Hellraiser III: Hell In Ink

It’s now October, and we are ever so close to Halloween.  In this update as promised we are going to open the Puzzle Box and take a look at Epic Comics’ adaptation of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth! But to really tell the story of how I first got to see the film, we have to focus on video rental stores, not your Blockbuster Videos or West Coast Video but the ones that were in super market and department stores. Back in the 1980’s, the video rental industry was in a huge boom and alongside the massive chains, you also had smaller mom and pop shops and still yet major retail chains even got into the business and had small sections in the store that acted as their rental shop. One such store that had a video rental store in it was Kroger on Whipp Road.  It was a full grocery and midway in the store, they had a very small electronics department that was filled with cameras, film and blank cassettes and VHS tapes; that’s also were the video store was. For me, way before Netflix took its soulless grip on movie watchers, video rental stores were a very important way to discover horror films that I had never heard of, and nothing can take the place of cruising the isle of a video store looking at the amazing cover art for VHS and DVD scary films to choose what ones to watch that weekend. That’s one thing I will always love about my teen years, hanging out with my older brother Bryan and going to the local video store and renting a ton of horror films to watch over the weekend, only taking a break to watch TNT’s Monstervision or USA’S Up All Night, but I am getting off topic. One weekend my Dad and I went over for a quick visit to my uncle’s house.  It was early in the morning, and the visit was a couple of hours.  On our way home my Dad stopped at Kroger to pick up some food for dinner, and while he went shopping I beelined to the video department and started looking at the PVT’s (Previously Viewed Tapes) and there it was Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth on VHS and I so wanted it! My Dad found me holding the tape in my hand as if it was a prize.  I had seen the first two Hellraiser films and loved them and so wanted to see the third film in the series. My Dad told me it was time to go and reality hit me in the face that I was just a young kid with no money and as I slowly started to put the tape back on the shelf my Dad said “You want that movie? Well go on and get it and let’s go” and this is why my Dad rules.  He could see in my face how much I wanted that movie and spent the money to get it for me, and this small thoughtful act meant the world to this strange Monster Kid.

video store horror shelvesKroger logohellraiser 3 vhs

When we got home, I rushed to the VCR and popped in my new VHS tape as my parents went outside to do some yard work, and I was treated to the wonders of the Hell on Earth! The film is about Joey Summerskill a TV reporter who is stuck doing lame stories, but one night she stumbles onto a case while at the ER.  She witness a teen coming in for help who is ripped apart before her eyes by chains! The dead youth was brought in by a young pretty girl named Terry who is dating JP Monroe, the owner of a club called the Boiler Room, and Joey really needs to find her to crack this story. The club is filled with all types of odd artwork that includes a pillar that houses the evil spirit of Pinhead and when Joey goes looking for Terry she gets to see just how scummy JP is. Terry breaks up with JP and stays with Joey to fill her in on the puzzle box that is revealed to be the source of the chains that killed the youth, and to make things worse Pinhead is breaking free of the pillar and is using JP to bring him victims to get stronger with false promises. But when Pinhead uses Terry to free himself from the his prison its up to Joey armed with the puzzle box to fight off Pinhead and his new crew of cenobites who want to bring Hell to Earth! Joey is helped by Captain Elliott Spencer (Pinheads human counterpart) in her dreams who is the key of ending his terror forever. Is Joey strong enough to defeat Pinhead or will she be the reason the world as we know it coming to an end? The write up was taken from my old Review site for Bloodline Video were I gave the film a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I would watch the film several times over the years on that VHS tape and at times I think I drove my Mom crazy with watching it as she hated a scene that took place in a church. But I don’t want to talk to much about the film’s plot and my thoughts because we will save all that for the comic!

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One thing I should point out is that on my first viewing I was amazed by the body and boobs of actress Aimee Leigh, who plays Sandy a young woman from the club that is used for sex and then is killed by Pinhead. When watching the scene where she is naked on the bed, I felt as if I was watching something I should not be seeing and that my parents were going to come in the living room and ask what kind of filth was I watching! But I made it past the scene and her performance will always live on in my mind!

Sandy 1Hellraiser III sandys BoobsSandy eaten alive

While Pinhead is the most popular Cenobite, his fellow minions also have their own following.  I mean who could forget Chatter or even Butterball from the original 1987 movie, and this third film has its own cast of weird cenobites characters that include CD Head, a cenobite that has Compact Discs in his head and he can fling them as a deadly weapon. Barbie is a Cenobite with barbwire around his face who can also blow fire from his mouth! Camera Head has a camera for an eye that he can use it as a tool to shoot through the skulls of victims.  Piston Head is a cenobite with a piston running through his head, and last is Terri a female cenobite who well, dreams….yeah, these cenobites could be the lamest of Pinhead’s henchmen in the whole series, but their cheesy names and gimmicks also makes them pretty damn cool! I can remember fellow horror film fan friends of mine as well as my cousins Dino and Norman making fun of the likes of CD Head.  Poor CD seemed to be the one everyone pointed out as being lame and was the butt of many jokes. Bellow is a group pick of the cenobites from the film as well as I believe the director of the film.  So check em out and see CD Head in all his glory!

Hellraiser III Cenobites

I can’t remember too much merchandise coming out in 1992 when the film was released to theaters besides the movie poster, cardboard cut out and maybe a T-Shirt, but in the 2000’s toy makers NECA made a line of figures based of the Hellraiser franchise and many of these figures were based on the Cenobites from the third film. The figures are well detailed and are great collectors items and are worth a buy if your a fan of the series, and yes I do own many of them and yes, one of them is CD Head. Check out the pics bellow for what they look like.

NECA Hellraiser Pinhead FigureHellriaser III Barbie figureHellraiser III CD fIGURE

The film had two soundtracks come out on CD and Cassette, one being the score and the other being music used and inspired by the film that includes artist like Motorhead and KMFDM. While the Rock N Roll soundtrack is pretty dang good, the score music by Randy Miller is the better choice of the two for me. While Miller’s music fits the film, it’s very 90’s sounding and very different from the Christopher Young score of the original. So if you like horror film soundtrack music, then you can pick your poison and bang your head or soak in the mood of this film. And for those wondering I do play Miller’s score music on Alpha Rhythms from time to time.

Hellraiser III SoundtrackHellraiser III score soundtrack

So it’s time.  The Puzzle Box is open and the chains are flying and I can hear Pinhead creeping around so before we get stuck in his nightmare world and we are forced to read Epic Comics’ adaptation of the third Hellraiser film, I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So the time is here, let’s get ready to walk the dark side with the cenobites!

Hellraiser III Comic 1

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth   **
Released in 1992   Cover Price $4.95   Epic Comics   # 1 of 1

J.P. Monroe is a night club owner who buys a pillar statue from an abandoned art house from a strange homeless man.  Meanwhile news reporter Joey Summerskill is at the ER covering a boring story and as Doc, her cameraman, leaves a young man is rushed in with chains hanging from open wounds on his body, Terri, a young goth girl who brought him, in is the only clue to what has happened to this young man as Joey watches as he chains rip him apart! The news station she works with thinks Joey’s story is too fantastic, and she goes out on her own to find answers to what has happened to the exploding youth. She tracks Terri to a night club called The Boiler Room that’s owned by J.P. and leaves her business card for Terri to call her.  Terri does so once she and boyfriend J.P break up and Joey allows Terri to stay with her at her apartment. Joey and Terri work as a team and try to find answers to what the Puzzle Box is and what is its connection to the youth’s death. Meanwhile J.P finds that Pinhead, the evil cenobite, is living in his statue and wants human blood to become stronger and free himself from his stone prison and unleash hell on Earth! Joey gets a visit in her dreams from a man named Elliot who was the human side of Pinhead who teaches her the way to kill the cenobite once and for all! But Pinhead has some tricks up his sleeve as he turns J.P., Terri, Doc and some of the bar workers into cenobites and tries to bully Joey into giving him the puzzle box, the only tool that can send him back to Hell! In the end Joey, with the help of Elliot’s ghost, tricks Pinhead and sends him back to where he came from, and she buries the box in concrete.

First thing I must say is that for a comic adaptation of a Hellraiser film, this sure does wuss out on the blood and gore and for the most part is pretty tame! In fact I think that some Vertigo and Marvel Horror titles might be bloodier than this! The story of the film is pretty intact with only a few things being left out, the most notable one being the slaughter at the night club that is nothing more than the aftermath of the massacre with bodies being around but no blood. I think the biggest issue with this comic is the whole thing seems rushed from the story to the art. Joey is a pretty likeable hero who you find yourself rooting for as she tries her best to solve the puzzle of how to rid the world of Pinhead once and for all.  She is also very brave as she heads towards danger and befriends a ghost. Terri is a confused young woman who tries to do the right things but is easily manipulated by scummy people like J.P and Pinhead.  She’s a pretty good “sidekick” and helps add to the over all story. J.P. is a pure scumbag and is one of those characters you love to hate. Pinhead, while the main villain in this comic, really doesn’t seem to do much besides talk a lot and murder people, many of them not seen on any panel. I really hate to say it, but I was really bored reading this comic adaptation and while I really like the movie, I would tell comic fans to skip this one. At some points while reading this comic I found my mind wondering and losing interest and that’s a bad sign. The art is done by Miran Kim and in some spots it looks good, but many of times it looks terrible and down right laughable! The cover is the best part about this comic and is the only really good piece of artwork connected to this Epic Comics failure.  It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this comic adaptation and was looking forward to reading it. Below is some of the artwork from the comic, and I must also say sorry for the poor scans, the comic was a tough one to use my scanner on.

Hellraiser III Art 1Hellraiser III Art 2Hellraiser III Art 3

So there you have it.  While I have some very fond memories of the film, this comic adaption is bland and sadly not very good. I really hate that this comic was bad as I was really looking forward to reading it for this year’s Halloween countdown. I also wish I would have kept that old VHS copy of the film looking back now because how I got it and who bought it for me made that something special. I should also thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this in stock and should also note that Epic Comics was a sub branch of Marvel. Well next up on our countdown to Halloween is something really cool as we take a look at Innovations’ comic adaptation of the classic film Psycho! So until then make sure to watch some horror films, support your local horror host, rent a movie from your town’s video store and read a horror comic or three and for the love of God, please don’t open any strange puzzle boxes.

Psycho logo

The Incredible Werewolf

Fall’s in the air, and the Halloween season is quickly approaching.  That means we are all entitled to a good scare so let me take a look at an old creepy house me and my friends use to go exploring inside and we also filmed many no budget horror films around; it’s one we all dubbed “Murder House”! This house sat in Beavercreek off Indian Ripple Road and was just down the street from a cemetery.  The yard was always overgrown with weeds, and all around it was trees and unkept bushes. Every window on the ground floor was boarded up as the second floor windows were all clear but busted. In what was once the driveway to the house, an old dresser sat tipped over and was on top of a body of a deer that was just a skeleton. On the left side of the house was a cage used for dogs and around it bones and skulls of cats and dogs were thrown about. The right side had a covered porch that was covered with vines and rotten leaves, and also around this part in the yard were old metal toy trucks that were rusting from years of neglect and weather. The backyard had an old cellar that had caved in and was blocked by all types of debris and a little further back pens used for sheep as well as a little stream could be seen. The backdoor to the house was busted open and this would allow you access to the inside, that we would all enter when wanting to get a good scare. For years I was obsessed with this house and would drive past it with friends on late night ghost hunts or just cruising around blaring music.  Keep in mind I was in my early 20’s and loved making my own shot on video horror flicks so this house was my go to spooky place to freak out dates and get a shiver up my spine as well. When around the house at night I would always get a weird vibe that someone was watching me. The first time I ever entered the house was with my pal Josh Weinberg.  Armed with flashlights and pocket knives, we creeped into the backdoor that lead us to the kitchen.  The first thing we noticed was that a freezer had been tipped over and was laying on its side but the rest of the kitchen, while dirty, was not vandalized. The odd part was that dishes still sat in the sink and the cabinets were filled with dishes and caned goods.  The grossest part was the fact the refrigerator still had lots of food in it that had turned into a molded mass of goo! A door off the kitchen lead to the garage that was packed with normal stuff like a lawnmower, but it was also packed with lots and lots of trash bags filled with junk and clothes. Another door in the kitchen lead to the basement..that at first we did not go down due to time and I am sure as well nerves. Off the kitchen was a small dining room area and this is were the house got its name among us friends because on the carpeted floor was a giant blood stain, a stain so big that whatever lost the blood clearly passed away..

Blooooodddd

Josh and I looked at the blood stain for awhile and chatted about what we thought had happened in that spot.  We went a little further into the house, and the next room was a very large living room that still had the furniture around.  While it was clear that someone had tipped it all over, it was still intact. I should also say that the house was pitch black and not even the flashlights seemed to help all that much as the darkness always seemed to be all around you. Off the living room was some stairs that lead to the second floor, but we didn’t go up them as we wanted to go tell the others about the blood stain. Later that night Josh and I returned to Murder House with Matt Hoffman, Dave Wean and Brandon Womeldorff to show them the stain and just how odd the house was.  It was at this time we noticed that 1994 was the date on the calendar and all the left behind bills we could find. At that time we never did go into the basement nor go upstairs, but we did get a scare from a raccoon who came out of nowhere hissing and acting like a wild nut. A few months later Brandon and I went back to the house and found that the carpet in the room with the blood stain had been removed exposing the hardwood floor. Who would remove carpet with a giant blood stain on it from an abandoned house? Years would pass and Murder House became the set for my films like “Cocktober Blood” and the unfinished “Frankenstein Meets The Werewolf,” and I would also still take girls to it to give em a scare as well as people I didn’t like to freak em out and tell them that I saw people watching us from the windows upstairs and laugh as they would freak out. One night many years later when I was in my very late 20’s, I went back inside Murder House with my friends Max Ervin, Chris “Doogie” Mollohan and Lauryn Campanell and finally went into the basement and upstairs! The basement was very plain and while the washer and dryer and some tools was around and the atmosphere was spooky, it was nothing to special. The upstairs however was pretty creepy as all three bedrooms still had the beds and furniture intact.  One bedroom was also filled with toys I can remember Max and I finding a Muppet Babies See and Say as well as the video game cart of Indiana Jones for Atari 2600. That was a fun night with great friends one that I will always remember sharing with Max and Chris who sadly have both passed away. Murder House was torn down shortly after that night and now all that stands in its place is an empty lot that is for sale.  After trying to find information on the house and its history, we never could figure out just what happened there.

Murder House Lot

The year was 1987, and the Fox Network was trying to become a major player for prime time television viewership.  One of the shows they made was called Werewolf that followed a young man named Eric Cord, played by John J. York, who was bitten by a werewolf and must try and find a way to kill the lead werewolf who started his bloodline in order to rid himself of the curse. The “lead” werewolf was a one eyed ship boat captain named Janos Skorzeny, who was played by TV acting veteran Chuck Connors. To add more stress to Eric’s quest, he was also being hunted by a bounty hunter named Alamo Joe Rogan played by Lance LeGault. The series premiere was a 2 hour event, and Fox put a lot of hype into it’s airing.  I can remember the buzz going around it, and my parents even planned on watching it.  That seemed like a big deal to me at the time as my mom never really liked horror themed things, so the fact she was going to watch the premiere peaked our interest. My brother and I wanted to watch it so bad but due to what time it aired and our mom thinking that the show was going to be too bloody for our young eyes to see, we didn’t get to watch it when it first aired.  We did however get to watch it on tape as they recorded it on beta. When we finally were able to watch it, I can remember loving every cheesy and scary moment of it.  The werewolf costume was perfect and pretty great stuff for the time. After watching the episode my brother and I became fans, and our parents worked it in on the family TV viewing lineup.  We tried to not miss an episode although we did miss many. One of the reasons I loved the show so much was the fact it reminded me of the 1978 Incredible Hulk show with the fact Eric, much like David Banner, had to travel from town to town and when their monster side came out, the beast always did the right thing, but it became unsafe for their human side to stay around. Werewolf was canceled in 1988, and only lasted 1 long season that had 29 episodes and sadly the series never had a full fledged ending leaving us loyal viewers hanging. The series had solid ratings but the rumor going round was that the budget for episodes was too high and this was the reason for the cancelation.

Werewolf 1Werewolf 2Werewolf Logo

A short time after Fox pulled Werewolf from their lineup, USA Network stepped in and started airing the reruns and even showed the two hour premiere episode on Saturday Nightmares! My brother and I watched the episodes on USA and was able to catch the ones we missed on Fox. I can remember sitting in our living room on Royston Drive in Waynesville Ohio watching Werewolf and cheering for Eric to turn into a werewolf and find a way to end his curse. I can also remember seeing in Cracked Magazine parodies of the show and always for some reason nerding out.  In fact, in some of my lame home made comics I had the Eric Cord werewolf as a character! At some point in the coming year here at Rotten Ink, I will cover a comic series I made called Robo-Raccoon that followed a Raccoon man and his friends who were trying to collect bounties in space. Wow, I was way off track with Robo-Raccoon, but really just wanted to write this little part to say thanks to both Fox and USA for airing a show that made my childhood even cooler!

FOX Network Logo 1Werewolf TV adUSA Saturday Nightmares for Werewolf

Chuck Connors was a very popular actor in our household as my parents loved shows like The Rifleman and Branded and us the kids had Werewolf and the film Tourist Trap. Chuck Connors was born Kevin Joeseph Connors in 1921.  Growing up, Chuck was a great athlete in high school and after spending two years in South Orange College in New Jersey, he decided to join the Army during World War II and become a Tank Combat Instructor. During this time as well he played for the NBA team Rochester Royals and helped lead them to the 1946 championship! Also in 1946 he was discharged from the military and joined the basketball team the Boston Celtics, but left the team to join the MLB team the Brooklyn Dodgers whom he had been a fan of since youth. But before he left the Celtics, he became the first player to break the backboard! Sadly the Dodgers had him mostly play for the minor teams before letting him play only one game with them in 1949. By 1951 he started to play for the Chicago Cubs as a first baseman for a total of 66 games. Connors floated around the sports world for awhile even getting drafted by NFL team the Chicago Bears, but he never once suited up and left sports altogether to become an actor in Hollywood. Connors, early in his acting career, was in such films as Pat and Mike, South Sea Woman, Trouble Along The Way and Old Yeller. Connors even began taking small roles on TV shows like Adventures of Superman and Dear Phoebe, but in 1958 he landed the role of Lucas McCain on the ABC western show The Rifleman! The show was a huge success and lasted 5 seasons for a total of 168 episodes. After The Rifleman went off the air in 1963, Connors found work again in TV and movies landing roles in such projects as Arrest And Trial, Branded, Flipper (film) and even had a part of a slave owner in the 1977 mini series Roots which he won a Emmy for. In 1979 Connors played Mr. Slausen in Tourist Trap, a horror film that also starred Tanya Roberts that was about a rundown tourist attraction were a group of friends come face to face with a crazed killer. In 1987 he took the role of the one eyed werewolf in the horror series Werewolf. His last major role came in the 1991made for TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck Of The Draw were he plays once more Lucas McCain. Connors over the years had been married three times and had four children and had smoked since 1940 and for many years he smoked three packs a day. Sadly in 1992 at the age of 71 Chuck Connors passed away from pneumonia and was battling lung cancer. Chuck Connors was able to do many great things during his lifetime and is a true icon of western TV programs and even is in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Mueseum’s Hall of Fame. So this update is dedicated to you Chuck Connors for entertaining the Brassfield family for generations.

Chuck Connors 1Chuck Connors 2Tourist Trap Poster

Werewolf the Complete Series has never found it’s way to VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray here in the United States by a main stream company but can be found on the Grey Market. Some years back I can remember that Shout Factory was going to put out the series and this made many fans happy cause they could toss away the old DVD-R’s and get a legit with better picture quality and extras! But as the release date drew near, the boxset was pushed back not once but twice and then it quietly was canceled, and fans of the show once more were left out in the cold with no official release. The story I heard of why this series has never made it out on home media is that some of the music that was used in the series is costing any company wanting to put it out too much in royalties. The big rumor on the band that’s caused much of the drama of this series not coming out is Mike + The Mechanics whose song Silent Running is used during a key part for the first episode, and they want way too much money for the rights to the song for home video. But again I must stress that all this is just rumors I have heard, but whatever the reason this series has not made it to DVD needs to be figured out so us fans can re-live the hunt for the werewolf curse cure.

