Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Bloody Pit #89 - GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989)


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) and we use that fact to discuss one of the least talked about movies of the Heisei era. The film contains a truly unique adversary for our favorite irradiated lizard. I mean, how many giant monsters are constructed from a rose bush and the spirit of a dead young girl? Jason Spear joins Troy and I to talk about this exceptional entry in the second age of the Big G’s cinematic history. Before we dig into the main topic, we consider the wealth of Godzilla Blu-Ray news that has been announced since our last conversation. The exciting Criterion #1000 release of the entire Showa series is chewed over as well as the recent Mill Creek MOTHRA Blu. We even talk about the extraordinary news that Mill Creek will be possibly releasing all of the various Ultra Man series in chronological order. Included in the opening section is a rundown (in every sense of that word) of the three Godzilla anime films with Troy and Jason explaining why I never need to see them. It’s not all good, folks!


Once the discussion of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) begins we range all over the film’s running time. We note the long break between 1984’s THE RETURN OF GODZILLA and the bizarre crowd-sourced way in which the new plant-based creature was created. Jason relates his amusing theory that the official Toho tale of the genesis of Biollante might be slightly fictional, much to my surprise. The film’s many strengths are examined as well as the sometimes very 1980’s John Williams nature of the movie’s musical cues. The details of the excellent Godzilla suit are discussed with perhaps too much time spent talking about the tongue. We mostly stay on target as we go along but I must apologize for my nearly five-minute-long rant about the Jurassic Park films. Sorry about that.

If you want to join the Godzilla themed conversation, you can email the show at thebloodypit@gmail.com or drop us a message on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page. We plan to have Jason back soon to talk about another Dario Argento film before we delve back into kaiju movies again. This is pretty fun! Thanks for listening.

Apple Podcasts LINK

MP3 Direct Download LINK


  




Friday, August 16, 2019

Poster Art for Rick Dalton Films





Looks like they would make a damned fine afternoon! 


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mondo Macabro Releases Details of BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD (1983) Blu-Ray!


The details of the extras to be included on Mondo Macabro's forthcoming Blu-Ray of Paul Naschy's THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD (1983) were announced a couple of days ago and there were some very nice surprises. We might have expected the 4K restoration of the film itself and it had already been publicized that Troy and I had contributed a new NaschyCast commentary track. But the addition of an archival introduction to the film by Paul Naschy is unexpected. 
And the inclusion of the documentary SMILE OF THE WOLF in which Naschy discusses all of his werewolf films on camera is very exciting! This is the kind of extra fans like me dream of getting to see. 
Add to that an interview with Gavin Baddeley, author of The FrightFest Guide to Werewolf Movies talking about the genre and Naschy's place within it and you have a feast of Spanish Horror information!  

The Limited edition that goes on sale in October will also have a reversible cover with brand new art by Rick Melton on one side (censored below but uncensored on the actual release) and the original poster art on the flip side as well as a booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by film historian Richard Harland Smith and a set of lobby card reproductions! 


We were very pleased to be asked play a part in the release of this incredible and important Naschy film and I think we've created one of our best commentaries for it. We're thrilled that MM asked us to do another track for their continuing series of Naschy Blu-Rays and that this rare movie is finally getting a major release in the United States. At last, every Paul Naschy fan will get to enjoy this under seen classic combination of European and Japanese sensibilities in the best possible presentation. Having seen the preliminary transfer I can say it looks spectacular! 

Keep an eye on Mondo's website for more information about the Limited Edition version! 


