Who The Heck Is Drastik? I Mean Really Who Is He?

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and to our first update in the countdown to Thanksgiving! Just like covering a Hercules comic series on Thanksgiving, covering a Forgotten Hero is now a tradition for November, and for this one I am picking a hero from 2004 that seems to really be lost with time as finding information on him has been dang near impossible and I am talking about Drastik! As I said his name, I can hear the crickets from you readers as many of you I am sure just said out loud “Who?” and maybe, just maybe, this update will inform you a little about he is and what he is about. So sit back, relax and enjoy this fine November as we take a journey into the comic world of Drastik….and I will say this will be a very short journey!

The company who made Drastik was called Critical Element, and they appear to have had their home base in California.  The company was owned and run by Robert Rowe and by all research and accounts that I could find, this is their only comic release! When looking up Robert Lowe to see what he has done in the world of comics, it as well turned up to be a dead end unless he is one of the following people with the same name: Robert Rowe the writer of music and audio research, or Robert Rowe who is a real estate agent for RE/MAX in Columbus, Ohio, or he could even be Robert Rowe the actor in such films as The Living And The Dying and The Stone House! So I am going to guess that it’s none of the above and that this Robert Rowe is just a normal independent comic writer and creator who believed in his comic and character and opened up a comic company to try and get his vision out into the world and into the hands of comic readers! The comic artist on this book is James E. Lyle, who is an independent artist who has done work for such companies as Solson Publications, IDW and Zenescope and is a journeyman of comics. But I have heard that artist Fred Carrillo also is said to have done the art for this comic…so who knows, but I’ll soon find out once I read this comic for the first time. And it appears that comic legend Gil Kane did the cover art, and all classic comic readers will know him from his work with Marvel and DC. So that’s about all I could dig up on the folks who brought this comic alive and again I have to praise the fact that this small company tried to make a mark on the comic world and did so no matter how small it was.

This update for some reason also reminds me of an odd piece of superhero merchandise that was released in 1975 and was a rock opera based around Spider-Man! This musical release was called “Spider-Man: Rock Reflections Of A Superhero” and shows that Stan Lee would whore out the mighty Marvel characters to anyone who had cash and would offer him a place on the project –  of course Lee narrates this musical journey of Spider-Man. This rock opera is about Peter Parker’s struggle of being a college student and a web slinger superhero and is a mixed bag of singers and musical artists making this come alive with such names as Marty Nelson, William Kirkland and Terence P. Minogue and characters that make appearances include Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. And I should also note that one of the funniest things about this is they act as if other Marvel Superheroes are playing the instruments as they have Incredible Hulk on drums, Luke Cage on bass, Silver Surfer on keyboards, Conan The Barbarian on strings and many of the other heroes lending their talents. That’s what I love about the good old days of comics, so many off the wall merchandise was made in order to spread the heroes to new set of eyes and try and bring in new readers. This weird Rock Opera was released on vinyl and late on CD, and after hearing about it I made sure to track down a CD copy of it and I must say this is one weird and wild ride and it should be turned into a stage musical play as I would 100% pay to see it! Do yourself a favor, if you enjoy Spider-Man and cheesy 70’s Rock N Roll, find this CD and give it a listen.

So here we are at the point of looking at the comic Drastik showing that this character made a very small mark on the world of comic heroes. So with a chill in the air this cold November day, I would like to think my pal Jason Young for getting me this comic from the Gem City Comic Con and would like to once more remind you that I grade this 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 readers are ready, I am as well as this will be the first time I read this comic, and I am looking forward to seeing what its really about!

Drastik # 1  **
Released in 2004     Cover Price $2.95     Critical Element     # 1 of 1

Drastik busts into a lab where an evil doctor was hatching an evil scheme and kills him for his soon to be crimes. We then cut to Los Angeles where a bank is being robbed, and the robbers decide to kill the security guard on duty! Meanwhile, while on a walk, Drastik hears the gun shots as well as the ambulance on its way to the bank and rushes there to make the robbers pay for their crime. As the robbers try and get away, our robot hero Drastik stops their getaway car and blows it up with one of the robbers still inside! As the others run away, he goes and checks and finds that the guard is in fact dead.  The police want the robbers badly, as does Drastik who is hoping to track the others down as well as the person who hired them to rob the bank. The robbers decide to set up Drastik and try to smash him in-between cars and this goes south when the robot jumps out of the way and is able to kill the robbers as well as get the name of their boss who he kills with a shotgun! Next Drastik swears that he is going to kill a serial killer calling himself the Ape-Mask Strangler and finds him and knocks him out with one punch!

