I have once again entered the world of the DieCast Movie Podcast. In episode 41, Steve Turek, along with Ben and Mikaela, welcome me back to talk about the 1982 classic sword and sorcery flick, The Beastmaster! It’s been awhile since I sat down to watch this one, so I’m ready to see if the magic still happens when Marc Singer and the late Tanya Roberts grace the screen. Please note, this episode was recorded last summer, months before Tanya Roberts passed away on January 4, 2021.
You can listen to the podcast through any of the following:
The latest limited-edition book from the masterminds at We Belong Dead has surfaced and it’s another must-have for any true monster kid’s library. Giant Monsters of Filmland is a 360-page large format, full color softbound book that takes a look the wonderful world of monstrous creatures like King Kong, Godzilla, giant ants, dinosaurs and nature run amok.
We Belong Dead has knocked it out of the park and, perhaps best of all, my podcasting partner-in-crime Jeff Owens has once again contributed several articles. Following on the amazing other editions We Belong Dead has published in years past, this is another classic sure to sell out soon!
In 1944, MGM released The Canterville Ghost, a film loosely based on an 1887 short story by Oscar Wilde. Charles Laughton starred as Sir Simon de Canterville, a 17th century ghost haunting an English castle after committing an act of cowardice with Robert Young as an American relative tasked with performing a brave deed to release Simon from his curse. Young Margaret O’Brien also starred as Lady Jessica de Canterville, the owner of the castle now during World War II.
On June 18, 1945, the Lux Radio Theater brought the story to life on radio with Laughton and O’Brien reprising their roles alongside Tom Drake in Robert Young’s role of Cuffy.
So, light the fire in the fireplace, pour yourself a cup of Earl Grey tea and enjoy this classic from the golden age of radio. Don’t forget to check out the playlist on my YouTube channel for more great old time radio!
Welcome to the new year: 2133 A.D. Either Dylan Hunt (Alex Cord or John Saxon) or Anthony Vico (John Saxon) awaken from suspended animation to find the world has changed.
During this month’s meeting of the Classic Horrors Club in episode 53, Jeff and I discuss three of Gene Roddenberry’s post-Star Trek attempts to launch a new TV series: Genesis II (1973), Planet Earth (1974), and Strange New World (1975).
Make sure you watch the companion episode with all kinds of highlights and bonus features on our YouTube channel. If you like what you hear, you’re going to love what you see! Check it out and give us some feedback… both on the podcast and the video.
For now, put on your togas and relax, but keep your STEMs handy… It’s not always going to be a fun adventure.
It’s a new year and the Kansas City Crypt is open once again on the latest episode of the Mihmiverse Monthly Audiocast. In episode 75, I take a look at Invisible Invaders, a classic sci-fi flick from 1959 starring John Agar and John Carradine.
Now, picking this film was not just some random act. As it turns out, we got a brand new film from writer, producer, actor and director Christopher R. Mihm just as we were wrapping up 2020. The Unseen Invasion (“see” the connection?) is the first of two consecutive films featuring The Phantom Lake Kids (although, in reality, it’s the second to be filmed). Unfortunately, the special advance streaming event is now over but the home media release is coming soon. Until then, check out Invisible Invaders on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber or on streaming through Amazon Prime.
Visit sainteuphoria.com for all of the latest news from the Mihmiverse, including how you can contribute to upcoming Mihmiverse films like The MIhmiverse Holiday Special and That Which Lurks in the Dark. There’s also a lot of cool merchandise, including DVDs, Blu-rays, puzzles, posters, puppets, and more!
Well, 2020 was different wasn’t it? Karla and I ended up watching more movies than ever before but only 11 of them were actually in a theater. Karla and I attended the Kansas Silent Festival in February, which was a great amount of fun as always. And we did get one Cinema a Go-Go event in at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. But the rest of our annual events didn’t happen. However, 2020 was still definitely full of fun flicks, all watched in the comfort of our warm and safe home.
Let’s kick things off with a look at those 2020 statistics.
Total films watched: 457 (This is the most films watched in a single year since I started keeping track in 2009, largely due to the number of Laurel and Hardy films (feature films and short subjects).
Movies Watched in a Movie Theater: 11 (2 new and 9 old) – This is obviously down from last year and the lowest number since 2009. There were 9 older films comprising of 7 films from the Kansas Silent Film Festival and 2 from Cinema a Go-Go, both in late February before the world turned upside down.
Now, it’s time 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. I’ll provide thoughts on some of the films, others will just speak for themselves.
Top Movies Seen in a Movie Theater 1. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – I enjoyed this one more than some but it is still a bit flawed, like most of the last Star Wars trilogy. Obviously, this was a holdover from last year. That said, it might have made the top ten but would have been much lower. 2. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – I enjoyed this one more than many but it is flawed and I can’t see how this one would have made the top list had 2020 been a normal year.
