Thursday, December 13, 2018

Universal Monsters Christmas Images







Monday, December 10, 2018

The Bloody Pit #77 - CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)


For the fourth year in a row Troy Guinn, John Hudson and I dig into a festive themed film that fits the odd nature of this podcast. Holiday Horrors 2018 brings us to the often overlooked classic CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980). Written and directed by Lewis Jackson the film is available in a fine Blu-Ray release that shines a light on the a film that really should be better known. Kind of a cross between A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Polanski's REPULSION it relates the sad tale of a man overly preoccupied with the holiday but seemingly unable reconcile himself to the realities of incorporating it into an adult life. Having spent years working for a toy manufacturing company he has wrapped himself in the warm message of December the 25th year round. But, this year, he begins to feel his sense of the season slipping away at the same time that his obsessive preoccupation with Christmas ramps up as the holiday approaches. The details of what might be real life and what could be fantasy become intertwined and often impossible to tease apart as our main character starts to act out his love of Christmas and his anger at the uncaring people that pervert it for selfish ends.

We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of New York acting talent onscreen as well as a surprising connection to a certain New Jersey musical legend as well. The film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New York set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit on a supremely odd confluence of ideas!

So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating. 




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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Batman Christmas Images!





 




Probably because as a kid I was always hoping to get superhero toys for Christmas I associate the holiday with comic books. Happily, the comics oblige with all kinds of Holiday tales! 

Friday, December 07, 2018

SUSPIRIA (2018)


As soon as this remake of Argento's classic 1977 film was announced there was the usual hue & cry from horror fandom. It was a noise similar to the one made every time a remake of a beloved film is learned of and, to be blunt, I'm damned sick of it. Yes, a large number of remakes suck. No joke. But some of them are very good examples of creative people finding new ways to tell a good tale. Why not hope for the best and discover what the new film might have to offer? Of course, I think I know why. For a lot of self appointed defenders of cinema, The Great Screaming is a public display of their bona fides as real fans. I'm not saying they don't actually feel that remakes are a bad idea. I just think that a very public rending of garments is a way to prove they are to be taken seriously. Their loudly derisive sneers about a movie they have not yet seen are broadcast to enhance their own standing in fandom. "Look at me! I hate something sight unseen. I also hate food I haven't tasted. Aren't I to be admired?" This is pathetic. It's the one thing that I know will eventually cause me to go off on some bloviating idiot in a way that will require me to make a major apology or do hard time. One day I will be screaming 'Grow Up' at some gibbering protector of art while fighting the urge to strangle them with a length of 35mm film from Cronenberg's THE FLY (1986).

But I digress. How was SUSPIRIA (2018)?

Surprisingly brilliant. As a friend said after the credits rolled, "Now that's how to remake a film!" Indeed. The filmmakers have taken the story of a young American woman traveling to Germany in 1977 to attend a dance school that is secretly run by witches and crafted something new and fresh. Smartly avoiding the incredibly colorful visual style of the original, this film strives to look as grim and bleak as Winter in 1970's Berlin actually probably looked. The colors are muted, the sky overcast and the population is constantly reminded of the dark realities of life by steady news reports of the ongoing Red Army Faction terrorist activity in the country. These visuals change the feel of the story immediately from a place of bright beauty with shadows creeping into view from the corners to a dark, pitiless place with harsh details seeping into life from all over. Here, the dance studio could be seen as a retreat from the unpredictable world of sudden violence and ugly reality. This sets the tone for the story brilliantly. We are already worried about the real life horrors that occasionally intrude onto the soundtrack adding an uncertainty to events that would be ordinary in other circumstances.


Also, in this remake, the dance academy actually comes alive. In Argento's film it was just a place to gather a group of young women of a certain age to provide victims for the witches. In this film dancing is an integral part of the witches' lives. Dance is used as part of the casting of spells and as a way of testing the latent powers of the students. This addition to the tale builds a depth into things that allows the final act to become more clearly part of the whole story. Along with the machinations of the witches/teachers as they choose their coven's new leader it paints a complex picture of these women as layered characters with completing visions for their art - both witchcraft and dance. It is fascinating!

