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June 7, 2024 65 mins

In this classic episode of Weirdhouse Cinema, Rob and Joe discuss Mario Bava's hypnotic 1965 sci-fi horror movie "Planet of the Vampires." It has all the style you could ask for, plus giant space skeletons. (originally published 05/06/2022)

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hey, you welcome to Weird House Cinema. Rewind. This is,
of course an episode from the vaults. This is a
classic episode that originally published five six, twenty twenty two.
It is Mario Bava's nineteen sixty five sci fi classic
Planet of the Vampires, frequently cited as one of the

(00:24):
films to inspire Ridley Scott's Alien. So this is one
of our favorites. Hope you enjoy. Dive right in.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
Welcome to Stuff to Blow your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 1 (00:46):
Hey, welcome to Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (00:48):
This is Rob Lamb and I'm Joe McCormick, and today
we're going to be talking about a longtime favorite of mine,
the nineteen sixty five Mario Bava sci fi horror cla
Planet of the Vampires. And I want to start off
today by saying that I think perhaps this is the

(01:09):
paragon example of a concept we've talked about on the show,
that the rub the Fur movie, a movie that is
more about audio visual texture than about the characters or
the contents of the plot. And that's absolutely the case
here because before we watched it again for today, I've
probably watched Planet of the Vampires at least three or

(01:31):
four times, a couple times without sound on, but at
least once with sound. And I honestly could not tell
you much about what happens in this movie because whenever
I watch it to the extent that I'm paying attention,
and it's a movie I kind of love to half
pay attention to. But to whatever extent I'm paying attention,
the part of the mind that is engaged is not

(01:54):
the semantic executive of the forebrain. It is some kind
of abyssal lizard, conscient busness that is only in a
realm of pure sensation and vibe. And what a vibe
this movie is. The sets, the lighting, and the costumes
are like a baroque organ fugue, just washing over your
mind and body.

Speaker 1 (02:15):
Oh, I agree absolutely on all counts, because first of all,
obviously this is a beautiful looking film, a beautiful sounding film,
which we'll get into as well. But also I'm in
the same boat. This is the second time I've watched
this movie this year. I watched it just under a
year ago on an airplane. And yeah, but before I

(02:39):
rewatched it, I don't think I would have really been
able to tell you what the plot was aside from
just the very basic strokes of what is obviously visually
happening on the screen.

Speaker 3 (02:49):
I mean, I think it really does not help with
plot comprehension that I can't tell most of the characters apart. Yes,
and I'm not even sure that's unintentional. I mean I
can reckgize basically the main characters, the ones played by
Barry Sullivan and Norma Bingal, but a lot of the
other character I mean, there are tons of just sci

(03:10):
fi crew members walking around in these identical costumes, which
I love. The costumes are one of the greatest things
about this movie, but they sort of hide all of
the actor's identities and make it difficult to sort one
character from another. So a guy walks into the frame
wearing his like leather Space Child outfit and holding a

(03:30):
ray gun, and they say like, oh hello, and I'm like,
I don't know if this is the guy that was
in the previous shot or not.

Speaker 1 (03:36):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, there a number of interchangeable guys in
this film that just kind of move in and out
in the background. Sometimes they're playing important roles in the plot.
But yeah, outside of the two principal actors that we
named I'm not really sure who anybody was at any
given time unless they're really hammering it home for me.

Speaker 3 (03:57):
So for me, this movie is absolutely a vibe trip.
It is a huge mood and what's what goes on
in the plot is not nearly as significant. Though if
you do pay attention to what happens in the plot,
there are some other interesting relationships to other films that
you can map out. Because while I don't think anybody

(04:18):
would accuse Planet of the Vampires of being one of
the best sci fi horror movies ever made, I think
it does appear to have been a major inspiration point
for several of the other greatest sci fi movies ever made,
including Alien, Ridley Scott's original in seventy nine, which I
think many would probably say is definitely in like top

(04:40):
three top five sci fi horror movies of all time,
and it is impossible not to notice the overlap between
this movie and Alien, But of course, with Planet of
the Vampires coming much earlier.

Speaker 1 (04:54):
Right right, And I believe Dan O'Bannon even made that
connection as well. I think when people ask about it, though,
if memory serves, Ridley Scott was always like, I've never
seen it, so I can't.

Speaker 3 (05:04):
Say, oh sure, Ridley, Okay, Well, anyway, I think you
could play a really interesting game of comparing and contrasting
the cinematography of these two movies, which are maybe you
could say, the main selling points in both cases. Whereas
Ridley Scott has a very clean cinematography style, everything is

(05:27):
very clear and in many ways very The textures are
realistic but of course beautifully composed, and the use of
light and shadow and all that. But meanwhile, Mario Baba's
movie looks like it takes place in a magical realm.

Speaker 1 (05:43):
Yeah, there is a stark on reality to a number
of you know, Mario Boba's pictures, and certainly that was
the case with Black Sabbath, which we talked about previously
on this show. But in this film, yes, everything feels
very hatched from the Earth world, and with good reason.

(06:04):
I mean, for starters, this is only a mild spoiler,
I think depends on how you look at it, I guess.
But these are human characters played by human actors, but
they are not tearing humans. They are not from Earth,
and ultimately we don't really see them doing much. We
don't see artifacts of Earth among their possessions. It's very

(06:27):
stripped down. There's a lot of uniformity, not only to
know how they're dress, but also just there's a sort
of a tidiness and a sterility to their lives and
then the world that they've landed on, this abyssle shadow realm. Yeah,
it's just absolutely bonkers from a visual sense.

Speaker 3 (06:46):
And there's another thing I would say about the sets
and the setting of this film, which is that though
it's in many ways in line with things you would
see in other sci fi of the era like Star
Trek TV show, the Original series and stuff, but there
is a staginess to the sets that while they are
while they are gorgeous and intricately designed, they do not

(07:10):
appear to be trying to evoke reality. Instead, they're more
like the set you would see in a very well
designed stage production, so it's like suggestive of real shapes
and forms.

Speaker 1 (07:24):
I really enjoy comparing this film in my mind to
a movie that came out the year prior, nineteen sixty four,
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, because I mean, these are
films on totally different ends of the spectrum in terms
of just how well they're executed. Certainly from a visual standpoint,

(07:45):
this film is beautiful. Santa Claus versus The Martians is
you know, it's amusing, it's funny, it's for kids, but
they're also comparable in a number of ways. You know,
there is uniformity to create making your humans some sort
of a space species. You have these using sets to

(08:06):
create both spaceship environments and terrestrial environments. We might compare
the alien world of this film to say, the polar
regions that are depicted in Santa Claus Versus the Martians.
And then also they both rely on that old trick
of having some sort of a tripod landing gear on

(08:28):
your spaceship, and that way you can have the model shot,
but then you can also incorporate it into your set
because your characters are walking amid the legs of the
landing legs of the vessel.

