Saturday, January 22, 2022

Episode 91: Planet 8's Top 10 Spaceships!


One of the staples of many science fiction movies and TV shows is the spaceship. Not merely a vehicle, the spaceship seems to take on a personality of its own through a combination of unique design and the way it is perceived by the characters around it. It can be home for some, or a fighting machine, but a character's spaceship often defines them. Your intrepid crew had so many ships to choose from, over the many decades of sci fi films and TV shows, we each made our own top ten lists, and then through arcane methods, pulled together a combined list from our many picks to create quite a varied group of ships. 

Who made the list? What ship is our number one pick? You're going to have to listen to find out!!

But - we will say that our oldest ship is from the 1950s, a number of ships are from non-American productions, and only one pick on our list was on all three of our individual lists! So give it a listen and let us know your thoughts. We will also go over our individual lists too.

Our Sensor Sweep focuses on a Bay Area legend, John Stanley, who took up hosting Creature Features from Bob Wilkins in 1979 and continued until 1984. During his tenure on the show, Stanley interviewed tons of celebrities, and he shares those interviews in his new book, The Career that Dripped with Horror. Stanley reminisces about his times hosting Creature Features and later appearances at conventions and other shows, and has transcripts of his interviews with folks like Carrie Fisher, Mark Hammill, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adam West, and tons more. Whether you're a fan of Creature Features, or never heard of it, the interviews alone are worth picking this one up!

All right cadets, that's it for this go round. Make sure you keep your engines energized and your defensive shields charged. 

Thanks for listening!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Episode 90: Spider-Man: No Way Home Swings us into 2022!


It seemed to take forever to get here, but Spider-Man: No Way Home arrived right before Christmas, and it was one of the best presents any of us got this year! The Planet 8 crew loved this latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in this episode, we talk all about the movie and all the things we enjoyed. This is a spoiler-filled review, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, what are you waiting for? Go see it, and hurry on back to the podcast!

From the many interesting villains of the film, with Willem Dafoe's Goblin and Alfred Molina's Dr. Octopus foremost, to the death of Aunt May, to the appearances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as other versions of Peter/Spidey, this movie was just packed with amazing moments and surprises. We'll do some deep dives and discuss all of this and more.

Of course, Dr. Strange is also in the film and we have to talk about his role in things and what his status is in the MCU -as well as Wong, the new Sorcerer Supreme! There're also all the implications of the multiverse rifts -where will this go in the future?

Aunt May utters the famous line, "With great power must also come great responsibility," giving Peter his guiding light, right before she passes away. Losing her gives Peter the sense of loss the other two Spider-Men have that drove them and her last words give him that moral compass he needs so much.

MJ and Ned provide Peter with support that no other Spider-Man has had. Moving forward, how will he cope without their help? And was it fair of him to not tell them who he was? 

At the end of the film, Peter/Spider-Man is reset to a place much more like the classic Spider-Man in the comics: poor, struggling, very much a street-level hero, not the galaxy-spanning hero we'd seen in Endgame. No more help from Tony Stark, from now on, he has to stand on his own two feet. No Way Home feels very much like an origin story. We're excited to see where Spidey goes next!

This episode's Sensor Sweep, we want to chat a bit about our YouTube channel. Listeners we invite you to check out our podcasts on YouTube. Bob does a nice job of adding graphics to the audio. It's another way of catching the show. We also have a few special video episodes that are not part of the regular podcast, where we've discussed things like AIP films or bad Facebook purchases! If we hit 1,000 subscribers, we can do live video, which we would really like to do. Currently we are over 300 subscribers. So please consider subscribing to the YouTube channel, which you can find here:

That's a wrap! Please let us know your thoughts on Spider-Man No Way Home, our episode, or anything else you want to talk about!

Thanks for listening True Believers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Episode 89: Christmas with Vincent


Happy holidays listeners! When we were planning this episode of Planet 8, we thought, "What says happy holidays better than Vincent Price?" This episode we celebrate the career and life of a true Renaissance Man, Vincent Price, with our special guest, Lord Blood-Rah.

