Some of your favorite creeps getting together for Halloween.
Sid = Hollywood Chapter Leader, David = UK Chapter member, Mort = Horror Drunx Founder, Captain Sensible (not in this picture), photo by Eric Cadin (Hollywood Chapter Menber)
Some of your favorite creeps getting together for Halloween.
Sid = Hollywood Chapter Leader, David = UK Chapter member, Mort = Horror Drunx Founder, Captain Sensible (not in this picture), photo by Eric Cadin (Hollywood Chapter Menber)
In December 2002, a light bulb went on over Horror Drunx founder Mortimer A. London's head. The idea was simple enough: Mort's friends would photograph him drinking a 40 oz. beer, during daylight, at as many horror movie sites as possible, then post the images on the web. After posting a series of shots that included a toast at Bela Lugosi's grave, Mort was flooded with requests for Horror Drunx shirts, buttons and thongs.
Soon, photos alone didn't satisfy Mr. London. For instance, there was a bout with worms, caused by drinking a mixture of beer and dirt from the Evans City Cemetery in Pennsylvania, a shoot location for the original Night of the Living Dead. Then, after viewing the Dawn of the Dead remake, a disgusted London decided to start a group that openly opposed horror movie remakes. This led to the first Horror Drunx chapter being formed in 2004.
Four years later, the organization consists of over 60 chapters with more than 65,000 members and associates. The Horror Drunx are now also active in many horror-related areas besides opposing horror film remakes. Enjoy this interview with Mortimer A. London, then learn even more by visiting www.TheHorrorDrunx.com.
Horror Garage: That's a great picture of you on the site. What happened?
Mortimer A. London: Oh, the one where I'm all beat up and bloodied? Usually I don't talk about it, but the truth of the matter is I don't remember. I can extrapolate what happened from the various clues left me and tales told by those who witnessed the incident, but that is an imperfect science. Was alcohol involved? Yes. Were insane amounts of alcohol involved? You betcha, Tiger.
The clues are it was the day after Halloween, so knowing me I probably got pissed off at some pumpkin kicking amateur class King For A Day Halloween ruiners. Whatever really happened, I was told that several people in a group got me angry enough that I punched them repeatedly in the fist with my face. This doesn't surprise me, because I like when the odds are against me -- it makes me stronger and I fight even harder. I was also told that they looked a lot worse than I did when it was over, and I can sleep well at night knowing that I ruined Halloween for several Halloween ruiners.
But it's a great picture, isn't it? That picture alone has gotten the Mort Man some amazing tail on more than one occasion.
Horror Garage: Can you please give a brief history of The Horror Drunx? Who, what, where when, why...?
Mortimer A. London: Well, the name itself started off as a obscure reference that only me and a few close friends got... Think back, and one thing that almost all of the great horror movies have in common, is there is a drunk in them. They need the drunks to have a story. Without the drunks, Dr. Frankenstein would have had no one to slip a few schillings to go steal body parts someplace... Boris Karloff's monster would never have had the chance to say "Wine Goooood!"... Dracula would have no one to protect his coffin in daylight hours... Henry Hull would have no one to rent him a room in The Werewolf of London... Edward Lionheart wouldn't have had a posse in Theatre of Blood... There wouldn't be any drunk misbehaving teenagers for the guy in the mask with a knife to kill... No one for Jerrod to get to work for him in the House of Wax. It goes on and on...
Also, if it wasn't for the drunks in horror movies, there would be no one for the authorities to sweat the truth out of in the last reel and tip them off to where the monster is hiding. And those villagers would never have the guts to form a drunken belligerent mob and storm the castle with torches if it wasn't for booze. Basically, without the drunks there would be no horror movies. They need them to succeed. Horror movies also need the drunks for comedy relief because they don't take themselves seriously like the Burgomasters and the Van Helsing types. So, the drunks are the great unwashed masses and the unsung and completely necessary element of all good horror movies.
Also, going right along with that, there is a lot of snobbery, greed and elitism in the horror community and we were sick and tired of that mentality. We are the antithesis of that. So we chose a name that all those types of people would immediately look down on because we don't want those people around trying to get involved with us and buzz killing our good time. And we also wanted a name that would underline that we were the bad kids of horror. So yeah, that is why we are called what we are. We changed the name to "Drunx" and invented that word to differentiate it from specifically being all about booze. We trademarked the word so we can make it mean anything we damn well want it to mean. Horror movies is our main intoxicant, our "anti-drug" as it were. There are sober Drunx as well as the alcoholic variety, just like the rest of society. Me personally, yeah I likes me a drink once in awhile. So it was just me and some friends, getting together and loving to watch horror movies and having a drink or two. That is how it started. I know all of our imagery seems to be booze-oriented, but the truth is every time I see a monster holding a booze it still makes me laugh. It's the joke that never gets old because there is always a new twist on the punch line.
