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.

April 28

Reservoir Dogs, 1992

Welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia go back to their film school roots and discuss a movie that literally changed their lives back in the 1990s. This is a very special installment of the podcast for them, as they chat about the #1 voted Independent movie of all time, Quentin Tarantino‘s classic Reservoir Dogs, from 1992.

As stated above, this is a very significant film for Dion and Blake– a walk down memory lane and a nostalgic talk, that in many ways is very different to the other casts they’ve done up until now. Almost becoming a ‘comic-book origins’ edition, the lads have an extensive talk about their formative years, their meeting, and the influences Tarantino‘s work had on them as teenagers; which led them to want to go to film school and make movies at a time when the Independent boom was in full swing within Hollywood. The boys discuss at length what it was like to be in film school in that era and the influence an auteur like Quentin Tarantino had on them and others, attempting to give a context, while lovingly looking back at their shared tastes of then versus now. All this weaves into talking about this highly influential director, his particular style, and this work, Reservoir Dogs. Blake and Dion chat about the origins of this script, and how it quickly went from being a very low budget, black and white movie and quickly blossoming into the iconic film we know today. They discuss the awesome cast and the potential “what-if’s?” that were in play, as well as reactions the film had once released. They also attempt to analyze the violence and gore within the movie and within one scene in particular, which may seem tame today but caused quite a stir when it originally came out. So what other heist films does this film pay homage, or ‘borrow’ from? How important was the casting in this film? How influential was this film, not only to the SNMS boys but to cinema fans, the industry and that entire decade overall? How key is the soundtrack to this and other Tarantino films? And what the heck is up with the director’s obsession with the N-word? Well buckle yourself in, because the boys are taking on a seminal work in one of the most unique installments of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to date!

Extras:

Please check out our good friend and film school buddy Mike Maronna’s Podcast he cohosts, The Adventures of Danny and Mike!

Check out Quentin Tarantino, in his own word, discussing Reservoir Dogs!

Have a look at ALL the supplemental material from the 10th Anniversary Edition of Reservoir Dogs!

Take a look at this trailer for the brand-new upcoming video game called Reservoir Dogs: Blood Days!

Here’s The Simpsons’ take on Reservoir Dogs!

April 14

Raise the Titanic, 1980

 

Can it be? Is it already that time? Why yes, it’s another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week marks the 105th anniversary of the R.M.S. Titanic sinking, and having a resident expert at SNMS on the ocean liner and disaster that occurred in 1912, J. Blake and Dion Baia figured they’d pay their respects by covering a film based on the widely popular Clive Cussler novel that took the real-life event and turned it into a McGuffin for a Cold War-era espionage, intrigue, and deep-sea adventure filled story! Yes, the boys are diving to the bottom of the Atlantic this go around to take on the juggernaut Raise the Titanic, from 1980!

Raise the Titanic

This becomes the ‘conspiracy theory episode‘ for the Blake and Dion, as they jump right in and layout some ‘alternate facts‘ that have recently come to light as to the real details concerning this great ship’s sinking, in an attempt to: A.) Explain to you what you didn’t know about that faithful night; B.) What you couldn’t have known, concerning facts that have been virtually ignored for over 105 years, and C.) Tell you what they never wanted you to know, surrounding the sinking of the White Star Line ocean liner. The boys unravel an elaborate and long-winded story (boy, Dion sometimes can go on, and on, and on, and-) that only recently has been getting some traction within scientific and Titanic-historian circles, which was supposedly buried for fear of international scandal in a pre-WWI era. After this extensive yarn, the boys then jump head-first into Raise the Titanic, by going into the background of mega-author Clive Cussler and what led to his decision of not working again with Hollywood (after this movie) for almost 30 years. Dion and Blake also go into why this film ended up being the most-expensive film to date, and why this could be a great example of why the industry completely embraced CGI technology in the following decade, versus shelling out millions of dollars for practical effects. They also talk about the glorious soundtrack by composer John Barry and the speculation about the fate of this and other works of art that become deemed “lost.” So why did the movie flop at the box office? Why did the film’s budget skyrocket and almost triple, with the model and water tank costing 1 million more than it cost to construct the actual RMS Titanic in unadjusted 1912 dollars? Only recently declassified, what was the real reason oceanographer Robert Ballard was out snooping around in the Atlantic in the first place? How does the final film version of Raise the Titanic differ from the original novel? And most importantly, are the facts as you know it about the Titanic‘s sinking that fateful night the real story ? Well, if you want to know or not, the fellas put all the pieces together for you this week in another enthralling edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Here is the entire movie Raise the Titanic from 1980, courtesy of YouTube!

