January 11

Labyrinth, 1986

We here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers were extremely saddened to hear about the passing of icon David Bowie, after losing his eighteen month-long battle with cancer.

Originally our plan was to open up 2016 with a podcast dedicated to our female listeners, covering a movie near and dear to the hearts of so many women who’d grown up watching and loving a 1986 film directed by Jim Henson, which if you haven’t already guessed, is Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and Mr. Bowie.

Labyrinth

It is also the 30th anniversary of the film and along with the 69th birthday of Mr. Bowie on January 8th, we thought the Henson film would be the perfect way to open the year. So J. Blake and Dion Baia recorded this podcast in the early morning hours of Sunday the 10th, and it was not until the late evening of the same day that we along with the rest of the world heard the devastating news of his passing. We immediately decided to forego our usual format and release this podcast as we recorded it, as almost a dedication to Mr. Bowie. Certainly it is a seminal body of work for both he and Mr. Henson, which has now become a cult classic that has amassed a huge fan base worldwide. We hope you enjoy this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, and we’d like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Bowie’s family, friends and fans. RIP Mr. David Jones.

EXTRAS:

Here is the music video to David Bowie‘s song Lazarus, released January the 7th, one day before his latest album Blackstar premiered on his 69th birthday, and just two days before his passing.

Take a look at this great 1986 documentary Inside the Labyrinth, showing the making of the film. (Keep a close eye out for choreographer Cheryl McFadden, later known to Star Trek NG fans as Gates McFadden!)

Please check out this highly recommended and fascinating episode from the 1989 show The Jim Henson Hour entitled Inside the Muppets, hosted by Henson himself, where he takes the audience on a rare behind the scenes trip through the Muppet shows and films.

Have a look at the original theatrical trailer!

 

 

December 30

Rocky, 1976

Welcome to a very special, New Years edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. Blake and Dion picked a classic to usher in 2016, a film very close to the hearts at SNMS, a movie that shows us that anyone can go the distance, as long as you have the drive and determination. This week, the boys are taking on Rocky, from 1976.

rocky-1

After Dion and Blake quickly chat the Rick Baker Gremlins clay bust they forgot to bring up in their last podcast on Gremlins, the boys try to pack as much information as they can into a 2+ hour podcast about Rocky. They kick things off by speaking about their personal love for the film, which for Blake, ranks up in his top 3. From discussing the origins of Stallone’s story and the serendipitous moment for how Sly was even able to pitch it, to his firmness to play the lead and the shoe-string budget to get the film made, was it all really like catching lightning in a bottle? Is it really a sweet, upbeat story about never giving up? Could this film be done today and have the same feel and power? Did having such a tight budget actually end up making the film better ? Was Stallone’s guiding force the lone pilot that kept the project on course, seeing the movie through to completion? Well you’ll have to listen to find out in this brand new, New Years Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Take a look at the story of getting Rocky made, as told by Sylvester Stallone himself, in Part 1 of 4. Here’s Part 2.  Here’s Part 3. And here’s Part 4.

Check out the legendary fight that Sly (used to say) was the inspiration for his story of Rocky. Here is the March 24, 1975 Championship Match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner.

Here’s really rare footage of Sylvester Stallone Choreographing the end fight with Carl Weathers.

Have a look at Sylvester Stallone & Talia Shire Introducing Rocky at the American Film Institute.

Have a listen to the incredible Bill Conti Soundtrack.

And take a look at the moment when they won the Oscar for Best Picture.

December 23

Gremlins, 1984

Welcome to another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion and J. Blake are taking on another holiday classic for their Christmas viewing this season, and have decided on an iconic genre mash-up. It’s a film that really goes to show you the 1980’s was a time when you could practically market anything you wanted to children, even a dressed up Horror film parading as a cute, Christmas/Comedy that subtlety pokes fun at American and Western culture in general. Of course we’re talking about Joe Dante‘s classic, Gremlins, from 1984.

Gremlins

The trifecta of Chris Columbus writing, Steven Spielberg executive producing, and Dante directing, gave us one of the most interesting and fun films of the 1980s. Blake and Dion try to flesh out the back story of this love letter to Frank Capra, B-Horror films of the 1950’s, and Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes cartoons, among a slew of others, while trying to wrap their heads around some terrifying concepts layered within. How much darker was this film originally supposed to be? Does this movie really convey themes like anti-technology, as well as lament about the ignorance of Western society as a whole? Have some critics read into the film and actually injected elements of supposed racism which surprisingly, doesn’t even have to do with the culture that is presented within the story? How has the movie held up after 30+ years, as both a genre mash-up and holiday film? And is this a movie that could even be attempted in 2015 without severely changing the story itself and its primary antagonists? Well the boys are wearing their Santa hats and have their sleigh bells ringing in this all new, Christmas installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(We’d like to give a shout out to Jason Derenick for recommending Gremlins, and we’d like to apologize for not remembering his name during the podcast. Thank you!)

