From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Rottentail

Indie Horror Films and Indie Horror Comics go hand in hand, and when companies team up, great things happen! And for this countdown to Halloween and this From Horror Comic To Horror Movie update, we will be taking a look at Rottentail, an indie creature feature about a man who transformers into a killer bunny man. The killer rabbit man has been done many times in the world of Horror, and while some are pretty good, others are not and with this update, it will be the first time I have seen the film as well as read the graphic novel! I have been following this film since it was announced, mostly on websites like Bloody Disgusting, so when the film was announced for a DVD release, I made sure to pre-order it as well as ordered the Graphic Novel that spawned the film from Mavericks. So if you are ready, let’s go down this bloody rabbit’s hole and see what Rottentail has in store for us both in the world of Horror Movie and Horror Comic. I should also note that I am looking forward to this update as this will be my first time seeing the film as well as reading the comic!

So before we chat about the movie Rottentail, let’s take a look at the film’s bunny man! Peter Cotton is a scientist who is bitten by a mutated rabbit and transforms into a mutated Rabbit Man! While he is Peter Cotton, he is a very weak man who is socially awkward and whose only friends are the rabbits that are his test subjects for a sex drug. But as Rottentail, he is a crude wisecracking, super fast, super strong killing machine! His appearance is monstrous as he takes on the look of both man and bunny. Rottentail can use his strength and speed to quickly catch his target and uses his bare hands to dispatch humans very easy with neck breaks being one method. He could also use his finger & toe nails as well as his teeth if he chooses, as they are both super sharp and could easily rip human flesh. He is also very sadistic when he kills and finds gross ways to off people who have crossed him and even uses body waste to torment them before the kill. He can also use his powerful kicks as well as has no issues grabbing items and beating someone to death. He can also use his mutated appearance to scare humans and leave them open for attacks and death blows! But while he is a mutated human animal monster with super speed and strength, he does have weakness as he can be hurt like any living thing with guns, fire, explosions and so on, he also can be distracted by beautiful women and also looses his temper really quick also leaving himself open to be hurt. While he might not be the deadliest monster we have covered in a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic, he is still very dangerous.

So as you can see, this crude rabbit anti-hero knows how to deal with those who get in his way when he is trying to play hero. But next we need to take a look at the film that Rottentail came from, and as always, I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write a little about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready, let’s hop on down the bloody rabbit trail and see what Rottentail is all about.

Rottentail (2018)

“Peter Cotton, a scientist that works on rabbits and infertility, learns that the military wishes to use his work to create superhuman soldiers. Cotton is bitten by an experimental mutant rabbit and changes into the evil Rottentail.”

Rottentail is a 2018 Horror Comedy indie film that was directed by Brian Skiba, who directed such other cult films like Blood Moon Rising, Slaughter Creek and Crushed Velvet to name a few. Once in production, the film cast such actors as Dominique Swain, William McNamara, Lisa Palenica and Corin Nemec as Rottentail, all of whom jumped at the chance to join this over the top film. Oh, I should also state that adult film actress Emily Mena also has a small part. But while there is nothing really special about the film’s production, one interesting fact that some of your readers might not know is that Rottentail was first a Graphic Novel that was written by David C. Hayes and seemed to always be planned to be turned into a film. The film’s original release date was April 12, 2018 and made a minor splash as news of it spread around the Horror circle, as people seemed to compare it to a tame Troma Film. In 2018 the film was released alongside other Indie Horror Movies as Suspiria, Malevolent, Summer Of 84, The House That Jack Built, Mandy, Hellraiser: Judgment and Climax to name a few. While Rottentail has not faired very well when it comes to critics’ and viewers’ ratings, it still has made its mark on the world of Horror.

This is one of those films I discovered while surfing the internet reading about Horror Movies that were coming soon, and once I saw the mutated bunny man, I knew this was one I had to see as I love creature features! And after looking for it on home media and seeing if any local theater in the area was going to screen it and of course none did, I had to give up my search when it was nowhere. So finally on April 26, 2019 it was released on DVD via Ammo Content, and I pre-ordered the DVD from Amazon and finally on July 10th I got my chance to watch it…and while I enjoyed it in parts like the effects were good, the ladies lovely with adult actress Emily Mena being the standout, I still was not fully sold on this being a good Horror Comedy Film. Many things did not work for me like some of the crude humor fell flat and was just not funny as did Rottentail’s terrible one-liners that are real eye rollers not to mention the fact that Rottentail most of the time got on my nerves and did nothing for long scenes but talk nonsense. The worst sin of the movie is that it feels like it’s trying to be like Wolf Cop and Toxic Avenger and it fails to even be in the same cult theater as them both. While I cannot say I am a fan of this film, I would also say that I didn’t hate it as I feel it had some great moments that are surrounded by lots of bloody marshmallow fluff so I would say check it out if you like Horror Comedies with an annoying mutated rabbit man.

So as you can see, Rottentail is a film that is a silly Horror Comedy that is in the same realm as Troma Entertainment (just not as good) as it’s filled with lots of crude and gory moments. So while I found the movie to be just okay, let’s see how the Graphic Novel fares as this will as well be my first time reading it. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting this Graphic Novel for me and making this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update possible. So if you are ready, let’s see if the GN is better than the film!

Rottentail # 1  **
Released in 2019     Cover Price $6.99     Source Point Press     # 1 of 1

Two guards are wandering around a scientific facility when a noise forces them to check it out, and they both meet their doom at the hands of a mutated rabbit! Meanwhile geeky scientist Peter is having a nightmare when jock Jake in front of Mandy bullied him and killed his pet rabbit Thumper in high school. After the nightmare, Peter goes to work at the lab and is just in time to see the bodies of the guards being wheeled out and is confronted by General Thaddeus Phelps who wants to use Peter’s fertility serum to make more rabbit mutant soldiers for war purposes! And as Peter goes to perfect the serum, the General goes to a secret room and watches as the now captured Rabbit massacres a man they placed in the room with him. Peter perfects his serum and makes his way to the test lab where the mutated rabbit has broken free and bites Peter on the hand holding the serum that transforms him into a mutated rabbit man himself! And after having sex with the General’s lady, Peter goes on a quest to get revenge on those who bullied him in school and after killing a truckload of backwoods friends he heads home to Easter Falls. Jake is now married to Mandy and owns a grocery store that is preparing for the town’s Easter Day Parade as Peter comes to town and starts his murderous rampage that includes Mandy as well as all of Jake’s friends. Anna is the only one in town that has figured out that all the disappearances and murders are being done by Peter and in the end at the parade in front of the town he kills not only Jake but also the comedian guest of honor! Just as he sets his sights on Anna the Air Force shows up and blows him up with a missile. In the end the General’s wife is in a secret lab and gives birth to a mutated baby rabbit as the world seems to not be safe from this experiment gone wild just yet.

This graphic novel was a fun read but also was very disjointed in spots and was an average Horror Comic that pretty much I had the same feeling about that I had for the movie, that it was just okay. The graphic novel and movie have some in common but are also very much different with the film Peter being almost an anti hero while the GN has him as a blood thirsty freak who kills not only for revenge but also just because he can. He also has no link to Mandy in the GN as he kills her brutally while in the movie he falls in love with her. Another change is Jake in the GN is a grocery store owner and in the film he is a TV preacher. The plot of the GN has Peter being used by the government for his serum that in turn when bitten by a mutated bunny turns him into a sex and murder crazed rabbit man who wants revenge on those who tormented him in high school. Peter in the comic as a man is a dork who loves his pet rabbits and is working very hard for Star Labs on a fertility serum. The rest of the characters from General Phelps all the way to Jake are kind of just generic and have no real personalities and are pretty much stereotype cardboard cutouts. As Rottentail, he is a horny, mean spirited mutant who loves nothing more than to rape and murder…in other words he is a total scumbag. The comic has lots of brutal kills and plenty of blood, guts and gore to please fans of Horror Comics. The pacing is fast, and this is part of my issue with it, as at times we jump around the story with many moments coming off rushed and head scratching to why the actions from one panel to another happened and over all the kills mean nothing as Rottentails path is a little unclear. The cover is great and captures the mood and feel of the Graphic Novel as well as the Movie, and the interior art is done by Kurt Belcher and while not my style, is pretty dang good and fitting for Rottentail. Over all this was ok ayand nothing special, and I would say if you like the movie or like over the top horror, I would say check this one out. Check out the art below to see the style used in this Graphic Novel.

So while Rottentail might have been a letdown in both the movie and comic department, it still is an original and silly Horror Comedy that aimed to please fans of Wolf Cop and Troma Flicks. And I need to be clear that while I was not a mega fan of Rottentail, I must say I was entertained by it and would watch a sequel if it was made. For our next update, we are staying in the world of Horror Movies and Comics based on them, as we will be taking a look at “Horror On Party Beach” and the amazing Photo Comic Magazine done by Warren. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie of two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and remember to bring some sunscreen as Party Beach does get some sun…or and I should also warn beware of the monsters!

Horror Host Icon: Dr. Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another of my Horror Host Icon updates that will breakdown a legend in the world of TV Horror Hosting, and to me there is not a too big or too small Horror Host as no matter how long their show ran or where they aired on from TV to the internet, they had a following and meant something to their viewers and for that they deserve to get this update treatment. And for this update we are traveling to England to take a look at their first and only Horror Host who went by two names with Dr. Terror being his most popular! Imagine living in England and not having a Horror Host to guide you through late night movie watching till 1992, and it’s crazy that Dr. Terror does not get more respect and fanfare just for that fact! So if you’re ready to travel to scary old England and pay a visit to the one and only Dr. Terror, we should begin this Horror Host Icon update!

In 1992, the BBC2 aired an All-Night Halloween Marathon that was hosted by Dr. Walpurgis and featured five horror movies that included Creepshow and Curse of the Werewolf alongside mini documentaries and specials based on horror media. This horror marathon was a major hit and helped spark the idea of a full time Horror Host for the BBC. But in 1993, Walpurgis got a name change, and he became Dr. Terror and got his own show called Vault Of Horror that ran for a total of three seasons and chilled the spines of British TV watchers. Dr. Terror himself is a strange demon like man who has a serious sinister side but also has a goofy, silly side that helps mellow his scare factor. His appearance is very monstrous as he has a long face with a big chin as well as very big pointed ears. He also is very fashionable as he is always wearing a very nice suit. He also seems to have a sense of humor and sometimes it’s a little dry. Dr. Terror also seems to be very educated and for the most part is very well spoken showing that he knows his facts about the night’s movie or movies. He also is known for hanging out in a library or at a twisted and haunted amusement park. We as the viewer never do get a clear answer to what Dr. Terror is, or besides the love for Horror Movies, why he hosts movies on the BBC. I want to also really stress that when Dr. Terror originally started he was more straight-laced and grim and by his later years he was more fun loving and filled with bad jokes. Say what you will about Dr. Terror, but if you have seen one of his episodes or even host segments then you know that this guy is a fantastic host and should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Guy Henry was the actor who played Dr. Terror, and he is quite the actor in British TV and beyond and is well respected. Guy began his acting career in 1967 on a TV Series called “Look And Read” that lead to him playing the part of Sherlock Holmes in the 1982 TV Show “Young Sherlock: The Mystery Of The Manor House” and with playing Sherlock Holmes opened the door to many more roles in films and shows that include “Another Country” 1984, “Lady Jane” 1986 and “Rumpole Of The Bailey” TV Series from 1987 and this role of becoming Dr. Walpurgis aka Dr. Terror England’s first Horror Host in 1992 hosting spooky Horror Movies in “The Vault Of Horror”. Guy Henry became an in demand actor over the years and some of his biggest roles that I would like to highlight are playing Guy Reynolds on the TV Show “Walking Dead” and nope not the AMC show based on the classic Image Comic Book. In 2005 he played Heyer in the comic book movie “V For Vendetta” and in 2007 he played Cassius in the cable show “Rome”. He would also be casted as Pius Thicknesse in the films “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2 from 2010 and 2011 respectively. And in 2016 he stepped in and was the body double for a CGI Peter Cushing in the film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and with this I heard many people compare him to this generations Cushing and really makes me wish Hammer would hire him to star in a Horror Movie. And the last role I will touch on is that in 2017 he played Dean Of Westminster on the TV Show “The Frankenstein Chronicles” showing that this guy should be hired more often in Horror. While Guy Henry is not a household name he is a great character actor who seems to not be slowing down anytime soon.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episodes I have of Dr. Terror who has always captured by attention with his look and style. I want to thank all the Horror Host trade lists for getting me these episodes and making this update possible and mostly Stumpy Disks for having many of these episodes. So let’s take a look at these episodes of Vault Of Horror! Oh and I need to also stress that I am not sure if these episodes are full broadcast versions or if they are fan reproductions. And yep I notice as well that the DVD covers have the wrong name for the show!

Vault Of Horror: Body Parts
Starring – Jeff Fahey & Kim Delaney      Rated R      1991  

Host: Dr. Terror in this episode is at his haunted amusement park hangout and talks about medical issues of the minds of those who make some of the shows for BBC! He as well introduces us to his “wife” that is really just a long haired, bearded man standing behind a picture cut out of a circus fat woman.

Movie: When Bill Chrashank loses his arm in a car accident, the arm of an executed death row inmate is grafted on in its place. The only problem, as Bill soon discovers, is that the arm is possessed by a force he cannot control.

Note From Matt: This episode seems to be missing its end segment as well as any middle ones if this episode had those.

