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We’ve never before dug into the fertile field of Australian genre movies here on The Bloody Pit which means it is long overdue. The classic Ozploitation period is generally thought of has having lasted from the middle of the 1970’s to the late 1980’s which seems a short length of time until you look at the number of films that fall into this category. There are more than three dozen movies produced just in the 1980’s that comfortably fit under the Ozploitation umbrella with several worldwide hits like MAD MAX 2 (1982), ROAD GAMES (1981), RAZORBACK (1984) and DEAD-END DRIVE-IN (1986) being most well-known. Add to that list 70’s stunners such as MAD DOG MORGAN (1976), THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975), PATRICK (1978) and the ground breaking MAD MAX (1979) and it becomes clear that the Australian output of horror, action and post-apocalyptic cinema has had powerful, long lasting influence. But, in many cases, the Aussie versions of exploitation fodder was following the prevailing trends and copying successes as best they could. And that brings us to this movie!

Director Brian Trenchard-Smith has described TURKEY SHOOT (1982) as a movie in which "1984 meets The Camp on Blood Island where they play 'The Most Dangerous Game'". If that isn’t a perfect enticement for curious, thrill-seeking movie goers I don’t know what could be! John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard join me for a rollicking discussion of this astonishing piece of sadistic insanity. We marvel at the actors willing to put themselves through this crazed scenario with emphasis on the pure hell of trying to shoot a film under very difficult circumstances. We toss around many strange metaphors as we attempt to describe the action of the story and have great fun watching people blow up real good! I’m not sure how but somehow Gilligan’s Island is invoked alongside a discussion of pants stuffed with raw meat and dummy deaths. Oh! And Bobby manages to make me do an actual spit-take! Waste of good beer, sadly. 

If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the email address for the show. Let us know what you think of TURKEY SHOOT or your favorite Ozploitation film. Should we cover more of them? Could be fun! Thank you for listening. 

We return to the Universal Invisible Man series of movies for a wartime adventure! 

As the United States entered the World War effort in 1942 Hollywood joined in with dozens of films bent around the changed state of political events. A number of the movies produced at the time could be seen as propaganda pieces and INVISIBLE AGENT (1942) certainly fits that description. Picking up with the grandson of the original Invisible Man the story is a mixture of many elements. Our main character is pressed into service for the Allied fighting forces after Pearl Harbor turns him from isolationist to intelligencer. Parachuting into Germany our transparent hero searches for a list of infiltrated undercover Axis agents and then discovers a plot to bomb New York City! How will he warn the American Defense Department in time to stop the massacre of millions? And can he escape from the clutches of the dastardly Nazi army that seems to know he is lurking about? 

Troy and I pull this exciting film apart, examine its flaws and then rave about how much we love it. Sporting two excellent villains played by Sir Cedric Hardwick and Peter Lorre the movie manages to generate some real menace when they are onscreen. Both actors are so good as antagonistic German and Japanese representatives that watching them dance around each other waiting for a mistake is delicious. In fact, the only real problems we find with the film is the unfortunate need to indulge in some silly, out of place Nazi-humiliation scenes that are played for cheap laughs. I would argue that this sequence could have been best left out. Luckily, the movie has more than enough action to keep an audience riveted as the race to stop the Axis baddies ramps up to a special effects laden climax that is fantastic!

If you have any comments or suggestions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the address to use to make your feelings known. Thank you for listening and please rate and/or review the podcast wherever you catch the show. 

Author Mark Clark returns to discuss the exceptional Japanese television series ULTRA Q. 
Originally envisioned as a combination of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, ULTRA Q was altered to be more of a ‘giant monster’ series to appeal to the Kiaju craze that was increasingly popular with children in the 1960’s. But while giant creatures were a common element of the show’s run there were also numerous episodes in the 28 stories produced that didn’t utilize such monsters. In fact, some of the best the series has to offer are tales that focus on deeper concepts more in line with adult concerns and fears. And even some of the more monster heavy episodes are clearly about larger ideas with a lot of emphasis placed on ecological destruction and the fallout of unchecked human greed. The show’s tone is quite variable with humor sometimes intruding into topics a western audience might find odd but things usually work out in a satisfactory fashion even if it means shooting children into outer space!

