Saturday, September 25, 2021

Video - Boris Karloff in 'Sting of Death' (1955)


Were you aware that Boris Karloff once played Sherlock Holmes? Well, he certainly did, as the script for this television adaptation of Gerald Heard's 1941 mystery novel 'A Taste of Honey' makes perfectly plain without ever using that famous name. Mr. Mycroft (wink, wink) is an older, retired gentleman living in a small English village raising bees (nudge, nudge) who realizes that not all is good with a neighboring beekeeper. In fact, he suspects him of being a murderer! Enter the fussy honey devotee Mr. Silchester and Mr. Mycroft realizes he will have to handle things in his customary fashion - outside the law. 

Of course, this is a very set bound production made with little money and obvious false backdrops but the actors are wonderful and the story is quite satisfying. I recommend checking it out! 


Friday, September 24, 2021

Video - ESCAPE FROM GALAXY 3 (1981)


For the extremely curious, this future podcast subject is available to see here in excellent quality. I am willing to go out on a limb here and proclaim that this film makes better use of the space battle footage that it steals from STARCRASH (1978) than Cozzi's epic. I know that seems like sacrilege but I'm willing to argue the point. Because I'm nuts. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Bloody Pit #136 - FRANKENSTEIN AND ME (1996)

In this episode I welcome filmmaker Robert Tinnell and film historian Anthony Taylor to the podcast for a discussion of the 1996 movie FRANKENSTEIN AND ME, which was conceived and directed by Mr. Tinnell. The film is a funny, touching tale of a young monster obsessed kid with an active imagination and what happens when he accidentally gets his hands on the real Frankenstein Monster! Having the movie’s writer/director along makes for a different kind of show!
 
We dig into Bob’s inspiration for the film’s story including his childhood monster fandom and his dreams as a young director. The production of FRANKENSTEIN AND ME is examined as well as the original version of the story and the freewheeling times in which an independent Canadian film like this could come together. We talk about the great cast that includes Burt Reynolds, Louise Fletcher and the first film role for a teenaged Ryan Gosling. The conversation turns into what you might find after hours in the bar at a monster movie convention with topics such as Robert McCammon’s novel ‘Boy’s Life’, the writing skill of Peter Straub and the joys of comic books as a medium. We dart off onto several barely related tangents with one of the most satisfying being our mutual love of the DVD of Monster Kid Home Movies put together by the great Joe Busam.  That collection of Super 8 homemade films of Monster Kids showcasing the mad energy of the childhood creative impulse shows the clear beginnings of Bob Tinnell’s path to this film. And finally, we discuss the fact that the film has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray and the possibilities of that happening one day soon. 

If you have any questions or comments thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to send them. We’ll be thrilled to hear from you. Thanks for listening to the show! 






Monday, September 20, 2021

Wild, Wild Podcast #9 - BEAST IN SPACE (1980)


It's 1980, and things are getting a bit saucy. Join Adrian and I as we return to Alfonso Brescia's unique take on space exploration: It is as if he thought, "I know what was wrong with Cosmos, it was missing some horses getting it on." And a plastic man-staff. And the same sets as in the previous four science fiction epics he had cranked out. 

We would love to hear what you think of Beast in Space or if you can think at all after seeing it. You can contact us via Twitter and Instagram, or you can email us at wildwildpodcast@gmail.com

If you enjoy the podcast please subscribe, tell your friends and leave us a review! That would be ever so nice! 



