Sunday, January 31, 2021

Ultra Q Monsters!

There's a lot of creativity on display here! 
And nightmare fuel, of course. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Video - The Story of ROM: Space Knight


This presents a pretty good history of Rom, Space Knight! As a child of the 1970's I loved the comic book with its wonderful characters that were brilliantly woven into the entire Marvel universe. I still hope that one day money will change hands and those comics will be reprinted so that I can read them again without hunting through every cheap comic box on Earth in an attempt to complete the run! And I tried those more recent comics from IDW but they just sucked. I'm sorry. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Devil Wives of Li Fong by E. Hoffman Price

I picked up this book some time ago because it had been recommended to me for some reason. I can’t remember how I was made aware of it but the concept and the cover intrigued me so I added it to my ‘hunt’ list. When I finally found a copy online for a good price I ordered it, put it on my ‘to read’ pile and last week I finally was able to read it.

Author E. Hoffman Price's The Devil Wives of Li Fong (published in 1979) is a very entertaining fantasy set in medieval China. It follows a young herbal apprentice who falls into the company of a couple of snake-spirit women who, by chance, have transformed into humans. They seduce him, marry him and set up an apothecary where they dispense medicine aided by the snake women’s magical abilities. Soon, several trouble makers try to destroy the trio, ignoring that they are doing good in an attempt to stay human and better their future in the afterlife. Price tells his story in a way that I associate with Chinese cinema, making it feel like a lost Hong Kong film from decades past. The schemes of the antagonists read like the villains of those classic Shaw Brothers movies but Price is a good enough writer to make me care about the wives and poor Li Fong.

But the real reason I feel compelled to blog about this book is the physical condition of my copy. I purchased a cheap first edition paperback and it has clearly been much loved but not well cared for. The page edges seem to have been exposed to direct sunlight for a long time and are brittle to the touch. They often flake and break making it necessary to be careful while handling the book. Also, the covers were creased at the spine making repair to the front necessary before I could even start reading. And yesterday while I was finishing the story the back cover popped completely off. I have acid-free tape on hand so I’ll reattach the back but this event made a feeling I’ve had for days much stronger.

I tend to pass on books such as this to friends or trade them in for credit at a local used book store but the state of The Devil Wives of Li Fong has me wondering if I will be the last person in the world to read this copy. This makes me a little sad. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of books moving on to other hands so that these stories can be experienced by someone after me. But this copy of this book may not be in good enough shape to find another reader. I know this shouldn’t strike me as such a terrible event. After all, it is available right now as a used book in several places on the web and in ebook format on Amazon for anyone to buy cheaply. But this is one of the first books I know might never be enjoyed by anyone else again and it is an odd feeling. I really do hope I can repair this thing well enough to pass it to someone new. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Trailers From Hell - THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957)

"Like its inspiration, Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man, Jack Arnold’s 1957 shocker expertly juggles sci-fi thrills, metaphysics, and a shrewd metaphor for suburban angst in Cold War America. The film is upheld by fine performances from Grant Williams as the humiliated husband who takes up residence in a doll house, and Randy Stuart as his equally embattled wife who has the patience of Job. The life-affirming finale walks a deft line between spirituality and humanism. Producer Albert Zugsmith was simultaneously working with Orson Welles on Touch of Evil and got him to provide 45 seconds of sonorous promo narration for the ads." 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Brief Thoughts - POSSESSOR (2020)

I caught writer/director Brandon Cronenberg’s science fiction thriller POSSESSOR (2020) last night and, I have to say, I was impressed. It feels very much like his father’s early work which is a high compliment. The cool, detached storytelling is engrossing, giving detail without spoon-feeding us information and using our natural curiosity about violent actions to draw us in. I won’t reveal anything about the plot but I was happy to have my perceptions twisted so effectively by an ending that was shocking and revelatory at the same time. I should not have been so easily played but Mr. Cronenberg knows how to craft a compelling tale and the smoothness of his style made it easy to become fascinated by the evil onscreen until the final double sting. I felt suckered and dirty - but in a good way! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Poster Art - FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

Every now and then I just need to see this classic artwork all in one place. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

NaschyCast #65 - Satanic Naschy with Samm!

We begin our eleventh year of the show by having a Satanic discussion!

Author and podcaster Samm Deighan returns to dig into two specific Paul Naschy films. In both EXORCISM (1975) and INQUISITION (1977) Naschy plays a man of God working to help his flock overcome the influence of The Evil One. In one he is a paragon of virtue and in the other he is definitely not. Both films feature women placed in horrible positions by outside forces that seem to be Satanic in origin. But in each case the question of the how or even if these terrible things are happening is central to the story. Are these people possessed by the Devil or is there a more human quality to the awful events depicted?

Samm, Troy and I engage in a freewheeling discussion of these movies jumping from topic to topic as one point leads to another. The conversation assumes that you are familiar with both films and spoilers are certainly in the air. Religion is the main part of our talk but we also look at the obvious class commentary layered into the scripts. We talk about the movies that influenced these Naschy classics and how some later movies may have taken some ideas from them for sleazier effect. We drag in everything from HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973), MALIBIMBA (1979) and ANGEL HEART (1987) as we look at different ways of portraying the Dark One onscreen. Of course, as with any such chat, we end up ranging off the main topic which is how we somehow end up in nipple territory again! I’m not sure how this happens but I’m going to blame Samm. Yeah! It’s her fault. I also make time for a short anecdote about subjecting my unsuspecting beloved to a Jess Franco directed Fu Manchu film. Give her your sympathy.