(When speaking about New Line Cinema, Blake mistakenly said Friday the 13th, when he was actually referring to Nightmare on Elm Street.)

Extras:

Jason’s name isn’t the only thing we forgot this time around; we’d like to share straight out of the SNMS Archive, a clay Gremlin bust sculpted by Rick Baker‘s SFX team for Gremlins 2: The New Batch, something we completely forgot to bring up, and something we will touch on at the beginning of the next Podcast. Check out this bad-boy here, here, here, here, and here.

Check out the original theatrical trailer!

Take a look at the 1943 Merrie Melodies Bug Bunny short Falling Hare, which is credited by director Joe Dante as an influence on his 1984 film Gremlins.

Also mentioned in the podcast, please watch the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED documentary on the artist, animator and auteur Chuck Jones, entitled Extremes and In Betweens: A Life in Animation.

Go read the HUGELY RECOMMENDED book Outrageous Conduct, which examines the events surrounding the infamous filming of the John Landis short for Twilight Zone The Movie, where veteran actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed.

Here’s the cartoon adaptation of the book Monster’s Ring, mentioned by Blake in the Podcast.

Have a look at this absolutely hilarious parody of Gremlins mashed-up with Taken, courtesy of How it Should of Ended.

December 18

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 2From Homicide to Hollywood

SNMS Side CastWelcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversSide-Cast. We present Part 2 of our exclusive interview with retired NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, consultant, writer and producer Randy Jurgensen. In this episode, we segue into Randy’s fascinating career in Hollywood and his body of work in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. We go in-depth about the first film he was drafted to be an advisor and actor for, The French Connection, and how he prepped the actors to be New York City cops (back when background prep was rare). We also discuss his friendship with director William Friedkin, as well as the four plus films they would collaborate together on. He also explains his role as of one the stunt drivers in one of the greatest car chases of allsorcererrandy time. He then goes into great detail about becoming a producer, and fighting the Screen Actor’s Guild for Larry Cohen‘s God Told Me To ; ‘stealing’ filming locations in New York City for Maniac and Viligante ; surviving the jungle and the Federales in Central America while filming Friedkin’s Sorcerer ; to fighting city hall (literally) in a small Maine town to get Stephen King‘s Thinner completed. As astounding as it is that a retired Detective was able transition into a life in Hollywood, what’s more incredible is that legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Roy Scheider were vying to hang out with him, because he was the ‘real’ deal, and moreover was the lead Detective on a very cruising_01publicized case at the time involving probably the most notorious cop killing in New York City’s history! Again, it’s a case where truth is stranger (and more entertaining), than fiction! So come listen to an absolutely fascinating and exclusive installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! (above picture Randy and Roy Scheider in Sorcerer, 1977; left picture is Randy in the NYC Coroner’s Office in Cruising, 1980)

EXTRAS:

The very iconic photo of the finale of The French Connection– Randy can be seen over Gene Hackman‘s right shoulder.

Here, here, here and here are behind the scenes shots of Randy on set on The Godfather, during the scene where Sonny is assassinated.

Check out Randy in The Godfather poster, up in the top right corner.

Here’s Randy at the end of Maniac, with real life partner Jimmy Aurichio!

Have a look at another picture from Cruising, with Randy center, interrogating Al Pacino, with Paul Sorvino standing against the wall.

Here’s another from Cruising, this time with a very young Ed O’Neill.

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December 4

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 1The Bad, Old Days

SNMS Side CastWelcome to an ALL NEW edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ “Side-Cast“. This episode takes SNMS listeners in an entirely different direction, presenting an all new and very rare interview with a retired NYPD Detective and Hollywood legend, Randy Jurgensen. He has appeared in over 50 films and television shows, including The French Connection, The Godfather, The Seven Ups, God Told Me To, Maniac, Sorcerer, Kojak, Fort Apache the Bronx, Superman, Vigilante, Cruising,  C.H.U.D., Randy Jurgensen TodayManiac Cop, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Juror, Thinner and Donnie Brasco among many others as an advisor, actor, producer and writer. Two of his cases were turned into major Hollywood films by his good friend William Friedkin, and are now classics.

