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It’s time for our annual Holiday Horrors episode!

This year John Hudson chose our Killer Santa viewing experience, taking Troy and I back to 1980 for a little-seen slasher called TO ALL A GOODNIGHT. Long dismissed as nearly unwatchable on previous video editions the much-improved image of the Blu-Ray release resolves many unanswered questions. It is now possible to clearly see what people are doing and where they actually are when onscreen. But, is that a good or a bad thing for this Christmas holiday set stalk ‘n’ kill revenge tale? That is where this discussion begins and ends.

The trio of Holiday Hooligans dive quickly into the conversation about this one. In fact, we start talking about the film before we even properly let the audience know what we’re doing! Of course, this is the film that was directed by David Hess of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) fame which leads to many references to that film and his nasty character Krug. We also talk a bit about his impressive music career and lament his passing. The screenwriter comes in for a lengthy discussion touching on his other films and a rather surprising role in a better-known horror effort. We talk about this film’s very familiar plot template with our surprise at how many times we’ve seen the same story over the years. We note the movie’s strange pacing, terrible editing and variable performances. We use this film’s murder set pieces to make light of the slasher genre’s often silly kill scenes even as we still get a kick out of them.

We hope you enjoy the Santa shenanigans and if you wish to comment the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or we can be reached on the podcast’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening and have a happy holiday season!

Troy and I jump back into the Universal Horror films of the 1940’s with a movie that is quite a curveball. HOLD THAT GHOST (1941) is the first of many Abbot & Costello comedies that would have a possible supernatural element in its plot. Here it’s a creepy old tavern that the fellas inherit in the strangest way imaginable. The story is the usual simple clothesline onto which the script and our favorite comedy team hang as many jokes as they can muster.  That means plenty of doubletakes, fast talking and humorous close calls as well as a group of money seeking gangsters and a duplicitous lawyer all trying to get the boys out of the way. Add in a fantastic cast of talented actors including the brilliant Joan Davis and you have one of the best of Abbot & Costello’s early features.

After a brief conversation about THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) and director Robert Eggers previous horror film we dig into the topic at hand. We discuss our favorite moments from the film and track its bizarre production history. Exactly how many movies can you be making at the same time? The cast is a point of interest with future science fiction star Richard Carlson as an amusing scientist clueless about the fairer sex. Universal horror star Evelyn Ankers makes her first appearance in a Universal scare film and manages to makes the most of her limited screen time. But it is Joan Davis who runs off with several scenes with her great comic timing and sharp comedy instincts. That she didn’t make more appearances in A & C films over the years is a damned shame. The famous comedy team is able to insert a couple of the well-honed bits from their stage days into the story making for a nice glimpse at their burlesque days. And if you’ve never seen the fall-down funny Blue Danube dance scene you have a got a treat in store! Plus – The Andrews Sisters!

We end the show with a piece of voicemail feedback from our buddy in England, Adrian. He calls into tell us about his adventures at this year’s FrightFest in Lindon. If you want to add your voice to the podcast the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or we can be reached over on the Book of Faces. Thanks for listening!

This episode presents a first! This is a first in that my co-host goes by a pseudonym! (Even Cort Psyops uses his real first name!) On podcasts he calls himself Bobby Hazzard which is a quite different from his actual name. The fact that I managed to not call him by his real name for the entire show may be evidence of divine intervention! He is the host of several fun shows of his own including Spring Break Forever which might explain his fascination with the film we cover on this episode of The Bloody Pit. He and I cover a slasher film from the late 1980’s which is a bit of a surprise for me. I spent a good deal of my youth disliking the genre until I was finally exposed to enough good examples to develop a change in my sensibilities. There are good and bad films in every genre and the slasher is no different.

Also released as WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK this Italian production is now primarily known as NIGHTMARE BEACH (1989). Like a number of these genre films this was shot in the United States to take advantage of the financial deals being offered by certain cities at the time. This explains why the majority of the cast is American or Canadian making this look as much as possible like a movie made with Hollywood money. This was standard at the time to make sales of the film around the world more lucrative and, along with the use of pseudonyms in the credits, makes the product seem fully North American. But the oddity of retaining many elements of the giallo genre over the standards of the slasher makes this film feel very much a continuation of that very Italian genre. And, once the script throws in tropes from popular Spring Break comedies and enough distracting characters to keep your mind off the central mystery, this becomes a pretty entertaining ride.