Speaker 3 (08:40):
That's right, and there's a lot of good So there's
fun model work, but also good force perspective sets where
there will be a like a miniature of clearly everything's
actually just being shot pretty close to the camera, but
there will be miniatures of things taking place in the
background while characters are like descending across a clearly just

(09:00):
a ramp that's hidden by some rocks or spires or
something in the foreground. And it's very good at while
not actually looking realistic, sort of intoxicatingly inviting you to
suspend your disbelief. It is not something that looks real,
but you're all in on the environment because it's playful.

Speaker 1 (09:21):
Yeah. Yeah, Bava leans into the unreality of everything. And
also I would say that that Baba appears to to
only do the things that they can do really well
on the screen, and you don't see this film attempting
to do things that it cannot do all that well,
you know what I'm saying, right, Yeah, because it absolutely
excels at lighting. And I mean lighting is at least

(09:45):
half of everything here. I mean because there are times
where you can tell, Okay, in the background, yes this
is some sort of a cardboard box with lights on it,
but you don't notice it so much because of how
it is, you know, how everything is lit. And then
just the integrity of the overall set.

Speaker 3 (10:02):
Yeah. Another thing I wanted to mention that I noticed
on this rewatch was, as I said, several times I've
watched the movie on mute with like music playing, or
you know, while I was hanging out with people or something.
And there's a very different experience when you actually watch
it with the soundtrack, not just because you hear the
lines and understand what's going on in the plot, but

(10:22):
also it creates another layer of vibe, another bid for
a different kind of sensory experience, which is I think
the audio in this movie invites you to become hypnotized
and go to sleep. There are many just types of slow, repetitive,

(10:43):
low level sounds that go on, kind of drones and
hums and soft beeps and the sounds of bubbling mud
in the background and things like that.

Speaker 1 (10:53):
Yeah, absolutely with this film. Every time I have watched
it or attempted to watch it, I have fallen asleep
multiple times. And that's not a slam on this movie.
That's not saying this movie is boring or it's not interesting.
It's I think it's it's it's an exciting film in
many respects, and it's beautiful to look at. But not
only does it have this visual sort of hypnotic, you know,

(11:17):
pulsating feel to it, much like I get like other
Bava films. This, Yeah, the sounds here both then the music,
the electrical sort of the electronic sound effects and then
also just the straight up sound work in the in
the movie are all weirdly captivating. I mean, on one level,

(11:38):
and we'll credit the musician in a bit here, but
on one level, you do have some traditional mid sixties
action movie music that occurs, but it occurs kind of sparingly,
and for a lot of the rest of the film,
we do have like a deep ambient vibe going on,
especially when they're on the ship. We get some nice

(11:59):
ship hum going on, electrical sounds here and there, and
then oh, I was especially in this watch, I was
really impressed by all the sounds of footsteps and running
in the ship. There's this metallic clanking sound that really
resonated with me for some reason.

Speaker 3 (12:20):
Totally agree. In fact, in the very opening scene when
we're first coming into the ship's command room, there is
something that I at first thought was supposed to be
a heartbeat, but then I later thought, well, it's either
machinery or I think maybe it's just supposed to be
the slow footfalls of Barry Sullivan's character as he wanders

(12:42):
from station to station in this room, looking over people's shoulders.

Speaker 1 (12:46):
Yeah, the footfalls are great when they're on the ship,
it's that metallic sound, and then when they're out of
the ship, it's kind of this sand grating against metal sound.
And then there are also some scenes with kind of
plastic or rubber sheeting that also has this tremendous sound
effect to it. And so I was thinking as I

(13:06):
was watching this, as like, Okay, I'm not really someone
who experiences ASMR, but I feel like this movie gives
me as close to the ASMR experience as I can
personally imagine.

Speaker 3 (13:18):
Oh wow, yeah, I'm the same boat. I'm not an
ASMR person, but I can see what you're saying. It
is a movie that comes pretty close to inducing an
altered state of consciousness on its own. Just watching it
kind of lulls you and puts you. It's almost like
it synchronizes your brain waves to a different kind of rhythm.

Speaker 1 (13:37):
Yeah, and also Bava gives the scenes a lot of
room to breathe, which I think also adds to this
tranquil feeling.

Speaker 3 (13:48):
Though at the same time, I don't want to overstate
this movie and make it sound like it's Tarkowsky or something.
I mean, like, in most ways, I would say The
Planet of the Vampires is not a profound film, and
it's also in most ways not a very exciting film,
but it is a profound experience somehow, at least for me.

Speaker 1 (14:08):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, and yeah. It's certainly not trying to
be anything profound either. It is it's setting out to
be the most gorgeous and stylish space horror film that
it can be in the mid sixties, and getting to
the elevator pitch for this one, I would say you
could just basically sum up Planet of the Vampires by
saying it is the grandaddy of all space horror films.

Speaker 3 (14:31):
You look at Alien, Event, Horizon, all those, and then
you look at the old portrait of Planet of the
Vampires and you say, ah, they have its eyes.

Speaker 1 (14:40):
Yes. So the basic plot here, and we'll get into
the more into the depths in a bit, but it
concerns a pair of space ships piloted again by non
tearin humanoids, and these ships are responding to a signal
from a shadowy world with a dying sun. They end
up getting stuck on the surface of said shadowy planet.
This planet turns out to be a world of mystery, death, undeath, possession,

(15:04):
and madness. Will they escape you'll have to watch and
find out.

Speaker 3 (15:08):
Tune in next time. Let's hear that audio.

Speaker 4 (15:16):
Planet of the vampires harboring a form of life worse
than death. Planet of the bloodless creatures who take men's
bodies but attack like vampires.

Speaker 5 (15:34):
I'll tell you this, if there are any intelligent creatures
on this planet.

Speaker 4 (15:38):
There are enemies in this outer space world. The living
dead try to escape into life.

Speaker 5 (15:53):
Sallus no justice body, and I'm just one of many
beings on this planet inter survive. It's impressive that our
race continued to exist. We arranged for several of you
to kill each other so that we could take over
your bodies. You are our last chance.

Speaker 4 (16:10):
No never, We'll all of us give up our lives
to save our own race.

Speaker 1 (16:41):
All right, So this is our second Mario Bava film.
But just to mention the basics here. Mario Bava Italian director,
legendary Italian director who of nineteen fourteen through nineteen eighty,
with an unmistakable obsessive and phantasmagorical emphasis on visual composition.
Like we said before, a strong still. Just any screen

(17:03):
grab from a Bava film is instantly identifiable.

Speaker 3 (17:07):
Especially a certain distinctive use of colored gel lighting, like
a fond of shining up on someone's face with like
a purple light, or a set that's lit with like
a green light or something.

Speaker 1 (17:19):
Yeah, and you know he did black and white films
as well, like nineteen sixties. Black Sunday is black and white,
though he's one of these directors once you see him
working with color, how do you go to black and white?

Speaker 3 (17:30):
Black Sunday is great, though, that's a more darker, more
serious sort of witchcraft witch hunting film.

Speaker 1 (17:38):
Yeah, most of his films were more easily identifiable is horror.
He didn't just do horror. But I think there are
only two films that he did I could be mistaken
on this that are classifiable as science fiction, and this
is one of them.

