Xmachina Opens The Gates Of Hell…..

March 21st-23rd 2014 marked another year that Baron Von Porkchop, Susie The DJ and I were guests at HorrorHound Weekend, a convention that we all look at as home and the place that the Horror Host Hall Of Fame takes place at. This year was a little different from the years past as we didn’t even know if we had a table due to some issues brought on by the convention center cutting space, and a rumor was going around that the Horror Hosts were all going to be thrown in a room at the hotel across the street! This was bad news for us as Baron and Fritz The Nite Owl have become hosting buddies and this would have us across the street from them who would be in the convention center because they were having a screening of their hosted version of Trick R’ Treat.  Not to mention, we had the very talented artist Rachel Lare with us and her art would not get to be seen by the mass convention goers if she was placed in the hotel. While we wanted to be at the convention center, we also didn’t want to be so far away from the rest of out host family like Halloween Jack, A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Dark, Victor Von Scary, Janet Decay and many others! We meet up in the morning as Susie The Dj drove Baron, Rachel our friend Mike McGraner (who is the main man behind the rebirth of Nite Owl Theater) and myself, and we all packed into the car and were off for another amazing HorrorHound Weekend adventure. The sad part is the fact that Fritz The Nite Owl got sick and was not able to make it, and that’s a shame as it’s always a treat for us to chat with Fritz. When we arrived at the convention we found out that Mike had a table for Nite Owl, but sadly Baron did not…lucky for us, Mike is a great person and friend and he allowed us to share his table! The weekend was filled with good sales, great friends and a great time! The table was in a great spot as we were right next to The Vortexx, the online TV station that is all about Horror Hosts and next to them was The Horror Host Hall Of Fame Table where our pals Halloween Jack and Dale Kay were and on the other side was the lovely Sharni Vinson of the films You’re Next and Step Up 3-D, who I must say was one of the sweetest celebrities that I have ever had the pleasure of being next to at a convention.  The way she treated her fans was top notch, and she truly is a class act. It was really cool getting to spend some time with Susie The DJ and Baron and catch up with them on what’s being going on in New Burlington as well it was nice to get to talk to Rachel about art and life in general. Plus hanging with Mike is always great as he is also a very creative person like myself and also directs a horror host so we both know the hard work that goes into making a quality show for the fans.  Plus Mike is one of those guys thats just so much fun to shoot the bull stuff with. Also at the event were great friends like Jesy and Jermie Anderson, Amber and Bryan Brady, Fred and Shelby Vogel, David J. Getz and so many more friendly faces. Over all once, more the event was a fun one that always makes me look forward to the next one.  Oh, I guess I should say that the year’s big Guest was Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame.

Baron Von Porkchop and Sharni VinsonBaron Von Porkchop Horrorhound 2014 PhotoBaron Von Porkchop and Halloween Jack 

The Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014 took place at that Horror Hound the Saturday at Noon and was done in front of a packed house, as the auditorium filled up fast with fans of hosts as well as fans of the Evil Dead who had a Q & A panel after our ceremony. This years event was the best yet as everything came off more smooth and organized. This year Jason Hignite placed the event into the hands of Halloween Jack who took the ball and not only got the touchdown but also spiked the ball and did a shuffle much like Bengals player Icky Woods would have. Baron Von Porkchop got the honor of inducting Grandpa Munster into the Hall Of Fame for his work on the TBS show Super Scary Saturday. Baron and Myself were very happy to find out that we doing this as Baron is a fan of The Munsters and I myself grew up watching Super Scary Saturday and it was really a great experience for me to watch the Host I dug up induct a host that meant a lot to me in my youth. Baron researched and wrote a very good induction speech and delivered it well in front of the crowd who also seemed to enjoy it. I was really proud of Baron Von Porkchop and I hope someday that he gets into the Hall Of Fame and a host who inducts him is just as happy and honored to do so as Baron is for those he has inducted. Baron and I really love The Horror Host Hall Of Fame event and this makes the second icon of hosting he has inducted as last year he had the honor of ushering Shock Armstrong into the hallowed halls. If your a Horror Host fan and go to HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio make sure you attend the ceremony as the 2015 Class is being discussed and some major players could get the honor as well as some news on a physical Hall of Fame might just get announced! So as Grandpa Munster would say “Be There Or Be Scared”!

