July 21

Robocop, 1987

Welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys are taking on another fan-favorite, a movie that has become an absolute cult classic for a generation of filmgoers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia discuss the future of law enforcement and OCP’s Crime Prevention Unit 001, aka Robocop, from 1987.

RoboCop

The fellas rebound quickly after some technical difficulties but quickly get down to business, attempting to unpack this legendary film that just turned 30 this very week. Dion and Blake reflect on their connections with this classic and their first exposure to this iconic film. They go through the history behind the project and lay out how all the stars aligned to make a movie that almost didn’t get made. The lads cover the amazing SFX within the movie, be it Practical, Visual and Stop-Motion. They compare the two cuts of the film, and discuss the subtle differences that had the censors going crazy. They contrast the difference between visual and visceral filmmakers and how that translates to a young child watching something like Robocop who might not understand the social satire, as opposed to an adult who may see this story in a completely different light. So, since modern audiences are of course familiar with the iconic title Robocop’ because it has transcended into the Urban lexicon, but out of context, did it actually sound like a B-movie script to some in the mid-1980s? What were the legendary problems with the robo-suit that actually shut down production so all the flaws could be ironed out? How many times was Robocop screened before it was able to receive an R rating and remove the scarlet letter X? And did the forced cuts that were made to appease the MPAA to get that R rating actually take the gratuitous violence (which was meant to satirize) out, and instead turn it into something completely different and all that more disturbing and graphic for audiences? Well grab your Cobra Assault Cannons, your tickets to see Bixby Snyder and the keys to your new 6000 SUX’ (all of course installed with Blaupunkts), because we’re headed to Old Detroit in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out the original Robocop trailer, complete with the original 1984 Terminator score used in the background, since the former’s score wasn’t yet completed!

Watch Peter Weller get suited up in the Robo suit on Entertainment Tonight circa 1986!

Take a look at this great 1987 featurette on all the Special Effects for Robocop!

Have a look at Peter Weller in 2013 talking about how portrayed the character of “Robocop“.

Watch this great 2013 Robocop Q & A panel, set up by Nancy Allen, for a charity to benefit the weSpark Cancer Support Center.

Here is the first, brand new 2017 trailer for the epic documentary, RoboDoc: The Creation of Robocop, coming later this year. 

Last and far from least, check out all the specs on the various modified weapons in Robocop on the Internet Movie Firearm Database or IMFDB.com!

July 7

Spider-Man, 1977

Welcome True Believers to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are talking a character that is a personal favorite of the boys- particularly J. Blake -and with a new film hitting theaters this week, what better time then to discuss a certain New York City Web-Slinger! That’s right, your ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man‘ is the topic and his journey through television with an emphasis on the 1977 TV movie entitled just Spider-Man, and the live-action series that blossomed out of that movie pilot, The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran from 1978 to 1979.

Spider-man

With such a huge topic to cover, the boys initially set out to only talk the 1970’s live-action series but decided they needed to touch on the original 1967 Spider-Man cartoon series that ran until 1970, as well as the first live-action appearance of the character which appeared on of all places, PBS, on 1970’s series The Electric Company. They also felt compelled to discuss the little known, but amazing (no pun intended… or maybe it was…) live-action Japanese TV show entitled Spider-Man (or Supaidâman) that ran from 1978-1979, coinciding with the live-action America series. The fellas do touch upon the other iterations of Spidey in his various animated forms but set up the conversation by going into how much of an influence the character was for Blake growing up, even as far as a very young Blake (with the help of his Mom) submitting Spider-Man artwork to Marvel in hopes of becoming an artist there. The boys then go through the history of the character: summing up comics in the Golden Age, specifically pre and post war; Timely / Atlas Comics’ evolution into Marvel Comics; and Stan Lee‘s fight to breakout of the then-standard storytelling molds for comic books of the day, to be able to tell new kinds of stories that humanize the characters portrayed within. From the 1967 cartoon and appearances on The Electric Company, they dive deep into the 1977 TV movieBackdoor Pilot‘ (as it was called), to the last two-part episode of that series in 1979 called The Chinese Web, released theatrically later as The Dragon’s Challenge overseas. They also breakdown the pilot to the 1978 Japanese show and try to put into words how much the Japanese show blew their minds… So could it be argued that Spider-Man‘s origin story is in fact more tragic than Batman‘s? How does the life-action adaptations from the 70’s hold up? And just how freaking amazing is the Japanese show really? Well make sure you grab some extra web cartridges, your camera and pack a lunch, cause we’re swinging through the glass and cement canyons of New York City this week in an all new and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Excelsior!!!