Speaker 3 (17:51):
Some of his best known movies I think you would
put in the shallow genre like Blood and Black Lace.
And I think did he do Bay of Blood bag? Yes, yeah,
that's blood. My memory is Blood and Black Lace is
pretty great looking and Bay of Blood are recall being
ugly and not not making any sense as a Bava movie,

(18:12):
and I didn't really like it.

Speaker 1 (18:14):
Blood in Black Lace, that's the one with Cameron Mitchell
in it.

Speaker 3 (18:16):
Oh yes, yes, so.

Speaker 1 (18:18):
Planet of the Vampires has all the touches that you
might expect from Bava. Brilliant Gothic colors, characters staring through
portals and windows, lots of doors and windows, like this
is a film that loves space doors and the space
doors are wonderful in it.

Speaker 3 (18:34):
People looking through glass at things, and I always thought
that was an interesting detail, like how much that happens
in here?

Speaker 1 (18:41):
Yeah, also bright blood, high style, and of course just
great lighting. Now this one is based on a novel,
a novel by the author Renato Pesternaniro who was born
in nineteen thirty three, and if I'm not mistaken, it's
still alive. And I don't know that any of his

(19:02):
works have been translated into English. I looked around, I
couldn't find any. I could be wrong, but he seems
to have written books in Italian for a number of decades.

Speaker 3 (19:13):
There's some kind of note in the credits about this
being based on something that appeared in a serial. Am
I wrong about that? Or is this a standalone novel?

Speaker 1 (19:23):
My understanding is the novel One Night of twenty one Hours.
But we have to remind ourselves that back in this
time period, sometimes novels would do this, even like big
works like Dune novels from Frank Herbert might be serialized
initially before they're published as a complete novel. So it
was just a different publishing world back then, certainly in

(19:43):
the US and I imagine in Italy as well. Now,
the screenplay credits on the film, beyond the author we
just mentioned, there are seven credits, including Bava himself. Oh
and you know, the more the better, you know, And
if you want to read all of them, you can
certainly look up the IMDb profile. But I thought we

(20:06):
would mentioned a couple of them because they're like I
believe a couple of are Italian screenwriters that Bob, at
least one that Bob had worked with on other films,
a couple I believe for Spanish screenwriters. And then we
also have two screenwriters come in for the English version.
The first is ib Melcor who lived nineteen seventeen through

(20:28):
twenty fifteen. Danish American writer with some impressive credits. He
wrote and directed fifty nine's The Angry Red Planet and
sixty four as the Time Travelers. He was a co
screenwriter on Robinson Crusoe on Mars and sixty four and
his nineteen sixty five story The Racer was adapted into
the nineteen seventy five Corman produced Paul Bartel directed movie

(20:52):
Death Race two thousand.

Speaker 3 (20:53):
Oh Wow. Melkar was also one of the writers behind
the hilarious nineteen sixty one Danish kaiju movie reptilicous Ha.

Speaker 1 (21:04):
I believe this one was covered on MS two three
k oh okay.

Speaker 3 (21:08):
I don't think I saw that one.

Speaker 1 (21:09):
More recent to MS two three k oh okay. Yeah,
all right. The other screenwriter on the English version Louis M. Hayward,
who of nineteen twenty through two thousand and two had
his hands in a number of bikini movie screenplays back
in the day, but was also a producer on such
films as both Doctor Fibes movies, The Vampire Lovers, The

(21:29):
Oblong Box, Which Finder General and more. All right, let's
get into the cast. So this previously mentioned one of
the two principal characters. One of the characters that we
actually can instantly identify, and this is in large part

(21:52):
do the fact that, I mean he has a screen presence,
he has a lot of screen time, and he's an
older actor in this film is Barry Sullivan playing Captain.

Speaker 3 (21:59):
Mar Marcari, Markery Mark and the Funky Crew.

Speaker 1 (22:04):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (22:06):
So.

Speaker 1 (22:07):
Barry Sullivan lived nineteen twelve through nineteen ninety four, American
actor of TV and film, active from the nineteen thirties
up into the nineteen eighties. He was never, I think,
a huge name, but he seems to have been like
a very dependable hand in pictures, very very long stretch,
sometimes as the lead, but oftentimes you is part of
extended cast. Some of his other notable films include Cause

(22:29):
for Alarm in fifty one, The Bad and the Beautiful
and fifty two and nineteen seventy four's Earthquake. M He
pops up twice on Night Gallery, and he did at
least one other horror movie, Pyro The Thing Without a
Face nineteen sixty four English Spanish co production.

Speaker 3 (22:46):
What did Pyro The Thing Without a Face? It seems
like two different titles jammed together.

Speaker 4 (22:52):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (22:52):
I haven't seen it, so I can't really speak to it,
but it looks like it has some sort of a
creature effect or makeup effect going on in it. Not
even sure if if it's Barry Sullivan and the creature
of fact stuff, but at any rate, he's in this film,
and I think he's the lead.

Speaker 3 (23:06):
I don't know exactly what to say about Barry Sullivan
in this movie, because on one hand, I feel inclined
to be critical and call his performance extremely boring, But
then again, I don't know what I would change about it. Like,
I don't know how different this movie would be if
you had a very exciting actor giving a more lively

(23:29):
performance in this role, and it might actually undercut some
of the other things I like so much about it.

Speaker 1 (23:34):
Yeah, I was having the same experience because at first
I was thinking, like, oh, man, Barry Sullivan is such
a bore. Why couldn't it have been Cameron Mitchell, for example,
in this role. But then as I started wating, as
I continued watching it, I was really thinking, well, what
would Cameron Mitchell have done differently? You know, this this
character is what he is. He's very stoic, you know,

(23:57):
he's dry, the he's in many ways sort of the
typical leading man hero that you would have in classic
Hollywood films. He's a cool cucumber under pressure and yeah,
he's kind of like the dad of the picture.

Speaker 3 (24:12):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (24:13):
So yeah, I ultimately I'm going to land on saying
Barry Sullivan's good in this if nothing else, you can
have doen it. He can set him apart from all
the other male characters in the film, because most of
the other male characters are kind of interchangeable.

Speaker 3 (24:26):
Now, one character I always did recognize is the character
Sonya played by Norma Bingal.

Speaker 1 (24:33):
Yes, yes, very captivating screen presence, beautiful eyes of course,
dressed in stylish spacesuits. The whole time she lived. Nineteen
thirty five through twenty thirteen. She was a Brazilian actor
and musician and later director and producer. Was a big
star in Brazil, and that's where I think she was
mostly active. Though Natural Issue appears in some Italian films

(24:54):
as well. Obviously, because this is an Italian film, certainly
outside of Brazil, this is her best known work and yeah, captivating,
even if I would say, you know, she's still subject
to the reduced ambient acting temperature of this movie, that's.

