SAW Your Way Into This Halloween!

A cold chill is in the air, and the ghouls and ghosts are roaming the streets looking for free candy.  That must mean it’s Halloween, and with this day also comes the spooky holiday update to Rotten Ink! This year we will be playing a game with Jigsaw as we take a look at the IDW comic for SAW and do so to honor the fact Lionsgate has allowed this horror series to come back to cinemas this year and reclaim the Halloween season with Jigsaw, the 8th film in the series that was released on October 27, 2017! So besides taking a look at the Saw franchise we will also be looking at a strange weird life happing in Ohio, a Horror Movie Marathon, a Creepypasta, 5 Questions with a Horror Host and a real life ghost hunt that I went on for this update. That’s the thing I love about this time of the year, something just seems to be in the air, and it makes me crave watching horror films, playing horror video games and reading horror comics even more than normal. So as I sit here for the first time in my new house that I am calling Blood Scream Comics Manor for Halloween, it’s time to get down and scary as we dive into the world of SAW.

Let’s start this Halloween update off with a Creepypasta I like that’s called “Candle Cove.” It’s about a kids’ TV show that warped and frightened kids who watched it… that is, if it even ever aired! The story goes that in the early 1970’s a weird kids’ show would air at 4:00pm on a local TV station that has seemed to be forgotten. In modern times on a website called NetNostalgia Forum, a group started a post to talk about it and share memories of the plots and characters. The show was said to be about a young girl named Janice who in her mind was friends with pirates.  They would go on odd adventures and even had to dodge a character called Skin-Taker, a skeleton pirate who wore the skin of children! They start to creep themselves out even more as they remember episodes that just was a female screaming in pain and later they even find out that the station they watched was nothing more than static! The theories of this show ran wild as people think it was supernatural while others thought it was made by the government to mess with the youth. The show was not animated and was said to be puppets and each had their own charm and sinister side and those who claimed to watch it seem to remember the characters in great detail. The mystery of this kids show is that there are zero official sources that say that it was real and on any TV station in the 70’s plus the mystery is why adults didn’t see the show when on and only saw static on the screen! Plus why were some of the characters super scary including one who skinned kids! So is this show real…well yes and no.  Recently the SYFY Channel did a TV show based on this story while all other accounts point that the old show never did air and was just a story written to try and spook people on the internet. But while this might not be a super bone chilling Creepypasta, it does make you wonder how many shows you watched as a youngster were real and what was in your mind. I am sure we all have shows we remember that we cannot place a name to and only limited amount of friends remember….was that show of your past fact or fiction?

Back in the 1920’s, a man walked to the town of Sabina, Ohio in hopes to find work and start a new life.  During his journey, he passed away of natural causes on 3C highway near Borum Road.  On June 6, 1929, his body was found and he had no ID and only thing that was found in his pocket was a slip of paper with the address 1118 Yale Ave. on it and this did not turn up anything as the address was a vacant lot! The person living nearest to the lot was named Eugene Johnson, and this man’s first name was also given to the body of the unknown man who was believed to be of the age of 50-80 years old. The local undertaker ended up embalming the body of Eugene and waited to bury him just in case a relative could come and claim him and they could find out his real name. For decades no one every claimed the body and so Eugene became a tourist attraction and his body was on display at the funeral home’s small back shack for those who wanted to see a body. Eugene The Mummy became a local celebrity and a fixture in this small town, with his fame also came pranks and thefts as high school kids as well as  college students would steal the body and take him on joyrides and leave him in weird and wild places. Each time he was taken, his body was recovered by the local police and returned to the funeral home. But finally in 1964, after many years of being on display and loved by the community, the body of Eugene The Mummy was laid to rest in the town’s cemetery after the pranks became too disrespectful and they decided it was time to let him rest peacefully. So if your ever in Sabina, Ohio make sure to stop by the cemetery and pay your respects to Eugene, a man who found fame in death and sadly never did get his real story told. So that was another Strange Ohio Tale that showcases why my home state is a weird one.

For Horror Hosts, Halloween time is like Christmas as they fill the local airwaves with their specials as well as air on any number of online stations. And for this year I chose to interivew the iconic legendary St. Louis, Missouri Horror Host Baron Von Crypt who scared late night monster kids from 1970-1971 with his show! The good Baron Von Crypt is a vampire who built himself a very loyal and rabid fan base that even got him into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame! Baron Von Porkchop and myself were very lucky to have gotten to meet Baron Von Crypt at Horrorhound, and now it’s my honor to present to you my readers on this Halloween update, “5 Questions With” Baron Von Crypt!

Matt: So Baron Von Crypt, tell us about your classic Horror Host show…

Baron: The show aired on KDNL-TV, Channel 30, a new UHF station which began broadcasting in June of 1969 in St. Louis. In early 1970, the production manager and I created a live host to try to generate buzz around and audience for classic horror films of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Wolfman, etc. We created a vampire character called Baron Von Crypt and also a sidekick for him called Igor (of course). We had a castle dungeon set and a casket from which the Baron arose each Saturday night at 10pm to introduce the movie. The Baron would interact with his disrespectful sidekick Igor who was always an off camera voice. We tried to do things that were new and different visually … special effects that were leading edge at the time, but nothing like the special effects of today. We just wanted to have fun. The objective was to increase the audience ratings for Channel 30 – which we did!. I wrote and performed in all the sketches as Baron Von Crypt and I also voiced the off-camera voice of Igor. During the roughly 1 ½ years the show ran, I also made a live appearance for an advertiser at the Midwest Camper and Boat Show. It was an absolute blast!

Matt: What Horror Hosts of the past influenced you as a host?

Baron: There weren’t a lot of horror hosts around in 1970 and my inspiration for the character of Von Crypt was really Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula on screen. I basically created a parody of his performance and poked fun at the whole horror genre with wacky humor, silly visuals and inane banter with my sidekick, Igor.

Matt: So being a vampire and all, do you ever get urges to drink the blood of your fans?

Baron: I never did drink the blood of my fans and since I long ago retired as The Baron, I only have vague urges. I do, however, have a strange affinity for Bloody Mary’s which I enjoy whenever I can.

Matt: You have been to a Horrorhound Convention and during this event, what celebrity were you most happy to meet? As well as what other Horror Host?

Baron: My son’s family, including my 11-year old granddaughter, who attended the event as well, are great fans of The Walking Dead and were thrilled to be able to see some of those stars up close and personal. I really enjoyed meeting the many current horror hosts such as The Bone Jangler.

Matt: You being a Vampire and all who is your favorite actor to ever play Count Dracula in film?

Baron: Clearly my favorite actor to play the part of Count Dracula is Bela Lugosi … the originator of the role and my inspiration for Baron Von Crypt.

 Matt: Any final words for my readers?

Baron: Just to share one of my favorite poems written by Baron Von Crypt:

 A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my windowsill.

He broke the glass with his peck, peck, peck, And a large sharp piece just slashed his neck!

 You gotta admit that is pretty good stiff!

Great poem indeed! That Baron Von Crypt is a class act, and I for one would love to see him return to the world of Horror Hosting with new episodes that would air on say…The Monster Channel…hint, hint guys! I am also proud to say that in the world of Sparkle Comics, you just might see Baron Von Crypt soon in some pages of one of our ongoing comic series. I want to thank Baron Von Crypt for taking time to answer our questions, and I suggest you guys check out his official Facebook page for more info on this classic iconic host. Also thanks Timexx Seabaugh for not only help setting up this interview but also helping bring Baron back to the spotlight. Check out these pictures below of the one and only Baron Von Crypt.

For my birthday Juliet and I had a Horror Movie Marathon that not only had a Pre-Show but also had an After Party! The pre-show took place on September 4, 2017 that also happened to be labor day, and lucky for me, we closed early at work so I was able to get home a little after 4:00pm. We started our Pre-Show at 5:00pm, and the first film of the evening was “Camp Blood 4” that followed a young woman and her friends camping out the night before a big concert and being stalked and killed by a clown masked killer. The second fright flick of the night was “Cannibal Claus” about a fired store Santa who decides to get revenge and kills and eats people that are mostly hot naked chicks! The third film of the night was the 1987 shot on video film “Death Nurse” that is about a brother and sister who run a private clinic and kill their patients to collect the money from their deaths and care. And the final film of the night was the creature feature “In The Devil’s Courthouse” that has a young woman and her brother with friends fight for their lives against evil primates who kill in brutal ways. For dinner we decided to have pork chops and baked potatoes, and we both enjoyed the night of spooky horror! We both agreed that the Golden Turkey of the night was Camp Blood 4 as sadly this sequel was made up mostly of flashbacks of part 3 as well as montages of weird things like girls shopping at a second hand media store and putting on makeup.  Plus it ends super quickly, with a “watch part 5” ending. The pluses for the film were the soundtrack was great, the ladies were all attractive and it was cool to at least see a new Camp Blood film. My best film of the night was hard to pick as I enjoyed both Death Nurse and In The Devil’s Courthouse as I found them both to be solid shot on video films from two different eras of independent horror filmmaking, but in the end I would have to say that In The Devil’s Courthouse won out as I found that it was lots of fun with a great set of woods and hills that gave it a creepy atmosphere, the characters were likable for the most part, the gore effects worked and were pretty well done and the really had me with killer monkeys! Plus you can’t go wrong looking at actress Ashley Marie Nelson for 85 minutes. Juliet’s top pick of the night was Death Nurse as she found it to be a great example of the early roots of shot on video horror films. This first night was lots of fun and made me even more hyped to watch the films of the main attraction the next day. So with the end of the movies came winding down for the night and getting some good old sleep.

The next day we started our marathon at 7:00am, and nice enough the house was filled with a chill as we started the first movie “Devil Bat’s Daughter” about the daughter of a famed “killer” who made huge bats and her battle to deal with his legacy. The next film was “Camp Blood 5” and has the surviving young woman and her friends going back to the woods this time to get revenge on the killer. The third film was “The Night Shift” that follows a security guard watching a mansion that has a cult of demons in it. The next flick was “Evil Bong: 666” that has Eve teaming up with the survivors of the past films and doing battle with the Devil of Sexy Hell! The Jess Franco zombie film “Oasis Of The Zombies” was our fifth film and was about Nazi Zombies killing off people who try and find their hidden treasure. “The Haunting Of Morella” was next and follows a young woman whose mother was a witch and killed and now she wants to come back to life by taking over her daughters! The 1992 shot on video film “Dark Harvest” was the next fright flick and has a group of hikers fighting for their lives against killer scarecrows. The Henrique Couto film “Amityville: No Escape” about a group of filmmakers trying to document fear was then selected to try and bring the fights. The anti drug film “Hellmaster” was next and followed a group at a college kids trying to survive an attack by drug fueled human monsters. “The Wicked One” was film # 10 and is about a brutal killer called The Wicked One who attacks and kills a group of friends on a vacation at a family farmhouse. The no budget slasher film “Dark Shade Creek” was next and has masked killer Cyrus hacking up some goofy friends who make the mistake of entering his woods. The supernatural slasher film “The Windmill Massacre” was on deck next and follows a group of strangers on a tour bus ride through Holland who become the target of a burnt up monster killer! The final film of the night was the 1991 shot on video film “Hauntedween” and has a frat house being targeted by a crazed masked killer who loves haunted houses. All through the horrors of the small screen Juliet and I had cookies, Zapps potato chips, breakfast casserole, corn on the cob and flat buffalo style chicken to munch on, and man did we eat well! The golden turkey film of the night was Camp Blood 5 as both Juliet and I picked it due to it once more being mostly flashbacks and having very little of a storyline. My top three fright flicks of the day was the following # 1.) The Windmill Massacre, a really good slasher film that had a cool and interesting brutal supernatural killer as well as felt like a reimagine of the wrap around story to the original 70’s Tales From The Crypt movie. # 2.) was The Wicked One, a great slasher film with a cool killer, solid acting, likable characters and a plot that will remind you of Halloween in ways. And my # 3.) was Hauntedween, a classic cheesy shot on video film from the early 90s that had everything a maker and fan of these style films would enjoy. I want to also say that Devil Bat’s Daughter and Hellmaster both almost made my # 3 spot! Juliet’s top three films of the night were the following # 1.) The Windmill Massacre…#2.) Hellmaster and # 3.) The Wicked One! After the last film ended we chatted about the day’s movies and later went to bed in order to start the after party the next day.

Bright and early on September 6 we started the after party at 8:50am and started off with “Camp Blood 666” this time around a satanic cult brings the killer back from the grave and he starts up his killing ways once again. The second film was the 90’s shot on video film “Jungle Trap” that follows a group traveling to the rainforest and finding themselves targets of native ghosts! “Monstrosity” was our third film and this Andy Milligan film was about a group of friends making a Golem to fight crime on the streets of California. The final film of the day was the gross out flick “Night Of Something Strange” about a STD that turns people into sex crazed zombies who want to have sex and kill! It was a great after party and the films were lots of fun and this time around Juliet and I had different Golden Turkeys as she picked Night Of Something Strange as she is bored like I am with gross humor horror films being made just for shock value. Mine I would have to say was Monstrosity as while I enjoyed it and found its dark humor to work really well and the characters likeable it just kind of felt like a mess and was a little to long. Juliet however picked Monstrosity as her top film as she found it to be silly and lots of fun.  She has really become a fan of Andy Milligan’s films. I would say my favorite film of the day was Camp Blood 666 as I found it to be just like the first two camp cult classic films in the series plus it had Tina Krause in a cameo! So what a great three days to spend with my lady watching Horror Films for one of my favorite things to do and that’s a Marathon.

As most of you long time readers know, in 2016 my friend Jason Young and I opened a independent comic company alongside many of our friends who are artists, writers and creators and we have released some great all ages books like Shocking Macabre Theater # 1 that features Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop sharing spooky tales. And we also released two comics based on knock off toys of the 80’s with Defenders Of The Planets # 1 and Adventure Man # 1! And finally a comic has been made about the Independent B Movie character The Wolf Hunter who got a first issue and brought the classic shot on video character back to life. But in 2017 something really cool happened as we also opened a branch of Sparkle called Blood Scream Comics that was a way to showcase more extreme horror, underground and adult comics! I have always loved Horror Comics, and these comics are issues I am super hyped to create with my friends to entertain the readers. Check out our cool logo below!

We released several Blood Scream Comics this year with our first 3 being based on the shot on video films of Bloodline Video and Independent B Movie and they are Farmer Joe # 0, Scars # 0 and The Sadness # 0, all being 12 page comics that allow the readers to vote on what character they would like to see get a full issue # 1 in 2019! So far the amount of votes we have gotten has been great and the race to get a first issue is very close with all the characters getting respect. We then released a comic adaptation of the cult classic film Don’t Look In The Basement that scared and shocked readers with its amazing art and creepy breakdown of the film. And just this month we unleashed on the comic reading world a really spooky comic called Screaming Skull: 1888 that is a really cool reimagining of the 1958 fright flick The Screaming Skull! And this is just the start as besides all the comics that we do that are for all ages we have so many amazing Horror Comics coming your way readers! So I want to also think my Sparkle Comic family all who believe in the company motto “Comics Made By Friends For Fans”, this update is for you Jason Young, Jeff Potter, Damien Brunk, Jason Gilmore, Theresa Lopez, Marc Gras Cots, Scott Scarborough, Juliet Fromholt, Jeremy Hoyt and Stephen Alexander all of whom have made some amazing comics this year that have entertained the comic reading world. Check out the covers below for the current release of Blood Scream Comics and make sure to check out or official website at www.bloodscreamcomics.com for ways to not only order the comics but get info on upcoming comics.

On September 9, 2017 Blood Scream Comic teamed up with Horrorama Dayton at the Danbarry Huber Heights and brought moviegoers the Indie Horror Showcase! This first time event was lots of fun to do and was a great way to not only expose horror movie fans to some of these cool independent horror films but also the comics of Blood Scream and Sparkle Comics as we sold copies of our comics at the Movie Theater. The event started at 6:00pm for the preshow that played trailers for indie horror films and we screened “The Wolf Hunter” the Independent B Movie SOV film directed by Matt Hoffman as well as the zombie short film “Outpost 31” by Dustin Austen. The main show started a little after 7 with the first film being the slasher film “Babysitter Massacre” directed by Henrique Couto, and it was followed by “The Barn” the super cool 80’s throwback monster film directed by Justin M. Seaman. The next film on the playlist was the demon film “Redsin Tower” by Fred Vogel, and we ended the night with the George Romero zombie classic “Night Of The Living Dead”! In between the films we played trailers, music scores and short films and the event seemed to really entertain those who were looking for a good time of seeing great films on the silver screen. It was really amazing seeing The Wolf Hunter playing on the big screen and hearing the crowd have a good time with this shot on video cheesy rubber face werewolf flick. I hope to do another Indie Horror Showcase next year in September as I love bringing the world Horror Comics and indie horror movies and I think they both go hand and hand. I also ran the booth upstairs and had a great time watching the films from the projection booth. Check out the pictures below to see what you missed if you did not attend. And yep we did do a normal Horrorama this year on October 14th and it had the theme Revenge Of The 80’s and showcased some amazing films from that decade like Nightmare City and The Gate to name a few.

