Xena The Thanksgiving Day Princess

Welcome to this Thanksgiving Rotten Ink update something that I hope has become a Turkey Day tradition for you just like the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathons use to be for me! And for this update I choose to cover something very special, as this is not only the Thanksgiving update but also is celebrating 10 Years that Rotten Ink has been up on the worldwide web. And normally Hercules would be the one to join us on Thanksgiving but as of last year we are taking a break from spending Turkey Day with him and this year will be our first without him and will instead be about a badass female warrior that is a Warrior Princess and I am of course talking about Xena and the comic series we will be looking at is the original series done by Topps Comics! So while that Turkey is still cooking in the oven and before your guests arrive or you leave to be a guest lets talk about Xena Warrior Princess on this Thanksgiving Day holiday.

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Xena Warrior Princess was a spin-off show of the hugely popular syndicated show “Hercules Legendary Journeys” as Xena first appeared in the 1995 episode called “The Warrior Princess” and she became super popular with viewers as she was a badass female warrior who could handle herself against the likes of Hercules. So because of this on September 4, 1995 she got her own series thanks to Renaissance Pictures. The show in syndication was a major hit and was a ratings draw for all the stations who added it their line up. I for one would watch the show every Sunday Morning and would even set the VCR to tape the episodes I would miss due to family trips and such. The show would have Xena not only face her past of being a raider who killed but would also have her face fellow warriors, amazons as well as even monsters and Gods! And the big thing being is that Xena grew as a character throughout the series run and this added more appeal to the character as she would fall in love, show remorse for his actions and even would doubt herself at time. The show would last for six seasons and a total of 134 episodes and even when the show ended in 2001 it still was one of the most watched syndicated shows on television at the time. During its run it would win and be nominated for many awards including the Emmys and Saturns. It would build up a huge following in the LGBTQ Community, as Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle became role models for young ladies and spawned a lot of merchandise for fans to collect. Xena was a show that was for everyone and the character Xena is still popular even to this day as fans still would love to see her return to their TV screens. And for me it still ranks in my top 10 shows of all time as I was a big fan and still am to this day. The series has been released on home media via VHS and DVD and can be found on some streaming sites from time to time.

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Xena was a feared female warrior who along with his army would loot, destroy and murder any villager in her path and she loved what she did. But her life changes when her own brother is killed in a raid by the Warlord Cortese and she sees the sorrow that her own actions has caused over the years and even her own Mother turns her back on her. Now on a mission for revenge and to right all her wrongs that she has done over the years, she also builds new friendships and trusts and becomes a symbol of change and empowerment from women. She is skilled with a sword as well as her chakram that she can throw super accrete. Xena also has a war cry that sends fear down the spines of her enemies and can stand her ground against any warlord as well as god like being. Xena was played by the lovely Lucy Lawless who was the crush for many nerdy kids of the time and in fact many still do have a crush on her, and I am not ashamed to say I still do as Lucy Laweless is an amazing actress who is beautiful on many levels. Lucy Lawless would go on to be is such shows and movies as The X-Files, The L Word, Spartacus, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Spider-Man, Boogeyman and Bitch Slap. She would even voice Wonder Woman in the 2008 animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. For those of use who grew up watching and for those of who discovered the show after its run we truly know how awesome, amazing, beautiful and ass kicking Xena and Lucy Lawless really is.

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Gabrielle was a farm girl from the village of Potidaea and after being kidnapped by a warlord and then freed by Xena she decides that she wants to follow her savior and together the two have many great journies and adventures. Gabrielle is wise, sarcastic at times and becomes skilled with a staff as well as a sword later on and she becomes a warrior in her own right. Her sister is Lila who is her only sibling and they two do get along well. The character of Gabrielle was super popular with fans and growing up for me on TV you could not beat the duo of Xena and Gabriella as they just played so well off each other. Gabrielle was played by actress Rene O’Connor who was in such films as “Night Game (1989)”, “Stone Cold (1991)”, “The Adventures Of Huck Finn (1993)” and “Darkman II: The Return Of Durant (1995)” among others as well as was on TV Shows like “Tales From The Crypt”, “NYPD Blue” and “FBI: The Untold Stories”. Rene is a great actress and Gabrielle is an amazing character and for many Gabriella rivaled Xena at being their favorite character of the whole series, and lets be honest I think it was Rene who’s acting really made the character be so iconic.

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The show had many amazing side character over the years that made up the Xena universe like the goofball wannabe hero Joxer played by Ted Raimi, Autolycus The King Of Thieves played by Bruce Campbell, Cyrene is the mother of Xena and she was played by Darien Takle, Hercules and Iolaus would show up from time to time and they were played of course by Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst. And on the villain side two of the biggest baddies in the series (and man she had many) was Aries The God Of War played by Kevin Smith and female warrior Callisto played by Hudson Leick. And this is just a small amount of the recurring characters that appeared on the show and made it so awesome. My favorite side character has to be Callisto as she was beautiful, crazy and dangerous and was a great villain for Xena and her episodes were always well done. But to be fair Ares is also a very entertaining villain and Kevin Smith was perfect in the role and it’s a shame he had to pass away at such a young age. Man writing this really does make me look back and see just how awesome all of the characters I have mentioned and more really did make this show special. Oh and I need not forget Caesar played by Karl Urban was also a great baddie who was a pain in Xena’s side. Who was your favorite side character in Xena?

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Like I have said I was an every week watcher of Xena The Warrior Princess and hands down one of my favorite episodes was called “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and was a Halloween episode that aired in October 1996. In this spooky episode Xena and Gabrielle go after Bacchus The God Of Wine who has a legion of female vampires, and during this adventure Gabriella is bitten and turned into one of his servants and its up to Xena to save her friend and kill Bacchus and allow all of those he has infected to return to being human. The episode also had appearances by Joxer and Orpheus and the episode played like a mix between a Horror Movie and a Rock Video that was airing on MTV at the time…and you can never go wrong with Gabrielle looking all gothed out…you just cant. The episode also had a very lesbian overtone and the demonic look of Bacchus was badass and it’s a shame that he was not used more often as a featured villain of the week for the Xena series. Long before the episodes made their way to home media this was one that I can remember taping off TV and watching a lot as the episode was just really cool and the plot felt like a good B-Movie vampire film. And the episode would also go on to be praised by not only fans but also critics who site this as one of the series best episodes. Those who have seen the episode know how awesome it is, and those of you who have not seen it track down the DVD set for Season 2 and give it a watch…also Toy Biz should have made an action figure of Bacchus and one of his female vampire minions…just saying.

