Episode 104: Poltergeist (1982)

They’re here! The guys go into the light on this week’s podcast with Tobe Hooper’s 1982 spooky haunted house film, Poltergeist. The film’s directorial credit has always been shrouded in mystery, and it certainly does have producer Steven Spielberg’s fingerprints all over it, but no matter whose name we slap on the poster, it’s a fun, scary time. The movie has everything you’d ever want in a horror experience: questionable parenting from Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, a creepy kid, a clown doll come to life, buckets and buckets of goo, and Zelda Rubenstein as a quirky exorcist spouting paranormal mumbo jumbo that also happens to be 100% accurate. In this podcast episode, the Bit Players talk about the incredible relationship and chemistry of Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) Freeling, how the entire film gets kicked up quite a few notches when Tangina Barrons (Rubenstein) enters the picture — with jammed frequencies and all — and, of course, the controversy surrounding the authorship of the film. Though it feels like a Spielberg picture through and through, there’s something dark and twisted there that can only be Hooper, and the guys talk about the pros and cons of each of those faces of the film.

Poltergeist (1982)
Director
Tobe Hooper
Stars
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Richard Lawson, Zelda Rubenstein, Beatrice Straight

Selected By
Anders

4.4

Aired October 9, 2017

They're here! The guys go into the light on this week's podcast with Tobe Hooper's 1982 spooky haunted house film, Poltergeist. The film's directorial credit has always been shrouded in mystery, and it certainly does have producer Steven Spielberg's fingerprints all over it, but no matter whose name we slap on the poster, it's a fun, scary time. The movie has everything you'd ever want in a horror experience: questionable parenting from Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, a creepy kid, a clown doll come to life, buckets and buckets of goo, and Zelda Rubenstein as a quirky exorcist spouting paranormal mumbo jumbo that also happens to be 100% accurate. In this podcast episode, the Bit Players talk about the incredible relationship and chemistry of Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) Freeling, how the entire film gets kicked up quite a few notches when Tangina Barrons (Rubenstein) enters the picture — with jammed frequencies and all — and, of course, the controversy surrounding the authorship of the film. Though it feels like a Spielberg picture through and through, there's something dark and twisted there that can only be Hooper, and the guys talk about the pros and cons of each of those faces of the film.

Featuring "Star Spangled Banner" by Jerry Goldsmith

03:40 Number-Crunching
12:04 Poltergeist Introduction
13:40 The Lack of a Legacy
16:30 Comparisons to Stranger Things
17:00 Family Life in Poltergeist
20:00 The Film's Authorship
27:00 E.T. and Poltergeist's Running Threads of Suburban Family Love
30:00 Tangina Barrons
35:50 The Tough Decisions of the Family/JoBeth Williams' Performance
39:30 Any Reservations?/Final Thoughts
46:10 Clark's Corner: Recast, Porno Version, Shared Universe
58:48 Ratings

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Episode 71: Alien (1979)

The Bit Players venture into the dangerous unknown of outer space for this week’s podcast on Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic sci-fi horror movie, Alien. The guys unpack the film’s horror elements as they blend so well with such authentic science fiction, along with the ways that Alien serves as the perfect bridge between classic and modern horror, both drawing upon past conventions and beginning new ones for films to follow. They also break down the ways in which the science fiction allows Scott to examine morality in dire situations, and how he juxtaposes that firmly human trait with the synthetic beings that lurk in the film’s shadows. Much is also made of how the Xenomorph managed to pack those pounds on so quickly with such a sparse diet, as well as the ways that Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley broke new ground for female protagonists in horror.

Alien (1979)
Director
Ridley Scott
Stars
Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Selected By
Jarryd

5.0

what movies are
About

Aired Monday, October 3, 2016

The Bit Players venture into the dangerous unknown of outer space for this week's podcast on Ridley Scott's 1979 classic sci-fi horror movie, Alien. The guys unpack the film's horror elements as they blend so well with such authentic science fiction, along with the ways that Alien serves as the perfect bridge between classic and modern horror, both drawing upon past conventions and beginning new ones for films to follow. They also break down the ways in which the science fiction allows Scott to examine morality in dire situations, and how he juxtaposes that firmly human trait with the synthetic beings that lurk in the film's shadows. Much is also made of how the Xenomorph managed to pack those pounds on so quickly with such a sparse diet, as well as the ways that Sigourney Weaver's Ripley broke new ground for female protagonists in horror.

Episode 66: Chinatown (1974)

Forget it, Bit Players. It’s Chinatown. The guys dig into Roman Polanski’s 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway on this week’s podcast. They break down their feelings going into a film that carries such a critical weight – making it feel must-see – and palpable dread that comes with sitting through a 131-minute classic, and how those feelings played out and potentially changed as the film unfolded. They compare the film to other crime noir films of its ilk, trying to place it in the ranks of the film canon.

Chinatown (1974)
Director
Roman Polanski
Stars
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

Selected By
Clark

3.6

Aired Thursday, September 1, 2016

Forget it, Bit Players. It's Chinatown. The guys dig into Roman Polanski's 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway on this week's podcast. They break down their feelings going into a film that carries such a critical weight - making it feel must-see - and palpable dread that comes with sitting through a 131-minute classic, and how those feelings played out and potentially changed as the film unfolded. They compare the film to other crime noir films of its ilk, trying to place it in the ranks of the film canon.

Episode 21: First Blood (1982)

The guys strap on their bullet vests and tie their bandannas tight for this week’s episode on First Blood, the very first film in the iconic Rambo series starring Sylvester Stallone. Though the roots of what we have come to know about action films can easily be traced right through the center of John Rambo’s heart, the Bit Players are struck by how subtle and suspenseful First Blood actually is. The film blurs the lines between hero and villain, puts post-traumatic stress disorder and its effect on soldiers coming home from the Vietnam War and the lack of psychological assistance they receive in reacclimatizing into the everyday world of American life — with that theme in particular still ringing true even today, sadly — and offers a pretty stark view of post-war politics in 1970s America (along with some pretty sweet booby traps and car jumps, of course). Speaking of booby traps, the guys recount their all-time favorites in film (which turn out to all be from the first two Home Alones and what other film deserves a long string of identity-changing absurd action sequels.

First Blood (1982)
Director
Ted Kotcheff
Stars
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna

Selected By
Clark

4.2

Aired Monday, August 31, 2015

The guys strap on their bullet vests and tie their bandannas tight for this week's episode on First Blood, the very first film in the iconic Rambo series starring Sylvester Stallone. Though the roots of what we have come to know about action films can easily be traced right through the center of John Rambo's heart, the Bit Players are struck by how subtle and suspenseful First Blood actually is. The film blurs the lines between hero and villain, puts post-traumatic stress disorder and its effect on soldiers coming home from the Vietnam War and the lack of psychological assistance they receive in reacclimatizing into the everyday world of American life — with that theme in particular ringing true even today, sadly — and offers a pretty stark view of post-war politics in 1970s America (along with some pretty sweet booby traps and car jumps, of course). Speaking of booby traps, the guys recount their all-time favorites in film (which turn out to all be from the first two Home Alones and what other film deserves a long string of identity-changing absurd action sequels.