Episode 008 Transcript

Gala: On this episode of the Video Archives podcast, we’re back with part two of American Giallo. Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary and Eli Roth continue on in their debate of exactly what constitutes the genre. See if any of our four films fit the bill. We’ll start off the episode with one of Eli Roth’s favorite films; 1976’s Alice, Sweet Alice is destined to give you a fright: when Alice’s sister, Karen, is found brutally murdered in a church suspicions turn towards Alice, but could a 12 year old girl really be the killer? The group talks about the role that religion plays in giallo, how director Alfred Sole pulled off a period piece on a budget, and how the identity of the villain is just too good to spoil. 


And wrapping it up, let’s all sing Happy Birthday to Me: Virginia is about to celebrate her 18th birthday, but before she can throw her party, her friends are murdered off one by one. Directed by J. Lee Thompson, this film features amazing gags, unique kills, and one of the most gut wrenching brain surgery scenes you’ll ever see. So make sure to RSVP, it’ll be a killer party. I’m Gala Avary, and let’s jump right back into the conversation. 


Quentin: Okay, so now let’s move on to Alice, Sweet Alice. 




Eli: Oh, I love this movie. 


Quentin: Okay, so now, when I was bringing up the idea of doing an American giallo show, this was Eli’s suggestion. He was like, “Oh, you got to add, Alice, Sweet Alice. It’s completely an American giallo.” Now, I had not seen Alice, Sweet Alice since it came out in ’76. 


Roger: And I had never seen it. 


Quentin: It didn’t come out in Los Angeles in ’76. It didn’t come out until after Brooke Shields’ fame, and it was released as Alice, Sweet Alice. It came out either towards the end of ’78 or the beginning of ’79. It was much better and more impressive than I expected it to be, but I didn’t necessarily like it. Then as time has gone on, its reputation and what Alfred Sole did has really kind of stayed in my mind, I was really looking for an excuse to watch it again, and this was my excuse. So I had a very interesting take on the whole thing. I’m looking forward to talking about that. But, Eli, why don’t you read the back of the box? 


Eli: Gladly. We are looking at an Alpha Video copy, which has the- 


Roger: One of the lightest cassettes of all time. 


Eli: If I let it go, it will blow up in the air. 


Quentin: There’s such a thing as six hour mode. This tape looks like it’s recorded in eight hour mode. 


Roger: Which means it would use less tape, which means it would be lighter. 


Quentin: We never fixed the tracking; there always was a little bit of tracking static going on, and there was a constant buzz from the beginning to the end. 

Roger: As if it had taped over something else. 


Eli: This tape is like watching as if we were underwater, with no goggles. 


Quentin: Which just shows how good it was, because it grabbed us anyway.  


Roger: The movie looks beautiful. 


Eli: Even on the 10th generation. 


Roger: Even on this 8 hour mode. 


Eli: Alice, Sweet Alice: it’s got the classic artwork from the poster (if you know it), which is a doll with a bloody butcher knife and the blood drips into the bloody letters that make the title. 


Roger: Which is dripping down onto Brooke Shields’ name, almost. 


Eli: And then it says, “Starring Brooke Shields,” who’s in it for 10 minutes. 


Roger: Not only that, she’s on the spine.  


Quentin: Of course she is. 


Roger: It’s just like [shouting] BROOKE SHIELDS. 


Quentin: What, is Linda Miller going to be on the side? Of course, it’s going to be Brooke Shields. 


Eli: [reading from box] Mystery, suspense and terror; everything you ever wanted in a horror movie. Paterson, New Jersey, is the setting. A local family has two daughters: Karen is the good girl and Alice is jealous and vengeful. Karen disappears from her first communion ceremony and is later found brutally murdered in the rear of the church. Is it really possible that her own sister could have done it? Her mother says no. Her aunt says yes. Someone is attacking the people in Alice’s building. Learn the truth about Alice and the terror surrounding her, as this horror unfolds. 


Quentin: That’s a pretty good description for the back of the box. 


Roger: I’d go see that. 


Quentin: Oftentimes I have to horn in and give a better description that actually just does a really good job without spoiling shit. 


Roger: “If you survive the night, nothing will scare you again.” 


Eli: Yes, that’s on the front. It’s interesting. This movie really, really feels like a giallo film. From the rainy mood, to the girls in the yellow raincoats through the music with the childlike chorus. 


Quentin: [singing like a creepy child] La, la la la la la la. La la la. 

Eli: It’s disconcerting. The use of the yellow raincoats and it’s very Don’t Look Now mood and this weird plastic mask that the killer wears. 


Quentin: Which is similar to the plastic mass of the killer in New Year’s Evil wears, isn’t it? 


Eli: Very similar to that. It’s really feels like if you didn’t know an American directed this, you could say Alfred Sole directed it and you’d say this was an Italian who came to make a movie. 


Quentin: Is it Alfred Sole [pronounced so-lay] or Alfred Sole [pronounced like ‘soul’]?


Eli: It’s Alfred Sole [like ‘soul’]. He’s a guy from Paterson, New Jersey and because it’s shot in New Jersey, he has access to some regional actors and some New York theater actors.


Quentin: Well, we talked about that. One of the things that’s really strong about the movie is, on one hand, it feels like a regional horror film. The kind of horror film that would be shot in Cleveland or something like that, where you’re using Cleveland actors. 


Eli: Don’t Go in the House, or some movie like that. 


Quentin: However, there is a distinctive New Jersey element, and the only other movie that really has that really distinctive New Jersey element is Don’t Go in the House. While they do seem like extremely good regional actors, that’s also because he was close enough to New York to get actual legit New York acting talent to appear in his film. 


Roger: Yeah, there’s good performances in this. 


Eli: But the thing that I think distinguishes this and that really makes it a giallo is: before Alfred Sole was making movies, he went to study architecture. He made three movies and then had such a bad time that he was like, “I should have stayed in Paterson.” He went to Hollywood to try and make movies, and it didn’t work out. So he directed a lot of television. Then he was like, “Fuck this, I’m going to be a production designer.” He did production design for Veronica Mars, and so basically the back half of his career was as a production designer. 


Roger: Wow, really? 


Eli: Yeah. So when you look at the movie- One of the things I didn’t realize, it’s so moody and it’s so beautifully done, but I’m like, “Wow, the cars are really cool. Look at the wallpaper.” It’s got the thing that the opening of Deep Red has, and this time I realized it: I was like, “This fucking movie set in 1961.” 


Roger: It’s a period piece. 


Eli: It’s a period piece, and it’s got Kennedy on the walls. 


Roger: That’s a big deal, for a low budget movie to pull that off.


Eli: They really pull it off and it doesn’t feel cheap; the exteriors are very rainy with all the cars driving through and the way they pull the costumes and they do things at the priest’s house. Also, It’s got the humor; with the old monsignor and the woman taking care of him and she’s like, “He used to be a great man,” and he’s like, “I want my dessert now.” It’s beautiful. It’s moody. The murder during the communion is very much like Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling. There’s so many great things about the movie, but from the music- 


Quentin: There is an aspect of “this is like a New Jersey version of Don’t Torture a Duckling.” 


Eli: It really is. There’s a scene where the two sisters are fighting, the father is gone, she gets the bridal veil and then she’s taking the doll. Then Brooke Shields runs off into this abandoned warehouse. The creepy girl has a creepy two-faced doll. Like, a doll with two heads on it. 


Roger: A smiley face and a crying face. 


Eli: Yeah, and she goes and she puts on the mask and scares Brooke Shields and locks her in. It’s  a really good kind of fake out stalk and slash. You realize there’s something very off with Alice and then at the communion when they’re waiting and then they do the classic thing where Alice disappears. We don’t know where they are, where is she? And then the murder; with the plastic face strangling her. That’s a really, really violent death. Then putting the body inside the bench and lighting it on fire so the nuns start to smell it while communion is going and Alice just wants communion and she can’t get it. It’s really, really interesting, the religious themes. You’re like, “It can’t be the priest because this was happening during mass…” 


Roger: Yes, someone has religious issues, who made this film. Somebody has an issue with Catholicism. 


Quentin: Definitely. It’s the emphasis on Catholicism that also makes it feel very much like a giallo. It makes it more Italian. 


Roger: Operatic. 


Quentin: Roman origin kind of stuff, yeah. 


Eli: And of course I personally love it because it has two cast members from Bloodsucking Freaks, which is Niles McMaster- 


Roger: Amazing. 


Eli: -who played the quarterback and Alfonzo De Noble, who plays the pedophile in this movie. He was a theater actor, he only did three movies. I think the third film is called Night of the Zombies in 1979. Then at 31, he died. Director Joel Reed, of Bloodsucking Freaks, the only backup we have is Joel Reed’s word. I looked and no one’s found the autopsy. Apparently, he got so fat, he was stuck in a turnstile and the police had to let him out and it made the papers and he was so humiliated that he killed himself. Now, Joel Reed claims that. So there’s no one who can verify it. He’s really disturbing. He just goes full on creepy with this girl, they’re very uncomfortable scenes. 


Quentin: He’s so legitimately creepy. He’s creepier than any creation could ever possibly be. I felt that from the time that I saw him. I mean, there was almost a moment of the like, “Is this guy a real guy?” Not his personality per say, but just the creepiness that is him. 


Roger: The grotesqueness of his form. 


Quentin: Well, but it’s interesting, though. It’s a weird kind of grotesque. You can’t stop looking at him. He’s mesmerizing to look at. It’s not like I can’t look away, I can’t tear my eyes away. 


Eli: Because he’s doing this very strange performance where the character, in his own mind, has this sort of elegance where he’s on a chaise- 


Roger: Like a grand old dame. 


Eli: -stroking a cat, fanning himself, listening to a Victrola. It’s really strange. It’s like someone who’s imagining themselves as some sort of 1930s theater star, in this creepy tenement. He’s the landlord and the mothers keep sending their kids up to visit. 


Roger: Would you send your kids to take some cake up to this crazy freaky guy? 


Eli: “The stores don’t deliver. Can you go?” He’s some really weird, agoraphobic lunatic. So the movie’s populated with that and also by really, really strong performances. You really feel for Linda Miller, the mother who’s dealing with the- 


Quentin: The mother gives a fantastic performance. I mean, really, really terrific. 


Eli: And the Aunt is almost like the woman in Donnie Darko, the one who wants to shut down Sparkle Motion.


Quentin: The aunt is like a character out of a John Waters movie. 


Roger: Jane Lowry played the aunt. 


Quentin: I actually think the best scene in the movie isn’t one of the horror scenes, even though it’s hard to get more than when the fathers attack. That gets pretty amazing. You don’t like the aunt, whether it’s good things or whether it’s tragedy, she keeps trying to intrude herself upon her sister and what’s going on with her and so you just don’t like her. She does seem unfair to Alice, whether Alice is a killer or not and if she is the killer, it’s probably because this aunt helped push her over the edge. 


Roger: She’s got this whole Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest kind of thing going. 


Quentin: Yeah. She’s got the Ed Pressman-style henpecked husband. She’s obviously the loudmouth of the family that is able to get everybody to do what she wants out of screeching. But then she’s attacked by who she (and frankly we) think is Alice, on the stairs. In the little killer’s garb: the mask and the little yellow raincoat. It might be the most realistic knife attack I’ve ever seen in a horror film. 


Eli: Yes. 


Quentin: It’s not done in a horror film style. 


Roger: It’s a little sloppy, almost. 


Quentin: It’s sloppy, but each knife hit finds its place in either her leg or her shoulder. 


Eli: Or her foot 


Quentin: and her foot. That just really seems completely disturbing. 


Eli: She’s walking down this tiny stairwell in this tenement and the killer pops out with white gloves, not black gloves. The white glove killer in the yellow raincoat with the mask. This butcher knife kind of goes through the bannister legs and just starts slashing and gets her at the top of her foot, then gets the shin, and it’s like she can’t- 


Quentin: She falls down the stairs and has, what I would imagine, as realistic a reaction to a knife attack as you’re going to see. 


Roger: Also, the knife only goes so deep. It’s realistic; how a knife wouldn’t sink all the way to the hilt. It goes, a few inches an inch or two, until it hits maybe some bone or something. She’s stabbing and I’m feeling every scream. 


Eli: She’s screaming enough that the neighbors come out, that the killer has to run away. She tumbles down the stairs and she crawls out, 


Roger: Oh, my God yeah. 


Eli: And it’s perfect that we’re recording this on what I think is one of the rainiest days I’ve seen in Los Angeles in a long time. She comes out into this pouring, pouring rainstorm and it’s torrential and the blood’s dripping. She’s screaming for help and then the husband pulls up. It’s really, really fantastic. 


