Tag Archives: Balladeer’s Blog

LE DIABLE AMOUREUX (1772): HALLOWEEN STORY

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at a neglected Gothic Horror tale.

Le Diable AmoureuxLE DIABLE AMOUREUX (THE DEVIL IN LOVE) – Written in 1772 and translated into English in 1793. This story was penned by Jacques Cazotte and is a forerunner of the type of fantastic, oneiric horror stories that E.T.A. Hoffmann would specialize in.

The tale’s protagonist is Don Alvaro, a Spanish military officer serving in the army of the King of Naples in the 1750s. Don Alvaro is a swashbuckling young man with a cavalier irreverence toward organized religion and a fascination with the forbidden thrills of occultism.

Some of our hero’s fellow officers grow annoyed with his lack of piety and resolve to teach him a lesson in the dangers that can be unleashed by diabolism. They provide him with a Black Magic spell and tell him that if he wants a real-life experience with the supernatural he must go to creepy, neglected ruins in the countryside and recite the spell. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TEN: THE DEATH BREEDERS

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Death BreedersAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #27 (November 1974)

Title: The Death Breeders

Synopsis: The narrative tells us it is now March of 2019 (lol) but you can just tell yourself that it’s March of 45 years from now, as it would have been to readers in 1974.

Since their clash with the Survivalists of Battle Creek, MI Killraven and his Freemen at some point commandeered an abandoned ice-ship. This craft is basically a traditional ship complete with sails but with runners on the bottom like a sleigh. The wind in the sails lets the ship “skate” across frozen Lake Erie on its ski-like runners.

Up in the ship’s crow’s nest the Native American Freeman called Hawk warns his comrades on the deck below (Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost and Carmilla’s creation Grok) that a pair of gigantic lampreys have sensed their vessel and have burst through the ice to attack them.

The lampreys are nearly Kaiju-sized, having been mutated over the years by pollution (the 1970s go-to explanation) and presumably the widespread after-effects of the biological warfare agents unleashed during the war against the Martian invaders.

REVISIONS: As always, I would have eliminated the tenuous connection to War of the Worlds and just had Earth’s conquerors be regular aliens, preferrably from Zeta Reticuli. In addition I would still have it be Deathlok as a Freeman instead of Grok. See previous installments for my justification.

Returning to the story, the Freemen battle the attacking lampreys – Killraven with his sword, photonuclear pistol and explosive star-grenades, M’Shulla with his crossbow and indestructible bolts, Hawk with his photonuclear rifle and Old Skull with his brute strength. Continue reading

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ACE OF SPADES: HALLOWEEN SONG

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog. Today I decided to take time out from my magnum opus titled Was Paul McCartney Really John Lennon? to send a musical shoutout to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.

This is my favorite song about a gravedigger. Not even those songs in Repo! The Genetic Opera come close. But let’s face it, I think we’d all LOVE to hear Paul Sorvino and  Paris Hilton performing a duet of Ace of Spades for Lemmy’s birthday.

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THE WOLF IN THE GARDEN: WEREWOLF STORY FOR HALLOWEEN

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues:

Wolf in the GardenTHE WOLF IN THE GARDEN (1931) – Written by Alfred Hoyt Bill. This neglected novel is ideal for people who go in for horror tales set long ago. In this case the 1790s.

New Dordrecht, a town in New York’s Hudson Valley, becomes the home of the fallen Count de Saint Loup, a French aristocrat fleeing the guillotine during the French Revolution. Anyone who remembers that “loup” is French for wolf will immediately know that this figure will be our title werewolf. (Though his deadly hound DeRetz is a red herring at first.)  

The Count transferred much of his wealth before fleeing his homeland so he is initially welcomed as a prominent new citizen in New Dordrecht. Unfortunately Count de Saint Loup soon displays the overbearing, snobbish airs that drove the French underclasses to overthrow the aristocrats in the first place.

People who get on the wrong side of the former “aristo” start to turn up dead after getting attacked by a monstrous wolf-like creature. Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG

Per the Glitternight Index:

Valdosta_StNCAA Division Two:    1. VALDOSTA STATE BLAZERS    ###    2. MINNESOTA STATE MAVERICKS    ###    3. TARLETON STATE TEXANS    ###    4. NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE BEARCATS    ###    5. OUACHITA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY TIGERS    ###    

Grand Valley State6. GRAND VALLEY STATE LAKERS    ###    7. FERRIS STATE BULLDOGS    ###    8. UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS GREYHOUNDS    ###    9. COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES OREDIGGERS    ###    10. UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES    ###    Continue reading

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BRIGHTBURN(2019): HALLOWEEN MONTH BEGINS!

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween will as usual feature reviews of horror stories and movies sprinkled in with my usual topics. This year I’m starting off with Brightburn.

BrightburnBRIGHTBURN (2019) – This mid-level budget movie has been criminally underrated in my opinion. Its horror twist on the usual superhero story (especially Superman) is well-handled and should have been just the thing audiences flocked to for a change of pace from the flood of superhero movies in recent years.

The film skillfully combines horror with science fiction and Jackson A Dunn as the alien child Brandon makes for the creepiest kid this side of Damien in The Omen. The kills in Brightburn are fairly gory but only in one instance is it dwelt upon, and the scene definitely earns that emphasis. 

Right up front I’ll mention that you do have to make with a BIG suspension of disbelief. The movie asks viewers to accept the premise that in this age of unending documentation and requirements for child vaccinations that a childless couple could successfully do a fake adoption of a baby from outer space whose spaceship crashed near their farmhouse.  

At any rate the couple, the Breyers, live in a remote small-town in Kansas, so if you really have to, you can assume that has helped them carry out their deception. That town is named Brightburn, which provides the film with its title. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART THIRTY: MARCH OF 1921

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 1920sAs always part of the fun comes from the way the Fool Killer – in this case James Larkin Pearson’s version in his monthly publication – took aim at politicians from both parties and at other “fools” of the day. March of 1921’s targets:

** Newly-elected Republican President Warren G Harding, who was inaugurated this month. (The change to January inaugurations did not happen until Franklin Roosevelt) Pearson and his Fool Killer referred to Harding as “a steer that the (political) bosses have broke to faithfully pull Big Business’ yoke.”

** Outgoing Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, whom they referred to as a “mule who never did nothing but act like a fool.”

** Big Businesses from around the world. The Fool Killer blamed them for large-scale unemployment and starvation.

** The way boxers could earn $100,000.00 for a prize fight but Nobel Prize winners only got (back then) $40,000.00

** The series of Russian generals that the Allies supported as the leaders of the “official” Russian government against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. (The White – as in Tsarist – Russians against the Red – as in Communist – Russians) Four generals had been so designated and all four in a row soon went down to defeat as the Russian Civil War (1920-1922) still raged. (Sadly, Pearson’s anti-plutocrat sympathies made him support the Bolsheviks for a time.)  Continue reading

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