From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Ju-On

Some of the creepiest Supernatural Horror Movies are made in Japan, and for me the top two mainstream best series have to be Tomie and Ju-on with the latter being the subject of this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update in honor of the new Grudge film hitting cinemas this very month here in the USA! For those who are wondering, the Ju-on films here in the US are remade and called The Grudge and both series are very popular in their home countries, and I for one cannot wait to see what this new film in the series has to offer us American Horror fans. But for this update we will only be focusing on the film Ju-on and the Dark Horse Manga releases based on it! So if you’re ready, let’s travel to Japan and enter a cursed house and enter the creepy world of Ju-on.

We must first learn about Kayako Saeki, the supernatural ghost from the Ju-on movies and her ways of killing off humans dumb enough to cross her path. Kayako Saeki was a wife and mother who was murdered by her husband in their home, and her now vengeful spirit haunts all those foolish enough to enter the house where the killing took place. Kayako has many ways of dealing death to those she has cursed that include using her look to strike fear in the hearts of those who gaze upon her. She also can use the spirit of her deceased son as well as a black cat to lure people into her cold grip. She can also play mind games and cause her victims to see things. Kayako is very cold blooded and does not think twice about ending a human life. She is pure supernatural and for the most part an evil spirit who has no emotions and no remorse, she also uses her weird noises and appearance to terrify her human targets. Kayako Saeki is a spirit that seems to not have a weakness and her power comes from the house she was killed in as well as her sadness and want for revenge. I would say that Kayako Saeki could be one of the most dangerous killers we have looked at here on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update only rivaled by maybe the likes of Godzilla, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is super dangerous and one heck of a movie villain who while sinister also has a touch of sadness to her.

So as you can see, Kayako Saeki is one evil spirit that appears can not be stopped! But now that we have taken a look at the killer, we should now take a look at the movie she is from. I want to say that I will be taking the film’s write up from out friends at IMDB and it will be followed by my write up about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on it. So if you are ready, let’s enter the cursed home of Kayako Saeki and see what Ju-On is all about.

JU-ON (2002)

“In Japan, when the volunteer social assistant Rika Nishina is assigned to visit a family, she is cursed and chased by two revengeful fiends: Kayako, a woman brutally murdered by her husband and her son Toshio. Each person that lives in or visits the haunted house is murdered or disappears.”

Director Takashi Shimizu created a Horror Movie series in Japan that started with the direct to video film “Katasumi and 4444444444” in 1998 and was followed by “Ju-On: The Curse” in 2000 that as well went direct to video as did its sequel “Ju-On: The Curse 2” that was also released in 2000. In 2002, the series would get its first theatrical release with “Ju-on: The Grudge” and this would set the course for this highly popular series as the film was a success at the Japanese box office as well as had a small US run that did pretty well. And like any good Horror Movie, this loaded up on sequels that included “Ju-On: The Grudge 2” released in 2003 and in 2009 both “Ju-On: Black Ghost” & “Ju-On: White Ghost” were unleashed. In 2014 the next film “Ju-On: The Beginning Of The End” was released with the 2015 film “Ju-On: The Final Curse” following. And so far the final film in the original series, “Sadako vs. Kayako” that pitted our series main star Kayako against the evil spirit Sadako from the Ringu series. And then in America a remake series was made that started in 2004 with “The Grudge” that sparked two sequels, and this year (2020) a reboot has been released. When this film was released in 2002, it did well at the Japanese Box Office and brought in $500 million yen and even did over $3 million worldwide! The year it was released, it was joined by such other Horror Films as The Ring, 28 Days Later, Cabin Fever, Halloween: Resurrection, Red Dragon, Spliced, Wishmaster: The Prophecy and Hellraiser: Hellseeker to name a few. So as you can see, this series is very important to the history of foreign Horror and will go down as one of the better series of supernatural Japanese Horror Movies.

