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Misery (1990) – Episode 36 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“He didn’t get out of the cock-a-doodie car!” Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) won’t be taking any guff from her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) about cliffhangers. Which isn’t ideal for Paul. At the mercy of his number one fan who’s abusive and pretty much off her rocker. Paul’s in pain and needs to get out real quick. One could say his situation leaves him in… Misery. Based on the acclaimed novel from Stephen King, Misery helped legitimize the horror genre in the 90s with an Academy Award-winning performance. However, how does it hold up to this day? The answers are contained in Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 36 – Misery (1990)

Misery was based on a novel that writer Stephen King said was a metaphor for his substance abuse. Yet, the film adaptation feels more like a meditation on fandom. Kathy Bates’ Oscar-winning turn as Annie Wilkes feels like a meditation on the type of fans we see on a daily basis on the internet. After saving Paul from a blizzard, she forces him to essentially write her fan fiction. All in order to bring back Paul’s titular character from the dead. It’s a brutal case of holding a twist on the captive audience. Rather, it’s the captive writer providing a story for is captor.

To break down all of this, Thomas Mariani enlists Dave Dreher, Scott Johnson, and Kaycee Jarrard. Resident Stephen King expert Dave describes how well the novel embodied everything he imagined while reading the novel. Kaycee notes how James Caan’s performance really is one that needed to be played by a supporting actor. Scott notes just how scarily accurate this ends up being to modern fan culture. Thomas notes how this is part of the damn impressive first decade of Rob Reiner’s career. Truly, they know that Misery loves company.

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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

Get Out (2017)

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Man Bites Dog (1993) – Episode 35 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“Cinema! CINEMA!” Ben (Benoit Poelvoorde) celebrates his place in cinematic history to the empty buildings outside. Of course, it’s merely an echo chamber for his own inflated ego. An ego he’s bound to feed with continuous bouts of homicide. And it’s all captured in Man Bites Dog, the French/Belgian mockumentary that’s been crucial to the found footage and horror genres in general in the quarter of a century since its release. Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond goes classy with a film about human ugliness, urban decay and the line between filmmaker & subject. Still, there’s plenty of gore to be had. Ça semble excitant!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 35 – Man Bites Dog (1993)

Man Bites Dog is a challenging experience. We follow serial killer Ben as documentarians Remy and Andre (played by Poelvoorde’s co-writers/directors Remy Belavaux and Andre Bonzel) film his exploits. Right from the start, Ben is killing innocent men and women without much remorse. It’s how he makes ends meet. Kill a postman. Dump a body over a bridge. Invade an old person’s house to find their stashed away money. As any professional murderer would do. Yet, he’s not a discrete assassin without humanity. He’s got a girlfriend and family he loves as well as a personable charisma that engages the audience. Which makes the horror all the more disturbing and the actions of Remy and Andre being seduced sadly relatable.

To talk about the complex aspects of Man Bites Dog, Thomas brings on two new voices to the show. One is the founder of FoundFootageCritic.com Michael Steinberg. The other is video essayist Shannon Strucci of StrucciMovies. Michael educates the group about the history of found footage and why Man Bites Dog is a crucial early example. Shannon admits her complete adoration for the confrontational daring on display. Thomas rangles all this together by keeping the influences made and the homages that came later. This is more of a thinking man’s episode as we dissect the Criterion Collection entry for all the disturbing truths in unveils about humanity in glorious black and white.

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

Misery (1990)

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Dog Soldiers (2002) – Episode 33 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“I hope I give you the shits, you fucking wimp.” Spoon (Darren Morfitt) makes his last stand against the werewolves slaughtering his unit. All these soldiers have to contend with animalistic enemies of their own unit. They’re a group of Dog Soldiers as it were. Chosen by our Gruesome Magazine Patreon patrons, Dog Soldiers is one of the few highly recommended werewolf movies. Especially in recent memory. The standards of The Howling or An American Werewolf in London get a lot of love, but otherwise it’s a limited genre. Luckily, Dog Soldiers is still popular enough to get the word out there. But enough about the general public. What do the Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond crew have to say? Find out!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 33 – Dog Soldiers (2002)

Dog Soldiers follows a group of British soldiers stuck on assignment in the woods. They’re attempting a simple training mission in the woods and all seems fine. Well, until they stumble upon Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) severely mauled in the woods. The team stumbles into a nearby cottage in order to find shelter from the mysterious creatures that are out in the woods. From there, it’s a siege film of werewolves vs. humans.

