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Revisiting ‘Christmas Smackdown’

 December 7, 2018 at 9:48 AM PST

Welcome back to another edition of listener supported KPBS cinema Junkie podcast on Beth Accomando. Cinema junkie is on a holiday break and I'll be posting archived shows in December and January. I'll be back with a new podcast on February 1st. This week I decided to pull up an archive show appropriate for the Christmas season but one was some perverse holiday cheer. That means turning to a podcast I did a couple of years ago where I spoke with Mark Netter and Cynthia Caro the creators of Christmas smack down. You still have a chance to catch this year's show called get lit Hanukka special through December 2013 at Hallenbeck General Store in North Hollywood. Fair warning the holiday songs they create are full of alcohol abuse arson decapitation dinosaurs divorce demons fatal sleigh accidents and a lot more. Nutter and Karla perform Christmas smack down in Los Angeles almost every year since about 2006. Except of course for that year that they forgot. Sometimes it's only nuttery and Carl performing. But this year they're joined by Brian Gillespie Liesl Hanson and Graham Skipper All the love of my beloved reanimator the musical show so enjoy some holiday cheer cinema junkie style with the creators of Christmas smack down. So here's the archive. Oh Christmas Tree. Sorry. Then long as we watch the distinct Spike flow and once we can make bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum tell me what the hell was that like a stranger's door and drink till his wife with Billy Bob Every Christian there are around red. Is suspended from the piney balls. What do they represent. Yes sir. Yes sir. Hey sweetie. Hey hey. Hey. That should provide a clue to the kind of sick and twisted spin cinema Junkie will be taking for this holiday episode. So consider that fair warning. I am straying a bit off the cinema path today because my two guests are so deliciously depraved that I couldn't resist ending the year with their annual Christmas smack down show. My guest today are Mark Netter and Cynthia Carle. I was introduced to their work when I covered reanimator the musical for NPR back in 2011. Mark worked with Stuart Gordon to create a musical stage version of Gordon's 1985 splatter fest film reanimator there that's my slim film connection for this episode. And Cynthia was in the cast. I fell in love with that musical and a dedicated pod cast 41 to it if you want to go back and take a listen. Then I heard that the two of them work on something called a Christmas smack down. That was irreverent and hilarious. So I had to see it. This year was the first time that I could actually make a show. And I grabbed the two of them for a quick interview before their last performance of 2016 is most. Sweet. I am here and Alan Beck's general store for a very special Christmas episode. I am here with Mark Netter and Cynthia Carle for Christmas. Smack down. So who wants to tell me what is a Christmas smack down. What is the Christmas smack down. I think in one one of our years we said it was. All your most cherished holiday sentiments pinned to the mat in an Argentine death choke. One year that's exactly what it was. That's right. That's a pretty accurate accurate description. So what inspired this and when did it first start. We do remember. We can't remember if it was eight years ago or nine years ago. So we're going to say 15 and what happened was I had a bunch of singing just wrong Christmas songs. And Mark had a bunch of insane and wrong Christmas songs so we decided to put them together into a show always done in this space. Called the Christmas smack down and then we wrote a couple of songs together. So we've got some that are mujhe created some new material Yeah yeah. And then you know as the years went by we kept adding and adding and adding time we have to we have to cut things now you know we're estimate that we do we've cut we've cut some really favorite songs I heard about it last night from. Yes I did. But that's just life. And one year we did it in Chicago and when year we did it in New York. And so it's sad it's having some you know stretching out a little bit it's becoming an alternate. Christmas tradition for many people many sick people like ourselves. Now I was introduced to both you and your work through reanimator the musical. And we've just been served some dinner here. So it was so that Cynthia doesn't have her stomach growling through the entire performance tonight. So I'm into you guys because of reanimator the musical which was brilliant. So tell me what can somebody expect from a Christmas smack down show in terms of music. The music is well cheerful. And bright. Songs that run the gamut you know from the right songs that run the gamut of cheerful and bright songs down into horrible that deal with horrible alcohol casualty suicide decapitation arson Arri obsession and yeah yeah. Yeah the first song I'm sorry what I'm doing for kids it's a good song drunken lot of alcohol Christmas time. As for trunk's. Christmas time. For Jerome. Mistletoes. Christmas time. Is from. Ranaldo all abuse and you know of animals misbehaving because they're inebriated. Well of course cannibalism and cannibalism cannibalism divorce. Yeah you know it's just it's Christmas. Well I want to play some clips. You sent me some of the songs but one of them. Begins like a song we all know. You better watch out You better not cry. Better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town. So the starting point for this is