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The Mummy (1932) – Episode 11 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“’Death… eternal punishment… for… anyone… who… opens… this… casket. In the name… of Amon-Ra… the king of the gods.’ Good heavens, what a terrible curse!” intones Sir Joseph Whemple as he translates the inscription found within the tomb of Imhotep in The Mummy (1932), one of Universal’s classic monster films. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we conduct our own “dig,” dusting off the artifacts we discover, inspecting them from every angle, and discussing what we find.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 11 – The Mummy (1932)

Directed by famed cinematographer Karl Freund, The Mummy was Universal Studio’s response to the public’s apparent thirst for horror films while simultaneously taking advantage of the free marketing created by the discovery and archeological excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. There had even been a story in the New York Times sensationalizing the tomb’s alleged curse by counting off fourteen associated deaths. Universal’s Carl Laemmle Jr. knew the foundation for a film legend when he saw one and he set writers Richard Shayer, Nina Wilcox Putnam, and John Balderston to work. Laemmle next paired Boris Karloff, fresh off Frankenstein (1931) and The Old Dark House (1932), with legendary Universal Studios makeup artist Jack Pierce; added the talented stage actor Zita Johann as the female lead; and rounded off the cast with supporting regulars Edward Van Sloan, David Manners, Noble Johnson, Arthur Byron, and Bramwell Fletcher. Thus a film icon was born.

Listen as we discuss the answers to these questions: How did Zita Johann and Karl Freund get along? How did the story morph from Putnam’s and Shayer’s vision of Allesandro Cagliostro to Balderston’s Imhotep? Why take a chance on first time director Karl Freund? What does Dracula (1931) have to do with The Mummy? For that matter, what does The Mummy have to do with 150 episodes of I Love Lucy (1951-56)?  Or Red Planet Mars (1952)? Or the 1961-64 seasons of Mister Ed? How does The Mummy’s classic poster rank historically?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll also hear which of us makes these comments:

  • “The voices and speech patterns of some of the other actors struck me as just this side of the helium tank at times.”
  • “Even without the mummified makeup he’s still a creepy-looking dude.”
  • “I’m not sure what you’re asking.” “Neither am I. You’re just supposed to come up with an answer.”
  • “He gives birth to one of the most unrealistic man-screams in the history of Hollywood.”

For What It’s Worth Dept.:

  • Hear our second reference to The Honeymooners and our second reference to Iron Maiden.
  • Hear Chad say Ankh-es-en-amon at least 6 times without stumbling once.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming and very flexible schedule includes Village of the Damned (1960), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and Jû jin yuki otoko (original 1955 Japanese version, aka Half Human),

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about thefilms we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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The Last Man on Earth (1964) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“You’re freaks! I’m a man! The last man…” Thus screams Dr. Robert Morgan at the vampires of the post-pandemic world depicted in The Last Man on Earth (1964). Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – for our somewhat historic 10th episode as we suit up alongside Morgan to do battle against the vampiric horde. Unfortunately, Erin Miskell, the glue that holds The Classic Era’s Grue Crew together, is on special assignment investigating Dr. Caligari’s cabinet … from the inside, and was not able to join us in this battle.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Episode 10 – The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Based on Richard Matheson’s classic, dark, science fiction novel, I Am Legend (1954), The Last Man on Earth is a joint Italian-U.S. production, filmed in Italy and distributed by American International Pictures. Directed by Sidney Salkow on a shoestring budget, The Last Man on Earth follows Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) as he goes about his daily life as the titular character. By day, his time is spent scrounging for supplies and searching out, killing, and burning the infected vampires. By night, he fends off the still shambling remnants of the population or listens to jazz records backed with the weak cries from his infected, former colleague to “Come out Morgan … come out Morgan.”