Werewolf DVD-R setWerewolf DVD=rShout Factory Werewolf DVD set

So the full moon is in the night sky, and I can hear the children of the night howling with delight as we are about to take a look at the six issue comic series done by Blackthorne Comics based on this short lived horror TV series. So make sure you have your silver bullets ready and always keep in mind that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s go on a wild ride of full moon fever and roam in a pack with Eric Cord. Also thanks to Bell Book And Comic, Ebay and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock

werewolf 3d

Werewolf 3-D  #1  ***
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.50    Blackthorne    #1 of 1

A couple is attacked and killed in the parking lot of the local disco by some kind of werewolf. The next morning Eric and his girlfriend Kelly are by the pool when her father comes out and is shocked and fearful of the attacks going on in their hometown.  You see Eric has been raised by them and his relationship with Kelly is a secret as they both don’t know how her dad would take the news as he looks at Eric as a son, and Eric’s best friend Ted is also Kelly’s brother. When Ted comes back into town he has Eric come over and tells him that he is the one killing all the people around town and that he is in fact a Werewolf! Ted begs Eric to kill him but after some time it’s too late as Ted becomes a werewolf and bites Eric who is forced to shoot and kill his friend, as the neighbors come rushing over they see Eric holding the dead body of Ted and he is blamed for murder. Out on bail Eric is picked up by Kelly who tells him that she knows her brother was a werewolf because he sent her a cassette tape message telling her the whole story the morning of his death.  So together Kelly and Eric deal with his full moon change that leaves him a crazed beast and together they find that a ship captain named Janos Skorzeny is the start of the curse, and when Eric meets him things go south real quick! That evening Skorzeny kidnaps Kelly as Eric is picked up by bounty hunter Alamo Joe Rogan on a full moon night for skipping out on bail.  When Eric turns into the beast, he escapes and saves Kelly from Skorzeny as a werewolf battle rages on in a burning cabin in the woods. In the end the sun comes up and the werewolves stop fighting.  Eric, while human, tells Kelly he must kill Skorzeny and set himself free, as Alamo Joe understands now he is no longer hunting just a man but now a monster.

This 3-D issue is a lot of fun and is really just an adaptation of the first episode of the series. The artwork and story are really well done but once more I found that the 3-D effect didn’t work all that great, much like it didn’t with The Noid comic and when wearing the glasses I could almost feel a headache creeping in. Eric Cord is our hero, a normal guy who just so happens to have really bad luck as he kills his best friend and at the same time is infected with a curse that turns him into a werewolf, and to make it all worse his girlfriend knows of his condition and he has a bounty hunter after him…so let’s just say our hero needs a lot of support from the reader. Plus I think the best thing about Eric is that he seems like an average guy, no different from you or me. Kelly is Eric’s girlfriend and is a huge help to him once he decides that he must track down the werewolf who started the bloodline that affects him.  While she is confused, she is a great help and a likable character. Alamo Joe Rogan is a great character who has been a bounty hunter for 21 years and has never lost one of his targets, and when he comes face to face with Eric as a werewolf he doesn’t blink an eye and just goes out and gets blessed silver bullets…now he’s what I would call a badass. The lead bad werewolf Janos Skorzeny is an evil man who takes joy in killing when the moon is full, and he is hard for the cops to find because being a sailor takes him from place to place.  He doesn’t get to flex his evil muscle much in this issue, but I am sure he will be a thorn in Eric’s side a lot during this comic series. The werewolf fight at the end of the issue was thing comic books are made of as the two beasts duked it out all the while the cabin around them is on fire and a lovely woman is caught between them….amazing! The artwork is really well done by Donnie Jupiter who captures the feel of the TV Show and the mood of a late 80’s horror comic, and the story from Frank Lupo and adapted by Lance Hampton is also top notch. Over all if you like the TV show or like werewolves then check out this cool little 3-D gimmick comic. So let’s travel deeper into the woods of this full moon and see what more mayhem we can read about.

Werewolf 1

Werewolf  # 1  ***
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.00    Blackthorne    #1 of 5

Eric Cord is hanging out at the dock where Skorzeny’s boat is and with a stolen gun and some silver bullets he plans on killing the old ship captain and lifting his curse. While waiting around the docks, Eric also finds out that Alamo Joe is on his tail and is also packing a gun with silver bullets but he is aiming for him and not Skorzeny.  To make it all worse, Alamo Joe has places a bounty on Eric’s head and now some of the shady dock workers want the money. Skorzeny gets mad at another ship captain and turns into a werewolf and kills him very brutally as Eric as well turns into a werewolf and has to kill some dock workers who were attacking him to collect the reward on his head. In the end Werewolf Eric comes face to face with Alamo Joe, who fires a silver bullet into his ear, causing the beast to leap into the water and disappear into the night sky. In the morning Skorzeny shows up and is upset about the bullet holes in his ship, as Alamo Joe finds out that brutal murders have been happening around the dock for months now and he also finds Eric’s journal that tells the story of Skorzeny being the werewolf king! As for Eric, he wakes back up as a human on shore and knows that he must try and kill his tormentor again and again until he succeeds.

What a great first issue, and while it is just based on a script from an episode of the TV Show, it still translates to comics really well. The downbeat mood of the issue is well described by the setting of the dirty and scummy docks where not only Skorzeny roams but also some real dirt bags.  Placing yourself into Eric’s shoes as he searches the area for his target helps add to the over all chill of the issue. Eric Cord in the issue is more of a man on a mission and with Kelly safe at home and his mind on the cure, he comes off way manlier and way more ready for action. As the Werewolf, Eric is a killing machine and if the 3-D issue taught me anything, it’s that as the werewolf he can even stand toe to toe with Skorzeny who is older and tougher than him. Skorzeny is a cruel evil man and when the werewolf he don’t care who he kills and how brutal it may be, in fact in this issue when he kills the fellow sea captain, he doesn’t just claw and bite him, he also impales him on a metal rod! Alamo Joe in this issue don’t get into the action too much as he only gets one good shot off from his gun and that only clips Werewolf Eric’s ear.  He mostly is around to be a pain in Eric’s side as he puts pressure on the dock workers to turn him in. The issue, while in black and white, does have the use of blood during the werewolf attacks and while I would not say it’s a bloodbath it is nice to see in this TV Adaptation comic series. The issue’s artwork is once more top notch late 80’s independent horror comic work and is done by a great artist whom I could not find his or her’s name in the credits. The issue’s cover is pretty cool and has all the main characters shown so it does its job. I used to have this issue when I was younger as well, and it held up really well as I liked it back then as well as today. So let’s see what happens in issue two and see if Eric can fulfill his destiny.

Werewolf 2

Werewolf  # 2  **
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.00    Blackthorne    #2 of 5

Davey is a 10 year old boy who loves monsters who lives with his mom and her abusive boyfriend Bobby. Late one night Davey hears a gunshot as well as a howl, and he gets hyped that a real life monster must be out and near his house.  He sneaks out and finds a werewolf who has a bullet wound and takes him to his tree house to hide. The next morning Davey is caught entering the house by his mother and he tells her about his monster friend, she thinks he just telling stories and allows him to eat his breakfast in his tree house as Bobby bullies the Mom and always trashes and picks on Davey leaves for work but not before meeting a man who comes to the house looking for a wounded man he has shot and who he tells them is a murderer. Davey finds that the werewolf is now a man who needs help to remove the bullet from his shoulder and the young boy helps him.  Later in the day Bobby returns home and starts beating on Davey and his Mother, and the wounded man comes to their aid and turns into a werewolf and kills Bobby and escapes into the night as Davey warns it of the law coming to kill it.

This issue is a major disappointment as I am sure that this issue has zero to do with Eric Cord or any other character from the TV show and was just a generic werewolf story they had sitting around the Blackthorne office and decided to slap the Werewolf logo on it and pass it off as one. Not once is the man shot referred to as Eric Cord, and in fact he is nameless as is the hunter who is hot on his trail, plus not once is Skorzeny brought up. While this issue’s story is not bad, it would have been a better fit for a comic series like Howl, Creepy or even Vault of Horror as I feel the story line would have been better suited for that style of horror comics. The plot is really simple, and it’s about a boy with a big imagination who meets a real life werewolf who is injured and the youngster takes care of him and in return he kills the evil and mean boyfriend of his mother who has beaten them and made their lives miserable. The artwork in this issue is really weak, and The Werewolf looks terrible and NOTHING like the werewolf from the show and past issues and was done by Abel Laxamana. Don’t want to spend to much time on this issue and hope that # 3 gets better and goes back on track on what the series should be about and that’s Eric Cord and his hunt for his cure.

Werewolf 3

Werewolf  # 3  *
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.00    Blackthorne    #3 of 5

A couple is attacked and killed in the parking lot of the local disco by some kind of werewolf. The next morning Eric and his girlfriend Kelly are by the pool when her father comes out and is shocked and fearful of the attacks going on in their hometown.  You see Eric has been raised by them and his relationship with Kelly is a secret as they both don’t know how her dad would take the news as he looks at Eric as a son, and Eric’s best friend Ted is also Kelly’s brother. When Ted comes back into town he has Eric come over and tells him that he is the one killing all the people around town and that he is in fact a werewolf! Ted begs Eric to kill him but after some time it’s too late as Ted becomes a werewolf and bites Eric who is forced to shoot and kill his friend.  As the neighbors come rushing over they see Eric holding the dead body of Ted and he is blamed for murder.

Yep, as you can see issue # 3 is just part of the 3-D special done in none 3-D and this is one CHEAP move by BlackThorne who did not even state this anywhere on the cover as they try and pass it off as a third in a series.  What makes this more annoying is all this stuff told in this one is supposed to take place before # 1. As you all know I enjoyed the 3-D issue and liked the artwork and the story, but for this cheap move I have to give this issue, aka cheap reprint, a 1 star.

Werewolf 4

Werewolf  # 4  *
Released in 1988    Cover Price $2.00    Blackthorne    #4 of 5

Out on bail Eric is picked up by Kelly who tells him that she knows her brother was a werewolf because he sent her a cassette tape message telling her the whole story the morning of his death.  So together Kelly and Eric deal with his full moon change that leaves him a crazed beast and together they find that a ship captain named Janos Skorzeny is the start of the curse, and when Eric meets him things go south real quick! That evening Skorzeny kidnaps Kelly as Eric is picked up by bounty hunter Alamo Joe Rogan on a full moon night for skipping out on bail.  When Eric turns into the beast he escapes and saves Kelly from Skorzeny as a werewolf battle rages on in a burning cabin in the woods. In the end the sun comes up and the werewolves stop fighting, and Eric, while human, tells Kelly he must kill Skorzeny and set himself free, as Alamo Joe understands now he is no longer hunting just a man but now a monster.

The second part of the reprint of the 3-D issue and once more a major let down that they would take such a cheap route on a series that thus far only had two good issue in its pretty short run. It’s no wonder why this series was on the chopping block and sales must have been really bad after three issue coming out being this bad and poorly thought out. This is very disheartening that Blackthorne treated this series with this little of respect and delivered these two issues to fans of the show and comic series. Let’s not harp on these two issue reprints and move on to the 5th and final issue in the series. But I do want to state again, I loved the story of this issue and #3, I just hate the fact they are just reprints of the 3-D issue that came out the same years as these.

Werewolf 5

Werewolf  # 5  ***
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.00    Blackthorne    #5 of 5

Some young lovers are camping at a lake in the woods, and they are attacked and killed by a werewolf. The next morning Eric wakes up in the woods and meets Deidra, a good witch who invites him back to her home for some fresh cloths and a good meal. While home Tracy, a young woman, shows up and gets a love potion from Deidra and rushes off to give it to the boy she is crushing on. Deidra talks to Eric and tells him that she knows what he is and can 100% say that he was not the werewolf who killed the campers and that she can try and help him control the curse. Eric don’t believe in witchcraft but feels a bond to Deidra so he agrees to the help, just as Tracy comes running to them with he would be boyfriend chasing her in a rage and hyped up on PCP and dies from the overdose. The father of the boy blames Deidra even after the police tell him his son died from the PCP and he along with some fellow towns people set fire to Deidra’s house killing her and forcing Eric to turn into the werewolf and teach them some manners. In the end Eric once more must move on to find a way to end his curse and still a little heartbroken over the loss of his could-be lover Deidra.

What a breath of fresh air that this series ended on a good note and had another solid and well-done issue for its final! This time around Eric Cord finds himself befriending a white witch who tries to cure him but gets targeted by local hillbillies who ruin his chance at a cure of his curse. Eric in this issue comes off as a man worried about the deeds his werewolf side commits and also in an odd turn a disbeliever of the unknown.  I mean you would think he would consider the fact that witches are real given the fact he’s a werewolf! Deidra is an okay character and is a good witch and for some reason while reading this I kept flashbacking to the Dark Horse Comic Pumpkinhead mini series that had the good witch Mariah who also meet an early death due to backwoods thinking rednecks. While the series ended on a good issue the series still very much was lacking with two issues being a reprint and one issue feeling as if it shouldn’t even be in the series due to the poor werewolf drawing. Below is some of the artwork used in this series so give them a look and enjoy. 

werewolf art 1werewolf art 2werewolf 3

So the moon is going away and the sun is coming up, and our werewolf hunt has come to an end, well for now.  I must say over all I enjoyed the comic series based on one of my childhood favorite shows.  The major letdowns that really bogged the series down have to be the reprints for issues 3 and 4. If you’re a fan of the show or of werewolves, this is one series you might want to check out, and while it was no bloodbath, the series did have some cool kills and the black and white art will remind you of classic horror magazines like Creepy and Eerie. But our next update will move away from Eric Cord the Werewolf and will focus on Pinhead the Cenobite as I take a look at Epic Comics’ movie adaptation of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.  So until then read, a horror comic or two, watch a horror themed TV show and support you local horror host and beware of the full moon!

Hellraiser III Logo

Happy Spooky 60th Birthday Creature From The Black Lagoon!

Imagine that you are alone on a boat floating down a lagoon whose waters are pitch black in the moon lit sky.  It’s the fall, and the sounds of the leaves can be heard hitting the water and with each noise you wonder just what’s out there. You have heard the local legend of a fish man in these very waters, but you always laughed it off as local folklore to scare away tourist, but now you’re not so sure! The wind has picked up and a shiver goes down your spine as you wonder if the creature is watching you. You decide to go into the boat’s cabin to get out of the cool air, as a large clawed hand appears on the edge of the boat…This is what classic horror stories and films were made of back before slashers and undead zombies became the normal fare for on screen horror. This year marks the 60th Anniversary for Universal’s 1954 classic monster film Creature From The Black Lagoon, and this made it a perfect selection for the 2014 Halloween updates. So let’s get out scuba gear on and let’s take a look at Dark Horse Comics’ one shot issue based on this classic monster.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2Universal Studios was known for making monster films in the 1930’s with the likes of Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster, but during the 1940’s the classic monsters were loosing steam and they started to loose their scare appeal to the viewing audience.  They even decided to turn them into a comedy act as comedians Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein’s Monster and even The Mummy. During the 1950’s things changed from supernatural to atomic age scares, and this is when Universal released the last of the classic monsters The Creature From The Black Lagoon in theaters in 1954. Think about it Gill-Man or The Creature is the last true classic Universal Monster, the company known for delivering frights last major monster was created in 1954…makes me wonder why they stopped making iconic horror characters like this. Growing up I first learned about the Creature thanks to a book I checked out at the library from Crestwood that was all about Gill-Man, and from that day on I knew I had to see the film. When I finally tracked down a VHS copy of the film and watched it, I was hooked as a fan, loved the look of the creature and mesmerized by the underwater effects. As I got older I also noticed many of my friends who enjoy horror films all seemed to pick Creature From The Black Lagoon as their favorite classic horror film, and one of these friends happens to be comic creator Jason Young. The Creature or also known as Gill-Man is a different kind of monster as he really just minds his own business in his own water world when man comes to him and causes all the issues by messing with nature and trying to take a “wild” animal out of it’s element. I am also very happy to say that over the years of vending and being a guest at horror film conventions, I have gotten the honor of meeting many of the stars from the 1954 classic film. The first ever convention I ever did was called Fright Vision, and at this event I got to meet Ben Chapman the actor who played Gill-Man on land. Over the years I have met the lovely Julie Adams, the actress who played Kay, the woman who captured the Creatures eye many times. And just this year I finally got to meet Ricou Browning the actor who played Gill-Man under water! So let’s take a look at the three films in the Universal Creature From The Black Lagoon series so that those of you readers who don’t know the Creature can learn a little about him. The write ups are taken from IMDB because as with most things, if I wrote the plot outlines, they would last forever!

BLagoon 1.BLagoon 2BLagoon 3

Creature From The Black Lagoon – A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Note From Matt: On a very cool note Creature From The Black Lagoon was first thought of during a 1941 filming party for Citizen Kane when the Black Lagoon producer William Alland spoke to Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa about legends of a fishman in the Amazon waters. The film idea floated around for a while and with the success of the 1953 film House of Wax, the idea to make it 3-D was born. So think about how cool that is this is the only classic Universal Monster film shown in classic 3-D!

Julie Adams and the Gill Man in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, 1954.Creature From The Black Lagoon Poster 1Creature From The Black Lagoon 2

Revenge Of The Creature – The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! This time he’s captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida. Naturally, he’s attracted to the lovely female scientist and manages to escape and kidnap her. And its up to her friends to rescue her from Gill-Man’s grip of terror and stop him from harming others.

Revenge Of The Creature 1Revenge Of The Creature PosterRevenge of The Creature 2

The Creature Walks Among Us – In this third Gill-Man feature, the Creature is captured and turned into an air-breather by a rich mad scientist. This makes the Creature very unhappy, and he escapes, killing people and setting fires in the process.

Creature Walks Among Us 1Creature Walks Among Us PosterCreature Walks Among Us 2

The movies stopped at being a trilogy and by all accounts the way Creature Walks Among Us ended, The Gillman died in the ocean by drowning, and that’s sad Universal could have easily kept this film series going. But in 1954 slightly before Creature From The Black Lagoon hit theaters, the TV show Colgate Comedy Hour has comedian genesis Abbott and Costello on and they traveled to the Universal prop room where they ran into Frankenstein’s Monster who scares Abbott but in return is scared of Costello’s face and falls through a crate…as Costello chuckles it up that he scared The Monster, he is in turned scared by Gillman who happens to appear. The skit lasts a little over 15 minutes and has many moments that were inspired by their film “Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein”. The live audience ate up the comedy and were also very happy to see Gill-Man and Frankenstein’s Monster as they cheered at their arrival into the skit. One cool thing I have to point out is the fact Glenn Strange once more played the Monster and Ben Chapman played the Gill-Man for this TV appearance. Makes you wonder that if Abbott and Costello would have stayed together as comedy partners for a while longer would a film been made where they would have meet Gillman officially… makes one wonder indeed. Below are some screen grabs from the skit as well as a fan made poster for the movie that could have been.

Abbott Creature 1Fan Poster Abbott meet CreatureAbbott creature 2

So when you think of The Creature, is one of the first things to pop into your mind a musical…cause Universal thought that in 2009 when they replaced their Fear Factor Live attraction at Universal Studios Theme Park. The musical was loosely based on the 1954 film and had the Creature not only singing but also growing to be a giant. The musical ran till 2010, only lasting under a year as an attraction, the reason for the closing was the lack of interest from parkgoers who just were not drawn to the musical version of Creature From The Black Lagoon. While I give Universal credit for trying something new and trying to do something with their Monster IPs, a musical just seems like an odd choice. One cool fact is the Julie Adams came to the premier that for all accounts was a success. When the musical closed, the attraction was changed to a special effects stage show. For those who want to see the musical who couldn’t make it to California’s Universal Studios, you can find clips on YouTube. And I must end it with why in the world does The Creature turn into a 25ft giant? Now that’s silly.

Gillman SingsCreature Black Lagoon Musical PosterCreature Musical Cast

Growing up if you were a Monster Kid and you played with toys, you could find some really cool ones of Gill-Man! Some of the best have to be the Remco action figure and doll, Marx’s plastic Creature figure as well as Penn-Plax Creature figure. Growing up I never had a Creature action figure but man I would have loved to have had the 3 ¾” Remco figure as he would have been a perfect fit in my Toy Wars battle! Now at the age of 35, I own two of the Remco Creature figures and both are the Glow In The Dark versions. Oh yeah, I also should mention that fast food restaurants Burger King and Jack N The Box also gave away action figures of Gill-Man in their Kids Meals . Growing up I did however own one of those classic windup toys of the Creature that shot sparks from its mouth as it walked; an antique store in Waynesville stocked them for a short while when they were re-released. The wind ups were great toys, and I also owned King Kong and my brother had Godzilla.  I can remember winding them all up and having them race each other on the kitchen table.

Old School Creature ToyRemco Creature In PackageCreature Windup Toy

Besides toys, Gill-Man also has a ton more merchandise and his green scaled likeness has been on novels, comic books, t-shirts, drinking glasses, trading cards, Halloween masks and costumes, buttons, puzzles, coloring books, candy boxes and so much more! Gill-Man’s look seems like it was made for merchandise and some of my favorite none-toy stuff I own with his fish face on it would have to be the t-shirts and of course my Crestwood Creature From The Black Lagoon book that I was able to buy from the library that I use to check out when I was a kid. So if you’re a fan of the film or just the look of the monster, there is some great stuff out there for your inner collector.

Creature BookCreature T-shirtBen Cooper Creature Costume

One thing that Universal as well as video game makers have dropped the ball on is the fact they never made a game based on the film and believe me they could easily make a Triple A title using the Gill-Man as the game’s bad guy. What has been made is an amazing pin-ball machine made by Bally’s in 1992 that had a holographic creature pop out of a lagoon to spook the player. Also a Casino Electric Slot Machine has been made based on the film that sports the Creature’s clawed hand that could help you unlock bonus winnings. One cool thing floating around the internet is a really cool fan made cover box for a NES game about The Creature, as a kid I would have went nuts for a game like this and still to this day if someone would make one for the original Nintendo and put it on a cart I would buy it in a second. As you longtime readers know, Creature From The Black Lagoon made my # 7 pick of a horror film that should be made into a modern video game on my Rotten Pixels 2 update, and I still stick by the plot I made for the game as well as the fact TellTale Game should be the ones to make it happen.

