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Deep Red (1975) – Episode 77 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I can feel death in this room! I feel a presence, a twisted mind sending me thoughts! Perverted, murderous thoughts… Go away! You have killed! And you will kill again!” Are you talking to me? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Chad Lab – as they follow the clues delivered by Dario Argento in his giallo tour de force, Deep Red (1975).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 77 – Deep Red (1975)

Originally titled Profondo Rosso in Italy, also known as The Hatchet Murders in the U.S., Deep Red is written by Bernardino Zapponi and director Dario Argento. Gialli commonly feature a female lead, but in Deep Red, Argento went with a male lead, casting British actor David Hemmings in the role of Marcus Daly, who,from the square below, witnesses a murder taking place in a building window. Daly is drawn into the investigation and as the body count rises, he is aided by Daria Nicolodi as a reporter on the case. Other players include Daly’s friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia), Carlo’s mother (Clara Calamai), and a very disturbing little girl (Nicoletta Elmi).

This episode’s Grue Crew was split on which version they watched: Bill and Chad Lab saw the American version with over twenty minutes edited from the run time, while Doc and Jeff viewed the full length Italian version. It should go without saying, but here it is anyway: they are all very impressed with Argento’s Deep Red! Some of the giallo tropes present, such as a black-gloved killer, are pointed out by Bill, while Doc highlights Argento trademarks, for instance, the protagonist recalling clues from memory to unveil the killer’s identity. Chad Lab points out the tantalising red herring Argento serves up and on which he then feasted. Jeff loved the way the clues are doled out and how some of the early clues aren’t even recognized as such. Of course, they all love the Goblin soundtrack!

If you haven’t seen Deep Red, see it now! If you have seen it, watch it again! Doc and Jeff recommend the uncut version, but both versions are fine movies!

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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Demonwarp (1988) – Episode 136 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“There’s a thing… out here. It took my little girl. I wasn’t prepared to stop it then but I’m gonna stop it now.” George Kennedy as Bill Crafton warns David Michael O’Neill, Pamela Gilbert, and Billy Jacoby about a demon Bigfoot creature roaming the woods. Little do they know that director Emmett Alston has far more in store for them than a furry Wendigo beast – hidden in a cave are zombies, spaceships, aliens, and a cult leader sacrificing nubile young women. What the what? Thankfully George has his awesome yellow hat. Woot!

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 136 – Demonwarp (1988)

Released in 1988, Demonwarp originated from the twisted mind of John Carl Beuchler – who was originally set to direct but left production to tackle Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. Who can blame him? Acadamy Award winner George Kennedy spends 3 days on set to give the film some pedigree. The film promises Bigfoot vs George Kennedy and it delivers that regardless of how good – or bad – the Bigfoot looks. Thankfully we also have Michelle Bauer on hand to liven up the scenery.

Christopher G. Moore, Doc Rotten, and Dave Dreher gather to take a look at Demonwarp perhaps one of the stranges monster movies of the Eighties. Christopher and Doc share watching the film on the big screen recently at the Raleigh Alamo Drafthouse theater in all its VHS glory – a perfect way to experience this goofy wonky classic. Dave remembers grabbing this one off the rental shelves in 1988 and was thrilled to revisit this schlockfest. Settle in and listen to the Grue-Crew recap and review a rare, hard-to-find Mom-and-Pop VHS shop staple.

A vengeance-crazed hunter searching for his daughter…Five youths stalking an inhuman mutation…They have just stepped into the alien-spawned realm of Demonwarp…and a wave of unearthly terror is about to begin

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 1980s podcast hosts at christopher@gruesomemagazine.com or dave@gruesomemagazine.com or docrotten@gruesomemagazine.com.

Special thanks to Neon Devils for their awesome song Bone Chillin!

