Day Of The Monster Bash Vacation (2017)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  Once more, it’s time for Juliet and I to take a long overdue vacation, and once more we decided to spend it in Cranberry, PA to attend the best classic monster convention of all time, Monster Bash! It’s a special year as this is the 20th year of the convention and there are lots of great guests like Ricou Browning who played Gillman in Creature From The Black Lagoon, Larry Storch from The Ghostbusters and F-Troop as well as Hammer Horror actress Veronica Carlson to name a few. Plus I am pretty hyped to see what statues they have awaiting us attendees and whether there will be a fancy monster car up front besides The Munsters Drag-U-La! It will also be great to see David “The Rock” Nelson as well as Horror Hosts Son Of Ghoul, Mr. Lobo and Penny Dreadful as they are all great people and help add to this wonderful weekend getaway. I for one have been looking forward to this vacation for a while.  After moving and the stresses of work and the creative stuff I do, getting away and relaxing with classic monster fans sounded like bliss as well as just hanging out in the hotel and chatting with Juliet who is not only my girlfriend but also one of my best friends in the world as she is truly my soul mate. So on this update, we will also be taking a look at the third Romero film, Day Of The Dead as well as the one and only issue based on the film from Dead Dog Comics. So pack your bag and jump into the car as you friends and readers are going on a trip to Monster Bash!

Our quest for Monster Bash began on Thursday June 22, 2017 at around noon.  The weather was warm and muggy as Juliet and I climbed into the Mazda 3 and hit the highway. While driving we talked about Sparkle Comics and ideas for future issues that we would love to see be released by our comic family. We also chatted about Pro Wrestling from WWE all the way to Rockstar Pro and mostly chatted about wrestlers I remember watching when I was a youngster. For our listening pleasure, we listened to the podcast The Real Short Box that has three friends Kevin, Donald and Jarred talking about comic books with the best episode of the day being them talking about their favorite 80’s comic storylines with all three having good choices and all three so different.  If you have not listened to these guys and enjoy comics, you should check em out. For lunch we stopped at Ruby Tuesday’s on the Ohio and West Virginia border again where I enjoyed grilled salmon with rice and a baked potato, and Juliet dined on a crispy chicken cob salad. It was a very good meal, and this is the same one we ate at last trip to the Bash. Once in town we checked into the Comfort Inn in Cranberry and went to New Dimension Comics where I bought a stack of comics to read at night including issues of Action Comics, Avengers and Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery.  We spent the rest of the night in and ate dinner at Eat N Park and went to bed with visions of monsters and horror films in our heads.

Friday, day one of Monster Bash kicked off with Juliet and I waiting for the convention to open at 3pm so we decided to get some brunch at Max & Erma’s and had a good and solid meal.  From there we decided to get some coffee in Mars at the Mars Brew House, a very cool family owned coffee house that serves very good variety of coffee. After getting our order and chatting with the owner about Monster Bash and Baron Von Porkchop, Juliet and I sat outside and enjoyed the cool and rainy weather under the porch while listening to the church bells and enjoying the feel of this small town. Also while there I had to get my picture with the UFO in my Space Monkey T-Shirt, and for you readers who don’t know who Space Monkey is shame on you as he is a very cool independent wrestler who is a monkey who was sent to space! After hanging in Mars for a little while, we decided that it was time to head back to the hotel and wait for the doors of Monster Bash to be open as we both love this convention! On a side note I also want to say that I really dig the small town feel of Mars as it reminds me of Mayberry as everyone is always so nice and train tracks run through downtown and churches are all around…just a very cool small town.

When 3pm hit Juliet and I made our way down to Monster Bash.  The Drag-U-La was out front, and I was happy to see it again! Once inside we noticed that this was the most busy we had ever seen Monster Bash since we began going, and it was great to see so many people at an event that is celebrating classic movie monsters. After waiting in line for a short time, we entered the convention and saw the statues that were all fantastic! This time they were Gillman from Creature Walks Among Us, The Monster from The Bride, Dracula from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and lastly the Hammer Horror version of The Phantom Of The Opera that was my clear cut favorite! We walked around and saw lots of amazing things and seen lots of great people. But after about an hour, the place was really hot and people started to forget manners so we decided to head to the hotel and relax and plan our Wing King and a movie night! As always this was a great first day, and we returned with some great items for our collections to fill our new home together.

So I am sure you’re wondering what my first day haul of goods from Monster Bash was, right? Well it was a good day even if it was over crowded and people kept bumping into and cutting in front of Juliet and I! So here is what I got comic book wise: Night Of The Living Dead: Back From The Grave # 1 comic for $2.50, El Toro Azul’s Monster Movie A Go-Go # 1- 2 for $10.00 and The Defenders # 70 for only $1.50! Paperback Book wise, I got Elvira: Camp Vamp for $3.75, King Kong for $4.75, Nosferatu The Vampire for $2.75 and Young Frankenstein for only $2.75! Music CD wise, I found a bootleg copy of The Cool Ghoul and his Phantasmagorical Funny Fonograf Record for $10.00, a true fun Horror Host release. And in DVD’s I got The Leech Woman for $20.00 and DVD-R’s of the films IT and Cry Of The Werewolf for $10.00 each! Over all a really great first day with lots of great items bought. The one I am most happy about finding is the paperback book of Young Frankenstein written by Gilbert Pearlman as I used to own this in my youth and am looking forward to reading it again. So check out the picture below for the cool haul from day 1.

For dinner the first night of Monster Bash we decided to eat Wing Kings and watch a movie on the old laptop.  The film we picked was Cry Of The Werewolf, a classic black and white film from 1944 as a classic monster movie seemed like the right choice for the evening. Cry Of The Werewolf stars Nina Foch, Stephen Crane and Osa Massen and was directed by Henry Levin who also did such films as “The Devil’s Mask” and “Honeymoon Hotel” and this would be my first time watching it! The plot of the movie is a princess who has the curse of the werewolf trying to keep quiet those she thinks are getting to close to her secret. And from Wing Kings I ordered 12 Garlic Wings and an order of Cheese Fries plus drank a small cup of Coke, and both the meal and the film were good and made for a perfect time for this evening. After dinner Juliet and I worked a little on some Sparkle Comics printing prep and later I read The Defenders # 70 that I bought from Monster Bash and watched some TV before going to bed and gearing up for the second day of one of my all time favorite conventions.

The second day of Monster Bash was way less busy and had less unaware people as Juliet and I were able to walk around and enjoy the world of classic movie monsters! Just being around fellow fans of classic monsters, comic books and vintage action figures is super relaxing plus seeing all the smiling faces as they are looking at DVD, VHS and comic books is really cool and feeds your inner nerd. Walking around I found a giant poster that show cased all the Marvel Comics Heroes and Villains from 1988, and I was having a blast finding all the characters and even found Man-Thing who was hiding and after talking to Juliet we decided to walk away from it, but if its still there on Day 3, it will be coming home with me as it was only $15.00 and would be amazing to hang up near my comic book collection. So after wandering around for a little while and saying hi to some of our horror host friends, we decided it was time to explore outside the convention.

After leaving the Bash, we headed to get some lunch at Moe’s and I had a really tasty chicken burrito with a lime coke to drink! Juliet and I sat in the restaurant and chatted about geeky stuff and decided from there to head back to New Dimension Comics who was having a store wide sale and we got 30% off our order! Juliet found a Star Trek: Next Generation issue she wanted to read, and I found handful of comics I wanted with such heroes as Wonder Woman, Thor and Lomax and after our brief shopping spree we decided to just drive around and check out the land and the local business in the area. After a nice and fun drive we decided to get some frozen yogurt from TCBY as Juliet cannot ever come to Cranberry and not eat there. After we had our nice midday snack we decided to go back to Monster Bash where I chatted with David “The Rock” Nelson and we once more soaked in the world of monsters, and once done headed back to the hotel to plan the night of Day 2 of Monster Bash.

Day 2’s haul at Monster Bash was also a good one as I found some really cool stuff! In comics I found Captain America Annual # 2 for only $2.00! I got a great Dr. Creep art print for free from the artist and it will be hung with pride in my editing room! I got two wood art plaques that will be hung in our horror movie room of Phantom Of The Opera and Waldemar Daninsky, and I must say having a Paul Naschy wood art piece for that room is pretty badass; they cost $25.00 each! I bought Devil Ant 1-3 on DVD-R from The Rock for $20.00 each, and I truly love supporting the world of shot on video directors. I also got the DVD of the zombie flick Sugar Hill for $20.00 and a DVD-R of the film The Dead Don’t Die for $10.00! And I got the paperback books of The Addams Family for $3.00 and Return Of The Living Dead signed by John Russo who chatted with me about finding the stock of this old book in the UK! So as you can see, I got some great stuff and I think my top purchase of the day had to be the Paul Naschy wood art…as it’s truly amazing!

