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THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970) – Episode 190 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Right! Bring in the perverts” They always make for a good police lineup. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they get their Giallo on with Dario Argento’s first shot at directing, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 190 – The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

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An American expatriate in Rome attempts to unmask a serial killer he witnessed in the act of attempted murder – and is now hunting him and his girlfriend.

With his first feature directorial effort, modern horror master Dario Argento immediately showed off his skill, precision, and artistry. Often looked upon as the rise in popularity for Giallo films, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) would set the bar for all the pre-slasher killer mystery thrillers for over a decade even giving the father of the subgenre, Mario Bava (The Girl Who Too Much, 1963; Blood and Black Lace, 1964), a run for his money. While Argento adapts many influences into his first of a series of films known as the “Animal Trilogy,” along with The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), his film would in turn influence many films for decades to come. Some of those films would be directed by his peers such as Bava and Lucio Fulci. Others who would pay homage would be the likes of Carpenter and de Palma. Jeff, Doc, Bill, and Chad gather to discuss the film, its creators, and its mark on the genre.  

At the time of this writing, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is available to stream on a multitude of streaming and PPV services including Kanopy, Tubi, Prime Video, and Screambox to name a few.  The film is also available as a Blu-ray and as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode, chosen by Chad, will be The Dunwich Horror (1970). Yog-Sothoth, anyone?

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.