Juliet and I headed back to Mars to once more attend the Monster Bash Convention for another adventure filled with monster movies, podcasts and landmarks from George Romero zombie films! This time around we started our quest on Saturday June 20th missing a day of Monster Bash due to her work having a big event on Friday. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to these vacations in Pittsburgh and Monster Bash all year long. It’s always a fun time hanging out with Juliet with no work worries and knowing that I have time to relax and spend time with all the things I love: my gal and horror films! This year’s theme was The Mummy as one of the guests was Ron Chaney, grandson of Lon Chaney Jr. who played the Mummy Kharis for Universal in the films The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse not to mention he played a Mummy in Face of the Screaming Werewolf! Valerie Leon who was in Hammer’s Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb was also a guest along with Liesl Ehardt who is an actress who’s second cousin is Zita Johann who played Helen Grosvenor in Universal’s 1932 shocker The Mummy! Other guests included Conrad Brooks from Plan 9 From Outer Space and other Ed Wood films, Tom Savini the master of gore FX, composer Kevin Slick, The Blob – yep the movie prop that was the jelly alien, Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria Price and Night of the Living Dead alumni John Russo, George Kosana and Chilly Billy Cardille who also was a long time horror host in Pittsburgh as he hosted the show Chiller Theatre and is also the father of Laurie Cardille who played Sara in Romero’s Day of the Dead. Other horror hosts who attended were Son of Ghoul, Mr. Lobo, The Patient Creatures and the cast of Ghoul A Go-Go! And I must not forget the no budget film maker David “The Rock” Nelson among many other book writers, historians and comedy tribute groups. So pack a bag and come along on our journey as we return to Monster Bash!
Friday (June 20th 2015) before the trip I worked a full shift at work, and Juliet put in a super long day working her job as they had a big station reunion party going on. After work, my cousin Stephen Alexander II and one of my best friends Josh Weinberg got some chicken wings from Frickers and headed to my parents house where we watched Bellator MMA 138 with my dad. The event was a fun one as we all took sides on who was going to win the main event fight between Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice. My dad and Stephen had Kimbo, while Josh and I picked Shamrock. They won as Ken was knocked out in the first round just over two minutes into the fight. While Ken put up a good fight, the stone hands of Kimbo were just too heavy for him. Juliet picked me up a little later, and when we got home, she went to bed and I decided to stay up and pop in a DVD of The Toxic Avenger Part II and have a Troma good time as I drifted into slumber. I was a little bummed we missed the first day of Monster Bash but was really looking forward to the next day’s trip and the official start of my vacation! Plus spending time with my Dad as well as Josh and Stephen was a really good time and helped wash away the missing the convention’s first day blues.
So bright and early on Saturday June 21st 2015 Juliet and I hit the road to start our trip to Monsterbash. The sky was grey and lots of rain fell from the sky as we made a quick stop to Ghostlight Coffee before setting out on this epic fun trip. My drink of choice was an Italian soda as I felt the need to have a rush of sugar as we left very early in the morning. The first thing we listened to was the first chapter of an audio book called “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” written by Sean Howe and read by Stephen Hoye. This was fantastic as Juliet and I enjoyed the look at the early days of Marvel and how Stan Lee got his job with the company and rose to power. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but old school comic fans should check this out as it’s very enjoyable and shows just how much of a goofball Lee is! We then listened to The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana as he spoke with one of the best big men in the business Vader! While I wished Vader would have spoken more about his time with WWE and WCW, it was still nice to hear him talk about his career in Japan. After Art of Wrestling we listened to the second chapter of Marvel Comics The Untold Story, and Juliet and I had a fun time talking about the stories we heard about comic legends like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood. We ate lunch at Max & Ermas and talked about comics and what this trip has in store for us. That’s one fun thing I really enjoy, talking comics with Juliet as I think her love for the funny books burns as bright as mine. The drive up was smooth minus the rain and the countryside of hills, cows and horses is pleasing on the eyes and makes me miss growing up in a small town. But let’s get to the Bash and all the wonders the first day of this convention had in store for us.
On the first day of Monster Bash I was hyped to relax with classic monsters and to see what statues they had set up this year as I figured the theme would have to have a Mummy. I was right as they had one that looked like Lon Chaney’s Kharis character and it was fantastic. They also had one of a female ghost, Forest J. Ackerman as the Frankenstein Monster, Boris Karloff from the film The Raven and the show stealer was the Christopher Lee Dracula, a touching tribute to the late actor. These statues rank among the highlights of the con for me as I always look forward to what they will be from year to year. While walking around, we saw lots of friendly faces and many of the guests like Tom Savini and Chilly Billy seemed in great moods as they spoke to fans. I got so hyped when we found The Blob as it was open and on display and they were allowing people to take pictures of it! I was second in line and after the guy in front of me who took forever to take his picture, I was able to set up my shot and take a picture of one of the worlds greatest monsters from outer space! We shopped and had a good time just looking at all the cool things that vendors had for sale. One thing I really wanted was an action figure of Paul Naschy as the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, but the $100.00 price tag scared me away from it. I saw horror hosts Mr. Lobo and Gruesome Graves wandering around, and while I wanted to chat with them, they both were busy and I didn’t want to be that guy who interrupts a conversation. I had a great time walking around for a while, and once we were done for they day Juliet and I headed back to the hotel to relax and plan dinner and the next days’ plans.
