Tuesday, May 31, 2016

THE RETURN OF GODZILLA (1984) and THE THING (1982) Coming to Blu-Ray

OK! Carpenter's THE THING has been available on Blu-Ray for years but this announced new edition from Scream Factory promises to be bigger, better and just jam stuffed with new extras! Since it's one of my favorite films of all time I could not be more excited. 

And the 1984 Toho film THE RETURN OF GODZILLA that became GODZILLA 1985 here in the states has been high on the fan's wishlist for decades. Due to some strange rights issues it has been tied up in legal limbo forever but on September 13th it finally hits American video - and in HD! Woo hoo! Wasn't I just asking Troy about this on the podcast a couple of months ago? 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Bloody Pit #38 - INVASION OF ASTRO MONSTER (1965)

Toho Studio's Monster universe takes another turn for the weird in this science fiction epic! This movie introduces the soon to be reused idea of alien invaders taking control of the giant monsters and creating large scale destruction in the hopes of worldwide conquest. No one should have trusted those Emo looking freaks anyway. Just look at those evil glasses! As this is the immediate follow up to GHIDORAH it is very strange that the American release avoided that name entirely and went with MONSTER ZERO. I guess that Ghidorah just doesn't have the same box office appeal as Godzilla which still doesn't explain why they didn't title it Godzilla Goes to Planet X. Which would lead to my favorite possible crossover ever - Buckaroo Banzai Meets Godzilla! (Does anyone get that reference?)

We take a look at this one with the switch being that this time out I am not the one synopsizing the movie's events. Troy leads this dance through two worlds, three giant monsters, two affable astronauts, dozens of evil aliens and a host of Kumi Mizuno clones. Yeah- this one has plenty of things to talk about! We discuss the American actor Nick Adams as he rages against the alien horde and chases after a lovely lady. We dig into the ideas and plot threads that are brought up and left dangling as the movie speeds toward its conclusion along with the ways that this film pointed to how future Toho SF movies would shift in tone. Troy comes armed with some interesting information on the amount of screen time the monsters get in this picture making for some interesting questions about what audiences want verses what they actually get. I get to express my love for trap doors and also muse on the possibility of alien monsters made of funnel cake. I might have gotten carried away with that last one.

Of course, this being a conversation between Troy and I we can't stop ourselves from beginning the show with a couple of completely irrelevant topics. OK. To be honest, it was just me talking about 1970's Marvel comic books and Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure novels but Troy could have stopped me at any time with a bat or a bucket of water! And the tangent we take near the end of the show is all on him! If you want to comment on our lack of professionalism and inability to stay on a single topic please write us at thebloodypit@gmail.com and we'll get back to you with our defense. Thanks for downloading and listening. If you listen through iTunes please rate and review us over there as it really helps get more eyes and ears on us. 

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As an extra cool bit of artistry tied to this film and it's glorious monster battles here is a very cool pen & ink drawing of the three kaiju featured in this one from the talented Ethan Black. He's a Nashville based artist specializing in fantasy and horror images that often take my breathe away. He's also pretty good at building creature props and monstrous skeletons! He contributed this sketch just for fun but if you want to see more of his work check him out over on his website. Or this website.

Click to Enlarge!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE WILD BUNCH (1969) - Cinematic Trauma

I recently recorded a guest spot on the excellent podcast Cinema PSYOPS to discuss one of my favorite movies - THE WILD BUNCH. But the format of this particular podcast isn't tied to talking about movies you love. No, no! The idea is to talk about movies that you saw at far too young and age for the content or tone to be healthy. Exploring the often self-inflicted cinematic trauma of childhood is a ripe topic and hosts Cort and Matt do a great job of digging into why and how when quizzing their guests.

When they graciously asked if I'd be willing to participate I was thrilled and knew immediately what movie to discuss because the screen magic of Peckinpah's grandest work is something I could talk about any day of the week. Of course, what disturbed me about THE WILD BUNCH when I was a lad is no longer what gives me tsursi as an adult viewer. I had a blast on their show going through this brilliant film and it was a lot of fun to really compare notes with friends about a movie so good on so many levels. But there is the problem for a lunatic like me - I had so much fun I forgot to talk about dozens of the ideas bouncing around inside the film. I never mentioned the old vs. new theme, the concept of the regrets of middle age and its attendant creeping fear of obsolesce, the problems of maintaining an ethical code in a complex world and what it means to betray and be betrayed. Nope! I talked about the things that messed me up when I was a kid!

