Sunday, June 29, 2014

NaschyCast #46 - KILMA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE (1974)


It is the summer and once again the NaschyCast hears the call of the wild....jungle wild, that is! Yes- it's time for a Jungle Girl romp through the foliage and the stock footage as we ogle untamed women in fur bikinis and indulge in adolescent fantasies about the fairer sex. Will we ever grow up? Probably not. But while we stumble through the faux African landscape we do talk about this odd but oddly entertaining Naschy effort that marks his first collaboration with the director of THE NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST a.k.a. THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI. I have to admit that when we covered that film back in episode three I was unaware of this movie so this show serves as proof that Troy and I are still learning about our favorite Spanish Wolfman even now. Think of these podcasts as the strangest series of film history classes of all time! Now I just need to watch the Kilma sequel and see what director Miguel Iglesias brought to the table for a second Jungle Girl film with Blanca Estrada.

We start the show with a few announcements of interest to fans of Spanish Horror and are only interrupted once by a vicious catfight - I guess that is progress, of a sort. The mailbag segment has us being questioned by a female listener who has finally chimed in and wants info on the TV horror host of our youth. If you have questions for us the email address is naschycast@gmail.com or you can join us over on the Facebook page. Thanks for downloading and listening to the show. Come on back now- ya hear?




Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poster Art for SEXY CAT (1973)



I think it is past time I finally watched this Spanish giallo from director Julio Perez Tabernero. Wish there was a good video version out there- everything I've sampled looks like gauzy crap! 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jess Franco Poster Art - Part 31


The English title for this one is BLOOD ON MY SHOES and it was released in 1983. I had never heard of it until just the other day and since it is listed as a horror film you'd think there would be more chatter around Euro-Cult circles. I mean -Hell- this is great poster artwork! And the IMDb lists it with a 5.2 out of 10 which is almost a 9 on the unskewed  Franco meter. Also, it stars Antonio Mayans, Lina Romay and Howard Vernon - it is worth seeing just to watch that trio run through their paces. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Bloody Pit #15 - The Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films!


Tarzan is one of the best known characters in all of English language fiction. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs more than one hundred years ago the jungle lord descended from British aristocracy has become one of the most easily recognizable figures in world literature. Along with Dracula and Sherlock Holmes he forms a kind of trinity of classic fiction that is constantly ripe for rediscovery and reimagining. With the huge level of success reached by the ape man novels many, many imitations have been created over the years and even the number of official adaptations are too many to take in easily. There were many attempts to film the story of Tarzan in the silent era but it wasn't until MGM Studio obtained the rights in the early 1930's that a profitable series of movies was produced. Indeed, the MGM series was so successful for so long that there has yet to be a longer, uninterrupted film run for Tarzan onscreen or for a single actor in the title role. Of course, at a certain point RKO Studio took over production of the movies but that doesn't really matter- unless you were concerned about budgets!  


The dozen Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films are the way the character was burned into the world's popular consciousness and I honestly doubt that Tarzan would be as famous and well known if not for this hugely popular film series with him as the star. Perhaps the character endures because the black & white images from these films were absorbed into the brains of a generation or two of children hungry for adventure in the trees? Maybe one of the biggest reasons the original 24 Tarzan novels never go out of print is that young boys were inspired to seek out more of the jungle man’s thrilling tales than the films can provide? Regardless, these movies are a large amount of fun for the adventure fan hungry for jungle action.


Joining me to discuss (briefly) all twelve of Weissmuller's run is my buddy Chris Herzog. Chris is a freelance writer and all around nice guy - it was he who proposed the idea of doing this episode of the podcast. In fact, it was all his idea and I wash my hands of it! No, no. Chris was able to convince me this was a good idea pretty easily even though I knew I would have to finally finish watching the series and then refresh my memories of the early entries. That took time but it was great fun. I hope that he and I will be able to collaborate on more shows in the future even if it might only be once a year.


If you have any comments or suggestions please write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com and we just might incorporate your ideas into a later show. I apologize for the near constant background buzz in the audio but it was either have that noise in the show or fry in the oppressive May heat- we opted for the buzz. Sorry! The show ends with a song from the late, lamented Boston band The Cavedogs called Tarzan and his Arrowheads- the lyrics always struck me as quite ERB inspired. Enjoy!



