From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Zombi 2

Happy Scary Halloween! For this year’s spooky holiday update I decided to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update based on one of my favorite Italian horror movies that was directed by one of Italy’s best directors, the godfather of splatter & gore, Lucio Fulci, and the comic series released by one of the world’s best Indie comic companies going, Eibon Press! I am sure that by now you guessed that I am talking about “Zombi 2.” This is one that is long over due and one that I have been looking forward to reading and reviewing here at Rotten Ink, and after a very terrible 2020, I figured why not make it this Halloween update as this is sure to make your holiday a little more spooky! So if you’re ready, let’s get on this boat the S.S. Eibon and set sail for the island of the dead. Along the way we have to watch out for sharks and the zombies of the ocean as they are both super hungry and super deadly. Oh, I do want to say that this update does have spoilers.

Let’s first break down the zombies of this film and their way of dealing with the living that are foolish enough to be in their paths. The zombies in Zombi 2 are undead reanimated bodies that range from freshly dead to the long dead and have a hunger for human flesh and guts that drive them to find their meal. In appearance, the zombies range from rotten flesh to bloody flesh and can use their looks to frighten and shock their human victims as, for example, they can be missing eyes and have open eye sockets complete with worms crawling out! The zombies will shuffle and stalk alone or in large groups and seem to also be smart in some of their attacks, not to mention that in a massive horde they could overtake and overwhelm a person or even a group of people. But I also do not want to downplay how dangerous they are on their own as one zombie could easily sneak up and take a bite out of you. These zombies can swim and walk under water. They do not need air and can take gunshots and massive hits to the body and still get back up to try to rip you apart. The zombies use their hands and teeth to rip away your flesh and do not slow down or get tired, making them super dangerous to the living; not to mention a bite from them can be toxic and lead to becoming one yourself. The zombies do have a few weaknesses though.  The main way to bring them down is head trauma and that means a gunshot to the brain or bashing the brain in with a heavy object. They can also be stopped with fire; if you set them ablaze, they will eventually fall and not get back up. Like all zombies, the ones in Zombi 2 are very hungry and very dangerous and the more of them there are, the more your days are numbered.

Now that we all understand that the zombies of Zombi 2 are flesh eating terrors that will not stop until they are ripping your guts out and scarfing them down, we should now take a look at the cult classic film that they are from and that really is one of my all time favorite films from Italy. As always, I will be taking the film’s plot from our friends at IMDB and after I will write briefly about the film’s production and then share about my thoughts on the film. So sit back and alert the crew that the boat can leave now.

Zombie (1979)

“A zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West, a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, an ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the islanders into horrifying zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible.”

In 1978, George Romero with Dario Argento released Dawn Of The Dead as Zombi in Italy, and the film was a mega hit. With that enter producer Fabrizio De Angelis, who wanted to make a “sequel” and tried to bring filmmaker Enzo G. Castellari on to direct but he turned it down. And then enter Lucio Fulci who was coming off two very good splatter horror films and was making a name for himself as an up and coming horror director. The screenwriter was Dardano Sacchetti, who called the script “Nightmare Island” and was very much inspired by the novel The Island Of Doctor Moreau and classic zombie films like Voodoo Island and I Walked With A Zombie.

Filming started in June 1979 in Latina, Italy with shots in New York City and Santo Domingo. Actors like Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Olga Karlatos and Al Cliver were hired on with Fabio Frizzi joining to score the zombie fright flick. During filming, the producers lied to the actors as no trailers were provided for them and it was a very demanding film to shoot, with even the classic shark vs. zombie scene being shot without Fulci even knowing about it!

When finished, the film was rushed to Italian Cinemas for release on August 25, 1979. It would hit English speaking markets in 1980 and was a major hit world wide and built a very big cult following. In fact, in England the film was labeled as a Video Nasty and was banned! Years after its released it found even more success on home video, DVD and Blu-Ray, becoming a must have film for horror collectors.

When the film was released in 1979, it was joined by such Horror Classics as Phantasm, The Amityville Horror, Alien, Tourist Trap, Savage Weekend, Capture Of Bigfoot and Salem’s Lot, to name a few. The film was followed by Zombi 3 (that was also partly directed by Fulci) and then the series here in America would have more sequel numbers slapped on VHS boxes that really were just other films from foreign markets like After Death, Killing Birds, Absurd and A Virgin Among The Living Dead, to name a few. If you have never seen Zombie and are a major fan of zombie films or even Italian horror, do yourself a major favor and give it a watch.

I first heard of Zombie thanks to the book Gore Score by Chas Balun, who peeked my interest when he kept talking how about a splinter going into a woman’s eye changed his life and gave it very high on the gore level. I would see more coverage of the film in the pages of old Fangoria Magazines, and seeing pictures of the worm-eyed zombie locked it in my mind that I had to see the film someday! For years I waited for the film to play on TV as well as looked for it at video rental stores my parents visited and could not find it, and this was so frustrating.

Years would pass, and as a teenager, I was finally able to find a copy of the film on VHS at Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and I was hyped to get home and watch it. While the quality of the film transfer was poor, after watching the film I became hooked as I loved so much about it. The gore was fantastic, the zombies looked creepy, the score was top notch, the atmosphere was spooky and the ladies were beautiful with Olga Karlatos who played Mrs. Menard being stunning. Plus seeing the splinter to the eye scene that haunted the nightmares of Balun was as gruesome as I imagined and truly grossed me out. The crazy thing is that this film is a sequel to a sequel that spawned more sequels…and in reality this film has zero to do with Dawn Of The Dead and was a cheap cash in that ended up being really good and can stand on its own and became a cult classic. Plus I am not going to lie, I really do also like Zombi 3 that was its follow up, but Dawn Of The Dead’s follow up Day Of The Dead is my favorite zombie film of all time.

Over the years I have often recommended this film to my friends who enjoy horror films if they have never seen it and enjoy Italian films. And of course over the years I have owned this film on VHS and DVD and it still remains in my top 10 best zombie films of all time list! I will say that at times some horror fans tend to make fun of this film due to a scene of a zombie fighting a shark and hands down that scene is awesome and sets it apart from all the other undead films that flooded the market at that time. Over all this is a great film and if any of you readers have not seen this film, make sure to check it out!

Like all cult horror movies, Fulci’s Zombie has had its fair share of cool merchandise for fans that include posters, t-shirts, buttons/pins, toys, comics, hats, books, CDs, magazines and of course the film on all types of home media. Over the years I have had my fair share of items based around Zombie like the classic Blackest Heart Media soundtrack on CD, the original Zombie graphic novel, and t-shirts with worm eyed zombie on it. I own a rubber figure of worm eyed zombie that was made by Rubber Monsters, and I have the enamel pin that my cousin Stephen got me. Plus of course I have the full set of comics from Eibon Press that in my opinion are must own comics for any horror comic reader.

I also want to take a moment to remind readers about Eibon Press, the masterminds behind the Fulci Comic universe that not only includes Zombie but also mini series based on The Beyond, Gates Of Hell and House By The Cemetery!

Eibon Press is an indie comic company that is for fans of horror comics and horror movies as. They do a fantastic job of bringing these films to pages and keeping true to the source but also adding their own touches and adding to the classic stories delivering ghoulish nightmare soaked pages. They also have comics based on other film series like 1980’s Maniac and Laserblast, plus original series like Bottomfeeder and Wasteland 1989 proving they can also deliver original frights to readers. Shawn Lewis, who is also the main man behind Rotten Cotton, is the brains behind Eibon Press, and hands down if you readers and friends have yet to check them out, make sure to do so as they are doing some really killer horror comics. Make sure to support indie comic companies as they are the ones who are truly allowing creative minds to express their ideas and bring stories to life. They are also the ones who are not taking the cookie cutter route of Marvel and DC and making comics based on fresh ideas as well as cult classic films that go beyond Star Wars and other Hollywood blockbusters. Long live Eibon Press as well as all the other micro and indie comic companies that are making comic reading fun again!

Before we move on, let’s also talk about just how crazy the world of Zombi is and how it has sparked a truckload of sequels and re-labeled films shoehorned into the series!

So we all know that Zombi is the title for George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn Of The Dead in Italy and that the Fulci film Zombi 2 called Zombie here in America is an unofficial sequel. But here is where things get crazy: the real Zombi 3 was directed by Fulci, and yet there is Zombie 3: Return Of The Zombies that is just the Paul Naschy film The Hanging Woman renamed and released in the U.S. on VHS.

The fourth film in the series, Zombie 4: After Death, is really just the film After Death that has the Zombie title slapped on it, and there is also Zombie 4: A Virgin Among The Living Dead, a VHS release here in America that is just a Jesus Franco film with the Zombie 4 prefix tacked to it! And the tacked on title of Zombie continued with the fifth film as Zombie 5: Killing Birds was an Italian film called just Killing Birds, and here in the U.S. on VHS we had Zombie 5: Revenge In The House Of Usher that is another Jesus Franco film. Now we are getting into the rest of the VHS releases here in America, all put out by T-Z Video with Zombie 6: Monster Hunter that is just the Joe D’Amato film Absurd!

Many other films have been tagged with the Zombie label such as Anthropophagus, Night Of The Seagulls, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Zombie Holocaust, Nightmare City, Pulgasari, Panic, Burial Ground, Zombie ’90 and The Dead Next Door, to name a few! So as you can see, this series is a mess and is filled with tons of false sequels to the original films, and to be honest, someone in the indie filmmaking world should take up the mantel from T-Z Video of making and releasing zombie films with the Zombie brand taped onto the covers. Below are the covers for the films that have Zombie tagged onto the film by T-Z Video.

So as you can see, these zombies are true flesh eating soulless killing machines and are in one of Italy’s best horror movies ever made, and thanks to Eibon Press, they also got this comic series! First I want to thank Shawn Lewis and everyone at Eibon Press for doing these comics as the world needs more spooky comics based films and they are delivering and have many more to come. I also want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head to this island filled with the dead and see why the dead are rising.

Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2016   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 1 of 8

A voodoo ceremony is going down, and after a sacrifice, a zombie tribal priest type figure named Biacando comes alive! Doctor David Menard wakes up from a feverish dream of that event and then has to shoot a dead patient in the head that was bitten by his dead wife. This is when Menard knows that the dead have risen. We then cut to a boat in New York that appears to be unmanned. The harbor cop comes aboard, and they find that a fat bloated zombie is on the ship. He kills one cop and the other guns down the bloated zombie down who falls overboard into the cold water below. Reporter Peter West reports to work and gets an assignment to check out the pier near where the cop and the bloated zombie were killed. While at the hospital, the dead cop comes back and kills the two doctors, spreading the zombie infection. Near the edge of the water a homeless man is attacked by the bloated zombie, who is now also in New York! Meanwhile Peter West meets Ann Bowles, the daughter of the man who owned the abandoned boat, and together the sneak into the pier at night to see if they can get answers as her father has been missing for a while now while working on an exotic island and the police are being rude and no help. While on board Anne finds a letter from her father that tells of a disease, a native tribe and unknown things on the Island of Matul. Peter gets his bosses at the paper to allow him to travel with Anne to the island to break this scoop that could be the biggest story in the world. While in Jamaica, Anne and Peter hire vacationing couple Bryan Hull and Susan Barrett to take them to Matul as a man with a voodoo doll watches them sail off.

This first issue of Zombie brings elements of the Lucio Fulci film as well as original plots from the mind of writer Stephen Romano! The plot of the issue has zombies infecting the island of Matul as well as later New York and a journalist and a missing doctor’s daughter are traveling to get the answers they seek after reading a letter written by her dad and left on a boat that washed into NY’s harbor.

The new plot elements that break away from the film show the natives of Matul bringing on the curse of the undead, complete with a clearly powerful zombie named Biacando! They also add in the fact that Peter West had a brother that was murdered on his first day out as a cop by a drug pusher, and that they were close…I smell the dead brother returning from the grave in a future issue. They also show the classic bloated zombie coming out of the water and making his way into New York and also stress that he is in fact the one who starts the zombie invasion in America.

Peter West is a goofball who admits to himself he is bad at his job of being a reporter and if not for his uncle owing the paper, he would have been fired long ago. But while bad at it, he still has the heart and right frame of mind when he gets wind of this story that could be the biggest the world has ever read if all works out right.

Ann Bowles is a strong willed woman who is not taking crap from the cops and wants to find her father and figure out why his boat was being sailed by someone other then him, and she even will team with a reporter she doesn’t know in order to get what she seeks.

We are only introduced briefly to Doctor David Menard, who worked with Ann’s father on Matul and who is stressed out and worn down by the zombies, as well as Bryan and Susan, the married couple who are enjoying life off the island of Jamaica, as Bryan is a retired Green Beret and Susan is a journalist for a nature publication.

The zombies are flesh hungry and brutal in nature as they just don’t eat the living, they massacre them! It’s great seeing the bloated zombie come alive in comic pages, and plus I want to know more about Biacando, who I am sure is a major force in what’s spreading this disease, as with every zombie kill, it seems maybe his spirit is around.

The comic does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and nudity and each kill is done in a glorious splatter fashion, and fans of comics like The Dead (Arrow Comics) and the original Walking Dead (Aircel Comics) will surely be pleased in the gore department. The cover for this first issue is very eye catching and will surely please fans of the film as it showcases the film’s most popular zombie. The interior art work is top notch and is a team up of artists Michael Broom with additional art by Derek Rook, and these guys capture the gritty nature of indie horror comics as well as Italian horror movies really well. To sum up this first issue, I will say that it’s a very solid horror comic that is doing the film its based on justice thus far and the creators adding their own touch makes it feel fresh and new. Let’s see what issue two has in store for us via story and gore!

Zombie # 2  ***
Released in 2016    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 2 of 8

Doctor David Menard is once more having a dream about the tribe and the undead Biacando, who is doing more and more brutal sacrifices, and worse Doctor Menard finds that the hospital’s radio is no longer working and his wife Olga Menard is now upset. They get into an argument as she wants to leave and he wants to stay as he thinks he is close to finding a cure! And when things get too heated, Doctor Menard slaps Olga and she alerts him that she hates his guts! Later that night Olga is home alone taking a shower and unbeknownst to her, zombies are outside watching and looking for a way inside. They break in and force her eye onto a giant wood splinter and end her life. Meanwhile Peter, Ann, Bryan and Susan are on the boat heading toward Matul when Susan asks them to stop so that she can dive and get some underwater photos. Once in the water, a zombie attacks her and she only escapes from by using razor sharp coral that she scraps across its face. As Susan swims back to the boat and tells her story of a bloody man in the water which insights Bryan to be mad at Peter as he feels the reporter is not telling him the truth on what is going on in Matul. Meanwhile, the zombie ends up fighting with a shark! After Peter shares what he knows about the island and the rumor of the undead curse, they get on a rowboat and head toward Matul as Doctor David Menard watches them approach.

In this second issue our “heroes” are almost to the island, and while taking a break, they find a zombie under water. The threat of voodoo and the undead really starts to sink in, while Doctor David Menard decides that he will find a cure, even if it costs him his marriage and life.

The second issue once more is mostly based on the cult film from 1979, and once more the Eibon Press crew added their own touches to it that add a fresh layer to the comic and also adds more of a backstory to many of the characters! First, they show that David Menard was a man who really only has cared about experiments and even was a part of some in World War II. Olga Menard was shown to have been a lady of the night way before she married Menard and has looked at all these people who used and abused her as monsters. Lastly they hint that Susan was assaulted by her father when she was a youngster…adding many dirty secret layers to them.

Peter is one of those “hero” characters that have somewhat good intentions, but along the way he comes off as a snarky smartass. At one point when Bryan is upset that his wife was attacked by a man at the bottom of the Ocean and looks to Peter for answers as its on his request they are heading toward a cursed island that will only really benefit Peter (and somewhat Ann) as he will get a story that will make him famous. Ann kind of takes a backseat in this issue and is on the boat but keeps mostly to herself besides trying to keep Susan calm after seeing the zombie in the water. Bryan and Susan at first seem to be game to drop their paying guests at the island and start to second guess their decision when they notice that the legends of the island could be true.

Doctor David Menard is a man on a mission for answers, but sadly his want to find a cure is not fully in order to help mankind as its more to fulfill his ego to be the best. Poor Olga Menard; we hardly get to know her before she becomes dinner for zombies.

This issue again pulls no punches on the blood and guts and delivers the splinter to the eye death and its done pretty damn well! The cover is cool and eye catching and features another key zombies from the film, and the interior art is top notch and done by Michael Broom with others. So far this is very great series, and I cannot stress how cool it is that this adaptation has some new fresh elements added to the plot to deliver a familiar and yet new experience. Let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Zombie # 3  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 3 of 8

Doctor David Menard has the island’s new guests in his jeep and is heading back to the hospital when he tells Ann about the death of her father that had him being taken into the tribe of Biacando and that he along with the hospital crew went into the tribe and shot all the undead including Biacando and returned her father to the hospital where he was infected and turned into a zombie and Menard himself pulled the trigger when he reanimated. The boat crew was sent to New York for supplies and had orders to dump infected bodies into the ocean, and Menard says they must have been infected before they arrived in America. Once back at the hospital nurse Stephanie runs out and alerts Menard that his friend Fritz is inside in bad shape. Menard gives his guests the keys to the jeep and asks them to check in on his wife and to wash up as he will come for them a little later as he rushes inside. Peter, Ann, Susan and Bryan take the jeep and head to his house, and they don’t think his story of voodoo adds up. Things get worse for them as they enter the house and find his wife being eaten by zombies that are now all over the place as they are hungry and they are on the menu! Bryan snaps and grabs a shovel and smashes zombie skulls, and the group makes it safely to the jeep as the voodoo drums once more fill the air. Unlucky for them, a little way down the road the jeeps engine just stops working and they know they have to get to the hospital for shelter as the zombies are coming. While at the hospital, Doctor David Menard has to shoot his injured friend who turns into a zombie and orders his two helpers Lucas and nurse Stephanie to lock all the doors and windows. Meanwhile Peter and the rest are making a run for the hospital and have to go through an old cemetery, and as they take a momentary breather, the ground beneath them starts to rumble. The long dead are also coming back to life, and one with worms in one of his eye sockets takes a bite out of Susan’s neck, killing her! Peter and Ann help the shocked and sad Bryan as more and more zombies are coming.

