Tag Archives: Halloween

DARK (SHADOWS) PHOENIX

masc graveyard newThe latest attempt at cramming the X-Men’s lengthy, years-long Dark Phoenix storyline into one movie is now in theaters. With everybody reviewing that cram course Balladeer’s Blog will instead take a look at the female Phoenix character from the original 1966-1971 run of Dark Shadows.

Amazingly enough, I often encounter people who claim to have never heard of the Gothic Horror soap opera Dark Shadows. Not the original 5-day a week cult series (still available in reruns), not the movies, not the attempted reboot in 1991 and not the ongoing series of audio plays set in the 1970s onward. If anything they’ve heard of the incredibly lame Tim Burton comedy version of the show starring Johnny Depp.

Laura the Phoenix paintingDecades before Bella Swan was torn between a supposedly hunky vampire and a supposedly hunky werewolf in the Twilight novels, female readers of Tiger Beat magazine were torn between Dark Shadows‘ horror heart-throbs. Jonathan Frid’s vampire Barnabas Collins was one and David Selby’s werewolf/ warlock/ Dorian Gray-figure Quentin Collins was the other.  

Diana MillayIn terms of female horror heart-throbs from Dark Shadows, Lara Parker’s evil witch Angelique is the best known, but obviously this post will address the unusual supernatural menace the Phoenix, aka Laura Collins, played by Diana Millay (right) on the original Dark Shadows.      

In Dark Shadows lore Laura Collins was sold to a Phoenix Cult in Egypt in the 1700s by her evil lover, for whom she had abandoned her husband back in America. The cult used Laura as an offering/ guinea pig, transforming her into a supernatural figure called the Phoenix. Continue reading

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BEST OF OCTOBER 2018

Balladeer’s Blog’s look back at the Best of 2018 continues with the Best of October.

#walkaway march on washington#WALKAWAY MARCH ON WASHINGTON – Yours truly was one of the former Democrats disgusted with the Party’s growing intolerance and fascism.

Openly gay Brandon Straka organized an entire #WALKAWAY movement that went viral, culminating in October’s #WALKAWAY March on Washington. CLICK HERE

messenger-or-black-priestTHE BLACK ABBOT (1897): GOTHIC HORROR – Halloween Month was, as usual, filled with Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of many neglected horror stories and films.

The Black Abbot was also known as The Black Priest and The Messenger. The author was Robert W Chambers, famous for The King in Yellow. CLICK HERE

Freedom of expression amnesty internationalBALLADEER’S BLOG OVERCAME TECHNO-FASCISTS WHO TRIED TAKING IT DOWN – Yes, I was one of the year’s many targets of privileged white one percenters and techno-fascists who abuse their wealth to try to censor all dissenting opinions.

I was back in action by the 2nd day and marked the occasion with this blog post. CLICK HERE

John SilenceJOHN SILENCE: OCCULT DOCTOR (1908) – Balladeer’s Blog took a Halloween Season look at this oft-forgotten fictional hero.

Doctor John Silence investigated various supernatural goings-on in Europe.

Written by Algernon Blackwood. CLICK HERE 

VoltaireFACULTY LOUNGE FASCIST ROUNDUP: OCTOBER 11th – Yes, it was time once again for Balladeer’s Blog’s continuing look at intolerant left-wing Archie Bunkers who pretend to be “educators.” (LMAO)

For this date’s roundup of some of the narrow-minded fascists who have utterly distorted the educational system just CLICK HERE 

HellraiserHELLRAISER: THE FOUR BEST FILMS – Just in time for the Halloween Season, Balladeer’s Blog examined some of the Hellraiser movies.

I reviewed my choice of the Top Four out of the 10 films in the Hellraiser series.

To read those reviews CLICK HERE

asra-nomaniTRUMP CARDS: OCTOBER 22nd – It was the latest edition of Trump Cards!

