Episode 004 Transcript: The Illustrated Man. Dirty Hands / Demonoid

VA 004: The Illustrated Man & Dirty Hands


Gala: On this episode of the Video Archives podcast, join Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino as they fall deep into the stories of The Illustrated Man. Two tramps meet on the side of the road, one of their bodies is almost completely covered in tattoos.


Quentin: [doing what I assume is a quote from The Illustrated Man] “They are not tattoos! They are skin illustrations!”


Gala: Excuse me, skin illustrations. They’ll discuss the differences between the book and the movie, an unexpected star in the form of a dog, and how a Rod Steiger performance elevates a film. Next up, Claude Chabrol’s Dirty Hands. Another amazing Rod Steiger performance. Quentin and Roger refuse to ruin the ending of this film for you. With Hitchcockian connections and unexpected performances, you’ll be happy you didn’t get spoiled. Finishing up today’s episode is Alfredo Zacarias’ Demonoid: Messenger of Death: a woman and her husband unearth an ancient curse in the form of a demon that takes control of your left hand. With lots of gags and amazing effects, this film will keep you entertained, from its explosive start to its fulfilling end. Here they are now, here’s Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary.


Quentin: Oh, okay. Thank you, everybody. This is Quentin Tarantino.


Roger: And Roger Avary.


Quentin: And this is the Video Archives podcast. This episode, it’s not officially a theme episode; even though our double feature has the same actor and he’s very demonstrative in both movies, it’s almost hard to get past him. I’m not trying to get past him, he’s terrific, but without it officially being a theme episode. This is as close to a theme episode as we get, and the theme is Rod Steiger. The first movie that we’re watching is The Illustrated Man.




Roger: 1969


Quentin: 1969, science fiction classic, based on the Ray Bradbury novel. Starring Rod Steiger, his wife Claire Bloom and Robert Drivas.


trailer for The Illustrated Man: “Don’t dare stare at the illustrated man. There are fearful pictures on his skin, but the most fearful thing is tattooed on his soul. The illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece of the supernatural. An incredible journey to the outer limits of imagination. The Illustrated Man, starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom. From Warner Brothers Seven Arts in Technicolor. This picture is rated M, now playing exclusively at the Civic’s Pickwood Theater in Westwood.


Quentin: I actually saw this at the theater in 1969, when I was seven years of age. I saw it because we saw a lot of movies back then and they used to show the trailer a lot, for The Illustrated Man, at the theaters. I’m like, “Oh, I want to see that. That looks cool. I want to see The Illustrated Man. I want to see The Illustrated Man.” So me and my mom and my stepfather, we went to see the Illustrated Man. Okay, but right now I’m going to read the back of the box. This is a Warner Home video:


“We look to science fiction to glimpse the future, and no science fiction writer has more gripping or disturbing ability to make the future real than Ray Bradbury; the author whose works like Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes qualify him as one of the genre’s supreme shapers. The Illustrated Man brings to the screen one of Bradbury’s most terrifyingly imaginative visions: the story of a man whose very body paints pictures of horrors to come. Rod Steiger stars as Carl, a carnival roustabout and master weaver of tales whose skin has become almost entirely illustrated with freakishly vivid tattoos. Skin illustrations.


Roger: [in a spooky voice] Skin illustrations.


Quentin: There is a space on his torso, however, that remains untouched. Yet if one looks there long enough, the most powerful of all the illustrations appears: the future. Weaving stories within stories, The Illustrated Man begins when a young drifter (Robert Dreyfuss) meets Carl and becomes fixated by his multicolored tattoos to a degree that becomes alarming, for they reveal dark secrets of the past and three shocking depictions of the future. Two playful children use a most ingenious toy to conjure up a surprise for their unsuspecting parents. Then Carl becomes the lone survivor of an astronaut crew shipwrecked on a planet of eternal rain. Finally, as the end of the world approaches, parents plan for their own children’s destruction. When the young man returns from his forays into the future, he finds that the most nightmarish vision of all is yet to be seen.


It is his own destiny, about to unfold in a lethal future all too near. The Illustrated Man ingeniously heralds the multi-episode format that has once again proven irresistible in popular television programs like Amazing Stories and The Twilight Zone. With remarkable performances from Steiger and Claire Bloom and the awesome originality of Bradbury’s genius, it will hold your attention as powerfully as its heroes’ illustrations.


Roger: Never mind that Bradbury wasn’t consulted on the screenplay.


Quentin: Roger, since you are the biggest Bradbury fan in the room, I’m assuming, and have also even read the book and have been a fan of the movie for a long time. Why don’t you start? What did you think?


Roger: First off, the book is 18 short stories very, very loosely held together by a very short prologue and a very short epilogue; like a half page epilogue.  The rest of it is just these short stories, and you’re just given the idea of these skin illustrations that move and squirm around on his body and that when you look into them, you fall into it like some kind of Stendhal syndrome and what you see is the future. In general, I think most of the stories were futures and most of them are kind of almost dystopian ideas of futures and of human behavior in those times. They choose three stories out of these 18 stories.


Quentin: Let me ask you a question about that. Part of the thing about the movie is that Rod Steiger is the illustrated man, and he’s got these tattoos on his body. It takes place in either the 20’s or the 30’s, and he’s a hobo and he bumps into this other guy on the road who’s another hobo and then they talk. You actually think that Rod Steiger is going to beat him to death. You think he’s just-


Roger: A violent hobo?


Quentin: A violent hobo. You think he’s going to get robbed and beaten to death.


Roger: An L.A. hobo.


Quentin: Takes off his shirt and he reveals all the illustrations that he has on him, and he starts kind of telling the story about how they all came to be. But then Robert Drivas will look at the lion tattoo, or then look at the rocket tattoo and then look at this tattoo and then we just kind of go in to these stories. So the movie is basically made up of these three stories and it keeps coming back to this framing episode (that is terrific) between Robert Drivas’s and Rod Steiger. You’ve read the book. Do you think they picked the right three stories?


Roger: No. Well, yes. First of all, “The Veldt,” which is the first story in the book and the first story in the movie, is basically a holodeck story. They choose that, they choose one called “The Long Rain” (which you mentioned), and then they choose one called “The Last Night of the World.” They use flavors from the other story to kind of create a greater framing for it, which is that the illustrated man has basically been tattooed by a witch in the movie and that-


Quentin: Oh, that’s not in the book?


Roger: Not necessarily.


Quentin: The whole witch woman thing?


Roger: The woman is there. Her house disappeared. I think he saw her in Wisconsin, but it’s vanished and he hasn’t been able to find her again and he is looking for her. All of that is in there; she went and the house went with her. That’s absolutely from the book, but they definitely make more of it. They make more of his relationship with her.


Quentin: Well, that makes sense because that’s making it a movie.


Roger: Okay. So I think “The Veldt” is absolutely the best story in the book. I think “The Long Rain” is a really, really great story. I even think “The Last Night of the World” is a good story. But when I was going through my original copy of the book, which is a Bantam.


Quentin: By the way, I have that copy and it’s the exact same edition. The exact same one.


Roger: I love this edition. However, the pages have yellowed enough where it’s actually super difficult to read unless I’m under bright light. But I discovered that I had dog eared a page in it, and so I was like, “Oh, what’s that?” Because I was looking through all the stories again, and I came upon “Zero Hour,” which I had dog eared because I remembered: that was a story I wanted to tell.


Quentin: Mm hmm.


Roger: When I read this book, that’s the one I wanted to make into a short movie.


Quentin: Oh, my God. You know what? I’m now having a memory of this, years ago when we were younger, of you mentioning that you wanted to do one of the stories from The Illustrated Man as a movie sometime.


Roger: And I figured out which one it is. It’s called “Zero Hour,” but it’s too close, thematically, to “The Veldt,” and I’ll tell you exactly why. “Zero Hour” is about kids are acting weird: kids are acting strange, and the parents are trying to figure it out.


Quentin: Do you mean children all over?


Roger: Well, their kids. But they’re behaving strangely; they’re doing strange things. They’re doing things in secret and they’re trying to figure it out. What they basically realize in this slow burn, they very gradually discover there’s an alien invasion occurring and that the kids are part of it. They’re helping the aliens because they all hate their parents. The end is the kids basically revealing to the aliens where the parents are hiding, and it’s such a great thriller.


Quentin: You mean like a Village of the Damned kind of thing?


Roger: The kids aren’t evil. The kids have just all gotten together and decided, “Let’s support the alien invasion. Let’s support zero hour.” They’re all kind of part of. It’s a great, great story. It’s fantastic, but it’s really, really close to “The Veldt” which is a story about this futuristic home. A lot of changes were made to the book, by Howard Krajicek, who was a producer who became a writer. I looked him up, I wasn’t really aware of his work. One of the things about “The Veldt’s” story is these kids, they’re living in this house that does everything for them. It wipes your ass. It feeds you. The table cut my dinner for me and fed it to me. Everything is done for them and everything that they do-


Which are usually very nostalgic ideas because it’s Bradbury. It’s 1920’s, 1930’s ideas like sitting on the porch, for example: the porch will rock the rocker for you. You don’t have to rock yourself. It’s everything is like that, and the whole gestalt of it is that the parents are just trying to do everything for their kids, constantly. They’re doing everything for their kids and trying to give them everything that they want. The whole story is almost a cautionary tale about overindulging children, because what effectively happens is they give them this nursery that can be anything. It can be Humpty Dumpty, whatever nursery rhymes type stuff.


Quentin: When they get it, and if the kids want to turn it into Alice in Wonderland


Roger: They mention Alice in Wonderland.


Quentin: That’s easy enough for them to do. If they want to turn it into Big Rock Candy Mountain, they can do that. If they want to turn it into teddy bear land, they can do that. But if they want to turn it into England during the bubonic plague, they can do that as well.


Roger: And that was never planned upon, because no one ever thought that the children would be thinking about thoughts of death so intensely. What the parents are hearing are familiar screams coming from the thing at night where the kids are playing in it, and they go down there and what the kids are effectively doing is living again and again the fantasy of just killing their parents, having lions kill their parents in the African wilds.


Quentin: It’s all taking place in the Serengeti and then it just has these wild lions out there. The basis of the start of the story in the movie is the parents looking at these lions like, “What the fuck are these kids doing? What’s with all these lions and these horrible, terrible birds? These vultures? Why the hell are they hanging out here?” And then they talk to the son about it.


Roger: Why would the kids want to be here?


Quentin: Yeah. What’s with these fucking lions? It’s so disturbing.


Roger: There is no psychologist in the book, the parents are going to be going away. They’re turning off the house and they’re turning off the Veldt and that’s just too much for the kids And it ends in very much the same way.


Quentin: This story started me off on the bad thing about how I felt about the movie.


Roger: Yeah. You had a technical problem.


Quentin: And it gets worse and worse and worse as it goes on.


Roger: By technical, I mean a logistical problem.


Quentin: Yeah, a logistical problem.


Roger: Which I actually tried to solve for you. You brought up to me the idea that this is just a projection. It’s crystalline walls, all of which get painted with light and it’s so realistic and it’s such a realistic depiction down to the finest details of grass on the ground that you just believe that it is that. I was using Star Trek as a way to explain why the lions could kill the parents in real life, as far as force fields and matter replication.  Which is the excuse in Star Trek, and how the holodeck works.


Quentin: But the thing about it is if he wants a cup of coffee, it just materializes a cup.


Roger: That is not in the book.


Quentin: Yeah, and you were using the materializing of the cup as the same thing as the lion and no, it’s not. I can maybe understand an inanimate object, like a cup, being developed; but something that moves and lives and can kill. That’s not a coffee cup. Like, for instance, when the kids take them to the jousting.


Roger: The medieval times.


