Interview with Angel St. Savant of ANGEL'S ASYLUM
How did your regular internet talk radio program Angel's Asylum get started? What did you have to work with in the beginning and how did it grow since then?
I was an admin to an online horror hosting site and the gentleman that owned it, a horror host himself, had a show on Blog Talk Radio. I didn't even know this existed! I loved hearing people in the horror hosting field come on the show to speak about their lives both on and off their shows. The guy who owned the show asked me to come on as a guest. It was thrilling, both funny and serous at the same time. I was hooked and after being on the show a few times I decided to start my own Blog Talk Radio show. Since I was already immersed into the horror genre from being involved in the website with both a chat room and a hosted movies playing on the site, there was no shortage of guests who wanted to be on the show. I have now moved to other aspects of horror as well to keep diversity flowing and make the show as fresh as possible to keep my listeners engaged. I still ask people to be guests, but many times they write me to be on.
How long have you been a horror fan, and what made you want to pursue a career in the field?
I've been a horror fan since I was a little kid. I especially love the black and white films. Doctor Madblood was my local horror host and because of him and The Bowman Body, another horror host from the central part of Virginia, I was a fan for life. It is amazing how the actors actually made themselves so believable without CGI and gore. I enjoy the Universal Monster Army movies and characters. I don't see them as monsters, I see them as victims of circumstance and they are trying to cope with what's happened to them as best as they can. The only movie that scares me is "Night of the Living Dead". I recently watched the documentary about this film and it was wonderfully explained and amazingly made. Still scares me tho! If you had told me a few years ago that I would be speaking to and actually meeting AND being on a hosted horror show I would have called you crazy but it happened. I think the internet and the people of horror making themselves available to fans was a tremendous turning point for the horror industry. I love the creative minds and hard work that goes into making this industry what it is and just doing it for the love of it. When I heard my first podcast about horror and horror hosts I was completely into research about it and how I could be a part of it.
Night Of The Living Dead was the first horror movie I watched all the way through when I was seven or eight. What speaks to me about it now is its allegory on human greed. What messages about society do you get out of it?
I never really thought past it being a situation I would never want to be in. I think as far as greed is concerned you see different levels of greed, but the way the movie plays out it shows how it means different things to certain characters. Like barricading yourself in the cellar to protect your family versus being on the outside and wanting to use the cellar as well. Is the father greedy or was he justified? I was horrified at the ending as I think many were. The good guy loses his life after such a hard battle. Sadly it happens more in our society than it should. It still makes us feel a variety of emotions. If it had a different ending it may have just been another scary movie and not the icon it became.
Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead touch on similar issues of greed and self-preservation When George Romero made Land Of The Dead he widened the scope and made a statement about terrorism and Bush America. What did you appreciate about his making movies as a vehicle for what he had to say?
First of all, I don't think Mr. Romero is shy about saying and doing anything! I think that's what partly made his movies so great in the sea of horror movies. They all had shock value of course, but storylines were a great part of his movies which gave him the freedom to give his take on issues.
Around then there was a program airing Saturday nights called Chiller Theater that I was able to watch once or twice. Did you ever get a chance to see it?
I lived in Virginia, I had never even heard of Chiller Theater until I started my show. I've had many guests bring it up and I did look at the opening of the show online.
What were your impressions of watching the introduction of Chiller Theater? Did it interest you in watching a few episodes?
There are so many! A couple of intros are quite scary but some are funny as well. I didn't know there were any episodes online but I will look them up. I love watching horror hosts and I have seen quite a few. I know Chiller Theater had cool guests on, those clips I watched and enjoyed a great deal. I will defiantly look up and watch episodes!
Your description of Universal Monster Army reminds me of Troma Entertainment’s horror/comedy The Toxic Avenger. Like the characters in the UMA pictures, Toxie is also a victim of circumstance who makes the best of his situation.
It's been a long time since I watched it but it wasn't his fault he became the Toxic Avenger. I liked it and I think it's great most horror fans know about Troma and Toxie. He is a memorable character.
Why do you think the Toxic Avenger resonates with so many fans of independent horror movies thirty years after its release?
It's just so over the top! One minute you are laughing and the next watching in astonishment with the insane violence exploding on the screen! You know it's fake but the look of it still makes you cringe. Plus I think everyone loves to see the nerdy abused guy get his revenge and this is the perfect movie for that. And the genius of Lloyd Kaufman is brilliant. Toxie will never die. New generations of movie fans are keeping him alive!
