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The Creeping Flesh (1973) – Episode 51– Decades of Horror 1970s

“Unfortunately, in the state of society, as it exists today, we are not permitted to experiment on human beings. Normal human beings.” – Christopher Lee’s line in The Creeping Flesh (1973) sets up the odd tone of the film. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor and the host of Decades of Horror The Classic Era Jeff Mohr. Rounding out the co-hosts this episode is Chad Hunt, Jeff’s frequent co-conspirator on the Classic Era, joining the usual crew to discuss another awesome collaboration between horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 51 – The Creeping Flesh (1973)

Anytime we get to cover a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee film, Doc is happy as a clam. The Creeping Flesh, despite its many flaws, lands in the win column for the good doctor. Jeff is equally delighted with the film, as is Chad regardless of his reservations. The Black Saint, however, is not thrilled with The Creeping Flesh one bit. He often challenges the group to back up their love for this oddball film. It isn’t easy. The film has wonky pacing, illogical character decisions, bizarre side storylines that distract from the main tale, and not nearly enough of the title character. The Grew-Crew fear that many horror fans will side with The Black Saint on this one unless they are a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee completist.

From time to time The Creeping Flesh scores with great acting from the two horror icons and typical high standards with costuming and set design. The creature’s skeleton is quite marvelous as well, large and fascinating. The creeping flesh element of the film – however brief – is a highlight. And while actress Lorna Heilbron scores with Jeff Mohr her character’s motivations for the final act come under question from the Grue-Crew. And, as often stated, whenever Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee share the screen, the film becomes immediately more entertaining. And, for those who love their Hammer Films, The Creeping Flesh comes complete with a brief, but welcomed, appearance from the one-and-only Michael Ripper. There’s always that!

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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The Omen (1976) – Episode 50 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Good morning. You are one day closer to the end of the world. You have been warned.” – the tag line for The Omen (1976) goes a long way in frightening audiences, then and now. Following cinema’s fascination with possession and satanism since Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist changed the face of horror, Director Richard Donner brings the threat of Revelations to the forefront without resorting to full-on supernatural, grounding the terror in reality as much as possible. This results in one of the biggest hits of the year. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 50 – The Omen (1976)

The Black Saint, Doc, and Jeff reflect on The Omen, remarking on how well the Richard Donner approached and manipulated the script. They examine a number of keys scenes pointing out how well they work in the genre, from the decapitation of David Warner’s character to Lee Remick’s character tumbling from the banister to the iconic scene where Patrick Troughton’s priest is skewered by a severed lightning rod. Above all that is the incredible music provided by Jerry Goldsmith for which he won an Academy Award that year. The presence of esteemed actor Gregory Peck goes a long way in grounding the film and its terrifying themes. And actress Billie Whitelaw is absolutely frightening in the role of Mrs. Baylock.

For the fiftieth episode of Decades of Horror 1970s, we decided to tackle one of the big releases of the decade, also one featuring subject matter that is particularly unsettling for host The Black Saint. He has vowed to never watch The Exorcist again. Yes, for this show, he sets aside his reservations to view the film once again, share his thoughts and appreciation for the film, and comment on seeing the film back when it was first released. Jeff too saw the film in the theaters at that time and both he and the Black Saint remember the marketing that supported the film and the generally terrified reaction the audience gave during those screenings. C’mon Donner was dead set on scaring his audience, the editing and varied angels of Jenning’s death scene alone illustrate how The Omen scared audiences then…and should still now.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Psychomania (1973) – Episode 49 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Seven Suicides – and they roared back as The Living Dead.” – the tag line for Psyhomania (1973) plays heaving on the “Living Dead” implications from NoTLD despite this not being a zombie film in any fashion.  Also known as The Death Wheelers, the film does involve, bikers, death, destruction, and the devil — maybe. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and fellow contributor Jerry Chandler.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 49 – Pyschomania (1973)

In the extras on the Psychomania Blu-ray, star Nicky Henson reveals that no one on the set thought that anyone would be talking about this film after its release; in fact, that is the reason he chose these types of films over TV work, thinking no one would ever see it. To his dismay, the film would be shown countless times on the late-nite feature securing it as a minor cult classic and a film he is most approached about decades later. Psychomania is also the final film for the late, great George Sanders known to many as the man who starred in All About Eve, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the genre efforts Village of the Damned, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jungle Book (voice of Shere Khan the Tiger), or Batman (TV – as Mr. Freeze). While the film may be light on scares, it is heavy on thrills with its “groovy” stunt, something the director Don Sharp had experience with his previous films. Sharp is also the director behind Kiss of the Vampire, Curse of the Fly, and The Brides of Fu Manchu.

