This website would never have existed had it not been for Don Dohler. I would never have had a career in the motion picture industry without him I felt it important it be known the vast influence Don Dohler and his legacy had on the low-budget independent horror and science fiction community. I hope to share my knowledge and mentoring with others… as Don did with me.
Don Dohler was a wonderful, creative individual who inspired me 26 years ago to get into the entertainment business. He was the publisher of the fantastic magazine CINEMAGIC, and in his 30 – year career he produced 11 low-budget, independent films with sci-fi and horror themes. The thing that was great about Don Dohler is that he showed budding moviemakers that it COULD be done… that it wasn’t always about how much money you had to work with, but how much drive and imagination you had to complete your vision.
A few of his movies have even been shown all around the world. This is no small feat. He had fans from Belgium to Australia and every place in-between.
For the last 3 – 4 years I was lucky enough to become a close friend of Don’s, and was allowed to work on his current film projects. Trust me, it was a dream come true. Considering that I can be an artistic horse’s ass from time to time, he was always patient and kind to me, as he was with everyone that knew him. It is a friendship that I cannot fully appreciate until now.
He talked a few times about retiring from the movie business to focus more attention on his new wife, his grand-daughter, and his day job as a newspaper editor. He was going to launch a private domain site that featured the many different aspects of his life (many do not know that he was an underground comic book artist).
Sadly, in mid 2006, Don was diagnosed with two forms of cancer. He braved the treatments that he would take for the next couple of months, with his family and friends by his side for support. Unfortunately, on December 2, 2006, he passed away. He was 60.
On January 6th, 2007 there was a celebration ceremony held in his honor, and there was standing room only in the auditorium. Among those giving eulogies about Don were actress Leanna Chamish and Director Joe Ripple, both whom had worked with Don for many years. Documentary filmmaker John Kinhart gave a video presentation about Don, his life, and the people he touched. It was a beautiful tribute to a great man.
Some have wanted to compare Don and his work to that of Ed Wood, Jr. I feel that is unfair. Don was extremely talented; he unfortunately had to fight terrible odds and lack of funds to get his movie dreams accomplished. If anything, I would have compared him more to Roger Corman. Making movies is incredibly difficult. Getting them distributed is even tougher. This man helped many people jump-start their careers.
Don Dohler was the godfather of the underground comics movement back in the 1960s. He later created the magazine CINEMAGIC, which was a how-to guide to doing low-budget special effects. This magazine inspired such people as Rick Baker, Tom Savini, J.J. Abrams, Craig Reardon, and Tom Sullivan. He was also a prolific horror and sci-fi filmmaker, and his 30 year career included such movies as: THE ALIEN FACTOR, FIEND, NIGHTBEAST, GALAXY INVADER, BLOOD MASSACRE, ALIEN RAMPAGE, HARVESTERS, STAKES, VAMPIRE SISTERS, CRAWLER, and DEAD HUNT.
A documentary on his life and career is doing the festival circuit and is titled “Blood, Boobs, and Beast” and was produced by award-winning filmmaker John Kinhart. If there is one thing I took away from it all is that a person should never take their life for granted, and they sure as hell better not take the people in their life for granted. I am honored to find out Don considered me a close friend. Rest in peace, my friend; you are greatly missed. This site is dedicated in your memory.
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