As October and Halloween approach, the Damn Dirty Geeks revisit the horror genre with an energized episode featuring indie filmmaker Izzy Lee, discussing her body of work and the long overdue growth of female directors and talent in the genre.
Lee's dark, evocative films including INNSMOUTH, POSTPARTUM and A FAVOR deliver the director's signature touch of short, sharp shocks that challenge viewers in the best tradition of taboo, provocative horror tales of Clive Barker.
Lee's INNSMOUTH also ventures into the nightmarish landscape of H.P. Lovecraft's horror realm but with a distinctive feminine perspective that adds new layers of interpretation of and impact from the author's original view of physical horror.
The DDG gladly explore Lee's work as another welcome female voice in the horror genre which -- despite other strong women directors including Ana Lily Amirpour, Jennifer Kent, Maude Michaud, the Soska Sisters and others -- remains woefully short on representing a fair and realistic ratio of women writers and directors. But we hope that Lee and her like will alter that reality in the near future as their work gains more prominence in festivals, signings and picture deals.
Horror would benefit from more and stronger female presence in the genre and industry, and the Damn Dirty Geeks will continue our efforts to give these talented women the recognition and exposure their excellent work merits. Enjoy our latest episode and get into the Halloween horror mood with Izzy Lee!
The Damn Dirty Geeks continue our roll discussing great entertainment moments with experts in their craft, thanks to popular character actor Jim Beaver. Jim prolific career is filled with memorable characters that made lasting impacts on the films and series in which he appeared. Our visit with Jim Beaver has yielded one of our best, breeziest, most engaging episodes yet.
It's likely that most listeners will know Jim Beaver's work from three projects: as the gruff but lovable Ellsworth in HBO's hit western drama DEADWOOD; his one-shot guest appearance turned recurring character Bobby Singer in SUPERNATURAL; and his co-starring role in Guillermo del Toro's gothic romance CRIMSON PEAK. Fans also enjoy Jim's work in the series JUSTIFIED and his role as Lawson in BETTER CALL SAUL, a crossover character Jim first played in BREAKING BAD.
A terrific storyteller, Jim regaled the DDG with stories of his experience filming DEADWOOD and the mysteries of character development he explored playing Ellsworth as his character arc expanded most unexpectedly. Jim also shares how John Wayne most strongly influenced his acting style and career, as part of his own character building in a broad range of characters including highly un-Ellsworth role of Carter Cushing in CRIMSON PEAK.
This sets up a fascinating discussion of actors deliberate seeking range in their careers across films and television, a mission that Jim Beaver continues to accomplish with every new credit he gains. Enjoy this hour-plus visit with the very funny, friendly and talented Jim Beaver. If you enjoy it as much as we did recording it, please share your comments in a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes.
This episode combines two of the DDG's favorite things: the genre character sculptures of artist Mike Hill and our combined love for werewolves in the movies!
Mike Hill is an English artist and sculptor who is literally a monster maker. His life-size figures of movie characters including Lon Chaney as The Wolf Man, Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein creature and many more have been featured displays on horror conventions and are prized collectibles by genre devotees including Guillermo del Toro.
The painstaking attention to detail and character Mike puts into his life-size figures brilliantly capture the likeness of his famous film subjects as well as those iconic movie moments that reside indelibly in the minds of monster kids like us. We discuss with Mike how he accomplishes sculpting and recreating these characters from classic films like FRANKENSTEIN, THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, recently I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF at Monsterpalooza, plus Mike's stunning adaptation of the classic Aurora Wolf Man model kit in life-size form! Hill is also famous for his realistic figures of real world monster makers including Ray Harryhausen and Jack Pierce.
The DDG and Mike also delve once again into a favorite topic of film werewolves, a subject that launched Hill's fascination with genre films, model making and art. A lively discussion ensues about how the underlying concept of dual personalities and repressed human impulses has remained a relevant theme in genre movies and literature for over a century.