But before all of this, Randy was a Homicide Detective in Harlem, “making a living among the dead” as he calls it, in the 2-8 Precinct dubbed “the Murder Factory“, navigating through some of the most awful times in New York City’s history. He and his fellow officers battled to keep the crime and murder rate down, while at the same time struggled to not lose a city to radical groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army (BLA). He was involved in the worst cop killing in the city’s history and made it his mission to bring the killer to justice, even if it meant sacrificing his career as a police officer. The experience led him to write a book in 2006 about the case, entitled Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him, a must read and cannot be recommended more highly. But to understand how he got to work in films with legends like Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, and his good friend (and SNMS favorite!) Joe Spinell, one has to hear the incredible and unbelievable story of how he got there.

blue cover Part One of our interview with Randy is the prequel to his film career, as he goes into detail on what it was like being a cop in a city that had on average 2000 murders a year, and speaks about some of the parallels that can be seen today with law enforcement. It is truly a case where fact is stranger (and at times more interesting) than fiction. A must listen! #RememberCardillo

Click here to see Randy back in the day, a picture from the 1977 Frank Sinatra film Contract on Cherry Street.

(Here is Randy with Ol’ Blue Eyes)

Click here to see Randy on April 20, 1972, moments after being hit in the back of the head by a brick thrown off a roof, during the Harlem riot that occurred after the shooting of Officer Phil Cardillo in Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7.

Check out this short Documentary starring Retired Detective Jurgensen.

Here are some more interesting facts about Randy.

 

October 16

The Black Hole, 1979

The boys are back for week 3 in their epic October Halloween month of Horror! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia tackle what some might call an unorthodox choice for a scary movie pick, but it certainly is Disney‘s darkest entry in film and also their most frightening (heck, [spoiler alert!] they go to Hell at the end)! Of course we’re talking Disney’s breath-taking and highly ambitious venture into cosmic Sci-Fi, The Black Hole, from 1979.

The Black Hole, 1979

The boys get into all the minute details of a movie that was so shocking, it quite possibly might have scarred an entire generation of children while at the same time, begot a merchandising campaign so vast, it even gave us a Little Golden Book Edition for those too young to follow along with the terror onscreen. Dion and Blake attempt to dissect the film in the context of the space-mania in the late 1970’s, and Hollywood’s race to the stars on the big and small screen. They talk in detail about the pioneering and breathtaking visuals that sadly, at times were to the detriment of the movie’s story. Was this film actually in development years before Star Wars, as a disaster film no less? Were its groundbreaking Special Effects actually more involved than Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, combined? What’s really going on onboard the U.S.S. Cygnus between Hans Reinhardt and his evil companion, the hovering robot Maximilian? And learn about the roots of Dion’s fascination with Ernest Borgnine and the yearly event that he attends in the actor’s honor, all on another, terrifying and brand new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take look at some EXCLUSIVE PICTURES of some rarely seen items on display in the Frank G. Wells Building located on the Disney Studios Burbank Lot, from when Dion and Blake were given a tour by Uncle Walt and Mickey (okay, Walt and Mickey didn’t give the tour but the lads like to remember it that way!). Here is one of the Palomino models used in the film; along with one of the scale models of V.I.N.CENTAND here‘s one of the laser pistols used in the filmALSO, here is the plaque outside of Studio A, the recording Soundstage designed to record Disney’s live orchestra music since 1939, and where The Black Hole‘s score was the first to be digitally recorded.

Here’s a GREAT Behind the Scenes picture of Peter Ellenshaw overseeing the photography of the U.S.S. Cygnus model, courtesy of AintitCool.com

Check out this awesome rarely seen commercial for a toy robot version of V.I.N.CENT!

While you’re at it, here’s a vintage commercial for its action figures!

Courtesy of BugEyedMonster.com, along with the regular toys, check out some UTRA-RARE Black Hole toy prototypes that NEVER made it to market.

Have a look and listen to the Black Hole Read Along and Aloud record, most notably with different actors voicing the characters, with the exception of Roddy McDowell.

Here’s the LP versionStory of the Black Hole“, this time with the actor’s from the film. And he’s Part 2, Side B!

For more on the Manhattan West Side Mexican Restaurant Tortilla Flats click here, and for more on Borgnine Night, click here for a CBS News Profile on the event (where SNMS’ own Dion Baia can be seen at the 2:25 mark!)

Take a listen to the sister-site Podwits.com Podcast where Dion, Brian Zino and J. Marcus recorded live from the 2012 Borgnine Night!

 

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October 9

Mad Love, 1935

The boys are back for week 2 in their October month of horror! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia are going back to the basics, doing a true B-side from the Golden Age of Horror that stars one of their favorite actors of the day, the great Peter LorreSaturday Night Movie Sleepovers gets into their DeLorean to have a hand (pun intended) at the cult classic film Mad Love, from 1935.

