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The Bloody Pit

English, Cinema, 1 season, 127 episodes, 2 days, 9 hours, 35 minutes
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Eclectic Film Discussion.
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196 - SONS OF STEEL (1988)

John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard join me for a raucous discussion of this bizarre Australian oddity. Are we able to figure out the story? What do we think of the main character? Do we maintain our sanity before the invisible chimp rears his furry head to fling poop everywhere? Thank goodness for the laughing audience in the room to keep us on track and aware of how silly we can be.   SONS OF STEEL (1988) is a film built out of bits & pieces of earlier films but without the budget necessary to pull it off. It seems to be assembled from random parts of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Max Headroom and a little barbarian imagery for texture. The film follows Black Alice, a pompous singer strutting around a dystopian near-future momentarily mourning his dead girlfriend and trying to become a rock star. Strangely, he is also somehow an environmental peace activist – or at least we are told this by agents of the Oceana government. (Did I mention that 1984 is ripped off as well?) The movie is a series of music videos struggling to tell a tale of revolution, love and violence but the most memorable moments are the very 80’s songs scattered across the soundtrack. In Spiritus Wank’em!   If you have any thoughts on Black Alice, SONS OF STEEL or the sequel novels penning by the writer/director, [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening to the show! 
6/9/20241 hour, 15 minutes, 49 seconds
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195 - STAR TREK V THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989)

Mark Maddox and I continue our journey through the first six Star Trek movies and now reach THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989). We have been both dreading and looking forward to revisiting this film. Thirty-five years later is it still as bad we remember? Are there hidden moments of quality buried in this bad idea given cinematic form? Join us as we pull this thing apart and inspect it’s sad remains. We use Shatner’s own story of the production from his Movie Memories book to supplement the usual sources. It adds a lot to know the genesis of the film’s basic story and emphasizes just how easily a poor central concept can cripple a project. Also, aspiring writers can take note of this film as a solid example of bad scriptwriting on nearly every level. Neither of us find much to admire in STAR TREK V but there are a few good moments. Sadly, those few quality elements have to rest side by side with insults to nearly every regular character and simply awful dialog. The film’s humor mostly revolves around laughing ‘at’ the characters and never ‘with’ them. It undermines so many years of goodwill built up by the franchise for the sake of bad jokes, dumb ideas and idiotic coincidences that we can only be grateful it wasn’t the last film to feature the original cast. Row, row, row your boat indeed. Comments about this film, the podcast or Star Trek in general can be sent to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to hear from you. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon.
5/22/20242 hours, 3 minutes, 21 seconds
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194 - GHOST CATCHERS (1944)

Troy and I poke our heads into a Universal Studio haunted house, spot vaudeville act Olsen & Johnson and run away. Well – not really. But our first viewing of this nearly forgotten comedy horror film is not the fun we might have hoped. Did we enjoy it at all? Give the show a listen and we’ll point out the highs and lows. GHOST CATCHERS (1944) stars a number of very talented actors and singers but it also stars Olsen & Johnson – or, as I will eternally think of them, Faster & Louder. Nearly none of their supposed gift for humor translates effectively from the stage if this film is any indicator. The movie’s silly plot is actually two different story ideas welded together with four songs and a lot of flat jokes. For both of us the film squandered what little goodwill we may have had for it in a certain horsey scene, but we’ll let you discover that along the way. We were surprised that a couple of the songs were pretty great but when a horror comedy’s highlight points out that it is more successful as a musical than anything else, there is a problem. (And we even get the title of the best song wrong in our discussion!) But funny is in the eye of the beholder so you may actually enjoy this odd Universal effort. And did we mention Lon Chaney’s very small role?   If you have any comments about this film or vaudeville more broadly [email protected] is the place to write. Thank you for listening. 
5/1/20241 hour, 36 minutes, 18 seconds
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193 - Revenge of the Email Sack!

It has been far too long since Troy and I gathered around the male bag….uuuhh…MAIL bag to find out what folks listening to the podcast think! Or, at least if they want to make fun of me. I’ll take any attention, so - cool!   We are months behind checking out the email account so some of these messages date back to 2023. I apologize about this but also think sometimes the wait is worth it. I mean what other show has a discussion of Bruno Mattei, Japanese comedy/drama film series Tora-san, WAR OF THE WORLD’s symbolism and the thousands of film appearances of actor Morris Ankrum. Clearly, The Bloody Pit is filling an important niche in the movie discussion podcast world! And did I mention we have a visit from Vincent Price? Or possibly his ghost. With a cold. It’ll all make sense when you listen to the episode. Maybe.  And if you’re interested in the podcast mentioned in the show that dives into the Golden Age of Ninja movies, you can give it a listen at this LINK.  For those who want to contribute to the next email episode [email protected] is the place to send your thoughts. And thank you for listening! 
4/11/202458 minutes, 45 seconds
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192 - Martian Invasion 1953!

WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) and INVADERS FROM MARS (1953) are two of the most beloved of the dozens of science fiction movies from that paranoid Cold War decade. Author Mark Clark joins me to compare and contrast them as we look at the massive differences in scale, budget and point of view that give each film its unique feel. Recent Blu-Ray releases allow a fresh evaluation of these movies and we dig into them from angles both personal and societal. Spoilers rise from every sandpit, so be aware!   We tackle the magnificent WAR OF THE WORLDS first, examining the elements taken from the source novel as well as from the classic Orson Wells radio adaptation. We discuss the story structure and the cast of amazing character actors familiar at the time from both radio shows and film. Design concepts and the faint traces of the book’s tripods are touched on before we dig into the film rushed to theaters to compete – INVADERS FROM MARS! The William Cameron Menzies production design is discussed as well as the ‘trashy science fiction magazines’ that seemed to inspire some the incredible images. We argue a bit over our preferred length but both of us wish there was less military stock footage slowing things down. The alternate British ending is brought up and I detail how I wish the American version ended. We do go on!  If you have thoughts on either of these Martian invasion movies [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening. 
3/22/20241 hour, 56 minutes, 2 seconds
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191 - STAR TREK IV - THE VOYAGE HOME (1986)

Mark Maddox returns to the show as we continue our journey through the first six Star Trek films. STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) is one of the most popular of the series and stood for decades as the most profitable entry. The humor and clever plotting of the story still works nearly forty years later with the original cast shining with few exceptions. Of course, we pick at the minor complaints I have with the movie while Mark tells me I’m a killjoy who can only be happy with darkness and violence. That might be (slightly) true but I will leave that mirror reflection as something for others to examine alongside me as I make fun of Mark for sillier things. Much sillier things!   We discuss the film’s production including our thoughts on the Eddie Murphy connection and how it would have changed all future Trek films. I lament the deletion of the pregnancy detail and the possible stories that could have come from it. I question the odd visual choice for depicting the time travel sequence while Mark’s respect for me falls even further into a hole. Those hoping for the two us to argue will have a few moments of fun. The strangest of these comes from our discussion of cringy 80’s humor with Mark somehow unable to remember one of the most common derogatory terms of the period. That man’s mind is going!   If you have thoughts on Star Trek IV or the series in general [email protected] is the place to send them. We’ll be back soon to tackle V – oh, my! Thanks for listening. 
3/4/20241 hour, 37 minutes, 10 seconds
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190 - EATING RAOUL (1982)

I am joined by the bane of my podcasting existence John Hudson and the much nicer Bobby Hazzard to heap praise upon EATING RAOUL (1982).  This is the film I’ve always though of as ground zero for Paul Bartel appreciation and more than forty years later I think it still holds up as the perfect introduction to his comedic sensibilities. If you laugh your way through this film, chances are good that you will love his other movies as well. Even the ones that don’t involves running over little old ladies to win a cross-country race or cannibalism.  We jump into the discussion by detailing our history with Bartel’s work and what each of us find so appealing about his screen persona. All three of us bring some tales of the production history to the table with the start and stop nature of the filming process leading to information about locations and casting. We do eventually get to a synopsis of the plot and spoil most of the funnier moments so be aware that you should probably watch the movie before listening to us giggle our way though the many deaths by frying pan. Our peanut gallery has returned for this episode taking the time to laugh with and at us during the show. Long time podcast fans will recognize Beth and Steph from previous episodes but we also get some very funny contributions from Laura as well. Luckily, she keeps John in line and I will take any help I can get corralling the monkey-mad Mr. Hudson. Strap in for this one, folks and stay out of the hot tub!   The show can be reached at [email protected] where we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. You can also find the show on our Facebook page and wherever odder podcasts are downloaded. Thank you for listening. 
2/19/20241 hour, 15 minutes, 1 second
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189 - Mabuse 1960's Films

I welcome writer Holger Haase to the show to discuss the 1960’s Dr. Mabuse films! Holger has written an essay published for Kindle called ‘The Many Masks of Dr. Mabuse: Mabuse in the 1960s’.  Reading this prompted me to finally talk directly to Holger. The two of us have known each other for decades but it took our mutual love of these German crime films to use the internet to speak in a non-text based way. It was a little weird.   We go (mostly) chronologically through the six films discussing each in turn. If you want to follow along at home here’s a list of the movies we talk about in this episode: 1. THE 1000 EYES OF DR. MABUSE (1960) 2. THE RETURN OF DR. MABUSE (1961)  3. THE INVISIBLE DR. MABUSE (1962)  4. THE TESTEMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1962) 5. DR. MABUSE VS SCOTLAND YARD (1963) 6. THE DEATH RAY OF DR. MABUSE (1964) We touch on the cast members with extra attention to the ones that show up in multiple films even when their character’s names mysteriously change. Scriptwriter Ladislas Fodor’s impressive career is discussed as well as directors Fritz Lang and Harald Reinl who brought their many talents to the series. This series of films seems to have been forgotten over the past couple of decades, overshadowed by the original Lang films from 1922 and 1933. We hope to spur some interest in cinema fans curious to discover the hidden joys of these clever crime movies. They really are addictive!   If you have thoughts on the Mabuse films or the krimi cycle that they parallel [email protected] is where you can send them. We’ll be happy to hear from you. Thanks for listening. 
2/4/20242 hours, 8 minutes, 53 seconds
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188 - THE INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE (1944)

Troy and I return to the Universal Horrors of the 1940’s to check out the fifth and last of the Invisible Man series. THE INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE (1944) is sometimes seen as a strong final entry but both of us find far too many loose ends and discordant elements to fully enjoy the film. I must caution you that we spoil this one completely early on and I find myself cursing more than normal as we discuss the questions the movie throws in our faces. Sorry about that.   This is an interesting film but mostly for the wrong reasons. We try to pinpoint all the spots where the original, nastier version of this story peeks through the softened final product. The amazing Gale Sondergaard is a victim of the alterations to the story and disappears after only two scenes – we were displeased by this! The timeline of the Robert Griffin character is confusing and neither of us can work out how he carried around a piece of paper with his name on it for five years but didn’t know his own identity. I spend time marveling at how unlikable Griffin is throughout the story. Jon Hall does a great job in the role but he is playing a man with no redeeming qualities and a hair-trigger propensity for violence. This is our hero? Following on from the previous sequels we get the series’ now standard irritating ‘humor’ culminating in a dart competition that goes on forever. Both of us found this to be the weakest of the Universal Invisible Man cycle and would be curious to find fans of the film to defend it.   If you do want to stick up for THE INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE drop us a note at [email protected] – we really are interested in hearing a defense of this one. 
1/21/20241 hour, 42 minutes, 15 seconds
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187 - THE DEVIL’S WEDDING NIGHT (1973)

2024 begins with a 1970’s European horror gem! Bob Sargent joins Troy and I to discuss THE DEVIL’S WEDDING NIGHT (1973). It’s a fun gothic story with Mark Damon and Rosalba Neri (still using the Sara Bay stage name) about vampires, the ring of the Nibelungen and nudity. Lots of nudity! Warning – we completely spoil this one. Sorry but we had to dissect the final scene with its multiple endings.  As usual with this trio we let Bob pick the film and this time he hit a home run. It turned out to be a first viewing for Troy and it was fascinating to have his fresh take on this old favorite. We talk about the film’s genesis with star/producer Damon shopping the script around for a long while before getting it financed. The film is very much an R rated version of the Roger Corman Poe films done with a little less style and a lot less clothing. We pick at the story as we go along but each of us enjoyed the twin roles from the lead and sly, sexy performance from Neri. She is a sight to behold with her electric screen charisma registering here in gigawatts. Her abilities are impressive when just the slightest shift in the tilt of her head can communicate paragraphs of information.  We talk a bit about some of the anachronistic elements in the film and puzzle for a long time over where those satanic henchmen spend their time between virgin sacrifices. And we end up lamenting that this sleazy classic spawned no sequel! How did that happen?   If you have any comments on the film [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
1/3/20242 hours, 6 seconds
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186 - A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015)

December brings our annual Holiday Horror episode! John Hudson and Troy Guinn join me to discuss the anthology film A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015) – we like it. We keep the conversation almost completely spoiler free with only a few third act details being alluded to as we go along. We talk about the possibility that Shatner might have ad-libbed some of his dialog as DJ Dangerous Dan and marvel at his ability to bend a syllable. Each of us picks our favorite of the stories presented and Troy points to some paths he thought the narrative might take that were skipped past. The darkly humorous nature of elements of the film are discussed with attention to how the laughs add to the entertainment level. We also bring up a couple of other recently seen Christmas horror movies as examples of our annual desire to see more of this subgenre. Toshi the cat visits us to rub up against the microphone and disrupt our trains of thought, such as they are. And the show ends with a brief tale about Mr. Hudson having been recognized as a recently published Cinema Sewer interviewer. Cool stuff! We hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season and if you have any comments about the show [email protected] is the place to send them. Stay safe and hug your loved ones. Thank you for listening.
12/17/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 24 seconds
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185 - TEN LITTLE INDIANS (1965)

Author Troy Howarth returns to the show to talk about the second feature film of Agatha Christie’s TEN LITTLE INDIANS (1965). We compare it to the superior 1945 version and a couple of later attempts to bring this sturdy tale to the big screen. Both of us try to not spoil the story for those who have yet to experience the fun, but a few of the surprises do slip into the conversation.  We discuss the novel and its original title as well as the changes Christie made to her bestselling story when she adapted it for the stage. This beautifully photographed black and white movie is a stylish and well-cast progenitor of the slasher horror genre in which the mysterious killer murders his victims in darkly humorous ways, whittling the cast down for our entertainment. The cast is fascinating and we dig into the careers of several of them touching on their high and low points. Troy’s appreciation of Dennis Price surfaces with me teasing him about a possible future writing project. Fingers crossed! I point to a couple of small things that stand out as ill-fitting or overlong but we both think highly of this strong revisioning of this always intriguing tale. I’m just not sure I’m ready for the Frank Stallone version.   If you have a favorite screen adaptation of this story let us know at [email protected] – we’ll be glad to hear from you. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
11/30/20231 hour, 35 minutes, 9 seconds
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184 - PHASE IV (1974)

Author Randy Fox returns to the show so that we can continue our series on 1970’s Science Fiction films! This time we look at the fascinating directorial debut of graphic designer Saul Bass, PHASE IV (1974). The film was a financial failure at the time of release but its status as a cult film has grown slowly over the decades.  We look at the many cinematic influences the film’s story draws from including THE NAKED JUNGLE (1954), THE ANROMEDA STRAIN (1971) and 2001: A SPACE ODESSEY (1968). We marvel over the ant photography that allows the film to so clearly show us the world of these newly altered insects traveling into their hives and, at times, seemingly into their minds. We discuss the small cast even as I question why they bothered to give the characters proper names at all. Given Saul Bass’ background as a visual artist it is no surprise that the film produces a dozen or more unforgettable images and we try to point out as many of them as possible. The choice to use a voiceover is put to the test with Randy’s dreaded ‘professor with a pointer’ serving as our classic example of going too far! We dig into the ways the human living spaces are presented in comparison to those of the ants and how a break in that alignment shows a specific communication change in the story. Of course, we occasionally veer off topic as things point us toward other subjects but I’m happy to say we always find our way back to the film under the magnifying glass.  Do you have thoughts about PHASE IV or other films that stuck with you even though you weren’t sure if you liked them? If so, [email protected] is the address to send those comments. Thank you for listening! 
11/12/20231 hour, 49 minutes, 23 seconds
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183 - Inner Sanctum Radio Shows

Since we will be covering four more Inner Sanctum films in 2024 it was suggested that I might want to acquaint podcast listeners with some of the old radio shows. I love these wonderful horror and suspense tales but most folks have never sought them out. They are quite entertaining as examples of ‘Theater of the Mind’ exercises and, as I explain in my introductions, the Inner Sanctum show may have been the starting point for a horror trope that persists to this day.  I have picked three interesting episodes that I think will give you a good idea of the tone the program trafficked in and there is even a performance from Boris Karloff to get us started! He is the main character in an adaptation of Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart while Richard Widmark stars in the second grisly story about man’s lust for immortality. The final story I chose because it fits the October season with the title A Corpse for Halloween. Enjoy! If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the place to send them. Thanks for listening and Happy Halloween! 
10/28/20231 hour, 31 minutes, 50 seconds
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182 - THE SCARLET CLAW (1944)

Beth Morris and Troy Guinn visit the show again to discuss another Sherlock Holmes film. This time out we fan away the fog to examine one of the gothic horrors of the series, THE SCARLET CLAW (1944)! Good timing, huh? After all, our detective duo start the tale by being hired by a dead woman! That is creepy.  We talk about the production of the film which started out as a potential return of Moriarty but eventually became ‘Sherlock Holmes in Canada’ before the final bloody title was chosen. The story pulls heavily from The Hound of the Baskervilles but also seems to crib elements from the MGM film LONDON BY NIGHT (1937) as well. Of course, it also has a touch of Edgar Allan Poe evident in the name of the murder-stricken village. This is where the series leaves behind most of the modern details that were so much a part of the first three films Universal made. The traditional Holmesian Victorian period reasserts itself here with only the occasional 1940’s feature entering the frame to remind us of the real world. We point out several problems we have with the film including the need to show Holmes being a bit of a doofus on more than one occasion. There has to be a better way to extend the mystery than making the great detective seem incompetent! Of course, we love the cast and have a lot of fun trying to remember the names of the movies and obscure serials in which certain actors had memorable roles. For the record, Virginia Horne played a Chinese villain in SECRET AGENT X-9 (1945) but neither Beth or I could pull that title from our fevered brains!   If you have any thoughts on the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
10/14/20231 hour, 47 minutes, 50 seconds
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181 - STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK

Mark Maddox returns for a discussion of the third Star Trek film – THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK! The odd number films are generally derided but both of us feel the positives outweigh the negatives in this one. Of course, we pick at every nit we can spot but we do also praise the film for the elements that stand tall and resurrect the dead!   We dig into the genesis (he he) of the story with Leonard Nimoy’s desire to step into the director’s chair leading to several interesting choices. We discuss what it means to be the middle chapter of a trilogy with Mark claiming that The Undiscovered Country is part of the story as well. I bring in details and story additions from the excellent novelization of the film by Vonda McIntire that enhance the story and the secondary characters. The casting of the Klingons is a point of contention with Doc Brown as an alien bad guy becoming an amusing cinema crossover I had not considered before. We lament the stage bound nature of the Genesis planet segments and agree that some location filming would have improved things overall. The special effects get some attention with the destruction of the Enterprise being singled out for praise and we also express our pleasure at having another performance from Mark Leonard as Sarek. This is turning into a fun revisit to this series of movies!   If you have any comments about Star Trek or anything else we’ve covered on the show [email protected] is the place to send them. We’d be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
9/30/20231 hour, 59 minutes, 21 seconds
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180 - CONQUEST (1983)

I am joined by Troy Guinn and Jeff Nelson to talk about a Lucio Fulci movie once again! This time we swipe away the fog and try to get a clear look at CONQUEST (1983). This was the director’s one entry in the brief 80’s resurgence of the sword & sorcery genre inspired by the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) and THE BEASTMASTER (1982) and it has many more detractors than defenders. Where do you think we fall?   We talk about the history of bad VHS prints of the film and make a defense of the foggy, misty visual style of the cinematography. We do not defend the furry nunchakus, though. The film’s main characters and the mythological stereotypes they fall into causes much discussion with the older mentor and younger student reversal becoming our focus. Of course, considering the period of Fulci’s career in which this was made, we can’t help but notice the movie’s fascination with violence and depictions of the damage to the human body. We examine the puzzle of the villain’s odd choice of hallucinatory substance to snort and wonder how this odd effect was discovered in this cruel world. The various cool monsters and dangerous creatures in the film get some love from us but the inclusion of zombies is questioned as a possible late addition. It’s a lively conversation and we hope you’ll enjoy it!   If you have anything to say about CONQUEST [email protected] is the place to send your thoughts. Thank you for listening! 
9/17/20231 hour, 55 minutes, 58 seconds
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179 - CALLING DR. DEATH (1943) and WEIRD WOMAN (1944)

Troy and I dive into the Universal Inner Sanctum films with a conversation about the first two of the series. There is much discussion of Lon Chaney’s pencil-thin mustache and some speculation about the role that Gale Sondergaard might have had in each movie if her casting had worked out.   CALLING DR. DEATH (1943) presents Chaney as a successful psychologist who uses hypnotism as a treatment method. His marriage is falling apart but his cheating wife has no wish to be divorced causing him quite a bit of mental stress culminating in a blackout weekend and murder by blunt instrument. Did the good doctor kill his wife or is something more nefarious going on? We wade through lots of whispered voiceover from Lon and watch a Columbo prototype played by J. Carroll Naish hound the obvious suspect until the guilty party makes the wrong move. This is a very well-directed film and we talk about the director’s clever visual choices as we go through the story.   WEIRD WOMAN (1944) is the first screen adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s story ‘Conjure Wife’ and gives us Lon Chaney miscast as an academic genius who returns from a book writing trip with a wife he robbed from the cradle. OK – the film doesn’t seem to want us to think about that fact except that Lon keeps referring to her as a child and they sleep in separate bedrooms. The 1940’s were a strange time. The film has an amazing cast with the great Evelyn Ankers cast against type as a mean-spirited ex-girlfriend. The misogyny levels are cranked pretty high and this is the start of the Inner Sanctum series’ cliché of Chaney’s character being the most desirable male on the planet which means there is some ‘cringe’ involved in watching this one. But the film is very good and we discuss the surprising hatred directed at it from some fan quarters.   If you want to give us your opinion of the Inner Sanctum movies [email protected] is the address to send your notes. We’d love to hear from you and thank you for listening to the show! 
9/3/20231 hour, 55 minutes, 5 seconds
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178 - RATS NIGHT OF TERROR (1984)

