Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Chinook the Wonder Dog!

Slowly, over the past couple of years, I've been working my way through the filmography of a particular dog. Chinook the Wonder Dog, although not listed as the star, is the main attraction of a series of B movie adventure films headlined by Kirby Grant. Starting with 1949’s TRAIL OF THE YUKON this feisty mutt appeared in ten movies and then moved on to a TV series. There are humans who would kill for such a career! Nine of the films have been issued on DVD by Warner Archives on three triple feature discs although they are presented in nearly random order. Why save the first film to start off the third volume? It hardly matters as the films are a joy no matter the order you watch them. New viewers should understand that they are little more than B-Movie programmer Westerns dressed up in pseudo-Canadian clothing. But for the undiscriminating viewer they are fun, roughly hour-long crime adventure tales that move fast enough to keep you entertained without feeling like you're wasting your time.
Originally based on the stories of James Oliver Curwood the series of films veered off into different territory when the stories would not suffice. That means that Monogram Studio utilized the usual B-western plots simply retrofitted for "the North Woods”. These movies aren't going to change anyone's life but they are fun little tales perfect for lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoons. The real joy, as I have alluded to already, is watching enough of them to realize that it really is Chinook who is the main attraction. And after a while (if you're as crazy as me) you start to count the number of people that this awesome dog manages to kill in each movie! The maximum body count for this crazed animal (or wonderful beast) seems to be three criminals in a single movie. He usually only gets to attack twice per adventure and is often called off by his wet blanket Mounted police sidekick before he can do more than just maim the scumbags! Call me blood-thirsty but the more Chinook is on the offensive the more I'm loving the movie.

If you’ve got a hankering for a Canadian set b-western style tale and like watching a hero dog maul lawbreaker, then these movies might be for you. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Criterion's Godzilla Art

I should have posted these a long time ago! Just looking at them makes me want to rewatch ALL of these movies. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Video - Godzilla vs. Cat (OwlKitty Parody)


I should probably not have laughed as much as I did when I watched this, but.....

Saturday, March 20, 2021


There have been roughly a billion Sherlock Holmes movies made over the last century and the master detective has been portrayed by enough people to populate a full reenactment of the California Gold Rush. But only a handful of these actors became so identified with the role that their physical appearance influenced most future visions of the character. Basil Rathbone played Holmes onscreen fourteen times and in hundreds of radio programs. His voice so perfectly captured the public imagination that his mannerisms and style of speech became the standard for Holmes for decades afterward and he is still considered one of the best to have ever attempted the role. Rathbone’s acting often elevates movies and he brings a level of competence and skill to his Sherlock performances that can help even the weakest of them entertain effectively. Luckily, he was often working with a cast that matched his abilities and a story that was worthy of the Holmes name. Not that there weren’t problems to overcome…..

Universal’s series of Sherlock Holmes adventures are considered a part of the studio’s 1940’s horror output and certainly several of them qualify as scary movies. But not all of them are so obviously part of that genre with most leaning into the expected mystery/suspense field. Strangely, their first Holmes film would stray from mystery more than most and ends up playing more like an espionage story with Holmes as a spy master. This grows out of the decision to set the Holmes and Watson characters in contemporary times instead of their usual Victorian or Edwardian period. This means the war with Germany takes center stage allowing the brilliant Holmes the opportunity to add his efforts to the battle against fascism. But does the change of time period and the repurposing of this great character as a WWII combatant work? We’ll be glad to let you know our thoughts in this episode. 

Troy and I are joined by Sherlock Holmes aficionado Beth Morris for this (and all future Holmes films). She adds her own perspective on Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and the 1940’s version of the characters filtered through her obsessive reading of the original Doyle tales and every pastiche story that she can get her hands on. We discuss the film’s story, the extraordinary cast, the brilliant lighting and the lack of detective work the film has for Holmes. I dig into the way the film treats Evelyn Anker’s character Kitty, probably spending far too much time railing against the Hay’s office rules that force certain irritating actions at the film’s conclusion. I get a bit salty about it and I apologize for my enthusiasm and inability to let it go but it is infuriating!
We end the show with an email giving details about this year’s Blob-fest in Lehighton, PA. If you live near enough to attend, we envy you. I’ve really got to try to get to that show one year.

If you have any comments or suggestions is the email address and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the podcast and we’ll be back soon! 

