Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Bloody Pit #110 - REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983)

For years Cannon Films has been celebrated for the mad movies they brought to the big screen in the 1980’s. The company’s focus on action films made that decade a crazed series of ever escalating, over the top adventures that often seemed uninterested in coherence and mostly concerned with creating a parade of stunts, violence and explosions. They had great success for a while but nearly every time they stepped away from fistfights, gunfights and car crashes they tended to lose a lot money. One of the biggest financial winners for Cannon was the trio of ninja films they produced from 1981 to 1984 starring Japanese martial artist Sho Kosugi as either the bad guy or the hero and sometimes both! Is there anything a ninja can’t do?

To discuss Cannon’s epic ninja trilogy, I’m joined by an old work buddy who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. Brian Smith is a naturally funny guy with a love of exploitation films from the 1980’s and a previously hidden childhood history of wishing he could be a ninja. Luckily for us his creative side has allowed him to focus some of that childhood longing into comedy and we end this episode with his hilarious song about the joys of the ninja arts. You have been warned!

Brian and I relate our history with ninja films and our mutual love of the more insane aspects of these strange cinematic messes. With REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) as our jumping off point Brian tells of his parent’s bad reaction to the opening sequence’s violence. I think we’ve all been there. It can be difficult to move past ‘slaughter your whole family ninja violence’ and allow a young lad the joys of seeing the drowning of scantily clad women in hot tubs. It’s not really a ‘family movie night’ kind of film. We have a good time digging deep into the madness of this mess of a movie that seems only barely held together by racial stereotypes, random action scenes and bad ideas. Thank goodness that some of those bad ideas involve turning the stuntmen loose with the camera crew to create some pretty fun stuff. It may not be a good film but it is an entertaining one.

We also spend some time on ENTER THE NINJA (1981) and the even crazier NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984) to determine which is our favorite. There is even an unplanned sideroad discussion of Saturday morning cartoons in which we bond over the loss of the great Thundarr the Barbarian. There really should have been more episodes of that show made, dammit! You can email the podcast at or join us over on the FaceBook page. We’ll be glad to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Trailers From Hell - NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984)

The next episode of The Bloody Pit podcast has a lot to say about this insane Cannon film even if it isn't the true focus of the show. The 1980's was Ninja ground zero! 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

John Carter of Mars Comic Strips

From 1941 to 1943 John Coleman Burroughs adapted his father's John Carter of Mars stories as a Sunday newspaper comic strip. You can see all of them at the ERBzine website as well as a number of excellent examples of other such strips. I recommend looking around there for some fun pulp reading as well as news about current comic adaptations and expansions of ERB's work.

Click on the images to enlarge. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Video - An Ode to Stop Motion Animation

This fantastic collection of bits of stop motion work stretches from the silent era to the 1990's. It demonstrates the effectiveness and the pure fun of the form. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Gerry Anderson Toys!

And now I have the theme tunes from several of these shows looping through my head! 

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Here is the first section of the rare Spanish jungle girl movie by the director of THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (1975). Not sure if there will ever be a great release of this film so this might be your only chance. And Paul Naschy plays a hunter on a strange safari so that is well worth seeing! 

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Bloody Pit #109 - NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985)

I’m very excited to welcome author and podcaster Amanda Reyes to the show for the first time! She edited and co-wrote the excellent overview book ‘Are You In the House Alone: A TV Movie Compendium’ and hosts the TV Mayhem Podcast where she hosts discussions of every type of television film imaginable. I’ve been a fan of her work for years and her focus on TV movies putting her near the top of any list of current experts in the field. But her knowledge of cinema ranges much wider than just the small screen. With her love of the thriller and horror genres pushing her into often strange territories she can find fascinating parallels that other viewers would miss. On more than one occasion I’ve been stunned by her deep understanding of obscure horror movies often forcing me to reevaluate my opinion. Plus, her podcasting tendency to go off on great tangents has made for some amazing discoveries of hidden treasures lurking on actor’s resumes!

I asked Amanda what subject she would like to tackle and she brought up the little-known Italian high fashion world thriller NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985). I had only caught up with the film about a year ago and really enjoyed it so it seemed like a perfect small topic to dig into. Little did I know that Miss Reyes and I would have so much to say about it! We talk about the film for well over two hours and even discuss the bat-crap crazy ending. Be aware, we give you plenty of warning if you want to avoid spoilers but we just had to talk about the final scenes. Not that the mystery element is the only thing here to enjoy about the movie. We delve into the cast and their careers with some surprising details about certain projects. We debate the effectiveness of fake accents; the treatment of the story’s sleazier aspects; the 1980’s fashion; the plot’s red herrings; the film’s rural versus urban visual motif and the telepathic sibling element that drives the entire affair. We had a great time with this film and I hope you have half as much fun listening in.

