Monthly Archives: April 2020

LOCAL 58 TV: KRIS STRAUB’S ONGOING HORROR PROJECT

Local 58Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’ve made clear my love of myths and folklore and ARG’s (Alternate Reality Games). I enjoy the way truth, fiction, pretended truth and pretended fiction can intermingle, especially like the Orion/ Elvis Presley situation or in the participatory manner of ARGs, Adult Swim and CreepyPastas. 

For what it’s worth, I would recommend hopping on to Kris Straub’s latest experiment in meta-horror, Local 58 TV, while it is still ongoing. If you’re not familiar with Straub’s work he parlayed his quasi-CreepyPasta tale about Candle Cove, a “forgotten” Children’s Show with horrific undertones into a collection of short stories and later a television series.

masc chair and bottleIn the fashion of the H.P. Lovecraft Fictional Universe, largely centered around the Miskatonic Valley, the Necronomicon and Miskatonic University, Kris’ shared fictional universe largely centers around the nonexistent towns of Ichor Falls, Broodhollow, Edenvale and Lasker City. The towns are located in the real-life Mason County, WV.

Local 58 TV, serving Straub’s fictional towns, is part of his latest ingenious horror project. Like Candle Cove, the tale of this made-up television station has started out as a hauntingly incomplete mosaic.

The station’s vaguely sinister slogan We have always been here is just the opening salvo in its eerie, disturbing and horrific programming. Deepening the mystery is the way in which it is often unclear how much of the unfolding terror is actually the station’s fault and how much is content from vile unknown parties who hijack the station’s signal. Continue reading

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Filed under Halloween Season, Mythology

THE WIZARD OF MARS (1965) MOVIE REVIEW

 THE WIZARD OF MARS – (1965) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following  

This 1965 film from David L Hewitt is my all-time favorite kitschy movie about space travel. 

This one has all the little extras that separate a true bad movie classic from the mere pretenders. One of those extras would be incredibly cheap special effects, some of them cadged right from the old Soviet sci-fi flick Planet of Storms, which is a lot of fun for people like me who’ve seen those same bits of footage show up in countless other bad movies. (Especially the spaceship’s “viewscreen” complete with markings for North, South, East and West, which would, of course, be meaningless in space)

masc graveyard newAnother extra that this film has is the man I consider to be the Patron Saint of Bad Movies, John Carradine himself, as the titular wizard. I don’t recommend trying to see all the movies John Carradine has appeared in unless you plan on making a career out of it and I don’t recommend that either. (Somewhere around his Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies

POLITICAL CARTOONS FOR WEDNESDAY

It’s been a long time since I posted political cartoons, so here we go. These – from P.R. – are  about the hypocritical way privileged Democrats are trying to ignore the very credible – and corroborated – sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.

Tara Reade cartoon

cartoon about the Tara Reade situation 2

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

FOOL KILLER FORTY: OCTOBER 1910

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer 1910-1929PART FORTY: The October of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer. LORE CHANGE – For the first time the Fool Killer is depicted using a Bomb of Truth against his targets, making these explosives the latest addition to his arsenal of weapons. Even today we often use the figurative expression “Truth Bombs.”

Best imagery invoked by Pearson and his Fool Killer this month: Congress as a collection of corrupt fools safely fighting the citizenry from behind high walls made of piles of taxpayer money. Some things never change. 

Targets for this issue:

*** People who were hurriedly exploiting the still-new invention the airplane for wartime uses.

*** Those members of the wig industry who were harvesting most of the hair for their wigs from the heads of corpses.

Fool Killer pic*** John J Astor and his wife, who were going through an ugly and costly public divorce.

*** “Doctor” George W Carey, who was pushing the theory that the Sun was “the father” of all the planets in our solar system except for the Earth, which was “the mother” of those planets. Carey further stated that the South Pole was the womb of the Earth and that sunlight hitting the region eventually impregnated the Earth, which gave birth via Antarctica.

              George also explained that the Moon was the Sun and Earth’s youngest child and that if the true South Pole was ever reached an umbilical cord running all the way up to the Moon would be discovered.

              If that’s not enough “science” for you, Carey stated that the umbilical cord would detach from Antarctica around the year 1945, following which the Earth would get pregnant again by the Sun and give birth to another celestial body as a child. Any questions? Continue reading

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Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1971-1973) FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

Rivals of Sherlock Holmes bestTHE RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1971-1973) – The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes was not just a collection of stories by mystery writers who were contemporaries of Arthur Conan Doyle but also a television series which adapted such mysteries. Just as Holmes’ tales were set during the Victorian and Edwardian Eras so, too, were the stories of these detectives. The series lasted two seasons of 13 episodes each and presented the best non-Holmes London-by-Gaslight Detectives. 

Doctor ThorndykeEpisode One: A MESSAGE FROM THE DEEP SEA

Detective: Doctor John Evelyn Thorndyke, created by R Austin Freeman. The first Thorndyke story was published in 1907.

