October 27

Hocus Pocus, 1993

Welcome back to week 4 of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversOctober Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! To bring to a close SNMSmonth of horror, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to take on a fan favorite, particularly a cult classic for the ladies. The fellas are getting on their brooms and heading to Salem, Massachusetts, as they cover Walt Disney‘s Hocus Pocus, from 1993.

Hocus PocusThe boys get right into it by setting up the backstory of the film, and how it was originally pitched as a Disney television movie, then languished in developmental hell for ten years until it was brought in front of Bette Midler. They debate the theory of how some seasonal-themed films become cult classics, holiday staples because of repeated viewings on television and cable. They analyze the elements within the film that showcase another example of Disney tip-toeing into somewhat dark, erotic material- cleverly disguised inside a light-hearted fairytale. Dion and Blake unpack the historical context of this story, briefly summarizing about how Wiccan and Pagan religious ideologies were deemed to be akin to being in league with the devil, and the horrible witch-hunts that swept through Salem, Massachusetts, at the end of the 15th Century. They also compare the tone of Hocus Pocus to other properties at the time, like Eerie, Indiana and Are You Afraid of the Dark?. So, what is the fan speculation behind this story: going to the How and the Why of the Sanderson Sisters becoming witches? Was Leonardo DiCarprio once considered to star in this movie? Playing their own What if Game, could this film have been envisioned as a Tim Burton/Danny Elfman vehicle at the time? And are the fans finally going to see a sequel to this film, and why would Disney actually not be interested in making a sequel/reboot to this beloved property? Well, you better make sure no virgins are trespassing and lighting any candles, hide your children, and actually listen to that black cat trying to talk to you… because the boys are back with the Halloween-specific episode of SNMSOctober Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!

EXTRAS!

Check out this original trailer for Hocus Pocus, that contains shots from scenes that weren’t included in the final cut of the film!

Here’s a fantastic episode of the 1990’s Discovery Channel Show Movie Magic, devoted to the impressive EFX wire-work that is showcased in Hocus Pocus, courtesy of YouTube!

Take a listen to the John Debney score to the film!

This is the Bette Midler, Disney MGM Studio Commercial short entitled The Lottery, that was talked about in the podcast from the early 1990s, courtesy of some guy on YouTube, so enjoy!

Here is the 1973 book mentioned in the podcast that digs excessively into among other things, the history of Wiccan, Pagan and Witchcraft religions, entitled The Devil and all his Works, by Dennis Wheatley.

Also referenced in the podcast, for more information on Ed Gein, click here; for H. H. Holmes‘ and his house of horrors click here; and for information on the 1913 Villisca Axe Murders, click here.

And lastly but far from least, for more info on the 1977 John Carpenter‘s Halloween Michael Myers House that is now a museum, click here.

September 23

The Rocketeer, 1991

Hello everyone, welcome back to another exciting and enthralling edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating an epic milestone with an epic podcast! It’s SNMS’ two year anniversary and the boys have picked a film near and dear to their hearts, one that has gained a sizable cult following over the 25 years since it’s original release. This week they take on the classic action/adventure, The Rocketeer, from 1991.

