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.

 

November 25

Dutch, 1991

Happy Thanksgiving! Here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, J. Blake and Dion Baia have lined up another, albeit lesser known holiday film that not only celebrates the Turkey-Day Season, but also is a John Hughes movie to boot! This year the boys are talking up the classic Dutch, from 1991, starring Ed O’Neill and Ethan Embry.

Dutch, 1991

After letting off some steam about dealing with disrespectful movie patrons while at the cinema, the boys get down to business. Often forgotten as both a Thanksgiving movie and one penned by John Hughes as well, Dutch is a fun road film that first teamed O’Neill and Embry, who would go on to reunite in a 2003 Dick Wolf/Dragnet reboot. But what the heck happened to this film? Why did it bomb at the box office and then fall through the cracks of time? Did Ed O’Neill’s hugely successful TV show Married… With Children actually help spell doom for this film perhaps because of a kind of type-casting of O’Neill? How does this stack up to the other titles in the John Hughes catalog, and does it share similarities to another Hughes/Thanksgiving film? And can this be added to the list of classic holiday movies? All these questions will tried to be answered in this all new, and hilarious edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #nothingburpsbetterthanbacon

EXTRAS:

Who Do You Love is the other 2008 film that came out along with Cadillac Records that documented the Chicago Blues scene and Chess Records artists in particular, that the boys couldn’t remember the name of.

Check out the original theatrical trailer for Dutch!

Who knew?! Here’s Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and Gracie Academy Black Belt Ed O’Neill, with Ryron and Rener Gracie breaking down the moves of the 2012 UFC Belfort/Jones match.

Speaking of Jiu-Jitsu, listen to Ed O’Neill tell the story of his VERY First Class at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy with Grandmaster and UFC co-founder Rorion Gracie.

Take a look at some of the 1985 TV pilot Popeye Doyle, the spin-off sequel to The French Connection police officer of the same name, that was never picked up and made into a series.

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.

October 21

SNMS Presents: The Side-CastHorror Recommendations

SNMS Side CastA brand new addition to Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers  rotation is the Podcast that started it all, Dion and Blake‘s Side-Cast. Originally airing on the sister site Podwits.com, the Side-Cast was the series that became the catalyst for what became SNMS. To showcase where it all began we are reissuing this series, highlighting the anthology podcast that covered a variety of topics, so that they can breath a second life, and because eventually it will be a new off-shoot of the regular SNMS Podcast, where brand new podcast content will be generated for SNMS website as well.

(For the inaugural release of the Side-Cast here at SNMS, we present a Halloween-themed podcast originally published on October the 14th of 2014, to help get the word out on the then newly launch Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers Podcast and Website. We hope you enjoy!)

To help get the word out about their new Podcast Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion and J. Blake sit down to recommend 10 horror films for the Halloween season that they feel may be overlooked or forgotten in today’s times. The boys attempt to compile a list of amazing fright films that may not be considered first choice picks, but are a necessity for ANY horror fan. Along with their podcast, the lads have also co-wrote a companion posting over at Saturday Sleepovers, giving another 10 (5 each) that they couldn’t fit into the podcast but felt remise if they didn’t include as well. So please go have a listen and then go over to Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to see the written list. We hope you enjoy!

(Please check out J. Blake‘s new Blues album When You Coming Home? and check out his interview with Alan Jones, the premiere aficionado on everything Dario Argento.)

(Check out the written companion piece to this podcast, the 5 Rentals for $5 List of Horror Recommendations!)

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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October 2

The Blob, 1988

Here we go! Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers is working double time in October, delivering one horror film a week in celebration of Halloween! To start this insane marathon off the boys have picked a fan request, a remake of a classic property that scared SNMS‘s own Dion Baia so bad when he first saw it in the cinema that it scarred him for life. So along with his partner-in-crime J. Blake, they’re gonna have a massive therapy session to exorcise all those 35mm demons forever. The boys are all in this week as they examine Chuck Russell‘s film The Blob, from 1988.

The Blob 1988

They compare and contrast this from the 1958 original, analysing the updated themes (and SFX for that matter), seeing if this scary mass of crimson ooze is scarier and even craftier than it’s predecessor. Does this 1980’s film hold up to the more cynical and critical standards of today? How does this stack up against the other 1980’s creature-features that dealt with the same kind of ideas, i.e. foreign invaders wreaking havoc on helpless, isolated victims? Will doing 1 podcast a week for the month of October to celebrate Halloween burn Blake and Dion out? What other surprises lay ahead within a month of terrifying, unbridled horror? Hell, will they instead over stay their welcome? Well come check out another exciting, hilarious and informative episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to find out!

EXTRAS:

Check out the surprising graphic trailer for the 1988 film!

Here’s the 1988 Cinefantastique article on The Blob, a retrospective of it and the original cult classic film.