*(This podcast was recorded prior to the passing of Stan Lee’s wife, Joan. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Mr. Lee and his family.)

EXTRAS:

Take a look at Blake’s Turkish Spider-Man poster for the theatrical release of The Dragon’s Challenge, signed by Stan Lee! AND here is the American edition of that same poster.

As brought up in the podcast, here is a link to the Society of Illustrators‘ current exhibit on The Art of Spider-Man.

Check out the original 1977 ‘Backdoor Pilot’ TV movie that greenlit the 1970’s series, courtesy of YouTube

Here’s Stan Lee talking about why he disliked the 1978-79 American television series.

Have a look at the great opening for the 1978-79 Japanese series, with subtitles!

And if you didn’t believe the boys about the awesomeness of the Japanese series, have a look at this trailer for it’s re-release from Marvel.com!

For anyone who didn’t know or forgot this existed, please check out the full video of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, from 1986, starring Stan Lee and John Buscema!

Also discussed in the podcast, have a listen to Michael Bublé‘s great big band cover of the 1967 animated series theme, which starts as Sing Sing Sing and segues into Spider-Man. And to the show how popular this rarity must of been overseas, check out this live version with stage show, on Italian TV!

June 30

The Beguiled, 1971

Welcome to a special installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys decided to pull an audible and slip a special edition into the regular scheduled episodes and discuss a film that both Dion Baia and J. Blake have a mutual affinity for. This week they chat about the controversial Civil War Southern-Gothic thriller, The Beguiled, starring Clint Eastwood, from 1971.

The Beguiled

Just as a reimagining of this film directed by Sophia Coppola hits theaters this week (both based off the 1966 novel entitled A Painted Devil ), Blake and Dion thought this would be a great excuse to discuss this very interesting movie from director Don Siegel and starring the aforementioned Clint Eastwood, a project that in certain respects is unlike anything out of either man’s entire catalog. Hugely controversial and a dud at the box office (largely due to the complete mis-marketing by Universal Studios) the film had fans and critics alike scratching their heads, for all the wrong reasons. Now considered a cult classic by many and a quite gutsy move at that point in each of the careers of both director Siegel and star Eastwood, this movie is unapologetic with how it deals with the male and female dynamic, and taboo topics like lust, sexuality, and even incest (to name just a view). The boys analyze all the psychological aspects layered within. They attempt to dissect the underlying adult themes and the sorted relationships these characters have in the story and the roller coaster-ride this plot takes, and it’s utterly-shocking finale, which almost turns into something one could see on an episode of Tales From the Crypt or even The Twilight Zone. Though Blake and Dion freely admit they haven’t yet seen the new Sophia Coppola reboot and in no way speculate on that film’s merit or quality, they do discuss the recent uproar Coppola has gotten from some circles due to the conscious omission in her version of an African-American slave character, and especially how the fellas think the 1971 version deals with that exact subplot. They also try to give a context to stories like these and the effects (and horrors) war has on everyone involved, both soldiers and civilians alike. So why was this such a risky endeavor for both Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel? Can this movie be considered a psychological or gothic horror film? Is this film misogynistic, as some suggest? And frankly, how messed up is this film really?! Well the boys hope to answer all these questions and find answers to many more in this special, and unique episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out the original trailer to The Beguiled, and see the completely misshandling of the promotion of this movie by Universal.

Here is another poster for the film, which looks completely misleading to what the movie is actually about.

Discussed in the podcast, please have a gander at this article about the stunning and shocking Alexander Gardner and Mathew Brady photographs of the Civil War, which appear in the credit sequence. 

