Algonquin native wins film award

Algonquin native Kurt Larson’s independent film, “Son of Ghostman,” won the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Independent Film.

Larson, a 1995 graduate of Jacobs High School in Algonquin, wrote, directed and starred in the film, uniquely described as a romantic comedy based around classic horror.

Named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, the awards celebrate the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation.

This year’s vote, done through email by fans and conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, drew nearly 3,400 ballots, according to a release issued by

“Son of Ghostman” is a homage to Svengoolie, the host of horror movies on Saturday nights on ME-TV. Played since 1979 by Rich Koz in a fright wig, top hat, mustache and goatee, Svengoolie presents sketches, tells corny jokes, and spoofs various science fiction and horror, often low-budget, films.

Now 36 and living in Los Angeles, Larson has been a fan of Svengoolie since his childhood days.

And despite being told a film about horror hosts wouldn’t succeed, he pursued “Son of Ghostman,” creating it with a two-man crew, mostly filming in his home and at guerrilla locations.

“I wanted to make a movie kind of about what these guys do,” Larson has said. “A lot of people think that’s a little strange, but I had to do it. It’s who I am.”

Also a fan of filmmakers, such as the late John Hughes (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Groundhog Day”) and Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Say Anything”), Larson sought to make a film with heart.

“This is really about trying to find out what you are in life and being OK with that,” he said. “It’s really a love letter to anyone who’s ever done anything creative.”

Larson has said he is working on another film he describes as a nostalgic piece about growing up in the Chicago suburbs.

He also started a weekly podcast, “Stay Cool, Geek,” to talk about insecurities, his ego and “how those two worlds mingle while being surrounded by various geek lifestyle choices.”

For more on “Son of Ghostman” and to view a trailer, visit


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