Category Archives: Halloween Season

FATHER’S DAY (2011): MY MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE REVIEW EVER

Father's DayHAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Over the years my review of the 2011 horror film Father’s Day has been the most controversial. Reader reaction has been split between requests that I run the review every single Father’s Day and requests that I never run it again. Continue reading

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TWIN PEAKS IN POLAND? THE MAGICAL WORLD OF ANIA

Magical World of Ania picBalladeer’s Blog’s love of quality horror ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) has been well established. In the past I’ve examined productions like Local 58, Claridryl and Jack Torrance (NOT the character from The Shining.)

This time around I’m taking a look at what I call Poland’s answer to Twin PeaksMAGICZNY SWIAT ANI or MAGICAL WORLD OF ANIA. Like Local 58, this ARG is still going, so if you’re interested in pitting your wits against the producer’s, the various mysteries remain unresolved as of this writing.

NOTE: BE SURE TO USE THE CLOSED CAPTIONING FOR TRANSLATION FROM THE POLISH LANGUAGE.

Magical World of Ania pic 2The eerie storyline revolves around the disappearance of a beautiful young Polish woman named Ania Slowinska and the dark, seemingly supernatural forces behind it. As the tale unfolds it becomes apparent other women have fallen victim to the same forces, with one having had all her teeth removed after being murdered.

Among the many suspects and supporting characters in the drama are Ania’s mother Kristina, who seems to be morbidly enjoying the attention her daughter’s disappearance has brought her. Others include Ania’s birth-father – whom she never knew – plus her step-father, an infatuated stalker, a jealous female friend and a faith healer with a very strange band of disciples.

Magical World of Ania pic 3Organs and limbs seem to be stolen for transplant use and replaced with porcelain or papier mache substitutes. This practice extends even to the heads of the victims … sometimes while they’re still alive. Obviously this is for adults only.  Continue reading

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ANNA “THAT STAR WARS GIRL” AND HER 50th ANNIVERSARY VAMPIRELLA COVER

anna that star wars girl picAnna aka That Star Wars Girl, brings her considerable artistic abilities to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of horror icon Vampirella. Fresh story content is being created this year regarding the figure’s half-century of existence along with special commemorative covers.

Vampirella coverAnna, a free-lance artist, pop culture critic, co-host of The J.A.C.K. Show and founding member of the Fandom Menace, has her Indiegogo project for Dynamite Entertainment up right now.

Not only does Anna’s cover (at right) look terrific, but the rose in Vampirella’s hand is in memory of Anna’s younger sister Ellen Rose, who passed away last June.

T-Shirts are also available (see below). Continue reading

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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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BRAND: WAY OF THE GUN IS NOW AVAILABLE

Antonio Brice picANTONIO BRICE, THE RENOWNED COMIC BOOK CREATOR OF COLOR, IS BACK WITH THE SEQUEL TO HIS SUPERNATURAL ACTION EPIC BRAND. Brice is once again teamed with artist Caanan White of Shi fame.

BRAND: WAY OF THE GUN is the 60-page sequel to Brice’s sensational story which blended supernatural horror with gritty action in the tradition of From Dusk Til Dawn (but WITHOUT vampires). Any and all fans of PREACHER owe it to themselves to check out this incredible saga. 

Brand way of the gunThe tale resumes mere hours after the first story came to its cataclysmic conclusion. Supernatural hunters David and Dawn Craven are in for more “adults only” adventures as they once again oppose unspeakable horrors who wear the “Brand” – or mark – of Cain. 

To quote from Antonio: “David is visited by the sinister Dark Santana and his former mask Horus. David’s life and his relationships are in constant turmoil as we learn more about Dawn and how she fits into the plans of the hustler Fame. We delve more into her past, her present, and her future as we meet the mysterious Jehovah.”

ADULTS ONLY ART SAMPLE: Continue reading

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TOP MOVIES OF SHINYA TSUKAMOTO

tetsuo-bDirector Shinya Tsukamoto hails from Japan and is noted for his surreal, nightmarish excursions into the darker side of transformative  industrial technology … especially any technology that impacts the human anatomy.

