Ben Browder on BAD KIDS GO TO HELL: Horror Interview Podcast

Ben Browder plays a janitor who knows when it's a good idea to mind his own business (or does he?) in BAD KIDS GO TO HELL.
Ben Browder plays a janitor who knows when it's a good idea to mind his own business (or does he?) in BAD KIDS GO TO HELL.

In such series as FARSCAPE and STARGATE SG-1, Ben Browder traveled to distant universes filled with strange and fascinating creatures. But in all their adventures, neither FARSCAPE’s John Crichton nor SG-1′s Cameron Mitchell ever had to contend with an environment as daunting as high school, or a life form as enigmatic as teenagers. That’s just what happens in BAD KIDS GO TO HELL, the new horror comedy in which Browder plays Max, a janitor of the “quiet loner” breed, who tends to the corridors and classrooms of a tony private school as a clutch of the institution’s least-favorite students while away their time in detention, and find themselves being bumped off, one-by-one, by a resourceful killer with mysterious motives.
So in this episode, we talk to Browder via phone, our conversation ranging from his extended absence from the screen, to the difference between movie and TV shoots, to what it was like being a visitor to the world of DOCTOR WHO. Click on the player to hear the show.

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STARCRASH: Bad Film Podcast

UnForced Drama: Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff confront cheesy space adventure in STARCRASH.
UnForced Drama: Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff confront cheesy space adventure in STARCRASH.

Italy has brought us so many wonderful things: Fellini; lasagna; Silvio Berlusconi (that last is debatable). But among the many marvels borne of those shores, truly the most wondrous has to be the knock-off film, a genre that took groundbreaking, innovative American titles and replicated them with a low-budget zeal and enough questionable technical prowess to make them their own classics. Loved JAWS? Wait’ll you see TENTACLES, the Italian version that features a giant octopus (plus the all-star quadrifecta of John Huston, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, and Claude Akins!). Got nightmares from THE EXORCIST? You should check out THE RETURN OF THE EXORCIST, which, despite the title, has neither Jason Miller nor Max von Sydow in the lead, but does offer Richard Conte in his final performance.
And if you just couldn’t get enough of STAR WARS, then the ever-inventive Italian filmmakers were willing to feed your hunger with STARCRASH, a faithful replication of CHAPTER IV: A NEW HOPE — if by “faithful” one means cheesy special effects, hammy acting and a storyline so muddled that audiences couldn’t help but proclaim, “Y’know, THE PHANTOM MENACE wasn’t that bad.” Forsaking their Jedi code, Temple of Bad residents Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and I allow ourselves a flirtation with the Dark Side, one that here also claimed the souls of Caroline Munro, Marjoe Gortner, Christopher Plummer and (swoon) David Hasselhoff. In this episode, we unburden ourselves of an experience so devastating that even Lord Darth Vader would have cried, “Padme! Noooooooo!!!” Oh, wait, he did. Never mind.
La Forza può salvarti da film scadente!

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THEME SONG: I Wonder If God was Sleeping by scottaltham
Song covered under Creative Commons

Director Victor Ginzburg on GENERATION P: Science Fiction Interview Podcast

Vladimir Yepifantsev gazes into Russia's brave, consumerist future in GENERATION P.
Vladimir Yepifantsev gazes into Russia's brave, consumerist future in GENERATION P.

Eve bit the apple, Pandora opened the box, and for a certain generation of young Russians, the first taste of a certain, ambrosial nectar that we in the West call Pepsi did close to the same thing: unleash a desire that, once freed, could not be contained. In the caustic, Russian satire GENERATION P, one of the anointed, Babylen Tatarsky (Vladimir Yepifantsev) is so transported by the experience that when the Iron Curtain falls, he becomes a god of advertising, privy to the impulses that stir the Russian heart and soon a much-sought-after asset of organized crime, secret societies, and the literal machinery of government.
Director Victor Ginzburg brings a deadpan, Strangelovian ambiance to his adaptation of Victor Pelevin’s cult novel, and the result is a film that irresistibly draws you into its increasingly delirious world. I got to sit down with Ginzburg earlier this year, when GENERATION P screened during Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films program to talk about the four-year effort to transfer Pelevin’s fevered scenario to the screen. Click on the player to hear the interview.

