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SPIDER-MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 8 – THE TARANTULA AND THE PUNISHER

Here’s Part Eight of Spider-Man 1970s Classics. For Part One click HERE.

spider man 135SPIDER-MAN Vol 1 #134 (July 1974)

Title: Danger is a Man Called Tarantula

Villain: Tarantula (first appearance)  

Synopsis: As Spider-Man, Peter Parker swings along, hurrying to catch a Hudson River cruise ship that he, Mary Jane Watson, Flash Thompson and the newly returned Liz Allen are taking for a few hours of fun. As he switches back into Peter Parker he notes that he’s down to his last current cartridge of web fluid in his web shooters and makes a mental note to pick up more the next time he’s at the apartment he shares with Harry Osborn.

tarantulaAs the ship sails along it is hijacked and held for $1,000,000.00 ransom (equivalent to $5,581,387.00 today). The hijackers are the brand new Hispanic villain Tarantula and his two costumed sidekicks. While the villain and his aides rob the passengers of all their valuables, Peter grabs the first chance he gets to become Spider-Man and saves a sailor knocked overboard in a scuffle with one of Tarantula’s men. Continue reading

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ZUMA (1985) AND DAUGHTER OF ZUMA (1987)

Halloween month rolls along with Balladeer’s Blog’s salute to Zuma, the king of Philippine horror movies, and his sequel film Daughter of Zuma.

ZUMA (1985) – Category: Enjoyably bad movie elevated by its obscurity value      

There’s an old saying that goes “Once you have a big green bald guy with pythons growing out of his neck you never go back.” Or something to that effect. This monstrous figure is Zuma  himself, the Freddy Krueger of the Philippines in the 1980s. Big, muscular and green like the Hulk, bald like Mr Clean and with pythons growing out of his neck like the late Michael Jackson. (Disclaimer: The preceding remark is probably not true)

Originally a comic book character in the Philippines, Zuma took the film industry of the islands by storm with his debut film in 1985 and a sequel in 1987. Copies of these films have been Continue reading

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MUSICAL MUTINY (1970): IRON BUTTERFLY, A GHOSTLY PIRATE AND A MAD SCIENTIST

musical mutinyMUSICAL MUTINY (1970) – Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a Barry Mahon movie that’s more frighteningly bad than it is frightening. I’ve recently become obsessed with this made in Florida wonder that features the ghost of a long-dead pirate, the deskbound narrator from Blood Freak and a mad scientist intent on taking over the world with his new beverage which gets drinkers higher than marijuana. There are also three on-stage performances by Iron Butterfly (yes, really), including the full-length version of In A Gadda Da Vida.

pirates worldPerhaps most importantly for me and my fellow Bad Movie geeks, this is the earliest movie release done as a promotional piece for Pirate’s World, the long-defunct Florida amusement park featured in notorious Grade Z films like Jack and the Beanstalk, Thumbelina plus Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (reviewed in 2010 here at Balladeer’s Blog). In fact, Musical Mutiny is so obscure that as of this writing there are only five user reviews at IMDb. Continue reading

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NAIA AND NCCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG

Concordia_MINCCAA    1. CONCORDIA (MI) CARDINALS    ###     2. OTTAWA UNIVERSITY (AZ) SPIRIT    ###     3. STERLING COLLEGE WARRIORS    ###    4. GREENVILLE UNIVERSITY PANTHERS    ###     

Warner Memorial U Royals helmet5. WARNER UNIVERSITY ROYALS    ###     6. SOUTHWESTERN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD UNIVERSITY LIONS    ###     7. KENTUCKY CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS    ###     8. GENEVA COLLEGE GOLDEN TORNADOS    ###      Continue reading

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YEGOR’S PORTRAIT (1897) AND GEORGE DOBSON’S EXPEDITION TO HELL (1828)

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with two more overlooked tales.

george hepworthYEGOR’S PORTRAIT (1897) – Written by George Hepworth.  A well to do Russian named Yegor was killed in a horse riding accident. A portrait of the man haunts those who remember him. By night the Yegor of the portrait emerges from the work of art.

Stephan, Yegor’s cousin and closest friend in life befriends the apparition from the painting. As the pair spend a night drinking and gambling together, Yegor admits to Stephan that the reason his essence is bound to the material world is because he left behind him an illegitimate child with no financial support. Continue reading

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EXPLAINING “LET’S GO BRANDON” FOR OVERSEAS READERS

biden blustering like a fool

Blustering demagogue

Here at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog I often hear from overseas readers requesting clarification on some of the obscure in-jokes of America’s political culture. This time around it’s regarding why “Let’s go Brandon!” is the ultimate up yours to corrupt Joe Biden and to his corporate media sycophants.

Several weeks ago “Fuck Joe Biden” became the frequently heard roar of the crowds at college football games and then spread to other events, because, well, it’s no secret that Joe Biden is corrupt, demented, blood soaked and much worse. At a recent NASCAR event, Brandon Brown won the race and as he was being interviewed the stands were roaring with the chant of “Fuck Joe Biden!”

biden blood on handsHowever, corporate media shill Kelli Stavast, scrambling in 1984 fashion to protect Joe Biden as Big Brother, claimed that the crowd was really shouting “Let’s go Brandon!” Not even Biden supporters were stupid enough to believe that, and so things snowballed to the point where “Let’s go Brandon!” became a way of saying “Fuck Joe Biden!” while simultaneously poking at the slavish political bias of the corporate media.

