post

House on Haunted Hill (1959) – Episode 17 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Whatever got her wasn’t human.” That is not what you want to hear while locked overnight in a haunted house. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era crew – Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as we brave an overnight in the House on Haunted Hill (1959). William Castle, Robb White, and Vincent Price? What’s not to like.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 17 – House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Directed by legendary gimmick-meister William Castle, House on Haunted Hill is a standard story about folks challenged to stay the night in a haunted house, but with a few twists provided by writer Robb White. Millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) carefully chooses five guests for his invitation only event — Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum), and Watson Prichard (Elisha Cook Jr.) — and offers them each $10,000 if they survive the night. Also in attendance are Frederick’s wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), caretaker Jonas Slydes (Howard Hoffman), and his wife (Leona Anderson).

House on Haunted Hill is great fun and has some legitimate scares, but don’t spend too much time thinking about the plot. If you do, you might become obsessed with its holes and miss all the fun. The music by Von Dexter is suitably chill-inducing and is as good at setting the atmosphere as it is at setting the standard for horror films of its period.

Chad Hunt recounts his experience watching this in a theater that tried to duplicate Castle’s gimmick for this picture, which he called “Emergo.” Erin Miskell’s first memories of watching House on Haunted Hill are during a sleepover as a 10-year-old. Imagine the shrieks!

House on Haunted Hill treats its guests to the usual haunted house fare, including floating apparitions, mysteriously slamming doors, a hanging body, an unattached head, secret passages, a seriously scary old woman, an animated skeleton, blood dripping from the ceiling, and a conveniently placed vat of acid in the basement.

We also send out a hearty handclasp to our steadfast listener, saltyessentials for calling Decades of Horror: The Classic Era a podcast “you can’t do without.” Check out salty’s blog, which he calls Dead Man’s Brain or, what I watched last night.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is The Univited (1944), hosted by Chad Hunt.

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

The Last Man on Earth (1964) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“You’re freaks! I’m a man! The last man…” Thus screams Dr. Robert Morgan at the vampires of the post-pandemic world depicted in The Last Man on Earth (1964). Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – for our somewhat historic 10th episode as we suit up alongside Morgan to do battle against the vampiric horde. Unfortunately, Erin Miskell, the glue that holds The Classic Era’s Grue Crew together, is on special assignment investigating Dr. Caligari’s cabinet … from the inside, and was not able to join us in this battle.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Episode 10 – The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Based on Richard Matheson’s classic, dark, science fiction novel, I Am Legend (1954), The Last Man on Earth is a joint Italian-U.S. production, filmed in Italy and distributed by American International Pictures. Directed by Sidney Salkow on a shoestring budget, The Last Man on Earth follows Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) as he goes about his daily life as the titular character. By day, his time is spent scrounging for supplies and searching out, killing, and burning the infected vampires. By night, he fends off the still shambling remnants of the population or listens to jazz records backed with the weak cries from his infected, former colleague to “Come out Morgan … come out Morgan.”

Listen as we discuss the answers to these questions: Did the filmmakers construct a believable post-pandemic world? Since the story takes place in Los Angeles, how did they manage to create a piece of California in Italy? How does Price’s performance as Morgan in this low budget, Italian collaboration compare to his other roles? Exactly who the the heck is co-writer Logan Swanson? What did Richard Matheson think of The Last Man on Earth? How closely does this adaptation follow the plot of Matheson’s novel? How does The Last Man on Earth rank compared withThe Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007), the other adaptations of Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend? What happened to the script Matheson wrote for Hammer Films in the late 1950s? Why does The Last Man on Earth (1964) remind us so much of George Romero’s Night of the LIving Dead (1968)?

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

  • “I never turn down a stake.”
  • “It’s not the garlic keeping them away; it’s the dirty underwear.”
  • “We’re coming to get you Morgan.”
  • “Everybody knows Vincent Price has Tyrannosaurus Rex hands.”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes Village of the Damned (1960), Viy (1967), 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 from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

post

The Tingler (1959) – Episode 5 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic! But SCREAM! SCREAM FOR YOUR LIVES!”  Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Erin Miskell, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as we get all touchy-feely with The Tingler and find out exactly what all the screaming is about. Don’t forget to bring your date and watch them TINGLE!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 5 – The Tingler (1959)

