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The Killer Shrews (1959) – Episode 45 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Look, Ann, this is a mistake any one of us might’ve made. And I’m getting a little sick of being called an irresponsible drunk, now believe me I am.” Who hasn’t accidentally unleashed a pack of killer creatures while irresponsibly drunk? Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as they journey to a remote island and are trapped with The Killer Shrews (1959)!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 45 – The Killer Shrews (1959)

Gordon McLendon, the owner of a chain of drive-in movie theaters and a network of radio stations, decided to cut out the middle man and formed a short-lived movie production company to crank out a pair of typical, regional horror films. He enlisted Ray Kellogg as his director and Jay Simms as his screenwriter. The products of their efforts are The Killer Shrews and The Giant Gila Monster (1959).

The Killer Shrews tells an oft-told tale of pseudoscience gone wrong. Scientists on a remote island experiment on shrews in search of a way to reduce food shortages and the effects of population growth by making people smaller. Instead, they manage to enlarge the tiny creatures to the size of large dogs.  Entering this cozy enclave is the captain of a charter vessel delivering supplies and his crewman, coincidentally arriving as a hurricane hits the island and are trapped. They soon learn that one of the island-dwellers recently released the enlarged shrews while “irresponsibly” drunk. The result is a horde of hungry, teeth-gnashing, rampaging killer shrews on the loose!

The original residents of the island are played by Baruch Lumet (Dr. Craigis), Glendon McLendon (Dr. Baines), Ingrid Goude (Dr. Craigis’ daughter, Ann), Ken Curtis (Ann’s fiance), and Alfredo de Soto (Mario, their assistant).  James Best is Captain Thorne Sherman and Judge Henry Dupree is Rook Griswold, his crewman.

No one will ever mistake The Killer Shrews as a great movie. The effects, the dialogue, and some of the acting rank high on the cheese-factor scale. It is, however, a boatload of fun! Whitney recounts seeing the film as a child with her grandmother and gives us the “You do what you have to do” mantra of the low-budget, independent filmmaker. Though he has come to love it, Chad hated the movie when he saw it as a child. He also wishes Judge Henry Dupree and Alfredo de Soto had lasted longer into the film, though they both did have heroic deaths. Joseph points out that Baruch Lumet was director Sidney Lumet’s father and opines that James Best is giving it his all as the lead protagonist. The colorized version of The Killer Shrews gets a short test run from Jeff and he also reveals the connection between Ken Curtis and legendary director John Ford. Unsurprisingly, your Grue Crew gives a unanimous, cheese-dipped, thumbs-up to The Killer Shrews!

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be The Haunting (1963). We thought it was time to revisit the original following the recent release of The Haunting of Hill House as a Netflix series.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – Episode 44 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but… in a half-an-hour the moon will rise and I’ll turn into a wolf.” “You and 20 million other guys!” Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, Jeff Mohr, and Joseph Perry – as they chuckle and guffaw their way through the comedy classic, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 44 – Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Once director Charles Barton was on board, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello reluctantly signed on for the Universal International Pictures’ production of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The film features a trio of Universal classic monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein (the monster), and the Wolf Man – as played by Bela LugosiGlenn Strange, and Lon Chaney Jr. respectively. Although the three monsters are there, the story-line doesn’t fit anywhere in the Universal monster canon, reinforcing its place as somewhat of a novelty among the other films.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’s plot features two baggage handlers, Chick (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur (Lou Costello), tasked with delivering two large, coffin-sized containers holding Frankenstein and Dracula to McDougal’s House of Horrors. Dracula is in league with Dr. Mornay (Lenore Aubert), a mad scientist of sorts. In the meantime, Lawrence Talbot is trying to prevent delivery of the crates. The cast is supported by Jane Randolph in her last credited role, and the ever-present Frank Ferguson. As the brilliant comic duo roam the castle, much hi-jinks ensue!

The Classic Era Grue Crew couldn’t stop gushing about Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Chad goes into depth on the life of Bud Abbott and reminds us that this film includes Bela Lugosi’s second and last role as Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr.’s last role as the Wolf Man.  An infatuation with Jane Randolph, first revealed in Episode 37 (Cat People, 1941), is reiterated by Joseph. Whitney identifies noticeable differences in Lon Chaney Jr.’s makeup between that used in this film and 1941’s The Wolf Man (Episode 39), and expresses her appreciation for a strong female role as a scientist. Several connections with 1925’s Phantom of the Opera (Episode 42) are pointed out by Jeff, including cameraman/director of photography Charles Van Enger. They all remarked on this film’s ability to still have them rolling in the aisles after decades of watching it. Yes, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is still funny and it’s a great “horror” film to watch as a family!