Sadly over the centuries the world of cinema has lost many films and by lost I mean they are no longer around and we all have a very small amount of hope of ever finding a copies of them. Many amazing films have been lost like many of the Fatty Arbuckle comedies and even a Paul Naschy werewolf film called “The Nights of The Wolf Man” that was possibly never finished that filmed in France. The holy grail of lost Horror Films hands down is the 1927 film “London After Midnight” that was directed by Todd Browning and started Lon Chaney Sr. as The Man In The Beaver Hat, but while I 100% would love for someone to find both London After Midnight and The Nights Of The Wolf Man, another film that I hope is found someday is a 1921 silent Hungarian film called “Dracula’s Death” that’s right a Dracula film that was released a year before the 1922 classic silent film “Nosferatu”! This lost vampire film was directed by Karoly Lajthay and this was his only film as director as he went on to be an actor in many Hungarian films. The film’s plot is about a woman who visits a mental asylum and meets an inmate to claims to be Count Dracula and after this meeting she is plagued with horrible visions and must figure out if this inmate is who he claims to be! The inmate or should we say Count Dracula was played by Erik Vanko who had a pretty long acting career and has the honor of being the first actor to ever play Dracula! I hope some day that this film as well as the many others is found in a vault, basement or in a private collection and becomes available for the world to see again just like Edison’s Frankenstein. Below are some stills and the poster for Dracula’s Death and you can take a look and see what you think this film would have been like.

On October 2, 2017 Juliet and I made our way back to Evans City Cemetery to celebrate the Halloween season right! On this day after getting some coffee from Mars Brew House, we headed to the cemetery and the drive was amazing as the weather outside was in the mid 70s and Juliet and I chatted about Lost Films as well as Sparkle Comics and all the cool comics we have in the works. Once arriving at the cemetery we took a drive through it and going around the second time we stopped and got out and walked around. This cemetery is a great place for creative people in the horror world to visit as it seems to help get the creative juices flowing, plus it’s a great place to sit back and think about the legacy that George A. Romero left behind. After spending around 45 minutes chatting and soaking in the beautiful weather we left the cemetery behind to return again next year for Monsterbash 2018! Below is a picture I snapped while there on this fun day.

One thing that I look forward to doing every Halloween season is the Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special for WYSO that is nothing but 3 hours of horror movie score music! My gal Juliet does the talking, and I do the board and select the spooky sounds that will haunt your evening. This show always is something special for me to do and with Baron Von Porkchop taking a long vacation, this is the one Halloween Special that I can count on to create every year. I choose from many different artist like Goblin, Richard Band, Danny Elfman and Fabio Frizzi and pic icon scores from such films as Bride Of Frankenstein, Halloween, Psycho and Phantasm and try my best to pick the songs that will not only chill your bones but will also make you remember the first time you watched these horror films at the theater, on VHS or even via streaming. The Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special every year is the Sunday before Halloween and starts at 8pm and runs until 11pm and can be heard locally on 91.3 FM or anywhere via their website stream at www.wyso.org! Below is a sneak peek at behind the scenes of me programing this year’s Halloween Special that aired on October 29th and if you tuned in, I want to say thank and I hope I made your night a little scary.

What is a Halloween update without a little ghost hunting adventure alongside my good pal Josh Weinberg! The big issue this year of picking a location was that over the years we have done so many of them and have debunked or even scared spooked ourselves with strange people and noises while at them. So after some time of chatting and trying to figure it out we decided on a rematch against Hyde Road’s Bridge in Yellow Springs as last time around we got ran off by the weirdo in his SUV who for some reason was hiding out in the woods and thought it would be a good idea to chase us and try and trap us on the bridge. We decided to go on October 25th and once more we had to kill some time so we had a little dinner and hung out at WYSO in Yellow Springs. For those who don’t remember the legend of the bridge and its ghost, here is the rundown again. The legend goes that a mother killed her baby and herself on the bridge at midnight, and if you park your car footprints can be found on your hood from the ghost mother trying to get in! So Josh and I drove around the bridge once and this time around no weird SUV was parked near the woods so we were able to get onto the bridge at 11:59pm and at Midnight we turned off the headlights and killed the cars engine and waited and the bridge was super quiet…and at 12:01am we turned back on the headlights and the engine and got out of the car and to no surprise we did not see no foot prints, hand prints, ghosts or ghouls and we can finally say that the bridge of Hyde Road just is not haunted by a ghost but might be patrolled by a wacko in his car! Below is a picture that I took after we turned the lights back on and shows that we were center in the bridge…shame that this one was a dud as it would have been cool to have a cool ghost hang out in Yellow Springs.

So we have chatted about lots of great spooky stuff up to this point and even had a rematch against Hyde Road and its cursed bridge. But now it’s time for us to play a game and take a look at Saw, the original movie that not only sparked a ton of sequels but also the IDW comic we are covering for this Halloween update. So lets make the right choice and play by Jigsaws rules! I also want to say that I am taking the write up from IMDB and I will also chat a little about the first film’s production and my first thoughts of seeing it as well as its legacy.

SAW (2004)

“Waking up in a undisclosed location in a unknown room two men, Adam and Gordon are trapped into a single room with a dead body. Given random tools with riddles hidden around the room. Wondering who could have done this there are clues to who might of done it; the jigsaw killer. The question is not just who but why would a serial killer leave two men in a room. Both Adam and Gordon hiding secrets they must trust and work together to get out or die…can they survive jigsaws game or die trying?”

Australians James Wan and Leigh Whannell wanted to team up and make a film on a modest budget after being inspired by The Blair Witch Project, and they came up with an idea that involved two men stuck in a elevator and being filmed on security cameras, and it later morphed into an idea of two men chained in a bathroom with a dead body between them. After the talk the name SAW was written down and became the title of the film they began to work on writing and building. During the development Leigh Whannell was having some medical issues and came up with the idea of the killer of their film known as Jigsaw being ill and having a short time to live and setting people up to feel what he does and to not take life for granted. Funding came next and to start they only had about $30,000.00 for a budget, so they made a short film to showcase the bear trap scene and was lucky enough to find Twisted Pictures who enjoyed the what they saw and invested more money into the film. Next came casting and now with a bigger budget they brought in names like Danny Glover, Cary Elwes, Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell was hired the play John “Jigsaw” Kramer! The film started filming and once finished the film’s score music was composed by Charlie Clouser.  Lionsgate stepped in to distribute the film worldwide, and the film became a surprise hit! Saw was the # 57 of the year and beat out such other horror and cult films as “The Phantom Of The Opera”, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”, “Secret Window”, “Exorcist: The Beginning”, “Open Water”, “Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid”, “Darkness”, “Shaun Of The Dead” and “Seed Of Chucky”! The film did great for Lions Gate as the film had a budget of only $1.2 Million and brought in a total of $55,185,045.00 at the box office here in America. While it has been dubbed “Torture Porn” the SAW series of films are really Horror/Thrillers that once you get past the mass amounts of blood and gore has a message.

I first saw SAW on home video when it came out on DVD and watched it with my then girlfriend Jennifer, and I can remember we both were glued to it, as I really enjoyed the twist and turns of the story! The funny thing about it was during this time I remember that my friends all who were into horror films really enjoying this flick and Jigsaw was the new “it” killer in horror films as Pigmasks and robes for a few years was staples at Halloween parties. But some were along the way mainstream media and none horror fans started a campaign that films like SAW were nothing more that torture porn set to turn on sickos…yeah this worked as well as many people turned on the series and the box office dollars became less and less for Lionsgate and with that came the end of the series for awhile in 2010 and not until this year (2017) has another been made. Say what you will about SAW, but it’s a solid film that spawned some good sequels that grossed out and freaked out movie goers for many years and was for the longest time the series that kept Horror in the theaters for Halloween! So if you have not see this film, do yourself a favor and check it out! Oh I also want to say that actor Cary Elwes in the films he is in for this series is laughably bad most the time.

John Kramer is the man who goes by Jigsaw, and we are going to be taking a quick look at this man who is the backbone of this long running film series. Jigsaw is the mastermind killer who never himself kills his victims, as they are responsible for their own deaths as well as those who are connected to them.  You see Jigsaw along with his helpers select a person they think is taking advantage of being alive and sets them up to play a twisted game of life and death by using traps and puzzles that lead to murder, self mutilation and sometimes salvation. John Kramer started his quest to teach his twisted life lessons after he himself was diagnosed with cancer and after treatments failed to work and his insurance company refused to pay for other forums of treatment he set his goal in life to teach those he feels abuse their lives a message in pain and sorrow all the while showing them what it means to have life. John in his torturous/teaching ways is always joined by apprentices as well as a creepy tricycle-riding puppet named Billy all who help set up and captures the players for what he calls a “game”. I will not say who is helpers are as they would be spoilers for those of you who have not watched the series yet or are not caught up. Jigsaw uses traps that result in death or mutilation as his way to get to his victims, also have to say that sometimes his apprentices are more brutal and kill in cold blood or even set up traps that can not be beat! Jigsaw is also very smart and uses words and puzzles in order to also strike fear into the hearts of those who have became his target. This next part does have spoilers, so you have been warned! But the weakness of Jigsaw is the fact he is a normal human who is dying from cancer and became weaker and weaker through out the series up until his death, but while he has been gone for some time his message and traps live on. While not a supernatural unstoppable killer John “Jigsaw” Kramer is still a very scary person who feels he is right in what he is doing, and that’s why I would say Jigsaw is a very dangerous man with dangerous followers who all have a twisted yet strong message of life.

I guess I should take a few moments and talk about the fact SAW was so popular that it sparked lots of merchandise over the years like all good Horror Film franchises before it and after it. Besides the IDW comic we are covering in this update, Jigsaw and his apprentice have graced the likes of t-shirts, posters, magazines, fan art and action figures & dolls. The film series scores have been released on CD and yep I have played music from it on Alpha Rhythms during the Halloween season. Two video games were made based on SAW that were released on PS3 and Xbox 360 and released by Konami. So as you can see, this film series has left its mark on the world of Horror and delivered lots of great items for fans to collect.

So we took a look at the original film as well as Jigsaw, the killer from the film series, and now its time to dive deep into the world of Horror Comics and take a look at the IDW Comic book of SAW! This comic was a one shot release and proves that IDW is a great company who from time to time does some fantastic work in Horror and release comics based on cult and popular films. I want to thank an Amazon seller for having this comic is stock and making this update possible and wait what’s this a tape recorder, let’s see what’s on it! “Matt Let’s Play A Game…You Have Spent Your Life Watching Horror Films And Reading Comic Books. Now It’s Halloween 2017 And You Once More Have Found A Horror Comic To Review….And I Wanted To Remind Your Readers That You Grade These On A Star Scale of 1 to 4 And You Are Looking For How Well The Comic Stays To The Source Material, Its Entertainment Value And Its Art And Story…Good Luck.” So looks like with that we are read to take a look at SAW: Rebirth from IDW Comics on this extra spooky update!

SAW: Rebirth # 1  **1/2
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 1 of 1

John Kramer is a man who is working a dead end job, he is just going through the motions and not putting any effort into advancement in the company. His boss Paul is a guy who has good pay, a family to go home to while John and his girlfriend Jill have just called it over as he would not marry her and start their own family and worse while others around him seem to have it all he is now coming home from work and getting sick every night. John decides to go to the hospital and has some tests done and soon finds that he has cancer and it cannot be cured and his life is sadly coming to an end! While in the hospital he meets Zep an orderly who spends time chatting with him filling him in on the Doctors dirty secrets as well as patients who have came in like Amanda a pretty young woman who overdosed on heroin as well as is boss Paul who tried to kill himself. John leaves the hospital and changes what’s left of his life around and shaves his head and starts to work on his mission and traps to carry it out.

This is a very slow paced and character background driven Horror Comic that does not deliver on any scares nor does it even have any gore or violence with the only blood being shown is on a bandage via an attempted suicide, but while this might sound like a dull comic I ashore you fans of SAW will enjoy it! The plot is simple John Kramer is a man on borrowed time as he has cancer and while waiting for death he comes up with an idea to teach those he feels is wasting their life to be thankful for it. The main character is John Kramer who is a man who just is living his life with no goals and when his life is on a time limit a switch goes off in his brain that makes him turn a little dark and twisted in the mind and he becomes Jigsaw a man who will torture and kill to get across a message or to teach a lesson. The rest of the characters are background players and one cool cameo is from Amanda who overdosed in this issue and who becomes a major player in the series of films that followed this comic. Besides this comic lacking in blood and scares the major flaw of the comic is off from the sequels as this comic act as if John is not married when we in the series find out he indeed is and was happily married. But I think that this part is wrong as this was released after the original film and before the second film even hit theaters. The cover is pretty eye catching as it’s just the poster with some minor changes to it, the interior art is good and while not my favorite style of art for a horror comic, artist Renato Guedes does a good job and John Kramer looks like actor Tobin Bell. Over all this is a good Horror Comic that plays more on the downbeat life of our villain and is a great read for fans of the SAW movie series, but I think normal Horror Comic readers will not be that impressed or entertained by this comic so I think they should skip it! Check out the cool artwork below to see what the art looks like in this comic, and oh yeah IDW should have made a few more issues in this series and should do more comics based on Horror Films soon!

So I hope you had a great Halloween and hope you enjoyed our look at SAW in the world of comics as well as all the other spooky stuff I chatted about. And want to thank you all again for spending a little of your Trick Or Treating time with me.  For our next update, we are starting our countdown to Thanksgiving, and we will be taking a look at a Superhero named Drastik who sadly has long been forgotten by the comic book reading masses! So enjoy what’s left of Halloween 2017 and make sure to visit your local theater and see Jigsaw the 8th film in the SAW series and until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Remember to be back here next update so we can all learn about Drastik!

 

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Dawn Of The Monster Bash Vacation (2016)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers.  Once more it’s my time to travel to Pennsylvania for the Monster Bash Convention, something that Juliet and I look forward to every year as we both love classic monster movies as well as enjoy Cranberry Township and all the wonders around it, from Evans City Cemetery to New Dimension Comics and everything in-between. This year I was really looking forward to spending some time with my lady and enjoy my time away from work and the stresses of TV Show making and comic book creating.  The start of this year was not a pleasant one for me as not only did my cousin Norman pass away, but I also had some stress health issues that were a major pain and downer.This year’s convention guests include Audrey Dalton from films like “Mr. Sardonicus” and “The Monster The Challenged The World”, Jimmy Hunt from “Invaders From Mars” as well as Horror Hosts like Son Of Ghoul and Chilly Billy Cardille in what could be his final convention appearance. So you, my readers and friends, are welcome to jump into the backseat of our Mazda 3 and go on another fun filled trip to Pittsburgh for Monster Bash.  For this update I am very happy to say we will be covering the George A Romero film Dawn Of The Dead as well as the IDW adaptation of this cult classic and iconic zombie film. So jump on in, and let’s have some fun with classic monsters and a town that almost seems like a second home to Juliet and me as we travel to Monster Bash 20016!

Monsterbash 2016 logo

On July 7th 2016 we started our quest for Monster Bash and stopped first at Ghostlight Coffee to get some good drinks to start our over 4 hour quest. On the drive we listened to two more chapters of the audio book “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” and chatted about Stan Lee and the mismanagement of Marvel Comics in the mid to late 90’s. In-between Ohio and West Virginia we stopped to get some lunch at Ruby Tuesday where I munched down on a New York strip steak and a baked potato.  The meal was pretty good and nothing too special. But outside by the Ruby Tuesdays was a strange giant McDonalds billboard with a sinister looking Ronald McDonald that was hidden in the woods…very strange indeed. The drive was smooth for the most part; we did run into some very wicked traffic in one section, but during this time we just chatted about comics and what our plans were for the following days. Once we hit our official hotel, the Comfort Inn of Cranberry Township, we checked in and loaded in our bags and for dinner decided to order the classic Eat’n Park where I got my usual liver and onions with mashed potatoes and rice, while Juliet ate chicken with sweet potato fries and strawberries. That night we watched some TV, and while Juliet read her book and played on her iPhone, I read a comic with thoughts of Monster Bash running in my head as a quick rain storm came down outside. A good first day and a very low key evening.

Marvel The Untold Story BookCreepy Ronald McDonald in the WoodsLiver and Onions Mmmm

The second day, we woke up around 9:30am, and after getting ready, we had some breakfast from Einstin Bros. where I had a tasty sausage, egg and cheese bagel with orange juice to drink.  Due to some electric issues, they gave us our meal for free! Once done, we had to find something to do to kill time until 3pm when Monster Bash opened and decided to drive around and just see some of the sights that include weird blocked off roads and a place called “Fun Fore All,” an arcade, miniature golf and family fun center. After the drive we stopped back at the hotel and waited for The Bash. When the time ticked down, I wondered what kind of theme car would be out front and more importantly what the statues were going to be this year as my guess would be aliens from Invaders To Mars, but again only a guess. We ate lunch at Max & Erma’s and headed to Monster Bash, and man was I hyped to get this convention adventure started. Walking across the parking lot, we noticed that there was no monster car up front and once entering the Hilton were the convention is held at, we noticed that major remodeling was going on and this worried me as the place where the statues have always been was gone. But after buying our three day badges, we quickly found them and I must say I was WAY OFF on what they were this year. The statues this year were the old woman from House On Haunted Hill, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Christopher Lee version of The Mummy. Walking around we saw lots a great classic monster stuff like posters, DVDs, comics, magazines, shirts and so much more. We saw familiar faces like Ken and Pam who own and run Cinema Wasteland, Jill from Lix Online and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul. A highlight of the day was when Juliet got to see original screen used props used in her favorite science fiction film “Forbidden Planet” including a very cool UFO. We walked around a while and enjoyed the world that is Monster Bash, and after awhile walked back to our hotel and read some comics and books and planned for dinner and a movie on the laptop for the night.

