This week on episode 490 of the Dread Media podcast, I take a look back at the Underworld franchise so far and then the latest entry, Underworld: Blood Wars (2017). It’s been an interesting ride so far and, apparently, it’s not done yet!
This week on episode 302 of the Rondo Award Winning Monster Kid Radio podcast, Mr. Derek M. Koch and I sit down to discuss the classic Carnival of Souls (1962)! This classic is now available on a new Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and it looks amazing. Grab a cold beverage and a snack, fire up your audio listening device of choice and join us for a great conversation!
Monster kids unite! Allow me to introduce The Classic Horrors Club Podcast! Jeff Owens, from the Classic Horrors Club website, and Monster Movie Kid love all things horror and monsters. We both live in the Kansas City metro area and whenever we get together, we talk movies for hours. So we decided to stick a couple of microphones in front of us to see what would happen. And this is the result.
Now, let’s get out some honest disclaimers. Jeff is the technical wizard and learning all about editing. So, you’ll find that the audio quality sounds like we’re in a dungeon (which is kind of a cool 1960s AM radio effect). That will be improved in future episodes. We’re also open to feedback and want to hear from you on how we can improve. We’re looking at setting up a website and Facebook page in the future but for now, reach out to us on Facebook or through our respective websites. We also would like to hear what you want us to talk about in the future.
Our goal is to provide something a little different and not step on any other podcast toes. I’ll continue to be heard on the Dread Media podcast and I have future episodes planned for Monster Kid Radio. Derek and Desmond produce fantastic shows, so Jeff and I want to add to the community, not take away from them or other shows, such as the B Movie Cast.
In this first episode, we’ll be talking about King Kong (1976) as it celebrates its’ 40th anniversary. There is some comparison to the other versions and sequels, as well as some financial facts and what the cinematic landscape looked like in 1976. Watch the trailer on YouTube and get yourself ready for…Kong!
The Classic Horrors Club Podcast is part of Downright Creepy and the Phantom Podcast Network. You can listen to it on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Just like that, 2016 is done! Personally, I’m not sad to see it end as I’m excited to see a brighter 2017. However, as I reflect on the films I watched in 2016, it was a year in which I saw a lot of great flicks…and a few not-so-much. I also enjoyed seeing a lot of older films on the big screen, several in 35mm! There was the annual Kansas Silent Film Festival, numerous Cinema a-Go-Go events and I finally made it to watch several Alamo Drafthouse screenings in downtown Kansas City. And let’s not forget attending my first Christopher R. Mihm world premiere!
Let’s get things started with some statistics.
Total films watched: 217 (down from last year’s 240 but up a few from 212 in 2014)
Movies Watched in a Movie Theater: 55 (40 new and 15 old; the most since I started keeping track in 2009)
And now, for the official best-of-the-best and worst-of-the-worst. As with any list, they’re subjective to my viewing experience and mood at the time. That’s the extent of how much influence science and film theories play into these lists. Enjoy them and maybe you can get a few suggestions along the way.
- The Revenant
- Captain America: Civil War
- Hell or High Water
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Doctor Strange
- The Magnificent Seven
- Star Trek Beyond
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Honorable Mention: The Conjuring 2
Worst Movies Seen in a Movie Theater
- Blair Witch
- Independence Day: Resurgence
- Mr. Holmes (2015)
- Ex Machina (2015)
- The Witch (2016)
- Bone Tomahawk (2015)
- The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
- Captain Phillips (2013)
- The Golden Bat (1966)
- Chess Fever (1925)
- The Grim Game (1919)
- The Hallow (2015)
Worst Movies Seen on Home Media for the First Time
- Too All a Good Night (1980)
- Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
- Face of the Screaming Werewolf (1964)
- Gamera: Super Monster (1980)
- Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966)
Christmas may be over and the holiday season starting to wind down, but there’s still a little fire in the yule log. This week on Dread Media in episode 487, I take a look at Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984). I think it’s safe now to check out the trailer on YouTube or add the DVD to your collection. Definitely worth checking out to see a different take on the Santa slasher theme.
Every year, I manage to watch and listen to several different versions of the classic Charles Dickens tale of Scrooge. A Christmas Carol always makes my Christmas season complete. For film, my personal favorite is the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. For radio adaptations, it doesn’t get any better than the 1939 Campbell Playhouse version featuring Lionel Barrymore and Orson Welles.
