Friday, July 30, 2021

1976 British TV Debate About the Paranormal


This odd bit of television history is far from the usual kind of thing I would post here but I found it oddly compelling. Most of the members of the public represented on this show seem sincere about their odd beliefs while a couple are clearly happy just to be on TV to soak up the attention. But this short conversation does present a wide range of ideas about unexplained phenomena which I think serves as a snapshot of where the thinking was on the subject in the 1970's. It is quite interesting in a typically British way. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

UFO (1970) - Art For Comics, Video Releases and Compilation Films

I'm taking a run through this Gerry Anderson series with an eye to finally seeing the entire thing. Now I wish I could lay my hands on the various comic strips and text stories that were produced as well! Time to hunt. 


Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Bloody Pit #132 - AMERICAN RICKSHAW (1989)

John Hudson and the mighty Bobby Hazzard return to discuss this late 80’s mystical mystery filmed in Miami.

Directed by Sergio Martino, AMERICAN RICKSHAW (1989) surely would not be nearly as entertaining or as coherent if it had been handled by someone with less experience behind the camera. Juggling enough disparate elements for two movies Martino somehow makes it all come together in a mad mishmash of sex criminals, televangelists, magical fires, mysterious ladies and the stolen pig idol that starts the whole crazed affair. Along the way we are witness to Donald Pleasance drifting in and out of a Southern American accent which might be worth the price of the Blu-Ray all on its own. Our hero is played by Olympian Mitch Gaylord and, for some reason, his performance gets better the more unshaven and sweatier he becomes. Maybe desperation breeds more believable acting in professional athletes?

Our conversation meanders all over the film and its various strange elements as we attempt to come to grips with the way that the plot is both insane and – eventually – straightforward. Of course, it is impossible from the start to realize that this tale of a poor college student working as a rickshaw driver in Miami will transform into the endgame of a decades long mystic war between rival sorcerers so I think it is understandable that we can’t maintain a straight-line plot discussion. In fact, it might just be impossible to talk about AMERICAN RICKSHAW in a completely linear fashion. There are simply too many things going on all at the same time! Luckily, I think we only lose track of what we’re doing a couple of times with the worst moment being when we are nearly derailed by tales of small-town strip clubs. And Hudson is still obsessed with transparent simians. Of course.

If you have any comments or questions thebloodypit@gmail.com is the email address where notes or recordings can be sent. Thank you for listening to the show and please let others know if you enjoy what we do here.

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Friday, July 23, 2021

Wild, Wild Podcast #5 - WILD, WILD PLANET (1966)


It's the episode we've all been waiting for! Wild, Wild Planet, the movie that inspired the name of this podcast. Join Adrian and I as we both pour praise and occasional sarcasm on this science fiction wonder. Yes, we love it, but it's also a pretty crazy film that doesn't always make a lot of sense. "Why is Franco Nero in a knitted baby onesie?" is just one of the questions your hosts try to answer.

You can buy Wild, Wild Planet from the Warner Archive. It's not on Blu-ray yet, but if enough people buy this version then maybe they will take the hint!

At the close of the podcast you can hear the song "Wild, Wild Planet" by the band Several Mouth Parts. Check out their website to hear more crazy stuff like this!

We would love to hear what you think of this film too. You can contact us via Twitter and Instagram, or you can email us at wildwildpodcast@gmail.com

If you enjoy the show please subscribe, tell your friends and leave us a review!


 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Tarzan Meets Groo Comic Book!


Next week will see the publication of the first issue of 'Groo Meets Tarzan' and I can't wait to see how these two heroic adventurers handle themselves in a team-up. I'm not sure exactly how Groo's creator Sergio Aragones and long-time Groo writer Mark Evanier feature in the story, but after seeing the preview at this LINK I'll be picking up all four issues of this limited series.


Monday, July 19, 2021

The Land That Time Forgot - Book Cover Artwork
















I'm about to reread this Burroughs classic and realized that I still have the copy I bought in 1979! I have no idea how I've hung on to it for decades but I'm glad I did. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

What I Watched In June

My first trip in over a year to an indoor theater was a solo viewing of the new film in the resurrected SAW franchise. This is very much a surprise to me as it is the first of the series I have seen theatrically.

