Interviewer: Zep the Bear
Cleveland’s Own Janet Decay Spills Her Guts…
Janet Decay is a model and actress who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. For the last four years, she has been the region’s premiere horror host. This is no small feat considering the rich history of area horror hosts dating back to the legendary Ghoulardi in the mid-1960s.
Articulate, charming, and ravishingly spooky, the Yummy Mummy requested that we meet…gulp…after midnight (!) at an abandoned mortuary (!!) for this exclusive interview.
Wish me luck…
Tell me a little about your background?
I was a poor kid growing up in Northeast Ohio. My brother and I were raised on Nintendo, monster movies, cartoons, and macaroni & cheese dinners.
I was a polite kid who was extremely shy. I would read tons of books from the library.
My favorite holiday was ALWAYS Halloween. It still is.
Sometimes I still feel like that awkward shy kid who’d rather read a book, but my alter ego and better half help lift me out of that rut.
What are some of your earliest memories involving horror films?
My older cousin used to try to scare me with stories about Freddy and Jason. I would just laugh at him.
My mom didn’t like me watching scary movies, so I would watch whatever I could find on television or VHS from the local video store.
AMC used to play the Universal Classic monsters. As both a kid and adult, those movies are amazing.
I’d also watch great movie hosts like Big Chuck and Lil’ John and The Ghoul. If the cable bill was paid, there was MST3K and Elvira.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Tell me about the moment that you first had the thought, “Hey, I should be a horror host.”
I started acting and modeling in 2007. When I was offered a hostess role at a production company for The Daughter of the Ghoul Show, I was hooked. It was a ton a fun.
I’m a fan of the cosplay community as well, so to transform into another character and use that as a creative outlet is a real thrill.
I hosted The Daughter of the Ghoul Show on public access television from 2013-2014 and then started my own projects.
In 2012, I won a “Scream Queen” award at a convention.
I have also been in various straight-to-video indie flicks.
I’ve played an undead mummy character since 2010. I created her for a local charity zombie walk. The Daughter of the Ghoul Show producers decided to use that same character. They brought her back to life, I suppose.
In 2015, I stopped hosting The Daughter of the Ghoul Show to join forces with James Harmon and his character, The Late Night Missing Link, Grimm Gorri. Together we now host The Mummy and the Monkey.
The rest is history.
What is the mythology of “Janet Decay?”
I don’t even know all the details. She’s mysterious and dark, yet perky and bubbly.
Janet was a silent film actress in Cleveland for some low budget studios. She was cast for a Cleopatra-type of film. The studio props were actually cursed ancient Egyptian artifacts. Once she entered the sarcophagus, it sealed her fate. From there she was mystically transformed forever into a real living mummy.
What was your first hosting experience like?
Well, it was at an old VFW post with ugly wood paneling and a single large “green screen.” The dressing room was the ladies room. I was in there for a good hour finishing my makeup and putting my old mummy rags together. When I stepped out, there were 20 men there that I didn’t know at all. I was told, “Okay, let’s get started.” You can not even imagine how high my anxiety level was.
Now this was not a casting couch, it was public access horror movie hosting.
After awhile, everything was cool and the other actors and crew members were very polite. This first experience in 2013 only made me more fascinated by this subculture that I never imagined being part of.
In regards to hosting, who are some of your influences?
Of corpse, the Horror Hostess Grandma,Vampira, and the local Cleveland TV greats like Big Chuck and Hoolihan/Lil’ John, The Ghoul, Superhost, etc…
On cable TV, I loved Mystery Science Theater 3000.
These shows and characters each had their own unique style and sense of humor that lingers long after watching their videos.
Some other influences are Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Munsters, and The Addams Family. These were entertaining shows for all ages. That’s what we are trying to do with The Mummy and the Monkey.
How did Grimm Gorri become involved in the act?
Grimm Gorri, aka James Harmon, was part of the crew on the DMK Productions set.
He was a horror host in Rhode Island doing his “monkey man” character. He is a long-time fan of the genre.
Over time, we had a monster mashup of sorts and joined forces.
One day while passing out candy to kids at a Halloween party we heard them shout.
It was as simple as that.
Since then, we began dating and are now engaged. (Maybe we can go to Monster Island for our honeymoon?!)
On our show, though, Grimm and Decay are just good friends.
What are the benefits and/or challenges you have encountered being a female in the often male-dominated horror business?
Male-dominated? I honestly haven’t had any challenges or have thought that is male-dominated in the horror genre. There are more women directors and producers on the rise, as well as photographers, makeup artists, actresses, and models. If anything, the women make it more entertaining. In Cleveland, all of the horror hosts have been male, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be the city’s FIRST horror hostess.
With the future of the television industry on the whole in flux, where do you see the future of horror hosting headed?
Almost every host can agree that the biggest “channel” in the world is the Internet. The fans of this subculture keep it alive…or at least reanimated. With the Net comes devices like Roku where you can watch channels for free on your television.
There are many hosted horror programs and unique independent films available. Right now, cable public access and AT&T U-verse are available in certain cities, but I see that dying out over time. MeTV airs
MeTV airs Svengoolie. Also, there’s Midnite Mausoleum. There are a few that have actual syndication but no like those good old days. We’re hoping to be new pioneers in the territory of streaming and Roku.
Would a syndication deal be great? YES, of corpse!! We are grateful for any offers and opportunities.
You clearly have a lot of creative energy. In addition to hosting, you also act and model. Tell me about some of your film roles. How does modeling differ from acting?
Well, modeling is like acting. You can’t just sit there stone-faced and expect a photo to turn out good. You need emotion to make it interesting. When I model I also plan outfits/makeup/props for the shoot. You need a theme and something planned and put together.
As for acting, I’ve been in many straight-to-video independent features such as Revenge of the Spacemen, Tarot Killer, Tonight You Die, etc…
I’ll be working more with RAK Films on future projects and, probably, more photo shoots.
Consistently one of the most popular genres in film, why are horror movies so important to people?
It’s an escape from politics and punching the time clock. For a little while, all of your problems don’t seem as bad because you’re watching Leatherface hack someone up with his chainsaw or Freddy kill someone in their sleep.
Are there real life killers? Of corpse. But these films are horror/fantasy. I find them so creative and visually interesting, but I’m sure everyone has their own reasons for loving them.
Janet Decay can be found onFacebook.
The Mummy and the Monkey are on Facebook, too.
They also have a website where you can watch their show.
Look for #TheMummyandtheMonkey on Instagram.