Quentin: Okay. I like that scene. But the scene that I think is, wow, when this movie really kind of kicked it up to a new level is the follow up scene: where the aunt (with every right intention possible) thinks that Alice attacked her. But when the cops go to interview the aunt, if she says Alice attacked her then Alice is going to be the number one suspect for the cops. So the mother is trying to protect Alice, and she’s obviously the shrinking violet amongst the two sisters, just turns into a different person and says, ‘I will never forgive you if you blame Alice for this.” 


Then it all kind of comes to a head when the cops and everybody shows up in the room and the mother’s ferociousness against the sister makes the sister start crying. This is a character we have not had any sympathy for whatsoever. We do an emotional switcheroo during the watching of the movie. We see it from the poor attacked aunt’s eyes. “I don’t want to lose you, my sister, but your fucking daughter tried to kill me with a fucking butcher knife.” 


Eli: And she’s crying. 


Roger: And that aunt becomes more unhinged in every single scene. Her face becomes more contorted and the lipstick almost feels like it becomes wilder and intense. 


Quentin: The directorial juggling of the high energy of that theoretically amateur cast, for that scene to get as big and big and big as it gets and to actually really deliver and actually have us have a different emotional response to it: that scene blew me away. The directorial aspect of it; handling all those performances really blew me away. 


Eli: Linda Miller saying her piece and you know where she’s going and the aunt is just there. She hasn’t said anything when we know that she could speak. The aunt just sort of turns her face away and Linda’s going, “You can’t say it was Alice,” and the one tear runs down her eye.  


Quentin: Even the idea that they’ve set up that the aunt’s husband is this henpecked little guy that she bosses around. Then in her complete trauma and anxiety, she just starts screaming for her husband. 


Eli: She wants him. 


Quentin: She wants him. 


Eli: She’s like “Where is he?!” 


Quentin: It just actually adds a level of depth to her character, that it’s actually touching that the movie offers her that. 


Eli: Well, and then it sets up the device of locking Alice away. You don’t want to see Alice get locked up. Then when the killer kills while Alice is in the asylum, it vindicates her. This movie does an interesting thing that not a lot of giallo movies do; where they solve it about an hour and 20 minutes into it. 


Maybe they thought the audience was going to figure it out, but it does this thing where it’s like, “Okay, you have the mom going to the house of the killer for help and she has to wait around and we reveal who the killer is.” So now we know that the mother’s at the killer’s house and then you’re just like, “Well, where else could it go?” And then the movie doesn’t end there and then she leaves, and there is the last 15 minutes where you’re like, “Where the fuck is this movie going?” 


Quentin: Yeah, that seemed like a great place to end the movie. Why didn’t they end it at that? 


Eli: Any other movie, that’s where you’re supposed to end it: where your main character is in the house of the killer. 


Quentin: We were all right there, and we were all right there in the kitchen. 


Eli: She’s bringing her coffee and she’s bringing the knife. And you’re just like, “What is going on?” Then they don’t end it; it’s just a setup for the finale, which I think is so spectacular and really, really pays off. 


Quentin: I’m literally thinking for 10 minutes. “Oh, wow, they messed up.” They missed their subway stop. 


Eli: They missed it. Yeah, exactly. “This movie’s going on too long,” but when you realize. 


Roger: Then you realize no, they’re going to that stop and they wanted to go there. 


Eli: And then the ending happens when we know who the killer is. But who gets killed is such a shock. It’s so bloody and it’s in the church. It’s just really this literal attack on religion. It’s sublime, it’s such a great finale. 


Quentin: And it ends with the best last shot of the entire quadruple set of movies. The last shot is just fantastic. 


Eli: Yeah, just this moving back dolly shot, just moving through the crowd. 


Quentin: No, the way it goes moving back like that. Then it’s on the bag, then on the knife, then on Alice. 


Eli: Yeah. 


Roger: I mean the movie is an indictment of Catholicism. 


Quentin: Which most Italian giallos are. They’re not advertising Catholicism. it’s, “This is why we’re fucked up.” 


Eli: Fulci made Beatrice Cenci and Don’t Torture a Duckling and that’s why the critics turned on him, because he it very much was an attack to the Catholic church. 


Roger: More than an attack on Catholicism, because that’s almost easy. What’s hard is the period stuff. 


Eli: Yeah. 


Roger: I keep thinking about that because when you’re making a movie, the first thing that the producers would be telling you is, “Look, all this period stuff, you’re going to lose a day.” 


Eli: You have a full communion. You need every extra dressed and made up in hair. Everyone has to be 1961. 


Roger: He must be making a statement about America, not just Catholicism, but about who we are as a country at that time. 


Eli: Well, it was ’75 when he shot it, he probably wrote it when Ford was in office. 


Roger: Right. 


Quentin: Kennedy is the president, we see the Kennedy thing. 


Roger: He’s talking about a country that is broken, basically, is the point. 


Eli: It’s symbolized by the family: the father’s gone.  

Roger: Which is symbolized by the father, being gone. What he could have had, in shooting time, for the cost of doing all of the period stuff; he had to justify it. He had to really want it. He had to have a meaning to do it. He had to have the need to do it. 


Quentin: But, you know, here’s the thing about it, though. As we were watching the movie, I was putting it under the microscope a little bit about why is it so well-done compared to other films of its ilk? Well, Alice, Sweet Alice doesn’t have any more money or any larger a budget than other movies made of its time and of its ilk. I think it’s pretty obvious that he had more time making it. He had  a length to his shooting schedule that is not normal for this type of movie, and you can tell by the unheard of number of setups he does in the course of a scene. 


Roger: Those church sequences are so well put together. 


Eli: Magnificent. 


Quentin: There’s a whole little montage of Brooke Shields riding the bike. There’s about like 13 or 14 setups or something like that, for sure. 


Roger: For sure. 


Quentin: But even more than that, it feels like he has time. This does not feel like a rushed production in any way. Not an elephantine production that has all the time in the world, it was not that they had too much time. A part of the seventies, low budget cinema is that the rush aspect is built into its DNA, and when you see a film that’s not rushing, you notice it. Would you agree with that, Eli? 


Eli: Completely, because what you’ve got are the details. Like when the milk bottle drops, the close up of the milk bottle and the foot stepping on the glass and she goes, “Stop stepping in the glass,” and they do different angles of it. The sort of rituals; Alice has this weird shrine in her basement with these dolls and the mask and the close ups and things that on film, take a while. 


Quentin: Alice is a really great character. She really is. 


Eli: Let’s talk about that actress who plays Alice.


Roger: Paula E. Sheppard. 


Eli: Yeah, Paula E. Sheppard. Brooke Shields was probably, what? Ten or eleven when she’s in this? Paula E. Sheppard was 19 when they made that. 


Quentin: Oh, really? 


Eli: And she plays a really great 13 year old little girl because you’re thinking, “This is one of the best child performances ever.” 


Quentin: Yeah. 


Eli: And the next movie she did was a few years later was Liquid Sky, and then she was out. It’s such a cool performance. I think that because he’s an architect and a production designer, he really has an eye for detail. I didn’t see his second film, Tanya’s Island, which apparently- 


Quentin: I’ve seen the trailer on The Best of Sex and Violence a zillion times. 


Eli: And apparently it’s with vanity. Apparently Rob Bottin did an amazing gorilla suit. But I did see another film of his, which again- 


Quentin: His one studio film. 


Eli: -which plays with every convention of the slasher genre, which is Pandemonium


Quentin: Yeah. Which was originally called Thursday the 12th


Eli: And it’s a parody of these movies. So he’s very, very aware of the conventions of the genre. 


Quentin: But the thing that’s sad is that because everyone is talking about what a good job he did directing, that was his studio crossover movie; Pandemonium. Then Roger Corman releases Saturday the 14th. The whole only reason they made the movie was to make a joke in the title, so then they have to change the title and then they just released it in a few markets and said, “Fuck this shit.” 


Eli: Yeah, and that was it. 


Quentin: That was it. That was the end of his directorial career. He also suffered the same thing that happened to Tobe Hooper: He was attached to this project and that project, and then things happened that made him drop out just before. Like the way Tobe Hooper almost directed The Dark and then got fired. Then he almost directed Venom, and he got fired. I remember a lot of different Fangoria and Cinema Fantastic notices that Albert Sole was going to be directing something or other, and then it turns out it never happened. 


Eli: He did television, like you said; he did the Melrose Place pilot. Then after he just kind of quit to be a production designer. It’s sad. He died in 2022 in February, so he won’t hear this. He said he wished he had stayed in Paterson, New Jersey, making independent films with his friends. That was when he was happiest. 


Roger: Me too. 


Quentin: Now, let me bring up my reaction to the movie when I saw it. 


Roger: Originally? 


Quentin: Yeah, originally and then how I feel about it now. Okay, so like I said, I saw Alice, Sweet Alice when it came out. I wasn’t expecting it to be very good, but it’s definitely an odd duck. It had its own odd quality and it wasn’t bad. I knew it wasn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t warm up to it. I didn’t really like it, per say. My biggest problem with Alice, Sweet Alice, as a movie; is that when it comes to tone, the film is perfect. The tone of the film is not only perfect, it’s also perfectly unique to the movie itself. The film has bad pacing problems. The movie doesn’t flow from one scene to the next scene. 


It’s not herky, it’s not jerky. It doesn’t jerk from one scene to the next scene, but good scenes don’t build on other scenes. A sequence is over, and then another sequence starts and it takes a little bit to get into it and then it does, but there’s not a flow. One of the things that the film needed was a more pronounced soundtrack, this is a movie that if it had a Morricone soundtrack.


Roger: Or a Pino score. 


Quentin: Yeah. But especially Morricone, I think. This is one where I would give it to Morricone. 


Eli: Morricone, yeah for sure. 


Quentin: You know, a more Italian, laid on soundtrack that deals with the religious themes and deals with the religious choir kind of things.  I think it would have actually held the movie together. I think it would’ve filled in those cracks and filled in those fissures and air pockets. 


Eli: Like a Bruno Nicholai harpsichord kind of score. 


Quentin: I’d even go for Nico Fidenco. 


Eli: Oh, Fidenco? Interesting. 


Quentin: Morricone is still the best choice for that. 


Eli: Yeah, but Bruno Nicolai did The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and those types of harpsichord style sounds, but yeah; that early Morricone stuff would have been incredible. 


Quentin: I do think that would have filled in the gaps. 


Eli: But also Niles McMaster is just the weakest actor of the bunch. He looks the part, as the dad, but he’s the- 


Quentin: But he’s not bad. 


Eli: He’s not bad, but he’s not as good as the others. 


Quentin: He’s not as good as the priest. 


Roger: Father Tom. 


Quentin: Father Tom, right. But he’s not bad though. I liked him by the end. 


Eli: He’s a little bit like movie glue: the guy that’s just sort of holding it together. He’s kind of clear; you could see through him. 


Quentin: He looks like a soap opera actor. As a matter of fact, he reminds you of somebody that would be on Mary Hartman, but that’s a positive thing, 

Eli: Which he was. By the way, he was on Edge of Night, for a long time now. 


Quentin: That could be taking place in Fernwood. 


Eli: Maybe it should be. 


Roger: Maybe this is also another staple of giallo, because we talked about the various men in these movies. 


Eli: George Helton. Yeah. He’s like the George Helton character. 


Roger: Like how in Dressed to Kill, all of the men in that universe look like they’re in soap operas. They all look like they’re a different version of the same man. 


Quentin: It’s very funny, in Dressed to Kill, that Brian De Palma’s version of a sexy man (either the museum guy or Angie Dickinson’s husband) is very much a 1979 Gentleman’s Quarterly vibe. But there’s another aspect. Okay, so why was I almost turned off while appreciating Alice, Sweet Alice, where I was invigorated by Deep Red? I think that there is a reason here: as rough and as violent as the scenes in Alice, Sweet Alice are, the murder sequences in Deep Red are more bloody and they’re more graphic and they’re even more grotesque. But they’re sexy. There’s a sexy quality to the hellacious murders in Deep Red because Dario Argento finds cinematic violence sexy. There’s that neon buzz of sexuality running through it that makes it a fetishistic object: boiling the woman alive in the bathtub being, I think, the main example of that. 


Along with Marissa Malle’s hatchet murder, although a meat cleaver murder is what it looks like. Even calling the Dario Argento murders (we’ll keep it to Deep Red), even calling them sadistic, using that word, which- They are sadistic. It’s one of the things I like about them. I like sadistic cinema, and one of the things I like about Argento is that he absolutely is coming from a sadistic place. But just even calling it sadistic is to add the sexual element of that “I am getting turned on by extreme violence towards this other person.” In Alice, Sweet Alice, violence is not sadistic. It is horrifying. 


Roger: It’s terrifying. 


Quentin: It’s not fun. It wasn’t fun when I was a kid watching it. It was really disturbing and it’s still disturbing to this day. There’s not the neon buzz of fun and sexuality (and cinema, even) going on during it. 


