November 25

SNMS Presents: Saturday Night Movie Guestovers – Fright Night, 1985

Welcome to a new SNMS feature that we are affectionately referring to as Saturday Night Movie Guestovers, where an esteemed guest comes over and joins in on the movie sleepover fun!

Suffering from Halloween horror withdraw, this week J. Blake invites a good friend of the SNMS podcast, writer/podcaster/musician extraordinaire Mike Vanderbilt (@MikeVanderbilt), to discuss a mid-1980s horror film that Mike, in particular, holds near and dear to his heart, 1985’s Fright Night—written & directed by the great Tom Holland and starring the late Roddy McDowall.

fright-night

After a brief introduction of Mike to the SNMS listeners and a discussion about writer/director Tom Holland’s career before Fright Night (as well as a bit of swapping stories about their own personal interactions with the horror movie living legend), the boys make their way through the beloved vampire classic, discussing the strength of its cast of actors and what they brought to the plot and their characters during the film’s extended rehearsal period. The guys also revel in the film’s numerous practical special effects, examine the state of horror and classic movie monsters at the time of Fright Night’s release, discuss the film’s original intended ending, its sequel as well as its remake, its fan-favorite soundtrack, the tie-in comic book series and much much more! Is this film actually the start of both the 1980s vampire boom and the “meta” horror film? Were all 80s teenage boys’ bedrooms exactly the same? Do vampires really eat apples? Are the film’s vampiric villain and his loyal manservant the “Odd Couple” of the 80s? Do they have thin crust pizza in Chicago? Was Marvel’s casting of Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man a bold choice? These are just some of the important questions J. Blake and special guest Mike Vanderbilt try to answer in this giant-sized premiere of Saturday Night Movie Guestovers!

As always the podcast is also available on iTunes, Stitcher and most other podcast apps and sites.

Follow us on Twitter: @SatSleepovers

Follow Dion Baia on Twitter: @DionBaia

Follow J. Blake’s book on Twitter: @ScoredtoDeath 

For all things Mike Vanderbilt, follow him on Twitter: @MikeVanderbilt

EXTRAS:

Check out Icons of Fright’s pirate commentaries, featuring cast & crew,  for Fright Night and other films by CLICKING HERE!

As mentioned in this episode, you can read Mike Vanderbilt’s interview with Fright Night writer/director Tom Holland by CLICKING HERE!

Also, you can read Mike Vanderbilt’s interview with Fright Night music supervisor David Chackler by CLICKING HERE!

CLICK HERE to see the trailer for the documentary that the guys mention in this episode, You’re So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night.

November 11

Batman: The Animated Series; Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay , 1992

Welcome once again to another all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! They boys were up really, really late the other night looking through their collection of old VHS tapes, deep down in the SNMS archive, and came across something that made them stop in their tracks. J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to call an audible, taking a left turn with the podcast to break new ground and cover a subject to that helped shape their preteen years- something they both consider not only one of the best animated series of all time but one of the best television shows of all time, Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted September 5, 1992.

Batman: The Animated Series

The boys realize that a task like this would produce a truly epic podcast, so for their purposes here they’ve picked two stories that are not only some of their favorites episodes, but also exemplify the ‘lightning in a bottle’ that was captured when this show came together, entitled Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay, Parts 1 & 2. Dion and Blake start off by remembering back in the day when kids would hang out with other kids just to play with those kid’s toys, and also Blake‘s recent trip to England and what he did on Halloween day, over across the pond. Then they get into Batman and set up the various factors brought together to bring to the small screen not only a unique take on the Dark Knight character, but also how this union of the minds brought us one of the most unique cartoons in animation history. They discuss the influences as well as the tone of the show, and particularly in these two episodes, the fact that even though these were installments in a children’s cartoon show, we have two stories that end up setting the bar, changing and even inventing some of the cannon for the entire franchise as it moves forward. So, how about the amazing performances given not only in these two stories, but throughout the entire series by the legendary actors brought in to voice the various characters in the show? Why does the animation in Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay in particular stand out from the rest of the series? How do these episodes showcase what is to come in this groundbreaking series? Well these are just some of the topics the fellas get through on this all new, and fun edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

As discussed in this episode, take a look that this rare and completely awesome limited-run vinyl record box set of the score to some of the best installments of Batman:The Animated Series, courtesy of Mondo.

Take a look some of the artwork from the box set saluting some of the various episodes, like Heart of Ice, and the Clayface episode Mudslide.

