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.
Balladeer’s Blog’s Month-long celebration of Halloween nears its end for 2020 as I take a look at the most seasonal covers of the 1970s Marvel Comics series Son of Satan. The latest Marvel television show, Helstrom, is a very watered-down and weak version of their horror character Daimon Hellstrom, the son of Satan and a mortal woman. (They didn’t even use both “L’s” in the name Hellstrom for the series title, as if h-e-l-l is too shocking for public use.)
Marvel later renamed Daimon from Son of Satan to the catchier “Hellstorm” – a play on his last name. From what I’ve read the tv show doesn’t even commit to him being Satan’s son. Wimps. He FIGHTS Satan, for crying out loud, so where’s the harm!
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol 1 #12 (October 1973)
Title: The Son of Satan
Comment: Daimon Hellstrom and his half-sister Satana (click HERE) were both born of human mothers but with Satan as their father. Satana followed their father’s evil path but Daimon rebelled, fighting against their father and his minions and even trying to become a priest at one time.
In his secret identity Daimon was a professor of parapsychology and religion plus he served as an exorcist. When he held up both hands with three fingers up on each hand (the sign of the trident) he mystically transformed into his Son of Satan regalia complete with a pitchfork.
That pitchfork was made of nether-metal and through it the Son of Satan generated Hellfire (like Ghost Rider wielded) and used it to fly (like Hot Stuff – rimshot). This foe of demonic forces also had an infernal chariot pulled through the sky by three Satanic horses named Amon, Hecate and Set. Continue reading
THE MAGICIAN – During Halloween Season a few years back Balladeer’s Blog reviewed the 1926 silent movie adaptation of The Magician. This time around I’ll review the original Somerset Maugham novel from 1908. It’s no secret at this late date that the malevolent sorceror of the title, Oliver Haddo, was based on the real-life Aleister Crowley. In fact, Crowley would accuse Maugham of plagiarism when he reviewed The Magician under the name Oliver Haddo, his fictional counterpart.
At any rate the 1926 film is an under-appreciated classic of the Silent Era and the novel is of an even higher quality. In Paris – where Maugham first met Crowley in real life – Dr Arthur Burdon, a prominent young British surgeon, has come to visit his fiancee, artist Margaret Dauncey.
Burdon also visits his elderly former mentor, Dr Porhoet, who has turned from medicine to the study of Magick and the occult arts. It is through Porhoet that Dr Burdon and Margaret – plus Margaret’s friend Susie Boyd – first encounter the elegant yet repellant Oliver Haddo. The cadre of friends make the mistake of ridiculing the boastful Haddo’s claims of being a sorceror in the young 20th Century. Continue reading
Halloween Month hurls toward its conclusion with another seasonal post. The Marvel Comics juggernaut is THE power in pop culture these days so here is another look at one of their horror characters from their 1970s heyday.
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol 1 #5 (August 1972)
Title: Ghost Rider
Comment: Ah, the sweet simplicity of the original Ghost Rider stories! Daredevil biker Johnny Blaze makes a deal with the devil: Johnny’s soul in exchange for Satan curing the cancer in the body of Blaze’s mentor “Crash” Simpson.
We all know how deals with the devil go, and Satan cures Simpson’s cancer but the aging daredevil motorcyclist dies in an accident during his next show. When Satan comes to claim Johnny’s soul, Blaze’s true love Roxanne Simpson (Crash’s daughter) interferes and negates the infernal contract.
The stymied devil can’t take Johnny to Hell but can inflict a kind of “Hell in nightly installments” on him by cursing him to become a monstrous fiery-skulled figure every night from then on.
NOTE: Convoluted additions about soul-reaping or about Johnny’s Ghost Rider form really being a specific demon named Zarathos, or past Ghost Riders did not come along til years later. The first Ghost Rider movie should have kept it simple like this and started adding the complications beginning with the second film. Continue reading
THE DUST CLOUD (1912) – Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a look at this tale written by British author E.F. Benson. The story deals with a ghostly automobile and for me the 1912 setting and several macabre touches give it a certain charm that makes it irresistible.
Our unnamed narrator is a well-to-do Brit visiting with his much wealthier friend Harry Combe-Martin near Suffolk. The pair are the stereotypical Gearheads of Old, passionate about driving and discussing every type of automobile model that comes along. Given the time period their goggles and long coats when driving are a given.
After-dinner conversation about the finer points of assorted automobiles turns to Harry’s late friend Guy Elphinstone, another car enthusiast. Elphinstone was a singularly unpleasant man and often spitefully drove over chickens and rabbits who got in his way as he flew along the roadways.
One day a few months earlier, Guy Elphinstone’s impatience caused an accident in which he ran over and killed a little girl and crashed into his own manor’s closed park gates, thus killing himself, too. His car – a twenty-five horsepower Amedee Bollee – was totaled in the wreck. 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