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Seconds (1966) – Episode 33 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“The question of death selection may be the most important decision in your life.”  What?! You get to select your own death? That’s usually not the case but in the world of John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966), that’s exactly what the character played by John Randolph and Rock Hudson has to do. Yes, you read that right. They play the same character. Join Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Joseph Perry, along with guest host Bill Gabriel, as we spend a lot of seconds digging into Seconds!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 33 – Seconds (1966)

This film’s title does not refer to the seconds on your watch, but to second chances. Seconds tells the story of one Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a middle-aged banker that has lost all interest in his life, his job, his wife (Frances Reid), and even his daughter. An old friend (Murray Hamilton) who Arthur thought was dead, reaches out to give him an opportunity to begin anew, a second chance if you will. Arthur looks into this possible new life and after some debate and eventually some blackmail, “decides” to take advantage of the offer. After his “death” and some plastic surgery, Arthur looks a lot like Rock Hudson and is rechristened Tony Wilson. As you probably suspect, even though the Company has orchestrated some female companionship (Salome Jens) for him, Tony’s new lease on life turns out not to be the panacea he expected.

Adapted for the screen by Lewis John Carlino from the novel by David Ely, Seconds has gone from box office failure to classic in the 50+ years since its release. Director John Frankenheimer surrounded himself with a high quality crew on all accounts, including cinematographer James Wong Howe who received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Seconds. Frankenheimer also enlisted a superb supporting cast, including Will Geer, Richard Anderson, Jeff Corey, Khigh Dhiegh, Wesley Addy, Nedrick Young, and Karl Swenson.

This episode’s Grue Crew gives Seconds the highest accolades and recommends it to all Grue Believers. Each of them also holds the opinion that Rock Hudson and James Wong Howe should have received Academy Awards for their work on this films. Don’t give this underappreciated classic a second thought. You must see Seconds!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is the Poverty Row gem, Strangler of the Swamp (1946), selected by Joseph Perry.

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 films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, 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 Birds (1963) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?”  Yikes! The ornithologist has a darn good point! Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry (He’s ba-a-a-ck!), and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Dan Sellers, as we take a bird’s eye view of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 32 – The Birds (1963)

Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same title and adapted to the screen by Evan Hunter, The Birds tells the story of Bodega Bay, a California coastal town terrorized by inexplicably aggressive and belligerent birds.The film stars Tippi Hedren (Melanie), Suzanne Pleshette (Annie), Jessica Tandy (Lydia), Veronica Cartwright (Cathy), and Rod Taylor (Mitch) under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock.

The stars are surrounded by a cast populated with some of the best character actors in the business, including Ethel Griffies as the ornithologist, Charles McGraw as the fishing boat captain, Lonny Chapman as the innkeeper, Doreen Lang as the hysterical mother, Karl Swenson as the drunken prophet, Joe Mantell as the cynical businessman, Ruth McDevitt as the owner of bird shop, Malcolm Atterbury as the deputy, Richard Deacon as Mitch’s neighbor in San Francisco, Doodles Weaver as a fisherman helping with a rental boat, and William Quinn as a man in the diner. You might not recognize all of their names, but if you watched many movies or television shows from the 1950s through the 1970s, you will most assuredly recognize their faces.

Jeff points out The Birds has been called Hitchcock’s monster movie. Chad proclaims his love of Albert Whitlock’s matte paintings and explains the method used by longtime Disney employee Ub Iwerks in providing the special effects for The Birds. Joseph marvels at Hitchcock’s ability to build and hold tension and suspense, and they all agree the credit should be shared with editor George Tomasini. Dan discusses the prototypical “Hitchcock blonde” and confides to the Grue Crew that he’s just glad to be doing a podcast without Sammie Cassell.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1963), selected by Jeff Mohr.

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 films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, 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 Others (2001) – Episode 40 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… ” Grace (Nicole Kidman) has a story to share with us. This story is of The Others, in which Grace and her two children Nicholas and Anne (James Bently and Alakina Mann). Living in their giant mansion hiding from the sun. But perhaps there are more presences than meets the eye. Spooky frights are all about in Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others and Decades of Horror 1990s & Beyond is here to talk about it!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 40 – The Others (2001)

In the wake of The Sixth Sense (previously covered on the show), The Others handed us another iconic twist ending on a platter and was extremely successful as a result. Immaculate production design, gorgeous cinematography and an emotional character based story that still hooks people in to this day. This and Moulin Rouge made for a banner year for Nicole Kidman, who delivers a beautifully tragic turn that keeps you on your toes.

