It’s our paper anniversary at Channel 83! In this episode, we reflect on some of the hard lessons we’ve learned over the course of our first year and discover that maybe the real hidden gems were the friends we made along the way. Also included are some announcements regarding the future of the ‘cast and some listener email!
It is our 83rd episode of Channel 83 and if I’d had any sort of foresight, now would have been the perfect episode to review Videodrome but I didn’t, so we’re not. Instead, we’re talking about a film that isn’t likely to inspire anyone to do anything other than possibly question what they’re doing with their life. We’re talking Xtro 3: Watch the Skies.
It’s time to Micheal down your Vincents! In this episode of Channel 83, we continue Xploring the Xcellently Xhilarating Xample of cinematic Xcrement that is the Xtro franchise. Prepare to engage duo tangents as we try to Xplain the 1990 Aliens ripoff, Xtro II: The Second Encounter.
This week we’re joined by George, host of The Best Little Horror House in Philly, to talk about Harry Bromley-Davenport’s supremely bizarre 1982 alien flick, Xtro. We also discuss Friday the 13th Part 2, the Star Wars prequels, and Hellfest.
Hello videodrones and thanks for tuning in to Channel 83. We are the TV guide for weirdos, the video word made flesh, evangelists of the obscure, and I just have one question for you – [ya like swans?]. It is Monday, April 27th, 2020, and today we’re covering a 1989 film that may or may not actually be a horror movie. We’ll be discussing Étoile, also known as Ballet.
Not a whole lot going on in Channel 83 or horror news this week. Yesterday we recorded a special guest episode that’ll be coming out for you guys next week. It was a lot of fun and I hope you guys enjoy it. Uhhh, in horror news, well… not a lot going on because of the pandemic; there’s not a lot of movie news in general. One film that has been on my radar for a while, ever since a tweet about it got under my skin a few months back, is a movie called Promising Young Woman starring Carey Mulligan. Now, I’m not sure whether or not it’s actually a horror movie, in fact, answering that question is the main reason that I’ve been anticipating its release because I really want to cover that topic for this show. It was slated to be released on April 16th but that date has come and gone without any word of when it will be released, if it’ll be released straight to VOD, etc. Other than that, I can’t say that I have too much else to talk about so let’s just talk about our movie for the week, Ballet, which likewise features a promising young woman.
Étoile, which I’m just going to refer to from here on out so as not to offend our French listeners any further with my terrible pronunciation, comes from San Francisco-born Italian writer/director Peter Del Monte. Del Monte got his start in Italian television before branching out into feature films. His first production of note is 1981’s Piso Pisello (Sweet Pea in English) about a 13-year-old boy named Cristiano who knocks up an older woman and is forced to raise a child as a single father in Milan. This was followed up by the 1982 French production, Invitation au voyage. It won the prize for Best Artistic Contribution at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and tells the story of a man named Lucien, who, after his twin sister/lover dies, puts his sister’s body in a trunk on top of his car and travels across France. Just two years before Ballet, Del Monte wrote and directed his most commercially successful film up to that point with 1987’s Julia and Julia, a film about dead lovers, lurid affairs, time travel, and loss of sanity. Suffice it to say that Del Monte’s work prior to Ballet almost reads as a parody of the stereotypes that many people have about the cinema of Southern Europe. Much of it can be placed firmly within the French tradition of fantastique, a genre in which supernatural elements intrude an otherwise realist narrative. Fantastique is not outright fantasy nor horror, but it occupies a space somewhere between purely fantastical and purely realistic and often leaves its supernatural aspects completely unexplained to the audience. It’s similar to magic realism, a genre that will be familiar to most westerners only by way of Guillermo Del Toro, but it’s not exactly the same and describing the nuanced difference between the two goes a bit beyond the purview of this cast.
It seems that with Ballet, Del Monte wished to push further into the fantastique genre. In addition to writer Sandro Petraglia, whom Del Monte had collaborated with previously on Julia and Julia, Del Monte recruited writer Franco Ferrini, best known to horror fans for his writing credits on a slew of Italian horrors including Phenomena, Demons, Demons 2, Opera, La Chiesa, and Trauma. If there’s one group of writers that embody the fantastique axiom of leaving things completely unexplained, it’s gotta be giallo writers of the 70s and 80s because narrative murkiness is a hallmark of Italian genre films of the time.
The cast in Ballet is rather small. We’ve got a young Jennifer Connelly (likely chosen because of her performance in 1986’s Phenomena) playing the part of American ballerina Claire Hamilton. We’ve got legendary actor of stage and screen, Charles Durning, playing the part of Zio Joshua, an art dealer who is assisted by his nephew Jason, played by Gary McCleery who has very few credits to his name – none of them of any significant note. The cast is rounded out by French actor Laurent Terzieff in the part of ballet director Marius Balakin. But, anyways, what is this movie about?