Vault Of Horror: The Ghoul
Starring – Boris Karloff & Ernest Thesiger     Not Rated     1933

Host: In this episode Dr. Terror is hanging out with a laughing clown at the amusement park and talks about the night’s movie (not really) as well as brags about the master actor that is Peter Cushing!

Movie: Aga Ben Dragore, a knife-wielding, enigmatic Egyptian Arab, is seeking a sacred jewel which has been stolen from an ancient tomb. The thief tells him that he sold it to Professor Morlant, a fanatical Egyptologist who fervently believes in the pagan power of the ancient Egyptian gods. Dying from a mysteriously disfiguring ailment, Morlant entrusts his faithful manservant to bandage the jewel in his hand and warns him of dire consequences if his dying wishes aren’t carried out. After his burial in an Egyptian-type tomb on his estate, an anonymous robber steals the precious stone from the corpse. Although the ghastly-looking dead man rises at the next full moon to seek revenge, neither he nor the audience know which member of the household possesses the powerful jewel.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit as the film he talks about in the opening segment is the 1975 film The Ghoul that starred Peter Cushing and the film shown on this DVD is the 1933 film The Ghoul starring Boris Karloff. This episode also has no end or middle hosted segments.

Vault Of Horror: Legend Of The Werewolf
Starring – Peter Cushing & Ron Moody     Not Rated     1975

Host: This time Dr. Terror is in front of the Haunted Hotel trying to get people to come see the amazing wolf boy and also talks a little about the night’s film and praises Peter Cushing.

Movie: A travelling circus in 19th century France adopts and showcases a feral “wolf boy”, who grows into adulthood only to kill the one-man band. He runs off to Paris, where he develops a jealous, overprotective crush on a prostitute, leading him to attack her client, incurring a pursuit by a determined police surgeon.

Note From Matt: This episode is clearly a fan edit and only has the opening segment.

Vault Of Horror: The Mummy
Starring – Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee     Unrated     1959

Host: Once more at his amusement park hideout, Dr. Terror is riding in a boat traveling down a dark tunnel and chats to us about the Hammer Horror movie The Mummy! But not before telling one of his bad jokes.

Movie: In the 1890s a team of British archaeologists discover the untouched tomb of Princess Ananka but accidentally bring the mummified body of her High Priest back to life. Three years later back in England a follower of the same Egyptian religion unleashes the mummy to exact grisly revenge on the despoilers of the sacred past.

Note From Matt: No ending segment here as well, makes me wonder did he even have an end segment for his show?

Hands down, Dr. Terror is an amazing Horror Host who delivered great scares and a spooky good time to viewers in the U.K. and I am glad that he has gained a small cult following here in America. And to me it’s crazy that he has not been inducted to The Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he is the first host of the U.K and just his shear delivery of being a Horror Host is top notch. I am going to try my best to get him in the class of 2020! So for our next update we are going to leave the world of Horror Hosting behind but still stay in the world of Horror as I will be doing another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update (or is that From Horror Comic To Horror Movie?) as a part of our countdown to Halloween, and I will be taking a look at the movie Rottentail! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a killer bunny man good time!

Oh and on a side note Dr. Terror is now on the 2020 ballot for the Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Jennifer’s Body

Hello. Matt’s turned Rotten Ink over to me today. Who am I? Who are any of us really?  Ha! Just kidding. My name is Natalie Claude. I’m Matt’s friend and the writer behind the Blood Scream comic Goth. I’ve been reading comics for a long time. I don’t get into super hero books at all. Mostly I read horror and independent comics. When Matt asked me to write a blog about Jennifer’s Body as a horror movie to horror comic I was elated! I’ve been singing the praises of this movie for years. I’ve never felt like it got the recognition and attention it deserves. I didn’t know they even made a comic based on Jennifer’s Body until Matt pointed it out to me. I was excited to give it a read.

The main baddie in Jennifer’s Body is Jennifer Check. Jennifer is a self-centered, vain, egotistical teenage girl growing up in the small town of Devil’s Kettle. She only really seems to care about her popularity, boys and her best friend Needy Lesnicki. She leads a typical, small town life until she is used by a band from the city in a virgin sacrifice to Satan. The band wants to make it big in the music business and think getting in league with the devil is the only way to do it. The problem is Jennifer is not a virgin. Therefore, the ritual rather than killing Jennifer, results in a demonic transference. Her new demonic status affords her heightened strength, levitation, increased bite force, rapid regeneration and enhanced beauty. However, these demonic traits fade when she is hungry and needs to feed. (What does she feed on you ask? Human boys, of course!) This seems to be the only time she is vulnerable enough to be killed.

Here’s what IMDB says the movie is about.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

“Nerdy, reserved bookworm Needy Lesnicki, and arrogant, conceited cheerleader Jennifer Check are best friends, though they share little in common. They share even less in common when Jennifer mysteriously gains an appetite for human blood after a disastrous fire at a local bar. As Needy’s male classmates are steadily killed in gruesome attacks, the young girl must uncover the truth behind her friend’s transformation and find a way to stop the bloodthirsty rampage before it reaches her own boyfriend Chip.” 

I love this movie. Jennifer’s Body is easily in my top 3 favorite movies of all time. Really?! Yes, really. Jennifer’s Body is a lot of complex social issues and metaphors disguised as a teen horror movie. It uses humor and great performances by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried to mask what is essentially a movie about being the survivor of assault and what that can do to a person. Jenny, I’ve got your number and I see what you’ve been trying to say all along. If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch it. Check all your notions about it at the door and take the dive. I guarantee it is not the movie you presupposed it to be.

Now having said all these glowing things about the movie the same cannot be said about the comic.

Jennifer’s Body #1  *
Released in 2009     Cover Price $24.99     Boom     # 1 of

The Jennifer’s Body comic from Boom fails to hold to or grasped what made the movie so great. It is broken up into 4 stories centered around Jennifer’s male victims. It tries (a bit) to mimic Diablo Cody’s writing style but it falls flat. The art work is decent, but not outstanding. The stories are not engrossing or particularly complex. There’s a half-hearted attempt at saying “boys have problems too!” I feel like it’s the book version of “that guy”. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that has to chime in every time folks try to have an honest conversation about rape culture. “That guy” will always be there to cut in with “Boys get raped too!!!” I’m sure you know him. The comic seems completely tone deaf to the message the movie was sending. Honestly, it turned into a chore to read and had I not been writing this blog I wouldn’t have bothered to finish it.

However, to be entirely fair to the author Rick Spears, the graphic novel was released before the movie. The comic’s copyright is August 2009. The movie wasn’t released until mid-September. It’s possible he didn’t even see the actual movie before he wrote the graphic novel. He may have been just working from a screenplay. Either way, there’s no way this was a passion project. This was a job. I get it. He likely read through the screenplay a couple of times or possibly watched a rough screener copy of the movie and wrote this thing. My guess is he wasn’t digging for anything deeper. It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback something a decade later after watching and analyzing the movie dozens of times. In a perfect world the graphic novel would have been written by a woman that really grasped the true messages of the movie. In a perfect world this would have been a passion project that sought to enhance the movie. We don’t live in a perfect world. We live in this one. Therefore, taking into account all of these things, I give it 1 out of 4 stars.

The Jennifer’s Body movie is funny, witty, well written and has great acting. It’s socially relevant without being preachy and hits on subjects that are hard to face. You can buy a copy here.

The comic, unfortunately, is pretty freaking terrible and doesn’t even begin to live up to the source material. You can be the judge though and pick it up here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my two cents on this brilliant movie that got a raw deal in the comic world. Maybe the renewed interest in the movie will mean it can have a new chance in the pages of a comic. I highly doubt it though.

Matt, back here: I want to send a big thank you to Natalie for stepping in and doing this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update as she is not only one of my favorite people in the world but is also the biggest fan of Jennifer’s Body I know! For my next update, we will be leaving comics behind and will once more enter the world of Horror Hosts as we will travel to England and talk about Dr. Terror! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host.

Fright Flicks Fan Films: Volume 1

Sometimes the world of Horror Cinema Hollywood lets you down when it doesn’t deliver a sequel to your favorite franchises fast enough or at all. I mean look how long we have all waited for new A Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday The 13th films that have yet to grace the big screen and quench our thirst for Freddy Kruger’s and Jason Voorhees’ killing sprees. When this happens some creative fans get an itch and are bitten by the creative bug, they create their own fan films to deliver to fellow fans of the series a new installment or at least their take on the classic horror icons of splatter and frights. There is something to be said about the art of a good fan film, and for the most part for me, they are a great way to kick back and see the great talent of fellow indie horror filmmakers as well as creative minds at work on characters I love who bring their fresh ideas and stories to them, and sometimes their ideas are better than the real Hollywood sequels! Below is just a small amount of the Fan Films in the world but these are ones I own on DVD and have chosen to cover on this first update that celebrates the art of a fan film. I have decided that for these fan films, I am going to grade them on a report card level with A+ being the best and F being terrible, and keep in mind I am not going to judge them as harsh as a Hollywood Film or even a solid bigger budget Indie Film…they will simply be graded on a Fan Film level. And this update will be the first of many about Horror Fan Films if you readers and friends enjoy this one, as this is a fun subject for me to write about as well as doing this one was a blast as seeing some of these films for the first time was a real treat. So with that let’s get to this update and see what fans of Horror have to offer the world of Indie Cinema.

Many of you long time readers know that I use to make Shot On Video Horror films and even have produced and acted in many Indie Horror Movies, but what many of you might not know is that my old company Independent B Movie was going to make some fan films of our own! I have written about “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Return Of The Saw” that followed a beauty queen and her camera man being hunted by the Sawyer family on a back road of Texas while a bounty hunter was on their track to get revenge for a past victim. It would have been released in 2001/2002 and would have been a bloody good fan flick. But here are a few Horror Movie Fan Films that both my companies Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video were going to make or even had in production at one time, as well as what I can remember about them! “Night Of The Zombi” was to be based on the worm headed zombie from the Lucio Fulci film Zombi 2 and had a young woman home alone on the island as the dead were rising outside and old worm eye zombie had his sights set on getting the woman in the house. The film was going to be written, directed by me, and I was also slated to play the zombie with my friend Lauryn playing the woman in danger! This was an idea we both came up with while hanging out…would have been a fun one to film for sure, but was lost in the shuffle as Lauryn and I would go on to make the yet to be released “It’s In The Crawlspace” film. We were going to film at her fathers house as well as use Caesars Creek for the water locations. The film would have also been very bloody complete with lots of gut munching. Back in 1999 I also wrote a script for a Phantom Of The Opera fan film that was called “The Phantom Of The Woods” and it took place right after the events of the 1922 silent film! The film was suppose to have The Phantom escaping from the water and into the woods where he falls in love with a woman who is set to be married to another man. The film was written alongside many other scripts like Werewolf Of Ohio 2 and a Hercules script. The script was never got into production and was quickly forgotten about. I honestly do not remember who was going to be cast in what parts, but this is one that could someday get the Blood Scream Comics treatment. And the last time a Horror Fan film was talked about being made was in 2018 and is one that still might see the light of day as I have talked about doing one based on the 1973 Jess Franco film Female Vampire! But to be honest, I did film two fan films called “Hellraiser Warehouse” and “Hellraiser Warehouse II” that showcases Pinhead and Chatter tormenting workers at a deadbeat furniture warehouse…the films were made around 2006/2007 and the first film even played at a local cinema during an indie film showcase. Both of these short films I wrote and directed and even had a cameo in as a goofy shopper at the warehouse. Starring in the film was Stephen Alexander as Pinhead in both films and Josh Weinberg played The Creeper in both who was the bringer of the bad omens. James Courtney played the doomed manager in the first film and Matt Hoffman played the second doomed Manager in part 2. Mike Ritchie is shown as the warehouse owner in the second short and Thomas Blurton played Chatter in the second film. These are classic and fun films that both seemed to be a hit with those who watched them. Below is a picture from Hellraiser: Warehouse and, who knows if I ever will get the bug to film a fan film in the future!

But now let’s get onto these Fright Films and let’s see what some of these up and coming directors, writers, actors and producers can do with some of cinemas most loved Horror Icons and series. So sit back grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage, and let’s talk Fan Films! Oh and I want to thank my brother Bryan and my friend Matt Joseph for getting me many of these fan films and also want to thank some of the conventions that I attended that also had many of these in stock. But most importantly, I want to thank every single person involved in making any of these movies as they truly made this update possible and delivered entertainment to the masses.

The Blair Witch Legacy
Starring – Samantha Marie Cook & Cody Epling     Directed by Jason Hawkins
Released in 2018     Runtime: 1hr 38min       Not Rated

Plot: Filmmakers Sam, Cody and Jason are making a documentary about the film The Blair Witch Project and its legacy on the world of cinema and travel to Burkittsville, Maryland to showcase the films real stories used in the movie. When in town they start to look into the town and soon find that the townspeople are very quite and secretive about the Blair Witch and weird as well is the towns rash of disappearing kids over the years. Sam starts to become obsessed with the project and an old diary she got that has dirt on the town and uses it to bum rush residents that she is making enemies of. Cody and Jason are getting more and more frustrated with Sam as she pushes more and more on info on the missing kids. And to their bad luck, a kid they interviewed goes missing and they join the search and end up getting lost in the woods themselves as Sam is now missing and Cody and Jason are finding clues that they might be getting played for fools as things might not be what they seem. As they wander the woods to find their missing friend and a way out, they keep ending up at the same ripped up tent every night, and Jason seems to be losing his mind. In the end, the friends come face to face with the real Blair Witch who has teaches them a real lesson as do the townspeople.

