Saturday, March 30, 2019


Because THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (1973) was recently bought out on Blu-ray by Warner Archives I decided to revisit it. As the last of Hammer's Dracula films I've always considered this to be the nadir of that studio's run of vampire epics. My memories of it were that it was poor on almost every level with barely any actual Dracula presence in the story. It was only because of the chance to see a cleaned up HD print showing the film at it's best that I decided to rewatch it and I am glad I did!

I remembered only a few things about the film including the one image almost everyone takes from it. This would be the vampire brides rising from their basement coffins to attack potential victims. These sequences are still quite memorable and effective but the things I had forgotten were numerous!

Bizarrely, I had forgotten that Peter Cushing was even in this film! How the hell did I edit Cushing out of this? Was I trying to excuse him from a movie I thought was beneath him? But there he is front and center playing the same Van Helsing character he played in the previous year's DRACULA A.D. 72 and getting involved in the mystery at the heart of this one. And he's great, as always. I had forgotten that the amazing Freddie Jones is in this doing his usual brilliant, brittle loon character who is teetering on the edge of madness. And he's great, as always. I had completely forgotten the entire MI-6 James Bondian style plot of the film and I found myself very much enjoying how well written it is. I was having quite a lot of fun before the supernatural element in the story advanced beyond somebody possibly screwing over old rich people with occult silliness. Watching British spies work off-book to discover if their superiors are doing dastardly things is entertaining enough on it's own.

But the thing I was most surprised that I had completely mis-remembered was the ending of the film. I correctly remembered that Dracula gets caught in hawthorn bushes but incorrectly thought he was killed by this entanglement. No, no! Drac gets stopped by these thorn bushes and then Cushing grabs a convenient piece of wood and stakes that sucker good! And I mean he leans into this action. It is vicious and well done. How could I have forgotten this? It's the end of the movie! And the end for Hammer of the Lee Dracula character. It's a great vampire destruction and I just edited it out or my head. Nuts!

I stand corrected on the qualities of THE SATANIC RITE OF DRACULA (1973). It was not a sad, silly, sloppy ending for the series. It actually quite strong and I'm glad that the Blu-Ray exists.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Trailers From Hell - BONE (1972)

I, like all his fans, was sad to learn of the passing of filmmaker Larry Cohen. Even when his input was only a script that might get messed up by producers and directors I knew the resulting movie would have something of interest. And when Mr.Cohen had control over a picture you were going to get something special. I'm glad he lived long enough to record Blu-Ray commentaries for so many of his films and cool tracks like this one for Trailers From Hell. 

So long, sir! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Bloody Pit #83 - TORNADO: THE LAST BLOOD (1983)

John Hudson and I dive back into our years long look at the career of Italian director Antonio Margheriti with a show on one of his early 80's war films. Known under several titles but currently available to stream on Amazon under TORNADO (1983) this is a violent action picture modeled closely on the hit movies THE DEER HUNTER and APOCALYPSE NOW. Like those bigger budgeted affairs this film tries to make statements about the horrors of the Vietnam war while simultaneously bringing exciting action scenes to the big screen. This attempted balance doesn't always play well in any story and we find ourselves differing on the success of this effort. And both of us end up puzzled by TORNADO's odd ending leaving the two of us wondering what might have been the original intent.

Still, we enjoy quite a few things in the film including the regular appearance of the Alan Collins a.k.a. Luciano Pigozzi as an intrepid reporter trying to do his job in combat. He's one of our favorite Italian character actors even if I manage to get his first name wrong at least once in this episode!

We discuss the details of this fast paced tale and spoil the entire film right to the final scene so, if you want to see this without knowing how it ends, you might want to listen to us after a viewing. Luckily this one isn't difficult to find online although, as a warning, Margheriti continues his streak of onscreen reptile deaths with this film. Of course, he dips his lead actor in a pit of pig feces as well so maybe things equal out in the end. Our conversation takes many barely related side roads (Eddie Dezeen?) but we do eventually wind our way back to the main topic each time. And, for the curious, the damned invisible chimp rears his unwanted head again. Why do I record shows with Hudson? 

