Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Supergirl Comic Book Covers

This week's incredibly fun team-up of TV's The Flash and Supergirl was so much fun I got to thinking about how few Supergirl comics I read growing up. She really wasn't on my radar at the time the way Wonder Woman was so I can honestly say that there are few issues of any of her comics I have ever owned. I wonder what particular runs of her various titles over the decades are worth seeking out. Maybe just the cheesy early ones, like these? 

They look like fun to me! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Brief Thoughts - THE KEY (1934)

I caught up with another Michael Curtiz film tonight. This one is a romantic triangle drama set in Ireland during the British Army's hunt for Michael Collins in 1920. The film fictionalizes things in the usual Hollywood fashion and even renames the Collins character Conlan so as to smooth over any potential problems with the Irish in the audience. This is an odd one. It is part police style manhunt with nighttime gunfights and daytime sniper attacks and part regretful romantic pasts coming home to mess with a newly married couple. The cast does a fine job with the excellent William Powell (of the great Thin Man films) as Captain Bill Tennant doing his usual fine job as an honorable cad with sad doubts about his way of living his life. And Colin Clive (of FRANKENSTEIN fame) is the married man whose wife knew Powell a little too well three years before. This has some darker story elements that mark it as a project made prior to the instituting of the Hayes Code such as adultery and premarital sex along with some sexy dancers flirting shamelessly from the stage. The film is a quick and interesting 71 minutes and seems almost over before it has time to really sink in. I suspect some post shoot trimming as at least one character (Tennant's aide) disappears after the first twenty minutes with no word of explanation. Maybe his story had some saucier feature that necessitated their editing? Still, I liked the film and it certainly goes into the win column for Curtiz even if it's a pretty small scale tale. 

Here's a cool picture of Clive, Curtiz and Powell from the set of THE KEY! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Bloody Pit #36 - THE NEW BARBARIANS (1983)

Pasta-pocalypse time on The Bloody Pit! I am joined once again by Troy and Jeff to talk about a piece of Italian sleaze and this time we finally delve into the world of MAD MAX/THE ROAD WARRIOR rip offs. Director Enzo Castellari was a veteran of low budget genre cinema by the early 80's and he knew how to stretch a dollar to make things work. When he made this film he was in the middle of a string of such sci-fi adventures that owed as much to the dystopian worlds of Miller's Mad Max as they did to Carpenter's dark future from ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. All these influences swirl around mixed with a standard Western plot, silly hair styles, ridiculous cars, silly weapons and dangerous stunt work to create a fun, bizarre and occasionally sadistic ride. The fact that the amazing Fred Williamson is on hand to keep the grins flowing is only part of the entertainment on view. After all - we have to find a way to survive the end of civilization and start over again, right? Or are we just looking for victory? Don't ask Nadir.

After a brief discussion of the media that we've been checking out lately, your Three Stooges dive into a detailed breakdown of THE NEW BARBARIANS. We examine the odd design and talk about how the western story template makes for a good jumping off point for an action tale. We discuss the cast, the clever ways the production dealt with budgetary issues and the nepotism that shows up in every Castellari film. We spend some time on the mighty George Eastman (a.k.a. Luigi Montefiori) and his impressive career and marvel at the talents of Williamson as he brightens the movie in ways only he can manage. We get a kick out of analyzing the strange sexual politics of the story as Troy points out a way that this film is unique among it's post-apocalyptic brethren. And of course, we smile and laugh at the insane gunfights, slow motion car crashes and exploding dummies along the way. Man - I love exploding dummies! Truly, a good time was had by all.

We can be reached at if you have any comments or questions. Next month Troy and I will be back on the NaschyCast feed covering some Spanish Horror again while I'll be trying to get the long delayed LOGAN'S RUN episode off the ground. Let us know what you think and if there are any movies you think we should pay attention to as we venture down the road. Thanks for downloading and listening. 

THE BLACK HOLE (1979) Poster Art

This recent look back at Disney's big budget science fiction epic at the James River Film Journal site is well worth reading. I've never been a fan of the film even though I find it fascinating for the futuristic imagery, the wasted cast and the special effects. It's a snooze of a movie but it is required viewing for genre fans. Just have lots of caffeine nearby before you settle in. I can't believe this hasn't been released on Blu-Ray. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

THE NEW BARBARIANS (1983) on YouTube!

The next episode of The Bloody Pit podcast covers this Enzo Castellari film and here it is in all its glory for free! Of course, there is a fantastic new Blu-Ray of the film available as well so there are many options. The Blu is packed with lots of extras that make the experience even more fun so I recommend it highly.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Score for RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS by Oliver Onions!