Quentin: The medieval times. After you see the end of the movie, it’s like, “So any of those knights could just walk over with a broadsword and cut Rod Steiger’s head off at any time? The only reason it doesn’t happen is because no one ever thought about it? That doesn’t make any fucking sense.” I understand a hologram situation that’s so compelling, a reality that is so compelling, that lions attack you and you feel as if you have been torn apart by lions and maybe you die of a heart attack because of the excruciating pain. But there actually aren’t lion’s claws and teeth ripping your skin apart.


Roger: In Star Trek, they have gone through great lengths to explain forcefields-


Quentin: Okay I’m not talking about Star Trek, that takes place 500 years in the fucking future. We’re talking about this.


Roger: This also takes place 500 years in the future.


Quentin: It’s not for sure. That’s not for sure. That’s Star Trek‘s get out of jail free card for everything is, “Well, it’s a thousand years in the future. Maybe it can happen.” We’re not playing the Star Trek game.


Roger: It’s a sophisticated tractor beam with matter replication technology. I think that’s what’s happening.


Quentin: It doesn’t even make sense, exactly what you said, about the idea that of why would you invent something that could create killers?


Roger: Do you mean like television or cellphones?


Quentin: No, it’s not the same thing. I could go into the hologram and create an entire new Nazi Germany, and now they’re there.


Roger: I think there’s an episode of Star Trek where they do that.


Quentin: Enough with the fucking Star Trek!


Roger: Voyager, I think.


Quentin: No one would ever make this and sell this commercially. Somebody would have thought about that. Even as a learning tool, if the idea is you’re teaching kids history and they want to see what it was like at the battle of Little Bighorn. Well, then they just conjure up the Battle of Little Bighorn and they can actually watch it.


Roger: Yeah, that’s the idea.


Quentin: But that suggests that- It’s not like Sitting Bull is dealing with the kids. The whole concept of, “Well, nobody ever assumed that this would ever happen” just does not work. Especially if it’s supposed to be a commercial thing that you sell and that people buy.


Roger: It’s a very new device. They do establish that. What the real point of the story is about the dangers of leaving work to someone else. The dangers of letting your kids be raised by someone else, the dangers of just putting an iPad in your child’s hand and thinking that it’s all going to be fine and that they’re not going to stumble across Pornhub or internet beheadings or ghastly things that people shouldn’t see. That of course, they automatically seek out and do see. There is a moment in the movie that is also not in the story. There’s two moments; there’s the one where he’s talking to his kids about what it was like when he was young. “I didn’t ever used to attach my pod to the energy flow and just fly away 1500 miles. I was only allowed to go 100 miles” and he’s talking like that. That actually doesn’t exist in the book, his attempt. Nor does the moment when- I’m trying to remember the name of the husband and wife, I guess it doesn’t matter. George, I think is his name or something like that. She says, “Make love to me,” and he answers, “Why?”


Quentin: Mm hmm.


Roger: They’ve got this dysfunctional relationship because they’re used to the machines doing everything. The implication that’s being made in the movie, which isn’t in the book, is that she’s got machines to do that for her. Why do you want me to do it? They’ve fallen into a kind of apathy about everything. Really, the story is a cautionary tale against that. The movie attempts to make it more.


Quentin: Boil it down into Twilight Zone kind of thing that has a gotcha ending.


Roger: Yeah, yeah, they attempt to do that. Bradbury is not often the gotcha ending guy. He occasionally does a gotcha ending. In fact, “Zero Hour,” the story that I mentioned does have a gotcha ending. It’s kind of like a final scare moment at the end. But in “The Last Night of the World,” which is the final story in this one, the ethical conundrum is everyone in the world has had the same dream. “We’re all going to die. It’s the last night of the world. And what are we going to do?” And there’s this kind of intellectual conversation and then, as in the movie, the next morning comes and the world hasn’t ended but they’ve all conspired to kill their kids. The thing is, in the book, there is no morning.


There is no waking up, there are no dead children at the end of it. There is the decision of “what we’re going to do” and then the understanding that this is the last night of the world. Then she comes to bed and she says, “Oh, I left the sink running. Oh, well,” and they go to bed and that’s the end. That’s a very Bradbury style ending: the world is ending and the sink is running but if the world is ending, it doesn’t matter.


Quentin: Who cares? Yeah. That sounds like a neat story. I could see that on the page.


Roger: Yeah, it’s a very compelling story. I see why they had to do the twist, but I can also see why Bradbury would be upset (a little bit) at the movie, because these are the kind of thematic changes that they’re making.


Quentin: Any of my comments about the stories is not making a reference to Ray Bradbury’s original short story.


Roger: Of course.


Quentin: Only to the movie.


Roger: I don’t think you’ve read it.


Quentin: No, I haven’t. I don’t like the story, “The Last Night on Earth,” at all. The only thing that I kind of got a kick out of, and it was ruined by the deadly way in which they did it, was at the very beginning (especially with that crazy set that they’re on) when Rod Steiger goes to talk to Claire about the end of the world. For all intents and purposes, it looked like the opening of a Superman movie. It looked like he was Jor-El coming in and talking about how it’s the end of planet Krypton. He even looks like what you would imagine Jor-El would-


Roger: He’s even dressed a little bit like that vibe.


Quentin: Yeah, he’s not dressed like Marlon Brando, but you can imagine that that’s a version of Jor-El. If if Rod Steiger was playing Jor-El in Superman: the movie. My biggest problem with the third story is they fucking neuter him. It’s so pretentious and it’s so pious. It actually hurts his performance, as if that wig doesn’t do it enough, just the pious ness and the prissy ness of the performance and the whole concept of that story is just a drag.


Roger: Bradberry is a very classy writer, and he writes about ideas; and very classy ideas. I can imagine trying to chase that, but it ends up becoming that third story which is pretentious. It ends up coming across really pretentious.


Quentin: Well, let me ask you a question. I think I’m going to know the answer to this. I’ve got no problem whatsoever about the idea that when they do the different stories, the three characters that we’ve met are playing the characters. I don’t know if they pull that off as well as I’ve seen before. A movie that does that, that I really like and it’s like the number one thing I like about it, is that independent horror film from the 70’s: Screams of a Winter Night.


Roger: Yeah, sure.


Quentin: Where all those kids get together to tell ghost stories, and then when you see the ghost stories, it’s the kids. That’s a movie that actually pulled that off as well as I’ve ever seen anybody do it. That’s a that’s the one thing about the movie that I like, but that actually really works. But I guess my question, though, is in the book, are they all just completely separate characters or is there a link to Carl?


Roger: Not only is there not a link to Carl, there is very rarely a link back to the illustrated man and the framework of the story. Sometimes they’ll put a little in italics at the very end, “and then he looked into the next tattoo…” Then you’re on to the next story. The few similarities that are there are not as threatening, not as thrilling, not as exciting. A lot of it is Rod Steiger bringing Rod Steiger to the show.


Quentin: Look, I’m not a fan of the stories in the movie. I love- I can’t love more- the first 20 minutes. Just Rod Steiger as the illustrated man.


Roger: His performance is simply holding the entire movie together. It’s incredible.


Quentin: And what’s really surprising is Robert Drivas is very good in the first half. I’ve seen him in a few other things. He’s in almost like a pre Goodfellas Vegas movie from 1970 called Where It’s At, with David Janssen and Brenda Vaccaro. So he did a few things around this time, and I don’t think he was that good in that, but I thought he was extremely strong in the opening 20 minutes.


Roger: He’s holding his own with Rod Steiger in the weaker of the two characters.


Quentin: He’s definitely the weaker of the two character. But actually that’s the harder role, right?


Roger: That’s what I mean. It’s way harder.


Quentin: Yeah. Playing the young boy ingenue against this raving Rod Steiger. The movie turns against him because once he becomes obsessed with the woman, the performance isn’t as good. It’s not really his fault. It’s just they make the character nutty, and I’m not buying it. But the opening 20 minutes of his character and his fantastic dialog- In the last few years, I tried to watch The Illustrated Man again. I can never get past that 20 minutes, because every time it got to the lion story, I was like, “Oh, I’m just not that interested.” So one of the reasons I chose the film, also because I knew you had an affection for it, but I wanted to have an excuse to forcibly sit through it.


Roger: To forcibly sit through the entire thing? You got it


Quentin: I realized that I was exactly right all this time. I’m glad that I actually saw the film all the way to the end. But I was right, and you know what? I don’t give a damn about all that other shit, but that 20 minutes is so good. Rod Steiger was a leading man at that time in this, “I am a great, intense actor” way and so everything was about him being this creation. If you went and saw a movie starring Rod Steiger, the point was to see an intense performance; whether it’s his homosexual military drill sergeant in The Sergeant, or it’s his serial killer in No Way to Treat a Lady (also directed by Jack Smith). So he was doing a lot of roles like this. I think this is his most successful. This is his leading man role. The first 5 minutes of that scene, Rod Steiger is the scariest hobo I’ve ever seen in a movie.


Roger: [doing an impression of the character] “I don’t like bugs, frogs and spiders and creepy crawly things that zig out and bite you when you’re not looking.”


Quentin: If you came across that guy hoboing, I would be fucking terrified.


Roger: Yeah, I would, too and he’s a hulking man.


Quentin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Roger: And Robert Drivas, who always has that kind of sweaty, handsome look. I don’t know how to describe it, he’s a shiny guy.


Quentin: I’ll do Rod Steiger and you be Robert Drivas and just say, “Hey, those are some pretty neat tattoos.”


Roger: Hey, those are some nice tattoos you got there.


Quentin: [doing a Rod Steiger impression] These are not tattoos! They’re skin illustrations. Don’t you ever call them tattoos to me and don’t make me tell you again.


Roger: Can I also just call out to the dog?


Quentin: Oh, yeah.


Roger: So that’s another thing about those scenes, is they are made semi insane by the introduction of that dog.


Quentin: [doing the impression] “His name is Pek, as in Pekinese. He’s a bum like me, we’re two bums”


Roger: It is so much fun, watching Rod Steiger.


Quentin: [more lines from the movie]


Roger: Yeah that’s totally Rod Steiger and he’s great in it.


Quentin: For the rest of my life, any time somebody says the word “tattoo.”


Roger: You’re going to say that line.


Quentin: “They are not tattoos. They’re skin illustrations!”


Roger: The thing is, by the end of the movie (and like I’m just going to a little spoiler here), he’s fallen in love with her or something. They’re trying to create something that just is false.


Quentin: Yeah, and it feels false.


Roger: It feels false and it doesn’t exist and it’s not in the book, and you don’t need it in the book.


Quentin: And you’re wondering why the kid is hanging around. I mean, it seems like they’ve been there all day.


Roger: In the book, it’s like reading a comic book or a novel that you love, you look into one and it tells you a story and then you just you can’t stop. They’re beckoning you, and you just go from one to the other and he just travels from one to the other through this long night until there’s only one space left, which is the empty space. The empty spot in which you don’t just see the future (as the box says) you see your own future, and some people don’t like what they see when they look in there.


Quentin: Just talking about Rod Steiger again is making this movie get better and better and better. It’s just rising and rising and rising and like I said, even if it’s only those first 20 minutes; those first 20 minutes are fucking fantastic. I could watch that every week. I could watch the first 20 minutes of this movie every fucking week. The thing we haven’t talked about is the second story.


Roger: “The Long Rain.”


Quentin : “The Long Rain,” which is about a spaceship that crashes on this planet where it’s perpetually rain so bad that this crew is lost. They’re trying to find a sun dome but are just having to exist in this rain with this maniacal leader guiding them on. But actually, he’s maniacal, but he’s probably the only one who knows how to keep them alive.


Roger: They’ve been out for days and days and days and it is just pouring rain. There’s nowhere to hide from the rain.