Baron Von Porkchop Inducts Grandpa Munster

At HorrorHound I bought some cool stuff like Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula t-shirts, Return To Nukem High on DVD and lots of CD soundtracks to be played on WYSO’s Sunday night show, Alpha Rhythms.  I spent a lot of money at composer Richard Band’s table and got his score work for such films as Troll, Re-Animator, From Beyond, Prison, Bride of Re-Animator and more. I also got the soundtrack CD for People Under The Stairs from the composer Don Peake, who is one cool guy, and I really enjoyed chatting with him about how he made some of the score music for the original Hills Have Eyes and even the history of the tapes they were recorded on.  Peake was a class act whose music you should check out. One of the things I bought from HorrorHound was a comic book that I had never seen before, a comic that was being sold by two hot blondes sitting behind a table, a comic that was marked $50.00 though they gave it to me for $40.00, and this comic is one based on a film made by horror icon Fulci.  Of course I am talking about the only issue made based on the film The Gates of Hell aka City Of The Living Dead. I was drawn to the comic that was placed on a pegboard behind their table that had a sticker on it that said rare.  At first I walked away from it when they told me the price was $50. I thought to myself, that seems really high for an independent comic book, but as Baron and I walked around, the idea of reading it and reviewing it for you my readers kept popping into my mind and that’s when I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. The comic was made by a small company called Xmachina who only made a very small handful of comics and all were based on popular horror films like Halloween and Phantasm. After buying it, I went over to my pal Pete Bell who owns the amazing comic store Bell, Book And Comic, who was vending, and he had also never seen it before and said he thought I paid a good price for it. When returning back to the table Baron Von Porkchop wanted to give the comic a quick look through and seemed to enjoy what he saw.  So I am really hyped to read this comic for the first time and discuss it with all of you. But before we start, I would like to give you all a little crash course on the director of the film the comic is based on as well as talk about the film and its terrible sequel.  Ao let’s get ready to open the gates of hell and see what’s on the other side.

Baron Von Porkchop Reads Gates Of Hell

When any horror fan thinks of Italian horror cinema directors names like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Joe D’Amato, Lamberto Bava all come to mind as does the master of splatter, the godfather of gore Lucio Fulci who would have to be at the top of anyone’s list of great horror icons to come out of Italy. Fulci was born in Italy in 1927 and grew up to studying medicine in college as well as worked as an art critic. In the early 1960’s he turned his attentions to making films, and his genre of choice was comedy where he made a total of 18 films before moving on to making thrillers like “A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin” and “The Psychic” before also making some Westerns like “Four For The Apocalypse” and “Massacre Time.”  At this time Fulci was also called into court over what viewers thought were real animal deaths in the film A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, and he had to prove that no animals were harmed in making his film. Also around this time he was accused of being anti-Catholic even though he was brought up in that religion, but out of these shockwaves came the boom of Fulci’s horror work that included “Don’t Torture A Duckling” and “Beatrice Cenci”. His main horror hit film came in 1979 when he made Zombi 2, a sequel in Italy to George Romero’s film “Dawn Of The Dead” that was simply called Zombi there.  The film was a hit not only in his native land but also in the USA and England. The film was packed with eye popping gore and to this day is considered a cult classic among horror fans. After the success of Zombi 2, Fulci filled the 1980’s with many other splatter horror classics like “Gates Of Hell”, “The Beyond”, “House By The Cemetery”, “The Black Cat”, “The New York Ripper”, “Manhattan Baby”, “Murder Rock”, “Zombi 3” and “Touch Of Death.” But even while making splatter films, he also directed a few made for TV films as well as a barbarian flick called “Conquest” and wrote many others. During the 1990’s he also made a few films that made impacts on Horror fans like “Demonia”, “A Door To Silence” and “A Cat In The Brain”, but the 90’s was also the time we lost the man as Fulci sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 68.  His last work was a film called “Wax Mask,” a team up film that would have had Dario Argento helping him. Fulci wrote the script outline for a kind of remake of the Vincent Price classic “House Of Wax,” but he passed away before he could truly be involved with the film that was later made and mostly re-written. Fulci was an amazing director and really knew how to chill the blood of movie goers. I grew up watching many of his films on rented VHS tapes and always found them very entertaining so much so I would always end up tracking them down to buy! Later in his life Fulci found out just how popular he was in other countries and this took him by surprise and I am sure truly made him feel special.  This tiny write up doesn’t do this man’s legacy justice.  Make sure to watch his films and read books like “Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci” for complete information about the man’s life and work. While he might be gone, like the old bumper sticker in honor of the man said “FULCI LIVES” on in our hearts and TV screens. My favorite films by him are Zombi 2 and House By The Cemetery for those of you readers wondering.

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The Gates of Hell is the film we are going to break down here as it’s the main focus of the comic book I am going to review.  So here goes nothing. Gates of Hell was made in 1980 and is about Father William Thomas, a man who hangs himself in the cemetery.  By doing so he opens the gates of Hell, letting out evil zombies who all have weird and strong powers and are going around killing people in strange and brutal ways. The only hope we as humans have of closing the gates is a reporter named Peter Bell and a psychic named Mary Woodhouse. She herself died only to come back after being buried alive…or was that dead? The pair of unlikely heroes must find a way to close the gates in Dunwich, New England, the hot spot of the evil before All Saints Day…can they do it? I first saw this film on a terrible VHS copy I bought new off the racks of Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and was hyped to see more bloody good horror from Fulci.  I was not let down! When I first watched the film, I had my pal Jason Gilmore over and we both sat in wonder and watched the mayhem unfold before our eyes.  One scene that stuck with both of us was when one young lady has her eyes start bleeding and proceeds to puke up her own guts.  We both so wanted to figure out how they did the effect so that we could do it in one of our low budget flicks. When the film later came out on DVD via Anchor Bay, it was one the first films I upgraded next to the Halloween and Hellraiser films. It’s a great film with a spooky plot, great gore, likable heroes and evil baddies.  If you have not seen it and are a fan of Italian cinema, then shame on you because you should watch it.