Have a look at the ‘supposedly’ alternate opening for Raise the Titanic.

Please have a listen to what critics say may be John Barry‘s best score, which was for Raise the Titanic.

Take a look at this great website, dedicated to all things concerning Raise the Titanic, from the Clive Cussler book, to the live-action film.

Here’s a link to the 1977 comic strip, faithfully adapted by artist Frank Bolle of Cussler‘s Raise the Titanic!

Check out this video by the group Titanic Truths LLC Historical Preservation and Salavage Design Company and their current, 2017 plan to actually raise the Titanic wreck from the bottom of the Atlantic!

For more info, here is Titanic Truths LLC‘s main website.

Take a look at the huge Titanic model used in the 1980 film as it sadly looks in 2017, rotting away in Malta.

If you liked the historical background in the episode, check out D. E. Bristow‘s out of print book, Titanic: Sinking the Myths.

Watch the entire TV special Return to the Titanic, that aired on October the 28th 1987 hosted by Telly Savalas, that was live from Paris (not London, as Dion remembered).

Here is a 2011 article Dion wrote about the conspiracy theory that the RMS Titanic was switched out by her sister ship, the RMS Olympic before her 1912 maiden voyage.

And if you want, you can now watch the Titanic sinking in REAL TIME, per this animation courtesy of YouTube.

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.

 

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.

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!

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!

August 12

Cruising, 1980

The boys are back, taking on a film that is legendary for it’s controversy, so much so that not only did it taint the actual production of the movie but also led to it being regarded as a ‘bomb’ at the box office, despite an entire cast and crew of A-list talent. Dion and Blake this week take a hard look at the Al Pacino classic, Cruising from 1980, by the auteur William Friedkin.

Cruising poster

Now the fellas are the first to admit that this wouldn’t top their list as the perfect nostalgic vehicle that a group of twelve or thirteen year old friends would knowingly rent (due to the subject matter) and watch at a sleepover back in the day, but they are also in agreement that Cruising has gotten a terribly raw deal ever since it’s first day of production. Blake and Dion start off by relating the facts of the real case that this film was partly based on, directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak, by chatting with their friend, former NYPD Detective turned actor, producer, stuntman and technical consultant Randy Jurgensen, who in real life was the one who actually went undercover into this world to solve a case, in an SNMS exclusive. They explain the backstory and the original book of the same name, and how it got into director William Friedkin‘s hands, eventually becoming a film he helmed. They lay-out the outcry that came from the gay community about the film and it’s subject matter, and the concerns behind that worry. Dion and Blake delve in and really dissect the plot, trying to flesh out all the twists and turns this noir thriller takes. So WHY was Cruising so controversial for Hollywood and the gay community in particular, and for the public at large? How “X-Rated” was this when it was first released? What about the new pseudo-documentary co-directed by actor James Franco called Interior. Leather Bar., and how much of it really focuses on Friedkin’s film that it was supposedly inspired by? What other personal and exclusive incite do the boys have from speaking with Paul Sorvino, Ed O’Neill and the great forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden about Cruising? And why the heck would the boys ever think of cosplaying with this film?! Well, come on down to find it all out, on an all new, highly informative and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly referred to 1970 Cruising novel author Gerald Walker, as Gerald Butler…who knows why.)

EXTRAS:

Here’s the original trailer for Cruising!

Have a look at the rare TV trailer!

Check out this featurette on the making of Cruising !

Take a listen to the great soundtrack to this film, courtesy of YouTube!

Here’s our very own Dion Baia with legendary forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden around 2011.

This is the very rare Kenneth Anger film the boys referred to in the cast, called Scorpio Rising, from 1964.

Have a look at a great alternate, original poster for Cruising!

Here’s William Friedkin talking about the James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar.

 

June 24

Alan Jones: Dario Argento & Beyond…

As a little added bonus to last week’s Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ podcast on Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975), this week we’d like to present a conversation that our very own J. Blake had, way back in October of 2013, with British film critic, journalist, author and Argento expert, Alan Jones.

cinefantastiqueJones runs the Frightfest film festival in London, has contributed to many publications (Empire, Premiere, Fangoria and the iconic Cinefantastique to name only a few), can be heard on numerous noteworthy Blu-ray and DVD audio commentaries and is the author of The Rough Guide to Horror Movies and the definitive Dario Argento guide, Profondo Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic (with its latest edition being titled Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic).

