The Christmas season is upon us, and as we have had occasion to mention, that means ghosts and spirits. And what greater Christmas ghost story is there than Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL? That is the subject of this week’s Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast: Dan Persons, guest John W. Morehead (of Theofantastique.com), and Steve Biodrowski take a look back at the original novel and the numerous film and television adaptations, both live action and animated, that have brought not only Scrooge but also Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to life on the screen. Listen for fond remembrances of everything from the 1951 classic SCROOGE starring Alistair Sim to the 1970 musical starring Albert Finney, from George C. Scott to Patrick Stewart, not to mention Mr. Magoo, the Muppets, and Doctor Who!
Following up on the previous CFQ Spotlight Podcast devoted to Martin Scorcese’s HUGO, the Cinefantastique crew of Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski – joined by special guest Andrea Lipinski – blast off into the fabulous fantasy world of George Melies. The special effects pioneer and cinema magician of the early silent era was the first to realize the potential of movies imbued with a Sense of Wonder, using the camera not to capture reality but to create dreams writ large on the silver screen.
Also on the table for discussion during this Round Table: upcoming 3-D theatrical films and recent home video releases.
STAR WARS is back again – this time on home video – and a look at the 1977 original reminds Cinefantastique Podcasters Lawrence French, Dan Persons, and Steve Biodrowski that, despite having been retitled A NEW HOPE, the first film still works best as a stand-alone original, not as part four in an on-going franchise – fact that no digital enhancements or continuity tweaks can hide. And speaking of the Curse of Continuity, Steve Biodrowski expresses dawning concern over the direction of THE WALKING DEAD’s second season: will AMC’s excellent horror drama slide into LOST-style obfuscation as it holds onto secret plot developments like trump cards to be reserved for play at a later date? Digging deeper, the CFQ crew follow the Midochlorian DNA strand from STAR WARS and THE WALKING DEAD to ISLAND OF TERROR, RED STATE and WITCHFINDER GENERAL – a conversational obstacle course that navigates its way through more treacherous hive of scum and villainy than even Mos Eisley contains. But no matter how disturbing the twists and turns, don’t “opt out” like the raft of suicidal losers in THE WALKING DEAD; after all, hope – or a discussion of the epilogue from the credits of TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN, PART 1 – may be just around the next corner.
This week’s Round Table focuses on “James Bond 23” (a.k.a., the 23rd 007 film, titled SKYFALL, which began production this week) and on HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2, which makes it home video debut on Tuesday, November 8. As always, Cinefantastique Podcasters Lawrence French, Dan Persons, and Steve Biodrowski offer their perspicacious perspective on what’s happening in the worlds of Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction film and television, including a look at the potential Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature Film, and a sad farewell to producer Richard Gordon (FIEND WITHOUT A FACE), who passed away on November 1. Listen in, and have your Sense of Wonder expanded to celestial proportions!
Our listeners make their voices heard in this final episode of the Ultra-Lounge (at least in this incarnation): We hear from our listener in Latvia, who gives us some insight into his life; another listener rushes to the defense of the Dino De Laurentiis KING KONG; and an e-mail addressing how DREAM HOUSE’s trailer actually drops the film’s Big Reveal prompts a discussion of how spoilers should be treated during the show. Plus: Dan takes a favorable glance at the new THUNDERCATS animated series and Steve opens up the Tea Party can o’ worms once more.
Join this week’s Cinefantastique Black Hole Ultra-Lounge Podcast. Steve Biodrowski and Lawrence French discuss news from the world of horror, fantasy, and science fiction cinema: Matt Reeves selection to direct THE TWILIGHT ZONE movie; the death of David Hess (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT); and the debut of Season Two of THE WALKING DEAD. Also on the menu, a look at this week’s numerous home video releases, ranging from the big-budget blockbuster PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES to the little-seen ’70s horror NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT, starring genre icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Following their discussion of DREAM HOUSE, Steve Biodrowski and Dan Persons took a few minutes to discuss this year’s Halloween haunt at the Universal Studios theme park and the upcoming, STAR WARS-themed photo book, Dark Lens. Also, Dan sends a personal greeting to one of our far-flung listeners.
After discussing the goods & bads of Steven Soderbergh’s CONTAGION, Lawrence French and Dan Persons take a few minutes to debate George Lucas’ motivations for constantly revising his STAR WARS saga and continue to explore CONTAGION’s place in the highly virulent universe of biothriller films. Click the player to hear the conversation.
Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons continue the conversation following the record session for DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. Covered: A discussion of the late Jimmy Sangster’s contribution to Hammer Films; Dan’s take on TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL; plus some thoughts on the Bradbury Building, remake fatigue, and Samsung’s assertion that the video tablets in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY nullify Apple’s iPad design patent. Listen to the show, ‘cuz it’s good for you.
Special guest Judith Furnari joins Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons in an exploration of the cinematic vampire past, present, and future (during which all take a bold, controversial stand against moody, glittery teen vampires). Also, Larry delivers a pithy but definitive verdict on CONAN THE BARBARIAN and his mighty thews.