grab bag: Halloween 2019 (click to listen)
In this year's Halloween episode of Grab Bag Harry revisits some horror movies we didn't used to like very much and reveals that we were right about one of them and wrong about another, Nick discusses his new Giallo concept bar and cocktail menu, and we both revisit some childhood Halloween specials that warm our heart. Carve a Jack O' Lantern now before it's too late!
Sweets for the sweet, it's our official Halloween special. Listen as we discuss horror fantasy's finest imaginer, Clive Barker, and his brief career in film, as well as the trademarks of his work, including sadomasochistic inter-dimensional travelers, queer zombies, and ghosts of urban segregation.
prologue: I have seen the future of horror (1:43)
Chapter 1: Now we can begin (14:30)
Chapter 2: Casting Cronenberg (47:35)
Chapter 3: Be My Victim (1:05:55)
epilogue: Darkplace (1:19:25)
The Earth shall tremble. Graves shall open. They shall come among the living as messengers of death and there shall be the "nigths" of terror. Continuing our October horror rituals, we examine the ineffable minimalism of Andrea Bianchi's zombie shadow play Burial Ground, a film that achieves unique style and effectiveness completely by accident.
We turn our October attention to one of the least conventional iterations of the Frankenstein monster all in the interest of discussing Nick's favorite and most expensive toy.
The Dude Bros are coming to the Balboa Theater here in San Francisco on October 23rd for a Rewind Wednesday VHS screening of Cinematic Oblivion's favorite slasher comedy Dude Bro Party Massacre III! Two of the directors, Tomm Jacobsen and Michael Rousselet, will be in attendance, the latter of whom chats with Nick in this episode. Listen as they discuss the early comedy of USC's public access channel "Trojan Vision," the "Golden Age" of Five Second Films, the writing, scoring, and acting of Dude Bro Party Massacre III, and the town in the belly of the whale.
And make sure you join us at the Balboa Theater on October 23rd to drink beer, eat popcorn, and bro out!
R.I.P Sid Haig 1939-2019
The third part of our three-part history and analysis of Soviet Science Fiction films. In this episode we focus on the science fiction films of the USSR's final years including grey, colorful, and silver tones all in the wake of Andrei Tarkovsky's influence.
Chapter One: Grey
Chapter Two: Color
Chapter Three: Silver
Our report from an oblivionated weekend at the historic Balboa theater under the curation of the Overlook Hour. We briefly review the history of found-footage and then discuss such diverse representatives of the subgenre as The Midnight Swim, La Llorona Investigation, The Moosehead on the Mantel, Hound Footage, and the film that may have killed us both; Antrum.
We briefly review and analyze such classics as Pickup on South Street(1952) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955)from our recent outing to Noir City at the Castro Theater, during which we discovered that we are total amateurs at this whole "liking movies" thing.
The second part of our three-part history and analysis of Soviet Science Fiction films.
In this episode we focus on the two science fiction contributions of Soviet auteur Andrei Tarkovsky, Solaris (1971) and Stalker (1979), and discuss how his contributions forever changed the landscape of Eastern genre cinema and film in general.
Chapter 1: The Ocean (3:35)
Chapter 2: The Zone (43:30)
A sickly sweet cocktail of various ingredients, Harry and Nick reunite after two weeks apart to discuss the 90's films of Brian De Palma, the video art of Jan Svankmajer, Ryan Trecartin, Alan Resnick, and the "wayward circus child" sub-genre, particularly Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay (1988) and Hiroshi Harada's Midori (1992).
The first part of our three-part history and analysis of Soviet Science Fiction films.
In this episode we begin in the silent era with Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) and Cosmic Voyage (1935) and then blast off into the space race with Road to the Stars (1957), The Silent Star (1960), Planet of Storms (1962), and Ikarie XB-1 (1963) These films shine with the hope of a united communist Earth, where no matter what side of the iron curtain you call home we are all joined under the glory of the sky's call.
Chapter 1: Soviet Silents (2:05)
Chapter 2: Escape Velocity (14:45)
Chapter 3: Venus (30:50)
The first installment in a new series of mini episodes called spotlight, wherein Nick and/or Harry take a look at a particular theme (film/director/genre/etc.) that wouldn't otherwise be featured in a regular episode.
In this inaugural episode Harry takes a look at the 2009 indie horror comedy Make Out With Violence, while also reflecting on the days when Netflix offered a bevvy of bizarre low budget indie films available to stream.