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Like all great shows Xena Warrior Princess has had her fair share of action figures and dolls with her first figure being in the Hercules Legendary Journeys line that was released by Toy Biz and she had two figures in the line with the difference being coloring on her armor. And at the time of these figures release I was collecting them all as Hercules was one of my favorite shows and it would be cool to have them set up in my room, and Xena at the time in my area was the hardest one to track down. And I have to also say the Xena from the Hercules toys looks nothing like Lucy Lawless and for the most part is a really cheesy figure. But when Xena got her own TV Show Toy Biz also gave her a toy line that featured not only Xena but also all the characters from the show and these figures and later dolls were way better done and captured likeness better than the Hercules line did. And of course I still have many of my Xena toys and if you are a fan of the show make sure to track some of these figures down as they are pretty cool and a part of the shows history.

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When the TV Show was not on one thing fans could do is get the paperback novels based on Xena and her adventures to fill that void and these were good reads for fans. Many of the novels were written by such authors as Ru Emerson and Stella Howard and the novels most popular reads was the Quest Trilogy that was written by Emerson and consisted of “Go Quest Young Man”, “Questward Ho!” and “How The Quest Was Won”. And growing up I had these books and in fact I still have many of these books and while the lack the visional charm of the show Emerson and Howard did a great job of capturing the fun feel of it and really did deliver very entertaining reads. If you love the show make sure to tack down these novels and give them a read in your favorite spot.

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Xena The Warrior Princess made her way to the world of video games and was in a total of three home console games and a few for the PC. In 1999 Titus Interactive released the fighting game “Xena Warrior Princess: The Talisman Of Fate” for the N64. It was met with mixed reviews as it was an odd fighter but did allow you to play as such characters as Callisto, Ares, Julius Caesar and Autolycus to name a few. Also in 1999 for the Sony Playstation and released by EA came a adventure game that had you play as Xena who is on a quest to rescue Gabrielle and must fight warriors and monsters along the way, and this was a game I have played and beat so many times as I just really enjoyed the quest hack slash style game play and plus it was cool to be able to play a video game based on one of my favorite TV Shows of all time. And yet Xena would also get a Game Boy Color game as well this time in 2001, as even the handheld market needed some Xena for gamers to play as. So while I am not a mega fan of the Game Boy Color or N64 versions, I am a fan of the PS1 version and say that if you have the old console at your house and want to play a Xena adventure give this one a try.

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The score music used for Xena The Warrior Princess was done by Joseph LoDuca and is fantastic stuff as the opening theme always built the excitement for the episode and is something that we all remember to this day as it became one of the most iconic themes for a TV Show at the time. Let’s be honest, you have hummed the theme at least once as you have been reading this update. Many of you might not know that composer Joseph LoDuca is the musical mastermind behind scores for such movies as “The Evil Dead”, “Brotherhood Of The Wolf”, “Boogeyman”, “Curse Of Chucky” and “Bad Samaritan” and shows like “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, “Cleopatra 2525” and “Jack Of All Trades” to name a few. And if you like myself enjoy the music of Xena you can get many volumes of the scores on CD thanks to Varese Sarabande; the musical episode even found its way onto CD! So make sure if you are a music collector to track these down as copies can be found on EBay and Amazon.

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As you know Xena was one of the biggest syndicated shows of all time and this is what lead to it having so much merchandise to be made about it and besides comics, novels, video games, toys and soundtracks, the show also got Home Media, Posters, Shirts, Costumes, Trading Cards, Cardboard Standees, Stickers, Drinking Glasses, Magazines, Clocks, Key Chains, Bags, Jewelry, Snow Globe and so much more official and unofficial stuff! And because I am a fan I do have much of this stuff as I have several shirts as well as some of the trading cards along with the other stuff I have mentioned I own. So if you like Xena and are a collector, the world is filled with lots of cool stuff for you to get for your collection.

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As you can see, Xena was a major force for TV in the 1990’s and sparked a tidal wave of great merchandise as well as gave female viewers a cool character to look up to as she was strong and a badass and at the time this was a little more rare for TV to have such a character in “nerdy” shows like this at the time. She also is an icon in the LGBTQ community as they show was laced with a lesbian overtones and this again was not the norm for this time on broadcast TV. And I want to also note that for fans the novels, comics, video games and even toys helped add new adventures for Xena while they waited for new seasons to start and new episodes to air. I want to thank Half Price Books and Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and i’s art and story. So with that while the turkey is still in the oven and those potatoes are not yet mashe, let’s go on an adventure with Topps Comics and Xena The Warrior Princess.

Xena Warrior Princess Comic 0

Xena Warrior Princess # 0  **1/2
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95   Topps Comics     # 0 of 2

Xena and Gabrielle are walking along a path and stumble on a tomb at the side of a mountain and just as they notice it the ground shakes and a horde of zombie warriors come from the ground and go on the attack! Xena fights hard but is unable to save Gabrielle who is pulled underground by the zombies. Xena rushes inside the temple hoping that she can find Gabrielle alive inside and meets Psoriasese, the undead caretaker of the temple who warns Xena of the Dragon God who dwells inside and who has already claimed the soul of Xena as he wants her to enter his temple, this does not scare Xena who enters to save her friend as she learns that if she stabs the Dragon’s heart she will not only kill the beast but also free all the souls he has trapped. Xena ends up fighting and killing the three monsters that guard the dragon’s gate and once inside the Dragon taunts Xena with Gabrielle who is now in the zombie trance and this causes the warrior princess to go on the attack! After dodging the dragons attack as well as trying to hit his heart she is lucky to shrug off his attempt to put her into the zombie trance and is able to throw her sword into his heart and kill him and this frees the souls of all those he damned! In the end Xena and Gabrielle come back together as people are back to normal all around them and continue their quest.

This is a pretty fun first comic for Xena The Warrior Princess and does a pretty good job of capturing the mood and feel of the TV Show is based on, but I will say some of the humor in the comic does fall flat at times as the jokes and one liners were cheesy. The plot is very simple and has Xena fighting zombies, monsters and a dragon in order to save her friend Gabrielle who was kidnapped by them, and like always Xena and her warrior skills save the day. Xena in this issue is skilled in her fighting and is confidante in her skills as she has no fear charging into a tomb filled with the dead and monsters in order to protect her friend, she truly is one of the best female warriors in all of fandom. Gabrielle in this issue is very bored and sadly does not get her chance to see much action as she is taken by zombies and turned into one of them before she knew what even happened, and she still is very much around for some comedy relief at the start of the issue. The issue’s bad guy is the Dragon God who is in this tomb to try and collect souls to please Hades and to get his way into being in the underworld. He has the power to use a death stare in order to turn people into his mindless zombie slaves and to send their souls to Hades! He is very mean and evil looking but is also very slow in his attacks and had one big weakness his heart that is the key to free all those he damned. The comics action is well done and I do like the fight she has with the three monsters as she makes quick work of them and makes them pay for the decades of killing of people they have done and sends them all to the underworld. The cover I have is eye catching and showcases Lucy Lawless as Xena and the interior art is really great and done by Aaron Lopresti who can truly draw dragons, zombies and monsters and his work on Xena is good and it looks like Lawless. Over all a good start to this series as its fast paced and has some great art and fun action.

