Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Art of Emanuele Taglietti

Yesterday I received the late Christmas gift of this amazing book! I love the art of the Italian fumetti cover paintings and this one focused on Emanuele Taglietti shows just how impressive the man's talent could be. After reading the book's essay on his career I'm even more stunned by the speed with which he was able to produce these incredible pieces. If you find the cover art below eye-opening I suggest looking through the entire book because these are the safest, least R rated images I could post. Yep! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mysteries and Madness - Down the Film Theory Rabbithole with THE SHINING (1980)

Stanley Kubrick's film version of THE SHINING is one of the most analyzed or over-analyzed horror films of all time. This shouldn't shock anyone as all of Kubrick's get this kind of obsessively detailed study, but the incredible number of fascinating and sometimes kooky theories are endlessly fascinating to me. If you share my love of this kind of deep overthinking about this film here are a couple of recent pieces I've checked out on YouTube.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Santa Rides Tonight!

Don't forget to lay out the milk and cookies! 

Friday, December 23, 2016


Via Turner Classic Movies I checked out this little comedy the other night and was glad I did so. It caught me attention because it stars one of my favorite actresses from 1930's Hollywood, Miss Glenda Farrell. I've been a huge fan of hers since discovering the great Torchy Blane film series sixteen years ago and so I try to see her work any time I can. She always adds a touch of spice to whatever she's in and it helps that she plays smart, sarcastic and independent very well. The twinkle in her eye is always a knowing one.

SNOWED UNDER is a pretty light and slight piece of silliness that plays like a classic three act sex farce with the sex carefully excised to appease the Hays Code office. Interestingly, with a couple of divorced ladies roaming around the story (of which Miss Farrell is one) the film slides a few innuendos and even a double entendre or two by, but overall it has been carefully sanitized for your protection. Mostly, anyway. There's no hiding the fact that Glenda isn't wearing a bra in a few scenes as her blouse opens provocatively down to her navel! Whew.

While this film isn't great it is fun. It takes place mostly in the single location of a snowed in country house packed with a playwright, his first two wives, a swooning teenager, a lawyer, a deputy sheriff and a host of complications. It's light, fluffy fun that never feels insulting and it breezes along a brisk pace. Everyone seems to know what they kind of film they are making and all the actors hit the right notes as the conflicts pile up along with the snow. My only complaints with the movie are that often the dialog could have been a bit sharper and it feels like some interesting character moments might have been sacrificed in the editing to move the story forward quicker.

Oh! But the biggest surprise of the film for me was another actress. Genevieve Tobin plays one of the divorced wives and she is the real star as far as I'm concerned. She is fantastic as a sweet natured lady willing to help out her troubled ex-husband even if she still stings from their breakup. Tobin plays the most complicated character in the story and is excellent at every emotional turn of events. She is convincing as both sympathetic older, wiser woman and angry (almost violent) spurned lover. She is a delight in this film and I have made a note of her handful of film roles so I can seek them out in the future. I'm sad that she got married and retired in 1940 never to return to the screen again but I'll be on the lookout for her thirty-eight or so films to catch this talented lady again. She is a delight!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Art Deco Christmas Cards

Monday, December 19, 2016

ELVES (1989)

I've known of this little Christmastime occult monster tale for years but never sought it out until now. The only point of interest it had for me was the presence of TV's Grizzly Adams in the person of big, hairy Dan Haggerty. I have some vague memories of the show and of him as a pleasant enough actor with a certain skill set that I just couldn't imagine translating well to a horror film. Turns out I was right.

In ELVES Haggerty plays an alcoholic ex-cop on his last financial legs and on the verge of homelessness. He appeals to an old friend and is eventually offered the job of department store Santa for the holidays where one night, after hours, he makes the acquaintance of three of the store's teenaged female employees. (Mind out of the gutter! This isn't porn.) The trio of ladies have recently conducted an Anti-Christmas ritual in the woods nearby by reading an incantation from Kristen's grandfather's book of ancient gobbledygook. You know - like you do. It seems that this recitation of occult gibberish has unleashed an elf hellbent on carrying out a generations long plan to impregnate a teenage girl. (Maybe this IS porn, in a way.) It turns out that Kirsten is the intended 'mother of elves' and her grandfather is tied up in some odd cult that is trying to stop this from happening. Or trying to make it happen faster, or something. I forget. The movie is kind of dull.

But what isn't dull is watching Haggerty shamble his way through this half-assed low budget silliness. About thirty percent of his performance seems to have been a series of first takes that no one thought would get used and the rest seems like a man making a valiant effort to not throw his hands up in disgust. He tries hard, but you can sense that he knew this was crap. To be honest, his efforts are often undermined by sloppy direction and camera placement so his earnestness is sometimes wasted. Plus, I really don't know how any actor could have delivered some of ELVES' dialog without cracking up occasionally. Also, I was impressed by Haggerty's ability to smoke Camel cigarettes in nearly every scene and he is even pictured clutching his fresh carton of cancer sticks in one shot. It's like a window into a stinky past where all clothes smelled of stale smoke and restaurants were so cigarette friendly that they sold the things right there in the place. 1989 is a world away!

As for the film, it sucks. The story isn't terrible but it is terribly told. The actors are trying but the grandpa character should never have been sporting such a cartoonish German accent although the Nazi reveal adds spice to the bizarre Germanic occult weirdness. This might have been an interesting film with more time, talent and money but what we have is at best a completely skip-able jumble of half baked ideas and boring execution.

But I did laugh a LOT at Haggerty's discovery of a bomb planted in his car! That whole scene must be seen to be disbelieved! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Victorian Christmas Cards.

I suspect that the Victorian Age was filled with holiday customs that might have sent me off to Bedlam. Why are frogs murdering each other? 