However, I also love to stir things up every year by throwing in some other versions. This year, for my old time radio choice, I returned to a slightly more modern one from 1975. In 1974, Inner Sanctum Mysteries producer Himan Brown brought radio plays back to fashion with the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. For the next eight years, he offered up an astounding 1,399 episodes every weeknight. E.G. Marshall was our host of the macabre from the first episode in 1974 to 1982, when he was replaced by Tammy Grimes for the final season.
In 1975, E.G. Marshall stepped away from the hosting duties and into the tale itself when the CBS Radio Mystery Theater gave us their version of A Christmas Carol. Marshall turns in a wonderfully fun performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. While this doesn’t surpass my personal favorite from 1939, it ranks up there as one of the better radio adaptations, if not the second best, in my opinion.
From 1975 until 1981, it was a yearly tradition for the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. So why don’t you turn down the lights and invite Mr. Marshall in so he can share with you a ghostly Christmas tale. It’s available on YouTube for all to enjoy!
Merry Christmas from Monster Movie Kid! I hope your stockings are full of monster goodness and that there won’t be a stake of holly in your heart on Christmas morning!
5TH Annual Countdown to Christmas – Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Cast: Jay Clark (Jay Ripley) as Santa Claus (True Grit)
Shay Garner as Thumbelina (Humongous)
Bob O’Connell as Mr. Digger (Dark Shadows)
Partially based on Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen
Directed by R. Winer
Plot: It’s Christmas Eve and the elves are worried. The reindeer have returned but Santa and the sleigh are missing. It appears that he’s stuck on a beach in sunny and hot Florida. He cries out for children to help him and they attempt with a wide variety of livestock…and a gorilla…on a beach. When they are unable, he passes the time by telling them the story of Thumbelina. But who is the Ice Cream Bunny and what does he have to do with this movie?
Personal Thoughts: Once upon a time, children were apparently starved for entertainment. Before the days of the internet and 24 hour TV, they would run to the movie theater for those wonderful kiddie matinees. Usually, some bizarre Mexican horror flick or European fairy tale was shown. But, every once in a while, they would get a movie like Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. This is essentially a poorly made effort to make a quick buck or two. There is the wrap around story of Santa on a beach with horribly dubbed in voices and musical numbers from the kids. Within, there is another slightly better made effort. I watched the Thumbelina version but there is apparently a Jack and the Beanstalk one out there too. Poor Shay Garner, who stars as Thumbelina, appears to be bored out of her mind but it’s actually not a bad effort at the classic tale. It just has nothing to do with Santa. Once we get back to the beach, with 10 minutes to spare, the Ice Cream Bunny shows up in an antique fire engine that can barely move thanks to being weighted down with a bunch of the kids. His job is to drive Santa back to the North Pole.
After Santa is gone, the sleigh disappears and according to the narrator, the sleigh is waiting for him. Now, I have no idea who this bunny is but if the sleigh could magically be transported back to the North Pole, why did he need the children and the Ice Cream Bunny to save him? Major plot hole aside, this bizarre oddity is worth seeing at least once. At least it’s better than Christmas on Mars (2008)…I think.
- Segments were filmed at the Pirate’s World amusement park, which existed in Dania, Florida from 1967 to 1975. It was successful in its’ earlier years but when Disney World opened in 1971, it didn’t stand a chance. It was also a venue for many late 60s and early 70s rock acts, including Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
- Some prints contain the Thumbelina story (made in 1970) while others have Jack and the Beanstalk, both films made by Barry Mahon.
- Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn have an incredibly odd cameo. Barry Mahon wanted to make a Tom Sawyer film but abandoned the idea. Their cameo is all that remains of that unfinished film.
- Winer never made another film, so it’s likely a pseudonym for another director…or common sense kicked in.
- Jay Ripley is actually an accomplished TV and film actor, including roles in Bonanza, Gunsmoke and The Waltons. His biggest film appearance was alongside John Wayne in the original True Grit (1969).
- This was the film debut for actress Shay Garner. It would be another 12 years before she made another movie, Humongous (1982), and even left her mark on the Star Trek universe with a guest role on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1991.
- The children in the film are billed as being from Ruth Foreman’s Pied Piper Playhouse, which boasted a 40-year tradition of helping aspiring young actors and artists in Florida. Her story is actually an amazing one. It’s well worth the time to read and learn more about this local legend.