Eli: And because you have child murder, too. Maybe that’s one of the things that makes it unique, but also why people would not feel good watching it or recommending it because I agree with you. Until you’re on the stairs, because that murder is fun. As is Niles McMaster’s scene; when the dad’s getting rolled. 


Quentin: I’m saying when the father is attacked, that’s an amazing scene. It’s not fun. 


Eli: But the ending… 


Quentin: No, the ending is great. 


Eli: The ending is the only one that feels like it’s Deep Red adjacent but I agree with them. You watch those scenes and you want to stand up and applaud and your heart’s racing. You’re like, “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that.” In this you’re, like, legitimately horrified that a child is hurt. 


Quentin: But truthfully, though, I actually think the murder of the dad is the best scene in the movie, but it’s not fun to watch. It’s the best thing in the movie: when he’s holding the cross in his mouth. I mean, as bad as everything has been (and it’s pretty fucking bad) and then even the whole agonizing aspect of rolling him over to the end; to throw him off the building. 


Roger: While he’s semi-conscious. 


Quentin: And he’s putting it together and he gets the cross in his mouth. She’s got to get the cross off and she can’t get his mouth open, and then she just takes her shoe off and beats his fucking teeth in with the heel of her shoe. My God! 


Eli: Yeah, It’s brutal. 


Roger: Before pushing him off the roof. 


Quentin: Yeah, and then the best shot in the movie; when he lands. 


Eli: When he lands, it’s fantastic. 


Quentin: I had forgotten how impressed I was with that shot when I was a kid until I saw it again. Like, “Oh wow.” 


Roger: That shows what a good director Alfred Sole is because he makes such great use of (in that single angle, that single take) selling the gag of the body falling and hitting and then having the actor roll into the close up. It’s a great gag. 


Quentin: I’m going to say something that I haven’t said up until now, but since we haven’t revealed the killer on this one, let’s not reveal the killer on this one. I think that is part of the fun of that movie. We won’t reveal it. I could actually talk about that character a lot because there’s a lot to talk about that character, but let’s not on this one.  


Roger: Another issue is that in a movie like Dressed to Kill, there’s an entry point for me; at least as a young male watching the movie, I am Keith Gordon. I can transplant myself into that character and view the movie through his eyes and his struggle and I’m with the movie because of that. In this film, really, the only person that I can even hopefully identify with safely is that poor fat girl who’s just eating to get through all this. 


Quentin: Angela. 


Roger: Who’s suffering through this family. 


Quentin: That just shows how well-drawn this movie is; that I actually know Angela’s name. 


Roger: I mean, I’m like, at best, I want to be Angela in this movie and that’s not really somebody I want to be. 

Quentin: I also think that part of the thing that I was actually confused about, when I saw it when it first came out, is that I didn’t think it was a mystery at first. I thought, “Well, no, obviously Alice is doing it.” 


Eli: Yeah, right. 


Roger: It’s almost in the title. This movie had a different title originally, didn’t it? 


Quentin: When I saw it, it was originally called Communion. Then after Brooke Shields did Pretty Baby, then it was released as Alice, Sweet Alice to push the Brooke Shields connection. Then it was released even a third time as Holy Terror. Before the Alice, Sweet Alice release, it was actually reviewed by Bruce Williamson in Playboy under the title ‘Communion.’ But deep into its re-release, when Cinema Fantastique reviewed it, they reviewed it under Holy Terror


Roger: So really the movie’s largely about the communion itself and that she can never receive communion. She can never take in the body of Christ, which is the thing that she is practically killing over. 


Quentin: By the way, [laughing] we haven’t even talked about the totally grotesque moment when Paula Sheppard tries to get in the communion line and get the communion that Brooke Shields is supposed to get. She sticks out her tongue as she basically has a tongue the size of fuckin’ Gene Simmons’. 


Eli: Yeah. Well, she’s 19 too. 


Quentin: Most 19 year olds don’t have a tongue the size of Gene Simmons’.  


Eli: It is impressive. 


Roger: I got to call out Linda Miller (who played the mother)’s wardrobe in the movie. 


Quentin: Oh, God, yeah. 


Roger: Every wardrobe change is- I love watching wardrobe in movies and she has great wardrobe changes. 


Quentin: Yeah, well, the one that knocked me out is when she’s hanging out for, like, a 15 minute segment of the film. When she shows up, she’s got black capri pants on and a black turtleneck, and her hair is in a Jackie O-style flip on both sides. I was like, “Hey, she’s dressed like Laura Petrie. She’s got a Laura Petrie outfit on.” You know, Dick Van Dike’s wife from the show. But then the more it goes on it’s like, “No, no, that’s not a Laura Petrie outfit. She’s dressed like Modesty Blaise.” 


Roger: Yeah. 


Quentin: That’s a complete Modesty Blaise outfit. That’s exactly how Peter O’Donnell has her drawn, and then the fact that it goes on for 15 minutes of her, just this regular housewife, just looking cool and badass like Modesty Blaise is really very funny. 

Roger: With her beautiful angular features, she’s great. 


Quentin: But the point is: it’s not some weird out of touch thing because we were both talking about how our mothers are of the same era in the sixties and I’ve got old photos of her hanging out at family gatherings, looking kind of like Modesty Blaise. 


Roger: Yeah, and I’ve got pictures of- 


Quentin: Capri pants and a black turtleneck. 


Roger: -my mom from when we lived in Canada. She’d be out there with a turtleneck sweater and capri pants like that and some cool cat eyeglasses, or something. 


Quentin: No, exactly. Exactly. No, that was a great outfit. 


Eli: And I think that despite its flaws, it is one of those movies that is better than you expect it to be. 


Quentin: Yeah, it’s definitely that. 


Eli: You’re like, “Oh, this would be some slasher film, some cheap thing.” Then you’re like, “Oh, this is exceptionally well made.” 


Quentin: No, I think those flaws stop it from actually entering Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Halloween/Brood/Rabid category. It’s just slightly underneath and it probably has better production design (and even costume design) than all the other ones put together. 


Roger: That’s probably a personal taste thing. 


Quentin: Maybe not Texas Chainsaw Massacre


Eli: But the others, yeah. 


[musical interlude] 


Roger: Gala. 


Gala: Hey, Quentin. Hey, Roger. Hey, Eli. I’m so glad you guys didn’t spoil Alice, Sweet Alice in your discussion. I didn’t see it coming. At first, I was like, “Uh, they reveal the killer way too soon. I still have x amount of time left.” Okay no, because- 


Roger: You’re in kind of a different movie, all of a sudden. 


Gala: The villain is my favorite villain of this episode. 


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Gala: This is my favorite villain of the episode. I think it’s an awesome, crazy villain. 


Quentin: Well, the character becomes a character once it’s revealed. 

Gala: Yes, but you can look back and you can see little tiny bread crumbs of why it’s that person. 


Quentin: Oh absolutely. 


Gala: Which I think is so great. I agree: this movie definitely feels the most giallo to me, out of the four. I wonder if it’s because of the religious influences. I mean, all the movies have taken place (so far) back East; I’m guessing New York and then New Jersey. So the Italian influence is especially strong in New Jersey. So I’m assuming that’s maybe why it felt the most giallo to me out of the four. 


Roger: Stronger than in Spokane. 


Gala: We don’t have a split personality, but we do have sisters; and the doll is a split personality doll with split face. 


Eli: Yup. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Gala: So we had that split, per se.


Quentin: And you’re right; the sisters almost perform the function like in Sisters; of split personalities. 


Gala: She was 19 when she played Alice, and the illusion was only broken for me in the scene where she’s finally sent away to the institution. When she stands up and she’s wearing these jean capris and I was like, “Okay, that’s not a little kid. That’s a woman.” And when she’s in her dress, she totally looks like a little kid. 


Quentin: Mm hmm. 

Gala: Eli, you said it really well: Alice never gets communion. Even in the end, the father just skips over her. That was, like, so funny to me. I actually burst out laughing because it’s the one time she finally thinks she’s going to get communion from her father, or from the priest. 


Roger: From the Father. 


Gala: From the Father. Why is Alice not getting communion and not getting her chance? 


Roger: Why doesn’t she get to wear a tiara? 


Gala: Why doesn’t she get all these things? 


Roger: Why do they treat Alice so bad? 


Gala: Yeah, Why? I mean, her sister gets the cross from her father. 


Roger: And the other one gets a new plate of food every 5 minutes. 

Eli: Cause she’s, like, burning dolls in the basement to do witchcraft. She’s nuts. 


Roger: There’s nothing nuts about witchcraft. 


Quentin: You actually said something. I don’t know if you meant to say it, but it’s hiding out in this subtextual forest of Alice, Sweet Alice; that maybe one (or even both) of these daughters could be the daughter of the priest. 


Gala: Yes. I was thinking that when I was watching it, because there are, in my opinion- 


Roger: Now you’re talking. Now you’re in Roger Avary territory, Quentin.


Quentin: Well, alright- 


Roger: You’re reading the subtext. 


Eli: It really is. 


Quentin: Well, I don’t think it’s actually subtext that she once dated the father before he became a priest. That’s in the text. 


Gala: I think she’s actually currently dating the father because her husband’s gone with his new family. 


Roger: Yeah, right, Right. 


Gala: She’s with the priest, and the priest even asks the husband, “Oh, are you staying long?” He wants to know because he’s like, “Get out of here. I got to, like, get home to my woman.” 


Quentin: Well, it’s like the way a grown child serves the wife or husband relationship to its mom if they live together. It’s a de facto marriage relationship. 


Roger: What he’s saying is that as a nation, we’ve lost our father and we’re replacing him with a kind of alternate. 


Eli: She never gets the love from her father. That’s what it is. 


Gala: But you know what? 


Quentin: Actually, I think Alice does actually; the father goes out of his- 


Gala: Her dad? 


Quentin: Her dad, yeah. 


Gala: Yeah. What I loved about this movie, also, is that Alice’s parents believe her. 


Quentin: Yeah. 


Gala: That’s one thing you don’t always see in horror films. Usually it’s like, “Oh, yeah, my weird daughter is doing witchcraft in the basement, burning up dolls and- I don’t know, putting cockroaches on that fat pedophile; who is my landlord. Yeah, she’s crazy.” No, the mother believes her, and her dad believes her. Her dad actually comes home and investigates on her behalf and is her advocate. 


Eli: But you get the sense when it’s like, “Oh, good thing he arrived on time for the funeral,” that this guy is never there. And you don’t really know why he left the mother or what that was about, but you get the sense that this guy’s not involved in their lives. 


Quentin: I don’t know about that. Oh, I don’t know if I agree with that reading, because one of the things I actually thought was really, really kind of cool was when the father shows up, you expect there to be all this drama like you always see in the movie about the divorced couple fighting and pissing with each other like they are in the flashback in Happy Birthday to Me. But that’s actually not the case. Although the marriage ended, he got married again to another woman but there still is this compassion. 


Eli: Yeah. 


Quentin: There actually is still a love and a compassion for each other. But they need each other because of Karen’s death. That’s just not what you see, normally, in movies. 


Eli: No, I think it’s a great relationship. I was just saying that when he arrives and the aunt makes some comment, like, “Oh, nice of him to make it.” 


Quentin: And then the mother shuts her the fuck down when the aunt does that. “You’re just being a biddy. You’re just being the harsh biddy.” 


Gala: Well, in my Gala brain of fanciful whatever, in my opinion, I think, “Okay, Alice is the dad’s daughter. Karen is the priest’s daughter. They broke up because of the affair. He’s showing up just as a cordial thing, as support.” It’s not his daughter. It’s why they broke up their marriage, probably. They still love each other. They still make love, even; when he comes home. They still love each other. But his wife has done him a disservice and has cheated on him. So he’s left and poor Alice is the one that’s left behind. So that’s how I would read it. 


Quentin: I think there’s a little rewriting going on in there.  


Gala: Yeah, yeah, yeah. In my fantasy land.  


Eli: But not bad. 


Quentin: No, no not bad. 


Eli: Not bad at all. 


Quentin: Not bad at all. Not bad at all. Look, I do tend to think it’s a situation where I think Linda Miller had a relationship with Father Tom before he became Father Tom, and there might have been a hanky panky with one of the daughters. I do think that maybe Karen is Father Tom’s daughter. 

Gala: And then just one line I loved in this movie, “Children pay for the sins of their parents” because it’s all about how apparently, Alice was had out of wedlock or someone was had out of wedlock.  


Quentin: Alice would be, cause she’s older. 


Gala: Unless they got divorced and then Father Tom had an affair. 


Roger: It could have happened. 


Gala: Anyway, I love that line, though, that she’s getting back at people because of that. 


Eli: It’s a great line. 


Gala: So I loved it. I had a fun time watching it. My VHS, which is an Alpha video, I would not recommend getting it because it needs its own paperweight. It feels like it’s going to fly away. 


Roger: Like you have to hold it down on the table. 


