Wednesday, December 18, 2019

WUH: Christmas Evil (1980)

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 V4E1: Visiting Hours (1982)

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

WUH VSEP: Cleo on Return to Oz (1985)

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Why do I hate slashers?

Well, I don't actually! In past episodes I have made mention that during the VHS glory days (which has supplied much of the grist for this podcast's mill) slashers weren't on the top of my watch list. Yes, when I was younger I watched and very much enjoyed the original Halloween (and Halloween II for that matter), and catching F13: The Final Chapter was a watershed moment, but it's always been the weird oddities that I gravitated toward. When my passion for horror was reinvigorated back in 2012 I decided I needed to finally dig into all those slice-and-dice classics I passed in the racks of my local video store.

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

WUH: The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

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

WUH: Stephen King: The Bachman Books

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

WUH: Stephen King Extras

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

WUH: Special Report on Full Circle (1977)

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

WUH: Stephen King 1984-87


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

WUH: Stephen King 1980-83

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

WUH: Stephen King 1974-79

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

WUH: Stephen King

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

Happy Birthday Wake Up Heavy!

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

WUH: Under the Silver Lake (2018)

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.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

WUH: Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

"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

S2E2. Magic is everywhere: Suspiria (1977)

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: Ronald Dzerigian on The Howling (1981)

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

WUH: More Modern Horror

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?]

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

WUH: Lemora vs. Valerie

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

S2E1. I'm God's lonely man: Taxi Driver (1976)

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

WUH: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

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

WUH: Handgun (1984)

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.

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

The nightmare of childhood: The Reflecting Skin (1990)

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

WUH on Pick Up a Podcast

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

Women in Horror Month: 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:…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).

Sunday, January 13, 2019

S1E6. They're still not sure it is a baby: Eraserhead (1977)

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.