Enjoy our howling good Damn Dirty Geeks podcast with artist Mike Hill and be sure to visit our website for a photo gallery of Mike's sculptures to fully appreciate his amazing talents and love for monsters!
If you're a fan of werewolves too, be sure to check out the DDG's episode devoted to lycanthropes in film, literature and pop culture as well.
Though a couple of our Geeks weren't available for this episode, Jack, Scott and Frank Woodward recently gathered to share our appreciation for director John Carpenter, who has created at least two classics in his varied career yet remains an unsung director by the Hollywood studio system.
Thankfully, being overlooked and undervalued didn't stop Carpenter from creating some of our favorite films including HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, CHRISTINE, STARMAN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and THEY LIVE, among others we discuss and evaluate in this episode.
We also discuss the creative crossover between Carpenter as a director and as a musician beyond the fact that he often composed original scores for his own films, in light of Woodward's recent viewing of Carpenter's live concert.
While the film industry fails to appreciate John Carpenter's work, there is no doubt that the director's legacy from the 1970s to today and beyond continues to inspire artists and audiences alike.
The Damn Dirty Geeks hope this episode inspires our listeners to watch more Carpenter films or re-evaluate them if you're already familiar with his work, and share them with others to recruit new fans to express their appreciation for John Carpenter.
The Damn Dirty Geeks take another stab and celebrating and studying the horror film genre with our special guest, producer/director Mike Mendez.
Like two of our previous podcast guests, Andrew Kasch and John Skipp, Mendez also directed a segment of the horror anthology film TALES OF HALLOWEEN released last October. Mike's segment "Friday the 31st" pits a deranged serial killer against his feminine quarry who turns the tables in a shocking twist of the typical slasher formula. Mendez also discusses BIG ASS SPIDER!, his affectionate horror/humor tribute to the big bug movies of the 1950s.
We revisit films like CARRIE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES that were early influences on Mike's youth and inspired his eventual career, including a rousing discussion of James Cameron's genre-mashing sequel ALIENS.
We weave all these subject threads together in a larger examination on the state of current independent horror films and filmmakers, existing and thriving outside the formulaic entries of higher-budget studio franchises or even compete against them at the box office.
Be sure to share Damn Dirty Geeks episodes with your horror-loving friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and show your support of DDG by writing a review of our show on iTunes.
The Damn Dirty Geeks welcome back our special guest actor Sam Witwer, who returns for Part 2 to discuss his prolific voice work throughout the STAR WARS cinematic galaxy, from his likeness and voice at the center of The Force Unleashed video game series up through THE CLONE WARS, STAR WARS REBELS and even THE FORCE AWAKENS.
Sam launches us into the STAR WARS universe immediately with an awesome taste of his voice work as Palpatine (both in Chancellor and Emperor mode), which soon branches into a deeper discussion of how Sam approaches the character in his own original ways. Sam also delves into the creative side of voice acting, how he molds his sound-alike assignments to the script rather than simply imitate the actor who originated the role.
While Part 2 of our episode with Sam Witwer talks at length about STAR WARS, his insights into voice acting apply to screen acting as well as the work all boils down to character building. Sam tells a fascinating story about how he built up the character and voice of the Son, an original character created in the Mortis arc of episodes in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: ultimately blending aspects of multiple villain characters to give a unique but familiar voice to the Son. Sam and the DDG also have lots of laughs discussing the ridiculous deaths of video game characters and the silly sounds voice actors create to kill them off at the click of your controller.
Sam offers some fascinating insights into George Lucas as a storyteller, and how Lucas being tired of making STAR WARS movies prompted him to tell tales of Jedi and Sith in an entirely different format by creating THE CLONE WARS animated series. Our discussion also taps into the non-canon "demise" of Expanded Universe fiction as the Star Wars Legends line with the creation of the Lucasfilm Story Group -- which continues to borrow and rework EU story facts and situations in a way that unifies current STAR WARS fiction with the films more directly.