A few years ago, actually on the eve of an unforgettable sold out Goblin concert at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn NY, Mr. Jones was nice enough to take Blake’s call and chat about his passions for horror movies, Argento, disco and the Sex Pistols; an odd combination I know, but he is a complex and interesting guy.

So take a few moments, sit back with a glass of wine and read forth…if you dare!

(The interview is presented in an alternate font, to make it easier to read.)

Continue reading

June 17

Dario Argento’s Deep Red, 1975

Buon Giorno dear friends, and welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip to picturesque Italy to visit a filmmaker near and dear to both their hearts, the maestro Dario Argento. The boys tackle a film they feel is a classic and a quintessential representation of a genre that was reinvigorated within the mediterranean country, by Argento, in the 1970’s. The fellas are going back to film school with this one, covering arguably the director’s most commerically successful and popular film, Profondo Fondo or Deep Red, from 1975.

Deep Red

 

As Argento the auteur is a huge favorite here at SNMS, especially for Blake, he and Dion waste no time getting into the topic of discussion, by setting the stage and first explaining the sub-genre known as ‘giallo‘ and what are the essential elements that classically make up a giallo film. They also lay out a crucial element: what it was like engaging in the Italian cinema experience of the time; how going to the movies back then and specifically that social aspect affected how Italian films of this elk were subsequently written, and even paced.  The boys examine Argento’s career rise to a filmmaker and his Animal Trilogy of films, and review how Deep Red began his seque from ‘who-dun-it’-type stories, to eventually Supernatural and straight Horror vehicles. And how on a larger scale, he singlehandedly revitalized an entire genre within Italian cinema. Dion and Blake also cite American auteurs like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma, who vocally or even subconsciously have been influenced by the Italian maestro. They also discuss the legendary Italian progressive rock band Goblin in detail, as this was the first collaboration between band and filmmaker. So get ready as the boys take you on a trip filled with mystery, intrigue and horror, in another fabulous and informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referenced Michael Mann‘s Manhunter, when he was actually referring to the director’s 1981 film Thief.

EXTRAS!

Check out Blake’s exclusive interview with film critic and Argento lover Alan Jones.

Here is Deep Red, remastered, in all it’s original gorgeous uncut glory, courtesy of YouTube!

Now watch the shorter, exported version of Deep Red, again courtesy of YouTube!

Take a gander at one of the original posters for Deep Red, aka Profondo Rosso, which interestingly bares a very close resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1958 classic, Vertigo poster.

Have a look at the original Italian theatrical trailer for Profondo Rosso, aka Deep Red.

And here’s a REAL treat, watch Goblin live on Italian television circa 1975 or 1976, perform the title track to Profondo Rosso!

And to preorder J. Blake’s new book Scored to Death, click here!

March 11

State of Grace , 1990

Welcome back true believers to another exciting and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys noticed that St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and figured they’d roll out a podcast about a long-forgotten, classic gangster film (surprisingly the first in the genre for Dion and Blake), that has its climatic scene coincide with the St. Patty’s Day Parade. Haven’t guessed it yet? This week their chatting up the Irish-American Mob film State of Grace, from 1990. 

State of Grace

The boys reminiscence about the 1990’s era of gangster movies, and the connection this one has to that timeframe. Truly an unorthodox choice and certainly not the first on anyone’s list when remembering gangster films of that period, this video store staple boosts a very impressive cast of principle and supporting actors that makes it a truly forgotten gem that is certainly worth a visit (or revisit). Blake and Dion talk about their unbridled love for costar Gary Oldman, focusing particularly on his early body of work, which the boys feel doesn’t get its deserved do. Often cited by Oldman himself as one of his favor roles, why did this film literally come and go in the cinema? Did Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas (out the same year) actually have anything to do with it? Or is that just speculation? What inside stories do the boys themselves have from people they know who worked on this film and others around this time, that paints the picture of what was happening behind the scenes for the lead actors during this period? And how much foresight did this story have about the revitalization and gentrification that is currently happening in New York City, that had its roots in this film’s backdrop, Hell’s Kitchen circa 1989-90? Well get your favorite gun, leather jacket and your flasks, cause this week the lads are paying a kailee to their favorite Hell’s Kitchen public house in this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Erin go Bragh!

 

EXTRAS:

Spoiler Alert! Here’s what you may call a 1990 ‘Red Band’ Trailer for State of Grace coming to video, complete with 3 or 4 scenes that do not show up in the theatrical cut of the film!

