Thursday, September 29, 2016

Zita Johann in THE MUMMY (1932)

Monday, September 26, 2016

THE MUMMY'S REVENGE (1975) on YouTube

One of the more difficult things for fans of Paul Naschy to cope with is the sad fact that there are several key titles from his most productive period that are AWOL on domestic video. They may have popped up om European DVD or Blu-Ray but over here we can access very few of the classics. One of his best (in my opinion) hasn't seen the light of US video release ever (if memory serves) and I consider it a damned crime! Luckily some kind soul has posted an English subtitled version of this under seen mummy epic in chunks on YouTube. Take the time this Halloween season to check it out and see why I consider it one of the three best mummy films of all time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


The other night I popped in my DVD of Bert I. Gordon's giant arachnid epic EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958) to revisit something I knew I would enjoy. I was coming off a run of pretty crappy first time horror film viewings so I just wanted to see something fun that I could count on to entertain me. It had been several years since my last watch (why does that sound confessional?) so I was surprised to note that the film is only 72 minutes long. Cool, I thought. Fun, fast and over before you know it! Woo boy, was I wrong.

Don't misunderstand me - I still really enjoyed watching EARTH VS. THE SPIDER but this time I noticed things I had ignored in the past. For instance - the sheriff of the small mountain town is very dubious about the teenager's claims of a giant spider but still immediately calls for a tanker truck of DDT to deal with the situation. That's an odd plotting shortcut as I would have expected him to first be confronted with proof of this outrageous claim before calling in such extraordinary (and expensive) resources. I suspect this was done to keep the film short but it stands out as a strange move for such a skeptical authority figure.

Next I was amused to note just how long the hose from the DDT truck had to be to reach the spider's lair. The film makes it clear with all the footage of Carlsbad Caverns that the brave group of spider hunters are venturing very deeply into the cave. The workers just keep unspooling hose the entire time with nary a peep about the distance. That is one very long hose!

Third, and most distressing to me, is that even at this short length the film has stretches of dullness that could have been easily shortened. The second time we watch characters descend a hillside to examine a wrecked truck or walk a long distance into a cave I kept thinking that the editor had fallen asleep or stepped out for a smoke. Of course, I know that this footage is in the film to push the movie to feature length but it makes the whole thing feel overlong even with this brief running time.

While I enjoyed watching the film it was strange to notice these problems this time around. My memory was of an engaging if low budget giant monster vs. teenagers tale but what I got was a fairly average AIP effort that shows its weaknesses all too clearly. It's still a fun film for me and I assume for fans of genre cinema of the 1950's, but I think Mr. BIG did better work. Or did he? It might be time for a career retrospective.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Bloody Pit #43 - STARCRASH (1979)

Luigi Cozzi's science fiction epic STARCRASH is one of the wildest cinematic experiences of all time. The movie's script is a hot mess that feels like it was assembled in the dark from ideas jotted randomly on post-it notes. There is no logical progression from scene to scene or from idea to idea. When an explanation or solution was needed Cozzi just seems to have inserted a line of ridiculous dialog, had the characters smile at each other and kept moving. It is this almost total disregard for logic, sense or sanity that allows this budget challenged Italian production to reach mad heights of near genius.

When the idea of covering STARCRASH for the podcast suggested itself I found myself with an odd problem - everyone wanted to be part of this show! Randy Fox, Jeff Nelson and John Hudson all wanted the chance to talk about the film and relate their love for it. Troy Guinn also wanted to participate but scheduling kept him away from our recording session. Regardless, he found a way to be a part of the episode anyway! So, we gathered around a table one Friday night to go through this crazed movie marveling at it's odd twists and turns while trying to come to terms with our out sized affection for it. We touch on many of the plot elements that amuse us - there is no way to touch on them all in just two hours - while digging into the cool things that the film plays homage to and/or steals from classic genre movies. Since this show consists of a group of friends that have known each other for years you can expect a number of odd references (Peter Frampton 8-tracks?) and strange connections (Where's Waldo!) that will only make sense if you listen to our stream of conscious blather. If it gets out of hand, we apologize! We had a good time and we hope you do as well.