something very familiar and if you're not listening carefully you may not realize that this song is mocking the whole Christmas tradition. So tell me a little bit about the song before we hear any of it. I suppose we're going to talk we're talking about the Santa Clause number. Yeah I don't know. I just became interested in the idea of how people internalize authority. So it's kind of about that I feel like I ought not to say any more. He knows when he knows that your maturing with every breath you take. He knows that you've had that make you warm down there when being too sure or straddle the chair he knows you've been exploring. He knows your hands have found their way beneath the covers to room and go around. You can't get a seat bricks Cause Santa knows you well. That's why he's gonna send you straight down to Christmas hell suffered torment beyond your wildest dreams. The sound of sleigh bells jingling will cover up your screen. Tie your hands behind you in a fitting Christmas ransom. Now the song Kill some Christmas cookies with some broken glass while Elspeth flaming pitchforks impale your naked ass. So far LNC still tremble and you'll wake up how Irob save lives. So you get your inspirations for these kinds of things because in this when you're using a traditional song that people are familiar with so be good for goodness sake. Oh you better not cry. Better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is Coming. To. Town and just going off in a completely love turned direction on the lyrics. I think we basically love Christmas music. This is our downfall. We really love it. And I mean I tell you me. If you haven't seen Marc Nutter exposed to Nat King Cole singing. Oh come all ye faithful. You haven't lived. Oh come. All ye. Joyful try. Oh come. You know Mark nuttery cynical and he's a hard time as a kid and he becomes a little puppy with a weepy puppy when he hears that song. I do cry big time when I hear that something about it. I don't know. I don't know. Really we do. We were used sort of as ballast in this show we have a couple of. Really really pretty swear to god Christmas songs because it gives you some place to give something to bounce off and we have some serious singing chops on display on stage because of Cynthia's other life as a choral singer. She knows these these great singers and you know again if folks from the reanimator musical joining us as well and there are no slouches either. So there are there will be brief moments of genuine sentiment and heartfelt Christmas is fast. Yeah yeah. They will rapidly be undercut so don't worry yourself slipping into sentiment will save you. Now you mentioned cannibals. Tell me a little bit about that. That's the encore. It's the encore. It's a it's a song. It's a true story it's. A song. Called the ballad of Armen and you're gone. You may know this story because it is just the sort of thing I think you might know happened in the little town of. Rottenberg swear to god Ruttenberg Germany in about 2002. This really did happen and it's German camp cannibalism. And you can't have more fun than German cannibalism Christmas. Island mother. Lost souls were serving. During. This. Job. I always thought no one can kill me. And I. Do you want I'm not going to give them details because you need to just hear it unless you'd like. The. Details. It's sickening. It really hurts. By the way a year after Cynthia created this song and we'd performed it for you too and Stuart Gordon you're going to play on stage in Los Angeles called quality taste which was based on the same thing incident and. I guess it was not in. They said it for the playwright whose name was wonderful play and I can't remember his name. He said it in New York. And it worked very well. And Chris McKenna from the original reanimator was in that play and he was wonderful. But the song predates that by kind of a lot. What kind of a life. Yeah. I talked to. My. Great. Good. Da da da da da. Christmas time when I am. Another song that you sent me that I got to listen to involves angels and angels who aren't necessarily doing your job. Yes there they are substandard. Substandard angels. And it's you know it's not a word that really SCAN's well or sings well so I don't use the word substandard when I'm describing the angels. There's another word that measure is suitable to say anything you want. Oh OK. Well the song is called Angels because you don't want to give away the store too much but it's really the refrain is shitty Angell's. Cording to my friend angels watching the all time. Just because I see them doesn't. Doesn't mean they don't care square I got. Shady angel. That's pretty shitty. According to my friends these angels work every town. They're guarding all. They keep us. Safe and sound. I saw. Some danger to help them flee their angels Rob. But apparently the folks who died had. Shitty angel. They got the really shitty. Patients. They say that I'm. If I just leave if I were around. Listen I would say. You. See. Turns out my friends were right. Here the danger. So now. I understand the deal. It all depends on knowing how ranks they. Are a sign the sleek wings the sharpest minds the ergonomically designed state of the art top line angels are never yours and mine they serve a more discerning caught up. With. It really didn't come about because I had so many friends who told me that they were really seeing angels just everywhere and I just went Aha. And I wrote the song. They sleep till noon and watch TV they treat their hobbies for. Their. Pan. Scenes and they only see. Their. Lives. You can swear