October 27

Hocus Pocus, 1993

Welcome back to week 4 of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversOctober Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! To bring to a close SNMSmonth of horror, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to take on a fan favorite, particularly a cult classic for the ladies. The fellas are getting on their brooms and heading to Salem, Massachusetts, as they cover Walt Disney‘s Hocus Pocus, from 1993.

Hocus PocusThe boys get right into it by setting up the backstory of the film, and how it was originally pitched as a Disney television movie, then languished in developmental hell for ten years until it was brought in front of Bette Midler. They debate the theory of how some seasonal-themed films become cult classics, holiday staples because of repeated viewings on television and cable. They analyze the elements within the film that showcase another example of Disney tip-toeing into somewhat dark, erotic material- cleverly disguised inside a light-hearted fairytale. Dion and Blake unpack the historical context of this story, briefly summarizing about how Wiccan and Pagan religious ideologies were deemed to be akin to being in league with the devil, and the horrible witch-hunts that swept through Salem, Massachusetts, at the end of the 15th Century. They also compare the tone of Hocus Pocus to other properties at the time, like Eerie, Indiana and Are You Afraid of the Dark?. So, what is the fan speculation behind this story: going to the How and the Why of the Sanderson Sisters becoming witches? Was Leonardo DiCarprio once considered to star in this movie? Playing their own What if Game, could this film have been envisioned as a Tim Burton/Danny Elfman vehicle at the time? And are the fans finally going to see a sequel to this film, and why would Disney actually not be interested in making a sequel/reboot to this beloved property? Well, you better make sure no virgins are trespassing and lighting any candles, hide your children, and actually listen to that black cat trying to talk to you… because the boys are back with the Halloween-specific episode of SNMSOctober Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!

EXTRAS!

Check out this original trailer for Hocus Pocus, that contains shots from scenes that weren’t included in the final cut of the film!

Here’s a fantastic episode of the 1990’s Discovery Channel Show Movie Magic, devoted to the impressive EFX wire-work that is showcased in Hocus Pocus, courtesy of YouTube!

Take a listen to the John Debney score to the film!

This is the Bette Midler, Disney MGM Studio Commercial short entitled The Lottery, that was talked about in the podcast from the early 1990s, courtesy of some guy on YouTube, so enjoy!

Here is the 1973 book mentioned in the podcast that digs excessively into among other things, the history of Wiccan, Pagan and Witchcraft religions, entitled The Devil and all his Works, by Dennis Wheatley.

Also referenced in the podcast, for more information on Ed Gein, click here; for H. H. Holmes‘ and his house of horrors click here; and for information on the 1913 Villisca Axe Murders, click here.

And lastly but far from least, for more info on the 1977 John Carpenter‘s Halloween Michael Myers House that is now a museum, click here.

October 24

Garfield in Disguise AKA Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, 1985

Welcome to a surprise installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover’s October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to do an impromptu episode and look back at their childhoods, particularly during the Halloween season. More specifically, they wanted to cover a television special that has endeared itself to an entire generation of cat-lovers, who secretly would love nothing more than to sit around all day watching TV, while being served pasta and lasagna. That’s right, the boys are talking about everyone’s favorite orange & black house cat, Garfield and his cult classic, Emmy award-winning primetime special, Garfield in Disguise, or more widely known as Garfield’s Halloween Special, from 1985.

Garfield's Halloween Special

Another special near and dear to Dion‘s heart, the boys start off by discussing their memories of the Jim Davis comic strip. They discuss other popular comic strip stars, Garfield‘s primetime television specials, and the many other holiday specials of the era. The boys reminisce about their own childhood Halloween memories, the old costumes they wore, and what other thoughts come to mind when discussing this spooky Autumn holiday. They get into creator Jim Davis‘ original inception of Garfield the cat, the evolution from newspaper comic strip to book form, Davis’ genius in merchandising his creation and Garfield‘s journey to Primetime television. They chat about the eerie narrative theme recur in the various Garfield specials–where a child is lulled into a false sense of security until the third act goes completely off the rails, and becomes anything BUT what you’d think would wind up in a children’s cartoon special. So how scary was this for children growing up? Did this special actually push the limits of what the CBS Broadcast’s Standards and Practices would allow in a children’s cartoon? And how do the boys feel about this compared to the other holiday specials of the era? Well you better get your Halloween costume’s together, make sure you have your partner to go trick-or-treating with, and be careful not to trespass on any small islands that contain abandoned houses with cursed pirate treasure…on the exact night when said pirates’ ghosts are rising from the dead to claim what is their’s…because Blake and Dion are back with a special surprise edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!

EXTRAS:

Check out Garfield’s Halloween Special as it aired for only the 2nd time on CBS, on October 23rd, 1986, courtesy of YouTube, original commercials included!

Here is Garfield’s Halloween Special minus the commercials, in HD, again courtesy of YouTube.

