Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Bloody Pit #47 - CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)

Here's a film to darken the days and blight the soul.

The cannibal sub-genre of exploitation films grew out of the Mondo movie genre. The Italian Mondo films were documentary in nature with a focus on taboo subjects that had often been considered too controversial for traditional narrative tales. By using the documentary format, exploitation filmmakers could show sexual acts, nudity, violence and even sprinkle in some racist content all while pretending to be educating it's audience. These movies were usually tasteless exercises in cruelty and caricatures of foreign cultures coupled with occasional sequences that were faked or staged for the camera. Of course, they were highly profitable but the genre waned quickly and by the mid-1970's Italian producers were on to other things.

Enter Ruggero Deodato. Having worked his way up through the Italian filmmaking system he had finally gotten into the director's chair and was hunting for a new project. In 1977 he had made one of the better jungle adventure films that had grown out of the success of Umberto Lenzi's MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972). Deodato's JUNGLE HOLOCAUST had upped the intensity of the earlier film and he decided to ratchet things up again for his new movie. He hit upon the idea of taking the cannibal tribe idea further than before and, inspired by terrorist activity in his home country, proceeded to make an unforgettably nasty piece of work that would, in turn, go on to inspire the found footage genre in the late 1990's. He's got a lot to answer for, huh?

When Adrian Smith asked me if I'd be interested in covering CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for the podcast I immediately said yes. And then I started to have doubts! I was familiar with the film from having seen it almost twenty years before but I knew it as a difficult watch. Even though I owned a copy I had only ever rewatched the movie one time since my original viewing in the 1990's and had been disturbed enough by it on my second watch to consider getting rid of the disc. Was I really eager to see this harsh, mean-spirited film again? Would it still be able to worm it's way under my skin and bother me on the deep level it had so long ago? I guess I was going to find out!

Listen in as Adrian and I fight technology, discuss Deodato, praise Riz Ortolani, process this film's animal cruelty and generally try to keep a good attitude as we follow several stupid Americans into the Amazonian jungle. If you have any comments or questions about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or anything else we touch on, please contact us at and we'll get right back to you. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #70 - SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN (1970)

This episode begins with a quick look at Price's excellent TV special from 1970 called An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe and then moves into a discussion of the bizarre main feature. I shouldn't like Scream and Scream Again as much as I do! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kmart In-Store Music: Christmas 1974

OK. This is far from the kind of thing I would usually post here as I can't really justify it as a normal part of the strange stuff I blog about BUT ....... This is so strange a thing to have discovered (thank you FaceBook!) and I have been completely mesmerized by it for the last 24 hours that I felt I just had to share. It adds to my fascination that I probably wandered around a Tennessee or Alabama K-Mart as a young lad while this soundtrack played in the background. Maybe it burrowed its way into my memory and only now is resurfacing as I listen. Let the holiday season begin! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Random Poster Art Dump!

They just don't make'em like they used to, huh? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Beyond Naschy #19 - WHITE COMANCHE (1968)

In 1968 westerns were being churned out by the dozens in Europe. The huge success of Sergio Leone's Dollar films had stoked a fire for the genre that had been little more than cooling embers. When those Clint Eastwood star making movies helped turn a samurai film into Italian gold every European producer with access to horses saw a fortune in them thar oats. Just sign up an American (or Canadian) star (or two, if cheap enough), build some clapboard shacks, strap on six-guns and ride, baby! Enter William Shatner. On a break from shooting Star Trek he travels to Spain to make WHITE COMANCHE and, from his own accounts, is miserable the entire time. But did great art come from his suffering? We shall see!

Of course, the reason we are covering this odd Euro-Western is because it is a Spanish production and it stars several actors we have seen before in the films of Paul Naschy. The lovely Rosanna Yanni, the saucy Perla Cristal, the deadly Victor Israel as well as the amazing Barta Barri turn in excellent performances here showing real talent and professionalism. And I'm sure the fact that nearly all of them got to share scenes with the legendary (slumming) Hollywood actor Joseph Cotton had to be a career highlight. Cotton plays the town sheriff in what is easily the best role the script has to offer. Every scene he is in is better off for his presence and his skill elevates some sequences to a place the director rarely could manage on his own. And did we mention the inappropriate score? This is a film with much to talk about.

