From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Howling

It’s close to Halloween now, and for this countdown update we are going to once more take a look at a werewolf film that sparked a comic book series. To me along with The Wolf Man (1943) and An American Werewolf In London (1981) it ranks as one of the best werewolf films of all time, and of course I am talking about The Howling. Werewolves have always been my favorite classic monsters of myth and cinema as something about turning into an uncontrollable beast when the moon is full is just kind of cool and sparks a young Monster Kid’s mind like mine into being creative and have helped lead to the creation of Scars, The Carrier, Emo and Werewolf Of Ohio, all film characters that I have played in cheesy shot on video films. So as the full moon rises in the sky and what we hope is the wind howls all around us, it’s going to be an amazing time as I am happy to bring you From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Howling! So grab some silver bullets (and I am not talking about the cheap beer) and stay on the path as it’s time to visit The Colony and hope the werewolves stay away.

Before we prowl to deep into the woods around The Colony, we should take a moment and learn about the werewolves that run wild in The Howling. While there are tons of werewolves that are roaming around in this film, we will be taking a look at the Quist siblings who are some of the most blood thirsty of the pack. Eddie Quist is a very violent man who is branded a serial killer, though in reality he is much worse as he is a werewolf! Eddie is very mean spirited and likes to toy with his victims before he murders them in brutal fashion. Eddie also likes to talk very dirty to his female victims before turning into the raging beast to rip them to shreds. Eddie’s sister Marsha Quist is very cunning and uses her sex appeal and stunning exotic looks to draw her prey into a death sentence as brother T.C. Quist is a great tracker and hunter and uses these skills as a man as well as a werewolf. The siblings are the troublemakers of The Colony as they are sick of killing and eating cows and crave the hunt and taste of humans.

As werewolves, they have many tools to get the job done. Let’s start first with their appearance as they are beast-like and strike terror in those who see them. They also have sharp teeth and claws that can slice, rip, tear and mutilate human flesh and can do so fast or even slowly. They are also very fast moving and are excellent hunters and stalkers, and poor humans stand no chance against them. They also have a bone-chilling howl that can freeze people with fear and as well leave them open for an attack. They can also call upon many other werewolves, as they are pack killers as well as solo killers and this makes them very dangerous. As humans and werewolves, they also can shrug off attacks with normal weapons like bullets and none-silver knives. But as you can see, they do have weaknesses as silver bullets and knives can kill them as well as fire. The Quist clan, as well as the rest of the werewolves, are a violent pack of wolves and killers and show that while they can be killed, they are super skilled killing machines.

As you can see, Eddie Quist and the werewolves that make up The Colony are skilled killers, who are true beasts of no mercy. Now let’s take a look at the film they are from, The Howling. As always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my love for the film.

The Howling (1981)

“In a red light district, newswoman Karen White is bugged by the police, investigating serial killer Eddie Quist, who has been molesting her through phone calls. After police officers find them in a peep-show cabin and shoot Eddie, Karen becomes emotionally disturbed and loses her memory. Hoping to conquer her inner demons, she heads for the Colony, a secluded retreat where the creepy residents are rather too eager to make her feel at home. There also seems to be a bizarre connection between Eddie Quist and this supposedly safe haven. And when, after nights of being tormented by unearthly cries, Karen ventures into the forest and makes a terrifying discovery.”

In 1977 writer Gary Brandner wrote a werewolf novel called The Howling. Embassy Pictures wanted to make a film based on the book and originally hired director Jack Conrad, but after they clashed with him, they let him go. Joe Dante stepped in and brought in writer John Sayles to write the script that only took small elements from the novel it was based on. The script’s tone was horror but also added a dash of satire to make the film feel like Piranha (1978), a film Dante and Sayles worked on together. The film went onto casting, and names like Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan and Christopher Stone were brought in as the main cast with names like Belinda Balaski, Elisabeth Brooks and Robert Picardo rounding out the supporting cast. But what many people enjoy are the cameos from classic genre actors like John Carradine, Roger Corman, Forrest J. Ackerman, Dick Miller, Slim Pickens and Kevin McCarthy, who helped add a level of specialness to the film.

The film’s special effects went to Rob Bottin, who took over for Rick Baker who left the production to help John Landis on his film An American Werewolf In London, and Bottin did an amazing job with his transformation of Eddie Quist that rivaled the work Baker was doing on London. The production was your normal Hollywood shoot with deadlines and stress, and when done the film, it was scored by Pino Donaggio who delivered a great sounding score that helped bring the eeriness of the movie theme to life.

The film hit theaters on March 13, 1981 and was a hit for Embassy Pictures at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $17,985,893.00 on a budget of $1.5 million and ranked # 41 at the American Box Office that year. The year it was released, it came out with such other Horror Films as “An American Werewolf In London”, “The Evil Dead”, “Halloween II”, “Friday The 13th Part 2”, “My Bloody Valentine” and “House By The Cemetery,” to name a few. The film was well received by horror fans and was met with mix reviews from critics, many of whom kept comparing it to the novel. Even in 2020, the film has a major cult following.

I saw The Howling after I saw An American Werewolf In London, and it was because of my Dad that I was able to watch the film when it aired on a paid cable station like HBO or Cinemax. And after seeing the film, I was hooked and loved every second of it as I found the werewolf design to be badass, the effects were top notch and it was well cast as even as a kid, I marked out for John Carradine in any film. I also loved that the Grandma from Texas Chainsaw Massacre was in the bookstore! And whenever I hear someone say exotic beauty, Marsha Quist (Elisabeth Brooks) comes to mind, as they play that up for her big time in the film.

