Friday, May 31, 2019

Trailers From Hell - SHAFT (1971)

The great Bill Duke talks about the seminal 70's action film SHAFT as we wait for the release of the fifth (!) film in the series. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Classic Doctor Who Comic Book Covers

Monday, May 27, 2019


A group of archaeologists on a mysterious planet are investigating some kind of ancient ruins. They discover a secret underground chamber in which one of the crew is attacked by a strange but barely seen creature. This fellow later runs amok leaving the safety of the group’s cave-built compound until he’s finally subdued violently. Crystal rock samples taken from the secret chamber puzzle the group’s chemist so the next day he and Sandy (Judy Geeson) go outside to retrieve some more rock samples. As they are leaving the dig Mitch the chemist is ripped apart by the mysterious creature and Sandy has an unfortunate encounter with the beastie, which leaves her pregnant and deranged. The movie then slides into slasher territory as the rest of the crew fall victim to Sandy’s homicidal madness, leaving only a couple of people behind to see what she gives birth to.

Slightly daft, sloppily written and (for the most part) acted as if the paychecks were late INSEMINOID a.k.a HORROR PLANET (1981) is one of the worst pieces of science fiction/horror trash I’ve ever seen. Less a story than an idea thrown up onto the screen it at least has the virtue of aiming low. Very low. A small budget rip off of ALIEN the film takes the sub-textual concept of horrid creatures raping humans to implant their seed and places it front and center. In a better film this nastiness would be a plus but here it just barley keeps things moving along. Luckily ample amounts of bloody violence is scattered around to keep things interesting.

I’m sure there was a script (i.e. pieces of paper with dialog and scene direction typed on them) but they might have made the same film if the cast & crew merely huddled each day and said “What sequence can we cobble together today?” The characters are cardboard cut-outs, the dialog is banal when its not being idiotic and the sets are dull. Some of my favorite moments are when a line of dialog comes out of nowhere to make some point that feels plot related. This is a hallmark of bad scripts and in science fiction these bits of technobabble usually stand out beautifully. So when Mitch the chemist proclaims that the strange crystals ‘seem to have some kind of chemical intelligence’ you’re stunned by the non-sequitur craziness, but you just know that it provides a clue to defeating the nasty evil thing that shows up later. Except in this damned film you’d be wrong to think that! This silly-ass line has nothing to do with anything that happens later! Nothing! I’m not sure if this is genius slight-of-hand writing or plain ineptitude.

The cast is a mixed bag of slumming pros (most of the women) and folks that really needed some acting lessons (pretty much all the men). It’s fun in a sick way to watch some good actors flail away with this material. Geeson does as good a job as could honestly be expected I think. She musters up some believable homicidal rage when dispatching the rest of the cast and her banshee screams during the birthing scene are unnerving. As a plus you get to see the lovely Victoria Tennant stabbed to death with scissors- surely a first in cinema.

Now, to step back for a moment I must give the movie some praise. The film is well shot with the opening scenes colorfully showing the alien planet’s landscape. This generates some nice, creepy atmosphere that the rest of the movie’s claustrophobic cave sets slowly dissipate. The direction, while never outstanding is capable, moving the story along at a nice clip and hiding some of the sloppier moments. Before the film sinks to its eventual sad level I felt a measure of hope in the bustling activity of the little group of archaeologists. But when the killing started the terribly choreographed fight sequences finished off my willing suspension of disbelief. I do give the film points for the overly gory murders but the effects are hit or miss with at least one death scene descending into unintended humor.

Very soon a British company will be releasing a Blu-Ray of this film along with a few of Norman J. Warren's other horror films. I can't wait to see this HD presentation and to wallow in the extras with which the set is sure to be packed. I'm not sure I'll ever love this insane effort but mt desire to see it again is almost overwhelming. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

THIN MAN Poster Art

I'm currently taking a run through the entire Thin Man series. Previously I'd seen the first three but this will be my first viewing of the last films of the run. Powell and Loy are so good in these that the mysteries are often just a nice addition to the amusing dialog and characters. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Trailers From Hell - COMMANDO (1985)

Josh Olson presents the trailer for what he describes as the quintessential 80's movie. He might be right! 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Songs in the Key of WTF

The great Kimberly Lindbergs penned a blog entry over at FilmStuck in 2011 that I only now discovered. She points readers toward a fascinating book on a truly bizarre subject - celebrity records! This was a phenomenon of decades past in which a television or film actor would be convinced to record an album of music to cash in on their fame. These were usually disasters - artist failures of epic proportions that embarrassed the actor and delighted the fan of huge entertainment mistakes. Depending on your taste or ability to absorb the stranger end of recorded music you might enjoy this article and the music she introduces. Here are a few of my favorite examples -

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes Poster Art

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Bloody Pit #85 - HORROR ISLAND (1941)

HORROR ISLAND (1941) is one of the 1940's Universal horror films that gets very little attention. The main reason for this it that it does not feature any of the big horror stars the studio created in the 30's or even an actor from the 40's that went on to larger acclaim inside the genre. Although it reteams the male and female leads from THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940), playing essentially the same roles they enacted so well in that film, it seems that Universal didn't even bother to make note of the fact to ballyhoo this picture. Another thing working against it is the movie's lack of a monster of any kind. It sports a 'phantom' but beyond looking vaguely like The Shadow the character offers little in the way of classic chills to entice the thrill seeking crowd. So, what does HORROR ISLAND offer instead? A fog-bound castle off the coast of Florida, a cast of mildly interesting victims and a hunt for hidden pirate treasure are the ingredients tossed about by the script. It's all a bit light and silly but does this under seen film deliver the goods? 

