was great.  I was able to watch him present tons of fun sci-fi stuff at a more respectable hour.  Bob Wilkins delivered it all with the same distant gentle humor.  His face was hidden behind a huge visor, and he called himself Captain Cosmic from the planet Cosmos.  But come on, I knew it was him.

It was cheaper than taking me to watch “Star Wars” five more times, and my mother didn’t realize for months the host was that evil man from “Creature Features.”  I saw all three Flash Gordon serials with Larry “Buster” Crabbe.  Tons of Japanese science fiction.  Cool segments about upcoming sci-fi, real-life robots, astronomy, and books.  He encouraged kids to read, to explore, and have fun.  Until my mom figured it out, it was bliss.

Even at that age, I could tell Bob Wilkins wasn’t really into all these genre stuff.  But he knew how to befriend an audience, no matter the age or background.  And he showed people of all ages how to find the worst in a bad situation … even if your girlfriend did accidentally feed herself to a rampaging carpet from outer space.

So yeah, for reasons even I don’t fully understand, there’s a five-year-old kid inside me that ranks Bob Wilkins right up there with Santa Claus and Captain Kangaroo.  And I’m not the only one.

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Written: Jan 10, 2009

Goodbye, Forry

We interrupt the long wait between Afterhell episodes to mourn the passing of an icon.

AP: Sci-Fi’s Grand Old Man, Forrest J Ackerman, dies

Forrest Ackerman was known by many while serving many roles, under many names.   He was the editor of the Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, not to mention its heart and soul.  His playfulness appeared in its pages as cheesy puns and tongue-in-cheek captions.

He often signed his editorials as Dr. Acula.  Readers addressed him as FJA, Forry, 4E, the Ackermonster, and many other goofy epithets.  He embraced them all.  His knack for cheesy puns and wordplay was infectious.

He first coined the term “sci-fi,” so the AP headline is apt on so many levels.  People can’t decide whether it became a benefit or a detriment to science fiction.  The only certainty in its issue is that he said it with genuine affection.

The bottom line:  Forry was the ultimate fan.  He might not be the reason why people invented the term “Big-Name Fame,” but he’s the reason why people still use it. Forry was a model citizen, a grand master in fanboy circles.  He represented what fandom at its best.  He was warm, courteous, playful, and generous.

Spending decades collecting tons of sci-fi and horror memorabilia, he didn’t simply horde his treasure trove.  He opened his home and shared them with strangers from all over the world.

He was a friend and idol to millions — writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, starry-eye nobodies.  Forry treated them all the same…like family.

I’ve bumped into him once or twice at conventions, on my way to this or that.  And he was doing the same… well, mostly the same.  I was in the company of one pretty lady.  Forry was always surrounded by at least four of them.  (Who says fanboys don’t get any?)  But each time we passed each other, he’d light up, extend a big warm hand, and beam out with “Hi, good to see you!”

Forry was Santa Claus, Dr. Frankenstein, and Hugh Hefner all rolled into one.  He delighted in the dark, revelled in the light… and always seemed to know your name.

He’s gone now.

Does Halloween seem darker every year?  Does every winter seem colder?

No… no, I can’t afford to play that game.  And neither can you, friend.  Yes, you too.  The word “friend” has been overused, but Forry Ackerman proved in his life that it can hold a multitude of real human warmth every time the word is spoken.

A toast to Forry.  The best fiend you could ever want.

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Written: Dec 5, 2008

Slow vs. Fast Zombies?

As Halloween and the election season come to a close, a strange fusion has taken place, setting the stage for international controversy.

Simon Pegg, one of the brains behind the brilliant movie Shaun of the Dead, has thrown his hat into the metaphysical ring of zombie politics.

Simon Pegg:  “Zombies Don’t Run!”

On Afterhell Volume 3, we kind of cheated.  In “Bloodbath at the Giallo Hotel,” zombies move at the speed of plot.

So what does everybody think?  Should zombies be fast or slow?

Comments: 2
Written: Nov 5, 2008

Afterhell Volume 3 Officially Released!

