Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Bloody Pit #73 - THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940)


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!







Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Behind the Scenes Photos From Some Favorite Films
















Monday, September 17, 2018

What I Watched In August


I'm one of those people who feel that the Mission Impossible film series didn't become worth worrying about until the third entry in the cycle. The first two films were made by directors that I admire but both were just terrible films. Each had good segements and admirable bits and pieces but never really came together as a decent film. But they were box office hits and I'm glad of that because ever since the third film I've really enjoyed this series of action movies.

I think some people are over-praising this entry in the run and calling it one of the best films of the year. That's going a bit far by half but it is a top-notch example of what Hollywood action movies can be. The cast is fantastic and it's an absolute blast to see Cruise and Henry Cavill on screen at the top of their game and kicking ass. This movie has several action scenes that I think are some of the best of the entire Mission Impossible series. The bathroom fight is a sequence that I think is simply brilliant from beginning to end and worth the ticket price on it's own. Even some of the more espionage-centric sequences are excellently well played too with secrets and lies playing a large part of the proceedings. The cast really gets to dig their teeth into a convoluted plot line that actually does require the audience to pay attention to understand who might be doing what, when and where.

The place the film loses me is in the over-the-top helicopter crash/cliff side fist-fight ending set-piece. It's fun repeatedly stretches credulity until I was just rolling my eyes too often to take it seriously. But, up to then, it's a great ride.

THE LIST 

BLUE DEMON: DESTRUCTOR OF SPIES (1968) - 6
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT (2018) - 7
DOOMWATCH (1972) - 7 (rewatch)
THE MAZE (1953) - 6 (rewatch)
TARZAN'S SAVAGE FURY (1952) - 6
LADY FRANKENSTEIN (1971) - 8 (rewatch on Blu)
A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL (1973) - 8 (rewach)
THE SLAYER (1982) - 6 (interesting horror tale)
EL CAMINATE (1979) - 9 (rewatch in Blu)
THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHOALIN (1978) - 8
TOMB RAIDER (2017) - 4 (uninvolving adventure wastes fine cast)
THE SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM (1933) - 7 (rewatch)
FOUR'S A CROWD (1938) - 7 (romantic comedy with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland)
THE UNLIVING (2005) - 3 (rewatch)
HOT FUZZ (2007) - 8 (rewatch)
SKIN TRADE (2014) - 5 (not bad action tale)
UNDERCOVER MAN (1942) - 5 (standard Hopalong Cassidy film)
LAKE OF DRACULA (1971) - 8 (rewatch) 



Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves Cover Gallery



















After being introduced in a 1966 issue of Ghostly Tales, the character Dr. M. T. Graves went on to host his own horror anthology comic book series - The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves. The comic ran an amazing 72 issues lasting until 1982, although there were several points in the late 1970's when it suspended publication for months at a time. As a kid I ran across random issues of this title on the spinner racks but rarely read it. The covers were creepy enough to intrigue me but usually the superhero books got my meager funds first.

These days Steve Ditko fans seek these out as they contain some of the more interesting of the artist's post-Marvel horror work. I would love to be able to read the entire run but there seems to be no way these will be bundled between covers for the curious anytime some. There are ways to find copies for online reading, if you search carefully.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Naschycast #60 - THE UNLIVING (2004)


Sharp-eyed or eared (?) listeners to the Naschycast will recognize THE UNLIVING as an alternate title for a film we've already covered on the show. Troy and I took a look at this Fred Olen Ray joint a few years ago under it's more evocative name TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF and you can still check out episode #30 for our original assessment. This time out we revisit this problematic entry on Paul Naschy's credits at the request of our new guest - David Zuzelo! David is an old friend from the early days of Euro-Trash horror online fandom and someone I should have included in the show much sooner than now. He's a horror comic writer and expert on the trashier side of cinema making him the perfect man to talk about this uncut sex-filled werewolf romp.

The three of us spend a lot of time on this film discussing it's flaws, it's points of interest and David brings some fascinating behind the scenes information to the table. Of course, as you might expect with Euro-Horror fans, we also branch off onto related subjects with a lengthy musing on Jess Franco and the more obscure films of Amando De Ossorio. David and I reminisce a bit about our first podcast experience together on Horror Rise From Spain and his upcoming work in horror comics. Troy and I wrap the show with a brief email from Our Man In The Field before we let you go.