**Word of warning – the first fifty minutes of the show has less than great audio. For some reason a buzzing was on the track and the only way I could eliminate it was to crush some of the less loud portions of the sound out. Sadly, this dropped most of the laughter from the amused ladies in the room and causes the softer ends of some words to be lost as well. I’m sorry about this – I’ll work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.** I am joined once again by Bobby Hazzard and John Hudson to roll around in Italian sleaze! This time I chose the film and, since I was in a post-apocalypse frame of mind, we end up talking about our first Bruno Mattei film. RATS NIGHT OF TERROR (1984) is probably my favorite of Mattei’s efforts, which some will claim is damning it with faint praise – I can’t disagree.  We talk about how we first encountered this mad movie and its regular video companion HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980). Tied into that, Huson notes the strong similarities of this film’s plot to the classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) siege scenario. Other post-apocalypse exploitation movies are used for comparison with this one coming in as a lesser effort in some way but not in others. The portentous ‘Star Wars’ inspired opening voiceover has us trying to square the supposed 225 years ‘After the Bomb’ timeline it provides but we do have a lot of un noting that the world ended in 2015. Actress Geretta Geretta has talked about this film on several occasions and we relate a few of her more interesting tales of working in Italian cinema without speaking the language. Other topics include dodging iguanas, buckets of rats and well-done fire stunts complete with some unfortunate animal cruelty. We do eventually end up spoiling the excellent ending, so you have been warned.   If you have any comments about this film or any other we’ve covered on the show [email protected] is the place to send them. We thank you for listening and we will do our best to avoid audio problems in the future. 
8/20/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 15 seconds
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177 - STAR TREK II THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

Mark Maddox and I return to the Star Trek feature films! This time we tackle the big one – the one that kept the franchise alive – STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982). It’s an important film for Trek fans and also an important part of the astonishing list of genre releases from that year. We briefly discuss the other films from 1982 to demonstrate the pivotal nature of the cinema of that time and its long-term effect on the genre. For this episode we assume you have some knowledge of the film and spoilers are in every corner of every deck. You have been warned.   We each relate our personal history with the film starting with theatrical viewings and then we dig into the details that make this one a classic. The selection of Nicholas Meyer as director is pointed to as the choice that probably guaranteed the project’s success with his melding of the various script ideas into a cohesive whole. The cast is discussed with Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley and Montalban singled out for praise for their excellent performances. Mark recounts his discouraging encounter with an odd form of homophobia when seeing the film for the first time and we compare the first film’s special effects to the smaller budgeted sequel. The story’s commentary on aging comes under scrutiny as both of us think about the changes in ourselves since this film came out. We ain’t getting any younger, that’s for sure!   If you have any comments about Star Trek [email protected] is the place to send them. We’ll be back in a few weeks to continue this journey with Kirk and the gang and we hope you’ll join us. 
8/5/20231 hour, 52 minutes, 17 seconds
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176 - KING OF KONG ISLAND (1968)

Bob Sargent joins Troy and I to discuss KING OF KONG ISLAND (1968). Or is it just KONG ISLAND? And what connection to King Kong does this movie actually have? Spoiler alert – none! Because Mr. Sargent has a soft spot in his heart (and head) for this bizarre Italian production we examine it for signs of sanity. None were found, but along the way we learned a little about ourselves. Sort of. And for some reason we also talked about 70’s rock group StoneGround. I can’t understand why. For the curious, KING OF KONG ISLAND (1968) is a movie of many parts. It is roughly 20% jungle mercenary movie; 20% mad scientist tale; 20% revenge story; 20% jungle girl adventure and 20% family melodrama. It is also 100% nuts! While much of the advertising for the film centers around the jungle girl sections of the story we come to the conclusion that Eva (or the Scared Monkey as she is referred to most often) could be removed from the film with little detriment to the story. Of course, this would have eliminated the film’s nudity so I don’t think anyone involved would have agreed to do this. But the film has so much going on that it is difficult to stop watching as the madness unfolds. We see stuntman turned actor Brad Harris beefcake up the place with his exciting dance moves and flinty abs. We see veteran Hollywood tough guy Marc Lawrence play a mad scientist/Bond villain using surgically altered gorillas to control a jungle cave. We witness plenty of animal stock footage. It all adds up to a featue length movie. Really. Even if you haven’t seen this cinematic epic there are things in the episode to entertain you. Troy’s alternate title suggestions are inventive and arguably better than any of the ones actually used. Bob’s attempts to explain his lifelong fascination with this whacky film lead us from a sweaty apartment in the 1980’s to modern 21st century life – pity his poor wife! And bonus points to the listeners that can pinpoint the moment when I gave up on presenting a plot synopsis. Eventually you have to accept that things have gotten away from you. If you have seen KING OF KONG ISLAND and have something to add to our discussion [email protected] is the place to send your thoughts. Thank you for listening!
7/23/20231 hour, 46 minutes, 32 seconds
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175 - Buggy Emails!

This episode allows Troy and I answer a few emails and dart down a couple of rabbit holes that they bring to mind. We talk about giant bug movies, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s career and post apocalyptic movies. A past guest on the show writes in to point out a missed opportunity to discuss MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME! I take the chance to offer a mea culpa about not discussing an important connection between two of the cast members of THE SPIDER WOMAN. I was aware the pair’s previous work together but I skipped that part of my notes during our recording session. My only excuse is that I’m a major fan of the film in question and if you think the conversation in this episode ranges far and wide – whew. Talking about one of the greatest adventure films of all time just in passing would have been very difficult!  Thank you for listening and we’ll be back on track with a normal episode soon. If you want to contribute to the email-bag [email protected] is the place to write. 
7/12/202353 minutes, 42 seconds
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174 - THE SPIDER WOMAN (1944)

We rejoin the Universal Sherlock Holmes series with the fifth entry, THE SPIDER WOMAN (1944). Long considered one of the best of the run Beth, Troy and I relate our opinions in this episode’s rambling discussion. Be aware that spoilers abound! Do we think it is one of the best of the Rathbone Holmes films? Maybe….. We dig into this one pointing out our likes, loves and various concerns about the story. We point out the numerous elements taken from several of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories and revel in the reference to the giant rat of Sumatra! We discuss the logic behind Holmes faking his own death and the inherent cruelty of that move. Of course, THE SPIDER WOMAN is the first of the series to feature a female villain and the casting could not have been better. Gale Sondergaard is brilliant in the title role with her sly smile and her expert delivery of the sharp dialog putting her well above other baddies that have faced Holmes.  Fully half the fun of the movie is watching her glide her way through her evil schemes. The other actors get fine moments too with Nigel Bruce and Dennis Hoey especially given scenes that show their characters under emotional strain. This is a tight, well-made film but we do find some things in it that don’t work as well as we might wish.  If you have any comments on this film or any other we’ve covered [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
6/19/20231 hour, 30 minutes, 56 seconds
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173 - STUNT ROCK (1978)

I’m joined by Bobby Hazzard and John Hudson for our long-delayed discussion of STUNT ROCK (1978). Is it a movie with an actual narrative or is it an episodic mockumentary about stunts and rock & roll? And why is there a stage magic act happening at the same time? We go from the ‘shower thoughts’ genesis of the film all the way through a listing of our favorite moments. Since the film’s director has called it the worst film he ever made, we briefly talk about his other work for contrast and lament his inability to ever secure a big budget Hollywood project. But we also discover that he directed an almost completely hidden third sequel to a very popular 80’s teen comedy that none of us were aware existed. Some things might be better left unexplored.  STUNT ROCK can be called many things but it can’t be called boring. It feels like two different movies clumsily mashed together forcing each viewer to decide which half they prefer. Is it the hard rocking magic stage show of Los Angeles band Sorcery or watching Australian stuntman Grant Page defy death in about two dozen different ways? I know which way I lean but this movie is a bit of a Rorschach test so you end up seeing what your expectations lead you to see. And that is more philosophy than I ever thought I would attribute to STUNT ROCK. It has to be a mistake. But you should check it out for yourself.  If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
6/4/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 10 seconds
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172 - THE MAD GHOUL (1943)

Troy Guinn joins me to discuss another Universal horror film of the 1940’s! Although it is a mad scientist film THE MAD GHOUL (1943) stands out from the other films of its type in many ways. It’s literate, mature script weaves interesting adult relationships into its fantastical narrative of college student zombification and graveyard surgery. Troy makes the claim that the film would be worth seeing even if the titular Ghoul was not part of the story but I think we all know why people were buying tickets – cardiectomies! Still, the more adult nature of the romantic complications in the story are interesting and the script gives the great George Zucco many chances to utter dialog that is a cut above the usual level of horror tales of the period. Often his delivery of a line is what makes a scene both believable and entertaining.  We discuss the cast and crew with an eye toward what the actors thought of the process and each other. We revel in the nasty details of the story and talk about the surprisingly dark stuff the film gets away with. Robert Armstrong as the comic reporter character gets some time in the spotlight as we fight the urge to call him by his KING KONG character name. And we express disappointment that although Evelyn Ankers gets a lot more to do in this movie than in SON OF DRACULA we still don’t get the chance to hear her sing.  If you enjoy THE MAD GHOUL or even if you don’t [email protected] is the place to send your opinions, comments or suggestions. We’d be glad to her from you. Thank you for listening! 
5/20/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 38 seconds
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171 - Big Bug Movies of the 1950’s!

Author Mark Clark returns to the show for a discussion of the giant bug movies of the 1950’s!   I have always lumped the giant bug movies in with the other giant monster films of the decade but that is a sloppy way to think about these films. The big surprise is that when you separate out the films with various kinds of bugs it turns out there were only eight. Eight! The always ambitious Mark suggested doing a single show about all of them, and I thought it was a great idea. So, even though we might have bitten off more than we can comfortably chew, that is what we did. For those playing along at home here is the list –   Them! (1954) Tarantula (1955) The Deadly Mantis (1957) The Black Scorpion (1957) Beginning of the End (1957) Monster from Green Hell (1957) Cosmic Monsters (1958) Earth vs the Spider (1958)   As you can see, we spend a lot of time in 1957 but rest assured that we talk about all eight films in some detail. We dig into the things about each that we enjoy and the places where they fall down with Mark using some interesting classic rock comparisons along the way. He’s a little odd. Along the way we decided to rank them from least to most favorite and we were shocked to see that there isn’t much difference in our opinions. What is the world coming to?   If you want to rank the Big Bug movies of the 1950’s [email protected] is the place to send your list. We’d be glad to hear from you. Thanks for listening!
5/6/20232 hours, 17 minutes, 19 seconds
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170 - STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)

Mark Maddox joins me to discuss one of his favorite films of all time - STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979). Does Mark need medication or is he able to back up his opinion of this film that has served as an easy punchline for decades? And what do I think of the film? Will there be an argument? You might already know the answer. Thank goodness for Mark Clark’s fine Start Trek FAQ books that serve to keep us on track. Mostly.  We discuss the years long genesis of the film touching on the planned ‘Phase II’ concept that was supposed to bring Star Trek back to television. Mark talks about seeing the film theatrically in 1979 and his reaction to the big screen sight of the Enterprise. He then relates his love of the wormhole sequence and we examine its function within the story. Jerry Goldsmith’s magnificent score is heaped with praise by both of us while Mark laments the use of the theme for The Next Generation television show. The production problems the film encountered get some attention with the foolish choice to lock in a premiere date before the film was even started coming under scrutiny. And the decision to begin shooting without a finished script can’t go unremarked either! It’s a miracle a coherent movie came out of this process in the end. Or course, it took a couple of decades for the thing to be really completed by the director but now we can see the film in the best light, flaws and all.  If you have any thoughts on the first Trek movie [email protected] is the place to send them. We hope to cover more the series in the near future so thoughts on those are welcome as well. Thank you for listening! 
4/20/20231 hour, 58 minutes, 16 seconds
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169 - Marc McCloud and Emails!

This is a bit of a hybrid episode of the show. We welcome as a guest the owner and ‘head man in charge’ of Orbit DVD of Ashville, NC – Mr. Marc McCloud! Troy and I have known Marc for decades and were surprised when he got in touch about his childhood trip to the Sid & Marty Krofft amusement part. He joins us to relate his recollections of that 1976 adventure and his subsequent fascination with lesser-known parks of the same kind. It makes for a lively stroll down memory lane and adds some detail to our Pufnstuf conversation from episode #167. The show is bookended by email reactions to our PUFNSTUF show with regular correspondent Kurt’s Burning Man tale being a must-hear trip into unreality. Those Krofft creations are still able to conjure the most interesting flashbacks to a 1970’s childhood! Other emails include a list of favorite sword & sandal movies from one writer and a question about the level of detail we can now find in UHD and Blu-Ray discs. Is it always a good thing? We discuss that at length along with a few extra topics that branch off naturally. As you might realize, the show goes on much longer than I expected! If you would like to add your voice to the next email show [email protected] is the place to send your comments. Thank you for listening!
3/30/20231 hour, 41 minutes, 31 seconds
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168 - SON OF DRACULA (1943)

Lon Chaney Jr. gets little respect for his performance in this Universal Monster classic but Troy and I have a few things to say about that. In fact, we have a few things to say about a number of things in this fun chiller that we think is one of the best horror films of the decade. Indeed, we’re so excited to talk about this one that we almost forgot to use a synopsis of the story for reference but we do eventually wind our way through the plot. Spoilers abound, so you have been warned! We talk about the production including the reason this long delayed sequel finally went before the cameras. The behind the scenes wrangling that saw one Siodmak brother exit the film as another one entered is a topic along with a detailed look at the very ‘film noir’ filter that the story places over its horror tale. We discuss just how ‘Deep South’ the setting really is and ruminate on the oddly vague midwestern feel of the movie. Just where is that swamp? Troy asks many questions about the film that I cannot answer including a long list of possible first time appearances of several vampiric cinema ideas that we all simple accept these days. I need to do more homework!   We hope you enjoy our discussion which concludes with a relevant email from a loyal listener. If you want to be a part of our next Email Show [email protected] is the place to send your thoughts. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back ASAP.  
3/17/20231 hour, 44 minutes, 53 seconds
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167 - PUFNSTUF (1970)

For this very special episode five people have gathered to discuss an influential part of their childhood – H. R. Pufnstuf!  In particular we examine the movie that grew out of the children television show’s immense popularity – PUFNSTUF (1970). So, grab your magic flute and come to Living Island for an adventure you’ll never forget – no matter how hard you try. Wild, man! I am joined by Beth, Troy Guinn, John Hudson and Steph to talk about the biggest hit of Sid & Marty Krofft’s many Saturday morning TV programs. Each of us relate our history with the various shows and what we thought of them as kids before diving into the specifics of the big screen version. We dig into the Krofft brothers’ background as puppet performers, their early successes on the stage and the genesis of Pufnstuf as a character. We take note of a fun Universal Horror related song from their early 1960’s adult puppet show and then turn things toward the amazing songs created for the film. We talk about the cast with Jack Wild’s place in the hearts of young girls becoming a subject of some amusement while Billie Hayes’ immortal Witchiepoo is lauded as the best reason to watch either the film or the television show. Favorite lines of dialog are quoted and we wonder aloud if some of the best bits were adlibbed by Miss Hayes or not. We also talk about Mama Cass Elliot’s excellent performance as Witch Hazel and single out her song as a highlight. This really is a delightful movie! If you want to share your own memories of the old Sid & Marty Krofft shows [email protected] is the place to send them. We hope you enjoy this slightly chaotic trip into Saturday mornings past. Thank you for listening!
2/27/20231 hour, 41 minutes, 3 seconds
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166 - Maciste Movies!

Mark Maddox returns to the show to talk about a pair of Italian Muscle Man epics! Both movies tell tales of one of the oldest reoccurring characters of cinema – Maciste! And if you think you’ve never heard of him you might know him under one of several aliases – in this case, Samson. We start with a look at the first of the 1960’s film series, MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS which was released in English speaking territories as SON OF SAMSON (1960). It stars Mark Forrest as the legendary strong man and Cuban dancer Chelo Alonso as the villainous Queen making things very difficult for the people of Egypt. We talk about the gorgeous location shooting and the film’s bigger than average scale for a small budget effort. The film has several spectacular sequences of action and some surprising violence. It’s a big colorful comic book of a movie! The second film is an even more impressive adventure. Former Tarzan actor Gordon Scott steps into the hero role for MACISTE AT THE COURT OF THE GREAT KHAN which was retitled SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD (1961). This one has Maciste pop up in 13th Century China to rescue a Chinese prince and princess from the Tartars and then lead the population in a revolt. There are many stand out scenes with the amazing bar fight being my favorite. Watching Scott use part of the building to bash opponents as the place crumbles around him is what I call entertainment! But the showstopper must be the action set piece involving a horse-drawn chariot and our hero’s stunning way of applying the brakes. Incredible! Of course, there is the occasional side road in the discussion but we amble back into the proper arena before we get attacked by lions. Thank you for listening and please review the show on your pod-catcher of choice. If you love the peplum genre too [email protected] is where you can send us a list of your favorites. See you next time!
2/8/20232 hours, 5 minutes, 30 seconds
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165 - Email-O-Rama!

Troy and I decided to record the Bloody Pit Mail Bag portion of things separately this time to keep the latest show from stretching near the three-hour mark. So, instead of an extended regular episode we present a quick forty minutes of questions, thoughts and our responses to some pretty good questions from listeners to the podcast. We learn about the German fascination with Frankenstein and discuss the joys of the Poverty Row Horror films before talking about Jess Franco commentary tracks and upcoming Naschycast appearances on Blu-Ray. If you want to add your comments to the show [email protected] is the place to send them. Thanks for listening.   
1/29/202341 minutes, 51 seconds
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164 - FLESH AND FANTASY (1943)

FLESH AND FANTASY (1943) is a film that should be much better known both in Horror fan circles and among fans of classic cinema in general. Directed by one of the giants of French cinema transplanted to America Julien Duvivier, this film shows the care and craftsmanship of a fine storyteller working with the full resources of a major studio. Following the template he had used in his earlier film TALES OF MANHATTAN (1942), this is an anthology with three vignettes linked by a framing device with humorist Robert Benchley. But that wasn’t exactly the original vision of this movie, as we will discuss.   Troy and I return to the Universal horror films with a true outlier this time. FLESH AND FANTASY is easily the most expensive production on our list of these 1940’s films with its large budget and cast of major movie stars being just the most obvious differences from the monster sequels surrounding it. The movie uses all its resources wonderfully to present a dazzling series of visuals and at least one of the best (possibly) supernatural stories the studio would ever make. The cast is fantastic and filmmaking a delight! It is a shock how underseen and underappreciated this excellent movie has been but with a Blu-Ray release just around the corner we hope that is about to change. Join us a for an interesting conversation about the production, structure and underlying themes of this hidden gem.   The show’s email address is [email protected] and we’d love to hear your thoughts on FLESH AND FANTASY or any of the movies we’ve covered. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back with an email episode very soon.
1/15/20231 hour, 57 minutes, 52 seconds
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163 - THE MONSTER MAKER (1944)

I’m joined by author David Annandale for a deep dive into the poverty Row horror film THE MONSTER MAKER (1944). Even among fans of these low budget efforts this one has a disreputable reputation as an example of the lines that these movies sometimes crossed. It is often singled out as one of the darker and more sadistic horrors of the 1940’s it does its best to creep out the viewer with the first onscreen appearance of a victim of acromegaly, the real disease that afflicted The Elephant Man, John Merrick. The film’s jumbled script throws in elements borrowed from MAD LOVE (1935), THE RAVEN (1935) and a few other classic horror movies as well. And since this is a mad scientist story, we must have a man in a gorilla suit or the authorities might have stopped production entirely!   Mr. Annandale and I discuss the film’s cast at length with my guest’s appreciation of Wanda McKay being most interesting. We make a defense of J. Carrol Naish’s slightly underplayed central performance as the villain of the piece although why we would need to defend an actor with two Oscars to his credit is beyond me. We praise the excellent makeup effects used to transform Ralph Morgan into a misshapen, monstrous looking victim. And we dig into the section of this very short film that seems unnecessary and possibly was included to pad out the running time. Not that either of us dislike seeing a man in a gorilla suit but to have Ace, the Wonder Dog’s action sequence absent from the movie seems a shame! Mr. Annandale was a good sport to be part of the show and I’m glad to showcase his love of this film.   The email address for the show is [email protected] so send any comments or ideas to us there. If you have any favorite Poverty Row Horror that you’d like to hear discussed let us know as we are keen to return to the subject. Thank you for listening!
12/29/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 48 seconds
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162 - THE CHILDREN (2008)

This year’s Holiday Horror episode arrives! 2022 was Troy’s pick and he has chosen a British creeper set in the week between Christmas and New Years Eve called THE CHILDREN (2008). It is an underseen horror tale that uses the season effectively even if we question whether the story needed the holiday setting to be accomplish its goal. Still, there are fewer locations that cry out ‘Christmas’ as well as a secluded, snow-bound country house so it earns its place here easily. We try not to spoil the movie so we stay clear of deep discussion of the third act.  John Hudson and I join Troy for this trek down Evil Child Lane. We take note of the subtle ways the threat is communicated before the mayhem explodes. We heap much praise on the film’s smart dialog and understanding of family dynamics that make the entire scenario feel like a slice of increasingly tense reality. Truly, by being specific in its details this movie hits some terrifying universal notes about the ties that bind. We discuss the fact that film never spells out the reason for the children’s violence with understated hints as our only clues. I bring up a wonderful essay by Andrea Subissati about the film and it’s comments on the destructive nature of the lies we tell our kids and how they can infect other parts of our life. And I can’t stay away from talking about the story’s thread of financial concerns that surface at the film’s intense dinner scene. There’s a lot going on in this short, violent tale and we recommend it. Luckily it is currently streaming on Tubi for free!  Questions, comments or Holiday messages can be directed to [email protected] where we’ll be jingle jangled to hear from you. All three of us hope you have a fantastic Holiday season and a Happy New Year. Santa knows we all need one. Thanks for listening and sorry for the Bonanza sidetrack. I can’t help myself. 
12/13/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 38 seconds
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161 - It’s Alive! by Julian David Stone