Mark and I dig into some of our favorite episodes including the amazing gothic horror tale ‘Baron Spider’; ersatz Gamera tale ‘Grow Up! Little Turtle’;  possible Godzilla vs Biollante inspiration ‘Mammoth Flower’; man in a gorilla suit madness ‘The Underground Super Express Goes West’; the interesting ‘Challenge From the Year 2020’ and the bizarre vision of the inferiority complex of one of the series’ reoccurring characters in ‘The 1/8 Project’. Along the way we touch on several other episodes in relation to these and spend a long time detailing the melancholy finale that is both touching and sad. ULTRA Q stands out as one of the most inventive and intelligent series made by Tsuburaya Productions even if it was the various future UltraMan series that went on to larger worldwide fame.

If you have any comments or questions please write the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com or look in on us at the podcast’s FB page. Thank you for listening! 

Troy and I return to the Universal Horrors of the 1940’s well for another pail of mystery and madness. This time out it’s heavy on the mystery but the madness feels like it was nearly forgotten. When the script has almost nothing for Lionel Atwill to do, you know something was badly miscalculated. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things in THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942) to enjoy for horror film aficionados but it will help if you also enjoy the cinematic mystery series that were common at the time.

Patric Knowles returns to the Universal horrors as a successful private detective set on retiring who is forced by cops, mobsters and his own pride to solve a new case. It seems that a vigilante killer has been doing away with criminals that have escaped conviction. Soon after they are found not guilty this Doctor RX strings them up as a warning to others. The latest example that lucky scumbags must be made to pay the ultimate price is a gangster who avoids jail but can’t manage to make it out of the courtroom before he is struck down in full view of a dozen people – and no one knows how! Lawyer Dudley Crispin implores our detective to find this killer since three of Doctor RX’s victims have been his clients. Who is going to hire a lawyer good enough to get you assassinated after acquittal? Sprinkled into this mystery is a romance subplot, a couple of comedic characters, some ineffective cops and a caged gorilla! Or a man in a gorilla suit, anyway. It certainly is a pretty fast sixty-six minutes. Some might even call it overstuffed! But not us. 

The story of how the movie’s unfinished script led the cast to rewrite or ad-lib certain scenes is related as we point out some of the sequences where this seems evident. We discuss co-star Anne Gwynn’s tales of making this movie and her little known ‘scream queen’ history. We quote Patric Knowles’ comments on how he and Lionel Atwill got along during the shoot. And we spend a lot of time trying to unravel the thought process of the killer who seems to be very confused about his life goals.

We end the show with a dip into the mailbag with messages from our thebloodypit@gmail.com email account. Some kind words are shared and a few great ideas about who might have made a better version of my beloved MARS ATTACKS film. Please drop us a line if you have any comments or suggestion. And thank you for listening. 

It's that time of year again. Time for our annual Holiday Horrors episode with Troy Guinn and John Hudson! We are a festive trio.

This year I got to choose the film and I went with a very recent movie about which I had heard good things. It turns out to have been a good choice but the first thing anyone listening to this episode needs to know is that we do spoil this movie. A lot! And in this case that would be very detrimental to a first-time viewing. So, as we say in the episode, see this movie before you hear us talk about it. We discuss this movie all the way through straight to the end credits and it would be much better for everyone to see this movie before knowing the various twists and turns that this clever script has in store for you. It is available to stream on several platforms with Amazon Prime being the most easily accessible. You have been warned!

BETTER WATCH OUT (2016) is an Australian made thriller that takes place in the merry month of December. This allows the filmmakers to drench the movie in colored lights, Christmas decorations and dark deeds! This does cause a short burst of the old ‘Is it a Christmas movie or is it a movie set at Christmas’ discussion but we move quickly past that to dig deeply into the joys of this twisted tale. The set-up is classic – a teenaged babysitter is in charge of a twelve-year-old as his parents attend a holiday party. The young boy’s lustful intentions toward are interrupted by a joking friend and then by a home invasion! Things get stranger as the evening wears on and the character’s fates become less predicable with each unexpected revelation. There really is no way to predict where this one ends up!

We hope you are having as happy a holiday season as possible in 2020. If you have any comments or question please write to the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com or drop us a line on the FaceBook page. Stay safe and healthy out there folks. Let’s all try to make it to 2021 intact. 