Episode

The Burning

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Burnt Offerings (1976) – Episode 76 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Oh yes, and this house will be here long, long after you have departed. You’ll believe me.” These ominous words turn out to be all too true for the summer renters of the Allardyce house. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a trip for a short summer stay with the Rolf family at the Allardyce house and encounter the horrors of Burnt Offerings (1976).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 76 – Burnt Offerings (1976)

Directed and co-written by Dan Curtis of Dark Shadows, Nightstalker, and Trilogy of Terror fame, Burnt Offerings is co-written by frequent Curtis-collaborator William F. Nolan, adapted from Robert Marasco’s novel of the same title. The film begins with the Rolf family – Marian (Karen Black). Ben (Oliver Reed), their son David (Lee Montgomery), and Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis) – arriving at their too-good-to-be-true summer rental. The family is greeted by the property’s brother and sister owners – Roz (Eileen Heckart) and Arnold (Burgess Meredith) Allardyce – and Walker (Dub Taylor), their handyman. The Allardyces explain to the Rolfs that their only duties during their summer stay are to keep up the house and property, and to feed Mother Allardyce, who will remain locked away and unseen in an upstairs bedroom. As soon as Roz, Arnold, and Walker leave for the summer, the house begins to have a very disturbing effect on each of the Rolfs.

Given that Curtis made his reputation in television, your Grue Crew marvel at the quality of the cast of this theatrical release.  Doc, Chad, and Jeff unabashedly love Burnt Offerings! On the other hand, Bill opines that haunted house films are not his thing, but even so, admits that Burnt Offerings is a pretty good example within its sub-genre. Doc expresses his appreciation for Karen Black’s performance and we discover that Chad has been a fan of Oliver Reed’s acting ever since Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), despite Reed’s legendary antics. The entire Grue Crew were freaked-out by the Hearse Driver/Chauffeur (Anthony James) that appears from Ben’s (and Dan Curtis’) childhood nightmares. As the show winds down, Jeff burns the remaining time to go all fanboy on William F. Nolan to the point that no one else can give their final thoughts.

Doc also reveals a guest appearance he made on Episode 107 of The Horror Returns Podcast on which they covered three films from 1978: The Manitou, Piranha, and Martin. They also give a special shout out to the late Santos Ellin Jr. and all he has done to promote the genre we love so much. You can find The Horror Returns on iTunes or at this link: The Horror Returns

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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Cat People (1942) – Episode 37 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“They torment me. I wake in the night and the trail of their feet whispers in my brain. I have no peace. For they are in me.” Irena Dubrovna apparently has an icky feeling inside? Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Whitney Modesta Collazo as they come on little cat feet and sit looking over Cat People on silent haunches. Wait. Does that sound familiar? Anyway, listen to the Grue Crew scratch below the surface of this unmitigated classic!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 37 – Cat People (1942)

Cat People is the first film in RKO’s plan to release low budget horror films intended to compete with Universal’s output. The studio handed their new effort to first time producer Val Lewton, who had been recommended by David O. Selznick. Lewton enlisted first time screenwriter DeWitt Bodean to write the script and then surrounded himself with an excellent crew led by director Jacques Tourneur and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca.

Cast as Irena Dubrovna, the film’s central character, Simone Simon’s mysterious and exotic look was key to the success of Cat PeopleKent Smith took the role of her soon-to-be husband, Oliver Reed, with Jane Randolphrounding out the love triangle as Alice Moore, ostensibly Reed’s work colleague. The four main characters are rounded out by Tom Conway as Dr. Judd, a psychiatrist brought in to treat Irena’s obsession with the legend of her family’s curse and her accompnaying fears of intimacy. An able supporting cast, led by Alan Napier as another of Reed’s work colleagues and Jack Holt as Reed’s boss, make solid contributions to the feel and atmosphere of Cat People.

