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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.

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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.

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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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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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The Listener’s Choice Approved… Freaked (1993)

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Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Episode 11 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) says the iconic line that launched a thousand parodies. 25 year – nearly to the day – after sweeping the Academy Awards, Silence of the Lambs has become a cultural touchstone that people still recognize to this day. The interplay between Dr. Lecter and Agent Claire Starling (Jodie Foster) live on in the annals of horror history. Then again, is this groundbreaking piece of cinema a horror film? A thriller? A romantic comedy? It’ll take a reunion of some experts from the Hannibal Fan Podcast to make that kind of call.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 11 – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs is only the third and so far last film to sweep the five big Oscar categories: Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Director & Picture. An amazing feat, but one that still remains earned. Following a young FBI agent at the end of her training, Clarice Starling is out to find the shadowy serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). While on the hunt, she visits the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane to interview psychiatrist/disturbed cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter as to Bill’s actions. The back and forth between the two quickly becomes a mind game, one that’s brilliantly written by Ted Tally (based on Thomas Harris’ novel) and directed with delicate control by Jonathan Demme. One intelligent study of the insane vs. the sane that spawned multiple sequels and copycats alike.

To suss out all of this, Thomas gets the band back together from the Hannibal Fan Podcast for a reunion! Doc Rotten speaks to the intimate close ups Demme uses to get us into the characters. Dave Dreher denotes the lingering horror of the tension filled finale. Christopher G. Moore gushes about every frame of his second favorite film of all time. While denoting some datedness, Thomas can’t help but marvel at the cohesively constructed Silence of the Lambs. This band of Hannibal fans discuss the iconic performances, legendary characters and masterful horror on display. Plus, there’s a bit of fan casting for Bryan Fuller if he ever returns to the world of Thomas Harris. Bryan: call 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.

Call to Action: Vote For Episode 13!

Decades of Horror the 1990s needs your help! We need to find a topic for episode #13 and we’re asking YOU to vote on it! In the below link, vote for how excited you’d be for each individual option from Golden (super excited) to Dead (not excited at all). The one with the greatest average will be chosen. Deadline to vote is April 1st! You can vote here.

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Perfect Blue (1998)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Blu-ray Screenshot

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Dead Alive (1992) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I kick ass for the Lord!” Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) kicks some zombie ass in the defining example of ‘divine intervention.’ Peter Jackson’s cult classic Dead Alive (or Braindead for international audiences) has been a mainstay of the zombie genre for 25 years. The zany horror/comedy takes the example of Sam Raimi and builds layer upon layer of creative creature effects & gallons upon gallons of gore. His early splatstick style might not have gotten him Academy level prestige, but it made Jackson a key figure in the evolution of zombie cinema. Now, armed with a lawnmower and a tarp, Thomas and his co-hosts are out to get to the meat of what makes Dead Alive endure for as long as it has.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 10 – Dead Alive (1992)

Set in 1957 New Zealand, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is a momma’s boy, under the strict thumb of his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). He looks after her enormous house and does her every whim, without a single bit of time for himself. Even when Lionel tries to take the lovely local market girl Pequita (Diana Peñalver) out on a date to the local zoo, she has to tag along. Unfortunately, this zoo trip turns dire as a rabid Sumatran Rat Monkey from the monkey exhibit bites Vera and catch a zombie virus that slowly degenerates her condition. Lionel tries to keep her upright, only for her to crave human flesh. Even after her funeral, Vera’s lust for carnage ravages this small New Zealand town, which Lionel tries to keep contained in his house as he keeps a nurse, a greaser punk and a preacher who have been bitten and transformed by his mother in the basement. This comedy of errors escalates further as Lionel’s misogynistic idiot Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) blackmails him into his mother’s inheritance and celebrates with a party at the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas is joined by returning guests Sam Brutuxan and Christopher G. Moore to discuss this early example of Peter Jackson’s extensive ambition. The variety of zombie creatures, endlessly creative camera tricks and stunning displays of gore mastery still impress to this day, showing off the extensive world building and incredibly detailed madness that would be needed to bring Middle Earth to the big screen less than a decade later. The trio praise Dead Alive for its ability to be an homage to everything from King Kong to Evil Dead, while at the same time carving a new path towards cult fame. They revel in all their favorite zombie character, from the zombie baby Lionel throttles with to Void the greaser’s personified gastrointestinal tract. It’s a love fest all around, with Christopher clamoring it as his favorite zombie film of all time.

