Many young men find amusement and entertainment in horror films and rock music, but few have merged the two as seamlessly as Van Heller, lead singer of Fort Wayne’s own B Movie Monsters. With bandmates named Doomsday, Dracco B. Vincent and recent recruit Joshua Lugosi (who recently replaced original member Dr. Hyde), Van Heller has found national success by finally pursuing a concept which rattled in his brain since he was a young boy.
Introduced to classic horror films at an early age, he soon found himself seeking out the early greats, starring legends like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.
“I saw ‘The Exorcist’ when I was 5 or 6 years old. I guess you could say it scarred me for life and made me what I am today.”
While he says that with a laugh, there is obviously truth in the notion that his path had been sealed. Watching more horror films like “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” tapped into his creative side, and it was just a matter of time before he found others to share his obsession. But what he was most anxious to do was write songs that reflected his cinematic vision.
“Originally I thought I’d be writing ‘CliffsNotes’ of the movies as lyrics, but as I started writing it turned out differently than I expected. ‘Return of the Living Dead’ really merged both the first and second films, and some songs just became something else. Some were metaphors, and some were straight-up about the films. I guess they’re really my interpretation of the film I’m writing about.”
Many of these early efforts can be found on “From the Theater to the Grave,” a CD released on Robot Monster Records, a company which itself derives its name from a B-movie classic. As they promote the CD, which was released on May 25, and adjust to their new lineup, The B Movie Monsters are looking ahead.
“I already have the next CD half written, and we’re playing some of the songs already to see how they go over. I think they’re even better than the songs on the current CD, but I guess I’ll leave that to others to decide.”
Having played around Fort Wayne and Ohio, with shows in Cleveland and Akron, in August, The B Movie Monsters have recently forged another partnership which will expose their music to a much larger audience.
“We recently hooked up with a new booking agent, and we have a West Coast tour coming up next summer. We’ll be playing 19 shows between May 31 and June 19 — I think we’ll have two days off the whole time. But we’ll be out in New Mexico, Nevada, California — we’ll be covering a lot of places.”
Van Heller has learned what is possible if you follow your passion.
“I’ve been in bands since 1996, and I’d always join bands that were already established, playing guitar or bass. I never wrote any songs or anything. It wasn’t until I finally did what I always wanted to do that I got on a label and started getting successful. It’s been a strange ride, but I never thought I’d get as far as I have.”