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Saw Retrospective (2004-2010) – Episode 27 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“Let the game begin.” Jigsaw aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is the master of ceremonies of his morality inspired death traps. Given it was the franchise that started the torture porn movement, Saw is often maligned as a lesser example of mainstream horror. The fetishistic emphasis on death and soap opera antics only go so far, especially for a franchise with seven installments. Yet, there’s somehow a new entry coming to theaters. So what better way to celebrate than by looking back at the first seven entries? Listen or not, make your choice. But seriously… please listen.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 27 – Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)

Saw is an indie marvel. Made for a mere $1 million, the film grossed over 100 times that much. It tapped into an uncertain zeitgeist of troubling times. America was just starting the Iraq War. Torture was a common thread in news. Our world was still in the throes of confusion and distrust from 9/11. A world that sought escape in the form of a madman designing traps to test people’s moral gumption. Saw continued this trend throughout the 2000s, each installment introducing new bits of continuity and trying to top one another with gory traps. The franchise started off the careers of modern horror masters like James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman and Marcus Dunstan. Saw was really the only mainstream horror franchise in theaters for half a decade… until it wasn’t.

To dissect where everything went wrong, Thomas Mariani brings in a few familiar voices. Adam Thomas, Shakyl Lambert and Ryan Corderman are in for the long haul as all four hosts discuss all seven Saw films in this extended episode. The quartet examines each film in gruesome detail, praising consistent qualities like Tobin Bell while damning the soap opera continuity that gets tedious. There’s praise thrown around for a few of the earlier entries and even a bit of love that trickles down into the latter parts of the series. But there’s plenty of baffling elements of Saw for our heroes to question. How did Jigsaw get more elaborate traps put together? Why did we need to know more through endless flashbacks? Who thought Costas Mandylor was a good idea? All this and more tear the group apart as they try to understand what made people see Saw time and time again.

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 And Beyond 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

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

 

 

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Black Swan (2010) – Episode 26 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect.” Nina (Natalie Portman) realizes her full potential as she performs Swan Lake. But at what cost? The sacrifice of an artist can often be horrific. A true nightmare to need to live up to your craft. Yet, it’s something true artists do on a regular basis. Even if it means losing their sanity, their friends and their own sense of identity. All things Nina is slowly lost in Black Swan. Can Thomas and his own troupe of podcasts keep themselves together? Or will they sink into madness along with Nina? Find out as Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond steps further into the modern age for the October haunts season!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 26 – Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan was released in December of 2010 to massive critical raves. Fresh off a triumphant critical sweep with The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky took his first full step into the horror genre and got plenty of Oscar buzz for it. Rare for the genre, but not out of bounds for Aronofsky. Afterall, how horrific is the drug themed drama of Requiem for a Dream? Yet, Black Swan is much more firmly planted in the genre, even it it’s within a more grounded prism. After all, Nina is losing her sense of identity and seeing herself as a mutation of beauty. An artist sacrificing her humanity to become the swan she was born to be. Whether it be at the hands of her mother (Barbara Hershey), her teacher (Vincent Cassel) or her competition (Mila Kunis), Nina is losing what it means to be a “little princess.” Will she end up a has been like Beth (Winona Ryder) or will she transform into a fierce formidable foe that swims along the lake for another night?

To answer all of those questions, Thomas has returning guests Adam Thomas and Yonathan Habtemichael to help out. Some praise Aronofsky’s craft. Others love the performances. But not everyone is on the Black Swan train. There’s so much to unravel. Does Black Swan fit into the genre? Was the Academy love warranted? Does Nina survive the ending? So many interpretations, but only one way to find out! Give us a listen. Don’t fall into the orchestra pit to never be seen again!

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 And Beyond 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

Saw Retrospective (2004 – 2010)

 

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Ginger Snaps (2000) – Episode 25 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond!

“A girl can only be a slut, a bitch, a tease, or the virgin next door.” Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) unveils the societal norms ladies are stuck with. It’s something covered extensively in Ginger Snaps, where the lines between high school gender dynamics and werewolf carnage are thin. Both are an important step in life, one that mirrors our own step Beyond with this episode. Well, except for the copious amounts of blood in either context. Anyway, it’s time to ring in the October haunts lineup of new millennium chills!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 25 – Ginger Snaps (2000)

Ginger and her sister Bridgette (Emily Perkins) are burgeoning young women. After a delay in puberty, they’re finally beginning to blossom. Both are taking it pretty hard. The boys at school either leer or make fun. Their mother (Mimi Rogers) keeps expecting them to shed their goth exteriors. Dead dogs start showing up mauled to death. All the stuff health class videoes told us about. Ginger Snaps is a rare breed of werewolf film. It’s one of the few good ones and it uses a relatable theme of adolescence to make the transformation mean something. Ginger’s turns scare her sister, making her wonder whether a tender hug will result in a throat ripping. It’s an early example of the great horror we’d be getting in the new millennium.

Well, that’s what most of us think at least. Joining Thomas Mariani to dive into this new age are a familiar voice and a new one. Returning guest Caitlin Turner gives an honest female perspective on Ginger Snaps while new voice Shadow… has a different take. Recorded live in their hotel room while attending Dragon Con, this trio has a lot to say about growth, development, and werewolves.  Ginger Snaps takes the show into interesting directions. Plenty of thoughts about development, male to female relationships and what those hairs on our back are for. It’s as educational as it is terrifying. Welcome to womanhood, indeed.

