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Twin Peaks Retrospective (1990-1992) – Episode 15 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Through the darkness of futures past. The magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds. ‘Fire walk with me.'” The world of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks was one of the more inventive examples of television in the early 90s. The titular Washington town had rich characters, surreal horrors and some damn fine coffee. However, in the 25 years since Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) first visited that sleepy town, has Twin Peaks stood the test of time? Or has it disappeared into The Black Lodge?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 15 – Twin Peaks Retrospective

Twin Peaks was the surprise hit of the spring 1990 TV season. With a cast chock full of quirky characters and the major mystery of the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) at the heart of it’s premise, it helped revolutionize what serialized television could be. Part over the top soap opera, part crime procedural, part surrealist horror. Twin Peaks wasn’t like anything seen on television. Unfortunately, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost were forced by ABC to reveal their mystery early into the second season. Thus, we got a directionless tangent of episodes and an eventual cancellation on a cliffhanger. Lynch would return to the town of Twin Peaks with the feature film prequel Fire Walk With Me in 1992, which was met with diresion from critics and fans alike.

In celebration of Twin Peaks getting a mini-series revival for Showtime, Thomas Mariani and guest Christopher G. Moore are taking a look back at the influential series. Christopher describes his early love of the show during its heyday while Thomas came to the series much later. The two share mutual adoration for the balance of season one. And a mutual frustration over the wacky meandering of season two. Yet, there are plenty of clashing opinions, mainly over the resolve of Laura Palmer’s murder and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Journey with them into The Black Lodge to discuss the gum that will come back in style over some damn fine coffee, won’t you?

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The Creeping Flesh (1973) – Episode 51– Decades of Horror 1970s

“Unfortunately, in the state of society, as it exists today, we are not permitted to experiment on human beings. Normal human beings.” – Christopher Lee’s line in The Creeping Flesh (1973) sets up the odd tone of the film. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor and the host of Decades of Horror The Classic Era Jeff Mohr. Rounding out the co-hosts this episode is Chad Hunt, Jeff’s frequent co-conspirator on the Classic Era, joining the usual crew to discuss another awesome collaboration between horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 51 – The Creeping Flesh (1973)

Anytime we get to cover a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee film, Doc is happy as a clam. The Creeping Flesh, despite its many flaws, lands in the win column for the good doctor. Jeff is equally delighted with the film, as is Chad regardless of his reservations. The Black Saint, however, is not thrilled with The Creeping Flesh one bit. He often challenges the group to back up their love for this oddball film. It isn’t easy. The film has wonky pacing, illogical character decisions, bizarre side storylines that distract from the main tale, and not nearly enough of the title character. The Grew-Crew fear that many horror fans will side with The Black Saint on this one unless they are a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee completist.

From time to time The Creeping Flesh scores with great acting from the two horror icons and typical high standards with costuming and set design. The creature’s skeleton is quite marvelous as well, large and fascinating. The creeping flesh element of the film – however brief – is a highlight. And while actress Lorna Heilbron scores with Jeff Mohr her character’s motivations for the final act come under question from the Grue-Crew. And, as often stated, whenever Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee share the screen, the film becomes immediately more entertaining. And, for those who love their Hammer Films, The Creeping Flesh comes complete with a brief, but welcomed, appearance from the one-and-only Michael Ripper. There’s always that!

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Alien 3 (1992) – Episode 14 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“In an insane world, a sane man must appear insane.” Gorlic (Paul McGann) babbles true words to Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Clemens (Charles Dance) just before”The Dragon” attacks. Alien 3 was to many a rather insane proposition. After the incredibly beloved AliensAlien 3 decides to throw out many of the beloved characters introduced there and leave its audience wallowing in a nihilistic pit. Where the main journey of Ripley is centered around a desire to die. Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t too popular 25 years ago. However, does that impeded it from finding a modern audience now?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 14 – Alien 3

