Behind The Scenes: The Pod People (1983)

Pod People
Holy Cow! Just when you thought the internet couldn’t get any better it goes and delivers a behind the scenes photo for the 1983 Spanish science fiction film “The Pod People”.

Or as Dr. Clayton Forrester explained it to us in the MST3K episode:
“Your experiment today is called Pod People. It has nothing to do with pods… it has nothing to do with people… it has everything to do with hurting.”

[Via] Sara Monster Files

Personally this is one of my favorite episodes…and part of that may very well be because it gave us the chart topping single “Idiot Control Now”.

[Via] Branjero

So what do you think of this behind the scenes photo, Joel?

"It STINKS!"

“It STINKS!”

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Check Out This Awesome 1982 Theatrical Commercial For Yar’s Revenge!

Yar's Revenge - Atari
Last week we shared some awesome audio treasure from the famous Dig Dug commercial that was seen theatrically back in 1982. Watching that commercial at the 62 Drive-In ranks up there in my memories of that outdoor movie theater and in my youth I really tried to record it on my portable cassette recorder only to find that they had switched it out with the Intellivision ad.

I do love both of those ads but I have to say this one featuring Yar’s Revenge, Asteroids, and Star Raiders is new to me. I also have to say that I honestly think it’s the best of the 3 commercials thanks in no small part to the trippy 3-D effects and narration.

[Via] Good Rob 13

Do any of you have memories of seeing this ad in theaters?

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Saturday Frights: The Veil – “Girl On The Road” (1958)

Saturday-Frights-Sean-Hartter

Welcome back, Dear Viewers. Once more I have the honor to program your evening’s entertainment here at the Retroist Vault. Unlike the television broadcasts of Sage I will be presenting something worthy of your limited viewing time. The second episode from the 1958 anthology series hosted by Boris Karloff known as “The Veil”.

Boris Karloff - The Veil

The gimmick, heh, the premise of this television series was they were all based on true supernatural or unexplained events. It was produced by the Hal Roach Studios, the studio you might remember that brought us the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy and was responsible for the Our Gang series of comedic shorts. The Veil however was never actually aired on television as troubles arose in the Hal Roach Studios and it wasn’t considered to be profitable enough to sale the show into syndication.

At least it survived the ages so that you viewers may watch it on your portable television sets. In this very episode you will be introduced to John Prescott who is having a bit of problem when he stops to help a young woman named Lila Kirby, in need of assistance as her automobile has ceased functioning properly. When John drives Lila into town to get some assistance and a mixed drink a mystery present itself very quickly as when the bartender uses a pay phone the two can overhear him asking for a Morgan Deb which causes the Lila to panic and flee the bar. John finds out quickly that no one wants to talk abou Lila Kirby…but why?

[Via] Pizza Flix

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Pac-Man Shrinky Dinks

Pac Man - Shrinky Dinks
I know it’s a little early in the morning…but it is always the right time when we are talking about baking up a batch of awesome Shrinky Dinks. Especially if they happen to be of our favorite Power Pellet munching icon, Pac-Man!

Images courtesy of Astronit's Flickr Page.

Images courtesy of Astronit’s Flickr Page.

Ghosts - Shrinky Dinks - Astronit

Ghost A - Shrinky Dinks - Astronit

Ghosts B - Shrinky Dinks - Astronit

Not that Shrinky Dinks were focused solely on 1970s and 1980s characters, they also made great gifts for your parents as this commercial from Vintage TV Commericals proves.

A big thanks to Astronit and his Flickr page for these awesome images of some of the Pac-Man Shrinky Dinks collection.

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Craig Davison Has Captured Our Childhoods With These Star Wars Illustrations!

About a week back Sonja Nelson was kind enough to share some of these illustrations by Craig Davison of children using their vast imaginations to step into the roles and scenes from a little film about a “Galaxy Far, Far Away”. I am pretty sure that as you look a few of these illustrations over you will find a great big smile has magically made it’s way across your face, courtesy of not only a very talented artist but those many days of your youth where you realized the importance of a flashlight as a Jedi’s most trusted weapon, or how you took on the properties of the dreaded AT-AT Walker on the snowy wastes of the planet Hoth.

All images courtesy of Craig Davison.

All images courtesy of Craig Davison.

