Yesterday, My lovely friend, fellow horror author and DBH staff member Eric Polk, made a post about the connections between his hometown of Pittsburgh and the horror scene. Seeing as I am from Cleveland, a mortal enemy of all things Pittsburgh , I feel I must rebuttal his post in a "frenemy" kind of way.
One cannot talk about horror and Cleveland without mentioning the city's greatest export, the legendary Wes Craven. Wes created some of the most iconic characters in horror history, namely Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. Freddy has terrorized our dreams and television screens since the 80's and is still a viable and recognizable character. Taking place in Ohio, the Nightmare on Elm Street films are one of the most successful horror franchises in history. spawning plenty of sequels, a fight with Jason, and an unfortunately terrible remake. At the time the original film was released, it was a one of a kind experience not like any slasher made before it and appealed to audiences all over the US. It was shocking, terrifying, and introduced us to one of the finest actors ever (both literally and figuratively), Mr. Johnny Depp.
Craven's second most recognizable character was from a 90's slasher unlike any other, Scream. The reason I say it was one of a kind is because it was bold and in your face. The opening scene stayed in my mind long after the film was over and the entire film, the killer was in your face, then he are led to believe it was someone else only to find out we were right the whole time. It was a twist within a twist. The Ghostface character is not only legendary, but is still to this day one of the top selling costumes around Halloween. Not to mention that I am forever in love with Billy and Stu (fan girl moment, those two are fucking HOT).
One also cannot talk about horror and Cleveland without mentioning our hometown ghost host with the most, Ghoulardi. Played by Ernie Anderson, Ghoulardi's late night "Shock Theater" thrilled, chilled, and entertained Ohioans and Clevelanders from January 13, 1963 through December 16, 1966. For those three years, he was literally the biggest thing in Cleveland. Merchandise couldn't stay stocked, kids would carry Ghoulardi lunch boxes and wear Ghoulardi T-shirts to school. His unique Jazz-inspired coolness and the fact that he was never pre-recorded and alway live made him an instant hit. Censors were always cautious because no one knew what he would say next. Years after he signed off, he is still a large fixture in Cleveland History and has even inspired other Cleveland Horror Hosts "The Ghoul" and "Son of Ghoul" both using similar trademarks and outfits, but never matching his suave demeanor and talent.
Cleveland has a lot of great horror culture and celebrates it in yearly conventions such as Cinema Wasteland, The Cleveland Zombie Walk, and Ghoulardifest. To all the horror fans hailing form the Buckeye State, in the words of the great Ghoulardi, Stay Sick!