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In 1988, a cheap film that’s real title was “Through The Fire” was made and later called “The Gates Of Hell Part II: Dead Awakening” that was about a woman looking for her missing sister who finds one cop who is willing to help when the plot of a cult that worships a demon comes into play. The film is very poorly made and is not worth watching or really talking about. I also got this film from Suncoast and only watched it once and warned all my other friends about how bad it was.  The acting was blah, and the gore effects were super cheap and to boot it has ZERO to do with the original film and is a sequel in namesake only. I feel like we wasted enough time on this film so I think it’s best we just move on…nothing more to read or see here…okay, maybe some stuff to see.

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The Gates Of Hell was not a main stream horror film like A Nightmare On Elm Street so it didn’t spawn a mountain of merchandise like toys and Nintendo games but over the ages it did have some cool stuff besides this comic I am about to read.  There were Halloween masks, soundtrack CD’s, t-shirts and hoodies, not to mention many articles in magazines like Fangoria. I for one would love to see a video game based on this film because I think it could really give Silent Hill a run for its money in the creepy department. I also would like to see a full comic book series based around the film and the legends it created, not to mention Father Thomas would make a perfect comic bad guy! If you’re a fan and a collector, try and enjoy what little goods the film has spawned for us.

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Before we fling open the Gates of Hell, I would like to take a moment and talk about a story that has been on the internet for a while now, the Sounds Of Hell legend or myth depending on who you are talking to. It’s said in 1989 a group of Russian scientist lead by a Mr. Azzacov were drilling in a unknown location in Siberia.  At some point in the drilling they got to 9 miles and broke into a cavity where they decided to lower a heat tolerant microphone into the hole that was letting out a temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They were shocked at what they heard as they picked up sounds of fire, peoples screams of pain as well as random evil laughter…they had found Hell and were listening to the screams of those who were damned. They stopped the drilling and were scared of what they heard as now the world had proof of Hell.  The recording was saved and later played on Trinity Broadcast Network, a religious station, to prove the evils and tortures of Hell. Later accounts also reported that a bat like creature flew from the hole as well showing the release of a demon into our world. In 1997 the story was an internet topic and flooded message and chat boards with questions and theories to if it was real or simply a hoax. Even Art Bell of Coast To Coast AM played the sounds live on the air causing more panic and speculation about whether the sounds were real. Over the years, as with most things that walk the line of the unknown, people try and debunk it as a hoax and The Sounds Of Hell as well has come under attack as many people believe that the sounds are really just a mash up of different sounds even one coming from the 1972 Mario Bava film Baron Blood.  Others say that it was made by the folks of Trinity Broadcast in order to go along with a made up story to make their viewers worry and think about the horrors of Hell. So is the Sounds Of Hell real or fake…I for one am not sure but what is fact is that drilling was going on in and around Siberia in 89 as well as there is proof that Mr. Azzacov NEVER excised so this story is one that you will have to make up your own mind about…And if the sounds are real, I sure do feel sorry for Baron Blood because it seems like he might just be in Hell.

Flames of HellThe Sounds Of HellBaron Blood

So there you have, it we took a look at HorrorHound Weekend 2014, the Horror Host Hall Of Fame 2014, the true Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci (Sorry Hershel Gordon Lewis that crown’s Fulci’s), the film Gates Of Hell as well as we talked about the creepy Sounds of Hell.  So now it’s time for us to open the gates and take a stroll around and see what Xmachina has to offer the world of horror comics. So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s go on in and see what we have!

Gates Of Hell 1

Gates Of Hell  # 1  **1/2
Released In 2002   Cover Price $4.95   Xmachina Comics   #1 of 3

Mary Woodhouse is a special woman with special powers.  During a séance she dies a sudden death, but not before she warns her friends that evil is coming back! While this is going on, she is seeing the evil undead priest named Father William Thomas as he has done some real horrific stuff that all lead to terrible murders and even his own suicide that has caused him to be this undead monster! It’s the shock of seeing the suicide and knowing that the Gates of Hell have been opened that kills the young woman. The cops are called to Mary’s house where she is now dead and don’t believe her friends as they talk of the evils that are coming, but when one officer is killer by an unknown force on the steps their eyes start to open! Peter Bell is a down and out reporter who is looking for a big story to make his comeback to.  He had lost his respect in the news world when he became an alcoholic, and he thinks that the sudden death of Mary might just be his key to get back on top! Peter goes to the graveyard to visit the newly dug grave for Mary and hears from inside her coffin screams for help and rushes to save her from being buried alive! After he saves her, he finds that the two of them are now tangled in a higher plan that has chosen them to close the gates of hell for good. All the while, Father Thomas is killing people and sending the souls to hell to make the opening to Hell stronger. We end learning that if Peter and Mary don’t stop it, Father Thomas will unleash an army of Phantom Undead killers onto Earth killing all life as we know it.