This go-round featured yet another gay Judge the Donald nominated for a Federal seat, George Soros’ notorious connections with the ACTUAL Nazis (Yes, he’s THAT old!) and female journalist of color Asra Nomani’s Ida Tarbell-style indictment of Soros. CLICK HERE  

ensouled violinTHE ENSOULED VIOLIN (1880): GOTHIC HORROR – A Halloween Season review of this work of Gothic horror written by Madame Blavatsky herself.

Music and supernaturalism mingle in this macabre tale which features a guest appearance by the real-life violinist Paganini. CLICK HERE

Creepy LineTHE CREEPY LINE (2018) – This excellent documentary look at the abuses of techno-fascists at Google, Facebook, Twitter and all over Silicon Valley is an excellent work of investigative journalism.

Come along for this film’s look at the perverse way in which technology and social media are exploited and monopolized by a clique of white, privileged and obscenely wealthy 21st Century Robber Barons. CLICK HERE   

House on the BorderlandTHE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND (1908) – Halloween day itself saw my review of this horror tale written by William Hope Hodgson.

This horrific story was praised by none other than H.P. Lovecraft himself and readers can definitely tell how it influenced him. CLICK HERE

Democrat PlatformNEW DEMOCRAT SLOGANS – Balladeer’s Blog presented more mock slogans for the Democrats.

Regular readers often describe these fake slogans as funnier than some of the Mock Headlines blog posts that I run. CLICK HERE 

Candace Owens#BLEXIT: BLACK EXIT FROM THE DEMOCRAT PARTY PLUS #BLACKLIVESMAGA – The #WALKAWAY movement also spawned allied movements like #BLEXIT and #BLACKLIVESMAGA.

For this blog post CLICK HERE

Trump doing rightMOTHER JONES: MORE FAVORITE TRUMP LINKS – Mother Jones went ahead and provided another list of favorite links regarding President Donald Trump.

This was the second list.

For those links all you have to do is CLICK HERE

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THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND (1908): HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Happy Halloween 2018 from Balladeer’s Blog!

House on the BorderlandTHE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND (1908) – Written by William Hope Hodgson. This tale is a terrific but often overlooked forerunner of Lovecraftian horror blended with traditional haunted house elements. Throw in material that puts the reader in mind of Madame Blavatsky’s and Aleister Crowley’s horror fiction and it’s a magnificent story for Halloween. 

Our tale is set in and around an isolated house in a desolate, eerie location in West Ireland. The main character is an elderly man who lives there with his sister. His sleep is tainted with disturbing dreams that become more like occult visions of barren but impossible landscapes. (Think “If M.C. Esher did landscaping.”)

In those visions his and his sister’s house is always in the middle of the terrifying geography. After these unsettling experiences on the astral plane the material version of those forces are unleashed in the real world by a minor earthquake near our main character’s house.

Swinish humanoids that resemble the illusory pig-faced monster in the movie Boardinghouse emerge from the new fissure and besiege the two terrified humans, Night of the Living Dead style. Continue reading

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SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF HARRY A CHESLER PUBLISHING

Superhero cosplay for Halloween has begun threatening to overtake horror themes in recent years. In recognition of that, Balladeer’s Blog has been including a look at a different superhero pantheon during each October’s Halloween celebration. This year it’s the superheroes from Harry A Chesler ‘s publishing company. 

Alias the Dragon 1THE DRAGON

Secret Identity: Bill Norton, Police Scientist

Origin: Tired of being relegated to the scientific end of crime solving, Police Scientist Bill Norton decides to seek out some action. He devises a flame-thrower pistol for himself plus a costume and starts fighting crime as the Dragon in his series titled Alias the Dragon.

First Appearance: Skyrocket Comics #1 (March 1944).

Powers: The Dragon had the strength and agility of a very athletic man. He wielded a pistol which could shoot fire like a flame-thrower and the dragon-scale cape of his costume was bullet-proof. In addition this hero was a first-rate scientist in criminology.

Comment: The Dragon was one of those Golden Age superheroes who didn’t care if he killed the criminals he fought. As Bill Norton our hero serves under Captain Donovan, no first name given. This character’s willingness to kill and his flame-thrower gimmick can’t help but remind a Bad Movie Fan like me of Robert Ginty’s two-movie character the Executioner.