If you have any comments or questions the address is naschycast@gmail.com or you can join us on the Facebook page. Thanks for downloading and listening!






Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ghost Manor Cover Gallery














I would love a collection of this title to read in October! 



Sunday, September 09, 2018

CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935)


"Faith, but it’s an uncertain world entirely."

This was Errol Flynn's first leading role in a film and it turned him into a star. More than eighty years later it's still easy to see why. Captain Blood has daring heroics, amazing swordplay, big action sequences, strong characters and a great romance with one of the most beautiful women to ever make movies. Flynn's handsome, graceful but masculine onscreen presence made both men and women flock to his movies for escapist fun for nearly twenty years. Captain Blood is as good an example of perfect filmmaking as I can imagine. It's one of the greatest pirate films ever made and my own favorite movie of all time.

Flynn plays Doctor Peter Blood, who in 1685 is arrested and sentenced to slavery for treating rebels wounded in battle against the British crown. Shipped to the town of Port Royal in Jamaica he is bought in a fit of pique by Arabella Bishop (Olivia De Havilland), the niece of one of the island's major landowners, Colonel Bishop (Lionel Atwill). Unsure what to do with her impulse purchase she drops the doctor into the regular slave population working her uncle's plantation. Using his medical skills to treat the island governor's gout, Blood gains some privileges and secretly arranges to buy a boat for an escape attempt. Instead, fate intervenes when a Spanish attack on the colony enables him to steal a full-sized ship and make an escape with his fellow liberated slaves as crew.


Turning to piracy, Blood spends the next few years plundering any and all vessels that come under his sword until a partnership with flamboyant French pirate captain Levasseur (Basil Rathbone) goes badly. Having captured the ship bringing Miss Bishop back to the Caribbean from England, Levasseur plans to ransom her but Blood, emotionally torn about this beautiful, kind woman, tries to buy her away. When this fails the two captains fight to the death and Blood walks away with the lady his prisoner. At first relishing the turn of slave to master he ultimately cannot treat her cruelly and stubbornly sets out to return her to Port Royal even though he'll most likely be caught there and hanged by her uncle, who has become Jamaica's new governor. But there's a surprise or two at the island for Blood and his crew that will test their loyalties and their fighting abilities.

The film is so remarkably faithful an adaptation of the Raphael Sabatini novel that when I finally read the book I was shocked by its fidelity. I expected the usual monkeying typical of the movies but clearly Warner Brothers saw a great adventure story with exactly what Hollywood needed and stuck to it. In fact, like most novels of its time the story seems to have something for nearly everyone — political villainy, explosive sea battles, a noble hero, a classic swordfight, a smart romance and plenty of pirate action. Often with adventure movies there is little time for smaller moments but Captain Blood has sharply drawn minor characters and even the dialog is clever with dozens of smart, quotable lines that linger long after the fun is over.


A movie with so many elements could have easily flown out of control but as directed by the great Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) it never feels frantic, but rather moves so smoothly it seems to be a much shorter film than it really is. Indeed, what at first glance seems to be an episodic story of a man's fall from respected citizen to "thief and pirate" and his serendipitous return to grace reveals itself in hindsight to be a remarkably linear tale of overcoming unjust, oppressive authority. Of course, none of that would matter if the film wasn't fun and on that front it succeeds admirably. This is two of the most entertaining hours I've ever spent watching a film and I never tire of introducing new people to this classic.

Sadly, seeing Captain Blood in its original form hasn't always been easy. When I first saw and fell in love with it on commercial TV and it's first VHS release the running time was 99 minutes. To accommodate the necessities of a two-hour time slot on television a full 20 minutes of character and detail had been snipped out! For decades that was the only version of the movie available. Some have argued that these cuts didn't hurt the film, that at full length it's overcrowded and too busy. Ridiculous! These are the types of folks that would look at a gourmet banquet and complain that their plate was too small. Luckily in the late 1980's Ted Turner's TBS cable station started showing a beautiful uncut print... but only colorized! Mon dieu! But then in 1993 the 119 minute cut was released on tape (and later Laser Disc) with a banner on the cover that made Flynn fan hearts flutter: "In Glorious Black & White". The long overdue DVD release of Captain Blood put one more sword thrust into the shorter edit, relegating it to a reference book footnote. Warner - where is the Blu-Ray?