Take a look at actress Melody Thomas Scott who was one of the students at the Seminary in the film, talking about playing a now embarrassing childhood prank on Clint Eastwood during filming.

As brought up in the podcast, check out the 1962 French short film adaptation of Ambrose Bierce‘s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge as it aired on the Twilight Zone.

And since the boys are HUGE proponents of Old Time Radio (or OTR), check out this radio adaptation of the Bierce classic, on the legendary show Suspense, which aired 7/19/59, starring Vincent Price.

June 9

Dirty Dancing, 1987

Hello and welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! With summer upon us, Dion Baia and J. Blake have decided to chat about an absolute fan favorite which turns 30 in August- a film that immediately adored itself to multiple generations of women and fans alike. Well the boys are putting on their Cuban heels and stepping onto the dance floor this week with the 1987 classic, Dirty Dancing !

Dirty Dancing Movie Poster

After joking around about keeping their parents up all night long while hosting sleepovers growing up, they segue into the meat and potatoes of the podcast. They frame the period in which the film takes place, and touch on some of the themes layered within. They analyze not only the idea of the ‘scandalous’ music that swept through the country at that point in history (first through the lower-economic communities and the gradual and eventual infiltration into the white middle-class in the 1950s and early 60s, influencing a generation), but also discuss the bygone era of the Catskills destination resort getaways, and the boy’s serendipitous connection to it. Blake talks about his own grandfather Al Fisher, who was part of a comedy duo known as Fisher and Marks, who along with members of the Rat Pack would tour the country and particularly the Catskills/Poconos Circuit that thrived in the middle of the last century, where our 1987 Dirty Dancing takes place. The boys then unpack the movie and explore the various layers of the film’s individual characters and their relationships, set against the aforementioned August of 1963. Dion and Blake also take care in tackling the controversial aspect within the film and chat about how they feel the filmmakers handled it. Dion also brings in some extra insight as just having seen the touring stage version ofDirty Dancing this passed April at the famed Shubert Theater in New Haven, and they mull over a new subplot added into the stage play and speculate as to why they think this heavy plot-point was wovened into our classic story. They also discuss the impact the film’s amazing soundtrack had on a generation of fans and also the resurgence in the late 80s of everything 1950’s and 50’s Doo-Wop music, and the part this film might of played in that. So, what problems did this film have before it’s release- did it really have everything and everyone against it? What major company backed out of sponsoring the film due to a major controversial plot point within the story that the filmmakers refused to delete? And what is Blake‘s touching story about this film’s soundtrack and the part it played in a major moment in his young life? And to the overall point, how do the fellas feel about the movie after watching it this go-around? Well everybody start stretching, find your dancing partners and ditch your parents, cause this week the boys are sneaking over to the other side of the tracks, to do a little Dirty Dancing on this all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Here is Blake’s Grandfather Al Fisher in action, framed between of Joey Bishop on his left and his comedy partner Lou Marks, on his right.

Check out all the deleted, alternate and extended scenes of the film!

Take a look at this very rare bloopers from the film!

Have a look at the original screen tests of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey together, along with the test of the ‘lift’.

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the film in 2012, here’s Jennifer Grey revealing a lot of the secrets to Diane Sawyer about the film and her role, courtesy of ABC News.

Last but FAR from least, check out the GREAT Jerry Orbach in 1997 on Conan O’Brien, coinciding with the 10th anniversary rerelease, and their reenactment of one of the best scenes in the movie.

 

 

May 26

Over the Top, 1987

Hey there and welcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This go around J. Blake and Dion Baia have a nifty ‘cast lined up, covering a movie that was a staple back in the late 80s but also one that might not always be praised for the reasons it should. The boys are exercising their arms this week, because they’re talking the sport of arm wrestling and the film many think brought it to the masses, Sylvester Stallone‘s classic Over the Top, from 1987.

