On April 7th, the Damn Dirty Geeks recorded our first live audience podcast episode at Eliot Brodsky's fantastic annual convention, Monsterpalooza, in Pasadena -- an entire weekend filled with guest appearances, star-studded stage panels and the top monster artists in the business. We launched the event with our live podcast recording with two special guests: actor/writer/director/puppet creator Kirk R. Thatcher and co-creator of The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, writer David Colton.
Get ready for a rip-roaring, fun hour-plus as Kirk takes us on a whirlwind tour of his career, from working in the creature shops of RETURN OF THE JEDI and GREMLINS, to playing the annoying punk opposite Kirk and Spock in STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, to writer of MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND and director of JIM HENSON'S TURKEY HOLLOW. Kirk is a barrel of laughs and has a hilarious gift in telling stories about working with George Lucas, Jim Henson, Leonard Nimoy and many other talented collaborators on Thatcher's many creative projects.
David Colton, a journalist and executive editor for USA Today, is a lifelong fan and supporter of horror films and founder of the Classic Horror Film Boards who coined the term Monster Kid to celebrate the generation of fans who grew up watching and loving horror and monster films. David also runs the Rondo Hatton Awards, an annual fan-voted presentation nominating the best and most talented writers, journalists, artists, filmmakers and Hall of Fame inductees who preserve and perpetuate horror, sci-fi and genre entertainment in all forms. Members of the CHFB and participants in the Rondo Awards extend the continuum of classic monster films like the original DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN though 1950s sci-fi classics, the explosion of iconic horror film characters in the 1970s and '80s, up through today's horror renaissance with THE WALKING DEAD and beyond.
Enjoy the energy of this live audience podcast episode in which the Damn Dirty Geeks and our guests chat and laugh off-the-cuff on stage at Monsterpalooza. Even so, we barely scratched the surface of discussion with both Kirk and David, and hope very much to have both back on our show as guests again soon to continue the fun.
Special thanks to our sound engineer Brice Cranston for his extra efforts making this live recording run so smoothly, and to friend of the show Eric Kurland of 3-D Space for letting us share his convention theater to record this episode. And don't forget to listen to this episode with your glasses on as we recorded the show in 3-D!
For more photos and full show notes/links, visit our website at DamnDirtyGeeks.com
The Damn Dirty Geeks geek out with the amazing character actor H.M. Wynant, star of one of the best Twilight Zone episodes plus a featured actor in CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, among his lengthy list of credits. H.M. is the first APES veteran we’ve had as a guest on our podcast, though he won’t be the last! Joining the Geeks and H.M. is a talented director/producer and film historian Michael Schlesinger, a friend of the Geeks with a steel trap mind when it comes to Hollywood history — which came in very handy during this episode as H.M. recaps his decades-long acting career and lengthy list of co-stars!
Being lifelong fans of the PLANET OF THE APES films, the Geeks were thrilled to have H.M. Wynant as a guest on our podcast as a cast member alumnus from the classic franchise films — but there’s so much more to H.M.’s acting career. Enjoy the tales of his lengthy credit list that including dozens of Hollywood legends including: Clark Gable (RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP), Errol Flynn (PLAYHOUSE 90), director Sam Fuller and actor Charles Bronson (RUN OF THE ARROW), Randolph Scott and director Budd Boetticher (DECISION AT SUNDOWN), creator Rod Serling and actor John Carradine (THE TWILIGHT ZONE), Elvis Presley (IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR), Adam West (BATMAN), Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Ricardo Montalbano and Severn Darden (CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) and many more.
We try not to fan-geek out discussing H.M.’s guest starring turn on excellent 1960 episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, “The Howling Man,” which series fans often consider among the very best produced by Serling for the landmark show. H.M. regales us with tales of how writer Charles Beaumont and episode director Douglas Heyes battled over whether or not to reveal the prisoner’s true identity, and a surprising resolution to this decision. As the delirious and eventually doomed David Ellington, H.M.’s multi-layered performance makes this tale of good versus evil immensely believable despite its simple setup. Enjoy listening to how H.M. approached this pivotal role in the episode, and speculate on why “The Howling Man” remains so highly praised after five decades of syndication.
