The Haunting (1963) – Episode 46 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“… I leave before the dark. We live over in town, miles away. … We couldn’t hear you. In the night. No one could. … No one will come any nearer than that. In the night. In the dark.”  Okay, get the picture? Hill House is an inviting and comforting place to stay, right? In fact, you’ll feel so at home, you might never want to leave. Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they brave a few nights in Hill House with The Haunting (1963)!

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 46 – The Haunting (1963)

Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), a researcher in psychic phenomena, has gained permission to stay in Hill House, a 90-year-old mansion with an evil, deadly history. Markway invites six people with a variety of psychic abilities to accompany him as research assistants, but only two take the bait: Eleanor (Julie Harris), a woman with a history of poltergeist phenomena, and Theo (Claire Bloom), who has proven ESP abilities. Luke (Russ Tamblyn), a member of the owning family and a skeptic, comes along to keep an eye on his property. Mrs. Dudley (Rosalie Crutchley), one of the caretakers of Hill House, makes an appearance early on to ominously warn the researchers that after dark, they will be alone and no one will come to help them. Almost immediately, Hill House begins to exert its power over the interlopers. They only last three nights and not everyone survives The Haunting.

The film is brilliantly directed by Robert Wise, sandwiched between his Oscar-winning efforts on West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965). Wise, one of Val Lewton’s acolytes at RKO, exhibits mastery of Lewton’s preference for implicit, rather than explicit, danger in The Haunting. The screenplay by Nelson Gidding, adapted from Shirley Jackson’s novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), deftly establishes the four personalities of the research team members, their interpersonal relationships, and how Hill House interacts with and affects them. The acting, cinematography, and music fit the filmmakers’ vision perfectly, ramping up its nearly unbearable, sinister atmosphere.

Once again, the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew have a much greater appreciation for the film they discussed than they had going into this episode. Whitney loves the character of Eleanor and Julie Harris’ portrayal. She also likes the way the story walks a tightrope between the supernatural and insanity. On the other hand, Chad is all over the supernatural justification of events in The Haunting and loves the scenes with the inexplicable pounding on the Eleanor’s and Theo’s bedroom walls. Jeff was entranced with the optical distortions created by Wise’s intentional use of a not-ready-for-primetime lens and loved the introductory “history of Hill House” scenes. Of course, Chad managed to, yet again, find a Batman reference. Your Grue Crew highly recommends The Haunting (1963) as one of the top haunted house films in history, and especially now as a comparison to the recent Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House.

The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue Crew plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule will be Herk Harvey’s one-off classic, Carnival of Souls (1962).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era! 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, iTunes, or the Gruesome Magazine Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you so much for listening!


Twin Peaks Retrospective (1990-1992) – Episode 15 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Through the darkness of futures past. The magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds. ‘Fire walk with me.'” The world of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks was one of the more inventive examples of television in the early 90s. The titular Washington town had rich characters, surreal horrors and some damn fine coffee. However, in the 25 years since Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) first visited that sleepy town, has Twin Peaks stood the test of time? Or has it disappeared into The Black Lodge?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 15 – Twin Peaks Retrospective

Twin Peaks was the surprise hit of the spring 1990 TV season. With a cast chock full of quirky characters and the major mystery of the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) at the heart of it’s premise, it helped revolutionize what serialized television could be. Part over the top soap opera, part crime procedural, part surrealist horror. Twin Peaks wasn’t like anything seen on television. Unfortunately, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost were forced by ABC to reveal their mystery early into the second season. Thus, we got a directionless tangent of episodes and an eventual cancellation on a cliffhanger. Lynch would return to the town of Twin Peaks with the feature film prequel Fire Walk With Me in 1992, which was met with diresion from critics and fans alike.

In celebration of Twin Peaks getting a mini-series revival for Showtime, Thomas Mariani and guest Christopher G. Moore are taking a look back at the influential series. Christopher describes his early love of the show during its heyday while Thomas came to the series much later. The two share mutual adoration for the balance of season one. And a mutual frustration over the wacky meandering of season two. Yet, there are plenty of clashing opinions, mainly over the resolve of Laura Palmer’s murder and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Journey with them into The Black Lodge to discuss the gum that will come back in style over some damn fine coffee, won’t you?

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Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971) – Episode 24 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Yesterday they were cold and dead. Today they’re hot and bothered!” – the tagline for the Al Adamson 1971 cult classic Dracula vs Frankenstein immediately sets up the unique tone and goofy splendor that this one-of-kind film possesses. There is literally no other film like it – and there should never be one.  The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 24 – Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971)

Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971) is a quirky combination of three separate films, starting off as a sequel to Al Adamson’s hit biker film Satan’s Sadists then morphing into The Blood Seekers before adding the titular monsters for Dracula vs Frankenstein. The result is spectacular in its awfulness, a must-see film. The film stars horror favorite J. Carrol Naish and icon Lon Chaney Jr. in their final horror film roles as Dr. Frankenstein and the Mad Zombie. Dracula and Frankenstein are played by Zandor Vorkov and John Bloom – the monster is also credited to Shelly Weiss who donned the make-up for the final scene. Bill Mulligan returns to guess-host along side Doc and the Black Saint as they take a fascinating look back as Dracula vs Frankenstein.

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