To discuss all of this, Thomas Mariani brings along Caitlin Turner, Adam Thomas and Sam Brutuxan! The Others brings out the emotions in all of them. Thomas admits it’s one of the few horror films to make him cry. Caitlin admires the elaborate set design. Sam’s mind is still blown by how perfectly constructed the twist is. Adam is inspired by Christopher Eccleston to make a Malekith fan page. It’s a night of inspiration and awe as these four dissect one of the best horror films of the modern era.

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

Disney Channel Original Horror Movies Retrospective

 

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Phase IV (1974) – Episode 72 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“The Day The Earth Was Turned Into A Cemetery!” the tagline for Phase IV promises a horror film the heady, occasionally trippy, sci-fi film cannot live up to. Yet, the film succeeds in establishing dread and exposing mankind’s fragile relationship with nature and the planet. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they face an attack of killer ants who burrow into their fears.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 72 – Phase IV (1974)

In the early Seventies, every studio had their Sci-Fi epic, a version of their own 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Paramount wanted one too. What they got was Saul Bass’s horror/sci-fi oddity Phase IV. Bass, better known for creating memorable title sequences for films such as Psycho, North by Northwest, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, brings a distinct artist’s touch to the film giving it a heady, trippy aesthetic that makes the film stand out from the crowd. Sadly, the film did not connect with 1974 audiences, but the film has gained a cult following.  The cast includes Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy, and Lynne Frederick as they face an army of intelligent ants of various kinds uniting to take over humanity.

Having never seen the film, Doc Rotten was able to finally catch Phase IV at a theatrical screening at the FantasticRealm Film Series. Having listened to The Black Saint and Bill Mulligan champion the film episode after episode, this was a must, as was including it on the Decades of Horror schedule. Now he can join Bill and Jeff Mohr in discussing the film’s use of “nature” style film to chronicle the ants’ attack on the desert community, it’s distinctive set-design, and much of the movie’s haunting imagery. The slow pace of the film builds towards a chilling and provocative conclusion that only Saul Bass could provide.

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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Dead of Night (1945) – Episode 31 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Just room for one inside, sir.” Hearing this, you might be relieved to discover there’s still room to accomodate you. On the other hand, if the speaker is a hearse driver, it would send chills up your spine. Join your ever faithful Grue Crew for this episode – Chad Hunt, Jeff Mohr and special guest Whitney Modesta Collazo – as they manage to avoid riding in a hearse, but still get caught in the neverending story framing the legendary British horror portmanteau, Dead of Night (1945)

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 31 – Dead of Night (1945)

As an anthology, Dead of Night consists of five independent shorts tied together by a powerful framing story, all of which creates a flashback within a dream within a dream. The five separate stories are The Hearse Driver (d. Basil Dearden, story by E. F. Benson), The Christmas Party (d. Alberto Cavalcanti, story by Angus MacPhail), The Haunted Mirror (d. Robert Hamer, story by John Baines), The Golfer’s Story (d. Charles Crichton, story by H. G. Wells), The Ventriloquist’s Dummy (d. Alberto Cavalcanti, story by John Baines), and the framing sequences directed by Basil Dearden. The film includes memorable performances from Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns. Googie Withers, Miles Malleson, Basil Radford, and Naunton Wayne.

Dead of Night, though not the first horror anthology film, set the standard for the anthologies that were to proliferate in the 1960s and 1970s. Also not the first ventriloquist and his dummy horror film, the influence of The Ventriloquist’s Dummy can be seen in media from an episode of The Twilight Zone (1962) to Magic (1978) and to Dead Silence (2007).

This episode’s Grue Crew were completely won over by Dead of Night and universally thought The Ventriloquist’s Dummy was their favorite piece. They each thought the framing sequence was ingenious and might well be their favorite of those used in all horror anthologies.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), selected by Chad Hunt.

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 films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, 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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In the Mouth of Madness (1995) – Episode 39 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“Do you read Sutter Cane?” It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Well, everyone except John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator out to find the truth. Always has the upper hand on any situation, including the disappearance of mmega-successfulhorror author Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow). Of course, the world of Cane has so much more to reveal to Trent. Sights that may just make his head explode into a million pieces… or just wander in an endless existence. Whatever is the will of the Elder Gods behind it all. Join us as we sink further In the Mouth of Madness for Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 39 – In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

In the Mouth of Madness was quite the departure for John Carpenter. Coming of the heels of the disastrous turn to comedy that was Memoirs of the Invisible Man, this Lovecraftian dip into unimaginable horror wasn’t quite what usually fit the image of Carpenter’s filmography. Then again, maybe it did? The mysterious terror of Halloween‘s “The Shape”, the cosmic unknown realms of Prince of Darkness and the underground society of those controlling us in They Live have Lovecraftian themes. In the Mouth of Madness just made it all the more literal with direct references to the works of HP Lovecraft and some demonic Eldrich Gods added into the mix.

