Let's hope that 2019 is better than 2018!
Monday, December 31, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Here's a post-Christmas treat!
Artist Mark Maddox has had a very busy year. He remains in high demand for book and magazine covers along with all his other work. 2018 saw him finally branch out into Blu-Ray art, doing the spectacular rendering of Christopher Lee for the cover of Scream Factory's new disc of DRACULA - PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966). Hopefully the strong, positive response to that piece will get him the opportunity to do more in that vein and soon. Fingers crossed.
But, because Mark has been so busy, he and I haven't had the chance to record a show together all year - until now! HELL DRIVERS (1957) was a film I was totally unaware of before Mr. Maddox started talking about it a few months ago. I don't know how I missed it considering the talented people involved. There is a host of future British television and film stars packed into this tight little drama including a Doctor Who, a James Bond and at least two other soon-to-be small screen espionage agents. Oh! And the great Herbert Lom as an Italian expatriate working in
and romancing the lovely
Peggy Cummins. Writer/director Cy Endfield shows his skill at crafting a strong
script with believable characters but also knows how to stage exciting action
scenes. We watch huge trucks barreling down roads that are clearly too small
for that type of traffic while at the same time the complicated personal
relationships become more deadly as well. But the film offers more than just
bar fights and lustful quandaries. Just why would a company run these young
drivers so hard? England
As is the norm for a conversation between Mark and I, there comes a point where we go off track. In fact we went so far off track that it became difficult to know just how long we had been roaming around talking about something other than HELL DRIVERS! We drift into a discussion of toys including fan-made collectables, then move on to the British 'Carry On' film series and film humor in general with a surprising revelation or two from Mark. There are at least a dozen other topics that we charge right into with little reasonable concern for the fact that you folks might eventually be listening to us ramble. Sorry about that.
Oh! It turns out that this film is available to stream on Amazon Prime! The link is below.
Oh! It turns out that this film is available to stream on Amazon Prime! The link is below.
If you have any comments or if you'd like to correct either of us please write the show at firstname.lastname@example.org where we'll be thrilled to answer all questions. Thank you for listening and we'll talk to you again soon.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Monday, December 24, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Friday, December 21, 2018
But what of other, less well known, Christmas cinema? Perhaps a film that will not result in everyone listening to you pontificate at the Holiday party wishing to strangle you.
Well, one of my favorites non-traditional Christmas movies is Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS (1992). Not as well remembered or as well-regarded as the 1989 BATMAN film I've always preferred the second bite at the apple for a number of reasons. One of those is it's December setting with the time of year woven into the story intricately. There is snow in the air, snow on the ground and Burton went out of his way to be able to see the actor's breath in the chilly weather to add detail. You really feel that the events take place in winter adding a certain quality of realism to the mad proceedings. So many of the non-traditional Christmas movies that people talk about merely take place at the festive time of year instead of actually folding the events surrounding the holiday into their storyline. Batman Returns is constantly referencing the time of year and, although December 25th only happens at the very end, everything in the movie feels as if we are slowly advancing toward that date with terrible events and momentous occasions cascading toward the eventual climax.
The movie is layered, nearly dripping with Christmas imagery in almost every scene. Christmas parties, Christmas trees, mistletoe, gifts and decorations are scattered throughout the story giving reason for some of the crazier things that happen. The reoccurring scene of the nightly lighting of Gotham's huge Christmas tree becomes a central element of the plot giving the villains a time and place to attack for maximum attention. You'd think after the second deadly night of violence at the lighting ceremony the mayor would have shut that thing down! But the season always seems to cloud our judgment, making even the denizens of the crime-riddled Gotham hold out hope for an optimistic future. Of course, this is a Burton Batman film so bleakness is baked into this bat-shaped Christmas cookie. But by setting the story in December the film finds a way to offer a possible light to walk toward with hope still a risky choice but better than Bruce Wayne's despair. He can wish the world a Merry Christmas in the final scene even after failing to save Selina Kyle from her worst desires. How's that for an upbeat Christmas message?