I want to say that this comic captures the raw and gloom dark brooding mood of the film, but also adds its own pinch of dread and terror making for a good read for a fan of the film like myself. The downside of the issue is that it’s only part one of three, so this first issue is really more of a set up to the true horrors and terror that were to await us in issues two and three! In the first issue we have the set up for Peter and Mary to be the world’s heroes, and we set up that Father Thomas is one mean S.O.B. who will stop at nothing to open those gates to Hell. Mary Woodhouse is pretty likable even though in this issue she has very little stuff to say as she is dead during most of it, but her first appearance in the comic as well as her “rebirth” into it, you know she is a major player in the story. Peter Bell is okay.  He comes off a little shady, but I truly think that was the plan to make a guy you’re not so sure about a hero (I feel the same way about the film). Father Thomas is one evil priest who loves to kill and brutalize his poor victims.  While most of the people he kills have committed sins, his style of murder is just extreme and includes disemboweling and eyeball removal to name a few. The comic is filled with lots of gore, demons, death, naked women, murder and all other things we horror comic fans are looking for making it a really fun and good read, not to mention the fact it’s tied into a Fulci film! The art is done by Derek Rook, a talented artist who has done other horror comics like “Halloween Returns To Hadenfield”, “Zombi 2” and “Voices From Deadworld,” and his style is very raw and brings out the scary nature of the characters he is drawing.  He makes the scary scarier! The cover as well is very eye catching and well done and drew me in even at a Horror Convention with so much other stuff to see. It’s worth a read, and I wish there were more issues.

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When I bought this comic off the two hotties from HorrorHound, I thought that it was a single comic that was the full film adaptation of the 1980 film.  When I found out it was only issue 1 of 3, I was only slightly letdown because it would have been a challenge to find the others in the set, but when I found out that the other two issues in the series never seen the light of day, I can 100% say I was disappointed as I would have loved to have read them and shared my thoughts of them with you. I am going to place Xmachina with such companies as Fangoria Comics, Northstar Comics, Topps Comics and Dead Dog Comics that went away far too fast and could have given readers many more great issues of things of a spooky nature. I would have loved to see Xmachina do comics based on such films as Demons, Cannibal Holocaust, Baron Blood, Tombs Of The Blind Dead and so many other great European horror films that would have made great comic series. So while I am in the Euro Horror mood, I think that for my next update I will be taking a look at a comic based on a Jess Franco Frankenstein film.  So make sure to come back for my look at that one! So until then, support your local comic Store and Horror Host, read a comic or three and check out HorrorHound Magazine if you want to read a magazine that covers all types of horror. 

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Alien Invasion…The Predator

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update we are going to take a look at aliens, you know, little green or grey men who travel around in outer space and beam us aboard their ships to be studied. I am going to review Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the film Predator; we will also break down Predator in film, video games and other media. But before we get into the ultimate hunter, we will take a look at Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 UFO crash, and we will also talk about that mystery place known as Area 51 said to be where the government hides the UFO and aliens! So watch the skies and get your tin foil hat ready, ’cause we are going deep into space and looking for the truth about aliens!

Little Grey Men

In 1947, a U.F.O fell from the sky and crashed on a ranch in Roswell New Mexico.  The flying saucer was banged up pretty bad when the ranch foreman William Brazel found the wreckage, and he and his son, not thinking much of it, cleared the debris.  They only told of the wreckage after reports of a flying saucer being seen in the area and thought that what they cleaned up might just be that. Now here is where it all gets sticky, and many different reports and stories go around about it.  What Brazel “found” was something made of paper and tough plastic or so it was said.  Other stories claim that it was a full fledged spacecraft complete with bodies of aliens that had died from the impact. It’s said that the spacecraft and the bodies were shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for study and that Hanger 18 is where they remain even to this day. The Air Force’s statement was that the wreckage was from a weather balloon that had crashed and was nothing for the public to worry about.  Years later it was also reported that the wreckage was really a spy plane sent over from Russia that was shot down. The mystery of this event had made it the stuff of legend, and everyone who has ever looked into the event has a theory on what and how it came to be. I for one can see both sides; I can see it truly being a weather balloon that came crashing down, and in 1947 I am sure the sight of these balloons was not common at all. I could also see it being a Russian spy plane.  At the time we were having a “Red Scare,” and both they and us wanted to get dirt and intel on the other side. But I can also REALLY see that if it was in fact a ship from outer space driven by little grey men, our government would indeed keep this info from us and study them to learn from what they know…so what do you readers think…was it a weather balloon? Was it a Russian spy plane? Or was it a U.F.O straight from outer space?