 Join us for a fun trip featuring sunny beaches, wet t-shirt contests, angry biker gangs and bizarre electrocutions on this episode. If you have any comments the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com and the show’s FaceBook page is still active. Thank you for listening to the show!

Once again Adrian Smith returns to the show! This time out we’re discussing (at length) one of Norman J. Warren’s films – INSEMINOID (1981). Probably the most notorious of the director’s horror efforts, it’s very poster art was controversial. The movie brings the idea of an alien creature injecting its offspring into a human host for gestation further into the open than even Ridley Scott’s classic ALIEN (1979) managed. Coupled with that hideous imagery the film also sports the usual Warren level of blood and gore making this a nasty little viewing experience even by today’s standards. Newcomers to the film might be surprised to see some well-known actresses plunging elbow deep into the violent sci-fi exploitation pits. You might also be impressed with how much the cast and crew accomplish on such a small budget.

 Adrian is the perfect person to talk about this film as he is responsible for the book about the director included in Indicator’s new five film Blu-Ray set ‘Bloody Terror: The Shocking Cinema of Norman J. Warren 1976-1981’. In this informative work he lays out the details of Warren’s horror output giving insight into the troubles British productions run into regularly. Often it seems a minor miracle that any of these lower budgeted movies ever got completed. We mostly restrict our comments to INSEMINOID with a fair amount of detailed conversation about the script’s problems and the ingenious ways the filmmakers found to overcome unforeseen hazards. We also delve into the bizarre additions and changes made to the story in the film’s novelization. Certainly, the choice to shoot mostly on location was a decision that enhanced the look of the film but it was quite hard on the cast. Be aware that we spoil the entire movie as we proceed so, if that’s important to you, please go watch it before listening to us debate its relative merits. Adrian and I have very different views on this one so I think you’ll find it an interesting show. Oh! And we end things with a new version of the classic song Monster Mash and an extra solo bit of Adrian as he amuses himself while I’m away from the mic.

 If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the email address. We’d love to hear from you. Posts can also be made on the show’s FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening.

After more than a year away the subject, Cort Psyops and I finally return to the cinema of Zé do Caixão a.k.a. Coffin Joe! EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008) is the long delayed third film in the trilogy of tales about the mad undertaker and his quest for a woman to bear him the perfect child. As this film begins his frantic search has been on hold for forty years while he was kept locked away in a dank Brazilian prison. Once released his hunt is aided by a fanatical cult of followers that are willing to do their master’s bidding no matter what he demands. It seems that while he was imprisoned the world might have caught up with Coffin Joe’s dark vision of humanity. Pursued by two government officers and a priest driven to stop Zé do Caixão even if it means murder, Joe cuts a bloody path through the city’s underbelly terrorizing anyone in his way. Will he finally succeed in his life’s goal or will his enemies find a way to end his life?

 Cort and I dig into this one in much the same way we did the first two films. We examine the dark outlook on the world that writer/director/ actor José Mojica Marins puts forth with his signature creation to determine how much of it we share. We discuss the structure of the story, the smart use of the decades long gap as part of the narrative and the clever use of footage from the previous films to enhance this last tale. We talk a bit about the beauty of the ugliness the movie displays as well as the amazing and effective special effects that are used to create the ghosts that haunt Coffin Joe’s mind. It’s rare that a filmmaker gets the chance to return to his creation after so long a break and even more rare for the return to be as impressive as the earlier work. Some of the images in this movie linger with the viewer for months afterward which is something I’m sure would put a smile on Marins face.

 If you have any comments about the show or Coffin Joe the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com where we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. As we mention near the end of the show Cort and I plan to cover more of Marins work eventually after we cleanse our palette with something less grotesque. If you have suggestions for that please let us know.

