The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

Spanish Dracula 1931 Still 1Spanish Dracula 1931 VHSSpanish Dracula 1931 Still 2

After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

24482625_120291616966villarias

Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

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So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

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The Terminator Resurrection

We are all at war, and nations are having to team up to fight a threat that is bigger than any ever known to man. Mankind is on the ropes, but we are trying to do whatever we can to turn the tide of war on our side.  Lives have been lost, and our cities are in shambles as the machines are running wild and they kill without remorse. This is judgement day, a time where man must face machine and learn that there is no fate but what we make. As I am sure you have guessed, this update is all about The Terminator and is in honer of Arnold Schwarzenegger returning back to this amazing sci-fi/action series that help mold and spawn many films that followed. Growing up, The Terminator films were very much in the pop culture and was super popular among the Brassfield Brothers and also was a film series that was a topic among me and my friends many times! So let’s take a few moments before we battle the machines and do some research so that we can understand our machine enemies…I am looking at you, PS3, and you as well, Microwave.  You’re not going to get me, no matter what Skynet is telling you!

T-800 WarSo to start our look at The Terminators, we should start by looking at the films in the series as they are what started it all and without them, we would not even be doing this update nor would Dark Horse Comics be doing the mini series that we are covering. So let’s take a look at the films in this series.

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In 1984, James Cameron and Orion Pictures teamed up to make a science-fiction/action film that followed a woman named Sarah Conner who was being targeted by a robot from the future in order to kill her before she could have her future child John who is the man that leads the war against the machines in the future. But her son also sends one of his soldiers back in time named Kyle Reese to protect her, and in fact he is also John’s dad! Yeah, this movie is super badass, and one of those films that spawned many sequels as well as imitations. The film starred many top notch actors that include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen and was in fact the film that made Arnold a box office star and even more of a household name. The effects are top notch and are very impressive for a lower budget film and showcased the work of Stan Winston, who was one of the best FX guys in the business up until his death in 2008. I first watched this film on HBO alongside my parents and my brother, and I can remember being glued to the screen and being amazed by the ecto-skeleton and just the size and cold nature of Arnold as the T-800. After watching it, I can remember playing with G.I. Joes and acting as if Dreadnok Road Pig was The Terminator! And as long time readers know, The Terminator was one of the first VHS tapes we owned when we upgraded (or is that down graded?) from Beta to a VCR, as my brother got it for Christmas while I got Universal’s Frankenstein. Funny thing is, years later my brother also got Terminator 2 for Christmas, and I got The Addams Family that year. At the boxoffice in 1984, The Terminator was the # 21 and beat out such films as Friday The 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter, Conan The Destroyer, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Muppets Take Manhattan, Sixteen Candles, Missing In Action, The Neverending Story, Supergirl and many other cult and popular films. The Terminator also brought in a total of $38,371,200.00 for Orion in America alone and another $40,000,000.00 overseas! To this day, The Terminator remains one of science fiction’s most popular franchises and makes Hollywood lots and lots of money.

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The Terminator has officially four sequels with the second film Terminator 2: Judgement Day being the biggest hit out of all the films. I spent a lot of time on Terminator 2 on my update for Marvel At The Movies 2 so we will speed past it and talk about all the others really quick just so we are all up to date on the fight against the machines. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003 and follows John Connor and Kate, a woman he has fallen in love with, as they are protected by the T-800 from a female super robot solider who has been sent back to once more take John’s life! Sadly in this third film Sarah Connor is dead as she passed away from leukemia in the plot leaving John on his own with the help of his trusty robot bodyguard. The film was # 8 and beat out such films as “Hulk”, “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Matrix Revolution” at the American box office and brought in $150,371,112.00. In 2009 “Terminator Salvation” was released and followed John Connor in the future as he and the rebels face the machines and come across a cyborg who just might be the tool to win the war once and for all. In this film Arnold was only in it via CGI, and the film was packed with all types of Terminators. The film was # 23 and beat out “Friday The 13th”, “Watchmen” plus “Inglourious Bastards” and brought in $125,322,469.00. While the second film might have been the super hit of the series, these other sequels hold true to the story and help add to the drama that is the fight for our future.

Terminator Genisys poster

Terminator Genisys hit theaters on July 3rd and is about Kyle Reese being sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor.  But this time around things have changed as Sarah is now aware of the hit placed on her life as she was a target when she was a child and has been trained and protected by a T-800 that was sent by her son John from another timeline! An evil T-800 has been sent to kill her as well as a T-1000, and to cause even more chaos, John Connor comes back to the past and is now a cyborg and has his own vision of the future! This film is a nice way to reboot the series and yet still pay tribute to the films of the past.  With Arnold back as the T-800 and with sexy Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, the film has all the right tools to be a classic film in the series! By this point of course I have seen it and for what I thought of it make sure to check out my first update of 2016 as I will give you my best and worst of the year in film of 2015! But one thing I can say is that it was nice to see this franchise back on the big screen and even cooler to once more see Arnold in one of his most iconic roles.  Now begins the countdown for the next Conan movie as he is suppose the play the Barbarian one last time in the film that is being called “The Legend of Conan”.

Terminator Genisys 1The Terminator is one of those movie franchises that had the power to spark lots of merchandise and make fans happy who want to collect all things this film had to offer. Things like toys, novels, soundtracks, costumes, stickers, trading cards, t-shirts, posters, video games, statues, drinking glasses, comics and so much more! Growing up I had most of Marvel’s T2 comic adaption, the novels based on the first two films, the soundtrack for the first film that I wish I would have kept on CD as well as many of the Kenner action figures based on the second film. I also had a really cheesy T2 t-shirt that I would wear all the time. In these modern times I also have many of the ReAction figures of the Terminator and for those who don’t know, they are modern 3 3/4” action figures that are in scale with the classic Star Wars making them super cool to an old school toy person like myself. So if you’re a fan of The Terminator, there are so many cool things out in the world for you to own and I am sure more stuff will be coming in the future for a long time to come.

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I am a huge fan of score music for movies and even help on a radio show called Alpha Rhythms that airs on Sunday nights on WYSO, a NPR station out of Yellow Springs, and I must say that the music for The Terminator is one fun and iconic piece of work. The original film’s music was done by Brad Fiedel, who created the main title theme that is the calling card for all the movies that followed.  Fiedel returned and did the score for the second film as well and spiced up the theme to update it for the time. Marco Beltrami handled the score for the third film, and Danny Elfman handled Salvation.  Each brought their own style to the music and both scores were well done. Lorne Balfe is doing the music for Terminator Genisys, and if a CD comes out of the score, I am sure if you listen to Alpha Rhythms you will for sure hear some music from it. Scores help make films what they are, and here is to all these composers for making the sounds that bring The Terminator films to life.

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Video Games based on movies sadly seem to be a dying breed of games, and if they are made nowadays you get them in the form of terrible cell phone games or ones that are on social media sites like Facebook.  It’s a shame no matter how good or bad they are, I always enjoyed playing a video game based on a film I liked. The Terminator has had many video games based around it from the original Nintendo all the way to PS3 games have been made, and this gamer has played many of them. The first movie had games made for NES, Genesis and even Sega CD, and while none of them were groundbreaking, I found the NES game to be a major challenge that was unforgiving on its difficulty. Terminator 2 had so many games based on it, from shooters to side scrollers, on systems like Game Boy, NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis and even Tiger Hand Held games. I still own the NES side scrolling game, and while it’s terrible, I still spent so much time trying to beat it! Terminator 3 had games made for PS2 and Xbox, while Salvation had games for PS, Xbox 360 and PC.  I never played Terminator 3, but I did play and beat Salvation on PS3 some years back. I also remember playing the arcade games based on Terminator 2 and Salvation at the local arcades and movie theaters.  My favorite game connected to Terminator has to be Robocop vs. Terminator for the Sega Genesis that was a side scrolling shooter where you play Robocop and fight the T-800’s as well as ED 209! Fun times playing this game with my brother and cousin Norman, and before you can ask, yes I have beat it! I have heard a rumor/story a few years back that Reef Entertainment, the same company who made Rambo: The Video Game, was working of a game based around the Terminator movie franchise, but as of this update that seems to be dead in the water. Here is hoping that a good Terminator game for the PS4 will come out and bring the war against the machines into the hands of gamers.

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Way before YouTube, the way you would see music videos was MTV.  I know my younger readers are saying no way the station who brought us such amazing shows as “The Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” shows gross music videos, but yeah that station used to be good and was the main way, next to radio, to discover new artists as well as watch videos made for you favorite bands and songs. In 1991, one of the world’s biggest rock bands was Guns N Roses.  They were touring and making video for the next couple of years for their smash hit albums Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, and one song called “You Could Be Mine” was used in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  For the music video they got Arnold Schwarzenegger to play a T-800 who enters the club the band is playing at.  This video was so badass when I was younger that I can remember me and my brother waiting for it to come on during the countdowns. So for those of you who want to see this video, look it up on Youtube and enjoy this great song that was used in T2 as well as Terminator Salvation. This song was off Use Your Illusion 2, and over the years I have owned this album on cassette and CD and had this song on a cassingle! While my Dad might have hated Guns N Roses, they remain one of the most iconic bands from my youth.

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So we have stalled as long as we can, and it’s time for us to go to war and destroy as many machines as we can as our fate depends on it…oh wait, it just a movie and I don’t think I could have broken my PS3 because it means me no harm and offers hours of fun game play, not to mention my laptop is how I write these Rotten Ink updates and even listen to my music CDs so that would have been very sad to have had to take them out just because of stupid Skynet! This mini-series is the first Terminator one made by Dark Horse Comics and spawned a few more that followed. But I need to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and I need to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So it’s time to gear up and join Dark Horse Comics as we do battle against The Terminators!

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The Terminator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 1 of 4

It’s the future, and the machines are trying to exterminate the humans who have survived Judgment Day, but the humans are not giving up that easily and have taken the war to them. A group of human commandos lead by Mary have entered a base that was held by the machines and use a time machine to go back to the past, the year 1990 in Los Angeles to be exact, thanks to a chunky scientist named Koufaks who stays behind. All the while, a Terminator watches and goes off and brings to life three other Terminators.  They torture and get information from Koufaks and also go back to 1990! In the end the Terminators are in L.A armed as Mary and her crew separate to get the lay of the land.

The war for the future is being done Dark Horse Comics style in this 4 issue mini series that follows four Terminators on the hunt for five humans who are going to the past to get something or someone that will help the humans end the war. Colonel Mary is the leader of the humans, and she is a tough as nails as well as beautiful.  She is stern with her soldiers and is very focused on the mission. Mary is not fully fleshed out just yet, and I can’t wait to see what awaits her as this series goes on. Her soldiers are Bart, Raul, Alan and Naomi, and they are loyal to their commander and are all skilled in their own ways and are also not fleshed out. Poor fat Koufaks is the brain of the group and the one who sends Mary and crew to the past only to stay behind and get tortured and killed by the Terminators who break his bones and cut his flesh. The Terminators are killing machines who are going after Mary and her men with survival on their robotic minds as they don’t want to lose this war.  All they know is war and fighting. The comic is pretty brutal as humans are shot and one even has his whole head blown off in front of his friends. So far the story is pretty interesting as I am not 100% sure why they went back to the past and I found myself wanting to know why and started to come up with reasons. Plus I also like how we get a glimpse of Cyberdyne in 1990 and find out that they are not doing well as a company and it appears as if the C.E.O is pocketing the company’s profits. The artwork is very 90’s Dark Horse, done by Chris Warner, and is pretty well done and a style that I find myself liking. The cover on this issue as well is pretty cool and captures the feel of the series. So far this series is starting out pretty solid, and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.

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The Terminator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 2 of 4

Mary and crew are living in an old burnt out house in a bad neighborhood, and she has made a “friend” named Ed who works for Cyberdyne and more importantly, Doctor Hollister who is the person Mary and her friends are after to kill, but he is also the man who the Terminators are going to protect. Mary has lunch with Ed and asks him to have dinner with her that night so that she and Alan can force him to take them to Hollister’s house so they can put a bullet in his brain. Meanwhile The Terminators attack and kill police officers to steal their weapons and as well head to Hollister’s house. Mary and Alan try to kill Hollister, but Ed interferes just as the Terminators show up and kill Alan and make an attempt to kill Mary and Ed who just barely escape as issue two comes to an end.

