Category Archives: Halloween Season

THE BODY SHOP (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

THE BODY SHOP (1973) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following

HALLOWEEN MONTH CONTINUES! The horror film titled The Body Shop is one of my all-time favorite bad movie gems. It includes all the little extras that separate mere bombs from the truly legendary turkeys and, like another neglected classic, The Wizard of Mars (see my Bad Movie page for the review), just keeps getting worse and worse and weirder and weirder all the way to the end. Continue reading

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THE LOST STRADIVARIUS: HALLOWEEN READING

lost-stradivarius-2

Jeremy Brett in The Lost Stradivarius

THE LOST STRADIVARIUS (1895) by John Meade Falkner – More than a century before Anne Rice’s violin-oriented ghost story Violin came The Lost Stradivarius. Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at this neglected gem of horror fiction.

The main story is set in the 1840s. John Maltravers, a young man from the British gentry, is attending Magdalen College at Oxford University. Stumbling across an anonymous piece of lost music the talented Maltravers plays the piece on a violin.

This spontaneous recital summons up – among other horrors – the ghost of Adrian Temple, the violinist who composed the eerie piece of music when he was a student at Oxford in the 1750s. That ghost leads John to the hidden location of his (Temple’s) Stradivarius violin. Continue reading

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BLACK PIT OF DOCTOR M (1958)

Halloween Month continues with this look at the Mexican horror gem The Black Pit of Dr M. For Balladeer’s Blog’s extensive look at over a dozen Mexi-Monster films click HERE 

Black Pit of Dr M

The Black Pit of Dr M

THE BLACK PIT OF DR M (1958) – The Dr M of  our title is Dr Masali, who runs an insane asylum in the very early 1900’s with his colleague, Dr Aldama. The two make a pact stating that whichever one of them dies first will contact the survivor from the other side with the secret of returning to life.

Aldama passes away and, true to his word, returns from the beyond and uses his long lost daughter to serve as the catalyst that sets Dr M on the road to returning to the flesh after death. He also includes a warning that our title doctor naturally ignores. 

Elmer Black Pit of Dr MHanged for a murder he didn’t commit, Dr M does indeed return to the flesh, but as Heavenly punishment for violating the Divine Order his soul is trapped in the body of his asylum’s hideously deformed and homicidally violent resident, Elmer.  Continue reading

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HORROR STORY: THE TOP BEST MAN (1832)

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

THE TOP BEST MAN (1832) – Halloween Month continues! Published anonymously in 1832 this long-ish short story centers around a man found on a long-lost ship called the Top Best. This vessel was a ship out of Maine that is found trapped in ice in far northern waters.

The ship that has found it, the Dartmouth Lady, has likewise become trapped in ice and its crew has spotted another ice-bound craft off in the distance when it finally stops snowing. An away team travels to the other craft hoping to find survivors or at least equipment which can help cut a way out of the ice for both ships.

Despite the size of the vessel only one man is found on board and he seems to be frozen to death. The away team manage to get a fire started from some of the Top Best‘s own wood and resolve to warm up just a bit before heading back to the Dartmouth Lady with the equipment taken from the derelict.

The fire has warmed the surroundings sufficiently for the sole survivor’s cold body to be taken along as well, including the ship’s log he apparently died clutching to his chest. The crew of the Dartmouth Lady succeed in cutting their way through the ice and return to Maine. By the time they reach their home port it turns out the body has thawed and the Top Best man is miraculously still alive. Continue reading

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TALES OF THE ZOMBIE 4

masc graveyard newHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! It’s hard to believe there are still 1970s Marvel Comics characters who have NOT been adapted for the big or small screen yet. Simon Garth, former plantation owner cursed to return from the grave as a zombie is one. Here is the cover to one of his battles with the vile Mister Six.

FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS SERIES CLICK HERE

Tales of the Zombie 4 Continue reading

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JOHN SILENCE: OCCULT DOCTOR (1908) – HALLOWEEN READING

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog. This time around I take a look at Algernon Blackwood’s occult physician Doctor John Silence.

John SilenceJOHN SILENCE, PHYSICIAN EXTRAORDINARY (1908) – A selection of short stories about Blackwood’s fictional neurologist Doctor Silence and his encounters with the supernatural. 

THE PSYCHICAL INVASION – A professional writer who specializes in humorous stories becomes a patient of Doctor Silence when he suddenly finds himself unable to write anything except grotesque horror tales. Silence discovers that on an occasion when the author’s psychic defenses were neutralized during a hashish jag the spirit of a 19th Century sorceress possessed him. The vile entity ended its life being hanged at Newgate. Doctor Silence must do psychic battle with the spirit to save his patient. Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN BOOK: ISABELLA OF EGYPT (1812)

Isabella of Egypt Alraune and the GolemHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! In addition to covering all of my usual topics I spend each October sprinkling in neglected horror movies, stories and novels.

Isabella of Egypt is a very obscure 1812 Gothic Horror novella by Ludwig Achim Von Arnim. Under the more evocative title Alraune and the Golem it was to be filmed as a silent movie in 1919 but unfortunately it was never completed or is one of the countless silent films that have not survived to the present day (sources vary). 

The story is set in the 16th Century and features the real-life Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, but in his teen years, right before he assumed the throne first of Spain and later of the H.R. Empire. The novella is not a horror classic per se, but is very eerie and features an odd variety of horrific supernatural figures in Monster Rally fashion.  The story takes a variety of twists and turns too detailed for a quick synopsis but here is a look at the main characters:

ISABELLA – The main character, a teenage Gypsy girl whose father was Gypsy royalty and after he is hanged she becomes Queen of all the Gypsies. (This novel adheres to the version of Gypsy mythology which states that they were descendants of the ancient Egyptians, hence the title Isabella of Egypt even though the story takes place in various German locations.)

Isabella’s beauty spellbinds various men including the youthful Charles. The monstrous Mandragore lusts after her as well and plans to force her into an unholy union.  Continue reading

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