to it. In the summer. Always. Now are you both New Yorkers. I was there for many many years. I was acting for a long time Broadway and Off Broadway jumped up to a regional show come back. So that was what I did there for a long time. I am currently a New Yorker although I lived here in Los Angeles for about 19 years and then yeah I moved to New York by way of Chicago been all over that. I come back here. Only for Christmas. I was just going to say I was born in New York. You bet your music and your sense of humor seems to have a little bit of a new york's slack because there's this edge to it and I don't know what else to describe but there's a certain tone to it that feels very much at home. That makes me happy. That strikes you that way that makes me feel very good yeah good good yeah. Cynical sophisticated smartish elegance yeah fuck you. Yeah a lot of fucking yeah. Oh you open the gates now for shit. You know I got permission from Bethlehem. Visitors are right. So when you're doing music like this which is humorous. Are you approaching it with a very from a very serious angle. I mean so how do you tackle comedy and music. How is that different from something else. I don't think things are funny if you are not taking him seriously. Takes a very seriously and then it's funny. And if you're trying to be funny on top of funny you're double joking and you're going to fail. So for the most part our approach is pretty straight ahead I suppose except when it's not. But that doesn't mean you don't end up screaming. I mean you can certainly end up screaming but it's still coming from some kind of real a real thing. Yeah. From from at me for me. So frequently it's it's it's anger. I think. Rage and anger. I'm not alone in this you know Rallo may say creativity is born of anger. So anyone else like lynched somebody. And then he wrote a book because he is so angry. So give me a little background in terms of how you've come to this place but your kind of background is in music or in music. You know I am a jack of many trades master of none. Pretty classic. I studied acting in school but I always had a little music going on to play piano in church. There was an oyster playing piano and I was like 5 or 6 years old and I was much more employable as a piano player than I was an actor so it's just that when you were five that's because that's impressive. People want that. They wouldn't let me in the clubs that wanted to hire me. And then I started writing and I got jobs out here in television and movies writing so I've been all over the map. But you know music just as that special tote always keeps coming back to music for me. And did you actually study music. Never. Self-taught Yeah likewise self-taught. I. Because I sing I did musicals you know have done that thing that you do when you can sing and I don't I don't like a lot of musicals the ones I like are really love. But for the most part a year and I did and now we share that. But I did I did the Broadway musical deal and then I came to L.A. and started writing and I became a screenwriter and that really was kind of really took over my life in a big way and I started singing I started performing as a singer songwriter really because of many chart off do you know Melanie. Yeah. Well she said you know you got to start doing that more than just my house. She said You gotta get up and do this. She made me do it. I owe her. And then we just sort of took off as yet another thing. But yeah. And I was you know after not getting work in Hollywood after getting work in Hollywood then I got no work in Hollywood and I was terribly depressed. And I said I should come back on the music and so I started writing a show with three friends from Chicago it also transplanted out here and that show is called the bicycle man. And I get to like do a bunch of songs and and get back to that and was really fun. And a mutual friend of ours Elaine Aronsohn was working with my wife who is a comedy writer at the time and said You should meet my friend Cynthia. Carl here's the story. I saw the bicycle man Elaine said you got to see this show. I saw the bicycle and this is true. I saw the bicycle man seven times before I ever met Martin. That's how great it was. That's how funny it was. And I don't see things twice. And he laughed and said You should meet my friend she's seen your show seven times. And I said. Why would I want to meet this woman. She sounds insane. But I did meet her and she was insane. But it was a very sort of complimentary insanity to my own. Yeah. Then we discovered that we were in fact siblings and that was the most fun. Well the fact that you mentioned you don't like musicals on the whole may explain why I love your music so I share that same feeling. Oh yeah. I think there should be a little secret society of us who us of us who don't. Yeah yeah have that love. I'm not a very musical person I actually consider myself quite musically challenged and tone deaf and can't keep a beat or anything but I'm want to go back to your reanimator work just because talk about saying something a lot of times I think I may have seen that more than two dozen times including crossing the Atlantic to see you guys in Scotland. But the music never got tiring like it never gets tiring. I always feel like on some level I'm finding something new in it. So how do you accomplish something like that what is it to somebody who doesn't understand music what are you doing that's different from what a lot of other people do. If I knew the answer to that question I would have. Done it over and over again and