The Hilarious House of Frightenstein Lives…On Vinyl (An Interview with Groove Vinyl Records)
It should be of no surpriseg to frequent visitors to Electrified Porcupine that I have great love for The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. The cult classic show featuring The Count, Igor, and other patrons of Castle Frightenstein, blended classic horror visuals with amazing comedy across a variety of segments through different characters.
While I don’t have a lot in my TV features section, as I focus more on collectibles and music on this site, the first show I had to give my props to was The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. If you’re visiting this site for the first time and missed it, check it out here. Most of the characters were played by one man, Billy Van. Horror icon, Vincent Price, was featured in the intro and ending of the show and provided segue.
It was announced this year that The Hillarious House of Frightenstein was coming to vinyl. What exactly was going to be on the vinyl was kept secret for a while but damn, did it build anticipation. It was revealed that there would be four distinct versions available to purchase and each would feature one of main four characters on the show: Vincent Price, The Count, Igor, and The Wolfman. While the material on the vinyl would all be the same, each version would have its own special colour.
If this is the first time you’ve heard about this, get over to Frightensteinvinyl.com and get a copy or three! The Vincent Price edition is now sold out but you still have the choice to pick up the editions with The Count, Igor, and/or The Wolfman on the cover. There’s an excellent FAQ and you can check out the track listing there, too.
I ended up following all the social media for the campaign and have been enjoying the little bits of information and photos they have shared. I ordered two copies for myself: The Count and the Vincent Price versions. I would have got the other two, but, you know…money. Stay tuned to the site because when my copies arrive, I’ll be showcasing them!
I decided to reach out and see if the people behind this campaign and upcoming release (Groove Vinyl Records) would like to answer some questions. To my delight, they did! Here’s the interview.
1. Who is (are) the driving force(s) behind the Hilarious House of Frightenstein coming out on vinyl?
2. What’s the story behind the project going from an idea all the way to the pre-order seeing the light of day?
We all grew up as fans of the show. Seeing as we are fans and collectors of vinyl, we thought it would be great to try and release an audio version of the show that contained all of the classic segments from the television broadcast.
There has been an influx of soundtrack re-issues on vinyl over the past few years, and we felt it was only a matter of time before another company discovered Frightenstein and released it. Seeing as we are grew up loving the show (and are also from Canada), we felt we needed to be the ones to release the show on this format for the very first time. We also felt we could do the project justice in ways that would please all of the Frightenstein fans everywhere.
We contacted Mitch Markowitz back in January of this year, told him what we were wanting to do and he immediately seemed excited about the idea. From there, we jumped strait into pre-production and started mapping out how this would all come together.
3. Why was vinyl the medium of choice instead of doing a CD release?
We focus strictly on vinyl, so there was never any thought of releasing it on another format. We wanted people to be able to sit down with the artwork and booklet, drop the needle on the record and become fully immersed in the show and take a trip back to their childhood. There’s something to be said about sitting down with an album in comparison to putting on a CD or cassette.
4. Why do you think it’s important to put out this release in 2017?
There’s certainly lots of hype in the media these days how “vinyl is cool” and “vinyl is back!.” We would’ve put this record out years ago if the option had presented itself. Everything seemed to align with releasing this album in 2017, and we can’t wait to share the record with old and new fans of the show! As the Wolfman would say: “Why don’t we sit back and … dig it!!!!!”
5. Was anything new discovered while compiling liner notes or photos for this release?
We were given access to a photo archive that belonged to one of the original on set camera operators at CHCH. Dave Cremasco was in his early 20’s at the time and Frightenstein used 3 cameramen when taping the show. When Dave wasn’t needed on certain shots, he would roam the set with this photo camera and snap pictures. He presented us with a USB stick with over 600 never before seen photos from the taping of the show.
Many of these photos show the cast and crew on set in Hamilton, and also show some very intimate moments with Billy Van as he transformed into all of the characters he played. We know the fans are going to love seeing this pictures and we hope to cram as many as possible into the album booklet.
6. Was it hard to choose what characters would be on the various covers of the albums with so many characters to choose from?
Absolutely. Initially we thought of doing just one cover that featured everyone together. Then we played with the idea of having the custom covers and custom colored vinyl and that just took on a life of it’s own. We started with The Count and Igor as the show basically revolves are the two of them. The Wolfman was always a fan favorite that we thought we could have some real fun with as far as the artwork was concerned.
We didn’t plan on doing a Vincent Price cover, but when his daughter Victoria granted us permission to do so (and use several photos of her late father in the booklet) we were grateful that she presented us with that opportunity. The artwork was done by Los Angeles based illustrator Jess Rotter. She’s worked with like of The Grateful Dead, Sly Stone, Big Star and many great bands.
Initially there were two concepts for the artwork. The first being very colorful and vibrant and paying tribute to the original characters. The second idea was doing something more dark and sinister and having it be a modernized version of these characters. The first image she drew was the The Wolfman and she nailed it one take. We decided that making the drawings more playful and coming from a warmer place was the way to go. We looked at the colors she chose and the detail she put into each character, and it immediately took us back to the time when we watched the show.
7. If these releases do well, could we see a second volume or a CD release?
Absolutely. The response to this release has been totally overwhelming, and we’d like to thank EVERYONE who took part in the pre-order we launched three weeks ago. Copies are now limited due to popular demand but we’re working on putting together Volume 2 (which will be limited to vinyl only.)
8. Do you think there is any chance of another release of The Hilarious House of Frightenstein on DVD for those who missed out on earlier releases so the show can live on through new generations?
9. In your opinion(s) what is Griselda’s best dish, the Count’s best invention, and the best song The Wolfman played?
Let get real: we’d never eat anything that Griselda cooked!!!!! Apparently her cauldron absolutely REEKED at the end of filming the series!!!! The Counts best invention was that of a party planner! He always knew how to plan for a great party in the castle. But let’s not forget about the invention most closet to his heart: making his beloved Brucie work again! The best song that the Wolfman ever played is “Witch Woman” by the band Nightmare (which also appears on the upcoming album series!!!)
Thank you answering my questions. I am looking forward to the releases.
Thanks so much for the questions and your support!!
Once again, if you missed it, head over to Frightensteinvinyl.com to get your copies of the limited stock that’s left and check out Groove Vinyl Records’ US Site and Canadian site. Stay tune to my site for the review when I get mine copies in!