Horror Garage: According to the manifesto on your web site, The Horror Drunx are against horror movie remakes and sequels. What kind of heat has the organization taken for this? Extrapolating this, are you also against remakes and sequels outside of the horror genre?
Mortimer A. London: The only real heat we've gotten is from the horror newbies and horrorfannys that haven't developed any good taste in films yet and don't know their ass from a hole in the ground, so we consider the source. Well, that and there are a few unoriginal hack filmmakers that no doubt wish we weren't around to piss on their remake parade. Big time! The anti remake thing is general rule to live by, because you have to look at who historically makes them...
1. Some studio assigns a remake to some new producer or director that doesn't fully know their craft yet, but the studio knows that a remake has a pre-sold title, so even if the film ends up sucking they'll make their money back on the opening weekend if the ad campaign is big enough. Meanwhile, the director or producer is probably not a horror fan at all, and is only doing it because someone finally gave them the money to make a movie.
2. Remakes are made by hacks who can't come up with an original idea to save their own lives but have somehow found funding. They are not fans of the genre, and think that everyone who is must be a idiot mouth breather and that's who they gear them towards. So they make some crappy exploitive remake because they know they can turn a quick buck and get rich off the rubes.
3. Very rarely are remakes done by accomplished and talented filmmakers, because those people are too busy making well-crafted, intelligent, good films. The only exception is someone like Peter Jackson who loves the genre and has a burning desire to remake their favorite film of all time and show it the respect it deserves. That is why his version of King Kong makes our tiny list of acceptable remakes, but that is a major exception to the rule.
It seems like most remakes that are any good were made in the 1950s or earlier. That's for a reason. People were more likely to be artists and craftsmen then, not someone out for a quick buck.
And yes, we are against remakes of all genres, not just horror, for all the same reasons listed above. Remakes are almost always done by someone who is in effect saying, "The original film and all the people who made it suck, therefore it should be remade," which shows no respect to the original filmmakers or the public that embraced the original film.
We don't take credit for being the first people who don't like remakes, but the general rule was people just shrugged and accepted it, putting up with the crap. We don't accept it, won't put up with it, and are the first that had the attitude to become very loud and vocal about that fact. We've seen the world change for the better since we've made our stand and a lot of people who were quiet about it before have realized that they can have a voice now. We welcome them to stand beside us: BOYCOTT HORROR MOVIE REMAKES. A hit to the bank account is the only thing the money grubbing hacks understand.
Horror Garage: A lot of the ideas in your Manifesto seem to be very similar to some of the ideas found in punk rock circles. Is this a happy coincidence, or was punk's philosophy the foundation that the Horror Drunx Manifesto was built on?
Mortimer A. London: No, we based our Manifesto on having scruples and doing the right thing. You have to stand for something and having scruples is a good place to start. The fact that we are loud and activists about it is what made it political and sociological... That is the major thing that we have in common with the punk rock movement... The old ways didn't work and made a mess of things, so lets try this new way.
Horror Garage: Do you find you draw a large segment of your membership from the punk community, or more a diverse cross section of horror fans?
Mortimer A. London: Across the board, our membership is pretty diverse. The people who get it, get it and the people who don't, don't. Just like the people who like rainy days instead of days at the beach sunbathing, or pistachio ice cream instead of vanilla. We realize we aren't for everyone though and don't try to be, because who wants that? Most of THEM are the people who made the horror community suck to begin with. 99% of anything you can mention sucks, it is only the cream that rises to the top. If we wanted to make a fast buck, which we don't -- we are self-funded and do it because it is something we believe in -- or just wanted to do it as a vanity thing to get our names out there -- which we don't, that is why so many of us use aliases... it is about the bigger picture, not the individual or who has the biggest memorabilia collection -- we may as well call ourselves Rue Morgue Magazine or Fangoria.
Horror Garage: How are some of the ways that The Horror Drunx seek to educate the public as mentioned in the Manifesto?
Mortimer A. London: The public can only be educated so much to the causes the The Horror Drunx care about. To become more educated, they would have to care about the subject matter as much and as passionately as we do, and the truth is -- that for the most part -- they don't. We realize that. So all we can do is what we do, write articles, tell the truth, and try to get into the general consciousness. We don't just do it by taking a very public stand and talking loudly because listening to that gets old fast. Zealots are annoying, and we try to not take ourselves that seriously all the time -- we do, after all, have a sense of humor about ourselves or we wouldn't be called "The Horror Drunx." So, we often get our message across through humor, and we do it through audacious acts that make people say "Oh-my-gosh! Did they do what I think they just did?!" Horror movies are, after all, about fun for us, even if we do take our fun seriously.
