80’s Fantasy Unleashed: Clash Of The Titans (1981)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and our third update for my blog’s 10 Year Anniversary. For this one I want to take a look at one of my favorite fantasy films based on myth and folklore and that’s the 1981 film Clash Of The Titans! This is a film that I grew up watching and even had the action figures from Mattel.  It was a staple of movie watching at our house in my youth and this is one update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink all those years back and now for this big anniversary, it’s time to finally cover it as it’s long overdue. And I think kids of the 80’s and 90’s will really love this one as I am sure it will bring back lots of memories, so with that, let’s go on an epic quest with Perseus and Pegasus and try and save the day by bringing you one epic update

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The first thing I would like to do is take a moment to really showcase the 1981 film Clash Of The Titans as sadly many younger readers might only know the 2012 remake film that is not even in the same league as the original. Plus for many of you, just sitting back and reading about the classic film might feel you with nostalgia like it did for me writing about it. So I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB, and from there, I will write about the film’s production and then my thoughts and connection to the film. So with that, let’s get to Clash Of The Titans, one of the many great fantasy films from the 80’s.

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Clash Of The Titans (1981)

“Perseus is the favored son of the god Zeus, but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis. Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis’ son, Calibos. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished.”

Fantasy films were very popular at the cinema in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Script writer Beverley Cross had an idea for a film that would be called Clash of The Titans, and he wanted a rating that would allow young and old to enjoy his adventure masterpiece. But many changes had to be made to the script before it could get a softer rating: removing nudity from the character Andromeda, the Kraken killing the flying horse Pegasus as well as part of the fight between our hero Perseus and the creature man Calibos. And once the script was green lit, stop motion effects master Ray Harryhausen was brought on board to create the creatures as well as co-produce the film and would retire shortly after the film’s release. While films like Star Wars, Star Trek The Motion Picture and Superman had newer state of the art effects, Clash Of The Titans relied on the more classic effects of cinema that was made popular in the 1933 film King Kong. The film had a rocky start when it came to distribution as Columbia Pictures was originally on board but dropped the film due to the budget being too high for them to want to invest. Then Orion Pictures wanted them to have bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the lead. He was coming off the films Hercules In New York and Pumping Iron, but the film’s producer rejected this so they had to try MGM who ended up liking what they read and saw of Ray’s creatures and the film found its home with MGM even giving more money to get more cast added. Many name actors and up and coming ones were brought into play parts in the film with Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier and Ursula Andress playing lead roles and director Desmond Davis was selected by producer Charles H. Schneer to helm the film as he had history of working on period pieces. The film was shot in many locations like England, Italy and Gozo and was a very normal filming production for the time. Once done, composer Laurence Rosenthal was brought in to score the film, and it was released to theaters on June 12, 1981. Clash Of The Titans would bring in $41,092,328.00 at the American box office and would be ranked # 11 for the year and would gross more then such films as Tarzan The Ape Man, The Fox And The Hound, Excalibur, The Great Muppet Caper, An American Werewolf In London, Halloween II, Escape From New York, Friday The 13th Part 2, Mommie Dearest, The Howling, Caveman and The Legend Of The Lone Ranger to name a few. The film was mostly met with positive reviews from both film critics and viewers and has become a classic film over the years. The film went on to be released on cable TV as well as on home media and is well watched and loved to this day.

