Extreme Cinema! “I’d Buy That For a Dollar!”

Tonight, we discuss the selected work of Paul Verhoeven, from 1983’s De Vierde Man to his most recent movie, Elle, which earned Isabelle Huppert an Academy Award nomination in 2016.

The credits appear to be a fly caught in a web, interspersed with images of Christ on the crucifix. A spider catches the fly and rolls him up for a late snack. Regan watched the opening title with me; she was fascinated. She asked me what it meant, and bluffing, I told her it was symbolism. What do you think? Jeroen Krabbe doesn’t seem to age. This is an early movie, and he still looks the same today. He seems racked with guilt. I wonder if he’s a priest. He’s got a lot of religious crap in his house. Holy crap, he’s not wearing underwear. I just saw his dick! I didn’t need to see his dick.

In Robocop, from the start, we’re inundated with media; a news report interrupted by a commercial for fabricated transplant organs, and then we go back to the news where the report is about the rising tide of violent crime. Next up, we’re at a police precinct with a scumbag lawyer bitching about his scumbag client’s rights. The acting is very “big” here, and we see a rare glimpse of Peter Weller without all the makeup, appliances, and armaments he would soon wear for not only this but two sequels. It’s interesting that in the midst of all the yelling and the big acting, Weller maintains his typical cool composure. 

Total Recall comes from Studio Canal, Tri Star Pictures, and Carolco; on a budget of $65 million dollars, Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside, and Ronny Cox – this is such an over-the-top movie, even more than Robocop, which is saying something, even the titles are insane. We start on the red planet – Mars, extending us a welcome! It’s a very nice process shot. This is Arnold and Rachel holding hands, looking longingly at each other – he falls down a cliff, breaks his helmet and just as his head is about to explode, he wakes up, and he’s in bed with Sharon Stone. Total Recall is the movie that made her career, remember? I won’t lie; she’s fucking hot in this movie, but I’m more of a Rachel-guy, I have to say. We’re in the future; it’s not that similar a future to Robocop. 

Elle begins with a rape, and it sounds incredibly brutal. When we fade up, we see the rapist wipe himself off and exit. They are surrounded by broken objects, including a couple of wine glasses, which is interesting. In the aftermath, she has a black eye and a swollen lip. She seems nonplussed. Does she not report this? It seems like she doesn’t. Huppert plays (what I believe is) a computer game designer or programmer. She runs the company. She’s very bossy (I hate to use the word, because I know the ladies hate it) and aggressive. She gets a physical and an STD panel. Somebody just dumps their food on her, calls her “scum.” What the Hell?

Written by David Lawler and Andrew La Ganke.
“Love Theme from Extreme Cinema” composed and performed by Alex Saltz.
Introduction written by Bronwyn Knox.
Narrator, “The Voice”: Valerie Sachs.
Artwork by Bronwyn Knox.
Head Title Washer: Ben Lauter.

Running Time: 1:47:52

Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. We do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Vintage Cable Box: “Krull, 1983”

“Power is fleeting.  Love is eternal.”

Krull, 1983 (Ken Marshall), Columbia Pictures

American novelist Stephen King once described Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his book, The Shining, as a “… great big beautiful Cadillac with no engine under the hood.  You could sit in it, enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery … the only thing you couldn’t do was drive it anywhere.”  Krull from 1983 is the Cadillac of science fiction/fantasy motion pictures.  Derek Meddings’ production design is an incredible feast for the eyes.  James Horner’s Star Trek-like musical compositions are appropriately epic in scope.  The visual effects and photography are awe-inspiring.  Lysette Anthony is unbelievably beautiful  as the damsel-in-distress Princess Lyssa.  Unfortunately, the movie takes us nowhere but the back-alleys of Star Wars retreads.