As you might expect, when I was younger it was the obvious stuff that made me go wide eyed. The violence and callous disregard for other human lives laced with bloody violence shocked and stunned me. But now that I'm older and watching the film those things don't disturb me nearly as much as watching what seems to be positioned just to the side of that violence almost all the time -  children. In every major action sequence except the train robbery Peckinpah goes out of his way to show children being put in harm's way by the violence around them. And then the final shot that kills Pike is fired by a child playing at war. It's this running theme that bothers me these days and it's a much more troublesome concern. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Some of these I do NOT understand! 
Of course, this is the film we'll be covering next on The Bloody Pit podcast! Join us.....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ray Milland Extols the Virtues of Schlitz circa 1959!

I have a mild fascination with old celebrity TV commercials that advertise products of questionable morality or respectability. Not that beer is immoral but I see these commercials and always think of Fred Flintstone hawking cigarettes! By the way- in the above clip watch to the end to see how certain terms have changed over time! Whew!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Brief Thoughts - NIGHTFLYERS (1987)

I'm going to have to find a copy of George R. R. Martin's source short story to discover if there was anything coherent in the original idea for this film's script.

Let me back up.

I have been aware of NIGHTFLYERS (1987) for decades but have never sought it out because the few opinions I had heard were negative. The other day someone on Facebook mentioned it as one of those 'how can it not be on DVD yet' titles and my interest was rekindled. So, a few taps later I sat down to finally see this somewhat lost science fiction horror effort adapted from the writing of one of my favorite writers.

Oh, god! I was initially  heartened to see that the film's run time was a short 90 minutes which made me think it was going to be a quick blast of genre fun. Oh, my, no. This is one of the slowest, most draining movie experiences I have had in a long time. On multiple occasions during that sad hour and a half I felt myself start to drift away and had to stand up, move around and refocus my attention just to stay awake! This is easily one of the most boring SF movies I have ever seen and I have seen some pretty terrible stuff. I have watched ALL of the original runs of Battlestar Galactica AND Galactica 1980, so I know boring, tedious SF, people. This is worse than those! I kept trying to follow the thread of the story but it's so poorly related and crappily staged that there were times I forgot that there was a reason these characters were talking to each other or doing things. And by the end (oh, blessed ending!) of this mess I realized that the story had deteriorated so much that the film didn't even bother to finish the damned thing! The instigating plot revolves around a group of people recruited by a professor to venture into intergalactic space and seek out the location of an alien race....or something like that. It's all fuzzy now, just like the film's very 1980's diffused photography. Seriously, watching this movie is like watching a play through a fogbank.

But enough about this deadly dull film except to say that if anyone out there is an actual fan of NIGHTFLYERS please contact me in the comments below. I want to know what you see in this thing other than 'it's not available on DVD'. If I ever need to get to sleep I have my problem solved! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Darwyn Cooke 1962-2016

In so many ways it feels like he was just getting started. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Have I seen this movie? - LAND OF DOOM (1986)

A few weeks back  I had the DVR grab this post-apocalyptic flick because I wanted the chance to revisit it now that - for some reason best left unexplored - MGM has mastered it in HD for their cable channel. I knew I had watched this one in some bootleg/VHS rip form at some time in the past but my memories were vague enough to be a little excited to check it out - again. 

But now I've watched it and I have to confess that I'm confused. Not by the film itself which is terrible in every way that a 1980's low budget sand & motorcycle exploitation movie can be. No- I'm confused because I'm pretty sure I have seen this sucker but while watching it I have no memories of anything I'm seeing. Not to say that the film is at all unique in it's imagery, story, characters, setting, action, dialog or any other aspect of filmmaking that you care to name. In fact, it is so damned generic in every respect that, for a fan of the post ROAD WARRIOR sub-genre, it is almost the cinematic equivalent of wallpaper. Nothing stands out about it. Nothing. It's a terrible movie but it oozes across the mind's eye and then evaporates, leaving only the faint idea of a film in it's wake. Strange. 

So, I'm not sure if I have ever watched this awful piece of crap before but now I know I have. Consider this my marker for future questions about it. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Before watching this DVD I had no idea what this film was about, but because it was released by Mondo Macabro I was immediately interested. I've found their DVD releases  to be an enviable source of cinematic strangeness from around the world and this looked to be another slice of (possibly) Euro-Trash joy so, bring it on! Little did I know that I was in for a film produced by Englishman Dick Randall who was famous for bring to the screen such sleazy offerings as THE MAD BUTCHER, BLACK DEEP THROAT, THE CLONES OF BRUSE LEE and the Euro-Trash 'classic' PIECES. I was expecting an Italian giallo of some type and instead I get a British produced film directed by an American best known for FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS! Well- there's nothing for it so I'd best dive in and swim.