maybe I could bottle it and sell it. I don't know it just kind of came rushing out to me outside. I see reanimator. Where did that come from. I old song collection. Great unbelievably great score. I just want to know what in the world to hear it because you just did such I just had some vague idea is you know that I could well maybe it's a whore musical I should listen to a lot of Bernard Hermann which I did and stole from him. And just kind of grabbed it any sort of. Notion that was available to get the music out. And Stuart Gordon never done a musical before and I just started you know writing scene after scene yeah great keep going keep going keep going. There was there was no not much calculation behind it all. It's just such a gorgeous gorgeous piece of work. Yeah I look forward to the original cast album is going to be a thing very soon. You know we're here this summer and you know watch this space for more details. Well it just seems like the music is. Complex like it doesn't it seems like there's multiple things going on at the same time in terms of the music and in terms of what's being sung as well. Yeah I you know again I got artsy sometimes it seemed it seemed like important to be artsy you did that great structural work his songs in that show move the story forward. They don't they're not just they're rarely just a you know kind of a sidebar or for a character or something they're really usually welcome to have a strong story to begin with and I did you know the script that Dennis Pioli and Stewart and William Norris came up with is a pretty clean narrative line. So that work was done for me you know and I just I just had to go and Herbert West is an amazing character. He's kind of like what a musical likes. You know that larger than life character with a huge drive like Mama Rose in Gypsy. On. The. Dolphin. Animation. I could really is my calling. You a modern air to. Me. Bringing my. Life. High and. I'm not saying I'm God. I'm not saying I'm God. I'm not saying to. Live. Life. With the purpose. It's. A. Lot. Like a song. Like that hailstorm. Ivan desperate for vitality. So I. Have. All. So the. In terms of singing because you were one of the four performers in reanimator in terms of singing it. What was that like and what did you find enjoyable about doing it repeatedly doing it repeatedly. Well I'm I'm used to doing an eight shows a week deal so that never gets old for me when it's something good when it's something really worthwhile and Mark stuff. It's not easy to sing. He's got intervals from space and there and it's very very tough. It was particularly tough for the people who don't read music. That was a lot of pounding out of parts. So I was a little bit luckier in that way because I couldn't read it. But it's it's complex. Like you said it's complex and twisty and that's great it's got such excitement in it all the time that it made it very single mom and it also seems to be like in terms of style it's like there's one that sounds like a tango and there's one that sounds like it's out of the sound of music and then there's another one that you seem you didn't stick to just one particular style. Oh no well that's my comedic sense showing you know if I thought something could be funny and then I can grab it. You know I thought that the Dan talking to the dean. How about we just saw Kath brought back to life. That should be modeled on I could have danced all night from My Fair Lady. Probably can tell now that you think about. It back to life. Her first brought a cat back to life but dead cat screams I'm alive. So it seems to be precise a choice about the last product that. I saw a cat died. Laughter. Never mind that it's fine it's not half. I was not giddy. I thought that I could fly. I'm still real high on a cat bag. I was a swarm of buzzing as I pondered the possibilities. This is great. It's momentous it has weight wait it's more than friends we understand. You can blame my heart racing and it makes sense. Herbert last brought back to life the tango between Doctor Hill and Herbert West's tango. I thought this was interesting it was fun when I was writing it. I used to dance it was performed between two men in Argentina men in a brothel waiting for the next court to pass the time these men would dance the tango with each other. And I thought Oh that would be fun. See these guys doing a tango together. So that's where I will be famous Kim. And to return back to Christmas smack down. There are some other songs I think you called it the sheer mix oh sweet cheer Christmas cheer. So we talk a little bit about what is Christmas cheer. That's what Christmas means to me. We mentioned alcohol and alcoholism and being a running thread through that. Yeah yeah I don't think you need to know much more about that other than just getting blotto over the holidays seems to be my new tradition. She like. Yes I do. I love my friends who. Sorry. Sorry. I. Am sorry about. Your. Wrong. For people who can't be here. Explain a little bit about what this space is like and you have a very cozy stage here in a very cozy. You know the general store here is impossibly quaint. I guess it was built by a Hollywood prop master. I think it was here before that with that it became this prop shop. This is a guy whose dresses sets and that's what all of this is amazing stuff and there's a lot of stuff here on the shelves for sale these little plaid teddy bears and your gingham rather teddy bears over there. That's all right in the middle of the room. It's just it looks like the Cracker Barrel that you find in Evansville Indiana