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be The Killer Shrews (1959), starring Roscoe P. Coltrane and Festus.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

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The Return of the Vampire (1943) – Episode 43 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master!”  It’s always best to know your place, and who could resist the commanding voice of Bela Lugosi, right? Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Joseph Perry, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr (Whitney Collazo was on special assignment, but should be back next episode) – as they chase down the hidden 1940s gem, The Return of the Vampire.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 43 – The Return of the Vampire (1943)

Remember that classic sequel to Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931)? The one featuring Bela Lugosi’s second appearance as Dracula? Well, this is it, except this is not a Universal Picture and Lugosi doesn’t play Dracula. Instead, The Return of the Vampire is a Columbia Picture and the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Directed by dependable journeyman Lew Landers, and written by Griffin Jay from an idea by Kurt NeumannThe Return of the Vampire features the legendary vampire, Armand Tesla. Really. His name is Tesla. Lugosi does double duty as Tesla and Dr. Hugo Bruckner, the famous vampire expert. The film also features an unexpectedly articulate, talking werewolf, whose lines are ably enunciated by Matt Willis. The hero of the story is Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort), a very smart, take-charge scientist who out matches Sir Frederick Fleet (Miles Mander), the Scotland Yard Inspector on the case. The focus of Tesla’s efforts is the young and beautiful Nicki Saunders, played by the impressive and versatile Nina Foch. The cast is rounded out with some comic relief from two gravediggers (those guys are always funny) and a couple of detectives reporting to Sir Frederick Fleet.

Despite its relatively low budget, The Return of the Vampire has an impressive cast and crew and the Grue Crew all agreed it is far better than one might have expected at first. Joseph saw this as youngster and the final scene has stuck with him for all the decades that have passed. The werewolf looked more like a dog to Chad, but even so, he appreciated the character and the genuine arc he had. Jeff, on the other hand, was really impressed with the quantity and quality of the fog in the graveyard. At any rate, this episode’s Grue Crew strongly recommends The Return of the Vampire as somewhat of a hidden gem of the 1940s.

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), the runaway winner of our latest Patreon Poll. Yay! More Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jane Randolph and our first film with Glenn Strange!

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!

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The Hideous Sun Demon (1958) – Episode 41 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Whiskey and soda mix, not whiskey and science.” This statement is heard early in the cult classic, The Hideous Sun Demon, and this episode’s Grue Crew doesn’t buy it for a second. Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr as they study the statement’s validity and have a ball along the way with The Hideous Sun Demon (1958).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 41 – The Hideous Sun Demon (1958)

Dr. Gilbert McKenna has “an accident” when he is handling highly radioactive material while suffering from a hangover. Gil seems to quickly recover, but when exposed to direct sunlight, he rapidly transforms into the hideous sun demon. Gil’s doctor prescribes avoiding the sun’s rays, but for a guy like Gil, that’s not as easy as it sounds. When the sun is down, Gil restlessly cavorts about town and encounters the beautiful Trudy (Nan Peterson) who is singing and playing air-piano at a rundown nightspot. Unfortunately, he also runs into her thuggish boyfriend George (Peter Similuk), who proves to be a problem. While all this is happening, Gil’s coworkers, Ann (Patricia Manning) and Dr. Buckell (Patrick Whyte), work to find a cure for Gil’s newly acquired condition.

A low budget creature feature inspired by the financial success of The Astounding She-Monster (1957), The Hideous Sun Demon is the brainchild of Robert Clarke who produces, directs, co-writes, and plays the lead in the film. Primary writers of the screenplay are E. S. Seeley Jr. and Doane R. Hoag.

Your Grue Crew wasn’t sure what to expect with The Hideous Sun Demon, but it turned out to be a barrel of fun, despite its low-budget related flaws. Jeff points out Clarke’s extensive use of family members in bit parts on the film. Chad feels it was like watching two different movies; one a fairly standard, radiation-created creature feature and the other, a noirish story complete with brutish thugs and a femme fatale. Joseph agrees that at times, it seems like Nan Peterson was channeling Marilyn Monroe with the lilt of her voice and the way she played a scene. At any rate, The Hideous Sun Demon was fun throughout and the Grue Crew gives it a big low budget, cult classic thumbs up!

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be the silent scream, The Phantom of the Opera (1925)! They can’t wait to discuss the brilliance of the legendary Lon Chaney!

