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Deep Red (1975) – Episode 77 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I can feel death in this room! I feel a presence, a twisted mind sending me thoughts! Perverted, murderous thoughts… Go away! You have killed! And you will kill again!” Are you talking to me? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Chad Lab – as they follow the clues delivered by Dario Argento in his giallo tour de force, Deep Red (1975).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 77 – Deep Red (1975)

Originally titled Profondo Rosso in Italy, also known as The Hatchet Murders in the U.S., Deep Red is written by Bernardino Zapponi and director Dario Argento. Gialli commonly feature a female lead, but in Deep Red, Argento went with a male lead, casting British actor David Hemmings in the role of Marcus Daly, who,from the square below, witnesses a murder taking place in a building window. Daly is drawn into the investigation and as the body count rises, he is aided by Daria Nicolodi as a reporter on the case. Other players include Daly’s friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia), Carlo’s mother (Clara Calamai), and a very disturbing little girl (Nicoletta Elmi).

This episode’s Grue Crew was split on which version they watched: Bill and Chad Lab saw the American version with over twenty minutes edited from the run time, while Doc and Jeff viewed the full length Italian version. It should go without saying, but here it is anyway: they are all very impressed with Argento’s Deep Red! Some of the giallo tropes present, such as a black-gloved killer, are pointed out by Bill, while Doc highlights Argento trademarks, for instance, the protagonist recalling clues from memory to unveil the killer’s identity. Chad Lab points out the tantalising red herring Argento serves up and on which he then feasted. Jeff loved the way the clues are doled out and how some of the early clues aren’t even recognized as such. Of course, they all love the Goblin soundtrack!

If you haven’t seen Deep Red, see it now! If you have seen it, watch it again! Doc and Jeff recommend the uncut version, but both versions are fine movies!

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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Burnt Offerings (1976) – Episode 76 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Oh yes, and this house will be here long, long after you have departed. You’ll believe me.” These ominous words turn out to be all too true for the summer renters of the Allardyce house. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a trip for a short summer stay with the Rolf family at the Allardyce house and encounter the horrors of Burnt Offerings (1976).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 76 – Burnt Offerings (1976)

Directed and co-written by Dan Curtis of Dark Shadows, Nightstalker, and Trilogy of Terror fame, Burnt Offerings is co-written by frequent Curtis-collaborator William F. Nolan, adapted from Robert Marasco’s novel of the same title. The film begins with the Rolf family – Marian (Karen Black). Ben (Oliver Reed), their son David (Lee Montgomery), and Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis) – arriving at their too-good-to-be-true summer rental. The family is greeted by the property’s brother and sister owners – Roz (Eileen Heckart) and Arnold (Burgess Meredith) Allardyce – and Walker (Dub Taylor), their handyman. The Allardyces explain to the Rolfs that their only duties during their summer stay are to keep up the house and property, and to feed Mother Allardyce, who will remain locked away and unseen in an upstairs bedroom. As soon as Roz, Arnold, and Walker leave for the summer, the house begins to have a very disturbing effect on each of the Rolfs.

Given that Curtis made his reputation in television, your Grue Crew marvel at the quality of the cast of this theatrical release.  Doc, Chad, and Jeff unabashedly love Burnt Offerings! On the other hand, Bill opines that haunted house films are not his thing, but even so, admits that Burnt Offerings is a pretty good example within its sub-genre. Doc expresses his appreciation for Karen Black’s performance and we discover that Chad has been a fan of Oliver Reed’s acting ever since Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), despite Reed’s legendary antics. The entire Grue Crew were freaked-out by the Hearse Driver/Chauffeur (Anthony James) that appears from Ben’s (and Dan Curtis’) childhood nightmares. As the show winds down, Jeff burns the remaining time to go all fanboy on William F. Nolan to the point that no one else can give their final thoughts.

Doc also reveals a guest appearance he made on Episode 107 of The Horror Returns Podcast on which they covered three films from 1978: The Manitou, Piranha, and Martin. They also give a special shout out to the late Santos Ellin Jr. and all he has done to promote the genre we love so much. You can find The Horror Returns on iTunes or at this link: The Horror Returns

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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Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) – Episode 75 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I wish the dead could come back to life, you bastard, so then I could kill you again!” Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a road trip to kick, examine, and generally disturb the sleeping corpses lying around in 1974’s Let Sleeping Corpses Lie.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 75 – Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Directed by Jorge Grau and written by Sandro Continenza and Marcello CosciaLet the Sleeping Corpses Lie pairs Edna Simmonds (Cristina Galbó) and George Meaning (Ray Lovelock) as two “accidental” companions traveling the English countryside during an ultrasonically created zombie apocalypse. Despite the SF-based zombie justification, a little schmear of blood on the eyelids of a fresh corpse inexplicably seems to  be a catalyst for the transformation of the corpse to the living dead. A throwback police inspector (Arthur Kennedy) decides our two protagonists are drug-crazed, hippie satanists who are the cause of all the local mayhem and sets out to prove it.