Happy Halloween kiddies! We celebrate the season by paying tribute to EC comics, a horror brand as notorious as it was influential. We follow the brand's legacy from Amicus pictures, to Stephen King, to HBO. Come down into the Crypt of Terror with us. The morgue the merrier!
Chapter 1: Low Culture (3:18)
Chapter 2: Amicus (25:55)
Chapter 3: King and Romero (49:30)
Chapter 4: Little House on the Scary (1:16:45)
In this special Halloween episode of Grab Bag we discuss Ruby (1977), Pin (1988), Don't Look Up (1996), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and the long awaited Terrifier (2017). We also discuss the rise and fall of J horror, the myriad Frankenstein adaptations and the complete lack of a great clown horror masterpiece.
In this episode we go back to some of the earliest adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy world and explore the evolving world of 1970's American animation.
Chapter 1: There and Back Again (10:00)
Chapter 2: Bakshi's Big Trip (37:00)
Chapter 3: A Tale of the Hobbits (1:07:17)
In this grab bag episode Nick and Harry discuss Hell House LLC (2015), Trilogy of Terror (1975), Fragment of an Empire (1929), and suprise hit The Deadly Spawn (1983).
Originally released on August 10th, 2018
In this episode we study the films of Ida Lupino, the first woman to direct movies within the 1950’s Hollywood system. We discuss both the ahead of its time feminism and decade representative conservatism that make up her work.
Originally released on July 31st, 2018
Chapter 1: Mardis Gras (3:35)
Chapter 2: Ida on the issues (11:50)
Chapter 3: Morality Plays (48:06)
Get out the pálinka, the paprika, and the patience as we discuss long-take auteur Béla Tarr's 7 hour study of spiders, muddy walks, and tango, tango, tango!
Originally released on June 29th, 2018
Chapter 1: The Act of Translation
Chapter 2: No Exit
Chapter 3: Manley Pointer
Chapter 4: My name is Tango!
We are fairly split in our discussion of British cinematographer turned director Nicolas Roeg, prompting the first official “cinematic showdown.” Listen as we debate and discuss some early seventies psychedelia and decide for yourself.
Originally released on May 30th, 2018
Chapter 1: Performance (3:50)
Chapter 2: Walkabout (37:15)
Chapter 3: Don't Look Now (57:40)
Chapter 4: The Man Who Fell To Earth (1:19:20)
In this episode we discuss the 1982 cult classic Liquid Sky. A hip New Wave masterpiece, drenched in neon, pulsing to the sound of wild synth beats and ripe with social criticism, literary depth and aesthetic perfection.
Originally released on April 27th, 2018
Chapter 1: Me and My Rhythm Box (1:55)
Chapter 2: Infrared and Neon (10:00)
Chapter 3: Pleasure Victim (27:00)
Chapter 4: Napoleon in Rags (42:00)
In this episode of "soundbites" Harry discusses how David Lynch uses the music of Roy Orbison to great effect. Spoilers for Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr.
Originally released on April 15th, 2018
Across the pond, to Ealing street, to discuss the little London studio that could. We explore vignette horror, whiskey parties, cockney pride, and the failed heist hijinks of young Alec Guinness.
Originally released on March 31st, 2018
Prologue/Chapter 1: Ealing Green (1:38)
Chapter 2: The Structure of the Universe (10:00)
Chapter 3: Rationing Sucks (31:36)
Chapter 4: Genuine Class (54:10)
In this episode we explore the first three films of revolutionary black filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, from his French period, through his contentious Hollywood days, and finally to his infamous portrayal of a mythical male prostitute on the run.
Originally released on February 28th, 2017
Chapter 1: Man in the Mirror (1:31)
Chapter 2: There Goes the Neighborhood (19:40)
Chapter 3: Name Your Weapons (34:53)
Chapter 4: Leroy (52:00)
We're launching a new inter-series feature called soundbites, in which Harry and I take turns making individual, essay-format episodes about music and sound curiosities from film history. We hope these tidbits tide you over between the big discussion episodes we produce monthly.
In this first episode of "soundbites" Nick discusses an odd rock knockoff that arose out of Sidney Poitier's famous detective film In the Heat of the Night (1967).
released on February 14th, 2018
In this episode we head down south... to HELL! As we discuss Mexican Satanic Horror Movies. We discuss the campy holiday kids' movie Santa Clause (1959), the horror b-movie disaster Curse of the Doll People(1961), 70's nunsploitation films Satanitco Pandemonium (1975) and Alucarda (1977), and modern day sexual satanic thriller Here Comes The Devil (2013), all in our quest to discover what makes Satan's grasp so damn appealing.