More action and more importantly answers are packed into this second issue and helps make the story come alive. The plot in this one has Mary and Alan as well as The Terminators all going after a scientist who works for the company that helps set up the fall of man in the future. Mary uses her good looks and charm to use a goofy lab assistant to get her mission done, but while she is a user, it’s clear she has a good heart as when push comes to shove she saves him even after he made her miss killing her target. Poor Alan has a nightmare right before going on his mission where he is shot and killed by a Terminator. The rest of the group take back seats and just hang out at the house and eat and pick on each other for feeding stray dogs. The Terminators are cold blooded killers and mop the floor with some cops all because they want their guns, not to mention they have no feelings and kill Alan with no hesitation at all. Ed is kind of a goof, and I hope that he does not have a bigger part in the next two issues.  He served his purpose in leading Mary to Hollister. Speaking of Hollister, it’s clear as day he is not a nice person as he treats Ed like crap and is clearly the man behind some sort of aspects of Judgment Day. The issue is filled with some violence that has people shot and one even thrown through a car’s windshield, making this comic series hold the R rating of the films this series is based on. Art once more is done by Chris Warner and is good solid work with his Terminators most of the time walking around with red eyes. The cover is pretty cool but has zero to do with this issue as no Terminator rides around on a motorcycle. It’s staying solid so far so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

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The Terminator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 3 of 4

The Terminators take Dr. Hollister to his secret lab and are on a mission to get him the wreckage from the original Terminator who was sent back to kill Sarah Connor. Ed is taken to Mary’s burnt house hideout and listens as they tell him that they are from the future and that Hollister is the start of the end of mankind. Ed thinks they are crazy and leaves to go to Cyberdyne and is attacked by a Terminator and is just barely able to escape, and of course he goes back to Mary and by doing so he leads The Terminators to them.  Raul and Naomi are killed as Mary, Ed and Bart barely escape with their lives.

Why in the world is Mary and her crew still helping Ed who has been the biggest dumbass in the world?  Not only does he screw up their mission by saving Hollister but now leads killing machines to their front door, and two of her friends are killed in cold blood as his goofy butt is saved once more for danger. Bart at one point wanted to kill him after he thinks Ed’s interference caused his friend Alan to die, but is talked out of it I am sure by the end of this issue he was wishing he did. Mary once more is the true hero as when their house is under attack she is the one that tries her best to lead them all to safety. The Terminators in this one just kill and kill, and one death has one chopping a cop in the back of his neck breaking it like a chicken wing. Hollister as well is showing some evil intentions as he starts to put two and two together and knows his saviors are not people nor are they cops, but doesn’t care as long as they can help him get fame and money. By the end of this issue with many of the good guys dead and Mary, Bart and Ed on the run, I want to see how they are going to get out of this alive and how they will destroy all the Terminators and change the future. The art is once more done by Chris Warner and is good stuff, but I will say this issues cover is a little weak and kind of generic. With one issue to go, this series is very solid and is very enjoyable, and I can say I am hoping that they don’t drop the ball on the ending so with that let’s get to it.

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The Terminator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 4 of 4

At Hollister’s secret lab Mary, Bart and Ed are having a stare down with the Terminators who have one turn on them killing one of them and wounding another! The cops show up and Hollister is saved by the law and taken to safety as Mary, Bart, Ed and the turn coat Terminator escape. While on the run the turncoat explains that he is only half machine and he was used by them in order to repair the fake skin on the T-800 models. While driving, the remaining two Terminators come back for the attack and kill Bart by snapping his neck as he was driving and Mary, Ed and Turncoat use a pipe bomb on the car they were in and the Terminators were hanging on, blowing them up. Ed is banged up and Mary and Turncoat help him as they wondering if the Terminators are dead or not as Turncoat doubts that it’s over. In the end Hollister gets a package in the mail that is the head of a Terminator with a note that says from a friend!

The final issue is fun in many ways but also a let down in others.  Let’s start with the plot that has twists and turns and has Mary and the good guys going head to head with Terminators where only one side can win and with the help of a Terminator, her team barely wins. Mary who starts off as a badass by this issue seems more like a girlfriend worried over her “man” and spends more time worrying about Ed then blasting and killing Terminators who have butchered all her friends. Ed is just a waste of a character, and I found myself really not liking him and getting annoyed with all his boneheaded moves that leave the real fighters dead.  In fact, he was a goon almost this whole series. Bart almost lived, and while he had a short temper, his heart was in the right place as he risked it all to try and save mankind. The Turncoat Terminator had a change of heart once he was in 1990 and decided to kill his machine brothers and turn to the side of man.  This is one of the issues I had with this final issue as his reason for turning good seemed a little silly and rushed. I mean I get that half of him was human, but the fact his reason for turning 100% was well I see hope that mankind can win the battle now…wow that’s deep. Hollister in this final issue runs for his life during the shoot out at his secret lab and in the end is the proud owner of a T-800 severed head! He is such a greedy man who doesn’t care about the issues his work could cause in the future as long as he makes lots of money today. The Terminators are killing machines but in this final issue they are knocked around and blown away and let’s not forget up in what seemed like a rushed way to wrap up this story in this final issue in the mini series. While I enjoyed this series, it takes the route of something I hate as the end is just a build up for another possible mini-series and that’s annoying as I feel this one didn’t have a good ending. The art in this issue is a team up by Chris Warner and Paul Guinan and is once more solid good work, and for comic readers who read Dark Horse Comics they know the style of work that artist were doing for the company in the 90’s. The cover for this fourth issue is fantastic and showcases the T-800 looking like he is about attack his prey. Over all this series was a fun read that was a nice little story about Terminators that acted as a fill in for fans of the film series as the second film was coming the next year.  While not the best Dark Horse Comic Mini Series I have ever read, it was just middle of the road and never stepped out to shine one way or another.

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So as you can see, we are safe for now from the machines thanks to Mary and her brave men and Dark Horse Comics, but if Hollywood and moviegoers have anything to say about it, I am sure the T-800 will be on the loose again to try and ruin the future for the rest of us. Now if you’re a fan of Terminator, you should go to your local theater and watch Terminator Genisys and show that sequels are better than remakes! Our next update will take us to New Orleans and once more will bring Juliet back to Rotten Ink as a guest writer as she will be handling the next Horror Host Icon that is the one and only Morgus The Magnificent! This is one update that you will not want to miss at all as Morgus is one heck of a Host and inspired many and made being a Monster Kid cool! So until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two, support your local Horror Host and enjoy the rest of your summer!

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Spend Halloween With Universal’s Frankenstein’s Monster!

Happy Halloween! I hope you’re having a spooky and chilling good time today. I can hear all the little ghouls and goblins running around outside looking for some free candy. I can also hear all the loud parties and mayhem going on in and around 5th Street. This year for Rotten Ink’s Halloween update we are going to be taking a look at comics based on Frankenstein by Universal that include a very cool Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man one that was translated and put together to be a comic via stickers just for this update! Plus I will be reading these comics alone in an abandoned science lab that’s still filled with lots of odd machines and glass bottles. Not to mention we will also be talking about other fun scary and Halloween related things.  So with the chill in the air and the Jack-O-Lantern lit, let’s open the door to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab and see what’s on the slab!

Halloween Time!!

I’m going to start this update by taking a brief look at Manuel Oritz Partida, a luchador who goes by the ring name Halloween.  So I figured we should at least mention him on an update that goes up on the holiday he is named after! Halloween started his wrestling career in 1990 working for independents in and around Mexico, but he got his big break in 1996 when he signed with WCW and changed his name to Ciclope.  He was a mid-card wrestler for them and had some great matches against the likes of Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Dean Malenko. Once he left WCW, he returned to Mexico and worked for AAA as well as a few independents. Halloween has had many Mask vs. Hair matches and has lost many of them including losing his mask to Super Parka in 1999. After losing the mask, he began painting his face like a Jack-O-Lantern! Throughout his career he has also had many allies that include Damien 666, Super Nova, Extreme Tiger and Mari Apache. At the age of 43 in 2014 he has slowed down some, but Halloween still haunts the rings of Mexico. When I was a teenager I was lucky enough to see Halloween wrestle during a taping of WCW Saturday Night that was at Hara Arena.  If memory serves I think he took on Dean Malenko and lost!

ciclopehalloween LuchaHALLOWEEN AAA

One creepy internet story aka Creepypasta that has been floating around for some years now is called “Squidward’s Suicide,” a truly disturbing story that should be talked about this Halloween season here at Rotten Ink. The story goes that an intern at Nickelodeon had the duty to watch an episode of Spongebob Squarepants with some fellow workers that would have kicked off the new season and when they started to watch, the title card read Squidward’s Suicide.  They thought it was a joke title card, and they all chuckled it off. As they continued to watch, it was nothing special at first and was about Squidward preparing for a clarinet concert when Spongebob’s annoying laughing echoes into his house and Squidward runs him off to keep practicing, but when things get really strange is when at the concert all the fish people in the crowd start booing Squidward with malice and even Spongebob joins in the booing! Squidward goes home and starts to cry sadly to himself as sounds of wind and white noise echoed from the speakers, and then laughing started up as Squidward’s crying became louder and louder and more heartbreaking. While all this was disturbing what the workers found in frames mixed in is what caused them some chills and distress as pictures of freashley murdered children (three in total) would flash for small frames across the screen! These pictures would come inbetween Squidward still crying at the edge of his bed with all the weird sounds going on in the back ground.  It got so bad that they called the creator of Spongebob to watch the remaining episode that ended with Squidward pulling out a shotgun and committing suicide as the image remained on his dead body and then ended. The creator was mad and demanded that they watch the episode again, and he was horrified at what he saw and called the FBI, according to the intern none of the children in the clips were ever identified and no one knew who made the cartoon as the time stamp said it was made just minutes before they watched it! I saved you many of the gory details of what the kids bodies looked like as I didn’t think that this fun blast from the past blog was the right place for it, but if you’re looking for the full well written story search the net and you’ll find it. Another Creepypasta by the name of “Red Mist” is based on Squidward killing himself and has a salesmen fish coming to his door and telling him the red mist is coming…the red mist of course being the blood from his wound…when he shoots himself…man this is some depressing stuff! The major differences between the two stories besides the salesmen and title is that in Red Mist many of the characters sport realistic eyes and also the cartoonist of the episode was said to be a serial killer who had worked for Nickelodeon and was on the run. Fan made animated versions of the episode can be found on youtube, and the story while most likely fake, it still makes me wonder did Squidward really kill himself?

Squidwards Suicide 1Squidward's Suicide TitleSquidwards Suicide 2

It’s 1976, and the film crew for the TV Show “The Six Million Dollar Man” had rented out the haunted house from the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach California.  As they were moving and dressing the “set” they moved the hanging mummy man prop and by accident they broke off the mummy’s arm and to their horror a human bone was poking out! The crew, along with the police, took the mummy to a coroner who verified that the mummy was in fact a human body…the haunted house for years had a real dead body on display. It took some time but they were able to figure out who the body was and when and how he died, and the identity of the mummy was that of criminal Elmer McCurdy who was killed in 1911 in a shootout while trying to rob a train. The undertaker in 1911 decided that since no one claimed his body, he would go ahead and embalmed him and place it on display as “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up” and would have people place nickels in the corpse’s mouth that at the end of the day he would collect.  At some point a carnival owner tricked the undertaker into thinking he was Elmer’s brother and he took the body and placed it on display for years. After his worth was used up at the carnival, the corpse was sold many times to several haunted houses, wax museums and carnivals making it the traveling mummy! Elmer’s corpse even was shown in the 1933 film Narcotic directed by Dwain Esper and at one point the owner of a haunted house in South Dakota refused to buy the corpses as he felt it was a fake and nothing more then a mannequin. Elmer finally was sold to Nu-Pike Amusement Park and sometime later was discovered again to be a real corpse by a shocked crew member who broke his arm off! In 1977 Elmer McCurdy was finally laid to rest in Summit View Cemetery in the Boot Hill section in Oklahoma ending the traveling mummy’s long and strange trip around the USA. Many joke that Elmer made way more money in death then in life, and for years this story was thought to be an urban legend but was proven to be true. So the next time you go to a haunted house, take a closer look at that corpse hanging or in the coffin cause who knows you might just be looking at the real thing!