Have a watch of a rare, fascinating 1997 television documentary series called The South Bank Show with this episode dedicated to Gary Oldman, where at the 26:30 mark, he speaks about his role in State of Grace 

Here’s some great highlights from a Q&A with Gary Oldman at Film Independent at LACMA where he discusses his characterizations and his methods of finding a character through their ‘voice’.

And here’s Mr. Oldman‘s full interview from A Life in Pictures at BAFTA, a MUST watch for any fan of this legend’s work.

Have a look at Colin Quinn talking up State of Grace and Gary Oldman

Take a look at the official trailer for the film.

January 29

The Night Stalker, 1972

Welcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! To celebrate the return of The X-Files to the small screen, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to go back and cover a film and character that is very close to both their hearts, which has been also cited by Mulder and Scully creator Chris Carter as a direct inspiration for his show. If you haven’t already guessed, this week the fellas are talking about the ground-breaking TV movie The Night Stalker, from 1972 starring the great Darren McGavin as the iconic Carl Kolchak.mcgavinnight-stalker

The boys setup the podcast by giving a little backstory about the ‘TV movie” or as it was called, the “Movie of the Week“, adding some context on how popular the format was and continues to be; and the astounding precedent The Night Stalker achieved by becoming the highest viewed TV film up until that time. Dion and Blake discuss all things Kolchak and shamelessly gush about their love for Darren McGavin and the amazing character he helped bring to the screen. They also explain the story about how an unpublished manuscript by Jeff Rice was taken and adapted by legendary writer Richard Matheson and turned into the highest rated tv movie up until January 11th, 1972. So, what was it about this story that was so popular for audiences? How does the film hold up more than 44 years later? What occured that made McGavin become so disenchanted with the 1974 TV series, which eventually got cancelled after only one season? What has become the legacy of Kolchak the Night Stalker? And what was the flub during the podcast that practically stopped the recording in it’s tracks, and turned the lads into two laughing school girls? Well all those juicy questions will be answered on this awesome and exciting all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out this great and VERY interesting page on the official Darren McGavin and wife Kathie Browne McGavin‘s website about Kolchak the Night Stalker, giving a timeline for the series and the actor’s direct perceptive during the project, along with very candid interviews about the show.

Here’s another link to the McGavin/Browne website, showing the unproduced Kolchak scripts, including what was to be the third film, The Night Killers.

EXCLUSIVE: Straight out of the SNMS Archive, check out this original art by Douglas Klauba for the C. J. Henderson Kolchak novel, The Lost City. Here is the finished product, as it looks with it’s titles.

EXCLUSIVE: Another work of art right out of the SNMS Archive, take a look at this original comic book page #38 from issue #2 of the 2002 run of the Kolchak comic book series, entitled Get of Belial.      Here is the finished page as it looked.

EXCLUSIVE: Another out of the SNMS Archive, this original newspaper advertisement for Darren McGavin starring in the brand new 1974 Kolchak The Night Stalker television series

Check out the link to John Carpenter’s The Thing limited edition Christmas ornament brought up in the podcast.

December 18

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 2From Homicide to Hollywood

SNMS Side CastWelcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversSide-Cast. We present Part 2 of our exclusive interview with retired NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, consultant, writer and producer Randy Jurgensen. In this episode, we segue into Randy’s fascinating career in Hollywood and his body of work in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. We go in-depth about the first film he was drafted to be an advisor and actor for, The French Connection, and how he prepped the actors to be New York City cops (back when background prep was rare). We also discuss his friendship with director William Friedkin, as well as the four plus films they would collaborate together on. He also explains his role as of one the stunt drivers in one of the greatest car chases of allsorcererrandy time. He then goes into great detail about becoming a producer, and fighting the Screen Actor’s Guild for Larry Cohen‘s God Told Me To ; ‘stealing’ filming locations in New York City for Maniac and Viligante ; surviving the jungle and the Federales in Central America while filming Friedkin’s Sorcerer ; to fighting city hall (literally) in a small Maine town to get Stephen King‘s Thinner completed. As astounding as it is that a retired Detective was able transition into a life in Hollywood, what’s more incredible is that legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Roy Scheider were vying to hang out with him, because he was the ‘real’ deal, and moreover was the lead Detective on a very cruising_01publicized case at the time involving probably the most notorious cop killing in New York City’s history! Again, it’s a case where truth is stranger (and more entertaining), than fiction! So come listen to an absolutely fascinating and exclusive installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! (above picture Randy and Roy Scheider in Sorcerer, 1977; left picture is Randy in the NYC Coroner’s Office in Cruising, 1980)

EXTRAS:

The very iconic photo of the finale of The French Connection– Randy can be seen over Gene Hackman‘s right shoulder.