I first saw Ju-on on DVD when Lions Gate released it to try and cash in on the popularity of the American remake. I was home alone when I popped the DVD in and I can remember outside the sky was dark as rain poured down and could be heard hitting the widows as the wind was blowing hard. I remember pouring myself a big glass of soda and turning off all the lights to make the room even darker. This atmosphere made the film’s creepy moments even more creepy, and the scenes when Kayako would crawl down the stairs really did send shivers down my spine and my skin crawl! And at that moment I 100% realized that the original version was the better version and that the US remake tried to capture the spooky nature of the Japanese film but could not lock it fully. I first saw The Grudge, and while it was good, it paled in the comparison to Ju-on! I have watched the film a few times, and each time I find myself enjoying it more and more, this film is the perfect mix of Haunted House and Supernatural Horror and is a must see for fans who love Japanese Horror. Oh and over the years I have had many friends of mine who are into Horror that say this is one of their Top 20 Favorite foreign Horror Flicks. If you have never seen Ju-On, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So as you can see, this film and character Kayako Saeki are very iconic in the world of Horror Movies as they have left their creepy mark on it. Now it’s time to take a look at the Manga inspired by it. So I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Amazon for having these books in stock and making this update possible. So if you are ready, let’s enter this cursed house and see what Kayako have in store for us.

Ju-On # 1  ***
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 1 of 2

Kayako Saeki is a woman who finds herself being stabbed to death by her husband who later turns his sights to his young son as well. This crime was so brutal it sends shivers down the spines of those who walk past the home it took place in years later. Mizuho is a young lady whose father was a realtor who was brutally murdered after selling the old Saeki house, and worse, the people who bought the house is Tsuyoshi, the grieving girl’s new boyfriend and his family! The delivery guys who deliver the family’s belongings even have an accident and die horribly thanks to the spirit of the murdered young boy of the house. The family also had to hire a tutor for daughter Kanna, who is a mean spirited young woman who seems to get joy in being mean to her mother and bothering her brother, but when the family all have to rush out of the house for errands, the tutor is left in the house alone and she becomes the next to meet her maker thanks to the ghosts. As Mizuho and Tsuyoshi are at baseball practice, sister Kanna is at the park with her friend and she becomes the next victim as a pack of wild cats shred her and even remove her bottom jaw, and the young girl before dying walks home and dies in front of her mother. Meanwhile something strange is going on as Tsuyoshi seems to be stuck in the school and Mizuho who is waiting for him is growing more and more worried. Meanwhile the father is at work and remembers back to when he was told the house he just moved his family into has a bad vibe and almost a curse, and after thinking about what he was told he heads home. Meanwhile the ghost of the murdered son is now at the school, and after Mizuho finds and frees Tsuyoshi from the locked baseball clubhouse, the ghost child stars to follow them, and lucky for the teens Mizuho’s psychic aunt Kyoko appears and the spirit leaves…but she warns her niece and Tsuyoshi that they need to get away as fast as they can. Kyoko does what she can and faces Kayako Saeki who in turn kills the aunt and then also possesses Tsuyoshi who then beats Mizuho to death with a baseball bat. Meanwhile back at the house, the father arrives to find his own wife cutting herself up causing her death, and he himself is left with nothing but a house that holds a grudge.

Ju-On is a great Horror Manga read that tells a twisted story of a family who buys a new home, and they and those who are around them being brutally killed by the spirits of a mom and her son that were murdered in the house they have bought! Mizuho is the main character, and she is a sweet young woman who loves her boyfriend as he and his family has been there for her after the killing of her father. She is very loyal to those she loves and she also is fearless as she wants to save all those she can when the bad starts going down. And because she comes off as such a normal and loving person, her brutal killing makes a big impact on me the reader. Her boyfriend Tsuyoshi is a hotheaded young man, but clearly cares about his girlfriend and her family and stands his ground to protect her from evil, but sadly he is also the one used to possess and forced to bash his love to death with a bat! The other character I really liked in this manga was Aunt Kyoko, who can see dead people and talk to them and tried to warn Tsuyoshi’s family not to move into that house, and even gives her own life to try and save that of her niece. The rest of the characters do a great job of pushing the story along and adding a little of all types of personalities to the story. Kayako Saeki and her son are pretty evil and yet sad spirits as they are part of a curse that they seem to want to escape from, but when they kill, they kill very brutally and painfully. This manga is packed with a few creepy scares of Kayako Saeki lurking in places and does have lots of blood and gore with one of my favorite kills being the death of Mizuho as the panels of blood, her broken body and the bloody bat is pretty great Horror Comic stuff. The over all creepy feel of this manga is high, and I read this during the fall around Halloween and it helped add to my season. The cover for this manga is pretty cool and has that Japanese horror look, the interior art is pretty great if you like the manga style. Over all this is a solid read and while it lacks some of the more creepy elements of the film, this takes a great look at the cursed house and the spirits that live in it. So let’s see what the second manga has in store for us!