Tsukamoto’s noteworthy films include:

 

tetsuoTetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – From the early shots of a man removing one of his own bones and replacing it with a piece of metal viewers knew this was a work of true genius. Tetsuo becomes more and more relevant by the year, especially with the advent of nanotechnology and its potentially invasive effect on the human mind and body. Continue reading

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NIGHT MIND AND THE ULTIMATE ARG: JACK TORRANCE

masc graveyard newRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog often ask me why I make so many references to ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) and feature tie-ins to some of them in my blog posts. It’s because they are a terrific example of modern day myths relayed through technology.

The effort that some creators put into building their world and the effort taken by their audience to solve the ARG’s mysteries make the experience so interactive it’s fascinating to watch unfold … when they’re done well.

As always, my hat’s off to Night Mind, who is in my opinion the best internet detective when it comes to horror ARGs. The video below features the ultimate example of this niche artform.

It’s Night Mind’s magnum opus: Jack Torrance: Fully Explained. (NOT the character from The Shining.) You’ll see why I find ARGs so addictive. Please subscribe to Night Mind’s channel, too. He deserves a lot of love. 

 

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MANDY (2018): NICOLAS CAGE IN THE ROLE HE WAS BORN TO PLAY!

MandyMANDY (2018) – For anyone who was alive back then, 1983 was apparently different than you remember. Panos Cosmatos directed and co-wrote this blood-soaked, trippy combination of Hellraiser, Father’s Day, Werewolves on Wheels and Thou Shalt Not Kill … Except.

Balladeer’s Blog readers who remember how much I enjoyed Cosmatos’ previous film Beyond the Black Rainbow will not be surprised to find that I love this prime example of a “love it or hate it” movie. Despite the story’s 1983 setting, Mandy is not quite as slavish a faux-80s piece as Beyond the Black Rainbow. This psychedelic work mixes in plenty of stylistic touches that are beyond anything a 1980s flick would have served up.

masc graveyard newThe soundtrack by the late Johann Johannsson is so effective it practically deserves a co-director credit. Meanwhile, serving as something of a humanoid special effect is madman-in-residence Nicolas Cage, who stars as Red Miller.

Red is a lumberjack, and he’s okay (Had to be said). He lives in a cabin in the idyllic forests of the Shadow Mountains with his true love, Mandy. The title character is played by Andrea Riseborough, who gives off a kind of creepy Sissy Spaceck/ Shelley Duvall vibe. Continue reading

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TWENTY BEST SILVER JOHN STORIES

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Balladeer’s Blog presents another Top Twenty list for 2020. This time it’s a look at the 20 Best Silver John Stories. If you’re not familiar with this neglected Pulp Hero created by Manly Wade Wellman, Silver John was a wandering musician who battled evil supernatural forces in the Appalachian Mountains of yore. His nickname comes from his pure silver guitar strings and the silver coins he wields in his war against darkness. Think Orpheus meets Kolchak. For more info click HERE

Silver John

Silver John

O, UGLY BIRD! – In this debut Silver John story the heroic balladeer squares off against a vile man named Osmer. That villain dominates an isolated mountain community through his ability to send forth his soul in the form of a giant, hideous bird to prey on any who oppose him. 

THE DESRICK ON YANDRO – Desricks are old mountain cabins dating back to Colonial times. Such cabins were heavily fortified against potential attacks from hostile Native Americans or wild animals. This particular desrick houses a powerful old witch and is guarded by a virtual army of horrific monsters. Silver John must face the Bammat (the last of the woolly mammoths) and the Toller (a deadly winged creature), plus others called the Culverin, the Flat, the Skim and the Behinder.     Continue reading

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NATALIE SHAU: FOR THIS ARTIST IT’S HALLOWEEN ALL YEAR ‘ROUND

Natalie Schau 2Mixed media artist Natalie Shau should have been featured in one of Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebrations of Halloween by now. Unfortunately, I’m late to the game when it comes to Shau’s dark, haunting and disturbing works of art.

If you’re squeamish then the images conjured up by this Lithuanian-born artist are not for you. She’s like a one-woman Deviant Art site. Some examples of Shau’s art: Continue reading

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