Feed on
Posts

This episode sees the return of cult movie expert and long time film writer Robert Monell. He and I discuss four of the newest Blu-Ray releases from Severin Films with a few mostly related side roads along the way. We're both stunned by the continuing announcements from several small labels that focus on giving obscure genre movies the chance to shine in high definition. These are films that would probably never be part of the Criterion Collection but are still very well worth being seen in the best possible presentations. And now, because of the love of discerning fans running niche labels, we can have incredible multidisc releases of rare giallo films, strange horror epics shot in the Philippines, little seen Jack the Ripper cinema and even a tiny budgeted 1970's attempt at making a human sacrificing druid cult into a terrifying horror threat. It truly is a great time to be alive!

Please join Mr. Monell and I for this brief show about some highlighted new Blu-Rays worth the attention of cult film fanatics. We talk about the virtues (and vices) of these entertaining movies and also the copious extras lavished upon these often unseen pieces of genre history. The films we cover in the most detail are ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, the 1959 film JACK THE RIPPER and the insane INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. We also excitedly chat about the awesome extras-packed set called All The Colors Of Giallo because it is such a fantastic primer on that fine genre and, surprisingly, the German Krimi films as well. These releases are worth their weight in gold!

If you have any questions or comments the show can be reached at thebloodpit@gmail.com or on the podcast's FaceBook page. Thanks for downloading and listening!

In this episode I welcome longtime podcaster Derek Koch to the show! Derek is the producer, writer and host of Monster Kid Radio which is one of the best shows out there focused on the monster films of the 1920's through the 1960's. I've been a guest on his podcast covering Antonio Margheriti science fiction and horror as well as Mario Bava peplum films. The two of us share many cinema fascinations ranging far from just our mutual love of horror, sci-fi and fantasy but on MKR Derek is somewhat restrained by the show's stated goal of talking about the 'Great and Not-So Great' movies of those specific genres. With that in mind, I invited him to start a series of shows here examining the recently released set of eight western films directed by the amazing William Castle. These are all early career efforts made while Castle was learning his craft at Columbia and gives us the chance to see him grow into the genre filmmaker who would go on to scare the pants off of audiences.

We begin our chronological trek through this set by tackling the first two of these oaters in this episode. First up is a female-centric tale from 1943 called KLONDIKE KATE. Based on the life of a real life Yukon stage performer the film tells a sanitized version of early 20th century Canadian frontier shenanigans. It boasts a strong cast lead by Ann Savage and the incomparable Glenda Farrell as ladies that have to find creative paths to make their way in a man's rough world. Savage's later DETOUR (1945) co-star Tom Neal play's her rival and possible lover in this short, entertaining barroom tale.

The second film we cover is 1953's CONQUEST OF COCHISE which is a colorful fictionalization of events around Tucson, Arizona right after the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Robert Stack stars as the Army Major in charge of troops sent in to oversee the transition of the area from Mexican control. He runs into trouble from both Apache and Comanche tribes while also making an attempt to romance the lovely Mexican lady Consuelo de Cordova (Joy Page). Add to this the desire of Apache chief Cochise (John Hodiak) to end the fighting and the military complications escalate. And does Consuelo have feelings for the Army major or is she more interested in the honorable Cochise?

Derek and I have a great deal of fun digging into these movies. We actually spend the first twenty minutes of the show talking a bit about our favorite westerns as a place setting exercise. This allows listeners a chance to understand what kind of films in the genre we enjoy most and, of course, it lets us babble about even more movies we love! We hope you enjoy our conversation and we plan to cover the next two films in this fine DVD set in a couple of months. If you have any thoughts or comments on these movies or western sin general the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or the FaceBook page for The Bloody Pit is available as well. Thanks for downloading and listening!

