Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beyond Naschy #13 - MURDER MANSION (1972)

After several attempts, Troy and I have finally braved the hellish ice storm weather of February and now bring you a new Beyond Naschy episode! It wasn't easy. After years of speaking about MURDER MANSION in passing, we at long last discuss the film at length even if we may set a new NaschyCast record for conversational tangents. Seriously- we talk a bit about the HIGHLANDER film series as well as the TERMINATOR movies and Joe Lansdale stories before we launch into a navel gazing meditation on the permanence of podcasts as a form. Whew! We need to podcast more often, I think.

If you've never seen MURDER MANSION you really should catch it as soon as possible. This one is fairly easy to come by on DVD and even on several streaming services so, unlike some of the movies we cover, the special antenna isn't necessary. We don't spoil the ending of the movie in this episode but you might want to avoid online reviews of the film if you want to reach the final act with the mystery still intact. The movie is a great combination of several horror themes including the Old Dark House setting, the Agatha Christie Ten Little Indians plot, lurking ghosts, tales of vampires and even a touch of giallo stalker flair to spice up the stew. In incompetent hands this mélange could have been a disaster, but the magic of that amazing year of 1972 seems to have made blending them somehow achievable. All we can do is be happy they once made movies like this!

The mailbag over-floweth this month as several fine folks write in to congratulate us for five years of podcasting. With any luck we'll continue for five more! If you have any comments or questions please write us at or visit us over on the NaschyCast FaceBook page. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

THE MANSTER (1959) poster art


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Brief Thoughts - WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL (1971)

When I was a teenager I read several of Alistair MacLean's thrillers and enjoyed them quite a lot. I don't remember if I was very aware of the film adaptations of his work that had been done except tangentially because, at the time, they weren't of much interest to me. I had seen the fantastic GUNS OF NAVERONE (1962) and the amazing WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968) but until recently I didn't realize that MacLean adapted his own novel for the screen for Eagles - a task he repeated three more times over the next decade turning his books When Eight Bells Toll, Puppet On A Chain and Breakheart Pass into scripts. I haven't read a MacLean novel in years but I am becoming interested in doing so now that I have been reminded of his skill in telling well plotted, suspenseful tales. Last month I watched the excellent but (to my eyes) chopped down BREAKHEART PASS (1975) and now I have seen the remarkable film version of WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL and color me stunned.

Without a doubt WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL (1971) is one of the best and most underappreciated spy thrillers of the 1970's. The fact that this movie is not better known is a damned crime against cinema! I have never read anyone singling it out for praise or even drawing attention to it as a superior thriller and that is crazy. This is a great film ripe for discovery and deserving of consideration for a Blu-Ray release complete with serious extras. I want to hear Sir Anthony Hopkins' memories of making this film as well as Nathalie Delon's. Sadly, the wonderful Robert Morley and the great Jack Hawkings have long since passed away but several bit players are still around and active in the film industry - get them on the record about this movie! Now!

I may be the only person wishing for this film to be noticed and lauded but I honestly suspect that if more people saw it they would be impressed. It's a serious spy story with real wit and humor that doesn't treat the dangerous aspects of the story as jokes. It has the feel of the early Bond films before the degeneration into self-parody that made the Moore films so increasingly silly. Seek this one out, folks - it's an undiscovered classic.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Royal Blood - Out Of The Black music video

Thanks to Adrian over at Horrorpedia for posting about this amazing horror/science fiction/action music video from British band Royal Blood. Please be warned that there is MUCH animated gore in this clip so it may not be safe for work. Or children. Or pets. Especially rabbits. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Bloody Pit #21 - Movie Music Show!

Here's a short in-between episode to whet your appetite for what the rest of 2015 holds in store. I've pulled together a few pieces of interesting film music for your listening pleasure in hopes of making the current colds days seem a little less frigid. Enjoy!

1.  Danger: Diabolik Part 1 - Ennio Morricone
2.  Babylon, I'm Coming - Piero Piccioni
3.  Hercules Theme - Enzo Masetti
4.  The Saint - Cyril Stapleton
5.  Space: 1999 -  Geoff Love & his Orchestra
6.  2968 - Carlo Savina
7.  5 Dolls For an August Moon - Piero Umiliani
8.  Nell'Assolata Alhambra - Bruno Nicolai
9.  UpperSeven - Bruno Nicolai
10. Frankenstein 80 - Daniele Patucci
11. 'Salem's Lot- Henry Sukman
12. Magic And Ecstasy  - Ennio Morricone
13. A Man Called Dagger - Steve Allen
14. Supercolpu Shake - Nico Fedenco
15. Escape From New York - John Carpenter
16. Truck Turner - Isaac Hayes
17. The Criminal Gang - Franco Micalizzi
18. Take a Midnight Ride - Phil Chilton and Pete Smith
19  Il Perfetto di Ferro - Ennio Morriconne
20. Special Agent LK - Bruno Nicolai  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Killraven Covers

