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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!

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Strangler of the Swamp (1946) – Episode 34 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“That evil noose was made when they found farmer Berkeley murdered in his field. They accused ferryman Douglas of the crime and hanged him. He swore that he was innocent, but that didn’t stop them. It was then he spoke his curse.”  Yikes! Evil noose? Deadly curse? Sounds right up our alley! Join Jeff Mohr and Joseph Perry, along with guest host Mike Imboden, as we take our first trip to Poverty Row and brave the foggy swamp of Strangler of the Swamp!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 34 – Strangler of the Swamp (1946)

Strangler of the Swamp tells the story of a ferryman, wrongly accused of murder and lynched, who curses his murderers before his death. Since that day, several members of his lynch mob have died strange accidental deaths which, not so coincidentally, resemble hangings. Motives of love, revenge, guilt, and money combine with supernatural elements to weave the threads of this story together.

Co-written and directed by Frank Wisbar, Strangler of the Swamp is a loose remake of Fährmann Maria (1936), a German film also co-written and directed by Wisbar. A Producers Releasing Corporation production, Strangler of the Swamp was shot on a shoestring budget like most Poverty Row films. The set was covered with a thick blanket of fog throughout the movie to hide the lack of a swamp or any water whatsoever. The cast wes filled with character actors and newcomers that included Rosemary La Planche; Blake Edwards, who went on to write and direct well known comedies such as the Pink Panther films; Robert Barrat; Charles Middleton, who played Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon Serials; Effie Laird; and Nolan Leary.

This episode’s Grue Crew comment that, even though the fog served a budgetary purpose, it is effective at creating an eerie atmosphere that serves the film well. Though you’ll never find Strangler of the Swamp on a traditional “best of” list, it can be placed in the top tier of Poverty Row pictures. Joseph, Mike, and Jeff recommend this film if you have any interest in Poverty Row films and maybe, just to see Blake Edwards before he hit the bigtime.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Invisible Ghost (1941), another Poverty Row gem starring Bela Lugosi, selected 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 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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Seconds (1966) – Episode 33 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“The question of death selection may be the most important decision in your life.”  What?! You get to select your own death? That’s usually not the case but in the world of John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966), that’s exactly what the character played by John Randolph and Rock Hudson has to do. Yes, you read that right. They play the same character. Join Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Joseph Perry, along with guest host Bill Gabriel, as we spend a lot of seconds digging into Seconds!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 33 – Seconds (1966)

This film’s title does not refer to the seconds on your watch, but to second chances. Seconds tells the story of one Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a middle-aged banker that has lost all interest in his life, his job, his wife (Frances Reid), and even his daughter. An old friend (Murray Hamilton) who Arthur thought was dead, reaches out to give him an opportunity to begin anew, a second chance if you will. Arthur looks into this possible new life and after some debate and eventually some blackmail, “decides” to take advantage of the offer. After his “death” and some plastic surgery, Arthur looks a lot like Rock Hudson and is rechristened Tony Wilson. As you probably suspect, even though the Company has orchestrated some female companionship (Salome Jens) for him, Tony’s new lease on life turns out not to be the panacea he expected.

Adapted for the screen by Lewis John Carlino from the novel by David Ely, Seconds has gone from box office failure to classic in the 50+ years since its release. Director John Frankenheimer surrounded himself with a high quality crew on all accounts, including cinematographer James Wong Howe who received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Seconds. Frankenheimer also enlisted a superb supporting cast, including Will Geer, Richard Anderson, Jeff Corey, Khigh Dhiegh, Wesley Addy, Nedrick Young, and Karl Swenson.

This episode’s Grue Crew gives Seconds the highest accolades and recommends it to all Grue Believers. Each of them also holds the opinion that Rock Hudson and James Wong Howe should have received Academy Awards for their work on this films. Don’t give this underappreciated classic a second thought. You must see Seconds!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is the Poverty Row gem, Strangler of the Swamp (1946), selected by Joseph Perry.

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, 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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The Birds (1963) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?”  Yikes! The ornithologist has a darn good point! Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry (He’s ba-a-a-ck!), and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Dan Sellers, as we take a bird’s eye view of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 32 – The Birds (1963)

Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same title and adapted to the screen by Evan Hunter, The Birds tells the story of Bodega Bay, a California coastal town terrorized by inexplicably aggressive and belligerent birds.The film stars Tippi Hedren (Melanie), Suzanne Pleshette (Annie), Jessica Tandy (Lydia), Veronica Cartwright (Cathy), and Rod Taylor (Mitch) under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock.