This episode’s Grue Crew all marvel at Tourneur’s and Musuraca’s use of shadows and fog to foster the eerie atmosphere present throughout Cat People and how truly terrifying the film is despite most of the action being hidden in shadows and not explicitly shown. Whitney is impressed by the stress and vulnerability she felt during the swimming pool scene and points out the impact the set design has on creating the film’s mood. Chad emphasizes the sophistication of the film, its tight script, and the existence of the storytelling technique known as the “Lewton Bus.” He also points out three – count ‘em, three – more connections to the Batman TV series. We learn of Joseph’s unrequited love for Jane Randolph (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, 1948). Jeff and Joseph remark on some of the similarities that Cat People has with film noir and Jeff gets lost in the supporting cast. Of course he did. Needless to say, they all pronounce Cat People to be a must see film!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we ‘ll be covering Die, Monster, Die! (1965), the film that tied for first place in our latest Patreon Poll.

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, Google Play, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

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

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Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) – Episode 75 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I wish the dead could come back to life, you bastard, so then I could kill you again!” Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a road trip to kick, examine, and generally disturb the sleeping corpses lying around in 1974’s Let Sleeping Corpses Lie.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 75 – Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Directed by Jorge Grau and written by Sandro Continenza and Marcello CosciaLet the Sleeping Corpses Lie pairs Edna Simmonds (Cristina Galbó) and George Meaning (Ray Lovelock) as two “accidental” companions traveling the English countryside during an ultrasonically created zombie apocalypse. Despite the SF-based zombie justification, a little schmear of blood on the eyelids of a fresh corpse inexplicably seems to  be a catalyst for the transformation of the corpse to the living dead. A throwback police inspector (Arthur Kennedy) decides our two protagonists are drug-crazed, hippie satanists who are the cause of all the local mayhem and sets out to prove it.

Don’t be surprised if the plot sounds familiar even though you don’t recognize the title. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a film that never saw a title it didn’t like. Depending on when and where it was released, it was also known as The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, aka Don’t Open the Window, aka Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue, aka Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead, aka Zombi 3, aka No profanar el sueño de los muertos, aka Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti, aka … well, you get the idea.

Bill Mulligan and Chad Hunt put Let Sleeping Corpses Lie in their lists of top 10 zombie films. As a first time viewer, Jeff Mohr found the mausoleum scene to be particularly horrifying while Doc Rotten points out the finale as the hospital is another key scene. Suffice it to say, the entire Grue Crew see Let Sleeping Corpses Lie as a very influential film and heartily recommend it. If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?

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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It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) – Episode 36 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Every bone in his body must be broken. But I’m not sure that’s what killed him.” What?! Well then, what did kill him? Join Joseph Perry, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr as they stowaway aboard a rocket from Mars in search of the answer found only in the 1950s, science fiction classic, It! The Terror from Beyond Space.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 36 – It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

As the film opens, Colonel Van Heusen has led a rescue mission to bring back Colonel Carruthers, the lone survivor of the first landing on Mars. Van Heusen is convinced that Carruthers slaughtered his entire crew, but Carruthers claims his crew was murdered by an unstoppable creature. Everyone soon learns that Van Heusen is wrong when the shadow of something monstrous is shown entering the ship through a hatch that has been inadvertently left open. Oops. As the ship lifts off, the crew is now confined with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, and the crew is picked off, one by one. Don’t forget, in space no one can hear you scream. Oops, again. That’s the tagline to a different movie, but you do see the similarity, right?

Directed by Edward L. Cahn and written by Jerome Bixby, It! The Terror from Beyond Space stars Marshall Thompson (Carruthers), Shirley Patterson (Ann Anderson), and Kim Spalding (Van Heusen). The able supporting cast is led by Ann Doran, Dabs Greer, Paul Langton, Robert Bice, and Ray Corrigan as It.

This episode’s Grue Crew appreciates the foreboding atmosphere created with shadows and smoke-shrouded scenes. Chad, an aficionado of practical effects artists, points out Paul Blaisdell’s work on the creature suit and calls It! The Terror from Beyond Space one of his favorite science fiction movies. Joseph recounts problems encountered with the ill-fitting head of the creature suit and “fun” is the operative word Jeff uses for the film. All three of the Grue Crew are impressed with the results obtained with the low budget and enthusiastically recommend the film to all.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule (you might have noticed we did not cover Rosemary’s Baby this episode) is the classic, Cat People (1942).