This episode I welcome writer Julian David Stone to discuss his new novel, It’s Alive! The book explores the struggle to produce FRANKENSTEIN (1931) at Universal Studio. Stone’s story uses the perspectives of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and studio head Carl Laemmle, Jr. to relate the difficult path to getting that revered classic film off the ground. We get inside the heads of this trio of talented people giving us an insightful view of each and their motivations during this important period in film history. Fans of the Universal classic horror movies often think of these films in terms of one success leading inevitably to another but the resistance to bringing these macabre tales to the screen was strong. ‘It’s Alive’ presents an excellent look at the battle to create not just one movie but an entire cycle of them that changed how Hollywood thought about horror cinema.   Of course, I can’t have a discussion that touches on the Universal horror films without the conversation spiraling out to other movies in the series. We dig a little into favorite entries including defenses of some of the underpraised films of later years. As expected, Mr. Stone is a Monster Kid from way back and his love for these film shines through. We had a great time talking and I can highly recommend It’s Alive!   If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the place to write or send voice messages. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 
11/25/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 37 seconds
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160 - CODE NAME: WILD GEESE (1984)

Adrian Smith joins me as we return to our long-term discussion of the films of Antonio Margheriti. In the 1980’s he made several ‘military men on a mission’ films for various producers. These movies aped everything from THE DIRTY DOZEN to RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 (1985) accomplishing much with meager budgets. Margheriti’s expertise in special effect work and miniatures were a major help in keeping costs under control. These sometimes great and sometimes insane effects are part of the fun, especially as we get higher definition prints that allow for certain crazy details to become evident.   CODE NAME: WILD GEESE (1984) was the first of trio of jungle action movies Margheriti made with British actor Lewis Collins in the lead and it is easy to see why Collins was briefly considered to play James Bond. He projects ‘tough guy’ hardness well and is a solid actor to boot. This film surrounds him with an international cast including an Oscar winner (Ernest Borgnine) and a couple of classic screen bad guys playing nice (Lee Van Cleef and Klaus Kinski) giving everything a sweaty sheen of near-respectability, even if Kinski is very oddly dubbed. Throw in a ridiculous car chase, a few dozen explosions, gratuitous Mimsy Farmer, a surprise villainous turn and it is easy to overlook the regularly disappearing plot, ill-defined motivations and bizarre effects choices. This one is fun in all the over-the-top ways that 1980’s action cinema aimed to be. So, hop into that small helicopter and let’s torch some opium fields for exciting but vague reasons! Woo hoo!   The show’s email is [email protected] and we’d love to hear your thoughts on this or any of Antonio Margheriti’s films. And join Adrian and I on our other program Wild, Wild Podcast as we start a season focused on Luigi Cozzi! Thanks for listening! 
11/7/20221 hour, 43 minutes, 23 seconds
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159 - HORRIBLE SEXY VAMPIRE (1971)

Cort Psyops returns to discuss THE HORRIBLE SEXY VAMPIRE (1970)! Just how many words in this title accurately describe the film’s contents? Woo boy. Your mileage may vary…… Recently rescued from dodgy video presentations by Mondo Macabro, this Spanish oddity is one of the stranger examples of Euro-Horror. We start our discussion remarking that the story behind the making of the film is probably more interesting than the film itself, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of onscreen elements to puzzle over. While the movie does sport a standard Lugosi-style vampire lurking around gothic places, the majority of the killings are handled nontraditionally. By that I mean that this vampire can somehow render himself invisible! Was this a stylistic choice on the filmmakers’ part or a budgetary one? It hardly matters as it creates one of the more memorable aspects of the movie. Watching victims flail about fighting someone that isn’t there is sure to keep you staring at the screen wondering just how crazy things will get.   Mondo Macabro’s Blu-Ray has a few excellent extras that give an explanation for how and why this film was made. The most interesting information involves the star of the picture how he started an acting career. This disc proves that any film can be made fascinating the more you know about it. I can only imagine what viewers in the past thought of this bizarre movie with no frame of reference for what went on behind the scenes. This is the kind of thing I live for! If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the place to send them. Cort and I thank you for your time and attention! Happy Halloween. 
10/22/20221 hour, 37 minutes, 38 seconds
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158 - SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943)

Troy, Beth and I convene to discuss the fourth of Universal’s Sherlock Holmes film series! Of course, the show is packed with spoilers but we just can’t resist.   SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943) is based on an original Holmes story by Doyle, ‘The Musgrave Ritual,’ and has our favorite detective investigating what might be a cursed family. Pressed into wartime service Doctor Watson has been helping out at Musgrave Manor which is serving as a convalescent home for shell-shocked Allied officers. His young assistant, Dr. Sexton, is attacked with a knife and nearly killed. Watson travels to London to bring Holmes back with him, but upon their arrival they find the head of the household, Geoffrey Musgrave, dead. The lead suspect is an American airman, Vickery (returning Universal horror player Milburn Stone), who is in love with the youngest Musgrave, Sally (Hillary Brooke making her second appearance in the series) and was planned to marry her against Geoffrey’s wishes. The always-befuddled Inspector Lestrade shows up and quickly arrests him but Holmes knows there is more going on than such a simple murder. Might there be supernatural shenanigans afoot? Is there really a curse on the Musgrave family? And how does the game of chess factor into everything?   We dig into this nicely creepy film that shows a decided swing away from the espionage storylines of the first three of the series. All three of us are happy to finally have a scary Holmes tale to discuss even as we point out how many of the gothic touches don’t amount to much in the final analysis. After all, when is a broken clock just a broken clock? Beth brings up the story of Universal’s brilliant costume designer Vera West which adds some unexpected mystery to the conversation. I express my dislike of one element in the movie that presents the audience with false information. Troy takes note of how long Lestrade is lost in the secret passages in Musgrave Manor’s walls which is less time than I would have guessed.   We hope you enjoy our conversation and [email protected] is the email address for comments on the episode. Thank you for listening and have a happy October! 
10/8/20221 hour, 34 minutes, 24 seconds
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157 - RED SONJA (1985)

Cort Psyops returns to the show to talk sword and sorcery!   RED SONJA (1985) is a film that gets very little respect even among hardcore cult film fans. Cort and I feel this is an oversight and we take about two and half hours to make our case! Hopefully you will join us on our quest.   Both of us are coming off of seeing the film on high-definition disc which enhances our appreciation of the visuals, especially the old school special effects craftsmanship. Who cares if that strange giant spider doesn’t really work! Wheel that sucker out there and photograph it correctly for the desired effect.   We discuss the movie’s strange production with last minute casting of the lead and extended participation from Arnold Schwarzenegger bending the story into different shape. I lament the lack of a novelization but I do point out some fascination information that can be gleaned from the Marvel comics adaptation. We discuss the multi-ethnic cast, the gorgeous cinematography and the incredible production design that shows off every penny of the budget. We talk a bit about the slight differences that make for a PG-13 rating rather than an R with this film flashing enough blood to make us wish for a more violent cut. The film’s stunt coordinator is given his due as we praise the visceral feel of the sword fights as well as the many ways that the wonderful score brings the entire movie to life. This really is a fun adventure film and I’m glad to see that it has aged well.   If you also love this odd sword & sorcery film [email protected] is where you can send your memories of seeing it for the first time. Are you like Cort who caught it between HBO screening s of BEASTMASTER? Or did you get to see it in the theater in 1985? Podcasters want to know! And thanks for listening. 
9/22/20222 hours, 30 minutes, 37 seconds
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156 - BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)

This is a very special episode. John Hudson joins me to discuss BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997) but that is only half the fun. We also got the chance to talk to actress Jane Hamilton who appears in the film as a judge. Under her stage name Veronica Hart, Miss Hamilton was a major star of adult movies in the period depicted in BOOGIE NIGHTS and is therefore the perfect person to answer questions about the industry and its onscreen Hollywood portrayal. She has many stories to tell and not just about the pornography business either. We had so much fun talking with her that the conversation went on for nearly an hour and a half with more than a few digressions! Hopefully you’ll enjoy her tales as much as we did.   We end the show with some classic adult film recommendations from Mr. Hudson which might send you off to your favorite DVD/Blu-Ray retailer to satisfy your curiosity. If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the place to write. Or you could join us over on the FaceBook page but keep it clean or the Zuck will get us for sure. I’ve added a song from The Exotic Ones and thank you for listening! 
9/8/20222 hours, 50 minutes, 2 seconds
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155 - THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973)

John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard return for a roundtable discussion of THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973).   Typical of exploitation cinema of the 1970’s this is a grimy, mean-spirited tale of crime and consequences. The story follows a trio of not-quite-as-smart-as-they-think low lives as they kidnap a jewelry store manger’s daughter. Expecting an easily scored diamond ransom their scheme goes sour and, when they start trying to turn their busted plan into a success, things get quickly worse. The sweat, fear and desperation combine to make for a tense, uncomfortable film experience with an ending that stamps this as one of the darkest American films of the period. I once thought of this as a one-time watch but my opinion has changed.   We briefly discuss the terrible crime that inspired the film and how the long-term details point out the folly of most criminal activity. We talk about the cast and crew with some fantastic information from the two main female actors. Writer/director Guerdon Trueblood is also on the record about the entire history of the production and we share a few of his amusing tales as we go along. Bobby expresses his dislike of the reoccurring theme tune and neither John or I can really disagree with his assessment. Of course, that means you get to hear it as part of the show. Sorry.   If you have any comments or suggestions or comments [email protected] is the place to write. We’ll be back to cover STUNT ROCK eventually. We end the show with a new song from Chagall Guevara. Thank you for listening! 
8/24/20221 hour, 56 minutes, 15 seconds
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154 - Mail Bag and Announcements

Other projects have thrown off my podcasting schedule so I present this short episode as a bridge to our next full show. Troy joins me to respond to a couple of emails addressing some questions about THE MECHANIC. This includes some fascinating insight into director Michael Winner’s reputation from someone who has interviewed him! Exciting. We hint around about some of the projects that have been occupying our time recently without giving away any information we shouldn’t. I think.   I also make public my plea for a certain genre of adventure films to get more love and attention from Blu-Ray companies. We dart off in odd directions a few times with Ken Russell movies and lesser known Michael Caine films getting some discussion.   If you want to be a part of future mailbag segments [email protected] is the address. Let us know what you think and we’ll be back soon. 
8/11/202251 minutes, 49 seconds
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153 - THE GREEN ARCHER (1961)

Author Nicholas Schlegel joins me for a deep dive into the underappreciated genre of the ‘krimi’! These underseen films are German adaptations of Edgar Wallace crime novels. During their most popular period in the 1960’s more than four or five were being released every year and they remained a huge box office draw for nearly fifteen years. Mr. Schlegel has just published a book about these crime thrillers called ‘German Popular Cinema and the Rialto Krimi Phenomenon: Dark Eyes of London’ and it is a perfect springboard for discussion.   THE GREEN ARCHER (1961) came pretty early in the cycle and is a good example of the black & white period of the series. At this time the scripts were trying to stick as close as possible to the adapted novel’s content which can make for an often confusing number of characters and subplots. Luckily, the film’s fast pace and sly humor keep the many strange happenings from feeling overwhelming with most loose ends wrapped up in the ‘ende’. Mr. Schlegel and I range across the krimi output of Rialto productions discussing the changes the series went through including moving to color and the gradually increasing horror elements incorporated into the scripts. We touch on the production history of the films and their evolution into another genre altogether. Eventually we compare lists of favorites with some concern for how to break the films down for newcomers or the mildly curious. We both hope that bringing attention to these entertaining gems will encourage more people to give them a try.   If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas [email protected] is the address. Let us know about your favorite krimi and how you discovered the genre as well. If you could, please rate and review the podcast wherever you grab it. And thanks for listening! 
7/24/20221 hour, 50 minutes, 19 seconds
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152 - THE MECHANIC (1972)

Author Paul Talbot has published two important books about Charles Bronson and his career. Both ‘Bronson’s Loose: The Making of the Death Wish Films’ and ‘Bronson’s Loose Again: On the Set with Charles Bronson’ are packed with information about the production of some of the most interesting action thrillers movies of the 1970’s and 80’s.   I was honored that Mr. Talbot agreed to join me on the show to talk about one of my favorite 1970’s Bronson movies. I’ve long been a fan of Bronson’s long string of crime movies and THE MECHANIC (1972) is easily one of the best of the lot. We discuss the lengthy gestation period of the script, the major changes that it went through over time and the various actors that passed on playing the titular character. We also look at the location shooting on skid row in Los Angeles and how it offers modern viewers a window to another time and place. Director Michael Winner’s multiple collaborations with his star are touched upon and Mr. Talbot’s insights are backed up with his interviews with the sometimes controversial filmmaker. Of course, when you get two movie nuts talking it is difficult to stay on a single topic so a number of Bronson’s other vehicles are dragged into the conversation with both of us naming our three favorite Bronson films for comparison. These slightly off-topic sideroads are frequent but we do usually circle back to THE MECHANIC – I promise.   If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening to the show and I’ll be back soon with more. 
6/22/20221 hour, 35 minutes, 4 seconds
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151 - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1998)

During a recent rewatch of Dario Argento’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1998) I typed out my real time reactions to the film on FaceBook. Several friends played along, seeming to share my dislike of the film and enjoying my detailing of the bits that struck me as nonsensical or bizarre. But one person stood up for this strange version of the Gaston Leroux tale and now he and I discuss our disparate takes on this odd effort. Troy Howarth returns to the show to defend the film that was many people’s breaking point with Argento. We forgo an in-depth synopsis and simply dive straight into picking apart the various points of disagreement about the film’s quality. Strangely enough, we find several details and scenes that we both admire but mostly our discussion involves me bringing up the elements I dislike and Troy providing a defense. I’m impressed with his resistance to my repeated appeals to sanity and logic but since neither of those things usually factor into an Argento film, he has cinema history on his side. Luckily, I think our conversation is pretty lively and might even make fans that hate this odd film give it a second look. If you want to put in your two cents about this film or any other that we’ve covered on the show [email protected] is the place to send messages. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon!  
6/6/20222 hours, 2 minutes, 32 seconds
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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 [email protected] 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! 
5/22/20221 hour, 39 minutes, 40 seconds
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149 - MURDER ROCK (1984)

Lucio Fulci’s MURDER ROCK (1984) is not considered the director’s finest work but in this episode Troy Guinn, Jeff Nelson and I mount a defense of the film. We take a look at several aspects of the film that are rarely discussed including the excellent cinematography and the script’s clever red herrings. It’s standard for a murder mystery to throw suspicion on most of the cast but several of the suspects in this case are real nasty pieces of work! How often do you have one character falsely confess to the killing and another try to use the murder method to cover their own desire to be rid of a rival? It certainly keeps things lively even if it makes for a difficult knot to untangle. We discuss the cast while marveling at the number of actors/dancers that don’t get screen credit. The central dream sequence comes under scrutiny as part of the mid-80’s intrusion of music video style into cinema. We mull over the nearly bloodless nature of the murders as a possible concession to the angry response Fulci received for his previous New York set thriller. We also give our opinions on the often-derided score from the legendary Keith Emerson who seems destined to be insulted for his contributions to this film for eternity. In all, it is a fun ramble through an often-overlooked giallo. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions [email protected] is the place to write or drop a recording of your thoughts. We love hearing from you so jump in! Thank you for listening.
4/20/20221 hour, 36 minutes, 7 seconds
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148 - CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943)

We enter into one of the odder areas of the 1940’s Universal Horrors with CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943)! The few jungle girl movies made by the studio in the decade can be seen as a slightly faltering bridge between the occasional jungle themed serials of the 1930’s, the Weissmuller Tarzan series and the rapid growth of such film and television tales in the 1950’s. By the time the Jungle Jim and Bomba films were Saturday matinee staples Sheena and Ramar were also enticing young viewers at home. These tales of wild animals, poachers and evil treasure hunters were perfect adventure fodder for young minds and if the subject was a leopard skin clad Jungle Girl then you might even find a few adults tuning in for the action. CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN is an attempt to build a mad scientist horror film out of a lot of exciting circus footage. It is more effective than you might expect but the ratio of horror stuff to circus stuff is probably weighted in the wrong direction. Troy and I chew our popcorn while watching the spectacle! Deciding which parts work and which ones are very strange occupy most of our time but we discuss the cast and director with some detail too.  We only get a short period of time with Acquanetta’s silent wild woman/gorilla character but the 1932 animal act footage is skillfully integrated into the film almost making you forget this is supposed to be a horror tale. Luckily, John Carradine is one of the smoothest mad scientists of all time so it’s a joy to watch him slither across the screen. The show can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you and we do wonder who you would name as best Jungle Girl or most impressive Mad Scientist. Thank you for listening!
4/2/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 15 seconds
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147 - FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (1973)

Where is the line between grotesque horror and dark comedy? Paul Morrisey’s FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (1973) explores that blurry line with colorful delight. Often known as Andy Warhol’s FRANKENSTEIN this is a one-of-a-kind experience and is now finally available on Bly-Ray! Mark Maddox and I discuss the film and our history with it as we look at what we like and/or love about this bizarre piece of cinema. The movie was produced without a full script while the director composed pages on the way to Cinecittà Studios every day of its three week shoot. This creates a strangely meandering story about Baron Frankenstein (Udo Kier) attempting to bring about a Serbian master race by creating a perfect mating pair. As you might expect, things do not go as planned. Scattered about the story we find the mad doctor’s sister/wife, their creepy children and the lower-class servants who are asked to participate in some grisly experiments. It’s a bloody, nudity filled madhouse of a movie and is sure to please or anger an almost equal number of viewers. Our talk ranges from the very talented cast and the opulent sets to the well-done gore effects and the disgusting visuals. Of course, by the end we are off track and talking about other things but we start with good intentions. Forgive us! The email address is [email protected] and we’d love to know your thoughts on this odd work of cinema or any other subject we bump up against in our discussion. Thank you for listening.
3/20/20221 hour, 45 minutes, 20 seconds
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146 - BEYOND DARKNESS (1990)

John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard join me to discuss out 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 [email protected] is the place to send them. Thank you for listening to us go on about things and we’ll be back soon. 
2/26/20222 hours, 2 minutes, 30 seconds
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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 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 Luigi 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 [email protected] is the place to send them. We’d love to know what’s on your mind. Thank you for listening to the show!
2/12/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 11 seconds
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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 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 aired. I snipped out the ExLax ads for your mental health!   Thank you for listening and if you have any comments [email protected] is the show’s address. We’ll be back soon with a new episode! 
1/29/20221 hour, 42 minutes, 15 seconds
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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 [email protected] and we’d love to hear from you too. Thank you for listening to the show and we’ll be back soon. 
1/14/20221 hour, 54 minutes, 42 seconds
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142 - DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS

Holiday Horrors returns for 2021!   John Hudson, Troy Guinn and I discuss the amazing French Christmas film DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS (1989). Although we had never even heard of this movie until Vinegar Syndrome released it on disc last year it has become a fast favorite for all three of us. It’s an amalgam of horror, action and coming of age stories that manages to hit nearly every emotional beat that it targets. On Christmas Eve, ten-year-old Thomas is determined to get evidence of Santa’s existence so he sets up his high-tech equipment to videotape him on his rounds. Unfortunately, the lad has accidentally gained the attention of a crazed man who dresses himself as the jolly old elf and makes the little boy the object of his homicidal curiosity. With his mother working late it is up to Thomas alone to protect his aged grandfather and stop the deadly St. Nick from killing all through the house. Who will survive? Simultaneously beautiful to look at and tensely suspenseful DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS is a worthy addition to the list of scary stories centered around the year end holidays. Filled with Christmas atmosphere and luminous visuals it checks all the boxes for candy colored feel-good sentiment but then drops its likable characters into a vicious home invasion scenario. The killer Santa’s motivations are never revealed which makes his actions all the more terrifying and unpredictable. And although this film plays out a story similar to 1990’s HOME ALONE, there are real consequences to violence in this movie and truly deadly stakes if Thomas fails to defeat his nearly silent adversary.   We talk about the film’s production taking note of the combination of real locations and elaborate stage work. The director’s ability to seamlessly meld the real and unreal allows the film to achieve some surprising moments and it’s not a shock to learn he went on to do high quality work in Hollywood. We have a good time discussing this great little movie with only a few short tangents about illegal VHS tape dubbing along the way. Oh! And at one point we are interrupted by a stack of my new Blu-Rays tumbling over into my chair. Sorry. I’ve been too busy to put them away.   The show winds down with an email from a fan of the show and a text from another co-host. They’re trying to wear me down, folks! If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the address. Thank you for listening! 
12/12/20211 hour, 31 minutes, 58 seconds
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141 - Space: 1999 with John Kenneth Muir

John Kenneth Muir has been writing about film and television for more than twenty-five years. His published works range in subject matter from the horror films of various decades and books focused on individual movie directors to in-depth tomes about several different science fiction television series. His first published book was about a much maligned Gerry Anderson produced science fiction show from the 1970’s called Space: 1999. The two seasons of that show have recently been released on Blu-Ray by Scream Factory, reigniting my interest in engaging with its highs and lows. Forgotten by most but beloved by many Space: 1999 has always been an odd series that is somewhat difficult for a broad audience to embrace, but its finer points are extraordinary, its special effects are superb and the production rarely lacked ambition. It is a television program ripe for rediscovery even in this age of endless streaming possibilities.   Mr. Muir and I discuss the show from the perspective of a novel he wrote several years ago that uses the first season episode ‘Space Brain’ as a starting point. Along the way we talk about our own history with Space: 1999 and how our opinions have changed over time. The stark differences between the first and second season are debated and we certainly engage in the age-old conversation about favorite and least favorite episodes. The scientific implausibility inherent in the show’s set-up are hashed over with a number of details explained about how various writers acknowledged the biggest one within the body of their scripts. We discuss the philosophical approach taken by the show’s creators and how it differs from what people expected from sci-fi TV in the 70’s – and possibly today. We do get off track at one point and talk about a few horror movies, but we are soon back onto MoonBase Alpha – I promise!  If you have anything to say about Space: 1999 or any other subject we talk about in the show [email protected] is the place to send your emails. We’ll be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the podcast. 
11/22/20212 hours, 9 minutes, 7 seconds
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140 - FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943)

Troy and I rejoin the Universal Horror Films of the 1940’s, already in progress.  With FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN (1943) Universal’s monster films took off in a radical and cinema altering direction. For the first time the studio combined characters from two different series into one new story regardless of the things that have to be ignored to make this work. In what decade are we supposed to think this movie is happening? It’s a sequel to THE WOLF MAN (1941) which took place firmly in the 1940’s but it’s also a sequel to THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942) which seemed to be happening in the early 1900’s. And dialog clearly states here that four years have passed since Larry Talbot was killed by his father, so mid-1940’s would seem to be accurate. But everything feels like WWI never occurred and certainly like WWII wasn’t a factor in anyone’s thinking. Welcome to the alternative world of Universal Land where several European decades are mashed together with bits taken from any time and place to create a habitat where monsters can come together to work toward shared goals. And then try to kill each other!  We plunge immediately into our long-awaited discussion of this classic, pulling on every loose plot string we can find and marveling at the bizarre changes from the previous movies. Was the last film’s finale set in a modern hospital or an ancient ancestral castle? Who cares! We just need to get a massive amount of dynamite into the hands of the local hot-headed pub owner so we can drown everyone and a castle looks much cooler being ripped apart by water. Fire last time so water this time! How did they never end one of these movies using an earthquake? It seems like the obvious next step. And then a tornado. But, I digress.   In just under two hours we talk about the fine cast, the wonderful atmosphere, the decision to edit out all of Bela Lugosi’s dialog and some subtle moments that are often overlooked even by fans. To us it seems clear that the written work of Doctor Frankenstein must be destroyed if for no other reason that it has the power to turn even most mild-mannered physician into a mad scientist. I mean, damn! Has there ever been a faster turn to the dark side than Dr. Mannering? Were there any warning signs at all?   We hope you enjoy the show and [email protected] is how we can be contacted. The next film in this series is another Sherlock adventure and we’ll have a new NaschyCast episode up soon too. Thanks for listening. 
11/9/20211 hour, 58 minutes, 21 seconds
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139 - EVILSPEAK (1981)

I am joined by John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard to discuss another strange horror film from the 1980’s.   EVILSPEAK (1981) is an independently made supernatural tale of teenage bullies and the righteous revenge eventually visited upon them. It introduces us to poor charity case Stanley Coopersmith (the great Clint Howard) attending a California military academy where he is the target of verbal and physical abuse from most of his classmates. Oddly, he is also insulted and demeaned by the faculty as if he is somehow repulsive to their vision of who should be allowed in this school. What is a miserable misfit to do? Of course, any and all similarities to CARRIE (1976) are completely on purpose. But is it any good?   John Hudson makes his case for this often-maligned horror movie with more than a little pushback from the rest of us. We all agree that the film is character actor heaven with R. G. Armstrong, Richard Moll, Claude Earl Jones, Charles Tyner, Joe Cortese and Hamilton Camp lending their skills to the slow destruction of Clint Howard’s sad loser, Coopersmith. But the film has a number of points of interest beyond the cast. For cinephiles curious about movies that present early 80’s computers being used to accidentally invoke a centuries dead Spanish Satanic monk so that hell on earth can be unleashed – this is your film! If you have ever wondered what an attack of satanic pigs erupting from the netherworld would look like – this is your film! If the sight of a sweaty Clint Howard makes you happy – this is your film! If you are working your way through a list of the British Video Nasties – this is one you have to see. And if you are curious to see what one million dollars and a three-week shooting schedule can give you in 1981 – here you are! We can’t promise a smooth ride or that you won’t spot the flying-harness wires but we do all agree that the pig and sword violence infused finale is well worth seeing. It’s debatable that this is good, but it certainly is EVILSPEAK good!   If you have any comments or concerns for our sanity [email protected] is the address. Let know what you think! We’ll veer back into covering European films shot in America next time out. 
10/28/20211 hour, 42 minutes, 49 seconds
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138 - Creepy Sherlock Radio!