This third issue is super action packed as the plot has our heroes meeting the island doctor who gives them answers to some of their questions. They discover the half eaten and mutilated body of the doctor’s wife, battle their way through zombie and lose one of their own to the series’ top zombie in Worm Eye! And this all happens super fast.

We also get more of a look into Biacando whose voodoo that is causing all of this and who is the one who infected Ann’s dad with the infection that lead to his death and then re-death at the hands of his own friend.

It’s clear by this third issue that Doctor David Menard is a man on the edge as the stress and the horrors he has seen on this island are starting to really get to him, and being the kind of guy he is, giving up and running away is not an option. I mean it’s crazy as so far in the series, he has had to shoot two of his close friends in the head after they have returned as zombies, not to mention all the other villagers he has had to do this with and soon he will find out his wife as well has fallen victim to this infection!

Bryan and Susan are clearly second guessing themselves as they went to this cursed island only because strangers offered money and they had a intriguing story…but thus far all they have gotten is Bryan losing his mind and flashing back to his military days and Susan ends up dead with a bite hole in her neck! Peter and Ann have gotten answers about the death of her father as well as a little about the infection that is bringing the dead back to life, but they don’t fully trust what they have been told! Also it’s clear that they are now also starting to fall for each other and that they all must watch out for one another if they want to get off the island alive.

Poor Stephanie and Lucas are trying to help with the sickness and the dead at the hospital, but it’s clear they are scared out of their minds.

The main attraction of course is seeing the Worm Eyed Zombie do his thing and take a chunk out of Susan’s neck! Like before, this issue adds its own touches to the adaptation like showing Ann’s father was under the cursed charm of Biacando and Bryan going crazy with a shovel and bashing and smashing zombies at Menard’s home. The jeep’s engine fails, and they don’t crash into a tree like in the film. Those are just some of the small and big changes. The story is reaching the fever pitch of what is to come with the living against the dead in a showdown of survival, and this comic series is doing a great job of building the hype! The cover is eye catching and once more showcases a zombie from the film, and the interior art by Michael Broom and Derek Rook is top notch and is perfect for a horror comic based on a film. This issue also pours out the blood and guts on the pages and has some true splatter moments! So let’s see what issue four has in store for us.

Zombie # 4  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 4 of 8

Peter takes charge in the cemetery as Bryan is breaking down over the death of his wife Susan while zombies are surrounding them. Finally Peter is able to get them all to run and make it to the boarded up hospital. Inside Doctor David Menard is getting Stephanie and Lucas to get bottles and kerosene to make molotov cocktails, and then lets in Peter and the others who inform him that his wife is dead and that the hospital is being surrounded by zombies! Doctor David Menard informs Bryan to go to a closet to fetch guns to arm themselves, and then the Doctor wanders off and records his final message before being eaten by a zombie as he has embraced death. Poor Stephanie and Lucas also get attacked and eaten by zombies leaving Peter, Ann and Bryan to fend for themselves. The three hold their ground and use guns and the molotov cocktails on as many of the undead as they can, and once the hospital is burning down, they run out the back door and standing there is the zombie of Susan…who bites Bryan. Peter shoots her, and the three rush back to the boat and set sail to get back to New York. Meanwhile Doctor David Menard is now a zombie and gets the call from Biacando, who clearly had more plans for the dead. As Peter and Ann listen to the confessions of war from Bryan, he dies, and they store his body in the belly of the boat to use him as proof of their story. As the couple get close to New York, they hear on the boat’s radio that the zombies are now in New York and have started to slaughter and kill and that things are really bad. As they listen, zombie Bryan busts out of the door and charges for an attack as we end this issue with hordes of zombies entering the city.

The adaptation part of this comic series comes to an end with this issue, and it goes out with a massive bang and does a great job of building up the excitement of what is to come as it’s clear the zombies are many and mankind needs to take a stand to try and end this terror. And I have to say that writer Stephen Romano did a fantastic job of capturing the feel and spirit of the Fulci film as well as added his own touches that truly brought a new level of fright to the story. The stuff he added was well done as he fleshed out the characters of Peter West, Ann Bowles, Doctor David Menard, Olga Menard among others and this was wise as it made you understand the characters better and showcased some of their dark secrets.

I also like how he added the touch that maybe the zombies are not being brought back by voodoo or an infection as it could also be the fault of toxic waste that has been hidden on the island thanks to Doctor David Menard and his shady war crime past. That’s the thing, Doctor David Menard clearly did some terrible things during war and should have been jailed, but thanks to his knowledge and friends in dark places, he and his wife were spared paying for what he did…it’s also crazy as he is now a zombie, and I am sure he will be coming back into play later in the series. To me it seemed like when he got the news that his wife was dead and zombie food, he lost the will to live and was sick of running from his past.

Peter West is the story’s main hero as he fights through the fear and doubt and does what he can to keep Ann safe as well as watch after Bryan who is losing it due to the killing of his wife. Peter shows great growth as he starts off as a snarky reporter and by the end he turns into a reluctant hero.

Ann and Bryan are great backup characters, and I like that Bryan at the end is a zombie and could continue on in later issues. Biacando, the zombie witch doctor, is also still around as Dr. Menard as a zombie goes to him, and this is cool, as I cannot to see what Biacando is and why he is!

The end of New York being attacked by zombies is truly awesome as it’s a bloodbath of flesh and blood being spilled all over the place and shows just how easily a zombie apocalypse could be upon us all if one would to break out. With that said, the issue does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and some nudity delivering a truly classic horror comic feel. The cover is great and showcases another amazing zombie from the film, and I cannot praise the interior artwork of Michael Broom and Derek Rook enough as their style is so fitting for a comic like this. I have to say that the first four issues of Zombie is really great stuff and everyone at Eibon Press and the creators who have done this series should be proud of it, as it truly is a treat for horror comic readers! So with that, let’s see what issue five has in store for us and where this series goes beyond the movie’s plot as I am really hyped to read and find out!

Zombie # 5  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 5 of 8

The zombie of Doctor David Menard is now under the orders of zombie witch doctor Biacando who has chosen Menard to continue his experiments this time, on zombies…and has replaced his fingers with needles. Meanwhile in New York, the city is overrun with zombies. Peter has taken Ann on a date to a fancy restaurant. When zombies bust in, Peter guns them down and after clearing them out, the couple is confronted by Colonel Louis Fulci who at first thinks that Peter and Ann are looters but soon after killing more incoming zombies takes them along to their base. Meanwhile in a cemetery William West, who is Peter’s brother who was a cop and murdered while on duty, has returned from the grave and is mad when he flashes back to his funeral and the fact his brother did not cry for him. Now the zombie cop wants answers! Back at the base camp, Colonel Fulci informs them that he and his men are the only hope right now of keeping these zombies in New York, and Peter tells him about the Island as well as how they had stayed on the boat for months after killing their friend Bryan again once he turned into a zombie. He says that after running out of food they had to come to shore to get something to eat when he and his men found them. Colonel Fulci then alerts them that he has heard of Doctor David Menard and is looking for a toxic waste dump site that is said to be what is bring the dead back to life! Colonel Fulci’s campsite is a grindhouse movie theater and he takes his two new allies out and shows them the street that is filled with thousands of zombies. He and his men open fire on the zombies as well as blast them with flamethrowers, after many of the zombies are down for the final count, Ann informs him she might have an idea where the toxic dump is!

Months after the events of the film, the state of New York is in really bad shape as the zombies are all over and have killed most of the living. A group of Army soldiers lead by a tough as nails Colonel is our only hope, and Peter and Ann find themselves in another blood soaked adventure as they tag along for the ride with the soldiers.

Peter and Ann are clearly a couple now and just want to have a little bit of normalcy to their lives as they live on Bryan’s boat until they run out of food and only then adventure into the city only to find it a wasteland of death and destruction.

Colonel Fulci is a man on a mission to kill all the zombies they see and get to the bottom of this undead nightmare, though he clearly has a dark side as he has a very bad reputation that is known by Peter West. On a side note, I love the fact Colonel Fulci looks like director Lucio Fulci as it’s a great touch to let the true godfather of gore’s memory stay alive. I also look forward to seeing more of Colonel Fulci’s history unfold and if the world can really trust him.

The zombies are truly everywhere now and are looking for blood and guts as they want to show that this is their world now and that mankind is coming to an end. Biacando is using his voodoo to bring the zombies all together on the island as well is forcing the undead Doctor David Menard to do some experiments that I am sure will help make the zombies even more unstoppable. I also like that Doctor David Menard has embraced his undead nature and even removes his own fingers to replace with needles. Something tells me what ever they are up to on the island will be very bad for the world.

The use of 42nd Street in this issue is also really cool as the street back in the 70’s and 80’s was very much filled with many adult theaters and shops and was the place to see grindhouse films…so it’s great seeing it the way it was not the tourist stop it has become. The issue is filled with lots of blood and gore like before, and we even get cameos from The Worm Eyed Zombie as well as the Bloated Zombie and they are always welcome additions to see in issues.

Writer Stephen Romano did a great job making this feel like it belongs in the Zombie universe and ties it into the film really well by delivering classic characters in a new storyline as well as bring in new ones with a plot that has depth. The cover is fun and has Peter and Ann looking like they just stepped out of a James Bond movie poster, and the interior art is done by Pat Carbajal and is great as his style does a great job of capturing the likeness of the actors and characters. Over all this original story kick off in the Fulci Zombie universe is well done and feels like a true sequel to the film series. Let’s see what issue six has in store for not only us the readers but also the characters!

Zombie # 6  ***
Released in 2018    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 6 of 8

Doctor Menard is being followed by zombies as they enter a hut of a female villager and her son. It’s clear that Menard is not like the other zombies as he can talk and takes the life of the young boy and alerts the mom that the future is here! While back in New York the fires still burn as Colonel Fulci goes on the news and explains that it’s up to him and his men to save the world from the undead. As Ann and Peter argue over the tactics he is using to do so, Colonel Fulci shows up with a gun to the head of Peter as the Colonel alerts Ann to the fact that Peter is the one who got him thrown out of the military and his story lead to the death of many soldiers! Colonel Fulci then says that he is going to kill Peter as all he really needs is Ann to find the island of Dr. Menard! Meanwhile Dr. Menard has taken the woman from the hut and has her rigged up to machines and then shows her his grand plan of making the zombies more powerful with upgrades. He also speaks of time travel and the ways of the past with the ways of the future. Menard then shows that if he injects his blood into the zombies it makes the stronger, and their power comes from their eyes…he also shows that he has saved Worm Eyed Zombie and places one of the zombie’s worms into the eye of the mom and alerts her that he is the kid’s father and once they had an affair that lead to the child…but the mom fights off the infection, and this is interesting to Menard. The President Of The United States is then shown to be the one who sent Colonel Fulci into New York. He wants the zombie hordes taken care of fast as he is worried the press will figure out the he ordered the attack on the city by the rogue military that has left many civilians dead! As Colonel Fulci and his crew head to the island, they push Peter out of the helicopter into the middle of Central Park with a gun that only has six bullets, and unlucky for him, the park is packed with tons of zombies! Ann meanwhile has had enough and when the soldiers are ordered to torture her for information on the island, she snaps and kicks some ass, which even leads to Colonel Fulci being shot. She alerts him that her mom was a Marine and now she is in charge of this mission. In the end Peter watches as a escaped zoo gorilla rips apart zombies, and when the beast sets his sights on him, his undead zombie cop brother shows up and starts fighting the beast!

This series is getting more and more crazy as the lore of the Zombie universe gets more and more dark and weird!

The plot of this issue has Dr. Menard doing experiments on the dead to make them more powerful as he is preparing for war and wants to take down the world as we all know it! While Peter and Ann are stuck with a crazy man and his army that are secretly being given orders by the American President!

Dr. Menard has changed so much thus far in the series as he starts out as a man trying to crack the code of what is causing the dead to rise. By now he himself is a undead mad scientist who loves creating this new type of zombie and even as a man he took advantage of a young village girl and had a child with her! Speaking of that villager, her name is Jamilya and she was only 16 years old when he met her, and with the promise of teaching her medicine he seduced her, got her pregnant and now has turned their son into and zombie and wants to do the same to her, but she seems like a fighter!

Colonel Fulci is a sadistic madman who clearly doesn’t care about human lives and only cares about finishing his mission, plus it’s now clear he is the hired gun for the President! Ann and Peter are prisoners of Fulci, and when Peter is shown to have a past with Fulci that gives him a death sentence and Ann shows that she is sick of this all and proves she can take care of herself!

Plus the issue features Worm Eyed Zombie, Bloated Zombie and as well as zombies based on other cool zombie film characters! Now I have to say that I feel that the machine experiments are a little blah as I like the voodoo aspect of the curse more, but with that said, I cannot wait so see how it plays out and makes me wonder where this is going…and I guess I should also say it’s an interesting twist to add these wires and machines and takes it out of the classic style of zombie films and comics. One really cool aspect of the comic is that the President looks like one of my favorite horror actors Joe Spinell and the Gorilla is based after the look of King Kong from 1976! Oh I should also say that Peter’s undead cop brother fighting the gorilla is the Zombie vs. Shark moment for this comic series.

The cover for both the Eibon Sleeve and the issue are great and show case zombies as well as the Kong inspired Gorilla! And the interior art by Pat Carbajal is fantastic like before. I have to stress that thus far Eibon Presses Zombie series is a fantastic read and is the best comic series that features zombies I have ever read…and is way more entertaining then Image Comics Walking Dead Series and more bloody and creepy than it as well!

Zombie # 7  ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 7 of 8

Jamilya is fighting hard to not become a mindless zombie and watches as Dr. Menard and Biacando take the heart of her son and place it inside a weird humanoid that was born from her when she threw it up! She escapes her bindings and runs off into the jungle after taking out a few zombies and promising to return for her son. While back in New York, Peter and his undead cop brother William team up and with a bullet to its brain kill the rampaging gorilla. Peter is in shock as he watches his brother speak and the zombies around listen! While in Washington D.C. the President has a plan to use a nuke on New York to stop the zombies, and when questioned about his motives, he shoots and kills a general and continues with his attack plan. Back at the base, Ann has Fulci tied up and is torturing him with his own sword, as she has ordered some of his soldiers to go back to Central Park and rescue Peter and if her boyfriend is dead, she tells Fluci that his life will also come to a bloody end. When the Helicopter arrives Peter along with William are on board, but so is a horde of zombies that attack Fulci and his remaining men who become lunch! While Jamilya uses her own voodoo knowledge to try and beat the curse on herself and gears up for war against Biacando! Back at the base Ann along with Peter know that they have to return to the island and end this undead curse once and for all.They soon learn that Colonel Fulci and his men are now zombies and willing to be the army needed to fight against Biacando and burn Matul to the ground!

The war between the living and the undead is about to go off, and this issue is the build up to that war and sadly also to the final issue in this series!

Ann, Peter, William and the undead Colonel Fulci and his men are gearing up and ready to go to Matul and wipe out the evil voodoo curse that is plaguing the world. Ann is showing that she is one tough lady as she proves she has a killer instinct when she tortures Fulci and barks orders at his men that are listening to her orders!

Colonel Fulci, who is an S.O.B., is mean spirited all the way until the very end, and even when he gets his eye poked out and faced slashed up, he still trash talks! And oddly enough, once he is attacked by zombies and turned into one he seems to be more on track to team with Ann and Peter to head to the island and bring it all down. Peter and his zombie brother William are a team once more, and we learned that they moved to America after they defended themselves and left one person dead. Now William can speak to the dead and some zombies seem to follow his orders.

Jamilya..what can be said about her besides she is awesome and not only does she escape the zombie hell, but she also shakes off the infection with her will and own voodoo powers and is also on a one woman warpath to save her son and end these zombies’ reign of terror.

Dr. Menard and Biacando are showing they are pure evil and are mixing old voodoo with modern technology and medicine to create super zombies whose eyes are the key to their souls. And the President clearly doesn’t care about the lives of the people as he is willing to drop a nuke on New York to kill the zombies and save his own hide and bury his dirty little secrets.

This is a great read and I am cheering for Jamilya as she is a great original character created by the Eibon team, and I am sure will be joining with Ann and Peter in the fight against the evil zombies. The issue has a lot of blood and guts, and sadly the Gorilla meets his end with a bullet to his brain, and it’s a shame as it would have been awesome to seen the Gorilla turn into a zombie and go on a rampage in New York and end up being around the Empire State Building before being gunned down. That would have been amazing and played more into the King Kong connection. Writer Stephen Romano has really has killed it with this series so far and did the film adaptation portion justice and then has added new layers to the characters and lore. The super talented Pat Carbajal did the interior art again and he captures the savage nature of this story and his gore art his great. Well we only have one more issue in this series to go and it’s a shame as I wish it had more then 8 issues! So let’s see how this war of the dead and living ends.