When the Princess is abducted by the evil “Slayers” interrupting her wedding to Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall, resembling a young Richard Chamberlain), he summons the power of the “Glaive”, the five-bladed handheld pinwheel that looks like an over-sized throwing star seen in the film’s promotional advertisements (and which I’ve always wanted to own), from the top of a mountain and bands together with a motley crew of criminals (among them Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane in early roles) in a bid to rescue her.  While we have our requisite laser light show, Krull is a movie that favors swordplay, Errol Flynn-style leaps from balconies, and swinging from chandelier ropes.  The strange, slimy, tentacled “Beast” informs the Princess that she is to marry it, perhaps to destroy the prophecy of the “girl that shall become queen.”

Colwyn is tutored by the wizardly Ynr (Freddie Jones as “The Old One”), collects his “merry” men, and heads for the Black Fortress, the stunning starship/castle that appears to be built out of a mountain.  In a narrative reminiscent of Bert I. Gordon’s The Magic Sword, Colwyn and his band of mercenaries must overcome disparate “challenges”, such as a misanthropic (and rather unpleasant) cyclops, various illusions conjured by the Beast, and assorted Slayers sent to assassinate Colwyn.  Meanwhile, Ynr must monitor his sands of time (given to him by ex-girlfriend, The Widow of the Web); for when the last of the sand diminishes, he will die.  It’s nice to know when you’re gonna go, is all I’m saying!  I remember being frightened by the giant spider in the movie when Ynr traverses an enormous web to to see his old squeeze.  Giant spiders freak me out!

It can even core an apple!

An enormously expensive movie (for the time) when produced, Krull would’ve benefited from substantial rewrites.  As it stands, the performers merely serve as window-dressing for truly beautiful art direction, cinematography, and stunning action set pieces.  Krull is everything I love in science fiction and fantasy, except that it lacks substance.  The story is a lazy mix of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Clash of the Titans (another early cable favorite of mine), with a little bit of Robin Hood and Jason and the Argonauts thrown in for good measure.  Recently, I watched an excellent high definition transfer of the film, and as much as the technical aspects of the film are heightened by it, the deficiencies of the editing and screenplay are displayed as well.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

“‘M’ for Mankind”

This is rare that we have two stone-cold classics in “The Obsolete Man” starring our old friend, Burgess Meredith, the second season finale of Twilight Zone, and then we wrap it up tonight with “Two”, the third season premiere of Twilight Zone starring Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery. I couldn’t finish this season with only the one episode, as there were 29 episodes produced, so we had an odd number and decided to kick off the third season. I’m very happy to be joined by Mark Jeacoma, who stepped in and saved my ass for the episodes, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” and “Static” – that was the favor, and this is the job, so I assigned him two, in my opinion, gold-standard episodes of Twilight Zone.

So here we are, at the end of this season, and we start with “The Obsolete Man” written by Rod Serling, directed Elliot Silverstein, starring Burgess Meredith and Fritz Weaver. This is a heavy-handed episode. You have this stark, expressionist lighting scheme in, I presume, a courtroom, some court of final judgment where Burgess is being tried or sentenced to death for the crime of being “obsolete”, the definition of which is no longer in use or no longer useful. I don’t know how they come to that conclusion, other than that he leads a insular existence in a furnished room, reading books, reading the Bible, and really he doesn’t seem to be bothering anybody, right?

Apparently this is a crime in this alternate universe. This is obviously a totalitarian regime, and the uniforms resemble those worn by Nazis or other types of fascist leaderships. Visually, the palette resembles Hitler, standing at an enormous podium or lecturn, high above the masses; Fritz Weaver appears as a god-like figure to the defiant Burgess Meredith.

Next up is “Two” starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson, before they became famous icons, courtesy Bewitched and Death Wish (interesting mash-up: “Deathwitched”). It’s Mark’s theory that we are witness to another alternate universe. It’s my supposition that we have a Cold War allegory extended into an undetermined future. Both theories work. I love both of these episodes; both expertly well-done. “Two’s” writer/director Montgomery Pittman would make another episode, “The Grave”, in the third season (but shot for the second season) starring a Who’s Who of actors from westerns.

Don’t forget to visit Mark’s sites, VHS Rewind! with Chris Hasler and On The Odd with Alex Saltz – it’s good stuff!

