Sunday, November 29, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020
WUH x TPB + Cronenberg = An Awesome October (Part 2)!
Just four years and two films later Cronenberg would direct what some consider to be his first masterpiece, The Brood (1979). Drawing from his own tumultuous divorce and custody battle Cronenberg chills viewers via the frigid Toronto landscape and disquieting imagery of Frank and Nola Carveth's upended world.
The Brood is the story of the Carveth family and how the sins of the past visit the children of the next generation. Frank (played by Art Hindle) and his wife Nola (played by Samantha Eggar) have separated. She’s under the care of Dr. Hal Raglan (played by Oliver Reed). He’s the head of the Somafree clinic and has mastered the art of psychoplasmics where negative thoughts and feelings are manifested physically. These come in the form of rashes or lesions or, in the case of Nola, a group of odd creatures who go on a murderous rampage when her ire is raised.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
After directing two experimental films (Stereo and Crimes of the Future) David Cronenberg realized that if making movies would be his vocation he would need to do something "commercial." And at the time commercial, more often than not, meant exploitation. Inspired in part by a nightmare he'd had Cronenberg set about to write a screenplay for the Canuxploitation Pioneers at Cinepix. What emerged was Shivers, which introduced audiences and critics to a new kind of horror film and courted controversy not only for its subject matter but also for its manner of funding. In Shivers Cronenberg's secular world view and body, or venereal, horror is present from the start.Shivers stars Paul Hampton as Dr. Roger St. Luc, Lynn Lowry as Nurse Forsythe, Susan Petrie as Janine Tudor, Allan Kolman as Nick Tudor, and Barbara Steele as Betts, all residents of the luxury apartment complex Starliner Tower. The film also features the inimitable Joe Silver as Rollo Linsky. Dr. Emil Hobbes’ experiment with "helpful" parasites has gone awry and now the tenants of the Starliner are under attack by the polyamorous creatures. Can the residents of the Starliner stop the infection from spreading to nearby Montreal and beyond? Or do they even want to?
This episode also features an interview with Luke Aspell, author of the Shivers monograph from Auteur Publishing. Purchase your copy here.
Music: "Shivers"-Boys Next Door
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
No, I'm not giving a clinic on Cronenberg (I wouldn't presume to be an expert all of a sudden) although, since March of this year I think I've taken one myself! This is more of a primer for the upcoming Cronenberg Crossover event with The Projection Booth Podcast. Having read, watched, and absorbed so much Cronenberg over the last seven months it only seems natural that all the connections in his work would settle in and demand exploring. Plus, the title is a nice little pun since so many of his early films feature a Clinic of one sort or another. And I like puns! AND I get to use this awesome player image again! Win, win.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Look Ma, I made it! Here it is, my first appearance on The Projection Booth podcast. Here's the description from their site:"On this special episode of The Projection Booth we're looking at the 2019 film from director Orçun Behram, The Antenna. The film stars Ihsan Önal as Mehmet, an overseer of an apartment building in Turkey. We begin the film on the day when a new satellite dish is being installed that is part of a new era for the country where the government can now broadcast directly to its citizens’ televisions. Let’s just say that this isn’t the utopia that was promised.
Monday, August 10, 2020
The Sender (1982) is a horror film directed by Roger Christian and starring Zeljko Ivanek as The Sender, Kathryn Harrold as Dr. Gail Farmer, and Shirley Knight as Jerolyn. Two years before Freddy terrorized the kids on Elm Street, John Doe 83 would project the power of his dreams onto the patients and staff of a mental hospital in the town of Corinth.John Doe 83 aka The Sender tries to commit suicide by walking into a lake with rocks in his pockets. He ends up in a mental hospital where Dr. Gail Farmer instantly sympathizes with him. John Doe’s mother, Jerolyn, has convinced her son that his was a virgin birth and keeps him locked up at home in fear he will leave her. The Sender can telepathically transmit his dreams into others, which causes the receiver to hallucinate.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
It's strange, strange times right now, and it's affecting everyone in myriad ways. For me, it's made it a little more difficult to record regular episodes, so I'm fashioning these shorter hodge-podge shows to keep in touch and say howdy. There will generally be some movie recs, maybe a chat with my daughter about things we've watched, and even some feelings about sheltering-in-place. All episodes will be posted here.
Monday, April 20, 2020
In 1983* Sam Raimi and Co. took the horror world by the neck and shook it until it begged for mercy. The Evil Dead caught the attention of Stephen King at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and his pull-quote, "The most ferociously original horror film of 1982," placed it on every genre fan's must-watch list. Coverage from Fangoria, along with great notice from a string of festival appearances, helped solidify its notoriety.