Listen as we discuss the answers to these questions: Did the filmmakers construct a believable post-pandemic world? Since the story takes place in Los Angeles, how did they manage to create a piece of California in Italy? How does Price’s performance as Morgan in this low budget, Italian collaboration compare to his other roles? Exactly who the the heck is co-writer Logan Swanson? What did Richard Matheson think of The Last Man on Earth? How closely does this adaptation follow the plot of Matheson’s novel? How does The Last Man on Earth rank compared withThe Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007), the other adaptations of Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend? What happened to the script Matheson wrote for Hammer Films in the late 1950s? Why does The Last Man on Earth (1964) remind us so much of George Romero’s Night of the LIving Dead (1968)?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll also hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • “I never turn down a stake.”
  • “It’s not the garlic keeping them away; it’s the dirty underwear.”
  • “We’re coming to get you Morgan.”
  • “Everybody knows Vincent Price has Tyrannosaurus Rex hands.”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Village of the Damned (1960), Viy (1967), and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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The Queen of Spades (1949) – Episode 9 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“This is a very rare book. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. … Who knows what you may learn from it. You might end up by gaining a fortune or losing your precious soul.” So said a wizened, antique bookseller (Ivor Barnard) to Captain Herman Suvorin (Anton Walbrook) as he sold him a tome of supernatural secrets. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as they journey back to 1949 and take a gamble on The Queen of Spades.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 9 – The Queen of Spades (1949)

Is The Queen of Spades the best horror film of 1949? It is according to Bloody Disgusting and Rotten Tomatoes. The film was thought to be lost until 2009 and when Jeff noticed it was now available for streaming, he excitedly added the film to the schedule as his next pick. The Queen of Spades tells the story of a young countess who strikes a Faustian bargain with the devil and exchanges her soul for the ability to gamble and win at Faro. Years later, a lower class, army officer, who resents the aristocracy and is obsessed with gaining comparable status in society, stalks Lizaveta Ivanova (Yvonne Mitchell), the ward of the now elderly Countess, to gain access to the secret of the cards. In the process, he causes the death of the Countess and finds himself haunted by the woman’s spirit.

After viewing The Queen of Spades, your intrepid Classic Era Grue Crew couldn’t agree on whether it was a horror movie or not. Erin, Joseph, and Chad questioned its horror bonafides while Jeff stuck with the hand he dealt himself and played his “deal with the devil” and “evil haunting” cards. After all, it was the best horror film of 1949, right? However, Joseph is quick to point out the competition in 1949 was as thin as a playing card, causing us all to question the value of it being referred to as the “year’s best.”

If you have not heard of the 1834 Alexander Pushkin story on which the film is based, you will find yourself in the same boat as we did when we were surprised to learn there had been over twenty adaptations of the story over the years. It’s also likely you have not heard of the film’s director, Thorold Dickinson. You will be shocked to learn what Martin Scorsese has to say about Dickinson in general and The Queen of Spades specifically. Even Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) has something interesting to say about this film.

We also discuss the answers to these burning questions. Does the performance of Dame Edith Evans, as the elderly Countess Ranevskaya, live up to her reputation as the greatest actress on the English stage in the 20th century? Why did Anton Walbrook flee Germany? Where have I seen Ronald Howard, who plays Suvorin’s aristocratic friend Andrei, before? Which of these actors played Sherlock Holmes in the 1950s? What does Mary Poppins have to do with The Queen of Spades? Which of the film’s actors also appeared in a Hammer film? What was used for the snow to depict the Russian winter?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll also hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • “I am down with the young people!”
  • “There are many old bitty horror films … you know, that’s a subgenre, I’m not being mean.”
  • “The higher the hair, the closer to God.”
  • “At first I thought it was film grain, but I think there were actual bees flying in and out of that thing.”
  • “Because I’m anal.”

If you’d like to listen to the “The Queen of Spades” radio episode of Mystery in the Air, starring Peter Lorre and first aired in 1947, you can check it out here.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes The Last Man on Earth (1964), Village of the Damned (1960), Viy (1967), and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Freaks (1932) – Episode 8 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Gooba gobble, gooba gobble, one of us, one of us. We accept her, we accept her, one of us, one of us…” Easy for them to say! Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we make a trip to the circus and take in Tod Browning’s legendary film, Freaks (1932).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 7 – Freaks (1932)

Loosely based on “Spurs,” a short story by Clarence Aaron ‘Tod’ Robbins, Freaks is the embodiment of the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” all the way from its advertising taglines to the appearance of the film’s actors. Throughout the filming, Browning leans heavily on his experiences working in a carnival and exhibits a genuine affection for the title characters of Freaks.

