Friday, February 26, 2021

Naschycast #66 - SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988)

Years ago I decided that, because I did not want to watch SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988), we would not cover it on the Naschycast. I could simply see no upside to wallowing in what we knew was commonly considered the star’s worst film. I suspected that it would be a painful and depressing experience so I opted to avoid it and instead seek out less reviled fodder for the show. But then a friend pointed Troy and I toward a humorous Australian podcast called Finding Desperado. In that show the hosts conduct a hunt for a lost film that eventually finds them bemusedly watching SOB as part of their research. After listening to the eight hilarious episodes of this podcast I realized that these two funny men had pointed the way toward covering this movie – puzzled confusion. So, we decided to finally dive into what I’ll forever refer to as Naschy’s Nadir.

We dig into the genesis of this film starting with some details about the low point that Naschy’s career had reached by the mid-1980’s. It’s doubtful that he would have participated in this shot on video ‘production’ if he'd had anything better as an alternative but chance often leads the dance in movie making. We discuss Lord Sidney Ling who is the writer/director responsible for this film including his bizarre history as a fabulist of the highest order. Finding Desperado relates much more detail about this strange man and his self-aggrandizing nature but we concentrate on what might have influenced the poorly thought out ‘story’ he concocted for SHADOWS OF BLOOD. We trudge through the film trying to understand what might have been intended, occasionally getting lost in the dull sameness of the events onscreen. The sloppy narrative follows two escaped lunatics as they walk (and walk) around Amsterdam murdering random people in a competition to see who can kill the most victims. It is a mostly embarrassing exercise in senseless tedium that, even with its short running time, will test the most devoted Naschy fan. I’m just glad we finally have this one behind us!
We have a couple of emails at the end of the show including an amazing tale from listener Kurt that reads like a possible future noir film. His brief life story is well worth knowing. If you want to add your story to the podcast is the address where we can be reached. Let us know what’s on your mind! And thanks for listening to the show. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Homework - SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988)

Look. I'm not going to tell you that this 'film' is good. I'm not even going to try to convince you that it is an entertaining way to waste 70 minutes. But this is the film under discussion in the next episode of the Naschycast. I fought against covering it for years but finally succumbed. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Trailers From Hell - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975)


I agree with everything Josh Olsen has to say about this fantastic John Huston film. It is one of the best movies ever made and neither of the two stars ever made a better film. If you've never seen this fun adventure then you are in luck - Warner has just put it out on Blu-Ray, so now is the time. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mary Marvel Comic Book Covers

I could try to explain how I ended up going down this particular internet rabbit hole but I'm not sure anyone would believe me. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Video - How Hollywood Twins Scenes Have Evolved Over 100 Years

If you've ever wondered how these kinds of effects have been created over the decades this piece shows and tells! I was glad they including the incredible twinning work Cronenberg used in DEAD RINGERS (1988) which still stuns me in its complexity and cleverness.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What I Watched in January

There’s been a lotta whining and bitching about WONDER WOMAN ’84 (2020) which tells me that there will be a lotta bitching about any and every DC comics film forever. The bitching about the first was that it was too dark and so they lighten things up for this one and now that’s wrong too. I think the age of the internet is its own worst enemy. Anyway….

I enjoyed this brighter, lighter story that seemed to want to bring a little of the tone of the 1970’s television series to the big screen. It’s a little sloppy and a bit silly but it also has its heart in the right place. There was always going to be trouble with a story that stuck close to the mythological elements of WW’s classic tales and that does seem to be where the complaints begin. Yes, the idea of magical wishes being the crux of the story means that crazy things will happen and the logical endpoint might be a hideous world destroying example of hubris - but that is what a huge percentage of WW tales revolve around! You are either along for the ride or you don’t buy the ticket in the first place. Yes, the first film was better overall but the joy with which this film flies is very fun to watch. I loved the entire arc of Barbara Minerva, finally giving one of DC’s less well-known villains a (sort of) big screen debut. The cast is wonderful, the action fun and Gal Godot has become the embodiment of a great Wonder Woman so all I want is more adventures of this character for the next ten years or so. 

