Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Trailer - 99 AND 44/100% DEAD (1974)


I rewatched this odd film tonight and on second view I think I can say that I like it. It is off-balance to say the least but Richard Harris sells every scene and the satiric elements struck me as funnier this time than last. It is not for everyone but there is something about it that I find endearing.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Bloody Pit #150 - PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943)

The show finally reaches episode #150 with a discussion of the 1943 version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!

Join Troy and I as we swing on the giant opera house chandelier! Say what you will, but it gives us a good view of the film’s successes and failures. This often-derided film is one of Universal’s Oscar winners and on Blu-Ray it is a gorgeous thing to behold. We never thought we’d use words like opulent or big budgeted or colorful to describe a ‘horror’ film from the 1940’s but here we are! Of course, comparisons to the 1925 version can’t be avoided and we also briefly touch on a few of the more well-known adaptations over the past eighty years.

We spend a lot of time digging into the question of Christine’s relationship with the Phantom and wondering why having him be her father was excised from the story. At least one review from the time indicates that there might have been something left in early prints that made this very clear. We talk about the cast and the director with attention paid to some poor staging that undercuts important moments. Complaints about the comedy elements of the film are voiced as are questions about the difficulty of assembling a music room in the Paris sewers. A good time is had by all with music leading the way!

Near the end of the show, we respond to a couple of emails sent to thebloodypit@gmail.com and I have a mini-rant about the sad tendency in film fans to hate all new things. It’s a brief spasm and the phrase Doppler Effect is tossed out but I recover quickly and get things back on track. Hell! I almost forgot about the emails. Thanks Troy. And thank you for listening. We’ll be back soon!

Podcast LINK  


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wild, Wild Podcast Season 3:Episode 5 - SAVAGE THREE (1975)

What happens if you put Joe Dallesandro and his pals in a cage? They turn savage, that's what! What happens if you put Rod and Adrian near a microphone? They start making podcasts! It's almost the same. In this episode we get to explore Turin with three bored friends hellbent on causing chaos and destruction. Is there nothing they won't do? Eurovision also gets a mention, and Adrian keeps banging on about his holiday. Sorry about that.

We would love to hear from you if you have any favorite Poliziotteschi films. You can contact us on Twitter, Instagram, or by email at wildwildpodcast@gmail.com. Please remember to rate and review us on your podcast platform of choice. 

Podcast LINK


Monday, May 16, 2022

What I Watched in April 2022


As far as the general critical consensus is concerned MORBIUS (2022) was never going to be considered good. The knives were out at soon as the phrase ‘starring Jared Leto’ was uttered. And I’ll admit that its connections to the sadly bad Venom films is a hurdle to overcome that I feared might be too high. So, I expected bad word of mouth with this new film and immediately dismissed it because we are in year two of the serious superhero film backlash. It has become the pseudo intellectual position to bash any comic book related film because …. Reasons. 

I can sympathize with some of the more common complaints especially the view that these movies dominate box office returns in a way that smothers chances for more varied fare to succeed. But this is little more than a variation of the usual attack on popular cinema driving thoughtful films from the marketplace. I’ve been hearing this argument since the 1980’s when such crowd-pleasing films as GHOSTBUSTERS, BACK TO THE FUTURE and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT were being discussed as evidence of a defective education system. So pardon me if the shiny new version of the same laughable complaint continues to strike me as hollow whining. Maybe I’m not old enough yet to hate all new things. Give me a few years and I’m sure I’ll be railing against the evils of popular things along with the other wheelchair bound drones content to smugly assert the superiority of ‘the old days’. I assume that eventually the phrase ‘back in my day’ will change from trite joke set-up to a prelude for spouting a firmly held but idiotic belief that will embarrass the folks responsible for wiping the drool off my unshaven chin. But until then I’m going to enjoy the run of highly entertaining comic book adaptations that I have been waiting for since the age of eight. Hell. I’m almost to the point where I get as much entertainment from listening to snobs bitch about them as from watching the films. Grumble on, killjoys! Your hatred amuses me.

Where was I? Oh, yeah….


MORBIUS (2022) is a pretty damned good comic book tale that mostly plays like a horror film. Bringing 'The Living Vampire' to the big screen was always going to feel this way and it might be one reason people are expressing dissatisfaction with the story. If you’re expecting a lighter kind of MCU-style movie MORBIUS often nastily pushes against the grain and you will be uncomfortable. That’s a shame as I found the film to be a strong version of the character’s origin and loved the performances throughout. It is not one of the best of the current crop of these movies but it is far from being bad. And strangely, unlike some of the better comic book films, I find that I can’t wait to rewatch it to examine the way it uses horror visuals in service of its action sequences. I'm all in favor of superhero horror films but I suspect that I may be part of a very small group. 

