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26 January, 2008

Horror-Host Review: The Sinister Minister's THE MIDNIGHT MASSACRE THEATER


Host/Co-Hosts: The Sinister Minister; the “Altar Girls”

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Carrier: http://www.themmt.com/; airs on KVTE-35, Las Vegas

[Ed. Note: If you happen to host a program, and would like to see it reviewed in the Crypt, please contact me at: unimonster64@gmail.com.]

Horror-hosts usually fall into one of two categories: those who play mainly to the young fans, keeping their humor, and their characters, family-friendly; and those who target an older, more sophisticated audience. Of the latter, there are several great ones out there… The Mortician, the Bone-Jangler, Penny Dreadful—all of whom have developed a following primarily among adult fans of horror. Add to that list the Sinister Minister, host of the Midnight Massacre Theater.

Based in Las Vegas, the Minister is well-suited to his environs. It would be hard to picture a Svengoolie or Zacherley-like host making a go of it in the very capital of sin and decadence, and he certainly isn’t of that mold. Looking like Marilyn Manson, only without the anorexia, and with his “altar girls” Succubus and Lucretia in attendance, the Minister holds services in the “Chap-Hell of Horror.” There he presents some of the best in bad movies to his audience, with appropriate commentary.

The episode I reviewed features the film MOON OF THE WOLF, a better than average Made-for-TV movie from 1972. To say it’s a favorite of mine would be an exaggeration; but I do remember seeing it when it first aired, and I do have fond memories of it. However, the feature is never the focus of this review, as it’s merely the vehicle the host uses to convey his show to the public.

One of the unique aspects of the Midnight Massacre Theater is that they’ve completely done away with the usual interstitial breaks; rather, the Minister jumps into and out of the film with brief but frequent comments, playing off the characters in the movie, using them as straight men to set up his jokes. And for the most part, this unconventional style works very well, though it can be distracting. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t want to see it used on a truly great movie, but with the type of low-budget programmers that you’re likely to find on a hosted show, that’s not really a concern.

The humor is good, biting and sarcastic… just the perfect balance in this Unimonster’s opinion. Not so adult that it would draw an R-rating, though it’s not what I’d want an eight-year-old hearing. But your average 13- or 14-year-old will both get the jokes, and love them. Hmmm… not sure whether or not I should be concerned about having the same sense of humor as a 14-year-old. The look of the sets, as well as the characters, is excellent, much better than I expected, and overall the show has a slick, professional appearance that stands out.

Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of this show, and with qualifications, I do recommend it to you. Those qualifications aren’t large, but they are important. First, since most of you will view this program on-line, a word of warning is in order. There are sections of the site that are adult-oriented, featuring viewer-submitted nude photographs of the “altar girls-next-door.”

Secondly, the web-site itself [http://www.themmt.com/] is very graphics-intensive, demanding a system closer to state-of-the-art than mine. Though I have a high-speed connection, my computer simply cannot keep up with the sheer volume of image and sound files being thrown at it. Now admittedly my machine is a steam-powered relic, but it is something that both the viewer, and the designer of web-sites, should keep in mind.

So, with those caveats in mind, check out the Sinister Minister and his Midnight Massacre Theater. It’s not for every taste, but I enjoyed it very much. You just might as well.

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