Xena Warrior Princess Comic 1

Xena Warrior Princess # 1  ***
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95   Topps Comics     # 1 of 2

Salmoneus is in charge of the Spring Fair and a threat has been made toward the hero turned king Perseus’s life and that is why he has called in many of his friends to help protect the king’s life as well as keep the fair safe. On hand is Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer The Brave and for a brief time Hercules and Iolaus are around to stop a drunken giant. As the heroes all come together a strange old man in a cloak offers money to a charity if Xena and Hercules would fight each other to see who the better hero is, they refuse and Hercules leaves to visit his mother. Meanwhile Xena, Gabrielle, Iolaus and Joxer stick around to protect the King during the fair but things go wrong when the Gorgon Sisters show up as they are the sisters of Medusa and want revenge on Perseus for killing their loved one. The Gorgon Sisters can turn people to stone via their eyes as well as firing laser beams from them and they are able to turn Perseus, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Gabrielle into stone and worse a spear has went through Gabrielle right as she turned! Xena tricks the Gorgon Sisters into hitting each other with their stone eye beams, and this kills them both. As Xena and Joxer go to check on their friends cloaked man appears and shows that he is classic hero Gilgamesh and that Xena should join him on a quest to get a plant that gives eternal life as in 30 Days all those turned to stone will turn normal and this would be the death of Gabrielle!

What a fun comic as this brings in so many familiar faces from the classic Xena and Hercules TV Shows and brings them all together in order to protect Perseus who many know not only by the myth of his story but also the film Clash Of The Titans from the 1980’s. The story is that Perseus is now a King and his throwing a big fair for his people that the conman Salmoneus is in charge of, but a threat is looming so he calls on his hero friends to come act as guards and security only for them to have to face the evil sisters of Medusa who turn many into stone and during this fight Gabrielle is hit with a spear right as she is turned, after killing the sisters Xena now must find a way to save her friend in 30 Days as once she turns flesh again she will surely die. Xena in this issue shows that she has no fear as she rushes head on to fight The Gorgon Sisters and out smarts them in order to end their lives, as they are immortal but they could not survive their own attacks. Xena by he quick actions is able to save many lives! Poor Gabrielle tries to help during the mayhem but finds herself being hit in the gut with a spear and then turned to stone at the same time, she has thirty days to live as stone before returning back to flesh and bleeding to death. Joxer is a goofball and during the fight has his helmet fall and saves no lives nor does not battle the Sisters. The one odd thing is that Hercules is around for a few moments, but leaves before the attack to visit his mom…its like could he not wait one day to visit her and help his friends stay safe? Poor Iolaus and Salmoneus find themselves stone, but do try to help during this attack. I for one don’t trust Gilgamesh who uses Iolaus as a human shield, tries to hire Hercules and Xena to fight and then tries to say he has a way to save Gabrielle’s life as well as give him more life as he should have been dead long ago…don’t trust him as he comes off shady. The cover is very cool and eye catching and the interior art by Joyce Chin and is great stuff, I really like her style lots and she captures the looks of the actors who play the characters and adds he own touch and style to them. Over all this is a great start for this mini series and shows that Xena is not only great on TV but also in comics!

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Xena Warrior Princess # 2  ***
Released in 1997    Cover Price $2.95    Topps Comics     # 2 of 2

Xena and Gilgamesh are on their quest to get the plant that grows every 500 years and gives a person immortality, but they are attacked by some Lion Men and they have to kill the flesh eating beasts and soon find that Joxer has been following them as he wants to help! Gilgamesh opens up to Xena and says that he once touched the flower and that is how he is still alive after all these centuries and that he does not want to die as he feels the effects fading and that watching his friend die before him is what has driven him to this quest as he thinks heroes should not have such fates. The three head to the river and meet the ferryman who uses a sea monster to get them across, once at the location Gilgamesh uses his club and knocks out both Xena and Joxer and then ties Xena up into the air and tells her that he must slit her throat in order for the planet to fully bloom, and she reminds him that he was one of the greatest heroes and that this is murder…he knows she is right and stops his attack. But before they can talk, more monsters appear and Xena and he team up to bring them down. Gilgamesh then says while his life will end he thinks the roots of the flower will heel the wounds of Gabrielle if they can make it back in time. Thirty days pass and those turned to stone turn back to flesh and at the last second Gilgamesh makes it to Gabrielle in time and saves her life! As Gilgamesh leaves to return to his homeland to die, Hercules makes it back from his mom’s home and asks Xena what he missed.

The final issue in this mini series has Xena on a quest for a plant that should be able to save the life of her best friend Gabrielle, but soon finds that she was tricked and a sacrificial lamb so that her blood can help the planet bloom, but her attacker and quest buddy Gilgamesh could not commit murder and they end up using the plants roots in order to at least save the life of Gabrielle as the root heals her wounds. I told you readers not to trust Gilgamesh and while in the end he turns into the hero is was, he had his own self in mind and was willing to kill a brave warrior in order for himself to live forever. Xena as always is brave and kills some monsters as well as goes into the unknown in order to save her friends life as well as help a legendary hero live forever. Gilgamesh is aging and dying and while he was a great warrior at one time its clear his fear of death as well as aging is breaking him down. Joxer is around but is pretty much just used as comedy for the issue. Hercules, Iolaus, Salmoneus and Perseus show up at then end of the issue and add their own charm, but are pretty much just background characters. Gabrielle turns flesh and is saved and still has her sense of humor as she talks about having a tummy ache. This comic mini series has lots going for it as I feel the story is fun and fitting for an episode of Xena, the art is really great and all artists do a great job of making the characters look like the actors and yet also add their own touches, it has lots of action, humor and monsters…plus you can not go wrong with having Hercules in a cameo role. Topps Comics really was a great indie comic company in the 90’s that delivered very entertaining reads and I think their Xena series is proof that they put care behind their releases. The cover is pretty great and showcases Xena being a badass and the interior art in this issue is done by Joyce Chin again and is great stuff, as she even adds a little sexy cheesecake feel to Xena throughout. To sum it up these comics lived up to what I remember and if you are a Xena Warrior Princess fan make sure to give this mini series a read. Checkout the artwork bellow to see the style used by Chin in the series.

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Xena Warrior Princess was a fantastic TV Show that was a big part of my TV watching growing up and made for a great comic book series thanks to Topps Comics who I feel was gone way to soon as I think the amount of amazing comics they could have released over the years they have been gone could have been very epic. You can tell that the creative minds behind this mini series at least cared about delivering a entertaining comic and great read to the fans of the show and that’s what makes it standout from many of the others that have failed their readers and fans. And I think truly that the show should return for one more season and it’s a must that Lucy Lawless and Rene O’Connor step back into the roles of Xena and Gabrielle, but enough of that talk as I could chat about Xena for days! Thank you so much for spending a small part of your Thanksgiving with Rotten Ink and I hope looking back at Xena Warrior Princess made your Turkey Day a little better. Before we part ways let me tell you that our next update is our kickoff to Christmas Eve and will be about the first Superman movie in cinemas that had him meeting Mole Men, that’s right it’s a photo comic graphic novel based on the George Reeves as Superman film “Superman And The Mole Men” so that should be a fun flashback. So I hope you are enjoying your meal with your family, friends and pets and as always until next time read an indie comic or three, watch a Xena episode or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you soon as Superman has some Mole Men to save!