This first night’s dinner had to come from the great Eat’N Park as I truly think whenever Juliet and I are in this area, we have to have this cool diner’s food. This night I felt like an old man as I ordered the liver and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy as well as garden rice. For some reason I get cravings for liver…maybe I have an iron deficiency or maybe I was just getting into the mood of zombies, I mean I am in Pittsburgh. My meal came with a roll that was almost like a sticky cinnamon bun and a sugar cookie that still reminds me of the old Monster Candy sticks. Juliet had a buffalo chicken wrap and a chocolate pretzel cookie, and as always we enjoyed the food and had a good time hanging out and chatting. Yeah, I know lots of you are sick of friends posting pictures of food on their Facebook, Blog or Instagram so I will say sorry ahead of time as this blog will have a few of these sections.
So I am sure your wondering what the first day goodies had in store for me. Well, it was a pretty good shopping day as I was able to find some cool stuff from VHS to comics! I got a VHS of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 hosting the film I Accuse My Parents for $5.00 as well as a MST3K Magnet for $3.25 that showcases Joel and the bots! I got The Tomb Of Dracula issues 39, 51, 52, 56 as well as the My Name Is Bruce one shot comic all for $10.00! I also picked up a comic based on the cheesy kids’ horror film The Willies for $5.00 as well as a comic based on the Van Damme film Cyborg for only a $1.00, both comics I never even knew they existed. Look for both of these on a future Rotten Ink update! I also found the Mondo Macabro DVD of Mystics In Bali for $10.00, as well as DVDs for $10.00 each of Horror Hostess Vampira on the George Cobel Show from 1955, Elvira Mistress of the Dark hosting MTV and Weird Al hosting the 1984 ABC Saturday Morning Preview Pack. I got a DVD of the Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy for $20.00 and the Marvel Comic of Man-Thing # 5 for $7.00! All the stuff for the first day was pretty cool but I think I am most hyped for The Willies comic as I look forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts here on Rotten Ink!
Sunday June 22nd 2015 was our second and last day of Monster Bash, and we began our morning eating a hearty breakfast from Einstein Bros. As I ate my sausage, egg and cheese sandwich I popped in the DVD of Son of Ghoul hosting Dick Tracy and had a few chuckles. As I finished up my meal, we headed down to the convention! Today they had a specialty car out front, a weird Ghostbusters car that looked nothing like the Ecto-One but at least the people who made the car were getting into the spirit of fun monsters as they wore the busting suits and had big smiles on their faces. This morning was a little slow but made it so much easier to look at all the vendor tables and go shopping. As we walked around we saw no budget filmmaker David “The Rock” Nelson filming himself holding his giant toy rubber ant he calls The Devil Ant attacking The Blob. This put a huge smile on both my and Juliet’s face as this was the first time she got to see the man work the crowd. I was going to buy some more shows from The Son of Ghoul but sadly he was not at his table. I looked around for Gruesome Graves but could not find him, but shopping was a lot of fun and just the vibe of this convention is so good as fans talk to each other and almost everyone seems happy! I will say that the rooms this year were a little hot, and I am sure both celebrities and vendors felt at times like they were being steamed like vegetables as it was muggy. After shopping for about two hours, we headed back to the room for a bit to relax and chat about what the rest of the day would hold, as well as watched some TV. We traveled back to Monster Bash for a while and then decided to hit to road and see what was around our location. I must say I really love Monster Bash, and this is one of my favorite conventions to go to every year and I look forward to coming back next year! This year the vendors seemed to be very heavy on DVD, Blu-Ray and posters, and while some places had comics and toys they were not as all stocked, really bummer was the lack of old horror host shows as I was really looking forward to finding old shows of Morgus, Chilly Billy and Sammy Terry but didn’t even find a one, but here is hoping I will next year.
The last day of the convention I found a few good treasures as I loaded up on comics and DVDs! On this day I was able to find many Marvel Comics I needed for my collection that included Incredible Hulk # 205 for $5.00, Son of Satan # 6 for $4.00, Master of Kung Fu # 46 for $3.00 and Frankenstein Monster # 17 for only $2.00! I also got a full set of Ultraman comics for $5.00. This is one set that should be a fun read and make for a great update sometime in the future. I got the low budget film Tales Of Dracula for $10.00 and this one peaked my interests as it has not only has Count Dracula in it but also a werewolf and Frankenstein’s Monster and it’s said to be a tribute of the Universal Horror Pictures. I also found the Paul Naschy flick Werewolf in The Amazon for $15.00, I can never pass on a Naschy film I have not seen! I then also picked up two DVD’s of Horror Host Mr. Lobo and his show Cinema Insomnia; one was his Haunted House Special and for the other he hosted the cheesy classic The Atomic Brain and they were $15.00 each. The one from this batch I am most hyped for is watching Mr.Lobo host Atomic Brain as I am sure it will be a fun late night watch.
