HORROR HOST SPOTLIGHT: Midnite Mausoleum with Marlena Midnite

Welcome to another edition of HORROR HOST SPOTLIGHT, this time covering your cuddly cadaver Marlena Midnite. MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM is one of America’s most beloved horror host television shows that debuted in 2009. While researching horror hosts for a series of articles I came across Marlena and her crew and quickly fell in love with the show. I was also about to meet her, Robyn and Blake multiple times and hanging out with them a little bit was always fun.

In meeting them, it was obvious what a well-oiled machine this group is. They all work very hard, not only on the show itself but also on their merchandising. They offer a wide variety of DVDs, Blu-rays, t-shirts, posters and pictures that can all be had for very reasonable prices and the quality is excellent. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can get this show each week, then I highly recommend it! If you are like me and can’t, then I recommend buying their DVD sets.

Just recently Marlena took some time out of her schedule to answer some questions about her and the show. I really want to thank her as the show and her has always been supportive of me.

David: Growing up, did you have a horror host you watched each week? If so, who was it and why did you like him/her?

Marlena: Svengoolie was on cable locally when I was in my early teens, the first show I saw on a regular basis. Also a later iteration of the Acri Creature Feature ran here around 2006 followed by Zomboo for a couple years. Sven was and is a lot of fun to watch great comedic timing, variety… great stuff all around.

David: What made you decide to become a horror host?

Marlena: In late 2008 my co-producer Blake and I were working on a batch of short comedy bits that were to eventually be compiled to make a movie ala THE GROOVE TUBE or KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE. We came up with the idea to do our own Horror Host show… so 3 months later we built a set and we were rolling.

David: How did you decide on your look?

Marlena: I had the look and name (show and character) decided within a couple weeks – once I had the story (That Marlena was an old silent film star who couldn’t make the transition to “talkies” and was struck down one night while wondering the streets drunk). She made a deal with the grim reaper that she could remain alive but had to live in the cemetery which just happened to be put over an old film burial ground. the look came quite easy with a the autopsy scar there but the very first photo tests also included blue skin tone but we decided against that.

David: Who are some of your all-time favorite horror hosts, past and present, and why?

Marlena: All-Time favorite – Commander USA other favorites include The Bowman Body, Dr, Creep, Dr. Madblood, Sammy Terry. My show is basically modeled after Commander USA’s Groove Movies – he did so much with so little I have several hundred episodes by older TV hosts – more of the Commander than anyone else.

David: What is your favorite part about doing your show?

Marlena: Making props and set design is BY FAR the best part about doing the show for me. The actual shooting of the show itself is not near as much fun as creating props.

David: If you were given the chance to show any movie without paying royalties, what would it be and why?

Marlena: The Dunwich Horror (1970). I love the set design, Dean Stockwell is great in it plus it is based on a great Lovecraft story.

David: How has the pandemic in 2020 affected you and your show?

Marlena: We shot a sum total of 3 episodes in 2020 – but since I have a library of about 250 episodes, that wasn’t really much of a problem.

David: If you could team up with any horror host, past or present, and do a show with them, with whom would you want to do it with?

Marlena: Commander USA – hands down, not sure what it would turn out like but I would give it a shot!

David: You are one of only a handful of hosts who are on an actual network. How did this come about?

Marlena: We have always been “Go Big or Go Home” from our very inception – we were already talking to local television stations within a year of starting. After we stopped doing the public access version of our show in 2013 we signed with the local ABC/MyTV affiliate WQAD in 2014 and that is where we still are today, beginning our 8th year of running opposite Saturday Night Live. Regardless of what people say, it’s not the same as internet hosts – Closed Captioning, Ratings, Advertisers, Music publishing royalties, FCC regulations…lol, not at all the same.

David: Where can you be seen? Is there any chance of syndication?

Marlena: I can’t touch this one… I can answer this in March but let’sjust say we have something big brewing.

I cannot thank Marlena Midnite enough for this interview. If you would like to support her and the show, visit the MIDNITE MAUSOLEUM STORE! Don’t forget to read the other entries in my HORROR HOST SPOTLIGHT series.

~David Albaugh

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