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 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.

November 13

Harry and the Hendersons, 1987

The boys are back for an all new, exhilarating and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia are both digging back into their childhoods and taking on the legend of the Sasquatch. Instead of looking at him as a terrible monster, they pick a film that makes everyone wish they could have a big, cuddly bigfoot of their very own… 1987’s Harry and the Hendersons.

Harry and the Hendersons

Dion and Blake discuss the mythology of the creature, particularly as it relates to cinema and the small screen of the 1970’s-80’s. They get into the mixed reviews that this feel-good film received upon its initial release, and frankly don’t hold back their opinions regarding the matter. They chat about the overall themes, and how it related then (and now) to the social and ecological movements of the era. They also segue to the other elephant in the room, the genius that is SFX pioneer Rick Baker and his body of work, and their mutual disgust that he announced earlier this year that he is retiring because…wait for it… there is not enough work out there because of the use of CGI today in moviemaking. And again, the lads don’t hold back on their thoughts on the subject. So get your tent, outdoor gear, and a pair of binoculars because we’re off looking for Sasquatch and Yeti’s in this weeks all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Listen to the complete novelization here, courtesy of Audiobooks for the Damned!

Take a look at the Harry and the Hendersons 25th Anniversary Panel, featuring SFX Artist Rick Baker and director William Dear!

Here’s Rick Baker in 1987 sculpting Harry!

Check out the Up Close look at Harry and the Hendersons Prop Animatronics Head With Rick Baker, from 1987!

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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September 11

The Last Starfighter, 1984

To close out the long and hot summer, J. Blake and Dion Baia have embarked on a journey that will take them out of the trailer park canyons of California and up into the galaxy to help defend the cosmos against horrifying alien evildoers who are hell-bent on, well… doing whatever they plan to do- and the key to this adventure is provided to us by one cleverly disguised, humble arcade game console. Yes, we are talking about the highly-underated 1984 film The Last Starfighter, directed by Nick Castle.

The Last Starfighter

Yes Joystick Jockeys, this cult classic is hailed as the first film to showcase CGI Imagery to replace the tradition Stop-Motion and Practically Special Effects, and is sometimes forgotten for that milestone. But how does a space film in a post-Star Wars world stand out without ultimately being compared to the property that set the bar? The boys reminisce about the era of the late 1970’s and 80’s when one actually had to go out of their house and travel to a local arcade or restaurant if they wanted to socialize while gaming, and/or see the latest and greatest in video game technology vis-à-vis the big console units. Has time and the public been fair to this ground-breaking film? Can this movie actually be considered as influential as Star Wars in certain circles? And what’s this film’s 3-way connection to John Carpenter? And does Blake‘s Lance Guest story really involve a late-night encounter in the adult section of a 24-hour New York City store? Well we’re not pulling any punches on this all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Inter-stellar!!

(Check out the site for the Kenner Star Wars toys documentary discussed in this podcast entitled, Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys.)

(Here’s the link to Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, the great book that discusses the history of game consoles; the success of Mario starting from the failed arcade console Radar Scope which was then converted into the legendary Donkey Kongleading to the rise of Nintendo and the legacy we are all familiar with today.)

(Have a look at composer Craig Safan conduct a performance of The Last Starfighter Suite, live!)

(The name of the Cleveland Restaurant that had VHS tapes to watch behind the bar was The Greenhouse Tavern)

(And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note, here is Dion meeting to man, the myth, the legend- Mr. Ron Jeremy)

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July 31

The Fantastic Four, 1994

Well truly believers, with the upcoming release of the latest Fantastic Four reboot, Dion and Blake thought they’d go back and revisit a classic. A film so notorious in the annals of history for maybe all the wrong reasons, being that it never even got released and was instead shelved! We of course are talking about the Roger Corman classic, the original Fantastic Four film, from 1994.

Fantastic-four-movie-poster

The boys set the scene and discuss the context of the early ’90’s and what the FF was up against, as well as other movies that never got nearly as far in production, but met the same fate. Dion and Blake also debate probably the largest question everyone has: why the heck was this film never released, even after it was allowed to be completed? Could the powers-at-be have found another way to repurpose this film in some way, and not have written it off as a total failure? Did Roger Corman‘s company that got FF finished on such a shoe-string budget, actually hinder it’s release? Is it fair to compare this to something that Troma Studios would put out? And on the subject of Troma and Lloyd Kaufman, J. Blake regales us with story of how he actually worked at Troma which only lasted a week… This week’s edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers is a must listen, dissecting a film that may go down as one of the most sought after bootlegs in cinema history. Come download it today!

(The Gunfighter starred Gregory Peck, not Burt Lancaster.)

(Please check out The Fantastic Four in its entirety, courtesy of YouTube!)

(Check out the website for the documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four)

(Here’s an ultra rare teaser trailer for The Fantastic Four!)

(In this episode Dion mentioned the great comic book artist John Byrne, whose work on FF in the 1980’s was the specific inspiration for The Thing‘s make up design. Here we have an Epic imaginary cover of an Epic imaginary crossover, commissioned by the SNMS team from Mr. Byrne himself!)