We close this episode out with a few pieces of mail that come packed with some interesting information. One alerts us to a source for a bootleg NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST disc while another points to some connections between COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE and Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy. The horror geekiness is in high gear in this one, folks! If you have any comments or questions please write us at or join us on the Naschycast Facebook page for occasional updates and links to things of interest for Spanish Horror fans. Thanks for downloading and listening!

Monday, November 21, 2016


Hiding behind one of the worst titles to ever grace a Hammer horror movie is one of the best of the company's long running series following the grisly adventures of Baron Victor Frankenstein. 

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell was Hammer's seventh, but only Terence Fisher's fifth, in the series and it is a fitting high note to both Hammer as a studio and Fisher as their signature director. Fisher was always a solid director with a great eye for setting shots and an ability to get the most out of sometimes underwritten scripts. With this film he showed his considerable strengths one last time in a dark, grisly tale that could have pointed toward a revitalization of the gothic horror genre. By casting a young, handsome man to accept the mantle of Dr. Frankenstein and allowing the always wonderful Peter Cushing to return to his greatest horror role, it should have worked perfectly. Alas this was not to be. Hammer was suffering from financial problems and by 1976 was closed as a viable production house. There would be no more Frankensteins from the studio that reinvented the horror film — in living color — less than 20 years before.

Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Briant) is an eager young man following in the footsteps of the legendary Baron Frankenstein. In a small apartment he is using Frankenstein's published works (?) as a guide for his experiments and is slowly constructing a creature out of parts taken from various cadavers. His procurer is a local grave robbing drunk (Patrick Troughton) who — when he's finally nabbed by the constables — is more than happy to inform on his employer in hopes of a shorter jail term. Simon is promptly arrested for "sorcery" and sentenced to 5 years in the nearby asylum for the criminally insane. It's exactly this institution where the notorious monster maker himself was incarcerated years before. Upon his arrival Simon appeals to the warden for information about Dr. Frankenstein. Momentarily unaware that Dr. Helder is an inmate rather than a visiting physician, the warden explains that the man died some years before and is buried on the grounds. Placed in the hands of the asylum's keepers Simon is brutally welcomed with a high pressure water hose until the resident doctor appears and disperses the watching patients. The medical man attends to Simon's wounds and explains that he is (as suspected) Victor Frankenstein, now going by the name of Dr. Carl Victor. He has the warden under his thumb for various unsavory reasons and runs the asylum with a free hand. The older man is in need of an assistant and makes the young fellow an offer of the relative freedom of the institution if he will help with the general care of the inmates. Simon agrees and soon enough has also joined his mentor in a new attempt to create a more perfect creature (played by David Prowse) from pieces of dead bodies.

Following the template set out by the earlier films in the series, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell gives us a villainous mad scientist and a sympathetic monster but also throws in the younger protégé as a wild card. Carefully the script shows us Frankenstein's cold-hearted nature barely covered by a veneer of humanity. Even his kind attentions to his mute female assistant Sarah (Madeline Smith) are shown to be matter of necessity. He has cultivated her as a nurse because of his inability to perform delicate surgery with his injured hands. 

Several times the film makes the point that Frankenstein is a rather uncultured man unable to appreciate music, mathematics, or even love itself. If fact, it's these finer aspects of humanity that the good doctor tramples completely in his blind quest to play God. He can only see these finer capabilities as indicators of good components for his work. He covets an inmate's brilliant, talented mind and pushes him into suicide to gain it for his experiments. He is focused so completely on his goal that he's become not just misguided or evil, but inhuman. He consistently destroys anything in his grasp to further his experiments but has no understanding or concern for what he leaves in his bloody wake. Frankenstein's life work has destroyed untold numbers of lives and by the end of this movie it's quite apparent that he will never comprehend the cruelty of his actions. He is irredeemable.