In celebration of winter we explore films of The Arctic, specifically those which portray the native peoples of that region, from Nanook of the North, through the unfortunately short career of Alaskan actor Ray Mala, to the films of Iñuk director Zacharias Kunuk.
released on December 28, 2017
Chapter 1: Allakariallak (7:39)
Chapter 2: Agnasquiac (23:26)
Chapter 3: Atanarjuat (45:45)
Chapter 4: Ethan (1:18:08)
A seminal Japanese punk film entertains and then annoys us, calling into question our strictly attentive approach to film-viewing. We investigate the film's component parts in a brief survey of experimental film, cyberpunk, and early music video aesthetics, and try to imagine scenarios and spaces where Burst City (1982) would best fit.
released on December 2nd, 2017
Chapter 1: How do you watch Experimental Film? (2:35)
Chapter 2: Cyberpunk vs. Japanese Cyberpunk (13:55)
Chapter 3: How do you watch Burst City? (20:11)
The third part of our three-part extensive history and analysis of the Slasher genre. In this episode we examine the mood of the eighties, spend a long night in the woods, have a few nightmares, and finally cull the good from the bad.
released on October 30th, 2017
Chapter 1: What's Your Damage? (4:00)
Chapter 2: A Long Night at Camp Blood (16:38)
Chapter 3: Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1:18:20)
Chapter 4: The Good, the Bad, and the Ok (1:29:03)
The second part of our three-part extensive history and analysis of the Slasher genre. In this episode we start with the apocalyptic carnage of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), journey through Black Christmas (1974), the first true slasher, and several other "madonna theory" films, stop in with Wes Craven's cannibal family in The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and finally arrive at John Carpenter's genre defining slasher masterpiece Halloween (1978.)
released on October 5th, 2017
Chapter 1: Head Cheese (6:38)
Chapter 2: The Madonna (33:58)
Chapter 3: Sawney Bean (1:36:41)
Chapter 4: Haddonfield (1:53:40)
The first part of our three-part extensive history and analysis of the Slasher genre. In this episode we start all the way back in the BC’s with Greek and Shakespearian tragedy, work through the melodramatic pre-code “old dark house” films, foray into the dark avenues of the psyche in the mid-sixties “psycho” subgenre, and finally hop across the Atlantic to bask in the lush violence of Italian Giallos.
released on September 21st, 2017
Chapter 1: Theater of Blood (2:57)
Chapter 2: Old Dark Houses (20:28)
Chapter 3: Psychos (46:50)
Chapter 4: Giallos (1:16:18)
In this episode we go six layers deep discussing stories within stories from Wojciech Has’ 1965 epic The Saragossa Manuscript.
released on August 25th, 2017
We go full oblivion on this episode as we delve into the little known world of Osterns; Soviet Westerns from the 60's and 70's. Not only do we discuss this underappreciated genre and its history, but we also review a total of SEVEN movies! We cover The Firey Miles (1957), White Sun of the Desert (1970), The Elusive Avengers (1966), The Bodyguard (1979), At Home Among Strangers (1974), The Sixth (1982), and Dauriya (1972). Strap in for this two hour episode full of Bolsheviks, Cossacks and Eurasian nomads!
released on August 11th, 2017
Everything is some kind of metaphor as we talk about existential thriller Hell High (1989), silly Japanese ghost movie Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968), American classic western Stagecoach (1939), and stylistic Italian slasher StageFright: Aquarius (1987)
released on July 28th, 2017
We get all pornographic in this one discussing the Japanese erotic thriller Muscle (1989), the french art porno La Bête (1975) , as well as some more standard fare such as the 80’s horror movie I, Madman (1989) and the heartfelt sci-fi classic Silent Running (1972).
released on July 12th, 2017
In this episode we discuss the mind-numbingly boring Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), the devastating and nerve-wracking The Eyes Of My Mother (2016), the silly and quintessentially 80’s movie The Wraith (1986), and our new favorite independent comedy Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015).
released on July 12th, 2017
Classic Episode: Mandy Lane's long lonely summer... (click to listen)
In this episode we focus in detail on the wildly under-appreciated teen slasher All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006/2013), and try to decipher why we find it so haunting and nostalgic.
originally recorded in June of 2013