The List

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. RX (1942) – 6 (rewatch) 
SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020) – 7 
LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976) – 8 (fast and violent Italian police thriller) 
BLACK BOOTS, LEATHER WHIP (1983) – 8 (Franco noir) 
THE CRIME DOCTOR’S STRANGEST CASE (1943) - 6 (solid entry in the series) 
EXORCISM (1975) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
MR. MOTO TAKES A VACATION (1939) – 7 (last of Lorre’s Moto films is fast and exciting) 
MR. HERCULES AGAINST KARATE (1973) – 3 (Margheriti and comedy do not mix) 
NORTHWEST TERRITORY (1951) – 6 (RCMP and Chinook the killer dog strike again!) 
OLIVIA (1983) – 7 (odd drama from Ulli Lommel) 
THE COLLECTOR (2009) – 7 (more improbable as it goes along but suspenseful) 
BRITISH AGENT (1934) – 5 (uninvolving drama centered on the 1917 Russian Revolution) 
SILENT HILL REVELATION (2012) – 3 (pointless series of set-pieces) 
YUKON GOLD (1952) – 6 (Mountie murder mystery) 
CALLING DR. DEATH (1943) – 7 (Inner Sanctum mystery) (rewatch on Blu) 
THE MONOLITH MONSTERS (1957) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 
POSSESSOR (2020) – 8 (excellent, creepy sci-fi) 
THE PANTHER’S CLAW (1942) – 6 (interesting if creaky PRC mystery) 
AD ASTRA (2019) – 8 (thoughtful, intelligent science fiction) 
ABBOT & COSTELLO GO TO MARS (1953) – 5 (barely OK effort) 
THE PENGUIN POOL MURDERS (1932) – 6 (first Hildegard Withers mystery film) 
WIERD WOMAN (1944) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE MASK OF DEATH (1984) – 7 (Cushing has one last turn at the role) 
CURTAINS (1983) – 7 (rewatch) 
SCREAMERS (1996) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
DEAD MAN’S EYES (1944) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE LITTLE THINGS (2021) – 7  
NOAH’S ARK (1928) – 8 (incredible silent epic) 
S.O.S. TIDAL WAVE (1939) – 6 (news/crime drama with wild effects ending) 
THE OKLAHOMA BLUES (1948) – 6 (Monogram B-western) 

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Bloody Pit #123 - INVISIBLE AGENT (1942)

We return to the Universal Invisible Man series of movies for a wartime adventure!
As the United States entered the World War effort in 1942 Hollywood joined in with dozens of films bent around the changed state of political events. A number of the movies produced at the time could be seen as propaganda pieces and INVISIBLE AGENT (1942) certainly fits that description. Picking up with the grandson of the original Invisible Man the story is a mixture of many elements. Our main character is pressed into service for the Allied fighting forces after Pearl Harbor turns him from isolationist to intelligencer. Parachuting into Germany our transparent hero searches for a list of infiltrated undercover Axis agents and then discovers a plot to bomb New York City! How will he warn the American Defense Department in time to stop the massacre of millions? And can he escape from the clutches of the dastardly Nazi army that seems to know he is lurking about? 

Troy and I pull this exciting film apart, examine its flaws and then rave about how much we love it. Sporting two excellent villains played by Sir Cedric Hardwick and Peter Lorre the movie manages to generate some real menace when they are onscreen. Both actors are so good as antagonistic German and Japanese representatives that watching them dance around each other waiting for a mistake is delicious. In fact, the only real problems we find with the film is the unfortunate need to indulge in some silly, out of place Nazi-humiliation scenes that are played for cheap laughs. I would argue that this sequence could have been best left out. Luckily, the movie has more than enough action to keep an audience riveted as the race to stop the Axis baddies ramps up to a special effects laden climax that is fantastic!
If you have any comments or suggestions is the address to use to make your feelings known. Thank you for listening and please rate and/or review the podcast wherever you catch the show. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021



For anyone curious about the Crime Doctor film I wrote about yesterday. here it is on YouTube. I don't think it is the best example of the series so I'm including a link below to one I like a good deal better. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Crime Doctor - THE MILLERSON CASE (1947)

I’m a fan of the Columbia mystery film series of Crime Doctor tales even as I sometimes feel they are far from perfect. The problem I usually have is evident in the 1947 entry THE MILLERSON CASE in which our main character goes on a country vacation for relaxation but ends up (of course) involved in solving a murder.

The film’s first oddity caused me to wonder just how far into the country Dr. Ordway had driven and in which direction. Had he travelled by car from New York City to Kentucky? Because fully half of the characters he encounters in the small rural village where the story takes place have southern accents while the others sound as if they hail from the Midwest. I kept wanting to know the locale of this tale or at least the state we were in but never got any clue even after the State Police show up. Are we in New Jersey? Upstate New York? Help a curious viewer out, dammit!

But the thing that takes this film down a notch or two from the standard for the series is the same thing that always creeps into mind as I watch any of them. Often it feels like the script was written to be about ten or fifteen minutes longer than it was filmed to be. Some elements are rushed and plot points are glossed over that would be more entertaining if detailed a bit more. Often these rushed moments center on the main character and his methods of investigation making it seem as if the director was wanting to get on with things instead of letting us admire the cleverness of the Crime Doctor. Or it might have been the choice of actor Walter Baxter trying to keep the pace of things quick. I don’t know. But the speeding past explanations of things often causes me mental whiplash and the desire for a more careful look at the scene as it plays.