Superman And The Mole Men Preview Logo

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Night Of The Scarecrow (1995)

For this Halloween Countdown, update we will be taking a look at the 1995 direct to video horror movie Night Of The Scarecrow! Back in the 90’s video rental stores were still king of movie viewing with streaming services not even around yet, and it was an event to go to the video store and look at the shelves to find the right movie or movies to provide entertainment for the weekend. This was a major part of my late teen years, and during this time I was able to watch many great direct-to-video horror movies and Night Of The Scarecrow was one of them! So let’s take a look at this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update all about that film and its promo comic.

Before we dive too deeply into Night Of The Scarecrow, we should first talk about its killer, the sinister Warlock who has many ways to dispose of human lives! The Warlock Scarecrow is very sinister in appearance and also uses his creepy voice to startle and scare those he has targeted to be his victims making it very easy for him to attack. He also has supernatural powers that allow him to control some farming machines and parts of nature and can do so to help capture and kill anyone stupid enough to get in his way. He can also use illusions to lure people into his traps as well as morph from place to place making him very cunning and deadly. When those dark magic tricks fail, he also uses brute force to kill his enemies by bare hands or sharp weapons, as his main goal is to kill and cause terror on the path for revenge. He can also implant seeds into females and cause them to explode open with killer vines coming out of the wounds dealing out pain and death. He also draws powers from his old Warlock book that has all his spells. And let’s not forget, he can shoot straw needles from his hands that act like mini arrows dealing pain and possible death to those unfortunate enough to have them fired upon them. Normal weapons like guns, fire and knives have zero effect of The Scarecrow, and his only weakness is damaging his bones from his human corpse. So in other words, if you destroy the bones, you destroy the Warlock Scarecrow. With only one weakness and with supernatural powers and a rage-filled attitude for death and revenge, The Warlock Scarecrow is one killer that is hard to kill and is cruel in his ways of dealing death.

 

So with that you can see that The Scarecrow is very deadly and evil and is one supernatural killer you should not mess with. So now that we broke him down, let’s take a look at the film that spawned him. I would like to remind you that I will be taking the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB and then I will write about the film’s production and release as well as my first time seeing the movie.

Night Of The Scarecrow (1995)

“A group of drunk teenagers accidently set free the spirit of a warlock, which possesses a scarecrow. The scarecrow goes on a bloody rampage killing the descendents of the men who had killed the warlock a century before. A newcomer and the daughter of the mayor try to stop it before it is too late and the warlock can reincarnate.”

Night Of The Scarecrow was directed by Jeff Burr, who is known to horror fans for directing such films as Stepfather II, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Puppet Master 4-5 and Mil Mascaras Vs. The Aztec Mummy, to name a few. The film’s cast was made up of such names as Elizabeth Barondes, John Mese and Howard Swain as The Scarecrow. The film was released on home video by Republic Pictures on August 8, 1995 and was a very typical standard direct-to-video release and got some press from the likes of Fangoria Magazine. When released in 1995, this film had stiff competition to get Horror fans’ attention alongside films like Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Castle Freak, Tales From The Hood, Leprechaun 3, Project Metalbeast, Vampire In Brooklyn, Mind Ripper, Sleepstalker, Burial Of The Rats, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Jack-O, to name a few. Over the years, Night of the Scarecrow has built up a cult following and finally was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2013.

When Night Of The Scarecrow was released on VHS, I can remember going to the video rental store K&L Video with my brother Bryan and renting it during one of our weekends of binge watching horror flicks. The owner Kenny also had a poster for the on the wall, and it was awesome looking. It was one of my picks as the cover drew me in and I have always been a sucker for a good creature slasher film. And with the sodas and chips that we bought from Dot’s Market in hand, we popped the movie into the VCR, and I enjoyed the hell out of the film! I liked the look of the Scarecrow, and much of the film’s gore effects were well done making it a very solid direct to video horror shocker. I spent some time trying to get a copy of the film on VHS for my collection and finally got it thanks to a local second hand media store, and later I would get it on DVD when it was finally released. For some reason I have always been into horror movies that have killer Scarecrows in them, and I think that it started for me with the made-for-TV movie “Dark Night Of The Scarecrow” that was released in 1981 as something about that movie always captured my attention and imagination. Also back in my youth, my Grandma Brassfield use to make a stuffed Scarecrow for Halloween to place on her swing on the front porch that she called “Mokernose” and this also became the thing of ghost stories between my brother and cousins and I as we would tell each other “What If it came alive” tales. The directing style of Jeff Burr is also really well done, and he always can make smaller budget films appear bigger by hiding limitations and highlighting the aspects that work. Howard Swain is pretty dang good as the Scarecrow, and it was great seeing the likes of Martine Beswick, Duane Whitaker and Robert Harvey in roles. Over all, if you like 90’s direct-to-video horror films, killer scarecrows, slasher flicks and evil curses, then this is a film you should check out this Halloween season.

So as you can see, this killer Scarecrow is one evil spirit who enjoys taking lives and stealing souls! I really do think this film is underrated as it’s a great film from director Jeff Burr and one that you should check out if you like films about murderous scarecrows. And now it’s time to take a look at this promo comic made about this film. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having it in stock and making this update possible. And before we get to this spooky comic review, I want to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, lets head to the town of Clayton and see if we can spot and survive this night of the Scarecrow.

Night Of The Scarecrow # 1 **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $0.00   Republic Pictures   # 1 of 1

Clayton is a small farming town, and in this town is lifer Jed Faney whose father had told him something very bad before dying that has caused him to be drinking very heavily at the bar. Jed blows off his friend Todd and grabs a six-pack of beer and heads to the old cornfield and wants to drink with The Scarecrow who comes live and tells Jed that he has his father’s soul and now wants his! Jed runs away and drives off in his trunk as The Scarecrow follows threatening to steal his soul, and this causes Jed to wreck his truck and be killed during the wreck. As the town’s sheriff rushes to the scene of the wreck, The Scarecrow enters town and kills Todd and his drunk friends as this town has a curse that won’t end until the entire town is dead.

