June 13 marks the tenth anniversary of The Basement Sublet of Horror. For a decade now, the program’s host, Gunther Dedmund, has entertained us from his basement apartment. He’s unearthed such “classics” for us to peruse as Atom Age Vampire, Teenagers from Outer Space and Monster a Go-Go. Yet, little is known about Joel Sanderson, the man behind the camera. Joel usually lets Gunther hog the spotlight but today, we have a very rare event. Both Joel and Gunther have consented to sit down for their very first interview together.
Joel and Gunther, welcome to Monster Movie Kid. It’s an honor to have you both here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Basement Sublet of Horror. Joel, let’s start with you. How did all of this begin? Where did you find the inspiration for the program?
Joel: The Basement Sublet of Horror television show began in 2006, but its’ part of a long-running project of movie shows that began in 1989. The earliest shows were based more on the movie going experience with a healthy dose of nostalgia for bad movies, along with educational movies. The first movie show was an outdoor drive-in themed party called The Escape’ Drive-in, which was followed by an indoor stage show called M.T. Pockets Budget Film Fest. Both shows had live music and prizes. The Basement Sublet of Horror grew out of those shows, becoming the television version and taking on a horror host theme as that was the most economical way to produce a show. It’s a take off of the horror host program that I grew up with in Wichita, Nightmare with The Host and Rodney.
Gunther: Not at all, my reputation as a total recluse is fairly well known. I can’t stand people wandering through my apartment fiddling about with my things. I’m much happier watching the movies alone by myself with pleasant snacks as my only companion.
How do you select the movies for the show? Is there a particular quality the film has to have?
Joel: The main quality the film has to have it that it is available for free as the show doesn’t really have a budget. Anything that can be done to cut costs is taken advantage of. There is an incredibly huge number of available public domain films to choose from and we pick the ones that either seems to fit the show or have enough interesting information that can be gleaned to have something to talk about during the hosting of the show.
What goes into the production of a standard episode?
Joel: The earlier episodes were very time-consuming, mainly since I’d also completely re-cut and condense the films down to fit the then format of one hour. I’d also inter-splice additional film excerpts that would either make a comment on or make fun of the feature films. Over the years, the show’s format changed to ninety minutes in a format where the entire feature film is shown. This was to enable a more streamlined process where an episode could be edited in a day rather than taking an entire month to complete.
Gunther, how about you? How do you prepare for filming an episode?
Gunther: My role is to come up with a script for the show whether it is writing out skits to perform or researching trivia on the film that we’re going to show. Then, I guess you’d say that I “dress” the set by picking out the weird background items that are sitting around behind me as I host the show.
Joel: At this time, The Basement Sublet of Horror magazine is currently finishing up the sixth issue, while the comic book hasn’t progressed past issue number two. All publications can be purchased through the shows website at www.basementsubletofhorror.com.
Joel, you’re also celebrating an even bigger milestone this year. How many years have you been involved in production? Tell us a little bit about what came before your association with Gunther and what you’d like to accomplish in the future.
Joel: Yes, this will be the tenth anniversary of The Basement Sublet of Horror on June 13th of this year (2016). If you include the previous movie show versions, I’ve been working on this project since 1989, somewhere around 25 years. It’s been a lot of work and effort, but it’s really all been worth it to meet so many people and to hopefully entertain the audiences too. Gunther made his first appearance in 1984 before the first movie shows originally began as he co-hosted a midnight movie at Wichita State University with then KAKE-TV host, Gustopher Glitch.
The show originated on Lawrence public access television. But where is it being broadcast now? And what is in store for the future of the show?
Joel: The show is available for viewing through several places, through archive.org, Vimeo, or Roku (on the BetaMax TV channel), and on our main website. The only two stations still broadcasting the show are WRCT in Pennsylvania and on CATS in Bloomington, Indiana (check their websites for listings).
The future of the show is to keep on bringing more bad movies to the BSOH audience, we’ve got a running list of the movies that have become available, enough to keep us around for a number of years to come. Keep checking our website, we’re always interested in new things and I’m sure there will be more projects or publications on the way.
Joel: Thanks for talking with us Richard, we appreciate you taking the time to allow us to speak about the show. Words of wisdom, if you believe in something strongly enough, keep working at it and success will come your way. We’d like to also like to take a moment to thank Tim Manning (Basement Sublet of Horror cameraman), Bradley Beard (artist), Jim Erickson (Wichita movie host), and my wife Kris Hermanson for all of the support throughout the year.
Gunther: Thank you all for watching! It’s been a really great ten years. I hope there’s much more to come for you.
Thank you gentlemen! And readers, be sure you go to The Basement Sublet of Horror section on archive.org for a special 10th anniversary episode 322. Gunther is presenting The Human Duplicators (1965) starring Richard Kiel and Hugh Beaumont, a perfect way to celebrate 10 years of monster goodness! Happy Anniversary Joel and Gunther!