Well, as you can probably guess by the title, it’s about Ballet and as you can probably guess by looking at the poster, it has something to do with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The movie begins with Connelly’s Claire Hamilton arriving in Budapest, Hungary from New York City. She’s come to Europe to audition for a Hungarian ballet company but, wouldn’t you know it, the first person she meets is fellow New Yorker Jason, whom she bumps into in the lobby of the hotel she’s checked into. Claire goes to a ballet tryout but chickens out after she sees a fellow ballerina crying after a failed tryout. Claire wanders through the building and finds a theater that appears to be abandoned. She lets out her frustrations by giving an impromptu performance to what she thought was an empty auditorium. Unbeknownst to Claire, Marius Balakin, the director of the ballet she was auditioning for is sitting in a theater seat observing the whole thing. He calls out to her, using the name Natalie. Claire is startled and runs away. Claire heads back to the hotel where she again bumps into Jason and the two decide to tour the city together. They come upon an abandoned mansion in a park. It’s locked up but Claire instinctively knows where to find the key. After some investigation, they find that the mansion once belonged to a ballerina who loved Swan Lake. Claire and Jason begin to strike up a romance but not long after, Claire begins to experience strange things. People keep calling her Natalie Horvath and it seems as though she is being compelled by some supernatural force. She abruptly checks out of the hotel and Jason believes that she’s gone back to America. Color him surprised when a few weeks later he sees Claire sitting on a bench outside the ballerina mansion. Jason approaches Claire but she does not seem to recognize him. She identifies herself as Natalie Horvath and rebuffs Jason’s advances and basically tells him to fuck off. Jason, in an attempt to get to the bottom of Claire’s sudden change in personality, begins to follow her around Budapest. He follows her one night to an abandoned theater and witnesses her performing rehearsals for Swan Lake under the direction of Marius Balakin. It’s all a bit perplexing to Jason since this theater has not given a performance in years and, the more Jason investigates, the more confusing things become as it becomes apparent that Marius Balakin may be centuries old and that Claire’s upcoming performance of Swan Lake may in fact be an occult ritual to appease an ancient animal god.
A lot of this probably sounds familiar to some of you and I’d be remiss not to point out that a ballerina going through an identity crisis in preparation for an upcoming performance of Swan Lake is the exact plot of Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 film, Black Swan. But Ballet isn’t the only film that Black Swan bears a resemblance to. Much has been made about the parallels between Black Swan and Satoshi Kon’s 1997 anime feature, Perfect Blue. There are many that go so far as to say that Black Swan is a shot-for-shot remake and that Black Swan is a complete ripoff of Perfect Blue. That is more than a bit hyperbolic in my opinion but it is impossible to ignore the similarities between the two, especially if you know that Aronofsky purchased the rights to Perfect Blue so that he could replicate a shot from that film in his 2000 film Requiem for a Dream and at one point was even in talks with Satoshi Kon to do a live-action American remake of Perfect Blue. So yes, there are similarities between Black Swan and Perfect Blue and much has been made of it online. Much less has been made of the similarities between Ballet and Black Swan, which are so incredibly similar in some of the plot beats that it’s hard to imagine Aronofsky didn’t take inspiration from Ballet when creating Black Swan. Likely the reason that fewer people have noticed the resemblance between Ballet and Black Swan is that far fewer people have seen Ballet than have seen Perfect Blue. Ballet has just 451 ratings on IMDB compared to Perfect Blue‘s 50,000+ ratings on the same site. This probably has to do with the fact that Ballet did not receive a theatrical release in the US and, in fact, was completely unavailable in the US until a 2017 blu-ray release from Scorpion Releasing. Prior to that the only way to see Ballet in English would have been on a Japanese VHS release, a rather esoteric means of viewing a film that most Americans wouldn’t have even known about in the first place. But it’s likely that an American director who was buying up the rights to a Japanese film that, at the time, would have been pretty obscure to westerners, could have stumbled across a Japanese videotape or two. I’m not saying that Black Swan is a ripoff of Ballet but you also wouldn’t be able to convince me that Aronofsky didn’t pull from this movie. In short, I see Black Swan as neither wholly taken from Perfect Blue nor Ballet; I see it as a bricolage of those two films with plenty of Aronofsky’s own ideas in there to create a distinct piece of cinema. Anyways, that was a really long tangent to go off on but I just feel like I couldn’t gloss over that. So, back to Ballet.
The plot to this film is rather thin – ballerina loses identity, boy chases ballerina, possible nefarious forces at play. That’s about it. Ballet clocks in at 101 minutes, and you’d hope for a bit more than what we’re given. In lieu of plot, Del Monte attempts to build a sort of listless yet dreadful atmosphere in Ballet which, for the most part, he pulls off. Ballet is methodical and deliberately paced. For a movie of its length, there is surprisingly little dialogue in the film, save for the scenes concerning Charles Durning’s character who sticks out as the only part of this film approaching anything near energetic. Ballet isn’t at all sensationalistic but that isn’t to say that it’s boring either.
Perhaps Ballet‘s saving grace is its aesthetic. Set in Hungary (but in actuality filmed in Italy), Ballet is a sampling of but a few of the beautiful baroque old buildings that Rome has to offer. Stunning locales combined with the able guidance of Portuguese cinematographer Acácio de Almeida and some gorgeous chiaroscuro lighting makes for a movie that is visually very pleasing if not a bit light on story. In a way, this makes watching Ballet a bit like watching an actual ballet. Whether or not this was intentional, who’s to say, but I think it mostly worked.
There are, however, a few things about this movie that don’t work. After Claire becomes Natalie, Gary McCleery’s character Jason becomes the main character of the film and I’m sad to say that he just wasn’t up to the task of carrying a film. Jennifer Connelly is both visually alluring and an excellent actress, Gary McCleary always seems to be making a weird face and gives some absolutely overwrought line delivery any time he needs to convey any sort of emotion other than just being alive.