Creature Pinball The BestCreature Slot MachineFake Creature NES Game

Hans J. Slater was the man Universal came to for the music scores to go along with many of their monster films; his music can be heard in such films as The Wolf Man, Son of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, The Mummy’s Hand, This Island Earth, Creature From The Black Lagoon as well as many others. His score for Creature From The Black Lagoon is perfect and captures the mood of the film the cue that appears when the Creature does is so amazing that I even used it when I made my first film Werewolf of Ohio as The Wolf Man’s cue! Not to mention, the more tender and water moments that his score helps truly bring to life. From time to time during the Halloween season on Alpha Rhythms, I will play a track off the soundtrack CD to help add to the listeners spooky evening. If you’re looking for the score music to this classic film you can find it on CD and while a little pricy, it’s worth it if you love the classic monster movie music.

Creature From The Black Lagoon CD 2Creature From The Black Lagoon CDcREATURE From The Black Lagoon CD 3

For those who are looking to own a copy of Creature From The Black Lagoon to add to their home video collection, you can find it on many different formats from VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and even Blu-Ray! Not to mention for those who love horror hosted films, you can find episodes of it hosted by the likes of Svengoolie and even Captain Crypt. My favorite has to be the Creature From The Black Lagoon Legacy Collection DVD set that not only has the three films in the series but also lots of great extras. So if you’re looking for Gill-Man to grace you TV screen there are many great ways to own the film out on the market.

CREATURE-FROM-THE-BLACK-LAGOON vhsCreature From The Black Lagoon laserdiscCreature From The Black Lagoon Legacy Collection DVD

Around 2009 (or was it 2010?) Independent B Movie was trying to make a grand comeback to the world of shot-on-video horror films and the idea was to make a few films under series banners like “Bark At The Moon” with all films being about werewolves or “Bad Movie Night” being cheesy comedies. One other series planned was remakes of classic Universal Monster films done in our own low budget styles, and the first one to be filmed was “Matt Hoffman’s Creature From The Black Lagoon.”  As you could tell by the title Matt Hoffman, who directed such films as The Wolf Hunter and Wolf Hunter 2 would have sat in the director chair and made the magic happen. The film was being produced by Stephen Alexander II and a Creature body suit was purchased as well as fake blood and other filming supplies as Hoffman wrote the script that would have followed a drifter coming into a small town and falling in love with the sheriff’s daughter and also the government trying to cover up a toxic waste spill that created The Creature. It was being filmed on a JVC Mini-DV camera, and Stephen stockpiled tapes for Hoffman to use for the epic shoots. The film would have starred Bruce Lerma, Jessie Ellis and a lovely young lady named Brandi as well as many more extras. The film began production and cast as the part of the drifter first was Thomas Blurton, who quit the film after only one day of shooting, and he was replaced by Bruce Lerma who went from being in a minor role to becoming the main star. Hoffman along with his crew filmed many days and even a few Creature attacks in the lakes and streams around town, but sadly the film was not to be as Hoffman was dealing with some personal issues and cancelled the film and this marked the end of the Universal Re-Boots from I.B.M as we looked at the cost to make them being very high and with the first one being dead in the lagoon water, they just proved to be more than the dying shot on video company could take. It’s a sad day, but I would also like to make the announcement here on Rotten Ink that as of October 31st 2014 Independent B Movie will close it’s doors for good and fold up shop making the end of one of Ohio’s longest running shot on video companies.  It’s a sad day but one that has been coming for a very long time. Maybe at some point I will do an update about the closing and get some memories from all those friends and fellow directors involved with making the company what it was. Below are some screen captures of footage from “Matt Hoffman’s Creature From The Black Lagoon”…And for those wondering, I was going to direct the re-make of Frankenstein, Josh Weinberg was slated for Dracula and Bruce Lerma was going to do The Mummy.

Hoffman Creature 1Hoffman Creature 2Hoffman Creature 3

During season one of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, host Baron Von Porkchop is out fishing using his butler Bean’s brain as the bait to try and capture a giant killer catfish to serve at the following weeks gathering dinner to honor the late Dr. Creep who had just passed away, but instead of catching the man eating catfish he hooks The Creature From The Black Lagoon and decides to use the green tinted creature meat to serve to his guests! The next episode for the Tribute To Dr. Creep, the Creature’s head can be seen as the centerpiece to the dinner…so thanks to Baron Von Porkchop your swimming pools and waterways are safe from the hideous Creature of the water.

Baron Creature 1Baron Creature 2Baron Creature 3

Gill-Man is no stranger to comic books, and in 1963 Dell Comics released a comic book based around him, and it was pretty good and one of the better ones from their Universal Monster series line. In fact last Halloween time I did a massive update about all of Dell’s Universal Monster titles called “Start Halloween Off With The Universal Monsters!” and if you read that update then you would know that it was one that came very close to capturing the mood and feeling of the film and the artwork is well done and is just what he should have looked like for a comic made in the early 60’s. If your interest is peaked on the comic as well as the rest of the Dell Universal Monster comics, I suggest that you give the update all about them a read. Just to help along the urge to read that update for the first time or again below is some of the artwork from the comic as well as the cover to the issue.

Dell Creature Art 1Creature Dell Comic 1 Dell Creature Art 2

In 1954, the same year of the film, Atlas Comics put out issue #35 of Sub-Mariner where Prince Namor took on a half fish and half man creature called Elmer who in fact looked allot like a bloated version of Gill-Man. Elmer had some issue and his creator wanted to try and fix them making it so his “monster” could breath under water. So long before Atlas became Marvel Comics, they had a generic version of Gill-Man fighting one of their top super heroes of the time, and this is pretty cool as nowadays if they would have had Gill-Man show up in a comic he would just be an actor in a suit or something lame like that. The issue when it was first put out cost .35 and now it goes for lowest $100.00 all the way up to a thousand. Check out the art and cover to this issue and enjoy the fun bloated version of The Creature named Elmer.

Elmer 1Sub Mariner Comics 35Elmer 2

I want to touch up on a few other fun Creature comic appearances like a re-imagining one simple called “Creature From The Depths” that was put out by Image Comics but originally suppose to come out via Dead Dog Comics. This one-shot issue is really cool and will for sure be the subject of a future update! Archie Comics as well had many issue where The Creature was the guest on the cover, and this helps add to the Abbott & Costello making Universal Monsters funny and not scary mindset for the youth of the time as well as turning the classic monsters into things that no longer gave kids nightmares. Even if they are done in silly ways Gill-Man has been on the cover of “Archie’s Pal Jughead” and “Laugh” and both covers are really well done and makes me wish Archie Comics would have made issue based on the Universal Monsters! Below is the cover so give em a look at and enjoy.

Creature Depths 1Jugehead comicLaugh Comic

The comic industry is packed with companies making books about super heroes and the ones making stuff horror-related mostly deal with zombies because the undead seem to be the flavor of the decade thanks to comics/ pop culture stuff like The Walking Dead. Many companies in the past have tackled Universal Monsters but mostly they are all one-shot issues and never a full series.  Companies like Dell, Dark Horse and Monster Comics all released comics about Dracula, Wolf Man and The Mummy and all did them pretty well for the time they were released. In 2014 as I write this, no company has a comic series going based on a Universal Monster and that’s sad because I really think that if the right artist and writer were on board, a comic series based on the likes of The Creature could be fantastic! I could see the comic taking place after the events of Creature Walks Among Us and show us the readers how he survived his surgery and apparent drowning, and then they could flash forward to modern times and make it more scary and show that the classics really don’t have to go out of spooky style. I would love to see Dark Horse Comics get back on board with Universal to make more comics based on Creature From The Black Lagoon, and if they don’t I think IDW could really do him justice and one could only imagine the Gill-Man crossovers with The X-Files or even Ghostbusters being super kick butt. One other company who I think could do a Creature From The Black Lagoon comic series really well would have to be HorrorHound Magazine! As of right now they only do a music label outside of the magazine and conventions but here is to hoping that they will get on a comic branch sooner then later. Below is some amazing artwork of Gill-Man I found snooping around the web and any and all of these great artist would be perfect hires for a comic series that should be made…so check em all out!

Creature Fan Art 1Creatue Fan Art 2Creature Fan Art 3

Creature Fan Art 4Creature Fan Art 5Creature Fan Art 6

Speaking of IDW and if they made a comic on Gill-Man with the possibility of an X-Files crossover, I just want to share this picture of Gillian Anderson Agent Scully herself with a version of the Gill-Man that was used for Rolling Stones Magazine! Just think of the possible plot of this cool crossover that should but sadly proudly never will happen. Before we move on I also want to point out how stunning Gillian looks with this pin-up model look.

Gillian and Gill-Man

So are you ready to travel to the black lagoon with the S.S. Rotten Ink? As your captain I feel I must warn you about a few things that all passengers should know about this journey into the unknown. 1st don’t drink the water; while the lagoon H2O might look tasty it is filled with bacteria that can cause sickness. 2nd there have been reports of a giant fishman who really likes dark haired women so we suggest if your female and look like Julie Addams for God sake don’t go swimming! And 3rd and the most importantly I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So before we set sail, let’s thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this Dark Horse Comic in stock, and let’s hope we have a fun and safe ride. And oh yeah this comic is a film adaptation based on the original film!

Creature From The Black Lagoon DH 1

Creature From The Black Lagoon # 1  ****
Released in 1993   Cover Price $4.95   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 1

Dr. Maia finds a strange claw in the middle of the amazon buried.  It’s like nothing he’s ever seen as it’s almost human-like yet also very fish like. Maia leaves his native workers to watch camp as he travels back to the USA to show fellow scientist his discovery as well as hope for help to get an expedition to find the rest of the body and study it. His team consists of Dr. David Reed, Mark Williams, Kay Lawrence, Dr. Edwin Thompson and ship boat captain Lucas, and they head down the Amazon river to the location the fossil claw was found, but instead of being greeted by Maia’s native workers they are treated to finding their dead bodies! They are freaked out but go about the dig and turn up nothing, David gets an idea that maybe some thousand years back maybe the rock the fossil was found in was washed away and is somewhere in the water below. Lucas tells them of a place called the black lagoon where the river ends and that’s where the group travels to find the fossils they seek. David and Kay are in love, and it’s clear as they arrive to the Lagoon that Mark has strong feelings toward Kay and this adds tension between the co-workers as they dive into the waters below and remove a sample of rock. While the men go study the rocks Kay goes for a swim and this is when we see that Gill-Man is in the waters and is in love with the beauty he sees in his waters! The next time David and Mark go diving they see Gill-Man, and Mark shoots him with a spear gun wounding him and making him very mad as he gets revenge later that night as he kills a boat hand. The group fights back as the use a numbing poison that they dump into the water causing him to slowly become paralyzed but not before killing another boat hand and trying to kidnap Kay! As Gill-Man falls from the effects of the drug Mark bashes him in the head with a log sparking even more tension between he and David. On the ship Gill-Man is kept in the tank and this don’t hold him long as he escapes but not before ripping at Edwin’s face leaving him very injured. All the group have had enough and want to leave the Lagoon but Mark of course doesn’t when he thinks of the money that could be made off the Gill-Man and when Lucas says they are leaving they find that the entrance is blocked! While trying to move the large tree that has been placed to keep them in by Gillman, Mark is attacked and killed by the creatures hands leaving another death for the crew to deal with. David uses the rest of the drug in a air gun and uses it against Gill-Man as he hooks a rope around the tree, as they try and lift the tree out of the way Gill-Man comes aboard and grabs Kay and takes her to his underwater cave hideout. David dives in after them and comes face to face with Gill-Man who he stabs with his knife and just as it looks as if David and Kay are in terrible danger Lucas and Dr. Maia appear in the cave with shotguns and shoot Gill-Man a number of times. The comic’s ends with the remaining crew watching a bloody Gill-Man shuffle into the water and collapse.

This is one of the best film adaptation comic books I have ever read.  The story follows the film’s script and the artwork is top notch. David Reed is a good man who is in love with Kay and does his scientific work for all the right reasons, while his fellow collogue Mark wants the glory David wants to find the fossil for the things the world could learn from it. Plus when things go bad and Gill-Man appears, it’s David who is the hero that risks it all to save Kay the woman he loves. Kay is much like David as she is a sweet and nice person who just so happens to be super hot and has a charm to her that not only captures the eye of David but also Gill-Man and Mark! Lucas is your typical boat captain of that time and has heard many spooky stories and never believed them until he is force to when he meets Gill-Man! Mark is just a jerk who thinks that cause he has money and some fame that he can act any way he wants.  The fact he is so cruel to Gill-Man shows just how little he respects the world around him, and he gets what’s coming to him when he is killed by Gill-Man. Dr. Maia and Dr. Thompson while players in this story really don’t add much besides extra bodies for the hunt and for the attacks. Gill-Man is a great monster in this comic as for the most part he starts off pretty peaceful and it’s not till that dumbass Mark shoots him with a spear that he becomes violent.  I mean I’m pretty sure he would have kidnapped Kay either way but he might not have killed many of the crew. But then again he did kill Maia’s native workers for no reason so maybe he is just a killing machine. The comic’s story is super close to that of the film and that’s pretty cool and reading this reminds me of the update I did called “Marvel At The Movies Part 1” and makes me really looking forward to doing a second update on that subject. This comic would have been a perfect launch point for Dark Horse to make Creature From The Black Lagoon into a full fledged series, and they also could have done adaptations of Revenge of The Creature and Creature Walks Among Us if they wanted to test the comic buying market to see if they had interest in this character. The comics art was done by Author “Art” Adams and Terry Austin and it’s really well done and captures the mood and feeling of the film it’s based on. The one thing that’s shocking is the use of blood in the comic as when the Gill-Man is shot and stabbed they use a lot of the red stuff, in fact one panel is heartbreaking as Gill-Man has blood pouring out of his wounds and he’s marching into the water as his safety place…it’s a sad sight. But to sum up this comic if you’re a fan of the film or even just like classic style horror comics then I would recommend you buy this comic and give it a read. Below is some of the art work used in this comic and as you can see it’s amazing!

Dark Horse Creature Art 1

I hope you enjoyed this Birthday Bash for Gill-Man, a true classic Universal Monster icon who has terrified film watchers for 60 years now.  Plus with my birthday being in September I figured why not celebrate his on the same month as mine! Also if you’re a fan of the art above done by Author “Art” Adams make sure to Google some more of his artwork. I think he does fantastic work not only with Monsters but also Women, he captures the beauty of the female figure and does a great Wonder Woman and Black Canary. But our next update is going to be another spooky comic series as we take a look at Blackthorne’s comic run based on the 80’s monster TV show Werewolf! So until then make sure to watch a Creature From The Black Lagoon film, read a comic or two and support your local horror host and get ready to bark at the moon with me on the next update! And in closing let’s say it all together HAPPY BIRTHDAY GILL-MAN!

Werewolf Show Logo

The 8th Wonder Of Giant Classic Comics King Kong

My mother was 7 or 8 when she attempted to watch the 1933 film King Kong with her mom when it aired on TV.  She watched as a group set out to sea to make a movie and landed on an island, and when King Kong showed up just the sight and sound of the beast scared her enough to make her hide behind her mom’s chair! She would peek around the corner and shiver in fright of the sight of the giant ape. Way before the gross out films of the 60’s made by the likes of Hershel Gordon Lewis became the norm in what’s “scary” about horror films, the likes of a giant ape with a love for blondes paved the way and terrified the young and old. While many not consider it a horror film, I have always viewed it as one as King Kong is a giant ape creature that caused panic not only on his home island but also New York, and he does kill and eat humans so yeah, it spells horror film to me. I saw the film when I was about 7 or 8, the same age she first saw it, and I can remember my Mom telling me about her first viewing and this set the bar very high as I sat down on the couch ready to watch it alongside my parents and my brother on a VHS that we rented from Waynesville’s library. From the moment the film started, I was hooked on every word and when Kong showed up I became a fan, and to me every gorilla toy became King Kong. The watch with my family was a great one and was one of many fun family night of watching a flick on the old VCR while eating popcorn and being entertained. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away of the film as that will happen as we review the Gold Key comic adaptation a little later on so I will give you the cliff notes version. The film is about a filmmaker and some sailors who take a fresh faced new actress to an island were the natives take her to appease King Kong, a giant gorilla who rules the land.  They save her and also take Kong to New York as a stage attraction, and he escapes running wild in the city until he is killed in the end. It’s an amazing classic film with special effects that were way ahead of their time.  If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it!

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In the 1980’s Ted Turner owned Turner Classic Movies wanted to do something fresh and new to King Kong so they did the unthinkable…. they colorized it! To be honest it seemed like an odd kick Turner was on, taking old classic black and white films and turning them into color films to air on his classic movie station, and on the top of the list that sparked the most debate was what they did to King Kong. I can remember that my mom and dad were not pleased that they messed with a classic film this way, but being so young I was a little curious to see what the classic Kong would look like in color. I seen the color version after the black and white and still preferred the original to the tampered with version. King Kong was the first movie on VHS that I owned two versions of as I had to own them both, and I would say I watched the black and white more than I did the colorized one that I got dirt cheap brand new at Blockbuster Video.

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Now if you look at King Kong as a horror film like I do, then you would have to look at Fay Wray as the original scream queen, and she proves she has a set of lungs as she screams her head off at the first site of Kong. She began her acting career making short films and making westerns for Universal but left once she became a WAMPAS Baby Stars meaning she was listed as an actress to watch. As a teenager Wray was signed to a contract with Paramount Pictures where she made over a dozen films like the failure 1928 silent film The Wedding March.  Wray was able to make the transition from silent to talkie films and left Paramount to make other films for other companies, the most notable being RKO that hired her for her first horror films like Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game and her most famous film King Kong.  She was proud of her work in Kong and that film saved RKO from going bankrupt! During that time as well she was in a few other horror films like The Vampire Bat and Mystery In The Wax Museum. By the 1940’s, Wray retired briefly from acting but came back to make more films and take TV parts being on such shows as Perry Masson and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Wray continued to act for many years and even turned down a part in James Cameron’s 1997 smash hit film Titanic. Sadly at the age of 96 Fay Wray passed away of natural causes in 2004 while she slept.  After her passing, the Empire State Building shut off all its lights for 15 minutes to honor her legacy. Wray was a true beauty, a talented actress and could possibly be the first scream queen of cinema.

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Because King Kong was such a huge hit at the box office, a sequel was made in 1933, coming out only 9 months after the original. The film follows the film director from the first film who is now in hot water for King Kong running wild in New York and travels to find that the giant ape might have had an offspring.  That film was called Son of Kong! In Japan in 1962, they made a film called King Kong vs. Godzilla where they pit the world’s top giant monsters against each other, and in 1967 they made another King Kong film called King Kong Escapes that has our lovable Kong fighting a robot version of himself called Mecha Kong. Paramount Pictures in 1976 decided to make a remake of King Kong and added in more modern touches to the film and even trades in the Empire State Building for the Twin Towers as well as the stop motion Kong for a stuntman in a suit done by FX God Rick Baker. In 1986 the remake got a forgettable follow up called King Kong Lives that had the giant ape getting a pacemaker put in to replace his damaged heart and finding a mate who has also been brought to the USA. In 2005 a longwinded Peter Jackson remake of King Kong was made and besides more minutes added to the runtime, it was a good but unnecessary film. With all these spin off films, sequels and remakes this just shows you how much impact this film had on classic cinema, and I agree with James Rolfe who said that film students should watch the original in film school right alongside Citizen Kane. While none of them are as good as the original film, they are all still fun watches that help add to the legacy of Kong and prove that this primate of fright, this ape of terror, is truly a legend of cinema.

Son Of Kong PosterKing Kong Escapes PosterKing Kong 1976 PosterKing Kong Lives PosterKing Kong 2005 Poster

In 1966 America and Japanese animation studios teamed up to make The King Kong Show, an animated adventure kid show that had King Kong befriending the Bond Family and stopping the likes of Dr. Who (and no, not the BBC version) from capturing Kong for his own evil gain. This animated cartoon was teamed with another show about a tiny special agent called Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and the show would last till 1969 with a total of 3 seasons and 25 episodes. This cartoon also helped Toho make the film King Kong Escapes and also was to be inspiration to the film that became Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, which Kong was suppose to star in, not Zilla. The cartoon over the years did not hold up well and was mostly forgotten until it got released on DVD as volumes a few years back. I never remember seeing the show when I was a kid, and I think it would have fit perfect on early morning Saturday’s back in the 80’s and could have also found a place on the USA Cartoon Express. I saw the show when I was older and in my 20’s found it to be pretty cool but only from a retro standpoint.

