Tag Archives: Halloween season

HORROR MARVELS: FIVE FORGOTTEN MARVEL COMICS HORROR CHARACTERS

masc graveyard newBalladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! There are plenty of Marvel Comics authorities who could give you the story of the in-depth evolution of horror comics in the 1970s, from the relaxing of the Comics Code around 1970 onward. I’ll spare all of us a trip down that particular alley and cut to the chase. Marvel Comics is THE comic book publishing house in pop culture right now with nearly every movie that ever gets made being based on a superhero figure from The House of Ideas.

The 1970s saw Stan Lee and company churn out countless horror comics to cash in on the new flexibility in four-color storytelling. Some were long-lasting successes, like Tomb of Dracula, and others weren’t, like The Frankenstein Monster. When Marvel ventured outside established works by Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and others they actually produced some very intriguing characters who had more potential than many actual horror films from the 70s. Excluding the overworked Drac and Frank here are five of Marvel’s most intriguing horror figures from that experimental decade.

Satana

1. SATANA THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER

Comment: How has this character NOT been the subject of multiple movies by this point? You’d think that Marvel would have learned long ago not to let its strong female horror figures lie unused. For decades Stan and friends let their character Rachel Van Helsing, the young blonde descendant of a long line of vampire slayers go unexploited only to watch potential millions of dollars fly away as Buffymania took hold in the 90s.  

Satana black and whiteSatana Hellstrom was the half-sister of Damian Hellstrom, Marvel’s Son of Satan character. Like Damian she was the offspring of Satan and a mortal woman. Unlike Damian, who went goody-goody to spite his infernal father, Satana was a loyal Daddy’s Girl who was happy to try to spread her father’s ways in the human world.

When she wasn’t battling her half-brother or serving as the Earthly object of worship for a Satanic Cult or facing down covens of demons conspiring to overthrow her father’s rule of Hell Satana was a very successful succubus, and it’s easy to see why.

Even the more “adult” black and white horror comics of the 1970s couldn’t show what a succubus REALLY does, so Satana set about harvesting souls by simply kissing her victims, despite occassional dialogue panels indicating that something a little more … involved … might be going on. Mortal souls would emerge as black butterflies from the mouths of the dead, shriveled bodies of Satana’s prey and our sultry protagonist would then crush those butterflies between her fingers, proud to send another soul to her father’s domain.

A cinematic Satana could be given full-blown horror treatment and be a female franchise-spawner to compete with Freddy Krueger and the like. Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN SONG: SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE

Halloween Month continues! From The Rocky Horror Picture Show it’s the opening song Science Fiction Double Feature.

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THE LOST STRADIVARIUS: HALLOWEEN READING

lost-stradivarius-2

Jeremy Brett in The Lost Stradivarius

THE LOST STRADIVARIUS (1895) by John Meade Falkner – More than a century before Anne Rice’s violin-oriented ghost story Violin came The Lost Stradivarius. Halloween month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at this neglected gem of horror fiction.

The main story is set in the 1840s. John Maltravers, a young man from the British gentry, is attending Magdalen College at Oxford University. Stumbling across an anonymous piece of lost music the talented Maltravers plays the piece on a violin.

This spontaneous recital summons up – among other horrors – the ghost of Adrian Temple, the violinist who composed the eerie piece of music when he was a student at Oxford in the 1750s. That ghost leads John to the hidden location of his (Temple’s) Stradivarius violin. Continue reading

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TALES OF THE ZOMBIE 4

masc graveyard newHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! It’s hard to believe there are still 1970s Marvel Comics characters who have NOT been adapted for the big or small screen yet. Simon Garth, former plantation owner cursed to return from the grave as a zombie is one. Here is the cover to one of his battles with the vile Mister Six.

FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS SERIES CLICK HERE

Tales of the Zombie 4 Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN BOOK: ISABELLA OF EGYPT (1812)

Isabella of Egypt Alraune and the GolemHalloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! In addition to covering all of my usual topics I spend each October sprinkling in neglected horror movies, stories and novels.

Isabella of Egypt is a very obscure 1812 Gothic Horror novella by Ludwig Achim Von Arnim. Under the more evocative title Alraune and the Golem it was to be filmed as a silent movie in 1919 but unfortunately it was never completed or is one of the countless silent films that have not survived to the present day (sources vary). 

The story is set in the 16th Century and features the real-life Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, but in his teen years, right before he assumed the throne first of Spain and later of the H.R. Empire. The novella is not a horror classic per se, but is very eerie and features an odd variety of horrific supernatural figures in Monster Rally fashion.  The story takes a variety of twists and turns too detailed for a quick synopsis but here is a look at the main characters:

ISABELLA – The main character, a teenage Gypsy girl whose father was Gypsy royalty and after he is hanged she becomes Queen of all the Gypsies. (This novel adheres to the version of Gypsy mythology which states that they were descendants of the ancient Egyptians, hence the title Isabella of Egypt even though the story takes place in various German locations.)

Isabella’s beauty spellbinds various men including the youthful Charles. The monstrous Mandragore lusts after her as well and plans to force her into an unholy union.  Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN MONTH BEGINS

creepy houseIt’s another October 1st and as all readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that means 31 days of obscure and/or forgotten horror films and stories mixed in with all of my usual topics. 

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COFFIN JOE HORROR FILMS: HALLOWEEN 2017 DRAWS TO A CLOSE

Coffin JoeHere at Balladeer’s Blog we wring down the curtain on Halloween 2017 by revisiting our old friend Jose “Mojica” Marins, Brazil’s notorious King of Horror.

Marins’ most famous character is Ze do Caixao aka Coffin Joe, a figure who belongs alongside Dracula, Freddy Krueger, La Llorona and other horror icons from around the world.

Noteworthy movies include :

At Midnight I'll Steal Your SoulAt Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963) – Brazil’s first-ever home-grown horror film was also the very first appearance of Coffin Joe, an undertaker who relishes exploiting and mocking the religious beliefs of the community.

The transgressive, hypnotic figure lords it over those he considers to be ignorant peasants and lesser beings. Ze’s reign of terror sees him inflict physical and psychological torture on his victims, including gouging their eyes out with his incredibly long fingernails.

The vile but charismatic monster is searching for a superior woman to mate with while killing off male rivals as well as women who don’t meet his expectations.  

This Night I will possess your corpseThis Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967) – In this sequel Coffin Joe is even more powerful and depraved as he subjects Sao Paulo to another reign of terror. Ze is still searching for the perfect woman to bear his child and inflicting all manner of torture on his victims but this time around the viewer is treated to even more of the villain’s bizarre philosophy, which seems to be composed of equal parts Nietzsche and de Sade with a healthy sprinkling of Aleister Crowley tossed in. 

This film is black & white like the original but features the acclaimed color portion featuring a trip to a Hell ruled by Coffin Joe himself.  Continue reading

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