Thursday, March 18, 2021


Those following The Bloody Pit podcast and our ongoing series on the Universal Horror films of the 1940's will know that this is the subject of our next episode. No - it's not a horror film in the strictest sense but it does have horrific elements. And by including the Holmes movies from the studio we get to talk about some incredible actors and the restrictions placed on movies of the period. Plus, the entries later in the run that are unabashed horror movies are best enjoyed with a firm grounding in what came before. 
Enjoy this excellent print of the movie on YouTube and join us in a few days for a lengthy discussion. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Artist M.J. Hiblen's Amazing Mash-Ups!

Marvel Comics plus Hanna-Barbera equals high amusement! 
Check out the others of this series at the LINK

Sunday, March 14, 2021

What I Watched in February

Last month's bizarre snow week allowed me to dive deeper into the offerings on NetFlix and Prime than usual. Luckily, although a couple of films were not as good as I had hoped, the three pictured above were very entertaining and fully worth recommending. I would also point to the excellent mockumentary THE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014) and BELOW ZERO (2021) as good choices for your time. 


NECROMANCER (1988) – 6 (interesting low budget horror) 

UNDERWATER! (1955) – 6 (beautiful but nothing special treasure hunt with Jane Russell)

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014) – 5 (found footage horror)

HIS HOUSE (2020) – 7 (haunting tale of refugees in a new country)

DON’T KNOCK TWICE (2020) – 7 (well done British ghost tale)

KISS KISS BANG BANG (1966) – 7 (incredibly silly Italian spy spoof - very fun)

HIGHLY DANGEROUS (1950) – 7 (British spy adventure written by Eric Ambler)

CROSSROADS TO CRIME (1960) – 6 (Gerry Anderson crime tale)

INVISIBLE AGENT (1942) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

TURKEY SHOOT (1982) - 7 (rewatch on Blu)

THE MILLERSON CASE (1947) - 5 (OK Crime Doctor tale)

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) – 8 (rewatch on Bu)

THE WIND (1986) – 6 (bizarre Greek-set horror) 

HAUNTING ON FRATERNITY ROW (2018) – 4 (might have worked if it was not all found footage)

CASTLE OF THE CREEPING FLESH (1968) – 4 (mess of a Gothic creeper)

KING KONG (1933) – 10 (rewatch on Blu)

THE SWORDSMAN (1948) – 8 (great tale of Scottish clan wars with Romeo & Juliette thrown in)

WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2019) – 7 (well done 80’s-set horror)

GHOST STORIES (2020) – 6 (Indian horror anthology – the first two tales are best)

FRACTURED (2019) – 8 (nothing new but well done)

STRANGE CONFESSION (1945) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

MURDER ON THE BLACKBOARD (1934) – 6 (the second Hildegarde Withers mystery)

VICIOUS LIPS (1986) – 3 (just a mess)

RED DOT (2021) – 6 (pretty standard thriller until a surprise but still only OK)

1BR (2019) – 8 (interesting thriller that has a nice punch)

THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER (1980) – 7 (cop on the vengeance trail!)

THE LEGEND OF SPIDER FOREST (1971) – 7 (on Blu as VENOM) (mysterious goings on in English countryside)

BEFORE I WAKE (2016) – 7 (weakest Mike Flanagan film but still good)

THE MAN WHO WAS SHERLOCK HOLMES (1937) – 9 (excellent German adventure)


SON OF KONG (1933) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

THE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014) – 7 (well done SF faux documentary)

SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988) – 2 (Naschy’s nadir)

VIVARIUM (2020) – 7 (fascinating science fiction)

THE TERROR WITHIN (1989) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)

BELOW ZERO (2021) – 7 (Spanish crime thriller)

LADY GODIVA OF COVENTRY (1955) – 6 (interesting but not great period tale)

THE GHOST OF MONK’S ISLAND (1966) – 5  (British children’s adventure tale)

TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 (2013) – 2

Friday, March 12, 2021

Video - Silent Props for Film

Few viewers think about the odd technical things necessary to make a movie. One of the invisible hurdles that must be dealt with is extraneous sound from objects in a scene. This video shows some of the simple but strange workarounds that are used to get clean dialog recorded while actors do the normal things that people do. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Past Visions of the Future!

Of course now many of these ideas are everyday things. I'm fascinated by the way the near future was imagined in the middle of the 20th century. The concepts pulled from science fiction and turned into commonplace items never cease to amaze me. My phone, my e-reader and the computer I record my podcasts on - all were first seen in someone's crazed view of what might eventually come to be. We still don't have the giant corn, though. Maybe that's a good thing....