THE MUSCLE OF HORROR

Posted on Jan 4, 2014 in 80's Horror, Interviews & Guest Posts, Muscle of Horror, Music | 1 comment

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No matter who you are or what you’re into, you’ll face stereotypes – the preconceived notions people have of whatever it is you’re supposed to be based on where you come from, what you like and do, and how you look.

I’ve run into these social hurdles too, from multiple angels. You see, I’m an obsessive horror fanatic and yet I’m also an avid weightlifter. These two things, traditionally, don’t mix. When people read my articles and short stories, they expect a traditional black-clad nerd. But when people meet me in person, knowing nothing of my horror obsessions, they take me for a meatheaded jock. Now, there is nothing wrong with being a nerd or a jock, but I’ve never fully identified with either group. I always saw myself on the outside of groups, picking and choosing the things I enjoyed rather than letting them be appointed to me by some sort of collective whole. This, to me, is just individuality.

I’m a published horror author, but I also boxed in the golden gloves. I worked in the professional field of nutrition for over a decade, but I also have a home bar in my house that is jam-packed full of horror memorabilia. I’m far more likely to be found watching an Italian horror movie from the 70’s than a basketball game, yet I get antsy when I haven’t lifted weights in a day or two. And I never miss a Stallone movie. Ever.

But the funny thing I’ve learned is that while this is a unique mixture, I’m not exactly alone. Over the years I’ve discovered that there is a sort of subculture of muscle-bound movie buffs, comic book collectors and horrorhounds. Through working with a wide variety of people and meeting more and more likeminded fans, I’ve come to find that horror culture packs some muscle and might behind it – both in the fans and in the performers. And as more and more films fill up with jacked stars – from the Fast and Furious washboard boys, to the marvel comic mega-men, to the bodybuilding dinosaurs of The Expendables – more wide-eyed viewers are becoming inspired by their big screen icons, just as I was.

Jon Mikl Thor on stage with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno

Jon Mikl Thor on stage with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

 

And so, Tavern of Terror is now hosting a series of interviews exploring this subculture that I’m calling The Muscle of Horror. I’m interviewing directors, musicians, writers and other talents to discuss their passion for imagination as well as fitness, and to examine how those two worlds come to collide.

 

I knew I wanted to start off with a bang… and who better to bring the thunder than rock warrior, Jon Mikl Thor?

 

 I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jon on film festivals, rock concerts, and articles, and he is one of my favorite guys to work with. Not only is he an incredible talent, he’s also a hell of a great guy and a lot of fun to be around.

Thor: The Rock Warrior

Thor: The Rock Warrior

 

On top of being a rock star, writer and actor (having starred in the cult classics Zombie Nightmare, Recruits and Rock N Roll Nightmare), Jon is also a bodybuilding champion. He broke many molds during his decades of performing – inventing muscle rock, which combines the punk energy of the rock show with the feats of strength of a strongman contest – and he stands as the perfect example of the subculture I’m talking about. That’s why I chose to interview him first, and it’s a pleasure to have him back in the tavern!

 

I’d like to start with a chicken or the egg sort of question. Which came first for you: a love of rock n’ roll, monster and hero movies, or a love of bodybuilding?

Monster and Hero movies.

 

Me too. I think it starts in youth. Now, how did you come to the decision to combine them all?

My interests grew as the movies inspired the training and the training created the desire to enter bodybuilding contests. I was trying to emulate the likes of Steve Reeves’ “Hercules.”

 

If you could name one real man or woman who inspired you to lift weights, who would that be and why? Steve Reeves?

There’s more than one. Steve Reeves, Larry Scott, Dave Draper, Sophia Loren, Jane Mansfield, Marylyn Monroe, Raquel Welch…

 

What about a fictional character? Did any one of them inspire you to get muscular?

 Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman.

 

Do you think there is a link between the fascination with fiction/films (imagination) and the effort to bring one’s own body as close as possible to superhero proportions?

Yes, very much so. With watching Steve Reeves movies, I would want to become a guy like him so I could attract a woman like Sophia Loren.

 

Who can blame you! So, as a musician/actor/writer, have you ever felt like the odd man out by being the “big lug” in a group of other artists and performers?

Yes I used to be the odd man. Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was not one performer and very few actors who had a very muscular body. Now they are a dime a dozen in Hollywood.

 

Dr. Diesel poses down with Thor in a forearm battle

Dr. Diesel poses down with Thor in a forearm battle

 

We first met in Florida, and you surprised me by coming to my room and jumping into the doorway. It was a true showman’s entrance and you, Diesel and I (all being avid weight-lifters) immediately identified with each other through that unspoken bodybuilding brotherhood. I was impressed by the size of your arms up close! Now that you’re older, how has your exercise routine changed? What does it entail now?

I was very happy to meet you both. There is a certain alliance and friendship within the inner circle of champions. These days I mainly do a lot of running and resistance workouts. I like to climb mountain trails and power-walk with weights around the park. I pumped my arms up for the Florida performances using the superset method that I would do when preparing for championship bodybuilding titles.  For example Scott Bench (Preacher Bench) curls- superset with dumbbell curls. Tricep extensions- super set with tricep pushdowns. The muscle memory remembers and the tissues go through their process of expansion.

 

And you still do your feats of strength on stage! Tell us a little about the ones you do. Which do you think is the biggest crowd pleaser?

Being able to bend steel in my bare hands. The steel bar was always popular. The secret of the steel was shown to me by the World’s Strongest Man, Doug Hepburn. He could bend railroad spikes, and dimes with his fingers. As well, blowing up a hot water bottle till explosion. I was injured too many times doing that one.

 

Your performance at 80’s in the Park was the only one I made the time to see, as I was so busy throughout the event. Even though Odin cursed us with rain, you still brought the thunder and so did the band! Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to announce?

The rain worked perfectly. The thunder, lightning and rain. They were excellent special effects. We really enjoyed performing and really appreciated the incredible response from the crowd. We have quite a few performances coming up in 2014 to be announced soon.

 

Thor performs live in Melbourne, FL

Thor performs live in Melbourne, FL.

 

When Tavern of Terror showed Rock N Roll Nightmare at our cult film fest at Cinemaworld, the audience included many people who had never seen the movie before and the response was tremendous! I was proud to introduce it to horror documentarian Thommy Hutson. Do you think the movie is your best one?

It certainly stands the test of time. I can’t believe how many fans of a new generation are into it. My best movie, I don’t know about that. As an actor, I feel my performance in “A Family Lost” was my best.

 

What is your proudest achievement as a bodybuilder?

As a young teenager, coming to New York and almost defeating Lou Ferrigno in the Mr. Teenage America championship. Also, winning Mr. Universe and Mr. North America.

 

Jon Mikl Thor, bodybuilding champion

Jon Mikl Thor, bodybuilding champion.

 

What are you currently promoting?

I am currently in the studio working on various projects. But a new single is out in Europe called “Storm Warning” and TS2 will be release in 2014. “Aristocrat of Victory” is doing very well on iTunes.

 

So what’s next for you?

The sky is the limit!

 

Thanks for joining us Thor, there is always a throne for you here in the tavern. Rock on!

Jon Mikl Thor with your tavern host, Kristopher Triana

Jon Mikl Thor with your tavern host, Kristopher Triana.

 

Be sure to stay tuned for more MUSCLE OF HORROR articles to come in the following weeks…

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One Comment

  1. Loved it! Where are the “more articles”?

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