The stars are surrounded by a cast populated with some of the best character actors in the business, including Ethel Griffies as the ornithologist, Charles McGraw as the fishing boat captain, Lonny Chapman as the innkeeper, Doreen Lang as the hysterical mother, Karl Swenson as the drunken prophet, Joe Mantell as the cynical businessman, Ruth McDevitt as the owner of bird shop, Malcolm Atterbury as the deputy, Richard Deacon as Mitch’s neighbor in San Francisco, Doodles Weaver as a fisherman helping with a rental boat, and William Quinn as a man in the diner. You might not recognize all of their names, but if you watched many movies or television shows from the 1950s through the 1970s, you will most assuredly recognize their faces.

Jeff points out The Birds has been called Hitchcock’s monster movie. Chad proclaims his love of Albert Whitlock’s matte paintings and explains the method used by longtime Disney employee Ub Iwerks in providing the special effects for The Birds. Joseph marvels at Hitchcock’s ability to build and hold tension and suspense, and they all agree the credit should be shared with editor George Tomasini. Dan discusses the prototypical “Hitchcock blonde” and confides to the Grue Crew that he’s just glad to be doing a podcast without Sammie Cassell.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1963), selected by Jeff Mohr.

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, 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 of Night (1945) – Episode 31 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Just room for one inside, sir.” Hearing this, you might be relieved to discover there’s still room to accomodate you. On the other hand, if the speaker is a hearse driver, it would send chills up your spine. Join your ever faithful Grue Crew for this episode – Chad Hunt, Jeff Mohr and special guest Whitney Modesta Collazo – as they manage to avoid riding in a hearse, but still get caught in the neverending story framing the legendary British horror portmanteau, Dead of Night (1945)

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 31 – Dead of Night (1945)

As an anthology, Dead of Night consists of five independent shorts tied together by a powerful framing story, all of which creates a flashback within a dream within a dream. The five separate stories are The Hearse Driver (d. Basil Dearden, story by E. F. Benson), The Christmas Party (d. Alberto Cavalcanti, story by Angus MacPhail), The Haunted Mirror (d. Robert Hamer, story by John Baines), The Golfer’s Story (d. Charles Crichton, story by H. G. Wells), The Ventriloquist’s Dummy (d. Alberto Cavalcanti, story by John Baines), and the framing sequences directed by Basil Dearden. The film includes memorable performances from Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns. Googie Withers, Miles Malleson, Basil Radford, and Naunton Wayne.

Dead of Night, though not the first horror anthology film, set the standard for the anthologies that were to proliferate in the 1960s and 1970s. Also not the first ventriloquist and his dummy horror film, the influence of The Ventriloquist’s Dummy can be seen in media from an episode of The Twilight Zone (1962) to Magic (1978) and to Dead Silence (2007).

This episode’s Grue Crew were completely won over by Dead of Night and universally thought The Ventriloquist’s Dummy was their favorite piece. They each thought the framing sequence was ingenious and might well be their favorite of those used in all horror anthologies.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), selected 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 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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The Day of the Triffids (1963) – Episode 30 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Keep behind me. There’s no sense in getting killed by a plant.”  Hmm, a killer plant, you say? Maneater of Hydra (1967)? We already did that in episode 2. The Thing from Another World (1951)? Nope, that was episode 7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)? Wrong again. That was episode 24. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)? Huh-uh. We haven’t done that one yet, but that’s not a bad idea. No, this episode’s film is none other than The Day of the Triffids (1963), based on John Wyndham’s classic, 1951 science fiction novel of the same name. Join Chad Hunt and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Adam Thomas, as we blindly tiptoe through the triffids with you.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 30 – The Day of the Triffids (1963)

The first thing your faithful Grue Crew learned is the writer credited with The Day of the Triffids did none of the writing. Philip Yordan, listed as the writer on screen, was really a front for the actual screenwriter, blacklisted Bernard Gordon. The director of record is Steve Sekely, who did do the initial direction. The finished product was deemed too short, however, and Freddie Francis was brought in to direct a parallel storyline taking place entirely with a couple in a lighthouse.