Quentin: They can’t wear their helmets because that will make them go deaf; because of the sound of it. But even if they hide in the trees, the sound is just too deafening.


Roger: In the book they describe that if you try to lay down and sleep, the moss and the algae or whatever it is on the ground kind of grabs you and holds you. It’s like a thousand hands holding you. So they freak out and you can’t feel your hands and face because they’ve been pelted by rain for so many days.


Quentin: I mean, look, here’s the thing about that. If I ever read The Illustrated Man, that would be the story I read. I bet you that story is terrific.


Roger: It’s only 12 pages long. You can do it.


Quentin: But here’s the thing, though. It’s a very wild out there idea, a challenging idea, shot very conventionally.


Roger: Yeah.


Quentin: Now, in a strange way that rain story can’t be worked out good in the film. It’s too boring, it’s too oppressive. It’s just not cinematic. It’s a great idea, a comic book could be done out of it that would be fantastic. Even a radio play could be done out of that would be fantastic. But I got to say, I had forgotten about this image; but this image has been in my head forever. But it was trapped and then I saw the movie and it brought it up again. When they shoot the body to get rid of it and all that mud just comes out of nowhere and just swallows it up. That was one of the wildest images I think I had ever seen it at that point in time and I had forgotten it until we watched it the other day.


Roger: It was pretty wild, looking at it the other night. What I read into it, when I looked at that, is he’s shot them and he’s killed them and the minute he falls to the ground, all the algae and stuff is almost inflamed. That it’s the planet itself that is going crazy. It looks like consuming him.


Quentin: It looks like it’s a combination of you shoot the body and it kind of dissolves in a foam that is now mixed with the algae and the muddy.


Roger: It was weird. The book takes place on Venus.


Quentin: They needed to do it one more time, though. They really needed to do it one more time. So you would have a sense of what that fucking was.


Roger: Well, when Robert Drivas is going to kill himself-


Quentin: I kept waiting for it. I wanted to see him do it to see if that would happen again. “The Long Rain” didn’t have a got you ending. Unless it’s supposed to be cynical, he’s fine. It’s a happy ending.


Roger: It’s a happy ending. It’s a happy ending in the book as well, but there’s an interesting change


Quentin: Happy is too strong a word.


Roger: Well, yeah, it’s an ending. There is a thematic choice that was made, again by the screenwriter. He turns the entire push, “We are on the Rangoon death march” or whatever it is. “We are going to find the Sun Dome” and you’ve got one guy insisting that we keep marching. When you find a broken sun dome, we’re going to go to the next one and everyone else is giving up but this is the guy that’s pushing them forward. He is yelling you forward. He is forcing you to move, everyone else is giving up. There comes a moment when Robert Drivas and him are talking and suddenly he says, “Don’t you want to go to the Sun Dome? You’re going to get in there and look at that beautiful sun. You’re going to get a cup of hot cocoa.”


Quentin: “You get a Sun Dome whore”


Roger: “We’re going to get us some Sun Dome whores!” Robert Drivas’s character says, “You think that I’m the kind of man that wants that?”


Quentin: Mm hmm.


Roger: And suddenly you realize he’s basically saying, “Look, I’m gay. I don’t need to go to a whorehouse.” Bradbury doesn’t do that at all. You don’t get to the Sun Dome. There is no woman there, to put a bathrobe on you and to take your wet clothes off.


Quentin: I actually thought Steiger’s speech about the Sun Dome was the best the dialog got after the first 20 minutes.


Roger: Oh, for sure. It’s great dialog. His whole thing about going to go to that sun dome. In the book, they’re actually on Venus and they’ve been on Venus and Venus sucks. They’re at war. The sun domes are military bases protected by guns, to protect them from the Venetians; who come up out of the sea every now and then to drag people away. When they go to that broken sun dome, they’re like, “Hey, what happened to all the people? Where are the bodies?” “Those Venetians, they dragged them back underwater, back into the sea.”


Quentin: That actually sounds less interesting than the movie, because in the movie you don’t know what planet it is, but it’s just a planet where it rains all the time. If it’s called “The Long Rain,” and it’s on Venus, maybe Venus doesn’t rain all the time. It just has a long rain going on. I like the idea that it’s a planet where it just rains constantly.


Roger: Well, I think he sets up that Venus rains constantly. This is Venus, but these are military bases. When he goes into it, when he finally gets there alone and he enters into it and there’s the hot cocoa and there’s the place to put your wet clothes and everything. It’s a bunch of guys, a bunch of dudes, there. It’s the military, basically he’s gotten back to the base.


Quentin: I mean, look, this is basically World War Two; you’re in the North African desert, in a tank. The tank breaks down, and now you and your four compatriots are just stuck in the middle of the fucking Gobi Desert, and you’ve lost your compass.


Roger: You’ve got to find the equivalent of whatever a snow hut is. An oasis.


Quentin: You have to find an oasis or a military fort and you’ve lost your bearings, and you’ve got an officer who is going to get you through this alive.


Roger: This could have been a Foreign Legion story.


Quentin: Absolutely could be, yeah.


Roger: And he even says, when they get to the broken one, he’s like, “Well, you know, once Congress gets around to approving it, they’ll come and repair this. But it’s going to be too late for us.” I think that’s Bradbury’s one little commentary in the middle of all of it.


Quentin: Well, let me talk about how when I saw this, I thought this trailer looked fucking amazing. I even knew who Rod Steiger was when I was seven because, I had seen In the Heat of the Night. We go see the film and I’m watching it and the first 20 minutes is going on, and I’m liking it. Then it starts with the lion story and now it’s in the future and it’s still Rod Steiger and I’m not-


Roger: Even back then, Quentin wants hillbillies and hobos in the thirties. He doesn’t want to be in the future.


Quentin: I’m not quite sophisticated enough, at seven, to think that Rod Steiger is just playing another character in the story. “Is this a flashback?” I knew what flashbacks were, “is this a flashback? But why is this flashback taking place on a spaceship? And what are the lions doing on a spaceship?” I’m seven, alright? I’m trying to put it together and then I fell asleep. I wake up and the lions are eating them and then it’s Rod Steiger as the Illustrated Man and Robert Drivas, and then I fall asleep again and every time I wake up, I’m in the middle of some other move and no idea where I am. So I wake up again and I’m in the middle of some fucking rain with these soldiers and I’m like, “What the fuck is going on?” And then I fall asleep again. Every time I woke up, I had no idea where I was. I went back to sleep until I finally woke up for the closing bit, so I’ve remembered the closing bit my entire life. Okay. So let me read Michael Weldon’s review.


Roger: I got a quote from Vincent Canby here as well.


Quentin: Okay. You want to start with yours?


Roger: It’s very short because I just thought it was funny because as you know, the film was something of a critical disappointment. But Vincent Canby wrote for the New York Times: “Everything remains fetus like and underdeveloped, although shrouded in misty pretensions of grandeur.’” I think all of that is true, but I actually kind of don’t mind it. I mean, Rod Steiger is so good, and I love science fiction so much.


Quentin: He’s so good at it. Michael Weldon of the Psychotropic Encyclopedia of Film writes, “Most reviewers blasted this adaptation of three famous Ray Bradbury stories. Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom star in all three stories. In the connecting segment set in 1933, Steiger is the tattooed man and Claire Bloom is the mysterious tattoo artist from the future. The Long Rain episode is great. It even features Jason Evers from The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. ‘The Veldt’ and ‘The Last Night of the World’ are the other stories.”


Roger: Just laying it out. Ultimately, the real problem is that the screenwriter is attempting to tie it all together and have these stories connect somehow.


Quentin: To turn it into a movie.


Roger: But the fact of the matter is, these stories are not connected with each other. They are just disconnected short stories.


Quentin: Ray Bradbury is known for taking a bunch of random short stories he did-


Roger: Yeah and doing a collage


Quentin: and jerry rigging them into a novel.


Roger: The Martian Chronicles especially, yeah.


Quentin: That’s why it was really bizarre because in The Martian Chronicles, they’re not that random though. They all have Martians in them. They all paint a mosaic.


Roger: He wrote a lot about Venus and Mars. Let’s just put it that way.


Quentin: But The Martian Chronicles, I think, creates a mosaic with Martians in it to some degree,


Roger: It tells the story of human history, traveling to and from Mars.


Quentin: So I expected there to be more thematic connection, between the stories and the wrap around story. That was one of the things when we were watching it, at a certain point I think, “This is just fucking Night Gallery.” Then you go, “Yeah, it’s exactly Night Gallery.”


Roger: Not that there’s anything wrong with Night Gallery. I love Night Gallery.


Quentin: I know, but I just didn’t expect something so bloody random.


Roger: With a kind of Stendhal syndrome, as part of it.


[musical interlude]


Quentin: And we’re back. We’re joined by the lovely Gala, who’s here to give us her perspective on the different movies in this case, The Illustrated Man. But also she also serves a function because Gala, like the rest of you out there, does not have access to the Video Archives collection the way myself and Roger do. So it’s her job to track down the movies as best she can on her own.


Roger: Like you have to.


Quentin: If she’s successful in this endeavor, then she can point you a roadmap to how you can watch the different films. I have a secret ambition, which is to thwart her in this and come up with stuff that’s so obscure that she cannot find it at all. That’s my endeavor in this process, and now I turn it over to Gala Avery. Hello, Gala.


Gala: Hey, Quentin. You may succeed in your quest one day, but definitely not on The Illustrated Man because you can find this pretty much everywhere, you guys. I agree with you guys. I think that the bookending, or the first 20 minutes, is the best. It has the snappiest dialog. Rod Steiger is really funny in it, like the peak is with his dog and the fact that it’s in a bag and he’s like, “Oh, he likes it hot. Just like I like it hot.”  Then I was like, “Okay, I’m liking this.” But then it gets into “The Veldt” and okay, I’ve never read the book because in 2007 or 2008, my dad bought me a copy and then someone at my school stole it from my backpack. So to whoever out there stole my copy of The Illustrated Man, I’m glad you have it, but I don’t now. So I never read the story.


Roger: And I won’t loan you mine.


Gala: He won’t loan me his, so I’m out of luck.


Roger: You’ll damage the spine. I’m kidding, but you’ll crack it.


Gala: Everyone I know has read “The Veldt,” and everyone I know has actually seen this segment of The Illustrated Man in class. They actually just played that segment. For me, it’s fine. It’s like, whatever. I mean, I had some of the same problems Quentin did-


Roger: But you’re a Star Trek fan.


Gala: But I’m a Star Trek fan, so-


Roger: So you understand the mechanics of the holodeck. Whereas Quentin does not-


Gala: In my brain, the safeties are off, but-


Roger: See? Safeties are off.


Gala: This is the thing, Quentin, is that the Veldt creates things based on your emotions, so you generate your own reality. Now, in this world, no one has negative emotions. They have no emotions at all. So something negative like this should never be generated by the children, because no one has any of these emotions.


Roger: That’s true, and actually that is a point that’s made in the book.


Gala: The thing is that everyone’s numb to everything. Everyone’s doing nothing. So that’s maybe the only thing that I would think would explain the fact of why they’ve magically created these lions and have been just playing this thing over in their head, is that children aren’t supposed to have negative emotions, but they do.


Quentin: Maybe the kids aren’t supposed to have negative emotions and they conjure up the lions. Okay, I’ll go with that. But you’re still talking about real lion claws and real lion teeth, ripping real flesh.


Roger: This is never going to work. This argument will never work with Quentin.


Gala: And also, the thing is though, is that Ray Bradbury loves lions. If you look through a lot of his stories, that’s true. If you look, there are a lot of stories where there are lions everywhere. I don’t know what it is about Ray Bradbury loving lions and hating children, but it’s there. It’s just is what exists.


