August 21, 2011

Britain's only horror host

One of the things which I'm sure people wonder about is where I got the name for my blog from.

When my movie reviewing career started out as a column in a vampire magazine back in 1994, it was just the first thing that popped into my head based on "blood" and "vaults" which I associate with vampires for some reason. I would have called it "Dr Blood's Coffin" except that it was already the title of a 1961 Frankenstein subgenre horror film which had nothing to do with vampires at all.

In 1992, however, there was also this guy, Dr Walpurgis, who introduced BBC2's Hallowe'en night spectacular after everyone had either been traumatised or bored to death by the Screen One mockumentary drama, "Ghostwatch", over on BBC1.

Nobody thought they'd ever hear anything more of this character until he turned up again a couple of years later as "Dr Terror", the host of many BBC1 horror double-features. I absolutely loved the selection and put my video recorder to good use on Friday nights by taping every single one of them. I even went as far as designing special VHS sleeves with his big evil face on them to house my collection and I did it all without any of the benefits of modern desktop publishing too. I used to clip the film listings out of the Radio Times, glue them to the back of an already photocopied VHS sleeve and fill in the other details with felt-tipped pens and coloured pencils. They looked quite good too, all lined up on my bookshelves.

The only thing which was somewhat annoying and embarassing for me was that Dr Terror's shows were initially called "The Vault of Horror" and, later, "Dr Terror's Vault of Horror". It was a little bit too close for comfort. I was making a small career for myself in a more literary field and thought that I was being very original especially as my review column appeared at least six months before this new incarnation of Dr Walpurgis.

Ironically, the magazine that I used to write for and "Dr Terror's Vault of Horror" both died out around the same time but I'm still going. Now I can look back on those days with a lot of fondness especially as Dr Terror kick-started my quite fanatical horror movie collecting.

Thank you, Dr Terror, for providing me with more Hammer and Amicus films than I would ever go out of my way to purchase but, most of all, for being Britain's only horror host.

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