Elmer McCurdyElmer McCurdy RIPElmer McCurdy Mummy

In 1999, my friends and I use to run the roads at all times of the night.  We would drive around with the windows down while blaring music and being just rowdy late teens who were out to have a good time. Most of these nights would just lead to us going to a friend’s house where we would spend the rest of the night playing Goldeneye 007 on N64 and listening to music and all crashing at the same home very late in the night. Brandon Womeldorff drove most nights as he had a red convertible, and on this particular night it was just Brandon, David Wean, Rion Neeley and myself driving through Patterson Park or as it’s also called Hills And Dales.  It was around 11:00pm, and we had no real reason to be in the area besides driving fast on the dark roads near Frankenstein’s Tower and enjoying the cool night air. Rion was telling us that one night when he was driving alone near these two stone pillars on the opposite sides of the road and that he could have sworn that he saw what appeared to be a shadow man that was watching him on top of a wooded hill near the pillar.  Of course this made the rest of us to want to go to the spot and see if we could spot this strange man/shadow for ourselves.  As we pulled off the road near said spot Brandon killed the engine, and we all just sat and listened and waited, the sounds of the night filled our ears and then we heard something that sounded like a person running down the hill crunching fallen leaves as it moved fast towards us, Brandon turned the car back on and sped away as we could hear this thing keeping up with us…odd thing being all we could make out was a shadow. We all went back to Rion’s house where Brandon was also living, and we all sat around and talked about what we thought it was, and myself and Brandon went back that night and didn’t see anything. Whatever it was stuck with us as Brandon even wrote a song called “The Man In Black” for a short lived band we were in called X-Mortis. For many years after I would go back to that spot with many of my friends like Andrea Seay, Kevin Kinsley, Matt Hoffman, Jason Gilmore, Misty Altick and Josh Weinberg and almost everytime we would hear or see something…sometimes we would drive away only to return in minutes to find a dead animal propped in the middle of the road, most the time the necks were twisted so the head was facing backwards. This Shadow Man became a spooky icon to us, and we would even play pranks on each other out in the woods near the pillars and hill.  The best one is where Dave Wean, Linda Webb’s boyfriend and I all hid in the woods and made noises as Josh Weinberg dressed in a WWE Kane Mask and a hooded robe stood by a tree near the small road and scared the crap out of Matt Hoffman who was being driven around by Brandon who was in on the prank, but one thing I must say is as we waited in those woods, we all did hear many odd things. Josh and I many nights would go back to that place and like clockwork we would hear and slightly see the Shadow Man.  One night we really pissed it off as we got out of the car and challenged it to a fight, while from the car stereo we played the battle music from the Star Trek episode “Amock Time” and carried ball bats ready to knock it’s block off. For a short time it did not respond but once we heard it come running down the hill full blast we left before the “battle” could happen. Over the years I went less and less to hear and see The Shadow Man, and the park got lots of remodeling and the last handful of times me and Josh went there had been no sign or noise of the Shadow making us wonder what and where did it go. We never could figure out just what and why it was and what would have happened to us if it would have caught us, but one things for sure Shadow Man will forever live on as one of my favorite unknown things I have witnessed. Bellow is a drawing by me of what it looked like.

Shadow Man Drawing

On October 6th and 7th Juliet and I decided to have our own Horror Movie Marathon, an event that I used to hold all the time that would have all my friends over to watch horror flicks all day and eat junk food. On Monday the 6th we had what I would call the pre-show where we watch a few Horror films to gear up for the next day, and the films selected were the made for TV cheese-fest “Werewolf of Woodstock”, smart and artistic 80’s slasher “Curtains” and low budget succubus flick “Dreamaniac.”  We both agreed that Curtains was the best film of the pre-show.  It was about actresses meeting at a film director’s mansion in the woods on a snow filled weekend, and someone is killing them off one by one. And we both agreed that the worst turkey of the night was Dreamaniac that was about some goofball song writer who allows his girlfriend and her sister to party at a house he is watching as a succubus is killing off the guests. On the 7th we started our marathon at 8 am and kicked it off with the Universal Horror film “Black Friday” that stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and is about a mobster’s brain being transplanted into that of a professor and the doctor who did so wants to get his hands of some of the mobsters’ hidden money. The 1957 low budget film “From Hell It Came” was next and is about a tree monster and the battle between USA doctors and the natives of an island. The original 1980 “Prom Night” was next about a killer on the loose at a High School prom. 1989’s own low budget camping slasher film “Moonstalker” was next followed by “Legend of The Werewolf” a 1975 film starring Peter Cushing that follows a young man who is cursed to become a werewolf. Evil Dead inspired film “Demon Wind” was next and follows a group of friends stuck in an old house as demons want to take their souls. 1971 Hammer Film “Hands of The Ripper” was the next shocker to be shown and was about the daughter of Jack The Ripper and that was followed by Universal Sci-Fi giant spider film “Tarantula!” that shows man should not mess with mother nature. Next was Fullmoon Entertainment’s 11th film in the series “Puppet Master X: Axis Rising” where the puppets must stop Nazi’s and evil puppets from harming America. The next film shown is a pure cheesy guilty pleasure for me, 1995’s “Project: Metalbeast” starring Kane Hodder as Metalbeast and is about a metal skinned werewolf running wild in a military lab. As we headed into the late night we ended it with two vampire films, the first being “Dawn Of Dracula,” a low budget film made by the cool cats who make the horror host show Midnite Mausoleum and follows Victoria Van Helsing played by the lovely Marlena Midnite as she looks for missing people.  Then we watched “ Dinner With A Vampire” where a group of actors are stuck in a mansion with a real life vampire! The evening was super fun, and we snacked on Peanut M&M’s, Mike-Sells Beer Can Chicken Potato Chips as well as homemade Hot Wings and had a great spooky time just hanging out and enjoying all the horrors of the movies. My top three films of the day would have to be as follows: # 1 Hands of The Ripper, a film I think was well done and added a spin of the Jack The Ripper tale, # 2 Project: Metalbeast for some reason I have been a fan of this film for a long time and use to watch it on VHS when I was younger and feel it stills holds that charm till this day! And # 3 would have to be Legend of The Werewolf a great classic style horror film that has a simple plot and holds such a Hammer Horror feel that I have always found it to be entertaining. I would also like to note that this top three was really hard to pick as I also really enjoyed Dinner With A Vampire, Prom Night and Demon Wind allot! My Golden Turkey of the night would have to go to Moonstalker, while not a bad movie it was just really slow paced with moments that really seemed to drag. Juliet’s top three were # 1 Hands of The Ripper, # 2 Dinner With A Vampire and # 3 Legend of The Werewolf, she had a hard time as well as she truly enjoyed Tarantula! that almost made her list. Her Golden Turkey was Moonstalker for the same reasons I stated. This was a fun event that I look forward to doing again soon as well as maybe one update I will give a history of the event and how the Horror Movie Marathon tradition started with me and my friends.

Werewolf of Woodstock DVDCurtains DVDDreamaniac DVDBlack Friday DVDFrom Hell It Came DVD

Prom Night DVD Moonstalker DVDLegend of the Werewolf DVDDemon Wind DVDHands of the Ripper DVD

Tarantulia! DVDPuppet Master Axis Rising DVDProject Metalbeast DVDDawn of Dracula DVDDinner With A Vampire dvd

So what would Halloween be without having another 5 Questions with a Horror Host, and this time I think we are going to talk to Dayton, Ohio’s own Baron Von Porkchop! If you remember last year we chatted with Chicago Horror Host Count Gregula of Count Gregula’s Crypt.  So I figured that this year I wanted to do a Dayton Original Host who I also consider a very dear friend and that’s the good old Baron. Baron Von Porkchop started his show Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre in late 2010 and would air on DATV with his first episode where he hosted the Vincent Price classic House On Haunted Hill.  After this he has shown no signs of slowing down as he is working on his 3rd season as well as a number of Holiday and other type of specials. I traveled to Porkchop Manor and met with Baron Von Porkchop on a chilly night, and here are my 5 Questions with Baron Von Porkchop.

BVP 1

Me: So Baron tell me about your show Terrifying Tales of The Macabre, as well as about Porkchop manor?

Baron: Well my show is about… me. I’m just trying to live my life as an undead ghoul the best I know how, but it seems like everyone and everything wants to try and ruin it! My manor is a little run down, but I love the place. It has all the comforts of home with a little added creepy.

Me: I always have a good creepy time here at the Manor! So what Horror Hosts of the past have influenced you as a host yourself?

Baron: I would have to say since the day I was dug up, I have seen many different horror host icons and most of them have influenced me a little bit, but I would say The Crypt Keeper and Mike and Joel from Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be the most influential.

Me: Great choices, and Crypt Keeper is even in the Horror Host Hall of Fame. So being an undead ghoul and all, do you ever get urges to eat human flesh or brains?

Baron: NO, NO SILLY! That’s zombies, we ghouls just try to get by from day to day we don’t need anything as far as sustenance goes… well except a terrible movie from time to time.

Me: That’s a relief that no flesh eating is in your future! So you have been to quite a bit of conventions and during these travels, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other Horror Host?

Baron: Well I did get to meet the Hellraiser himself Doug Bradly and that was kind of a dream come true. As far as horror hosts goes, I did get to meet The Crypt Keeper and that was pretty exciting. But all and all I have to say that all of the horror hosts I have met I have liked in different ways.

Me: Bradley is such an icon of Horror. Well sadly we are at the final question so with my topic for this years Halloween update being about Universal Frankenstein, what other actor besides Boris Karloff would you say is your favorite actor to play the Monster?

Baron: Wow there are so many to chose from…. let me think….. Aaron Eckhart I think from “I, Frankenstein”, I believe would be the best for sure! HAHAHAHAHA! No, no I kid, I kid. This is kind of a hard one though because so many great actors have played the creature. Like Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Boyle and so many more. Honestly I have to say that David Prowse is probably my favorite portrayal, because Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell is a great movie and a pure scare fest.

Me: Agreed, choosing who is the best actor who has played The Monster is a very tough question, but I would agree that Prowse would be high on my list as well as Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell is one of my favorite Hammer Horror films. Well thanks for spending some time with us here on Rotten Ink and thanks for doing what you do and keeping Horror Hosting alive in Dayton, Ohio. Anything you wanna say to the readers before we go?

Baron: I will see you soon on the Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, until then have a spooky time piggies, HAHAHAHAHA!!

Baron with Shane Douglas and So Cal Val

Airing the day this goes up, October 31st 2014 Baron Von Porkchop will be hosting the Bela Lugosi classic White Zombie for his fourth Halloween Special! I don’t wanna spoil to much but Baron alongside his pal Melvin (Butler to Stephen Von Frankenstein) come face to face with a zombie who has an ax to grind. The special will air on DATV in Dayton on Channel 5 via Time Warner Cable and should be a very fun and spooky episode. I must also say that I am VERY proud of Baron Von Porkchop and Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, and I am very thankful that I am able to do the show along side a very talented host, cast and crew. If you’re looking for a little more on Baron check out his website at www.terrifyingtalesofthemacabre.com or look him up on Facebook. Man, Horror Hosts are so much fun, and I will continue to have 5 Questions with one every Halloween update so that’s something you readers can always look forward to.

Baron Von Porkchop Dayton HostFulci ZombieBaron Halloween 2014 DVD

October 24th 2014 marked the 18th year of Horrorama, and I was happy to once more be a part of the event that showed four great films “Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell”, “Rawhead Rex”, “Hell of The Living Dead” and “Bride Of Re-Animator” and once more was held at the great local theater the Englewood Cinema. Juliet and I, on our way to the theater early to check the prints of the films as well as eat at the chinese restaurant across the street that has become a tradition, also came across a truck with a propped up coffin with a life size mummy in it on Highway 70…this was a great way to kick off a very long night of film watching and mayhem. The event was hosted by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, the legendary horror host of Dayton, and he helped keep the night moving and filled with laughs.  Rick Martin this year co-hosted and with him being the remaining original event creator, it’s always nice to hear him keep the spirit of the event alive and honor what he started with Andy Copp and Dr. Creep. This year thanks to theater owner Mike, I was able to be the projectionist and wow, that was a lot of fun.  I think one of the coolest things for me that night was being able to peer out the projection window standing next the very old 35mm projector and watch my favorite Hammer Horror film, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, a very cool moment for me. Plus at the event were many of my family and friends as besides Juliet, my brother Bryan along with his wife Bel and daughter Abby were there as well as my cousin Stephen. Lots of my friends as well like Josh Weinberg, Mike Ritchie, Garrison Kane, Todd The Fox, Victoria Harper, Nick Williams and Mandie Brown were watching the flicks and having fun. Another great event done and I must say a big thank you for everyone who came and supported this event as well as everyone who helped. Below is a pic of the mummy truck, the event’s poster, and a picture taken from the projection room of the Monster From Hell.

