As Halloween Month continues here’s a look at the very early years of the Marvel Comics horror character Blade the Vampire Slayer, who debuted in 1973. In retrospect I prefer the original “look” for this dynamic figure: the long coat, the bandolier of six teakwood knives and the green-hued “photo-optic visor” aka goggles aka biker shades. I’ve never liked swords for vampire slaying so the wooden knives used by Blade back then appeal to me more.
We’ll skip over the stories about alleged legal fights with the original creator of Blade, fights that eventually necessitated the changes in Blade’s look and trademark weaponry. Suffice it to say that the 1970s Blade strikes me as an “Indiana Jones of horror” with a vintage Pulp Magazine vibe. And football player Eric Dickerson would have made a perfect cinematic Blade if a movie had been done in the early 1980s, right after Raiders of the Lost Ark. With Pam Grier as Safron Caulder and Oliver Reed as Deacon Frost.
TOMB OF DRACULA Vol 1 #10 (July 1973)
Title: His Name Is … Blade
Comment: The very first appearance of the original Blade came in the 10th issue of Tomb of Dracula, along with Ghost Rider one of Marvel’s longest lasting horror comics of the 1970s. The title villain/ antihero was THE Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel.
Blade made his badass debut by saving innocent British victims from three vampires who served Dracula. After killing the trio, Blade trailed Drac himself to a luxury liner loaded with the wealthy and the powerful. The vampire king planned to use the partying passengers as a blood supply AND as a cadre of Renfields to further his plans.
Our vampire slayer arrived in time to save all but a few of the “beautiful people” from Dracula.
After a battle royal between Blade and Drac, the Count escaped while Blade evacuated the surviving passengers to save them from explosives planted on the ship by one of Dracula’s thralls. Continue reading
Halloween Month continues with Balladeer’s Blog’s look at some seasonal stories by the one and only Ambrose Bierce. I think we’re all sick of Owl Creek Bridge so here are a few lesser-known tales from “Bitter Bierce.”
THE SPOOK HOUSE (1889) – In pre-Civil War Kentucky a pair of traveling politicians take shelter in a notoriously haunted house which was once the site of a bloody massacre. The eerie abandoned house features a room from which an unearthly green glow emanates … a room in which lie all the corpses of the missing massacre victims and of all those foolish enough to stay in the house ever since. Continue reading
Another neglected American horror legend from Balladeer’s Blog to help celebrate Halloween Month.
THE RED GNOME
This red-hued hobgoblin has plagued Detroit for over 300 years. The Red Gnome was one of the supernatural entities created by the Native American deity Glooskap to protect his people. When European settlers began to populate the area the figure did what he could to protect the native inhabitants but when that proved futile he turned his attention exclusively to tormenting the newcomers.
The Red Gnome was short in stature and often mistaken for a child when glimpsed from behind. The hobgoblin has rotten teeth and breath that can kill if the creature so chooses. Anyone tricked into kissing the Red Gnome is said to die immediately. In addition this ageless being has ruby-red eyes that can shoot fiery rays.
In 1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (yes, as in THAT Cadillac) battled the Red Gnome, which plagued him until he had lost all his fortune. The hobgoblin’s fiery eye-beams would cause frozen ice on the Detroit River to melt under skaters or racers, plunging them to their deaths in the icy waters below. In warmer weather he would cause small boats to capsize and then drown the passengers. Continue reading
THE DISCOVERY OF THE DEAD (1910) – Halloween Month continues with this look at a work written by Allen Upward.
This eerie tale is told in the form of a series of scientific reports about the experiments of a Russian scientist named Karl Luecke. While researching beyond the visible light spectrum he discovers necrolites, a way of making visible what remains of human beings after death.
These entities, which he dubs “necromorphs,” look like glowing brains, spinal columns and nervous systems (see the cover illustration). Necromorphs cannot stand sunlight and dwell underground by day. Continue reading
The Ghosts of Hanley House
Halloween Month rolls along!
In the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 …
Before MST3K there was The Texas 27 Film Vault! Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the 1980s. My interview with Randy Clower, my research through VERY old newspapers and emailed memories from my fellow Film Vault Corps fans have helped to reconstruct elements of the show’s history.
EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday October 26th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
SERIAL: Before showing and mocking the movie Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, our Film Vault Technicians First Class showed and mocked a chapter of the 1940 serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.
FILM VAULT LORE: Randy and Richard’s presentation of Ghosts of Hanley House has occupied a very odd niche in pop-culture trivia for quite a long time. To those of us who remember The Texas 27 Film Vault this episode is famous as “the one where Psychotronic‘s Michael Weldon seems to have confused T27FV with MST3K.”