I’ve never been very impressed with the Saw films while being mildly amused by their twisted inventiveness in interlocking multiple plots across several movies to present a near incomprehensible series of events that seem to exist to….. well, to exist. Although they are talked about in hushed tones because of their blood-drenched murder set-pieces they have always been more interesting to me as the latest (many generations removed) descendants of the 1960’s krimi films from Germany and the 1970’s giallo films from Italy. Warped variations on the 1980’s slasher cycle, they celebrate the creativity of the hideous deaths inflicted while making the fans feel that they aren’t just wallowing in gore – there is a real mystery involved, dammit! Of course, the mystery is often so impossible to discern that the final revelations have to be spelled out with a series of flashbacks to make sure the crowd is aware of how clever the scriptwriter has been. It often seems a little like someone trying too hard to justify watching a horror movie. Just enjoy what you like to watch and be done with the silly aspirations to in-your-face creativity! If you want to see a bit of the old ultra-violence just step forward, buy your ticket and ignore the derisive looks from others. In twenty years the Saw films will be tame in comparison to the next variation on this theme. Trust me.

Sooooo……why did I go see SPIRAL (2021)? Well, it was a new horror film. Oh! And Chris Rock stars in this re-start of the series AND was involved in getting the film made. That sounded much more interesting than just another sequel. And, I have to admit, it was pretty darned good. Rock is the main reason the movie works as it has become clear that he is now one of the most interesting actors around. His facility with comedy enhances his ability to play serious roles and even allows him a believable tenderness when necessary. The rest of the cast is solid with Sam Jackson having to work a strange balancing act as a respected, retired cop with a few dark secrets but it is Chris Rock’s show. He lifts this slasher mystery on his back and carries it across the finish line.

The only downside for me was that the identity of the Jigsaw copycat killer was pretty easy to figure out. Not that the ride wasn’t pretty fun but I can’t be the only one able to note that when a SAW film doesn’t show us a grisly death but only tells us it happened…..it didn’t happen! But the movie is inventive in its approach to the material with Rock’s sharp-tongued cop character getting to toss off funny insults that make his reactions to the horrors onscreen feel decidedly real. SPIRAL feels more grounded than the previous films in the series and therefore more interesting. This isn’t a great movie but it is the first Saw movie I can imagine wanting to rewatch sometime in the future.


THE LIST 

THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE (1959) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1942) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)
TORCHY BLANE RUNS FOR MAYOR (1939) – 6 (sadly, this is the final Glenda Farrell Torchy tale) 
EYES OF THE UNDERWORLD (1942) – 6 (solid little crime drama) 
THE WIFE KILLER (1976) – 7 (well done Greek thriller) 
THE CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE (1964) – 6 (Italian version of Carmilla with Chris Lee) 
MANHUNT (2017) – 7 (John Woo still knows action!)
HUNTING GROUND (1983) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 
002 OPERAZIONE LUNA (1965) – 3 (comedic sci-fi from Fulci) 
THE DEVIL BELOW (2021) – 5 (mediocre monster tale) 
PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965) – 9 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE DEMOLISHER (2015) – 3 (flaccid vigilante tale) 
SPIRAL (2021) – 7 (Chris Rock carries this SAW sequel on his shoulders) 
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981) – 6 (rewatch on Blu to compare deleted scenes) 
SEARCH AND DESTROY (1979) – 6 (Vietnam War comes home vengeance tale) 
RAPE (1976) – 5 (interesting if muddled Spanish paranormal grab-bag with Nadiuska) 
THE UNNATURALS (1969) – 8 (excellent Margheriti supernatural thriller) 
DEATH SINGS THE BLUES (1964) – 8 (excellent early Jess Franco) 
REVENGE IN THE HOUSE OF USHER (1985) – 4 (hodgepodge Franco) 
BROTHERHOOD OF DEATH (1976) – 6 (starts sloppily but pretty effective black action film) 
A BLACK VEIL FOR LISA (1968) – 8 (excellent early giallo) 
THE EXECUTIONER PART 2 (1984) – 3 (terrible, sloppy mess) 
WARNING FROM SPACE (1956) – 7 (effective Japanese science fiction) 
TRICK (2019) – 8 (rewatch) 
THE CONJOURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (2021) – 7 (true story -Bah! But I was entertained) 
UNDERWATER (2020) – 6 (not bad monster movie) 
WHISKEY AND GHOSTS (1978) – 3 (Margheriti and comedy do not mix) 
THE GLOVE (1978) – 5 (muddled crime tale pits John Saxon against Rosy Grier) 
THE GOLDEN CHILD (1986) – 5 (not sure what was happening here) 
THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974) – 5 (rewatch on Blu) 
THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 
PIONEER WOMAN (1973) - 6 (TV movie) 