To take a look at this tale of man vs nature, Thomas Mariani enlists Adam Thomas, Shakyl Lambert and Christopher G. Moore. They’ve all got plenty to say about Dog Soldiers. There’s praise for director Neil Marshall’s debut, mainly in how it separates itself from traditional werewolf films. Not to mention his knack for action that would serve him quite well later. Plus, all the questions you’ve been waiting for. Do werewolves perform ballet? Should werewolves go on all fours or stand upright? Was that really a Matrix reference? Listen to find out all the answers!

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

Cloverfield (2008)

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The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“EUREKA! This year, Christmas will be OURS!” Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) makes his proclamation to the citizens of Halloweentown. The holiday he just discovered will be his to mold and reshape into something spooky. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday classic for every horror fan. Director Tim Bur-er, I mean Henry Selick gives this stop-motion world a chance to breathe and live for the limited run time. It was a movie Disney didn’t believe in upon initial release, yet it’s become a massive merchandising bonanza. How? Well, Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond is gonna do the best it can to explain that.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 32 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare Before Christmas – based on the poem written by Tim Burton during his days as a Disney animator – follows Jack, The Pumpkin King. Leader of Halloweentown and the symbol all others judge themselves against, Jack feels empty inside. The annual Halloween celebration has turned him into a depressed skeleton man who wanders into the alternate world of Christmas Town. Inspired by the unique holiday qualities, Jack decides to take Santa’s place for Christmas. All while the patchwork girl Sally (Catherine O’Hara) tries to stop him. It’s all done in a musical stop-motion animation style so gorgeous it got the film a Best Special Effects Oscar nomination.

All this is discussed 24 audio frames at a time by Thomas Mariani and his guests Christopher G. Moore, Caitlin Turner and Scott Johnson. All are here to discuss Nightmare Before Christmas as a highly influential watermark for animation in general. Henry Selick’s visuals would bring us the films of LAIKA. Pixar is credited for the computer effects. Tim Burton has ripped this off with Corpse Bride. There’s also plenty of big questions asked. Is this a Halloween or Christmas movie? What is the relationship between Sally and Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey)? Would Hot Topic survive without Nightmare Before Christmas? Listen to find out!

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

Dog Soldiers (2002)

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[Podcast] The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – Episode 31 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“A ghost is me.” Dr. Casares (Federico Luppi) finally comes to terms with what he has become. As we all must do when facing The Devil’s Backbone. Following the infamous production problems of Mimic, writer/director Guillermo Del Toro left Hollywood for a moment to collect himself. The film spawned from this – The Devil’s Backbone – is a fascinating look at isolation, loss, and destitution as a group of orphans try to fight for their lives. All while a mysterious spectre lurks in the basement. Thomas and his co-hosts are here to taste test that weird fetus juice as they dive into Del Toro in honor of his upcoming film The Shape of Water.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 31 – The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

While considered an older sibling to Guillermo Del Toro’s big Oscar nomination heavy splash Pan’s LabyrinthThe Devil’s Backbone often feels left alone in the dust. Much like young Carlos (Fernando Tielve) is at the orphanage of Dr. Casares and his wife Carmen (Marisa Paredes). Carlos often gets picked on by the other orphans, particularly as Jaimie (Inigo Garces) picks on him. He eventually starts seeing some mysterious shapes and shadows, only to find out that this orphanage is haunted by the ghost of a young boy named Santi (Junio Valverde). Is this ghost out to kill or to protect the children?

Well, Thomas and his guests Caitlin Turner, Adam Thomas and Christopher G. Moore are here to answer such a crucial question. The Devil’s Backbone is discussed at length by these four. All of them wonder why it isn’t as well appreciated as other Del Toro films. Christopher G. Moore dishes out some intriguing trivia. Caitlin appreciates the more female gaze perspective. Adam is still frozen with tension at that door scene. Thomas just wants to know why the hell that one lady trying putting out a gas fire with a blanket. All this and more is revealed as they dive directly into The Devil’s Backbone.