Zombie # 8 ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 8 of 8

On the island of Matul, the zombies have all been treated and are ready to march into the ocean and start a war with the living, and Biacando is leading the way and even smacks down Dr. Menard when he gets too cocky about his blood being part of what is giving them the power. Jamilya meanwhile is in the jungle watching the rift in the ranks between the two zombie leaders and plans an attack with the goal to save her zombie son and return his heart. Ann and Peter are in a helicopter that is on its way to Matul to start a war, and Peter notices that Ann has changed, as she is now so cold and filled with the want for revenge. Back in Washington, the President has killed many of his aids and now is forcing the last two to help in his plan to blow up New York. When the helicopters get to the island, they find that over a thousand zombies are on the beach, and Colonel Fulci orders for fire to be fired into the horde, and he does so in waves taking down many of the zombies! Biacando is not having it as he uses the two zombie kids in order to get into the minds of all the zombies and causes the helicopters to crash and William West and Colonel Fulci to lead their undead army against the remaining island horde! William West was in bad shape after fighting the gorilla in New York, but after biting and tasting the blood of an island zombie he regains his missing limbs and leads them to victory. Meanwhile Peter and Ann find themselves in the jungle and being stalked by Biacando who in turn is being stalked by Jamilya! Biacando and Dr. Menard are at it again when Jamilya armed with a bazooka fires on the pair and then stabs Menard in the eye killing him once and for all! She then gives her own life of immortality to her son and turns him normal. Ann and Peter show up just in time to witness this act of love and this triggers Ann to give her life in order to stop Biacando once and for all. In the end Peter watches out for the son of Jamilya as The President goes ahead and nukes New York!

Wow, what an ending for one of the best comic series based on a film. I mean it –  the creators as Eibon Press nailed this one out of the ballpark as they not only captured the mood and spirit of the Fulci film but they also added a new level to the over all story and allowed us to see what happened to some of the characters we became attached to in the film!

The biggest change comes from Ann as she goes from being a worried daughter to a survivor and ends by being a hero who brings the terror of Biacando to an end…and even gives her life to end his madness.

Peter loses so much in this series as he loses his job and story because New York is blown up, his brother has returned from the grave and is now a zombie commando and worst of all, he lost his true love Ann! Peter also faces death many times and cheats it and by the end he ends up having to watch over a child who’s mother he watched be eaten by a zombie kid including the one he is watching over now! Peter is a character that you start off thinking is a scumbag and by the end you find yourself cheering for him as well as Ann as what started out for them as a missing persons case turns into a fight to save the world from evil voodoo and zombies.

I love that Jamilya is able to save her son’s soul and life, plus she gets her revenge on the terrible Dr. Menard, but I do wish she had survived, as I would have loved to see her character continue on in more zombie comics or even other releases from Eibon Press.

Dr. Menard in this series goes from a drunken doctor trying to dodge his past and doing what he can to make up for his sins, to being an undead right hand man to Biacando who has a god complex because his blood is what gives the zombies the extra power. Biacando is pure evil and shows his voodoo power is very strong and wants to be the only one in power of the army of the dead, and want to give to credit to Menard and his science. I also like that Biacando can use his powers to take over the body and souls of the living to keep his powers strong and to give his evil spirit a vessel to live in.

William West and Colonel Fulci are zombies who lead other zombies in war and in the end becomes supped up on the blood of Dr. Menard and have a mission to stay a team and make the world safe. The President is…well, crazy, and to be in charge he kills all his men and then still blows up New York thinking he is ending the war for everyone, and more importantly himself.

Now let’s talk about the over all series as it’s fantastic on almost every front as the writing and art are top notch and I cannot stress enough that it does the film its based on justice. The characters are likable and have growth and the ones you are suppose to despise you do as the baddies are truly evil and have no redeeming quality. The blood and gore is brutal as so many eyes are popped like grapes, guts are ripped out, blood is splattered and violence happens to men, women, animals and children. So in other words, gorehounds will love this!

The comic is fast paced, and the 8 issues fly by as the story draws you in, and that to me is a sign of a good comic mini series.

Now I have to point out some of the issues I have with the series and they are pretty few and far between as the only thing I wished for is that some characters got a little more panel time as sometimes with some characters like The President it would have been really cool to see why he is such a self centered ass. And my major complaint is this…I wanted more than 8 issues as they were just not enough as this could be an ongoing series and I for one would be game to get every issue! I mean imagine Peter being placed in the situation of Zombi 3, like what would he doing during the events of that film…and what if he would be mixed in with the survivors of that film in future issues of Zombie…just saying, Eibon GIVE US MORE ZOMBIE! The cover and the Eibon Sleeve are great and eye-catching, and the interior art by Pat Carbajal is great as always. To sum it all up, if you love the films of Lucio Fulci, love indie horror comics, love great art and story telling then do yourself a big favor and check out this series, hell, check out all the titles from Eibon Press! Check out some artwork below from this series.

Eibon Press is really one of the best Indie comic companies going as they really do make some of the best horror comics today, and they clearly care about what they make and it shows in every issue. Not to mention, they pack each Eibon Sleeve with some amazing extra goodies like stickers, trading cards, bookmarks, posters and even CDs that have soundtracks for the comic and or the film its based on, giving you more bang for your buck! But with that said, let’s leave the island of Matul behind and head into the world of myth as our next update will be about the titan Atlas and a Dark Horse Comics mini series based on an adventure on modern Earth. So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a Fulci film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. Wait, if Atlas is in a comic book who’s holding up the sky?

Fright Flicks Fan Films: Volume 2

Last year I had a blast covering some amazing Fan Made Horror Movies that are being released by some very talented directors and creators showing that the world of Horror is in good shape in the future as these guys try really hard to bring amazing stories and twists to classic horror icons of cinema. So when planning this year’s updates I knew I had to return to the world of Horror Fan Films as it also seemed you readers enjoyed the first update as well. For this update I searched high and low for a new batch of Fan Horror Films and tried to stay away from covering a ton of Friday The 13th or Halloween ones as they are popping up faster then weeds in the spring, but don’t worry some are being covered as I knew I had to cover at least a small amount as I am fans of both franchises. I also chose a few shorter Fan Films, ones as short as three minutes, as I feel that they as well should get their time to shine and to also alert you readers to them. Oh and keep in mind this update will have spoilers for the films, so you have been warned.

I got many of these short films from friends, family and even conventions, and many I have been looking forward to watching for the first time, while others are a re-watches for me. Just like before, I will write about the fan film’s plot, my thoughts on the film and will give it classic report card grade, meaning the highest a film could get is an A+ and the lowest is an F. I judge these films on a Fan Film level and not on what I would a Hollywood or even higher budget Indie Film. So if you are ready, let’s sit back and talk Horror Fan Films!

Belial
Starring – Matthew Stallings & Jesse Lasky       Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2020       Runtime: 24min     Not Rated

Plot: Duane Bradley carries his deformed and violent brother Belial around in a basket, and while on the subway train the basket is stolen and Belial brutally mangles the thief’s hand once the basket is open! Duane and Belial end up at a very sleazy hostel, and while inside they clearly see that everyone staying has issues from drugs to being thieves. When Duane’s money is stolen Belial goes on a killing rampage to get it back and one by one the people of the hostel die by a trail of carnage! In the end, the brothers escape into the night looking for another place to stay and find the peace they are looking for.

Thoughts: Once more Eric Yoder, who did the fan films “Night Of The Maniac” and “Who Goes There?” (that I covered last Fright Fan Film Update), delivers a fun and entertaining fan film this time based on the cult classic film Basket Case. This is an especially cool one to see as the world of Fan Films has not been flooded with new tales of Belial and his brother Duane. The film holds the gritty nature of the original film and even has elements of humor that made up the sequels and blends them together for this short that truly does feel like it belongs in the world of Basket Case. The acting is really great with Matthew Stallings as Duane stealing the show. He has the nice guy appeal mixed with the hint of sadness and madness. The effects done by Eric Yoder are great as blood splatters and body parts get mangled, and his effects and puppet for Belial are amazing and very much look like the one used in the original film! After watching the short fan film Belial, I would love to see Basket Case creator Frank Henenlotter allow Eric Yoder and his crew to make Basket Case 4 as the world needs a new sequel and Eric is the one to do it if Frank is not going to. So if you love Basket Case and the character Belial, make sure to give this one a watch as it’s up on YouTube, and you can also find it on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre.

Grade: A-

Don’t Fall Asleep
Starring – Diandra Lazor & Chad Hewitt       Directed by Paige Troxell
Released in 2016       Runtime: 44min     Not Rated

Plot: Nancy Thompson is being locked up in an asylum after the events of the dream killer Freddy Kruger killing her friends and family, and her father thought this was what is best for her…but she is filled with anger as she feels her father is doing nothing to stop Freddy’s rampage on the teens in their sleep. Months pass, and Nancy is stuck in the asylum and even starts taking hypnocil in order to stop dreaming. She has group therapy with fellow teens having issues and they even talk about the killer Freddy Kruger as one of the young ladies’ brothers was killed by him before she was born. And then the nightmares return, and so does Freddy Kruger who starts to attack Nancy and some of the fellow teens who are now talking and working among themselves. But strangely enough, the hypnocil is not working to stop their dreams. And when the doctor takes the drug and all the teens fall asleep during a group session, the doctor and all the teens soon find out that Freddy Kruger is very much real and has murder on his mind! Now stuck in the dream world Nancy, the doctor and the teens must fight for their lives! In the end Nancy gets away from Freddy, and dates Joel a fellow asylum inmate. She becomes adjusted and studies ways to help kids as well as about dreams and the powers of the human mind. In the end Nancy takes a job at Westin Hills to help teens who are having bad dreams, but her happiness also has some sadness as her boyfriend Joel is murdered by Freddy in front of her eyes.

Thoughts: The film does a great job of showing the mental breakdown of Nancy Thompson as no one around her thinks that Freddy Kruger is real and that she has issues dealing with her mother’s death, and her father is lying to the staff about what he has seen and has returned to drinking. It also brings her mental state back up as she grows older and studies dreams and leads us into her becoming a psychiatrist that heads to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital aka the events of A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The film is a little slower paced then many of the fan films I have seen based on Freddy, but it also works as I do find that the build to the fall and then rise of Nancy is well done and showcases that Nancy really is the badass we all know she is, and that even in death she still is the main force of bringing Freddy down. Actress Diandra Lazor plays Nancy and for the most part does a great job, though at times I think she turns up the anger level a little too high and makes her come off slightly cartoonish…but not bad as I think she is a solid actress over all. They even add the white strip in her hair adding that nice touch of Nancy from the film series. William Adams plays Freddy Krueger and while he is not in the short fan film much, when he is, he does a pretty good job of running around laughing and slashing. The film also does a good job of feeling like it fits into the events that take place between the first and third film in the series and follows what Nancy was doing during this time, and that’s pretty cool. The film has some blood, but not a lot, and the effects are pretty good but standard none-splatter type with many of the wounds not being shown at all. Freddy’s makeup looks pretty good and showcases that the people who made this film are skilled and that they love Freddy Kruger and his movie universe. Over all this is a good slower paced watch that delivers some scares and adds to the legend of Freddy and his battle with Nancy. Make sure to check out the film on YouTube.

Grade: B

Halloween: Fan Film
Starring – Bonnie Alvord & Lois K. Allen       Directed by Christopher S. Allen
Released in 2018     Runtime: 1hr 22min     Not Rated

Plot: In Haddonfield, Il Halloween is a bad time of the year and for Laurie Strode (Myers) and her son Stevie and even his love interest Trish, it’s even worse as they are being targeted by the sinister masked slasher killer Michael Myers as he has once more decided to return to his hometown and make some people dead! Sheriff Bracket meanwhile is trying to warn people about the murders of the Myers family and they want Michael to turn himself in to the police. While Stevie tries to win the heart of Trish, they with friends torment a crazy neighbor, his mother Monica spends sometime with her girlfriends and friends for a sleepover that is filled with booze, snacks and fun times. While Judith Myers shows up at Laurie’s house and spills the beans that they are both related to Michael Myers and this sparks the group to go to a bar and party down! Meanwhile Private Investigator Sam Loomis is on his way to town as he wants to speak to Sheriff Bracket about the murder rampage of Michael Myers all those years back. Meanwhile Michael Myers is killing people of the town one by one. The Sheriff and Loomis head to the old Myers house to look for Michael and tour around talking about the murders and come up with a plan to wait for Michael to return home so they can finally bring him down. In the end Michael enters the house of Laurie and starts to murder all her friends with his trusty knife and wants his sisters dead, finally in the end Judith Myers kills her sister Laurie as she is as well evil like Michael who had his head bashed in with a baseball bat.

Thoughts: This is a fan film where the creators hearts are in the right place and they try really hard to deliver an amazing fan film based around a Horror series that they love. Sadly they fall a little flat in the effort as the plot is weak and the film is packed with long drawn out filler scenes that are covered up by music cues and popular songs that play way too long. Plus in many scenes you can hear the director say action and give actors orders. The acting and gore effects are totally backyard style and some are downright laughable, not to mention how bad some of it is miscast as Michael Myers as a teen is an over weight teenager and could be one of the worst fan film Michael Myers in history with and without the iconic mask on. The twist of Judith being just as crazy as her brother is pretty silly, but it does also add its own flavor and touch to the series and the fact Michael’s mask does not fit the actor right and looks like a mask you buy from the local mall during Halloween also adds to the layers of cheese. While they do over use music montages to pad out the runtime, I will say I am a fan of them using the likes of Alice Cooper, Motley Crue and Poison songs. The film, as I have said, does have some blood, but its pure armature and backyard stuff with one scene it looks like taco sauce mixed with ketchup. The film also has nudity from actress Bonnie Alvord, who plays Laurie, and to be honest she is the best thing about this fan film as she does her best with what she is given with this script. The creators also tried to make this Halloween Fan Film different from all others as it’s clear that this is not set in the film universe as characters, attitudes and motivations are all changed up, and for that I will give them credit. Over all this is just a below average Halloween inspired fan film that, while not the greatest, is worth watching if you enjoy cheesy backyard horror flicks.

Grade: C –

Halloween: Night He Came Back
Starring – Leah Kellar & Bruce Dale       Directed by Dave McRae
Released in 2016     Runtime: 45min     Not Rated

Plot: It’s 2018 and in Haddonfield, Illinois it’s the 40th Anniversary of the babysitter and hospital murders of serial killer Michael Myers. B-Movie actress Lauren is trying out for a horror movie called The Red Room in Hollywood and she feels she botched her audition. Once back home in Haddonfield on Halloween she starts to be stalked and watched by Michael Myers as she walks around town, and worse she makes plans with her brother Bob to watch horror movies and carve a pumpkin for Halloween but he is killed by Michael before he can show up, and Michael is not stopping as he slaughters a few more people around the neighborhood before finally making his way to Lauren herself chasing her around a massive old house with the intent to murder her. You see Lauren is connected to him in some way and she is his target this Halloween night. If not for Tommy Doyle she would have been dead, but he is able to save her and Michael once more escapes into the night, ready to kill again.

Thoughts: This gets some great brownie points as they clearly filmed at many of the locations of the 1978 classic that inspired this fan film! The film takes place years after the events of Halloween II and wipes away all the other films in the series to follow a what would have happened 40 years after those tragic events that left so many dead. The story follows struggling actress Lauren as she tries out for a film role only to return home to be stalked by Michael Myers. They throw in her brother Bob as well as the town’s police force and you have this Halloween inspired Fan Film Fright Flick. The character of Lauren in likable as she loves her small town roots but also dreams of living in the big city of L.A. and becoming a well-known and working actress. She is played by actress Leah Kellar, who should be working more in mainstream indie Horror Movies by companies like Blumhouse or at the least Full Moon Entertainment as she is not a bad actress and has a beautiful look to her, making her perfect for roles in Horror. The film has a good amount of kills, but takes the route of the original film and keeps the gore to zero but delivers classic style kills, with cut always. Michael Myers in the film is played by Dave McRae, who was a man of many hats for this film as he also directed it, co-wrote the script, co-produced it, edited it and played other parts like the Sheriff and voice acting small parts. He does an alright job as The Shape, but could have stepped up his creepy factor and actions a little more. It’s clear that McRae is a massive fan of Halloween, and this film is a love letter to the first two films in the series as well as John Carpenter. The film also leaves itself wide open for a sequel and leaves some questions unanswered and motivations unclear, and I am okay with that as long as the film does get a sequel. Over all if you love Halloween and Fan Films make sure to give this one a watch as it’s a pretty great watch. This film can be found on YouTube!

Grade: A-

Hellraiser: Warehouse 1 & 2
Starring – Stephen Alexander & Josh Weinberg      Directed by Matt Brassfield
Released in 2007     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Hellraiser Warehouse 1 has a man named James who works for a second hand furniture store that hates his job as the people who shop there are strung out and weird, well after chasing one masked weirdo out he is cursed. And when locking up for the night the weirdo in the mask is back in the store and shoves James into a room where he must meet his fate with the famed Pinhead. Hellraiser Warehouse 2 follows Ronnie who is very much a bad person who is rude to everyone he meets has taken over the job at the furniture store, and when he crosses paths with the mask weirdo he as well finds himself paying the price as Pinhead and Chatter pay him a visit.