Doc confesses to considering Psychomania as a guilty pleasure, sharing he first purchased the film as a blind-buy with an affordably priced “Goodtimes” VHS. The rest of the crew are not as warm to the film, but they all recognize that is does have some Seventies charm. While Santos generally dislikes the film, he does praise its score. The best part of the film is the oddball nature of how the film mixes the action with humor for the suicide scenes where the “Living Dead” off themselves so they can return to live eternal. The Crew debate the true nature of Sanders’ character Shadwell and scratch their heads over all the “frog” imagery. Yes, the resurrection of the leader of the “Living Dead”, Tom, as he flies out of his grave atop his motorcycle is the film’s highlight. Psychomania is a unique film, a one of kind.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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A*P*E (1976) – Episode 48 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“See A*P*E … defy the jaws of a giant shark … destroy a teeming city … demolish an ocean liner … vanquish a monster reptile” – the tag line for A*P*E (1976) promises as much as the incredible poster for this race- to-the-theater King Kong rip-off from director Paul Leder. Yes, Yes! This is the film where the giant gorilla flips off the army … in 3D, no less.  Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and NC effects artist and film maker Bill Mulligan.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 48 – A*P*E (1976)

With a massive budget of $24,000, the team behind A*P*E created a King Kong rip-off film that has to be seen to be believed. Insanely goofy, horribly made, dreadfully written, hilariously inept, the film originally known as Super Kong is a disaster … and bloody brilliant because of it. It is a true so-bad-it-is-good treasure … and in 3-D to boot. It is getting a terrific 3D Bluray release from Kino Lorber Video and for those who love schlocky, horrible films that desperately want to be called guilty pleasure, then A*P*E is the film for you. Oh, the joy, the pure stupid joy! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten are joined by Jeff Mohr and Bill Mulligan to recap and review this bizarre entry into 1970s solid gold. Enjoy!

A*P*E features one of the worst gorilla costumes committed to film, ever. The seems are evident and the stitches come loose in the opening scene when APE fights a giant shark, revealing the undershirt underneath. Amazing! The film feels padded at 80 minutes long and features scene after scene of random locals running from the 36 foot gorilla, many of which can be seen smiling and laughing as they run. Rich! The army shows up late in the film so they can point their guns into the camera in “stunning” 3D effects. Marvelous! The gorilla shimmies, shakes, and dances his way across the South Korean landscape scaring villages, stepping over fake cows, wrestling live snakes, and tearing down buildings with glorious glee. Ah! There’s nothing else left to say… watch the film if you dare. Regardless, listen to the Grue-Crew discuss A*P*E.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

 

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King Kong (1976) – Episode 47 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“There’s a girl out there who might be running for her life from some gigantic turned-on ape.” – the line for King Kong (1976) illustrates the odd tone to the  high-profile, big-budget creature feature remake. Dino De Laurentiis’ monstrous epic provides fans with a U.S. man-in-suit Kaiju turn at the furry beast with a  young Rick Baker in the ape suit.  Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 47 – King Kong (1976)

Joining Santos, Doc, and Jeff is the host of Decades of Horror 1980s and co-host of Horror News Radio Thomas Mariani who immediate jumps into how Dino De Laurentiis presents Kong himself. The giant gorilla is seen ogling Dwan played by Jessica Lange in a questionable manner that deserves the description in the show’s opener “some gigantic turned-on ape.” While there’s always been a connection between Kong and Anne Darrow (from the ’33 picture), the way they treat his attraction to Dwan is far less appealing than intended, for certain. Kong’s motivation is all over the place as the Grue-Crew struggle to find good things to say about the 1976 rendition of this classic monster from the movies. The film was highly promoted upon its release in December of 1976 as Doc, Jeff, and Santos all remember, but the film failed to live up to the hype. While Doc and Jeff admit liking the film now more than prior, the film still disappoints in a huge Hollywood blockbuster-gone-wrong way.

