Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Bloody Pit #144 - Radio Sherlock!

Following on our coverage of SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943) we once again dig into the wealth of radio adaptations of the original stories.

Beth has chosen two excellent audio versions of Arthur Conan Doyle tales with the connecting theme being that they involve an American character stirring up trouble. First we present 'The Noble Bachelor' from the long running BBC Radio series starring Carleton Hobbs as Sherlock Holmes and Norman Shelley as Dr. Watson. This program aired from 1952 to 1969 and became the way an entire generation of British listeners became fans of the character. We talk a little about the two main actors known primarily for their radio and stage work including the somewhat controversial work that Mr. Shelley was rumored to have done for Queen & Country. We then check out the CBS Mystery Theater’s 1977 version of 'A Scandal in Bohemia' with Kevin McCarthy as Holmes and Court Benson as Watson.  It’s another fine adaptation and this time I’ve left in several of the commercials from the original broadcast to give you a sense of what it would have sounded like when it aired. I snipped out the ExLax ads for your mental health!

Thank you for listening and if you have any comments is the show’s address. We’ll be back soon with a new episode!

Apple Podcasts LINK 

Direct Download LINK 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Video - Star Trek Warp Jumps Through the Years (1979-2021)

Although I'm more facinated by the changes over time to the transporter effect this look at the way the Warp Jump has altered over the decades is pretty interesting. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Toys and Games from THE BLACK HOLE (1979)

I'm actually fighting the urge to get a copy of the coloring book!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Poster Art and Lobby Cards for SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943)

I couldn't stop looking at these images even after we finished the podcast on this film!


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Video - The World Beyond (1978) - TV Series Pilot

I don't know how but I completely missed this when it aired on January 27, 1978. I would have been nine and fully into my obsession with Kolchak: The Night Stalker, so this would have attracted me like a fly to honey. I have no memory of it and, now that I've watched it, this terrifying tale certainly would have haunted my dreams for a long time! This is the second of two pilots made for a series that never got picked up. The first was called The World of Darkness and aired in 1977 but I can't find it on YouTube - yet! I would love to know why this excellent show didn't go to series for at least one season. I guess by the end of the 1970's there was less of an interest in supernatural/occult investigator TV shows. That's a shame because if they had been able to maintain this level of quality it would have been incredible. 

Check this out. It's a fantastic piece of hidden 70's TV history and a fine way to get some creepy thrills for fifty minutes. I wonder if we'll ever see a cleaned up, remastered version of this because it deserves to be seen by more people. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Monday, January 17, 2022

What I Watched in December 2021

I will fully admit to being a mark for superhero films. I am happier than an eight year old that there are dozens of Marvel and DC comic book films out there and I have enjoyed far more of them than average. I find that I enjoy even the weakest of them to a degree, meaning I can find it difficult to understand why everyone else isn’t smiling along with me. But every now and then one of these big screen blockbusters hits me so perfectly and in so many different ways that I feel almost overwhelmed.

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021) might be the best film Marvel has yet produced and I am not ashamed to say that I laughed, I cried and it became a part of me. (Yes, that’s a joke – but also true.) It felt as though the animated Spider-Man film INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE had finally opened the door to fully using every resource available and this film took full advantage of it. By bringing in the best of the past films and rolling them together the filmmakers found a way to make one of the most life affirming stories possible. The combining of so many characters and so much background was handled beautifully letting each action scene carry things forward and have massive consequences. Tragedy and joy comingle with each showing the importance of the other. We like these characters – even the villains – and want them to overcome the damage that makes them dangerous. I doubt Marvel will ever be able to top the accomplishment of this extraordinary film but I will continue to enjoy watching them try.

The List

ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 

OMEGA SYNDROME (1986) – 6 (competent but clunky action film) 

I BOUGHT A VAMPIRE MOTORCYCLE (1990) – 6 (fun and silly but too long) 

DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS (1989) – 8 (rewatch) 

THE AMAZING MR. X (1948) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 

TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD (1950) – 7 (rewatch) (Roy Rogers vs Christmas tree rustlers) 

SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM (1933) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 

DON’T GO IN THE BASEMENT (1973) – 5 (unpleasant asylum horror tale) 

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021) – 10 


DAYS OF VENGEANCE (1967) – 7 (spaghetti western) 

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR (1973) – 8 (rewatch of this excellent Franco drama)

NIGHT HUNTER (2018) – 7 (solid crime story with strong cast) 

FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (1973) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) 

A LITTLE GAME (1971) – 7 (sharp evil kid thriller set at Christmas – TV movie)

ROBIN HOOD NEVER DIES (1975) – 3 (dull, threadbare Spanish version of the tale) 

1001 NIGHTS OF PLEASURE (1972) – 5 (Margheriti’s Arabian Nights sex comedy) 

BLOOD FOR DRACULA (1974) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) 

SEAS BENEATH (1931) – 5 (clunky early talkie from John Ford – WWI tale) 

GANG WAR IN MILAN (1973) – 7 (Lenzi crime film) 

HUMAN ANIMALS (1982) – 7 (bizarre Spanish post-apocalyptic tale)

DEAD SPACE (1991) – 5 (another Corman ALIEN/ALIEN riff) 

80,000 SUSPECTS (1963) - 9 (excellent Val Guest epidemic thriller/drama) 

STAR TREK – THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) – 6 (rewatch of the director’s cut) 

EVIL ROY SLADE (1972) – 6 (very silly western comedy – TV movie) 




Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Bloody Pit #143 - SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943)

