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 14

The Mummy, 1959

Welcome back to week two of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s October-Halloween month of Horror, where for the four weeks of the Autumn month, J. Blake and Dion Baia are giving you four podcasts to help fill you nightmares with nostalgic terror! This installment the boys are showcasing a classic, and also the first Hammer Studios production to be discussed on the podcast. This week they chat about the iconic 1959 movie The Mummy, starring the legendary Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

The Mummy, 1959

Dion and Blake chat again about their love for the classics and set the table and explain (within the cycle of the horror films) how the Hammer Studios helped revitalize the waning genre, and breathe new life into the catalog of monsters that Universal Pictures established some twenty years before. They go through the backstory of how a small British company like Hammer was able to successfully ‘borrow’ the classic monsters like Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and this film’s central character, The Mummy and helped catapult them into the iconic status that we know them as today. The fellas also compare the template that we see these type of franchises cycle through, to the same template in films we see today like with the current trend of superhero movies, highlighting the similarities- e.g. first, the single-character ‘tent pole’ movies, then morphing into the multi-character team up installments. They also gush over their love for legendary actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and how without these men who went on to endear themselves to over 8 decades of cinema lovers, there might never have been the monster revival that Hammer brought forth, and the lasting impact these amazing horror characters had on us, film fans, having been firmly cemented into our pop culture. But how was Hammer even able to swing using these monster icons and get around Universal’s copyrighting in the first place? How was this film revolutionary, not only within the monster sub-genre but in the overall horror genre in general? How does this film and story hold up today? And is this version of the Mummy actually the precursor to characters we see in decades to come like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers? And what impact have these movies left upon cinema? Well come one down and listen to week two of the horror extravaganza in another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS

Check out the original trailer for this 1959 classic!

Take a look at the TCM intro for 1959 The Mummy! AND here’s the Outro!

Here’s a great interview with Christopher Lee about Dracula and The Mummy!

Watch the Donald Fearney‘s documentary on Hammer‘s cycle of Mummy horror films!

Have a listen to the pilot of Suspense Radio show, of The Lodger, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which is a radio series Dion and Blake absolutely flip over.

SNMS cannot recommend enough, for those interested to check out the classic radio shows (commonly referred to OTR, meaning Old Time Radio) on archive.org that are now public domain. On this .org site, enthusiasts compile the best surviving sources for each particular show and add new ones or discover better quality episodes everyday. Have a mozy and see if you can find a genre and/or show that you’d love today; and we guarantee that if you take the time, you will find a show you’d love. The rest is on you.

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!

May 13

SNMS Presents: The Side-Cast-Origins, Travels and Close Encounters

Hello True Believers!! Welcome to a very special and impromptu edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia sit down and deliver a brand new episode of the Side Cast, laying the foundation for summer installments of both new, and reissued editions of this podcast series.SNMS Side Cast

The boys set the table and explain the premise of the Side Casts, and while doing that (because they go hand in hand), Dion and Blake lay out the origins of that podcast, and how it in turn morphed into Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The fellas go on to talk about Blake‘s recent trip to California, where he met up and hung out with various Horror film composers he’d interviewed for this upcoming book, Scored To Death, and the stories from those meetings. They go on to cover the fun celebrities Blake met and hung out with while attending the Monsterpalooza Horror Convention in Pasadena, and he also dissects the various studio tours he went on while out there. They also preview the upcoming Side Cast Podcasts, as well as just keep the conversation lite, not focusing on one particular topic or film, as their usual format imposes. So come on down and pull up a chair with two old friends, as they enjoy each other’s company in another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out the awesome James Remar photo Blake got for Dion at Monsterpalozza! AND He’s Blake with James Remar!

We’re all part of a Tribe..!” Take a look at highly recommended biography: Not Bad for a Human: The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen! AND Check out the Blake w/ the legend himself, Lance Henriksen!

Here’s Blake with The Last Starfighter star, Lance Guest!

And he Blake is with The Last Starfighter director and Halloween‘s “The Shape” himself, Nick Castle!

Take a look at Blake with 80’s action icon Al Leong!

Here’s Blake on the Town Sqaure and Church Backlot used in films such as The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys!

Have a gander at Blake having dinner with legendary film composers Harry Manfredini and Joseph Bishara!

Lastly, here’s Blake in front of Norman and Mama Bates’ house… there’s still a vacancy!!

October 9

Mad Love, 1935

The boys are back for week 2 in their October month of horror! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia are going back to the basics, doing a true B-side from the Golden Age of Horror that stars one of their favorite actors of the day, the great Peter LorreSaturday Night Movie Sleepovers gets into their DeLorean to have a hand (pun intended) at the cult classic film Mad Love, from 1935.

Mad Love, 1935

Certainly the oldest film covered to date, Dion and Blake chat about the ground-breaking wave of American Horror in the 1930’s from studio’s like Universal or in this case MGM and discuss how it set the bar, its influence still even seen today. They set the stage by going through the mindset of Post-WWI Europe, a time when German Expressionism was first seen, a movement that played a huge role in Horror cinema and explain the context of the mass exodus from 1930’s Western Europe; the artists of which eventually landing in Tinseltown, and how their unique visions of the world gave Horror the foundation that it was built upon, which still continues to thrive over 85+ years on. They go into the history of Peter Lorre and this underrated and little-known film (his inaugural to American audiences) which contains a scene that might possibly be one of the most horrific and frightening images from the era(!). How the heck could this film actually help usher in a complete ban of the Horror genre in the United Kingdom, culminating eventually in Hollywood actually abandoning the genre entirely almost until after the Second World War? How many of the actors in this film alone met a sad demise due to alcohol and substance abuse, echoing the sad times of the day within Hollywood? And how the heck is this film connected to the 3 Stooges? And while you’re at it, learn about the faux-James Bond film that was never shot Blake and Dion devised, involving Cary Grant, James Mason, Peter Lorre, Jimmy Stewart and Vincent Price, directed by Alfred Hitchcock! It’s an all new fun, fact-filled, old school, Halloween edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS

Here’s the boxset Hollywood Legend’s of Horror Collection that contains Mad Love.

Straight out of the SNMS Archive and mentioned in the cast, have a look at an original autographed 8×10 of the legendary Conrad Veidt!

Another treasure in the SNMS Archive, is an original newspaper ad for (Dion’s recommendation this week) The Beast with Five Fingers, as well as an original cardboard printing plate used by newspapers to print the same ad.

Take a look at the picture that saved the life of Peter Lorre‘s daughter from the Hillside Stranglers!

Check out Peter Lorre lounging around, smoking and hanging out with a huge dog before introing the trailer for Mad Love! Boy, those were the days!

For more on the beloved Peter Lorre, have a look at this documentary on the iconic actor.

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