In Weldon’s 1996 book The Psychotronic Video Guide he refers to Ghosts of Hanley House as having been riffed on by the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000. Actually MST3K NEVER showed Ghosts of Hanley House but The Texas 27 Film Vault DID. Weldon was a fan of Movie Host shows like Ghoulardi, Zacherley, Elvira and others, so it’s possible he had also sampled episodes of Randy and Richard’s show in the 80s but the subsequent years blurred his memory to the point where he confused T27FV with MST3K in this instance.
It would be a very easy mistake to make given the similarities between the shows.
THE MOVIE: Continue reading
SOMEONE’S “O” HAD TO GO – In a battle of unbeaten teams the KEISER UNIVERSITY SEAHAWKS traveled to face the SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY FIRE. After a 14-14 tie in the opening Quarter the Seahawks led 24-14 at the Half. From there the Fire pulled to within 3 points but no further as Keiser improved to 4-0 with a 31-28 triumph.
INSTANT CLASSIC IN ATCHISON – The BENEDICTINE COLLEGE RAVENS welcomed the PERU STATE BOBCATS yesterday. A 14-7 1st Quarter lead for the Ravens became a 21-21 tie at Halftime. The 3rd Quarter ended with Benedictine College up 28-27 over the Bobcats before winning it 31-27 when all was said and done.
CRUSADE IN MISSOURI – The EVANGEL UNIVERSITY CRUSADERS took on the visiting CLARKE UNIVERSITY PRIDE in this game. The Crusaders led 7-6 in the 1st Quarter and 21-6 at the break before the Pride fought to within 21-13 in the 3rd. Evangel University flexed their muscles in the 4th for a 28-13 victory. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at pop culture mammoth Marvel Comics’ long(ish) running horror series Werewolf by Night.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT Vol 1 #1 (September 1972)
Title: Eye of the Beholder
Villains: Marlene Blackgar, whose horrible gaze turns people to stone, and her monstrous creation Strug
Comment: After a few issue tryout in Marvel Spotlight, 18 year old Jack Russell (really Russoff), the titular character, got his own title. He was the son of a European nobleman and the latest inheritor of the family’s curse of lycanthropy. A curse he sought a cure for.
His adventures were often like a comic book version of Paul Naschy’s Waldemar Daninsky werewolf movies from Spain. Continue reading
As Halloween Month continues what could be more appropriate than to resume Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.
WARNING: THIS IS ANOTHER OF THE MOST TWISTED, DISTURBING AND HORRIFIC STANZAS IN THE ENTIRE BOOK.
VICTIMS BOTH LIVING AND DEAD
The malevolent supernatural being Maldoror commits one of his most horrific acts of violence ever in this stanza. For those horror fans who prefer to see our vile main character perpetrating genuine atrocities this is the tale for you.
This stanza begins with Maldoror contemplating an elderly, poverty-stricken madwoman who roams the roads of France. She wears tattered clothing and her aged face is withered like a mummy’s while what little hair she has left falls like long spider-legs over her head and neck. Continue reading
Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! In previous years I’ve run my list of The Top Eleven Neglected Bad Movie Classics for Halloween and even a followup list of eleven more. Right now here’s a look at three more classically bad horror flicks for the season.
BLOOD SONG (1982) – Singer Frankie Avalon as a 1980s- style slasher villain! The godfather’s Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) as a co-star and co-producer! Who could possibly resist that? Frankie plays a homicidal maniac who escapes from an insane asylum with his beloved flute/recorder type thingee.
Turns out years earlier a girl played by Donna Wilkes – soon to star as Angel herself – got a blood transfusion from Psycho Frankie. In this movie’s logic-free universe that means that she has a mental link with our mad slasher. This link is causing him to track her down to kill her with the single-minded fury that Mike Myers showed toward Jaime Lee Curtis in the Halloween movies. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE
The previous 49 installments of Fool Killer lore have seen the neglected folk figure in a variety of roles: Political and cultural vigilante, slayer of lynch mobs, battler of war profiteers, foe of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction South, bastard son of a supernatural entity, guardian of Melungeon Gold, old west gunslinger, steam-punk policeman and so much more.
In honor of the Halloween season this post will look at the Fool Killer as a 1980s slasher. And I don’t mean the Fool Killer/ Angel of Death figure from the horror film A Day of Judgment (1981). I mean a true 1980s slasher in the mold of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and others. Continue reading