It’s difficult to think that there might be a Universal horror film that has never been released on video but THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946) fits that description. Like a handful of other obscure movies the studio made in the 1940’s there has been no release of this interesting picture for home viewing. The only option for the curious is a dodgy, spliced print sourced from 16mm that can be found on YouTube. This is far from a good way to see this rare movie but, for now, the only way. I think the film is worth watching even in this muddy, blown out form but others don’t think so highly of it. In fact, I know one of these people!

 

Mark Clark is the author responsible for two excellent books on the horror genre. He makes an argument for the finer qualities of the best performances in classic horror in his excellent book ‘Smirk, Sneer and Scream: Great Acting in Horror’. His book ‘Sixties Shockers’, co-written with Bryan Senn, is an excellent overview of horror and thriller films of that pivotal decade that will point almost any reader to hidden gems while giving a fresh perspective on well known classics. And his three FAQ books on Star Trek and Star Wars are addictive tomes packed full of information even longtime fans will not know. Mark is currently working on a lengthy overview of the horror films of the 1940’s making him a perfect guest to discuss this hard to see movie. Will Mr. Clark and I find a way to punch each other over Skype when he attacks the movie? Tune in and see! Or, hear, I guess. You understand!

 

It’s not spoiling too much to say that we both survive the podcast but if you have an opinion on THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK drop us a line at thebloodypit@gmail.com or on the show’s Facebook page. Thanks for listening!

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) and we use that fact to discuss one of the least talked about movies of the Heisei era. The film contains a truly unique adversary for our favorite irradiated lizard. I mean, how many giant monsters are constructed from a rose bush and the spirit of a dead young girl? Jason Spear joins Troy and I to talk about this exceptional entry in the second age of the Big G’s cinematic history. Before we dig into the main topic, we consider the wealth of Godzilla Blu-Ray news that has been announced since our last conversation. The exciting Criterion #1000 release of the entire Showa series is chewed over as well as the recent Mill Creek MOTHRA Blu. We even talk about the extraordinary news that Mill Creek will be possibly releasing all of the various Ultra Man series in chronological order. Included in the opening section is a rundown (in every sense of that word) of the three Godzilla anime films with Troy and Jason explaining why I never need to see them. It’s not all good, folks!  

Once the discussion of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) begins we range all over the film’s running time. We note the long break between 1984’s THE RETURN OF GODZILLA and the bizarre crowd-sourced way in which the new plant-based creature was created. Jason relates his amusing theory that the official Toho tale of the genesis of Biollante might be slightly fictional, much to my surprise. The film’s many strengths are examined as well as the sometimes very 1980’s John Williams nature of the movie’s musical cues. The details of the excellent Godzilla suit are discussed with perhaps too much time spent talking about the tongue. We mostly stay on target as we go along but I must apologize for my nearly five-minute-long rant about the Jurassic Park films. Sorry about that.

If you want to join the Godzilla themed conversation, you can email the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com or drop us a message on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page. We plan to have Jason back soon to talk about another Dario Argento film before we delve back into kaiju movies again. This is pretty fun! Thanks for listening.

The ‘old dark house’ tale was a staple of the horror genre for decades. It still shows up in the 21st century but most of the time it drops the gothic accoutrements for a less antique view of a creepy location. In the 1940’s the ODH story had become a standard for both straight scary tales and horror comedies wishing to use the tropes of the genre as easy set-ups for humor. Such is the case with Universal’s 1941 film THE BLACK CAT. While it treats its mystery with some seriousness it is often pushing events toward a silly joke from the film’s comic relief character. As with any scary movie incorporating laughs as part of its storytelling there is the chance that the humor will not appeal to each viewer. Smartly, the writers employ several different kinds of jokes throughout in an attempt to hit as many potential targets as possible. That means we get some clever dialog in places and some fairly broad comedic bits in others. But does the film as a whole work?

