From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Dark (1993)

Cemeteries and small towns are packed with legends and tall tales of monsters and ghosts.  Around here in Dayton, Ohio I have heard my fair share of these stories and for our 3rd countdown to Halloween, we will be taking a look at a movie and comic that has a monster in the cemetery and is another in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates.  I am talking about the 1993 film The Dark and the Norstar Comic based on it! During the early 90’s, horror was still going strong; the direct to video market was still very healthy as video rental stores were on almost every corner, and the youth were still very much into films with monsters, killers and supernatural beings. This film was on many video rental shelves and was watched by many monster kids of the 90s late on weekend nights. So let’s go to the cemetery and enter the tunnels as we take a look at The Dark, and the weird creature that lives in it.

We first must understand this comic and film’s monster, a hairy creature, in order to truly understand the horrors we are about to face. The creature in this film is called a Allotheria and is massive in size and has sharp claws and a very large head that supports teeth much like a dog mixed with a rat.  It makes its home in a cemetery as its main source of food is freshly dead buried bodies. The creature has lots of tunnels under the ground and seems to just attack when it feels its life is in danger or if you so happen to enter its cave. Not much is known what the creature is – some say it was an unknown species while it’s also hinted that it could be alien in nature, and this causes it to be wanted dead and alive by the government and its agents. The creature’s main means to kill is its sharp claws and teeth that it is able to use to shred human flesh.  It also can move pretty fast and can uses its tunnels to stalk its attended victim. Its main defense for  is a grey goo that is like blood and seems to heal wounds causing it to be harder to kill. The weakness of this creature is that while it can be a killing machine, it only attacks when provoked and this could leave it open for attacks. While the grey goo can heal most wounds, it does not protect from severe damage like multiple gunshots, and this can lead to the creature’s death. So this creature might not be the most powerful or most dangerous killers we have covered on one of our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates, but one thing is for sure, he could make any of us normal humans into bloody shredded cheese.

So as you can see, this dead human-meat eating creature just wants to be left alone and has the gruesome jaws and claws to make sure that he gets the peace he wants. But now that we have chatted about this killer creature we should now take a look at the movie it’s from and as always we will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will chat about the film’s production as well as my first time seeing it. So let’s go further underground and see what we can dig up on The Dark.

The Dark (1993)

“Something is alive beneath the surface of the graveyard. Something with the power to destroy and the power to heal. One man, a cop, is determined to kill this mysterious creature. Another, a scientist, is determined to capture and save this miraculous being. Stalking the creature in it’s subterranean habitat, neither man is aware of the battle they are about to start. A battle for science, survival and revenge.”

The Dark was released direct to video in 1993 and was produced by Lightshow Communications and had a theatrical release in Canada in 1994. The film was low budget and was directed by Craig Pryce who also directed episodes of “PSI Factor: Chronicles Of The Paranormal”, “Are You Afraid Of The Dark” and “Goosebumps” and stars such actors as Brion James, Stephen McHattie, Cynthia Belliveau and is the first movie role of Neve Campbell! The film is one that was met with mix reviews and over the years has gained a very small following among diehard 90s horror fans. Not much is out in the world wide web about the making of this film as it was one that came and went and was lost in the shuffle of horror films released in 1993 as these films over shadowed it Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, Leprechaun, Return Of The Living Dead 3, Body Bags, Warlock: The Armageddon, Puppet Master 4, Maniac Cop 3 and Bloodstone: Subspecies II to name a few.

I first saw this film in August of this year and learned about it thanks to the Norstar Comic book that Pete of Bell, Book And Comic held back for me from a buy he did so that I could cover it here on Rotten Ink. So after digging around on Amazon, I found a VHS copy of the film and sadly when it showed up it was crushed and not in playing order so I had to send it back and ended up getting the film on DVD with the refunded money. Once I watched the film for the first time, I found it to be a fun monster flick that had a cool creature and an okay and simple story with cheesy lines and an ending that leaves it open for a sequel. I liked the setting mostly being a cemetery and that Neve Campbell played a young cop as she gave the film a edge as she does a good job on what little she is given. The disappointment of the film is that the monster is not shown as much as I wanted and in fact he does not seem like the biggest threat of the film as a rogue FBI Agent is clearly the more dangerous threat to our heroes. Over all while not an amazing independent horror film, it still was a fun one to watch on a boring day. You can find this film on DVD and VHS if you want to watch a film about a grey goo spewing, dead flesh eating, underground living creature who is wanted dead and alive by rival enemies.

