Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 099 – Examination Day

Friends, it is the start of the work week for many of you, so why not get it off to a fright start? At least we hope you will choose to listen to the brand new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast, with the subject of this episode being a 1985 segment of the CBS The Twilight Zone revival series entitled “Examination Day”. A rather memorable offering from the first attempt at capturing the lightning in the bottle of Rod Serling’s original 1959 television series. One that as I mention in the podcast itself was able to leave me shaken, with the segment itself being talked about in class at school the following Monday.

The Twilight Zone segment “Examination Day” is based on an 1958 short story of the same name by Henry Slesar, who was a prolific author, selling his stories in numerous magazines in the mid-fifties. Although the Projectionist and I discuss it on the show, his writing actually attracted the attention of Alfred Hitchcock himself, which is how Slesar found himself writing for such television series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, in addition to Serling’s The Twilight Zone to name just a few. Which was right in Slesar’s wheelhouse as he was quite fond of delivering ironic twist endings in his work.

“Examination Day” concerns a young boy by the name of Richard “Dickie” Jordan Jr, played by Over the Top‘s David Mendenhall, who is looking forward to taking his Government mandated exam.While the young boy shows no outward signs of being concerned or that anything is amiss, why do his parents Richard (Christopher Allport) and Ruth (Elizabeth Norment) seem so scared?

Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In, as we discuss “Examination Day” on the Saturday Frights podcast. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you are enjoying season three of the podcast so far.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)

Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 098 – Top 5 Horror Soundtracks

Friends, I am afraid that yet again we have managed to deliver a new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast a couple of days later than intended. In all honesty it has to do with the new job and the strain of attempting to find the necessary free time to devote to the show. Having said that though, we do have a very special episode of the podcast for you today, as the Projectionist and I are joined by three friends on this show. Fellow PCR authors who were kind enough to share their top 5 horror soundtrack picks with you, focusing on memorable music from all manner of film and television shows. I am willing to bet there are going to be a few on the lists provided today by our guests that you may not be familiar with!

Joining us to share her top 5 horror soundtracks is none other than Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger, whose work is frequently featured on Fangirlish as well as the Sci-Fi 5 podcast. The daily five minute podcast that provides the best in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror history – produced by Roddenberry Entertainment.

We also are lucky enough to have the esteemed Earl Green join us on this special episode of the podcast. Earl is no stranger to the Sci-Fi 5 podcast himself, as well as running The Log Book.com – one of the longest running sites on the internet focusing on everything pop culture.

Last but certainly not least is Rockford Jay, my co-host on the Saturday Frights Facebook page – who does his level best to help me keep a lid on the madness of the Vault. He manages to share his love of retro horror on a nearly daily basis, and I am sad to add is frequently the target of the Projectionist’s schemes and explosive temper.

Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In, as we discuss the top 5 horror soundtracks on the Saturday Frights podcast. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you are enjoying season three of the podcast so far.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)

Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 097 – Squeeze

Friends, we do apologize about the tardiness of this episode of the Saturday Frights podcast, I am afraid that the new work schedule has thrown a monkey wrench into the usual recording plans. This week though, the Projectionist and I tackle our first episode of The X-Files, that long-running series featuring the exploits of special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. As brought up in the show itself, this episode was suggested by a listener, and after we presented a poll of the Top 5 scary episodes of The X-Files, the Vault staff as well as the Saturday Frights Facebook group picked the 1993 episode entitled “Squeeze”. In all honesty I really thought it was going to be “Home” that won the poll, especially considering that it caused so much controversy when it originally aired that it was banned from being broadcast again for quite some time.

As this is the first time we’ve talked about The X-Files on the podcast, we have a bit of interesting trivia to share about the creation of the series. In addition to some things you might not have know about “Squeeze”, including a little trouble behind the scenes during the production of the episode. Or how the screenwriters, James Wong and Glen Morgan, were inspired to write the episode featuring the mutant serial killer and fan favorite Eugene Victor Tooms (Doug Hutchinson). In addition to how their popular Final Destination film series was based off what originally had been intended to be an episode of The X-Files. In fact I provide a quote in this episode from an interview with Jeffrey Reddick at Den of Geek on how it would have played out if it had been made into an X-Files episode.

Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In as we discuss 1993’s “Squeeze” on the Saturday Frights podcast. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you are enjoying season three of the podcast so far.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)

Dark Fantasy: Pennsylvania Turnpike (1942)

Friends, it has been a little while since we’ve had a new Retro Radio Memories offering. This time we are going to be enjoying an episode from the Dark Fantasy series entitled “Pennsylvania Turnpike”, which was originally broadcast on March 20th of 1942. For what it might be worth, we have actually shined the spotlight on Dark Fantasy in the past, with “W is for Werewolf“, but that story focused on a couple visiting a private island and getting involved with lycanthropy. “Pennsylvania Turnpike” would have made a nice episode to adapt for The Twilight Zone television series!

I was a latecomer to the Dark Fantasy series, in fact I found out about it thanks to my time writing at the Retroist. Debuting on station WKY in Oklahoma City on November 14th of 1941, it would be carried on NBC affiliate radio stations for a total of 31 episodes until June 19th of 1942. Although two of those episodes include a lost show entitled “Curare” and the final broadcast was a second reading of “The Devil Tree”, which was originally broadcast on December 5th of ’41.

In “Pennsylvania Turnpike” we are introduced to a most curious stranger. At the beginning of the radio show, we find out that this ‘old’ man has all sorts of bizarre mannerisms. From the way he is dressed to the coins he carries on him, in addition to the the fact he has never heard of a sandwich. It would certainly seem like this man is from a different period of time, which is of course exactly the case – no spoilers there, you will hear for yourself he is quite up front about the whole situation. Of course the question is why this man would appear in modern times? The desire for justice can be a powerful force, friends… perhaps strong enough even to sustain a person until they can right a past wrong? Although having said that, like with The Twilight Zone on a rare occasion, an innocent person might be targeted.

So turn down the lights if you are able and find out what is going down on the “Pennsylvania Turnpike”, courtesy of Dark Fantasy as well as the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.

While I have said it before in regards to Old Time Radio programming, it does bear repeating that it still is a valid form of entertainment. It’s ability, at least in the case of shows like Dark Fantasy to give us the creeps 80 years later – that is something pretty incredible, right?

Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 092 – Battleground

Friends, to start off our first Saturday Frights podcast for the month of April, the Projectionist and I have chosen to discuss the 2006 adaptation of Stephen King’s short story entitled “Battleground”. Which as you might already know was one of eight episodes featured in the TNT television mini-series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King. As we point out in the podcast itself, this 4 week event was a pretty big deal back in the day, a lot of that had to do with the caliber of actors they managed to nab for the episodes. Just a few include Tom Berenger (Platoon), Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue), William H. Macy (Fargo), and for “Battleground” there is the esteemed William Hurt (Altered States).

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Carlos Apolo Moran.

The story for “Battleground” concerns a hired killer by the name of Jason Renshaw (Hurt) who finds himself under siege in his apartment by a most unlikely army, one made of plastic but bent on dispatching the assassin at all costs.

The teleplay for “Battleground” happens to have been written by Richard Christian Matheson (Masters of Horror) and was directed by Brian Henson (Labyrinth). The episode not only is nearly devoid of any spoken dialogue but features some rather incredible special effects, they were so impressive that they managed to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. In fact you can see how much work into this episode thanks to this short behind the scenes video.

VIDEO PROVIED BY Soundtracks.

As always we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the Saturday Frights podcast. Especially with the vast number of quality podcasts being offered these days, so without further ado, prepare to enter the “Battleground”!

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)

Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 091 – Son

Friends, instead of the usual retro horror films or TV anthologies, for this episode of the Saturday Frights podcast we are going to be tackling the recently released Horror/Thriller entitled Son. As pointed out in the episode itself, since this is a brand new movie, the Projectionist and I do not go into full spoilers – in fact hopefully we have given just enough of a breakdown of the synopsis to make you want to head out to the theater or rent Son for yourself. I am going to share with you the trailer for the picture, directed as well as written by Ivan Kavanagh (The Canal) but I personally think it might give just a little too much away, so consider it SPOILER territory.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY RLJE Films.

Son stars the likes of Andi Matichak (Halloween), Luke David Blumm (The Walking Dead), and Emilie Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) among other talented actors. It is a pretty dark and intense film, one sure to please all of you Fright Fans wanting something that is not only a little spooky but quite emotional too. And as mentioned on our podcast, we have to thank Leone D’Antonio, Trevor Shand, and Lauren Shand of The Boo Crew podcast for the heads up on Son!