After seeing this film my brother and I tracked down the paperback novels of The Howling 1-3 written by Gary Brandner, and after reading the books I became more and more obsessed with this film and all the sequels that followed. I would go on to buy the movie on VHS and later on DVD and have also seen the film on the big screen over the years thanks to Horrorama events.

Back in the 2000’s, indie comic company Dead Dog Comics announced that they were doing a comic mini series based on The Howling movies, and I was super hyped as they were one of my favorite comic companies and they were doing comics based on one of my favorite werewolf films…but while the comic mini series was released, the Howling connection was dropped as rights issues kept it from happening…so if you want to check the comic series that was supposed to be The Howling, find the four issues of “Curse Of The Blood Clan” released in 2005. Over the years, I have bought The Howling soundtrack CD, t-shirts and hoodies, Scream Factory’s statue and even an old prism sticker. Say what you will about The Howling, but it’s one of the best werewolf films of the 80’s and is a true rival to An American Werewolf In London in story and effects.

Like all classic movies that spawn a massive cult following and a franchise, a lot of great merchandise was released around The Howling. Besides the film on all types of home media from Beta to Blu-Ray as well as the Space Goat Comic series, it has also had its fair share of shirts, posters, statues, soundtrack releases, a paperback novel with movie poster cover, stickers, fan art, Halloween masks, it’s been featured in many magazines and has had fan made toys! So if you are a fan of The Howling, there is lots of very cool stuff out in the world for you to collect.

The Howling really is a fantastic classic creature feature that helped bring werewolves back to the main stream, and it’s also great that in 2017 they got a chance to bring werewolves back to the world of comic books. I also want to talk about the elephant in the room when you talk about Space Goat, the company who made this comic series and who also did series based on Evil Dead 2. Their comics were great and came out on time and readers enjoyed them as they delivered some great horror comics based on great classic movies…but things got really bad for them when they decided to get into the world of board games and used Kickstarter to get the money to make them. Shon C. Bury was the founder of Space Goat Productions, and he had some big ideas for his company’s board games as he wanted to do one of Evil Dead 2 and The Terminator. Both had very cool game pawns, and both looked great and had gamers very much looking forward to getting them and having epic game nights with friends. The crowd funding goal was blown away on both games and over a million dollars was raised. New perks were added to the campaign, and the buzz for these projects hit a fever pitch! And they even promised that The Howling was going to get the board game treatment…but before they could get that game on Kickstarter, the lies and missed dates from the other two board games started to show through, and it was clear after months and years that Space Goat aka Shon had made promises of these board games that they could not deliver and in fact never did!

So over a million dollars of fans’ money went MIA. Later Shon reached out to backers to try and get more money from them to “make” the board games and help Space Goat stay alive. Also at this time former employees started to speak out about Shon, who they painted out to be a toxic person who treated everyone terribly at the Space Goat office, Shon responded by apologizing and seeking help for his anger issues.

But as time passed and the funds ran dry, Space Goat and Shon disappeared from the world of comic books and board games, and no full board gamers were delivered or made and only some backers got any perks sent to them. Then as quickly as they came, Space Goat Productions was closed and went to the great long box in the sky. It’s a shame that all this drama and board game stuff clouded up their comic branch as I feel that they were shaping up to be a good solid indie company that was delivering original and license issues to readers’ hands.

I am not sure what Shon is up to these days, and I know that for many the wound of not getting what they were owed via the crowd funding board games or even a refund is still raw. But again all drama aside, Evil Dead 2 backers ended up getting a break from another board game company called Jasco who honored their old pledges to right the wrong, and sadly because of this drama, and, for a lack of a better term, scam, the world lost a very promising comic company. And I fear that if Space Goat or Shon every tried to return to the world of comic books, they would be met with lots of anger and bad press for the sins of the past.

Before we move onto the update, I also want to take a moment to say that at time I think about what other cool horror movie themed comics they had in the works before they went under. They had Evil Dead 2 and The Howling with a Terminator series on the horizon…but what else was in the works we didn’t know about? Who knows, maybe one day I can track down Shon and ask him about what comics were to come.

So as you can see, the werewolves that make up The Howling universe are deadly and the film that started it all is a true iconic film of the 80’s! But now it’s time for us to take a look at the four issue mini series released by Space Goat in 2017! I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for pulling these issues for my file when they were first released. So with that, let’s travel to The Colony and see what these bloodthirsty werewolves have in store for us comic readers.

The Howling # 1 ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 1 of 4

Chris Halloran’s life has changed for the worse after he shot his best friend Karen White live on the news as she turned into a werewolf…and even worse, all of his fellow station workers who witnessed the event have had a hard time dealing with it as many have killed themselves over the events. Meanwhile in Santa Cruz, Vera comes home and finds Marsha Quist in her study. She wants to know information about to whom she sold a relic called the Hand Of Akkara. Vera is scared and pulls a gun and shoots Marsha who shrugs off the bullet wound and tells her the name “Joe Valentine” as the buyer. As Marsha starts to transform into a werewolf, Vera runs for her life and finds shelter in a carnival funhouse…but the werewolf Marsha finds her and knocks the woman’s head off! Marsha then howls at the moon as the first issue comes to an end.

The first issue of The Howling is a good solid horror comic that takes place after the events of the movie and has Chris dealing with the after effects of the killing of Karen on live TV and also has werewolf Marsha Quist looking for a relic as well as being still upset about how The Colony tried to change the werewolves and their want to hunt and kill humans. Marsha Quist is still using her looks and sex appeal to get what she wants and has no issues now turning into a werewolf and dealing out death in her quest to feed her hunger and to find a relic that we the reader are just learning about. Chris Halloran is the hero from the movie who thought he killed all the werewolves of The Colony only to find that many are still alive as the body count was low. He is also dealing with the mental strain of having to kill his friend on TV as well as looked at for murder. The story is intriguing right now, and I cannot wait to see what happens next with both Chris and Marsha and you know that more werewolves are on their way. This issue has some great use of blood and gore, and when the character Vera gets her head knocked off, it’s well done and showcases some gruesome great artwork. The cover is very eye catching and reminds me of the Scream Factory DVD. The interior art done by Jason Johnson is great stuff, and I would like to see more Horror Comics done by him! This is a great issue, and I cannot wait to see what issue two has in store.

