Friday, April 29, 2016

Vince Rotolo - Podcasting Mentor

About ten years ago I first learned about the world of podcasts and immediately started searching for shows focused on my off-kilter interests. Vince Rotolo's B-MovieCast was one of the first shows I subscribed to and not long after that time I realized that I wanted to put in my two cents worth. Vince made that easy by having a phone number set up for fans to call and so - after screwing up my courage - I called, left a message and thus began a long series of sometimes crazy contributions to that show. If truth is to be told I was trying to do a couple of things with those dozens (?) of phone calls. Sure, I wanted to add some information about the movies being covered on the podcast BUT - I was also trying to make Vince laugh. I really, really wanted to make Vince laugh. I knew that if he was amused he'd surely include me in his show. That's how it works, right? If you put a smile on the boss' face he lets you stick around.

Well, he did include my calls in the B-MovieCast and I could hear him laughing so I knew I was cool. B-MovieCast cool. And even when he wasn't audibly laughing you could hear the grin that was plastered on his face. That's right. Vince was the kind of host that could not keep the sound of his voice from telling you how much fun he was having making his show. He was enjoying himself the entire time, even when he was wrestling with Skype problems that made recording with his distant co-hosts a start and stop pain. Of course, I should have figured out long before I actually did that I didn't have to work so hard to make Vince laugh. He wanted people to join the conversation and as long as I added to the show he was happy to have me. Indeed, he seemed to be happy to include everyone that took the effort to be a part of the B-Movie love that he started the show to foster. I was far from the only listener to add my voice to the party and Vince weaved us all in no matter how nutty we got. Hell! I used his show to jokingly call another podcasting legend a heretic for not watching more Godzilla movies! (Sorry about that, Derek!) But Vince took it all in stride and juggled us lunatics like a professional. He made us all feel welcome in his place even when we acted like crazy people. He created the gold standard for this kind of podcast because he treated us all as friends - even those of us he had never met.

On this past Wednesday night I received a phone call from B-Movie co-host Nic Brown to inform me that Vince Rotolo had unexpectedly passed away just hours before. I was at a friend's house preparing to record a podcast of my own and as I sat down on the couch I felt sure that I was imagining this call. But I wasn't. Nic gave me the details he had and we sat miles away from each other, listening to our own breathing, stunned into confused silence. He was able to assure me that Vince's wife Mary was doing as well as could be expected but, being used to hearing her every week on the podcast, I could imagine her voice cracking with grief with the same words Nic was using. No matter what this was doing to me, Nic, or any other fan of his show I knew Mary was in a far more terrible place and I just wanted to help her. But there are no sympathetic words that aren't obvious. No phrase that will heal this pain. Not for her, not for Vince's family or for any of us.

I only met Vince and Mary once several years ago at the Monster Bash convention in Pittsburgh. I was so thrilled to be able to shake his hand and he was very gracious but also kind of shy. He smiled a lot and as soon as we all started hunting the dealer's room for goodies it was like kid's in a candy store. He might have seemed standoffish but as soon as the conversation turned to our common interests we were cool! I know he talked me into at least one purchase and I think I was able to point some cool pieces out to him as we searched too. It was magical and I can still see him holding a British Blu-Ray of WITCHFINDER GENERAL in his hand and pondering the price.

I'm planning to be at this summer's Monster Bash for the first time since I met Vince there. A big part of why I was excited to go was to talk face to face with him. I had plans to email him in the next few weeks to ask if he would be willing to sit down at the show and record a little for my own podcast. I wanted to dig into his childhood and ask him about his memories. I had visions of getting inside the head of a first generation Monster Kid. What was his first monster film? When did he realize how important movies were for him? What were his thoughts on how the movies of his youth formed his adult tastes? I wanted to know about his job and how he ended up living in the southern US. I wanted to pick his brain about Ray Harryhausen and the day he spent at his house. But mostly I wanted to spend some time with Vince. Some more time. Two or three hours a week for most weeks of the year just didn't seem to be enough. Not for me. And probably not for a lot of other people either. I started missing Vince Wednesday night and I'm going to be missing him every day for the rest of my life. He was a long distance friend; a podcasting mentor; a movie fan and an incredibly nice guy. A light went off this week and, unfortunately, we aren't waiting for the movie to begin on the screen in front of us - we're saying goodbye to that light forever. 

The Bloody Pit #37 - LOGAN'S RUN (1976)

Welcome to the 23rd century. The only thing you can't have in this perfect world of total pleasure is your 30th birthday.

All around good guy Randy Fox joins me again as we continue our series of shows on the science fiction films of the 1970's. This one figures big in both of our young lives as a touchstone for the genre and how we viewed it. It may come as a surprise just how big and widespread the fandom for this hit movie became. As kids it was easy to get caught up in LOGAN'S RUN simply for its sets, action and beautiful people but luckily those are not the only elements on offer. In this episode we dissect the film in detail drawing out some subtext and symbolism along the way even though we both still spend a lot of time marveling over the look of the world the film so skillfully builds. We talk about the cast and our mutual appreciation for the solid center they give to this wild story and look at the ways the casting made the film work. There is a discussion of several deleted scenes and I've even managed to grab audio from one such sequence that restores some dialog cut from the finished film. Exciting stuff!