The Toxic Avenger was another movie meant as an allegory on society. This one was about Americans’ obsession with body image and fitness, in addition to the obvious statement about the environment. How ironic do you find it that the least “beautiful” character becomes a monster hero?
I think most of us know someone who is gorgeous on the outside but ugly on the inside. And not so attractive but with such a wonderful heart. Rooting for the underdog, abused and bullied is an everyday thing. I like how the poor janitor who unfortunately works at a health club with the perfect people gets his revenge even if it came at a huge price. I'm sure it's something we have all thought of once - irony is what makes this movie a timeless classic and will always be!
Do you ever attend horror conventions and meet people to interview? What local shows are held in your area?
I have attended a few. My favorite con is Monster Fest held in Chesapeake Virginia located in the Chesapeake Public Library on Cedar Road. Run by Rob and Phyllis Floyd, it's a smaller con but more like family and I think that makes it special. You can usually find the likes of Doctor Madblood and Uncle Felonious Madblood along with Debra Burrell who is the Script Continuity Director, The Bowman Body, along with a changing list of horror hosts and horror related authors, film makers and vendors. It's a free event. Unlike some of the larger cons, this one is friendly and engaging. This is actually an all-day event but when night falls the convention turns into a movie marathon where movies, snacks and door prizes are featured.
When it comes to horror, do you prefer supernatural themes or gore/splatter themes?
I appreciate all forms of horror and the hard work that goes into them. I do lean to the supernatural. I think blood and gore has its place in horror movies and always will. But as I stated before I enjoy mostly black and white horror films which typically don't use much.
Would you rather watch a movie with CGI or matte paintings and physical sets? Can CGI be overused in a movie, to the point where it becomes overkill?
Since I love black and white movies, I’m really not a big fan of CGI. It helps get entertainment value made into a big budget film, but I want to see an actor act with his abilities not just props and computer images. Ah yes overkill. I went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and although it was a good film, the CGI used was so intense I had trouble watching it. The artists who work their magic are amazing to create such fantastic but believable images and they deserve credit for such talent. Physical sets and beautiful natural landscapes are great assets as well. My favorite non horror movie is Doctor Zhivago, set during the Russian revolution. Expansive landscapes and hardships help tell the tale. Horror Express comes to mind as well.
What spoke to you about Doctor Zhivago when you saw it for the first time?
I was a small child when I saw it on TV. It was something about Russian scenery and the story placed in the Russian revolution that even as a child lured me in. I've always been interested in historical movies and TV which made me a huge Downton Abbey fan.
What about Horror Express resonates with you in terms of its physical sets?
The train cars were very realistic to watch as the passengers moved from car to car. It was very easy to get caught up in the story with sets and props so attuned to the time period.
What are the advantages of running your own podcast instead of doing a show on traditional radio? On net radio there are fewer restrictions; how does this benefit the show?
The benefit of using a podcast service verses a traditional radio broadcast is tremendous. In a podcast you may set your own time of broadcast as well as record an interview before an actual air date and time and upload it to your service and set the time for broadcast. I can screen my callers before I allow them on air. This is a service available on most regular radio services but the screening is usually done by others before they hit the air. I prefer doing that myself. Now I may remove them from the air and if they come in the chat room I have the ability to block them as well. Also I may set the rating of the show to as high as explicit if I expect things to be a bit more adult than normal. But if you have ever listened to my show, you know things can go crazy very quickly. The shows are archived as well so you may listen at your leisure. As I always say on the show, “I’m open 24/7 for your listening pleasure". Regular radio for the most part is a one-time deal. If you miss it, you may not be able to ever hear it again.
How many podcast sites did you look into before you decided on Blog Talk Radio? How many are out there these days?
There are tons of sites. I couldn't even begin to know how many exist. I only knew about Blog Talk Radio and didn't even look into others because I didn't know anything else, but I know people who do a stand-alone podcast now. I would consider leaving Blog Talk due to the technical problems I have encountered with them if I found something better. But considering they are nationally and commercially stable I want to stay with them. After some guests have been on the show, they have started their own shows and it makes me so happy that the guests had such a great time that they asked me questions and I helped them start their own podcasts.
Where on social media do you get to advertise your podcasts? How many people tune in after hearing of your shows?
Usually Facebook and Twitter but I also send out notifications on Blog Talk and email. It's thousands and lucky for me they share my shows. And all over the planet. Sometimes they write me to introduce themselves. It's crazy to see but I’m lucky to have the best listeners in the world!