Thoughts: This short fan film series is about a used furniture warehouse that acts as the gateway to the world of Pinhead and the Cenobites who target the workers who are lazy, rude, crude, homophobic and just over all scumbags! The first low paid slacker is James, a man who spends his time at work bored with the customers, drinking beer and watching porn on the TVs and once he gets the attention of Pinhead he becomes a missing person. The next worker is James’ replacement named Ronnie, who is a total scumbag and is rude to customers and his a homophobic tool, and he as well gets the attention of Pinhead who as well makes him a missing person. Pinhead in these films is a messenger of delivering punishment and is joined in the second film by Chatter. The Creeper is a masked weird man who seems to be the link between the warehouse and the world of the cenobites, he is the true figure that chooses who shall face judgment. The films have no blood nor guts but do have deaths. Stephen Alexander played Pinhead and did a great job as he also played the character at a local haunted house attraction. Over all these films were a blast to make, and while a third film was talked about it never happened…but who knows maybe someday soon it will happen. The first film can be seen in an edited cut on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre Halloween Special.

Grade: NA

Island Of The Blind Dead
Starring – Merlyn Roberts & Emma Dark         Directed by Emma Dark
Released in 2015       Runtime: 3 min     Not Rated

Plot: A young woman is on the beach all alone and starts to roll around in the sand and water, but the Blind Dead have returned and are looking for victims that include a young girl, a town drunk, a garage worker and a woman taking a shower.

Thoughts: This fan film for The Blind Dead plays like a trailer for a “Lost” fifth film in the series so it plays more like clips from a movie put together than an actual fan film with a plot from start to finish. What I gather from this trailer, this fifth film would have followed a woman on vacation who made the mistake of going where the Blind Dead have once more raised for the dead to cause death. The Templar Knight aka The Blind Dead looks great and like the films it’s based on. Emma Dark plays Jeannie, the young lady on the beach and shower, and it’s crazy that she has not been casted in indie Horror Films as she has a look that fans would love. Island Of The Blind Dead is silent and no dialogue is spoken as all clips are played over a score piece that is fitting, plus I should point out that there is no blood in this short fan film either. It’s very clear that this fan film trailer has lots of heart and love behind it as the creators Emma Dark and Merlyn Roberts (who also plays the Blind Dead) are true fans of the series. While I wish this would have been more than just a very short trailer and would have been an actual fan film, I am a sucker for all things Blind Dead and enjoyed this for what it is. Not much else to say besides this is filmed and scripted really well and Emma and Merlyn should make a full Blind Dead fan film for all of us to enjoy. Check out this Fan Film Trailer on YouTube!

Grade: B

Michael vs. Jason: Evil Emerges
Starring – Joshua Pedder & John Pedder         Directed by Luke Pedder
Released in 2019       Runtime: 29 min     Not Rated

Plot: Jason Voorhees rises from the dead once more as his mother’s voice echoes in his brain to kill for her. Meanwhile a group of military forces are watching over Michael Myers with a plan to kill him off the books and to end his reign of terror, and escort him into the woods to carry out the plan. The plan backfires as Michael slaughters the force and chases the commander into the woods and watches as Jason Voorhees kills his attended target…big mistake as the masked killers face off in the woods with only murder on their minds. At first Jason gets the upper hand and brutalizes Michael, but once back up Michael’s evil rage sets in and then Jason is on the receiving end of a beating. In the end, a gun caring property owner and his sons show up, and Michel and Jason team up to slaughter them before once more squaring off with each other with Jason removing one of Michael’s hands and appears to get the win…or does he?

Thoughts: I think one of the top Horror Clashes that people have always wanted to see Hollywood do was a Michael Myers vs. Jason Voorhees fight as both are unstoppable, quit masked killers with no remorse. And while rights and lack of Hollywood interest has never allowed this epic slasher battle to happen, but the world of Fan Films have been flooded with this showdown each having their own take and choice of who would win this showdown. Well in this one creator and Horror fan Luke Pedder takes a stab at the epic fight and delivers a bloody showdown that gives respect to both franchises and makes both Jason and Michael look unstoppable and on equal ground. The film is pretty fast paced and the pesky humans are killed off fast and brutal as to not take away from the fight that all the viewers want to see. The costumes of Michael and Jason are very solid as are the actors who play them, plus the gore effects are well done and come off as ones seen in Indie Horror Films. The film also ends on a “To Be Continued” screen marking that this film will have a sequel. Over all a really good Fan Film that does a great job of bringing you a solid Jason and Michel fight with blood splatter and dead humans to spice it up.

Grade: B+

The Mummy Princess
Starring – Yenna Black & Thomas Cruz         Directed by Sasha
Released in 2018       Runtime: 11 min     Rated XXX

Plot: Princess Ahmanet has been captured and chained up and she is not happy about it at all as she tries her best to break free, a guard enters and the pair have sex and in the end Princess Ahmanet lets out a scary scream and her mouth distorts and the sands around her come alive.

Thoughts: Well this is 100% an adult film and with that said, it’s really hard to break down as it’s a short film and almost all of it just consists of hardcore sex. The actress Yenna Black looks great as Princess Ahmanet and really captures her look from the film. Not much else to say about this one as while it is a parody Horror fan film it’s really hard to talk about an adult film on a blog about comic books. So the grade I will give it is low and not because of its production value or anything but because it’s lacking in story and let’s leave it at that. This short has zero blood, no kills and lots of nudity. Plus just think about the fact a Porn Parody of the 2017 film The Mummy was made…go on and let that soak in. Also keep in mind this “Fan Film” almost was left off as it really is plotless, but in the end I decided the heck with it some of you readers might get a kick out of it.

Grade: D

My Final Destination
Starring – Sven Kittel & Rico Kittel     Directed by Marco Rudolph
Released in 2012     Runtime: 42min     Not Rated

Plot: A group of friends have cheated death, and now the reaper has come to take what’s his and that’s their souls! One by one death is coming for them as one friend has an accident that leaves his face smashed in by a bowling ball. Another who plays in a band gets impaled on his own drum kit! Another has her car explode and cut her in half! Another friend meets his end when weights crush his skull in. One friend, while in a dark apartment, steps on a mouse and falls down stairs and impales himself. Finally the two remaining friends go to a man who can see the future for help, and he is on help. While leaving one friend gets his head knocked off by a falling sign! The last friend runs back to the fortuneteller and begs for help, and he is told that this will happen to him forever until he himself is dead. The friend and the Teller go to one of the victim’s house looking for clues and they get a clue to get out of the building that is starting to crumble and during the escape the Teller is killed and the friend runs for his life down the stairs and escapes. He wakes up the next morning and the major event that he saved everyone’s life from happens and all of them now die they way they were supposed to.

Thoughts: This German fan film based around the popular Final Destination series is packed with lots of deaths and a little loose on plot as it really is just about the deaths of all these friends who escaped death’s cold grip! The only plot you do get from this short film is that the friends don’t want to die and while bummed that their friends are dying of weird accidents, seem to just shrug it off and go about their days and lives, that is until only two are left alive and then they make a half ass attempt to get help from a teller who just talks in weird riddles about his life being saved. The film has lots of bloody deaths and are done well with computer effects, and the film while very much flawed you can tell is being done by fans of the series as they might not have put time in the plot they did however put thought into the weird ways for the group of friends to die. The version I watched was dubbed but there is also an original German version as well out in the world. While the deaths and the digital deaths were cool and well done, the plot was paper thin and I would say that if you are a die hard fan of the film that sparked this fan film you should check it out, or if you would like to see effects that could be done with After Effects give it a watch. This film can be found on YouTube if you want to check this out.

Grade: C-

Phantasm: Extinction
Starring – Joshua Rabdell & Phil Sawyer     Directed by Joshua Randell
Released in 2017    Runtime: 40min     Not Rated

Plot: In 1979 The Tall Man and his horde have started their invasion of Earth and the war with them is being fought. Mike and Reggie are the world’s only hope but they during the chaos have been separated and the world around this is dead and filled with dangers and Mike starts his quest to find his friend and ends up in the Tall Man dimension and fights off his evil dwarf minions with a trusty custom shotgun, once back in our dimension he meets a man who as well has had his run in with The Tall Man and his creatures, and they pair fix a car meanwhile Reggie stuck in the world of the Tall Man fights for his life as well. Mike and his new friend check out a small town and this is a big mistake as Mike and his friend go to face Tall Man and Mike blows up the gateway and he thinks he stopped Tall Man, but he also had to kill his own friend by doing so. In the end Mike once more comes face to face with the killer Dwarves and knows that the nightmare never ends.

Thoughts: Ok, I have to start by saying it’s clear that Joshua Randell is a huge fan of the Phantasm series and understands the films lore and characters, but on the other hand the acting is super cheesy, the effects are cheap and they use scenes from the films for most of the creature effects and appearances of Tall Man, the sound is bad and pacing at times crawls as characters go into long winded stories and recaps of events from the films. The effect of the Tall Man’s world is well done even if it’s not the barren wasteland we have seen in the film series, not to even mention that at times the Killer Dwarves are guys in cheap Halloween robes or even toys super imposed in the footage. Joshua Randell is not only the films director but also plays Mike and bless his heart as he tried really hard to make his mark on Phantasm history with his fan film idea, its just really way to wordy and clearly he did not have much money for the budget as for the most part the film is bloodless. One part that had me laugh out loud is when a clearly none tall person filled in as The Tall Man and is wearing a cheesy white wig and is also holding a plastic ball…so bad its good. Over all I give Joshua and his friends lots of credit for attempting to make a Fan Film of Phantasm as it really is a complex series that would be hard to do with zero budget, and while I was not a super fan of this fan flick I would like to see Joshua and his friends return and make another one as its clear they love what they made and enjoyed the series they made this love letter to.

Grade: D+

Phantom Of The Opera
Starring – Elisa Hansen & Katherine Becker     Directed by Elisa Hansen
Released in 2002     Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: In the Paris Opera House, young singer Christine returns to her dressing room to find gifts and a voice that sings with her, and when the voice is shown to be The Phantom of the Opera he promises her that with his help she could have the best voice in all of Paris! And thinking that her dead father has sent The Phantom she takes him up on his offer. Three months pass and Christine has a suitor named Raoul and The Phantom is not pleased as his heart belongs to the young singer as well and he makes a date with her at the Graveyard to play her music. At the graveyard The Phantom plays for Christine and Raoul begs her not to go with him, but she does into the belly of the Opera House. And while the Phantom plays the piano Christine removes The Phantom’s mask and set him into a rage and he forces her to wear a rings and claim they are married. Once back in her dressing room she sends for Raoul and she rushes him to the roof and tells him of The Phantom of the Opera, and he makes her a promise to save her and he as well gives her a ring and wants her hand in marriage, but they make a mistake as The Phantom sees this and is not happy. That night The Phantom takes her back down into the belly of the Opera House and Raoul goes down to get her, in the end Christine is saved and ends up with Raoul as The Phantom of the Opera is left heartbroken as he knows that she will never truly be his.

Thoughts: This is a fun little silent horror fan film that is inspired by all the different film versions of The Phantom Of The Opera as well as the novel with the main inspiration coming from the 1925 classic starring Lon Chaney Sr., and the cool thing also being this was pulled off by 4 young ladies who clearly loved all things Phantom Of The Opera and put time and thought into pulling this off with such a limited cast and crew. The story condenses down the classic story as it removes all the opera singing moments as well as the plot of the Opera owners and just sticks to the Christine, Raoul and Phantom plot that is the true highlight of the story anyways. The Phantom was played by Elisa Hansen and she does a great job of silent film acting and bringing out the sadness and anger of the character, she also plays the character Meg and she also co-directed and co-wrote this short film. That’s the one thing that does make this film work so well is that the actresses understood how to act in a silent film as they show the over emotions that sell the point of the plot. The film has no deaths or blood and being based on a classic movie monster that is ok, and the only real downside to the DVD copy I have is that it’s very low grade and pixels pretty bad in spots. Over all if you are a Phantom Of The Opera fan, love classic Silent Horror Hosts or just want to see a fan film made by a limited amount of friends and pulling it off…check this one out as it can be found on YouTube.

Grade: B

Psycho V
Starring – Justin Linville & Uriel Ramos     Directed by Justin Linville
Released in 2013     Runtime: 62min     Not Rated

Plot: Norman Bates has set fire to his old family home that looks over the Bates Motel and now years past and Norman Bates has died and had a son named Will that was been living with close friends of Norman who are raising him as their own. Will is now hearing the voice of Norma Bates and he is starting to also question his own sanity as his friends dig deeper into the Bates family killing legacy. Will under the direction of his Grandmother dresses in the infamous dress and wig and starts to kill off friends and classmates of his that are getting too close to the truth of what he is becoming. After many of the teens of town become missing the Police get involved as they are trying to find a link between them all. One by one Will kills his friends and classmates all in for a plan he has made with his Grandmother, he even kills his best friend and with all the deaths the cops figure it all out and leave a trap for him using some of his classmates. In the end after killing so many people Will is taken out by one of his would be victims who stabs him to death.

Thoughts: This Psycho V fan film was clearly made by teenagers and has weirdly placed cuts, poor edits and the quality is a little rough…but while flawed they clearly had heart and wanted to make a fan film based on the legacy of Norman Bates and his Mother. The acting is very backyard style and remind me of all the early stuff we filmed at Independent B Movie. The story is pretty good and has Norman Bates having a son who discovers he is a Bates after finding his fathers old keep box that is filled with a diary as well as the wig and knife and now driven insane is keeping up Norma’s body count alive. The voice for Norma Bates is terrible and she sounds nothing like Mother from the real film series and has an odd accent that’s distracting. Justin Linville plays Will and he does a good job of playing that mix of weird and nice and is one of the better actors of the movie. This film is bad and yet I think that is way it has charm as they did put effort in the story, tried really hard in acting and did their best backyard effects. Over all there is not much to really say about this one besides it’s a pretty silly backyard made fan film based on one of the worlds most iconic slasher films that the filmmakers tried really hard on and seemed like they had a blast filming it. The DVD copy I have of the film is pretty grainy and has some weird picture clichés from time to time. While not the best of Psycho Fan Films it is one that holds charm if you like movies like Werewolf Of Ohio, Dr. Freak Vamp Killa and Friday The 13th Halloween Night. This film can be watched on YouTube.

Grade: C+

Psycho V: Beginning Of The End
Starring – Horror455 & Patrick Ferguson     Directed by Horror455
Released in 2012    Runtime: 1hr 46min     Not Rated

Plot: Johnny is a Texas reporter who is being sent to Arizona to interview Nathan Bates the son of Norman Bates who had just passed away. When arriving Johnny finds that Nathan is very nice but a little odd and does his best to avoid the interview with distractions like playing video games and changing rooms in order to talk in, and when the interview starts Nathan starts talking about his fathers dark secrets and yet its clear he is very proud of his fathers life and thinks that his father was not crazy. The interview takes place over days and Nathan is very lonely and clearly is missing his father who was also his best friend in ways. Jonathan ends up becoming friends with Nathan and even quits his reporting job when his boss becomes a major jerk about what he thinks Nathan is and that’s a psycho. Over the friendship it becomes clear that Nathan is unstable as he claims he has talked with his Grandma Bates and that she was a sweet woman and even treats Johnny to a meal that has human remains in it, and it appears that Nathan has killed his own father Norman! In the end Nathan dresses like his dead Grandmother and attacks Johnny and tries to kill him, buts stops the attack and falls down stairs and is taken to the hospital for his major injury. In the end we find that Nathan killed Andrew Loomis the newspaper owner and that’s who was made into dinner as he was killed after he attacked Nathan in his own home that triggered his dark side, Johnny heals up and becomes a major book writer and remains close friends with Nathan after all this craziness is over.

Thoughts: The filmmaker that made this fan film was clearly a fan of the Psycho film series and his his best in shots to capture the eerie nature of the original with the use of shadows and angles. The plot is well thought out and I like the idea of Norman Bates having a son who is clearly as unstable as he was and trying just like his father to come off normal in a world around him he finds to be strange and unfriendly. But while the plot is fun and makes for a good fan film idea the major downside is that at times it drags causing it to be a little boring in spots as the run time is a very long 1hr and 46mi, and I should also state the film is filled with filler like Thunderstorm scenes and even clips from the movie American Psycho a part that has Nathan eating and reacting to it, and this part goes on way to long as do many of the moments of them showing how lonely Nathan is in his massive house. The films climax does show some blood and a kill that is done well as the film is shot in black and white and only one actor plays all the parts! Nathan Bates is a great character as he clearly is just like his father and is mentally unstable and thinks that Norma Bates is still alive and bullies him into doing bad things. The acting from Horror455 is great and he pulls off all parts really well and the fact that he was a one-man crew is pretty dang cool. I really enjoyed the film for the most part and enjoyed the twist and turn plot, and I would have given it higher if only it trimmed the fat of the drawn out parts. One odd thing is all the humor at the start of the film that goes away in spots, I want to also say that I enjoyed the end of Nathan becoming Mother as if felt like a classic style slasher film. Over all a nice little Psycho “sequel” done with a very tiny micro budget that was done by a man who clearly loved the source material.

