Handsome, young, but morally corrupt Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) has his portrait painted. As the years pass, he does not age, but evidence of his sins is apparent in his portrait, which grows uglier with each transgression. He keeps it safely hidden in the attic. But his mysterious behavior and ageless appearance lead to his eventual demise.
Classics, anyone? Oscar Wilde is an infamous author, journalist, and playwright, but was never attributed as a horror writer. However, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) has always been closely associated with the genre. Out of several adaptations, we chose this one which has the highest critical acclaim, as well as a terrific cast. Join us as we discuss the pros and cons of the film, including its screenplay, direction, and Faustian influence. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys seeks internal youth for just a mere tidbit of a price… our eternal soul.
In 1972, playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) is fascinated with a photo of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), a turn-of-the-century stage actress. As his obsession grows, Richard learns from a friend that time travel may actually be possible through hypnosis. Richard travels in time to meet Elise, and the two appear destined to be together. However, Elise’s jealous manager (Christopher Plummer) sees their courtship much differently.
Welcome to the third of our four visits to the worlds of Richard Matheson (we’re saving the last for April). Somewhere in Time (1980) is a bit of a departure for us because it is a genuine romance movie (Tim would argue that 1986’s The Fly was a romance, too, but that is another story!). Join us as we discuss why this time-traveling romance (a personal favorite of David’s) remains a classic, including its fabulous cast, screenplay, and setting. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys journeys back to the early 20th century, where obsession turns to love, and jealousy is alive and well, and ready to thwart destiny.
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) It is three years since a plague either killed everyone on earth or turned them into vampires. Dr. Robert Morgan is the sole survivor and lives a perilous existence where at night the vampires attack his house and during the day he seeks out the undead and permanently kills them. The monotony and isolation of his existence are getting to him – is this all to life there will ever be?
THE OMEGA MAN (1971) Robert Neville has survived a war waged with biological weapons. The plague from war has killed everyone else except for a group of albino-like survivors, led by a former newscaster now calling himself Matthias. His group is sensitive to light and heat and is bent upon smashing all remnants of the prior civilization, especially Neville.
Welcome to our second of FOUR Richard Matheson stories—FIVE, considering this episode is a DOUBLE FEATURE! The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971) are the first two feature film adaptions of Matheson’s seminal novel I Am Legend (the third being I Am Legend, 2007). Unfortunately, none of these adaptions have lived up to the phenomenal source material (many consider Night of the Living Dead (1968) a better option). Join us as we take on these two films, discussing the pluses (few) and minuses (many) that give these films—flawed as they are—a special place in our genre-loving little hearts. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys hunts the dead by day and they, in turn, hunt us at night, questioning our existence in this strange and dangerous new world.
Scott Carey’s boat drifts through a strange mist that leaves a metallic residue covering his body. Within a few weeks, he begins to notice that he is losing weight. A visit to the doctor confirms that he is also getting shorter. As he gets smaller and smaller, he determines that his exposure to insecticides and what must have been a radioactive mist has caused a genetic mutation. Soon, he is so small that encounters with the household cat and a spider become potentially life-threatening. What will he do?
Jack Arnold and Richard Matheson met in bar… It sounds like a joke, but when you take a classic genre director like Arnold and pair him with a leading genre writer like Matheson, magic happens. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1975) is one of those all-time classic films that never loses its punch. Join us as we discuss the myriad reasons why this was such a successful collaboration, including the screenplay, special, effects, and cast. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys goes where man is no longer top of the food chain, and where a vast and terrifying new world awaits us if we’re brave enough to face it.