except it's real. It's empty it's really cool. And that is a ten pound a tin ceiling that's real the floors are wood. It's tiny. The stage is just absurdly small and we cram people into a crowd in this space. Oh yeah we've done it. We've crammed. I think once we went upwards of 50 in here and it was insane. But it can be done it can be done we may be doing it tonight and it's such a quaint sort of. Environment. It sets off our songs rather nicely. We have to ask them to not run the espresso machine during songs. They've gotten very good about that. So. Do each of you have a favorite song in this collection. It's always kind of the newest one you know. I mean I like doing the stuff it works but all that but then when you know. It's my writer talking you know that when you write something new and you do it for the first time you get laughs it's like that's my new favorite. There it is. You know it's funny because I realized last night in fact when I was standing there listening to it my favorite song is a song that I wrote that he sings and it just it first last night you killed me in it. And I was just so I was sitting up thinking wow I hope that and Mark's actually singing that mean just made me very happy. And what's the name of that one. That's called home for Christmas. I'm afraid to ask what it's about. Las Vegas is involved. Las Vegas. Singing. Maybe singing. Maybe Christmas. Next year but I doubt it. I love this. You'll have to muddle through. This. History. This. Is where. A shot glass and. An ashtray with his name. Is just like. Me. And what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So what is it that draws you to writing these kind of songs. Oh I think they're unnecessary and I don't hear anybody else really doing them to to the extent that we do. Pardon me if I'm chillin onto your miking and I'm just starving. You want if you want a bite of this please feel free. It's where the cynicism. That we have comes right up against the incredible sentimentality that we both have when we end up writing a show like this. I think I think that's good. I think that's right. You know I still in spite of myself I still you know give in to some goofy Christmas feelings you know and try to snap out of it. You know that's when the alcohol helps again. Somebody told me you wrote a song about a baby and a paper shredder. Yeah the baby shredders. Oh yeah. Oh it's marvelous. It's rather good music video of it too. That Cynthia's feature did go to youtube and look for Mark Nutter baby shredder. Seriously. It's about a man with a dream goes to the patent office and tries to patent his baby shredder. As you know a way to prevent identity theft she said. Do you mean you want to get a patent for a tiny version of. A pay Pern shredder. I said you've a misconception of exactly what my baby read does. It shreds whole babies. Today there is a problem we can't Berbick to my eyes more and more identity theft. Can. Cost you lots of cash. Must take precautions. You. Don't want to create fight and shredded. I saw from a shocked expression this could take a while and would be harder than. I first expected. I said if you please a moment to acquaint you with the many features of. My baby shredder. Slot on the top. It's three times as wide as the. Was a form of. Baby solids. Freeze dried. Long lasting. Shred for baby. Before emptying the bag. You can read up to six. Songs that I've had friends say I'm sorry that's just going too far for me. It seemed to be one of the reasons I think that Stuart Gordon like tagged meteorite reanimator he saw that you said this this might be the guy I was just going to say that. Also if you're if you're at YouTube looking at baby Shrader angels there's a video of angels online. The shitty Angel song. Let's go to Cynthia. Angels. How did this collection of songs you're going to be playing tonight. Which one do you think goes too far. Is there one. I don't know if we can accomplish that have. I know I'm thinking that there's certain moments of the cannibalism event might maybe kick it out where people don't really want to go. Yeah yeah. I think some people believe there are a couple of pictures. Exactly. Exactly. Good night. Oh and also we heard last night we heard a lot of oh ouch kind of stuff when we were singing our divorce song we wrote together it's called. It's called All the best it's two people wishing each other. All. The best. Now. Trumps. Harry. This is a very intimate space you can see the audience very well. And the reaction so what reactions do you get are you getting people who are fans of yours and completely go along or do you ever get that moment where there's a gas. There's a moment where there's a little bit of a chill of that feeling of am I supposed to laugh at this. It's a song called The Fundamentals of Christmas and it's too it's to fundamentalist Christians trying to come to terms with the fact that Jesus was Jewish and that you're you are the little moments sometimes where people knew to it are going. Do I get to laugh here or not. And then by the end of the sterling. Cooper. Watch. We actually couple walked out last night. We don't know why. We don't know what those people think. We hope they were offended because you know it probably was just something minor like they had to you know feed the meter. We'd like to think we offended them. This notion of offending people with humor is something especially right now. This year's politics. How do you feel there is a need to offend people through humor and what does that serve. If this were visual I could show you the Venn diagram