Review: In my opinion this is the best episode of Season One. Thorndyke, like Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, was miles ahead of the contemporary police in terms of Crime Scene Investigation. In both the Holmes AND Thorndyke mysteries there is a quasi-science fiction feel as those great fictional detectives use scientific methods disdained at the time but which are now commonplace in the solving of crimes.     

Thorndyke and JervisThe episode introduces us to Dr John Evelyn Thorndyke (John Neville), a forensic physician/ Police Surgeon of the era, as he is teaching a classroom of students. (Kind of a Quincy opening feel.) He is assisted by Dr Jervis (James Cossins), Thorndyke’s version of Dr Watson.

A former student of Thorndyke’s shows up requesting his former teacher’s help in his first big murder case as an Assistant Police Surgeon. Our star and his man Jervis accompany their former student to a brothel on Harrow Street, where a prostitute has been murdered in her bed by having her throat slashed. Continue reading

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Filed under Forgotten Television

SENILE JOE BIDEN BLITHERS AGAIN

Joe Biden is creepyThank you to the Bernie Bros who reminded me of this. Joe Biden is STILL being called everything from senile to demented to a sexual assailant (#DROPOUTBIDEN is trending over the latest evidence). “Hidin’ Biden” has resorted to trying to bluff his way through softball appearances ONLY with fawning Democrats in the media.

Joe Biden senileSenile Joe’s cognitive problems are such that even with the most delicate of handling he continues to gibber on camera. To quote one of his recent disordered babblings (link below):

“Um, you know there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, that uh, you know, was totally different, than a, than the, he called it the, you know, the WWII, he had the War Production Board.” Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

THE MONSTER OF LAKE LA METRIE (1899): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Monster of Lake La MetrieTHE MONSTER OF LAKE LA METRIE (1899) – This short story was written by Wardon Allan Curtis and was first published in the August of 1899 issue of Pearson’s Magazine.

Dr James McLennegan and his deeply depressed friend Edward Framingham travel to Wyoming to investigate oddities surrounding Lake La Metrie. Soundings make the lake seem to be bottomless and periodically fossils and extinct plant life show up in its waters.

Monster of Lake La Metrie 3The pair of researchers begin to theorize that the lake reaches down to the Earth’s “hollow interior.” (Yes, it’s one of THOSE notions again.) They suspect that plant and animal species long extinct on the surface are still alive deep within the planet and occasionally wash up in the lake’s waters.

One day during McLennegan and Framingham’s stay a full-grown elasmosaurus dinosaur emerges from the depths of Lake La Metrie. Continue reading

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Filed under Ancient Science Fiction

DAN FRAGA’S NEW BLACK FLAG STORY IS AVAILABLE NOW

Black FlagComic book legend Dan Fraga shook the industry recently when he joined up with the daring, iconoclastic creative titans led by Ethan Van Sciver, Richard C Meyer, Jon Malin and others. Those “outlaws” – as I always call them – have broken away from the stale, corporate, suffocatingly conformist confines of the Big Two publishers to pursue their own creative vision.

Fraga became the latest addition to these blacklist-defying rebels and has dealt with the harrumphing backlash with true swashbuckling, two-fisted panache. Dan ran up the ComicsGate banner for the revival of his Black Flag superteam in their first adventure in 25 years.

The heroes Sniper, Rascal, Geisha, Guerilla, Raiden and Shrine are back at long last in a 48-page adventure which fuses the very best aspects of western comic books with manga plus unique elements that are pure Fraga. To order your Indiegogo copies: Continue reading

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Filed under Neglected History, Superheroes

I’M SURPRISED THIS OLD QUOTE ISN’T THROWN AROUND MORE RIGHT NOW

Mascot new lookWith assorted events in the news these days I keep being reminded of an old quote. You know the source.

I’ll paraphrase it as “Too late we realized that we would have to go on living under the new Plague Rules long after the Plague itself had gone away.”

In 1947 Albert Camus used a physical plague as a metaphor for his actual theme: The manner in which too many people react – or fail to react – when they are physically trapped by human “rats” who insist they obey orders and remain utterly compliant as their freedoms are taken away from them. Continue reading

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Filed under opinion

MERINA MYTHS: TOMPONDRANO

Tompondrano

The French who first came into contact with the people of Madagascar mistook Tompondrano for Leviathan from Christian mythology.

TOMPONDRANO – “Lord of the waters.” The supreme snake deity in Merina mythology. Not only were all other serpents subordinate to Tompondrano but he often acted as an ambassador between snakes and human beings, negotiating the end to conflicts between the two groups. 

A major myth about this deity includes its role in advising the Vazimba how to use sacrifices to appease gods and demons. The Vazimba were little people who were previously the dominant race of Madagascar. They are similar to the Menehune in Hawaiian myths and to “little people” who figure into mythology and folklore from around the world.  

One day a Vazimba boy was playing with a seven-headed serpent monster. That serpent decided to keep him and make him live with him under the water. The Vazimba prayed to Tompondrano to save him. Tompondrano advised the Vazimba boy to be patient, then sent the Kingfisher bird to the Vazimba’s parents with word that sacrificing a chicken and a sheep to the seven- headed serpent would appease it and get it to release their son. Continue reading

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Filed under Mythology