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!

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.

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 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.

 

October 21

Night of the Creeps, 1986

The boys are crawling back with their eyes clouded-over for week three of their October Halloween-Horror Binge, here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia have delved deep into the video store racks and dusted off one from way down on the bottom shelf. They’ve selected an 80’s horror classic, and an absolutely undeniable classic for hardcore zombie fans! So what do you get when you take the urban legend of the escaped lunatic, add in 1950’s alien invaders, sprinkle in some elements of classic Film Noir, and then mix in the living dead for good measure? Well we’re here to ‘thrill you‘ this week with Fred Dekker‘s near perfect Night of the Creeps, from 1986!

Night of the Creeps, 1986

Dion and Blake mince no words about their love for this film, and their appreciation for Mr. Dekker. They ease on into the ‘cast by reminiscing about attending community-organized Halloween parties as young kids back in the early 80’s, and jokingly psychoanalyze each other over what they’re nostalgic for by laughing about what they were exposed to as children. They then get into the meat and bones of Night of the Creeps. They gush over all the many clichéd tropes that are purposely brought together and used perfectly, to add to a sometimes hilarious, serious, and quite frighteningly effective and amazing 80’s horror movie. The boys reaffirm and solidify their undying (no pun intended) love for the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins. They also analyze the mashup of various 1950’s sci-fi and horror elements, and how they all play into a nostalgic and loving homage to that era’s segment of genre films. And they discuss the notorious original, alternate ending. So to address the huge elephant in the room, why did this film flop? Why did it play into effectively destroying it’s director’s, Fred Dekker‘s Hollywood career? Was it perhaps too smart and too forward thinking for it’s own good, making it fall short to the expectations of the general 1980’s audience? And does this film, in fact, deserve the credit and reverence that A-list genre films of the time garner? Well, you better grab your shotguns and flame-throwers, duct-tape your mouth’s shut, and keep your High School dates close, because here comes an all new edition and third installment of the October-Halloween binge of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Check out the original trailer for Night of the Creeps!

Take a look at the deleted scenes!

Have a gander at the original ending! 

Check out a rare panel discussion with the original cast from the 2010 Monster Mania!

Here’s SNMS‘ very own J. Blake‘s autograph from the man, the myth, and the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins!

As discussed in the podcast, HERE is the before, and HERE is the transformation of the rare hologram pin for the short-lived 80’s TV show Werewolf!