Over the Top

The boys ease into the podcast by discussing the complexities of Metal Earth model kits, then get right down to business and all things arm wrestling, first by examining the wide-ranging breadth of the sports genre, before getting into the nuts and bolts of Over the Top. Dion and Blake go through the incredible backstory and genius of Cannon films, who in 1986, actually created a year-long circuit and series of event ‘qualifiers’ in cities all over the world, so that they could then have a final eighteen hour-long tournament in Las Vegas that they could film for the 1987 movie. Blake and Dion show their true colors as they gush over this picture and readily admit while other podcasts and forums might immediately disparage Over the Top, the lads pull no punches when showing this movie (in their opinion) some deserved love. They go through the film’s storyline, the father/son dynamic, and discuss the custody battle between Sly and his father-in-law, the legendary Robert Loggia, and also praise Stallone for some real subtle, nuanced acting that seems to channel a bit of Rocky in this performance. They also chat about the great 80’s soundtrack and the other stroke of brillance upon Cannon‘s part, the merchandising: the Lewco Toyline that had all the children in 1987 arm wrestling, and the money they pumped into local circuits to get people interested in the sport, so the public would be hyped when the movie premiered in 1987. So Over the Top has often been critized because of the heavy emphasis on product placement, *but* was it actually genius on Cannon‘s part? How important was the soundtrack to the film? What did Sylvester Stallone say he’d change had he directed? What insider knowledge do the boys have on the world of trucking and particularly the rig used in this film? And what’s Dion‘s Sylvester Stallone story? Well put on all those baseball caps and make sure they’re turned to the back, because here come’s another explosive and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

For an in-depth read into what Dion and Blake discussed in the cast regarding the history behind the actual tournament that was coordinated and then filmed for Over the Top, have a read of this fascinating blog posting from Armwrestlers ONLY.

Check out the first Qualifier from August 25, 1985 in Beverly Hills, between John Brzenk and Clay Rosencrans, courtesy of Lori Cole‘s YouTube page!

Take a look at this amazing Arm Wrestling Exposition on MTV from the 90’s with Dan Cortese, featuring Sylvester Stallone, Danny Glover, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Evander Hollyfield, Jim Belushi and Melanie Griffith, courtesy of World of Arm Wrestling Channel on YouTube, and property of MTV.

Here are EXCLUSIVE PICTURES of the 1967 Autocar A64, Stallone’s truck in Over the Top, as it looks today: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and in this last picture, you can still see the device setup on the cab’s roof for Stallone to work his arm while in the truck, HERE.

Here’s Dion with Sylvester Stallone, circa 2005.

Check out Blake with his Over the Top hat!

Here’s the Sammy Hager Winner Takes It All Music Video, with a Rick Zumwalt and Sylvester Stallone cameo!

Take a look at the 2009 documentary Pulling John, about the legendary arm wrestler John Brzenk, the man Stallone based his character in Over the Top on.

Whoa, Robert Loggia!” Here is the commercial circa 1999 maybe, talking Minute Maid Orange Juice

March 31

Slap Shot , 1977

The boys are back and this week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating the 40th anniversary of a film that is lauded as one of the best, if not THE best sports movie of all time- Full stop. That’s a very high standard. But the guys are going the distance in this installment as they take on the Paul Newman/George Roy Hill classic Slap Shot, from 1977.

Slap Shot

The fellas dive right into the deep-end this go around, with the resident hockey expert at SNMS, J. Blake. They start with Blake‘s background with the sport, having played growing up, also being on the High School team, and taught kids ‘hockey skills‘ classes afterward while in school and college. Now the paradox within is that the boys aren’t really into sports anymore- now they may attend a sporting event or two and enjoy a good thrilling game, but really don’t actively seek it out now in their adult lives. But they love themselves a good sports film, and Dion and Blake are head over heels for this all-American classic! First they discuss the true events that were the inspiration for the script. They chat about the world this film creates and the real-life people this story spoke to. Set in the Northeast, the boys get into the ‘regional’ sporting events and circuits of the era and the enjoyment this form of entertainment gave to the local town and city audiences who, by day worked in the factories, the mines, or the mills that kept these local bergs afloat in the 1970s. So how was the original concept of Slap Shot conceived and in what other format was the original idea considered, other than comedy? How many real actors were actually in this movie? Through all the controversial foul and surly language, what truths does this film actually present in a brilliant and completely realistic manner? And what’s Blake‘s connection to director George Roy Hill and how does the story involve cult Horror director Jeff Lieberman?! Well you better lace up those skates (and make sure those laces are tight!) because we’re going on the ice in this all new, exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Check out Part 1 & Part 2 of this very informative 25th Anniversary special about Slap Shot!