Speaker 3 (25:14):
A good way of putting it. Yes, I would say
the general temperature of the acting in this film is low,
and that affects everyone, whatever their individual charisma might be.
And in other context, it's clear that Norma Bengal has
loads of charisma because she also had a career as
a singer, as I think you mentioned, and I was
trying to find some of her music. Not a lot

(25:34):
of it seems to be all that easy to access
these days. But there's one record she put out that
I must get a physical copy of if I can
find it anywhere. It's a nineteen fifty nine Bossa Nova album,
and I dug up a few tracks from it. First
of all, the album is called you Ready for the title, Yeah,
it's Ooh Norma. I think six or seven o's in

(25:58):
the ooga Ooh Norma. And the tracks I heard I
thought were just great, very smooth and rough at the
same time, like a pad of butter melting on a
crocodile's back. Two thumbs up.

Speaker 1 (26:11):
Yeah, yeah, you sent me some links to this. There's
a cover of fever On here that's quite nice.

Speaker 3 (26:17):
Some other tracks, Yeah, she does a song called ho
Ba La La. I've never heard that before, but it's great.

Speaker 1 (26:23):
Yeah yeah, so yes, solid Bossonova performance. In my opinion,
I do take a little Bosonova from time to time.

Speaker 3 (26:31):
Does anybody out there have a copy of this record?
If you are a listener of our show and you
own Ooh Norma, you must write us contact it stuff
to blow your mind dot com. I want to know
all about this, all.

Speaker 1 (26:43):
Right, so we'll come back to her, I'm sure. But
other actors in this, let's see, there's Angel Aranda. This
is an actor playing the character Wes west Kent. Another
wonderful name.

Speaker 3 (26:56):
These Mark Marcury and Wes west Kent.

Speaker 1 (27:00):
We have to these are all you know. It's laying
the seeds for the reveal that these are not Earth humans.
They're from somewhere else where. They have different naming conventions.
But anyway, this actor lived nineteen thirty four through two thousand.
Spanish actor. He was also in nineteen fifty nine's The
Last Days of Pompeii and seems to have done a
fair amount of westerns and sword and Sandals sort of movies.

Speaker 3 (27:19):
I think this was a big time for sword and
sandal movies in Italy.

Speaker 1 (27:24):
Yeah. Now we have another female character in the film,
another crew member. This is Tiona, played by the actor
Evi Marandi, who was born in nineteen forty one and
I think is still with us. A Greek actress that
was active from around nineteen fifty nine through nineteen fifty
seventy four, did mostly thrillers and crime pictures. It also

(27:47):
appears that she was in the Italian mass superhero film
gold Vase The Fantastic Superman from nineteen sixty seven.

Speaker 3 (27:54):
I liked her in this too, not just because she
was a person I could actually recognize, but she's got cool,
big hair, which complements the costumes well. So the costumes.
Maybe we'll get into this more when we get down
to the costume designer credit. But the costumes have these
collars that look like Dracula capes. Did you also make

(28:15):
that connection?

Speaker 1 (28:18):
I do when I You've pointed this out to me before,
and and so I think about that when I look
at the costume. But at the same level, I don't
think I ever put that together myself looking at these costumes,
and I would, I would. I would say it's not overt.
It's not in a way where you're like, whoa wacky
space vampires, you know, I think they look pretty sleek.

Speaker 3 (28:37):
Well, it's also because these characters are not the vampire characters.
They're the ones who are the victims of them. But yeah,
they've got these very very high collars that like come
up past the back of their hairline and over their jaws.

Speaker 1 (28:51):
Yeah, and then they have these kind of skull caps
that they that they wear sometimes, and they have helmets
that they also wear sometimes. But then also when Sonya
and Tiona, when they take their help their skull caps off,
they both have just enormous beautiful mid sixties hair.

Speaker 3 (29:08):
Yeah, And so I think those, like the tall collars
on the characters are somehow well complimented by any actors
that have big hair.

Speaker 1 (29:16):
Yeah, and boy do they ever enormous hair. Now. Well,
I say most of the rest of the male characters
in the film are interchangeable, but I I'm gonna mission
to mention a couple of them because they have connections
to other films we've talked about. We have Stilio Condelli,
who plays either a character named Brad or Mud according

(29:36):
to IMDb. And again I have to be honest, I
do not know which character Brad or Mud was. I
don't remember. But Candelli pops up in nineteen eighty five's Hercules.
This is the one with Lufrigno that we watched. He's
also in nineteen eighty five's Demons and seventy four's Nude
for Satan.

Speaker 3 (29:55):
Wow, what a title do you think that got? People
into the theaters.

Speaker 1 (30:01):
Some theaters. Now, we also have the actor Ivan Rasimov
as a character named Carter or Dervy. And this guy's
interesting because he lived nineteen thirty eight through two thousand
and three, Italian actor who played a lot of heavies.
He was in Sergio Martino's All the Colors of the
Dark from seventy two. He was in Baba's nineteen seventy

(30:24):
seven film Shock, and he played Lord Grau in the
Humanoid that's the off brand Darth Vader in the Star
Wars knockoff that we watched.

Speaker 3 (30:34):
Wow, Dervy Jones Locker.

Speaker 1 (30:39):
All right, Well, let's get to some of the behind
the scenes names here. Just because this is very much
like you say, the texture of the film is so important,
we have to discuss some of the folks who brought
that together. First of all, we have Gino Maronosi Junior,
who lived nineteen twenty through nineteen ninety six, son of
an Italian conductor and composer. Obviously the same name Senior

(31:03):
and Junior, but Junior worked in Italian and European film
and TV. He also is credited with electronic effects on
this film, and again those electronic effects are not isolated.
They are found throughout the picture and are marvelous. I
think I got even a hint of theram and at times.

Speaker 3 (31:21):
Oh yeah, yeah, there's a lot of beeping consoles and
machinery inside the ships, and a great scene where they
discover some derelict artifacts and an alien technology that has
its own sound profiles like the you remember the sonic
or the high voltage sonic locks and keys and the

(31:41):
tuning fork.

Speaker 1 (31:43):
Yeah. Yeah, anything interesting in this film, even halfway interesting,
has a signature sound, and if you hear a sound,
you're gonna hear it again, and probably like somewhere between
four to five times minimum, which I think adds to
this sort of hypnotic feel. It's like this is a
movie that on some level is just playing with sound.

Speaker 3 (32:02):
But also my memory is that there's not a lot
of music in this movie. I didn't take specific notes
on this, but my general impression is there are a
lot of scenes that have no music and there's just
ambient environmental sound.

Speaker 1 (32:16):
Yeah. Yeah, there are long stretches of ambient sound, which
I love. There are a few spikes of more traditional
action music, but then there are also, like to say,
the end credit music, is rather nice and is kind
of a mix of these things, like it's creepy, but
it's not just pure electronic ambience by any stretch. Now,
we've been gushing over the sets and all in this film,

(32:39):
so we should mention that the set decoration art direction
credit goes to Giorgio Giovanni, who lived nineteen twenty five
through two thousand and seven. We've mentioned them before because
they're credited on Bava's Black Sabbath the Evil Eye and
was also art director on nineteen eighty six Is the
Name of the Rose In nineteen eighty six is The

(33:01):
Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Speaker 3 (33:03):
Oh, interesting man Munchausen has I can see that connection.
That also has some fantastic weird sets.

