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.
Jones 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.)
Buon Giorno dear friends, and welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip to picturesque Italy to visit a filmmaker near and dear to both their hearts, the maestro Dario Argento. The boys tackle a film they feel is a classic and a quintessential representation of a genre that was reinvigorated within the mediterranean country, by Argento, in the 1970’s. The fellas are going back to film school with this one, covering arguably the director’s most commerically successful and popular film, Profondo Fondo or Deep Red, from 1975.
As Argento the auteur is a huge favorite here at SNMS, especially for Blake, he and Dion waste no time getting into the topic of discussion, by setting the stage and first explaining the sub-genre known as ‘giallo‘ and what are the essential elements that classically make up a giallo film. They also lay out a crucial element: what it was like engaging in the Italian cinema experience of the time; how going to the movies back then and specifically that social aspect affected how Italian films of this elk were subsequently written, and even paced. The boys examine Argento’s career rise to a filmmaker and his Animal Trilogy of films, and review how Deep Red began his seque from ‘who-dun-it’-type stories, to eventually Supernatural and straight Horror vehicles. And how on a larger scale, he singlehandedly revitalized an entire genre within Italian cinema. Dion and Blake also cite American auteurs like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma, who vocally or even subconsciously have been influenced by the Italian maestro. They also discuss the legendary Italian progressive rock bandGoblin in detail, as this was the first collaboration between band and filmmaker. So get ready as the boys take you on a trip filled with mystery, intrigue and horror, in another fabulous and informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
*Dion misspoke when he referenced Michael Mann‘sManhunter, when he was actually referring to the director’s 1981 filmThief.
Has it been 2 weeks already?! Well then welcome back to another exciting, wacky, and in this week’s case, new and unique edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia are doing a bonafide double feature, something that was to weekend sleepovers as Jack Daniels was to Frank Sinatra. And after throwing dump truck-loads of money at Quinnipiac University polling and hosting scores of focus group studies, they came up with the perfect pair of films for their inaugural double feature. And what lucky pair did they choose? Well the 1990 and 1991 classics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze of course!!!
The boys are completely sleep deprived this time around but still working on all cylinders, trying to cram as much info as they can about this classic franchise into a tiny, humble podcast. After voicing their concerns about the growing intelligence of the machines on the Island of Sodor (which oddly has NOTHING to do with the TMNT), the fellas quickly jump right into the topic at hand, the backstory of the beloved Ninja Turtles. They discuss the Half Shelled Heroes’ incredible journey from comicbook page to the small screen, leap to action figures, and finally their landing on the 35mm big screen. After the original 1990 film became such a success, Blake and Dion reminisce about the Turtle phenomenon that overtook the world. This popularity greenlit a second film, which made it to the screen just 10 days shy of a calendar year from the original’s release; making it possibly the quickest sequel put into production since the old studio system days of yesteryear.
So was the 1990 movie really an ‘independent’ film? How technically advanced and also cumbersome were the turtle suits, comparably, from one movie to the next? Was the original film really criticized for being so dark and violent, that it actually was censured in the U.K. and some other European countries because of it’s ninja connotations? And then was the 1991 sequel actually criticized for being too light-hearted and not as faithful to the source material.. wait, wha?! And will the lads actually get through the podcast before becoming too incoherent? Well order your pizza pies, grab your skateboards and your favorite pair of Nunchakus, because the guys are heading down into the sewers this week in this colossal double header, on another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!