If you have any comments or suggestions the show can be reached at or over on the podcast’s FB page. Let us know what you think and feel free to guess about what Amanda and I will be discussing the next time we record!

Apple Podcast LINK

Direct MP3 Download LINK


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

What I Watched in June

Poster art from three of the pleasant discoveries of last month. All three are recommended if you can find them. 


HAUNTED HONEYMOON (1940) – 8 (rewatch)
FACES IN THE DARK (1960) – 7 (excellent British ‘Gaslight’ styled thriller)
RAPE (1976) – 5 (Spanish mystery/horror with Nadiuska)
TWINS OF EVIL (1972) – 8 (rewatch)
FANTASY ISLAND (2020) – 5 (well mounted but falls apart near the end)
THE LEECH WOMAN (1960) – 5 (rewatch on Blu)
ROBIN HOOD AND THE PIRATES (1960) – 5 (Italian adventure with Lex Barker)
NEVER A DULL MOMENT (1967)- 5 (Disney crime comedy with Dick Van Dyke and Edward G. Robinson)
THE H MAN (1959) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)
THE FALCON GOES TO HOLLYWOOD (1944) – 6 (rewatch)
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017) – 9 (rewatch)
DAKOTA (1945) – 6 (Republic studios/John Wayne western)
THE BLACK ARROW (1948) – 7 (swashbuckler)
GENTLEMEN WITH GUNS (1946) – 5 (very low budget Buster Crabbe western)
BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959) – 6 (beautiful Toho science fiction adventure)
THE FALCON IN SAN FRANCISCO (1945) – 6 (a darker, almost noirish entry)
THE GOLDEN CLAWS OF THE CAT GIRL (1968) – 7 (interesting French crime/espionage film)
SKYFALL (2012) – 9 (rewatch)
THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL (1940) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)
CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)
NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985) – 7 (rewatch)
CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) – 8 (rewatch on Blu)
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010) - 8 (rewatch)
ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979) – 7 (fun old-style fantasy film)
YOU’LL FIND OUT (1940) – 6 (silly musical/comedy with Karlof, Lugosi and Lorre giving it some juice)
JUNGLE WOMAN (1944) – 4 (limp sequel to CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN)

Monday, July 13, 2020

Video - Alpha-Bits Cereal Monster Commercials

These vintage TV ads for breakfast cereal make my Monster Kid heart happy. The cereal - not so much. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

COBRA (1986) or Hubris, Thy Name is Stallone

Every film fanatic has a list of movies that they love but cannot defend. Often these are movies that were first experienced in childhood and the intense nostalgia overrides later, more adult perceptions of quality. Then there are films that are simply so bad in certain specific ways that the entertainment value of the entire piece is tied directly to its awfulness. In these cases it almost becomes impossible for the enthusiast to refrain from proselytizing about the joys of the terrible film in question. For me COBRA (1986) is one of those movies.

Wrongheaded in nearly every way and idiotic to the point of brain death COBRA (1986) is in many ways the peak of 1980’s action madness. Sylvester Stallone was riding high as one of the decade’s most profitable stars churning out sequels interspersed with more interesting box office duds (NIGHTHAWKS, ESCAPE TO VICTORY) and epic bad choices (writing & directing STAYING ALIVE, RHINESTONE). Clearly the sequels were what was making the cash so Sly decided it was time he expanded his franchise list beyond Rocky and Rambo movies (which he is STILL making to this day). He wanted a cop character like Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and COBRA was his stab at the rogue cop genre. As this film was to finish out a trilogy of franchises for Stallone there was the boneheaded logic that the previous two were five letter titles and so another five-letter titled film would beget an ongoing series of films set in the land of cops and robbers. If you're imagining the word 'hubris' in very large bold letters possibly with blinking lights attached, you're on the right track. As there was no sequel he clearly failed.

Stallone wrote COBRA’s pompous script adapting it from a novel that just has to be better than the finished film and hired his hand-picked hand puppet George Pan Cosmotos to direct. Rocky was his most successful franchise in the mid-80’s and with ROCKY III (1982) he had managed to begin its turn into a cartoon by introducing Mr. T to the world (for better or worse). The previous year’s FIRST BLOOD (1982) sequel RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 (1985) had turned his main character of John Rambo into an invincible video game avatar so perhaps by this time the die was cast. (Rambo even became an actual Saturday morning cartoon character by 1986.) I’m not sure if Stallone’s edict that the film needed to be edited down to less than 90 minutes so that an extra screening could be scheduled each day in each theater helped or hurt this mess. A longer version of this would be only dumber, I suspect. Perhaps there is a cut someplace with even more shots of Stallone posing with his snake-emblazoned handgun after enacting bloody vengeance? Surely, there were more scenes in which he chews on a toothpick to show his world-weary outlook on life? Or another self-righteous speech about how cops killing monsters is just the way it is! Hell – I’d watch it.