I'm proud to welcome a new contributor to the show this month. Robert Monell is a writer I've admired for years for his smart and enthusiastic analysis of European Cult cinema. His byline in a fanzine always meant a level of quality in both the writing and the thought behind those words. His openness to different styles of cinema played a role in making me comfortable as my tastes in movies grew and changed over the decades. Also, Mr. Monell's excellent blog I'm In A Jess Franco State Of Mind pushed me to be less rigid in my view of Uncle Jess' work and, along with Tim Lucas' work in the field, opened my perceptions wider than I might have thought possible. Or wise!

I asked Mr. Monell to join me for an episode of the podcast and he surprised me by immediately saying yes. It turns out that he wanted to discuss the changing state of cult film collecting over the years and, since I have been of that tribe since I was a teenager, I thought it would be fun. We start with the heady days of VHS collecting and track our habits all the way through the exciting Blu-Ray announcements that seem to issue forth every other day. Along the way we end up admitting to illegally copying rented tapes to add to our home collections, baring to the world my Laser Disc shame and reminiscing about out first DVDs. Damn! We're old! Along the way we digress into talking about a number of films including Mr. Monell's favorites of last year and mysteries of the bizarre Euro-Cult effort WHITE FIRE (1985). Sometimes easy streaming availability is a curse!

If you have any comments or questions the show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com of on the FaceBook page. I hope to be able to talk to Mr. Monell again later this year so feel free to quiz him on anything related to his writing and I'll pass things along. Thank you for downloading and listening!

We begin 2019 with the first new show in our Universal Horrors of the 1940's series.

MAN MADE MONSTER (1941) marks the first Universal horror staring role for Creighton Chaney a.k.a. Lon Chaney, Jr.  Given the part of a lovable lug misused by one of the screen's maddest mad scientists, Chaney establishes the perfect acting style for his character. With his hang-dog eyes, broad grin and furrowed brow he presents himself as a good natured, kind fellow without an unpleasant thought for anyone. This performance would serve as the template for his future roles in Universal horror films as the much put upon victim of a certain lunar curse. But this is the starting point for that 'doomed man' characterization and it's a good one for both the actor and the film.

Troy and I pull this one apart with the usual help of the fantastic Universal Horrors book by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas which provides a lot of background and contemporary reviews. We also heavily reference the excellent essay by Bryan Senn on this film from the Lon Chaney, Jr. Midnight Marquee Actors series book. His work is essential reading for fans of the actor and those looking for real insight into this underappreciated movie. We discuss the odd notion of having a good scientist and a bad scientist under the same roof; the strange case of the missing romantic subplot; the late blooming lust of the mad scientist for the film's lovely co-star; the 'master race' desires that drive the plot and the dividing line that keeps pets alive in a horror film. We talk about director George Waggoner's work before and after this effort as well as the years long trail the story took to finally reach the screen. We also spend a lot of time heaping praise on the great Lionel Atwill's amazing performance as the crazed man seeking knowledge to keep the lower classes in their places!

In the final segment of the show we read out a pair of emails from listeners and dive into the various topics they bring up. On what other podcast will you hear discussions of the Italian Filmirage production company's output (Ator!) paired with a critique of Hammer's four mummy films? If you'd like to let us know what you think on these subjects, or any others, we can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the show's FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening!

Here's a post-Christmas treat!

Artist Mark Maddox has had a very busy year. He remains in high demand for book and magazine covers along with all his other work. 2018 saw him finally branch out into Blu-Ray art, doing the spectacular rendering of Christopher Lee for the cover of Scream Factory's new disc of DRACULA - PRNCE OF DARKNESS (1966). Hopefully the strong, positive response to that piece will get him the opportunity to do more in that vein and soon. Fingers crossed.

But, because Mark has been so busy, he and I haven't had the chance to record a show together all year - until now! HELL DRIVERS (1957) was a film I was totally unaware of before Mr. Maddox started talking about it a few months ago. I don't know how I missed it considering the talented people involved. There is a host of future British television and film stars packed into this tight little drama including a Doctor Who, a James Bond and at least two other soon-to-be small screen espionage agents. Oh! And the great Herbert Lom as an Italian expatriate working in England and romancing the lovely Peggy Cummins. Writer/director Cy Endfield shows his skill at crafting a strong script with believable characters but also knows how to stage exciting action scenes. We watch huge trucks barreling down roads that are clearly too small for that type of traffic while at the same time the complicated personal relationships become more deadly as well. But the film offers more than just bar fights and lustful quandaries. Just why would a company run these young drivers so hard?

