Horror Hostess Marlena Midnite was previously featured here in a short piece last February, in what was sort of a prelude to this interview. The hostess of Midnite Mausoleum, which airs Friday and Saturday nights on WQAD in the Quad Cities area (of northwestern Illinois and southeastern Iowa) has been a local favorite since 2009. According to her bio, Marlena is dead and “spends most of her time watching bad movies and talking to puppets and animals” and “when she is interacting with the living, she puts on a pretty decent charade of being alive.”
Living or dead, Marlena was definitely worthy of a closer look. The above photo is from the shoot she did with Blake Powell in February, which was the subject of the video featured here then. A 8×10 version of this is one of the photos that will be available through a unique online signing event on Saturday May 5th, at 11:00AM Central on Marlena’s Facebook page. Read on to learn more about the “cuddly cadaver,” formerly known as “Usako Midnite,” in her exclusive interview.
MARLENA MIDNITE: Correct. I guess technically she is “living dead” and she does have an insatiable appetite, but luckily popcorn usually takes the edge off. I think there was one really old episode where she thought maybe she should eat brains, but decided she preferred the crunchy texture of popcorn better.
CHRIS: Did you and Robyn Graves know each other before Midnite Mausoleum?
MARLENA: No, I had been doing the show for a season already when we decided having another character to befriend Marlena would help the dynamic of the show. We put an ad up on Myspace ….yeah, weird right? and she responded.
CHRIS: Where is the show filmed?
MARLENA: We record the show in our cozy studio on the 3rd floor of a big, decrepit building in downtown Clinton. We would love more room, but the rent can’t really be beat, so we make it work. Every person to ever guest on the show though has been amazed it was such a small space.
MARLENA: We prerecord the show in blocks here and there. My unfortunate swearing habit is a bit too dangerous for live broadcasts. I don’t even realize I am swearing sometimes!
CHRIS: Are there any other horror hostesses, past or present, who have influenced you?
MARLENA: Definitely Commander U.S.A. I kind of lived in a hostless vacuum as a kid. Now as an adult, I’ve seen quite a few, and what I will say without a doubt is I prefer the unique ones who aren’t afraid to step out of the box a bit.
CHRIS: So how long does it take to apply your autopsy scar?
MARLENA: Not long, the shading behind it takes longer usually, maybe like 10 minutes total? Makeup in its entirety usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
CHRIS: I assume it, unlike an actual autopsy incision, stops far short of your navel?
MARLENA: On the very rare occasions my midriff is showing it does actually keep going.
CHRIS: You attend a lot of horror events and conventions. What have been some of your favorites?
CHRIS: You’ve also interviewed other personalities from the horror industry. Who have been some of your most memorable?
MARLENA: I don’t really interview other people much. I get confused/tongue tied and I feel like it isn’t courteous to waste their time while I am floundering around (laughs). I have interviewed some other horror hosts, and they were all wonderful people.
CHRIS: What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever asked you to sign?
MARLENA: As a rule, our fans are insanely respectful, I’ve never really had any strange things to sign. I guess once I signed a Vampirella comic for someone, and I’m not sure why, but I was more than happy to.
CHRIS: Hmm, I’m not sure why either, but now that I think of it, you’d make a good Vampirella. So, it seems that a couple of your DVDs are no longer available at the Midnite Mausoleum shop: Amerisleze and Eurosleaze, in which you hosted movies that went well beyond the TV show’s PG fare. Will they be available again?
CHRIS: Do you have any hobbies or skills that fans would be surprised to know about?
MARLENA: I’m fairly open with some parts of my personal life, so, I’m not really sure. I love being outdoors, which maybe comes as a shock to some people since I am pale and frail looking.
CHRIS: With that, I’ll thank you for answering my questions, Marlena. In closing, any shout-outs or anything you’d like to say to fans?
MARLENA: Thanks for interviewing me! To our fans; thank you for supporting us and watching the show! ❤️
CHRIS: Oh, one last question: Do you still have the comic book store on 5th Ave in Clinton?
MARLENA: Sadly, we have closed the shop, but it has been for rent since we left, so if any one wants to try to start a small business in Clinton, the space is totally up for grabs and there is a pub right next door, so, you know if you get bored at work, there are always awesome snacks and beer if you drink it (laughs).
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Midnite Mausoleum’s Official Site