I read out a couple of email messages at the beginning of the episode and if you would like to comment on the show the email address is Drop us a line with any suggestions for future podcasts or to put us in our places if we've gone wrong. Thank you very much for downloading and listening! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

STARCRASH (1979) on YouTube!

I'm just about ready to post the next episode of The Bloody Pit but I'm well aware that the subject of our show is.....obscure. So, to facilitate the viewing of Luigi Cozzi's sci-fi masterwork I present this link to the entire film posted over on YouTube. This is not the best way to see and appreciate the film (that would be the stellar Shout Factory Blu-Ray)  but it at least allows you to see it in the manner of a VHS copy. Check it out! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Claudia Jennings in THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE (1976)

I recently caught up with this fun little crime spree comedy/drama and really enjoyed it. I won't lie - I watched this because I wanted to see something with star Claudia Jennings and the film's 'R' rating promised some untamed 1970's style raunch, which it delivered! I really need to see the rest of Miss Jennings' film appearances starting with the brilliantly titled GATOR BAIT (1974). Wowsa! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brief Thoughts - THE HALLOW (2015)

I may be a little late to the game with this one but I was quite impressed with THE HALLOW (2015). It's a very well made monster story set in dark, spooky woods of a superstitious, rural area of Ireland. A couple and their newborn child move into a cottage near the forest to facilitate the husband's job of marking trees to be removed for a planned construction project. The locals warn them about poking round certain sections of the woods but are reluctant to spell out exactly why. Soon enough clues are dropped by fearful town elders, gnarled figures are dimly seen at night and odd, creepy events begin to plague the family in their new home. All these warning signs are ignored or brushed aside until finally an all out, nighttime assault on the cottage begins and the couple realizes that they - and especially their baby - are in much more danger than they ever considered possible. 

This is an atmospheric, nerve-jangling tale that handles the set-up of its monster mythology just as well as it does its third act assault and siege. The film is very well directed with a small, talented cast doing a uniformly strong job of making the entire affair affecting and believable. Adding to the dark tone of the story are the creatures lurking in the woods. The monster designs are fantastic and the performers in the elaborate effects liquidly shuffle and slither behind trees and rocks making the quick glimpses we get of them even more disturbing. Even when we can finally get a lingering look at them later on they still seem otherworldly and alien.

I recommend this very highly. You don't see very many new monster films these days that aren't geared toward automatic self-parody and I'm heartened to see such a good one can still get made.  For the curious it's currently on NetFlix and would make a good choice for the coming Halloween season. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Daddybones - "Welcome to the Dorkside"

I sometimes forget just how many talented people I know. Check out this great little video of a work buddy's band hitting every geeky touchstone possible in under four minutes. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

STARCRASH (1979) Poster Art

Monday, September 12, 2016

What I Watched in August

As someone on record as a big fan of MAN OF STEEL and the much derided BATMAN V SUPERMAN it's fair to assume that I was quite excited to see DC Comic's newest cinematic effort. I figure I had better enjoy this run of darker superhero films while they last because the general bitching about their more adult nature will eventually destroy them. Sadly it appears that the frantic worrying about this has already hit the series with SUICIDE SQUAD. I was extremely excited when I learned that David Ayer was making this film because his WWII tank film FURY was an unexpected surprise. Dark, realistic and unflinching in its treatment of it's characters it was as if the film was calculated to show the hidden truths underneath all those great war movies of the past. I hoped that Ayer was going to turn that creative eye toward superheroes and from what I can tell that is what he did. Then the second guessing happened and we end up with this.

The first 45 minutes are a chopped up mess that shows that too many bosses were allowed in the editor's room. The film has a lot of story to tell us but it's as if there was no final choice made on exactly how to present things. The tales of the various characters get thrown into a blender and almost randomly shown to us through a series of flashbacks. That eventually makes it difficult to know when what we are witnessing is actually happening. It feels like the filmmakers had no confidence that we'd have the patience for all this character stuff and so contrived to just spasm-edit it all into an info dump. That was a mistake. A second error was the slash editing of rock tunes into the soundtrack almost randomly. Just as I started to get a handle on what the hell was going on suddenly another everybody-knows-this-one rock song blared out of the screen telling me I should smile now. No, no, no, no! I realize that the film is trying to use each song as an identifier for each character but it does not work that way. One might have been effective, maybe even two but when you get to three we all get it and we're looking for the mute button.