New Mexico Dead Alien

Nevada is the home of many great things such as Las Vegas, birth place to actresses like Dawn Wells, Jenny Lewis and Jenna Jameson and even Horror Host Zomboo but it also is the home of one of the world’s most puzzling places, a place that “doesn’t” exist according to our government.  That place is Area 51! Not much is really known about this place but many stories are told of unknown planes in the sky around it, odd sounds and even claims that aliens work alongside humans inside its guarded walls. What is known is that you can’t cross a line on the ground and in the sky, and that the guards around the area have the right to shoot you dead.  You can’t even takes photos of the area! So what is this place really? Many people say that it’s where the Air Force tests its new planes and drones and it’s all very top secret so the new weapons to keep us safe don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. Others think that it’s a place where the government keeps aliens and makes contact with other worlds in order to get ideas for new technology. One thing is for sure, Area 51 is one big mystery that many Americans would love to find out it’s secrets, and who knows maybe someday we will. But it does make you wonder if they do have aliens there, are they willing guests or are they being held captive? Are they smart and nice or are they mean spirited and power hungry? I for one hope they are nice and are guests if they are indeed at Area 51.

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Coast To Cast AM is one heck of a great radio program for those of us who like the unknown and conspiracies.  From the start of the show you know you’re in for a treat as the theme for the film and the old NWA Wrestling Tag Team, The Midnight Express starts playing and your current host George Noory welcomes you to the show. I first heard of the radio show thanks to a co-worker at Blockbuster Video. I worked a lot of closes at the video rental store, and some nights before going home I would drive around the back roads of the countryside listening to music and unwinding from the long day, and they suggested that oe night I give Coast to Coast a listen because they knew I was into Bigfoot, werewolves, aliens and such. That night I gave it a listen and was hooked ever since.  Back when I first heard it, the host was Art Bell who was hosting on the weekends and was the founder of this cool show. One episode of this show that has become the subject of many discussions is the one that focused on Area 51 where one of the call-in lines was for current or past employees of 51, and after a number of calls he got one that chilled the blood of many listeners and triggered a black out of the radio signal. The caller was a man who was in a panic and was a past employee who had been let go on a medical discharge.  The man claimed he was fleeing from some unknown trackers; while on the phone he spilled his guts on what Area 51 really is.  He claimed that it’s filled with inter-dimensional beings who are directly involved in our military and know about some major natural disaster events that are coming and will not warn us because they want many of the world’s population to be wiped out so that the ones of us around can be more easy to control. During the call the man gets more upset and more scared sounding and as he is telling us the listeners more, it sounds as if he has been found by his unknown stalkers and poof, the satellite that hosts Coast To Coast AM goes offline and the callers final words the listeners never get to hear. The show is off the air for over 2 minutes before coming back live, and Art seems puzzled and at a loss as he says that the man on the phone screamed and it sounded like a gun shot before the line went dead, and that the odd part of the satellite going down was it focused in the part that broadcasted his show! Callers after seemed to be bothered by the frantic call as past “employees” of Area 51 called in and claimed that no one will ever hear from that guy again. Now this call has been proven real and proven fake by many and is 100% up for you to make your own judgement. The first time I heard it, my skin crawled and thoughts about turning it into a movie crossed my mind.  I for one think that there might be some truths to what he is saying about there being beings from another dimension here on Earth with us now. Some time later a caller called in and claimed to be the Frantic Caller and said his call was a hoax and that when the show went off the air he himself got scared and thought he might have been onto something with his fake story.  Many think that this caller was the frantic caller, while once more others think the second caller was the hoaxer. So have you heard the call made to Art Bell? Do you think the call was real? Was it a hoax? No one will know for sure and it will remain a mystery just like Roswell and Area 51 itself.

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If aliens are out there in space or even already here on Earth, Hollywood has taught us one thing, and that’s alien chicks are Hot!! Star Trek showed us green girls are sexy; Mars Attack showed us they can wear masks to make themselves stunning, and even genetic put together aliens like Sil from Species are knock outs. So here is to you, hot Hollywood alien women, for making the unknown sexy!

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So you have gotten some brief history and thoughts on Area 51 and the crash at Roswell New Mexico; now it’s time to give you a little background on this update’s star, the Predator! Not much is really known about the Predators as we humans don’t even know what planet or universe they even come from.  Such names as “Hish” and “Yautja” have been given to their race, but these are just names given to them by humans trying to place a label on them. Things we do know about them are this: 1st they can travel through space and seem to have very powerful ships, 2nd they have amazing weapons that are far more powerful than ours from stealth suits to an awesome shoulder cannon. They have the means to make things dead. 3rd they are very strong and have more strength than a human body builder making them a hard fight to go fist to fist with, 4th they love hot summers and heat, and lastly they are hunters and love to collect trophies (skulls) from the prey they hunt. The Predators have also fought with the Xenomorphs and have collected humans and other alien species to drop into a wooded planet to use as practice! While not much is known, one thing is for sure you don’t want to mess with a Predator!