For dinner, we decided to once more get some Eat N Park where I chomped down on some liver and onions with some rice, mashed potatoes & gravy as well as some hash browns and water to drink. The meal was good as always as Eat N Park has always delivered a good meal to Juliet and I when here in Cranberry! To finish off the meal, I ate a smile cookie, and I still really think it has a Monster Candy taste to them and for the rest of the night I read some comics and watched some TV before finally going to bed with the third and final day of Monster Bash to follow.

The third and final day of Monster Bash was on Sunday, and Juliet and I started our day getting breakfast at the Pig Iron right next door and I had an amazing dish called Chorizo Hash and a Pepsi to drink. Once done we walked around Monster Bash one last time and soaked in all the classic monsters and briefly chatted with vendors and said our goodbyes till next year. I must also note that the cool giant 1988 Marvel Comics character poster was gone so it just was not meant to be. After walking back to the hotel I really do think that Sparkle Comics and Baron Von Porkchop should vend one year at Monster Bash as I think that we would fit it so well and could spread our comics and Horror Host to the attendees. While we are still here in Cranberry, Pa for another two days, it’s very sad that another Monster Bash has come to an end and that I will have to wait another year to return! So as always I must praise Monster Bash for being one of the best Horror Cons that I attend and look forward to coming to it more in the future.

The third and final haul of goods from Monster Bash was pretty good as I picked up DVD’s of Monster Movie A Go-Go, a Horror Host show that has them hosting Plan 9 From Outer Space and Santa Claus Conquers The Martians as well as two independent horror films they made called Nail Biter and Children Of The Way plus a cool CD of a radio drama they made called Anton Rook The Mummy Express and I got all this for only $40.00! Plus I picked up a made for TV movie on DVD-R called Death Moon for $15.00! One cool thing about Death Moon is that it could be covered here on Rotten Ink as a “Made For TV” update! So as always another great day of cool stuff gotten and all stuff I am looking forward to watching.

After Monster Bash, it was time for Juliet and I to go on a little drive and go to The Snowman in Portersville as we love to get a cool snack and enjoy the farm land around us. On the drive over Juliet and I chatted about what is next for her to write in the world of Sparkle Comics, and while we did not lock a project many possibilities were discussed and by the end of our vacation I will have a project for her to work on! When we arrived at The Snowman, we noticed that it was the busiest it has been since we have been going, and this made me happy as I really love this little shaved ice shop. I ordered my Yeti Shake and Juliet got chocolate shaved ice and we chilled at a table and soaked in the sun and before leaving had to see the horses again with my favorite being Cookie who is the brown female horse who is 33 years old. Another great visit to The Snowman and if you’re in the Cranberry area make sure to stop by and enjoy a Yeti Shake or a shaved ice!

While leaving the Snowman and before hitting the highway again, I spotted a small cemetery near a church and had to stop and see it! The cemetery was behind Portersville Bible Church and was very tiny and surrounded by corn fields and sat on a hill with a great view! The parking lot had a very old a cool crypt that was turned into a shed and looked straight out of a classic black and white horror film and this was what really caught by eye as it was the perfect mix of classic and creepy. Many of the graves was very old and lots of the dates could not be read from wear, and the mood of the cemetery was very peaceful. As Juliet walked among the tombstones I stood on a patch of bare land and looked around the land around and breathed in the fresh air.  After a while we decided to leave and Juliet would not go to the abandon school across the street so we headed back out into the world of Pennsylvania!

After a great day of exploring and relaxing, we decided that we were once more going to have a night of Wing Kings and a movie! I was craving some wings and spending the evening watching a Horror Film and before bed reading Captain America Annual # 6 sounded like a perfect way to end the night. So I ordered 12 garlic wings and some cheese sticks and the film of the night was Devil Ant, the shot on video masterpiece from independent filmmaker pioneer David “The Rock” Nelson! The films that The Rock makes are so much fun and have so much heart and entertainment value to them and capture the true nature of shot on video backyard films. Plus The Devil Ant is packed with tons of cameos from such people as Roger Corman, Hilary Clinton, Son Of Ghoul and Svengoolie to name a few. Plus eating tasty chicken wings and watching a zero budget film is something I think every Horror movie fan should do on Sunday nights! So after dinner and the movie I climbed into bed and read the Captain America comic and went to bed ending the third and final day of Monster Bash.

Day five of being in Cranberry, Juliet and I decided to get some breakfast at Einstein Bros and after went to the Cranberry Cinema to see Transformers: The Last Knight on the big screen! We both really like the Cranberry Cinema as its a great independently owned first run theater with a great staff and on Mondays tickets are cheaper and they give you a free small popcorn! After the movie we hung out again at the hotel and I read some comics and took a nap, and once back up we ate lunch at Max And Erma’s and had desert at TCBY making it the second time we had frozen yogurt on this trip. After we had a good frozen treat, we went back to New Dimension Comics and loaded up on great $1.00 books where I found such cool comics like Night Of The Living Dead: Aftermath, Captain America and many more. Once back at the hotel and when evening came we watched WWE Monday Night Raw and had diner at Bob Evans via carry out. Before bed I read the first issue of Night Of The Living Dead: Aftermath and an issue of Action Comics. And so ended another great day of our vacation.

On the six and final day of our vacation in Cranberry we decided to head to Mars Brew House and get some coffee before we headed to what is always one of my must stops the place that for me helps get my creative juices flowing, Evans City Cemetery, the shooting location for one of the most iconic zombie and horror films of all time Night Of The Living Dead! I have been to this place many times and its charm and just beautiful atmosphere is refreshing to a guy like we who likes small town life, but has to live in the city as well as work in it. Juliet and I walked around for a long while chatting about Sparkle Comics, zombie films, graves and Monster Bash. One thing we noticed this year is that the cemetery was over run by chipmunks that darted around like little fuzzy wildmen.  This of course made us joke about doing a comic called “Night Of The Living Chipmunks”! Even at one point as we were walking the isles of tombstones we both had to dodge a crazed bird that was flying right toward us! This is such a peaceful place and if you find yourself in the area and just need a quite place to relax and maybe read a book or comic make sure to stop here and soak it all in.

While in Cranberry I sent a message to Wampum Underground to see if Juliet and I could take a tour of the main filming spot of my favorite zombie film of all time and the main topic of this update Day Of The Dead…but sadly they would not allow us, and while it was a letdown, I understand why they don’t let fans of the film in as it would be nonstop plus they store people’s personal items as well as companies. So while we could not go inside Juliet and I still decided to at least drive to it and see it from the outside, and man when we arrived I just imagined the whole area being swarmed with zombies and this made me smile. We drove past it a few times and I snapped a few pictures as we pulled over so that I could at least soak in the filming spot. Once done Juliet and I headed back home and chatted about comics, movies, life and wrestling while we listened to more Real Short Box Podcasts. I always hate when this vacation to Monster Bash comes to an end as I really do enjoy being there and just love the fact that classic monsters are being honored by the staff of the Bash as well as fans who attended the event. Once home I had a few more days off before I had to return to work and spent it working on the new house, working on Sparkle Comics and found some old movie scripts that might be finally shot for the possible rebirth of Independent B Movie. So that was the vacation part of this update and now its time for us to talk about…..DAY OF THE DEAD!

George A. Romero created the modern zombie film with his 1968 classic “Night Of The Living Dead” that I covered twice here on Rotten Ink.  One was the Prolougue & Aftermath and then I did the Adaptation of the film both done by Fantaco Comics. Then in 1978, he returned to the zombie world and made the masterpiece “Dawn Of The Dead” with last year me taking a look at the IDW Adaptation of the film, and now this year’s Monster Bash leads me to my favorite in the series hands down “Day Of The Dead”! So if you’re ready to go underground to hide from the living dead, we will start our journey into the third Romero film and enter the world of when the dead ruled the day and the dawn was over!

Let’s begin our trip to the underground world were the dead has taken over topside by breaking down the film itself. While I could babble on about this film for ever I will make it brief as I also think that those who want to really get the inside story of the film should buy the Scream Factory DVD or Blu-Ray and watch the fantastic extras that goes into the full history of the film.