Admittedly, the dialogue in Ballet is a bit poor but Charles Durning and Jennifer Connelly were able to overcome the shortcomings of the script to deliver performances that were – even at their lowest points in the film – at least serviceable. I can’t really say the same for Gary McCleary. I never really cared about Jason, what he was doing, or what would happen to him. Because of this, the fantastique dread that Del Monte was trying to achieve in Ballet is only partially successful. It’s an uphill battle trying to build foreboding and tension around a character the audience doesn’t care about. I’m hesitant to put the blame squarely on McCleary because, as I said, the script didn’t give him much to work with but I’d say that he probably should bears the brunt of criticism for Ballet‘s dramatic shortcomings.
The most enjoyable part of Ballet is the last 20 minutes. Again, mirroring an actual ballet performance, the film ends with a cathartic crescendo. The cross-cuts between Balakin’s new take on Swan Lake with Claire as the prima ballerina and Jason’s battle against an evil force to save Claire’s soul was quite entertaining, especially because the heretofore unreferenced villain that shows up at the end of the film was just flat-out fucking bizarre. In Del Monte’s commentary on the blu-ray, he says that he was unhappy with this part of the film. For me, it is probably the part about Ballet that I will remember most. It’s at the same time creepy, jarring, and comical, so you know I’m all about it.
I said at the top of this episode that Ballet may or may not be a horror movie, and of that I’m still not sure. IMDB has it listed as a fantasy/thriller and that sounds about right, but what is the difference really between a fantasy/thriller and a PG-rated horror movie, especially when you consider that Ballet contains many of the same tropes that you’d see in a horror movie? Whether or not it is a horror movie, who’s to say and I don’t feel like splitting hairs on this topic, at least not today.
Would I recommend you watch Étoile/Ballet? I think so. I wasn’t in love with this movie but there was enough for me to enjoy in this film that by the time the credits began rolling I felt satisfied with my decision to randomly watch a movie I knew nothing about based solely on the excellent poster art. More often than not, that turns out to be a bad decision. If you like meandering, romantic films with great aesthetics and just a touch of fantasy, dread, and the occult, look no further, Ballet is the perfect movie for you in that case and I recommend it. If not, well, probably just skip this one unless you want to form your own opinion on the Étoile / Perfect Blue / Black Swan connection.
Ballet is not available for streaming anywhere.
And that wraps things us for us this week on Channel 83. Tune in next week for our special guest episode.
This week we’re covering the “lost” 1989 Jennifer Connelly film, Ballet. We discuss whether or not this movie is actually a horror and we also discuss the strange connection between Ballet, Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
Hello videodrones and thanks for tuning in to Channel 83. We are the TV guide for weirdos, the video word made flesh, evangelists of the obscure, and you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. It is Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020, and today we’re bringing you another episode of Werewolf Wednesday.
This is probably the only episode we’re gonna be doing this week. I’ve been spending some time getting ready for a special episode that we’ll be doing pretty soon featuring our first guest on the show that isn’t married to me. So, look forward to that, I’m not sure if that one will be coming out next week or the week after but it should be a good one and I’m pretty excited about it and we’re going to try and have more guests on the show in the future; I’ve already reached out to a few people. Other than that, not much to talk about so let’s just get into Werewolf, shall we?
Well, I wasn’t too sure how I was going to do these episodes but after watching a bit of the series, I think I’m just going to do 3 episodes of the show per cast because it just so happens that these 3 episodes sort of make up a nice little arc.
So, after the excellent 90 minute pilot that we reviewed last week in episode 78, the series begins on a cliff hanger. Eric Cord has been turned into a werewolf and he must now track down the werewolf that originated the werewolf bloodline, a boat captain named Janos Skorzeny. Eric needs to kill Skorzeny to lift the curse and that’s where we pick things up in the second episode of the series, titled “Nightwatch”. Like the pilot episode, this one was directed by David Hemmings and written by series creator Frank Lupo. This would be the last episode of Werewolf to be written by Lupo.
This episode begins with Eric hiding out on Skorzeny’s boat waiting for the captain to return so that Eric can kill him with some silver bullets. Skorzeny shows up, words are exchanged, and Skorzeny tells Eric that he has killed Eric’s girlfriend Kelly. Eric unloads a revolver’s worth of silver bullets into Skorzeny’s chest but they seem to have no effect. Right as Skorzeny attacks Eric, Eric wakes up. It was all a dream and thank god because I’d be sad to see Michelle Johnson’s character killed off so soon.
Even though the confrontation between Eric and Skorzeny was all a dream, Eric actually is waiting for Skorzeny on the boat and he actually does have a revolver and some silver bullets. He opens up a journal and begins writing a letter to Kelly explaining how he ended up on Skorzeny’s boat and we’re taken to a flashback of Eric contracting a gunsmith to make some silver bullets. So, this is pretty similar to the pilot episode that began with a monologue from Alamo Joe that occurred at the end of the events of the episode before we’re transported back to the beginning to see what led up to it.
