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The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“EUREKA! This year, Christmas will be OURS!” Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) makes his proclamation to the citizens of Halloweentown. The holiday he just discovered will be his to mold and reshape into something spooky. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday classic for every horror fan. Director Tim Bur-er, I mean Henry Selick gives this stop-motion world a chance to breathe and live for the limited run time. It was a movie Disney didn’t believe in upon initial release, yet it’s become a massive merchandising bonanza. How? Well, Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond is gonna do the best it can to explain that.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 32 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare Before Christmas – based on the poem written by Tim Burton during his days as a Disney animator – follows Jack, The Pumpkin King. Leader of Halloweentown and the symbol all others judge themselves against, Jack feels empty inside. The annual Halloween celebration has turned him into a depressed skeleton man who wanders into the alternate world of Christmas Town. Inspired by the unique holiday qualities, Jack decides to take Santa’s place for Christmas. All while the patchwork girl Sally (Catherine O’Hara) tries to stop him. It’s all done in a musical stop-motion animation style so gorgeous it got the film a Best Special Effects Oscar nomination.

All this is discussed 24 audio frames at a time by Thomas Mariani and his guests Christopher G. Moore, Caitlin Turner and Scott Johnson. All are here to discuss Nightmare Before Christmas as a highly influential watermark for animation in general. Henry Selick’s visuals would bring us the films of LAIKA. Pixar is credited for the computer effects. Tim Burton has ripped this off with Corpse Bride. There’s also plenty of big questions asked. Is this a Halloween or Christmas movie? What is the relationship between Sally and Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey)? Would Hot Topic survive without Nightmare Before Christmas? Listen to find out!

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Dog Soldiers (2002)

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Asylum (1972) – Episode 64 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“You have nothing to lose but your mind.” One of the final Amicus anthology films is prepared to drive you insane as Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) interviews the patients of a mental asylum searching for the head doctor who recently lost his mind in Asylum (1972). Roy Ward Baker directs from a script by Robert Bloch featuring Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, and Hebert Lom. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan along with special guest-host Eli Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 64 – Asylum (1972)

With titles like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt, and Torture Garden, Amicus Films threatened to give Hammer Films a run for their money…but never quite reached that goal. By the time they caught up with the studio that gave us Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein, the horror genre was maturing into its modern era as films like Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Exorcist captured the audience’s attention. Asylum is one of the final films in their series of portmanteau films – and quite possibly one of its forgotten best. The wrap around story is woven into the film’s fourth tale “Mannikins of Horror” featuring a murdering toy robot while Peter Cushing stars alongside Barry Morse in a tragic tale called “The Weird Tailor”. Britt Ekland guides Charlotte Rampling down a sordid path in “Lucy Comes to Stay” while Richard Todd faces his slain wife’s revenge in “Frozen Fear”. A terrific film that has the Grue-Crew enjoying every frame.

“See what the author of ‘Psycho’ is up to now!” – the poster tagline pimps the fact that the screenwriter, Robert Bloch, is the man responsible for Alfred Hitchcock’s beloved horror classic.

The Grue-Crew are thrilled to welcome Jeff’s grandson Eli onto the show to review Asylum. A new experience for the lad, Eli starts off things noticing how the music in the first segment, Frozen Short, uses unusual cues to signal the various terrors that threaten Richard Todd in his basement. The Crew agrees with him about the acting as well, as each of the cast – especially Peter Cushing – give the film their all, providing the film with a bit more class that may be expected. Chad shares his own terrifying tale of facing a mannequin in his grandmother’s attic when he was young, a fear that he would have to face in the “Mannikins of Horror” segment. Except for Eli, who recently caught the film for this podcast, the rest of the crew remember catching the film when it was originally released – or, in the case of Doc, re-released under the title House of Crazies.

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 docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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[Podcast] The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – Episode 31 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“A ghost is me.” Dr. Casares (Federico Luppi) finally comes to terms with what he has become. As we all must do when facing The Devil’s Backbone. Following the infamous production problems of Mimic, writer/director Guillermo Del Toro left Hollywood for a moment to collect himself. The film spawned from this – The Devil’s Backbone – is a fascinating look at isolation, loss, and destitution as a group of orphans try to fight for their lives. All while a mysterious spectre lurks in the basement. Thomas and his co-hosts are here to taste test that weird fetus juice as they dive into Del Toro in honor of his upcoming film The Shape of Water.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 31 – The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

While considered an older sibling to Guillermo Del Toro’s big Oscar nomination heavy splash Pan’s LabyrinthThe Devil’s Backbone often feels left alone in the dust. Much like young Carlos (Fernando Tielve) is at the orphanage of Dr. Casares and his wife Carmen (Marisa Paredes). Carlos often gets picked on by the other orphans, particularly as Jaimie (Inigo Garces) picks on him. He eventually starts seeing some mysterious shapes and shadows, only to find out that this orphanage is haunted by the ghost of a young boy named Santi (Junio Valverde). Is this ghost out to kill or to protect the children?