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So as we all know Toho studios made two films with King Kong in them in the 1960’s, but did you know that there are also two others made in Japan way before this that are now lost films? The first was a short silent film called “Wasei Kingu Kongu” made in 1933 the same year King Kong was released and was a team up from RKO and Shochiku Studios. Not much is known about the film besides RKO asked them to make it and that instead of a stop motion Kong, it was a man in a suit.  It was directed by Torajiro Saito with Isamu Yamaguchi playing King Kong and all that is left of the film is one single picture that was printed. Next was a 1938 film called “King Kong Appears In Edo” that made by Zensho Cinema with permission from RKO and was directed by Soya Kumagai and had a size changing King Kong attacking Edo (Tokyo) during Medieval times! Fuminori Ohashi who some 16 years later would make the original Godzilla costume made the Kong costume in this film.  Just think about that, King Kong was really Japan’s first giant movie monster and not Godzilla like we all thought! Both films are believed to have been destroyed during the bombings of World War II and neither ever showed outside of Japan making all master prints being only stored there. I learned about these missing films thanks once more to James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) when he did a top 10 list of lost Horror Films and the Japan Kong films were his # 1, and I agree with him when he said he hopes all the films he picked won’t always be lost films. Below are some pictures of Japan’s King Kongs, the first being Toho’s with the second being the 1933 version and last being the 1938 one.

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Tiger Electronics who are best known for making handheld games in the late 80’s and 90’s also made some console games in the age of Atari 2600 under the brand name TigerVision. And would you know it that in 1982 they made a game based on King Kong that was a follow up to their handheld games made about the big ape the year before. The game was a total rip off of Donkey Kong and had you playing as a guy who was trying to get to the top were King Kong was.  The graphics were bad and Kong was a stiff looking pixel mess. I have played the game several times and even own it and I must say that it really is a bad game. Though I do find it funny that Donkey Kong was a clone of King Kong who in turn had a game made about him that was just a bad clone of Donkey Kong. The game on release only sold moderately well and was by no means looked at as a classic.

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Ideal made a board game in 1976 based on the remake movie that had 2-4 players trying to get to the top of the Twin Towers before King Kong so that they can capture him, or you can win the game by saving the woman from his right hand via a special mission. But Kong won’t make your trip easy as he is flipping all around trying to knock your player back to the start. I own this game and played it with the fellow members of The Dayton Board Game Society who are Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt and Garrison Kane on one of our past meetings ,and I can remember that while the game was not all that ground breaking we all had fun trying to knock each other off the building using Kong as our puppet and it was a blast seeing just how competitive it got. If you get a chance and like classic board games based on movies then I would say check this one out, play time to complete is about 20 minutes give or take a few. I should also share we played this game on February 6th 2013 in Josh Weinberg’s basement and we also played the LJN A Nightmare on Elm Street video game for the NES and we ate Wing Zone.

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King Kong not only has been made into many video games and board games but he has also had pinball machines based around him, many comic books, novels, magazines, t-shirts, toys, Halloween costumes, soundtracks, stickers, dolls, drinking glasses and so much more. If you’re a King Kong fan, then there is something for you out there in the world of merchandise. Some of my favorite King Kong merchandise that I owned was my Imperial King Kong action figure that I use to make fight my Godzilla figure and even Kong was wrapped up in my epic Toy Wars, also would be my Crestwood Monster Series Book based on King Kong that gave the history of the film as well as some sweet photos. I also really liked my adaptation novel by Delos W. Lovelace and can remember reading it before bedtime many nights. It’s odd looking back at my youth now being 35 years old and seeing just how much of an impact King Kong has had on my life.  It’s a neat feeling knowing that a giant ape with a love for blondes truly means something to me. And for those of you who listen to Alpha Rhythms on WYSO (91.3 FM) on Sunday nights, I have played soundtrack pieces from the original score by Max Steiner as well as tracks from King Kong Lives by John Scott.

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Before we move onto The Gold Key Comic Review I of course have to talk about a ride I have wanted to go on since I first heard about it; that’s the one and only KongFrontation ride at Universal Studios Orlando that opened on June 7th 1990 and became a major attraction at the park. The ride was based on the 1976 remake as well as a ride Universal Studios had at their Hollywood park called King Kong Encounter that opened in 1986. The 5 minute ride would place you and others inside a tramcar but not before you walked down a mock New York street complete with newscasts playing on TVs to build up that King Kong is roaming the streets.  Once inside the car you are treated to explosions as well as giant animatronic King Kong’s that would roar and knock your little car around given the effect that he was attacking. In the end he would attack while you’re on the bridge but your driver would get you out safe and unharmed. This ride seemed amazing to me and just the thought of being close to a life size version of Kong was enough to make me want to go, but being a kid and having parents that didn’t like to travel out of state put a damper on getting to go. The attraction closed in 2002, and two years later a lame ride based on the terrible Mummy Remake took its place, marking the sad fact that I never got to ride the one roller coaster/attraction that I always wanted to. As far as King Kong Encounter, it had guests on a tramcar as King Kong would knock a helicopter from the sky and would end with you being eye level with the great ape on the Brooklyn Bridge as he tries to break it apart.  Of course you would make it off the bridge and would be safe thanks to your driver. The Kong animatronic was at the time the world’s largest and was so detailed that it’s “breath” smelled of bananas!  This ride as well lasted a total of 5 minutes and was one of the main attractions to the park. Sadly it as well came to an end when in 2008 a massive fire broke out and burnt the attraction up, but in Universal Hollywood they didn’t give up on King Kong and replaced it with an attraction called King Kong 360 3-D. I really would have loved to have ridden these attractions and sadly with both of them gone for good I will never get the chance to do so. But I can watch videos of them on YouTube and hear stories from my friends who did get to experience it…sigh.

King Kong RideSo I think our voyage through the sea of King Kong is over and we looked at the movies, video game, cartoon, missing films, merchandise as well as a theme park attraction but now it’s time for us to take a walk on Skull Island alongside Gold Key comics and see what this 1968 adaptation has to offer to the Kong legacy. I want to think Bell Book And Comic for having this comic in stock, and I would like to remind that I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s man up and walk through the giant gates into King Kong’s lsland and hope he doesn’t stomp us into the mud!

King Kong 1

King Kong  # 1    ***1/2
Released in 1968     Cover Price .25    Gold Key   # 1 of 1

Carl Denham is a filmmaker who can’t find a lead actress for his top secret next project.  He even has rented a boat called the “Wonderer” along with all its crew and after an agent tells him that he will not supple him with an actress, the director walks down the streets of New York and finds a pretty thief woman named Ann Darrow who was stealing an apple due to hunger.  Denham buys it for her and hires her to be in his new film. While on board the first mate Jack Driscoll falls in love with Ann, and the two start up a relationship.  They find out that they are to port at an unknown island called Kong Island. But while at the island they find that the natives are worshiping and sacrificing women to an unknown “God” and they have set their sights on Ann who they kidnap off the boat and take to the altar where a giant gorilla named King Kong falls for her and takes her deep into his jungle home! Driscoll and Denham lead some crew members on a rescue mission and while in the jungle they find that Kong is not the only giant monster as dinosaurs and sea serpents all blocking their trail to save Ann from Kong’s grip. Kong finds that he is being followed after he beats up a pair of Triceratops and knocks all the crew members off a log killing them leaving only Driscoll and Denham left.  As Driscoll follows Kong, Denham goes back to the ship for more men and gas bombs. King Kong while trying to grab Driscoll from a cave is attacked by a T-Rex and a major battle breaks out between the giant beasts! As Kong climbs to his cave home he must fight off all types of attackers and during this Driscoll saves Ann, and the two escape via the river below. As they reach the gates Kong is in hot pursuit and it’s here that Denham uses his gas bombs to knock Kong out and then takes him to New York to use the giant ape as a sideshow, but when Kong see’s Ann again he breaks his chains and escapes his cage and takes Ann to the top of the Empire State Building where he is attacked by fighter planes that lead to his death as they use machine guns on him while he is distracted by Ann being saved by Driscoll again and he falls to his death. In the end Ann and Driscoll are safe in each other’s arms, Kong is dead in the middle of the street and Denham learns that it was beauty that killed the beast.

This is another amazingly done comic film adaptation of a classic horror film much like Comic Library International’s Edison’s Frankenstein 1910 that holds just so true enough to the source material but still adds its own flare to spice it up. The plot is your simple Beauty and The Beast and follows a young actress who gains the affection of a tough sailor as well as a giant ape and when the big primate is taken away from his home and placed in the big city, his only comfort when he escapes is his blonde bombshell but even love can’t save him from being slain. Ann Darrow is a sweet woman who turns her misfortune of being poor into fame when she takes the part in a movie that leads her to charming King Kong to be put on display. Even though Ann fears Kong she also still feels some affection for him and wishes him no ill will and even tries to save the beast as the planes shoot him down. King Kong is neither good nor bad and it’s clear he is very territorial of his land and very protective of Ann who he has fallen in love with. I love the fact that he keeps not only the natives in check but also all the other giant beasts that live on the island proving he really is the King. Carl Denham, while a money grubbing rich film making geek, still really shows he cares about his friends as Ann’s safety when being taken is a big priority to him, though he does mistreat King Kong by keeping him in chained up and taking him away from his home to be looked at by New York’s rich snobs and press. Jack Driscoll is your very classic tough guy who only cares about the woman he loves and will risk it all for her. The major changes I noticed between the comic and the film is that in the comic the ship is called The Wonderer, while in the film it’s The Venture; in the comic the island is called Kong Island, while in the film it’s Skull Island. I also noticed in the film Jack is annoyed that Ann is on the ship and it takes awhile before he falls for her, in the comic it happens fast. This was the second time I have read this comic and I found that I enjoy it more and more after each read and find something very magical about the whole reading experience. The copy I have is a classic example of Rotten Ink as the smell of the decomposing ink fills your nose when you flip through the pages, while not a beat up copy, it’s still very yellowed on the pages. The artwork is done by ummm….an unknown artist as no credit is given, but I must say the art is perfect for this comic and while Kong doesn’t capture the full look of his movie appearance it still looks the part enough to draw this comic reader in. The cover as well is very eye catching and I am sure drew kids attention to it by using lots of orange and putting a giant ape crushing planes on the cover. If you like the film or like classic horror comics, than this is for sure one you should check out. I am glad I got it and I am sure a few years from now I will read it again.  Below is a piece of art from the comic just so you can see the style Gold Key went for in this comic.

King Kong Art

Really this is a great comic with great classic artwork and really is going to help us kick off our two month long horror comic countdown to Halloween 2014! So on this update we traveled to Skull Island and got to know King Kong and see what that massive beast was about, but how about next time we travel to a black lagoon and celebrate the 60th birthday of the Universal Monster Gill-Man.  So until then read a comic or two, watch a horror film and support your local Horror Host.

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MarvelProbe: When Pixels And Ink Meet

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Today I would like to talk about video games; right now on the home console market PS4 is kicking the butt of its competitors, the Nintendo WII-U and the Xbox One and with the Steam Box and even rumored Amazon Game System in the works this generation of gaming is going to be an interesting one. Most modern Triple A titles are like playing a movie as they are heavy on plots and the graphics are top notch.  Games of this style would be like Assassins Creed, Halo, God of War and Legend Of Zelda.  When playing a game like this, you are treated to beautiful breathtaking cut scenes that help draw you deeper and deeper into the plot. Also popular nowadays are the tiny mobile games that kids and adults play on their smart phones and tablets and most of these style games have very little plot and are quick play games that can kill boredom when waiting.  Examples of these games are Planets Vs. Zombies, Minecraft and Angry Birds. But for me mobile games are just kind of bland and when I want to play a video game, I want to pop in a cart or disc and grab my controller and play. In this day and age a player does not have to use much of his or hers imagination like they did back when Atari 800 or 2600 ruled the home game market with wire thin plots and pixels that were kind of in the shape of whatever your character was suppose to be. While I am sure gamers now look at classic video games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Q*Bert as primitive, nothing could prepare them for text adventure games! Yes, in the 1980’s text based games were very popular, and while some of them had some graphics at the top of the screen, many of them did not and looked like just a bunch of words on a screen waiting for simple commands to further the “adventure” along. Think of text games like the book series called Choose Your Own Adventure where by reading and making a decision, you have your character’s fate in your hands, because let’s be honest kids want to read a bunch of text in order to play a video game….right? Text based games have been made about all types of things from Dracula to World War II but some of the most popular ones were based on Marvel Super Heroes and would you know they also made comics based on their text based adventures and that’s what our main subject will be all about! So get ready to have a text not texting good time as we jump into the world of pixels and ink.

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Adventure International was an early video game company run by husband and wife Scott and Alexis Adams who specialized in making games for the home computer market like the Commodore 64 and Apple II that started in 1978. Scott Adams was a big name in the world of video games throughout the early 80’s, and he was mostly known for making top of the line text based adventure games.  This helped his company lock a partnership with Marvel Comics in 1984 to make a text based game series that would focus many of their top heroes.  In fact, 12 games were planned in the line as were comics that would come out alongside the games via Marvel. The first three games to come out were adventures based on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and Human Torch & The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The main plot had the heroes being studded by a unknown figure called Chief Examiner who would place them in odd places and situations to see how they would react to them. But sadly Adventure International hit a financial snag and closed up shop in 1985 leaving the 4th game,which was based around the X-Men, unfinished and the remaining titles in the line canceled. While his company may have closed shop Scott Adams still continued to make computer games throughout the years and even as of 2013 made a comeback after 10 years of not creating his own game made a text game called “The Inheritance” and remains an icon of PC Gaming.

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Growing up the only text based games I could remember playing were ones that my Uncle Thurman would bring to our house in Waynesville when he and my Aunt Teresa would come visit us as kids. Most of the ones he had were more like dungeon and dragons and were the strict text ones with no graphics and were all for Commodore 64. I can remember one time looking through his massive collection of games all on floppy disks and finding Dracula and asking him if we could play it but after several tries the game never did load.  That’s one of the downsides to Commodore 64, it had lots of issues loading and when it was loading the time to get your game to start was very long. Imagine kids of today who already complain about the install times of modern games trying to play a full game on Commodore where you had to wait for it to not only load the game but also most of the times each level! But I will move on and over the years text games seemed like an oddity to me and captured my attention as I never could wrap my head around why gamers of the past found them to be hours of fun, and I got a reason to buy some when I started to review Video Games on my old website for my production company Bloodline Video a few years back under the name of Xmortis. So after getting a complete working Commodore 64 with the datasette reader and floppy drive from Game Swap, I looked for a text based game that I could review and it came down to one called Wolfman and the other being Questprobe: Incredible Hulk and when a cassette version of Questprobe popped up cheap on Ebay it became the lucky winner. The game is text based but does have graphics that for the time are really fun and try their hardest to look like comic book art.  I have to admit playing the first few times I hated it and was so frustrated by the lame commands that I would get bored and shut the game off or even gasp! Die in the game! How could I let The Hulk, one of my favorite comic characters, die in a lame text game is what I kept thinking, but finally I hate to admit it but I used an online walk through for what commands to give him and beat the game by cheating. The review never made it up on the site, and I hope to someday get back to Bloodline’s site and return it to the review and production glory it once was. As for now how I feel about Questprobe Hulk, I hate to admit it but I do like the idea of it, mostly cause it was the first video game based on Hulk. Below is the cover box for the game as well as some screen shots for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy all the pixel goodness.

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Marvel Comics had a great thing going, not only did they have characters in video games now being written by Scott Adams but they could also get a 12 issue mini series from it that would help boost the sales of the game as also the game could boost the sales of the comics. This team up was truly a time when ink meet pixels, and the team up would have been perfect if not for the game company’s sudden shut down. Marvel during this time I am sure had a tough decision to make as they could continue a comic series based on games that were no longer being made or they could do the unthinkable and just cancel the mini series and leave fans hanging on what and who Chief Examiner was and what he wanted…and Marvel did what they always do they pulled the plug and walked away from the idea and as time passed did kind of wrap up the story in Marvel Fanfare # 33 where they printed the X-Men story and later in Quasar they added in the story of Questprobe. So on this update we are only going to cover the three issues released in the original mini series and will be graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the vendor at Fright Night Film Fest for having issue # in stock and Lone Star Comics for the remaining two issues. So let’s pop these comics into the datasette player and type in the load keys and enjoy pixels and ink together.

Questprobe 1

Questprobe # 1  ** 1/2
Released in 1984     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #1 of 3

A race of peaceful aliens are preparing for an invasion from other aliens who are war hawks and want to kill them all as well as their planet.  They all turn on Durgan, a member of there council who wants to fight back and not just roll over and die. When Durgan leaves the meeting he knows that something has to be done so he dons a giant helmet and calls himself the Chief Examiner and heads to Earth to steal the powers of some of our top super heroes to use in a fight with the invading aliens. On Earth The Incredible Hulk is facing off with the National Guard and after making short work of their tanks, he heads off to find a place to sleep and does so in a cave on the side of a cannon. When entering the cave, the Hulk sees the Natter Energy Egg and the Blood Red Bio-Gem right as the two explode.  This event makes The Hulk tired and he falls asleep turning back in Bruce Banner and finally getting some piece and quite. Banner’s rest is quickly cut short as Chief Examiner enters the cave and tells him that he needs to have him walk through a door portal so that he can drain his power! Banner fights back and runs from the cave but soon learns that the cave is high and he is fallen to his death! Before he hits the ground he turns into The Hulk as the Chief Examiner tries to force him to enter the door portal, The Hulk doesn’t like to be told what to do and goes on a rampage to smash the dome headed alien into the ground, during this fight a group of white water rafters are knocked over when Hulk goes under water and breaks off one of the sides of the canon and pins Chief Examiner down, but by doing so the huge rock is blocking the river and causes the rafters to fall into the raging water. The Hulk dives in and pulls out all the males and see’s that the female is stuck in a whirlpool! The only way to get to her is by jumping into the portal doorway and he does so losing some of his power yet saving a young woman’s life. The Chief Examiner leaves with his prize the stolen energy as The Hulk waits to make sure the woman is okay and to remain some energy and leaps off into the sky.

This is a fun Hulk adventure that is a cool tie in for a video game and explains the strange world that the Hulk is found in during the text based adventure Game. The plot is pretty simple and has an alien who’s planet is under attack who travels to Earth to steal powers off powerful humans so that he can use it against the attackers, the first one he targets is Hulk cause of his brute strength. He tries to force the Hulk to enter his black doorway that allows him to steal/mimic his power and only does so when he forces The Hulk to make a decision to save a woman’s life and jump through the door or let her die and avoid the door. The Hulk in this issue is the simple minded version who just wants to be left alone and knows that his brute power is the best way to keep everyone away, this is my favorite version of the Hulk as he is the one truly grew up reading and the one that made me a lifelong fan next to the TV Show. I love the fact that while The Hulk is a “monster” in the eyes of humans he risks his own safety in this comic to save the life of one of them and by the end the humans seem to have a new respect for the green skin goliath. The Chief Examiner while not a full bad guy still is going about getting help in his planets soon to be war all the wrong ways, not once does he even try to explain to the Hulk why he needs his power nor does he even tell the power house about his planets upcoming doom or asks if Hulk would come back and help. Plus it’s great when The Hulk pins Chief Examiner down with a giant stone and how easily in the alien’s mind he gave up and knew that the Hulk could kill him with one punch. The comic’s art is done by the amazing Mark Gruenwald and inked by John Romita Jr. making for one powerful team that turned in a great looking comic, and the cover is amazing and is also what’s used for the video game. So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers?

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So in this first issue Chief Examiner gets the power of the Hulk, and now who’s next on his hit list of stealing powers? Let’s jump into issue two and see what he has planned for Spider-Man!

Questprobe 2

Questprobe # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #2 of 12

Spider-Man is feeling a little down in the dumps as the city is hot and he has a lot on his mind as his personal life is a mess. Meanwhile in prison, Quentin Beck comes up with a plan to escape so he can don his Mysterio outfit once more and challenge Spider-Man to a final fight! While on a distant planet the peaceful aliens watch as The Black Fleet conquers another planet and is heading their way, as Durgan also known as The Chief Examiner sets his sights now on steal/borrowing the power of Spider-Man to mix with that of the Hulk he already has taken. Tuskar is a student of Durgan and wants to find his old teacher and see if he can help as it’s shown the Black Fleet really just wants the Red Bio-Gem’s cause when put together they hold massive power, and the kicker are the Gems are alive and are kind of evil! Mysterio shows up to the Daily Bugle and holds everyone hostage as Spider-Man shows up to save them and the two fight it out, all the while Mysterio is using cheap and dirty FX inspired tricks on his foe. The Chief Examiner shows up and tries to get Spidey to go through his portal but web-head thinks that Examiner is just a costume change for Mysterio as they both wear domes over their faces, in the end Spider-Man figures out they are not the same person and is forced to dive into Examiner’s portal to escape an attack by Mysterio that leaves our hero weak, and just as Mysterio is to finish off Spider-Man the Red Bio-Gem uses its power to make The Chief Examiner try and steal the power of Mysterio given Spider-Man some breath time and getting his energy back to beat Mysterio and watch as The Chief Examiner disappears.