The addition that I worried most about was the expansion of the realistic element from the first version. In the original movie we have a couple of 'experts' on the human mind who are replaced here with an elderly Jewish psychiatrist pulled into investigating the academy by the disappearance of one of his clients. This character seemed an odd one to enlarge in the story even as he becomes a stand-in for the audience, exploring the background of the school and it's founders. But by the final act it is clear why he, with his tragic history, is perfectly suited to demonstrate the change in the coven by the end of things.


This new film is fantastic and, while it won't replace the original for me, it is an incredible achievement. I wish that more remakes were given this level of thought and effort by their creative teams. 2018's SUSPIRIA is a great film that stands proudly next to 1977's film as a cleverly conceived variation on it's themes. Well done!


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Star Trek Toys of the 1970's











The 70's were a dark time and the toys were terrible (as you can see) but I wanted every one of these things! 
Well. Not the helmet. I wasn't that stupid! 

Monday, December 03, 2018

NetFlix Commercial from SNL



This sums up my feeling of being drowned in content. Not just from NetFlix but from everywhere! I'm thrilled to have so many choices but this comedic view of the 'eternal scroll' is right on the money. Madness! 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Poster and Video Art for CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)











Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Brief Thoughts - SUMMER OF '84 (2018)


I just finished watching this Canadian thriller and I have to say I was very impressed! I bought the Blu-Ray because the film was recommended by a fellow podcaster and I am glad I did. This is a smart, well written and clever variation on the old idea of a suburban kid suspecting a neighbor of dire crimes. The cast is great, the period detail nearly perfect and the script avoids the plot problems such tales often fall into. And what a chilling ending. Wow. I'll not spoil anything and simply encourage you to seek this one out. Great film! 

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Bloody Pit #76 - THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (1940)


With THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Troy and I finally complete the first year of the decade in our look at the Universal Horrors of the 1940's. Released two days after Christmas in 1940 it signifies the first time since DRACULA'S DAUGHTER that a female character top lined one of these movies. It also represents the first time the producers sharply shifted the series' genre from the established norm set by the previous two films. Yes, this is a comedy! And a broadly silly one at that. As with all comedic films, your mileage will vary with your enjoyment of the frantic antics being the only guide through this mad tale of working girl revenge, slapstick gangsters and dotty old scientists. It's a real mixed bag, folks.

We start the show with a brief discussion of the newly released remake of SUSPIRIA and a few comments on the new HALLOWEEN film as well. Then we jump into a breakdown of what we liked and disliked about the third in the Invisible Man series from Universal. Since this film is such a departure from the first two we speculate on the possible reasons for changing the serious tone of the earlier entries. Then we delve into the farcical plot details and the high level of talent in the impressive cast. Our frustration with the story padding becomes evident right about the time we start talking about the faux Three Stooges running around as gangster minions. One of them is even played by Shemp Howard! And I am happy to report that both of us are able to refrain from pointing out that the film's eventual romantic couple are named Kitty and Dick! I suspect the scriptwriters had to find their amusements someplace. 


We end the show with a fun, lengthy email from a listener and you can send your missives to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com as well. This letter even included a beer review! We can reached over on The Bloody Pit Facebook page as well and we'll be glad to hear from you. The song at the end of the episode is from Troy's band The Exotic Ones and is appropriate for this film. Thanks for downloading and listening!









Saturday, November 24, 2018

Trailers From Hell - WILD TALES (2014)



With this trailer commentary Brian Trenchard-Smith reminded me of this excellent Argentinian anthology film. It's comprised of six  revenge tales and manages to be funny, scary and (eventually) touching. The movie's vicious humor is as sharp as a well-honed blade digging into class differences, fidelity and societal expectations. I need to seek out more from director Damián Szifrón.  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Vintage Thanksgiving Pin-Ups!








I can't say I understand the fascination with giant birds being menaced by leggy ladies but it is kind of amusing.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Vampirella Cover gallery















This year  I finally began reading the first few issues of this classic Warren horror anthology. I have to admit I was surprised it WAS an anthology! I expected it to only feature tales of the title character instead of one story about her per issue. Still, it's a solid group of chillers so far.