Gaston Leroux’s The Machine to Kill was written in NINETEEN TWENTY-FOUR. Many book sites list it as 1935, but that was just the year it was finally translated into English.
Personally I would use the title The Clockwork Dead Man or The Clockwork Killer because for modern readers The Machine to Kill sounds like a traditional science fiction tale about technology run amok.
In reality this neglected Gaston Leroux novel is a horror/sci fi hybrid about an android/ cyborg mix whose mechanized body has been outfitted with the brain, eyes and nervous system of a guillotined murderer. The robotic man – called Gabriel – was created by Dr Jacques Cotentin, who needed an absolutely fresh brain, hence having to settle for a just-executed criminal. Continue reading
Halloween month rolls along with Balladeer’s Blog’s salute to Zuma, the king of Philippine horror movies, and his sequel film Daughter of Zuma.
ZUMA (1985) – Category: Enjoyably bad movie elevated by its obscurity value
There’s an old saying that goes “Once you have a big green bald guy with pythons growing out of his neck you never go back.” Or something to that effect. This monstrous figure is Zuma himself, the Freddy Krueger of the Philippines in the 1980s. Big, muscular and green like the Hulk, bald like Mr Clean and with pythons growing out of his neck like the late Michael Jackson. (Disclaimer: The preceding remark is probably not true)
Originally a comic book character in the Philippines, Zuma took the film industry of the islands by storm with his debut film in 1985 and a sequel in 1987. Copies of these films have been Continue reading
As Halloween Month continues to unfold, Balladeer’s Blog takes a one-week break from the ongoing review of 1970s Spider-Man stories to do something more seasonal – a look at the Simon Garth zombie covers from Marvel Comics.
TALES OF THE ZOMBIE Vol 1 #1 (July 1973)
Title: Altar of the Damned
Comment: The first Silver Age appearance of the Marvel Comics horror character Simon Garth, a brutal coffee plantation owner who was killed and brought back to life as a zombie by his Haitian workers.
Garth was not your typical mindless zombie wanting to feed on human beings all the time. His stories provided insight into the still-functioning mind of the man trapped in this horrific fate as he battled assorted supernatural menaces, some drawn from VooDoo lore, others created by Marvel.
Simon Garth could be used against his will at times by people in possession of the Amulet of Damballah which controlled him. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s 31 Days of Halloween continues with this neglected horror hero.
THE COFFIN (2000) – Written by Phil Hester and drawn by Mike Huddleston, The Coffin was originally a four-part serial before being collected into graphic novel format. I’ll provide details below but right up front let me point out that the horrific but intriguing premise is that the Coffin is a dead scientist whose soul is trapped within a polymer techno-suit of his own creation.
Dr Ashar Ahmad, the brilliant scientist in question, is employed by Heller Technologies, whose eponymous owner is a vile and amoral tycoon. Heller himself is a figure straight out of a horror film.
He’s incredibly old and his withered, wrinkled body is still functioning only because of all of the legal and illegal organ transplants he has had. His body is a battleground of scars from all that surgery. Obviously immortality is what our power-mad plutocrat longs for.
And so Heller Technologies recruited Dr Ahmad to devise strong, lightweight polymers for medical purposes. To that end Ashar has developed polymers that can be used to form an artificial membrane that is perfectly impermeable and incredibly durable.
Extensions of that technology result in masses of polymers – literally thousands of layers – some of them only a few molecules thick. Dr Ahmad has managed to make it so that these polymers react to electronic pulses like the kind from a human brain to its body’s muscles, making the polymer “skin” or membrane expand or contract in response to those electronic pulses. Continue reading
FAUST: LOVE OF THE DAMNED (1987) – Written by David Quinn with artwork by Tim Vigil. Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with this review of the 1987-2012 “adult” comic book series Faust. This series included very graphic and very unusual sex and violence while offering a twisted update on the story of Faust selling his soul to Mephistopheles. The year 2000 Brian Yuzna (’nuff said) movie version of Faust: Love of the Damned is pretty bad but does capture the blood-soaked, anarchic WTF air of the series.
Before I get into plot details I’ll point out that, despite the criticism that Quinn and Vigil get for providing stories featuring extreme sex and gore in a purely sensational manner they never sold out their indy comic vision by watering down either the sex or the violence just for wider distribution and more money. Continue reading
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know how much I love bad and weird movies. Here are three out of the way films that are not good by any stretch of the imagination but which have a certain something that makes them bizarrely watchable.