The Day of the Triffids opens with Bill Masen (Howard Keel), blinded in an accident, about to get his bandages removed. At the same time, the rest of the world is experiencing a blindingly spectacular meteor shower. No really. Everyone who looks at it, which is nearly everyone, is blinded. The meteor shower also brings some magic which causes the walking, stalking, man-eating plants known as triffids to rapidly grow to a height of 8-10 feet. It turns out that triffids breed faster than rabbits and grow faster than weeds, and begin to feed on the blind and helpless humans.

Bill, who can see (remember the bandages), heads out through the devastated city and across the countryside. On his way, he encounters several other sighted people: Karen (Janina Faye), a young girl who escapes a train crash; Christine Durrant (Nicole Maurey), a French woman who owns a large chateau in which she is housing rescued blind children and adults; Mr. Coker (Mervyn Johns), an elderly man who is helping Miss Durrant; and a band of escaped convicts. None of these sighted people meet the also sighted Karen and Tom Godwin (Janette Scott and Kieron Moore) who are the only characters in the added lighthouse scenes.

Adam can’t stop bringing up how a few of the characters really abandon the blind people at the home and leave them at the mercy of the sighted convicts. He means, they’re really, really abandoned! Jeff once again extols the virtues of a John Wyndham novel and is amazed at what a good cliff diver Howard Keel is. Chad loves the scenes in the lighthouse and the relationship between the Goodwins. Rest assured, the three hosts consider The Day of the Triffids to be a bona fide genre classic, worthy of a Decades of Horror: The Classic Era treatment. Seriously, who hasn’t heard of triffids?

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Dead of Night (1945), selected by Jeff Mohr.

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, 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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Night of the Eagle (aka Burn, Witch, Burn; 1962) – Episode 29 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“So, each day science, founded on years of research and truth, merges with feats, which put our old fashioned magicians to shame. Aladdin rubbed the lamp and the genie appeared. Today we can press a button, and the whole of mankind is obliterated.”  Professor Norman Taylor (Peter Wyngarde) utters this pronouncement to his students while standing in front of a classroom blackboard filled with references to the supernatural, superstition, ghosts, and witchcraft, on which he has written and underlined, “I DO NOT BELIEVE!” Eventually, Professor Taylor is convinced otherwise in Night of the Eagle (1962), released in the U.S. as Burn, Witch, Burn. Erin Miskell is still on sabbatical, flooding the world with “pineapple on pizza” memes, but you can join the rest of your regular Grue Crew – Joseph Perry, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – along with guest host Eli Mohr, as they attempt to navigate the academic politics of a university ruled by witches’ spells and talismans.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 28 – Night of the Eagle (1962)

Based on Fritz Leiber Jr.’s classic horror novel Conjure Wife (1943), Night of the Eagle is directed by Sidney Hayers and adapted for the screen by none other than Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. The story centers around Norman Taylor and his wife Tansy (Janet Blair) who casts spells and uses talismans to advance Norman’s career and ward off evil counterspells coming from other witches, though it is not clear which witches are which. The rest of the players in this academic world of Night of the Eagle are Flora (Margaret Johnston) and Lindsay (Colin Gordon) Carr, Evelyn (Kathleen Byron) and Harvey (Anthony Nicholls) Sawtelle, Hilda (Jessica Dunning) and Harold (Reginald Beckwith) Gunnison, and students Margaret Abbott (Judith Stott) and Fred Jennings (Bill Mitchell).

Jeff goes all fanboy over Leiber, Beaumont, and Mathison; Chad proclaims his love for the scene played out in the mausoleum; Joseph points out the errant tape reel; and Eli admits you should not be sleepy when you watch Night of the Eagle or you might miss the wealth of clues, details, and foreshadowing present in the first two acts of the film. The Grue Crew en masse highlight Matheson’s and Beaumont’s seemingly slow to develop, but very tight script and highly recommend Night of the Eagle.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Dead of Night (1945), selected by Jeff Mohr.

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, 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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Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon, 1957) – Episode 28 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Please don’t treat me like a mental patient who has to be humored. I also majored in psychology.”  As a horror fan, how many times have you said those very same words? It gets old, doesn’t it? Erin Miskell is still on sabbatical binging on pizza with pineapple, but you can join guest host Jerry Chandler and the rest of your regular Grue Crew – Joseph Perry, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they attempt to hide behind a facade of sanity while, a little too gleefully, discussing one of Jacques Tourneur’s masterpieces, Night of the Demon (1957). Or is it Curse of the Demon? It’s hard to remember while faking sanity. We owe this selection to our faithful Patreon listeners who chose this film from a poll of six classic era titles.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 28 – Night of the Demon (1957)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur. That statement, alone, should be enough to interest viewers in Night of the Demon. Written by Charles Bennett. That, too, should be enough for fans of early Hitchcock to perk up and take notice. Adapted from the M. R. James story, “Casting the Runes.” Now the interest of 20th century ghost story fans is peaked.