So The Dark, as you can see, is a direct to video film from 1993 that features an underground creature, and while not a household name, it did get the comic book treatment and that to me is very cool as I think that many independent horror films should be doing this. Imagine comics based on films like Redsin Tower from Toe Tag or Babysitter Massacre from E.I. Entertainment getting their own comic books. So we are here deep in this tunnel under this cemetery, and as I look for a place to sit and read this comic, I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for getting me this comic and scratched in the wall made of mud is this “I grade these 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 I think the Creature wanted me to remind you all about this, so let’s sit back and prepare to be scared as we come face to face with The Dark!

The Dark # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price .80     Norstar Comics     # 1 of 1

Jake and Ed are digging a grave at the cemetery they work for when they witness a tombstone drop into the ground and Jake’s leg falls into a hole in the ground that is really a tunnel and Ed is able to get him free right before a creature is able to grab him. The cops are called to look into the tunnel and while searching it one cop is left dead as the gravediggers and female officer Jessie are greeted by Hunter and Tanya who warn them not to touch the black ooze that was left behind after the attack as he is here to capture the creature that made the tunnels and killed the cop. But as they are chatting, former FBI Agent Buckner shows up and locks all of them in a work shed besides Jake who he takes hostage and tosses in the tunnel as bait as he wants to kill this creature due to the fact the creature killed his partner years ago. Hunter and his crew escape the shed and he has a plan to bury himself in order to get the creature’s attention and try to capture it. And on this cliffhanger is how this issue ends with the question being what will the creature do.

This is a solid promo comic that gives you a taste of what to expect in the film and delivers good quick character development as well as a few cheap scares of the monster almost getting characters. The story is this: some gravediggers and a police officer team with a scientist and his new girlfriend to find a creature that lives in tunnels under a cemetery who become the target of a former FBI Agent who is hellbent on killing the creature as it killed his partner years back. Hunter is our hero of the issue as he is the scientist who wants to study the healing factors of the creature and knows that it could save many lives of injured people from all over the world. While he doesn’t get to flex his hero muscles to much in this comic he does use his brain to get them out of the shed and also comes up with an idea to bury himself to get close to the creature and find its lair. Tonya, Jake, Ed and Jessie are along for the ride and sadly are all caught up in this twisted game of kill or be killed. Buckner is a man who has turned mad and is eaten up with revenge and looks like he is willing to kill people in order to get it! The Creature is just being that an animal who is protecting its home and will kill and eat whom ever gets in its way! The comic is bloodless and doesn’t have any creature attacks and the horror aspect comes from suspense of the creature almost getting people and the drama of Buckner being crazy. The cover is an art version of the poster that hung in rental stores and is pretty eye catching for the time and for Horror Comic readers. The interior art is done by Paul Jenner and is solid and captures a true early 90’s independent comic feel. Over all this is only 12 pages long and is a great way to get readers hyped to see the film and is as well a great item for fans of the film to collect. To sum it up not life changing but a good quick read that does justice to the film. Check out the art below to see the Creature in all his ink and pen glory.

So we have gotten out of the tunnel and more importantly out of The Dark and we have found that the Allotheria Creature is a killing machine when provoked or attacked and that he jumped from movie to comic thanks to Norstar, a production company who released the film in Canada. So while we are all still in awaiting Halloween and with our next update being in October we are going to stick with our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic theme and take a look at The Willies! That’s right, the PG-13 Horror flick got its own comic and we will be taking a look at it next time we meet here at Rotten Ink. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! The next update will give you The Willies!

Stone Protectors: Trolls Who Wanted That TMNT Money!

Can you believe that it’s already December and we are just weeks away from Christmas? This time of the year always gets me sentimental for the past and when Santa Claus coming down the chimney to bring me toys, comics, movies, music and video games was all that was on my mind and made for many sleepless nights leading up to the big day. I am sure many of you as youngsters used to toss and turn all night with your brain working overtime thinking about what wonders awaited you in your stocking as well as the presents that were just in the living room under the family Christmas Tree, but that dang pesky night time was keeping you away from your holiday wonder. Another thing that comes to mind is Christmas lights on houses.  My mom used to love to look at houses with lights on them, and my Dad would drive us around to look at them when I was a kid, mostly in our town of Waynesville and in Kettering. When I was dating Jennifer Perkins many years back, I can also remember driving around Waynesville and surrounding towns looking at lights as that was something she enjoyed. With it being so close to Christmas, I figured we would take a look at a comic series based on a toy and cartoon line that many people have forgotten about from the early 90’s – The Stone Protectors those cool Trolls with stones for power! So grab a glass of eggnog and you might as well grab a few cookies as we take a quick and fun journey into the world of Trolls!