Poster Art for Walter Hill movies














Saturday, June 21, 2014

RESIDENT EVIL (2002)


Hidden deep under Raccoon City is a secret experimental complex called The Hive. It is owned and operated by the Umbrella Corporation, a huge multinational that controls a major part of all commerce on earth. The Hive is used to carry on and control dangerous and illegal experiments of both a biological and viral nature. As Resident Evil begins, someone is stealing one of these experimental viruses; this unknown person intentionally exposes the complex to the contagion as he leaves. The Hive's controlling computer, known as The Red Queen, detects the contamination and locks the facility down to keep the virus from spreading outside — killing everyone still trapped inside in the process. From here the film cuts to a gothic mansion in which Alice (Milla Jovavich) has just awakened in the shower, her mind affected with amnesia. A young policeman, followed by a black-clad commando squad from the Umbrella Corporation, invades the house. The squad takes Alice and the cop prisoner, explaining that she's an employee of the Corporation stationed in the house to guard a secret entrance to The Hive. (As part of the Hive's automated defense mechanism, she was incapacitated by stun gas pumped into the house to knock out intruders. The amnesia is a short-term side effect.) The squad proceeds into the underground complex to discover the reason for the lockdown and take back control of the facility from The Red Queen. This turns out to be harder than they hoped. Although the virus has now been cleaned out of the Hive's air system, the effect of the virus on the dead bodies inside has turned them into murderous zombies with a taste for human flesh. Couple that problem with The Red Queen's attempts to kill off the invaders and a strict two-hour time limit before the entire complex is sealed from the outside - permanently - and the tension level skyrockets.


RESIDENT EVIL is a damned good junk-food movie. This film is never going to be anyone's idea of a classic, but it does work on a strong entertainment level. There's a nice central mystery and enough violent surprises to keep your eyes off the clock. I can't comment on how fans of the various video games it's based on will like it, but as a horror movie fan I found it to be great fun. The long sad cinematic history of movies based on video games is littered with so many bad films that a sane man turns from thinking about them lest he be locked away begging for death by joystick or Tetris block. When I learned that Paul W. S. Anderson had written and directed this one I despaired for I have seen his previous movies and have disliked them all. I know Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, and Soldier have their defenders, but I can find next to nothing good to say about them. So imagine my surprise when I found myself actually enjoying this film! Not that there aren't problems. There is at least one point right after the initial zombie attack where it appears that a bit of narrative has been cut out to speed the pacing at the expense of clear storytelling. Overall I was happy with the film even though at times it felt like a game of 'spot the film reference'; many scenes are homages to other movies (if you're charitable) or outright steals (if you're not). Often this type of thing will anger me but here it didn't. I attribute this to the confidence and forceful momentum of the story. Every few minutes we are introduced to a new situation or problem that pushes the characters around like rats in a maze. One criticism I've heard from others is that for an R-rated zombie movie, RESIDENT EVIL is very light on gore and I have to agree  - there should have been a good deal more graphic violence. Unfortunately it looks like the producers were afraid to go too far, knowing that, since it's based on a popular video game, parents' groups just might have a fit should little Billy see entrails flying about. It's too bad, really, because the potential was there for a better movie had more daring filmmakers been in charge. 


Anyone who sat through Tomb Raider knows that live action movies based on video games are probably never going to be a great idea, but RESIDENT EVIL avoids most of that film's dreadful pitfalls. It's not a great movie; it's not even one of the better zombie movies... but it is fast and fun - the cinematic equivalent of hot buttered popcorn that you can't stop eating until it's gone. I just wish it had worked harder for that R rating.



Maybe I need to review each film in this series? Dumb fun is the short form call. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Godzilla Poster Art










Even with the very good new movie fresh in my mind I still prefer the amazing run of Godzilla movies that started with Toho's relaunch of the character in 1984. I love each and every one of those movies. 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Examples of Pre-Code Nudity!

While editing the next Bloody Pit podcast I was taken by the brief discussion Chris Herzog and I have about Pre-Code movies. Here is a definition from Wikipedia for those unaware -

"Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound in the late 1920's and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code (usually labeled, albeit inaccurately after 1934, as the "Hays Code") censorship guidelines. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) and the major studios, and popular opinion, than strict adherence to the Hays Code, which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers.

Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934, American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema. This, plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior, was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater oversight." 

So, with that history in mind here is a video that shows some of the wily ways Hollywood showed some skin in the good old days!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What I Watched In May


I was able to catch three movies in the theater last month and the first was the very good horror film OCULUS. As a horror fan I am often angered by the lack of support for high quality entries in the genre and I find myself pissed that there isn't more talk around this smart film.

The plot involves a young brother and sister that experience the murder of their parents.  Years later as the brother is released from a mental hospital his sibling forces him to join her as she sets out to prove the deaths were caused by the supernatural. That is all I'll say about the plot to keep from spoiling this clever story but I was thrilled to see smart characters with different opinions processing a traumatic experience like (young) adults. They deal with things logically and at every point seem to be doing the best thing to resolve the problem at hand. The sister uses observations and research to prepare for the dangerous plan she sets in motion and the lengths to which she goes to prove her version of events is moving. This is a very well done horror film and one more people should see before it disappears into the background noise of the world of video.


Much whining has been done about the decision to reboot the Spider-Man movie franchise after the disaster of SPIDER MAN 3. At first I understood but then I saw the new film THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and I loved it. It wasn't perfect but to me it much better captured the sense of fun and kinetic energy that I always associated with the comic books when I was a kid. This film was looser, funnier and incidentally more emotional and touching by virtue of being less staid and serious about its core character.  Yes- Peter Parker has tragic events in his life but he is resilient and tough in ways that make him more than a younger form of the Nolan Batman. Spider-Man jokes his way through his fears using humor and often silly actions to gain an advantage and confuse villains. The previous trilogy never got that aspect of the character and suffered for it. Plus, I've never thought Tobey McGuire was all that great in the role.

