From Horror Western Movie To Horror Western Comic: Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

Nature can be scary as we have talked about here before on Rotten Ink with my updates on that subject like “Final Plague” and “Giant Spider Invasion” and with this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update we are going to take a look at something in that genre and yet a little different. The film and comic we are going to be taking a look at is Night Of The Grizzly, a hybrid of Western, Adventure with a dash of Horror movie that as back in the late 1960’s got the DELL movie adaptation treatment. So I know many of you readers right now are scratching your head and saying, “Night Of The Grizzly is not a Horror Movie,” and for the most part you are correct, but I and others do feel that it at least has Horror Movie elements that tie into Nature Runs Amok Horror films like Grizzly, Night Of The Lupus, Day Of The Animals, Frogs and The Birds to name a few. So let’s travel to the old frontier and watch out for ragging grizzly bears as we take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Night Of The Grizzly.*

*Note From Matt: It’s got Horror elements…sort of….just roll with it and have fun reading this update.

Satan The Grizzly Bear is this film’s main killing machine, and I think we should take a look at what makes him so dangerous and deadly. Satan is a massive brown furred grizzly bear who has a killer instinct and not only kills for food, but also kills for the fun of it. Satan loves to kill and almost seems to take joy in taking the lives of animals and humans alike. To kill, Satan has multiple tools of death like his razor sharp teeth and claws that he can use to shred and mangle flesh. Satan can also use his massive size and weight to his advantage, plus his size and look also helps strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Satan is also smart for an animal and can use his brains to trick and sneak up on his kill. Not to even mention that Satan is strong, fast and can take lots of damage from guns. Satan also is very vindictive, and once he has his prey’s scent, he goes after them and all they love until they are dead. But while Satan is one tough grizzly, he still is a living animal and can be hurt and killed by bullets, fire, massive falls and stabbing. His downfall comes with a ton of bullets from a rife and even being stabbed! So as you can see, Satan is one tough animal who might not be supernatural, he just is mean as all hell with a thirst for death.

Now that we have learned how the Grizzly named Satan deals with humans and fellow animals, I feel it’s time to take a look at the film he killed in! For this update I will be taking the films write up from our friends at IMDB, and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about it. So if you are ready, let’s see what the night brings the grizzly.

The Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

“Marshal “Big Jim” Cole turns in his badge and heads to Wyoming with his family in order to settle on some land left him by a relative. He faces opposition from a neighbor who wants that land for his own sons, and from a grizzly bear, nicknamed “Satan”, who keeps killing Cole’s livestock.”

In the 1960’s both Westerns and Horror Movies were profitable at Drive-In Theaters, and moviegoers could not get enough. And Paramount Pictures decided to slyly blend the two with a film called The Night Of The Grizzly that was about a former lawman rancher who has issues with his property thanks to some troublesome folks who want his land and for good measure they also threw in a convict he arrested years back, and the icing on the cake and the true Horror element of the film is the giant grizzly bear that is tormenting the ranches by killing folks as well as livestock. The script was written by Warren Douglas, and Joseph Pevney was hired to direct, who was known for directing films like “The Strange Door” and “Man Of A Thousand Faces (1957)” not to mention that Leith Stevens was brought in to score the film. When it came to casting the film, the main role of Big Jim went to Clint Walker with Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn and Candy Moore rounding out some of the cast. The film did pretty well for Paramount at the cinema and over all the film also did well with most critics and movie watchers. When released it was alongside other genre films like Manos The Hands Of Fate, War Of The Gargantuas, The Brides Of Fu Manchu, The Ghost And Mr. Chicken and Africa Blood & Guts to name a few. If you like animal attack films as well as westerns give Night Of The Grizzly a watch.

Night Of The Grizzly is a movie I can remember that used to play on cable network station TBS a lot when I was a young kid growing up,  and I can remember watching it once or twice as I had always been fascinated with Grizzly Bears as I find them both amazing and terrifying as they really are massive meat eating killing machines! But to be honest, I didn’t remember a thing about it besides it was a bear attack film. So when gearing up for this review, I ordered a DVD of it from Amazon and on a cold night in October I gave it a watch…and man this is a fun film for those who enjoy westerns with some comedy elements as well as a dash of horror when Satan the grizzly is on screen. I can say it’s a pretty fun film if you like the 60’s style western films. I think what works the best for this film is just how good Clint Walker is as Big Jim and just how strangely powerful the Grizzly is. Plus as a person who thinks big old Grizzly Bears are scary, this movie does a great job of showing just how massive and blood thirsty they can be. Over all it’s a good little film that I can remember watching as a kid and enjoying more as an adult.