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Black Sunday (1960) – Episode 40 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“You, too, can feel the joy and happiness of hating.” Hmmm, words like joy and happiness used to describe hate? Sounds enticing, right? Join Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Bill Mulligan, as they celebrate the early product of Mario Bava’s genius known as Black Sunday (1960).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 40 – Black Sunday (1960)

“Viy,” a short story by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, provides a loose foundation for the film’s screenplay, written by Ennio De Concini and Mario Serandrei. Mario Bava is the director and cinematographer of Black Sunday and a beautifully shot film it is. Even though Black Sunday is Bava’s first official credit as the director of a feature film, he has dozens of credits as cinematographer as well as a few uncredited turns as director.

Released in the U.S. by American International Pictures, Black Sunday tells the story of a brother and sister burned at the stake as vampires. Or is it witches? Just before having spiked iron masks slammed home on their face with a gigantic mallet, they curse all future generations of the family. Flash forward 200 years when an incredibly inept doctor breaks the seals on Princess Asa’s crypt and then her coffin, initiates her resurrection by dripping blood on her (The Doctor That Dripped Blood?) so she can seek vengeance on the current incarnation of her family. Her plan includes raising her brother Igor from the dead and swapping bodies with her beautiful lookalike descendant, Katia. Barbara Steele is brilliant as Princess Asa/Katia and Arturo Dominici plays her evil accomplice, Igor. Other key players include Katia’s father (Ivo Garrani) and the two doctors (John Richardson and Andrea Checchi).

Whitney is impressed by Barbara Steele’s ability to play two such dichotomous roles: the consummately evil Asa and the innocent Katia. It is the spiked, iron masks and how they are pounded in place in the opening scene that leaves an impression on Chad. Bill, an avowed Bava fan, extols the virtues of the black and white cinematography, the set design, and the shot construction. Wholeheartedly agreeing with Bill, Jeff adds how impressed he is with the camera movement within those sets. You’re probably not surprised the Grue Crew thinks Black Sunday is a genuinely great film and is a sign of future promise Bava so expertly fulfilled.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we‘ll be covering the cult classic The Hideous Sun Demon (1958).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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The Wolf Man (1941) – Episode 39 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Of course, that poem is in reference to the Universal Classic Monster film, The Wolf Man! Join Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Jacob Allen, as they take a midnight stroll with Larry Talbot through the fog-shrouded woods on a moonlit night. Be sure to bring your walking cane, the one with the silver wolf’s head! You will most certainly need it.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 39 – The Wolf Man (1941)

This episode’s Grue Crew loves The Wolf Man so much, they recorded this podcast twice! Whether beset by electromagic gremlins or cursed directly from film by Maleva, the first recording didn’t take, so they all went back for seconds. And you thought they’d been goofing off.

The Wolf Man might embody Universal’s most original monster. Based on an original screenplay by Curt Siodmakand directed by George Waggner, the film started much of the werewolf mythology still used in film today. The solid cast, sporting seven Oscar nominations among them, is led by Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, and includes Claude Rains as his father, Evelyn Ankers as the female lead Gwen, Ralph Bellamy as Colonel Montford, Patric Knowles as Gwen’s boyfriend, Warren William as Dr. Boyd, and Fay Helm as Gwen’s friend. To top it off, the cast is blessed with Maria Ouspenskaya as Maleva and the inimitable Bela Lugosi as her son, Bela. The supernatural elements of the story or rendered entirely believable by the work of Jack Pierce, makeup artist extraordinaire.

Your Grue Crew marvels at the many facets through which Larry Talbot’s affliction can be viewed. Siodmak was surely thinking of the persecution he fled in Nazi Germany, but the story can be seen as a metaphor for a multitude of other conflicts common to most individuals’ lives, thereby explaining the film’s resonance with so many viewers.

Whitney proudly admits to being inspired by Jack Pierce’s makeup art. Claude Rains is only 17 years older than Lon Chaney Jr., who plays his son, and Jeff wonders how old Daddy Talbot must have been when his oldest son was born. Jacob is awed by the direction and organization it must have taken to complete the film in a short amount of time especially while working around the lengthy makeup process. When it comes to The Wolf Man, Chad is all about the mythic stature of Maria Ouspenskaya. As you may have guessed, their recommendation, assuming you’ve already seen this film, is see it again and again! Now!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we‘ll be covering Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

 

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Die, Monster, Die! (1965) – Episode 38 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“It looks like a zoo in Hell!” Indeed it does! In fact, the whole film is a bit of a zoo. Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Mike Imboden, as they visit the zoo in question, or in other words, discuss AIP’s Die, Monster, Die!, a film that tied for first place in our latest Patreon poll. In the process, maybe they can figure out why the monster has to die twice.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 38 – Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Die, Monster, Die!, also known as Monster of Terror, is helmed by first time director Daniel Haller. Loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Colour Out of Space,” the screenplay is written by Jerry Sohl. In this version, the story depicts Nahum Witley (Boris Karloff) as the head of the Witley family. Some years ago, the family property was hit by a radioactive meteorite that caused mutations, followed by decay, in all living things. Of course, Nahum thought it a good idea to bring the meteorite into the house for experiments there and in the greenhouse.