I guess THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A would be best described as a horror film. It has several of the standard horror tale tropes - it has a red masked, evil mastermind commanding a small army of minions to do nasty things to innocent people; it has a vulnerable female protagonist ripe to be a 'final girl'; it is set in an ornate, old dark house complete with an odd warden- er, ummm- I mean landlady; in other words, it has all the things needed to be a horror film. So why does it seem to stop being one just about the time it should be ramping up to deliver the goods?  In the film Daniela Giordano plays the titular resident of Room 2A. Her name is Margaret and she is a rather reserved girl who has just been released from jail after serving a short sentence. It seems that she was caught at a party in possession of marijuana and her shame at having a criminal record weighs heavily on her. Her social worker Alicia (Rosalba Neri) has arranged for her to live in a boarding house run by Mrs. Grant (Giovanna Galletti), who's rather strange adult son Frank (Angelo Infanti) still lives at home with mother. This first section of the film has a nice, understated quality and tone that is slightly distant and dreamlike putting me in mind of the classic mood piece CARNIVAL OF SOULS. In fact, this detached, cold atmosphere really had me intrigued with the idea that this was going to play out as a variation on that older movie with some more uncensored elements that might play into the erotic qualities that CARNIVAL OF SOULS only hinted at.  Indeed, once we are shown Frank's creepy workroom full of mannequins I felt sure this was the way things were going to go. Add to these things the fantastic and never spoken of problem that Margaret's room has a red stain on the floor that reappears no matter how many times she cleans it and you have a great set up for a frightening tale of madness and death. And then she starts having nightmares about the aforementioned masked figure in  red! This is really cooking, right?

But about this time other things begin to intrude into the story that swing things in another, less interesting direction. Margaret meets Jack (John Scanlon), who is hunting for information about his dead sister Edie who was a prior boarder at Mrs. Grant’s house. Jack doesn't believe his sibling committed suicide but instead thinks she was killed for some reason. His investigation turns up the fact that, much like Margaret, Edie served a short time in jail for a minor crime before her stay at Mrs. Grant's place and both girls lived in the very same room. Even though things are becoming stranger all the time in Grant's Boarding House of Odd People Jack convinces Margaret to stay a little longer to try to find out why folks keep disappearing from Room 2A.

As I've said, this film becomes less interesting and more by-the-numbers as it reaches its conclusion. It's not a bad film but I can't help feeling it squanders its impressive beginning in the desire to have a simple rush-to-the-rescue finale. The movie has a number of interesting characters and it plays its mystery out pretty well, but the silly last 15 minutes undermines a lot of the goodwill generated. When part of the showdown with the evil minions involves a car chase and an 'attack on the castle' sequence right out of a peplum you can't escape the fact that the film is flailing around in search of something. Maybe this combination of disparate elements will hold more appeal for other viewers but for me it just seems like they produced 70% of a good film and then flubbed the ending.

Showing that they will go the extra mile Mondo Macabro's DVD release of the film is the most complete version. The movie was clearly trimmed for its US theatrical release and this presentation gives us the full-length running time with the bits not dubbed in English given subtitles. Indeed, the entire film has been given newly created, optional subtitles so that the viewer can check out the Italian language track but still follow the story. I took the opportunity to watch both versions and although there are some minor differences in dialog and emphasis in relationships there are no real shocking alterations from one to the other.  It looks like nearly all of the actors spoke English on set so it is that language in which the movie plays more naturally. Besides the trailer the only video extra is a juicy interview with star Daniela Giordano. Some of this piece looks like it was in the extras for Mondo Macabro's DVD of PANIC BEATS but any chance to hear this charming lady discuss making movies in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s is well worth seeing. In the barely eleven minute talk she relates some fun stories and remarks that although she made many movies she only ever had three real directors -Mario Bava, Paul Naschy and Mario Cainio! All the other 'directors' just yelled Action but never spoke to her about what she should do. Miss Giordano is very engaging in this interview and I only wish it were longer. Also included are onscreen liner notes for the film and brief bios of actors Daniela Giordano, Raf Vallone, Rosalba Neri and Karin Schubert.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Longer cut of Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960)!!

I could hardly believe what I was reading when this popped up on my radar yesterday but it certainly is real. It seems that the version of PSYCHO that often plays on German TV is a slightly longer, more racy cut that feels a little bit ...... dirtier. And, therefore, more interesting for those of us fascinated by the darker aspects of Hitchcock's films. The uploader of this comparison is asking that fans write to Universal to request that they attempt to restore this footage in a future release. Wow!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

What I Watched in April

I now live near a great second run theater ($2 tickets!) so I've been catching a number of movies out of the house. Not all are great but two bucks isn't too much to gamble.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR was a shot in the dark that missed. I chose to see it because it's a horror film and I can usually enjoy anything in the genre even if it's not that great, but sadly this is just flat. The cast is good and the setting in India is interesting but the movie is overlong and dull. It might have worked well at less than an hour but at feature length it is just too slow and uninvolving. A snooze.

