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The Dark Half (1993) – Episode 21 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Don’t fuck with me cock-knocker.” George Stark (Timothy Hutton) has a way with words. Much like his doppelganger Thad Beaumont (also Hutton). It’s a game of duality in The Dark Half, a film about a pseudonym brought to life. As well as addiction, paranoia, and fame. Did we mention this is based on a Stephen King book? Bet you would never have guessed. There are plenty of allusions to King’s work and time as an alcoholic writer adapted from the book. However, the question really is how the late George A. Romero adapted the material. Is it on the lighter half of that spectrum… or the darker one?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 21 – The Dark Half (1993)

Dark Half is clearly very autobiographical for author Stephen King. A man known for his horror writing. Even under a pseudonym of Richard Bachmann, the man was legendary. But evidently, there’s a dark side with riding under such a name. One that rears it’s ugly head with Thad Beaumont and his alter ego George Stark clash over. Thad just wants to write to support his family without interruption. While George is a crazed lunatic out to use the killings to raise up his name. It’s a battle of wills and madness as people show up dead and Thad is a suspect because… he’s blackmailed by someone trying to reveal his pseudonym? What kind of stupid premise is this?

A premise the 90s crew are ready to go over. Joining Thomas for The Dark Half are Adam Thomas, Dave Dreher and for the first time Joey Fittos! The three discuss everything to do with The Dark Half as well as half a dozen other movies we trail off about. Adam praises George A. Romero for his competent direction. Dave and Adam have issues with how this adapts aspects of the book. Joey realizes that this isn’t a TV movie. Thomas just praises it for not being Bruiser. It’s a rather flighty discussion that at least reveals one thing: the truth of Theodor Geisel’s secret blackmail scandal!

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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 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

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

 

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) – Episode 20 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“OOH! HEE! HAA! EEEEH!” Amilyn (Paul Reubens) has some pretty elongated death rows. All thanks to the titular vampire killer Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Kristy Swanson), who has to stake vamps ON A SCHOOL NIGHT?! Yes, instead of attending the senior dance, Buffy must contend with the dark forces of blood sucking evil. With the help of Merrick (Donald Sutherland), a Watcher who is sent to help train the young girl in the ways of destroying evil. Said evil includes Amilyn’s master Lothos (Rutger Hauer), a vampire out to destroy all Slayers. How can young Buffy juggle her new responsibilities and still have time to be with the young hunk Pike (Luke Perry)? Decades of Horror is here to fill you in!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 20 – Buffy (1992)

Buffy is a bit of a sore spot for writer Joss Whedon. After getting his start writing sitcoms, Whedon’s script about a high school cheerleader fighting vampires was picked up by 20th Century Fox. Unfortunately, he was not a fan of the final result. Claiming it took his dark script and turned it into too fluffy a comedy, Whedon went on to turn sequelize his script into a TV show that started in 1997. That show became a massive cult success, creating the cult fame that would lead to Whedon getting gigs making Avengers movies. Yet, seeds of that style are sewed into the fabric of this early work. For example, the valley girl talk would segue into Buffy Speak, the awkward vernacular everyone in Whedon’s writing talks in.

Here to talk all things Buffy in their own vernacular are Thomas and his own Scooby Gang Jordan Cobb and Caitlin Turner. All being fans of the TV show, rewatching the movie is a bit rough. There are questions about many changes. Why is Buffy‘s mom so distant? What is up with the lazy wardrobe? Did Donald Sutherland give a single damn about anything? Still, there’s plenty of things to praise, mainly surprising turns from Kristy Swanson & Luke Perry and the comedic highlights of Paul Reubens and Stephen Root. Of course, the show and its spin off Angel are also discussed in detail as the three mention their favorite episodes, biggest tear jerking moments and reasonings why Joss Whedon is so damned beloved as a creator. Don’t worry. They get back to the movie… eventually.