Clearly these kinds of movies are on my mind this week! 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS (1983) Poster Art And VHS Cover Art

I think its about time some enterprising video company released this Ruggero Deodato sucker on Blu-Ray! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brief Thoughts - THE BELLBOY (1960)

Every now and then I see a film and, although it is well made and seems to hit all its targets, I just can't enjoy it. Such is the Jerry Lewis comedy THE BELLBOY. I can't say it's a bad movie because it really isn't. It's an admittedly plotless series of 'amusing' vignettes centered on Lewis as a hapless bellboy in a sprawling Miami Beach resort hotel. I can admire the attempt to create such a film which, in a way, is a feature length version of a sketch comedy/variety TV show only with a much bigger budget. There is no ongoing story thread or overarching development to get in the way of just going for a laugh ever couple of minutes. Where it fails for me is that the movie never once made me laugh. I grinned a few times - the Milton Berle sequence is amusing - but that was the extent of the tickling of my funny bone. Regardless, I did find things that kept me interested enough to watch the entire film. Lewis is always a fascinating screen presence even when he is carrying a joke or pratfall about two steps too far. Also, the film is a beautiful black and white peek back in time at the attitudes and the fashion of a decade that seems so bright and sharp when viewed through the long lens of Hollywood distorted history. I'm glad I watched it but I don't think I'll ever revisit it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Santo Poster Art

After a couple of emails this afternoon I'm happy to say that Troy and I will be covering a Santo film later this year! It'll be an episode of Beyond Naschy as this particular film stars several Naschy co-stars from the golden age of Spanish Horror. So cool! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Re-Re-Viewing Bond- THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974)

I'm a big fan of the James Bond film series but I'm also one of the first to admit that very few of the films are perfect. In fact, sometimes watching several of the older James Bond films (and some of the newer ones too) is a process of overlooking the problems to enjoy the whole. Such is the case with the Man with the Golden Gun. There's a lot of good in this movie but the problems are numerous starting with the most obvious - the return of the Louisiana sheriff character from the previous film LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) . In LALD he was a mildly humorous or sadly annoying asshole character depending on your tolerance for hick/redneck caricatures. He stuck out as dumb and unnecessary but he didn't make the film less effective or credible. Such is not the case with J. W. Pepper's appearance in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. He pops up with his wife on vacation in Thailand and just so happens to cross paths with Bond at the right time to be involved in a high speed care chase. This series of events are so unlikely and so clearly the product of the writers being forced to bring the character back for a second go round that it would be a sore point even if the character never entered the action. And his scenes underscore one of the biggest problems the Bond series built for itself in the 1970's which is that somehow in the world of these films James Bond is publically known to be a British spy. WTF? This became a reoccurring point in the Moore years and each time it is mentioned as it is in this film it destroys the flimsy artificial world that the series has built up.

I rewatched this the other night because I wanted to see Christopher Lee's Scaramanga character again but I was dreading the film overall. My memory was that this was a very disappointing Bond outing and there was little beyond the scenery to recommend it. But this time around I found myself enjoying the film more than my last watch. Indeed, I finally enjoyed the pre-credit sequence for what it is - a darker version of the Kato vs. Clouseau battle/training sequences from the Pink Panther films. Plus, Lee is really good in the role even if I wish the script had worked harder to draw out the 'two sides of the same coin' aspect of his and Bond's characters. As it stands it's brought up and dismissed in the course of one dinner scene so that it feels far too truncated - almost an afterthought.

Sill, I liked MWTGG more this time than when I watched it about five years ago. It still has the same problems and failings but its strengths stood out more prominently for me this time. I liked seeing Bond as a tough, abusive jerk when he threatens Maud Adams's character because it is what he would be given his situation in the story. I always prefer the gentlemanly aspect of Bond to be a thin veneer hiding the violent man beneath and here Moore was still willing to play the character that way. He softened him over the next couple of films until the darker Bond final returned in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981).

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN will never be one of my favorites of the series but I now feel good putting it in the 'plus' column - but just barely. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Poster and Video Box Art for THE NEW BARBARIANS (1983)

Also known under the title WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND this is one of Enzo Castellari's MAD MAX 2 rip-offs. After a a rough first thirty minutes it becomes a fun post-apocalyptic romp and many dummies are destroyed! We'll be podcasting about the film later this month. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What I Watched in February

I got to see a lot of movies in the theater in February so I'll keep this brief. First up was the latest Coen Brothers comedy HAIL, CEASAR and I found its recreation of 1950's Hollywood to be charming and amusing. It seems to be crafting a vision of the past that pretends that the movies of the time actually reflected reality and I find that entertaining on its own. Adding to that is a group of slightly off-center characters (in a Coen film!) who all have their own selfish agendas as they negotiate a kidnapping, a pregnancy, a life changing job offer and a host of other problems. I loved this wonderful film even as I must acknowledge that it might be something only a old movie fan could completely embrace. I've read other people complaining about it with my favorite criticism being that it's a story about a kidnapping that has no tension. This made me laugh out loud! This just ain't that kind of movie, friend! The kidnapping plot is just there to hang all the other subplots from and to give a near perfect capper to a nice character turn by Josh Brolin. Of course, the entire cast is fantastic wringing every bit of juice out of the script's ridiculous shenanigans. This is a joyful and grin-inducing movie that makes me love the Coen's more every time I am reminded of a dozen or more little moments. Damn! I want to see it again!   