(As an added bonus, we have an ultra-rare, original pencil sketch of The Thing by legendary artist Joe Sinnott, who was the primary inker for the FF from 1965-1981!)

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July 17

The Towering Inferno, 1974

The summer is here and with it comes the big-mega blockbusters! And as a tribute to First Responders and to Firefighters specifically (and fittingly to the NYFD who turn 150 this year), Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking on a classic ’70’s epic, back when Special Effects weren’t just Computer Generated Images with actors in front of green screens, but when practical effects were the norm. Oh yes, once upon a time stunt men did it all for real, detailed miniatures and matte paintings expanded our world. No one did it better than legendary producer Irwin AllenSaturday Night Movie Sleepovers takes on arguably his quintessential film in his hugely successful series of disaster flicks… We’re of course talking about The Towering Inferno, from 1974.

The Towering Inferno

Blake and Dion analyse the film within the context of the mid-70’s, in a pre-Star Wars era, where the hottest thing going at the time were disaster movies and various procedural shows on television which spawned toys, action sets and board games. The boys also consider the film in the context of a post-911 world… is the romanticism of these movies forever lost? And is there actually a longer cut of the film made for television? Is composer John Williams‘ most sought after piece of music actually in this film? How do those practical effects hold up today verse modern CGI? And did Steve McQueen actually have a lisp when pronouncing “S’s”?! Well all these questions and many more will be answered in this brand new, epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

 

(Dion misspoke when referencing to the source material and said the The Glass Tower, when in fact he meant The Glass Inferno.)

 

(Check out the an entire site dedicated to this film, called The Towering Inferno Archive!)

(Have a look at the 1982 Atari 2600 Game Edition of The Towering Inferno!)

(Here’s Irwin Allen‘s NATO Film Presentation for The Towering Inferno)

(Take a look at this vintage interview with screenwriter Stirling Silliphant speaking about writing for disaster films, and specifically The Towering Inferno)

 

May 22

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, 1985

Continuing with their Wilfred Brimley double-feature, this week around Dion Baia and J. Blake take on an 1980’s classic, and a pretty remarkable film on its own right (if not downright puzzling), 1985’s Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

remo williams

With a title like that, the boys are all in! Especially since Bond directing legend Guy Hamilton was brought in to helm this project. But Dion and Blake are kinda confused… Exactly what audience were the filmmakers aiming for- Kids or adults? Or was it purposefully muddled in that ’80’s sort of way?  Why did it flop? Was there any blowback for a caucasian to play an asian in 1985, even though that was what the film was nominated for? And does Adam West have a cameo in it or not? And how about that ABC TV pilot from 2 years later? Well we’ve got a lot of questions, and hopefully enough answers to go around in this all new adventure that begins here, on this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Here is the 1987 ABC TV pilot, starring Roddy McDowall

(Check out this overture for Remo Williams written by Craig Safan especially for the 2014 International Film Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain)

(Have a look at the 1985 TV spot for Remo)

April 24

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989

The boys deliver a Special Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers this week as they go way down the alley and explore the Marvel character Daredevil‘s live-action roots (as well as The Kingpin‘s for that matter), leading them to the 1989 Bill Bixby classic, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989Dion Baia and J. Blake go into an in-depth analysis of the 2nd in the post-Incredible Hulk series TV movies, which was originally supposed to serve as backdoor pilot for a potential Daredevil TV series, which also starred Lou Ferrigno, Rex Smith and lastly John Rhys-Davies as Wilson Fisk himself. And because they are tackling Daredevil’s small-screen origins, the boys include the 1994 Spiderman Animated Series two-parter from Season Three, which debued the Man Without Fear to cartoon viewers everywhere. They also discuss the resurgence in popularity that has occurred in the past fifteen or so years for the superhero film (and television show), as well as strive to showcase the genius thespian and director that was Bill Bixby, or as they affectionately call him, “the Bix“.  Come on down and enjoy a sporadic, exciting and highly informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out this great Incredible Hulk TV Series Documentary)

(Here’s Stan Lee discussing the origins of the Incredible Hulk Television series.)

(Have a look at a great flashback of Mister Rogers visiting the Incredible Hulk set! And here’s Part 2!)

(Bill Bixby on the Arsenio Hall Show in April of 1989 to promote the Trial of the Incredible Hulk, speaking in great detail about The Courtship of Eddie’s Father)

(And please check out the final interview with Bill Bixby)

April 10

The Monster Squad, 1987

This time around for an all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake are going back to the basics. They’re covering a film which is a forgotten cult-classic and true Saturday Night Sleepover material if their ever was one because for their age group, they were the targeted demographic upon the movie’s release. This week the boys tackle Fred Dekker‘s 1987 film The Monster Squad.

monster squad

Why did this movie very quietly (and very quickly) fall through the cracks and be all but forgotten? Has it finally received the immortal status it rightly deserves? Would today’s children and (for that matter) today’s adults, enjoy the film as it was intended in 1987 or is it too –politically incorrect? Is this Fred Dekker, debut screenwriter Shane Black, and Stan Winston‘s love letter to the Universal Monsters, Abbott & Costello‘s hilarious monster-teamup series and to the 1950’s monster-era on a whole? Will Fred Dekker ever get the due he undoubtably deserves? Well grab your junk food, your sugary beverages, take-out food and curl up on the sofa for another brilliant, hilarious, and informative edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out the Monster Squad Reunion at the 2007 Comic Con!)