Grade: B-

A Puppet Master Halloween
Starring – Nick Hill         Directed by Patrick Delaney
Released in 2019   Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: In the suburbs of Bodega Bay on Halloween Night a guy named Seth is preparing for the night complete with watching Night Of The Living Dead with a beer in hand, and also looking for a missing cat named Sparky. As the night goes on a weird orange and black package is delivered while out side the killer puppet Pinhead watches, as he is the one who placed the package there and knocked. As Seth opens it he finds that it’s a crate and inside the crate is Jester and he puts the creepy doll back and then goes to make himself some microwave popcorn, and while distracted Jester gets up and opens the garage door and lets in his fellow puppets that include Blade, Pinhead and Tunneler! As the night goes along Jester and his fellow puppets start to torment and scare Seth with him trying to run for his life to get away from them, and finally has to fight back armed with a baseball bat he strikes back at the puppets…but to no luck as by the end of Halloween night they knock out Seth and their mission is clear as they are looking for their missing friend Six-Shooter and files to were he is at as well as a crate that holds the elixir that gives them health. Later that night Seth is now injured and awake as his front door opens and Torch appears and sets him and the house on fire!

Thoughts: Growing up I have always been a huge fan of Full Moon flicks and when I heard that a fan film based on their Puppet Master series was in the works I was pretty dang happy to hear this as it was about time some one did a fan film based on this killer puppets! And when watching this film I was not disappointed as Patrick Delaney is clearly a fan of the series added lots of the folklore from the movies but also seemed to be building his own world around it as well. The plot has a guy named Seth all alone on Halloween Night who becomes the target of the killer puppets as they are looking for something in the house and he is just in their way. The Puppets we are treated to in this fan flick are Blade, Jester, Tunneler, Pinhead, Torch and a photo cameo from Six-Shooter the later who is missing and his friends want to get him back. As far as Seth goes I think he is just a guy in the wrong house at the wrong time and he ends up paying for it all with his life. I also loved that this film ties in Chucky from the Child’s Play films as well as well as the Spheres from the Phantasm series as they are all apart of something called the Omega Project. The film is pretty bloodless but does have violent acts and the Puppets are mean spirited like they are in Puppet Master and Puppet Master II. And while I wish they would have explained a little more on who Seth was and what the Omega Project is I did find myself really having a blast with this film and hope they make a second part this coming Halloween season (2020). If you enjoy Full Moon Movies, love Puppet Master and get a kick out of killer dolls this is a fan film with heart and is worth the watch. Do yourself a favor and check this one out on YouTube.

Grade: A-

The Purge 2024
Starring – Lec Zorn & Gabrielle Bousum     Directed by Ashton Gleckman
Released in 2017   Runtime: 14min     Not Rated

Plot: The year is 2024, and it’s Purge Night and two friends have broken down and are being hunted by a mask wearing Preacher and his carload of mask wearing psychos who want them dead and have the weapons to do so! With one friend being killed when the pair take shelter in an abandon home the remaining man must hide, run and try his best to outsmart these coldblooded killers and take them out before they get him and he does get some of them, but in the end the Purge ends and the man surrounded by killers holds one hostage and as they drop their weapons he kills them all breaking the rules of the Purge.

Thoughts: The Purge series is one of those film series that I think very much lends it’s self to the world of fan films as I also think it would make for a great comic book series as well as a video game…but now I am off topic. This short fan film does a fantastic job of capturing what it must be like to be hunted during The Purge as the two men are out numbered and in some cases out gunned. The two men seem like they are scared for their lives but are willing to fight back if they can save their hides, and don’t mind taking lives if they have to. Our final survivor turns out to be just as cold and evil as those who are hunting him as he takes their lives even after the event is over. The Masked hunters are pretty bang cool as you have The Preacher, Nun, Pig, Bunny, Bride and Zombie all running around with knives, guns and chainsaw to end some lives with. The film is pretty bloody and is fast paced for the short runtime. Over all I say if you like The Purge movies this little short fan film is worth checking out as you can tell Ashton Gleckman is a fan of the source material. If you enjoy the Purge series and want to check this one out look it out on YouTube.

Grade: A-

Scream: Generations
Starring – Lindsay McEwan & Lee Bloomfield     Directed by Jared Vollmann
Released in 2012     Runtime: 1hr 30min     Not Rated

Plot: Someone is taking their love for the Scream movie series to the extreme as Howell High School kids are being butchered and the killer is mimicking Ghostface is his appearance and style. Natalie is apart of a film class and she and her friends after a pair of school mates are murdered they decide to have a party that weekend to spend time together and be safe. In one-night Ghostface targets and kills the teens Film Teacher as well as April killed and her boyfriend injured and this sparks fear in Natalie and her friends stick together, but do have some inner fighting on who has done this and their pal Jason is blamed. The group of friends end up getting together to stay safe and spend time together after the tragic events that have rocked their lives, and spend the night watching Horror Movies in the backyard…but this is a big mistake as Ghostface appears to crash the party and rise his body count! In the end Natalie must come face to face with the slasher behind the mask and fight for her life.

Thoughts: This fan film takes the Scream formula and adds a new touch to it by acting as if the film series has sparked a psychopath into a killing spree that has them acting like Ghostface! The film does a good job of building the group of friends and Natalie and Gwen’s friendship being the standout as actresses Lindsay McEwan and Claire Tsiporukha do a good job in the roles. Creator and Director Jared Vollmann does a great job of capturing the mood and kills of the Scream movies and does his best to add in red herrings and keeping you guessing to who or whom is behind the slayings, Jared also plays the part of Ian in the film and its crystal clear he loves the Scream series and had passion behind making this fan film as the script and acting is solid. The one downside to Scream: Generations for me was the fact who put the mask on and slaughtered was pretty easy to predict, and while not everyone who watches this fan film will be able to predict those who know the series will spot who or whom the killer(s) are pretty easy. The motivation behind the slayings is cheesy and yet also pretty well thought out, and not making it just a solid fan film set in the Scream universe makes more of the film work. The film does have blood and the effects for the kills are pretty well done and while limited they do not stay on them long enough to spot the flaws. And I must also point out that actress Lindsay McEwan who plays Natalie should be in more Indie Horror movies! Over all Scream: Generations is a fun fan flick that delivers all the scares and entertainment that the series that sparked it always brought to the big screen. You can watch this film on YouTube, and oddly enough it films well in the world of Scream so if you ever have a marathon of Scream you should add this to the list.

Grade: B+

She Burns In Hell
Starring – Brittany Blanton & Josh Miller     Directed by Ryan Stacy
Released in 2018     Runtime: 10min     Not Rated

Plot: Carrie White set her high school on fire and killed many of the students after a prank of dropping pigs blood on her head sets off her paranormal abilities. They then talk to some people who watched as Carrie walked from the school and the witnessed her power first hand. We also witness what went on in Carries mind as she was dying in her front yard after destroying her house and fighting with her crazy mother. In the end when an eyewitness is asked where Carrie White is in the after life she says “She Burns In Hell”.

Thoughts: Carrie White is one of those Horror icons I think gets over looked when it comes to fan films as most tend to do films about slasher characters like Jason, Michael, Freddy and Leatherface so it was cool to see someone decide to do this and of course is had to be those talented people of Concept Media based here in Ohio. I like that the plot circled around those who seen her after her rampage in the school as she walked home covered in pigs blood as her classmates burned alive in the high school. Brittany Blanton was well casted as Carrie White and while she has very little speaking in the role she says all she needs to with her eyes as she strolls down the street and later dies in her yard. The acting is well done from the rest of the cast and really makes you think what you would do if you witnessed her special powers first hand, and how could you explain it to those who never witnessed it. This fan film also in its short time does a great job of highlighting the events of the film via dialogue played over scenes and in flashbacks. She Burns In Hell does a great job of adding to the cinematic world of Carrie and adds a new layer to the story done by Stephen King. If you are a Carrie fan make sure to check this fan film out as it’s a quick spooky watch that you will enjoy, my only real complaint is that I wish it was a little longer and we got more witnesses talking about her path home and the aftermath of her crimes. Watch this one on YouTube!

Grade: A-

TCM: New Blood
Starring – Dave R. Watkins & Ron McLellen     Directed by Ron McLellen
Released in 2010     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Lindsay and her brother Justin make the mistake of picking up a hitchhiker while lost in Texas as they are looking for their grandfathers house and also are running out of gas. The Hitchhiker offers them gas from his home and also says his brother can help give him directions, and sadly they accept. Justin follows the Hitchhiker to get the gas and meets Leatherface’s hammer, and then Lindsay is knocked out and when she wakes up she is tied down at the families dinner table and tormented by family members like Drayton, The Hitchhiker, Momma, Leatherface and a host of other Sawyer family members. Lindsay is happy to see that here brother Justin is still alive and is also forced to sit at the dinner table and watch the madness of the family unfold before them, before they are served chili for dinner, but also during dinner Justin is beaten to death with hammers in front of his sisters eyes. Lindsay is able to escape when The Hitchhiker unties her and he gets in a pushing fight with his brother Leatherface as the brothers chase her down and she meets her end at the blade of Leatherfaces’s chainsaw, in the end Leatherface does the chainsaw dance as the sun is coming up.

Thoughts: This fan film set after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and places siblings in the wrong place, as they become the next victims and meals for the crazed Sawyer Family. Justin and Lindsey are brother and sister and besides the fact they are looking for their grandfathers house in Texas we do not know much more about them, well besides they are lost and need gas. The Sawyer Family has all the original members around like Leatherface, The Cook and Hitchhiker but the other members like Momma, The Sheriff and so on just kind of seem out of place and take up screen time on a already short film that could have been given to the victims to flush out more of a backstory for them. The Hitchhiker who they also call Virgil and is played by Dave R. Watkins does his best to channel both Edwin Neal (The Hitchhiker) and Bill Moseley (Chop Top), with director Ron McLellen playing Leatherface and adding in both a spooky touch but also a little childlike humor. The film has two kills and they don’t shy away from using blood and the effects are good with the best is Justin getting bashed with the hammer is well done and cut together effective. I also feel that actress Morgan Mullis who plays Lindsay is solid as she screams her head off and has a true scream queen appeal to her. Over all this frightful fan film is a pretty fun watch and would have been better if they would have cut down the amount of Sawyer family members, maybe added a few more kills and would have not drawn out the cliché dinner table scene that is over done in all things connected to Texas Chainsaw. But with that said well done to the filmmakers and is worth a watch. Like many of the others on this update you can view this one on YouTube.

Grade: C+

Tiffany
Starring – Samuel Moya & Frances Nunez        Directed by Julian Romero
Released in 2018       Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: Samuel is a young man whose brother and friend where murdered by the killer dolls Chucky and Tiffany and now he must put this all behind him and deal with the mental breakdown of the crimes as well as the nightmares of Tiffany coming to get him. He also himself seen the killers dolls and just the thought of them and speaking to them freaks him out, and things get worse when a package arrives at his front door step one late night and inside the box is Tiffany and Chucky and she sets her sights and knife on ending Samuels life by putting the soul of Chucky into his body, but the young man fights back…but in the end while he defeats Tiffany by tricking Chucky into stabbing her, he then takes an axe and cuts off the head of Chucky…and it ends with Samuel keeping and torturing the still alive head of Chucky and finding that Tiffany’s body is missing.

Thoughts: This fan film takes place a few years after the events of Bride Of Chucky and tells the tale of a young man who is messed up mentally over the murders of his brother and friend at the hands of the killer doll duo, who end up showing up to his home to try and take over his body and end his life. This is a pretty fun little short fan film that uses sound bites from Jennifer Tilly for Tiffany and Brad Dourif for Chucky, and our two man killers are just consumer bought dolls from stores like Spencer’s Gifts in the malls across America, and they are used really well to pull off the killer doll moments. The films main star is Samuel Moya who plays the character of Samuel and he does an ok job of being the victim turned attacker, though him beating down both Tiffany and Chucky with ease is a little silly and he takes no real damage in the fights with them. The film is bloodless and the only “deaths” in the film is Chucky who’s head is cut off and then has his head stabbed and drilled. The music is interesting and while movie score moments are present so are covers of old songs done by female vocalist. While this is a very simple plotted fan film is clear that director, writer and producer Julian Romero was a fan of Bride Of Chucky and wanted to add his own touch to the story to show what happened after the film some time later. If you like Child’s Play movies and are looking for something short and fun give this one a watch, while it’s not the greatest it’s still a good effort from some young filmmakers. Watch it now on YouTube.

Grade: C+

A Wet Dream On Elm Street
Starring – Rachael Deacon           Directed by Andrew Shearer
Released in 2011       Runtime: 5min     Not Rated

Plot: A beautiful young woman is getting ready for bed at the same time Freddy Kruger is getting his glove ready to kill. At night a Freddy doll falls from her ceiling and starts to seduce the woman who in turn turns on her charm and the woman and the doll have kinky sex…and then she wakes up wearing Freddy’s sweater and it makes you wonder was it only a dream?

Thoughts: This extremely short “A Nightmare On Elm Street” fan parody film is mostly kinky with a dash of Horror thrown in. Rachael Deacon plays the young woman who has the dream and she has a real Lina Romay appeal to her, plus I have meet Rachel many times and she is a creative and great person. The short was also directed by the super talented Andrew Shearer who I feel is one of Americas most over looked master of indie cult films, as he has been making movies for decades and don’t get the respect and love he should from the masses…but then again I feel Shearer don’t mind as he makes movies to entertain not for the fame. The film is mostly silent with a score playing in the back ground with the only line being the woman saying “Whatever You Do, Don’t Fall Asleep” as she is having fun with the evil Freddy as a doll. The film does not have full nudity but does show backside and gets close, so this one is really not for the youngsters. Over all this is a super short and fun film that lets Deacon shine as a cult actress and shows the filming talent of Shearer…Oh and I have to say the lighting is great in my opinion with a blue hue through out the dream. This short film has zero blood, no kills and partial nudity.

Grade: B-

Within The Woods
Starring – Maria Saldeno & Ashley Sanchez       Directed by Brandon Medina
Released in 2014     Runtime: 1hr 13min     Not Rated

Plot: A pair of cops head to the cabin in the woods and find a young woman who warns them that they all need to leave now as the deadites start to appear and torment the group and in the end take them out. The make of the group wakes up in the woods and is chased back into the cabin were he finds the Necronomicon and fights off being possessed himself as the deadites all around him want his soul. Meanwhile a group of friends as well are going to make the mistake of their lives as they are heading to a get away in the woods themselves to help a friend out who is battling pill addiction and depression, when one of the friends reads from the Necronomicon they start to as well become the target of the evil dead! One by one the friends become possessed and turn on each other, with the survivors being confused by what is really going on. In the end can any of the friends or unknown male survivor live through the attack of the Evil Dead?

Thoughts: The heart and spirit is present in this Evil Dead fan film as they capture the darkness, the mean and trickster spirits of the deadites and even the use of the woods and fog. They do a good job with masking the fact its clear they had a very low budget to work with and the effects are pretty well done and have a shot on video backyard charm, but one thing they could not mask is that some of the acting is really bad and its clear Brandon hired his friends for the parts with some of them almost appearing as if they are reading the lines off screen. The film also starts off with the scares and by the middle slows down to a snail pace with the friends in the cabin talking about issues and drama. The original The Evil Dead film was a great spooky film that had demons and dread throughout and while it had drama it brought some major scares, and sadly this fan film Within The Woods here did not do that for me, and don’t get me wrong they tried really hard to pull it off, it just fell a little flat for me as I do feel way to much time is spent on the friends who are at odds with each other and the addiction issue it’s self. Even by the time the friends start to turn into deadites I found myself already kind of checked out from the film. I will say the film does have blood and the possessions of the characters while nothing more than contacts and drooling blood does work for the most part. Over all I think that doing an Evil Dead fan film is hard to pull off and I do give Brandon Medina credit for trying to pull it off, not the best nor worst fan film I have ever seen and I would say if you love all things Evil Dead check it out as the heart is here even if I was not a super fan.

Grade: C

What I really love about covering Fan Made Horror Films based on popular Hollywood Movies is that it brings me back to my days as a Shot On Video creator and director and has sparked my interest in maybe returning to do so and do one last fan film that will be based on a classic Hammer Horror film and character…so who knows maybe I will do so and if I do you can bet your last dollar that I will be covering here on Rotten Ink with a making of update! And keep in mind I will only be able to make this Fan Film if I have the time inbetween working on new episodes of Baron Von Porkchop and The Creeper, work at Rockstar Pro Wrestling and Englewood Cinema, wrapping some Wolf Hunter projects, the comic work for Sparkle and Blood Scream Comics as well as all the updates here on Rotten Ink…so as you can see I have lots of stuff going on. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Fan Films behind and will be back into the world of Horror Hosting as we take a look at the extremely short lived host Captain Jolly Rogers of Hell’s Drive-In out of Indiana. So until next time read a indie comic or three, watch a Fan Film or two and as always support you local Horror Host! See you next update for a buried treasure of Horror Hosting.

Blah Blah True Blood Comics Blah

Greetings, Inkers! Juliet here, with a look at a show and one of its comics that combines several of my favorite things. Zombies have dominated horror-centric pop culture for the past decade, and while fans’ appetites were already primed for the arrival of the Walking Dead television show in 2010, the years prior to that were devoted to another undead creature: the vampire. The bloodsuckers had already enjoyed quite the pop culture run in the mid to late 1990s with the film versions of Interview With a Vampire and Queen of the Damned and TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, among fan favorites. But after Buffy ended in 2003 and spin-off show Angel in 2004, it seemed that the vampire’s time in the film and television limelight was done.  But several series of books were already waiting for readers and waiting to be adapted by Hollywood, and 2008 and 2009 brought viewers the first film in the Twilight saga, the Vampire Diaries TV show, and the focus of today’s update, True Blood.  So warm up a bottle of your favorite blood type, and get ready to travel to Bon Temps, Louisiana as we talk about the TV show and its prequel comic.

