Monday, March 27, 2017

World's Finest #236 (1976)


I don't think this was my first Superman/Batman team-up book but it has certainly remained stuck in my memory for decades. I think I read this (repeatedly) between the ages of 8 and 10 until it was lost to the winds of fate. I recently found a copy in the cheap bins and was thrilled to see that - as silly as it is - it holds up as a fun little story.

Of course, at the time I had no idea that scripter Bob Haney was blatantly ripping off the film FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1968) and crossing it with a monster story. It's just such barely concealed theft that makes returning to the comic books of my youth so much fun. I got the occasional title steal from classic literature and the often over-obvious character names for both heroes and villains but lifts from things I had yet to be exposed to went past me easily. Now, spotting this stuff is part of the joy of rediscovery when I find one of these pieces of my childhood. Of course, the fact that The Atom is reduced to dust and then injected into a human body where he reassembles himself to do battle with gremlin-like 'germs' has me smiling the whole time. This kind of madness is why the 1960's and 70's DC comics were seen as so unhinged. 

And, as a side note, Dick Dillin's artwork for this issue is amazing! I always associate him with his very long run on the origianl Justice League series and his pencils here show his style off well. 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

INQUISITION (1976) is coming from Mondo Macabro!


We've known for  few months that Mondo Macabro was planning to release two top notch Paul Naschy films this year and today the company made the official announcement for the first - INQUISITION (1978). This is, of course, extremely exciting and not just because it is the beginning of a stream of Naschy Blu-Ray releases coming in 2017. This is one of the least well known of Naschy's horror films as it falls outside the area of his more famous monster tales. Indeed, this movie hews much more closely to WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) or THE DEVILS (1971) than to any of his werewolf films. Regardless, this an excellent film with a strong script, excellent cast and some fantastic ideas driving the actions. I can't wait for more people to be able to finally see this film!   

This will be INQUISITION 's Blu-Ray debut and the disc will sport a few nice extras - and that is the big news for the Naschycast. Troy and I were asked to contribute a commentary track for this release and we did so! Yes! We recorded a track that will be included on this Blu-Ray in which we try to provide some information about the film and circumstances around it. We're very excited about this and are very thankful to the fine folks at Mondo Macabro for this opportunity. We hope you will enjoy our track but even if you never listen to us babble at you for the entire running time of the movie I think you'll enjoy the film itself.

Keep an eye on this page to pre-order the Limited Edition or wait a few more months for the regular edition (which will still have our commentary!). This a great film and a must for Naschy fans. It might even be capable of creating NEW Naschy fans!

Here are the official specs for the disc -

We hope to have the limited edition of this title on sale in late April or early May, with the retail version landing in June or so.

Brand new cover illustration by Gilles Vranckx

Region-free worldwide Blu-ray premiere


HD transfer from the original negative


Spanish and English Language Tracks


New created optional English subtitles


Audio commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of the Naschycast


Archival video introduction to the film by Paul Naschy


“Blood and Sand”, Eurotika! documentary on Spanish horror


Mondo Macabro previews

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

666 numbered copies

Reversible cover

Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Pete Tombs


And of course, the red case

Oh! and here is the other side of the reversible cover-



More Random Poster Art










Friday, March 17, 2017

Beyond Naschy #20 - THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1970)


Writer/director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador only made two feature films and in this episode we cover the first. THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is a carefully paced tale of sexual repression and murder in an all girls school and if that makes you think of a much more famous European genre film from a few years later you might be onto something. As we go through this film we point out some of the movies that seem to have been influenced by THE HOUSE THE SCREAMED as well as a couple of movies that might have served as influences for this under known classic. Set in France in the late 19th century it shows a depth of period detail both in the house itself and in the authoritarian culture it is commenting upon. Often seen as a proto-slasher, the film was known as LA RESIDENCIA in it's home country and under some truly bizarre titles in other places around the world.