Speaker 1 (33:09):
Yeah, and I mean certainly the Name of the Rose
from eighty six is everything's very much based in a
specific medieval environment, but beautiful sets in that movie as well.
And then costume designer we have Gabrielle Mayer, who also
did costumes on the stylish Mario Bava film Danger Diabolic

(33:30):
from nineteen sixty eight.

Speaker 3 (33:32):
I can see that connection. Now we've been gushing about
the costumes, but one thing that's worth admitting is there's
not a great variety of costumes in this movie. Most
of the characters for most of the movie are all
wearing exactly the same thing. And yet I love these costumes.
There are these full body space leather or maybe fake leather,

(33:54):
I don't know, vinyl or leather jumpsuits that have their
like black with yellow lining. And we mentioned that they
have these very tall collars that come way up, like
past the jaw, past the hairline in the back. And
then sometimes these caps that go on that I believe
have a kind of don't The leather caps have a
kind of widow's peak to them, like they come down

(34:14):
a little bit in the forehead, almost like Dracula's hairline
or something.

Speaker 1 (34:18):
Yeah they do, Yeah, they do, now that you mention.

Speaker 3 (34:20):
It, just tremendous. Is so good?

Speaker 1 (34:22):
Yeah, these costumes, for one thing, you see them a lot,
and you don't really see any flaws in them. You
don't see the costuminess shining through. And then also everyone
has one and this gets into something I really liked
about the film. Like anything that exists in the film,
there's a sense of mass production to it. So everyone

(34:44):
has these costumes when sometimes they wear the helmet, but
the rest of the time you see multiple helmets, all identical,
setting around. It's not just one space rifle like ray
gun that they have, which is a great design by
the way, and especially with the sound effects like sounds
and feels clunky and steal, but everybody will have one

(35:05):
at different times, you know, and then there are multiple
ones setting around on racks. We also see this with
some time detonator devices. When they go to fetch one,
there's like, you know, three dozen of them or something
in the cabinet, and I don't know, there was something
about that that felt like, I don't know if it
was like a mid sixties thing and realizing like the
future is mass production, like the space Age is mass production,

(35:29):
and therefore, you know, anything that these these characters have,
they're going to have a whole bunch of them and
they're all going to be alike. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:35):
The only thing that really differentiates the costumes for most
of the movie is they will have these little insignias
that seem to indicate rank, like the number of z's
you have on your upper pectoral region is like, how
what rank you are?

Speaker 1 (35:49):
I think. Now there is the one section in the
middle and I don't think this is explained at all,
But suddenly our two main characters, at least Sonya and
and Marcari are wearing different costumes, Like they're wearing orange
and gray jumpsuits instead of the traditional black, And every

(36:09):
time I watch it, I'm like, what what's happening? Why
are you wearing different outfits? And these are fine jumpsuits,
don't get.

Speaker 3 (36:15):
Me wrong, great jumpsuits. They look kind of like the
Running Man uniforms.

Speaker 1 (36:19):
Yeah, but yeah, I was wandering sort of off hand.
I was like, well, why did they change jumpsuits? The
other one is getting laundered. This is the backup jumpsuit.
I'm not sure, but it's still as if they explain it. Yeah.
Oh and finally, Carlo Rambaldi, who lived nineteen twenty five
through twenty twelve, was the model maker on this A

(36:40):
legend who worked on a number of films, noted for
designing et and the mechanical head effects for the creatures
in Alien. He was a creature creator on the nineteen
eighty four Dune movie, So you know what that means.
This guy was doing sandworms or guild navigators or maybe both.

Speaker 3 (36:58):
Oh did he make Edric for David Lynch.

Speaker 1 (37:01):
Maybe I didn't look up specifics on that, but I mean,
if you're creating creatures, they're like, you basically have two
to shoes from there, and that was it's arguably the
more extravagant design and effect. But he also worked on
The Never Ending Story, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Frankenstein,
eighty Barbarella, and many more, and sometimes he's just credited

(37:21):
as Rembaldi.

Speaker 3 (37:23):
Oh you know you've made it when you can just
go by one name. Yeah, well that's a heck of
a resume, because like basically every movie you named there
has some pretty awesome models in it.

Speaker 1 (37:42):
All right, let's get let's get more into the plot
of this baby.

Speaker 3 (37:45):
Okay, Well, I think this is one of those movies
where it might be kind of dull to try to
recap the plot in a more granular way. So this
is one of the ones where I think it makes
more sense to summarize the whole thing briefly and then
focus on some details that stood out and maybe some
interesting readings. So here's the sort of higher level plot rundown.
You start with two deep space exploration vessels, the Galiot,

(38:09):
and I think this is the Greek word argo, but
I think they say argus in the movie, don't they.

Speaker 1 (38:17):
So the crew members of this one are technically argonauts.

Speaker 3 (38:20):
That would make sense.

Speaker 1 (38:21):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:21):
So yeah, the Argus and the Galliot, and they receive
a signal from a distress beacon on a previously unexplored
planet called Aura, and the two ships attempt to land,
but as they're approaching the planet's surface, the crew members
aboard the Argus, with the exception of Barry Sullivan, only
Captain Marcury is able to resist this. They all seemingly

(38:44):
go mad, or they become possessed or something. There's an
invisible force that makes them start beating and choking each other.

Speaker 1 (38:51):
Yeah, obvious shades of Event Horizon, which would of course
come much later. Event Horizon, of course, was not shy
about borrowing elements from other films.

Speaker 3 (38:59):
Yeah, And eventually Captain Marcery discovers that a sufficient physical
jolt breaks the trance, and the possessed crew members are
then beaten and returned to their senses one by one.
So the Argus lands on the planet's surface, which is
an infernal, chaotic terrain of these jagged rocks and spire shapes,

(39:21):
boiling bogs full of white mud, strange lights shining through
the fog, and these hues of purple and yellow that
very much recall the Verdulach. So it's another planet, but
just Carpathian sorcery crackling through the atmosphere. And they discovered
that the other ship, the Galiat, has also successfully landed nearby.

(39:43):
They originally didn't know its fate, but they see it
in the distance, and so several crew members make an
expedition across a simmering lake of mud to check on
the crew of the Galiat, and when they arrive, they
find the crew all dead, apparently having murdered each other
in the same kind of friends that sees the crew
of the Argus. So they conduct field burials of the

(40:05):
crew members that they can access. But there is one
section of the ship, I think it's the command room
of the ship where they can't get in. The door
is locked from the inside, and several bodies remain in there.
They look at them through the glass and they're like, Okay,
we have to go back to our ship to get
a cutting torch to access the room. But upon returning
they find that the dead bodies have disappeared from the

(40:26):
locked room, and so strange things start happening. Captain Marcury
decides that they have to escape the planet, but their
ship can't take off because of damage, including damage to
the so called meteor rejector, which I love. It's a
phrase that is said many times in an object we
look at over and over. That's like, got these two

(40:47):
little tubes that are connected on the top, kind of
like a pair of binoculars. But I believe the function
of this device is to allow the ship to travel
through space without being smashed by rocks. It rejects the meteors.

