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! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

More New Naschy Blu-Ray Release News


In a surprise announcement this week Ronin Flix let the world know that Paul Naschy's excellent monster film THE MUMMY'S REVENGE (1973) is coming to Blu-Ray. This is wonderful news as I consider this to be one of Naschy's best but unfortunately underappreciated films. I think that this new release has the potential to elevate this fantastic horror film to the place it deserves to be in the Golden Age of Spanish Horror. After all - if you've never seen it how can you recognize it's brilliance? 

Scorpion Releasing is responsible for this new Blu-Ray and their recent output has shown them to be quite capable of handling these rare cult films with care and love. The disc will sport two different cuts of the movie (!), a commentary track by Human Beasts author Troy Howarth and liner notes from Naschy expert Mirek Lipinski. A couple of Naschy trailers are thrown in for good measure but the real treasure here is the film itself. This is a true classic of the mummy monster genre and I can hardly wait to have it be seen by fans and new potential fans. I once described the story as Nick and Nora Charles fight a head crushing mummy - if that doesn't make you curious I just don't know what to say! 

The movie goes on sale on Monday July the 22nd with only 1500 copies being offered for sale you don't want to sleep on this one folks. Follow this LINK and grab yours next week. You'll be glad you did! 



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Naschy Blu-Rays on the Way!

For months Troy and I have been sitting on the exciting news that this Autumn Mondo Macabro will be releasing to Blu-Ray Paul Naschy's epic werewolf adventure THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD (1983). This movie brings the cursed Waldemar Daninsky to feudal Japan in search of a cure for his affliction. The story gives Naschy the chance to open up the world of his signature creation setting up an amazing tale of lycanthropy, witchcraft and samurai! This film has been very difficult to see outside of Spain and, as there has never been an English dub, is one that requires subtitles. Luckily, MM has stepped up to the plate with a new digital scan and brand new subs for those of us who can't speak Spanish. This will be the first time this movie has ever been released in the United States so a lot of people are in for a major treat. 

Also, Mondo asked the Naschycast duo to contribute a commentary track for this Blu-Ray and we're proud to have submitted one we feel proud to have on this disc. We were able to find a lot of great info and even some details from a couple of onscreen participants! This is our sixth commentary for a Naschy film and I think we might have finally gotten the hang of it!

There are going to be more extras beyond our contribution but they haven't announced those goodies yet. THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD will go on sale later this Summer so bookmark this SITE for later use. This one is a must for Naschy fans and this new version will be a revelation for those of us used to poor quality bootlegs. 
So exciting! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Evolution of Godzilla



In it's final seconds this does turn into a commercial for a razor company but until then it presents a fun animated look at the changing shape of the Big G. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What I Watched in June


The idea behind BRIGHTBURN (2019) is a fascinating ‘what if’. Suppose that little Kal-El crashed to Earth just as he did in the legend first told over 80 years ago but grew up to become a villain instead of a hero. A kind of anti-Superman. Or Superboy, given that hitting puberty is the catalyst for the young alien discovering his true nature. Unfortunately, the film never really comes to life. Despite an excellent cast and a believably built scenario it never catches fire and begins to feel more than just an interesting exercise. It is flat. The narrative has no sense of escalating tension. The film can’t manage a feeling of dread and danger that becomes progressively more ominous as more terrible things occur. The feeling of foreboding never seems to become stronger in order to make it feel as if the series of violent events is growing instead of just happening.

Thinking about the film afterward I began to realize that some of the fault is in the film’s direction which doesn’t bring a rising tension to the details of the story. But I’m also sure that a vital scene was edited out of the film. I think the choice was made to hold a certain gruesome reveal until the latest possible moment but eliminating this from the knowledge of the father character makes the ‘hunting’ scene less believable and lacking in emotional resonance. I think this missing scene would have helped the film feel less flat injecting anxiety into the father's motives even if it wouldn’t have fixed the too deliberate pacing in the second half. This film had real potential but in the end it’s a misfire.


Although many fans hated the 2014 American made GODZILLA film I was not part of that pile on. The sequel GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019) seems to take the bitching from the fanbase to heart while staying true to the vision of a dystopian Earth plagued by ‘titan’ monsters coming back to life all over the planet. I’ve read all kinds of critiques of this new film and I find all of the negative carping pretty silly. Not because I think you should check your brain at the door for giant monster films of this sort but because not being able to enjoy this film seems curmudgeonly to the point of obstinance. I loved this gorgeous, monster packed adventure from beginning to end. With this being the flipside of Toho’s brilliant SHIN GODZILLA (2016) we are in a wonderful age of kaiju cinema with thoughtful social commentary on one end and all-out multi-monster battle spectacles on the other. You can pick your preferred type, or – like me – enjoy both!


Barring the possible release of the much-delayed NEW MUTANTS film, DARK PHOENIX (2019) is the end of the road for Fox’s 19 year run of X-Men movies. Since the film is one of the bigger financial disasters of the year so far, many fans of the series are not even bothering to see the movie during it’s theatrical run. That’s a shame. Although the choice to retell this story could be considered an odd decision, I think it was a bold move and one that pays off the recent run of X-films very well. Many will feel that the downbeat, dark tale of Jean Grey’s fate was the wrong way to end things but I think it’s the perfect way to cap this most recent rebirth of the series. Since 2011’s excellent FIRST CLASS these characters have been given their finest screen portrayals with older actors getting to shine beside strong younger cast members. The talents of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as the younger versions of Magneto and Professor X have made these last four film the weight they needed to succeed. They sell every scene with emotional depth adding much more than just their screen charisma to the stories. They make the larger action sequences seem all the more exciting because they are truly invested in these roles. The producers were very lucky to find these two guys to take over from such fine older actors as McKellen and Stewart.

Sadly, I think this film will find its largest audience on video. It will become one of those discoveries that fans will realize was unfairly maligned during it’s release. It will go through a long reassessment and be seen as a strong entry in the superhero genre with a number of things to chew on. It’s an excellent film with few answers to its difficult questions while it takes a hard look at the shaded motivations of ‘good’ men. DARK PHOENIX will be appreciated eventually as a fine ending to a noble run. With the mutants finally moving back to Marvel Studios there will be new versions of these characters but I don’t think it will be easy to forget this series’ high points.

THE LIST 

FORT VENGEANCE (1953) - 6 (solid Canadian Mountie story)
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011) - 8 (rewatch)
THE DRACULA SAGA (1973) - 7 (rewatch)
THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE (1971) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
BRIGHTBURN (2019) - 5
WEST OF SHANGHAI (1937) -7 (Karloff as a Chinese revolutionary figure)
THE HEAD OF PANCHO VILLA (1954) - 6 (Mexican singing cowboy, horror adventure)
GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019) - 8
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014) - 9 (rewatch of Rogue Cut)
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (2016) - 8 (rewatch) 
THE THIN MAN GOES HOME (1944) – 7 
IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) – 7 (rewatch)
THE BLACK CAT (1934) – 9 (rewatch) 
DRACULA A.D. 72 (1972) - 7 (rewatch)
DARK PHOENIX (2019) - 8 
THE LOST WORLD (1960) – 6
THE BLACK SCORPION (1957) – 7 (rewatch)
THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (1957) – 7 (rewatch) 
20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) – 7 (rewatch) 


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Rare 'Ice Block' Teaser Trailer THE THING (1982)



I think I have seen this teaser before but I can't be sure. I suspect it has turned up on one of the two most recent Blu-Ray releases but I haven't checked.  

Monday, July 08, 2019

MARS ATTACKS (1996) Art Gallery














Ack! Ack ack ack! 
(If you know what I mean.)