Day Of The Dead was part of a three film deal that George A. Romero signed with Laurel Entertainment who wanted the third film in his dead series to be made and as part of the deal, both Creepshow and Knightriders were made and unleashed onto the horror watching masses. The idea for Day of The Dead started out big as the original budget was set at $7 million, and it was supposed to be the “Gone With The Wind” of zombie films! The original idea was to have it be high action with the army fighting zombies with boats and explosions in Florida with lots of the budget going into the effects. But after the budget was cut down to only $3.5 million, the big ideas had to be cut down to a more practical story.  The film ended up being mostly shot in Pennsylvania with some still being filmed in Florida, and they took lots of the action out of the script and added more drama. Casting was perfect and went as following Lori Cardille as Sarah Bowman, Terry Alexander as John, Jarlath Conroy as Bill, Joseph Pilato as Captain Rhodes, Gary Howard as Pvt. Steel and Sherman Horard as Bub to name a few. He hired Tom Savini and his crew to do the FX including Gregory Nicotero who would go on to do FX on the hit AMC show The Walking Dead. The film needed lots of zombies, and extras were brought in and did it for free or made a $1.00 and got a hat that said “I Was A Zombie In Day Of The Dead”. The production was grueling as they filmed under ground in Wampum, and the air down there made many actors and crew sick. When done Laurel Entertainment released it to limited theaters on July 19, 1985 and was meet with mix reviews by fans and critics and only brought in $5,000,000.00 at the US Box Office making the film not a major hit, but it did do better overseas bringing in $28 million to help the film become a minor hit. In 1985 Day of the Dead was # 115 at the box office and beat out such classic genre films as “Godzilla 1985”, “Rainbow Brite And The Star Stealer”, “The Bride”, “Re-Animator”, “Def-Con 4” and “The Company Of Wolves” to name a few. What hurt Day Of The Dead at the cinema was the fact it had a limited release and was up against other horror films like “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Dead”, “Fright Night”, “Friday The 13th V: A New Beginning”, “Silver Bullet” and “Return Of The Living Dead,” a film that updated the the zombie genre that Romero created with faster, smarter and more threatening undead. But while for the longest time it was viewed as the weaker of the Romero Dead Trilogy, it has gained the respect and fanfare that it has been due since it was released. Again while I love many zombie films like Zombi 2, Return Of The Living Dead, White Zombie, Night of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead, it’s Day of The Dead that remains my favorite.

So as you can see hands down my favorite zombie film of all time is Day Of The Dead and many of you long time readers remember that I first saw this film on USA Network when I was a kid and it captured my imagination and was a hot talk topic at school when it first aired on that iconic network. I spent sometime as well drawing pictures of Bub and wondering if he would show up in the 4th Romero Dead film. Once we got a VCR and I found the VHS tape of the movie, I of course bought it and watched the hell out of it! When playing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the Sony Playstation and near death I would limp around and scream “Come On” just like Captain Rhodes did in the film as it always made me and others laugh. The home video market is what helped Day Of The Dead gain fans and would also be what helped it make more money to build it up to being profitable. I also really like the fact that in Walking Dead season 4 in the episode called Us, characters Glenn and Tara are in a tunnel and are being attacked by zombies and clearly one of the zombies is Bub!! I watch this film on DVD all the time and even watch the USA Network print that my pal Jason Young gave me that he recorded when he was a youngster! So do yourself a favor and make sure to watch this film this Halloween as it’s worth the view.

I also want to note that with a heavy heart as I was working on this update, George A. Romero passed away from lung cancer, and this was a major blow to me as I have been a longtime fan of his work and even visit his filming locations as his films mean that much to me. I want to dedicate this blog update to Mr. Romero and want to think him for all the scares he has delivered to all us Horror Fans and my thoughts are with his family, friends and fans during this very sad and hard time.

The score soundtrack for Day of The Dead is done by John Harrison and mixes eerie horror with an island sound delivering a very interesting and in my opinion very memorable score. That’s one thing that drives me crazy is when people try and compare the Harrison score for Day Of The Dead against the Goblin score for Dawn Of The Dead as they are two different styles for two different styles and mood of films and each do their respective film justice. Harrison’s score music is very moody and captures the dread as well as the hope that members of the underground group have, as the dark sounds really represent the zombies and the army both who are the the real threats to the group of scientist as the more island sound represents our heroes and John the pilot who has a thought that they should take over an island and restart mankind and leave the past behind us. I have played this soundtrack many times on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO, and my favorite track is “Breakdown” as I truly think its an amazing track and sums up the feel and mood of the film. This soundtrack has been released on Vinyl and CD, and the first time I owned it was on a CD called “Dead Trilogy” that had it paired with Night and Dawn and was made by Roger’s Basement a cool old website that use to offer hard to find and never released soundtracks to Horror and Science Fiction films that would also have dialogue from the films, very cool stuff and I wish Roger would comeback to the web and start this back up again. Now I also own the soundtrack on an official CD release put out by Taurus, and on the vinyl reissue from Waxwork. If you’re a lover of Horror Film score music, do yourself a favor and pick this one up as it’s really is a great listen.

Like “Night Of The Living Dead” and “Dawn Of The Dead” before it, “Day Of The Dead” has had its share of some amazing merchandise! Like a very cool Prism Sticker that was in vending machines back in the late 80’s. Movie posters for theaters and video stores that would also find their way to being reproductions for home décor. The soundtrack made its way to vinyl and CD and has been played many times on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO. Halloween masks based on the likeness of Bub and Dr. Tongue have been made for fans to dress as their favorite zombie of the film. Plus Amok Time has made some amazing action figures based on Day Of The Dead of Dr. Tongue and Bub and these figures are a must have for fans of the film. Also fan art, shirts and comics have been made as well at the film has been released on many home media like VHS and DVD. Also Day of The Dead has been released on Blu-Ray and in the Arrow limited edition release a cool mini comic book came inside called “Day of The Dead: Desertion” that was about everyone’s favorite zombie Bub…before he was a zombie! So if you are a fan of this film like me, I am sure you own many of these cool items and here is hoping for more items to be made as I will for sure buy them to add to my collection.

So while Bub and Dr. Tongue are the two zombies from the film that get most of the attention from horror fans, I want to focus on one who in my opinion is over looked but is all the same a very cool zombie, and I am talking about Beef Treats! I am sure some of you readers are asking yourself who is Beef Treats, and I am here to tell you he is the male zombie that is captured and refuses to eat the beef in a can that the doctors are trying to feed him that is supplied by the army. Beef Treats, while not a major zombie in the film, has built up a fan following and was played by actor Mark Tierno whom I have had the honor of going to dinner with along side my pal Geoff Burkman who played a zombie in Day Of The Dead, Juliet, my pal David J. Getz and fans of writers of this iconic third film in the Romero Dead series at a Brown Derby restaurant after the Cinema Wasteland Convention in Strongsville, Ohio area. The dinner was lots of fun as it was great to hear Mark talk about his time on set and the motivation behind playing Beef Treats, I also think it was humorous that during dinner he ordered brussel sprouts, and in my mind I pictured a zombie eating those vegetables and it made me chuckle. It was also great seeing the fans and such asking Geoff about his time as a zombie as he is very proud of the fact he was in that film, and as he should be. So while he is not as iconic as Bub, I must say Beef Treats is a great zombie who added his own blood stain in the world of Day Of The Dead! So here is to you Beef Treats and actor Mark Tierno, who made this zombie come undead on the silver screen.

On April 11, 2015 Juliet and I decided to take our pal Geoff Burkman to Cinema Wasteland Convention as they had a big Day Of The Dead reunion.  Geoff played a zombie in the film and wanted to chat with the star.  This is also my favorite zombie film of all time, and I wanted to meet such stars as Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard and all the others attending.  The main person I wanted to meet was Joe Pilato who plays Captain Rhodes, one of the best characters in Horror Cinema! The drive up to Wasteland was lots of fun and we all chatted about movies, The Walking Dead and even ideas for a Babysitter Massacre 2! Once at the event Geoff went his separate way as did Juliet and I, and after walking around for a few minutes and catching up with the old Cinema Wasteland Family, I got the honor of meeting Joe Pilato, and man, was he one kick ass dude! He cracked me up as when coming up to his table he screamed out to the crowd “Oh My God It’s Billy Romero, George’s Son!” as he told me that I reminded him of a young George Romero and that was one heck of a great compliment coming from him. The people around all looked at me when he screamed this, and I think some of them really did think I was Romero’s son! While at the table I chatted with Joe for a short time and told him all the same things all fans do about how he played one of my favorite characters of all time and got his autograph as well as a photo with him. Before we left his table he asked Juliet and I if we were going to the Day Of The Dead Q & A that was happing later on in the day and we of course said yes! Lucky for us when the time came we all got good seats and listened to the cast and crew chat about the making of the film as well as shout out famous lines from the film….it was amazing to hear all this in person! As we left the convention was when we were able to go out to dinner with Beef Treats Zombie and chat with fellow lovers of this film. I must say that Cinema Wasteland does it right when it comes to showcasing amazing cult actors and directors and don’t fill their guest list with B-List cameo actors from mainstream modern cable TV series. So I want to thank Ken and Pam for making this convention rock as much as it does as they have the heart and soul of true Horror fans! Below is the pic of Joe and I from Wasteland.

My pal Geoff, as you know by now, was a zombie extra in Day of The Dead. I have known Geoff since I was five years old as he owned a record store called Renaissance Music that my dad would shop at and I would as well once as I got older. Geoff is a cool guy and has been in a ton of plays in and around the Dayton area as well as has been in lots of great locally made films like The Manson Family, The Wolf Hunter 1-2, Babysitter Massacre, Depression The Movie, Atrocity Circle and many more. So it’s my pleasure and honor to sit with Geoff Burkman, zombie extra for Day Of The Dead and ask him a few questions!