Clash Of The Titans is a film that I can remember my brother seeing first at school and rushing home to tell me how awesome it was, and a short time later I remember seeing it on TV and being drawn into the adventure it brought to the screen. As a kid I was always very much into mythology and the Greek and Roman ones captured by imagination and films like Clash Of The Titans helped fuel that love. The classic story of an epic quest to save the day as well as help a ladylove is stuff of classic fables and is why films like Clash Of The Titans, Beastmaster, Legend, Krull, Excalibur, Lady Hawk, Robin Hood and so many other films in the fantasy genre are some of my favorite films from my youth. I can also remember first time I saw the film on VHS and not on TV, I was mesmerized by the fact that the film had brief nudity and also just how awesome the effects are in the film as all of the monsters and strange characters look so cool and nothing can beat the effects of such an icon of movie special effects and that is of course Ray Harryhausen. While I liked the characters of Perseus, Medusa, The Kraken, Zeus and Princess Andromeda, my favorites as a kid were Calibos, Bubo and Thallo who I always felt was one of the film’s unsung heroes who is loyal to his kingdom and to protect the princess and when he died in the film, it held a big impact. I also remember reading the novel adaptation when I was a youngster and had many of the toys, but more on that later. Say what you will, but the 1981 version of Clash Of The Titans is one of the best fantasy films of the 1980’s and is one that I feel everyone should at least see once just for the effects alone. Really do yourself a favor and go and buy a copy of this film on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray and sit back and enjoy the epic ride.

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The creatures of Clash Of The Titans are very epic as the main baddy is Calibos who was turned into a devilish looking satyr by Zeus, and besides his monstrous appearances, he is very sinister and sets up schemes and evil plots. For some reason his look always reminded me of the gargoyle leader played by Bernie Casey from the 1972 made for TV film Gargoyles. Calibos is a great movie villain and one of my favorites from the film as he just is so selfish and sinister. Another of the great monsters of Clash Of The Titans is Medusa who is half snake and half human woman who has crawling snakes as hair and whose stare will turn any man into stone. She is a character from classic Greek mythology and her appearance in this film is fantastic as Ray Harryhausen did a great job designing and bringing her to life on the big screen. And the big monster attraction of this movie of course is the monster of the sea The Kraken who wants to kill our film’s leading lady and is a truly sinister creature who kills with no remorse and keeps a whole city gripped in fear. While most reports of what a Kraken should look like is that of a giant squid, Ray Harryhausen made it more look like a Kaiju monster straight out of the world of King Kong or Godzilla films. And these three are only some of the monsters and creatures of the film as we also have the winged horse Pegasus, the two headed guard dog Dioskilos, a giant scorpion, the skeleton boatman Charon of the river Styx, a giant vulture, the three blind Stygian Witches and even the tiny golden robot owl Bubo. This movie has all types of cool creatures and horror themed baddies to make for a great watch for Monster Kids from all ages.

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When I was a kid, Mattel was one of the biggest toy companies only rivaled by Kenner and Hasbro and in 1980 they decided to make action figures based on Clash Of The Titans with four figures around 3 ¾” tall, Perseus, Calibos, Thallo and Charon. And a figure of Pegasus and The Kraken was also made with The Kraken being a rare figure these days that fetches a good amount of money on the second hand market. Growing up my brother and I owned many of these figures. We had several Thallo as we would find him at garage sales all the time and would buy him and we also had Perseus and Pegasus and I can remember them all being on the side of good in my toy wars and teaming with Star Wars Jedi Luke Skywalker and G.I. Joe leader Duke. As I got older I was able to find Calibos and Charon at local comic shops and now have them in my toy collection. And sadly I have never owned The Kraken even though I have seen it for sale at local comic shops as well as at toy conventions, but the price is always super high. And after all these years, I still own the figures minus Pegasus who sadly broke when I was a kid as he was made of cheap plastic and cracked. These figures are super cool and fans of this film series should track them down and add them to your figure collection. And for those wonder my favorite figure of this series is Calibos with Perseus not too far behind in second. And no, the pictures below are not from my collection.

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Besides the very cool Mattel action figures, many other cool merchandise was and has been released based on Clash Of The Titans that include a lunch box, comic book, t-shirts, posters, the soundtrack, novelization of the film, stickers, lobby cards, magnets, magazines and of course fan art. And for me the novel and soundtrack were must-have stuff and I have played tracks off the soundtrack on the radio show Alpha Rhythms. So again if you are a fan, there is lots of really cool stuff out there for you to collect.

