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This episode I welcome writer Julian David Stone to discuss his new novel, It’s Alive! The book explores the struggle to produce FRANKENSTEIN (1931) at Universal Studio. Stone’s story uses the perspectives of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and studio head Carl Laemmle, Jr. to relate the difficult path to getting that revered classic film off the ground. We get inside the heads of this trio of talented people giving us an insightful view of each and their motivations during this important period in film history. Fans of the Universal classic horror movies often think of these films in terms of one success leading inevitably to another but the resistance to bringing these macabre tales to the screen was strong. ‘It’s Alive’ presents an excellent look at the battle to create not just one movie but an entire cycle of them that changed how Hollywood thought about horror cinema.

 
Of course, I can’t have a discussion that touches on the Universal horror films without the conversation spiraling out to other movies in the series. We dig a little into favorite entries including defenses of some of the underpraised films of later years. As expected, Mr. Stone is a Monster Kid from way back and his love for these film shines through. We had a great time talking and I can highly recommend It’s Alive!

 
If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to write or send voice messages. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 

Adrian Smith joins me as we return to our long-term discussion of the films of Antonio Margheriti. In the 1980’s he made several ‘military men on a mission’ films for various producers. These movies aped everything from THE DIRTY DOZEN to RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 (1985) accomplishing much with meager budgets. Margheriti’s expertise in special effect work and miniatures were a major help in keeping costs under control. These sometimes great and sometimes insane effects are part of the fun, especially as we get higher definition prints that allow for certain crazy details to become evident.

 

CODE NAME: WILD GEESE (1984) was the first of trio of jungle action movies Margheriti made with British actor Lewis Collins in the lead and it is easy to see why Collins was briefly considered to play James Bond. He projects ‘tough guy’ hardness well and is a solid actor to boot. This film surrounds him with an international cast including an Oscar winner (Ernest Borgnine) and a couple of classic screen bad guys playing nice (Lee Van Cleef and Klaus Kinski) giving everything a sweaty sheen of near-respectability, even if Kinski is very oddly dubbed. Throw in a ridiculous car chase, a few dozen explosions, gratuitous Mimsy Farmer, a surprise villainous turn and it is easy to overlook the regularly disappearing plot, ill-defined motivations and bizarre effects choices. This one is fun in all the over-the-top ways that 1980’s action cinema aimed to be. So, hop into that small helicopter and let’s torch some opium fields for exciting but vague reasons! Woo hoo!

 
The show’s email is thebloodypit@gmail.com and we’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any of Antonio Margheriti’s films. And join Adrian and I on our other program Wild, Wild Podcast as we start a season focused on Luigi Cozzi! Thanks for listening! 

Cort Psyops returns to discuss THE HORRIBLE SEXY VAMPIRE (1970)! Just how many words in this title accurately describe the film’s contents? Woo boy. Your mileage may vary……

Recently rescued from dodgy video presentations by Mondo Macabro, this Spanish oddity is one of the stranger examples of Euro-Horror. We start our discussion remarking that the story behind the making of the film is probably more interesting than the film itself, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of onscreen elements to puzzle over. While the movie does sport a standard Lugosi-style vampire lurking around gothic places, the majority of the killings are handled nontraditionally. By that I mean that this vampire can somehow render himself invisible! Was this a stylistic choice on the filmmakers’ part or a budgetary one? It hardly matters as it creates one of the more memorable aspects of the movie. Watching victims flail about fighting someone that isn’t there is sure to keep you staring at the screen wondering just how crazy things will get.

 
Mondo Macabro’s Blu-Ray has a few excellent extras that give an explanation for how and why this film was made. The most interesting information involves the star of the picture how he started an acting career. This disc proves that any film can be made fascinating the more you know about it. I can only imagine what viewers in the past thought of this bizarre movie with no frame of reference for what went on behind the scenes. This is the kind of thing I live for!

If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to send them. Cort and I thank you for your time and attention! Happy Halloween. 

Troy, Beth and I convene to discuss the fourth of Universal’s Sherlock Holmes film series! Of course, the show is packed with spoilers but we just can’t resist.