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 a bunch of 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, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

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

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Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) – Episode 74 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“His brain came from a genius. His body came from a killer. His soul came from hell!” It should have worked, right? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they step into the asylum for a session with Dr. Victor, aka Baron von Frankenstein, in Hammer’s last Frankenstein film, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell!

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 74 – Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)

Written by Anthony Hinds, as John Elder, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell continues the stitched-together, Hammer Horror chronicle of Victor Frankenstein, currently “imprisoned” in an insane asylum. Even though considered an inmate, Frankenstein has blackmailed the deviant Asylum Director (John Stratton) and is now running the asylum and using the inmates to continue his experiments. He is aided in his work by a new inmate and Frankenstein fanboy, Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant); and a mute young woman named Sarah (Madeline Smith).

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell marks several milestones in the Hammer canon. It is the last of their Frankenstein films and the last time Peter Cushing plays Frankenstein. Signalling the end of error, this is also the last film directed by Terence Fisher, a true horror icon.

Chad, though a little irked at the monster design when first viewed, came to appreciate its uniqueness and was horrified by the especially gruesome way the monster meets his end. Bill proclaims that through the wisdom gained with old age, he now realizes Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell is a masterpiece and places it among his Top 10 Hammer Horror films. Doc reminds us that David Prowse, playing the monster for the second time, is most remembered for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Being the relative Hammer novice of the bunch, Jeff announces his love for this film. It probably goes without saying your Grue Crew members are all unabashed lovers of all things Peter Cushing, but it had to be said anyway.

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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Invisible Ghost (1941) – Episode 35 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Marie: “I wonder why he was so glad to see me?” Evans: “Mr. Kessler thought you had been murdered.” What?! Why would Mr. Kessler think such a thing? Maybe because several other people were murdered in his house? Is it possible the murders are connected? Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Adam Thomas, as we take our second consecutive trip to Poverty Row, this time for a stay with Bela Lugosi at his deadly home in Invisible Ghost.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 35 – Invisible Ghost (1941)

A Poverty Row film released by Monogram Pictures, Invisible Ghost is directed by Joseph H. Lewis, sometimes referred to as “Wagon Wheel Joe” for the style he employed for his many B-movie westerns. It tells the story of Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi), whose wife (Betty Compson) has disappeared. As Kessler and his daughter Virginia (Polly Ann Young) resolutely remain in the house for Mrs. Kessler’s possible reappearance, people keep dying around them. How many have been murdered, we asked? “A lot,” we’re told. Then a man (John McGuire) is executed for one of the murders only to be replaced by his twin, and the murders continue even after the execution. Overseeing the whole mess is Kessler’s butler, Evans (Clarence Muse).

This episode’s Grue Crew are confused as to the whys and “what fors” of the story. There’s little rhyme or reason to the killer’s motivation. There’s no ghost. Nothing is invisible. Characters just die. Everything just is. Welcome to Poverty Row.

The hosts all recommend Invisible Ghost for Clarence Muse’s performance. IMDb and Wikipedia list co-writer Helen Martin as one in the same as the African American actress who starred as Pearl Shay in 227 (1985-1990) among her 60+ acting credits. Your faithful Grue Crew could find no other collaborating information and questioned this connection. Since recording the podcast, we have found other online mentions of her work on the script on the Classic Horror Film Board. If she is indeed the co-author of the screenplay for Invisible Ghost, it would explain why the part of Evans is written as such an integral, smart, and dignified character. If any of our listeners have additional verification regarding Helen Martin as a screenwriter, please let us know via comment or email.

