May 17

Assault on Precinct 13, 1976

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are back, and opening up the Spring/Summer season up with a classic, a debut [of sorts] from a director who went on to become sleepover royalty. The boys are tackling John Carpenter‘s thriller, Assault on Precinct 13, from 1976!

Dion and Blake discuss their history with this film and the horrifying and controversial aspects it presents, and unpack the various influences on John Carpenter that helped him pen and direct this terrifying genre film. They also talk about the groundbreaking soundtrack, and the various inspirations it drew from. Plus, the lads make their big summer announcement! It’s all going down in this episode, so keep an eye out when you visit your local ice cream trucks because anything can happen on an all new Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

And we would like to thank this week’s sponsor, Keeps!

September 21

The Shadow, 1994

Welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating their 4th anniversary of the SNMS Podcast! Keeping with the past anniversary episode themes, the boys have decided to cover the Alec Baldwin-helmed big screen production of The Shadow, from 1994!

The Shadow

Dion and Blake attempt to dissect this long-established property by going back to its roots in the Walter B. Gibson-penned pulp novels, trying to coherently lay out the different timelines of The Shadow from the radio, in print, and on both the large and small screens. They unpack the elaborate history of the man in black, drawing links to what was actually going on in the world during the early 20th century, and how the character went on to influence one of the most famous superheroes ever created.  It’s another educational, hilarious and exciting anniversary-installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out this amazing book that Blake referenced in the cast, called The Shadow Scrapbook, published in 1979!

Take a look at some of this incredible artwork right out of Blake’s stash in the SNMS Archives, of The Shadow!

As Dion and Blake have proudly endorsed in the past, to begin your journey exploring the labyrinth of Old Time Radio, click here.

And to check out the The Shadow Radio Program directly, click here!

January 20

Adventures in Babysitting, 1987

Welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are going deep into the video store rack in the SNMS vault, and bringing out an 1980s classic which was quietly rebooted on the Disney Channel in 2016- a Chicago-based film that integrates 80’s teen-high school drama with action, comedy, intrigue and the seedy, funky-electric blues… that’s right, the boys are showcasing the legendary movie, Adventures in Babysitting, from 1987.

Adventures in Babysitting

The podcast starts out with the fellas reminiscing about the old days of film and television and the analog equipment that predated the modern digital era; buying novelizations on the web; and then after receiving a care package from SNMS friend and cohort, the Chicago-based Mike Vanderbilt, they segue into this epic movie, Adventures in BabysittingBlake and Dion play their famous “What-if” game, and try to figure out if any of the conjecture online of the many other supposed actresses vying for the Elizabeth Shue role were truly factual. They discuss the similarities between this project–the directorial debut of Chris Columbus–and the characters and themes of another famous influential writer, producer and director of that era, the Illinois-based John Hughes. They also go into the other eccentricities related to the fabulous city Adventures takes place in, such as the fabulous R&B and Electric-Blues based soundtrack. The lads also discuss the long forgotten unsold 1989 CBS TV pilot based off the film that only aired once, and the amazing cast that starred in that spinoff. So was this Chicago-centric film really even shot in the Windy City? How long had this property ‘supposedly’ been laying around in Hollywood? And what hilarious and awkward Keith Coogan story does Blake have? And did Dion date Debbie Gibson?! Well get ready, cause the boys are talking teens-on-an-adventure, the Blues, and Playboy…among other things, in an all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

 

EXTRAS:

Have a look at this very rare and unsold CBS TV pilot for a 1989 Adventures in Babysitting television show!

Check out this great original 1987 TV spot for Adventures in Babysitting!

Take a listen to a some of the songs from the soundtrack to the 1987 film!

Here’s a photo from back from 2005, when Dion hung out with Debbie Gibson.

For more on Jon Mikl Thor and his current adventures, check out his webpage, found here.

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.

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., Maniac 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.

 

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.

September 11

The Last Starfighter, 1984

To close out the long and hot summer, J. Blake and Dion Baia have embarked on a journey that will take them out of the trailer park canyons of California and up into the galaxy to help defend the cosmos against horrifying alien evildoers who are hell-bent on, well… doing whatever they plan to do- and the key to this adventure is provided to us by one cleverly disguised, humble arcade game console. Yes, we are talking about the highly-underated 1984 film The Last Starfighter, directed by Nick Castle.