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Clash Of The Titans was always a film that was popular at our house when I was growing up as it was a great adventure with some great monsters and brought the classic stories of Greece to the big screen. And with that said, it’s also very cool that Golden Book decided to bring the film to the world of comics, just like they did with Gremlins another from them we have covered here on Rotten Ink some years back. And also I have to say that with Clash Of The Titans I have two copies of this comic book thanks to a vendor at Monster Bash Convention as well as Game Swap Kettering, so a big thanks to them for making this update possible. I would like to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, let’s have Golden Book unleash The Kraken!

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Clash Of The Titans # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1981     Cover Price $2.50       Golden Book      # 1 of 1

King Acrisius of Argos has angered Zeus when the King has placed a woman and her baby son Perseus into a wooden box and had them thrown into the ocean. And for this crime against the Gods, Zeus orders Poseidon to unleash a terrible storm as well as the last of the Titans, The Kraken, on the city as he wants them all dead…and the deed is done. And some time later Perseus and his mom are discovered and spend their lives in a new village and Zeus watches with pride as Perseus is really his son. But one goddess Thetis is not happy as Zeus has turned her son Calibos into a monster after he has hunted down and killed all the winged horses besides one named Pegasus, and this curse makes it so he can not marry princess Andromeda due to his monstrous look, but yet has given Perseus everything. When Zeus is away, Thetis sends Perseus to the city of Joppa that is very dangerous, and when finding out Zeus asks his fellow goddesses for help and they make his magical and powerful tools like a sword, helmet and shield. While in Joppa he also befriends the old poet Ammon who is watching after him and knows who he is. While in town Perseus meets Thallo, a royal guard who tells him that death comes to those who wish to win the hand of the princess Andromeda but cannot answer the riddle put before them, and just like that Perseus puts on the helmet and sneaks into the castle and watches as a giant Vulture takes the spirit of the princess away as he body remains on the bed. The next day Perseus and Ammon come up with a plan in order for our hero to follow the vulture to the lair of Calibos who they know is the one doing this to her. In order to fly, Perseus tames and rides Pegasus and follows the vulture that night to the swamps where he hears the answer to the riddle and also has a fight with Calibos who ends up getting his hand chopped off and later begs his mom to help him get revenge, but Perseus loses his magical helmet in the swamp. Perseus solves the riddle and on his wedding night, the goddess Thetis gets angry and curses Andromeda that she has to be sacrificed to The Kraken and if they do not the Titan will destroy all of Joppa! So now Perseus along with Thallo, Ammon, Andromeda, Guards and a robotic owl named Bubo begins a quest to find a way to stop The Kraken once and for all! Along the way Perseus gets the all seeing-eye from the Stygian Witches. He travels the River Styx to the island of Medusa, fights her two headed guardian Dioskilos, beheads Medusa to use her head to fight the Kraken but in the process loses his shield as well as many of his men. As Thallo and Perseus, sleep Calibos creeps into their camp and poke holes in the bag that holds Medusa’s head and her spilled blood turns into giant scorpions and sadly are defeated but not before killing Thallo and one other guard. But Perseus gets his revenge when he kills Calibos with a sword through his gut. In the end as Andromeda is chained to the cliff and The Kraken and Perseus appears riding Pegasus and uses the head of Medusa to turn The Kraken to stone and save the love of his life.

The first thing I need to say is that I really do think Golden Books did a great job of capturing the film Clash Of The Titans in this kid friendly comic book adaptation and while they cut some of the more racy and violent moments, they really do capture the adventure elements of the film well. The plot is that of a classic quest as our hero Perseus must find a way to defeat a massive Titan that is set to kill his bride all because a goddess is jealous of his attention from Zeus. Perseus is your classic hero who is the son of Zeus who is a skilled fighter, brave and true to who he is. He is willing to risk his life in order to fight for the life of his new wife the princess Andromeda, but to be fair during is very dangerous quest he does have the help of the gods. But over all a very great hero and the comic does him justice. Bubo The Golden Owl who was sent by the gods in order to help on the quest really is a hero as well as he is the one who finds the way, saves the head of Medusa from falling into the ocean and even brings Pegasus to Perseus to make the rescue in time. And sadly Thallo is down played in the comic as they only had so many pages, and it’s a shame as his death in the comic does not pack a punch at all. All the baddies do their part with Calibos being the biggest pain in the butt as he wants revenge and to deal death out to those he feels wronged him. The Kraken as well is pretty cool and does his damage to people and that is what he is a major danger…but I should also say so is Medusa who can turn people into stone as well as have poison arrows and blood. I really do feel that Golden Books did a great job with this comic, and I would have love to seen them continue making comics like this as they covered the ones that the other companies like Marvel and DC failed to do that really should have had comics. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching and showcases the classic painting as well as promo pictures from the movie, and I am sure if you were a fan of this film this would have gotten your attention. The interior art is done by Dan Spiegle and is simple and yet really great and reminds me of the adaptations done by companies like Gold Key and Dell Comics, and I feel his art for the monsters is great and who ever also did the coloring deserves praise. Over all if you love Clash Of The Titans you should check this Golden Book Comic out as it is very much worth reading. Check out the artwork of Spiegle below to see his style.