For lunch, Juliet and I drove around for a little while and found the locations of some areas that we want to visit in the coming days. We decided to eat lunch at Moe’s once again, and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy this burrito place and how I miss it being around the Dayton area. While Hothead is good, I still would rather eat Moe’s. I had a steak burrito, and it was fantastic as the steak was cooked to perfection and it had an amazing flavor and the chips and queso added to the very good meal. One thing me and Juliet noticed and laughed about is that every woman in there and working was attractive and lovely in their own way, must be in the water we teased. We then went to Target to get bottled water and some snacks and found that the target was even amazing and had a big selection of music, movies and books and every person we came across seemed happy and friendly, making me really love this town! We came back to the hotel and I worked on this update as Juliet played iPad games and read her book. All the while we had Bar Rescue on the TV for background noise. I also read The Incredible Hulk # 205 and found it to be a very great issue. We decided that tonight we were going to watch a movie and eat some local chicken wings, but we will get to that later.
We decided that we wanted to have wings for dinner, and we picked a place called Wing Kings, a local restaurant to order from. We tried to order the food at 7:30 and the phone was busy for several minutes as we tried to call in our order. So Juliet decided at 8pm to just drive to it and order, and she found out the place was closed, and oddly enough it seemed they closed way early as they were suppose to be open till 9pm. For a place voted Best Wings in the Cranberry Journal, this was not a good first impression for us! So we decided on Buffalo Wild Wings instead as they were open and were happy to take our order and money. The food was good, and after eating the relaxing was re-refreshing and helped charge my brain battery that was running low. I also felt the creative bug back inside my soul and many ideas for Baron Von Porkchop episodes as well as comic book issues filled my mind. Over all this second day was a fun one and being around Juliet is always a blast, the only major strike out was Wing Kings failing to rule the last day of Monster Bash.
Monday June 23rd 2015 we started our day off going to the Cranberry Cinema, a locally owned theater to see Jurassic World, and when walking into this theater I was amazed and fell in love with it just by entering the lobby. When we ordered our tickets from the friendly staff and ordered our drinks, they gave us two free small popcorns..yeah what theater in Dayton offers that? When entering the theater they had classic red seats and the atmosphere was top notch and was super clean, and it shows the owners and employees care about this place. The other cool part of the theater is that it had multiple screens and the hallways were filled with upcoming posters for movies as well as cardboard cutouts. Over all this could be my favorite independent movie theater chain as it was an amazing experience that Juliet and I both enjoyed, and next year we will definitely be back to see a movie. Our next stop was New Dimension Comics, a very cool comic shop that is right down the street from our hotel, and just like Cranberry Cinema this comic shop impressed me big time. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by both friendly workers. I noticed many long boxes of old comics for $3.00 each, and I was in Rotten Ink Heaven as I flipped through many comics and finding gems from Marvel, Dell and Gold Key, it was like a overload of superheroes. After buying tons of issues I started to get light headed and we ate something small at Burger King and went back to the Hotel so that I could take a nap. But man I am very impressed with Cranberry Cinema and New Dimension Comics as both of them helped add a layer of greatness to this vacation this year.
On Tuesday June 24th 2015 we started our day by eating another breakfast from Einstein Bros. This time I tried the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, and then we decided it was time to visit the Evans City Cemetery as the weather outside was cloudy and rain was on its way as it was near 80 degrees. When we got to the cemetery we were the only people there as we pulled to the very back and got out to walk around. The sky was grey with thunder echoing off from the distance as sounds of birds, frogs and insects filled the air that smelled like fresh rain. As I walked around I kept thinking about how George Romero and his crew made horror film history in the very spots I was walking around. I thought about Bill Hinzman as the Cemetery Zombie shuffling around trying to capture Judieth O’Deh, and this was inspiring to a one time no budget filmmaker like myself to know that if your heart is into your project you can make some fine horror art. The walk around was super pleasant and the view from the cemetery of trees and farmland was stunning and really made you feel that if indeed the undead would rise it would take you some time to get to shelter. After walking for some time we drove up to the old chapel and peeked inside to see a bare floor with some rotten spots. As we left, I felt like Evans City Cemetery is a place that I would love to be laid to rest in and that any aspiring horror filmmaker should visit this location and just walk around for awhile and allow the peaceful atmosphere inspire you. After we left we stopped back by New Dimension Comics, and I picked up a few more $3.00 Marvel horror comic issues, and we stopped to eat at Moe’s once more. During this time there was also a major thunderstorm with flash floods, downpours and lots of lightning so we headed back to the hotel for a bit.
