Extreme Cinema! “Kill This Guy, Would You?”

Dead Heat is a 1988 American action comedy horror film directed by Mark Goldblatt and starring Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo and Vincent Price. The B movie is about an LAPD police officer who is murdered while attempting to arrest zombies who have been reanimated by the head of Dante Laboratories in order to carry out violent armed robberies, and decides to get revenge with the help of his former partner.

The Punisher is a 1989 Australian-American action film directed by Mark Goldblatt, written by Boaz Yakin, and starring Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett, Jr. Based on the Marvel Comics’ character of the same name, the film changes many details of the comic book origin and the main character does not wear the trademark “skull”. Shot in Sydney, Australia, The Punisher co-stars Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Nancy Everhard, and Barry Otto.

Written by David Lawler and Andrew La Ganke.
“Love Theme from Extreme Cinema” composed and performed by Alex Saltz.
Introduction written by Bronwyn Knox.
Narrator, “The Voice”: Valerie Sachs

Running Time: 1:30:21

Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

This podcast is dedicated to the memory of David A. Prior (1955-2015)


Vintage Cable Box: “Swamp Thing”, 1982


When I started writing reviews for the films which became the basis of this series, the original plan was to start with Rodney Dangerfield’s 1983 comedy, Easy Money, but after Wes Craven died, I thought it would only be fitting to pay tribute to one of my favorite horror film directors by looking back and trying to remember if there were any films he made that were shown on cable television during the time period Vintage Cable Box covers, and yes, there was Swamp Thing – a movie I truly adore.


Swamp Thing, 1982 (Adrienne Barbeau), Embassy Pictures

“Everything’s a dream when you’re alone.”

Sultry government agent Adrienne Barbeau arrives in the Louisiana bayou to investigate Dr. Alec Holland’s (Ray Wise) experiments in bio-engineering with his sister, Linda. Holland has just made a major breakthrough. Louis Jourdan plays Arcane, a rival scientist who orders his men to attack Holland’s compound and steal his new formula. In the resulting firefight, Holland is contaminated with his formula and disappears in the swamp, presumed dead. Later, when Jourdan’s men try to kill Barbeau, Swamp Thing emerges to dispatch them.

Released a good three months before Creepshow, Swamp Thing adopts the same comic-book-with-a-movie visual sense, even down to the turning of pages and artwork panels for scene transitions. Craven’s screenplay is intelligent with a sense of humor and the performances (particular those of Wise, Barbeau, Jourdan, and Dick Durock as the titular hero) are wonderful. Based on Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s DC Comics series, the movie was made on an astonishingly low $3 million budget.

Henry Manfredini’s score recalls his work on the Friday the 13th franchise, with stings and twists, and Bernard Hermann-like trills. The editing is breakneck in the action sequences and appropriately slow in the more romantic and menacing scenes. The creature itself is a marvel, created by Bill Munns, who would also contribute ghastly creatures for The Return of the Living Dead. Swamp Thing is schlocky and pulpy, and pure fun to watch.

The early eighties was a time when filmmakers, presumably working on the edge of the mainstream, and outside of the borders of studio control, started getting bigger budgets. Wes Craven was primarily known for Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. Swamp Thing was his formal introduction to studio work. This was the same year Tobe Hooper made Poltergeist and George Romero made Creepshow, so a definitive New Horror renaissance had taken place.

SWAMP THING, Adrienne Barbeau, Dick Durock, 1982, (c) Embassy Pictures

Scream Queen Adrienne Barbeau appeared in John Carpenter’s The Fog and Escape From New York, and would later appear in Creepshow. Ray Wise would later star in Robocop and Twin Peaks (the television series and the movie). Stuntman Dick Durock appeared in the sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing and the spin-off television series, which ran for 72 episodes.

It’s impossible to estimate Wes Craven’s impact and influence on the modern horror movie. A creative thinker and intuitive director, Craven created intelligent horror movies that did not skimp on scares. After Swamp Thing, he would create one of the most popular franchises that rivaled only Jason in A Nightmare On Elm Street. The People Under The Stairs is my wife’s favorite movie of Craven’s. In 1996, he directed Kevin Williamson’s popular post-modern slasher movie, Scream, which yielded three sequels.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.

Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.