Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Bloody Pit #146 - BEYOND DARKNESS (1990)

John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard join me to discuss our first Filmirage production and, of course, it’s a horror film.

BEYOND DARKNESS (1990) was directed by the man responsible for the astonishing TROLL 2, Claudio Fragrasso. That should let you know what kind of ride the movie will provide but it might not prepare you for the sheer madness. Consisting of ideas, characters and entire sequences cobbled together from at least six earlier films BEYOND DARKNESS serves up a low budget variation on the haunted house concept that must be seen to be believed. A Catholic priest and his family (!?) move into a home in his new Louisiana parish and are almost immediately assaulted by spectral nonsense. There’s a glowing otherworldly hole in a closet, ghostly witches creeping around and the lingering presence of a recently executed child murderer making a full night’s sleep pretty difficult to get. A sane family would leave but then we’d have no movie.

The three of us try very hard to stay on topic but we each seem determined to run off onto side discussions that have only tenuous connections to the film. We start off well talking about the Otis House location BEYOND DARKNESS shares with Fulci’s THE BEYOND and the number of cast members that are also in other horror movies of the times. But eventually I’m babbling about alternative poster art for vintage films while Hudson drags us on another ‘Porn Talk’ sideroad and all of us are giggling about the haunted lamp in AMITYVILLE 4! What is wrong with us? Things repeatedly go off the rails as should be obvious by the fact that we end up referencing Zamfir, the Master of the Pan Flute, Gilligan’s Island and The Doors. Dive in and hang on – this one is a little crazier than usual.

We end the show with a tune from The Cocktail Slippers and you should check out their fine music wherever you listen to cool stuff. If you have any comments or suggestions is the place to send them. Thank you for listening to us go on about things and we’ll be back soon. 

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Pulp Covers - Captain Future

These just scream 'Thrilling Science Fiction Adventure'!


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Brief Thoughts - THE MAD DOCTOR (1940)

After watching THE MAD DOCTOR (1940) the other night I have a new favorite Basil Rathbone performance. Not that I've ever seen a bad performance from Mr. Rathbone! It might be that he was such a good actor that I may have taken him for granted. I may have seen him in too many Sherlock Holmes roles or as the villain in too many Errol Flynn swashbucklers to fully appreciate just how nuanced and effective an actor he could be. The Mad Doctor gives him the chance to shade his character in a number of scenes so that the audience is pulled along not just by the plot mechanics of the admittedly interesting story but also by the fact that Rathbone’s character’s motivations and desires shift and change over the course of the movie. It is his subtle acting, his incredible vocal performance that gives the viewer real insight into the changes happening to his character long before he has to spell it out to his partner in crime. His work is stunning in this film and I highly recommend it to people who have yet to see it. Oh! The film is quite good as well even with a slightly weak performance opposite Rathbone and an odd, out of place sound effect added to the final scene.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Wild, Wild Podcast - Season 3 Ep 1 - MILANO CALIBRO 9 (1972)

We're back with a full ten film season, and this time we are getting violent and gritty on the streets of Italy. First up is a stone cold classic of the filone: Milan Caliber 9. So join us as we talk girls, guns and guts! Prog rock and Bruce Campbell also get more air time than they probably should.

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

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

What I Watched in January 2022

I enjoyed the first two Kingsmen films and went into this prequel expecting a similarly amusing but violent tone. Surprisingly, THE KING’S MAN (2021) has a very serious approach to the story of the genesis of the independent spy service and the film is quite effective for it. The style remains the same as the earlier films and in a few spots it teeters on the edge of going too far but it manages well as a visceral and oddly touching piece. Even the scenes that involve Rasputin and the various attempts on his life feels grounded because it is built on the back of the historical events. Likewise, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand rings true both as a fascinating historical replay and also as a dramatic occurrence within the film’s story. Of course, by the third act the mostly over-the-top action swings back into place for a satisfying finale. It feels as if they might have been better off staying a bit closer to a sense of realism and kept the more reality-based tone established early on, but it is exciting fun. And those goats are jerks!


The List

MALAYA (1949) – 7 (Jimmy Stewart and Spencer Tracy as WWII rubber smugglers) 

PROBE (1972) – 6 (interesting spy-fi TV movie) 

THE KING’S MAN (2021) – 8 

MAN BEAST (1956) – 4 (typically clunky, inept Jerry Warren Abominable Snowman effort) 

THE DESIGNATED VICTIM (1971) – 7 (smart Italian take on Strangers on a Train - with a twist) 

BUSTING (1974) – 7 (Peter Hyams first film stars Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as buddy cops)

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (1957) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 


OUTLAW GOLD (1950) – 6 (solid B-western with Johnny Mack Brown) 

QUATERMASS 2 (1957) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 

MICHAEL SHAYNE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE (1940) – 7 (rewatch) (twisty mystery)

THE UNNATURALS (1969) – 7 (rewatch) 

HERE COME THE CO-EDS (1945) – 6 (standard Abbot & Costello/Lon Chaney as a heavy) 

THE TRIUMPH OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1935) – 5 (very clunky unless Holmes is onscreen) 

BALLAD IN BLOOD (2016) – 4 (Ruggero Deodato - not much happens but the nudity helps) 

NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980) – 5 (fairly silly low budget Bigfoot horror)

THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T DIE (1942) – 6 (rewatch) (solid Michael Shayne mystery) 

MURDER ON A BRIDLE PATH (1936) – 6 (well done Hildegard Withers mystery) 

CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS (1936) – 7 (rewatch) 

DANCE CHARLIE DANCE (1937) – 6 (fun comedy with Glenda Farrell - reminiscent of The Producers)

SEX HUNTER 1980 (1980) – 6 (erotic Suspiria influenced Japanese sex film) 

HUMAN MONSTER (1939) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) (Lugosi as a bad guy? What?) 