The Howling # 2  ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 2 of 4

Marsha Quist shows up at the house of an employee of Joe Valentine and asks were she can find Joe. When he doesn’t answer she rips his penis off and learns that Joe is always at a night club on Friday nights! Meanwhile Chris has started to notice that all the witnesses to Karen’s transformation are dying, and worse, the footage of the event is now missing from the station and his old boss seems to be covering something sinister up as if someone or some group is covering it all up and forever silencing all that saw it. Chris does some digging and finds out details about the murder of Vera and her husband, gets a shotgun from the black market, visits Walter at his book store and buys more books on werewolves and orders more silver bullets.  While leaving the book store, he meets a strange woman who leaves him a note and says she can help him expose the truth! Meanwhile Marsha Quist finds Joe at the club and tricks him into going back to his office with her with the promise of sex and once in the office she uses a sword from his wall to stab his leg and demands the Hand Of Akkara. As Joe opens his safe, a ton of guards come to his aid and they pay for it with their lives as Marsha turns into a werewolf and slaughters them all. Once Joe opens the safe, she also kills him and at the end off the issue she is holding the Hand Of Akkara and she is very pleased by this.

This second issue of The Howling from Space Goat is yet another great read and does a good job of moving the plot along as well as delivering some great werewolf kills! The plot for this issue has Chris uncovering what he thinks is a cover up of the werewolf clan and the killing of Karen. Chris really is digging deeper and deeper into this as he wants to avenge the death of his friend as well as his girlfriend Terry who was killed by a werewolf in the film. I also love that we see bookstore owner Walter back again as he now believes in werewolves and is going to hook Chris up with more silver bullets to protect himself from them if they come calling. It’s also very fishy that the tapes are missing from the TV station and that Chris’s old boss seems to be denying that Karen turned into a werewolf on air! Marsha Quist again turns up her hotness and uses her amazing looks to bait and kill her victims and boy does she have many in this issue. Each one is pretty bloody in nature showing this series is not pulling any gore punches. I also like that Marsha can change from human to werewolf at will and in the end by using her charm and death dealing skills is able to get the Hand Of Akkara that clearly is going to be a relic that will cause an uprising of werewolves. The killing of the office guards is a fun horrific time and her ripping the penis off of a victim is brutal and shows that Marsha is a killing machine. The cover is pretty great and for some reason the way Marsha looks reminds me of the face of the werewolf from the film “Cross Of The 7 Jewels” and its both awesome and also makes me laugh. The interior art by Jason Johnson is really good and once more this guy should be hired to make more comic based on Horror Movies! Another solid issue, and I cannot wait to read issue three now!

The Howling # 3  ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 3 of 4

An all-woman adult film is being filmed when Marsha Quist shows up and kills both actresses and alerts the cameraman that she is in need of his camera skills very soon. Meanwhile Chris calls his old boss about a big scoop, and soon a man with a gun is sent his way, but this hit will not go off as planned as Chris was waiting for the hitman as was Ruth, the woman he met at the book store. They take the would be killer hostage and plan on getting information from him as they turn him over to a rag tag group of freedom underground hosts. Ruth used to work for the F.B.I. and as she leaves to meet up with her old partner who has proof of werewolves, she tells him she will leave a note with Walter at the bookstore. Time passes and Chris heads to the store and finds the note was left but it was one alerting him that someone has Ruth hostage. Luckily for Chris his silver bullets are in and might help him on his rescue mission. Chris is sent to the Porn Shop where Karen first met Eddie Quist and in a peep booth sees a video that has Marsha with Ruth and she tells him to meet her at the Colony! Chris knows it’s a trap but heads there anyway and with him he brings the Government group that is sending the hitman with the promise they can have the werewolves and brings the Freedom Group to clash with the government group…giving them a better chance of leaving alive. Once Chris frees Ruth, they find a tape that says play me, while outside Marsha Quist calls all the living werewolves to her side and uses the Hand Of Akkara to bring back the dead werewolves as a showdown to the death is on the horizon as the Marsha wants to bring back the rule of the wolf.

This third issue turns up the flame and allows the plot to thicken as Chris and his new partner in finding the truth, Ruth, stop a murder attempt as well as return to the scene of The Colony in order to have a final showdown with Marsha and her army of werewolves. In this issue, Chris is a hero who knows that his life is in danger but will do what he can to expose the truth to the world as well as save the lives of those he can. I also like that while he is our hero, he is also very much a normal guy who has fears of the unknown just like the rest of us. Ruth is a former F.B.I. agent who left her job after her department was shut down and all their data proving werewolves real was taken away. Her partner stayed on and is feeding her information making her a big help to Chris and his cause. Walter the bookstore owner comes through again as he not only delivers a case full of silver bullets, but also acts as the middle man between Chris and Ruth who have to talk in secret at times. The Government Agents and the weird Freedom Fighters are both gun carrying men of America who think their side is right in the cause…what cause you ask, well whatever one they are told is right! Marsha Quist with her Hand Of Akkara relic shows that she really does have the power as she can use it to not only bring the werewolves together but can also bring the dead ones back to life! One very cool part of this issue is that we get two key locations from the movie as we get the Eros Adult Store that starts the film as well as the Doctor’s Cabin at the Colony that was the location of the death of Eddie and Terry, nice touch having them both in this comic. The issue is bloody and filled with some great kills as Marsha has no time to deal with the adult film actresses and massacres them with a fast a brutal manner. The cover on this issue is pretty weak, and the werewolf version of Marsha looks weak and very odd, not an eye-catching cover at all. Jason Johnson’s interior art is well done, and I should also note that the characters that are returning from the film do not look like the actors who played them so for those hoping to see Walter look like Dick Miller…you will be disappointed, but again I have to stress Jason’s artwork is fantastic. Well we only have one issue left in this series and thus far Space Goat has done a great job continuing the story of The Howling, so let’s see what the final issue has in store for us.