Slap Shot presented Ogie Ogilthorpe as a fictional character, but he was real. Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe was known as one the most outrageous goons of all time and here is a neat little documentary on his exploits, called I Am Ogie.

Take a look at some behind the scenes footage shot while Slap Shot was being filmed.

Here’s the Hanson Brothers on Hockey Night In Canada: February 25th, 2017, talking about the game today versus the old days, courtesy of YouTube!

March 17

Beauty and the Beast , 1991

It’s that time again… time for another exciting, thrilling and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake have a whammy of an installment this week: a lighthearted, musical affair from a company that at the time of this film’s release, was going through a proper-resurgence themselves. And this movie marked its crowning achievement to-date for that company’s Animation Department, which broke new ground in its pioneering uses of CGI in this project… Yes, “it is a tale as old as time” as the boys explore the enchanted world of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, from 1991.

Beauty and the Beast

The fellas jump right in and go back to the beginning, discussing everything Disney in this epic podcast: They ‘set the table’ by giving a concise timeline on Walt‘s meteoric rise to fame, from his beginnings with the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit animated shorts and the work with his good friend and genius Ub Iwerks (among others), to bringing in Carl Stalling for help creating animated musical shorts, pioneering color cartoons and his finally creating a feature-length animated film in 1937 with the ground-breaking Snow White and the Seven DwarfsBlake and Dion follow Disney‘s journey through the war years and his upswing in the 1950s, and Walt then getting side-tracked with live-action films, a new medium called television, and theme park construction. These side ventures unconsciously begin to take its toll on the animation department and with Walt‘s death in 1966 it almost becomes rudderless, culminating with the near closing of the entire animation branch in the mid 1980s. The boys then go through the renaissance in the late 80’s that brought the famed animation unit back and to the biggest cartoon film to-date, Beauty and the Beast. They go through the history of the popular fairytale with the 1946 live-action Jean Cocteau movie, even hitting on the late 80’s TV series. Dion and Blake then discuss the work it took to get Beauty and the Beast on screen, with the brand new CAPS technology that changed the face of animation, and the work by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman that gave us all those classic songs we know today. So what 1949 Disney animated film do the lads draw similarities between? What are the controversial subtexts that some academics have read into the work and what are their perceptions of the themes within Beauty? How did Walt Disney‘s brilliance in knowing his own limitations actually help in making the company such a huge success? What important character from the 1946 Cocteau film did this Disney story borrow? What character was the song Be Our Guest originally supposed to be sung to? And what famous book-turned-to-film thriller (that is a staple in every serial killer library) do the boys find similarities with this animated classic? Well grab some popcorn and your favorite sipping drink, because the boys are taking you on a musical adventure this week with this mega, Disney-filled new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke during the cast, the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman was in fact a Universal, not Disney film.

EXTRAS!

As the boys described in the podcast, here our exclusive photos taken by them at the Disney Burbank Lot of the Ub Iwerk-designed 14′ high Multi-plane camera, HERE and HERE for the game challenger, Snow White, and check out Walt and the boys HERE and HERE, using it back in the day.

Check out the boys getting a tour from Walt and Mickey themselves, HERE and HERE!

Have a look at some of the original character design sculptures that animators used as references, that were on display at the Reagan Library Disney Exhibit.

Take a look at photos HEREHERE and HERE  the boys took of the original Animation Building that’s located on the Burbank lot (personally designed by Walt), that animators drew the films from Dumbo up to The Black Cauldron within. Check out the plaque inside the building.

And HERE and HERE are the pictures the fellas took of the corner window of the Animation Building that was Walt’s office.

Here’s the original trailer to the 1946 Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast film, narrated by Cocteau himself.

Have a gander at this chart of the different elements of animals used to make the Beast.

As talked about in the podcast, here is the Billy Joel rendition of When You Wish Upon a Star, from the 1991 Disney album Simply Mad About the Mouse.