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J.G. Quintel on REGULAR SHOW: Cartoon Interview Podcast

J.G. Quintel and his REGULAR SHOW.
J.G. Quintel and his REGULAR SHOW.

Give REGULAR SHOW creator J.G. Quintel credit for coming up with a title that works in ironic counterpoint to itself. On the one hand, the Cartoon Network series is an examination of young people entering the workforce in modern America, with all the friction, tension, and social and moral quandaries that might ensue. On the other, said young people include a giant blue jay, his best-friend raccoon, and their boss, a giant, walking gumball machine, and situations that start as prosaically as an argument over Internet access time and the desire to forge a cool identity for oneself soon acquire such irregular aspects as visits from interplanetary basketball gods and assaults by far-future Terminators. Yep, starting a career in this world is harder than you imagined.
I got to sit down with J.G. Quintel to talk about unusual challenges of being regular. Click on the player to hear the show.

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Pen Ward on ADVENTURE TIME: Animation Interview Podcast

Moving outward (there's a novel approach): Me-Mow, Jake, and Finn from ADVENTURE TIME.
Moving outward (there's a novel approach): Me-Mow, Jake, and Finn from ADVENTURE TIME.

Television has managed to deliver up no shortage of animated shows ostensibly aimed at kids that also manage to build a justifiably enthusiastic adult fan base. Even with that, ADVENTURE TIME stands out. The tale of a human boy, Finn, and a shape-shifting dog, Jake (who’s also Finn’s brother — long story), making their way as heroes in a wide-ranging fantasy world that’s actually a post-apocalyptic Earth, the show manages a distinctively gentle kind of anarchy that owes as much to the sophisticated themes of its stories — a recent episode served as rumination on the nature of evil — as to its inventive character design and animation.
In connection with the release of a new box set of episodes headlined by the fan-instigated “Jake vs. Me-Mow,” in which the dog has to do battle with a miniature cat assassin hiding out in his nose, I got a chance to talk with the show’s creator, Pendleton Ward.

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XANADU: Bad Film Podcast

Not Quite the Next Bright and Shining Star of the Cinema Firmament We Had Hoped: Olivia Newton-John glows prettily and skates adequately in XANADU
Not Quite the Next Bright and Shining Star of the Cinema Firmament We Had Hoped: Olivia Newton-John glows prettily and skates adequately in XANADU

Somewhere towards the end of the 1970′s, the entertainment industry got it into its head that the public not only wanted to spend their nights out rollerskating to driving, disco music, but that they wanted to watch people rollerskating to driving disco music — so much so that there’d be no need for such niggling details as plot, character, or even coherent filmmaking.
Thus, XANADU, a swirling maelstrom of bad ideas that somehow sucked Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, The Electric Light Orchestra, The Tubes, and animator Don Bluth into its destructive vortex. (Oh, and Michael Beck is the lead, which, yeah, exactly.) Temple of Bad clerics Andrea Lipinsky, Kevin Lauderdale and Dan Persons shed their vestments and put on their widest lapels to celebrate this landmark of singing, skating, and really glowy people, a movie with a theme song so infectious that you will never be able to shake it from your memory.
Not even if you wanted to.
Not even with a radical lobotomy.
All together now: XANADUUU! XANADUUUUUUUU!!!

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INVISIBLE INVADERS: Bad Film Podcast

Another Invasion Foiled by the RKO Logo: Aliens meet their match in INVISIBLE INVADERS.
Another Invasion Foiled by the RKO Logo: Aliens meet their match in INVISIBLE INVADERS.

This is an episode of Temple of Bad that includes several firsts. It’s our first discussion of a black-and-white film. It’s our first discussion of a film that has such a ridiculously short running time. It’s our first film starring John Carradine, and our first film starring the oh-so-dreamy John Agar. Sadly, it’s also our first episode without our fearless leader Dan Persons.
So this time around, INVISIBLE INVADERS is discussed by Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and pop culture fiend / bad movie aficionado Orenthal Hawkins. Will this fearless trio be able to wrangle some sense out of this sci-fi classic? Will they be swayed by their love of Geiger counters, theremins, fishing-line invisible alien effects and the manliest, most square-jawed acting this side of THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA, or will they decide that this film is just a waste of time? Will they come up with a record number of rules for the Temple of Bad’s drinking game?
What do you think?