Quentin: It’s a birthday balloon. Thank you very much.  


Gala: Wooooo off it goes. This Alpha video was $19.99. I watched on Amazon, it was a beautiful transfer. But if you can get that Arrow Video Blu-ray, I’d recommend it. 


Quentin: Now I would recommend an Arrow Video Blu-ray for Alice. Unless you can get the original VCI version because remember porno company VCI is the one that actually came out with Alice, Sweet Alice first. So that will be a full on SP transfer. 




clip from trailer for Happy Birthday to Me: Poor Virginia. Just when the rich young snobs at Crawford High condescended to come to her birthday party, they’re all being murdered in the most bizarre ways imaginable. Happy Birthday to Me: pray you are not invited. Rated R, now playing at a theater near you. 


Quentin: Okay and we’re back. Just to let everybody know, in honor of our last movie: Happy Birthday to Me and in honor of my birthday, which was yesterday. We’ve just had some ice cream cake and some other chocolate kind of cake. 


Roger: From Carvel’s. 


Quentin: Carvel and Sweet Lady Jane’s. All of which had on it “Happy Birthday to Me” and we’re all vibrating from sugar. Basically, we took a bunch of reds.  


Roger: I feel like I’ve been freebasing in the corner of your kitchen for a while. 


Quentin: I feel the need to smoke a blunt to counteract the birthday cake. 


Roger: So this is going to be a very animated segment, right? 

Eli: But then in like 15 minutes, we’ll start yawning and go to sleep. 


Quentin: And then we’ll hit the sugar crash and then we won’t even bother finishing the episode. We’ll just turn it off at a certain point. So now our fourth film that I feel fits into the giallo mode is one of my favorite directors (J. Lee Thompson)’s Canadian made film Happy Birthday to Me, starring Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane and a whole bunch of other people. Now, when the film came out, it was the time of the slasher films and it was set up to be a slasher and it is, it still qualifies completely as a slasher. But slashers and giallos are not the same and the fact that this movie manages to completely walk the line between both of them actually is an achievement, I think. What do you think?  


Eli: Yeah. It’s funny because I never put it under the giallo microscope until you mentioned it, because everyone remembers the iconic shish kebab poster. It’s just one of the great images of early eighties horror posters, and it came out during the slasher boom. 


Quentin: At the height of it, when they were all being taken for granted. 


Eli: Also all the major holidays (except Thanksgiving) were taken. So they were like, “What about birthdays?” It’s not really a holiday horror, but it’s like a calendar event horror and they really sell it like you’re going to go see Friday the 13th or one of these films. But it very much does fit because it really got the guessing game of who the killer is, but not like My Bloody Valentine or The Prowler


Quentin: No, like a giallo. 


Eli: Like a giallo. 


Quentin: Where each character has one red herring scene where they get to act like a crazy person. 


Eli: There’s a red herring scene, then they’re killed. 


Quentin: “I’ve got a knife.”  


Eli: The giallo connection is that John Saxon starred in Tenebrae and John Saxton is one of the writers. I don’t know if that counts as a giallo connection. We’re making it, though, but there is the great thing of- 


Roger: When you’ve had as much ice cream cake as I’ve had, it is a connection. 


Eli: But there’s the great thing of the people that look up to see the killer go, “Oh, it’s you.” 


Quentin: One of my favorite cliches in movies is when they don’t show who the killer is, just their lower torso and their shoes walking in there; and you know that they’re coming in as the killer. Then the victim is like, “Oh, wow. It’s you! Great to see you. What’s with that knife?” 


Eli: There’s like 15 “Oh, it’s you” moments.  

Quentin: That great Sean Saxton dialog. 


Eli: Yeah, because there are a whole bunch of kids that are at a private high school (even though they look like they’re 27 and they all look like they go to college), you just know they’re going to be a high body count. The weird thing is; it’s not got the Friday the 13th kind of sex. It’s not a bawdy horror film, but there’s a lot of couples swapping. Everyone keeps switching partners. 


Roger: Constantly. But it is the 80’s. It’s 1981. 


Quentin: That’s a good point but I want to bring it up where it has more of a context. So let me read the back of the box. 


Eli: Sure. 


Quentin: [reading] Welcome to upscale Crawford Academy, where everybody (especially new student Jenny [Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie]) wants to be part of the school’s most popular click: the Crawford top ten. But now somebody has begun butchering the group’s members. Could a deadly accident from Jenny’s past be connected to the brutal killings? And as her 18th birthday approaches, will Jenny be the guest of honor at the most horrific party of all? Matt Craven (from Disturbia), Lawrence Dane (of Scanners) and Hollywood legend Glenn Ford (Blackboard Jungle, Three ten to Yuma) costar in this twisted slasher shocker from Oscar nominated director J Lee Thompson (1961’s The Guns of Navarone) that features (as its infamous poster promised) six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see. RCA Columbia Home video. [not reading] We took this out of the ‘H’ in the horror section. 


Eli: Well, what I love about Happy birthday to Me is that firstly it’s a longish movie; it runs about an hour 50 minutes. Your basic slashers clock in around 90 or 100. So they really spent a lot of time going into Melissa Sue Anderson’s back story and there’s this very disturbing brain surgery scene.  


Roger: And accident scene. 


Eli: And accidents with the mother and J. Lee Thompson, (who we all love from Death Wish on, I mean there’s so many films) his movies just move. They just start off, there’s no fat. Everyone’s a suspect and everything’s a red herring. It feels like Torso or one of the more college set giallo films. But what’s great about it, without giving anything away or getting to it, is the sort of resolution. It does follow the giallo but you’re like, “Is it a slasher film? It’s a giallo?” Then the ending is so batshit crazy. You’re like, “Oh, it’s giallo.” 


Quentin: Yeah. The whole film qualifies as a giallo, but could also be called a slasher simultaneously. But the fact that the past trauma backstory is so ridiculously crazy, that’s what officially puts it in that term of a giallo. We’ve already had nothing but batshit crazy explanations of why the killer has killed on this quadruple feature that we had. This is still the craziest one. 


Roger: This is as crazy as Roger Rabbit. 


Quentin: Yeah. 


Roger: Like when suddenly the reveal happens, you’re like, “What?” 

Quentin: Roger, what do you think of Happy Birthday to Me


Roger: Well, I think J. Lee Thompson squeezes in all of his particular perversions into this one.  


Quentin: Well, he does, but again, you’re saying that as a compliment. 


Roger: I say that as a compliment. I say that as a guy who is, in many ways, a studio journeyman filmmaker; a guy who comes in and takes a job and delivers. I think this is his only “slasher film,” or giallo-like film.  


Quentin: Well look, he made a mark for himself doing thrillers. His movie, the The Yellow Balloon- 


Roger: Oh, for sure. The Yellow Balloon is amazing. 


Quentin: You’ve seen The Yellow Balloon


Roger: Oh, yeah, I have it on DVD.  


Quentin: It’s terrific. 


Roger: I have a foreign version of that DVD. 


Quentin: His idea, at some point, was that he would have been happy if he could be like a second tier Hitchcock: just doing those kind of thrillers but he got waylaid because of The Guns of Navarone. 


Roger: He becomes an auteur because of his consistency with squeezing in his particular perversions. 


Quentin: Oh, I know. I agree with you. I think one of the things that makes J. Lee Thompson an auteur is that he’s one of cinema’s lovable degenerates. 


Roger: Yes. 


Eli: Mhm. 


Quentin: The fact that he finds really questionable relationships and really questionable sexuality and the fact that he seems to be turned on by them and then presents them in a way that’s not condemnation against them and is actually accepting of them. That is an auteur trait that follows from movie to movie to movie to movie. 


Roger: You can detect it. When you detect it in the film, you can say, “Oh my God, I am actually now watching a J. Lee Thompson film.” He’s showing us a peek into himself.  


Quentin: Yeah. In the case of a film I’m a big fan of: The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.


Roger: Exactly. 

Quentin: With the possible exception of Hotel New Hampshire, it’s the only movie where there’s a rooting interest in the incest to happen. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Quentin: It’s once removed because the guy is- 


Roger: We’re okay to do this because technically I’m a different person. 


Quentin: Yeah. There’s this wonderful moment: through the whole movie, Michael Sarrazin is insisting, “No, I think I’m this guy. I’m this guy. I’m this guy, Peter Proud.” He ends up meeting his adult daughter, Jennifer O’Neill. Then at first he starts pushing her off when it looks like she wants to have an affair with him. Then he breaks down and has an affair with her and he falls in love with her. Then he’s talking to the buddy who he was explaining the whole plot to during the whole film so that we understand what’s going on. He’s been making this case that he is Peter Proud and now he has to defend himself because he’s fucking Peter Proud’s daughter. Then finally it all comes down to, “Okay, look, she may have been my daughter in another life, but she’s not my daughter in this life.” 


Roger: And that’s almost J. Lee Thompson talking out loud. 


Quentin: Okay and just forget about his last movie, which is Kinjite, where he just burns down the whole house before he goes out. 




Quentin: He douses themself in gasoline, douses the film in gasoline, douses Charles Bronson in gasoline and just sets it all on fire, and it’s a beautiful and glorious pyre. 


Roger: It sure is. 


Quentin: Now where this falls into Happy Birthday to Me (in a couple of areas, but the most significant area) and even on an episode that has Dressed to Kill on it; this is my favorite relationship between a psychiatrist and his patient in the history of cinema; is Melissa Sue Anderson and her doctor, Dave. Played by Glenn Ford- 


Roger: Who she calls anything other than Dave. 


Quentin: Yeah, not Dr. Bennings, or whatever. No, he’s just Dave. 


Roger: Which in itself implies something, in J. Lee Land. 


Quentin: Well, you don’t even need to be in J. Lee Land to all of a sudden- I think even the day the movie was released, I think people were like, “What’s kind of up between those two?” 


Eli: The daughter comes home and she kisses her dad right on the lips. So even with that father daughter relationship, there’s a little something going on. 


Quentin: She definitely has a thing for older men, that’s for sure.  


Eli: But also they make him look sexy. He’s not a Sigmund Freud. They’re like, “Oh, it’s Glenn Ford. But we’re going to play this like he’s older.” 


Quentin: I love Glenn Ford in this movie. I think he’s terrific in this film. 


Eli: He’s got his shirt unbuttoned, he’s dressed like Bob Guccione. 


Roger: [laughter] 


Quentin: No, you’re 100% right. He’s not this older man fatherly authority figure. They’re trying to make Glenn Ford look as handsome as Glenn Ford can look at this age. There is a sexy quality to Glenn Ford with his cool white Italian shirts with his cool black sweater on, and everything. 


Eli: His gold chains and the bare chest. He’s a swingin’ shrink. But also, they do this really clever device in the movie that she had this experimental brain procedure; that part of her brain was cut out. She had a traumatic accident and she can’t remember stuff, but her memory is starting to come back to her. So they really make you wonder as these murders are happening, is she doing it as she’s remembering things or is she going to solve the identity of the killer? They’re sort of leading you into thinking that she’s going to solve the puzzle. But of course, it gets insane.  


Quentin: This is a movie playing with a zillion amounts of red herrings. So it’s your job to deduce who amongst this list of suspects is the killer. Then the film seemingly tells you who the killer is, about midway through, and you’re not prepared for the answer. Then it starts going on a whole other track than the one it’s been going on, only (like a giallo) to jump the track a third time. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Eli: There’s two ‘jump the track’ moments in the movie. It’s still fun, but usually there’s one batshit crazy thing in a giallo where you’re like, “Wow. Okay. All right. I guess that’s what wrapped it up, but the deaths are so fun. I don’t care.” They do it twice in this where (and I don’t want to spoil it, but you almost have to spoil it a little bit) in the killer’s reveal: you think that the killer is revealed but it’s not the killer who’s revealed. But you’ve been seeing it, and you’re just like, “Wait, what? How could no one have noticed? How could that actually have been practically pulled off and barely set up at any point in the movie and then executed?” It’s so outlandish and preposterous. But that’s also what gives the movie it’s fucking charm. 

Quentin: It’s entertaining! 


Eli: Yeah, it’s entertaining. 


Quentin: I don’t buy it, 


Eli: You don’t get mad at it. You’re just like. “Wow.” 


Quentin: “That’s fucking bullshit.” No, you don’t say that. 


Eli: No, it’s fun, and that’s what it does, 


Quentin: It actually makes the movie. 


Eli: And then the birthday party at the end with all the dead bodies and the singing of “Happy Birthday to Me;” it’s sort of the moment you’ve been waiting for. They even tell you on the poster that you’ll see the murders. Like “Greg won’t be able to lift weights anymore. Steve won’t ride his bike anymore.” The poster lists out the ways they’re going to kill you. They’re like, “Not only are you gonna see this many people die, this is how we’re going to kill them. There’s a guy with this shish kabob, and there’s going to be a birthday party,” and it really delivers on all of it. 