Don’t be surprised if the plot sounds familiar even though you don’t recognize the title. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a film that never saw a title it didn’t like. Depending on when and where it was released, it was also known as The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, aka Don’t Open the Window, aka Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue, aka Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead, aka Zombi 3, aka No profanar el sueño de los muertos, aka Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti, aka … well, you get the idea.

Bill Mulligan and Chad Hunt put Let Sleeping Corpses Lie in their lists of top 10 zombie films. As a first time viewer, Jeff Mohr found the mausoleum scene to be particularly horrifying while Doc Rotten points out the finale as the hospital is another key scene. Suffice it to say, the entire Grue Crew see Let Sleeping Corpses Lie as a very influential film and heartily recommend it. If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?

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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Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) – Episode 74 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“His brain came from a genius. His body came from a killer. His soul came from hell!” It should have worked, right? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they step into the asylum for a session with Dr. Victor, aka Baron von Frankenstein, in Hammer’s last Frankenstein film, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell!

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 74 – Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)

Written by Anthony Hinds, as John Elder, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell continues the stitched-together, Hammer Horror chronicle of Victor Frankenstein, currently “imprisoned” in an insane asylum. Even though considered an inmate, Frankenstein has blackmailed the deviant Asylum Director (John Stratton) and is now running the asylum and using the inmates to continue his experiments. He is aided in his work by a new inmate and Frankenstein fanboy, Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant); and a mute young woman named Sarah (Madeline Smith).

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell marks several milestones in the Hammer canon. It is the last of their Frankenstein films and the last time Peter Cushing plays Frankenstein. Signalling the end of error, this is also the last film directed by Terence Fisher, a true horror icon.

Chad, though a little irked at the monster design when first viewed, came to appreciate its uniqueness and was horrified by the especially gruesome way the monster meets his end. Bill proclaims that through the wisdom gained with old age, he now realizes Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell is a masterpiece and places it among his Top 10 Hammer Horror films. Doc reminds us that David Prowse, playing the monster for the second time, is most remembered for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Being the relative Hammer novice of the bunch, Jeff announces his love for this film. It probably goes without saying your Grue Crew members are all unabashed lovers of all things Peter Cushing, but it had to be said anyway.

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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Silent Running (1972) – Episode 73 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Amazing companions on an incredible adventure… that journeys beyond imagination!” the tagline for Silent Running promises a sci-fi spectacle but the film is instead a rather intimate tale of astronaut Freeman Lowell descending into madness. Director Douglas Trumbull’s space-epic is perhaps better known for the three small drones, Huey, Duey, and Luey. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they join Bruce Dern on his adventures aboard the Valley Forge.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 73 – Silent Running (1972)

Written by the impressive team of Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, and Steven Bochco, Silent Running has a lot to say between the lines. While the film focuses upon its lead character, Freeman Lowell as played by Bruce Dern, the story dives into environmental and corporate politics, theories, and dire warnings of a not-to-distant future doomed to set Earth on a collision course with disaster. Visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, steps behind the camera to guide the spectacular visuals, some of which, were borrowed from unused scenes for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). His creation of the three drones would fascinate audiences in 1972 and directly influence the famous droids seen George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977). Silent Running, despite is calculated pacing, is an influential film that bridges the gap between 2001 and Star Wars.

Sharing their thoughts about the film, the Grue-Crew relive the first time they saw the film back in the 1970s – Jeff in the theater, Doc on TV, and Bill later on video in college. Bill’s take is based more of the political nature of the film, while Doc is focused on Bruce Dern and the drones. Chad and Jeff admire the film’s visual excellent and careful storytelling. Doc shares his experience seeing the film for the first time in nearly 40 years on the big screen at the FantasticRealm Film Series at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC. Regardless of their take, the Grue-Crew agree the film is important to film history and rise of science fiction film.

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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Phase IV (1974) – Episode 72 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“The Day The Earth Was Turned Into A Cemetery!” the tagline for Phase IV promises a horror film the heady, occasionally trippy, sci-fi film cannot live up to. Yet, the film succeeds in establishing dread and exposing mankind’s fragile relationship with nature and the planet. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they face an attack of killer ants who burrow into their fears.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 72 – Phase IV (1974)

In the early Seventies, every studio had their Sci-Fi epic, a version of their own 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Paramount wanted one too. What they got was Saul Bass’s horror/sci-fi oddity Phase IV. Bass, better known for creating memorable title sequences for films such as Psycho, North by Northwest, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, brings a distinct artist’s touch to the film giving it a heady, trippy aesthetic that makes the film stand out from the crowd. Sadly, the film did not connect with 1974 audiences, but the film has gained a cult following.  The cast includes Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy, and Lynne Frederick as they face an army of intelligent ants of various kinds uniting to take over humanity.

