Saturday 2 June 2012

Count Gore de Vol

Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire has always been one of my favorite books. Now I finally get to interview one myself . His name is Count Gore de Vol. He was a television horror host who originally appeared on Washington DC's WDCA from 1973 to 1987 This was of course when he was not secretly sucking human blood at night. His human alias Dick Dyzel helped him disguise the true evil vampire that he is. Now 35 years later Count Gore is still very busy. In 1998, Count Gore De Vol became the first horror host to present a weekly show on the Internet, featuring streaming video of movies and shorts hosted by The Count, and interviews with celebrities. It was an honor to interiew him about his work and how the horror field has changed over the years. Count Gore, thanks for letting me interview you and PLEASE DON'T DRINK OUR BLOOD!!!!!

When did you begin performing?
As with many entertainers, I’ve been performing, in one way or another, all my life. But I started my career as a TV horror host in 1971, when I took on the role of vampire M.T. Graves on WDXR-TV in Paducah, Kentucky. However, as is the case with most horror hosts, I was also doing a lot other things that really paid my salary: News Anchor, Radio DJ, Director and I also produced and hosted a one hour long, five day a week live children’s show as Bozo the Clown. You see, small market TV gave the new performer lots of opportunities to try everything.

What was your first TV show?
My first appearance on TV was as news anchor for the 10 pm news on WDXR. But it was the Bozo Circus that was the first show that I really controlled. It was a great training ground for both producing and performing. My second show, which ran concurrently, was “Night of Terror,” which was on every Saturday night. Here I applied a lot of what I learned as Bozo.

How do you rehearse for playing this part or is this the real you?
I’ve been told that Count Gore is an extension of my real personality, that I otherwise keep hidden. I wouldn’t say I rehearse as much as I take time to put myself into the character. I do this by creating a show outline, doing research and then psyching myself up while getting into makeup.

Count Gore de Vol is an interesting character name. How did you come up with that?
There have been much speculation on this. Most people think it was a take off on writer Gore Vidal, but that may not be totally true. I hedge on this question because I don’t know the exact answer. I was in discussion about a name for the character after I got a job at WDCA in Washington, DC. The general manager finally agreed to let me do it in 1973, but he wanted a name with ‘gore’ in it. So, I said, “What about Count Gore?” He thought about it and said, “I like it, but it needs more.” So, out of frustration I blurted out, “How about something off the wall, maybe Count Gore De Vol?” He said to go for it. Now, was I influenced by the fact there was a copy of “Lincoln” by Gore Vidal on the manager’s desk or was it that I drove by the De Vol funeral home everyday on the way to work? I honestly don’t know. But I do know I trademarked the character immediately, which was a smart move.

Why did you want creature feature films to be your work?
It was not on my list of things I wanted to do in TV. As I pointed out, I was doing lots of other exciting things, but I found that I enjoyed “talking dirty to adults on Saturday night.” Once I took ownership of the character, I then had incentive get into it. After much consideration in 1998 I felt that I enjoyed the character and the work enough to bring it to the Internet to become the first horror host of the web.

Is Bela Lugosi influence on your work?
OF COURSE!! He was so cool. Dark, suave, deadly and a ladies man. How could not be influenced by the originator of the film version of Dracula. Now I liked Christopher Lee in the Hammer films, but Bela was my model.

What is your favorite horror book?
This is hard to acknowledge, but I don’t read much horror. Actually I don’t have time to read much at all, except on vacation. But, that being said, I really liked the first book in the “True Blood” series.

What is your favorite horror movie?
I HATE this question! So, I’ll answer a different question. “What is your favorite scary movie?” The answer is, “Alien!” Most people classify this as science fiction, but scares come in all genres and no matter how many times I see it, I still get chills.

What books scare you?
The Internal Revenue Service Tax Code!

Would you ever considered acting outside of the horror genre or playing a different character like you did in Don Dohler’s films?
What, you don’t think Don’s films were in the horror genre? As an actor, which I finally realized was my true vocation only a few years ago, I would be delighted to play a lot of different characters….as long as they were challenging.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently changing the focus on the web program. Because all Internet and cable access hosts are limited to showing the same public domain films, I’ve decided to focus more heavily on new, exciting horror, sci-fi and fantasy short films. There’s so much wonderful talent that needs exposure and I have a New Blood Showcase that strives to do that. I still will continue showing the classic “B” movies, but I would like to become a major resource when it comes to new short films.

I’m also introducing a new line of infants Onesies and Toddler T-shorts. I think it’s time I started introducing a new generation to the world of horror hosts.

The concept of hosting a creature features show on the internet is remarkably unique. Fans like me grew up watching Chiller and other shows on television. Do you think it’s better to watch this entertainment whenever you want or to anticipate it coming every Saturday afternoon?
That’s a thought provoking question. It was first raised by Tim Davis, a local special effects expert in the documentary about my career, “Every Other Day Is Halloween.” He really loved the anticipation and therefore was not that excited about 24/7 access. I can certainly appreciate that. But, on the other hand, a person can set up their own sense of anticipation by scheduling to watch my Internet show at the particular time that works best for them. The important this is that my show can now be seen on your big screen TV thanks to easy to use interface devices like the Roku Box and Boxee Box. We are living through rapidly changing world of media opportunities and which is best will be determined by the gods of the market place.

What do you see as the main differences between the classic horror films and the movies being made today?
The main difference is the application of technology and the ability to be more graphic in both violence and sex. But remember, as you look back at the history of all movies, they all reflected the time period in which they were made. Therefore every new generation will make and remake the old stories in ways that will relate to them. We look back and hold up certain old films as ‘classic,’ forgetting that they represent a small fraction of the films made at that particular time and only became ‘classic’ because they struck some sort of resonance with the audience. I think the same thing will happen with today’s films….a few that will be treasured and a lot the will be forgotten.

Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
This is where my ghost writer….if I had one…should come in. But since I don’t have one, I’ll have to do it myself. On reflection there’s not much more I can add because you’ve asked the right questions. In quick summary, I got into the horror hosting as an after thought, I enjoyed doing it and continue enjoying it as new challenges of technology and distribution appear on the horizon. I love watching the growth in horror hosting I see around the USA and even the world and feel privileged to have played a part in it’s very scary history.

My shows can be watched on Roku or Boxee Box through my Vimeo and channels
Dick Dyszel