Mummy TruckHorrorama 2014 PosterMonster From Hell on the Big Screen

So let’s see so far we have covered wrestler Halloween, Creepypasta about a cartoon suicide, the traveling corpse of outlaw Elmer McCurdy, The Shadow Man of Hills and Dales Park that used to chase me and friends, a Horror Movie Marathon that Juliet and I had as well as Dayton Ohio Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop.  So now I think it’s time we talk a little about Universal’s longest classic monster series Frankenstein. In 1931, after the success of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi Universal was quickly looking for another classic horror novel to turn into a film.  That novel was Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and the first choice to play the Monster was Bela Lugosi! The story goes that Lugosi didn’t want the role because he thought it was no real acting as the Monster only grunted and was not too keen in the fact his face would be covered in makeup so the part ended up going to Boris Korloff, a character actor that the director James Whale liked. The film had a budget of $262,007.00 and made the studio $12,000,000.00 opening many studios eyes that horror films can make money. Universal made a sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, in 1935 and it was followed by Son of Frankenstein in 1939, and for these three films Karloff played The Monster but for the remaining films in the series many other actors stepped into the role including Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange and even Bela Lugosi in such films as Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943), House Of Frankenstein (1944), House Of Dracula (1945) and Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) making The Frankenstein Monster the first franchise horror character to have so many sequels. Growing up I loved watching the old Frankenstein films from Universal and in fact the first ever VHS I ever owned was Frankenstein! So with this I am really ready to tell you about the Lab I will be reading these comics at so that I can head that way and read some comic adaptations of the classic Universal films!

Karloff Frankenstein Monster1931 Frankenstein PosterLugosi Frankenstein Monster

The place I will be reading these comics is an old science labs that was used for plant experiments and is located in Yellow Springs.  I promised I would not tell the exact location but let’s just say it’s near downtown. The Labs are still filled with all types of odd machines as well as old racks and trays that use to hold the planets. The sight was also used for animal testing and has cages frozen in time as well! I chose this location due to the nature of the Frankenstein story being so heavily science based and what better way to read these comics then an old lab with poor lighting and not a soul around as well as glass pipes that running over head that use to hold acid used in experiments. Below are some pics of the location just so you can get a feel of what the atmosphere for me will be like.

Science Lab 1Science Lab 2Science Lab 3

The night I choose to read these comics was a very dark one with clouds in the sky, it had a nice chill in the air and the labs upstairs were a little cold. So let’s find a nice spot among the dust and old equipment and read these adaptations under the flickering lights, Remember that I rate the issues on the 1-4 scale and base it on art, story, how close it stays to the source material and over all entertainment value. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having Dark Horses Frankenstein in stock and Juliet and Eric for helping with the other two. So the thunderstorm is coming in, so let’s prepare for the Monster to come alive!

Universal Frankenstein # 1

Frankenstein # 1 ****
Released in 1993   Cover Price $3.95   Dark Horse   #1 of 1

Henry Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz are stealing dead bodies and stitching them together.  Fritz even breaks into a lab and steals an abnormal brain after dropping that of a normal man, and this is all for Henry who wants to create a new life with his own hands in a dusty old tower. During a terrible thunderstorm Henry wants to use the lightning to jolt his creation to life but is interrupted by his fiance Elizabeth, his best friend Victor and his old medical teacher Dr. Waldman who all witness the experiment that works! Victor and Elizabeth return home and try to keep Baron Frankenstein from visiting his son as Waldman begs his former student to kill his Monster before it’s too late. The Monster at first seems to listen and understand commands but when Fritz comes in with a torch the Monster goes crazy, and they must knock it out and put it in the cellar, where Fritz continues to bully it with a whip and a torch.  Finally the Monster snaps and kills Fritz by hanging him. Henry and Waldman knock out the Monster and with the help of Victor, they hide it from his father and Elizabeth. Henry goes home with his father as Waldman is going to dissect and kill the Monster who wakes up and instead kills Waldman! On Henry and Elizabeth’s wedding day, the Monster breaks free of the tower and kills a little girl on accident and even attacks Elizabeth! The townspeople and Henry form a posse and hunt the Monster down.  Henry comes face to face with his Monster who knocks his creator out and takes him to a windmill and throws him off it hurting him badly, as the towns people rush Henry home for medical care they also set the windmill on fire and the Monster is believed to be burnt alive. In the end Henry is getting better at Frankenstein Manor and Elizabeth is at his side while the Monster’s region of terror has came to an end….for now!

This is a great adaptation that captures the mood and story of the classic Universal film and was a great way to start the reviews off! The plot follows a scientist who wants to play God and creates a monster who has a bad brain that does bad things but don’t really understand that it’s doing so.  In the end creator and creation must come face to face with only one making it out alive! Henry Frankenstein is not a bad man, and while he does get wrapped up in his experiment and does create a monster, he had good intentions. It’s clear that Henry loves his girlfriend Elizabeth as well as hid friends and father but that he really wants to be known in the world of science. Dr. Waldman is a wise scientist who sees the dangers in playing God and wants to try and help his student by talking sense into him. Fritz is just a troublemaker and a screw up who seems to take joy in tormenting the Monster.  His worse blunder is stealing the wrong brain and not even telling his boss of the mishap. Victor is a loyal friend who don’t understand why his best friend is acting this way but stands by him when the chips are down and it’s clear Henry needs help. Elizabeth is a loving fiance who understands her man and tries her best to allow him to balance his work and social life with her.  She is the kind of woman who is always by the side of her loved one. Baron Frankenstein is a ass who is more stuck on himself then anything else.  The way he speaks down to others makes him not a very nice person and a character that this reader kind of hated. The Monster is pretty one dimensional in this comic and it’s clear to see that Boris Karloff in the movie is who gave the Monster a personality and made him sympathetic.  In the comic you just don’t pick up on any of its emotions, and The Monster really just comes off as a lumbering brute But that’s the only minor flaw to this amazing comic that I really enjoyed. The art by Den Beauvais (who also adapted the story) is fantastic and it really makes the comic pop as The Monster looks just like Karloff in the movie and in fact most the characters look like the actors who played them in the Universal film. If you’re a fan of the movie or a Universal Monster collector this comic is made for you.  Pick it up you won’t regret it. Check out some of Den’s amazing artwork below.

FRANKENSTEIN DH 1FRANKENSTEIN ART 2FRANKENSTEIN ART 3

So the second film in the series is “Bride Of Frankenstein” and sadly no official film adaptation has been made…yet. I am proud to say that talented artist and friend of mine Jeff Potter will be doing a exclusive Bride of Frankenstein just for me to review here on Rotten Ink! So look for that sometime in 2015. But our next comic in the Universal Frankenstein series is a photo comic made by National Periodical that was part of a comic that had several adaptations of movies.  This comic I will be reading in this cold science lab is a custom one that takes just the Son of Frankenstein part and made it into a issue of its own! So let’s get into it shall we?

Son Of Frankenstein # 1

Son Of Frankenstein  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1939   Cover Price .10   National Periodical   #1 of 1

Wolf Frankenstein, the son of Henry returns to his family’s castle after being away from it for over 20 years and finds that his wife and young son Peter are only warmly greeted by the hired help as the villagers look at them with hate over his father’s Monster. Inspector Crogh visits the castle and tells Wolf that he and his family are not welcome and that he thinks the Monster is alive and killing.  This sparks Wolf’s interest in his father’s old lab where Wolf meets a twisted shepherd named Ygor who shows him that the Monster is indeed alive but very weak. Wolf becomes obsessed with trying to make the Monster better as he believes that this will clear his family’s name, but when more deaths happen, Crogh goes to arrest Wolf as he himself finds that Ygor is using the Monster to kill a jury that convicted him some years back.  This leads to Wolf shooting and killing Ygor. The Monster ends up finding the body of his friend Ygor and this sets him into a rage and he kidnaps Peter.  Crogh tries to help save Peter but is tossed to the side by The Monster! The Monster becomes scared by the villagers who now have become an angry mob, and Wolf kicks him into a lava pit saving his son and causing him to leave the castle for good.

First I have to say I love the movie and that’s why it breaks my heart to read this half butted attempted at a photo comic that tries to cram a 99 minute movie into 8 pages, but then again at least in 1939, they tried to give readers the chills with this comic. The comic changes the plot of the movie in many ways and even how it ends is different.  While some changes, like the fact Inspector Crogh is a very angry and unfriendly man, are interesting other changes like The Monster being frozen with fear by just the sounds of a mob is silly. Wolf Frankenstein is a likeable hero who in this comic really just wanted to return home and clear his family’s name. Young Peter Frankenstein is less annoying in the comic but is just used as bait for the end of the story. Ygor is just kind of around, and while he orders The Monster around he really isn’t given much to do. The Monster also spends most the issue with nothing to do and spends much time just standing to on the slab. I wish the Monster would have had a little more to do and would not be defeated like he was a coward. Plus how brutal is it that Wolf kicks The Monster into lava and watches him burn to death! The art in the comic is mostly photo comic style but does have slight art work added to the photos, and the dialogue is hard to read as the person who did lettering has pretty sloppy hand writing at times. To be honest, this is a nice throwback comic but doesn’t really offer much besides slight old school horror chills. So I think it’s time to move on and will just sum it up as okay but pretty disappointing.

Son Of Frankenstein art 1Son Of Frankenstein art 2Son Of Frankenstein art 3

So next in the film world would be “Ghost of Frankenstein” and once more a comic adaptation was never made so I went to my friend Eric Shonborn, and he will be making Rotten Ink one to review along side Jeff Potters Bride of Frankenstein! So let’s move onto the next comic in the series “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man,” one of my favorite in the Universal Frankenstein series.  The movie is gracing my t-shirt as I sit and write this in the lab. This comic is a custom comic that was put together and translated by Juliet from an old Spanish sticker book based on the movie! So let’s jump into this one as the lab area is given off some odd nosies that sound like keys jiggling!

Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman # 1

Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man  # 1  ***
Released in 1946   Cover Price .10   Bloodline Comics   #1 of 1

Two grave robbers go into the crypt of Larry Talbot on a full moon night allowing him to turn into The Wolf Man and escape his tomb and once more set out for blood! Larry wakes up in a hospital in the care of Dr. Mannering and is being watched by cops who don’t believe that he is Larry Talbot as all records say he is dead. That night Larry transforms into The Wolf Man again and kills a cop.  In the morning when the medical staff look at him as if he is crazy, Larry escapes and finds his friend the old gypsy woman Maleva, and they set out to find the diary of Doctor Frankenstein as they think it will hold the answers of finding a cure for Larry’s curse. As they travel, they stop at an inn and are run off by the locals all who hate the name Frankenstein.  After leaving night falls on them and Larry becomes The Wolf Man once more and kills a woman and is hunted down by locals and falls into a hole knocking itself out. Larry awakens in the frozen cave and finds the body of The Monster in ice and frees it, and the pair become unlikely friends. Larry even tries to convince Elsa Frankenstein to help him find her grandfather’s diary, and she wants nothing to do with it. But when The Monster and Larry make a big scary scene at the town’s festival after being confronted by Dr. Mannering, the pair escape to the ruins of the old castle. Elsa, Maleva and Mannering come to the castle and all together they work along side Larry and The Monster and find the diary and set up to cure him of his curse and even drain all the energy from The Monster. This does not go as planned as Mannering makes a mistake that leaves The Monster in a rage and Larry turning into The Wolf Man.  The monsters fight in the old castle ruins as the villagers blow up the near by dame, drowning the two monsters and ending the terror.