For your October listening pleasure here are a couple of spooky Sherlock Holmes radio tales!   Beth has chosen these two as representative of the scary end of the classic radio format featuring the great detective. The first is from the 1940’s and is titles The Adventure of the Carpathian Horror so you know it’s going to be fun – with a splash of vampires! It has Nigel Bruce continuing his run as Dr. Watson and Tom Conway taking over from Basil Rathbone as Holmes. The second features Kevin McCarthy in the role for the CBS Mystery Theater and was originally broadcast in 1977. I think it is a solid version of that tale of a spectral hound! You know – the one that haunts the Baskervilles. I’ve edited out most of the commercials from the show but I left in one to give you a taste of what radio sounded like in the late 1970’s. Forgive me!   If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the address to which you can send them. We’d be glad to hear from you! 
10/23/20211 hour, 37 minutes, 43 seconds
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#137 - SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON (1943)

Join Troy, Beth and I as we check out the second of Universal’s Sherlock Holmes adventures.  SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON (1943) is - as you might have guessed – another World War II tale full of intrigue and subterfuge. The story allows spy-master Holmes the chance for a few interesting disguises and the opportunity to match wits with his long-time rival Professor Moriarty! It seems that the Napoleon of Crime has hatched a plan to profit from the war regardless of the damage it will do to good old England. Is there nothing that villainous snake won’t get up to in his quest for monetary gain? Surely it is time to put an end to his nefarious plots.  We dig into the film to examine the success the studio had converting the Victorian detective to a soldier in the fight against the Nazi. I have been reading two books that focus in different ways on this series and use them to broaden our discussion a bit. Amanda Field’s ‘England’s Secret Weapon’ is especially interesting, pointing us toward several topics that lurk under the surface of these fast, entertaining movies. We are repeatedly brought back to how fascinating it is to watch these movies with the knowledge that the filmmakers had no way to know how this devastating war would turn out or how dark the future might be. Of course, that doesn’t keep us from babbling praise for the fine actors including our last chance to see Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill paired together onscreen. What we wouldn’t give to have seen many more.  As you might expect, our love for the movie doesn’t keep us from cracking a few jokes including our alternate title of SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DANGEROUS PUB CRAWL. When you go hunting for Moriarty in London during the Blitz you end up doing some risky things! Thank goodness for Watson.  If you have any Holmesian comments or suggestions [email protected] is the place to send them. 
10/5/20211 hour, 41 minutes, 24 seconds
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136 - FRANKENSTEIN AND ME (1996)

In this episode I welcome filmmaker Robert Tinnell and film historian Anthony Taylor to the podcast for a discussion of the 1996 movie FRANKENSTEIN AND ME, which was conceived and directed by Mr. Tinnell. The film is a funny, touching tale of a young monster obsessed kid with an active imagination and what happens when he accidentally gets his hands on the real Frankenstein Monster! Having the movie’s writer/director along makes for a different kind of show!  We dig into Bob’s inspiration for the film’s story including his childhood monster fandom and his dreams as a young director. The production of FRANKENSTEIN AND ME is examined as well as the original version of the story and the freewheeling times in which an independent Canadian film like this could come together. We talk about the great cast that includes Burt Reynolds, Louise Fletcher and the first film role for a teenaged Ryan Gosling. The conversation turns into what you might find after hours in the bar at a monster movie convention with topics such as Robert McCammon’s novel ‘Boy’s Life’, the writing skill of Peter Straub and the joys of comic books as a medium. We dart off onto several barely related tangents with one of the most satisfying being our mutual love of the DVD of Monster Kid Home Movies put together by the great Joe Busam.  That collection of Super 8 homemade films of Monster Kids showcasing the mad energy of the childhood creative impulse shows the clear beginnings of Bob Tinnell’s path to this film. And finally, we discuss the fact that the film has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray and the possibilities of that happening one day soon.   If you have any questions or comments [email protected] is the place to send them. We’ll be thrilled to hear from you. Thanks for listening to the show! 
9/21/20211 hour, 56 minutes, 33 seconds
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135 - WILD WILD PLANET (1966)

I have talked about this film on many occasions and on several different podcasts but never on my own show. After all, there are hundreds of films I want to discuss and this one has had some attention around the podcasting dial.  But Mark Maddox loves this one almost as much as I do so he insisted that we make time to praise it as it deserves! Who am I say no?  We start by relating our history with WILD, WILD PLAMET (1966) and first impressions from our younger days. After some fumbling with the titles of the other three Gamma One films, we talk about the relative merits of the various Antonio Margheriti science fiction films and even loop in THE GREEN SLIME. Part of the discussions revolves around the character stereotypes that the film uses and what they represent both as tropes and storytelling shortcuts. Mark makes note of a 1960’s German television series (Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion - literal translation: “Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion”) that reminds him of some of the better attributes of space opera stories and this film too. I have to find English subtitled versions of that show!   The film’s strong body horror elements are put under the microscope as we relate it to the public fascination with the then emergent field of organ transplantation. This leads us into dissections of several of the special effects and especially the variable quality of the miniatures. Fire gives the game away nearly every time! And then we point out the several threads the movie leaves dangling including the fate of the room of mad scientist experimental mistakes. Were they drowned in the blood flood? We may never know.  If you have any questions or comments [email protected] is the podcast’s email address. Thank you for listening! 
9/7/20211 hour, 47 minutes, 50 seconds
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134 - 1941 (1979)

We don’t cover many comedies on The Bloody Pit for various reasons but 1941 (1979) ticks off many boxes for genre fans that makes it nearly perfect for discussion. Toshiro Mifune and Christopher Lee as bickering military leaders trapped together in a submarine? Is this a humorous variation on HELL IN THE PACFIC (1968) hiding in plain sight?  Mark Maddox joins me to dig into our mutual fascination with this much criticized epic of American madness and wartime paranoia. Told before production that they should make a serious World War II film on the subject instead of a comedy, Spielberg and his team forged ahead with their warped vision of post-Pearl Harbor attack fears. It’s an ambitious tale with dozens of characters and multiple storylines that slowly escalates into a long December night of chaos and violence. I’m sure that a serious movie about this historical incident could be made but I’m so glad that this farce exists in its place. 1941 is one of my favorite comedies of all time and I never cease to laugh at the insanity every time I watch it.  Using the sprawling template of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1964) we are given a scenario ripe with potential sparks while the plot scatters metaphorical open barrels of gasoline around to how they explode in flames. Combining oddball comedic characters with characters that are taking the spiraling events seriously keeps the entire affair grounded enough to seem believable and suspenseful enough to be thrilling. The nutty folks’ antics never overpower the forward momentum of the wild story even in the extended version of the film that Mark and I discuss. We talk about our first encounters with the film, its effect on us at the time and how popular opinion of it has changed over the years. We dig into the huge cast of amazing actors and debate some of the performances. The topic of the John Williams score is broached with a snippet or two of the music inserted into the show and we marvel at the amazing miniature work in the film’s climax. We do get off-track at least once trying to decide what Spielberg’s worst movie might be. As usual, Mark is wrong!  If you know which Spielberg film is the weakest the email address is [email protected] where we’d love to hear from you. And if you think Mark and I should just bash in each other’s heads and call it a day – let us know that too! Thanks for listening to the show. 
8/22/20212 hours, 16 minutes, 22 seconds
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133 - NIGHT MONSTER (1942)

Troy Guinn and I jump back to the 1940’s for our next Universal horror film of that decade.  NIGHT MONSTER (1942) has two ‘horror stars’ first billed in the credits – Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill – leading first time viewers to expect them to feature heavily in the scary tale being told. But both actors are relegated to supporting roles which gives unexpected players the chance to step forward and take the position of possible villain. This sidelining of Lugosi and Atwill has been cited for years as the reason this is less well known than it might otherwise be, but I would argue the opposite should be true. By allowing actors not usually associated with the genre to step forward and take on the prime roles NIGHT MONSTER becomes a rare thing in Universal’s horror output on the 40’s – a real mystery! And, to make it more impressive, the film attempts to create an entirely new screen monster that the studio could have used in the future. That the choice was made to continue producing Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy sequels probably speaks more to making safe money decisions than to a desire for new, creative monsters and that is a shame.  We enthusiastically dive into this film asking all the usual questions horror movie fans have posited for decades. We don’t have all the answers but we do have some solid speculation and a few guesses. We remark on the casting choices including having a female doctor play such a prominent role. The treatment of Hindu mysticism in the story without the expected condescension for such ‘foreign’ religions is surprising, as is the relatively adult tone of the entire affair. The film strikes a more modern attitude in several ways even if it still seems to take place in a time oddly unaware of the then current war. We also note that the film seems to drop at least one character (Lugosi’s!) from the finale without ever letting us know if he was complicit in the crimes taking place in and around the crazy old dark house. The oddest point in the show might be when I conjure a fictious Three Dog Night song out of thin air leaving only a little blood on the floor!  If you have any comments or questions about the show [email protected] is the email account and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show! 
8/7/20211 hour, 54 minutes, 26 seconds
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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 Pleasence 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 [email protected] 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.
7/24/20211 hour, 58 minutes, 1 second
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131 - THE MUMMY'S TOMB (1942)

Troy and I return to the Mummy movies made by Universal Studios in the 1940’s.   THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1942) has always been the film in this series that is the easiest to dump on. It begins with almost ten minutes of flashback footage from the previous movie THE MUMMY’S HAND (1940) and with a running time that barely breaks the one-hour mark it is one of the shortest features Universal ever released. Add to the film’s perceived crimes the decision to advance the story thirty years and bump off the first film’s cast and you have the foundation of decades of fan sneering. But is this film truly as bereft of horror thrills or as ridiculous as the carping has claimed? A deeper look may reveal some hidden qualities.  In this episode Troy and I follow Kharis through his change of actor and his change of address to Middleton, USA as the undead Egyptian monster stalks those who dared to violate the tomb of Ananka. We talk about the addition of Lon Chaney to the cast, the mysterious survival of the previous film’s High Priest and the fact that the 1970’s look a lot like the 1940’s. We use Thomas Feramisco’s book The Mummy Unwrapped to explore the alterations made from script to screen complete with the details of a few choice bits that should have been left in the film. I lay out my preferred version of this story and we discuss how some of the changes make for a less involving return for the characters. I think longtime listeners will be shocked by our final assessment of this entry as well as our ratings near the end.  We are joined by Beth in the final show segment for some feedback about our recent Sherlock Holmes episodes. It seems that some radio shows are not so accurate in their geological descriptions of England! And then we wrap the episode with a song from Nashville’s amazing punk band Peachy, giving us a blast of rock coolness for the summer. 
6/20/20211 hour, 48 minutes, 4 seconds
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130 - HARD BOILED (1992)

John Hudson returns to the show to discuss one of director John Woo’s greatest achievements.  The Hong Kong genre known as ‘Heroic Bloodshed’ was born out of a desire to move away from martial arts action stories and to present a different vision of the modern criminal underclass. Triad tales quickly  became the Hong Kong version of American gangster movies with the addition of the viciousness being turned up to eleven! At the forefront of this movement was John Woo, who employed slow motion shots and graphic bullet hits in ways not seen since the days of Sam Peckinpah’s ‘beautiful violence’ movies such as THE WILD BUNCH (1969). And, like Peckinpah, Woo built his films around tales of men of violence trying to forge a path through a world that often rejects them because of their bloody ways. The films are exciting and tense but with a sympathetic core that serves to enhance their emotional effect on the viewer. The characters in a John Woo film are not just cartoon heroes and villains set In place to fight each other for our amusement. They become people we are invested in seeing succeed even as we harbor doubts about their motivations. Violently complex, perhaps?   After a brief look at how we first encountered HARD BOILED (1992) Hudson and I dig into the film to find the things that still impress us nearly thirty years later. The movie’s rollercoaster ride structure and protracted final ‘cops vs gangsters’ battle make up a lot of our conversation but we also remark on the acting that sells the central character’s internal conflicts. Our personal history with collecting the film is a topic as well as the ways we sought out Woo’s earlier gangster movies from bootleggers. Hudson’s tale of seeking guidance from a professional to obtain the film’s soundtrack CD is a surprise and ties strangely into his recent rewatch of NYPD Blue! Connections are often in the oddest places.   Any comments or suggestions can be sent to [email protected] where we’ll be glad to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show! 
6/6/20211 hour, 23 minutes, 9 seconds
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129 - William Castle Westerns Part 4

Monster Kid Radio’s Derek Koch makes his belated return to the show so that we can finally wrap up our multipart series on William Castle westerns of the 1950’s! It certainly took us long enough, huh? Without us realizing it this episode could have been labeled a Patricia Medina double feature! But are these last two movies actually westerns? Listen and find out.  DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955) is close since it takes place in 1820’s Louisiana and it involves a duel with pistols. But it is really much more a plantation adventure with river pirates stealing sugarcane and a romantic plotline that is more than obvious from the beginning. It’s a colorful widescreen tale filled with bad guys, a sort-of bad girl and a fair amount of time spent on a riverboat. The cast is uniformly excellent with easily a dozen faces familiar to fans of older movies with Lex Barker and Miss Medina leading the dance. We spend a good deal of time discussing her career and marveling at her range.  URANIUM BOOM (1956) is a much more modern tale focused on the men swarming through Colorado in the 1950’s as part of the rush to find the titular radioactive ore. Dennis Morgan and William Talman become partners in search of riches but run into trouble when they realize they are in love with the same woman. The film becomes a darker tale than expected with these two men fighting to control their mining operation and with Talman’s character pulling some downright nasty tricks to break up his buddy’s marriage. It’s an interesting story and well worth seeing even if Miss Medina has significantly less screen time than in the earlier picture.  If you have any comments or suggestions about the podcast or this episode in particular [email protected] is where we can be reached. And, of course, Derek can be heard every single week over on Monster Kid Radio. How does he do it? Thanks for listening! 
5/12/20211 hour, 48 minutes, 44 seconds
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128 - SEVEN DEATHS IN A CAT'S EYE (1973)

Adrian Smith comes back to the show to discuss this giallo dressed up in gothic clothing.   Longtime listeners to The Bloody Pit will notice that this is the second time I’ve talked about SEVEN DEATHS IN A CAT’S EYE (1973) on the podcast. Normally we wouldn’t repeat a film but Adrian really wanted the chance to pick apart this colorful Antonio Margheriti film and compare it to his earlier black & white gothic movies. Plus it’s coming out on Blu-Ray in the states soon so now might be the time for it to reach a larger audience. We talk about the cast, the use of colored lighting and the oddities of giallo plotting that can often lead a bizarre chase to the same places. Adrian is amused by the not very Scottish location shooting and the distinct absence of Scottish accents among most of the cast of characters. He also gets a bit confused by the MacGrieff family legend that insinuates that dead people might pop back up as vampires. We advance a few theories about why the titular cat might have been chosen for its color and Adrian points to some very non-period music that plays during a fireside romantic scene. Oh! And we do spoil the killer’s identity simply because we wanted to talk about the ways in which this story slots very comfortably into the genre. We close out the show with some information about Adrian’s two podcasting ventures including one of which I will be a part. Busy, busy!   If you have any comments or suggestions the email address is [email protected] and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show and we’ll be back soon. 
4/30/20211 hour, 15 minutes, 42 seconds
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127 - THE FINAL PROGRAMME (1973)

Randy Fox returns to dive back into the science fiction films of the 1970’s. Unfortunately, THE FINAL PROGRAMME (1973) is one of the lesser-known SF movies from the 70’s. There are many reasons for that including it being savagely cut for American release and that its cast is devoid of major movie stars. But a more relevant reason it is largely unknown is the type of science fiction tale it tells. Adapted rather faithfully from the first of Michael Moorcock’s series of Jerry Cornelius novels it hews closely to the arch tone of the book in ways that might frustrate some viewers. Plot points are not spoon-fed, explanations for odd occurrences are not always made and anyone looking for a solid hero will be left wanting. The motivations for the main character are, by turns, dark or driven by melancholic grief when they aren’t just completely inscrutable. Aware that the world is crumbling around him Jerry seems content to chase his psychotic brother Frank but often affects a disinterest in nearly everything else. “Well, for a start, I'm going to sit here and get smashed out of my mind. And I also have it on very good authority that the world is coming to an end. I thought I'd go home and watch it on television.”  Randy and I spend the first thirty minutes of the show discussing the book series with a focus on the first, of course. We then (eventually) get into a deep look at the film using a faulty synopsis that causes me to complain about one of the more common errors made when summarizing this movie. We talk about the fine cast, the director’s comments about the movie and the difficulty of crafting such a large-scale tale on a small-scale budget. We touch on the locations and the music as well as author Moorcock’s choice for sonic accompaniment that was overridden by designer/writer/director Robert Fuest. And we finally wind our way to the mad ending that is the sole false note for Randy. This touches off a spirited discussion of how I would have liked the final scenes to play out to move things closer to the unfilmable ideas in the book. And then I quote star Jon Finch from an old interview about his involvement in the film. We have a pretty good time! If you have any comments on the film or the podcast [email protected] is the place to reach us. Which 1970’s science fiction film should we dig into next time? Let us know. And thank you for listening! 
4/12/20211 hour, 50 minutes, 48 seconds
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126 - Sherlock Holmes Radio

After our last episode we thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper into the radio tales of Sherlock Holmes. As Beth is such a fan of both the character and classic radio dramas, I asked her to pick two different audio tales that we could fashion into a short show to introduce listeners unfamiliar with the form to a couple of solid examples. I expected her to stick with the series that starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, but she surprised me by also finding a much later show that unexpectedly did an excellent Holmes adaptation. If you enjoy the two shows we present here you can easily find more online in various places and we highly recommend the search. We might even do some future episodes like this to discuss why they stand out or if they are particularly unusual in some way. Hope you enjoy this first presentation.  If you have any comments or suggestions about the podcast please write to us at [email protected] where we’ll be happy to hear from you. Not Petri Wine happy, but happy nevertheless. Thanks for listening! 
4/3/20211 hour, 34 minutes, 12 seconds
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125 - SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942)

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 Eveyln 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.  Here’s a link to the full info – LINK!  If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] 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! 
3/20/20212 hours, 6 minutes, 48 seconds
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124 - TURKEY SHOOT (1982)

We’ve never before dug into the fertile field of Australian genre movies here on The Bloody Pit which means it is long overdue. The classic Ozploitation period is generally thought of has having lasted from the middle of the 1970’s to the late 1980’s which seems a short length of time until you look at the number of films that fall into this category. There are more than three dozen movies produced just in the 1980’s that comfortably fit under the Ozploitation umbrella with several worldwide hits like MAD MAX 2 (1982), ROAD GAMES (1981), RAZORBACK (1984) and DEAD-END DRIVE-IN (1986) being most well-known. Add to that list 70’s stunners such as MAD DOG MORGAN (1976), THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975), PATRICK (1978) and the ground breaking MAD MAX (1979) and it becomes clear that the Australian output of horror, action and post-apocalyptic cinema has had powerful, long lasting influence. But, in many cases, the Aussie versions of exploitation fodder was following the prevailing trends and copying successes as best they could. And that brings us to this movie!   Director Brian Trenchard-Smith has described TURKEY SHOOT (1982) as a movie in which "1984 meets The Camp on Blood Island where they play 'The Most Dangerous Game'". If that isn’t a perfect enticement for curious, thrill-seeking movie goers I don’t know what could be! John Hudson and Bobby Hazzard join me for a rollicking discussion of this astonishing piece of sadistic insanity. We marvel at the actors willing to put themselves through this crazed scenario with emphasis on the pure hell of trying to shoot a film under very difficult circumstances. We toss around many strange metaphors as we attempt to describe the action of the story and have great fun watching people blow up real good! I’m not sure how but somehow Gilligan’s Island is invoked alongside a discussion of pants stuffed with raw meat and dummy deaths. Oh! And Bobby manages to make me do an actual spit-take! Waste of good beer, sadly.  If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the email address for the show. Let us know what you think of TURKEY SHOOT or your favorite Ozploitation film. Should we cover more of them? Could be fun! Thank you for listening. 
3/3/20212 hours, 8 minutes, 40 seconds
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123 - INVISIBLE AGENT (1942)