Next I caught the horror film THE BOY starring Lauren Cohen from the cast of The Walking Dead and Rupert Evens who has recently impressed me on Amazon's Man In The High Castle series. The story involves American Cohen taking an au pair job in England for an elderly couple going away on holiday. Her duties revolve around caring for their young son who - in a disturbing twist - turns out to be a three foot tall doll of a boy instead of the real thing. At first incredulous she finally accepts the position after a down to earth talk with the husband of the house who explains that the doll was a way of coping with their child's death many years before. If she will just go along, abide by the strict rules they set out then all will go well and she will be well paid. She agrees and after the couple depart we learn that the reason Cohen's character is so far from home concerns an abusive ex-boyfriend who is unaware of her new location. Soon after disregarding the carefully structured rules she begins to hear and see things in the large house that lead her to suspect the doll may be supernaturally possessed or at least the focus of ghostly attention. She convinces Evens' local businessman character that something strange is going on just about the time her ex finds his way to England and things in the house escalate. THE BOY is a well done chiller that navigates its few twists very well. It's not a great horror movie but it is a reasonably effective one.

I've already written a good bit about THE WITCH but I have to admit that it's odd to me that so many horror fans dislike the film. Their protestations of 'It's not really a horror movie' sound a whole lot like the flip side of the old 'serious' filmmaker's dodge of 'It's not a horror film- it's a supernatural thriller'. Bullshit on both rations of this crap. THE WITCH is a horror movie and so all the bitching needs to cease. If you didn't like it that's fine but it's still a horror film even nothing blows up or gets carved into pieces. I'm pissed that I have to explain this.

DEADPOOL was just as funny and exciting as you have heard. I enjoyed the hell out of it and look forward to a sequel even if I have never read a single comic book with Cable. Kudos for the fine post credit Ferris Bueller riff.

And finally I saw THE FOREST at the second run theater which was about right. It's not a bad little ghost tale about a lost twin sister in the infamous suicide forest in Japan but it's nothing very special either. It's well acted and the pacing is strong with the fine location work in the shadow of Mt. Fuji adding very much to the creepy vibe. I enjoyed it but I doubt I'll ever go out of my way to see it again.

The List 

THE BLACK BOOK (1949)- 8 (excellent Anthony Mann, Menzies produced tale of Robespierre)
HAIL, CAESAR (2016) - 9  
BURN AFTER READING (2008)- 8 (rewatch)
THE BOY (2016)- 7 (sharply done horror story)
BREEDERS (1986) - 3 (nudity filled alien monster mess)
SOLARBABIES (1986) - 1 (horrible on every level - and boring!)
THE PHANTOM LADY (1944)- 8 (excellent noir with horror overtones)
THE VISIT (2015) - 7 (solid found footage horror)
EX MACHINA (2015) - 7 (rewatch) (I liked it more the second time but it's still a detached, distant experience)
THE BIG SHORT (2015) - 9
THE WITCH (2015) - 8
FURY (2014) - 8 (WWII tank tale)
ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) - 9
HELLIONS (2015) - 6 (not bad but the story is too stretched out for feature length  running time)
GHOSTHOUSE (1988) - 3 (bad haunted house film from Filmirage)
CHINGACHGOOK: THE GREAT SNAKE (1967) - 6 (solid German western from James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer)
DEADPOOL (2016)- 8 (very fun!)
PHANTOM SHIP (1935) - 6 (interesting version of the Mary Celeste story with Lugosi)
RAMPAGE AT APACHE WELLS (1965)- 6 (German western better known as The Oil Prince)
THE FOREST (2016)- 6
EL VAMPIRE Y EL SEXO (1969) - 5 (nude version of Santo film The Treasure of Dracula)
VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS (1961) - 4 (terrible but fun Jules Verne adaptation) (rewatch)
SWORDSMAN OF SIENA (1962) - 8 (Italian made Stewart Granger swashbuckler)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #58 - COMEDY OF TERRORS (1963)

A truly fun and funny horror/comedy from Price, Peter Lorre, Karloff and Roger Corman. Classic!

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Saddled with a title evoking cheesiness of the highest pungency, I Married a Monster from Outer Space is actually a fairly thoughtful 50's sci-fi flick. In the past few years I've seen genre fans inflate its mild qualities to try to argue it as a minor classic, but in all honesty it isn't. It is a pretty good little movie but lowered expectations are the best way to approach it for maximum enjoyment.

