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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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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.

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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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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 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.

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Salem’s Lot (1979) – Episode 69 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Open the window, Mark. Please! Let me in! It’s OK, Mark, I’m your friend. He commands it!” If a floating Glick boy ever says this to you, no matter what, don’t open the window!  Doc Rotten is off on assignment for this episode, but regular hosts Jeff Mohr, Bill Mulligan, and Chad Hunt are joined by Joey Fittos, the Thug with a Mug, as they travel to the not-so-quaint and disturbing New England village of Salem’s Lot to discuss the equally disturbing 1979 miniseries, Salem’s Lot.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 69 – Salem’s Lot (1979)

The literary juggernaut known as Stephen King had already made the book-to-movie transition with Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) when Warner Brothers Television decided to adapt ‘Salem’s Lot, King’s second novel, to the TV miniseries format. Horror icon Tobe Hooper was enlisted to direct as was Paul Monash to provide the screenplay adaptation of King’s novel for an all star cast that includes James Mason, David Soul, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Reggie Nalder, Geoffrey Lewis, George Dzundza, Julie Cobb, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Fred Willard, Ed Flanders, Kenneth McMillan, and more. The result was Salem’s Lot, a now legendary, 2-part miniseries first broadcast November 1979 on CBS.

Each of this episode’s Grue Crew viewed Salem’s Lot during its premiere broadcast. Joey proclaims Salem’s Lot as one of his all time favorite horror films. Bill also loved it, but was a little put out by specific scenes present in King’s novel that are not included in the miniseries. David Soul (Starsky and Hutch, 1975-79) as the star gave Jeff some misgivings prior to seeing the film and he was annoyed at first by the changes made in the transformation of his beloved ‘Salem’s Lot (the book) into Salem’s Lot (the movie). It didn’t take long, however, for him to be won over by what was, in truth, an excellent horror film. Chad, along with Joey and Bill, in hindsight, saw definite similarities between Salem’s Lot and Fright Night (1985).

The film’s over 3-hour runtime is surprisingly even-paced and despite the length, the viewer is never caught wondering how much time is left. Scenes that have been frozen in your grue Crew’s nightmares are discussed, including, but not limited to, the floating Glick boys and Geoffrey Lewis in a rocking chair. The story is so well told, there are several unscary scenes that are memorable for their dialogue or visual impact alone. Salem’s Lot gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the whole Crew.

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 Mutations (1974) – Episode 68 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature…… it can be HORRIFYING!” the overzealous tagline for The Mutations (1974), aka The Freakmaker, promises a monster film for the ages. To be fair, some stills from the film of the main “Venus-fly-trap” monster may back up that claim. However, most of the Grue Crew may beg to differ. And, then, there’s Bill. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan to discuss this nearly forgotten British gem. Special guest host Adam Thomas settles in to help put Donald Pleasence in his place.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 68 – The Mutations (1974)

Learning that Vincent Price was the first actor cast as Professor Nolter in JackCardiff’s The Mutations puts a lot of that role into perspective. With Donald Pleasence (Halloween) settling into the part in Price’s place leaves all the necessary scene chewing off the cuff. But, hey, we still love as much Donald Pleasence as we can get. The fan-favorite fourth Doctor, Tom Baker (The Vault of Horror, Doctor Who) plays Lynch, Nolter’s “henchmen” who continually gathers the mad scientist victims for his evil experiments…all in hopes that the good doctor will cure him of his deformities. In a subplot. Lynch is also the leader of a troop of “freaks” (as they are called in the film) who entertain patrons at a local amusement sideshow. Enter in a group of Nolter’s students who get in the way of the madman’s plot, including Julie Ege (The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires) as Hedi. Before you know it, Hedi’s friend Tony (Scott Anthony) is kidnapped by Lynch and turned into a horrific monster by Nolter. Chaos ensues. Hurray!

Both Doc and Bill fondly remember reading about The Mutations in Famous Monsters in the Seventies but were unable to catch the film until much later. Bill a decade or so ago, but Doc only this week for this show. Both were eager to watch the film to discuss here on Decades of Horror along with Chad and guest host Adam Thomas. However, while the finale is fun with the monster finally set loose and on the rampage, the plot meanders through each of its loosely connected subplots. Bill still champions the film while Adam curses Doc’s name. Oh, dear. There’s plenty to discuss, speculate, demonize, and enjoy with The Mutations and the Grue Crew cover it all.