It's not all STAR WARS talk in Part 2 with Sam, though! This episode also takes a fun detour into discussion of MAD MAX: ROAD WARRIOR which speaks to a larger discussion with Sam about fandom in general, and fan expectations (including Sam's) of these mythic, larger-than-life story franchises.
Our listeners have long awaited Part 2 of our podcast with popular, prolific actor Sam Witwer, but we hope you'll agree that the wait was worth it! Between detailed discussions of STAR WARS, voice acting for animation and video games, and fandom in general, once again Sam Witwer knocks a Damn Dirty Geeks' podcast out of the park. Enjoy!
Enjoy this exclusive podcast preview clip from Part 2 of the Damn Dirty Geeks' episode with actor Sam Witwer, discussing his voice acting work in the STAR WARS universe including video games, animated TV series and THE FORCE AWAKENS.
The Damn Dirty Geeks are back after a busy hiatus (of exciting new projects) with the first of a string of new podcast episodes! First up is our salute to two Hammer horror greats, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, who were united by our episode guest Ted Newsom in his superb documentary FLESH AND BLOOD: THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR.
In this hour, Ted regails us and DDG listeners with tales of bringing Lee and Cushing together professionally for the final time as narrators of Newsom’s Hammer documentary, as Cushing passed away only three months after the duo recorded their parts in early 1994. Longtime friends, Peter and Christopher were delighted to spend this time together — as you can see from Ted’s photos of the pair during their narration recording sessions.
Ted describes his own amazement at reunited Lee and Cushing for his documentary, watching another chapter of Hammer horror history in the making — and just in time. Beyond this work, Newsom speaks of the affectionate bond between Peter and Christopher off-screen, including the silly trick Cushing would do to have Lee in stitches with laughter. FLESH AND BLOOD brought Dracula and Van Helsing together one last time, fortunately for us Hammer horror fans, and the DDG are proud to host Ted Newsom sharing his personal adventures in uniting them as performers and dear friends.
Our episode with Ted expands hilariously beyond Hammer horror to include: debates about the comedy quotient of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD; tales from David Prowse about working with Stanley Kubrick: Christopher Lee’s appearance hosting Saturday Night Live and his second career of “not playing Dracula” in many films about a tall, sinister vampire character; and a very touching story of how Lee’s fear of seeing an ill, aging Cushing almost prevented their reunion from happening until Newsom gathered them together in his documentary.
This episode with Ted Newsom is a wild ride through horror history peppered with plenty of laughs, so grab your vampire hunting kit and enjoy! A link to purchase the updated edition Ted’s documentary FLESH AND BLOOD: THE HAMMER HERITAGE OF HORROR is provided in Show Notes on our website at DamnDirtyGeeks.com.
The Damn Dirty Geeks continue our ongoing discussion about the STAR WARS cinematic universe with our official review episode on THE FORCE AWAKENS.
While we recorded this episode last December just after THE FORCE AWAKENS blasted into theaters for a billion-dollar box office run, we delayed publishing it to give as many STAR WARS fans and DDG listeners to see the film. The wait is over, and the Geeks' lightsabers are clashing in full-force now!
Frank, Jack, Scott, Trish and Frank dive deep into THE FORCE AWAKENS for all its strengths and potential weaknesses in jumpstarting the feature franchise again. We reach a consensus about liking the film, but engage in lively debate about how the contributions of director J.J. Abrams and writers Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan shaped the story of Episode VII and the next two films ahead.
Many of our main plot predictions from our previous STAR WARS podcasts came true in THE FORCE AWAKENS, though the film yielded many surprises as well, for better and occasionally worse. Our discussions/arguments arise over: the Abrams/TREK-like science warping of the First Order's solar weapon; the clouded mystery surrounding Snoke's true identity; how and who is training Kylo Ren in the ways of the Force; and how is Rey tapping into the Force without any training -- just for starters!