The blatantly exploitative taglines – “The Love Story of a SIREN, a GIANT, and a DWARF!” and “Can a full grown woman truly love a MIDGET?” –  are so misleading as to constitute outright lies. Yet another tagline – “‘We’ll Make Her One of Us!’ from the gibbering mouths of these weird creatures came this frenzied cry… no wonder she cringed in horror… this beautiful woman who dared toy with the love of one of them!” – has nearly nothing to do with the film and only works to entice the audience with the supposed luridness of a freak show using phrases like “gibbering mouths,” “weird creatures,” “frenzied cry,” and “cringed in horror.”

Despite their abnormal bodies, the title characters of Freaks are the beautiful ones, exuding love and caring for one another in this traveling community. On the other hand, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), the beautiful siren; and Hercules (Henry Victor), the handsome strongman; turn out to be ugly beyond redemption, as they conspire to destroy Hans’ (Harry Earles) relationship with Frieda (Daisy Earles) and murder him in order to steal his inheritance. Throughout Freaks, these two villains pepper the sideshow community with derisive and disparaging insults, treating them as if they are less than human.

Hans and Frieda are supported throughout Freaks by their loving, understanding, and loyal friends in this big-hearted family – the half woman-half man (Josephine Joseph), the Siamese Twins (Violet and Daisy Hilton), the Armless Girl (Frances O’Connor), the Human Skeleton (Peter Robinson), the Living Torso (Prince Randian), the half-boy (Johnny Eck), Angeleno (Angelo Rossitto), Schlitze and too many others to list. Two normal-bodied members of their freakshow family are Phroso the Clown, played by consummate character actor Wallace Ford, and Venus, played by Leila Hyams.

Freaks is about that age old love-versus-greed conflict and in this case, love triumphs while the characters motivated by greed suffer hideous consequences. It’s unfortunate that the powers that be chose to pitch Freaks as the beautiful Cleopatra and handsome Hercules falling victims to a gibbering gang of weird creatures.

There’s some question as to whether or not Freaks is a horror film, but without a doubt, there are some horrifying scenes, especially in the last ten minutes. However, the horror is not in the appearance of the title characters as implied by the advertising taglines, but in what they do to Cleopatra and Hercules in return for the horrifying treatment the couple inflicts on them, especially Hans..

If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • “… you can just kind of picture us bouncing in our seats right now.”
  • ‘“From the gibbering mouths of these weird creatures came this frenzied cry!” … Actually our gibbering mouths were probably worse at the beginning of this episode.’
  • “I cry like every five minutes in this movie.”
  • “Tell me what you can do with your eyebrow.”
  • “I would’ve smiled and then just spiked Cleopatra’s drink with as many laxatives as I could get my hands on.”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes The Queen of Spades (1949), The Last Man on Earth (1964), Village of the Damned (1960) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you, a great big “THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!” from each of us!

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The Thing From Another World (1951) – Episode 7 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“What if he can read our minds?” “He’ll be real mad when he gets to me.” Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we go vegan and digest some tasty, carrot-like, side dishes cooked up from The Thing From Another World (1951).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 7 – The Thing From Another World (1951)

More than 30 years before John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) came The Thing From Another World. In fact, John Carpenter’s The Thing is often asked, “Who’s your daddy?” to which the answer is always, “The Thing From Another World.” Do they share some sort of prequel/sequel relationship? Absolutely not. The two films are more like fraternal twins, coming from the same source material, but ending up with a little different DNA. Being both daddy/offspring and fraternal twins does bring up questions of metaphorical incest, but we digress.

Our feature film for Episode 7, the original The Thing From Another World, was produced by Howard Hawks’ Winchester Enterprises, directed by Christian Nyby, and written by Charles Lederer from John W. Campbell Jr.’s award-winning short story, “Who Goes There?” The Thing From Another World tells the story of an alien found frozen near a polar outpost and then thawed when mistakenly covered by an electric blanket that’s cranked up to 11. Well, maybe not actually to 11, but it was definitely off-the-scale stupid! The title creature (see what I did there, Crew?), played by the James Arness, proceeds to make short work of two scientists and the sled dogs while escaping.

