Tag Archives: film reviews

BEST OF FEBRUARY 2018

Balladeer’s Blog’s year-end retrospective continues with the Best of February.

Texas 27 Film Vault

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault.

TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT: 33rd ANNIVERSARY – February 9th is the anniversary date for the first episode of this Pre-MST3K version of MST3K.

Join Randy and Richard for their looks at old schlock classics and vintage Republic Serials. 

This time around I celebrated the show’s history PLUS included an appeal to any more Texas 27 Film Vault fans out there. Click HERE     

Black PantherBLACK PANTHER: PANTHER’S RAGE OVERVIEW – From the 1970s comes this 13-part Black Panther saga by Don McGregor featuring the Black Panther’s attempts to preserve his kingdom during the blood-soaked uprising led by the callous and cruel Erik Killmonger.

If the overrated and over-praised Alan Moore had written this story it would have been a movie or mini-series by now. Panther’s Rage has action, philosophy and other adult topics as well as a quest through Wakanda’s hidden realms: The Land of the Chilling Mist, the Domain of the White Gorillas, Serpent Valley and the Forest of Thorns. Click HERE  

Theodore Roosevelt1912: BATTLE OF THE THREE PRESIDENTS – Readers loved this look at the Presidential Election of 1912 in which incumbent William Howard Taft faced Woodrow Wilson AND former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was running on the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party Ticket.

For Balladeer’s Blog’s take on that historical contest click HERE

Flashman on the MarchFLASHMAN ON THE MARCH – The very popular series of reviews of my Top Five Harry Flashman Novels by George MacDonald Fraser wrapped up with this item at Number Five.

Flashman’s involvement in the 1868 Abyssinian Campaign features all-out action, death traps, sword-play, gun-play, historical intrigue and plenty of bedroom antics. Click HERE

biden crazedVICE PRESIDENTS: JOKES ABOUT THESE ULTIMATE SECOND BANANAS – Many readers felt this examination of Vice Presidents was even funnier and more irreverent than my Presidential Pros and Cons blog posts.

You can decide for yourself by clicking HERE

Charles Evans HughesPRESIDENTIAL LOSERS: PROS AND CONS – If you’ve enjoyed my humorous looks at America’s past presidents and vice-presidents you should certainly enjoy this item.

Quick takes on the prominent losers in presidential races, from Hillary Clinton on back. Featuring facts, insights and insults on each of them. Click HERE

DEMOCRAT ATROCITY ROUNDUP: FEBRUARY 28th – What more need be said? Click HERE 

DEMOCRATS: WILL THEY EVER GROW UP? – Sure, Republicans are bad, too, but Democrats are snobbish fools who actually seem to think they’re the country’s official “intellectuals” and are THE moral models for everyone else. Just like religious nuts of years ago. Click HERE

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THE ENERGY CAROL (1975)

Energy CarolWATCH IT BEFORE IT GETS TAKEN DOWN AGAIN!

During past Christmas Carol-A-Thons I’ve reviewed The Energy Carol, a Canadian educational short which adapts the theme of A Christmas Carol to energy conservation.

It was taken down from Youtube years ago but I just noticed it was posted again.

TO WATCH IT, CLICK Continue reading

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SAMURAI FILM: SWORD OF SEDUCTION (1964) – SON OF THE BLACK MASS CONTINUES

Raizo Ichikawa headshot

Raizo Ichikawa, the definitive portrayer of Nemuri Kyoshiro

I figured Halloween Month was a good time to – at long last – resume my reviews of the Son of the Black Mass series of Samurai movies. This time around I will examine the fourth film with legendary Raizo Ichikawa. I will eventually cover the pre-Raizo and post-Raizo SOTBM flicks as well PLUS the original novels that the movies were based on. FOR MY BRIEF OVERVIEW CLICK HERE  

SWORD OF SEDUCTION (1964) – We revisit our protagonist Kyoshiro Nemuri – a red-haired Samurai, the offspring of a Japanese woman and the insane Portugese Christian Missionary who raped her. That madman was dabbling in Satanism and Nemuri was conceived during a Black Mass, hence the title of the novels and the subsequent film series.

sword-of-seductionOnce again the story is set in Japan in the 1780s. The persecution of Japanese Christians continues, with the religion officially outlawed and with practitioners being imprisoned and – if they refuse to renounce their belief system – executed by crucifixion. 