Thoughts: This film is a found footage film and really tries to capture that magic of The Blair Witch Project and brings an “it’s real” atmosphere to the whole legacy and story. What works for the film is the whole missing kids story and the odd behavior of the townies who clearly are afraid of the curse of the Blair Witch who they all know is real and has caused terror for decades…as well as their hatred for the rabid fans of the films. I also like how the townspeople are working with the Blair Witch to teach outsiders a lesson in respect and to not mess with what they do not understand. The acting is pretty good for a fan film and each character in the film plays a part that helps further the script. The downside is that in some spots it drags as we go for a long stroll in the woods with Cody and Jason who scream for their missing friend as well as just grumble about being in the woods. And the main crime of the film in my opinion is not staying with the scares when they finally start…instead, we cut to the next day and have Jason once more flipping out covered in ash and mud. Clearly Jason Hawkins is a big fan of The Blair Witch Project and it shows in this fan film that I would say is pretty cool and fits very well in that universe. While this film is not for everyone and is a slow burn, I am sure fans of the Blair Witch will get some enjoyment and will fill the void until a new movie is made.

 Grade: B-

Dracula A.D. 2015
Starring – Xander Pretorius & Bessie Nellis     Directed by Joshua Kennedy
Released in 2015   Runtime: 59min     Not Rated

Plot: Jennifer is a student at Pace University in New York and is taking a class on myths plus folklore and in class they talk about Count Dracula! And one night she is pressured into having a séance with her friends in the basement of the college and by accident they bring Count Dracula back to life! Dracula is now wandering the hallways of the college as well as the streets of New York choosing victims to drink their blood and young Jennifer has become his target and obsession. Dracula along with his newly turned helpers turn and kill as many students that they can in order for Dracula to get to Jennifer. When bitten, Jennifer’s only hope is her boyfriend and her professor brother who are willing to fight the vampires to save her soul. Dracula and his minions put up a great fight until the end when The Count must face his would-be bride’s saviors that leaves him dead by sunlight.

Thoughts: It’s really cool to see a filmmaker paying tribute to Hammer Horror and its Dracula series and actor Christopher Lee with a modern fan film. And man do those who made this film really try its best to keep faithful to the feel and spooky nature of Hammer Horror, which made for a great watch on a late night. The acting is part stage and part over the top, and it works and never comes off super cheesy or too hammy with each actor doing a great job. Plus all the actresses in the film are super cute and fall in the mold of Hammer Starlets minus the massive cleavage. Xander Pretorius plays Count Dracula and does a solid job. While he looks young, he tries his best to bring out his inner Christopher Lee when it’s needed. I must also say that Kat Kennedy, who plays Jennifer and Hannah Rose Ammon, who plays Caroline, are fantastic in their roles and are very easy on the eyes, and I would love to see them both in more Horror Movies of all sorts of budgets. The film also does a great job of using score music from the Hammer Horror movies, and their use of lighting and locations are top notch. The film also does have a little blood, and while tame, it’s very fitting. I really did enjoy this fan film and found it to be a fun classic movie monster watch, and I would like to see these guys also tackle Hammer’s Frankenstein or even Plague Of The Zombies in a future fan film. I should also note that Joshua Kennedy is a known film director who makes classic style b-movies that have many being released by Alpha Video on DVD over the years…if you like this movie make sure to check them out as well.

Grade: A-

Float
Starring – Farzam Mir & Mason Coburn     Directed by Aidan Bova
Released in 2017     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: A group of friends are enjoying their lives in a small town hanging out, eating pizza, riding bikes and playing video games. But things change when kids in town go missing, and they become the next target for the sewer living clown creature Pennywise. And while out to play football Pennywise attacks the teens in the woods, and one by one they fall prey to his wicked ways and become his lunch.

Thoughts: This fan fright flick based on the Stephen King novel and blockbuster movie IT does its best to deliver some good scares with child killer and demonic being Pennywise The Dancing Clown. Scares are mostly done with cheap jump scares, but for this style of film based on this character it’s very fitting. The film has a little bit of blood but nothing major, and the effects are your standard mirco-indie stuff with most costumes and effects being store bought items. Now as far as Pennywise himself goes, the actor does his best to try and make himself scary and also tries really hard to try and capture the speech and attitude of the character, and while in spots he is really good…other times he comes off as a teenager cosplaying as his favorite horror baddie. Plus some moments in this fan film Pennywise comes off like a slasher film villain and not trickster creature he really is. The over all production values of this short are well done and it’s clear that those who made it really do love Stephen King’s IT. It also shows these guys have a love for filmmaking and this is great to see as these guys could be this next big faces in Horror Cinema. If they do another Horror Fan Film in the future, I would like to see them tackle something like Happy Death Day or Hell Fest and see what they can do with having to add in a little more blood and guts.

 Grade: B

Freddy vs. The Ghostbusters
Starring – Bradley Roddy & Jason Cook     Directed by Hank Braxtan
Released in 2004     Runtime: 34min     Not Rated

Plot: Stalker of dreams Freddy Kruger is using his razor sharp glove to kill any and all the kids who fall asleep. Neil is sick of being tormented in his dreams by Freddy and decides to hire the Ghostbusters to help him with his deadly issue…well he gets the friends and family members of the Ghostbusters to help and finds himself a member of the team now. The Ghostbusters find that Freddy must be plaguing the used mattress he just bought as the nightmares started once he got it. And when Freddy kills Neil’s roommate and traps his love interest Nancy in the dream world, they go in after her and bring Freddy to our world where they use their proton packs and ghost traps to bust him once and for all. Not bad for a bunch of ghost busting rookies!

Thoughts: This fan film is a blend of horror and comedy and brings the world of Ghostbusters and A Nightmare On Elm Street together, and for the most part does it pretty well. The only down side that doesn’t fit the mood of either film is some of the weird cruder humor. The plot works very well as having rookie Ghostbusters being forced to tangle with one of the worst supernatural slasher killers in history and trying to capture him with proton packs is a pretty dang cool idea. The film does not use blood and is played more for laughs and off screen kills, and this works as clearly the Ghostbusters are the stars of the film and Freddy is just around to be busted. Bradley Roddy plays Freddy Kruger and does a pretty great job of delivering the one-liners and showing off his kill glove. Plus it’s cool that we get cameos from green ghost Slimer and Jason Voorhees! The proton pack stream effects are well done as is the make up of Freddy. In fact for 2004, the digital effects this fan film looks pretty dang good. The runtime is prefect as it does not wear out its welcome and moves at a good pace to build to the final showdown, and speaking of that showdown it’s a little bit of a letdown as it goes by way to fast and Freddy don’t stand a chance against three proton packs and the ghost trap. Over all a fun classic goofy fan film that brings together two film franchises that just seem to work well with each other. The film’s score is also made up of music taken from both franchises as well as cues from popular pop music. Oh and I should also note that almost all copies I have seen of this film from the DVD I own to the ones on YouTube all seem to be low resolution making for dark scenes and fast movement to look a little blocky.

Grade: B-

Freddy’s Return: A Nightmare Reborn
Starring – Ronin Booker & Jennifer Farr     Directed by Jason Korsiak
Released in 2009     Runtime: 2hr       Not Rated

Plot: Freddy Kruger is stuck in limbo and is haunting the dreams of Kevin Marks whose father took part in his vigilante style execution many years back. Even as a kid Kevin was attacked by Freddy who has been the young man’s tormentor causing him lots of mental issues over the years. Now Freddy is infecting his dreams again as well as those of his closest friends in order to gain power and return to his dream killer glory, but he cannot harm Kevin as the teen seems to be protected. One by one the teens of Elm Street meet their bloody end by the glove of Freddy who is becoming stronger. And now Kevin along with his crush Ashleigh Asoa must fight for their lives in order to stop Freddy and also discover the truth about their own parents and their sins that has caused all this death and help create the demon slasher that is Freddy Kruger. In the end Kevin armed with dream catchers and the will to save Ashleigh who is being held prisoner in the nightmare world, and comes face to face with Freddy that leads to a final showdown…or does it!?

Thoughts: This fan film is suppose to take place after the events of A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and has Freddy stuck in his own nightmarish limbo world and as well follows Kevin Marks who is the key to Freddy’s return to kill the teens of Elm Street. This fan film has lots of both pros and cons. Let’s start with the good as the film’s production is well done and the acting is pretty great for a film of this level. The Freddy look is also well done, and while it’s just store bought masks and such, it looks good in this film. The film also has some pretty good micro indie horror effects, and they do allow the blood to flow. Plus they added in Amanda Kruger, and it was a nice way to try and tie in the past films with her acting as a helper to Kevin. The deaths are all well done and thought out, plus a funny death is when the girl-crazy teen is sucked into a TV world with hot women and one turns into Freddy and pokes his eyes out! Now the downsides are as follows: first and foremost the film is just way too long running a little over two hours it’s just drags in spots. While Freddy Kruger looks good sometimes, the actor’s line delivery is off and he loses the Kruger sound. They also change Freddy’s background as in this film he worked as an ice cream man who would abduct the kids while driving the truck, which seems a little off. While flawed mostly by the long runtime, this fan film is still worth watching and was clearly done by fans that put thought into their script and cared about their film. If you enjoy the A Nightmare On Elm Street series and like the dream killing ways of Freddy Kruger, then make sure to check this one out.

 Grade: C+

Friday The 13th: Halloween Night
Starring – Chris Seaver & Zach Allen       Directed by Chris Seaver
Released in 1994       Runtime: 34min       Not Rated

Plot: A survivor from a Michael Myers attack makes the mistake of going to Camp Crystal Lake and digging up the hockey mask of Jason Voorhees. When he puts it on, he is possessed by the spirit of Jason! Meanwhile Rodger and his friends are planning a massive Halloween Party even though Rodger is not sold on going to the party because he witnessed a murder done by Michael Myers many years back. While all this is going on, both Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are on the loose and are killing teens around the town including Rodger’s own friends! In the end Rodger runs for his life from both masked killers until he figures out a plan to trick them both that sends them both to hell and even saves the life of the man who is possessed by Jason’s spirit. While in Hell, Jason and Michael are greeted by Freddy Kruger who uses the puzzle box to bring the killers back and build a killer team.

Thoughts: This fan film is the first one I ever owned on VHS as well as was the first film I had ever seen of New York filmmaker Chris Seaver! The film is a fun mix of Horror and Comedy and blends together both icons of splatter Jason Voorhees of Friday The 13th and Michael Myers of Halloween in a slugfest that leaves both icons of fright at the gates of hell and in the hands of Freddy Kruger. The acting is super over the top and cheesy, and the kills are pure backyard effect gold with blood splattering from cups and spraying from tubs. Chris Seaver is one of my favorite indie micro budget filmmakers, and after seeing this film for the first time, we became friends after I contacted him. The look of Jason and Michael are nothing more than store bought Halloween masks with Jason’s looking like it came from Goes To Hell and Michael’s looks like a generic off brand one. Over all this film is pure Shot On Video gold that brings a great look at not only Fan Films from that time but also backyard epics. While flawed and silly, this film will always have a special place in my heart as it’s truly one that helped inspire me to keep making SOV films.

 Grade: B

Friday The 31st
Starring – Airon Armstrong & Richard Myles     Directed by Chris Notarile
Released in 2005     Runtime: 22min   Not Rated

Plot: John Tate, the son of Laurie Strode, is leaving his past behind after his mother’s death and along with his girlfriend Sara is on a road trip to a new life, but following is the masked killer Michael Myers. The traveling pair stop for gas in Camp Crystal Lake as Tommy Jarvis and his friend Sharon are running for their life from Jason Voorhees. And when John and Sara make the mistake of stopping at the house Tommy and Sharon are at, they become the target of Jason just as they all also become the intended victims of Michael. With Sharon and Tommy taken down, the pair of masked killers go one on one as our frightened heroes watch, and with Tommy injured badly, it’s up to John to save the day as well as the life of his lady Sara. In the end John knocks both Jason and Michael into a lake ending the fight…for now.

Thoughts: This fan made film from Blinky Productions pits Friday The 13th slasher Jason Voorhees against Halloween’s Michael Myers with poor John Tate his girlfriend Sara and Tommy Jarvis stuck in the middle of it. The film’s time building up both John and Tommy as well as their female love interests goes by really quickly, and the brutal fight between Jason and Michael is well played and done with the film showing both killers respect as well as trying to keep each film’s fans happy with adding heroes from both franchises as the leads. Plus the actors who play Jason and Michael do a great job of mimicking their movements, and you can tell they want to do the characters right. The atmosphere in the film is also well done, and while watching it, you feel like you’re in a place where help is nowhere in sight, and that really does play into the horror of the film. The film is also well shot, and the scripting keeps it all interesting as you want to see what is going to happen next. One thing that I wish is that the film was longer as I could have done with more of the fight between Jason and Michael as well as could have done with lots more of actress Niki Rubin aka Niki Notarile on the screen as I think she, like many in these fan films, could and should be in more horror films. Over all this is a solid fan film and shows why for decades Blinky Productions was considered the best of the best in that genre.

