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!

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 23

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are going “way down the alley“, to discuss a monumental film that marked a seminal event in cinema history, something that to this day has never been replicated. What is it you might ask? Well have a listen as the boys talk the film noir/live-action/animated mash-up, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, from 1988!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Dion and Blake jump right into things, reminiscing about the late 80s, discussing the time period this film was released within. Another movie highlighting the glory of the pre-CGI era, the fellas analyze the various practical methods used to bring this amazing story to the silver screen, from the hand-drawn cell animation, to the practical SFX, to the sheen ILM applied to help make the finished product look that much more ‘real’. The boys go through the 1981 Gary Wolf book the film is based on Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and the similarities and major differences in plot and tone. Blake and Dion attempt to add perspective and really underscore how amazing this project was to be able to bring together various characters from Warner Bros., Disney and Tex Avery‘s troupe at MGM– a colossal feat that still 29 years on, hasn’t again been achieved. They also discuss meeting pioneering animation Ink and Painter Martha Sigall, who personally knew icons like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc, as well as meeting Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer. So how dark is this film really, even though it was billed as a children’s picture? And is the book actually much darker? What is the real-life plot point in Roger Rabbit that audiences forget actually happened, and how is it somehow related to Robert Towne‘s Chinatown series? And what is Dion‘s Bob Hoskins story- did he actually carry him around on his back, Yoda-style for a day? Well get ready and make sure you take your heart medicine, because the lads are taking you on a trip into Toontown in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dean Cundey actually directed Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, not the original Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

EXTRAS:

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with the late legendary Ink and Painter Martha Sigall about her career in the animation business, in a time when the industry was still in it’s infancy.

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer, as he reminisces about his work at the animation studios, and discusses the iconic characters he helped create.

Here is Dion with the amazing Bob Hoskins in 2005, when the former carried the latter on his back for a day while undergoing his Jedi training.

Have a look at this great 1988 behind-the-scenes TV special, Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown, hosted by Joanna Cassidy.

Take a look at this rare deleted scene, entitled the “Pighead Sequence.

Check out the three rare Roger Rabbit post-film shorts: Tummy Trouble, from 1989; Roller Coaster Rabbit from 1990; and from 1993,Trail Mix-Up!

May 12

The Fifth Element, 1997

Hello and welcome to another all new, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This go around Dion Baia and J. Blake are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a Sci-Fi film that is held in a very high regard by many and conversely disliked by many others- so much so that upon it’s release it was hailed as both the best and worst summer blockbuster of all time! Wow, how polarizing! But the fellas are talking a SNMS audience favorite this week with Luc Besson‘s iconic film The Fifth Element, from 1997.

The Fifth Element

After briefly chatting about epic hair pieces and martial-art movies, Blake and Dion get down to business and reminisce about the summer of 1997 when this film was released and all the other movies they remember that were out that season. The boys both relate their experiences of seeing The Fifth Element in the theater, and discuss director Luc Besson‘s catalog, particularly his 2008 classic Taken, and their mutual love for the director’s film prior to this one, Léon: The Professional. They go into the background in the creation of Fifth Element‘s story, and the journey Besson went on getting this to the screen. They look at the gorgeous futuristic world that was created by French artists Jean-Claude Mézières and Jean (Moebius) Giraud, and the subsequential lawsuit that was filed against Besson after the film’s release. Dion and Blake gush over their mutual love for Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman, and attempt to contrast this movie against other futuristic, Future Noir, Sci-Fi properties that are comparable to this one. They speculate on Chris Tucker‘s potential real-life influences on his Ruby Rhod character, and also note Besson‘s reoccuring theme of older men helping younger women (or even young girls as in The Professional ) and how it oddly, in his case, mimics the director’s real life to an extent. So does the pairing of CGI, miniature and Practical Effects hold up, and because of their pairing, actually help the longevity? Why is this film so darn polarizing to fans and critics to begin with? And did John Carpenter actually successfully sue Luc Besson? Well grab your Multi Passes, your Zorg Industries ZF-1 Pod Weapons Systems, and make sure you’re blocking any incoming calls from Mr. Shadow, because we’re all going to the 23rd Century this week and an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Here’s China Pop Diva Jane Chang doing the impossible, singing live the Diva Dance.

Take a look at Milla Jovovich’s screen test for The Fifth Element.

Have a gander at Milla Jovovich’s costume tests for Leeloo.

Check out Milla Jovovich talking about being 19 and being cast in The Fifth Element.