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 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 Dark Half (1993)

 

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Species (1995) – Episode 19 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“What about protection?” Dr. Stephen Arden (Alfred Molina) tries to practice safe sex, but Sil (Natasha Henstridge) wants to get it on. She’s not in it for pleasure. No, she wants to keep the Species going. Specifically, her weird human/alien DNA hybrid. Luckily, she’s attractive enough and is in a world with enough contrivances to find the perfect male specimen. Will us human manage to save our Species from extinction? Or will Sil sex us into submission? Given how attractive she is, the latter may be more likely.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 19 – Species (1995)

Species is a classic example of a good idea with a pretty underwhelming execution. Featuring designs from Xenomorph creator HR Giger and an intriguing plot about an alien/human hybrid on the hunt for a male to have sex with, Species stills had plenty of stumbling blocks. All the contrivances that get young Sil (future Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams) onto the train. The group of people sent to track her that includes an empath who states the obvious (Forest Whitaker) and a second rate John McClane as a mercenary (Michael Madsen). Even the totally butchering of the amazing design work during the dream sequences. Yet, there’s never a point where Species disappoints as a total B-Movie… until that third act.

Here to talk about all the successes and failures with Thomas Mariani are Bill Mulligan, Adam Thomas, and Sam Brutuxan. This quartet talks about all the misfires and hilarious oddities in Species. How do none of these people recognize Sil after a mere wig change? Was Whitaker’s character meant to be a joke? Is this truly the first paycheck role for Ben Kingsley? There are many laughs had and moments of admiration as well. Mainly with HR Giger’s alluringly horrific designs, the performance from Michelle Williams that disappears far too soon and Alfred Molina just being the Alfred Molina we all know and love. There’s even talk of Species 2 and how it’s essentially Terminator 2 Judgement Day, only instead of fighting, they’re… well, you know. All this and more will make you stop and ask: “Want some candy?”

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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 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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

 

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Blade (1998) – Episode 18 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Some motherfuckers always trying to ice skate uphill.” Blade (Wesley Snipes) always has something awesome to say. The type of badassery that runs deep within his Daywalker veins. As he slices vampires left and right, there’s a total lack of hesitation in every motion. Blade served as an early indicator for what would follow in terms of Marvel adaptations. A true understanding of the character. The type of conviction that showed this wasn’t kiddie fodder. Hip styles of the era that showed just how modern both the superhero and horror genre can be. It helps that the film just kicks all sorts of ass, quite frankly.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 18 – Blade (1998)

In 1998, comic book movies were in a pretty rough spot. Batman & Robin made the entire genre a flashy joke. A series of flops like The Phantom or The Shadow had sunk the box office potential to nothing. Things were looking bleak… until the Daywalker himself, Blade made his presence known and kicked all sorts of ass. The film creaked the door open, allowing X-Men to walk right in and Spider-Man to flip the table into a massive success. Still, Blade has plenty to love on its own. Heroin chic reinventions of vampire lore. Wesley Snipes at his absolute peak as an action star. Some kick ass choreography that’s supported by surprisingly emotional pathos. The supporting cast along is pretty killer fanged as well. Such as Kris Kristofferson as his tough as nails mentor and villainous vampires like Donal Logue ringing in some comedic brilliance. Looking back, Blade is honestly a refreshing reminder of the compact yet gloriously entertaining potential of a self-contained superhero film.

To talk about all of this, Thomas Mariani welcomes returning guests Adam Thomas and Santos Ellin Jr, but also brings on a new voice Shakyl Lambert. All four discuss Blade and its various components. There’s plenty of praise for the martial arts choreography. Each cast member gets a bit of praise thrown at them… except maybe Stephen Dorff. The direction from Stephen Norrington gets a fair amount of love and even a bit of sadness given his career came to an abrupt halt after The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Tough break, dude. The group even dives into how Blade opened the door for modern superhero films and what the future of the character could be. It’s a blood suckin’ good time!

