Why She’s Interesting: While many know Laura Wimbels from her 2016 book Faces of Cleveland — a compilation of everyday people you’re likely to see around The Land — she’s become the regional Queen of Horror as Lenora, the writer and creator of Midnight Rental and formerly the co-host of The Big Bad B-Movie Show. Equipping that Elvira-esque persona, Wimbels hypnotizes viewers into an education on her favorite thing: ghoulish, ghastly and ghostly cinema.
Full Circle: As a kid, Wimbels stayed up late to watch her first horror movie (Psycho) on Channel 43. The genre hooked her. So, it felt like fate when a friend at WUAB and WOIO, Zachariah Durr, reached out in need of a co-host for the station’s new B-list horror showcase. It didn’t take long for the fans to flock, which Wimbels accredits partially to 2020’s lockdown. “We had such a massive response to the show. I mean, I have baskets of fan mail. We got more fan mail than the station has ever seen — like, physical, handwritten fan mail. And I knew that meant that there was a thirst for that type of show.”
Lenora Reborn: The Big Bad B-Movie Show came to an end on Channel 43, but it wasn’t the end for Wimbels and her beloved persona. She took the character into a new format, a YouTube series that Lenora hosts before delving into video essays on individual movies, franchises or directors. She maintains a positive, campy levity despite the change. “I didn’t want it to be a show where — you know how you can get on YouTube — you see people just bashing movies and saying like, ‘Oh, this movie f**king sucks.’” Episodes include "A Love Letter to John Carpenter," "Based on a Novel by Stephen King" and quirkier dives like "Horror Movie Sequels Set in Space."
D.I.Y. or Die: In true YouTube fashion and without a production crew, Wimbels learned Adobe’s video editing software in three months to edit her own series. “It’s been a labor of love. [But] I have total creative freedom because it’s just me writing it.” The horror hostess tackled the set herself, as well, modeling the shelving and quirky aesthetic after the Hollywood Video she once worked at before streaming services took those physical sanctuaries away.
Pen pals: The fan mail sent into Big Bad B-Movie Show included more than 2,000 handwritten letters. Reminiscent of the old days of mailed newsletters and post-based clubs, Wimbels sent back a signed head shot to every person.