When two monsters collide, I the reader won in this fun cheesy comic adaptation that’s packed with so much cheese that it was busting at the seams. The story follows the film for the most part and follows Larry who wants to find a cure for his werewolf curse and gets the help of the remaining Frankenstein as well as befriends The Monster, but when he changes into a beast his urge to kill comes through and he fights his monster friend until they both go swim with the fishes. Larry Talbot is a man who you as the reader feel bad for, but you also find yourself very happy when he turns into The Wolf Man and stalks around and kills whatever he can find. The Monster for the most part just lumbers around and shows he has zero tolerance for people. Dr. Mannering, Maleva the Gypsy and Elsa Frankenstein are good supporting characters who add to the story in their own way but none are really flushed out. The comic has zero blood and gore and is truly a classic horror thriller comic that relies on the fact that monsters are scary, and I love that about this comic. The artwork is done by an unknown artist but I really dig the almost cartoon style, with the Wolf Man looking pretty good and The Monster looking like a skinny kid dressed up for Halloween. While the comic follows the film pretty well, it as well suffers from the fact they tried to rush the plot and rushed way too much character development. With all that said I must say I really enjoyed this comic and wish that some day Dark Horse will get into gear and make Official Universal Monster Movie adaptation comics! Check out the artwork below.

Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 1Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 2 Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman art 3

So with the lab being the perfect place to read these comics and with all the spooky sounds and the chill in the air, I think it’s time for me to leave this area…never to return again…well that’s until maybe next time I read Universal Frankenstein comics for Rotten Ink. I really enjoy horror comics and love the Halloween season, and this update has just really made me look forward to doing next year’s countdown to the spookiest holiday. So once more I want to thank Eric and Juliet for their help on this update, and I want to also remind all you Horror Host fans that Baron Von Porkchop’s Halloween Special airs tonight on DATV (Time Warner Channel 5) or can be watched via stream at www.datv.org! So I am sure your all wondering what’s the next update, and I must confess that it’s a Debbie Downer as we take a look at the death of the Spider-Man villain The Tarantula! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, support your local Horror Host and watch the skies for its Halloween and the ghosts and goblins are on the loose…you have been warned….Happy Halloween!

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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

Alien Invasion…The Predator

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update we are going to take a look at aliens, you know, little green or grey men who travel around in outer space and beam us aboard their ships to be studied. I am going to review Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the film Predator; we will also break down Predator in film, video games and other media. But before we get into the ultimate hunter, we will take a look at Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 UFO crash, and we will also talk about that mystery place known as Area 51 said to be where the government hides the UFO and aliens! So watch the skies and get your tin foil hat ready, ’cause we are going deep into space and looking for the truth about aliens!

Little Grey Men

In 1947, a U.F.O fell from the sky and crashed on a ranch in Roswell New Mexico.  The flying saucer was banged up pretty bad when the ranch foreman William Brazel found the wreckage, and he and his son, not thinking much of it, cleared the debris.  They only told of the wreckage after reports of a flying saucer being seen in the area and thought that what they cleaned up might just be that. Now here is where it all gets sticky, and many different reports and stories go around about it.  What Brazel “found” was something made of paper and tough plastic or so it was said.  Other stories claim that it was a full fledged spacecraft complete with bodies of aliens that had died from the impact. It’s said that the spacecraft and the bodies were shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for study and that Hanger 18 is where they remain even to this day. The Air Force’s statement was that the wreckage was from a weather balloon that had crashed and was nothing for the public to worry about.  Years later it was also reported that the wreckage was really a spy plane sent over from Russia that was shot down. The mystery of this event had made it the stuff of legend, and everyone who has ever looked into the event has a theory on what and how it came to be. I for one can see both sides; I can see it truly being a weather balloon that came crashing down, and in 1947 I am sure the sight of these balloons was not common at all. I could also see it being a Russian spy plane.  At the time we were having a “Red Scare,” and both they and us wanted to get dirt and intel on the other side. But I can also REALLY see that if it was in fact a ship from outer space driven by little grey men, our government would indeed keep this info from us and study them to learn from what they know…so what do you readers think…was it a weather balloon? Was it a Russian spy plane? Or was it a U.F.O straight from outer space?

New Mexico Dead Alien

Nevada is the home of many great things such as Las Vegas, birth place to actresses like Dawn Wells, Jenny Lewis and Jenna Jameson and even Horror Host Zomboo but it also is the home of one of the world’s most puzzling places, a place that “doesn’t” exist according to our government.  That place is Area 51! Not much is really known about this place but many stories are told of unknown planes in the sky around it, odd sounds and even claims that aliens work alongside humans inside its guarded walls. What is known is that you can’t cross a line on the ground and in the sky, and that the guards around the area have the right to shoot you dead.  You can’t even takes photos of the area! So what is this place really? Many people say that it’s where the Air Force tests its new planes and drones and it’s all very top secret so the new weapons to keep us safe don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. Others think that it’s a place where the government keeps aliens and makes contact with other worlds in order to get ideas for new technology. One thing is for sure, Area 51 is one big mystery that many Americans would love to find out it’s secrets, and who knows maybe someday we will. But it does make you wonder if they do have aliens there, are they willing guests or are they being held captive? Are they smart and nice or are they mean spirited and power hungry? I for one hope they are nice and are guests if they are indeed at Area 51.

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Coast To Cast AM is one heck of a great radio program for those of us who like the unknown and conspiracies.  From the start of the show you know you’re in for a treat as the theme for the film and the old NWA Wrestling Tag Team, The Midnight Express starts playing and your current host George Noory welcomes you to the show. I first heard of the radio show thanks to a co-worker at Blockbuster Video. I worked a lot of closes at the video rental store, and some nights before going home I would drive around the back roads of the countryside listening to music and unwinding from the long day, and they suggested that oe night I give Coast to Coast a listen because they knew I was into Bigfoot, werewolves, aliens and such. That night I gave it a listen and was hooked ever since.  Back when I first heard it, the host was Art Bell who was hosting on the weekends and was the founder of this cool show. One episode of this show that has become the subject of many discussions is the one that focused on Area 51 where one of the call-in lines was for current or past employees of 51, and after a number of calls he got one that chilled the blood of many listeners and triggered a black out of the radio signal. The caller was a man who was in a panic and was a past employee who had been let go on a medical discharge.  The man claimed he was fleeing from some unknown trackers; while on the phone he spilled his guts on what Area 51 really is.  He claimed that it’s filled with inter-dimensional beings who are directly involved in our military and know about some major natural disaster events that are coming and will not warn us because they want many of the world’s population to be wiped out so that the ones of us around can be more easy to control. During the call the man gets more upset and more scared sounding and as he is telling us the listeners more, it sounds as if he has been found by his unknown stalkers and poof, the satellite that hosts Coast To Coast AM goes offline and the callers final words the listeners never get to hear. The show is off the air for over 2 minutes before coming back live, and Art seems puzzled and at a loss as he says that the man on the phone screamed and it sounded like a gun shot before the line went dead, and that the odd part of the satellite going down was it focused in the part that broadcasted his show! Callers after seemed to be bothered by the frantic call as past “employees” of Area 51 called in and claimed that no one will ever hear from that guy again. Now this call has been proven real and proven fake by many and is 100% up for you to make your own judgement. The first time I heard it, my skin crawled and thoughts about turning it into a movie crossed my mind.  I for one think that there might be some truths to what he is saying about there being beings from another dimension here on Earth with us now. Some time later a caller called in and claimed to be the Frantic Caller and said his call was a hoax and that when the show went off the air he himself got scared and thought he might have been onto something with his fake story.  Many think that this caller was the frantic caller, while once more others think the second caller was the hoaxer. So have you heard the call made to Art Bell? Do you think the call was real? Was it a hoax? No one will know for sure and it will remain a mystery just like Roswell and Area 51 itself.

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If aliens are out there in space or even already here on Earth, Hollywood has taught us one thing, and that’s alien chicks are Hot!! Star Trek showed us green girls are sexy; Mars Attack showed us they can wear masks to make themselves stunning, and even genetic put together aliens like Sil from Species are knock outs. So here is to you, hot Hollywood alien women, for making the unknown sexy!

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So you have gotten some brief history and thoughts on Area 51 and the crash at Roswell New Mexico; now it’s time to give you a little background on this update’s star, the Predator! Not much is really known about the Predators as we humans don’t even know what planet or universe they even come from.  Such names as “Hish” and “Yautja” have been given to their race, but these are just names given to them by humans trying to place a label on them. Things we do know about them are this: 1st they can travel through space and seem to have very powerful ships, 2nd they have amazing weapons that are far more powerful than ours from stealth suits to an awesome shoulder cannon. They have the means to make things dead. 3rd they are very strong and have more strength than a human body builder making them a hard fight to go fist to fist with, 4th they love hot summers and heat, and lastly they are hunters and love to collect trophies (skulls) from the prey they hunt. The Predators have also fought with the Xenomorphs and have collected humans and other alien species to drop into a wooded planet to use as practice! While not much is known, one thing is for sure you don’t want to mess with a Predator!

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Predator hit theaters in 1987 and is about Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his group of commandos who go to the jungles of South America on a bogus mission set up by George Dillon (Carl Weathers) who really wants them in the jungle to find a pod that fell from space! Dutch and his men soon find out that they are not alone as an unknown attacker is hunting and killing them one by one. Who will make it out of the jungle alive and can any of these hardened war hounds stand a chance against the Predator! Growing up I saw this film on HBO when my Dad let me and my brother watch it one late night.  From the moment it started I loved it. I was glued to the action and suspense of the hunt. For days I wished that they had made action figures of this film so I could have The Predator hunt the likes of Snake Eyes and Han Solo.  I bought the novel movie adaptation of the film from Half Price Books and was all about The Predator. The film did well at the box office with a gross of $98,267,558.00 worldwide. One of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s in my opinion, and with a creature design by Stan Winston Studio’s you know the film is quality.

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1990 saw a sequel simply called Predator 2 hit the theaters, and this time around it’s taken out of the jungle and into the hot streets of LA. during a turf war over drug sales. Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a good cop who along with his team are stuck in the middle of the war on drugs during a major heat wave and to make things worse something is killing both cartels as well as the cops themselves! And when one of his own cops is murdered and creepy Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) has his agents take over the case, Harrigan must take the law into his own hands and find the truth of the murders.  He ain’t going to like what he sees when it’s hunting season again, and a Predator is loose in the city! The sequel is good but not nearly as cool as the original, and I will say that I also went out and bought the novel adaptation of this film as well. The sequel made $57,120,318.00 gross at the worldwide box office, making it a solid money maker for Fox.

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While The Predator shared the screen with the Aliens in two AVP films, it was not till 2010’s film Predators that we were treated to the third film in the series. In this film, a group of people wake up falling from the sky into a jungle like place; each of them comes from a different part of the world and they come from all walks of life, but all of them have some sort of violent past.  Before they know it, they find out that they are no longer on Earth and are on some planet where they are being hunted like dogs by none other than The Predators! Twists and turns and lots of fighting to stay alive makes up this fun action film that brought in a gross of $127,233,108.00 world wide at the box office. I saw this film in the theater and loved it.  It stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne! If you have not seen this one, you should.

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Besides the big screen, Predator also has hunted its way into the video game world and has had many titles come out on many different systems! Commadore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and even Atari Jaguar all have had games come out that featured The Predator.  In fact, even an Arcade Game has been made! The one that sticks out the most to me was the one for Sega Genesis based on the film Predator 2.  My cousins Dino and Norman had it, and we all took turns one night when I was spending the night trying our best to beat it. The game was pretty hard and was an overhead shoot em up game that as levels went on, the harder it became and of course you played as Harrigan. One of the most popular games based on Predator is the one that came out on PS2 and Xbox called “Predator: Concrete Jungle” where you play as the hunter and kill humans! Predator has been in some good games and some stinker games, but one thing is for sure, The Predator is a perfect character to make video games based around.

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Predator has had more merchandise than just video games, comics and novels.  Many great items have come out based around this character, from Halloween masks & costumes, t-shirts, posters, magazines, models, statues and of course action figures! The figures that most people remember are the ones made by Kenner in the 90’s.  They made all types of versions, from the classic movie style one to ones with giant tusk. I had a few of these figures growing up and while they were cool, I always wanted a 3 ¾” figure…sadly that never happened until this year thanks to the ReAction figure line. Lost more figures were made by NECA and McFarlane, and these were great detailed figures meant for display on the older collectors’ shelves. So if you’re a fan of the character and looking for ways to collect all you can own, there is stuff out there for you that will for sure make the collector in you very happy.