To comment on all of this madness, Thomas Mariani inlists Caitlin Turner, Adam Thomas and Paul Cardullo to talk In the Mouth of Madness. It’s a Lovecraftian Lovefest as the four all praise this as one of Carpenter’s more underrated works. Paul praises the lack of what we see from the monsters. Adam considers Sam Neill’s performance to be only second to Jurassic Park. Caitlin praises the ability to adapt Lovecraft without being a direct adaptation. Thomas is just staring deep into Sutter Cane’s blue dueling pupils. Visit Caitlin’s book blog mentioned in the show here and about The Hateful Life and Spiteful Death of The Man who Was Vigo the Carpathian here.

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 Others (2001)

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Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) – Episode 71 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What he doesn’t know about vampirism wouldn’t fill a flea’s codpiece.” Wow! He must know a lot about vampires, right? Of course the quote is referring to this episode’s subject. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they feint, parry, and lunge along with this vampire swashbuckler Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter from Hammer Films.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 71 – Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

After killing his mother and sister when they became vampires, Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) has dedicated his life to hunting vampires. As Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter begins, Kronos is summoned by his old friend Dr. Marcus (John Carson) when young women in his village have the life sucked out of them, their corpses looking like old women. Kronos arrives with Grost (John Cater), his hunchbacked partner, and Carla (Caroline Munro), a young woman they rescued from a pillory along the way. (No dancing on Sunday!) After dispatching a multitude of ne’er do wells while demonstrating his master swordsmanship, Kronos and his comrades zero in on the Durward family and their matriarch (Wanda Ventham) as the probable source of the vampire, even as more women die.

Known primarily for his writing, Brian Clemens adds the director’s chair to his duties for Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter for only the second time in his career and his only feature film. Filmed in 1972 but not released until 1974, the film reveals a studio in decline. The film was intended to be the first of a new series but after an inadequate marketing campaign and a dismal performance at the box office, the idea was scrapped.

The Grue Crew admits Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter has some problems. Chad thinks the idea has promise, but isn’t executed very well. Doc admits having trouble staying awake during the middle section, but loves the setup and the finale. According to Bill, there could have been better insults than calling the bad guys Ratface, Fatty, and Big Mouth. Jeff has questions about some of the details in the story and feels there are gaps in the exposition, both in the showing and the telling.

Despite its flaws, the Grue Crew highly recommends Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter as part of the Hammer Films canon. This version of a vampire film has a lot to offer – a swashbuckling vampire hunter, Caroline Munro, a spaghetti western style showdown, Caroline Munro, burying dead toads for vampires to bestrode, Caroline Munro, Kronos with a bag over his head, Caroline Munro, and don’t forget Caroline Munro. No matter what, Chad wants to make sure you don’t forget Caroline Munro. Come on Chad! Who can forget Caroline Munro?

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 Day of the Triffids (1963) – Episode 30 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Keep behind me. There’s no sense in getting killed by a plant.”  Hmm, a killer plant, you say? Maneater of Hydra (1967)? We already did that in episode 2. The Thing from Another World (1951)? Nope, that was episode 7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)? Wrong again. That was episode 24. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)? Huh-uh. We haven’t done that one yet, but that’s not a bad idea. No, this episode’s film is none other than The Day of the Triffids (1963), based on John Wyndham’s classic, 1951 science fiction novel of the same name. Join Chad Hunt and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Adam Thomas, as we blindly tiptoe through the triffids with you.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 30 – The Day of the Triffids (1963)

The first thing your faithful Grue Crew learned is the writer credited with The Day of the Triffids did none of the writing. Philip Yordan, listed as the writer on screen, was really a front for the actual screenwriter, blacklisted Bernard Gordon. The director of record is Steve Sekely, who did do the initial direction. The finished product was deemed too short, however, and Freddie Francis was brought in to direct a parallel storyline taking place entirely with a couple in a lighthouse.

The Day of the Triffids opens with Bill Masen (Howard Keel), blinded in an accident, about to get his bandages removed. At the same time, the rest of the world is experiencing a blindingly spectacular meteor shower. No really. Everyone who looks at it, which is nearly everyone, is blinded. The meteor shower also brings some magic which causes the walking, stalking, man-eating plants known as triffids to rapidly grow to a height of 8-10 feet. It turns out that triffids breed faster than rabbits and grow faster than weeds, and begin to feed on the blind and helpless humans.