Contact Us

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy. Also, make sure to give us some love via iTunes reviews and ratings. Helps us get more notice along the way.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

 

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Batman Returns (1992) – Episode 30 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“I am not a human being. I am an animal!” Oswald ‘The Penguin’ Cobblepot (Danny DeVito) declares his identity pretty overtly. Batman Returns is not a subtle movie. Many would question why a superhero movie is being covered on a horror podcast. What is this, Horror News Radio? Well, 1) Batman Returns has been suggested by fans, 2) We’ve got a Justice League movie coming out and 3) there’s some pretty horrific stuff featured in there. How much? Listen to find out!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 30 – Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns had a lot to live up to. Being the sequel to 1989’s Batman – a game changer in terms of blockbuster filmmaking – there’s a lot of mounting pressure. Director Tim Burton returned along with The Caped Crusader, but promised something a bit different. He kept the gothic noir setting and his Batman/Bruce Wayne actor Michael Keaton but put in a lot more stuff distinctive of him. Outcast villains like The Penguin or Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). A brand new shadowy corporate tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). Black and white stripes. Yup, lots and lots of that. In other words, he turned Batman Returns into more of a Tim Burton film. Something that got him the boot from the franchise due to the macabre nature of the film.

Yet, does that seem to bad in hindsight, given some of the post-Batman Returns films featuring The Dark Knight? That’s up for Thomas Mariani to decide, alongside his panel. Thomas, Chad Hunt, Jordan Worth Cobb and Adam Thomas all discuss what makes Batman Returns such a curious oddity. The campy qualities that recall the 1960s show. Some disturbing imagery that made McDonald’s cancel a Happy Meal tie in. Much like Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s relationship, there’s a whole lot of duality going on. But to quote Christopher Walken, “YAWN.” Why read about it when you can listen in as you slide into your own Batcave.

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.

If you’re donating at least $1 to the Gruesome Magazine Patreon, you can vote for the last Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond. Just go to the poll here if you’re a patron and vote. Voting ends November 29th.

Next Episode

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

 

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The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990-2017) – Episode 29 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“This is indeed a disturbing universe.” Maggie Simpson (James Earl Jones) gives us one of many great quotes the recite endlessly. The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes are just a sliver of the legacy this titan of a show has left behind. With over 600 episodes in nearly 30 years of time, our favorite yellow-skinned cartoon family has seen a lot of things. Celebrity cameos, world-changing event & a gradual dip in quality. The works. Now, join Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond for a journey through all of the anthology Halloween episodes that have aired from 1990 all the way to the most recent 28th entry as the October haunts season concludes!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 29 – The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990 – 2017)

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror is has been an annual staple for America’s longest-running sitcom since it’s second season. Starting off with segments that adapt Edgar Allen Poe or parody Amityville HorrorThe Simpsons certainly has changed in the intervening years. The segments have grown more gruesome, the parodies more modern and the jokes… few and far between? I know. Someone saying The Simpsons has declined in quality on the internet. Shocker! Still, Simpsons THOH episodes always have something curious about them even at their absolute worst. The animation is usually quite elaborate, turning Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie & all our favorite Springfieldians into something off-kilter and Alf Clausen’s music was always an ethereal joy.

To talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of all this, Thomas Mariani has recruited three terrifying treehouse dwellers and fellow lifelong The Simpsons fans Yonathan Habtemichael, Kaycee Jarrard and Scott Johnson. All three describe their passionate love for the classic years before groaning (and in some cases, sticking up for) the modern years that are so derided. Simpsons THOH segments of old are praised for their consistent laughs, imagination, and cultural impact. More modern stories are… given a bit less praise. Yet, there’s still some love to go around for underrated gems and for the most peculiar episode: a Halloween Simpsons episode that is an anthology with no continuity?! Well, if you asked how that happened… a wizard did it. Happy Halloween Everybody… oh, it’s November 1st? D’OH!

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

Batman Returns (1992)

 

 

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The Cabin In the Woods (2012) – Episode 28 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“It’s so strange. I’m actually rooting for this girl. She’s got so much heart and you think of all the pain and the… TEQUILA IS MY LADY! MY LADY! TEQUILA! FROM DARKNESS, THERE IS LIGHT!” Steve (Bradley Whitford) avoids guilt with alcohol. Just like every responsible adult! Cabin in the Woods is easily one of the best horror films of this decade. Hard to believe it was shelved for a year or so before being released. Playing on all the tropes of horror while celebrating what draws people to them, Cabin really is the ultimate horror film. Both in the awe-inspiring awesomeness sense and in the way that it feels like the final word on the genre. Make sure to sit back in your console chair and wait for the best horror climax of all time to unravel before your eyes… or ears.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 28 – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Cabin in the Woods came out at an interesting crossroads for the careers of many involved. It was shot before star Chris Hemsworth became known as Thor, put into theaters right before co-writer Joss Whedon’s The Avengers became one of the most successful films of all time and right before Drew Goddard became the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter behind The Martian. All of them came together in this one moment to make the perfect modern meta-horror. Cabin one-upped the Scream style self-aware slashers into a new galaxy all its own. Now every horror film feels like it’s being controlled by the likes of Steve and Gary (Richard Jenkins) pulling strings behind the scenes. If they can keep up with all the cubes underneath their office.

