Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 023: Doc of the Dead (2014) and Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

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This is HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies. In Episode 023, for the first time ever, we have all four official HMP hosts present at the same time for a Frankensteinian episode. That’s right, it’s the horror podcasting dream team: Jay of the Dead, Wolfman Josh, Dr. Shock and Dr. Walking Dead (Kyle Bishop). We bring you an in-depth, Feature Review of a 2014 documentary about zombies called “Doc of the Dead,” which showcases our very own Kyle Bishop as a talking head zombie expert. So, you’ll get to hear Dr. Walking Dead’s additional insights about this movie, as well as Wolfman Josh’s comments from a documentary filmmaker’s perspective. Jay of the Dead also brings you a Feature Review of the TV movie “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” from 1981. Join us!

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Preface About This Episode

II. Introduction
— Congrats to Dr. Shock for four years of DVD Infatuation.com

III. Feature Review: DOC OF THE DEAD (2014)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Stream it! / Buy it when available )
Wolfman Josh = 6 ( Must-watch for zombie fans / Buy when available )
Dr. Shock = 7.5 ( Rental )
Dr. Walking Dead = n/a

IV. The Loss of Marilyn Burns
Jay of the Dead’s tribute

V. Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno Delayed Indefinitely

VI. Donating to Horror Movie Podcast

Jay of the Dead = 6.5 ( Rental )

VIII. Listener Feedback
— iTunes review from grlhorrorfan
— Voicemail from Erik in Long Island

IX. Wrap-Up:

X. “The Zombie Song” by Stephanie Mabey

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD OF: “The Zombie Song”

NEXT ON HMP — IN TWO WEEKS: Releasing on Friday, August 29, 2014 — Episode 024. Don’t miss it!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com

Links for this episode:

Jay of the Dead recommends watching CARGO (2013) — a 7-minute zombie short film

Check out: Stephanie Mabey.com

Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman Josh covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Check out our premium CUJO COMMENTARY for $1

Check out the Movie Podcast Weekly Halloween BONUS episode on: THE SHINING and ROOM 237

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

Thank you for listening, and join us again in two weeks for another episode of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Thanks for listening.
Jay of the Dead

10 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 023: Doc of the Dead (2014) and Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

  1. Guys, this was a brief but superb episode. Having all four hosts together was really cool and a dynamic that I hope will be repeated in the future.

    Though I’m somewhat disappointed to hear that “Doc of the Dead” forgoes any mention of foreign zombie cinema (seriously? Fulci’s movies must be some of the most influential in the sub-genre) my interest was still piqued enough by this discussion for me to want to check it out.

    Also I found Dr. Walking Dead’s assertion that “Return of the Living Dead” is fascinating because it operates successfully both as “comedy” and “horror” very interesting as I feel exactly the same about that movie. I’m generally not a fan of full blown horror comedies (though there are a few notable exceptions) but “Return of the Living Dead” is one of my all time favourite zombie films and I think its unique tonal duality is part of the reason. It’s a movie that only really makes itself known as a comedy when you’re an adult and/or well versed in horror movies. For a kid or a newbie I’d imagine that it’s some pretty creepy stuff, especially that terrifying slimy basement zombie. Even watching it for the hundredth time I never feel that the comedy infringes on my perception of the characters plight, there’s still a sense of futility and ever intensifying dread. Where there is humour it’s cleverly built-in to the plot and characters and often almost sub-textual. It has that wry, darkly ironic tone like an EC comic brought to life and I love it.

    Anyway, I have some more comments on stuff discussed in this episode but right now it’s time for “The Wire”, snacks and beer!

    – David

  2. What a pleasure it was to hear from the whole team on this episode. Not since Episode 1 have we heard from Kyle and what a fitting topic of discussion. I have a number of comments about the show so I will try to keep these thoughts in order.

    David as already picked up on one topic and that is Return of the Living Dead and its perfect balance of horror and comedy. It is extremely effective in this movie and to a lesser degree the sequel, but the penultimate zombie horror / comedy has to be Dead Alive (1992). DWDs comment about cycles of horror (and I believe this to be true even non horror genre movies) was quite fascinating. He mentioned a very early zombie comedy with Bob Hope in it. This is The Ghost Breakers from 1940. A classic in my opinion and a great feature to check out with Bob Hope’s remake of The Cat and the Canary from 1939.

    The topic around the rights to Night of the Living Dead was very interesting as well. I have always known that it was a public domain film and I have always looked at that as a negative thing. I had never stopped to consider the positive impacts of having a film of that nature so accessible to see. I still have my beat up old VHS copy that I paid about .99 for back in the 80s. NOTLD was certainly a defining horror movie experience for me as a horror fan and with the widespread access to this film I can’t help but wonder…

    According to Blu-Ray.com we will be getting a Nov 3rd release of Doc of the Dead.

    The news about Green Inferno is upsetting. This was a movie that I thought really had some traction amongst horror fans in fact it is probably one of the most anticipated films of this year. I feel that this films reputation is strong enough that we will see it before too long, but you just never know. It took years for Bubba Ho-Tep to get even a video release and that film is widely considered a classic.