And since we’re here, have a look at another sweet Clayface art for Feat of Clay, Part 2.

Check out this re-envisioning of the iconic opening of the series, all done here with Legos!

October 28

Dark Night of the Scarecrow, 1981

Welcome back to week four of our October Halloween-Horror Binge here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! As has been the tradition with the fourth week of the SNMS Halloween horror cycle, J. Blake and Dion Baia pick a film that actually takes place on the day or has the holiday itself play a part in the plot… So for this go-around they’ve selected a TV movie that is a classic within the genre- Dark Night of the Scarecrow, from 1981.

Dark Night of the ScarecrowThe fellas reminisce about this often lost art, the major network horror movie, and how unique these forgotten templates were for this once-popular format on the small screen. A forgotten classic and a great example of a comeuppance tale, Dion and Blake plot the origins of Scarecrow and try to confirm if this the first example of a scarecrow character as an antagonist (or protagonist?) in a horror film. They also go into the backstory of the players involved, like the great Charles Durning and the story’s director, Frank De Felitta. The boys also discuss the differences of a story like this, where less is more and implication is the name of the game at a time when the slasher genre was in full swing, and how a movie with no gore but instead relies on terror and suspense, can holdup within that time period when blood and guts were the norm. So how does this TV movie hold up 35 years later? How does Ray Bradbury have a connection to this work? And how good is Charles Durning in this demented role? And why did they make him a mailman? Well come on down and check out our final installment of 2016’s October-horror Halloween binge here on an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out Dark Night of the Scarecrow in it’s entirely, courtesy of YouTube!

How about checking out the film out as it aired Saturday, October 24th 1981, with the original commercials to boot, again courtesy of YouTube!

Take a look at this rare interview with writer J.D. Feigelson, courtesy of MutantvillePlayers!

And have a look at this rare interview with the late, great Larry Drake, again courtesy of MutantvillePlayers!

October 21

Night of the Creeps, 1986

The boys are crawling back with their eyes clouded-over for week three of their October Halloween-Horror Binge, here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia have delved deep into the video store racks and dusted off one from way down on the bottom shelf. They’ve selected an 80’s horror classic, and an absolutely undeniable classic for hardcore zombie fans! So what do you get when you take the urban legend of the escaped lunatic, add in 1950’s alien invaders, sprinkle in some elements of classic Film Noir, and then mix in the living dead for good measure? Well we’re here to ‘thrill you‘ this week with Fred Dekker‘s near perfect Night of the Creeps, from 1986!

Night of the Creeps, 1986

Dion and Blake mince no words about their love for this film, and their appreciation for Mr. Dekker. They ease on into the ‘cast by reminiscing about attending community-organized Halloween parties as young kids back in the early 80’s, and jokingly psychoanalyze each other over what they’re nostalgic for by laughing about what they were exposed to as children. They then get into the meat and bones of Night of the Creeps. They gush over all the many clichéd tropes that are purposely brought together and used perfectly, to add to a sometimes hilarious, serious, and quite frighteningly effective and amazing 80’s horror movie. The boys reaffirm and solidify their undying (no pun intended) love for the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins. They also analyze the mashup of various 1950’s sci-fi and horror elements, and how they all play into a nostalgic and loving homage to that era’s segment of genre films. And they discuss the notorious original, alternate ending. So to address the huge elephant in the room, why did this film flop? Why did it play into effectively destroying it’s director’s, Fred Dekker‘s Hollywood career? Was it perhaps too smart and too forward thinking for it’s own good, making it fall short to the expectations of the general 1980’s audience? And does this film, in fact, deserve the credit and reverence that A-list genre films of the time garner? Well, you better grab your shotguns and flame-throwers, duct-tape your mouth’s shut, and keep your High School dates close, because here comes an all new edition and third installment of the October-Halloween binge of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Check out the original trailer for Night of the Creeps!

Take a look at the deleted scenes!

Have a gander at the original ending! 

Check out a rare panel discussion with the original cast from the 2010 Monster Mania!

Here’s SNMS‘ very own J. Blake‘s autograph from the man, the myth, and the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins!

As discussed in the podcast, HERE is the before, and HERE is the transformation of the rare hologram pin for the short-lived 80’s TV show Werewolf!