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
If you've not been following Steve Sullivan's Dr. Cushing novel over on his website then you have been missing out! A combination of ingredients from the Universal Horror classics with more than a dash of Hammer Horror spice added the book is a great Monster Kid blend of creeps, thrills and adventure. And now the entire thing is complete so you don't have to wait week to week for the chapter to come out! Check it out from the beginning HERE!
Or you can start with what is becoming an annual thing for the world Sullivan has created - a monster charged Christmas tale! "A Shadow Over Christmastime" has just been posted on his site with a new one due before the 25th! Oh! And here's a LINK to the previous Cushing Christmas Tale too!
Happy reading and Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 17, 2018
Saturday, December 15, 2018
VENOM (2018) is a stand alone off-shoot of the Sony Spider Man films. It doesn't seem to reference the other films in any way so it can be seen as a form of reboot, I suppose. I had some hopes for this to be a fun film based solely on the cast. I think Tom Hardy is a fantastic talent with natural screen charisma and Michelle Williams has never seemed less than letter perfect in any role she attempts. But, sadly, this film wastes them and their impressive efforts on a script that just cannot be bothered to generate much interest. The entire things feels artificial from the relationships, the plot and even the underlying ideas. Nothing seems to fit together properly giving the story a disjointed feeling. It might as well be cobbled together from random issues of the Venom comic book for all the sense it makes and maybe it was. It can't even manage to strike a solid tone for it's ending leaving the entire thing feeling more like a mess than it had to, really. In the end the film is bland and forgettable. If they make a sequel there is nowhere to go but up from this flat starting point.
OVERLORD (2018) should have been much better than it is. The scenario reads like either a first person shooter video game or the most perfect SF tinged WWII film of all time. Just before the D-Day invasion of
Normandy a squad of American soldiers parachute into
to destroy a German communications jamming station. Almost immediately the
group is reduced to a handful of survivors but they continue to their objective
enlisting a local young woman's aid. Once in the country town the soldiers
learn that the French citizens have been systematically taken into the castle
headquarters for hideous human experimentation. Since the target is in the same
place they decide to destroy both problems with one attack but are well aware
that their small numbers mean there is little chance of survival. Everything is
in place for a rousing action film with mad scientist created monsters in a
WWII setting. Cool! But then the script falters.
At a certain point our main character leaves the cottage in which the soldiers are hiding for less than clear reasons. And then he manages to stumble, fart and fall inside the castle with none of the German troops ever spotting him. He gets into the deepest areas of the laboratory, sees the important information and gets out of this highly guarded place without a single person laying eyes on him. Once. This sequence breaks the movie for me. I kind of enjoyed the third act because it's a well played action set-piece but this pathetic way of getting the American characters the necessary intel is just terrible screenwriting. I wasn't bothered by the unhistorical mixed race American army of the 1940's in the film because we're here to see Nazi monsters get splattered. But this idiotic plotting disaster is just too much. The whole sequence needed to rewritten. Oh well.
THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967) - 7 (rewatch)
GHOSTKEEPER (1981) - 6
VENOM (2018) - 4
THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS (1954) - 5
MACON COUNTY LINE (1974) - 7
THE VAMPIRE'S GHOST (1945) - 4
MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND (1964) - 4 (rewatch)
THE NANNY (1965) - 7
ABSOLUTE QUIET (1936) - 7
SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT III: BETTER WATCH OUT (1989) - 3 (Ugh!)
SCHIZOID (1980) - 5 (not bad sleazy thriller)
OVERLORD (2018) - 6
PRISONER OF THE LOST UNIVERSE (1983) - 3 (Riftrax version - 7)
RAW FORCE (1982) - 3 (inept but entertaining for all the wrong reasons)
SUMMER OF '84 (2018) - 9
NIGHT OF TERROR (1933) - 6
CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980) - 8 (rewatch)
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Monday, December 10, 2018
We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of
New York acting talent onscreen
as well as a surprising connection to a certain musical legend as well. The
film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's
fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New Jersey set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime
a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit
on a supremely odd confluence of ideas! New York
So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at email@example.com or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating.
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