Well, Thomas and his guests Caitlin Turner, Adam Thomas and Christopher G. Moore are here to answer such a crucial question. The Devil’s Backbone is discussed at length by these four. All of them wonder why it isn’t as well appreciated as other Del Toro films. Christopher G. Moore dishes out some intriguing trivia. Caitlin appreciates the more female gaze perspective. Adam is still frozen with tension at that door scene. Thomas just wants to know why the hell that one lady trying putting out a gas fire with a blanket. All this and more is revealed as they dive directly into The Devil’s Backbone.

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

 

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Beware! The Blob (1972) – Episode 63 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Maybe you two kids are on a trip or something. I don’t know and I don’t care.” Sheriff Jones (Richard Webb) has little patience for Bobby Hartford (Robert Walker Jr) and Lisa Clark (Gwynne Gilford) as they describe being attacked by a monstrous man-eating blob in Beware! The Blob (1972). Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan are ready to pounce on Doc Rotten for suggesting this disastrous “treat” of a goofy horror film from director Larry Hagman – yeah, J.R. Ewing from the Dallas TV show (and Major Anthony Nelson from I Dream of Jeanie decades earlier). Oh, boy, this is going to get ripe.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 63 – Beware! the Blob (1972)

On a minuscule $150,000 budget shot almost entirely using friends and neighbors, Larry Hagman and Anthony Harris would craft a horror comedy sequel to Jack Harris’ 50’s monster movie classic The Blob (1958). Sadly, Beware! The Blob comes nowhere near as iconic or thrilling (or professional) as the film that inspired it. The supporting cast would include a who’s who of TV actors of the Sixties and Seventies: Godfrey Cambridge, Richard Stahl, Carol Lynley, Marlene Clark, Gerrit Graham, Dick Van Patten, Del Close, Cindy Williams, Tiger Joe Marsh, and Burgess Meredith. While most everything about the film is subpar, on a curiosity level, the film is mildly entertaining. Beware this movie!

“It’s loose again eating everyone!” – the poster tagline promises far more than the film delivers.

Being good spirits, the Grue-crew desperately try to find good things about the film. Mostly, they get distracted by all the cameos. The dialog, rumored to be mostly improvised, has the crew plugging their ears instead of covering their eyes. Still, there are some silly moments that give the film some gas but the effects are shotty and the direction is…worse. It is not difficult to see that this is Larry Hagman’s sole cinematic directorial effort. Bill Mulligan wins the trivia award of the week for pointing out that Del Close, who has a cameo in this picture, is featured prominently in the 1988 remake from Chuck Russell. Go, team!

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 docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Batman Returns (1992) – Episode 30 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“I am not a human being. I am an animal!” Oswald ‘The Penguin’ Cobblepot (Danny DeVito) declares his identity pretty overtly. Batman Returns is not a subtle movie. Many would question why a superhero movie is being covered on a horror podcast. What is this, Horror News Radio? Well, 1) Batman Returns has been suggested by fans, 2) We’ve got a Justice League movie coming out and 3) there’s some pretty horrific stuff featured in there. How much? Listen to find out!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 30 – Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns had a lot to live up to. Being the sequel to 1989’s Batman – a game changer in terms of blockbuster filmmaking – there’s a lot of mounting pressure. Director Tim Burton returned along with The Caped Crusader, but promised something a bit different. He kept the gothic noir setting and his Batman/Bruce Wayne actor Michael Keaton but put in a lot more stuff distinctive of him. Outcast villains like The Penguin or Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). A brand new shadowy corporate tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). Black and white stripes. Yup, lots and lots of that. In other words, he turned Batman Returns into more of a Tim Burton film. Something that got him the boot from the franchise due to the macabre nature of the film.

Yet, does that seem to bad in hindsight, given some of the post-Batman Returns films featuring The Dark Knight? That’s up for Thomas Mariani to decide, alongside his panel. Thomas, Chad Hunt, Jordan Worth Cobb and Adam Thomas all discuss what makes Batman Returns such a curious oddity. The campy qualities that recall the 1960s show. Some disturbing imagery that made McDonald’s cancel a Happy Meal tie in. Much like Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s relationship, there’s a whole lot of duality going on. But to quote Christopher Walken, “YAWN.” Why read about it when you can listen in as you slide into your own Batcave.

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

If you’re donating at least $1 to the Gruesome Magazine Patreon, you can vote for the last Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond. Just go to the poll here if you’re a patron and vote. Voting ends November 29th.