The Howling # 4 ***
Released in 2017   Cover Price $3.99     Space Goat   # 4 of 4

Chris and Ruth hit play on the tape, and Marsha informs Chris that Ruth is not who he thinks. She is Donna who is a werewolf who’s loved one was shot and killed by Chris on that frightful night! As Donna transforms, Chris is forced to shoot her with a silver bullet, killing the woman he thought was his only ally. Meanwhile outside Marsha uses the Hand Of Akkara to bring back the dead werewolves that have all lost their human side making them total beast and for all accounts zombies, and they rush the Government Group and the Freedom Fighters and they all soon learn that silver bullets do not work on the undead werewolves unless you shoot them in the head. In the end, the werewolves kill the agents and the fighters with brutal fury and Chris stands alone against Marsha Quist who is joined by the zombie wolf versions of her brothers Eddie and T.C. with other werewolves starting to gather around. Marsha rubs it in that he has failed, and Chris is upset that he knows death is near and that he did not get revenge for Terry and Karen… and with that the werewolves attack and kill Chris. Moments later Marsha is holding the head of Chris and tells the werewolves that their time to rule is at hand once more.

The Howling comic mini series ends with a loud howl at the moon as the werewolves come together both alive and dead ones and they have a new queen with Marsha Quist who wants them all to rise up against humans and rule the world once more. The plot of this issue has Chris thinking he will be a hero and save the life of a newly made friend in his quest to expose the world that werewolves are real only to find out she is one and then must face off with Marsha Quist, the sister of two of the werewolves he killed off in the film. Throughout the series Chris Halloran is a man who is haunted by the past of having to kill his close friend on TV as well of the loss of the love of his life all because of werewolves. He tries his best to uncover why people in Government and his former employer the news station is covering everything up, only to be tricked himself and lead to his death that is very brutal by the hands and fangs of the beasts he wanted to warn the world of. Chris is a hero that the world needed and never got to know that he was around and trying to save them from a doom that is now on its way. Donna aka Ruth is a female werewolf who tricks our hero into thinking she is a former F.B.I. agent who is also trying to expose the world to the facts of that the beasts are real, but really her husband who was also a werewolf was killed by Chris in the film and she wants revenge as well. The Government Agents and the Freedom Fighters are two well armed groups that are at war with each other and both have interest in the werewolves, and while they are ready to protect themselves and have the right tools of the trade to stop the werewolves, they are not ready for the zombie werewolves that make short work of these would be heroes. Marsha Quist is savage and is so filled with revenge that she comes up with a plan that works and also makes it that she is the new Queen of the Werewolves! The comic is as bloody as the others as humans are bit, shot and torn apart and delivers some really good gory moments. The cover for this issue is pretty dang eye catching and shows Marsha and her werewolf brothers looking super deadly, and the interior art done by Jason Johnson is great stuff and he was the right choice to do this comic series. I am very surprised as I find that Space Goat did a great job on bringing The Howling to the world of comic books and delivered a good quick paced story that adds onto the lore of the film. Check out the art below to see the style of Jason Johnson.

The Howling is one of the best werewolf films of the 80s and our next update will showcase one of the best zombie films from the 70s as for the Halloween update we will be taking a look at the Fulci film Zombie 2 and the Eibon Press mini series based on it! I hope these horror themed updates up to this point have help make your 2020 Halloween season a little better as it’s clear that the virus crisis really has put a damper on the year and has stopped many the normal events and activities that take place during this time of the year. I hope The Howling update has you howling at the moon, and 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 as we Alert The Crew…The Boat Can Leave Now!

Spend Christmas Eve With The Gremlins!

Merry Christmas Eve, and welcome back to Rotten Ink, my cozy little slice here on the web. This day is always filled with big smiles and heartwarming moments, another thing it brings is Christmas movies and TV specials! How many of you remember watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or even “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” on your local station? Or even watching classic holiday films like “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “Ernest Saves Christmas”, “Prancer” or the ever so classic “A Christmas Story” on a cold December night? But for monster kids like myself, this time of the year also brings horror Christmas films that warm the heart as well as chill the blood. I mean who can not want to watch films this time of year like “Silent Night Deadly Night 1-5”, “Santa Claws”, “Silent Night Bloody Night”, “Jack Frost”, “Christmas Evil”, “Elves” or even the film that’s todays update and of course I am talking “Gremlins”! I mean every kid I knew growing up loved this film and everyone I knew talked about it with affection and wonderment, as it was a film we could all bound over. So I want to think you for spending a small part of your Christmas Eve with me and am very proud to bring you this update based on the beloved classic film Gremlins, so join me on this zany update that I hope will fill your mind and soul with a little joy. And I need to remind you of the rules of Gremlins for our own sanity and safety! 1.) No Bright Light, the light will hurt them and could kill them. 2.) Don’t Get Him Wet, as that makes them multiply! 3.) Never Feed Them After Midnight, as this will cause them to spawn from cute little Mogwai to a cacoon that hatches and now you have a sinister Gremlin on your hands! So with those rules in mind lets move onto this Joyess update.