So as you can see, Satan is one mean killing machine grizzly bear who also seems to have some sort of supernatural healing power! We also know that the film only has a tiny, small amount of Horror…but that tiny amount is truly Satan! But let’s get past the question whether this has Horror elements or if it just a normal western adventure and take a look at the Dell Comic Adaptation. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to also thank Ebay for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. So with that let’s head to the ranch and try not to be eaten alive by Satan.

The Night Of The Grizzly # 612  ***
Released in 1966   Cover Price .12   DELL     #612 of ???

Big Jim Cole is a retired sheriff whose grandfather left him a ranch in his will, so along with his wife, daughter, niece and family friend Sam, they want to start a new life of being ranchers so Jim can leave the dangerous life of the law behind. Once at the ranch they settle in and start to clean up the old house and get animals ready for stock, but late one night, Jim’s bull is killed by Satan a grizzly bear that has tormented the countryside. Jim even shots Satan who shrugs off the wound and flees into the woods. The next day Jim trades in some of his former law goods to get a loan, but this would be his last loan as Jed Curry, the ranch’s former owner is rich and owns the largest part of the banks and wants his land back from the Coles. Jim and old Sam head to the woods to hunt Satan who sneaks up on them, and Jim is able to fire a few shots into the beast before the men have to run for their lives. Months pass, and the Coles are doing very well and the town seems to have really warmed up to them, and even better, no one has seen Satan for awhile, that is until the Cole Family gets home and all their livestock and chickens have been killed by the murderous bear. The next day, Jim Cole has to get a loan to buy new animals and has to make a deal with Jed Curry who makes him place his land as collateral, and Curry also puts a large bounty on the head of Satan as the bear killed many farmers’ animals that night. Jim and Sam take the bounty, but so does Cass Dowdy, a man that Jim put in jail for two years and has a chip on his shoulder, and Jeb offers Cass a thousand dollars if he can kill Satan before Jim does. Once home Jim and Sam set traps for Satan and head out to kill the beast, but once more the grizzly gets the jump on them and attacks and leaves Sam dead. And after the funeral, Jim is even more set to kill the bear as his wife is pushing for them to just sell the farm and leave the farm as she is worried Cass or Satan is going to kill her husband. The next day Jim sets out and finds all his traps have been messed with and gets into a fight with Cass, and this fight sparks a huge fight with his wife who threatens to leave…his son overhears the fight and that night sneaks out to kill Satan and he does not return by the next day. Jim sets out to find his son and once more runs into Cass, and the pair are mad but work together to save Jim’s Son and in the end Cass dies protecting the young kid. Jim kills Satan and gets the reward and saves the farm.

This adaptation does a pretty good job of bringing the film alive on comic pages, and while it cuts massive parts of the film as well as characters out, this helps the comic’s pacing. To be honest, the comic cuts all the comedy and goofy moments out, and this comic really does play more like a Nature Runs Amok Horror Movie like Grizzly. The plot follows a former lawman and his family who want to settle down and become farmers but they have so many issues as they must face a killing machine grizzly bear, a greedy rich land owner and even a bounty hunter from their past. Our hero is Big Jim Cole, a man who loves his family and wants to leave the dangerous world of being a lawman to become a farmer and family man, but because of his past he also will not back down when faced with bad odds! He is a tough man who truly is a hero that will remind you of all the classic western heroes you seen in movies and on TV. The Cole family as well are just good people as is Sam, who is an old man who would do anything for them. Jed Curry is a scumbag who throws his power and money around as he thinks these things will get him what ever he wants…he really is a bad person. Cass Curry is a former convict turned bounty hunter who has a grudge with Jim Cole who was the man who put him away, but while a tough guy, he still has a heart as he sacrifices his own life to save a young boys. Satan, the grizzly bear, is pure evil as he kills just to kill and seems to also keep grudges against those who have tried to stop him from his murdering ways. The comic has no blood and guts but does have two kills of humans and the deaths of some farm animals. The cover is great and has a Horror look to it, and the interior art is done by an un-credited artist and is pretty solid classic Dell comic art. Over all this is a great read and worth the pick for fans of Dell movie adaptation. Check out the artwork below.

