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Deathdream (1974) – Episode 60 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Something unspeakable has come home.” Not only is it unspeakable, but it has already died once. Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issues of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print and electronic editions. In the interim, your regular host, Jeff Mohr, is joined by the capable and knowledgeable Bill Mulligan, film director, and Chad Hunt, comic book artist/writer and co-host of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast. Join them as they follow the members of a family wracked by the effects of the Vietnam War in Deathdream.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 60 – Deathdream (1974)

The second of director Bob Clark’s three horror films, Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) is sandwiched neatly between Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (Decades of Horror 1970s – Episode 12) and Black Christmas (Decades of Horror 1970s – Episode 34). Written by Alan Ormsby, the film tells the story of Andy (Richard Backus), a Vietnam War veteran who is killed-in-action and yet returns home the same day his family gets the news of his death. Though the death notice is not a mistake,  Andy’s parents (John Marley and Lynn Carlin) and sister (Anya Ormsby) assume it is, and celebrate his homecoming. As his physical condition deteriorates and his behavior gets more and more bizarre, Andy’s father brings the local doctor (Henderson Forsythe) home to take a look at his son. As the film progresses, Andy’s decay increases and the body count rises.

The foundation of Deathdream’s story is planted firmly in W. W. Jacobs’ 1902 short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” In other words, be careful what you wish for! The story might also be seen as an allegory delving into the additional trauma experienced by returning Vietnam War veterans, stigmatized by society and struggling with PTSD, and the effect that trauma has on their family and friends.

Tom Savini partners with Alan Ormsby to provide the film’s effective, low budget makeup effects. Andy’s progressive decay is successfully depicted as he moves from seemingly normal to a rapidly decaying corpse. Deathdream is not a fun watch.This episode’s Grue Crew give the film a unanimous thumbs up with the following caveat: The filmmakers successfully tell a very depressing story. Deathdream is not a fun watch.

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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The Car (1977) – Episode 27 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Is it a phantom, a demon, or the Devil himself?” – the tagline for the cult classic, so-bad-it-is-good, Jaws-on-land Seventies horror film The Car (1977) promises something satanic behind the wheel of the custom 971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop… The Car. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 27 – The Car (1977)

Decades of Horror started 2015 with The Black Saint’s favorite flick, The Manitou, we end the end taking a look at Doc’s most cherish thriller Universal’s and Elliot Silverstein’s The Car, featuring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, R.G. Armstrong, John Rubinstein and Ronnie Cox. The film is designed as a semi-rip-off of Jaws with a killer car stalking its victims in the desert outside of Santa Ynez. This film is remembered for its George Barris’ car design – the man behind the Batmobile and theMunster’s Drag-u-la. Santos agrees with director Silverstein that the film just isn’t scary, but Doc is adamant that the film remains a terrific, fun flick from his childhood – and the Black Saint concedes that he did have a fun time watching The Car.

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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