Grade: B+

Godzilla: Battle Royale
Starring – Billy Dubose & Vicka Xalka     Directed by Billy Dubose
Released in 2014     Runtime: 1hr 33min   Not Rated

Plot: Godzilla and other Kaiju (like Anguirus, Varan and Ebirah to name a few) are attacking Chicago unprovoked and are smashing and killing with no remorse and without reason and are crushing the city. The army sends in Matt “Razor Shark” Kennedy with his super charged aircraft to help the army to stop this Kaiju attack, and once he arrives at the site, he is visited by the pixies who inform him that Mothra and Gfantis are on their way to help mankind in this battle, and Japan is sending Mechagodzilla to help as well. But when the good guys are able to get a small victory when they find out that an Evil Alien Queen in her UFO is controlling the monsters and are able to take out her control over Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan and Manda who now are mad and wanting to fight Ebirah who is now joined by the likes of Gigan, Hedorah, Rhiahn, Orga, Zirgra, Biollante, Mechagodzilla (who is now being controlled by the aliens) as well as a zombie King Kong! Things look bad for the humans and good Kaiju as they are out numbered and are taking a beating, that is till Godzilla gets a little help from Mothra and super charges up and is able to turn the tables and along with the humans help is able to take back control of Mechagodzilla as well as blow up the UFO. Once defeated, the Alien Queen in a fit of anger turns herself into Queen Ghidorah and it takes all of the combined powers of the good Kaiju and the humans to bring her down. In the end Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan and Manda return to Monster Island and Mothra and Gfantis return to space as all the bad Kaiju are left defeated as the humans celebrate that Chicago is safe once more.

Thoughts: Wow, this is a great fan film that delivers lots of giant monsters fighting in an American city and delivers nonstop fighting and action as the humans are more the side characters and the monsters are the stars of the film. The costumes in this film range from cheesy to amazing, and I need to stress even the cheesy ones are pretty badass! Also used in shots are action figures of the characters that are wisely used to bring more detail and life to some of the Kaiju. They used the familiar Godzilla roars and soundtrack, and this gave it a really classic Toho feel. Plus making the aliens over act also felt right for a Godzilla film. While watching it, I really liked the plot of the aliens bringing back King Kong from the dead in order to once more do battle with Godzilla to show who the real King of the Monsters is, and for big parts of this battle royal fight, Godzilla and Zombie Kong duke it out. The fights in this film take place in front of a green screen but they also built sets for the actors to stomp around, and both come off pretty great for a fan film. You can tell that director Billy Dubose really does love Godzilla and his pals and made this film out of his love for them and even manages to get a cameo from actor Akira Takarada who was in many of the classic Toho films. Plus model Vicka Xaika looks great as the Alien Queen, and Billy himself is over the top fun as Razor Shark. Over all if you enjoy Godzilla and or King Kong films and enjoy a layer of cheese on your indie fan films, this one is for you.

Grade: A-

Gremlins Recall
Starring – Katherine Rodriguez & Randy Irwin       Directed by Ryan Patrick
Released in 2017       Runtime: 11min       Not Rated

Plot: WING is a company that is engineering Mogwais to be safe for the world to have as pets! But when Clara, a waitress at a small diner, meets a truck driver who is hauling Mogwais and has a white furred one named Trink, she becomes a fan of the little creatures, but makes a mistake when she shares a cherry from a milkshake with one that has not been treated and now the small diner is covered with Gremlins that are killing people and have stolen the WING truck and are ready for a rampage. Clara, the truck driver and Trink now must gear up and head out to stop this rampage.

Thoughts: While we wait for a Gremlins 3 from Hollywood, fan and indie filmmaker Ryan Patrick decided to take matters into his own hands and create a short fan film to fill that will fill the empty void Warner Brothers has left in our horror loving souls. And the first thing when watching this film that blew me away was just how amazing the Gremlins and Mogwai looked! I mean these things are big budget Hollywood looking creatures and really brought the feel of Gremlins alive. I like the fact that, in this film, the Gremlins are treated as scary horror characters and the humor is played down making it feel more like the original and less like Gremlins 2. The film’s acting is also really well done and there is not a weak link at all. Katherine Rodriguez who plays Clara is a likable character who could be the series next Billy. The only downsize to this fan film is that it ends before we get a full ending as we don’t see if Clara and her new friends stop the runaway Gremlins, and in 11 minutes I just didn’t get enough! This, no joke, is a great fan short film, and I wish that these guys would get money to make a full length fan film as the world needs it.

Grade: A

Jason vs. Leatherface
Starring – E.H. Jenkins & Lynda Huyck     Directed by Matt Spease
Released in 2003     Runtime: 26 min   Not Rated

Plot: Jason Voorhees is tricked by Freddy Kruger, who is acting as the voice of Mrs. Voorhees, to go to Texas in order to help Leatherface who is always being abused by his crazy family and is ordered to kill the Sawyer family if things do not go well. Once in Texas, Jason runs into W.E. Sawyer who takes the masked killer home to meet the family. All the while a couple in Texas become the targets of the Sawyers who want to make meals from them! In the end Jason snaps and kills Dirk Sawyer, Annabelle Sawyer as well as W.E., and this sparks Leatherface to go crazy and the pair of killers square off with finally Jason coming out the winner when he cuts the head off of Leatheface. But as Jason starts his walk back to Camp Crystal Lake, he finds himself being stalked by Michael Myers, and thus ends this fright flick.

Thoughts: This shot on video fan film was done by Evil On Queens Street director Matt Spease who also stars in the film as Jason Voorhees and Dirk Sawyer and shows that he is a fan of both the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series as well as a fan of the Topps Comic mini series that pitted the two against each other. The film’s plot moves along at a good pace and dose not allow itself to drag. The effects are few and far and both costumes for Jason and Leatherface are the common store bought masks, but they are used well to showcase the characters and get the job done. The acting in the film is your typical no budget style with the cast trying their best to deliver believable lines in-between smiling. Plus it’s cool to see an early acting from not only Spease but also Lynda Huyck who was a lead in Evil On Queens Street. The battle between Jason and Leatherface is fun to watch and even at one point they pick up each other’s weapons to duel, so Jason swings a chainsaw as Leatherface uses a machete to try and kill the other. I also like how this film does not pull any punches and allows Jason to win the fight by truly killing Leatherface and setting up the sequel that would have Jason taking on Michael Myers from Halloween. The film also uses lots of modern (for the time) rock music as well as score cues from Friday The 13th films making it sound like a film from the era. Over all this is a fun and very cheesy little fan film that might have been left in the dust when it comes to Fan Films about both characters but did leave its mark on the genre as it’s one of the first ones I ever bought on DVD way back when. I would recommend this fan film for those who love shot on video films like myself or those who like fan films of either character as it delivers a quick and fun watch.

Grade: C+

King Kong
Starring – Sylvana Boonstra & Brett Charles   Directed by Jack Buchanan
Released In 2016     Runtime: 2hrs 35min   Not Rated

Plot: Film Maker Carl Denham teams with an oil hungry worker and have a mysterious map that leads to the island called Skull Island that is said to not only house a mythical creature perfect for a movie but also lots of raw oil! The pair of greedy men hire Captain Jack Driscoll and his crew to take them to it, and when a female reporter stowaway is found, she becomes the star of Denham’s film! But once at Skull Island, they are attacked by natives who kidnap and give Anne to their god, a giant gorilla they call King Kong, and Jack along with the ships crew must travel deep into the jungle and battle dinosaurs and giant insects to get her back. But Driscoll soon has other plans when the oil on the island is not good and the film is lost when the camera is destroyed, so he decides to knock out the giant gorilla King Kong and take him back to New York to become an attraction for the oil company and will make them both rich and famous. But once in New York, King Kong escapes when he thinks Anne is in danger and this leads to him dying to protect her as the army gun him down on the Empire State Building and he falls to his death, but not before making many of his attackers and kidnapers pay for their crimes.

Thoughts: This King Kong fan film has lots of heart and is clearly made by fans of the character who did their best to do it all justice even though they did not have the budget to pull off the special effects. But what they lacked in budget for effects, they made due with costumes, Claymation and digital effects that all came together for a fun and cheesy watch. The acting of course is amateurish, but I must say that everyone involved took their roles serious and gave it their all. Sylvana Boonstra, who play the part of Anne Darrow, does her best to act on a green screen and a giant plush hand that grabs her and make it seem legit. I really do think this is one of the most ambitious fan films I have ever seen done by people of this age ,and what sets it really apart as I said before is that everyone involved seemed to really believe in the project and director Jack Buchanan clearly is a massive Kong fan and was able to not only get his friends and family to help but also wrote a script that brings together elements of the King Kong films from 1933, 1976 and 2005 as well as add his own twists and plot changes and yet still respects the source material. What he does with the Carl Denham character in the film was a nice change of pace, and for those that want to watch this flick, I will not ruin it for you. King Kong himself is played by actor Bradley Dunn and is nothing more than a human in a gorilla suit placed into scenes with the help of a green screen and computer effects, but I will say they did a great job using different masks to express the emotions of Kong. Over all, this is a fun little watch that brings a new vision of Kong to the world of micro budget cinema.

Grade: B+

Night Of The Maniac
Starring – Eric Yoder & Tegan Moritz         Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2018     Runtime: 11min     Not Rated

Plot: Frank Zito is getting his murder tools ready as the TV news is reporting on his crimes that go unsolved. And once ready, he hits the streets and selects a cute blonde who has just gotten home as his target. The young woman goes about her business as Frank cuts stalks and waits to attack, and when he does, he chokes her until she passes out and then takes her to her bedroom where he ties her up and talks to her as if she is his mom who abused him and left him alone as a child. Frank snaps and with his knife he stabs and scalps the young woman and places it on a mannequin. And we end with him once more walking the streets.

Thoughts: Maniac is one of my favorite 80’s horror movies and when hearing about this fan film I had to check it out…and I was not disappointed in it, besides the fact I wish it was longer. The film builds up Frank Zito getting his tools of murder together in order to find a lone female to murder and the payout has him getting what he came for her scalp. The atmosphere of this short film is spot on and does showcase the gritty feel and nasty nature of the William Lustig film. The makeup effects done by Eric Yoder to make himself look like actor Joe Spinell are great and makes it feel like a deleted scene from the original film, and the blood effects are also affective. The film is well acted even if it has very little dialogue, and they make great use of the film’s score here as well. So if you enjoy Maniac from 1980 and like solid creepy short Horror Movies based on it, give this one a watch. Eric Yoder, I want to also say, is a name we might all want to watch out for as he could became a name in the world of Horror.

Grade: A

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Trial By Fire
Starring – Elspeth Summers & Ellie Nestaval       Directed by James Coleman II
Released in 2015     Runtime: 55min      Not Rated

Plot: Marilyn is a teenage girl living on Elm Street, and in her nightmare one night she witnesses the attack of her neighbor and friend by the one and only Freddy Kruger! After this Marilyn is haunted by visions of young kids warning her that Freddy is coming back for them all! Now poor Marilyn is plagued with terrible dreams and death is surrounding her, and she is slowly slipping into madness, as she cannot sleep in fear of her nightmares. The parents know that the sin of their past is back to kill their children or some think it’s a copycat killer, while others know that he could be back as something nonhuman. Marilyn wants to stop the killings and even goes to Nancy Thomas for help as she is the only known survivor of his nightmare slash attacks. In the end it looks like Marilyn might be the new key for Freddy to once more be at full power, and he uses her to get revenge on her father who was his lawyer on the night he was set on fire.

Thoughts: This is another A Nightmare On Elm Street fan film that was done by fans that love the series and wanted to add their own tale to the legend. This film once more follows Freddy Kruger as he slaughters and kills teenagers who live on Elm Street, the only change this time is that it looks like the teens don’t stand a chance against Freddy and evil wins with this round. And I kind of like that as most of the Nightmare On Elm Street Fan Films I have covered have all had Kruger on the losing end, and this one spiced it up a little. The film is shot really well, and I only noticed a few weird audio moments making the over all production pretty good. The acting is also well done with Elspeth Summers who plays Marilyn being the standout, and the un-credited actor who takes on the role of Freddy Kruger also does a great job. Plus with the quick looks we get of Freddy, the makeup looks pretty good help adding to the mood of the film. The short film does have some blood and pretty standard kills, it’s the use of CGI blood that takes away from many of the kill moments. Over all this is a pretty standard and entertaining fan film based on the mega hit film A Nightmare On Elm Street, and if you are tired of waiting for a new film in the series, maybe give this short a watch to help tide you over. I want to also note that this film was written by Jason Korsiak who directed “Freddy’s Return: A Nightmare Reborn”.

Grade: B

Predator: Dark Ages
Starring – Adrian Bouchet & Philip Lane       Directed by James Bushe
Released in 2015     Runtime: 27min     Not Rated

Plot: A village has hired the church for help to hunt a monster that has been killing their people, and the church sends in a group of Templar Knights and a Muslim scholar into the woods after it. The monster is a Predator, and one by one he hunts and kills the knights leaving only one left as well as the scholar who flees for his life when the lone knight decides to have a showdown with The Predator. In the end, the knight tries his best to defeat it but must get the help of scholar in the end who makes a deal with the Predator saving not only the knights life but his own.

Thoughts: This short film is amazing and has a fantastic story that brings the time of the crusades together with the world of science fiction horror. First thing I need to point out is the film is well shot and feels like a real horror flick that you could watch on cable on a late night and director James Bushe knows his stuff when it comes to filming as well as the folklore of Predator. I like the idea of Templar Knights armed with swords, shields, bows and crossbows up against the universe’s most talented hunting killing machine, as I am a big fan of the history of the Templar Knights and really enjoy the hell out of the Predator films…so this mash up was perfect for me. The costume for the Predator looks great as does the armor for the knights, and the effects of the gore are pretty cool and mix practical and digital. The film’s runtime goes really fast and it really does feel like you are watching a film in the Predator series as all the formula that makes those films great are in this short, the only one complaint I do have is that I wish that at some point in the short The Predator would have removed his metal mask and we would have gotten a good look at his ugly mug…but over all its just a minor complaint. This film also uses bits of the iconic score theme from the series but also ads its own touch, and it’s solid. Over all if you’re a fan of Predator, give this one a watch as its really cool and well done.

