Friday, May 14, 2021

Skywald Magazine Cover Gallery - Psycho

Once again I am obsessing over the cover art of these magazines


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Bloody Pit #129 - William Castle Westerns - Part 4

Monster Kid Radio’s Derek Koch makes his belated return to the show so that we can finally wrap up our multipart series on William Castle westerns of the 1950’s! It certainly took us long enough, huh? Without us realizing it this episode could have been labeled a Patricia Medina double feature! But are these last two movies actually westerns? Listen and find out. 

DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955) is close since it takes place in 1820’s Louisiana and it involves a duel with pistols. But it is really much more a plantation adventure with river pirates stealing sugarcane and a romantic plotline that is more than obvious from the beginning. It’s a colorful widescreen tale filled with bad guys, a sort-of bad girl and a fair amount of time spent on a riverboat. The cast is uniformly excellent with easily a dozen faces familiar to fans of older movies with Lex Barker and Miss Medina leading the dance. We spend a good deal of time discussing her career and marveling at her range. 


URANIUM BOOM (1956) is a much more modern tale focused on the men swarming through Colorado in the 1950’s as part of the rush to find the titular radioactive ore. Dennis Morgan and William Talman become partners in search of riches but run into trouble when they realize they are in love with the same woman. The film becomes a darker tale than expected with these two men fighting to control their mining operation and with Talman’s character pulling some downright nasty tricks to break up his buddy’s marriage. It’s an interesting story and well worth seeing even if Miss Medina has significantly less screen time than in the earlier picture. 

If you have any comments or suggestions about the podcast or this episode in particular thebloodypit@gmail.com is where we can be reached. And, of course, Derek can be heard every single week over on Monster Kid Radio. How does he do it? Thanks for listening! 







Monday, May 10, 2021

Amazing Foreign Movie Poster Art

So often the advertising artwork in other countries is vastly superior to what gets used in the United States. Wow! 


Sunday, May 09, 2021

THE FANTASIST (1986)

It's odd when you run across a film like THE FANTASIST (1986) that isn't at all good but also isn't totally bad either. It's so wrongheaded about the elements that it has in place and so ham-handed in it how it handles them that it feels like no one was aware of how to guide the story. There are all the elements needed to craft a truly intriguing character study crossed with a horror movie and yet what we end up with is such a clumsy mess.
 
For fully the first hour there is no narrative cohesion to the story. Tonal shifts are the standard, characters are ciphers and the idea that's trying to be committed to celluloid seems to scurry away into the corner every time the camera was turned on. Characters often speak to each other as if there's some previously known understanding between them that we are not privy to. It's strangely arch and nonsensical all at the same time with the supposed driving force of this “thriller” languishing in the background, rarely popping its head up to juice things along. The movie often feels like a barely connected series of scenes that have just been scattered randomly around to give the impression that a story is somewhere underneath everything. The narrative is never really fully formed giving no real reason to care about anything. And then once the killer is unmasked (or actually unmasks himself) we are left with the only interesting section of the movie which is the final twenty minutes. This plays wonderfully but points out ever more sharply just how confused and pointless the previous hour has been.


 Most of the trouble just comes down to poor directorial choices. These include several scenes where competent actors are left hung out to dry and allowed to do things that should have been left on the cutting room floor or used as a secondary take for possible coverage from a different angle. This is the first time in a while that I've actually been embarrassed for an actor in the middle of a performance on film and it was pretty cringy.
 
This being Robin Hardy’s much delayed follow-up film to the classic THE WICKER MAN (1973) it is a disappointment to say the very least. I can now say I've seen all three of his directorial efforts and his average ain’t great. There is only one good film to the man's name sad to say. Granted, his first film was brilliant but this thing is a tone-deaf mess. Making things worse in my opinion is that it's clearly a movie that could have been very good but it needed a much tighter hand guiding things and a much more focused script. Only recommended for the curious. 



Friday, May 07, 2021

Video - URANIUM BOOM (1956) directed by William Castle


Although this was included in a set of westerns directed by William Castle it is obviously not a western. But it does have a good cast and an interesting concept for a modern day 'western' styled tale. 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Fantastic Adventures Pulp Covers









Somehow this seems like Summer reading! 



 

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Comic Book History - LARS OF MARS (1951)



During my usual web wanderings I ran across the covers for these two issues of Lars of Mars and became intrigued. But I quickly learned that any attempt to dig deeply into this 50's hero was to be a shallow one. These are the only two issues of the comic that were ever produced and all evidence points to him having been created and written by Jerry (Superman) Siegel with art on all the Lars tales by Murphy Anderson. This seems to be one of those odd dead ends that sometimes happen in comics. 