H.M. spoils the Geeks with his tales on the set of CONQUEST, working with Don Murray (who got his first job in Hollywood via H.M.) and Severn Darden, who made an indelible impression on H.M. Then he shifts gears to play a villain with a farcical comedy touch in two episodes of the classic BATMAN series, co-starring as henchman Frosty working for Mr. Freeze (Eli Wallach) in the second season episodes “The Duo Defy” and “Ice Spy.”
Not only does our added guest Michael Schlesinger save our conversational bacon by pulling historic Hollywood names out of thin air during our chat with H.M., but you’ll learn some fascinating details about his work on Larry Blamire’s feature comedies THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN and DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, both also featuring H.M. in hilarious supporting roles. Michael also co-wrote and directed THE ADVENTURES OF BIFFLE AND SHOOSTER, a series of simulated 1940s comedy shorts starring a fictional comedy duo (Nick Santa Maria and Will Ryan), along with co-stars including H.M. plus our own Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger.
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The Damn Dirty Geeks recently spent another fantastic evening discussing independent horror and genre film movies with another prominent woman filmmaker, Staci Layne Wilson, also joined by one of her frequently cast actors, Curt Lambert. Growing up in LA and the entertainment industry, and forging a career as a journalist for several entertainment-related publications, Staci now imbues her short and feature films that blend diverse elements from burlesque entertainment to pulp horror elements into Staci's unique narrative style.
In this episode, we delve into Staci's biographical background, her early influences and her growing resume of films as a producer, writer and director including VALENTINE DAYZ, PSYCHO THERAPY, FETISH FACTORY, THE FIANCÉ, NOT WITH MY DAUGHTER, KEEPSAKES, and SELF-PORTRAITS.
If you're a new viewer of Staci's films, her writing and directorial styles explore elements you enjoy from directors including Dario Argento (SUSPIRIA, TENEBRE, INFERNO) and Brian De Palma (SCARFACE, DRESSED TO KILL), artistically melding dark moody atmospheres of suspense and terror with brightly colored cinematic palettes that lend an eerie surrealism to her work.
Staci and the DDG are also joined by actor Curt Lambert, who appears in Wilson's films VALENTINE DAYZ, FETISH FACTORY, THE FIANCÉ, THE LINCOLN along with the web series THE HOTEL BARCLAY. Lambert provides entertaining anecdotes and experiences working on the set with Wilson across these projects, lending insight into her quickly paced production schedules.
Enjoy this latest episode in our DDG series discussing horror and genre entertainment with female filmmakers like Staci Layne Wilson making big names for themselves in the industry, then share it with your genre-loving friends and fiends!
The Damn Dirty Geeks are back for Year Two of our podcast as we celebrate our second anniversary of the show, and we're starting off on the wild side!
A quick change of recent recording plans resulted in our second Damn Dirty Geeks Wild Card episode that dives straight into THE TWILIGHT ZONE with a dizzying collage of discussion topics.
We launch into a study of GALAXY QUEST -- is it the best STAR TREK movie to date? -- then question the streaming service delivery of the new series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY starring our friend Doug Jones. We're psyched to see Doug in the TREK universe, but question if PPV is the right move by CBS to start a new mission.
Then we take a very goofy detour across the galaxy to revisit Maz Kanata’s house band as seen in THE FORCE AWAKENS. An equally abrupt transition sparks up a lively debate about the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY makeover for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim. This theme park ride discussion transports us into a larger study about the lifespans of our favorite Monster Kid franchises like Rod Serling’s classic TWILIGHT ZONE in today’s streaming-media generation.
Our discussion of the TZ franchise's longevity also makes a great topical preview of our upcoming episode with veteran actor H.M. Wynant, who discusses his leading role in one of the best classic TZ episodes of the series amid his prolific career. Watch for H.M.'s appearance with the DDG coming soon!
Buckle up for this wild, wacky ride through pop culture and genre films with the Damn Dirty Geeks as we throw caution – and good taste -- to the wind and simply let this podcast episode fly where it takes us!