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For dinner who chose Wing Kings as they seem to be our go-to when it comes to eating and watching a movie on our trusty old laptop, and the film of the night we selected was the 1975 film Inn of the Damned as it was one I had seen many years back on VHS and how can you go wrong with a western horror film..right? From Wing Kings I ordered 12 garlic wings to keep the vampires away as well as some onion rings. Juliet ordered 6 Garmesan wings (a mix of garlic and parmesan cheese) and some Jalapeno Poppers, and we sat in our chairs and ate our food and watch a horror motion picture. The wings and the onion rings were fantastic, and Wing Kings really hit the spot.  The movie Inn Of The Damed was as weird, long and dumb as I remember it being when I saw it as a teen. I would say this was a great meal with a cheesy horror film that was a good combination for the night and a great way to end the evening.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 1 Dinner and a Movie

So your wondering what my first day haul was right? Well let me share with you my treasures this time around. I got the documentary DVD “Creature Feature 60 Years Of The Gil-Man” for $20.00. I also picked up the DVD-R’s for “Inn Of The Damned” for $5.00 (it’s the Cheezy Flix release) and a classic black and white chiller called “Valley Of The Zombies” for $10.00. I ended up finding some comics this first day like Attack Of The Mutant Monsters # 1 for $3.00, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Graphic Novel for only $6.00, Giant-Size Man-Thing # 2 for $3.00, Chamber Of Chills # 6 for $4.00, Worlds Unknown # 3 for $5.00, Hellraiser/Nightbreed Jihad # 1 for $5.00 and lastly The Tomb Of Dracula # 26 for only $4.00! Over all a pretty good haul but nothing to special but all worth buying in this monster kids head.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 1

We started day three around 8:30am, and after getting ready and watching a little TV, we went to brunch at a place right next door to the hotel called Pig Iron (not to be confused with the Zoo Crew member from DC Comics) where I had Chorizo Hash that was mighty tasty. Before brunch we also hit New Dimension Comics, and I found lots of great reads like some issues of Captain America, Night Of The Living Dead, Marvel Tales and Werewolf By Night. Plus at the comic shop I found the only missing issue of Marvel’s The Frankenstein Monster which means I now I have the full run. After brunch we walked back over to Monster Bash and found that a replica of the Ecto-One from Ghostbusters was parked outside, and this sparked a convention between Juliet and I on how cosplay Ghostbusters are taking over conventions. Once inside we walked around and I kept my eyes open for David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to buy some of his films, but sadly the quest today came back empty-handed. I did finally get my picture taken with John Russo, the man who helped create the “Living Dead” universe and picked up a few items before we decided to wonder back to our hotel and plan the rest of the days adventure. Below are some pictures from the second day of Monster Bash including the picture of me and John Russo.

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The second day Monster Bash haul was pretty weak with me only picking up three items! First, I got another DVD-R copy of the Paul Naschy film Vengeance Of The Mummy aka Mummy’s Revenge for the overprice of $20.00.  This will mark my third attempt at watching this movie on a DVD-R! I got the Marvel Magazine size comic adaptation for the film Meteor for only $3.00.  And lastly, the best find of the day is a Golden Book graphic novel adaptation of the classic epic adventure film Clash of the Titans for $5.00! The second day’s haul, while light, still delivered some great things for me to read and watch…if this copy of Vengeance of the Mummy works.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 2

After Monster Bash and us coming up with a game plan, we settled on the fact we had to visit the Snowman again as I really needed a Yeti Shake! As we started on the magical road to The Snowman for our tasty cold treats, the poor Mazda 3 started to have issues, and we had to turn back around and return to the hotel.  Once back, we looked for a Mazda dealer to take the car to on Monday morning and worked on some Sparkle Comics business while the weather outside looked like a storm was blowing in. Because of the car issues, we were stuck for the evening at the hotel, and I took this time to read some comic books and work on some Rotten Ink updates as Juliet spent time writing and reading.  Dinner was coming up, and we picked the ever popular Eat’N Park as they were just across the street and we knew the food would hit the spot for this disappointing day. My meal once more was liver and onions with mashed potatoes with gravy, a sticky roll and rice and for a treat a Smile Cookie that’s a pirate in honor of the MLB team The Pittsburgh Pirates. After dinner and reading, I decided to watch some TV before bed and wondered how the third and final day at Monster Bash would go and hoped I could get some David “ The Rock” Nelson DVD’s as they would be the perfect films to cheer this Monster Kid up.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 2 ComicsMonster Bash 2016 Day 2 Sparkle Comics Website WorkMonster Bash 2016 Day 2 Dinner

Day three of Monster Bash and day four of our vacation started with breakfast from Einstein Bros and good talks about Dawn of The Dead and Sparkle Comics while eating.  Once done, we walked across the street for the final day of the convention, and my quest to buy David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs continued. Once we walked into the convention my quest came to an end, and I found David Nelson and chatted for a moment and picked up two of his films! For awhile we walked around and just looked at all the tables and made our final pick ups as the convention closed a few hours later. With the car being down still, we walked to Max & Erma’s for lunch and headed back to the hotel to work on some Sparkle Comics business and to read, watch TV and just have fun being around each other. Below are some pics I took of the last day of Monster Bash including a very cool Dr. Phibes statue and a bad ass Wolf Man painting, plus the picture of me and Independent film maker icon David “The Rock” Nelson with one of his horror characters, The Devil Ant.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 3 pic 1Monster Bash 2016 David The Rock and MeMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 pic 2

The third and final day of Monster Bash haul was the following items: the VHS of the cheesy film The Bat People for $4.00, the CD soundtrack to Demons 2 for $10.00, Hulk Hogan hosting the 1985 CBS Saturday Morning Cartoon previews on DVD-R for $10.00.  I also got two Horror Host DVD-R’s for $10.00 each that were Zacherley hosting a teen dance show called Disc-O-Teen and clips from Ghoulardi show.  My favorite pick ups for the day had to be the two David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs as I got the movies The Demon Monster From Outer Space and The Fishman for $20.00 each.  I always feel good supporting true independent filmmakers and David is a great guy! Over all I got some great things this Monster Bash and many of them will be talked about again here at Rotten Ink.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 3

That night we ordered dinner from Pig Iron where I had a chorizo grilled cheese and fries, and we watched the Hulk Hogan 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoons preview that was not so much Hulk Hogan as it was Rowdy Piper doing a talk show style show with guests like Pee Wee Herman, New Edition and Patti LaBelle and in between showed quick clips of cartoons that would be airing on CBS. It was a fun watch as seeing Pee Wee and Piper talk to each other using sock puppets are things the 80’s were made of. After dinner we worked on more Sparkle Comics website stuff, and later I read some comic books that I picked up from New Dimension Comics days before. Over all the day was good but we both looked forward to getting the car fixed the next day so that we could zoom around town and visit some of our favorite sites in and around Mars.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 3 dinner pig ironMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 Hogan CBSMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 me and the comics read that night

On Monday July 11th after the Mazda 3 was taken into the shop for some TLC, we finally got to go out and do things on this Dawn Of The Dead themed vacation. We ended up having to rent a car, but this helped us at least be able to go out and do things for this vacation and not be stuck in the hotel.  We first went out to lunch and had a good meal at Moe’s where a steak burrito was calling my name. After lunch we headed back to New Dimension Comics, and I bought a ton more comics as I found their dollar room. After walking out of New Dimension Comics with many issues of Incredible Hulk, Marvel Super Heroes and Detective Comics in hand, we went to TCBY so Juliet could get her yogurt for dessert as she was craving white chocolate mousse.  As for me, I did a weird mix of chocolate and strawberry with sprinkles. After driving around in traffic, we headed back to the hotel, and later that night we had dinner at Eat’N Park and then watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network. Over all a fun day filled with great weather, comic books, good food and the friendly staff of all the places we visited. Check out the pics below for some of the highlights of the day!

Moes Lunch 2016Thors Hammer New D Comics 2016TCBY Juliet 2016

On Tuesday July 12, 2016 we had to squeeze so much fun things in one day as it was our last full day in Mars and also the last full day that we had the rental car. So we decided to first go see a movie at the Cranberry Cinemas and saw The Purge: Election Year at its first showing. I really love the Cranberry Cinema as it has the look and feel of a independent owned theater and has a personality that many of the giant chain theaters are lacking and makes me miss Dayton local theaters like Page Manor and Englewood Cinema even more. After the film we went and got some lunch from Moe’s, and the meal was good as always.  Then we headed toward a place that is a shrine of Pittsburgh film making as well as what I would say is “Graceland” of horror, Evan City Cemetery. When driving to the cemetery I was telling Juliet that I wished that Dayton has a location like this that was used in a horror film that made an impact to the genre. Once at the cemetery and driving up the lane, I spotted in the woods next to the road a rooster and a turkey hanging out together.  Now that was random and amazing! The weather was nice and warm with a cool breeze and walking around the cemetery always recharges my batteries and makes me want to be even more creative and to drive my self more when it comes to making a Horror Host show and comic books. Plus walking around with Juliet in this place is something special and something I look forward to every year. After Evan City Cemetery, we drove to The Snowman where I drank a Yeti Shake made with vanilla ice cream and blue raspberry shaved ice and watched the horses in the field next to this landmark. Once done we returned to the hotel and chatted, read some comics and watched TV and ate some Wing King for dinner and ended the day watching TV.  This was a great day that was super fun filled with good times and memories of why I love this town!

Cranberry Cinema 2016Evan City Cemetery 2016Snowman 2016

On Wednesday July 13, 2016 we had to spend the morning returning the rental car and getting our car back and then hit the road back to good old Dayton and listened to the last chapter in “Marvel The Untold Story” and ended our Monster Bash Vacation…but this update has just started as we’re now going talk about Dawn Of The Dead, the second film in the Romero Dead series, and I review the IDW adaptation of this film. So let’s take a trip with the undead and chat about this beloved zombie film!

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In 1978, George A. Romero teamed up with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento to bring the movie going public a sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, and one of the worlds most classic zombie films was born, simply called Dawn Of The Dead.  Theater goers poured into the cinemas to watch as the living and the dead clashed once more in a battle of the living keeping their human sides in line as the dead do what they do and that’s eat. The start of Dawn of the Dead was in 1974 when George Romero went to the Monroeville Mall with his friend Mark Mason, who worked for a company that managed the mall.  After seeing all the ins and outs of the building and just how happy shoppers were, the idea of people surviving in a mall during a crisis became a joke between them that sparked the desire to start writing the script. Romero, along with his producer Richard P. Rubinstein, started to get investors, and when news broke of a Night Of The Living Dead sequel, Dario Argento jumped on board and helped get international investors among many other helpful things in return for international distribution. Once ready, they secured the Monroeville Mall and shooting started on November 13, 1977. The filming would start at 11pm and would end at 7am as during the day the mall was packed with holiday shoppers and doing late night shoots was better for not only the crew but also the mall. Other locations for filming included Harold W. Brown Memorial Airfield, Firearms Unlimited and Romero’s own studio, the Latent Image; all things in and around the Pittsburgh area. Shooting ended in February, 1978 and so began the editing of Romero’s next epic zombie film. The man behind the effects for the film is the master of splatter Tom Savini who also played one of the bikers in the film. In the lead roles are some fantastic actors all who are the true backbone of what makes this film work so well.  You have Ken Foree as Peter Washigton, David Emge as Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews, Gaylen Ross as Francine Parker and Scott Reinger as Roger DeMarco, not to mention such actors as David Early, Howard Smith and Jese del Gre, to name a few. Doing the music for the film is the Italian band Goblin, who scored many of Argento’s films as well as De Wolfe Music Library stock music. Romero has a cut of the film as does Agrento.  Each are different in many ways from music to runtimes as the US print is 127 minutes long, but Italy’s is 118 minutes long.  On top of that a “Directors” cut of the film was released on home video in the 90’s that is 137 minutes long! One of the biggest changes between the American version of Dawn of the Dead and the Italian version is that Romero’s is packed with comedy elements with the zombies being treated like jokes by a invading biker gang while Argento toned that way down and tried to keep the undead scary. The film also brought some very memorable zombies to the screen like Machete Kill Zombie, Helicopter Chop Top Zombie, and my favorite, the red flannel zombie; all of them gave the world of horror iconic scenes. The budget for Dawn of the Dead was $1.5 million, and it made $55 million at the box office, making it a huge hit for United Film Distribution who released the film. It was released with other 1978 horror films: Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Damien: Omen II, Halloween, I Spit On Your Grave, Jaws 2, The Redeemer: Son Of Satan, Toolbox Murders and many others.  While Dawn Of The Dead might not have brought in as much money as say Jaws 2, it is way more respected by Horror Fans around the world. Now I am sure many of you who have not watched this classic film are saying, “but what’s the film about?” We will cover that with the IDW Comic Adaptation reviews.

Plaid Shirt Zombie 1Dawn Of The Dead Poster 0Dawn Of The Dead Zombie

Growing up I was (and still am) obsessed with the Romero Dead films.  You long time readers know about my first time seeing Night Of The Living Dead on broadcast TV and seeing Day Of The Dead on the USA Network in my past reviews for the Monster Bash vacations that featured the Prelude and Aftermath of Night Of The Living Dead as well as the Fantaco Adaptaions of Night; not to mention my USA Saturday Nightmare update where I covered other films I have on DVD taped off the USA Network including Day Of The Dead that was given to me by my pal Jason Young. The first time I saw Dawn of The Dead was on a VHS copy of the film my brother had bought on a boring weekend.  We made a whole night of watching it that included snacks and making dinner that consisted of boxed spaghetti that I could swear he used to live on.  I took my place sitting on the floor with my bowl of spaghetti, bag of Andy Capp Hot Fries and my glass of Mountain Dew and was glued to the TV as I watched one of the most iconic and beloved Zombie films ever made.  I was drawn into the dark mood and grim nature of the events that were unfolding before my eyes. I can remember going from amazed to annoyed as the bikers entered the mall and began throwing pies into the faces of the undead.  I didn’t understand why the zombies were being treated like jokes taking away their scare appeal. After the film was over I can remember my brother and I chatting about it, breaking down scenes and talking about our favorite kills and zombies from the movie. My favorite character was Peter, and I can remember my brother and I laughing and joking about Flyboy and how he kept screwing up at major times during their flight to get to shelter and even in the mall. Dawn of the Dead will always have a special place in my heart as watching it with my brother was a fun memory, and I can still remember the the pure enjoyment as I watched the horrors of the living dead unfold before my very eyes. To this day I own the clam shell Thorn Video VHS release of this film and must say that the film is definitely in my top 10 zombie films of all time!

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The Goblin score for Dawn of The Dead (Zombi) is one of the best in the world of horror films as each track fits the scene it accompanies.  The main title is so iconic, it makes almost everyone’s top 10 list of best scores in horror history. There’s something about the way the score just makes the scenes pop, and the opening title sends shivers down the listeners’ spines. If you’re a fan of this score, you can find in on CD and vinyl, and it’s well worth the purchase. I also want to note that I play tracks off this soundtrack all the time on the WYSO show Alpha Rythems. Just wanted to touch up on this score as I truly think it’s one of the best in the horror film world. Plus the song called “The Gonk” that is played as one of the muzak songs in the mall is also the end credits theme done to the beat of chickens for the stop motion show Robot Chicken. I want to also note that the first time I ever owned this soundtrack was thanks to a old website called Rogers Basement that used to have custom made soundtracks.  He had one called The Dead Trilogy and had the music for Night, Dawn and Day as well as dialogue from all three films.