This promo comic does a pretty good job of getting your attention and building interest in the film as it gives you just enough to wonder why and how this killer Scarecrow has it out for the people of this small town. The plot is very simple with man who is told a secret by his father on his deathbed and decides to face the “legend” face only to become just another victim in the curse. The “hero” (if you can call him that) of this comic is Jed Faney who we first meet getting drunk in a bar and blowing off pulling pranks on high school students with his friend, only to drink and drive in his massive truck to a cornfield where he comes face to face with evil and wrecks his truck at a high speed and dies…that’s our hero. Now I get that Jed is told by his father that the whole town is on a one way path to dance with death and meet the Grim Reaper, it’s just that he really does nothing to try and warn people or even stop the killer Scarecrow…his plan of action is to drink heavily and drive drunk. The Scarecrow is pure evil and wants to collect the souls of those he kills and does not care who must die that cross his path as he just wants death and pain. The issue has some blood and deaths and does bring a slasher film style of horror to the reader, and for that the makers of this comic really did capture the mood and style of the film. The cover is great and is the poster that was used to promote the film at the video rental stores. The interior artwork is done by Leonard Kirk and is great stuff and has a real indie 90’s horror comic appeal. Over all if you like this film, direct-to-video horror movies in general or just love horror comics based on films, make sure to check this one out. Take a look at the artwork below to see Kirk’s style.

Night Of The Scarecrow from 1995 is a really entertaining film and also had a good comic book based around it. I want to thank my pal Nathan Steinke for alerting me to this comic book, as he and his brother Justin are like me and love to read and discover new horror comics as they are true comic book readers and fans. And now I am going to sound like a broken record as I take a moment to say this to filmmakers who are making horror films…why in the world are you guys not making comic books based on your films to help promote your fright flick? Really this is something that needs to come back full force from our past. Heck, movies like Giant Spider Invasion, The Willies, Sleepstalker, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Babysitter Massacre, Human vs. Zombies and so many more have comics, why not your film…think about it. Well the air is turning bone chilling as Halloween is coming up, so I think we will be next taking a look at a shot-on-video film series called SNIX that was created by James Rolfe! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always, support your local horror host! See you next time for the SNIX pack challenge.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gamera Guardian Of The Universe

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, and welcome to our second update for 2020’s Kaiju Month as we take a look at a giant monster that is friend to all. Of course I am talking about Gamera. While most fans of Kaiju movies respect Gamera, I do feel that he plays third banana behind the likes of Godzilla & King Kong so I think it’s time he gets the Rotten Ink From Horror Movie To Horror Comic treatment! I think most kids my age growing up in the 80’s and 90’s have seen at least one Gamera film as they could easily be found on cheap VHS tapes and would air on TV from time to time. I even knew some kids in High School who would say they even liked Gamera better then Godzilla showing that this Kaiju turtle monster made an impact on those that who grew up watching him. Oddly enough now, even as an adult working at a media store, I have had people tell me that they are bigger fans of Gamera than Godzilla or King Kong…wrap your head around that…as many see him as the top Kaiju in the world. I am sure you are wondering what my thoughts on him are. All I can say is that we will get to that a little further in this update. The Gamera we will be covering on this Kaiju Month update is the one from 1995’s Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and had a comic mini series made by Dark Horse Comics. So if you are ready, let’s take a look at that destructive turtle named Gamera.

So as always, let’s first take a look at Gamera and the powers of destruction he showcases in this film and what kind of methods he could use to not only fight off other massive Kaiju monsters but also humans that get in his way. Like all Kaiju, the massive size and appearance of Gamera can easily put the fear in the hearts of both fellow giant monsters and humans. His massive size also means he could stomp the life out of a person with one step and his size also offers massive claws as well as teeth in a big mouth that could eat hundreds of people with one gulp. I should also note that Gamera would stand over 262 feet tall making him massive and as stated very scary to human eyes. Gamera can attack on land, water and air as he is a super fast swimmer as well as can soar through the air at a fast speed making him a true triple threat. Gamera can also breath fire that that is one of his main weapons against his enemies as well as the fact his mind can bond with a human mind giving him more smarts then his average opponent. But his bond with a human is also his weakness as he can be controlled and can lose the link making him opened for attacks. He can also be hurt like all living things by violence from fellow Kaiju Monsters as well as some human weapons of war. But while he is not the most dangerous Kaiju in the world, he still is a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens he is on mankind’s side!

Now that we know what Gamera is capable of and what he can do on a rampage, it’s time we take a look at the film this version is from. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and then I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about the film and Gamera’s legacy. So if you are ready, let’s talk about the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe.

Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe (1995)

“A hibernating species of giant carnivorous birds is awakened on a Japanese island shortly after the military encounters an unidentified mass moving beneath the water off-shore.”

The cinemas in Japan in the early 90’s was being dominated by Godzilla when it came to giant movie monsters, aka Kaiju films, and Toho was the studio behind these films…and shockingly enough, they also released the 9th film in the Gamera series that was a reboot to the long running series and was the main rival to Godzilla for box office dollars as well as the attention of kids. The film was directed by Shusuke Kaneko and was written by Kazunori Ito, who wrote a part of the 1993 film Necronomicon, and the series would spark off and have 2 sequels and bring back the popularity of Gamera to not only Japan but also worldwide. The film was met with pretty great reviews, and critics and fans shared a common word on the film, that it was a fun watch and added a film to the Gamera series that was on par with Godzilla films of the time. The film did good at the box office in Japan and in its release year, was joined by such films as Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers, Project Metalbeast, Sleepstalker, Jack-O, Leprechaun 3, Howling: New Moon Rising, Night Of The Scarecrow, Castle Freak and Vampire In Brooklyn to name a few. While Gamera might not be as impactful as Godzilla, he does have a very loyal fan base who enjoy his saving the universe from other Kaiju monsters.

Growing up I can remember seeing Gamera films, and while I enjoyed them, I was never a massive fan and in fact found many of the films to be way to cheesy and the kid characters who all loved Gamera always annoyed me. The reason that Gamera stayed on my radar was because I really did like his appearance. I was a Godzilla fan, and he reminded me of a character from that movie series. In 1995, I can remember seeing the new design for Gamera on the cover of Horror and Sci-Fi Magazines, and while I dug his new more monstrous updated look, I was in no major rush to check it out. I would see the film on VHS all the time at stores like Suncoast at the Dayton Mall and would pass on it to grab films like The Gates Of Hell Part 2 or another odd Horror Movie. To be honest I could not tell you when I finally did see Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe and who I watched it with or if I even liked it…I know, readers and friends, it’s shameful to say but this film just never left that big of an impression on me, and I didn’t even own the film on DVD until late 2019 when I bought it again to re-watch for this update. And while I am sure many of you are saying “Matt, it sounds to me like you just don’t like Gamera!” I want to assure you I do indeed like the flying turtle, I was just never a mega fan like I am of King Kong and Godzilla. And after watching Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe again in 2020, I find the film to be fun, slightly silly boring and one that took Gamera in the right step of making him an icon in the world of Kaiju films. And while Gamera is not one of my top favorite Kaiju monsters, I do respect the character and would say he is the third most popular giant monster in the Kaiju monster universe.