Check out Tom Waits‘ version of Heigh Ho (The Dwarfs Marching Song) from the 1988 Disney album Stay Awake:Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.

March 3

Wayne’s World, 1992

Party-hearty! Welcome to another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Your most excellent hosts, J. Blake and Dion Baia are heading back to their early teenage years and celebrating a film that turned 25 on Valentine’s Day, and became a vehicle that propelled two character’s from a skit on Saturday Night Live into the urban lexicon, becoming a world-wide phenomenon. It was so influential that it introduced several sayings and phrases that have been imprinted in our collective brains for decades now. That’s right, it’s time to party-on because this week the boys are talking Wayne’s World, from 1992.

Wayne's World

That’s right, it’s (Saturday) Night, it’s 10:30, and it’s time to party. Dion and Blake start off my reminiscing about their shared history of making home-movies growing up, specifically genre installments for Blake and sketch comedy influenced by Saturday Night Live, for Dion. They discuss SNL as it was for them growing up, and Dion laments about the huge impact the show had on him, specifically as an adolescent, watching it religiously from 1989 up until the early 2000’s. They discuss the memories they had from the show and the several now-famous moments they remember with the cast members of the era. The boys debate the popularity of SNL back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and get into a gentleman’s disagreement about what demographic this feature film, Wayne’s World, was actually trying to target. The fellas go into the history of the Wayne’s World skit, and it’s origins that predate Saturday Night Live entirely. They also explain the seemingly forgotten Rob Lowe sex tape controversy from the 1989. They may even break news and connect Chris Farley‘s cameo in this film and his win at the inaugural Borgnine Night in New York City, both of which occurred 25 years ago, in February of 1992. They also chart the rise of this film and examine it’s release and serendipitous timing, coming out exactly at the most perfect time it could have, becoming engrained in our collective consciousness. So how was the energy onset; were the rumors true of the difficulty working with comedian Mike Myers? What music group’s career did this movie help completely reinvent? What music group did the studio actually want, which Myers threated to leave the film if his wish’s weren’t followed? And does Myers actually hate this film? Well buckle yourselves in, because we’re heading back to 1992 and reliving a visual time capsule of that era, in this most-excellent edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Party on!!!

EXTRAS!

Check out the origins of Wayne’s World, specifically the original skit(s) that evolved into what we know them as today, from 1987 on It’s Only Rock and Roll, called Wayne’s Power Minute!

Have a look at the first Wayne’s World skit on Saturday Night Live, from 1989!

Take a look at this rare teaser trailer for the original Wayne’s World.

Discussed in the podcast, here’s a look at the tie-in book called Wayne’s World: Extreme Close-up.

February 17

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, 1987

Welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are dipping into a horror classic, one of the most iconic and famous characters within the genre and what better place to start than right in the middle of the series… that’s right, the boys are talking Freddy Krueger and specifically the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, from 1987.

A Nightmare on Elm St Part 3: Dream Warriors

That’s right, Blake and Dion start smack in the middle of the franchise, and after touching on the mysterious world that exists for children inside department store circular-coat racks, they jump right into the Elm Street lore; utilizing a largely forgotten Tobe Hooper directed episode of the 1988 series Freddy’s Nightmares, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series which delves deep into Freddy’s backstory, something that was still really unexplored up until that time. They jump into Dream Warriors, discussing the Wes Craven‘s involvement and the original script he submitted, then deemed too dark and subsequently changed due to the subject matter. Dion and Blake get into the controversial topics that are presented in the film, which were still very taboo to cover in the 1980s, topics like depression, self-harm and teen suicide. So, how was this installment as a sequel; did it accomplish what it needed and set out to do? As an effects-heavy film, how do these practical FX hold up nowadays? How does this stack up in relation to the other A Nightmare on Elm Street movies? And what’s Dion‘s funny story about meeting actor Robert Englund back in 2009 and the autograph he asked for? Well all these intriguing and mind-blowing questions get answered, so grab some coffee or a Red Bull, because whatever you do, you don’t want to fall asleep during this week’s all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

As discussed in the podcast, check out this rare episode of Freddy’s Nightmares, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series, that explores the child murder Freddy Krueger’s nefarious history in coming the demonic villain we know him as today.