Traveling home late at night after his bachelor party, Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) nearly runs over a man lying in the road. Jumping out of his car he finds the body gone — he is then attacked and apparently absorbed by a grotesque glowing alien creature. The next day Bill shows up hours late for his wedding, appearing slightly confused, but goes through with the ceremony. Cut to a year later and Bill's bride Marge (Gloria Talbott) is deeply concerned about him as he seems to be a different man from the one she fell in love with. He acts detached or unemotional, and compounding her fears is the fact that she hasn't yet become pregnant even though her doctor assures her she can conceive. One night Bill leaves the house in the middle of the night and Marge follows him. He walks far into the local woods where Marge witnesses her husband physically separate from one of the aliens and then enter their hidden spacecraft. Horrified, she runs to the local chief of police and he comforts her with promises to look into the situation. Of course, all the small town's cops have been taken over by the aliens already so no help is coming from that quarter. When Bill's buddy Sam (Alan Dexter) becomes one of the controlled we learn from their conversations that these weird invaders are trying to find a way to breed with human females. The females of their race were wiped out in a disaster and without some form of interspecies mating they will die out. In desperation Marge tries to contact the FBI but finds every avenue of communication cut off; she is even unable to leave town. But when one of the disguised aliens dies accidentally she thinks she may have found one authority figure that hasn't been taken over — Dr. Wayne (Ken Lynch). But how will she be able to find enough uncontrolled men to stop the creatures? 

An odd variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it shares that film's 'Red Scare' feel but it's more interesting for its commentary on sexual politics and marital fears. The film opens with a booze-fueled bachelor party discussion in which the men's dismissive and derogatory statements about marriage are pretty harsh and certainly don't reflect the norm for 1950s genre movies. The movie also gives us a few female bar denizens who come off as quite slutty, one of which pays for a poorly timed flirtation with her life. Was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or deemed unworthy of being alien breeding stock because she's a tramp? On each of my viewings this murder came off as a disturbing value judgment not of the creatures but of the movie.

 These kinds of ideas bubble around the story as when the film smartly uses the fear of infidelity to lead Marge to the necessary revelations of the plot. Her following of Bill on a nocturnal trip away from home plays like a woman trying to catch her man with a mistress only to stumble onto something much more sinister. And, of course, the central idea of the aliens mating with Earth women can make your skin crawl if one thinks through the implications of Marge's year of attempting to get pregnant! But even though the movie slips a few nasty ideas in, our one glimpse into the married couple's bedroom shows us two separate beds in keeping with the 'safe' Hollywood version of life. Still, the hideous realization of what the alien creature has been doing to/with Marge only gets more disturbing the longer you consider what is happening. Ridley Scott's Alien gets credit (some might say blame) for introducing the concept of rape to cinema science fiction but what else can this martial situation be called? In the third act much is made of the creature's increasingly tender feelings for Marge but since up until then he has been having sex with her under false pretenses how much sympathy can we have for him? We see that his emotions are beginning to interfere with his loyalty to his own kind but ......

The film manages to keep us distracted from thinking too hard about these horrible ideas by doing odd things, like subverting the common marital fear of drinking and the abuse that can come with it. When it turns out that the controlled aliens avoid alcohol because it's deadly to them, this prominent family fear of the period becomes a danger sign for a very different reason. The slightly more adult tilt to the material shows in other scenes as well, such as in the execution of a barfly that starts sniffing around Marge. He's coldly blown away when the alien-controlled cops decide that such a lowlife is of no use to them (just as the female bar tramp wasn't, I guess). Of course, this all may be a bit too much to ask a first-time viewer to see in I Married a Monster from Outer Space, but its certainly there. And if folks can read a commentary on Communism into Body Snatchers then I can see social commentary on the war between the sexes here. Besides, this film is a little slow at times and these kind of speculations help keep it fun.

Paramount has issued I Married a Monster from Outer Space on DVD in a very nice anamorphic (16x9 enhanced) print that looks great. The image is sharp and audio is detailed and clear, making the optional English subtitles unnecessary. I've never seen a better looking presentation of the movie on video and that makes the disc's one shortcoming a shame — there are no extras. Not one. They didn't even throw in the theatrical trailer for crying out loud! I'm not asking for a full-out special edition of this little obscurity but something would have been nice. Maybe a few text pages about the movie's cast and crew or some info about the alien costume design. Perhaps a bit of information about the special effects by the legendary John P. Fulton could have been added since the picture detail here really shows them off to good effect. I guess I should just be glad this one's available at all but I still hope for a Blu-Ray to eventually appear with some nice extras putting this bizarre 50's monster film into context for new viewers.