Monday, August 20, 2018

Beyond Naschy #24 - A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL (1973)


While most films made in Spain during The Golden Age of Spanish Horror could be seen as comments about the repressive fascist government of that country, few films so blatantly addressed the clash of conservative ideas with modernity as A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL. Set in a small country town outside of Madrid, the film casts two middle aged spinsters as hypocritical defenders of the old ways. These sisters make their living running an inn that seems to mostly attract young, sexually liberated women. When an accidental death is interpreted to have been divinely intended, the ladies dispose of the body and pretend nothing happened. Their rationalization is that if God wishes them punished, it is his will. But crime often has unexpected consequences so soon the duo's lies are piling up as well as more young corpses. Is there any horrible act for which these two deluded women can't find a religious justification? Time and the symbolic secrets in the cellar will eventually tell all.      

The Golden Age of Spanish Horror is renowned for it's variations on classic monster movie tropes but there are other less well remembered sub-genres that got attention as well. Although this film could be easily seen as a proto-slasher it also fits nicely into the short lived Psycho-Biddy or Hag Horror genre best exemplified by WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE (1962). We discuss this film's connections to that long dead type of scary movie noting the specific Catholic tone imparted by the influence of the Spanish government. This was director Eugenio Martín's second horror film after the exceptionally fun HORROR EXPRESS (1972) showing that he had the touch necessary for the genre. His marriage to Lone Fleming also explains her very sexy presence here. The entire very talented cast comes under discussion as we marvel at the female performances and wonder at Vic Winner's inability to survive a Spanish horror film.

We can be reached at naschycast@gmail.com where we'll be happy to hear from you. Send along any comments, suggestions or questions and we'll try to answer them next month. If you subscribe to the show in iTunes we'd be thrilled if you could rate & review us there. it helps other people discover what we're doing. Thank you for downloading and listening!











Saturday, August 18, 2018

Classic Twilight Zone Comic Book Covers!













Thursday, August 16, 2018

What I Watched In July


OCEAN'S 8 (2018) is a very entertaining slice of star powered fun. The idea of continuing the saga of Danny Ocean's family focused on his sister (Sandra Bullock) is clever enough but it's the twisty script that wins the day. Every actor gets several chances to shine and there are so many tense turns and smart ideas in this heist tale that I suspect I missed a few. The good news is that this was so much fun I won't mind watching it again to see if there are any amusing details that I lost in the rush. The cast is superb and I would love as many sequels as can be produced, please.


After the third Purge film I thought the next one would detail the messy downside of ending totalitarian rule in the United States. Or perhaps it would continue the rebellion against military control that I suspect would be the natural next step in destroying such a fascistic government. Instead the creative team behind the series decided to back up along the dystopian timeline and show us the way the Purge became accepted. It was a smart move as it perfectly fits our current times. As we watch many democracies around the world start the sad slide into despotic rule having this tale told about a fictional USA rubs our faces in reality. Here we can see how easy it is to, little by little, tolerate awful actions against others until it's too late to save anyone. THE FIRST PURGE (2018) explains that it is only by pulling together that we can save ourselves and our society  from descending into chaos and anarchy. And also  that an authority that advocates any other path is consciously or unconsciously working to destroy humanity. It's almost as if the writers saw 2018 more clearly than most others. We much pull together rather than pull apart. Glad to see the tradition of violent exploitation films providing blunt social commentary has returned. 


ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) lets Marvel fans know why Scott Lang's shrinking and growing superhero missed out on the Infinity War. It seems that he was serving a house arrest sentence after helping out Captain America in Civil War. Turns out that his little trip to Germany was illegal which has also put Hank Pym and his daughter Janet on the run as well. Our ankle-braceletted ex-con is suffering through the last few days of his incarceration when events take control of his life again. The Pyms have been working to find a way to rescue the original Wasp from the subatomic realm that Scott visited in he first film. They need his cooperation to finish this project meaning finding a way to escape detection when out of his house. Adding to the trouble is a ghostly woman capable of moving through solid matter who is interfering with the Pym's plans. Before you can say Rube Goldberg the plot is twisting several different characters and problems into a speed-freak ride of blissful fun. This isn't the best of the Marvel films but it is damned fun and funny - until that final scene! Whoa!