October 14

The Mummy, 1959

Welcome back to week two of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s October-Halloween month of Horror, where for the four weeks of the Autumn month, J. Blake and Dion Baia are giving you four podcasts to help fill you nightmares with nostalgic terror! This installment the boys are showcasing a classic, and also the first Hammer Studios production to be discussed on the podcast. This week they chat about the iconic 1959 movie The Mummy, starring the legendary Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

The Mummy, 1959

Dion and Blake chat again about their love for the classics and set the table and explain (within the cycle of the horror films) how the Hammer Studios helped revitalize the waning genre, and breathe new life into the catalog of monsters that Universal Pictures established some twenty years before. They go through the backstory of how a small British company like Hammer was able to successfully ‘borrow’ the classic monsters like Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and this film’s central character, The Mummy and helped catapult them into the iconic status that we know them as today. The fellas also compare the template that we see these type of franchises cycle through, to the same template in films we see today like with the current trend of superhero movies, highlighting the similarities- e.g. first, the single-character ‘tent pole’ movies, then morphing into the multi-character team up installments. They also gush over their love for legendary actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and how without these men who went on to endear themselves to over 8 decades of cinema lovers, there might never have been the monster revival that Hammer brought forth, and the lasting impact these amazing horror characters had on us, film fans, having been firmly cemented into our pop culture. But how was Hammer even able to swing using these monster icons and get around Universal’s copyrighting in the first place? How was this film revolutionary, not only within the monster sub-genre but in the overall horror genre in general? How does this film and story hold up today? And is this version of the Mummy actually the precursor to characters we see in decades to come like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers? And what impact have these movies left upon cinema? Well come one down and listen to week two of the horror extravaganza in another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS

Check out the original trailer for this 1959 classic!

Take a look at the TCM intro for 1959 The Mummy! AND here’s the Outro!

Here’s a great interview with Christopher Lee about Dracula and The Mummy!

Watch the Donald Fearney‘s documentary on Hammer‘s cycle of Mummy horror films!

Have a listen to the pilot of Suspense Radio show, of The Lodger, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which is a radio series Dion and Blake absolutely flip over.

SNMS cannot recommend enough, for those interested to check out the classic radio shows (commonly referred to OTR, meaning Old Time Radio) on archive.org that are now public domain. On this .org site, enthusiasts compile the best surviving sources for each particular show and add new ones or discover better quality episodes everyday. Have a mozy and see if you can find a genre and/or show that you’d love today; and we guarantee that if you take the time, you will find a show you’d love. The rest is on you.

October 7

In the Mouth of Madness, 1995

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake are kicking off week one of their 2016 October-Halloween binge, where they ‘up’ their ‘output’ and deliver one horror-themed podcast a week for the Autumn month. And the boys are kicking off October with a real favorite here at SNMS, a film that spawned a life long love affair with John Carpenter, horror, and quite possibly became the catalyst for one of the guys to even attend film school. That movie is the aforementioned director John Carpenter‘s masterpiece, In the Mouth of Madness, from 1995.

In the Mouth of Madness

Do you read Sutter Cane? The fellas start out the podcast discussing the maestro himself, John Carpenter and Blake‘s two interviews he did with the director that are part of Blake‘s new book Scored to Death: Conversations with some of Horror’s Greatest Composers. Dion jokes about the rumor among their friends that maybe it was in fact Blake who put the seed into Mr. Carpenter’s head to release a new music album, and then to tour. They talk about their mutual background of making home movies with their friends growing up, but specifically the huge inspiration In the Mouth had for Blake when he first saw it while in High School and it turning a ‘light’ on deep inside of him, perhaps even giving him the inspiration to go to film school as well as steer him toward his passion for horror films and their music, which then led to an entire book on the subject. The guys then segue and talk about the background of this film In the Mouth, beginning with the influence the huge pillar, H. P. Lovecraft, had on the horror genre on a whole, and then what elements were distilled into this work. They attempt to analyze and dissect what is and is not reality within the story and the blurred lines that are presented… which lead to some burning questions: Are we already seeing these complicated and convoluted themes within our own culture, vis-à-vis the television reality show industry, which now seems to have set a standard for our entertainment or even how we live and what we consider now our reality? How about in book form, as in the film’s plot- can a book series like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones be real life examples of works of fiction that have taken off and become their own entities, much like Sutter Cane’s work? Even though this story is not based on an actual HP Lovecraft work, can this be categorized as a continuation in the lore and tradition he started almost 100 years before? Well all these questions will be attempted to be answered in this exciting ‘first Halloween 2016 installment‘ of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS

Here is the original trailer to In the Mouth of Madness.

Have a look and listen to John Carpenter and his band perform the In The Mouth of Madness theme Live at the Retrospective Concert at ACL Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Check out John Carpenter himself chat in 2007 about H. P. Lovecraft and In the Mouth of Madness.