Chad has a particular affection for the comic relief provided by Fred Kelsey, who plays Detective Ryan and Jeff points out the many, many, many roles with nicknames played by Ernie Adams, who plays Jules the gardner in Invisible Ghost. Adam marvels at the ineptitude of the police and the jarring cuts as several scenes in several locations cover a day in 20 seconds. Joseph loves the use of the visible wall as the camera follows characters from room to room. The hosts also get in another mention of the classic film noir Gun Crazy (1950) and yet another connection to Batman, this time the classic serials produced by the producer of Invisible Ghost, Sam Katzman. The Grue Crew also appreciates Invisible Ghost for giving Lugosi a chance to play a character counter to his usual monstrous characters. Please take an hour of your time and check it out!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is the classic, Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

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, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

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

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Strangler of the Swamp (1946) – Episode 34 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“That evil noose was made when they found farmer Berkeley murdered in his field. They accused ferryman Douglas of the crime and hanged him. He swore that he was innocent, but that didn’t stop them. It was then he spoke his curse.”  Yikes! Evil noose? Deadly curse? Sounds right up our alley! Join Jeff Mohr and Joseph Perry, along with guest host Mike Imboden, as we take our first trip to Poverty Row and brave the foggy swamp of Strangler of the Swamp!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 34 – Strangler of the Swamp (1946)

Strangler of the Swamp tells the story of a ferryman, wrongly accused of murder and lynched, who curses his murderers before his death. Since that day, several members of his lynch mob have died strange accidental deaths which, not so coincidentally, resemble hangings. Motives of love, revenge, guilt, and money combine with supernatural elements to weave the threads of this story together.

Co-written and directed by Frank Wisbar, Strangler of the Swamp is a loose remake of Fährmann Maria (1936), a German film also co-written and directed by Wisbar. A Producers Releasing Corporation production, Strangler of the Swamp was shot on a shoestring budget like most Poverty Row films. The set was covered with a thick blanket of fog throughout the movie to hide the lack of a swamp or any water whatsoever. The cast wes filled with character actors and newcomers that included Rosemary La Planche; Blake Edwards, who went on to write and direct well known comedies such as the Pink Panther films; Robert Barrat; Charles Middleton, who played Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon Serials; Effie Laird; and Nolan Leary.

This episode’s Grue Crew comment that, even though the fog served a budgetary purpose, it is effective at creating an eerie atmosphere that serves the film well. Though you’ll never find Strangler of the Swamp on a traditional “best of” list, it can be placed in the top tier of Poverty Row pictures. Joseph, Mike, and Jeff recommend this film if you have any interest in Poverty Row films and maybe, just to see Blake Edwards before he hit the bigtime.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Invisible Ghost (1941), another Poverty Row gem starring Bela Lugosi, 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, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

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

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Silent Running (1972) – Episode 73 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Amazing companions on an incredible adventure… that journeys beyond imagination!” the tagline for Silent Running promises a sci-fi spectacle but the film is instead a rather intimate tale of astronaut Freeman Lowell descending into madness. Director Douglas Trumbull’s space-epic is perhaps better known for the three small drones, Huey, Duey, and Luey. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they join Bruce Dern on his adventures aboard the Valley Forge.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 73 – Silent Running (1972)

Written by the impressive team of Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, and Steven Bochco, Silent Running has a lot to say between the lines. While the film focuses upon its lead character, Freeman Lowell as played by Bruce Dern, the story dives into environmental and corporate politics, theories, and dire warnings of a not-to-distant future doomed to set Earth on a collision course with disaster. Visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, steps behind the camera to guide the spectacular visuals, some of which, were borrowed from unused scenes for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). His creation of the three drones would fascinate audiences in 1972 and directly influence the famous droids seen George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977). Silent Running, despite is calculated pacing, is an influential film that bridges the gap between 2001 and Star Wars.

Sharing their thoughts about the film, the Grue-Crew relive the first time they saw the film back in the 1970s – Jeff in the theater, Doc on TV, and Bill later on video in college. Bill’s take is based more of the political nature of the film, while Doc is focused on Bruce Dern and the drones. Chad and Jeff admire the film’s visual excellent and careful storytelling. Doc shares his experience seeing the film for the first time in nearly 40 years on the big screen at the FantasticRealm Film Series at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC. Regardless of their take, the Grue-Crew agree the film is important to film history and rise of science fiction film.

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.