Take a listen to the complete Soundtrack!

Have a look at the little known, an even lesser seen trailer for the 1972 sequel to the original 1958 film, entired The Blob 2: Son of the Blob aka Beware! The Blob!, directed by none other than Dallas‘ own Larry Hagman!!

 

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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)

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August 14

Zombie, 1979

This week around Dion Baia and J. Blake delve deep into the video store racks and bring out an absolute cult classic and a very personal favorite of theirs; a film which practically reinvigorated an entire genre in Italy, and lured in legions of soon-to-be horror and zombie fans… we of course are speaking of the Lucio Fulci classic, Zombie, from 1979.

zombie poster

This film is known by many names: Zombie Fresh Eaters, Island of the Living Dead, Zombie Island, Zombie 2: The Dead Walk Among Us, Woodoo, and was officially released in Italy as Zombi 2.

The boys breakdown the state of horror cinema in the 1970’s, giving a quick summary of the zombie genre leading up to 1979 and a history of Italian horror up to this point. Why (and how) was this Fulci masterpiece actually released as a sequel to George A Romero‘s Dawn of the Dead? They discuss their love for Fulci, Italian horror cinema in general, and the fabulous Fabio Frizzi soundtrack. Dion and Blake also explain their shared journey of discovering this movie while in Film School. We’re dropping some knowledge in this week’s episode so come on down, grab a seat and take a listen to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! And remember, FULCI LIVES!

*And as an added bonus for our listeners this week, we’ve included our very first audio commentary for a film, so you can watch and follow right along with your friends, Blake and Dion. They may cover some of the same ground that they do in the podcast but this debut commentary lets the fellas stretch their legs, and go step by step and get into the nuts and bolts of the film, while having fun and spontaneously opining about their love of Fulci, horror films, and Italian babes- all in real-time with the movie. So let us know what you think and maybe we’ll do more down the road but remember, it’s our first attempt, so we’re still feeling it out. We hope you enjoy!

(*It is Val Lewton, not Hal.)

Here is the entire 1979 film, courtesy of YouTube!

Take a peek at an alternate poster, which actually is a deleted/or lost scene from the film.

This is the 2010 Windows 7 television commercial that featured the shark/zombie scene.

Blue Underground explains its 2K restoration process to get this film remastered and ready to be available on Blu Ray and DVD.

Check out Bill Lustig‘s thoughts on Fulci’s Zombie!

Here’s a peek at the 12″ Zombie Maquette Statue, courtesy of ArtofToys.

The book about Quentin Tarantino that J. Blake refers to in the podcast was the first edition of “King Pulp: The Wild World of Quentin Tarantino” by Paul A. Woods.

 

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March 13

Dirty Harry, 1971

This time around Dion and Blake are talking about potentially their most controversial film for Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to date, Don Siegel‘s classic, the original Dirty Harry, from 1971, starring Clint Eastwooddirty-harry-poster
This groundbreaking film literally paved the way for the onslaught of police genre stories on the big and small screen in the 1970’s,  and refined and set the standard for the Vigilante/Anti-Hero genre that blossomed for the next 20 years, and also spawned 4 sequels. So why the heck was this film so contentious for 1971? How did the raw violence and its graphic depiction sit with audiences at the time? How does it hold up today? Is this actually a Western in disguise? Is the film’s composer Lalo Schrifrin as underrated as it seems? Did this film quite possibly give us the action film genre as we knew it with Arnold, Sly, and Willis in the 1980’s- Wha-? Hmm… Well come on down and give us a spin on another brand-new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion erroneously referred to Frank Sinatra‘s 1967 film Tony Rome, when he actually met his 1968 film The Detective.

(Check out the 1971 San Francisco premiere of Dirty Harry!)

(Have a look at this CANCELLED 2007 Dirty Harry game for X360/Ps3, that would have taken place between the first and second film, and looked sweet as all hell! And   –Here’s the story behind it!)

(Here’s a ultra-rare promotional ad done for the film while Frank Sinatra was still being talked about for the role.)

(Check out the back cover of the novelization at the really cool early concept for Scorpio‘s ransom note!)

(Watch the trailer to see how they promoted the film)

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.)

October 8

5 Rentals for $5 – October Horror Film Recommendations

Maniac 1980
Courtesy of Mondo, poster by Ken Taylor

October is upon us and along with Autumn arriving, ’tis the season for scary movies! As a companion-piece to J. Blake & Dion‘s latest Side Cast in which they recommend 10 horror movies that they feel have either fallen through the cracks or have plain been forgotten, the lads have also put together another list of 10 films they wholeheartedly recommend, along with the podcast picks which can be found at The Podwits mother site.

 

 

 

But before we get to the 10 films the boys urge you to seek out, here is a round-up of the 10 recommended in the Side Cast Podcast: Continue reading

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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