This issue is a good one and is a fun story to break up the normal story line that was going on in the main Spider-Man comic series at the time, but I will also say that it almost feels as if the writers of this issue in this mini series didn’t talk to the ones who made issue # 1. Because now I am not 100% sure if Durgan is The Chief Examiner or if the Red Bio-Gem on his planet is, as both seem to be in control of the dome headed power stealing loony. The Chief Examiner seems to be a little more polite in this issue and less forceful in making Spider-Man get into his portal than he was with The Hulk, but in this one he seems to be almost a ghost as nothing is under the robe making me scratch my head to as how then in issue # 1 Hulk was able to pin him to the ground and make him fear for his life. I kind of am so-so with the idea of the Red Power-Gems being alive and having the Energy Eggs around them as a way to keep them in line.  Yep, if the egg feels they are in danger it blows up killing the gem and it’s power. Spider-Man is as he was in the 80’s, filled with one liners and drama with girlfriends, but I wouldn’t want the web slinger any other way. Mysterio was the perfect  bad guy to use in this issue as he does look a lot like The Chief Examiner making for Spider-Man to have an almost “Who’s On First” kind of moments as he jumps from room to room. We will have to see what Tuskar is all about and if he will play out as a major player in the next issue. The art is by Al Milgrom and has that 70’s style Spider-Man appeal, the cover as well is just taken from the video games cover box. One smart move they did in this issue is they ask the question want to see what happened to Spider-Man’s power once he entered the portal, cause if you do go buy the game! Over all a good issue two that sadly leads us to the final issue in what was to be a 12 issue mini series.

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So The Chief Examiner has collected the powers of The Hulk and Spider-Man but can he now get the powers of members of the Fantastic Four? Lets read issue # 3 and find out!

Questprobe 3

Questprobe # 3   **1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     Marvel Comics    #3 of 12

Johnny Storm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters return to the Baxter Building the base of The Fantastic Four to retrieve some books but while their they get a visit from The Chief Examiner who wants Storm’s powers! Johnny Storm flames on and turns into The Human Torch just in time to fight some robots that are being controlled by The Examiner who has taken over all of the electronics in the Baxter Building. After destroying many of the robots Human Torch is sprayed with water and tuned back into Johnny Storm and he and Alicia try and escape as The Chief Examiner still is forceful that Torch goes through is portal so he can have his power! Johnny and Alicia get onto a secret elevator to try and escape and give Johnny time to dry off to become Human Torch again, meanwhile She-Hulk has returned home from grocery shopping and rushes to Johnny’s aid as The Chief Examiner forces them out of the Elevator he uses a fantasticar to try and kill She-Hulk who knocks it away and it bounces off the wall and heads towards Alicia Masters and Human Torch rushes to save her from being crushed just as The Chief Examiner places his portal in front of them tricking him into going through and stealing the power of the Human Torch and poof he’s gone and they are all safe.  The Power-Gem during this time also overhears that Durgan wants the help of Tuskar to gain more superpowers and to stop the Black Fleet. The Chief Examiner then pops up onto the alien planet that The Thing is on after the events of the Secret Wars and uses a twisted version of The Baxter Building to trick him into going through the portal and stealing his power.

This third issue is good but not nearly as good as the first two issues in the series and almost seems like a filler issue that has a touch of rush feeling. The first target is The Human Torch who The Chief Examiner tricks into getting into the portal by placing it between him and Alicia who was in danger, his intent to kill She-Hulk shows that the character is really at odds with being controlled by The Power Gem who is starting to really be the main villain of the series. It’s clear that The Human Torch is the main focus hero of this issue as the second target The Thing’s brief moments at the end of the issue is kind of a waste and not nearly as interesting as all the others who have been tricked before him. Weird enough as well is the fact the main story of Durgan also seems to be a second thought in the issue, making this one that’s kind of bland to talk about so lets just go ahead and wrap it up shall we. I will also say its odd that The Chief Examiner didn’t want to try and steal the powers of She-Hulk instead his first thought is to try and kill her, I am sure her power on top of Hulks and The Things would make him even more powerful and a force to be reckoned with.  This issues art is done by Ron Wilson and is clearly a Fantastic Four style art. Cover is like the game same as the others and I must say while again a fun read it was also very lackluster and lost the “epic adventure” feel that the other two issues had.

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It’s truly a shame that this mini series and video game series was cut so short as they had so many more Marvel heroes that could have been made into both.  Just imagine this series continuing not only with the already planned X-Men but also Captain America, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Thor to name a few. I truly feel that Marvel let all the fans down of the comic mini series and the video game series by just stopping the story arch before anything was really settled. But I guess that truly was the Marvel way just stop production on series without a second thought about their fans. So next month is September, and it will be the kick off to Rotten Ink’s second Halloween update that will go up on October 31st. For those who remember last year we took a look at comics based on Hammer Horror films well this year will be a little different and something I am super happy to bring all you friends and readers. But our next update will be a secret but I will drop you a giant hint when I say he hates New York! So until then think about it, plus play a video game and read a comic or two.

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak

Ohio is a cesspool of creative media and it’s the mecca of horror hosts as the state has showcased such talents as Ghoulardi, Dr. Creep, The Ghoul, The Cool Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and so many more. But Ohio also spawned “The Worlds Youngest Horror Host” Dr. Freak! What a great gimmick being the youngest horror host to date, and while many hosts have their kids help on shows, Dr. Freak made and starred in his own show he called “Cult Theater” at the age of 12, and this set him apart from the rest of the youth in hosting at the time. Growing up I watched a lot of public access shows like Moraine Playhouse Theater, A. Ghastlee Movie Show, Media Only, New Shock Theater and Eat More Carp, and I can remember seeing this strange kid with a white lab coat on many of the shows with white grease paint on his face and black grease paint making a thick unibrow.  He even was at many of the Horrorama’s my brother and I attended as well as other events.  If you lived in Dayton in the early 2000’s, than I am sure you had a run in with Dr. Freak! So this update is a quick look at the one and only Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak.

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Dr. Freak, also known as Freak E. Guy, was a teen ghoul who always wore a lab coat even though viewers never seen him do any thing medical or scientific.  He was a fun loving silly goofball who took joy in hosting cheesy films for the viewers of local access. During his very short time on air hosting Cult Theater, Dr. Freak entertained the masses while hosting some of the best the public domain had to offer and even survived a zombie attack! During this first run Dr. Freak would pop up on other horror hosts shows in the area like Dr. Creep’s New Shock Theater, I, Zombi’s The Witching Hour and A. Ghastlee Ghoul’s Ghastlee Movie Show and spread the word of his Cult Theater.  These appearance helped lock Dr. Freak as a full fledged horror host. I can remember catching his show from time to time and around this time as well I became great friends with the young man behind the grease paint, Henrique Couto, who was a youngster with big ideas and many dreams. Couto, who seems like a little brother to me, around this time also opened up his own film company that he called Couto Films/Freak Productions and began making his own films that he released on DVD and VHS and would sell at horror film conventions. While his first film was called “The Henrique Couto Show Movie,” it was his second feature that would have his film world and his hosting world collide.

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Dr. Freak Vamp Killa was a short 20 minute film made in 2004 that had the young horror host killing a bunch of vampires that were wandering around his hometown causing deaths and destruction because he killed their leader some 5 years back and now the new leader wants this host dead! So armed with wooden stakes and garlic powder cream pies, Dr. Freak swings into action and fumbles and bumbles his way to victory. The film was shot over a weekend and marked Dr. Freak as one of a few horror hosts at the time that were in a film based around them as the character; the other ones that come to mind is Morgus The Magnificent in “The Wacky World Of Dr. Morgus” from 1962 and Elvira Mistress of The Dark in the film of her own name in 1988. The film was put on VHS by Independent B Movie with the DVD-R being made by Dr. Freak in house.  The cover art on the original media release was done by Jason Gilmore and looked pretty dang cool. In an interview some years after the film’s release for Gates Of Gore Dr. Freak talked about two ideas for a possible sequel one that would have him in Da Hood and the other one would have been more of a Kung-Fu film. He also talks about the sales of the film being pretty good.  Sadly the sequel never was in the cards. Dr. Freak also co-starred in a DVD special feature show called “Freak TV” were he went missing and Henrique Couto had to go out and find him. Dr. Freak also had a cameo in the Bob Hinton movie “Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire” where in a graveyard he tries to stake the lead vampire all the while doing a terrible Crocodile Hunter impression. While by no means a movie star, Dr. Freak has made his mark on B-Movie with these appearances.

Dr Freak Vamp Killa

From 2005 on Dr. Freak, while making public appearances and co-starring in others shows from time to time, seemed to be phasing himself out of the world of horror hosting and with only a total of 4 original episodes under his belt.  It became clear that his other side Henrique Couto was wanting to make movies and even music under the name PineappleHead, and by 2006 Dr. Freak was phased out and the character was not seen again….well that is until 2011 when the master of Freak came back to TV to appear on Baron Von Porkchop’s tribute to the late great Dr. Creep, and the one time World Youngest Horror Host shared some stories of working with the Creep and was back home among fellow hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and Reverend Zealot. This appearance helped spark the hosting bug once more in Dr. Freak who became the host of an event called “Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon” that aired all over the Dayton area public access in 2011 and marked the first new episode of Cult Theater in over 6 years! Even with the time away from the hosting spotlight Dr. Freak didn’t miss a beat as he brought his silly brand of humor to the viewers of this Halloween season event. Then over the course of the last few years Dr. Freak has became a semi-regular returning guest on Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, and he and Baron Von Porkchop have became hosting pals. The character also at this time has changed his look and no longer has the think black unibrow but instead has went for more of a pale face and crazy facial hair. While only one new Cult Theater episode has been made, I have heard rumors that a new one could be in the works in the near future.

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So next I would like to take a few moments and ask Dr. Freak to answer a few questions for all you fine folks who read Rotten Ink, but I am not going to ask 5 questions but 6 cause why not! So I traveled down to his Crypt hideout and waited for a few hours till finally the man showed up so this is my 6 Questions with the one and only Dr. Freak…

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Me: Welcome, Dr. Freak, to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting and becoming The World’s Youngest Horror Host?

Freak: Seeing Dr. Creep on the New Shock Theater was my sole inspiration in the beginning, other than USA Up All Night he was the only example of horror hosts I had seen at all at that age.

Me: Dr. Creep, a true legend in the hosting world and has inspired many! So out of your first classic episodes of Cult Theater what is your favorite one?

Freak: I think my favorite episode was Night of the Living Dead, because myself and my camera man at the time James were just such big fans of the film, we really just ran with it and had a really fun time making it.

Me: Truly is a great film and a very fun episode of yours indeed to watch, so there is a rumor of a classic episode that is lost any clues what movie you showed and the wacky adventure you got into?

Freak: As awful as it is, I really can’t remember! I was such a young kid back then and we did all kinds of silly gags and videos they sort of run together, but if I ever find anything I wouldn’t keep it to myself for certain.

Me: You always have been a busy ghoul Dr. Freak, and I hope the episode is found someday. So this brings me to my next question with your last New episode being made in 2011 is there any plans for a new episode in the near future?

Freak: You just never know when Dr. Freak will pop up again, but as of right now he is on indefinite hiatus.

Me: So that’s a warning that he is still out there waiting for the word to return! So if you were to host again and could host any film what would you pick?

Freak: I would love to host the original Dawn of the Dead. That would be a blast to do.

Me: Would be interesting to see what ideas you come up with on that film and a great pick, so this brings us to out last question, do you have any advice to future horror hosts?

Freak: Host movies because you love movies and love being in front of the camera. Find people as passionate as you, and go fourth!

Me: Thanks My Ghoul Friend…Wait that sounds odd..Thanks my Pal!

Freak: Anytime! 

I can remember when I was in my upper teens watching Cult Theater episodes on MVCC and enjoying them.  While they were not as well produced as New Shock Theater with Dr. Creep nor zany and crazy like the Ghastlee Movie Show with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, it was a nice third option to enjoy a horror host program on the Dayton, Ohio airwaves. Plus it was always a treat seeing those three hosts at movie screenings or horror conventions showing the bond between them and once more proving that horror hosting is one big strange dysfunctional family. After the Cult Theater episodes aired, they also made their way to DVD thanks to Freak Productions and can still be ordered on the website as can his comeback episode that is also on sale at Game Swap in Kettering.

Cult Theater DVD Collection

So it’s time to write about the episodes of Cult Theater with Dr. Freak I own. I will not be giving them star ratings like I do the comics, but I will break down what he does for the host segments as well as a write up for the film he is hosting that will be taken from IMDB. I want to thank Henrique Couto and Bryan Brassfield for getting me these episodes over the years, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed watching and writing about them. So with no more wait, let’s enter the Cult Theater..

Dr. Freak Zombie 4

Cult Theater:  Zombie 4: After Death
Starring – Jeff Stryker & Candice Daly   Not Rated   1989

Host:  Dr. Freak and A. Ghastlee Ghoul sit down in the studio to watch the film Mystery Science Theater 3000 style and cut wise cracks and jokes all the while. Also from New Shock Theater, Reverend Zealot pops in to share a little information out the night’s movie, and by the end A. Ghastlee Ghoul attacks Dr. Freak with peanut brittle and knocks him out, taking over the show for the rest of the episode! By the end Ghastlee is tormenting the boy and gives him a lobotomy, and they wrap the film heckling up.

Movie: A woman goes back to the island where her parents were killed. They had been working on a cure for cancer and accidentally raised the dead by angering a voodoo priest. With the woman is a group of mercenaries and they meet up with some other researchers. They raise the dead again and all hell breaks loose.

Dr. Freak Night Of The Living Dead

Cult Theater:  Night of the Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Bill Hinzman   Not Rated   1968

Host: Dr. Freak is out with his friend when they are attacked by a zombie, and Freak and his cameraman must flee and survive the attack and find shelter in a home. They argue about whether they should stay upstairs or go to the basement, and in the end they get stuck in the basement and then decide to go out and fight the zombies where they are attacked and Freak shoots and kills the undead only after his cameraman dies!

Movie: Barbra and her brother Johnny travel by car from Pittsburgh to the countryside to visit the gravestone of their father in the cemetery. Out of the blue, they are attacked by a strange man and Johnny is murdered. Barbra runs and releases the brake of Johnny’s car since the keys are in his pocket, and flees to an isolated farmhouse, where she locks herself inside. Barbra is in shock and soon she finds a man, Ben, who is also escaping from the inhuman creatures and he reinforces the doors, windows and openings in the house. He also finds a shotgun and a radio and they learn that the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead. Then they find five humans hidden in the basement: Harry Cooper, his wife Helen and their daughter Karen that is sick; and Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Harry has an argument with Ben, since he believes that the basement is the safest place for them and Harry goes not agree. Along the night, the tension rises. 

Dr. Freak I Bury The Living

Cult Theater:  I Bury The Living
Starring – Richard Boone & Peggy Maurer   Not Rated   1958 

Host: Dr. Freak is giving a tribute to Albert Band, filmmaker and father to Richard and Charles Band, by showing his film as well as showing Fullmoon Entertainment trailers. This also marks his return to TV after some time off, something like 4 years.  He does some silly stuff like steals a kids bike, plugs websites and gets kidnapped in the end of the episode via a red truck!!

Movie:Through a series of macabre “coincidences,” the newly-elect ed director of a cemetery begins to believe that he can cause the deaths of living owners of burial plots by merely changing the push-pin color from white (living) to black (dead) on a large wall map of the cemetery that notes those plots.

Dr. Freak Horror Express

Cult Theater:  Horror Express
Starring: Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee   Rated R   1972

Host: Dr. Freak returns to TV for the Dayton Scare-A-Thon, a half day Halloween marathon event.  In his new hideout, his crypt hangout, the good Dr. makes a drinking game out of every time you see a shot of the train, take a drink. As the episode goes on, he gets more and more drunk and uses dynamite to fix the bad camera feed and spews out goofy jokes and one liners.

Movie: An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the missing link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a Trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one.

While in Ohio Dr. Freak might not be a household name like Dr. Creep or The Ghoul, he still is one of Dayton Ohio’s originals who has entertained the viewers off and on for many years all the while going from the Worlds Youngest Horror Host to a full fledged adult ghoul whose humor and style have changed along with his appearance. Here is to hoping that a new Cult Theater will grace the TV screens again soon, and I’m crossing my fingers the missing episode will be found for us all to enjoy. Thanks to Dr. Freak for not only being a Horror Host but for also spending some time with us here at Rotten Ink and answering 6 Questions for us.  The next Icon update will be about none other than Dr. Creep! And our next update will be all about Questprobe, the Marvel Comic series based around text video games! So until then, support your local Horror Host and watch a horror film or two.

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Ashes To Ashes Burial By Rats

Well this was suppose to be Ghosts of Dracula, but I misplaced the final issue so you get…RATS….. Thousands…. Millions Of Them! All Red Blood! All these will I give you if you only read Rotten Ink! That might not be the exact quote Renfield gave in the 1931 film version of Dracula for Universal Pictures, but it was close. Growing up I liked rodents, and even had two as pets that I got from my neighbor when they were tiny babies when her pet mouse had a litter. They both were little females; one was grey with a white side strip and underbelly who was called Grey Man while the other was just solid white with red eyes and her name was White Man…yeah for some reason my brother and I decided that little female baby mice looked like little people so they got nicknamed men. They were my buddies, and I used to hang out with them all the time as they were well behaved and when letting them run free in my room they never wanted or even tried to escape. Both of them had things they liked to do with me. White Man loved to fall asleep in my lap or on my shoulder while I read comics, books or magazines while Grey Man was all about me playing NES games and would spend time watching the lights on the screen. Both of them were so gentle, and I never once was bitten by either nor was anyone else I let pick them up.  They were perfect pets and well loved by me and my family. They would even take sunflower seeds from your hand and would be so gentle. Sadly as those of you long time readers remember, White Man passed away from a tumor while I was away at camp and Grey Man passed away a short time later. They both lived a long life, and I loved them both equally and miss them as they truly were perfect. I know you’re probably thinking it’s silly that I cared this much for mice, but to me they were just like the cats and dogs I owned, a part of my family. Some time passed before I got another mouse, and when I did I got him from Jack’s Aquarium and Pets.  He was a black and white male named Ben, and yes, he was named after the film that I had seen a number of times on TBS and was even hosted by Grandpa Munster on Super Scary Saturday. Ben was a good little guy.  While moody, he still never bit me and for the most part was chill.  Ben, however, was always trying to escape his cage and would even climb his water bottle and try and push the lid off the cage…he never got away, but man he tried. Ben was very different from Grey and White as he would not sit still for long and only time he would was when he would be on my bed and get warm and fall asleep. After Ben passed away, my next tiny rodent pet was a Hamster called SPG named after the Hamster from the BBC show The Young Ones, and man he was mean and liked to bite even when he was happy! Below are some pictures I took of White Man and Ben, and while a Grey Man one was taken, it was so blurry that it would not scan well.  Sorry, I know these two are bad as well, but I took them when I was a kid.

White ManBen Mouse

In 1995, New Concorde Pictures released a film to cable TV and video called “Bram Stoker’s Burial Of The Rats.”  The film was produced by Roger Corman, the master of the B-movie, and was directed by Dan Golden.  It was based on a story by you guessed it Bram Stoker and adapted to screen by a total of 4 writers. The film follows a young Bram Stoker as he is taken prisoner by a rouge group of female bandits called The Rat Women who are ruled by a flute playing queen and seven white mice whose tails are tied called The King. The twisted tale is to show how and why Bram went on to become of the world’s most famous horror story writers. The film stars Kevin Alber, Adrienne Barbeau, Maria Ford, Olga Kabo and in smaller roles actresses Nikki Fritz and Linnea Quigley who each played Rat Women. Now I can remember this on VHS sitting on the shelf of K&L Video and the poster hanging on the wall of the video store for awhile and always trying to get my brother to rent it because it had Maria Ford in it who I really liked at the time but I will get into that more later.  My brother always shot it down and said that it looked boring and would then go for films like Deadtime Stories or Don’t Go Into The Woods. So it would be years after it’s release before I would see it, and I found the film entertaining and goofy and must say Maria Ford looks fantastic as a warrior woman. The film performed badly with critics and fans, and as of 2014 it has a 4.1 out of 10 stars on IMDB. But I don’t want to get too much into the plot of the film here, as the comics we will be covering from Cosmic are the adaptation of the film. But before we move on we will take a look at some of the lovely actresses that are in this film.

Burial 1Burial Of The Rats VHSBurial 2

Adrienne Barbeau started her career in entertainment in the 1960’s.  After being a Go-Go dancer, she landed some roles in theater in such musicals as Fiddler On The Roof, Grease, The Best Little Whore House In Texas and even a nudie musical called Stag Movie. She left the theater in the 70’s to become a TV star and took roles in such shows as Maude, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, All In The Family and even participated in The Battle Of The Network Stars. Along the way she married horror film director John Carpenter as well as posed for a high selling cheesecake poster that helped spark her rise as a sex symbol and was a topic for drive in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs who helped the actress gain more attention. In 1980 she starred in her first horror picture when she played the lead role in the film The Fog.  She went on to star in many other horror/sci-fi films over the years that include Escape From New York, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Two Evil Eyes, Unholy and Burial Of The Rats. At this time she also took some roles in comedies that went on to become cult classics like Back To School, Father Hood, The Cannonball Run, Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death and Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island. Barbeau at the time of acting in films still do roles on TV with one of her biggest being the voice of Catwoman on Batman The Animated Series in the 1990’s, and speaking of her voice talent she also lent her pipes to a few video games like God of War III, Halo 4 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. As of 2014, Barneau is 69 years old and shows no signs of slowing down as she is still taking work in movies, TV and video games. Barbeau in acting is known for always playing the tough woman who has the take no crap attitude as well as for her large natural breasts. In the film Burial Of Rats, she plays Queen Rat.

