Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Bloody Pit #99 - THE WOLF MAN (1941)

Is this the last ‘great’ Universal monster movie? 

That is one of the questions Troy and I pose as we dive into a discussion of this beloved werewolf film. THE WOLF MAN (1941) is such an entertaining film that I, of course, found a way to begin our conversation with a few of the things that I find to be less than perfect. And from there it only gets odder as we dig into the questions the film always brings up about four-legged wolves and suddenly appearing clothing. But we start to color outside the lines when we consider the dark family relationships in Talbot castle as well as the unknown past of Bela the gypsy with his mother Maleva. And what was that gypsy lady’s real motivation for hanging around to help Larry once his animal side began rampaging in the night? She certainly had some sharp words for Lord Talbot in their one interaction. Is there a subtext of class anger between the two oldest characters in this tale bubbling just beneath the surface? Or is she just the world’s best werewolf whisperer? And what about pretty Gwen’s quick transition to being head-over-heels in love with a man who could be called a telescope stalker? Unhappy with her fiancé? Hussy? Gold-digger? The gossipy women of the town want to know!

I apologize for my out of place ramble about the Big Country album Steeltown at the beginning of the show. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. If you have any thoughts or comments, the email address remains and the show’s Facebook page is alive and well. We look forward to continuing this series of 1940’s shows and hope you enjoy what we do! Thanks for listening. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Trailers From Hell - X THE UNKNOWN (1957)

Joe Dante very quickly gives you a lot of good info about this very well done Hammer science fiction film. "The thinking man's BLOB" a year before THE BLOB? Maybe! 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Universal Monsters Behind the Scenes!

And a publicity shot for THE WOLF MAN (1941). 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Big Country - Flame of the West (video)

I was recently talking with Troy about the Big Country album this song comes from and saying that instead of Steeltown it could have been titled Tales of Grief, Pain, Loss and Regret. Rarely have rock & roll rhyming couplets been so dark!

This song is about a particular world leader and shows a part of history from another point of view.

 A stranger came by traveling
He went to every door
He said he'd lost his people
He'd come to look for more
And many did believe him
As he talked upon the square
The spell he wove upon us
Fills my body with despair
And in his eyes
Was the flame of the west
Until it burns
He never rests
He had the voice of an angel
And the face of a saint
And though they fell behind him
I knew what it was he ment
His eyes where full of demons
As he made his message clear
He strode the world like Ceaser
With a trident held as fear
And in his eyes
Was the flame of the west
Until it burns
He never rests
It's just how it's always been
One man with a ruling dream
And everyone falls for him
Heroines in an ancient film
It's just how it's always been
One man with a ruling dream
And everyone falls for him
Heroines in an ancient film
Called the flame of the west
Look out for that stranger
If you pass him on your way
He never sees a danger
In the darkening of the day
There will be dollars in his hand
He has all hell to pay
And he will pass them to you
If you promise you will stay

Saturday, February 22, 2020

More Movie Posters From an Alternate World

Some of these.......WOW!  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What I Watched in February

After the complete mess of KING ARTHUR (2017) and the I-don't-give-a-crap-ness of a live-action version of Disney's ALADDIN (2019), it is wonderful to see Guy Ritchie back in the genre that he has a firm handle on  -  British gangsters. With THE GENTLEMEN (2020) he returns to modern-day London with various groups of serious criminals vying for smaller and larger slices of the crime pie. Richie's films of this type rise and fall on the strengths of their outrageous characters and the ability of the cast to embody these deadly villains in amusing fashion. In this case, he has hit one out of the park again. The cast is phenomenal, the twisty story is joyous in its clever reveals and the excitement level is always high. More like this please and less like King Arthur and Guy Ritchie can keep making these films for the rest of his life as far as I'm concerned.

Although I’m loath to admit it, I enjoy quite a lot of the film adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft’s horror fiction. Not all of what I enjoy are very good films but, in most cases, I’m pleased by the attempt to bring his often difficult work to the screen. So, when an actual good film based on HPL’s work gets made I’m overjoyed. Such is the case with Richard Stanley’s COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2020) which finds a way to both adapt and update to modern times one of the most interesting of his rural set tales. Taking the story as a solid base Stanley brings his own sensibilities and style to the tale letting it unfold naturally and, dare I say, colorfully. The film allows for deeper characters than on the page and the family relationships feel real as well adding a touch of humanity that Lovecraft usually seemed to view as superfluous. The horrors are well presented and I was happy to notice that a fair amount the dialog was lifted straight from the original tale. Well done! I look forward to the announced adaptation of The Dunwich Horror!