We return to the Universal Invisible Man series of movies for a wartime adventure!  As the United States entered the World War effort in 1942 Hollywood joined in with dozens of films bent around the changed state of political events. A number of the movies produced at the time could be seen as propaganda pieces and INVISIBLE AGENT (1942) certainly fits that description. Picking up with the grandson of the original Invisible Man the story is a mixture of many elements. Our main character is pressed into service for the Allied fighting forces after Pearl Harbor turns him from isolationist to intelligencer. Parachuting into Germany our transparent hero searches for a list of infiltrated undercover Axis agents and then discovers a plot to bomb New York City! How will he warn the American Defense Department in time to stop the massacre of millions? And can he escape from the clutches of the dastardly Nazi army that seems to know he is lurking about?  Troy and I pull this exciting film apart, examine its flaws and then rave about how much we love it. Sporting two excellent villains played by Sir Cedric Hardwick and Peter Lorre the movie manages to generate some real menace when they are onscreen. Both actors are so good as antagonistic German and Japanese representatives that watching them dance around each other waiting for a mistake is delicious. In fact, the only real problems we find with the film is the unfortunate need to indulge in some silly, out of place Nazi-humiliation scenes that are played for cheap laughs. I would argue that this sequence could have been best left out. Luckily, the movie has more than enough action to keep an audience riveted as the race to stop the Axis baddies ramps up to a special effects laden climax that is fantastic!   If you have any comments or suggestions [email protected] is the address to use to make your feelings known. Thank you for listening and please rate and/or review the podcast wherever you catch the show. 
2/14/20211 hour, 55 minutes, 27 seconds
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122 - ULTRA Q (1966)

Author Mark Clark returns to discuss the exceptional Japanese television series ULTRA Q.  Originally envisioned as a combination of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, ULTRA Q was altered to be more of a ‘giant monster’ series to appeal to the Kiaju craze that was increasingly popular with children in the 1960’s. But while giant creatures were a common element of the show’s run there were also numerous episodes in the 28 stories produced that didn’t utilize such monsters. In fact, some of the best the series has to offer are tales that focus on deeper concepts more in line with adult concerns and fears. And even some of the more monster heavy episodes are clearly about larger ideas with a lot of emphasis placed on ecological destruction and the fallout of unchecked human greed. The show’s tone is quite variable with humor sometimes intruding into topics a western audience might find odd but things usually work out in a satisfactory fashion even if it means shooting children into outer space!   Mark and I dig into some of our favorite episodes including the amazing gothic horror tale ‘Baron Spider’; ersatz Gamera tale ‘Grow Up! Little Turtle’;  possible Godzilla vs Biollante inspiration ‘Mammoth Flower’; man in a gorilla suit madness ‘The Underground Super Express Goes West’; the interesting ‘Challenge From the Year 2020’ and the bizarre vision of the inferiority complex of one of the series’ reoccurring characters in ‘The 1/8 Project’. Along the way we touch on several other episodes in relation to these and spend a long time detailing the melancholy finale that is both touching and sad. ULTRA Q stands out as one of the most inventive and intelligent series made by Tsuburaya Productions even if it was the various future UltraMan series that went on to larger worldwide fame.   If you have any comments or questions please write the show at [email protected] or look in on us at the podcast’s FB page. Thank you for listening! 
1/31/20211 hour, 33 minutes, 38 seconds
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121 - THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942)

Troy and I return to the Universal Horrors of the 1940’s well for another pail of mystery and madness. This time out it’s heavy on the mystery but the madness feels like it was nearly forgotten. When the script has almost nothing for Lionel Atwill to do, you know something was badly miscalculated. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things in THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX (1942) to enjoy for horror film aficionados but it will help if you also enjoy the cinematic mystery series that were common at the time.   Patric Knowles returns to the Universal horrors as a successful private detective set on retiring who is forced by cops, mobsters and his own pride to solve a new case. It seems that a vigilante killer has been doing away with criminals that have escaped conviction. Soon after they are found not guilty this Doctor RX strings them up as a warning to others. The latest example that lucky scumbags must be made to pay the ultimate price is a gangster who avoids jail but can’t manage to make it out of the courtroom before he is struck down in full view of a dozen people – and no one knows how! Lawyer Dudley Crispin implores our detective to find this killer since three of Doctor RX’s victims have been his clients. Who is going to hire a lawyer good enough to get you assassinated after acquittal? Sprinkled into this mystery is a romance subplot, a couple of comedic characters, some ineffective cops and a caged gorilla! Or a man in a gorilla suit, anyway. It certainly is a pretty fast sixty-six minutes. Some might even call it overstuffed! But not us.  The story of how the movie’s unfinished script led the cast to rewrite or ad-lib certain scenes is related as we point out some of the sequences where this seems evident. We discuss co-star Anne Gwynn’s tales of making this movie and her little known ‘scream queen’ history. We quote Patric Knowles’ comments on how he and Lionel Atwill got along during the shoot. And we spend a lot of time trying to unravel the thought process of the killer who seems to be very confused about his life goals.   We end the show with a dip into the mailbag with messages from our [email protected] email account. Some kind words are shared and a few great ideas about who might have made a better version of my beloved MARS ATTACKS film. Please drop us a line if you have any comments or suggestion. And thank you for listening. 
1/10/20211 hour, 42 minutes, 15 seconds
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120 - BETTER WATCH OUT (2016)

It's that time of year again. Time for our annual Holiday Horrors episode with Troy Guinn and John Hudson! We are a festive trio.   This year I got to choose the film and I went with a very recent movie about which I had heard good things. It turns out to have been a good choice but the first thing anyone listening to this episode needs to know is that we do spoil this movie. A lot! And in this case that would be very detrimental to a first-time viewing. So, as we say in the episode, see this movie before you hear us talk about it. We discuss this movie all the way through straight to the end credits and it would be much better for everyone to see this movie before knowing the various twists and turns that this clever script has in store for you. It is available to stream on several platforms with Amazon Prime being the most easily accessible. You have been warned!   BETTER WATCH OUT (2016) is an Australian made thriller that takes place in the merry month of December. This allows the filmmakers to drench the movie in colored lights, Christmas decorations and dark deeds! This does cause a short burst of the old ‘Is it a Christmas movie or is it a movie set at Christmas’ discussion but we move quickly past that to dig deeply into the joys of this twisted tale. The set-up is classic – a teenaged babysitter is in charge of a twelve-year-old as his parents attend a holiday party. The young boy’s lustful intentions toward are interrupted by a joking friend and then by a home invasion! Things get stranger as the evening wears on and the character’s fates become less predicable with each unexpected revelation. There really is no way to predict where this one ends up!   We hope you are having as happy a holiday season as possible in 2020. If you have any comments or question please write to the show at [email protected] or drop us a line on the FaceBook page. Stay safe and healthy out there folks. Let’s all try to make it to 2021 intact. 
12/17/20201 hour, 40 minutes, 3 seconds
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119 - THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962)

For years John Hudson and I have used this podcast at cover the films of Antonio Margheriti. These shows have ranged from westerns to gothic horror to military action to science fiction and goofy Disney styled comedies. This time we tackle an Arabian Nights kind of tale the director made in 1962 and for Mr. Hudson it will be his last in the series. Not that he is leaving the podcast! Nope. He’ll be sticking around to cover a variety of different kinds of movies in his inimitable fashion. But The Bloody Pit will continue to cover Margheriti movies with a new co-host taking over and this episode is the hand-off! Adrian Smith will assume the position of fellow explorer of the long career of the director with this being a branching of his blog focused on the subject called Blogeriti. So, in this show I first talk with Hudson about our subject and then I do the same with Adrian. It may make for a long episode but we still don’t completely cover the plot dense madness of the film in question! So much happens in this thing.  Between the three of us we discuss the cast and crew of THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) with a few funny stories about the production. We look over star Tab Hunter’s career and make fun of his casting in this very Arabian tale. Aren’t all Sultans blonde? We marvel at the beauty of the Warner Blu-Ray and wish for more of Margheriti’s color films from the same period to be given similar treatment. The complicated story the film tells is only partially dissected because it is packed with so many odd details and strange characters. Of course, that is part of what makes the film so fun! The special effects come under examination with the usual excellent miniatures complimenting the flying carpets and magical arrows. There are many sideroads taken as we talk with the strangest being our digression into American sitcom titles. Sorry about that – it couldn’t be avoided. And what IS the plural of genie?   If you’ve anything to comment about in this episode please write us at [email protected] or drop into the show’s FaceBook page. Thank you for listening and, if you can, let others know about what we do here
12/5/20202 hours, 20 minutes, 2 seconds
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118 - DR NO & FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

When the news broke last month that Sean Connery had passed away it didn’t come as much of a shock. He had made it to 90 years of age and I can’t be the only person that was surprised that he had such a long life. For decades he had been the epitome of masculine charism onscreen even as he aged into an elder cinema stateman in dozens of movies. Able to project calm no matter what chaos surrounded him and believable as an intense man of action regardless of the crazed nature any film’s plotline he was more than a movie star – Connery was a legend. His entire career he was underestimated even though he was a supremely talented actor who made what he did seem effortless. In fact, it may have been his skill at making it all seem easy that made it difficult for critics to acknowledge his ability. Of course, it was his performances as British spy James Bond that made him an international star even as the character became a weight around his neck. He tried for years to break away from that persona and succeeded to a large degree because of his determination to pick varied roles although it was another tough guy role that won him an Oscar in 1988. We will not see his like again.  Mark Maddox joins me to dig deeply into the first two Bond films DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Finely crafted adventure tales they both stick closely to the Ian Fleming source material and, perhaps because of that, are fantastic spy tales. We talk about the films production with some added insights from the rare Criterion Laser disc commentaries that EON productions yanked as soon as they heard them! Mark brings his personal history with the character to bear explaining how his relationship with the movies have changed repeatedly over time. The differences between the books and the screenplays are discussed with some fun details about the possible reasons for certain changes. I make note of some scenes that the producers might have thought about editing from the finished movies if only to hedge their bets on mid-1960’s special effects. We also take a brief look at some of Connery’s post-Bond films to marvel at the variety of things he tried.  If you have a special place in your heart for Connery and his portrayal of James Bond let us know. Which of his films is your favorite? How many of his 1970’s movies have you seen? Write the show at [email protected] and we’ll add you to the discussion next time. Thanks for listening! 
11/21/20202 hours, 4 minutes, 46 seconds
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117 - GARGOYLES (1972)

American genre TV movies of the 1970’s hold a fascination for me. Growing up they were often the big event of the week and the major topic of discussion for kids at school for a long time after their premiere. In some cases, these movies have lived on in the larger public consciousness with reruns adding to their fanbase as it can take more than just excited playground conversations to grow their legends. In the past few years more and more of them have made the jump to Blu-Ray with lavish care taken to bring these sometimes difficult to find tales to a new audience. The biggest of the decade’s TV films are well represented, especially the fantastic and groundbreaking one-two punch of THE NIGHT STALKER (1972) and THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973) or even the excellent failed pilot THE NORLISS TAPES (1973). But there is much more of interest to horror fans seeking obscure telefilms than just Dan Curtis productions and, in this episode, we dive into a discussion of the fun CBS creature feature GARGOYLES (1972). There is much to talk about!   John Hudson and I tackle the film from several angles starting with our own histories with it. John got to see it on it’s premiere and has some holdover nostalgia for the movie while I caught up to it much later. We both still love the monster design, the desert southwest setting and the fact that very little time is wasted getting into the meat of the story. John has some information gleaned from the DVD director’s commentary track that sheds some light on the production and answers a couple of minor questions. We lament the lack of a certain actor’s voice and find ourselves still impressed with the ambition of the film. I openly wonder about the dropped idea of the Satanic element of the backstory and do a little guesswork on some missed opportunities that the restrictions of television in the 70’s might have made impossible.   If you have any memories tied to this mad monster film tell us about it at [email protected] or over on the show’s Facebook page. What was your favorite TV movie from your childhood? Thanks for listening! 
11/7/20201 hour, 47 minutes, 16 seconds
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116 - LISA AND THE DEVIL (1973)

Mario Bava is one of the most influential European filmmakers of all time. At the time of his passing in 1980 it is doubtful that he would have thought his work would be held in high esteem but the list of cinema luminaries that praise his talent is too long to list. Certainly, by the measure of box office take Bava would have thought himself an unsuccessful director. Few of the movies we consider classics today were big hits in their day finding much more acclaim years after their initial release. And then there is his glorious masterwork LISA AND THE DEVIL. Given the opportunity after one of his rare hit films to craft a long dreamed of project, he made this film with almost complete control. Sadly, the producer was unable to find distribution for the finished movie except in one country and so demanded that new scenes be shot to make the film more commercial. The resulting film became THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM and is as messy a product as its gestation would imply. But, luckily, fans of Bava’s work can see his original vision and marvel at the beauty and joy of a master filmmaker letting his imagination take flight.   Joining me to discuss this amazing film is author Troy Howarth, the writer of many books on various film directors and actors including The Haunted World of Mario Bava originally published nearly twenty years ago. We delve into the film’s haunted palace imagery with an eye to the use of manikins and statues and corpses that seem to trade places randomly. The time-slip nature of the dream-like story is examined along with the possible ways to read the underlying meaning of what Bava was saying with this rumination on death and decay. The cast is amazing with a scene stealing turn by a grinning Telly Savalas as both family servant and devilish observer. We also note the origins of the wonderful Carlo Savina score and the producer’s feelings about being sold used goods! If you have any comments or questions the address is [email protected] or the show has a Facebook page where occasional updates are posted. Thank you for listening to this episode and we will be back soon with more.  
10/24/20201 hour, 47 minutes, 1 second
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115 - THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET (1942)

Usually when you see that a 1940’s Universal film is an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story the expectation is for a horror film, but Poe was much more than just a master of the macabre. His work spanned many types of fiction and he is credited with actually creating the genre of ‘detective fiction’ with his brilliant Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841. In that iconic tale a clever man interested in puzzles bends his sharp mind to the task of solving an inexplicable murder. This character, Auguste Dupin, would appear in two subsequent Poe stories and is one of the inspirations for Conan Doyle’s later Sherlock Holmes. Universal had very loosely adapted the first of these mysteries in 1932 with Bela Lugosi and a man in an ape suit adding hideous pre-code horrors to the proceedings. The Mystery of Marie Roget was the second of the Dupin tales and it seems clear that Universal thought they could once again capitalize on the famous Poe name to bring home the dollars, only without quite so much of the grisly tone of the earlier film.   Troy and I pull the film apart looking for its darker elements. We discuss the fact that this is a fairly straightforward mystery that at times feels like a well mounted period drama that just happens to involve a few murders. The nastier details of the victim’s mutilated faces are kept offscreen entirely even as that plot element is needed to both set up a few red herrings and point the way toward the actual killer. We talk about the lavish look of the film, the interesting cast and speculate on who might have made a better onscreen Dupin. The excellent dialog between actors Patrick Knowles and Lloyd Corrigan is the highlight of the picture pointing the way toward an excellent future Universal film series. As usual, we also get a lot of fun out of reading reviews of this movie from contemporary critics. We are developing some favorites among the newspaper writers of the 1940’s!  If you have any questions or comments the show can be reached at [email protected] or over on the FaceBook page. We’ll be continuing our 1940’s Universal horror series after the holidays so let know what you think. Thank you for listening to the podcast! 
10/10/20201 hour, 50 minutes, 26 seconds
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114 - DJANGO (1966)

Hundreds of westerns were made in the 1960’s and 70’s by European filmmakers looking to cash-in on the success of Sergio Leone’s breakout hit A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964). Within that huge volume of movies are a number that rival Leone’s work and sometimes surpass his level of quality. While I’m not sure that there are more than a dozen westerns made by other Italians that are as brilliant as THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) the ones made by another Sergio make the best case. Sergio Corbucci directed all kinds of films in his career but his first big hit was DJANGO (1966) and his follow up efforts with (and without) star Franco Nero are just as good as anything being made in the genre at the time. Set in a nearly deserted border town in a wet winter the film feels like a wallow in the muddiest spot on Earth. Caked in filth and dragging a coffin behind him Nero’s Django walks into this decaying hellhole with an agenda that will have the corpses piling up faster than graves can be dug.  Mark Maddox joins me to examine this classic Spaghetti Western from several angles. We note that its story is a variation of the plot of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and we trace that tale back to its literary origins. We talk about the rather graphic violence onscreen detailing how ahead of its time it is in the harsh, bloody actions we are shown. Franco Nero’s career is discussed as is his resemblance to one of the hosts of this podcast! The unforgettable theme song gets some attention along with some information about the impressive vocalist. Of course, many other westerns get talked about as we go with our long running argument about film rating scales nearly bringing the entire show to a halt in the final few minutes. Sorry about that!  If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the address or you can drop us a note over on the show’s FaceBook page. We’d love to hear from you as we decide which western to tackle next. Thanks for listening! 
9/26/20202 hours, 15 minutes, 10 seconds
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113 - PRIMAL RAGE (1988)

The late 1980’s were an odd time for Euro-trash exploitation filmmakers. The slasher genre was played out and no other type of horror film was considered a sure bet so, what to do? Why not find a way to somehow piece several sub-genres together to see if, combined, they will make a coherent film and rake in the profits! So they took a little from the animal attack sub-genre with a dash of mad scientist then added in some biting rage zombies and rape-happy frat scumbags to see what would happen. And then they sold it as if it were a slasher film! Madness, thy name is PRIMAL RAGE (1988). Joining me to talk about this bizarre mixture is Bobby Hazzard who starts things off diving deep into the Claudio Simonetti produced collection of songs that pepper this film. Released back when a major selling point for a movie was the multi-artist soundtrack album featuring hoped for hit tunes and at times film’s the dialog is often less noticeable than the music. We argue about which song is worse and I sprinkle samples from most of them into the show. You’re welcome/I apologize!   We discuss the film’s ‘rage virus’ and how it, at times, feels a little like a dry run for 28 DAYS LATER (2002). Bobby takes great pleasure in noting the motor vehicles that this film shares with that other Florida-shot Italian-made horror film NIGHTMARE BEACH (1989) made by the same team. We lament the lack of Umberto Lenzi’s directorial touch and wonder about the song this movie shares with a certain Dario Argento film. Of course, we comment on the clothing choices and the odd hairstyles because the 80’s were a dead space for taste and this film is a document of those sad times. My favorite moment in the show is when Bobby rattles off a detailed list of every mad costume he could spot in the chaotic Halloween Party climax. Luckily this entertainingly sleazy, bloody mess moves at a good pace, making talking about it fun.   Let us know what you think about this film or our overlong conversation about it at [email protected] or over on the show’s FaceBook page. We’d love hear you opinion of this jumbled Italian horror mess. 
9/12/20202 hours, 25 minutes, 36 seconds
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112 - GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)

Universal’s Frankenstein film series enters the 1940’s with its neck-bolted head held high.  As the fourth in the series THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942) is usually seen a massive step down from the classic film produced in the 1930’s but Troy and I have some things to say about that. The story has Bela Lugosi’s Ygor character as the main agent of action which is a smart beginning. His desire to help his monstrous ‘friend’ regain its full strength sends this twisted George and Lenny to yet another son of Frankenstein for mad medical assistance. What could possibly go wrong?  We discuss the impressive cast including the holdovers from THE WOLFMAN (1941), giving our takes on the various qualities of their performances versus what the script gives them to do. We lament the sad waste of Eveyln Ankers and seriously question the intentions of the film’s costume designers. What is with that bizarre dress? The film’s decision to double up on mad scientists gives us the chance to see Lionel Atwill run off with nearly every scene he has including being the most interesting thing to watch even when he is in the background. We dig into the switch from Karloff to Lon Chaney Jr. being behind the monster’s makeup and debate the choice to use dubbing for his voice in the climactic final sequence. I refer to the published script for the film to point out some interesting trims that might have made this short movie feel a little more substantial but there is something to be said for brevity, I suppose. At an hour and seven minutes it is certainly a fast ride!  We end the show with the demo or practice take of an Exotic Ones’ song Knock It Down which was co-written by Liz Morris. It’s a fun tune centered around the Universal monsters and hopefully the band will eventually record a full-strength version for a future album.  We can be reached at [email protected] for any comments or suggestions or over on the FaceBook page. Thank you for listening to the show! 
8/27/20201 hour, 59 minutes, 57 seconds
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111 - Doctor Who: INFERNO (1970)

I’ve been a fan of the classic version of Doctor Who since I was a teenager. Like many Americans I discovered the show on PBS and have been striving to catch up ever since. The standard debate amongst Whovians is about favorite Doctors but I think a more interesting discussion can be formed around favorite stories. So, when approaching our first podcast on the subject we picked a classic from early in the Third Doctor’s run that showcases the joys typical of the 1970’s version of the series. Jon Pertwee’s five year run as Doctor Who is one of the periods of the original show that still holds some mysteries for me. There are a number of stories from these years that I have never seen, meaning that I get a bit excited to explore Pertwee’s version of the character because they are new Classic Who! Or, at least, new to me. This enthusiasm for the Third Doctor’s tales bleeds over into repeatedly watching beloved stories to soak up the fun of what they were doing. It took me a long time to realize that the entire time Pertwee’s Doctor is working with UNIT is supposed to be in the 1980’s! That just makes things even cooler! Mark Maddox is a longtime Who fan and has had the pleasure of getting to create artwork for Doctor Who magazine. He has even gotten to interpret some unfilmed Who stories with brush and paint! He talks about that as we meander around this episode discussing ‘Inferno’, the final tale from Jon Pertwee’s first season. This is a six-part tale so we dig into why those longer stories are so much fun. As to be expected, the inevitable talk about favorite Doctors comes up along with a sharp digression into the elements we feel are missing from the 21st century incarnation of the show. This leads to a verbal scrum involving the various actors who have played the character. When we work our way back to ‘Inferno’ we discuss the smart sound design of the story and Mark tries to convince me to call the hairy green creatures in the story Lava Monsters. He is only occasionally successful. Occasionally. If you have any comments or suggestions about the show or if you’d just like to tell us who your favorite Who is/was/will be drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll respond. Right now we have no idea what Mark and I will cover next so get those ideas in and you might influence our choice. Maybe.
8/13/20202 hours, 17 minutes, 23 seconds
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110 - REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983)

