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The Birds (1963) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?”  Yikes! The ornithologist has a darn good point! Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry (He’s ba-a-a-ck!), and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Dan Sellers, as we take a bird’s eye view of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 32 – The Birds (1963)

Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same title and adapted to the screen by Evan Hunter, The Birds tells the story of Bodega Bay, a California coastal town terrorized by inexplicably aggressive and belligerent birds.The film stars Tippi Hedren (Melanie), Suzanne Pleshette (Annie), Jessica Tandy (Lydia), Veronica Cartwright (Cathy), and Rod Taylor (Mitch) under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock.

The stars are surrounded by a cast populated with some of the best character actors in the business, including Ethel Griffies as the ornithologist, Charles McGraw as the fishing boat captain, Lonny Chapman as the innkeeper, Doreen Lang as the hysterical mother, Karl Swenson as the drunken prophet, Joe Mantell as the cynical businessman, Ruth McDevitt as the owner of bird shop, Malcolm Atterbury as the deputy, Richard Deacon as Mitch’s neighbor in San Francisco, Doodles Weaver as a fisherman helping with a rental boat, and William Quinn as a man in the diner. You might not recognize all of their names, but if you watched many movies or television shows from the 1950s through the 1970s, you will most assuredly recognize their faces.

Jeff points out The Birds has been called Hitchcock’s monster movie. Chad proclaims his love of Albert Whitlock’s matte paintings and explains the method used by longtime Disney employee Ub Iwerks in providing the special effects for The Birds. Joseph marvels at Hitchcock’s ability to build and hold tension and suspense, and they all agree the credit should be shared with editor George Tomasini. Dan discusses the prototypical “Hitchcock blonde” and confides to the Grue Crew that he’s just glad to be doing a podcast without Sammie Cassell.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1963), selected by Jeff Mohr.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Psycho (1960) – Episode 1 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“We all go a little mad sometimes.” So says Norman Bates in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho (1960). In this episode, the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – proclaim their love for and take a deep dive into Hitchcock’s masterpiece and the mind of Norman Bates. Yes, you read it correctly. We love Norman’s mind and take a deep dive into it. After all, he’s such a nice boy.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 1 – Psycho (1960)

At the films original release, Hitchcock resorted to a multitude of marketing gimmicks to help promote his  new, fairly low budget, black and white film. The crowds responded in droves, piling up box office receipts more than 32 times the cost of making the film. Erin hosts this episode as we all try to get inside Hitchcock’s mind and end up feeling like Norman Bates could be our special friend (especially Erin!), if it just wasn’t for that whole murdering people thing. Is Norman Bates a nice boy suffering from mental illness or an iconic horror villain?

The story of Psycho unfolds as if it were two separate movies. First is the one telling the story of Marion Crane’s embezzlement from her employer, subsequent flight from the law, and change of heart after meeting Norman Bates. The second story begins with Marion’s murder and its afermath as we learn more about Norman’s relationship with his mother. After all, he’s such a NICE boy.

The Classic Era Grue-Crew is blown away with Psycho by everything from the leads (Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles) to the supporting cast (Martin Balsam, John McIntire, John Anderson, Simon Oakland, Mort Mills, Pat Hitchcock); from Hitchcock’s direction to Saul Bass’ titles and Bernard Herrmann’s score; from Robert Bloch’s source material to Joseph Stefano’s script.

Listen and learn which one of us says:

  • “You need to stop playing with your seat or we’re going home.”
  • “The first time I saw that scene I was 10-years-old and I know some pee came out.”
  • “His initials are G. G., something with a G.”
  • “You might want to rephrase that as, ‘I really need to watch more Kolchak: The Nightstalker.’”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Maneater of Hydra (aka Island of the Doomed, 1967), King Kong (1933) in conjunction with the March 10, 2017 release of Kong: Skull Island, Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and The Tingler (1959).

Please let us know what you think and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.