Take a look at this featurette for In the Mouth of Madness!

Have a listen to the soundtrack to In the Mouth of Madness!

September 23

The Rocketeer, 1991

Hello everyone, welcome back to another exciting and enthralling edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating an epic milestone with an epic podcast! It’s SNMS’ two year anniversary and the boys have picked a film near and dear to their hearts, one that has gained a sizable cult following over the 25 years since it’s original release. This week they take on the classic action/adventure, The Rocketeer, from 1991.

The Rocketeer

Dion and Blake kick off the podcast with a pseudo-State of the Union, reflecting on the past year. They chat about the movies they’ve covered, the growing community of listeners and those who also frequent their Facebook page, and how humbling it has been for them. Then they seque into this epic anniversary cast, and setup the backstory of the Rocketeer. They discuss the creator Dave Stevens‘ journey getting character from comic to screen, and Disney‘s eventual involvement and the sparring that occurred between him and the company (aka the then Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner) over keeping the property as pure as possible with the transition to screen. The boys again explain the era of the 1980’s and how hard it really was to get a comic book movie done, let alone a character from an independent publisher. They also chat about the era the movie is set within, the pre-war 1930’s and the beautiful art movement that permeated almost every medium, Art DecoBlake and Dion also discuss the genius of creator Dave Stevens, and all the ‘historical fiction’ he injected into his original content. The guys go through the various details of the historical and famous figures involved in the material, leading them to another topic they have been waiting almost two years to talk about, and one of the things that they love about this film, the homage to the great B-movie actor Rondo Hatton. They explain his history, the illness that affected his physical appearance and how by the help of Rick Baker, Rondo was able to make a posthumous appearance in one more Hollywood film, albeit 49 years later (if you don’t count Scooby-Doo!). Well there’s a lot to unpack on this week’s episode and it’s admittedly a long one, but the boys have a lot to celebrate about: a fabulous film that the fans love, and lament about a growing audience that really blows the boy’s minds. So please come on down and have a listen to another hilarious, informative and engaging episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion accidently named the Chicago-era gangster Hymie Weiss, when intending to instead reference Murder Inc. co-founder Meyer Lansky.

*Dion also accidently named the classic  1942 Humphrey Bogart film Across the Pacific, when he was actually referring to the 1941 great and little known Bogart film, All Through the Night.

EXTRAS:

Quickly mentioned in the podcast but completely forgotten to be brought up again before the conclusion and ripped from the headlines, check out this news story about a modern ‘Rocket man‘, that shows fiction becoming reality!

Take a look at this rarely seen 1991 television special entitled, Rocketeer: Excitement in the Air that aired to coincide with the theatrical release of The Rocketeer and help promote it. 

Check out the this now ended Rick Baker auction on PropStoreAuction.com for what they were selling from The Rocketeer concerning the Lothar makeup appliances, AND other items from the film, including one of the original Rocketeer helmets!

Have a read about the great Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss profiled by SNMS’ own Dion Baia for his old podcast site, Podwits.com!

Here’s actor Rondo Hatton’s 1913 High School senior yearbook photo circa 1913, before he was severely afflicted with acromegaly.

Take a look at the fabulous painting of Rondo Hatton by the legendary illustrator Basil Gogos, who was known for his covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine

Check out this amazing animated fan film, celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer‘s release!

And Please check out the fabulous 2010 book mentioned in the cast, Over Here!: New York During World War II!

September 9

Grease, 1978

As the summer comes to an end and the school year gets back into full swing for some, Dion Baia and J. Blake at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers decided upon the perfect film (in their eyes) that encapsulates the angst of ending that summer love, entering maybe your senior year and wanting to impress all your friends, while dealing with the stress of the famed TV program National Bandstand coming to your high school to record a dance contest. So this week, the boys are warming up their vocal chords and their patented dance moves as they tackle the musical comedy classic Grease, from 1978.

