December 22

Lethal Weapon ,1987

The boys are back for their last episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers for 2017J. Blake and Dion Baia are going back once again to that endless well that has been so plentiful for them this year, and tackling one more from 1987! This time around they’re chatting an action classic, one that kick-started an entire franchise. To answer the age-old question: what do you get when you take an unhinged cop who gets partnered up with another whose got retirement on the mind? Well you get the Richard Donner essential, Lethal Weapon, from 1987.

Lethal Weapon Poster

The guys jump right into this Christmas-centric flick by discussing the sub, subgenre of Christmas-related action movies. They chat about what the allure is of having so many of these type of genre films set within the Holiday season. They talk about screenwriter Shane Black and the original script that was even deemed “to dark” by the studio and others involved. Dion and Blake analyze the insane what-if ‘ game for this go-around, looking at how different of a movie this could have been with an alternate cast, had the other actors considered, been chosen. They also look back at the other influences in cinema and within the ‘police genre’ that led Hollywood to Lethal Weapon, and how this benchmark reset the action film for the years to come. So, what 1980’s action flick do the boys think should have been set at Christmas time? Was this actually the first use of a modern cellphone within a movie? And did Dion actually think once upon a time that the film’s title had to be spoken within the movie? Well everyone better make sure their Beretta‘s and Smith & Wesson‘s are cleaned and ready for use, cause the boys are taking you for one last ‘ride along’ on this last, all new 2017 holiday edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Here’s the deleted opening bar scene that was to originally intro Martin Riggs.

Check out this deleted scene of Riggs picking up a prostitute just to watch the Three Stooges with him.

Have a look at the notorious deleted sniper-at-a-school scene, that was another way of introducing Riggs.

Take a look at the original ending for Lethal Weapon.

Here’s the extended jumper scene.

Lastly, check out this original teaser trailer for Lethal Weapon, that features some scenes that did not make it into the final cut.

November 24

Sorcerer, 1977

Greetings and welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are celebrating a film that turned 40 this year (and is currently enjoying a theatrical re-release this very month) -a movie that flopped and was universally panned when it was originally released. But after years of obscurity it has had a resurgence and a re-evaluation, and is now considered a lost classic (even being Stephen King‘s favorite movie!) -with some even saying it could be it’s director’s best work (luckily Blake and Dion never had this problem of having to ‘re-discover’ this to know it was a masterpiece). So this week the boy’s are taking a very close look at the notorious William Friedkin epic, Sorcerer, from 1977.

Sorcerer

A movie that has haunted Dion since childhood, the guys jump right into unpacking this momentous feat of cinema. Blake and Dion dissect the various elements and history that came together to make this classic. They first return to the source material, reading the original 1952 novel Wages of Fear by French author Georges Arnaud. They analyze the 1953 film Wages of Fear by the French auteur Henri-Georges Clouzot, and use both of those versions to compare and contrast William Friedkin‘s retelling, of what has been called by some, the most suspenseful story of all time. They utilize the first hand accounts from their friend, ex-NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, producer, consultant and friend to director William FriedkinRandy Jurgensen, who also costarred in Sorcerer, to piece together the story behind getting this epic out of the jungle and onto the big screen. They trace the path that visionaries like Friedkin and others ascended to in the 1970s-1980s, only to come crashing down by closing out an era with commercially-termed ‘flops’ (though Dion and Blake do not consider Sorcerer in that category) largely due to ballooning budgets and lofty artistic visions, or because of sheer recklessness- like the death of 3 actors on a John Landis film-set in 1982. And they analyze what kind of impact a little-known German Electronic band named Tangerine Dream, who penned the film’s synth score, had on the next decade of movie soundtracks. So, what Hollywood legend was Sorcerer first written for; who would have starred, had it not been for Friedkin‘s lack of flexibility? What’s the inside joke that Randy Jurgensen told SNMS he has with director William Friedkin (Hint: it comes a line from this movie)?  What were the contributing factors that led to the ultimate commercial failure of Sorcerer at the box office? And maybe most importantly, what is the story behind the film’s title?! Well, make sure you strap yourselves in, pack your Valium and Dramamine, because the boys are taking a nail-biting journey into the jungle and a descent into madness, on an all new and very informative edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

Check out these rare and behind on the scenes 8mm footage that was shot on the set of Sorcerer, while on location in New Jersey!

Have a look of at this vintage TV spot for Sorcerer!

Please go have a listen to the excessive interviews that SNMS as done with ex-NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, producerconsultant and friend to director William FriedkinRandy Jurgensen, about his legendary career as a police officer and then seamless transition to a legendary stint in Hollywood, and some of the biggest movies of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. 