Ju-On # 2  **1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $9.95   Dark Horse   # 2 of 2

Years have passed and horror actress Kyoko Harase is appearing on the TV Show hosted by Tomoka Miura. They go to the cursed house to talk about the murders and the curse surrounding it. Kyoko is a picks up on the bad vibes of the house once she is near it, but besides a loud noise picked up on the boom microphone, there’s nothing. After the shoot Kyoko and her boyfriend are driving and talking about her acting career as well as their up coming child! Meanwhile the host Tomoka and her boyfriend find themselves the victim of the curse, and they are hung from their ceiling and other TV Crew members find themselves being targeted for death. While driving Kyoko’s boyfriend loses control of the car, thanks to the ghost child that leaves him in bad shape at the hospital and Kyoko also lose her unborn baby…or does she. Things get worse for Kyoko when her mother as well passes away due to the curse, he boyfriend finally awakens from his coma and seems off, she gets the news that the baby is going to be alright and the TV Show producer visits her and informs her about the deaths of those who filmed the show. And after hearing all this, she has a vision of the murders in the house and this sparks her to go into labor…and she gives birth to the evil Kayako Saeki who kills all the doctors and everyone around.

In this second installment a pregnant horror film actress who is about to walk away from acting takes a gig on a TV Show about haunted locations and makes the mistake of entering the old Saeki house and cursing not only herself but also those close to her. The plot of an actress who is known for her horror movie performances is pretty cool when you take a cursed trip with her as she not only has to deal with the evils of Kayako Saeki but also that of her own life and choices. Kyoko Harase really is a good character and as a reader I found myself cheering for her to make it through and survive the curse. The TV production team befriend the actress, but sadly all pay the price of entering the Saeki house with their lives. And her boyfriend is a goof who loses control of their car while driving fast and crashes causing himself to go into a coma and later just wake up to be killed by the curse. Kayako Saeki once more is evil and seems to get more enjoyment in this second manga as she kills with no remorse and targets anyone in her sight. The issue has some great kills and does deliver blood and some gore with the issue’s best death being the murder of the reporter and her boyfriend as their hanging bodies are pretty creepy in panels. I would say that I very much did enjoy this issue, but did find it a little less creepy than the first and at times kind of felt like it was filled with lots of flashback filler and storylines that go nowhere like the fact all of Kyoko Harase’s family only have females when having a baby. The cover for this issue is pretty great and does capture the mood of Ju-On, and the interior art is solid and your typical manga style. Over all if you like the Ju-On movie series, like Japanese horror or just want to check out a creepy manga series I would say give these two a read as I think you might enjoy them. Check out the art below as I think it’s my favorite piece of art from it.

For me, both the movie and manga series of Ju-On are solid and show that creepy cursed ghosts have always been scary. I also hope that this update helped set the mood for you to go see the newest Grudge movie at your local cinema, as if you are like me I always go to the theater to watch the newest Horror Movie. But for our next update we are leaving behind the cursed house of Kayako Saeki and heading to space as we travel with the crew of the Enterprise to search for Spock…that’s right I will be covering Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and the DC Comics adaptation. So until next time avoid cursed houses, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh and remember to bring a flashlight for the next update as who knows were we will find Spock.

The Undead Panic Beats Of Alaric de Marnac!

It’s October, the time of the year when the wind blows cold and a chill is in the air.  For me, this month belongs to Halloween, horror films, horror hosts and of course one good scare. Being scared is thrilling and gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing.  I can remember one time when I was a teenager, my friend Kevin and I went to a local cemetery late at night during October.  The wind was blowing, and it was very chilly as we were walking around we were talking about film ideas and even exchanging ghost stories.  The cemetery was pitch black as we walked deeper in with ideas of vampire and werewolf films echoing among the tombstones. As we reached the center, a loud clang was heard and it sounded like metal hitting metal.  I was startled, and as I turned around to ask Kevin what that noise was, I saw a shadow and a dust cloud as he was so scared he was running at full speed back to the car.  Even though I figured out it was just the flag pole making the noise in the wind, he wanted to leave. This experience also made me think of the old ghost story of the woman who used the letter opener to stab the ground in the graveyard and by accident pinned her own dress to the ground.  She became so scared that an undead force had her, she died of fright! And that brings me to this update based on the Paul Naschy film Panic Beats that is about fear, revenge and a curse and also brings up the question, could someone die from fear? So hopefully you have nerves of steel as we take a look at Panic Beats, fear and other spooky and weird things on this October update!Fear of Death

