Friday, November 30, 2012

Caroline Munro - More images!

Because I got to thinking about STARCRASH for no good reason yesterday here are a few photos of the classically beautiful Miss Munro. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Bloody Pit #4 - ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979)

The Bloody Pit returns with a show focused on a comedy! I would never have thought I'd be covering a comedy on the podcast but my buddy John Hudson convinced me and I'm glad he did. This is my first show with Mr. Hudson and with any luck it won't be the last. He is a damned good podcaster so far and his perspective is a unique one. He certainly keeps me on my toes!

ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL is a Roger Corman production from 1979 that manages to be both a wonderful time capsule and rather timeless. As a teen comedy it is great but as a slice of rock & roll history its a classic. Where else are you going to get to see The Ramones try to act? Or Paul Bartel attending a rock concert? Or Mary Warnov blowing up (fake) mice in a lab experiment? This has been a cult film since its release and its cable TV screenings in the 1980s probably cemented its reputation in the eyes of many people long ago. Its a low-budget, scattershot and often silly movie that has great characters and a lot of heart which is another way of saying it is truly endearing and fun. Of course, the amazing people behind the camera deserve a lot of praise and we take the opportunity to discuss a number of them as we go along. We even have the great good luck to have a brief interview with Riff Randell herself about ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL! That's right- Mr. Hudson got to sit down recently with the legendary P. J. Soles and discuss the film and her memories of the shoot. Very cool! We can't thank her enough for being so nice and so generous with her time. What a sweet lady! So settle in and enjoy!

Please feel free to write in with your thoughts on the show to and let us know what your first Ramones album was. Let us know what band you think might have made for an equally entertaining film made in 1979 with this crew of filmmakers. Thank you for listening and we'll see you again soon. You can grab the show from the DropBox link below or from iTunes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Skeleton Dance

For a little creepy fun look no further than this classic Disney cartoon from 1929.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Movie Poster Art

There have been dozens of film adaptations of Burroughs' various fantasy creations with JOHN CARTER being the most recent. I have a great fondness for the three cheesy movies made from his adventures about the hidden land named Pellucidar. I love Hollow Earth fiction of all sorts and would love to see a return to the big screen of these kinds of tales. And because as a kid I lumped it in with these movies I'm including the kind of ERB inspired WARLORD OF ATLANTIS. All of them are perfect Sunday afternoon viewing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaschyCast #33 - THE CRIMES OF PETIOT (1973)

For episode 33 we venture once again into the realms of Euro-Crime to see how the criminal side of life lives. In this case we have a mad killer haunted by Germany's Nazi past running around Berlin shooting people. His modus operandi is a strange one as it involves always attacking couples and centers on a particular hatred of the female each time. Bizarre!

THE CRIMES OF PETIOT was Paul Naschy's second collaboration with director Jose Luis Madrid. Their two films together were both of the crime story type and centered on deranged killers making eager over thinkers like your humble podcasters wonder about the shared themes that drive some men's art. Could the sublimated desire to act upon dark urges to both reflect the harsh actions of the recent past and repudiate the hideous history of the Second World War simultaneously have caused the growing trend of overly violent movies? Could the creeping misogyny of films that focus on duplicitous women have something to do with the emergent women's rights movement of the 1970s? Or could it just be that killing pretty girls and splashing blood around the screen was a surefire way to get an exploitation film into theaters? I think we all know the answer, huh?

Join us as we march our way scene by scene through this very hard to find film. Have we discovered another little known masterpiece or something further down the scale? For those that want to avoid spoilers we start ruining the reveal at about the 1:33 (one hour and thirty-three minute) mark and finish that kind of talk by the 1:50 (one hour and fifty minute) mark. Make your listening choices accordingly. And please drop us a line at to let us know your thoughts on the show, Naschy, Spanish Cinema or any other subject that comes to mind. And I'm trying out a new download service for those of you that grab the MP3 directly instead of from iTunes or streaming through Stitcher. The link below will (hopefully) take you to DropBox but if it doesn't work please let me know. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Riff Trax live!

Last month I had the good fortune to be able to attend a live show put on by the Riff Trax fellows as they savaged the modern classic BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR. This allowed me to mark two things off my Bucket List- 1) see a live show of the Riff Trax guys and 2) finally see BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR. I had heard how brilliantly terrible the film is and had been putting off the experience until just the right event could be arranged. Clearly this was it.