A very wise person once told me that if you want to effect change, you have to do it from the inside. If we yelled and screamed and carried protest placards outside the some movie studio gates or corporate building, the people that worked there would either find another way around us or use us for publicity of some kind. Even then, once they are inside those corporate buildings with their soundproofing and double-paned glass, they aren't going to hear our screaming voices once they get in the elevator and ride up a couple floors. If you reeeeeally want to change things, you put on your camouflaged disguise, you get a job at that corporation, and you do an honest days work to quietly change things from within. That is another reason why you see a lot of the writers on www. TheHorrorDrunx. com and a lot of our members using aliases.... You would be surprised who some of them really are, and how many are already effecting change from within. Plus the fact that we can be pretty political in our stances on certain "studio products" and "studio operating procedures" -- if a lot of the people at those studios could identify our members that work there changing things from within, they probably wouldn't be working there very long. People fear change. Egos become involved. And anytime finance and money enters the equation, people's assholes always slam shut, especially the greedy tight asses.
Horror Garage: You're very careful to distinguish between The Horror Drunx and "drunks". Can you make this distinction more clear? Does someone HAVE to drink alcohol to be involved with The Horror Drunx?
Mortimer A. London: No. As I said earlier, "Drunx" is our own word and we have created our own meaning for it. "Drunx" is more about a very complicated concept that must be grasped. "Drunks" is more about a physical act and substance abuse, which if that was all we were based on our members would have said "fuck this" the first morning after when they were suffering from a hangover. We wouldn't have lasted very long and wouldn't have grown as large. Yes, you can be on the wagon and not drink if you are a Horror Drunx... The one wagon we are ALL on is the Horror wagon. No, you don't have to drink booze at all to be a Horror Drunx, but sometimes it just helps [laughs].
Horror Garage: By the looks of things, you actually have some excellent organizational and administrative skills. How do you juggle so many balls at once?
Mortimer A. London: I have no more balls than any other fella. Just mine are made of brass, and you know if you've been swatted across the nose with them. But seriously, when things started, I didn't know what I was in for. It turned out that there were a LOT of people out there that felt the same way, and we were embraced by like-minded people far and wide. Now with over 60 chapters world wide and 65,000 members or whatever it is, it is a chore to keep up with it all sometimes, and I've had to teach myself to wrangle it all. But I do it because I love it, I love horror movies, and I enjoy spreading the word. Other people have likened me to the Johnny Appleseed of the horror community, whatever that means. I just supply the forum for other people to organize and act out irresponsibly, I guess.
Horror Garage: Each individual chapter has its own specific MySpace page, but there's definitely a common "vibe" that ties the chapters together. For instance, many chapters' pages contain images of horror movie posters that manage to include beer in them. Is there one guy/girl who cranks out art for all the chapters, or are there just "presentation guidelines" the chapters follow? If guidelines apply, what are some of them?
Mortimer A. London: Usually when we okay an application for a new chapter leader or a new chapter, I tell people to go nuts and make the page their own. Put their own slant on it and individualize it for their city, country, or region. The only thing that I'm a real stickler on is that they all use the same unique logo for "THE HORROR DRUNX". That in itself will give it a common thread. Default art that features a movie made in that town or area is encouraged too...
It is a take pride in your own areas contribution to the horror world thing. Like for the Russian chapter, we didn't use a movie, but we had an idea of using a picture we found of Stalin in his coffin and put a bottle of Russian vodka in his hand and the Russian chapter leader loved the idea. For the Japan chapter they did a photo of the girl coming out of the television from the original Japanese version of The Ring and she is reaching for a bottle of Sake'... So each chapter is its own animal. We do highly encourage "The Horror Drunx Anthem" be on their page though, because it is after all our theme song. Sometimes we find someone who wants to run a chapter but they aren't PhotoShop savvy, so in those cases we often let them request an idea they have in mind and then have one of our staff artists do the actual design and execution for them.
Horror Garage: How did the Undead get involved with The Horror Drunx?
Mortimer A. London: First off, the Undead are NOT involved with The Horror Drunx. SID TERROR'S UNDEAD are involved with The Horror Drunx. They were the genius brainchild of Sid Terror and they are some of the small handful of people that created the Horror Rock / Horror Punk genre as we know it, led the way, and held the door open for everyone else. Anyone else who came afterwards and called themselves Undead are just unoriginal camp followers, yapping little Chihuahuadog bitches that deserve to be miserable for the rest of their lives. ...Oops, too late. Hahaha!