As always we sincerely appreciate you taking time of your busy schedule to listen to the show, especially with the difficulties in the schedule of late. Without further ado, turn down the lights if you are able and join us as we discuss Son.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)

HorrorBabble Presents: The Thing From The Barrens

Friends, as the Sun begins to set here at the Pop Culture Retrorama Vault, it means my thoughts as usual turn to entertainment with a horror bend. Which in all honesty is not saying much of anything as that really is my go to choice of genre at any given time. Thankfully the likes of Ian Gordon and the stories presented by HorrorBabble fit the bill quite nicely indeed. Not to mention that Gordon’s reading of “The Thing From the Barrens” is timely as my neck of the woods has been hit by Winter Storm Uri, and while we are fortunate to have power at the moment I am definitely snowed in. The cold weather of the arctic plays a key factor in this story by Jim Kjelgaard that was originally published in the pages of the September 1945 issue of Weird Tales.

Jim Kjelgaard would actually write four stories for the Weird Tales pulp magazine, with “The Thing From the Barrens” being his first accepted work and followed by “The Fangs of Tsan-Lo”, “Chanu”, and then “The Man Who Told the Truth”. All of these were written and published in a span of less than a single year – but Kjelgaard was making a name for himself with his other published works including Big Red, Haunt Fox, and Forest Patrol. The writer could definitely be described as being a fan of outdoor life as most of his stories involved animals, dogs in particular, and were written from the view point of the animal in question. While Kjelgaard would find his stories published in additional pulp magazines such as Argosy and Adventure his work would also be featured in The Saturday Evening Post. In fact Walt Disney Productions would go on to adapt his 1945 Big Red novel into a feature film in 1962, starring Walter Pidgeon (Forbidden Planet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) and Emile Genest (The Cinicinnati Kid).

The story for “The Thing From the Barrens” concerns a young man named George Malory who resides in North City, who being blessed with an independent income stays in the frigid city to be close to the love of his life, Marcia Davenport. Who happens to be the Daughter of a trapper named Pug, a character and profession that it would appear Malory has no issue with looking down upon. However it is Pug Davenport who encounters a mysterious creature while out in the Barrens – something that leaves behind large and almost duck-like prints and what is described as the trapper as a stick. If someone is to touch this black stick though, they appear to begin floating off the ground, snatched up and taken away… to a grisly fate.

So turn down the lights if you are able and enjoy “The Thing From the Barrens” courtesy of Ian Gordon of HorrorBabble. And if you too are snowbound and decide to go out for a walk, mind you don’t stop to pick up any black sticks.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY HorrorBabble.

Willy’s Wonderland Is A Wacky And Wild Cornball Horror Comedy

Friends, just the other day the much anticipated horror comedy Willy’s Wonderland was released to video on demand and as I understand it a limited theatrical run. The film was directed by Kevin Lewis (The Method) from a screenplay by G.O. Parsons, who in fact attempted to raise enough funds for a feature film through a 2016 Indiegogo campaign. While the crowdfunding effort wasn’t able to raise enough money for Parsons to direct a movie, he did receive the funds to produce a short film entitled Wally’s Wonderland. It was back in October of 2019 that the script found itself in the hands of Nicolas Cage, who not only stars in Willy’s Wonderland but also acts as producer. I have read online that the iconic actor was attracted to the role of The Janitor in the movie because it was a character that never utters a single line throughout the entire runtime of 88 minutes. That is okay though because Cage’s over-the-top performance as an energy drink-swilling enigma is captivating. At no point is his past touched on but it is readily evident that wherever the Janitor has been before the movie begins – it has prepared him to combat a gang of murderous animatronics within a children’s restaurant.

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY Screen Media Films.

The plot for Willy’s Wonderland is lean to say the least and it does suffer with a largely unsympathetic group of teenage characters – with most never quite breaking free from being simply fodder for Willy and his gang of animatronic monstrosities to slaughter. In particular there is one scene that in my humble opinion stretches suspension of disbelief, when two characters break from the group to become amorous – even though they know of the horrors and very real danger of the place. But as I have said already, the real draw of Willy’s Wonderland is to watch Nicolas Cage just having a blast with his role as the mysterious Janitor who is equally capable of mopping a floor of oil and blood as ripping the head off an animatronic assailant.