The List

MURDEROCK (1984) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)

RED RAGE (2021) – 4 (beautifully shot but meandering trifle)

THE WRAITH (1986) – 6 (pretty good car vengeance film)

TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE (1936) – 8

STEEL AND LACE (1991) – 5 (made for video/cable revenge tale)

ANTLERS (2021) – 7 (Wendigo horror)

NIGHTMARE ALLEY (2021) – 9

SILIP – DAUGHTERS OF EVE (1986) – 6 (overlong Philippine sexploitation/morality tale)

HELL BENT FOR LEATHER (1960) – 7 (sharp Audie Murphy western)

ASSASSINATION (1987) – 4 (weak Bronson action effort)

NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE (1986) – 4 (silly, ridiculous and dumb action tale – possibly a spoof)

THE DEVILS (1971) – 8 (rewatch)

THE BOOK OF STONE (1969) – 7 (fascinating Spanish supernatural tale)

TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE (1988) – 7 (interesting late period giallo)

MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL (1957) – 4 (rewatch on Blu)

MORBIUS (2022) – 7

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946) – 5 (interesting but not very funny Abbot & Costello outing)

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTERS (1974) – 8 (rewatch)

THE BLACK COBRA (1963) – 6 (not bad krimi)

THE NIGHT HOUSE (2020) – 7 (well done supernatural tale)

APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH (1988) – 7 (sturdy Hercule Poirot murder mystery)

SCREAM (2021) – 7 (pretty darned good sequel)

VIOLENT PLAYGROUND (1958) – 7 (solid JD drama with Stanley Baker)

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2021) – 9 (rewatch on Blu)

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 


Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Six Million Dollar Man Comes to Blu-Ray!

In what seems to be an ongoing effort to drive me into bankruptcy Shout Factory today announced that one of my childhood favorite television series is coming to Blu-Ray. This 33-Blu-ray set includes all 99 episodes, the 3 pilot films, the 3 reunion films and the bonus crossover episodes of The Bionic Woman. Dammit! I guess this is how I die. Is it wrong to hope for there to NOT be another release of something I hold so dear every freakin' week?
 

I might need to mortgage something.


 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

RED SONJA (1985) Comes to Blu-Ray and 4K!


There is no defendable reason I can give to be happy about this newsIt is without a doubt a bad film. Terrible in fact. Despite being directed by Richard Fleischer, having a script co-written by George MacDonald Fraser and boasting a fantastic score by Ennio Morricone it is an absolutely awful movie. All the acting is bad, the story is so thin it wouldn't pass for a good comic book tale, the kid character is irritatingly obnoxious and the villain is just silly.
BUT - I will love watching this again in HD. I will.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Book to Screen - LAST EMBRACE (1979)

Sometimes an imperfect adaptation is still good enough to get the job done. Such is LAST EMBRACE (1979), a Roy Scheider thriller based on the book The 13th Man by Murray Teigh Bloom. As the film begins government agent Harry Hannan is involved in an incident that gets his wife killed because she is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cut to months later when Harry is leaving a sanatorium after a nervous breakdown. He tries to rejoin his old job but meets resistance from his handlers who are not sure he is stable enough to be trusted with dangerous work again. Complicating matters is the fact that in the months he was away his apartment was sublet by a young college student who has moved in with her small collection of pets. Soon he is trying to understand a cryptic message written in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic slipped into his apartment while also controlling the shaky physical reactions lingering from his breakdown. Also, his old employers realize they no longer trust him and decide he might need to be killed!
 
If this all sounds like a lot stuffed into a single film you would be right. I’ve not read the novel this was adapted from but I can sympathize with what seems to be an attempt to retain as much as possible. I’ve seen this kind of thing before and I find it fascinating. Boiling down a book into something under two hours can be a hellish task and usually entire chunks of complicating narrative is jettisoned to preserve the audience’s attention. What a reader might tolerate or even love only serves to distract from the forward thrust that a movie thriller needs to feel alive. Too much extraneous detail can force a viewer to lose the thread of the plot in a way that a book can deftly avoid.


LAST EMBRACE is an effort that works pretty well but the elements that would play wonderfully on the page are clunky onscreen. The late in the story introduction of a character crucial to the unravelling of the mystery of the cryptic note is a bit jarring even when played by an actor who is able to make him a welcome addition to things. And while the unexpected turn the story takes is amazing and clever, I’m sure it played much better in the book. The director handles things as well as possible and I really did enjoy the film but I can’t help but think that some trimming at the script level might have made for a more satisfying overall effect. 


 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Trailers From Hell - THE SHINING (1980)

Director Adam Rifkin takes the words right out of my mouth when discussing this film and the book from which it is adapted. I love'em both! 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The Prisoner and Quatermass Podcasts!

I often go hunting for new podcasts that look at favorite movies and television. Recently I found a couple of excellent examples and thought I should share. Both originate in Britain and both focus on content from that country that is pretty obscure today.   

First up is Free For All, a show that digs deeply into Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner'. Each week screenwriter Cai Ross and media lecturer Chris Bainbridge delve into an episode of The Prisoner interpreting them in their own unique way. They have been lucky enough to get some great guest interviews including several original cast members! Free For All is a wonderfully funny, bitingly critical and sometimes academically analytical exploration of McGoohan's television epic. I highly recommend it as it seems to only get better and better as they go along. Upcoming shows have even more guests! Follow the imbedded links above to find the show.


Second we have the BERGcast and I would be surprised if you knew immediately what BERG is all about! BERG stands for British Experimental Rocket Group and the podcast is devoted to exploring the creator of that fictional government agency Nigel Kneale. The show is an examination of Quatermass and every other thing that Kneale ever produced during his long and impressive career. I’m slowly working my way through the backlog of episodes and loving every minute of the journey! If you have a love for the amazing creative mind of Nigel Kneale, I can recommend this show unreservedly. 


Saturday, April 30, 2022