Later in the day Juliet and I traveled to Portersville to a place called The Snowman, a shaved ice parlor that is a giant fiberglass snowman! We learned about this place thanks to Cranberry Cinema as a commercial for it aired during First Look, and we both knew we had to check it out as the said they had a milkshake called The Yeti. The place was about 22 minutes away from our hotel and upon arriving at this roadside attraction it was really cool to find that The Snow Man was in the middle of a farm and surrounded by land with three horses behind fences eating. The place was not super packed but a mother and her kids seemed to be enjoying the treats, and the weather that was now in the lower 80’s and sunny. Juliet ordered some shaved ice in the flavor of yellow cake batter, and I got a Yeti Shake that was blue raspberry shaved ice mixed with vanilla ice cream with whip cream and must say it was a very tasty shake. The place was fun to just sit at one of the tables watching the horses and soaking up the farmland around you. Juliet, before we left, went and got t-shirts of the Yeti character, and we both left that place very happy and will go back again when we come to town. On the drive back we found an NPR station with the same frequency 91.3 as WYSO that was called WYEP that sparked fun talk of radio and music in general. As we headed back to the hotel we decided that tonight we would have a movie night in the room and give Wing Kings one last chance not to be closed and be a no show for this year’s vacation. Below are some pics of The Snow Man and all that is in its flurry embrace.
So that night we selected Werewolf In The Amazon as we are both fans of the work of Paul Naschy and Wing Kings was open and we placed an order. Juliet got Garlic Parmesan wings and I got just Garlic wings, and we shared some gravy fries. The food was pretty good; the wings had a nice garlic butter taste mixed with a crisp tasting wing, the fries were good but I was not a fan of the gravy. Over all they were a good wing place that had some tasty food for a night of watching a horror flick on our laptop. The film Werewolf in the Amazon on the other hand was pretty cheesy and bad, and it was clear it was made at the tail end of Naschy’s career and whoever made it had a good idea but could not put it together to make sense. The film takes place in the Amazon and follows a group of friends who take a trip into the jungle. There is also a werewolf, Amazon warriors and Dr. Moreau…yes, that Moreau, and in the end it’s no real shock as to who the werewolf is and who survives the night of terror. This film was really lame, and it’s only highlights were Paul Naschy playing Dr. Moreau and the women who are easy on the eyes. The print of the movie was terrible and looked as if it was downloaded off the internet back in the mid 90’s and the source was a VHS tape that sat in a car for a week during the summer. After the film we watched WWE Tough Enough on USA Network and planned out next day of vacation.
On Wednesday June 25th 2015 we started our morning by putting on the TV, and as we got ready on HBO 2 Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong was on. I felt it was a fitting end for our stay at this hotel as this extra long weekend was all about Monster Bash and that giant gorilla was a perfect send off. We then decided to go to the heart of Mars so that Juliet could get a cup of coffee from Mars Brew House, and when entering the coffee house I was impressed on how welcoming it was with its tables and chairs as well as a living room area with artwork on the walls. The man working the counter was really nice and gave me a small sample of a frozen coffee that was really tasty! We walked around the small town as she sipped on her cup of joe and we chatted about how cool this small town was, as well as checked out the new aliens in some of the business’ windows. We had two hours to fill before one of our top attractions of this years trip opened so we decided to go back to Evans City Cemetery for a while. We listened to more chapters of Marvel Comics The Untold Story and then headed to TCBY Yogurt and enjoyed a frozen treat. I had cookies and cream yogurt with whip cream, sprinkles and hot fudge, it was really good. Then we headed to downtown Evans City for what I would say is the main event of this vacation, something that was really the cherry on this fun and amazing vacation with my # 1 girl!
The Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop is in downtown Evans City and is a business that will catch the eye of any monster kid as the front of the store as a sign with zombie eyes in a dead stare and the windows have fake boards on them to keep out the dead. When we first planned this vacation, besides Monster Bash and the Cemetery, this was on our have to do list. When we first tried to visit it on Monday we found out that it was closed for the day and would open up at noon on Wednesday so we knew before we left that this was our last stop before we made the long trip back to Dayton, and I can 100% say I am glad we did! We came in right as it opened and was greeted by a worker who was super friendly and as she went about her business of opening duties me and Juliet walked around the gift shop looking at t-shirts, comics, toys, cards and DVDs of all thing zombies! I was really drawn in by the T-shirts and bought myself a Return of The Living Dead shirt and got my cousin Stephen a shirt that said Pittsburgh Zombie Capital of the World and while checking out we bought two tickets to the museum, only $3.00 a ticket and I must first start off saying that it was well worth every penny and more! To enter you had to drop the ticket into a booth that housed a zombie who was your gate keeper to the world of the undead. The museum had a screening room as you walked in that was playing a documentary on the making of Night of The Living Dead as you moved deeper the area was plastered with stills, papers and information on Night as well as a statue of the Cemetery Zombie. That was just the beginning as many more zombie films are covered as is a history of zombies in pop culture. The area also had a wall of bloody hand prints that were made and signed by actors in Romero zombie films as well as so much more statues and props used in films like Dawn of The Dead and Day of The Dead. Some of the highlight statues included the cover zombie to Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Tor Johnson as the zombie from Plan 9 From Outer Space. I don’t want to spoil too much of what treasurers or is that horrors await you when entering The Living Dead as I think if your a fan of Night Of The Living Dead you should do yourself a favor and check out this cool and amazing store and museum. After leaving this amazingly fun Museum we hit the road for home and so ended one heck of a fun time with Juliet and for this year. I say bye to Mars and Cranberry Pennsylvania, but I know that next year I will see you again. Below is some pictures from The Living Dead with one being the cool as hell Cemetery Zombie statue. And I guess as this is Rotten Ink we really should take a look at our comic based on Night of The Living Dead and the people who made horror movie history.
George A. Romero was born in February 4th 1940 in New York and was brought up in the Bronx. His father was a commercial artist and this helped push him to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and start doing his own short films as well as commercials in and around the Pittburgh area including a segment for the popular kids show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Doing this helped inspire him to get into the horror film industry and he along with friends opened Ten Productions and in 1968 he directed and co-wrote with John A. Russo one of the most influential zombie horror film of the modern times with “Night Of The Living Dead” and this cult classic pushed Romero as a household name for horror film fans and monster kids of the 60’s. Many films followed in the early 70’s like romantic comedy “There’s Always Vanilla”, witchcraft thriller “Season Of The Witch” , bio-nightmare film “The Crazies” and vampire arthouse fright flick “Martin.” While these films did okay, his next huge hit came in 1978 with his sequel to Night of the Living Dead with the mall zombie romp “Dawn Of The Dead”. His next two films he made were the apocalyptic motorcycle knight film “Knightriders” and the anthology Stephen King team up film “Creepshow,” and then in 1985 he made the third in his zombie films and my all time favorite “Day of The Dead” that follows a group stuck underground as the world above belongs to the dead. Many more films followed including “Monkey Shines”, “Two Evil Eyes”, “Dark Half” and “Bruiser.” He also wrote films like “Tales From The Darkside: The Movie”, “Creepshow 2” and “Night of The Living Dead,” a remake directed by Tom Savani. In 2005 Romero returned to the world of zombies and wrote and directed “Land Of The Dead” and other zombie films followed like “Diary Of The Dead” and “Survival Of The Dead” and while he has slowed down he still is active and even traveling the horror convention scene. I really hope that some time soon Romero returns to the world of the undead and makes a film that has the blood, guts and raw energy of his zombie films of the past. George even in 2015 is working on a comic series called Empire Of The Dead for Marvel and here is hoping that he continues to make groundbreaking entertainment as to me he is one of the best do it yourself filmmakers of all time. This update is in honor of you George and all you have done to entertain us all.
I can remember the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead was when I was a young kid and it was playing on local TV. I lived in Waynesville and my brother Bryan and I were both hyped on watching as the station ran all types of promos for its showing making this monster kid more and more excited to view it. While our parents watched TV in the living room, we plopped into their bedroom with a small bowl of popcorn and watched a film that changed my life as for the first time I had a little bit of fear run down my spine of watching a black and white shocker. The horrors of watching as zombies ate the flesh of characters Tom and Judy who were much like every day people was shocking to me. At this point most of the horror films I had seen were aired on Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, Grandpa Munster’s Super Scary Saturday and classic Monster movies from Universal on VHS, and while people died in those movies and many of them had killers and monsters, for some reason that night those zombies did their job and made for a chilling night of TV watching. I can remember the next school day many kids who watched the TV airing of Night of The Living Dead were talking about the scary moments and the slow moving zombies. The film has always had a special place in this monster kid’s heart! The first time I owned the film was on a VHS copy that was presented by Blockbuster Video, and later I would go on to buy it on DVD from Elite Entertainment as well as the colorized version on DVD put out by Legend Films, not to mention I have many Horror Hosts episodes of them hosting this classic zombie romp. The film remains a staple that I must watch every year around Halloween. Night of The Living Dead is one of those films much like the Universal Monster films that is a good way to introduce youngsters to the world of Horror cause while its creepy and does have gut munching, its by no means as extreme as say showing them The Walking Dead or even some of those made for TV horror films that air on SYFY. For me, Night of the Living Dead is a must see for any true horror fan and is a film that will always have a place in my movie collection.