This is a weird superhero comic that is very much pro vigilante justice as our robotic hero goes on a one bot killing spree of criminals! The plot of this comic is simple: Drastik has zero tolerance for criminals and goes into a rage when robbers kill a guard during a bank robbery and spends little time hunting them down and killing them and even finding their boss and murdering him all the while he also kills a mad doctor and a killer! It’s a very simple plot with not much depth to it as it was very cheesy stuff and feels very dated for 2004 when it was released with such a simple story. Drastik is a robot who acts like a human but has an ego that will not allow him to fail in his quest to stop crime for good, he is super powerful and smart and seems to have no emotions for those he kills but does for the victims of their crimes. He also is very much a smart ass as he has puns and jokes for the evil doers he is killing and for the most part is a pretty likable hero if you like vigilante justice! His friend in this comic who only is seen walking with him down the streets of LA is Valori Vane a woman he saved from a crime scene who know acts as his closest friend, she is not flushed out at all and is just kind of a background player. The bank crooks are just normal gangster looking criminals who are being lead by a homeless guy and none of them really put up a fight and all meet their end in the name of justice. The Mad Doctor and Ape-Mask Strangler are barely in it and we get no feel for who they are and how bad they were! That’s the main downside to this comic, NONE of the bad guys seem like they even stand a chance against this killing machine of a hero, and with no threat comes no suspense and that leads to an average independent hero comic adventure. The cover is pretty plan and is clearly just a sketch done by iconic comic artist Gil Kane set over a yellow background, but while simple it is eye catching due to the bright color and cool character design. The interior art is done by another iconic comic artist Fred Carrillo and is great classic comic book art and I really dig it as it reminded me of the comics I grew up reading. The story and character creation was by Robert Rowe and it makes me if he or some one he loved was the victim of a crime and this kill all the bad guys character was created as a way to deal with it…makes me wonder. But over all this was a fun average comic book that was a fun read and a great one to share with you readers as he really is a forgotten hero! Check out the art below to see the style of Carrillo and the classic look of it.

While Drastik is not a household name and is not ever going to get a big budget movie based on him, he still made is tiny mark in the world of comics and added his own brand of justice for readers to enjoy. It’s very weird to think that this character never got a second issue, and in fact, I don’t think he ever appeared again after this issue! But thanks again goes to Jason Young for giving me this comic as it was a fun one to cover on this countdown to Thanksgiving update and introduced me to a new character I would have never know was created. For our next update, we are walking away from a Forgotten Hero and back into the world of From Horror Movie To Horror Comic as we will be talking about the horror, comedy musical Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! So make sure to join me back here for that one.  Until next time, read a comic or three, call a friend or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh yeah and until next time avoid tomatoes ’cause who knows, maybe they are trying to eat you!

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SAW Your Way Into This Halloween!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Matt: Any final words for my readers?

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

 A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my windowsill.

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

 You gotta admit that is pretty good stiff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAW (2004)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Back in 1978, there was no more room in Hell so the dead walked the earth and attacked a group of survivors who were living in a shopping mall…in 2004, it happened again! You see, Hollywood loves to remake classic horror films, and besides Dawn Of The Dead, many other classic series have gotten this treatment like Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville Horror, Prom Night, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Night Of The Living Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, The Fly, Carrie, Black Christmas, Psycho, Friday The 13th, Evil Dead, The Wolf Man and my god, so many more showing that instead of making sequels or original horror films they would rather just modernize the classics. But that’s not to say that all remakes are bad.  While many are pure garbage like Psycho and A Nightmare On Elm Street, many are good like The Hills Have Eyes and Dawn of the Dead, which is the topic of todays update, another in our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic series. So let’s get ready to shop till we drop and spend our time dodging the undead as we once more hit the mall of the living dead! Are you ready for Dawn Of The Dead 2004 Remake…The Comic!!