Made on a shoe-string budget in the woods of Tennessee by a bunch of friends from Michigan, the movie was an exercise not only in scares and gore, but in moxie and gumption. Before the film was even begun the trio of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert formed Renaissance Pictures and took the business side of low-budget films seriously. They produced an instant classic that has withstood the test of time and spawned a franchise that has lasted 35 years.
Ash, his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, and they're friends Scott and Shelly take a little vacation to a dilapidated backwoods cabin and accidentally summon demonic forces. By the end of the night only Ash survives. Or does he? The Evil Dead may be short on story but it's long on dread, gore, and inventive film-making. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the original, like me, or a lover of the "better in every way" requel, like my guest, or even if you prefer Army of Darkness for some reason, you'll find something to like in this episode. Heck, I even like the 2010 reboot!
For this episode I am once again joined by Mike White from The Projection Booth Podcast. As mentioned in the episode you can also listen to Mike, along with Chris Stachiw, jaw on about Barney Miller and '85 Twilight Zone. And here's a video about the "Bollywood Evil Dead" Mike mentioned in the episode. Enjoy!
*The date of The Evil Dead is a bit confusing. The copyright date, which is what I'm using, is 1981. The film wasn't officially released until 1983. It played Cannes, and other festivals, during 1982.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
The Tenant was directed by Roman Polanski, who also stars as Trelkovsky a mild-mannered file clerk looking for a new apartment in Paris during a housing shortage. He finds a not-quite-vacant room in an American-owned building, but the last tenant, Simon Choule, is clinging to life after throwing herself out of the apartment's window. When the apartment becomes available Trelkovsky moves in and his life becomes a nightmare of paranoia and delusion.
Much like Polanski himself, and Roland Topor who wrote the source novel, Trelkovsky is a Polish-Jew who has immigrated to Paris. His "otherness" becomes a source of derision for his neighbors, the apartment's management, the police, his coworkers, and even the denizens of a local cafe. Trelkovsky becomes convinced that everyone is trying to change him into Simone Choule and make him suffer the same fate. He finds solace with Mlle. Choule's friend Stella, played by Isabelle Adjani, but comes to believe she is in on the conspiracy as well. Are they trying to change him into Simone, or is it all in his head?
The Tenant has been lumped together with Polanski's other films, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby, to form the so-called Apartment Trilogy. All three deal with isolated and insulated characters whose sanity cracks until they can no longer tell what is real and what is only in their imaginations.
For this episode I am joined by film journalist Anya Stanley. Ms. Stanley's work has been seen in Birth Movies Death, Rue Morgue, Dread Central, and several other film publications. She's currently a columnist for Fangoria, exploring horror from a gendered perspective with her column Rated XX/XY. You can find her on Twitter as @BookishPlinko. And here is her great piece Who Gives a Shit if the Oscars Don't Respect Horror?
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
It's the 30th anniversary of my semester in London and I've recently been thinking a lot about my time there. For a budding cinephile the repertory cinemas were a revelation to me and I formed many of my fondest movie going memories during my stay.
In this episode I run through the films I saw, and some I didn't, at those marvelous movie houses: the Scala, Electric, Phoenix, Riverside, and Everyman cinemas.
As I recorded the episode I noticed a few running themes based on my viewing history: American Indie films of the late '80s, New American Cinema classics from Scorsese and Coppola, and a slew of Wim Wenders, Russ Meyer, Jack Nicholson, and David Lynch flicks.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
A brief look back at Wake Up Heavy's first full calendar year on the ol' podcast trail. A hazy look forward, plus some of my favorite "first time watches" from the year.
I mentioned Peter Ivers in the episode, and instead of making you chase down the articles I read, here they are:
- In Heaven Everything is Fine: Murder and Martyrdom in the Lynchverse, from Peter Ivers to Laura Palmer by Kier-La Janisse
- 'An Einstein among Neanderthals': the tragic prince of LA counterculture by Gabriel Szatan
- Exploring the cult pop genius of Peter Ivers by Brian Coney
- Over the edge: The incredible life and mysterious death of Peter Ivers by Clark Collis
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
No mere Santa Slasher here, Christmas Evil is a psychological study of one lonely man's mental breakdown. Harry Stadling is obsessed with Christmas and Santa Claus and the lack of belief in his fellow man is weighing heavy on his mind. As hypocrisy, consumerism, and apathy meet him on every side Harry slides further into his delusions until he snaps.