The Cemetery Zombie played by actor Bill Hinzman is one of the most iconic zombies ever on film and is clearly the grandfather of the undead zombie movie icons. The Cemetery Zombie is the first zombie seen in Night of the Living Dead and is the one to start off our undead nightmare as he is the one who chases Barbra and kills Johnny! Bill would be in many other Romero directed films like The Crazies, Knightriders and There’s Always Vanilla. Hinzman would go on to star in many other Horror Films like Legion Of The Night, Santa Claws, Evil Ambitions, The Drunken Dead Guy, Shadow: Dead Riot and River Of Darkness that he stared along side pro wrestlers Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle and Psycho Sid! Bill also directed two films; his first one was the 1988 slasher The Majorettes and then in 1988 he directed and starred as the main killer zombie in Flesheater. Not only was Hinzman an actor and director, he has also produced and written films showing that he was a man of many talents and loved the art of making movies. I had met Bill Hinzman many times during my convention traveling days and he was a staple at Cinema Wasteland. But during Scary Camp, the Dayton Horror Convention put on by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, is when I really got to chat and work with Hinzman who acted in a TV show that my brother was working on called Josh vs. that would have had my close friend Josh Weinberg going up against celebrities in goofy events like 20 yard dashes and paper, rock, scissors and Bill Hinzman in complete Cemetery Zombie makeup gave his prediction on who was going to win between Josh and Sid Haig in a staring contest! I was asked to not only get him on board but also was the one to film and direct him and for sure it was one of the highlights of that weekend. Sadly Bill Hinzman passed away in 2012 at the age of 75 from cancer. I just wanted to take my time here and show respect to Mr. Bill Hinzman who was a great person and gave so much to the world of horror. He is truly missed.
So now that we have talked a little about the film and the people who made it, I think it’s time that we travel to Evans City Cemetery and once more read some Night of The Living Dead comics made by FantaCo this time it will be the film adaptation. So make sure to beat them and burn them as we once more take a look at the living dead in the cemetery that is holy ground for horror film freaks like myself as we spend an evening with the living dead. I want to thank Lone Star Comics as well as Amazon and Ebay for having this comic series in stock and as Johnny says “The Comics Are Coming To Get You Matty” ….wait he didn’t say that. Let’s just get to the comics.
Night Of The Living Dead # 1 ***1/2
Released in 1991 Cover Price $4.95 FantaCo #1 of 4
Barbra and her brother Johnny are heading out to a grave of their father for their mom at a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. This seems to get on Johnny’s nerves, but his sister who is spooked by the cemetery does it out of respect for her mom. As Johnny starts to tease Barbra about being scared he starts to claim that they dead are coming to get her and to her shock she is attacked by a walking corpse who kills Johnny who tries to come to the aid of his sister as he falls and cracks his head open on a tombstone. Barbra runs for her life as the Cemetery Zombie follows looking to eat this young woman. She finds shelter in an old farm house, and as she hides she also meets Ben who has also came to the farmhouse in a old truck that’s low on gas and the barn has a locked gas pump. Ben fights off zombies who are trying to enter the house via open doors as Barbra slowly slips into madness and is overcome by fear. As the issue ends, Ben looks outside and sees a horde of zombies heading toward the house looking for flesh to eat.
This is a good solid movie adaptation of Night of The Living Dead that captures the vibe and feel of the film in this first issue and has a very dark brooding mood being set into place as the zombies seem twisted and the main color used in the comic is black. The story so far is that Barbra goes to a small cemetery where she watches her brother get killed by a zombie. She runs to a nearby farm where she finds the bodies of the homes owners who have been eaten and runs into Ben, a man who arrives in a truck who attacks the zombies and the two strangers in the end must find a way to survive as the zombies are now all around the farm house. Barbra who is timid from the start gets even worse. As the threat gets larger, she becomes hysterical it’s clear fear has taken her away from reality. Johnny is a smart ass who gets joy in teasing his sister as well as just being a negative person, but when his sister is in danger he snaps into being a hero and dies trying to save her life. Ben at this point is a man with a plan and that’s get the gas pump unlocked and his truck filled with fuel and he is going to try and get Barbra and himself to a safe place and figure out what is going on. He also has no fear as he attacks many zombies with a tire iron and bashes in many undead skulls. The Cemetery Zombie is one hungry and motivated flesh eater who uses rocks to break a car window and gives chase like a slow animal stocking its prey. The rest of the zombies are used to get their brains smashed but as more come they become more and more dangerous and the numbers are in their favor. The creepy and helpless vibe so far in the comic is what made the film a classic one, and the art done by Carlos Kastro is well done for this style of book. So far the comic has only made small changes from the film as the comic opens with a zombie eating a bug and watching Barbra and Johnny driving into the cemetery, and I should note the comic is in black and white and this far while violence is happening it not a blood bath like most modern zombie comics. Reading this near the site of opening scene made this even more special and is helping add to my vacation, looking forward to reading part two.