Alien 3 – or as it’s often stylized Alien3 – is often considered the black sheep of the Xenomorph ladened franchise. Not as beloved as Alien or Aliens, yet not quite as controversial as Alien vs Predator or Prometheus. While often dismissed by many – including its own director David Fincher – Alien 3 offers a unique perspective that sets itself apart from others in the franchise. Abandoning crowd pleasing nature of Aliens and doubling down on the thriller angles of AlienAlien 3 seeks no light at the end of the tunnel. The prison planet of Fiorina 161 is a desolate pit covered in lice and bald angry prisoners. The only hope for Ripley, Dillon or any of the few remaining people on the planet is merely killing the Xenomorph as it’s killing them. It’s bleak, unrelenting and oppressive… meaning it really wouldn’t be for everyone.

To examine this, Thomas Mariani not only welcomes back Adam Thomas from last week, but also recruits his Horror News Radio co-host Santos “The Black Saint” Ellin Jr. The Black Saint has been a heavy defender of Alien 3 since it was originally released, hailing it as his favorite film of the franchise. He praises the nihilism, the bleak outlook of the characters and Fincher’s grimy atmosphere. Adam praises much of the same, though still considers Alien his favorite. Thomas has a few more issues, but respects the consistent dark tone and risky choices. Together, these three discuss the differences between the Alien 3 theatrical and Assembly Cut, the troubled production David Fincher went through and the controversy over killing off Newt, Hicks and Bishop. It’s a spirited discussion that shows Alien 3 has far more depth than people give it credit for.

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We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy. Also make sure to give us some love via iTunes reviews and ratings. Helps us get more notice along the way.

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Twin Peaks: The Series and Fire Walk With Me

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The Omen (1976) – Episode 50 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Good morning. You are one day closer to the end of the world. You have been warned.” – the tag line for The Omen (1976) goes a long way in frightening audiences, then and now. Following cinema’s fascination with possession and satanism since Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist changed the face of horror, Director Richard Donner brings the threat of Revelations to the forefront without resorting to full-on supernatural, grounding the terror in reality as much as possible. This results in one of the biggest hits of the year. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 50 – The Omen (1976)

The Black Saint, Doc, and Jeff reflect on The Omen, remarking on how well the Richard Donner approached and manipulated the script. They examine a number of keys scenes pointing out how well they work in the genre, from the decapitation of David Warner’s character to Lee Remick’s character tumbling from the banister to the iconic scene where Patrick Troughton’s priest is skewered by a severed lightning rod. Above all that is the incredible music provided by Jerry Goldsmith for which he won an Academy Award that year. The presence of esteemed actor Gregory Peck goes a long way in grounding the film and its terrifying themes. And actress Billie Whitelaw is absolutely frightening in the role of Mrs. Baylock.

For the fiftieth episode of Decades of Horror 1970s, we decided to tackle one of the big releases of the decade, also one featuring subject matter that is particularly unsettling for host The Black Saint. He has vowed to never watch The Exorcist again. Yes, for this show, he sets aside his reservations to view the film once again, share his thoughts and appreciation for the film, and comment on seeing the film back when it was first released. Jeff too saw the film in the theaters at that time and both he and the Black Saint remember the marketing that supported the film and the generally terrified reaction the audience gave during those screenings. C’mon Donner was dead set on scaring his audience, the editing and varied angels of Jenning’s death scene alone illustrate how The Omen scared audiences then…and should still now.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Freaked (1993) – Episode 13 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“What’s the matter? Afraid of the rough stuff? Welcome to showbusiness, morons!” The snarky spirit of Alex Winter’s Freaked continues to entertain nearly a quarter of a century after its release. Jabs at everything from the entertainment industry to corporate overreach to… milkmen? Well, they had it coming especially. It’s a zany manic ride that may just be thee most 90s thing the show has yet to cover. The question is, does this Liquid Television-era MTV inspired film still get many laughs all these years later? Also, is it a horror movie? Was this the role Randy Quaid was born to play? Or, perhaps most importantly… is someone could to wipe Worm’s ass?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 13 – Freaked