John Guillermin (from The Towering Inferno) directs the film which stars Charles Grodin, Jeff Bridges, and Jessica Lange in lead roles. Rick Baker’s Kong is superimposed into many shots with noticeable matte outlines giving the high production and low-grade sheen. While the ape costume itself is noteworthy, the integration of the effects into the film often fail their efforts. The huge mechanical King, which was all the rage in the promos and press at the time, is barely seen in the film, perhaps for the better. The film’s tone dances between serious and satire – or, at least, feels like satire, regardless of original intention. According to Thomas, Grodin acts with his teeth in an amazing fashion while Bridges likely filled the large pit to capture Kong with smoke all on his own. Yeah, man. Prepare for Kong: Skull Island with this look back to a classic – or not so classic – King Kong adventure from 1976.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Bug (1975) – Episode 46 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“They Look Like Rocks…Possess A High Intelligence…Have No Eyes…And Eat Ashes…They Travel In Your Car Exhaust…They Make Fire…They Kill.” – the tag line for Bug (1975) sets up horror expectations while producer William Castle (The House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, Rosemary’s Baby) works hard to deliver the goods – and succeeds. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 46 – Bug (1975)

For those who purchased Famous Monster of Filmland back in the day, the image of a fiery bug burning his way through a phone to get to his prey – a screaming female – is one that makes an impression. The film that it promotes is Bug, from director Jeannot Szwarc (Jaws 2) and produced by the legendary showman William Castle. Bradford Dillman stars as James Parmiter, a biology teacher who discovers a new breed of insect.  The bugs escaped out of a deep crevasse created by an earthquake. They spark fires and eat the ashes, creating havoc as they search for food. Parmiter takes their evolution a step further giving birth to the second generation of bug that eats meat and thinks for itself. The third generation is even worse.

Jeff Mohr joins the crew as Doc and The Black Saint dive into the film and manic, inspired performance by Bradford Dillman. While the film may feel like two films – the first half concentrating on a family where the hole opened up and the latter half focusing entirely on Mr. Dillman – the film is a monster movie that thrills, chills, and entertains every step of the way. The bug effects are often spectacular and the fire gags impressive. Bug is the last film that William Castle would work on and it carries his signature throughout. He even considered employing another cinematic gimmick to heighten the experience where a wire would wiggle around the audience’s feet and legs at key moments. Ah! The world needs more imaginative showmen like William Castle.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971) – Episode 45 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Something is after Jessica. Something very cold, very wet… and very dead…” – the tag line for Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) sets the mood for this atmospheric, creepy, overlooked thriller. Zohra Lampert provides the film with a powerful performance while director John D. Hancock weave a terrifying tale of paranoia. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 45 – Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971)

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is one of those classic Seventies titles that immediately sum up a tale and attract any horror fan’s attention. Usually these films were all marketing and little content with the films being dismal. Most were Drive-In fare and many were instantly forgotten. It is a shame that many modern horror fans know very little of this terrific gem from 1971 – outside of, perhaps, knowing of the film’s title. What horror fans are missing is a terrific little film with great performances, an intriguing tale, and moody, atmospheric direction. The film is directed by John D. Hancock and features Zohra Lampert, Barton Hayman, Kevin O’Connor, Mariclare Costello, and Gretchen Corbett.

Jeff Mohr joins the Grue-Crew for another look at a Seventies horror classic, seeming falling for Zohra Lampert in the process. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten agree with Jeff that she makes the film with a riveting, subdued, and haunting performance. The Grue-Crew find very little disparaging about the film, urging DoH fans to look out for Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, praising the film for its tone, approach, direction and acting. The film looks great, Lambert deserves accolades for her role of Jessica, and the films ambivalence about its own details and origin provide an ominous conclusion to keep you thinking long after the film ends – in typical Seventies down-beat style. Decades of Horror approved.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) – Episode 44 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Creeping!…Crawling!…Crushing!” – Bill Rebane, the director who gave us Bigfoot Terror, presents to starving horror fans a horror film featuring a giant spider attacking a small town in Wisconsin. And, by giant spider, we mean a Volkswagon Bug dressed with a million eyes and eight furry legs. And it is bloody brilliant…in all the wrong ways. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr and North Carolina film maker Bill Mulligan.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 44 – The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

A film that many modern horror fans know as a MST3K favorite is a drive-in classic from 1975, The Giant Spider Invasion is a marvel of low budget film making. Despite some of the films many flaws, the film is inexplicably entertaining…for all the wrong reasons. So deliciously bad it is a wonder mess of a fun movie and the Grue-Crew are here to share their memories, their impressions, and their favorite scenes. The fun begins with Alan Hale Jr.’s first line of dialog, fondly remembering his run as The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island – “Hi, little buddy!”. But it is the spider effects – made for a whopping 10K – that make the film so memorable, earning its spot among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made honestly.