For years Cannon Films has been celebrated for the mad movies they brought to the big screen in the 1980’s. The company’s focus on action films made that decade a crazed series of ever escalating, over the top adventures that often seemed uninterested in coherence and mostly concerned with creating a parade of stunts, violence and explosions. They had great success for a while but nearly every time they stepped away from fistfights, gunfights and car crashes they tended to lose a lot money. One of the biggest financial winners for Cannon was the trio of ninja films they produced from 1981 to 1984 starring Japanese martial artist Sho Kosugi as either the bad guy or the hero and sometimes both! Is there anything a ninja can’t do?   To discuss Cannon’s epic ninja trilogy, I’m joined by an old work buddy who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. Brian Smith is a naturally funny guy with a love of exploitation films from the 1980’s and a previously hidden childhood history of wishing he could be a ninja. Luckily for us his creative side has allowed him to focus some of that childhood longing into comedy and we end this episode with his hilarious song about the joys of the ninja arts. You have been warned!   Brian and I relate our history with ninja films and our mutual love of the more insane aspects of these strange cinematic messes. With REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) as our jumping off point Brian tells of his parent’s bad reaction to the opening sequence’s violence. I think we’ve all been there. It can be difficult to move past ‘slaughter your whole family ninja violence’ and allow a young lad the joys of seeing the drowning of scantily clad women in hot tubs. It’s not really a ‘family movie night’ kind of film. We have a good time digging deep into the madness of this mess of a movie that seems only barely held together by racial stereotypes, random action scenes and bad ideas. Thank goodness that some of those bad ideas involve turning the stuntmen loose with the camera crew to create some pretty fun stuff. It may not be a good film but it is an entertaining one.   We also spend some time on ENTER THE NINJA (1981) and the even crazier NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984) to determine which is our favorite. There is even an unplanned sideroad discussion of Saturday morning cartoons in which we bond over the loss of the great Thundarr the Barbarian. There really should have been more episodes of that show made, dammit! You can email the podcast at [email protected] or join us over on the FaceBook page. We’ll be glad to hear from you!
7/30/20201 hour, 56 minutes, 40 seconds
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109 - NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985)

I’m very excited to welcome author and podcaster Amanda Reyes to the show for the first time! She edited and co-wrote the excellent overview book ‘Are You In the House Alone: A TV Movie Compendium’ and hosts the TV Mayhem Podcast where she hosts discussions of every type of television film imaginable. I’ve been a fan of her work for years and her focus on TV movies putting her near the top of any list of current experts in the field. But her knowledge of cinema ranges much wider than just the small screen. With her love of the thriller and horror genres pushing her into often strange territories she can find fascinating parallels that other viewers would miss. On more than one occasion I’ve been stunned by her deep understanding of obscure horror movies often forcing me to reevaluate my opinion. Plus, her podcasting tendency to go off on great tangents has made for some amazing discoveries of hidden treasures lurking on actor’s resumes! I asked Amanda what subject she would like to tackle and she brought up the little-known Italian high fashion world thriller NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985). I had only caught up with the film about a year ago and really enjoyed it so it seemed like a perfect small topic to dig into. Little did I know that Miss Reyes and I would have so much to say about it! We talk about the film for well over two hours and even discuss the bat-crap crazy ending. Be aware, we give you plenty of warning if you want to avoid spoilers but we just had to talk about the final scenes. Not that the mystery element is the only thing here to enjoy about the movie. We delve into the cast and their careers with some surprising details about certain projects. We debate the effectiveness of fake accents; the treatment of the story’s sleazier aspects; the 1980’s fashion; the plot’s red herrings; the film’s rural versus urban visual motif and the telepathic sibling element that drives the entire affair. We had a great time with this film and I hope you have half as much fun listening in. If you have any comments or suggestions the show can be reached at [email protected] or over on the podcast’s FB page. Let us know what you think and feel free to guess about what Amanda and I will be discussing the next time we record!
7/17/20202 hours, 26 minutes, 58 seconds
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108 - TWINS OF EVIL (1971)

Mark Maddox returns to discuss another Hammer film! Things became very different for vampire films in the 1970’s. Topics that used to be ignored or, at most, alluded to were suddenly able to be placed front and center in the narrative. No longer did a blood sucker’s victim have to merely cower in fear. Now they could react with lust or the real desire for the monster to put the bite on their necks to show the attraction these creatures might generate as part of their appeal. The sexual side of vampires could become a central part of the story allowing the carnal needs of both monster and victim to be explored. TWINS OF EVIL (1971) takes a pair of identical looking young girls on the cusp of becoming women and shows us two different reactions to a vampire’s sex appeal. The film clearly has a point of view but it is possible to read some darker ideas in the story as well. We start by discussing the loose Karnstien trilogy that TWINS OF EVIL (1971) concludes. Then we move into a broad talk about the tone of Hammer films’ output during the 1970’s and how the studio became more of a place for independent productions guided by the old guard than a production house. This approach created a less controlled but very interesting run of movies that allowed for experimentation in both style and story as the public’s attention wandered away from the classic gothic horror model Hammer had epitomize since 1957. So even if new settings were not to too quickly embraced, fresh elements could be folded into the tales. This meant more adult themes, more overt violence and as much nudity as they could get away with! We talk about how this film also manages to put religious hypocrisy front and center and embodies it in one of Hammer’s most iconic actors, Peter Cushing. I argue in the show that this is one of Cushing’s best performances for the studio because the script gives him an arc to play unlike his usual villain or hero roles. If you have any comments about the show please write us at [email protected] to let us know what is on your mind. Is this your favorite of the Karnstien films? Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon.
7/5/20201 hour, 58 minutes, 32 seconds
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107 - THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET (1942)

Mad science is a strange field of endeavor. It seems that there are few barriers to becoming a practitioner with the one real requirement being a narcissistic belief that the world needs to be changed and that YOU are the person to change it! For these types of roles Lionel Atwill was usually the perfect choice and this episode’s film has his second onscreen shot at being the baddest, maddest doctor (or, actually, a chemist) he can possibly be. It is fun to watch Atwill squeeze every bit of evil out of the script and he is easily the best thing about the movie. Troy and I discuss THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET (1942) and ask the most obvious question first – Why does this movie mostly take place on a Pacific island? That title is an example of blatant false advertising! This bizarre tale of mad science in the South Seas does begin in San Francisco on Market Street but quickly shifts to a doomed cruise ship and then, after some footage from another movie, to an island inhabited by the usual Hollywood-style native stereotypes. These easily fooled islanders are soon convinced by the Mad Scientist (Atwill) that he is a god capable of resurrecting the dead. You don’t have to be a genius to know that this is not going to work out well long term. The silly portrayal of these natives is only partially redeemed by the chief being played by the great Noble Johnson who manages to inject some dignity into the proceedings. And top billed Una Merkle is a real joy as the flighty Aunt Margaret who is on her way to marry a wealthy man in New Zealand. Past those elements your mileage may vary. If you have any comments or questions our email address is [email protected] or we can be reached on the show’s FaceBook page. We’d be thrilled to hear from you. Thanks for listening to this episode!
6/19/20201 hour, 45 minutes, 24 seconds
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106 - THE KID BROTHER (1927)

The film under discussion in this episode is a silent movie and a comedy meaning that it represents two cinema topics that this show rarely touches on. In fact, this is the very first time that we’ve ever covered either of those types of movies on The Bloody Pit so, it’s long overdue! Usually when John Hudson guests on the show we discuss Antonio Margheriti films but after years of this we thought it would be a good idea to switch things up for a change of pace. Mr. Hudson suggested we look at one of his favorite funny movies THE KID BROTHER (1927) and since I knew nothing about it, I said yes. The film stars comedy genius Harold Lloyd who, by this time in his career, was one of the most popular filmmakers in the world and the highest paid film star of the 1920’s. He was in complete control of his movies usually generating the story ideas and co-directing them in a hands-on producer role.  His films are always energetic affairs filled with amusing chase scenes and daredevil action sequences as his central character struggles to overcome adversity and win the affections of his female co-stars. You might think it pretty standard stuff until you actually watch one of his movies and get caught up laughing and gasping in surprise at the inventiveness on display. Lloyd was an amazing performer and this film is a perfect example of his abilities. After Hudson and I catch up with each other’s recent viewing lists we dive into a discussion of THE KID BROTHER (1927) and do our best to find ways to remark on this crowd-pleasing tale when we can’t use sound clips to detail our points. John relates his history with Mr. Lloyd’s movies and his love of silent comedy in general. A good time is had by both of us and we hope that you enjoy listening to our discussion of this great film. Any comments or questions can be sent to [email protected] or posted on the show’s FaceBook page. John and I will be returning to our usual subject matter the next time he visits but I suspect there will be more oddball choices for us down the road. Thanks for listening!
6/6/20201 hour, 24 minutes, 50 seconds
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105 - Sam Irvin Visits!

Every now and then you meet a true raconteur. Someone who not only has the ability to tell tales in an amusing way but who has enough life experiences accumulated to have stories that seem to be inexhaustible. Sam Irvin is such a person! Sam is a filmmaker who got his start in the industry working with Brian De Palma in the 1970’s on THE FURY (1978), HOME MOVIES (1979) and DRESSED TO KILL (1980) but his journey began as a movie obsessed young man in North Carolina. While just a grade school kid, he started his own movie fanzine in which he reviewed horror, science fiction and fantasy films as well as conducting interviews with his horror film idols. Over his high school years he interviewed Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Freddie Francis, Terence Fisher and even managed to travel to England to speak with them in person. The story of his visit to the set of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974) is incredible! In the 1980’s he shifted to being a producer, directed a short film and worked as the Vice President of Marketing for several film distribution companies before finally getting to fulfill his dream of becoming a director. And then there’s the little story of making the amazing ELVIRA’S HAUNTED HILLS (2001) with the great Cassandra Peterson. But I should just let Sam tell you his story as he does a much better job than I ever could. Among all his other projects Sam is also an author and our current pandemic Hell has fueled his creativity in an odd way. Along with artist Dan Gallagher he has produced the book Sam’s Toilet Paper Caper! Styled as a parody of the classic children’s series of Little Golden Books it relates the mostly true adventures of Sam as he attempts to replenish his supply of white gold – rolls of TP. It’s available in both ebook and print editions with links done below. All profits from the sales of this book go to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. To learn more and to donate, you can visit this website: So, sit back and enjoy this couple of hours with Sam Irvin as he let us in on some of the more incredible parts of his wild life. If you have any questions or comments the email address is [email protected] or you can join us over on the show’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening and we’ll be back soon.
5/23/20201 hour, 56 minutes, 35 seconds
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104 - THE MUMMY'S SHROUD (1967)

Hammer Studios made four feature films in the ‘mummy’ subgenre and THE MUMMY’S SHROUD (1967) is usually listed as one of the least of them. I’ve never understood this general attitude and not just because I have a soft spot for tales of undead Egyptian monsters stalking grave desecrators. This movie has a lot to offer including a substantial role for the great character actor Michael Ripper. In his last Hammer film director John Gilling brings a number of fascinating ideas to bear and manages to find some new ways to present the usual story of cursed tombs and horrible retribution. In fact, the level of violence meted out by the silent killer in this tale brings to mind some of the darker aspects of the stalk and slash genre of later years. Could this bloody nastiness be one of the reasons the movie has been so derided by fans of the studio’s earlier output? I’m joined by Mark Maddox to look at this film and dig into why we like it. We examine our discovery of the movie in years past and how it holds up now as it makes its way to Blu-Ray release. We talk about how it sticks to the tropes of the usual mummy story but finds ways to change things up enough to be more than a replay of past efforts. We discuss the cast beyond just the excellent turn by Ripper and the angular beauty of co-star Maggie Kimberly. I put forth the (fairly obvious) idea that the opening section of the film set in ancient Egypt seems to have been meant to be presented without the voice-over the film gives it. Of course, any time you get Mark talking there are going to be bizarre sideroads in the conversation and this episode is no exception. His ability to remember the details of what network showed which movie on what night back in the 1970’s stuns me! If you have any comments or question [email protected] is the email address or I can be reached over on the FaceBook page. Thank you for listening to the show and stay safe out there. Cloth wrapped feet are not the only deadly thing lurking in the night!
5/14/20201 hour, 46 minutes, 32 seconds
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#103 - MISSION STARDUST (1967)

Created by German science fiction authors K. H. Scheer and Walter Ernsting, Perry Rhodan is the central character in the world’s longest running science fiction book series. Publication began in 1961 and a new novella has hit newsstands in Germany every week ever since!  That means there have been more than 3000 Perry Rhodan stories in the past 59 years as well as 850 additional spinoff novels with no end in sight. In fact, the series passed the one billion copies sold mark all the way back in 1986. There was an attempt to bring the series to American in the 1970’s with the first 139 entries being translated into English and published but financial disputes ended this arrangement in 1979. I also suspect that they weren’t as popular over here as in their home country which has kept the continuing galaxy spanning tales of Perry Rhodan from the English-speaking world ever since. Strangely, there has only been one attempt to bring this epic science fiction series to the screen. MISSION STARDUST (1967) uses the first two Perry Rhodan novellas to bring a version of the character and his world to the movies. The basics of the printed tale set things in motion (minus the more interesting/expensive parts) and then the story is melded with a standard Euro-Spy plotline to give us one of the stranger variations on the genre that the 1960’s ever produced. On his Antonio Margheriti Blog, Adrian Smith pointed out that this film’s special effects were done by Margheriti and his team sometime after the completion of the Gamma One films. Dr. Smith suggested that the film was worthy of a conversation and after a rewatch I had to agree. It’s a bizarre genre mash-up that works far better than it really should even if the fans of the book series have every right to treat this film with the same disdain that the female alien Thora has for the human race! If you have any comments or suggestions for the podcast please write to [email protected] or comment over on the show’s FaceBook page. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back in a few weeks.
5/4/20201 hour, 23 minutes, 30 seconds
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#102 - X THE UNKNOWN (1956)

Although best known for their gothic horror films, Hammer made movies in many different genres. Before striking gold with their first Frankenstein film in 1957 they produced a trio of science fiction films that were big moneymakers and, in a different world, might have made Hammer into a very different studio. Their adaptation of Nigel Kneale’s 1953 television serial as THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT (1955) left them wanting more such tales. But Kneale was wouldn’t allow the use of his character for a story he had not penned so they pushed forward with an original script of their own. First time scripter Jimmy Sangster stuck close to the basic template of the Quatermass film creating his own genius scientist who gets thrown into a terrifying encounter with a mysterious unstoppable force. It’s a cracking good tale with a few surprising moments of gore for 1950’s sci-fi and enough spooky atmosphere for two movies. Mark Maddox joins me to discuss X THE UNKNOWN (1956) and relate a few personal stories about his history with it. Here’s a hint - always accept an invitation to have dinner with Frazier Hines! We use an outline of the film’s plot to dig into the things that work and the things that don’t. We remark on the sometimes shockingly adult nature of the story’s choices with dead kids, randy nurses and melting faces being unexpected spices in the radioactive stew. We spend a little time on the impressive cast with attention paid to the amazing Leo McKern and Michael Ripper who gets to shout some fun threats at his soldier underlings. Mark is clear-eyed in his assessment of the film’s various special effects sequences and I lodge a few minor complaints about the first act’s pace and the script’s expository scientific babble. We do ramble off topic a few times – OK – several times! But we always link things back to the movie under the microscope. I promise. If you have any comments or suggestions please write the podcast at [email protected] and we’ll try to get you your thoughts on the next show Mark and I record in May. Thank you for listening!
4/18/20202 hours, 17 minutes, 55 seconds
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#101 - 1968

Author Mark Clark rejoins me in this episode to put an interesting idea before us all. He claims that the all-time best year for science fiction, horror and fantasy movies is 1968. Best ever?  He argues that there were more high quality genre films released in that year than in any other and he comes with an impressive list to make his case. I have to admit that I am compelled to disagree with him – well - I’m compelled to disagree with almost everyone eventually. BUT – he has a good point or five. So, we dig into the movies from that long ago year, making claims of greatness and arguing their finer points. I mean, there is a lot to be said about 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, PLANET OF THE APES, ROSEMARY’S BABY and WITCHFINDER GENERAL don’t you think? Of course, I also push back at Mark’s thesis with a different year that I’ve always considered one of the best for genre cinema and the conversation ranges across the merits of that year as well. We find much to agree on but there are some strange areas of contention. There might be a separate future discussion about the contemporary popularity of some of these movies and what that says about the perception of their quality level. If a movie was a financial failure on release but went on to be considered a classic, how do we evaluate it as an entry in that year? Food for geeky thought. If you have another year that you think is more impressive than 1968 drop us a line. The email address is [email protected] or we could get a thread going over on the show’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening!
4/2/20201 hour, 28 minutes, 8 seconds
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#100 - BATTLE OF THE WORLDS (1961)

For the 100th episode John Hudson returns for another discussion of an Antonio Margheriti film! It’s taken a long time to finally get to triple digits and I’m happy to say that we treat the occasion with very little reverence. In fact, it’s just like every other episode Hudson and I’ve done together with him constantly messing with me while I try desperately to keep things on track. I wouldn’t have it any other way! BATTLE OF THE WORLDS (1961) is the second of Margheriti’s science fiction films. As with his other cinematic SF adventures he directed the film while also overseeing the special effects. It was this movie that convinced the money people at MGM that he could be trusted to make cheap but good-looking space movies leading to the financing of his quartet of Gamma One films in 1965-67. For years this was a staple of Saturday afternoon TV broadcasts but after decades of public domain copies (both VHS and DVD) it seems improbable that we’ll ever get a Blu-Ray of this fun film. It is the presence of the great Claude Raines that makes this one to seek out for fans of his decades long career and he lifts this movie on his shoulders in every scene. It’s a shame YouTube is the current best way to see the film because a special edition video release would bring deserved attention to both the director and often neglected 1960’s space opera genre. Special effects may have advanced well past this film’s day but the care on view is still worth more widespread attention. Mr. Hudson and I start the show with a discussion of some recent viewings and a side conversation about Stephen King’s output over the last couple of decades. Those expecting certain invisible creatures to get mentioned won’t be disappointed even if I was. As usual. Sometimes I wonder why I tolerate this guy! Any comments can be sent to [email protected] or dropped over on the show’s FaceBook page. We’d be glad to hear from you as we plot the next one hundred episodes!
3/19/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 37 seconds
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#99 - THE WOLF MAN (1941)

Is this the last ‘great’ Universal monster movie? That is one of the questions Troy and I pose as we dive into a discussion of this beloved werewolf film. THE WOLF MAN (1941) is such an entertaining film that I, of course, found a way to begin our conversation with a few of the things that I find to be less than perfect. And from there it only gets odder as we dig into the questions the film always brings up about four-legged wolves and suddenly appearing clothing. But we start to color outside the lines when we consider the dark family relationships in Talbot castle as well as the unknown past of Bela the gypsy with his mother Maleva. And what was that gypsy lady’s real motivation for hanging around to help Larry once his animal side began rampaging in the night? She certainly had some sharp words for Lord Talbot in their one interaction. Is there a subtext of class anger between the two oldest characters in this tale bubbling just beneath the surface? Or is she just the world’s best werewolf whisperer? And what about pretty Gwen’s quick transition to being head-over-heels in love with a man who could be called a telescope stalker? Unhappy with her fiancé? Hussy? Gold-digger? The gossipy women of the town want to know! I apologize for my out of place ramble about the Big Country album Steeltown at the beginning of the show. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. If you have any thoughts or comments, the email address remains [email protected] and the show’s Facebook page is alive and well. We look forward to continuing this series of 1940’s shows and hope you enjoy what we do! Thanks for listening.
2/28/20201 hour, 53 minutes
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#98 - MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)

Mark Maddox returns to the show to talk about one of the more overlooked of the Universal horror films of the 1930’s - MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932). This movie’s lack of attention may be because it doesn’t have one of the classic monster characters as a draw or, possibly, because it is one of the darkest, nastiest sixty-one minutes the studio ever released! Luckily, I don’t think it will remain as underseen in the future as it has just gotten a tricked out new Blu-Ray release which gives the film the best visual presentation it’s ever received on home video. The picture is so sharp that you can almost see the evil thoughts as they flicker in Bela Lugosi’s eyes! We start the episode with a brief discussion of some of some of the projects Mark has coming out soon including some fun information about the genesis of his cover art for the upcoming Blu-Ray of Hammer’s EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN. We then move into a rather scattered discussion of MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, jumping from one topic to another as we explore the qualities that make it a unique part of the decade’s horror output. Lugosi’s masterful acting is examined along with his bizarre uni-brow. That is one strange look! The not-so hidden strain of bestiality embedded in the story is touched on as well as the fears of a Darwinian view of the world that the script uses to terrify its audience. We disagree about the inserted chimp scenes but both of us find some generally held ideas about this movie to be a bit silly. We bring up the legendary first edit of the film along with Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog article (in issue #111) in which he proposed a way to re-edit the existing film to approximate the director’s original version. It’s a shame there wasn’t an attempt to include such a variation for the new Blu. If you have any thoughts about this film or any other that we’ve discussed on the show, write to us at [email protected] or over on the Facebook page. Mark will return in a few weeks to talk about another movie so you could even ask him some questions directly, if you wish. Thanks for listening!
2/12/20201 hour, 23 minutes, 29 seconds
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#97 - TERROR IS A MAN (1959)

I welcome artist Mark Maddox back to the show and we take a trip to Blood Island to survey the territory. TERROR IS A MAN (1959) is the first of what would become a series of Philippine produced horror films featuring monsters and bloody (for the times) violence. While the later films were colorful sleaze-fests this movie was shot in stark black and white with its horrors being moodier rather than grotesque. Not that the film skimps on horror thrills but, while it is pushing the outer edge of what was permissible in the 1950’s, it is still a more restrained tale than would come later. Mark and I cut into this variation on Wells’ ‘Island of Doctor Moreau’ searching for the best parts and throwing out the worst. We disagree on a few elements with me decrying lip gloss and high heels while Mark makes the case for a shortened running time. But we agree on how much the film is improved by the recent HD release on Blu-Ray. This film has spent decades being presented to viewers in terrible prints on subpar video releases that made it difficult to pay attention to the often excellent qualities onscreen. Now it’s possible to see the movie in a crisp, clear version that allows all the fine work done to be appreciated. Of course, it also allows us to focus on the less well-done aspects too. But this is a film that falls much more on the positive side than the negative and I will keep insisting on that until Mark shuts up! We don’t stray too far off topic but if there are any odd side roads that you think we should travel down further in the future please let us know. The podcast email address is [email protected] or we can be reached on the show’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening and we’ll be back soon!
1/19/20201 hour, 44 minutes, 35 seconds
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#96 - William Castle Westerns Part 3