The film is elevated by a talented cast led by the legendary Lilli Palmer as the strict headmistress in charge of a few dozen 'troubled' girls placed in her out-of-the-way boarding school.  As these girls range in age from about age 15 to 21 you can imagine what some of the problems might be. Spanish actress Cristina (THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE) Galbó plays the newest student enrolled and serves as our proxy as she learns about the place's dark secrets. British actress Mary (CRUCIBLE OF TERROR) Maude is Irene, the student most trusted by the headmistress to help keep the other girls in line, which she does in some often harsh ways. John Moulder-Brown plays the overprotected teenaged son of the headmistress who spies on the girls but is forbidden to associate with them. And NaschyCast favorite Victor Israel turns up as the school's all-purpose handyman who just might be the killer!

Join us as we dive deep into this one with our observations ranging from the cerebral to the silly. We certainly take great delight in the beauty and intelligence on display in the film and we don't just mean the lovely cast or exemplary acting. This is one of the finest films we have yet to cover and we hope to encourage you to seek it out.

We can be contacted at naschycast@gmail.com or over on the NaschyCast FaceBook page. Let us know what you think of this or any other Spanish horror films. Thank you for downloading and listening.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What I Watched in February


SPLIT (2016)  marks the third  M. Night Shyamalan project in a row that I've liked. Considering the fact that I had written him off completely after four or five miserable misfires this is something of a cinematic miracle. This film is a tight, taut creeper that wastes no time getting to the point and then meting out details in a way that keeps thing interesting. It helps that James McAvoy is fantastic in the lead role pulling off multiple characters inhabiting the same body with what seems great ease. Veteran actress Betty Buckley is also great as the psychiatrist trying to help the various personalities come to an understanding and coexist. This is a sharp little thriller and I now look forward to what Shyamalan will do next.


While I'll be the first to admit that the RESIDENT EVIL series has had it's fair share of ups and downs, I remain a fan. None of the sequels have held together as well as the first movie but I've enjoyed the crack-pot madness the films have embraced and I've been willing to go along for the ride. Sadly, this latest (and supposedly last) entry is one of the weaker ones. After flirting with incomprehensible millisecond-cut editing in earlier films hack director Paul W.S. Anderson finally embraces the suck and makes all the action scenes in this one a mish-mash of overly tight shots placed together seemingly at random. I would not be surprised to learn that these scenes were originally edited much more intelligibly  but Anderson wanted something 'edgier'. This disastrous choice destroys the first hour or so of the film because you can't give a crap about what is happening when you can't see it. Someone needs to tell the idiot director that if you are going to define your characters through action we have to be able to understand what the hell action is taking place to care. Moron.

Strangely, once the story reaches it's endgame I was interested again. The wrap-up they have invented for the Alice character(s) is pretty good and felt like a natural way to explain many different plot elements from the series. Now, if someone could go back in and fix the first hour or so we'd have a fun little movie.


I, like most people who saw it, loved the first John Wick film. It took the clichéd idea of the retired hit man drawn back into the game to new heights of visceral action. It was exciting, intriguing and emotional beyond what I could have expected. The sequel picks up right after the first one and dives into the unfortunate fallout from picking those guns back up. The action scenes are what you come to see in these films and they more than deliver with inventive fights and dazzling gunplay that is as beautiful as watching Gene Kelly dance - if Kelly wielded weapons like a vengeance seeking demon!

The best thing for me was the broadening (hello, Rome) and deepening (interesting relationships) of the dangerous world inhabited by these high level assassins. The codes they live by and work by are well thought out and rigid but clearly in place for everyone's benefit. The rules of this world are fascinating and the breaking of them is what is going to make the next film even more absorbing. Bring on the third entry - I'm ready!


Quite simply, A CURE FOR WELLNESS is the best Dario Argento film in thirty years. The fact that he didn't make it is a sad thing, but the film exists and that means that the audience wins!