Christmas Gifts red

So as always we should start our look at Gremlins with taking a look at the 1984 movie, I can remember watching this movie around Christmas every year when I was a youngster on Beta Tape and later VHS and it really did become a staple of my Holiday viewing. Even when I got older and worked for Blockbuster Video for the Holidays my Store Manager use to let us play G and PG films that fit the season and I always selected Gremlins, and not much has changed on that front as now at Game Swap if Gremlins is in stock it goes in to entertain shoppers and employees alike! So as always the films write up is coming from IMDB to keep me from being long winded and I’ll also break down its Box Office numbers here in America.

Gremlins Movie Still 1Gremlins PosterGremlins Movie Still 2

Gremlins (1984)

Miniature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. ‘Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house.”

Gremlins is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time as it mixes the magic and wonder of the Holiday season and tosses in a dash of Horror. I can as I have said remember watching this film on VHS/Beta when I was a kid and almost wearing out the tapes, as I could not get enough of Gizmo and his war with Stripe and the evil Gremlins. The film was directed by Joe Dante who directed such films as The Howling, Piranha, Explorers and Innerspace to name a few. The stars of the movie are Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, Hoyt Axton, Judge Reinhold and Corey Feldman to name a few as well and had Howie Mandel doing the voice of Gizmo and Megatron himself Frank Welker lending his pipes to Stripe as well as other Gremlins. The film was Scored by Jerry Goldsmith and distributed by Warner Brothers and executive produced by Steven Spielberg with it being released on June 8, 1984 with an $11 million dollar budget. The year it was released Gremlins made $148,168,459.00 at the US Box Office and was # 4 for the year beating out such other classic films like The Karate Kid, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Purple Rain, The Terminator, Friday The 13th IV: Final Chapter, Conan The Destroyer, The Last Starfighter, Dune, A Nightmare On Elm Street and so many more classic and cult films! In fact 1984 was one epic year for movies as it was filled with many classics as well as cult classics! The film is packed with so many moments that have stuck in my mind over the years from the baby Mogwai’s eaten cold fried chicken after midnight to them playing a miniature Donkey Kong arcade machine, clips of classic Horror movies and TV shows playing on the televisions, Robbie The Robot (Forbidden Planet) walks by in a scene and the stacks of Comic books in Billy’s room all stuff that is fun, silly and great moments of the film.

Gremlins Movie Still 3

The films main star is a cute little guy called Gizmo who is a species known as a Mogwai. Unlike others in his species he is kind and gentile and refuses to be evil like his brothers and sisters who want to morph and become Gremlins. Gizmo is named that after Billy and his father talk about how he likes and can figure out how to use the gadgets the father makes. Gizmo was originally owned by Mr. Wing and later belonged to Billy and then back to Mr. Wing until the old mans death and then he returned to live with Billy and Kate in New York. Almost every fan of this movie growing up I can remember them owning a Gizmo doll and almost every woman I have ever meet who loves this film series LOVES Gizmo. Super smart, super cute and much like Rambo when pushed he will fight back…in other words Gizmo rules!

Gizmo 1Gizmo from Gremlins.Gizmo 3

So we talked the hero of the film so we might as well chat a little about the leader of the bad guys the sinister and evil Stripe! Stripe was born from Gizmo after water is spilled on him and from his birth on he had a sinister streak and also seemed to be a leader to the other Mogwai. Stripe is named this as he has a white Mohawk that looks like a stripe on the top of his head. Stripe also hates Gizmo as he not only as a Mogwai but also a Gremlin will do what ever he can to hurt or kill him. Once a Gremlin the more murderous side of Stripe comes out as he uses guns, saws and arrows to try and kill anyone who gets in his way namely Billy. Super smart and having a real mean streak makes Stripe a very mean foe, but by the end he meets his end and we will get into that a little later in this update. While gone some say he was reborn in the second movie as Mohawk who spends the movie trying to kill Gizmo and Billy and even turns himself into a Spider Gremlin. Love him or hate him Stripe was one of the 80’s coolest bad guys of kid movie cinema.

Stripe 1Stripe 2Stripe 3

The original Gremlins had many stand out creatures from the ski mask wearing robber Gremlin to Stripe the white Mohawk leader of the pack of mischief makers, but for me one of my all time favorites has to be the popcorn bag eared Gremlin who was watching Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at the local movie theater! Something about this strange Gremlin who decided that wearing popcorn bags on his ears was the right choice always made me laugh as a kid and has always stuck with me even as a adult. I think someone should make a Gremlins comic book series and have issues that follow some of the Gremlins during the first break out and do one on old popcorn bag ears! I think IDW would be the perfect home for comics based on Gremlins and while at it they should also do a series about The Goonies another film my generation and beyond holds near and dear. While he only had seconds of screen time Popcorn Bag Eared Gremlin will always be one of my favorites in this film just behind Stripe.

Popcorn Bag Gremlin

One thing I should touch up on is the fact many youngsters of the 80’s had a huge crush on Phoebe Cates who played Kate Beringer in Gremlins 1 & 2 as well as had roles in other classics like “Drop Dead Fed”, “Date With An Angel” and of course “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” where she has the famous pool scene were she pops her top! And I was one of those youngsters who thought actresses like Phoebe Cates, Mia Sara, Helen Slater and Kerri Green were the be all of beauty. Phoebe is pretty much retired from acting with her last role being in the 2001 film “The Anniversary Party” and she is married to actor Kevin Kline who is known for his roles in classics like “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Dave” and “Wild Wild West” to name a very select few. Phoebe Cates at the time of this update is 53 years old and as lovely as ever, thanks Mrs. Cates for making the 80’s and early 90’s awesome with your beauty and your acting skill and film choices. Check out below for some pictures showing the beauty of Phoebe Cates.

phoebe cates 1phoebe cates 2phoebe cates 3

While this update is based on the adaptation of the original Gremlins movie, I feel that it’s my duty to cover the second film as well! So once again the film’s plot is taken from IMDB and for me was another fun must-watch as it now added horror hosting, Christopher Lee and over the top silly comedy to the mix.

