Feed on

For the 100th episode John Hudson returns for another discussion of an Antonio Margheriti film! It’s taken a long time to finally get to triple digits and I’m happy to say that we treat the occasion with very little reverence. In fact, it’s just like every other episode Hudson and I’ve done together with him constantly messing with me while I try desperately to keep things on track. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

BATTLE OF THE WORLDS (1961) is the second of Margheriti’s science fiction films. As with his other cinematic SF adventures he directed the film while also overseeing the special effects. It was this movie that convinced the money people at MGM that he could be trusted to make cheap but good-looking space movies leading to the financing of his quartet of Gamma One films in 1965-67. For years this was a staple of Saturday afternoon TV broadcasts but after decades of public domain copies (both VHS and DVD) it seems improbable that we’ll ever get a Blu-Ray of this fun film. It is the presence of the great Claude Raines that makes this one to seek out for fans of his decades long career and he lifts this movie on his shoulders in every scene. It’s a shame YouTube is the current best way to see the film because a special edition video release would bring deserved attention to both the director and often neglected 1960’s space opera genre. Special effects may have advanced well past this film’s day but the care on view is still worth more widespread attention.

Mr. Hudson and I start the show with a discussion of some recent viewings and a side conversation about Stephen King’s output over the last couple of decades. Those expecting certain invisible creatures to get mentioned won’t be disappointed even if I was. As usual. Sometimes I wonder why I tolerate this guy!

Any comments can be sent to thebloodypit@gmail.com or dropped over on the show’s FaceBook page. We’d be glad to hear from you as we plot the next one hundred episodes!

Is this the last ‘great’ Universal monster movie?

That is one of the questions Troy and I pose as we dive into a discussion of this beloved werewolf film. THE WOLF MAN (1941) is such an entertaining film that I, of course, found a way to begin our conversation with a few of the things that I find to be less than perfect. And from there it only gets odder as we dig into the questions the film always brings up about four-legged wolves and suddenly appearing clothing. But we start to color outside the lines when we consider the dark family relationships in Talbot castle as well as the unknown past of Bela the gypsy with his mother Maleva. And what was that gypsy lady’s real motivation for hanging around to help Larry once his animal side began rampaging in the night? She certainly had some sharp words for Lord Talbot in their one interaction. Is there a subtext of class anger between the two oldest characters in this tale bubbling just beneath the surface? Or is she just the world’s best werewolf whisperer? And what about pretty Gwen’s quick transition to being head-over-heels in love with a man who could be called a telescope stalker? Unhappy with her fiancé? Hussy? Gold-digger? The gossipy women of the town want to know!

I apologize for my out of place ramble about the Big Country album Steeltown at the beginning of the show. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. If you have any thoughts or comments, the email address remains thebloodypit@gmail.com and the show’s Facebook page is alive and well. We look forward to continuing this series of 1940’s shows and hope you enjoy what we do! Thanks for listening.

Mark Maddox returns to the show to talk about one of the more overlooked of the Universal horror films of the 1930’s - MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932). This movie’s lack of attention may be because it doesn’t have one of the classic monster characters as a draw or, possibly, because it is one of the darkest, nastiest sixty-one minutes the studio ever released! Luckily, I don’t think it will remain as underseen in the future as it has just gotten a tricked out new Blu-Ray release which gives the film the best visual presentation it’s ever received on home video. The picture is so sharp that you can almost see the evil thoughts as they flicker in Bela Lugosi’s eyes!

We start the episode with a brief discussion of some of some of the projects Mark has coming out soon including some fun information about the genesis of his cover art for the upcoming Blu-Ray of Hammer’s EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN. We then move into a rather scattered discussion of MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, jumping from one topic to another as we explore the qualities that make it a unique part of the decade’s horror output. Lugosi’s masterful acting is examined along with his bizarre uni-brow. That is one strange look! The not-so hidden strain of bestiality embedded in the story is touched on as well as the fears of a Darwinian view of the world that the script uses to terrify its audience. We disagree about the inserted chimp scenes but both of us find some generally held ideas about this movie to be a bit silly. We bring up the legendary first edit of the film along with Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog article (in issue #111) in which he proposed a way to re-edit the existing film to approximate the director’s original version. It’s a shame there wasn’t an attempt to include such a variation for the new Blu.

If you have any thoughts about this film or any other that we’ve discussed on the show, write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the Facebook page. Mark will return in a few weeks to talk about another movie so you could even ask him some questions directly, if you wish. Thanks for listening!

I welcome artist Mark Maddox back to the show and we take a trip to Blood Island to survey the territory. TERROR IS A MAN (1959) is the first of what would become a series of Philippine produced horror films featuring monsters and bloody (for the times) violence. While the later films were colorful sleaze-fests this movie was shot in stark black and white with its horrors being moodier rather than grotesque. Not that the film skimps on horror thrills but, while it is pushing the outer edge of what was permissible in the 1950’s, it is still a more restrained tale than would come later.

Mark and I cut into this variation on Wells’ ‘Island of Doctor Moreau’ searching for the best parts and throwing out the worst. We disagree on a few elements with me decrying lip gloss and high heels while Mark makes the case for a shortened running time. But we agree on how much the film is improved by the recent HD release on Blu-Ray. This film has spent decades being presented to viewers in terrible prints on subpar video releases that made it difficult to pay attention to the often excellent qualities onscreen. Now it’s possible to see the movie in a crisp, clear version that allows all the fine work done to be appreciated. Of course, it also allows us to focus on the less well-done aspects too. But this is a film that falls much more on the positive side than the negative and I will keep insisting on that until Mark shuts up!

We don’t stray too far off topic but if there are any odd side roads that you think we should travel down further in the future please let us know. The podcast email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or we can be reached on the show’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening and we’ll be back soon!

After too long a delay I welcome back podcaster extraordinaire Derek Koch! Yes, the host and proprietor of Monster Kid Radio returns to the Pit to resume his discussion of the 1950’s westerns of William Castle. This time out we tackle THE BATTLE OF ROGUE RIVER (1954) and THE GUN THE WON THE WEST (1955). These were made during Castle’s long period of honing his craft under producer Sam Katzman at Columbia studio where keeping the budget under control was the most important thing. These B programmers run about seventy minutes each and make for a colorful double bill of action and adventure.

Derek and I give each film it’s time in the sun, digging into the cast and crew with special attention paid to the various science fiction and monster films they were involved with during their careers. We make note of the actor’s most famous roles and speak with envy about the lucky marital situations of a few key players. Since Richard Denning is a lead actor in both films, we spend a good deal of time looking at his characters and his long career. I had completely forgotten he was a regular on Hawaii 5-0! There is a discussion of both film’s modeling of masculinity for the younger audience members and the question of how these westerns often reflected the times they were made in rather than the times they depict. We muse on the ways in which we might have wished the stories had gone as well as the possible individual scenes that may have been shot but discarded to meet that short running time. We have a pretty good time examining these rarely talked about movies and we think you’ll enjoy the show. I even throw in a Roy Orbison song when our conversation rambles too far off-track.

 If you have any comments about William Castle or westerns in general thebloodpit@gmail.com is the email address. I can also be reached on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page and Derek can be found over on Monster Kid Radio every week. That man is so consistent it puts me to shame! Thanks for listening.

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.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Play this podcast on Podbean App