After too long a delay I welcome back podcaster extraordinaire Derek Koch! Yes, the host and proprietor of Monster Kid Radio returns to the Pit to resume his discussion of the 1950’s westerns of William Castle. This time out we tackle THE BATTLE OF ROGUE RIVER (1954) and THE GUN THE WON THE WEST (1955). These were made during Castle’s long period of honing his craft under producer Sam Katzman at Columbia studio where keeping the budget under control was the most important thing. These B programmers run about seventy minutes each and make for a colorful double bill of action and adventure. Derek and I give each film it’s time in the sun, digging into the cast and crew with special attention paid to the various science fiction and monster films they were involved with during their careers. We make note of the actor’s most famous roles and speak with envy about the lucky marital situations of a few key players. Since Richard Denning is a lead actor in both films, we spend a good deal of time looking at his characters and his long career. I had completely forgotten he was a regular on Hawaii 5-0! There is a discussion of both film’s modeling of masculinity for the younger audience members and the question of how these westerns often reflected the times they were made in rather than the times they depict. We muse on the ways in which we might have wished the stories had gone as well as the possible individual scenes that may have been shot but discarded to meet that short running time. We have a pretty good time examining these rarely talked about movies and we think you’ll enjoy the show. I even throw in a Roy Orbison song when our conversation rambles too far off-track.  If you have any comments about William Castle or westerns in general [email protected] is the email address. I can also be reached on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page and Derek can be found over on Monster Kid Radio every week. That man is so consistent it puts me to shame! Thanks for listening.
12/27/20192 hours, 10 minutes, 26 seconds
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#95 - TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980)

It’s time for our annual Holiday Horrors episode! This year John Hudson chose our Killer Santa viewing experience, taking Troy and I back to 1980 for a little-seen slasher called TO ALL A GOODNIGHT. Long dismissed as nearly unwatchable on previous video editions the much-improved image of the Blu-Ray release resolves many unanswered questions. It is now possible to clearly see what people are doing and where they actually are when onscreen. But, is that a good or a bad thing for this Christmas holiday set stalk ‘n’ kill revenge tale? That is where this discussion begins and ends. The trio of Holiday Hooligans dive quickly into the conversation about this one. In fact, we start talking about the film before we even properly let the audience know what we’re doing! Of course, this is the film that was directed by David Hess of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) fame which leads to many references to that film and his nasty character Krug. We also talk a bit about his impressive music career and lament his passing. The screenwriter comes in for a lengthy discussion touching on his other films and a rather surprising role in a better-known horror effort. We talk about this film’s very familiar plot template with our surprise at how many times we’ve seen the same story over the years. We note the movie’s strange pacing, terrible editing and variable performances. We use this film’s murder set pieces to make light of the slasher genre’s often silly kill scenes even as we still get a kick out of them. We hope you enjoy the Santa shenanigans and if you wish to comment the email address is [email protected] or we can be reached on the podcast’s FaceBook page. Thanks for listening and have a happy holiday season!
12/13/20191 hour, 36 minutes, 17 seconds
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#94 - HOLD THAT GHOST (1941)

Troy and I jump back into the Universal Horror films of the 1940’s with a movie that is quite a curveball. HOLD THAT GHOST (1941) is the first of many Abbot & Costello comedies that would have a possible supernatural element in its plot. Here it’s a creepy old tavern that the fellas inherit in the strangest way imaginable. The story is the usual simple clothesline onto which the script and our favorite comedy team hang as many jokes as they can muster.  That means plenty of doubletakes, fast talking and humorous close calls as well as a group of money seeking gangsters and a duplicitous lawyer all trying to get the boys out of the way. Add in a fantastic cast of talented actors including the brilliant Joan Davis and you have one of the best of Abbot & Costello’s early features. After a brief conversation about THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) and director Robert Eggers previous horror film we dig into the topic at hand. We discuss our favorite moments from the film and track its bizarre production history. Exactly how many movies can you be making at the same time? The cast is a point of interest with future science fiction star Richard Carlson as an amusing scientist clueless about the fairer sex. Universal horror star Evelyn Ankers makes her first appearance in a Universal scare film and manages to makes the most of her limited screen time. But it is Joan Davis who runs off with several scenes with her great comic timing and sharp comedy instincts. That she didn’t make more appearances in A & C films over the years is a damned shame. The famous comedy team is able to insert a couple of the well-honed bits from their stage days into the story making for a nice glimpse at their burlesque days. And if you’ve never seen the fall-down funny Blue Danube dance scene you have a got a treat in store! Plus – The Andrews Sisters! We end the show with a piece of voicemail feedback from our buddy in England, Adrian. He calls into tell us about his adventures at this year’s FrightFest in Lindon. If you want to add your voice to the podcast the email address is [email protected] or we can be reached over on the Book of Faces. Thanks for listening!
12/1/20191 hour, 43 minutes, 19 seconds
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#93 - NIGHTMARE BEACH (1989)

This episode presents a first! This is a first in that my co-host goes by a pseudonym! (Even Cort Psyops uses his real first name!) On podcasts he calls himself Bobby Hazzard which is a quite different from his actual name. The fact that I managed to not call him by his real name for the entire show may be evidence of divine intervention! He is the host of several fun shows of his own including Spring Break Forever which might explain his fascination with the film we cover on this episode of The Bloody Pit. He and I cover a slasher film from the late 1980’s which is a bit of a surprise for me. I spent a good deal of my youth disliking the genre until I was finally exposed to enough good examples to develop a change in my sensibilities. There are good and bad films in every genre and the slasher is no different. Also released as WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK this Italian production is now primarily known as NIGHTMARE BEACH (1989). Like a number of these genre films this was shot in the United States to take advantage of the financial deals being offered by certain cities at the time. This explains why the majority of the cast is American or Canadian making this look as much as possible like a movie made with Hollywood money. This was standard at the time to make sales of the film around the world more lucrative and, along with the use of pseudonyms in the credits, makes the product seem fully North American. But the oddity of retaining many elements of the giallo genre over the standards of the slasher makes this film feel very much a continuation of that very Italian genre. And, once the script throws in tropes from popular Spring Break comedies and enough distracting characters to keep your mind off the central mystery, this becomes a pretty entertaining ride.  Join us for a fun trip featuring sunny beaches, wet t-shirt contests, angry biker gangs and bizarre electrocutions on this episode. If you have any comments the email address is [email protected] and the show’s FaceBook page is still active. Thank you for listening to the show!
11/16/20192 hours, 5 minutes, 19 seconds
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#92 - INSEMINOID (1981)

Once again Adrian Smith returns to the show! This time out we’re discussing (at length) one of Norman J. Warren’s films – INSEMINOID (1981). Probably the most notorious of the director’s horror efforts, it’s very poster art was controversial. The movie brings the idea of an alien creature injecting its offspring into a human host for gestation further into the open than even Ridley Scott’s classic ALIEN (1979) managed. Coupled with that hideous imagery the film also sports the usual Warren level of blood and gore making this a nasty little viewing experience even by today’s standards. Newcomers to the film might be surprised to see some well-known actresses plunging elbow deep into the violent sci-fi exploitation pits. You might also be impressed with how much the cast and crew accomplish on such a small budget.  Adrian is the perfect person to talk about this film as he is responsible for the book about the director included in Indicator’s new five film Blu-Ray set ‘Bloody Terror: The Shocking Cinema of Norman J. Warren 1976-1981’. In this informative work he lays out the details of Warren’s horror output giving insight into the troubles British productions run into regularly. Often it seems a minor miracle that any of these lower budgeted movies ever got completed. We mostly restrict our comments to INSEMINOID with a fair amount of detailed conversation about the script’s problems and the ingenious ways the filmmakers found to overcome unforeseen hazards. We also delve into the bizarre additions and changes made to the story in the film’s novelization. Certainly, the choice to shoot mostly on location was a decision that enhanced the look of the film but it was quite hard on the cast. Be aware that we spoil the entire movie as we proceed so, if that’s important to you, please go watch it before listening to us debate its relative merits. Adrian and I have very different views on this one so I think you’ll find it an interesting show. Oh! And we end things with a new version of the classic song Monster Mash and an extra solo bit of Adrian as he amuses himself while I’m away from the mic.  If you have any comments or questions [email protected] is the email address. We’d love to hear from you. Posts can also be made on the show’s FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening.
10/14/20192 hours, 1 minute, 52 seconds
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#91 - EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008)

After more than a year away the subject, Cort Psyops and I finally return to the cinema of Zé do Caixão a.k.a. Coffin Joe! EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008) is the long delayed third film in the trilogy of tales about the mad undertaker and his quest for a woman to bear him the perfect child. As this film begins his frantic search has been on hold for forty years while he was kept locked away in a dank Brazilian prison. Once released his hunt is aided by a fanatical cult of followers that are willing to do their master’s bidding no matter what he demands. It seems that while he was imprisoned the world might have caught up with Coffin Joe’s dark vision of humanity. Pursued by two government officers and a priest driven to stop Zé do Caixão even if it means murder, Joe cuts a bloody path through the city’s underbelly terrorizing anyone in his way. Will he finally succeed in his life’s goal or will his enemies find a way to end his life?  Cort and I dig into this one in much the same way we did the first two films. We examine the dark outlook on the world that writer/director/ actor José Mojica Marins puts forth with his signature creation to determine how much of it we share. We discuss the structure of the story, the smart use of the decades long gap as part of the narrative and the clever use of footage from the previous films to enhance this last tale. We talk a bit about the beauty of the ugliness the movie displays as well as the amazing and effective special effects that are used to create the ghosts that haunt Coffin Joe’s mind. It’s rare that a filmmaker gets the chance to return to his creation after so long a break and even more rare for the return to be as impressive as the earlier work. Some of the images in this movie linger with the viewer for months afterward which is something I’m sure would put a smile on Marins face.  If you have any comments about the show or Coffin Joe the email address is [email protected] where we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. As we mention near the end of the show Cort and I plan to cover more of Marins work eventually after we cleanse our palette with something less grotesque. If you have suggestions for that please let us know.
9/21/20191 hour, 48 minutes, 43 seconds
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#90 - THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946)

It’s difficult to think that there might be a Universal horror film that has never been released on video but THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946) fits that description. Like a handful of other obscure movies the studio made in the 1940’s there has been no release of this interesting picture for home viewing. The only option for the curious is a dodgy, spliced print sourced from 16mm that can be found on YouTube. This is far from a good way to see this rare movie but, for now, the only way. I think the film is worth watching even in this muddy, blown out form but others don’t think so highly of it. In fact, I know one of these people!   Mark Clark is the author responsible for two excellent books on the horror genre. He makes an argument for the finer qualities of the best performances in classic horror in his excellent book ‘Smirk, Sneer and Scream: Great Acting in Horror’. His book ‘Sixties Shockers’, co-written with Bryan Senn, is an excellent overview of horror and thriller films of that pivotal decade that will point almost any reader to hidden gems while giving a fresh perspective on well known classics. And his three FAQ books on Star Trek and Star Wars are addictive tomes packed full of information even longtime fans will not know. Mark is currently working on a lengthy overview of the horror films of the 1940’s making him a perfect guest to discuss this hard to see movie. Will Mr. Clark and I find a way to punch each other over Skype when he attacks the movie? Tune in and see! Or, hear, I guess. You understand!   It’s not spoiling too much to say that we both survive the podcast but if you have an opinion on THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK drop us a line at [email protected] or on the show’s Facebook page. Thanks for listening!
9/5/20191 hour, 49 minutes, 57 seconds
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#89 - GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) and we use that fact to discuss one of the least talked about movies of the Heisei era. The film contains a truly unique adversary for our favorite irradiated lizard. I mean, how many giant monsters are constructed from a rose bush and the spirit of a dead young girl? Jason Spear joins Troy and I to talk about this exceptional entry in the second age of the Big G’s cinematic history. Before we dig into the main topic, we consider the wealth of Godzilla Blu-Ray news that has been announced since our last conversation. The exciting Criterion #1000 release of the entire Showa series is chewed over as well as the recent Mill Creek MOTHRA Blu. We even talk about the extraordinary news that Mill Creek will be possibly releasing all of the various Ultra Man series in chronological order. Included in the opening section is a rundown (in every sense of that word) of the three Godzilla anime films with Troy and Jason explaining why I never need to see them. It’s not all good, folks!   Once the discussion of GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE (1989) begins we range all over the film’s running time. We note the long break between 1984’s THE RETURN OF GODZILLA and the bizarre crowd-sourced way in which the new plant-based creature was created. Jason relates his amusing theory that the official Toho tale of the genesis of Biollante might be slightly fictional, much to my surprise. The film’s many strengths are examined as well as the sometimes very 1980’s John Williams nature of the movie’s musical cues. The details of the excellent Godzilla suit are discussed with perhaps too much time spent talking about the tongue. We mostly stay on target as we go along but I must apologize for my nearly five-minute-long rant about the Jurassic Park films. Sorry about that. If you want to join the Godzilla themed conversation, you can email the show at [email protected] or drop us a message on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page. We plan to have Jason back soon to talk about another Dario Argento film before we delve back into kaiju movies again. This is pretty fun! Thanks for listening.
8/17/20192 hours, 17 minutes, 54 seconds
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#88 - THE BLACK CAT (1941)

The ‘old dark house’ tale was a staple of the horror genre for decades. It still shows up in the 21st century but most of the time it drops the gothic accoutrements for a less antique view of a creepy location. In the 1940’s the ODH story had become a standard for both straight scary tales and horror comedies wishing to use the tropes of the genre as easy set-ups for humor. Such is the case with Universal’s 1941 film THE BLACK CAT. While it treats its mystery with some seriousness it is often pushing events toward a silly joke from the film’s comic relief character. As with any scary movie incorporating laughs as part of its storytelling there is the chance that the humor will not appeal to each viewer. Smartly, the writers employ several different kinds of jokes throughout in an attempt to hit as many potential targets as possible. That means we get some clever dialog in places and some fairly broad comedic bits in others. But does the film as a whole work? Troy and I walk into this old creeper looking to see how it fits in with the types of chillers Universal was producing at the time. We revel in the excellent cast that is so packed with talent that it even sports a young Alan Ladd in an early role. How can any film with Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone, Anne Gwynne, Brodrick Crawford, Cecilia Loftus and Gale Sondergaard be less than entertaining? We take note of the ways the film adheres to the Old Dark House tropes (hidden passages, family hatreds, romantic betrayals, cruel Last Wills & Testaments, etc) and the strange ways it alters those ideas for the times. We remark on the unnecessary confusion caused by the softening of the violence in the story and the clever ways that the spirited investigators piece together clues. Our man Bela looks great in the film but is only given a limited amount of screen time. Luckily, he makes the best of it with some creepy moments and an unexpected humorous scene as well. And, while we both love cats, we have much sympathy for Crawford’s character as he deals with an allergy that we kept waiting to be part of the denouncement. If you have any comments about THE BLACK CAT (1941) or any other of the Universal horror films of the 1940’s please drop us a line. The show can be reached at [email protected] or over on the show’s FaceBook page. We thank you for downloading and listening to the podcast and we’d be thrilled if you could spread the word about what we’re doing here. Thank you for any help getting out the word to a wider world. Talk to you again soon.
8/2/20191 hour, 27 minutes, 55 seconds
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#87 - ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989)

John Hudson returns to continue our look at the films of Antonio Margheriti. This time we examine one of his last completed pictures ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989) which nakedly steals elements from several 80’s Hollywood hits. In fact, the movie can become a bit of a ‘spot the reference’ game as it goes along copping half a dozen ideas or sequences from other, more well-known works. But does this movie have enough creativity and energy to make an entertaining new thing out of all these recycled pieces? Joy is often in the eye of the beholder….  What this film certainly does have is the epic onscreen presence of Charles Napier and Margheriti regular Alan Collins a.k.a. Luciano Pigozzi. These two men shoulder the acting weight of a script that often seems to have been missing a few important pages. Filmed in the Philippines with the usual explosive miniatures to enhance the scope of the action this is one part sweaty jungle adventure, one part evil corporation tale and one part deadly alien attack. Oh! I forgot to mention the alien until now! But the film doesn’t get around to the big murderous creature until more than half the running time is over either so I don’t feel too bad. And any similarities between this film’s alien and the monsters from a certain big budget series of hit movies is completely coincidental, I’m sure.  Mr. Hudson and I dig into this one and are happily surprised by the lack of onscreen animal deaths even if someone really was throwing snakes at actors for one scene. We get excited at certain points in the discussion as we make note of the script’s problems and the variability of the character’s personalities. And, if you pay attention, you’ll hear me call Charles Napier ALAN Napier and that is a very silly mistake to make. Of course, the idea of Charles Napier as the 1966 TV Batman’s butler is pretty damned cool!  The show can be reached at [email protected] for any comments or suggestions. The Bloody Pit also has a FaceBook page where messages can be left for any of the contributors to the podcast. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show!
7/20/20191 hour, 26 minutes, 32 seconds
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#86 - OPERA (1987)

We've wanted to discuss the films of Dario Argento for a long time but have been stumped about the correct starting point. In a career spanning more than fifty years and over twenty films where do we jump in? Luckily, our occasional podcast guest Jason Spear helped us cut through the noise to focus on the director's amazing OPERA (1987). This was prompted by the recent Scorpion release of the film in an incredible three disc Blu-Ray set that provides probably the best way to see the movie since it's theatrical run. Packed with extras that allow fans to deep dive into details of the production it serves to fuel our rather rambling look at this stunning thriller. To dig into what we love about this movie we do away with the idea of a linear discussion of the plot and just hop around talking about random scenes and sequences. We assume that the podcast audience is familiar with the film and plunge forward pulling apart our favorite elements and puzzling over the odd things that make this giallo such a strange and wonderful experience. That means there are certainly spoilers, so be aware! We discuss the madness induced by repressed sexual desires as well as the perceived age problem between the killer and the focus of his obsession. We spend a good deal of time on the fascinating possibility that Argento rotates his narrative inside the head of his main character much sooner than usually imagined. We debate the sanity of the central figure of the film for probably too long and then devolve into relating our individual favorite three Argento efforts. As you can tell, we swing all over the place in this one! If you have any comments or just want to give us your own list of favorite Argento movies the show's email address is [email protected] where we will be glad to hear what you have to say. I cap the episode with an old Hoodoo Guru's song but stick around afterwards for some bonus complaining from me about Argento's Dracula film. Ugh! And, as always, thank you for listening to the show.
6/7/20191 hour, 59 minutes, 38 seconds
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#85 - HORROR ISLAND (1941)

HORROR ISLAND (1941) is one of the 1940's Universal horror films that gets very little attention. The main reason for this it that it does not feature any of the big horror stars the studio created in the 30's or even an actor from the 40's that went on to larger acclaim inside the genre. Although it reteams the male and female leads from THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940), playing essentially the same roles they enacted so well in that film, it seems that Universal didn't even bother to make note of the fact to ballyhoo this picture. Another thing working against it is the movie's lack of a monster of any kind. It sports a 'phantom' but beyond looking vaguely like The Shadow the character offers little in the way of classic chills to entice the thrill seeking crowd. So, what does HORROR ISLAND offer instead? A fog-bound castle off the coast of Florida, a cast of mildly interesting victims and a hunt for hidden pirate treasure are the ingredients tossed about by the script. It's all a bit light and silly but does this under seen film deliver the goods?    Once I'm finished babbling about the DC Comics animated films for video Troy and I discuss the film's comedic tone, creepy setting and it's stalk & kill plotline while marveling at the cast. Where else are you going to see the classic western sidekick actor Fuzzy Knight running around a gothic castle? We talk about the production history, the sick day that cost the film it's final scene and the clever use of left over sets. There is some examination of the idea of how difficult it would be to quickly get in and out of a suit of medieval armor and we wonder about well timed crossbow bolts. This is a movie that throws a lot of things at the wall and not all of them stick.   We close the show with two excellent messages from listeners. If you would like to send us your thoughts the show can be reached at [email protected] where we'd be thrilled to hear from you. Thank you for listening to the show. Please share it with others that might like what we do!
5/12/20191 hour, 56 minutes, 37 seconds
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#84 - William Castle Westerns Part 2

Monster Kid Derek Koch returns to The Bloody Pit to continue our series on the early western films of director William Castle. This time out we tackle two efforts Castle made for producer Sam Katzman in 1954 that focus on historical characters of the Old West. First up is JESSE JAMES VS THE DALTONS which, depending on your point of view, might be called criminally misnamed. The film tells the fictional tale of a man that believes two odd things - that he might be the son of Jesse James and that the famed outlaw is still alive years after his murder. It makes more sense than you might think but it still doesn't justify skipping the opportunity to claim the title THE SON OF JESSE JAMES. That certainly seems like a much more exploitable phrase to splash across a movie poster!    The second film is MASTERSON OF KANSAS which includes not just legendary lawman 'Bat' Masterson but also Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Hewing closer to reality than our first feature this one still concocts a fiery conflict between Holliday and Masterson that drives the two men from dislike to anger with the threat of violence always in the air. Only their respect for the wishes of mutual friend Earp keeps them from a classic Dodge City gunfight as the story begins but they seem destined to clash. Once both men become enmeshed in a complicated plot to frame an innocent man for murder they are forced to side with each other even if their private motivations are very different. Can these two enemies restrain their hostility long enough to stop a war between the army and a local Indian tribe? We have a great time discussing these two colorful westerns with only a few digressions down unrelated paths. I apologize for my lengthy Six Million Dollar Man babble but there were just too many actors in these movies that guested on that show for me to ignore it! Derek can be heard every week over on Monster Kid Radio where you can find more information about his various creative projects. Check it out! And any comments about this episode can be sent to [email protected] and Derek and I will be happy to address your questions next time we record. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show!  
4/19/20191 hour, 53 minutes, 4 seconds
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#83 - TORNADO THE LAST BLOOD (1983)

