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Nosferatu (1922) – Episode 21 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew for this episode – Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we take our second journey in a row to Transylvania, this time to take in the silent scream splendor of Nosferatu (1922), the first cinematic version of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 21 – Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu is most definitely based on Bram Stoker’s novel, but it is just as definitely an unofficial version. The filmmakers intentionally avoided obtaining the rights from the Stoker family, hence, the names along with a few other details, were changed to protect the not-so-innocent. As a result of their unsuccessful subterfuge, Dracula becomes Count Orlok/Nosferatu (Max Schreck), Harker is converted to Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim), Mina is replaced by Ellen (Greta Schröder), Renfield is changed to Knock (Alexander Granach), and a new way to kill the undead is devised.

Directed by German expressionist legend F. W. Murnau, Nosferatu reinforces the director’s reputation as master of shadows. Jeff marvels at the shadows and shot composition of nearly every scene. This episode’s Grue Crew all agree that Henrik Galeen’s screenplay loses much of the character depth present in Stoker’s novel. Produced by Enrico Dieckmann and Albin Grau, Nosferatu was most influenced by Grau who also served as art director and costume designer, and even created some of the poster art.

It is hard to imagine Max Schreck as a normal human being after witnessing his portrayal of Count Orlok. In fact, many people over the years have speculated he was a real vampire.

Joseph makes sure we discuss Alexander Granach’s performance. His version of Knock seems to have set the mold for future portrayals of Renfield. Erin expresses her concerns for the dangers of one-dimensional female characters, such as Ellen, who represent pure good and whose only purpose throughout the film is to sacrifice herself for the benefit of everyone else.

All in all, they all agree. If you haven’t seen Nosferatu (1922), what’s the hold-up?

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is another James Whale classic, The Old Dark House (1932), selected and hosted by Chad Hunt.

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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Dracula (1974) – Episode 61 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“You are now in my domain gentlemen, and you shall not leave.” Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issue of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print and electronic editions, but Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr are back, along with guest-host Joey Fittos, to take that familiar journey from Transylvania to England, this time as told by producer/director Dan Curtis in 1974’s Dracula.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 61 – Dracula (1974)

Originally released as Bram Stoker’s Dracula until the rights to that name were acquired for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version, the film is now sometimes referred to as Dan Curtis’ Dracula. This TV movie was scheduled to premiere in October 1973 but was preempted by news coverage of an unfolding historical event and rescheduled for February 1974.

This episode’s Grue Crew discuss Emmy winner Curtis’ start as the creator and executive producer of the daytime, horror/soap opera Dark Shadows (1966-71). He then went on to direct and produce a number of horror-related movies in the 1970s: The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973), several TV-movie adaptations of well-known horror novels, and the theatrically released Burnt Offerings (1976).

Though your hosts find the script lacking in places, they do give props to frequent Curtis collaborator and horror icon Richard Matheson, who penned the screenplay for this version of Dracula. Despite this script’s faults, Curtis and Matheson do use a plot device lifted from Dark Shadows that doesn’t appear in Bram Stoker’s novel or any previous film versions but is used again by Coppola in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Academy award winner Jack Palance tackles the title role. Curtis and he had worked together before on another TV movie, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968). Chad, Bill, and especially Jeff, appreciate the feral quality of Palance’s performance, but Joey says, “He’s not my Dracula.” The rest of the cast – Nigel Davenport (Van Helsing), Murray Brown (Jonathan Harker), Fiona Lewis (Lucy), Penelope Horner (Mina), and Simon Ward (Arthur) – don’t have much to work with, possibly leading to their seemingly lackluster performances. The crew also point out that many of our listeners may recognize Sarah Douglas, one of Dracula’s brides, who later played Ursa in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980).

When all’s said and done, Mr. Fittos gives Dracula (1974) thumbs down. Though Chad and Jeff admit it doesn’t hold up to impressions from their first viewings, the other hosts think it is worth the watch for Palance’s performance.

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 docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Dracula (1931) – Episode 20 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies?… Not when I can get nice, fat spiders!” Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew for this episode – Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Jeff Mohr, and special guest Dave Dreher – as we take a trip to Transylvania and ride aboard the schooner Vesta, only to end up in the Seward Sanitarium and rundown Carfax Abbey in search of Dracula (1931).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 20 – Dracula (1931)

Director Tod Browning and cinematographer Karl Freund collaborated during the production of Dracula to create some of the most lasting icons in horror film history. Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Dwight Frye (Renfield), and Edward Van Sloan (Dr. Van Helsing) are still the portrayals to which all later incarnations are compared. Though Lugosi is the star, your Classic Era Grue Crew all agree that Dracula is Dwight Frye’s movie as he changes from a serious and dignified professional to an unpredictable, maniacal, and downright disturbing lunatic.