Quentin: Then at the top of the batshit crazy things is the mask technology that would put Mission Impossible to shame. 


Roger: To me, that was the Roger Rabbit moment that I was speaking of. “But wait, it’s me!” and then you pull off a mask. “I am the villain!” 


Quentin: But I kind of loved it. I really did. 


Roger: He does it really well. He does it like a movie. It’s a movie, and so it’s as real as the shish kabob scene. 


Quentin: It does work, that whole birthday party does work. 


Eli: Oh, it’s incredible. The mask reveal it just couldn’t- and the way they set it up with one character earlier, but they’re like, “His hobby is taxidermy. But he also makes fake human heads really well.” 


Roger: Like a makeup/effects guy. 


Eli: No one would have known what a makeup effects artist was in 1980 when they shot it, so they’re like, “Oh, taxidermy. You do heads and stuff, so you can probably make a mask.” 


Roger: Yeah, and they’ve got a raccoon or something there in the shot to justify it. 


Eli: And then there’s the head, which is the actress sticking her head through the table. So they pull the thing off and you’re like, “They just found their friend’s severed head.” But then they’re like, “Oh, wait a minute, that’s a really good mask the guy made.” 


Roger: The guy’s like, “No, it’s. It’s my hobby.” 


Eli: And he pulls the eyeball out. You’re like, “Okay, that’s what that guy does.” 


Quentin: Okay. But right up there in Giallo Land with the ridiculousness of the reveal of the killer, and then the crazy story that is backed up by why they’re doing all these murders is, again, straight out of an Italian movie. The hysterical past traumatic incident that put Melissa Sue Anderson in the hospital involving her mother. 


Eli: Mm hmm. 

Quentin: That whole scene is one of the best things that we saw. It’s so over the top. It seems like a weird, bad dubbing of one of those Italian crazy sequences. 


Eli: That’s what’s so great about it, is that Melissa Sue Anderson’s so over the top, and it’s like, “I invited them all and none of them showed up to the party.” And her mom’s like, “We’re going to bring you over to their party.” Then she’s like, “Mommy, don’t make me!” Then no one shows up to her birthday party, she’s traumatized or that she’s sort of seemingly the new girl because no one remembers her from back then. 


Roger: Cause she was in the hospital; she had that terrible accident. 


Quentin: When the killer explains how it happened, you can go back and go, “Oh well no, it’s all happening because the killer indoctrinated her into the group.” When you go backwards and think about it. 


Eli: There’s also some amazing things where it’s high school and this private school and this elite space; they’re so rich and they’re so elite that they, like, own the town and they’re hanging out in a local bar and getting beers and putting mice in beer. 


Roger: It’s Canada, and that’s a Canadian joke.


Quentin: She’s turning 18, it’s obviously a high school, but it’s an academy that runs like a college. To me, the kids just absolutely remind me of the kids from St. Elmo’s Fire. Even in that tavern that they hang out in; might as well be the Saint Elmo’s Fire Tavern. Even the cars that they drive and the scarves that they wear. 


Eli: It’s also some of the counselors from Meatballs. So it’s like the counselors Meatballs went back to college and ended up in a horror movie. 


Quentin: That’s just the Canadian aspect of it. 


Roger: No, actually, it’s more than just the Canadian aspect. Andre Link and John Dunning, who produced this movie, also produced Meatballs. In fact, they made meatballs in ’79 which was just a few years before. 


Quentin: In Meatballs, Matt Craven (who was the most recognizable of the Crawford 10) is the most recognizable guy other than Bill Murray. 


Roger: You mentioned that this is a Canadian film and this is, like, really a Canadian film because it’s produced by these two guys: Andre Link and John Dunning, who were the ones who made Shivers with Cronenberg early on. 


Quentin: Yeah, those guys and Ivan Reitman and Jean-Claude Lord are the Canadian guys that did horror genre movies at New World. 


Roger: It was more than just that they were Canadian guys doing horror, they were Canadian guys who for the first time were taking government money for the arts. 


Eli: To make slasher movies. 


Roger: To make Shivers and Rabid

Eli: The Clown Murders


Roger: They made My Bloody Valentine the same year. So these guys were out there and it was an outrage in Canada. They were like, “How dare you take public money?” In fact, they were saying that about me as well on my film. 


Quentin: But then those were the movies that actually made money. 


Roger: Yeah, those are the movies that made money for Telefilm and these were the guys who really did it, almost more than any other. 


Quentin: It’s a really enjoyable collection of these type of horror movie cliches. They’re done in just the right spirit with a very energetic cast and in a quick, entertaining way that just keeps it up. It keeps the juggling balls flowing. 


Eli: They’ll kill someone and then as soon as they’re dead, another character shows up and is like, “What did I miss?” They were like, “Oh, I got delayed at the library,” to make them seem like a suspect. They keep doing that. But the deaths are inventive; you have the motocross guy with that crazy motocross scene where they’re going nuts, and then he gets pulled into the bike with his crazy Harry Potter scarf. He wears a ten foot scarf while he’s repairing his motorcycle. 


Roger: It’s a school scarf. I think everybody has one. 


Eli: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Quentin: It’s like, okay, he’s destined to die like Isadora Duncan. 


Eli: And then, you have the other guy lifting the weights who somehow can’t lower them. 


Quentin: That’s the best part. 


Roger: Although, you could probably just drop them behind you. 


Quentin: He thinks she’s going to help him out.


Eli: Yeah, he’s like, “Help me! Help me!” But it really works because, like a jackass,  


Quentin: [doing line from film] “Quit messing around man!”


Eli: It might not have been a 25lb weight. But even if that’s a prop weight, they drop the plate on the guy’s balls when he’s wearing those thin 80’s nylon jogging shorts. 


Quentin: Yeah. Dr. J, one ball hanging out.  


Eli: Just looked so painful. 


Roger: And he’s semi flaccid, it looks like. 


Eli: Yeah who is the stunt guy who had to fucking take one for the team for that, but it just makes it  such a great kill. They’re fun and then of course, the shish kebab. When you know the shish kabob is coming because you’ve seen the poster.  


Roger: The fact that she’s like, “Oh, let’s sit next to the fire and let me make you a little shish kabob.” 


Eli: And then he comes back she’s like, “Here’s some shish kebab.” You’re like, “What?!” 


Roger: I had these in the fridge. 


Eli: Let me just roast up some shiski’ real quick.


Quentin: But actually, we don’t ask those questions because we’ve seen the poster. 


Roger: And we don’t care. 


Quentin: We’re just waiting for the shish kebab to show up 


Eli: Get the shish kabob in the mouth, and then he dies. 


Quentin: he’s your favorite guy from the group. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Eli: It’s just enjoyable. By the way, Rudy, who really looks like Rudy the Rabbit to me. Are they just naming every Canadian character Rudy in the late seventies? 


Roger: They must be. 


Eli: When Rudy appears in the library and then they’re digging the skull up. I mean, it’s a lot of really great stuff right up until the end. Then the father’s coming home from the business trip and they got the rainstorm. It just looks and feels like a classic horror movie. Basically, the great thing is that because it’s such a high body count, you don’t have to wait long for a kill. 


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Eli: If you’re watching the movie, you know that within 5 – 7 minutes, someone’s going to die. 


Quentin: I would also say that there is a symbiotic connection to the whole last sequence and the whole reveal of Happy Birthday to Me, to the very first Scream


Eli: Oh, yeah. 


Quentin: The storyline of the very first Scream follows, kind of closely, the back storyline of Happy Birthday to Me


Eli: Yeah, it does. 

Quentin: Even to the point of where the father is tied up and had been hidden for most of the movie. They pretty much describe it in the same cockamamie way that the killer describes it in this. 


Eli: I mean, just the way he stages major action and catastrophes. The car on the bridge, as the bridge is going up and they can’t get out of the car and they’re hitting the reverse and because it’s raining, the wheels are skidding and then they fall in the water. And the mother has been pinned in the accident and then she tells the daughter that she can’t get out. She’s like, “Open the window and swim,” and she’s like, “No, mom, no.” Then the mom is like, “Hold your breath and swim as hard as you can.” Then she opens it and the car floods, the mother dies and it’s really really freaky. 


Roger: And then her getting hit. 


Eli: Because then there’s a tugboat. 


Roger: Her getting hit in the head by that tugboat is so horrible. I cringed and I felt it, in a bad way. 


Eli: Yeah. 


Quentin: But then you have the whole thing at the beginning when the kids are playing chicken with the raising bridge and everything and that’s really exciting. 


Eli: Yeah the guy does the jump and totals his car. 


Quentin: The one guy with the girls who don’t want to go on the jump does the jump. You go, “Okay.” 


Eli: Trash your Firebird, douchebag. 


Roger: He plants it on the radiator. 


Eli: And then he’s, like, fine. He’s mad that the other guy didn’t jump, the guy who chickened out. Not that he just trashed his Firebird. 


Roger: I also really love Melissa Sue Anderson in this, and I love that she chose this to do while shooting Little House on the Prairie


Quentin: Me too.


Roger: For me, it was akin to Jessica Biel coming in and doing Rules of Attraction on the heels of Seventh Heaven. She’s sitting there doing lines with Michael Landon all day long, doing Bible study in between scenes. I’m sure she was going fucking crazy. She’s like, “Go to Canada. Go to J. Lee Thompson. I get to play this uh-” 


Eli: Traumatized? 


Roger: “traumatized individual.” 


Quentin: In a teenager movie, set in modern day. Yeah. 

Roger: You can tell: she is the one who wants to be there. She’s excited to be there, and she’s giving herself 100% to it, to the dementia of this character. 


Eli: She’s great.


Quentin: No she’s really, really good. Actually, she did a really fun TV movie around the same time. I think it was just before she did Happy Birthday to Me, or just afterwards. A juvenile delinquent movie where she’s a young girl that’s brought into a juvenile delinquent gang that are causing problems. Directed by Jack Starrett called The Survival of Dana. Robert Carradine plays the leader of the bad kids and she’s the good girl that’s indoctrinated into the gang. 


Eli: You know what you just said? That’s why I cast Rider Strong in Cabin Fever. He was coming off of working on Boy Meets World for years where he’s like, “Oh, I get to fuck and kill and swear.” 


Roger: And you know that he’s going to give himself 100% you. 


Eli: The kids that love were fans of Melissa Sue Anderson, like the fans of Rider Strong, were shocked because they’re like, ‘What the fuck?” and that’s what adds to the element of a horror movie. So any aspiring directors out there: if you’re making a horror movie, get a Disney kid that’s never done anything wrong and they’ll go nuts. 


Roger: Find some Mouseketeer, if they still have those. 


Quentin: How wonderful that we found a connection with Happy Birthday to Me with one of your movies and one of your movies. 


Eli: I love it. In terms of want I to make, Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday to Me are definitely up there in inspiration. I mean, the thing is with giallo, obviously they are of a particular time and of a particular era. People now try to sort of recreate that, you can never recapture what makes them great because it’s not authentic. I think what made the slasher movies great was that the slasher-ness: you had to outdo all the other movies. You had to get inventive with the deaths. They were taking a hook and trying to kill a bunch of kids and make a cheap buck, and that’s what made them what they are. And the giallos were definitely the precursor. Parallel to that, in the seventies in Italy, Commedia sexy all’italiana (which were these Italian sex comedies) became really good. 


Roger: You can say that really well, wow. 


Quentin: It’s one of his favorite genres, he learned how to say it. 


Roger: When you say that it sounds really sexy. 


Quentin: He can talk about it.


Eli: Massimo Tarantini, yeah. Nando Chicha. Movies starring Bumbleo; this buffoonish older man and beautiful young women (which are often Edwidge Fenech and Barbara Bouchard and Anne-Marie Rizzoli and Laura Antonelli). Those sort of became the template for American sex comedies and what’s interesting, is that really Bob Clark is the one who sort of takes Bay of Blood and puts it into Black Christmas

Roger: Another Canadian. 


Eli: A Canadian starts the slasher and then Bob Clark really takes a lot of the elements. It’s almost like he mixes an Italian sex comedy with elements of Last Picture Show and he creates Porky’s, which launches the sex comedy craze and it makes $181 million in 1981. 


Roger: Which confused everyone. 


Eli: A masterpiece of a film, we watched a beautiful 35 of it. Really holds up, great photography.  


Roger: Well Bob Clark is a fantastic director. 


Eli: And then Clark then pivots- Well, if you forget Turk 182.