Sunday, August 11, 2019

What I Watched In July


Even if I wasn’t fascinated by the Folk Horror sub-genre, I would have been interested in MIDSOMMAR (2019). Writer/director Ari Aster’s previous film HEREDITARY (2018) was an incredible debut feature and signaled that a significant talent was on the scene. As a follow up he has chosen to play in THE WICKER MAN (1973) fields and has devised a smart, fascinating horror tale that uses classic tropes to examine interpersonal fears. At its core the film is about a breakup and the personal horror of the white-hot emotions of that universal moment. The film is steeped in feelings of loss, grief and disconnectedness so much so that they bubble underneath the surface at all times. Even the supposedly close collegial bonds between the male characters is shown to be discard-able in search of self-satisfaction. The casual cruelty and self-centeredness of the American characters (of course) lead to their downfall because, unlike their rural Swedish hosts, they do not see each other as a cohesive ‘family’. The film’s central romantic relationship is on the verge of collapse from the opening minutes of the film because the boyfriend feels overburdened by the emotional needs of his mate. He hasn’t the moral courage to end things so makes things worse for both people by dragging out the pain. There is never any doubt he will stumble but the details are the important part of the journey the film takes us on. How could his false face hide him in the constant, bright midsummer sunlight? This tale gives its audience much to chew on and discuss afterward which is far more than most efforts in the genre.


Finally, the producers of Spider-Man films have branched out beyond the same four or five villains! Since the 1960’s the character has had one of the most interesting rogues’ galleries of any superhero and the movies have concentrated on Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, a shortchanged Sandman and a lame version of Electro. I was thrilled when Marvel’s previous movie used The Vulture and now, we finally get a version of Mysterio in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019). I say ‘a version’ because this is a very different character from the original illusion creating criminal first seen back in Spider Man #13 fifty-five years ago. But the MCU wisely uses this character as part of its ongoing story crafting another very good part in the larger tapestry they are weaving. As usually, my favorite elements are the smaller details off to the side of the main plot. Also, I love that Mary Jane is clever enough to figure out Peter’s identity and the byplay with the Ned is a joy. The expansion of Happy Hogan’s role in the story is well played and the casting of Marisa Tomei as May was a brilliant choice as she continues to bring the right touch to every scene. There are nits to pick with some details but overall, I can hardly wait to see which of Spider-Man’s huge roster of bad guys makes it to the big screen next.


I’ve enjoyed Tarantino’s films in general and his latest is another cinematic joy. Much virtual ink is being spilled over the pros and cons of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) but I’ll just say that, near the end, when a certain actress’ voice came out of that driveway intercom I actually teared up. That’s how it should have happened. That’s what would have been right. 

The film could have been slightly shorter but I loved every minute of this visual feast. Rumors say that QT might have a four-hour cut up his sleeve and, if so, I’ll be happy to check that out as well. 


THE LIST

SILVER BLAZE (1937) – 7 (not bad riff on this classic Sherlock tale)
SPIRIT OF ’76 (1990) – 6 (rewatch)
LAS VAMPIRAS (1969) – 6 (Mil Mascaras vs female vamps and John Carradine)
MIDSOMMAR (2019) – 8
ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989) – 4 (rewatch)
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019) – 7
THE GIANT SPIDER (2013) – 6
THAT GUY DICK MILLER (2015) – 9
THE GUMBALL RALLY (1976) – 6 (rewatch for the first time in 30 years!)
THE BLACK CAT (1941) – 6 (rewatch)
THE SEVEN FROM TEXAS (a.k.a. HOUR OF DEATH (1964) – 7 (solid early Euro-Western)
GODZILLA 1984 (1984) – 8 (rewatch)
THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK! (1946) – 6 (interesting chiller from Universal)
COSMIC MONSTERS (1958) – 5 (rewatch)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) – 8
FRANKENSTEIN, THE VAMPIRE AND CO. (1962) – 4 (Mexican version of A & C MEET FRANKENSTEIN)
MONTANA (1950) - 6 (Errol Flynn western)
THE SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947) – 7 (the last of the series) 



Saturday, August 10, 2019

DeathLok Comic Book Covers








I've been re-reading the original run of Deathlok tales and wishing that they had expanded his dystopian world into a full on alternative future. Instead they had him travel back to the early 1980's as a way of stopping the events that created his post-apocalyptic New York. I've never read the revived series that Marvel published in the 1990's but I have access to a collection of them now. The 90's and early 2000's were a bad time for Marvel's creative output so I'm not expecting much. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Trailers From Hell - THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961)



Josh Olsen extols the virtues of this under-seen British science fiction classic. Director Val Guest brings his documentary style to this film in much the same was as he did for  the first Quatermass film. 