Quentin: And by the way, I just I will say-


Roger: Ray Bradbury doesn’t hate children. I’m just going to say that as a statement.


Gala: I retract my statement, Ray Bradbury does not hate children.


Roger: He’s compassionate towards the internal fear of children in an adult world.


Quentin: Actually, how malevolent he presents them, I actually like that aspect of it. I like kids when they’re presented like that.


Roger: The little kid in it is fantastic.


Quentin: I don’t buy it when they set kids up as evil, but I like it when they present them as malevolent.


Roger: The little malevolent boy was fantastic.


Quentin: Yeah, he was not bad. The design thing in the movie I liked, is I loved Rod Steiger’s tattoo makeup. I mean, it was fantastic.


Roger: And actually, props to Rod Steiger for being a hefty guy and going naked (or at least naked enough) to be walking around pretty naked.


Gala: He was pretty naked in that one scene where he’s on the bed with her, where he’s laying naked.


Roger: Well, yeah and it’s his wife, so he feels comfortable doing it.


Quentin: But I mean, the designs are fantastic. The tattoo I’ll remember forever is the lion tattoo, to such a degree of almost surprise (it actually kind of looks better), but it actually almost kind of looks like that seventies version of the lion that MGM used. The lion that’s in the logo for MGM on 2001. That seventies lion, as opposed to Leo.


Roger: Yeah, exactly.


Quentin: It has a Warner Seven Arts version of the MGM lion on it.


Roger: It’s like the one that lives on in Vegas now. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s funny, you just reminded me because you were talking about one of the first tattoos. I think it’s the lion is like the 2nd one.


Quentin: Lion is the second one, I think.


Roger: The Rose is the first one and what’s interesting is, there’s a moment in the book (that is completely lost that, Jack Mate really dropped the ball on, frankly) where it’s the first tattoo that he sees because he’s wearing clothes. He opens his hand and shows him the rose, and for a moment he thinks it’s a real rose and he reaches to pick it up. But then he doesn’t because it’s a tattoo.


Quentin: Oh, wow.


Roger: And this could have been achieved: he could have actually held out a rose and then when he reached for it, it could have been a tattoo. We could have done that.


Quentin: Yeah, that would have been a nice bit.


Roger: And that would have been a way to show that these things are real, they feel real. That’s in the book. Like, that is the first page of the book.


Quentin: I agree, that would have been a nice thing.


Roger: And it’s a directorial cue.


Gala: Yeah. Second story for me: boring. I have nothing to say about it, to be honest. Third story is okay, but I’m really confused as to why all the men in the world are getting together and agreeing upon the fact that the world is going to end and that we all had the same. I actually didn’t think they had a dream. I thought they had a vision like, “Oh, we all believe. We have a dream that the world is going to end.”


Roger: So you thought it was like the real world?


Gala: Yeah, because they talk about back when that other thing happened and he’s like, “Yes, back when the gas clouds came and it was so heavy that only the people on the top of the mountains survived.” So I thought they literally just felt like, “Okay, it’s time for the world to end. We’re all going to agree to have the world end.”


Roger: It comes across like that. I’ll tell you, in the book – because that actually concerned me, I was like, “Huh, that’s interesting. Is that what Bradbury is saying; is that all the men have gotten together and made this decision? But in the book he tells the wife, “Yeah, this happen and all the men thought this,” and she’s like, “Well, all of the women did too. We’ve all had the dream.” So they make a point, that in the book, everybody has had this dream. So there’s a consensus among everyone, but there isn’t this kind of twist at the end of that.


Gala: I actually, I kind of like the twist that the world really isn’t ending and you’ve just sacrificed the most important thing. So basically, her world has ended because her children are dead, but the world itself hasn’t ended. I did like that in the movie. Anyway, my VHS copy costs me $12.98. It is a Warner Brothers copy. It is not a beautiful clamshell like you have over there. It’s just a cardboard thing.


Roger: Although, I have to say, that’s a kind of an odd Warner Brothers box. Is that one that’s been cut up and put into a box or is that one that was made specifically for a library? Or did they moved to a different style?


Quentin: This is one of the Eddie Brandt’s tapes. By the time they got 7000 videocassettes, they started making everything as small as they possibly could. But this one actually held up pretty good.


Roger: Yeah. Because it looks like it was intended to be in that case.


Quentin: You can see where they did, is they slice it right here but this fits better than they normally do when they do that.


Roger: They did a good job.


Gala: And in the Video Archives book, we have that Video Archives bought a tape for $69.99.


Quentin: Little more expensive than yours, yeah.


Gala: A lot more expensive than mine.





Quentin: And we’re back and we’re on to the second film of our Rod Steiger double feature, and that is the French film Claude Chabrol’s Dirty Hands.


Roger: 1975.


Quentin: Starring Rod Steiger and Romy Schneider. The video is one of the great Wizard Videos, which is one of the subsidiary companies of media. This one also run by Charles Band. I’m a big, big Wizard Video fan and very excited that we’re having our first Wizard Video.


Roger: Charlie Band, who I used to work for.


Quentin: The director of Transfers. Yeah, among other things.


Roger: That’s right. I was his projectionist.


Quentin: But it’s one of the interesting things about Dirty Hands, is that a lot of Chabrol’s movies at this time were released in French and played the Lemley arthouse circuits. But this one didn’t get picked up in ’75, then later it got picked up by New Line Cinema; back when they were an exploitation company and their most famous titles were The Streetfighter and Pink Flamingos. So they picked up Dirty Hands and, more or less, released it as an exploitation film.


Roger: Let’s get rid of that French title and call it Dirty Hands.


Quentin: I bet you. I’m sure the French title was probably just the-


Roger: [says French title of film], which is Innocents with Dirty Hands.


Quentin: The thing that’s interesting about New Line picking it up, is that bodes well for the movie to some degree because it makes it sound like it’s not going to be a boring art film thriller because an exploitation company picked it up. If they picked it up, then they felt that there was something about it that they could play in grindhouses and that they could play in drive-ins and it would actually entertain the audience. The storyline is as classic as if ripped from the pages of James M. Cain. I’ll read the back of the video box: Rod Steiger and Romy Schneider star in a story of love, lust, murder and double revenge with a bizarre twist. A beautiful, sensuous woman (Romy Schneider) is torn between her older husband (Rod Steiger) and a younger lover. Somebody is going to end up with dirty hands.


Her lover, an ambitious writer, convinces Romy to murder her husband in his sleep. Deadly weapons, missing bodies and murder victims who return very much alive complicate this cunning, complex and convoluted plot. When you lie to the police, keep your story straight. If it doesn’t gel, it isn’t aspic. Blackmail, extortion, extracted confessions, forced love, deception and deceit are woven into a tapestry of terror. Pulsating paranoia traps you and a web of intrigue from which there is no escape. Who will survive, the spider or the fly? Running time 102 minutes.


Roger: If it doesn’t gel. It’s not aspic.


Quentin: That’s what made me laugh, like, “Oh, somebody was having fun” and it’s got a fantastic tagline. “How Romy Schneider solved Rod Steiger’s sexual problem, permanently.” Let me talk a little bit about Claude Chabrol, about who he is. He’s known, more or less, as the French Hitchcock. He’s done all kinds of movies, but he became famous for doing a whole series of thrillers (usually starring his wife, Stephanie Andre). La Femme Infidele is one of his most famous ones, and then there’s This Man Must Die. There’s a few of them. One of the jokes about Claude Chabrol’s movies (and this fits right into it), is in a Claude Chabrol movie, there’s no such thing as divorce. When you’re tired of your husband or you’re tired of your wife, you just plot the perfect murder. No one believes in divorce. Now, the thing about it is, I don’t love his thrillers. I’ve liked some of his other movies; Story of a Woman, with Isabelle Huppert playing the black-market abortionist during Vichy France, is fantastic. It’s terrific. I don’t care for his thrillers. Now, his thrillers are drastically better than the abysmal Truffaut Hitchcock movies, which I think are just awful. I’m not a Truffaut fan that much anyway. There are some exceptions, the main exception being The Story of Adele H. But for the most part, I feel about Truffaut the way I feel about Ed Wood. I think he’s a very passionate, bumbling amateur.


Chabrol is not a bumbling amateur, but I’m sure if I were to ask Brian De Palma what he thinks of a Claude Chabrol movie, he would go, “Oh yeah, the guy who makes those thrill-less thrillers.” Using that as an example, though, Dirty Hands is the best of all the Chabrol thrillers I’ve ever seen. I really, really enjoyed it. I really got a kick out of it. Like I said, as if ripped from the pages of James M. Cain. The whole story is the same as the one in The Postman Always Rings Twice.


Roger: Yeah.


Quentin: Younger woman is married to an older guy. The guy is impotent and he’s become a self-lacerating drunk. Then she meets a young, hot stud lover who’s a writer and then they start having this affair. The husband’s a cuckold, but he’s so boozy that you never know if he even knows or cares what what’s going on. Until finally they just decide, as these couples usually do, that life would be a whole lot better without this dude. So they start planning his murder. That is pretty much the first half of the story. Now, I’m going to draw a line on here. This is one I don’t think we should talk anything about the second half of the movie.


Roger: I agree.


Quentin: The setup is really good. The set up was what I knew and everything else it wants to do with that story all happens in the second half. I am not a fan of directors using obvious Freudian imagery to get across psychological points and this movie has a whopper of one right at the beginning, because the whole point of the movie is that Rod Steiger is impotent and he’s got this hot pants, beautiful wife that he can’t satisfy.


Roger: Romy Schneider’s his wife.


Quentin: Yeah, that he can’t satisfy. She meets her young lover when she’s laying on her front lawn, nude sunbathing. The lover is flying a kite and then the kite kind of just falls out of the air and lands on her naked body, and he goes to collect his kite.


Roger: And it’s a kind of a predator bird.


Quentin: Yeah. Now, that’s a neat shot. The idea of the kite landing on her pretty derriere. It especially lands on her ass. The young lover flies the kite because he can get it up. Get it? Get it, get it, get it, get it? He can get it up. Get it, get it, get it, get it?


Roger: Every day as long as there’s a little wind and if there’s no wind, he just has to run a little.


Quentin: Rod Steiger is not flying kites. But Rod Steiger is almost as great in this movie as he was in The Illustrated Man.


Roger: He’s percolating, in this film.


Quentin: Just the moment when he enters the room and his wife and the young stud are sitting there talking, [doing a Rod Steiger impression] “I’m going to have a drink. My wife doesn’t like me to drink. Do you, honey?”


Roger: It’s such a Rod Steiger moment.


Quentin: It’s just such a Rod Steiger moment. Now I think I would have liked that moment, normally, any old time. But the fact that it’s happening after we saw The Illustrated Man just made it all the better. Now, the first three quarters of the movie was terrific. The script was fantastic. I loved everything about it. In the last third, too many characters that have supposedly died keep showing up alive. That always really bugs me at a certain point. That actually happens another time in the movie, but I went with it. But then they double dipped, and they did it too much.


Then it even has a situation at the end, that’s one of those things that I really can’t stand, where it seems like all the characters we’ve met start showing up in the room with guns and pointing ‘em at everybody. However, having said that, I was invested in Rod Steiger and Romy Schneider’s relationship. It’s an interesting thing because we know he’s sincere, but we don’t know if she’s sincere and we won’t know if she’s sincere until pretty much the last scene of the movie. Now that I love, I love when you don’t know where a character’s coming from and you wait the whole thing and then eventually it’s revealed. Even though I don’t like the plot machinations in the last 20 minutes, her fight with the villain in the climax is terrific. It’s a very violent scene, and it’s riveting. Also, it’s in that scene that she reveals her true motives.