We also delve into the changes made from the book, talk about the book's sequels and the surprising, never completed comic book sequel to the film. Along the way Randy and I pledge our undying love for both Jenny Agutter and the lost art of matte paintings so it's strange trip no matter how you think about it. We even try to diagnosis Box the cyborg's mechanical needs as he has clearly missed his preventative maintenance check up!

Along the way I've sprinkled some bits from Jerry Goldsmith's excellent score and some extra clips from the picture. We end the discussion with a look at Marvel's comic book adaptation, Randy's stint in the Logan's Run fan club and a brief look at the short lived TV series from 1977. We hope you enjoy this (rather lengthy) look back at this SF classic and if you want to share your memories of the books or the movie please contact us at - we'll be glad to hear from you. Until next time - Run, Runner! 

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Logan's Run by Marvel Comics!

As had become the norm by the mid-1970's someone had to adapt the latest science fiction film for the comics. Luckily the book was handled by the very talented artist George Perez making it stand out visually in a way that just seemed to enhance the film's imagery. The comic spread it's adaptation of the movie over the first five issues allowing the writers Gerry Conway and David Kraft to dig deep into the story and bring out subtly and nuance that was never possible even with a big Hollywood budget. And then they continued the story in issues six and seven before Marvel pulled the plug! It's a damned shame because the next chapter was shaping up to be amazing. I've read conflicting accounts as to why the series was cancelled with low sales being offered as a reason. I've also heard that there was a sudden discovery that Marvel didn't have the rights to do more than adapt the film and had over stepped their rights by going further. I really doubt that the series was not selling well so I suspect that Marvel charged ahead without the contracts having the correct letters crossed and dotted. They certainly never kept a series going again once the particular film had been adapted including FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and BLADE RUNNER. Jeeze! Imagine a couple of sequel issues for BLADE RUNNER from Marvel in 1982! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Brief Thoughts - SCORPIO (1973)

The other night I caught SCORPIO because I liked the look of the cast. How could I pass up a spy thriller with Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon?  Even if it stank it would interesting. Lucky for me it turned out to be excellent and one of my favorite unexpected discoveries of the year so far. Lancaster plays Cross , an aging agent of the CIA responsible for arranging the assassinations of foreign citizens that stand in the way of the United States' interests. Delon plays a French professional assassin codenamed Scorpio that Cross uses often in his plans. The film opens with the duo seeing through the removal of an Arab government official and then traveling back to Washington DC. It soon becomes clear that Cross has been marked for elimination by his own side with Scorpio is set after him with the promise of replacing his longtime mentor upon success. I won't give away any more of the film's surprises so as to encourage others to seek it out. I will court spoilers by saying it ended up reminding me quite a lot of the Robert Mitchum film from the same year THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973). Overall I think I liked this film more.

Oh! I really enjoyed the casting of a number of great character actors in SCORPIO too. There are good roles for Paul Scofield, James Sikking, Gayle Hunnicutt, J. D. Cannon and two familiar faces from Star Trek as well - John Colicos as the CIA boss out for Cross' head and Joanne Linville as Cross' wife. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Power Records Book and Record - Six Million Dollar Man: Birth of the Bionic Man

The mighty internet tells me that today is Lee Majors' birthday so I was looking over my novelizations of the TV series. An unexpected Facebook conversation with some friends about the huge amount of ancillary media generated to make money off The Six Million Dollar Man made me do some hunting online. I am so happy that someone has done this motion comic version of the origin story and I'm thrilled to share it. Check it out! Oh! And Happy Birthday Mr. Majors.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beyond Naschy #16 - THE LORELEY'S GRASP (1974)

Amando de Ossorio is the man best known for his quartet of Blind Dead films but he made quite a few other worthy movies as well. This horror fantasy combines a couple of European myths with elements from Stoker's Dracula story to create a creepy and unique monster tale. And, being a man with an eye for beauty, Ossorio populates his scary movie with about a dozen completely gorgeous ladies and the supremely hunky Tony Kendal to keep everyone distracted. Of course, any film featuring the amazing Helga Liné has my attention from the beginning! 

THE LORELEY'S GRASP also features some surprisingly gory violence with no regard for keeping the carnage confined to the bikini clad young ladies. In fact, the victim choice seems to be entirely unpredictable adding to the shock value of the monster's various stalking scenes. This film's nasty reptilian beast is not just after female hearts to eat - even bearded hippies are on the menu!

Since this is our first Beyond Naschy in a few months we have a backlog of comments and letters to sift through. We get to those in the show's last segment but we actually start the episode with the live opening of several stunning gifts from a dear listener. This is a first for us and - as you will hear - we were overwhelmed with the generosity of these presents. And, like the whores we are, we couldn't help but turn this into an open plea for more! Who wants to be our Number 1 fan? Send money! But, in all seriousness, we are so happy to have you folks out there willing to listen to us. We're just two Tennessee boys with a love for cinema and the desire to find out more about what we enjoy. It is wonderful to know our efforts are appreciated as we share the love. You people keep us going.

So, stock up on irradiated cutlery just in case a mythical murdering monster comes calling and drop us a line at if you have something to add. We love hearing from you and this show's mailbag points out how quickly we can be swayed to cover a film suggested by our fans. Shatner on the NaschyCast feed? Oh my!

Thanks for downloading and listening and feel free to rate & review us over in the iTunes store or wherever you feel like spreading the word. The more the merrier, after all. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sword & Sandal Poster Art

Because every now and then you just need to see examples of gorgeous movie poster art.