Here are both the original Wes Craven script deemed too dark by the studio, and the one that was ultimately filmed.

Check the Dokken music video for their song Dream Warriors, for the 3rd Elm Street film.

Have a look at the original trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors.

Take a look HERE and HERE at the photos of the unused SFXs of Freddy’s head on the nurse’s body.

As discussed in the podcast, check out J. Blake‘s appearance on the WrongReel Podcast, talking about the great Buster Keaton.

Here is the photo of Dion meeting Robert Englund in 2009.

Also brought up in the cast, here is the fascinating book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Lastly, also talked about, check out the amazing PBS American Experience documentary entitled The Lobotomist, about neurologist Walter J. Freeman and his once exulted way of dealing with our mentally ill in this country, by way of transorbital lobotomies.

 

January 20

Adventures in Babysitting, 1987

Welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are going deep into the video store rack in the SNMS vault, and bringing out an 1980s classic which was quietly rebooted on the Disney Channel in 2016- a Chicago-based film that integrates 80’s teen-high school drama with action, comedy, intrigue and the seedy, funky-electric blues… that’s right, the boys are showcasing the legendary movie, Adventures in Babysitting, from 1987.

Adventures in Babysitting

The podcast starts out with the fellas reminiscing about the old days of film and television and the analog equipment that predated the modern digital era; buying novelizations on the web; and then after receiving a care package from SNMS friend and cohort, the Chicago-based Mike Vanderbilt, they segue into this epic movie, Adventures in BabysittingBlake and Dion play their famous “What-if” game, and try to figure out if any of the conjecture online of the many other supposed actresses vying for the Elizabeth Shue role were truly factual. They discuss the similarities between this project–the directorial debut of Chris Columbus–and the characters and themes of another famous influential writer, producer and director of that era, the Illinois-based John Hughes. They also go into the other eccentricities related to the fabulous city Adventures takes place in, such as the fabulous R&B and Electric-Blues based soundtrack. The lads also discuss the long forgotten unsold 1989 CBS TV pilot based off the film that only aired once, and the amazing cast that starred in that spinoff. So was this Chicago-centric film really even shot in the Windy City? How long had this property ‘supposedly’ been laying around in Hollywood? And what hilarious and awkward Keith Coogan story does Blake have? And did Dion date Debbie Gibson?! Well get ready, cause the boys are talking teens-on-an-adventure, the Blues, and Playboy…among other things, in an all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

 

EXTRAS:

Have a look at this very rare and unsold CBS TV pilot for a 1989 Adventures in Babysitting television show!

Check out this great original 1987 TV spot for Adventures in Babysitting!

Take a listen to a some of the songs from the soundtrack to the 1987 film!

Here’s a photo from back from 2005, when Dion hung out with Debbie Gibson.

For more on Jon Mikl Thor and his current adventures, check out his webpage, found here.

January 6

John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, 1981

Happy New Year and welcome to the 2017 season opener of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to start the year off with a bang, tackling a cult classic that mash’s genres and became a forerunner for a decade or more for Future Noir / Sci-Fi films alike; forecasting a bleak future for the 1980s and beyond with its commentary on society. The boys are taking a trip to the Manhattan Island Maximum-Security Prison in futuristic 1997, in John Carpenter‘s classic, Escape From New York, from 1981.

