Monthly Archives: October 2015

MONSTER RALLY

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Here’s a look at some of the neglected monsters I’ve covered over the years. These horrific figures deserve as much love as the better known characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Crying Woman and many others.

 

Squaw Hollow SensationSETHOS

First Appearance: The Squaw Hollow Sensation (1879)

Cryptid Category: Aztec mummy

Lore: Around the year 800 AD an Aztec scholar named Sethos drank the Draught of the Everlasting Covenant and went into a state of suspended animation. In 1879 mining operations uncovered the tomb where he was hidden away.

A scientist of the era mastered the technique of reviving Sethos and successfully restored him to full life. Sethos’ body was hideously mummified but intact except for a gaping hole in his skull in the middle of his forehead from the experiment to revive him. Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN WITH DAN CURTIS

Jack Palance and THE Billie Whitelaw in Dan Curtis' Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Jack Palance and THE Billie Whitelaw in Dan Curtis’ Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Dan Curtis was well-known for his Dark Shadows television series, the original Night Stalker telefilm and its sequel The Night Strangler. Throw in The Norliss Tapes, Trilogy of Terror and about a dozen more made-for-tv exercises in the macabre.  

In keeping with Balladeer’s Blog’s overall theme here’s a look at four of Curtis’ overlooked horror productions, ranging from excellent to laughable.

Dr Jekyll and Mr HydeDR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (1968) – Believe it or not Jack Palance does a decent job as the dual title figure in this made for tv movie which also starred Denholm Elliott, Oskar Homolka and BILLIE WHITELAW, who was introduced in this production. 

This rendition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is top quality for a 1968 television effort and reflects the best elements of Curtis’ then-current Dark Shadows but without the frequent on-air gaffes that plagued that live broadcast.  

The story is very nicely adapted with just the right amount of foggy London streets, murders and increasingly obscene behavior from Edward Hyde. One of the best features of this Dan Curtis treasure is the way it retains Robert Louis Stevenson’s oft-neglected point that it was Jekyll behind the horror all along – Hyde was simply the “mask” that gave free reign to the dark urges Jekyll suppressed in his everyday “respectable” life. Continue reading

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1869): GOTHIC HORROR

If you love Gothic Horror be sure to check out my October 1st review of the obscure Gothic novella Isabella of Egypt (1812) 

THE MAN WHO LAUGHS

Man who laughs book coverI always commit the literary blasphemy of saying that I don’t consider Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame to be very much of a horror story. I will forever maintain that Hugo’s overlooked novel The Man Who Laughs features all the virtues of Quasimodo’s tale AND presents them all in a superior fashion.

In addition The Man Who Laughs contains many more elements that lend themselves to pure horror than does The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the past I’ve examined elements of the film adaptations of The Man Who Laughs (including the fact that the physical appearance of Batman’s foe the Joker was inspired by Conrad Veidt’s 1928 portrayal of the title figure.)

Here’s a breakdown of why I prefer TMWL, with Hugo’s tragic monster Gwynplaine to THOND, with his tragic hunchback Quasimodo: Continue reading

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THE PERFECT COSTUME FOR SCARING MUSLIM FANATICS

Muslim trick or treating

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October 30, 2015 · 4:43 pm

EARL OWENSBY HALLOWEEN TRIPLE FEATURE

Owensby's macabre Grim Reaper/ Fool Killer style monster from A Day of Judgment.

Owensby’s macabre Grim Reaper/ Fool Killer style monster from A Day of Judgment (1981).

What Larry Buchanan was to Texas …

What Bill Rebane was to Wisconsin …

What William Girdler was to Louisville and Andy Milligan was to Staten Island, Earl Owensby was to North Carolina. “The Dixie DeMille” himself is the subject as Halloween Month continues! 

Low-budget filmmaker Earl Owensby occupies a unique niche in American movie making. Like Roger Corman before him, Owensby set out to be absolutely certain that his films made a profit and – again like Corman – a lot of his flicks were unpretentious B-Movies. Owensby notoriously never spent more than a million dollars on a film and never accepted a distribution deal that would net his company less than eight million dollars.

Many of Owensby’s movies are entertaining and boast decent production values, but for the sake of this review I will be looking at three of his lesser efforts that I feel fall into the fun-bad category.  

Wolfman 1WOLFMAN (1979) – With this movie Owensby completed his move from being a budget Joe Don Baker in vigilante movies like Challenge, The Brass Ring and Dark Sunday to being a budget Burt Reynolds in race-car and prison flicks like Death Driver and Seabo to being a regional horror film producer like Bill Rebane.  

In a sprawling southern mansion the aged patriarch of the Glasgow family lies on his death-bed. A minister who is really a Satanist (Ed Grady) is in cahoots with some of Glasgow’s sleazy heirs to pass the family curse of lycanthropy on to the eldest Glasgow male – Colin Glasgow (Earl Owensby). You’d think that would happen naturally if you’re a fan of other werewolf films but Owensby plays by his own rules in this southern-fried wolfman movie. Continue reading

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JOHN RHYS-DAVIES ON ISLAM’S PERPETUATION OF SLAVERY

John Rhys-Davies*NOTE: I’m a non-believer so I don’t go along with the “Christian” bits but on everything else I think he’s dead-on. 

“It is disgraceful that Christians are being persecuted and the West is doing little or nothing to stop them. And not just persecuted, but killed. And of course, slavery is back.

“This drives me to a fury. Getting rid of slavery is one of the great successes of Western European Christian civilization. And let me go a little bit further. I am shocked, for instance, that the black community, which has, historically, a recent experience of slavery in their ancestry, is not raging at this reemergence of slavery. Have we become so immune to outrage that we have lost our passion against this abomination? And it is an abomination.

“And let me go further. If there is an ideology that even obliges any of us to tolerate the notion that slavery is a legitimate form of expressing God’s will, then my suggestion is, there is no place in Western civilized society for anyone even prepared to countenance that. Continue reading

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THE RED GNOME

Another neglected American horror legend from Balladeer’s Blog to help celebrate Halloween Month.

THE RED GNOME

Red GnomeThis red-hued hobgoblin has plagued Detroit for over 300 years. The Red Gnome was one of the supernatural entities created by the Native American deity Glooskap to protect his people. When European  settlers began to populate the area the figure did what he could to protect the native inhabitants but when that proved futile he turned his attention exclusively to tormenting the newcomers. 

The Red Gnome was short in stature and often mistaken for a child when glimpsed from behind. The hobgoblin has rotten teeth and breath that can kill if the creature so chooses. Anyone tricked into kissing the Red Gnome is said to die immediately. In addition this ageless being has ruby-red eyes that can shoot fiery rays. 

In 1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (yes, as in THAT Cadillac) battled the Red Gnome, which plagued him until he had lost all his fortune. The hobgoblin’s fiery eye-beams would cause frozen ice on the Detroit River to melt under skaters or racers, plunging them to their deaths in the icy waters below. In warmer weather he would cause small boats to capsize and then drown the passengers.  Continue reading

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