Roger: [laughter]


Eli: He pretends it doesn’t exist. But then he does A Christmas Story which kind of reinvents the Christmas movie. I mean what a master, but it’s interesting: what we love about giallo films is that kind of going back, in the 50’s and 60’s American Westerns, you weren’t allowed to show blood. But of course, in Italy they don’t have that rule. So you have Sergio Corbucci and they are creating on screen violence and then they put the electric guitar in there. So suddenly everything looks old fashioned in the U.S. So then the Americans, you have Peckinpah and everyone’s trying to take from the Italians, and then the thrillers and the crime films. It’s interesting, like Joe D’Amato called himself that because he wanted to sound like Martin Scorsese or Robert De Niro. There’s such a symbiosis in the sixties and seventies between Americans influencing Italians and the- 


Quentin: In Italy, you have French Connection and Dirty Harry being the most influential movies ever made. But then they’re rip offs of those, just like we’re talking about how the rip offs of Psycho create their own genre, become the giallos, that becomes the polizias; which leads to Godfather and the Mafia movies. The crime/action films of Italy out of the seventies, which are magnificent. 


Eli: The Maurizio Merli films, that kind of thing. No, it’s really amazing. So if you love giallo but you go and you watch Once Upon a Time in the West, you’re going to go, “Dario Argento?” A lot of the writers of the spaghetti westerns, when that genre sort of went on the decline, everybody moved over into giallo films. So if you love spaghetti westerns, you’ll start seeing a lot of the same names. 


Quentin: Well Fernando DiLeo, the director I just mentioned, didn’t direct Spaghetti Westerns but he wrote a lot of great ones. He wrote Navajo Joe


Roger: Yeah. 


Quentin: Not only that, he wrote the script that For a Few Dollars More is based on. They bought his script to get rid of him so they could take that and make that the second film. 


Eli: It’s amazing, you could really see that these guys took the violence of Corbucci and they put it into Spaghetti Western and then all of the Spaghetti Western violence moves into the giallo films and in the giallo films you can see Scorsese and De Palma and everyone in America going, “Whoa, what are these guys doing in Italy? Let’s put that into Mean Streets. Let’s put it in Hi, Mom.” It’s not just that we love these movies because they’re fun and they have batshit crazy plot twists. 


As film historians, you can see, “Oh my God, that was a spaghetti western that became that movie?” This guy did this movie and he was a writer on this movie and that influenced Scorsese and De Palma and these guys. Then that influenced Bob Clark, which influenced John Carpenter. So there’s a real kind of back and forth relationship between American and Italian horror. 


[musical interlude] 


Quentin: Okay and we’re back, and we’re joined by Gala. 


Gala: Okay, guys, let me go through my American giallo checklist for this movie. Okay. Crazy back story? Check. Straight razor kill at the beginning? Check. Potential split personality/sisters? Check. Back East? Potentially.


Roger: Montreal’s technically back East. 


Eli: That’s East Coast. 


Roger: It doubles, occasionally, for eastern cities. 


Gala: Check. Church? Check. Awesome, unique murders? Check. 100 twists? Check. No police Detective story? Check. 


Quentin: Black leather gloves. 


Gala: Black leather gloves? Check.


Quentin: Even though every character in the movie wears black leather gloves. But when it comes down to the killer hand shots, they are definitely wearing black leather gloves. 


Roger: It’s fucking cold in Montreal. You don’t have to be a killer to protect your hands from the frost. 


Gala: If I had not just gotten my education from these three director masters, at this table right here, I would not have thought of this as a giallo film. It felt the most Western out of the four movies that we watched. 


Roger: By and by Western you mean like… 


Gala: Not European. 


Quentin: [laughing] She means not European. 




Gala: I was going to say it felt the most American out of the four but then I realized it’s a Canadian film, so. 


Quentin: They’re trying to make it feel American. A Canadian movie goes out of its way to make the movies feel American. 


Roger: Quentin, Canada technically is in the Americas. 


Quentin: Yes, uh huh sure. 


Gala: It felt the most American to me, least Italian and least heritage drawn. I think that’s because it’s filmed partially in Quebec. We don’t have the Italian influence of New York and New Jersey and that regional area and those actors. 


Roger: We have a French influence instead.  


Gala: So to me it felt the least. But that being said, 


Quentin: The elements don’t lie. 


Gala: The elements don’t lie. This movie is so fun. First off, it opens with that straight razor kill where you think that girl is going to get killed three different times. First with the dog, which I’ve never seen. What was that? The leash is whipping around her legs from a bulldog. 


Roger: Oh, yeah. It was like a whip came flying out of the dark and wrapped around her legs. 


Eli: Like a tree branch from Evil Dead, it was an evil leash. 


Roger: It was like the leash just wrapped around her legs. 


Gala: Yeah, and then she gets strangled in her car, and then she’s at a train track and gets stabbed with a straight razor. 


Eli: The three for one kill, it really is.  


Quentin: And by the way, that backseat murder has a lot of really good sexual terror in it. 


Gala: Yes. 


Quentin: It’s a lot of kicking legs and that kind of thing. 


Roger: Oh yeah. J. Lee shoots the shit out of it. In fact, it’s actually so J. Lee that he would show the feet; her feet, her heels ripping up the ceiling. 


Quentin: The fabric of the ceiling.


Roger: Just kicking at the fabric. That was like- Cars are difficult to shoot and to shoot a struggle like that in a car is difficult because you can only do so much with the camera and the angles, and it’s night so you have a more shallow depth of field. You have restrictions on you and he’s really making you feel tight in there with them. 

Quentin: And by the way, I’m a big fan of that actress. She’s kind of a Canadian scream queen. That’s Leslie Donaldson, who is the star of William Fruit’s Funeral Home, which I’m a big fan of. She’s also in Curtains and a couple of other ones as well. 


Eli: Also, she does a fake out where you think she’s going to die and she fakes being strangled to death. 


Roger: That’s the brilliant move. 


Eli: You’re like, “Oh, she’s smart.” 


Gala: That’s awesome. 


Quentin: She’s smart until she gets five feet and stops, looking around. 


Eli: And then you’re like, “She’s a fucking idiot.” 


Quentin: And then gets another five feet and stops and starts looking around. 


Eli: “I got away. Let me take my breath.” 


Gala: But what I love about that, though, is because in Dressed to Kill, we just talked about the dream sequence versus the dream sequence in Carrie. It’s one scene in Carrie and then in Dressed to Kill, it’s two separate scenes. Then in this you assume, “Okay, there’s the scare at the beginning and then the second one, she’s for sure going to die, and then she gets away. So you think, okay,” 


Roger: “Maybe she lives.” 


Gala: Maybe she lives. Maybe this is our first main star,” and then she dies. It’s a great twist reveal that we get. It’s awesome. 


Roger: J. Lee milks it. 




Roger: [doing what must be a J. Lee Thompson impression] I milked it. I milked that scene. 


Gala: You guys brought up the weight scene. I thought the irony in that was really cool, because we know whoever’s lifting the weights knows who the killer is, and then we, as the audience know that who’s watching him is the killer. 


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Gala: So there’s this weird kind of irony going on. I don’t really understand how they cleaned up all that blood. 


Quentin: No, I don’t buy it. 


Gala: But I tried to suspend my disbelief. 


Quentin: I went with it but I didn’t buy it. 


Roger: So I’ve heard that J. Lee, on the set of this, had to be calmed down because he was blood crazy. 


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Roger: Apparently, he would ask the Canadian prop department to bring him jugs of blood and that he would be splashing it around, apparently, and spraying it. The prop guys would go to the producers (John Dunning and Andre Link) and say, “Hey, you got to tell J. Lee to stop. He’s making a mess. It’s getting on the crew. It’s getting on the camera. Blood is going everywhere. There’s too much blood.” They were trying to calm him down and he wouldn’t calm down. 


Eli: Good problem to have. 


Quentin: That’s the right way. That’s my boy J. Lee, man… 


Gala: Also, I love the amount of blood that came out from that guy when they put the weight on his crotch and then the bar falls on his neck and blood squirts everywhere. 


Quentin: His is definitely my favorite of the postmortem bodies. You’re just like, “Oh, there’s the guy. There’s the weight guy.” 


Gala: There’s the weight dude. 


Quentin: Yeah, “There’s the weight dude.” 


Gala: And I even liked the… The weight dude [laughing] 


Quentin: [doing a surfer voice] I know that dude. 


Eli: [also doing a surfer voice] Dude, you got it right in the boner. 


Quentin: [doing the voice] Weight dude looks like Frankenstein

Roger: [in the surfer voice] In the nards duuuuude. 


Eli: [in voice] Dude, what a way to die. 


Roger: [surfer voice] Got it in the nard. 


Gala: And I even like the non death fake outs, like the fake out of what’s buried under the rose bushes and the fake out of the blood in the church. You think that murders have taken place, but then they haven’t. So we’re getting these multilayer, “Is it happening or is it not happening?” The scene in the bathtub when the curtain is pulled back, 


Roger: I mean, we’re essentially going through what Melissa Sue Anderson is going through. 

Gala: Yeah. 


Eli: But also we get some good early 80’s horror movie ‘guy doing impressions in a movie’ when he goes into Peter Laurie. 


Gala: Oh yeah, when he’s Quasimodo 


Eli: When he does Quasimodo and then he’s doing is Peter Lorre. Very similar to Rene Auberjonois when he does his Lloyd Bridges. 


Quentin: One of the great moments of the movie. 


Roger: He does a great Lloyd Bridges. 


Eli: He does. He goes, “Here’s my Lloyd Bridges,” and you’re like, “That’s amazing! I didn’t know you could do Lloyd Bridges. That’s amazing.” 


Quentin: I know, that was great. That was great. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Gala: And I was waiting for the kabob the entire movie, but to make a kabob for someone on a date when you’re bringing them back home. Especially to have sex in front of your fireplace. 


Roger: Before we make out, let’s have some kabob first. 


Quentin: We couldn’t help but mention it. “Let’s have some peppery beef and then make out.” 


Roger: I want you to taste like brisket. 


Quentin: I want you to taste my onion that I just bit into and my bell pepper and my piece of beef. 


Gala: She’s like, “I want to make yours extra spicy because don’t you like extra spicy things?” And he’s like, “Yeah,” and she’s putting that spice on with this giant spoon and it’s just covered in it and he eats it and is like, “Mmmm, yeah delicious.” 


Roger: It’s spicy, alright. 


Gala: What a guy will do to get laid, I guess. 


Eli: Anything. 


Gala: That kill is also really great because it just goes straight up his mouth and just there it is. 


Roger: It’s wonderful. It’s a great gag. 


Gala: My favorite violence of the entire movie, which I guess isn’t really violence, is the brain surgeon scene. 


Eli: It’s amazing and disturbing. 


Quentin: Oh yeah, yeah. 


Gala: I saw like “[retching noise] ughhhhhhhhhhh.” 


Quentin: Oh, I forgot about that sequence, and then I was like, “Holy shit, this is fucking disturbing.” When the brain starts growing out of the hole in the skull. 


Roger: The humongous moment where the- 


Gala: For all the viewers out there, just so you know, first they cut open the scalp and then they roll back the scalp. 


Roger: You gotta peel it back. 


Gala: And then they take a drill and drill open the skull. 


Roger: Four holes. 


Gala: Four holes! 


Quentin: Yeah. It’s like they make hinges.


Roger: To pop it loose. 


Gala: That’s when I had to look away because the drill was just like ahhhhhhh! 


Roger: The funny part is that once it starts swelling and they’re like, “Oh, doctor, we have a problem.” He’s like, “Uh um,” and he starts kind of trying to stuff the scalp lid back on and push the brain back in.  


Eli: It’s like closing a jar of stuff that just doesn’t want to go back in. 


Quentin: “Give me the Black and Decker, quick!” [making drilling noise] 


Eli: That really freaked me out as a kid, more than anything in that movie, because she’s awake. I remember as a kid was like, “Wait a minute, why didn’t they put her to sleep?” Because you have to be awake during brain surgery, so you see your face going, “Owwwwwww!” 


Gala: I agree, the relationship between her and her therapist is hilarious and also, like, clearly sexual. She gives him a kiss and invites him to her birthday party and refers to him on a first name basis. I was thinking that there are definitely daddy issues going on with her. 


Roger: There’s definitely something going on. It’s J. Lee Thompson. Come on.


Quentin: Everything Glenn Ford says is a fucking red flag to this idea, even to the point- 

Roger: Every button he unbuttons to reveal more of his chest hair. 


Quentin: Even to the point where somebody shows up (I think a cop or something) to find out what’s going on with the house and he’s like, “Well, I’ve been here all weekend.” 


Roger: The guy looks at him like, “Why are you here?” 


Quentin: Okay, say no fucking more. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Everything he says, he says completely with a straight face. 


Roger: “She’s upstairs. She can’t come down right now. I’ve been here all weekend. You’re not supposed to come in. I’m in. I’m here with her. I’ll tell her.” 


Eli: I got it from here. 


Roger: Yeah, I got it from here. 


Gala: And I agree, the mother acting is over the top, but deliciously over the top. 


Quentin: I know, I agree. I’m not making fun of her. I love her. 