Grade: A

Return Of The Witch
Starring – Brandon Tabatto & Shanna Ammons       Directed by Brandon Tabatto
Released in 2018     Runtime: 26min     Not Rated

Plot: After the tragic events of 1982 that lead to the deaths of millions of small kids who wore their Silver Shamrock masks on Halloween night a cursed commercial played. And the hero of the event is Dr. Daniel Challis, who has written a book about the cult he battled and the lives he did and didn’t save from Conal Cochran, the owner of Silver Shamrock the warlock and leader of the cult. Now in 2018 Silver Shamrock is gearing up for a comeback with Connor Cochran as the owner, and he wants to clear his family’s name and become the leader once more of high end Halloween masks. The news is having a field day with this return and is asking people how they feel about this company coming back and making masks with the world being split with many wanting them gone forever. The night of their big return, Silver Shamrock plans a big give away commercial that will not only be on TV but also all over social media! Roger is the grandson of Daniel Challis and is wanting to expose Silver Shamrock once and for all and is now kidnapped and forced to wear a mask and watch the commercial and meet his maker. As the commercial is about to air, people all over wear their masks and soon find themselves dead as Connor wins and millions more die for their cause. And this time around Daniel Challis loses not only innocent lives, but also his own grandson.

Thoughts: Since it s release in 1982, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch has gained a pretty loyal cult following, and it comes to no shock that in 2018 it got its very own fan made sequel to give watchers a nice follow up to the events. And it’s a nice touch to add the Conal Cochran’s grandson as the short film’s villain and Dr. Daniel Challis as the hero once more showing that these two families all these years have a game of cat and mouse to play still. I also like how they added Challis’s grandson in the fold and for a split second, you think he will be the film’s hero….and nope he dies horribly! The film uses footage and sound clips of actor Tom Atkins from other films in order to make it seem like he is part of the film, and I must say it works pretty well for this style of film. The acting is cheesy and over the top for the most part and I feel as a viewer they spend way too much of the runtime on News Broadcasts that are the cheesiest parts of the short film. The plot is pretty cool, and I like how the world is split on the return of a company that was accused of killing many kids back in the 80’s. While this is a pretty good fan film I think for me the overuse of the Silver Shamrock commercial and jingle as well as the over long News stuff left me wanting more of something a little different. Clearly made by fans of Halloween III and highly skilled makers, this one just is kind of okay in my book and I hope they do more fan HIII films in the future so I can see if Connor gets what’s coming to him. Oh I should also note that this film also uses the masks from Halloween III so you get to see the Skeleton, Pumpkin and Witch back in action…well remolds of them any way.

Grade: C

Sally’s Escape From Hell
Starring – Jennie Yates & Roderick Klimek      Directed by Gus Trapani
Released in 2016     Runtime: 9min     Not Rated

Plot: Sally Hardesty wakes up a prisoner in the home of the Sawyer family and is greeted by the sinister Hitchhiker and his brother Leatherface who torment her as she is tied up in their basement. Sally is able to break free and escape the house but behind her is the Hitchhiker who slashes her with his razor and Leatherface with his chainsaw each wanting to end the young ladies life. Even a passer by with a gun meets his end by the blade of the Hitchhiker who also ends up shooting his murderer dead! In the end Sally is able to escape in the back of a pickup truck as Leatherface swings his chainsaw in the middle of the road.

Thoughts: This fan film is really just a short reimagine of the original 1974 films ending and removes the iconic dinner scene for a more torture in the a basement scene. The film’s production looks great and the appearance of Leatherface captures the original film’s style making it feel like it could very well been a deleted scene. The actors all do a great job in their roles and actress Jennie Yates who played Sally had to scream her head off in the role, and I am surprised she did not lose her voice! They also did a pretty great job hiding the fact they shot this in modern times and masked elements that would have given away the decade really well. The downside for me about this fan film is that it did not really feel like a short film and just kind of felt like a scene, and this just left me slightly underwhelmed and just wanting more…but keep in mind this is still a really fantastic well made fan fright flick. Not much else to say besides fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre should really enjoy this one.

Grade: B-

Sawyer
Starring – Shanna Ammons & Kage Walker     Directed by Brandon Tobatto
Released in 2018     Runtime: 18min     Not Rated

Plot: A couple are making a documentary about the Sawyer family and the crime spree they did that was dubbed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre by the media. They give a small history of the terrible events that survivor Sally Hardesty went through as well as a little about the Sawyer family who committed the crimes. All the while they are showing the locations that the events took place at. And finally the pair decided to visit the last known location of the Sawyer family that is an abandoned trailer park, and they are attacked by Leatherface who is the only living member of the family left as Drayton has just died and been buried behind the rundown trailer. After killing the male, the female is able to get away and Leatherface does the chainsaw dance.

Thoughts: This Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan film has a good storyline, but just is not really executed very well and leaves you wondering slightly why it was made. This fan film acts as if all the sequels did not happen and that the Sawyer family have been on the run sense the events of 1973. And it’s really a great idea to have thrill seeking fame seekers to visit the places these crimes took place in order to make a video. I also like the idea that all the other family members passed away and now Leatherface who is living in a small rundown trailer in an abandoned park is the only one left. Now the cons of this short are they spend way to much of the short runtime having actress Shanna Ammons telling us the story of the first film as well as the new history of the trailer park being their last known location…while all good, we just spend way to much time on it. I also scratch my head at some of the dumb actions of our two leads who don’t run when they should and who also talk loud when Leatherface is inches away about the smell of her perfume. Another small thing that bothered me is the fact the actor who plays Leatherface has tattoos all over his arms making it seem out of place…like how did he get them? I doubt Leatherface could walk into a tattoo parlor and demand tats! Plus the film is bloodless and even the one death in the film comes off lackluster and kind of boring. Over all this was an okay fan film but not the best TCM fan film…in fact not even in the ballpark of any of the other Leatherface films on this list. Oh and I should note that Leatherface has about three different looks in this film and that as well is a nice touch.

Grade: C-

Scream
Starring – Natalie Ryan & Gretchen Sailer         Directed by William Guanzon
Released in 2017?   Runtime: 1hr     Not Rated

Plot: A couple home for the night are attacked and killed by a masked killer causing fear and terror to run all around town. And when the bodies start pilling up, Sidney who’s mother was the start of the murders and her friends gather for a party that is crashed by the masked killer who also targets the town’s deputy and top news reporter Gail Weathers all to get to Sidney who is the main target of this murder spree. In the end Sidney must come face to face with her attacker or attackers and find out the truth about her mother as well as fight to survive.

Thoughts: Scream was the movie in the 1990’s that brought horror back to being box office hits and inspired a whole new generation of horror fans to create films of all types of budgets again. And filmmaker William Guanzon was so inspired by Scream and its sequels that he decided to remake the original film with his friends and add in his own twists and extra characters. The film for the post part follows the original story pretty closely and many of the films quotable lines are used, but what is different is who the killer or killers are in his fan reimagining. And the fact they do spice up who or whom the killer(s) are brings a new level of watch-ability to the film and helps make it feel like a familiar yet new experience viewing. The only downside for me is that Ghostface does not show up as much as I feel he should, and when on screen he seems to come and go very fast leaving you wanting more and not in a great way. The film does have some pretty cool kills that shows some cool indie style effects. The runaway actress in this film is Natalie Ryan who plays Sidney as I feel she does a good job in her part and I would like to see her do more horror movies in the future. Over this Scream remake fan film is a fun watch and is a nice way to pass the time as we all wait for a Scream 5 or a reboot to that series.

Grade: B-

TCM: The Last Round Up Rollin’ Grill
Starring – Marie M. & Ali Gustafson         Directed by Justin Saenz
Released in 2018       Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Terri and Greg are driving through Texas to make it to a wedding when they pick up beautiful hitchhiker Caroline who is on her way to Austin to stay with her sister. While together the couple befriends Caroline and decide to just drop her off before they go to the wedding at her destination even if it’s a few miles out of their way. But while on this trip, they come across a man who has been gravely injured and they stop to help only for them to become the targets of Leatherface and his evil brother The Hitchhiker! One by one Leatherface kills the travelers with his chainsaw and trusty hammer and with her new friends dead Caroline must do what she can to stay alive against the Sawyer family.

Thoughts: This fan film acts as a prequel to the 1974 classic and shows how The Hitchhiker got his camera and how Leatherface got his makeup done face, not to mention it really does kind of feel like it could take place in the cinematic universe of the TCM film series. The film captures the gritty and downbeat nature of Leatherface and his family and shows that they kill for not pleasure (though I am sure they do take some joy in it) but for food as they eat who they kill. The film does a great job also bringing the blood and meat of a slasher film but this also does not follow the almost bloodless original film that this event is supposed to pre-date. The look of Leatherface is good and the mask and his gear look fantastic and it’s clear these items are a step above most store bought masks. The Hitchhiker is a little off and not just in his appearance but mostly in his line delivery and over all attitude presentation. The victims are all likable with Marie M. who played Caroline being the stand out as she is a great scream queen and is hypnotically beautiful. I also like the use of old country music as well as music taken from the score from the original film making it feel right. Over all if you’re a fan of TCM and enjoy retro style fan films, I would say check this one out as its very enjoyable and delivers a very close Chainsaw experience as we wait for the next installment from Legendary Pictures.

Grade: A-

The Thing: Who Goes There?
Starring – Shawn Ronzio & Dan Miller       Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2017      Runtime: 11min       Not Rated

Plot: A group of men in the arctic are all at odds with themselves as something has been affecting them and turning them into monsters. One member with a gun is holding the other hostage and is forcing them to all give blood and test it with fire as the thing hates fire. One by one he tests the blood until one of the man exposes himself to be The Thing, and it transformers and attacks and kills all those near it. In the end only the man with the gun is left and he must face his fear as he is left alone with The Thing in a cold cruel world far from any help. Can this man survive or will he also fall to the grip of The Thing.

Thoughts: The Thing remake is a film that for many has surpassed the original it was based on, and in fact the remake even spawned a sequel and is almost always on people’s top Horror Movie lists. And when fan and effect artist Eric Yoder decided he was going to make a fan film of The Thing, many fans were happy as sadly the last film was made in 2011 and only a rumor has been spreading about another sequel being in the works in Hollywood. Yoder in his short fan film captures the mood and atmosphere of John Carpenter’s The Thing as well as it’s “who is infected” paranoia that spreads not only for the characters in the movie but to us the viewer as well. This short film makes you also feel very claustrophobic as it takes place in a small base in the middle of the arctic with snow all around. This helps set the mood in your mind of what would you do in this scenario. The acting is well done and each takes their roles very seriously and come off believable as coworkers who have turned on each other over fear. The effects in this short film are hands down the best in any of the other fan films we are covering on this update and look like they could be in a true Hollywood sequel. The only downside is that the runtime is very short and leaves you as the viewer wanting more and wishing this was at least 20-25 minutes longer. Fans of The Thing should check this one out as I think you will have a blast watching it.

Grade: A-

Welcome To Fright Night
Starring – Eric Yoder & Lucio Fernandez       Directed by Brandon Medina
Released in 2016     Runtime: 37min       Not Rated

Plot: Charlie is a man who is having relationship issues with his girlfriend Amy, and worse notices his new neighbor is a little strange and is named Jerry who clearly has a dark side and is by all accounts a vampire! Charlie takes notes from his favorite show Fright Night hosted by Peter Vincent and tries to get the help of his friend Evil Ed to come up with a plan…but all he really does is get the attention of Jerry who is pissed off and shows he truly is a vampire and not to be messed with. Charlie after a run in with Jerry meets Horror Host Jerry Vincent at a public signing and is as well laughed at and thrown out where he meets up with Evil and Amy who in turn gets Peter Vincent to meet with Charlie to meet with Jerry and he finds that he is in fact a vampire. Jerry that night turns Evil into a vampire and uses his charm to kidnap and turn Amy as well. Now Charlie and Peter must team up and get Amy back and to do so they must battle not only Evil Ed but also the vampire Jerry!

Thoughts: This Fright Night fan flick does a good job of remaking the original film into a short and adding it’s own flare and touches. The acting is pretty well done and each take their roles very seriously and deliver good performances. The directing is well done and shows that Brandon Medina has talent and a love for Fright Night. The downside to the film is at times the editing and sound mix is a little odd and this can be distracting. The films score is taken from the original film so it offers a nice touch and helps hide some of the sound flaws. The film’s vampire effects are really cool and come off scary when they need to be and some of the “gore” effects as well are well done and shows talent once more…I am sure they were done by the talented Eric Yoder who truly should be working on bigger budget horror films. The film’s story movies at a fast pace and many characters from the film have been removed to move it along and keep it tighter, and while this is a great idea it also loses some moments that are needed like the death of Jerry’s butler sidekick who has been removed from the short all together. Over all this is a fun fan film that will please fans of Fright Night.

Grade: B-

Wow, many of these films were fantastic and many of them are surely ones that I look forward to watching again and hope many of you will also give them a watch on YouTube, DVD or however you can get your hands on a copy! For me the best films that I gave the highest grades would be in no order “Predator: Dark Ages”, “Night Of The Maniac” and “Gremlins Recall” with many others like “Dracula A.D. 2015”, “King Kong (2015)” and “Godzilla: Battle Royal” being must watches! And while some of the films were not ground breaking, even those deserve to be watched and given a chance. I hope you enjoyed this update that showcased these Horror Fan Films and for our next update we will be going back to comics and will be taking a look at the Horror Movie Jennifer’s Body and the Graphic Novel based on it….plus I will be turning Rotten Ink over to my dear friend Natalie Claude for this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update as this is one of her favorite Horror Films and one that means something to her. So until next time, read a comic of three, watch a fan film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. So be ready soon for Natalie to talk Jennifer’s Body!