Saturday, September 18, 2021

What I Watched in August

I guess it’s accurate to call CANDYMAN (2021) a slasher film but it is more than just an excellent example of that sub-genre. Less a reboot than a sequel, this new movie brilliantly advances the mythology of the central boogeyman in the same way that Bill Condon’s CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH (1995) did. It takes the bones of the original film and builds ever more impressive details into the broad strokes already set in place. The idea of focusing on another black artist in modern day who finds himself looking for inspiration among the urban history of the legend of Candyman is quite smart. It allows the film to show a parallel between the creator and his subject even as the poor modern painter seems only slightly aware of the dangers of such interplay until the bodies start piling up. This takes the story into wonderful territory, blurring of the lines between monster and artist asking questions that slowly become more deadly. What is a creator’s responsibility to those around him? What are the lines that exist to warn of real dangers in the world that a bold artist crosses at great peril – not just to himself but to those his life touches? How can a questing soul recognize the deadly areas when the warnings all sound like simply criticism? Is it only bravado that causes someone to tempt death by doing the one thing that can bring death to stalk you? (Say his name to your own reflection five times.) How does vanity play into the ‘call’ of death? The film even has a brief scene that mentions the unintentional horrors inflicted on children by their parents? So many ideas!
 
If you ignore the subpar third film and just view the first two and this new movie, we can see the creation a marvelous horror series. The expansion of the Clive Barker story of an urban legend into a much more universal story of the horrors of creative curiosity is incredible. This is how films used to build larger, more intricate worlds in their sequels. The way George Romero broadened his small-scale zombie story to larger and larger locales and bigger, scarier societal fears. The way George Miller’s original Mad Max trilogy took the character on a life changing post-apocalyptic journey that brought him full circle to a new family. This new Candyman film shows how it would be possible to use this character and concept to explore racial themes and, in fact, almost any subject related to it through the use of horror’s often ignored symbolic potential. Smart writers can push past the simplistic ‘zombie’ and hook-handed killer metaphors and dig into darker examinations of hidden motivations and sublimated desires. Damn! This film makes me excited to see more!
 
As you can tell, I liked it. 

The List 

SHANGHAI CHEST (1948) – 6 (Winters is not bad as Charlie Chan) 
THE BLACK HOLE (1979) – 4 (rewatch on Blu) (what a terrible script) 
THE HUMANITY BUREAU (2017) – 5 (Nic Cage in a mediocre dystopian tale) 
MISCHIEF NIGHT (2014) – 4 (pretty bad horror effort) 
THE HUMANOID (1979) – 6 (rewatch) 
THE DROWNSMAN (2014) – 4 (beautiful but uninvolving horror) 
THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) – 9 
FANATIC (1965) -7 (rewatch on Blu) (a.k.a. Die! Die! My Darling) 
THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES (1972) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE NIGHT COMES FOR US (2018) – 8 (amazing Indonesian action/crime film) 
BLACKHAT (2015) – 5 (weak Michael Mann thriller) 
DISTORTED (2018) – 5 (OK mystery/thriller with about six minutes of John Cusack) 
SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS (1973) – 6 
THE PHANTOM SPEAKS (1945) – 6 (criminal returns from the dead to exact vengeance)
UNKNOWN TERROR (1957) – 6 (goo monster in a cave!)
SHE DEVIL (1957) – 6 (medical experiment creates evil woman)
QUEEN OF THE SEAS (1961) – 7 (fun swashbuckler with Lisa Gastoni) 
VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES (1946) – 6 (interesting medical ‘undead’ tale) 
RETURN OF THE APE MAN (1944) – 4 (rewatch on Blu) (gloriously daft Poverty Row horror with Lugosi)
THE LADY AND THE MONSTER (1944) – 6 (Donovan’s Brain) 
REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) – 6 (low budget Spanish made post-nuclear war story)
SHOW BOAT (1936) – 8 (wonderful musical) 
REMINISCENCE (2021) – 4 (gorgeous but a muddled script sinks it) 
GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE (1972) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) – 9 (rewatch) 
THE BYE BYE MAN (2017) – 4 (empty attempt at a horror film) 
NAKED OBSESSION (1992) – 5 (Martino’s too obvious erotic thriller) 
HIT THE ICE (1943) – 6 (Abbot & Costello romp) 
CANDYMAN (2021) – 8 (excellent new sequel) 
OLD (2021) – 7 (well-made supernatural thriller) 
MONSTER HUNTER (2020) – 4 (videogame-based slog) 
TAZA, SON OF COCHISE (1954) – 5 (3-D western w/Rock Hudson)