TRIPLE 9 is an excellent crime film set in Atlanta with an amazing cast and a very nasty story. In fact, the film has a mean streak about a mile wide and is completely willing to subvert expectations about these vicious, violent characters without slowing down to let you be more than shocked. I knew that this was directed by the man who made THE PROPOSITION and THE ROAD so I was ready for a certain amount of darkness but this one still got to me. And if I hadn't been aware that Kate Winslet was in the film I would not have recognized her. This is a damned good film about bad guys and worse ones - I loved it!

GODS OF EGYPT is a pretty good fantasy film buoyed by a smart cast but weighed down by the CGI. That's not to say the CGI is bad but the movie works very well when the human actors are onscreen and not so well when it shifts to CGI creatures battling over Egypt. This is a shame as there really is a lot to like here but it can never be better than pretty good with the distancing that the special effects force on things. The best action scene is the one in which the God being attacked is made to stay in his human form as he and his mortal companion are forced to run from and fight a pair of giant snakes ridden by pissed-off assassins. That is one fantastic sequence and highly recommended. I liked a lot of what the film offers but it ends up being a mild miss-fire.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES turned out to be incredibly fun on many levels. I loved the way in which the zombie apocalypse is folded into 19th century England and the characters are altered to account for this dread state of affairs. Knowing little about the original Jane Austen novel I was still able to see the broad outlines of the book's plot and the melding of the story with the horrific elements was a real joy to see. This is a very satisfying period horror movie regardless of the bizarre origin of its underlying story and I will enjoy watching it again in the future. Well done!

It turns out that I am NOT the only person that enjoyed SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN from 2012 and so we get this fun prequel /sequel. I'm not sure how well it will do at the box office but I liked it. Cleverly writing around the absence of Snow White (and allowing this film to skip dealing with the first movie's weakest acting link) we get two more female actors - Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain - classing up the screen with Hemsworth holding his own with three powerhouse women getting most of the great moments. The story weaves the Snow Queen tale into things brilliantly and gives depth to all the main characters by showing their hopes and fears laid bare. This is primarily a fantasy adventure tale but there are wonderful moments of subtle acting and interplay that give the story some emotional heft. I like this type of film as a matter of personal taste and it's nice to see one this well executed so I can feel good about the genre. It's not too long, it is very exciting and it's not stupid - good job!


100 RIFLES (1969) - 8 (excellent western)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (2016) - 4 (flaccid horror effort)
WOLFCOP (2014)- 7 (fun, well done horror comedy)
HIGHLANDER (1986)- 6 (rewatch)
EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984)- 3
TRIPLE 9 (2016) - 8 (excellent crime story)
THE LORELEY'S GRASP (1974)- 7 (rewatch)
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969) - 9 (rewatch)
WOLFEN (1981) - 8 (rewatch)
COMIN' AT YA (1981) - 6 (rewatch)
INVITATION TO A GUNFIGHTER (1964) - 7 (solid western with a smart, gray view of the world)
GODS OF EGYPT (2016)- 6 (good but the CGI weighs it down)
THE LONE WOLF MEETS A LADY (1940)- 6 (fun series mystery)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (2016) - 8 (an absolute blast)
LOGAN'S RUN (1976)- 8 (rewatch)
SCORPIO (1973) - 8 (excellent but dark espionage tale)
KING KONG ESCAPES (1967) - 5 (too much a kiddie feature)
THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (1947) - 8 (Is Humphrey Bogart a wife murderer?)
THE HUNSTMAN: WINTER'S WAR (2016) - 7  (good prequel/sequel fantasy)
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2014)- 8 (rewatch) 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Radiohead Does The Wicker Man!

As if it were an animated short from Rankin/Bass! 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Brief Note - The Coming of the Supermen

When, a few months ago, I learned that legendary comic book artist Neal Adams was going to be creating a six issue Superman mini-series I was thrilled. I love his art and the prospect of him doing a new Superman story was something to look forward to reading. So it's difficult to admit this but after three issues of the this book - titled The Coming of the Supermen - I have to report that it SUCKS! Not the art! No, no. Adams' art for the book is fantastic and a joy to behold.

No. It's the writing that's the problem. At the end of the first issue I was a little unimpressed with the dialog and the herky-jerky plotting but I was hanging with it. By the end of the third issue I was just depressed. This damned thing is almost incomprehensible. I honestly have no idea what the hell is happening or why certain things occur. I can't even figure out why certain characters are doing the things they do in this story and that includes Superman! What a disappointment. 

I guess there's a reason Adams is famous for his artwork and not for his writing. Damned shame he wasn't paired with someone to help craft a good tale. What a missed opportunity.