April 15

SNMS Supplemental: Shattered Hulls Side-Cast

SNMS Side CastAs mentioned in the latest podcast on the epic 1980 film Raise the Titanic, Dion Baia in 2012 with his then cohost Brian Zino of their podcast The Podwits on the 100th anniversary of that ship’s sinking, recorded a 3-part podcast in which they talk about other massive maritime disasters that many have forgotten in modern times. Both sharing a morbid fascination, and starting at the turn of the 20th century, Dion and Brian hit on numerous sinkings that were huge and world-changing at the times they occurred.

What connects these to the last SNMS podcast on Raise the Titanic (aside from the obvious disaster-at-sea aspect), is that the guys cover the fate of the many vessels brought up in that podcast, like theTitanic‘s sister ships RMS Olympic (and the incident occurring with her that had it not have happened, it maybe would have saved the Titanic from her fate), HMHS Britannic, and what the fourth funnel, which the boys lovingly label the ‘badass funnel‘, was actually for on these 3 ships. They also discuss the nuclear sub tragedies of the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion, which were the two naval submarines that ironically enabled Oceanographer Robert Ballad to discover the long-lost Titanic wreck in 1985. Brian and Dion also touch on their mutual love for the book and film version of Raise the Titanic.

The boys also touch on infamous events as the USS Maine, the RMS Lusitania, the Bismark, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, and until September 11th, 2001, the biggest disaster in New York City history, the tale of the PS General Slocum, among many others.

Condescended into one episode, here is the acclaimed 3-parter, in an interesting, fascinating and fact-filled podcast that is so far out in the proverbial weeds, that it is not like any podcast Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers has done before, and probably ever do again! (Below are the original descriptions for the 3 parts originally published in 2012).

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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!


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.

May 6

The NeverEnding Story , 1984

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating their 50th podcast (well, sort of) and what better way than to tackle a movie that has become an absolute classic in the annals of 80’s fantasy films. In the crosshairs this week is the sleepover classic, The NeverEnding Story, from 1984.

The NeverEnding Story

Dion and Blake jump head-on into this very nuanced, multi-layered adventure, trying to psycho-analyze this “children’s movie”, which has themes and metaphors textured within that one wouldn’t really think would be included in what was again purported to be a “children’s film” ; but heck, this was the 80s! Regardless the boys delve right in, discussing the original novel and the differences from page to screen, that eventually made author Michael Ende take his name off the feature film. They also speak about German Cinema in general, and as this was the product of West Germany, NeverEnding Story became the biggest film outside of the United States and the U.S.S.R. upon release. The fellas also chat about the blossoming technology of ‘green-screening’, and the major differences between practical effects (which were utilized in this production), versus the upcoming CGI revolution which was literally around the corner. So to the big question: how does the film hold up today? AND, is it as messed up as we all remember? What was the German’s plan to make sure this was a hit with International audiences? What role did Steven Spielberg have in the film’s production? And what surprising element was NOT in the original German cut, which actually became one of the most enduring aspects of the English-speaking version? Well grab your popcorn and soda, sit back and put your feet up and come celebrate with Blake and Dion as they answer all your questions, and unveil the 50 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


Here’s the original International theatrical trailer for the film!

Have a look at the original German Trailer!

Check out the Music video by Limahl for NeverEnding Story.

Mentioned in the cast, take a look at this rare 1984 German Documentary on the film!

Here’s a very interesting featurette discussing some people’s interpretations of all the esoteric allegorical spiritual symbolism within the film, courtesy of ODDTV.

Finally, have a listen of the entire audio book of Michael Ende‘s The NeverEnding Story.

November 13

Harry and the Hendersons, 1987

The boys are back for an all new, exhilarating and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia are both digging back into their childhoods and taking on the legend of the Sasquatch. Instead of looking at him as a terrible monster, they pick a film that makes everyone wish they could have a big, cuddly bigfoot of their very own… 1987’s Harry and the Hendersons.

Harry and the Hendersons

Dion and Blake discuss the mythology of the creature, particularly as it relates to cinema and the small screen of the 1970’s-80’s. They get into the mixed reviews that this feel-good film received upon its initial release, and frankly don’t hold back their opinions regarding the matter. They chat about the overall themes, and how it related then (and now) to the social and ecological movements of the era. They also segue to the other elephant in the room, the genius that is SFX pioneer Rick Baker and his body of work, and their mutual disgust that he announced earlier this year that he is retiring because…wait for it… there is not enough work out there because of the use of CGI today in moviemaking. And again, the lads don’t hold back on their thoughts on the subject. So get your tent, outdoor gear, and a pair of binoculars because we’re off looking for Sasquatch and Yeti’s in this weeks all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


Listen to the complete novelization here, courtesy of Audiobooks for the Damned!

Take a look at the Harry and the Hendersons 25th Anniversary Panel, featuring SFX Artist Rick Baker and director William Dear!

Here’s Rick Baker in 1987 sculpting Harry!

Check out the Up Close look at Harry and the Hendersons Prop Animatronics Head With Rick Baker, from 1987!

July 17

The Towering Inferno, 1974

The summer is here and with it comes the big-mega blockbusters! And as a tribute to First Responders and to Firefighters specifically (and fittingly to the NYFD who turn 150 this year), Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking on a classic ’70’s epic, back when Special Effects weren’t just Computer Generated Images with actors in front of green screens, but when practical effects were the norm. Oh yes, once upon a time stunt men did it all for real, detailed miniatures and matte paintings expanded our world. No one did it better than legendary producer Irwin AllenSaturday Night Movie Sleepovers takes on arguably his quintessential film in his hugely successful series of disaster flicks… We’re of course talking about The Towering Inferno, from 1974.

The Towering Inferno

Blake and Dion analyse the film within the context of the mid-70’s, in a pre-Star Wars era, where the hottest thing going at the time were disaster movies and various procedural shows on television which spawned toys, action sets and board games. The boys also consider the film in the context of a post-911 world… is the romanticism of these movies forever lost? And is there actually a longer cut of the film made for television? Is composer John Williams‘ most sought after piece of music actually in this film? How do those practical effects hold up today verse modern CGI? And did Steve McQueen actually have a lisp when pronouncing “S’s”?! Well all these questions and many more will be answered in this brand new, epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


(Dion misspoke when referencing to the source material and said the The Glass Tower, when in fact he meant The Glass Inferno.)


(Check out the an entire site dedicated to this film, called The Towering Inferno Archive!)

(Have a look at the 1982 Atari 2600 Game Edition of The Towering Inferno!)

(Here’s Irwin Allen‘s NATO Film Presentation for The Towering Inferno)

(Take a look at this vintage interview with screenwriter Stirling Silliphant speaking about writing for disaster films, and specifically The Towering Inferno)