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In 2001, author Charlaine Harris began her Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also called The Sookie Stackhouse Novels) with the book Dead Until Dark.  The series, which would go on to have 12 novels total, was narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps who has telepathic abilities and falls in love with a vampire.  The series was set around the same time each book was published, but in this near-reality world, a synthetic blood beverage called Tru Blood made it possible for vampires to become part of mainstream society.  As the books progressed, werewolves, shapeshifters, faeries, and even a maenad also emerged, among other supernatural creatures.  

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The series had been optioned for television twice before 2005, when producer Alan Ball, fresh off Six Feet Under (another of my favorite HBO shows), was embarking on a new deal with HBO to develop new content. Having read the series thus far, the Southern Vampire Mysteries was his first project under the deal, and production on the television show True Blood began.  

Like the novels, True Blood takes place by and large, in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana and begins by focusing on telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, played Anna Paquin, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton in a world where vampires are “out of the coffin,” and many other supernatural beings emerge.  That’s the simplest possible description I can give for the kickoff of a show that gets very complicated very quickly and stretches for seven (HBO-length) seasons.  As in the books, we meet werewolves, shapeshifters, faeries, a vampire hating mega-church-esque cult, witches, and yes, a maenad. The show is, however, a loose adaptation of the books with some big changes at the start and, like many books turned shows, True Blood’s plot definitely veers completely away from the plot of the book series at a certain point. 

In contrast to its teenage contemporary Twilight, True Blood is overtly sexy and puts sexuality in all of its forms at the forefront.  (Funny enough though, just as Twilight had Team Edward and Team Jacob, True Blood had Team Bill, Team Eric, and eventually Team Alcide.) Some people have chosen to interpret the vampires’ struggle for equality throughout the show as an allegory for the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, though Alan Ball, who is gay himself, disputes that interpretation as being reductive.

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When True Blood premiered in 2008, a service like HBO Go was merely a dream for fans like myself who had been hooked by the premium network’s still relatively new slate of dramas that came to prominence with The Sopranos and the aforementioned Six Feet Under. So that meant that viewers either had to have both cable and HBO to watch a show or wait for each season to come out on DVD. And so it was on DVD that I first saw True Blood.  Admittedly, I was a little uncertain about whether I was even interested; as a lifelong Anne Rice fan, I wasn’t sure anyone could do a Louisiana vampire story to my satisfaction other than her.  It took a combination of Matt buying me the first season on DVD as a gift, and the endorsement of several of my fellow Six Feet Under devotee friends for me to take the plunge.  And of course, it was love at first bite.

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I was initially drawn in by the fictional world of Bon Temps, along with the idea of vampires and the world adjusting to each other.  But what kept me coming back season after season was in Shreveport: Eric Northman, Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, and their vampire bar Fangtasia.  I was honestly more invested in them than the main Sookie Stackhouse story, especially after the reveal about Sookie’s origin, which remains for me one of the weakest plot points in the show, and to that end, I should clarify that I was not at all interested in (translation = pretty adamantly against) Eric and Sookie’s romantic storyline.  While at first I loved the slightly kitschy atmosphere of Fangtasia and Pam and Eric’s delightfully snarky banter, it was their unique relationship as century long companions that kept me watching until the very end. 

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Eric and Pam are also the reason I chose not to read the Southern Vampire Mystery books.  After watching the few seasons of True Blood, I strongly considered reading the books, but in doing a little research and finding out that their characters and storylines, among others I enjoyed, were very different than those portrayed on the show, I decided, to stick with the TV versions.  I typically don’t have this luxury as I usually end up watching shows based on books I already love and sometimes being disappointed at the translation.  Funny enough, as I was working on this update, AMC announced that they had acquired the TV rights to both the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches properties.  So I’ll end up having the book to TV experience with a different set of vampires at some point.  

But back to Eric and Pam, or more specifically, back to Pam.  I mentioned before that there became different camps of viewers, and while I suppose I could be Team Eric, I am most definitely Team Pam.  When I start watching a show I really enjoy, there’s usually one character that from their first appearance I can instantly claim as my favorite, and Pamela Swynford De Beaufort is most definitely that character on True Blood.  It’s not a huge surprise as I have a “type” when it comes to favorite characters: sassy, in charge, but still complex and exploring their place in the world.  For me, Pam was also often a sounding board for the viewer (okay, maybe just this viewer), dryly commenting on some of the more ridiculous aspects of the story. And she’s got some of the most memorable lines (and outfits) from the show.  

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Before we move on, I should note that while Eric and Pam are my favorite characters/progeny-maker pair/otp/imaginary vampire best friends, in contrast Matt is firmly on Team Bill Compton and Jessica Hamby.  I actually really like Jessica too, but the Bill vs. Eric debate raged on hilariously in our house through the entire run of the show.  

Another memorable thing about True Blood was the show’s use of music.  In addition to the sexy, swampy theme song “Bad Things” performed by Jace Everett, the show is beautifully scored by Nathan Barr.  Also, notably, each episode is named for a song that describes something about the story and appears as part of it, usually as punctuation right as the end credits roll.  These are often classic and new classic songs from the likes of Dr. John, Neko Case and the Talking Heads. Some of these, along with notable other songs from within the episodes appear on 4 soundtrack albums that are still available on CD.

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During the height of its popularity, True Blood was known for a ton of merch and some really great marketing, and sometimes those two would go hand in hand.  Shortly after the show began, HBO began marketing bottles of actual, drinkable Tru Blood.  Okay, so it was blood orange soda, but the look and feel of the packaging was authentic to the show making it great for watch parties and collectors.  On the more traditional marketing front, the billboard and print ads for the show were always super distinctive and clever, opting for an attention grabbing image or phrase with the show’s signature red, black and white color scheme.  In the online/tv realm, there were several runs of “minisodes” used to bridge gaps between seasons.  The first was called A Drop of Blood and took place between seasons 2 and 3.  These 3 to 5 minute videos helped give viewers a look at smaller moments between the seasons.  In Eric and Pam’s, which was the first one released, we see them audition new dancers for Fangtastia and land on Yvetta, who we’d meet in season 3.  There was also an ongoing series of short videos that began in 2010 after season 3 and lasted until 2014 featuring Jessica.  These were vlog style videos in which our favorite redhead learned more about life as a vampire with Pam, Tara, Bill, and Ginger among her guests.

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Along with the soundtrack albums, the soda and of course DVDs of the seasons, fans of True Blood could take their pick from a slew of official and unofficial merchandise including more shirt designs than I can count, drinking and shots glasses, coffee mugs, a cookbook (which I own), a makeup line from Tarte cosmetics (which I wish I owned), and a line of Funko Pops.  Fun fact: I held off buying Pop figures for quite a long time until they made Eric and Pam, and then the floodgates opened up and I now have entirely too many. 

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True Blood also inspired several comic series. In both 2010 and 2012 IDW published comic series simply called True Blood, which were six and 14 issues respectively.  In 2011, there were two miniseries, also from IDW, True Blood: French Quarter and True Blood: Tainted Love, all of which spun off the TV show and used familiar characters.  But before all of that, there was True Blood: The Great Revelation.  This Top Cow comic was released in 2008 at ComicCon as a part of the pre-promotion for the show.  It’s a prequel to the show, and it’s the comic we’re going to look at here on Rotten Ink.

As a reminder, we comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get a refill on your Tru Blood (or maybe some New Blood), and get ready to do some bad things.

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True Blood: The Great Revelation # 1 ***
Released in 2008     Cover Price: Free    Top Cow     # 1 of 1

A centuries old vampire named Lamar is flying through the night sky on an airplane.  As his journey begins, he reflects on how strange it is for vampires to be out in the open and how Tru Blood is making that happen.  Lamar arrives in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo, recalling his first visit to Japan ages ago as he makes his way to his hotel. There he tells us more about the emergence of Tru Blood that led to the Great Revelation: when a group of Japanese vampires found out that human scientists were close to developing synthetic blood, they bought up the patents, invested in the company, and began to spread the word to vampires around the world.  Even now, however, Lamar isn’t sure that humanity is ready for vampires, and he recalls that his friend Samson was eager for integration between vampires and humans and paid for it with a stake through his heart.  Lamar finally arrives at the headquarters for the Yakonomo Corporation where he’s eager to show them a secret of his own.

The first thing I should tell you about this comic is that the story ends on a cliffhanger that was continued digitally as pre-promotion for the show.  Comic Con attendees in 2008 got the first read, and eventually these pages and the rest of the story were released weekly on HBO’s website to gear up for the show’s premiere.  Unfortunately, after lots of searching and several Wayback Machine fails, I was unable to find the rest of the pages beyond what’s in the physical comic, which is disappointing, but is also worth noting because some of the questions I have about the story may have been answered in those extra pages.  That said, I thought this was a really nice introduction to the larger mythos of True Blood.  I thought it was really smart to create a character that exists outside of the world of the show and to make the setting someplace other than Bon Temps because it didn’t fall into the clumsy trap of some prequel promo comics where the comic and show aren’t being written in sync so the characters feel off.  Lamar is a compelling character and the little glimpses of his backstory we got made me want to spend more time with him, and I definitely want to know more about the weapon he revealed in the last panel.  The backstory about the Great Revelation and origin of Tru Blood also felt really well in line with the show, albeit with a few elements missing – the vampire Kings and Queens are mentioned but the authority isn’t mentioned by name, likewise we only see vampires at the Yakonomo Corporation with no sign of Mr. Gus (or perhaps his father).  It is interesting that we get the name Yakonomo this early in the show’s history, however, as it’s only referred to as “a Japanese Corporation” onscreen until season six. 

The story is primarily told in “voiceover” style, which works nicely for this shorter story, especially since the whole point is to give a lot of background in only a few pages.  Jason Badower’s art is great, and the colors by Blond were particularly great because they captured the mood of the show and all of the early marketing materials ahead of the premiere.  Speaking of, there are several bonus pages that include a two-page interview with Alan Ball and several “ads” that tie into entities in the show and had accompanying web buildouts (some of which you can find on the Wayback Machine – yay!) like the American Vampire League and the Fellowship of the Sun. All told, this is a really great addition to the True Blood story, and fans of the show should have this in their collection.

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It’s almost dawn, when, unless you’re Billith, all vampires need to find a place to hide from the sun.  And it’s about time that I hand Rotten Ink back to Matt.  For his next update, he’ll be revisiting the world of horror fan films with another batch of movies to tell you about.  In the meantime, read a comic or two, support your local comic shop and bank blood, and avoid any and all vampire emergencies. 

Beneath The Planet Of The Atlas Vampires

Space is a vast place and so much of it is undiscovered. Sometimes we consider Pluto as a planet and other times we don’t! Image what and who is out there in the parts of space that we cannot explore and discover…imagine if many of our film/TV/Video Games/Comic aliens and space explorers were real…like what if Star Wars, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Alien, Predator, The Black Hole, John Carter Warlord Of Mars, Destroy All Humans, Mars Attacks, Last Star Fighter, Space Invaders and all other matters of science fiction in media was real….like what if right now in the universe Buck Rogers is battling Crypto for the last slice of Pizza The Hut and The Predator is trying to hunt down some Klingons as he feels they are the ultimate prey! But in reality, it really is amazing that mankind in my lifetime will never really know what is truly out their in the Universe…heck we don’t even know much about our own deep oceans! For this update we are going to take a look at Atlas Comics and their series that blended adventure, sci-fi and horror together as of course I am talking about Planet Of The Vampires. So sit back, relax and go on a space travel with me here on Rotten Ink and let’s see what these bloodsuckers are up to in the cosmos.

When I was a youngster and first discovered Atlas Comics and it’s series Planet Of The Vampires thanks to Bookie Parlor I first thought this title was based on a 1965 film of the same name that was directed by Horror Icon Mario Bava, well that was until I read it and discovered it was its own world. Mario Bava is the master of Italian Horror and was the director of many great Horror Movies like Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood And Black Lace, Kill Baby…Kill!, Hatchet For The Honeymoon, A Bay Of Blood, Baron Blood and Lisa And The Devil to name a few showing that he is a true icon of the genre. American International Pictures released Planet Of The Vampires in 1965 to theaters and drive-in’s and they were happy too do so as they had made a good profit off Bava films from the past. Planet Of The Vampires is a film that follows astronauts who go to an undiscovered planet and find themselves fighting among themselves and learn that something or someone on the planet is causing them to turn on themselves. This film is really good for a b-grade Sci-Fi film and really should have gotten the Dell Comic adaptation treatment, but to make it clear this Atlas Comic series is 100% not based on this film.

Disney has superhero movies on lockdown as the box office numbers for the Marvel Comic movies have broken records! Warner Brothers are still making some great superhero movies as well that are raking in the money with their DC Comic flicks. Well Paramount Pictures and Steven Paul with is SP Media Group want a slice of that comic book movie pie and Paul himself has bought the rights to Atlas Comics and want to turn the characters into movies as well as possible TV Shows! While this has been announced nothing as of yet is set to come out and what characters will get the movie or even streaming TV treatment. And for a long time reader of Atlas Comics I can say that this news is very cool and I can not wait to see movies based on the likes of Grim Ghost, Tiger-Man, Planet Of The Vampires and The Cougar to name a few. But lets also be honest with ourselves just like Atlas failed comeback to the world of comics in 2010 this could end up being gone before it even starts. So only time will tell if Atlas Comics will make an impact in the world of movies and I for one welcome these characters back to all forums of media.

On January 19, 2020 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon in order to celebrate the end of the Holiday season and we kicked off the day at 8am with the 1965 fright flick “Blood Beast From Outer Space” about a strange object that falls from space that brings with it a space traveler who is kidnapping Earth’s women to bring back to his home planet. The cheesy “Return Of The Killer Shrews” was next on tap and is the sequel to the 1959 film Killer Shrews and has ship boat Captain Thorne Sherman going back to the island and once more being attacked by killer shrews. The third film of the marathon was “Bat Outta Hell” about a group of wannabe filmmakers being attacked by 4 feet tall bat creatures. Next on the blood tap was the Universal International film “Curucu: Best Of The Amazon” about headhunters, explorers and a monster by the jungle river. Hammer Horror movie “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing was next and was about climbers and explorers looking for the mythic monster the Yeti. The 6th film of the day was the indie Kaiju film “Reigo King Of The Sea Monsters” and has the Japanese navy fighting for their lives against a giant monster. “Prison Of The Dead” by Full Moon Entertainment was next and had a group of fans at an old funeral home that evil spirits and killer dead executioners are roaming around in. The Shudder exclusive film “Boar” starring Bill Mosley and Nathan Jones was next a film about a giant killer boar in the outback. What we watched next was “Camp Blood 8” a slasher film that featured the clown masked killer once more on a rampage of blood and carnage. The slasher film “Pickaxe” was next and was about an unstoppable killer returning from death and targeting a group of friends going to a rock concert. The final film of the night was “Haunt” that has a group of friends going into an extreme haunted house that’s ghoulish performers are out for flesh and blood. As always a great time watching Horror Movies with my lady Juliet. Oh and I know many of you readers like to know what we had to eat for the Marathon and we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken with Oh My Garlic Sauce and for snacks we had Peanut Butter M&M’s and Potato Chips.

So for this Horror Movie Marathon we watched 11 films total and all from different subgenres in the world of Horror. And when it came to the Golden Turkey of the evening Juliet and I agreed that the worst film of the day was “Bat Outta Hell” as some of the acting was terrible, the CGI creatures effects looked cheap and it was kind of boring. But I must say Pickaxe for me almost made the Golden Turkey spot as I was very much disappointed in it and found it to be just kind of bland. For me the top three films of the day was simple as I would go # 1 Haunt as it was a pleasant surprise filled with great gore effects, some creepy moments and likable characters. My # 2 had to go to The Abominable Snow Man as it’s a classic Hammer Horror film and you cannot top Peter Cushing. And lastly my # 3 spot went to Boar as it was a great animal/nature run amok throwback film with some gruesome boar kills. I should also say that Camp Blood 8 was really solid and one of the better sequels that has been released these past few years. Juliet picked the following as her top 3 films of the event # 1 Haunt, # 2 Boar and for # 3 she picked Prison Of The Dead. I love having these marathons whether it’s with just Juliet or a room full of friends, it’s a great time to celebrate the world of Horror.

The Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills for the Marathon goes to the one and only undead slasher killer Alex Black from the film Pickaxe! This hulking killer racked up a body count of over 15 people and did so with brutal glee. One of his best kills is when he guts and kills a cheating boyfriend! While the film was not to best of the Marathon nor did it even come close to making either of our Top 3 lists, Pickaxe’s killer Alex Black did walk away with the Golden Chainsaw Award as he raised the bloody body count and made the event a little more splattery!

So now that we have talked about Atlas Comics and its possible future of being movies at your local cinemas soon as well as talked about the first Horror Movie Marathon of 2020, I think it’s now time that we land and take a look at the Planet Of The Vampires! I want to say that I read this comic series when I was a young teen and can remember liking it then. I want to also thank the gone but always iconic comic store Bookie Parlor for introducing me to Atlas Comics all those decades past. I want to thank the combo of Bell Book And Comic as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I am grading them on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s sit back and see if these vampires have the bite to still capture my attention.

