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FATHER’S DAY (2011)

Father's DayFATHER’S DAY (2011) – Brace yourself for a gory time in this enjoyably outrageous cult classic.

Ahab, the eye-patch sporting hero of the Astron 6 horror film Father’s Day is in my opinion the one true successor to Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams. And considering how unfair the ending of this movie is for Ahab and his two sidekicks a case could even be made for them replacing Ash as the most royally screwed character in the history of gore-soaked horror comedies.     

It’s difficult to review this dark, grotesque gem without resorting to a series of catch phrases like “Goes where Dead Alive and similar movies failed to go” or “What Grindhouse hath wrought” or even “Twink and Walnut: They’re NOT Muppets!” Let me start with a more practical line: Do not watch this movie if you can not handle the most offensive violence, concepts, gore and deranged sexuality imaginable.  Continue reading

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AVENGERS: KREE-SKRULL WAR CHAPTER LINKS

Marvel Comics continues to rule current pop culture. This year’s look at the Kree-Skrull War (1971-1972) was as big a hit as last summer’s examination of the Celestial Madonna Saga (1973-1975). Here are links to all the chapters for reader convenience.

Avengers 89I. THE ONLY GOOD ALIEN IS A DEAD ALIEN – Ronan the Accuser overthrows the Supreme Intelligence to take control of the alien Kree Empire. Meanwhile, the Avengers help the Kree officer Captain Marvel and Rick Jones stop Annihilus from escaping the Negative Zone after Mar-Vell and Rick break out. CLICK HERE 

II. JUDGMENT DAY – Ronan the Accuser comes to Earth to personally oversee Sentry 459’s attempt to kill the Avengers as well as to launch Plan Atavus, a project that will set back Earth’s evolutionary clock by millions of years. CLICK HERE 

III. TAKE A GIANT STEP … BACKWARD – With the De-Evolution Zone spreading at an alarming rate the Avengers (The Wasp, Yellow Jacket, The Scarlet Witch, Goliath, Quicksilver, The Vision and Captain Marvel) battle Ronan and the Sentry. Meanwhile the Skrulls launch a pre-emptive assault on the Kree Empire. CLICK HERE   Continue reading

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HAPPY BLOOM’S DAY 2018!

jamesjoyceYes, it’s the 16th of June, better known to James Joyce geeks like me as Bloom’s Day. The day is named in honor of Leopold Bloom, the Jewish advertising sales rep and Freemason who is one of the major characters in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The novel also brings along Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist of his earlier novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

For those unfamiliar with this work, Ulysses is Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novel in which he metaphorically features the events from the Odyssey in a single day – June 16th, 1904, in Dublin. (The day he met Nora Barnacle, the woman he would eventually marry after living together for decades) Bloom represents Ulysses/Odysseus, Stephen represents Telemachus and Leopold’s wife, Molly Bloom, represents Penelope.

The novel is jam-packed with allusions to all manner of mythology (including sly references to the ancient Semitic myth which was the forerunner of the Odyssey, that’s why the character representing Ulysses is Jewish), Irish history and politics as well as a great deal of mystical and literary philosophy. Anyone into the Rosicrucians and their teachings should love spotting all the hidden meanings.  Continue reading

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VIOLENT FEMMES: BLISTER IN THE SUN

It’s the return of Balladeer’s Blog’s feature Give Them A Shoutout Before They’re Dead. This time around it’s the Violent Femmes with their song Blister in the Sun

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ANCIENT SCI FI: PSI CASSIOPEIA (1854)

Star by C I Defontenay betterPSI CASSIOPEIA, or STAR: A MARVELOUS HISTORY OF WORLDS IN OUTER SPACE (1854) – Written by Dr Charlemagne Ischer Defontenay, a French M.D. and author. Long before J.R.R. Tolkien churned out obsessive amounts of fine detail about his fictional Middle Earth, Defontenay produced this volume of history, poetry and drama from his fictional planets in the star system Psi Cassiopeia.  

