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In an ongoing tribute to Cannon Films, we discuss a box-office bomb from one of the most celebrated and controversial filmmakers of all time.

For the last Spookshow of 2022, it’s another edition of Cannon Fodder, and your hosts talk about PIRATES (1986). Join Josh, Will & Professor Smoak as they take to the high seas with Walter Matthau in this “pirate adventure”!

Pirates is a 1986 adventure comedy film written by Gérard Brach, John Brownjohn, and Roman Polanski and directed by Polanski. It was inspired by Polanski’s love of classic pirate films, as well as Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

Polanski began planning the film in 1976 as a follow-up to the iconic Chinatown. But production was delayed several times due to lack of funding and Polanski’s fleeing the United States to avoid rape allegations.

Taking place in 1659, the plot centers around the infamous English pirate Captain Red and his cabin boy, Jean-Baptiste (nicknamed Frog). The two find themselves lost on a raft without supplies in the ocean until they are picked up by a large ship and thrown into the brig. There they meet the ship’s cook, Boomako, who has been imprisoned for attempting the steal a golden Aztec throne aboard the ship.

Watch the trailer right here. Pirates is not currently streaming, but you can watch it in full on YouTube.

Captain Red becomes obsessed with capturing the throne for himself, and he launches a rebellion to take over command of the ship.

“I really feel like making a film for a young audience”, said Polanski shortly before filming. 

Initially, Michael Caine was attached as the lead. When he dropped out, Walter Matthau agreed to step in, and French drummer Cris Campion was signed on as his sidekick. Matthau didn’t like the script and found it confusing and unfunny. It was his youngest son, Charlie, who urged him to take the project for the chance to work with legendary filmmaker Polanski.

PIRATES was a box-office bomb and currently holds a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But is it really a disaster? Let’s discuss! 


In case you missed the previous Cannon Fodder segment, your Spookshow hosts discussed one of their favorites, 1987’s cult classic superhero film, Masters of the Universe. Directed by Gary Goddard, the film stars Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. He-Man arrives on Earth along with his friends — from their home planet of Eternia — to embark on a mission to save the universe from He-Man’s archenemy Skeletor.

We also hear from Austin Trunick with his latest “Cannon Chronicles” segment!


Since 2018, the All-American Spookshow team has reviewed Horror films, Cult classics, and Action flicks, plus, of course, total crap, so you don’t have to — but we encourage you to nonetheless. Every 2 weeks, the gang reviews a Horror movie with spoilers, alternating between older films (1999-back) & newer films (2000-present). Every other week, they alternate between a few different series, Spookshow Spotlight, Cult Corner, and Cannon Fodder.

Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube page for even more killer content. You can also support them on Patreon for tons of great exclusive and bonus content.

All-American Spookshow

Listen to more episodes on the show’s website here

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