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Predator hit theaters in 1987 and is about Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his group of commandos who go to the jungles of South America on a bogus mission set up by George Dillon (Carl Weathers) who really wants them in the jungle to find a pod that fell from space! Dutch and his men soon find out that they are not alone as an unknown attacker is hunting and killing them one by one. Who will make it out of the jungle alive and can any of these hardened war hounds stand a chance against the Predator! Growing up I saw this film on HBO when my Dad let me and my brother watch it one late night.  From the moment it started I loved it. I was glued to the action and suspense of the hunt. For days I wished that they had made action figures of this film so I could have The Predator hunt the likes of Snake Eyes and Han Solo.  I bought the novel movie adaptation of the film from Half Price Books and was all about The Predator. The film did well at the box office with a gross of $98,267,558.00 worldwide. One of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s in my opinion, and with a creature design by Stan Winston Studio’s you know the film is quality.

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1990 saw a sequel simply called Predator 2 hit the theaters, and this time around it’s taken out of the jungle and into the hot streets of LA. during a turf war over drug sales. Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a good cop who along with his team are stuck in the middle of the war on drugs during a major heat wave and to make things worse something is killing both cartels as well as the cops themselves! And when one of his own cops is murdered and creepy Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) has his agents take over the case, Harrigan must take the law into his own hands and find the truth of the murders.  He ain’t going to like what he sees when it’s hunting season again, and a Predator is loose in the city! The sequel is good but not nearly as cool as the original, and I will say that I also went out and bought the novel adaptation of this film as well. The sequel made $57,120,318.00 gross at the worldwide box office, making it a solid money maker for Fox.

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While The Predator shared the screen with the Aliens in two AVP films, it was not till 2010’s film Predators that we were treated to the third film in the series. In this film, a group of people wake up falling from the sky into a jungle like place; each of them comes from a different part of the world and they come from all walks of life, but all of them have some sort of violent past.  Before they know it, they find out that they are no longer on Earth and are on some planet where they are being hunted like dogs by none other than The Predators! Twists and turns and lots of fighting to stay alive makes up this fun action film that brought in a gross of $127,233,108.00 world wide at the box office. I saw this film in the theater and loved it.  It stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne! If you have not seen this one, you should.

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Besides the big screen, Predator also has hunted its way into the video game world and has had many titles come out on many different systems! Commadore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and even Atari Jaguar all have had games come out that featured The Predator.  In fact, even an Arcade Game has been made! The one that sticks out the most to me was the one for Sega Genesis based on the film Predator 2.  My cousins Dino and Norman had it, and we all took turns one night when I was spending the night trying our best to beat it. The game was pretty hard and was an overhead shoot em up game that as levels went on, the harder it became and of course you played as Harrigan. One of the most popular games based on Predator is the one that came out on PS2 and Xbox called “Predator: Concrete Jungle” where you play as the hunter and kill humans! Predator has been in some good games and some stinker games, but one thing is for sure, The Predator is a perfect character to make video games based around.

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Predator has had more merchandise than just video games, comics and novels.  Many great items have come out based around this character, from Halloween masks & costumes, t-shirts, posters, magazines, models, statues and of course action figures! The figures that most people remember are the ones made by Kenner in the 90’s.  They made all types of versions, from the classic movie style one to ones with giant tusk. I had a few of these figures growing up and while they were cool, I always wanted a 3 ¾” figure…sadly that never happened until this year thanks to the ReAction figure line. Lost more figures were made by NECA and McFarlane, and these were great detailed figures meant for display on the older collectors’ shelves. So if you’re a fan of the character and looking for ways to collect all you can own, there is stuff out there for you that will for sure make the collector in you very happy.

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Something else I would like to talk about before we get into the comic reviews are the soundtracks for the three Predator films and how great they are. The first two scores are done by Alan Silvestri, who was know for doing scores for films like Back To The Future, Cats Eye and Delta Force before doing Predator 1-2.  His scores for the two films are a nice mix of action and sci-fi and the main theme to Predator always seems to get stuck in my head when I am outside in the woods! The score to Predators was done by John Debney who did scores for such films as The Jetsons Movies, Sudden Death, Spy Kids, End of Days and Sin City before tackling this film.  While it’s a great score, it’s not nearly as epic as the first films. And as I am sure you all guessed that I do play some tracks off Predator 2’s soundtrack on Alpha Rhythms. If you’re a score listener like myself give them a listen, you might just like what you hear.

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So far we have visited Roswell, New Mexico, made a pit stop at Area 51, took a look at the frantic Area 51 caller and broke down The Predator in films, music and other media and we still have the comic reviews to go! So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get ready to get hunted as we enter the hunting zone, looking for the ultimate trophy hunter, The Predator. Also thanks to Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock.

Predator 1

Predator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #1 of 4

Detective Schaefer has a bad feeling about his city of New York, and when he enters the scene of a crime and finds two rival gangs both slaughtered like sheep his gut feeling seems to be right! The only survivor of the slaughter was a gang leader named Carr who escaped into the night.  Things get worse when a train is attacked and victims are killed the same way as the gang members. During an investigation Schaefer gets a visit from an army general who tells him to let the murders run their course and that after the heat wave is over the murders will stop.  He also tells him that his brother Dutch also knew about these killers. After the visit, Schaefer and his partner Rasche go back to the scene of the crime were the gang was killed, and Schaefer comes face to face with a Predator who flings him out the window, ending issue one.