A perfect example of this in THE MILLERSON CASE involves Dr. Ordway hypnotizing a murder suspect. We are dropped roughly into the scene with no explanation of what is going on and then watch the question-and-answer session play out, complete with onscreen visualization of the story being related by the hypnotized man. This seems to exonerate the fellow but after the suspect leaves Ordway tells the assembled police witnesses to the whole thing that he wasn’t really under hypnosis at all. Because he showed strong emotions while ‘under’ the man was faking, so the entire story he told could be a fabrication. WTF? Ordway claims to have known he wasn’t really hypnotized but let things continue to see what he would say. Come on! There had to be a better way to handle this information drop. And Baxter rushes through the entire explanation so fast I wonder if he might have felt the same way. It is a silly scene and perhaps he was somewhat embarrassed by it.

Of course, I still enjoyed the film. I’m a sucker for these kind of hour-long mystery thrillers, but this is not the best of the Crime Doctor run. By the way – why aren’t these on DVD or Blu-Ray yet? Why are YouTube uploads of the Turner Classic Movies broadcasts the only way to see these fun movies?

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Poster Art and Lobby Cards for INVISIBLE AGENT (1942)


I have to admit that I really like the old VHS cover art best. 

Sunday, February 07, 2021


This is without a doubt one of my favorite Jess Franco movies. When I sit down for a Euro-Spy film I’m usually hoping for a serious espionage tale with a strong plot, great action, glamorous locations, beautiful ladies and a real sense of danger to the proceedings. But as I’ve watched more and more of the genre from its brief 1960s heyday, I’ve realized that what generally fuels these tales is a desire to not just play in James Bond’s sandbox but to kick the sand into the Bond franchise’s face. Even the most serious of the Euro-Spy films have at least a few moments in which they wink at the camera either in acknowledgement of the cinematic theft in progress or as a nod to what the audience might expect but that the smaller budget productions could simply not supply. If the film maintains a serious tone except for those few throwaway moments I can still fully enjoy the story and become caught up in the thrills. But if the film descends into silliness for the sake of cheap laughs I start to be distanced from the film and can only appreciate it at a much lower level. My general resistance to the overly humorous Spy thrillers is rarely overcome completely so when it IS overcome it’s a sign that (in my opinion) there is something really great being done by the filmmakers.
A good example of this is the brilliant relaunch of the French OSS:117 film series several years ago. Reimagined as a comedy thriller it managed to nail every target it aimed to hit while being both exciting and funny. But of the 1960s versions of spy comedies there are few that stand out as truly funny for me. I often wonder if they might have played better in their time as the Bond phenomenon swept the world than they do now. They almost had to, I guess. I suspect it’s similar to how the terrible/sad SCARY MOVIE franchise plays to big crowds on release but ages very poorly as the current events being mocked are left behind and forgotten.

But, back to LUCKY THE INSCRUTABLE! This film is great! Because I generally don’t like the overly humorous Euro-Spy movies I should not have enjoyed this at all but, against all odds, I did. Through some alchemy of filmmaking genius (yes- I said genius) Franco managed to make a funny, silly, witty, fast paced romp that, while never being credible in the least, is so damned amusing that I found myself being swept along. I swear I had a smile on my face for the whole film. I have no idea how well it would play in another language but the English dub is packed with quotable lines that more than once had me laughing out loud. 

Ray Danton is great as the smirking Secret Agent everyone knows (even when he’s in disguise) busy working his charms on ladies around the world as he attempts to track down counterfeit currency plates. The plot is, of course, just the thinnest of threads used to hang each gunfight, fistfight, romantic encounter, car chase or daring escape as we watch Danton and his co-stars have fun running through their various roles. Dante Posani plays a kind of sidekick accompanying our man Lucky on his adventure, Barbara Bold is present as a nice piece of tanned eye candy and the amazingly sexy Rosalba Neri shows up as a whip wielding Albanian General. Wow! Miss Neri’s character wasn’t needed in any way but I am SO glad she was present.

While the main target being skewered in this spoof/satire is clearly the Bond series Franco throws in a few other things too. Periodically there are still/posed shots with comic book-like word balloons commenting humorously on the action and when the film shifts location there is a full comic description (often in Italian so I’m not always sure what’s being communicated) to one side of the still moving image. It’s almost as if once things start moving, he didn’t want to slow down for anything. I suspect that if he had I would have focused on the silliness of the entire affair and had less fun. I also loved Franco’s two separate cameos – one as a man stabbed in the back who still somehow delivers his important message to Lucky and the second as a train hopping hobo who is found sleeping under a cow. You kind of have to see it to understand.

And did I mention the fantastic score by Bruno Nicolai? It’s a classic of the genre with a theme song I cannot get out of my head. I’ve known the music from this film for years from a Nicolai compilation CD but having the visuals finally linked to the sound is wonderful. Everything about this film says ‘We’re having a good time; we hope you are too’. 

Luckily, I found Lucky’s antics to be completely captivating and I can heartily recommend the film to the curious Euro-Trash enthusiast. I can honestly say that I laughed for almost the entire running time and I can’t say that about most comedies of any vintage. I really wish a good Blu-Ray of this film would get a release. The bootleg I watched is a passable way to see this gem but it deserves much more exposure.