Let’s go Brandon has even been set to music and became a hit on iTunes and elsewhere. Sales of “Let’s go Brandon!” t-shirts and other merchandise have gone through the roof. Online videos expressing the meme have been piling up, like the “exercise” video below, part of the Let’s go Brandon challenge:

And hey … Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RESULTS FROM OCTOBER 16th

HEADLINES

West Georgia Wolves BLUENUMBER ONE TAKES A FALL – In NCAA Division Two the 15th ranked UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA WOLVES visited the number 1 team in the nation – the defending champion UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA ARGONAUTS. The Wolves led 17-9 at Halftime but the Argonauts pulled to within 24-23 to end the 3rd Quarter. In the 4th, West Georgia won out 30-26.

Morningside MustangsSPIRIT OF EIGHTY-FOUR – Over in the NAIA the number 3 MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS traveled to take on the BRIAR CLIFF UNIVERSITY CHARGERS. The Mustangs seized a 28-0 lead in the opening Quarter and never looked back from there. When all the dust settled they had folded, spindled and mutilated the Chargers to the tune of EIGHTY-FOUR to SEVEN.

Washburn Ichabods helmetTAKING DOWN NUMBER FOUR – Back to NCAA Division Two for this clash between the WASHBURN UNIVERSITY ICHABODS and the visiting 4th ranked NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE BEARCATS. The 1st Half was a defensive struggle, with the Ichabods on top by just 3-0 at the Half. That became a 10-7 edge in the 3rd Quarter and ultimately a 17-16 Upset triumph in the 4th. Continue reading

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MARVEL’S SIMON GARTH ZOMBIE: MOST HALLOWEENISH COVERS

As Halloween Month continues to unfold, Balladeer’s Blog takes a one-week break from the ongoing review of 1970s Spider-Man stories to do something more seasonal – a look at the Simon Garth zombie covers from Marvel Comics. 

tales of zombie 1TALES OF THE ZOMBIE Vol 1 #1 (July 1973)

Title: Altar of the Damned

Comment: The first Silver Age appearance of the Marvel Comics horror character Simon Garth, a brutal coffee plantation owner who was killed and brought back to life as a zombie by his Haitian workers.

Garth was not your typical mindless zombie wanting to feed on human beings all the time. His stories provided insight into the still-functioning mind of the man trapped in this horrific fate as he battled assorted supernatural menaces, some drawn from VooDoo lore, others created by Marvel.

Simon Garth could be used against his will at times by people in possession of the Amulet of Damballah which controlled him. Continue reading

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HORROR FILM: THE NEST OF THE CUCKOO BIRDS (1965)

nest of the cuckoo birdsTHE NEST OF THE CUCKOO BIRDS (1965) – Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a review of this low-budget, black & white bomb which played a few theaters in 1965 then was considered lost until 2017. Florida’s Bert Williams produced, wrote, directed and starred in this very strange film which strives for “Psycho Meets Tennessee Williams” levels but falls more into territory occupied by the likes of Spider Baby and Manos, The Hands of Fate.

Williams’ wife Peggy sang the title song, which inspired a later version by the Cramps, believe it or not. Peggy also sang the closing song Lisa.

Our auteur Bert Williams plays Johnson, a Liquor Control Department Agent aka “Revenuer” in the slang of deep south moonshiners. He is sent on an assignment into the Everglades to infiltrate and bring down a violent gang of moonshiners who make their own bootleg whiskey via their still on one of the scattered pieces of solid land found in the swamps of the Florida Everglades.

After an absurdly irrelevant recollection to his chief about a lost love of his from long ago, Agent Johnson departs on his mission. 

masked killer from cuckoosJohnson’s cover is blown, and he flees into the swamplands to escape the bootleggers, who are led by their murderous boss called Doc. Half wading and half swimming, our exhausted protagonist arrives after dark at another isolated and uncharted little “island” amid the Everglades. He is nearly stabbed to death by a naked woman wearing a wig and a bizarre mask, a woman he at first mistakes for a statue.

The Revenue Agent manages to outfight and escape the woman in an utterly ridiculous fast-motion scene which could use the Benny Hill Theme as accompaniment. Johnson stumbles upon the tiny island’s lone structure – a dilapidated hotel called the Cuckoo Bird Inn, run by some of the strangest people this side of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Eaten Alive. Needless to say, the hilarity horror is just beginning. Continue reading

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THE COFFIN (2000) – HALLOWEEN SUPERHERO

Balladeer’s Blog’s 31 Days of Halloween continues with this neglected horror hero.

CoffinTHE COFFIN (2000) – Written by Phil Hester and drawn by Mike Huddleston, The Coffin was originally a four-part serial before being collected into graphic novel format. I’ll provide details below but right up front let me point out that the horrific but intriguing premise is that the Coffin is a dead scientist whose soul is trapped within a polymer techno-suit of his own creation.

Dr Ashar Ahmad, the brilliant scientist in question, is employed by Heller Technologies, whose eponymous owner is a vile and amoral tycoon. Heller himself is a figure straight out of a horror film.

He’s incredibly old and his withered, wrinkled body is still functioning only because of all of the legal and illegal organ transplants he has had. His body is a battleground of scars from all that surgery. Obviously immortality is what our power-mad plutocrat longs for.

Coffin bAnd so Heller Technologies recruited Dr Ahmad to devise strong, lightweight polymers for medical purposes. To that end Ashar has developed polymers that can be used to form an artificial membrane that is perfectly impermeable and incredibly durable.

Extensions of that technology result in masses of polymers – literally thousands of layers – some of them only a few molecules thick. Dr Ahmad has managed to make it so that these polymers react to electronic pulses like the kind from a human brain to its body’s muscles, making the polymer “skin” or membrane expand or contract in response to those electronic pulses. Continue reading

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