Halloween (1978) – Episode 82 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“I met this… six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and… the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes.” There’s absolutely no doubt you know who says that and who he is talking about. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they prepare for 2018’s neo-sequel by taking a nostalgic, but fear-filled trip back to Haddonfield and the first time he came back. Yup, it’s the big one. They’re talking Halloween (1978).

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 82 – Halloween (1978)

Whether or not you knew about John Carpenter before the release of Halloween, you certainly knew about him after its release. There have been a total of 10 Halloween films, 9 of which include the fellow with the “blank, pale, emotionless face, and … the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes,” but the first one is by far the best.

Carpenter’s and Debra Hill’s script takes its time developing a place in time and space and with people that feel familiar and even comfortable, making the presence of The Shape all the more menacing. Establishing the characters and relationships of the three girls – Jamie Lee CurtisP.J. Soles, and Nancy Kyes – adds to the familiarity and comfortableness of the world the filmmakers have created. Donald Pleasence’s performance as Dr. Loomis exponentially ramps up the feelings of dread and Nick Castle’s performance as The Shape reinforces the idea of the presence of pure evil. Combine the script and the acting with Carpenter’s direction, his landmark, chill-inducing score, and Dean Cundey’s cinematography, and Halloween becomes one of the top horror films of the 1970s.

Of course, the members of the Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew shout their praises for Halloween. Chad is impressed by Jamie Lee Curtis’ portrayal of Laurie Strode as the somewhat shy, good hearted girl without a boyfriend who obviously isn’t very experienced at smoking pot, but is a formidable opponent for The Shape. Jeff points out the time the filmmakers take to create suspense and dread, for example, Laurie’s 90-second walk across the street to come to her girlfriends’ aid. Cundey’s and Carpenter’s shot construction and camera movement earn Bill’s admiration. For Doc, it’s also about the time taken for each kill, building tension to the breaking point.

Yes, the lot of them slobbered and drooled their appreciation and love all over Halloween throughout the podcast. What did you expect? Frankly, this classic deserves a few more viewings in preparation for its new sequel, Halloween (2018).

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In the Mouth of Madness (1995) – Episode 39 – Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“Do you read Sutter Cane?” It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Well, everyone except John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator out to find the truth. Always has the upper hand on any situation, including the disappearance of mmega-successfulhorror author Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow). Of course, the world of Cane has so much more to reveal to Trent. Sights that may just make his head explode into a million pieces… or just wander in an endless existence. Whatever is the will of the Elder Gods behind it all. Join us as we sink further In the Mouth of Madness for Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 39 – In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

In the Mouth of Madness was quite the departure for John Carpenter. Coming of the heels of the disastrous turn to comedy that was Memoirs of the Invisible Man, this Lovecraftian dip into unimaginable horror wasn’t quite what usually fit the image of Carpenter’s filmography. Then again, maybe it did? The mysterious terror of Halloween‘s “The Shape”, the cosmic unknown realms of Prince of Darkness and the underground society of those controlling us in They Live have Lovecraftian themes. In the Mouth of Madness just made it all the more literal with direct references to the works of HP Lovecraft and some demonic Eldrich Gods added into the mix.

To comment on all of this madness, Thomas Mariani inlists Caitlin Turner, Adam Thomas and Paul Cardullo to talk In the Mouth of Madness. It’s a Lovecraftian Lovefest as the four all praise this as one of Carpenter’s more underrated works. Paul praises the lack of what we see from the monsters. Adam considers Sam Neill’s performance to be only second to Jurassic Park. Caitlin praises the ability to adapt Lovecraft without being a direct adaptation. Thomas is just staring deep into Sutter Cane’s blue dueling pupils. Visit Caitlin’s book blog mentioned in the show here and about The Hateful Life and Spiteful Death of The Man who Was Vigo the Carpathian here.

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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

The Others (2001)


The Fog (1980) – Episode 122 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“You are weird. Thank God you’re weird. The last one was so normal, it was disgusting.” Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis) loves herself some weirdos. Including the weirdest man of all: Tom Atkins without a mustache! Halloween is getting pretty foggy for Decades of Horror 1980s as they one of the first horror films of the decade: John Carpenter’s The Fog. Hopefully, our intrepid hosts can avoid being sucked in the misty moors of Antonio Bay in time for the 100th-anniversary celebration. Or, the very least, with enough time to catch Stevie Wayne’s (Adrienne Barbeau) late-night broadcast. Join us as the Halloween Haunts season ends!

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 122 – The Fog (1980)

The Fog is pretty interesting on a career path level for Carpenter. Post the major success of Halloween, but before he would rule the 1980s with a varying amount of genre work. The Fog sticks out a bit more. A ghost story without much gore, inst of ad using atmosphere to build up the tension rather than excessive violence that would color the slasher craze later that very year. It’s an ethereal spooky example of how to build up the environment of Antonio Bay, allowing for silhouettes of the monsters to play horrific tricks on our eyes and creep us out just when it’s too late.