Crazy Christmas Lights

Troll Dolls were a popular toy back in the 1960’s and 70’s.  They were created by Thomas Dam back in 1959 in Denmark.  After he made one for his daughter for Christmas, the other kids saw and wanted one, and a toy franchise was born. The naked and some time dressed up wild bright colored haired plastic dolls were popular all over Europe and America but mostly with young girls who spent time dressing them up and collecting them on shelves. The toy fad of trolls in the US was very popular from 1963-65, making them a must have toy for Christmas and birthdays. But while the Dam Trolls were high quality, a copyright screw up in the United States lead to other companies flooding the market with cheaper made products that filled toy stores and local 5 and dimes. In the late 80’s, Troll dolls started to make a comeback in America as a new batch of youngsters discovered them at garage sales and thrift stores. They came back out with the tagline “Adopt A Norfin Troll” and were official licensee products put out by E.F.S. Marking Associates. By the 90s, Trolls were being marketed to boys with such action figure lines like Stone Protectors, Hairy Heads a series of Mighty Max toys and Battle Trolls, and this sparked video games, comics, videos and a massive amounts of Trolls dressed in all type of outfits. Lots happened with the rights, from Dam getting his copyright restored in 1994 to DreamWorks releasing a musical animated movie about the Trolls this year. But I am sure you’re wondering what my connection to Trolls is.  I grew up owning them and my Grandma Salyers had many of them as did my neighbor Joanna. I can always remember laughing about their bare butts and trying my best to play with them alongside other action figure, but they never did quite fit in. In my late teen years I worked for Krogers as a bagger and I can remember that we used to sell them for a while in the floral department, but once they sold them out at a discount they were gone for good. One day my good friend Jason Gilmore and I found one in the back stock room very high up almost to the rafters and using a broom that we threw as a spear we knocked it down! Once in my hands I used a sharpie and white out and created a voodoo priest Troll doll complete with a skull face and tribal tattoos! One bagger loved it so much he bought it from Jason and I for $20.  We turned around and used the money to buy used VHS horror films and music CDs. Years later while working at Game Swap in Kettering, Max Ervin took an old Troll Doll and made it look like Kiss Guitarist Ace Frehley! Love them or hate them, Troll Dolls made an impact in the world of toys and at some point in time I would guess most of you readers at least owned one of them in your household.

Original Troll Dolls

In 1993, Ace Novelty decided that they were going to take a stab at making Trolls hip and cool for boys too and decided that they could do so by making them in scale with Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures as well as make them dress like ninjas and pro wrestlers and give them evil and nasty looking baddies to beat up on. In 1993, I was about 13 years old and all the kids I knew were very much into collecting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I only remember one kid every having a Stone Protector at school and it was just a toy line that never caught on with me and my friends. The series had a total of seven figures made with all five of the Stone Protectors being made: Chester, Angus, Clifford, Cornelius and Maxwell as well as two of the bad guys Zok and Zink, with each figures coming with weapons and accessories. They would later also do a line of figures called “Stone Protectors: Sports Heroes” and would have our heroes dressed in sports gear like basketball and baseball outfits. Over the years of going to flea markets and thrift stores, I have seen these little guys all over the place selling as low as .09 a figure! I have also seen them used at Game Swap in Kettering and in the cheap toy bin at Mavericks Cards and Comics. I must truly admit that I have zero connection to the Stone Protectors, and by 1993, the toys I was buying were the likes of Toy Biz X-Men, Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and was buy tons of comic books and was well into trying to impress girls in my own awkward monster kid kind of way. So how about you friends and readers, did you collect and play with Stone Protector action figures?

Stone Protectors toys 1Stone Protectors toys 2Stone Protectors toys 3

Like any good toy line, a cartoon was made to help and push them into the minds of the youth, and Stone Protectors tried to capture the viewers who were already watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders or even Swamp Thing but just like the toy line, it failed in its goal as only 13 episodes were made and not all of those 13 aired on TV. Each episode was 30 minutes long and was a syndicated toon that could be aired on the station who bought the package. The toon’s plot followed The Stone Protectors as they tried to protect the Mythrandir Kingdom and its princess Opal from the evil Zonk! The cartoon would also be released on VHS for home video watching, and I must say I have never watched an episode of this cartoon nor do I ever remember any of my friends talking about this show. So yeah, like the toys this cartoon was not a shining star in the time of my youth.

Stone Protectors Toon 1Stone Protectors Toon vhsStone Protectors Toon 2

SNES players were treated with a game based on Stone Protectors for their system of choice.  The Super Nintendo game came out in 1994 and is your standard beat’em up side scrolling game that has you trying to stop Zok from changing the fate of a world. The game was also planned for release for the Sega Genesis but was never released likely due to poor sales of the SNES version and the fact the Stone Protectors failed to capture the toy, comic and cartoon market. I for one have never played the Stone Protectors game and in fact never even remember seeing it on the shelf at the local video rental stores…man, it must have been hard to be the Stone Protectors game as all you wanted to do is entertain and instead all you really got to do is collect dust. Below are some screen shots of the SNES version of the game as well as its cover box.