Roger: My favorite moment in this movie and my favorite performance in this movie, which kind of jumped out of nowhere almost-


Quentin: We haven’t even brought him up yet, you’re right.


Roger: because the movie is so slick and well-paced and kind of gripping in its early part, then suddenly Jean Rochefort shows up playing Albert Legal. This is his name, the man who is an attorney.


Quentin: Yeah, like in The Postman Always Rings Twice, the husband’s murdered and she’s in trouble and she’s got to survive the investigation.


Roger: She gets this attorney who gives one of the most realistic attorney moments: he’s sparring and trying to figure out what’s going to work. It’s amazing.


Quentin: Again, it’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. It’s the same thing as Cronin’s character showing up as the magnificent lawyer (or Michael Lerner in the remake) that gets her off because he just ties everything into knots.


Roger: Even the judge isn’t sure, but he has an answer for everything and he’s kind of coming up with things. He turns to her and he’s like, “Isn’t that what you told me earlier?”


Quentin: It is a great special guest star turn, where a superstar comes in and has two scenes and knocks it out of the fucking park. Shows up the leads.


Roger: Suddenly Peter Sellers is there and you’re in Lolita and you didn’t ask for him, but nevertheless there he is.


Quentin: This is like when De Niro does a special guest star role and he has two scenes and comes in there and kicks ass and turns the whole tables. Or Al Pacino or somebody like that. Now we’re talking about these really volatile guys, and Jean Rochefort is the opposite of all that. But he still has that movie star charm. He just he knows what he has. He knows the scenes are built for him and he just kills it.


Roger: He owns that scene and creates a magnificent scene out of it.


Quentin: And it’s right when Rod Steiger leaves the movie, right when we need somebody like that. Right when we absolutely need somebody like that, they give it to us.


Roger: Yeah.


Quentin: I’m liking this movie even more now, as we talk about it, I have to say. I think Claude Chabrol knew exactly what he was doing with this movie, in a way that I don’t feel about his other genre-based films.


Roger: What I find super amazing, is that Claude Chabrol made three movies that year and they’re all basically the same. I mean, they’re not the same, but they’re all these kind of slick thrillers and I haven’t seen the other two.


Quentin: What are the other two?


Roger: Death Rite, which was originally called The Magician, with Franco Nero and Jean Rochefort


Quentin: No, I’ve never heard of that one.


Roger: Then he did Pleasure Party, une pas de deux pleasure, which is about a couple that tries swinging with disastrous results. I was not ever a big Claude Chabrol fan. I mean, I kind of felt a little bit like you did, I think, in regard to the Hitchcock thing. But for my money, Clouzot is the Hitchcock of France, and so I never really bought that. But then I saw this movie and I was like, “Wow, this was a really gripping thriller. This was like a really beautifully shot thriller.”


Quentin: I just got to say, this videocassette transfer on Wizard Video is fantastic. It’s solid.


Roger: It’s vivid, really rich.


Quentin: The colors are great. I actually think, of all the movies we’ve done on this show since we started, this has the best photography.


Roger: Yeah.


Quentin: It’s just so rich in that seventies film way; you can feel the emulsion, and you can feel the balanced colors. You can feel the warmth of the color timing.


Roger: I have to tell you, I think even told you, I was getting kind of a little bit of a Verhoeven feel when Verhoeven did Basic Instinct. I’m not a big fan of Basic Instinct. I do like Verhoeven, but I’m not a big fan of Basic Instinct. But it’s that it was that slick, very well-produced, just European enough. It plays like a Hollywood thriller. It plays like a clean, tight gripping thriller.


Quentin: Well, doesn’t quite play like a Hollywood thriller. It doesn’t play like Coma or Bedroom Window, or something.


Roger: I just thought that it was tight.


Quentin: Yeah, but it’s plays like a French film but tighter and more entertaining than most of the French genre experiments.


Roger: Yeah and plus, you’re in Saint-Tropez. Rod Steiger buys his wife a car because that’s what he can do for her.


Quentin: He can give her a stick shift.


Roger: Yeah, and it’s a Datsun. But in the south of France at that time, that Datsun was the cool car to have. That’s a super cool car to have back then. Romy Schneider is just so fashionable and everything and naked in the beginning with the kite.


Quentin: I’m not the biggest Romy Schneider fan. She’s obviously a good actress, but there’s a collection of films that she did and there’s a collection of films that Catherine Deneuve did and I’ve always enjoyed Catherine Deneuve’s movies more. There definitely is an ice queen quality to Romy Schneider, to some degree. But in this one, she uses the ice queen quality really well, to her effect.


Roger: Yeah, Sharon Stone would have been in the remake of this.


Quentin: Yeah, she would have been. Except Sharon Stone isn’t as opaque as Romy Schneider is and it’s the opaque quality, the fact that I have to watch the movie all the way to the end to find out what she really feels, that’s part of the charm of the movie and that’s part of the charm of her performance. So one of the favorite critics on the show, Jim Sheldon, film critic for the porno rag, The Hollywood Press. He writes-


Roger: Some of the finest criticism in the history of criticism.


Quentin: Let’s not go crazy, alright. I like him.


Roger: When you said porno rag, I had to take it to the extreme.


Quentin: In 1978 in Los Angeles, he reviewed Dirty Hands. Now on these many reviews, most of it is him describing the plot. So I’ll just read the top and the bottom. “The Pifar Theater has reopened with 1975 Claude Chabrol’s marital murder that’s more laughs than chills due to totally unsympathetic principals and (believe it or don’t) mechanical plot machinations.” Then after he mentions Claude Chabrol, he has in parentheticals “France’s Hitchcockian ripoff artist, occasionally good.” Then, going down to the bottom: “Before it all ends, there’s a real death, a real rape and a real non suspension of disbelief. Romy’s firm Kraut bod and Roth’s firm hammy acting give the film a lift. But the piece is too silly.”


Roger: Now he seems to be upset that there’s a little bit of comedy in the middle of the movie. I’m assuming he’s talking about Jean Rochefort. But that is what makes the movie wonderful, actually, is that you have that moment.


Musical interlude


Quentin: Gala.


Gala: Quentin, Roger, you have stumped me this time. Unfortunately, I am unable to find this movie streaming anywhere. I think for a brief point in time, it was on Mubi. So I’m hoping that, by the time that this podcast is coming out for all of you out there in podcast land, this movie is widely available because it sounds like a blast.


Quentin: It was available on what?


Gala: Mubi, M-U-B-I.


Roger: Mubi.com. They only show movies for a short window of time, so they might license a film to show on their service for 30 days, maybe 60 days, and then there’s a slight overlap. The idea behind movie is not like there’s an algorithm giving you 10,000 things, with suggestions or something. They’ve got like 50 movies at any given time that are carefully curated. So somebody at some point wisely, carefully curated this film.


Gala: Yes. So I have picked up a DVD from Barnes Noble for $20, but trying to find the VHS tape of this led me down a little bit of an interesting rabbit hole. So I cannot find a VHS just tape like yours. I cannot find a non-European VHS tape, on eBay, of Dirty Hands.


Quentin: Because anybody who’s lucky enough to own the Wizard Video isn’t going to sell on fucking eBay.


Gala: Exactly. I found a few French ones, but it’s like €60 and I’m not trying to spend that much on a French VHS tape that I cannot play. I stumbled upon a VHS tape from the U.K. for $1.70 that says it’s a promotional copy. So they say that there are promotional ads in the middle of the VHS, and I am not sure if it’s a bootleg or what’s going on there.


Quentin: There were such thing as promotional copies that they would send to video stores or retailers just so that they can have it and look at it. Usually it’s not got anything in the middle. Usually it has a bunch of sell through shit on the front and then you watch the movie so you can buy it. But from time to time, it’ll say, “This is a promotional copy. Don’t rent it out. If they’re renting it, let us know.”


Gala: I couldn’t resist buying my promotional copy of this movie for $1.70.


Quentin: Is it the French version or is it the English language version?


Gala: It must be the French version because it has English subtitles, apparently.


Quentin: Well, then it’s for sure the French version.


Gala: I mean, I’m guessing it is, because otherwise it just has English subtitles. So we’ll see.


Quentin: Yes, it’s the closed caption version or something.


Roger: So yours will be called Les Innocents Aux Mains Sales.


Gala: Yes. But when I get my $1.70 VHS tape, I will watch it and (hopefully I’ll be able to watch it) I will report back on what the heck it is.


Quentin: It was very entertaining. I’d known about this box forever and ever and ever. This was really, really entertaining. And like I said, this, as opposed to some of these other movies we’ve talked about, this is one as I’m talking about it, the more I’m liking it as we talk.


Roger: Yeah, me too.


Quentin: Yeah. I don’t care for the last 20 minutes except for the final end, but I’ve now kind of forgiven the movie because I enjoyed it so much before that.


Roger: That’s how I feel. Also coming off of The Illustrated Man and then just getting more Rod Steiger, I’ll take him in any quantity. So it was so pleasurable to get it and then kind of stumbling into this great performance by Jean Rochefort. By the time we got to the end and-


Quentin: Characters are showing up who are supposed to be dead and everybody’s got a gun on everybody else.


Roger: It went the way that it that it went, as you said. There was enough there that I was carried through. Definitely, I enjoyed this and love it way more than I like Basic Instinct or anything.


Quentin: And like I said, compared to a lot of the other Chabrol thrillers; I just think it has more punch, it just has more teeth. More knuckle power.


Roger: This definitely makes me want to seek out Pleasure Party and Death Rite, or whatever their original titles were, because I want to know what was going on with Chabrol that year. I watched this movie and I think, “Okay, who in this movie is Claude Chabrol?” Which is always my question, who is the director? And I think he must be Rod Steiger, at least emotionally. He also wrote this movie, correct?


Quentin: I don’t know.


Roger: I think he wrote this film as well, and they all take place in (it seems like they all take place) the south of France.


Quentin: Well, if he’s doing that, then he’s doing a full Josef von Sternberg; where the cuckolded masochist is the director character.


Roger: Exactly. The director character. The other one is about swinging in the south of France and that kind of going wrong. This was 1975.


Quentin: None of those titles actually sound that interesting. However, I’ll watch a movie starring Franco Nero and Jean Rochefort.


Roger: Yeah, that sounds amazing.


Quentin: Yeah, that sounds really good.


Gala: So can I ask you guys, which Rod Steiger performance did you prefer?


Quentin: Well, I have to go with The Illustrated Man. I would actually say The Illustrated Man, at least in the first 20 minutes, is even better written. In Dirty Hands, he’s having to do a lot of heavy lifting that they’re putting on his character that he doesn’t really deserve, but he’s still pulling it off.


Roger: He also has to play a somewhat passive character, whereas he is so very terrifyingly virile in The Illustrated Man.


Quentin: Yeah. That’s like saying somebody is a bottom, “Yeah, but he’s a bossy bottom. He takes passivity to a gregarious level.”


clip from Demonoid: Created by Satan to prey on the living, it feeds on your most secret desires and hidden fears. Dormant for centuries, its time has finally come again. Demonoid: Messenger of Death starring Samantha Eggar and Stuart Whitman, how can they kill what’s already dead? Demonoid, rated R: under 17 not admitted without parent.


ad copy: Demonoid, with co-hit The Brood, will be playing August 31st and September 1st on glorious 35 millimeter film at the New Beverly Cinema. 7165 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. For further information, go to the newbev.com. The New Beverly Cinema: always on film.




Quentin: So the third film, coming after our two Rod Steiger powerhouse performances-


Roger: The monkey in the middle.


Quentin: Is a Mexican/American/international production, but basically made out of Mexico, horror film called Demonoid. Directed by Alfredo Zacharia, who like René Cardona Jr, has directed a whole lot of Mexican horror films and exploitation movies that have actually made their way to these shores.