Unfortunately, the characters of Lucy (Frances Dade) and Mina (Helen Chandler) are barely more than props to be victimized by Dracula and saved by Van Helsing and John Harker (David Manners). On the other hand, Renfield’s attendant Martin (Charles K. Gerrard) provides the very definition of comic relief. One of our Grue Crew also proclaims their love for Lupita Tovar, who plays Eva, the Spanish language version of Mina.

You’ll also find the answers to these questions:

  • How does the Tod Browning version of Dracula compare to the Spanish language production?
  • What could the Looney Tunes bad-behaved version of Little Red Riding Hood possibly have to do with Dracula?
  • How many degrees of separation are there between the Spanish language version of Dracula and the Star Wars film, Rogue One (2016)?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll find out which of this episode’s Grue Crew made each of these statements during our podcast on Dracula:

  • “Someone just kind of handed him (Dwight Frye) this steak of a role and he just sunk all of his teeth into it and chewed it for all it was worth.”
  • “Was I the only one, when you would see Martin on the screen, that was thinking of Eric Idle from Monty Python?”
  • “The woman had many, many issues. She surpassed issue and went straight to subscriptions.”
  • “Who decided an armadillo was scary?”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. In timing with Halloween, our next episode in our very flexible schedule is Nosferatu (1922), hosted by Erin Miskell.

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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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!

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Favorite Horror Films By Decade – Episode 0 – Decades of Horror The Classic Era

“I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk…” – is the answer Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, frequently gave when asked where he got his ideas. Mr. Bloch’s answer gave us an idea on how to kick off our new podcast. We asked each of our co-hosts where they got their love for horror. Then we asked each of them to choose their favorite films of each decade from the 1920s through the 1960s, or as we call it, The Classic Era. Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, the co-hosts of the new podcast, Decades of Horror: The Classic Era.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode Zero – Introductions and Favorite Films by Decade

As the Grue Crew for this podcast, we come from several different generations and backgrounds, so our reasons for becoming, or maybe being born, horror nerds are as varied as you might expect. From unsuccessfully strict parents to “wicked” uncles; from reading Clive Barker at a young age (Yikes!) to pixie sticks addictions, from local “creature features” to monsters, monsters, monsters and keiju, liberally sprinkled with comic books.

We also go through our favorites from each decade, having particular difficulty narrowing down the horror rich 1930s and 1950s. In some cases, like minds think alike and in other cases, vive la différence. In the 20s we chose films from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Nosferatu (1922) to The Fall of the House of the Usher (1928) and The Cat and the Canary (1927). In the 30s, our favorites range from Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1932) to Murders in the Zoo (1933) and Mad Love (1935). For the 1940s we talk about films from The Wolf Man (1941) and Cat People (1942) to Dead of Night (1945) and The Spiral Staircase (1946). In the 1950s, it’s everything from The Thing from Another World (1951) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) to A Bucket of Blood (1959) and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959). Finally, in the 1960s, our picks focus on films from Psycho (1960) and Night of the Living Dead (1968) to The Green Slime (1968) and Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961).

Listen and figure out which of one of us says each of the following quotes:

“Oo, oo, eyeball things…”
“Good thing I was already out of Pampers and knew where the bathroom was.”
“Gre-en Slime!” (sung, perfectly in key with the theme song)
“Nothing’s before my time.”

We plan to record a new episode every other week and henceforth, we’ll focus on specific films. In upcoming episodes, we’ll cover films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), The Tingler (1959), Maneater of Hydra (aka Island of the Doomed, 1967), Psycho (1960), and King Kong (1933), in conjunction with the March 10, 2017 release of Kong: Skull Island.

Please let us know what you think and what films you’d like to see covered! We want to hear from you! Leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror The Classic Era hosts at jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com.

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Golden Age of Horror – Episode 1 – Dracula (1931)

Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) introducing Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula is the topic of the first episode of the new podcast from Decades of Horror, The Golden Age of Horror. The monthly show will cover films from the beginning of horror cinema from the 20’s through the 50’s focusing initially on the popular, influential Universal Monster films. The show’s hosts Dave Dreher and Doc Rotten dive into the makings of the film and their fond memories of watching it for the first time as children reflecting on its impact and staying power.

Check out the podcast over at GoldenAgeofHorror.com.

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Golden Age of Horror 
Episode 1 – Dracula (1931)
(48:00, 22:35MB)
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