Horror Host Icon: Iris and Retina

Not all of Dayton, Ohio’s Horror Host’s are Doctors, Ghouls, Creepers or Barons. Some of them are just very cool cats who enjoy life and all the joys movies, music and companionship bring us all. The hosts I am talking about are Iris & Retina of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, a show like no other in the Dayton area as they blend mondo and horror together for one entreating show. Iris & Retina in my opinion are often over looked when it comes to the impact they have made in Horror Hosting in Ohio as they have always meant something to their viewers and delivered a show that was like none other in the area before or even after it. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Iris & Retina, an update that has been long over due!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go started in 2007 and took viewers of Public Access by storm as hosts Iris & Retina were unlike the hosts that preceded them and their show took a way different approach to Horror Hosting. Each episode was very different, as they would take us from locations like their home all the way to skits in cemeteries and everything in-between, and unlike most Horror Hosts of that time, they did not have a regular set and would show all types of films not just in the Horror Genre. The show would last around seven episodes as of this update and plans for more are being talked about as Iris & Retina have more films to share with viewers, and this blogger does know for a fact that one episode has been partly shot and at some point will be finished. Mondo Smash A’Go-Go aired on DATV, MVCC as well as The Monster Channel and got released on DVD by Iris & Retina and has built a following among Dayton viewers and beyond. To this day their episodes air of DATV as part of the Horror Host Underground that airs after Baron Von Porkchop on Friday Nights. Their episodes can be found on YouTube as well so do yourself a favor and give them a watch as they are highly entertaining and are truly different from the rest of the pack of Dayton Hosts.

Iris and Retina are two lovebirds that live in a world of psychedelic Americana and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of movies with the viewers as well as their love for music and even snack recipes and really gets into hosting. Their tagline for viewers is “From Our Living Room To Yours,” and they mean it as many episodes do take place in the couple’s living room, but they also do travel outside it and each episode seems very surreal and almost hypnotic. Both Iris & Retina, besides being talented Horrors Hosts, are also talented musicians, and they will also play a little song for the viewers on some episodes! The thing that also sets these two apart from all the other Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio is that neither Iris nor Retina are the co-host and each share the same amount of the hosting duties! While Hosts like Dr. Creep, A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Baron Von Porkchop have very important sidekicks and co-hosts, they are the solo star of their shows while on Mondo Smash A’Go-Go both are the main host! Plus another thing that sets them apart is that they are just normal people doing cool things and bringing you movies in a world of colors and imagination. Iris & Retina are great Horror Hosts who have made their mark in Dayton and beyond with their cool lucha laidback explosion style of hosting, and I for one would put theme in my Top 5 favorite Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio!

When not Hosting Horror Movies on Public Access, Iris & Retina who are played by Louie and El Bean Lerma put on their luchador masks and becomes El Muerto and Infinity, part of one of the area’s top psychedelic surf bands Team Void who rock the Dayton area and beyond! One cool thing about Team Void is that they have played at The Baron’s Ball hosted by Baron Von Porkchop and “A Ghastlee Night At Gilly’s,” both events that took place at the iconic Gilly’s Jazz in Dayton and teamed them up with fellow Ohio Horror Hosts. Team Void is a pretty popular band in the Dayton music scene, and if you ever find yourself in town when they are playing, do yourself a favor and check them out.

So for this Horror Host Icon update, I am lucky enough to have been granted a 6 question interview with the one and only Retina of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go! So sit back and see what this cool cat has to say about his life as a Horror Host in Dayton.

Me: Welcome, Retina to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting?

Retina: Loved horror movies in general growing up into my adulthood. My father was in the Air Force and was able to travel USA and abroad. My first horror show host was a gentleman, husband of my 2nd grade teacher, his host name was Sea Creep. To begin each show, he would climb out of the ocean onto the beach and chase his fellow co-host Marilyn. I thought that was so cool! When we came back to the United States, stationed at Dayton, Ohio Wright Patt. 1972 I became addicted to Dr. Creep! I was able to be on his final show, playing Bass for a local band called THE DATES -XXX. What a THRILL!!! I also tuned in to horror show hosts like The Cool Ghoul/Cincinnati Ghoulardi/Cleveland, Bob Shreve from Pat Prime Playhouse, and in a weird way, Uncle Al kids’ show host from Cincinnati. Dug Capt Wendy’s Go-Go Boots the most! From Indianapolis was Sammy Terry!!! All big influences on Retina’s career.

Me: So out of your first classic episodes of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go, what is your favorite one?

Retina: My favorite MSAGG is -of course the final one we did. The beginning of Season 2, “Night Of The Living Dead” with you and the Baron Von Porkchop’s help… also we had a killer band, Akillis Green, their song, “Cannibal Love” really fit the theme. Personally, I love the 2nd episode, “Wild Guitar” – we had such a blast making it in our living room. It was the first time we danced and played music as a duo, Iris and me, and also played multiple characters. And then we did “Bloody Pit Of Horror” the first season finale, that was in Mondo Vision, our version of 3D processing. Iris and Retina also cracked up the audience with their studio being haunted by an entity, calling another show, WRAPS and TABS to investigate and exorcise the spirit making for a funny scene! Also of course Iris and Retina were playing all roles again.

Me: There is a rumor of a new episode that is in the works, can you share with my readers what film you’re hosting and what you and Iris get up to in the episode?

Retina: Hmmm crazy… we started to finish our 2nd season, we have much in the can with the movie, not to give anything away, it’s a classic Gamera movie. Iris and Retina will be hosting as marionette puppets traveling into space to reach Gamera for an interview but ran into Godzilla first so we interviewed him as well! Bonus! We have plans for other titles “Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster” one of my favorites, “Not Of This Earth” Roger Corman classic, as well as “Undertaker And His Pals”

Me: When this episode is released, are there plans for more Mondo Smash A’Go-Go’s to be unleashed on the viewers?

Retina: As I mentioned Q3 there are plans to finish our 2nd season. We ended 2nd season’s premiere, S2 “Ep1, “NOTLD.” Iris and Retina to share the movies and be seen to the public in different ways: marionettes sculpted by Luis Lerma. We have lined up musical guests. Also special guests, pop over to help us out throughout the season. We’ve had a nice break from our movie playback escapades pursuing our music career; TEAM VOID is at our tenth year! MSAGoGo will come out in our eleventh year, est 2008. Looking forward to bringing more MSAGoGo Movies from our living room to yours and our versions to you, Spoiler Alert… look for Mondo Vision to evolve.

Me: So if you guys could host any film what would you pick?

Retina: For me, I would like to do a Triple Feature, “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” actually make that a Quadruple Feature: “Blood For Dracula,” and finish it off with “How To Make A Monster!” They were all released in 1959 the year I was born. I have watched them all on television growing up. And then I will hand this question over to Iris, she loves “Dirty Dancing”…we would have a great time traveling out to the locations for a dancing cool life experience. Then travel to England for a fun run with “Witches” because she loves all the author Roald Dahl’s strange tales. And finally run through hosting and toasting “Hold That Ghost” rocking Abbott and Costello movies with “A and C Meet The Mummy” and loves all Billy Wilder, and all Trinity with Bud Spencer Movies!! Travel around the world for her favorites… We are also fans of the Beach movies, Peter Sellers movies, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, John Waters collection, William Castle mad fun, the Raimi’s Franchise,”Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety” and “SIN CITY”… the list goes on.

Me: And lastly do you have any advice for future Horror Hosts that might be reading this?

Retina: My advice is to watch as many movies as you can! Enjoy them, experience them, and learn from them, watch them again! True fans of horror movies make a great horror show host. Find your identity and how you want to express yourself to your audience, and be informative, as well as go all in to entertain your audience! You watching you, do what you like! Be original. Stick to sharing your excitement with telling the story to host a great show! You can be creative using what you already own on the DIY editing systems, cameras, find local locations. Remember production value is important and embrace happy accidents like trains passing thru the background of your shoot, or a reflection in your car windows to add a deeper story, etc. etc. etc.

I want thank Retina for taking a few moments of his time for this interview and really do hope the world gets more Mondo Smash episodes, and while Iris & Retina and their show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go might not be as talked about as Shock Theater, it still has made its mark on public access viewers and much like Moraine Playhouse Theater their show is safe for viewers of all ages and has top notch hosts attached to them. I for one also think that they should some day be put into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as they are truly great Horror Hosts!

So let’s now talk about the episodes I own on DVD, as lucky for me and you readers, I own all the episodes they have released so far and really want to thank both Iris and Retina for them as I bought and was gifted these episodes from them! I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and will be taking the film’s write ups from our pals at IMDB and I will write about the Host segments to give you a little taste on what Iris & Retina are up to in them. So sit back, relax and groove with Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Oh and I am going to do these episodes in order of release!

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Santo vs. Vamp Woman
Starring – El Santo & Lorena Velazquez      Not Rated      1962

Host: Our Hosts Iris & Retina welcome the viewers to their living room to enjoy a classic Mexican action horror movie that is a renamed El Santo film and give us some history of the night’s film as well as its Lucha star. Next break they teach the viewers how to make some very tasty nachos and guacamole for a movie snack! We next join Iris & Retina as they have Team Void play a song for the viewers with a Lucha twist. In the end Iris & Retina tell us about next week’s film and play us out with a song by Team Void.

Movie: The vampire women in Mexico have awakened from their sleep, commanded by their master, The Evil One, to find him a bride. They choose as their target the beautiful daughter of a local professor. To rescue his daughter, the professor calls El Santo (Samson in some US versions), a silver-masked wrestler for justice.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Wild Guitar
Starring – Arch Hall Jr. & Nancy Czar      Not Rated      1962

Host: Once more from their living room Iris & Retina welcome us to another episode of Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go, and Retina with his guitar in hand tells us about the night’s movie as Iris dances and as well shares facts about the flick and its stars. We next join Iris & Retina who on this break decide to teach the viewers how to do the dance the twist, before taking us back to the movie. We next join Iris & Retina as they go up against two other couples in a twist contest that include a female vampire and a werewolf! But in the end Iris & Retina win the contest and show that Horror Hosts are the best at everything! After the movie our hosts tell us about the movie that is coming up on the next episode and then play us out with a song inspired by Wild Guitar.

Movie: A young Arch Hall, Jr. is given a shot at the big time by the unscrupulous owner of a small record company played by Arch Hall, Sr. (aka William Watters).

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Carnival Of Souls
Starring – Candance Hilligoss & Herk Harvey      Rated PG      1962

Host: Iris and Retina welcome us to the show, and they share some facts about the film as well as its cast and crew. Iris and Retina are drinking cups of coffee during the break, and Iris explains how much she enjoys being a Horror Host! Iris becomes scared when she sees a zombish version of Retina in a mirror and doesn’t want to watch the movie alone! In the end Iris is dancing with the ghostly Retina, and the pair tell the viewers what next weeks film is! As the credits roll, both Iris and Retina are ghostly and dance and wish us all a good night.

Movie: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag, the women accept, but are forced off of a bridge. It appears that all are drowned, until Mary, quite some time later, amazingly emerges from the river. After recovering, Mary accepts a job in a new town as a church organist, only to be dogged by a mysterious phantom figure that seems to reside in an old run-down pavilion. It is here that Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual insouciance.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: White Zombie
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Madge Bellamy       Not Rated        1932

Host: Iris & Retina have been invited to Haiti to attend a friend’s wedding and talk about the night’s film as well as its crew and cast including Bela Lugosi. We next join Iris & Retina who are at a small table having a cocktail when Iris falls into a trance over a rose Retina was going to give to the bride! During one break, they show the short film “Betty Boop Meets Dracula” for the intermission of the episode. Iris & Retina bring you a 3-D Three Stooges Short film after the film to help add to the episodes fun time! In the end our hosts Iris & Retina share what the next film will be.

Movie: Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont’s motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies. After Beaumont uses Legendre’s zombie potion on Madeleine, he is dissatisfied with her emotionless being and wants her to be changed back. Legendre has no intention of doing this and he drugs Beaumont as well to add to his zombie collection. Meanwhile, grieving ‘widower’ Neil is convinced by a local priest that Madeleine may still be alive and he seeks her out.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: A Bucket Of Blood
Starring – Dick Miller & Barboura Morris       Not Rated       1959

Host: Iris & Retina are at a coffee shop and are doing an open mic, and Iris is hyping up their show via spoken words, and once done they talk about the film as well as its cast and crew all the while cleaning the tables of the coffee shop…the film is also being shown in Mondo-Vision! Through out the episode the people around Iris & Retina act like beatniks as our hosts serve drinks to them as a snitch named The Fink keeps calling into his “boss”. The snitch figures out that Iris & Retina are frauds and their show is really just a drawing on a TV Screen that is static! In the end they coffee shop still celebrates Iris & Retina and they show a trailer from the next film to be shown!

Movie: Walter Paisley, nerdy busboy at a Bohemian café, is jealous of the talent (and popularity) of its various artistic regulars. But after accidentally killing his landlady’s cat and covering the body in plaster to hide the evidence, he is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor – but his newfound friends want to see more of his work. Lacking any artistic talent whatsoever, Walter has to resort to similar methods to produce new work, and soon people start mysteriously disappearing.