THE LIST

VENGEANCE (1968) - 7 (rewatch)
THE IN-LAWS (1979) - 7 (rewatch)
OCEAN'S 8 (2018) - 8
NO NAME ON THE BULLET (1959) - 8 (sharp western by Jack Arnold)
TARZAN, THE APE MAN (1959) - 4 (weak Jungle Lord film with Denny Miller)
THE FIRST PURGE (2018) - 8
GIRL SLAVES OF MORGANA LE FAY (1971) - 8
BULLDOG DRUMMOND ESCAPES (1937) - 7
ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1940) - 6
CITY OF THE DEAD (1960) - 8 (rewatch)
STEP BY STEP (1946) - 6 (interesting crime tale with Laurence Tierney)
THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES (1940) - 7
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) - 7
SUPERBEAST (1972) - 3 (boring and pointless)
SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943) - 7
THE SNOW CREATURE (1954) - 2 (grindingly awful Yeti film)
DEVIL'S ISLAND (1939) - 6 (Karloff prison tale)
SON OF PALEFACE (1952) - 4 (Bob Hope comedy)
THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946) - 6
TARZAN'S PERIL (1951) - 6
THE MYSTERIOUS DOCTOR (194)- 6 (convoluted fog-bound British chiller/war-time propaganda)
THE SHADOW (1994) - 8 (rewatch)




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Trailers From Hell - Sam Hamm on SCREAM OF FEAR (1961)



Screenwriter Hamm talks - quickly- about this under-seen Hammer thriller. I highly recommend checking this one out as it's a superb little mystery with an excellent cast! 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

AWAKENING OF THE BEAST (1970) - Coffin Joe Rides Again


It's wasn't until the 21st century that José Mojica Marins was able to get a third full-blooded Coffin Joe film off the ground. Before that movie was finally made we got The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe and this strange little piece, originally titled Ritual Of The Sadist. I guess the best way to look at AWAKENING OF THE BEAST is to consider it an anthology film of several small, depraved tales bracketed by a contrived wraparound story. Although I find some parts of the film to be very interesting, I don't like the movie as a whole. It's disjointed, silly, slow and at times boring. And when you can say a movie involving Coffin Joe is boring, you know something went wrong!

I'm not really sure that the short tales presented in the film were originally made to be a part of a Coffin Joe film. I think it's more likely that the pieces were fit into a framework Marins came up with to craft a feature inexpensively. Although Marins claims to love this movie and thinks of it as one of his best I very much disagree. He seems to be proud of it because of the 'social commentary' elements in the various stories but it's those very bits that drag the movie down and provoke yawns from me. There're few things more boring than being preached at when all you're looking for is an entertaining movie. This is easily the least of Coffin Joe films and it's the one I'd advise skipping if funds are short.


The set-up for the wraparound story is a discussion between several intellectuals and academics about the horrible state of the world because of the lack of morality in people. The men relate various absurd, sinister stories to prove their points. The men are obviously just trying to top each other in a kind of 'Who has the more bizarre tale?' contest but they all take it seriously... so maybe we should too. Naaaah! Each story has illegal drugs as its catalyst, with the point being that they "stimulate depravity and promote corruption". That's all well and good but the stories are so damned silly that there's no way I can take them seriously. You'd expect stories that relate awful circumstances of rape, adultery, murder, violence and humiliation to be depressing or at least interesting, but as presented here they're really just dull. And Marins' attempts at symbolism are so obvious and ham-handed (a fat, lecherous businessman turning into a pig; a shot of bull horns when a cheating wife speaks of her husband, etc.) that they cause laughter instead of reflection. As the stories are told we are gradually shown that one of the men in the discussion is Marins, going under the name of Mr. Mojica.