As you can see, Gamera is a monster who can hold his own in the world of giant monster fights and while he is not as powerful as Godzilla he could sure put up a fight at least. But now it’s time to take a look at the Dark Horse comic based on the film Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe that was released to help promote the movie in America. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Gamera has in store for us in this four issue mini series.

Gamera # 1  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 1 of 4 

Young lady Asagi is in Mexico with her friend Mayumi Nagamine who has been hired by he rich lady Patty Smith to search her island for a very rare and massive bird, and what she finds instead is a pile of droppings that belongs to the flying Kaiju Gyaos! Meanwhile Asagi is left behind as she was not welcomed on the island just yet and decides to take a plane ride from Lutz who is a small time business man looking to make a living, while flying around Asagi tells her new friend about how she has a link to Gamera via an amulet and as they are talking it starts to glow as Gamera knows that Gyaus is back! Meanwhile Gyaos has flown inland and is attacking while Mayumi learns that Patty is not who she claims to be as she is really Doctor Karbone and she is guilty of creating Gyaus who escaped his jar and is growing fast, and she wants her help to make giant monsters that are controllable! Meanwhile Gamera has arrived and is fighting Gyaus now in the city and when Gamera is hurt the wound is shared with Asagi who is kicked out of the plane by Lutz, and as Asagi rushes to be closer to Gamera she is knocked down by the scared townspeople who are running for their lives.

This first issue is a nice start for this series as it brings a little history lesson of the film this is a sequel to as well deliver the giant monsters fighting in the city! Plus they do a great job of bringing back characters from the film that help it feel right at home in the series of films. The plot is simple crazy mad doctor Karbone has brought back a Gyaus monster with the idea of being able to control it, but when it runs amok she fakes an identity to con a ornithologist to her island lab to help make her dream of weaponized giant monsters a reality, while Asagi friend of Gamera is also around and must help her giant turtle friend battle once more as Gyaus is destroying a city in Mexico. This far our main hero is Asagi a young woman who has a link with Gamera via a amulet and has a mental link with him while she wears it, while she herself is not strong her will to help mankind is. ornithologist Mayumi Nagamine and small plane driver Lutz are background players at this point but you know as this series gets further they will play an even bigger part of the story. Gamera is as massive as ever and is 200 feet tall and is looking to stomp the life out of Gyaus who is the issues true baddie as its destructive and clearly will kill what ever is in it’s way. Doctor Karbone and her assistant Gusano while crazy are not super evil as I think in a weird way they think what they are doing and have done is the right thing to do! The issue is filled with lots of destruction and a fight between the two big monsters and this helped add a great layer of entertainment to this issue. I must also say at this point I feel that all the characters are likable and interesting and made me look forward to reading the second issue! The cover for this issue is great but also a little cheap as it’s just the films VHS/DVD cover, and the interior art by Mozart Couto is great and has the 90’s Dark Horse look. Over all a very solid issue and one fans of Gamera should check out, now lets see if the rest of the series can hold up.

Gamera # 2  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 2 of 4

Lutz decides that he can not leave young Asagi alone in the city when two Kaiju’s are frighting and comes to her aid, and together they make their way to the battle area and she sends Gamera a message via their minds and he is able to defeat Gyaus, before she is two weak to move. Lutz gets he medical help and also swipes the amulet and gets back into his plane to follow Gamera. Meanwhile Mayumi Nagamine is being kept prisoner as she refuses to help Doctor Karbone with her quest to control the giant monsters she is creating, and worse the mad Doctor has a bound with the squid looking Viras who is in control of her mind! Mayumi Nagamine ends up escaping when she sets a fire using a flare gun and while the monsters in tubes are destroyed by the blaze Viras is saved by Doctor Karbone and Gusano who escape with him on a hidden sub. Meanwhile Lutz is having a bad time as his plane runs out of gas and sinks, and he is picked up by French Military who think he is an eco terrorist and he is places under arrest. While on the ship in a jail cell the ship is attacked by a giant fish monster and Gamera once more appears to try and stop the massive threat, but is hurt really quick into the fight and as Gamera is knocked out sinking to the bottom of the ocean we see that a female alien on a ship in space is upset about something.

This second issue steps up the monster battles as Gamera not only defeats Gyaus but also kills him by setting him on fire and burning him alive! Gamera don’t mess around when it comes to protecting the Earth and seems to have his finger on the pulse of giant monster attacks! The story in this issue as well is very fast paced and has a great action, drama and sci-fi blend to it as they give you a some human story and then give you a taste of the main attraction of the comic series the monsters quickly after. Asagi saves the day in Mexico but sadly she is taken from the issue really fast as she is hurt and has to get medical attention, while Mayumi Nagamine is the issues main hero as she is able to get herself free from being a prisoner and while doing so is able to get some backstory from Gusano and as well sets a fire that kills off many soon to be giant Kaijus! Lutz is a goon who steals the amulet from a young girl that he has zero clue how to use, flies his plane over the ocean to run out of gas to be picked up and thought to be a terrorist…he really is a terrible “hero” and is more of a pain then a help. Doctor Karbone is crazy and clearly is in the grip of her greatest monster creation Viras whom she has put her own DNA into, in other words she really is nuts! Gusano is just a man in love who turned away from being a black market dealer in order to be with Karbone as he would do anything for her, and hates the fact she spends all her time with Viras in her lab. Gamera is a butt-kicking machine at the start, but does at the end of the issue leave you on a cliffhanger on if he will get back up and stop the fish monster from destroying the French Army sub. The cover for this issue is great and the art by Mozart Couto is still fantastic! Over all this is another great issue in this mini series that makes me look forward again to the next issue.

Gamera # 3  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse     # 3 of 4

Lutz has survived the attack on this ship and is now sitting in prison, when he gets a visit from Mayumi Nagamine and he tells her that Gamera was who saved the ship as when he was knocked out a weird sub shot a missile into his head waking him up and making him very angry and he snatched the fish monster and took to the air with the beast and dropped it into a volcano! While in this meeting Lutz tries to trade the amulet for his freedom when he is roughed up as the guard is really Gusano who gets away with it as Lutz and Mayumi Nagamine are teleported aboard the aliens ship, her name is Freena and she is from Broomark and the giant fish monster was from her planet and she was ordered to take it back, but with it dead she now needs another monster to take home to her client! But things get crazy when Viras attacks their cloaked ship and when the army appears to attack Viras this squid beast is saved by Gamera who is protecting it as The Guardian Of The Universe is now under the ultra crazy Doctor Karbone control now!

