Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture


Part one of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON HORROR THEATER is online now! Featuring music from Doctor Senator and The Hellblinki Sextet, plus a short film about Jack The Ripper, vintage animation from Wladislaw Starewicz, excerpts from a film by Spike Nesmith, and loads and loads of extra-creepy-coolness.

This is the first half of our two-part valentine to the cheesy horror movie hosts of my childhood. We shot in front of the green screen at LiveMix Studio, and I was very lucky to assemble a cast of talented actors to help me pull this off.

First of all we had Chelsea Cook, who plays “Celeste, the Zombie Supermodel.” Chelsea is the official Barista of RFC, and has done animation intros on the show before. She’s also starred as “Kitty Killton” in a series of films by Scott Elkins, which have a growing worldwide cult following.

“The Kid” is amazing. There’s nothing more gratifying for a director, especially one who barely bothered to write a script, to have an actor who instantly “gets” the material and turns in a killer performance.

Scott Elkins was to have been involved in this show, but was called away by a family emergency at the last minute. We had a ton of fun, and still want to get Scott in on the act, so we may do another one of these “Horror Theater” shows in a few months.

I recruited Liz McCormick for the show after seeing her as “Mathilda” in the recent CYAC production, “Jack The Ripper.” Liz was great in the show, and was a real trooper coming in and getting zombified on short notice. “Jack The Ripper” which also numbered RFC Big Shot Melanie Larch, Symphony Idol winner Ryan Hardiman, and No Pants Players mainstay Kevin Pauley among its ultra-talented cast, played a big part in this episode of RFC, as you’ll see later.

Liz was also in Robert Haddy’s short film “First Date,” which aired on the Chillers channel on Direct TV last year. We talk briefly about her experience making a horror movie on the show. Very briefly.

This talented kid will make it big someday, and then I’ll be able to fund my retirement by blackmailing her with this video.

Our final zombie in this episode is RFC Big Shot Brian Young, co-owner of LiveMix Studio, and one of my best friends for the past two decades. Brian and I used to do comedy bits for the old radio incarnation of RFC, and it was a kick getting to work in front of the camera with him after all these years.

Brian plays “Ron Birkston,” a name I pulled out of thin air while we were doing this bit for the show. “Ron” is the leader of a Kajagoogoo tribute band from Mercer county called “GooGooGaGa.”

That name came from RFC Big Shot Melanie Larch, who you’ll get to see meet up with the zombies in our next episode. The voice and attitude are pure Brian.

That thing sitting on my head is Marvin The Wonder Pelt, who was last seen in RFC 40, our April Fool’s show.

You’ll get to see more zombie green screen action next week, when part two of Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater goes online. If I can get it finished on time, we may show it at the RFC Halloween Party, this Saturday.

Also on this show we have music from Doctor Senator and The Hellblinki Sextet.

Doctor Senator treats us to “Avenue A Is A B-Side,” recorded at the most recent Bridge event in Davis Park in Charleston. This marks three consecutive episodes where we’ve featured music taped that day.

This was the first time Doctor Senator played this song live. One of the reasons I try to catch Doctor Senator every chance I can is that they’re constantly introducing new originals and covers to the mix.

Annie, Travis and John are planning to participate in the Jam Session at the RFC Halloween party, so come out and tell them you saw them on the show. Even with an evolving line-up (they’re looking for a bass player) Doctor Senator consistently puts on one of the best shows in town.

We last saw The Hellblinki Sextet on RFC 49 a couple of months ago when Valerie tore through the Italian revolutionary song “Bella Ciao.”

This time this North Carolina band’s leader, Andrew, sings, and plays guitar and drums (at the same time) on “Don’t Go Down To The Woods,” which is perfect for Halloween.

Brad also plays drums on this tune, while Valerie plays accordian, and Hurricane’s own Rodney turns in an astonishing bass solo. I can’t rave enough about how great this band is. They’ve got an eclectic sound that recalls early Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo and Andy Prieboy, with a dash of Hasil Adkins-style insanity thrown into the mix.

They’re coming back to the Blue Parrot December 10, and I’m looking forward to seeing them without the burden of protecting my cameras from their loyal, but wound-up, crazy-dancing fans.

Our animation on the show this time is another clip from “The Mascot,” which you can find more of over at the RFC TV Archive page.

The short film “The Ripper” could not have been made without the kind indulgence of The Contemporary Youth Arts Company, director Dan Kehde, and the cast and crew of the recent (and excellent) musical production of the original Scarpelli/Kehde musical “Jack The Ripper.”

This was an incredible show, filled with amazingly talented people, and luckily many of them agreed to let me briefly hijack their production for the sake of a cheap fart joke.

Legendary DJ Spike Nesmith contributes a short film of the former State Mental Hospital at Weston, which you can see during the end credits. Many thanks to The Spikester for letting us use this cool bit of video.

I have to correct a couple of omissions in the credits. I accidentally left out the name of our second unit director, Sergei Eisenstein, when I put together the credits. Sergei was invaluable in shooting the baby carriage footage in “The Ripper.”

I also forgot to mention that Chelsea Cook, with some help from Melanie Larch, crafted our zombie make-up. I was so impressed by her performance in RFC 54 (and in 55) that my brain was overloaded and I left out her make-up credit.

There you have the notes for episode 54 of Radio Free Charleston.

Below are the end credits, so you can keep score at home. Tune in next week for the second half of “Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater” with music from Go Van Gogh and Under The Radar, plus a short film by Rich Allen!

1 Comment

  1. Elvis Capone

    The picture showing the girl painting flesh-colored makeup onto the superwhite guy’s neck is cool.

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