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Zombie (1979) – Episode 62 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What is all this about the dead coming back to life again and… having to be killed a second time? I mean, what the hell’s going on here?” Peter West (Ian McCulloch) tries to make sense of the dead rising from their graves to eat the living in Zombie (1979). Doc Rotten returns and he brings Lucio Fulci to the 1970s podcast for the very first time. Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan are on hand to discuss the highlights, the effects, the living dead, Italian horror, and Fulci’s dreamlike plot structure. Oh, yeah, and a zombie versus a shark! What else do you need?

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 62 – Zombie (1979)

When George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) was released overseas, it was often known as Zombi. In Italy, Fulci’s zombie epic was titled Zombi 2 without his knowledge or consent. His film is not a direct sequel to Dawn or any other living dead film. In fact, given the story, it would be more a prequel to the 1978 classic. When the film did cross the seas to play in the States, it kept the general idea of its moniker and became Zombie (1979). The film begins and ends in New York City but takes place mostly on a remote island with its lead characters looking for lost relatives, encountering the living dead and fighting for the lives.

“We are going to eat you!” – the poster tagline grabs its audience from the very get-go.

The Grue-crew explore the film, tackling Fulci’s filming techniques, the acting, the dubbing, the gore, and so much more. The film is iconic with its scenes of zombie horror. If not the underwater zombie-vs-shark scene, then the Spanish Conquistadors rising from the grave to attack our heroes, including the famous zombie with the worms swarming out if its eye socket. Fulci also seems to have a fetish for eyes as the scene with the splinter is intense even today. The gore is plentiful and the final battle in the church turned hospital is non-stop white-knuckle intense. Bill Mulligan even starts off the podcast by suggesting that Fulci’s Zombie is a favorite even over Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. What’s interesting about these zombies is that they are a mix of pre-70s voodoo zombies and modern Romero-ghoul zombies. The cast features Tisa FarrowIan McCullochRichard Johnson (…remember him from The Haunting 1963?).

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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Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Episode 15 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” Johnny teases his sister. Things didn’t turn out so well for Johnny or Barbra. The horror community lost a giant when George Romero died July 16, 2017. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era crew – Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as we pay tribute to Mr. Romero by taking a shot at his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 15 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero is co-writer (with John Russo), director, cinematographer, and editor of Night of the Living Dead. Made in the Pittsburgh area for only $114,000 in 1968, the film grossed $30,000,000 and established the rules of zombie behavior for many, many films to follow.

The story follows seven people – Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O’Dea), Tom (Keith Wayne), Judy (Judith Ridley), Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), his wife Helen (Marilyn Eastman), and their daughter Karen (Kyra Schon) – trapped in an isolated farmhouse, besieged by a growing legion of the living dead. Key supporting roles include Russell Streiner as Johnny, George Kosana as Sheriff McClelland, Bill Cardille as the field News Reporter, and S. William Hinzman (Bill Heinzman) as the first ghoul.

The Classic Era podcast crew marvels at the all around quality of Night of the Living Dead. They’re all impressed with how smart the script is, how well the actors portray their parts, and how truly disturbing and horrifying the end result is. It is so good, in fact, they all have trouble choosing a favorite scene, though they each take their best shot. One thing on which they all agree, none of them can shake the chilling, reverberant, mental images from the final shots of the film.

Your intrepid Grue Crew also ventures into a discussion of the cultural, sociological, and historical events coinciding with the making and release of the film and the effects they have on them as they rewatch Night of the Living Dead. A resounding cheer is heard for the recent 4k restoration of the film currently receiving a limited theatrical run, and for the possibility of a new 4k blu-ray release sometime soon.

Lastly, Jeff reads some listener feedback on Episode 14 – Bride of Frankenstein from Dave Johnston, and on Episode 11 – The Mummy from saltyessentials. Be sure to check out salty’s blog, Dead Man’s Brain.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Jû jin yuki otoko (the original 1955 Japanese version, aka Half Human).

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!

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Dead Alive (1992) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I kick ass for the Lord!” Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) kicks some zombie ass in the defining example of ‘divine intervention.’ Peter Jackson’s cult classic Dead Alive (or Braindead for international audiences) has been a mainstay of the zombie genre for 25 years. The zany horror/comedy takes the example of Sam Raimi and builds layer upon layer of creative creature effects & gallons upon gallons of gore. His early splatstick style might not have gotten him Academy level prestige, but it made Jackson a key figure in the evolution of zombie cinema. Now, armed with a lawnmower and a tarp, Thomas and his co-hosts are out to get to the meat of what makes Dead Alive endure for as long as it has.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 10 – Dead Alive (1992)

Set in 1957 New Zealand, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is a momma’s boy, under the strict thumb of his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). He looks after her enormous house and does her every whim, without a single bit of time for himself. Even when Lionel tries to take the lovely local market girl Pequita (Diana Peñalver) out on a date to the local zoo, she has to tag along. Unfortunately, this zoo trip turns dire as a rabid Sumatran Rat Monkey from the monkey exhibit bites Vera and catch a zombie virus that slowly degenerates her condition. Lionel tries to keep her upright, only for her to crave human flesh. Even after her funeral, Vera’s lust for carnage ravages this small New Zealand town, which Lionel tries to keep contained in his house as he keeps a nurse, a greaser punk and a preacher who have been bitten and transformed by his mother in the basement. This comedy of errors escalates further as Lionel’s misogynistic idiot Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) blackmails him into his mother’s inheritance and celebrates with a party at the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas is joined by returning guests Sam Brutuxan and Christopher G. Moore to discuss this early example of Peter Jackson’s extensive ambition. The variety of zombie creatures, endlessly creative camera tricks and stunning displays of gore mastery still impress to this day, showing off the extensive world building and incredibly detailed madness that would be needed to bring Middle Earth to the big screen less than a decade later. The trio praise Dead Alive for its ability to be an homage to everything from King Kong to Evil Dead, while at the same time carving a new path towards cult fame. They revel in all their favorite zombie character, from the zombie baby Lionel throttles with to Void the greaser’s personified gastrointestinal tract. It’s a love fest all around, with Christopher clamoring it as his favorite zombie film of all time.

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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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.