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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Night of the Living Dead (1990) w/ Tom Savini – Episode 09 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“They’re us. We’re them and they’re us.” Barbara (Patricia Tallman) tries to make sense of the madness in Night of the Living Dead, a 90s remake of an icon entry in the horror genre. It’s a tough task to remake a film that changed the face of horror cinema. Who could be up to that task? Only the man who helped to evolve the zombie concept following the original. Yes, Mr. Tom Savini was the man behind recontextualizing for a new generation and he’s here to talk all about it!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 09 – Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Taking the basic plot of the original, Night of the Living Dead constantly subverts expectations. Just when you think something from the original band is gonna happen, WHAM! A surprising zombie or character moment pops in to mix things up. The most noteworthy examples is definitely the new version of Barabara. Formerly a weak willed scream queen, this newer version develops from a scared girl into a defiant woman that carries along her fellow characters. Helped along by Ben (an early role for Tony Todd) and constantly pulled back by Harry Cooper (Tom Towles), this group feels more authentic. The shouting matches against each other are often just as brutal as the zombie kills themselves. It’s an underappreciated gem of a remake in a decade where many classics were horribly mutilated beyond recognition by far lesser filmmakers.

Along the ride with Thomas Mariani are Horror News Radio correspondent Dave Dreher, Decades of Horror: The Classic Era co-host Chad Hunt and goremaster special effects maestro himself Tom Savini! Despite some technical difficulties, Savini lays out many of the behind the scene turmoils that plagued him during production on Night of the Living Dead. A nasty divorce, production setbacks and backstabbing crew members all gave Tom Savini a massive headache on his first stab as a feature film director. He describes some of the massive sequences he storyboarded that couldn’t get shot, the lingering friendships he’s made with the cast and his eventual appreciation for the film so many years later. It’s an out-of-formula episode that’s not to be missed! You can find out more about Tom Savini’s upcoming projects and special effects school on his official website.

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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Ringu (1998) – Episode 08 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“It’s not of this world. It’s Sadako’s fury. And she’s put a curse on us.” Nothing seemed more tantalizing than a blank VHS tape back in the 90s. What secrets could be held on it? A rerun? A sex tape? A demonic entity with a reaping time of one week? Ringu took our obsession with technology, ejected it out of the VCR and into our faces. J-Horror became a booming industry both in native Japan and the United States at the dawn of the new millennium. So naturally, Thomas Mariani had to cover this tape eventually, seven day death curse be damned!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 08 – Ringu (1998)

Based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki, Ringu is perhaps the most iconic example of J-Horror. The young girl with hair covering her face. An elaborate mythology that roots itself deeply in Japanese folklore. Some half explained references to supernatural powers held within its main characters. All the major tropes started with Ringu and became pretty ubiquitous. Samara is obviously one of the more modern examples of a recognizable horror icon, having been the subject of many parodies and YouTube pranks in the near-twenty years since Ringu was released. The visage of her coming out of a television is one of the lasting horror images of the late 20th/early 21st century, keeping those with a love of the idiot box on their toes when their groove tube suddenly turns on without warning. But there’s more to Ringu than Samara herself, given the extensive research our intrepid leads Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) and Ryūji (Hiroyuki Sanada) find to stop this curse dead in its tracks.

To help decipher all the rich Japanese folklore, Thomas has brought on another new voice Caitlin Turner. A confessed Otaku in general, Caitlin has much to say on what gives Ringu such a sting to those in the know of Japanese culture and what makes it one of her favorite horror films of all time. Thomas will certainly need that. Especially considering this is first time ever seeing it! Together, these two offer a few comparisons to the acclaimed American remake, talk about the killer curiosity of an unmarked VHS tape and postulate the potential of a future Ring installment with today’s technology. It’s a high spirited discussion that’s even a bit educational. Plus, it’s probably more entertaining than putting down any cash to see Rings in a theater.