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Did you know that Dawn Of The Dead had it’s own strategy board game? I first learned about the game in the mid 1990’s thanks to my friend Geoff Burkman (who I’ve known since I was a kid.  I job shadowed him when I was 16, and we watched Dawn of The Dead to see if we could spot Gaylen Ross’s nipple in a scene!) who had the game and told me all about it.  You see, Geoff is a huge fan of the Romero dead films and even played a zombie in Day of The Dead…but that’s for a future update. When I started working at Game Swap in Kettering, a man named Martin started showing up and bringing in tubs and tubs of horror toys, movies, posters, comics, magazines and board games and in his collection that he was selling was the Dawn Of The Dead board game. This year I asked for a reunion of the Dayton Board Game Society so that we could play this game and the the group and I could share our thoughts on it.  The players were Josh Weinberg who was Fran, my Cousin Stephen Alexander playing as the Zombies, Jeremy Hoyt took the role of Roger, Thomas “Maurice” Smith was Peter and I played as Flyboy. The game was very strategy-based and Josh, Jeremy, Thomas and I had to think wisely as the goal for us as the human survivors was to lock all the mall entrances, get the rifles for Steve and Fran and lastly kill all the zombies left in that mall. The zombies goals are to kill at least three of the players, and if Fran dies the game is over.  They also try to infect the survivors, and once infected they can be turned into a “Super Zombie” and can amp up the other nearby zombies and add to the players’ panic meters. We decided to shorten the game and just go for the shutting of the doors as we bent the rules a little as really it was made only for four players with two playing as the zombies and two playing the survivors.  But we added one extra player and only had one man playing the zombies.  The reason for shortening of the game was that it was getting to be over two hours just to complete that task. Peter, Roger and Fran survived the game, and Flyboy was infected and later become a Super Zombie, but I must say I was proud that as Flyboy I was able to lock two of the doors before I was killed. Over all the game was lots of fun and was a good and spooky time to play with great friends. So if you and your friends are into table top games and are looking for something to play this Halloween season, I would suggest Dawn Of The Dead as we all had a good time playing it.  I am sure that if we played by the official rules it would have been equally as enjoyable.

Dawn Of The Dead Board Game 1Dawn Of The Dead Board GameDawn Of The Dead Board Game 2

Besides the board game, soundtrack and home video releases of Dawn, some other great merchandise has been made based on this cult classic zombie film like t-shirts, posters, a homebrew Atari 2600 game, hats, books, magazines and of course action figures. Two companies stepped up and made figures based on this film.  The first was Reds Inc. whose designs were cheap and were not the major must have items for fans and collectors. The next company to make figures was NECA, and their figures were way better in detail and quality.  These figures were very much must-haves for fans as I can remember Andy Copp wanting them when released and had me order them for him when I worked at Mavericks. So if you’re a fan of Dawn Of The Dead, you can find yourself some great official and unofficial merchandise. Below are some pictures of the action figures that were made of characters from the film.

Dawn Of The Dead Toys 1Dawn Of The Dead Toys 2Dawn Of The Dead Toys 3

The film has many memorable zombies, from the Hare Krishna Zombie all the way to Machete Zombie, but for me the stand out and the most iconic from the film has to be the poster boy known as Plaid Shirt Zombie, a tall undead bold flesh eater that our heroes run into at the airfield and who meets his fate from Roger’s gun. This grey skinned flannel shirt wearing zombie is so iconic that he has his own Halloween Mask as well as a zombie in the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead was made up to look like him in a episode.  Paul Musser is the man who played Plaid Shirt Zombie and is pretty much only known for playing this role. Below is a picture of Plaid Shirt Zombie from Dawn of the Dead, and the two following pictures are him from The Walking Dead. This is update is in honor of you, Paul Musser, for playing one of the best zombies of cinema.

Plaid Shirt Zombie 2Plaid Shirt Zombie 3

On October 18, 2015 I finally bit the bullet and visited the Monroeville Mall.  I had heard rumors from so many people that the mall was not a safe place to be and that it was rundown and filled with shady characters, who wanted to rob you of your cash.  Plus it’s been said that the mall has changed so much that things didn’t look the same as they did in 1978. But Juliet and I were in town to meet Blue Demon Jr., and our great friends Pat Steele and Ann Rotolante were also in town and it was fun showing them the Evans City Cemetery as well as the Dead Museum.  The mall was on their must-see list as Ann is a huge Romero fan, and Juliet and myself had always wanted to visit it so it seemed like a great day to do so as the weather was cold, cloudy and rainy.  When setting up our trip to the mall, I talked to my friend David who knows a guy who gives big tours of the mall and shows you places scenes were shot and even could get us on the roof, but David informed us the night before we visited the mall that his friend had a family emergency and could not do the tour, but this didn’t stop us and we went anyway.  Below are my thoughts and feelings about visiting the main set for one of world’s most important zombie films, Dawn of the Dead.  So follow me into the Monroeville Mall!

Monroeville Mall

On the drive up to the mall’s parking lot I kept humming songs from the film as Juliet would chuckle, and upon entering the parking lot I noticed the place had a good amount of cars with many people heading into the main entrance as well as many of the big stores entrances like JC Penny. When entering the mall, a rush of horror nostalgia swept over me as I realized so many great actors like Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger and Gaylen Ross stepped into that mall and acted out war alongside extras as zombies and bikers.The mall was filled with lots of empty storefronts and had a clash of old indoor mall appeal mixed with a modern 90’s updated look.  We walked around the upstairs looking for any kind of familiar sites or even some sort of plaque stating that this was the mall from the film.  While some spots triggered memories of the film, we walked past a vape store that was playing Dawn Of The Dead on a big screen TV and that helped add to the mood of the mall.  Also upstairs, in one of the side entrances, was a giant mural the depicted lots of classic stuff from Pennsylvania like Mr. Rogers and yes, a zombie.  Walking around we took many pictures of hallways, doors, stores and elevators all the while having good conversations about Dawn Of The Dead among other topics. Juliet was happy when she spotted a TCBY.  So naturally we all had to have a small bowl of frozen yogurt as we continued our quest of the mall. The mall had a giant Cinemark Movie Theater in it, and this made me flashback to the days of Dayton Mall having one. The ground floor was more of the same with stores like Spencer’s and no clear signs of objects or landmarks from the film.  One cool store had something called Zombieburgh Lazer Tag in it, showing the owner embraced the history of the mall. Finally toward the end of our tour of the mall, Ann found tucked away down a small hallway some photos and a plaque for Dawn Of The Dead as well as a room that read “Muzak Room.”  While small, it was very cool to see that they gave the film some love and added to our growing collection of pictures. After we were done and leaving the mall, it was nice to reflect on Dawn Of The Dead and just how Romero made so many places landmarks for horror fans in Pittsburgh.  At the time we came, the mall was not filled with shady people but normal families and lots of hot woman in tight pants, and not once did I feel like someone was up to no good. I was sad that the bridge, clock and fountain were all gone but times change and sadly in the world of corporate malls, those items take up room that could be used for vending machines or another lame pretzel cart. I’m very glad to have gone to the Monroeville Mall and to have spent time there with people who also love the history and atmosphere of this landmark. Below are some more pictures from the mall that I took while I was there.

Monroeville Mall hallwayMonroeville Mall DoorsMonroeville Mall Zombie painting

So there you have it, I wandered the halls of the Monroeville Mall just like so many zombie fans before me, and I can’t stress how amazing it felt to be there. While not as special to me as the Evan City Cemetery, it still is a must visit for fans of the Romero Dead series. So while I sit here in the hotel room in Mars, PA, I think it’s time for me to start taking a look at the IDW comic adaptation of Dawn of the Dead and see how well they capture the bone chilling magic of the film. I want to think Ebay, Dark Star and Bell Book And Comic for having these in stock and as always must remind you 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. So let’s head out to the mall with Fly Boy and see what kind of undead fun we can stir up!

Dawn Of The Dead 1

Dawn Of The Dead # 1 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 1 of 3

Fran is asleep and wakes up at her job at the TV station during a debate between a host and his guest. The doctor is talking about the dead coming back to life and eating the living, and worse, the station is showing outdated safe zones causing people to die by trying to reach them as the station manager is still worried about ratings.  Fran is met by her boyfriend Steven who is the station’s helicopter pilot and wants her to meet him on the roof later so the pair can escape using it. Meanwhile, downtown a SWAT team is surrounding a building being overrun by a gang, and they soon find out that besides the gang, the building is filled with normal residence as well as zombies.  Roger is a good team member and is friends with Steven.  He’s suppose to escape with them as well, but when he meets fellow SWAT member, Peter, they bond over the horrific things they are having to do in this building killing zombies.  Roger invites Peter to get away with them. The helicopter is ready and Steven, Fran, Roger and Peter all get aboard and while flying high above see that the zombies are everywhere and that humans are trying to fight back. Stopping at a small airfield, they have run ins with some zombies and tension between Peter and Steven breaks out as by accident Steven almost shoots Peter while trying to kill a zombie. They are low on fuel and need a place to sleep and soon find a giant mall and land on it’s roof.  The parking lot is filled with the undead, and they decide to go into the mall to look around.

This first issue in the adaptation of the cult zombie film Dawn Of The Dead packs a punch but also pulls many of its powerful blows as many iconic scenes from the film have been cut for this comic book. Gone are many of the scenes of Peter, Roger and the SWAT Team blowing away zombies in the apartment building.  Gone is Peter having to shoot the zombie kids at the small airfield.  Gone is Steven and Fran fighting for their lives against zombies in the hanger on the airfield as well as the iconic zombie who gets his head chopped off by the helicopter twirling blades. I do understand that things would have to be chopped out of this adaptation of a over two hour film to be able to fit into three issues  that total only 26 pages each, but these things I mentioned are things that should not be cut as they are very iconic scenes in the movie. But even with these cuts, I still found this IDW Comic to be very entertaining, and it captures the emotion and characters of the film pretty well on the slick comic pages. Fran and Steven come off as a loving couple who are both bull headed yet will watch out for each other no matter what, Fran has a sense of responsibility, and she goes into a rage when she finds out that the station she works for is giving out very outdated info to the public, while Steven is more a man who wants to protect himself and those he cares about. Roger and Peter are SWAT team members who have a terrible job of clearing out a apartment building where the residents are hiding the undead as well as gang members, and this sets them off to run away and go on a unknown quest with Steven and Fran in the helicopter. All the characters are very likable right now with Peter being my favorite as one panel shows him crying for having to slaughter some zombies, but he is still as tough as nails. The zombies are everywhere but have not been too much of a major threat yet for our survivors, and the classic Plaid Shirt Zombie is played down but still present. I can’t wait to see more zombies become more threatening and add that true gloom and doom to our story. The comic is pretty bloody and filled with gore as many zombies and people are blown away complete with brains and guts spewing everywhere.  The zombies do get to bite the flesh off of some humans making it feel slightly like a gore comic…with my favorite kill of the comic being the head shot of a SWAT member by the hand of a gang member as the panel is gross and well done. The cover is pretty sweet and has the feeling of the late 70’s mixed with a independent comic cover of the early 2000’s. The art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong, and it’s fantastic as he knows how to draw zombies and has many times with his work on other undead titles like Wake The Dead and Zombie Tales. Over all, this is a great comic adaptation, one that captures the mood and feeling of being here in Pittsburgh. Let’s see what issue two has to offer as we now enter the mall.

Dawn Of The Dead 2

Dawn Of The Dead # 2 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 2 of 3

The survivors enter the mall from a skylight and find cases of spam to eat and a small safe room to rest in.  As Steven sleeps, Peter and Roger decide to hit the mall stores and try to get things they might need like a TV, radio and food, all the while dodging and killing the zombies that are wandering around inside the mall. The noise of gun fire awakens Steven who decides to go down and help, along they way he picks up the blue prints of the mall and is attacked by a zombie lurking in the shadows, but thanks to a handgun he found, he is able to save himself. Steven joins Peter and Roger, and together they get the supplies they need and find that ducts above the stores can lead them from store to store without being attacked by zombies. During this time they also decide that they may all just stay in the mall for awhile. Fran is pregnant, plus she wants to learn to fly the helicopter and come up with a plan to rid it of zombies and keep them out. The plan is for Fran to keep watch with a rifle on the mall’s roof, Peter and Roger to drive trucks to block the entrances and for Steven to fly high above them and keep watch in his helicopter. The plan is going well but Roger gets sloppy and is bitten by a zombie, and this marks him for turning into a undead flesh eater.  But before he turns, he wants to help ride the mall of the zombies. Thanks to the gun store and a prize car inside the mall the group is able to kill off all the zombies and bask in the glory that is the spoils and goods from the stores.

The heat is on for our survivors as they are faced with not only hordes of zombies but also the fact one of their own has been bitten and is dying and at some point will turn into a zombie.  The plot of this issue really has them at the mall discovering what treasures are inside the stores and working together to secure the mall and rid it of zombies. Fran is a little more on edge as she feels like they are treating her like a den mother and not a member of the team because she is going to have a baby, and I give her big props for standing her ground and demanding respect. Steven, Roger and Peter all have dreams of staying for awhile at the mall and relaxing and coming up with a plan as well as listening for any news on what’s happening in the outside world. The zombies, while slow, are flesh hungry and try as hard as their undead bodies will allow to attack, eat and kill our heroes, and sadly for Roger, he has chunks of his flesh eaten and now is infected with the disease that is bringing the dead back to life. This issue is blood and gore filled as well with many gruesome zombie deaths being present complete with exploding heads. So fans of blood soaked comics will be happy as the splatter is present and gore-tastic in nature. Like in issue one, many scenes are missing like Steven running from the zombie and wasting bullets trying to hit him in the boiler room, and many other scenes are cut or trimmed down. I will also say that while Peter is still my favorite character so far in the adaptation series, with Fran’s attitude change her character has broken out of being just a generic background character and into the front of the pack showing she has more to offer than just standing around whining about having to eat spam. The cover like before is great and show cases zombies as well as the iconic Dawn of The Dead logo, and the art is once more done by Chee Yang Ong and looks great. I do need to make the comment that the characters look nothing like the actors who play the parts in the film, but they hold all the characteristics of them to make it work. This issue is not only very horror themed but also has the drama appeal that made the film so iconic.  So over all we have another great issue in this Pittsburgh zombie cult classic adaptation.  Let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Dawn Of The Dead 3

Dawn Of The Dead # 3 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 3 of 3

They clean up all the zombie bodies and place them into the freezers to kill the smell and tighten and lock all the doors.  The mall is theirs, and they go on a shopping spree and enjoy the spoils of their hard and dangerous work. Things are not all good are Roger is becoming more and more sick, and death is near for him.  Fran, Steven and Peter wait in the other room as Roger is dying and watch the news that features more arguments and less reason to why the dead are rising. Roger dies and returns as a zombie, and Peter is waiting for him and quickly kills his close friend. Time passes and Fran learns how to use the helicopter, and while training, a group of bikers spot them and decide they want what’s in the mall and don’t mind killing to get it. They enter the mall, and by opening the doors, thousands of zombies also enter causing an all out war that leaves many of the bikers dead, tons of zombies dispatched and poor Steven dead and now a zombie. Peter and Fran wait for an hour in their mall hideout home, and finally the zombie come calling lead by Zombie Steven.  Peter kills him and urges Fran to leave as he will not be joining her…as she is about to fly away, Peter changes his mind of committing suicide and decides to join her on the escape. As they fly away the helicopter has very little fuel and the whole area is covered in zombies, making it clear that no matter how far they run the zombie will be there.

Dawn Of The Dead Lite is the best way to sum up what this three issue comic series is and while that might sound like I am saying it’s bad, I am not as I found myself fully enjoying it and loving every undead blood soaked moment. The reason I call it lite is many scenes and iconic characters seem to be missing from this comic adaptation, and with this issue many moments came to mind that are just nowhere to be seen or are so chopped up and shorten they seem like they are missing. Iconic moments like the Hare Krishna Zombie trying to attack Fran is gone, the Machete Head Zombie and his scene of the blade going into his skull is gone…in fact the whole climax of the biker gang invading the mall and running wild is so cut down they seem like just a small plot ink blot to move the zombie back into the mall. Now as I said before I understand things needed to be cut and trimmed in order to fit into three issues of a comic book, but to remove iconic characters and scenes seem very silly. I mean the talk show host and doctor arguing over zombies is left in but no Hare Krishna Zombie death? It j seems like a very odd choice of things to keep and things to cut. I should also note that the Hare Krishna Zombie does make an appearance in the comic, but his death and attack on Fran does not. Plus the comic at times does some odd things like for some reason a Elvis Presley Zombie is the first zombie to come through the elevator and try and eat a hurt Steven…why? But again while changes are present the comic holds a real charm to it and does a pretty dang good job of smashing all the drama elements into the pages, much like the film in the comic each character has their own personality and each are likable people that you find yourself cheering for to make it out of whatever situation they are in. Peter is clearly the man with the plan from the group, while Steven is the brains figuring out blue prints and escape routes. Roger is the wild card reckless but also skilled at tactics, and Fran is more of the voice of reason pointing out the dangers and also coming up with back-up plans. The bikers are a bunch of thieves who feel they are owned the stuff they steal who kill and destroy and to be fair when they are killed by the zombies or the bullets from the survivors guns you can’t help but feel that they deserved it. The bikers that are truly missed in this comic is Blades, played by Tom Savini (who is seen in just one panel), and the blood pressure machine using biker who gets eaten while testing it. The zombies are a threat in this issue as the hordes of them that enter the mall are hungry and want to chomp on any human they can get their rotten fingers on. The blood, guts and gore are present again in this comic and many of the deaths (or is the re-deaths?) in the comic are more graphic than those in the movie and that’s sure to please many gorehound comic fans of such titles as The Dead and the original Walking Dead. The cover for issue three is good but the weakest of the three, and the art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong again who really captures the zombie nature of the film. I wish IDW would do more of these horror movie adaptations or even original stories based on classic cult films.  So far, off the top of this comic reader’s head they have done Motel Hell, The Fly, Land of The Dead, Masters Of Horror and IT! Terror From Beyond Space, and all those were entertaining and well done for the most part minus The Fly. I would love to see them tackle the likes of Pumpkinhead, Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Night Of The Demons, to name a few. Over all, while it’s is not 100% perfect, this three issue Dawn of The Dead series hit home and was the perfect comic series to read during this vacation to Monster Bash. If you’re a fan of the Romero Dead films, check this one out and take a look below for a examples of Chee’s work in this comic series.

