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Randy Fox returns to dive back into the science fiction films of the 1970’s.

Unfortunately, THE FINAL PROGRAMME (1973) is one of the lesser-known SF movies from the 70’s. There are many reasons for that including it being savagely cut for American release and that its cast is devoid of major movie stars. But a more relevant reason it is largely unknown is the type of science fiction tale it tells. Adapted rather faithfully from the first of Michael Moorcock’s series of Jerry Cornelius novels it hews closely to the arch tone of the book in ways that might frustrate some viewers. Plot points are not spoon-fed, explanations for odd occurrences are not always made and anyone looking for a solid hero will be left wanting. The motivations for the main character are, by turns, dark or driven by melancholic grief when they aren’t just completely inscrutable. Aware that the world is crumbling around him Jerry seems content to chase his psychotic brother Frank but often affects a disinterest in nearly everything else. “Well, for a start, I'm going to sit here and get smashed out of my mind. And I also have it on very good authority that the world is coming to an end. I thought I'd go home and watch it on television.” 

Randy and I spend the first thirty minutes of the show discussing the book series with a focus on the first, of course. We then (eventually) get into a deep look at the film using a faulty synopsis that causes me to complain about one of the more common errors made when summarizing this movie. We talk about the fine cast, the director’s comments about the movie and the difficulty of crafting such a large-scale tale on a small-scale budget. We touch on the locations and the music as well as author Moorcock’s choice for sonic accompaniment that was overridden by designer/writer/director Robert Fuest. And we finally wind our way to the mad ending that is the sole false note for Randy. This touches off a spirited discussion of how I would have liked the final scenes to play out to move things closer to the unfilmable ideas in the book. And then I quote star Jon Finch from an old interview about his involvement in the film. We have a pretty good time!

If you have any comments on the film or the podcast thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to reach us. Which 1970’s science fiction film should we dig into next time? Let us know. And thank you for listening! 

After our last episode we thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper into the radio tales of Sherlock Holmes. As Beth is such a fan of both the character and classic radio dramas, I asked her to pick two different audio tales that we could fashion into a short show to introduce listeners unfamiliar with the form to a couple of solid examples. I expected her to stick with the series that starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, but she surprised me by also finding a much later show that unexpectedly did an excellent Holmes adaptation. If you enjoy the two shows we present here you can easily find more online in various places and we highly recommend the search. We might even do some future episodes like this to discuss why they stand out or if they are particularly unusual in some way. Hope you enjoy this first presentation. 

If you have any comments or suggestions about the podcast please write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com where we’ll be happy to hear from you. Not Petri Wine happy, but happy nevertheless. Thanks for listening! 

There have been roughly a billion Sherlock Holmes movies made over the last century and the master detective has been portrayed by enough people to populate a full reenactment of the California Gold Rush. But only a handful of these actors became so identified with the role that their physical appearance influenced most future visions of the character. Basil Rathbone played Holmes onscreen fourteen times and in hundreds of radio programs. His voice so perfectly captured the public imagination that his mannerisms and style of speech became the standard for Holmes for decades afterward and he is still considered one of the best to have ever attempted the role. Rathbone’s acting often elevates movies and he brings a level of competence and skill to his Sherlock performances that can help even the weakest of them entertain effectively. Luckily, he was often working with a cast that matched his abilities and a story that was worthy of the Holmes name. Not that there weren’t problems to overcome…..

Universal’s series of Sherlock Holmes adventures are considered a part of the studio’s 1940’s horror output and certainly several of them qualify as scary movies. But not all of them are so obviously part of that genre with most leaning into the expected mystery/suspense field. Strangely, their first Holmes film would stray from mystery more than most and ends up playing more like an espionage story with Holmes as a spy master. This grows out of the decision to set the Holmes and Watson characters in contemporary times instead of their usual Victorian or Edwardian period. This means the war with Germany takes center stage allowing the brilliant Holmes the opportunity to add his efforts to the battle against fascism. But does the change of time period and the repurposing of this great character as a WWII combatant work? We’ll be glad to let you know our thoughts in this episode. 

Troy and I are joined by Sherlock Holmes aficionado Beth Morris for this (and all future Holmes films). She adds her own perspective on Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and the 1940’s version of the characters filtered through her obsessive reading of the original Doyle tales and every pastiche story that she can get her hands on. We discuss the film’s story, the extraordinary cast, the brilliant lighting and the lack of detective work the film has for Holmes. I dig into the way the film treats Eveyln Anker’s character Kitty, probably spending far too much time railing against the Hay’s office rules that force certain irritating actions at the film’s conclusion. I get a bit salty about it and I apologize for my enthusiasm and inability to let it go. But it is infuriating! 
We end the show with an email giving details about this year’s Blob-fest in Lehighton, PA. If you live near enough to attend, we envy you. I’ve really got to try to get to that show one year. 

Here’s a link to the full info – LINK! 

If you have any comments or suggestions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the email address and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the podcast and we’ll be back soon! 

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! 

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