Fear is defined as “to be afraid of (something or someone), to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant) and to be afraid and worried” by Webster, and I think that at some time in our life we have all tasted fear in some way or another.  Whether it’s a fear of animals or even death itself, fear has placed its cold grip on us all. When I was a youngster, being a total dumb kid and on a dare from friend Brad Burns, I poked a nest of hornets with a baseball bat and paid the price as they chased me across the street to my home stinging and biting me all the way! Needless to say, for many years after I had a very strong dislike for bees, wasps and hornets as when they would fly at me the fear of being stung would creep into my brain.  Of course now as an adult I have come to peace with them as I realized I was the butthead in that attack and was the one who provoked that stinging frenzy. Growing up, my mom was afraid of dogs and pigs as she grew up around them and saw the mean side of them.  My brother Bryan was scared of a ventriloquist dummy named Willy Talk when he was younger,  My cousin Stephen was scared of dolls like Chucky.  My friend Jason Young feared death for a short while as we all do, and my girlfriend Juliet was scared of the thought of her home catching fire and this gave her some sleepless nights for sure.  So as you can see, fear has even gotten to those close to me! So what did or do you fear?

mean hornet

This all makes me wonder if anyone has 100% truly died of fear as we have all heard the terms “you scared me to death” and “scared to death,” and the answer is yes! You see many people have died from fear during crimes, earthquakes and other natural disasters people’s hearts have stopped from fear and being overly charged with it! You can also die from any major emotional rush like even cheering for your favorite sport teams or being so hyped playing a video game! While this is not super common, it can happen and makes one wonder has anyone every been scared to death by a Halloween prank? So I did some deep searching on the web to try and find a case, and to my shock I could not.  I found cases where pranks on Halloween went wrong and led to the death of someone like accidental hangings and such and uncovered cases of people who died of fear as they were going to be executed via firing squad, but nothing solid to say someone died of fear from a prank pulled on Halloween. But for all you pranksters out there who like to pull a good rib on Halloween as well as you sports fans cheering for your favorite team, think twice before you do so because who knows, a sudden death might await you!

2 skulls scared to death

I can recount one time in the fall that I got a cold shiver up my spine while at a local cemetery called Beavertown Cemetery in Kettering.  You see Josh Weinberg and I were in the cemetery scouting it out for the purpose of maybe using it for a zombie flick I had written called “Stairway to Heaven” that followed a small town during a zombie outbreak.  We had shot some test footage at a cemetery in Beavercreek and liked what we saw but wanted to find an alternative just in case as a road was really close to that one and we wanted more of a quiet location like the Kettering one. I knew Beavertown Cemetery well as it had been the location for press pictures for my film Werewolf of Ohio 2 and was a place I use to take my girlfriend Misty to make out so. As we were wandering around, I was near a tombstone that was as tall as me as I stand 6 ‘ 2 “ and the name I saw was Sarah Houston.  As I got closer, I heard a knock. I was taken back as the knock sounded as if it was coming from the tombstone itself! I called for Josh who came over and as well heard the knocking that was coming about 15-20 seconds apart.  We stood around for a few minutes listening to the knocks and even returned the knocks on the tombstone, but as quickly and as mysteriously as they started, the knocking stopped. Josh and I tried our best to figure out what the knocking noise was as I am sure it was not a spirit or at least I don’t think it was! But the pure emotion of that whole situation was something amazing as it sent shivers down my spine but also made me feel alive and full of wonder. That grave and that experience even made me write a short film script called Sarah’s Grave about a man who lost his girlfriend in a car wreck and by a miracle she is able to come back to him for one day before having to return to her eternal slumber. It’s been many years since I went back to visit that grave and from what I have heard some scum bag Kettering d-bags decided it would be fun to tip over and break tombstones, and it appears as if Sarah’s grave was one of these buttheads targets. I am by no means saying that the knocking was that of the undead, but I am also not 100% ruling it out all I can really say is that it was a fun experience that made that year’s Halloween a little more spooky and added to the season for sure. I should also note that the knocking only happened that one time, and Josh and I went back several times after at all times of the day and never heard it again. Below is a picture we took of Sarah’s Grave as it appeared in 1999, the year of the knocking.Sarahs Grave