Adrienne Barbeau 1Adrienne Barbeau 2Adrienne Barbeau 3

Olga Kabo is a Russian actress and theater performer who at a young age mastered the English language as well as dance and acting as she got her first major role by the age of 15. As she grew up she got more and more roles and became a very popular actress of Russian cinema and was the star in such films as Lysistrara Comedy, Burial Of The Rats and The Ice Runner becoming a sex symbol with these roles. Nowadays, at the age of 46 she spends most of her time acting on stage and still being a popular draw to fans who come to see her perform. In Burial Of The Rats, she plays Rat Woman Anna.

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In the 1990’s, one woman’s name stood out to me when it came to being in low budget horror and sleaze films and that name also marked another big celebrity crush for me. I first laid eyes on Maria Ford in the 1990 slasher film sequel “Slumber Party Massacre III” where she had darker hair and played the part of Maria. I quickly became a fan of the beauty and began buying her films from local video rental stores with the second film I saw of hers being  “Stripteaser” with many more to follow like “Showgirl Murders”, “Rain Killer”, “Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans” and “The Unnamable II” to name a few. Something about the skinny blond haired Maria Ford drew me in and I was taken back on just how sexy girl next door she looked. I even got my friend Jason Gilmore to become a fan of hers and by watching her films he also found an actress that he became a fan of named Nikki Fritz. Around this time I would say one my favorite actress in these style of no budget films would be Maria Ford as well as J.J. North and Ariauna Albright, Charlie Spradling, Denice Duff and my top was Tina Krause. I spent so much time and money buying films that had her name on the cover box.  While many were terrible, it was okay because I got to see Maria do her thing and act well even with poor scripts she was given. As I grew older Maria Ford’s roles became fewer and fewer, and the last major one I could remember coming out was one that was released to VHS when I worked at Blockbuster called “Perfect Fit” and that was a dark comedy. Maria Ford also went on to be in a bunch of Cinemax Soft-Core Adult titles and had small roles in many Hollywood films as the cute girl like in “Beethoven’s Fifth” and “The Addams Family Reunion”. She was also on TV with roles on 7th Heaven and The Drew Carey Show showing that Ford had a lot of talent. While over the years her appearance has changed, I still find myself a fan and would love to work with her sometime in my life.  Could you imagine her being in a Baron Von Porkchop episode…that would be epic! In Burial Of The Rats, she plays the lovely Rat Woman Madeleine. Oh and look at these pics below, and see why the young Matt Brassfield fell in love with Maria Ford! Also I want to say that she is not just an actress but she is also a model and dancer.

Maria Ford 1Maria Ford 2Maria Ford 3

From pet rodents to the beauty of Maria Ford, I think we are ready to tackle this comic series don’t you? Now I am sure your wondering why I did not talk about Bram Stoker and his writings, and the simple answer to that is I am going to really cover his career when I take a look at Topps Comics 4 issue run based on the Francis Ford Coppola film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” and to be honest I am really looking forward to that. Before I do I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I also want to think Lone Star Comics for having all three of these issues in stock.  So with no more wait let’s go see what it’s like to be Buried Like A Rat!

Burial Of The Rats 1

Burial Of The Rats # 1   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #1 of 3

In 1854, a woman slits the throat of her abusive husband and flees into the sewers where she finds a nest of young rats and is happy to become their Queen. Years pass and it’s now 1864 as Bram Stoker and his father are traveling by coach when their driver is killed by rats, and they are attacked by hooded figures.  During the attack Bram kills one of the assailants and is knocked out and taken to a castle where he is to be judged by The Queen and as for the father he is left knocked out in the middle of the woods. While captured Bram finds that his two capturers are beautiful woman.  Anna has dark hair and a mean spirit, and Madeleine, who is blonde, seems to have a touch of compassion in her. Bram is sentenced to death by a pendulum that he is tied to and after each woman takes turns hitting a switch with a hammer he is lowered deeper and deeper into a pit that holds blood thirsty rats! Anna has the honor of the first hit and Madeleine is to deliver the last which she does half heartedly sparing Bram’s life! Bram is thrown back into his prison cell, and it’s clear that both the Rat Queen and Anna want him dead but Madeleine seems to want to spare his life knowing that he only killed one of their “sisters” trying to protect his father. It’s clear that a bond is happening between Bram and Madeleine as she brings him his book and even bathes him with a wet cloth, but Anna and The Queen have other plans as they want Bram to come along on a raid with the hope of him trying to escape so that they can kill him! As Bram is being prepared for the raid, his father who is tired and beat up makes his way to help…

The first thing I want to say about this comic is the mood is just right and has a real sleazy Roger Corman feel to it. This issue follows a young Bram Stoker way before he wrote Dracula or any of his other horror stories as he becomes a prisoner to The Rat Queen, a crazy woman who plays a flute that controls the city’s rats as well rules over a group of warrior women. Bram Stoker, who is the main focus of this series, is by no means a man’s man in this issue and in fact is shocked when he shoots one of the hooded attackers and after doing so is quickly beat down. Even if he is no Lone Ranger or Tarzan, I find myself cheering for him to survive this bad situation. Madeleine, who was once a prostitute who was forced into being one when her family was murdered, is still a pure and loving woman who is clearly hiding behind a warrior’s attitude. Anna however has nothing but hate in her heart, as she was once a slave who was beaten with whips by a high-ranking village official  While she is a bad girl, I really like the character who you know is also clearly in love with Madeleine. The Rat Queen is a crazy old bat who gets joy in killing men and bossing rats around.  She is clearly one of those characters that you hope meets a very horrible end. The Rat King is pretty kick butt as its seven white rats whose tails are all locked together.  They all wear crowns and love flute music. I must say that so far this adaptation is starting off right because this first issue is very entertaining and is making me looking forward to the second issue. The art of the comic is great and has most the characters looking like the actors that played them in the film and is done by Francisco Solano Lopez who should have been hired to do many more horror movie themed comics! The cover is just a blown up image taken from the films VHS cover box and the poster used to promote the film. So let’s get back to the story and see if Bram tries to flee on the raid or it he will stay and try to be with the lovely Madeleine.

Burial Of The Rats 2

Burial Of The Rats # 2   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #2 of 3

Bam traveled along with the Rat Women as they entered the village and killed all the priests inside the church stealing all the gold and letting the rats eat the flesh off their victims. Bram leaves a blood smeared note in an open book for his father and heads back to the castle with the Rat Women. Madeleine steals a pen and paper and brings it to Bram in his cell and he starts to write about his time with them and talks of the raid he just witnessed. The next day as Bram is reading his writings to Madeleine, Anna over hears it and reports it to the Rat Queen who sneaks up on this happening.  To Anna’s shock, the Queen likes what she is hearing/reading and allows Bram to continue his book in hopes that when it comes out it will make all men fear them! When Bram and Madeleine are alone they confess their love for one another and make love, but that night Bram also has a nightmare that has everyone on the castle turning into Rat People! At dinner Madeleine brings Bram to the feast and he talks The Queen into another raid to save a 12-year-old girl who was busted for stealing and as punishment was sent to work at the whore house.  Anna is against the raid as she feels it’s to soon after the attack on the church by they go ahead and do it anyway. Bram enters the whore house and looks for the young girl and when he finds her a fat slob of a man is in with her, he deals with the man as Anna and Madeleine make their way into the room via the window and all together they save the young girl and the rats have a feats on the fat mans flesh. The raid does not go off without it’s downsides as the madam of the house runs to the police and a witness sees the women and hears them call Bram’s name! As they flee back to their home Madeleine is captured, and Bram is believed to be the ruler of the Rat Women by the police!

Oh the horror of watching rats eat the flesh off of dying men…no, really it’s a pretty cool scene for this second issue in the adaptation. This issue’s main focuses are the fact Bram’s writings have saved him, and he is in love with one of the Rat Women.  They do another raid too soon but it’s all for a good reason to save a young woman and Bram proves that he will do the write thing and is a huge help in the raid and lastly that Bram’s father has not given up on finding his son alive. Bram in this issue while still not a tough guy like Wonder Man or STEEL he is very smart and uses what little power he is gaining from respect from The Rat Queen to his own advantages. I love the fact that he could have easily tried to escape during the second raid but knew that saving the young girl was the more important thing to do. Madeleine is truly a warrior with a heart and while loyal to her fellow Rat Women love is also on her mind. The Rat Queen while crazy also seems to know right from wrong and in a weird way by this issue you as the reader start to wonder who the real bad guys are, given the fact everyone they have murdered has been a terrible person! Anna is filled with not only hate this issue but also jealousy as its clear she wants the affections of Madeleine and despises the fact Bram is getting it and not her. The issue is filled with more rats eating the skin off men’s bones as well as has Anna blowing the neck off a priest who has been molesting women in the church, all gruesome stuff that the horror comic fan in me was very happy to see. The art once more is done by Lopez and is fantastic, but his time around the cover is a little weak and kind of generic or better yet I should say is good for a pin up but not a main cover. Well at this point we have one more issue to go, and then we will be at the end of Bram Stoker’s adventures with the Rat Women.  I don’t know about you, but I really can’t wait to see how this one ends.  So let’s not waste time and dive right in and hope we don’t get eaten alive by the rats.

Burial Of The Rats 3

Burial Of The Rats # 3   **1/2
Released in 1995    Cover Price $2.50    Cosmic Comics    #3 of 3

The Rat Queen and the Rat Women return to the castle and are happy about the night’s raid, but word comes quick that Madeleine has been captured and that one of the other Rat Women is dead! Bram is upset by this news and so is Anna, and the two argue in front of The Rat Queen.  To prove his loyalty to the Rat Women he must pass two tests to be one of them: the first test is to drink the blood of Anna and the second one will be decided by Anna after they rescue Madeleine.  They all rush off to do so and clash with prison guards and army soldiers alike, but the rats and The Rat Women are successful.  This rescue also has some downsides as Bram saves Anna from her old “master” by killing him before he killed her and thus robbing her of her revenge, and second Anna, unbeknownst to anyone else, knocks out and kidnaps Bram’s father! Back to the castle Madeleine is weak but still gets up to watch Bram’s final test set before him by Anna, to stab and kill his own father! When he refuses Anna pulls out a gun and is about to shoot them both, just as she pulls the trigger Madeleine jumps in front of her man and takes the bullet! Anna is tore up that she just shot the woman she loves so she commits suicide and as this happens the army has shown up and attacks the castle killing many of the Rat Women and even Rat Queen dies when she kills the Captain and breaks her flute causing the Rat King and his fellow rats to attack and kill her. In the end Bram, his father and the body of Madeleine escape the castle that is burning and Bram knows now more than ever he must become a writer.

It’s a love triangle that is built on blood, teeth and romance and sadly we all know that for one person it’s not going to end well…and that person is Bram as the rage of Anna leads to Madeleine’s death and then the raven haired beauty commits suicide.  He is robbed of his love and even revenge. This issue brings the whole story to an end and focuses on the rescue and untimely death of Madeleine and shows what events cause a young Bram Stoker to write his classic horror stories like Dracula. Bram in the issue also shows that when pushed he will fight back and kill if he has to, his love for Madeleine was strong so strong that he was willing to throw away his old life to become a full member of The Rat Women. Madeleine in the issue is pretty much at death’s door from the start as she starts off the issue a prisoner where she is being tortured for answers and when rescued she is weak and then gets shot! Poor woman, all she wanted was true love with her soul mate. Anna is a sad case as she really does love Madeleine, and it’s clear to me as a reader that they had something going on before Bram showed up and stole her away. Plus I feel bad for her because she so wanted revenge on the man who beat her when she was a slave but Bram as well took that away from her. Mr. Stoker, Bram’s father, is kind of just a pawn in the story and while he plays a part in how the story unfolds, he just kind of was a background player in terms of how much impact he had on me. Rat Queen turned out to be all right, and all she really wanted in life was to be free of man’s world where women were treated lower than the rats she commanded.  It’s a fitting end for her as she is eaten alive by her King and all the other rats she once commanded. By the end of this issue, it seems as if the men of the evil world around them win as the castle is on fire, the Queen is dead as are many of the other Rat Women making one truly wonder if the right side won. The art by Lopez captures the feeling of the low budget film so well you almost wish the series would have continued with more adventures of young Bram Stoker and what’s left of the Rat Women.  The cover on the last issue as well is pretty good and reminds me of some of the covers used by Eternity for their comic based on The Puppet Master films. Over all this series held true to the film and was entertaining enough that it kept my interest during every issue. If you’re a fan of Bram Stoker, horror comics, the film itself and even comics like Red Sonja and Kull The Conquer then I would say you should check this comic series out. Below are some samples of the artwork used in the comic.

Burial Art 1Burial Art 2Burial Art 3

The three issue comic adaptation of the low budget Roger Corman film is packed with blood and gore, a pretty interesting story and characters that are entertaining and capture your interest and for that Cosmic Comics gets a big thumbs up from this comic reader for being able to turn a so-so film into a enjoyable comics. The one thing that is off is while the characters of Madeleine and Anna look like actresses Maria Ford and Olga Kabo, the Rat Queen looks nothing like Adrienne Barbeau as in the comic she looks like a 99-year-old hag! Cosmic also did a few more series based on Roger Corman films like Little Shop of Horrors, Death Race, Caged Heat and Rock N Roll High School and at some point on here I will be sure to cover them.  I would also like to dedicate this update to Roger Corman for being the man when it comes to making and producing B-Movies and to Maria Ford for being a very underrated actress. So next update I am thinking we will take some time away from comics and do another Horror Host Icon, and this time around I think I am going to take a look at the world’s youngest Horror Host Dr. Freak! So make sure to come back for that one as I am sure you’ll learn a thing or two about this zany horror host! So until then read a comic or two and enjoy a B-Movie!

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How I Spent My Summer At Camp Candy

Summertime is upon us.  That means lots of sun, swimming pools and vacations for many of us Americans and fine people from around the world, and after the snow filled winter we had this year I am sure many of you like me are ready for some sun time. When I was in school, summer break was also the thing that got me from grade to grade, knowing that at some point I would have a few months off to do what I wanted to do and not be stuck in a classroom. So in this blog update we are going to take a look at some of the fun stuff I used to do in the summer as well as places I have been including camp during school! The comic series we will be looking at is based on the Saturday morning cartoon called Camp Candy that featured the comedian John Candy as the lead counselor and owner of the camp. But first I would like to talk about my first time going to Kings Island with my Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Debbie when I was just a young lad. Most summers my family would not go on a vacation and a lot of time was spent at our house running the streets with friends or just visiting our grandparents. Sometimes my Dad would shock us and take us to Fantasy Farm or Americana Amusement Park in Middletown and those were always fun times, but mostly it was stay at home kind of time. I will admit it was pretty embarrassing when I would return to school and the teacher would have us stand up and tell the others what we did over the summer and I would hear others talk about trips to Florida, Disney World and Kings Island and all I got to do is play Nintendo and toys at my house…pretty sad indeed. One summer however my Dad got some tickets to Kings Island from his work at Cub Foods and gave them to my brother Bryan and I, and instead of him and my mom taking us they gave the other two pairs to my Uncle Johnny and my Aunt Debbie who acted as our guide to the theme park. Before we went to the top amusement park in Ohio, we talked to our cousins Dino and Norman and they filled us in on the must experience rides that included The Vortex, King Cobra, The Racer, The Beast and one of the newest coasters at the time The Adventure Express. I can remember the night before going to the amusement park sitting in my bed restless with my mind racing with all the excitement of what was to come the next day, images of ridding a roller coaster with Yogi Bear and stories of all the large hills and fast speed told to me by Norman echoed in my brain, for this summer of 1992 I was going to Kings Island!  

Kings Island Logo

The next morning my brother Bryan and I were up early and ate up our cereal super fast and waited for our Aunt and Uncle to come pick us up, they arrived right on time and I can remember rushing to get into the car with them so that my adventure of the summer could start happening. On the ride to the park I can remember my Uncle playing Ozzy Osborne’s Dairy Of A Madman from a cassette tape and he and my aunt asking us what we were looking forward to the most. For me I really was looking forward to The Adventure Express and Hanna-Barbera Land because I was a fan of Scooby-Doo and Yogi and looked forward to the rides based around them. I can remember my brother looking forward to The Beast and The Racer as the idea of the backward coaster peaked his interest. As we pulled into the huge parking lot my excitement sky rocketed as I could see the entrance to the park and knew that so much fun rides awaited me inside. As we gave the attendant our tickets and walked in I was amazed as I seen the Eiffel Tower and fountains and knew that I had finally made it to Kings Island! That day was a blast we started the day off by riding The Racer and while I rode the one that went forward by brother rode the one that went backwards, we also rode The Beast and for the first time I became breathless as the speed and the excitement literally took my breath away! The Adventure Express was epic and fun and while not a fast coaster it still was a great gimmick of riding inside of caves with talking stone statues and parts that sprayed you with mist. We rode The Smurf Enchanted Voyage Boat ride that our Mom had ridden before and hyped up and it was a pretty fun experience as was White Water Canyon a boat ride that makes you feel as if your traveling on what its named after. We rode many rides that day and I even got to see the likes of Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound wondering around and taking pictures with kids and adults. I did not get to ride The Vortex as the line was to long that day and we skipped the King Cobra cause we heard it racked ya if you were a male, I know now that it was false but as a kid you believe those type of rumors. We stayed until the park closed and watched fireworks and then headed back home, I must say my Aunt and Uncle were a blast and allowed us to be kids and have the fun we wanted…and while we went to the park a number of times after mostly with Dino and Norman and for me as I grew older with my girlfriend at the time Jennifer this first time will forever remain the most special. I have to admit that the next day after going my legs felt like rubber from all the walking and running we did that day but boy was it worth it! Oh I guess I should pick my favorite ride that first time going and it would have to be hands down The Beast as it was the one that not only took my breath away but also is the one that always stuck in my mind. 

Vortex LogoThe Beast LogoKing Cobra Logo

While during the summer I did get to go to Amusement Parks the one thing I never did get to do was go to Summer Camp and for some reason I always kind of wanted to thanks to the Friday The 13th films. But I did get to go to camp during school when I was in the 6th grade to a place called Camp Joy and let me tell ya all about the wonders of this place. Before I was set to go to Camp one of my pet mice named White Man was sick with a giant tumor that had grown on the side of her tiny body, I hated to leave her in such bad shape but I knew she was in great hands as my Brother, Mom and Dad were all going to look after her. The day of camp I had my bags packed and was ready for some fun in the woods as I was dropped off at the school and got onto the bus that was driving us there. When getting to the camp I was pretty hyped as I loved the idea of having fun in the woods with fellow classmates and boy did we do just that! We did all types of fun stuff and even pulled small animals from the near by stream to be studied and thats when the full outdoor fun ended for me as while carrying a bucket of water I tripped going down some stairs and spilled the water and sprang my ankle bad! By hurting my ankle not only did I heart my pride but it also kept me from doing the wire walk an activity that had you rope walking high above the ground as well as a few other activities. By our last day I was limping around enough to do an activity that had us acting as slaves and escaping via the underground railroad. For me being hurt the main fun came in the cabin were at night we told horror stories, made up what ifs using Jason Voorhees, talked about girls from our grade we liked and we even went into the bathroom and played Bloody Mary in the mirror…you know the legend of Bloody Mary right? Well if not its a legend about a witch who is trapped in the mirror world or in some cases Hell that when you say her name 5 times in a mirror in a dark room she will appear in the mirror infront of you with blood pouring down her face and in some cases is said to pull you into the mirror. I can remember doing this and all us guys trying to spook the others. While I was hurt at camp I still had a blast, but sadly when I returned home White Man lost her battle to the tumor…But I would say if you have kids I would say send them to camp at least once cause I am sure they will have a fun time.  

Camp Joy 1Camp Joy LogoBloody Mary

On Halloween 1950 comedian John Candy was born in NewMarket, Ontario Canada and with this a comedy legend was delivered to the world. Candy began is acting career in 1973 by starring in a tiny uncredited role in the film“Class Of ’44” and throughout the 70’s took roles in film and TV like “The Silent Partner”, “90 Minutes Live” and his most popular role on TV “SCTV” (Second City Television) Canada’s version of Saturday Night Live. But it was not till the 80’s when Candy became the big star with roles in “1941”,“National Lampoons Vacation”, “Stripes”,“Splash”, “Little Shop Of Horrors”, “Plans Trains and Automobiles”, “Great Outdoors”, “Space Balls” and “Uncle Buck”to name a few all these films made Candy a top name in comedies and an A-List actor. Even in 1989 Candy became a cartoon star with the Saturday morning toon “Camp Candy”. But sadly the 90’s were not as nice to him and while roles in “Home Alone” and “Cool Runnings”kept his star shining he also had a string of flops at the box office like “Nothing But Trouble” and “Once Upon A Crime”making the actors roles coming fewer inbetween he changed it up and took more dramatic roles in films like “Only The Lonely”and “JFK”. His big comeback to comedy film was called “Wagons East!”were he co-starred with Richard Lewis that was released in 1994, but sadly while doing this picture Candy died of a heart attack at the age of 43. Some cool things you might not have known about the comedian are the following Candy won Emmy’s for his writing on SCTV in 1981 &1982, Candy hosted SNL on a 1983 episode, Candy was asked to play Louis in the film Ghostbusters but could not meet eye to eye on how the character should be played so the role went to Rick Moranis, he did however make a cameo in Ray Parker Jr’s Music Video for the hit song from the film. Candy alongside Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky and racehorse owner Bruce McNall owned a Canadian Football team called the Argonauts, his crypt is bellow fellow actor Fred MacMurray best know for his role in the TV Show My Three Sons in California. I can remember growing up and loving John Candy in movies and I cant tell you how many times I have watched The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck! While he may be gone his body of work lives on thanks to DVD, VHS and TV.