The Rocketeer

Dion and Blake kick off the podcast with a pseudo-State of the Union, reflecting on the past year. They chat about the movies they’ve covered, the growing community of listeners and those who also frequent their Facebook page, and how humbling it has been for them. Then they seque into this epic anniversary cast, and setup the backstory of the Rocketeer. They discuss the creator Dave Stevens‘ journey getting character from comic to screen, and Disney‘s eventual involvement and the sparring that occurred between him and the company (aka the then Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner) over keeping the property as pure as possible with the transition to screen. The boys again explain the era of the 1980’s and how hard it really was to get a comic book movie done, let alone a character from an independent publisher. They also chat about the era the movie is set within, the pre-war 1930’s and the beautiful art movement that permeated almost every medium, Art DecoBlake and Dion also discuss the genius of creator Dave Stevens, and all the ‘historical fiction’ he injected into his original content. The guys go through the various details of the historical and famous figures involved in the material, leading them to another topic they have been waiting almost two years to talk about, and one of the things that they love about this film, the homage to the great B-movie actor Rondo Hatton. They explain his history, the illness that affected his physical appearance and how by the help of Rick Baker, Rondo was able to make a posthumous appearance in one more Hollywood film, albeit 49 years later (if you don’t count Scooby-Doo!). Well there’s a lot to unpack on this week’s episode and it’s admittedly a long one, but the boys have a lot to celebrate about: a fabulous film that the fans love, and lament about a growing audience that really blows the boy’s minds. So please come on down and have a listen to another hilarious, informative and engaging episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion accidently named the Chicago-era gangster Hymie Weiss, when intending to instead reference Murder Inc. co-founder Meyer Lansky.

*Dion also accidently named the classic  1942 Humphrey Bogart film Across the Pacific, when he was actually referring to the 1941 great and little known Bogart film, All Through the Night.

EXTRAS:

Quickly mentioned in the podcast but completely forgotten to be brought up again before the conclusion and ripped from the headlines, check out this news story about a modern ‘Rocket man‘, that shows fiction becoming reality!

Take a look at this rarely seen 1991 television special entitled, Rocketeer: Excitement in the Air that aired to coincide with the theatrical release of The Rocketeer and help promote it. 

Check out the this now ended Rick Baker auction on PropStoreAuction.com for what they were selling from The Rocketeer concerning the Lothar makeup appliances, AND other items from the film, including one of the original Rocketeer helmets!

Have a read about the great Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss profiled by SNMS’ own Dion Baia for his old podcast site, Podwits.com!

Here’s actor Rondo Hatton’s 1913 High School senior yearbook photo circa 1913, before he was severely afflicted with acromegaly.

Take a look at the fabulous painting of Rondo Hatton by the legendary illustrator Basil Gogos, who was known for his covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine

Check out this amazing animated fan film, celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer‘s release!

And Please check out the fabulous 2010 book mentioned in the cast, Over Here!: New York During World War II!

May 20

Commando, 1985

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week the boys are kicking the Summer Season off with a ‘bang’, taking on an epic action extravaganza, one that has become an out-and-out classic in cinema history and for some, the complete embodiment of the 1980s action genre on a whole. Dion Baia and J. Blake are going all in with absolutely no regards as they cover the Arnold Schwarzenegger exemplum, Commando, from 1985.

Commando

The fellas are unabashed about their love for this film, and as some attribute this movie a classic only because of it’s supposedly ‘camp’ valve or consider it a ‘guilty pleasure’, Blake and Dion instead firmly put their feet down and gush about their love for this Schwarzenegger classic. There’s so much to talk about here that they carefully break the film down, scene by scene, so not to miss any fan cherished moments, performances, or legendary dialogue. They explain the background behind the making of the film, realizing very quickly that this vehicle could be called the original version of the Liam Neeson fan-favorite, Taken. They methodically and painstakingly analyze the pacing, structure, and winding journey, leading to it’s eventual climax. So… how does this film hold up after 30+ years? Is it really ‘the gold standard‘ for action films of the time, and can it actually represent that genre perfectly on a whole? And is it the apex of that trend of 80s action-hero movies? Aside from Arnold, how are the other performances? And what the heck does the legendary silent film comedic star Harold Lloyd have to do with all of this? Well, grab your favorite Kalashnikov, RPG, combat vest and some burnt cork, because the boys are taking no prisoners in this brand edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take a look at the original trailer!

Have a look at this short documentary on Commando.

Check out this unbelievably awesome 1/6th statue of John Matrix, for sale courtesy of Sideshow collectibles.

Here’s Dion in 2013 with Cheech Marion and Tommy Chong.

Brought up in the podcast, take a look at his highly recommended 2010 documentary entitled Marwencol.