Dawn Of The Dead Art 1Dawn Of The Dead Art 2Dawn Of The Dead Art 3

So we are leaving the zombies of Dawn of The Dead behind as well as the 2016 vacation to Monsterbash and Pittsburgh and as always it was a blast and it’s a shame it had to come to an end. It’s always great to take in the local Pittsburgh eateries like Eat’N ‘Park, Wing Kings and The Snowman as well as support local businesses like New Dimension Comics, The Dead Museum and Cranberry Cinemas and visit iconic sights that horror classics like Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead were filmed. And the thing that brings us to town is Monsterbash, a convention that feels like home and offers so much to an aging monster kid like myself. So I want to thank Juliet for always being not only my girlfriend but my Pittsburgh pal. I want to thank my co-workers at Game Swap Kettering for holding down the fort, and I also want to thank my cousin Stephen Alexander for feeding and watching over our two cats Leslie and Streets J while we were out of town. And a big thank you to everyone we meet while in Cranberry Township as they always make us feel welcome. In closing, Dawn Of The Dead is one of the most iconic zombie films ever made and George A. Romero could be one of the best directors to make zombie films ever and thanks to IDW, we horror comic readers got to enjoy a pretty fun and bloody adaptation of this cult classic. Our next update will take us away from the undead and will pit DC Comics top detective Batman against the hairy beast man of the Himalayas the one and only Snowman. So forget about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice this is the real battle you have been waiting for. So until next time, watch a zombie film or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local horror host! See you next time for this epic showdown!

Batman vs Snowman Logo

When Science Runs Amok! The Strange Case Of The Fly

Dang, Science you’re scary! Welcome to another countdown to Halloween update; this time around we are taking a look at a killer insect that will vomit on you and then eat you alive.  This creature is known as The Fly! Science is all around us and was one of my favorite subjects in school right behind history.  We are going to take a look at when science and horror clash and create an abomination to mankind. On July 23rd 2008, a group of friends were walking along Ditch Plains Beach in New York when they stumbled on the carcass of a deformed animal that had odd color skin, fur and a weird beak-like mouth. Many people thought that the creature was the body of a small dog, sea turtle, rodent or even a raccoon, but many believe that it was a freak of nature, something made at Plum Island, a place that is for science to contain and cure diseases that infect animals and could also infect people. This thing was called The Montauk Monster and made the rounds on all types of news sources making cryptozoology fans go crazy trying to figure out what this thing was! After this, more creatures were found washed up around New York, and the locals began talking about these Horrors of Plum Island! It was even reported that the body of a humanoid man had washed up on the beach and that it was one odd looking person with drill holes in its head and even had extra fingers. No one knows for sure if these creatures are real; only a few claim the story was true, but one thing’s for sure, cryptozoology is one fun thing to be a fan of!

The Montauk Monster

For my update for Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man and Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk, I wrote about horror hosts through the ages and talked about two 50- 60’s horror hosts I would love to see footage of.  One was The Great Zucchini of Supernatural Theatre, played by Bill Miller, and the second was an odd looking host named The Madman who hosted films in Des Moines, Iowa about whom very little is known. The update got some great attention, and I received lots of messages about the horror hosts I wrote about and praise for the quick history lessen on hosting.  A lot of people also commented about the sad passing of Don Paris, the actor who played The Shroud of Nightmare Theatre. But I didn’t get any responses about the two hosts above, and I would like to take a few moments once more to ask my readers for help to track down any footage of these two hosts! I am going to focus on The Madman for this one as he reminds me of a humanoid that could have been found on the Island of Dr. Moreau, and that ties into our subject of science running amuck. I have spent much time on the net using message boards, Facebook and Google to try and find out any information on The Madman and have come up nearly empty handed as all that’s out there is what’s on E-Gor’s Chamber Of Horror Hosts, amounting to very basic and not useful information and one little write up in an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland that a fan of the show wrote many, many years back. Looking at the only known picture of this host makes me wonder what his style of hosting was like, did he try to scare viewers? Did he fill his show with puns and silly jokes? What did the character’s voice sound like? What was the name of his show? How many years did he last? What was his backstory? Who played him? Did he make public appearances? What station did he air on? So many questions with no answers on this host, and it’s heartbreaking that I may never find any of these answers as The Madman seems like a host that time forgot. The picture of Madman was summited by Don Hinson, who worked for a radio station in California at the time.  He had these words about his favorite host “Among the many Ghost Hosts of Terrorvision Films, such as Zacherley (natcherly), Vampira, ect., one that sticks out in my memory is The Madman of Des Moines, Iowa. I think your readers would appreciate a picture of him.” The issue of Famous Monsters this was in came out in 1960 and was issue # 6. So if you have any info, footage or press pics about The Madman, contact me. I would love to see them and share with my readers. Below is a picture of The Madman and here is hoping that footage will come to the light soon. On a side note, at work we ended up buying a bunch of horror and science fiction films with cut up front covers and some of the titles were good ones like Frankenstein’s Army, Toxic Avenger (Japanese Uncut Version) and Only Lovers Left Alive, to name a few. For some reason I decided to put them in a display box and call them “Madman’s Cheap As-Is DVDs” and used his only image on the sign I made for the box…man, I love the art of horror hosting.

The Mad Man of Des Moines Horror Host

It’s sad and shocking that so many of the world’s horror hosts are forgotten, and their footage and even press photos are just missing, tapped over and lost.  This is something that one day I hope I can help with and make a vault and library that is dedicated to hosts from all over the world to save their episodes and allow fans to relive and discover a horror host of their choosing. But that is just a dream for now as I am sure that I would need lots of help to pull this off and make this dream a reality. It’s time now to move away from horror hosting and take a look at the original Fly movies before we can get into the film series that sparked this comic mini series.

The Fly 1958 1The Fly 1958 2The Fly 1958 3

In the 1950’s, horror films changed from Dracula to atomic age monsters, and in 1958, a movie was made called “The Fly” that was directed by Kurt Neumann and starred the likes of David Hedison, Patricia Owens and Vincent Price and follows a doctor who uses a teleportation device that backfires when a fly enters with him and changes him into a half human and half fly creature.  He must hurry to find a way to cure himself before his mind goes the way of the fly! The film sparked a sequel in 1959 called “Return of The Fly” that follows the original doctor’s son and brother trying to pick up the experiment when once more things go wrong and the son is turned into a Fly monster. In 1965, a third film was made called “Curse of The Fly” that follows yet another son and his sons making the same mistakes that were made in the past. These films are considered a great and fun trilogy of films, and the original is well respected and sparked that dreaded word “Remake.”  But as you soon will see, this time the remake is as good, if not better, than the original! I don’t want to spend too much time on these original films as they are not what this comic series is based on, but out of respect they should be talked about.

The Fly 1986 1The Fly 1986 PosterThe Fly 1986 2

In 1986, David Cronenberg made a remake of The Fly.  It was more terrifying and ramped up the special effects 100% to shock and terrify the viewing audience. The film follows Seth Brundle, a scientist who is trying to impress a sexy journalist named Veronica with his matter transportation experiment that uses pods to transport one thing to another pod.  When he uses it on himself, an accident happens when a fly enters the pod with him and their genes mix, and over time Seth becomes more and more like a human fly! In the end, Seth loses control, becoming a full Fly creature, and is killed before a cure can be found. The film stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth and Geena Davis as Veronica. This film has so much more to it, but I wanted to just whet your appetite because if you have not seen it, you should do so right after reading this update! In 1986, The Fly was # 23 at the US box office and brought in a total of $40,456,565.00 for Fox and beat out such films as Three Amigos, Little Shop Of Horrors, House, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Howard The Duck, Legend, Psycho III, Critters, Labyrinth, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Haunted Honeymoon and Big Trouble In Little China to name a few. While not a mega hit, The Fly remake made a impact on horror fans and showed that remakes could be great if done well.

The Fly II 1The Fly II PosterThe Fly II 2

Fox couldn’t leave well enough alone, and in 1989 decided to make a sequel to The Fly simply called The Fly II. This film follows Martin, the son of Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaite, who is orphaned after birth.  He was born in a cocoon, which kills his mother who dies of shock. Anton Bartok, the man who financed the experiment that started this mess, decides that he wants to exploit Martin’s odd genes, and this leads to mayhem, backstabbing and murder! During this time Martin falls in love with Beth, and the two find a way to transfer the fly genes into Anton as Martin has become infected and is transforming like his father before him.  This was his only way to become normal. This film has lots more to the plot, but I wanted to sum it up so you at least get the basics. The film stars Eric Stoltz as Martin, Daphne Zuniga as Beth and Lee Richardson as Anton Bartok. In 1989, The Fly II was # 54 at the US Box Office and brought in a total of $20,021,322.00 for Fox beating out such films as Prancer, Shocker, No Holds Barred, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Great Balls Of Fire, Halloween 5, Cyborg, UHF, Fright Night II, Toxic Avenger Part II and The Wizard, to name a few. This sequel slipped at the boxoffice and was not as well loved by horror fans.

A Fly

W.A.S.P. is a band I have followed for many years. I can remember being so annoyed when I was a teenager and was never able to just go into CD Connection (a one time local music chain) and pick up their new album without having to special order it. Or worse is when I was trying to find some of their older albums on cassette and it was as if none of the CD shops around here knew what band I was talking about.  None of them could get them in stock as they were out of print. But I must say I really loved shopping at CD Connection and almost all the staff knew me and my taste in music. I miss that place, and shopping for music just is not the same as almost all the music stores in Dayton have shut down or only deal in vinyl. W.A.S.P. is a hair metal band from the 80’s who captured my attention when, as a youngster, I got their self-titled album on vinyl form Renaissance Music.  The image on the front cover was of lead singer Blackie Lawless and the band sitting on a set that looked like a hell filled with torture! I popped that vinyl on the turntable and my head was blown by just how amazing the whole record was. I soon bought more of their stuff on vinyl, cassette and CD and also enjoyed them in the low budget film Dungeon Master as well as the song they did for Ghoulies II called “Scream Until You Like It.” W.A.S.P. quickly became on of my favorite bands alongside the likes of Motley Crue, Cinderella, Alice Cooper and Billy Idol. So when I heard they had a new CD coming out in 2015, I knew I had to hear it, as I have been a bad fan as of late and missed getting their last two releases…but I made up for it as I got them all now and decided to listen to them as I write this update!

W.A.S.P. band

So let me take a few moments and tell you about these rock n roll CD’s! First up is the 2007 release called Dominator that was an album based around the raw feelings of tragic events of September 11th and the war in Iraq that followed and shows that Blackie Lawless was watching the events with eyes wide open and wondering why bigger countries bully smaller ones. Tracks I liked off this CD include “Heaven’s Hung In Black,” a nice ballad with some rocking moments that has some powerful lyrics and has an epic W.A.S.P. song feel. Other tracks I really enjoyed were “Teacher” and “Heaven’s Hung In Black (Reprise);” both are at the top of the list of tracks on this release. I really enjoyed this CD as I feel like Blackie Lawless had something to say and he did so the only way he knew how and that’s make a album around his message.  It’s very cool album and was worth the listen and price I had to pay to get it. Next is 2009’s Babylon, a CD that for some reason went out of print pretty fast and by the time I got a copy it was $33.00! It shows if you’re a fan of a band, don’t wait to buy their CD as it could be here today and gone tomorrow when it comes to staying in print! This one was a pretty solid album and had some good tracks that showed Blackie still had some rock to share with listeners and at times it felt like classic W.A.S.P. and that is a great thing! Songs I liked included “Into The Fire,” a ballad of sorts that show cased Blackie’s writing and had a classic sound, and “Live To Die Another Day” is a really good track.  It’s heavy but not over done. On this CD they also cover the Chuck Berry song “Promised Land” and do a good job even if they do poke fun at Elvis at the end. While Babylon is nothing special and is a shadow of the stuff from the 80’s, it’s still a good CD with tracks that are worth rocking out to.  It’s also odd as it clearly shows the start of Blackie looking into religion as many songs are tied into Biblical events. For those who don’t know, he is now a born-again Christian, and that’s funny as this band was one of the most hated by Tipper Gore and her PMRC group who went on a witch hunt against music they felt was not acceptable. So these two were a nice way to wait for W.A.S.P.’s new CD, and once I get it, I will share my thoughts with you my friends and readers.  Until then, put on your favorite rock album and turn it up to 11 and bang your head!

W.A.S.P. Dominator cdW.A.S.P. Babylon CD

I am a huge fan of IDW Comics and have enjoyed many of their horror based comic series like Bigfoot, Motel Hell, Godzilla Legends and IT! Terror From Beyond Space, and I can’t tell you how hyped I was to hear about them making a mini series based on The Fly! So I am really looking forward to reading this series and seeing what they have come up with to continue the story of the Brindle curse and what gross murders will the Fly commit now that budget and special effects are not limited on the comic pages. I need to thank Mavericks Cards and Comics for pulling this series for my file, and I should also remind you that 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s get our safety goggles on, watch out for fly puke, and see what IDW has in store for us with this horror film inspired series.

The Fly Outbreak 1

The Fly: Outbreak # 1  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 1 of 5

Dr. Martin Brundle, the son of Seth Brindle who was transformed into a human fly, is trying his best to cure Anton Bartok, a man who is now a glob of flesh after he was dragged into a Telepod by Martin who, like his father, was cursed with the genes of a fly.  By using Anton to cure himself, Martin left his one time employer a freak of science, but despite all his efforts thus far, he has failed to cure Anton. Martin is still with Beth, but the two are having some issues as Martin refuses to touch his lady without having safe sex.  He does not want to have a child as he fears it will be cursed to have fly symptoms. At the lab Anton turns from a blob of flesh into a full fledged Fly humanoid and kills some workers.  Eventually he comes face to face with Martin and acts as if he is his own son! As Martin tries to get away from The Fly, security shows up, kills The Fly and then informs everyone that they are under quarantine until further notice and that includes Martin!

Sadly, I am not really impressed with this first issue of the comic as I feel that the story is bland and tied so much into The Fly 2 that you would have to know those characters inside and out to keep up with the who’s who and why’s that. That said, the plot of issue one follows Dr. Martin Brundle who is trying to help Anton Bartok be cured of the transformation that he is responsible for.  When Anton turns full fly and runs amuck in the research building, anyone who has made contact with it must be quarantined and that’s where it ends. Dr. Martin Brundle, who is the comic’s main focus, is a man who is plagued with a curse of his father’s past and is fearful of having children as he don’t want them born with traits of a fly. Anton Bartok starts the issue off as a blob of gooey flesh and is later turned into a fly that kills a few people and after his death makes it so all have to be tested for contamination. Beth Logan is Martin’s girlfriend who wants a child and to have affection shown to her, but she also shows understanding to Martin’s odd behavior. The comic has some bloodshed in it as The Bartok Fly pukes on a face of a fellow worker and eats him! But the over all gore in the comic is pretty tame and not nearly as gross as the films it’s based on.  That’s a little of a letdown as I was sure IDW would have delivered the red stuff like they did with Motel Hell. The art in this comic is done by Menton3, and while his humans look like the actors who played them in The Fly II, his fly creature and backgrounds are not very appealing to this comic reader and took me out of the feel of dread that I should have been having while reading. I am really hoping that the second issue gets better and The Fly becomes the terrible puke spewing menace that I was hoping for.

The Fly Outbreak 2

The Fly: Outbreak # 2  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 2 of 5

Martin Brundle is in quarantine and is chatting with his wife Beth via a work computer.  As they are talking, he hangs up on her quickly as he is visited by Major Vurvin and Dr. Mayweather, who are checking in on his progress to find a cure or to even see if he has been infected.  He chases them off and says he needs zero interruptions if he is to find a cure. Martin can hear all the people around him blaming him for being stuck with no outside contact to the world, and his only friend is his female lab assistant Noelani who believes that he can find a cure and asks him about the sickness, how it spreads and the symptoms that include being sexually ramped up and anger that is out of control and can be passed via having sex! In this quarantine zone, people are doing just that and some of his co-workers are clearly infected and are being beaten, tazzed and taken away by hazmat suited guards. In the end Martin is talking to Beth who wants to put on a one woman show for him when Noelani enters and tries to rape her boss as she is clearly infected. Martin uses all his wit and knocks her out and tells his wife that he can no longer chat with her as he must now buckle down and find the cure.