Grease

After going off on a brief adventure to recap their recent excursion to the Star Trek Missions Convention in Manhattan that celebrated the 50th anniversay of the beloved original series and franchise and chat about the celebrities and special events they encountered there, Blake and Dion finally dive into this beloved 1978 musical essential. The fellas analyze the 1970’s fascination and nostalgia for the 1950’s (much like we see today for the 1980’s or 90’s), and draw parallels from their own lives of actually sharing that same mutual affinity for the post-war 50’s era because (much like other SNMS listeners of the same age) the boys grew up watching the reruns of that iconic decade, along with the 1970s entertainment also in rerun, that was sentimental for that era; with TV shows like Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, and feature films like American Graffitti, The Last Picture Show, and this week’s pick, Grease. And as they always like to do, the lads discuss the context of the era this film was made within, circa 1977-78, to see what was happening in the world and to emphasize how incredible it was for a modestly-budgeted film to come out of nowhere and shoot to the top of the charts and have such staying-power that, not only is this film and it’s songs still commonplace in our modern psyche, but the movie still holds the record of being the top-grossing movie musical of all time. But if you actually stop and examine key elements of the plot as well as some of the song lyrics and even some of the dance moves within the film, is it really a tad ‘dirtier‘ and ‘raunchier‘ than at first glance? Was the first idea really to make an animated film with a suicide at the end?! Was an adult porn star actually cast in a major supporting role? Were the creators of the original stage play actually barred at one time from set? What’s going on with the blurring of all the Coca-Cola signs in the diner? And literally ripped from the headlines, what is the conspiracy theory that everyone is up in arms about–what may be really be going on with Sandy’s character?! Well, the guys attempt to cover all the basics while keeping their dance cards filled, on this all new exciting and entertaining edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Concerning the Star Trek Missions 50th Anniversary Convention, here’s sneaked pictures of Dion meeting Peter Weller, HERE and HERE!

And for those interested, here’s William Shatner at the Star Trek Missions 50th Anniversary Convention, signing autographs HERE, and lo and behold, the Shat‘s John Hancock, HERE.

Here is one of the many articles discussing the very controversial conspiracy theory regarding Sandy’s character!

Check out Frankie Avalon performing his Grease song ‘Beauty School Dropout’, (with an brief synopsis of the film by Avalon) at a Jerry Lewis Telethon, courtesy of Violet Pearl on YouTube!

Have a look at the 2016 FOX Television version of Grease Live, and how they staged Grease Lightning sequence, among others!

Take a look at these original Deleted scenes!

And Check out J. Blake’s 2014 Blues album, When You Coming Home?

August 26

Falling Down, 1993

Dion Baia and J. Blake are back for another must-listen to edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The dog days of summer are wrapping up for the boys in the mean streets of the asphalt jungle, and they had the perfect film to cover at the end of August. This week they take on an urban classic, something near and dear to a generation of film goers, Joel Schumacher‘s Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas as William D-Fens Foster, from 1993.

Falling Down

Truly a poster child film for the frustrated 9-5 worker who is fed up with their job and maybe the system in general, Blake and Dion figured this would be a great movie to wrap up this hot and steamy summer season. They get right into it and chat about how the film almost became a TV movie because of Hollywood’s passing on the script due to the controversial content. They also frame the historical context of the era it was released within, hitting on the recent recession at the time, as well as the LA riots that occurred in the Spring of 1992 (while the film was being shot). They discuss the amazing choice of casting, the fantastic Michael Douglas and once again discuss the importance of the likeability of an actor playing a role, for the audience to be on board and like that character. Dion and Blake chat about the D-Feds character and if he’s actually the protagonist or perhaps the antagonist. And they compare him to his foil in the film, Detective Prendergast, played by the legendary Robert Duvall and how they both cope with the stress of daily life. They also discuss how this story translates to today’s audience; not just by how Douglas’ character is perceived and the glorification of some of his actions, but also how modern audiences in today’s highly politically correct environment may even jump to conclusions without fully understanding the context of the era, not only of 1993, but cinema in general and the background of D-Fens as a character. Well it’s a rip-roaring blast for the lads in this fun and exciting, all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #wolfmansnards

* The David Hasselhoff TV movie Dion periodically references, is in fact called Terror at London Bridge, from 1985.

EXTRAS:

Check out the original trailer for Falling Down.

Now here’s an interesting review circa 1993 by Siskel & Ebert.

For alittle extra reading, have a look at this pretty thought-provoking thread on Reddit, as fans analyze Falling Down.

Take a look at Michael Douglas from the mid 90’s discussing the film with Jimmy Carter.

Have a look at another interview from the era of Michael Douglas discussing his role as D-Feds in Falling Down.

And here’s Barbara Hershey talking about Falling Down.

Here’s a pretty cool mashup music video using Falling Down footage edited to the Iron Maiden song Man On The Edge, which was written as an homage to the original film.