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Ennio Morricone's Space:1999 Score


Yesterday was the 22nd anniversary of the moon being blown out of Earth orbit and on that day I finally learned of this bizarre addition to the strange universe of Space:1999 ephemera. Because the first season of the show was partially financed by Rai Television of Italy, 3 episodes were edited together into a movie and screened in that country. Barry Gray's theme was dropped and replaced by this theme by Ennio Morricone. And boy, is it weird!
 


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Review - THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983)

Last week I finally dipped my toes into the mysterious waters of the Weird Wisconsin Blu-Ray box set. To be clear, I originally had no intention of buying this career retrospective of independent filmmaker Bill Rebane simply because the one effort attached to his name that I had seen before was the abysmal MONSTER A-GO-GO (1965). Rarely has a movie deserved derisive discussion more than that failed mess. But after reading a bit I learned the odd history of the film’s convoluted production and realized that Rebane’s other work might be more interesting and less sleep inducing. I’ve purchased films for flimsier reasons.

Simply because I liked the title, I pushed play on THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983) and was mildly rewarded. It tells the story of a small rural community that receives the gift of a special piano from a European benefactor. It seems that the foreigner is a member of the family that established this small town but was made to retreat to the old country for some local crime. Regardless of the dubious reasoning, on the two hundredth anniversary of its founding the mayor is proud to accept the gift with the explanation that the European family wishes to contribute something to the townspeople. As you might expect, this piano is part of a curse that serves, each time it is played, to call up vengeful dead folks to kill the descendants of the people that forced the European family to flee. Cue the carnage!

I’m not going to claim THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW is a great movie or an undiscovered classic. It’s very low budget hampers its ambitions several times and the cast is peppered with some non-actors that just can’t convincingly play most of the emotions that are required. But the movie does have something. It might be that it has a certain charm that grows from its outsized ambition or the ‘let’s put on a show’ feel of the entire affair. I found myself wanting the often teetering narrative to find its footing and get its tale told. To be honest, the film got me on its side with what I can only call its earnestness! I wanted the film to succeed and so when it firmly connected, I was happy and when it stumbled, I was more forgiving of its lapses. Even though I was constantly amused by whether the gifted musical instrument was supposed to be a piano or a harmonium I found myself overlooking the confusion about the very non-piano sounds it produced. Would it have been so difficult to dub in piano music when its being played? Or was there some larger reason for the music used? Maybe Stephen Thrower’s book included with the box set will have some information about this mystery.

There are four more Bill Rebane films in the set that I have yet to see and, mixed feelings aside, this viewing has made me eager to try them out. I’m not going to rush through them but I’m no longer dreading the experience. But I doubt I’ll ever watch the high-definition version of MONSTER A-GO-GO. That pain I do not need!



Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Bloody Pit #135 - WILD, WILD PLANET (1966)

I have talked about this film on many occasions and on several different podcasts but never on my own show. After all, there are hundreds of films I want to discuss and this one has had some attention around the podcasting dial.  But Mark Maddox loves this one almost as much as I do so he insisted that we make time to praise it as it deserves! Who am I to say no?
 
We start by relating our history with WILD, WILD PLANET (1966) and first impressions from our younger days. After some fumbling with the titles of the other three Gamma One films, we talk about the relative merits of the various Antonio Margheriti science fiction films and even loop in THE GREEN SLIME. Part of the discussions revolves around the character stereotypes that the film uses and what they represent both as tropes and storytelling shortcuts. Mark makes note of a 1960’s German television series (Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion - literal translation: “Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion”) that reminds him of some of the better attributes of space opera stories and this film too. I have to find English subtitled versions of that show!