Freaked is probably the least horror related production to be covered on this show, but it was especially chosen by our listeners in a poll. Freaked beat out heavy hitters like Interview with a Vampire and Tales from the Hood to get here. How in the hell did that happen? After all, when it was first released in 1993, no one really payed attention to it. The satiric comedy follows sleazy actor Ricky Coogan (Alex Winter) and his buddies being mutated into hideous freaks by a crazed carnival broker/freak show proprietor (Quaid) and a key part in the resistance of freaks he’s imprisoned. Freaked eventually found a following on home video, but then again one can’t be certain that it would have been all that successful even if it had a wide release. With its edgy 90s satire and extensive disturbing creature design, Freaked couldn’t really be made at any other time, before or since.

To join Thomas Mariani is Gruesome Magazine’s own Adam Thomas. Adam considers himself a child of the 90s and Freaked to be right up his alley. The two talk about the insanely eclectic cast, which includes Keanu Reeves as a dog man, William Sadler as the head of the Everything Except Shoes corporation and Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes as a half man/half cow creature. There’s also much talk about the amazing practical effects work throughout, designed by Screaming Mad George, Steve Johnson and The Chiodo Brothers amongst others. It’s probably the most horror driven aspect of Freaked, but that doesn’t stop Thomas and Adam from talking about it. Or, occasionally talking in between fits of laughter.

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Alien3

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Perfect Blue (1998) – Episode 12 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Nobody cares for you anymore. You’re tarnished! Filthy!” Mima Kirigoe (Junko Iwao) grapples with her nightmarish double and her grip on reality. Stuck between her old life as a pop idol, her newfound acting career and her own inner self, Mima must try to find herself within a turmoil of madness, celebrity obsession and murder. Can she connect the mysterious murders that happen around her? Is there a link that bridges the gap between the madness? Can she decipher what the hell a “homepage” on the “Internet” is in the late 90s? All the answers lie within her own Perfect Blue.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 12 – Perfect Blue

The first film from acclaimed and unfortunately late director Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue is the kind of head trip that must be seen to be believed. Originally conceived as a live action endeavor, Kon and his team of animators translated the maddening psychological horror into an anime art style that has to be seen to be believed.  Inspired by the surreal talents of Terry Gilliam, Perfect Blue weaves a dark elusive web of a mystery that enraptures the audience. Mima must try to weed through the madness to find some form of sense, but her nature as an unreliable narrator makes us dubious. Even as we see the world around her turn against her, we’re unsure if it’s all just a vision in her warped mind. We’re not even sure if she can tell her reflection from herself, let alone guarantee she didn’t murder anyone. It’s terrifying, gorgeous and a bit of a thinker. In other words, this ain’t no Pokemon.

To clarify this, Thomas brings on anime fan Yonathan Habtemichael. While defining a few anime terms for the average joe, Yonathan also helps to give a rather wide cinematic scale. He and Thomas go into the thematically relevant provocative imagery that parades Perfect Blue. Particularly with emphasis on the horror. Despite the anime style, Thomas and Yonathan are genuinely terrified by the graphic gore depicted. Yet, there’s also more under the surface. The true horror of Perfect Blue is more personal to Mima, but universal to all of us. One that is extremely prescient to modern tech stalking that’s everywhere today. Even on clunky old computers and with dated home pages, Perfect Blue has a type of disturbed obsession at its core the blurs the lines of reality and makes the horror all the more vibrant and human despite being animated in two dimensions.