Troy and I walk into this old creeper looking to see how it fits in with the types of chillers Universal was producing at the time. We revel in the excellent cast that is so packed with talent that it even sports a young Alan Ladd in an early role. How can any film with Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Anne Gwynne, Brodrick Crawford, Cecilia Loftus and Gale Sondergaard be less than entertaining? We take note of the ways the film adheres to the Old Dark House tropes (hidden passages, family hatreds, romantic betrayals, cruel Last Wills & Testaments, etc) and the strange ways it alters those ideas for the times. We remark on the unnecessary confusion caused by the softening of the violence in the story and the clever ways that the spirited investigators piece together clues. Our man Bela looks great in the film but is only given a limited amount of screen time. Luckily, he makes the best of it with some creepy moments and an unexpected humorous scene as well. And, while we both love cats, we have much sympathy for Crawford’s character as he deals with an allergy that we kept waiting to be part of the denouncement.

If you have any comments about THE BLACK CAT (1941) or any other of the Universal horror films of the 1940’s please drop us a line. The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the show’s FaceBook page. We thank you for downloading and listening to the podcast and we’d be thrilled if you could spread the word about what we’re doing here. Thank you for any help getting out the word to a wider world. Talk to you again soon.

John Hudson returns to continue our look at the films of Antonio Margheriti. This time we examine one of his last completed pictures ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989) which nakedly steals elements from several 80’s Hollywood hits. In fact, the movie can become a bit of a ‘spot the reference’ game as it goes along copping half a dozen ideas or sequences from other, more well-known works. But does this movie have enough creativity and energy to make an entertaining new thing out of all these recycled pieces? Joy is often in the eye of the beholder….

 What this film certainly does have is the epic onscreen presence of Charles Napier and Margheriti regular Alan Collins a.k.a. Luciano Pigozzi. These two men shoulder the acting weight of a script that often seems to have been missing a few important pages. Filmed in the Philippines with the usual explosive miniatures to enhance the scope of the action this is one part sweaty jungle adventure, one part evil corporation tale and one part deadly alien attack. Oh! I forgot to mention the alien until now! But the film doesn’t get around to the big murderous creature until more than half the running time is over either so I don’t feel too bad. And any similarities between this film’s alien and the monsters from a certain big budget series of hit movies is completely coincidental, I’m sure.

 Mr. Hudson and I dig into this one and are happily surprised by the lack of onscreen animal deaths even if someone really was throwing snakes at actors for one scene. We get excited at certain points in the discussion as we make note of the script’s problems and the variability of the character’s personalities. And, if you pay attention, you’ll hear me call Charles Napier ALAN Napier and that is a very silly mistake to make. Of course, the idea of Charles Napier as the 1966 TV Batman’s butler is pretty damned cool!

 The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com for any comments or suggestions. The Bloody Pit also has a FaceBook page where messages can be left for any of the contributors to the podcast. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show!

#86 - OPERA (1987)

We've wanted to discuss the films of Dario Argento for a long time but have been stumped about the correct starting point. In a career spanning more than fifty years and over twenty films where do we jump in? Luckily, our occasional podcast guest Jason Spear helped us cut through the noise to focus on the director's amazing OPERA (1987). This was prompted by the recent Scorpion release of the film in an incredible three disc Blu-Ray set that provides probably the best way to see the movie since it's theatrical run. Packed with extras that allow fans to deep dive into details of the production it serves to fuel our rather rambling look at this stunning thriller.

To dig into what we love about this movie we do away with the idea of a linear discussion of the plot and just hop around talking about random scenes and sequences. We assume that the podcast audience is familiar with the film and plunge forward pulling apart our favorite elements and puzzling over the odd things that make this giallo such a strange and wonderful experience. That means there are certainly spoilers, so be aware! We discuss the madness induced by repressed sexual desires as well as the perceived age problem between the killer and the focus of his obsession. We spend a good deal of time on the fascinating possibility that Argento rotates his narrative inside the head of his main character much sooner than usually imagined. We debate the sanity of the central figure of the film for probably too long and then devolve into relating our individual favorite three Argento efforts. As you can tell, we swing all over the place in this one!

If you have any comments or just want to give us your own list of favorite Argento movies the show's email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com where we will be glad to hear what you have to say. I cap the episode with an old Hoodoo Guru's song but stick around afterwards for some bonus complaining from me about Argento's Dracula film. Ugh! And, as always, thank you for listening to the show.

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