So we come to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and the whining continues. I'm so tired of the complaints that I'll just note that I loved this film and am very happy with this new series so far. I like the casting, the choice of villains, the relationships, the action scenes, the CGI and pace of the movie. I will admit that at times the film feels a little ramshackle as if its covering too many bases for its own good but I never felt as if I was being shortchanged. To be honest, I could have watched another thirty minutes of this world and been very happy. I like everyone onscreen - even the creepy guy playing Harry Osborn! And I think Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Peter Parker because he gets that the only way this guy gets through life is by making light of the things that he can so the harsh parts of his life don't crush his soul. His scenes with Sally Field as Aunt May are brilliant at getting across the deep love between the two while acknowledging their shared loss and grief. I believed every human interaction in this film and I could never say that about the Raimi films - as good as the first two were they were a bit too distant and cold. These movies are warm in a way that feels like we are visiting friends not often seen but missed every day.

And, by the way, the visualization of Spidey web-slinging around New York is incredible! I have never seen anything in a fantasy film that more perfectly captured what I saw in my mind's eye as I read the source material. Amazing indeed. And this fluidity of motion and the  ingenuity of how they use the physicality of Spider-Man makes the fight sequences jaw dropping. They are well choreographed, organic and pure fun to watch! I'm sure the bitching about these movies will never end but for this fanboy - sign me up for part three.



So, American filmmakers got a second shot at GODZILLA. This time instead of turning it over to under-talented hacks incapable of crafting a story with discernable human emotions the producers went with the idea of quality. Director Gareth Edwards has made one film previous to taking on this huge project but that film was MONSTERS (2010) and it was excellent. If you have seen that film the creature creating skills of Edwards are obvious but what made it such a solid film was the care taken with the human characters that have to deal with the titular monsters. Much the same approach is taken with GODZILLA and it pays off very well. The film follows the 'hide the big guy' strategy of the original 1954 classic but with the added twist of giving us two other Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects for 'Zilla to battle. And battle they do! The final thirty minutes of this film contain some of the most satisfying giant monster fights of all time. Wonderful stuff!  I do feel that the movie could be about ten minutes shorter - ten minutes removed from the first half - just to pick up the pace but this is a good addition to the Godzilla legend and one that I hope spawns sequels. 

OCULUS (2014)- 8
DOC SAVAGE - MAN OF BRONZE  (1975)- 5  (rewatch)
THE HANGING WOMAN (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)- 6 (rewatch)
TARZAN AND THE HUNTRESS (1946)- 6
THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN 2 (2014)- 8
GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER (1966)- 5 (rewatch)
BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960)- 8 (rewatch)
GODZILLA (2014)- 7
TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS (1948)- 4
TARZAN THE APE MAN  (1932)- 7 (rewatch)
TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934)- 8 (rewatch) 


Monday, June 09, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) poster art







Director James gunn has been posting these beautiful alternate poster images for the upcoming Marvel science fiction extravaganza. If I wasn't already counting the days until the film's release these would fire me up! 


Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Bloody Pit # 14 - STREETS OF FIRE (1984)


STREETS OF FIRE is both the perfect distillation of the action films director Walter Hill had made up to 1984 and a stylish box office disaster. In my opinion it is also a masterpiece of pure cinema combining elements of film noir, musicals, crime stories, romance and tough guy humor into a something not seen on film before. This may not be Hill's best film but it is the best representation of his talent completely unfettered within the Hollywood movie making machine.

I recently rewatched this movie on cable (where I always seem to have seen it) and posted about it on Facebook wondering if I was alone in my love for SOF. I was not! Dozens of people came out of the closet as fans and when Ted Haycraft mentioned that we needed to talk about it I suggested we record our conversation for a show. A few minutes later I asked filmmaker and comic book writer Robert Tinnell if he would join us and he enthusiastically agreed. We had a great time talking about this under seen and under discussed piece of 80's action cinema and we hope you will enjoy hearing us babble.

If you have any comments or if you are a secret fan of STREETS OF FIRE drop us a note at thebloodypit@gmail.com and let us know. Maybe Walter Hill fans should develop a secret handshake or just address each other as Tom Cody! Thanks for downloading and listening.




Thursday, June 05, 2014

Poster Art for DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)


Wow! I mean- WOW!! Now this is my idea of great poster art! This is very similar to older styles of painted ad art that presents a gorgeous image rather than a collage of images or faces from the film. This may be the best poster art of the year. Click on it to see it more clearly. 


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Star Trek's (Original Flavor) End










The internet has informed me that today is the 45th anniversary of the last episode of Star Trek. I love the show and have seen every episode of the original series so many times I can quote most of them. It always fires my imagination and it was the first show that took young Rod boldly to where no other had gone before. Time to dig out the DVDs!