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Before I wrap up this update, I would like to touch on the “What If” of other films that Golden Books could have made into these comic book graphic novels that would have been awesome to have in the world. I am sure remember you long time readers know that Golden also gave Gremlins the comic treatment as we covered it back in 2016 and you can read that one HERE. Let’s take a look at the years 1980-1985 and choose some films that fit the kid friendly nature of Golden as well as ones that did not get the attention of other comic companies going at the time. So for me these could have and should have gotten the Golden Book treatment: The Beastmaster (1982), The Last Unicorn (1982), The Secret Of NIMH (1982), Hercules (1983), The NeverEnding Story (1984), Legend (1985) and The Peanut Butter Solution (1985) and if they went a little into the PG era of horror since the 80’s was a hotbed for that genre I would say Poltergeist (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and Cat’s Eye (1985) would have all been great picks to get the comic treatment and give readers something cool to go along with the films they enjoy. Again just imagine these as a What If, that sadly never happened.

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Clash Of The Titans is a great fantasy quest film that ended up getting the comic book treatment thanks to Golden Books. And if you have not seen Clash Of The Titans from 1981 make sure to give it a watch as it really is a fun film that has some really cool creatures in it and will surely deliver you with a few hours of entertainment. So for our next update, we are leaving Joppa and heading to Japan as we will be talking about Tomie one of my favorite Manga and Japanese horror films. So until next time read, a comic or three, watch a fantasy film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a truly scary update that will surely send shivers down your spine.

Tomie Preview Logo

Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator

Back in the 90’s, network TV had cancelled many of the amazing Horror Host shows that graced their airwaves as the TBS show Super Scary Saturday with host Grampa Munster was history in 1989 with that same year USA ended Commander USA’s Groovie Movies and even the original run of Movie Macabre with Hostess Elvira Mistress Of The Dark came to an end by the late 80’s. But in 1991 TNT stepped into the Horror Host game and delivered Monstervision to weekend viewers that became a mainstay for the station all the way to the year 2000! Most of you readers know Monstervision with its Host Joe Bob Briggs, but did you know that the show had more hosts then just him? That’s right before Joe Bob there was The Moon, Penn & Teller and Logo with Narrator’s Voice! And for this Horror Host Icon update we will be taking a quick and yet fun look at The Moon and The Narrator as I feel they are very important to the legacy of Monstervison as well. And I have been itching to talk about Monstervision and my Joe Bob Briggs update is in the works but still years away from being posted, so it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: TNT Monstervision – The Moon & Narrator! So let’s get our MOOOONSTERVISION on.

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TNT Monstervision started on June 29, 1991 and was a way to bring viewers marathons of classic Horror and Science Fiction films plus TV Shows as special epic feeling events. The marathons would run all night and would keep fans glued to the TV Screens fighting off sleep to watch all the cheesy goodness. And our guide for Monstervision for the first year or so was a smirking Moon who was in the sky who would accompany a Narrators Voice over, and this pairing clearly got joy in bringing you classic films for your late night viewing. The Moon in the sky seemed to always be looking at the viewer and with a half grin and a sinister glee in his eye it was as if he was warning you about the classic films that awaited you that evening’s marathon. While The Moon was silent his expressions really did say everything you needed to know as you entered the world of TNT’s Monstervision! While his run as the Host of Monstervision was very short The Moon made his impact not only with the fans but also in the world of Horror Hosting. And one other very important fact I would like to point out is when The Moon was the host all the films were classics from the 40’s-70’s and stayed clear of the rated R fright flicks the show would go on to be known for.

