Friday, June 15, 2018

Mexican Vampire Cinema: A Brief History

This is the first episode in a fantastic series on ...well... Mexican Vampire Cinema! I was alerted to it by Steve Sullivan and it deserves to be much better known. Check it out! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Images from Wonderfest 2018's Model Show!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr. and Vampira on The Red Skelton Show!

I never thought I'd see this! Made famous in Tim Burton's film of ED WOOD here is the actual scene in which Lugosi becomes flustered with Skelton's ad-libs. Fascinating! 

Friday, June 08, 2018

The Bloody Pit #69 - BLACK FRIDAY (1940)

This month Troy and I return to our new series focused on the Universal Horror films of the 1940's. In fact, we leap to April 12th of 1940 for the release of the second such feature of the decade, BLACK FRIDAY. We were reticent to cover this one as neither of us had great memories of it even though it stars two of our favorite horror actors. This has always seemed the weakest of the Karloff and Lugosi pairings at Universal so talking about a low point for them felt like a bad idea. But, in the end, the chance to finally talk about those two screen greats was too enticing for us to pass up so we dove in to see what we would find on a return visit to the University of Newcastle.

We discuss the genesis of the script and it's original title including some information about writer Curt Siodmak's reuse of this story's central brain swapping premise. (Gotta cover Donovan's Brain someday!) Director Arthur Lubin's career gets some love with the tale of his history with Lugosi playing a part in how he handled the film. Karloff's incredible wardrobe is a constant topic of wonder as I ponder how much of the production's meager budget was spent keeping him looking so cool. And, obviously, the subject of the last minute casting change is discussed with reference to both Greg Mank's book 'Karloff & Lugosi: The Story of a Haunting Collaboration' and 'Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films 1931-1946' by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas. We are indebted to those fine books for our understanding of the production and it's background.

Near the end of the show we get to read out an email sent in by a listener with some comments and questions. If you want to do the same please write us at where we'll try to get back to you quickly. We love getting show ideas from people that enjoy what we're doing since it usually points us into areas we haven't considered for years. This episode closes with a pretty obvious song choice but it's Lugosi that has the last word. Thanks for downloading and listening!

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Brief Thoughts - THE SON OF ROBIN HOOD (1959)

My recent search for lesser known Robin Hood films turned up this little-seen effort from 20th Century Fox. After the high of the excellent Disney version from 1952 I was perhaps a but too enthusiastic for the lower level of quality present here. Indeed, this film is pretty lame overall with only a few points of interest for adventure fans.  

This story tales place several years after the death of Robin Hood with the aged remainder of his band of men waiting for the arrival of his twenty year old offspring. It seems the people of Sherwood Forest need a new leader because another oppressive ruler, Duke Simon Des Roches, has begun abusing his power. It is felt that a shot of the olde Hood spirit is just the right thing to set things right but a problem arises when it turns out that the child of Robin is of the wrong gender! Whoops! What else can be done other than enlist a strapping young lad with a desire for revenge against the Duke to impersonate Deering Hood and lead the new Merry men to victory.

This is a pretty weak film with a tired script and not much in the way of thrills. There are a number of swordfight scenes but almost all are sub-par with little skill on display in either the fighting or the action choreography. David Hedison plays the rogue pressed into service as the Son of Robin Hood and it's interesting to see him post-THE FLY (1958) playing a dashing hero, even if he (wisely) doesn't attempt a British accent. But the movie is uninteresting with very little depth given to the characters and only one really exciting villain.

The DVD 20th Century Fox has issued of the film doesn't help elevate it's few qualities. The movie is presented full frame chopping off huge amounts of information on both sides of the Cinemascope image. Adding to this insult is the fact that film is in desperate need of a remaster and clean up as well. The colors are faded and the print looks dull and muted. I don't know if a better looking version of THE SON OF ROBIN HOOD would make it more interesting but it certainly couldn't hurt. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

SUSPIRIA (2018) Trailer

I still can't understand why a filmmaker would set themselves up for the beating they will inevitable take for remaking a beloved classic of the genre. BUT - this trailer looks interesting, fresh and as if the creators have found a way to build something new on old bones. I am now curious to see this as soon as possible. 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #87 - EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)

In the final episode of this great series Dr. Gangrene takes a look at the last three film Mr. Price made - with emphasis on the big Tim Burton movie, of course!