where I think you know obscene is over here and full circle man humor's over here. And then they intersect you know and in that little space where they intersect there is stuff that's really filthy and funny. But a lot of stuff that's really filthy just isn't funny. And a lot of stuff that's funny isn't filthy so it really doesn't. You know it's you know what I mean about the event. I know I use the example of you know my comedic heroes or money python and I always think about Mr. creosote throwing up in the French restaurant repeatedly. You know these guys were not dummies but somehow they got away with it. You know. When smart guys do really gross and horrible humor. I'm there you know if if they're not that smart or if they haven't done something that's not that's not gross and still funny then you know what am I trying to say here. I don't know. For me the the the big fat political humor that I know there's going to be a lot of it's kind of it's almost he is sorry that Donald Trump is such a wide that's a barn door of a target. You cannot miss. And I just don't write stuff that hits them. That's that's kind of I'll find some little corner of observational something that makes me go. What's that thing in the corner. Yeah. I'm scared. Yeah. A friend did a. Musical review in Chicago this fall called fuck Trump where she approached of all the songwriters she knew and asked them if they would like to contribute something and I did. And then I'm realizing this is awfully familiar territory and every song is going to have a tiny hands reference a hair reference and build the wall reference. You know it's just it's it's just it's kind of limited so. I think in a bigger picture I just want people to get giddy and silly. I think that would be a bigger service I think. So you said you've been doing this show for eight possibly 15 years. And you keep adding to it. So how do you keep it fresh and how do you keep your interest and excitement about it. Each year it's a short season. For one thing you know we slam this thing up we do it for three nights or two nights and then we're gone. So we not perform that much outside of smart. This is my big moment on stage you know. Like I rehearsed for a year and have three shows and then I go back and look forward to the next year. So the excitement is no trouble. You know. It's. Like a big event. It would be a different story if they were doing the Broadway thing you know like eight shows a week then it would become a. I think that would kill you because I know what your attention span is about doing your stuff over and over. Yeah yeah. I'm used to it I can I can do that for some would be good. I played piano for long running shows boy. After three months I was just praying for actors to fall or forget lines just anything to shake things up a little bit. Is there a place for you to to play this kind of music or to find an audience for this kind of music is that hard is it a small audience and do you basically just kind of do this. On the side while you have other job. Like I say I'm a screenwriter and I also just finished a novel. So this is like this is when I do the singer songwriter thing as well. But but here's here's what we were talking about last night but we feel like we need is somebody who may be out there who is a producer kind of person with massive energy. Massive idea who gets what we're doing and isn't intersection to the rest of the with the rest of the world you know what I mean. So like that could be that conduit. Thank you. The rest of people. Yeah we've we find that person who can connect us up with audiences. And then. You know we are we would love to just have this rolling. We did it in Chicago with four people that were not us. So. That was cool because we realized it was a single one of them was us ninety nine. I feel like we know that the material stands up without us which is cool. And you'll see tonight we've given away a lot of our songs to the wonderful people who are in the show with us. All right well thank you both. They're playing the music their queing everybody. So transition. Yeah thank you so much Beth Comando. I am your fan. I think you're so great. And thank you for the Christmas tranch made Christmas tree. There's alcohol involved alcohol involved. We've spent years. Trying to tell you a story. Chris on some. Very misguided magic flights driver is not his thing. Santa Claus Merry Christmas. For listening to the sick and twisted holiday edition of the Cape sin image IQ pod cast. If this is put you in a charitable giving mode then please go to keep PBS. Dot org slash feed the Janki and give you can give no more will be ever thankful. But if this episode has turned you into a scrooge then maybe you could head over to iTunes and just give the podcast a review that doesn't cost you anything but a little bit of your time. I'll be on holiday break this month and next but I've picked out some of the most popular episodes to entertain you during the break. In case you might have missed them so get ready for some Batmen nostalgia some real science. Something to put you in the mood for the Oscars next year. Still our next film fix I'm Beth Accomando your residence and I'm a junkie. Lobby. Is. See suicide there just like suicide make me cry. Finally I have the budget please be. Reasonable. Someone get. The. Money. I see my kid. OK. So. There are racers she says hey look into the Christmas hotel. My. Auntie. Things turned out service. All right. Some people are free. It's FREE. It's. Free. It's FREE. So why was the Christmas. Eve service leave the gas for.