Next Episode

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

 

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Zombie (1979) – Episode 62 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What is all this about the dead coming back to life again and… having to be killed a second time? I mean, what the hell’s going on here?” Peter West (Ian McCulloch) tries to make sense of the dead rising from their graves to eat the living in Zombie (1979). Doc Rotten returns and he brings Lucio Fulci to the 1970s podcast for the very first time. Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan are on hand to discuss the highlights, the effects, the living dead, Italian horror, and Fulci’s dreamlike plot structure. Oh, yeah, and a zombie versus a shark! What else do you need?

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 62 – Zombie (1979)

When George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) was released overseas, it was often known as Zombi. In Italy, Fulci’s zombie epic was titled Zombi 2 without his knowledge or consent. His film is not a direct sequel to Dawn or any other living dead film. In fact, given the story, it would be more a prequel to the 1978 classic. When the film did cross the seas to play in the States, it kept the general idea of its moniker and became Zombie (1979). The film begins and ends in New York City but takes place mostly on a remote island with its lead characters looking for lost relatives, encountering the living dead and fighting for the lives.

“We are going to eat you!” – the poster tagline grabs its audience from the very get-go.

The Grue-crew explore the film, tackling Fulci’s filming techniques, the acting, the dubbing, the gore, and so much more. The film is iconic with its scenes of zombie horror. If not the underwater zombie-vs-shark scene, then the Spanish Conquistadors rising from the grave to attack our heroes, including the famous zombie with the worms swarming out if its eye socket. Fulci also seems to have a fetish for eyes as the scene with the splinter is intense even today. The gore is plentiful and the final battle in the church turned hospital is non-stop white-knuckle intense. Bill Mulligan even starts off the podcast by suggesting that Fulci’s Zombie is a favorite even over Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. What’s interesting about these zombies is that they are a mix of pre-70s voodoo zombies and modern Romero-ghoul zombies. The cast features Tisa FarrowIan McCullochRichard Johnson (…remember him from The Haunting 1963?).

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 docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990-2017) – Episode 29 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“This is indeed a disturbing universe.” Maggie Simpson (James Earl Jones) gives us one of many great quotes the recite endlessly. The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes are just a sliver of the legacy this titan of a show has left behind. With over 600 episodes in nearly 30 years of time, our favorite yellow-skinned cartoon family has seen a lot of things. Celebrity cameos, world-changing event & a gradual dip in quality. The works. Now, join Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond for a journey through all of the anthology Halloween episodes that have aired from 1990 all the way to the most recent 28th entry as the October haunts season concludes!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 29 – The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990 – 2017)

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror is has been an annual staple for America’s longest-running sitcom since it’s second season. Starting off with segments that adapt Edgar Allen Poe or parody Amityville HorrorThe Simpsons certainly has changed in the intervening years. The segments have grown more gruesome, the parodies more modern and the jokes… few and far between? I know. Someone saying The Simpsons has declined in quality on the internet. Shocker! Still, Simpsons THOH episodes always have something curious about them even at their absolute worst. The animation is usually quite elaborate, turning Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie & all our favorite Springfieldians into something off-kilter and Alf Clausen’s music was always an ethereal joy.

To talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of all this, Thomas Mariani has recruited three terrifying treehouse dwellers and fellow lifelong The Simpsons fans Yonathan Habtemichael, Kaycee Jarrard and Scott Johnson. All three describe their passionate love for the classic years before groaning (and in some cases, sticking up for) the modern years that are so derided. Simpsons THOH segments of old are praised for their consistent laughs, imagination, and cultural impact. More modern stories are… given a bit less praise. Yet, there’s still some love to go around for underrated gems and for the most peculiar episode: a Halloween Simpsons episode that is an anthology with no continuity?! Well, if you asked how that happened… a wizard did it. Happy Halloween Everybody… oh, it’s November 1st? D’OH!

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Batman Returns (1992)

 

 

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The Cabin In the Woods (2012) – Episode 28 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“It’s so strange. I’m actually rooting for this girl. She’s got so much heart and you think of all the pain and the… TEQUILA IS MY LADY! MY LADY! TEQUILA! FROM DARKNESS, THERE IS LIGHT!” Steve (Bradley Whitford) avoids guilt with alcohol. Just like every responsible adult! Cabin in the Woods is easily one of the best horror films of this decade. Hard to believe it was shelved for a year or so before being released. Playing on all the tropes of horror while celebrating what draws people to them, Cabin really is the ultimate horror film. Both in the awe-inspiring awesomeness sense and in the way that it feels like the final word on the genre. Make sure to sit back in your console chair and wait for the best horror climax of all time to unravel before your eyes… or ears.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 28 – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Cabin in the Woods came out at an interesting crossroads for the careers of many involved. It was shot before star Chris Hemsworth became known as Thor, put into theaters right before co-writer Joss Whedon’s The Avengers became one of the most successful films of all time and right before Drew Goddard became the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter behind The Martian. All of them came together in this one moment to make the perfect modern meta-horror. Cabin one-upped the Scream style self-aware slashers into a new galaxy all its own. Now every horror film feels like it’s being controlled by the likes of Steve and Gary (Richard Jenkins) pulling strings behind the scenes. If they can keep up with all the cubes underneath their office.