Monday, July 12, 2021

Wild Wild Podcast #4 - Planet of the Vampires (Terrore nello spazio, 1965, Mario Bava)


Only four episodes in and it's already time for more Mario Bava! After his first foray into space science fiction with The Day the Sky Exploded, he finally came back to the field in 1965 and this time delivered one of the all time genre greats. Join Adrian and I as we spend longer than usual discussing the next film in the season, the misleadingly titled Planet of the Vampires.

 This is the first film covered on the podcast that has been released on home video, DVD and blu ray, so grab yourselves a copy and enjoy Bava's incredibly inventive and stylish sci-fi horror.

 We would love to hear what you think of this film. 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!

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Then Is Now Podcast #52 - LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976)

I am the special guest on this episode of the Then Is Now podcast!  We actually recorded this in January, and due to a technical issue with one of the files, it took until this week to finally get rid of most of the static in my voice to make it fine for listening. I should confess that the tech issue was cause by me doing something stupid when recording myself for the show so any detriments attributable to the audio quality of the show are my fault. But some expert fiddling by the podcast’s fine host did save the track and I am very happy to finally have this available for your ears! Live and learn - I hope. 

In the episode we dig into the Poliziotteschi film LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976) which is an action filled piece of ultra-violence that plays like it was answering the question “What if Starsky & Hutch were sociopaths?” (Hat-tip to Jeff Clark!) The film follows two Italian cops using every trick they can think of to take down a mob of vicious criminals with little regard for the consequences. It’s breathlessly entertaining and never dull! 





Friday, July 09, 2021

Video - Reconstruction of LOGAN'S RUN (1976) Ice Sculpture Scene


I'm always amazed when something like this can be done. The creator of this video reconstruction uses the audio of a famous scene trimmed from LOGAN'S RUN to give us an idea of how it looked before it was removed from the finished film. He uses stills from the production and a few borrowed shots of Box to make this look quite good. This really should have been left in the movie as it restores several story points that the film just glosses over. Wish the footage still survived and could be reinserted.


Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Video - COSMOS: WAR OF THE PLANETS (1977)


I've just rewatched this movie and realized that I can't remember if I ever made it all the way through it on first viewing or not. This time I had to caffeinate myself to a dangerous level and occasionally get up and walk around the room to keep from dozing off. If ever a film was a solution for insomnia this confusing, dull thing is it!
Or, maybe I'm wrong. Are there any defenders of this one out there?

  

Monday, July 05, 2021

Beyond Naschy #33 - THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974)

The Naschycast returns to the films of Amando De Ossorio for a romp through the jungle!

THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974) a.k.a. The Night of the Witches follows a small group of researchers seeking to document the endangered species of a fictional country in Africa. They make camp near a (miniature) village and then learn from a native about the supernatural history of the area. Of course, we have been made aware of the odd rituals of ‘Bumbasa’ in a prologue showing the kidnapping, rape and beheading of a British lady in 1910 on an altar that seemingly transforms her into a leopard demon! Or, at least, a fanged disembodied head that can turn and snarl at the camera! It’s a wild ride.

Troy and I hack our way through the jungle foliage to get a good look at this strange little film. As he had done with his Blind Dead movies Ossorio is clearly trying to create a new monster of his own design. But the leopard demons offer some technical hurdles that the writer/director’s usual low budget is often unable to jump. We discuss the various forms in which we see the creatures onscreen trying to decide which of them is most effective. Since these three forms are simply leopard stock footage, fake leopard heads partially hidden by leaves and female members of the cast running in slow motion through the jungle night it can be difficult to make a conclusive choice. And Ossorio throws in enough sex and blood to keep an exploitation audience distracted from the inherent silliness of the pieces of his narrative that don’t always work. But where does this film fall in the legacy of this legendary Spanish horror filmmaker? We share our opinions and hope to hear yours.

The podcast can be reached at naschycast@gmail.com where you can send your thoughts on this episode’s film or Amando De Ossorio’s career as a whole. We’d love to hear from you! And we end the show with a song from Nashville band Peachy - check them out! Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon with more from the Golden Age of Spanish Horror.

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