Worst Movies Seen in a Movie Theater
With only two new films seen in a theater in 2020 and having enjoyed both, there’s nothing to talk about here. Move along.
Top New Movies Seen on Home Media for the First Time This is a new category as I felt new released deserved their own category. All movies here were new films released on home media in either 2019 or 2020.
1. Knives Out (2019) – We wanted to see this one in the theaters but had to wait until it was released on home media. It’s an absolutely fun mystery/thriller that left us anxious to see more. 2. Color Out of Space (2019) – I was quite cautious going into a Nicolas Cage movie but this one surprised me with how much I really enjoyed it. 3. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – I definitely enjoyed this more than many. It’s definitely not as good as the first one as some of it’s flaws do drag it down, such as the long running time and the rather disappointing battle with Cheetah. However, there was still enough here to entertain me and Gal Gadot is once again amazing as Wonder Woman. 4. Aladdin (2019) – This one surprised me as I went in with low expectations and ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Again, not a perfect film but it deserves a little more love than it seems to get. 5. Unearthed (2019) – This was a very fun short film from writer/director Jonathan Inbody that deserves more recognition. It’s a simple but fun mummy film worth checking out if you can find it.
Note: Two films that are high on my list to watch as 2021 starts is Soul (actually just watched it and it’s amazing) and The Unseen Invasion. Both of these would have likely made the list.
Top Ten Movies Seen on Home Media for the First Time This category is the same as previous years except that it covers any film from 2018 or older. 1. Leave Her to Heaven (1945) – Absolutely amazing Gene Tierney film with Vincent Price in a supporting role. 2. The Whales of August (1987) – Vincent Price again appears in a small role but the performances of Lillian Gish and Bette Davis are the real standouts. 3. Marriage on the Rocks (1964) – A light-hearted Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin flick that I enjoyed more than I probably should have. 4. Angels and Demons (2009) – Finally saw this one and I loved it more than The Da Vinci Code (2006). Tom Hanks is great as always. 5. Paranorman (2012) – I have no idea why it took so long to see this one. It’s now going to be part of our annual Halloween viewing. 6. The Phantom Carriage (1921) – Fantastic silent classic! 7. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961) – I enjoyed this one more than I should have but the restored print with subtitles really enhance this low budget flick. 8. Monstrum (2018) – Despite it’s flaws, I really enjoyed it. 9. Santo Contra El Rey De Crimin (1961) – We saw a lot of Santo films this year and this was by far the best. 10. Showboat (1951) – A fun musical despite some politically incorrect moments.
Honorable Mentions:The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972) and The Way of the Dragon (1972). The Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits Criterion set is amazing and seeing these three films in fantastic quality with subtitles is the absolute only way to go.
Top Documentaries Seen on Home Media for the First Time This is another new category as I decided documentaries needed to be ranked separately from scripted films. 1. Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (2018) – An absolute amazing documentary on the criminally unknown director that everyone needs to know more about. Highly recommended! 2. The Great Buster (2018) – Not sure that I learned anything knew but it’s always fun to see the great Buster Keaton.
Worst Movies Seen on Home Media for the First Time
1. Wild Women of Wongo (1958) – One of the absolute worst films I’ve ever seen. 2. Deadbeat at Dawn (1988) – So bad, thanks Joe Bob! 3. Bloodsucking Freaks (1976) – I needed a shower after this one to wash away the grime. Again, thanks Joe Bob! 4. Hogzilla (2019) – This one should have remained unfinished. 5. Hack O’Lantern (1988) – Once again, thanks Joe Bob!
Looking ahead to 2021, all I can say is that I’m hopeful to return to a movie theater, maybe by summer. Most of the movies I wanted to see in 2020 are now on my list for 2021, including No Time to Die, Black Widow and Godzilla vs. Kong. Add to them Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings, Dune, The Eternals and the upcoming Spider-Man movie (I don’t see that really happening in 2021).
At home, that elusive Godzilla Criterion Collection is still high on the list, along with the Zatoichi series (also on Criterion). We never started those last year but I’m hopeful that happens in 2021. And more Sherlock Holmes and Santo for sure.
In the summer of 2021, we’ve already committed to diving into the films of Harold Lloyd. After spending the last two summers with the Marx Brothers, as well as Stan and Ollie, the great response we’ve received guarantees more comedy classics in 2021.
Jeff and I will continue to offer up our monthly dose of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, including a revisit to our drive-in series in the summer. I’ll continue to contribute to the Dread Media podcast as time allows and the Kansas City Crypt on the Mihmiverse Monthly Audiocast is returning as well.
Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for your ongoing support! Here’s to a better and brighter 2021!