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Mark Jeacoma
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “You’re the One That I Want” (John Farrar).
Audio Clips: “The Obsolete Man”, “Two”

Recorded September 1, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 33:36

“A Regular Ray Bradbury”

“The Mind and the Matter”, written by Rod Serling and directed by Buzz Kulik is episode 63 of the American television anthology series, The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on May 12, 1961 on CBS. That’s from the Wikipedia. The subject matter is prescient; being what our society, in this modern age, has had to endure over the past 16 years, since the year 2000, but it also ushers in the era of the “Me” Generation, starting with the baby boomer generation and the self-involved qualities that some people associated with it. The baby boomers (Americans born during the 1946 to 1964 baby boom) were dubbed the “Me” generation by writer Tom Wolfe during the 1970s – again, the Wikipedia, sorry.

You have this self-involved “turd”, Archibald Beechcroft, which is such a fake-sounding name, it seems like Serling just belched out this idea onto fresh typing paper, it’s not inspiring, in any sense of the word. He works in an office situation. This is New York City, I’m assuming. He lives in a tiny apartment. He’s sick of people. He’s a misanthrope. What he wants is peace and quiet. This guy gives him a book – “The Mind and the Matter”, which is a self-help book.

In “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”, we have a couple of cops in the snowy woods, great photography here, especially if I suspect it was shot on a soundstage, it’s absolutely amazing if you take that into consideration. It would make very little sense to go on location since the majority of the action occurs in a small diner; location work being extremely expensive. The bridge is out, and the cops hear strange sounds, which they immediately surmise is some kind of an unidentified flying object passing overhead, perhaps crashing.

A bus carrying a bunch of passengers has to make an unscheduled stop, everybody files out and goes to the diner. Slow night, and you have to wonder – based on what we eventually discover – if it isn’t possible that the owner of the diner orchestrated the crash at the bridge just so he could drum up some business? Even if he didn’t, it’s still a great set-up. The episode turns into a mood piece about paranoia. John Hoyt is a businessman. The great character actor Jack Elam plays a nutty old man. I watched Cannonball Run recently for Vintage Cable Box, and I absolutely love him. He plays a drugged-up doctor that Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise abduct so nobody will question them driving an ambulance. He shoots up Farrah Fawcett with sedatives and keeps giving everybody the finger. He’s hilarious.

Don’t forget to visit Craig’s sites, My Life In The Shadow Of The Twilight Zone and My Life In The Glow Of The Outer Limits and check out Craig’s Twilight Zone podcast, “Between Light and Shadow” – very entertaining.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Craig Beam
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Rose Tint My World” (Richard O’Brien) by Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, and Jonathan Adams (from the 1975 film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by Jim Sharman).
Audio Clips: Complaints and Grievances (a 2001 stand-up comedy special starring George Carlin), “Bart’s Inner Child” (a 1993 episode of The Simpsons written by George Meyer), “The Mind and the Matter”, “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”

Recorded September 28, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 37:34

“Our Lips Are Sealed”

So, here we are again in the Privileged Men’s Club, Masters of the Universe,
sitting in nicely-appointed surroundings, upholstered armchairs, pipes and cigars,
pasty-faced old money and new money hob-knobbing, like they do. They still do it,
but I don’t think the clubs exist anymore, or maybe they exist as fronts for
lobbying-concerns and initiatives. This is “The Silence” with Franchot Tone – he
has a great voice, and Liam Sullivan, and also Dr. Smith again from Lost In Space,
but this time he’s a decent guy who is just trying to put a stop to all of this
nonsense. Written by Serling, based in part on a Checkov story, “The Bet” (which is
actually really quite good, I recommend it for people to go out and read), directed
by Boris Sagal, the episode premiered April 28th, 1961.