Filled with odd touches, a great cast, and carols aplenty, Christmas Evil has become my second favorite Holiday Horror film after Bob Clark's Black Christmas. So why don't you sit your family down for a double feature on Christmas Eve and pray to God you don't hear footsteps on your roof while you dream of sugar plums dancing in your head.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
WDIRT V3E1: Eyes of Fire (1983)
Here's another instance of my stupidity: I saw the very intriguing video box image for Eyes of Fire probably 50 million times back in my teens and never took a chance on renting it. Dumb, Mark, just plain dumb! This is one fascinating oddity that has never really gotten its chance to shine. The film didn't get very positive reviews when it came out, died at the box office, and wasn't given a VHS release until 1987. At that point it gained a cult following, but once again got buried in obscurity. If you like The Witch you should definitely check this one out! [Starts at 00:01]
WDIRT V3E2: Xtro (1982)
WUH came back from hiatus with a new WDIRT episode on Harry Bromley Davenport's nutso early-80s Alien rip-off that's actually so much more than that. Filled with too many WTF moments to count, and some of the most inspired and gloopy SFX from the era, Xtro would have damaged my brain as a kid. Now that I'm older I can soak in this odd-ball treasure with wild abandon. [Starts at 32:47]
WDIRT V3E3: Alone in the Dark (1982)
The last WDIRT in Volume 3 is on Jack Sholder's quirky slasher-home-invasion hybrid Alone in the Dark. It's got Martin Landau as a pyromaniac ex-preacher, Jack Palance as a paranoid POW, Erlind van Lidth as a hulking child-molester, and the mysterious hockey-mask-wearing killer known as The Bleeder. Donald Pleasence rounds out the cast as the equally nutty psychiatrist Dr. Leo Bain. [Starts at 1:01:47]
When is a WDIRT entry not really a WDIRT entry? When you realize half-way through the movie that you HAVE seen it before. That was the case when I finally tracked down Visiting Hours a few years back. Thinking I would remember having seen a horror movie with William Shatner in it I watched it in hopes of discovering a new old favorite. But then I started getting the strangest feeling of déjà vu, and finally realized I had watched this at some point back in the VHS days of my youth.
Decimated by critics upon release, and currently standing with a 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I, for one, really dig this one. Michael Ironside adds some sympathy to his sleazy stalker and Lee Grant gets to kick some butt. What's not to like?
Monday, December 2, 2019
My little family is test-driving Disney+ before taking the streaming plunge with the new service, and one of the films I was most excited to visit was Return to Oz. Having passed this one by as a teen, and knowing it's not-so-stellar reputation, I was curious to see if it was actually as "bad" as I'd heard. Since my daughter has read many of the Oz books I wanted us to watch it together. Then I thought, "Hey, this might make a fun episode for her and me to do together!" So that's what we're doing! Hope you enjoy this Very Special Episode.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Did you ever sneak out of your bedroom to watch a spooky movie and later regret it? Did you ever feel like you were the only one to get freaked out during a sleepover horror-thon? Or maybe you had an Irresponsible Uncle who took you to a movie you were way to young to see? If so I want to hear about it and put it on the show!
You can use this easy-to-fill-out Google Doc to submit your story. Include your name, as you want it to be read on the show (i.e. first name and last initial, your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram handle, or Anonymous), your favorite episode of the show (hey, humor me here), and your Spooky Story. Keep it fairly brief, four or five paragraphs at the most, and shorter than that is totally fine. These will be added either to upcoming episodes, or, if multiple entries are received, a separate mini-sode of just your stories.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
I was recently asked by Sam Panico to submit a Top Ten Slashers list for his site B & S About Movies, and it got me to thinking about a series I had considered awhile back (and probably mentioned on the show at one point or another) called Why Do I Hate Slashers (I Don't Actually)? Some of the films from my top ten list have been discussed on the show (Black Christmas, Alice, Sweet Alice, etc.) so we'll skip those for this series. Everything else is fair game, starting with the gonzo Pieces (1982).
[All WDIHS (IDA) episodes will be posted to this entry.]
MBV is a Canadian entry into the slasher genre (you can really hear the accents in this one) and a prime example of Holiday Horror (still waiting for a Flag Day Slasher). We’ve got all the staples of an ‘80s slasher—a masked killer, decent amounts of gore (in the uncut version), misdirection, and humor—but instead of teenage babysitters or camp counselors we’ve got 20-something coal miners, and I like that divergence from the norm.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is MY Friday the 13th. As well as being my favorite of that franchise, it is one of my favorite slashers (I placed it at #3 on my Slasher Top Ten list) AND one of my favorite horror films in general. The film's similarities to Halloween, something I hadn't really thought much about prior to doing this episode, may play a big part in that. What could have been a quick cash-grab ended up being one of the more humorous, human, and effective entries in the series. There's certainly no hate her for this one!
A lot of Slasher fans don’t like Happy Birthday to Me, but I dig it. Directed by J. Lee Thompson (best known, by me at least, for his sleazy flicks with Charles Bronson) and starring Glen Ford, Susan Acker, and Melissa Sue Anderson this one is kind of a mess. The ending was changed at the last minute and makes no sense, but for me that’s part of the charm. The set-piece kills are fun, there are red herrings galore, and it’s Canadian! Minus points for having a plethora of asshole characters, but I'll let it slide for this one.