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 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

Species (1995)

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The Mummy (1999) – Episode 17 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“You dream about dead guys?” Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) questions the enthusiasm of librarian Evie Carnahan (Rachel Weisz). Of course, they’ll be having plenty of nightmares about dead guys once they encounter… The Mummy! Nearly 20 years before Universal had Tom Cruise fight against a bandaged undead Egyptian, they managed to give the runt of their canon a kick ass action reboot. While not quite as horror driven as some would want, The Mummy from 1999 is a rousing action adventure ride that continues the mantle of Indiana Jones better than most imitators. Or even Dr. Jones himself, with Crystal Skull. Yet, there’s still plenty of horror imagery to go around as our heroes run away from an army of the undead!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 17 – The Mummy (1999)

The year is 1999. The world hadn’t had an Indiana Jones adventure in ten years. There hadn’t been a popular film with a mummy since the final days of Hammer. A young Brendan Fraser was stealing America’s hearts in Encino Man and George of the Jungle. All three were just begging to be combined into one glorious package. That vessel was The Mummy, a fun action adventure story with a few pieces of horror imagery thrown in. Before director Stephen Summer disappointed horror purists with Van Helsing, he made them begrudgingly smile at Brendan Fraser shooting a mummy a running in terror. It’s a classic example of a breezy summer ride before those got incredibly over convoluted and gray.

Now, with the recent release of Universal’s newest bandaged monster movie, Thomas Mariani invites Adam Thomas and Bill Mulligan on to talk about this beloved hit. They praise the mixture of practical and computer visual effects, particularly the early use of motion capture. There’s much praise for Brendan Fraser’s charms and Rachel Weisz’s infectious inquisitive nature. Even a bit of appreciation for playful dabblings in the mythology of The Mummy mythology. Plus, there’s some pondering about the prospects of a Dark Universe and why “everyone wants to be Marvel.” You can hear all of it by plugging this one into your earholes!

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 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

Blade (1998)

 

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Ed Wood (1994) – Episode 16 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Oh what do you know. Haven’t you heard of suspension of disbelief?” Edward D. Wood Jr. (Johnny Depp) thinks he knows what the true craft of movie making is. Released in 1994, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood tells the story of a true underdog. A young man looking to carve out his place as a Hollywood filmmaker. Trouble is… he’s terrible at it. His scripts are incoherent. The sets are made of cardboard. And he can’t construct a shot to save his life. But he’s got one thing that all the other cheap guys don’t have: heart. And doesn’t that makeup for a complete lack of talent?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 16 – Ed Wood (1994)

Despite winning two Oscars, Ed Wood didn’t set the world on fire in 1994. Coming after Tim Burton’s controversial Batman ReturnsEd Wood felt like a major departure for the director. After making big splashes with genre-driven films like Edward Scissorhands or Batman, a dramedy biopic about the man responsible for Plan 9 from Outer Space seemed like a sudden turn. Yet, there’s a lot of Burton’s usual subject matter here. Ed Wood is a very much the misunderstood loner protagonist Burton relates to, finding solace in a weird group of friends. There’s socialite actor Bunny Breckinridge (Bill Murray), TV psychic showman Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) and barely intelligible wrestler Tor Johnson (George “The Animal” Steele). However, the strongest connection is with washed up monster icon Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau). Lugosi becomes a mentor of sorts for Ed, as Ed helps him cope with addiction and depression. A beautiful friendship that resulted in gloriously bad cinema.

To delve into all of this, Thomas Mariani enlists the help of Kaycee Jarrard. A fellow podcaster and writer, Kaycee shares a love for the old school Universal Monsters with Thomas. Naturally, Ed Wood became the must-cover topic. Sure, it isn’t a horror film, but it’s tied to centrally to both horror history and the nature of horror fandom. The group of misfits Ed Wood buddies up with are reminiscent of the type of lovable oddballs you find in the horror fan community. Kaycee and Thomas also discuss the lack of need for factual basis in a biopic, how much they miss Johnny Depp trying and how true this is to Tim Burton’s directorial spirit. Well, at least more than a live action Dumbo probably will.