 
SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943) is based on an original Holmes story by Doyle, ‘The Musgrave Ritual,’ and has our favorite detective investigating what might be a cursed family. Pressed into wartime service Doctor Watson has been helping out at Musgrave Manor which is serving as a convalescent home for shell-shocked Allied officers. His young assistant, Dr. Sexton, is attacked with a knife and nearly killed. Watson travels to London to bring Holmes back with him, but upon their arrival they find the head of the household, Geoffrey Musgrave, dead. The lead suspect is an American airman, Vickery (returning Universal horror player Milburn Stone), who is in love with the youngest Musgrave, Sally (Hillary Brooke making her second appearance in the series) and was planned to marry her against Geoffrey’s wishes. The always-befuddled Inspector Lestrade shows up and quickly arrests him but Holmes knows there is more going on than such a simple murder. Might there be supernatural shenanigans afoot? Is there really a curse on the Musgrave family? And how does the game of chess factor into everything?

 
We dig into this nicely creepy film that shows a decided swing away from the espionage storylines of the first three of the series. All three of us are happy to finally have a scary Holmes tale to discuss even as we point out how many of the gothic touches don’t amount to much in the final analysis. After all, when is a broken clock just a broken clock? Beth brings up the story of Universal’s brilliant costume designer Vera West which adds some unexpected mystery to the conversation. I express my dislike of one element in the movie that presents the audience with false information. Troy takes note of how long Lestrade is lost in the secret passages in Musgrave Manor’s walls which is less time than I would have guessed.

 
We hope you enjoy our conversation and thebloodypit@gmail.com is the email address for comments on the episode. Thank you for listening and have a happy October! 

Cort Psyops returns to the show to talk sword and sorcery!

 
RED SONJA (1985) is a film that gets very little respect even among hardcore cult film fans. Cort and I feel this is an oversight and we take about two and half hours to make our case! Hopefully you will join us on our quest.

 
Both of us are coming off of seeing the film on high-definition disc which enhances our appreciation of the visuals, especially the old school special effects craftsmanship. Who cares if that strange giant spider doesn’t really work! Wheel that sucker out there and photograph it correctly for the desired effect.

 
We discuss the movie’s strange production with last minute casting of the lead and extended participation from Arnold Schwarzenegger bending the story into different shape. I lament the lack of a novelization but I do point out some fascination information that can be gleaned from the Marvel comics adaptation. We discuss the multi-ethnic cast, the gorgeous cinematography and the incredible production design that shows off every penny of the budget. We talk a bit about the slight differences that make for a PG-13 rating rather than an R with this film flashing enough blood to make us wish for a more violent cut. The film’s stunt coordinator is given his due as we praise the visceral feel of the sword fights as well as the many ways that the wonderful score brings the entire movie to life. This really is a fun adventure film and I’m glad to see that it has aged well.

 
If you also love this odd sword & sorcery film thebloodypit@gmail.com is where you can send your memories of seeing it for the first time. Are you like Cort who caught it between HBO screening s of BEASTMASTER? Or did you get to see it in the theater in 1985? Podcasters want to know! And thanks for listening. 

This is a very special episode.

John Hudson joins me to discuss BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997) but that is only half the fun. We also got the chance to talk to actress Jane Hamilton who appears in the film as a judge. Under her stage name Veronica Hart, Miss Hamilton was a major star of adult movies in the period depicted in BOOGIE NIGHTS and is therefore the perfect person to answer questions about the industry and its onscreen Hollywood portrayal. She has many stories to tell and not just about the pornography business either. We had so much fun talking with her that the conversation went on for nearly an hour and a half with more than a few digressions! Hopefully you’ll enjoy her tales as much as we did.

 
We end the show with some classic adult film recommendations from Mr. Hudson which might send you off to your favorite DVD/Blu-Ray retailer to satisfy your curiosity. If you have any comments or suggestions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to write. Or you could join us over on the FaceBook page but keep it clean or the Zuck will get us for sure. I’ve added a song from The Exotic Ones and thank you for listening! 

John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard return for a roundtable discussion of THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973).

 
Typical of exploitation cinema of the 1970’s this is a grimy, mean-spirited tale of crime and consequences. The story follows a trio of not-quite-as-smart-as-they-think low lives as they kidnap a jewelry store manger’s daughter. Expecting an easily scored diamond ransom their scheme goes sour and, when they start trying to turn their busted plan into a success, things get quickly worse. The sweat, fear and desperation combine to make for a tense, uncomfortable film experience with an ending that stamps this as one of the darkest American films of the period. I once thought of this as a one-time watch but my opinion has changed.