But..... once the plot begins to move, we know the villains of the piece, the Joker's plan to grab Harley comes together and all Hell breaks loose I enjoyed the rest of the film. In fact, if there is ever a re-edit of this thing that gives us more of the character introductions, smoothes out the choppy editing and gets us into the rhythm of the story faster it might be a damned good movie instead of an OK effort robbed of it's possible glory. You can see the dark, funny beauty of the original vision peeking out from around the corners where it was shoved. Stop second guessing a film  - once it's made leave it alone!

My original plan was to get drunk and then go see INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (2016). The film had finally appeared (for a single week) at the $2 theater and I could think of few things more fun than an inebriated viewing of a Roland Emmerich film. He and his team of talent-negative morons have never mastered the fine art of making good or even passable films so you always know the movie will suck in surprising ways. The first INDEPENDENCE DAY is still my benchmark for awful science fiction scriptwriting. I remember watching that mess on the big screen and wondering just how such a stupid script could be green lit for millions of dollars. It was so dumb I suspected it had been written by a third grader who rushed though the project to get out onto the playground. But it got made and made a zillion dollars so now we have this crap - an even dumber retread of the same idiotic idea only new! It is, of course, loud and packed with explosions none of which have any weight or relevance. Every plot point is telegraphed, every surprise obvious, every situation clichéd and all the dialog is pedantic. The film is dull, stupid and insulting. When I hear people bitching about big summer blockbusters THIS is what I picture and I like big summer blockbusters. Can't someone make Emmerich stop? Please. I wish I had actually followed my plan and gotten drunk. 

I had no real interest in seeing this new version of THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016) but I'm glad I checked it out. It's a sharp and often touching retelling of the classic tale with state of the art CGI bringing the animals to life quite well. The bright, detailed visualization of the jungle is gorgeous always capable of seeming both welcoming and dangerous. The young actor playing Mowgli is good and the entire tale feels well paced with little wasted narrative that isn't built into the story effectively. All the voice work is excellent and they even managed to work in the greatest Disney song of all time (in my grinning opinion) The Bare Necessities! Good job on every count. 


THE BEES (1978) - 2 (rewatch)
BEACH PARTY (1963) - 4 (silly AIP musical comedy)
SUICIDE SQUAD  (2016) - 6 (first half's a mess but it finally finds its feet)
EMBRYO (1976) - 6 (interesting science fiction tale with Rock Hudson)
PASSPORT TO  SUEZ (1943) - 6 (solid Lone Wolf film that steals several plot elements from CASABLANCA)
SANTO VS. DR. DEATH (1973) - 8
THE 'BURBS (1989) - 6 (rewatch)
BLACK TORMENT (1964)- 6 (solid gothic mystery)
CRY_WOLF (2005) - 7 (rewatch) (solid murder mystery with a great end scene)
A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
THE TRIAL OF SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) - 6 (solid late period John Ford western)
KISS KISS, KILL KILL (1966) - 7 (fun Euro-spy adventure)
DARK ALIBI (1946) - 5 (not bad Charlie Chan mystery)
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (2016)- 2 (worse than the original?)
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016) - 9 (ultimate edition)
THE PHANTOM OF PARIS (1931)- 6 (good Gaston Leroux adaptation)
BLACK SABBATH (1963) - 9 (rewatch of the Italian version)
THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016) - 8
DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933) - 7 (amusing but too light)
THE OUTSIDER (2013) - 8 (documentary about Antonio Margheriti) 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hercules Poster Art

I've been feeling the urge to watch a good tale of mighty Hercules! Perhaps one of these? 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Bloody Pit #42 - THE ARK OF THE SUN GOD (1984)

Co-host John Hudson and I take great pleasure in returning to our occasional series of episodes on the films of Antonio Margheriti. This time out we tackle one of his 1980's action films, but this isn't a Rambo-esque bungle in the jungle. No, no! This is a film 'inspired' by (the huge world wide box office success of) RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. From 1982 to 1985 Margheriti made three different Indiana Jones rip-offs and what separates this film from the other two is that it is not a period piece even though it deals with Nazi history and Germany's pre-war hunt for religious relics. Of course, this Ark hunt was done for a fraction of the budget of it's better known Hollywood counterpart, but for the right audience that is part of the allure.