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 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 Mummy (1999)

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Twin Peaks Retrospective (1990-1992) – Episode 15 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Through the darkness of futures past. The magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds. ‘Fire walk with me.'” The world of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks was one of the more inventive examples of television in the early 90s. The titular Washington town had rich characters, surreal horrors and some damn fine coffee. However, in the 25 years since Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) first visited that sleepy town, has Twin Peaks stood the test of time? Or has it disappeared into The Black Lodge?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 15 – Twin Peaks Retrospective

Twin Peaks was the surprise hit of the spring 1990 TV season. With a cast chock full of quirky characters and the major mystery of the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) at the heart of it’s premise, it helped revolutionize what serialized television could be. Part over the top soap opera, part crime procedural, part surrealist horror. Twin Peaks wasn’t like anything seen on television. Unfortunately, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost were forced by ABC to reveal their mystery early into the second season. Thus, we got a directionless tangent of episodes and an eventual cancellation on a cliffhanger. Lynch would return to the town of Twin Peaks with the feature film prequel Fire Walk With Me in 1992, which was met with diresion from critics and fans alike.

In celebration of Twin Peaks getting a mini-series revival for Showtime, Thomas Mariani and guest Christopher G. Moore are taking a look back at the influential series. Christopher describes his early love of the show during its heyday while Thomas came to the series much later. The two share mutual adoration for the balance of season one. And a mutual frustration over the wacky meandering of season two. Yet, there are plenty of clashing opinions, mainly over the resolve of Laura Palmer’s murder and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Journey with them into The Black Lodge to discuss the gum that will come back in style over some damn fine coffee, won’t you?

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Alien 3 (1992) – Episode 14 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“In an insane world, a sane man must appear insane.” Gorlic (Paul McGann) babbles true words to Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Clemens (Charles Dance) just before”The Dragon” attacks. Alien 3 was to many a rather insane proposition. After the incredibly beloved AliensAlien 3 decides to throw out many of the beloved characters introduced there and leave its audience wallowing in a nihilistic pit. Where the main journey of Ripley is centered around a desire to die. Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t too popular 25 years ago. However, does that impeded it from finding a modern audience now?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 14 – Alien 3

Alien 3 – or as it’s often stylized Alien3 – is often considered the black sheep of the Xenomorph ladened franchise. Not as beloved as Alien or Aliens, yet not quite as controversial as Alien vs Predator or Prometheus. While often dismissed by many – including its own director David Fincher – Alien 3 offers a unique perspective that sets itself apart from others in the franchise. Abandoning crowd pleasing nature of Aliens and doubling down on the thriller angles of AlienAlien 3 seeks no light at the end of the tunnel. The prison planet of Fiorina 161 is a desolate pit covered in lice and bald angry prisoners. The only hope for Ripley, Dillon or any of the few remaining people on the planet is merely killing the Xenomorph as it’s killing them. It’s bleak, unrelenting and oppressive… meaning it really wouldn’t be for everyone.

To examine this, Thomas Mariani not only welcomes back Adam Thomas from last week, but also recruits his Horror News Radio co-host Santos “The Black Saint” Ellin Jr. The Black Saint has been a heavy defender of Alien 3 since it was originally released, hailing it as his favorite film of the franchise. He praises the nihilism, the bleak outlook of the characters and Fincher’s grimy atmosphere. Adam praises much of the same, though still considers Alien his favorite. Thomas has a few more issues, but respects the consistent dark tone and risky choices. Together, these three discuss the differences between the Alien 3 theatrical and Assembly Cut, the troubled production David Fincher went through and the controversy over killing off Newt, Hicks and Bishop. It’s a spirited discussion that shows Alien 3 has far more depth than people give it credit for.

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 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.