So as you can see, Night Of The Grizzly is a weird hybrid of multiple genres and delivered one entertaining comic book. Again, this one is up for debate on whether it’s a horror movie or not, and over all I am not sure myself as I do feel it has elements but they are very slim and are mostly just when the killer bear is on the screen. But I will leave it up to you, my readers, to make up your own mind. For the next update we are leaving the Cole Ranch and will be traveling the greater Dayton area in search of the best fried chicken in the land. So until next time, readers and friends read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a deep fried good time.fried-chicken-1000x498

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Killdozer!

Back in the 70’s and 80’s made for TV films were very popular and were the networks’ way of trying to keep viewers staying at home instead of heading to their local cinemas. And in 1974, thanks to ABC a Horror/Science Fiction hybrid film based on an old 1940’s novel was unleashed on viewers and sparked a cult following…that film is Killdozer! This made for TV movie not only got the comic book adaptation treatment from Marvel Comics but also has been talked about in TV shows like Beavis And Butt-Head, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Tonight Show as well as in the film Planet Terror. In fact, some people think that the real life rampage of Marvin Heemeyer, who used a bulldozer to cause panic and destruction in Colorado, was inspired by this film and even the media used the name Killdozer when covering the tragically ending event. So as you can see, this film really has become a cult film and is the newest entry in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So put on your hardhat, as Killdozer is ready to strike fear into our hearts and souls!

Before we get to the film and the comic, we must first get to know and understand our “monster.” Killdozer started out as a normal giant bulldozer that was doing work on an island. It makes the mistake of trying to remove a metallic rock that fell from space, and in turn, the alien rock takes over the bulldozer and turns it into a human killing machine that runs on its own and seems to have a mind as well with one goal, to kill. Killdozer does not talk, does not listen to reason, and almost seems to like to stalk its human prey before going for the kill. Killdozer’s power came from the rock that fell from space and not much is known about its full power and whether the glowing blue life force that left the rock to enter the bulldozer was indeed a living being. Killdozer pretty much ruled the small island it was on and used much of the environment against the humans. Killdozer is massive in size, and his main tools for killing are its large blade plate with its other tools of death being its continuous track that can run over and crush as well as its ripper that can shred human flesh. Killdozer can withstand fire and explosives and even can keep moving without fuel. But while Killdozer might seem unstoppable, it does have some weaknesses like it can be tricked and out maneuvered as it is slower moving, and it as well does not like electricity. So while Killdozer can be stopped, it will take lots of will to live and strategy to do so, and while only a machine with a mind of it’s own, it still is a killing machine that humans should be afraid of.

So as you can see Killdozer! is a several ton terror that is driven by unknown powers from space and almost seems like it could be a prequel character to the Stephen King story and movie Maximum Overdrive! Now we are at the point where we will take a look at the film and its legacy as well as my first time viewing of the film. The movie’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB, and the rest will be written of course by me. So let’s take a look at the film that was inspired by a book that sparked a comic.

Killdozer! (1974)

“Construction workers building an airstrip on a small Pacific Island encounter an ancient non-material lifeform which has lived in the ruins of an ancient temple for millenia. The entity is of course malevolent and commandeers the earthmoving equipment to the general detriment of all concerned.”

Killdozer started out as a novel by Theodore Sturgeon and was released in 1944. Thirty years later, ABC along with Universal Television developed a made for TV movie based on the book in order to scare viewers and keep them from going to the cinema to watch a horror film. The film premiered on February 2, 1974 on ABC and was met with mixed reviews by critics and viewers. It would be many years before Killdozer! made its way to home video when Universal, through their DVD-R on demand service called The Vault, released it. Killdozer! It was released on TV the same year as these other Horror Films scared viewers on the big screen: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, The Bat People, The Ghost Galleon and It’s Alive, to name a few.