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FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE Director Tsui Hark: Fantasy Film Interview Podcast

Look, Can't We Just Excange Insurance Info and Leave It at That?: Jet Li (right) faces off against Chen Kun in FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE.
Look, Can't We Just Exchange Insurance Info and Leave It at That?: Jet Li (right) faces off against Chen Kun in FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE.

FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE is the first Tsui Hark film to be shot in Imax 3D, starring Jet Li. Okay, stop salivating and sit back down, we’ve got work to do.
Granted, your enthusiasm is understandable. Hark — master of such deliriously epic action films as PEKING OPERA BLUES and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA — came roaring back to prominence last year with DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME, and now returns with an ambitious adventure that’s actually a continuation of a film series that started in 1967, about a desert inn where both the noble and the infamous rub elbows and clash swords. In addition to all the expected Hark trappings, such as inventive battle scenes, sharp comedy, and women characters who can stand their own against their male counterparts — including a mysterious swordswoman, played by Zhou Xun, and a lusty barbarian princess, played by Lunmei Kwai (because would you want any other kind?) — the increased palette of China’s first Imax 3D film gives the director a whole new way to mess with your mind. Trust me, Hark takes generous advantage of the opportunity.
This is Hark’s return to MIGHTY MOVIE PODCAST, and we’re glad to have him back; less glad that it had to be via a not-quite-Dolby-grade phone connection. We’ve done our best to smooth out the audio — hopefully you’ll find the discussion well-worth the effort.

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AN AMERICAN CAROL: Bad Film Podcast

An American Carol (2008)
Wrong thinking is punishable. Extremely right thinking will be as quickly rewarded: Kelsey Grammer (right) tries to show Kevin P. Farley the error of his ways in AN AMERICAN CAROL.

Could there be a movie so inanely scripted, so ineptly produced, so all-around awful that it confounds even the staunch acolytes of the Temple of Bad? Uh, yes. Yes there is, and it’s the topic of our latest episode.

AN AMERICAN CAROL was intended to serve as a counterbalance to the perceived liberal tilt of mainstream cinema, to provide the arguments that would swing the 2008 presidential election to the Republican side, and to do it all with the crowd-pleasing satirical sting of AIRPLANE and the NAKED GUN franchise. That it fails on all points is a singular example of a golden opportunity thoroughly botched, and ToB stalwarts Andrea Lipinsky, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons take it upon themselves to explore how far director David Zucker and stars Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, and Kevin P. Farley (among a dazzling roster of guest cameos, all of whom will be leaving this project off their resumes) can stray from their intentions.

SPECIAL BONUS DRINKING GAME: Every time Dan says something is fascinating. Management is not responsible for any resultant cases of alcohol poisoning.

Click the player to hear the show.

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ParaNorman Directors Sam Fell & Chris Butler: Fantasy Film Interview Podcast

Dolby Stereo is Just Lost on Some People: A boy contends with supernatural phenomena in PARANORMAN.
Dolby Stereo is Just Lost on Some People: A boy contends with supernatural phenomena in PARANORMAN.

Oregon’s Laika stop-motion studio is kind-of making a name for itself as the go-to guys for family-friendly fantasies that mix the scary and the funny in perfect proportion. In their latest, PARANORMAN, a young boy with gift for seeing the various and sundry spirits that are haunting his small, New England town is saddled with the responsibility of saving his neighbors from a centuries-old witch’s curse. For the kid, that’ll mean confrontations with kibitzing ghosts, lumbering zombies, and a vast, ominous, and all-destroying cloud of malevolence. For the audience, it means a supremely stunning and innovative foray into 3D animation, and a fitting follow-up to the studio’s CORALINE.
At this point, it stands as my favorite animated film of the year, and I was excited to get a chance to talk with its directors, Sam Fell and Chris Butler. Click on the player button to hear the conversation.

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