Planet Of Vampires # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In the year 2010 the space shuttle Aries VII returns from a five-year mission on the planet Mars, the ships Captain is Chris Galland and on his crew is his wife Elissa among a few other members. Things are weird as they are not getting an response from Mission Control and after they have to land in the harbor near Brooklyn, New York they soon see the world has changed as the buildings are destroyed and crazed gangs of people are running loose and Captain Galland and his crew are saved by a costumed man who guns some of the savages down with his flying craft! Chris and his crew jump onto the ship and the man takes them to the Empire State building that now has a dome around the blocks around it and were what’s left of normal society lives after a war broke out that mostly destroyed the world. The crew are then introduced to The Proctor the man who built the dome and has kept people safe, and Captain Galland tells him about the mission on Mars they had. But as Galland and his people are walked out of The Proctor’s office they witness as guards are taking a savage to another room, and when he lets out a painful scream Captain Galland and crew spring into action and rush to the room to find that they savages are being drained of their blood! Captain Galland saves the savages who is being lead by Bruiser Culhane who comes up with a plan to split up into two teams to escape by air and by underground. Bruiser leads Galland and his wife underground and when they escape they are greeted by a rival band of savages!

The first issue of Planet Of The Vampires is one of those issues that is really slow moving, but is truly the groundwork for what this series was suppose to be all about. The plot takes elements from many different Sci-Fi films I feel like “Planet Of The Apes” and “Omega Man” and has a group returning to Earth after a long mission in space and when back the world is changed and filled with blood suckers and unruly wild gangs. Our main hero is Captain Galland who is a good captain, he is also kind of a firm jerk who seems to bully and talk very strictly to his wife Elissa, but while he is a jerk he is a hero who watches out for his crew, questions the murdering of people and saves countless lives but standing up for what’s right. Elissa seems like a nice woman and the rest of the crew is made up of Craig, Ben and Brenda all as well are good people and Ben was the brains of the team but he is taken down by the savages after landing. The savages are at war with those who live in the dome and are violent, but are the way they are in order to survive this new cruel world. The Proctor and his men claim they are not the bad ones and that they have to steal the blood of others in order to save themselves as the radiation they claim gave them a disease. But while slow the tense feeling is building as you are not sure really what is going on with those that live in the dome and why do they really need all that blood, not to mention those who live outside the dome are violent and act like savages for sure. I also like that our hero Captain Chris Galland while always wanting to do the right thing is also really kind of an ego driven jerk! The cover for this first issue is awesome and has a Star Wars comic look to it. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick and is really good and has a classic 70’s Marvel Comics look to it, Broderick has done art for many companies over the years including DC, Marvel, Eclipse and Devil’s Due. Over all this first issue is a great read that brings this world to life for reviewers.

Planet Of Vampires # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Bruiser Culhane has lead Chris & Elissa Galland into the arms of some very dangerous people who want to murder them all, but Bruiser comes up with an idea that has him fighting the leader of the group Lenny with the winner taking the lead of both tribes! The fight is brutal with Bruiser coming ahead and running both tribes, he even allows Lenny to live as Captain Chris Galland comes up with a plan that will have all the tribes come together and fight for their lives against the bloodsuckers who is the world’s real scumbag enemies. And after Craig and Brenda trick their followers they land and use the little flying craft as a bomb killing the pursuing vampires. As the savage tribes come together the vampires attack in full force and the battle leaves many dead on each side, and worse Elissa and Brenda have been kidnapped with the idea that they will be baby carries for The Proctor! During the battle Captain Galland is injured, but snaps and wants revenge when Craig informs him of the ladies kidnapping.

The plot of this second issue has Captain Galland bringing all the outside savage tribes together to make an army and pushes them to clash and fight with the larger and better-armed Bloodsucking Vampires…who of course destroy them in the battle. In fact Captain Chris Galland gets the tribes all riled up and acts as if their primitive weapons stand a chance and with them listing many of the savages loose their lives. So in other words Galland did not come up with a real battle plan and uses his own rage to lead people to their deaths. The savage tribes show that they truly are fighters as they do what they can to fight the vampires, and while many lost their lives other are taking prisoners so that they can be drained of blood. The Vampires of the Dome are very mad in this issue and when they come for revenge they are swift and brutal and kill as well as take hostages. Most of this issue is about Lenny’s dislike for Bruiser Culhane and how he learns to respect his one time enemy as well agrees to be apart of the tribe army to fight back. The cover for this issue is great and showcases evil vampires, and yet nothing like this happens in the issue. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick again and is fantastic and I really do dig his style. Over all this is another solid issue and one I can not wait to reread the third and final issue again, so let’s get to it.

Planet Of Vampires # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The Vampire Dome soldiers are being warned about astronauts Captain Galland and Craig coming to the dome in order to get their ladies back, and while the guards laugh an old fighter plan crashes into them all killing them on the spot and near by our heroes start to make their way into the dome as their plan to wipeout their enemies worked. Captain Galland and Craig enter the dome and make quick work of many more vampire soldiers as they out smart the bloodsuckers, but Craig’s world falls apart when they find the body of Brenda who has been drained off all her blood! Captain Galland leaves his friend to grieve for a moment as he enters the office of The Proctor and kills the vampire leader with a bullet to his head. Captain Galland is then greeted by Craig who has found Elissa hurt but still alive. The three of them make their way to steal one of the bloodsuckers aircrafts and Craig stays behind at the dome as Elissa and Captain Galland take the craft and fly around looking for a safe place to live. The couple end up in LA that is as wild as New York and Elissa is attacked by a pair of giant vampire spiders and Captain Galland fights with all his might in order to save his wife…but to his horror she passes away from her injuries and Captain Galland is a man along in a savage and violent world.

The third and final issue in this Atlas Comic series ends like so many before and after it on a cliffhanger and the promise of a next issue that never was published as Atlas Comic closed its doors before they could hit the comic racks. The plot of this issue has only Captain Chris Galland and his best friend and crewmate Craig left as all the savages have been killed or taken and they want to get their wives back who have been kidnapped by the dome living vampires, and they try their best to do just that but in the end both men loose their wives to the grip of death and both find themselves sad, lonely and in a world that is cruel and unforgiving. Captain Chris Galland is a hero who throughout the series tries his best to take control and act as if his plans and ideas are what will change this savage world, and instead his ideas lead to many deaths of people as well as even his crew. To be honest while I do understand Captain Chris Galland’s want to stand up against the evil people of this new world, a part of me also felt like he did it all for his ego. His wife Elissa Galland is always the victim in these three issues and it goes from being talked down to by his wife all the way to being picked to be the mate of the creepy vampire leader. Craig and Brenda are good side characters and to be honest I think Craig is my favorite hero of the series as he comes off more real and loyal. The Proctor and his vampire soldiers have the weapons and numbers, but when push comes to shove they fall like a house of cards and are easily beaten and killed. I must say Planet Of The Vampires held up for me and I enjoyed it just like I did in my youth and while it’s very slow moving at the start it kicks in to be a very fun Sci-Fi, Action, Horror Comic read. While those looking for solid vampire horror might be disappointed as these vampires are not like Dracula, those who like science mixed in with their vampires will really enjoy it. The cover for this issue is good, and confusing as who in the hell are the blonde astronaut and the short black haired girl? The interior art this time around is done by Russ Heath and is as well has a very classic Marvel look to it. Over all Planet Of The Vampires is a great Atlas Comics series and while it’s not one of my top favorites, it is one that I have enjoyed and suggest to comic readers who enjoy Sci-Fi Horror. Check out the art below to see the style used in this series.

Planet Of The Vampires is a 70’s comic that showed that Atlas Comics had lots to offer in the world of comic books, as did the previous comic titles we covered like The Brute, The Cougar, Tiger-Man, Demon Hunter, The Destructor and The Hands Of The Dragon have all proven. It really is a shame that Atlas Comics closed its doors so quickly as it would have been nice to see were many of their classic characters would have went story wise and what new characters they could have created. But sadly, we cannot live in a world of what if and have to live in the now and lucky for Rotten Ink we have many other Atlas Comic titles to cover in the future. But for our next update we are walking away from the world of comic books and heading to the world of Horror Hosts as I cover a little unknown host named Theodore Puertoriquez who hosted Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Meow-Tastic good time!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Driller (2006)

The world of Horror Movies and Horror Comics both have so many independent releases in their respected media.  Sometimes we are lucky, and they blend together and a comic is released based on a film. Today we will be taking a look at one of them with Driller, a cool promo comic based on the 2006 film. Driller is one of those independent Horror flicks that slipped under the radar, and many fans don’t know anything about it. So if you’re ready, lets take a few moments and take a trip into the world of Driller to see what horrors and gore this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update has in store for us.

Lets look at the alien-made killer of the film and comic that is called Futuristic Driller! As a regular man, he sat alone in a field drinking beer and hating on a woman who had broken his heart, but to his horror, a UFO appears and beams him up mutating him into a freaky deformed looking killing machine that is a pawn in their plan to take over the world. Futuristic Driller uses a power drill to dispatch his victims and is silent, cold and uncaring and rocks a scarred up face and a weird half face mask. Besides killing, he also helps create more weird alien soldiers to join the invasion as he also wants a bride. Futuristic Driller kills his victims with a massive power drill, plus has power & strength and uses his odd and creepy appearance to strike fear into their hearts before he drills a hole through it. He also can be hurt but fatal blows seem not to kill him, making him an unstoppable force like so many masked slasher killers before him. While it looks like he cannot be hurt, he does have some weaknesses like the fact he can be hurt, and this slows him down even more than normal. His slowness is also a weakness; if a victim is smart they can outrun and move around him. So while he is not an icon of Horror Villains like many others killers who have come before him and after, he is one dangerous killing machine who could be unstoppable and has made his bloody mark in the world of Horror.

So as you can see, The Futuristic Driller is one mean killing machine, and now that I have chatted about him, lets take a look at the film he comes from. As always I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about it. So if you’re ready, lets take a look at Driller the movie!

Driller (2006)

“A dark and amusing tale of alien abduction, drugged up youth, drilling and killing.”

Driller was released in 2006 and was directed by Jason Kartalian who also wrote it. The film had a festival run and even was selected to be a part of Another Hole in the Head Film Festival and was well received. The film would also go on to make it to DVD and would have a solo release as well as come out alongside the 1979 film Driller Killer as part of a double feature. The film had a rumored budget of $300,000.00 and used practical effects to pull off the gore. The film starred such actors as Tanya Dempsey, Ivy Joeva, Eric Spudic and Jeb Rowen as the Futuristic Driller. It’s a true independent feature that blends Horror, Science Fiction and Comedy together and makes for a fun fright flick filled with backyard gore, a slasher style killer and attractive women. The film when released in 2006 had lots of competition from titles like Hatchet, See No Evil, Saw III, Rest Stop, Evil Bong, Wolf Hunter 2, Behind the Mask and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning to name a few! So as you can see, it was sadly lost in the shuffle.

Driller is one of those films I discovered while searching Ebay for comic books based on Horror Movies, and after a short while, I stumbled onto this promo comic that came along side the double feature DVD of this release. Once ordered, I decided that I was going to order also the single feature version of the film as I already had a massive two disc collector’s edition of Driller Killer and only needed the double feature to get the comic book. I chose to watch the film on a day off from work as outside massive thunderstorms brewed and helped set the mood. And when watching it I can say I really enjoyed it and found the killer to be cool and the gore effects very effective for the budget they had, not to mention the ladies of the film are easy on the eyes. My favorite kill in the movie has to be when he kills the apartment peeping handyman and the woman in the shower he is watching as The Futuristic Driller shows no mercy and drills them to death. I wish I had more of a connection to this film as I just discovered it this year so I have no amazing story of watching it with friends or finding it at a video store. All I can say if you enjoy Indie Horror Movies like I do, you might want to check this one out if you can find the DVD at a cheap price.

So as you can see Driller and it’s killer The Futuristic Driller are a bloody and entertaining combo that was one I am glad I discovered. I want to thank Ebay for having this comic in stock and want to thank also the makers of this film for making this promo comic to go along with their film. I need to also remind all you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, lets take a look at this short and mini comic based on 2006’s Driller.

Driller # 1  **
Released in 2006     Cover Price $0.00     Viewfinder      # 1 of 1

A man named Joe is asleep on his couch dreaming of being able to murder his uncaring and overbearing wife when he is awakened by her telling him to get to work. As Joe leaves, two stoned hillbillies smoking pot in their car see a UFO fly by, and sadly for Joe, he is the target of the aliens who beam him aboard and experiment and torment him in order to turn him into a mutated killing machine. The aliens drop Joe, now a freaky looking killer, back to earth who picks up a power drill and hits the streets and kills a man who is peeping on a woman in a shower and makes his way to get her as well and that’s how our comic ends.

This is a quick read that is the start of an adaptation of the film that I think was planned but never fully released. The plot of this comic follows a man who hates his life and wife who sadly is targeted by aliens who turn him into a killing mutated freak-killing machine! Joe is a slob who works a job and has a wife who likes to smack him and boss around and he does what he is told even though he hates every moment of his life he still does what he can to survive. Clearly he spends his time drinking beer to try and forget about how bad his life is. So in other words, Joe is a normal middle class man who has family issues and is down on his luck. But once Joe is turned into the Futuristic Driller, he no longer is human and has no issues with killing humans who get into his way! This comic, while very short, does have some of the red stuff as Futuristic Driller uses his power drill to kill the pervert watching the woman shower as well as blood is spilled when the aliens work on Joe to turn him into the killing machine. Not sure who did the comics interior artwork, but it’s solid stuff and captures the raw silly nature of the film, plus the cover is pretty cool and has that indie horror comic feel. Over all this is a fun and good short promo Horror Comic read that just makes me wish a full comic was released. Check out the art below to see what style you’re in for when reading this comic.

So while this comic might be very short and ends before any major mayhem takes place, it’s still a cool Horror Comic that many readers might not know exists and might want to get their hands on. I really do wish more indie Horror Films would make comics based on their films as I think comics are a great way to advertise the film to a market that most of the time would be very much into what they are presenting. So I think for our next update we are going to stay in the world of Horror and in fact what I have in store next was originally a comic book and was turned into a movie that was released by Troma, so in other words it’s a reverse From Horror Movie To Horror Comic! The comic and movie we will be talking about is The Killer Condom and this one is weird, funny and horrific! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch an indie Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a Killer good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Orphan Killer

Welcome back to my blog, Rotten Ink, a place I love to talk about comic books, horror hosts, video games, toys, TV shows, cartoons and movies.  As long time readers know, I have grown up watching and enjoying horror films and over the years made my own like “The Sadness”, “Werewolf of Ohio”, “It’s In The Crawlspace” and “Bark At The Moon: Scars” and produced many ohers like “Phantom Of The Grindhouse”, “Babysitter Massacre”, “Amityville No Escape”, “Church Of The Eyes” and “Alone In The Ghost House” to name a few.  Let’s forget the ones I have acted in like “Woodsman: Forest Of Pain”, “Quite Nights Of Blood And Pain”, “The Wolf Hunter 2” , “Razor” and “Atrocity Circle” among many others. So as you can see, I really do love independent horror films, and I always jump at the chance to get copies of ones that pique my interest and better yet, ones that add a little something extra for fans like comic books based on their characters.  One that did just that, and has been on my radar for a very long time, is called “The Orphan Killer,” a slasher film that was released in 2011 and was a film I heard lots about from friends who said such things as the gore was fantastic, the soundtrack was heavy and the lead actress was smoking hot.  All these things made me want to see the film even more! I ordered the comic based on the film from Indy Planet many years ago and waited to try and get the film from a convention or from Amazon, but they never seemed to have it. So finally in 2016, I tracked down a DVD copy of the film thanks to the film’s official website and knew that in 2017 an update based on this film and its comic was a must! So this update is for all you independent horror fans who like me love the films gory and enjoy the comics that follow.  So make sure your doors aren’t barb-wired shut as we dive into the psycho world of The Orphan Killer! I should also note this is another of our “From Horror Film To Horror Comic” update and is a great way to kick off our countdown to Halloween!

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It’s time to briefly learn about the film/comic’s killer. Marcus and his sister Audrey witness the killing of their parents at a young age.  Now an orphan at the nearby church, Marcus becomes too protective of his sister and does bad things to other kids who get to close. For his mean nature the nuns beat, torture and force the youngster to wear a mask to keep the other kids from wanting to talk to him and getting too close. Marcus is dubbed a monster, and the name The Orphan Killer is placed on him by the other kids, who claim he drinks the blood of kids and other horrific things. When his sister is adopted and he is left behind, his mind twists even more and Marcus becomes the living embodiment of punishment. Growing up, he becomes the killing monster they all thought him to be, and he starts at the church that kept him prisoner for all these years.  Wearing his mask and armed with barbwire, knives and an ax he goes on a killing spree that leaves blood flowing like wine and body parts flying. The Orphan Killer wears a mask that looks like a leather skull.  He loves to whistle after a kill or during torturing and has no emotion when killing his victims. He talks about being chosen by God and blessed as if he thinks that his mission from heaven is to kill anyone he feels has done him wrong. Strong, brutal and crazy is the best way to sum up Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer is a tour de force murder flick that defies classification. It goes far beyond current trends in gore and breaks open a new suffering genre of horror. Marcus Miller is a serial murderer hellbent on teaching his estranged sister Audrey what it means to have family loyalty. His lessons are taught in massive doses of vulgar and unimaginable pain. Throughout her brutal torture we learn that Marcus is not the only Miller with Killer in the bloodline as Audrey proves to be a formidable adversary.”