After leaving the gunsmith’s, Eric goes to a bar on the docks to look for Skorzeny. A sailor tells him that Skorzeny is there right now, sitting at the end of the bar. Eric approaches Skorzeny, readying his revolver, but is interrupted by another patron. When Eric looks again at the end of the bar, Skorzeny has left, escaping out the back exit. Eric gives chase in the alley but it turns out he was following the wrong guy and the guy he was following is pissed. The stranger, who identifies himself as Mueller, roughs Eric up a bit before Eric finally gets fed up and pulls his gun out and runs away. After this we get a scene of Alamo Joe hot on Eric’s trail, questioning the gunsmith. Then, we’re taken back to Skorzeny’s boat and the episode now picks back up on the night it began. Eric is asleep in the cabin of Skorzeny’s boat and Skorzeny strolls forebodingly along the dock. Skorzeny is stopped by Mueller and we learn that the two know each other. Mueller tells Skorzeny that there’s a young man with a gun looking for him. He also basically tells Skorzeny to get the hell out of dodge or he’s calling the cops. This, of course, is a mistake and Skorzeny’s eyes go all crazy and he sprouts some wolf fangs and attacks Mueller. Let me just point out that Chuck Connors as Skorzeny looks fucking terrifying with those colored contacts and wolf fangs. Hell, even before that he’s pretty intimidating. He’s a salty old sea captain with an eye patch, so I’m not sure why this dude Mueller thinks he can just roll up on Skorzeny and tell him to kick rocks. But he does, and as a result Eric is awoken by the nearby wolf howl of Skorzeny.
Eric sees the mark of the pentagram on his palm and if you listened to our cast where we covered the pilot episode, you’ll know that this means he’s about to turn into a werewolf. Eric patrols the dock in search of Skorzeny before returning to Skorzeny’s boat to find the young sailor that he had spoken to earlier at the dockside bar. The sailor tells Eric that he knows who Eric is and that there’s been a bounty hunter asking around about him. The sailor, along with an accomplice, attempts to tie Eric up but we all know this isn’t going to work out. Eric turns into a werewolf, slashes the sailor’s throat, and tosses his friend aside like a ragdoll. Just as all this is happening, Alamo Joe shows up and begins to fire at Eric. Eric leaps off the boat and into the water, narrowly escaping Alamo Joe. Alamo Joe is on the boat the next morning talking to the police. The police say that these sorts of attacks have been going on for a month, which piques Alamo Joe’s interest because he knows that Eric has not been in Santa Clara for a whole month. This is the first time that Alamo Joe has any indication that there may be more than one werewolf. The episode ends with Eric washed up naked on the beach while some wailing guitar music plays.
The next episode titled “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”, is a bit of a change of pace. This one was directed by Larry Shaw. Shaw has mostly directed television shows but he has a few TV movies to his name as well, including a movie from 1996 called The Uninvited. No, not the one about the alien cat and no, not The Uninvited starring Elizabeth Banks, either. Shaw’s film The Uninvited is a boiler-plate made-for-TV haunted house film starring Beau Bridges. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” is the first episode to not be written by Frank Lupo. This one was written by Mark Jones who was featured on this show way back in episode 16. He is the writer and director 1995’s Rumpelstiltkin but he will best be known to horror fans as the auteur behind the Leprechaun franchise. This episode of Werewolf came well before Jones’s 1993 directorial debut with the first entry into the Leprechaun series but he had already written for a number of TV shows at this point including A.L.F., Rubik, the Amazing Cube, and the Mister T animated series.
This episode begins with Alamo Joe chasing Eric (who is in full werewolf mode) through some woods somewhere. It’s a bit confusing since when last we saw Eric, he was naked on a beach but it doesn’t really matter all that much I suppose. Alamo Joe manages to shoot Eric, and Eric is discovered by a young boy who lives nearby. The young boy’s name is Davey Harris (played by Danny Cooksey who will best be known from his roles as Budnick on Salute Your Shorts and John Connor’s ginger friend in Terminator 2). Davey lives with his mother Leah who has an abusive boyfriend named Bobby. Davey is obsessed with monsters, so when he finds a wounded werewolf, naturally he leads the werewolf to his treehouse hideout. When Eric comes to the next morning, he finds that he has a bullet lodged in his abdomen and tells the 12-year-old Davey that he’ll have to dig the bullet out. Why? I don’t know, but Davey rides his bike to the local doctor and asks for some medical equipment so that he can dig the bullet out of Eric. The doctor obliges and gives Davey some surgical instruments. Why? I don’t know, but later on Alamo Joe comes sniffing around the doctor’s office and when Joe hears the doctor’s story about a local child performing surgery on a werewolf, the bounty hunter knows he’s hit paydirt. Anyway, the next night the drunken boyfriend Bobby starts beating Davey and his mother. Eric hears this and goes to defend the boy and his mom, getting into a fistfight with the boyfriend. In a scene very reminiscent of The Incredible Hulk TV series, Eric transforms into a werewolf and kills the boyfriend. By the time Alamo Joe shows up to the Harris house, Eric has already left and the episode ends with Eric howling at the moon while some wailing guitar music plays.
The fourth episode, “The Black Ship”, sees the introduction of some new names that end up being pretty prominent in the series. This episode was directed by James Darren, an actor/director/musician who has a pretty large body of work but nothing I really recognized other than some TV shows, many of which have ties to Frank Lupo. This is the first of 8 episodes directed by Darren and considering that there are only 29 episodes overall, that’s a pretty sizable chunk. “The Black Ship” was co-written by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch. Again, their credits consist mostly of work on other Frank Lupo productions but Bunch and Cole would go on to write 11 and 12 episodes of Werewolf, respectively.
The episode begins with Eric Cord returning to Santa Clara and inquiring about the whereabouts of Janos Skorzeny. He goes to a building – I’m not really sure what it is, I guess it’s some sort of sailor’s association or like the association that controls the dock. Not too sure but he goes there and asks the guy at the desk for information on Skorzeny. The clerk looks it up and finds that Skorzeny has no address or phone number listed but that a man named Otto Renfield has been paying Skorzeny’s dues for the last 7 years. Now, if you’re familiar with the story of Dracula, the name Renfield should be familiar to you and you probably know where this episode is going.
