The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond

“EUREKA! This year, Christmas will be OURS!” Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) makes his proclamation to the citizens of Halloweentown. The holiday he just discovered will be his to mold and reshape into something spooky. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday classic for every horror fan. Director Tim Bur-er, I mean Henry Selick gives this stop-motion world a chance to breathe and live for the limited run time. It was a movie Disney didn’t believe in upon initial release, yet it’s become a massive merchandising bonanza. How? Well, Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond is gonna do the best it can to explain that.

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 32 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare Before Christmas – based on the poem written by Tim Burton during his days as a Disney animator – follows Jack, The Pumpkin King. Leader of Halloweentown and the symbol all others judge themselves against, Jack feels empty inside. The annual Halloween celebration has turned him into a depressed skeleton man who wanders into the alternate world of Christmas Town. Inspired by the unique holiday qualities, Jack decides to take Santa’s place for Christmas. All while the patchwork girl Sally (Catherine O’Hara) tries to stop him. It’s all done in a musical stop-motion animation style so gorgeous it got the film a Best Special Effects Oscar nomination.

All this is discussed 24 audio frames at a time by Thomas Mariani and his guests Christopher G. Moore, Caitlin Turner and Scott Johnson. All are here to discuss Nightmare Before Christmas as a highly influential watermark for animation in general. Henry Selick’s visuals would bring us the films of LAIKA. Pixar is credited for the computer effects. Tim Burton has ripped this off with Corpse Bride. There’s also plenty of big questions asked. Is this a Halloween or Christmas movie? What is the relationship between Sally and Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey)? Would Hot Topic survive without Nightmare Before Christmas? Listen to find out!

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The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Dog Soldiers (2002)


Child’s Play (1988) – Episode 117 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“Hi, I’m Chucky. Wanna Play?” Chucky (Brad Dourif) – a doll possessed by the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray – is one angry little dude. Stuck in a plastic body trying to find a flesh one to return to, Chucky has to dupe a young boy named Andy (Alex Vincent) into transporting him around to extract his revenge. Yet, it’s all simply treated as Child’s Play. But how playful will the Grue Crew be about this particular toy phenomenon? You’ll just have to see how nice our boys play.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 117 – Child’s Play (1988)

Chucky is the last of the iconic slashers from the 80s era. Coming off the heels of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees, Chucky had more of a way with words like the former rather than the latter. A foul-mouthed doll that had the voice of a slimier Jack Nicholson impersonator. He may be little, but did he pack a punch. Child’s Play was a major success, playing on the modern Cabbage Patch Kids and My Buddy doll crazes of the age with a sinister edge. Child’s Play started one of the stranger horror franchises ever, but we wouldn’t have the funnier antics that involve Tiffany without this one to set the groundwork.

To discuss all of this, Thomas Mariani brought along his own Goody Guy Doll, Chris…topher G. Moore! The two discuss the context of the late 80s boom in child advertising and how it impacts the world of the Child’s Play universe. Despite the seedy underpinnings, the two revel in the sweetness of the adorable Vincent and his struggling single mom Hicks. The two build a solid base that Chucky try to chip away at with his Good Guy hammer. Plus, there are plenty of comparisons to talking dolls old & new, the direction of the Child’s Play franchise and whether or not the special effects hold up that well. There’s plenty to discuss with this small package, but just you wait until that toy bursts out of its box.

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We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at or

Special thanks to Neon Devils for their awesome song Bone Chillin!

Next Episode

Hellraiser (1987)



Fright Night (1985) – Episode 109 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“Welcome to Fright Night. For Real!” Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) welcomes a few guests into his home. Shame they welcomed him into their own. Fright Night is one of the more beloved examples of vampire films in the 1980s. Respecting the older examples while adding more than a few hallmarks that entered the vampire lexicon in the years that followed. Fright Night was an auspicious debut for director/writer Tom Holland. How does this film-of-its-era hold up to modern scrutiny? There’s only one way to find out… via your ear-holes!

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 109 – Fright Night (1985)

Fright Night has a love for the classics. Then again, that’s a given with it’s lead Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) being such a fan of old school horror. He loves watching Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) hosting the nightly edition of Fright Night. To the point of ignoring his girlfriend Amy’s (Amanda Bearse) advances. However, it may seem like Charley’s love for the macabre may be getting the best of him when he sees his new neighbor Jerry feasting on young flesh. The entire neighborhood doesn’t believe him, except for his clingy overexcited friend Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys). Things become abundantly more clear as Peter Vincent becomes involved, realizing that Jerry doesn’t even have a reflection! What a Fright Night indeed.

Joining Doc Rotten, Christopher and Thomas this time is Gruesome Magazine writer Joey Fittos, who puts Fright Night in his own top 10 films of all time. The four discuss the various aspects that keep Fright Night relevant to this day. The effects work lives up to modern scrutiny. Any moment of dated 80s cheese works to the thematics at play. Even the subtextual queer elements are up for grabs, given this is a story of people trying to belong. It’s a packed discussion that shows just how varied and wonderful Fright Night truly is as a film! After all, no matter how annoying Evil Ed may get, he still thinks Brewster is “so cool!”

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The Sentinel (1977) – Episode 7 Decades of Horror 1970s

“She Is Young, She Is Beautiful, She is Next…She’s Living in the Gateway to Hell” The tag line for The Sentinel (1977) gives away the darkest secret of the big budgeted, big release horror film from Michael Winner based on the hit novel from Jeffrey Konvitz. The cast is insane and the effects are from the legendary Dick Smith.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 7 – The Sentinel (1977)

For The Sentinel, Doc Rotten and The Black Saint are joined by North Carolina writer/directory/fxartist Bill (400 Ways to Kill a Vampire, A Few Brains More) Mulligan to discuss the overlooked classic from 1977. If nothing else, the cast itself in impressive: Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Ava Gardner & Burgess Meredith, with Martin Balsam, John Carradine, Jose Ferrer, Arthur Kennedy, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger, William Hickey. A who’s who of Hollywood then and now. The film is also notorious for the controversy surrounding the use of real “freaks” for the finale that spawned protests and discouraging reviews upon its release. Still the film has a horrific and genuinely frightening scene that places it at number 46 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments (2004).

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 or

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