Seriously, this is very much the kind of film I wish Argento was still able to craft. The film takes place in modern day but feels like it could be set any time in the past forty years. Lockhart, an ambitious young executive (played well by Dane Dehaan) for a large financial services firm in New York City, is sent to retrieve the company's CEO Mr. Pembroke from an peaceful but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. This reason for this assignment is to get the CEO back to the US to sign off on a huge corporate merger. The company's board are concerned after receive a troubling letter from a seemingly demented Pembroke and emphasize to Lockhart the importance of his job. Upon arriving at the wellness center Lockhart is met with some resistance by the staff, particularly Dr. Heinreich Volmer (the always excellent Jason Isaacs), in his attempts to speak with Pembroke. He eventually succeeds in getting through to him, but a car crash forces him to recover as a patient in the center with a broken leg. From there things get progressively stranger.

The wellness center is as gorgeous a piece of old world stone and brick architecture as you are likely to see on film. Once the movie gets to this location the feeling of modernity falls away and a calm, gothic atmosphere envelopes the tale. Everything onscreen gives the impression of having stepped back into a time long passed - there are no computers, phones are mounted on walls, clothing is generic or crisply white and everyone is serenely going about their business. Both patients and staff seem to calmly pass each day comfortable in the routine of rest, relaxation and regular medical treatments. Ah, but what are those treatments?

Very much in the vein of SUSPIRIA or INFERNO the film does wallow a bit in it's own beauty and, to a degree, shares those movie's plot problems. Not all the story dots line up perfectly with at least one thing still puzzling me days after the fact. Even with the film purposely and cleverly confusing things at points with possible hallucinations it makes itself clear at the end except for one nagging element that I can't wait to discuss once more people have caught up with the film. The only other problem I had was the feeling that the movie is a little too long. But this is such a lovely, creepy tale that, in a way, I'm kind of happy for the extra time to soak in the sensations.

THE LIST 

SPLIT (2016) - 8
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2017) - 4 (weak ending with spastic editing)
THE WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE (1965) - 7 (well done thriller)
JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 (2017)- 8
THE TOMB (1986) - 3 (terrible Fred Olen Ray horror mess)
CIMARRON (1931) - 8 (excellent western epic)
EYE IN THE LABYRINTH (1972) - 7 (interesting Euro-Trash mystery hokum)
HAPPY HELL NIGHT (1990) - 2 (awful slasher)
ALONE IN THE DARK (1982) - 6 (interesting cast - OK film)
I, THE JURY (1981) - 5 (rewatch)
MOON ZERO TWO (1969) - 4 (sad Hammer SF)
WEEKEND OF TERROR (1970) - 6 (solid TV movie with good cast)
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015) - 9 (rewatch)
A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017) -  8
THE HYPNOTIC EYE )1960) - 4
DARKMAN II: THE RETURN OF DURANT (1995) - 6 (rewatch)
DARKMAN III: DIE, DARKMAN, DIE (1996) - 5


Monday, March 13, 2017

The Bloody Pit #51 - Godzilla Talk!


A few months ago our regular correspondent Jason Spear wrote in and, among other things, started a chat about fandom. This conversation became a much larger thing than we thought it would and expanded with other listeners chiming in to add their opinions to an already heated topic. When Jason realized that his off-the-cuff remarks had spawned a discussion that painted his comments in a dark light he felt the need to clarify what he meant. So, we decided to craft an entire episode around a discussion of fandom, Godzilla and just what it means to be wary of disrespectful filmgoers.

This is an odd show for us as there is no single film that we talk about for the length of the episode even if we do spend a long time on SHIN GODZILLA (2016). Indeed, there is a lot of Godzilla talk (hence the title) with much love expressed for the Big G and his costars. Of course, this being a show with Rod and Troy hosting there are a number of tangents starting with general bitching about late-era Bruno Mattei films. And there are few things funnier (or sadder, really) than Jason's tales of bad luck with crappy audiences in movie theaters. But, happily, he also has many stories of his journeys to Japan and his visits to a number of cultural landmarks that only genre fans or small  children would give the first damn about! Giant Gundam suits should be stationed everywhere, in my opinion.

If you want to add your voice to the conversation about what we discuss or anything else please write us at thebloodypit@gmail.com or join us over on the FaceBook page for the show. Thanks for downloading and listening.