To contextualize everything about Cabin, Thomas brings aboard Shakyl Lambert, Doc Rotten and Christopher G. Moore to explore the offices below. Discussions are had about the impeccable cast, the meta-commentary on the horror genre and the massively entertaining yet nihilistic ending. The trio can barely contain their love for all the creative monsters, hilarious character moments and nudges to the rib cage Cabin goes through over its runtime. Plus we ask the truly important question; what is the line between Witches and Sexy Witches? Listen to find out!

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990-2017)

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Saw Retrospective (2004-2010) – Episode 27 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“Let the game begin.” Jigsaw aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is the master of ceremonies of his morality inspired death traps. Given it was the franchise that started the torture porn movement, Saw is often maligned as a lesser example of mainstream horror. The fetishistic emphasis on death and soap opera antics only go so far, especially for a franchise with seven installments. Yet, there’s somehow a new entry coming to theaters. So what better way to celebrate than by looking back at the first seven entries? Listen or not, make your choice. But seriously… please listen.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 27 – Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)

Saw is an indie marvel. Made for a mere $1 million, the film grossed over 100 times that much. It tapped into an uncertain zeitgeist of troubling times. America was just starting the Iraq War. Torture was a common thread in news. Our world was still in the throes of confusion and distrust from 9/11. A world that sought escape in the form of a madman designing traps to test people’s moral gumption. Saw continued this trend throughout the 2000s, each installment introducing new bits of continuity and trying to top one another with gory traps. The franchise started off the careers of modern horror masters like James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman and Marcus Dunstan. Saw was really the only mainstream horror franchise in theaters for half a decade… until it wasn’t.

To dissect where everything went wrong, Thomas Mariani brings in a few familiar voices. Adam Thomas, Shakyl Lambert and Ryan Corderman are in for the long haul as all four hosts discuss all seven Saw films in this extended episode. The quartet examines each film in gruesome detail, praising consistent qualities like Tobin Bell while damning the soap opera continuity that gets tedious. There’s praise thrown around for a few of the earlier entries and even a bit of love that trickles down into the latter parts of the series. But there’s plenty of baffling elements of Saw for our heroes to question. How did Jigsaw get more elaborate traps put together? Why did we need to know more through endless flashbacks? Who thought Costas Mandylor was a good idea? All this and more tear the group apart as they try to understand what made people see Saw time and time again.

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

 

 

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Black Swan (2010) – Episode 26 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect.” Nina (Natalie Portman) realizes her full potential as she performs Swan Lake. But at what cost? The sacrifice of an artist can often be horrific. A true nightmare to need to live up to your craft. Yet, it’s something true artists do on a regular basis. Even if it means losing their sanity, their friends and their own sense of identity. All things Nina is slowly lost in Black Swan. Can Thomas and his own troupe of podcasts keep themselves together? Or will they sink into madness along with Nina? Find out as Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond steps further into the modern age for the October haunts season!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 26 – Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan was released in December of 2010 to massive critical raves. Fresh off a triumphant critical sweep with The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky took his first full step into the horror genre and got plenty of Oscar buzz for it. Rare for the genre, but not out of bounds for Aronofsky. Afterall, how horrific is the drug themed drama of Requiem for a Dream? Yet, Black Swan is much more firmly planted in the genre, even it it’s within a more grounded prism. After all, Nina is losing her sense of identity and seeing herself as a mutation of beauty. An artist sacrificing her humanity to become the swan she was born to be. Whether it be at the hands of her mother (Barbara Hershey), her teacher (Vincent Cassel) or her competition (Mila Kunis), Nina is losing what it means to be a “little princess.” Will she end up a has been like Beth (Winona Ryder) or will she transform into a fierce formidable foe that swims along the lake for another night?

To answer all of those questions, Thomas has returning guests Adam Thomas and Yonathan Habtemichael to help out. Some praise Aronofsky’s craft. Others love the performances. But not everyone is on the Black Swan train. There’s so much to unravel. Does Black Swan fit into the genre? Was the Academy love warranted? Does Nina survive the ending? So many interpretations, but only one way to find out! Give us a listen. Don’t fall into the orchestra pit to never be seen again!

Contact 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 And Beyond 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)