Night Of The Living Dead # 2 ***
Released in 1992 Cover Price $4.95 FantaCo #2 of 4
Ben sets a fire outside the door, and the zombies seem afraid of it. He rushes back inside and starts to board up the windows and has to be stern with Barbra to get her to help him look for supplies like wood and nails. Ben, as they get one room safe, tells her about how he got the truck and in a flashback a diner he was at is attacked by the living dead and how he took the truck to get away as he watched the zombies attack and kill people all around him. Barbra comes back to reality and talks about the graveyard visit and how she was attacked by The Cemetery Zombie and how she thinks Johnny might still be alive. She gets frantic and smacks Ben who tries to stop her from opening the front door and he in turn smacks her and knocks her out. Ben places her on a couch and sets another fire out front to scare away the approaching zombies and starts to snoop around and turns on the radio to hear the news broadcasts that are reporting mass homicides around the state as well as the fact the killers are eating parts of the victims. During his snooping he finds shoes for Barbra as well as a gun and bullets. As Barbra comes to Ben puts the shoes on her and heads upstairs to get ride of the bodies of the owners of the house who had been attacked and killed, but finds that one has be reanimated and attacks him! Ben bashes its skull in as Barbra lets out a scream downstairs as people have come out of the cellar!
This second issue is the major set up to the story as many pages are about the radio broadcast that tells the story of mass killings, people being eaten and the world not sure of what or who is to blame. The plot is that Ben and Barbra share how they ended up at the farmhouse with Barbra slipping even deeper into madness, Ben figures out the zombies hate fires and uses it to keep them at bay as he finds supplies. When Ben is attacked and kills a zombie, people from the cellar appear and our issue takes the next step. Ben, who’s back story is a little more flushed out, is a hitchhiker who stopped at a little greasy spoon dinner for a meal and reacts when we watches the place catch fire and people start to be killed. He is a very much take charge kind of person as from the start he calls the shots to Barbra and has plans to board up windows and doors to make their new base safe. Barbra is a mass of nerves and not much else her mental breakdown is in full swing and she is more like a scared baby rabbit than a human being. The zombies are becoming a horde of killers all around the farmhouse, and while they might be slow moving, their numbers make them a major threat to any living person. This issue is very downbeat as both our survivors at this point have seen death and things that are driving them close to madness. This is a great issue to set the mood for the rest of this adaptation series. The major changes in this issue show Ben’s backstory of the attack at the greasy spoon and also has Ben being attacked by the zombie of the house owner up stairs. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and while I really do like the style I should also point out that the quality does change and sometimes the characters look a little deformed and their features don’t let them look like the actors who are playing them. But like the first issue I enjoyed this one and look forward to issue three.
Night Of The Living Dead # 3 ***
Released in 1992 Cover Price $5.95 FantaCo #3 of 4
Ben meets Harry Cooper and Tom who have been hiding in the the cellar along with Tom’s girlfriend Judy and Harry’s wife Helen and his injured young daughter Karen. Ben gets a little annoyed that they did not come up earlier and help him secure the house, and worse Cooper and he are going at it to what is the safest place for them to hide as Harry thinks they should all go to the cellar and Ben thinks they should protect the ground floor of the house. When Ben is attacked by a window that a zombie is able to bust through the boards, it’s Tom that comes to his aid as Harry watches and finally goes to the cellar after Judy comes up to help them board up the windows better. When he goes back down Harry and Helen fight over them staying in the cellar and not being near a radio to hear the updates of what to do and when help is on it’s way. They decide to go up and help. While upstairs they find a TV and hear a news report for help stations as well as that the dead are coming back and eating the living and they think that it’s all connected to a satellite that was shot down when it was coming back to Earth as it was covered with radiation. Ben comes up with a plan to get to the gas pump, and he and Tom get to the truck with the help of a torch as Harry throws Molotov cocktails from the upstairs window. As they get to the truck Judy decides that she wants to help as well and jumps into the truck! When they get to the pump an accident happens as the gas and the torch meet and set the truck on fire, in fear Tom and Judy drive the truck away in flames and it blows up killing them both.
The flesh is hitting the fan as Ben and Harry are butting heads and both are on power trips on who is going to be in charge and what and where and who and so on and this is the plot of this issue. Both Ben and Harry are acting like spoiled kids as they both can’t work together cause they would have to take orders from the other. The death of Tom and Judy is sad and really brings an emotional touch to the already high dooming mood. Ben and Barbra are pretty much acting the same as they have for the past two issues, and Ben seems to have taken on the role of protector of Barbra as he clearly understands she is not in her right mind. Tom and Judy are sweet silly country youngsters who seem to want to stop the in house fighting, and while they could take charge as the house is owned by Tom’s family he still would rather stick together and get the house safe for everyone. Harry Cooper is a pure hotheaded butthole who is clearly un-happy with his life and takes it out not only on his wife but anyone who is around him. Helen is just a normal housewife who loves her daughter but can’t stand her husband who bullies her and treats her like dirt. The tension between the characters are adding more danger to the already zombie threat that is surrounding them. And by this point in the story you the reader should be catching on that the story is not so much about the zombies but that of the humans who are all so different and how they must act together to survive the situation. The artwork is done by Carlos Kastro again and is enjoyable and captures the gloom very well again and the zombies look soulless like the way they should. Next up is the final issue, and let’s see how this one ends and if it has any changes from the film to comic.