To discuss everything The Fog, Christopher G. Moore, Doc Rotten and Thomas Mariani discuss everything in the misty moors that remain unseen. They debate the effectiveness of some of these characters, how much this is a Carpenter movie and ask where the ghost of Atkins’ moustache really is. Plus, they wonder just how American Christopher Lee could possibly be. It’s a spooky Halloween edition you won’t want to miss! Stay in and tune the radio from Stevie Wayne’s channel to hear it all!

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

Also, don’t forget our Patreon Poll where people who contribute as low as $1 a month can pick the second episode of Decades of Horror 1980s! Voting ends November 5th.

Next Episode

The Beyond (1981)


Christine (1983) – Episode 110 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car. She’s real sensitive.” Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is rather protective of his 1957 Plymouth Fury named Christine. He worked hard to restore it, pretty much rebuilding it from the ground up. Arnie doesn’t appreciate when people mince words in front of her. Or worse, lay an unprovoked finger on her person. Then again, Arnie doesn’t need to do a thing. Christine speaks for herself. And her words are deadly.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 110 – Christine (1983)

After a prologue set in 1957 showing the deadly origins of Christine, we flash forward to our main action set in 1978. Arnie is a stock nerd archetype, to the point of cramping the new-found coolness of his best friend Dennis (John Stockwell). He’s on the football team while Arnie is playing Scrabble with his parents. After getting beaten up by the school bullies, Arnie finally catches a break when he finds Christine. While initially a junkpile, Arnie manages to restore this junked up car to its former glory. Mainly thanks to the generosity of junkyard owner Will Darnell (Robert Prosky). As Arnie spends more time restoring his new car, he slowly becomes more confident and cool. He even manages to bag the most popular girl in school Leigh (Alexandra Paul). But that confidence grows into aggressiveness, showing that the car might have an influence over Arnie. The charm works both ways, however, as the now sentient Christine is hell-bent on destroying the bullies that came between her and her man.

Doc Rotten, Christopher G. Moore, and Thomas Mariani have plenty to weigh on with this early Stephen King adaptation. While not the most popular film from director John Carpenter, the three praise his ability to turn a job-for-hire into an efficient horror film. There’s praise for the soundtrack selection that gives the car a personality. A few varying opinions on whether or not Keith Gordon’s transformation feels earned. Even a mutual distaste for the rather flat performance by Alexandra Paul. There are also plenty of burning questions about Christine. Does serve as a prequel to Pixar’s Cars? How did Carpenter’s team pull off those car effects shots? Would a modern-day Arnie be explicitly sexually attracted to his car? All of these are answered to the best of these three’s knowledge this episode!

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They Live (1988) – Episode 103 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Nada (Rowdy Roddy Piper) comes out of his consumer coma and is ready to blow some aliens away. The satirical sci-fi actioner from horror master John Carpenter is a schlocky example of 80s cheese… with an actual brain behind it?

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 103 – They Live (1988)

They Live is a bit of a departure for Decades of Horror, given the bigger emphasis on sci-fi and action. Yet, what’s more, horrifying than realizing you live in a dystopian world ruled by cruel uncaring overlords that trick you in a commercialized sense of ignorance? Well… actually living in that world on a daily basis. Yes, Carpenter’s jab at Reagan-era politics still permeates our culture. After all, how many celebrities have been turned into a They Live-style alien to indicate the media obsessed world we live in is all consuming? Unfortunately, we don’t have a Rowdy Roddy Piper to suplex the corporate overlords into submission. But hopefully, this and many generations to come can be inspired by Piper’s lack of hesitation in taking out those that stand in the way of American progress. Or at the very least admire the stamina it takes for him to kick the crap out of Fred Armitage (Keith David) in order to see the truth via his sunglasses.

Luckily, three people here are in awe of Roddy’s prowess. Thomas and Christopher G. Moore return to gush about this 1988 John Carpenter film but are unfortunately short a Doc Rotten to help them out. Luckily, a nomadic drifter has decided to take his place around the fiery trashcan. That is Gruesome Magazine’s own Adam Thomas, a man who knows his wrestling as much as he knows his horror and genre filmmaking. Together, these three gushes about the infamous fight scene between David & Piper, spotlight the vulnerability under Piper’s performance and marvel with disturbed regret at They Live‘s lasting political relevance. It’s a damn good time that’s pretty contemplative when you look past the brute force and one-liners.

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 We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin’” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.


Monster Movie Podcast – Episode 63 – Halloween III

Ormon Grimsby joins the Monster Movie Podcast for episode 63 as the show begins a year-long exploration into the horror films and monster movies of the 1980’s beginning with the overlooked and often hated, but lately adored, 1982 flick, Halloween III Season of the Witch. Ormon shares with Doc some of the little gems buried in the film along with some of the hilarious and entertaining inconsistencies that make the film a delight to watch – as long as you can leave the direct association with the Michael Myers slashers films behind. Episode 63 is now available at

Monster Movie Podcast
Episode 63 – Halloween III Season of the Witch
(83min, 38.84MB)
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