Eric finds Renfield at a bar. The old sailor tells Eric that he may have some information on where to find Skorzeny and the two go to the derelict ship that Renfield lives on. Renfield shows Eric some pictures of Skorzeny from 30 years ago. Skorzeny looks exactly the same in those pictures as he does in 1987, so we learn another bit of werewolf lore in this one: apparently werewolves in this universe do not age. Renfield tells a story about his sailing days with Skorzeny. 30 years ago, Renfield and Skorzeny robbed and killed a stranger in Australia. During the altercation, Renfield got stabbed in the leg. The wound became gangrenous and Renfield had to have his leg amputated. He was also apprehended by authorities and spent 5 years in prison as a result. Renfield tells Eric that he has hated Skorzeny ever since and he tells Eric that his papers regarding Skorzeny’s locations are in a chest in the jail cell of the brig. Renfield takes Eric to the brig and double-crosses him, locking Eric up in the jail cell just before Eric transforms into a werewolf. Unlike in the last episode, we actually get to see Eric transform and, again, the makeup and effects are solid. Wolf-Eric doesn’t really do anything though, he bangs on the bars of the cell for a little bit before we cut to the next morning where Eric is naked in the cell.
Renfield explains to Eric that he truly does hate Skorzeny but he wants so badly to be turned into a werewolf that he has spent much of his life cleaning up after Skorzeny’s messes in an attempt to get into his good graces. Renfield drops some hints that Skorzeny is far older than Eric had previously believed, perhaps even a few centuries old, so apparently werewolves in this universe are also immortal and that’s the main reason that Renfield wishes so desperately to become one.
Later that day, Skorzeny shows up, does his skin peel werewolf transformation, and attacks Renfield before making a b-line to the brig. By the time Skorzeny-wolf gets to the jail cell, Eric has already managed to escape, so unfortunately we don’t get another werewolf fight in this episode. Eric returns to the ship later on to find the wounded Renfield. Renfield has finally gotten his wish – Skorzeny has finally turned him into a werewolf – but Renfield realizes now that he doesn’t want any part of this and begs Eric to shoot him. Eric obliges, shooting Renfield in the head, and that’s where this episode leaves us.
Ok, so. These three episodes. I liked each of them but I wasn’t as high on these three as I was on the pilot. At this point Werewolf is a series that’s just finding it’s feet so ya gotta cut it some slack and I get that. My main issue with these three episodes is that they don’t do a whole lot to propel the main plot of the story. We do get little tidbits of info and some added lore in these three but there’s really not a whole lot going on. It’s mostly Eric aimlessly pursuing Skorzeny and Alamo Joe aimlessly pursuing Eric. The principle players are all there but nothing is really moving forward and the narrative is sort of in stasis at this point. From the end of the pilot to the end of the 4th episode, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. Eric is still after Skorzeny, Alamo Joe is still after Eric. That’s about it. And even though I’m harping on the fact that this mini-arc didn’t propel the plot all that much, ironically the episode I enjoyed the most out of the three was the one with the little kid, which has nothing to do with the main plot and could be deleted from the series entirely without affecting the overall story.
In the upcoming episodes what I’d like to see is Michelle Johnson’s character Kelly popping back up at some point. In general, I’d like to see more recurring characters introduced because, as it stands now, each new character we’ve met only appears in one episode and then they’re gone. Or maybe just some more meaningful interaction between the 3 characters we do have. Alamo Joe basically doesn’t interact with Skorzeny or Eric, I mean, he shoots at Eric and there was one scene in episode 2 towards the end where Joe and Skorzeny exchange a few words but I’d like to see more. Overall, though, I’m still on board. Werewolves and wailing guitar music earn a lot of good will from me and this show has both of those things in spades, which is nice. One thing that I do enjoy about this show and something that makes it stick out from the shows its aping off of, is that Eric – as both a werewolf and a human – kills people pretty often. I think so far he’s killed like 5 people, so there’s more at stake for Eric in this show than there is for David Banner in the Hulk TV series. In that show, the whole thing is that Banner doesn’t want to be found out; he doesn’t want people to know that he’s the Hulk. In this show, of course Eric doesn’t want people to know that he’s a werewolf but there’s the added stress of knowing that he could basically turn at any moment and wreck someone’s shit. I’ve always enjoyed stories like this with a sort of morally gray protagonist, it’s part of why I love volume 2 of the Venom comic books so much and I think it’s an interesting and kind of bold choice to have a murderous werewolf be the protagonist of a late 80s television series.
Thus concludes our second installment of Werewolf Wednesday. If you’d like to follow along and watch the series with me, like I said I’m pretty sure you can find it online but if you can’t find it and you want to watch it, just hit me up and I can point you in the right direction. See ya next week.
This week we bring you our second installment of Werewolf Wednesday, in which we cover the forgotten TV series Werewolf that aired from July of 1987 to August of 1988. In this episode we cover the episodes “Nightwatch”, “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”, and “Black Ship”.
In our first installment of Werewolf Wednesday, we begin our coverage of the forgotten TV series Werewolf that aired from July of 1987 to August of 1988. We’ll be covering some of the production history of the show as well as giving a review of the pilot episode.
