Howl at the Wolfman

Good afternoon, dear hearts. A new host is resurrecting the horror airwaves, succeeding the ghoulish Detroit television host of the past, Sir Graves Ghastly. His name is Wolfman Mac, a guy known as Mac Kelly in the daylight.

Saturday, Sept. 19, began the second season of his television show, “Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-In.”

Broadcast on My TV20 Detroit Saturdays at midnight, the Chiller Drive-In plays long forgotten “B” horror and sci-fi movies. Mac unearths them from the dusty film vault and perks them up; adding between portions of the movie skits performed by his creepy cast, retro commercials, music videos and various submissions by Wolfman fans.

Chiller Drive-In was formerly known as “Nightmare Sinema,” and was originally produced in Warren, Michigan. Now that the Wolfman has grown to become a Halloween household name, Mac and the crew have moved their studios to Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac.

Filming at “the world’s largest walk-thru haunted house” gives them more space and access to elaborate their props and set. Mac said to expect “new set designs with more monsters and more cobwebs” in a “creepier” second season. This season they will also be featuring local bands, who will play on set in their newly-built nightclub called, “Zombie a Go Go.”

On Saturday, Sept. 26, Chiller Drive-In is playing “Zontar: The Thing from Venus.” It is a 1966 made for television movie about an alien from Venus, named Zontar, who comes to Earth for world domination. It is a remake of the Roger Corman film, “It Conquered the World.”

In May 2009 Real Detroit Weekly named Chiller Drive-In “Best ‘retro’ local TV program” and it was also named “Best local television show” by the MetroTimes in 2008.

Since moving to TV20 in March 2008, the Wolfman reaches 1.9 million viewers in the metro Detroit area. Of the 800,000 people watching television Saturdays at midnight, 25 percent are tuned into Chiller Drive-In, Mac said.

In a description of the show, Mac said, “Our horror television show is a cross between ‘The Munsters,’ any sitcom on TV right now and the old horror host flavor.” A cast of zany characters joins him every Saturday. The show is geared toward the featured movie, but in breaks between the movie, a second sub-plot is played out in campy skits by the cast.

Some of the characters in the show are: “Boney Bob,” Mac’s skeletal sidekick with a quick tongue; “Professor M. Balmer,” a mad scientist responsible for some of the “gone-wrong” cast creations like “Sheldon the Monster”; “Rubella,” a self-described “50s-sex-kitten-Lady Frankenstein” and “Morbid Melvin,” a big kid at heart known for his signature outfit of suspenders, a bowtie and a propeller hat.

The original bare-bones cast was formed after Mac posted an ad on Craig’s List seeking people to star in his new show concept. The group that turned out was an eccentric bunch without professional acting experience, just a love for the horror way.

Morbid Melvin, played by Adam Showers, thinks working on the show is great. His 2-year- old son even has his own propeller hat.

“One day he’ll show the show off to his friends or I’ll blackmail him with it,” Showers said.

Mac first dreamt up the show as a little boy. He grew up watching “Sir Graves Ghastly” and “The Ghoul” and decided he wanted a similar show. Years later, he turned his childhood dream into a living nightmare by starting the show with no money or equipment in July 2007.

The show’s popularity has grown so much within the last two years that Wolfman Mac and the cast are in popular demand for appearances in the Detroit area.

He will be at the opening of Erebus Haunted House Friday, Sept. 25. On Halloween night, Saturday, Oct. 31, Wolfman Mac is standing in as Reverend Wolfman Mac as he officiates the unholy matrimony of seven couples at Erebus.

Afterward, he is hosting the Crofoot’s “Creepy Cheapy Halloween Treat” at the Crofoot Ballroom at 8 p.m. There will be music by bands like the Von Bondies, Prussia, the Javelins and more. Admission is $5 and patrons are encouraged to wear a costume for the “God-Awful” costume contest.