Gremlins 2 movie still 1Gremlins 2 The New Batch PosterGremlins 2 movie still 2

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

An army of malevolent little monsters take over a high-tech corporate skyscraper when a cute and intelligent exotic pet is exposed to water. The “Mogwai’s” owner joins forces with the Trump-like head of the corporation to regain control.”

You cant keep good Gremlins down and in 1990 a sequel called “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” was released in theaters to add another crazy and silly adventure for Gizmo, Billy and Kate to get through. Many things made this movie stick out to me and I might as well share them real quick with you on this Holiday update. I loved the New Gremlins who were cross breed with other things to create such gremlins as Electric Gremlin, Brain Gremlin, Vegetable Gremlin and Bat Gremlin to name a very few. It’s great to see Christopher Lee as Doctor Catheter in the film as well as having Dick Miller return as his character Murray Futterman from the first film. I also really like the fact that they have a Horror Host character named Grandpa Fred who is a vampire that’s hosts terrible movies. You have to think that parts of this movie is spoofing Ted Turner and Al Lewis aka Grampa from Super Scary Saturday. Also a Pro Wrestler has a cameo in the film but we will get to that a little later. The film didn’t do to well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $41,482,207.00 on a budget of $50 million, but made up for it on Home Video. The film ranked # 31 for the year of 1990 and beat such classic and cult films as Rocky V, Darkman, Predator 2, Child’s Play 2, The Exorcist III, Ernest Goes To Jail, Quigley Down Under, Tremors, Duck Tales: The Movie, Death Warrant and Tales From The Darkside: The Movie to name a select few. While not a Box Office hit every kid I knew growing up loved this silly, goofy film! Oh and the picture below is the Phantom Of The Opera Gremlin…yeah he was one of my favorites! I should also note that the sequel was directed by Joe Dante again and starred returning cast Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and Dick Miller and has actors like Christopher Lee, Robert Prosky and John Glover added to the lineup.

Phantom Gremlin

When I was a youngster as all you long time readers and friends know I was and still am a huge Pro Wrestling fan and I can remember going crazy when Hulk Hogan showed up in a cameo in Gremlins 2! During the movie The Gremlins stop the film being mischief making little monsters and the theater usher goes into the theater and asks Hulk Hogan if he can help to get the film back on track and after cutting a great promo about soda and popcorn the Gremlins in fear start the movie up again! Hulk Hogan was such a big icon amongst kids I can remember kids on the playground after seeing Gremlins 2 talking about his scene in the movie among the excitement of all the different Gremlin styles. As always The Hulkster added to the enjoyment of the youth with his over the top cameo in Gremlins 2.

Hulk Hogan in Gremlins 2

Like all good kids movies of the 80’s Gremlins sparked a rush of merchandise based around its characters! Such amazing things like toys, novels, kids books, posters, Halloween costumes, trading cards, Shrinky Dinks, Colorforms, shirts, breakfast cereal, candy, Plush Dolls and a slew of other cheap products and junk foods. Growing up I can remember eating Gremlins cereal in the morning as well as had many of the trading cards and ate the candy that we would get from UDF as it came in a plastic head of Stripe or Gizmo and they seemed like something I had to have in my youth. I also owned the Novel adaptations of both Gremlins 1 and 2 as well as many of the kids books based on it. As an adult I own theatrical posters for both Gremlins and Gremlins 2 that are hanging on the wall inside of Game Swap in Kettering and as well have the Colorforms I got from the store Twin Evil. So much merchandise was released for this film showing you that Warner Brothers knew they had something special with this film. So growing up what kind of Gremlin stuff do you guys own?

Gremlins Shrinky DinksGremlins Kids BookGremlins Trading CardsDon Post Gremlins Halloween Costume

Some of the best merchandise has to be the action figures and dolls that was made when the film was released and are still being made even to this day. Growing up I had many PVC figures from Gizmo to Stripe that latter who I also owned a bendable of. I can also remember my Uncle had one of the larger Stripe action figures and my brother and me were so obsessed with it. With in the last few years I started to collect some of the NECA figures based on Gremlins and Gremlins 2 as they are very well made figures and look great on a shelf. Last year Funko as part of the ReAction figure series of retro style 3 ¾” action figures released ones based on Gremlins that showcased not only Gizmo and the Gremlins but also Billy! Growing up I wish they had these Star Wars size Gremlins figures as they would have been a welcome addition to the Toy Wars, imagine Stripe and his fellow Gremlins trying to murder the Ewoks at the Ewok Village playset! So if you’re a toy collector many great actions figures have and are being made based on this iconic holiday classic movie and it’s sequel!

Stripe Toy In BoxNECA Gremlins FiguresReAction Gremlins Figures

Jerry Goldsmith is a legend of making score music and has done so for many iconic films like “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, “Alien”, “First Blood”, “Psycho II”, “Congo”, “Mulan” and so many more and of course on this list was both Gremlins and Gremlins 2! The films main theme called “The Gremlin Rag” is such an iconic piece of music and a tune that I find myself humming pretty often, and to be honest I have also caught my girlfriend Juliet as well humming it! The soundtracks are something we play on Alpha Rhythms from time to time as well as on Game Swap’s Radio that plays overhead. While I would say that the original Gremlins soundtrack is a must own for fans of score music, I would say Gremlins 2 while very good and solid is more for diehard fans of the film. But if your love score music like me make sure to give these a listen as they will help add to your Holiday Mood if you’re a Monster Kid.