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We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

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The Listener’s Choice Approved… Freaked (1993)

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Psychomania (1973) – Episode 49 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Seven Suicides – and they roared back as The Living Dead.” – the tag line for Psyhomania (1973) plays heaving on the “Living Dead” implications from NoTLD despite this not being a zombie film in any fashion.  Also known as The Death Wheelers, the film does involve, bikers, death, destruction, and the devil — maybe. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and fellow contributor Jerry Chandler.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 49 – Pyschomania (1973)

In the extras on the Psychomania Blu-ray, star Nicky Henson reveals that no one on the set thought that anyone would be talking about this film after its release; in fact, that is the reason he chose these types of films over TV work, thinking no one would ever see it. To his dismay, the film would be shown countless times on the late-nite feature securing it as a minor cult classic and a film he is most approached about decades later. Psychomania is also the final film for the late, great George Sanders known to many as the man who starred in All About Eve, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the genre efforts Village of the Damned, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jungle Book (voice of Shere Khan the Tiger), or Batman (TV – as Mr. Freeze). While the film may be light on scares, it is heavy on thrills with its “groovy” stunt, something the director Don Sharp had experience with his previous films. Sharp is also the director behind Kiss of the Vampire, Curse of the Fly, and The Brides of Fu Manchu.

Doc confesses to considering Psychomania as a guilty pleasure, sharing he first purchased the film as a blind-buy with an affordably priced “Goodtimes” VHS. The rest of the crew are not as warm to the film, but they all recognize that is does have some Seventies charm. While Santos generally dislikes the film, he does praise its score. The best part of the film is the oddball nature of how the film mixes the action with humor for the suicide scenes where the “Living Dead” off themselves so they can return to live eternal. The Crew debate the true nature of Sanders’ character Shadwell and scratch their heads over all the “frog” imagery. Yes, the resurrection of the leader of the “Living Dead”, Tom, as he flies out of his grave atop his motorcycle is the film’s highlight. Psychomania is a unique film, a one of kind.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Episode 11 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) says the iconic line that launched a thousand parodies. 25 year – nearly to the day – after sweeping the Academy Awards, Silence of the Lambs has become a cultural touchstone that people still recognize to this day. The interplay between Dr. Lecter and Agent Claire Starling (Jodie Foster) live on in the annals of horror history. Then again, is this groundbreaking piece of cinema a horror film? A thriller? A romantic comedy? It’ll take a reunion of some experts from the Hannibal Fan Podcast to make that kind of call.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 11 – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs is only the third and so far last film to sweep the five big Oscar categories: Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Director & Picture. An amazing feat, but one that still remains earned. Following a young FBI agent at the end of her training, Clarice Starling is out to find the shadowy serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). While on the hunt, she visits the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane to interview psychiatrist/disturbed cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter as to Bill’s actions. The back and forth between the two quickly becomes a mind game, one that’s brilliantly written by Ted Tally (based on Thomas Harris’ novel) and directed with delicate control by Jonathan Demme. One intelligent study of the insane vs. the sane that spawned multiple sequels and copycats alike.

To suss out all of this, Thomas gets the band back together from the Hannibal Fan Podcast for a reunion! Doc Rotten speaks to the intimate close ups Demme uses to get us into the characters. Dave Dreher denotes the lingering horror of the tension filled finale. Christopher G. Moore gushes about every frame of his second favorite film of all time. While denoting some datedness, Thomas can’t help but marvel at the cohesively constructed Silence of the Lambs. This band of Hannibal fans discuss the iconic performances, legendary characters and masterful horror on display. Plus, there’s a bit of fan casting for Bryan Fuller if he ever returns to the world of Thomas Harris. Bryan: call us!

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

Call to Action: Vote For Episode 13!

Decades of Horror the 1990s needs your help! We need to find a topic for episode #13 and we’re asking YOU to vote on it! In the below link, vote for how excited you’d be for each individual option from Golden (super excited) to Dead (not excited at all). The one with the greatest average will be chosen. Deadline to vote is April 1st! You can vote here.