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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[Podcast] Frightmare (1974) – Episode 67 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What terrifying craving made her kill… and kill… and kill…” the intriguing tagline for Frightmare (1974), aka Cover Up, provides just a hint of what Dorothy Yeates (Sheila Kieth) is up to when her husband Edmund (Rubert Davies) isn’t looking. And what does this mean for their children, Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) and Debbie (Kim Butcher), and their eating habits? Perhaps they’re chips off the old butcher block…? Eh? Eh? Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan to discuss this nearly forgotten British gem.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 67 – Frightmare (1974)

The film is from director Pete Walker who would give us similar intriguing genre movies House of the Whipcord, Schizo, and House of Long Shadows. The latter film features one of the last combinations of horror icons Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine. Pete Walker’s muse, Sheila Keith, would appear in most of them. In Frightmare, she stars as the elderly Dorothy, recently released from a mental hospital who is up to her old tricks once again…cannibalism. Rupert Davies plays her husband, Edmund, in what would be his last role. The terrific character actor would appear in many British horror films such as Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, The Conqueror Worm, The Brides of Fu Manchu, and The Oblong Box. Together Keith and Davies are the reason to catch this underseen, underappreciated nugget from 1974. That and all the goofy bright red gore. Good stuff.

“Worse than your most shocking nightmare!” – the poster tagline promises a nightmare to shock us all.

As soon as we mentioned “Pete Walker,” Bill’s ear perked up and he lauded with excitement. On the podcast, he shares why he enjoys the filmmaker so. Also, he discovers this is the one film of his he had never seen. In fact, none of the hosts had caught Frightmare before assigning it to this episode. A rarity, indeed. The film is similar to classic low budget horror films from England at that time, such as Pscyhomania which we covered in episode 49. Everyone shares their newfound admiration for this film and their shared hatred for the “Debbie” character, especially Chad who confesses it takes a lot for someone to elicit such disgust. But, it is all in service of the film itself.

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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Cloverfield (2008) – Episode 34 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“I had a good day.” Beth (Odette Yustman) declares her day at the carnival with Mike (Michael Stahl-David) to be a success. Little does she know that in a few months, their lives will be forever affected by the events codenamed CloverfieldTen years later, Cloverfield remains one of the few higher budgeted found footage films out there. It’s ingenious viral marketing campaign and secrecy developed a huge amount of buzz out of so little. Just throw a mysterious trailer in front of the first Transformers movie with the date “01-18-08” and you’ll gain a profit. But how does the film hold up long after the hype? Tune in to find out!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 34 – Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield was wrapped in mystery at the time it came out. Promotional websites helped build the hype started by the cryptic trailer. So many theories going in. Some suspected this was a secret new Godzilla film. Others even suspected a secret Lovecraft adaptation or Voltron live action film. Yet, Cloverfield ended up being… a completely original property about a giant monster attacking New York. In found footage style, we follow a group of young folks are shown having a party that’s rudely interrupted by The Statue of Liberty’s head roaring down the street. Now, they’ve got to find some way out as the monster and the little parasite creatures that come off it attack the city.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Cloverfield, Thomas Mariani enlists Adam Thomas, Sam Brutuxan and Ryan Corderman to dissect the footage left behind. There’s much talk about the design of the monster, the underrated cast members and all the hype of the viral marketing. Plus, where does the monster codenamed Clover rank amongst other kaiju? Did Lily (Jessica Lucas) make it out at the end? Can the smooth vocals of Sean Kingston help us deal with the impending doom of New York? All those questions and more will be answered in this episode!

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

Man Bites Dog (1993)

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The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – Episode 66 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“The Fouke Monster always travels the creek…” the narrator of The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) describes the nocturnal patterns of the Bigfoot-like creature spotted in Arkansas. The movie exploded onto the big screen and drive-in theaters nationwide in 1972 to the box office tune of $20 million big ones. And sparked a national fascination with the hairy cryptozoological monster. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan, along with HNR co-host Dave Dreher, to discuss what may be the most influential Bigfoot movie of the Seventies.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 66 – The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

The first film from director Charles B. Pierce, The Legend of Boggy Creek, is also one of the most successful b-movie Bigfoot movies of all time. The film is presented as a pseudo-documentary with non-actor recreating scenes where they encountered the beast from Fouke County, Arkansas. Pierce is also responsible for films such as The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), The Evictors (1979), and the sequel Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (1984). Full of local color and more passion than panache, the film inspired a decade of Bigfoot frenzy, “In Search Of” style copy-cats, and – quite possibly – films like The Blair Witch Project. Perhaps best appreciated now by those who experienced the film “back in the day.” the film is a slow build to a showdown between a family and the Fouke Monster pounding at their door. Hurray for a frightened childhood of Bigfoot nightmares!

“Half-man, half-beast … a mysterious creature has been stalking the woods and waterways near Fouke, Arkansas since the 1940s” – the poster tagline get straight to the point needing little embellishment.

Dave Dreher, self-professed Bigfoot aficionado, joins the regular Grue-Crew to revisit The Legend of Boggy Creek. Like, Doc, Chad, and Bill, Dave caught the film during its original run, remembering fondly the effect it had on his much-younger self; Jeff, however, only just this week finally saw the film for the first time. Time has not been a friend to Boggy Creek. Oh, well. The team shares their impressions of the film, their experiences with it in 1972, and the influence it had on their fascination with film and cryptozoology. Dave also chimes in with a rundown of director Pierce’s accomplishments.

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.