Great Outdoors PosterJohn CandyUncle buck Poster

Back in the 1980’s Saturday Morning Cartoons was a huge deal and almost every major station tried to out due the others to get kids to watch their station over the others. NBC in 1989 started to air a cartoon called Camp Candy that followed comedian John Candy as he was the head councilor and owner of a Summer Camp that was always in danger of being closed down by a rich business man named Rex DeForest III who wanted to use the land to develop condos and malls. Candy was joined my Nurse Molly and a handful of boys and girls and they would get into all types of silly adventures. The series ran for a year on NBC and lasted a total of Twenty Seven episodes before going into syndication were thirteen more episodes were made. The series last major TV airings was with reruns on Fox Family in 1998, and with the syndication episodes sometimes live action John Candy skits were attached. I watched Camp Candy when it aired originally and in fact I never missed an episode if I could help it and was a pretty bug fan of it’s simple and fun storyline. Even when Marvel Comics released the short 6 issue run based on this cartoon I got myself a copy of issue # 1 at Big Bear! The series never did get a DVD release and only a few episodes ever came out on VHS making this cartoon series one that you would have to find on the Grey Market in order to enjoy again, it’s a shame that this series never did get the fandom it deserves and even in school I remember very few kids talking about it, but the ones that did were big fans like myself I can remember my friend Jeremy Patton really liked it allot. And I can’t stress enough to the big broadcast stations when I say bring back Saturday Morning Cartoons to the glory it once was and stop just showing terrible Disney Network reruns and terrible Pokemon clone cartoons and bring back the verity and life to that magical time of the week when kids should be putting down their Iphones and Tablets and watching quality cartoons and shows. 

Camp Candy Toon 1Camp_Candy Toon 2Camp Candy Toon 3

So before we move on to the comic series brought to us by Marvel, I should introduce the characters to those of you readers who never got to watch this fun cartoon when it aired. The adults at the camp are John Candy, the lead counselor and owner of the camp. John has a good soul and will do whatever he can to entertain and protect the kids even if he is a coward and not that bright. Nurse Molly is the camp’s nurse and mother figure to the kids; one could even get the slight hint that while she is annoyed with John at times, she also seems to almost have a crush on him. These two are the only adults shown in the cartoon and makes one wonder just how the two of them run the whole camp!

John CandyNurse Molly

The boys of the camp are as follows: Rick is the blonde haired cool kid who is the popular one, Iggy is the tall nerdy type with glasses and is super smart but is also a hypochondriac and last but not least is his little brother Binky who, while short in size, is always ready for adventure. Those are the boys who are attending Camp Candy.

RickIggyBinky

As for the girls attending Camp Candy, it goes as follows: Vanessa is the rich spoiled brat who is into fashion and looking good. Alex is the tomboy who has red hair and loves sports, and last is Robin who is all into nature and saving the animals of the forest. The girls and the boys get along well besides Vanessa, who is the one who gives everyone grief.

VANESSAALEXROBIN

The bad guy of this cartoon was Rex DeForest III, a short man with lots of money and ideas that always have Camp Candy out of business and the land his to develop into condos. His assistant is Chester, a dim witted goofball who goes along with whatever his boss tells him to do. While they always have plans, they of course never win.

REX DEFOREST IIICHESTER

Camp Candy inspired very little merchandise and had no toys or video games made based on it.  Besides the Marvel/Star Comics series, the only other stuff I can think of is a plastic lunch box, VHS tapes of selected episodes and later t-shirts made by fans. It makes you wonder why some company didn’t turn out some cool things for fans of the show.  I mean it would have made a perfect NES game where you played as John and had to rescue the kids from Rex. This poor underrated show has gotten no DVD release and had very little push for other merchandise even in its prime! So if you’re looking for Camp Candy goodies, they are few and hard to find. 

Camp Candy Bear LogoCamp Candy LunchboxCamp Candy VHS

So are you readers ready for Camp? I have my backpack packed with all the stuff I need including some comics and Tiger Electronic Handheld Games, and I have my Incredible Hulk sleeping bag rolled and tied so I think we are ready to enter the cabin and see what Camp Candy has to offer! I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. I should thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock, and I really look forward to reading issue one again as I can remember buying it when it first came out at Hearts and really liked it! So no further delay, let’s dive in shall we.. 

Camp Candy 1

Camp Candy # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #1 of 6

John Candy is tricked by that no good Rex DeForrest III into believing that he owes 5 thousand dollars to keep the camp safe, and Candy who had proof the camp was paid up lost the papers…well his campers did. Candy doesn’t have the money to pay for the “balance” owed and is bummed out as the camp is set to close the following day, but during the last night around the campfire, Candy tells a spooky story about Headless Harry, a man who found a giant gold nugget in a cave and then left it behind to play basketball with some Native Americans.  When the basketball rolled out of the cave, a witness thought it was his head. Rick gets the idea that in the morning they should go and check the cave for the gold to use to save the camp. Rex and Chester decide to follow Candy and the Campers to make sure they don’t find money to pay for the fake bill, and Chester hides in the cave and scares them away once they find the giant gold nugget, but Candy catches on and uses his own trick to spook Chester away and he calls in an expert to look at his gold. Sadly the gold nugget is fools gold, and just when it looks like the camp is doomed, a tabloid news reporter pays Candy that amount for his story of Headless Harry and his “meeting” with the legend! 

This issue throws in the spooky camp legend around a plot that is very similar to the film “Ernest Goes To Camp,” about a rich butthead wanting to build on the land of the camp. John Candy is a total goof in this issue and seems not to be bothered that his own campers are the ones who lost the papers when they came into his cabin to find paper to use to make a fake skunk and to draw on, but to be honest the fact that he does not mind is what makes me really connect with this cartoon. Candy is very likeable, and I have a feeling he will be done right through out the series. The campers don’t fully get to shine in this issue and while bits of their personalities do, I have a feeling that as we go along each camper might get spotlight. Rex and Chester are those kind of bad guys with one smart one and one goofy one who play off each other and come up with schemes to try to get what they want. The issue is broke into two stories with the first being the longer main story and the second is a quick story thrown in to fill pages. The art in this issue is done by Howard Post, and his style is great for this type of comic based on a cartoon.  The cover is also well done and eye catching. Over all, while this is not ground breaking, it’s still and average fun comic.  Plus it was nice re-reading this issue after all these years! So let’s move on to issue 2 and have more fun at Camp Candy.

Camp Candy 2

Camp Candy # 2   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #2 of 6

John Candy is preparing Camp Candy for the safety inspector who is on her way the next day. Rex and Chester hear this and know that if the camp gets so many marks for being unsafe, it will be closed down and leave the land open for him to buy. Rex and Chester dress up and join the camp as a father counselor and his daughter and cause issues so the camp will fail, and fail it does when the flag poll falls on the inspector, the tree house falls apart with her inside and a grizzly bear in one of the cabins chases her from the camp. Before she closes the camp, she allows Camp Candy to join in on the big canoe race among all the surrounding camps and during this Rex and Chester, who are forced as their fake characters, take the wrong path and are about to drown but Candy comes to their aid and this impresses the inspector who allows the camp to stay open. 

Yet another issue that holds the charm of the cartoon and still holds some of that “Ernest Goes To Camp” spirit making this a fun read and perfect for these warm summer nights. Candy in this issue is still a loveable goon who takes pride in his camp and really seems to care that his campers are having a good time.  The one thing that you have to question about the safety of the camp is the fact Candy allowed two fake people who were really his arch enemies to work for him without even checking backgrounds, makes you wonder if Jason Voorhees wearing hockey mask and all wanted a job, would he hire him on the spot? The campers once more take a back seat to the comic comedy and are very much background players. Rex and Chester have the same chemistry they had the last issue with greed being their driving force. The second story in this one deals with a moose and is pretty standard filler stuff. Howard Post once more did the art and once more it looks good.  I should also say Post is doing the main story art and not the back up story. Pretty good standard issue that makes me want to read the third in the series.

Camp Candy 3

Camp Candy # 3   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #3 of 6

Rick’s cousin Trooper is at a nearby camp called Camp Kickboot, and he is feeling like Campy Candy is for nerds as they don’t do half the militant stuff the other camp does. John Candy takes all his campers to visit the camp and finds that its run like a boot camp and its counselor Nayles is like a drill sergeant. During the visit it’s set up that the two camps the next day will play a game of capture the flag to show which team is better.  The Kickboot Campers are hyped as Candy Campers want nothing to do with it! If any camper or counselor gets hit with whipped cream that means they are taken prisoner and must sit out. The next day Binky runs off with the Camp Candy flag to try and win the game as Kickboot makes short work of John, Iggy and Vanessa, and just as they are about to put their flag on Camp Candy’s poll, Rick has climbed the poll and whip creams the whole Kickboot team! Binky makes it to Camp Kickboot and wins the game for his team. Oh yeah, Rex and Chester try to get involved with a real tank shooting fireworks at Camp Kickbutt.  This ends badly as always.

This is a fun issue that reminds me of the show “Hey Dude” when they played capture the flag against each other. Rick takes a front seat in this issue, and while a prankster at heart, he still tries to live up to the macho image of his cousin who he thinks is having more fun at his camp. Of course in the end Rick shows that his camp is the best and kids should be kids and have fun. John Candy is as goofy as ever and once more has pride in his camp and campers and even gets them involved in a “war game”, still a very likable character. Rex and Chester in this issue are a waste and to be honest should not have even been in this issue as they really added nothing to the story. Nayles and his campers are kind of mean and take pleasure in breaking stuff and have an almost bully aspect to them.  So it’s nice to see them lose by being outsmarted at their own game. Plus this is the first issue that had only one story, and to me that’s a good thing as this story was more fleshed out, well minus Rex’s part. The pencil art was done once more by Howard Post, and to me this guy is great at doing kids comics of this style! The cover is cheesy fun and also with this issue we mark the half way mark of this Marvel/Star series.  So far I will say it’s a solid and entertaining kids comic series so let’s get into issue # 4!

Camp Candy 4

Camp Candy # 4   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #4 of 6

It’s open house day at Camp Candy and all the campers’ parents are on their way to visit their kids, but this year instead of showing them boring stuff they made or collected they decide to build an amusement park for them to enjoy. Binky builds a toy horse ride, Iggy builds the worlds lowest roller coaster, Vanessa’s is a house of mirrors, Rick’s is a surfboard on wheels ride that spins around fast, Alex built a fitness ride were the kids are carried in wooden boxes by her dad and Robin has a ride a grizzly bear ride! While preparing for the parents, Binky wants his ride more scary and Rex and Chester dress as workers claiming that John hired them to help. The plan is to make the ride so scary and unsafe the parents won’t trust John and the park will close so Rex can buy it. When the parents arrive all is going well and as Binky is taking his mom to his ride, Chester jumps on it before his mom can ride it and Binky jumps on to stop him, but Chester being a moron, he forgot the track was not complete and that they are headed straight for a cliff! John sees they are in danger and jumps on the wheeled surfboard to try and stop them, and when Rex hears the tracks are incomplete, he rushes to try and help as well. In the end Binky checked his ride early in the morning and placed safety rafts at the end so Chester, John (who jumped on to try and stop it) and himself are all safe and to payback the damage they did. Rex and Chester have to also carry kids in the wood boxes at Alex’s ride. 

It’s cheesy rides and danger all around in this issue as families take turns riding grizzly bears and a toy horse roller coaster almost leads to deaths! Binky gets to shine in this issue, and he is your typical 5 year old kid who wants his ride scary, but who also in the hero by knowing safety comes first and places the rubber rafts down. John is also brave in this issue as he risks his life and safety to save Binky’s and Chester’s all while riding a surfboard with skateboard wheels. The rest of the campers are given little to do as are the parents but yet they all fit in like a glove, adding to the overall. Rex in this issue does not think out his plan very well, and his worse mistake is that he trusted Chester to be in charge on this project. Like the prior issue, this is one long story with the filler story cut out of the issue, and again I must stress I like one story better than two in this series. The best part about this series so far is that it’s stayed steady and has not lost any steam, tho it could also be said that by this point it should also be gaining steam so it’s kind of a catch-22. Howard Post once more does the art and once more does a fine job.  So with that let’s get to issue # 5.

Camp Candy 5

Camp Candy # 5   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #5 of 6

John Candy is taking his campers on a field trip to the camp he grew up going to and speaks highly of the head counselor named Hercules who was so strong and brave. Well when they get to the camp, it’s a ghost town and the cabins are run down and Hercules now is an old man with no campers to look after and worse he has Rex DeForrest II, the father to the III, coming to take his camp away and turn it into a land fill! Rex the II and Hercules make a bet that if he can get to the top of a nearby mountain and set camp that Hercules can have the camp site for as long as he lives. John and the Campers help Hercules who proves in the end all he needed was some joy as he makes it to the top and wins the honor of the camp.

This issue is a fun one.  While not as good as the past 4 issues, it still was entertaining and held the Camp Candy charm. Taking John and the Campers away from Camp Candy was a smart move and allows them to be shown out of their environment and in a new camp trying to help an old man. Hercules is a fun crazy old coot character who still has it even after all these years, and while he is strong willed and physically strong, it’s clear as day where John got a lot of his counseling skills. Adding the dad of the Rex we have all grown to dislike is cool, but really also just made me wish they would have added some sort of new butthead who wants to run a camp out of business. The issue goes back to having two stories, and the second one is about them camping and Binky being the man, more filler stuff really. Howard Post is still doing the art and it still looks good for this kind of comic book. I will also say that this is the first issue not to say “Star Comics Presents,” and I should also point out when the little box that says that was places in an issues it looked like a bad cut and paste job, think glue stick on paper kind of stuff. So let’s get to the final issue here at Camp Candy.

Camp Candy 6

Camp Candy # 6   **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $1.00   Marvel Comics   #6 of 6

A gorilla has escaped from the circus and is on a path to Camp Candy. John does not know this and takes his campers on a nature walk as Rex and Chester come up with a plan for Chester to dress like a gorilla and scare off the campers so you guessed it, he can buy Camp Candy to turn the land into condos. But of course the real gorilla shows up, and the high jinks kicks into high gear. In the end the Gorilla finds his way back the circus while driving a car with Rex who thinks it’s Chester in the outfit! There are three other smaller filler stories in this issue as well, and they are just your typical short subjects.

The final issue loses a little steam as the first of four…yes four stories is the best one and for some reason the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking about Yogi Bear and how this story would have been perfect in a Yogi Bear comic or cartoon. The gorilla on the loose who knows tricks and can drive a car is pure cartoon stuff and adds to the fun theme of the Nature Walk. Neither John nor the kids are the main focus of the issue as they all share about the same importance to the story. One thing I must say is that Rex and Chester being in every issue blabbing about owning the land Camp Candy sits on was wearing thin and new characters should have been added to make more challenges for them all to have to get past. I mean the only other bad guy in the series was Rex’s dad who has the same motives for another camp’s land. The other three stories once more are just filler and that’s a shame when the main story of the escaped Gorilla should have been more fleshed out and given more panels. Howard Post did the art and wrote the main story and did a fine job on both.  It’s also a shame that Marvel being who they were back then didn’t even give this series a final issue as this one just simply ends the series. This issue was alright and was a fun adventure with John and the Campers.

Camp Candy Art

It was nice to see that in 1990 a “Star” comic series was released with this 6 issue series based on the cartoon Camp Candy.  While I would like to think they were just shutting down Star for a re-launch that would have seen more originals and more IPs and this comic was just caught in the middle of that transition, when to be honest I am sure it all came down to when the license for this cartoon was signed over to Marvel it was under the Star branch so they just cut and pasted the logo on the first page of each issue to hold true to that original contract. I found this comic series to be silly and good solid reads that held very true to the source material making it a true treat for a person like me who grew up watching the cartoon. But while this update we had fun at camp, the next update we will be visiting Dracula’s Castle as we take a look at Eternity’s mini series “The Ghosts Of Dracula”! So make sure to join me then and bring some garlic just in case.  So until next time enjoy the great outdoors, go to camp and read a comic or two.

ghosts of dracula logo

Who Are You? A Former CSI Fan Looks Back on the IDW Comics

Greetings, Inketeers!  Juliet once again humbly reporting for duty as your guest writer.  Yes, the promise and the threat have become reality, and despite my prior ramblings on fandom and shipperdom in my X-Files update, Matt’s invited me back to regale you with more of my ramblings….I mean, review the first arc of IDW’s CSI comics.  I was initially a little hesitant to do this one because while it’s easy for me to proclaim my allegiance to the X-files from every hilltop, my fan relationship with CSI is rockier, a bit more complex.  That said, this is actually the perfect time to explore all of that as I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about it as of late.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Csi_las_vegas

Before there was Miami, New York, and heaven knows what other cities, there was just CSI.

I suppose I should clarify that when I’m talking about CSI, I’m referring the to very first one that took place in Las Vegas.  The show premiered in the fall of 2000, and I recall thinking the concept looked fun.  However, I didn’t really begin to watch it until the second season was rerun during the summer of 2002.  I wish I could say what made me latch on to the show so intensely.  Yes, it’s got all of the things I like in a show, but to be honest, I think I may have been having some separation anxiety as the X-Files series finale had just aired that spring.  So, in essence, I was on the fandom rebound.

Look, those last few seasons were rough, but you guys didn't have to leave me....

Look, those last few seasons were rough, but you guys didn’t have to leave me….

And rebound I did, with the intensity anyone just getting out of a nine year relationship.  That year, a fellow X-Files fanfic writer and I had started a small fan group on Yahoo.  Given that the show had just ended, the group never really took off in any big way, but it served as inspiration for something that would take off and became a huge part of my life for quite a while, The Graveyard Shift.

I'm kind of surprised any of our graphics were still floating around the internet.

I’m kind of surprised any of our graphics were still floating around the internet.

As I said, when I fell for CSI, I fell hard and of course I landed face-first in a ship.  I pretty much immediately decided that my OTP (for you non-shippers out there, that’s One True Pairing, a term I’m pretty sure hadn’t been invented in 2002 or at least I had never heard the whole time I was running the group) were Gil and Catherine.  I was not alone in this ship, by any means, but interestingly enough, the CSI fandom writ-large was fairly divided on ships: half of us were GCR (Gil + Catherine [the now commonplace practice of combining the names for ships: Pam + Eric = Parric, Susan + Jackson = Sackson, etc hadn’t really taken hold just yet]) and the other half was GSR (Gil + Sarah).  If you watched the later seasons of the show, you know how it ended up, and if you didn’t, well, my team lost.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Crissom? Grillow?  I think I'll stick with GCR

Crissom? Grillow? I think I’ll stick with GCR

For now, back to the Graveyard Shift.  We were a group of fans and the majority of us were also fanfic writers who shipped Gil and Catherine.  What started as a small core group of co-writers who’d watch episodes together while chatting on AOL Instant Messenger grew into a community of hundreds.  But even as the group grew and we made new friends, there was always a great core group, some of whom I still talk to today even though the Graveyard Shift faded away long ago.  For those first couple of years, I was heavily, heavily invested in the Graveyard Shift.  I was the founder and quickly dubbed the “fearless leader,” and thus felt inclined to lead by example, writing a lot, helping others edit and develop ideas and just keeping the conversation going.  Now a days I find myself doing a lot of the same thing on a daily basis, professionally and personally, but at the time, it was extremely taxing, and I’m okay with admitting that I got burnt out really quickly.

You know, if they aren't going to end up together in the show, maybe don't have them hanging all over each other in every promo shot. I'm just saying...

You know, if they aren’t going to end up together in the show, maybe don’t have them hanging all over each other in every promo shot. I’m just saying…

But the other problem is that the show really took a turn for the worse around season 4.  Sure, we got Lady Heather (who I ADORE) every once in a while, but as the seasons went on, the episodes got increasingly predictable, the characters went in weird directions, there were major cast changes and yes, my ship sank.  It was disappointing to say the least.

For the record: Lady Heather and Grissom...totally okay in my book.

For the record: Lady Heather and Grissom…totally okay in my book….though I don’t know what you’d call that ship.

I could go on about how the sort of collapse of the CSI fandom, or at least my turning away from it, had a weird domino effect in terms of my relationship with fandom, etc, but I’ll spare you that for now.

Just look at Lady Heather so I don't have to tell you the sad story of 10 years of writers block and fandom absence.

Just look at Lady Heather so I don’t have to tell you the sad story of 10 years of writers block and fandom absence.

In my time in the fandom, however, the merchandise was just starting to flow.  There were of course DVDs of the first few seasons, and as the show and it’s Miami and New York spinoffs progressed, there were computer games, board games, all of sorts of CSI everything.  The first soundtrack, containing lots of wonderful post-triphop (yes, that’s a technical term) was released, but in my time in the fandom, the biggest development was what I’m going to be reviewing, the CSI comic series.

This was a backboard for a CSI pinball machine...yes, CSI pinball is a thing that happened.