For years John Hudson and I have used this podcast at cover the films of Antonio Margheriti. These shows have ranged from westerns to gothic horror to military action to science fiction and goofy Disney styled comedies. This time we tackle an Arabian Nights kind of tale the director made in 1962 and for Mr. Hudson it will be his last in the series. Not that he is leaving the podcast! Nope. He’ll be sticking around to cover a variety of different kinds of movies in his inimitable fashion. But The Bloody Pit will continue to cover Margheriti movies with a new co-host taking over and this episode is the hand-off! Adrian Smith will assume the position of fellow explorer of the long career of the director with this being a branching of his blog focused on the subject called Blogeriti. So, in this show I first talk with Hudson about our subject and then I do the same with Adrian. It may make for a long episode but we still don’t completely cover the plot dense madness of the film in question! So much happens in this thing. 

Between the three of us we discuss the cast and crew of THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) with a few funny stories about the production. We look over star Tab Hunter’s career and make fun of his casting in this very Arabian tale. Aren’t all Sultans blonde? We marvel at the beauty of the Warner Blu-Ray and wish for more of Margheriti’s color films from the same period to be given similar treatment. The complicated story the film tells is only partially dissected because it is packed with so many odd details and strange characters. Of course, that is part of what makes the film so fun! The special effects come under examination with the usual excellent miniatures complimenting the flying carpets and magical arrows. There are many sideroads taken as we talk with the strangest being our digression into American sitcom titles. Sorry about that – it couldn’t be avoided. And what IS the plural of genie?

If you’ve anything to comment about in this episode please write us at thebloodypit@gmail.com or drop into the show’s FaceBook page. Thank you for listening and, if you can, let others know about what we do here

When the news broke last month that Sean Connery had passed away it didn’t come as much of a shock. He had made it to 90 years of age and I can’t be the only person that was surprised that he had such a long life. For decades he had been the epitome of masculine charism onscreen even as he aged into an elder cinema stateman in dozens of movies. Able to project calm no matter what chaos surrounded him and believable as an intense man of action regardless of the crazed nature any film’s plotline he was more than a movie star – Connery was a legend. His entire career he was underestimated even though he was a supremely talented actor who made what he did seem effortless. In fact, it may have been his skill at making it all seem easy that made it difficult for critics to acknowledge his ability. Of course, it was his performances as British spy James Bond that made him an international star even as the character became a weight around his neck. He tried for years to break away from that persona and succeeded to a large degree because of his determination to pick varied roles although it was another tough guy role that won him an Oscar in 1988. We will not see his like again. 

Mark Maddox joins me to dig deeply into the first two Bond films DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Finely crafted adventure tales they both stick closely to the Ian Fleming source material and, perhaps because of that, are fantastic spy tales. We talk about the films production with some added insights from the rare Criterion Laser disc commentaries that EON productions yanked as soon as they heard them! Mark brings his personal history with the character to bear explaining how his relationship with the movies have changed repeatedly over time. The differences between the books and the screenplays are discussed with some fun details about the possible reasons for certain changes. I make note of some scenes that the producers might have thought about editing from the finished movies if only to hedge their bets on mid-1960’s special effects. We also take a brief look at some of Connery’s post-Bond films to marvel at the variety of things he tried. 

If you have a special place in your heart for Connery and his portrayal of James Bond let us know. Which of his films is your favorite? How many of his 1970’s movies have you seen? Write the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com and we’ll add you to the discussion next time. Thanks for listening! 

American genre TV movies of the 1970’s hold a fascination for me. Growing up they were often the big event of the week and the major topic of discussion for kids at school for a long time after their premiere. In some cases, these movies have lived on in the larger public consciousness with reruns adding to their fanbase as it can take more than just excited playground conversations to grow their legends. In the past few years more and more of them have made the jump to Blu-Ray with lavish care taken to bring these sometimes difficult to find tales to a new audience. The biggest of the decade’s TV films are well represented, especially the fantastic and groundbreaking one-two punch of THE NIGHT STALKER (1972) and THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973) or even the excellent failed pilot THE NORLISS TAPES (1973). But there is much more of interest to horror fans seeking obscure telefilms than just Dan Curtis productions and, in this episode, we dive into a discussion of the fun CBS creature feature GARGOYLES (1972). There is much to talk about!

