In days of television past, children often tuned in to the creepy hosts who introduced old monster movies on the local channels. But as cable television took over and movie broadcast rights grew more expensive, the classic television personality gave way to self-mocking characters such as Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs before vanishing into memory.
In Raleigh, at least, the old-school monster movie host is alive and well in the form of Craig Vance, aka Ormon Grimsby, of Monster Creature Feature on RTN 10. The series splits old monster movies into two-hour-long installments, ranging from silent classics (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) to more recent classics (Night of the Living Dead) to outright camp (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians).
Vance started the program in 2005 with co-creator Ken McGuire. "Really, what brought it about was that I grew up with these types of shows in Detroit, like Sir Graves Ghastly and the Ghoul," Vance says. "I really missed that kind of nostalgic horror movie host who kind of tied the community together."
Hosted by Vance in his "Grimsby" makeup, Monster Creature Feature also features pop-culture discussions along with interviews with such horror fixtures as Swamp Thing co-creator and frequent Stephen King collaborator Bernie Wrightson. The show has recently expanded, bringing in comic book creator Clay Griffith (The Tick) as a writer, and has plans for a new music segment with David Weber. In addition, Vance has done a series of Halloween-themed segments for NBC-17 dealing with local haunted house events.
Though he assumed the show would mainly play to the college crowd, Vance says he's been pleasantly surprised by his audience. "The markets we're reaching are mainly kids from 8 to 10, and adults in their 40s and 50s who grew up watching these shows," Vance says.
Monster Creature Feature airs on RTN Fridays at 10 p.m. and midnight and Saturdays at 3 p.m., and repeats on TWC in Durham at 2 a.m. Thursdays. For more information, visit the official Monster Creature Feature Web site. And watch video of Vance's NBC appearances.