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Crime Novel Style Poster Art for Tarantino Films

About four years ago Paris-based artist David Redon created a series of alternative posters for the films of Quentin Tarantino. They are designed to look like old crime and detective paperback covers and I think they're pretty great. Check them out!







Pretty damned cool! 



Friday, August 02, 2019

The Bloody Pit #88 - THE BLACK CAT (1941)


The ‘old dark house’ tale was a staple of the horror genre for decades. It still shows up in the 21st century but most of the time it drops the gothic accoutrements for a less antique view of a creepy location. In the 1940’s the ODH story had become a standard for both straight scary tales and horror comedies wishing to use the tropes of the genre as easy set-ups for humor. Such is the case with Universal’s 1941 film THE BLACK CAT. While it treats its mystery with some seriousness it is often pushing events toward a silly joke from the film’s comic relief character. As with any scary movie incorporating laughs as part of its storytelling there is the chance that the humor will not appeal to each viewer. Smartly, the writers employ several different kinds of jokes throughout in an attempt to hit as many potential targets as possible. That means we get some clever dialog in places and some fairly broad comedic bits in others. But does the film as a whole work?

Troy and I walk into this old creeper looking to see how it fits in with the types of chillers Universal was producing at the time. We revel in the excellent cast that is so packed with talent that it even sports a young Alan Ladd in an early role. How can any film with Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Anne Gwynne, Brodrick Crawford, Cecilia Loftus and Gale Sondergaard be less than entertaining? We take note of the ways the film adheres to the Old Dark House tropes (hidden passages, family hatreds, romantic betrayals, cruel Last Wills & Testaments, etc) and the strange ways it alters those ideas for the times. We remark on the unnecessary confusion caused by the softening of the violence in the story and the clever ways that the spirited investigators piece together clues. Our man Bela looks great in the film but is only given a limited amount of screen time. Luckily, he makes the best of it with some creepy moments and an unexpected humorous scene as well. And, while we both love cats, we have much sympathy for Crawford’s character as he deals with an allergy that we kept waiting to be part of the denouement.


If you have any comments about THE BLACK CAT (1941) or any other of the Universal horror films of the 1940’s please drop us a line. The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com or over on the show’s FaceBook page. We thank you for downloading and listening to the podcast and we’d be thrilled if you could spread the word about what we’re doing here. Thank you for any help getting out the word to a wider world. Talk to you again soon.







Thursday, August 01, 2019

FRANKENSTEIN, THE VAMPIRE AND CO (1962)


Comedy is the most difficult film genre to recommend to anyone else. Just because something makes you laugh doesn't necessarily mean that it will make anyone else in the world laugh. This is certainly true of older movies which makes it very difficult to recommend that a modern audience watch an older comedy film. But there are a handful of older comedies that I think can be safely recommended to most younger viewers as long as they are curious.

One of them – and indeed, one of the best comedies of all time - is ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948). It is an amazing movie and still funny to this day. What makes this even more impressive is that one of the most difficult things to pull off is the combination of horror AND comedy. This movie pulls it off with near perfection making it a fine addition to the comedic genre as well as an excellent part of the monster rally series it caps. It serves as the final entry in the Universal horror series that stretched from 1931 to 1948 as well as one of the finest of Abbot and Costello’s cinema adventures. It regularly ends up on favorite and best of lists for the genre no matter who you’re quizzing as long as their parameters are not restricted by date of production or a prejudice against black & white.  I've seen youngsters of almost every age fall in love with this very funny film. It walks a tight wire act of treating its monsters seriously while being loose enough let the famed comedy team generate a lot of genuine laughs.

A few years ago, I learned that there was a Mexican film that was an incredibly close intentional remake of this Hollywood classic. I, of course, knew that I would have to see it just out of curiosity if for no other reason. I have now done so and I have to say it was a mildly painful experience.