Note From Matt: This is the first episode that Iris & Retina brought in background actors to fill roles of people at the coffee shop. Plus is the first film shown in Mondovision that required special glasses to watch.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Bloody Pit Of Horror
Starring – Mickey Hargitay & Rita Klein       Unrated       1965

Host: Iris & Retina are in their living room once more and give us viewers a little history on the night’s film as well as its crew and cast. They also call friends of theirs from a ghost hunting show called “Wraps & Tabs” and try and get them to come over. The night’s film is also shown in Mondovision! Once back they welcome Wraps & Tabs to their home, and these guys are going to try and help them find a weird shadow and voice that seems to be coming from a spirit! Iris & Retina give the ghost hunters and viewers a tour of their house and show some of the spots they think are haunted. The next segments have Wraps and Tabs investigating the house as odd things happen around them. They soon make contact with the spirit that was really just the show’s executive producer who was yelling at them to get the episode done and turned in so that it could air! In the end Iris & Retina show back up and end the show with a trailer for their next film “Manster” that was never made.

Movie: Writer Rick and his publisher Daniel Parks finally find the ideal location in Italy to shoot some photographs for Rick’s Horror photo-novel when they come across an ideal spot. The seemingly deserted castle looks perfect from the outside, so Rick and Daniel, accompanied by his secretary Edith, their photographer Dermott, and his five young models decide to break in. They soon find the castle is actually occupied by former actor, Travis Anderson, who initially is annoyed with these visitors until he recognizes Edith, his ex-fiancée amongst them. He decides to give them permission to use his castle, but warns them that the dungeons are off limits. Will they heed his warning?

Note From Matt: This is the second film in the series to have a film shown in Mondovision that required the special glasses.

Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go: Night Of The Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Judith O’Dea       Not Rated        1968

Host: As always Iris & Retina welcome us to the show and introduce the night’s film and talk about it as well as the cast and crew as well as tell us about guests Team Void and Akillis Green! While in the cemetery, Iris & Retina are attacked by a pair of zombies who chase them into a near by house. Later in the cemetery a News Reporter and his Camera Man are reporting on the zombie outbreak as Team Void show up and are interviewed by him as this Lucha Rock Band are master zombie killers. They also update the viewers to locations in the area that are safe. As Team Void gun down zombies, we go back to the classic movie. Once back to the house Iris & Retina run into band Akillis Green, and they perform the song Cannibal Love, but the zombies get in and bite band member Dave who they lock in the basement as the rest go out and protect the house from the zombie horde, but in the end all of the band dies in a zombie attack. In the end Team Void is still killing zombies in the cemetery as the News reports on the safety! Iris & Retina also return and thank the special guests and so ends the final episode of Mondo Smash A’Go-Go…for now!

Movie: Barbra and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbra manages to get away and takes refuge in what seems to be an abandoned farm house. She is soon joined by Ben who stopped at the house in need of gas. Beset by the walking dead all around them Ben does his best to secure the doors and windows. The news reports are grim however with creatures returning to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are surprised when they realize there are 5 people hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen and Karen Cooper; and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation deteriorates, their chances of surviving the night lessen minute by minute.

Note From Matt: In this episode Baron Von Porkchop plays the News Reporter as well as one of the zombies, Count Van Lambchop plays one of the zombies and I play the News Camera Man!

Iris & Retina take their place in the history books of Horror Hosts from Dayton, Ohio, and they truly are the most unique Hosts as they have a style that is unlike all the others. I for one am a fan and very much looking forward to new episodes, as Dayton needs more active Horror Hosts! I also want to thank Retina for the interview as well as alerting me to Sea Creep, a Host that I now must find footage and learn all about, and who knows maybe one day if I can uncover footage he may get a Horror Host Icon update! Also if you want to check out Mondo Smash A’Go Go, episodes can be found on their official YouTube page, so make sure to check them out if you enjoy Hosting and good classic Public Domain films. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting behind and will be taking a look at the world of Horror Fan Films, those amazing films made by fans that keep characters alive and bring new scares to viewers. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a new update that I hope will become yearly!

Another Night Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2019)

It’s that time of the year again when Juliet and I pack our bags and put them into the old Mazda 3 and head to Cranberry Township to enjoy yet another Monster Bash Convention and some relaxing days in Cranberry Township taking in all the local stores, sights and restaurants the area has to offer. As always, I was very much looking forward to getting some time away from work, comic book making and filming and being able to sit back and relax and spend some time with Juliet as well as all the classic monsters at Monster Bash! This year’s theme was very heavy on Hammer Horror as guests like Martine Beswicke, Veronica Carlson and Christopher Neame were all on hand while other guests included Ricou Browning, Tom Savini, John Russo and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul! So if you are ready, grab a snack pack, jump on in and let’s have some fun as we celebrate the best Horror Con in the world and all of cool wonders around it!

We started our quest on June 20th and hit the road at around 11:30am after eating a breakfast that Juliet from Dorothy Lane Market. Once on the road we chatted about wrestling, comics and goofy stuff! We also talked about our plans for the night and made a stop at our normal Ruby Tuesdays where I had a meal of Bourbon Salmon, Loaded Baked Potato and Dirty Rice and as always it was a good meal that helped give me energy for the road. At around 5:30pm, we made it to our hotel that was yet another new one for us to stay at as both of the ones we stayed at before were filled so we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, and I must say that first impression was it was nice and the staff was friendly! After relaxing for a few minutes, we headed out to go to New Dimension Comics so I could pick up a few good reads for the weekend. As always I found some cool comics that included issues of Thor, Uncanny Tales From The Grave, Tower Of Shadows and Comet Man from Marvel. From DC, I got issues of Batman, The Comet and Super Friends. And finally I also got some indie comics like Ex-Mutants, The New Krofft Supershow, Escape To The Stars and Radical Dreamer. For dinner we decided to have Eat’n Park and I had a Hot Turkey Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes and a Baked Potato! For the rest of the night I read some comics, watched some TV, chatted with Juliet and geared up for the first day of Monster Bash! Oh and I should note that the day was filled with lots of rain and muggy weather…making it a perfect day to hang out in the hotel and read and write.

On June 21st marked the first day of Monster Bash and sadly the convention did not open until 3pm so in the morning we got up around 9am and after eating a quick breakfast from Starbucks, we headed out and our first place to visit was The Living Dead Museum in Evans City as its been a while since we got to visit it and when in the Pittsburgh area you have to spend time with the living dead! I really like The Living Dead Museum as it celebrates the rich history of the Romero Zombie films as well as zombies in Horror Movies in general. And when we arrived, Juliet and I were happy to see our friend and Nashville Horror Host Dr. Gangrene also waiting to enter the museum and even better he was going to be at Monster Bash and the area all weekend! The Museum was as great as always and after walking around and taking some pictures, we bought a t-shirt and a pin and headed back toward the hotel to gear up for Monster Bash. And after a meal at Max & Erma’s, we headed to The Bash!

As Juliet and I made our way to Monster Bash I wondered what statues would greet us and what cool car would be parked up front…if I had to make a guess on car I would say once more the Dragula from The Munsters, and as far as statues, I would guess Hammer Horror as it seemed like the theme of this year. And as we made it to the front of the hotel we noticed no car was in place yet and the wait to get tickets was not too bad. The dealer room was packed with people, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the world of classic movie monsters, and what was nice this year was I saw some younger kids in the crowd enjoying the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. After walking around to all the dealer tables and making several purchases (more on that later) we also took time to chat with our Horror Host friends Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri about Horror Hosting and cool classic local TV! Much like last year, some of the people looking around were kind of rude and would step in front of you while you looked, would stand really close and sometimes just stand in the way of items as they looked off into space or at their phone…while annoying, I have been to Horror Conventions where this behavior is a lot worse. As we were leaving, we ran into indie filmmaker and friend David “The Rock” Nelson and we chatted for awhile about the production of his newest film Howl Of The Werewolf. It’s always a blast to see David. Over all a very cool first day of Monster Bash that once more showcases why this is my favorite show. Oh and as for the statues, this year they did have Hammer’s Frankenstein’s Monster as played by Christopher Lee many of them were based on classic Universal Monsters as well as a few Silent Horror Icons and even one of Bela Lugosi from White Zombie!

So I am sure you are wondering what the first day’s haul was like…well it was really good! I picked up a Universal Mummy bendy toy by JusToys for $8.00, Masters Of The Universe He-Man drinking glass for $10.00, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell Wooden Plaque for $25.00, The Werewolf from Sungold Monsters for $15.00, Two Knock-Off Mini Figures of Phantom Of the Opera and Yeti from a series called “Un Mundo De Figuras” for $10.00 each, Eerie Greatest Hits Graphic Novel for $5.00, The Tomb Of Dracula # 37 comic for $5.00, The Creation Of King Kong Novel for $4.00, Predator Movie Adaptation Novel for $3.00, The Adult Version Of Jekyll & Hide DVD for $7.00, two episodes of The Son Of Ghoul Show that has him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon & Lady Frankenstein for $10.00 each and what would Monster Bash be without me buying David “The Rock” Nelson movies as I got Mummy A.D. 1993 for only $20.00 and Howl Of The Werewolf for $25.00! So as you can see, this was a pretty amazing day 1 of Monster Bash goodies!

So for the first night we wanted to have Dinner and a Movie at the hotel so we chose to eat our favorite restaurant in this area, Wing Kings where I had Garlic Wings and Cheese Fries with a Coke to drink. The night’s film was Howl Of The Werewolf, the newest no budget monster movie classic from David Nelson. The film was over 3hrs and 30min long and was pure classic Rock stuff complete with Detective Rock eating and random attacks by the film’s monster. And I will give all you readers a little info on something very cool….Sparkle Comics will be doing some comic books based on David “The Rock” Nelson films and Howl Of The Werewolf will be the first one released in 2020! The script will be written by Juliet, and the art will be done by Don Stephenson. So keep your eyes open for more news soon on this comic release. Over all a great night of good food and a super fun film and this ended the first night of Monster Bash!

On the second day of Monster Bash we woke up early and had popped into Monster Bash really quick before heading to Pig Iron for an amazing breakfast! Once done we headed back to Monster Bash and soaked in all the amazing sights of classic monsters! This year I noticed that more vendors had DVD’s and Blu-Rays and people were buying like crazy showing physical media is alive and well. Juliet and I also were able to look around a little better as while packed again people seemed to be aware of others around them and this allowed us to shop for not only ourselves but also our friends. We then chatted some more with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri and once walking around and buying some more we headed out of the Bash and into the world of Cranberry!

The second day of Monster Bash goodies was also great pick ups as I got a Phantom Of The Paradise Wood Plaque for $25.00, Two more Un Mundo De Figuras of Dracula and Werewolf for $12.00 each. A Scary Monsters Magazine Vampire Detection Kit for FREE and lastly I got two episodes of Gunga Jim of him hosting Revenge Of Dr. X and Assignment Terror on DVD for only $5.00 each! So while this time around I did not buy as much, they still are some great finds.

After Monster Bash we headed back to New Dimension Comics as they had a massive store sale so we loaded up on some comic books as I got issues of Silver Surfer, Roger Rabbit, Ex-Mutants and G.I. Joe all for only .30 each! After that we relaxed for a few minutes and then headed back out and ended up at Barnes & Nobles and looked around at books, magazines and POP figures all before we headed to get a tasty treat at TCBY Yogurt that is always a must for Juliet when we come to Monster Bash. The traffic on this day was terrible but at least the weather was nice and sunny with a high of only 73 degrees. Once back at the hotel we watched The Mummy Returns on SyFy and later for dinner Juliet wanted to have Moe’s and as always I had a Chicken Burrito, and as always it was a good meal and made us both miss Moe’s being in Dayton.

After dinner we ended the night with a Horror Host feature as we watched Son Of Ghoul hosting Lady Frankenstein! The art of Horror Hosting to me goes hand and hand with classic monsters, and I wish Monster Bash would do a massive Horror Host gathering at one of the conventions as this year was pretty great as on hand was Janet Decay, Grimm Gorri, Drac, Countess Carita, Son Of Ghoul, Gunga Jim and even Dr. Gangrene around! Always a fun time to end a Saturday Night with a Horror Host and why not do so with one from Ohio!

June 23rd not only marked the final day of Monster Bash 2019 but also was the birthday of the late great Dr. Creep who was a great friend and a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting. For the last day we walked around for a few minutes and enjoyed the classic monster atmosphere as well as ran back into Dr. Gangrene and we chatted about classic amusement parks and roadside attractions. And after one more sweep through to pick up some last minute goodies we left Monster Bash for the last time in 2019 and looking back I truly feel that this is an event that if you love classic monsters should make the trip to as it’s a great and is filled with good times, great guests, top notch vendors and spooky monsters.

The final days Monster Bash Goodies was very small but pretty dang cool as I had to buy four more Un Mundo De Figuras figure and this time I got The Mummy, The Fly, Jack The Ripper and Swamp Creature for $10.00 each. These little things are amazing and I feel now I need to collect the whole set. And lastly I bought the double feature DVD of The Beast Within and The Bat People and the main movie I wanted on this set was Bat People and I paid $20.00 for this out of print MGM release. Another great year of pick up’s, as Monster Bash has never let me down!