One of a BAJILLION campground Slashers from the early ‘80s The Burning is most famous for ONE scene that features some stellar Savini wet works. What stands out for me is the great cast: Jason Alexander (with HAIR), Fisher Stevens, Brian Backer, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Holly Hunter. It’s also one of the few Summer Camp films that shows the counselors and kids actually doing Summer Camp stuff!
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
The Blood on Satan's Claw was released in 1971 by Tigon Pictures, a short-lived competitor of Hammer and Amicus in the late 1960s and early '70s. It stars Peter Wymark (Repulsion) and Linda Hayden (Taste the Blood of Dracula) and was directed by Piers Haggard.
In a field in 17th century England a local farmhand plows up the rotting corpse of a strange creature. Although the older towns people fear something sinister might be at play the youth seem intrigued by the discovery. Angel Blake (Hayden) finds a claw in the field and starts to assert a strange power over her classmates.
As the young people become more entranced by Angel the town grows concerned that witchcraft may be afoot. The teens play troublesome games in the local woods and sprout patches of hair on their bodies which are then cut out and pieced together. As more towns folk turn up dead or missing The Judge (Wymark) declares war on the cult before the patch-work demon can complete his transformation.
Click the link below if you would like to submit a horror movie memory and have it read on the show!
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Between 1977 and 1984 Stephen King published five novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Though many fans and critics surmised that Bachman was King, which he would deny, the truth wasn’t uncovered until Washington, DC bookstore clerk Steve Brown noticed similarities to King’s writing and did some investigating. He found copyright info for one of the Bachman books in King’s name at the Library of Congress. Brown went to King’s publishers to ask what he should do with the information and King himself told him he should write an article about it and gave an interview to Brown.
Rage (originally title Getting it On) was begun in 1966 when King was still in high school, and The Long Walk shortly thereafter. They were published in 1977 and 1979 respectively. These were two of the (five!) novels written before Carrie, which would launch King into literary stardom. Roadwork was written in response to the death of King’s mother in 1974 and published in 1981. The Running Man was written in a week(!) and published in 1982. It was adapted to screen in 1987 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thinner was published in 1984 and shortly thereafter King's reign as Bachman, right when Bachman was gaining his own steam, ended. Thinner was adapted by Tom Holland in 1996.
But this time it's mainly about the books. The Bachman Books in particular, which offered up a virtual smörgåsbord of "new" King material to sink my teeth into. The tales include a dangerously unstable teenager, a man brought to his breaking point, two dystopian future worlds where deadly games are played, and an oddly specific gypsy curse.
Monday, September 30, 2019
As in Extra Special! Along with my own ramblings on a handful of films that didn't get the full treatment on previous episodes (Creepshow, Children of the Corn, Maximum Overdrive, Stand By Me, etc.) there is an interview with horror film journalist and filmmaker Jerry Smith regarding his Dollar Baby Deal.
Friday, September 27, 2019
I love a good detective story (just think of all those Murder, She Wrote references on the show) and I love to hear behind the scenes tales about my favorite movies. When I discovered Simon Fitzjohn on Twitter I was immediately intrigued by the work he was doing to track down the rights for the film Full Circle (more commonly known in the States as The Haunting of Julia). After watching one particularly intriguing video on his YouTube channel (which mentioned Prince Charles of all people) I decided to ask Simon if he had done any podcasts so that I could have a listen and get more information on his quest. When he said he hadn't I immediately invited him to appear on Wake Up Heavy. After some months we finally got the chance to sit and have a talk and it was illuminating.
Also check out this episode from February about Mia Farrow and her genre films.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Were there signs of King slowing down over the next four years? Heck no! Remember what I said about 1980-83 being over saturated? Well that may have been premature. King published six novels, one novella, one collection of short stories, and the Bachman book Thinner. The previous four Bachman books were also re-released as an omnibus, which we will get to in time.
Eight movies were released during this time with many of them being adaptations of short stories, or novellas. I.e. Hollywood was really digging deep to provide movie goers with their King fix, but they were mining some of the lesser works.
Of the books published during that time these titles have been brought to the screen: Cycle of the Werewolf as Silver Bullet (1985) IT (1990 & 2017/2019), and Misery (1990). The Talisman is currently in the development stage, and Hulu is supposedly bringing The Eyes of the Dragon to their platform as a series.
My interest in King may have started to wane during these years, but, like so many of the things that brought me great pleasure when I was young, my love for all things King has returned with renewed fervor.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
The years 1980 through 1983 might possibly be the most over-saturated in terms of Stephen King output. During this time five novels were published and five movies were released, and if you didn't know who King was you must have been living under a (Castle) rock. Ha ha. And lest we forget we also got the collection Different Seasons, as well as two novels published as Richard Bachman: Roadwork and The Running Man. That's EIGHT books in three years people!!