 

August 19

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: An Evening with Jurgensen

Jurgensen and Sinatra

Due to the astounding popularity and success of our last series of interviews with retired NYPD Homicide Detective Randy Jurgensen that aired here last December in 2 parts, and because of the content of last week’s SNMS episode on the 1980 film Cruising, we decided to reissue our first groundbreaking interview which originally ran in February of 2012 on our now defunct sister site, The Podwits.com.

So the name Randy Jurgensen doesn’t sound familiar to you? Well, SNMS Side Castbelieve it or not you know him. The retired NYPD Homicide Detective and film icon has acted in and produced dozens of films, and has worked on some of New York City’s most famous cases. His book, Circle of Six, is his real-life tale of going against the system and practically the entire department brass in order to bring to justice the murderer of a fellow brother-in-blue, in what turned out to be one of the city’s most notorious cop killings. This passed April marked the 44th anniversary of the killing of Officer Phil Cardillo at Mosque #7 in Harlem, and the case that forever changed the seasoned detective as well as the fabric of the entire New York City Police Department. In this SNMS EXCLUSIVE, Randy sits down with Dion Baia and talks about his very colorful career as a homicide detective and his unlikely segue into the cinema. The NYPD veteran gives his opinion of the mindset of the police hierarchy that made it so hard to be a policeman in New York City in the 60’s and 70’s. He recounts his involvement in the Patsy Fuca case, Randy Jurgensenwhich became the 1971 film The French Connection. Perhaps for the first time, Jurgensen goes into detail of the sequence of events of the case he was assigned to, having to go underground into the gay leather-bar scene in the 1960s which eventually because the Al Pacino film Cruising. The Homicide Detective also discusses a crime scene that to this day still haunts him, and how he learned how to deal with ‘the job’. He then explains why it was so easy for him to make the gradual transition from detective to film consultant, actor and producer, examining his career in cinema. Mr. Jurgensen goes into his close friendship with legendary director William Friedkin, and actor Joe Spinell among others, and his memories working on films like The French Connection, The Godfather, Maniac, Cruising, Superman, and Sorcerer, among others. So what famous person was Jurgensen temporary pulled out from undercover to then go and arrest? What did his old childhood friend, legendary comedian George Carlin have to say about that notorious arrest? And what special message (through Dion) does actor Ed O’Neill have for Randy? Well come on and listen to a groundbreaking and highly educational episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ Side-Cast!

Here are Randy and Dion in 2012 after recording this interview.

Have look at Randy in Cruising, interrogating Al Pacino, as Paul Sorvino and Ed O’Neill look on. 

A young Ed O’Neill and Randy share a scene together in Cruising.

Gene Hackman in The French Connection, with Randy over his right shoulder.

August 12

Cruising, 1980

The boys are back, taking on a film that is legendary for it’s controversy, so much so that not only did it taint the actual production of the movie but also led to it being regarded as a ‘bomb’ at the box office, despite an entire cast and crew of A-list talent. Dion and Blake this week take a hard look at the Al Pacino classic, Cruising from 1980, by the auteur William Friedkin.

Cruising poster

Now the fellas are the first to admit that this wouldn’t top their list as the perfect nostalgic vehicle that a group of twelve or thirteen year old friends would knowingly rent (due to the subject matter) and watch at a sleepover back in the day, but they are also in agreement that Cruising has gotten a terribly raw deal ever since it’s first day of production. Blake and Dion start off by relating the facts of the real case that this film was partly based on, directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak, by chatting with their friend, former NYPD Detective turned actor, producer, stuntman and technical consultant Randy Jurgensen, who in real life was the one who actually went undercover into this world to solve a case, in an SNMS exclusive. They explain the backstory and the original book of the same name, and how it got into director William Friedkin‘s hands, eventually becoming a film he helmed. They lay-out the outcry that came from the gay community about the film and it’s subject matter, and the concerns behind that worry. Dion and Blake delve in and really dissect the plot, trying to flesh out all the twists and turns this noir thriller takes. So WHY was Cruising so controversial for Hollywood and the gay community in particular, and for the public at large? How “X-Rated” was this when it was first released? What about the new pseudo-documentary co-directed by actor James Franco called Interior. Leather Bar., and how much of it really focuses on Friedkin’s film that it was supposedly inspired by? What other personal and exclusive incite do the boys have from speaking with Paul Sorvino, Ed O’Neill and the great forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden about Cruising? And why the heck would the boys ever think of cosplaying with this film?! Well, come on down to find it all out, on an all new, highly informative and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly referred to 1970 Cruising novel author Gerald Walker, as Gerald Butler…who knows why.)