Lead scientist Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) is all for preserving the Thing at all costs, even losing human lives, in the interest of knowledge. The Air Force personnel at the outpost, along with some of the scientists, are all about their own survival. The titular leader of our intrepid good guys is Capt. Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) but Nikki (Margaret Sheridan) has his number and is the functional/spiritual leader of the team, providing most solutions in an offhand, oh-by-the-way manner. Topping off the mix, Crew Chief Bob (Dewey Martin) provides ongoing moral support while Scotty (Douglas Spencer) contributes comic relief grounded in common sense and reality. We also encounter some other recognizable faces (or voices), including John Dierkes, William Self, George Fenneman, and Paul Frees.
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During the podcast we try to answer some nagging questions about The Thing From Another World. Exactly who directed this film? Who contributed to the screenplay? What is the best way to kill James Arness? No one figured it out on Gunsmoke. Why would anyone put an electric blanket over a block of ice encapsulating an alien with creepy eyes? What did Jame Arness think about what turned out to be an iconic role? What execution was Scotty talking about when he was cut off by the Thing? What’s behind that sly smile on Nikki’s face and what does she have on Captain Hendry? And why does everyone talk so darn fast?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • You’re ugly, but hey, I’m not going to cover you up just because you’re ugly.
  • You’re in danger, girl!
  • We all kind of become plant food in the end.
  • How about a rabbit with shiny things?

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Freaks (1932), The Queen of Spades (1949), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1924), and The Last Man on Earth (1964). Sorry folks, but Waxworks (1924) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) have been rescheduled due to circumstances beyond our control. That and we changed our minds. Don’t worry, though. We will most assuredly cover them in the future.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nut jobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you, a great big “Thank you for listening!” from each of us!

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IT! (1967) – Episode 6 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“There are certain unseen things that are more real than those which you can see and touch. I know that.” Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we go for IT! … NO, NOT THE STEPHEN KING It. Give us a break! After all, we are The Classic Era Grue-Crew. We’re talking about the exclamation-point-ended, 1967-released, Roddy McDowall starred-in, pseudo-Hammer produced, tree-golem monstered IT!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 6 – IT! aka Curse of the Golem (1967)

Written and directed by Herbert J. Leder, whose other accomplishments include Fiend Without a Face (1958) and The Frozen Dead (1966), It! builds on the Jewish folklore of the golem. What if a nervous nebbish of an assistant museum curator named Arthur Pimm (Roddy McDowall) discovered the long lost Golem of Prague? What’s more, what if he discovered the power to control the golem? What would this nervous, nebbishy, assistant museum curator do with such power? Well, it’s definitely not what we would do.

When the omnipotent golem runs amok, as all indestructible creatures are want to do, how would you stop IT!? Even though IT! might sound like Superman, Kryptonite won’t do the trick. I mean come on, IT!’s made of clay. Can IT! be drowned? Can IT! be burned? Can IT! be destroyed by any man-made means?

By the way, what the heck is Mr. Pimm doing with his mother? I guess he does look a bit like a shorter Norman Bates, but Pimm’s mother has much nicer jewelry than Mrs Bates. And what integral part does Pimm’s mother fetish play in the plot of IT!? Or does IT!?! 

Find out why Erin talks so much about The Legend of Hell House when we’re discussing IT! Speaking of Erin, how does Pimm’s infatuation with Ellen Groves (Jill Haworth) lead Erin to bond with her in sisterhood. Erin also philosophizes on whether she is a pickle or a hamburger. It’s not what you think! Hear about Chad’s bro-mance with the square-jawed American (Paul Maxwell) that comes to Ellen’s rescue! And what possible connection can there be between IT! and Lucio Fulci?

Of course as usual, if you’re paying attention, you’ll hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • I’m picturing Pimm threatening to punch the golem to the moon!
  • Too much cheese before the podcast.
  • Oh, he dug up his mother and took her coffin with him and they’re off with that silly statue to do whatever.
  • I AM YOUR MASTER!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes The Thing from Another World (1951), Freaks (1932), The Queen of Spades (1949), and Waxworks (1924)

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you, a great big “THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!” from each of us!