The film also features Steve Brodie, Barbara Hale, Robert Easton, Leslie Parrish, Bill Williams, Kevin Brodie, Diane Lee Hart,  and Tain Bodkin. The plot is full of soap opera relationships spoiled by a dropping meteor that carries geodes full of crawling, deadly spiders and opening a black hole in the Wisconsin fields. Crawling out of that black hole is a hungry, murderous giant spider over 15 feet wide. Made for $300,000.00, the film reportedly made $22 Million. No small feat. Listen to Doc, The Black Saint, Jeff and Bill revisit The Giant Spider Invasion and then see it for yourself…if you dare.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Deranged (1974) – Episode 43 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Pretty Sally Mae died a very unnatural death! … But the worst hasn’t happened to her yet! DERANGED … confessions of a necrophile.” – The tag line Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby’s Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974) is Seventies Drive-In Exploitation at its best. The film, starring Roberts Blossom, is based upon the life of serial killer Ed Gein, considered the most accurate portrayal of his story until Ed Gein released in 2000 The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 43 – Deranged (1974)

One of the great things about Decades of Horror 1970s is coming across films not seen in a very long time – or, like Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, seen for the very first time. While The Black Saint is a long time fan of the film – fighting for it to be covered on the podcast since the show started, Doc Rotten and guest-host Jeff Mohr are watching the film with a fresh set of eyes each some 42 years after its initial release. Deranged is produced (albeit uncredited) by Bob Clark (Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Dead of Night, Black Christmas) written by Alan Ormsby and co-directed by Jeff Gillen. Roberts Blossom stars as Ezra Cobb, modeled after Ed Gein. Blossom may be recognized from his later roles in Christine (George LeBay) and Home Alone (Old Man Marley). Santos gets to share his love for the film and finds Doc and Jeff equally impressed by the low budget shocker.

The story follows Ezra Cobb after his mother passes away. Lost without her, he resorts to digger her up nearly a years after her death. Studying taxidermy, he hatches a plan to restore her and begins robbing graves for “materials.” Before long he sets his sights on fresher materials and the body count rises – as his madness grows. Blossom’s performance drives the film but the effects – from first time effects artist Tom Savini – display in gruesome detail. One particular scene, long cut from the film restored in recent years, has Cobb peeling back the scalp of one victim so he can scoop out her brains. Later when his affection for a young waitress turns violent, the audience is treated to a dinner scene reminiscent of a later 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film is made for fans of Seventies drive-in horror films. Catch it if you can.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Carrie (1976) – Episode 42 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“They’re all going to laugh at you! They’re all going to laugh at you!” – Margaret White’s desperate pleading rings in her daughter’s mind as she is consumed with rage after she is bathed in pig’s blood at her senior prom in Brian De Palma’s horror classic CARRIE (1976). It’s the moment horror fans in the 1970s will never forget, when Carrie White wipes out most of the student body during the conclusion of the adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew for Carrie are award winning director Christopher G. Moore and Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 42 – Carrie (1976)

 Watching CARRIE now 40 years after it debuted on theater screens across the US, the film continues to astonish, frighten, and impress with its terrific cast, its terrifying story and its fantastic direction and score. The film hits home with teen anguish of being accepted in high school, fears of the unknown, and the lasting effects of guilt and rage. Carrie stars two fantastic actresses as Carrie White and her mother Margaret, both of whom were nominated for Oscars for their roles in the film. Sissy Specek leads the film as Carrie while Piper Laurie returns from a 15 year hiatus to star as her mother. Betty Buckley stars as Carrie’s gym teacher, sensitive to Carrie’s plight. Amy Irving, Nancy Allan, and P.J. Soles are cast as her school mates who tease and torment her. William Katt is Tommy Ross who catches Carrie’s eye. And John Travolta is…well…Vinnie Barbarino. Dwerp. Brian De Palma brings every trick he knows to the film from split screens during the prom scene to Split Diopter during many important glimpses of Carrie’s position in the story to a number of camera tricks lifted directly out of Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic arsenal. Along with the fantastic score from Pino Donaggio, Carrie is a classic that stands today just as well as it did back in 1976.

Guest host Christopher G. Moore is a self professed De Palma fan, despite his unfavorable opinion of Phantom of the Paradise, proclaiming Carrie as one of his very favorite films, horror or otherwise. Jeff Mohr chimes in with fond memories of the film, including the finale that gets the grue-crew remembering the impact and reactions of Carrie’s final moments. Together with Doc and Santos, they even wager that Carrie is the best Stephen King adaptation even though it was the very first one. But it is the performances of Sissy Specek and Piper Laurie that truly anchor the film. Carrie’s tragic character arc and Margaret’s ill-fated antagonist make the film resonate to this day. The film is iconic, frightening and relevant – a must see, a genuine horror classic.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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