GOD FORGIVES, I DON’T (1967) – 6 (Spaghetti western – first teaming of Hill and Spencer)
THE SATANIST (1968) – 3 (silly, hour long soft-core porn)
TERROR IS A MAN (1959) – 7 (rewatch)
THE THING (1982) – 10 (rewatch)
HEART OF THE NORTH (1938) – 7 (Canadian Mountie film)
IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE (2016) – 8 (excellent western)
RODAN (1956) – 7 (the English dubbed version)
THE FALCON STRIKES BACK (1943) – 6 (rewatch)
THE IRISHMAN (2019) – 9 (brilliant if long gangster epic)
LOVE AND BULLETS (1979) – 6 (Bronson in a pretty good crime tale)
ERIK THE VIKING (1965) – 6 (interesting but overlong adventure)
ANON (2018) – 7 (sci-fi noir crime story)
THE BISHOP MURDER CASE (1929) – 6 (early talkie with Basil Rathbone as Philo Vance)
THE GENTLEMEN (2020) – 8
MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL (2019) – 7 (shame this wasn’t a bigger hit)
DOCTOR JEKYLL AND THE WOLFMAN (1973) – 8  (rewatch)
MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Canadian Mounted Police Artwork

One of the stranger reading habits I have is the unavoidable desire to read adventure tales of the Canadian Mounties during the winter months. Even if the story takes place in the Summertime I still want to read these things in the cooler times of year. Of course, I prefer that they take place in the driving snow with bitter temperatures causing ice to form on everything but I'll take anything I can get in this rather small genre. I don't expect many folks to understand this obsession much less share it, but if you like westerns you might enjoy this Northern variation. Maybe. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Terrance Dicks' Space:1999 Adventure

Among classic Doctor Who fans Terrance Dicks is not just a legend, but someone to be revered. Longtime script editor for the show during its 70’s heyday, he was responsible for shepherding dozens of great stories through the process from concept to script to screen. After he stepped down from his editor role, he continued writing for Who  and contributed several scripts to the show including Robot, The Brain of Morbius, Horror of Fang Rock and The Five Doctors. His connection to Doctor Who goes even deeper because that during and after his time on the show he also was the main writer of the famous Target imprint that novelized various Doctor Who storylines in print. Indeed, he was the first writer to be tasked with this project that soon grew to be a major second career for him. His understanding of the show and his ability to translate scripts to novels made him the most beloved contributor to the series and set him up for a career in publishing that continued for the rest of his life. It was through the American reprints of these Who novels that I first became aware of him and began to seek out his name when prowling bookstores. In my youth, Dicks’ novels were the only way I could hope to experience several classic Doctor stories.

But of course, Doctor Who is not the only show that he wrote for and, although I've been aware of this for years, I never actively sought out any of his work on other television programs. That is, until lately. I recently learned that he wrote an episode of the mid-70’s Gerry Anderson TV show Space: 1999 and, since just last year Shout Factory was kind enough to put out both seasons on Blu-ray, I thought I would check this episode out and discover if it were any good. Luckily, I received that Blu set as a very welcome Christmas gift last year so the show was just a couple of button pushes way!

The episode is called The Lambda Factor and I have to admit that - of the handful of second season episodes that I've ever seen - it's actually pretty darned good. One of the failings of the Space:1999 second season is that in an attempt to create a more action-oriented show some of the first season’s cerebral attitude was thrown out. This figured to make the show less sleep inducing (because it could be dull as dirt) and better paced. Interestingly, The Lambda Factor splits the difference between these two approaches with a heady central concept married to a tense unfolding of dark emotions that trigger murder and despair. Dicks has some expressed surprise that his script made it to the screen with almost no changes and has stated that he was pretty happy with the finished episode. I was impressed enough with this one to slate into my schedule a possible reassessment of the much derided second season of Space: 1999. Such is the power of Terrance Dicks!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Bloody Pit #98 - MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)

Mark Maddox returns to the show to talk about one of the more overlooked of the Universal horror films of the 1930’s - MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932). This movie’s lack of attention may be because it doesn’t have one of the classic monster characters as a draw or, possibly, because it is one of the darkest, nastiest sixty-one minutes the studio ever released! Luckily, I don’t think it will remain as underseen in the future as it has just gotten a tricked out new Blu-Ray release which gives the film the best visual presentation it’s ever received on home video. The picture is so sharp that you can almost see the evil thoughts as they flicker in Bela Lugosi’s eyes!