Stone Protectors video game 1Stone Protectors video game SNESStone Protectors video game 2

Troll Dolls have always kind of been creepy, and they have the cold dead eyes just like the Hugga Bunch dolls.  When surfing the net, this picture popped up and acts as proof that these little naked, dead eyed, creepy smiling little dirt bags are up to no good! I saw this picture years back and laughed my butt off, as it was a clever way to show just how odd these little dolls really are in appearance. The look of terror in this woman’s eyes says it all as the Trolls have her tied up and for sure have wicked things on their plastic little brains. Not much is known on the fate of this woman and the Trolls in the picture are being seeked out for questioning by both the Cowboys of Moomasa and C.O.P.S, so if you have a gang of Trolls living in your house make sure that at night they are locked up as you don’t want to go missing like she did! But for real this picture is funny, and I had to add it in as I think you my readers might also get a laugh from it.

Hot Woman Slave of the Trolls

Before we move onto Harvey Comics 4 issues in the Stone Protectors series, I think I should deliver some nightmare fuel for you tonight, just by simply letting you know that out in this wonderful world we all share are some costumes that will chill your bones worse than any horror film and will forever scar your very soul as some company thought that the world needed full body Troll costumes! Imagine coming home late one night from work and your street is empty as you shut you car door you notice a shadow with hair that is wild and pulled straight up to the heavens and as you start to walk to your door you notice another and then another and as you fumble for your keys you feel something behind you only to come face to face with this costume….its dead eyes meet yours and for the first time in your life you feel total terror! Look below and feast your eyes on these terrifying costumes.

Trolls Costume 1Trolls Costume 2Trolls Costume 3

So there you have it, Troll Dolls can be fun and collectable as well as can be creepy and things of nightmares and mental torture! But we are now at the point in this Christmas Countdown update where we must take a look at the Harvey Comic series based on the Stone Protectors toy and cartoon line, and I want to thank both Game Swap in Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock. While you dye your hair and spike it just to get into the spirit of this update, I need to 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 if your hair is ready, let’s go on an adventure with Cornelius and the rest of the Stone Protectors and see just what these guys are made of.

Stone Protectors 0

Stone Protectors  # 0  1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $0.00     Harvey Comics   # 0 of 3

On the planet Mythrandir an eruption causes havoc and frees the evil Zok and his henchman Zink to attack the Crystal Castle, and just in time Princess Opal is able to split the magic crystal into gemstones that come to earth and find a terrible rock band to become a powerful group of Trolls calling themselves now the Stone Protectors! While Princess Opal becomes the prisoner of Zok, the Stone Protectors get onto their tour bus called The Rolling Stone and are sucked into space where they arrive at the Crystal Kingdom and are attacked by a giant lava monster that traps them inside the bus ship and due to magic from Zok, they are frozen in place as his the monster. But the Stone Protectors are not going to be beat that easily.  They play some good old rock n roll music causing them to break free, save Princess Opal and escape. Zok is ticked off and wants the stones that are stuck in the bodies of these troll looking rock stars, as Princess Opal tells them that they are stuck with the gems and that they must be the champions of the Crystal Kingdom! In the end, The Stone Protectors are hyped that they are now not only a rock band but heroes.

This was hands down the worst comic I read this year, and I am not just saying comics I have read for Rotten Ink updates but over all, even ones I have read without writing about…in other words, this is terrible! The plot has a numbskull band being chosen by powerful gems from space to be their protectors and by choosing them, it also gives them powers and draws them into space where an evil goblin looking troll named Zok is taking over a kingdom that was once beautiful. They save the pretty princess and now are targeted and at war with Zok and his evil henchmen. The Stone Protectors are all the same, and none really have any personality besides they all talk like dumb surfer dudes and care about their hair. They fall ass backwards into saving the day and even with super powers thanks to the gems, they still come off as numbskulls. The Stone Protectors also look like Troll Dolls but dressed in over the top hip cloths, and they never reference the fact they look like trolls once the gems attach themselves. Princess Opal looks like a normal blonde who could have been lifted from She-Ra The Princess Of Power, but not nearly as cool. She also really has no personality besides the fact she cares about her kingdom and doesn’t like being called “Babe” as the annoying Stone Protectors call her almost the whole time the meet her. Zok and Zink are evil but not really shown how evil they are as all they really due is turn the castle ugly, and Zok creates a Lava Monster. One thing funny is that by the end, Zok all but flat out says that he will murder The Stone Protectors and rip the gems from their dead bodies…now that’s evil! The cover is not really good and not eye catching.  As for the interior art, it’s done by Bill Valley and looks as sloppy and amateurish as it comes! I have seen high school artists make better-looking comics. Over all this was a poor way to kick off a comic series and really is not making me looking forward to reading and writing about the rest of the issues in this short-lived comic series.