Some films cannot be denied and 1959’s The Tingler is just such a film. With William Castle at the helm and Vincent Price as the lead, you can’t go wrong, right? But what about the implausible plot, you wonder? Or the ridiculous creature effects? And who can believe Ollie’s (Philip Coolidge) scared-to death plot that ends in a literal bloodbath. Our response to such queries? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! This is William Castle and Vincent Price! What do plot and special effects have to do with anything? By the way, we see nothing implausible about a microscopic creature that lives in your spine, feeds and grows on fear, has the power of a “hydraulic press,” and is thwarted by and shrinks at the sounds of your screams. At least, that’s the way it works most of the time. All things become possible with William Castle.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen The Tingler a dozen times. But have you really SEEN The Tingler? How did Castle’s House on Haunted Hill (1959) inspire Robb White’s writing of the screenplay for The Tingler? Do you know what real world creature The Tingler is modeled after? It might be even more horrific than the film’s titular worm.  What influence did Aldous Huxley have on the story told in The Tingler? What cinematic first is found in The Tingler? (It has do with a drug that’s not a drug – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)  Why would Darryl Hickman take a part in this film without pay? What’s the connection between Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and The Tingler? Is it even possible that Alfred Hitchcock drew inspiration from William Castle?  What’s the connection between The Tingler and the animated productions, Woody Woodpecker and Gumby?

And which of us made these memorable comments:

  • – “We need a monster arm, boys! A monster arm!”
  • – “He found these war surplus motorized vibrators.”
  • – “Did he have the little, scare-’em-to-death fairies working for him?”
  • – “Let’s throw this in at the end boys, get one last scare out of them!”

We plan to release a new episode every other week. Our upcoming schedule includes It! (aka Curse of the Golem, 1967), The Thing from Another World (1951), Freaks (1932), and The Queen of Spades (1949).

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

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – Episode 39 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Nine killed you. Nine shall die. Nine times, nine! Nine killed you! Nine shall die! Nine eternities in DOOM!” – the exposition from Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes sets up the revenge plot of the film with usual Price flourish and delivery. Billed as Price’s 100th film (it isn’t, by the way), Phibes provides Price with another opportunity to create a lasting and frighteningly campy character to be cherished by horror fans for decades. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 39 – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Vincent Price is one of those iconic actors who helps define the horror genre. His presence, talent and spirit elevate any film in which he appears from House of Wax & The Fly (1957) to the Corman Poe films to Edward Scissorhands. But with The Abominable Dr. Phibes, from director Robert Fuest, he became synonymous with a new (in 1971) horror character, Dr. Anton Phibes. Prices scarred and delusional character is hellbent on revenge on the nine doctors he holds responsible for the death of his beautiful wife, Victoria (Caroline Munro). After his own untimely accident which leaves him deformed – and thought dead by the world – Phibes hatches an elaborate plan to dispatch his targets using the 10 Plagues of Egypt as his M.O. Gruesome, gory and full of high camp, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a highlight of Price’s later career and a milestone horror film. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten, joined once again by Bill Mulligan, dive into the A.I.P. classic.

The Grue-crew explore the film, its impact and some trivia surrounding its production. The discuss how Vincent Price would tease Joseph Cotton by intentionally making funny faces so the actor, uncomfortable in his role, would break up laughing. They reminisce on what the film would be like if Peter Cushing, who was originally offered the Cotton role of Vesalius, would have been like with the two actors facing off.  The crew marvel at the Art-deco design and the production work throughout. If you gather that the crew love The Abominable Dr. Phibes from this description, you’re not far off. The podcast is an affectionate look back at one of Seventies most iconic early films.

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.

03_zps88deb23f drphibes07 drphibes859 phibes2 phibes4big

post

Theatre of Blood (1973) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“He gave his critics a bloody and violent taste of their own medicine!” – the tagline for Theatre of Blood promises murder and mayhem the only way horror icon Vincent Price knows how  with wit and horror. The legendary actor stars as Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor shamed to the point of suicide by a London circle of critics. Little did they know, he would return to exact his revenge. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 32 – Theatre of Blood (1973)

Much like the Dr. Phibes movies from the previous two years, Theatre of Blood from 1972 is a violent and bloody revenge caper with a dark sense of humor also starring Vincent Price. Lionhart is set on getting his revenge and he has his targets set on the nine critics that defamed him. Price has a blast in the Douglas Hickox directed feature where he dons a variety of costumes and characters while waxing poetic with famous Shakespearean dialog. While he’s at it, Price also hatches elaborate ways to dispatch his victims based on the deaths in those famous plays. Lots to discuss as Doc and The Black Saint dive one of the Black Saint’s favorite Price performances.

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.

theatreofblood16 voncent price theatre of bloodTheatre of Blood61