The Riff Trax team of Bill Corbett, Michael Nelson and Kevin Murphy are veterans of the great television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 and their occasional live performances are very much in the same vein – find a bad movie and make merciless fun of it from beginning to end. These shows are broadcast through Fathom Events to theaters around the country on the night they are performed. I suspect that getting to one of those screenings might be a good time but since I live in Nashville I got to actually be in the live audience as they beamed the show out to all the other theaters! Take THAT Hollywood! It seems that the production company that handles all the technical stuff for these live events is based here and it’s just easier to produce the show at the historic Belcourt Theater in Nashville and send it out to everyplace else. So that means I got the chance to not only see the show but to be in the front row and on camera for everyone watching it to see! Awesome! And I wore my Paul Naschy Werewolf T-shirt from Fright Rags just to stand out from the (admittedly already strange) crowd. Any additional Naschy out there in pop culture is good as far as I’m concerned!

Of course, these shows are just an addition to the regular Riff-ing these guys do over on their website. They record and sell comedy commentary tracks for any movie they wish for fans to download, sync-up with the film at home and turn a beloved or not so beloved movie into a guaranteed chucklefest. Truly these men are doing necessary and positive work that benefits all of humanity and should be rewarded with your hard earned dollars.

Before I end this post I have to take the opportunity to thank two wonderful people in my life who made it possible for me to attend this show. My dear girlfriend Yvette encouraged me to join my buddy John to finally see a live Riff Trax show even though I was reluctant to take a weeknight away from the family. John has gone to most, if not all, of these live performances and I was thrilled to be asked to accompany him to this one. I loved every hysterical second and I can't thank both of them enough for pushing me to go. I certainly want to see more the next time the guys come to town!  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Werewolf Movie Poster Art

A few of my favorites from across the decades. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

October NetFlix viewings

Each October I take great pleasure in trying to watch as many horror films as I can. Monster movies, gothics, slashers, vampire tales, zombie movies, ghost stories – whatever – I’m just soaking up as many scary movies as possible. I like to mix up my viewing so that I revisit some old favorites and classics as well as seeking out new movies I’ve never seen. This hunt for new horror cinema can mean older movies I’ve just never gotten around to for whatever reason or brand new offerings hot off the Avid machine. This year I used NetFlix to find some newer films and overall I was pretty happy with what I found.

ABSENTIA (2011) was a very well done, low budget tale about a woman finally filing the paperwork to declare her husband legally dead. He went missing near their house seven years before and she is reluctantly trying to move on with her life as can be seen by the fact that she is about eight months pregnant. The film starts with the soon to be legal widow’s sister coming to live with her to help out after the baby is born. The sister has a history of substance abuse which makes her eventual reports of odd sightings in a tunnel nearby questionable to the cops. And then things take a very strange couple of turns that kept me interested for the entire running time. Good movie and recommended.

THE SHRINE (2010) was less good but still a solid example of the ‘rogue reporter on a case that should have been left alone’ kind of story. In this story the reporter is a woman and is portrayed as a bit of an asshole which makes later events rather interesting. As the details of certain mysterious disappearances in a vaguely Slavic European country come to light the film has a nice turn that made it more interesting than I expected. Not great but worth seeing.

THE INNKEEPERS (2001)  is Ti West's follow up to his solid HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009) and I think its a better film. Here he is channeling Kubrick's THE SHINING in more ways than one and the strength of the film is the element that a lot of people are criticizing - its slow and careful build. The movie takes its time letting us get to know its central characters and their relationship in a way that seems natural and involving. I was enjoying the film long before the haunted aspects of the hotel became apparent simply because these two small town underachievers were actually interesting. And then the ghostly visitations begin and I was riveted! I guess the film's slow burn pacing means some viewers won't have the patience for this one but its their loss. Highly recommended.

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011) is a  well crafted found-footage film that follows a reality TV show crew as they run afoul of an abandoned  haunted asylum. This is a fantastic movie for about two thirds of its running time but then it goes a little off the rails by employing some terrible CGI to amp up the scares turning the final twenty minutes or so into a very hit or miss climax. I like the eventual ending but there are a couple of scenes that could/should have been left out to keep the tone the filmmakers had so carefully crafted up until that point. Those silly moments don't destroy the movie but they effectively stomp on the impressive mood that it so brilliantly captured. Still well worth seeing.