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Twin Peaks: The Series and Fire Walk With Me

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Freaked (1993) – Episode 13 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“What’s the matter? Afraid of the rough stuff? Welcome to showbusiness, morons!” The snarky spirit of Alex Winter’s Freaked continues to entertain nearly a quarter of a century after its release. Jabs at everything from the entertainment industry to corporate overreach to… milkmen? Well, they had it coming especially. It’s a zany manic ride that may just be thee most 90s thing the show has yet to cover. The question is, does this Liquid Television-era MTV inspired film still get many laughs all these years later? Also, is it a horror movie? Was this the role Randy Quaid was born to play? Or, perhaps most importantly… is someone could to wipe Worm’s ass?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 13 – Freaked

Freaked is probably the least horror related production to be covered on this show, but it was especially chosen by our listeners in a poll. Freaked beat out heavy hitters like Interview with a Vampire and Tales from the Hood to get here. How in the hell did that happen? After all, when it was first released in 1993, no one really payed attention to it. The satiric comedy follows sleazy actor Ricky Coogan (Alex Winter) and his buddies being mutated into hideous freaks by a crazed carnival broker/freak show proprietor (Quaid) and a key part in the resistance of freaks he’s imprisoned. Freaked eventually found a following on home video, but then again one can’t be certain that it would have been all that successful even if it had a wide release. With its edgy 90s satire and extensive disturbing creature design, Freaked couldn’t really be made at any other time, before or since.

To join Thomas Mariani is Gruesome Magazine’s own Adam Thomas. Adam considers himself a child of the 90s and Freaked to be right up his alley. The two talk about the insanely eclectic cast, which includes Keanu Reeves as a dog man, William Sadler as the head of the Everything Except Shoes corporation and Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes as a half man/half cow creature. There’s also much talk about the amazing practical effects work throughout, designed by Screaming Mad George, Steve Johnson and The Chiodo Brothers amongst others. It’s probably the most horror driven aspect of Freaked, but that doesn’t stop Thomas and Adam from talking about it. Or, occasionally talking in between fits of laughter.

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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 podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

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Alien3

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Perfect Blue (1998) – Episode 12 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Nobody cares for you anymore. You’re tarnished! Filthy!” Mima Kirigoe (Junko Iwao) grapples with her nightmarish double and her grip on reality. Stuck between her old life as a pop idol, her newfound acting career and her own inner self, Mima must try to find herself within a turmoil of madness, celebrity obsession and murder. Can she connect the mysterious murders that happen around her? Is there a link that bridges the gap between the madness? Can she decipher what the hell a “homepage” on the “Internet” is in the late 90s? All the answers lie within her own Perfect Blue.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 12 – Perfect Blue

The first film from acclaimed and unfortunately late director Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue is the kind of head trip that must be seen to be believed. Originally conceived as a live action endeavor, Kon and his team of animators translated the maddening psychological horror into an anime art style that has to be seen to be believed.  Inspired by the surreal talents of Terry Gilliam, Perfect Blue weaves a dark elusive web of a mystery that enraptures the audience. Mima must try to weed through the madness to find some form of sense, but her nature as an unreliable narrator makes us dubious. Even as we see the world around her turn against her, we’re unsure if it’s all just a vision in her warped mind. We’re not even sure if she can tell her reflection from herself, let alone guarantee she didn’t murder anyone. It’s terrifying, gorgeous and a bit of a thinker. In other words, this ain’t no Pokemon.

To clarify this, Thomas brings on anime fan Yonathan Habtemichael. While defining a few anime terms for the average joe, Yonathan also helps to give a rather wide cinematic scale. He and Thomas go into the thematically relevant provocative imagery that parades Perfect Blue. Particularly with emphasis on the horror. Despite the anime style, Thomas and Yonathan are genuinely terrified by the graphic gore depicted. Yet, there’s also more under the surface. The true horror of Perfect Blue is more personal to Mima, but universal to all of us. One that is extremely prescient to modern tech stalking that’s everywhere today. Even on clunky old computers and with dated home pages, Perfect Blue has a type of disturbed obsession at its core the blurs the lines of reality and makes the horror all the more vibrant and human despite being animated in two dimensions.

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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 podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

Next Episode

The Listener’s Choice Approved… Freaked (1993)