 
We briefly discuss the terrible crime that inspired the film and how the long-term details point out the folly of most criminal activity. We talk about the cast and crew with some fantastic information from the two main female actors. Writer/director Guerdon Trueblood is also on the record about the entire history of the production and we share a few of his amusing tales as we go along. Bobby expresses his dislike of the reoccurring theme tune and neither John or I can really disagree with his assessment. Of course, that means you get to hear it as part of the show. Sorry.

 
If you have any comments or suggestions or comments thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to write. We’ll be back to cover STUNT ROCK eventually. We end the show with a new song from Chagall Guevara. Thank you for listening! 

Other projects have thrown off my podcasting schedule so I present this short episode as a bridge to our next full show.

Troy joins me to respond to a couple of emails addressing some questions about THE MECHANIC. This includes some fascinating insight into director Michael Winner’s reputation from someone who has interviewed him! Exciting. We hint around about some of the projects that have been occupying our time recently without giving away any information we shouldn’t. I think.

 
I also make public my plea for a certain genre of adventure films to get more love and attention from Blu-Ray companies. We dart off in odd directions a few times with Ken Russell movies and lesser known Michael Caine films getting some discussion.

 
If you want to be a part of future mailbag segments thebloodypit@gmail.com is the address. Let us know what you think and we’ll be back soon. 

Author Nicholas Schlegel joins me for a deep dive into the underappreciated genre of the ‘krimi’! These underseen films are German adaptations of Edgar Wallace crime novels. During their most popular period in the 1960’s more than four or five were being released every year and they remained a huge box office draw for nearly fifteen years. Mr. Schlegel has just published a book about these crime thrillers called ‘German Popular Cinema and the Rialto Krimi Phenomenon: Dark Eyes of London’ and it is a perfect springboard for discussion.

 
THE GREEN ARCHER (1961) came pretty early in the cycle and is a good example of the black & white period of the series. At this time the scripts were trying to stick as close as possible to the adapted novel’s content which can make for an often confusing number of characters and subplots. Luckily, the film’s fast pace and sly humor keep the many strange happenings from feeling overwhelming with most loose ends wrapped up in the ‘ende’. Mr. Schlegel and I range across the krimi output of Rialto productions discussing the changes the series went through including moving to color and the gradually increasing horror elements incorporated into the scripts. We touch on the production history of the films and their evolution into another genre altogether. Eventually we compare lists of favorites with some concern for how to break the films down for newcomers or the mildly curious. We both hope that bringing attention to these entertaining gems will encourage more people to give them a try.

 
If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas thebloodypit@gmail.com is the address. Let us know about your favorite krimi and how you discovered the genre as well. If you could, please rate and review the podcast wherever you grab it. And thanks for listening! 

Author Paul Talbot has published two important books about Charles Bronson and his career. Both ‘Bronson’s Loose: The Making of the Death Wish Films’ and ‘Bronson’s Loose Again: On the Set with Charles Bronson’ are packed with information about the production of some of the most interesting action thrillers movies of the 1970’s and 80’s.

 
I was honored that Mr. Talbot agreed to join me on the show to talk about one of my favorite 1970’s Bronson movies. I’ve long been a fan of Bronson’s long string of crime movies and THE MECHANIC (1972) is easily one of the best of the lot. We discuss the lengthy gestation period of the script, the major changes that it went through over time and the various actors that passed on playing the titular character. We also look at the location shooting on skid row in Los Angeles and how it offers modern viewers a window to another time and place. Director Michael Winner’s multiple collaborations with his star are touched upon and Mr. Talbot’s insights are backed up with his interviews with the sometimes controversial filmmaker. Of course, when you get two movie nuts talking it is difficult to stay on a single topic so a number of Bronson’s other vehicles are dragged into the conversation with both of us naming our three favorite Bronson films for comparison. These slightly off-topic sideroads are frequent but we do usually circle back to THE MECHANIC – I promise.

 
If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to send them. Thank you for listening to the show and I’ll be back soon with more. 

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