Take a look at Chris Tucker talking about playing Ruby Rhod.

Here’s some great behind the scenes footage of The Fifth Element.

Have a look at the official 1997 Cannes Press Conference with the cast and crew.

Now take a look at the MTV hosted Cannes Afterparty for The Fifth Element.

March 24

Dario Argento’s The Three Mothers – SNMS Presents: The Side-Cast

Buongiorno! Today we welcome James Hancock, host of the WRONG REEL podcast, for part 2 of a very special 2-part podcast crossover extravaganza (***Don’t worry, it is totally okay if you listen to this part first)! In part 1, SNMS’ very own Blake traveled to the Wrong Reel studio in lower Manhattan to sit in on a fun and informative chat regarding Italian horror maestro Dario Argento‘s first three films; affectionally known as The Animal Trilogy. Now, for your listening enjoyment, James has packed his PJs and sleeping bag and ventured into Blake’s Mom’s basement for a late night sleepover and a passionate discussion about Argento’s stylish, strange, provocative, controversial and (mostly) beloved trilogy exploring the mythos of the dreaded Three MothersSUSPIRIA (1977), INFERNO (1980) & MOTHER OF TEARS (2007).

They express their personal passions for the films and Argento and dive deep into the trilogy’s history, inspirations, productions, music, casts and wildly imaginative lore and visual aesthetics.

So is this horror’s strongest trilogy? Which film is Blake’s favorite of the series and why does he love it so? Why do the women act so immature in SUSPIRIA? Who the hell is that hot chick with the cat in INFERNO and what legendary classical composer was Keith Emerson ordered to adapt for a cue in the film? What common threads run throughout the series? Does James understand what the heck is going on in any of these films? Which Argento actress once attended one of Blake’s concerts and which other Argento actress was he once email pen-pals with? All of these questions and so many more are answered in this exciting conclusion to the Giant-Sized Wrong Reel/SNMS crossover 2-parter, here on the latest edition SATURDAY NIGHT MOVIE SLEEPOVERS PRESENTS: THE SIDE-CAST!

To hear Wrong Reel’s half of this 2-parter, CLICK HERE!

Follow Wrong Reel on Twitter, @WrongReel!

To hear Dion & Blake’s SNMS episode about Dario Argento’s DEEP RED, CLICK HERE!

To watch the documentary DARIO ARGENTO: AN EYE FOR HORROR, CLICK HERE!

To watch a vintage TV performance of GOBLIN performing the theme to SUSPIRIA, CLICK HERE!

To watch the late Keith Emerson perform Mater Tenebrarum from INFERNOCLICK HERE!

Follow Blake’s book SCORED TO DEATH on Twitter @ScoredtoDeath!

March 10

Cody Carpenter – SNMS Presents: Movie Lovers

We are back with the 2nd installment of our new feature called MOVIE LOVERS and this week Blake sits down with the son of sleepover movie royalty, (John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau‘s son) Cody Carpenter! The two discuss Cody’s new album ALTERNATE UNIVERSE, recording & touring with his dad and his love of movies. They reminisce about a few sleepover classics that have been featured on the regular SNMS podcast, as well as the work of animator/director Ralph Bakshi. They chat about the music of composer Vince Dicola and the Italian progressive rock band Goblin and Cody patiently sits through & answers a barrage of questions about his father…questions that did uncover some (arguably) revealing details about the patron-saint of sleepover movies, John Carpenter.

Which mid-eighties kids movie is “more than a movie” to Cody Carpenter? Who was Cody paying homage to when he composed the score to his father’s Masters of Horror episode Cigarette Burns? What moment did Blake & Cody (then strangers) share in Washington D.C.? What is Cody’s favorite ‘Carpenter film?’ Did Adrienne Barbeau like to ‘tape’ things off of TV? Did John Carpenter take his son to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells tour? Which guilty pleasure movie gets screened in the Carpenter household every time it is on TV? You will find the answers to these questions, and so many more, on this all new and exciting installment of SNMS PRESENTS: MOVIE LOVERS!

Follow Cody Carpenter on Twitter @ludium.

You can download Cody’s new album, Alternate Universe on iTunes, Amazon and at ludrium.bandcamp.com.

Check out an awesome video of Cody playing a track from the film Christine, with his dad John Carpenter, live in concert by CLICKING HERE.

Check out the official music video for the track “Distant Dream” from the album Lost Themes II, by CLICKING HERE.