But it's not until the final story that things really get interesting. In this tale a professor relates the details of a highly unethical experiment in which he dosed four drug addicts with LSD and had them focus on images of Zé do Caixao. As the hallucinogen takes hold the film suddenly jumps to color and Marins parades every bizarre idea of psychedelic insanity he possibly can in front of the camera. Set loose from the constricting need to be coherent he splashes bright colors and shock imagery on screen and if you look carefully I'm sure you'll even see a kitchen sink! Of course, this sequence is more often than not ridiculous and silly but there are several moments that are genuinely creepy. Some of the hellish pictures presented during this segment strike an unnerving chord — even though there is no way the sight of a bunch of men's asses painted with faces is ever going to be anything other than unintentionally funny. This section of the film is like watching the unholy merger of a David Lynch film that's been put through Cronenberg's telepod from The Fly with a copy of an Ed Wood masterpiece. Demented? Yeah, but definitely interesting... which is more than I can say for the first hour of the film.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Poster Art for LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)












This James Bond classic is forty-five years old this year! How time flies. There's a fine round table discussion of the film over on The Digital Bits

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Bloody Pit #71 - THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES (1940)


Once again we travel back to 1940 to check in on the horror film output of Universal Studio! This time we have an adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES. Filmed both before and since it's as straightforward an example of a melodrama filled with familial guilt and resentment played out against a background of possible supernatural components as you are likely to find. Did someone say Gothic Romance? Well - I did, even if this might not be exactly what some think of when imagining that specific type of creepy tale. I make the argument that this film may have been the template for a few dozen similar tales over the decades with Troy pointing out the Dan Curtis connection as well. This movie casts a long, dark shadow indeed!


We dig deeply into the film, happy that we get to talk about Vincent Price one more time before he exits Universal. The rest of the cast is even more impressive with George Sanders playing his standard cad character with arch skill. But it's the amazing Margret Lindsey as Hepzibah that takes top acting honors bringing real longing and nuanced emotion to the most difficult role in the story. We get return visits from Alan Napier, Cecil Kellaway and Nan Grey with singing cowboy Dick Foran making his debut in a Universal Horror film. As the discussion continues we talk about the changes and additions to the original story with special attention paid to future victim of the Black List, screenwriter Lester Cole. We also touch on the visual choices made by director Joe May. This is a beautiful movie with much of interest to classic horror fans and romantic drama aficionados too.

If you have any comments or questions please write to us at thebloodypit@gmail.com and let us know what's on your mind. Thank you for downloading and listening!







Monday, August 06, 2018

Pulp Covers from The Shadow!














Having re-watched the movie I'm now getting the urge to read some more tales from my stack of classic Shadow reprints! 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Re-viewing - THE SHADOW (1994)


The other night I revisited THE SHADOW for the first time since the late 1990s. The reason for this is because the film is now available on Blu-ray and I can hardly resist such a temptation. I was one of the millions of people who was disappointed by the film when it debuted in theaters in 1994. As a fan of heroic pulp fiction and The Shadow in particular I was let down by the fact that the film seemed to be a series of excellent sequences held together by a very thin story that often flew apart. At the time I felt that the script didn't allow the overall structure of the story to take shape well enough before another big set-piece came along to get the audience heart rate up again. Although across the 90s I watched the film several times I always came away frustrated that although the movie has a number of great scenes, a wonderful cast, some good action sequences, fine period and an excellent score it just didn't gel for me. And I have always felt that I could pinpoint the problem - the film's director.

Russell Mulcahy is an Australian director that got his start in music videos and far too often it shows. Mulcahy is in love with the constantly floating camera. If you've ever seen his 1986 film HIGHLANDER you'll recognize the style of camerawork I'm referencing. He shoots everything with the camera in motion and, while that can sometimes be interesting, it frequently draws attention to itself in a distracting way. In THE SHADOW he can't seem to stop himself from nonsensically circling the actors so much that I am surprised the cameraman didn't run into the actors. It's ridiculous! And it also draws attention to the points in the movie where bits of dialog has been edited out leaving a few holes that have to be ignored or papered over.