Not surprisingly, the radiation causes the physical deterioration of Nahum’s wife (Freda Jackson), her maid, and his butler (Terence de Marney). Nahum’s wife summons their daughter’s boyfriend (Nick Adams) from America to come save their daughter (Suzan Farmer) from the same fate. However, Nahum’s not having it. The cast is rounded out nicely with supporting roles from Patrick Magee as Dr. Henderson and Sheila Raynor as the Dr.’s housekeeper.

This episode’s Grue Crew have a mixed reaction to Die, Monster, Die! They all agree Boris Karloff is the main attraction and does a fine job and that the film looks great. Jeff appreciated the set design and furnishings in the English mansion. The opening scenes of the Nick Adams character’s attempts to find a ride to “the Witley place” tripped Mike’s trigger, but more importantly, he wants more Merwyn! Joseph, Chad, and Mike are fans of Nick Adams from his appearances in a few Toho productions while Jeff favors his output in westerns, purely from a nostalgia viewpoint. Though this film has a lot of issues, the script being the major one despite Jerry Sohl’s other credits, the Grue Crew think it’s worth a watch, especially if you’re looking for something different. After all, they don’t make them like Die, Monster, Die! anymore.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we‘ll be covering Universal’s The Wolf Man (1941), the other film that tied for first place in our latest Patreon Poll.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Cat People (1942) – Episode 37 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“They torment me. I wake in the night and the trail of their feet whispers in my brain. I have no peace. For they are in me.” Irena Dubrovna apparently has an icky feeling inside? Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Whitney Modesta Collazo as they come on little cat feet and sit looking over Cat People on silent haunches. Wait. Does that sound familiar? Anyway, listen to the Grue Crew scratch below the surface of this unmitigated classic!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 37 – Cat People (1942)

Cat People is the first film in RKO’s plan to release low budget horror films intended to compete with Universal’s output. The studio handed their new effort to first time producer Val Lewton, who had been recommended by David O. Selznick. Lewton enlisted first time screenwriter DeWitt Bodean to write the script and then surrounded himself with an excellent crew led by director Jacques Tourneur and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca.

Cast as Irena Dubrovna, the film’s central character, Simone Simon’s mysterious and exotic look was key to the success of Cat PeopleKent Smith took the role of her soon-to-be husband, Oliver Reed, with Jane Randolphrounding out the love triangle as Alice Moore, ostensibly Reed’s work colleague. The four main characters are rounded out by Tom Conway as Dr. Judd, a psychiatrist brought in to treat Irena’s obsession with the legend of her family’s curse and her accompnaying fears of intimacy. An able supporting cast, led by Alan Napier as another of Reed’s work colleagues and Jack Holt as Reed’s boss, make solid contributions to the feel and atmosphere of Cat People.

This episode’s Grue Crew all marvel at Tourneur’s and Musuraca’s use of shadows and fog to foster the eerie atmosphere present throughout Cat People and how truly terrifying the film is despite most of the action being hidden in shadows and not explicitly shown. Whitney is impressed by the stress and vulnerability she felt during the swimming pool scene and points out the impact the set design has on creating the film’s mood. Chad emphasizes the sophistication of the film, its tight script, and the existence of the storytelling technique known as the “Lewton Bus.” He also points out three – count ‘em, three – more connections to the Batman TV series. We learn of Joseph’s unrequited love for Jane Randolph (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, 1948). Jeff and Joseph remark on some of the similarities that Cat People has with film noir and Jeff gets lost in the supporting cast. Of course he did. Needless to say, they all pronounce Cat People to be a must see film!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. On the next episode in our very flexible schedule, we ‘ll be covering Die, Monster, Die! (1965), the film that tied for first place in our latest Patreon Poll.

