June 23

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are going “way down the alley“, to discuss a monumental film that marked a seminal event in cinema history, something that to this day has never been replicated. What is it you might ask? Well have a listen as the boys talk the film noir/live-action/animated mash-up, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, from 1988!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Dion and Blake jump right into things, reminiscing about the late 80s, discussing the time period this film was released within. Another movie highlighting the glory of the pre-CGI era, the fellas analyze the various practical methods used to bring this amazing story to the silver screen, from the hand-drawn cell animation, to the practical SFX, to the sheen ILM applied to help make the finished product look that much more ‘real’. The boys go through the 1981 Gary Wolf book the film is based on Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and the similarities and major differences in plot and tone. Blake and Dion attempt to add perspective and really underscore how amazing this project was to be able to bring together various characters from Warner Bros., Disney and Tex Avery‘s troupe at MGM– a colossal feat that still 29 years on, hasn’t again been achieved. They also discuss meeting pioneering animation Ink and Painter Martha Sigall, who personally knew icons like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc, as well as meeting Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer. So how dark is this film really, even though it was billed as a children’s picture? And is the book actually much darker? What is the real-life plot point in Roger Rabbit that audiences forget actually happened, and how is it somehow related to Robert Towne‘s Chinatown series? And what is Dion‘s Bob Hoskins story- did he actually carry him around on his back, Yoda-style for a day? Well get ready and make sure you take your heart medicine, because the lads are taking you on a trip into Toontown in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dean Cundey actually directed Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, not the original Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

EXTRAS:

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with the late legendary Ink and Painter Martha Sigall about her career in the animation business, in a time when the industry was still in it’s infancy.

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer, as he reminisces about his work at the animation studios, and discusses the iconic characters he helped create.

Here is Dion with the amazing Bob Hoskins in 2005, when the former carried the latter on his back for a day while undergoing his Jedi training.

Have a look at this great 1988 behind-the-scenes TV special, Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown, hosted by Joanna Cassidy.

Take a look at this rare deleted scene, entitled the “Pighead Sequence.

Check out the three rare Roger Rabbit post-film shorts: Tummy Trouble, from 1989; Roller Coaster Rabbit from 1990; and from 1993,Trail Mix-Up!

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 30

Halloween II, 1981

We are entering the home stretch of Saturday Night Sleepover‘s October month of Horror! For the fifth and final week Dion Baia and J. Blake are continuing with the tradition (granted it’s only the second year) of doing a film that not only is a horror (which is a given in a month of October) but a movie that also actually takes place on the holiday itself (and coincidentally has the name in the title). Along with all the parentheses, you might have guessed the boys are doing Halloween II, from 1981.

Halloween 2This film has an interesting backstory as that John Carpenter originally declined to direct instead opting to write the screenplay and produce, but then actually took the project away from director Rick Rosenthal, adding and directing additional scenes to make the film gorier than the original, so to compete with the other ‘slasher’ films of the time. This may have ended up confusing audiences because the film had a notorious ‘TV‘ or ‘ProducersCut, which not only changes the fate of some central characters, but also varied the degree of gore associated with each of Michael Myer’s victims. Was this really the first time a sequel picks up seconds after the original ended, since Bride of Frankenstein some 50 years earlier? Did Rosenthal actually get Orson Welles-ed by Carpenter? How does this compare to the original, a classic that practically jump started an entire subgenre?  What was the controversy some years back with the omission of legendary Producer Moustapha Akkad‘s credit on the 2011 Blu-ray rerelease that so enraged the loyal fans of the franchise? How awesome was Donald Pleasance‘s performance? Did Lance Guest‘s character actually die or not? And what the heck happened to Ben Tramer?! Plus, hear Blake talk about the afternoon he spent with Joe Bob Briggs in all places- a hotel room? All these questions and more will be answered in this exciting, Halloween Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out the Original Trailer for Halloween II!

Here’s the Alternate Television Ending!

Here are the scenes Carpenter shot to insert into the original Halloween film to make it long enough to be shown on TV, while using the actors and crew to shoot the extra scenes for Part II!

Take a look at the TV show Hollywood Structured, this episode with Dick Warlock from 1991.  

Have a read of J. Blake‘s review on the 2012 2-disc Blu-ray Scream Factory Collector’s Edition, originally posted on Podwits.com.

February 27

John Carpenter’s The Thing, 1982

The lads have their hands full in this brand-spanking new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover, and desperately try to fit it all into the confines of a humble podcast. This week, Dion Baia and J. Blake take on the 1982 horror classic, John Carpenter’s The Thing.

the-thing-poster

The boy’s knowledge and expertise are put to task, disseminating all the elements that were brought together in remaking an already established cult classic. How the heck did this movie flop upon its intital release and be completely panned by critics and the film community alike? How do the SFX hold up to the CGI we are so familiar with today? How did the 2011 prequel/remake and 2002 PS2 video game hold up verse Carpenter’s 1982 vision? Have the boys actually solved the ending? And… what the heck were the guys thinking trying to do their own 3D experience in these cold winter months with their latest screening?

Well strap yourselves onto your couch (quite literally) for this thrilling and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Go have a gander at this neat wikia page so you can completely go in-depth and geek out on John Carpenter’s The Thing!)

(Have a look at this great topical claymation mash-up that was done, mixing The Thing and Disney’s Frozen.)

(Here are some deleted scenes from the film, and click here for stills for some of the lost scenes.)

(Take a peek at this vintage behind-the-scenes featurette.)

(Last but certainly far from least, as a greatEXCLUSIVE treat for our fans, check out some original concept art drawn by comic artist Mike Ploog of the kennel scene, from J. Blake‘s personal collection: here, here, here and here.)
October 29

Halloween III: Season of the Witch “, 1982

Dion and J. Blake invite you to come listen to a special Halloween edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers where they take on 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Halloween III Movie poster

Why did this sequel tank so badly? Was it Season of the Witch’s own fault? Is it indeed a good film in the Halloween film franchise? Is Tom Akins really leading-man material? (we here at Saturday Sleepovers do admit this last question is a bit moot at this point…) And multi-colored Tootsie RollsReally?! All these tantalizing questions will be answered on this all NEW installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out Tom Akins‘ reaction 30 years later to the film, and his take on the criticism that Michael Myers didn’t make an appearance.)