Night of the Demon tells the story of Professor John Holden (Dana Andrews), a hardline skeptic of the occult, as he does battle with the evil Doctor Karswell (Niall MacGinnis), the leader of a cult of Satan worshippers. Holden is joined in his fight by Joanna Harrington (Peggy Cummins), whose father was murdered as the result of a Karswell curse. The intrepid professor is also aided by Karswell’s mother (Athene Seyler) and fellow professional Mark O’Brien (Liam Redmond).

This episode’s Grue Crew universally loves Night of the Demon. They discuss the difference between the 95-minute U.K. version and the shortened 82-minute U.S. version, retitled Curse of the Demon, and which one they prefer. Hal E. Chester’s heavy-handed approach as a producer and its effect on Night of the Demon are also topics fcovered. You will also discover where each of them stand in the more demon vs. less demon debate. Which side are you on?

A bundle of listener feedback is also read this episode. A hearty handclasp and your loyal Grue Crew’s love go out to Symon O’Hagan, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Aaron Albrecht, Rafael Fernandez, Leontyne Jacquart, and saltyessentials for your feedback and your time!

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Night of the Eagle, (1962), aka Burn, Witch, Burn, selected by our very own Joseph Perry.

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, 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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The Blood Beast Terror (1968) – Episode 27 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“Galvanism isn’t working. It needs nourishment.” “Blood?” “Yes, blood. Human blood.” “The blood of a young girl?” “That would do perfectly.”   Yup. That’s where they immediately went with no explanation, leaving your Grue Crew to wonder, “Why is it always the blood of a young girl?” Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, Jeff Mohr, and guest host Mike Imboden – as they brave the film Peter Cushing considered to be the worst of his many films. The Blood Beast Terror (1968).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 27 – The Blood Beast Terror (1968)

A Tigon British Films Production, The Blood Beast Terror is tells the story of a series of murders, the victims of which are mysteriously drained of blood. Inspector Quinnell (Peter Cushing) is on the case, with the help of the intrepid Sergeant Allan (Glynn Edwards), and soon crosses paths with Dr. Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) and his beautiful daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham). Mallinger, an entomologist, has discovered a way to transform humans back and forth between a giant death’s head moth and their human form. As Quinnell’s and Allan’s investigation progresses, the body count rises and the clues become more and more alarming. The cast is rounded out with a morgue attendant (Roy Hudd) providing comic relief, Mallinger’s manservant Granger (Kevin Stoney), and Inspector Quinnell’s daughter Meg (Vanessa Howard).

Your Grue Crew is unanimous in their opinion that the story has potential, but the film seems to be missing essential bits while at the same time, includes lengthy scenes with no apparent value. The Blood Beast Terror is directed by Vernon Sewell, known as a director of British B-movies, and written by Peter Bryan, who scripted such films as The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), and The Plague of the Zombies (1966). With those two filmmakers involved, it is difficult to see why the film feels so disjointed.

The saving grace of The Blood Beast Terror is Mr. Cushing’s acting and the film’s male and female versions of it’s monster. Jeff mentions that Mallinger’s manservant, Granger, looks more like a street thug than a butler and also wonders what’s up with the bird? According to Joseph, the entomological presentation Mallinger gives to his students is a spot on representation of a boring university lecture. Chad agrees that the low budget might have led to the missing chunks of the story. Even though the story seems to be missing pieces, Mike thinks the 88-minute run time feels much longer and points out the beginning of the film feels like three different movies, … and don’t forget the wiener dog. The entire Grue Crew thinks this film is ripe for a remake.

On this episode, the hosts also read listener feedback on the House of Wax (1953) episode from the Golden Age of Monster Movies FB Group: Steven Nevin, Leo Doroschenko, Viki Burns-Oexman, and Robert Browning; and the Horror News Radio FB Group: Albert Torres, Bill Gabriel, Jacob Allen, and John Slattery (for some reason, that name sounds familiar).

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Night of the Demon (1957), aka Curse of the Demon, selected by a Gruesome Magazine Patreon poll and hosted by Jeff Mohr, with guest host Jerry Chandler.

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, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

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