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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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Martin (1978) – Episode 57 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Things only seem to be magic. There is no real magic. There’s no real magic ever.” With this line, Martin laments the lack of real magic in life, even while claiming to be an 84-year-old vampire in a 20-year-old’s body. Join your Grue Crew as we pay tribute to George Romero by discussing Martin (1978), his personal favorite of his films, a truly unique and innovative take on vampires. Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issues of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print and electronic editions. (Issue #2 is now available. Don’t miss out!) In the interim, your regular hosts, The Black Saint and Jeff Mohr, are joined by the capable and knowledgeable Bill Mulligan, film director, and special guest Thomas Mariani, the hardest working man in podcasting.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 57 – Martin (1978)

Written, directed, and edited by George A. Romero, Martin is an intense and realistic treatment that follows the exploits of Martin (John Amplas), a seems-to-be young man who claims to be 84 years old, and who certainly drinks human blood. The boy arrives in Pittsburgh to stay with his Uncle Kuda (Lincoln Maazel), who promises to save Martin’s soul and destroy him once he is finished, but Martin’s loneliness finds other means of release. Also in the mix are Martin’s cousin Christina (Christine Forrest) and her boyfriend Arthur (Tom Savini).

The Grue Crew doles out heaping helpings of praise for Martin. Bill Mulligan marvels at the high quality of the acting performances even though several key members of the cast have minimal film credits. Bill and Jeff Mohr point out Romero’s masterful editing and how it efficiently tells the story while eliciting tension, horror, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. Thomas Mariani observes that much of Martin’s interaction with other people might place him somewhere on the autism spectrum. Jeff is intrigued by the use of the call-in radio show to add insight into Martin’s mental state. The crew also discusses how the characters all seem trapped in one way or another. Martin and Kuda are trapped by their family legacy, while Christina and Arthur plot to escape the traditional trap set for everyone by the comfortable, slow torture of their surroundings.

Bill, Thomas, and Jeff each owned the finger guillotine magic trick Martin demonstrates in the film (The Black Saint ignored the trick and actually severed fingers) and we all remark on the effectiveness of Tom Savini’s simple and cost effective gags. Finally, as The Black Saint loses all semblance of control, we take a trip down memory lane and wax nostalgic about the different ways we each fed our hunger for horror films.

Check out the other Decades of Horror episodes that delve into the films of George Romero: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985), and The Dark Half (1993).

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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Night of the Living Dead (1990) w/ Tom Savini – Episode 09 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“They’re us. We’re them and they’re us.” Barbara (Patricia Tallman) tries to make sense of the madness in Night of the Living Dead, a 90s remake of an icon entry in the horror genre. It’s a tough task to remake a film that changed the face of horror cinema. Who could be up to that task? Only the man who helped to evolve the zombie concept following the original. Yes, Mr. Tom Savini was the man behind recontextualizing for a new generation and he’s here to talk all about it!

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 09 – Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Taking the basic plot of the original, Night of the Living Dead constantly subverts expectations. Just when you think something from the original band is gonna happen, WHAM! A surprising zombie or character moment pops in to mix things up. The most noteworthy examples is definitely the new version of Barabara. Formerly a weak willed scream queen, this newer version develops from a scared girl into a defiant woman that carries along her fellow characters. Helped along by Ben (an early role for Tony Todd) and constantly pulled back by Harry Cooper (Tom Towles), this group feels more authentic. The shouting matches against each other are often just as brutal as the zombie kills themselves. It’s an underappreciated gem of a remake in a decade where many classics were horribly mutilated beyond recognition by far lesser filmmakers.

Along the ride with Thomas Mariani are Horror News Radio correspondent Dave Dreher, Decades of Horror: The Classic Era co-host Chad Hunt and goremaster special effects maestro himself Tom Savini! Despite some technical difficulties, Savini lays out many of the behind the scene turmoils that plagued him during production on Night of the Living Dead. A nasty divorce, production setbacks and backstabbing crew members all gave Tom Savini a massive headache on his first stab as a feature film director. He describes some of the massive sequences he storyboarded that couldn’t get shot, the lingering friendships he’s made with the cast and his eventual appreciation for the film so many years later. It’s an out-of-formula episode that’s not to be missed! You can find out more about Tom Savini’s upcoming projects and special effects school on his official website.

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.

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Deranged (1974) – Episode 43 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Pretty Sally Mae died a very unnatural death! … But the worst hasn’t happened to her yet! DERANGED … confessions of a necrophile.” – The tag line Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby’s Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974) is Seventies Drive-In Exploitation at its best. The film, starring Roberts Blossom, is based upon the life of serial killer Ed Gein, considered the most accurate portrayal of his story until Ed Gein released in 2000 The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor Jeff Mohr.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 43 – Deranged (1974)

One of the great things about Decades of Horror 1970s is coming across films not seen in a very long time – or, like Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, seen for the very first time. While The Black Saint is a long time fan of the film – fighting for it to be covered on the podcast since the show started, Doc Rotten and guest-host Jeff Mohr are watching the film with a fresh set of eyes each some 42 years after its initial release. Deranged is produced (albeit uncredited) by Bob Clark (Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Dead of Night, Black Christmas) written by Alan Ormsby and co-directed by Jeff Gillen. Roberts Blossom stars as Ezra Cobb, modeled after Ed Gein. Blossom may be recognized from his later roles in Christine (George LeBay) and Home Alone (Old Man Marley). Santos gets to share his love for the film and finds Doc and Jeff equally impressed by the low budget shocker.

The story follows Ezra Cobb after his mother passes away. Lost without her, he resorts to digger her up nearly a years after her death. Studying taxidermy, he hatches a plan to restore her and begins robbing graves for “materials.” Before long he sets his sights on fresher materials and the body count rises – as his madness grows. Blossom’s performance drives the film but the effects – from first time effects artist Tom Savini – display in gruesome detail. One particular scene, long cut from the film restored in recent years, has Cobb peeling back the scalp of one victim so he can scoop out her brains. Later when his affection for a young waitress turns violent, the audience is treated to a dinner scene reminiscent of a later 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film is made for fans of Seventies drive-in horror films. Catch it if you can.

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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Monster Movie Podcast – Episode 64 – Friday the 13th (1980)

Join us this week as we face down one wickedly sick Momma Voorhees in the granddaddy of all slasher films, Friday the 13th (1980). Camp Crystal Lake has attracted a new group of camp counselors to resurrect the grounds long closed after a series of horrific murders and given the nickname Camp Blood. Unbeknownst to them the killer still lurks in the woods and begins killing them off one by one.

Sean S. Cunningham’s simply plotted but intensely paced gory shocker with FX work from Tom Savini changed the face of horror films starting the slasher craze only hinted at from its inspiration, Halloween (1978).

“Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!”
” I won’t, Jason.  I won’t!”