We also have much to say about the performance of Harrison Ford as an older, evolved Han Solo, along with the younger cast including Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. On the other hand, why did Max von Sydow and Gwendoline Christie get so short-changed in their roles?
Was there too much overlap between THE FORCE AWAKENS and the Original Trilogy films, or were the similarities very deliberate to help erase the disappointments of the Prequel films?
We answer these and many other questions amid one of our most raucous, high-spirited and laugh-filled podcast episodes yet. Be sure to listen to our episode on THE FORCE AWAKENS before (and after!) it arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand in early April.
The Damn Dirty Geeks have scored another fantastic two-part podcast episode with our special guest, actor Sam Witwer, talking about his film and TV series roles in THE MIST, THE WALKING DEAD and BEING HUMAN.
Joining Frank, Jack, Frank, Scott and Trish, Sam Witwer opens this Part 1 episode with the unlikely, fortuitous story of how he became the first actor cast in Frank Darabont's feature adaptation of THE MIST, Stephen King's Lovecraftian sci-fi horror novella. This discussion twists into a study of notorious film endings and interpretations, including THE MIST along with BLADE RUNNER and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Sam also shares several inside stories about his work and the making of SyFy's hit series BEING HUMAN, in which he stars as Aidan Waite, a 2000-year-old vampire who struggles to exist in the modern human world with his werewolf and ghostly roommates.
Blending lighter moments of comedy with dark, emotional scenes of human drama -- even for an undead vampire -- Sam relates his acting process in developing Aidan beyond the tropes of genre expectation. Witwer's own character concerns actually changed scripted moments in the series, ensuring that viewers identified with Aidan's supernatural curse just like drug addiction does in humans. Sam also relates how he strove never to violate Aidan killing humans without confronting the moral cost of his actions, and how that changed his character over the centuries.
This Part 1 episode offers fascinating insights into Sam Witwer's acting philosophy and his work in these favorite films and series, all while the DDG have a very fun evening with him. Plenty of laughs ensue, and this is only the beginning!
In Part 2 of our podcast coming soon, the DDG and Sam begin delving into his lengthy association with the STAR WARS franchise, including THE FORCE AWAKENS, animated series and video games.
In Part 2 of our podcast, the Damn Dirty Geeks pick up right where we left off discussing JAWS with director/special effects master Greg Nicotero for a second hour of fun jokes and inside stories.
Greg and the DDG talk about the JAWS-inspired home movies made when we were younger, using everything from fiberglass wall-mounted sharks to Fisher Price toys, rubber sharks, piles of leaves and stop-motion action figures. Greg also shares his own geek origin story, being inspired by Universal classic monsters, TV shows like LOST IN SPACE and LAND OF THE LOST, and especially miniature-mashing disaster movies like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and THE TOWERING INFERNO.
But it was the mechanical sharks in JAWS that began Greg’s obsession to learn how such movie creatures were made, reading film magazines that turned a hobby into an eventual career. Fate intervened when local Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero began production on his zombie sequel DAWN OF THE DEAD in 1978 that Greg finally connected with his destiny… via Greg’s uncle. Yet fascinatingly, Greg first met George Romero in Rome, Italy while the Nicoteros were on vacation! It’s a fun and amazing tale Greg shares in this episode.
This episode concludes with a lengthy discussion about how Tom Savini’s makeup effects in DAWN OF THE DEAD inspired Greg to practice his craft to position him to join Savini’s makeup team on DAY OF THE DEAD. We get elbow-deep into the gut wrenching gore effects of classic Romero zombie kills and how their artistry — seemingly primitive to today’s photorealistic CG visual effects — nonetheless hold up better and remain more horrifyingly convincing decades after their creation.
Jack and Frank raise a fascinating question to Greg: would he direct a remake of JAWS? Listen to learn Greg’s definitive answer, as well as his opinion on the impending reboot/remake of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by Universal.