I watched Killdozer! for the first time on January 16, 2018 via the Universal Vault DVD-R release…and I must say that while it’s was nothing too special, it had a fun early 70’s cheesy horror film feel to it and was very entertaining. What worked for this movie was the atmosphere as it was set on a very small island that gave our contract workers a very small area to hide in from the killing machine. The film starred Clint Walker who was in other made for TV Horror movies like Scream Of The Wolf and Snowbeast. It co-starred Neville Brand, who was in a number of Horror Films that include the 1977 Tobe Hooper film Eaten Alive, and they, along with the rest of the cast, do a great job pulling off that they are scared of a killer bulldozer. Another thing that shocked me is how good the score for the film was as it added to the over all Sci-Fi and cheesy nature of the film and was done by Gil Melle, who did scores for such other films as The Sentinel, Blood Beach, Frankenstein: The True Story and Death Scream, to name a few. Over all I must say that if you enjoy movies that have machines that running wild and try to kill every living person they see, then Killdozer! is one you will want to watch. I should also note that this film is bloodless, and all the deaths do not show harm coming to the characters.

Killdozer! found itself getting the comic book treatment the same year as the film aired on TV thanks to Marvel Comics and their series called Worlds Unknown that features cool science fiction and horror stories in every issue.  They have covered the likes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, to name a select few. And for issue 6, they adapted Killdozer! and even played up the fact it was also a made for TV Movie! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for this review. So before we frightfully dive into this comic, I need to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s travel into the comic world and see what kind of mayhem Killdozer! has in store for us.

Worlds Unknown # 6  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 8

A war in space that took place long before our written time caused a killer cloud that took over machines and made them act as if they had a mind of their own. And during this battle, one of these machines was blown out of space, and it fell to Earth on an island where it remained for many centuries! Tom Jaeger and six of his workers are dropped off on the island a billion years after the cloud has fallen, in order to make a landing strip for the air force in three weeks. One of the workers finds a temple and after hitting it with his bulldozer, he unleashes the cloud that takes the machine over and kills the worker driving it and turns its attention toward Tom who does his best to shut the machine down. The bulldozer does not stop there and targets and kills two more of his crew, causes Tom’s own workers to think maybe he is the one doing the killing. But once the Bulldozer goes on a rampage again, Tom and his worker Chub figure out a plan to stop it once and for all by making it enter the water and then electrocuting it! As they set their plan into motion, Al the other living crew member tries to sell out his fellow man, but if does not work as Tom’s plan kills the Killdozer.  He and Chub then watch as Al loses his mind.

Marvel Comics tried to take the novel and movie based on Killdozer and make a comic adaptation of them, and sadly, after reading it, they fell a little short. The plot is about seven construction workers on an island who become the target of a killer bulldozer that has been taken over by a cloud alien from outer space, and the humans must stay strong and together in order to stop the dozers killing rampage. The story has elements of the film as well as some of the novel and blends them together to sadly make a mediocre horror comic that does not pack any major chills and all the kills happen off panel. While it is only mediocre, it still is a fun read and it’s very cool to see Killdozer itself as a comic character. I do enjoy that in this comic Tom’s crew start to turn on him and wonder if he is the one killing them off until they finally see the Killdozer roaming around on its own. I also liked the idea of a temple being built around the cloud from an ancient civilization in order to keep it prisoner. The downside to this comic is none of the characters are that likable nor do we really get to know them at all. The pacing is fast and yet still pretty lackluster. Tom is a focused man who tries his best to warn his crew of the Killdozer! and Al is a coward who is willing to throw his fellow man under the dozer in order to save his own butt! The rest of the crew members are throwaway characters who are all manner of generic. The cover to this issue is very eye catching and showcases Killdozer about to kill. The comic interior art is done by Dick Ayers and is well done and has that classic 70’s Marvel look. Over all, this was a fun read and is a cool comic for fans of the film or novel of Killdozer but is not what I would called a must read for Horror Comic readers. Check out the art below to see Killdozer in all its Marvel Comics glory!

So while Killdozer did not set the comic world on fire, it was still very cool to see a comic based on a made for TV horror film. And while Killdozer has a very small cult following, it still made its mark in the world of Horror Films and Horror Comics, no matter how small the mark is. My next update will be about another DC Comic Superhero that I feel is very under used, and that’s Hawkman! 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 next time for our flying adventure with Hawkman.