To one extent or another all of the books published in those years have been adapted to screen: Firestarter (1984), Cujo (1983), The Dark Tower (2017), Christine (1983), and Pet Sematary (1989). Three of the stories from Different Seasons have been adapted, with the fourth ("The Breathing Method") due in 2020, AS WELL AS the Bachman books The Running Man (1987) and Roadwork forecast from the producers of IT.
1983 was pure King Heaven for this 14 year old, with the acquisition of my first hardcover and seeing a King film in the theater for the first time. And to this day the books and movies from this time period are among my favorite horror stories, not just of King's but in general.
Thursday, September 5, 2019
Stephen King shot out of the gate with the publication of Carrie in 1974. Though the hardcover didn't sell all that well the paperback rights were acquired for a whopping $400,000.00, of which King received half plus royalties. The paperback went on to sell one million copies in its first year.
Over the next five years King followed up with 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, and The Dead Zone in quick succession. That's six novels in six years, plus the short story collection Night Shift in 1978 AND the books Rage and The Long Walk written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Whew!
In 1976 Brian DePalma brought Carrie to the big screen. The movie was a critical and commercial hit, and since King's books were selling like gangbusters Hollywood came a callin'. 'Salem's Lot was turned into a TV mini-series in 1979, The Shining was made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick in 1980 (and later a TV mini-series, written by King and directed by Mick Garris), The Stand became another mini-series directed by Garris, and The Dead Zone was made into a movie in 1983 by David Cronenberg and a TV series in 2002 that ran for six seasons.
Not all King adaptations are created equally, and some can cause division (and derision) among fans of the books. In my opinion things start out very strongly with DePalma, Kubrick, and Cronenberg at the helm of their respective films. In this episode I talk at length about three of my favorite King stories.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Stephen King is one of America's most prolific writers whose books have sold roughly 350 million copies worldwide. The Master of Horror, as he's been known for quite some time now, knows how to scare people and sell books, and naturally Hollywood has mined his voluminous output in the hopes of putting butts in the seats and dollars in the bank. From his earliest novel, Carrie, which was put to film two years after publication, hardly a year has gone by without a King adaptation being released in one form or another. There have been big-budget prestige films, low-budget passion projects, TV movies, mini-series, television series, all those "dollar babies" and, more recently, a number of long-form shows and movie options on streaming platforms.
For me it all started with the books. Well, it started with the movies, or rather the trailers and ads for the movies. But I was too young to see any of those R rated films when they first came out. So I started checking out his books from the library, beginning with The Shining. which lead to his previous novels and short story collections, then to buying the paperbacks, and ultimately to buying hardcovers. King adaptations became regular rentals and I always anticipated each new film and book.
Above is the introductory episode to the Spotlight on Stephen King series. Upcoming episodes will appear over the next few weeks and months between our regularly (and irregularly) scheduled programming.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
It's been a year (give or take a day or two) since I put out the first couple of episodes of Wake Up Heavy. The months leading up to August were spent researching, acquiring the tools I needed to make it happen, and then learning how to use those tools. Those first four episodes (available below) are definitely a little less polished, and a little more varied in overall quality, but they're still fun to revisit.
Since then I have put out around 40 episodes (the WDIRT and Patreon episodes have been compiled, but were originally individually released), and look forward to many more. It's been challenging but fun and ultimately a very rewarding personal venture for me. I would like to think that things have improved overall and will continue to do so. I have no plans on quitting any time soon.
My daughter Cleo helped out with this one, as she did with the Introductory Episode, which will hopefully happen more and more as she gets older. Maybe I'll get her to watch Gremlins soon and we can talk about it. She's a 'tween though, so who knows!
Thank you to everyone who has listened to Wake Up Heavy, even if it was just one episode! Ultimately that's the point of all this, right? Otherwise I could just sit in front of the computer and talk to the screen about these movies. That would be weird though.
Thursday, July 25, 2019
On this episode I am joined by Sam Panico to discuss David Robert Mitchell's ambitious (yet messy) sunscorched-Neo-Noir-comedy-thriller Under the Silver Lake. Andrew Garfield plays Sam our hapless protagonist who is pulled into a labyrinthine mystery after a brief encounter with his neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough) and her sudden disappearance. Sam is bombarded by cryptic codes, conspiracy theories, secret societies, subliminal messages, underground zines, backward masking, LA hipsters, and an incoherent parrot as he searches for a truth that may be better left uncovered.
Much like the movie itself this episode dips and dives into many different points of reference which ends up being a whole lot of fun. Since Sam and I discussed a lot of other stuff at the beginning and end of the recording I will be putting that out as a separate bonus episode shortly.