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Cinema Junkie is taking a holiday break and will be re-posting popular podcasts in the interim. This week I pull up an archive show appropriate for the Christmas season but with some perverse holiday cheer and that means revisiting "Christmas Smackdown" with Mark Nutter and Cynthia Carle. Proceed with caution.

Cinema Junkie is taking a holiday break and will be re-posting popular podcasts in the interim. This week I pull up an archive show appropriate for the Christmas season but with some perverse holiday cheer and that means revisiting "Christmas Smackdown" with Mark Nutter and Cynthia Carle.

Warning: What follows pushes the boundaries of good taste to the breaking point ... and beyond.

I am straying off the cinema path for this podcast because my two guests are so deliciously depraved that I could not resist ending the year with their annual "Christmas Smackdown" show.

I was introduced to the work of Mark Nutter and Cynthia Carle when I covered "Re-Animator the Musical" for NPR back in 2011.

Nutter worked with Stuart Gordon to create a musical stage version of Gordon’s 1985 splatter fest movie "Re-Animator" (there, that’s the slim film connection for this episode) and Carle was in the cast. I fell in love with the musical and with their work. Check out Cinema Junkie podcast 41 for my love letter to "Re-Animator the Musical."

Then I heard that they do something called "Christmas Smackdown" that was "all of your most cherished holiday sentiments pinned down to the mat in an Argentine death choke." Needless to say, I had to see it. But this was the first year I could actually make it up to Los Angeles to see the show.

It was all that I could have hoped for and more. It went beyond irreverent and into the realm of bad taste ... but bad taste of the most delectable kind. Here's a sample, a song called "Angels."

Cynthia Carle: Angels

In the podcast, you can also hear cheery Christmas songs about severed heads, cannibalism, suicide and a drunk reindeer with a thing for Santa.

And here is the video we reference in the podcast of Nutter's song "The Baby Shredder," which is most definitely sick and twisted. You have been warned again!

Mark Nutter: The Baby Shredder Song

The latest edition of "Christmas Smackdown" is called "Get Lit - Hanukkah Special" and will be performed through Dec. 23 at Hallenbeck's General Store in North Hollywood.

Mark Nutter said of this year's show: "We will be joined by 'Re-Animator the Musical's' Graham Skipper (Herbert West), Brian Gillespie, and Liesel Hanson. We also premiere our musical version of 'A Christmas Carol' titled 'Keeping the Dick in Dickens.'"

When I asked about this being a Hanukkah Special, Nutter added, "Hanukkah, like Christmas, is for drunks."

Please note that Cinema Junkie will be taking a brief vacation and will return with new podcasts on Feb. 1.

Thanks for listening throughout the year. If you are in the holiday giving spirit, consider donating to this listener-supported podcast at KPBS or for a cheaper but no less appreciated option go to iTunes and leave a review.