Having never seen the film, Doc Rotten was able to finally catch Phase IV at a theatrical screening at the FantasticRealm Film Series. Having listened to The Black Saint and Bill Mulligan champion the film episode after episode, this was a must, as was including it on the Decades of Horror schedule. Now he can join Bill and Jeff Mohr in discussing the film’s use of “nature” style film to chronicle the ants’ attack on the desert community, it’s distinctive set-design, and much of the movie’s haunting imagery. The slow pace of the film builds towards a chilling and provocative conclusion that only Saul Bass could provide.

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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Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) – Episode 71 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What he doesn’t know about vampirism wouldn’t fill a flea’s codpiece.” Wow! He must know a lot about vampires, right? Of course the quote is referring to this episode’s subject. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they feint, parry, and lunge along with this vampire swashbuckler Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter from Hammer Films.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 71 – Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

After killing his mother and sister when they became vampires, Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) has dedicated his life to hunting vampires. As Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter begins, Kronos is summoned by his old friend Dr. Marcus (John Carson) when young women in his village have the life sucked out of them, their corpses looking like old women. Kronos arrives with Grost (John Cater), his hunchbacked partner, and Carla (Caroline Munro), a young woman they rescued from a pillory along the way. (No dancing on Sunday!) After dispatching a multitude of ne’er do wells while demonstrating his master swordsmanship, Kronos and his comrades zero in on the Durward family and their matriarch (Wanda Ventham) as the probable source of the vampire, even as more women die.

Known primarily for his writing, Brian Clemens adds the director’s chair to his duties for Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter for only the second time in his career and his only feature film. Filmed in 1972 but not released until 1974, the film reveals a studio in decline. The film was intended to be the first of a new series but after an inadequate marketing campaign and a dismal performance at the box office, the idea was scrapped.

The Grue Crew admits Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter has some problems. Chad thinks the idea has promise, but isn’t executed very well. Doc admits having trouble staying awake during the middle section, but loves the setup and the finale. According to Bill, there could have been better insults than calling the bad guys Ratface, Fatty, and Big Mouth. Jeff has questions about some of the details in the story and feels there are gaps in the exposition, both in the showing and the telling.

Despite its flaws, the Grue Crew highly recommends Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter as part of the Hammer Films canon. This version of a vampire film has a lot to offer – a swashbuckling vampire hunter, Caroline Munro, a spaghetti western style showdown, Caroline Munro, burying dead toads for vampires to bestrode, Caroline Munro, Kronos with a bag over his head, Caroline Munro, and don’t forget Caroline Munro. No matter what, Chad wants to make sure you don’t forget Caroline Munro. Come on Chad! Who can forget Caroline Munro?

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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The Oily Maniac (1976) – Episode 70 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Dig a big hole in the middle of the house?” It might sound crazy, but if you really want to become an oily maniac, that’s how the instructions begin. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan – as they slide their way through the pros and cons of The Oily Maniac.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 70 – The Oily Maniac (1976)

The Oily Maniac, aka You gui zi, is a Shaw Brothers production directed by Meng Hua Ho and written by Lam Chua. Starring Danny Lee, Ping Chen, and Lily Li, the film tells the story of Shen Yuan, a crippled man who pledges to protect the daughter of a man in prison. The woman’s father implores Shen Yuan to copy the tattoo on his back and to use the spell it describes to protect his daughter. Soon Shen Yuan is forced to invoke the tattoo’s spell and is transformed into … the oily maniac, an avenging superhero or a monster, depending on your point of view.

Doc Rotten often proclaims his love of (or should we say obsession with?) Asian horror films, so it should be no surprise that he brought The Oily Maniac to the Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew’s attention. Chad points out the cheezy costume looking like it’s dipped in oil, the exposed beating heart, and its teeth. Jeff mentions a vague similarity to The Greasy Strangler (2016) and Doc points out that the director of The Greasy Strangler lists The Oily Maniac as inspiration. Doc also loved the monster’s scream and the way it tried to do kung fu, slinging oily maniac goo around and then turning into a swimming goo-puddle, traveling to the theme of Jaws.

Bill did not appreciate the “exploity” nature of the film in regards to female nudity and rape, and would’ve enjoyed the film more if it was less sleazy. The rest of the crew agrees that it was uncomfortably exploitive and that the gratuitous sex and rape scenes prevalent in 70s grindhouse films like The Oily Maniac are even harder to view today.