Speaker 1 (41:00):
Yeah yeah, and it's a cool looking bit of the satic.

Speaker 3 (41:03):
Cool looking prop, right, So they need some time for
the engineer to finish repairs on the media rejector. Meanwhile,
the surviving crew members start disappearing while out on watch
and stuff, and some start giving reports that they've seen
dead men from the galleat up and walking around. There's
one part where this is confirmed because they open up

(41:25):
one of the graves that they dug and we can
talk more about the graves in a minute because I
love them, and they find nobody in there anymore. Eventually,
Captain Marcury and Sonia Sonya's Norma bengal Agan. They investigate
a weird find. There is a derelict ship of unknown
origin and around it are the skeletons of gigantic humanoid aliens.

(41:47):
So the skeletons look human, but they would have been
like fifteen feet tall or something. And they conclude that
this ship and these aliens, whoever they are, were also
lured to the planet by the distress beacons, same one
they responded to but ages ago, and were probably killed
by whatever force is attacking them now.

Speaker 1 (42:06):
So obviously direct connections to Alien.

Speaker 3 (42:09):
Right here, Yeah, lured to a planet by a distress beacon,
you set down and investigate there is a derelict ship
of unknown origin with some kind of alien corpse inside
a skeleton that looks like it's been there for centuries,
and something on the planet killed the aliens who operated
the ship. That that's the situation in Alien and it's

(42:30):
the situation in Planet of the Vampires. So it's a
pretty strong similarity and their visual similarities too, with like
the way the skeleton looks stretched out like the engineer
in Alien and the skeleton in Planet Here. And so
eventually two crew members who had previously been thought dead
show up on the ship, and they are soon revealed

(42:52):
to be not their original selves but dead bodies that
have been reanimated and possessed by some kind of incorporeal
beings native to the planet somehow like the native inhabitants
of this planet. It's almost suggested that because of the
decline of their species, they've been reduced to a kind

(43:12):
of ghost like or wraith like existence where they have
no bodies of their own and must only and can
only exist by occupying the more vital bodies of still
living beings from a more vital planet.

Speaker 1 (43:26):
Yeah. Yeah, they're kind of like hungry ghosts.

Speaker 3 (43:28):
The planet Aura is dying because the sun is fading,
and the Distress Beacon was in fact designed to lure
in aliens that they could possess and then steal their
spacecraft to escape the planet and find greener pastures elsewhere.
So the remaining humans try to prevent this by blowing
up the galleat, and they succeed there and eventually escape

(43:50):
on the Argus, with the only survivors being Marcury, Sonia
and Wes the Engineer. But spoiler for a twist coming,
Marcury and Sonia announce to West that they are actually
also possessed by the invisible vampires of Aura, and they
give a little speech they say, you know, they tell Wes,
come along, merge with us. It's great, it's bliss, And

(44:14):
so Wes reacts by trying to destroy the ship. He
attacks the media rejector once again and he's killed in
the process. But without a meteor rejector, the vampire versions
of Marcury and Sonia have no choice but to land
at the nearest available planet. And they zoom in on
the viewscreen and what is the planet? It is Earth.
We see like North and South America, and so I

(44:36):
guess or Earth is next.

Speaker 1 (44:39):
Yeah, this is very exciting, and I think I'd actually
forgotten about this twist from when I watched the film
just a little less than a year ago, and so yeah,
I was excited by the first of all the dark
twist here. We've talked about some other films from this
era and how at times it feels like they were
very hesitant to end things on a bummer note or

(45:03):
on a dark note, and this is certainly kind of
a dark note because we have these like psychic parasitic
aliens that now can't can't go to the technologically advanced planet.
They have to come to this barbaric planet of Earth.
And we get the super zoom in and we see
the city of New York. I believe it's supposed to

(45:23):
be New York, much in the same way that we
see some zoom INDs of New York City in Santa
Claus versus the Martians, by the way, but part of
me was a little disappointed that it was clear that
this was a then modern day Earth that they were
arriving at, because for a second there was thinking, oh,
what if they're about to arrive at truly like a

(45:46):
prehistoric day in Earth's history, or you know, very early
on in human history. And maybe because they talk about
when the aliens are pitching their whole like let us
live inside you thing, they're kind of like, well, you
just have to reduce your will a little bit, and
it's it's not like a parasitism, it's they're kind of
making the case that it's more like symbiosis. And I

(46:09):
was thinking, like, wouldn't that have been a nice twist
if they if it's kind of revealed that what we
are is due to their interference, that like the You know,
the mystery of human consciousness is wrapped up in the
fact that psychic aliens from another world infiltrated our species
at some prior age and human evolution.

Speaker 3 (46:29):
We are the vampires. The vampires are our consciousness or something.

Speaker 1 (46:33):
Yeah, yeah, but I guess instead it's supposed to be
like nineteen sixties New York and they're going to show
up there instead, which is fine. Which is fine, not
a criticism. It's still solid dancing. Yeah, we don't need
to see this. I'm glad they didn't try and actually
film a sequel, but yeah, this is a solid twist ending.
I liked it a lot.

Speaker 3 (47:01):
Now, there was something I just briefly wanted to mention.
I was looking at a chapter in a book called
Horror in Space, Critical Essays on a film subgenre, edited
by Michelle Brittany from twenty seventeen, and there's a chapter
in this about space horror movies that are specifically quote
undead planets in vampiric dream worlds in outer space. This

(47:23):
is by an author named Simon Bacon. The top line
title of the chapter is under the influence. Now it
goes into a lot of complicated detail about like postmodern
theory of hyper reality based on Bouderyard and stuff, And
I'm not going to go in depth on that. I
just want to say that it's got a cool idea

(47:44):
that basically that earth life and our natural societies in
an industrialized world, a state in which we are constantly
hyper aroused by technology and media all around us that
are presenting us imagery and just a barrage of super

(48:05):
normal stimuli that creates a kind of Disneyland reality where
the senses never come to rest and as a result,
we never experience something that feels like the real world,
like we are alienated from a sense of baseline, authentic
reality by the fact that we are that we are
in a constant state of hyperstimulation and arousal. And it

(48:29):
contrasts that with what is often shown to be life
aboard a spaceship in science fiction movies. So you can
think about the slow tranquility of the scenes where characters
are walking around in the command room as they're just
flying through space. That of course space itself being without
sound in it, that's a big part of it. You

(48:49):
know that it's just a very calming void. And in fact,
in a lot of these sci fi movies, characters literally
go into a state of suspended animation. It's like an
unnaturally tranquil condition where that hyper stimulated reality recedes and
you can almost approach a more authentic and real version

(49:10):
of connection to the physical environment by going into the
void of space. So I thought that was interesting. But
then the second half of it is that a lot
of these space horror movies that involve a kind of
vampiric entity in outer space, like a planet that wants
to drain our life force or something like that, it
often seems to work by taking those astronauts who have

(49:33):
been rendered kind of tranquil and more in touch with
a real baseline reality by their space travels and trying
to put them in these states of hyper excitement and
arousal once again.