Sid's band wasn't involved at first, just Sid was. He is out of the norm when it comes to guys in bands that pretty much changed the world, because he isn't just "that band guy" and really doesn't need the band to define himself. In fact, he completely works against that and is pissed off when people try and nail him into that box. And he is very humble about his major contributions to the scene, most of which he doesn't feel the need to step right up and take credit for publicly. He is seriously one of the biggest supporters of the horror genre alive, and is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject that I have ever met.
The personal experiences and friendships he's had with everyone from Vincent Price to Elsa Lanchester to Lon Chaney Jr. to Vampira to Christopher Lee and on and on are pretty amazing. There was a time when I started noticing that just about every Horror Drunx chapter on MySpace had Sid Terror's Undead in their top friends... And they had sent him an add request, not vice-versa. He is a much respected guy in the horror community, besides the fact that his band is so influential. And on the flip side of the coin, he says that he was drawn to the Horror Drunx because he liked our attitude and we were like the punk rock alternative of the horror community. We first met in person at a midnight horror movie screening one night. I expected, I dunno, for him to have an attitude or something, but he didn't... He was just a down to earth regular guy... He only even began to talk about his band -- probably begrudgingly -- when I started asking him questions about it. Now as it has ended up, he is one of my best friends... Which is saying a lot for me, because I don't even like many people one on one.
Anyway, one of the early plans I had was for each Horror Drunx chapter to have their own favorite band, but it was going to have to be a band in their geographical area -- just like I like to have each chapter to use a default artwork of a movie that was made in their area. Anyway, the chapter-band idea just wasn't working out, so I scrapped that idea. Around that same time, Sid calls me up and says "Hey there's a cool movie playing tonight at such and such theater, let's go... Oh, and I just finished some song demos I want to play for you and see what you think of them."
So we meet up and he says nothing about it all night, and finally it's getting late and I said, "Didn't you have some new songs or something?" And he's like "Oh, yeah," and puts a CD in the car stereo. I'm listening and they are cool and all, great stuff. Then he takes the CD out and says "I had second thoughts and I wasn't going to play this next song for you, but seeing how you are here, would you mind if someone did a song about The Horror Drunx?" That was something I never considered, and I thought to myself oh-oh what if this song sucks? So he plays it for me, and it was called "The Horror Drunx Anthem," and it was like the best song I ever heard, and captured us completely.
When it was over, he took it out and said, "Just realize it is only a shitty demo"... And I was like "Christ, that was just a demo? That is like the best song I ever heard!" And I made him play it for me again like 15 times in a row until he just gave me the CD. When I put it up on the MySpace page, everyone went nuts for it and without me even asking the chapters almost overwhelmingly started saying Sis Terror's Undead had their vote as our official band. So that is how it happened.
Then we had an opening in the Hollywood chapter for a chapter leader, and I asked Sid if he would do it. At first he wasn't going to because he didn't want to tinge the chapter with the stigma of his band, or conflict of interests, or whatever, but I kept asking him and he finally said yes. It is a good thing too, because the guy is so creative and had so many great ideas and opened so many doors for us. Plus, he also brings to the table that he is an amazing artist. The artwork for many of the chapter default photos came from him. Our mascot, Pukey the Pumpkin, was first created by him. He has done the covers for every issue of our online magazine so far, and as far as I'm concerned he is the Basil Gogos of The Horror Drunx. Even the slogan "Spill Blood, Not Booze" came from him. He also helped a lot in assisting me in making The Horror Drunx into a real organization rather than a directionless drunken mob. We have accomplished more in the last year and a half since he became openly involved, than we did in all the previous years since The Horror Drunx started. So, yeah... He is a vital part of the Horror Drunx machine. We are just lucky we snagged him before anyone else did.
Horror Garage: At regular intervals, you come up with "field assignments" for members. What have been some of your favorite assignments? Have any results of these assignments surprised you?
Mortimer A. London: I like the forever ongoing DRUNX ON LOCATION assignment the best, where they go to a recognizable location of a movie shot in their town or area and get pictures of themselves wearing a Horror Drunx shirt or holding a booze there. The other one that was cool was we had an assignment where people Xerox a thing that says "NO MORE REMAKES! JOIN THE HORROR DRUNX!" and slipped them into the DVD display cases of remakes in their local video stores. People actually sent in videos of themselves doing it [laughs].
Horror Garage: A large percentage of The Horror Drunx members are women. Do you know what the gender breakdown is? Do you actively recruit female members, or is horror just "female friendly" to begin with?