The Grue Crew recommends the cheesy monster scenes in The Oily Maniac but it is not for everyone.

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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Salem’s Lot (1979) – Episode 69 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Open the window, Mark. Please! Let me in! It’s OK, Mark, I’m your friend. He commands it!” If a floating Glick boy ever says this to you, no matter what, don’t open the window!  Doc Rotten is off on assignment for this episode, but regular hosts Jeff Mohr, Bill Mulligan, and Chad Hunt are joined by Joey Fittos, the Thug with a Mug, as they travel to the not-so-quaint and disturbing New England village of Salem’s Lot to discuss the equally disturbing 1979 miniseries, Salem’s Lot.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 69 – Salem’s Lot (1979)

The literary juggernaut known as Stephen King had already made the book-to-movie transition with Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) when Warner Brothers Television decided to adapt ‘Salem’s Lot, King’s second novel, to the TV miniseries format. Horror icon Tobe Hooper was enlisted to direct as was Paul Monash to provide the screenplay adaptation of King’s novel for an all star cast that includes James Mason, David Soul, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Reggie Nalder, Geoffrey Lewis, George Dzundza, Julie Cobb, Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Fred Willard, Ed Flanders, Kenneth McMillan, and more. The result was Salem’s Lot, a now legendary, 2-part miniseries first broadcast November 1979 on CBS.

Each of this episode’s Grue Crew viewed Salem’s Lot during its premiere broadcast. Joey proclaims Salem’s Lot as one of his all time favorite horror films. Bill also loved it, but was a little put out by specific scenes present in King’s novel that are not included in the miniseries. David Soul (Starsky and Hutch, 1975-79) as the star gave Jeff some misgivings prior to seeing the film and he was annoyed at first by the changes made in the transformation of his beloved ‘Salem’s Lot (the book) into Salem’s Lot (the movie). It didn’t take long, however, for him to be won over by what was, in truth, an excellent horror film. Chad, along with Joey and Bill, in hindsight, saw definite similarities between Salem’s Lot and Fright Night (1985).

The film’s over 3-hour runtime is surprisingly even-paced and despite the length, the viewer is never caught wondering how much time is left. Scenes that have been frozen in your grue Crew’s nightmares are discussed, including, but not limited to, the floating Glick boys and Geoffrey Lewis in a rocking chair. The story is so well told, there are several unscary scenes that are memorable for their dialogue or visual impact alone. Salem’s Lot gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the whole Crew.

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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The Mutations (1974) – Episode 68 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature…… it can be HORRIFYING!” the overzealous tagline for The Mutations (1974), aka The Freakmaker, promises a monster film for the ages. To be fair, some stills from the film of the main “Venus-fly-trap” monster may back up that claim. However, most of the Grue Crew may beg to differ. And, then, there’s Bill. Doc Rotten and Jeff Mohr are joined by Chad Hunt and Bill Mulligan to discuss this nearly forgotten British gem. Special guest host Adam Thomas settles in to help put Donald Pleasence in his place.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 68 – The Mutations (1974)

Learning that Vincent Price was the first actor cast as Professor Nolter in JackCardiff’s The Mutations puts a lot of that role into perspective. With Donald Pleasence (Halloween) settling into the part in Price’s place leaves all the necessary scene chewing off the cuff. But, hey, we still love as much Donald Pleasence as we can get. The fan-favorite fourth Doctor, Tom Baker (The Vault of Horror, Doctor Who) plays Lynch, Nolter’s “henchmen” who continually gathers the mad scientist victims for his evil experiments…all in hopes that the good doctor will cure him of his deformities. In a subplot. Lynch is also the leader of a troop of “freaks” (as they are called in the film) who entertain patrons at a local amusement sideshow. Enter in a group of Nolter’s students who get in the way of the madman’s plot, including Julie Ege (The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires) as Hedi. Before you know it, Hedi’s friend Tony (Scott Anthony) is kidnapped by Lynch and turned into a horrific monster by Nolter. Chaos ensues. Hurray!

Both Doc and Bill fondly remember reading about The Mutations in Famous Monsters in the Seventies but were unable to catch the film until much later. Bill a decade or so ago, but Doc only this week for this show. Both were eager to watch the film to discuss here on Decades of Horror along with Chad and guest host Adam Thomas. However, while the finale is fun with the monster finally set loose and on the rampage, the plot meanders through each of its loosely connected subplots. Bill still champions the film while Adam curses Doc’s name. Oh, dear. There’s plenty to discuss, speculate, demonize, and enjoy with The Mutations and the Grue Crew cover it all.

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.