This week we talk franchises, the new Hellraiser movie, and we bring you a quick one-off review of 1992’s Star Time. If you’ve ever wondered what Taxi Driver directed by David Lynch and featuring John P. Ryan quoting Karl Marx would be like, Star Time is just the film for you!
In this episode, we’re playing a game of “horror movie tag” in which we answer 11 questions about our relationship with the horror genre and invite our listeners to give their answers as well! This was inspired by a video from Mike at Rotted Reviews so be sure to show him some love and check that out too.
This week we begin a new series on Channel 83. In each episode of Tubi Tuesday, we’ll be going over some movies to help you sift through the free streaming service’s extensive catalog. This week we’re talking Sudden Fury (1993), DNA (1997), Stalking Laura (1993), and Curse of Demon Mountain (1977).
Yet another topical rant this week on Channel 83. Gatekeeping is most definitely an issue in the horror community but is there a difference between gatekeeping and simply having a difference of opinion? Is criticizing a film inherently exclusionary?
We’re being lazy this week and releasing an episode that has been buried in the Channel 83 vault. The original concept of the show was to have 2 hosts, one an avid horror fan and the other a complete horror noob. Scheduling conflicts prevented this first iteration from getting off the ground but here’s a glimpse into the beginnings of Channel 83, our very first episode ever recorded!
Channel 83 joins George Heftler on The Best Little Horror House in Philly to discuss why Larry Cohen’s 1974 film, It’s Alive, is the best horror movie ever made – according to us at least!
We’re still putting our new studio together at Channel 83, so this week we’re taking a quick look at the short films of Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson. We’ll be discussing The House on Dame Street (1999), Fifty Percent Grey (2001), The Silent City (2006), Blinky (2011), The Leviathan (2015), and Corporate Monster (2019).
This week, we bring you another topical rant on a niche subject that you probably don’t care about. This episode we ask the questions, to what extent are collectors of rare media responsible for their preservation? What can the average person do to help ensure that rare, obscure, and out-of-print films don’t disappear entirely?
A Channel 83 double feature, 1967’s Wait Until Dark and 2020’s The Invisible Man. Two movies featuring “invisible” villains, but the way in which they achieve invisibility is completely different. How do the different mechanisms of invisibility affect the films’ narratives and what does this mean for us, the audience?
This week we take a look at four horror oddities – Boo! (1932), La Cabina (1972), Fisheye (1980), and Michael Jackson’s Ghosts (1996).
This week, we get super pedantic and go full ACKSHUALLY as we answer a question that no one asked and likely no one else cares about: what makes a horror movie a “hidden gem”?
This week I begin to make good on one of my New Year’s resolutions for Channel 83 by reviewing an older horror film, 1941’s Invisible Ghost. One of the many slapdash productions Lugosi appeared in during his career’s decline, Invisible Ghost is a tale of murder, jilted lovers, police incompetence, and unknown identical relatives from South America.
This week we are joined once again by our frequent guest, Hana, to review the 1991 made-for-TV film about “killer” house cats, Strays. We also talk a little bit about Spiral: From the Book of Saw, why the Oscars can go fuck themselves, arthouse horror, and more.
This week we review Oz Perkins arthouse take on a fairy tale classic, 2020’s Gretel & Hansel. This episode is contains a long segment of email answering as well as a rambling, ill-prepared for and poorly-conceived review. Cheers!
This week we review Tunisia’s first horror film, 2018’s Dachra written and directed by Abdelhamid Bouchnak. It was screened at Frightfest London 2019 and it’s the first Tunisian film to turn a profit in over 20 years.
I decided to just do a one-off episode this week. The movie we’ll be reviewing is 1979’s The Brood.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review our second horror film of 2020, William Eubank’s Underwater.
It’s a new year and I wanted to take this episode to kind of talk about sort of the state of cast. Where have we been? Where are we going? What kind of content can you look forward to from Channel 83 in the upcoming year?
Channel 83 joins George Heftler of The Best Little Horror House in Philly, filmmaker Elliot Slade, and horror YouTuber Mike Stone of RotD Entertainment for a round-table discussion on arthouse horror. We tackle a variety of topics related to the new wave of horror films such as The Witch, Midsommar, In Fabric, The Lighthouse and others.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review our first horror film of 2020, Nicholas Pesce’s The Grudge.
We’re taking a look at all the films we’ve reviewed this year on Channel 83 and we’re handing out some awards for the best and worst ones in different categories. This ended up being a really long episode, and we’re not really set up to record two people so the audio quality isn’t what it usually is and the editing could be better but hopefully you can still enjoy it. If you don’t care to hear all this and just want to hear our picks for the best and worst of 2019, just skip ahead to the last 30 minutes or so. Next week, we’ll be doing another special cast discussing the future of Channel 83 and what we have planned for 2020.
Alright, it’s New Year’s Eve and I figured since we just did a Christmas horror marathon, why not continue the festivities with an episode focused on horror films that take place on or around New Year’s Eve? Our three films for this week are The Fifth Cord from 1971, New Year’s Evil from 1980 and Ghostkeeper from 1981.
We have reached the end of our Christmas horror marathon. It’s been an interesting experiment I suppose, I’ve been introduced to some really great new stuff as well as some absolute crap. Let’s wrap it up here on Christmas eve with 1983’s Blood Beat.
Oh man, the Christmas horror marathon has taken a serious nose-dive since Uncle Cyril. Tonight we take a look at 1996’s Santa Claws. Let’s just try to get through this.