And we dedicate this episode to the memories of Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher, who both left us far too soon. Rest in Peace.
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!
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.
The Damn Dirty Geeks finally wrap up our pre-THE FORCE AWAKENS conversation about all things STAR WARS before J.J. Abrams' film opens in theaters on December 18th!
Frank Woodward joins Jack, Scott and Frank D after Part 1 and 2 of our STAR WARS debates and discussion as we count down the final seven days until we see Episode 7.
First we catch up Woodward from where the other three Geeks left off in Part 2, getting his input on the Star Wars Holiday Special, where the Prequel Trilogy films went wrong in laying a shaky foundation for the superior Original Trilogy films, and our superb Chewbacca impersonations.
We also explore the dark times in STAR WARS history after RETURN OF THE JEDI left theaters in 1983, including the Ewok TV adventures, and multiple home video and soundtrack editions with no new theatrical films. Finally the long wait ended with the release of the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy, which we propose were largely test runs for Lucas to make THE PHANTOM MENACE for the Digital Cinema age.
We wrap up the show with our hopes and predictions of what might happen in THE FORCE AWAKENS. Who will survive? Where is Luke? And does Chewie drink pina coladas? More importantly, where will this new generation of STAR WARS characters lead us in that beloved galaxy far, far away?
We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we had a blast recording it -- a show loaded with amenities at no extra charge to you, the listener. May the Force be with you as you see THE FORCE AWAKENS in theaters, and the Damn Dirty Geeks look forward to joining you again in 2016 with new shows and more post-TFA STAR WARS discussion.
The Damn Dirty Geeks revisit one of our favorite topics and TV shows, THE WALKING DEAD in our first wildcard episode linking up several hot topics. This time, both Franks, Scott and Jack address the recent Season 6 cliffhanger episode that put Glenn's life in the hands of zombie-horde fate, and how this trend of keeping audiences in suspense over mid-season breaks has changed modern television.
Our TWD discussion evolves into a rousing debate about this era of binge watching TV series like GAME OF THRONES, SHERLOCK and HOUSE OF CARDS. We examine how this television trend crashes headlong into the internet era, which can reveal TV story spoilers nearly-live as they appear on the screen -- if the fan rumor mill doesn't spoil them before episodes air.
The fun continues as we compare and contrast THE WALKING DEAD to the George Romero DEAD universe of films and their collective impact on zombie mythology in pop culture. We also enter a Hasslein Loop linking TWD to PLANET OF THE APES, JAWS, THE OMEGA MAN, SOYLENT GREEN and WESTWORLD.
We wrap up this wildcard episode with the hilarious prospect of Damn Dirty Geeks action figures that would include kung-fu grip, eyepatch and blaster gun accessories.
Also, this episode will be the first released using our new DDG studio microphones, which improve the sound quality of our podcast greatly, as we hope you'll agree. Let us know if you can hear and enjoy the difference.
Coming soon will be another wildcard episode in which we return to the 1970s to discuss sci-fi films prior to STAR WARS like WESTWORLD and much more.
With SPECTRE now in theaters, actor and voice artist Daran Norris -- an uber 007 fan himself -- recently joined the Damn Dirty Geeks to share our mutual fascination and fandom of James Bond films and fiction from Ian Fleming's first novel up to the 24th film.
Looking ahead to SPECTRE, Daran and the DDG examine how different actors taking on the role of Bond, from Connery through Craig, have exploited different sides of 007 and how Bond has changed with them.
Some serious discussion about the evolution of the Bond film franchise also ensues, how they adapted or drifted away from Fleming's novels over the decades, but we also have plenty of fun ranking our favorite films, villains and Bond theme songs too.
You'll likely recognize Daran from his 400 films, video game, and television roles including Cliff McCormack in VERONICA MARS, the voices of Cosmo, Jorgen Von Strangle, and Mr. Turner in THE FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, Knock Out in TRANSFORMERS PRIME, and Spottswoode in TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE.
Your mission is to download or stream this all-007 podcast episode and save the free world. Sip on a martini with the Damn Dirty Geeks while you listen.