The above is the plot that IMDB has for this blood soaked film that is sure to please fans of films like “Murder Set Pieces” and “Pieces” as it captures the raw nasty feel of those splatter films. The film was released in 2011 and directed by Matt Farnsworth who also wrote the script and starred in as Officer Mike Hunt and created the killer Marcus aka The Orphan Killer. Farnsworth directed the 2005 film “Iowa” as well as the short films “Poor Man’s Dope” and “Dying For Meth” as well as acted in films like “Gacy”, “The Last Place On Earth” and “The Stepdaughter”. The film stars the actors like Diane Foster who plays the lead actress Audrey, David Backhaus plays The Orphan Killer and Ed Winrow plays Father Chuck and that’s one thing the film really has going for it is the acting is great for a Independent Slasher film with Diane Foster stealing the show. The films score and metal music is licensed from Bullet Tooth and is a heavy and moody score that helps add to the downbeat nature of the film. The film won a Festival De Cine De Terror De Molins De Rei award for Best Picture in Italy with Director Farnsworth being honored with an Antonio Margheriti award at the Tohorror Film Festival for his work on the film. When released the film was meet with very mixed reviews with many gorehounds enjoying the brutal nature of the film and its twisted plot while many other critics and Horror Fans had good and bad to say about it with many claiming it was just a cheesy cash in on a genre long gone from the mainstream. One of the films biggest none supporters was Fangoria Magazine who said this about the film “these filmmakers had everything they needed to create something special, and simply chose to go the least interesting route”. IMDB reviewers were also not overly nice to the film that holds a 3.9 rating out of 10 stars. As for my opinion I really enjoyed it and found it well worth the wait of seeing it as it lived up to the hype my friends told me about. I found The Orphan Killer to be as brutal and sadistic of a killer like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers before him and Audrey was a likeable character I found myself routing for to make it out of the slaughter alive. While I liked the score music some of the heavy metal music sometimes was very distracting in scenes but still didn’t fully take me out of the movie. I did like that The Orphan Killer had his own nursery rhyme and chuckled at the metal remake of the song “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys movie that acts as the song between this brother and sister. If you’re a slasher film fan and enjoy lots of gore, metal music and a truly smoking hot lead actress then check out The Orphan Killer for sure.

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In the world of Independent Horror Films I have many favorite actresses who embody the skills needed to draw the viewer into the characters they are playing and it takes more than just being pretty for me to put you on the top of my lists of actresses I would say are must watch if their names are attached to a Horror Film. Names like Danielle Harris, Denice Duff, Tina Krause, Asia Argento, Brinke Stevens, Charlie Spradling, Erin R. Ryan, Haley Madison, Maria Ford and Sara Bay are a few names on this list of actresses who are the total package who are not only beautiful but can truly act and have the ability to draw me as a viewer into the film they are in. After watching The Orphan Killer I am proud to say that actress Diane Foster has been added to that list as she is stunning and really good in her role as Audrey as she made me feel that she really had been tortured by a madman who wanted her dead from her screams and tears. What I really enjoyed about her performance is that she is not just some cute bimbo character in fact she is the opposite and is smart and sweet and when pushed just don’t role over and die…oh no she fights back and Diane truly makes the character seem real and legit. I would love to see her in more Horror film roles and think she would be a perfect cast for the next Halloween, Friday The 13th and Tombs Of The Blind Dead films and its shocking that she has not been in anymore films with her last role being this 2011 film! But while she might not be currently acting she also has roles in the 2005 film “Iowa” and the 2003 film “Descendant” that is as well a Horror Film. With lots of talks of a sequel to The Orphan Killer here is hoping that Diane will return to her role as Audrey as she is really fantastic in her acting ability and very easy on the eyes.

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The Orphan Killer is a film that clearly the films creators really believe in as the quality of the script, acting and gore are all top notch. So with this pride they had also comes merchandise products like a comic book, a limited action figure, poster, film soundtrack and even a Halloween Masked based on the title killers look! While I do own the Comic Book and the Soundtrack that came with my DVD it would be cool to own a poster of this film signed by the director Matt Farnsworth and actors Diane Foster & David Backhaus. But if you enjoy this film you can find many great items to collect and I recommend checking out the comic if you’re a Horror Comic reader. Also on December 13, 2016 thanks to Reel Gore Releasing a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack the film is now way easier to find.

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So now that you know just how sick and demented The Orphan Killer is I think its time we took a look at his nasty deeds from blood to ink as we look at the 2012 comic based on the movie. As I am sure his kills will be just as brutal from the movie screen to the comic pages and I really want to see if this is just an adaptation or a new killing spree for our killer. I want to thank Indy Planet for having this in stock and I want to remind all you gorehounds and maniacs that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So beware of the splatter and make sure to avoid his machete as we take a look at the sinister murdering deeds of The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer # 1   **1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Price $ 0.00     Matt Farnsworth    # 1 of 1

Audrey is a woman who is beaten and bloody and crawling away from a masked killer who is holding an ax and they share some words as it’s clear they are brother and sister and they don’t like each other, just as the killer is swinging down a blood splatter hits. We flashback and we are in New York as Audrey is going to her job at a Catholic School and has been dropped off by her boyfriend Mike who is a cop. The young ladies who are in the show are talking about an urban legend that has been around the school for years about Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer who has shown up to the church and has locked the doors after the show and the young ladies have went home. Audrey as well as the Father and workers are left inside and one by one The Orphan Killer butchers the workers and nuns in blood splattering ways. The Orphan Killer tracks down Audrey in the hallway and knocks her out and when she wakes up he has her bound by barbwire and cuts the Father’s arm off before her eyes all the while talking about God and Jesus telling him what he is doing is the right thing, you see Audrey is his sister and even at a young age he had a twisted mind and was tortured by the nuns as he was stricken with evil in their eyes and now he wants revenge on his sister for not being their for him. Mike shows up to the church to find his girlfriend and is attacked brutally by The Orphan Killer and while this is happening Audrey breaks free from her razor sharp binds and mercy kills the Father who is bleeding to death and has a showdown with her brother The Orphan Killer on top of the building that leaves the wounded Mike shooting The Orphan Killer who falls off the roof and he and Audrey have survived the massacre.

This Horror Comic is an adaptation of the 2011 film and does an ok job of translating the film into a comic, and I say ok because if you had not seen the movie many of the films key plots are speed up and looses the impact of not only the kills but also the twists of the films brother and sister plot. The plot that is used is very simple for the most part and follows Audrey a woman who is a teacher at a Church and who also has a psychotic brother who has targeted his old school and his sister for revenge on how he was treated when he was younger and an orphan, his hatred for his sister was because she was adopted and he never was plus he was forced to wear a mask and treated poorly by the nuns who thought he was evil and when becoming older and still wearing the mask he thinks God wants him to bring sinners to justice. Audrey in the comic is just kind of a bland character and her personality is not really able to shine besides the fact we see that she has the will to live and that she truly hates her brother and what he has become. It’s a shame as Audrey in the movie was a complex and great character and in the comic she is just merely around. Her cop boyfriend Mike is only at the start and end of the comic and is only around to in the end shoot the killer and to save his ladylove. The Church workers, nuns and The Father are just filler and add zero personality to the issue and are just around to be killed in horrific ways. The Orphan Killer himself is a scripture speaking, sharp weapon swinging brute of a man who just kills cause he is crazy and has been sense he was a kid, but the Nuns instead of getting him help just mentally and physical abused him and helped creature the psycho killer personality he has. But just like Audrey he is cool in the comic but way better in the film. The comic has some splatter moments but oddly enough the comic is way more tame than the movie and for the most part the violent acts seem like a second thought and pass panels way to fast loosing the impact the murders should have, but keep in mind it does have the read stuff flowing. The artwork from what I can gather is done by the films director and the creator of The Orphan Killer universe Matt Farnsworth and has a style that blends underground and American manga and for the most part while not a style I am a super fan of it looks good. The cover is very eye catching and screams independent horror comic and that’s a great thing for someone like me who loves that style of comics. While this comic adaptation of the film is good I would say that for fans of the flick this is a great comic for your collection, for those who have not seen the film I think it might be one that will not find a home in your comic box. But in closing I love the fact this comic is out in the world and wish more independent horror films would follow this idea. Check out some artwork from this comic and see they style you will see in the issue.

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The Orphan Killer is a great splatter film and an okay comic book and was the perfect way to kick off our countdown to Halloween! Again, I want to stress this comic was entertaining and well done for fans of the film, it’s just that people unfamiliar with the movie might not be as impressed. But our next update takes us out of the church and into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland as we take a look into The Blair Witch Project and the comics made by Image and Oni based around the cult classic flick. So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time….wait, what was that noise.. sounded like….Ahhhhhh!!

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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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The Undead Files: Zombies From Hell

On this Undead Files, we will be taking a look at the not so mainstream version of the living dead.  You know, the stuff that people would say is scraping the bottom of the barrel, the black slime of the genre that most fans would like to throwaway and act as if it never was. After searching local comics stores, horror conventions and the web I have found a backyard zombie comic that fits the bill; all my friends who are fans of underground and independent comics have never heard of this one and neither had I until I found it listed on Ebay for $1.49 plus $1.99 shipping.  This zombie comic is called “Zombies From Hell” and was made by Robert Bennett.  So let’s travel the unsafe world of the living dead once more and take a trip with some zombies down a generic road that leads to the bargain basement of undead doom!

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This is part is not so much about a low budget zombie story but one you all might find funny. In 2015 during the Christmas season, a couple in Cincinnati, Ohio decided to mix Halloween in with their Christmas decorations and made a zombie nativity scene complete with a zombie baby Jesus! In 2014, they had done the same thing as a publicity stunt for a haunted attraction that they ran and most the locals seemed to dig it, but the city didn’t and in 2015 they tried to charge the couple $500 a day for not getting a permit to build the horror themed nativity! Think about that, they were threatened with fines for being into horror and turning Halloween decorations into Christmas ones!  This upset the wound-too-tight city officials who in turn got the law enforcement involved…what have we become!?! In 2016, neighbors of a Texas homeowner were upset over his zombie babies Halloween display, and sadly this crybaby (get the pun) behavior is spreading as many other people getting into decorating for Halloween and Christmas with a touch of horror are being targeted by sticks in the mud who want to take the fun out of everything and are way too judgmental on those who like dark entertainment. So if you are one of these people who have extreme Halloween decorations or mix zombies into your Christmas ones, I say keep being you and there is nothing wrong with being a monster kid and making the holiday more fun for those who enjoy the spirit.

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Horror films were a staple for my brother and I growing up, and we would see many of them on the USA Network.  That goes for the film I have chosen that should have been made into a comic book series, and that film is “Zombie Nightmare,” a classic undead flick that’s been shown many times on USA Saturday Nightmares and is also known being riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000. This 1987 low budget horror film is about a young baseball player who’s dad was murdered saving the local voodoo woman from some punks when he was very young.  Once he grows up, he’s killed in a hit and run and comes back to life thanks to the voodoo woman who makes him a zombie who has revenge on his mind. The film starred rockstar John Mikl Thor and Adam West and is a truly cheesy flick filled with lots of over the top acting and kills. If I could make the comic via Blood Scream Comics, the plot would be this:  It’s modern days, and Tony Washington’s old neighborhood has gotten worse.  Crime is out of hand, and gang violence is out of control.  When his mother is murdered in a home invasion gone wrong, the voodoo of Molly Mokembe brings the long dead Tony back from the gave and with his trusty ball bat, he embarks on a one zombie war against the gang members responsible. Throw in the cops and you have a mix of action and horror.  The artist I would love to see on this one would be Damien Brunk as his style would be perfect for it. I would also live to see Eibon Press do a comic book based on this film as an adaptation.  While Zombie Nightmare might not be one of the 80’s most popular zombie films, it sure as hell has a place in my black heart and should have gotten a comic book back in the late 80’s and it’s a shame that it didn’t.

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So before we get to the extremely zero budget comic, I think I should talk about a cheesy zombie video game that I played in my youth. My brother was the first to buy a PC in our household, and he was so hyped to get onto the internet that was new at the time.  To be truthful, part of the reason we were hyped is because we could look up stuff about horror films, comic books, video games and pro wrestling, and we wanted to check out the TNT Monstervision website! But while the net was cool, we were also hyped that we could play video games not only on CD but also 3.5” diskettes, and this opened the door for us to play many games like Doom 2, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Free Ski, You Don’t Know Jack, Waxworks and a little cheesy first person gem called “Isle Of The Dead.” The plot of this game has you as a survivor of a plane crash on an island that is overrun by zombies and is ruled by a mad scientist who is the madman creating the flesh eaters. The game, besides being a first person shooter that had you use guns and a machete to hack the baddies, also had elements of a point and click adventure as you have to find items and weapons in order to survive. While I have lots of great memories about the game, it did have many flaws as it was prone to freezing during play, was repetitive and by all accounts just a really bad game, but something about it made me love it. I can remember spending hours playing it on my brother’s old computer and always wondering if they every made a sequel…they didn’t. The game was made by Rainmaker Software and published by Merit Software in 1993.  It was poorly received and came and went with out making a splash in the world of Doom and Wolfenstein dominating the first person shooter PC Gaming world, but at the Brassfield house Isle of The Dead was a popular survival horror game that to this day is one of my favorite PC games and had one amazing music score that I still hum to this day. Do yourself a favor if you love cheesy first person zombie shooters and your PC/Mac can play old DOS games, get yourself a copy and have a great time trying to survive the isle of the dead!

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Well we are at the Undead Graveyard and in this section the cardboard gravestones are starting to fall over.  From here you can see just how far away Zombies From Hell is from The Dead and Resident Evil that came before it in “The Undead Files” updates. From here the zombies wandering around look like they are just wearing K-Mart brand Halloween grease paint and rubber masks but for me that kind of cheesy stuff is backyard effect gold.  Now lets see if this no budget approach can also do well in the horror comic world. One of the zombie is mumbling from his rubber mask and the muffled words sound like he wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s take a seat next to this bent tombstone under this rotting tree and see what horrors Zombies From Hell has in store for me.

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Zombies From Hell # 1   **
Released in 2014    Cover Price $2.99    Middle Atlantic Comixs    # 1 of 1

Sam has found a book that is the key to open the Gates of Hell.  He calls his good friend Professor Griffin along with a busty blonde female, they follow the book to the location that is said to hold the opening to Hell. Sam speaks a chant, and a door appears on an old tree.  When they pry open it, they find a hotel lobby that is the waiting area before Hell and meet Zeus, the son of Satan and the manager of the hotel that has not seen a mortal in over 500 years. They soon find they are trapped in the lobby until they die, but meanwhile in our world, a band of bank robbing females are on the run after killing a guard and find the door in the tree and also enter to find they are now trapped.  The girls panic and use guns on Zeus to no effect and even open the door that frees zombies after they were warned not to! Zombies come out of the door looking for meat and attack not only the robbing women but also Sam and his friends.  The cops have tracked down the robber’s car and open the door in the tree allowing the survivors to escape but make the mistake of opening the door again, allowing the zombies to escape and eat them all!

This is truly an underground comic as its clearly put together using a copy machine from a library or even maybe an Office Depot as well as a glue stick that is holding the first page to the cover! And while some of you readers might be discrediting this comic for its cheap production, others are now more intrigued. The story follows a man who has been looking for a book that has been missing for 500 years that holds the secrets of Hell.  He cons his friends into going on the quest with him and soon finds that his book only leads him to a boring lobby of a hotel.  Throw in some female bank robbers, a creepy hotel manager and a horde of meat eating zombies, and you have the plot of this fun silly independent horror comic. Sam is the comic’s lead, and we are never filled into why he wants to find the opening to Hell.  It’s clear that he is a jerk as he forces his friends by gunpoint to enter the door he thinks will lead them all to Hell! Griffin and his blonde female friend are just used as background characters who are trapped in the classic “Wrong Place Wrong Time” scenario. The three female robbers are bad news and are killers who don’t listen and the ones who cause the zombie outbreak, but they meet a fitting gut munching demise. Zeus is weirdly enough the voice of reason and also kind of crazy in delivering his warnings, I mean he is the son of Satan! The comic has some blood and gore but it’s nothing too gruesome, and has tiny bits of nudity as you can see slight female nipples during the zombie attack.  Speaking of zombies, they are pretty cool looking and are your classic skull face looking ones. The cover is ok but does not truly capture the nature of the comic.  I do, however, love the fact the color is done with colored pencils.  The black and white art inside is done by Robert Bennett who also wrote the story, and while both are sloppy, they have a charm for this style of underground comic book making. This is clearly not for everyone, but I for one sure did enjoy every cheesy moment of reading it!

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So as you can see, just because this comic was put together using a glue stick and some copy paper didn’t mean it was at least not entertaining, proving that comic books much like films don’t have to have huge budgets to bring on the enjoyment.  But guess what readers, we are not done with zombies just yet as our next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and will showcase the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake and the promo comic that was released along with it.  So until next time, make sure to have a plan set in case of a zombie apocalypse, read a comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update readers and friends.

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The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

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Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

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In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

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After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

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Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

24482625_120291616966villarias

Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 1Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 2Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 3

So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

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