It’s official!  “Afterhell Volume 3: Bloodbath at the Giallo Hotel” has been released and is available for purchase now.  We will update the purchase page soon, but in the meantime you can order your very own copy through CD Baby.  Click here to go there now!

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, you can come to the Willamette Radio Workshop‘s production of “From the Case Files of Doctor Moreau” (the show’s free and promises to be a lot of fun!) Halloween night and buy a copy directly from us.

This is the same story you may have heard on the Afterhell podcast.  But with this disc, you get all the gruesome goodness in full stereo and CD-quality sound.  Plus the hair-raising artwork of Alida Saxon!  (Note to collectors: there are two different versions of the inside-the-box info card!)

It has been a long wait, definitely longer than we would have liked.  But we hope the results are worth it.

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Written: Oct 30, 2008

“Bloodbath…” to the printer

Afterhell Vol 3 Cover

Hey everyone, here’s a quick peek at some of the art for the upcoming release of “Bloodbath at the Giallo Hotel” on disk. With some great direction from Joe and Jamie, I think we’ve taken the presentation for this volume to a new level for Afterhell. Just click on the image to view the larger file.

Everything’s at the printer now, so expect to be able to purchase this in time for Halloween!

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Written: Oct 13, 2008

2008 People’s Choice Podcast Awards

Nominations are opening shortly for the 2008 People’s Choice Podcast Awards, presented by the fine folks at Podcast Connect, home to Geek News Central. If you’ve been enjoying our show, please take a few minutes and nominate “Afterhell” by clicking on the Podcast Awards banner at the left, or by visiting the PodCastAwards website.

Go give ’em (After)hell! Thanks for the support!

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Written: Sep 14, 2008

Giallo Going Offline

This is a heads-up to let everyone know that “Bloodbath at the Giallo Hotel” will soon be removed from the Afterhell podcast feed.  If you wanted to check out our tale of gangsters, zombies, and other strangeness at the dawn of the Afterhell, but hadn’t had a chance, go grab any and all of the nine installments now!

The good news is that “Afterhell Volume 3: Bloodbath at the Giallo Hotel” will soon be released on CD!  This is the same award-winning story as on the podcast feed, but with a full stereo mix and without the podcast bumpers.  There will also be at least one bonus track!

Keep watching the skies this space for further news on Volume 3 … and Volume 4, in work now!

Comments: 0
Written: Sep 2, 2008

Afterhell Wins Its First Ogle Award

Yup, this is the good news we were alluding to the other day.  We’d said it be a few weeks, but how’s this for service?

Afterhell Volume 3 has received an honorable mention from the 2008 Mark Time & Ogle Awards.

We submitted Volume 3 for the judges’ perusal, absolutely certain they were going reject us out of hand.  Gory, graphic violence.  Rude language.  No kitsch or camp, definitely not safe for the whole family.  Just modern-day nightmare fuel.  Wow, it shows you how much we know!

Now you know the reason for the delay.  We had to figure out where to fit the Ogle award info on the CD artwork.  Simple as that.

We’re planning a release date in August, if not sooner.  It depends on how busy things look this summer, what with WRW’s Writers-on-the-Air Workshop ‘n’ all.

So yeah.  Our first award.  Only the beginning.

Comments: 1
Written: Jun 18, 2008

Don’t Bury Us… We’re Not Dead!

Anyone who recognizes the movie tagline we’re riffing on… wins a tetrodoxotrin Chiclet.

Yup, we’re still around and sporting a new look online. The Afterhell website has gotten a fiery new makeover and a new blog. More than that, Ollin Productions has a website of its own where you’ll find a shingle for all of our projects. Our thanks to Ali for doing all the design and coding in record time!

Unlike the revamped website, updates have been slow in coming. We’ve been overwhelmed, plain and simple — everybody’s day jobs, family emergencies, tons of sound work and writing to do — not enough time to do it all.

Fortunately, causes for delay aren’t all bad. Watch this spiffy new space for good news in a few weeks.

Thanks for sticking with us! We’ll get back to freaking you all out good ‘n’ proper shortly.

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Written: Jun 15, 2008