Escape From NY

Having already designated director John Carpenter the ‘patron saint’ of SNMS, Dion and Blake mince no words when singing the filmmaker’s praises for his body of work in this era. After briefly lamenting about the format change MTV went through years ago, seguing from music video to reality show, the boys get right into the nuts and bolts of the film–laying out the historical context for when the script was first written and then the climate later, circa 1980, when it was eventually put to screen. Another resource the boys like to utilize while discussing a film is the movie tie-in novelization, to fill in the blanks to any exposition left out. Here they discuss, in detail, the immense backstory that is spelled out in the Mike McQuay book adaptation, giving us sizable background on the iconic character Snake Plissken (played brilliantly by Kurt Russell) and Police Commander Bob Hauk (played by the legendary Lee Van Cleef), as well as the third World War waged and the events that led up to the actual decision as to why that society ultimately turned the island of Manhattan into a Super Max Prison. They go through the various stories of how the amazing cast of supporting actors was assembled to fill out the other roles within the film, to help ground this fantastic tale with a firm foot in reality. They also explain the creative process John Carpenter goes through as a composer, using this film as example and his first-time collaboration with composer Alan Howarth. So what troubles lay ahead because of the shoestring budget? What corners (if any) had to be cut in order to get this movie finished? What city was this film actually shot in? What other established actors were considered for the lead role? And what up-and-coming director worked on the Special Effects Unit of this film; who would later go on to create some groundbreaking Sci-Fi films in his own right? Well grab your MAC-10 machine guns and molotov cocktails, your injections of micro-explosives that will, in 22 hours, rupture your carotid arteries and buckle yourself in, because we’re flying the Gullfire over Leningrad in this all new 2017 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Take a look at the alternate opening of the film, a bank robbery scene that Carpenter ended up cutting and then was thought to have been lost forever.

Check out this great interview with director John Carpenter about Escape From New York.

Have a look at the official 2016 John Carpenter music video for Escape From New York.

Here is demo footage of the never-released Namco Video Game, Escape From New York.

Lastly, have a listen to Episode One of Broken Sea Audio Productionsaudio drama of Escape From New York.

December 9

Star Wars Holiday Special, 1978

Happy Life Day and welcome back to an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Well with Christmas time here, Dion Baia and J. Blake have decided to cover maybe their most controversial topic to date and the most anticipated event of the 1978 Holiday season: the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, that aired Friday November the 17th, of that year.

Star Wars Holiday Special

So to cut right to the chase, why is this television special so controversial for the boys at SNMS? Well probably because of the stance Blake and Dion take on this almost universally-panned time capsule from ’78. After the boys chat about last week’s podcast with guest host Mike Vanderbilt, and a dive into Dion‘s food allergies, the fellas get right into the seasonal topic at hand. They set the table and interject the context of the latter half of 1978, a year after the original Star Wars had been released and almost a year and change before the sequel Empire Strikes Back would come out in 1980. Along with a ‘variety show’ template and the majority of the original cast of 1977 film reprising their roles, we get some pretty astounding cameos by such stars as Art Carney, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur, performances by Diahann Carroll, the rock band Jefferson Starship, and even a pint-raising song by Ms. Arthur herself. The television audience was also treated to a 9+ minute cartoon that introduced one of the most legendary Star Wars characters of all time, the mysterious bounty hunter Bobba Fett. So why is this special so universally hated by critics and fans alike? How involved was George Lucas really (especially since afterward he completely disavowed himself and completely berated the special)? Why was the aforementioned Bobba Fett introduced in cartoon form, in this holiday special anyway? Another dirty little secret, was Han Solo actually supposed to be married to a wookie?! And to get right to the most controversial question: in the context of the era, was this special really as bad as everyone likes to remember…considering what else was going on in 1978? Well it could be a very interesting podcast to say the least for some hardcore Star Wars fans, as SNMS delivers another all new, holiday edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

An indispensable asset for any fans of the Holiday Special, here is an amazing website directly solely to the 1978 TV Special.

Check out this Black & White footage of the first screen test from 1978 of Bobba Fett.

Take a look at one of the BEST QUALITY versions of the Star Wars Holiday Specials SNMS has ever seen, in it’s entirety, courtesy of YouTube.

And here are all the original commercials that aired during the Holiday Special.

And speaking of rotoscoping, here is the ultra-rare and never released pre-MTV 1979 music video Tom Waits did for his song “The One that Got Away” with director John Lamb (who would go on to do American Pop with Ralph Bakshi). It was done as a test, using the pioneering ‘video rotoscope’ technology and then converted to animation, a technique that producers then brought to Bakshi to sell him on the concept for his next film, which audiences would see 2 years later in 1981, in the aforementioned, American Pop. The short ended up winning an Oscar in 1980 for Scientific and technical achievement.  More information about this story can be found here.

 

November 25

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

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!