THE ARK OF THE SUN GOD stars frequent Margheriti collaborators David Warbeck and John Steiner along with several familiar faces from Italian and Spanish genre movies. Warbeck is best known to horror fans for his roles in Fulci's THE BEYOND and THE BLACK CAT. Steiner starred in Mario Bava's final film, worked with Fulci in his WHITE FANG movies and appeared in Argento's fine giallo TENEBRA. The great character actor Luciano Pigozzi plays a guy named Beetle who is instrumental in finding the hiding place of the titular Ark. Even though his face is covered in this movie with a big bushy beard it's still easy to see why he was called Italy's Peter Lorre as the resemblance is remarkable. Sadly, this seems to be the one and only film for female costar Susie Sudlow and this fact upsets both John and I. Wherefore art thou, Miss Sudlow? 

Thank you for downloading and listening to us tromp into the Turkish desert in search of the tomb of Gilgamesh. If you have any comments or questions please write to us at and we'll be glad to hear from you. And before anyone asks the song at the end of the show is by Tame Impala with an additional tag from Warbeck and Steiner. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Trailers From Hell - THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969)

With the recent announcement that Scream Factory will be releasing this fantastic Spanish horror film on Blu-Ray in December I've been anticipating watching it again. This TFH is a good introduction to the movie giving just a few hints at the scares that it contains.

Sunday, September 04, 2016


Thanks to YouTube (and an alert by eagle-eyed Christopher) I had the chance tonight to see this little Italian/Spanish Euro-Spy production without the Mystery Science Theater fellows distracting me. Gordon Scott was one of the screen's better Tarzans and his various Italian made sword & sandal epics are usually entertaining so I was happy to give this effort my full attention. Gordon is solid as the heroic agent playing him a well as the script allows. Sadly the film is a slapdash affair with a story that is both thin and a bit meandering. A scientist that has just successfully created  a death ray more powerful than a laser (whatever than means) is kidnapped by a group of criminals intent on selling his invention to the highest bidder. Scott plays an international spy Bart Fargo sent to recapture the scientist and foil the dastardly villain's scheme. There are the usual assortment of car chases, fist fights and gun fights along with a few beautiful ladies livening up the scenery. Of course, a few of the ladies turn out to be baddies but that's all in a day's work for professional espionage men so kisses are deployed to defuse some boudoir troubles. 

Overall this isn't a bad Euro-Spy film but it isn't very good either. It has some good sequences, believably nasty villains, great locations and a score that isn't bad even if it's often used in ways that should have been rethought. On the downside the script is pretty weak with the ragged string connecting the various set pieces together sometimes getting close to breaking. This being a Spanish co-production means that a few Paul Naschy co-stars show up in juicy roles including Alberto (Hunchback of the Morgue) Dalbés as the head bad guy (spoiler!) and the lovely Sylvia (Night of the Howling Beast) Solar as a femme fatale leading our man Bart into a death trap.

The weakest part of this obviously low budget production is the truly terrible miniature work throughout. There isn't a single successful shot of miniature car crashes, hovering helicopters or embarrassing toy submarines in swimming pools. I guess I'm just used to better special effects of this type from Italian films simply from my viewing of Antonio Margheriti movies but the shots here really are dreadful. They don't destroy the film for me but they are a distracting element. If you're a fan of the genre this one is worth a MST3K-less viewing but don't go in expecting too much and you'll get some fun out of it.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Caroline Munro - A Vision of Loveliness

Yes, I've posted photos of Miss Munro several times before but I'm beginning to prep for a podcast on STARCRASH so she's on my mind again.