Horror Host Retrospective: Dr. Gangrene

Dr. Gangrene

Real name: Larry Underwood
Years active: 1999-Present, Middle Tennessee area

With the cancellation of Frightmare Theater in 1996, things again looked grim for horror fans in the Middle Tennessee area. Most networks had cancelled all local programming save for news. In 1999, instead of a rogue planet hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, one man with a vision began broadcasting from a public access TV station in Hendersonville. That man was Larry Underwood.

The show was Chiller Cinema, a half hour of demented productions with a bizarre cast. The show was a hit and soon expanded to other markets across the country, making Dr. Gangrene one of the few present horror hosts to be syndicated.

From there the show grew and shed like an electric snake. Various hunchbacks and nurses came and went, but Dr. Gangrene stayed with the audience like his namesake. Finally growing too big for a mere half hour, Dr. Gangrene moved to the WNAB to host their revival of the legendary horror host program Creature Feature. The show featured classic public domain movies like Night of the Living Dead, as well as later blockbusters like Total Recall.

Forming the band Spookhand in 2009, Dr. Gangrene continued to keep busy with several other projects. He co-directed several award winning and nominated shorts for Nashville entitled “Go Green with Gangrene”, in which he encouraged Nashville residents to keep their fair city clean. In 2011 he returned to television, once again on the CW. This time hosting the half hour Dr. Gangrene Presents, the mad doctor of doom presented episodes from the classic television series One Step Beyond and other shorts. Sadly the show came to an end this year. Only the future knows what is in store for this mad scientific genius, but the world will surely tremble at the name of Gangrene once again.

Chiller Cinema ran on public access from 1999 until 2002 before moving into syndication. After that Dr. Gangrene began to host the WNAB58 Creature Feature. In 2006 the WNAB switched over to the CW, thus changing the name to CW58 Creature Feature. From 2011 to 2012 he hosted Dr. Gangrene Presents on CW58.  Larry Underwood is still alive and works in the Middle Tennessee area. When he is not making an appearance with his band, he can be found hosting the annual WonderFest in Kentucky. He can be reached through his website.

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