Night Of The Living Dead # 4 ***
Released in 1992 Cover Price $5.95 FantaCo #4 of 4
After the truck explodes Ben is left outside with his torch and as he makes his way from the gas pump to the farmhouse, Harry will not open the door leaving him a sitting duck for the zombies who are approaching. Finally Ben kicks open the door, and he also beats up Harry as he almost got him killed. The zombies outside turn their attention to the burned bodies of Tom and Judy and start to rip them apart and eat the pieces. Ben tries to figure out away to get to a new car but Harry’s is turned over a mile away and Barbra’s is in the cemetery with no keys as Johnny had them on him. After things cool down, the survivors listen to a news broadcast that says the local authorities are out shooting and burning the undead. When the power goes out chaos breaks loose as the zombies start to push their way in, and Harry instead of helping grabs the gun and shoots Ben, who in turn gets the gun back and shoots Harry who stumbles into the cellar. The zombies attack Barbra, Ben and Helen, and they try to fight back the best they can. Helen is able to escape down to the cellar but finds that her daughter Karen is now a zombie and is eating her father’s guts and then turns and kills Helen with a spade. Barbra is taken by a horde of zombies as she freezes when her brother Johnny is one of the undead. Ben escapes to the cellar and pushes zombie Karen out the door and bolts himself in and hides. The morning comes and so does the rescue party who by accident shoots and kills Ben as he is about to come outside to get help. In the end Ben’s body is thrown into a fire that is roasting the living dead.
This fourth issue is a lot of fun and is chaotic, filled with panic, scares and raw emotion. The plot of this issue is the breakdown of the survivors as Ben and Harry just can’t get along and both want to be in charge and both want the power of having the only gun in the household, and when they stop working together they leave themselves open to an all out attack from the zombies who work as one large flesh eating team all in sync and all ready to consume their prizes. Ben, by the end of this adaptation is a very proud man, who tried to come up with ideas to save the group and himself but sadly his idea fails and gets two people killed. The good thing about Ben is that he is not a selfish person as all his ideas are for the best of the group. It’s really cool to watch Ben adapt to the situation and become more and more of the story’s hero as its goes along. Barbra never does snap back to reality and almost becomes childlike all the way up to her death at the hands of the zombies, but even she snaps to it when the undead are trying to break in and does her best to try and keep them out. With Barbra it’s sad to see her slowly slip deeper and deeper into madness as fear takes over her very soul. Harry Cooper is the opposite of Ben and is a bullheaded loud mouth who has his own butt in mind most of the time, but to be fair he also really cares about his sick daughter. Harry is so consumed with people listening to him and his ideas that he risks the life of Ben to try and get that power. He is also a chicken as when the threat is turned up he runs and causes more issues when he shoots Ben and gets himself killed in the process. Helen Cooper is your typical unhappy housewife who only stays with her husband for the sake of their child who she loves with all her heart. Karen who is sick by a bite from a zombie is turned into a flesh eater and kills both of her feuding parents. The zombies in this series start out as slow moving terrors who are easily over powered by the living and by the end are in a frenzy and want to eat some human meat and use their numbers to force their way into the farm house. The thing that sticks out both in this comic adaptation and the film is that while he is the most scummy character Harry Cooper’s idea of them hiding in the cellar was the best idea as zombies are unable to get in at the end. This is a great adaptation, and Fantaco did a fantastic job of keeping the story of Night Of The Living Dead going in the 1990’s. Carlos Kastro did the artwork again and while it’s good I did find this issues art to be a little scattered and almost rushed looking, but even with that said the artwork for this whole series is creepy and holds the vibe of the film. In closing if you’re a fan of the film and enjoy reading a good horror comic then check this one out for sure, check out the artwork below of some of the zombies from this series.
This yea’rs vacation was a lot of fun and was packed with many great places and moments and showed me that taking time away from the stresses of the world and relaxing is something that I need to recharge the battery that is my brain. While I am sad to be done with my vacation, in a matter of a day when this is posted as I will miss the hotel room and the wonderful towns all around it I also must say that it’s good to be home with my cats Leslie and Streets J and as well as planing a film shoot with Baron Von Porkchop. Evans City is truly the home of zombies but our next update is about a icon of Cincinnati, Ohio and will focus on baseball player Pete Rose! So stop using that ball bat to crush zombie skulls and lets head to the ball field and play some ball. Until then enjoy life, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and watch out for the living dead.