It’s a very cool tie in to the original film with Schaefer being the brother of Dutch, Arnold’s character from the first film. Schaefer is alright so far, but he doesn’t really have a personality. He seems to do what he wants to do and doesn’t listen to the rules of his department, and he also seems to have some weird second sight for the strange and unknown. Rasche, his partner, seems to be more likable and is a family man who seems to respect his partner of 6 years but also doesn’t know a damn thing about him! Looks like Carr is a gang leader who is your typical street punk straight from a cheesy Hollywood film complete with red make up slashes on his face. I feel like he is going to be a major problem coming up in future issues. The Predator is the main “bad guy” of the issue and only really makes his appearance at the end as he beats the hell out of Schaefer and flings him out the window! I am a little puzzled about this Predator’s killing pattern as he seems to just be killing at random in the city. This issue also has way too many moments that feel like they read the script for Predator 2 and crammed them into the story, from the attack on the subway to the attack on rival gangs. The art in the issue is that classic Dark Horse style and is done by Chris Warner and looks pretty dang good for the time. Over all this issue is really the start of the mini series and while a little slow and disjointed, it was still a good read and makes me want to read part 2 ad see what happens to Schaefer.  So let’s not wait any longer.

Predator 2

Predator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #2 of 4

Schaefer’s fall from the window five stories up leaves him banged up and in the hospital.  His stay is short as he checks himself out and stays on the couch of Rasche and his family. On Schaefer’s neck, The Predator has placed a tracker, an almost tag of some sorts so that he can track him at anytime. Schaefer goes to South America to the last place that his brother Dutch was seen, and while in the jungle along with his guide, they find a giant hole that was where the original Predator blew himself up.  At night Schaefer is attacked once more by the Predator, and this time Schaefer wins knocking the alien from a cliff and impaling him on a sharp stone. In the end the guide is shown to be working for the military general who is pissed that Schaefer killed The Predator and is now preparing for total payback.

This second issue is filled with action and takes away the city back drop placing the fight in the jungle were it all started. Schaefer is more bull headed after getting his butt kicked and shows he is not to be messed with as he takes down a Predator with strategy and anger. So one Predator is killed, and this makes you wonder why the general is so freaked out by its death.  Was this one special or do they just know it means war when they suffer a loss to their numbers? The action in this issue is pure 80’s action with lots of gunplay and fists are thrown making it feel right at home with other action/horror themed comics of the time. I do really like the jungle setting better than the streets of New York, it just has more of a mood to it. Rasche in this issue stays in New York and is told to get his family out of New York by Schaefer.  So I am thinking the next issue will be what’s going on in the Big Apple. Chris Warner does the art again, and it’s so 90’s.  It’s good and the cover is so in your face. So far at the midway point in this series, it’s a pretty good film inspired series and holds some of the charm of the films.  So let’s see how issue 3 turns up the heat, shall we?

Predator 3

Predator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #3 of 4

Schaefer in the jungle finds that he has pissed off the government for killing the Predator and is now being lead to the general, but he and his guide are ambushed by henchmen for a drug lord Schaefer pissed off some time ago in New York. While the guide is killed, Schaefer is kidnapped and set to be tortured, but he escapes and finds that an army of Predators have followed him and make short work of the drug cartel as the general comes to his rescue and leads him to a helicopter that will lead him straight to The Predators as a payment for their fallen friend.  The meeting place is New York.  Schaefer isn’t having it and knocks out the general, and when they land he is ready for a fight. While in New York, his partner Rasche finds that the city is being hovered over by Predator war ships, and this puts him at odds with the chief.  At one point he is even kidnapped by unknown government agents but escapes when he finds they plan on turning over Schaefer to them. In the end both detectives are on a path to have a show down with their alien hunters.

This issue is a mix of jungle and city action, and it works to build up the final showdown of Schaefer and The Predators in the middle of the busy city. One of the best parts of this issue is the Predators attacking and killing the drug cartel in order to get to Schaefer.  Those dope pushers didn’t stand a chance! This issue also shows that the military and the government knows about the Predators and almost seem to fear them, and will do anything to make the situation right with them after one of their own was murdered. Rasche, poor, poor man gets kidnapped by some agents.  His own boss at the department turns on him by ratting him out, and he knows that the Predators are all over and that they plan on giving his partner over to them! This issue is a nice build up to the final where you know all hell is going to break loose.  It still makes me wonder will we see a cameo from Dutch? Warner art once more, and the cover is great as you all can see.  So without any more hold ups, let’s get to the final issue of The Predator by Dark Horse comics.