We start the episode with a brief discussion of some of some of the projects Mark has coming out soon including some fun information about the genesis of his cover art for the upcoming Blu-Ray of Hammer’s EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN. We then move into a rather scattered discussion of MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, jumping from one topic to another as we explore the qualities that make it a unique part of the decade’s horror output. Lugosi’s masterful acting is examined along with his bizarre uni-brow. That is one strange look! The not-so hidden strain of bestiality embedded in the story is touched on as well as the fears of a Darwinian view of the world that the script uses to terrify its audience. We disagree about the inserted chimp scenes but both of us find some generally held ideas about this movie to be a bit silly. We bring up the legendary first edit of the film along with Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog article (in issue #111) in which he proposed a way to re-edit the existing film to approximate the director’s original version. It’s a shame there wasn’t an attempt to include such a variation for the new Blu.

If you have any thoughts about this film or any other that we’ve discussed on the show, write to us at or over on the Facebook page. Mark will return in a few weeks to talk about another movie so you could even ask him some questions directly, if you wish. Thanks for listening!

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Direct Download LINK


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Trailers From Hell - MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)

Figured that I'd beat others to this film before the 14th! David DeCoteau gives us a  good introduction to this well done Canadian slasher. 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Fritz Lang's WOMAN IN THE MOON (1929)

I spent the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday finally catching up with Fritz Lang's amazing science fiction film WOMAN IN THE MOON (1929). Much less well known than the classic METROPOLIS (1928) I found this one to be at least as affecting and just as rich as a cinematic experience. Once again in collaboration with his wife Thea on Harbou he crafted an epic science fiction tale that tried very hard for it’s period to be as scientifically accurate as possible. This is shown in several fascinating sections where the concept of rocketry and the science of gaining the escape velocities needed to reach the moon and to return are spelled out in detail. It's rather fascinating to take note of just how accurate a lot of the astro-navigation theories were at that time. Of course, this being science fiction that is casting a view decades into the future it's not hard to guess that there are a number of scientific inaccuracies. But those are the kinds of things that just make these older science fiction movies even more charming for me. This is a science fiction adventure, not some kind of feakin’ documentary! This is what makes the movie so entertaining for anyone with a curiosity to see great early science fiction films. The joys of it are many and it rewards your attention.

I was struck by how effective the miniature work is especially in getting across the size of the rocket structure in the gantry where it is housed. One could easily argue that those sequences go on a bit too long so that the filmmakers could show off their finely detailed work. I'll admit I enjoyed them in the same way that I enjoy the same kind of sequences that showed up later in the Gerry Anderson television series Thunderbirds. “Let's make sure everybody can get a really good look at all the hard work put into these models folks.” If it looks good, I don’t mind and in 1929 this was ground breaking stuff!

Of course, the most ridiculous science fiction element the movie asks us to accept is that there's somehow enough atmosphere on the moon not to mention pressure, temperature and everything else that human being would need to survive and walk around like you were just say, oh, - I don't know - in a large Cinema sandbox or back lot. But this is science fiction and that is part of the point of these things. On its own terms, this is a riveting, entertaining, beautiful movie and one that I'm thoroughly thrilled to finally been able to see especially in the fantastic restoration that I viewed from a Turner Classic Movies broadcast. I feared that since it was close to three hours in length, I would find it was a little too long. But I have to admit that I was never bored and this fun story became a very entertaining ride. If you have any curiosity about silent science fiction film this is a great second feature to follow on the heels of Metropolis.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Trailers From Hell - 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954)

Rest in Peace Kirk Douglas. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Paul Naschy Poster Art!

On my mind lately!