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Something else I would like to talk about before we get into the comic reviews are the soundtracks for the three Predator films and how great they are. The first two scores are done by Alan Silvestri, who was know for doing scores for films like Back To The Future, Cats Eye and Delta Force before doing Predator 1-2.  His scores for the two films are a nice mix of action and sci-fi and the main theme to Predator always seems to get stuck in my head when I am outside in the woods! The score to Predators was done by John Debney who did scores for such films as The Jetsons Movies, Sudden Death, Spy Kids, End of Days and Sin City before tackling this film.  While it’s a great score, it’s not nearly as epic as the first films. And as I am sure you all guessed that I do play some tracks off Predator 2’s soundtrack on Alpha Rhythms. If you’re a score listener like myself give them a listen, you might just like what you hear.

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So far we have visited Roswell, New Mexico, made a pit stop at Area 51, took a look at the frantic Area 51 caller and broke down The Predator in films, music and other media and we still have the comic reviews to go! So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get ready to get hunted as we enter the hunting zone, looking for the ultimate trophy hunter, The Predator. Also thanks to Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock.

Predator 1

Predator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #1 of 4

Detective Schaefer has a bad feeling about his city of New York, and when he enters the scene of a crime and finds two rival gangs both slaughtered like sheep his gut feeling seems to be right! The only survivor of the slaughter was a gang leader named Carr who escaped into the night.  Things get worse when a train is attacked and victims are killed the same way as the gang members. During an investigation Schaefer gets a visit from an army general who tells him to let the murders run their course and that after the heat wave is over the murders will stop.  He also tells him that his brother Dutch also knew about these killers. After the visit, Schaefer and his partner Rasche go back to the scene of the crime were the gang was killed, and Schaefer comes face to face with a Predator who flings him out the window, ending issue one.

It’s a very cool tie in to the original film with Schaefer being the brother of Dutch, Arnold’s character from the first film. Schaefer is alright so far, but he doesn’t really have a personality. He seems to do what he wants to do and doesn’t listen to the rules of his department, and he also seems to have some weird second sight for the strange and unknown. Rasche, his partner, seems to be more likable and is a family man who seems to respect his partner of 6 years but also doesn’t know a damn thing about him! Looks like Carr is a gang leader who is your typical street punk straight from a cheesy Hollywood film complete with red make up slashes on his face. I feel like he is going to be a major problem coming up in future issues. The Predator is the main “bad guy” of the issue and only really makes his appearance at the end as he beats the hell out of Schaefer and flings him out the window! I am a little puzzled about this Predator’s killing pattern as he seems to just be killing at random in the city. This issue also has way too many moments that feel like they read the script for Predator 2 and crammed them into the story, from the attack on the subway to the attack on rival gangs. The art in the issue is that classic Dark Horse style and is done by Chris Warner and looks pretty dang good for the time. Over all this issue is really the start of the mini series and while a little slow and disjointed, it was still a good read and makes me want to read part 2 ad see what happens to Schaefer.  So let’s not wait any longer.

Predator 2

Predator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #2 of 4

Schaefer’s fall from the window five stories up leaves him banged up and in the hospital.  His stay is short as he checks himself out and stays on the couch of Rasche and his family. On Schaefer’s neck, The Predator has placed a tracker, an almost tag of some sorts so that he can track him at anytime. Schaefer goes to South America to the last place that his brother Dutch was seen, and while in the jungle along with his guide, they find a giant hole that was where the original Predator blew himself up.  At night Schaefer is attacked once more by the Predator, and this time Schaefer wins knocking the alien from a cliff and impaling him on a sharp stone. In the end the guide is shown to be working for the military general who is pissed that Schaefer killed The Predator and is now preparing for total payback.

This second issue is filled with action and takes away the city back drop placing the fight in the jungle were it all started. Schaefer is more bull headed after getting his butt kicked and shows he is not to be messed with as he takes down a Predator with strategy and anger. So one Predator is killed, and this makes you wonder why the general is so freaked out by its death.  Was this one special or do they just know it means war when they suffer a loss to their numbers? The action in this issue is pure 80’s action with lots of gunplay and fists are thrown making it feel right at home with other action/horror themed comics of the time. I do really like the jungle setting better than the streets of New York, it just has more of a mood to it. Rasche in this issue stays in New York and is told to get his family out of New York by Schaefer.  So I am thinking the next issue will be what’s going on in the Big Apple. Chris Warner does the art again, and it’s so 90’s.  It’s good and the cover is so in your face. So far at the midway point in this series, it’s a pretty good film inspired series and holds some of the charm of the films.  So let’s see how issue 3 turns up the heat, shall we?

Predator 3

Predator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #3 of 4

Schaefer in the jungle finds that he has pissed off the government for killing the Predator and is now being lead to the general, but he and his guide are ambushed by henchmen for a drug lord Schaefer pissed off some time ago in New York. While the guide is killed, Schaefer is kidnapped and set to be tortured, but he escapes and finds that an army of Predators have followed him and make short work of the drug cartel as the general comes to his rescue and leads him to a helicopter that will lead him straight to The Predators as a payment for their fallen friend.  The meeting place is New York.  Schaefer isn’t having it and knocks out the general, and when they land he is ready for a fight. While in New York, his partner Rasche finds that the city is being hovered over by Predator war ships, and this puts him at odds with the chief.  At one point he is even kidnapped by unknown government agents but escapes when he finds they plan on turning over Schaefer to them. In the end both detectives are on a path to have a show down with their alien hunters.

This issue is a mix of jungle and city action, and it works to build up the final showdown of Schaefer and The Predators in the middle of the busy city. One of the best parts of this issue is the Predators attacking and killing the drug cartel in order to get to Schaefer.  Those dope pushers didn’t stand a chance! This issue also shows that the military and the government knows about the Predators and almost seem to fear them, and will do anything to make the situation right with them after one of their own was murdered. Rasche, poor, poor man gets kidnapped by some agents.  His own boss at the department turns on him by ratting him out, and he knows that the Predators are all over and that they plan on giving his partner over to them! This issue is a nice build up to the final where you know all hell is going to break loose.  It still makes me wonder will we see a cameo from Dutch? Warner art once more, and the cover is great as you all can see.  So without any more hold ups, let’s get to the final issue of The Predator by Dark Horse comics.

Predator 4

Predator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #4 of 4

Schaefer has escaped the army, and he and Rasche meet up and plan for war against the Predators! They know they can’t get the help of the police or the army, so they do what they have to do and recruit Carr and other thugs to help them go to war, and war does happen in the middle of New York! The Predators have ground fighters as well as their space ships, and all looks bleak for Schaefer and his rag tag army until the army shows up and are ready now to fight off The Predator invasion.  The war is heating up, and many lives are cut short but as quick as the fighting started, it stops as the Predators no longer see this as a hunt as much as a fight.  This makes them leave the Earth…for now!

To be honest, the final war was a let down, and what was built up to be epic, came off a little rushed and very anti-climatic. Schaefer barely is able to get his fist wet with green blood before they just up and leave due to “the hunt” being taken out of the fight.  In fact nothing really gets settled in this mini series as a part of New York is left destroyed.  Carr helps, and I guess, escapes.  Schaefer never finds out what happened to Dutch.  Rasche rambles about quitting the force after he is shot, and the army, who come to the aid of the cops, just let them walk away after a major battle.  It all seems like so many questions get no real answers. Rasche and Schaefer, while cool characters, for 4 issues  I never really felt a connection to them and really didn’t learn much about each of them. The Predators seem a little off.  Many of them take a pounding by the fists of Schaefer, and that’s not believable because according to the source material, the films, they are 10 times stronger than a human male. The comic series has blood but not a heck of a lot.  The action is fun and very 80’s like.  The art was well done and once more has that pure 90’s Dark Horse style to it.  Over all this was an okay mini series based on a good action sci-fi film. While not groundbreaking so far on Rotten Ink I would say it’s in good company with the likes of Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. Fans of this film series should check it out if they go in knowing it has some flaws but was made for the fans.

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It was really neat to see what comic book creators were able to do thanks to 20th Century Fox allowing them to make this almost sequel-like mini series. The writers did the best they could to tie in the original film, making the main hero the brother of the hero of the film, but as I stated the sad part is that goes nowhere. But I feel we are not done yet so let’s get into a fantasy warfare as we pit the Predator against the great stuntman of the last update, the Cougar! The setting will be the hot summer month of July and take place on the 4th. The setting is a movie set for a new John Smith film for Independent B Movie in the swamp lands of Louisiana. So let’s see what happens in the battle of the minds and wills of these two champions as the Predator takes on the Cougar!

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It’s around noon, and John Smith has called it a wrap for the day’s filming of his epic new film “Werewolf of the Bayou.” Most of the crew are heading into town for some beers and gumbo while they wait for the night’s fireworks. John walks up to the two stunt men for the film, Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and Bela Chaney, who are putting props away and discussing the next day’s big cabin on fire stunt, and lets them know he is heading into town himself to sit back and watch Morgus The Magnificent on TV host the 1931 Dracula and order room service and relax after the long morning shoot. They wish him well, and after his 95 Cavalier pulls away, Bela turns on the radio that’s playing classic rock and tells Jeff he wants to show him the prop that will be used to kill The Wolfman in this film.  Bela pulls a giant silver and red handgun out of a case and fires a fake bullet into the air.  As they both chuckle, three read lines appear on Bela’s chest and in the blink of an eye a loud noise is heard, and the stuntman’s chest now has a big whole through it! The Cougar swings into action and like in his youth he swings on the vines as blasts of a large cannon go off all around him.  He swings by the prop van again and dives inside. The Predator, who is invisible, waits for a few moments and The Cougar never comes out.  So he decides to go in after him.  As the Predator makes his way towards the van, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  As he creeps up on the van The Cougar jumps out  wearing night goggles and holding a sword and slashes The Predator across his stomach causing green blood to spill onto the ground.  As Cougar swings again Predator retracts his arm blades and blocks the strike! By this time The Predator becomes visible, but the sight of the alien doesn’t even phase Cougar who has fought a vampire and werewolf before this.  The two trade swings with their blades and neither land a strike. The Cougar throws away his sword and holds up his fist and wants to fight man to alien.  The Predator takes off his shoulder cannon and his masks and lets out a roar as Cougar leaps into the air and lands a superman punch to the alien’s jaw.  The Predator shakes it off and lands a straight right to the face of the Cougar shattering his nose and breaking the stuntman’s jaw and causing him to fall to his knees and choke on his own blood, The Predator knows his foe is down and walks over and rips out the spin and skull of The Cougar ending the fight. That night on the Predators ship a new skull is placed in his trophy case and that skull belonged to a cocky stuntman who thought he could out box an alien.

Winner: The Predator

While I think The Cougar could dodge and survive for a while, I truly think the Predator’s weapons and cunning hunting style would overwhelm him after a while, and this would lead to the stuntman’s death. This was a fun update, and I really enjoyed reading The Predator mini series for the first time.  I also liked writing a little about U.F.O.’s and all the unknown that surround them. The next alien invasion spotlight will be another Dark Horse mini series as we will look at their 6 issue run based on the Alien series! For our next update, we are heading into the past and taking a look at a Jack Kirby original named Devil Dinosaur! So until then look to the sky, read a comic or two, watch a movie and support your local Horror Host!

Devil Dinosaur Logo

Get The Giggles with Dr. Giggles

It’s almost October, and that means only one thing: HALLOWEEN! So coming off Dark Horse Comics’ two issues based on horror film baddie Pumpkinhead and before we get into the super fun horror filled month of October, I decided we will take a mini look at a horror film doctor…no, it’s not Dr. Butcher M.D. (no comic company has been that cool to make a series based on him) and it’s not Dr. Frankenstein who has many comic based around him and or his monster or even horror host Dr. Creep.  You give up? Well it’s Dr. Giggles who Dark Horse Comics had a two issue mini series based around his 1992 film from Universal Pictures.  The good Doctor also made a few appearances in the comic series “Dark Horse Presents”, but let’s not waste any time and jump into the very small legacy that Dr. Giggles made in the world of horror. Beware of spoilers in this write up.