Mad Love, 1935

Certainly the oldest film covered to date, Dion and Blake chat about the ground-breaking wave of American Horror in the 1930’s from studio’s like Universal or in this case MGM and discuss how it set the bar, its influence still even seen today. They set the stage by going through the mindset of Post-WWI Europe, a time when German Expressionism was first seen, a movement that played a huge role in Horror cinema and explain the context of the mass exodus from 1930’s Western Europe; the artists of which eventually landing in Tinseltown, and how their unique visions of the world gave Horror the foundation that it was built upon, which still continues to thrive over 85+ years on. They go into the history of Peter Lorre and this underrated and little-known film (his inaugural to American audiences) which contains a scene that might possibly be one of the most horrific and frightening images from the era(!). How the heck could this film actually help usher in a complete ban of the Horror genre in the United Kingdom, culminating eventually in Hollywood actually abandoning the genre entirely almost until after the Second World War? How many of the actors in this film alone met a sad demise due to alcohol and substance abuse, echoing the sad times of the day within Hollywood? And how the heck is this film connected to the 3 Stooges? And while you’re at it, learn about the faux-James Bond film that was never shot Blake and Dion devised, involving Cary Grant, James Mason, Peter Lorre, Jimmy Stewart and Vincent Price, directed by Alfred Hitchcock! It’s an all new fun, fact-filled, old school, Halloween edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS

Here’s the boxset Hollywood Legend’s of Horror Collection that contains Mad Love.

Straight out of the SNMS Archive and mentioned in the cast, have a look at an original autographed 8×10 of the legendary Conrad Veidt!

Another treasure in the SNMS Archive, is an original newspaper ad for (Dion’s recommendation this week) The Beast with Five Fingers, as well as an original cardboard printing plate used by newspapers to print the same ad.

Take a look at the picture that saved the life of Peter Lorre‘s daughter from the Hillside Stranglers!

Check out Peter Lorre lounging around, smoking and hanging out with a huge dog before introing the trailer for Mad Love! Boy, those were the days!

For more on the beloved Peter Lorre, have a look at this documentary on the iconic actor.

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February 13

The Terminator, 1984

In this brand-spanking new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake take on the monumental opus, something that not only influenced these two boys in their formative years, but also was a huge influence on cinema, sci-fi, action (and maybe even horror) as well as technology- we are of course talking about James Camerson’s breakout masterpiece, The Terminator, from 1984.

The-Terminator-1984

The boys lay out the history behind the film and the lead up to its inception, and tackle a lot of the nuisanced subplots. Who were the other actors that were being pegged to play the lead role? What character did Arnold originally read for? Does this film still hold up and more importantly, did director James Cameron as the auteur really change the face of cinema with his 1984 (proper) feature film debut? Well come on down and listen to another informative, exciting and fun-for-all installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Here’s a great vintage, rare behind the scenes making-of featurette done for the film.)

(Check out the rare, deleted scenes from the film and see if you agree with their omission from the finished movie.)

 

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December 12

Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, 1974

In a very exciting Christmas Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake explore the highly underrated and highly influential Bob Clark film- no, not the uber-iconic A Christmas Story- but his other Christmas movie from 10 years prior, his brilliant horror, Black Christmas from 1974.

 

black christmas

What cinema secrets does this lesser-known gem hold that now have become cliched? Having been released 4 years prior to the landmark horror film Halloween which is usually deemed the first slasher film, does Black Christmas instead deserve that prestigious title? How does the director of such a legendary Christmas film like A Christmas Story direct such a drastically different and brilliant genre-film centered around the same holiday, nearly a decade before? Well, all the answers to the questions posed and the boy’s love for the late and great Bob Clark are all revealed in this special, Christmas edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Here is the entire film to watch, courtesy of youtube- Enjoy!)

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November 26

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1987

In this week’s Thanksgiving edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia & J. Blake pick the iconic comedy classic Planes Trains and Automobiles, released on Thanksgiving Eve, 1987.

Planes_trains_and_automobiles

The boys reminisce about their memories connected with the film, discuss the legendary careers and lasting legacies of writer/producer/director John Hughes and actor John Candy, and the imprint the film made on our culture. They also get into the other comedy films of the 1980’s, and the popular comedy genre films that were big at the time. So please come have a listen to one of the rare Thanksgiving Holiday films, and a comedic classic!

(Check out the only available deleted scene from the film, where Del O. Griffith waxes about various Airline food.)

(Have a look at the various influences Planes, Trains and Automobiles have had on the TV show Family Guy)

*Wagon’s East was in fact the last film John Candy was making in Mexico when he passed away; the forgettable 2010 film Due Date was the comedy released that was compared and questioned as a remake to this 1987 classic.

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October 29

Halloween III: Season of the Witch “, 1982

Dion and J. Blake invite you to come listen to a special Halloween edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers where they take on 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Halloween III Movie poster

Why did this sequel tank so badly? Was it Season of the Witch’s own fault? Is it indeed a good film in the Halloween film franchise? Is Tom Akins really leading-man material? (we here at Saturday Sleepovers do admit this last question is a bit moot at this point…) And multi-colored Tootsie RollsReally?! All these tantalizing questions will be answered on this all NEW installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out Tom Akins‘ reaction 30 years later to the film, and his take on the criticism that Michael Myers didn’t make an appearance.)