This was a backboard for a CSI pinball machine…yes, CSI pinball is a thing that happened.

In 2003, IDW, who at the time was known for 30 Days of Night, launched its first ever TV tie-in comic with a five part miniseries based on CSI.  The arc was called “Serial,” and was written by Max Allan Collins, a mystery writer who’s also known for his movie novelizations (including the great novelization of the first X-Files film) and TV tie-in novels.  The artwork was done by Gabriel Rodriguez, who went on to be the primary artist on Locke & Key.

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CSI: Serial # 1  **1/2
Released in 2003    Cover price $3.99    IDW    #1 of 5

It’s nighttime in Las Vegas, and a young woman’s body is found near a dumpster.  Gil Grissom and his team of CSI’s are called in to gather evidence at scene and find something odd, an authentic reproduction of a woman’s bonnet from the 19th century.  Catherine and Warrick focus on the bonnet and the body while Nick and Sarah question potential witnesses and doing so, stumble upon another body, this one in a dumpster.  In the autopsy room, Catherine observes signature stab wounds before she and Grissom are called to yet another scene.  There’s a dead prostitute who’s been stabbed similarly the other victim, and Grissom begins to compare the cases to the murders of Jack the Ripper.

I had completely forgotten that this series had a Jack the Ripper parallel, which is oh so fitting given that CSI was sort of my last big fandom (in which I was actively participating in said fandom), and Ripper Street is basically my first fandom back in the game nearly 10 years later.  This first issue is a bit slow, but there’s a lot of story to set up and the details are compelling enough to make you eager to read the next one and see how the story unfolds.  The artwork is a nice mix of realistic but still comic-esque work and more abstract, painted looking panels for the flashbacks and/or quickshots that were used in the show as transitions between scenes and coming back from commercials.  So speaking of transitions, let’s get moving on to the next issue and see how our Ripper mystery unfolds.

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CSI: Serial #2 ***
Released in 2003    Cover price $3.99    IDW    #2 of 5

We open with Grissom, Catherine and Warrick at the second “Ripper” crime scene.  Grissom begins to explain the parallels with this murder and that of Ripper victim Polly Nichols, but they note that although staged as much, Gail Kelly (the victim) was not actually a prostitute.  Meanwhile, Nick and Sarah begin to piece together the particulars of the dumpster murder victim, who’s likely not connected to the Ripper murders. They discover the woman’s identity and begin to search her apartment for clues finding garbage packs seemingly full of evidence.  Grissom, Warrick and Catherine discover an interesting link to their case; there’s a convention for Jack the Ripper enthusiasts currently happening in Las Vegas.  Warrick visits the convention and of course everyone there denies everything.  The case seems stalled as elsewhere in the city, a prostitute is ready to meet her end at the hand of the faux Ripper.

Now we’re moving right along…sort of.  I recall my mom complaining that CSI was a bit slow for her liking and if the comic is any indication of the pacing of the show, in retrospect, I can see what she means.  It’s super procedural, which is why I think I lost interest in the show after a few seasons.  You can only watch the same things over and over for so long.  Anyway, that’s more of a judgement on the source material than the comic itself.  Despite being a tad slow, it’s very well written, good artwork.  Hopefully the story speeds up in the next issue so let’s get to it.

 

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CSI: Serial # 3 ***
Released in 2003    Cover price $3.99    IDW    #3 of 5

At the scene of the latest murder, Grissom Cath and Warrick talk through the similarities between this case and another Ripper victim, and Grissom observes a change in motive.  Back at the lab, Nick and Sarah are ready to give up on the evidence collected in the garbage bags when Greg shows up with DNA evidence from 3 different sources, one female (the victim) and two male, one of which was related to the victim.  Later that night Catherine follows up on a lead that Gail Kelly,  one of the victims was HIV positive, while Grissom is visited by Hines, the reporter who’s been following the case.  He’s obtained a recording on the newspaper’s tipline that may foretell the faux ripper’s next move.  Meanwhile Catherine’s got a a lead of her own when she tracks Gail Kelly’s whereabouts through some show dogs, but comes up short.  But Nick and Sarah’s lead begins to pan out.  They find the victim’s brother whose DNA they obtained earlier and interrogate him.  He points to the victim’s abusive boyfriend.  The issue ends with Gil and Brass staking out the neighborhood where they Faux Ripper’s been striking. A suspect comes into view, but gets away…though not before leaving evidence on Grissom.

This issue started off a bit slowly and stayed that way, but a lot of things happened.  It’s kind of the nature of a story like this that it’s a lot of nitty gritty details that go toward solving the mystery.  As I get further into this story, I’ve noticed that I have to keep referring back to the earlier comics to keep the victims straight – that’s not a problem I recall having with the show,but maybe it’s because this particular story has a lot happening between the different CSI’s and the victims each paralleling the Ripper story.  That parallel, by the way works really well for the most part, and I’m glad they chose to do this story in comic form rather than on TV.  I think the harkening back to Victorian England would have been rather cheesy in the typical CSI-style flashbacks, but the artwork lends itself nicely to subtle stylistic differences between the modern and Victorian flashbacks.  I’m very much looking forward to issue 4 because I cannot remember how this story ends…or in this case begins to end.  So let’s go!

1096917 CSI: Serial #4 ***1/2
Released in 2003    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    #4 of 5

We open where the last comic left off, at the scene of Grissom’s stakeout gone slightly awry.  Catherine and Warrick arrive on the scene for backup.  Grissom’s concerned that by letting the faux ripper go, they’ve only played right into his hand and encouraged him to follow the real ripper’s pattern.  Meanwhile, Nick and Sarah interrogate the boyfriend of their garbage dump victim, and while he admits to being violent, he points the finger back at the girl’s brother.  Grissom, Warrick and Catherine find another dog hair at the crime scene and one of the cops radios that they’ve got the suspect in their sites, but he once again escapes, this time leaving another body.  Warrick mentions that the man running the Ripper convention is named Tumblety, meaning he may be a distant relative of an original Ripper suspect.  If the case follows the original Ripper pattern, there’s only one victim left before the killer disappears so Grissom prepares to visit Tumblety.

The story’s progressing nicely in this issue, though I’m wondering how they’ll wrap everything up in only more comic without seeming cliched or contrived.  I actually had to do some research on the whole Francis Tumblety thing because his name wasn’t ringing a bell from my prior Jack the Ripper reading.  Tumblety was an actual Ripper suspect, and based on his biography, I’m wondering if he wasn’t a partial inspiration for Jackson on Ripper Street.  Then again, I could probably link just about anything to Ripper Street if I tried hard enough (obsessed much?).  I’m going to keep this one short as I’m eager to get to our conclusion.  So onward to issue 5.

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CSI: Serial #5  ***
Released in 2003    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    #5 of 5

The media is on to the Ripper story, but the good news is that Sarah and Nick have solved the dumpster murder (it was the brother) and can help the rest of the team with the Ripper murders.  They’re sent to Tumblety’s house while Grissom ambushes him at the Ripper convention in the middle of a panel discussion during which he’s passionately defending his ancestor. Grissom interrogates Tumblety, and it’s looking worse and worse as a knife found in his garbage is proved to be the murder weapon.  So….whodunit? Well dear reader, I’m not going to spoil it for you.  You’ll just have to read for yourself.

If you watched early 2000s crime dramas (CSI, Law & Order, Without a Trace), you won’t be terribly surprised by how the ending of this comic series panned out.  It’s not a disappointing ending at all, and probably the first time I read it, it was really cool.  Now, however, having seen it a million times, the ending feels just a bit cliche.  Ultimately though, this is a really good series. The artwork and story are consistently well done and fit the sensibility of the show.  An ad on the back of the final issue reminds me that IDW had already begun advertising a follow up story called “Thicker Than Blood,” which I also own and remember even less of than this first story.  Perhaps I shall grace Rotten Ink once more to tell you all about it at some future point.

In the meantime, Matt will be returning for the next update and taking you on a delicious trek into the woods as you travel to Camp Candy.

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Enjoy The All You Can Eat Blood Fountain Only At Blood Feast

Welcome back my fellow comic and pulp culture lovers.  Today’s update is going to be a quick one and will focus on a master of splatter film director and comic adaptation of one of his films. A few updates back I spoke about “The Godfather Of Gore” being Lucio Fulci, and some of my friends and readers say that that title really belongs to Pittsburgh born independent filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis who used lots of blood and guts in his films over the ages. At the age of 6, Lewis had his father pass away.  A few years later his mom remarried a man, and they all moved to Chicago where he spent most of his youth. Lewis got a masters degree in journalism, became a teacher, ran many radio stations and worked with a friend to make commercials under the company name Lewis And Martin Films. His first venture into film came in 1959 with the film called “The Prime Time” where he acted as the producer.  This film also marked the end of him not directing his own flicks for his company. In the 1960’s Lewis made more adult softcore style films like Living Venus, Bell Bare And Beautiful and Boin-n-g! making him one of the grandfathers of the modern exploitation films. It was in 1963 that he dove head first into blood soaked horror films with the film Blood Feast, and while after this film he made a few more non-horror pictures, none of them have the cult following as films like Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste Of Blood, The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard Of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls to name a few. In 2002 Lewis made a sequel to his first horror film called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat and showed that even after all these years he still can pack a gut punch that would turn your stomach.  While over the years Lewis has slowed done on making films, the director, who as of early 2014 is 84 years old, still makes a film from time to time with his latest being Zombificador that is due out soon. I have meet Mr. Lewis at Cinema Wasteland Convention some years back and will say that he was very nice and was swamped with people looking to not only get his autograph but also just to have a few moments to talk film with him. While many of his films are hit and miss with me, I have many friends that truly love Lewis and his work, and one thing is for sure, the man helped make micro/independent movies important for the modern horror viewers like George A. Romero did with Night Of The Living Dead in 1968.

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Considered the first splatter film, 1963’s Blood Feast was a bloodbath that viewers enjoyed and the critics hated. The film is about a food cater who kills woman in order to steal body parts to use in rituals of eating human flesh to please an ancient Egyptian Goddess. The film did pretty well at the box office, bringing in $4 million making it some major profit off the small budget of $24 thousand. The film’s reputation earned it a spot on England’s Video Nasty list, making it the oldest film to make the list.  For those who don’t know what Video Nasty list is, I will explain. In the 1980’s video rental was a major deal all over the world and many horror films were made just for this market let alone.  It was the only way viewers could see many of these films from all over the world. Well in England they didn’t want people to watch many of these films, thinking that the violent acts from the movies were bad for people’s brains and could cause major acts of murder and mayhem across their country. They decided to go in and cut many of the films into poor chop jobs and some films were just banned out right.  These films were dubbed “Video Nasties” and were illegal for people to watch uncut and could even cause a police raid of your house if reported you had copies of some of these films. Films like Blood Feast, Zombi 2, Night Of The Demon, House By The Cemetery, Cannibal Holocaust, Mardi Gras Massacre, Faces Of Death, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and so many more made up the list of films that were cut or just banned. Many films never made it to the Video Nasty List but were also confiscated by the police if found in your home such as Dawn Of The Mummy, Hills Have Eyes, Gates Of Hell, Basket Case, Friday The 13th, Night of The Seagulls and many more. While the list and the punishments for watching/owning these films is still around to this day, it’s enforced a little less and viewers have since been able to watch many of the films uncut without fear of punishment. Wow, I just got way off topic of Blood Feast, but here in the US if you’re looking to watch the film, it can be found on VHS and DVD uncut and uncensored.

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The fans wanted it, so in 2002 Lewis revisited his film Blood Feast and made a part two called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. In this film we follow the grandson of the first film’s butcher as he follows in dear granddad’s footsteps. The film got positive reviews from critics but had trouble finding a distributor causing it to sit a year on the shelf before coming out via Media Blasters. The film is filled with more blood, guts and gore causing fans of the original to enjoy every crimson soaked second of it. Unlike the first film, the sequel never got a major theatrical release and really did find its home on the DVD market. The film also marked the first time in 36 years that Lewis teamed up with his old producer of the first film David F. Friedman, making this sequel as close to the original as possible.  The film also turned up the splatter making it a true follow up that tried to one up the film that came before it.

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So while I will credit Lewis with being a master of Splatter and the Godfather of Splatter films, I would still have to stay with the decision that Fulci is the true Godfather Of Gore! And this does not take away from the fact that Lewis is one of the best America micro budget horror film directors of the 60’s and 70’s and his influences on filmmakers is still seen in many of the films of today. I just find that the effects and gore in Fulci films are better done and have more impact on me as a horror fan and viewer.  Nothing Lewis has done in the gore department has stuck with me like the gut puking and eye ball bleeding scene from Gates of Hell or the splinter in the eye effect of Zombi 2. But I guess the main question is, what director had the better comic adaptation of their film? Was it Fulci with Gates of Hell from Xmachina or Lewis with Blood Feast from Eternity? Well I will soon find out as I am about to tackle Blood Feast…But before I do, I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to thank the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics and Lone Star comics for having these issues in stock. So with all that, let’s not be late for dinner and find our spot at the table for this Blood Feast.

Blood Feast 1

Blood Feast # 1   **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #1 of 2

It’s 1963, and a young woman returns to her home only to be brutally killed and mutilated in her bathtub by a savage killer.  Her leg is taken in the attack, and the police are baffled by who the murder is as he leaves no clues behind. Fuad Ramses owns an exotic Egyptian catering store and is hired to cook an Egyptian feast for a young woman named Suzette, and he is happy to do so as he has a plan that will restrict the goddess Ishtar with the body parts he is taken from the young ladies he is killing.  Yep, he is the killer! Faud is not done with his killing yet as he attacks a couple on the beach and knocks out the guy and butchers the woman stealing her brain and later attacks a woman in her room and cuts out her tongue! The police are at a loss, and Suzette is upset over the murders but is looking forward to her party.  We end the issue with her going to a lecture about Ishtar and the Pharaoh Ramses.

This comic didn’t waste any time and is filled with lots of blood and murder mayhem and 100% captures the spirit and raw terror of the film it’s based on. The plot of this issue builds that the cops are clueless to who is killing young women around town, that Suzette is a smart woman who likes Egyptian history and comes from a well off family and that Fuad Ramses loves an ancient Goddess and is killing woman in a plan to bring her back to life. The plot is pretty simple stuff, right? It’s the fact it is so simple that makes the whole comic work so well it’s clearly not about plot as it’s about shocking murders. Suzette, who is clearly the lead, is not given much of character development and is hardly shown in the issue, but you know that she is going to be a major player in the second issue. The cops are trying to hard to crack the case of who is killing the woman, but are pretty much clueless and useless. Fuad Ramses is one evil man who goes into a craze when he butchers woman and selectively harvests parts of their bodies.  He reminds me for some reason of Jack The Ripper mixed with Norman Bates of Psycho. Over all Ramses is a great movie slasher that transferred to comics really well. The comic is printed on very cheap paper and the issue I have had ink bleed really bad on many pages, but I can’t hold it really against a company that was smaller and competing with Marvel and DC. The cover I have is called “The Graphic Cover Version” and I will say that it’s pretty bad and really cheapens the comic with a terrible shock image that’s a poorly blown up picture still from the movie. The art is great independent 90’s comic stuff and is done by Stan Timmons & Mike Matthew and for a black and white comic, they are really able to make the gore pop out. This first issue is a solid film adaptation and really makes me looking forward to reading the second issue and seeing just how well the comic series will look and translate.  So let’s get to it cause it’s time for that Egyptian Feast!

Blood Feast 2

Blood Feast # 2    **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #2 of 2

After the lecture Suzette meets up with Pete Thornton, an officer who is investigating the murders and is clearly a semi-boyfriend to the lovely young lady. While Pete is giving Suzette a ride home, a call goes out that another woman has been found and while she survived the attack, she was at death’s door as one side of her face had been cut off and one eyeball removed. The cops get to the hospital, and they get a few words out of the young woman before she dies. To make things worse Suzette’s friend Trudy Sanders has been kidnapped by Fuad Ramses and is being whipped to death in order to use her blood for the feast that will bring back Ishtar. At his desk Pete takes what little information he got from the faceless woman as well as info from a professor and puts it all together and figures out that Ramses is the killer! The cops rush to Ramses’s shop and find the body of Trudy as well as many other body parts and rush to Suzette’s party. At the party Ramses asks for Suzettes help in the kitchen and just as he is about to kill her and set Ishtar free, Pete and the cops pull in and chase him to the city dump where he is crushed in the back of a garbage truck as he tries to hide. All ends well as the killer is dead and Suzette’s party can continue.

The second issue is pretty fun stuff.  While a little lighter on the blood and gore, the storyline is more in full swing and we get to know Suzette and Pete a heck of allot better. Suzette is pretty likeable and is your average girl next door type who likes to learn and have fun with her family and friends.  It’s easy to see why Ramses targeted her to be the rebirth shell for his Goddess. Pete is a man with a quick mind as he took small clues and busted the case wide open and got the right man on the first try and saved his girl just in time! Fuad Ramses is out for blood again, and in this issue he skins a woman’s face, beats one to death with a whip and tries to use a giant meat cleaver to kill the comic’s lead gal. Ramses’s death is brutal as well, as he is crushed by a garbage compactor and some how it seems very fitting that the scumbag dies that way. This issue also seems to be filled with little touches of black humor that mostly comes from Suzette’s mom. The cover is very much an improvement over issue 1’s, and the art is once more well done by the team-up of Timmons and Matthew who knew how to capture the feeling of the film with ink. Over all this issue was a nice closing to a b-movie comic adaptation. Below is a look at the art style of these comics.

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So we have covered a lot of horror comics in the past couple of months, and I have not done a Fantasy Warfare since The Predator took on The Cougar back in April, and to me it just seems like it’s time to have another battle! Coming out of the Red Corner is that undead priest of fright, Father William Thomas from The Gates Of Hell! And his opponent coming out of the Blue Corner, naked and ready to snap some necks Goddess from Lust For Frankenstein! And lastly their opponent out of the Green Corner is that master of the butchery, the bug eyed master of disaster, Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast! The battlefield will take place in a graveyard off of a wooded path that has not been in use for over 87 years in the small town of Corwin.  So let’s see what happens in this battle of Demon, Madman and Stitched Together Monster, shall we?

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Maria is a 26 years old jogger and fitness fanatic.  Today she has decided to rundown an old path that runs through a part of the woods that is near an old cemetery that is said to be haunted, the local kids call it the mouth of hell but she has ran down this path a few months back and found the sites very pleasing and never seen a living soul let alone a dead one! Fuad Ramses has chosen this path to claim his next young victim but has been let down when he has not seen a person for the 3 hours he has been waiting in the woods near the path with meat cleaver in hand, just as he is about to give up Maria in her yoga pants comes running by and he knows that she has the left butt cheek he needs for his Feast. Ramses starts to follow her and when the moment is right he pounces on Maria who has stopped to tie her shoe, as Ramses is about to hack his victim, an unknown hand smacks him away and the killer goes flying and crashing through the old gate that leads to the cemetery.  As Maria sees who her protector is, she lets out a scream as standing before her is a naked woman with stitches making awkward and weird faces and let’s out the words “your pretty” as she holds out her hand and helps the jogger up. Maria thanks the woman who tells her that she is called Goddess and just at that moment Ramses sneaks up behind Maria and pulls her into the cemetery screaming “That Butt Cheek Is Mine!”  As Maria screams, Goddess moves towards the cemetery to save her new friend and possible lover from the hands of a killer. Inside the cemetery Ramses swings the cleaver and clips Maria in the leg causing her to fall, he raises the cleaver high and is about to place the sharp metal blade into her skull when Goddess grabs the back of his neck causing him to stiff up in pain.  She turns the killer over to look him in the eye before she snaps his neck, and as Ramses pleads for his life Goddess freezes for a moment and has a dead stare.  She looses her grip on Ramses and her eyes start to bleed and she begins to puke up her guts and falls to the ground dead once again. Ramses grabs his meat cleaver and turns to see Father Thomas standing there.  He then sees Maria who has made it out of the cemetery and is down the path.  He makes a run for the gates to exit and get his intended victim but the gates slam shut in his face.  He turns to see Father Thomas right behind him, and Ramses takes a swing with his cleaver. As Maria makes it back to her car, she sits in the driver seat and hears the last cry of life from Ramses, and she now truly knows why that path is compared to hell.

Winner: Father William Thomas

Like Ramses or Goddess stood a chance against the evil Father who can kill with a blink of his eye! So now I am at the point where I have to pick which series was better in comic form.  While I like the art and story of Gates of Hell, I would have to pick Blood Feast as the better comic series, mostly because the full set was released and didn’t leave me hanging on the storyline. But movie-wise I would say Gates of Hell is way better than Blood Feast so I would guess they are tied. I love the fact that Eternity Comics took a chance and made a comic book version of a 1963 film in 1991 and wish they would have done more comic versions of Lewis films. I would have loved to have had comic versions of Wizard of Gore and Two Thousand Maniacs to read and review on this blog. Wow I have written like a machine as of late and need to take some time away to get some work done on Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre.  So for the next update I am going to turn Rotten Ink over to my girl once again as she is going to talk to you all about IDW’s C.S.I comics! So until then, read a comic or five and make sure to watch a local horror film and enjoy nerd life to the fullest.

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