Tag Archives: horror films

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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SEAN NA SAGART: HORROR CLASSIC IN WAITING

masc graveyard newBalladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween hurtles toward its finale next Wednesday night. This time around I’ll examine the tale of Sean na Sagart aka John of the Priests, who should have been the lead character in several horror films by this point.

Sean was born John Mullowney around 1690 AD in Derrew, Ireland. By his teens he was living beyond his means, often drinking and carousing. He financed his hard-partying lifestyle through multiple crimes, with various accounts claiming he was a masked Highwayman or a burglar or even a rustler and horse-thief.

It IS certain he was arrested for stealing horses and was sentenced to death by hanging in Castlebar, Ireland. Recognizing what an amoral creature was before them, the authorities offered Sean a very dirty job in exchange for escaping death on the gallows – becoming a Priest Hunter/ Killer.

The Penal Act of 1709 had decreed that Catholic Priests plus higher and lower clergymen must take the Oath of Abjuration and recognize Great Britain’s Protestant Queen Anne as the supreme religious authority in England AND Ireland. Refusing to do so merited summary execution.

Sean na Sagart's treeThus began the career and dark legend of Sean na Sagart. Sean spent roughly the next 17 years hunting, capturing and killing renegade Catholic Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals.

Since Catholic schools were forbidden, outlaw Hedge School Teachers were also fair game. Sean’s bounty varied according to the rank of his clergy member victims. If he ever backed out of this career as a Priest Hunter it was back to the gallows for him.  

WHY A HORROR STORY? For multiple reasons in a variety of storytelling approaches. First, if played strictly true-to-life it would make for a very ironic twist on the horror subgenre of Witchfinder General flicks, which always featured crazed, sadistic clergymen hunting and torturing confessions out of “witches.” And Continue reading

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THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970): MOVIE REVIEW

masc graveyard newHalloween is celebrated all month long here at Balladeer’s Blog. Here’s my review of this Jean Rollin film. For even more reviews of horror films with a nudity theme click HERE  

And for my look at three more Jean Rollin movies click HERE and HERE

Nude Vampire

The Nude Vampire

5. THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970) – France’s Jean Rollin is one of those love-them-or-hate-them directors. The snooty French often bashed his films for their devotion to style over all else. Don’t believe reviews which claim that his movies have no comprehensible storylines.

Personally I find him more straightforward than Lynch or Jodorowsky. At any rate the central figure of this arthouse Euro-horror is indeed a beautiful female vampire in skimpy outfits and less. Continue reading

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HALLOWEEN WITH PAUL NASCHY

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog. 

Dr Jekyll vs the Wolf ManPaul “Jacinto Molina” Naschy was Spain’s King of Horror decades ago. Many of his films featured his recurring character Waldemar Daninsky, a tormented lycanthrope who was seeking a cure for his curse.

Long ago I reviewed Assignment: Terror (1969), which pitted Waldemar against aliens, a faux Frankenstein Monster, a vampire and a mummy. Here are three more from Naschy:

Dr Jekyll vs The Wolfman (1972), in which a descendant of the original Dr Jekyll uses the family formula to cure Waldemar of lycanthropy. Trouble is he starts turning into a kinky and murderous Mr Hyde on the nights of the full moon. (This is better than being a werewolf?)

There’s even a scene in a disco, for that quintessential 70s touch. (Don’t you hate people who use the word “quintessential”?]  Continue reading

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HELLRAISER: THE FOUR BEST FILMS

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with my take on the top four (of ten) movies in the Hellraiser franchise.

HellraiserHELLRAISER (1987) – “Jee-zuz WEPT!” Clive Barker helped translate his novel The Hellbound Heart to the big screen in this film. It’s incredibly rare for a novelist to get to DIRECT a movie version of one of his own works but Barker made the most of it.

Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) has exhausted sexual sensation with women, men, corpses and animals. Seeking new stimulation he solves LeMerchand’s Puzzle Box, a “Rubik’s Cube From Hell” which leaves him at the mercy of the demonic inter-dimensional sadomasochists called the Cenobites of the Order of the Gash. 

Suffering unimaginable torments as the M in this S&M relationship, Frank struggles to escape the Cenobites for good, even if it means sacrificing his brother Larry plus Larry’s wife Julia (Clare Higgins) and daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Continue reading

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THE BODY SHOP (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

THE BODY SHOP (1973) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following

HALLOWEEN MONTH CONTINUES! The horror film titled The Body Shop is one of my all-time favorite bad movie gems. It includes all the little extras that separate mere bombs from the truly legendary turkeys and, like another neglected classic, The Wizard of Mars (see my Bad Movie page for the review), just keeps getting worse and worse and weirder and weirder all the way to the end. Continue reading

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BLACK PIT OF DOCTOR M (1958)

Halloween Month continues with this look at the Mexican horror gem The Black Pit of Dr M. For Balladeer’s Blog’s extensive look at over a dozen Mexi-Monster films click HERE 

Black Pit of Dr M

The Black Pit of Dr M

THE BLACK PIT OF DR M (1958) – The Dr M of  our title is Dr Masali, who runs an insane asylum in the very early 1900’s with his colleague, Dr Aldama. The two make a pact stating that whichever one of them dies first will contact the survivor from the other side with the secret of returning to life.

Aldama passes away and, true to his word, returns from the beyond and uses his long lost daughter to serve as the catalyst that sets Dr M on the road to returning to the flesh after death. He also includes a warning that our title doctor naturally ignores. 

Elmer Black Pit of Dr MHanged for a murder he didn’t commit, Dr M does indeed return to the flesh, but as Heavenly punishment for violating the Divine Order his soul is trapped in the body of his asylum’s hideously deformed and homicidally violent resident, Elmer.  Continue reading

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