Check out the official music video for the 2016 re-recording of theme to Escape from New York, by CLICKING HERE.

Check out the classic Coupe De Ville’s music video for the Big Trouble in Little China theme song, by CLICKING HERE.

Check out the trailer for Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards, by CLICKING HERE.

Follow Blake & his book Scored to Death on Twitter @ScoredtoDeath.

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.

 

February 3

Masters of the Universe, 1987

Good Journey to you, and welcome back to another exciting and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are revisiting a cult classic film that is tied to a legendary property that was one of the biggest franchises of the 1980s. So what do you get when you take a toy maker named Mattel® and have them shack up with the 80s action B-movie giant Cannon Films? You get the topic of this week’s podcast, Masters of the Universe, from 1987.

Masters of the Universe, 1987

The boys set up the movie on hand by reminiscing about their memories of where and when they first watched this epic. They then attempt to navigate through the steeped history of the He-Man character, explaining his basic origins and his initial backstory that was set up by Mattel when they first launched the toyline, before DC Comics it picked up and developed the vast story. Dion and Blake also try and sum up the status of Cannon in the 80s and that company’s influence in cinema, and even to moviegoers of that decade and how these two unlikely bedfellows wanted to make the “Star Wars of the 1980s” (to quote the Cannon hype). And they also spell out how and why, Masters ended up being one of the building blocks that caused everything to come crashing down- ultimately junking a toyline as well as being part of completely tanking a film company. So how vast was the He-Man franchise in it’s heyday? What problems ended up plaguing the film production from day one? What other comic book and cartoon character’s film was actually in preproduction but ultimately ended up getting halted because of the financial problems of the imploding Cannon? And what was the planned sequel to Masters of the Universe that was actually in preproduction and also had to be scrapped, AND what did that script get retooled and eventually released as? Well get your battle swords, cosmic keys, and gather your fellow Eterians, because here comes another mind-blowing installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(*CORRECTION- Within the podcast the 1989 film The Punisher is commonly referred as being a Cannon film, when it was in fact a New World production. Our apologies. Thanks)

EXTRAS:

Have a look at this 2012 panel discussion of 1987 MOTU live action film!

Here’s a great behind-the-scenes circa 1987 documentary on the film!

Check out this awesome, retro poster of the many characters, vehicles and playsets of the He-Man universe.

To completely immerse yourself in anything and everything He-Man, check out the Grayskull: The He-Man and She-Ra Wiki site devoted to the franchise.

As discussed in the podcast, here’s Dion with legendary comic book artist Mark Texeira in 2014 at 4th Annual Comic Book Marketplace Comic Convention (photo taken by Blake).

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 23

Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985

With Christmas just days away, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to seek out a film that actually was the first to attempt to lay out the backstory of old St. Nick; a movie that sadly came and went, and like any good holiday film, it’s a perfect time capsule for the era it was made within. We’ve got Santa pitted against the evil and greed of the 1980s, in Jeannot Szwarc‘s Santa Claus: The Movie, from 1985.

Santa Claus the Movie

This forgotten gem starring the great Dudley Moore, David Huddleston and John Lithgow immediately have the boys thinking back to the Christmas’ of their childhood, and the memories that come along with those experiences, like the Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs and their toy sections, or shopping with Mom and watching her use coupons for everything and then get rainchecks for what was on sale but had been 86-ed. And because of the product placement and connected marketing campaign, it has Dion and Blake longing for a McDonald‘s meal circa 1985, and all it’s unhealthy heavenly glory. They discuss the superhero-esque origin story, and relish in the glorious pre-CGI practical effects, and the beauty that has been lost in those antiquated Special Effects. So playing the SNMS-patented What-if ?” game, who were some of the other directors considered to helm this film? Was a legendary horror director actually topping the list to, at one point, oversee this project? Was this entire movie, including the parts in New York City, shot on a soundstage in another country entirely? And is it really unheard of to have that many wild reindeer pull a sleigh? Well, this week the boys hook up with the Vendequm and watch them fulfill their centuries-old prophecy, in an all new Holiday Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRA:

Check out the original trailer for Santa Claus: The Movie!

Take a look at an original 1985 TV spot.

Here’s a great example of the product endorsements tied into the movie, where we have the elves selling Kodak Disk Cameras!

And here’s local reporter Roy Leonard from WGN Channel 9 reviewing the film on the nightly news, circa 1985.

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 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!