Saturday, May 01, 2021

Video - DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955)

Believe it or not we plan to finally cover more of the westerns directed by William Castle. These are movies that date from his time at Columbia and are interesting signposts on the road to Castle's future independent productions. 
Some kind soul has posted one of them on YouTube and it has several points of interest to recommend it - mostly the cast! 


Friday, April 30, 2021

The Bloody Pit #128 - SEVEN DEATHS IN A CAT'S EYE (1973)


Adrian Smith comes back to the show to discuss this giallo dressed up in gothic clothing.

Longtime listeners to The Bloody Pit will notice that this is the second time I’ve talked about SEVEN DEATHS IN A CAT’S EYE (1973) on the podcast. Normally we wouldn’t repeat a film but Adrian really wanted the chance to pick apart this colorful Antonio Margheriti film and compare it to his earlier black & white gothic movies. Plus it’s coming out on Blu-Ray in the states soon so now might be the time for it to reach a larger audience. We talk about the cast, the use of colored lighting and the oddities of giallo plotting that can often lead a bizarre chase to the same places. Adrian is amused by the not very Scottish location shooting and the distinct absence of Scottish accents among most of the cast of characters. He also gets a bit confused by the MacGrieff family legend that insinuates that murdered people might pop back up as vampires. We advance a few theories about why the titular cat might have been chosen for its color and Adrian points to some very non-period music that plays during a fireside romantic scene. Oh! And we do spoil the killer’s identity simply because we wanted to talk about the ways in which this story slots very comfortably into the genre. We close out the show with some information about Adrian’s two podcasting ventures including one of which I will be a part. Busy, busy!

If you have any comments or suggestions the email address is thebloodypit@gmail.com and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show and we’ll be back soon. 

Apple Podcasts LINK 

MP3 Direct Download LINK 




Thursday, April 29, 2021

Brief Thoughts - UNKNOWN ORIGINS (2020)

The other night I was scrolling through Netflix looking for something interesting to watch in a few spare hours before bedtime. I spotted a movie described as a police thriller with detectives on the hunt for a serial killer with an odd methodology for choosing victims. Intrigued, I pushed play and that is all it took for me to stumble across quite a fun, entertaining movie that I will now recommend to you. UNKNOWN ORIGINS (2020) is exactly what it says on the tin but it's also packed with much more.

My first surprise was that it is a Spanish film – sometimes I forget that most Spanish movies are not horror!  NetFlix offers both an English dubbed soundtrack or the original Spanish with English subtitles so I choose the subtitled version. Because I want to have other viewers experience this tale in a similar way to myself, I'll refrain from giving away some of the neat little details that really turned this into a fun exercise. I'll just say that there is a hunt for a serial killer and that there is one character who is steeped in comic book stories and history whose knowledge factors into the investigation. Beyond that I'll just point the curious toward this movie and urge you to check it out. It's not quite perfect as there are at least a couple of moments when the script is rushing relationships to a friendlier status than it should. But overall, this is a smart, entertaining thriller with at least one foot stuck firmly in the superhero realm. It manages to be ‘of’ that genre while still commenting on it from several different angles. The subtitles were excellent but recent Spanish films that I've seen on Netflix with English dubs have been respectable and not something you have to overlook. Whichever audio you pick I think you’ll enjoy this little gem.




Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Trailers From Hell - REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1961)


It appears that Brian Trenchard-Smith and I share a love of old sword & sandal epics with little regard for their flaws or foibles. I just found a copy of this one on Blu-Ray so I must check it out soon! 


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Naschycast #67 - TODOS LOS GRITOS DEL SILENCIO (1975)

The busiest years of Paul Naschy’s career were the early 1970’s. Moving from one project to the next at incredible speed he often finished one film while still writing the final draft of another and negotiating a deal for a third. During this period, he produced some of his best work including a large percentage of the movies that still define his image as a Spanish horror icon. But a few of his films from the 1970’s were thrillers that, for various reasons, were rarely distributed outside of Spain or even dubbed into English. This has made it very difficult to see these movies and for non-Spanish speakers to comprehend them in the rare instances of locating a copy to watch. Thank the stars for the fun-subbing community out there on the internet!