But, imagine my surprise when - 24 years after my initial viewing of this film - I revisit it and find myself really enjoying it. A lot! That's not to say that the irritating, flawed bits were less irritating but they took me out of the film less than in past viewings. I found myself really having fun - even some parts that I had previously been truly irritated by were interesting. The feel of the film is about 85% right and it looks fantastic. Maybe it is just that I was happy to see this story again after so long but I was truly glad to be watching this movie. And I'd love to see some deleted scenes if this ever gets another fancy release!


Friday, August 03, 2018

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #4 - The House of the Seven Gables (1940)



Her's Dr. Gangrene's look at the film we will be covering next on the Bloody Pit podcast. It's a very good film and there is MUCH to talk about! 

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Cast of Sesame Street Reads Famous Movie Quotes!




Monday, July 30, 2018

Beyond Naschy #23 - Spanish Horror Favorites with Cort!


I thought it might be fun to make a list of favorite non-Naschy Spanish Horror films and also get Troy to make one of his own so we could argue the various qualities of the films we love. Then I realized how much fun it might be to get others to play along! So, Cort Psyops joins us to indulge in one of fandom's great games - the making and comparing of lists of favorites!

No conversation about shared passions can go on for too long before people are arguing their favorites and explaining the reasons for rating one beloved thing over another. It is in these discussions that fans come to know each other. The communal exploration of Spanish Horror is something that we've tried to foster with the Naschycast and shows like this might be one of the best ways to bring more people to the party. I know we had a blast trying to name our three favorite of this very thin slice of the genre! Of course, only one of us was able stick the limit of three so the conversation ranges across the decades with many extra titles getting honorable mentions. And the sidetracks are numerous! Be warned - we digress from the topic more than once. We just hope that our ramblings are amusing enough keep you entertained.

One note - when Troy and I return near the end to talk about the Lists left on the Naschycast Facebook page there is a strange crackling on the audio that I could not remove. It only lasts for the first few minutes but it is distracting. Sorry! Technical difficulties are sometimes unavoidable (and mysterious).

If you've never heard Cort's excellent podcast Cinema Psyops you are cheating yourself out of a damned good time. Head on over there and give that show a listen. If you have any comments about this episode or just want to give us your list of favorite non-Naschy Spanish Horror films the email address is naschycast@gmail.com. We'd be glad to hear from you. The music this time comes from Jonathan Coulton, Piero Piccioni and The Decemberists.



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Thursday, July 26, 2018

THE BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946)


THE BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946) is set up to play as a direct sequel to the 1938 ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD film with Errol Flynn. The story takes place a couple of decades after the end of the previous film with tyranny unfortunately returning to England and Sherwood Forest in the form of William of Pembroke. William is the regent for the child King but has evil plans. Robin as the Earl of Huntington is the only lord to rise up in defiance of this new tyranny as the Regent makes his first moves to claim the throne for himself. To accomplish this he will need to shore up his base of power with the landowners, somehow do away with the boy King and find a way to undermine and destroy the Magna Carta.

Adding the revocations of the Magna Carta to this story is a nice bit of historical detail that sets things in an specific historical period. I like this addition to the Robin Hood story giving some real modern flavor to the reasons why we should be rooting for the Barons and Lords. Robin's tale was always one of overcoming the cruelties of the wealthy ruling class so having the document that first provided for the protection of individual rights, protection from unlawful imprisonment and access to swift justice makes the concepts being fought for all the clearer. I wonder if this film helped any young lads answer a question correctly in history class?


THE BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST is a pretty good little movie with some good scenes and some fair action. The cast is game, the tone light but serious and the Technicolor photography is vivid. Cornell Wilde is a little American to be playing the son of Robin Hood but since the elder Hood is played by another American I guess I should shut up and enjoy. Besides, Henry Daniell as the villain is British enough for everyone! This isn't one of the best Robin Hood films ever but it's not bad.