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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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The Creeping Flesh (1973) – Episode 51– Decades of Horror 1970s

“Unfortunately, in the state of society, as it exists today, we are not permitted to experiment on human beings. Normal human beings.” – Christopher Lee’s line in The Creeping Flesh (1973) sets up the odd tone of the film. Let the fun begin! The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s. Joining the grue-crew is Gruesome Magazine contributor and the host of Decades of Horror The Classic Era Jeff Mohr. Rounding out the co-hosts this episode is Chad Hunt, Jeff’s frequent co-conspirator on the Classic Era, joining the usual crew to discuss another awesome collaboration between horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 51 – The Creeping Flesh (1973)

Anytime we get to cover a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee film, Doc is happy as a clam. The Creeping Flesh, despite its many flaws, lands in the win column for the good doctor. Jeff is equally delighted with the film, as is Chad regardless of his reservations. The Black Saint, however, is not thrilled with The Creeping Flesh one bit. He often challenges the group to back up their love for this oddball film. It isn’t easy. The film has wonky pacing, illogical character decisions, bizarre side storylines that distract from the main tale, and not nearly enough of the title character. The Grew-Crew fear that many horror fans will side with The Black Saint on this one unless they are a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee completist.

From time to time The Creeping Flesh scores with great acting from the two horror icons and typical high standards with costuming and set design. The creature’s skeleton is quite marvelous as well, large and fascinating. The creeping flesh element of the film – however brief – is a highlight. And while actress Lorna Heilbron scores with Jeff Mohr her character’s motivations for the final act come under question from the Grue-Crew. And, as often stated, whenever Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee share the screen, the film becomes immediately more entertaining. And, for those who love their Hammer Films, The Creeping Flesh comes complete with a brief, but welcomed, appearance from the one-and-only Michael Ripper. There’s always that!

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Tales from the Crypt (1972) – Episode 8 Decades of Horror 1970s

“You were cruel and mean right from the start, now you can truly say you have no heart.” Peter Cushing as Arthur Grimsdyke leaves a horrifying Valentines card for his murderers in Poetic Justice, one of the fantastic stories in the classic Amicus Anthology film Tales from the Crypt (20172). Inspired by the EC Comics in the fifties, Milton Subotsky pens a memorable, creepy tome featuring a deadly Santa, an antique with a deadly touch, a maze of death and more.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 8 – Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Tales from the Crypt is not the first horror anthology, it is not even the first from the British film company Amicus, but it may be the best remembered – if not, it should be. Drawing inspiration directly from the horror comics two decades earlier, the film ties together five short tales with a wrap around story featuring the Crypt Keeper. The Black Saint and Doc recap and review each story praising Peter Cushing in Poetic Justice and the creative revenge found in Blind Alleys. The film is responsible for inspiring two sequels, Vault of Horror and From Beyond the Grave, a loving tribute from Stephen King and George Romero with Creepshow and an HBO television that elevated the Crypt Keeper to a modern horror icon.

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 theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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