DARKER THAN AMBER (1970) – Rod Taylor IS, for some reason, an Australian version of John D MacDonald’s detective Travis McGee. William “Big Bill” Smith plays the outrageously bleached-blonde villain Terry Bartlett and Theodore Bikel portrays McGee’s friend and idea man Meyer. McGee saves a woman (Suzy Kendall) from being forcibly drowned by her criminal associates only to see her get bumped off by them anyway.
Taylor’s odd “Crocodile” McGee runs a con to bring down the dead woman’s murderers. The novel’s Alabama Tiger, a millionaire who runs a non-stop party on his houseboat, became the Alabama Tigress in this movie and is played by THE Jane Russell. Robert Clouse of Enter the Dragon fame directed, with the highlight of this cult film being the supposedly real fight (in parts) between William Smith and Rod Taylor. Most video versions edit out much of this awkward battle but the unedited brawl can be viewed on YT. Continue reading
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know how interested I am in the various ARGs, Analog Horror projects and other forms of “Unfiction” that play out on the internet. Earlier this year I had fun looking back on completed projects like Analog Archives and Channel 7, both of which owed a lot to the ongoing work Local 58.
Many of these projects, especially The Magical World of Ania, display more daring and creativity than we’ve gotten in major movie releases and television shows in recent years. Similarly, I Am Sophie was unfolding as a meta-within-meta horror narrative that was on course to become one of THE best and most disturbing examples of Unfiction. Continue reading
Previously here at Balladeer’s Blog I covered YT Channels that featured what I considered the very best of the emerging subgenre of Analog Horror or “Unfiction” as a lot of people have labeled it. Those descriptive terms have been coined to help keep these creative efforts distinct from pure ARGs (Alternate Reality Games).
Last year I reviewed Local 58, Kris Straub’s latest venture, but many readers have since been expressing their discontent with the way the new 2020 episodes never materialized. Per Straub, that’s because Local 58‘s Analog Horror tale was going to incorporate a fictional pandemic, so given real-world events he decided to hold off and reorganize the series.
(If you’re in the mood for Analog Horror which does NOT back away from pandemic and lockdown lore, check out Walker Creek Broadcast Station, but be aware that such lore is only incidental to the main storyline.)
At any rate, being left hanging like that with Local 58 left many of you asking about similar Analog Horror/ Unfiction series which are already completed. I’m happy to say that two of the most popular series are now available COMPLETE and IN ORDER. Even better, they have been edited into one long-form YT video each for your viewing convenience, rather than spread out episodically. (You damn whiners. I’m KIDDING!) Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at Halloween Month’s best:
FIVE SCARY BUT NOT GORY HORROR FILMS – For those who like scary Halloween flicks that lack intense gore. Click HERE.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE DEAD (1910) – Neglected horror novel about a researcher who discovers a very unique breed of ghosts. Click HERE.
MARTIN LUTHER KING PERSON OF COURAGE BERNADINE KENT ENDORSES PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR REELECTION – The black Democrat lawmaker praises Trump’s many accomplishments for communities of color. Click HERE.
GHOST RIDER: THE MOST HALLOWEENISH COVERS – A look at the original 1972-1983 run of the Marvel Comics horror character Ghost Rider. Click HERE.
CROW INDIAN TRIBE PLUS MORE BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS ENDORSE TRUMP – Click HERE.
FOOL KILLER 50: A 1980s SLASHER VERSION OF THE FOOL KILLER – The title says it all. Click HERE.
JOE BIDEN STAFFER NAMED IN VOTE FRAUD SCANDAL – Because for Democrats, vote fraud is a way of life! Click HERE.
BLADE THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: THE EARLY YEARS – A look at the original 1973-1983 run of the Marvel Comics horror character Blade. Click HERE.
THE MOST HALLOWEENISH WEREWOLF BY NIGHT COVERS – A look at the Marvel Comics horror series called Werewolf by Night. Click HERE.
TECHNO-FASCISTS CENSOR STORIES ABOUT BIDEN FAMILY CORRUPTION – Click HERE.
FACULTY LOUNGE FASCIST ROUNDUP: OCTOBER 6th – A look at the Democrat Archie Bunkers of the “educational system” (LMAO) – Click HERE.
FOUR NEGLECTED HALLOWEEN STORIES – Four neglected horror short stories from the 1800s onward. Click HERE. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror. This is one of the most twisted sections of a book loaded with them. And be forewarned … when I say this is twisted I mean TWISTED. You’ve been warned.
THE RED LANTERN AT TWILIGHT
All of the action in this stanza takes place at twilight and the first moments of darkness. The supernatural being Maldoror comes upon a French brothel that used to be a convent centuries before. A rough wooden bridge leads across a stream of filth to the establishment. Customers take their leave by crawling out through a grate into a courtyard littered with chickens and chicken filth.