Mortimer A. London: Historically women have been second class citizens in the horror community, which is another way that the old way of doing things was screwed up and didn't work. You had a bunch of doughy nerd boys that had probably never been kissed that were completely socially retarded when it came to how to interact with women... who liked horror too, but didn't want to be ogled and hit on by doughy nerds. It really didn't reflect the real world, in which there are actually more women than men percentage wise. I love women, I love my mom, I am a better and more rounded person by having them in my life, so why exclude them from my horror community which I also love so much? Women have also been objectified only as sex objects in horror films, which more often than not portrayed them as cowering and hysterical creatures that looked to a man to save them. In the real world, if there was a zombie holocaust, I'd rather have a lot of females around than a lot of testosterone crazed idiots that would make a bunch of macho fuck-ups and maybe get me killed. The Horror Drunkette's are kick ass and have it all on the ball! Yes, we are very female friendly in The Horror Drunx. Many of our chapter leaders and most active members are female. We even created their own additional area called Horror Drunkette's Central so they can just be themselves and not have to worry about guys making comments and being dumbassed dorks. As much as most horror organizations put out the vibe that they are a private "Boys Club," we let our female members know that they have their own private Girl's Club section if they want to go there. We don't actively recruit female members, we are just open and friendly enough that women have a comfort level and because of that attract more female members than other horror organizations. I suppose now this idea will get swiped from us too by someone whose only intention is to turn a fast buck catering to a female target demographic.
But again, everyone who is like-minded is welcome. The only "ism" that The Horror Drunx promote is maybe Vampir-ism [laughs].
Horror Garage: Hostel director Eli Roth is known to be a member of The Horror Drunx...might there be other members horror fans might know of?
Mortimer A. London: Sure, lots of them. I'm not going to out them though unless they choose to out themselves. Again, you never know who may be hiding behind a screen alias. We have actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers, Oscar winners, Oscar nominees... etc. There are also a lot of people in the film business that are members and interested parties, just not vocal about it publicly.
Horror Garage: Name your favorite horror film of all time, and tell me why it's your favorite.
Mortimer A. London: The original Universal classic monster movies are my favorites. It would be impossible for me to narrow it down to one monster in particular. The Universal classics are my childhood movies to reflect upon, not Walt Disney movies. The Universal classics still hold up today. And, if you try to convince me that the universal classics suck, I will put stake through your heart and throw you into a sulfur pit. This same kind of passion is not uncommon if you really love something.
Horror Garage: It seems a lot more of the group's energy is focused on horror films over the written word. Am I wrong? Is there any intention of making the public more aware of worthy horror authors in the future, or is it all just part of the mix?
Mortimer A. London: I would think that worthy Horror authors would make the public aware of themselves if those authors are any good at writing. They have what, 100,000 words and 500 pages to do it in? Why would they need us? If there is a Horror author worth their own grit, I'm sure we'll be talking about them sooner or later. Those that are worth making a blip on our radar anyway.
Horror Garage: Aside from Sid Terror's Undead, how much does music figure into what you're doing?
Mortimer A. London: We all like music I guess. Dependant on personal taste, all genres of music are represented. We like movie soundtracks too. Other than that, we have been known to promote a concert event or two, but it isn't our main thrust.
Horror Garage: What have you been listening to lately?
Mortimer A. London: The Ramones first album. You can't go wrong with the originators of Punk Rock.
Horror Garage: Have you ever seen a ghost, or witnessed some type of paranormal activity? If so, what happened?
Mortimer A. London: Every night I see the devil laughing at me in my beer. It's a true story.
Horror Garage: What Horror Drunx achievement are you most proud of so far?
Mortimer A. London: Lasting this many years and still being fully on the upswing. Our involvement in humanitarian causes, which I would feel uncomfortable or like a hypocrite if I started parading them here.
Horror Garage: What are some future goals for The Horror Drunx?
Mortimer A. London: We do have a five year plan, which we hope will yield some great things for the horror community. Most if it I would just as soon stay mum about, because I'd rather just surprise people. We will be doing some great live events in the future, some of which are scheduled but have not been made public yet, others are still being detailed and worked out. I will say that we will begin presenting and sponsoring the theatrical west-coast premieres of some movies in the near future. I'll also say, we will be jumping into the entertainment media with both feet and major inroads are being made in that direction. We are getting to the point where I have to stop talking publicly about it now before I give some confidential things away. Let's just say we are getting ready to possibly enter an arena that is a long way from a few friends sitting around watching horror movies on television while they have a couple drinks. Tick...Tick...Tick...Tick...