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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. 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Mel Welles was an actor who worked with Roger Corman in the late 1950's and early 60's. He appeared in many films such as ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS and THE UNDEAD. He will undoubtedly be best remembered for his time onscreen as Mushnick, the owner of the flower store at the heart of THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960). But Mr. Welles seems to have had a much different position in the film industry in mind for himself - director!

After a film he shot in 1957 couldn't get released until 1960 Wells decided to try his luck in Europe where he found work in Germany and Italy both in front of and behind the camera. After directing a couple of productions but not getting a director's credit he started a dubbing company that was eventually responsible for providing hundreds of movies with foreign language soundtracks. But in 1971 Welles was able to co-write and direct his most interesting film, LADY FRANKENSTEIN. It's a well made variation on the classic mad scientist tale with a few kinky twists thrown in to keep modern audiences in their seats. It wouldn't hit the United States until 1973 where it was still a hit even after it  was brutally edited down to under 90 minutes by his old mentor, Roger Corman.

But is LADY FRANKENSTEIN any good? Or is it just one heck of a good title? Join Adrian Smith for our third annual podcast together and we'll tell you what we think. We spend the first twenty minutes or so catching up with each other so be aware that we don't get to the film immediately. Adrian has officially earned his doctorate in film studies now but refrains from forcing me to call him by his new title. Luckily he's still the same great guy in love with Euro-Cult cinema and he has plenty to say about this sleazy slice of monster glory. I guess it's probably best not to put on airs when talking about slightly disreputable cinema of this type!

We discuss the talented cast including Joseph Cotton, Paul Mueller, Mickey Hargitay and the absolutely gorgeous Rosabla Neri in the title role. Adrian points out some fascinating things about the film as we roll through the plot synopsis while I just try to adjust to finally having an uncut version of the film that looks so clear and crisp. We can't recommend the British Blu-Ray from Nucleus highly enough!

If you have any questions for us or comments about the show you can write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com where we'll be happy to hear from you. If you get the podcast through iTunes or any other such pod-catcher, please consider rating and reviewing us there. It points others to the show. Thanks for listening and downloading.

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Once again we travel back to 1940 to check in on the horror film output of Universal Studio! This time we have a literary adaptation of Nathanial Hawthorne's classic novel THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES. Filmed both before and since it's as straightforward an example of a melodrama filled with familial guilt and resentment played out against a background of possible supernatural components. Did someone say Gothic Romance? Well - I did, even if this might not be exactly what some think of when imagining that specific type of creepy tale. I make the argument that this film may have been the template for a few dozen similar tales over the decades with Troy pointing out the Dan Curtis connection as well. This movie casts a long, dark shadow indeed!

We dig deeply into the film, happy that we get to talk about Vincent Price one more time before he exits Universal. The rest of the cast is even more impressive with George Sanders playing his standard cad character with arch skill. But it's the amazing Margret Lindsey as Hepzibah that takes top acting honors bringing real longing and nuanced emotion to the most difficult role in the story. We get return visits from Alan Napier, Cecil Kellaway and Nan Grey with singing cowboy Dick Foran making his debut in a Universal Horror film. As the discussion continues we talk about the changes and additions to the original story with special attention paid to future victim of the Black List, screenwriter Lester Cole and the visual choices made by director Joe May. This is a beautiful movie with much of interest to classic horror fans and romantic drama aficionados too.

If you have any comments or questions please write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com and let us know what's on your mind. Thank you for downloading and listening!

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Antonio Margheriti directed several westerns over his very long career. VENGEANCE (1968) was his second effort in the genre after 1967's DYNAMITE JOE and the evidence here shows he was very comfortable in the field. Margheriti also takes a full writers credit on this one meaning that he had a strong hand in shaping the story instead of just being a director for hire. Perhaps this means we can see what 'Mr. Dawson' was thinking in the late 1960's about westerns and the specific Italian slant on them when looking at this early in the cycle example. What are the necessary elements that need to be included?