Gremlins SoundtrackJerry GoldsmithGremlins 2 Soundtrack

Gizmo would also make a leap into the world of Video Games and started out in 1984 when two games based on the movie for Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 was released to gamers, and while the game was nothing special it seemed like a must have for my friends who had Atari’s growing up. The Nintendo not to be left out in 1990 thanks to SunSoft released a video game based on Gremlins 2, this was a game I can remember renting from the video store and latter ending up just buying it used. But while those two are the video games that stand out to me many other more modern games have been made as well based on this film series for such systems as Wii and Game Boy Advance. I should also note that Commodore 64 as well had games based on Gremlins come out it can be said for PC as well. I would love to see a company like Telltale Games make a modern game based on Gremlins for the PS4, but sadly I don’t see this happening.

Gremlins Atari 2600 BoxGremlins 2 NES BoxGremlins Wii Box

So with it being Christmas Eve and all I think it’s time to take a quick break and plug in the old RES (Retro-Bit Retro Entertainment System) to play a Pacnsacdave game based on the original Gremlins! Yes this is a homebrew NES Games based around the 1984 film and has you take control of Gizmo as you make your way through a building that’s been over run with Gremlins all looking to kill you! I got this game on a NES Cart as well in a great clamshell style package with cover art and must say I was very happy with the presentation of this product and must say that Pacnsacdave does fantastic work with his reproduction products. Christmas time always makes me think of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) as way back in my youth my parents got me and my brother one as a shared gift on this holiday, and I can remember the pure hype we had when playing our very own system and trying as a family to beat Super Mario Brothers and all having a blast playing Duck Hunt. So many great old school memories of the NES with friends, family and co-workers and here tonight I want to share another NES memory and that’s me playing and maybe trying to beat Gremlins!

Gremlins for the NES

I decided to play this game on May 31, 2016 as I had the day off from work and it was right after Memorial Day spent with Juliet and her Parents. I was focused and ready to try my best to see just how far I could get in this game as well as see just how fun and challenging it was. When the game first came in my Cousin Stephen Alexander and myself played it and found that it was super hard, but we were not fully trying like I am today so let me tell you about my time playing this game. As Gizmo I started my mission on top of building and was only armed with baseballs that had to throw at some dogs we want to throw me off the building! Once inside one of the buildings you must dodge not only Gremlins but also security cameras that hurt you when you’re spotted. The game is very challenging and I spent lots of time trying to get into the building as the two crates that I was suppose to stack and climb did not want to cooperate with me on this day. And Once inside I did pretty well dodging the cameras and Gremlins and played for about an hour or so when something really annoying happened…the controller just stopped working! I tried unplugging it and putting it back in but sadly nothing helped and this cut my game playing a little short, but damn what I was able to play was lots of fun and well worth the buy and I really do look forward to playing all the way through soon! So if you like classic 8-Bit games and enjoy Gremlins make sure to check out Pacnsacdaves Etsy shop and get your self a copy of this fun and challenging game.

Gremlins for the NES in a RESGremlins NES Screen ShotGremlins for the NES Case

It’s time for the review part of this update and with the chill in the air I think we should all take a moment and grab a mug of hot chocolate or even eggnog and while at it a few Christmas cookies, as I feel it’s the right time to do so! But remember if your reading this after Midnight do not give any cookies to your pet Mogwai! I want to thank Amazon for having this comic in stock and Gizmo is telling me to remind you 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, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. I want to also share with you that when I was a kid I had this Golden Book comic adaptation of Gremlins and at some point over time it was gotten ride of and I thought I imagined that a comic of Gremlins was made when I was 36 and later this year after digging around the internet I found that it was not just in my mind and my memories of art from it was real! So I am really looking forward to re-reading this again and sharing it with you my Friends and Readers this on this special Holiday update. So I hope you have your drink of choice in hand and have Gremlin insurance as its time to unleash Stripe and his band of mean spirited Gremlins!

Gremlins 1 Golden Book

Gremlins # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price $2.95   Golden Book   # 1 of 1

Rand Peltzer is a inventor who is one business trying to sell his new invention called the Bathroom Buddy when he stumbles onto a shop while looking for a gift for his son, the shop is filled with strange items and is run by an old Asian man and his grandson that owns a little creature called a Mogwai that Rand tries to buy but is shot down by the old man. After leaving the grandson tracks down Rand and sells him the Mogwai and tells him the three rules of the creature. The rules are simple no sun light, no water and do not feed it after midnight. Meanwhile in Kingston Falls Billy Peltzer’s car will not start so he and his trusty dog Barney have to walk to work and while doing so saves a cat from being hit by a car that belongs to the town’s snotty old lady named Mrs. Deagle who after Billy leaves she discovers her snowman destroyed and she comes to his work and lets him have it in front of everyone. Billy after work visits Kate a co-worker from the bank he works at, who is also working for a small bar and returns home just in time as his father Rand is coming back and gets his gift the Mogwai he names Gizmo. While visiting to drop of a Christmas Tree Billy’s young friend Pete by accident spills water on Gizmo that causes him to spawn more Mogwai’s who are more mean spirited than Gizmo who they pick on as well as Barney! The next day Rand takes Barney to the Grandparents house and Billy takes a Mogwai to Mr. Hanson who is going to study the creature. But things quickly get worse when the Mogwai’s all eat after midnight and turn into eggs that hatch and unleash mean little creatures known as Gremlins! One with a Mohawk named Stripe kills Mr. Henson and Billy’s Mom is even attacked and must fight for her life against a house full of the Gremlins. After Billy saves his mom he and Gizmo go on a hunt to try and kill all the remaining Gremlins but by accident in the local YMCA thanks to Gizmo armed with a flashlight Stripe falls into the pool and spawns a heck of a lot more Gremlins! Now the town is under attack and this leaves many of the citizens of Kingston Falls dead including Billy’s boss at the bank, his neighbors the Futtermans and Mrs. Deagle! Billy saves Kate who is being swarmed by Gremlins at the bar and along with Gizmo they set up and kill all the Gremlins at the local movie theater by blowing it up! But what they thought was the end of this crisis soon turns into a war as Stripe is still alive and hiding out at the department store and while Kate and Gizmo hide in the main office Billy goes in armed with a baseball bat to defeat Stripe who is using buzz saw blades and bow & arrows to take down Billy, but thanks to his dad Rand and dog Barney his life is spared just in time. In the end as Kate turns on all the store lights Stripe heads to the home and garden area and jumps into the water fountain to spawn more of his kind, but thanks to Gizmo he takes down the tarps covering the window and allows sunlight in and this kills Stripe. That night at the Peltzer house Billy, his parents, Kate, Barney and Gizmo are all together, as the old shop keeper shows up and takes Gizmo back and walks away into the night with his Mogwai, as Billy misses his friend but knows he had to leave.