(Have a look at the The Monster Squad Panel Discussion at the Monsterpalooza Horror Convention in Burbank on April 14th 2013)

(Here’s a great little Monsterama interview with SFX legend Stan Winston)

March 27

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971

The boys are back, kicking in the door with a beloved classic for this week’s all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, and it is a trip to a world of Pure Imagination, with 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

wonka poster

Dion and Blake dig deep into the dark side and undertones of this film which, to be fair, has some pretty surprising things going on in a 1971 child’s film. Based on renowned author Roald Dahl‘s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what evidently led to Dahl practically disowning the movie, even though he was signed on to write the screenplay? How important was the casting of Mr. Wonka in this film, and more to the point, how awesome is Gene Wilder? What about the 2005 Tim Burton remake? How does that fair to this version, and what does Wilder himself thing of the ’05 version? Dion and Blake also reminisce about their own experiences in meeting the cast of this classic film.  So come on down for an all-across-the-board audience favorite, in this all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Don’t believe us? Check out this 2013 interview with the legend Gene Wilder, as he talks about his film career, and the 2005 reboot.)

(Here’s a complete video courtesy of LuckPennyShop, demoing the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Candy Maker Kit!)

(Do you think this 2014 50th Anniversary edition cover for Roald Dahl‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory warranted the controversy?)

(Have a look at the 2013 musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… and decide for yourself…)

(Take a gander at Dion‘s once-in-a-lifetime chance of meeting Mr. Wilder in 2008!)

 

February 27

John Carpenter’s The Thing, 1982

The lads have their hands full in this brand-spanking new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover, and desperately try to fit it all into the confines of a humble podcast. This week, Dion Baia and J. Blake take on the 1982 horror classic, John Carpenter’s The Thing.

the-thing-poster

The boy’s knowledge and expertise are put to task, disseminating all the elements that were brought together in remaking an already established cult classic. How the heck did this movie flop upon its intital release and be completely panned by critics and the film community alike? How do the SFX hold up to the CGI we are so familiar with today? How did the 2011 prequel/remake and 2002 PS2 video game hold up verse Carpenter’s 1982 vision? Have the boys actually solved the ending? And… what the heck were the guys thinking trying to do their own 3D experience in these cold winter months with their latest screening?

Well strap yourselves onto your couch (quite literally) for this thrilling and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Go have a gander at this neat wikia page so you can completely go in-depth and geek out on John Carpenter’s The Thing!)

(Have a look at this great topical claymation mash-up that was done, mixing The Thing and Disney’s Frozen.)

(Here are some deleted scenes from the film, and click here for stills for some of the lost scenes.)

(Take a peek at this vintage behind-the-scenes featurette.)

(Last but certainly far from least, as a greatEXCLUSIVE treat for our fans, check out some original concept art drawn by comic artist Mike Ploog of the kennel scene, from J. Blake‘s personal collection: here, here, here and here.)
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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February 7

5 Rentals for $5 – 1980s Kid Movies of Death

Keeping in the spirit of our recent posts about Transformers: The Movie (1986) and G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) today we are listing five 1980s movies that forced an entire generation of unsuspecting kids to prematurely deal with the concept of death and emotionally scarred them for life.

SPOILER ALERTS!!!

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

Continue reading

January 16

Transformers the Movie, 1986

Dion and J. Blake usher in 2015 with an absolute cult-classic from their childhood, the 1986 feature film Transformers the Movie.

transformers the movie 1987

This fact-filled podcast sizes up the 1986 adaptation of a beloved daily TV show’s journey from the small to the silver screen, taking on the HUGE elephant in the room- the ramifications on the toy industry, children’s psyches, and future cartoon properties regarding the hugely controversial death of Optimus Prime. What the heck were the Execs thinking? Also the boys attempt to fill in some plot holes and see if the film still holds up; finally dispel some of the myths that had been linked to the film like the Orson Welles controversy, this being his last theatrical performance; and compare it on a whole to the recent Michael Bay franchise reboot. Well, if you were a fan of Transformers or cartoons like G.I.Joe in your childhood or you still geek out on the timeless Cybertonions galactic battles, you’ll love the 2015 Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers debut.

(Have a read of a great recent interview with the scriptwriter Ron Friedman)

(Check out another great interview with writer and story editor Flint Dille)

(Here are the legendary and hilarious outtakes of Orson Welles ripping producers, writers, and engineers alike in a VoiceOver session for a British Frozen Peas Commercial)

(Finally, check out the late great actor Chris Latta [aka Chris Collin in this clip] who voiced Starscream, Gung-Ho and Cobra Commander among others, doing his passion, stand up comedy.)

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