Matt: How Did You Hear About The Casting Of Zombie Extras For Day Of The Dead?

Geoff: I was friends with a WSU film student, Bill Laxson, who was a customer at the shop. A year or so after he graduated, I think, I got a call from him out of the blue, telling me he’d gotten a job as a PA on the film. Either he mentioned the possibility, or I geeked out, or whatever, but one thing led to another, and soon I was in touch with the ladies running extras casting, and the rest is history.

Matt: When Selected Who Picked That You Would Be The Baseball Catcher Zombie?

Geoff: He was an umpire, actually. That was likely the choice of costuming, based on my measurements. I had no idea what I would be until I got there.

Matt: What Was The Process Like Getting Into The Makeup? And Who Did Your Makeup?

Geoff: Day One was the umpire zombie, part of the assembly line. Sadly, I don’t recall the name of the lady who did mine. I want to say there were 4-6 stations for making up the extras that morning. Took maybe an hour or so, iirc. Overall, we were on site by 730am and fully costumed, made up and ready to rock by 10am. We didn’t get called to shoot until at least 10pm that night. So, a whole bunch of waiting around.

Day Two I played a different zombie, one of the collar gang, presumably from the depths of the walled-off cavern. For that one I’d been shown through Saviniland by Bill and intro’ed to Tom himself as a possible head-shot zombie. No such luck, my hair was deemed not thick enough to mask the squib. Still, it was either Tom or one of his assistants (not Nicotero that I can remember, although I did meet him) who did me up, complete with several facial wounds off the “Zombies’R’Us” prosthetic molds.

Matt: Tell Us About The Scenes You Were In And Did You Get To Share The Screen With The Stars?

Geoff: Nope, no screen-shares for me. Day One umpire zombie shot scenes of the devouring of Steele, which show up late in the film. Umpire dude appears in the back right of two quick floor level shots with action in center frame. Of course, a lot more takes and angles were shot than appear in the film, including a close-up of me trying to jam a bloody bone through my mask. Boy, I’d love to have the raw footage from that night’s shoot!

Day Two was scenes of the break-in to the complex after Steele shoots open the door, so my guy shows up in the panning shot of the horde swarming in. I also did background for the sequence with Rhodes slamming a zombie off his golf cart, but I’ve never found him onscreen, even with careful freeze-framing. I was there, nonetheless. I was also a part of the crowd entering Steele’s death room, but didn’t make the final cut, despite another close-up in which Romero directed me to create a momentary bottleneck in the doorway. Such is the fate of an extra, even dead ones. So, I never got to work with any of the leads, although I was privileged to watch Joe Pilato, Gary Klar, and Taso Stavrakis (as a stunt zombie) do their thing. I don’t recall seeing any of the other actors while I was there, though I could just be forgetting that, since it’s not like they go around being introduced to the extras, and I would have been far too reserved/shy to approach them.

Matt: What Do You See The Fate Of Your Zombie Being After The Events Of The Film?

Geoff: Ha, ha! Pretty sad for them, eh? Stuck in that underground facility with the only way out going up the ladder after the escaping humans. And given that umpire dude was busy chowing down while Sara’s group was busy escaping, it’s not likely he ever made his way back into the cavern and up that ladder. I figure he just ended up wandering around until maybe he found a baseball somewhere and then sat down and bounced it off a wall until he rotted away. Same fate for my collar zombie, too, minus the baseball entertainment. I’d have to say that most if not the entirety of that horde eventually just fell apart, likely in pitch black after the power went out. Good thing they were already dead; what a way to go!

Matt: Thanks Geoff for sharing your memories with me again and my readers!

Geoff Burkman is a class act and has and always will be a great friend to me. I also really like the fact that Geoff enjoys horror films as well as comic books and music, and this is why I think we get along so well. Looking at all my friends I must say I have some very creative people in my life from movie makers, Actors, Comic Artists, Pro Wrestlers, Musicians, Painters, Models, Freakshow Performers, Horror Hosts, Tattoo Artist, Radio DJs, Book Authors, Clothing Designers, Beard Competition Winners, Craft Makers, Store Owners, Photographers and so many others who all do creative things! And I must say I value each of my friendships as each person makes my life better. So thanks again Geoff for taking your time and to answer 5 Questions for my readers and me. Below is a picture of the icon George A. Romero and tons of zombie extras.

As a longtime comic book reader, I was super hyped when I discovered a cool comic book company called Dead Dog Comics in around 2004 that kept showing up at Cinema Wasteland when I was a vendor there with Independent B Movie and later Andy Copp as this company was making high quality horror comics that were original and others based on movies, I would buy first thing and read them once back at the hotel and after dinner. The first comic I got from them was Night Of The Living Dead: Barbara’s Zombie Chronicles # 1 and I was hooked and even when returning home added all their comics I could to my Mavericks Cards and Comics pull list. I would also chat with the creators and owners of Dead Dog Comics while at Wasteland, and they would tell me what was coming up and listen to my ideas of what horror films should be comics as they clearly loved what they made and created. Sadly they closed shop in roughly 2007 and the void they left would not be filled for me until 2016 when Eibon Press was unleashed on the comic reading market. One of Dead Dog’s final releases was the comic we are about to review based on Day Of The Dead. I can remember being so hyped when I picked up this copy from Cinema Wasteland and was not disappointed when I read it then and can’t wait to see if it holds up! The downside is that this series was supposed to be a 3 issue mini series but only had one issue released before they went under. So as we travel even deeper underground to get away from the zombies I can hear this echo “Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story.” So with that, let’s see how well this comic holds up to my memories and how well it does justice to my favorite zombie film of all time.

Day Of The Dead: The Rising Of Bub # 1 ***
Released in 2007 Cover Price $4.95 Dead Dog Comics # 1 of 3

Joe, his wife Anne, and a whole apartment filled of survivors hear the call from army soldier Miguel in the streets of Florida and try to get everyone together quickly in order to be saved, but an accident leaves one of their members dead and the opportunity to be saved lost. The survivors’ morale is down as they all meet up and try and figure out where the helicopter came from and who is manning it. The survivors group is made up of all types of people from young to old and locals and vacationers all who give their ideas about where the base is that holds their saviors, but it’s Norman who looks beyond the big airfields and finds a location that he thinks is the perfect place for them to be at. The next morning the adults meet at Norman’s garage and find that his plan is to use a push car called The Phalanx to get to the local jeep dealership in order to hot wire them and get them to the target location, and before they can decide if the idea will work over breakfast they are interrupted by Kat and her boyfriend who inform Joe that Anne has killed herself. While all this is going on the zombies are gathering and Bub is now free and leading a group of the undead.

This is Walking Dead and Land Of The Dead mixed as this focuses on a group of survivors who are held up in a apartment building in Florida who want so badly to be saved and think that if they can get to the base that Rhodes and his men are at that, they can be saved and are doing all they can to come up with an idea to reach their safe zone that they are unaware has been overrun by zombies. Joe is the “leader” of the survivors as it’s clear he is the one with the level head and breaks up fights and tries his best to keep the peace among his people. He also tries his best to keep an eye on his lady Anne and his daughter Kat who are also suck in this world of the undead. Norman and the rest of the group are all good people that are trying not to snap in the bad situation that they are in and tempers do get short as they all think they know what’s good for an escape. The zombies are everywhere and are hungry for human flesh and even Dr. Tongue is on the prowl looking for a quick meal. Bub is around but only shown in one panel as he is leading a group of zombies around underground and makes you wonder how angry he is. This is a great issue as it builds up our survivors and shows that they are desperate to find help and are stuck in a bad way as the world around them is filled with the undead.  The only major downside is that while Bub and the zombies are around, they are very much second thoughts and are the cause of the whole drama but only really get to eat one person for the whole issue. I would have liked to have seen more of Bub and do realize that issues 2 and 3 would have shown him more, but still a little sad all we got is one panel in this issue. The cover is great and shows a mad looking Bub in the underground.  The interior art is done by Jeff Zornow and is fantastic stuff and captures a good zombie comic feel. Over all this very much held up for me, and I enjoyed reading it in 2017 just as much as I did in 2007…wow that’s been 10 years! Fans of the film will enjoy this issue even if it’s not as dark as the film, and I hope that Dead Dog Comics comes back and delivers more comics based on cool horror films.  All I can say is come on, Chazz DeMoss, make this happen! Check out this cool art below to see what style this comic delivers.

So the day has ended, and we have survived another zombie invasion as well as another Monster Bash vacation.  I for one can’t wait to go back to Cranberry again next year and do it all over again! So with this we are leaving zombies behind and once more stepping back into the world of Pro Wrestling as we take a look at Chyna and the Chaos! comics based on her. So until next time, enjoy the rest of this summer, read a comic or three, watch a Romero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! So see you in the ring, my readers and friends!