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Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. was a young man who helped his father, a small town doctor, kill some of his patients to steal their hearts to transplant into his mother who had passed away.  Rendell Jr. was given the nickname Dr. Giggles because of his sinister laugh. When the townspeople find out about the crimes Rendell Sr. is killed and Jr. is locked away in an asylum. 35 years later, Jr. escapes and returns to the small town to finish his work of “helping” the sick and testing his bizarre twisted methods of health care. Dr. Giggles was a town legend used to scare children at night, but a real person became town folklore with many stories of his killing ways. Every town has a boogeyman: Haddinfield has Michael Myers, Springwood has Freddy Kruger, Crystal Lake has Jason Voorhess, Skull Island has King Kong and the town of Moorehigh has Dr. Giggles.

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The film follows Dr. Giggles who escapes from the asylum, returns home to the sleepy small town of Moorehigh and starts killing towns people when he finds their old files in his father’s now run down clinic. Dr. Giggles sets his sight on Jennifer Campbell, a young woman in need of heart surgery and spends his time stalking her and killing poor innocent people along the way. The local cops go after the good doctor where he is shot and then left for dead after an explosion. The burnt Dr. Giggles shows up at the hospital where Jennifer is getting her emergency heart surgery and is finally killed off when he is electrocuted then stabbed with his own nasty interments of death by Jennifer who in turn gets her surgery and is cured. The film starred Larry Drake as Dr. Giggles and Holly Marie Combs of TV’s Charmed fame as Jennifer Campbell, along with others and was directed by Manny Coto who also directed Star Kid. The film was met with poor reviews and was only a small box office earner for Universal who at this time was making more money on the Childs Play films. I first saw this film by renting it on VHS with my brother from K&L Video and remember being entertained but disappointed at the same time.  While the film has some fun moments, it really just felt like a cheap direct to video horror film with a small budget and lots of tongue in cheek humor that had a terrible pay out when it comes to the main villain’s death. Over all the film is a dumb good time and is a fun one to waste a night watching with your favorite snack food and late night beverage.

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The film had a score done by Brian May, who also did the scores to such films as Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Missing in Action 2 to name a few. The score can be found on CD as can the soundtrack to the film that has such bands as House of Lords, Ten Inch Men, Copperhead, Paul Rodgers and Girls Bones Found. The soundtrack is pretty much the only merchandise that was released around this film besides the comics from Dark Horse. Giggles didn’t get an action figure, t-shirt, Sega Genesis game or anything, he just came and went at the theaters and at some point showed up on home video. I mean come on, you know you would have played a side scrolling horror game based on Dr. Giggles on your Genesis!

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So there you have it, a brief look at Dr. Giggles the character, the film and soundtrack.  So let’s gear up and get ready to dive into the two issue mini series based on the film from Dark Horse Comics.  Remember I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So the Doctor is in and ready to be reviewed! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having these in stock. 

Dr. Giggles 1

Dr. Giggles # 1  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 2

Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. aka Dr. Giggles has escaped the insane asylum and on his way out kills a few of the staff for good measure. High School couple Jennifer Campbell and Max are having issues as Jennifer is having some major health issues with her heart that she is keeping hidden and her sudden limits on after school activities is making this an awkward situation between them. Dr. Giggles has returned home and has taken up in his fathers old home clinic.  He makes quick work of a few kids who have decided to snoop around his dad’s old killing field and recovers his dad’s old client records to restart the health care his father was dishing out, roaming around town killing off all those he can. Meanwhile Jennifer is mad at her boyfriend Max and even more disappointed in her father and his new younger hippie girlfriend who are going out for dinner that night leaving Jennifer alone and mad at her illness as she looks out her window and sees her boyfriend with another woman. As Dr. Giggles sneaks into the dinner party Mr. Campbell is at, the cops are just starting to piece things together that they have a killer on the loose.

This first issue of the film adaptation starts off with a bang and has Dr. Giggles using the scalp of a victim to try and escape the looney bin.  Gruesome stuff as the man-made wig is still oozing blood as he closes in for a kill on a young nurse. Dr. Giggles is clearly shown in this issue to be insane and a pun spewing smart ass much like Freddy Kruger and kills a number of people from beheading, torture and poisoning. So in short, this first issue is a nice way to show the evil murdering side of Dr. Giggles and makes him one hell of a bad guy for the hero Jennifer to get away from. Speaking of Jennifer, she is your normal teen besides the fact she has a weak heart and hates the fact her father is dating a new woman a few months after her mother’s death. Her boyfriend Max is pretty much useless and the cops are as well besides Magruder who seems more aware that something bad is going on. The story is fast paced and all that you really need to know about the history of Dr. Giggles is told via quick talk panels by teens or the cops. The art is well done and has that pure 90’s Dark Horse look, using lots of blood to express the horrors, but while the inner art is great the cover is just meh and not really that eye catching and for the most part is pretty lame. So far this is a good start to the film adaptation and delivers enough over the top kills to please most slasher horror comic fans, so let’s see how issue two holds up, shall we?

Dr. Giggles 2

Dr. Giggles # 2   **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50    Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 2

Jennifer is now home alone, drinking and upset over her boyfriend’s cheating ways as Dr. Giggles, who has just killed two teens, is now creeping into Jennifer’s house as she leaves to confront Max. Mr. Campbell and his girlfriend return home to find Jennifer missing and the house disheveled.  As he goes to look for his daughter, his girlfriend gets her flesh eaten off the bone by a chemical Dr. Giggles placed in her make-up remover. Jennifer goes to the town fair and sees Max.  The two fight as she runs into the fun house.  Dr. Giggles follows, makes short work of Max and follows Jennifer to help her with her weak heart. While Dr. Giggles is doing so, he kills a cop but not before he takes a shot to the gut that he himself removes.  Jennifer goes to her doctor’s office, leading Giggles along with her who kills her doctor and kidnaps Jennifer to perform surgery on her.  She is saved by Officer Magruder who fights with the crazed man and blows them both up as well as the Giggles homestead. Jennifer is rushed to the hospital where she is once more attacked by Dr. Giggles who has survived the explosion and is burnt badly but sill wanting to help fix Jennifer’s heart.  In the end, she electrocutes Giggles and wakes up with her heart fixed and her father at her side who she thought dead after Giggles attacked him at the Campbell home.

This is a nice wrap up to a silly, over the top horror story about a killer doctor. In this one, Dr. Giggles acts like he did in issue one, delivering more cheesy lines and acting even more like a nut as he kills victims with knives and scalpels and sets his sites on truly helping Jennifer with her broken heart. Jennifer is part victim and part hero as she becomes the captive and then fights back against the crazed Doctor. Max and her father are useless once more as Officer Magruder is the one who helps set up the end of Giggles’ night of terror and dies like a true hero of the horror screen. The issue is even faster paced than issue one making for a quick read with lots of fun over the top deaths. The only real issue is the fact you can tell they rushed a little too much and lots of questions are never answered like is Max dead? In the comic they never really say, while in the film he is alive at the end. Plus it’s 100% silly in the movie and in the comic that Dr. Giggles survives a massive explosion, let alone is well enough to travel, kill and fight. The art is well done and once more the cover is just boring and not eye catching  To wrap it up, this is a fun movie adaptation that uses the film and script as a guideline but makes its own choices to cram it into two issues of a comic. I chuckled at Dr. Giggles and his silly comic book murdering adventure. 

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So there you have it, Dr. Giggles made a fun silly read and was a nice follow up to reading Dark Horse Comics’ two issues of Pumpkinhead.  I actually had an idea about doing a fantasy warfare between the two titans of two issues just to add a little more fun to this quick pre-halloween update.  So let’s set the mood and get ready for a fight between a crazed doctor and a demon of revenge. This will take place in the backwoods of Eaton, Ohio, a location where the White Eyed Bigfoot has been spotted as well a werewolf.  Dr. Giggles is hiding out from the cops, but he has something more dangerous then the cops to worry about as a loved one of his last victim has called upon Pumpkinhead to avenge their death.  So the mood is set and the battle ground chosen, let’s see who would win in a fight between Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. 

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Dr. Giggles is running through a soybean field towards a covered bridge that is surrounded by woods.  His medical bag filled with his metal instruments of death is tucked under his arm.  As the police sirens fade, he makes his way across the bridge and into the woods where he finds a place to rest and eat his lunch, nothing special just a ham sandwich, potato chips and a can of Mt. Dew he has packed along side his items of death. As he enjoys his lunch, a man with a shotgun creeps up behind him and aims the barrel at the back of his skull and tells the Dr. to get up.  This triggers the Dr. to start giggling like a school girl. The man explains to him that his name is JC Jazz, a one time low budget film editor who had his girlfriend murdered by Dr. Giggles in Xenia, and that it’s time for Dr. Giggles to meet his end.  This makes Dr. Giggles’ day as he drops whats left of his sandwich, stands and turns toward JC.  He flips a sharp scalpel at him that strikes him in the throat, knocking his attacker to the ground grasping his neck that is now oozing blood.  Dr. Giggles chuckles as JC manages to get words out and warns him it’s too late.  As the wind picks up and the sounds of locus fill the air, a lumbering monster makes his way towards the Dr. fast.  That monster is Pumpkinhead! Giggles is able to grab a large knife from his bag and and plunges it into the stomach of Pumpkinhead who shrugs it off as if he didn’t feel a thing and quickly grabs Giggles by his skull as JC takes his final breath.  Pumpkinhead smashes the skull of Giggles and collapses as well as the one who called upon him is also dead. The woods are quiet as JC lies motionless, the body of Pumpkinhead starts to shrivel and the brains of Dr. Giggles are mush on the ground as ants have already started to collect around the massive wound that was once the mad doctor’s head. The ham sandwich also sIts on the ground but not for long as the White Eyed Bigfoot shows up and picks it up and eats whats left of Giggles’ Lunch and watches as the clouds go by.

Winner: Pumpkinhead

So yeah, Pumpkinhead would win hands down and would have made really short work of Giggles.  That’s why I had to add in JC Jazz, who in fact was an editor for some of Independent B Movies’ early work and was a fake name that I used when I didn’t want my name all over credits. So with that I hope you had fun with this update and hope you are looking forward to next month as much as me as Rotten Ink kicks off the Halloween season with Dell Comics’ look at classic Universal Monsters like Dracula, The Mummy and Wolfman! So until then, read a comic and be ready to be scared to the bone next update,and stay nerdy.

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It’s The Great Pumpkinhead, Charlie Brown!

The day I am writing this, the sky is grey and foggy and rain is pouring down.  As I look out my window, everything is dark and bleak like there was no hope and for some reason this made me think of a film.  No, not “The Fog” and not “Silent Hill” but Pumpkinhead directed by FX master Stan Winston. Then I thought, wow Dark Horse Comics did a four issue mini series based around this demon of revenge, and then I thought hell, why not take a look at it for the blog. But before we get into that, there has been talk about a Black Panther being on the loose in our area! To me, this is something amazing.  While no attacks have been reported, the beast has been seen several times! This kind of thing can add some spice to an area that is better known for its normal city crime. Imagine coming out of your house and seeing the panther near your car or on your front porch! Some say it’s a hoax, while others think it is just an escaped pet. All I know is that Baron Von Porkchop and I might have to go look for it for an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre.

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The first time I saw Pumpkinhead was on a VHS rented from K&L Video in Kettering.  My brother rented it on one of our many horror filled weekends, and we always knew the image of Pumpkinhead but had never fully gotten to see the film. Fangoria Magazine was always a huge help for us to read about the horror flicks of our time as well as John Stanley’s Splatter Guides and horror icon Chas Balun’s Gore Score books.  Each made it a little easier to learn about horror films of the past and present. My brother and I would spend many hours reading these books and wowing over films like Zombi 2, Igor and the Lunatics, Blood Feast, Rawhead Rex and many more years before we could finally see them. While some titles lived up to our hype, many didn’t as well, but this was way before the internet and before video stores were at every corner so it would take you longer to find videos or for it to show on HBO or a Horror Host to guide you through it.

