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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.

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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)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – Episode 102 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“This is it, Jennifer: your big break in TV. Welcome to prime time, bitch!” Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) literally breaks Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) through the fourth wall. Signaling Kruger’s breakaway hit into pop culture icon status. What better way to celebrate its 30th anniversary than with a whole Decades of Horror 1980s episode dedicated to it?

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 102 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

After his much-celebrated introduction and decried detour of a second chapter, Freddy Krueger returned to terrify teens and adults alike with a bit more comedic flair in Dream Warriors. After young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has a near-suicidal panic during a nightmarish visit from Freddy, her mother sends her off to an institution to work out her waking torment. Under the care of Dr. Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson), Kristen meets several other teens with similar sleeping disorders. Among them, the drug-addled Taryn White (Jennifer Rubin); the aggressive shit talker Roland Kincaid (Ken Sagoes); and paralyzed nerd Will Stanton (Ira Heiden). They all share visions of Freddy Krueger and need help getting him out of their dreams. But Dr. Gordon doesn’t seem to believe their shared boogeyman… until a mysterious new intern Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) reveals her own past with a sweater-wearing demon of her nightmares.

While 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street gave us our introduction to Freddy, Dream Warriors gave us the Freddy we all ended up loving for so many years. The jokes, the elaborate dream sequences and the formula for each teen’s descent into the nightmare world all came to light with this third entry. Doc Rotten, Thomas, and Christopher G. Moore talk all about it here. The murders, the dream sequences, and the… character investment? That’s right, our trio dives deep into what separates this from the repetitive sequels that followed and tried very hard to recapture the same energy Dream Warriors pulls off so effortlessly. It helps that people like Wes Craven, Chuck Russell, and Frank Darabont were all there to flesh out the Freddy universe without dragging out the details. Or putting too much emphasis on the jokes and cameos, as later entries would do. It’s a mutual admiration society meeting for this underrated “meat in the Nightmare on Elm Street sandwich.” What the hell does that mean? Listen to find out!

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 1980s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com. We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin’” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.