Before the OTHER bonus episode with Sam here's a super short extra-extra-bonus special episode of me reading my initial viewing notes on UTSL. This one's a little spoilery so be careful.
And here is the bonus episode with more discussion from Sam and me. Subjects discussed: Pittsburgh filming locations, Murder, She Wrote, Marc Lawrence, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Italian horror, Exorcist rip-offs, Amityville sequels, Linda Blair, Tom Atkins, Eli Roth (again), Child's Play, Cinema Sins, Claudio Fragasso, and Amicus.
Friday, May 31, 2019
It kind of hit me after doing the Berberian Sound Studio episode that it was time for a break. Since there are 30 days in June, and I currently have 30 episodes, I will be reposting an episode a day on the WUH social media accounts. Since I never plan too far in advance, and I let my whims instruct when, what and how I record, it's quite possible I will throw up a WDIRT or New Discovery episode along the way. I will also take this time to watch movies, suss out the third full episode of Season Two and do some research on it, and maybe track down a guest host. If anyone wants or needs a guest for their podcast during June please feel free to contact me!
Thursday, May 30, 2019
"It must have been the magpies."
Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio is an eerie love letter to Italian horror films like Suspiria (see previous entry) and psychological thrillers like The Tenant. Toby Jones plays Gilderoy, a sound mixer who travels to Italy to work on The Equestrian Vortex, a graphically violent movie involving witches at a horse-riding school. Nearly everyone at the recording studio is dismissive of, or openly rude to him. This, along with the violent nature of the film and his home-sickness, sends Gilderoy down a spiral of identity confusion.
Included in this episode is my little story about how Peter Strickland and I watched a movie together in London back in 1990. Maybe. ;)
Check out the new trailer for Strickland's latest film In Fabric:
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Like many people my age, Dario Argento's Suspiria was my introduction to Italian horror films. The imagery was phantasmagoric, the music was bombastic, and the violence was horrific. Unlike anything I'd seen before, Suspiria opened up a whole new world of horror cinema, though one that was ultimately elusive and frustrating.
Ronald Dzerigian is back to join me in discussing this seminal film--arguably Argento's best--the other entries in the Three Mothers trilogy, and the 2018 remake by Luca Guadagnino. Along the way we discuss our views on spoilers, and kvetch a little more about CGI.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
WUH's first Special Guest is a fellow I've known for 25 years, give or take, and is the "movie buddy" I've referred to in a number of episodes. In this episode we talk about one of his Recollections of Horror: Joe Dante's 1981 self-referential werewolf flick The Howling.
The Howling is not a movie I watched a lot back in the Eighties but have grown to appreciate much more of late. Listen as we compare and contrast our first viewings of the film and kvetch like two old-timers about modern CGI. We try to figure out why 1981 was The Year of the Werewolf, and you get to hear me complain about watching the first three sequels (which is far as I'm willing to go in the franchise).
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
It's been awhile... Since I did a listy-list episode that is. So here ya go, more modern horror flicks I like which proves I'm not just a nostalgia baby stuck in horror's heyday. Heck, right now might just be horror's heyday, so jump on the bandwagon and check out these frightening films! What's on the list, you so impertinently ask? Listen to the dang episode says me. And then listen to the one below, too.
Thanks to Kim and Ket for letting me use a clip from their show. Check it out here, along with their other episodes. (Baby Burpsmap Rules!)
[EPISODE CORRECTION: Realized that I didn't give the title for the movie that I thought was a remake of Rituals. It's called The Ritual. Makes sense now, yeah?]
Sunday, April 28, 2019
WDIRT V2E1: Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)
This slightly sleazy, giallo-esque proto-slasher gained notoriety for starring Little Brooke Shields. But it was the anti-Catholic sentiment and shocking violence that got it condemned. Director Alfred Sole borrows from Hitchcock, throws in some Don't Look Now and tops it all off with a creepy masked killer. Enjoy! [Stars at 00:01]
[EPISODE CORRECTION: Jason Patric and Joshua John Miller are half-brothers, not step-brothers.]
WDIRT V2E1: Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
After a stay in a mental institution, Jessica, along with her husband and their friend, moves from Manhattan to Connecticut in hopes that her fragile mental state will improve. They encounter a mysterious stranger squatting in their new home, strange, hostile men covered in bandages, and a mute girl, all of whom may be the victims of a century old vampire. Will Jessica escape alive and with her sanity in tact? p.s. There's outtakes at the end of this one! :P [Starts at 18:45]
WDIRT V2E3: The Gate (1987)
Why didn't I rent this? Apparently I'm a dingus. "It's The Evil Dead, for kids!"--Mark Begley. 'Nuff said. [Starts at 52:46]
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Quite by happenstance I watched both of these films recently and was struck by their similarities. Two young girls, Lila Lee in the American South and Valerie in Czechoslovakia, are each experiencing the perilous journey into womanhood. Both are pursued by lecherous clergyman, amorous lady friends, relatives, and vampires within dark fairy tale landscapes. Will one or both succumb to the temptations laid before them, or emerge with their purity in tact?
Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1974), directed by Richard Blackburn and starring Cheryl Smith and Leslie Gilb.
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970), directed by Jaromil Jires and starring Jaroslava Schallerová.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Almost three months after the end of Season One Wake Up Heavy is back with our Season Two opener on Martin Scorsese's gritty-seventies-existential-nihilistic masterpiece Taxi Driver. WUH welcomes back Mike White from The Projection Booth podcast for another stimulating discussion.
Powerful in its cinematic style and controversial in its depiction of violence, Paul Schrader's script and Scorsese's frenetic direction imbue the film with a mounting tension that ultimately explodes in a "kill crazy rampage." By the end happenstance turns Travis Bickle, our Avenging Angel, into the "Hero Cabbie."
Robert DeNiro, in a role that has followed him through his career, leads a stellar cast including Cybil Shepherd, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, and, in one of five movies from 1976, 12 year-old Jodie Foster. Her role as a young prostitute was one of the more controversial aspects of the film, and would in turn inspire John Hinckley, Jr. to try and assassinate President Ronald Reagan.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
What's in the cellar, Rynn? Where is your father? What does Frank Hallett want? What's the big deal about those jelly jars? Have a listen and get answers to (some of) these questions!
Another quick episode to lead into the season two premiere on Taxi Driver, TLGWLDTL was one of five movies starring Jodie Foster that was made or released in 1976. I caught this one on TV as a young'n and it struck a chord and stuck with me for years. Martin Sheen's never been creepier and Foster once again plays a precocious teen knowledgeable beyond her years.
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Taking a break from horror to talk about this little movie from 1984 that I'd never heard of until a few months ago. I wanted to discuss this film as a lead-up to the season two premiere on Taxi Driver since both feature protagonists that seek vengeance to regain power under wholly different circumstances.
Karen Young plays Kathleen Sullivan, a teacher from Boston working at a high school in Texas. She meets Larry, a charming lawyer, man's-man, and gun nut, who aggressively pursues her affections. When the system fails her she seeks her own brand of justice.
Thanks to the guys at '80s All Over for talking about it on their January 1984 episode, and for letting me play a clip from said show. https://www.80sallover.com/podcast/2018/9/2/january-1984
Please be warned that the film portrays the rape of its protagonist, which is discussed within the episode, along with some offensive language.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Philip Ridley's prairie gothic The Reflecting Skin was released in 1990 to much acclaim and derision, and then quietly disappeared. The film is currently available to stream on Shudder which will, hopefully, introduce it to a whole new audience
Young Seth Dove traverses the nightmare of childhood among the wheat fields of 1950s Idaho, mostly left to this own devices by his chronically sad father and hysterical mother. He and his friends terrorize a widow they are convinced is a vampire, run afoul of delinquents that cruise the dirt roads in a big black Cadillac, and discover the wonders and horrors of the adult world.
Monday, February 11, 2019
Had a really nice time talking with Kurt North of Pick Up a Podcast. Here's the description from the show:
This episode we are talking Horror. Mark Begley recently started a new horror podcast called Wake Up Heavy. I ask him where did the name come from? How did his daughter get involved? Why did he want to get involved in podcasting? I bring up Don't Look Now (what a film). We also talk about his recent episode with Mike White of the Projection Booth (who appeared in my debut episode, check it out by the way).
Please give this, and all the other episodes he's done, a listen.
Monday, February 4, 2019
Preview Episode: It's Women in Horror Month and I wanted to do my part to promote films directed by women and centered around women.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982): The first episode of the Women in Horror Month special series is The Slumber Party Massacre. Written by Rita Mae Brown as a parody of the slasher genre but filmed straight by Amy Holden Jones, what emerged was a slightly off-kilter horror flick that might just make you question what it is you like about these films.
[EPISODE CORRECTION: Brinke Stevens was in TSPM not Michelle Bauer.]
The Invitation (2015): The second episode of the Women in Horror Month special series is on Karyn Kusama's tense horror/thriller The Invitation. This movie triggers my social anxieties, contains my favorite horror sub-genre, and has a killer cast.
Mia Farrow: Mia Farrow, though not necessarily labeled a genre actress, has been in some of my favorite horror films. In Episode Three of the Women in Horror Month series I discuss four (well five) of Ms. Farrow's horror films: Rosemary's Baby (1968), Secret Ceremony (1968), See No Evil (1971), The Haunting of Julia (1977), and (ever so briefly) The Omen (2006). Please check out The Projection Booth's episode on The Haunting of Julia: www.projectionboothpodcast.com/2012/09/e…ulia.html
The devil made me do it: Women in Horror Month 2019 concludes at WUH with an episode on Jocelin Donahue and Alex Essoe and their starring roles in two of my favorite modern horror movies: The House of the Devil (2009) and Starry Eyes (2014).