Stone Protectors 1

Stone Protectors  # 1  *
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50     Harvey Comics   # 1 of 3

The Stone Protectors are attacking a Zok stronghold in the Kingdom, and the battle is pretty one sides until Zink shows up.  The bad guys are able to kidnap Maxx and force the other Stone Protectors to retreat, leaving their bandmate and friend behind. And worse, they soon find out that a spy is filling in the bad guys on plans of attacks, and it’s Haret, the teenage daughter of a top rebel warrior named Lantar.  She is helping the good side lose in this gem war. But soon Haret learns that Zok has been lying to her, and she takes Cornelius to rescue Maxx and the friends fight for their life to escape the bad guys’ base. Once free, Haret confesses to Princess Opal, and she is forgiven and goes on the rescue mission that allows them to save her dad Lantar and all make it back safely where The Stone Protectors have a rock concert to entertain the troops.

This issue is only slightly better than issue 0, and I must say that the downside to this series so far, besides the terrible art, is the fact The Stone Protectors are just bland typical party dudes who are not likable. The plot of this issue is super simple and has a spy leaking information to Zok that leads to the capture of two key fighters for the good guys. Once the spy figures out that she is wrong, she helps the good guys rescue the prisoners and all ends well. The Stone Protectors are as annoying as ever with Cornelius being the most annoying, always talking about how good looking he is and going on and on about his hair. The Stone Protectors are such a poor man’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and have no real individuality to make them cool or likable for this comic reader. Princess Opal, who also for some reason is called Empress Opal, takes a back seat for the most part and only shows that she cares once more for her people and kingdom and is willing to fight herself to try and win it all back. Zok and Zink are around but really offer not to much in the way of action and for the most part, the bad guys of the issues are just henchmen who are easily beat. The cover is better this time around and has Cornelius jumping into action with his swords…and wait a minute, Cornelius is the leader of the Stone Protectors and Leonardo is the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and they both use swords…man, the Stone Protectors are true rip off artists. The art inside once more is done by Billy Valley and is as sloppy as before and not to my liking at all. Over all this is another poorly plotted and drawn issue that is something I think I just want to wrap up, so let’s move on to the next issue.

Stone Protectors 2

Stone Protectors #  2  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50     Harvey Comics   # 2 of 3

The Stone Protectors are in the middle of battle once more with Zink and the evildoers, but during the fight Princess Opal is shot and is taken to safety were she is diagnosed to have a stage 5 coma, an injury that doctors say she will not recover from. Haret tells The Stone Protectors of a wise lizard man named Mystan who lives in a cave and might be able to help the Princess.  He tells them of a magic healing cloak on the dangerous planet of Turbulantia…and without a second thought The Stone Protectors head out on their quest to save the Princess. Our heroes crash land on the planet and are attacked by weird creatures that are wanting to fight just cause that’s all they know, and after the fight the Stone Protectors meet Giddy who tell them the cloak they seek is being worn by the planets evil king named Gollun who they track down beat up and take the cloak and bring not only Princess Opal back but also peace and beauty to the planet that was ruled by evil for thousands of years.

I am noticing something – this issue is slightly better than the last issue showing that the series, much like wine, was getting better with age. The plot of this issue is as simple as the issues that came before it and has Princess Opal in a coma and the Stone Protectors must take on an evil King to get his magic cloak in order to save their friend’s life. The Stone Protectors are less annoying in this issue and shockingly enough, act like heroes.  While they have cheesy things to say, it’s clear that when given a mission they focus and get it done. Princess Opal is a major part of the story even if 99% off the comic she is as stiff as a board and near death, while other heroes Lantar and his daughter Haret take backseats and only put in cameos. The series’ main bad guys Zok and Zink as well do very little in this issue besides the fact Zink is the one who shot Princess Opal and almost killed her. King Gollun is a pushover, and they take his cloak pretty easily and by doing so the evil King dies! That’s one thing I should point out: in this kids’ comic lots of henchmen and bad guys are killed most with grenades! The cover is pretty cool and reminds me of issue 7 of DC’s Crisis On Infinite Earths that has Superman holding the body of Supergirl with tears in his eyes. The art once more is done by Bill Valley, and while still very sloppy, it’s a tad better than it was in the past issues. Over all, this is another bland issue, and with this one out of the way it makes me happy that I only have one more to go!

Stone Protectors 3

Stone Protectors  # 3  *
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.50     Harvey Comics   # 3 of 3

The Stone Protectors and Princess Opal are in a battle are pushing back Zok’s men, and this makes the evil ruler very upset.  He sets a new plan into action that consists of kidnapping the daughter of Yatzir, a powerful spiritual man who can bring to life monsters to fight for the safety of his people, and forces him to join his evil side to defeat the Stone Protectors once and for all. But good always beats evil, and The Stone Protectors save Yatzir’s daughter.  The wizard turns his power on the evil Zonk and once more the good guys get a victory, as Zonk suffers another defeat.

