Dead Alive (1992) – Episode 10 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“I kick ass for the Lord!” Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) kicks some zombie ass in the defining example of ‘divine intervention.’ Peter Jackson’s cult classic Dead Alive (or Braindead for international audiences) has been a mainstay of the zombie genre for 25 years. The zany horror/comedy takes the example of Sam Raimi and builds layer upon layer of creative creature effects & gallons upon gallons of gore. His early splatstick style might not have gotten him Academy level prestige, but it made Jackson a key figure in the evolution of zombie cinema. Now, armed with a lawnmower and a tarp, Thomas and his co-hosts are out to get to the meat of what makes Dead Alive endure for as long as it has.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 10 – Dead Alive (1992)

Set in 1957 New Zealand, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is a momma’s boy, under the strict thumb of his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). He looks after her enormous house and does her every whim, without a single bit of time for himself. Even when Lionel tries to take the lovely local market girl Pequita (Diana Peñalver) out on a date to the local zoo, she has to tag along. Unfortunately, this zoo trip turns dire as a rabid Sumatran Rat Monkey from the monkey exhibit bites Vera and catch a zombie virus that slowly degenerates her condition. Lionel tries to keep her upright, only for her to crave human flesh. Even after her funeral, Vera’s lust for carnage ravages this small New Zealand town, which Lionel tries to keep contained in his house as he keeps a nurse, a greaser punk and a preacher who have been bitten and transformed by his mother in the basement. This comedy of errors escalates further as Lionel’s misogynistic idiot Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) blackmails him into his mother’s inheritance and celebrates with a party at the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas is joined by returning guests Sam Brutuxan and Christopher G. Moore to discuss this early example of Peter Jackson’s extensive ambition. The variety of zombie creatures, endlessly creative camera tricks and stunning displays of gore mastery still impress to this day, showing off the extensive world building and incredibly detailed madness that would be needed to bring Middle Earth to the big screen less than a decade later. The trio praise Dead Alive for its ability to be an homage to everything from King Kong to Evil Dead, while at the same time carving a new path towards cult fame. They revel in all their favorite zombie character, from the zombie baby Lionel throttles with to Void the greaser’s personified gastrointestinal tract. It’s a love fest all around, with Christopher clamoring it as his favorite zombie film of all time.

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 1990s podcast hosts at or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.


The Frighteners (1996) – Episode 3 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“When a man’s jawbone drops off it’s time to reassess the situation,” a declaration from Judge (John Astin) that says it all. No, you’re not the only one seeing ghosts and haunted houses in your small town. So is Thomas Mariani as he brings you another trip into the horror filled decade that is the 1990s.

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 03 – The Frighteners (1996)

Right at the crossroads between his low budget splatstick films and his massive budgets epics, director Peter Jackson gave us the perfect crossover of aesthetics with The Frighteners. While not a hit at the time, the film gave Peter Jackson his chance to adapt The Lord of the Rings. Sure, this couldn’t be more different from the story of Hobbits trying to stop evil, but The Frighteners showed off the technical gumption that would be necessary for tackling Middle Earth. The story of Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), a private investigator who can communicate with ghosts, trying to stop a mysterious string of murders that might be supernatural is one filled with equal parts horror and comedy. Bannister and his ghost pals – including former gangster Cyrus (Chi McBride) and Judge (John Astin) – try to con people into paranormal investigation jobs, but can they truly fight against mortal enemies like Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs) or the ghostly Reaper?

Joining Thomas to discuss all the laughs and frights is another new voice outside of The Grue Crew for everyone to hear. His name is Jordan Worth Cobb, a filmmaker and writer who loves Jackson’s odd take on the supernatural. Together, they talk about the still impressive effects work, the gorgeous horror atmosphere and the underrated acting chops of Michael J. Fox. If you’re curious to hear more from Jordan, you can check out his twitter @JoWoCo and his writing on Don’t Hate The Geek for all his pop culture thoughts.

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 1990s podcast hosts at or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Episode 90 – Horror News Radio

Peter Jackson is finally done with his Middle Earth epic series of films with The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies as the adaptation of The Hobbit from J. R. R. Tolkien. For horror fans, keep on the look out for another appearance of horror legend Christopher Lee. The HNR crew chime in with widely opposing views about how successful and enjoyable the film may be. Join HNR for a lively spoiler filled review.

Doc shares the horror news of the week with news about Billie Whitelaw, Justin Lin directing Star Trek 3 and Hannibal Season 3. Thomas is excited to discuss the UK hit holiday genre special The Black Mirror Christmas Special.

Co-hosts Doc RottenSantos (The Black Saint) Ellin Jr., Dave Dreher, Thomas Mariani and Vixen, the voice of reason, are back again this week to give you the best in horror as they recap, review and obliterate all that is horror this week!

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Episode 90 – The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies – The Black Mirror Christmas Special
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Review: The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014) 

The final film in The Hobbit trilogy picks up directly where The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug left off with the dragon hammering down on Lake Town where Luke Evans takes down the beast. But his victory comes too late, and the townsfolk follow him to the foot of The Lonely Mountain where Thorin suffers from “dragon sickness” guarding his treasure. Before it all ends, there are orcs, goblins, a dwarf prince on a giant pig, elves, bats, mountain worms and – to The Black Saint’s surprise and elation – large eagles dropping bears into the battle.


What Have You Been Watching: The Black Mirror Christmas Special 

Thomas is thrilled to review the latest holiday special to the highly regarded UK “Twilight Zone” anthology series, The Black Mirror Christmas Special. Jon Hamm leads the cast in a show that explores the sinister side of technology in fascinating and inventive ways. Check it out with Thomas’ highest recommendation.

Horror News of the Week for 12/22/2014 

Doc steps in to bring you the Horror News of the Week with news of Hannibal Season 3 recasting a key supporting – or, is that guest – role: Mason Verger. Michael Pitt is out and Joe Anderson is in. Sad news follows with the passing of Billie Whitelaw who made a lasting impression as Mrs. Baylock in The Omen (1976). Last up is news that Justin Lin from The Fast and the Furious franchise is now in the director’s chair for Star Trek 3.

Doc Rotten: twitter @doc_rotten, letterboxd DocRotten
Dave Dreher: facebook drehershouseofhorrors, twitter @savinifan
Santos (The Black Saint) Ellin Jr.: facebook theblacksainthnn, twitter @tbssaysyou, letterboxd TheBlackSaint
Thomas Mariani: twitter @notthewhostommy. , letterboxd SilentTom
Vixen: twitter @purevixen44

Horror News Radio

Special thanks and a big shout out goes to the band Tear Out The Heart and Victory Records for allowing HorrorNews.Net to sample music from their single Undead Anthem for the podcast’s intro and outro theme music. Check them out and tell them The Official HorrorNews.Net Podcast sent you their way!

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