EXTRAS:

Here’s the original trailer for Cruising!

Have a look at the rare TV trailer!

Check out this featurette on the making of Cruising !

Take a listen to the great soundtrack to this film, courtesy of YouTube!

Here’s our very own Dion Baia with legendary forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden around 2011.

This is the very rare Kenneth Anger film the boys referred to in the cast, called Scorpio Rising, from 1964.

Have a look at a great alternate, original poster for Cruising!

Here’s William Friedkin talking about the James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar.

 

July 29

Summer Rental, 1985

Get ready because it’s time for another brand new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! We’re in the hot, sweaty and sticky days of summer, when the daily grind really starts to try the patience of most. So Blake and Dion are planning a little excursion down memory land as they pack into the family car and head for a tiny beach house that they thought was going to be cozy and isolated, but instead ends up being a 100 year old bungalow which is ten feet away to the another identical house. Have you guessed? They’re watching the 80’s summer classic, Carl Reiner‘s Summer Rental, from 1985 starring the hilarious John Candy.

Summer Rental, 1985The boys start off with another quick installment of ‘what-has-Blake-brought-back-from-his-parent’s-house-to-surprise-Dion-with? ‘ game and briefly dip into the genre of 3D, after which they get into talking about memories of summer vacations (the backseat activities that used to occupy kid’s time while getting there), summer comedies we associate with them, and then the genius of John Candy and Carl Reiner. Dion and Blake trace back the many careers the comedian, actor, writer, producer and director Carl Reiner has had through the decades. They even go as far back to Reiner and his other contemporaries main influence, Vaudeville, and give a CliffsNotes’ overview, and the comedy genre’s evolution through the subsequent broadcast mediums. They also visit the backstory — the real life incidents that became the main inspiration for this screenplay, and how each small event contained within this story setup a beautiful and hilarious onscreen crescendo. So aside from the obvious John Candy association, how does Summer Rental actually share a meaningful connection with SNMS last episode’s film, Ghostbusters? How interchangeable would one say this plot is, within not only an 80’s summer comedy, but also an early 60’s, beach, bikini/surfer flick? How great is Richard Crenna and Rip Torn in this film, and full stop? And we again have another Alan Silvestri score to talk about..! Well grab your cooler, sunscreen and swimsuits, because we’re all piling into our family station wagons and minivans, and heading to the crowded beach, in another all new summer edition episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out the original movie trailer for Summer Rental!

Here’s the very rare Jimmy Buffett song Turning Around he did for Summer Rental!

Have a look at this great, rare television commercial!

Take a look at these original, theatrically-issued 3D glasses that Blake discovered from when he went and saw the 1991 film Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; and here are the boys trying them on and as before, Dion’s dog Babe wanting to again get in on the action.

The highly recommended book on the history of Vaudeville and it’s famous performers, mentioned in the cast is titled: No Applause ~ Just Throw Money by local New York writer and performer Trav S.D.. If you’re interested in this amazing and sadly almost forgotten influential genre, check out another book called: The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York, by Robert W. Snyder, which highlights the history of the establishment and goes into the nuts and bolts about the the conglomerates who oversaw and pioneered the industry, men we still know today because of the theater chains that still bare their name.

 

 

Category: Classic, Comedy, Film
July 15

Ghostbusters, 1984

The boys are back with another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week and Dion and Blake take on a popular favorite from their childhood that has stood the test of time and is regarded now as a cult classic. Of course we’re talking about the spook and goblin-filled spectacular, Ghostbusters, from 1984!

Ghostbusters, 1984

After briefly dipping back into last podcast’s discussion on the ‘Wold Newton Universe‘ theory by bringing up the companion ‘Tommy Westphall Hypnosis‘, and after also playing another exciting addition of what-has-Blake-brought-back-from-his-parent’s-house-to-surprise-Dion-with? game (which ends up playing brilliantly into this week’s choice of movie), the boys attempt to dissect the origins of the Ghostbusters by laying out the backstory and various incarnations of the script. They play their patented what-if’ game, and discuss the many people who were originally envisioned to play the now famous characters. They also talk about Elmer Bernstein‘s score and his issues with unused portions of his compositions for the film, leading to a bigger chat about other legendary music cues in cinema that have went unused, or completely omitted scores altogether (see Lalo Schifrin‘s notorious rejected Exorcist soundtrack), and then the eventual legal problems that Ray Parker Jr‘s now iconic song saw. So what was the idea for the potential third installment in the series that Dan Aykroyd outlined in the 1990s involving a ‘ManHellTown‘? Was the original Ecto-1 really supposed to be a different color and fly? What about the bigger world that was fleshed out by the NOW/Marvel UK comics, and the fabulous cartoon? How about that elephant in the room, an explanation to what the heck was the difference between The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series and the Filmation Company’s live-action 1970s Ghostbusters show and it’s subsequent 1986 cartoon reboot?(which ended up confusing the heck out of all of us kids at the time!) So prepare for an eerie, mysterious and terrifying journey as Dion and Blake try to do the Ghostheads some justice, as they throw on their jumpsuits and proton packs, jump into their converted ‘59 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, and embark on another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