We’re nearing the end of our Christmas horror marathon and thank god because some of these movies are really trying my patience. Tonight we review the 1980 Italian cannibal exploitation film, Eaten Alive.
Today we review what is probably the second worst of the season with 2013’s The Lady Bruins Christmas Slumber Party.
The Christmas horror hits just keep on coming. Tonight we take a look at Uncle Cyril, a 1989 film out of Czechoslovakia that goes by the alternate titles The Damned House of Hajn, Invisible, The Invisible Man, and Prokletí domu Hajnù.
We are continuing our Christmas horror marathon with another episode of Tales From the Darkside. Tonight we’re reviewing The Yattering and Jack, the seventh episode of season 4.
Alright, so yesterday we hit an absolute low in our Christmas horror marathon with the first movie of the season that I absolutely did not like, 2017’s Sugarplum. Today we try to redeem ourselves with 1980’s Christmas Evil, a film I hadn’t seen before that seems to have been getting more and more praise over the past few years.
The Christmas marathon has finally broken me. Tonight we review Sugarplum, a short film from 2017.
Tonight we’re taking a look at And All Through the House, the 2nd episode of season 1 of Tales From the Crypt.
After waiting so long to see this, can 1989’s Elves live up to my expectations?
Tonight we’re taking a look at Monsters in My Room, the 12th episode of season 2 of Tales From the Darkside.
We are 4 episodes into our Christmas marathon and so far it has been pretty good. I’ve liked everything I’ve reviewed so far to some extent and I’m actually really surprised by that. I thought that this whole Christmas horror thing was going to end up being torturous but so far I’m feeling pretty good about it. Let’s continue with the 1985 Hong Kong horror, Night Caller.
Today we are continuing our Christmas horror extravaganza with the 2008 Jason Eisener short, Treevenge.
Today we are continuing our Christmas horror extravaganza with 1988’s Deadly Dreams.
For the month of December I’m going to try and review as many pieces of Christmas horror media as I can. This is going to range from movies to shorts to TV episodes to anything else I can find and we’re just going to be doing a bunch of one-off episodes. Let’s kick things of with Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater: Present from 2005.
Alright we are back to horror from here on out. It’s nice to take a break every once in a while but nothing beats a good horror movie and boy are there some good ones this week. Our theme this week is Idaho and we’re reviewing three horror movies that take place in the Gem State. We’ll be taking a look at Idaho Transfer from 1973, The Being from 1983, and The Reflecting Skin from 1990.
This is our second week of Halloween Hangover and while we’re still doing some non-horror films we’re slowly dipping our toes into the genre this week before getting back into it full-swing. This week we’re taking a look at 3 non-horror films directed by famous horror directors. We’ll be reviewing John Carpenter’s Elvis from 1979, Abel Ferrara’s King of New York from 1990, and Joe Dante’s Matinee from 1993.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep.
The Halloween season has passed and to help you get over your Halloween Hangover, we’re switching things up a bit this week and taking a look at 3 movies that are decidedly non-horror. We’re all probably feeling a little bit partied out after Halloween, so hopefully these three films will provide a palette cleanser and a much-needed break from horror. Our movies this week are Gravity from 2013, Quest for Fire from 1981, and Glengarry Glen Ross from 1992. It doesn’t get any less horror than that.
This week our theme is writers and we’re taking a look at films which have a writer as the main character. We’ll be reviewing Hold the Dark from 2018, The Shining from 1980, and The Rat Savior from 1976.
Halloween is just a few days away and we’re bringing you another Halloween-themed episode to help get you into the holiday spirit. Our theme for this week is “trick or treat” and our three films are Trick or Treat from 1986, Trick or Treats from 1982, and Trick ‘r Treat from 2007. It should be pretty obvious what our three films this week have in common.
Recently I had the opportunity to see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in theaters with a live musical accompaniment from Austin, TX based band The Invincible Czars, so here’s another quick one-off episode.
Just a quick one-off review of the conclusion to Rob Zombie’s Devil’s Rejects trilogy.
Alright, the Halloween season is upon us so for the next two episodes we’ll be looking at some Halloween related horror films to get you into the holiday spirit. Our theme this week is Pumpkins and our movies are Jack-O from 1995, and Hack-O-Lantern and Pumpkinhead both from 1988.
I recently had the opportunity to see the 1988 Frank Henenlotter film, Brain Damage, in theaters so I figured I’d do a quick one-off episode to give my impressions.
It’s Channel 83’s birthday so we’re releasing an episode that has been buried in the Channel 83 vault for some time. The original concept of the show was to have 2 hosts, one an avid horror fan and the other a complete horror noob. Scheduling conflicts prevented this first iteration from getting off the ground but here’s a glimpse into the beginnings of Channel 83.
The theme for this week is Rutger Hauer and we’ll paying tribute to the genre film icon that sadly passed away back in July. The movies this week are Surviving the Game from 1994, The Hitcher from 1986, and 1997’s Bleeders.
This week’s theme is Exploding Heads and each of our films this week features, you guessed it, someone’s head exploding. We’ll be taking a look at Galaxy of Terror and Scanners – both from 1981 – and 1986’s Night of the Creeps.
Our theme this week is Crazy and each of our movies’ titles are terms used to call someone, for lack of a better word, crazy. We’ll be reviewing 1980’s Schizoid, 1982’s Basket Case, and 1960’s Psycho.