There is little time wasted in the set up of the movie, Cage’s car tires are shredded after running over an oddly placed set of road spikes upon driving into the backwater town of Hayesville – with the incident explained away by the town’s tow truck driver and mechanic (Chris Warner) as having been stolen by the local kids as a prank. And while it will be no trouble to fix the stranger’s vehicle, the insistence of only accepting cash instead of plastic in payment, leads Cage’s character to accept an agreement with Tex Macadoo (Ric Reitz) – to spend the evening cleaning up his closed children’s restaurant and in the morning the car will be delivered all fixed up and ready to go. Left out of the agreement is that the Janitor is expected to be a sacrifice to the likes of Willy the Weasel, Arty the Alligator, Siren Sara, Cammy the Chameleon, Tito the Turtle, Ozzie the Ostrich, Gus the Gorilla, and Knighty Knight.

The Janitor however isn’t exactly alone as it first seems as a young woman named Liv (Emily Tosta), who has a personal connections to the horrors of the former family spot, arrives with her group of friends determined to end the evil of Willy’s Wonderland once and for all. Although Cage’s character may not show any signs of appreciation or even concern for the unsolicited warning about the dark history of the place. But will anyone survive once the sun has set and Willy and his friends spring to life in search of unwary victims?

Willy’s Wonderland has some nice effects and is filled with some dark laughs and plenty of action and bloody carnage. It is not a perfect film by any means but if you are looking for a popcorn movie that you can just sit back and enjoy – it should fit the bill. I suppose it depends on how much you like Nicolas Cage but I feel he most definitely is able to carry the film – although if you are looking for true frights or even jump scares you might be disappointed.

Your Date Is Here

Friends, it has been quite some time since we have shared a new Saturday Frights offering, I’m not just talking about the podcast of course, which the latest episode is quite late. I am talking about finding and sharing the best retro themed horror shorts and TV shows. I think we have found a memorable on this evening, a delightfully devious short film entitled Your Date Is Here – one that offers a rather wicked version of the Mystery Date board from Milton Bradley. While that board game has received various updates over the years, the game featured in Your Date Is Here is based off the original 1965 version. As a matter of fact it would seem that director Zak White as well as Todd Spence used an actual Mystery Date game – altering it to fit their short film.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY lucyhuto.

Your Date Is Here is a prime example of why horror short films often work so very well. They typically do not beat around the bush, getting to the punch or the true feeling of horror. That is obviously one of the reasons I am so very fond of the short story collections of Stephen King as well as Richard Matheson. Horror or thrillers if you like, sometimes can be the most enjoyable when they are at their simplest. Deliver just enough story for a setup and to allow us to invest in the characters before dropping the scare. Although if I am behind totally honest here, Your Date Is Here is more creepy than terrifying. I found myself with a pretty big grin on my face throughout it’s almost 6 and a 1/2 minute run. The short which made it’s debut back in 2017 at Fantastic Fest, really delivers in spades with atmosphere, moreover instilling a creeping unease that continues to ratchet up until the payoff.

But what of the story for Your Date Is Here? It concerns a Mother and her Daughter who decide to play an old board game one evening – in an effort to help pass the time while they wait for the pizza delivery man to arrive. It doesn’t take long however before some odds things occur while playing the game… such as bizarre ‘phone calls’ as well as the peculiar and somewhat disturbing imagery of the game board itself.

ARTICLE IMAGES PROVIDED BY MIDNIGHT VIDEO.

So turn down the lights if you are able, turn up the volume and lean in closer to your monitor and enjoy Your Date Is Here!

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGES PROVIDED BY Midnight Video.

Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 088 – Top 5 Tales From The Darkside

Friends, it has been a little over a month since we have been able to release a new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast – I address the reasons for that on the show itself – but in short I became ill back in October. I am feeling much better as is the Projectionist, who I might have passed my illness to if we are being totally transparent on the subject. Let us hope that we have the podcast back on schedule for the remainder of Season three – starting with this show – which is a look at the Top 5 Tales from the Darkside episodes as voted on by fans of the television series. In this episode we give a synopsis and thoughts on what we liked most about each of the Top 5 episodes – as well as a brief history on Tales from the Darkside itself.

Of the five episode of Tales from the Darkside that made the grade, you might recognize some of the names of those in front of and behind the camera. Like George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead), Stephen King (Pet Sematary), Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs), Robert Bloch (Psycho), and Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice) to name just a few.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

We sincerely hope that you are enjoying the third season of the Saturday Frights podcast so far – will your favorite episode of Tales from the Darkside make cut?

Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Saturday Frights Podcast (MP3)

Directly download the Saturday Frights Podcast:

Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)