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In order to move on, we must first come to understand what this film is bringing to the table in the killer/monster department so let’s take a moment to break it down. The film’s main villains are zombies, and in this remake, there is thousands of them in the parking lot of the mall, all who want to eat our heroes and are growing in numbers as the living keep dying. Why the dead are back and eating the living is a hot topic during this outbreak, and many have theories that range from God being upset to a new virus, man made or even nature made. The zombies are fast moving and can run as fast as a normal human with their undead advantage being that they do not get tired and can give chase long after a living person tires out. Besides being fast, they also have in their arsenal of killing the fact they are in large packs and can overwhelm their targets.  They will use their teeth and hands to shred and rip flesh, and they can infect living humans and cause them to die painfully and later turn into a undead being for their ever growing army. Also their rotting appearance is something that scares the living and causes them to panic as well as leave themselves open for an attack. The zombies do have weaknesses as they are not very bright and are consumed with the need to feed, making it easy for humans to outsmart them. They can be “killed” again with fire and gunshots to the head.  They can also be slowed down when cut in half. But even with their weaknesses, The Zombies are a force to be reckoned with as they will not stop until the world belongs to them and the living are no more.

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So as you can see, The Zombies made the lives of the Mall survivors very miserable.  Now that you know how they kill, I think we should take a look at the film that spawned this promo comic. Once more the write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB, plus we will look at the stars and makers of the film, and afterward I will share some of my thoughts on this remake film as well as the first time I watched it. So let’s aim for the head and take a moment to break down this 2004 film.

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Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Ana goes home to her peaceful suburban residence, but she is unpleasantly surprised the morning that follows when her husband is brutally attacked by her zombified neighbor. In the chaos of her once picturesque neighborhood, Ana flees and stumbles upon a police officer named Kenneth, along with more survivors who decide that their best chances of survival would be found in the deserted Crossroads Shopping Mall. When supplies begin running low and other trapped survivors need help, the group comes to the realization that they cannot stay put forever at the Shopping Mall, and devise a plan to escape.”

When I first heard that a remake of Dawn Of The Dead was coming to theaters in 2004, I was in doubt that they could make a modern version of this classic zombie film work and with a then-unknown director named Zack Snyder heading it, I decided not to watch it in the theater as I felt this was just a bad idea and told all my friends that I was not going to be seeing this one and would just wait for DVD. But when I found out the screenplay writer was James Gunn, who was responsible for writing the film “Tromeo And Juliet” for Troma, along with lots of solid actors like Ving Rhames who plays police cop Kenneth Hall, Sarah Polley as Nurse Ana Clark, Mekhi Phifer as soon to be dad Andre, Ty Burrell as Stephen, Jake Weber as good guy Michael, Kim Poirier as the sexy blonde Monica and Lindy Booth as sweet young teenager Nicole, it made me break my grand stand of horror movie remake hate and head to the theaters with friends to watch this film on the silver screen.  All of us loved it as did the rest of the movie goers as the theater was somewhat packed! The film had a nice mix of horror, action, drama and comedy, and all the actors nailed their parts.  The score by Tyler Bates was moody and fitting. The best part was that this film didn’t try to be the original and added its own touch to the survivors in a mall during a zombie outbreak.  This is what made this movie shine as each character was their own person and had their own personalities with none borrowing from the 1978’s base characters. The zombies were treated as being scary, and they even have a baby zombie showing that this film was sticking to twisted and scary, meaning no pie fights between bikers and the undead. When the film was released on DVD, I ended up buying it and still to this day alongside a small amount of other remakes will praise it and say this is how a remake is done right. The film when released was # 51 at the US box office brining in a total of $59,020,957.00 on a $26 million dollar budget. In 2004, Dawn of The Dead was joined by other horror films like “Saw”, “Seed of Chucky”, “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed”, “Secret Window”, “Shaun of The Dead”, “Tremors 4: The Legend Begins” and “The Card Player” to name a few showing that fans had lots of great stuff to chill their bones that year. While not as good as the original, this remake packs a bite and helped spark the rebirth of the zombie doom that is still going strong till this day.

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Along with the film’ release, in 2004 the Atari 2600 Homebrew game makers decided that the world needed a game based on this remake film, a game that has you driving a vehicle and fighting off zombies and collecting gas to keep your escape dream alive. The game is just a hack of “Worm War I” and can be found as a rom on the net as well as put on a Atari cart, which is how I own the game! While fun for a short while, it does get repetitive and like all Atari 2600 games it has simple game play and cheesy graphics. So if you like old school video games, this is one you might want to check out if you enjoy your games based on Horror Films.