Gala: I felt like I was looking through an old TV screen, like, back in time into an old, funny show where she’s just acting over there. But I love the flashbacks. The scene, Eli, that you mentioned, when the bridge is coming apart and the car is sitting there, that was so inventive. 


Eli: And they’re really doing it, that’s so great. No green screen, no bullshit. Get in the car, open the bridge. 


Quentin: And if she was actually the killer, that’s a pretty good triggering reason for her to go on this spree. 


Gala: Hell yeah. 


Quentin: Especially if she doesn’t know what she’s doing, if she’s schizophrenic. The whole thing that happens at the beginning, 


Gala: Oh, my God. 


Quentin: That’s actually a better motivation than most of these other killers have. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Quentin: In fact, all of them. Yeah, and I don’t want to spoil that. 


Gala: I have to say it, thinking back to the beginning of this movie and knowing who the killer is, parts of the opening just make so much more sense to me now. 


Quentin: Yeah. 


Eli: Yeah, they all jump in the bridge. It’s gonna trigger her. 


Gala: But even her being pushed into the car. 


Quentin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Gala: It just makes so much more sense now. These things that I loved that should have clued me in but because there were so many red herrings, they didn’t. 


Roger: And there’s a lot of red herrings in this movie. 


Quentin: It has fun with it, which again, is the thing that makes it not a faux giallo but an actual giallo. 


Eli: It’s a jar of herrings. 




Quentin: What did I call it? “Happy Herring to Me.” 


Roger: It’s herring jam, so to speak. 


Eli: Herring and the Hendersons


Quentin: [laughter] 


Gala: Okay, so I bought my VHS from RCA/Columbia, Japan for $45. Originally, it retailed for ¥15,800, which currently is $127 USD. But in 1981 it was $166. The tape number says it was #7545, but I don’t know from which video store just yet, but I’ll report back when I find it. 


Quentin: Of the one you’re buying from Japan? 


Gala: Yeah. I rented this on Amazon, but I just want to give a shout out to a company called Mill Creek Blu Ray who does these VHS style line of Blu rays. I printed out a piece of paper that has the picture of it, but they do these VHS style releases. 


Quentin: Oh, wow. I actually thought it was a VHS box.  


Gala: Yeah, they have a whole VHS line. 


Eli: That’s awesome


Quentin: Actually Mill Creek, I think used to be a budget video company. Maybe they’re branching out. 


Gala: Yeah, but I would say if you want to pick up an actual physical copy of this and you don’t have a VHS player, try to get the Mill Creek Blu ray VHS-style box of this because it’s super cool looking and probably worth the buy.  


Roger: And I just want to do a quick shout out to Jaclyn Carmody, who was in the editorial department on Happy Birthday to Me and who worked with us on Lucky Day

Quentin: Oh cool. 


Roger: Shout out. 


[musical interlude] 




Quentin: Okay, let’s get down to awards. 


Gala: [singing fan fare] 


Quentin: Okay, so we’ll start off with our customer here. Okay of the four films, best actor and best actress? 


Eli: It’s like, how can you not absolutely love Nancy Allen in Dressed to Kill


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Eli: But I almost want to give a shout out to Alice Sheppard? What’s her name? 


Roger: Paula E Sheppard. 


Eli: Okay. It’s between Paula E. Sheppard And Nancy Allen. I love Nancy Allen so much in Dressed to Kill


Quentin: Mm hmm. 


Eli: And she’s brilliant in everything. It’s hard, but she’s Nancy Allen. What Paula Sheppard did, as a kid actor working unknown at 19, 


Quentin: As a teen actor, playing a kid. 


Eli: My favorite performance is her. I think the movie doesn’t work without her. I think Nancy Allen is spectacular but if someone else played the part, the movie would still work. I think the movie doesn’t work, so I’m going to give it to Paula Sheppard. 


Quentin: Excellent. Okay. 


Eli: Because I love her. For best actor, I got to go with Michael Caine. 


Quentin: Okay. 


Eli: Yes. It’s just too good. It’s not even fair to pretend there’s anyone other than Michael Caine. 


Quentin: Gala? 


Gala: Okay, so for best actors, I have to go with Nancy Allen in Dressed to Kill. She brings this comedic quality to the role that you wouldn’t always find, and she makes it really easy not to judge her. Especially with her smarts and part of that’s the writing, but part of that’s also her delivery. Best actor; I’m not going to give it to Michael Caine because in my opinion, his performance actually is intertwined and dependent on Bill Finlay’s performance as Bobbi. 


Roger: As well as a myriad of other body doubles throughout. 


Gala: Now is the guy that does the Quasimodo impersonation in Happy Birthday to Me, is that technically a lead actor? 


Quentin: I think the only person that could qualify as a lead actor is Glenn Ford. 


Gala: I’ll give it to Glenn Ford then. 


Quentin: Okay. 


Gala: Why not? 


Quentin: I love Glenn Ford, I’m happy about that. In a list of 33 other movies, in a list of movies that includes Nancy Allen in Dressed to Kill I’m going to fucking pick Nancy Allen. I think that’s maybe her signature role; especially as a lead, it’s her signature role. But also along with Godard and Anna Karenina, Brian De Palma and Nancy Allen are absolutely, positively my favorite director/actress, husband/wife couple in cinema history. They’re my favorite of that of that team up and I think this is their best version of that. He obviously wrote it for her. 


Yeah, so it’s Nancy Allen, and look: if there’s a secondary one it would be Linda Miller. But yeah, just Nancy Allen is just that’s it. My choice for best actor is absolutely Michael Caine. I mean, my feeling on it is it actually interesting: It’s one of his most iconic roles and one of his most iconic movies and the fact that he does so much with so littles makes such an impression. And he pretty much only has the first half hour to make that impression. It’s one of the great Michael Caine performance, it’s certainly one of the most iconic Michael Caine performances. 


Gala: Oh, you know what? You’re kind of turning me a little bit, Quentin, because when I think back now in my memory and I think about Michael Caine when he looks into the mirror and you can actually see him making the change and you can actually see him becoming Bobbi, I think you’re right. I fold. You’re right. 


Eli: Look, I mean- 


Quentin: Are you jumping off the Glenn Ford horse? 


Gala: Yes, I’m jumping on the Michael Caine horse.


Quentin: Yeah. It’s hard to compete. I mean, look, I love Paula Sheppard, but there’s nothing like Nancy Allen. You’re right. It’s not fair. Dressed to Kill is going to win everything. I just wanted Paul Sheppard to get some love.  


Roger: I haven’t voted yet. 


Gala: Roger, what are your votes? 


Roger: Well, okay, so it’s Michael Caine. Obviously. 




Quentin: Yay, Michael. [clapping] Yay, Dr. Elliott. 


Eli: Finally, he’s getting some recognition. 


Roger: Almost more so because apparently Sean Connery almost took this role. 


Quentin: Can you even imagine that?! 


Roger: I cannot imagine, for a second. 


Quentin: As ridiculous as Michael Caine looks in the Bobbi outfit, that actually seems legit compared to Sean Connery. 


Roger: [doing Sean Connery] “I need to look after my patient, Bobbi.” 


Quentin: [doing Sean Connery] “I had my straight razor. Now I’ve lost it. I’ve lost my straight razor.”


Roger: So it’s Michael Caine, without question, as best actor. I just love Michael Caine and Dressed to Kill is one of my very favorite movies. So, yeah, Michael Cain. Best actress is much more difficult for me because, like you guys, I think Paula Sheppard is fantastic. Reminded me of Paige Connor as Katie in The Visitor, actually. So I was kind of fully sold that I’d definitely give it to Paula Sheppard and then I was like, “No, I have to give it to my girl.” Lady Faye Dunaway. 


Quentin: Okay. 


Roger: I’ve got to give it to her. 


Quentin: A former Avary actress. 


Roger: I’ve got to give it to her because I love her. But then I started thinking about it and I’m like, “Fuck it. Nancy Allen, I can’t not give it to Nancy Allen.” 


Eli: Yeah. 


Roger: It’s just undeniable. 


Quentin: In the toughest category of best actresses that we’ve had since we started this show, Nancy Allen wins, hands down. 


Roger: In fact, my favorite moment with Nancy Allen is her interrogation; not by Michael Caine, but her interrogation by Dennis Franz. That thing where he’s like, “So where were you?” And she’s like, “Well, I was at a friend’s house.” “Oh, yeah? Where is this friend?” He knows she’s a hooker!  


And I love the moment where she realizes she knows, and so she immediately lights up a cigarette and she drops her act immediately, and she’s still compelling and sweet and it’s just undeniable. Nancy Allen is just Nancy Allen, and you can feel that the director is in love with her as well, and that love is on screen. So, yeah, it’s Nancy Allen and Michael Caine. 


Quentin: Okay, so now moving on to best supporting actor and best supporting actress. 


Eli: For me, it’s between Keith Gordon and Rene Auberjonois. For Auberjonois, I’m in love with the performance because I forgot and I was so charmed by him and he was so fun and funny. He   just has to kind of come in and be a mix of comic relief. I just hadn’t seen him be that electric in a movie and going for it. 


Quentin: But more than the other red herring character, there is a genuine nuance to his character that maybe isn’t there for the other ones. 


Eli: Yeah, but every time you see him and Brad Dourif, it’s also amazing. 


Roger: He’s always great. 


Eli: Brad Dourif, who is always great, in one of the best roles I’ve ever seen him in.  


Quentin: One of my favorites. Actually, that’s my favorite. That and Sonny Boy are my two favorite Brad Dourif performances. 


Roger: Crewman Suder in Star Trek: Voyager


Eli: Blue Velvet.    


Quentin: I would actually give Brad Dourif the best line reading of the whole thing when he goes, “What are you doing with this knife?” “Cut a lot of rope and shit.”




Roger: It’s a great line to give a cop, if they ever ask you why you have a knife. “It’s legal.” “Yeah, I know it’s legal. Why do you have it?” 




Eli: For me Brad Dourif and Rene Auberjonois but also Alphonso DeNoble, as well. 


Roger: Oh, yeah. 


Eli: He’s unforgettable. Talk about a guy coming into a movie. He’s your Walken in Pulp Fiction; the guy that comes in and does a couple of scenes and you’re like, “I will never forget that.” 


Quentin: And we’re still talking, don’t forget Dennis Franz. 


Eli: And Dennis Franz. 


Quentin: So who’s your choice? 


Eli: It’s got to be Keith Gordon. 


Quentin: Okay. 


Eli: Because Keith Gordon, as Roger said of the entry point and the one you relate to and the likability, and he’s just all that. 


Roger: The most innovative character, the most ingenious. 


Eli: Because there is the Keith Gordon character of the taxidermist in Happy Birthday to Me. That’s the Canadian Keith Gordon. So you can see, when you don’t actually have Keith Gordon- Is it Jack Love, I believe? Canadian Keith Gordon? 




Quentin: Yes 


Eli: You could see where the movie sort of stops when you don’t have the Keith Gordon, when you have the store brand version. There should have been a Gordon Keith/Keith Gordon/Keith David rivalry but Keith Gordon’s performance, I just love him. It was me. It was all of us. 


Quentin: And I do think that Keith Gordon is less than in Christine. I don’t think he’s as good as he could have been in Christine. He functions, but he’s not the way he is in this. In this, he’s perfect. 


Roger: I don’t buy him as much in Christine when he becomes evil, or whatever. I don’t buy his transition into evil. 


Quentin: I don’t buy his dork and I don’t buy his cool guy. 


Roger: In Dressed to Kill, however, he is the most true character to himself. He is completely 100% committed. He’s not, in any way, trying to sleep with Nancy Allen. 


Quentin: He wants to find out the murder of his mom.  


Roger: He is relentless, in that he’s going to find out who the murderer is. 


Quentin: But you brought up a really interesting thing when we were watching the movie that I thought was really sweet, actually. You were talking about how when he’s outside the office and he’s interviewing the psychiatrist, all of a sudden he pulls out his little sticker thing that he can stick on the wall and there’s a little earpiece in there. Then he can record what’s being said and hear what’s being said. You were just saying that when that character started doing that, the first time you watched it, you were like, “Wow, this character’s so cool. I want to have all that shit.” 


Roger: He’s doing what you want to do. 


Quentin: He’s taking over the movie. 


Roger: He’s not being stupid. He’s not falling down when he’s chased. He’s not doing anything like that.  


Gala: He’s the hero. 


Roger: He’s the hero of the movie. He’s rising to the occasion. He’s going to find the killer. He doesn’t care who stops him. Everybody treats him like he’s a kid. Everybody kind of dismisses him but one: he’s a genius. Two: he’s literally the one who calculates chronological reckoning. The 1600s term of what a computer is. 


Quentin: Even in his taking the photos of the patients coming out of Doctor Elliot’s office. 