Take a look at this extremely rare William Friedkin Q&A from 2013 about Sorcerer that the boys were able to attend, that they transcribed into a posting, which eventually made news and is subsequently cited extensively by Wikipedia in their entry for Sorcerer

Here’s an article Dion penned in 2014 that was his review of the original novel Wages of Fear by French novelist Georges Arnaud.

Check out the concept art for both of the trucks used in the film, found HERE and HERE!

Also have a look at the various and amazing versions of the film’s POSTER that have been made over the years, found HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE!

And last but far from least, check out everything there is to know about Sorcerer on this website, which is dedicated to the film!

October 20

Them!, 1954

Welcome back to week 3 of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! This episode finds Dion Baia and J. Blake going way down the alley, visiting the “Creature Feature” sub-genre, and tackling a film that in their opinion, exemplifies that niche of Sci-Fi/Horror films from the 1950s. And with this very week marking the 55th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the boys discuss Hollywood‘s fear of the unknown in a Nuclear age with the classic film, Them!, from 1954.

Them!

The boys setup the conversation about 1950’s Sci-Fi by chatting about Dion‘s particular affinity and personal connection with these type of Science Fiction and Horror Films of the era. They chat about the Cold War politics of the decades that proceeded WWII, like McCarthyism or JFK vs. Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis, to try and put into some kind of perspective and context, the mindset of a postwar society who thought nuclear war was probably inevitable. Blake and Dion track the evolution of these type of “Creature Features“, by analyzing Hollywood’s output at the time, which it could even be argued leads the viewer down a path all the way to the iconic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, which changed everything. The fellas then dissect this classic, Them!, which starts almost like a Crime Noir- a widely popular subgenre at the time. They go over the suspense that is set up within the movie and discuss the filmmaker’s very modern and realistic approach to telling this story. They also observe how superb the entire cast is within this film- all amazing feats when one realizes how this basically is a tale about radioactive insects. So, how do the Special Effects hold up some 60+ years later? Was this film originally planned to have a very popular gimmick (at the time) employed that was scrapped at the very last minute? How many Wilhelm screams are in this movie? And what is actor Edmund Gwenn‘s connection to Friday the 13th? Well you better hide your sugar, make sure your city and state maps are up to date, because the guys are taking you on an adventure to find some gigantic monsters in this all new installment of their October Halloween Horror Extravaganza on Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Here is the more widely known Theatrical Poster for Them!, which kind of tips the film’s hand to what the plot’s ‘twist’ actually is.

Have a look at this rare, behind the scenes footage from Them!

Check out these awesome original Lobby Cards for Them!

As brought up in the cast, check out this article elaborating on the Urban Legend that John Wayne and the film crew from the 1956 film The Conqueror died of cancer because of A-Bomb testing, and also the ‘Downwinders‘ who actually had to deal with the then-unknown effects of radioactive fallout.

August 18

Predator, 1987

Hello again and welcome back to an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This is a very special time for J. Blake and Dion Baia, because this signifies the 20th anniversary of their friendship. So they decided to tackle a movie that not only turns 30 this year, but also was something that they mutually loved when they entered film school and bonded over when they shared a dorm room. So this go around the boys are talking the Arnold Schwarzenegger/John McTiernan classic, Predator, from 1987!

Predator, 1987

After briefly reminiscing about their serendipitous pairing freshman year in college, Dion and Blake immediately realize that this is the first movie where the entire cast and most of the prominent crew have already appeared on SNMS, and should all be inducted in the SNMS Hall of Fame. The boys then get into the nuts and bolts of the film, while not in anyway hiding their love for this property. They first have an in depth discussion about the original alien suit and the Jean-Claude Van Damme controversy, and what led to bringing in Stan Winston for a complete redesign of that suit, to what we all love and know today. They compare elements of the novelization and some of the significant differences between it and the story we see in the finished film. And Dion also proposes a new theory for the creatures’ initial motivation to engage Arnold‘s elite team. So, in the novelization, why is the Predator hunting humans in the first place? What famous story concerning the folklore of this film does Blake take slight umbrage with? Does Van Damme actually get a raw deal here through the prism of history? And how many quotes and imitations can the boys fit into one humble podcast? Well grab your gear, face-paint and M134 miniguns, and make sure you watch your six, cause the boys are taking ‘Old Painless into the jungle and down memory lane on this all new and very special installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #sleepovermischief

*Dion misspoke during the podcast- he meant the term “Over The Transom.

Extras:

Here is some footage and behind the scenes of the original Predator costume with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the story behind it.

Check out a deleted scene talked about in the podcast, of Dutch attempting to escape the Predator.

For more information about all the unique and custom weaponry in this film, check out it’s Internet Movie Firearms Database webpage!

Have a look at a great ‘making-of’ documentary from 1987, for Predator.

Take a glance at the original theatrical trailer for the film.

Lastly, here is Dion with Jesse ‘the Body’ Ventura, circa 2006 or 2007.

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.