FRANKENSTEIN, THE VAMPIRE AND CO (1962) is the title of this loose remake. It tries to repeat the things that work in the original but makes several mistakes. Instead of a comedy duo the humor is presented in the performance of Manuel 'Loco' Valdés who seems to be inserting a previously established comedic personality into the story. His humor seems to be built on some silly voices and noises and an odd hopping movement that is supposed to indicate anxiety. Add to these very unfunny antics the repeated choice to have Valdés face the camera while his ‘prankster’ ideas are related in a voiceover and you have a comedian who is just not very amusing – for me. Perhaps he was funny as hell in 1962 for a younger Mexican audience but I have no way to know.

Regardless, I was not amused which left me with only the monster elements to be potentially entertained by. Sadly, this was a letdown as well. The werewolf makeup was a pretty bad pull-over and probably store-bought mask while the Dracula surrogate is just a guy arching his eyebrows running around in a cape. The Frankenstein monster was less embarrassing but still poorly made-up and nearly a non-entity in this silly mess. The film does vaguely follow the outline of the movie it’s copying but I found it difficult to care after about the halfway mark. It was interesting to see this bizarre piece of cinema but I can’t imagine ever watching it again or recommending it to others. If you are curious to see a film that you love being replicated in another country on a much smaller budget then it’s worth seeing. Who knows – there may be a large contingent of Universal horror fans out there that enjoy this movie. If you’ve seen this and liked it, please let me know.



Monday, July 29, 2019

YouTube - THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946)



I should have included the YouTube link for this film in my previous post! Maybe if it gets enough attention Universal will release it. Or let Scream Factory do so! Yeah - that's what we need! A tricked-out Blu-Ray! 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946)


I recently caught up with this rare Universal chiller from the mid-forties. I've been curious about THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946) for years and not simply because of its exploitative title. In fact, the best reason to see this difficult to find movie is lead actress Gale Sondergaard. She's an amazing cinematic presence both beautiful and alluring with a voice like creamy, melted butter. She can be both soothing and scary, often in the same scene or the same line of dialog! Although she is mostly forgotten today her talent was well acknowledged by Hollywood during her career. The same year she made this film she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for her role in ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946) but her career was crippled during the period of the Red Scare when she was lumped in with her Black Listed husband Herbert Bieberman. She returned to the screen in the late 1960’s but she was relegated mostly to television work.  

This film has been very difficult to see for years but eventually my podcasting partner Troy and I will have to cover this as a part of our series of shows on the 1940’s Universal horror output. At the pace we’re going through those film it will years before we get to THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK but I wanted to go ahead and check it out as soon as I could. The only way I could find see this difficult to see film was a rather dodgy print on YouTube. This is far from the best way to see the movie as it seems to have been taken from a battered 16 mm print and to be at least one or two generations removed from that source material as well. If there is a better option for watching this one I’d be happy to know.

Everyone should know that, regardless of the title, this is movie is not a sequel to the earlier Universal Sherlock Holmes film THE SPIDER WOMAN (1943). I have to say that I really enjoyed the film but it was clearly trimmed down to its short running time from a longer length. I suspect the movie was meant to be closer to 70 minutes than to the 60-minute mark that it barely squeaks under. One of the telltales of this is that the narrative leaps forward rather awkwardly at least twice as the story unfolds. The most obvious of these being the incredibly awkward moment were suddenly all cards are on the table between the antagonistic characters in the movie with no previous discussion as to what was happening. 


Also, I think that the print available to see on YouTube might be a little short of even the 59-minute official running time! It clocks in at around 57 minutes and 50 seconds. Some of this shortening is most certainly from the loss of a few feet of footage here in there from some rather obvious spices and print damage. Coupled with the editing down of the film from its initial supposed length it makes for a less then smooth viewing experience at times. That's not to say that I didn't like the movie (because I did) but it was clearly compromised on its initial release and that is a shame.

There's so much to like in this creepy little film and I'm going to encourage people to seek it out. Of course, I would love for Universal to make it easier to see this movie as I don't think it has even been released on VHS much less any digital format. This is a film that I think would benefit very much from the restoration and shine necessary for a high-definition release.



