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!


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)


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!


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!


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!


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.


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


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.