Buckle up for Part 2 of our supersize podcast with Greg Nicotero, whom we’ll definitely have back on the Damn Dirty Geeks podcast when his very busy schedule with THE WALKING DEAD and other films allows him to return to town.
Recorded in late 2015 but unleashed now, saddle up for this rollicking fun podcast episode taking aim at WESTWORLD, Michael Crichton's 1973 futurist thriller, with side trips to discuss what the Damn Dirty Geeks love about 1970s cinema.
The first of our "wild card" podcasts, we had no set guest and no specific topic points to discuss in this episode. Frank, Frank and Scott had just gone to a wonderful screening of Crichton's classic sci-fi/western presented by Taylor White and Creature Features at The Theater at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, and recorded this episode the following night to capture our enthusiasm for the unique stylings of 1970s American films.
While being a superb representation of cinematic tastes in 1973, WESTWORLD also proved highly influential on science fiction/action films to come amid the burgeoning computer boom in the decade. You'll find strong WESTWORLD influences upon content and visual style in James Cameron's THE TERMINATOR released eleven years later. References to Yul Brynner's relentless, tireless pursuit of Richard Benjamin in WESTWORLD's finale, the robot's heat-vision imaging of his target, and the double-twist ending of the seemingly indestructible robot's demise were all programmed into Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 performance and character by Cameron in his 1984 blockbuster. Crichton was there first, and he dramatized similar science fiction themes and nightmarish scenarios once again in his best-selling novel JURASSIC PARK.
We also cite WESTWORLD as a perfect example of 1970s cinema to hire character actors to play leading roles, typified by Richard Benjamin embodying much more of an "everyman" aspect portraying Peter Martin instead of today's musclebound macho leading men so common today. Yup Brynner proved to be the perfect casting to portray the android Gunslinger in his stoic, commanding physical approach to the role, a trait clearly carried over from his similar appearance 13 years prior in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Via Richard Benjamin's Q&A after the screening, we relate the details of how Brynner invented an inner psychology and evolution of the robotic Gunslinger that subtly informed his menacing performance. The DDG also appreciate Crichton's under appreciated skills as a director of WESTWORLD which, despite its outdated technology on display, holds up very well to contemporary scrutiny over 40 years after its release.
Ultimately, the DDG rhapsodize about the heights of 1970s cinema and our favorite films of the era, including THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3, THE EXORCIST, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, NETWORK, and how their storytelling style is a unique and seemingly lost art in today's blockbuster era. Even the movie posters were better in the 1970s, dammit.
Enjoy, please subscribe to our podcast and share it with your fellow movie geek friends! If you like the DDG, please rate and review our podcast on our iTunes page.
Year Two of the Damn Dirty Geeks podcast starts off big with our first podcast guest of 2016, director/executive producer/makeup effects creator Greg Nicotero, who joins the DDG for two hours discussing one of our favorite films, Steven Spielberg's thriller JAWS.
In Part 1 of our evening with Greg Nicotero, he shares how seeing JAWS in 1975 prompted many nightmares as well as his earliest aspirations to learn how such movie creatures were made.
Greg also unspools his tale of how his family kept a fiberglass shark on their wall -- a rarity for a Pittsburgh boy who grew up fascinated by the challenge and process of recreating the beast from JAWS.
The DDG also discuss with Greg the crucial differences between Peter Benchley's best-selling novel and Spielberg's more streamlined, simple and terrifying film adaptation that scared audiences right out of the ocean.
Greg gives his own insights into how learning from directors like Spielberg, George Romero and John Frankenheimer aided his own approach to directing episodes of THE WALKING DEAD as well.
Enjoy Part 1 of our podcast fun with Greg Nicotero. Soon we'll publish Part 2 in which Greg talks more about his own Jaws obsession, discusses his early work with George Romero making DAY OF THE DEAD, and more about his directing and makeup effects career.