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak

Ohio is a cesspool of creative media and it’s the mecca of horror hosts as the state has showcased such talents as Ghoulardi, Dr. Creep, The Ghoul, The Cool Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and so many more. But Ohio also spawned “The Worlds Youngest Horror Host” Dr. Freak! What a great gimmick being the youngest horror host to date, and while many hosts have their kids help on shows, Dr. Freak made and starred in his own show he called “Cult Theater” at the age of 12, and this set him apart from the rest of the youth in hosting at the time. Growing up I watched a lot of public access shows like Moraine Playhouse Theater, A. Ghastlee Movie Show, Media Only, New Shock Theater and Eat More Carp, and I can remember seeing this strange kid with a white lab coat on many of the shows with white grease paint on his face and black grease paint making a thick unibrow.  He even was at many of the Horrorama’s my brother and I attended as well as other events.  If you lived in Dayton in the early 2000’s, than I am sure you had a run in with Dr. Freak! So this update is a quick look at the one and only Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak.

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Dr. Freak, also known as Freak E. Guy, was a teen ghoul who always wore a lab coat even though viewers never seen him do any thing medical or scientific.  He was a fun loving silly goofball who took joy in hosting cheesy films for the viewers of local access. During his very short time on air hosting Cult Theater, Dr. Freak entertained the masses while hosting some of the best the public domain had to offer and even survived a zombie attack! During this first run Dr. Freak would pop up on other horror hosts shows in the area like Dr. Creep’s New Shock Theater, I, Zombi’s The Witching Hour and A. Ghastlee Ghoul’s Ghastlee Movie Show and spread the word of his Cult Theater.  These appearance helped lock Dr. Freak as a full fledged horror host. I can remember catching his show from time to time and around this time as well I became great friends with the young man behind the grease paint, Henrique Couto, who was a youngster with big ideas and many dreams. Couto, who seems like a little brother to me, around this time also opened up his own film company that he called Couto Films/Freak Productions and began making his own films that he released on DVD and VHS and would sell at horror film conventions. While his first film was called “The Henrique Couto Show Movie,” it was his second feature that would have his film world and his hosting world collide.

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Dr. Freak Vamp Killa was a short 20 minute film made in 2004 that had the young horror host killing a bunch of vampires that were wandering around his hometown causing deaths and destruction because he killed their leader some 5 years back and now the new leader wants this host dead! So armed with wooden stakes and garlic powder cream pies, Dr. Freak swings into action and fumbles and bumbles his way to victory. The film was shot over a weekend and marked Dr. Freak as one of a few horror hosts at the time that were in a film based around them as the character; the other ones that come to mind is Morgus The Magnificent in “The Wacky World Of Dr. Morgus” from 1962 and Elvira Mistress of The Dark in the film of her own name in 1988. The film was put on VHS by Independent B Movie with the DVD-R being made by Dr. Freak in house.  The cover art on the original media release was done by Jason Gilmore and looked pretty dang cool. In an interview some years after the film’s release for Gates Of Gore Dr. Freak talked about two ideas for a possible sequel one that would have him in Da Hood and the other one would have been more of a Kung-Fu film. He also talks about the sales of the film being pretty good.  Sadly the sequel never was in the cards. Dr. Freak also co-starred in a DVD special feature show called “Freak TV” were he went missing and Henrique Couto had to go out and find him. Dr. Freak also had a cameo in the Bob Hinton movie “Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire” where in a graveyard he tries to stake the lead vampire all the while doing a terrible Crocodile Hunter impression. While by no means a movie star, Dr. Freak has made his mark on B-Movie with these appearances.

Dr Freak Vamp Killa

From 2005 on Dr. Freak, while making public appearances and co-starring in others shows from time to time, seemed to be phasing himself out of the world of horror hosting and with only a total of 4 original episodes under his belt.  It became clear that his other side Henrique Couto was wanting to make movies and even music under the name PineappleHead, and by 2006 Dr. Freak was phased out and the character was not seen again….well that is until 2011 when the master of Freak came back to TV to appear on Baron Von Porkchop’s tribute to the late great Dr. Creep, and the one time World Youngest Horror Host shared some stories of working with the Creep and was back home among fellow hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and Reverend Zealot. This appearance helped spark the hosting bug once more in Dr. Freak who became the host of an event called “Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon” that aired all over the Dayton area public access in 2011 and marked the first new episode of Cult Theater in over 6 years! Even with the time away from the hosting spotlight Dr. Freak didn’t miss a beat as he brought his silly brand of humor to the viewers of this Halloween season event. Then over the course of the last few years Dr. Freak has became a semi-regular returning guest on Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, and he and Baron Von Porkchop have became hosting pals. The character also at this time has changed his look and no longer has the think black unibrow but instead has went for more of a pale face and crazy facial hair. While only one new Cult Theater episode has been made, I have heard rumors that a new one could be in the works in the near future.

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So next I would like to take a few moments and ask Dr. Freak to answer a few questions for all you fine folks who read Rotten Ink, but I am not going to ask 5 questions but 6 cause why not! So I traveled down to his Crypt hideout and waited for a few hours till finally the man showed up so this is my 6 Questions with the one and only Dr. Freak…

Dr Freak 8

Me: Welcome, Dr. Freak, to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting and becoming The World’s Youngest Horror Host?

Freak: Seeing Dr. Creep on the New Shock Theater was my sole inspiration in the beginning, other than USA Up All Night he was the only example of horror hosts I had seen at all at that age.

Me: Dr. Creep, a true legend in the hosting world and has inspired many! So out of your first classic episodes of Cult Theater what is your favorite one?

Freak: I think my favorite episode was Night of the Living Dead, because myself and my camera man at the time James were just such big fans of the film, we really just ran with it and had a really fun time making it.

Me: Truly is a great film and a very fun episode of yours indeed to watch, so there is a rumor of a classic episode that is lost any clues what movie you showed and the wacky adventure you got into?

Freak: As awful as it is, I really can’t remember! I was such a young kid back then and we did all kinds of silly gags and videos they sort of run together, but if I ever find anything I wouldn’t keep it to myself for certain.

Me: You always have been a busy ghoul Dr. Freak, and I hope the episode is found someday. So this brings me to my next question with your last New episode being made in 2011 is there any plans for a new episode in the near future?

Freak: You just never know when Dr. Freak will pop up again, but as of right now he is on indefinite hiatus.

Me: So that’s a warning that he is still out there waiting for the word to return! So if you were to host again and could host any film what would you pick?

Freak: I would love to host the original Dawn of the Dead. That would be a blast to do.

Me: Would be interesting to see what ideas you come up with on that film and a great pick, so this brings us to out last question, do you have any advice to future horror hosts?

Freak: Host movies because you love movies and love being in front of the camera. Find people as passionate as you, and go fourth!

Me: Thanks My Ghoul Friend…Wait that sounds odd..Thanks my Pal!

Freak: Anytime! 

I can remember when I was in my upper teens watching Cult Theater episodes on MVCC and enjoying them.  While they were not as well produced as New Shock Theater with Dr. Creep nor zany and crazy like the Ghastlee Movie Show with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, it was a nice third option to enjoy a horror host program on the Dayton, Ohio airwaves. Plus it was always a treat seeing those three hosts at movie screenings or horror conventions showing the bond between them and once more proving that horror hosting is one big strange dysfunctional family. After the Cult Theater episodes aired, they also made their way to DVD thanks to Freak Productions and can still be ordered on the website as can his comeback episode that is also on sale at Game Swap in Kettering.

Cult Theater DVD Collection

So it’s time to write about the episodes of Cult Theater with Dr. Freak I own. I will not be giving them star ratings like I do the comics, but I will break down what he does for the host segments as well as a write up for the film he is hosting that will be taken from IMDB. I want to thank Henrique Couto and Bryan Brassfield for getting me these episodes over the years, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed watching and writing about them. So with no more wait, let’s enter the Cult Theater..

Dr. Freak Zombie 4

Cult Theater:  Zombie 4: After Death
Starring – Jeff Stryker & Candice Daly   Not Rated   1989

Host:  Dr. Freak and A. Ghastlee Ghoul sit down in the studio to watch the film Mystery Science Theater 3000 style and cut wise cracks and jokes all the while. Also from New Shock Theater, Reverend Zealot pops in to share a little information out the night’s movie, and by the end A. Ghastlee Ghoul attacks Dr. Freak with peanut brittle and knocks him out, taking over the show for the rest of the episode! By the end Ghastlee is tormenting the boy and gives him a lobotomy, and they wrap the film heckling up.

Movie: A woman goes back to the island where her parents were killed. They had been working on a cure for cancer and accidentally raised the dead by angering a voodoo priest. With the woman is a group of mercenaries and they meet up with some other researchers. They raise the dead again and all hell breaks loose.