Here, here, here and here are behind the scenes shots of Randy on set on The Godfather, during the scene where Sonny is assassinated.

Check out Randy in The Godfather poster, up in the top right corner.

Here’s Randy at the end of Maniac, with real life partner Jimmy Aurichio!

Have a look at another picture from Cruising, with Randy center, interrogating Al Pacino, with Paul Sorvino standing against the wall.

Here’s another from Cruising, this time with a very young Ed O’Neill.

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December 11

Invasion USA , 1985

Tis the Season! The boys are back with an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion and Blake are ushering in the holidays with a classic, Invasion USA, starring the great Chuck Norris and directed by the supremely underrated Joseph Zito.

invasion usa
Blake and Dion discuss the burning holiday questions, like does Santa shave his beard on December 26th, or has he had to up his game because of all the high-tech toys kids have nowadays? Then they get to the film: The year is 1985 and along with movies like Commando, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, a low-budget Studio named Cannon releases this gem, a great example of pure, unabashed 80’s Action Escapism. Chuck is Ex CIA agent Matt Hunter and is after a terrorist who plans to destroy America, at Christmas time no less!  But why has this film fallen through the cracks of time and other Christmas-themed Action movies only bring Die Hard or say Lethal Weapon to mind? Does this deserve to be up there with those classics? Is this the film that helped solidify Chuck as the ultimate bad-ass? And what did Chuck really mean to say when he signed Dion’s poster?

All those questions (hopefully) will be answered in this all new holiday edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly said Lebanon when he met Iran when speaking about he 1979-80 American hostage situation)

EXTRAS:

Check out the original trailer to Invasion USA

Have a look at a great Q & A with Chuck, as he discusses how he and Bruce Lee would fare today in MMA

Take a listen to the Jay Chattaway score to Invasion USA

Here’s Dion with the man, the myth, the legend, Chuck Norris

December 4

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 1The Bad, Old Days

SNMS Side CastWelcome to an ALL NEW edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ “Side-Cast“. This episode takes SNMS listeners in an entirely different direction, presenting an all new and very rare interview with a retired NYPD Detective and Hollywood legend, Randy Jurgensen. He has appeared in over 50 films and television shows, including The French Connection, The Godfather, The Seven Ups, God Told Me To, Maniac, Sorcerer, Kojak, Fort Apache the Bronx, Superman, Vigilante, Cruising,  C.H.U.D., Randy Jurgensen TodayManiac Cop, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Juror, Thinner and Donnie Brasco among many others as an advisor, actor, producer and writer. Two of his cases were turned into major Hollywood films by his good friend William Friedkin, and are now classics.

But before all of this, Randy was a Homicide Detective in Harlem, “making a living among the dead” as he calls it, in the 2-8 Precinct dubbed “the Murder Factory“, navigating through some of the most awful times in New York City’s history. He and his fellow officers battled to keep the crime and murder rate down, while at the same time struggled to not lose a city to radical groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army (BLA). He was involved in the worst cop killing in the city’s history and made it his mission to bring the killer to justice, even if it meant sacrificing his career as a police officer. The experience led him to write a book in 2006 about the case, entitled Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him, a must read and cannot be recommended more highly. But to understand how he got to work in films with legends like Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, and his good friend (and SNMS favorite!) Joe Spinell, one has to hear the incredible and unbelievable story of how he got there.

blue cover Part One of our interview with Randy is the prequel to his film career, as he goes into detail on what it was like being a cop in a city that had on average 2000 murders a year, and speaks about some of the parallels that can be seen today with law enforcement. It is truly a case where fact is stranger (and at times more interesting) than fiction. A must listen! #RememberCardillo

Click here to see Randy back in the day, a picture from the 1977 Frank Sinatra film Contract on Cherry Street.

(Here is Randy with Ol’ Blue Eyes)

Click here to see Randy on April 20, 1972, moments after being hit in the back of the head by a brick thrown off a roof, during the Harlem riot that occurred after the shooting of Officer Phil Cardillo in Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7.

Check out this short Documentary starring Retired Detective Jurgensen.

Here are some more interesting facts about Randy.