Forgot Password? / Help

Tag: precode

June 6, 2016 Posted by admin in General

#155: Censoring Hollywood: How the Motion Picture Production Code Changed Filmmaking

Production CodeWow, another podcast episode more focused on classic film than horror! Horror can be peripherally involved, though, as the main thrust of our conversation is censorship and The Production Code that became the means for censorship in Hollywood for over three decades. I was graciously invited to join Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando at The La Jolla Playhouse's Discovery Sunday event yesterday, following a production of their fantastic new play "Hollywood."

"Hollywood" will run at The La Jolla Playhouse through June 12th, so if you listen to this early enough, you should definitely go see it! Not only is it entertaining, with some brilliant acting and some appropriately risque moments, but it is a clever look at the unsolved 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor through the eyes of Hollywood's censor himself--William Hays. Patrick Kerr, by the way, plays Hays almost perfectly, with gusto and the kind of charm that would have given the staunch conservative a foothold among wild 1920s Hollywood.

The Discovery Conversation, though, was less about the play and more about the historical context behind and Production Code Discussionafter the events portrayed in the play. We talk about the loose cannon state censorship boards of the 20s, the writing and adopting of The Production Code in 1930, the pre-code era, the actual enforcement of the Production Code in late 1934, and how it affected filmmaking thereafter. This is one of my favorite topics, so I was pretty enthusiastic despite the affects of losing my voice.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to our discussion as much as the audience said they did yesterday! And, more importantly, go out and find some great classic films! We talk Pre-code a lot, but we also talk about Film Noir and some other subversive films. I handed out a pamphlet of recommended pre-code films at the event. Here is the PDF to get you started! Pre-Code Guide

After listening to this podcast, listen to the Cinema Junkie interview with "Hollywood" writer Joe DiPietro here:


May 5, 2016 Posted by admin in General

#154: Exploring the Hidden Gems of the TCM Classic Film Festival with Will McKinley

tcmff class pictureOnce again, it is that time of the year where we focus on classic film in honor of the TCM Classic Film Festival, which has been hitting Hollywood, California in a big way every Spring since 2010. (Incidentally, I'm proud to say that our own Horrible Imaginings Film Festival shares its birth year with TCM Classic Film Festival--what amazing company!) As a film fanatic with a keen interest in film history, the TCM Classic Film Festival is an almost religious experience, and every year I decide to give the pure horror aspects of the podcast a break in favor of reflecting on the unique experiences afforded at this festival. The beautiful thing is that the programming there is so varied that I do always get to praise some of their obscure or cult film choices.


And speaking of obscure choices, that is what I decided my main focus would be--the hidden gems of the TCM Classic Film Festival, particularly the "Discovery" films and the little-known films that get shown in the smallest of the venues at the festival: the Chinese multiplex's House Four. Many of us at the festival call House Four our regular home, and I got another House Four regular to discuss this year's festival with me. He has been on the podcast many times, and he probably needs no introduction for many of you. His blog Cinematically Insane is a staple for #OldMovieWeirdos everywhere--I speak of course of Will McKinley. Together we discuss:

1. The role that traditional 35mm film formats play at the festival, and the role we would like it to keep playing
2. What is House Four, and what kinds of films show there
3. What are the "Discovery" films?
4. What films had the greatest impact on us
5. Why choose obscure films
6. The challenges and brilliance of creating the TCMFF program
7. The differences between preservation and restoration
8. What makes a good restoration
9. Film love vs. Film snobbery
10. What some people misunderstand about TCM, and how we set them straight
11. The Vitaphone 90th Anniversary presentation
12. The midnight movies (Roar and Gog in 3D with a new restoration)
13. What kinds of movies we hope to see in the future
14. The new TCM Backlot Fan Club

So much great content in this episode. I am extremely proud of it, but really how could we not have so much to talk about after TCM put on such a memorable event? Again? As an added bonus, here are pictures of the amazing projector rig especially built to project a rare 16mm print of a Taiwanese martial arts film during the San Diego Asian Film Fest's Spring Showcase, as discussed in the episode:

16mm rig

Also, as promised in the episode, here is the Vitaphone short of Shaw and Lee's Vaudeville act "The Beau Brummels." Hilarious!

Now Listen to the Episode Here:

April 1, 2015 Posted by admin in General

#132: Naughty 30s with's Danny Reid at TCM Classic Film Festival

In keeping up with the pre-code films exploration, I decided to sit down with Danny Reid at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood California. Danny runs, a website "Celebrating Pre-Code Hollywood Cinema," a wild time in film history before the boot of censorship came down on the studios. We talk about what makes these films interesting, what films to look out for, as well as the experience at the TCM Film Fest. This is only part of the TCM Film Fest coverage I am doing. Also check out my Pre-Code Blogathon conversation about race representation in cinema, as well as my TCM Film Fest Wrap Up:

thin man book

Also, Danny Reid is the editor of a self published collection of writings on the wonderful series The Thin Man. I decided to order myself a copy from Amazon and, wouldn't you know it, I have some other friends who also worked on it, including an essay from fellow Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit member Tars Tarkas and the cover design by none other than my buddy Wallace McBride, who runs the fantastic Dark Shadows website known as I love this job! Get yourself a copy of this book if you love The Thin Man (and even if you don't because you should), but in the meantime, on with the show!


#130: Pre-Code Blogathon! Race Representation In Film, Historically and Today

tcm logoThe Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival has inspired us to take a look at classic films, so it was providential that two websites decided to host a blogathon about a historic era of film history. The websites in question are Shadows and Satin, as well as, and the era of film history is what is known as the pre-code era of around 1929-ish-1934. If you don't know about that era, I highly encourage you to visit those sites and explore the blogathon and listen to this episode! I also have an interview I am soon posting with's Danny Reid. That will be episode number 132. Look out for it after my TCM Film Festival Wrap Up episode, number 131! 

For this episode, I have very pleased to say I have a new co-host, who I hope to have join me many times in the future. Her name is Angela Englert, and she has been a good friend in livetweeting glory with the Drive-In Mob, TCM Party, and other livetweeting groups on Twitter. She's brilliant and fun, and is going to be a wonderful addition to our podcast thinkers! 

When discussing what pre-code films to discuss, we quickly noticed the number of Caucasian actors playing people of color, and that made us think of similar practices today (Exodus, the proposed Ghost In the Shell), and so our topic was born. We chose to look at how different races have been portrayed over the years, and how much it has changed today. Yes, it is a bit of a volatile topic. Doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about it. The use of the pre-code films are set as a sort of social benchmark. Best to listen to the episodes, but the films we talk about are:

The Mask of Fu Manchu

fu manchu

The Hatchet Man

the hatchet man

Thirteen Women

13 women

I hope you enjoy our talk as much as we enjoyed having it. If you can acquire and watch the films in question, I recommend them quite highly. For various reasons, including their historical context, I think they are highly enjoyable and important films. Keep tuning into my TCM Film Festival-inspired episodes!