Price is a legend as a horror film actor, and we will discuss some of his many films, including The Tingler, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Fly, House of Wax, and more. Price played a variety of roles, sometimes sympathetic, sometimes malevolent. But regardless of the role, he had a charm that won audiences over.

For many monster kids, our first encounter with Price was on television, perhaps through his role as Egghead on Batman, or even in his many appearances on shows like The Brady BunchLove Boat and The Muppet Show. He also displayed his wit and wisdom on game shows like The Hollywood Squares, and frequented talk shows, where his culinary skills might be on display! 

Price even authored cookbooks (with his second wife, Mary), aimed at the average American family. Cooking Price-wise and A Treasury of Great Recipes were very popular cookbooks in their time, and Treasury was republished in 2015 for a special 50th anniversary edition. He loved cooking and making recipes more accessible for people.

He was also an art collector. He had a Masters degree in fine arts and had a lifelong appreciation of art, and a desire to preserve art and bring art to the public - again, making art more accessible to the average person. Today much of his personal collection resides in the Vincent Price Art museum in Los Angeles College in Monterrey Park, California.

Price also had quite a career as a voice actor. His wonderful voice allowed him to play the lead role as The Saint on radio in the late 40s. More modern listeners would recognize Price as the narrator from Michael Jackson's Thriller. 

Price comes across as a fascinating, kind, and charming gentleman that we would love to sit down with, perhaps over a dinner from a recipe in one of his cookbooks, and just have a long conversation. 

For this episode's Sensor Sweep, Lord Blood-Rah shares with us all his latest happenings. First up, he has a podcast, Lord Blood-Rah's Nerve Wrackin' Auditorium, in which he hosts old time radio horror and science fiction shows, like Inner Sanctum, Lights Out and more. You can find it on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple, and more. The website is Anchor.FM/lordbloodrah. In the Bay Area, every third Saturday night of the month, he's hosting Chiller Theater at the Orinda Theater, showing classic horror and Sci fi. His regular TV series, Lord Blood-Rah's Nerve Wrackin' Theater is going into season 12! Go to the website, to check out new episodes and everything else going on! He also has a Patreon, where you can support what he is doing, There you can get his exclusive weekly show, Lord Blood-Rah's Cathode Zone, where he presents classic TV shows. Big news: he may have a comic book available soon!

We want to wish you all happy holidays - and best wishes for 2022!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Episode 88: Captivating Creatures


This episode, the Planet 8 crew talks about some of our favorite creature designs. Over the history of cinema, there have been many amazing fantasy, horror and science fiction creatures designed and put on film, and we will each cover one of our favorites. Each of these has significance as paving the way for future films, developing new techniques and pioneering new styles. 

We begin with the original Planet of the Apes, and the daunting task of developing realistic makeup for the talking chimps, gorillas and orangutans. If the makeup wasn't convincing, if it didn't allow the actors to act and emote, there was no way the film could be made. But talented artist John Chambers was able to develop amazing prosthetics that were flexible enough and convincing enough to meet the challenge. Chambers had a fascinating background that enabled him to make advancements in facial prosthetics. His work certainly was a huge influence on future monster makers.

Next we cross the ocean and look at a big star, King Ghidorah! Created by Akira Watanabe for the 1964 movie Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster, it was based on many other multi-headed dragons. The design was always three heads and two tails, but early production photos show different coloring. The suit was operated by an actor in the suit and puppeteers working the heads, wings and tails. This made for a kind of frenetic movement style, which was pretty cool when you saw it as a kid! Ghidorah was active til 1972, then brought back in a new suit in the 90s, but he lost his crazy frenetic motion. In the new Legendary series, there are three motion capture actors playing each head. The actors have to coordinate their movements, but this method allows each head to have its own personality.

Our last headliner is the one and only Eighth Wonder of the World, King Kong! Kong is a fascinating case, having been portrayed now by stop-motion, men in suits, and now CGI. We look at the original film, the Toho Kong, the 1976 Kong including both Rick Baker's Kong and the ludicrous robot Kong, moving into Peter Jackson's Kong, and the latest Legendary films Kong. And who could forget the King Kong at the Universal Studios tour? Yes, we discuss him too!

