When you set out to create the Zombie Cheerleader persona, what goals did you have in mind that you wanted to accomplish in the world of horror?
It all started with a gag around 2003, and it’s been a gag ever since. At the time I was chatting on the Horrorhost Underground about doing my own horror hosted show and I needed to develop a character. Sally’s costume was initially a gag gift from a good friend of mine, Jane Considine. She found a cheerleader costume in a thrift store and sent it me. I wore the costume at Cinema Wastland and then at the 2004 Scary Camp in Dayton, Ohio. Everyone seemed to like the look. The name Sally is in honor of the heroine of Tim Burton’s A Nightmare before Christmas.
Sally’s original goal was to teach all monsters, mainly zombies, how to survive the fleshie onslaught. It was us against the fleshies and I used old horror movies as teaching aids in my class. The show ran from around 2005 to 2007. I felt I succeeded in educating the monster masses so I moved on to more of a magazine type of show with old horror shows visiting strange locations, horror conventions, and I try to figure out what all those fleshies’ holidays mean. I’m a zombie, my brain is dead; I have a lot of questions.
Depending on age and location, most of us grew up watching some sort of horror movie host on television. For me, I cut my horror teeth with Dr. Shock from the Philadelphia market in the 1970’s. Was there a horror host or horror personality that inspired you and your show?
My favorite of all horror hosts, and the one I grew up with was Count Gore de Vol. He was a vampire on DC’s Channel 20 (UHF for those that remember that sort of stuff). Count Gore was a vampire. He was funny, he was chock full of horror information about the movies he hosted, had many great guests, and he hosted great horror films. Thanks to Count Gore, I was able to watch the unedited version of Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of 8. I was scarred for life. Oh how I loved those long Saturday nights! I was very young when his show aired so most of the time I had to quietly turn on his show without anyone noticing. After I became a zombie, I met him many times. I now consider Count Gore a very good friend and he’s the best Vampire bar none.
Now, for your fans that follow you and that YOU inspire, you might be molding someone into a Zombie SoccerMom or a Vampire Cheerleader, what advice would you give them?
Just go with it. There is already a good parody out there called the Zombie Queerleader and s/he is doing very well. I think it would be a great idea if there were more zombie cheerleader characters but don’t be afraid to develop your own character. We can always use more unique characters and I’d be more than happy to offer any advice to anyone who needs it for character development.
Do you have a favorite Zombie Cheerleader moment?
I think my most favorite Zombie Cheerleader moment occurred at Ghastlee’s Scary Camp back in 2004 in Dayton, Oh. I was helping Ghastlee with his convention and it was the first major appearance of the Zombie Cheerleader. I was standing to one side of the convention on a Sunday morning when I caught the sounds of a school graduation in the distance. The convention center in Dayton was large and there were a couple of events going on along with Scary Camp. Another guest, and good friend, Grim, from the Patient Creature,s also heard the graduation ceremony. We found out there was a Catholic private school commencement being held and it was coming to an end. We figured we would stand by and watch. Little did we know, the graduation class, families and all, had to pass through our convention to get out of the building. It was magic. Grim stood there, scythe and all, glaring blankly above the crowds as they passed us. I stood there waving my pom-poms and smiled as the procession passed. As the graduating student’s parents passed, they either looked away in horror, looked at us in horror and then looked away, or just looked horrified. It was the greatest collection of whimpering, sour-pussed face adults that I have ever seen. How miserable it must be to have no sense of fun and no sense of adventure. Most of the graduating students, however, did not appear to be bothered by our presence.
The either smiled and waived as they passed or giggled uncontrollably. It was beautiful and it made me realize that most fleshies do not need to be eaten. Just the ones who are too miserable to enjoy life. I never knew that part of being an adult involved letting go of your sense of fun. Sometimes fleshies are just too darn serious. Life is short, folks, learn to have a little fun.
How long does it take to put together one of your segments?
It depends on the length of the show. Most shows I do are about 30 minutes so there’s about a weeks worth of prep work from start to finish. Ideas, bits, make-up, and finding the time to put it all together are a factor. When you have three zombies to care for and another full-time job, it can be a challenge. Quick voiceovers can be done in a night and longer hour plus specials can consume up to a month. I’m a slow, busy zombie and I do tend to make sure the zombie family is taken care of before I run off to play with the camera.
How often do you film segments?
I do try to film something every month. In between segments, I try to squeeze in a quick short or two. I guess I’m up to something every couple of weeks at this point.
It would be too common place to ask you what your favorite horror movie is, so instead I’m going to ask you, what horror movie do you think absolutely sucks?
Ishtar. It was horrible. No monsters, no blood and it wasn’t even scary. At the very least they could of killed off everyone in the end. It would have made me feel better for watching it.
What is your opinion of Hollywood remaking just about every classic horror film out there?
Lazy, lazy, lazy. Where have all the writer’s gone…not to Hollywood. How many times do you have to remake something? I’ll grant you that some interpretations are clever and worth watching but I would, once in a while, appreciate something original. Oh, and please stop it with the M Night Shamalamading-dong movies. They are worse than Ishtar.
Where do you want to take Zombie Cheerleader tomorrow and in the next five years?
I’d love to expand her character and feature her a bit more than I am now. Since I cannot predict the future, it’s hard to tell what will happen to her. I’d love to work with other shows and other horror hosts, as I have done in the past, and do more corss-promoting. For the moment, I’m having fun. I enjoy what I do and where the character is going. In five years time, I’d like to see her still wandering around. I think she has a few more years under her skirt and I’m willing to giver her that time.
Ok, last and certainly not least, can you give me a Horrornews.net cheer?
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Extra Credit Question
What are you opinions on UFO’s and Alien Abductions?
My hypno-therapist told me not to mention my past encounters to anyone. They are all in my head and never happened. There is no race of super-zombies from outer space and they do not want to make me queen of Zombania. I’m sorry, I have to take my meds now.