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

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

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

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

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

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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

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

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

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

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

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Grizzly (1976) – Episode 31 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“18 Feet of Gut-Crunching, Man-Eating Terror!” – the tagline for Grizzly, along with that killer Neal Adams poster, promises the ultimate Jaws ripoff of all time. The film is helmed by a favorite 70s director William Girdler and features Christopher George, Andrew Prine, Richard Jaekel and an 18 foot grizzly bear (well, close…). The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 31 – Grizzly (1976)

For episode 31 of Decades of Horror, Doc Rotten and the Black Saint dive into the campy, gruesome fun of Grizzly and all its gory, silly goodness. The film holds the record of being the most successful independent motion picture of 1976, a distinction it held until Halloween surfaced two years later. Along with other goofy factoids and fond memories, we learn the film holds a special place in the Black Saint’s heart as he shares watching the film with mother when the film debuted on TV a year or so later. Doc, of course, fixates on the many similarities between Grizzly and Jaws from the three main characters, the creature on the prowl story-line and the inclusion of actress Susan Backlinie. But, in the end, it really is all about that poster art. C’mon, seriously.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Squirm (1976) – Episode 6 Decades of Horror 1970s

“…by the billions they came, swarming over the land, sucking the life from anything in their path.” The tag line promises Squirm (1979) will horrify and disgust you with the killer swarm of…worms. Wait? What? Worms? Yeah, worms! Director Jeff Lieberman delivers cinemas singular horror film featuring killer Glycera worms.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 6 – Squirm (1976)

Both Doc Rotten and The Black Saint fondly recall the impression the promotion stills from Famous Monsters of Filmland left upon even before they were able to catch the film: The Black Saint in the theater upon its original release and Doc with its television premiere. Now as they re-watch the film once again in celebration of its latest Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory, Doc and Saint revel in the gruesome worm closeups as the pour out of closets and drains and burrow their way into the face of Roger Grimes. Somehow, director Jeff Lieberman manages to exploit the squeamish, slimy attributes of the titular creatures attacking a southern household in rural Georgia. Creepy drive-in madness in only the way Seventies horror can 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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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