 

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The Tingler (1959) – Episode 5 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic! But SCREAM! SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES!”  Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we get all touchy-feely with The Tingler and find out exactly what all the screaming is about. Don’t forget to bring your date and watch them TINGLE!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 5 – The Tingler (1959)

Some films cannot be denied and 1959’s The Tingler is just such a film. With William Castle at the helm and Vincent Price as the lead, you can’t go wrong, right? But what about the implausible plot, you wonder? Or the ridiculous creature effects? And who can believe Ollie’s (Philip Coolidge) scared-to death plot that ends in a literal bloodbath. Our response to such queries? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! This is William Castle and Vincent Price! What do plot and special effects have to do with anything? By the way, we see nothing implausible about a microscopic creature that lives in your spine, feeds and grows on fear, has the power of a “hydraulic press,” and is thwarted by and shrinks at the sounds of your screams. At least, that’s the way it works most of the time. All things become possible with William Castle.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen The Tingler a dozen times. But have you really SEEN The Tingler? How did Castle’s House on Haunted Hill (1959) inspire Robb White’s writing of the screenplay for The Tingler? Do you know what real world creature The Tingler is modeled after? It might be even more horrific than the film’s titular worm.  What influence did Aldous Huxley have on the story told in The Tingler? What cinematic first is found in The Tingler? (It has do with a drug that’s not a drug – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)  Why would Darryl Hickman take a part in this film without pay? What’s the connection between Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and The Tingler? Is it even possible that Alfred Hitchcock drew inspiration from William Castle?  What’s the connection between The Tingler and the animated productions, Woody Woodpecker and Gumby?

And which of us made these memorable comments:

  • – “We need a monster arm, boys! A monster arm!”
  • – “He found these war surplus motorized vibrators.”
  • – “Did he have the little, scare-’em-to-death fairies working for him?”
  • – “Let’s throw this in at the end boys, get one last scare out of them!”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes It! (aka Curse of the Golem, 1967), The Thing from Another World (1951), Freaks (1932), and The Queen of Spades (1949).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you, a great big “THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!” from each of us!

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King Kong (1933) – Episode 4 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.” REALLY!? Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we  discuss just exactly what was the cause of Kong’s demise. The newest Kong film, Kong: Skull Island released on March 10, 2017, has already grossed $148M worldwide as of March 15, 2017, proving the iconic Kong is still alive and well. Listen as we “wrestle” with the original King Kong, the 1933 classic that started it all!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Episode 4 –King Kong (1933)

As is the case with many films of The Classic Era, our Grue-Crew experienced this film through the electromagic wonders of television, and we were shocked, SHOCKED we tell you, when we eventually learned it had been cut by the scoundrels administering the Hays Code. Yes, many of the most violent, people chewing scenes or most salacious and sensual scenes (Fay Wray’s dunk in the river) had been removed.

We were also in awe of Merion C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedsack as these adventurers turned filmmakers brought their vision to fruition in one of the most highly thought of films in history. King Kong was truly a groundbreaking film in nearly all aspects of the technology of filmmaking, from special effects to sound design to musical score. We spotlight Willis O’Brien’s stop motion animation which inspired Ray Harryhausen, as well as Curtis Delgado’s models, Harry Cunningham’s model armatures, Mario Larrinaga’s matte paintings, Murray Spivack’s sound design (Exactly how do you create the roar of a mythical creature?), and Max Steiner’s score.

And what of the acting? Cooper bragged at getting double duty from leads Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray while simultaneously filming The Most Dangerous Game (1932) on some of the same sets, but the overtime doesn’t show in their performances.

So many questions arise when discussing an 84-year-old classic. Who was Noble Johnson and what role did he play in film history? What was the relationship of Ruth Rose, one of the screenwriters, to Cooper and Shoedsack? What do the Nias Islands have to do with the film and who would ever want to go there? How do the characters hold up against current cultural norms? What themes and tropes backdrop the film? How many films did Fay Wray act in that year? What’s the connection between King Kong and Gone with the Wind?

And which of us made these memorable comments:

  • – “There’s one (a naked Barbie doll) in my bathroom right now.”
  • – “What gibberish are you talking?”
  • – “I’m willing to bet if you just give her a pair of pants, she could sail that whole thing herself.”
  • – “AAAARRRGGGHHHYEEEAAAHHHH!!!!”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes The Tingler (1959), It! (aka Curse of the Golem, 1967), The Thing from Another World (1951) and Freaks (1932)

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the movies we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

Thanks for listening, from each of us to each of you!