Questions and comments can be sent to or left on the show's Facebook page. We'd love to hear from your thoughts about the films of Antonio Margheriti or any of the odd things we babble about in this one. Thank you for playing along with our lengthy trip through these films and we hope you enjoy this episode.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Terra Cover Gallery

I'm fascinated by the covers for this German anthology science fiction magazine. 

Friday, March 22, 2019


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A BELL FROM HELL (1973) - Missing Scenes

After Troy and I recorded our podcast covering this excellent film I was informed by Robert Monell that the DVD we were using as a reference was actually incomplete. He told me that it was missing a few scenes for some reason and I was flabbergasted! A frantic search had me rechecking my sources looking for details with no luck. But then FaceBook friend Eric Cotenas messaged me with a YouTube link to a copy of the (rather dark looking) Unicorn VHS version of the film with the missing footage. It seems that at around 47 minute 25 second mark is where it can be found so you can use this video to either watch the entire film or jump to that spot to see the three short scenes that were trimmed. They take place at the party John throws for his aunt and cousins. After John and Esther dance around the room these scenes have more dialog between the family members that spell out the 'romantic' entanglements that contributed to John's stay in an asylum. This information is missing from the Pathfinder DVD we used which cuts bluntly from the dancing to the dinner table deleting this rather dark discussion as well as the aunt assuring one of the girls that 'After the verdict we'll sell the house'.  This is a shame as this shows how worried the editor of the print used for the DVD might have been about the film's main character being presented as an attempted rapist. This is odd considering that the DVD cut has more gore and nudity than the version with the missing two minutes of intriguing information delivered with dialog. Here's a link to a spot with details of the missing scenes or you can watch them below -

Also, Mr Cotenas had this note - "I think The Bells is the export title as the font matches the rest of the title sequence and the shot is uninterrupted whereas the Bell from Hell title may be a somewhat more accurate translation but appears in a plain font over a cutaway shot. Perhaps the preparers of the English version were thinking of Poe."  This dovetails well with Troy's idea that someone might have been trying to sell this film as another Poe adaptation!

So, as Mr. Monell stated, there is no truly satisfactory digital version of this film. I once again call for a definitive release on Blu-Ray as soon as possible! It's just not acceptable that you have to watch multiple version of a movie to see the complete film.

Thanks to Robert Monell and Erc Cotenas for their help.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Poster and Video Art for A BELL FROM HELL (1973)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Beyond Naschy #27 - A BELL FROM HELL (1973)

Our latest episode has us finally covering an under seen and not often spoken about horror classic. A BELL FROM HELL (1973) straddles the fence between the worlds of Art-House and Exploitation cinema taking elements from both to create an impressive fusion. It's easy to imagine this film playing to highbrow crowds seeking an intellectual vision of the fate of aristocratic families in rural Spain under the Franco regime. But it's even easier to think of it playing in grindhouse theaters for people looking for cheap horror thrills from a film about a well planned, well deserved revenge. Luckily, these dissimilar audiences get what they want here with enough intelligence and excitement for both types to feel satisfied with this darkly comic tale. It's a creepy tale of hate, greed and lust couched in clearly symbolic terms to make comment on life under a repressive government. It'll keep you guessing right up until the end credits!

Troy and I try not to spoil too much of this one as it is less well known than it should be. (Where is the Blu-Ray of this exceptional work?) Nevertheless, we talk about the obvious symbolic connection between the titular bell and the film's main character as we watch him released from an asylum to return home. His aunt and cousins welcome him back, with reservations, as we watch him begin a series of increasingly cruel practical jokes with a deadly endpoint in mind. We discuss the unfortunate fate of the film's talented director, the exceptional career of the screenwriter and explain that you certainly have seen some of the cast in other places. See if you can spot where I catch myself when delineating the possible symbolic nature of certain characters because I realize I might end up spoiling one of the film's nastier surprises. Sometimes my thoughts race ahead of my best intentions!

We end the show with a voicemail from a British listener which prompts us to talk a bit about Jess Franco films again. It's pretty easy to get us onto that topic, huh? If you have any comments or questions the email address is or we can be reached on the show's FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening! Oh -and vote for us in the Rondo Awards! We'd love to win in the category BEST MULTIMEDIA SITE!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What I Watched In February

GLASS (2019) is the final part of M. Night Shamalan's long delayed trilogy focused on his personal vision of superheroes and villains. When SPLIT (2017) was released and turned out to be a stealth sequel to UNBREAKABLE (2000) this film became inevitable and much anticipated. With all of Shamalan's past missteps and bad ideas I was worried that he might find a way to blow his chance at a cohesive tale but it turns out he succeeded quite admirably. Indeed, I was very impressed with only one caveat.