There are many other classic monster or creature designs, and so we have some honorable mentions we'll reveal towards the end of the episode. Can you guess what they might be?

For our Sensor Sweep, to get into the holiday spirit, Commander Larry shares a boffo new item, the Hallmark 2021 To The Batcave! Batman classic TV series ornament. Really, it's a bit ridiculous to call this an ornament. It's more of a display piece. On the top of the ornament, we see Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in Wayne Manor, on the bat poles. Press the button and the batphone lights and beeps, the door closes up top, and a door opens in the batcave below, showing Batman and Robin descending on the batpoles. This spectacular item runs about $60 but may be hard to find. Good luck!

We hope you enjoyed this episode. What are some of your favorite creature designs? Let us know!

We dig monsters!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Episode 87: Thankful for the Marvel Cinematic Universe!


Welcome all, and to our fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving! It's become a tradition here at Planet 8 for us to celebrate and be thankful for some genre-related franchise, and in the past, we've been thankful for Star Trek, Star Wars, and James Bond. This year, we are expressing our love and gratitude for the magnificent Marvel Cinematic Universe -the MCU! Now with 26 films and climbing, not to mention the MCU TV series, we've been blessed with a bountiful collection of films that created a rich, complex, and deeply rewarding experience for the viewers. 

We'll have a conversation about our early experience with the MCU, when we first started hearing about Marvel making an Iron Man film, what we thought of it and how Marvel blew us away with that and the succeeding films. 

Casting has been a big key to making the films successful, and we'll talk about our favorite castings and the ones we thought might have been crazy, but actually worked out really well. 

Of course, no discussion of the MCU would be complete without going around and talking about which Marvel movies are our favorites! With so many to choose from now, it's getting harder to pick, but we do come up with a few. Amazingly, there are few MCU films that we don't like. There may be a few that we like less...but somehow they have kept a high level of quality through the series.

The crew also talks a bit about the latest MCU film, The Eternals, so if you haven't seen that film yet, be warned! And we can't neglect all the activity on Disney Plus - four series so far, and as this episode goes live, the Hawkeye series will be hitting the airwaves in a couple of days! Where else will the Marvel Cinematic Universe go? We can't wait to see.

For the Sensor Sweep, Bob shares information about a book by his friend Norman England, Behind the Kaiju Curtain: A Journey onto Japan's Biggest Film Sets. This book is a personal record of Norman's experiences while he wrote for Fangoria and was able to visit the sets of a number of kaiju films in a professional capacity. He met many of the actors and crew on the films and the book gives you an intimate look at what went on in the Japanese film industry in the 90s. If you like kaiju films, this is a must-read! Ask for it at your local bookseller, or get it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

That's all for us this time. Listeners, we are also thankful for you! We appreciate you listening to us, commenting, subscribing, contacting us on Twitter and Facebook. It's great to feel a sense of community forming around Planet 8. We hope that you and yours are safe and well.

Avengers Assemble!!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Episode 86: They are Legend! Adaptations of I Am Legend


Come with us on this episode as we ponder...what would it be like to be the last human being on Earth? How would a person cope with the loneliness, the despair? We look at a trio of films all based on a story built around this concept, Richard Matheson's classic 1954 novel, I Am Legend. Matheson's story took the classic vampire legend and gave it a modern, pseudo-scientific twist, with the vampires created by a bacterial plague, leaving one man,  immune, struggling to survive.

After Bob provides some background on the novel, we dive into the first film adaptation, 1964's Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price. Matheson wrote the first draft of the screenplay but eventually withdrew his name from it after a number of other writers came in later and altered it. However, it is still the most faithful version to the book. It's certainly the one that retains the horror aspects the most. The black and white film gives it a ton of atmosphere, and Price provides a strong performance as the deeply depressed Robert Morgan (not Neville, as he was named in the book and the other two films). Having Morgan's former neighbors, now turned into pseudo vampires/zombies stand outside his house at night groaning, "Morgan!" is pretty chilling. 