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Sometime later before and even after comedy duo Penn & Teller took over for a very short time an amazing Voice Narrator was the soul host of the show and would talk over the shows opening as well as logo and title cards. The Narrator would make the show sound so epic as he would stress the shows title and deliver one of the best voiceovers for a Horror Host show in the 90’s. This Voice also helped co-host the show with The Moon and brought the excitement as his tone would boom! But to be honest there was two different voice actors that did the Narration for the show over the years and each brought their own touch or should I say golden pipes to the show. The Narrator would last as the host all the way up until 1996 when the show became a weekly program and had a permit host with a true icon of Horror Hosting the one and only Joe Bob Briggs who had his own announcer…so yeah I guess the show had a total of three…or at least I think three….so many classic voice work on this show!

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Growing up I was much like James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) as I would grab the TV Guide and scroll through to find what monster movies were playing that week and when Monstervision was on it was like an all night marathon of cheesy and fun classic genre films! My Mom and Brother most of the time would remember for me what was coming on and I would rush to turn on the TV to watch the films. Monstervision through out it’s entire run was a very important part of my childhood as alongside USA Up All Night, Moraine Playhouse Theater and USA Saturday Nightmares during this time was must see TV for me and filled the void left behind of Commander USA, Dr. Creep and Grampa Munster being off the air. Crazy to think that Monstervision was the show that introduced me to many amazing classic Sci-Fi and Horror films with the one standing out the most to me being the 1956 film The Werewolf that aired on a Monstervision Marathon on Christmas night in 1993, I even taped it back then and became obsessed with that film for years after….sadly that VHS tape is long gone and I wish I had that airing for this update. While writing this update it was great to remember back to the early years of Monstervision when it was a true event when it came on and the films lasted all night and delivered chills, thrills and adventures to all those who watched. It’s a shame that TNT has followed the path of USA Network and have became a shell of what they use to be, but who knows now that they brought back wrestling to the station with AEW Dynamite so who knows maybe Monstervision’s return is in the cards as well with a new host or even back to the none hosted format, one thing is for sure if this happens I will be tuning in.

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The Monstervision Narrators are as important to the shows history as Joe Bob Briggs and while the Moon might not be as remembered he still was apart of the shows legacy and made his mark on viewers. Now it’s time to take a look at the episodes of MonsterVision I have that feature The Moon or just The Narrator and I would like to thank Ebay and my friend Scott Scarborough for making this update possible. I want to remind everyone that I will not be giving these updates a star rating and I will take the films write up from our friends at IMDB and the Host write up is done by me. So lets get ready and take a look at MooooonnnnsssttteeerrVisssion!

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TNT Monstervision: Spaced Out Adventures
Starring – Zsa Zsa Gabor & Peter Graves     Not Rated        1958/1966/1952

Host: This episode is the combo of The Moon and the Narrator who bring us in and out of the movies. While The Moon looks smug and sinister the Narrator brings his A-Game of making the nights film and theme seem like the most important thing on TV that night.

Movies: Queen Of Outer Space: American astronauts are drawn by a mysterious force to the planet Venus, which they find to be inhabited only by beautiful women and their despotic queen. The Wild, Wild Planet: A deranged scientist is using his employer’s top-secret bio-laboratory to engage in clandestine eugenics experiments. When he starts kidnapping leading citizens for use in his twisted tests, it’s up to rogue cop Mike Halstead to come to the rescue of all and sundry, including his lady friend Connie, who is also being held captive by the madman. Red Planet Mars: An American scientist is able to contact and communicate with Mars with shattering political, economic, and spiritual repercussions.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 2 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 2
Starring – Leonard Nimoy & Martin Sheen         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This second TNT Monstervision salute to the Outer Limits Marathon has just the normal TNT Narrator taking us in and out for breaks. We also get a sneak peak at The Moon as they welcome us to Monstervision and that more episodes are to come.