A murder took place on August 1st 2015 at 5:46 am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one that shocked not only the world but also the internet as the lovable hitchhiking robot named hitchBOT was decapitated, arms dismembered and left like trash on the side of the road. A video of the attack was posted, but many think it was a hoax to gain hits to the website that posted it.  But one thing is for sure, someone brutally killed that poor little robot and even stole all the wires from his body and it looks like he might be beyond repair. For those who don’t know, hitchBOT was made by Canadian team David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, and was a robot with a plastic beer bucket body, pool noodle arms & legs with gloves and boots on, with a cake saver head with a display screen face that smiled and talked to those who were nice enough to give him a ride or even pass him by on his journey. On his adventures he made it across Canada, parts of Germany as well as Europe! He went to weddings, baseball games, comic conventions and landmarks all the while documenting it via his website and Instagram account.  In other words, he was enjoying the interaction with strangers. It’s clear as day that whomever killed hitchBOT was a real lowlife scum bag kind of like the people who broke tombstones in Beavertown Cemetery and destroyed it because they didn’t understand him and probably wanted to steal his wiring to sale for scrap.  Total scummy and is sad that one/several lowlifes did this and gave America a bad name as it looks as if we have to destroy things that are here for fun. I hope that someday the freak(s) who did this is found so at least we can get an answer to why hitchBOT was killed and see if they have any remorse for what they have done.  Who knows if the poor little hitchBOT will be repaired and continue his journey as only time will tell. All silliness aside, it does really stink that hitchBOT was destroyed as I would have loved to have taken him around Ohio to visit Waynesville, Frankenstein’s Tower, Fifth Third Field, Game Swap Kettering, King’s Island and of course have him in a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre with Baron Von Porkchop! Here is to you hitchBOT, may your journey to the robot other world be a peaceful one, and to your creators, I am sorry that he meet his fate this way in our great country. Below are some pics of hitchBOT, but be warned, one is of his murder scene.

hitchBOT 1hitchBOT deadhitchBOT 2

But let’s move away from knocking tombstones and murdered robots and talk about something wicked that’s coming your way via your local comic shop! As I am sure you readers know, I am a huge fan of horror comics as well as independent horror films, and I am super hyped for a new comic mini series that’s in the works called We Kill The Dead that combines them together for what’s for sure to be a bloody good read. The mastermind behind this series is John Lepper, who also runs a horror website called The Blood Shed and grew up watching slasher flicks and became hooked when his dad showed him Halloween when he was a teen, with art done by Bryan Revell. The series will follow Joanna, a young woman who joins an elite group of soldiers who go after unstoppable killers called Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau lead by Nathan Scrimm who are on the trail of a resurrected Jack The Ripper and his undead slasher army! Sounds like lots of fun right? Well the most kick-ass part about this series will be that it will feature cameos from slashers from independent horror films! You will see the likes of Thorn from Legacy of Thorn, The Dollman from Methodic, Gurdy The Clown from 100 Tears, Porkchop from Porkchop, The Black Knight from Dead of Knight, The Bowling Bag Killer from Gutterballs, Billy from Billy Club, Dorchester Stewart from Crinoline Head, Bonesetter from The Bonesetter, Jonah from Jonah Lives!, Verden Fell from Frightworld, Jack-O from Jack-O, Stitches The Clown from Stitches, Blood Widow from Blood Widow, Mary Hatchet from Blood Night The Legend of Mary Hatchet, Charlie from High Beams: The Break In, Jimmy Fisher from Evil Night, and I am proud to say my own low budget slasher The Sadness will be slashing his way into the action! Plus he has one huge name he can not announce yet and who knows if more will be added! I am really proud to say that I helped with this comic’s Kickstarter and am looking forward to reading the issue and seeing not only The Sadness as well as the other slashers but also myself! You see I am going to be a member of the Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau as I am super hyped to have chosen that perk and can’t wait for you all to see what slasher waits me in combat. I already know, but I’m not telling as once this series is done we will have a major update about it. When the comic is done make sure to ask your local comic shops to contact The Blood Shed website and order some for you and fellow shoppers. The other thing that I can’t wait for is to see what other twisted horror comic tales are coming out via Lepper’s mind as I am sure they will be amazing. Plus it’s nice to see a new horror comic rise to take the place of the fallen companies like Fangoria Comics, Dead Dog Comics and Northstar Comics and give us fans series and issues to look forward to. Once I get the physical copies of We Kill The Dead, I will be sure to deliver an update to all my friends and readers here at Rotten Ink.