Sherlock Holmes takes center stage again with Rathbone and Bruce traveling to America to secure a secret document.
I am joined by Beth Morris and Troy Guinn for a detailed look at the third in the Universal Holmes series, SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943). This is one of the few that we all dreaded as memory told us we were in for a weaker entry. Imagine our surprise to find a much better movie than we expected. Exciting!
We dig into the production with some neat information culled from my ever-expanding pile of reference books on the subject. Beth finds some highs and lows in the deductive reasoning the script gives Sherlock and Troy finds his first viewing of this one to be his favorite of the run so far. We talk about the excellent cast and spend some time on the great George Zucco’s career as well as heaping some deserved praise on the screenplay. This being the first of the series with a completely original story Universal was wise in its choice of screenwriter Bertram Millhauser who went on the pen four more Holmes scripts for the studio. We lament the limited screentime of Henry Daniell and question the steady cruelty of Holmes to Watson throughout the story. We were all pleased to see Clarence Muse given a solid supporting role as a train porter where he gets to play directly with Rathbone as the search for clues ramps up. And, because I have a dirty mind, I spot a subtle sex joke that was sly enough to get past the production code. Busy, busy!
We end the show with three emails from listeners one of which pushes us into a long discussion of favorite actors in the Watson role. The email address is and we’d love to hear from you too. Thank you for listening to the show and we’ll be back soon. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wild Wild Podcast - BED OF A THOUSAND PLEASURES (Finalmente le mille e una notte)1972)

Adrian and I return to the world of the Decamerotici to see what Antonio Margheriti could do with his version of the Arabian Nights. And, brace yourself, it's actually pretty good. Although we do have to qualify that claim quite a lot. So, join us on a magic carpet ride through the wild, wild tales of a Sultan with erectile dysfunction, an Aladdin with carpet dysfunction, and a Queen whose sexual appetite is defeated by a healthy supply of bananas. It's a beautifully photographed series of sex comedy shenanigans that clearly bears the stamp of it's time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Brief Thoughts - THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (1957)

I revisited THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (1957) last night for the first time in years. My memories of the film were that it was a solid effort but that it was slow and dry at times. This viewing proved I was wrong on both counts.

I’ve not done a full survey but this might be the best Yeti film of all time. The script is literate, involving and clever in its narrative. Nigel Kneale was always a brilliant writer of speculative fiction and my feelings that this story was one of his weakest were ridiculous. This story shows all the hallmarks of his better-known works such as the Quatermass tales and his 1989 adapted screenplay for The Woman in Black. He creates well defined characters quickly and with the kind of details that build over the course of the film. This approach is complimented by the usual intelligent direction by the great Val Guest.

Guest is one of the under sung heroes of British fantastic cinema. Responsible for a long list of classics including the first two Hammer Quatermass films, THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961) and WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (1970) he was always good at getting the right moments onscreen in an exciting way. His crime and war films show his immense skill as well and I highly recommend his lesser-known pandemic drama 80,000 SUSPECTS (1963) to see how talented he was as a writer too. With these two men leading this production it should be no surprise that the quality is very high and the resulting picture is excellent. Maybe the last time I watched THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN I was distracted or in a foul mood. Regardless, it is a fine movie and worth many future viewings.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Trailers From Hell - GET CARTER (1971)

Acclaimed crime novelist Dennis Lehane briefly discusses the excellent, bleak British crime film starring Michael Caine. 

Thursday, January 06, 2022

MAN BEAST (1956)

Because we got snowed in today I felt the overwhelming urge to watch a yeti movie. And because I wanted to see one that I have not yet seen I pushed play on a film I expected to be bad. I was not disappointed. For fans of ‘men in yeti costumes’ it is a must and I am (sadly) a member of that group.

 I knew that this was Jerry Warren’s first feature and since I’ve watched several of his later efforts, I knew this had to be both low budget and fairly inept. This usually makes for some painfully amusing viewing and this was no exception. Warren was able to combine a lot of mountain climbing footage from another film with matching scenes that he shot to almost make a plausible series of events play out. It doesn’t always work but in the spirit of enjoying a silly monster movie I was happy enough. It is not a good movie but my odd desire to see movies of this type from this period made it worth working my way through the short running time. But the most interesting thing about this movie is what I found out on its Wikipedia page and I’ll just quote it below –
“Although a "Rock Madison" was given top billing in the credits for playing the part of "Lon Raynon," there is no such character anywhere in the film. Modern sources state that "Rock Madison" was just a fake name made up by Jerry Warren to make his cast seem larger. Older sources used to state that Rock Madison may have been the man in the Yeti costume, but Warren's ex-wife Brianne Murphy said years later in an interview that she played the man-beast herself. She said Warren met her in Hollywood around this time and offered her a $50-a-week job handling props, makeup, hair, wardrobe, script and stills on "Man Beast." She said she wore the furry Snowman costume in a couple of scenes, but she was too short for the suffocating rubber suit.”
So – it was a ‘woman in yeti costume’ film which is pretty cool to know. But just adding a fictional actor to the cast list to bulk up the perceived scale of your movie is amazing. My hat is off to Mr. Warren.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

SUMURU Poster Art

I won't pretend that the two Sumuru films from the late 1960's are great but I do have a soft spot for them. I'm due for a rewatch of both just to see if my memories are accurate and to see how Jess Franco played with the Sax Rohmer character in relation to the first film. I still need to read the novels to see if they were pulpy fun or below average adventure stuff. I've generally enjoyed all of the Rohmer I've read but I've rarely strayed from the Fu Manchu books. It might be time.