Bill, who can see (remember the bandages), heads out through the devastated city and across the countryside. On his way, he encounters several other sighted people: Karen (Janina Faye), a young girl who escapes a train crash; Christine Durrant (Nicole Maurey), a French woman who owns a large chateau in which she is housing rescued blind children and adults; Mr. Coker (Mervyn Johns), an elderly man who is helping Miss Durrant; and a band of escaped convicts. None of these sighted people meet the also sighted Karen and Tom Godwin (Janette Scott and Kieron Moore) who are the only characters in the added lighthouse scenes.

Adam can’t stop bringing up how a few of the characters really abandon the blind people at the home and leave them at the mercy of the sighted convicts. He means, they’re really, really abandoned! Jeff once again extols the virtues of a John Wyndham novel and is amazed at what a good cliff diver Howard Keel is. Chad loves the scenes in the lighthouse and the relationship between the Goodwins. Rest assured, the three hosts consider The Day of the Triffids to be a bona fide genre classic, worthy of a Decades of Horror: The Classic Era treatment. Seriously, who hasn’t heard of triffids?

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Dead of Night (1945), selected by Jeff Mohr.

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 films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, 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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Army of Darkness (1993) – Episode 38 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my BOOMSTICK!” One of many unforgettable one liners that Ash (Bruce Campbell) spouts in Army of Darkness. The third in writer/director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy is the cult favorite. For many, it’s the first film in the franchise they saw. It gave us the most recurring pop culture variation on Ash as a character. The strapping hero with a quippy zinger and a chainsaw hand at the ready. Now, with Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 in full swing, it’s only natural to take a look back at the film that makes many a fan scream “Hail to the King, Baby.”

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 38 – Army of Darkness (1993)

After the first Evil Dead was made for peanuts and Evil Dead II raised the production up to a modest low budget, Army of Darkness is a true studio blockbuster. Which is pretty odd considering the meager cult status of the first two. Yet, Universal and Dino De Laurentiis allowed Sam Raimi to go hog wild. And hog wild he did go. Pit demons, man eating books and an army of evil skeletons. All while having B movie sharp chin Campbell at the center. Between the surreal imagery and cartoonish slapstick, Army of Darkness is either your favorite of the trilogy or the one where it goes too far.

To debate this very topic, Thomas Mariani counts on the steel of Chad Hunt, Christopher G. Moore and Sam Brutuxan to break it down. Sam initially started with Army of Darkness and fell in love with the over the top comedy of the series. Christopher appreciated the darker roots of the original two and felt Army of Darkness went off the rails. Chad and Thomas just appreciate the weird Sam Raimi fly by the seat of your pants with the whole trilogy. The four ask the important questions about Army of Darkness. How did Ash get so buff within the span of a week in which the trilogy takes place? Does Ash vs Evil Dead carry on the legacy of the franchise well? Do skeletons have sex drives? All the answers are a click away!

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

In The Mouth of Madness (1995)

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The Oily Maniac (1976) – Episode 70 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Dig a big hole in the middle of the house?” It might sound crazy, but if you really want to become an oily maniac, that’s how the instructions begin. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan – as they slide their way through the pros and cons of The Oily Maniac.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 70 – The Oily Maniac (1976)

The Oily Maniac, aka You gui zi, is a Shaw Brothers production directed by Meng Hua Ho and written by Lam Chua. Starring Danny Lee, Ping Chen, and Lily Li, the film tells the story of Shen Yuan, a crippled man who pledges to protect the daughter of a man in prison. The woman’s father implores Shen Yuan to copy the tattoo on his back and to use the spell it describes to protect his daughter. Soon Shen Yuan is forced to invoke the tattoo’s spell and is transformed into … the oily maniac, an avenging superhero or a monster, depending on your point of view.

Doc Rotten often proclaims his love of (or should we say obsession with?) Asian horror films, so it should be no surprise that he brought The Oily Maniac to the Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew’s attention. Chad points out the cheezy costume looking like it’s dipped in oil, the exposed beating heart, and its teeth. Jeff mentions a vague similarity to The Greasy Strangler (2016) and Doc points out that the director of The Greasy Strangler lists The Oily Maniac as inspiration. Doc also loved the monster’s scream and the way it tried to do kung fu, slinging oily maniac goo around and then turning into a swimming goo-puddle, traveling to the theme of Jaws.

Bill did not appreciate the “exploity” nature of the film in regards to female nudity and rape, and would’ve enjoyed the film more if it was less sleazy. The rest of the crew agrees that it was uncomfortably exploitive and that the gratuitous sex and rape scenes prevalent in 70s grindhouse films like The Oily Maniac are even harder to view today.

The Grue Crew recommends the cheesy monster scenes in The Oily Maniac but it is not for everyone.

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.