Dr. Freak Night Of The Living Dead

Cult Theater:  Night of the Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Bill Hinzman   Not Rated   1968

Host: Dr. Freak is out with his friend when they are attacked by a zombie, and Freak and his cameraman must flee and survive the attack and find shelter in a home. They argue about whether they should stay upstairs or go to the basement, and in the end they get stuck in the basement and then decide to go out and fight the zombies where they are attacked and Freak shoots and kills the undead only after his cameraman dies!

Movie: Barbra and her brother Johnny travel by car from Pittsburgh to the countryside to visit the gravestone of their father in the cemetery. Out of the blue, they are attacked by a strange man and Johnny is murdered. Barbra runs and releases the brake of Johnny’s car since the keys are in his pocket, and flees to an isolated farmhouse, where she locks herself inside. Barbra is in shock and soon she finds a man, Ben, who is also escaping from the inhuman creatures and he reinforces the doors, windows and openings in the house. He also finds a shotgun and a radio and they learn that the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead. Then they find five humans hidden in the basement: Harry Cooper, his wife Helen and their daughter Karen that is sick; and Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Harry has an argument with Ben, since he believes that the basement is the safest place for them and Harry goes not agree. Along the night, the tension rises. 

Dr. Freak I Bury The Living

Cult Theater:  I Bury The Living
Starring – Richard Boone & Peggy Maurer   Not Rated   1958 

Host: Dr. Freak is giving a tribute to Albert Band, filmmaker and father to Richard and Charles Band, by showing his film as well as showing Fullmoon Entertainment trailers. This also marks his return to TV after some time off, something like 4 years.  He does some silly stuff like steals a kids bike, plugs websites and gets kidnapped in the end of the episode via a red truck!!

Movie:Through a series of macabre “coincidences,” the newly-elect ed director of a cemetery begins to believe that he can cause the deaths of living owners of burial plots by merely changing the push-pin color from white (living) to black (dead) on a large wall map of the cemetery that notes those plots.

Dr. Freak Horror Express

Cult Theater:  Horror Express
Starring: Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee   Rated R   1972

Host: Dr. Freak returns to TV for the Dayton Scare-A-Thon, a half day Halloween marathon event.  In his new hideout, his crypt hangout, the good Dr. makes a drinking game out of every time you see a shot of the train, take a drink. As the episode goes on, he gets more and more drunk and uses dynamite to fix the bad camera feed and spews out goofy jokes and one liners.

Movie: An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the missing link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a Trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one.

While in Ohio Dr. Freak might not be a household name like Dr. Creep or The Ghoul, he still is one of Dayton Ohio’s originals who has entertained the viewers off and on for many years all the while going from the Worlds Youngest Horror Host to a full fledged adult ghoul whose humor and style have changed along with his appearance. Here is to hoping that a new Cult Theater will grace the TV screens again soon, and I’m crossing my fingers the missing episode will be found for us all to enjoy. Thanks to Dr. Freak for not only being a Horror Host but for also spending some time with us here at Rotten Ink and answering 6 Questions for us.  The next Icon update will be about none other than Dr. Creep! And our next update will be all about Questprobe, the Marvel Comic series based around text video games! So until then, support your local Horror Host and watch a horror film or two.

QuestProbe Logo

Enjoy The All You Can Eat Blood Fountain Only At Blood Feast

Welcome back my fellow comic and pulp culture lovers.  Today’s update is going to be a quick one and will focus on a master of splatter film director and comic adaptation of one of his films. A few updates back I spoke about “The Godfather Of Gore” being Lucio Fulci, and some of my friends and readers say that that title really belongs to Pittsburgh born independent filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis who used lots of blood and guts in his films over the ages. At the age of 6, Lewis had his father pass away.  A few years later his mom remarried a man, and they all moved to Chicago where he spent most of his youth. Lewis got a masters degree in journalism, became a teacher, ran many radio stations and worked with a friend to make commercials under the company name Lewis And Martin Films. His first venture into film came in 1959 with the film called “The Prime Time” where he acted as the producer.  This film also marked the end of him not directing his own flicks for his company. In the 1960’s Lewis made more adult softcore style films like Living Venus, Bell Bare And Beautiful and Boin-n-g! making him one of the grandfathers of the modern exploitation films. It was in 1963 that he dove head first into blood soaked horror films with the film Blood Feast, and while after this film he made a few more non-horror pictures, none of them have the cult following as films like Two Thousand Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste Of Blood, The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard Of Gore and The Gore Gore Girls to name a few. In 2002 Lewis made a sequel to his first horror film called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat and showed that even after all these years he still can pack a gut punch that would turn your stomach.  While over the years Lewis has slowed done on making films, the director, who as of early 2014 is 84 years old, still makes a film from time to time with his latest being Zombificador that is due out soon. I have meet Mr. Lewis at Cinema Wasteland Convention some years back and will say that he was very nice and was swamped with people looking to not only get his autograph but also just to have a few moments to talk film with him. While many of his films are hit and miss with me, I have many friends that truly love Lewis and his work, and one thing is for sure, the man helped make micro/independent movies important for the modern horror viewers like George A. Romero did with Night Of The Living Dead in 1968.

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Considered the first splatter film, 1963’s Blood Feast was a bloodbath that viewers enjoyed and the critics hated. The film is about a food cater who kills woman in order to steal body parts to use in rituals of eating human flesh to please an ancient Egyptian Goddess. The film did pretty well at the box office, bringing in $4 million making it some major profit off the small budget of $24 thousand. The film’s reputation earned it a spot on England’s Video Nasty list, making it the oldest film to make the list.  For those who don’t know what Video Nasty list is, I will explain. In the 1980’s video rental was a major deal all over the world and many horror films were made just for this market let alone.  It was the only way viewers could see many of these films from all over the world. Well in England they didn’t want people to watch many of these films, thinking that the violent acts from the movies were bad for people’s brains and could cause major acts of murder and mayhem across their country. They decided to go in and cut many of the films into poor chop jobs and some films were just banned out right.  These films were dubbed “Video Nasties” and were illegal for people to watch uncut and could even cause a police raid of your house if reported you had copies of some of these films. Films like Blood Feast, Zombi 2, Night Of The Demon, House By The Cemetery, Cannibal Holocaust, Mardi Gras Massacre, Faces Of Death, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and so many more made up the list of films that were cut or just banned. Many films never made it to the Video Nasty List but were also confiscated by the police if found in your home such as Dawn Of The Mummy, Hills Have Eyes, Gates Of Hell, Basket Case, Friday The 13th, Night of The Seagulls and many more. While the list and the punishments for watching/owning these films is still around to this day, it’s enforced a little less and viewers have since been able to watch many of the films uncut without fear of punishment. Wow, I just got way off topic of Blood Feast, but here in the US if you’re looking to watch the film, it can be found on VHS and DVD uncut and uncensored.

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The fans wanted it, so in 2002 Lewis revisited his film Blood Feast and made a part two called Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. In this film we follow the grandson of the first film’s butcher as he follows in dear granddad’s footsteps. The film got positive reviews from critics but had trouble finding a distributor causing it to sit a year on the shelf before coming out via Media Blasters. The film is filled with more blood, guts and gore causing fans of the original to enjoy every crimson soaked second of it. Unlike the first film, the sequel never got a major theatrical release and really did find its home on the DVD market. The film also marked the first time in 36 years that Lewis teamed up with his old producer of the first film David F. Friedman, making this sequel as close to the original as possible.  The film also turned up the splatter making it a true follow up that tried to one up the film that came before it.

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So while I will credit Lewis with being a master of Splatter and the Godfather of Splatter films, I would still have to stay with the decision that Fulci is the true Godfather Of Gore! And this does not take away from the fact that Lewis is one of the best America micro budget horror film directors of the 60’s and 70’s and his influences on filmmakers is still seen in many of the films of today. I just find that the effects and gore in Fulci films are better done and have more impact on me as a horror fan and viewer.  Nothing Lewis has done in the gore department has stuck with me like the gut puking and eye ball bleeding scene from Gates of Hell or the splinter in the eye effect of Zombi 2. But I guess the main question is, what director had the better comic adaptation of their film? Was it Fulci with Gates of Hell from Xmachina or Lewis with Blood Feast from Eternity? Well I will soon find out as I am about to tackle Blood Feast…But before I do, I want to remind my readers I grade these issues 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. I want to thank the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics and Lone Star comics for having these issues in stock. So with all that, let’s not be late for dinner and find our spot at the table for this Blood Feast.

Blood Feast 1

Blood Feast # 1   **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #1 of 2

It’s 1963, and a young woman returns to her home only to be brutally killed and mutilated in her bathtub by a savage killer.  Her leg is taken in the attack, and the police are baffled by who the murder is as he leaves no clues behind. Fuad Ramses owns an exotic Egyptian catering store and is hired to cook an Egyptian feast for a young woman named Suzette, and he is happy to do so as he has a plan that will restrict the goddess Ishtar with the body parts he is taken from the young ladies he is killing.  Yep, he is the killer! Faud is not done with his killing yet as he attacks a couple on the beach and knocks out the guy and butchers the woman stealing her brain and later attacks a woman in her room and cuts out her tongue! The police are at a loss, and Suzette is upset over the murders but is looking forward to her party.  We end the issue with her going to a lecture about Ishtar and the Pharaoh Ramses.