By 1971, the concept turns into an action/sci fi vehicle for Charlton Heston, called The Omega Man. This version differs markedly from the original Matheson story. Heston plays Colonel Robert Neville, MD, a military man and doctor, who was working on a vaccine to a biowarfare agent unleashed in a war between China and the USSR. Unfortunately, Neville is the only one to receive the experimental vaccine before most of the world succumbs to the disease. The survivors are mutated into strange albinos who can't stand daylight, and develop a science-hating cult (The Family) led by a former newscaster, played by Anthony Zerbe. During the day, Neville goes around killing The Family where he can find them, and taking whatever food, clothes, cars, etc., he wants. This film features a love interest -Rosalind Cash as Lisa - and is notable for the obvious Christ analogy at the end of the film. It's a big ball of cheese, but entertaining.

The property was moved around Hollywood for a while, with Ridley Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached for a length of time. But the third version was released in 2007, titled I Am Legend, starring Will Smith. This film took many of the ideas of the book, but followed Omega Man's action packed  style. Once again, Smith's character is both a military man and a doctor, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville, an Army virologist. He is the only survivor of a plague that has wiped out mankind, with the few survivors turned into wild cannibalistic mutants who can only come out at night. Neville, with his dog Sam as his only companion, hunts the mutants during the day, sometimes capturing them to experiment on them, still searching for a cure. The Planet 8 crew all agrees that we had a hard time sticking with this film once the CGI creatures appeared - it's a shame such bad CGI basically ruined this film.

Of course we will compare and contrast the movies, discuss what elements they have in common, how they differ, and what we thought worked best. It's fascinating to have three films, from different decades, all working from the same source material. Each is a product of its time. And what would a new adaptation look like?

For our Sensor Sweep, fittingly, Karen shares her soundtrack CD for the Omega Man -it's Omega Man 2.0 Unlimited from Film Score Monthly. This version has a whopping 18 tracks, for 64 minutes of amazing music from Ron Grainer. It's a fantastic, memorable 70s score. Put it on the next time you're cruising around Los Angeles!

That's it for us this time. Be sure to share your thoughts with us about the many versions of I Am Legend.

Moooor - gan!!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Episode 85: Haunted Halloween Movies!


It's almost Halloween, so of course, all October, the Planet 8 crew has been watching scary movies! Of course, we tend to watch scary movies all year long, but it's a little more concentrated this month, and we focus a little more on certain films this time of year. This episode we discuss what type of films get us in the "Halloween spirit" ! If you're looking for ideas for things to watch leading up to Halloween, tune in!

For Chief Engineer Bob, it's all about spooky films with a comedic twist. Some of the films he likes to watch to get into a Halloween mood include the Don Knotts classic, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Munster Go Home,  and of course, Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Another great scary yet humorous film to watch is John Landis' An American Werewolf in London.

Recon Officer Karen always starts with the Universal Monsters, and this year it began with Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, which has the creepiest opening of any Universal monster film. Next up was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which never fails to entertain. She'll be moving on to  the Hammer films, in particular the Hammer version of The Mummy. She also watched some John Carpenter movies, The Thing and Prince of Darkness.

Commander Larry has been showing his wife Jasmine a lot of films she's never seen before, but more on the lighter side. One of these was The Monster Squad, which is still entertaining and has some great updated designs for the classic monsters. He also had some Hammer films on his list, including the Hammer Phantom of the Opera.

Of course we divert and digress and discuss Phantom of the Paradise, Phantasm, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Milpitas Monster (really, we swear), and many others!

For the Sensor Sweep, Bob came across an unusual Blu-Ray -Night of the Animated Dead, an animated version of the classic Night of the Living Dead. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a stinker. The animation is just not very good. It's also basically a shot for shot recreation of the film. So this is our first trick, not treat, sensor sweep!

All right, friends, that's all this time around. We wish you all a safe and fun Halloween! Let us know what movies you're watching.

Happy Halloween!