105 – The Astrologer

Jen and Tim are astounded by one of the most pompous auteur statements ever made— Craig Denney’s The Astrologer from 1976! Hear the whole episode over at our Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month, and get access to all our other bonus content as well!

The Astrologer had a theatrical run from at least 1976 through part of 1977, but was considered lost for many years. It eventually resurfaced in 2021 on YouTube. Paramount appears to have a copyright claim on the picture (amazing that they’d even want it), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be seen if you know where to look.

The story of auteur Craig Denney is as mysterious as it is surprising. Jim Vorel has a good rundown at Paste Magazine. Long story short, Denney made a bold play for notoriety, only to disappear sometime in the 80s. No one knows when he died, if he’s actually dead, or even his real birthdate! And that’s just the start of the confusion! From the article:

Denney’s friend and associate Arthyr Chadbourne (who plays business manager Arthyr in the film) has disputed these figures, suggesting instead at L.A. screenings/Q&As that Denney was notorious for exaggeration and self-aggrandizing. As Chadbourne reportedly said then, “Craig was wonderful with hype. Everything was millions … you should read some of the things we used to send out to investors.”

Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine

Vorel’s article draws from this well-researched piece by Sean Welsh over at Matchbox Cine. Did Craig Denney fake his death? Where the hell did he get all his money? Was he even as successful as he claimed he was?

If you’re curious about our allusion to Romeo & Romeo, check out our episode about possibly the greatest addition to queer cinema in the last twenty-five years.

104 – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Screenwriter Josh Olson returns to share the Russ Meyer phantasmagoria Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and to make it clear that he did NOT write Gigli. The film was a hit when it arrived in 1970, but it was too strong for the studio and effectively ended Meyer’s career as a mainstream filmmaker. Meyer followed BTVOTD with the leaden legal drama Seven Minutes before going back to making titty flicks, thank god. In the episode Josh holds forth on Roger Ebert’s wonderful script, and we all weigh in on “fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke” filmmaking (we all think it’s good).

Josh previously joined us to bring to our attention the little-loved Martin Mull-starring satire, Serial.

As we mentioned in the episode, you can also see John Waters enthusing about Beyond the Valley of the Dolls at Criterion.

BTVOTD star Edy Williams was married to Meyer and also had a career sideline in appearing partially dressed at the Oscars. She did this until at least 1999. What a queen.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” See the Roger Ebert(!)-penned line here, in the Sex Pistols’s last ever show.

If you like a more incoherent brand of 60s freak out, try our episode about Ted V. Mikels’s incomprehensible exploitation movie Astro-Zombies.

103 – Road to the Stars/Pavel Klushantsev

Road to the Stars poster

Tim attempts to convey the charm and innovative spirit of Soviet filmmaker Pavel Klushantsev to his lazy, lazy cohost! Listen to the episode over on Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month!

We mentioned the Klushantsev documentary The Star Dreamer, but don’t miss the original films! We loved the dog in a spacesuit in Mars.

Dog and hooman on the Martian surface, from Pavel Klushantsev's Mars (1968)

For the exact opposite of Klushantsev’s optimistic vision, check out our episode on Paul W.S. Anderson’s space-based nightmare, Event Horizon!

100 – Antichrist

For a SUPERSIZED one hundredth episode, Tim agrees with everything Lars von Trier has said and done because they’re both misogynists. Hear it over at Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month!

For the (swinging) lowdown on Willem Dafoe’s gifts, read this article about von Trier’s obsession with the actor’s wiener.

Thank you to all the listeners for supporting us for one hundred episodes and here’s to ONE THOUSAND MORE. If you want to see where it all began, you can check out our very first episode, about Elaine May’s little-loved Ishtar!

099 – Hammer House of Horror with a slice of Pi

Jen and Tim note the peculiar similarities between an episode of an obscure British horror anthology and Darren Aronofsky’s debut (NOT Life of Pi!!!!!). Also, Jen seizes an opportunity to talk about Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Hear the entire episode for a pledge of only $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content!

Hammer House of Horror is free to watch with ads over on Tubi!

If you’re looking for more British horror, why not try our episode on the controversial one-off TV special Ghostwatch?