AT AT - Star Wars - Craig Davison

Speeder Bike - Star Wars - Craig Davison

Stormtrooper - Star Wars - Craig Davison

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Behind The Scenes: Explorers (1985)

A big thanks to Jason Presson’s Tumblr page for this fantastic behind the scenes shot on the set of Joe Dante’s Explorers from back in 1985. Though this film experience has left a bad taste in Mr. Dante’s mouth, the studio decided to move the release date up and told the Director that his film was now finished, so what we have seen really adds up to kind of a work in progress.

Still it is great to see Joe Dante smiling with his cast of young explorers on the set back in 1985.

Image courtesy of Jason Presson. From Left to Right: River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Joe Dante, and Bobby Fite.

Image courtesy of Jason Presson. From Left to Right: River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Joe Dante, and Bobby Fite.

One can only hope that at some point using digital technology that Joe Dante will be afforded the opportunity to finish his film. At the very least we have an enjoyable if flawed Sci-Fi movie and a really awesome music video by the late great Robert Palmer.

[Via] Retro Vault

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The Dark Half and Monkey Shines now available on Scream Factory Blu-ray!

Scream Factory gives us an early Thanksgiving treat this week!  Not one, but TWO wonderfully done Blu-ray releases of the George A. Romero films, Monkey Shines and The Dark Half.

dark-half-monkey-shines

Monkey Shines tells the story of Alan Mann, a quadriplegic who gets a Capuchin monkey as his little helper. At first, Ella the monkey is very useful.  She can make phone calls, get Alan drinks and even do cute dances to make him laugh.  However, unbeknownst to Alan, the monkey has been part of a genetic experiment which makes her a little…nutty.  Things start to go sour when Alan and Ella begin to connect telepathically and wreak havoc when Alan gets angry.

I hadn’t seen the film in many years.  It plays more as a drama than straight up thriller.  Not that I hate drama, but I always felt this film could have been a little more fun with the creepy monkey parts.  That said, Romero always does a good job at building tension and the film’s violent crescendo is totally off the rails.

Based on a book by Stephen King, The Dark Half  stars Timothy Hutton as an unsuccessful novelist writing under his own name, Thad Beaumont.  However, under his pen name, George Stark, he’s a wildly successful crime fiction writer who tells violent and trashy stories.  Once Beaumont’s two-faced career is revealed, he decides it’s time to literally and publicly kill George Stark. He holds a burial, complete with a headstone that dons Stark’s name.  This is all in hopes for Beaumont to move on and start a legitimate career writing important works.

So, it comes with great shock and terror when a physical presence of George Stark rises from the fake grave and starts to kill everyone connected to Beaumont.  The film leads us on a supernatural cat and mouse as we learn the secret of why George Stark has been born into the real world and how Beaumont’s writing will keep him alive.

Both films are clearly Jekyll and Hyde stories.  The Dark Half  is more literal regarding man’s duality and I think it’s a more successful film and one of Romero’s better works after the dead trilogy.  I had not seen the film since it came out in 1993 and I really enjoyed watching it again.  It’s very polished and the acting is superb.  Michael Rooker has a nice role as a good guy, which is something we don’t see too often in his career.

THE TRANSFERS
Both films look beautiful on Blu-ray.  The Dark Half’s gorgeous photography really stands out.  There is a nice balance of grain and crispness.  When Romero goes old school with big, bold color washes, the transfer is very vibrant without any desaturation that you might have seen in previous versions.

THE EXTRAS
The people at Red Shirt Pictures, who put together the docs on these releases, have stepped up their game here.  In the past, I’ve commented on how sometimes the docs can be a little light in content.  Of course, many times that’s chalked up to what or who is available.  However, BOTH Blu-rays have excellent docs on the making of the films and are chock full of new interviews, behind the scenes material and interesting stories.   Romero is the best subject.  I’m a big fan of his and he’s great at discussing the making of his films, always jovial and upbeat even when telling the more annoying moments in his career.

Both discs come with a nice serving of vintage behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, a Monkey Shines really weird alternate ending, trailers, stills and a brand new audio commentary with George A. Romero.   I could listen to him talk about films all day.  Maybe I’ll put the commentaries in a loop.

Between the two, solely on the films alone, I prefer The Dark Half.  However, due to the wealth of great extras, any Romero fan worth their zombie wound would want to own both these Blu-rays in their collection.  So, grab your Black Beauty pencils and write down your orders today!

Get Monkey Shines here via Scream Factory and/or get The Dark Half here also via Scream Factory.

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