The final issue is super basic and has a paper thin plot showing that this series was in trouble as it was clear they had nothing to really add to the adventures of The Stone Protectors. The plot is simple and bland and has Zonk kidnapping a wizard’s daughter making him join his side in the war for the Crystal Kingdom, but the Stone Protectors save her and the wizard is able to turn his powers now to fight on the side of good. The Stone Protectors are just around, and by this point, as a reader I was just bored with them as in a total of four issues they never did really get personalities that made them likable or even made me care about them. Princes Opal is brave but pretty much has zero personality too, besides she hates being called babe and as I have stated before will fight for her people. Zok and Zink are evil but offer no major threat and both seem like normal henchmen, not the major evildoers they are supposed to be. Yatzir and his daughter have magic powers but like all characters in this series, they have no personality making them feel like throw away characters. It’s clear as day that this comic series was not a priority for Harvey Comics as no time or effort was made to make this cartoon and toy tie-in series good. And like most toy tie in comic series, this has no clear ending and for all we know, this battle for the Crystal Kingdom and the Gem Stones is still going on to this day. The cover for this final issue is back to being really bad and looks sloppy and half assed. The art inside is done by Bill Valley again and looks the same as it was last issue, so bad. Over all if I was a youngster reading these comic adventures of the Stone Protectors, a toy line I was buying, I would be very disappointed and this would not have brought any new fans to the toys as the comics were just really poorly done. Over all, I am really glad to be done with this comic series and check out below for an art sample of this series done by Bill Valley, and keep in mind this is the better panel I could find.

Stone Protectors art 1

After reading these comics this cold December night, I can really go for some Christmas cookies and eggnog as well as a stack of Spider-Man comics to wash the taste of these poorly told adventures of The Stone Protectors. I am also really glad that as a youngster I didn’t have a connection of the cartoon and toys as I would be very angry about the way the characters were treated by Harvey Comics for this small run series. But for those who grew up loving The Stone Protectors, I would love to know what you thought after reading these comics, did you enjoy them? But it’s almost Christmas time and for our next update I want to chat about a comic adaptation based on the classic 1980 science fiction film Flash Gordon by Whitman. So until then, stay warm, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a adventure in space!

Flash Gordon Movie Logo 0

The Plagued Journey Of The Dust Devil

Welcome to Rotten Ink.  Our topic today is about dust devils, you know those whirl winds of dust that happen in the desert; they swirl like a tornado while most of the time harmless they can sometimes grow more powerful and cause damage to people and property! Oh wait, we are not chatting about those dust devils so we must be talking about the vacuum cleaners named after those whirlwinds that took homes by storm with their technology of sucking up dirt action…right…oh that’s not the topic either. Well are we talking about the Dust Devil villains in the online multiplayer games World of Warcraft or RuneScape or are we chatting about the song Dust Devil by 80’s ska band Madness or even the DC Comic character Dust Devil who is a member of the Blasters team? But while all those things would make for an odd update, the Dust Devil we are covering is the 1992 film by Richard Stanley and the small promo comic that came with the DVD when released! So grab your sunblock and cover your eyes we are heading into the harsh sand to tail a killer who might be a little more than human.

Dust Devil VaccumDust Devil WhirlwindDust Devil pc

But before we travel into the weird world of Dust Devil, I got an order from Indy Planet not too long ago that had an interesting looking horror comic in the batch and I figured we could take a look at it here real quick to help add to the horror theme of this update. So here we go as we take a look at “Ghastly Goodies,” a comic put out by Almost Normal Comics.

Ghastly Goodies 1

Ghastly Goodies # 1  ***
Released in 2015   Cover Price $2.99   Almost Normal Comics   # 1 of ??

Our first twisted tale is called “The Hand Of Glory” and is about a thief who cuts off the hand of a hanged man that is supposed to be a good luck charm if you light candles around it’s fingers.  It works for awhile until the crook soon finds out the hand has a mind of its own and is killing the victims he is only stealing from! The second story is called “The Howling Jar” and has two young boys spying on their old neighbor that they think is a witch as she drinks from a large jar in her basement.  They break in to see what’s in the jar and find out the old woman is a witch, and they are the next drink in her jar! Third story is “Dance Of The Corpse Worm.” Ed’s uncle has passed away and during the funeral he strikes up a one night stand with the young attractive mortician who worked on his uncle.  He soon learns that this young lady really “loves” her work and passes on a nasty little pet to Ed! “The Sickness” is the final story and has parents being attacked by their ill baby who wants them to be just like him!