John Hudson and I tackle the film from several angles starting with our own histories with it. John got to see it on it’s premiere and has some holdover nostalgia for the movie while I caught up to it much later. We both still love the monster design, the desert southwest setting and the fact that very little time is wasted getting into the meat of the story. John has some information gleaned from the DVD director’s commentary track that sheds some light on the production and answers a couple of minor questions. We lament the lack of a certain actor’s voice and find ourselves still impressed with the ambition of the film. I openly wonder about the dropped idea of the Satanic element of the backstory and do a little guesswork on some missed opportunities that the restrictions of television in the 70’s might have made impossible.

If you have any memories tied to this mad monster film tell us about it at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the show’s Facebook page. What was your favorite TV movie from your childhood? Thanks for listening! 

Mario Bava is one of the most influential European filmmakers of all time. At the time of his passing in 1980 it is doubtful that he would have thought his work would be held in high esteem but the list of cinema luminaries that praise his talent is too long to list. Certainly, by the measure of box office take Bava would have thought himself an unsuccessful director. Few of the movies we consider classics today were big hits in their day finding much more acclaim years after their initial release. And then there is his glorious masterwork LISA AND THE DEVIL. Given the opportunity after one of his rare hit films to craft a long dreamed of project, he made this film with almost complete control. Sadly, the producer was unable to find distribution for the finished movie except in one country and so demanded that new scenes be shot to make the film more commercial. The resulting film became THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM and is as messy a product as its gestation would imply. But, luckily, fans of Bava’s work can see his original vision and marvel at the beauty and joy of a master filmmaker letting his imagination take flight.

Joining me to discuss this amazing film is author Troy Howarth, the writer of many books on various film directors and actors including The Haunted World of Mario Bava originally published nearly twenty years ago. We delve into the film’s haunted palace imagery with an eye to the use of manikins and statues and corpses that seem to trade places randomly. The time-slip nature of the dream-like story is examined along with the possible ways to read the underlying meaning of what Bava was saying with this rumination on death and decay. The cast is amazing with a scene stealing turn by a grinning Telly Savalas as both family servant and devilish observer. We also note the origins of the wonderful Carlo Savina score and the producer’s feelings about being sold used goods!

If you have any comments or questions the address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or the show has a Facebook page where occasional updates are posted. Thank you for listening to this episode and we will be back soon with more.  

Usually when you see that a 1940’s Universal film is an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story the expectation is for a horror film, but Poe was much more than just a master of the macabre. His work spanned many types of fiction and he is credited with actually creating the genre of ‘detective fiction’ with his brilliant Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841. In that iconic tale a clever man interested in puzzles bends his sharp mind to the task of solving an inexplicable murder. This character, Auguste Dupin, would appear in two subsequent Poe stories and is one of the inspirations for Conan Doyle’s later Sherlock Holmes. Universal had very loosely adapted the first of these mysteries in 1932 with Bela Lugosi and a man in an ape suit adding hideous pre-code horrors to the proceedings. The Mystery of Marie Roget was the second of the Dupin tales and it seems clear that Universal thought they could once again capitalize on the famous Poe name to bring home the dollars, only without quite so much of the grisly tone of the earlier film.

Troy and I pull the film apart looking for its darker elements. We discuss the fact that this is a fairly straightforward mystery that at times feels like a well mounted period drama that just happens to involve a few murders. The nastier details of the victim’s mutilated faces are kept offscreen entirely even as that plot element is needed to both set up a few red herrings and point the way toward the actual killer. We talk about the lavish look of the film, the interesting cast and speculate on who might have made a better onscreen Dupin. The excellent dialog between actors Patrick Knowles and Lloyd Corrigan is the highlight of the picture pointing the way toward an excellent future Universal film series. As usual, we also get a lot of fun out of reading reviews of this movie from contemporary critics. We are developing some favorites among the newspaper writers of the 1940’s! 

If you have any questions or comments the show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the FaceBook page. We’ll be continuing our 1940’s Universal horror series after the holidays so let know what you think. Thank you for listening to the podcast! 

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