Roger: Completely. Then you told me something that I never knew, which even deepened the relationship between Peter and Brian De Palma. 


Quentin: De Palma thought that his father was having an affair with his mother, and he wanted to catch his father in the act, so he could give the information to his mother so she could divorce him. So the whole the whole thing that Keith Gordon does with his moped and his little camera taking a shot leaving the office; DePalma’s father was a doctor. DePalma did that to his own dad. 


Gala: Wow. 


Quentin: He actually did it. That’s actually taken from life. 


Gala: Wow, that’s amazing. 


Roger: So I actually in my awards (and I don’t mean to jump in really quick) I was like, “Look, I’m going to give it to Dennis Franz just because I love him in this movie, probably.” Then I was like, “Well, maybe I can give best character to Keith Gordon, as opposed to best actor, because he’s my favorite character. He’s my entry; he’s everything to me in this movie. 


Quentin: Something that we didn’t talk about when we talked about the movie is that not only is he the Brian De Palma character of the piece (it’s also interesting that De Palma cast a young boy to represent him) but the next movie is Blow Out: where Jack Terry (John Travolta’s character) is basically a very troubled Keith Gordon, having grown up. There’s a symbiotic connection. 


Roger: A continuity to the characters. 


Quentin: John Travolta is supposed to be the grown up character who’s suffered all this trauma and now he’s this kind of bitter, disillusioned guy. 


Roger: Yeah. 


Quentin: But both movies feature the character dealing with a technological apparatus to solve the mysteries and the crime and spend, like, six minute sequences to show them off. 


Roger: Yeah, this is hard. 

Eli: It’s tough. I mean, even the priest in Alice, Sweet Alice was amazing, but with supporting actress (and it’s weird because she would be billed as lead actress) I’d have to say Angie Dickinson. 


Quentin: Oh, I think Angie Dickenson for sure. 


Eli: I mean, it’s not even close. 


Quentin: Okay, So you picked he got Keith Gordon. 


Eli: Keith Gordon and Angie Dickinson. 


Quentin: Okay. How about you? 


Gala: Actually for best supporting actress, I’m going to go with the aunt in Alice, Sweet Alice


Quentin: Oh, wow. Okay. 


Gala: I loved her performance in the hospital scene. I think her screaming and falling down the stairs was really funny. It, like, reinvigorated the movie for me. 


Quentin: Jane Lowry. 


Gala: Jane Lowry. I just really enjoyed her performance and also how her character completely flips in that scene. Best Supporting Actor, I have to give it to Brad Dourif. Brad Dourif I love you. If you’re listening out there, you have a fan in me; a lifelong fan. You’re one of my favorite actors, and I’m so happy that I can give you my pick for best supporting actor. 


Quentin: Well, look, supporting actress is easy. That’s Angie Dickinson. I mean, there’s almost no competition. 


Roger: It’s actually brave for her to come into this movie and to be killed in the first part. 


Quentin: She loved the movie. She thinks, along with Rio Bravo, that it’s her best movie. 


Roger: Yeah, well, I’d agree with her. I like Point Blank, but not her in that as much as in this. 


Quentin: Okay, best supporting actor. I I’m going to go against- I acknowledge everything you guys said about Keith Gordon, and- 


Roger: It’s a tough category. 


Gala: It really is a tough category. 


Quentin: Maybe it should be the one I choose and maybe it’s the one deep down that I think is correct, but I’m going to pick Rene Auberjonois.  

Eli: He was my original pick but I flipped. 


Quentin: It’s the most detailed character of the group, in its own way. Okay. best director. 


Roger: Okay. It’s Brian De Palma. 


Eli: Yeah. I mean, the second close would be Alfred Sole, but it’s DePalma. 


Roger: Yeah, for sure.


Gala: I’m giving it to Kirshner. I think he has a wonderful, eclectic collection. I think Kirshner has an amazing, eclectic cast. I think every single character that we’ve talked about, that’s in that movie, gives great performances. I think that his camerawork is amazing. So I think that he’s going to get best director from me this time. 


Quentin: Yeah, I think it’s absolutely DePalma because I think I can make a case that Dressed to Kill is one of the best directed movies ever made. It’s a directed movie. 


Roger: Yeah. I mean, we all were gobsmacked by the end of it. All of us having seen many times before. 


Quentin: The other movie brat that Brian De Palma is symbiotically connected to is Martin Scorsese and  they were both friends. They’re the ones, of the movie brats, that went to the rougher material for sure. They had a friendship, but they also had a rivalry, a little bit; where they wanted to top the other one. Brian De Palma told me a very great story once, when I hung out with him, and he was talking about doing Blow Out. It’s got a big star in John Travolta has got a big budget because of Travolta’s participation. So he has all the time and all the money he needs to make his little thriller. 


He’s really able to do every big set piece he’s ever wanted to do, it’s all right there. He goes, “I think I’m doing a pretty fucking great job. I’m really, really happy with myself.” Then during the weekend, Raging Bull comes out. So he goes to see it on his day off, on Sunday, and he thinks he’s making a really fucking great movie. This is the one. He sits down in the movie theater and then those opening credits start, and that opera music starts playing. It’s just the black and white slow motion shot of Jake LaMotta, just kind of bouncing around in the ring as the credits play and it’s just so beautiful and so perfect. He sit there and I looked at the screen and he sighs and goes, “Ugh, there’s always Scorsese.” 




Quentin: No matter what you do, there’s always Scorsese. He’s always there, and he’s always being brilliant. There’s always Scorsese.  


Roger: Sounds like the rantings of a homicidal maniac; alone in a dark theater, rocking back and forth. 


Eli: That’ll be his explanation at the end of his killing spree, yeah. 


Gala: It’s the backstory for his giallo film. 


Eli: Yeah, exactly. 


Quentin: It’s the ranting of an artist who considers himself one of the greatest at it, but he’s in competition with another great artist. Another way to say is Bing Crosby talking about Frank Sinatra saying, “Frank Sinatra is the voice of a generation. Unfortunately, it was my generation.” Using again the correlation between Scorsese and DePalma, if Carrie is his Taxi Driver, then Dressed to Kill is his Raging Bull


Gala: Do we all agree that Dressed to Kill is best picture? 


Quentin: I think Carrie is better. 


Gala: No I mean- 


Quentin: Oh, of this? Yeah for sure. I’ll be surprised if anybody picks anything else. 


Gala: [pauses] 


Quentin: Now hold on, you were already fudging it with Kirshner. 


Eli: I would pick Happy Birthday to Me to be, like, difficult. But it’s not even close. 


Roger: One person has all of the tools that a studio is offering him and a big budget and big stars, the other one is working with nothing. 


Eli: But it’s also for kitsch value, it’s just fun. It’s like junk food. 


Quentin: Okay, but here’s another one: best screenplay. We have four very interesting screenplays here. All four of these screenplays are very interesting and even though some of them work on a camp level, they actually are effective on a camp level. 


Roger: Mm hmm. 


Quentin: So, look, I still pick Dressed to Kill for the best screenplay. 


Roger: Having read the screenplay for this. Yeah, I’m going to go with Brian De Palma for screenplay as well. 


Quentin: Having said that, though, I would put the Alice, Sweet Alice screenplay as a definitive number two. 


Roger: Absolutely, in a second. 


Eli: Same. 


Quentin: Like, a strong number two. A down there number two, but a strong number two for director as well. 


Eli: Yeah, No, the same. I mean, it’s undeniable. Also, we think of De Palma, I think of Scarface or I think of his incredible visual style. But like you said, he just doesn’t get that respect as a great screenwriter and this is the one where it’s written and directed. 


Quentin: This is the one. 


Eli: An auteur piece in every way. 


Gala: Honestly, I was going to give it to Carpenter and Goodman for Eyes of Laura Mars, and then Eli rewrote the ending of that and I liked Eli’s ending better. 


Eli: You could give it to all three of us. 


Gala: Yeah, but I think you came up with it mostly. 

Quentin: I’m choosing Eli Roth’s rewrite. 

Roger: When Eli does the remake we’ll be ready. 


Gala: That will be my best screenplay of the week. 


Roger: By the way, this really would be a good remake with the way media is today and with the idea of all these nested perspectives and everything. 


Gala: I’m going to go for it with DePalma because I can’t get over how good Eli’s rewrite of the end is. 


Quentin: Okay, I already said my favorite bad performance, which is the mother in Happy Birthday to Me, but Tommy Lee Jones would be second for best bad performance. Tommy Lee Jones is a strong number two in that. He can’t beat the mom in Happy Birthday to Me, nobody can. 


Roger: I’d say his performance is really good until that one rather clumsy exposition scene where he’s revealing his insanity. 


Quentin: He’s wonderfully bad. It’s deliciously bad, as Gala would say. 


Gala: Question guys: who’s the best villain of the week? 


Quentin: No, I was going to ask that. Good for you. I was going to say we’re talking about giallos; who’s the best killer? 


Eli: Well, in order to say the best killer, I would. I mean- 


Gala: Yeah, I know where you’re coming from. 


Eli: I don’t want to say who it is, but I would say the killer from Alice, Sweet Alice


Gala: Yeah that’s my pick also, actually. 


Eli: It’s a pretty damn good killer. 


Gala: It’s so good that we’re not going to tell you who it is. 


Quentin: Yeah. Well, Bobbi’s my favorite DePalma killer. I think that if there was more continuity to the performance of Bobbi; if it wasn’t split up between three different performers playing it then I would choose Bobbi. But because it’s so obvious to me the way it split up, but yet it still nevertheless works; it stops Bobbi from completely being the full character. 


Roger: But maybe, doesn’t that enhanced the character? Wasn’t that used as a device to create this kind of schizophrenic? 


Gala: Yeah, because we’re talking about best villain.  


Roger: We’re not really talking about best actor. We’re talking about best villain. So for them to use all this kind of kaleidoscope of characters…


Quentin: Yeah, I know. But DePalma has done this before in the past, and I think there is a thing about an actor playing a killer that gets wrapped up in the performance that makes it just… [trails off] But I think the only reason that the killer in Alice, Sweet Alice can eat an apple off of Bobbi’s head is because one character is playing it and they commit to it so absolutely, positively much.  


Eli: Yeah and the reveal is a good surprise. So we’re fooled by that. 


Roger: I didn’t see Alice, Sweet Alice or Happy Birthday to Me on their initial release. I did see Dressed to Kill and Eyes of Laura Mars on their initial releases, and I can tell you that Bobbi scared the fuckin’ bejesus out of me. I was terrified watching that movie. When Bobbi jumps out of the shoes and then out of a mirror, I’m tweaking in the theater. 


Quentin: So Bobbi is your favorite killer? 


Roger: I got to go with Bobbi. It just scared the hell out of me. 


Quentin: Okay. Is that the end of our show?  


Roger: Well, actually, I want to just say best cinematography. Victor Kemper. 


Gala: Oh, no, no, no, no.


Roger: You’re going to go with Alice, Sweet Alice


Gala: No, I’m going to go with Ralf D. Bode for Dressed to Kill


Quentin: I would go Ralf D. Bode as well. 


Eli: Yeah. 


Roger: [grumbles] 


Gala: He also did my favorite John Hughes movie; Uncle Buck

Roger: Well, you’re right. 


Quentin: Yeah I’m going Ralf D. Bode as well. 


Roger: I wonder what else Ralf D. Bode made in 1979, because Victor Kemper shot four fucking great movies. 


Quentin: Well, be a scumbag and look it up on IMDB, you millennial fuck. 


Roger: Well, I can tell what they were. What about Michael Khan? Best editing for Eyes of Laura Mars


Gala: I agree with that. 


Quentin: I give it to Jerry Greenberg for Dressed to Kill


Eli: Yeah. 


Quentin: Not only that, De Palma’s first movie away from Paul Hirsch for like ten years, and Jerry Greenberg does a great job. 


Roger: I’m desperate to give Eyes of Laura Mars some tech credit. So let’s go with best production design with Gene Callahan. 


Quentin: [laughing] I’d give that to Alice, Sweet Alice


Eli: Maybe best original song?


Roger: Yeah, you’re right. Actually, actually, you’re right. 


Quentin: We gave Rene Auberjonois something, it’s fine. 


Eli: Or you could say Best Original song from Eyes of Laura Mars, sung by Quentin Tarantino. 


Roger: That’s the only person I want to listen to. 


Eli: Best soundtrack. 


Quentin: Yeah, best music supervisor. For the Michael Zigler of it all. Okay, everybody, I think that does it for our American giallo episode. Our very first theme episode, and I think it worked out very well. We want to thank our customer. 


Roger: Thank you, Eli.  


Gala: Customer Number two. 


Eli: Grazie 


Quentin: And I want to thank Gala. 


Gala: Thanks, guys. See you next time. 


Quentin: And my co-host, Roger Avary. 

Roger: Thank you. Be seeing you. 

Quentin: Bye bye.