SILVER BLAZE (1937) – 7 (very well done Holmes tale even with the unnecessary addition of Moriarty)

SCHOOL OF DEATH (1975) – 7 (rewatch on Blu) (deliberately paced, excellent Spanish gothic) 

TRAIL OF THE MOUNTIES (1947) – 6 (short RCMP feature) 

VOICE OF THE WHISTLER (1954) – 6 (very bleak noir) 

PLANET EARTH (1974) – 6 (rewatch on Blu) (Roddenberry TV movie) 

FOES (1977) – 6 (interesting low budget UFO encounter tale) 

KING BOXER (1972) – 7 (a.k.a. Five Fingers of Death) 

LAND OF DOOM (1986) - 4 (rewatch on Blu) (post-apocalyptic tale) 

CALIBER 9 (1972) – 8 (rewatch) 

A STUDY IN SCARLET (1933) – 6 (creaky but good Sherlock film) 

THE GREEN KNIGHT (2021) – 8 

ROSE MARIE (1954) – 5 (beautiful but flat Mountie musical) 

THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1924) – 6 (silent madness!) 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Bloody Pit #145 - THE UNNATURALS (1969)

After our recent discussion of BED OF A THOUSAND PLEASURES(1972) over on Wild, Wild Podcast Adrian Smith and I continued our conversation about Antonio Margheriti here on The Bloody Pit.

Taking a look at this exceptional little ghost tale was long overdue and it is a shame that THE UNNATURALS (1969) is so difficult to see. It’s one of the director’s best gothic chillers and that is saying something. It feels very much like an early version of Mario Bava’s LISA AND THE DEVIL (1973) and even shares some of the score from Carlo Savina who was clearly not above getting paid twice for the same music! Hopefully some Blu-Ray company will bring this excellent little film to a larger audience soon.

Adrian and I discuss the period setting and finely detailed interiors that were borrowed from a more expensive movie. The film is a classic example of the Old Dark House tale with bits of the James Whale 1932 movie of that title featuring heavily in the open act’s plot mechanism. Just how stuck in the mud was that car, really! Since this is a German co-production we look at the cast with an eye toward the inclusion of several familiar faces from the krimi cycle that was still thriving at the time. Happily, the wonderful Luciano Pigozzi (a.k.a. Alan Collins) has a major part in this film. Often called the Italian Peter Lorre he was a frequent collaborator with Margheriti and THE UNNATURALS may mark the most significant screen role of his career. He makes the most of it! So, with gorgeous widescreen photography, some surprising nudity and a slowing unfolding series of revelations this is a great little film. Certainly it is an attention grabbing look at lust, greed and murder as a catalyst for possibly supernatural revenge.

If you have any comments or questions is the place to send them. We’d love to know what’s on your mind. Thank you for listening to the show! 

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Music - THE UNNATURALS (1969) by Carlo Savina

This underseen and mostly ignored ghostly creeper from Antonio Margheriti is long overdue for some serious attention. I'm unaware of an English language dub but until a few weeks ago there was a YouTube version copy with good subtitles. I can't find a print to point you to no but here is the fine score by Carlo Savina. Podcast to come! 

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Trailers From Hell - THE DEVILS (1971)

Director Ernest Dickerson eloquently explores the brilliance of Ken Russell's still controversial film. He explains the film's troubled history and makes a case for why Warner Bros. needs to finally release an uncut version of this piece of cinematic history. It is well past time. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Brief Thoughts - ROSE MARIE (1954)

I caught up with the musical ROSE MARIE (1954) the other evening and have to admit I agree with the general critical assessment of it being fairly mediocre. It isn’t a bad film but it is flat and uninvolving for the most part. I wasn’t aware that this was the third film version of the stage production until after I saw this one, but I am now curious enough to want to see those earlier takes on the show to compare. I was initially interested in it because one of the main characters is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but the allure of the songs was strong as well. I’m not the biggest fan of musicals but a good one can always win me over. Sadly, most of the songs here are pretty forgettable with only two of them really sticking out. ‘I’m a Mountie That Never Got His Man’ sung by Bert (Cowardly Lion) Lahr is a funny tune and the film stages it well with Lahr getting to play off of his talented co-star Marjorie Main. Oddly, it was written for the film adaptations and wasn’t part of the original stage production.

But there is one song that I knew before watching this film but had no idea it originated here. ‘Indian Love Call’ is a tune that I have heard someplace before and actually heard in a way that made it stick in my memory. I suspect I absorbed a comedic take on the chorus in some short or cartoon but I just can’t remember where or when. Nevertheless, this song is now lodged in my brain for the first time in decades and I’m not sure that is a good thing. It is a bit strange no matter how you approach it. Check it out below to hear what I mean.