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Halloween (1978) – Episode 82 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I met this… six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and… the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes.” There’s absolutely no doubt you know who says that and who he is talking about. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they prepare for 2018’s neo-sequel by taking a nostalgic, but fear-filled trip back to Haddonfield and the first time he came back. Yup, it’s the big one. They’re talking Halloween (1978).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 82 – Halloween (1978)

Whether or not you knew about John Carpenter before the release of Halloween, you certainly knew about him after its release. There have been a total of 10 Halloween films, 9 of which include the fellow with the “blank, pale, emotionless face, and … the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes,” but the first one is by far the best.

Carpenter’s and Debra Hill’s script takes its time developing a place in time and space and with people that feel familiar and even comfortable, making the presence of The Shape all the more menacing. Establishing the characters and relationships of the three girls – Jamie Lee CurtisP.J. Soles, and Nancy Kyes – adds to the familiarity and comfortableness of the world the filmmakers have created. Donald Pleasence’s performance as Dr. Loomis exponentially ramps up the feelings of dread and Nick Castle’s performance as The Shape reinforces the idea of the presence of pure evil. Combine the script and the acting with Carpenter’s direction, his landmark, chill-inducing score, and Dean Cundey’s cinematography, and Halloween becomes one of the top horror films of the 1970s.

Of course, the members of the Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew shout their praises for Halloween. Chad is impressed by Jamie Lee Curtis’ portrayal of Laurie Strode as the somewhat shy, good hearted girl without a boyfriend who obviously isn’t very experienced at smoking pot, but is a formidable opponent for The Shape. Jeff points out the time the filmmakers take to create suspense and dread, for example, Laurie’s 90-second walk across the street to come to her girlfriends’ aid. Cundey’s and Carpenter’s shot construction and camera movement earn Bill’s admiration. For Doc, it’s also about the time taken for each kill, building tension to the breaking point.

Yes, the lot of them slobbered and drooled their appreciation and love all over Halloween throughout the podcast. What did you expect? Frankly, this classic deserves a few more viewings in preparation for its new sequel, Halloween (2018).

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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A Bay of Blood (1971) – Episode 78 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Diabolical! Fiendish! Savage… You may not walk away from this one!“ The Grue Crew are on a giallo kick, and as everyone knows, there’s always room for giallo. (Groan …) Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, and Chad Hunt, along with guest host Chad Lab – as they count the baker’s dozen of kills delivered in Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 78 – A Bay of Blood (1971)

Like a lot of foreign films released in the U.S., A Bay of Blood had a bit of an identity problem as it experienced several re-titles. Originally known as Reazione a catena, among its many other titles are Twitch of the Death NerveCarnageBlood Bath, and even The Last House on the Left, Part II.

Mario Bava serves as director, co-writer, and cinematographer in this giallo gem. An heiress is murdered at the outset and from then on, it is no holds barred as the rest of family schemes, maneuvers, and murders while trying to secure the family inheritance for themselves. You might need a scorecard to track who is being killed, how they are killed, and who the killers are. Yes, there are killers, as in plural. The first and second murders quickly reveal A Bay of Blood as not your ordinary run of the mill slasher flick.

Speaking of slasher flicks, Doc identifies several very familiar looking kills and the influence A Bay of Blood must have surely had on Friday the 13th (1980), and hence, other 1980s slasher fare. Bill reveals, not that it was a big secret, that Bava is his favorite director and notes the appearance of for the second episode in a row following her role in Deep Red (1975). Most of the film’s characters have little to like, creating a bit of a hurdle for Chad Lab, but as the innovative kills mount, he quickly gets over it and comes to love the film. Chad Hunt helps the rest of the Grue Crew keep the characters straight and recounts his repeated cries of, “What? … What?! … What?!!” as the killings unfolded. With so many murders from which to choose – hanging, spear, octopus, billhook, etc. – the Grue Crew can’t resist picking each of their favorite kills

Of course, this episode’s Grue Crew gives a unanimous recommendation to this classic giallo film. If you haven’t seen A Bay of Blood, it is guaranteed you will not guess who commits the final murders.

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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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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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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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.