Respected scientist and psychology professor Edward Jessup (William Hurt) combines his experiments in sensory deprivation tanks with powerful hallucinogenic drugs, convinced that it may help him unlock different states of consciousness. The experiments are a success at first, but as Jessup continues his work, he experiences altered mental and also physical states. As he spends more time in sensory deprivation, his grip on reality slips away.
Ken Russell, the director of Altered States, is a genre unto himself. Wildly visual and often shocking, he definitely falls more into the auteur category than most directors. Join us as we discuss Altered States, a hybrid sci-fi/horror film, its fantastic cast, story, and special effects. Listen, As Johnny Has the Keys enters a surreal world, where isolation takes and mystical Mexican potions may not only cause hallucinations but could also hold the key to human evolution itself.
American professor, John Holden (Dana Andrews), arrives in London for a conference on parapsychology. His colleague died in a freak accident the previous day while investigating a cult led by Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). Holden, a skeptic, suspects the devil-worshiping Karswell of murder, and by following a trail of mysterious manuscripts, he enters a world that makes him question his faith in science.
This is the first of a handful of satanic films we’re featuring this season, and the second directed by famed Frenchman Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, 1942). Join us as we discuss the pros and cons of this revered film and its place in the horror genre. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys travels to Stonehenge and the English countryside where sounds and mist in the neighboring forests may be more ominous than they appear.
Both the 1956 and 1986 versions of The Fly tell the story of a scientist transformed into a grotesque creature after a common housefly enters unseen into a molecular transporter he is experimenting with, resulting in his atoms being combined with those of the insect and producing a hybrid creature. Both films feature brilliant, obsessed, tragic scientists literally in the right place at the wrong time. And like the aforementioned creature, both films are hybrids too… combining strong tropes from both sci-fi and horror.
Welcome to our second double feature this season. And this one is a winner, folks—BOTH films deserve their spot in the hallowed halls of the horror/sci-fi canon. Join us as we discuss their casts, the variations in the story, and what key elements lift both films up solidly on their own. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys enters the lab of a formerly sane and reputable scientist, only to find a chamber of horrors released from the proposed advancement of humanity.
A disturbed woman is being treated with a radical form of psychotherapy at a remote institute. Meanwhile, her five-year-old daughter, under the care of her estranged husband, is being terrorized by a group of strange beings. How these storylines intersect is the disturbing and grotesque secret of this bloody tale of monstrous parenthood from David Cronenberg. With its combination of psychological and body horror, The Brood laid the groundwork for many of the director’s films to come, but it stands on its own as a personal, singularly terrifying vision.
Welcome to the first of 2 films we are covering this season from body-horror maestro, David Cronenberg. The Brood (1979) is an early entry in the auteur’s canon, but a clear calling card to deliciously disturbing things to come. Join us as we discuss the pros and cons of this landmark film. Listen, as Johnny Has the Keys takes you to the wintery streets of Canada, where innocent little children aren’t always what they appear to be.