Speaker 1 (49:45):
All right, So it's almost like through space travel they
have disconnected from the artificial world, become more in line
with the underlying reality, kind of achieved sort of a
space Buddha hood. They're being like sucked back into the
into into into the material world, into the world of

(50:05):
again all this super normal stimuli, a world of desire
and ravenous hunger.

Speaker 3 (50:10):
Yes, And to use a very cliched example, it's like,
by going into space, you essentially are able to unplug
from the matrix. And then there are all these movies that,
in some way or other, there's a there's a monster
in space, and what it wants you to do once
you come within its influence is to kind of use
you use your body or use your brain to itself

(50:33):
plug into your matrix that you've just gotten out of.

Speaker 1 (50:37):
All right, And so the argument here is these distant
worlds are kind of a way of holding the mirror
up to Earth itself, to what our actual society and
culture and media is doing to us.

Speaker 3 (50:51):
Yeah, so I thought that was kind of interesting.

Speaker 1 (50:54):
Yeah, Yeah, I like that. I like a good academic
read on on pictures line like this, where clearly and
clearly they weren't intending to really make any statements, and
this sort of thing with the Planet of the Vampires
no more than event Horizon was trying to.

Speaker 4 (51:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (51:11):
I guess the argument in favor of theories like this
would be that there is sort of common thoughts that
people are having in a kind of inarticulated or subconscious
way that are coming through in these works of art
and entertainment.

Speaker 1 (51:26):
Yeah, I mean, the myth is popular because the myth
is doing something that it's stirring certain thoughts, and sometimes
there's a uniformity to the thoughts that are stirred by
the myth, and so yeah, it's all fair game to
analyze exactly what is the collective experience of this story.

Speaker 3 (51:41):
Now, to jut off in a totally different direction, I
want to mention how Rachel and I totally went down
a labyrinthine rabbit hole trying to figure out the font
of the opening credits of Planet of the Empowers, because
whatever it is, it's first of all beautiful, I love
the design, and second it seems to have made it

(52:03):
or something like it seems to have become recently popular
in the publishing industry. Rachel was looking at the screen.
She said something like, I've read three books in the
past year that had to cover with this font on it,
and so we kind of turned into that guy in
Zodiac trying to track all this down, and much like Zodiac,
the Mad Investigation had an inconclusive result. Turns out these

(52:25):
books don't actually use all exactly the same font as
the movie or as each other, but they all kind
of look similar, and that look is an elegant sans
Sarah or only barely Sarah to all caps font that
is a bit like hand lettering, and it emits fumes
of retro Hollywood. I think the closest real font we
found too, it was called Lydian and you so you

(52:47):
can look that up and get a close approximation, but
not exactly. And then after the whole thing, I realized,
in fact, this text might not even be a standard
type set at all, might just be hand painted lettering.
I'm not sure, but either way, it's gorgeous and it
looking at these credits it made me want to wear
sunglasses indoors and like walk around the block with a

(53:08):
campari on the rocks.

Speaker 1 (53:11):
Yeah, yeah, it's you know, sometimes I feel like I
suffer from font blindness and ultimately can't tell some of
these fonts from each other. But this is this is nice.
These are nice fonts. I'll give you that.

Speaker 3 (53:23):
Also, can we talk about how spacious the command room
in this ship is.

Speaker 1 (53:27):
Oh, it's enormous. It's like a it's like a TV
church set or something.

Speaker 3 (53:32):
You know, it's bigger than my house. There's gigantic, like
there is just tons of open floor space with nothing
in it, And I think about how that contrasts to
a lot of other movies where the command room is
very cramped. It's like seats right next to each other
and these consoles directly in front of them. That this

(53:53):
command room is like a warehouse.

Speaker 1 (53:55):
Yeah, like, yeah, you can compare this to say Alien,
where everything is very cram and you certainly don't have
wide open spaces in which characters could conceivably dance with
one another. I imagine some filmmakers of the day were
probably asking, why is there not a dance number in
this Well.

Speaker 3 (54:12):
But there is a well choreographed fight scene in this
big room.

Speaker 1 (54:16):
Oh yeah, And you know, I have to say I
was kind of shocked to hear myself thinking this, but
I dug the fight choreography in this film. Like it's
a lot of times from this era that the action
as a little cowboy asque, you know, when you're looking
at US and European films. But there's something about the
physicality in this that it feels like it's the right level.

(54:37):
There's a scuffle kind of late in the film that's
pretty well put together, and there's a moment early on
when like the crew members are going crazy where one
character there are a couple characters on screen, and then
a character runs in from off screen with tremendous speed,
attempting to clobber or grapple somebody. And I think this

(54:58):
is the scene is accentuated by the sound of those
metallic footfalls in the ship. But it's like wop, and
there he is, and uh, yeah, it feels very real. Now.

Speaker 3 (55:08):
Another scene that stands out to me every time, and
I know it stood out to you as well, that
we've got to talk about is the scene where the
buried crew members rise from the grave.

Speaker 1 (55:19):
Yes, so again it's you get it's not really revealed
at this point, I think, but you certainly get the
inclination that, yeah, these are not normal Earth humans because
they're burial practices. Their field burials are weird. It involves
not just digging a pit, but in across at the
top of it. No, they dig out a hole, They
wrap the body in plastic, place the plastic wrap body

(55:42):
in the hole, cover said hole or ditch with metal plating,
and then erect a weird metal obelisk at the head
of the grave.

Speaker 3 (55:51):
The obelisk looks like a cowtools version of a pocket
knife saw.

Speaker 1 (55:57):
Yeah, and it's it's wonderfully weird, like it doesn't match
up with with human religions and funeral traditions, so it's
just like early on you're just like, what are what
are they doing? Why? Why is this what they do?
And yeah, it adds and it's enough like an actual
grave and grave traditions that we can connect with it
and we can connect with the undead stuff to follow.

(56:19):
But it's it's also just weird and inhuman it's it's wonderful.

Speaker 3 (56:22):
But the really I'm not sure exactly why this is,
but the thing that makes the scene where the bodies
come out of the grave perfect for me is the
clear plastic they're draped in because they rise up, they
don't just like cut through it and then stand up.
They stand up with the with the plastic sheeting still
wrapped around them and ooh, it's it's chilling and it's beautiful.

Speaker 1 (56:46):
Yeah, this is one of my favorite scenes in the
whole picture because of course we have this hellish lighting
behind the entities as they rise, so it's you know,
we already have this very apispheric feel to the environment.
They're rising up in this this plastic or rubber sheeting,
and we get the wonderful sound effects of that rubber

(57:06):
or plastic stretching and being ripped. Like when I look
at the still I can hear the sound. That's how
strong it is. And I think one of the things
that works here is that on some level, I don't
know if they intended this, but it's almost like it
is a rebirth and it's in the plastic or rubber
is like a birth call that must then be ripped

(57:28):
from the creatures before they can go forth, and you know,
cause their mischief.