John Hudson and I dive back into our years long look at the career of Italian director Antonio Margheriti with a show on one of his early 80's war films. Known under several titles but currently available to stream on Amazon under TORNADO (1983) this is a violent action picture modeled closely on the hit movies THE DEER HUNTER and APOCALYPSE NOW. Like those bigger budgeted affairs this film tries to make statements about the horrors of the Vietnam war while simultaneously bringing exciting action scenes to the big screen. This attempted balance doesn't always play well in any story and we find ourselves differing on the success of this effort. And both of us end up puzzled by TORNADO's odd ending leaving the two of us wondering what might have been the original intent. Still, we enjoy quite a few things in the film including the regular appearance of the Alan Collins a.k.a. Luciano Pigozzi as an intrepid reporter trying to do his job in combat. He's one of our favorite Italian character actors even if I manage to get his first name wrong at least once in this episode!  We discuss the details of this fast paced tale and spoil the entire film right to the final scene so, if you want to see this without knowing how it ends, you might want to listen to us after a viewing. Luckily this one isn't difficult to find online although, as a warning, Margheriti continues his streak of onscreen reptile deaths with this film. Of course, he dips his lead actor in a pit of pig feces as well so maybe things equal out in the end. Our conversation takes many barely related side roads (Eddie Dezeen?) but we do eventually wind our way back to the main topic each time. And, for the curious, the damned invisible chimp rears his unwanted head again. Why do I record shows with Hudson?  Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected] or left on the show's Facebook page. We'd love to hear from your thoughts about the films of Antonio Margheriti or any of the odd things we babble about in this one. Thank you for playing along with our lengthy trip through these films and we hope you enjoy this episode.
3/26/20191 hour, 46 minutes, 3 seconds
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#82 - Cult Blu-Ray Releases

This episode sees the return of cult movie expert and long time film writer Robert Monell. He and I discuss four of the newest Blu-Ray releases from Severin Films with a few mostly related side roads along the way. We're both stunned by the continuing announcements from several small labels that focus on giving obscure genre movies the chance to shine in high definition. These are films that would probably never be part of the Criterion Collection but are still very well worth being seen in the best possible presentations. And now, because of the love of discerning fans running niche labels, we can have incredible multidisc releases of rare giallo films, strange horror epics shot in the Philippines, little seen Jack the Ripper cinema and even a tiny budgeted 1970's attempt at making a human sacrificing druid cult into a terrifying horror threat. It truly is a great time to be alive! Please join Mr. Monell and I for this brief show about some highlighted new Blu-Rays worth the attention of cult film fanatics. We talk about the virtues (and vices) of these entertaining movies and also the copious extras lavished upon these often unseen pieces of genre history. The films we cover in the most detail are ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, the 1959 film JACK THE RIPPER and the insane INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. We also excitedly chat about the awesome extras-packed set called All The Colors Of Giallo because it is such a fantastic primer on that fine genre and, surprisingly, the German Krimi films as well. These releases are worth their weight in gold! If you have any questions or comments the show can be reached at [email protected] or on the podcast's FaceBook page. Thanks for downloading and listening!
3/9/20191 hour, 29 minutes, 6 seconds
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#81 - William Castle Westerns

In this episode I welcome longtime podcaster Derek Koch to the show! Derek is the producer, writer and host of Monster Kid Radio which is one of the best shows out there focused on the monster films of the 1920's through the 1960's. I've been a guest on his podcast covering Antonio Margheriti science fiction and horror as well as Mario Bava peplum films. The two of us share many cinema fascinations ranging far from just our mutual love of horror, sci-fi and fantasy but on MKR Derek is somewhat restrained by the show's stated goal of talking about the 'Great and Not-So Great' movies of those specific genres. With that in mind, I invited him to start a series of shows here examining the recently released set of eight western films directed by the amazing William Castle. These are all early career efforts made while Castle was learning his craft at Columbia and gives us the chance to see him grow into the genre filmmaker who would go on to scare the pants off of audiences. We begin our chronological trek through this set by tackling the first two of these oaters in this episode. First up is a female-centric tale from 1943 called KLONDIKE KATE. Based on the life of a real life Yukon stage performer the film tells a sanitized version of early 20th century Canadian frontier shenanigans. It boasts a strong cast lead by Ann Savage and the incomparable Glenda Farrell as ladies that have to find creative paths to make their way in a man's rough world. Savage's later DETOUR (1945) co-star Tom Neal play's her rival and possible lover in this short, entertaining barroom tale. The second film we cover is 1953's CONQUEST OF COCHISE which is a colorful fictionalization of events around Tucson, Arizona right after the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Robert Stack stars as the Army Major in charge of troops sent in to oversee the transition of the area from Mexican control. He runs into trouble from both Apache and Comanche tribes while also making an attempt to romance the lovely Mexican lady Consuelo de Cordova (Joy Page). Add to this the desire of Apache chief Cochise (John Hodiak) to end the fighting and the military complications escalate. And does Consuelo have feelings for the Army major or is she more interested in the honorable Cochise? Derek and I have a great deal of fun digging into these movies. We actually spend the first twenty minutes of the show talking a bit about our favorite westerns as a place setting exercise. This allows listeners a chance to understand what kind of films in the genre we enjoy most and, of course, it lets us babble about even more movies we love! We hope you enjoy our conversation and we plan to cover the next two films in this fine DVD set in a couple of months. If you have any thoughts or comments on these movies or western sin general the email address is [email protected] or the FaceBook page for The Bloody Pit is available as well. Thanks for downloading and listening!
2/22/20191 hour, 57 minutes, 43 seconds
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#80 - Cult Movie Memories

I'm proud to welcome a new contributor to the show this month. Robert Monell is a writer I've admired for years for his smart and enthusiastic analysis of European Cult cinema. His byline in a fanzine always meant a level of quality in both the writing and the thought behind those words. His openness to different styles of cinema played a role in making me comfortable as my tastes in movies grew and changed over the decades. Also, Mr. Monell's excellent blog I'm In A Jess Franco State Of Mind pushed me to be less rigid in my view of Uncle Jess' work and, along with Tim Lucas' work in the field, opened my perceptions wider than I might have thought possible. Or wise! I asked Mr. Monell to join me for an episode of the podcast and he surprised me by immediately saying yes. It turns out that he wanted to discuss the changing state of cult film collecting over the years and, since I have been of that tribe since I was a teenager, I thought it would be fun. We start with the heady days of VHS collecting and track our habits all the way through the exciting Blu-Ray announcements that seem to issue forth every other day. Along the way we end up admitting to illegally copying rented tapes to add to our home collections, baring to the world my Laser Disc shame and reminiscing about out first DVDs. Damn! We're old! Along the way we digress into talking about a number of films including Mr. Monell's favorites of last year and mysteries of the bizarre Euro-Cult effort WHITE FIRE (1985). Sometimes easy streaming availability is a curse! If you have any comments or questions the show can be reached at [email protected] of on the FaceBook page. I hope to be able to talk to Mr. Monell again later this year so feel free to quiz him on anything related to his writing and I'll pass things along. Thank you for downloading and listening!
2/9/20191 hour, 14 minutes, 43 seconds
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#79 - MAN MADE MONSTER (1941)

We begin 2019 with the first new show in our Universal Horrors of the 1940's series. MAN MADE MONSTER (1941) marks the first Universal horror staring role for Creighton Chaney a.k.a. Lon Chaney, Jr.  Given the part of a lovable lug misused by one of the screen's maddest mad scientists, Chaney establishes the perfect acting style for his character. With his hang-dog eyes, broad grin and furrowed brow he presents himself as a good natured, kind fellow without an unpleasant thought for anyone. This performance would serve as the template for his future roles in Universal horror films as the much put upon victim of a certain lunar curse. But this is the starting point for that 'doomed man' characterization and it's a good one for both the actor and the film. Troy and I pull this one apart with the usual help of the fantastic Universal Horrors book by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas which provides a lot of background and contemporary reviews. We also heavily reference the excellent essay by Bryan Senn on this film from the Lon Chaney, Jr. Midnight Marquee Actors series book. His work is essential reading for fans of the actor and those looking for real insight into this underappreciated movie. We discuss the odd notion of having a good scientist and a bad scientist under the same roof; the strange case of the missing romantic subplot; the late blooming lust of the mad scientist for the film's lovely co-star; the 'master race' desires that drive the plot and the dividing line that keeps pets alive in a horror film. We talk about director George Waggoner's work before and after this effort as well as the years long trail the story took to finally reach the screen. We also spend a lot of time heaping praise on the great Lionel Atwill's amazing performance as the crazed man seeking knowledge to keep the lower classes in their places! In the final segment of the show we read out a pair of emails from listeners and dive into the various topics they bring up. On what other podcast will you hear discussions of the Italian Filmirage production company's output (Ator!) paired with a critique of Hammer's four mummy films? If you'd like to let us know what you think on these subjects, or any others, we can be reached at [email protected] or over on the show's FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening!
1/20/20192 hours, 23 minutes, 9 seconds
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#78 - HELL DRIVERS (1957)

Here's a post-Christmas treat! Artist Mark Maddox has had a very busy year. He remains in high demand for book and magazine covers along with all his other work. 2018 saw him finally branch out into Blu-Ray art, doing the spectacular rendering of Christopher Lee for the cover of Scream Factory's new disc of DRACULA - PRNCE OF DARKNESS (1966). Hopefully the strong, positive response to that piece will get him the opportunity to do more in that vein and soon. Fingers crossed. But, because Mark has been so busy, he and I haven't had the chance to record a show together all year - until now! HELL DRIVERS (1957) was a film I was totally unaware of before Mr. Maddox started talking about it a few months ago. I don't know how I missed it considering the talented people involved. There is a host of future British television and film stars packed into this tight little drama including a Doctor Who, a James Bond and at least two other soon-to-be small screen espionage agents. Oh! And the great Herbert Lom as an Italian expatriate working in England and romancing the lovely Peggy Cummins. Writer/director Cy Endfield shows his skill at crafting a strong script with believable characters but also knows how to stage exciting action scenes. We watch huge trucks barreling down roads that are clearly too small for that type of traffic while at the same time the complicated personal relationships become more deadly as well. But the film offers more than just bar fights and lustful quandaries. Just why would a company run these young drivers so hard? As is the norm for a conversation between Mark and I, there comes a point where we go off track. In fact we went so far off track that it became difficult to know just how long we had been roaming around talking about something other than HELL DRIVERS! We drift into a discussion of toys including fan-made collectables, then move on to the British 'Carry On' film series and film humor in general with a surprising revelation or two from Mark. There are at least a dozen other topics that we charge right into with little reasonable concern for the fact that you folks might eventually be listening to us ramble. Sorry about that. If you have any comments or if you'd like to correct either of us please write the show at [email protected] where we'll be thrilled to answer all questions. Thank you for listening and we'll talk to you again soon.
12/27/20182 hours, 4 minutes, 53 seconds
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#77 - CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)

For the fourth year in a row Troy Guinn, John Hudson and I dig into a festive themed film that fits the odd nature of this podcast. Holiday Horrors 2018 brings us to the often overlooked classic CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980). Written and directed by Lewis Jackson the film is available in a fine Blu-Ray release that shines a light on the a film that really should be better known. Kind of a cross between A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Polanski's REPULSION it relates the sad tale of a man overly preoccupied with the holiday but seemingly unable reconcile himself to the realities of incorporating it into an adult life. Having spent years working for a toy manufacturing company he has wrapped himself in the warm message of December the 25th year round. But, this year, he begins to feel his sense of the season slipping away at the same time that his obsessive preoccupation with Christmas ramps up as the holiday approaches. The details of what might be real life and what could be fantasy become intertwined and often impossible to tease apart as our main character starts to act out his love of Christmas and his anger at the uncaring people that pervert it for selfish ends. We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of New York acting talent onscreen as well as a surprising connection to a certain New Jersey musical legend as well. The film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New York set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit on a supremely odd confluence of ideas! So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at [email protected] or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating. 
12/10/20182 hours, 30 minutes, 48 seconds
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#76 - INVISIBLE WOMAN (1940)

With THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Troy and I finally complete the first year of the decade in our look at the Universal Horrors of the 1940's. Released two days after Christmas in 1940 it signifies the first time since THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN that a female character top lined one of these movies. It also represents the first time the producers sharply shifted the series' genre from the established norm set by the previous two films. Yes, this is a comedy! And a broadly silly one at that. As with all comedic films, your mileage will vary with your enjoyment of the frantic antics being the only guide through this mad tale of working girl revenge, slapstick gangsters and dotty old scientists. It's a real mixed bag, folks. We start the show with a brief discussion of the newly released remake of SUSPIRIA and a few comments on the new HALLOWEEN film as well. Then we jump into a breakdown of what we liked and disliked about the third in the Invisible Man series from Universal. Since this film is such a departure from the first two we speculate on the possible reasons for changing the serious tone of the earlier entries. Then we delve into the farcical plot details and the high level of talent in the impressive cast. Our frustration with the story padding becomes evident right about the time we start talking about the faux Three Stooges running around as gangster minions. One of them is even played by Shemp Howard! And I am happy to report that both of us are able to refrain from pointing out that the film's eventual romantic couple are named Kitty and Dick! I suspect the scriptwriters had to find their amusements someplace.  We end the show with a fun, lengthy email from a listener and you can send your missives to us at [email protected] as well. This letter even included a beer review! We can reached over on The Bloody Pit Facebook page as well and we'll be glad to know you. The end of show song this time is from one of Troy's bands - The Exotic Ones! Thanks for downloading and listening!
11/26/20181 hour, 34 minutes, 43 seconds
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#75 - THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967)

After too long a delay Cort Psyops returns to The Bloody Pit to dip back into the Brazilian madness of the second Coffin Joe film - THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967)! As I admit in the show, I was hesitant to go back to this series because I felt that Cort and I set a pretty high bar with our discussion of the first of Jose Marins' horror epics. That film forced us to examine our own moral precepts and how humanity's cruelty can easily form a philosophy of life twisted toward nihilism. We touched on the various topics of Marins' obsessions as we went through that film using it as a jumping off point for probing the darker aspects of our own psyches. With this second discussion, we do the same thing but - because all sequels have to go further to shock their jaded audience - we aim to dig a little deeper. Listen in and see if we manage it! We do slip down a few odd side roads that were not on the original map. Besides a brief discussion of Dario Argento's late trilogy wrap-up MOTHER OF TEARS (there's a good reason) we also find creative new ways to relate the tale of Coffin Joe to modern stories of note. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this will be the first podcast to ever link the horror output of Jose Mojica Marins to the TV shows It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Better Call Saul. Visions of monsters might be universal across all cultures in some surprising ways. We do our best to not lean too hard into the Catholic criticism that seems such a vital part of the subtext of the world of Coffin Joe. We get a few Mormon jokes in there to level things out a little! Sorry. If you want to contact the podcast the email address is [email protected] or the FaceBook page is still a thing you can join. I try to post things of interest there and keep the talk fun. Thanks for downloading and listening!
11/11/20181 hour, 58 minutes, 22 seconds
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#74 - AND GOD SAID TO CAIN (1970)

John Hudson and I return to the films of Antonio Margheriti! This time we stick to the spaghetti western theme of our last episode together with 1970's AND GOD SAID TO CAIN, but it is important to note that this movie is a bit of a hybrid. It incorporates elements of horror films to give it's tale of revenge some added kick. In fact, there are several sequences that look very much like something that could have been lifted from one of the director's Gothic tales from the 1960's. The majority of the story takes place over a single stormy night in which death visits dozens of six-gun carrying bad guys as they end up on the wrong side of a bullet or two. Add to that a lead performance from the amazing Klaus Kinski and you have the makings of some western tinged nightmare fuel! I've included in the show the excellent theme song for the film called Rocks, Blood and Sand. It's sung by Don Powell who also wrote the lyrics with Carlo Savina's incredible music making this a real classic. It's one of my favorite western themes of all time and I think you'll agree. As Mr, Hudson and I discuss this one we take note of the script's smart timeline, the interesting choice of hair color, the odd use of red wardrobe for one particular character and how using men's fear against them is often the easiest way to prevail in a fight. I then take the time to put forth my pet theory about the nature of Kinski's character while John again finds a place for an invisible chimp. Sometimes I hate that man! If you have any comments or question we can be reached at [email protected] or over on the Bloody Pit FaceBook page. Thank you for downloading and listening to the show. Have a happy Halloween!
10/15/20181 hour, 39 minutes, 16 seconds
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#73 - The Mummy's Hand (1940)

Troy and I return with the fourth entry in our 1940's Universal Horror series! With this episode we are really getting into the (gauze wrapped) meat of the matter with the first of the decade's four mummy films. THE MUMMY'S HAND is usually considered the best of the quartet for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is a combination of Indiana Jones style adventure tale mixed with a truly dangerous monster. We have two American archeological explorers as heroes and they are matched by a pair of formidable bad guys -  a high priest and an undead golem. Along for the desert trip is the great character actor Cecil Kelloway and the lovely Peggy Moran as a father-daughter team of expedition investing stage magicians. The film also marks the first of George Zucco's iconic B-horror movie villain performances and he is simply fantastic! Indeed, he is so awesome I give up trying to call him by his character's screen name early on and simply refer to him as Zucco the whole time! My trepidation about Troy's lack of love for Mummy films come to little here as we both enjoy this Egyptian romp. I guess he can occasionally be reasonable about the shambling 3000 year old throat crusher! We dig into the story with an eye toward the film's place in the Universal pantheon while I complain about some of the attempts to soften the narrative. We speculate a bit about the intended audience both before shooting and in the editing process. Some of the more important deleted scenes are discussed as we wonder about the reasons some juicy sequences might have been left on the cutting room floor - never to be seen! Author Thomas Feramisco's excellent book The Mummy Unwrapped is an invaluable resource for fans of these films and comes highly recommended. We also look toward the sequels of this fun film curious about how they will stack up as we slowly cover them all. The show can be reached at [email protected] or at the Bloody Pit's FaceBook page. Let us know what you think of our efforts or what films you'd like to hear us discuss in the future. Thanks for downloading and listening!
9/19/20181 hour, 47 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Bloody Pit #72 - LADY FRANKENSTEIN (1973)

Mel Welles was an actor who worked with Roger Corman in the late 1950's and early 60's. He appeared in many films such as ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS and THE UNDEAD. He will undoubtedly be best remembered for his time onscreen as Mushnick, the owner of the flower store at the heart of THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960). But Mr. Welles seems to have had a much different position in the film industry in mind for himself - director! After a film he shot in 1957 couldn't get released until 1960 Wells decided to try his luck in Europe where he found work in Germany and Italy both in front of and behind the camera. After directing a couple of productions but not getting a director's credit he started a dubbing company that was eventually responsible for providing hundreds of movies with foreign language soundtracks. But in 1971 Welles was able to co-write and direct his most interesting film, LADY FRANKENSTEIN. It's a well made variation on the classic mad scientist tale with a few kinky twists thrown in to keep modern audiences in their seats. It wouldn't hit the United States until 1973 where it was still a hit even after it  was brutally edited down to under 90 minutes by his old mentor, Roger Corman. But is LADY FRANKENSTEIN any good? Or is it just one heck of a good title? Join Adrian Smith for our third annual podcast together and we'll tell you what we think. We spend the first twenty minutes or so catching up with each other so be aware that we don't get to the film immediately. Adrian has officially earned his doctorate in film studies now but refrains from forcing me to call him by his new title. Luckily he's still the same great guy in love with Euro-Cult cinema and he has plenty to say about this sleazy slice of monster glory. I guess it's probably best not to put on airs when talking about slightly disreputable cinema of this type! We discuss the talented cast including Joseph Cotton, Paul Mueller, Mickey Hargitay and the absolutely gorgeous Rosabla Neri in the title role. Adrian points out some fascinating things about the film as we roll through the plot synopsis while I just try to adjust to finally having an uncut version of the film that looks so clear and crisp. We can't recommend the British Blu-Ray from Nucleus highly enough! If you have any questions for us or comments about the show you can write to us at [email protected] where we'll be happy to hear from you. If you get the podcast through iTunes or any other such pod-catcher, please consider rating and reviewing us there. It points others to the show. Thanks for listening and downloading.
8/23/20181 hour, 50 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Bloody Pit #71 - HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES (1940)

Once again we travel back to 1940 to check in on the horror film output of Universal Studio! This time we have a literary adaptation of Nathanial Hawthorne's classic novel THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES. Filmed both before and since it's as straightforward an example of a melodrama filled with familial guilt and resentment played out against a background of possible supernatural components. Did someone say Gothic Romance? Well - I did, even if this might not be exactly what some think of when imagining that specific type of creepy tale. I make the argument that this film may have been the template for a few dozen similar tales over the decades with Troy pointing out the Dan Curtis connection as well. This movie casts a long, dark shadow indeed! We dig deeply into the film, happy that we get to talk about Vincent Price one more time before he exits Universal. The rest of the cast is even more impressive with George Sanders playing his standard cad character with arch skill. But it's the amazing Margret Lindsey as Hepzibah that takes top acting honors bringing real longing and nuanced emotion to the most difficult role in the story. We get return visits from Alan Napier, Cecil Kellaway and Nan Grey with singing cowboy Dick Foran making his debut in a Universal Horror film. As the discussion continues we talk about the changes and additions to the original story with special attention paid to future victim of the Black List, screenwriter Lester Cole and the visual choices made by director Joe May. This is a beautiful movie with much of interest to classic horror fans and romantic drama aficionados too. If you have any comments or questions please write to us at [email protected] and let us know what's on your mind. Thank you for downloading and listening!
8/6/20181 hour, 50 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Bloody Pit #70 - VENGEANCE (1968)

Antonio Margheriti directed several westerns over his very long career. VENGEANCE (1968) was his second effort in the genre after 1967's DYNAMITE JOE and the evidence here shows he was very comfortable in the field. Margheriti also takes a full writers credit on this one meaning that he had a strong hand in shaping the story instead of just being a director for hire. Perhaps this means we can see what 'Mr. Dawson' was thinking in the late 1960's about westerns and the specific Italian slant on them when looking at this early in the cycle example. What are the necessary elements that need to be included?   Attention grabbing opening scene? Check. Clint Eastwood-style loner? Check. Revenge plot fueling the action? Check. Intricate crime with backstabbing and betrayal? Check. Gorgeous female character with little to do? Check. Charismatic bad guy with odd affectations? Check. As much violence as the times will allow? Check.   Seems like he had everything in place. But did he craft a good movie? Join John Hudson and I as we go through this well produced film starring Richard Harrison and a host of excellent European actors including Margheriti regular Luciano Pigozzi. (Was there an actor who appeared in more of his movies?) I complain about the plain nature of Harrison's name while Hudson laments the missed opportunity for a cameo by the Invisible Chimp. We talk about the Savina score, the title song, the joys of catching smaller onscreen details and pointing out where the film could/should have been shortened. We also take a few unexpected side roads with the lengthy DAWN OF THE DEAD conversation being pretty ridiculous even if it did relate to the 'less is more' concept.   Near the end we discuss an email sent in by a listener and if you'd like to comment on the show the address is [email protected]. We would love to hear from you! Thank you for downloading and listening to us babble. We'll be back soon with more.
7/8/20181 hour, 44 minutes, 28 seconds