Roger: Also he directed all those Capulina movies.


Quentin: He also directed a Swarm rip off called The Bees, he directed an interesting Mexican western that got released in America, called The Bandits with Robert Conrad and Jan-Michael Vincent. I saw Demonoid when it came out, theatrically, at the Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles. I had a blast then, but I like it even more now, frankly. I think I took it a little for granted back then. There was stuff like this playing all the time back then, it was easy to take it for granted. Now I look at something like this and I really, really, really appreciate it. I realized I was jaded back then. I am not jaded any more. Roger, why don’t you read the back of the box?


Roger: Well, this is a beautiful Media Home Entertainment box. They have a catalog title style, but it’s just great.


Quentin: Not only is that box great, I would love to have that original artwork.


Roger: Well, yeah, the poster is fantastic with its kind of Legend-like demon.


Quentin: And by the way, I will say something about that poster. That poster is fantastic, and the movie lives up to the poster.


Roger: 100%. [reading from the box] “Demonoid, starring Samantha Eggar and Stuart Whitman. This is a horrifying tale of demonic possession. While mining deep in the interior of their silver mine, Jennifer Baines (Samantha Eggar) and her husband, Mark (Roy Cameron Jensen), discover an ancient temple of satanic worship. They remove a silver coffer in the shape of a left hand to find it contains only dust. Soon after their discovery, Mark and Jennifer’s lives changed for the worse. Their marriage breaks up and Mark heads to Las Vegas, to take up with the gambling crowd. He’s possessed by the Demonoid. Jennifer turns to Father Cunningham (Stuart Whitman) for help, and the two of them attempt to cast off the spell of the Demonoid hand as it continues to possess those who come into contact with it. This movie is in color. This movie is 85, sleek and slender, minutes long. 1980.”


Quentin: That synopsis is strangely detailed and also leaves a ton out at the exact same time.


Roger: It feels really wrong also.


Quentin: He just goes to Vegas? They don’t talk about all the people he murdered in Mexico?!


Roger: But they do mention their marriage breaks up.


Quentin: It actually doesn’t break up, he just kills all the miners and leaves. It’s not like they had a marital spat.


Roger: He entombs them in the mine. He collapses the mine on them.


Quentin: [laughing]


Roger: First of all, I just want to say right off the top, this is my favorite movie of this little batch.


Quentin: Mine too.


Roger: This was a great, great find.


Quentin: I have been waiting for the third exploitation movie to beat all the other ones, and this is the show it happened.


Roger: I expected so little and I got so much more.


Quentin: Demonoid just doesn’t stop. It doesn’t fucking stop. It doesn’t waste a minute. It doesn’t waste a frame. It doesn’t waste a scene.


Roger: No, it doesn’t. It moves. It moves really fast.


Quentin: And even though it’s got a standard story of its kind of a- They put them together: it’s a crawling hand movie and a demon possession movie and they kind of put them together. That follows the structure and just, “Okay, well, I guess it’s just going to be a crawling hand movie. Okay, I got that.” But in the middle, they don’t change the mythology but the mythology gets deeper.


Roger: Yeah, they introduced a mechanism that allows it to daisy chain further through the movie.


Quentin: And then all of a sudden now, the second half of the movie has- It’s not a different story, but it’s a more complex story. By the way, after watching stuff like The Keep and The Relic and all the stuff we’ve watched, to watch a movie with a supernatural reason for why all this is happening with a mythology built around it; that one, it answers all of our questions. We are not asking any dumb questions about what’s going on and once they explain it, they live up to it all the way and you can follow it from the beginning to the end. That kind of clarity, after the stuff we’ve watched, is a blessing. The film is sick as fuck. It is nasty, it’s dirty, it’s got a dirty mind.


Roger: It’s also fun.


Quentin: It’s really fun.


Roger: It’s never dirty in that filthy way that makes you regret that you went.


Quentin: When I say that, I mean it as a positive.


Roger: I know I’m just clarifying for anybody who needs it.


Quentin: It’s gruesome. It’s got a sense of the grotesque. It’s got a sense of the perverse, but the most important thing about it: there’s no comedy in it. I mean, there’s a little bit of unintentional comedy, but there’s no real comedy and that’s one of the things that I really like about most Mexican horror films, in general.


Roger: They take it seriously.


Quentin: As Jim Shelden says, the Mexicans take their tacky horror seriously. The seriousness of the intention of all the actors, the seriousness of the intention of the director and the scenario was a breath of fresh air. It’s moving and then you add on top of that Samantha Eggar, who is a fantastic actress. This was during the time that she was doing a lot of exploitation movies and she’s fantastic. I’ve never seen her give a bad performance.


Roger: She elevates this movie. It can’t be-


Quentin: It can’t be emphasized enough, how she classes up the production. It’s also just gratifying that she’s taking the movie so seriously. She makes you take the movie seriously.


Roger: Oh, completely. She’s a total Hollywood pro and even when there’s moments where, physically, it doesn’t work, she sells it. Like, for example, there’s a moment in the church (I think) when there’s a cage or something and that she’s not supposed to be able to get down.


Quentin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Roger: Okay. She could just climb over it or around it. She figures out how to physically sell it. She’s given 100% to make this movie as great as it can possibly be.


Quentin: Now, I like Stuart Whitman, but I remembered him thinking that it was just kind of a worn out performance for him. So I remember I even said that when he came on, I was wrong. He’s actually pretty good in the movie.


Roger: Well, the whole thing about this demon hand: that once it possesses you and becomes you and then you become possessed, it draws out your sin; whatever that is. With her husband, the first thing he does his once possessed is, he’s in Vegas and he’s using that demon hand to do- I don’t play craps, but, “Snake eyes, every time.”


Quentin: He gets like 27 snake eyes in a row, or something. Oh, by the way, we have to mention for a second, the guy playing her husband is a character actor you’ve all seen. If you watch action movies from the seventies, he’s in all the Eastwood movies. He’s in all the Bronson movies. He’s that schlumpy detective in Chinatown that Jack Nicholson beats the shit out of. His name is Roy Jensen. Here he’s billed as Roy Cameron Jensen. But the thing is, I actually think Roy Jensen and Samantha Eggar made a really cool couple. I like them.


Roger: Kind of a weirdly realistic couple, too. I mean, even though she was obviously way too good looking for him. But he owns a silver mine.


Quentin: Well, no, but no, no. I’m not going to say that. I’m going to say he’s so masculine that I bought it.


Roger: Well, he is.


Quentin: There’s a masculine quality about it. That kind of masculinity can get a Samantha Eggar. Especially if you own a fucking silver mine.


Roger: He’s like my dad. I told you when we were watching this, because I grew up in Brazil and-


Quentin: You gotta tell the audience that, tell them about the beginning of the film.


Roger: So I find out this movie takes place in Guanajuato and I immediately get excited because as a kid, I lived in Mexico (and other places, and Guanajuato was one of them) and my dad is a mining engineer.


Quentin: Your dad is Roy Jensen.


Roger: So my dad is Roy Jensen in this movie. So I’m watching and I’m like, “Okay, well this is Guanajuato, I know Guanajuato. As a little kid, I would be there with the mummies before- They were even in cabinets back then.


Quentin: Yeah. Okay. But that’s the thing about the movie, was the fact as I’m watching it with Roger he’s like, “Oh, I lived in Guanajuato,” and then apparently this was in Roger’s hometown, and he’s like, “Oh yeah, well, naturally.” Then they go to the museum where they have the Guanajuato mummies and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, naturally. Of course. The Guanajuato mummies. Everybody knows about the Guanajuato mummies.”


Roger: I mean, I grew up around them so watching it for me was like watching- What was the Boorman film?


Quentin: The Emerald Forest, yeah.


Roger: Which, I also lived where that was shot.


Quentin: Oh yeah.


Roger: I had grown up partly in the Amazon with my dad, as a a mining engineer. So these two movies are like, whoa.


Quentin: That’s the Roger growing up double feature: The Emerald Forest and Demonoid.


Roger: That’s the key to understanding me.


Quentin: Also I have to say, the film has very well done special effects and gore effects. They don’t have a ton of money to pull them off.


Roger: But they way pull them off.


Quentin: I will actually go so far as to say I think this is the best crawling hand I’ve ever seen in any movie.


Roger: That moment where there’s the full body burn going on, because the hand wants to get rid of the body. It’s like, “Fuck this body,” and so next thing you know, the guy’s on fire. I’m thinking, “Oh my God, this is one of our leads.” I couldn’t believe it. When he falls into the dirt, the hand digs itself into the sand to protect itself. That is so inventive.


Quentin: Everything we’re saying is pointing out how clever this movie is.


Roger: This movie is clever from beginning to end. Boom, boom. It’s so much fun to watch.


Quentin: And not only that: one, they’re pulling off the crawling hand stuff really terrific. But it’s not just that they’ve come up with magnificent make up effects, some of it is just actually directorial cleverness. The way he shot it: he figured out the exact angle to sell the gag, and that’s directing, man. That’s what directing is all about, especially when it comes to horror films, especially when it comes to dealing with fantasy.


Roger: Well, the great Alfredo Zacarias has a massive catalogue. I mean, he’s going back into the 50’s, I think.


Quentin: Oh, no, no. If you look up him, or if you look up Rene Cardona Jr, you’re going to see 80 movies.


Roger: Oh, yeah, I looked it up. Based on this movie, I started looking through his work and I started seeing all these Capulina movies. So I started looking through it, and Capulina is this Mexican comedian Gaspar Hernan, who was a kind of an innocent kind of style of comedy. Looking at this movie made me think, “I want to see this guy’s comedies,” and one of them is Capulina versus the Mummies: The Terror of Guanajuato. So he’s back in Guanajuato with the mummies.


Quentin: Oh, now that I would like to see, actually, I gotta say.


Roger: I want to see that Capulina movie, in particular, but there’s a whole ton of them. There’s Capulina and Speedy Gonzalez, there’s Capulina Corazon de Leon which was the first one that he wrote, actually.


Quentin: I want to see a few more of the ones that actually got released in America. I think there’s at least four or something.


Roger: Can we talk for a minute about the very opening of this movie, which I think is like-


Quentin: Oh it’s fantastic!


Roger: I was like, “This is a Roger opening. This is what I want all my movies to be like.”


Quentin: It’s completely a Roger opening. I’ll describe the beginning: it starts off, obviously, a long time ago. This woman, you don’t quite know she’s a woman at first, she’s in these monk robes and she’s being chased by these guys and she’s got a sword. It becomes very clear that she’s got superhuman strength and she’s fucking these guys up and then a bunch of them get on top of her. They pin her against the wall and as they pin her against the wall, the monk rope opens up and her boobs fall out.


Roger: It’s just awesome.


Quentin: It’s a great boob shot. It’s just a terrific boob shot and then they hold her against the cave wall and they cut her fucking hand off.


Roger: And it was shocking.


Quentin: They cut her fucking hand off, then they take a knife and they stab the hand


Roger: Before it can climb away.


Quentin: Yeah, so they stab it before I can climb away. Then they put it in this little hand coffin, and that little hand coffin is the best prop of this entire episode. If I could own one prop for my cinema museum, it would be the Demonoid hand coffin.


Roger: And the mano sinistra hand.


Quentin: Now, we haven’t really described the plot, and Media did a very bad job of describing the plot. But I think at this point, we’ve expressed our enthusiasm enough that if you’re still there and we haven’t explained the plot, then just watch it. But one of the things that was surprising about the movie, one: it starts off in Mexico and like you said, not just Mexico, but- Where is the place again?


Roger: Guanajuato.


Quentin: Okay. Then one of the lead characters goes to Vegas, the Sands Hotel in particular. So now a whole section is happening in Vegas.