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Bloody Pit #48 - SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)

For our second annual Holiday Horrors episode we take a look at the highly controversial 1984 killer Santa slasher SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. Deemed, at the time, to be an affront to all that is good and sacred about the idea of a fat stranger breaking into your home in the dead of night to eat cookies and leave crap under a tree. It has since become a much beloved December viewing ritual for millions of fans. OK! So, maybe it was tempting fate to have the advertising for the film play off the fact that a man in a Santa suit runs around axing people on Christmas Eve, but the effort put into stomping this film into the mud was a bit excessive. Luckily, all three co-hosts were alive in 1984 (we are OLD) and have memories of those strange days. We never had a chance. Shame on us all, indeed!

Settle in with the beverage of your choice to listen to Troy, John Hudson and Rod go through this twisted Christmas classic pointing out favorite moments and puzzling over dangling story threads. We discuss jerk co-workers, well stocked toy stores, dangerous gifts of our youth, odd places for copulation, traumatic Christmas images, good and bad child actors as well as the dark ideas behind putting angry nuns in charge of defenseless orphans. We also touch on the protests that got this film yanked from theaters after two weeks and the reasons behind that move by Trimark. For more detailed information about that please read the excellent article over at The Hysteria Lives by the always reliable Jason Kerswell. It's well worth your time, as is the entire site.

If you have any comments or suggestions please write us at or drop by the Bloody Pit Facebook page and give us a 'like'. We still have no idea which Holiday Horror we'll do next year so, if you have one you'd like us to consider, let us know. Thank you for downloading and listening!

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Twelve Hundred Ghosts - A Christmas Carol in Supercut

Holy Christmas Ghosts! I thought I was fascinated with various versions of A Christmas Carol and I am well aware of how many times it has been filmed but WHOA! I have to take a major step back and gape in awe at what Heath Waterman has edited together here. By taking scenes from about 400 different TV and film adaptations of the tale and craftily editing them he has made a unique look at this wonderful story. Simply amazing!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Arrow - 1966 Opening Credits

Possibly the greatest thing ever made!

"In the Earth-66 Multiverse, The Arrow TV show premiered in 1966 instead of Batman. With his super friends The Flash, Supergirl, and The Legends; Arrow fights crime in Star City against several nefarious foes and bases his operation in the Arrow Cave. Watch his crime-fighting adventures every Wednesday night - same Arrow-Time, same Arrow-Channel!" 


Friday, December 09, 2016

What I Watched in November

I mostly watched a lot of television in November but there were some outstanding movies taking up my time as well. 

HELL OR HIGH WATER is one of the best reviewed films of the year and it's easy to see why. The story is solid, the cast is fantastic, the dialog is excellent and the entire affair is quite well done. I will add my voice to the choir and say that it is a very good film and one I think will stand up over time. But - and this is a problem - it also seems to fear that the audience is too stupid to figure out what the movie's major theme might be. Indeed, it hits that theme (banks are run by criminal scum looking to screw regular folks out of house & home) a little too hard and too often in the first half of the story. If I saw one more foreclosure sign or debt scam billboard blocking the desert view I think I was going to scream. In fact, I was seriously on the verge of getting up to leave the theater in disgust with this hammer blow level of overemphasis but then the second act kicked in and I was interested enough to stick around. I'm glad I did as the film gets better as it goes along, but I hope the filmmakers have more confidence in their viewers next time out or I may give up before I care about the tale being told.

Remakes of much beloved classic films are a touchy proposition. Even if a large number of viewers are aware (as in this case) that the much beloved previous film was itself a remake, the desire to hold onto a favorite film and reject a newer version will generally prevail. In such cases it becomes imperative that the new film be exceptional to overcome as much of the natural resistance as possible. Few remakes of classics accomplish this task and neither does the 2016 take on THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

That's not to say it's a bad film. Far from it. It is actually a pretty well done western made within the strictures and structures of the 21st century way of crafting a broad appeal entertainment. I enjoyed it for many reasons, not the least of which is the very good cast. Everyone brings their 'A' game to this one, really digging in and working to turn the old story into a fresh experience and for the most part they succeed. There are times when it feels as if a few scenes have been trimmed to keep the pace quicker but nearly every actor gets a chance to shine. Of course, the more colorful characters get more of the spotlight, but that was true of the 1960 film too.

I feared that this new film might pullback from some of the darker elements of the original tale but surprisingly it did not. Good people get hurt and die, disappointing actions are committed by people who we root for and not every deserving hero makes it to the end of the story. These things made happy to have seen this version and I was glad to see such a solid attempt at a remake. It isn't great but it is pretty good. I think ts nice to have this new film as a companion piece to Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) and Sturges' version. 


JASON X (2001) - 8 (rewatch)
MARS ATTACKS! (1996) - 8 (rewatch)
THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942)- 5 (rewatch (mad, silly mad scientist tale)
HE WAS HER MAN (1934)- 7 (Cagney and Blondell class this one up)
BAD MOON (1996)- 8 (director's cut) (well made and touching werewolf tale)
FIVE STAR FINAL (1931) - 7 (scandal sheet drama with Edward G. Robinson and Boris Karloff!)
STANLEY (1972) - 6 (very odd snake film)
THE GAY FALCON (1941) - 6 (first in the series)
RAFFLES (1939) - 7 (suave thief is chased by canny cop)
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) - 8 (rewatch)
SATAN'S SABBATH (1972) - 3 (a.k.a. The Possession of Virginia) (slow, tepid and often nonsensical Canadian mess)
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015) -9 (rewatch)
CROCODILE FURY (1988) - 3 (terrible but completely fun!)
NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985) - 1 (deadly awful mess)
THE PIT (1981) - 6 (psycho child/monster oddity)
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016) - 7 (good but not great western)