Movie: Soldier: A soldier from the far future is accidentally teleported back to 1964. The psychiatrist assigned to examine the soldier realizes that he has been bred purely as a killing machine, but he believe he can reawaken the warrior’s humanity. Meanwhile, a second soldier arrives, dedicated to hunting and killing his enemy. I, Robot: A cynical lawyer is hired by a young woman to prove that her uncle was not killed by his invention – a sophisticated robot. Nightmare: A stranded team of soldiers are captured and experimented on by demonic looking aliens. Demon With A Glass Hand: Days ago, Trent awoke with no memory of his past. Since then, sinister men have pursued him constantly. He manages to stay one step ahead of them by following the advice of his hand. Made of glass and apparently capable of speech, Trent’s hand can answer many of his questions. But it cannot tell him who he is or why his enemies seek him until he finds all of its fingers. The only trouble is that they’re in the hands of his enemies. The Bellero Shield: Richard Bellero, a dedicated scientist, is working on experiments involving sending laser beams into outer space. His father, Richard Bellero Sr., believes the scientist isn’t strong enough to take over the Bellero business empire. In the meantime, Richard’s wife Judith has more than enough ambition for the two of them. Richard, through a freak accident, reels in a being from another dimension with his laser experiment. The being has a small device that can project a shield that no force can penetrate. The alien at first wants to learn all about earth that he can and Richard cooperates. Judith, however, sees the alien and the shield-projecting device, as a means to power. While Richard is away, Judith first tricks the alien to deactivating his shield device then shoots the alien to prevent him from departing Earth. She removes the hand held device while failing to notice it was connected to a vein in the alien — whose bodily fluid is the key to operating the device. This is the … Cry Of Silence: A couple find themselves lost and in the middle of a deserted valley. Then, they come under attack by a series of rocks, tumbleweeds and animals. What could be causing this assault?

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on November 30, 1991 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits II event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 5 1/2 of the episodes. The episode Cry Of Silence is only partly there. Its missing the episodes “A Feasibility Study”, “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” and “The Chameleon”.

TNT Monstervision - Outer Limits Vol 5 DVD

TNT Monstervision: Outer Limits Vol. 5
Starring –Don Gordon & Peter Breck         Not Rated       1963/1964

Host: This classic Monstervision marathon has just the Narrators Voice set over TV Screens that show clips of the show The Outer Limits.

Movie: Moonstone: A lunar exploration team from Earth encounters alien life, and must make a difficult decision. The Human Factor: At an isolated military installation in Greenland, Major Brothers has allowed one of his men to die after falling in a crevasse. Suffering from hallucinations, he goes to Dr. Hamilton. Hamilton has invented a device that allows him to read the thoughts of another person. Hamilton and Brothers connect via the device, but then a power surge causes the unthinkable: the minds of the two men switch bodies. The deranged Major Brothers is bent on destroying the whole base. Unfortunately, his mind is in the psychiatrist’s body, and the other base workers know nothing of the mind switch. The Duplicate Man: When a dangerous alien creature called a Megasoid escapes, the scientist who smuggled him to Earth creates an illegal clone of himself to hunt it down. But his plan is complicated when his neglected wife begins to fall in love with his duplicate. The Forms Of Things Unknown: Two female friends poison a sadistic blackmailer, then while fleeing happen upon an isolated house containing a time machine. Kasha, his lover, and Leonora, the daughter of the blackmail target, fight to bury him before the idealistic inventor Tone Hobart is able to re-animate the murdered man, by tilting him back into the past. The Invisibles: Aliens plan to take over the U.S. by recruiting disaffected loners who are themselves “invisible” to normal society. The alien crab-like creatures attach themselves to human hosts and control them. The recruits are assigned low-level jobs of highly appointed government officials so they can get the alien in close proximity to them. A U.S intelligence agent infiltrates the alien organization, but it may be too late. O.B.I.T.: While operating the Outer Band Individuated Teletracer, or O.B.I.T. machine, in a military base, Captain Harris is strangled. U.S. Senator Orville arrives at the base to investigate his murder and learns that there are several bases with the O.B.I.T. machine, which is capable to monitor in a video display the privacy of any person anywhere. Along his investigation, Senator Orville asks for information about the OBIT, such as who is the manufacturer, price, who bought, but no user has any information about the mysterious machine. The Guests: A drifter enters a lonely house, unaware that it is actually an alien creature in disguise. Soon he realizes that he is a prisoner, along with several other half-mad inhabitants, but he is determined to escape.