Did the second issue get any better?  Sadly, no. I feel that the second issue was slightly boring with very little going on besides Martin telling how the fly infection spreads and the effects it has on a person.  And he spends a lot of time chatting via webcam with his wife, Beth. The thin plot of this issue has Martin in quarantine working on a cure if any of them are infected.  His one time co-workers are super pissed off at him, and his assistant tries to rape him when her feelings and emotions are ramped up because she’s infected.  After beating her down, he tells his wife they can’t chat anymore because he needs to get cracking on the cure. The only action that happens in this issue is when a security guard who’s infected goes nuts and tries to smash Martin with a row of cafeteria tables, and for this violent outburst he is shocked with a tazer. This issue is bloodless and has really no thrills, chills or spills and for the most part, a pretty boring fill-in style issue. No blood and or Fly attacks are to be seen. In this issue, Martin seems like a blank emotionless slate who is cold and uncaring towards all the people his own mistake has infected and made it so they cannot speak to their own families as he sneaks and does so.  In other words, he’s kind of a jerk. Beth still loves her cold husband and for some reason is so sexually ramped up, even wanting to video chat while she puts on a show for him, that it makes you wonder if she is infected with the fly genes.  In fact, why are they turning her into a woman whose main thought is sex? Noelani is a good character who is loyal to her boss, even if he is the one who started the whole mess at the lab, but sadly in this issue they had to also turn her into a sex crazed infected freak who loves Martin. I just don’t get it; almost every female in this series is drooling over Martin! While I am sure that this issue was just a fill-in issue to build up the story, it just lacks anything interesting to make me really excited to see how it all plays out and drags a series that already I was lukewarm about even further down the must read list. Menton3 is once more doing the art, and once more his style is bland and lackluster with some of the humans looking good and his background weak and blank feeling. I can say that I am really not a fan of his art! So to sum it up, this issue is such a throwaway and forgettable so let’s waste no more time on it and move on to issue three.

The Fly Outbreak 3

The Fly: Outbreak # 3  *1/2
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 3 of 5

Martin is hard at work to try and find a cure for all his co-workers that he infected, and with the help of some medication, he is able to bring his assistant Noelani back to semi-normal. Days pass and increasingly the infected start to mutate and become more fly-like. The army is mad at Martin, and they view him as a mad scientist and a failure at life in general as his cure does not work and his research to find one is filled with impossible solutions and dead end trails. The army and fellow scientist, who wear hazmat suits, all begin to turn on Martin as they feel he has not come up with a cure itself nor a logical way to cure the people who are infected. By the end Noelani as well as all the others who are infected turn into full fledged fly monsters and attack the army, and Beth comes to the aid of Martin as she has been watching the building waiting to chat with her husband. The Fly Monsters are loose and heading away from the building as Martin and Beth look on scared and powerless.

Just when I thought this series could not get any worse, this third and boring issue proves me wrong! This issue’s plot follows Martin as he fails at finding a cure for people he has infected, all the while talking to himself like a mad man, coming up with boneheaded ideas and feeling sorry for himself. Martin is just not a likable character, and by this point in the series, I want to see bad things happen to him, but somehow he comes out injury free as many others die and transform…while he cries…I really dislike this character. Noelani, who comes back to normal for a short time, sadly by the end of the issue turns into a fly, and here is hoping she will target Martin and eat his face off by the last issue. For some reason by the end of this issue Beth has broken into the quarantine area with a giant gun and is there to rescue her husband.  Why is she Rambo all of a sudden? The army looks at Martin as a screw up and points out that he and his father have killed many innocent people by doing experiments that were not safely tested.  And that sums up Martin, a spoiled brat who wants to play scientist. This issue also has no bloodshed and by all accounts is pretty boring and only acts as mostly filer until the Flys break free at the very end. There’s not much more to say besides this issue is the worst so far, and besides Menton3’s artwork once more being bland, this issue’s write up is over.  Let’s move onto issue 4 and hope this series picks up!

The Fly Outbreak 4

The Fly: Outbreak # 4  **1/2
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 4 of 5

Beth and Martin are trying to escape the island as human flies and the army are at war, killing each other.  Beth even has to take a human fly life to prevent it from stealing their only escape a boat. Martin tells Beth that he cannot leave and has to stay behind to see if he can find a cure and stop all the killings.  She of course is not going to leave and is willing to help if she can. As the couple discuss what they are going to do, Noelani as a fly dressed as a solider appears and begs Martin to let her go or cure her and threatens both he and Beth with torture and murder. Finally Martin gives in and decides the only answer is for he and Noelani to use the pods so his human genes can transfer into her and cure her of this curse. Beth tries to rush the now human Noelani out of the room as Martin now emerges as The Fly!

Finally by the fourth issue, the series has a pretty good one that has 0% Horror, 1% action and the other 99% is drama, but weirdly, it works. The story of this issue has Beth and Martin coming to terms with how weird their relationship is and even if they don’t spend a bunch of time together, it works for them as they truly do love each other.  It then switches to Martin giving away his humanity to save his assistant Noelani’s life as he turns her human and he once more becomes the thing he fears worst, The Fly. The more I look at Martin and his Fly alter ego, I am starting to see a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde connection as the human side’s main fear is the monster it turns into. While Martin is still whiney, in this issue he does take a stand and puts others’ wellbeing before himself and that to me is a big step for the character as I felt he has been a selfish a-hole this far in this series. Beth, who is a loving woman, for some reason turns into Chuck Norris and is ready to kill human flies! Noelani, who turns into a fly, wants to become human again and points out just how lame and selfish Martin is.  This speech as well as a gun is what forces Martin to use himself to save her from a fly fate. While this issue is better than the others so far, it’s still by no means a great issue but does show that this series has the potential of being a good horror comic and could end on a high note with an amazing blow out in the final issue. The art is once more done by Menton3 and looks the same as always with his style being pretty to look at but not working for the nature of this series as his flies even look more alien-like and not housefly-like. Over all this is an okay issue, and I must say I am really happy we are at the final issue of this disappointing series.

The Fly Outbreak 5

The Fly: Outbreak # 5  **
Released in 2015   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   # 5 of 5

The Fly Martin emerges and is very pissed off at Noelani for threatening Beth earlier and lets her know it, as he is about to kill her.  He snaps back to reality and goes outside and kills human and Fly spawn alike and returns with a plan to transform Beth into the Queen to his lord of the Flies. Beth tricks and locks Martin Fly in a pod and tries to sacrifice herself to save him life and turns into a Fly Goddess.  She is in turn shot in the head and killed by Noelani who enters the pod with Martin, who is back to being a man and tells her she is going to do great things. Flash forward a few years, Noelani is a head scientist now and it’s shown she in secret is keeping Martin Fly alive and well.

The first thing that came to mind when I finished this issue was “I waited five issues for this ending?!” It seemed like a rushed mess with a ho hum closing that was not a shocker nor entertaining.  What should have been an epic Fly moment turns into something bland and boring. The issue’s plot can be summed up like this: Martin as the fly goes and kills, comes back is tricked.  His girl Beth uses herself to try and cure him and dies.  He turns human kind of, and Noelani becomes a big deal in the world of science in the end. It was such a major letdown because when I heard about this series, I was so hyped as I love comic connected to horror films and also love the work IDW has done with similar titles like Motel Hell, IT! Terror From Beyond Space and Godzilla.  While those were good and had a charm to them, this one sadly didn’t and was a very slow and boring series. Martin Brundle for the most part is not a likable character as his self-centered and ego driven attitude makes him come off as a jerk and for the most part his needs and wants outweigh the good of others till the end. As The Fly, he seems to at least have a more level head.  Even when he is killing man and fellow flies, he seems more in touch with the situation. Throughout the series, Beth goes from loving horny spouse to a Rambo gun-caring tough girl, all the way to a Fly Goddess, and with all these changes I think she is one of my favorite characters as she grows and does everything for love. Noelani is pretty cool and does her best to try and stay positive even when her boss is the jackass who infected her and co-workers by being careless. In the end Noelani is also the only one who gets a happy ending as she goes on to be a successful scientist. Anton Bartok starts off as a glob of flesh and grows into a fly and is the start of the sickness as his blood and vomit is what infects everyone.  It’s funny that in the films he was a terrible person and even in this comic series he’s just as bad, even as a mutated freak he still causes issues. The artwork for the whole series was done by Menton3, and while it would be pretty to look at if it was just a single piece of art, as a comic it’s bland and not fitting for a series based on a sci-fi film that’s special effects were a major draw.  I mean The Fly in the film is scary and well detailed…in the comic, not so much, as it looks as generic and bland as possible. To sum up this series, I would have to say that I was really disappointed in it from story to art and while it was bad, I still enjoyed reading it and hoping that it would get better or at least have some wicked Fly kills…that’s another thing it lacked is blood and gore. While it had some, it was far and few. Check out this art from the series that shows what The Flies look like, and see if you agree that it looks more like an alien than the sci-fi icon the comic’s based on.

The Fly Outbreak art 1

While The Fly: Outbreak might not have been my cup of tea, it’s still very cool to see IDW take a chance with a mini series like this, and I hope they do more classic horror and science fiction comic crossovers in the future as films like It Follows and The Town That Dreaded Sundown are just waiting to have mini series based around them. Our next update gets us a step closer to October and even closer to our big Halloween update that should be a custom comic made by my friend Eric Shonborn just for Rotten Ink! But before we get into all that, our next update will trade in the giant Martin Fly for an unknown real life serial killer known as The Axeman of New Orleans.  So make sure to come back for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a classic sci-fi film or two, and as always, support your local horror host.

The Axeman Of New Orleans logo

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

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

Csi_las_vegas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

593486-95187_20070605051447_large

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

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

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

893005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It Takes All Kinds Of Critters…To Read IDW’s Motel Hell

So last update we took a look at IDW’s “IT! Terror From Beyond Space,” and this update we are going to look at Motel Hell, thus far the second and last in IDW’s Midnite Movie comic series. From an early age I found myself drawn to horror films, and some of my first memories of TV were of watching Shock Theater hosted by Dr. Creep, Star Trek, MTV and wrestling making my likes from an early age fantastic, scary and over the top entertainment. My brother Bryan was also very much into horror films and would get old Fangoria & Starlog Magazines from time to time, and one image always stuck with me and that was an ad for an older issue that had a man with a chainsaw and a pig’s heads! Being little, I called him Pig Head Guy and thought Motel Hell was about this killer Pig who killed with a saw.  This image made my imagination run wild as I pictured sexy blonde ladies being chased by this pig killer who would oink super loud as the women would scream at the top of their lungs. In my mind this was a slasher film with a mutant Pig Man! My brother never seemed to show it as much attention as me but would also call him Pig Head Guy when we spoke of the film we both had never seen. But my version of the film was about to come to an end thanks to a childhood icon of mine, and through him I was about to see the real story of the Pig Head Man!

The Pig is LawFangoria 9Farm Land Massacre

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, TV had many great horror hosts, many of whom I watched and some of whom are the key reasons why I make movies and shows now, and on one of these horror host shows is where I got to see Motel Hell for the first time and that show of course was Commander USA’s Groovie Movies! When the movie was about to be shown I remember being super hyped to see this killer Pig Man do all types of evil things, and after watching it I felt let down.  In fact, the version of what the film really was to me was only a so-so slasher film that packed very little punch to younger me. After viewing it the first time the charm of Pig Man who I found out was really farmer Vincent Smith who was a mortal man who killed people to make into meat snacks and only puts the pig head on in the final moments of the film in a crazed state, wore off and I soon forgot about the film. The film would run again on USA’s Saturday Nightmares, a great little block of horror inspired program that would show a film and TV shows like The Hitchhiker and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I would skip the showing of the film and watch the horror shows after. The next time I would see this film was when my brother rented it from K&L Video, and we gave the film another shot.  Now in my late teens, I found the film to be a fun cheesy film that had some good horror moments.  I would then see it again years later hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervision and again found it to be fun, but I am sure Joe Bob also made the watching of it more so fun. After all these years a film that after seeing it crushed my vision of it, still remains a fun silly, cheesy, hammy watch that I have grown to like.

Commander USA!USA Saturday NightmaresJoe Bob Briggs

Motel Hell is about Farmer Vincent Smith and his fat and nasty sister Ida Smith who kill people along side the road and who stop at their motel called The Motel Hello.  They mix the human meat with pig meat to make meat snacks like beef jerky and BBQ. But Vincent, who is an old man, falls in love with a young woman who he has caused to get memory loss after he kills her boyfriend.  Their human crop, who they bury and remove the vocal cords from, are getting fired up to fight back. Throw in brother and cop Bruce Smith, and you have one bad situation. I don’t want to spoil to much of the film so I will stop here. The film has been put out on many home media like VHS, Laserdisc and DVD making it easy to find for those who would like to check it out.

Motel Hell VHSMotel Hell LaserdiscMotel Hell DVD

One thing before we get into this review, much like last update in which I noticed the rise of super cute nerd girls who read comics, play Magic and dress up as characters,  with all this talk of pork, I need to talk about this weird trend of hot girls who love bacon! Bacon is a greasy mostly breakfast food that is known for being bad for you.  Fast food places like Wendys add bacon to many of their cheeseburgers and for the most part this food product is junk food. But somewhere along the way girls have found that this pork product is good comfort food and has now become an obsession to some. Bacon is now everywhere in culture from stuff dolls, tattoos, shirts, bras, fetish pics, chip dip, hot sauce, lip baum, gummi candy, bubble gum, vodka, sandwich spread, breath mints, books, popcorn, potato chips, car air fresheners, cup cakes, more fast food burgers and the list can go on and on! While I don’t get the love of bacon, I find that if you love it then enjoy it just don’t get the tattoos.

Bacon GirlSlab of BaconBacon Girls

Now let’s get down to the review of IDW’s 3 issue mini series of Motel Hell! Just a reminder 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. And after I will throw in another review for an old Marvel horror comic. All the comics on this update are thanks to the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Game Swap Kettering and a special thanks to Bell, Book and Comic for having Motel Hell issue 1 after mine went missing, so thanks Pete! 

Motel Hell 1Motel Hell # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #1 of 3

Farmer Vincent Smith and sister Ida are back, and this time besides making their famous smoked meats they are also making fine wine! And they start the issue off attacking a family with twin girls. Holly Bell is a reporter who has been sent to write a story about the wine the Smiths are making and is a guest to the Motel Hello Spa alongside wannabe rock star Sage, Desirae a rich bitch, con man Joss, perverted old man Rupert and NFL star and dog killer Freddie. The group climbs aboard a run down old plane and are taken to the Motel Hello Spa, but the first night the peace and quiet are disrupted as the plane takes off.  Ida, now in Pig Mask, has Sage tied up and dead bodies all around and jumps from the plane leaving him to die in the crash. The other guests watch in horror, and so ends issue 1.

This first issue is a little disappointing and changes the whole core of who and what the Smiths do! The idea of them inviting all these high profile people to the motel to kill is a little over the top and leaves way too many openings on how they will be caught.  I mean I understand they want the outside world to believe that they all died in the staged plane crash, it just seems overdone. Vincent seems more off his rocker in this one and seems to snap in and out of being sweet farmer and raving lunatic. Ida in this issue the main killer who plops on the pig mask and does all the killing.  She also seems to enjoy humping some of the victims again changing her film tomboy nature. The issue has some blood and gore, and while well done, the story so far just seems to be lacking something to really draw me in. The art is pretty cool, and I enjoy the dark nature of the presentation. The cover is really well done and has the American Gothic Painting nature to it. The comic has some basic elements of the film but has taken many liberalities with the source materials that thus far I am not sure how I feel about. Plus how the hell are Vincent and Ida still around after the events of the film? Over all the series is starting slow but let’s see how issue 2 does and if it can bring this so far average series up a notch or two. 

Motel Hell 2

Motel Hell # 2  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #2 of 3

The next morning the group meets for breakfast, and Freddie gets insulted by Vincent.  The old farmer uses a stun gun to knock out the young man and forces the rest of his guests outside for a long hike. Freddie is taken and becomes Ida’s plaything, as Vincent takes them 3 miles out and explains to them no matter which way they walk they will never leave Motel Hello alive! They are then forced back into their rooms and the doors are locked.  Freddie meanwhile wakes up in a cage where Ida lets her giant pet Boar attack him.  After he’s badly hurt Vincent and Ida try and pry the boar off and so ends issue 2.

This issue is the same as the first and seems to be lacking something.  Being the second in the series and next issue being the last, it makes me worried that the end of this story is going to be so badly rushed. More of the same in this issue as Vincent this time lets more of his evil side out and lets his guests know he has a greater plan for them all.  Ida is once more a fat crazy sex craved killer, and both brother and sister wear the pig masks. Holly who is clearly the main hero of the story don’t seem to have much to do in this issue and makes you wonder how much of a threat is she to the killers. The rest of the group seem to be throw aways and none of them seem like good likeable characters. This one has blood as well but has no kills. The giant pet boar is funny and its name Hogsquatch reminds me of the legend boar himself Hogzilla. The art is the same as last issue so it’s good.  The plot is a little lack luster, and the cover this time around is kind of lame. Let’s see if the 3rd and final issue will be a gem in this slightly disappointing series. 