If you like this episode, please rate and review the Damn Dirty Geeks podcast on our iTunes page.
The scaring season is finally here as directors John Skipp and Andrew Kasch join the Damn Dirty Geeks to share our ghost stories and fond trick or treat memories about Halloween, all of which inspired their segment in the new anthology film TALES OF HALLOWEEN.
John and Andrew share their differing experiences growing up enjoying the Halloween season in their youth as we explore the evolution of this holiday from innocent neighborhood fun to a massive industry, allowing even casual home haunters to purchase elaborate animatronic monsters and digitally presented haunt environments.
We also visit the current trend of theme parks like Universal Studios and Knotts creating annual Halloween haunt events that translate into trick-or-treating for adults. Andrew and John collaborated as co-directors on "This Means War," their hilarious and horrifying segment of the new holiday anthology film TALES OF HALLOWEEN, now available on all major VOD outlets. Their story pits a classic Halloween yard decorator (previous DDG podcast guest, actor/comedian Dana Gould) reacting to a a competing yard display filled with contemporary gore and blasting soundtrack built buy a new hard rocking neighbor (James Duval) across the street. This suburban game of oneupmanship turns dark and dangerous as these two Halloween enthusiasts turn their rivalry into deadly battle.
Enjoy our special Halloween episode with Andrew and John, then be sure to check out TALES OF HALLOWEEN now available on all major VOD services, including links in this episode's Show Notes. And Happy Halloween to all of you from the Damn Dirty Geeks!
You'll lose your heads listening to the Damn Dirty Geeks' podcast visit from actor Graham Skipper as we talk about his lead role in RE-ANIMATOR THE MUSICAL and a few upcoming, highly anticipated horror films.
How does an actor follow up a benchmark performance in horror cinema? By singing his guts out and spraying the front rows of a theater audience with blood and guts, of course! Graham regales the DDG with his inside tales of performing as Dr. Herbert West in RE-ANIMATOR THE MUSICAL live on stage in both LA and Las Vegas. The original film's director Stuart Gordon adapted his work in 2011, adding music and lyrics by Mark Nutter to add another layer of horror insanity to this Lovecraft-inspired tale of terror.
Graham also discusses his lead role in our own Frank Woodward's comedy short BALLOON, now available on YouTube and Vimeo, along with Graham's latest starring roles in Joe Begos' THE MIND'S EYE, and the upcoming horror anthology film TALES OF HALLOWEEN.
Spend an hour with this very talented, funny and versatile actor who is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in genre entertainment as Graham and the Geeks put the first chills of horror on the 2015 Halloween season.
To the Batcave as the Damn Dirty Geeks welcome Academy Award-winning creature creator, makeup artist, actor and director Tom Woodruff Jr. to our podcast to discuss his amazing career and his earliest influences that started him on his filmmaking journey.
Tom has amassed a huge career in high profile films with his creative partner Alec Gillis, who together created Amalgamated Dynamics Inc./studio ADI, a leader in practical creature, makeup and special effects. A very brief list of Tom's credits include: STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, ALIEN 3, PREDATOR, JUMANJI, SPIDER-MAN (2002) and most recently BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.
Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis own Amalgamated Dynamics Inc, one of Hollywood's top creature design, makeup and special effects studios. Tom not only makes some of your favorite movie creatures, he often performs as them in the creature suits he creates, including the Lead Alien in both ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION, the title creature of the original PUMPKINHEAD, and Bernie the gorilla in ZOOKEEPER. We discuss the particular challenges of suit performances in such films, and how his acting experience in these suits begins in the creature design phase bringing these aliens, apes and monsters to life on the big screen.
This episode starts off with some laughs about Tom's excellent replica of the original 1966 Batmobile from the classic TV series starring Adam West as Batman (see photos in the gallery below). The show had a huge influence on Tom's childhood and it was an early gateway into genre entertainment that we continue to remember fondly today in our careers. Tom also belongs to the ever-expanding group who credit KING KONG and PLANET OF THE APES as highly influential on his life and career -- it almost seems to be a theme of the DDG podcast, go figure.