Like all good giant monsters you just cant keep a good Kaiju down as it shows that while he was dazed for a moment once he got his second wind that massive fish monster did not stand a chance! The plot thickens in this issue as Doctor Karbone really wants to destroy Gamera and to do so needs to take control of him…and she does with the help of the amulet that her lover and assistant Gusano is able to easily get from the derpy Lutz. That’s the thing about this series Lutz is the one telling the story and he is the one good guy character in the whole series who makes terrible decisions and makes bad actions that ends up causing way more issues for everyone…really Lutz is a Putz! Mayumi Nagamine once more is wise in her words and wants to help capture and stop Doctor Karbone who she knows is a true menace to all human life if she can gain control over Kaijus. Doctor Karbone really is a great villain for this series this far as she is crazy on her own and now mind melded with the sinister Kaiju Viras she is more dangerous. Speaking of Viras he is a very smug giant monster, as he knows he cannot be stopped if his creator is able to control Gamera and has no remorse when it comes to the deaths and destruction he causes. The moment you see Gamera under her control you feel dread as our favorite flying, fire-breathing turtle is taking so much damage from heavy weapons. The cover is great like the others and Couto’s art once more rocks, and like a broken record I have to say this issue made me look forward to reading the next to see just how this storyline will end.

Gamera # 4  ***
Released in 1996     Cover Price $2.95     Dark Horse    # 4 of 4

Doctor Karbone is on the Eiffel Tower controlling Gamera making him take all the punishment the French army is delivering and he cannot take too much more! Mayumi Nagamine has herself teleported to the tower and with the help of Gusano who she alerts to the fact Viras is controlling the women he loves and will kill her when he gets what he needs from her, he snatches to amulet and they both fall from the tower and Gamera returns to normal and takes the fight to Viras! Meanwhile Freena’s ship is damaged and she is out fixing it, Lutz is trying his best to fly it and of course crashes it! Gamera is weak from all the damage he has taken from the army and in one last heroic moment Gusano lifts a fuel take and the fire explosion gives Gamera the bust of energy he needs and he makes quick work of Viras impaling the giant squid on a building tower! In the end Gamera flies off, Gusano is dead, Doctor Karbone’s body is missing, Freena is stuck on earth and is trying to blend in while in Paris, Mayumi Nagamine quick thinking helped truly save the day and Lutz is set free from the French prison. But when Lutz find’s the amulet on the ground he is unsure if he will give it back to Asagi or if he will keep it and go on another bad idea adventure.

Wow this was a fun ride of a mini series and really did a great job of bringing Gamera alive in the pages of comics! The plot of this issue has Gamera returning to normal and going crazy on Viras who does not stand a chance! The baddies Doctor Karbone and Gusano come to a violent end with me thinking Karbone is not really dead as he body is not found and I think she is still out in the world looking for a way to control her lab made giant monsters. Mayumi Nagamine once more proves that she is the stories real hero as she is the one who talks reason into Gusano to get the amulet off of Karbone. And Lutz proves he is useless as ever as he crashes the space ship and steals the amulet again in the end…he is such a goofy character. So I guess I should talk about the elephant in the room for me about this series and that’s alien Freena, I find her character so unnecessary as her street talk and her part that means nothing really to the over all series is why I just feel no need to really speak about her as she really does add nothing. The monster fights in the series are all really cool and seeing Gamera kicking some butt is what Kaiju fans enjoy about the movies as well as the comics. I should also say that I feel this series was done right as they showed respect to the source material and fans alike and delivered a fast paced mini series that shows movie monsters like Gamera can make for good comic series. The cover for this issue as well is great as his Couto’s art and this was a treat to read as I found myself enjoying it more then the film that spawned it! If you are a Gamera fan and you have not read this series tack them down at your local comic shop and give them a read. Below is some art by Mozart Couto that I think shows just how awesome his art is in this comic series, enjoy.

While Legendary let me down by moving Godzilla vs. Kong from this month, the fact that here on Rotten Ink I can still make March fun for fans of Kaiju and Giant Movie Monsters I hope makes the wait a little better for you fans, like reading these and writing this month has helped me. And again I want to stress that while Gamera movies are not my favorite of the Kaiju films, I still do enjoy the movies and the character and would love to see him return with a new film and better yet be apart of the Monsterverse Legendary is creating. For out next update we will be traveling once more to Skull Island to spend some time with King Kong and Dark Horse Comics again as they did a comic based on the 2005 film by Peter Jackson! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next time on Skull Island, Kong is waiting for another visit from us.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Sleepstalker

Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep as your body and mind really does need it to recharge, and it allows your mind to drift into pleasant dreams and sinister nightmares. Being 37 years old now, I have had several dreams or is that nightmares that have been recurring ones.  One had to do with Freddy Kruger from the A Nightmare On Elm Street series chasing me up stairs and around the basement in our old house on Muriel Ave.  The second had me at school in Waynesville, and the hall monitors were the Gamorrean Guards (Pig Guards) from Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi who were very mean and would shove and punch you in the arms. Growing up, I was told of a magical being called Mr. Sandman who is responsible for your slumber, listened to the song Mr. Sandman sung by The Chordettes, boxed Mr. Sandman in the Nintendo video game series Punch Out, read about Spider-Man beating The Sandman on the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man comics and watched him get beat up by Jean-Claude Van Damme in the 1990 film Death Warrant, but I also knew him as the killer in the 1995 direct to video film Sleepstalker.  This master of the killing arts will be the topic for today’s quick and bloody “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, so sit back and drink some warm milk or sleepy time tea as we go on a dream slasher spree with The Sandman from the film Sleepstalker and the Malibu comic based around it. So ready or not, The Sandman is on the prowl here at Rotten Ink and he has a bedtime story to tell you all….

Sleepstalker 1

So before we get too far into this update, we need to take a look and understand the killer of this independent horror flick. The Sandman is a serial killer who puts families to sleep, even dropping sand over their dying faces and sings bed time nursery rhymes. His targets were families with 7 years old kids and his motives were unknown at the time of his capture, but soon thanks to The Preacher we find out The Sandman must kill his last victim, his brother! His lips are scared from being sewn shut when he was a kid by an abusive father, and his face is thin with evil intentions.  He is truly a walking nightmare with a sick reality brewing in his twisted brain. After being captured and 17 years after his crimes, The Sandman is being executed by the gas chamber but is given immortality and demonic power thanks to a voodoo priest, but he can only keep the powers if he can kill his last victim that lead to his arrest. As the demonic Sandman, he is sand based and can turn into a piles of sand and morph into his human form. His weaknesses are water, as it washes away his sand body and can hurt him, and sunlight. He is cold, calculated and thinks his killings are justified and takes pleasure in them. While abused as a child and saving his baby brother from the abuse as an adult, he now wants to kill his brother and become the force of evil he thinks he should be. The Sandman can use the sand that makes up his body to morph into places, kill his victims and when heated up can use his body as glass to shank and kill. Sinister and calculated, this serial killer is on a mission to become even more evil and seems to not have a care in the world as to how many must die for him to achieve it.