 The film’s strong body horror elements are put under the microscope as we relate it to the public fascination with the then emergent field of organ transplantation. This leads us into dissections of several of the special effects and especially the variable quality of the miniatures. Fire gives the game away nearly every time! And then we point out the several threads the movie leaves dangling including the fate of the room of mad scientist experimental mistakes. Were they drowned in the blood flood? We may never know.
 
If you have any questions or comments thebloodypit@gmail.com is the podcast’s email address. Thank you for listening! 





Saturday, September 04, 2021

Wild Wild Podcast #8 - THE HUMANOID (1979)

Join Adrian and I as we travel back into the furthest reaches of the galaxy to find out just exactly what really happened to Richard Kiel after James Bond left him in space at the end of Moonraker.

The Humanoid is another fun Italian film that makes no attempt to pretend it's not ripping off Star Wars, but this podcast believes that is something to be celebrated. It's got heroes, villains with black helmets, cute robots and guns that go "pew pew!"

The closing song is called Love Games by the band Ganymede. They've long since split up now but you can still read about their interest in The Humanoid on this fan site. Whilst you're there check out some of the other amazing stuff they have like these behind the scenes stills.




Friday, September 03, 2021

Serial Trailer - CANADIAN MOUNTIES VS. ATOMIC INVADERS (1953)



The title promises much more than this serial even tries to provide but it is still an OK example of late period Republic chapter plays. No, there are no alien invaders but the action does zip along without the hoped for science fiction elements. But if they had actually made an alien invaders vs. Canadian Mounted Police it might have destroyed my mind! 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

MOONRAKER (1979) Poster Art








This mess of a Bond film has been on my mind recently. It seems that there is a Fan Edit of it currently out there on the inter-web that improves the film to a large degree. Color me curious. Hope I can find a copy someplace. 


 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Beyond Naschy #34 - REFUGE OF FEAR (1974)

Post-apocalyptic stories don’t turn up in the Golden Age of Spanish Horror as frequently as I would like and until a listener asked us about REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) neither of us were aware of it being part of that sub-genre. Of course, once we learned about the cast, we immediately tracked down a copy and here we are!

Also known as CREATION OF THE DAMNED the film tells the story of a small group of survivors of a possible nuclear war. These five people live in a cramped underground complex while trying to wait out the effects of radiation on the world above. The teenage son of one couple is obsessed with trying to stay in contact with the outside by shortwave radio. He lives in the hope that his girlfriend is somehow still alive but is becoming less sure of that possibility while the pair of married couples are having problems of their own. The husbands are ex-military so are using their training to maintain order but as the film begins tensions are in evidence. One wife drinks and knits while the other tries to sleep away as many hours as she can. Soon, the cracks that begin to appear in the walls of their concrete bunker aren’t the most dangerous breaks in their lives as mentally fragile people start to fracture.  

REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) has a generally bad reputation which both Troy and I feel is a shame. We were drawn to see this film because it stars the wonderful Patty Shepard who, along with Craig Hill, appeared in a couple of Paul Naschy’s films. She and Hill have the most screentime and are good in their roles with the script giving them some juicy dramatic meat to chew on. The interesting script comes under discussion even as we try to not spoil the turns things take in the final act. We both feel that the director lets the film down a bit and we dig into the possible reasons for that. And we once again find a film that is richly deserving of a quality Blu-Ray release. I think this could be considered a much better film if a good print was made available.

If you have any comments on the film or anything else naschycast@gmail.com is the address. Or we can be found lurking over at the show’s FaceBook page as well. Thanks for listening!

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Video - THE HUMANOID (1979)

If you follow the link below you will find a pretty darned good print of THE HUMANOID on YouTube. It is much sharper than other versions I've watched before and gives a good idea of how the film would benefit from a Blu-Ray release. We have a Wild Wild Podcast episode on this coming soon! 



Friday, August 27, 2021

Posters and Lobby Cards for THE HUMANOID (1979)

Sometimes what you want is an obvious STAR WARS rip-off made by Italians and starring a few actors from 70's Bond films. So, here we are!