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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Exorcist III (1990) – Episode 6 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“It is NOT in the file. It is not!” Lt. William Kinderman (George C. Scott) isn’t having any of this as he investigates the bizarre murders that note the return of The Gemini Killer. But these killings aren’t the only returning evil in Exorcist III. Kinderman must contend with the ghosts of his past as the come to haunt and destroy the friends and family he holds dear. The irrational reigns supreme over the rational as the line between man and meat puppet blurs. Hopefully, Thomas Mariani can make these murky waters far clearer as he talks Exorcist III.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 06 – Exorcist III (1990)

After the multi Academy award winning The Exorcist and the infamously disastrous Exorcist II: The HereticExorcist III ended up sort of being lost in the shuffle. In a decade full of sequels to classic horror films that stood out for better or worse, Exorcist III merely existed in a vacuum that resulted in just enough profits to cover its budget. 27 years later, Exorcist III has gained a cult status for its out of the box conventions. William Peter Blatty – author of the original Exorcist novel and the Academy Award winning screenwriter for the film adaptation – stepped into the writer/director role for this outing, creating a horror film that took the uncinematic and made it cinematic. This story chooses to focus on some of the side characters from the original, as Lt. Kinderman investigates a series of murders that lead him straight to the rebirth of a serial killer with demonic connotations. Exorcist III has a phenomenally eerie vibe, thanks to some building tension of its mystery and powerful theatrical performances from George C. Scott and Brad Dourif.

Joining Thomas for this episode is returning co-host Doc Rotten. The two discuss the troubled production of Exorcist III, with particular emphasis on the recently released Director’s Cut made available on the recent Scream Factory blu ray release. Whether or not the studio’s decision to reshoot many of Brad Dourif’s scenes with The Exorcist star Jason Miller is heavily debated, particularly with the rather elaborate exorcism climax that literally drops a character in out of thin air. There’s also plenty of talk about the moody lighting, grounded dialogue and one of the most effective jump scares in horror history. It’s a lively discussion that makes the two question their faith in podcasting. They also question why the hell Fabio and Patrick Ewing are in this movie, as would anyone.

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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Scream (1996) – Episode 5 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“My Mom and Dad are gonna be so mad at me!” The squeals of Stuart (Matthew Lillard) sounded the sirens of satire and scares inherent in Wes Craven’s Scream. Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this month, this tale of teenagers who are aware of horror film tropes changed the dwindling landscape of mainstream horror at the time of release. It also signaled more than a few flimsy copycats that tried and failed to bring that same spirit of satiric anarchy to the world of the slasher. Was Scream a good or bad thing for horror? Thomas Mariani and his special guest have a lot to say on that matter.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 05 – Scream (1996)

Featuring a solid roster of young talent for the time and an awareness of the tropes everyone became all too familiar with in the post-80s boom of the slasher genre, Scream spoke to the Blockbuster generation that became too aware to be scared. Now, with a killer who was just as ahead of the game as those he was trying to kill, all bets were off. Right from the moment Drew Barrymore gets slashed in the prologue, no one was safe. Everyone’s a suspect. Everyone’s a potential victim. All of this is unveiled in a story that features the young and capable Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), lovable oaf of a police officer Dewey (David Arquette) and the opportunistic Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) at the center. Throw in a few familiar faces to the decade and the longest party scene in cinematic history and you’ve got yourself a recipe for mayhem and references to classic horror.

Joining Thomas on this post-modern journey is his Decades of Horror 1980s co-host and award winning filmmaker Christopher G. Moore. Together, this pair discuss the unique stamp Scream brought to a genre that seemed to be dying with the final traditional breaths of the 80s slashers. There’s talk of how negative the impact Scream had on the genre, what the line is between a reference & smugness and just how many of these cast members peaked here. What? Everyone knows Jamie Kennedy didn’t peak until Son of the Mask, right? It’s a tantalizing discussion that can’t be missed!

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.