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The Old Dark House (1932) – Episode 22 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Have a potato.” So said Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger), one of our hosts as we all sat down to dinner. Join this episode’s Grue Crew as we seek shelter from the storm in The Old Dark House (1932). It seemed like a swell idea at the time. Erin Miskell was not able to join us on this one, so Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr had to do all the heavy lifting themselves. (They all shouted in their best impersonation of Joey Starrett in Shane,“Come back, Erin!”)

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 22 – The Old Dark House (1932)

The story of The Old Dark House begins with five weary travelers caught between avalanches on a stormy night and searching for a place to spend the night. The first to arrive are the Wavertons – Philip (Raymond Massey) and Margaret (Gloria Stuart) – and their travel companion, a light-hearted chap named Penderel (Melvyn Douglas). They are joined a short time later by Sir William Porterhouse (Charles Laughton) and his travel companion Gladys (Lilian Bond). Both groups of travelers are greeted at the door by Morgan (Boris Karloff), the owners’ mute and intimidating butler. They are soon joined by Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger) and his sister Emma (Eva Moore). Eventually, the Femms’ guests learn of the third Femm sibling, the insane and dangerous Saul (Brember Wills), and meet his 102-year-old, bedridden father, Sir Roderick Femm (Elspeth Dudgeon). Many high jinx ensue in tandem with seriously dreadful and life threatening encounters.

The second of director James Whale’s four entries in the Universal horror pantheon, The Old Dark House is rife with the director’s signature shadow play, comedic overtones, and attention to detail.  The entire film takes place during the clichéd dark and stormy night lit only by flickering candlelight, oil lamplight, and fireplace flame, but cinematographer Arthur Edeson still delivers clear but menacing depictions of the the goings-on in The Old Dark House. Boris Karloff receives star billing in contrast to his “hidden” credit in Frankenstein (1931), but still is not given a single line of dialogue to utter.

Chad and Jeff (he does go on) enthusiastically recommend repeated viewings of The Old Dark House. Joseph also recommends the film and promises repeated viewings in the future.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is The Ship of Monsters (1960) aka La Nave de los Monstruos, selected and hosted by Joseph Perry.

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  (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, 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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Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Episode 14 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Sometimes I have wondered whether life wouldn’t be much more amusing if we were all devils, no nonsense about angels and being good.” The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era crew – Chad Hunt, Jeff Mohr and Erin Miskell – are missing their fourth member, Joseph Perry, this week. Filling in for him is Horror News Radio (and Decades of Horror: the 1980s and Decades of Horror: the 1990s) host Thomas Mariani, as we discuss the 1935 gem Bride of Frankenstein.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 14 – Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

After a mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is approached by former mentor Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) to create a mate (Elsa Lanchester) for his Monster (Boris Karloff). The Monster, meanwhile, continues to elude angry townsfolk who want to destroy him before they get to know him.

A classic of the early horror era, Bride of Frankenstein features iconic performances by both Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester. Director James Whale – the same director that brought us Universal’s 1931 hit Frankenstein – returns to offer a continuation of a story of acceptance, loneliness, and creation.

Join our intrepid hosts and guest as we discuss our thoughts on Whale – the man, the myth and the legend – and the direction he decided to go with the sequel to his hit film. We also tackle the censorship issues encountered during the making of Bride of Frankenstein, as well as favorite characters and themes of loneliness, companionship, and morality. This episode’s Grue Crew also expresses their admiration for the score (Franz Waxman), photography (John J.Mescall), makeup (Jack P. Pierce), fantastic supporting cast (Una O’Connor, E.E. Clive, Dwight Frye, O.P. Heggie) and soon-to-be-famous bit players (Walter Brennan, John Carradine).

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming and very flexible schedule includes Night of the Living Dead (1968), Jû jin yuki otoko (the original 1955 Japanese version, aka Half Human), and House on Haunted Hill (1959).

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  (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.

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

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The Mummy (1932) – Episode 11 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“’Death… eternal punishment… for… anyone… who… opens… this… casket. In the name… of Amon-Ra… the king of the gods.’ Good heavens, what a terrible curse!” intones Sir Joseph Whemple as he translates the inscription found within the tomb of Imhotep in The Mummy (1932), one of Universal’s classic monster films. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we conduct our own “dig,” dusting off the artifacts we discover, inspecting them from every angle, and discussing what we find.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 11 – The Mummy (1932)

Directed by famed cinematographer Karl Freund, The Mummy was Universal Studio’s response to the public’s apparent thirst for horror films while simultaneously taking advantage of the free marketing created by the discovery and archeological excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. There had even been a story in the New York Times sensationalizing the tomb’s alleged curse by counting off fourteen associated deaths. Universal’s Carl Laemmle Jr. knew the foundation for a film legend when he saw one and he set writers Richard Shayer, Nina Wilcox Putnam, and John Balderston to work. Laemmle next paired Boris Karloff, fresh off Frankenstein (1931) and The Old Dark House (1932), with legendary Universal Studios makeup artist Jack Pierce; added the talented stage actor Zita Johann as the female lead; and rounded off the cast with supporting regulars Edward Van Sloan, David Manners, Noble Johnson, Arthur Byron, and Bramwell Fletcher. Thus a film icon was born.

Listen as we discuss the answers to these questions: How did Zita Johann and Karl Freund get along? How did the story morph from Putnam’s and Shayer’s vision of Allesandro Cagliostro to Balderston’s Imhotep? Why take a chance on first time director Karl Freund? What does Dracula (1931) have to do with The Mummy? For that matter, what does The Mummy have to do with 150 episodes of I Love Lucy (1951-56)?  Or Red Planet Mars (1952)? Or the 1961-64 seasons of Mister Ed? How does The Mummy’s classic poster rank historically?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll also hear which of us makes these comments:

  • “The voices and speech patterns of some of the other actors struck me as just this side of the helium tank at times.”
  • “Even without the mummified makeup he’s still a creepy-looking dude.”
  • “I’m not sure what you’re asking.” “Neither am I. You’re just supposed to come up with an answer.”
  • “He gives birth to one of the most unrealistic man-screams in the history of Hollywood.”

For What It’s Worth Dept.:

  • Hear our second reference to The Honeymooners and our second reference to Iron Maiden.
  • Hear Chad say Ankh-es-en-amon at least 6 times without stumbling once.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming and very flexible schedule includes Village of the Damned (1960), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and Jû jin yuki otoko (original 1955 Japanese version, aka Half Human),

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 thefilms we love. 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.

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