Yankee GirlYANKEE GIRL

Secret Identity: Lauren Mason, wealthy socialite 

Origin: Lauren Mason’s family line included practioners of the mystic arts, but the only spell-casting Lauren herself ever employed was a magic conjuration employing the words “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” (I guess her delivery made all the difference.) Chanting those three words transformed her, Shazam-style, into the super-powered Yankee Girl. 

First Appearance: Either Red Seal Comics #17 (July 1946) or Dynamic Comics #23 (November 1947). There is still some dispute. 

Powers: Continue reading

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A DAY OF JUDGMENT (1981): MOVIE REVIEW

Halloween Month continues! Independent filmmaker Earl Owensby churned out a long list of movies over the years, including this horror flick. For more Earl Owensby horror films click HERE

A Day of Judgment 1

Owensby’s macabre Grim Reaper/ Fool Killer style monster from A Day of Judgment.

A DAY OF JUDGMENT (1981) – This movie plays as if Owensby collaborated with Reverend Estus W Pirkle like Ron Ormond did for the religious zealot/ Cold War potboiler If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? 

You can strip away that movie’s Cold War angle, though, since A Day of Judgment is set in the 1920s American south. Well, 1920s-ISH we’ll say since the usual fun Owensby anachronisms turn up repeatedly in assorted scenes.  

Reverend Cage addresses a church that is virtually empty and bores the few faithful who remain by bitching and moaning about how poor attendance has been. He’s leaving town and is basically washing his hands of the place, warning that the increasingly sinful town will get what’s coming to it. 

A Day of Judgment 3Next we have a series of scenes featuring some of the more sinful citizens of the deep southern town. Adultery, bigotry, covetousness, greed and outright murderous passions lurk behind every corner of this Mayberry-turned-Sodom and Gomorrah. These scenes go on so long even Larry Buchanan would scream “Pick up the pace, dammit!” at the screen.

A sinister, monstrously ugly man in black arrives in town, driving a horse-drawn carriage and sporting a long scythe. This figure is the film’s Grim Reaper/ Angel of Death/ Foolkiller- type menace. Continue reading

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HAUNTEDWEEN THEME SONG (1991)

HauntedWeenAs always, October flies by too quickly. There are just a few days left in Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween. Here’s a shoutout to the title song from the infamously bad 1991 horror film HauntedWeen.

That movie is about a young kid driven insane by accidentally causing an impalement death. Long years later that now grown-up figure runs his family’s yearly spook-house for Halloween season. The catch is that after a few deaths that he demonstrates as fakes for the attendees he then begins really killing several helpless captives. The live audience cheers wildly, thinking it’s all just more fake blood and gore.

That inspired premise is squandered in a classically bad film that DOES boast a catchy theme song. And here it is:

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1899 MUMMY STORY: PHAROS THE EGYPTIAN

Balladeer’s Blog celebrates Halloween all month long. For today here’s a look at an 1899 mummy tale.

Pharos the EgyptianPHAROS THE EGYPTIAN (1899) – Written by Guy Boothby, who was better known for his Doctor Nikola stories about an evil genius in the mold of Dr Mabuse and Fu Manchu.

Cyril Forrester, a successful British artist, is approached by an enigmatic and sinister-seeming old Egyptian named Pharos. This figure tells Cyril that a mummy he (Cyril) inherited from his Egyptologist father is the dead body of Pharos’ ancestor from over 3,000 years ago. 

Pharos 2That ancestor was Ptahmes, whom we’re told served as a magician for the Pharaoh Ramses during the mythical Exodus. Pharos is angry over the desecration of his ancestor’s remains so Forrester obligingly returns the mummy to the old man.

And so begins a danger-filled supernatural adventure to return the mummy of Ptahmes to his tomb. Cyril is suckered along into following Pharos because he is attracted to – or as we’re supposed to pretend in fiction, he is “in love with” Valerie, a beautiful Hungarian violinist who is in thrall to the old Egyptian. Continue reading

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