I'm a big fan of this old Marvel property. It grew out of an odd adaptation of the War of the Worlds and just mutated into a crazed post-apocalyptic adventure tale. From the Wiki page- 

"Co-creator Neal Adams' early ideas for Killraven involved the character being the son of a Doc Savage archetype. This conception had been reworked by the first issue, a multiple-creator goulash in which the two originators and co-plotters turned the scripting over to another writer, and in which artist co-creator Adams penciled only the first 11 pages and Howard Chaykin the remaining nine. The second issue was fully written by the debut's scripter, Gerry Conway, followed in the third by Marv Wolfman.
After this, the book became the province of writer Don McGregor for an acclaimed run from #21 (Nov. 1973) to the final issue, #39 (Nov. 1976). Pencillers were Herb TrimpeRich BucklerGene Colan, and, most prominently, P. Craig Russell from issue #27 on.
Two of its characters, Carmilla Frost and the African American M'Shulla Scott, shared color comic books' earliest known dramatic interracial kiss, in issue #31 (July 1975), page nine, final panel." 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Star Trekking to the Planet of the Apes!

Mash-Ups of different franchises are often a bad idea. In most cases they end up not pleasing fans of the two separate properties and the end product comes out as something that is considered a failure by everyone involved. Horror fans need look no further than FREDDY VS JASON or ALIEN VS PREDATOR to see a couple of crowd dis-pleasing cinema mash-ups that were far less than the sum of their parts.

Of course, what doesn't necessarily work onscreen can sometimes be made to work on the page such as the excellent Alien vs. Predator Dark Horse comics from the 1990's that could have been the template for a better (if not great) film. Also, there have been some fascinating Friday the 13th comic book series that have incorporated elements from outside the film series to good effect including crossovers with Ash from the EVIL DEAD films. And there are a host of non-graphic novels out there that extend and add to various cinema series in creative and entertaining ways that please the hardcore fans who are the obvious target audience for these 'extended universe' stories. Hell- I'm still trying to collect the entire run of Friday the 13th novels written as sequels to my beloved JASON X!

So, it appears to me that the best way - for now - to continue to create successful mash-ups is to do it on the page and for a case to make this point I give you IDW and Boom Studios new comic book series Star Trek/Planet of the Apes. At first glance I was harrumphing at the very idea of slapping these two very different types of science fiction together. They clearly exist in extremely different universes both in subject matter and style. There seemed no way to place the original Star Trek crew in contact with the Planet of the Apes post apocalyptic world that could possible make sense. The very basis of classic Trek is an optimistic view of the future where many of the problems we think of as insurmountable have been solved. But the basic premise of POTA is that mankind was so short sighted that they couldn't keep from destroying the world. How to put these two franchises together in a way that did not compromise either one?

As a fan of both POTA and ST it was almost impossible for me to resist taking a look at the first issue. I just could not NOT look. Titled The Primate Directive almost the entire first issue focuses on Kirk and his crew as they unravel a Klingon plot that might involve violating the Organian Peace Treaty. It is this plot that in issue two pushes the Enterprise into contact with Taylor just days after the conclusion of the classic 1968 POTA film and puts Kirk and the stranded astronaut at odds over the use of force. Fascinating! This is - so far - a well written and carefully thought out meshing of these two very different universes. Color me shocked. And put me in line for the third issue as well. This is fun stuff!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day from the Super Heroes!

Happy Valentine's Day, folks! 

Edge: Western Adventure Novel Series Covers

I occasionally get the urge to read a western novel and when I do I invariably turn to one of the many men's adventure series that have been around for decades. The most popular ones - LongArm, Gunsmith, Slocum - are still being published today but I'm most interested in the odder series that flared up and died away like a fire that burned too brightly on the lone prairie. I started picking up a few of the Edge novels a couple of years back because of their cover description as The Most Violent Western In Print. How could I resist? Plus the cover art on all of them is amazing! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brief Thoughts -SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER (1991)

I watched SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER (1991) last night on the new streaming Shout! Factory channel on my Roku. First, let me recommend this option for viewing some obscure films from the Shout Factory collection as well as quite a number of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. The channel allows free viewing with occasional commercial interruptions or you can pay 99 cents and watch the show with no breaks. I choose the free way because I am cheap!