This is a great little independent comic that is much like Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow in its anthology styling. Its host is a strange man in a black hat with candles around the brim with a handlebar mustache wearing a straight jacket who acts as the pun master after each gruesome tale of terror…or is that ghastly tale of terror? Each story has its own charm and each seem like they could have easily been a story in Creepy or Vault Of Horror as each doesn’t end well for those involved and the outcome is always gruesome and fitting for their fates. It’s hard to pick a best and worst story as all of them were well done but I will say the weakest story was The Sickness as the zombie baby with a knife killing its parents was creepy but also the shortest and tamest of them all. The best one was tough to pick, and I had to think about it for a day before choosing, but I finally picked one and it is the opener The Hand Of Glory.  The reason I picked it was because it had a classic horror story feel to it and for some reason reminded me of a Hammer Horror Film! Warren E. Elliott is the writer and artist for this comic, and his style is great and holds a charm of 60’s underground comics mixed with late 80’s horror independent comics charm. This needs to be an ongoing series, and I wish my local comic shops Mavericks or Bell Book And Comic would stock it if a full series is in the works. I would recommend this to fans of classic horror anthology comics as I think the over all creepy and fun feel to it is sure to please. One last thing before I give you some samples of the artwork is I want to know who the host of these tales is!

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But before we get to Dust Devil, I should talk about an area here in Ohio that is said to be a portal to Hell called “Satan’s Hollow” in Blue Ash, Ohio.  It’s said that Satanist use this place to meet and sacrifice people and animals and was even said to have opened a gate to Hell and that Satan himself appeared! This is a place that I have wanted to visit on one of my adventures into the Unknown Ohio but never got the chance as stories of it being on private property among rumors that it is also used as a drug hub always pushed it back on the list of stuff to do as none of us wanted to mess with any of that kind of drama. But over the years I kept looking into Satan’s Hollow as a place that is said to have housed Satan for a short time peeked my interest and this is something that I think at some point this coming year Stephen, Josh and I might take a look into. But I have heard that it’s just really a drainage tunnel that kids have turned into an urban legend about Satan that they have spray painted with creepy messages and that the tunnels the further you get back into them get tiny, but I still want to see for myself. Below is a photo of Satan’s Hollow from the blog Creepy Cincinnati.

Satans Hollow

I first heard of director Richard Stanley from my friend and film mentor Andy Copp who was a huge fan of his renegade film style and would often talk about him in the same breath as Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro Jodorowsky showing his amount of respect for his directing style. Stanley was born on November 22 1966 in Fish Hoek, South Africa and at a young age followed his mother Penny Miller as she traveled the world to document witchcraft and folklore from all over the world for her books as she was a artist and anthropologist. Stanley got the film bug in High School when he joined the Young Filmmakers Workshop and created a 8mm short film called “Rites Of Passage” that won him an IAC International Student Film award! He would go onto follow it up with another 8mm short film called “Incidents In An Expanding Universe” and it as well won a IAC award showing that this young filmmaker had a bright future in cinema and he continued making short films. Stanley now older moved to London, England and started making music videos for bands like Public Image Limited and Fields Of The Nephilim and did a documentary on the Soviet war in Afghanistan called “Voices Of The Moon” that followed the lives of Afghani people. In 1990 he made his leap to feature films with “Hardware” a cyberpunk film starring Iggy Pop and Lemmy of Motorhead! The film made a splash and the Weinstein Brothers picked it up for distribution exposing the film to a wider audience. In 1992 he made the film “Dust Devil” and had a terrible time with the production as the budget was small and distributor Miramax kept messing with the editing of the film, this was his first bad taste of Major Hollywood studios. His next project as well was a headache as he worked with band Marilion on a video for their concept album Brave and this to was messed with during editing, so much so he disowned the finished product! His next project came in 1996 when he landed the writer and directing gig for his dream project a telling of “The Island Of Doctor Moreau” for New Line Cinema and this turned out to be a doomed project as it was plagued with lots of setbacks, heartaches and disappointments and this lead to Stanley being fired only a few days into production. Most of the drama for Stanley came from star Val Kilmer who clashed with the director and caused lots of problems for many of the cast and crew. This was the final straw for Stanley as after he watched his project get taken away he walked away from film making for awhile and returned to making documentaries and short films including 2008’s werewolf epic called “Black Tulips” among many others. Stanley also started writing films and comics for others and 2011 he directed a segment for the film “The Theatre Bizarre” called Mother Of Toads. In 2014 Stanley was interviewed for a documentary about The Island Of Doctor Moreau called “Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island Of Dr. Moreau” that told his side of the story of what happened on set. Stanley has also hinted that his original version of Dr. Moreau might be made into a comic and a film sometime soon, and this is something I would love to see. While Stanley has been mistreated by Hollywood the man is very talented and I would love to see him make more stylish Horror Films in the future. This was just a quick look at Stanley as he is a very interesting person with some creative beliefs and if you get time you should Google him and read more about not only his cursed productions but also his interviews.

