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.

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 21

Night of the Creeps, 1986

The boys are crawling back with their eyes clouded-over for week three of their October Halloween-Horror Binge, here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia have delved deep into the video store racks and dusted off one from way down on the bottom shelf. They’ve selected an 80’s horror classic, and an absolutely undeniable classic for hardcore zombie fans! So what do you get when you take the urban legend of the escaped lunatic, add in 1950’s alien invaders, sprinkle in some elements of classic Film Noir, and then mix in the living dead for good measure? Well we’re here to ‘thrill you‘ this week with Fred Dekker‘s near perfect Night of the Creeps, from 1986!

Night of the Creeps, 1986

Dion and Blake mince no words about their love for this film, and their appreciation for Mr. Dekker. They ease on into the ‘cast by reminiscing about attending community-organized Halloween parties as young kids back in the early 80’s, and jokingly psychoanalyze each other over what they’re nostalgic for by laughing about what they were exposed to as children. They then get into the meat and bones of Night of the Creeps. They gush over all the many clichéd tropes that are purposely brought together and used perfectly, to add to a sometimes hilarious, serious, and quite frighteningly effective and amazing 80’s horror movie. The boys reaffirm and solidify their undying (no pun intended) love for the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins. They also analyze the mashup of various 1950’s sci-fi and horror elements, and how they all play into a nostalgic and loving homage to that era’s segment of genre films. And they discuss the notorious original, alternate ending. So to address the huge elephant in the room, why did this film flop? Why did it play into effectively destroying it’s director’s, Fred Dekker‘s Hollywood career? Was it perhaps too smart and too forward thinking for it’s own good, making it fall short to the expectations of the general 1980’s audience? And does this film, in fact, deserve the credit and reverence that A-list genre films of the time garner? Well, you better grab your shotguns and flame-throwers, duct-tape your mouth’s shut, and keep your High School dates close, because here comes an all new edition and third installment of the October-Halloween binge of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Check out the original trailer for Night of the Creeps!

Take a look at the deleted scenes!

Have a gander at the original ending! 

Check out a rare panel discussion with the original cast from the 2010 Monster Mania!

Here’s SNMS‘ very own J. Blake‘s autograph from the man, the myth, and the legend, Mr. Tom Atkins!

As discussed in the podcast, HERE is the before, and HERE is the transformation of the rare hologram pin for the short-lived 80’s TV show Werewolf!

February 13

The Terminator, 1984

In this brand-spanking new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake take on the monumental opus, something that not only influenced these two boys in their formative years, but also was a huge influence on cinema, sci-fi, action (and maybe even horror) as well as technology- we are of course talking about James Camerson’s breakout masterpiece, The Terminator, from 1984.

The-Terminator-1984

The boys lay out the history behind the film and the lead up to its inception, and tackle a lot of the nuisanced subplots. Who were the other actors that were being pegged to play the lead role? What character did Arnold originally read for? Does this film still hold up and more importantly, did director James Cameron as the auteur really change the face of cinema with his 1984 (proper) feature film debut? Well come on down and listen to another informative, exciting and fun-for-all installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Here’s a great vintage, rare behind the scenes making-of featurette done for the film.)

(Check out the rare, deleted scenes from the film and see if you agree with their omission from the finished movie.)

 

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