This comic didn’t waste any time and is filled with lots of blood and murder mayhem and 100% captures the spirit and raw terror of the film it’s based on. The plot of this issue builds that the cops are clueless to who is killing young women around town, that Suzette is a smart woman who likes Egyptian history and comes from a well off family and that Fuad Ramses loves an ancient Goddess and is killing woman in a plan to bring her back to life. The plot is pretty simple stuff, right? It’s the fact it is so simple that makes the whole comic work so well it’s clearly not about plot as it’s about shocking murders. Suzette, who is clearly the lead, is not given much of character development and is hardly shown in the issue, but you know that she is going to be a major player in the second issue. The cops are trying to hard to crack the case of who is killing the woman, but are pretty much clueless and useless. Fuad Ramses is one evil man who goes into a craze when he butchers woman and selectively harvests parts of their bodies.  He reminds me for some reason of Jack The Ripper mixed with Norman Bates of Psycho. Over all Ramses is a great movie slasher that transferred to comics really well. The comic is printed on very cheap paper and the issue I have had ink bleed really bad on many pages, but I can’t hold it really against a company that was smaller and competing with Marvel and DC. The cover I have is called “The Graphic Cover Version” and I will say that it’s pretty bad and really cheapens the comic with a terrible shock image that’s a poorly blown up picture still from the movie. The art is great independent 90’s comic stuff and is done by Stan Timmons & Mike Matthew and for a black and white comic, they are really able to make the gore pop out. This first issue is a solid film adaptation and really makes me looking forward to reading the second issue and seeing just how well the comic series will look and translate.  So let’s get to it cause it’s time for that Egyptian Feast!

Blood Feast 2

Blood Feast # 2    **1/2
Released in 1991     Cover Price  $2.50    Eternity Comics    #2 of 2

After the lecture Suzette meets up with Pete Thornton, an officer who is investigating the murders and is clearly a semi-boyfriend to the lovely young lady. While Pete is giving Suzette a ride home, a call goes out that another woman has been found and while she survived the attack, she was at death’s door as one side of her face had been cut off and one eyeball removed. The cops get to the hospital, and they get a few words out of the young woman before she dies. To make things worse Suzette’s friend Trudy Sanders has been kidnapped by Fuad Ramses and is being whipped to death in order to use her blood for the feast that will bring back Ishtar. At his desk Pete takes what little information he got from the faceless woman as well as info from a professor and puts it all together and figures out that Ramses is the killer! The cops rush to Ramses’s shop and find the body of Trudy as well as many other body parts and rush to Suzette’s party. At the party Ramses asks for Suzettes help in the kitchen and just as he is about to kill her and set Ishtar free, Pete and the cops pull in and chase him to the city dump where he is crushed in the back of a garbage truck as he tries to hide. All ends well as the killer is dead and Suzette’s party can continue.

The second issue is pretty fun stuff.  While a little lighter on the blood and gore, the storyline is more in full swing and we get to know Suzette and Pete a heck of allot better. Suzette is pretty likeable and is your average girl next door type who likes to learn and have fun with her family and friends.  It’s easy to see why Ramses targeted her to be the rebirth shell for his Goddess. Pete is a man with a quick mind as he took small clues and busted the case wide open and got the right man on the first try and saved his girl just in time! Fuad Ramses is out for blood again, and in this issue he skins a woman’s face, beats one to death with a whip and tries to use a giant meat cleaver to kill the comic’s lead gal. Ramses’s death is brutal as well, as he is crushed by a garbage compactor and some how it seems very fitting that the scumbag dies that way. This issue also seems to be filled with little touches of black humor that mostly comes from Suzette’s mom. The cover is very much an improvement over issue 1’s, and the art is once more well done by the team-up of Timmons and Matthew who knew how to capture the feeling of the film with ink. Over all this issue was a nice closing to a b-movie comic adaptation. Below is a look at the art style of these comics.

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So we have covered a lot of horror comics in the past couple of months, and I have not done a Fantasy Warfare since The Predator took on The Cougar back in April, and to me it just seems like it’s time to have another battle! Coming out of the Red Corner is that undead priest of fright, Father William Thomas from The Gates Of Hell! And his opponent coming out of the Blue Corner, naked and ready to snap some necks Goddess from Lust For Frankenstein! And lastly their opponent out of the Green Corner is that master of the butchery, the bug eyed master of disaster, Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast! The battlefield will take place in a graveyard off of a wooded path that has not been in use for over 87 years in the small town of Corwin.  So let’s see what happens in this battle of Demon, Madman and Stitched Together Monster, shall we?

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Maria is a 26 years old jogger and fitness fanatic.  Today she has decided to rundown an old path that runs through a part of the woods that is near an old cemetery that is said to be haunted, the local kids call it the mouth of hell but she has ran down this path a few months back and found the sites very pleasing and never seen a living soul let alone a dead one! Fuad Ramses has chosen this path to claim his next young victim but has been let down when he has not seen a person for the 3 hours he has been waiting in the woods near the path with meat cleaver in hand, just as he is about to give up Maria in her yoga pants comes running by and he knows that she has the left butt cheek he needs for his Feast. Ramses starts to follow her and when the moment is right he pounces on Maria who has stopped to tie her shoe, as Ramses is about to hack his victim, an unknown hand smacks him away and the killer goes flying and crashing through the old gate that leads to the cemetery.  As Maria sees who her protector is, she lets out a scream as standing before her is a naked woman with stitches making awkward and weird faces and let’s out the words “your pretty” as she holds out her hand and helps the jogger up. Maria thanks the woman who tells her that she is called Goddess and just at that moment Ramses sneaks up behind Maria and pulls her into the cemetery screaming “That Butt Cheek Is Mine!”  As Maria screams, Goddess moves towards the cemetery to save her new friend and possible lover from the hands of a killer. Inside the cemetery Ramses swings the cleaver and clips Maria in the leg causing her to fall, he raises the cleaver high and is about to place the sharp metal blade into her skull when Goddess grabs the back of his neck causing him to stiff up in pain.  She turns the killer over to look him in the eye before she snaps his neck, and as Ramses pleads for his life Goddess freezes for a moment and has a dead stare.  She looses her grip on Ramses and her eyes start to bleed and she begins to puke up her guts and falls to the ground dead once again. Ramses grabs his meat cleaver and turns to see Father Thomas standing there.  He then sees Maria who has made it out of the cemetery and is down the path.  He makes a run for the gates to exit and get his intended victim but the gates slam shut in his face.  He turns to see Father Thomas right behind him, and Ramses takes a swing with his cleaver. As Maria makes it back to her car, she sits in the driver seat and hears the last cry of life from Ramses, and she now truly knows why that path is compared to hell.

Winner: Father William Thomas

Like Ramses or Goddess stood a chance against the evil Father who can kill with a blink of his eye! So now I am at the point where I have to pick which series was better in comic form.  While I like the art and story of Gates of Hell, I would have to pick Blood Feast as the better comic series, mostly because the full set was released and didn’t leave me hanging on the storyline. But movie-wise I would say Gates of Hell is way better than Blood Feast so I would guess they are tied. I love the fact that Eternity Comics took a chance and made a comic book version of a 1963 film in 1991 and wish they would have done more comic versions of Lewis films. I would have loved to have had comic versions of Wizard of Gore and Two Thousand Maniacs to read and review on this blog. Wow I have written like a machine as of late and need to take some time away to get some work done on Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre.  So for the next update I am going to turn Rotten Ink over to my girl once again as she is going to talk to you all about IDW’s C.S.I comics! So until then, read a comic or five and make sure to watch a local horror film and enjoy nerd life to the fullest.

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The Lost And Found Frankenstein Monster

Hollywood has lost many films that could never see the light of day again.  Some have just been misplaced, and some have been lost to vault fires and neglect. But every once in a while, when a blue moon is in the sky, and the stars align just right, a “lost” film is found like 1922’s Nosferatu.  It had one print survive after all others were destroyed over copyright issues with the widow of Bram Stoker.  But many others stay lost like the Lon Chaney Sr. vampire mystery horror film, London After Midnight. One film that has been found by a private collector named Alois F. Dettlaff when he bought it from his mother-in-law in the 1950’s and later in the 1970’s was made known, is the 1910 version of Frankenstein made by Edison Studios. This “lost” film was like a Holy Grail for fans of the classic monsters, and many people wanted to see just what the first Frankenstein film was like, and with some film stills being around before the film was found, this just fueled the fire of fans wanting to get their hands on a copy to watch. The look of the Monster is not what most think of when the monster pops in your head.  He has no bolts from his neck, no black suit and no flat top head. Instead we have a Monster with wild hair, a crunched up creepy face, and he wears rags. Plus finding out that this 1910 Monster’s origin has him made in a vat of chemicals, not lightning, changes the image and style that we all grew up with. The first time I ever saw this version of the Monster was in the CrestWood House Monster Series Frankenstein book, and I was transfixed by the strange look of the Monster and how his hair almost made him look beast like. I always wanted to see the film to see just how the Monster acted and so that I could compare him to the classic Universal version. Below are some pictures of the Monster from the 1910 film.  I would like for you to take a moment and just look at this creepy guy, and pretend that you first saw this film in 1910 when it was made.  I want you to ask yourself, would you have been scared to sleep that night?