Motel Hell 3

Motel Hell # 3  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #3 of 3

Freddie is taken and buried to where only his head is out, as Joss and Rupert escape their motel room only to be captured by Ida. Holly and Desirae also escape but are seen by Vincent who wants to turn it into a cat and mouse game. After running, the two woman find the twin girls locked up in a barn and free them only to be ambushed by Ida, who kills Desirae and is then attacked my Holly with a hammer.  Before she can kill the fat crazy bitch, Vincent comes to his sister’s aid. With Holly tied up and the twins on the run, they release Hogsquatch to bring them back. Vincent and Ida go to work on making their next wine batch that is made of human eyes that they get from all the captured guests as the twins free Holly.  Together they make a plan that leaves brother and sister dead as well as their giant pet boar.

This final issue seems rushed, and the story is not fleshed out making it a disappointing read. The way they blow through all the guests this issue just seems tacked on and not impactful, as are the “deaths” of the bad guys, Vincent and Ida go down way to easy and the end “fight” is a rushed anti climatic way to end the terror. The fact they use human eyeballs in the wine is also not as shocking as I think they were hoping it would be, if you have seen the film you knew that the secret had to be some human body part. Holly who turns out to be the hero to no ones shock seems cold blooded as she sets the place on fire with some of her eyeless fellow guests still alive. Using the Twins at the end was a fun nice twist as they add a little humor and spice to the plot. The art in this one also seems as rushed as the plot making the final issue an average read. This issue does step up the blood and for those who hate eyeball violence, you might not want to read this series. Issue 3 was not the saving grace I was hoping it to be, and oh yeah why the hell does Vincent start talking about Charles Manson as he’s “dying”?

Motel Hell was a comic mini series that had lots of potential but never seemed to reach it.  While the film’s plot was a dark comedy horror style, this comic series seemed more of a rushed horror comic that tried to spice up the characters. First Vincent, while the character is a psycho he never was as mean spirited in front of multiple people nor would he have given away the fact he wanted to kill them all that easily. Ida, while a stone cold bitch of a character never was a sex crazed rapist. But in this comic mini series they both did the stuff mentioned and then some. Plus were the hell is Bruce Smith, their brother and Terry, the woman he kidnapped in the film? They just seem to be phantoms. Motel Hell the comic was a letdown much like the film was when I first viewed it many years back, making this second Midnite Movie IDW mini series an average at best horror comic that packs some blood and gore, cult horror characters, a rushed storyline and good art. This one changed the source material, and I think by doing so is what lead to the so-so run of the series. IT! was a fun surprise that I found entertaining, Motel was just a nice warm up for what I hope are more Midnite Movie mini series to come.

Motel Hell artFarmer VincentPig Head Hump

Marvel Comics has also had its share of great classic horror inspired comic series that chilled the bones of the youth of the past. Many great titles like Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider and many more kept the youngsters reading as they hid under cover late at night with flashlights and read these spooky issues. But some but not many of today’s readers remember a series called Uncanny Tales From The Grave or also known as Uncanny Tales, Marvel’s Tales From The Crypt style comic. But what the series really was reprints of past old short horror comics crammed together to make a new series from. So while we can, let’s take a look at issue 5 in this series and see how good it holds up to a first time reader. 

Uncanny Tales From The Grave 5

Uncanny Tales From The Grave # 5   **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #5 of 12

4 stories to chill your blood in issue 5 of Marvel’s Horror comic. “The Strange Machine” is set during the Spanish Inquisition and has a mean ass judge getting what’s coming to him via his own hands when he tries to set up his rival. In “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody” a dentist is cruel to his wife and patients, and when he comes home and finds a world famous brain surgeon hitting on his wife he snaps! But the Dentist has one slight issue with passing out and when he awakens it’s revenge time by the hands of his enemy. “The Man in Black” ia a cold hearted spy who comes to America to steal weapon plans but makes a big mistake that could lead him to his own death. In “The Little Pests,” a man and his girlfriend kill his wife for the insurance money, but the truth might come out thanks to some winged insects.

This is a very cheap imitation of Tales from the Crypt that crams 4 reprinted stories into an issue and passes it off as a bone chilling read. Each story is a bloodless horror thriller with a twist ending that is set to shock. The big issue with this comic is the fact none of the stories stick out and there was no host such as Vault Keeper or Old Witch to keep the pacing up and to add some spice to the mediocre stories. The best story out of the 3 has to be The Little Pests.  While it’s simple in nature, the shocking pay out in the end is well done. The art in the comic ranges from good to so-so as do the stories themselves. The issue’s cover is super misleading and nowhere in the issue does this take place with a raving monster, in fact there is not a monster to be seen! Over all this is my first time reading an issue of Uncanny Tales From The Grave, and this did not make me a fan.  While I would be fair and check out another issue, I am not going to be in any hurry.

So we stayed three issues at Motel Hell and then got an uncanny tale.  Now it’s time we say goodbye for now but I am sure you’re wondering what the next update is going to be.  Well in my youth one thing would always make me happy in comics and film, epic battles between two things that shouldn’t be fighting but are.  So next update, we will be looking at battles in comics that are so amazing you will be cheering for a side and finding out who I think should have won! So see you next update, and get ready for some epic rumbles!

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IT! The True Terror of Space!

Hey everyone, thanks for coming back.  This update’s going to be a short one, and we will be taking a look at IDW’s “IT! THE TERROR FROM BETOND SPACE,” a 3 issue mini series based on the old 1958 black and white Sci-Fi film that has been released on DVD and VHS via MGM’s Midnight Movie line. MGM’s Midnight Movie line was a great way to own and re-watch classic films, and with the mass amount of this type of horror and sci-fi films in their vault, this was the perfect way to get them out, but like all good things, the label came to an end when MGM started to have major money issue that almost led to them being closed down for good.  And that’s a shame; this DVD line had so much potential and made cult genre fans very happy.

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Some of the best films to come out from this line besides IT! Terror from Beyond Space include The Return of Dracula, Motel Hell, The Angry Red Planet, The Raven, The Vampire Lovers, The Beast Within, Theater of Blood, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again!, Reptilicus, Konga, Countess Dracula, Count Yorga Vampire, Deranged and so many more amazing films.  MGM, if you’re reading this, please bring the line back and get films like The Town That Dreaded Sundown on DVD!

Phibes DVDReptilicus DVDVampire Lovers DVD

Has anyone else noticed the huge boom in very attractive girls loving nerdy stuff? I work part time in a comic store and more and more, you see these amazing girl next-door types buying comics and Magic The Gathering cards and don’t seem to be ashamed of the fact they are. Plus I have been seeing and hearing more and more about cosplay becoming super popular with women who want to dress up as their favorite game/comic/movie character, and I for one am okay with this trend! It’s nice to see people not hiding what they like and coming right out and showing fellow fans how much they do as well. Say what you will, but my hat is off to you women of the world who embrace your nerdy ways! When I was a teen, my best friend was a girl and she used to say if I bought her a Wonder Woman costume she would have worn it.  Looking back, I should have bought that costume. And just for fun here’s some women who dress like their favorite heroes, enjoy!

Supergirl CosplayCammy CosplayPrincess Leia cosplay

And how about some more!! I mean you can never have to many pictures of attractive girls dressed as your favorite fantasy characters.

Wonder Woman CosplayBlack Cat CosplayRed Sonya Cosplay

And hell, why not a few more.  The first girl is Ivy Doomkitty, my favorite of all the cosplay girls and she can truly pull off the Mrs. Marvel look, don’t you think?

Ivy Mrs. Marvel CosplayPoison Ivy CosplayBaroness Cosplay

IT! Terror From Beyond Space is a 1958 black and white Sci-Fi film directed by Edward L. Cahn and was distributed by United Artist. The story has a group on a rescue mission to Mars.  They find only one survivor who they think killed his crewmates in order to survive. The journey home turns into a nightmare as an alien is aboard the ship and looking to kill them all.  The film starred Marshall Thompson, Ray Corrigan, Shirley Patterson and Kim Spalding and is considered a cult classic. The film also inspired Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 film, Alien. The first time I saw this film was on a cruddy beat up VHS tape.  It was late at night.  I used to put horror films on before I would go to bed and fall asleep to them, but for some reason I was glued to this film and spent the whole time watching before I fell asleep. I remember loving the look of the creature and thinking they should have made a sequel. The film has been released on DVD and VHS, and has had a model kit made of the alien as well as a different comic book back in 1993. IT! The Terror From Beyond Space is a must see film for fans of Alien, The Thing From Another World, Mars Attacks or even War of the Worlds.

IT DVDIT ModelIT VHS

Now that we all have IT! on the brain, let’s get down to looking at IDW’s take on the classic Sci-Fi film.  Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So, onto the reviews.

IT 1

IT! Terror From Beyond Space # 1  ***
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #1 of 3

The year is 1973, and spaceship Challenge 141 has gone missing on the planet Mars.  Challenge 142 has been sent on a rescue mission to save any survivors if found. This rescue mission is run by Colonel Van Heusen and his team that consists of Ann Anderson his one time lover and scientist, security officer James Colder, husband and wife Eric and Mary Royce (he’s the fixer, she’s a doctor) and last is young rookie Joe who is the cleaner. But when they get to Mars, they find the missing ship destroyed and only one survivor Colonel Edward Caruthers.  Things point to foul play as gun shots and skulls are found with bullet holes.  The crew takes off, as Van wants to get Caruthers to trial for murder, all the while Caruthers is speaking of an IT that killed his crew. But something is on the ship brought on by Colder, and whatever it is gets Joe as issue one comes to an end.

This first issue is a fun sci-fi adventure that sets the story up and gets us closer to the characters on this doomed ship. While not much action happens here, it’s the slow build up and the flashback of Caruthers story that makes the atmosphere spooky and cheesy. Van Heusen comes off as a self-centered jackass who is more into himself then really trying to find out what happened to the “missing”/”dead” crew.  Plus it’s clear he likes to still push Ann’s buttons. Ann seems to be the one more into facts and finding the truth about the accident and Mars. Also, not much is shown to why Colder brought the frozen alien on board that kills Joe in the end, making for some mystery. The other side storyline that comes to an end in this issue is the affair Mary is having with Joe, making you look down on each. See that’s the best part about this issue, each character has something about them that draws you in. While this is not a comic book version of the film, it’s a nice take on the film’s universe that shows what happened several years after, keeping the story alive. The alien at the end is puzzling though and looks nothing like the film’s IT. Over all this has a solid plot, good classic style art and characters that have depth.  I can’t wait to read issue 2!

IT 2

IT! Terror From Beyond Space # 2  ***
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #2 of 3

Caruthers has a bad feeling, and he and Van go to the lower level of the ship and find Joe’s body and a very pissed off alien who wants them dead.  With the help of Colder, they manage to retrieve Joe’s body and escape and capture IT below. Van and Crew now all believe Caruthers and come up with a plan to use poison gas on IT, hoping to kill it once and for all. Mary meanwhile is heart broken over the death of her secret lover and finds out his body has been drained of all moisture, making her an emotional mess. The poison gas plan backfires, and Van is seriously injured during the attempt.  They pull back again and come up with a new plan and to get Van medical help. In the end it’s shown that Colder brought IT aboard unknowingly via orders from the Pentagon, and this makes Mary very upset and she pulls a gun on Colder.  And this ends issue 2, let’s see how the pay off comes in issue 3.

This issue makes all look grim as Van could be dying, Mary might blow Colder’s head off and IT is still on the ship looking to kill. This comic series feels like a classic film serial and is delivering on a fast paced fun ride and ending on cliffhangers that I am sure made classic Sci-Fi fans happy.  But fans of the film might be a little annoyed with IT who looks 100% nothing like he does in the film. It’s clear in this issue that Ann and Caruthers are going to have to be the ones who save themselves and the crew from IT, as Van bull headedly rushed into his plan that left him with a cut to the guts. The panels of them trying to use the poison gas against IT are well done and show how bad ass the creature is as the gas doesn’t even phase him nor do their shock guns. Action, suspense and drama are here as this issue brings us one step closer to finding out if the crew or IT is going to win. Once more the plot, art and entertainment are here and make for a very good read.  So let’s not waste any time and jump into issue 3!

IT 3

IT! Terror From Beyond Space # 3  ***
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #3 of 3

All Hell breaks loose in this issue as Mary fires and misses Colder, and then they all must patch things up and forgive and forget to work together to try and stop IT from killing them all. The plan goes wrong as Van awakens in a fever fury and Ann must stop him for good before he kills them all, and Colder and Eric become IT food! Mary figures out the monsters weakness and alongside Ann and Caruthers they set IT up to overdose on water, its only true weakness.  But like all plans, one of the crew members as well dies as Mary becomes the bait. In the end Caruthers and Ann must travel home with an unbelievable story and face the government for killing its creature.

Issue 3 brings the story home and is a pure blood bath as IT seems to want to feed on all the humans aboard the ship.  The not so shocking yet effective thing in this issue is the fact only two of the characters survive and fall in love. They also step up the blood in this one as people are killed in brutal ways, as IT seems to want to feed on the human bodies’ moisture. By the end you feel bad for all those who lost their lives and find that Mary, while a dirty cheater, was still a great person with a sense of loyalty and love. This is a nice fast paced way to end this mini series and has enough horror, action and drama to please fans of horror comics. This is something I love to see, a great mini series with not a weak issue present.

While it takes names and places from the source material (in this case the film), the makers of the comic retold it and changed things to make it their own, and it works very well! The way the twist and turns happen in the comic help add to the suspense and changing the creature’s weakness from none to water was also a nice move and fans of the movie SIGNS should take a liking to it. IT’s look in the film is better than in the comic as for some reason the comic version reminded me of a giant frog with teeth, making it not as scary as it should be. I give credit to IDW for making this line of comics based on MGM’s Midnight Movies, and while so far only Motel Hell has joined IT, I still find the idea to be one that I hope gets further explored. Over all IT! Terror From Beyond Space is a fun mini series that was worth checking out for an old Horror/Sci-Fi fan like myself. I got these issues from the artist and writers direct at the comic convention called The Gem City Comic Con at Wright State University.

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So now for a bonus I want to throw in a review for an old Gold Key comic based on the WB Looney Tune characters Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat.  The best thing about this is the fact Sylvester is my second favorite Looney Tune character, and Tweety is my least favorite.  Growing up Looney Tunes was super popular, and I can’t count the times I rented old VHS tapes from the local library to watch.  My Brother and I both would watch it on TV when ever it was on. Sylvester always peeked my interest because I think he is a huge underdog who just wants to eat an annoying bird that torments and hurts him any chance he can.  Tweety is a pompous ego manic who hides behind his high childish voice, and oh so sweet nature to be a complete A-Hole! I despise Tweety and everything he stands for, but I have noticed something about him and that’s girls seem to love that yellow bird. Many, many years back I had a girlfriend that was 19, who was cutesy and she loved Tweety bird, not sure why but she did, she even talked about at one time getting a Tweety Tramp Stamp (Lower Back Tattoo)! I think I would have had to leave her if she got that….I hate that bird!

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But with that let’s get into this short review for issue # 43, and remember I grade these on a scale of 1-4 and base it on entertainment value, plot, how true it is to the source material and art. Thanks to Game Swap Kettering for this issue!

Tweety and Sylvester 43

Tweety and Sylvester # 43  **
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25   Gold Key Comics   #43 of 102

This issue is cut up into 4 short stories, and the first is “Back To Nature” with Sylvester wanting to go back to his roots.  He and Tweety go to the jungle only for him to realize that he misses TV and air conditioning. 2nd is “Food for Thought” and has Sylvester pretending to be a vegetarian even going to meetings, but his cover is blown while at the meeting Tweety crawls in between pieces of bread tempting him and showing him as a liar. “Photo Finish” is the 3rd story and has Sylvester taking pictures of Tweety to win $10.00 from a newspaper photo contest.  He wins and wants to buy his own bird to eat but the shop owner has a dog who wants to meet him in the ally. The final story is “Tat Trouble” has Sylvester trying to capture a burglar, but before he captures him, he also captures the Milk Man, Newspaper boy and many others!

This issue is a little boring and each story follows the same format.  While that’s just like the cartoon, I feel it’s more fun to watch then it is to read. Three out of the four stories also have Tweety and Sylvester almost being friends and having mini little adventures with each other.  To me, this takes it away from the source material and makes it feel like a fan made comic series. If I had to choose out of the 4 stories, my favorite would have to be“Food for Thought,” just for the clever use of vegetables, nuts and an AA style meeting. The cover is pretty classic slapstick stuff, and while generic, the stories are fun and goofy.  I will say the art is pretty bad and Sylvester looks like a fat imitation who has blue eyes in some sections. Plus why does Sylvester talk normal without his lisp? Over all I am sure for the time this was a fun way for kids to have extra adventures of Tweety, but by today’s standards this is a cheap cash in that has only a base of the source material and just didn’t deliver, nor did it make for some fun retro style reading.

So in this update we learned about MGM’s Midnight Movies, took a look at IDW’s IT mini series, drooled over cute nerd chicks, looked at Sylvester and Tweety and you got to know a little more about my weird boring life.  Next update, we should take a look at IDW’s 3 issue mini-series based on the farmer slasher film MOTEL HELL! So get your beef jerky ready, and fire up your chainsaw ’cause we are going to go down to the farm!