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Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) – Episode 3 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“We didn’t come here to fight monsters! We’re not equipped for it!” Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we take a deep dive (and we do mean DEEP!) into the legendary Black Lagoon and talk of all things Creature. Chad Hunt picked this one  – it’s one of his “favorite movies of all-time”  – so listen as he leads us on our expedition into the Amazonian jungle in search of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The erudite Erin Miskell was under the weather for this one, but we sallied forth aboard the Rita and motored into dangerous waters without her, foolhardy as that may seem.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 3 – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

All three of us first experienced Creature from the Black Lagoon on television via our local creature features and fell in love at first sight, but that didn’t stop us from being surprised at what we learned about it.

The film is co-written by Harry Essex and Arthur A. Ross and is directed by Jack Arnold. Do you know which one of them had a hand in Gilligan’s Island (1964-66) and Rawhide (1959-64)? How about The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and Octaman (1972)? Or even Satan’s School for Girls (1973)?

The film features the Gill-Man, the last of the Universal Studios Classic Monsters, as played by Ricou Browning and Ben Chapman. Why do they need two actors to play the Gill-Man? And is the Creature designed and built by Bud Westmore with assistance from Millicent Patrick or is it the other way around?

The quintessential cast for a 1950s science fiction / horror film – Julie Adams, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Whit Bissell, and Antonio Moreno – plays a team of scientists in search of the source of a fossilized, clawed hand they found up river. They travel aboard the Rita, whose captain is played by the inimitable Nestor Paiva with over 300 acting credits to his name. wonders why anyone would want to fish for rocks.

So many questions and so little time. Share 70 minutes of your time with us and find out:

  • Exactly what does Creature from the Black Lagoon have to do with Citizen Kane (1941)?
  • Who is Carl Dreadstone and why should we care?
  • Why the heck aren’t there any bubbles?
  • What happened to the Gill-Man’s “suit?”
  • Why would anyone want to fish for rocks?

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes King Kong (1933), The Tingler (1959), and It! (1967).

Please let us know what you think and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.


 

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Maneater of Hydra (1967) – Episode 2 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Promise me, my baby. . . Take me with you, sweetheart! Take my blood! Oh, my blood!” Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we get lost in the wondrously bad, yet somehow memorably disturbing, Maneater of Hydra, aka Island of the Doomed, aka La Isla de la Muerte, aka Bloodsuckers. Come along on the island tour (don’t forget your baggage and lab equipment) with Joseph as our guide, while he explains his love for this eclectic film and the impact it had on him as a horror fan. Trust us; it explains a lot. Follow our journey as Joseph, much to our surprise, manages to register the rest of the Classic Era Grue-Crew as card-carrying members of the Maneater of Hydra fan club.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 2 – Maneater of Hydra (1967)

Maneater of Hydra is a foreign film “probably” written and directed by Mel Welles, who adds another killer plant film to his credits. You may remember him as Gravis Mushnick in Roger Corman’s The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) or maybe from his appearances in Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Chopping Mall (1986) or even the Spectreman TV series (1971). He is joined by the immediately recognizable Cameron Mitchell, whose over 200 credits include The High Chaparral (1967-1971), Blood and Black Lace (1964) and The Toolbox Murders (1978). Mitchell plays Baron von Weser who has genetically engineered some uniquely flavored vegetables.

Part of the films quirky appeal is the dubbing as the actors recited the lines in English through syllabic memorization and are then dubbed. The intent is for the audio to more closely match the actors lip movements, but in the case of Maneater of Hydra, the result is as we already said, … quirky. Anne Meara provides the uncredited, hilarious dubbing of Myrtle, the tour’s unofficial photographer. We all went slack-jawed at the vampire tree’s sexually implicit, or rather explicit, killing organ. The final scene will haunt your nightmares for years, just ask Joseph.

Listen and learn which one of us says:

  • “It must be well-dressed plant food.”
  • “This is gold, people. This is gold.”
  • “That was a knife? I thought it looked like a sharpened nail clipper.”
  • “How did they get this past the censors?”
  • “It’s literally a hairy tube engorged with blood.”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), King Kong (1933), and The Tingler (1959).

Please let us know what you think and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.