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Dust Devil started filming in 1991 in Namibia, and the story was loosely based Nhadiep, a serial killer who was said to have had dark magic powers that helped him in his killings. The film’s plot follows many paths including a cop, a female traveler as well as the killer known as The Dust Devil! IMDB has the film’s plot described like this” “A shape shifter comes from the desert in search of victims, a spirit the locals call ‘The Dust Devil’. He prays on the lonely and the unloved, those who have already lost everything but life itself. Wendy has broken up with her husband and wanders aimlessly in her car. She picks up a stranger and begins having misgivings about picking him up when strange things begin to occur. Meanwhile a local police officer tracks the killer. Aided by a shaman’s admonishments about witchcraft he sets off to try and stop the beast before it can complete its grisly task”. Late in 1991, Stanley cut the film to 120 minutes and then to 110 minutes hoping that the longer cut would be the European version as Miramax had the US rights and they wanted a much shorter film, and boy did they chop it down to a runtime of 87 minutes when they released it on VHS and Laserdisc. Off and on the film was getting cut by Miramax until finally Stanley was able to get the film prints back and cut a final cut of the film that lasted 105 minutes and later a directors cut that lasted 114 Minutes long was released on DVD by Subversive Cinema in America. The film is a weird one, and I can remember buying the DVD when I found it at a local second hand media store in Dayton called Second Time Around, and my then girlfriend sitting with me to watch it…yeah she didn’t last long as she was bored pretty quickly of the odd story line and pacing of the film. In 2015, my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn covered Dust Devil on their podcast Gutter Trash and that was a fun listen. Love it or hate it, Dust Devil is one strange horror film that has made it’s mark on the world. This update I would like to dedicate to Andy Copp as I am sure he would have enjoyed this one.

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So are you ready to face The Dust Devil in this short promo comic? Are you ready to see what kind of horror this has in store for us? I mean what kind of murder will this fiend commit on these pages and even better will it keep to the film’s odd nature? Before we travel to with the Dust Devil, we should grab some water or your choice of a cold beverage, and I need to remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also thanks to Game Swap in Kettering for having this comic in stock as now I have two of them as one was also placed inside by single disc DVD release. So let’s get ready to witness a tale of madness!

Dust Devil Comic 1

Dust Devil  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2006   Cover Price FREE   Subversive Cinema     # 1 of 1

The Dust Devil is looking at why he does what he does and talks in thought about how the souls of his victims call to him even before he has murdered them.  To top it off he also shares that he has been around for decades and even was there to kill Hitler! He says it’s the scent of his victims that draw him to places. He shares that over the years he has taken the look of animals and even things in-between human and animal but has as of late settled for a human look which opens him up for the weakness of pleasure and wanting to sex up the women. He loves what he is and loves what he does, and the thrill is wandering the world and not knowing were the scent of victims will take him.

This comic is short and sweet and is used to give you a inside look at the Dust Devil and all his bloody deeds from being the real Jack The Ripper to killing a young woman who he meets and has sex with and then decides to kill her with a knife! It shows that he collects the fingers of the famous people he kills and that as a human he has the desires of humans. I love the fact also it has taken the shape of animals as well as monsters and has disposed of many people. The Dust Devil is clearly evil and in this comic it shows that he loves to kill and that he does not care who is on his list of death. The comic also does a great job of helping you really understand the film and is a nice counter piece as it teaches you a little more about the character before you watch the film or even after! The comic is pretty violent but doesn’t go overboard on blood but does keep the sleaze and uneasy nature of the film. The cover is pretty bland, and if this was a issue that could be picked up at your local comic shop I am sure you all would look over it as would I.  The art inside is pretty cool and is done by Phil Avelli who also wrote the script.  His art is cartoonish yet holds a horror appeal. To sum it up, while very short, it is a great comic that fans of the film will surely enjoy as much as I do.

Dust Devil Art 1

Well this was a fun quick update that allowed me to relive the film Dust Devil as well as enjoy this cool promo comic that added more layers to the legacy of the film. I truly wish that more companies would make comics based on films they release besides Arrow Video.  I would love to see Troma and Pop Cinema get back in the comic game as well as would love to see companies like SRS Cinema, Tempe and Retromedia Entertainment make comics based on their films. Speaking of films being turned into comics, our next update is yet another of the Draculina Photo Comics based on The Vampire Conspiracy so make sure to grab some garlic and cover your neck for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host! Oh yeah and beware of the Dust Devil as he could be anywhere, even at your local coffee shop….beware take care…beware…see what I did there worked in a little Ed Wood Jr. for the fun of it!

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