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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) – Episode 36 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Every bone in his body must be broken. But I’m not sure that’s what killed him.” What?! Well then, what did kill him? Join Joseph Perry, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr as they stowaway aboard a rocket from Mars in search of the answer found only in the 1950s, science fiction classic, It! The Terror from Beyond Space.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 36 – It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

As the film opens, Colonel Van Heusen has led a rescue mission to bring back Colonel Carruthers, the lone survivor of the first landing on Mars. Van Heusen is convinced that Carruthers slaughtered his entire crew, but Carruthers claims his crew was murdered by an unstoppable creature. Everyone soon learns that Van Heusen is wrong when the shadow of something monstrous is shown entering the ship through a hatch that has been inadvertently left open. Oops. As the ship lifts off, the crew is now confined with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, and the crew is picked off, one by one. Don’t forget, in space no one can hear you scream. Oops, again. That’s the tagline to a different movie, but you do see the similarity, right?

Directed by Edward L. Cahn and written by Jerome Bixby, It! The Terror from Beyond Space stars Marshall Thompson (Carruthers), Shirley Patterson (Ann Anderson), and Kim Spalding (Van Heusen). The able supporting cast is led by Ann Doran, Dabs Greer, Paul Langton, Robert Bice, and Ray Corrigan as It.

This episode’s Grue Crew appreciates the foreboding atmosphere created with shadows and smoke-shrouded scenes. Chad, an aficionado of practical effects artists, points out Paul Blaisdell’s work on the creature suit and calls It! The Terror from Beyond Space one of his favorite science fiction movies. Joseph recounts problems encountered with the ill-fitting head of the creature suit and “fun” is the operative word Jeff uses for the film. All three of the Grue Crew are impressed with the results obtained with the low budget and enthusiastically recommend the film to all.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule (you might have noticed we did not cover Rosemary’s Baby this episode) is the classic, Cat People (1942).

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 a bunch of nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

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Invisible Ghost (1941) – Episode 35 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

Marie: “I wonder why he was so glad to see me?” Evans: “Mr. Kessler thought you had been murdered.” What?! Why would Mr. Kessler think such a thing? Maybe because several other people were murdered in his house? Is it possible the murders are connected? Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Adam Thomas, as we take our second consecutive trip to Poverty Row, this time for a stay with Bela Lugosi at his deadly home in Invisible Ghost.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 35 – Invisible Ghost (1941)

A Poverty Row film released by Monogram Pictures, Invisible Ghost is directed by Joseph H. Lewis, sometimes referred to as “Wagon Wheel Joe” for the style he employed for his many B-movie westerns. It tells the story of Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi), whose wife (Betty Compson) has disappeared. As Kessler and his daughter Virginia (Polly Ann Young) resolutely remain in the house for Mrs. Kessler’s possible reappearance, people keep dying around them. How many have been murdered, we asked? “A lot,” we’re told. Then a man (John McGuire) is executed for one of the murders only to be replaced by his twin, and the murders continue even after the execution. Overseeing the whole mess is Kessler’s butler, Evans (Clarence Muse).

This episode’s Grue Crew are confused as to the whys and “what fors” of the story. There’s little rhyme or reason to the killer’s motivation. There’s no ghost. Nothing is invisible. Characters just die. Everything just is. Welcome to Poverty Row.

The hosts all recommend Invisible Ghost for Clarence Muse’s performance. IMDb and Wikipedia list co-writer Helen Martin as one in the same as the African American actress who starred as Pearl Shay in 227 (1985-1990) among her 60+ acting credits. Your faithful Grue Crew could find no other collaborating information and questioned this connection. Since recording the podcast, we have found other online mentions of her work on the script on the Classic Horror Film Board. If she is indeed the co-author of the screenplay for Invisible Ghost, it would explain why the part of Evans is written as such an integral, smart, and dignified character. If any of our listeners have additional verification regarding Helen Martin as a screenwriter, please let us know via comment or email.

Chad has a particular affection for the comic relief provided by Fred Kelsey, who plays Detective Ryan and Jeff points out the many, many, many roles with nicknames played by Ernie Adams, who plays Jules the gardner in Invisible Ghost. Adam marvels at the ineptitude of the police and the jarring cuts as several scenes in several locations cover a day in 20 seconds. Joseph loves the use of the visible wall as the camera follows characters from room to room. The hosts also get in another mention of the classic film noir Gun Crazy (1950) and yet another connection to Batman, this time the classic serials produced by the producer of Invisible Ghost, Sam Katzman. The Grue Crew also appreciates Invisible Ghost for giving Lugosi a chance to play a character counter to his usual monstrous characters. Please take an hour of your time and check it out!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is the classic, Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

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 or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!