Hockey season ended too soon in Las Vegas on June 7, 2018. But it’s not all bad news, as I’m able to focus on the second-most important matter of the day: Halloween.

I will not lie, last week I woke up (unassisted) at 5 a.m. every morning, wondering if this would be the morning when the new Halloween trailer premiered. When I found out the trailer would premiere on Friday, June 8 I still woke up early every day, for no good reason.

At long last, it has arrived, and it’s glorious. For fans of the series, there are plenty of homages and Easter eggs within, and it raises some questions about how the film is wiping the slate of the tangled Halloween canon. I wrote about both for Now Playing Podcast, and you can find that article here.

In the meantime, enjoy the trailer. October 19 can’t come soon enough.

Here’s a real treat for Now Playing Podcast listeners. Thanks to the good folks at La-La Land Records, you’re getting a review of the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 30th anniversary soundtrack. It’s the first official release the soundtrack has ever received, which surprised me completely. I knew I had a lot of the tracks (“Twist and Shout,” “Oh Yeah”) on mixtapes and mp3’s, but never realized there was never a complete album from the film.

Now Playing Podcast hosts Arnie, Marjorie, and Justin got to preview the soundtrack, which you can hear in a special Now Playing episode. The show also features an interview with the producers who spent years putting the album together, and a performance by the group Blue Room. Listen to the show, and find out when you can win yourself a copy of the soundtrack.

Now Playing Podcast talks to the producers of the Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack.
The insert track listing for the 30th anniversary “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” soundtrack.

Only on rare occasions will the hosts of Now Playing Podcast reach back into the black-and-white era to review a Hollywood classic. It happened once with The Thing From Another World, and fans of the podcast’s 2013 Die Hard retrospective will remember the review of Frank Sinatra’s The Detective.

This month, Now Playing is treating supporters to a trilogy of classic sci-fi films, 1958’s The Fly and its two sequels, Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly. The series serves as a precursor to a review of 1986’s David Cronenberg remake, a film that’s likely more familiar to modern audiences and Now Playing’s core listening audience.

Like 1982’s The Thing (a remake of The Thing From Another World), Cronenberg’s film is considered by many to be a vast improvement on its original, most notably in the special effects department. Those films – and the remake of The Blob 30 years after the first – were a reflection of 1980s culture and societal fears as the 1950s versions were a reflection of the Red Scare and the Atomic Age.

In a Q&A at the Venganza Media Gazette, I spoke to Now Playing Podcast hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob about remaking 50s sci-fi in the 80s. Read the discussion, and join us for The Fly retrospective, which kicks off Now Playing’s 2016 Fall Donation Drive.

Now Playing Podcast The Fly Retrospective
The Now Playing Podcast 2016 Fall Donation Drive begins with “The Fly” retrospective.

Screen art for Now Playing's "X-Men" retrospective.
Screen art for Now Playing’s “X-Men” retrospective.

When Now Playing Podcast’s X-Men: Apocalypse episode arrives this week, it will kick start a summer schedule stacked with week of release reviews for the 9-year-old show and its panel of hosts.

In a way, Now Playing is going back to the beginning.

Longtime listeners will remember the early days, when the show launched with the goal of reviewing a just released flick every week. Those 2007-08 era shows are notable for their shorter run times (the first Iron Man review runs a little more than 8 minutes) and films that would never fit in Now Playing Retrospective Series (reviews of Fever Pitch and 21 are standout examples).

Having established its popularity and found its footing with the first retrospective (for Friday the 13th) in 2009, the show has stuck to its celebrated formula – review every film in a series leading up to the latest release. In summer that usually means a handful of new release reviews wrapped inside the longer retrospectives. Summer 2015, for example, was largely dedicated to the Mad Max and Mission Impossible franchises, with appearances by Marvel heroes and that Terminator sequel we’ve all forgotten.

The summer slate that begins with the aforementioned X-Men review will see the hosts back in theaters for eight new releases over the next 11 weeks, reviewing everything from the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek sequels, to DC Comics’ Suicide Squad. Three new retrospective series’ will make their debuts this summer, with Matt Damon’s Bourne films taking up the most space on the calendar, and the Independence Day and Ghostbusters franchises offered as a bonus in Now Playing’s bi-annual donation drive.

Listeners may even be in for a surprise or two, the host hinted. What that means is anyone’s guess, as the calendar turns to June and Now Playing’s summer schedule is stacked through Suicide Squad. The current schedule can be seen at the show’s website, and if you look closely your eyes are not deceiving you – there are two reviews coming for The Bourne Identity. Listeners who love Now Playing’s completist approach to Hollywood franchises will be delighted to know there was a 1988 television movie adaptation of the story, starring a post-Alan Quatermain Richard Chamberlain and former Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith. That should be good.

I wrote this piece for the Venganza Media website previewing the Now Playing Podcast schedule from January through March. The new shows begin Tuesday, Jan. 5 with a review of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, which is part of our Grindhouse retrospective.

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Also on tap in the first quarter is a Masters of the Universe review, which comes at the request of a fan who backed Now Playing’s “Underrated Movies We Recommend” book on Kickstarter.

The year’s first weekend of release review will be Deadpool in February. As I mention in the article, the calendar is always in flux, but you can bet Now Playing will return to some of our ongoing retrospectives. That means Marvel, DC, and Star Wars!

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This has been an outstanding year for Now Playing Podcast, and it just keeps getting better. Today we announced that Halloween director John Carpenter will pen the foreword to Now Playing’s Kickstarter-funded book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

The Kickstarter project was a massive success earlier this year, and for months the hosts of the show have been watching movies and writing nonstop. Right now the book is on target to ship in the second quarter of 2016, and fans can pre-order their copies at the Now Playing website.

Here’s a link to the news release announcing Carpenter’s involvement with the project.

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I screened Halloween III: Season of the Witch for the first time (this month) last night, and I’m gearing up for the home stretch of horror movies all the way to Halloween. Also last night, I had a great chat with some Now Playing Podcast fans as we ran down the list of movies we’re trying to fit in before the end of the month. I was reminded that I still need to squeeze in showings of Night of the Creeps and Christine.

Another thing that I need to squeeze in (and you should too) is Now Playing Podcast’s Halloween Retrospective Series. This is the series that introduced me to the show in 2011, and four years later I’m so thrilled to be a supporter and contributor. If you’re a fan, this is the day to cue up that retrospective – nine movies, nine shows – if you want to hear one a day, ending on All Hallows Eve.

It’s the final countdown! (I just like saying that)