Note From Matt: This was originally aired on February 27, 1993 on a Saturday night as part of their TNT Salutes The Outer Limits V event that featured a total of nine episodes. This tape only has 6 1/2 of the episodes and at the start the commercials have been removed and later in the tape some commercials are shown and the recorders editing becomes very sloppy as parts of episodes are even cut off. The episode The Guest is only the first 17 minutes of the episode.

TNT Monstervision - House Of Wax 1953 DVD

TNT Monstervision: House Of Wax (1953)
Starring – Vincent Price & Carolyn Jones      Rated PG     1953

Host: Film Director Tim Burton opens the show talking about his love for House Of Wax as well as a little about the films production and history.

Movie: Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau’s such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant’s beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he’s found the perfect model – only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations.

Note From Matt: This was apart of a MonsterVision event that was called “Our Favorite Movies” that had director Tim Burton not only hosting House Of Wax bust also the films Mysterious Island, The Time Machine and 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao. This originally aired on July 28, 1994 on a Thursday night and my friend Scott only recorded this movie.

TNT Monstervision 20 Million Miles To Earth and IT DVD

TNT Monstervision: Fiend Fiesta Pt. 2
Starring – William Hooper & Ray Corrigan       Not Rated     1957/1958

Host: The Narrator ushers us in and out of the film over clips of films with his spooky voice echoing out. This also the classic colorized film bumpers that helped push Monstervision into super popularity. Plus we get cool Monstervision bumpers and ads.

Movie: 20 Million Miles To Earth: The first spaceship to visit Venus crash lands in the sea, freeing a small native Venusian creature called the Ymir. Eventually growing to enormous size, it threatens the city of Rome. IT! The Terror From Beyond Space: In 1973, the first manned expedition to Mars is marooned; by the time a rescue mission arrives, there is only one survivor: the leader, Col. Edward Carruthers, who appears to have murdered the others! According to Carruthers, an unknown life form killed his comrades during a sandstorm. But the skeptical rescuers little suspect that “it” has stowed away for the voyage back to Earth.

Note From Matt: These are two of the films that showed on August 27, 1994 as part of the “Famous Last Words/Fiend Fiesta” themed marathon and was the last two films of the night! The first three minutes or so of 20 Million Miles To Earth is missing

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TNT Monstervision in all its forums and all its hosts over the years has always been something very special to those of us who grew up watching it and is truly missed by late night TV watchers. I for one would like to see it return to air with a new host (as Joe Bob Briggs is hosting the Last Drive In on Shudder and is delivering one of the best Horror Host programs going) or even just bring back The Moon and Narrator as the world truly needs this and I feel that if Ted Turner was still in charge of TNT the show would have never went away fully as by 2001 most of what made stations like TNT and TBS special was washed away by AOL and Time Warner and as I have stated before they are both just a shell of what they use to be and only delivering a small amount of programing that is worth watching with most programs being aired are just bad reruns of crime shows. For me The Moon and Narrator for TNT Monstervision are true Icons in the world of Horror Hosting and helped make my childhood amazing! Sadly I don’t think Monstervision will ever come back on TNT, but what will be coming back in my next blog update as I will be doing another in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates to help ring in the Halloween season as I will be talking about Wolf Cop and the comic mini series based around it! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you soon for a ride along with a werewolf who has a badge that likes beer and doughnuts.

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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.