Take a look at this great 2017 interview with creator Jim Davis, as he talks about the creation and longevity on the Garfield character, in this short called Jim Davis- The Man Behind the Cat.

Have a look at this CBS Television Special from May 17, 1988 called Happy Birthday Garfield!, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Garfield the cat, courtesy of YouTube

And check out this Jim Davis-hosted 2012 short about the modern process of Garfield comic strip is drawn

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).

December 16

SNMS Presents the Side-Cast:Tracking Down that White Elephant at Christmas

To add to this festive Christmas season, Dion Baia ended up tracking down and recording a special Side-Cast edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, enlisting his old friends Brian Zino and J. Marcus, the cohosts of his former podcast The Podwits. Now to get them together for a recording, Dion knew there was one topic that would coincide with this season and something the boys could go on and on about: TOYS!

SNMS Side CastSo for this SNMS special, Dion brought back his old cohorts to have a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the toys they grew up with and a time that children nowadays sadly may never know about: how awesome it was growing up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s- a time when kids had a gun aisle in their local toy store, and could go buy candy cigarettes they could then ‘smoke’, just like their parents. The trio begin with chatting about the cartoons they grew up on, and some of the toys that came out of those francheses. They talk about the Mego toy empire of the 70s that had a monopoly on everything, and the segue that occured in the 1980s with the unstoppable titans Mattel, Hasbro and Kenner and their strong hold over the market, before others like Playmates and Galoob moved into the field. Along with toy figures, tThe Podwitshey also chat about building sets like Legos, Construx and Girder and Panel, and even touch on model-making and specifically superhero and movie character models, and the exciting products that were put out by companies like Aurora in the 70s and later on by Horizon in the mid 1990s. They also challenge each other by posing the ‘white whale‘ question: was there a toy they always wanted and never received? And how about the toy(s) that in theory were great but practically, either because of design or toy-playing, was frustating and annoying to say the least. Yes, they’re all over the spectrum in this special, Christmas time edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s Side-Cast. Come have a listen today!

Extras:

*The small battery powered 4×4 vehicles that Dion could not remember the name of from the early 1980s were called STOMPERS.

Check out J. Marcus in a segment where TV’s American Toy Scout Joel Magee drops by J’s apartment to take in the eclectic collection that is on display for all to see.

Here is the A-Team B.A. Baracus figure discussed in the podcast.

This is what the 1983 film Krull‘s weapon The Glaive actually looks like, that Brian attempted to make himself as a child. And here it is in the film.

As discussed in the podcast HERE, and HERE are the Star Trek, Laser Tag-esque game called Star Trek Phaser Battle.

And speaking of Laser Tag-esque play sets, here’s the imitation game Dion‘s parents got him called Phaser Force.

Straight out of J. Marcus vault, here are 2 UNOFFICIAL phasers: HERE is a resin Star Trek TNG Phaser 1 replica, and HERE is a working TOS Phaser 1 replica.

Now take a look at an OFFICIAL Star Trek TNG Playmates Communicator, next to a TNG Tricorder (Note the size difference!).

For more podcasts and specials with Brian Zino, J. Marcus and Dion Baia, check out Podwits.com.

 

 

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 28

Dark Night of the Scarecrow, 1981

Welcome back to week four of our October Halloween-Horror Binge here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! As has been the tradition with the fourth week of the SNMS Halloween horror cycle, J. Blake and Dion Baia pick a film that actually takes place on the day or has the holiday itself play a part in the plot… So for this go-around they’ve selected a TV movie that is a classic within the genre- Dark Night of the Scarecrow, from 1981.

Dark Night of the ScarecrowThe fellas reminisce about this often lost art, the major network horror movie, and how unique these forgotten templates were for this once-popular format on the small screen. A forgotten classic and a great example of a comeuppance tale, Dion and Blake plot the origins of Scarecrow and try to confirm if this the first example of a scarecrow character as an antagonist (or protagonist?) in a horror film. They also go into the backstory of the players involved, like the great Charles Durning and the story’s director, Frank De Felitta. The boys also discuss the differences of a story like this, where less is more and implication is the name of the game at a time when the slasher genre was in full swing, and how a movie with no gore but instead relies on terror and suspense, can holdup within that time period when blood and guts were the norm. So how does this TV movie hold up 35 years later? How does Ray Bradbury have a connection to this work? And how good is Charles Durning in this demented role? And why did they make him a mailman? Well come on down and check out our final installment of 2016’s October-horror Halloween binge here on an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out Dark Night of the Scarecrow in it’s entirely, courtesy of YouTube!

How about checking out the film out as it aired Saturday, October 24th 1981, with the original commercials to boot, again courtesy of YouTube!

Take a look at this rare interview with writer J.D. Feigelson, courtesy of MutantvillePlayers!

And have a look at this rare interview with the late, great Larry Drake, again courtesy of MutantvillePlayers!