Atomic batteries to power... turbines to speed... prepare to listen now!
Actor/writer/director Tom Holland returns to continue his podcast with the Damn Dirty Geeks, this episode focusing on his highly popular 1985 twist on the vampire genre, FRIGHT NIGHT... for real!
As Holland's directorial debut, FRIGHT NIGHT acheived that rare balance of humor and horror, and it helped revitalize the vampire film genre upon its theatrical release. Holland briefly recaps a final question about PSYCHO II and its critical reception in 1983 and today, then he and the DDG move on to sink our podcast teeth into FRIGHT NIGHT.
Slated as a 'throw away' film on Columbia's schedule at the time of its production, Holland relates how he put equal effort to creating rounded, rich characters for both villains and heroes alike, as he did with PSYCHO II. Just one of the reasons why FRIGHT NIGHT still holds up well as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Holland also gives his insights into how FRIGHT NIGHT "inherited" many of the effects crew that Columbia held together after GHOSTBUSTERS, which gave his "little" vampire film massive production value and made it a huge hit for the studio.
Tom also shares the genesis of Tom Holland's Terror Time, a website serving his fan community requests for autographs and movie memorabilia from Tom's films including FRIGHT NIGHT, PSYCHO II, CHILD'S PLAY and more. Be sure to check out this great site built for genre fans and like the Terror Time Facebook page.
The DDG wrap up this episode with Tom's thoughts on the future of film entertainment, including his predictions for the great impact that 3D virtual reality could have on our current theatrical and home video industry templates.
There's plenty to feed on in part 2 of our extended episode with Tom Holland, so listen, download and subscribe now before Jerry Dandrige turns you to the dark side forever!
Special thanks to our DDG theme composer Brice Cranston for engineering this recording.
P.S. Tom Holland proved to be such a popular guest for this episode recording, that a cricket even crashed our recording studio. If you hear a few chirps in the background, just pictured Mr. Holland and the Damn Dirty Geeks chatting on some veranda during a balmy summer evening and go with it!
The full contingent of Damn Dirty Geeks -- Frank, Jack, Frank, Trish and Scott -- spent a wonderful and informative evening with writer/director Tom Holland to discuss his successful filmmaking career and his daunting task of writing the 1983 sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's innovative horror thriller PSYCHO.
PSYCHO II began as a humble, low-budget cable film but Holland's taut, suspenseful script persuaded star Anthony Perkins to reprise his role as Norman Bates, a casting coup that launched this sequel project into the publicity stratosphere -- even if its production budget didn't follow.
Holland shares his earliest experiences as a theater actor with contemporary Dustin Hoffman, a contract player at Warner Brothers in the early 1960s, and his evolution into one of Hollywood's top screenwriters of notable films including PSYCHO II, FRIGHT NIGHT and CHILD'S PLAY among many others.
The DDG will soon release our second-part podcast with Tom Holland celebrating the 30th anniversary of his witty vampire film FRIGHT NIGHT.
Special thanks to our DDG theme composer Brice Cranston for engineering this recording.
With STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS just a few months from blasting into theaters, the Damn Dirty Geeks revisit the classic, original STAR WARS trilogy in two full length podcasts.
In Part 2 of this double-episode, Frank, Jack and Scott return to discuss RETURN OF THE JEDI that capped off the Original (and at the time, the only) STAR WARS Trilogy in 1983. Comparisons and criticisms abound between JEDI's lighter tone following up EMPIRE's cliffhanger (some say unsatisfying) ending, and how Episode VI caught a bit of a bad reputation for being as much of a toy-selling product as an exciting franchise finale.
Yet the DDG also defend JEDI's important contributions to resolving the Luke/Vader conflict and creating a watershed dramatic moment in the Skywalker saga.
We wrap up by each picking our favorite scene from the OT, as well as predict how the highly popular, internet-exploding trailers for THE FORCE AWAKENS could well revive the emotional impact of the Original Trilogy to this new Sequel Trilogy in a return to the feelings about STAR WARS we grew up with a long time ago in childhoods far, far away.
Special thanks to our DDG theme composer Brice Cranston for engineering this recording.