As discussed in the cast, take a look at some of the deleted scenes from the original film!

Have a look at the original full Ghostbusters television commercial with the cast from the 1984 film.

Here’s a great 1984 interview with Harold Ramis about the film.

Check out this vintage 1984 commercial for the Ghostbusters toys.

Watch this EXTREMELY RARE the behind-the-scenes video from the voice recording sessions of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show featuring the legendary Frank Welker, alongside fellow voice acting great, Maurice LaMarche!

Take a look at the classic Ray Parker Jr. music video for his song Ghostbusters.

Have a look at London’s Waterloo Station and see what has invaded!

Here’s the picture Dion snapped of the new Ecto-1 parked in Manhattan.

These are Blake’s original 1984 Ghostbuster pinsHERE and HERE!

Lastly, here’s the progression of selfies Blake and Dion attempted to take wearing their pins, as Dion’s Yorkshire Terrier Babe wanted in on the action: HERE, HERE, and HERE!

July 1

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984

It’s that time once again… Welcome back to another, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are covering a true epic, a film that was meant to return a property back to its original source material, and also reinvigorate a franchise that had been around (at the time) close to seventy-plus years. This go around the boys are taking on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, from 1984.

Greystoke- The Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes

Blake and Dion have a lot on their plates to get through: first laying out the backstory that legendary writer Edgar Rice Burroughs set up in his original 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes when creating the title character, and the bigger role Burroughs played as one of the original pillars in the Pulp Tradition. They give an overview of that groundbreaking genre, and explain the vast influence it still has on the entertainment we seek out today. They also discuss sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison‘s scathing review of this film Greystoke, and use that critical essay as a template in comparing this 1984 version to Burroughs’ original work, and if it is indeed appropriate to label this work “the definitive version“- is it a fair criticism? The lads also go into depth about Rick Baker‘s groundbreaking contribution to this project, and how his help specifically was the key in getting this production off the ground. But what was the reasons for having the screenwriter, Robert Towne who penned this script, sacked as director of this adaptation? What other problems did a production like this run into while trying to get this project off the ground? What exactly is the Wold Newton Family, and how is it connected here? And is Dion really a Lord ? Well come on and have a listen as the fellas match an epic movie with an epic cast as they attempt to answer all the questions in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Read Edgar Rice Burroughs1912 book, Tarzan of the Apes, absolutely free!

As talked about in the podcast, here is a link to some of the Rick Baker props that went up for auction that were specifically from Greystoke.

Check out the original trailer for the film!

Have a listen to composer John Scott‘s overture!

For further writing on sci-fi writer Philip José Farmer‘s Wold Newton Universe, click here.

Also created by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, here is concept animation from an never-produced 1936 animated John Carter of Mars series, which was helmed by legendary animator Bob Clampett.

 

June 24

Alan Jones: Dario Argento & Beyond…

As a little added bonus to last week’s Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ podcast on Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975), this week we’d like to present a conversation that our very own J. Blake had, way back in October of 2013, with British film critic, journalist, author and Argento expert, Alan Jones.

cinefantastiqueJones runs the Frightfest film festival in London, has contributed to many publications (Empire, Premiere, Fangoria and the iconic Cinefantastique to name only a few), can be heard on numerous noteworthy Blu-ray and DVD audio commentaries and is the author of The Rough Guide to Horror Movies and the definitive Dario Argento guide, Profondo Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic (with its latest edition being titled Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic).

A few years ago, actually on the eve of an unforgettable sold out Goblin concert at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn NY, Mr. Jones was nice enough to take Blake’s call and chat about his passions for horror movies, Argento, disco and the Sex Pistols; an odd combination I know, but he is a complex and interesting guy.

So take a few moments, sit back with a glass of wine and read forth…if you dare!

(The interview is presented in an alternate font, to make it easier to read.)

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