How many personalities did you know in internet broadcasting around the time you started? Who were your earliest guests on the show?
I only knew one person doing an internet broadcasting show at the time and that's where it all started. Some of my earlier guests on my show included Rich and Lora Lee Orth and Demon Boy, the late Curt Morley, a hypnotist among many other talents, who performed a fantastic hypnosis show on the air live, horror hosts like Ormsby Host and Nigel Honeybone, ghost hunters, filmmakers, actors like Christopher Inlow and Danny Donovan who really are jacks of all trades in the entertainment industry, and recently Debra Burrell who works on the Doctor Madblood show along with her husband Craig T. Adams. Doctor Madblood has been hosting horror movies for 40 years! Recently Jessica Cameron called in while she was visiting Disneyland! There are so many to mention and they have been wonderful to me and my listeners. I can't thank them enough.
Tell the readers some more about the Doctor Madblood show and the movies that are featured on it?
There is a gentleman named Jerry Harrell who would invent a television creation that has lasted forty years and became an icon for those of us in the area of Hampton Roads. That icon is a retired mad scientist from 13 Idle Hour Road at Madblood Manor in Pungo, Virginia by the name of Doctor Maximillian Madblood. In the early days he would come on after Saturday Night Live on WAVY TV and for Madblood fans even though SNL was funny back then, it was just the show that came on before the good Doctor. It was Doctor Madlood we really wanted to see! The theme song was a popular one at the time, Green Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf. We just thought it belonged to the show and even today many of us think of Doctor Madblood when we hear it. He had a gang of characters who would drop by and brought with them hilarious antics. If this show had never been available, I would have missed being exposed to the Universal Horror Army and could not have fallen head over heels for black and white movies. I like all horror movies and I appreciate them but for me the black and white movies are so pure. Doctor Madblood went on to many other outlets and continues today with a yearly Halloween show shown on WHRO TV. I was lucky to be in the last two tapings! You can catch them online at WHRO.org. Also visit Madblood.net for all things Doctor Madblood and crew. Thank you Mr. Harrell for giving us this wonderful gift.
Anything interesting happen when you appeared in the last two tapings of Doctor Madblood’s show?
Everything surrounding it is interesting! It was surreal to be dancing with people I grew up watching on TV (I'm in the dance scenes). To watch how it's made in bits and pieces and put together so beautifully is a testament to the loyalty of the Madblood crew. So there wasn't anything in itself interesting but the entire experience is a pleasure and a privilege and an honor!
What did you and Debra Burrell discuss when she was interviewed by you?
She graciously called in when a guest didn't show. She and Dale "Uncle Edward" Strebe are such fantastic listeners and call in when a guest doesn't show or it's a call in. Debra and I discussed how filming has changed since the early days of horror movies and public domain issues plaguing horror hosting today.
Talk about some of the work Ormsby Host and Nigel Honeybone have done in the field of horror hosting.
Ormsby Host is a horror host from Mastic, New York; his show is called Cinema Insane. Touted as an "internet sex symbol", Orms and his right hand man John Sheehan have been good to my show. We have had varied topics such as cities that have tried to ban Halloween. It's always a great show when Orms and John come to the Asylum. Ormsby talks about Clone 13 and his mother a great deal when on the show. They have a Youtube channel where you can watch the mad scientist in action! Nigel Honeybone is a dapper horror host from Australia with a show called "The Schlocky Horror Picture Show" created by Graham Garfield Barnard. He has been kind to call into the show all of the way from down under. People love Nigel and he is very knowledgeable on movies and tidbits of trivia and uses it during his shows. He is all you could want in a skeleton - handsome, regal, intelligent, well dressed and well versed in horror!! Both Nigel and Ormby are on Facebook so look them up and enjoy their shows and tell them Angel sent you!
Did you have Rich Orth and Lora Lee Orth on the same podcast? What were the topics of discussion on that show?
Rich has been on a few times with other guests and twice with Lora Lee. The first time they were on we spoke about Rich's book POEtry Girls and hockey. Rich and I were friends on Myspace because we both love Flyers' hockey. Then when Facebook appeared and we met again through hockey we continued the friendship. Rich and Lora Lee are such big hearted and genuine people and it shows in their interviews. We have spoken about a number of subjects including Rich's poetry, hockey, Lora Lee's movie role, Demon Boy the entertainer, and sadly our last show together was used to help their beautiful dog Gia who needed medical help. I would have them on a million times if they would allow it.