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Pumpkinheand became one of my favorite cult films of the time after watching it.  The plot has a shop owner Ed Harley whose son dies when city kids hit him with their dirt bikes. Stricken with anger, he goes to the old witch in the woods and raises town legend, demon of revenge Pumpkinhead to avenge his son’s death. After each of the deaths at Pumpkinhead’s hand, Ed Feels pain and comes to realize he was wrong and goes to stop the demon and save his own soul before all the teens are killed. The atmosphere of the film and the use of lighting made this a creepy film, not to mention the amazing creature design by Winston and his FX team is straight out of nightmares. The film stars Lance Henrikson who plays Ed Harley and does an amazing job as always. I first owned this film on VHS and quickly bought it on DVD when it was released and then again on DVD when the special edition was released. This film has been released on VHS, DVD, Beta and Laserdisc via MGM. So far no Blu-Ray has been released.

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Pumpkinhead sparked three sequels.  While alright, none captured the charm or horror of the original. First came 1994’s Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings and took more of a normal direct to video approach to the legend making the creature Pumpkinhead more of the sad character. This film has been met with very negative reviews but did gain a cult following years later. Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes was next and brought back Ed Harley as a spirit who is trying to warn of the evil of Pumpkinhead.  Throw in a evil town doctor played by Doug Bradley and you have the third film. This was a fun film that was a nice way to see the legend again. The last sequel thus far was Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud.  It was released in 2007 and showed two feuding families with one side using Pumpkinhead to get the upper hand.  This was as well was just an okay direct to cable film. The Pumpkinhead legend is quiet for now but who knows who will raise the demon again in the future.

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Besides movie sequels many other products have been made with Pumpkinhead’s image that include model kits, action figures, t-shirts, posters, soundtrack CD’s, comics and even a PC video game.  All these items kept his image out there, in fact Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics for review, has one of the action figures on a shelf display that is tearing apart a G.I. Joe!

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So now that your mind is on the creature of revenge named Pumpkinhead, let’s take a look at the mini series done by Dark Horse Comics, the company who brought comics based on The Predator, Aliens and Dr. Giggles to our hands. 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 with no more delay, let’s go to our look at Pumpkinhead!

pumpkinhead 1

Pumpkinhead # 1   **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 4

The old witch Haggis is sick and looking for a replacement.  She finds one in Mariah, a young woman who was traded to her by a farmer some years back in exchange for good crops. Mariah is called to the cabin in the woods, and Haggis shows her the legend of Pumpkinhead via visions. David is the son of the town’s doctor and is madly in love with Mariah and has come up with a plan for them to run away and leave the small backwoods town behind.  Mariah is torn between her love and her duty of being a witch in training. A stranger by the name of Angus Brenner has also arrived in town with the intent to find Haggis and get the location of the Pumpkinhead’s husk remains so that he may perform an exorcisim and rid the world of the demon of vengeance once and for all. But on the night of the escape, Mariah finds Haggis dead of natural (or is the supernatural?) causes and now must become the town witch to keep the tradition alive.

Issue one is a nice build up for the story to come and does a great job of tying in the film this series is based on. The story is a simple one of a young woman torn between love and duty and has a subplot of honor and salvation. Mariah, who is the star of the issue, is a likable character who while a witch uses her power to help her fellow man and is freaked out when she has the vision of Pumpkinhead. David is a normal throwaway boyfriend character so far, simply a young man with big dreams. Haggis is as snippy and creepy as ever and takes glee in the fact she owns Mariah’s life.  Plus it’s shocking when in issue one she is killed off. Angus has very little panel time but I am sure this hero is going to come into play very soon. Pumpkinhead is not around much in this issue and when you do get to see the demon, it’s only in flashbacks. The comic does a good job with staying with the concept of the original film and seems almost like a part two, as this came a little before Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. The art is pretty well done and has that early 90’s Dark Horse Comic look. The cover, on the other hand, is not well done and makes the issue look like a cheap throw away. The comic is bloodless and has no shocks or thrills, but it’s clear that this is the build up for things to come. Let’s see how issue 2 goes and if it brings Pumpkinhead out to play.

pumpkinhead 2

Pumpkinhead # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 4

Mariah sits in the woods alone waiting for David, but she is not fully alone as a group of bullies attack and accidentally kill her.  David shows up just as they are fleeing and filled with anger and sorrow takes Mariah’s body to Haggis’ cabin and digs up the husk of Pumpkinhead, bringing the demon to life.  As Pumpkinhead starts his killing ways ripping one of the bullies jaw off, Angus finds David and takes him home where he tells him and his father that there is hope for him to live through this if they put faith in him and stop the creature once and for all.

Issue 2 brings Pumpkinhead out to play as he wastes no time killing one of the people he was raised to go after. Mariah, who was set up to be the hero of the story, is killed in the opening moments of this issue making for a shocking moment. David quickly becomes the series’ focus as he takes the curse and becomes responsible for Pumpkinhead’s latest killing rampage. Angus is now given more of a purpose and a back-story making him more important to the plot. The asshole bullies are your normal backwoods punks who not only rough up Mariah but also attempt to rape her, making you want to see them all die. Again this one delivered the full plot into effect and is setting up issue 3…that never was made. The art is well done again and is pure early Dark Horse, and Pumpkinhead looks pretty sweet in all his evil glory.  This issue packs a little more gore and blood. This series or what was made of it was a good average read that had a good plot and some good characters. I think the coolest thing about this unfinished comic series is that it clearly was a follow up to the film, making fans of Pumpkinhead happy at the time.

One of the best things about this two-issue run is the fact we do get to see Ed Harley in the first issue, really tying it into the film. It also dives into the rumor of what Pumpkinhead really is and shows there is more than just one of these creatures in the world. Dark Horse Comics struck out by not finishing this series and to this day I cannot find out why they cancelled the series at the half way mark. They had a good horror movie tie-in series going, and the only reason I could think for them not to finish is very poor sales for the first two issues. It is said that a model kit was made to tie into this comic series that had Pumpkinhead with wings and has a booklet where the creators of this series were able to finish the storyline. So we do know that a booklet has the end of this story and that wings were to come to Pumpkinhead. The odd part about all this is when a film sequel was made, its subtitle was Blood Wings. 1993 was the first and last time a comic was made about Pumpkinhead, and that’s a shame when in 2010 IDW had the means to make one via its Midnight Movie line. So with some empty slots here, why not take a look at a few other comics all of which had the same fate as Pumpkinhead.

Pumpkinhead

Fangoria opened up a comic branch in 2007 and closed it that same year.  Rumors of it re-opening went on for years but finally died in 2009. Fangoria Comics made issues based on horror films and some that were completely new ideas.  Many of these issues got great reviews at the time. But much like many series before it, when the company went belly up they never were completed. Some series did get the rest of the remaining issues made into digital comics thanks to The Scream Factory. So let’s take a look at two of these comic series that started but never finished via print issues.

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What do you get when you mix horror films, comic books, 80’s hair metal and body modification? You give up? Well you get Strangeland, a horror thriller written by Dee Snider lead singer of rock band Twisted Sister. Captain Howdy is a bad man who gets his joy in life by kidnapping and modifying his victim’s flesh. He finds his young victims via online chat rooms where he tricks them into coming to his house for a fake party. But when he is captured and convicted, he tries to turn his life around only for the townspeople to drive him back into his killing ways. This is a fun little b-movie horror film that is well written by Snider who also happens to play Howdy. A sequel was supposed to start filming in 2011 but has since been cancelled.  This Fangoria 4 issue mini series was to be the prequel to the original film, but sadly only one came to print. So let’s get onto a look at Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1.

Strangeland Seven Sins 1

Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of 4

Carlton Hendricks aka Captain Howdy is a man with many deep secrets.  His basement is filled with young men and women, all of whom he has modified in some way, and rumors are flying at club Sin that he is doing some very bad things. Sin himself owns the fetish club and is getting tired of hearing about how Carlton is scaring his customers and how others look up to this scum bag who seems to turn up everything a notch or 12 past people’s pain threshold. So one night Sin and the workers of the club set up Carlton, having him come to the club as a guest where he’s beaten badly by all.  This issue ends with him ko’d on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

For a prequel this comic still starts off with Carlton being one sick bastard who has his torture chamber already set up and youths already in pain. Carlton is a smug asshole kind of guy whose whole existence is based around his wants and needs.  His knowledge of what he likes is high, but his treatment of others in and out of his chamber is something that most would find to be rude and dickish. Not much can be gathered from this first issue besides the fact the club owners and goers hate him, and he is already a sick s.o.b. who forces his love for pain on others. I am sure the rest of the story had to have followed his revenge on the club workers who set him up. It’s a shame that Fangoria pulled the plug on the comic line because I would have liked to have seen where this series would have gone. Yeah, I know that the rest of the story is out there via a download comic, but let’s face it people, digital comics just are not the same! Nothing can beat holding an old 60’s or 70’s issue in your hand and smelling the old ink as you read an adventure, flipping through the pages and holding a piece of comic history in your hands.  No computer screen will ever have that. Strangeland was a good choice for a comic and would have been a good series if given the chance to grow.  The story from issue one was average but it was clearly the foundation for something more.  The art was not my style but was by no means an eyesore. Only time will tell if Captain Howdy will get another chance at comics and movies and while I would be happy to see either, both are very doubtful at this point.

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Next up is another Fangoria Comic that was a new idea but could have spun off into a film: The Fourth Horseman. What was supposed to be an ongoing series only got two issues before its parent company closed doors. I have owned these comics since they came out and never got around to reading them.  So this will be a new experience for me. So let’s dive in and see if it’s any good. Unlike Strangeland this series never did get finished even on a digital comic format.

The Fourth Horseman 1

The Fourth Horseman # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of Unknown

Bear is a Native American hunter who is special and powerful.  Some say he was born with special powers that made him one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Bear’s tribe worship him, and he is, for all account, their leader and giver. The white men are his victims who he robs and scalps giving himself a memento of their death. The warrior turns on his tribe and kills them all looking for a challenge, but Bear thinks all his kills thus far have been of weak men so he challenges the US Army to a fight and wins. The warrior known as Bear is like a plague that sweeps across the land and is the first of the Horsemen also known as the White Rider.

This is more of a picture book then a comic and has very little words.  It’s clearly a build up for a much bigger plan that was to have all the riders doing some sort of world changing event. Bear is a cold uncaring character who has a bloodlust that knows no bounds.  He is very unlikable and is not only cruel to his fellow man but also very mean towards animals. The issue is packed with blood as Bear kills man and animal alike, and the gore and red stuff is aplenty. Nice art, interesting story, wish it had more reading and less of picture book feel, great cover not much more to say so let’s move on, shall we?

The Fourth Horseman 2

The Fourth Horseman # 2   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #2 of Unknown

The Red Rider is Maggog, a Chinese master of marital arts and a man who killed many white men who tried to hurt his mother causing he and his father to fight over the wrongs of killing. The fight leaves his mother dead by accident, and his father killed by his hands. Maggog goes across the land killing anyone who he comes across and when the law finds him, he comes up with a plan that has him escaping jail and killing those who locked him up. After he kills his jailers, he finds that a bomb as been set and that Bear and another rider have blown up the city!

This one is much like the first and is more pictures then words.  It’s a nice way to build up the character and show you just how evil he really is. Maggog is one blood thirsty confused character who, after watching his mother die, decides that death is a good thing and that many should die, but while this is his thought, he is so filled with anger that he kills for the lust of it. The issue is filled with blood and gore, and the story is pretty solid and entertaining. The art is well done and once more so is the cover. The end builds up the team up of Maggog, Bear and a cowboy character, and the end says we get to meet the Brown Rider in the next issue that never saw the light of day. Over all this issue as well was a nice build up for something that was to be a bigger picture.

While only two issues, The Fourth Horseman seemed to have a good story going that I am sure would have been worth the wait. Between Bear and Maggog, I think I liked Bear slightly better but found Maggog’s issue to be slightly better then Bear’s. I would have loved to have seen the other riders’ back stories and would have loved to find out what was to happen. But with the closing of Fangoria Comics came the end to all their series as well. One thing that was to come out via Fangoria Comics was a series based on horror icon Paul Naschy and his Waldemar Daninsky werewolf character.  It was supposed to come out in 2009 during the last relaunch, but sadly this was not to be. The comic, much like others in the company’s comic line, came out only as a digital comic. So here is to hoping that Fangoria will finally get their act together and get their comic branch back up and running.

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Well thanks for once more joining me.  Next time we are coming back to Dark Horse Comics as we take a look at Doctor Giggles.  Till then, stay young!

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