I always jokingly refer to the opening of Sword of Seduction as “the Casablanca opening.” A fugitive Christian approached a boozing Nemuri Kyoshiro at a tavern and showed him a logo of a cross inside a secret compartment of a piece of jewelry like the Free French ring used in Casablanca. To further the similarities to the Bogart film this Christian soon gets dragged off Ugarte-style for his Christian beliefs and he flees back to Nemuri Kyoshiro in a vain plea for help from our melancholy antihero.  Continue reading

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FOUR NEGLECTED HORROR FILMS

Night of the Scarecrow

Night of the Scarecrow

With Halloween almost here the seasonal posts here at Balladeer’s Blog are increasing in frequency. This time around I’ll examine four neglected horror films that are thoroughly macabre and are certainly graphically gruesome enough for today’s audiences but for some reason don’t have the followings they deserve. 

4. NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW (1995) – A big reason for this film getting lost in the shuffle is no doubt the fact that it is frequently confused with Dark Night of the Scarecrow, a telefilm with Charles Durning. This flick is in a whole different category. A warlock in 1600s America is killed by the holy roller townspeople, with his soul being trapped in a scarecrow and his bones buried in a coffin beneath that scarecrow.

In the 1990s an accident revives the warlock’s soul and unbinds the scarecrow, which sets out for revenge on the descendants of his killers. The scarecrow spent Continue reading

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HORROR FILMS FROM “THE DEATH KING” HIMSELF!

jorg-buttgereitBalladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at some of the films from one of the most envelope-pushing horror directors of all time: Germany’s “auteur of the transgressive,” Jorg Buttgereit.  

 

** EXTREME HORROR AHEAD **

Buttgereit’s noteworthy movies include: Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN FILMS: ELEVEN MEXICAN MOVIE MONSTERS

brainiacWelcome back to Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween! 

Mexican horror films of the 1950s and 1960s deserve to be as well known as the Hollywood horror films from the 30s and 40s. Just as Universal Studios churned out a series of memorable movies featuring the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and the Mummy, studios from south of the border went on to give the world equally outstanding creatures.

These horror films boasted Universal- style production values and beautiful black & white cinematography combined with uniquely Mexican twists on horror themes as well as more sensuality and lurid violence than Hollywood had dared to present. This list aims to introduce Mexi- Monsters to younger viewers who may not be familiar with them. I’m omitting generic monsters like the various vampires from Mexican horror films (including Fabian Forte, Cristina Ferrare and a descendant of Nostradamus) and the werewolf wrapped in mummy bandages from Face of the Screaming Werewolf.  

7. THE BRAINIAC (1962) – Mexican title El Baron Del Terror. Many may be outraged at Continue reading

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SON OF THE BLACK MASS: FULL CIRCLE KILLING (1964)

Full Moon Killing aBalladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the Son of the Black Mass series of Samurai films. This is the sixth film overall but just the third starring legendary Raizo Ichikawa. The films were based on Renzaburo Shibata’s novels about Nemuri Kyoshiro, a red-haired fallen Samurai whose odd hair coloring was the result of his mixed birth. A Portuguese Christian missionary dabbling in Satanism raped Nemuri’s mother during a Black Mass, hence his red hair, outcast status and supernatural abilities.

FULL CIRCLE KILLING (1964) – Beginning with the next film the Nemuri Kyoshiro series really hits the dark, offbeat and transgressive stride that it is most remembered for. Think of Full Circle Killing as a stylistic stepping stone, since it has a cynical Samurai Noir feel to it plus heavier blood & gore as well as further clues about the supernatural nature of our hero’s Full Moon Death Strike. We also get our first hint in the movies that Nemuri can sense the whispers of the dead whenever he passes by cemeteries, a concept more fully developed in the novels (which I will review separately).   Continue reading

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