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The 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead was a perfect film to make into a comic book, and around the time of this film’s release IDW put out a comic adaptation mini series based on the original 1978 film.  So I am sure you’re wondering why the newer movie only got a promo comic given away free in the DVD release, right? Well around this time MiG.Biz was working on a magazine size adaptation of this film and this promo comic was just a small part of the over all bigger release that sadly never saw the light of day as it appears they went out of business before it could make it to comic shop shelves. It’s a shame as I would have loved to cover the whole comic for this update and not just the promo, but it was just not meant to be. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for not only having this comic in stock but also for alerting me to the fact this comic was even made. So let’s enter the mall and see how this batch of survivors deals with the zombie apocalypse, but before I do I can hear this on the overhead speakers: “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.”  Now they are playing Richard Cheese covering Disturbed so I think it’s time to enter the mall!

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Dawn Of The Dead **
Released in 2004    Cover Price $0.00    Mig Biz    # 1 of 1

At St. George Hospital things are getting odd as a man with a bite on his arm from a bar fight is now at death’s door, and poor nurse Ana is already an hour late leaving work before she can go home to her husband Luis. Once home and spending date night together, Vivian, the young girl from the neighborhood shows up in their house dead, and as a zombie she bites and infects Luis who is now hungry for flesh.  Ana knowing something is wrong tries to call 911 only to find the line down and decides to jump in her car to get her man help.  But while driving she crashes and wakes up to find a police man holding a shotgun to her face.  Once he figures out she is alive, the pair run into three more survivors who warn them that the road up ahead is littered with zombies and a decision is made to make it to the nearby mall, and so ends this promo comic adventure.

This promo comic is just the adaptation of the film’s opening and is done with black and white art that cuts out much of the openings gore and blood. Yes you heard me right the comic is very light on the red stuff as the whole scene of the zombies attacking the neighborhood is gone as is the scene of zombie Luis attacking Ana who has to hide in the bathroom to escape his chopping teeth! Those two scenes are very iconic for the movie and for some reason MiG.Biz decided that they didn’t need to be added to this promo comic. The comics story is this Ana is a nurse who after a long shift at work goes home for date night with her husband who in the morning is bitten by a little zombie girl and is turned into a flesh eater himself! While getting away she has a car wreck that leads her to joining a small group of survivors that have a plan to hide out in a near by mall. They throw in some news broadcast pages and you have this very basic and not scary promo comic. Ana is a character who clearly is a hard worker as she stays after work to be helpful as well as a loving wife as she clearly loves her man. Luis seems like a man who is in love with his wife and just enjoys being who he is, but as a zombie he is filled with rage and hunger and clearly wants to eat his wife alive! Vivian is a young girl who likes to roller skate around the block and clearly is liked by the Clarks, but once turned into a zombie she don’t care about friendship as she wants bloody flesh! The Police Cop and the other survivors we don’t get to know much about but we do know they want to live and have seen some terrible stuff while trying to do so. The downside to this comic is the fact we only see two zombies, one bite attack, the characters don’t get to flushed out and we really don’t get to the meat of the story as this seems just like we get a nibble on the free bread at the table. I have a feeling or at least I would hope that the full comic would have had some amazing zombie attacks complete with blood and guts, as this teaser was pretty tame and was very weak on the red stuff. But while this comic does have flaws I would say it was enjoyable and the art done by Miguel A. Insignares is pretty great stuff and holds a 2000’s zombie comic appeal. The cover for this issue is a little lame and has a zombie in shadow on a white background, pretty bland and for some reason reminds me of Image Comics from the 90’s. Over all this review was longer than the comic and it’s a shame that the full comic was never released as I would have loved to seen the comic version of actress Kim Poirier and seen how they would have handled the rest of the movies gore moments and key scenes. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Miguel’s.

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So once again we have made it out of the mall and are safe from the dead.  While this promo comic might not have been amazing and a must read for horror comic fans, I will say I am glad I found out about it cause it made for a great From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. For our next update, we are walking away from the world of horror and into the world of Archie Comics, and we will be taking a look at a NES Game turned comic with “The Adventures Of Bayou Billy”! So until we meet again, avoid being eaten by a zombie, watch a horror movie or two, read a horror comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you in the bayou readers and friends!

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