Bruce Willis seems to be only occasionally bringing his 'A' game to the screen these days. I rewatched the first film to refresh myself with the entire mythology of the series before seeing GLASS. This served as a sharp reminder of how good Willis was back then and particularly in this role. He brought a careful quiet strength to the character that played perfectly with his director's filmmaking style. In the new film he only seems completely engaged about 70% of the time. There are scenes in which he looks bored or is simply going through the motions of enacting the basics of the script. He is effective when he needs to be but as soon as the focus is off him or diluted with other details it's as if his concern for the material is barely there. This is a massive shame as the rest of the cast is working their asses off bring this fascinating story to it's dark conclusion. If Willis is as rich as I suspect he might be, perhaps it's time he retired.

I understand that there has been an quantity of anger at the film's ending. I don't understand this at all. I felt that the downbeat ending perfectly encapsulated the ideas of the series as it went along. For there to have been three such individuals in Philadelphia means that there had to be others elsewhere and that points to the probability of what plays out in the final act of this movie. I was reminded of the early way Marvel handled the mutants in the first few years of the X-Men comic books in the 1960's. This film felt very much in keeping with the natural fears of humanity when confronted with something this scary.

ESCAPE ROOM (2019) is a very enjoyable thriller keying off a social/cultural phenomenon that I have absolutely no experience with or, really, any desire to experience. I like playing a game with friends just as much as the next person but I still don't get why I would want to join together with a group of complete strangers in an attempt to win a game in some public place. If you suggest sitting around a table and drinking while we play Monopoly or something and you can probably get me on board but not anything like this. But, clearly these types of game adventures have become a huge business, so.....

This is a pretty diverting film with a mostly likable cast. The story ramps up well and I found the characters interesting enough with each staying well within their stereotypical lanes. The female actors are generally better than the males which adds some unexpected texture to events as they progress. I was never bored by the film but, by the end. I felt as if I had seen this story before and done in a much more interesting way. This is quite similar to the 2016 film THE BELKO EXPERIMENT with an ending that is only one degree of separation from that earlier film's conclusion. While I find the idea behind this film's hideous actions (trying to not spoil things) scarier than those in THE BELKO EXPERIMENT it also seems less universal in it's final statement as well. I'd be curious to see what others think about the similarities between these two movies and the thread that could be followed on through to the PURGE films as well. 


ESCAPE FROM GALAXY 3 (1981) -2 (a.k.a. STARCRASH 2)
ESCAPE ROOM (2019) - 6
SPLIT (2016) - 8 (rewatch)
BOMBA, THE JUNGLE BOY (1949) - 5 (first of the series)
BEHIND THE HEADLINES (1937) - 5 (OK competitive reporter tale)
BLOODY NEW YEAR (1987) - 6 (silly but inventive British horror film)
THE CARPET OF HORROR (1962) - 7 (fun krimi)
WITCHTRAP (1989) - 4
ANNIHILATION (2018) - 9 (rewatch)
NINJA BUSTERS (1985) - 2 (amusingly awful)
GLASS (2019) - 8
HOUSE OF SECRETS (1936) - 5 (British set mystery)
KLONDIKE KATE (1943) - 5
DON'T KILL IT (2016) - 4 (good idea let down by low budget)  
HAPPY DEATH DAY (2018) - 8 (rewatch)
SHINING SEX (1977) - 7 (Jess Franco Sci-fi sex film)
THE REDEEMER: SON OF SATAN (1978) - 7 (much better than I expected)
INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS (1972) - 3 (rewatch)
ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
POLAR (2019) - 7 (over-the-top NetFlix assassin film)
JACK THE RIPPER (1958) - 7 (rewatch)
MAD MAX FURY ROAD (2015) - 9 (rewatch)
TORNADO (1983) - 4 (a.k.a. THE LAST BLOOD)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Trailers From Hell - THE SWIMMER (1968)

Here's the great Illeana Douglas talking about the fantastic Burt Lancaster film THE SWIMMER (1968). By the time I saw this movie for the first time I knew the John Cheever source story and was surprised that it handled the tale's complexities so well. Lancaster is great and I second Miss Douglas' strong recommendation of this under seen classic. 

