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THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) – Episode 125 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“That’s the darndest thing I ever saw. The way that thing’s unscrewing.” It sounds just like a metal lid on a mason jar. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Jeff Mohr, and special guest host Dave Dreher – as they discuss another science fiction horror classic of the 1950s, H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1953).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 125 – The War of the Worlds (1953)

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A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.


This early-50s gem from producer George Pal features excellent special effects and unique plot elements for the time. Jeff has been an H.G. Wells fan since he was a tyke so it’s no surprise that The War of the Worlds is his pick. Even so, he was a bit put off the first time he saw it, wondering where the Martians’ tripods were. Once he got over that change in Wells’ story, he fell in love with the film, observing that many of the cast and crew tackled this endeavor early in their careers. He is especially impressed with Gene Barry’s performance.

Dave recounts his grandfather telling him about the Orson Welles adaptation of this story for radio and how this film version blew him away. The effects in The War of the Worlds are outstanding for the time and still amaze him. It looks so good when the Martian ships are destroying the city. Daphne also really loves The War of the Worlds and is really impressed with the color. She is also surprised when the darkness of society surfaces with the mob attacking the trucks. When he was a kid, The War of the Worlds was pretty creepy, scary stuff to Chad and kept him on the edge of his seat. The idea of a story with no superhero-type leading man and no hope in sight fascinated him.

If you’re as impressed with The War of the Worlds as your Grue-Crew, it’s high time you checked it out again. If you’ve managed to miss this true classic, it’s high time you filled that gap. At the time of this writing, The War of the Worlds is available to stream from Amazon Prime, Paramount+, and multiple other subscription or PPV streaming services. If physical media is your thing, a Blu-ray is available from Criterion.

If you’re an H.G. Wells fan, check out these other Decades of Horror podcast episodes:

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule is one chosen by Daphne: Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968), a unique take on vampires!

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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.