The Last Starfighter

Yes Joystick Jockeys, this cult classic is hailed as the first film to showcase CGI Imagery to replace the tradition Stop-Motion and Practically Special Effects, and is sometimes forgotten for that milestone. But how does a space film in a post-Star Wars world stand out without ultimately being compared to the property that set the bar? The boys reminisce about the era of the late 1970’s and 80’s when one actually had to go out of their house and travel to a local arcade or restaurant if they wanted to socialize while gaming, and/or see the latest and greatest in video game technology vis-à-vis the big console units. Has time and the public been fair to this ground-breaking film? Can this movie actually be considered as influential as Star Wars in certain circles? And what’s this film’s 3-way connection to John Carpenter? And does Blake‘s Lance Guest story really involve a late-night encounter in the adult section of a 24-hour New York City store? Well we’re not pulling any punches on this all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Inter-stellar!!

(Check out the site for the Kenner Star Wars toys documentary discussed in this podcast entitled, Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys.)

(Here’s the link to Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, the great book that discusses the history of game consoles; the success of Mario starting from the failed arcade console Radar Scope which was then converted into the legendary Donkey Kongleading to the rise of Nintendo and the legacy we are all familiar with today.)

(Have a look at composer Craig Safan conduct a performance of The Last Starfighter Suite, live!)

(The name of the Cleveland Restaurant that had VHS tapes to watch behind the bar was The Greenhouse Tavern)

(And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note, here is Dion meeting to man, the myth, the legend- Mr. Ron Jeremy)

Subscribe to SNMS on iTunes!

Listen to SNMS on Stitcher!

Listen to SNMS on PlayerFM!

August 28

The Warriors, 1979

Get Ready! Dion Baia and J. Blake have picked a whopper of a movie for this week, which could be their BIGGEST podcast yet! Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers is putting on their jean jackets, leather vests, face paint, bandanas, and grabbing some subway tokens, because they’re screening the cult classic gang film, Walter Hill’s The Warriors, from 1979.

The Warriors

The boys attempt to find a logical order to their excitement while trying to dissect this classic. Having read the 1965 Sol Yurick novel of the same name, Blake and Dion compare the differences from book to film (like for example the gang not even actually being called The Warriors, but instead the Coney Island Dominators!). They try to give a historical context as well, speaking about the real gangs of the era, that in some cases were even more frightening than those in the film. And speaking of contexts, what about the historical Greek story Anabasis by Xenophon from 401 BC, and how it influenced both the author Yurick and subsequentially the director. And what of Walter Hill’s 2005 Director’s Cut (which seems to be the only version available to view this film nowadays); how does the Lucas-esque changes made compare to the original theatrical cut? Well, Dion and Blake try to fit as much as they can into this brand new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! So spread the word! Cause we’ll be ‘boppin’ our way right through this podcast! Now… can you dig it?!

(Check out the New York City locations that were used to film, from then and now, in this GREAT site found Here1, Here2 and Here3!)

(Here’s some more locations to have a look at.)

(Look at the deleted scenes from the film and see if you agree with their exclusion from the final product!)

(Take a gander at the UK site devoted to The Warriors, which is indispensable to any hardcore fan!)

(Have a look at the trailer to the brand new documentary entitled Rubble Kings, about the real gangs in NYC in the 1970’s, and how close they actually resembled the fictional ones in The Warriors, and how a real truce and organization almost came to be by the real life Cyrus!)

Here’s a link to the HUGE Reunion at Coney Island of The Warriors planned to happen Saturday, September 13th, 2015!

 

Subscribe to SNMS on iTunes!

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Listen to SNMS on PlayerFM!

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 3

John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China “

In the 2nd episode of the smash hit Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, J. Blake and Dion Baia tackle a film near and dear to their hearts from a filmmaker they absolutely adore, John Carpenter and his 1986 feature, Big Trouble in Little China.

BigTroubleinLittleChina
The boys discuss the cult status the iconic film has achieved and the history behind getting it onto the silver screen. Is Big Trouble still just as good as we all remember? Is this just a dressed-up, 1940’s Cary Grant/romantic-comedy meets Edgar Rice Burroughs/serial B-movie pulp in disguise?  And is the ‘Russ really channeling who we think he is? Well, come on down and listen to this exciting, informative, action-packed edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out John Carpenter’s band, The Coup De Villes‘ Music Video for Big Trouble!)

 

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