Revisiting the heyday of department stores and five-and-dimes

Baltimore horror mavens: LaMartina, the late Don Leifert

When I spoke to Chris LaMartina before the Snowpocalypse premiere of his last slash-and-churn film, "President's Day," he said he could rattle off the titles of holiday-based horror films "just by looking around my room: 'Black Christmas,' 'April Fool's Day,' 'Halloween' (OK, that's obvious), 'Friday the 13th' (a stretch, but it is a special day on the calendar); then there's 'New Year's Evil,' 'My Bloody Valentine,' 'Leprechauns' (St. Patrick's Day)."

He's making his own personal holiday appearance tonight at 7 at The Windup Space (12 W. North Ave.) for a "Scream Fest" edition of Maryland Morning Screen Test, the clip-and-talk show hosted this time by WYPR producer and personality Nathan Sterner. The organizers are promising a peek at LaMartina's latest double-edged gagfest, "Witch's Brew," which bears the tantalizing tag-line "Liver Damage will be the LEAST of your problems."

Let's hope they'll acknowledge the passing of another Baltimore horror maven: Don Leifert. This beloved drama and English teacher at Towson High School appeared in several micro-budget fright films for Charm City cult moviemaker Don Dohler, including the lead role in "Fiend." (Above, that's Dohler taking a light-meter reading on the set of "Galaxy Invader"; Leifert did the costumes on that one.) Chris Kaltenbach interviewed Leifert and Dohler in 1994, when Leifert was helping Dohler put out Movie Club magazine, a bimonthly devoted to "classic independent and B-movies, with a slant toward the horror, fantasy and sci-fi genres."

Leifert caught the unpretentious ardor of his generation of movie buffs when he said, "It's fun to write about these films, because they're fun films." Dohler died in November, 2006; Leifert died on Saturday. Here's the Facebook page of the Don Leifert Appreciation Group.


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