Kenosha horror hosts Deadgar Winter and Storm Winter sit on a couch in a room filled with spooky decorations on the show Deadgar's Dark Coffin Classics.

A New Documentary Captures Kenosha’s Zany Horror Hosts

‘I’m Your Host’ will premiere at the Twisted Dreams Film Festival at Times Cinema on Oct. 20.

Horror hosts — creepy, kooky characters that appear on network TV, cable or the internet to introduce and screen old horror B-movies — have an entire subculture of their own. Famous personalities such as Vampira, Elvira and Svengoolie gained legions of fans through spooky, campy presentations. 

These programs began on local broadcast channels, but the internet allowed shows shot in basements and spare rooms with homemade sets to spread across the country, including southeastern Wisconsin.

The city’s horror host scene is explored in the new documentary I’m Your Host, the inspiration for which came about when Milwaukee journalist Tea Krulos noticed an unusually high concentration of horror host shows in Kenosha — including Dr. Destruction’s long-running “Crimson Theater,” Deadgar Winter’s “Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics,” Uncle Wolfman’s “Nightmare Cinema,” and “witch sisters” Morgan and Celeste Parker’s “Hexen Arcane.”

“For the city of Kenosha to be the site of four different horror host shows is really extraordinary,” Krulos said. He wrote about this remarkably eerie community for the October 2021 issue of Milwaukee Magazine, on which the documentary is based.


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“When I was working on that story, I got to visit a couple of horror hosts on their set,” Krulos said. “It really struck me how visual the story is. It’s all about their costumes, props and sets. I thought it would make for a good, short documentary.”

Krulos didn’t have filmmaking experience, but through a friend, he was introduced to Alicia Krupsky, who did.  

“We met up and talked about it, and she was really into the idea,” Krulos said. “We started to set up interviews with some of the people who I had talked to and some people who didn’t really fit into the article but would fit into the documentary.” Krupsky directed the film, with Krulos and Christopher Kai House producing.

What began as a look at a group of quirky, creative horror fanatics who sometimes have rivalries took a turn when Deadgar Winter, played by Curt Meyer, died from COVID-19 in 2021. The hosts put aside their differences to mourn his loss, and his fiancee, Storm Winter, started her own show, Storm’s Eclectic Realm.

“It was a very difficult moment,” Krulos said about Meyer’s death. “We shot the interview with him in mid-October, and he got COVID in November and passed away in early December. We got the last interview with him. It was just very shocking. I have this good memory of being at his house in October, and after we were done shooting, we were having pizza and drinks and having a great time. And less than two months later, he was gone.”

The documentary also has its share of happy moments, such as capturing Dr. Destruction’s induction into the Horror Host Hall of Fame.

One of the first shoots for the film turned out to be a favorite for Krulos. “Dr. Destruction often shoots his show on the set of a haunted house he has at the Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm in Kenosha,” he said. “We got to spend the day on the pumpkin farm and got some great footage. We followed a couple of people through the haunted house, and we did an interview with Dr. Destruction.

“We did some interviews on some other horror hosts’ sets, and we also got to talk to the people at Kenosha Community Media, a cable access station. Even the mayor of Kenosha was gracious enough to give us a short interview.” 

The 90-minute documentary, which took nearly two years to complete, will premiere at the Twisted Dreams Film Festival at 9 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Times Cinema (5906 W. Vliet St.). Ticket info can be found at the festival’s website. A free, horror host-themed after-party will be held at Bay View Bowl (2416 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) at 11 p.m.

A Kenosha screening at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Student Center Cinema (930 Wood Rd., Kenosha) will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. Ticket info will be shared via the screening’s Facebook event page.

“Beyond that, we are hoping to submit it to other film festivals, both horror-themed and other film festivals as well,” Krulos said. “Eventually, it will be uploaded so that it can be viewed online.” 

Krulos said he relished the opportunity to work on the documentary. “It was a very interesting learning experience and a change of pace from writing, for sure,” he said. “We were hanging out with horror hosts, and that’s just naturally fun.”



Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.