The only bright spot for the future is seen in Helder's revulsion at his mentor's eventual decision to mate Sarah with his failed monster. At this point her nickname of Angel evokes the idea of saintly purity soiled by human malice and could be called the perfect metaphor for this movie series — the beauty of the creation of a new life corrupted by horror of science used without compassion. It's only in Helder's break with Frankenstein over Sarah that we see the possible end to the years of horror carried out by the older man. If there had been another film in the series with Helder as the main character it would have been interesting to see if this element of humanity was kept. But I suspect such niceties would have been tossed out for more of the same. Still, this film did a good job of injecting some new ideas into the old Hammer formula.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rosanna Yanni - Argentina's Gift To Spanish Cinema

Born Marta Susana Yanni Paxot on February 27, 1938 she is best known as Rosanna Yanni or Rossana Yanni. She worked in revues as a chorus girl in here homeland of Argentina but after working for two years as a fashion model in Italy she moved to Madrid and began her film career. She starred in over 40 films between 1963 and 1980, and after a long pause resumed her career in the late nineties. She worked with Jess Franco, Paul Naschy, Terence Young and Amando de Ossorio. Beauty, talent and poise! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

WHITE COMANCHE (1968) on YouTube

This is far from the best way to see this interesting Spanish made western but it is free. I recommend the Warner Archive DVD for a much better widescreen print but this sample will give you an idea of what you're in for when you get two Shanters for the price of one! Podcast on the way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What I Watched In October

As you might expect, last month was a busy movie watching 31 days of Halloween with only a few non-horror or monster movies wedging themselves into view. Sadly one of them was ..... hold on. 

I have not been a big fan of the Abrams STAR TREK reboot films. The first was a sloppy mess with a script that seemed assembled in the dark from six separate story ideas. The only thing that saved it for most people is that Abrams knew the story was crap so he welded it together with FAST FAST FAST action to keep the audience from figuring out how stupidly constructed the damned thing was. Plot contrivance, thy name is STAR TREK (2009). The second film was just about as bad, heaping confused plotting and poorly thought out concepts (why are there spacecraft in a universe in which planet to planet teleportation is possible?) onto a story that makes every single character an idiot. Those two films made me sorry that the franchise was still limping along having such a public, embarrassing series of blunders. It was like watching a good friend crap their pants on stage in front of a packed house.

So now we have the third (and hopefully last) of these mistakes. There was hope for this one simply because it was written by an actual fan of Star Trek - there's a shocking idea! Abrams is on record as not being a fan of Trek and sadly his two films prove he didn't care to learn more than the surface details. Maybe 40 plus years of history was too daunting? Luckily a member of the cast was knowledgeable, talented and willing to try to save this mess of a reboot. Did he succeed?

Not in my opinion. I will admit that this is better than the first two. The story hangs together pretty well and manages to make sense well enough. The excellent cast does as good a job as they can given the material. The problems with this one are different but just as irritating though. Once again we have a character out for revenge against the Federation as if that were the only adventure that the Enterprise crew could EVER encounter. And, of course, we destroy the ship again as if that was somehow going to be impressive for the - what? - third time in the Trek feature films? There are other ways to maroon and isolate the cast but no one seems to be able to get those ideas past whatever committee approves bad plot concepts at Paramount.

Oh, to hell with it! This sucker was passable but overlong, over obvious and simply wasted its fine group of actors. By the time Kirk is running around on a motorcycle I was just wanting the thing to end already. Please - let there not be a fourth. 

After far too long Toho Studios has produced a new Japanese Godzilla film! SHIN GODZILLA (or Godzilla Resurgence) is a fantastic exercise in trying something fresh while still giving fans the badass monster destruction. This movie ignores all previous Big G films giving the audience a leg up on the sea of scrambling bureaucrats as they try to understand what is happening when this giant creature lurches out of the ocean and proceeds to accidentally level huge sections of Tokyo. After a while the googly-eyed thing slides back into the bay leaving the entire government with the task of stopping it if it returns. Of course, it does return, changed pissed and seemingly determined to raze th whole city if it can!  

I loved this film more than I thought I would. The radical rethink of this entry is not to start over from scratch but to show just how difficult it would be to get all the governmental necessities in place to get ANYTHING of the magnitude needed for this threat set in motion. Endless meetings in dozens of conference rooms are used to show how much work it really is to get things done in a modern bureaucracy. These scenes could have been incredibly boring (as they have been in some older giant monster films) but the filmmakers here aren't just padding the movie's running time with these scenes. These sequences are in place to humorously poke fun at Japanese society, it's norms and the stodgy ways that things have to get done to keep from breaking decorum. And to keep the tone light these often minutes long dialog scenes are edited at lightening speed, jumping from speaker to speaker, changing angles and refusing to allow the film to feel slow. I was laughing with this film even while I was struggling to read all the subtitles onscreen as things moved at super speed. Damn, I wish I spoke Japanese!

