TV EPISODE REVIEW: HORROR HUNTERS (Pilot Episode)
I love to collect unique memorabilia… As I have gotten older and without a doubt more engrained within the deep dark corners of horror, I find myself going away from collecting everything for the sake of having it, to being more selective on items that are irreplaceable and offer a connection to me deep inside my dark heart. My collection spans from blades signed and held by legends to orbs crafted with my radio shows logo to 8MM film cans signed by masters of horror to poster art by the deceased. Each item holds a place on my wall, displayed on my shelves and/or framed for those to enjoy! By no means do I consider myself any sort of series collector. I just enjoy what I have while I have it. For me, if it is not personal, then why collect it? For so many reasons including the love of horror, the uniqueness and originality of the items as well as the people behind it, I cannot stop singing the praises of the new horror collectors program HORROR HUNTERS on ShoutFactoryTV.com.
Offering a digital platform of programming from different decades of pop culture, sci-fi, cult cinema and horror, ShoutFactoryTV offers content that is as nostalgic, incredible and as diverse as the fans who tune in. In the style of AMERICAN PICKERS, HOLLYWOOD TREASURE, TOY HUNTERS and ODDITIES, HORROR HUNTERS take the love, possession and understanding of the personal side of horror and conveys in a way that not only puts a smile on your face but spark in you of admiration. Hosted and produced by screenwriter and horror collector Adam Rockoff (Remake of “I Spit on our Grave” and “Wicked Lake”) and Rondo Hatton Award winning writer, author, editor and actor “Dr. AC” Aaron Christensen (“Dead Weight” and formerly of “HorroHound Magazine”), HORROR HUNTERS is a near 25 minute visual presentation filled with wit, knowledge, art and a personal touch where both Adam and Aaron not only discover different collections but offer to trade parts of their collection for a key item they find.
In the pilot episode of HORROR HUNTERS, we follow Adam and Aaron to the local horror area around Chicago and we meet two very different and lifelong horror memorabilia collectors. First, we visit the tattooed, quiet and Frankenstein obsessed Phil Meenan, then the book seller, writer, columnist for HORRORHOUND MAGAZINE and the head of KitleysKrypt.com Jon Kitley. Through the lens of DP Joseph Fitzgerald we are offered a special treat as camera pans around both of their sanctuaries to not only find decades of Frankenstein memorabilia that Phil has amassed but also a working Jacob’s Ladder, a Frankenstein pinball machine, a variety of movie posters, a macabre painting of the classic Frankenstein monster but also learn of Phil’s homage to the incarnations of the monster all over his body. Adam and Aaron talk with Phil about his passion for Frankenstein through the decades and the impact he has had on him. Adam and Aaron explore the interruptions of the classic movie monster through studios and directors like UNIVERSAL, HAMMER, the film FRANKENHOOKER and more modern day. Feeling confident in themselves, Adam and Aaron offer parts of their collection themed for the monster to trade for a variety of cult and classic Frankenstein pieces from Phil’s very extensive collection. Do they succeed in making the trades for the items they want? You must watch and see…
After the duo leaves Phil’s home, they head from the very focused love and reverence of Frankenstein to the infamous Jon Kitley and his dwelling known as “The Krypt”. We enter a world of horror heaven that spans decades covering everything from the Cenobites to classic movie monsters to Italian horror autographs to volumes of horror books and so much more! As Aaron puts it, “Your synapsis is firing right, left and sideways!” Upon moving around Jon collection, we learn that Adam has brought a one-of-a-kind framed piece to trade with Jon for another very limited piece. Aaron, being a bit of goof ball, brings a creature to match the legendary screams of “The Tingler”! In between the confessional style commentary throughout the episode on their feelings, thoughts and emotions connected to the collections they are visiting as well as the knowledge and trades they are a part of, we learn some background on a variety of items adding another key aspect to the overall program.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy this program each time I view it on ShoutFactoryTV. Knowing Aaron for a while now and getting to know Adam, this is an authentic product they are bringing to you. Unlike many of these reality picker shows, HORROR HUNTERS creates a good, old fashion fun time and connection to just about anyone who is willing to take a chance. It offers such a niche set of topics but is balanced out by a very effective human interest side revolving around the collectors as well as the hosts. Not only does it show quality humor ad conversations but it offers the idea of trade instead of purchasing which for me was such a part of my childhood with baseball cards, VHS, comics and Garbage Pail Kid Cards. This incredible and dream like canvas of horror collectibles runs the gauntlet of so many sub-genres of horror, decades of creative talent, artistic development and movie making magic in under thirty minutes! It opens a door for fans and newcomers to everything you love, seek and find at conventions, flea markets, expos, galleries, small shops and more that makes these events and gatherings so special. As mentioned earlier, Cinematographer Joseph Fitzgerald along with the variety of camera operators do a tremendous job to give a us such a perspective of the collections before us. The minds behind HORROR HUNTERS are knowledgeable and understand what to feature. An example especially is in Phil’s house with the working and dangerous Jacob’s Ladder and the special canvased painting of Frankenstein. Both of these items have a awe about them, a fear, a danger and a bit of humor as we see with Phil and Adam.
The overall program’s edit tells a few tight stories through the crafting of editors Michael Buhrow and David Sarno. In post-production, a lush canvas of color, texture and images are cultivated and hook you in each horror collector’s domain. From Aaron’s goofy personality, humorous smile and positive reaction to Adam’s pulsing energy, drive and wonder towards each item he comes across, feel like you are one of the gang. Even Jon and Phil are treated with such a respect through the collections they have amassed but even more through the knowledge they contain.
Whether you are fan of horror in all its dark corners or just interested in cool memorable or just looking for an alternative to the collector/picker shows, HORROR HUNTERS finds a connection for all. I can only hope that show is picked up and that we see not only the human interest aspect develop more but we see the scope of the collections and locations grow as well. Both Adam and Aaron are tremendously personable, knowledgeable and offer intangibles that don’t come off cocky and shifty but truly interested and showing a piece of childhood in the interaction, reaction and satisfaction we see whether a trade is completed or denied. Check it out right now for free on ShoutFactoryTV.com and realize that we all have a hunter in us…
(Images found on Yahoo)
Review by Jay Kay @JayKayHorror on Twitter
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