Erotic House of Idiots - 2003
Produced and Directed by Paul Scrabo
Written by Paul Scrabo and Brinke Stevens
Starring Debbie Rochon, Michael R. Thomas, Conrad Brooks
I am a New Yorker born and growing up in the tri-state area, it was my good fortune to have as my hometown horror host on Chiller Theatre, the one and only cool ghoul himself, Zacherley! Also, I had my parents who were pretty good about letting their kids watch spooky stuff. They loved it too so it was a given that my brother Robert and I would be exposed to the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula and Godzilla.
As a result, there’s nothing more enjoyable for me, than to sit down of an evening with old friends and watch truly frightening horror films. It’s easier on the nerves. Mystery Science Theatre had the right idea, sadly though, none of that lot are as funny as my good mates. Back home I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of three die-hard fans that had many of these films on 16 mm so we’d gather in one basement or another in the wilds of northern New Jersey and settle in for a night of gotchas and laughter that I will forever cherish. Once in LA I found, to my delight, that my WR co-creators Ron and Cris were equally mad for this nonsense and we’d enjoy many “Nights of Piggy Horror” in our cave-like apartment. These were extraordinary debauches of booze, food and screaming actors on the tube.
All this bespeaks an appreciation of horror films and stars old and older: Carradine, Clive, Ankers, Chaney [father and son], Quarry, Karloff, Lugosi, Cushing, Lee, Pitt, Carlson and leave us not forget, the ever-popular Edward D. Wood, Jr. And now I calmly and sincerely add a name to this august roster: Paul Scrabo.
Scrabo’s Dr. Horror is a loving send-up of everything that’s come before, digging into his bag of tricks to produce Wood stock player Conrad Brooks in the hilarious role of retired [though he’d rather not be but he’s resigned to it] horror host Conrad Andrews. His good pal Frank Mannering, charmingly portrayed by Michael R. Thomas, is in need of some fast cash. A case of mistaken identity by Valerie Kenton (Debbie Rochon) leads to a possible way of raising said bucks in short order. Throughout this amusing romp we meet of host of idiots who all make the same mistake Valerie did when they arrive at the suburban home of one Dr. Horace (Robert Collins) where Conrad is now employed as house-sitter. You’ve got to see this to believe it. It’s a hoot. Well-scripted comedy ain’t easy but Scrabo delivers in a more-than-comfortable fashion.
Talented and charming scream queen Debbie Rochon is truly worth a look here. I had no idea she was such a comedienne. There’s a lot to this woman’s work and I hope to see much more of her and soon. Mike Thomas is a man whose abilities range from make-up artist to comedy to musician, lyricist, writer and actor: and a damned fine one at that. At home in front of the camera or behind it, he’s a fine hand in the entertainment business and after all these years I still can’t get enough of him. His drop-dead gorgeous wife Christine shows up in this film as well playing—his wife. Through it all, Paul Scrabo manages to juggle this lot with all the enthusiasm of a dedicated cat herder and the joy of the truly demented. For almost two-and-a-half hours I was glued to this pot-boiler of exploitation. It comes with my highest recommendation: whether you’re a horror fan or not, you must see this film for the camp value alone. It has it all, right down to the fine detail of having Zacherley break into the shot and laugh at us from behind the bushes and wherever else he was lurking as he watches the film and then wanders off in exquisite nonplussed resignation.
This was almost as good as passing the evening in the Basement of the Bruni, only there weren’t any of Ruth’s munchies available between reels. As B movies go, this one rates as B-Plus. Best one I’ve seen in decades. Bravo!