The narrator of the story is supposedly translating alien documents which he discovered in an artificial meteor that crashed in the Himalayas. The documents were from a planet called (incongruously enough) “Star.”

Star by C I DeFontenayThe system where that planet is located is a three-star system. Ruliel is the large, white star at the center, around which orbit the two lesser stars Altether (green) and Erragror (blue). The planet called Star is orbited by large planetoids/ moons named Tassul, Lessur, Rudar and Elier. Throwing all science to the winds the planet is also orbited by a small red star called Urrias.  

Star and its satellites are inhabited except, of course, for Urrias. The translated documents cover a roughly 1,000 year period of events regarding these worlds. The ancient Starian humanoids formed a united world-wide culture which started as an Empire before becoming a socialist planet economically and politically. The documents also claim that their culture boasted beautiful architecture, incredible feats of engineering and awe-inspiring works of art.

At one point a plague swept the globe, reducing the proud Starian civilization to chaos. A Nihilist Cult formed as the plague kept whittling away at the population over the course of years. In the post-apocalyptic ruins the Nihilists formed a fanatical religion devoted to ending all life on Star. The zealots formed armies which exterminated millions of Starians with the intention of taking their own lives when all non-members of their cult had been wiped out. Continue reading

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COLLEGE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS FOR 2018

Here is one last round of congratulations for the ladies who won the national championship in softball in the nine divisions covered here at Balladeer’s Blog.

usao_drovers_150px31NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)

National Champions – UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND ARTS OF OKLAHOMA DROVERS

Runners-Up – Columbia (MO) Cougars

2017 Champions – Oklahoma City University Stars

Central Baptist College MustangsNCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association)

National Champions – CENTRAL BAPTIST COLLEGE MUSTANGS

Runners-Up – Belhaven University Blazers

2017 Champions – Oklahoma Baptist University Bison 

Cleary University CougarsUSCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association)

National Champions – CLEARY UNIVERSITY PROWLING COUGARS

Runners-Up – Saint Mary of the Woods College Pomeroys

2017 Champions – Saint Mary of the Woods College Pomeroys Continue reading

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HAMMETT (1982)

HammettHAMMETT (1982) – Directed by Wim Wenders and produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, Hammett is a criminally neglected valentine to Hard-Boiled Detective Stories and Film Noir. The flick is based on the novel by Joe Gores. 

The stories about the behind the scenes chaos and conflicts surrounding the production of this movie are legion. Pre-production work began in 1975 and by the time it was released in 1982 multiple cast and story changes had taken place and Coppola himself re-shot more than a third of the film.

In the way that Time After Time presented a whimsical “what if” adventure featuring H.G. Wells having a real time machine, Hammett serves up iconic detective novelist Dashiell Hammett getting caught up in solving a real-life mystery.

The timing is excellent, with the story being set in the late 1920s, after Hammett was no longer working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency but before he became a successful author. The tale begins with our hero – played by Frederic Forrest – typing out one of his penny-a-word Pulp stories for Black Mask Magazine, which was to detective fiction what Weird Tales was to horror and sci-fi.

hammett 2Booze and coughing fits figure prominently in the movie, as you would expect given a protagonist who was an alcoholic with tuberculosis. For the sake of convenience the story that Hammett just finished before blacking out was one featuring his character the Continental Op (as in an operative for the fictional Continental Detective Agency).  

Hammett awakens to find his most recent work being read by Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle), his old mentor from his Pinkerton days. Ryan jokes with “Sam” (Samuel Dashiell Hammett was his full name if you’re new to all things Hammett) that the “man with no name” in the story seems to be based on him (Ryan) and the way he operates.

Eventually Jimmy gets to the point: he saved Hammett’s life when our hero was new at detective work, and Ryan is finally calling in the debt that Sam owes him for that. The former colleague thus lures Hammett back into detective work for one last case. Continue reading

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