Speaker 3 (57:33):
Do you remember the scene later This is another undead
reveal where they're the crew members who come back and
they're acting like that, oh yeah, sorry, we're still alive.
We were just somewhere else and you need to let
us onto the ship now. And there's a moment where
one of their vests gets knocked open, like the leather
jumpsuit comes open, and you see his torso and it's

(57:56):
just like gouged out and rotting. Yeah, and he quickly
covers back up. And somehow that felt like it was
on the same frequency as the clear plastic.

Speaker 1 (58:05):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, Now, oh, some other shot. I mean,
this is a film that's just filled with beautiful shots.
So we can't give, you know, due diligence to all
of them, but some of the ones I loved. I
loved how there are scenes where characters are talking to
each other through essentially little screens. But at least some

(58:26):
of these, not all of them, but I think some
of these were created by simply having the character stand
on the other side of a of a like a
plastic bubble, which works really well. I don't know, I
just again, it's something coming back to Bava, Like Bava
excels at having characters look through windows at each other

(58:48):
or at the camera, and so here we have the
technological version of that.

Speaker 3 (58:52):
You remember the face through the window in the Verdilac.

Speaker 1 (58:55):
Yeah, yeah, So it's definitely something to look for anytime
you watch Upava film. Now, how about that alien spaceship though, Oh,
once we get to board that, oh, there's all sorts
of wonderful stuff.

Speaker 3 (59:07):
So this is the scene where Barry Sullivan and Norma
Bengal are wearing the gray and orange jumpsuits instead of
the black and yellow ones, and they or I think
it is.

Speaker 1 (59:18):
I'm pretty sure I believe that is right.

Speaker 3 (59:20):
Yeah, yeah, And so they go to investigate the Stereolic
ship and inside there are these gigantic skeletons and there's
purple lighting everywhere. Things appear to be draped in I
don't even know what it is. It looks again, I guess,
like clear plastic, but it doesn't read that way in
the scene. It reads more like some kind of organic
film that has been deposited there. And they're trying to

(59:42):
understand the like the tools and the technology of the
Stereolic spaceship, and they don't actually figure it all out.
I mean, they do get locked inside for a moment
and they think they're going to suffocate, and they have
to figure out how to operate one of the one
of the keys, the electronic keys that'll open the door.
But the problem is that you can't. Their puny bodies
can't handle these keys that they like get shocked by them.

Speaker 1 (01:00:05):
Yeah, and there's this wonderful sequence where they're moving through
I guess it's like several portholes. It's like concentric circles.
It has a spiral feel to it the way that
it's framed. This is one of the more beautiful shots
in the whole picture. That's their entrance into the space
the alien spaceship, and then of course they have to

(01:00:25):
exit that way as well. And like I think I
said earlier, anytime a door is opening in this movie,
it's just in I'm just enraptured. Like the doors on
the on the main spaceships, but also the doors on
the alien spaceships, like they have a real weight to them.
They feel like clunky and thick. I just was totally

(01:00:51):
I totally bought in on all the sets in this film.

Speaker 3 (01:00:53):
This movie makes me want to compose a list. I
think I need to consult consult with the audience here.
Op Ten, all time planet surface sets in sci fi movies?
What are your favorites?

Speaker 1 (01:01:07):
Oh? Wow, Like clearly sets in not actual environments, not
all locations.

Speaker 3 (01:01:14):
Yeah, that does complicate it. I mean I do like
a planet surface set that's more stagy in the way
that this is as opposed to just like finding a
weird landscape actually outdoors on Earth and using that that
can be cool too in a more realistic movie.

Speaker 1 (01:01:27):
Yeah, both both work or can work.

Speaker 3 (01:01:30):
Like I know, I've talked about this on the show before. Oh,
what's it called? The sequel to Prometheus, The Alien Covenant
Alien Covenant a great example of a terrible movie that
I just really like for some reason despite it being bad.
I recognize it's bad, but it just it just works
for me and the I mean, the planet surface sets

(01:01:52):
in that movie are great though they're all I think
outdoor sets.

Speaker 1 (01:01:55):
Well, I would not say that Alien Covenant is terrible.
I would say that Alien Covenant is a buffet, and
you don't have to load your plate up with everything
from the buffet. Just focus on the tasty dessert treats.

Speaker 3 (01:02:09):
It is a buffet if a buffet included nachos, pizza, sushi, beef, tartar,
and savice all in the same place, so.

Speaker 1 (01:02:23):
You don't have to load your plate up with all
those things. But where are you going with that? Something
about locations?

Speaker 3 (01:02:28):
Oh no, I was just talking about how it's a
great example of I mean, beautiful planet surface sets, but
they're just like I think, mostly shot actually on Earth's surface.
They're just cool looking locations outdoors on Earth.

Speaker 1 (01:02:41):
Oh yeah, And of course Star Wars. The Star Wars
franchise has long been graded this like find a unique
environment and it feels totally believable. As an alien deser
heerd or a Forest Moon. Right, all right, well we're
gonna go ahead and call it there. I will say
real quick, if you want to watch this movie for yourself,
is widely available as of this recording. You can stream

(01:03:03):
it on Prime is just part of your Prime membership.
That's how I watched it. It's widely available on DVD,
and Keno Lorber put out a very nice blu ray
of this movie. Is that is that what you watched
it on?

Speaker 5 (01:03:13):
Joe?

Speaker 1 (01:03:13):
Do you have the blue Yeah?

Speaker 3 (01:03:14):
I have the Blue ray?

Speaker 1 (01:03:15):
Yeah, So so yeah, check those out. Definitely worth seeing
in the the highest visual quality you can you can do.
And I also have to say, yeah, the first time
I watched it, I watched it on my iPhone on
a on an airplane and that was fine, But I
enjoyed it much more on the big screen. Like some
some films you can you can watch in your iPhone

(01:03:35):
and you're not losing a lot like but but this,
this is this is one that I think you need
a nice big screen presentation.

Speaker 3 (01:03:43):
And hey, if you fall asleep while watching it, don't
be ashamed. That's that's part of the vibe.

Speaker 1 (01:03:47):
That's just the movie doing its work. Oh, speaking of
rubbing the fur. We we've said it enough. It's going
to take on a physical reality. Keep an eye on
our merch store. We're working on some rub the Fur
emerge ice. Well, we'll see how it comes together. Let's
see what else to mention. Oh yeah, if you like
the website letterboxed, you can check out the profile for

(01:04:09):
Weird House Cinema. There. It's just weird House. So sign
up there, follow us there if that's your thing. Let
us know what you think I can. Right now, it's
just a list of the films that we've covered, but
if people are interesting and interested enough in it, we
could do a little more there. We'll see And yeah,
this is Weird House Cinema every Friday. In the Stuff
to Blow Your Mind podcast feed we're primarily a science podcast,

(01:04:32):
but one day a weekly we like to set all
that aside and just focus in on a weird and
wonderful film such as this one.

Speaker 3 (01:04:39):
Huge thanks to our excellent audio producer Seth Nicholas Johnson.
If you would like to get in touch with us
with feedback on this episode or any other, to suggest
a topic for the future, or just to say hello,
you can email us at contact at stuff to Blow
Your mind dot com.

Speaker 2 (01:05:00):
Stuff to Blow your Mind is production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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