    JOTD I think that you nailed your review of Dark Night of the Scarecrow. There is no way that this film is going to blow anyone’s sock off, but it is enjoyable. Larry Drake as Bubba is great and it is clear that this role helped land him his role on LA Law. This film is worth the investment of 90 minutes for any fan IMO.

    Doc…Congratulations on the anniversary. You are also creeping up to the 1,500 movie mark which will be another milestone for you. Doc I thought that I would share this little trip down memory lane for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62Q0rGJY5qU

    As always, thanks for the great show and I’m sure that I will be back before long with some more comments.


    The Dude

    • Dude,

      Thanks very much for the congratulations, and especially for posting the link! I remember watching that special (though, as you can imagine, it was a LONG time ago), and I enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

      Much appreciated!

  3. The Dude’s Scream Gems:

    Doctor X (1932)
    Director: Michael Curtiz
    Starring: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Tracy Lee.
    Run Time: 76 Minutes

    Basic Plot:

    It’s that time of the month again and the Full Moon Killer has struck once more. There is a fresh body in the morgue and reporter Lee Taylor (Tracy Lee) is out to get the scoop. All police and detectives are baffled and they have turned to the expertise of Doctor Jerry Xavier (Lionel Atwill). Doctor X is thrilled to help but soon realizes the danger to himself and his daughter (Fay Wray) as he learns that the prime suspects are all doctors within his professional circle. With only 48 hours to find the perpetrator of these heinous crimes, Doctor X invites the suspects to his secluded mansion where he will risk his lift to uncover the killer and their horrifying motives.

    The Dude’s Thoughts:

    By 1932 it was becoming very apparent that the American public had an appetite for horror films. Universal hit it big with their 1931 releases of Dracula and Frankenstein and continued putting cheap, but entertaining horror films into production in early 1932. Other companies sought to get a piece of this growing market with releases of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931 – Paramount), Freaks (1932 – MGM) and White Zombie (1932 – United Artists). These films all proved to be cheap to make and they saw health returns at the box office. Warner decided to get into the genre in 1932 with Doctor X and attempted something a little different.

    Warner leaned on (now famous) director Michael Curtiz to helm this project and tasked him with using Technicolor’s two colour system called Process 2. Warner still had a two picture contract with Technicolor and were anxious to meet their obligations as fast as they could.

    Doctor X takes advantage of the loose film code that existed in 1932. This is commonly referred to as the Pre-Code Era of films and allowed many films to include some rather risqué subject matters. Today’s desensitized viewers who have been exposed to years of over the top slasher films and the torture porn trends of modern releases might not find these subjects as risqué, but in 1932 the introduction of murder, cannibalism and rape in Doctor X were somewhat controversial. One scene of the film has our title character dressed in his white lab coat which just happens to be speckled with blood. It is almost imperceptible to a modern viewer, but it caused quite a stir in the summer of 1932. In another scene, the viewer is subjected to a close up of a large human heart, still beating, inside a glass jar. This was a shocker to audience who were seeing this type of image for the first time and all in the dull red and green undertones that characterized the Two-Color Technicolor process.

    Lionel Atwill plays our title character, Doctor Xavier. This would become a familiar role for Mr. Atwill as he would be typecast as a doctor/mad scientist many times over his career. He plays a very stoic figure who is eager to help the police track down the Full Moon Killer while still defending his colleagues who the police view as suspects.

    Fay Wray was still a year away from King Kong (1933) and becoming a household name. It is easy to see why she is widely considered the first Scream Queen and in fact upon making her first appearance in the films, gives us her now familiar scream.

    The biggest detractor for Doctor X is the use of the newspaper reporter as a central character. His role is clear; he is the protagonist who swoops in, saves the day, and gets the scoop and the girl, all the while providing the comic relief. It was a common trope in older movies (famously used in Citizen Kane), but it just fails in this film. There is simply too much asked of actor Tracy Lee and he doesn’t have the acting chops to pull it off.

    Doctor X is a solid viewing experience. For those fans that often find themselves gravitating back to the golden age of horror to watch the Universal offerings, I highly recommend catching up with this film. It provides a great opportunity to see Mr. Atwill and Ms. Wray in early roles as well as an early North American picture from Michael Curtiz. Perhaps the strongest reason to see this is the early (and humble) use of colour and Warner’s first romp in the horror genre.

    Double Feature Recommendation:
    Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
    Return of Doctor X (1939)

    • Dude this was an excellent and informative review! I love finding out more about these lesser known early horror films and this one sounds really interesting. I’ll add it to my list and I look forward to more of your reviews/recommendations in the future, especially from this era as you seem to be quite the horror movie historian!

      • I appreciate the kind words David. I am by no means a film critic or historian but enjoy putting these types of reviews together.
        I am going to try and do this on a regular basis and I will be looking at some of my favourite movies across many different eras. The goal will be to perhaps find some deeper cuts that many people haven’t seen before.