THE HOWLING REBORN (2011) is the turd in the well. I had high hopes for this supposed reboot of the series but this is more a further disconnected sequel than anything else. I have avoided the various HOWLING films as the second in the series was so bad I couldn't face seeing how much further down the drain the films might go. If this one is any indicator I will never see the others. This starts off with an OK premise and I thought it might be going somewhere when the credits claimed it was based on Gary Brandner's novel THE HOWLING II but nothing good comes of the association. I read that book as a teenager and don't remember much of it but this film is a terrible attempt at a werewolf story no matter the pedigree. Filled with logic leaps, bad dialog, stupid characters, nonsensical scenes and dumb twists it is interesting in a 'Le Bad Film' way but not bad enough to warrant seeking it out. I will say that the two leads work very hard to be believable in their roles but the film sucks far too much for any actor to be able to save it. You can safely skip it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Secret Commonwealth - Scarecrow Walkin' video

My podcasting partner Troy Guinn is a man of many talents not the least of which is a great ability to craft wonderful music. He's a member of (at last count) two very different bands with several CD releases between them. His Celtic/Folk band The Secret Commonwealth recently celebrated their 20th anniversary of playing crowd pleasing shows around the Southeastern United States and making fine songs come to life. The fellows have now made their first music video in which more than just the song shows signs of life - indeed, a certain scythe wielding gentleman seems to have some specific ideas about what needs to be done.

And a big thanks to our YOR podcasting partner and NaschyCast art director Jeff Nelson for his work filming and editing this fun clip. I am surrounded by incredibly talented people!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Soylent Green?

Would this be considered a breakfast food? 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What I Watched In October

October was a very busy month (as usual) and I was only able to get out to the theater twice. Luckily each trip was to see a very good film. LOOPER is the latest effort from writer/director Rian Johnson and although I feel it is the least of his three movies to date, it is still well worth seeing. This is Johnson’s first science fiction film and he has brought the same smart writing and clever storytelling to bear on this as he did with BRICK and THE BROTHERS BLOOM. The characters are well conceived, identifiable and compelling even when they are committing less than admirable actions onscreen. The acting is as good as you would expect with the surprise for me being the dark turn by Jeff Daniels. Not that I don’t expect him to be able to handle serious roles but the character he plays here is something I’d never seen from him and I was impressed. The film’s downbeat but optimistic slant of an ending strikes the perfect note in my opinion making this a dystopian future I will look forward to revisiting over the years.

 I’m not sure how closely ARGO strictly adheres to the facts of the events it dramatizes but as a movie it plays very well. I’m not the first to comment that Ben Affleck is turning into one of the directors you can trust every single time and I won’t be the last. He displays a firm control over his story and appears to have the kind of rapport with actors that only another actor can have. The movie is note perfect in its depiction of the time and place while being realistically exciting. The fact that the script never dumbs down the characters or their situation makes the escalating tension believable and all the more stomach tightening. Even knowing the historic outcome of this attempt to rescue this group from revolutionary Iran didn’t make the final scenes less fascinating. I truly can’t wait to see what subject Affleck tackles next.

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2010) - 7 (well done but stumbles in the last reel)
FRIGHT (1971)- 6 (tense 'stalking the babysitter' tale)
THE NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1981)- 8 (rewatch)
THE INNKEEPERS (2011)- 7 (slow-burn, moody ghost story)
THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
THE SHRINE (2010)- 6 (not bad horror tale)
THE FOG (1980) - 9 (rewatch)
WAKE WOOD (2009)- 8 (rewatch)
HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1945)- 7 (rewatch)
LOOPER (2012)- 8
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)- 6 (rewatch)
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)- 8 (rewatch)
RITUAL (2002)- 5 (sometimes dull remake of I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE)
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1982)- 6 (solid slasher with a mad doctor twist)
ABSENTIA (2011)- 7 (well done low budget horror)
INTRUDER (1989)- 7 (fun & clever slasher)
ARGO (2012)- 8
EVENT HORIZON (1997)- 5 (rewatch)
THE BLACK CAT (1934)-8 (rewatch)
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)- 9 (rewatch)
THE WASP WOMAN (1959)- 5 (rewatch)
THE HOWLING REBORN (2011) - 3 (a failed reboot)
THE PUPPET MASTER (1989)- 5 (not bad low budget shocker) 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Vampire Movie Poster Art

