Monday, January 16, 2017

What I Watched in December


This monthly post is long overdue so I'm going to be brief and get the list posted. I saw eight (!) movies in the theater in December and I've already written about a few of them so follow the links below to read my thoughts on those.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN was a film I was going to skip as I have fallen out of love with Tim Burton and his increasingly shallow films. I was prompted to see this one by a British review that praised it and I'm glad I did. Eva Green is a marvel and the film works very well.

DON'T BREATHE is a good but not great variation on the home invasion idea. It's effective, tense and minutely explores it's chosen environment to terrifying ends.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK is a very weak sequel to the first Reacher film. Although the action scenes are well handled the connective tissue and story itself are thin and uninvolving.

THE ACCOUNTANT is a excellent crime film and one that skillfully accomplishes many different things. The main character is fascinating as are the various ways he has constructed his world to both survive and thrive. The film holds many surprises and is very well acted.

BAD SANTA 2 is a case of going back to a well that was mostly dry. It's not a bad film but it is too much of a retread of the first even if the new setting and new characters do liven things up a bit. Kathy Bates is great as Thornton's mean spirited criminal mother but she's about the only real surprise the film has up its sleeve. 

The List 

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016) - 8 
DEAD RECKONING (1947)- 7 (lesser Bogart noir)
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (2016) - 8
BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006) - 6 (rewatch)
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) - 7 (rewatch)
A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015) - 8 (rewatch)
KRAMPUS (2015) - 8 (rewatch)
SILENT NIGHT (2012) - 5 (remake is too cartoonish)
DON'T BREATHE (2016) - 7
ELVES (1989)- 3
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (2016) - 5 (weak sequel)
SNOWED UNDER (1936) - 6 (fun but too tame little farce with excellent female leads)
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) - 7
THE ACCOUNTANT (2016) - 8
STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (2016) - 8 
MONTANA MOON (1930) - 5 (pre-code drama with Joan Crawford)
DR. STRANGE (1978) - 6 (actually not bad for a 70's TV movie)
ARRIVAL (2016) - 9
BAD SANTA 2 (2016) - 6




Sunday, January 15, 2017

CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959) Coming to Blu-Ray!


For years I have longed for a good video release of this little gem and now it appears that my begging and crying has finally paid off! 

NEW UK/US TITLE: Caltiki the Immortal Monster (Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD)
A unique and unforgettable sci-fi chiller which showcases these two legendary filmmakers at their most inventive

North American pre-orders links should be live soon!
Release Dates: 10/11 April
Arrow Video presents a collaboration between two giants of Italian cult cinema – Riccardo Freda (The Vampires, The Horrible Dr Hichcock) and Mario Bava (5 Dolls for an August Moon, Blood and Black Lace)!
A team of archaeologists led by Dr John Fielding (John Merivale, Circus of Horrors) descends on the ruins of an ancient Mayan city to investigate the mysterious disappearance of its inhabitants. However, the luckless explorers get more than they bargained for when their investigation of a sacrificial pool awakens the monster that dwells beneath its waters – the fearsome and malevolent god Caltiki.
Though Riccardo Freda received sole directing credit, a significant portion of the film was in fact the work of Mario Bava, who also served as its cinematographer and was responsible its striking special effects. Drawing on a diverse array of influences, from The Quatermass Experiment to the works of HP Lovecraft, Caltiki the Immortal Monster is a unique and unforgettable sci-fi chiller which showcases these two legendary filmmakers at their most inventive. Presented here for the first time in a newly restored high definition transfer, Caltiki shines – and terrifies! – like never before.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
• Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
• New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark
• New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava and So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
• From Quatermass to Caltiki, a new discussion with author and critic Kim Newman on the influence of classic monster movies on Caltiki
• Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master, an archival interview with critic Stefano Della Casa
• The Genesis of Caltiki, an archival interview with filmmaker Luigi Cozzi
• Archival introduction to the film by Stefano Della Casa
• Alternate opening titles for the US version
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Kat Ellinger and Roberto Curti



Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Bloody Pit #49 - MR SUPERINVISIBLE (1970)


We return to the films of Antonio Margheriti and the decade of the 1970's to see what an Italian made Disney film would look like. You might remember the kind of film we're talking about if you are of a certain age -THAT DARN CAT, GUS, THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG, THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES and certainly THE LOVE BUG which turned a cheap German made car into a fun loving childhood hero. Somehow. And when European producers wish to capitalize on the big budget hits of Hollywood they do the easiest thing possible to create a movie that the public will mistake for American fodder - they hire an American star! In this case, Dean Jones, lead actor in several Disney kiddie features was lured to Italy to make a film just as cute and stupid as the pabulum being force-fed to the little bastards by Uncle Walt's fantasy machine. How well it succeeds will be a test of your own nostalgia or, perhaps, your lack of patience with resolutely silly stories. 

John Hudson joins me to dig into this ridiculous science fiction comedy and, as difficult a watch as it was for grown men, there are joys amide the pain. Not a lot of joys, but enough to keep us from losing our minds. We talk about the good cast, the odd choice of aspect ratio, the fantastic music, the Italian Peter Lorre, pointless animal testing and bizarre tropes that get trotted out in this genre of Saturday afternoon kiddie matinee.

Of course, we also spend a sad amount of time lamenting the extremely short time the mythical Invisible Chimp is a part of the story. Clearly he was a highly paid ape and they could only afford him for a couple of days! As a bonus (?), I also take a minute to complain loudly about one of the dumbest turns of phrase/jokes/sad bits of non-humor from the past that is present in this film in the very first seconds. Sometimes I just have to get things off my chest even if it might make me sound like an old man screaming at clouds. Sorry.

Thank you for downloading and listening to the show. Mr. Hudson and I plan to step up production of these Margheriti episodes this year and we even go so far as to announce the next two films we'll cover. We love going through these films and it is a blast see that there are others out there interested enough in his work to listen to us praise him. Join us over on The Bloody Pit Facebook page (which I forgot to mention in this show) or write us a review in iTunes or wherever you find our show. See you next time! 






Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MISTER SUPERINVISIBLE (1970) on YouTube!



I don't know if I can so much recommend this film as warn you about it. If you of a certain age you might have some memories of the various Disney kiddie feature films starring Dean Jones. He was in THAT DARN CAT! (1965), THE UGLY DACHSHUND (1966), THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK (1971) and, or course, THE LOVE BUG (1968) and a couple of its sequels. He became a household name for a decade or more because of these films and they were both popular and profitable. So it was not difficult to figure that European producers would try to mimic this successful formula and who better to make this effort as well as possible than Antonio Margheriti? 

Podcast on the way! 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Brief Thoughts - ARRIVAL (2016)


Ted Chiang is a science fiction writer of some note and many accomplishments. I've only read a few of his short stories but each one has been brilliant showing the author's skill at thinking through an idea to something hidden just on the other side. If I had known ARRIVAL (2016) was based on his fiction I would have seen it opening weekend.

I will not ruin any of the many pleasures this carefully crafted film has to offer but I will take a moment to complain about some of the criticisms I read about the story that kept me from seeing the film until the end of the year. If the only thing you want to talk about after this powerful film has concluded is that it was stupid for an alien race to travel to our planet but not already be able to communicate with us you can officially go straight to hell. The entire film revolves around the fact that the aliens are struggling to find a way to talk to us and even their worldwide project using multiple sites and contact styles is massively difficult. One might make the rather easy leap to think that the complexity of the task and the hardships involved in the struggle just might be the damned point. Or at least one of them. Idiots.

But, to be clear, ARRIVAL is one of the best films I saw in 2016 and well worth seeing. It's thoughtful, smart, emotional and satisfying in ways I had forgotten science fiction can be. I'm not ashamed to say I wept tears of both sadness and joy. 


Saturday, January 07, 2017

Alice Cooper's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Theme Song



I wish some enterprising, clever person would find a way to marry this song to the film's opening credits, but I'm willing to take this version for now.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Vincent Price - Films of the 1960's