Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Episode 8: Dead Dudes in the House (1989)

I’m back and more needlessly verbose than ever before!


I claimed Bloody Birthday, “the lost episode,” as my triumphant return, but I was merely presenting a commentary track recorded almost 2 years ago. With Dead Dudes in the House, I’m back with something brand new! The track was recorded over this year’s Memorial Day weekend and believe it or not, there are no outside debauchery in the recording (although, that might’ve made for a more compelling episode).



This time around, I share the usual stories (my initial reaction to the film, how it’s managed to stay with me all these years, the litany of alternative titles, etc.). I also share a lot of inside information on the original  production provided by none other than James Riffel, writer/director. We’ve been Facebook buddies for a few years (although I’m sure if you asked, he’d probably say he’s never spoken to me in his life, just like everyone else) and one night I decided I’d just pick his brain (poor choice of words, especially after you’ve seen the film) about all things Dead Dudes.



James was about as cordial, kind, and humble as we all hope our heroes to be. He spent a large amount of time discussing filming locations, what the house is being used for these day, where the title came from, and some information on an early draft of the script.



Sadly, I’m not able to find the original correspondence, which is just as well, as I doubt he’d appreciate my reposting it here. This was some years back, before I’d even started the blog, and saw no reason to even jot down a few notes. I may have forgotten many of the specifics, but a number of anecdotes have stayed with me. Everything I could remember, I share during the commentary.



As always, it’s imperative that we’re in sync. Now, when I uploaded the DVD to my PC (using the edition included in Troma’s Triple B-Header as my source), the standard “Lloyd Kauffman and Michael Herz Present...” seen in every Troma release, was not included in the file. Why? I can only assume the intro was included as an isolated file when the disc was pressed.



Have no fear. If you’re watching the film on YouTube or through some other streaming service, you need only start the commentary immediately after Troma’s opening (which would be 14 seconds in) to remain in sync. If you’re watching the film on DVD, same thing. If you’re not watching the movie at all and listening to the commentary for the sole purpose of my wretched voice, then you have my deepest sympathies.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Episode 7: Bloody Birthday (1981)

As some of you may have noticed, this place has been something of a ghost town for close to two years. For a number of reasons, I felt obliged to put the blog on the back burner. However, my passion for these films and for rambling on endlessly about them still burns bright.

Much has happened since my last update. I’ve written some new books, spent endless hours studying the French language, cultivated personal relationships, and sadly, suffered considerable vision loss due to a rare condition.

I’ve written about this at length on both Facebook, as well as my personal blog, but for those of you who are unaware, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in the summer of 2004 and over the years, my limitations have mounted. RP is a complex disease that is difficult to describe, even to seasoned specialists. Symptoms, as well as their severity, often vary from person to person. While I retain some vision, there are many things I can no longer do. Unfortunately, one of them is enjoy my favorite movies the way I once had. As someone who’s seen many of these films countless times—and someone with a pretty sharp memory—practically every frane has long been embedded in my brain, which makes talking about what’s on-screen easy, even if I can’t quite discern every detail.

Episode 7 of B-Movie Bonanza was originally recorded in late September 2014, but I never got around to posting it. Because of this, I consider it “the lost episode” and I’m excited to finally share with you.

Bloody Birthday, a slasher gem in the “killer kids” subgenre, is a film that is as campy as it is twisted. It’s 90 minutes of head-bashing, eye-gouging, and asphyxiation, all at the hands of three pre-adolescents. Further heightening its cult status is an extended nude scene by then-unknown comedienne Julie Brown (“Just Say Julie”).

In the commentary, I share early memories of seeing the film on VHS, compare the Severin DVD to the VCI release, and dare to ask why Steven, the blond kid in the murderous trio, has so few lines. I’m hoping this will be the first of many new episodes and B-Movie Bonanza’s triumphant return.

Lastly, I spent the past week converting the original MP3s and uploading them to my YouTube channel, which will undoubtedly make listening to the commentaries much simpler. Scroll through previous posts to make sure you’re all caught up!