To contextualize everything about Cabin, Thomas brings aboard Shakyl Lambert, Doc Rotten and Christopher G. Moore to explore the offices below. Discussions are had about the impeccable cast, the meta-commentary on the horror genre and the massively entertaining yet nihilistic ending. The trio can barely contain their love for all the creative monsters, hilarious character moments and nudges to the rib cage Cabin goes through over its runtime. Plus we ask the truly important question; what is the line between Witches and Sexy Witches? Listen to find out!

Contact Us

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy. Also, make sure to give us some love via iTunes reviews and ratings. Helps us get more notice along the way.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Retrospective (1990-2017)

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Saw Retrospective (2004-2010) – Episode 27 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“Let the game begin.” Jigsaw aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is the master of ceremonies of his morality inspired death traps. Given it was the franchise that started the torture porn movement, Saw is often maligned as a lesser example of mainstream horror. The fetishistic emphasis on death and soap opera antics only go so far, especially for a franchise with seven installments. Yet, there’s somehow a new entry coming to theaters. So what better way to celebrate than by looking back at the first seven entries? Listen or not, make your choice. But seriously… please listen.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 27 – Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)

Saw is an indie marvel. Made for a mere $1 million, the film grossed over 100 times that much. It tapped into an uncertain zeitgeist of troubling times. America was just starting the Iraq War. Torture was a common thread in news. Our world was still in the throes of confusion and distrust from 9/11. A world that sought escape in the form of a madman designing traps to test people’s moral gumption. Saw continued this trend throughout the 2000s, each installment introducing new bits of continuity and trying to top one another with gory traps. The franchise started off the careers of modern horror masters like James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman and Marcus Dunstan. Saw was really the only mainstream horror franchise in theaters for half a decade… until it wasn’t.

To dissect where everything went wrong, Thomas Mariani brings in a few familiar voices. Adam Thomas, Shakyl Lambert and Ryan Corderman are in for the long haul as all four hosts discuss all seven Saw films in this extended episode. The quartet examines each film in gruesome detail, praising consistent qualities like Tobin Bell while damning the soap opera continuity that gets tedious. There’s praise thrown around for a few of the earlier entries and even a bit of love that trickles down into the latter parts of the series. But there’s plenty of baffling elements of Saw for our heroes to question. How did Jigsaw get more elaborate traps put together? Why did we need to know more through endless flashbacks? Who thought Costas Mandylor was a good idea? All this and more tear the group apart as they try to understand what made people see Saw time and time again.

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

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

 

 

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Black Swan (2010) – Episode 26 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect.” Nina (Natalie Portman) realizes her full potential as she performs Swan Lake. But at what cost? The sacrifice of an artist can often be horrific. A true nightmare to need to live up to your craft. Yet, it’s something true artists do on a regular basis. Even if it means losing their sanity, their friends and their own sense of identity. All things Nina is slowly lost in Black Swan. Can Thomas and his own troupe of podcasts keep themselves together? Or will they sink into madness along with Nina? Find out as Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond steps further into the modern age for the October haunts season!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 26 – Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan was released in December of 2010 to massive critical raves. Fresh off a triumphant critical sweep with The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky took his first full step into the horror genre and got plenty of Oscar buzz for it. Rare for the genre, but not out of bounds for Aronofsky. Afterall, how horrific is the drug themed drama of Requiem for a Dream? Yet, Black Swan is much more firmly planted in the genre, even it it’s within a more grounded prism. After all, Nina is losing her sense of identity and seeing herself as a mutation of beauty. An artist sacrificing her humanity to become the swan she was born to be. Whether it be at the hands of her mother (Barbara Hershey), her teacher (Vincent Cassel) or her competition (Mila Kunis), Nina is losing what it means to be a “little princess.” Will she end up a has been like Beth (Winona Ryder) or will she transform into a fierce formidable foe that swims along the lake for another night?

To answer all of those questions, Thomas has returning guests Adam Thomas and Yonathan Habtemichael to help out. Some praise Aronofsky’s craft. Others love the performances. But not everyone is on the Black Swan train. There’s so much to unravel. Does Black Swan fit into the genre? Was the Academy love warranted? Does Nina survive the ending? So many interpretations, but only one way to find out! Give us a listen. Don’t fall into the orchestra pit to never be seen again!

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

Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)