Category Archives: Halloween Season

THE “IT’S ALIVE” TRILOGY ON BLU-RAY, PLUS THE MENU OF EXTRAS

It's Alive trilogyIt’s Alive from 1974 is a psychotronic classic. It Lives Again from 1978 features Frederic Forrest, the “I’m a saucier” guy in his second-worst onscreen relationship – the worst was with Teri Garr in One From the Heart. It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive is fairly lame but at least it has Michael Moriarty.

Yes, the It’s Alive Trilogy is coming out on Blu-ray! You can pre-order this May 15th release at the link below, plus here’s the menu of extras for each of the 3 films:  

IT’S ALIVE

• NEW 2K scan of the original film elements 
• NEW Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films featuring interviews with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen, actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty and Laurene Landon and more… 
• NEW It’s Alive at the Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening with Larry Cohen
• Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Larry Cohen
• Radio Spots
TV Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery

IT LIVES AGAIN
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BLACK ROSES (1988): FILM REVIEW

Black Roses 1BLACK ROSES (1988) – This legendarily laughable attempt at a horror film belongs to quite a few niche sub-genres. It’s a Canadian horror movie, it’s one of the wonderfully campy Heavy Metal Horror productions of the 1980s and most importantly for trivia lovers Black Roses is one of the Big Three Canadian turkeys to feature Frank Dietz in a supporting role. (The other two are Rock’N’Roll Nightmare and Zombie Nightmare. ) 

Dietz looked too young to be a police detective in Zombie Nightmare and he looks too OLD to be a high school student in Black Roses. But that’s part of his – and the movie’s – charm. He also plays one of the Black Roses in monster form during the film.

You want more kitsch-casting? How about Julie Adams of Creature From The Black Lagoon playing an elderly frump outraged over Heavy Metal’s supposed “Satanic” element?

How about noted musician Carmine Appice as Vinny Apache, one of the demonic members of the band Black Roses?

How about Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos as a Heavy Metal-hating parent who pays for that by getting mauled by a $1.49 spider-puppet AND getting sucked into a speaker playing Black Roses songs?  Continue reading

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THE DEATHMASTER (1972): MOVIE REVIEW

Death MasterTHE DEATHMASTER (1972) – In between his pair of movies as the vampire named Count Yorga the one and only Robert Quarry starred as a vampiric Charles Manson wannabe in this film. The Deathmaster starts out with a great bit that wouldn’t look out of place in a Jean Rollin horror flick from France: the huge, hulking Barbado (Le Sesne Hilton) plays eerie flute music, seemingly luring ashore a sea-tossed coffin. Naturally this casket holds our “Deathmaster” – a vampire called Khorda.

Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there unless you’re like me and you really enjoy bad movies. Khorda eschews the usual vampire shtick of being a suave ladies’ man. His approach is to dress like early 1970s hippies do and model his coiffure and facial hair after Charles Manson. The filmmakers even admitted that was indeed the look they were going for.

Khorda feeds on assorted Californians while spending his spare time gathering around him a collection of 1960s losers and retreads plus some biker gang members just for good measure. Our undead heavy becomes their guru, spouting the type of generic, faddish spiritual nonsense that is always a good way to sound deep while not really saying anything at all.     Continue reading

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COFFIN JOE HORROR FILMS: HALLOWEEN 2017 DRAWS TO A CLOSE

Coffin JoeHere at Balladeer’s Blog we wring down the curtain on Halloween 2017 by revisiting our old friend Jose “Mojica” Marins, Brazil’s notorious King of Horror.

Marins’ most famous character is Ze do Caixao aka Coffin Joe, a figure who belongs alongside Dracula, Freddy Krueger, La Llorona and other horror icons from around the world.

Noteworthy movies include :

At Midnight I'll Steal Your SoulAt Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963) – Brazil’s first-ever home-grown horror film was also the very first appearance of Coffin Joe, an undertaker who relishes exploiting and mocking the religious beliefs of the community.

The transgressive, hypnotic figure lords it over those he considers to be ignorant peasants and lesser beings. Ze’s reign of terror sees him inflict physical and psychological torture on his victims, including gouging their eyes out with his incredibly long fingernails.

The vile but charismatic monster is searching for a superior woman to mate with while killing off male rivals as well as women who don’t meet his expectations.  

This Night I will possess your corpseThis Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967) – In this sequel Coffin Joe is even more powerful and depraved as he subjects Sao Paulo to another reign of terror. Ze is still searching for the perfect woman to bear his child and inflicting all manner of torture on his victims but this time around the viewer is treated to even more of the villain’s bizarre philosophy, which seems to be composed of equal parts Nietzsche and de Sade with a healthy sprinkling of Aleister Crowley tossed in. 

This film is black & white like the original but features the acclaimed color portion featuring a trip to a Hell ruled by Coffin Joe himself.  Continue reading

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ALL HALLOWS (1926): HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

All Hallows CathedralALL HALLOWS (1926) – Written by Walter de la Mare. In recent decades Walter de la Mare’s horror stories have begun to get as much attention as his poetry. This particular tale is about a haunted cathedral but there is also a blatant subtext.

Our narrator has walked for several miles to reach remote All Hallows Cathedral. The once-prominent place has fallen into disrepair and has become so rarely used for religious services that it has become more of a curious tourist attraction than “holy” site.

All Hallows Cathedral 2Appropriately for a horror story our protagonist has arrived as the sun is going down. The odd, perhaps half-crazed Verger (Anglican Church Caretaker)  impatiently  leads the new arrival on a tour of the degenerating interior. Almost like a Halloween Funhouse host the Verger emphasizes the creepy lore about All Hallows.

Nightfall is well along by the time he tells the narrator about the temporary disappearance of the previous chief clergyman, who was later found in a dark corner. The Holy Man was weeping and crazed and never recovered his sanity.     Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN SONG: HOT PATOOTIE – BLESS MY SOUL

Obviously I’m proceeding from the assumption that just about ANY song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show qualifies as a Halloween Song. Here we go:

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ROSAURA (1817): NEGLECTED HORROR

Friedrich FouqueROSAURA (1817) – Written by Friedrich Fouque. Halloween Month 2017 is dying quickly. Here is another neglected story from the late Gothic Horror period. Rosaura has a fairly unique supernatural premise so that alone should have earned it a wider following by now.

No vampires or ghosts or werewolves feature in this tale, but instead a more offbeat kind of supernatural horror. Count von Wildeck packs up his guns and wears his finest clothing for a visit to the castle of Colonel von Haldenbach, whose niece Rosaura he wants to romance.

After an amiable first day of the visit, Count von Wildeck is warned by his host the Colonel to lock himself very securely in his bedroom. The Colonel seems tempted to explain things more clearly to Von Wildeck but is too frightened. Continue reading

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