Sleepstalker 2Sleepstalker 3Sleepstalker 4

So now you know why and how The Sandman kills, so we should now move onto the film Sleepstalker that spawned this sand based killer. We will take the film’s plot from our good friends at IMDB, and we will learn not only about its story but also who directed it, the stars of the film as well as my first time viewing it. So grip your pillow a little tighter as we are about to drift deeper into this nightmare Horror film.

Sleepstalker 5Sleepstalker posterSleepstalker 6

Sleepstalker  (1995)

Seventeen years after slaughtering all but one member of a family, a vicious serial killer known only as “The Sandman” awaits execution. But first, his jailers allow a minister to visit the killer to give him last rites, unaware that the minister is a voodoo priest and an ally of the condemned prisoner. The priest places a hex on the Sandman so that when he is executed, his soul migrates into a new body made of sand. To sever his ties with his former life and achieve absolute power, the sandman must find and kill a man named Griffin, the sole survivor of the last family murdered by the killer.

In 1995, a movie was released direct to video that was directed by Turi Meyer who also directed horror film “Candyman: Day Of The Dead” as well as episodes for TV shows like “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Smallville,” and the film I am talking about today is Sleepstalker. The film stars Jay Underwood as Griffin the hero, Kathryn Morris plays damsel in distress Megan, Ken Foree plays a police detective, Peter Mark Vasquez plays a street gang leader, Michael D. Roberts played the sinister Preacher and Michael Harris plays the killer The Sandman. I can remember this film playing on Cinemax when I was a kid as well as sitting on the shelves at Video Rental stores like West Coast Video, K & L Video and Blockbuster Video on VHS. The first time I watched it was on cable and can remember just how cheesy it, was and yet for some reason enjoyed it as I found the story to be a mix of Candyman, Dust Devil and Nightmare On Elm Street rolled together in one low budget package. My brother taped it on VHS off Cinemax, and on one lazy weekend evening we gave it a watch.  I can remember it being one we both said was okay but nothing too special, and it was quickly forgotten by me until it finally came to DVD thanks to Lions Gate. 1995, the year this film was released, had many other great horror films released and by all accounts this one was just lost in the shuffle as films like “Halloween 6: Curse Of Michael Myers”, “Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight”, “Castle Freak”, “Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh”, “Howling VII: New Moon Rising”, “Leprechaun 3” and “Embrace Of The Vampire.” The film was meet with poor reviews as many fans and critics thought the film had too many plot holes and that the killer’s motives were too close to those of Michael Myers of Halloween as he as well was on a quest to kill his sibling. The film was left open for a sequel as The Preacher finds the burnt up remains of The Sandman and begins his voodoo chants, but the sequel was never made as the powers to be in Hollywood seemed to not want a sequel. Another very interesting fact about this film was that also in 1995 independent filmmaker J.R. Bookwalter made a film called “The Sandman” about a dream demon who killed people in a trailer park as they slept…two horror films with The Sandman name as the killer made for fans of night terror themed horror films very happy. So say what you will about Sleepstalker, while it might have flaws it sure is a fun watch on a cold October night or for your own horror movie marathon.

Sleepstalker 7

I have been a comic book reader and a horror film watcher for as long as I can remember, and besides garage sales, Big Bear and the antique stores in town, I always got my comics from Bookie Parlor and Mavericks and never in my quests for comics did I know that Malibu Comics released a comic based on Sleepstalker.  I did not learn about this comic until 2016 thanks to Lone Star Comics who had it in stock and made this update possible. That’s one thing I love about the world of comics and horror films there are so many of them out in the world have yet to be read and watched by me, and I love to discover issues like this as I am a fan of comics based on horror films. But slumber is calling and these sheep are not going to count themselves and these logs will not saw alone so The Sandman is demanding that I tell you that I grade this issue 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 you’re ready to see if this comic that acts as a set up to the film holds any thrills or chills, I know I am ready!

Sleepstalker Sandman’s Last Rites

Sleepstalker: Sandman’s Last Rites # 1  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.20     Malibu Comics     # 1 of 1

Griffin sits alone in his apartment with a gun in his hand, he is scared as he knows that the supernatural killer The Sandman is on his way to kill him like he tried many years ago. He remembers back to when he was a young kid and The Sandman selected his family’s home to kill his mother and father all the while threatening him with permanent sleep and singing nursery rhymes. Griffin remembers back how a cop showed up just in time and arrested The Sandman who promised he would be back to finish what he started with Griffin, and now as an adult he knows that The Sandman is no longer a man but a demonic killer who’s body is made of sand and is heading his way. The Sandman meanwhile is using his sand abilities to kill a couple walking down the street as well as a taxi driver who drops him off at Griffin’s apartment. In the end The Sandman stands in the street in front of Griffin’s building and warns the young man he is there to kill him.

This promo comic acts as a way to hype the film to those who were thinking about renting it from their local video rental store. The plot has our hero and survivor of a murder attempt remembering back to the time of his life when he was the target of a madman, and we also follow that madman now on his way to kill the youngster he targeted 17 years before. Griffin is a man who is haunted by his past as he not only was being stalked by a killer but also seen the bodies of his parents that were murdered before his eyes, well at least his mother was. He knows that guns will not save his life this time as the once human killer is something more now. The Sandman is a killer who while human enjoyed singing, killing and covering the eyes with sand of his victims and even now as a demonic killer he still enjoys those things in undead life. His hatred and obsession with Griffin in this promo comic is unknown but as a reader you just pick up on the fact he hates him and wants him dead. This comic is only10 pages long and just acts as a way to bring the start of the film into the comic world and add its own twist to the lore the film set up. One funny change is that The Sandman instead of turning into a sand storm decides to take a cab to get to Griffin’s house…why would he take a cab? Imagine Jason Voorhees taking an uber ride to Crystal Lake or even Tall Man taking the RTA to the funeral home…just silly. The comic is bloodless but does have some kills with the best being the death of a couple that stumble across The Sandman who uses the sand to engulf them. The cover is pretty eye catching and is the films direct to video poster done with a comic layout twist, the art inside is done by Rob Davis and looks pretty good and is so fitting for the Malibu Comic style of comics. In fact Rob Davis also did work on such comics as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Pirates Of Dark Water” and “Scimidar” and has a true 90’s comic feel to his work. While this Horror Comic is not ground breaking and is clearly only for fans of the film, I found it a good read and was cool to see The Sandman do what he does best and that’s sing and kill this time as a comic book character. Check out the artwork below for the style of this comic. And again if you are a fan of this film or just love to read comics based on horror films check it out, if you are neither of those, I would say avoid it.

Sleepstalker Art 1Sleepstalker Art 2Sleepstalker Art 3

So the alarm clock on this update is about to go off, and the world of terror of The Sandman is coming to an end and it brings us to the finish of this look at Sleepstalker and the Malibu Comic based on it. But next we are still staying in the world of horror as we will once more look at an Undead File based around a micro budget comic called Zombies From Hell! So until we meet again on the next update watch a horror film or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host…pleasant dreams readers and friends!!

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