We end the show with an email that was sent to in which we are asked to make a terrible purchasing choice. It takes us a while to decide! You can ask similar question or tell us your favorite onscreen Satan at that same address. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon.

Apple Podcast LINK 

MP3 Download LINK 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Trailers From Hell - ABBOT & COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY (1955)

"Bud and Lou meet their last monster in this well-worn but still amusing‚ finale to their long stint at Universal. The frequently‚ at-odds duo were to break up for good a year later after their last pairing, a lamentable indie project titled after a pop song, Dance with Me Henry." 

I have to agree with Dante here. This is one of my favorite of the team's 'monster' comedies and not just because if involves a mummy. It really is a pretty fast and funny film. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

What I Watched in December

The best movies I watched in December were both holiday films but they could not be more different. BETTER WATCH OUT (2016) is a brilliantly plotted, twist packed horror film that is shocking and thrilling. But last year’s FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES (2019) is even better and is actually one of the best films I watched in all of 2020. It follows several characters centered around a family as it prepares for the Christmas Eve meal of the title. It is incredibly funny and filled with a sense of real joy that never feels forced or false. Every laugh is earned and every tear is gotten from our connection to these vividly drawn people. It is simply fantastic and will make you wish you could spend more time in the company of these characters. If we weren't living through Covid Hell I would be traveling from house to house watching it with everyone I know just to experience it again with new people. Do yourself a favor and check it out. I'll be watching it every year from now on! 

The List

BETTER WATCH OUT (2017) – 9 
BRIDE OF THE GORILLA (1951)- 5 (too low budget to have it’s intended effect)
ENOLA HOLMES (2020) – 7 (well done adaptation)  
MANSION OF THE SEVEN MUMMIES (1977) – 4 (Blue Demon and Superzan in a weak, cheap adventure) 
TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962) - 7 (European pirate adventure) 
DAGGERS OF BLOOD (1962) – 7 (a.k.a. INVASION 1700) (Cossacks vs Poles) 
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2016) – 6 (interesting mystery but emotionally uninvolving) 
THE FACE OF FU MANCHU (1965) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE ADVENTUROUS BLONDE (1937) – 6 (rewatch) (third Torchy Blane film feels like it was edited down a bit) 
COMIN’ ROUND THE MOUNTAIN (1951) – 6 (Abbot & Costello hillbilly silliness) 
TENET (2020) – 7 (exciting, interesting and sometimes confusing) 
THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU (1966) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (1964) – 6 (both the Rifftax and Cinematic Titanic versions!) (rewatch)
THE VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU (1967) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES (2019) – 9 (excellent Christmas tale circa 1983) 
PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE (1944) – 7 (I love the odd flashback within a flashback structure) 
DEADLY GAMES: DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS (1989) – 7 (French action/horror holiday madness) 
THUNDER WARRIOR (1983) – 7 (Italian made FIRST BLOOD rip-off) 
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009) – 8 (full length Swedish version) (rewatch) 
YUKON MANHUNT (1951) – 7 (Solid RCMP adventure) 
BLONDES AT WORK (1938) – 7 (rewatch) (Torchy Blane scooping everyone in sight) 
THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU (1968) – 4 (rewatch) (the series runs aground) 
LOST IN ALASKA (1952)) – 7 (very funny Abbot & Costello romp) 
UP THE RIVER (1930) – 6 (prison comedy with Spencer Tracey and Bogart – wish there was a better print available)
MR. MOTO IN DANGER ISLAND (1939) – 7 (fun mystery/adventure)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Bloody Pit #121 - THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942)

Troy and I return to the Universal Horrors of the 1940’s well for another pail of mystery and madness. This time out it’s heavy on the mystery but the madness feels like it was nearly forgotten. When the script has almost nothing for Lionel Atwill to do, you know something was badly miscalculated. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things in THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942) to enjoy for horror film aficionados but it will help if you also enjoy the cinematic mystery series that were common at the time.

Patric Knowles returns to the Universal horrors as a successful private detective set on retiring who is forced by cops, mobsters and his own pride to solve a new case. It seems that a vigilante killer has been doing away with criminals that have escaped conviction. Soon after they are found not guilty this Doctor RX strings them up as a warning to others. The latest example that lucky scumbags must be made to pay the ultimate price is a gangster who avoids jail but can’t manage to make it out of the courtroom before he is struck down in full view of a dozen people – and no one knows how! Lawyer Dudley Crispin implores our detective to find this killer since three of Doctor RX’s victims have been his clients. Who is going to hire a lawyer good enough to get you assassinated after acquittal? Sprinkled into this mystery is a romance subplot, a couple of comedic characters, some ineffective cops and a caged gorilla! Or a man in a gorilla suit, anyway. It certainly is a pretty fast sixty-six minutes. Some might even call it overstuffed! But not us.
The story of how the movie’s unfinished script led the cast to rewrite or ad-lib certain scenes is related as we point out some of the sequences where this seems evident. We discuss co-star Anne Gwynn’s tales of making this movie and her little known ‘scream queen’ history. We quote Patric Knowles’ comments on how he and Lionel Atwill got along during the shoot. And we spend a lot of time trying to unravel the thought process of the killer who seems to be very confused about his life goals. 

We end the show with a dip into the mailbag with messages from our email account. Some kind words are shared and a few great ideas about who might have made a better version of my beloved MARS ATTACKS film. Please drop us a line if you have any comments or suggestion. And thank you for listening. 

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Odd Promotional Pictures for THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942)

At no point in the film is a woman menaced by a gorilla (or a man in a gorilla costume) but that didn't stop Universal from cooking up these images to ballyhoo the movie.