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 And Beyond 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

Black Swan (2010)

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The Sixth Sense (1999) – Episode 24 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I see dead people.” – Cole (Haley Joel Osment) reveals his secret to Dr. Malcolm (Bruce Willis) in the line that launched a thousand pop culture references. M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense was a phenomenon upon release in August of 1999. It made M. Night the new talk of Hollywood, being nominated for multiple Oscars and giving the twist ending a whole new revitalized image. However, as M. Night’s career has gone through a real roller coaster experience over the past near 20 years, one wonders how well this film holds up. Luckily, Decades of Horror 1990s is here to investigate if The Sixth Sense still packs a punch or if there’s a twist in its legacy.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 24 – The Sixth Sense (1999)

Th Sixth Sense is mainly remembered for the influential twist. Obviously, it took the world by storm and has been parodied countless times. Yet, there’s more going on here. The central theme of lacking communication plagues all our characters. Malcolm’s wife Anna (Olivia Williams) is distant from him. Cole has to struggle with hiding his secret from his overworked mother Lynn (Toni Collette). Even the ghosts are unable to properly communicate with anyone other than Cole, who is at the short end of their confused and sometimes violent outbursts that scare the hell out of them. It’s a subtle yet beautiful examination of regret, loss, and connection that resonates between these characters, proving that horror can make us cry genuine tears of sadness in between fits of terror.

Well, at least for some of us. For this episode, Thomas Mariani enlists the help of a few others who can communicate with the undead, Doc Rotten and Caitlin Turner. Our trio harmoniously agrees that drama at the heart of The Sixth Sense is still palpable. Praise is spread for the entire cast, though Toni Collette gets the lion’s share of the praise for grounding Haley Joel Osment from becoming a full-blown M. Night parody of a character we’re used to. However, there’s plenty of debate as to whether the ghosts are malicious and how much the film leans on the twist to support its storytelling. It’s a…  “spirited” discussion to say the least. Plus, there’s a big announcement about a major change in the podcast to stay tuned 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.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

A Big Change! Listen to Find Out!

 

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Stephen King’s It (1990) – Episode 23 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Oh yes… they float, Georgie. They float. And when you’re down here with me… YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!” Pennywise (Tim Curry) – also known as It – sums up his MO as he kills young Georgie. This interdimensional being is out to prey on the local children of Derry, Maine. So naturally, the only people to stop It are a group of children. Who are all connected by… fate? And defeat this being through… belief? But not until It comes back 23 years later when they’re all less interesting characters. There’s a lot to talk about here. Literally over 3 hours worth. Luckily, Decades of Horror 1990s will only take an hour to float on through your eardrums!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 23 – Stephen King’s It (1990)

Following 1979’s Salem’s LotIt was the mini-series that kicked off a major trend for the era. In the fall out of this two part story, we got Tommyknockers and The Langoliers. There was nothing hotter to do back in the day then trying to cram thousands of pages into a few hours worth of time. The results are… mixed, to say the least. The children being terrorized are pretty compelling, including young turns from Ginger Snaps‘ Emily Perkins and Robot Chicken‘s Seth Green. Then their adult versions come about – played by familiar TV actors – who… aren’t as compelling. To say the least. You may be dreading any of the moments where a kid or Pennywise aren’t on the screen.

To dissect all three hours of It, Thomas brings aboard Christopher G. Moore, Dave Dreher, and Adam Thomas. The four praise Tim Curry’s iconic performance as Pennywise and are desperate to find something else that would be considered worth watching. There’s plenty to dig at, from the Stephen King cliches to the infamous ending. Of course, the optimism comes in where the upcoming It film can diverge from this adaptation. Hopefully, there’ll be fewer questions of whether Prince Albert is in a can and if he can be let out. WAH HA! WAH HA! WAH HA!

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 Sixth Sense (1999)

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) – Episode 22 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Hasta La Vista, Baby.” What?! Terminator 2 on a horror podcast? What kind of insanity is this? If you’re asking those questions, it’s only fair. Terminator 2 is far more beloved as a sci-fi actioner than for its horror thrills. Yet, looking at the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) and his cold pursuit of John Connor (Edward Furlong), it’s pretty horrific. Kind of like a slasher film only with a sci-fi twist. He’s an unstoppable killing machine out to destroy. The only thing that may stop him is the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). That is, if Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) will allow the visage that killed John’s father to help out. It’s a story of survival, family and the run that made Tom Cruise famous.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 22 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Terminator 2 is inarguably the peak of writer/director James Cameron. It’s an actioner full of set pieces most action films could only dream to have as their climactic finales. A sequel that ups the ante of the original Terminator‘s scrappy efficient thrills. We get full role reversals as the T-800 saves the day. Having to contend with Sarah Connor’s doubt and John’s affection while trying to defeat the sleek new model of the T-1000. And boy is he sleek. Winner of four Academy Awards, Terminator 2 revolutionized computer generated effects. Yet, much of what made such effects work is helped by the presence of practical effects alongside them. Afterall, would the T-1000’s helicopter crash be nearly as good without an actual helicopter being crushed on the road? Probably not.

To help cover all the time paradoxes and high pitched noises from Edward Furlong, Thomas sends two perfect robot co-hosts back in time to cover Terminator 2; Christopher G. Moore and Shakyl Lambert. Together, these three ask the important questions. What is more terrifying: Robert Patrick’s run or Danny Cooksey’s mullet? Would Denzel Washington have been a better Miles Dyson? Will we see a nuclear holocaust as terrifying as the opening scene in our lifetime? All these and more are answered as Decades of Horror the 1990s finds out exactly why you cry.

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.

If you’re in the Atlanta area during Labor Day Weekend (Sept 1-4), make sure to visit us at Dragon Con Horror Track!

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Stephen King’s It (1990)

 

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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!

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

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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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)