Jimmy Fisher Evil Nightwe-kill-the-dead-concept-artThe Sadness on swing

But we are now at the main course of this update as it’s time to talk about Panic Beats, a film that was made and starred the legend of Spanish horror Paul Naschy. Panic Beats was released in 1983 and was the brain child of Naschy who wrote, directed and starred in the film as Paul/Alaric de Marnac and it shows that his heart was in this film as it’s a solid chiller that has twists, turns and lots of bloody deaths that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. IMDB has the films write up as being this “The spirit of a deceased knight returns every 100 years to clean a house by graphically murdering the women who are making the life of his descendants unbearable.” and has the rating of 5.8 out of 10. While the film was a hit around the world, it only reached cult status here in America thanks to drive-in and grindhouse theaters. The issue that Panic Beats had here in America is that it was up against many now classic films like Psycho II, Sleepaway Camp, Cujo, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Jaws 3-D, Christine, Twilight Zone The Movie and Amityville 3-D! Not to mention, it was up against many other cult films like Scalps, The Final Terror, Mausoleum, Deadly Spawn and A Blade In The Dark to name a few so sadly it was overlooked and many places didn’t even show it in America until years later. I first saw the film thanks to Mondo Macabro who released it on DVD in 2005 and by this time I had already seen many of Naschy’s werewolf character Waldemar Daninsky film on VHS and was becoming a fan. I ordered Panic Beats on DVD from the Blockbuster Video I was working at and when it came in I quickly bought it and rushed home to watch it, and was blown away from the story as well as the effects used for the deaths. And when I discovered that artist Javier Trujillo who also did the Naschy comic called Return of The Werewolf also did a comic based on Panic Beats, I knew I had to read it!

Panic Beats 1Panic Beats DVDPanic Beats 2

Javier Trujillo, the artist behind this comic, has quickly become one of my favorite modern artist as his style is a blend of a Renaissance painting with a touch of fantasy and when put together, the art is absolutely stunning. Javier is the master of drawing Paul Naschy as every piece of art with his image looks as if you’re viewing a picture of the actor, not to mention the way he draws the female body is much like Art Adams as the both understand the curves of the female forum. His currant project is called Dreams, which can be bought on Amazon for your Kindle, and is a erotic comic. I am also proud to call him a friend. While I have never met the man face to face, thanks to social media I have been able to write to him and pick his brain on art as well as share good talks of physical paper comics vs. digital comics as he is sure to be a pioneer of bringing digital comics to the front with his amazing work. While he at this time has moved away from horror comics, I still will say his work on the Paul Naschy-inspired werwolf comics rank as some of my all time favorite comic series, and I am super hyped to read his Panic Beats comic and review it for you all today. In closing, thanks, Javier for being you and making quality books with top notch art.

Javier Trujillojaviertrujillo

I am a comic book reader and have been since I was a youngster, and while I love classic Marvel Comics, I have always had a soft spot for the independent comic companies as most of the time they delivered the best in the world of horror comics.  I cannot tell you how hyped I am to read and review this comic based on Panic Beats! So before we see if this comic can scare me to death, I should remind you all that 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, its entertainment value and its art and story. So I am ready to see what terror awaits me and how close this comic captures the spooky nature of the film so with no more wait let’s take a look at Panic Beats. I want to warn readers this review does contain spoilers for both the comic and the film, so read with caution if you have not seen the film.