Roger: Which I was totally like, “Whoa, suddenly we’re in Vegas.”


Quentin: And then, suddenly we’re in Inglewood, California, and the rest of the movie takes place in Inglewood. This movie is fantastic! Guanajuato, the Sands Hotel in 1979, and Inglewood?! I’m surprised they didn’t go to the fucking Forum.


Roger: Yeah, And as this hand is making its way from person to person and possessing them, and then their hand becomes The Hand.


Quentin: Yeah, we’re not going to describe the plot. There’s a little bit that’s vaguely similar to The Hidden, or something, about the way things just keep like moving from place to place.


Roger: It’s like a daisy chain, from one character to the next.


Quentin: But it has its own mythology going on that I don’t want to spoil.


Roger: Well, one of the things that I love about it is that the hand, the sinister hand; the mano sinistra, which in Latin means “left hand.”


Quentin: Well, actually, the original name of the movie was The Devil’s Hand.


Roger: Oh, there you go.


Quentin: Oh, well, they keep calling it the “Devil’s Hand” throughout the whole thing. You can tell that was supposed to be the title.


Roger: The thing about this hand, though, is it’s completely an equal opportunity hand.


Quentin: Mm hmm.


Roger: This hand finds its way into women. This hand finds its way into men. It finds its way on to that black cop.


Quentin: How great is that moment? That’s one of the best lines; when the black cop has been possessed by the hand and he wants to cut it off. He goes to the doctor and he points a gun to the doctor and goes, “Cut this fucking thing off.” So the guy starts setting up some anesthesia, I guess and he goes, “No needles, no anesthesia. Just cut.”


Roger: Just cut it off. In front of her.


Quentin: And I’m like, “Oh, my God.”


Roger: Is this when she’s tied down, Samantha Eggar is tied down?


Quentin: No, she’s just in the hospital and the doctor’s just going, “Ugh.”


Roger: When they’re cutting off the hand in front of her and she’s like, “Ngghhhhhh” right next to it. Her expression, with her big eyes, is just so fantastic. I love when she takes the priest out to see the grave (I think of her husband) and they get there and it’s been desecrated. She’s like, “But Father, it’s more than desecrated. It looks as though the graves has been blown open from within.”


Quentin: “Just look at the pieces of wood. It’s just exploded from the inside. Thieves didn’t break into this, something broke out.”


Roger: I just love the way that she explains everything.


Quentin: I will admit, she’s figuring out everything. She’s figuring out the whole thing: what the hand’s motivation is. She’s figuring out the grave. She may have her own detective show.


Roger: She’s trying to convince him and he’s like, “Well, no, no. It’s more likely just desecration.” It’s like, look at it! She’s so convincing and fun running around in her high heels and lifting her big seventies glasses and wearing a Halston gown in one moment and- I think she I was great. I loved her in this. It made me a big fan of hers. I had seen a few movies that she was in, but I never really thought about her that much. In this I was like, “Wow, they brought her in. Good call.” There’s a lot of professional actors in this, but it’s mostly an international exploitation film production. But she comes in and she kills it. Grounds it, kills it.


Quentin: This is probably only like four movies after she did The Brood, or something.


Roger: Oh, yeah, yeah. Which I love also.


Quentin: Yeah. I think the last film she had released, theatrically, by this point was The Exterminator. I like this one better than The Exterminator. I’ve seen The Exterminator recently. This delivers more than The Exterminator does.


Roger: She’s like a female Roger Moore, or something. She’s just so charming.


Quentin: That’s a real good way to say it.


[musical interlude]


Quentin: Gala!


Gala: Hey, guys. Well, first off, I have to say, it’s so funny, Dad, that you said that, because that’s exactly what my younger brother said while we we’re watching that. Yeah, he was like, “This is a female Roger Moore,” and I didn’t mean that connection at all.


Roger: Because she’s charming. You know, she’s super charming with that accent.


Gala: I’m so glad to hear that you guys love this movie because I loved this movie, too. I was kind of waiting to see, I knew Roger was going to love it but I wasn’t sure Quentin would. So I’m so glad to hear you guys liked it because whenever Quentin gives me the list of movies to watch, I always go to my mom and I say, “Mom, which one of these would you like to watch?” My mom picked Demonoid.


Quentin: Oh, wow.


Gala: Yeah. She was like, “I don’t know if I I want to see The Illustrated Man.”


Roger: She’s been ranting about Demonoid. She loves Demonoid.


Gala: My mom loved Demonoid. I watched it with my mom and my younger brother over dinner and we had the most fun time. The transfer on Amazon (for rent) is beautiful. It is a wonderful transfer. So anyone out there, go watch it right now it’s for rent on Amazon. I love this movie. My mom loved it, she won’t stop talking about it. She was looking at the screen and would scream and cover her eyes and I would see her peeking through, she couldn’t look away. This movie is creepy.


Roger: Well, the way that hand moves around. It’s a performance.


Quentin: Oh, you know, that’s one of the things I wanted to add; when we were watching the movie, at a certain point (like in the last 30 minutes) the hand is character, right alongside Samantha Eggar and Stuart Whitman. I like the hand.


Roger: It’s like Nick Castle is puppeteering it.


Quentin: Yeah, I like the hand. It’s a character. He kind of starts coming across as a character, it actually has a touch of a personality.


Roger: Yeah, yeah. It has an intention,


Gala: And a compelling villain, kind of, in the story where there is no villain besides the devil.


Roger: the way it moves is just shocking. When it suddenly-


Quentin: It’s like a fucking rat.


Gala: Yeah, yeah. The effects are amazing. I’m watching, I’m thinking, “Man, if this was made today, the CGI would be terrible.” First, I love when it’s ash and it forms back into a hand.


Quentin: Yeah, me too.


Gala: That was so cool. It was amazing sculpture.


Quentin: And again; they’re not explaining it to us. We’re just kind of figuring out the mythology of it. “Okay, after it does this, it does that.”


Roger: Yeah.


Gala: And when it’s jumping through the air, it is so terrifying. I love when they’re in the church and all of a sudden the doors are locked. My brother was like, “How did it lock the doors so fast?” I’m like, “I don’t know. It can jump around. It’s a hand. It can go wherever it wants.”


Roger: The hand does what it wants to do.


Gala: It could lock the door if it wants. This movie feels expensive. I don’t know what the budget was on it,


Quentin: Well, okay, so I’ll say; I’ll add to that though. Not that I have any inside information, but the situation is for the Mexican film industry, this probably was an expensive movie. One of the things that you’ll notice when you see, especially Mexican movies or Spanish movies or German movies, they’re just released as an exploitation movie out here. If you actually look up Mexico or Spain that year, those actually might have been one of the bigger movies that they made during that time. The Renee Cardona junior movie, Tintorera: in Mexico, that was one of the biggest movies of the year and it’s two and a half hours long, the Mexican version. But everybody in Mexico knows Tintorera. They cut it down to 90 minutes and I saw it at the Carson Twin Cinema. But my point being, though, is for a film made for the Mexican film industry, this probably actually had a couple of pesos.


Gala: Yeah. Well, it feels like it does. When I watch it, I’m thinking, “Wow, you’re in Mexico and-


Roger: Take you to the Sands Hotel, they take you to Inglewood. We’re all over.


Quentin: Also if it has a little bit of money, that means they’re probably working with the best technicians in Mexico at that point.


Gala: Also, I love that you were with kind of completely different characters by the end of the movie. You’re just going through people and everyone feels fully fleshed out. I don’t miss anything, anywhere and the ending, without giving it away: you could think, “Okay, an ending like this could be cliche or it could feel kind of like a betrayal, or whatever.” The ending is so cool, of this movie, it’s awesome. I love it and the gore in this movie is just amazing.


Roger: When they crush the head of somebody, the hand crushes somebody’s head, it is intense.


Quentin: Well, the ending doesn’t seem cheap in this movie because this movie had a nasty spirit all the way along. Evil will always win in this movie.


Gala: Exactly. In my favorite part of the movie, because we talked about the coffin that the hand gets put into, I love when she’s in the motel and the hand shows up and she goes to get the coffin and she looks and the hand has gone and just destroyed the coffin. I just love it because the hands like, “You’re not putting me back in there. Hell no, I’m not going back in there.” I thought it was a funny character moment for the hand. I loved it.


Quentin: Funny character moment for the hand.


Roger: [laughing].


Gala: Also, I love that train sequence.


Quentin: Oh, yeah.


Gala: Where the hand gets chopped off.


Roger: Unbelievable sequence.


Gala: It’s an unbelievable sequence. The stunts,


Roger: for a low budget movie.


Gala: The stunts are amazing. Then all of a sudden, the hand just kind of crawls up and latches onto the train.


Quentin: Oh, I know, that was great.


Gala: It was amazing and you never know where the hands gonna be.


Roger: By the way, that shot also, as I was watching it, I was naturally thinking a little bit about Evil Dead and the hand running around in that and I was thinking, “I wonder if this was some kind of influence on that,” because the energy is there like that.


Quentin: Well, I think Oliver Stone’s The Hand came out like the year before. That’s a big budget version of something like that, and before that there was The Crawling Hand, The Beast with Five Fingers.


Roger: The many, many hand movies.


Quentin: It’s actually a subgenre unto itself.


Gala: Yeah. But this amazing movie, everyone should go watch it. I think it might even be one of my favorite movies that we’ve talked about.


Quentin: I would say, pound for pound, it’s the best movie we talked about. Do you know what I mean by that? For its fighting weight.


Gala: For its caliber, in it’s class. This is coming out on top.


Quentin: I’m not putting it down. I just mean, in context.


Roger: This movie is made by a master.


Quentin: In its weight class, it can’t be beat.


Gala: But for me, it’s winning the battle royale right now.


Quentin: It’s taking on all comers.


Gala: The hand wins all. Demonoid: Messenger of Death is available now on TubiTV US for free with ads. But if ads are a problem for you or you’re not in the USA, you can catch Demonoid for free on the Internet Archive. It’s in great quality but has hard coded subtitles in Spanish, so if that’s also a problem for you, you can fork over some dough to rent it. My VHS tape cost me $19.95 and I have a Video Treasures copy. So once I get it into my hand.


Quentin: You’ve got shit, alright, we’ve got this great Media version. You’ve got the LP, light ass.


Gala: But you know what’s funny?


Roger: But it’s there.


Gala: That my box is still red.


Quentin: No, I know. I’ve got the Video Treasures box too.


Gala: Yeah, but I’m just saying because all the others-


Quentin: I have two copies of Demonoid and I have the Video Treasures one.


Gala: There was this beautiful Japanese copy available and I was staring at it thinking, “Hmmm, Demonoid.” Some day I’ll have to go pick that up. But I will say all the boxes on eBay that are red are turning white. I don’t know what is up with that, but they’re all turning white.


Roger: Quentin keeps his in the dark. He doesn’t leave his sitting on the dashboard of his car.


Quentin: Yeah. we’re not going to put it in the store right by the window with the sun rays for the next ten years.


Roger: Yeah, the horror sci fi section was in the sun. All the tapes are white.


Quentin: If anybody out there has a line on the original artwork for the demon poster, get in touch with us.


Roger: This movie really has all the promise of Exorcist II, visually, those kind of [makes crunchy noise] moments are striking. They’re fantastic.


Quentin: How dare you bring up something so disjointed?


Roger: Well, that’s why I said the promise of Exorcist II. I happen to like Exorcist II.


Quentin: I know, I know, I know, I know.


Roger: But not as much as Demonoid.


Gala: Everyone go watch it.