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As I said, the Monster himself was a odd looking creature and looked like a misshaped beast with a sinister look in his eyes and a twisted snarl for a smile. The actor who played this part was Charles Ogle, a character actor who went on to be in over 300 films of the silent era and played such characters as Long John Silver (Treasure Island, 1920), Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol in 1910) and a doctor in the 1923 version of The Ten Commandments. In the version of Treasure Island, he got to work alongside the master of silent film Lon Chaney Sr. This is a cool thing when you break down what both had done for the world of horror! Ogle worked in films from 1910 to 1926 and sadly passed away in 1940 from arteriosclerosis at the age of 75. While he is not as well known as Boris Karloff and while his version of Frankenstein’s Monster is not as iconic, it still remains that Charles Ogle was one of the first actors to play the part and scared the life out of those who saw the film at the time.  So here is to you, Charles Ogle, for being one of film’s first actors of fright! Oh I should also say that he is an Ohio boy like myself as he was born in Steubenville.

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The part of Elizabeth was played by the lovely Mary Fuller who was a stage actress and a very popular one at that. Her first major film role came in the 1910 Frankenstein film that helped launch her career as an actress and later as a screen writer. For a time she was one of the most popular silent film actresses just behind Mary Pickford, but her ride came to an end in 1917 when her last couple of films did not bring in the money the studios wanted.  She became a free agent when her studio contract expired.  She was offered stage work again on Broadway but turned it down and disappeared from the public eye for almost a decade. After her film career had ended and her attempt at a relationship with an opera singer (who was already married), she had a nervous breakdown and spent time trying to get better and get her life back on track. In 1926 she tried to make a comeback in Hollywood, and it was a failed attempt.  She felt alone and always felt as if she had a void that could not be filled.  When her mother passed away in 1940, she suffered her second breakdown that had her sister having to watch over her until 1947 when she was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Washington were she would remain for 25 years until her death in 1973 at the age of 85. Her sad tale doesn’t end there.  On her passing, no relatives could be found, and she was buried in an unmarked grave at a local cemetery. Mary Fuller was a talented actress with a sad and tragic life, but her work in films will live on and keep her memory alive. This update is for you, Mary, may you rest in peace and find happiness you were looking for.

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With a film of this age, merchandise was not even thought of.  No one in 1910 walked around with their Frankenstein t-shirt carrying a Frankenstein mug filled with hot coco thinking about going home and playing their Frankenstein video game…it just didn’t happen. But over time, with the film gaining a cult status and having the “lost” film mystique, merchandise was unavoidable! Masks, models and shirts were made as well as toys! One of the toys that was found everywhere for awhile was made by Mezco as part of their Silent Screamers line, and while a cool figure, it looked NOTHING like Ogle as the Monster. Another cool item that has sprung up is the film’s soundtrack done by Life Toward Twilight.  It’s a very well done score with just the right amount of mood and brood to chill one’s bones. So if you’re a fan, there is stuff out there for you to buy and enjoy.

Frankenstein 1910 Mask1910 Frankenstein Toys1910 Frankenstein Soundtrack

My brother was attending Sinclair, a local Ohio community college, and was taking a class alongside my friend Josh Weinberg about the History of Horror Films.  The early horror film class was taught by Rick Martin, owner of RMM Agency and manager of Horror Host Dr. Creep, while the modern classes were taught by Andy Copp, a local film and TV director. While in Rick’s class, Bryan and Josh were able to see the 1910 Frankenstein as Rick showed it to his class as a part of horror history. I was so jealous when I heard this and so wanted to see it! Flash forward some years later to when I was working a table with Andy Copp at Cinema Wasteland, a Horror Convention in Strongsville, Ohio near Cleveland.  All over the convention show room were flyers for the official DVD release of the Edison Frankenstein film.  It was paired with the 1922 film Nosferatu and called “Movies First Monsters: Back to Back,” and the dvd was $20.00. I rushed to the booth that was said to have had it, and to my shock and horror, it was sold out.  The DVD was so in demand that it was gone the first day of sales. I was so bummed, and Andy tried to keep my spirits up saying that we would be back next year and that I could try and get one then.  While his words were wise and true, I still went home DVDless. By the next Cinema Wasteland, I rushed to the booth and got a copy the first day and felt like I was on top of the world. When I got home, the 16 minute film was the first thing I watched and I loved it.  In fact, I rushed and did a review for Bloodline Video and gave it 5 out of 5 stars on the site! This is one of those films that makes you truly glad that some private collector found it and released it so the masses can enjoy a piece of horror film history. If you have not seen it and are a film buff and a horror film fan, then do yourself a favor and watch it.

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The people behind the ownership of this film had an amazing idea when they turned the 16 minute film into a 40 page comic book that holds the thrills and chills of the movie. Remember I grade these comics 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. So let’s get the chemical vat ready and build ourselves a comic review of Edison’s Frankenstein 1910.  

Edisons Frankenstein 1910 Comic

Edison’s Frankenstein 1910   ***1/2
Released in 2003   Cover Price $7.95   Comic Library International   #1 of 1

Frankenstein is sitting in his study writing in his journal to his future children so that they can learn from his mistake.  You see, in his youth he wanted to learn the secrets of life and death and while away at medical school he grows tired of what he thinks is just close minded teaching and decides to drop out and conduct his own experiment to create the perfect human. In his quest to make a man, he takes elements from science, black magic, alchemy and even his own flesh and blood and mixes them in a chemical vat and watches in horror as his man comes to life.  But instead of a perfect man, he has made a monster, a twisted foul thing that looks straight from the pits of hell! The Monster’s sight tormented Frankenstein who was set to be married to his true love Elizabeth.  Even this joy is being taken away as The Monster wants his soon to be wife for his own.  When Frankenstein refuses and lies to The Monster, it goes in a rage and attacks its creator! The only thing that saves him is when the Monster gets a look at himself in the mirror and its own sight saddens it and causes him to flee into the night. The Monster returns on Frankenstein’s wedding night and attacks his bride Elizabeth.  This causes a huge fight between the Monster and its creator that leaves The Monster trapped inside a mirror and Frankenstein begging for forgiveness from God, his wife and The Monster! In the end Frankenstein lives happily with his wife, and The Monster is nothing now but a terrible memory.

This comic is pretty much just a more detailed version of the film and is what a comic adaptation should be! The film is told via the words of Frankenstein’s diary and this helps preserve the silent film feel and helps add to the raw emotion of his horrific experience. Victor Frankenstein is a likable guy in this comic, and while at one point his ego to create man takes over his soul, it’s the fact he knows he did wrong and wants to fix it when he see’s the terrible monster he has made. The Monster is a mean spirited evil twisted person who loves to frighten and push around Frankenstein because he can. The fact that The Monster wants to take and do foul things to Frankenstein’s wife shows just how untrustworthy this “man” is. The symbolism of the Monster being trapped in the mirror, and Victor looking at his own reflection and seeing the Monster is a nice way to show that we all have a monster in us and only when we take notice of this will we learn to control it. The comic is 40 pages long, and the rest of the issue is filled with some bios of those involved in making the film as well as the comic. The art of Robb Bihun is simply amazing and his drawings of The Monster are top notch horror comic stuff.  In fact, his style reminds me slightly of the artwork of Bernie Wrightson who did top notch Frankenstein art in 1983. This is a great read, and I would recommend it to those who love Frankenstein and his Monster.  I would also suggest giving it a read while you listen to the score done by Life Toward Twilight! 

Edisons Frankenstein Comic Art

I have loved the story and films based on The Frankenstein Monster for as long as I can remember and reading this well made comic was one of the highlights of doing this blog so far.  That is why the next update is going to be another A-Lister as I take a look at the one and only Return Of The Werewolf two issue comic series based on the Paul Naschy werewolf films! You long time readers will remember that I talked about this comic during the Dark Horse Pumpkinhead comic review, and thanks to some friends, I was able to get my hands on copies and will take a look not only at the comics but also the films that inspired the comic…so be here next update for a howling good time! Until then don’t create a monster and don’t go out in a full moon, and enjoy an episode of your local horror host and read a comic or three!

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