Predator 4

Predator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #4 of 4

Schaefer has escaped the army, and he and Rasche meet up and plan for war against the Predators! They know they can’t get the help of the police or the army, so they do what they have to do and recruit Carr and other thugs to help them go to war, and war does happen in the middle of New York! The Predators have ground fighters as well as their space ships, and all looks bleak for Schaefer and his rag tag army until the army shows up and are ready now to fight off The Predator invasion.  The war is heating up, and many lives are cut short but as quick as the fighting started, it stops as the Predators no longer see this as a hunt as much as a fight.  This makes them leave the Earth…for now!

To be honest, the final war was a let down, and what was built up to be epic, came off a little rushed and very anti-climatic. Schaefer barely is able to get his fist wet with green blood before they just up and leave due to “the hunt” being taken out of the fight.  In fact nothing really gets settled in this mini series as a part of New York is left destroyed.  Carr helps, and I guess, escapes.  Schaefer never finds out what happened to Dutch.  Rasche rambles about quitting the force after he is shot, and the army, who come to the aid of the cops, just let them walk away after a major battle.  It all seems like so many questions get no real answers. Rasche and Schaefer, while cool characters, for 4 issues  I never really felt a connection to them and really didn’t learn much about each of them. The Predators seem a little off.  Many of them take a pounding by the fists of Schaefer, and that’s not believable because according to the source material, the films, they are 10 times stronger than a human male. The comic series has blood but not a heck of a lot.  The action is fun and very 80’s like.  The art was well done and once more has that pure 90’s Dark Horse style to it.  Over all this was an okay mini series based on a good action sci-fi film. While not groundbreaking so far on Rotten Ink I would say it’s in good company with the likes of Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. Fans of this film series should check it out if they go in knowing it has some flaws but was made for the fans.

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It was really neat to see what comic book creators were able to do thanks to 20th Century Fox allowing them to make this almost sequel-like mini series. The writers did the best they could to tie in the original film, making the main hero the brother of the hero of the film, but as I stated the sad part is that goes nowhere. But I feel we are not done yet so let’s get into a fantasy warfare as we pit the Predator against the great stuntman of the last update, the Cougar! The setting will be the hot summer month of July and take place on the 4th. The setting is a movie set for a new John Smith film for Independent B Movie in the swamp lands of Louisiana. So let’s see what happens in the battle of the minds and wills of these two champions as the Predator takes on the Cougar!

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It’s around noon, and John Smith has called it a wrap for the day’s filming of his epic new film “Werewolf of the Bayou.” Most of the crew are heading into town for some beers and gumbo while they wait for the night’s fireworks. John walks up to the two stunt men for the film, Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and Bela Chaney, who are putting props away and discussing the next day’s big cabin on fire stunt, and lets them know he is heading into town himself to sit back and watch Morgus The Magnificent on TV host the 1931 Dracula and order room service and relax after the long morning shoot. They wish him well, and after his 95 Cavalier pulls away, Bela turns on the radio that’s playing classic rock and tells Jeff he wants to show him the prop that will be used to kill The Wolfman in this film.  Bela pulls a giant silver and red handgun out of a case and fires a fake bullet into the air.  As they both chuckle, three read lines appear on Bela’s chest and in the blink of an eye a loud noise is heard, and the stuntman’s chest now has a big whole through it! The Cougar swings into action and like in his youth he swings on the vines as blasts of a large cannon go off all around him.  He swings by the prop van again and dives inside. The Predator, who is invisible, waits for a few moments and The Cougar never comes out.  So he decides to go in after him.  As the Predator makes his way towards the van, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  As he creeps up on the van The Cougar jumps out  wearing night goggles and holding a sword and slashes The Predator across his stomach causing green blood to spill onto the ground.  As Cougar swings again Predator retracts his arm blades and blocks the strike! By this time The Predator becomes visible, but the sight of the alien doesn’t even phase Cougar who has fought a vampire and werewolf before this.  The two trade swings with their blades and neither land a strike. The Cougar throws away his sword and holds up his fist and wants to fight man to alien.  The Predator takes off his shoulder cannon and his masks and lets out a roar as Cougar leaps into the air and lands a superman punch to the alien’s jaw.  The Predator shakes it off and lands a straight right to the face of the Cougar shattering his nose and breaking the stuntman’s jaw and causing him to fall to his knees and choke on his own blood, The Predator knows his foe is down and walks over and rips out the spin and skull of The Cougar ending the fight. That night on the Predators ship a new skull is placed in his trophy case and that skull belonged to a cocky stuntman who thought he could out box an alien.

Winner: The Predator

While I think The Cougar could dodge and survive for a while, I truly think the Predator’s weapons and cunning hunting style would overwhelm him after a while, and this would lead to the stuntman’s death. This was a fun update, and I really enjoyed reading The Predator mini series for the first time.  I also liked writing a little about U.F.O.’s and all the unknown that surround them. The next alien invasion spotlight will be another Dark Horse mini series as we will look at their 6 issue run based on the Alien series! For our next update, we are heading into the past and taking a look at a Jack Kirby original named Devil Dinosaur! So until then look to the sky, read a comic or two, watch a movie and support your local Horror Host!

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