Quentin: Glad to hear it. Okay. Before we wrap that up, it just so turns out that the magnificent critic, Jim Sheldon of the Porno Rag Hollywood Press, also reviewed Demonoid. He said, “Demonoid, originally The Devil’s Hand, is an American Mexican variation on The Hand (see my May 1st review, C+) of such relentless mechanical, streamlined 78 minutes ruthlessness that it almost possesses a certain counter charm. It’s nothing more than a procession of victims with evil triumphant,” and he goes down over whole thing. Then at the end, “The mechanical hand (or clever direction) is convincing, as are the mailings and the mutilations. Resolutely nasty. D.”


But, hold it. Now, if you understand where Jim Sheldon’s coming from, for him to give Demonoid a D, that means he enjoyed it. That means, “Okay, here’s this piece of shit. I had to watch it. And you know what? I watch a lot of pieces of shit every fucking week. This piece of shit I didn’t mind watching.”


Roger: He might have meant file it under D, for Demonoid.


Quentin: No, D.


Gala: For me, that’s an S+, by the way.


Quentin: But the thing is though, him giving Demonoid a D; if you understand his rating system- Like I said, he’s saying it’s an enjoyable piece of shit.


Gala: Yeah. There’s a lot of those out there.


Roger: Best in class.


Quentin: Yeah.




Roger: How about some awards? Should we hand out some awards?


Quentin: Best films of the show?


Roger: Well.


Quentin: We just already said it, but go ahead.


Roger: I’m just going to go with Demonoid.


Quentin: Demonoid, yeah.


Roger: First, I was thinking to myself, “Okay, if this was Dimension Films, it would be Demonoid. If it was Miramax, we would go with Dirty Hands.” But no, it’s Demonoid. That is the best movie.


Quentin: Frankly, it’s one of the only movies we’ve watched on this thing that I don’t have a problem with the third act or I don’t have a problem with the second. I don’t have a problem at all.


Roger: We can give it best pacing as well.


Quentin: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I’d give it best screenplay. Okay. We’re all in agreement for Demonoid. Okay, best actor.


Roger: It’s Rod Steiger, obviously.


Gala: Yes, obviously. But does the hand in demon count as an actor?


Quentin: I think supporting actor.


Roger: Although okay, if we’re going to jump right into supporting actor, I’m going to fight for Jean Rochefort in Dirty Hands. Even though the dirtiest hand, the Demonoid, is also an excellent surprise.


Quentin: I don’t think we’ll call it acting. I think we’ll call it special effects.


Gala: Okay. I’ll concede this time.


Quentin: Even though it is a character. It’s not acting, but it’s a character. Okay, so are we all in agreement that Rod Steiger is the best actor of this episode?


Roger: Yes.


Gala: If I had seen it, I probably would agree. Yeah.


Quentin: Okay. Best actress.


Roger: Oh, I’m going to go with Samantha Eggar, because one; I think she elevates the movie. Two, I found her absolutely delightful to watch.


Quentin: So you’re officially giving Samantha Eggar the nod over Romy Schneider?


Roger: Absolutely. Listen, I love Remy Schneider and I think I mentioned Max and the Junkman, which I recommend also to anybody to see. I think Remi Schneider is just fantastic but I found that, to be honest, she does one thing really well in this movie but that’s all she does; which is to play that kind of ambivalence all the way through, which is not the easiest thing to do. I’m not saying that she’s giving a bad performance, it’s a great performance.


Quentin: No, that’s actually part of it, it’s one of the things I’m kind of championing.


Roger: Her opaqueness, as you called it. Yeah, that is fantastic. I just loved watching Samantha Eggar throughout Demonoid. She made me want to just follow her.


Quentin: I am a huge Samantha Eggar fan. So the fact that I’ve turned you on to her, along with Roberta Collins, makes me very happy. Gala?


Gala: I did not have the chance to see Dirty Hands. So I’m also going to have to go with Samantha Eggers, because women are kind of slim pickens this episode, so Samantha Eggar all the way.


Quentin: Actually, more than the episode before last. Penelope Anne Miller was the only game in town. I could easily throw it to Samantha Eggar. Just to break it up a little bit, I’m going to give a little love to Romy Schneider. I think you could go either way, if I was just going for entertainment I would go for Samantha Eggar. I actually think Samantha Eggar definitely has the harder part, to make this madness seem halfway plausible.


Roger: I just love seeing her running around in a tight skirt like, you know, never-


Quentin: Okay. You know what, I’m taking it back. Samantha Eggar.


Gala: Wooooooo, yes, Samantha Eggar.


Quentin: She commits, she commits, she commits. She makes us- Not only does she class up the movie, she makes us take it seriously.


Roger: Yeah. I’m going to throw out best economical use of an exterior location to The Illustrated Man. They somehow used that Thousand Oaks location, or wherever they shot it,


Quentin: That stream?


Roger: That stream, they shot everything there. They shot the circus tent in the end,


Quentin: Oh, really? Wow.


Roger: They shot the African Veldt there, they shot the the witches house in Wisconsin,


Quentin: I’m sure they just went to lion country safari and shot the Africa stuff.


Roger: No, I think they just stayed at that location and brought the lions to them. It’s L.A. You can get lions. You can get a zebra if you want.


Gala: All the animals are from Africa USA.


Quentin: It was all set up for them to go to Lion Country Safari and shoot there. Why would they bring a bunch of lions to that river? Best Supporting actor.


Roger: Oh I already said John Rochefort.


Quentin: And I absolutely agree. I absolutely agree. If I was picking a second choice, it would be Roy Jensen, because I really liked him in the movie.


Roger: And I’m going to also throw out best cinematography on Dirty Hands.


Quentin: Yes.


Roger: Which is sleek and beautiful.


Quentin: I’m serious, I think it’s the physical best photography; as far as what exists in the print when they got through with it. It’s the best looking print that we’ve watched, of all the films we’ve watched.


Roger: The guy who shot this, who also did the cinematography for Umbrellas of Cherbourg (which for my money is easily one of the most beautiful French movies ever shot) doesn’t do the same thing here. He brings a much more slick, modern thriller look. It’s just lovely, beautiful to watch.


Quentin: I don’t think there really is a supporting actress in this one.


Gala: I don’t think so. But I’m going to have to give it to one of the hands. I know one of those hands belongs to a woman.


Quentin: I give best supporting actress to the boob girl at the beginning.


Gala: I will say, I didn’t get to see Dirty Hands. So I have to trust you on best cinematography but I will say The Illustrated Man, in the first 20 minutes in beautiful Technicolor, it is gorgeously shot.


Quentin: Yeah, I agree.


Gala: And they have some amazing whip pans, where it’s on the ground and it whip pans up. Like when he sees the dog.


Quentin: It has good stuff like that.


Roger: The dog deserves an award. Best dog performance.


Quentin: Yeah. Wow. Best animal performance.


Gala: Best animal reaction.


Quentin: Absolutely best animal.


Roger: Did you like those animal reactions?


Quentin: Yes, well, because they were-


Roger: Because they were good.


Quentin: Because they were good.


Roger: These weren’t Moonraker animals.


Gala: These weren’t pigeons


Quentin: It’s not like an otter closing it’s eyes or a beaver doing a double take. What was his name? The dog?


Gala: Pek, as in “Pekinese.”


Quentin: [doing a scene from The Illustrated Man] “As in Pekinese.” “But it’s the Pomeranian-” “He’s a bum! Me and him we’re both two bums.”


Gala: I love, by the way, when the dog grabs the snake that he just killed, that garter snake and he’s like, [doing the same voice] “Let the dog eat the snake. He’s gotta go eat the snake, let the dog eat the snake.” It’s such a good moment. It’s so funny.


Quentin: [also the same impression] “Ain’t nothing good about a snake. I see a snake, I kill it.”




Quentin: I think I have to give best director to Alfredo Zacarías.


Roger: Oh, for sure.


Gala: Yeah. An agreement, for sure. The hand is just-


Roger: Yeah.


Quentin: Even Jim Shelton sees the directorial touch of the hand.


Roger: He delivers.


Quentin: Best scene. Okay. I got to say, the opening 20 minutes of The Illustrated Man. I think that counts as one scene.


Gala: A sequence, yeah.


Roger: I’m going to go with the full body burn at the car in Demonoid.


Quentin: That’s a moment. I think that’s a moment, that’s not a scene.


Roger: That sequence where he lights himself on fire, and the hand-


Gala: You picked a sequence and he picked a moment, so a scene is somewhere in the middle.


Roger: So I got to pick a whole scene? Not just a moment?


Quentin: What is that a problem?


Roger: That’s not a scene?


Quentin: There’s action movies that have scenes. That’s a moment.


Gala: I think mine might be the plastic surgery scene in Demonoid, because I really like the black police officer.


Quentin: I like that guy, too.


Gala: I think he’s a really fun actor that comes in, and I really just like Samantha Eggar’s performance there. I love also that the doctor gets inhabited by the hand also. So we get to see the hand run around doing everything.


Quentin: And look, as much as I like the opening of The Illustrated Man, number two might be the opening of Demonoid. The boob girl.


Gala: It’s such a good opening that you’re just like, “Wah.”


Roger: I actually thought about it. I’m going to go with John Rochefort for his scene.


Quentin: Oh there you go! That’s the real number two for me.


Roger: Defending Romy Schneider; that scene could stand on its own. You can just take that scene and show it.


Quentin: That was probably the scene I enjoyed the most because I know what I’m going to get when it comes to the opening 20 minutes of The Illustrated Man. I was not prepared for a scene as good as a Jean Rochefort scene to come in the middle of the movie and just sweep us away.


Roger: Yeah, it’s outstanding.


Quentin: This was a good set.


Roger: This was a good week for me. To be honest, I enjoyed all of these movies.


Quentin: Yeah, me too. Okay. Best moment was the burn.


Roger: Yeah, the burn with the hand going underground.


Quentin: And when I say best moment, it can be pretty shot. It can be best visual. You know, it’s a moment.


Gala: I still think I’m going to have to go with Demonoid, to be honest. I just loved it. But my favorite moment was when the hand turned from ash to a hand. I think it was just a really beautiful moment that I kind of wasn’t expecting to look that good.


Roger: I could almost go for the kite falling on Romy Schneider’s derriere. That was a really great way to set up a movie, to begin the movie with that.


Quentin: Best moment also means best visual moment, whatever. I’m going to go with the moment of Rod Steiger lounging on the couch in full head to toe Illustrated Man guise. Just that image of him naked, lying down from head to toe with the illustrations. The physicality of The Illustrated Man is one of the things that movie did perfectly.


Roger: They pull it off.


Quentin: It’s easy to take it for granted, how good it looks.


Roger: And they continue it; he gets up, he walks through the house naked. Not in an obvious way, or where they’re trying to hide anything. It just it feels very organic.


Quentin: Well, he doesn’t look naked because he’s covered.


Roger: He’s covered in tattoos.


Gala: Skin illustrations.


Quentin: [doing the Rod Steiger voice] “I’m gonna tell you, when I walk around with these tattoos. I ain’t naked. These are coming to life, and they bring up things to you. And by the way, I told you not to call them tattoos, now don’t make me tell you again.”


Roger: He is a very tense, bottled up guy.


Quentin: Okay. So to Rod Steiger and all the ships at sea thank you, everybody. We’ll see you next time on the Video Archives podcast. Be kind rewind.


Gala: Thanks everyone.


Roger: At least rewind, like, halfway.


Gala: The Video Archives podcast is hosted by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary and produced by Josh Richmond and Gala Avary. Our engineer is Devon Torrey Bryant and our executive producers are Colin Anderson and Natalie Mooallem. This episode featured additional production by Raven Goldston. We now have Video Archives merch: go to podswag.com to see everything we have in stock. Find out more about the show by heading to VideoArchivespodcast.com. You can also find us on Twitter @VideoArchives and on Instagram @VideoArchivesPod.