post

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!

 

post

Freaks (1932) – Episode 8 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Gooba gobble, gooba gobble, one of us, one of us. We accept her, we accept her, one of us, one of us…” Easy for them to say! Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we make a trip to the circus and take in Tod Browning’s legendary film, Freaks (1932).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 7 – Freaks (1932)

Loosely based on “Spurs,” a short story by Clarence Aaron ‘Tod’ Robbins, Freaks is the embodiment of the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” all the way from its advertising taglines to the appearance of the film’s actors. Throughout the filming, Browning leans heavily on his experiences working in a carnival and exhibits a genuine affection for the title characters of Freaks.

The blatantly exploitative taglines – “The Love Story of a SIREN, a GIANT, and a DWARF!” and “Can a full grown woman truly love a MIDGET?” –  are so misleading as to constitute outright lies. Yet another tagline – “‘We’ll Make Her One of Us!’ from the gibbering mouths of these weird creatures came this frenzied cry… no wonder she cringed in horror… this beautiful woman who dared toy with the love of one of them!” – has nearly nothing to do with the film and only works to entice the audience with the supposed luridness of a freak show using phrases like “gibbering mouths,” “weird creatures,” “frenzied cry,” and “cringed in horror.”

Despite their abnormal bodies, the title characters of Freaks are the beautiful ones, exuding love and caring for one another in this traveling community. On the other hand, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), the beautiful siren; and Hercules (Henry Victor), the handsome strongman; turn out to be ugly beyond redemption, as they conspire to destroy Hans’ (Harry Earles) relationship with Frieda (Daisy Earles) and murder him in order to steal his inheritance. Throughout Freaks, these two villains pepper the sideshow community with derisive and disparaging insults, treating them as if they are less than human.

Hans and Frieda are supported throughout Freaks by their loving, understanding, and loyal friends in this big-hearted family – the half woman-half man (Josephine Joseph), the Siamese Twins (Violet and Daisy Hilton), the Armless Girl (Frances O’Connor), the Human Skeleton (Peter Robinson), the Living Torso (Prince Randian), the half-boy (Johnny Eck), Angeleno (Angelo Rossitto), Schlitze and too many others to list. Two normal-bodied members of their freakshow family are Phroso the Clown, played by consummate character actor Wallace Ford, and Venus, played by Leila Hyams.

Freaks is about that age old love-versus-greed conflict and in this case, love triumphs while the characters motivated by greed suffer hideous consequences. It’s unfortunate that the powers that be chose to pitch Freaks as the beautiful Cleopatra and handsome Hercules falling victims to a gibbering gang of weird creatures.

There’s some question as to whether or not Freaks is a horror film, but without a doubt, there are some horrifying scenes, especially in the last ten minutes. However, the horror is not in the appearance of the title characters as implied by the advertising taglines, but in what they do to Cleopatra and Hercules in return for the horrifying treatment the couple inflicts on them, especially Hans..

If you’re paying attention, you’ll hear which of us makes these memorable comments:

  • “… you can just kind of picture us bouncing in our seats right now.”
  • ‘“From the gibbering mouths of these weird creatures came this frenzied cry!” … Actually our gibbering mouths were probably worse at the beginning of this episode.’
  • “I cry like every five minutes in this movie.”
  • “Tell me what you can do with your eyebrow.”
  • “I would’ve smiled and then just spiked Cleopatra’s drink with as many laxatives as I could get my hands on.”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes The Queen of Spades (1949), The Last Man on Earth (1964), Village of the Damned (1960) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

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 movies 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, a great big “THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!” from each of us!

post

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.

GoldenAgeOfHorror-iTune1400

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