If you’ve never seen the film it can be difficult to explain its stupidity. The villains are an over the top death cult that seems to exist in a Clive Barker inspired nightmare warehouse where they chant and clank axes together. Somehow these rejects from a slasher film are interested in killing the weak of society but in practice they seem to just be preying on whoever they run across randomly. In a film where every character is ill-defined these silly monsters are the worst. The only reason they seem to exist is to be an army of bad guys that we can happily watch be mown down by the righteous cop. They might as well be made of pixels.

To show how awesome Stallone’s bad-ass cop is he drives a tricked out 1950 Chevy that might as well be a freakin’ Bat-mobile once we are shown its various gadgets. To one up Dirty Harry the film casts Andrew Robinson who played Scorpio in the 1971 film as Cobra’s police boss just so Stallone can make him look like a wimpy jerk in every scene they share. If Eastwood’s Harry was thought of as a fascistic thug fifteen years before then Cobra is that idea on crack. Cobra is Dirty Harry if Harry had never finished the eighth grade. By the time Stallone wedges in some poor attempts at humorous dialog about junk food between the killer cop and his partner we realize that the character onscreen has no reality at all. He’s a point and shoot dufus in mirrored shades, black gloves and tight jeans. There is no ‘there’ there. But that is probably why I enjoy watching this pathetic excuse for a film. It’s so damned bad that it kind of finds a way to be nearly perfect. A perfect film in which nearly ever choice made was wrongly decided. A film in which even the film stock seems to have been poorly chosen. A movie filled with nonsense and bad ideas and hilarious right-wing blather masquerading as learned wisdom. A movie in which a machine gun shot through a windshield can cause a truck to explode. A movie so damned stupid that it just might be the American 1980’s distilled down to 87 minutes of celluloid madness. It is a time capsule that puts the lie to the trendy worship of that benighted decade! The 1980’s is COBRA (1986) – long may it kill brain cells! He’s the cure and crime is the disease! Kick on the neon lights and clank your axes together!

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Trailers From Hell - HALF HUMAN (1958)

Should I tell Mr. Dante that I've seen the uncut Japanese version of this with subtitles? 

Monday, July 06, 2020

The Bloody Pit #108 - TWINS OF EVIL (1971)

Mark Maddox returns to discuss another Hammer film!

Things became very different for vampire films in the 1970’s. Topics that used to be ignored or, at most, alluded to were suddenly able to be placed front and center in the narrative. No longer did a blood sucker’s victim have to merely cower in fear. Now they could react with lust or the real desire for the monster to put the bite on their necks to show the attraction these creatures might generate as part of their appeal. The sexual side of vampires could become a central part of the story allowing the carnal needs of both monster and victim to be explored. TWINS OF EVIL (1971) takes a pair of identical looking young girls on the cusp of becoming women and shows us two different reactions to a vampire’s sex appeal. The film clearly has a point of view but it is possible to read some darker ideas in the story as well.

We start by discussing the loose Karnstien trilogy that TWINS OF EVIL (1971) concludes. Then we move into a broad talk about the tone of Hammer films’ output during the 1970’s and how the studio became more of a place for independent productions guided by the old guard than a production house. This approach created a less controlled but very interesting run of movies that allowed for experimentation in both style and story as the public’s attention wandered away from the classic gothic horror model Hammer had epitomized since 1957. So even if new settings were not to too quickly embraced, fresh elements could be folded into the tales. This meant more adult themes, more  violence and as much nudity as they could get away with! We talk about how this film also manages to put religious hypocrisy front and center and embodies it in one of Hammer’s most iconic actors, Peter Cushing. I argue in the show that this is one of Cushing’s best performances for the studio because the script gives him an arc to play unlike his usual villain or hero roles.

If you have any comments about the show please write us at to let us know what is on your mind. Is this your favorite of the Karnstien films? Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon.

Apple Podcast LINK

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Saturday, July 04, 2020

Happy 4th of July!

You may have detected a theme in this year's images. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Jungle Movie Summer

I think that it's the heat that has me watching these movies. 
The heat. That's it!