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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Groovy Reader of the Month: Jeff Nelson

As a way to thank my readers for their support, I feature a new groovy guy or gal each month - and the winner of this prestigious title for October is Jeff Nelson of Los Angeles. He is currently a Marketing Director for Shout! Factory, which has released some of my favorite TV series on DVD in recent years (Barney Miller, Designing Women, Peyton Place). Jeff has also worked for New Line Cinema and Soap Opera Digest. And he is a big fan of Halloween who features an annual 31-day Facebook countdown of some of his favorite things about the holiday - including, of course, horror flicks (this year I especially enjoyed his salute to the "Ol' Ladies" who often appear in such films - the housemother in the original Black Christmas, the lady in Jaws who says "I don't think that's funny, I don't think that's funny at all", Mabel in My Bloody Valentine, the old lady in the wheelchair in Terror Train, the "God is watching you" lady in The Funhouse, the ladies eating ice cream in He Knows You're Alone and many others).

I am delighted to have the fabulous Mr. Nelson here on the Dish to answer a few questions about his life and pop culture.

What has been your favorite DVD promotional campaign that you've worked on at Shout! Factory? And are there any upcoming DVDs that you're looking forward to?
Without a doubt the best titles I have worked on - in my entire career in fact - are the films within our new Scream Factory brand which mainly consists of '70s and '80s horror films like Halloween III, Terror Train, The Funhouse, etc. I grew up on these and know most of them better than I know myself at times. Prior to that, I've been lucky at Shout and have had the chance to work on tons of campy stuff up my alley like the awful Small Wonder TV show, Jem and the Holograms, The Facts of Life and even an '80s fun hooker movie called Streetwalkin' starring Melissa Leo. I'm very grateful.

As for upcoming DVDs, I am super excited for Deadly Blessing, which is a 1981 Wes Craven horror film with Sharon Stone and Ernest Borgnine that's never been out on DVD. It's an all-time guilty pleasure and I can't wait for it! [click here to pre-order Deadly Blessing, which will be released on January 22]

What are a few of your fondest memories of working as an Editorial Assistant for Soap Opera Digest in the late '90s?
Oh God, that was so long ago but I would say just joking around with the West Coast office staff the most. We teased each other mercilessly and couldn't believe how there were so many in that industry that took all of it so seriously. Like actresses who were nobodies on a low-rated show who wouldn't talk to the magazines - to which my boss said, "There's more people shopping at the Beverly Center now than watching her damn show!" There were some great parties and when it was fun, it was a blast!

How did you first become a soap opera fan? And which shows have you watched over the years?
Easy answer: The minute I got hooked on Dynasty in the '80s. The camp, the drama, the bitchiness, the cliffhangers - I couldn't get enough. After the '80s primetime soap era ended (Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing), I maneuvered into Melrose Place and daytime starting with The City on ABC with Morgan Fairchild and then into Days of our Lives because their plots in the mid-90s were insane with devil possessions, guillotines, buck-toothed lookalikes, etc., that I couldn't believe my eyes. I've sampled all the soaps and stopped watching them years ago - until Revenge aired last year and Eileen Davidson returned as "Kristen" three weeks ago on Days of our Lives.

What is your Top 10 list of favorite horror flicks to watch on Halloween?
A very tough question but here it goes:

1) The Fog (1980) - my fav film of all time
2) Halloween (1978) and Carrie (tied)

The rest in no significant order...

3) Night School (1981)
4) Eyes of a Stranger (1981)
5) Visiting Hours (1982)
6) The Sentinel (1977)
7) When a Stranger Calls (1979)
8) Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
9) Prom Night (1980) and Terror Train (1980)
10) Deadly Blessing (1981)

But I have to throw in Halloween III (1982) and Friday the 13th (1980), too. Way tough question!

My five favorite TV shows of all time are:
1) Dynasty
2) The Golden Girls
3) Melrose Place (first four seasons)
4) Paradise Hotel (a crazy former Fox reality TV show)
5) Mama's Family

Another very hard question because I would have liked to include Modern Family, Falcon Crest and Three's Company.

Today I never miss a television episode of:
Mad Men, Revenge and Modern Family.

If I were asked to choose the Sexiest Man Alive, it would be:
It will always be Antonio Sabàto, Jr. for me. When I die and go to heaven, there's a gay clone of him waiting for me at the gates!

If I could have anyone in the world - living or dead - be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following three people:
I would have to go with Jamie Lee Curtis, Joan Collins and Joan Crawford (sorry, Bette Davis and Adrienne Barbeau, whom I also love).

Now that definitely sounds like my kind of party. Thank you again, Jeff, for being one of my grooviest readers!

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