Once I'm finished babbling about the DC Comics animated films for video Troy and I discuss the film's comedic tone, creepy setting and it's stalk & kill plotline while marveling at the cast. Where else are you going to see the classic western sidekick actor Fuzzy Knight running around a gothic castle? We talk about the production history, the sick day that cost the film it's final scene and the clever use of left over sets. There is some examination of the idea of how difficult it would be to quickly get in and out of a suit of medieval armor and we wonder about well timed crossbow bolts. This is a movie that throws a lot of things at the wall and not all of them stick.

We close the show with two excellent messages from listeners. If you would like to send us your thoughts the show can be reached at where we'd be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show. Please share it with others that might like what we do!

Apple Podcasts LINK

MP3 Download LINK 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

What I Watched In April

I will always wish that Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman had gotten a shot at completing a trilogy Of Hellboy films. The fact that they only got two in a series will go down as one of the great crimes of fantasy and comic book cinema so, I was a little reluctant to give this new film a chance. I'm not necessarily against a new vision of a solid property being attempted but I was concerned about this one. Indeed stories of a troubled production certainly made me worried that this film was not going to be very good. And I would be lying if I said that it wasn't obvious that there were production woes when you see this picture. Everything seems to flow pretty well until the third act and then there are a lot of things that are left dangling with some pieces that are oddly fit into place. In fact, some of it feels a bit more rushed than it probably should have been with some details getting left to the side.

But the strange thing is that I actually pretty much enjoyed this version of Hellboy. It's never going to supplant the two Del Toro pictures in my heart but even with all my reservations walking into the theater I found myself really enjoying this slightly harsher, much more R-rated version of the Hellboy Mythos. I especially like the fact that they managed to incorporate one of my favorite stories from the initial run of Hellboy - The Wild Hunt - into this film. Also, I'm very happy with the way the film revisits Hellboy's origin so that we get Lobster Johnson thrown into the mix. Having that character pop up onscreen for the first time is an absolute joy. So this isn't an out of the park homerun but I have to admit this film found a way to be a solid triple. To shame that it's a big box office failure because I actually wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to it or maybe even two. Seems that no matter what happens Hellboy is a bit of a doomed franchise.

I went to see THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019) without realizing that it was connected to the larger CONJURING universe. I've seen a few of the CONJURING films and for the most part have enjoyed them, so knowing this was part of that larger world wouldn't have kept me from going. The good news is that if you're curious about this movie you don't really need to know anything about the other movies in this very loose series to understand it. Just go in knowing that it takes place in the 1970's and that this time period has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens within the body of the film. That's actually one of the stranger things about this movie for me is that it's time setting really serves very little function within the story itself. In fact, this pleasantly short and to the point little horror movie is sadly only fitfully interesting. Luckily, it never really gets boring either. It's not a good film and it's not a bad film but it has enough points of interest for a genre fan to recommend it to other genre fans. The script doesn't do anything very interesting with the legendary curse of the Crying Woman that the story plays with and its treatment of the curse is rather shallow, but the movie is entertaining enough if your baseline is don't bore me and don't keep me in the damn theater seat too long.

I can compliment the film for something other than its brevity - the cinematography is phenomenal. The best thing, in my opinion, about this film actually is its excellent cinematography followed by its really sharp sound design. This is a beautiful looking, well-lit, shadowy, creepy film that is coupled with a very textured audio mix to make this one of the better-looking and sounding horror films of the past few years. The movie only has one really good standout performance and that's the central role of the working mom played by Linda Cardellini, an actress I'm beginning to wish had more time on screen in cinemas. She's very good but sadly the script gives only her anything interesting to do occasionally. All the other characters might have had a better chance at some quality acting time but either their abilities aren't there or the script isn't interested. So not a bad little movie; not a particularly good little movie, but it's okay.


THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD  (1983) - 7 (rewatch) 
TERROR IS A MAN (1959) - 8 (rewatch) 
JIGOKU (a.k.a. HELL) (1961) - 8 (surreal Japanese horror) 
GREASE 2 (1982) - 4 
THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM (1967) - 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
CURSE OF THE VAMPIRES (1966) - 5 (slowly paced Pilipino horror tale)
THE CRIME DOCTOR (1943) - 7 (rewatch)  
HELLBOY (2019) - 7 
THE UNDYING MONSTER (1942) - 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE THING (1951) - 9 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE BASTARD (1968) - 7 (fascinating Euro-Crime) 
BLACK DRAGONS (1942) - 4 (rewatch)(interesting but terrible Poverty Row Lugosi film) 
DOCTOR BLOOD'S COFFIN (1961) - 6 (rewatch on Blu) 

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Paul Naschy Poster Art!

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Images from KING KONG (1933)

This film is never far from my mind.