But, of course, no one comes to a Godzilla film to see humans dealing with supply and shipping problems. No, we come to see giant monster action and WOW does this movie deliver! The effects work is astonishing and a brilliant use of both practical and CGI magic to make every single shot seem as realistic as possible. There is so much detail in the shots with every action and it's consequences violently displayed that this often felt like a completely new way to imagine the kaiju film. I was thrilled, amused and totally entertained!


ZOLTAN, HOUND OF DRACULA (1978) - 3 (rewatch)
SPASMS (1983) - 6 (pretty insane giant snake story)
TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE (1966) - 5 (padded, slightly silly patch job from Corman)
HILLBILLIES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE (1967) - 3 (terrible film but good music)
DEEP IN THE WOODS (2000) - 7 (rewatch)
THE BLACK CAT (1981) - 7 (rewatch)
SILENT HOUSE (2011) - 7 (well done horror thriller)
GHOST STORY (1981) - 7 (good but not as good as the book)
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982) - 6 (well done little slasher)
BOOGEYMAN 2 (2007) - 6 (becomes a slasher but not bad at all) 
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
DEMONS 2 (1986) - 7 (rewatch)
SHIN GODZILLA (2016) - 9
FRANKENSTEIN (1931) - 9 (rewatch)
HALLOWEEN II (1981) - 7 (rewatch)
WE ARE STILL HERE (2015) - 9 (rewatch)
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) -10 (rewatch)
PHANTASM (1979) - 8 (rewatch)
COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE (1973) - 7 (rewatch)
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953) - 7 (rewatch)
TRICK 'R' TREAT (2007) - 9 (rewatch)
PERKINS' 14 (2009) - 4 (good idea undermined by bad acting and sloppy scripting)
RiffTrax - CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962) - 8 (film is an 8 - RiffTrax version was an 8 as well)
FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) - 4 (rewatch) (empty, dull, well photographer blah)
BLAIR WITCH (2016) - 5 (good idea - mediocre execution)
THE X FROM OUTER SPACE (1967) - 3 (rewatch)
SCOOBY DOO AND THE LEGEND OF THE VAMPIRE (2003) - 6 (pretty good Australian adventure for the team)
CHILD'S PLAY 3 (1991) - 6
SATAN'S LITTLE HELPER (2004) - 3 (weakly done Halloween set slasher)
MANHATTAN BABY (1982) - 7 (rewatch)
SAVAGE WEEKEND (1979) -4 (part backwoods slasher, part softcore sex film)
TRICK OR TREATS (1982)- 5 (tormented babysitter/evil kid/escaped psycho blend) 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mars Attacks Art!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Bloody Pit #46 - MARS ATTACKS! (1996)

Twenty years ago Hollywood gave us two similar but very different alien invasion movies. One was serious and the other comedic; one was a huge hit and the other barely made back it's budget; one was basely manipulative and the other cruelly sarcastic. And, in fact, one was completely terrible and the other brilliantly funny. It doesn't take much thought to know in which direction this podcast will go but with a little luck we can make it entertaining. We're going to try!

I am joined once again by artist extraordinaire Mark Maddox to discuss the two dystopian alien invasion stories MARS ATTACKS and INDEPENDENCE DAY. Both of us saw these films on initial release and, in a shocking turn of events, we had identical reactions. This means that we spend the majority of this show in agreement instead of at each other's throats! I hope this doesn't disappoint fans of our previous James Bond episode but I promise that Mark and I will be back to insulting and harassing each other soon enough. (All it will take is picking another topic and we'll be screaming abuse back and forth like children denied their favorite toy.)

Of course, the discussion does meander a fair amount as each co-host follows several connecting threads to bizarre and unexpected places. With such large and eclectic casts packed with so many amazing actors there is almost no way we could have stopped ourselves from talking about some of the more interesting performances. So, expect to hear a few dozen movies get mentioned that have nothing to do with the subjects at hand. Sorry.

If you have any comments or questions please write us at and we'll be glad to hear from you. Mark Maddox's work can be seen at his website and I recommend going over there to check it out. Thanks for downloading and listening! 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Mars Attacks Cards!

These are just a few of my favorites from the classic Mars Attacks card series. That Topps thought they could get away with this in 1962 is amazing!