Saturday, March 09, 2019

The Bloody Pit #82 - Cult Blu-Ray Releases

This episode sees the return of cult movie expert and long time film writer Robert Monell. He and I discuss four of the newest Blu-Ray releases from Severin Films with a few mostly related side roads along the way. We're both stunned by the continuing announcements from several small labels that focus on giving obscure genre movies the chance to shine in high definition. These are films that would probably never be part of the Criterion Collection but are still very well worth being seen in the best possible presentations. And now, because of the love of discerning fans running niche labels, we can have incredible multidisc releases of rare giallo films, strange horror epics shot in the Philippines, little seen Jack the Ripper cinema and even a tiny budgeted 1970's attempt at making a human sacrificing druid cult into a terrifying horror threat. It truly is a great time to be alive!

Please join Mr. Monell and I for this brief show about some highlighted new Blu-Rays worth the attention of cult film fanatics. We talk about the virtues (and vices) of these entertaining movies and also the copious extras lavished upon these often unseen pieces of genre history. The films we cover in the most detail are ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, the 1959 film JACK THE RIPPER and the insane INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. We also excitedly chat about the awesome extras-packed set called All The Colors Of Giallo because it is such a fantastic primer on that fine genre and, surprisingly, the German Krimi films as well. These releases are worth their weight in gold!

If you have any questions or comments the show can be reached at or on the podcast's FaceBook page. Thanks for downloading and listening!

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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Werewolf For Hire!

Nic Brown's pair of Werewolf For Hire novels are a real joy for genre fans. They treat the werewolf sub-genre seriously placing the characters in the context of 1970's and 80's style men's adventure tales. Luckily, Brown is a gifted enough writer that he is capable of doing so in a credible, intelligent way that makes his work more than just exciting page-turners. They are smartly plotted and fast paced reads well worth checking out.

I had enjoyed the first of these books but I have to admit the second one is a bit better. After an effective monster fighting opening sequence that puts the titular werewolf Michael Warren in a depressed state of mind he is called to England on a personal case. Michael's detective partners Tabitha and Sam are summoned across the pond on a case that strikes at their extended family. This allows this second tale to expand the supernatural world of the books to include more magic and a pair of warring European lycanthrope groups that may or may not help our heroes.

Brown's stories are told in an exciting and clear fashion with a solid ear for characters and dialog. As a modern pulp author he understands the needs of adventure fiction but is able to make things interesting beyond just relating the basics of the tale. The world he creates in these two books is a complex and intriguing one that I wish he would return to soon. It's easy to sense that there are many great mysteries to be solved by the werewolf for hire and his partners in detection.

Guess these short stories will have to hold me over! 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Pulp Covers - The Spider!

The intensely cold weather we're currently suffering through has me in the mood to curl up and read some Spider tales! 

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Rima The Jungle Girl!

I have a mild fascination with Jungle adventure tales that probably traces back to my childhood love of Tarzan. The Jungle Girl sub-set of these stories have become a special interest for me in the past several years leading me to track down the Sheena pulp tales and any other examples I can locate. Until just the other day I had somehow missed this one though.

Rima, The Jungle Girl is a character that was created (and killed!) in a 1904 novel called Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest. A film of the book was made in 1959 starring Audrey Hepburn in the Rima role - a fact that had me thinking I was accidentally reading information from a parody website! But, it's true. How have I missed this movie? And when can I finally catch it?

Anyway - in 1974 DC comics published seven issues of their Rima comic book and this prompted her inclusion in several episodes of The All New Super Friends Hour between 1977 and 1980. That means that, as a kid, I must have seen her in that show but completely managed to forget about the odd sight of a Jungle Girl running around with Wonder Woman and company.

So, the other day when I was looking through a dollar bargain bin at a comic shop I spotted the first issue of the DC series and impulsively grabbed it, of course. It seems to be an adaptation of the Green Mansions novel with excellent interior artwork from Nestor Redondo and a great cover from Joe Kubert. I will be searching for the other six issues to see what they did with the character other than adapt the source book. That there are still hidden little series like this lurking out there to be discovered really puts a smile on my face!