Saturday, July 27, 2019

Trailers From Hell - THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1951)



Joe Dante talks about one of my favorite science fiction films of the 1950's. If you've never seen this one I highly recommend it. For such a low budget affair it is very effective. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Science Fiction Short Audiobook - Mr. Walling's Treats by Frank J. Oreto



Proving once again that I know a lot of very talented people I present this! Frank Oreto is an old friend of mine from college. He is one of the funniest and most generous men I've ever known. Beside riding herd on three kids and earning a living in the real world he somehow finds time to craft some of the sharpest and most clever short stories currently being published. His storytelling skill is in top form with this tale which you can simply listen to on YouTube! 

Hopefully one day soon he'll publish a print collection of his work so I can act like the fanboy I am and get his autograph! 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Bloody Pit #87 - ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989)


John Hudson returns to continue our look at the films of Antonio Margheriti. This time we examine one of his last completed pictures ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989) which nakedly steals elements from several 80’s Hollywood hits. In fact, the movie can become a bit of a ‘spot the reference’ game as it goes along copping half a dozen ideas or sequences from other, more well-known works. But does this movie have enough creativity and energy to make an entertaining new thing out of all these recycled pieces? Joy is often in the eye of the beholder….

What this film certainly does have is the epic onscreen presence of Charles Napier and Margheriti regular Alan Collins a.k.a. Luciano Pigozzi. These two men shoulder the acting weight of a script that often seems to have been missing a few important pages. Filmed in the Philippines with the usual explosive miniatures to enhance the scope of the action this is one part sweaty jungle adventure, one part evil corporation tale and one part deadly alien attack. Oh! I forgot to mention the alien until now! But the film doesn’t get around to the big murderous creature until more than half the running time is over either so I don’t feel too bad. And any similarities between this film’s alien and the monsters from a certain big budget series of hit movies is completely coincidental, I’m sure.

Mr. Hudson and I dig into this one and are happily surprised by the lack of onscreen animal deaths even if someone really was throwing snakes at actors for one scene. We get excited at certain points in the discussion as we make note of the script’s problems and the variability of the character’s personalities. And, if you pay attention, you’ll hear me call Charles Napier ALAN Napier and that is a very silly mistake to make. Of course, the idea of Charles Napier as the 1966 TV Batman’s butler is pretty damned cool!

The show can be reached at thebloodypit@gmail.com for any comments or suggestions. The Bloody Pit also has a FaceBook page where messages can be left for any of the contributors to the podcast. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show!







Friday, July 19, 2019

NaschyCast Mini-Episode Interview with Mike Tutino


It’s not often we get the opportunity to meet some of the friends we’ve made over the course of making the Naschycast. When we do (and I have enough lead-time) I try to record these fellow fans’ thoughts on our favorite Spanish Horror star. Such is the case with this mini-episode interview with longtime fan of the show and major fan of Paul Naschy – Mike Tutino! Mike has been a generous contributor to the podcast over the years with several letters of comment and observation as we’ve gone along. It was a joy to finally meet him at this summer’s Monster Bash in Pittsburgh and he is more than willing to give us a list of his favorite Naschy movies. There are a few surprises in our discussion with some affection lavished on films that Troy and I have possibly given less attention than we should. Food for further thought……..

Also, we mention the details of the upcoming releases of the new Naschy Blu-Rays coming out this year but – when talking about the exciting release of THE MUMMY’S REVENGE on Blu-Ray we neglected to tell listeners to go to the Ronin Flix website to purchase that disc. That is the only place you’ll be able to buy the film before it starts turning up on secondary sites for outrageous inflated prices. Don’t miss out!

If you have any comments or suggestions or if you want to let us know what your favorite lesser talked about Naschy film might be the email address is naschycast@gmail.com where we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. We’ll be back next month with a new, regular episode covering a really rare Naschy film from 1975. Thanks for listening!







Thursday, July 18, 2019

GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019) Poster Art



 














Wow!