“Shadow Play” plays as a recurring nightmare. The story remains the same, but the
characters change. An inmate (Dennis Weaver) on death-row suffers the same fate
every night; trapped in a dream where he is handed a death sentence, spends his last
night alive desperately trying to convince all of the people involved they are but
pieces of his fate to be moved around on this horrific chessboard. Written by
Charles Beaumont, and directed by John Brahm, “Shadow Play” premiered May 5, 1961.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Colin Hall
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “‘Say Say Say” (Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson) by Paul
McCartney and Michael Jackson (from the 1983 album, Pipes of Peace).
Audio Clips: Groundhog Day (a 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray, directed by Harold
Ramis), “The Silence”, “Shadow Play”.

Recorded August 23, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content
featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex
Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not
affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling
Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of
their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism,
research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated
in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product,
and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any
public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well.
If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember,
there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot
compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this
’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 28:01

“All That Glitters”

I’m privileged to have Craig on the show. He lends an air of legitimacy to the proceedings. I urge you to go to his sites, My Life In The Shadow Of The Twilight Zone.  Also, My Life In The Glow Of The Outer Limits

These are two indispensable web sites, filled with voluminous references and facts about these remarkable television shows. Also, there’s lot of fan-boy stuff. When I started my podcast, I referred to his sites for information and notes.

Let’s move into our episodes. I’ve taken a cue from you and decided to break them down in a kind of thematic way. These are time-shifting episodes, of a sort. In “A Hundred Yards Over The Rim”, we have Cliff Robertson and a group of pioneers, I want to say, running wagons from Ohio to California, but his child, a young boy is sick, practically dying. Cliff crosses over a sandy hill and he goes back … to the FUTURE! Some 114 years into the future, the modern world with cars and jets, just lots of noise, like when that horrible cattle rustler wound up in the future because of the Professor’s time machine in “Execution”, except Cliff isn’t an idiot.

“The Rip Van Winkle Caper” premiered two weeks later, April 21st, 1961, written by Rod Serling, and directed by Justus Addiss.

This is one of my favorites, because it’s a story that depends on the stupidity of it’s central characters, DeCruz and Farwell. Seriously, those guys should have their own sitcom. DeCruz is a scientist, for crying out loud. This guy is supposed to be a genius. He figured out a way to cryogenically preserve people, and I forget if there was any explanation for why he wasn’t raking in the Science cash, this would be an incredible discovery. He would have a patent and become a millionaire all on his own anyway. Maybe he appeared on the Retraction Watch, and was discredited by conservatives and the like. So Farwell hooks up with a bunch of criminals. They steal a million bucks worth of gold, and the plan is to retreat into a cave, sleep in these modified 80s glass coffee tables for a hundred years, and then they’ll wake up and everybody would’ve forgotten about the stolen gold, and they’ll walk into a clean-slate, wonderful new future with a lot of gold.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Craig Beam
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering

Introduction Music: “’39” (Brian May) by Queen (from the 1975 album, A Night at the Opera).
Audio Clips: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (a 1948 drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston, directed by John Huston), Back to the Future (a 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, directed by Robert Zemeckis), “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis, Chris Hayes, Johnny Colla) by Huey Lewis and the News, “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”, “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”.

Recorded June 29, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 36:19

“Frame of Reference”

“The Prime Mover” has two accomplished science fiction writers, Charles Beaumont, working from an unpublished story by George Clayton Johnson, working together with Richard L. Bare directing. This episode premiered March 24, 1961. We have two pals, Ace and Jimbo. This guy’s name is Ace? Is that his Christian name?

What name do you give your child? (or: have you given?)
Parents: Ace.
What do you ask of God’s Church for Ace?
Parents: Baptism … and also a crippling gambling addiction.

Charles Beaumont works with William Idelson to bring us our next episode, “Long Distance Call”, directed by Jim Shelton, premiering the following week. This was the first appearance of Billy Mumy in the Twilight Zone universe.

“Long Distance Call” is a very creepy, atmospheric episode, shot on video to reduce production costs. This is an episode that doesn’t fit well with this format. Like “Lateness of the Hour”, it comes off looking more like a soap opera than anything else.

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Nicole Phelps
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering

Recorded July 6, 2016

http://www.blissville.net
https://blissvillepodcast.wordpress.com/

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 31:32