These are a few of my favorite vampire films. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Muchas Gracias Senor Lobo

I am a reader. I cannot be without a book of some type near me even if that book is nowadays often incased in a Kindle. I mostly read a lot of fiction but when my attention turns to the non-fiction arena I tend to want to learn more information about the movies I find entertaining. That is why I've poured over Paul Naschy's autobiography several times and its been a frustration for me that there are so few other books that examine his life and works. When we started the NaschyCast podcast a couple of years ago one of the things Troy and I truly hoped would happen was that there might be a resurgence of DVD releases of his movies and, if we were really lucky, critical books examining them. As has been clear in these days of the imploding DVD industry the chances of major video releases of 'obscure' older horror films from Spain are increasingly slim. Indeed, only THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK has gotten a Region 1 release in the time since we started the show and although I am thrilled with that effort I can't help but feel that there is a market out there for more. Far more. Luckily I am not alone. 

German publishing company Creepy Images has just unleashed the first new book about Paul Naschy in years and it is amazing! Entitled MUCHAS GRACIAS SENOR LOBO the book focuses on the memorabilia of Naschy's movies. It's a showcase for the ad art done for all of his movies from 1968's THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN (a.k.a. FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR) through HOWL OF THE DEVIL (1988). The fine people at Creepy Images have found poster art of every size and description, lobby cards, and press kits from seemingly every country in which these films were ever released. The company's claim about the book is " more than 1.200 pictures, including more than 170 movie posters, almost 750 lobby cards, over 100 press stills, a large part of which have never been published yet, more than 100 reproductions of admats, rare sales material that was only handed out to distribution companies and much more from more than 20 different countries." That is a huge amount of material covered and, to be honest, just flipping through the book can be a bit overwhelming! Its a nearly 400 page tome and each page has at least one eye-catching picture of some sort that begs for closer examination. Paging through it is like getting lost in a museum dedicated to the history of Paul Naschy's career and each new page brings delights I had never known I would see. The alternate poster art for VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES with the title WALK OF THE DEAD? Its here. The entire lobby card set for EXORCISM under the title LE NOTTI DI SATANA? Its here. There are even behind the scenes photos of Julia Saly on the set of THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK!  Surely that has to be called working above and beyond for a book of this type.

This incredible and exhaustive look at how each movie was advertised around the world is fascinating to a Naschy fan like me but I can't help thinking it would be almost as interesting to someone with only a passing knowledge of the man or his cinema. Bright and colorful, it has a smooth layout and its chronological structure allows the reader to get lost paging through its gallery of wonderful horrors. This really is a beautiful book!

If all this book offered was a chance to look at all the great ad art of these thirty films it would be a worthy addition to any film buff's library but it has more to offer. Author Thorston Benzel has done write-ups for each movie to accompany their image collections. These text pieces are presented in both German and English and I'm thrilled to report that, unlike some dual language books, the English reads as if it were written by a native speaker. The people responsible for this fact deserve an extra special thanks. I suppose the fact that Naschy has a large fan base in the UK and US means that we are being catered to with this release and I'm certainly not going to complain.  He lays out some production history, release dates for various counties, alternate titles and tidbits of information relating to the movie's distribution. These short essays for each film are an invaluable resource for fans and makes me wish we had had access to this material when we started the podcast! Every fragment of detail adds to the enjoyment of these movies- at least for me! I cannot recommend this book enough. This the most impressed I've been with a book focused on European genre cinema since the release of Tim Lucas' book about Mario Bava. Yes- I'm that impressed.

The book can be found in several places around the web starting with Creepy Images own website HERE. It is also available from the German Amazon site HERE and in the US Diabolik DVD is selling it - you can click this LINK to check it out. I can only hope that this book heralds more Naschy books and video releases in the future. In a world in which cinema so often seems to drift away from the classic monster tales of old its nice to be able to revisit these great movies in any way we can. This book increases my enjoyment of Senor Naschy's movies and that is the highest compliment I can give. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the Universal Monsters

Here's a bit of bleed over from my October postings. A few years ago this series of blended toys were released in two waves and I loved them! Each was a thing of beauty but my favorite had to be the Creature From The Black Lagoon figure. I liked it even more than the Mummy figure and it was pretty awesome!