This week’s theme is Texas and each of our movies takes place in the Lone Star State, sort of. We’ll be reviewing 1976’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown, 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the Andy Muschietti’s IT Chapter Two.
This week’s theme is “It” and our movies are tied together by nothing other than the fact that they all have the word “It” in their titles. We’ll be reviewing 2005’s It Waits, 1967’s It!, and 2017’s It: Chapter One.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Our theme for this week is Lovecraft, and we’re taking a look at 3 film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories. We’ll be talking about 1985’s Re-Animator based on the serial novelette “Herbert West-Reanimator”, The Resurrected from 1991 based on “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, and 1994’s The Lurking Fear based on a short story of the same name.
For the first time ever we have a special guest in the Channel 83 studio. This week we are joined by my better half, Hana. In honor of our special guest, we also have a special theme this week. Each of our movies this week came out in 1992, the year Hana was born, and I picked each movie with her tastes in mind. This week we have a TNT made-for-TV version of Frankenstein, a super obscure movie out of Hong Kong called The Cat, and the Brian De Palma film Raising Cain.
Channel83 is on vacation so we’re releasing an episode that has been buried in the Channel83 vault for some time. The original concept of the show was to have 2 hosts, one an avid horror fan and the other a complete horror noob. Scheduling conflicts prevented this first iteration from getting off the ground but here’s a glimpse into the beginnings of Channel83.
This week we take a break from movies to examine Genocyber, the ultra-violent anime mini-series from 1994.
This week’s theme is Cars, and each of our movies features a killer car of some sort. We’ll be reviewing The Wraith from 1986, Ferat Vampire – a little known 1982 film out of Czechoslovakia, and the 2007 Tarantino joint Death Proof.
Our theme for this week is serpents and, unsurprisingly, all three films involve serpents in some capacity. We’ll be reviewing 1997’s Anaconda, Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow from 1988, and Larry Cohen’s 1982 classic Q: The Winged Serpent.
Our theme for this week is names, and the names of the antagonists in each of our films figure prominently into the plot. In addition, each of our films this week is based off of a pre-existing story. We’ll be reviewing the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation The Unnamable from 1988, 1995’s fairy tale horror Rumpelstiltskin, and 1992’s Candyman based off of a Clive Barker short story.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the Alexandre Aja’s Crawl.
This week’s theme is hardware and each of our films are somehow related to tools and machinery. We’ll be reviewing Driller Killer from 1979, Woodchipper Massacre from 1988, and 1990’s Hardware.
The theme for this week is Bill Paxton and we’re gonna watch three movies starring – you guessed it – Bill Paxton. The movies this week are Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker from 1981, Mortuary from 1983, and 1993’s Boxing Helena. (Apologies for audio quality, someone was mowing their lawn for literal hours during the only time I was able to record)
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the Ari Aster’s Midsommar. (Apologies for audio quality, someone was mowing their lawn for literal hours during the only time I was able to record)
Our theme this week is Houses and each of our films contains a variation of house in the title and features a house as a prominent plot point. We’ll take a look at Rob Zombie’s divisive 2003 debut House of 1000 Corpses, 1986’s House, and 1989’s Sweet Home.
This week, we have our Slippery theme and each of these films contains a goopy killer. We’ll meet a couple of bullshit artists in 2016’s The Greasy Strangler, douse ourselves in 1976’s The Oily Maniac, and get a whiff of something foul in 2000’s Drainiac.
Just a quick one-off episode where we review the new reboot of Child’s Play.
This week’s theme is Anthropoids. We’ll go full frontal in 1996’s Pinocchio’s Revenge, check into the Bodega Bay Inn with 1989’s Puppet Master, and get intimate with a medical dummy in 1988’s PIN.
Our theme this week is comic books. In this week’s pull list, we’ll thumb through 1982’s horror anthology Creepshow, witness a crossover in 2001’s Earth vs. the Spider, and take a look at Oliver Stone’s uncirculated 1981 one-shot, The Hand.
Venture beyond your wildest dreams with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Dreamcatcher (2003), and Deathdream (1974).
Venture beyond your wildest dreams with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Dreamcatcher (2003), and Deathdream (1974).
Venture beyond your wildest dreams with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Dreamcatcher (2003), and Deathdream (1974).
This week Channel 83 takes you to the Land of Lincoln with Halloween (1978), Child’s Play (1988), and 10 to Midnight (1983).
This week Channel 83 takes you to the Land of Lincoln with Halloween (1978), Child’s Play (1988), and 10 to Midnight (1983).
This week Channel 83 takes you to the Land of Lincoln with Halloween (1978), Child’s Play (1988), and 10 to Midnight (1983).
Just a quick welcome to give you the low-down on the podcast and to let you know what to expect from future episodes.
Channel 83 is a podcast dedicated to bringing you the best, worst, and weirdest that horror cinema has to offer. Each week, we will be picking three films that are tied together with a loose theme. We will give you a synopsis of each film, followed by a review/analysis/recommendation/anything else that we think you might find interesting.
In addition, we’ll be broadcasting these films so that you, the listeners, will have the chance to check out the films that we discuss.
What sort of movies can you expect? Well, we’ll be going through the horror franchises both major and minor, forgotten classics, unknown schlock, foreign oddities, and everything in-between. Horror can be a difficult genre to define so there may be some films that teeter on the edge. No matter the movie, we will always strive to provide you with content that will entertain, interest, or disgust horror buffs and horror noobs alike.
Thank you for listening, and long live the new flesh.