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Perfect Blue (1998)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Blu-ray Screenshot

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A*P*E (1976) – Episode 48 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“See A*P*E … defy the jaws of a giant shark … destroy a teeming city … demolish an ocean liner … vanquish a monster reptile” – the tag line for A*P*E (1976) promises as much as the incredible poster for this race- to-the-theater King Kong rip-off from director Paul Leder. Yes, Yes! This is the film where the giant gorilla flips off the army … in 3D, no less.  Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and NC effects artist and film maker Bill Mulligan.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 48 – A*P*E (1976)

With a massive budget of $24,000, the team behind A*P*E created a King Kong rip-off film that has to be seen to be believed. Insanely goofy, horribly made, dreadfully written, hilariously inept, the film originally known as Super Kong is a disaster … and bloody brilliant because of it. It is a true so-bad-it-is-good treasure … and in 3-D to boot. It is getting a terrific 3D Bluray release from Kino Lorber Video and for those who love schlocky, horrible films that desperately want to be called guilty pleasure, then A*P*E is the film for you. Oh, the joy, the pure stupid joy! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten are joined by Jeff Mohr and Bill Mulligan to recap and review this bizarre entry into 1970s solid gold. Enjoy!

A*P*E features one of the worst gorilla costumes committed to film, ever. The seems are evident and the stitches come loose in the opening scene when APE fights a giant shark, revealing the undershirt underneath. Amazing! The film feels padded at 80 minutes long and features scene after scene of random locals running from the 36 foot gorilla, many of which can be seen smiling and laughing as they run. Rich! The army shows up late in the film so they can point their guns into the camera in “stunning” 3D effects. Marvelous! The gorilla shimmies, shakes, and dances his way across the South Korean landscape scaring villages, stepping over fake cows, wrestling live snakes, and tearing down buildings with glorious glee. Ah! There’s nothing else left to say… watch the film if you dare. Regardless, listen to the Grue-Crew discuss A*P*E.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

 

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Dead Alive (1992) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I kick ass for the Lord!” Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) kicks some zombie ass in the defining example of ‘divine intervention.’ Peter Jackson’s cult classic Dead Alive (or Braindead for international audiences) has been a mainstay of the zombie genre for 25 years. The zany horror/comedy takes the example of Sam Raimi and builds layer upon layer of creative creature effects & gallons upon gallons of gore. His early splatstick style might not have gotten him Academy level prestige, but it made Jackson a key figure in the evolution of zombie cinema. Now, armed with a lawnmower and a tarp, Thomas and his co-hosts are out to get to the meat of what makes Dead Alive endure for as long as it has.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 10 – Dead Alive (1992)

Set in 1957 New Zealand, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is a momma’s boy, under the strict thumb of his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). He looks after her enormous house and does her every whim, without a single bit of time for himself. Even when Lionel tries to take the lovely local market girl Pequita (Diana Peñalver) out on a date to the local zoo, she has to tag along. Unfortunately, this zoo trip turns dire as a rabid Sumatran Rat Monkey from the monkey exhibit bites Vera and catch a zombie virus that slowly degenerates her condition. Lionel tries to keep her upright, only for her to crave human flesh. Even after her funeral, Vera’s lust for carnage ravages this small New Zealand town, which Lionel tries to keep contained in his house as he keeps a nurse, a greaser punk and a preacher who have been bitten and transformed by his mother in the basement. This comedy of errors escalates further as Lionel’s misogynistic idiot Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) blackmails him into his mother’s inheritance and celebrates with a party at the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas is joined by returning guests Sam Brutuxan and Christopher G. Moore to discuss this early example of Peter Jackson’s extensive ambition. The variety of zombie creatures, endlessly creative camera tricks and stunning displays of gore mastery still impress to this day, showing off the extensive world building and incredibly detailed madness that would be needed to bring Middle Earth to the big screen less than a decade later. The trio praise Dead Alive for its ability to be an homage to everything from King Kong to Evil Dead, while at the same time carving a new path towards cult fame. They revel in all their favorite zombie character, from the zombie baby Lionel throttles with to Void the greaser’s personified gastrointestinal tract. It’s a love fest all around, with Christopher clamoring it as his favorite zombie film of all time.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.