This adaptation is very kid friendly and tones down the violence and adds bigger panels with large text to allow an easier read for youngsters. The story is intact for the most part but is a little rushed but the plot is still young Billy gets a new pet called a Mogwai and by not following the rules it spawns and his clones turn into evil Gremlins that torment the small town and Billy must man up and along with his true love and his pet Mogwai must stop the invasion. Billy Peltzer is a good young man who is trying his best in the small town he lives in, he loves a girl whom he as crushed on for years, he works a bank job that he don’t fit in at and has his bosses always run him down the road for minor things like the fact he wears clip on ties! But Billy really is a good guy and when the town starts to go to hell he is the one who stands up and takes the fight to the Gremlins and rids the town of their evil ways. Rand and Lynn Peltzer are good parents who love their son and are trying to just get by, while Rand means well with is invention they just don’t work and they are not paying the bills as their home is about to be foreclosed on. But like their son when things go bad they fight back against the Gremlins and try to do their part in ridding the town of them. Kate Beringer is a sweet, attractive and big hearted young lady who does what’s right and clearly is the girl next door who every guy crushes on. Gizmo is also a very nice Mogwai who is well behaved and knows the rules himself of his species and quickly turns from a pet to a member of the Peltzer family, plus in the end to win the final fight he puts his own life on the line to save Billy’s and the towns. The Gremlins are mean spirited and get joy in hurting and killing and in a short time causes so mush problems in the small town that it’s like a bomb was dropped. Stripe is the leader of the Gremlins and is the most evil one of them as he really enjoys killing and wants nothing more than to be cruel and destroy all that’s around him. Side characters like the Futtermans, Mrs. Deagle and Pete all serve their purposes and add some great background characters and in some cases victims. Some major changes from the film to comic is these things No depressing story from Kate about her father dying, the deaths of characters are toned down and less impactful and many of the funny Gremlin characters are missing and besides Stripe they all look the same. The cover for this comic is ok but not really that eye catching as its just a movie still of Kate, Billy and Gizmo placed below a cream colored box that has the Gremlins logo as well as the Golden Book one and the price. The art in side is pretty well done with none of the characters looking like the actors from the film, but the Gremlins and Mogwai look really good. The art is done by Adrian Gonzales who is know for his work on comics like Arak Son Of Thunder and World’s Finest Comics for DC. The best part about reading this comic is the fact that while doing so many of the art panels came back to my memory from when I owned this as a kid and a real sense of nostalgia swept over me. Over all this is not amazing as it does feel rushed and watered down, but it is good and well worth reading for fans of the film and I would say that I am glad to have it in my collection. Check out some art work from this comic below to see the style of Gonzales.

Gremlins Golden Book Art 1Gremlins Golden Book Art 2Gremlins Golden Book Art 3

Ok now that the comic review is over and you know the twists and turns of the story if your new to the world of Gremlins I can talk about a scene from the movie that was super brutal and reminded me of Dracula’s death by the sun in the Hammer Horror film “Horror Of Dracula” and of course I am talking the death of Stripe in the water fountain via the sun! I mean when first watching that movie as a youngster my jaw dropped when Gizmo opens the blinds in the home and garden area and the suns rays hit the body of Stripe causing him to jerk around and melt into a puddle of slime and ooze! At one point Stripe turns into a skeleton and even his bones bubble and melt away, I am sure if you seen this movie as a kid you remember just how brutal this death scene is in a kids film! While Stripe was the most evil of all the Gremlins he in fact meets his end the worst of anyone or thing in the film. But I don’t want to give you to much nightmare fuel this Christmas Eve so all I will say is the death of Stripe I am sure has scarred many of you readers and below is some pictures from his gross death!

Gremlins Death of Stripe 1gremlins22Gremlins Death of Stripe 2

Wow this was lots of fun talking about Gremlins as it really is one of many of my favorite films of the 80’s and is something that for sure has it’s place here at Rotten Ink thanks to Golden Books who made this fun adaptation in 1984. So with Santa coming soon and the Christmas Tree lights glowing I want to say I hope you all have a great Christmas that is spent with loved ones, great food and gifts as that is what mine will be like as I plan on spending the day with my parents and girlfriend Juliet. Our next update will be my top films of 2016, something that we do every year…and wow it’s almost 2017 a year that is packed with many great films including a new Halloween film! So until then have a safe and fun Holiday season, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host, see you next year.

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