 

Attention grabbing opening scene? Check.

Clint Eastwood-style loner? Check.

Revenge plot fueling the action? Check.

Intricate crime with backstabbing and betrayal? Check.

Gorgeous female character with little to do? Check.

Charismatic bad guy with odd affectations? Check.

As much violence as the times will allow? Check.

 

Seems like he had everything in place. But did he craft a good movie? Join John Hudson and I as we go through this well produced film starring Richard Harrison and a host of excellent European actors including Margheriti regular Luciano Pigozzi. (Was there an actor who appeared in more of his movies?) I complain about the plain nature of Harrison's name while Hudson laments the missed opportunity for a cameo by the Invisible Chimp. We talk about the Savina score, the title song, the joys of catching smaller onscreen details and pointing out where the film could/should have been shortened. We also take a few unexpected side roads with the lengthy DAWN OF THE DEAD conversation being pretty ridiculous even if it did relate to the 'less is more' concept.

 

Near the end we discuss an email sent in by a listener and if you'd like to comment on the show the address is thebloodypit@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you! Thank you for downloading and listening to us babble. We'll be back soon with more.

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This month Troy and I return to our new series focused on the Universal Horror films of the 1940's. In fact, we leap to April 12th of 1940 for the release of the second such feature of the decade, BLACK FRIDAY. We were reticent to cover this one as neither of us had great memories of it even though it stars two of our favorite horror actors. This has always seemed the weakest of the Karloff and Lugosi pairings at Universal so talking about a low point for them felt like a bad idea. But, in the end, the chance to finally talk about those two screen greats was too enticing for us to pass up so we dove in to see what we would find on a return visit to the University of Newcastle.

We discuss the genesis of the script and it's original title including some information about writer Curt Siodmak's reuse of this story's central brain swapping premise. (Gotta cover Donovan's Brain someday!) Director Arthur Lubin's career gets some love with the tale of his history with Lugosi playing a part in how he handled the film. Karloff's incredible wardrobe is a constant topic of wonder as I ponder how much of the production's meager budget was spent keeping him looking so cool. And, obviously, the subject of the last minute casting change is discussed with reference to both Greg Mank's book 'Karloff & Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration' and 'Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films 1931-1946' by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas. We are indebted to those fine books for our understanding of the production and it's background.

Near the end of the show we get to read out an email sent in by a listener with some comments and questions. If you want to do the same please write us at thebloodypit@gmail.com where we'll try to get back to you quickly. We love getting show ideas from people that enjoy what we're doing since it usually points us into areas we haven't considered for years. This episode closes with a pretty obvious song choice but it's Lugosi that has the last word. Thanks for downloading and listening!

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SEX & FURY (1973) is more properly known as 'Story of Delinquent Female Boss: Ocho' and is a prime example of the Pinky Violence genre. Although Troy and I are both curious about this strange Japanese variation on the revenge film we have had very little exposure to it. Luckily our occasional podcasting buddy Jason chose this fine period action tale to cover giving us the opportunity to dig into one of the best of the type. I guess you could say we came for the naked swordfight and stayed for the compelling story of intertwining vengeance plots.

The film stars two of the most recognizable female leads of violent cinema circa the early 1970's. The first is Japanese actress Reiko Ike as the titular Ocho. As the movie begins in 1905 she is a woman seeking three people responsible for the murder of her father decades before. She is getting closer and now knows that each one has an identifiable animal tattoo that will point her to the guilty parties. Adding to the complexities is American gambler and spy Christina (played by Swedish beauty Christina Lindberg) who is being forced by her military controller to push Japan into a second Opium War. But Christina is conflicted because her actions might cause her Japanese lover to be caught and killed in his quest to assassinate a nasty politician. Confused yet? Wait until you hear us take a dozen sidetracks as we go through this one!

The show can be found at The Bloody Pit of Rod or on iTunes or Stitcher. If you have any comments the show's email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com and we'd love to hear what you have to say. Thank you for downloading and listening!  

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