As is the norm for a conversation between Mark and I, there comes a point where we go off track. In fact we went so far off track that it became difficult to know just how long we had been roaming around talking about something other than HELL DRIVERS! We drift into a discussion of toys including fan-made collectables, then move on to the British 'Carry On' film series and film humor in general with a surprising revelation or two from Mark. There are at least a dozen other topics that we charge right into with little reasonable concern for the fact that you folks might eventually be listening to us ramble. Sorry about that.

If you have any comments or if you'd like to correct either of us please write the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com where we'll be thrilled to answer all questions. Thank you for listening and we'll talk to you again soon.

For the fourth year in a row Troy Guinn, John Hudson and I dig into a festive themed film that fits the odd nature of this podcast. Holiday Horrors 2018 brings us to the often overlooked classic CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980). Written and directed by Lewis Jackson the film is available in a fine Blu-Ray release that shines a light on the a film that really should be better known. Kind of a cross between A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Polanski's REPULSION it relates the sad tale of a man overly preoccupied with the holiday but seemingly unable reconcile himself to the realities of incorporating it into an adult life. Having spent years working for a toy manufacturing company he has wrapped himself in the warm message of December the 25th year round. But, this year, he begins to feel his sense of the season slipping away at the same time that his obsessive preoccupation with Christmas ramps up as the holiday approaches. The details of what might be real life and what could be fantasy become intertwined and often impossible to tease apart as our main character starts to act out his love of Christmas and his anger at the uncaring people that pervert it for selfish ends.

We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of New York acting talent onscreen as well as a surprising connection to a certain New Jersey musical legend as well. The film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New York set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit on a supremely odd confluence of ideas!

So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating. 

With THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Troy and I finally complete the first year of the decade in our look at the Universal Horrors of the 1940's. Released two days after Christmas in 1940 it signifies the first time since THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN that a female character top lined one of these movies. It also represents the first time the producers sharply shifted the series' genre from the established norm set by the previous two films. Yes, this is a comedy! And a broadly silly one at that. As with all comedic films, your mileage will vary with your enjoyment of the frantic antics being the only guide through this mad tale of working girl revenge, slapstick gangsters and dotty old scientists. It's a real mixed bag, folks.

We start the show with a brief discussion of the newly released remake of SUSPIRIA and a few comments on the new HALLOWEEN film as well. Then we jump into a breakdown of what we liked and disliked about the third in the Invisible Man series from Universal. Since this film is such a departure from the first two we speculate on the possible reasons for changing the serious tone of the earlier entries. Then we delve into the farcical plot details and the high level of talent in the impressive cast. Our frustration with the story padding becomes evident right about the time we start talking about the faux Three Stooges running around as gangster minions. One of them is even played by Shemp Howard! And I am happy to report that both of us are able to refrain from pointing out that the film's eventual romantic couple are named Kitty and Dick! I suspect the scriptwriters had to find their amusements someplace. 

We end the show with a fun, lengthy email from a listener and you can send your missives to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com as well. This letter even included a beer review! We can reached over on The Bloody Pit Facebook page as well and we'll be glad to know you. The end of show song this time is from one of Troy's bands - The Exotic Ones! Thanks for downloading and listening!

After too long a delay Cort Psyops returns to The Bloody Pit to dip back into the Brazilian madness of the second Coffin Joe film - THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967)! As I admit in the show, I was hesitant to go back to this series because I felt that Cort and I set a pretty high bar with our discussion of the first of Jose Marins' horror epics. That film forced us to examine our own moral precepts and how humanity's cruelty can easily form a philosophy of life twisted toward nihilism. We touched on the various topics of Marins' obsessions as we went through that film using it as a jumping off point for probing the darker aspects of our own psyches. With this second discussion, we do the same thing but - because all sequels have to go further to shock their jaded audience - we aim to dig a little deeper. Listen in and see if we manage it!