Troy and I finally get a chance to see TODOS LOS GRITOS DEL SILENCIO (1975) and we are so happy that not even the crappy VHS sourced print can dull our enthusiasm. Yes, there are a few scenes that are a little too dark to be sure of what we’re supposed to be seeing but the fact that solid subtitles are onscreen means that we can follow the story anyway. And that turns out to be very important with this film because it is a twisty murder mystery that falls easily within the giallo genre even if it doesn’t have a few of the usual elements you might expect. ALL THE SCREAMS OF SILENCE has very little blood since the killer’s preferred method of dealing death is a silenced gun (hence the title) and the amount of flesh on display is low which might factor into this thriller being so underseen for the past forty plus years. No gore or nudity? What were they thinking? But the film does have a great performance from Naschy as a journalist chasing the bullet-slinging murderer while at the same time trying to locate his missing girlfriend. Are the two mysteries connected? With a script by Jacinto Molina you can bet some surprises are coming in the third act.
 
We begin the episode with some news about the upcoming Blu-Ray release of TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD and hint at a few more commentary tracks from the Naschycast down the road. Also, we mention a new podcast project coming soon from our buddy Adrian Smith that will be of interest to fans of European Cult cinema. And we end the show with several letters from listeners that put some fresh ideas in our head for possible YouTube projects too. If you have any comments on the podcast naschycast@gmail.com is the address and we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for listening to the show! 







Saturday, April 24, 2021

Trailer - THE DAY THE SKY EXPLODED (1958)


Have you ever been so sure that you have already seen a movie that you tell others that you saw it years ago? And then you watch the trailer and realize that you were probably wrong? Because nothing looks familiar for a full minute and twenty-seven seconds. Guess I need to check this off my 'to watch' list and then go podcast about it! 


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD on the way to Blu-Ray!

News broke today over at the Rue Morgue website that Synapse will be bringing out the Spanish horror classic TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD later this year! Some details of the extras were part of the announcement including that the disc will sport three commentary tracks - one by film historian Troy Howarth; another with one of the film's stars Lone Fleming (!) and a third by myself and Troy Guinn! We are thrilled to have been able to be a part of this release which looks to be one of the most impressive packages Synapse has ever put together. Click on over to the Rue Morgue page for more information and add this disc to your 'must buy' list! 


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lex Barker Tarzan Movie Posters






I'm finally getting around to watching the entire run of Barker's Tarzan films and wishing I had one of these amazing pieces for my wall! 



 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

What I Watched in March

The biggest ‘new’ film I watched last month was the much-anticipated full-length version of JUSTICE LEAGUE. While not perfect it was a huge improvement over the neutered/altered cut released to theaters four years ago. Retaining the feel of the previous two movies in the series it gloriously extended the universe to even grander vistas allowing the sweep of the tale to take shape without rushing events. I could argue that certain sequences could have been truncated for time but even the most obviously unnecessary moments such as the ladies singing as Aquaman returns to the sea add to the world building in a way that makes things feel more grounded. I’m impressed that we were finally able to see this vision realized and I think it is one of the best of the last decade’s slew of superhero films. It shows a dense, dark realization of the meta-human concept can be done even as the general public is told that such movies take the wrong approach. We may never get the originally planned sequels but at least we have this film for future cinema historians to use as an example of paths not taken. I guess we’re doomed to ‘keep it light’ for the foreseeable future.


THE LIST 

THIRTEEN WOMEN (1932) – 7 (Myrna Loy takes revenge) 
MOLLY (2017) – 5 (post-apocalyptic action let down by poor fight choreography)
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009) – 8 (rewatch of the full-length version) 
NIGHT GAME (1989) – 6 (Huston cops hunt a serial murderer) 
THE CAT & THE CANARY (1939) – 6 (Bob Hope comedy/mystery)
KEANU (2016) – 7 (very funny Key & Peele story) 
PILLOW OF DEATH (1945) – 5 (rewatch on Blu) 
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942) – 7 (rewatch) 
KING CREOLE (1958) – 8 (Elvis in an actual movie!) 
MURDER MANSION (1972) – 8 (rewatch on Blu!) 
BRAIN DEAD (1990) – 7 (I avoided this one for too long) 
MURDER IS MY BUSINESS (1946) – 6 (PRC Michael Shayne mystery) 
NAKED GIRL MURDERED IN PARK (1972) – 7 (interesting giallo – Blu has awful sound) 
JUSTICE LEAGUE (2021) – 9 (Wow!) 
HORROR EXPRESS (1972) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE CRIMES OF THE BLACK CAT (1972) – 7 (giallo with a blind protagonist)
TORCHY GETS HER MAN (1938) – 6  
AN EYE FOR AN EYE (1981) – 6 (Chuck Norris vs. Christopher Lee!) 
BEYOND TERROR (1980) – 6 (bizarre, sloppy but entertaining Spanish horror) 
TRAIL OF THE YUKON (1949) – 6 (Chinook’s first adventure) 
THE FRENCHMAN’S GARDEN (1978) – 8 (rewatch)