Any way, I had never seen SCANNERS II before but have been curious about it for years. The original film is a longtime favorite of mine which may be why I had shied away from the sequels. Cronenberg had nothing to do with them so I feared the worst. Much to my shock I am pleased to say I enjoyed it. I'm kind of surprised that it was as well done as it turned out as I had pictured a massive mess masquerading as a film. Instead I got a petty well thought out story that - while it does copy the plot of the first film a little too closely - is well crafted and well acted. It even has that strange otherworldly/different dimension feel that I have always associated with Canadian productions that makes them seem to be taking place in a slightly cleaner, calmer and more ordered place. Could that just be Canada?   I'll have to watch the third one soon.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Nightmare Magazine Covers

I wish there was a series of hardcover reprints of these old SkyWald horror comics. I've been able to read so few but they have always delivered the goods. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

What I Watched in January

For the first time in a couple of months I got out to the theater and caught AMERICAN SNIPER. I didn't really want to see the film but I lost a coin toss and that's just how things go. So how was the film? Well....

Clint Eastwood knows how to make a good film and has proven his abilities over the past few decades to craft a effective, affecting movie. I haven't always been interested in his subject matter but I have always been impressed with his skill. That is true of this film as well. AMERICAN SNIPER is a well made and emotionally charged film - but I just could not connect to it. I've given this some thought and I think there are several reasons for my lack of appreciation of the film.

The biggest problem I had with the film is that I am aware of how much of the story presented is fictional. I understand that this is a movie and I don't expect strict adherence to the verifiable facts in any dramatic narrative, but in this film the most exciting and compelling moments are the fictional ones. The movie spends a good deal of time on the hunt for two characters, one of which did not exist and the other who did, but never crossed paths with the main character of the film. The imaginary one is called the Butcher who is shown as a brutal, nasty bastard whose very name strikes fear into the Iraqi population and to drive this home we are made to witness the Butcher murder a child with a drill in front of his family.

The real world person presented in the film is a supposed Olympic medal winning sniper working for the enemy. Named Mustapha, he pops up throughout the film killing soldiers with astonishing precision and is clearly in the movie to present a black to Chris Kyle's white in the simplistic narrative. But my knowledge that the two were never a factor in each other's lives makes it feel a little odd for the film to try to create such an artificial foe for our hero to vanquish. I think the exploits of the man this movie is based upon are more than impressive enough ingredients from which to build a good story. Why shove these fake elements into this film? Why not tell a more accurate story?

For me this is worst element of the film - it's well made on every level but knowing how I was being lied to by the artificial narrative I always felt the strings being pulled. I felt the heavy hand of emotional manipulation all of the time. Within the first hour I realized what I was watching- a propaganda piece. That doesn't make it a bad movie but it does make me angry that we still create this kind of movie in the twenty-first century. I'll never forget how I felt when I discovered just how little truth there is in the classic film SERGEANT YORK (1941). The movie was produced as propaganda to push American sentiment in the direction of intervention in the European war being waged by Nazi Germany. It's things like this that make me worry - what war are we being prepped for by a film like AMERICAN SNIPER? In the film Kyle often refers to the Iraqi fighters as 'savages' which is what I would expect from soldiers on a battlefield but I don't want it to be the way we think of them anywhere else. It worries me that this is how a large portion of the American population will view the Iraqi War - as a fight against savage animals worthy only of death. I guess as long as we can demonize the enemy we'll always feel righteous as we kill and I'm disturbed by the idea that we still churn out movies to make us feel good about that. 

RIDDICK (2013)- 8 (director's cut is even better)
THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)- 7 (rewatch)
CAST AWAY (2000)- 7
THE SPIRIT (1987)- 4 (terrible TV movie version - but I kind of like it!)
THE HEAD (a.k.a. Die Nackte und der Satan)(1959)-  6 (not bad mad scientist film)
TERROR ON A TRAIN (1953)- 5 (not bad but not great time bomb tale)
CYPHER (2002)- 7 (good SF thriller)
SUPER BITCH (a.k.a. MAFIA JUNCTION) (1973)- 7 (well done Euro-Crime)
THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE (1959) -7 (good thriller)
THE LEGO MOVIE (2014) - 7
$10,000 FOR A MASSACRE (1967) - 7 (solid spaghetti western)
STAR WARS (1977)- 8 (rewatch)
PLANET OF THE DINOSAURS (1977)- 3 (good stop motion saves it from a lesser rating)
SNOW DEVILS (1967)- 4 (rewatch)
A SAINT...A WOMAN...A DEVIL (1977)- 3
AMERICAN SNIPER (2015)- 6 (well made but empty) 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

THE EVIL EYE (1963) poster art