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Asylum (1972) – Episode 64 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“You have nothing to lose but your mind.” One of the final Amicus anthology films is prepared to drive you insane as Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) interviews the patients of a mental asylum searching for the head doctor who recently lost his mind in Asylum (1972). Roy Ward Baker directs from a script by Robert Bloch featuring Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, and Hebert Lom. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan along with special guest-host Eli Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 64 – Asylum (1972)

With titles like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt, and Torture Garden, Amicus Films threatened to give Hammer Films a run for their money…but never quite reached that goal. By the time they caught up with the studio that gave us Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein, the horror genre was maturing into its modern era as films like Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Exorcist captured the audience’s attention. Asylum is one of the final films in their series of portmanteau films – and quite possibly one of its forgotten best. The wrap around story is woven into the film’s fourth tale “Mannikins of Horror” featuring a murdering toy robot while Peter Cushing stars alongside Barry Morse in a tragic tale called “The Weird Tailor”. Britt Ekland guides Charlotte Rampling down a sordid path in “Lucy Comes to Stay” while Richard Todd faces his slain wife’s revenge in “Frozen Fear”. A terrific film that has the Grue-Crew enjoying every frame.

“See what the author of ‘Psycho’ is up to now!” – the poster tagline pimps the fact that the screenwriter, Robert Bloch, is the man responsible for Alfred Hitchcock’s beloved horror classic.

The Grue-Crew are thrilled to welcome Jeff’s grandson Eli onto the show to review Asylum. A new experience for the lad, Eli starts off things noticing how the music in the first segment, Frozen Short, uses unusual cues to signal the various terrors that threaten Richard Todd in his basement. The Crew agrees with him about the acting as well, as each of the cast – especially Peter Cushing – give the film their all, providing the film with a bit more class that may be expected. Chad shares his own terrifying tale of facing a mannequin in his grandmother’s attic when he was young, a fear that he would have to face in the “Mannikins of Horror” segment. Except for Eli, who recently caught the film for this podcast, the rest of the crew remember catching the film when it was originally released – or, in the case of Doc, re-released under the title House of Crazies.

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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Psycho (1960) – Episode 1 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“We all go a little mad sometimes.” So says Norman Bates in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho (1960). In this episode, the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – proclaim their love for and take a deep dive into Hitchcock’s masterpiece and the mind of Norman Bates. Yes, you read it correctly. We love Norman’s mind and take a deep dive into it. After all, he’s such a nice boy.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 1 – Psycho (1960)

At the films original release, Hitchcock resorted to a multitude of marketing gimmicks to help promote his  new, fairly low budget, black and white film. The crowds responded in droves, piling up box office receipts more than 32 times the cost of making the film. Erin hosts this episode as we all try to get inside Hitchcock’s mind and end up feeling like Norman Bates could be our special friend (especially Erin!), if it just wasn’t for that whole murdering people thing. Is Norman Bates a nice boy suffering from mental illness or an iconic horror villain?

The story of Psycho unfolds as if it were two separate movies. First is the one telling the story of Marion Crane’s embezzlement from her employer, subsequent flight from the law, and change of heart after meeting Norman Bates. The second story begins with Marion’s murder and its afermath as we learn more about Norman’s relationship with his mother. After all, he’s such a NICE boy.

The Classic Era Grue-Crew is blown away with Psycho by everything from the leads (Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles) to the supporting cast (Martin Balsam, John McIntire, John Anderson, Simon Oakland, Mort Mills, Pat Hitchcock); from Hitchcock’s direction to Saul Bass’ titles and Bernard Herrmann’s score; from Robert Bloch’s source material to Joseph Stefano’s script.

Listen and learn which one of us says:

  • “You need to stop playing with your seat or we’re going home.”
  • “The first time I saw that scene I was 10-years-old and I know some pee came out.”
  • “His initials are G. G., something with a G.”
  • “You might want to rephrase that as, ‘I really need to watch more Kolchak: The Nightstalker.’”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Maneater of Hydra (aka Island of the Doomed, 1967), King Kong (1933) in conjunction with the March 10, 2017 release of Kong: Skull Island, Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), and The Tingler (1959).

Please let us know what you think and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! 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.