        Stay Tuned

        The Dude

  4. Now to once again court controversy.

    I’d like to say I’m sad to hear that “The Green Inferno” has been delayed and in a way I am, though only for all you guys who have been looking forward to it. Personally I just don’t see why Eli Roth seems to have become the golden boy of horror. I can certainly understand why the gore-hounds like his movies but aside from grue what does he have to offer? Am I missing something? I guess he’s not a terrible director (and I also think he’s a fair actor) but the writing in his movies is just terrible. “Hostel” had a very good premise and some great make-up effects work but the characters were just insufferable to the point of ruining the movie for me. I guess it’s maybe a commentary on US fratboy tourists going to other countries and behaving disrespectfully? Maybe? Either way I didn’t know if I should have been rooting for the evil psychotic torturers or the bro-douche lead and his habitual use of homophobic epithets. Everything else I’ve seen from Roth seems to be similar; interesting premise brought down by awful dialogue and atrocious characters.

    Anyway sorry to all you Roth fans out there and feel free to counter my opinion with what will no doubt be far more intelligent and informed arguments than my own!

    Also, with regards to “Dark Night of the Scarecrow”, I’ve been interested in checking this out for a while but have just never gotten around to it. I have a real soft spot for those 70’s/80’s/early 90’s made-for-TV movies so I think it could very well be something I’d like.

    On the topic of scarecrows, I recently watched a fairly obscure Japanese horror movies from 2001 called “Kakashi” or “Scarecrow”. This one might be worth checking out if you’re into J-horror and really like scarecrow movies but it’s nothing spectacular. There are definitely a few unsettling and creepy scenes here but for the most part it’s pretty tame stuff and the way the story played out left me feeling pretty unsatisfied. right down the middle with a 5/10.

    – David

  5. That was a great episode guys and also great to get everyone together. Its always a good thing to get intelligent conversation with varied opinions.

    I have to commend Jay for mentioning Dark Night of the Scarecrow. As mentioned while it isn’t very scary I think its a movie with great atmosphere and
    the look of the scarecrow while very simple is super effective and creepy looking. While I consider myself a bit of a gore hound, I think Dark Night of the Scarecrow is another example of a great movie with a creepy moody atmosphere that doesn’t show any real blood/gore but still brings the creep factor and for its time worked well as a great television movie. While I will also agree with you Jay on the fact that a lot of younger listeners or horror fans might find it boring. In my mind it still holds up today.

  6. Hey again guys. Just thought I’d stop by and let you know that I checked out the 2011 movie “Husk” after Jason recommended it a few weeks ago. I’ll be honest and say that I tend to be a little biased towards modern horror in general. I’ve just been disappointed so often and there are still so many older horror films out there that I’ve yet to see that it’s rare that I’ll give this sort of flick a chance but I did and what can I say? I was pleasantly surprised.

    Okay so this was no masterpiece; it had it’s fair share of problems, chief among them being some pretty bad dialogue with the whole chessboard conversation/exposition-dump part standing out as being particularly cliché as well as a lazy and forced attempt at metaphor. That aside though, I thought the atmosphere of this movie was just great. There was something about it that worked on me in that special creepy way. Some of those shots in the dusky cornfield early in the movie just sent chills through me. I also enjoyed the fact that I couldn’t really figure out which character was supposed to be the main protagonist, which gave it a feeling of “anyone could be the next to go” lending the film an extra element of suspense. The relatively simple, short and sweet approach was another plus in my book. There’s nothing worse than an overblown, over-long horror movie that’s trying to be something it’s not and this was the antithesis of that; unpretentious, lean and fun.

    Although this was fairly bloody, in this type of movie I’d prefer a little more in the way of truly gruesome scenes. Some really gross rotting corpses or something. But that’s just me being a weirdo. This would be a great Halloween night movie choice. Short, easy to follow even after a few drinks and with that classic Bradburian creepiness factor. 7/10.

    Finally I have a rather odd recommendation for people. This might not be a perfect fit in the horror genre in everyone’s opinion but I’m all for expanding the scope of what horror can be rather than restricting it so here goes:

    “Memories” is an anime anthology film from 1995 directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (of Akira fame) and consisting of 3 segments. Now I’m specifically recommending the first segment which is called “Magnetic Rose”. This is an astonishingly beautifully animated Sci-Fi story about a deep space salvage team who respond to a distress signal coming from the abode of a long dead opera singer. As I already said it’s not straight-up horror but in my limited experience with horror anime I tend to find that far too much of it focuses solely on action and gore, with very little thought given to atmosphere and mood. This is almost the total opposite of that. The best way I can describe it is like a classic haunted house movie crossed with “2001: A Space Odyssey”, though obviously with a much shorter running time. It’s creepy, beautiful and psychologically affecting and I recommend it to anyone with an open mind who wants something spooky but different. My rating for this segment taken as a stand-alone piece would be 9/10.

    – David

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