Panic Beats comic 1

Panic Beats  # 1 ***1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price $2.99    Javier Trujillo    #1 of 1

A woman in a panic is running naked through the woods trying her best to get away from a knight who has bloodlust in his eyes. The knight’s name is Alaric, and he murders the woman in cold blood and seems to enjoy every brutal moment. We skip to France, the year 1983, and Paul, a relative of Alaric, has just gotten word that his wife Genevieve has a weak heart and that she needs to go to his old family house in the middle of nowhere to get fresh air and peace and quiet. The maid and her niece Julie are getting the old home ready and talking about the ghost story of Alaric and how he killed his wife and became into the occult and was executed for his crimes.  The two woman exchange thoughts and go about getting the home ready. While on the road Paul and Genevieve run out of gas.  As Paul walks to get gas, some local thieves attack Genevieve and start to rob her but she is saved by Paul who beats them up. Paul and Genevieve make it to the old family house and quickly things turn bad as Julie tells Genevieve of the legend of Alaric and this triggers nightmares, delusions and panic attacks that lead to her death! But we soon find out that Paul used the legend as well as the help of Julie and the two local thieves to drive her into complete fear and give her a heart attack. Paul and Julie team up and kill the maid as well as Paul’s secretary from work and then marry after Genevieve’s funeral. But while Paul and Julie seem like a happy evil couple, it’s not so as Julie electrocutes Paul while he is taking a bath as she only married him for the money he inherited when Genevieve died! But as this twisted tale ends, we soon find that the evil spirit of Alaric is real and he brutally murders Julie for her crime against his ancestor.

This is a fantastic example of a well made top notch comic adaptation of a horror film and once more shows why Javier Trujillo is one of my favorite artists and creators working now! The plot of this comic is filled with twists and turns and surprises that keep the reader wondering what is the true nature of characters and what is real and what’s legend and superstition. Paul is a man who, when we first meet him, you think is a loving husband who wants his ill wife to get better and is trying his best to get her well, but when his true intentions and evil side come out we see he is just a sinister spirited man who cares more about money and power than his wife whom he never loved and only married for her money. The way he uses her weak heart against her and with the help of other scumbags forces her to have a heart attack is stuff of real life nightmares. Genevieve comes off a a very weak and ill person, who believes in her husband and thinks that by going to his old family home this will help her heal, but sadly she dies never knowing her scumbag husband has literally scared her to death. Julie is a young woman who as well has a black heart as she jumps on board with scaring Genevieve to death, and then in return seduces Paul into marrying her so that she can kill him and collect all the money! Julie is the perfect evil woman who uses her looks to draw people in and then uses them to inflect doom on those foolish enough to trust her. The maid, the two hired crooks and the secretary all are great background players and all fit their part well whether it be victim of accomplice. Alaric in life was a crazed madman and even as a spirit lives up to his reputation of bloodlust and murder.  His sinister legend is what’s used to kill Genevieve and in the end his curse is what avenges Paul by brutally killing Julie for her betrayal. The comic is packed with some great blood and gore and while not over done it’s very much effective, as is the use of change of colors when a character is having a nightmare or when panic has set in Trujillo is that master of capturing the mood of these Naschy films and making it come alive in the comics. The comic’s script was based on the film’s script written by Paul Naschy and is a great twisted tale that in my opinion still holds up to this day in the creepy and moody department.  The comic that was originally done in Spanish was translated by Elena Romea Parente, and while it does have some slightly rough patches it does its work. The artwork by Javier Trujillo is top notch art and feels like a painting come alive! The way he draws Paul Naschy really makes it feel like the late actor is alive and well on the screen/pages before your very eyes. This comic captures the magic of the film and delivers a well done horror comic that should not only please the fans of the film but also those comic readers who enjoy a good fright. Check it out as it’s worth every penny, and in closing this was a perfect comic to kick off my October and I can’t wait to see what Naschy inspired comic Javier Trujillo comes out with next! Check out this piece of artwork from the comic below.

Panic Beats Art 1

This fourth update to our countdown to Halloween was a great one and has truly gotten me in the mood to read more and more horror comics and with our next update we will be leaving the world of Paul Naschy and will be heading to the lab of Dr. Jekyll as we cover Comics Classic Illustrated’s adaptation of the novel The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! I hope Panic Beats didn’t scare you too badly and that you do join me back for the next update as I am sure it will as well scare you to the bone! So with the chill in the air and the ghost and goblins of Halloween running loose it the streets, it’s my cue to bid you a fun time reading a horror comic or three, watch a Paul Naschy Horror Film and support your local Horror Host.

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