How often have you seen your guests go on to start their own podcast shows? Do you have any personal favorites when it comes to Rich’s poems?
There are three right off the bat I can think of. But there are others. My favorite Rich Orth poem is actually a song he did with Demon Boy called "Cemetery Girl". There are many that are phenomenal but that's my all-time fave. He is such a talented person. I encourage everyone to check out his works. He has a love of writing like no other.
How many other poets have guested for interviews whose work you would recommend to the readers?
There may have been other guests that worked on poetry but I didn't realize it since it wasn't their reason for being on the show. There was just one guest that I was aware of that had a poetry show on Blog Talk as well. That guest is Christopher Inlow who had the brainstorm of starting a naughty poetry online show called 2 For Nantucket. It starred Mr. Inlow and someone named Angel Blue - me! It's not really something to read although Christopher does write other types of poetry. This is a show where we write and read naughty poetry and encourage callers to do the same. We have a few shows available and plan to make more in the future.
How long have you and Christopher Inlow done 2 For Nantucket, and where can it be heard on the internet? What sort of racy poetry is read and how many callers usually phone in?
We did a few shows but hope to bring it back. It's at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/2fornantucket. It's usually in the form of a limerick, like "There was a man from Nantucket..." but anything was acceptable we just wanted it funny. There was no usual number of callers; with a show like that you never know.
How many musicians and performing artists have been interviewed by you? When interviewing bands, do you usually play some of their songs?
I've been doing this for five years so there have been many. I do ask them to send samples of their music so the listeners can hear it and purchase it if they like it.
How many bands have sent you samples of their work for your listeners to check out?
Too many to mention. It's such a great vehicle for bands to get their sound out and for their fans to get an inside look into the band members. Please check my archives; they are all listed.
What other guests of note have you interviewed on your show, and what do you and they discuss?
There was a unique and wonderfully entertaining glass artist named Anthony D'Amico from near Washington, D.C. His creations are beyond anything I had ever seen. His interview was something I had never experienced before and haven't since. When the interview began, he spoke as a character he created to give his latest glass show a back story. His art pieces are emotional and disturbing and reflects life at its core. He makes you face reality in a glass piece created to make you feel every part of humanity. Beauty, death, sadness, joy, remembering horrible images we want to forget. Large gummy bears representing the Columbine tragedy, some with guns embedded. 9/11 images hard to see. One of his last creations were a large pair of beautiful wings donated to a charity. His interview is my highest rated show. You can hear his interview on my site in the archives and on his website, manmadeofglass.com. He has a show coming up that is not for the faint of heart. The Corning Museum of Glass named him one of the "Top 100 International Glass Artists". And with good reason. Once you see his amazing works of art, you may never think of life the same way again.
Did you and Anthony D’Amico discuss what inspired his extreme and rather controversial art? The Columbine and 9/11 pieces sound like something he had to approach carefully.
I believe it was partly church experiences with stained glass and a person very near to him that had lost his sight due to an illness. His creations were made so that his friend could touch them and the images were raised so he could "read them". Mr. D'Amico is fearless when it comes to his art pieces. He provokes emotions we try to hide away but his works of art won't let you. His work is who he is. He opens himself up and gives us all there is.
Do you get more of an audience when interviewing musicians, artists or poets? Or does it vary according to who you feature?
It varies with the guests. Some that are well known of course bring higher listens but for the most part the listeners enjoy my show so they listen anyway. I've had all types of guests but categories don't seem to matter.
Is there anyone you would like to have as a guest on future podcasts? What are your immediate plans for the show?
Anyone is welcome on the show as long as they are not threatening. I haven't had any sports figures and I would enjoy that so much! Hockey is my favorite sport but I love it all. Maybe anyone from The Walking Dead or Stephen King or just the guy who loves horror and has a great collection. You don't have to be world famous to be on the show and I'm always looking for guests. Contact me on Facebook (Angel St. Savant) or Twitter @sweetvoiceangel and join me. My guests say they have a blast so come join the fun! I want to continue the show as long as I keep it interesting. I'd love to get into voice work and expand my show. I've had some offers but it wasn't the right time. You can hear my previous shows in the Blog Talk archives www.blogtalkradio.com/angelsasylum 24/7 for your listening pleasure. If you have any ideas let me know.