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
WDIRT episodes will be quick takes on movies I passed on as a teen, have seen since, and then wondered: WHY DIDN'T I RENT THIS (or "that", depending on what my brain made me say)? Each one will be up for a limited time, probably until the next one gets made, and then thrown together as one long-ass episode after 5 or 6 have been completed.
The first three episodes of the WDIRT sub-series have been compiled here.
Philipe Mora's films are quite varied, but they all share a certain bizarre quality. TBW is no exception. I remember the box art for this one so distinctly but never took the plunge. I wish I had because it's a very unique horror film from one of the busiest years for the genre. Plus, those bladder effects! [Starts at 00:01]
WDIRT V1E2: Messiah of Evil (1973)
From the screenwriting power duo who brought you Howard the Duck, it's the 1973 (or is it 1971? or maybe 1974?? or...) oddball Messiah of Evil (or Second Coming? or Revenge of the Screaming Dead? or Return of the Living Dead?? or the sublime Dead People???). Any way you slice it this is one kooky flick. If little 13-year-old Mark had laid his eyeballs on this one he might have grown up to be a weirdo! Oh, wait... [Starts at 12:37]
WDIRT V1E3: Deranged (1974)
Ah, Ed Gein, that perpetual paradigm of perversion spawned myriad torrid tales of terror, including, but not limited to, Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs. His horrific happenings may have been presented in their truest and most disturbing form in this wicked number from 1974 helmed by Alan Ormsby, starring Roberts Blossom, and produced in part by Bob Clark. I think this one looked just a bit too on the nose for young Markie back in the '80s. [Starts at 34:25]
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Well here it is, the season finale of Wake Up Heavy. David Lynch's 1977 seminal masterpiece Eraserhead is not only my favorite horror film it is unequivocally my single favorite film of all time. Lynch has called it, "A dream of dark and troubling things," and there is no more apt description than that. A wholly personal film, Eraserhead is a confusing conundrum of confluences that proves impossible to dissect (pun intended) unless you are David Lynch. The story itself is based on very simple, very human fears, yet those who see it are compelled to analyze the bizarre images and perplexing scenarios in an attempt to alleviate the disquieting unease the film elicits.
--Special guest this episode is Mike White, host of the only podcast that matters: The Projection Booth. As mentioned in the interview TPB has done episodes on a number of Lynch films: Dune, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (actually two episodes, both on this linked page, and both worth a listen), and Mullholland Dr.
This is a long one, so pace yourselves. Time stamps included for anyone who loses their place or wants to listen to certain sections only.
Part I: My history w/ Eraserhead & Lynch (00:01)
Part II: London & The Scala Cinema--Seeing Eraserhead on the big screen (19:03)
Part III: Synopsis & movie facts (28:24)
Part IV: Interview w/ Mike White (35:06)
Part V: Eraserhead 2000--the re-release on DVD (1:18:26)
Part VI: The "Weird" stuff (1:26:25)
Part VII: What influenced Eraserhead (1:32:56)
Part VIII: The missing scenes (1:39:23)
Part IX: Soundscape, motifs & favorite things (1:43:02)
Part X: Cast & crew, theories & wrap-up (2:00:24)
COMING SOON: Information on what's in store for the next season of WUH, and a new WDIRT or two. Thanks so much for tuning in to the first season of Wake Up Heavy.
Here is a very in depth and interesting article on The Making of Eraserhead.
Friday, December 28, 2018
It's a last minute pseudo-year-end wrap up. Keeping things confusing by offering this up before the season finale episode 'cuz that's how I roll. Plus, it's stuff I was going to include in that EP anyway, but thought it better to pull it out to knock down the run time and get this stuff out there before year's end.
Included herein are thank yous, podcast suggestions, ratings & reviews*, Patreon possibilities (and other $$$ talk), those damn stickers, the goal of WUH, a quick episode recap, and a preview of the season finale. Kind of. 😉
Below are the websites of the podcasts mentioned in the episode. All are also available thru iTunes and other platforms.
- The Faculty of Horror
- No Such Thing as a Bad Movie
- Kim and Ket Stay Alive... Maybe
- The Cheap Chills Show
- '80s All Over
- Pick Up a Podcast
- The Projection Booth Podcast (and the Ego Fest that I "co-hosted" haha).
*If you've left a review you'll get a shout out from moi. And if that ain't incentive enough to leave a review in the future then you're dead inside. Thanks to yinz who've left one, to anyone who's given a rating, and to every single person and bot who has pricked up their ears to listen to me gab about weird movies. You rock!