We do slip down a few odd side roads that were not on the original map. Besides a brief discussion of Dario Argento's late trilogy wrap-up MOTHER OF TEARS (there's a good reason) we also find creative new ways to relate the tale of Coffin Joe to modern stories of note. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this will be the first podcast to ever link the horror output of Jose Mojica Marins to the TV shows It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Better Call Saul. Visions of monsters might be universal across all cultures in some surprising ways. We do our best to not lean too hard into the Catholic criticism that seems such a vital part of the subtext of the world of Coffin Joe. We get a few Mormon jokes in there to level things out a little! Sorry.

If you want to contact the podcast the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or the FaceBook page is still a thing you can join. I try to post things of interest there and keep the talk fun. Thanks for downloading and listening!

John Hudson and I return to the films of Antonio Margheriti! This time we stick to the spaghetti western theme of our last episode together with 1970's AND GOD SAID TO CAIN, but it is important to note that this movie is a bit of a hybrid. It incorporates elements of horror films to give it's tale of revenge some added kick. In fact, there are several sequences that look very much like something that could have been lifted from one of the director's Gothic tales from the 1960's. The majority of the story takes place over a single stormy night in which death visits dozens of six-gun carrying bad guys as they end up on the wrong side of a bullet or two. Add to that a lead performance from the amazing Klaus Kinski and you have the makings of some western tinged nightmare fuel!

I've included in the show the excellent theme song for the film called Rocks, Blood and Sand. It's sung by Don Powell who also wrote the lyrics with Carlo Savina's incredible music making this a real classic. It's one of my favorite western themes of all time and I think you'll agree. As Mr, Hudson and I discuss this one we take note of the script's smart timeline, the interesting choice of hair color, the odd use of red wardrobe for one particular character and how using men's fear against them is often the easiest way to prevail in a fight. I then take the time to put forth my pet theory about the nature of Kinski's character while John again finds a place for an invisible chimp. Sometimes I hate that man!

If you have any comments or question we can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show. Have a happy Halloween!

Troy and I return with the fourth entry in our 1940's Universal Horror series! With this episode we are really getting into the (gauze wrapped) meat of the matter with the first of the decade's four mummy films. THE MUMMY'S HAND is usually considered the best of the quartet for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is a combination of Indiana Jones style adventure tale mixed with a truly dangerous monster. We have two American archeological explorers as heroes and they are matched by a pair of formidable bad guys -  a high priest and an undead golem. Along for the desert trip is the great character actor Cecil Kelloway and the lovely Peggy Moran as a father-daughter team of expedition investing stage magicians. The film also marks the first of George Zucco's iconic B-horror movie villain performances and he is simply fantastic! Indeed, he is so awesome I give up trying to call him by his character's screen name early on and simply refer to him as Zucco the whole time!

My trepidation about Troy's lack of love for Mummy films come to little here as we both enjoy this Egyptian romp. I guess he can occasionally be reasonable about the shambling 3000 year old throat crusher! We dig into the story with an eye toward the film's place in the Universal pantheon while I complain about some of the attempts to soften the narrative. We speculate a bit about the intended audience both before shooting and in the editing process. Some of the more important deleted scenes are discussed as we wonder about the reasons some juicy sequences might have been left on the cutting room floor - never to be seen! Author Thomas Feramisco's excellent book The Mummy Unwrapped is an invaluable resource for fans of these films and comes highly recommended. We also look toward the sequels of this fun film curious about how they will stack up as we slowly cover them all.

The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or at the Bloody Pit's FaceBook page. Let us know what you think of our efforts or what films you'd like to hear us discuss in the future. Thanks for downloading and listening!

- Older Posts »