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Rob Zombie presents The Legend of Bigfoot

Ohio is known for many monsters, ghosts and beasts, and this is a great thing for a person like me who loves everything about the unknown and Cryptozoology. For those who don’t know what Cryptozoology is, Webster Dictionary has this as its meaning: ” the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence”. From this form of study, one of my favorites is Sasquatch,better known as Bigfoot, and Ohio has had its share of Bigfoot sightings! So in this update we are going to take a look at IDW’s 4 issue miniseries, Bigfoot! This series is written by shock rocker and horror filmmaker Rob Zombie and Steve Niles, the man behind comic series 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Now I know what your thinking: Matt this is not a classic Star or Marvel Comic, or even a old DC issue, and it’s not even that old only coming out in 2005.  I understand that it breaks the mold that has been set but I figured since this is a blog about my youth and fun stories, then why not take a look at Bigfoot!

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Bigfoot has been around since time has been recorded, and many Native American tribes have spoke of a giant hairy man that lived in the woods.  Even outside of the USA sightings and records have been documented about the appearance of this creature. What is always reported alongside this unknown creature is large foot prints, a foul oder, howls and yells and even UFO’s in some cases.The most famous case that even got us quick video footage of the creature is the infamous Patterson Film.  On October 20th 1967 Roger Patterson (an author) and his friend Robert Gimlin were horseback riding in Bluff Creek when by a creek bed they spotted a Bigfoot. The creature was none combative and quickly retreated into the woods but not before Patterson was able to get his camera and take some footage of the creature. The footage was a media hit and gained Patterson and Gimlin fame among believers, but many people thought the story and film to be a hoax due to the holes in the friends’ story. Patterson died in 1972 of cancer but held strong that his footage is real.  Gimlin, who is still alive and tours Bigfoot conventions as well, still holds to the story. But the debate remains to this day on whether or not this footage is fact of fiction.  I happen to think that it’s very possible that this is in fact footage of a Bigfoot!

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But with anything that is unproved without a shadow of doubt, there are hoaxes and one of the most recent ones came in 2008 when Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton claimed that they found a dead Bigfoot in the woods of Georgia and had the body frozen in a freezer. This discovery lead the two men to press conferences on many major news outlets that included CNN and BBC, and gained them $50,000 from a Bigfoot research team for the body. But when the body was dropped off and thawed it was shown that the frozen Bigfoot was in fact a suit stuffed complete with roadkill animal guts.  The suit was purchased from The Horror Dome, a Halloween online super store. Dyer and Whitton got in trouble for being pranksters and this sparked a rash of more hoaxes. One funny thing that happened after this event was on EBAY the Bigfoot Costume’s head became up for auction inside a cooler.  When this story first broke that a Bigfoot body had been found, I was working for a used media store called Buy Backs, and I kept telling my store manager that they found him.  He had also seen the picture and thought it looked fake from the first moment, but it became our inside joke as every morning I kept saying that we finally got him. While this was a hoax, it still was a fun time that got my blood pumping. 

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One of Ohio’s most well known Bigfoot is The Ohio Grassman who is seen mostly in Kenmore.  He is said to be 7 to 9 feet tall and to have huge feet and a more human face. Many claim he is a Bigfoot, while others try to say it’s just a tall homeless human.  But whatever it is, it’s been known to attack people in the wooded areas. The History Channel had a show called Monster Quest, and in 2008 they tried to see if this thing was real.  By the end of the show they could not prove or disprove that the creature was real. Another famous Bigfoot around here is The White Eyed Bigfoot, who in Eaton Ohio in 1977 chased some kids around a bridge and through a open field, scaring the boys half to death. Josh Weinberg and I have traveled to this location in 2003-2005 and looked for this Bigfoot.  We found no footprints or any other evidence that the creature was still around. The area was very quiet, and the site would have been a perfect place for a Bigfoot to hideout. That’s another great thing, besides Josh I have many other friends that use to love to go monster/ghost hunting with me that included my cousin Stephen Alexander, Jason Gilmore, Andrea Seay, Misty Altick, Matt Hoffman, Dave Wean and Kevin Kinsley. And while most of the time we would not find anything, it was the times we did and the fun we had that made those moments outstanding. For season two of Terrifying Tales of The Macabre Baron Von Porkchop alongside Iris and Retina (of the show Mondo Smash A-Go-Go) go on the hunt for Eaton’s White Eyed Bigfoot.

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Besides tabloid magazines, Bigfoot has also made his way into film and television and here are some of the creature’s most known appearances. In 1976, a Bionic Bigfoot (played by WWF Wrestler Andre The Giant) was featured on an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.  This episode proved to be one of the most popular in the TV series run. In 1977, a kids Saturday morning program called Bigfoot and Wildboy amazed the youth for a short amount of time. 1976 showed a slow-paced semi documentary film called Legend of Bigfoot. In 1987, a family film called Harry and the Hendersons showed a gentle Bigfoot and sparked a new love for the creature, especially in kids. And most recently Jack Links Beef Jerky runs ads about messing around with the beast and pulling pranks on it. Not to mention many more films that have been made about the creature and other ones just like it. 

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One other quick thing I want to mention before we get into the review for IDW’s Bigfoot series is that we have talked about spottings, hoaxes, local legends, film and TV but let’s talk about toys and merchandise! Yes, if Bigfoot could make money on his likeness, it would be a very rich creature. Bigfoot has had t-shirts, stuffed toys, action figures, board games, video games, lawn statues, stamps, beer, Halloween masks and costumes, books, comics, a monster truck named after him and so much more based on him. Some of the best stuff include the Monster In My Pocket Bigfoot figure, The Bionic Bigfoot action figure, the Bigfoot rubber stamp footed action figure, the Milton Bradley Board Game and the best is Mezco’s figure that came in a line alongside The Jersey Devil, Mothman and the Lochness Monster!

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So now that we have some quick facts about this famed creature, let’s take a look at a comic series that peeked my interest back in 2005 when they were released.  This makes only my second time reading this mini series since it came out so I am hyped to see what I think of it this many years removed from its first run. Remember I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ratting, so with that let’s get to the reviews!

Bigfoot 1Bigfoot # 1  ***
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #1 of 4

It’s 1973 at Happy Trails Camp Ground, and Billy Fuller is a 9 year old boy on his way to a fun time with his mom and dad. At night Billy is hearing weird noises that are filling the night air around their cabin.  Scared by this he goes to his Dad, and the two make plans to go fishing early the next morning.  As Billy goes to bed his mother and father decide to mess around, but this fun time is cut short as a Bigfoot busts in and attacks the couple.  In the fight the father is able to take out on of the beast’s eyes as Billy and his pet dog enter and the dog goes on the attack. The fight leaves his father and dog dead, and his mother is dragged off by the creature. When Billy is found the next morning he is in shock, and the cops walk into a bloodbath that they claim is nothing more then a bear attack. But one cop seems to know it’s something more. The issue ends with Billy waking up years later and older having a nightmare about his mother being raped and Bigfoot being his new father!

This is a fun take on the Bigfoot legend and turns what is suppose to be a gentle beast into a blood thirsty, perverted meat eating killing machine.  This first issue is a nice way to build the story and has main character Billy being 9 years old and shows the event that has tormented him throughout his life. The pace is very quick, and in fact this seems like a very quick read (only 23 pages) and goes for broke when in the first few pages Bigfoot slaughters a deer. The Bigfoot looks great and scaring up his eye helps add a more menacing look to an already large intimidating beast. This issue also keeps me wondering what is going to happen in issue 2, and makes me want to ask questions like was Billy’s mom ever found and if not is she still alive? What does the cop know that he’s not telling? And what is Billy going to do now? All these questions make for a comic that has captured my imagination. The art for Bigfoot is great but the humans are just too “modern” and strange looking for my taste.  Many times they look like the have been hit by Joker’s laughing gas. The cover is a nice take on the old Patterson Bigfoot footage and that’s pretty kick ass in my book. Great first issue to kick off this limited series that makes me look forward to re-reading issue 2. 

Bigfoot 2

Bigfoot # 2  ***
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #2 of 4

It’s now 2004, and a man is driving down the road when a 900 pound bear’s carcass is thrown at his moving car crushing him.  When the cops arrive they find that the man’s body is missing. Billy is now a man who has some major issues and is still haunted by the image of Bigfoot making him want to buy a big shotgun. Meanwhile in the woods Bigfoot has attacked two young girls and a pack of boys who are riding four wheelers and goes ballistic and blood thirsty on them, leaving only one girl alive. It’s nighttime as Billy packs up what he needs and leaves his wife and son behind to head back to Happy Trails Camp Ground.

Issue two is more sizzle than steak as most of the issue is spent on Bigfoot attacks, and I am okay with this! While Billy is still the focus and it,s shown that he is a man with lots of issues, he gets the nerve to take a stand and go after the one thing that scares him. I like where this is leading as Billy is now more focused and wants to hunt his tormenter. The cop is now a sheriff and we’re shown that he is going to try and cover up the bear crash. Bigfoot in this issue is one mean S.O.B who spends most his time brutally killing innocent people.  He is also shown now to be super fast as he runs and catches up to a four wheeler and gives the driver the best kill of the issue as he pounds the injured kid into the ground and splats him like a grape. The plot of this one is a nice follow up to the first issue and still in the process builds a little more to the story that we are reading to unfold. Great cheesy horror film style plot, blood and gore, decent art and a wicked cover makes issue two a fun time.  Let’s see if issue 3 keeps this pace up. 

Bigfoot 3

Bigfoot # 3  **1/2
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #3 of 4

Hicks (the cop from issues 1-2) is in the woods and finds a rotten body of a human as a female deputy comes for him to tell him they captured a man with many guns in the woods, and that man is Billy Fuller.  Hicks leaves the deputy there as Bigfoot comes calling and eats her face off.  In a jail cell Billy speaks to Hicks about his parents’ death and why it was covered up.  Hicks opens up to Billy and tells him about when he was a young boy he also had a run in with Bigfoot that left him scared of the creature in the woods. Billy tells Hicks that they both need to face the creature and kill it once and for all. As Bigfoot attacks a family’s camper, Billy and Hicks are preparing for the ultimate hunt.

This issue slows down a bit and while still good seems to be a little more filler than the last two issues. This issue’s main focus is Hicks and his fear of the beast and his patching things up with Billy who he made to look like a liar so many years ago. In this issue Billy seems to be the button pusher who wants to get help on his hunt from a man who he feels owes him. Bigfoot has only two kills in this one, the best being when he eats the female deputy’s face! This issue keeps the story going but is a little less impactful as the past issues, making this one an average issue that seems to be more about keeping the story going to make it to the four issue mini series deadline. Not much much more to say about this issue: okay plot, good art, eye catching cover and Bigfoot going ape shit once more sums up this issue that made the series loose a little steam.  Let’s see how the final issue plays out, shall we?

Bigfoot 4

Bigfoot # 4  **
Released in 2005   Cover Price $3.99   IDW   #4 of 4

Billy and Hicks alongside a rookie deputy go out into the woods to find the missing deputy and Bigfoot, and they don’t have to wait long as Bigfoot attacks them knocking Hicks off a cliff and sending the rookie running for his life.  Billy must face the beast one on one and hits the creature with some major blows as the beast takes a shotgun blast to the back and a knife to his skull but this seems to not even slow down the Bigfoot! During the battle Billy falls down a hole and lands in a cave were he finds that the Bigfoot and a mate and kids.  Billy hides in a small section of the cave as Bigfoot comes to his family’s aid and tries to reach the human to protect and kill. Billy uses his flashlight and shotgun shells to make a bomb that blows the cave up, and then bashes Bigfoot’s brains in with a rock and knocking its body off the cliff. In the end Billy finds Hicks who is still alive and suspended from trees, and the nightmare has ended for them both. While in the cave a baby Bigfoot is under some rocks as a adult Bigfoot hands remove it.

This issue seems so rushed, and while the fight between Billy and Bigfoot is cool, it just seems very thrown together and not as epic as what you would hope for and what was built up to be. The whole build up is well done, and when they finally get out to the woods two out of the three characters are not used and not even killed off, and given this Bigfoot’s track record of murder I don’t see how Billy really stood a chance. The issue is more fighting action with the art being bigger, showing, in my opinion, that they ran out of story line and used the bigger art to take up pages. I do like the fact the Bigfoot took a shotgun blast and a knife to the skull and still came after his target showing that this creature was a true fighter and protector. A neat aspect of the issue is the Bigfoot family members who are in a cave that is scattered with human bones showing that when it killed, it brought home the human meat to feed its family. But over all this is a lackluster way to end this 4 issue mini series and for me was a huge letdown. The cover art on this one is also pretty well done.

This series started out with a bang and looked as if it was going to be a fun solid Bigfoot horror book that was done in the same vein as “Night of the Demon,” an old 1980 movie where Bigfoot goes around murdering people. The character build up is well done in the first three issues and let’s you a little inside the mind of Billy and even Sheriff Hicks, two men that live in fear of the one eyed Bigfoot. One thing I did notice as well is issue 1 seemed to pull no punched with the blood and gore while the rest seemed to have blood and gore, just not so in your face with it. The storyline is fun but a little weak for four issues; this could have been easily wrapped up in 2 or 3 at the most, in my opinion showing that they made this last 4 for the sake of a contract or money. The art is hit and miss with me.  Bigfoot looks great, but the people look like big mouth freaks who have been zapped with Joker’s laughing gas! I am sure that one of the main reasons I have a soft spot for this comic series is the fact I am a Bigfoot fan, but it’s one I will sum up like this: it starts with a bang and goes down with a mere yell. 

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Oh, I also wanted to share with you this picture of me with some friends at a Halloween party, and yes, I am the one dressed as Bigfoot! These guys are also my co-workers and are all around kick ass people. I also dressed up as Bigfoot for an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, and both times dressing up as the creature I had a blast!

Me as Bigfoot

Well let’s take a look at 2001’s One Second Too Late and its 2007 sequel Two Seconds Too Late more films put out/made for Independent B Movie! As I have stated, Josh Weinberg was in a class with my brother Bryan taught by Andy Copp and one of the classes project was to make a short film.  While my brother made the trippy stop motion film “Nightmare,” Josh Weinberg set out to make a slasher film that followed a crazed man who escapes from an asylum and kills as a detective tracks him.  He set out to make that film but really made a film about a young man who’s dad is a drunk and beats and shoves him down stairs, and the aftermath of this warps the direction of the film. Weinberg armed with a VHS camera and tripod came over for his first day of the film shoot and cast himself as the troubled young man also named Josh and cast me as his best friend.  We shot this at 10 Wilmington Place, a retirement home as we chatted in the car about him needing to move out of his father’s house, and Josh’s worries of doing so. The first day of filming was a breeze and took no time to get right. The second day of filming was more of a pain as my brother and I got into a huge argument before Weinberg came over, making me not help on most of the shoot and sit in my room playing Baseball Stars on the NES.  My brother was casted as the Drunken Father, and the tripod was used as the cameraman as Josh and Bryan acted out this emotional look at child abuse that lead to Josh being pushed down stairs or better yet running down stairs breaking my parents banister and having one of the worst “stunts” in our company’s history. The fall leads the Josh character into a nightmare world of murder and suicide that ends with a shockingly. From there Josh went home and shot some scenes of his own that involved suicide. The film’s camera was off center in shots making crotches and stuff the center of shots, but some how this worked! Weinberg during editing left the chroma key effect on given the finished project a dirty yet some how appropriate look. The film played in Copp’s class and a film class Josh was also taking and earned him a good grade in both classes. This film and Werewolf of Ohio were written about in the Dayton Impact Weekly.  While the rest of Independent B Movie snubbed the film, I for one think Weinberg did a great job.  Sadly this is the least selling movie on VHS and DVD. 

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A few years later Weinberg started a sequel to his film that had a group of kids being haunted by the Ghost of Josh, but after only two days of filming the film was canceled. But in 2004, Weinberg started it up again, and this time it followed his best friend (once more played by me) and his girlfriend (played by my then girlfriend Misty Altick) trying to hunt down and find Josh who has been missing, while the drunken father tried to throw them off the track. The film’s shooting was plagued with setbacks and took years to get finished, and after it wrapped, Andy Copp edited and did the music score for the film that was released quietly on DVD with the original. While these films might not be huge sellers, they still have a place in the history of Independent B Movie and mark the first two films Josh Weinberg directed.

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This is the most violent comic series we have looked at so far and won’t be the last.  One of the things that I loved in my youth and to this day is horror films and with more horror film-inspired comics out there then I can shake a stick at, look for every once in a while a update about them.  So be prepared for Halloween, Night Breed, Werewolf, A Nightmare on Elm Street and so many more! We also took a quick look at Josh Weinberg’s shot on video classic. And with that let’s get back to basics and take a look at another great series from Marvel Comics based on a cartoon and toy line on the first mutated super hero from New Jersey and a rag tag team of freaks.  This means I could only be talking about The Toxic Crusaders! Thanks to Mavericks Cards and Comics for this review who stocked this title in 2005 and put every issue into my pull file. See you next blog entry for a toxic good time.

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