After we left Monster Bash, we headed to a little amusement park called Conneaut Lake Park as they have a classic Horror Ride called “The Devil’s Den” and we heard about it thanks to Dr. Gangrene. It was around an hour away from Monster Bash, and the ride to it was nice and filled with some small towns and really beautiful landscapes, and when we arrived at the theme park it was everything we ever wanted and more! After parking in a field, we walked to the main gates and found that we had to buy the wristbands from a stand that is in the middle, and walking to the stand we saw many of the classic style rides like Tumble Bugs, Paratrooper, Music Express, Bumper Cars, Carousel and Blue Streak an amazing wooden roller coaster…and no joke people who grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area will know what I mean when I say my first feeling was “Wow, this has a Fantasy Farm and Americana Amusement Park feel”! And after a short line to get our admission wristband we headed straight to The Devil’s Den as this was the main attraction for us, and man I have lots to say so we will get to it shortly. The rides were also connected to a water park as well as a lake and all around us were families and couples having fun and this helped added to the great atmosphere of the park. Not to mention all of the park workers seemed very nice and helpful. After Juliet and I rode The Devil’s Den, she rode The Blue Streak and had a blast and from there we went and rode the train that went around Blue Streak and the park all the while we would pass wooden cutouts of famous cartoon characters. From there, Juliet rode the Tumble Bugs and after we ate some loaded fries and funnel cake from one of the food stands and just soaked in the park. After leaving Juliet and I both agreed that we will come back to Conneaut Lake Park as it was a very fun time!

The Devil’s Den was everything in a classic Horror Ride I could ever want! We got at the park right at open so the ride had no line and Juliet and I were able to walk right up. Sadly the cars were tiny and we had to ride separately and as the worker pushed my cart into the track, the spooky ride started! Now keep in mind I loved the cart and while it would have been fun to ride with Juliet, it also was an amazing ride to experience alone. And Devil’s Den was filled with creepy paintings, spooky sounds, flashing lights, darkness, a gum caked wall and the Devil and his minions. This made me flashback to the old Horror Ride that was at Fantasy Farm and I had a massive smile on my face the whole ride as each dark turn made me come face to face with another monster. The highlight for me is when I got to see The Devil that looked just one straight from a B-Horror Movie. The ride had some great old school scare moments like string hanging down to touch your face in dark rooms and had lots of twists and turns. This was a fantastic way to feel like a kid again as I enjoyed every moment of this ride and I think that if you are in the Pittsburgh area, you need to take a trip to Conneaut Lake Park and pay the $10.00 entrance fee and do yourself a favor and take a ride on The Devil’s Den and after doing so soak up all the amazing attractions of a true indie amusement park. The pictures below come from the rides official Facebook page at CLP Devils Den so make sure to check it out and give it a like. No joke, this was a perfect attraction for Juliet and I to spend a good part of our day at….and oh yeah I also bought myself a Devil’s Den T-Shirt!

After Conneaut Lake Park we headed toward The Snowman as I needed a good old Yeti Shake and to my shock and sadness, the horses were gone! While I was sad not to see the horses again, the shake was fantastic as always! Later in the day we ate dinner at a restaurant called Burgatory and it was fantastic and I made a custom chicken burger that was one of the best I have ever had! The waitress we had was super nice and the restaurant itself was very welcoming and had a cool look. We ended the evening once more watching an episode of Son Of Ghoul that had him hosting The Hideous Sun Demon as I figured what better way to end the final day of Monster Bash than with a Horror Host program.

June 24, 2019 marked the first day of after Monster Bash blues, but marked the first full day of lets go do cool stuff in Cranberry! We started out morning with a breakfast from Einstein Bros Bagels and then made our way to see the remake of Child’s Play at Cranberry Cinema, as I have said before this is a great indie ran theater that has a great feel and no joke I also really enjoyed Child’s Play! From there Juliet and I had lunch at Moe’s and just like last time the meal was really good. After lunch we headed back to Evans City and visited the Cemetery, as it’s a must every time we are in PA. The drive to the cemetery is so peaceful and once there we soaked up the sun, nature and just the over all creative vibe you get when there. The cemetery was filled with chipmunks again and besides the caretaker, no one else was around and made for a very peaceful visit. After enjoying the wonders that is Evans City Cemetery we headed back to the hotel and waited for dinner…that was Wing Kings of course and then we watched WWE Raw on the USA Network.

June 25 marked our last day in Pennsylvania and on this day we started out by going to Target to pick up some road snacks. We then headed to Mars and had some coffee from Mars Brew House and walked around the small town for a few moments. Juliet and I chatted about our time at Monster Bash as well as talked about Horror Hosting and even about Rotten Ink. We then went and filmed the UFO in downtown Mars to send to my pal Victor for a project for Rockstar Pro Wrestling. But this was just the start of our journey back to home as I wanted to make a stop that was very important to me…and that was to visit the grave of a true wrestling legend.

Before we made the long drive back to Dayton we stopped at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh so I could pay my respects to WWE Legend and Wrestling Icon Bruno Sammartino. For those who don’t know who Bruno was, I first want to say shame on you, as he is the longest WWE Champion in history and was one of the world’s most popular wrestlers in the 60s-80s and hands down is one of the best in the business. And after paying my respects Juliet and I walked around the massive cemetery and we talked about how important Bruno was and still is to the legacy of the WWE as much like Hulk Hogan he was what kept them in business for decades. And I am making a promise to all you readers that when Inverse Press finishes the comic series based on Bruno Sammartino I will cover it here on Rotten Ink and truly talk about this icon of the squared circle. Once we left the cemetery we headed back to Ohio, but not before stopping again at Ruby Tuesdays for a quick meal.

Once we ended up back home I had to deliver copies of the Sparkle Comics release of Spring Heeled Jack # 2 to local shops as well as spent some time with family and friends and even went to the theater to see Annabelle Comes Home! I also ended up filming a one off cheesy Horror Host show with my pal Damien…more on that in the future. But on June 29, 2019 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon that would be packed with some great Horror, Science Fiction and Thriller films. We started the marathon at 8am and started with the Universal Horror film “The Thing That Couldn’t Die!” that is about a cursed head tormenting a group of people on an isolated ranch. The second film was “Zarkorr! The Invader” about a massive space monster on a rampage to test earthlings that must be saved by a postal worker. We then watched “Golem” from 2018 that brings the silent film and classic Jewish folklore and is about a woman that brings to life a Golem to protect her village. The 1995 thriller “Mommy” starting Patty McCormack was next and was about an evil woman who will kill those who get in her young daughters way…and more so her own. Our fifth film was the Sc-Fi classic “Target Earth” about a group of strangers that wake up in a city alone during a mechanical alien invasion! “The 27 Club” is about a musician who sells her soul to the devil to get fame, but it comes with a price on her 27th birthday. The shot on video film “Masked Mutilator” was next and is about a group of kids in a halfway house that are being killed by a crazed masked pro wrestler. Indie Horror Movie “Close Calls” starring the lovely Jordan Phipps is about a young woman who is battling drug addiction being grounded as strange and deadly things are going down at her home. Our 9th film of the marathon was “Leprechaun Returns” the newest sequel in the long running series that has him coming back again to claim his gold and torments a group of sorority girls. And the final film was the 1975 fright flick starring Peter Cushing “The Ghoul” about a mansion that holds a terrible secret and a murderous thing in the attic.

This was another great Horror Movie Marathon filled with some great flicks and amazing food and snacks! After we watched the films, as always Juliet and I sat and talked about them and picked our best three as well as our Golden Turkey. For Juliet she selected Masked Mutilator as her Golden Turkey as she did not hate the film she just felt it dragged in spots, and I choose Zarkorr! The Invader as I found it to be a little to slow with a so-so hero and a lackluster final battle. My Top Films went as following # 1 went to Golem as I found this to be a very fun and bloody way to bring this classic horror icon back to modern viewers, plus it was well acted, well shot and the blood effects were really good. # 2 for me was Leprechaun Returns as I felt this was a fantastically silly and fun sequel and washed the bad taste of Leprechaun Origins out of my mouth, plus the film was way more gore in it than I expected. And my pick for # 3 was The Ghoul as I found it to be a fun spooky atmospheric classic style Horror Flick that once more showed why Peter Cushing is one of the best actors in Horror ever. And for me Close Calls was a runner up as I found myself still thinking about the film way after it ended as it left me thinking about what the ending meant. Juliet’s picks were as follows # 1 The Golem, # 2 The Ghoul and # 3 went to Target Earth, but she wanted to let you all know that the film The Thing That Wouldn’t Die almost made it on her list and was her runner up. So as you can see, another great Marathon and a great way to end my Monster Bash 2019 vacation!

This Marathon’s Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills goes to Golem as he had about 13 on screen kills and a ton of off screen! While he looked like a child this creatures was brutal and ruthless when it came to murdering those who crossed him or his creator. The Golem’s best kill for me is when he would make peoples heads explode into a mess of bloody goo filled with chunks of brains! So thanks Golem for not only being the best movie of the Marathon but for also making it a little bloodier!

It’s crazy to think that the world lost George A. Romero over two years ago. I mean the man delivered some of the most iconic zombie films of all time with titles like Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead, Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead, all amazing films in their own right. But many others love his none-zombie horror work like Season Of The Witch, The Crazies, Martin, Knightriders, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes, The Dark Half and Bruiser all films that delivered chills and entertainment to viewers. They just don’t make filmmakers like Romero anymore who had a vision and brought a group of creative minds together like he did in the Pittsburgh area. While George might be gone and no one can make zombie films like him no matter how they try, his legacy will live on forever not only in his work but also in all those film creators who he inspired.

George A. Romero’s masterpiece of zombie horror cinema Night Of The Living Dead is truly a film that has inspired and has been imitated by so many filmmakers and media creators. I mean NOTLD is even a film that has been hosted by so many Horror Hosts around the world, and I would even bet that it’s the most hosted movie of all time! And oddly enough, beside the official sequels like Dawn of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and Land Of The Dead to name a few it has also spawned a remake from effects master Tom Savini and a ton of unofficial sequels that all branding the name Night Of The Living Dead….now I am sure your wondering how this is so, right? Well the film has fallen into the public domain and this allows creative minds to do what they want with the title and the film itself and this is how these “sequels” and “ different takes” are able to be made and viewed by Horror Movie viewers world wide. So let’s take a moment and talk about some of these films that cashed in and continued the legacy of NOTLD. And let’s talk about what we will call The Good, The Bad, The Ugly And The Turkey as I will pick what one I find to be the best, the so-so, the worst and the golden turkey! So be ready as they are coming to get you readers! They’re coming for you….look here comes the rip offs now!

The first film in these unofficial sequels is “Night Of The Living Dead 3D” that was released in 2006 and stars the likes of Sid Haig and Brianna Brown and follows Barb and college student Ben as they try and survive a zombie horde while finding shelter in the farmhouse of the Cooper family. But when the zombies arrive, things get bad for the survivors, as they cannot stop the living dead! Next up is “Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D” that was released in 2012 and is a prequel to the above mentioned film and stars Jeffrey Combs and Denice Duff and follows a mortician who foolishly exposes dead bodies to medical toxic waste that brings them back and hungry for the living. “Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection” was as well released in 2012 and stars Sule Rimi and Kathy Saxondale and is about a group of humans hiding in a farmhouse as the dead rise and they drama inside the house seems to be worse than the horrors outside. And lastly is “Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn” that was released in 2015 and stars Danielle Harris and Tony Todd and is an animated fright flick that changes the location to New York as humans hide out in an apartment building as the dead try and get them! So these are the dirty undead four, and man all of them are the same and yet all so different! I would say The Good For me would be Night Of The Living Dead Darkest Dawn as it’s a weird take and the voice acting from some of the greats of the horror world was a nice addition. The Bad, who is not terrible but average, would go to Night Of The Living Dead 3D as it is cheesy and bad but Sid Haig is solid in it. The Ugly that is bad but not the worst would go to Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation 3D, an underwhelming sequel to NOTLD 3D and is just nothing special and an average lower budget zombie film. And the Golden Turkey is Night Of The Living Dead Resurrection as it’s just very, very boring and is clearly a cash in on the namesake of NOLD. So there you have it, a quick rundown of the knock off films of Night Of The Living Dead…and if you want to see a good zombie film just watch the original or even the remake as they both are leaps and bounds better than all the films mentioned above.

While we took a look at the films that cashed in on the legacy of NOTLD, I also want to take a brief moment to talk about a cool tribute short movie called “Flowers For The DEAD” that was released in 2013 and is directed by Joe Barbarisi who clearly loved the classic work of Romero and even shot parts of the film in the Evan City Cemetery that the original film shot in. The films plot is about Linda a woman whose parents have passed away who finds herself in the cemetery during a zombie outbreak and to make things worse she is being stalked all through the massive cemetery by zombies who want to make her their dinner and she has no signs of help. Now Lisa must fight for her life and find a way to out step the dead and get back to her car! Does she make it out alive…or does she become another meal for the living dead…watch this film on YouTube and find out for yourself! This short film is well shot and making it black and white was a very nice touch as it helps make it feel right at home with NOTLD. The zombies as well are well done for an indie film with some being make-up and others wearing masks, and again this added to the vibe and feel of the film. I want to also say that I really dug the films score as it fit the film perfectly, and to be honest I would love to have it on CD! I love indie horror, and this was a fun one that someday I would love to show at an Indie Horror Showcase event that is put on by Horrorama Dayton and Blood Scream Comics! So I want to just say good work to Joe Barbarisi and his cast and crew for making such a fun and classically spooky Horror Short film.

So now that we have traveled to the land of the living dead once more and had a great time at Monsterbash, I think we should see what the second series based on Night Of The Living Dead by Fantaco has in store for us! So before we find a good crypt to hide in, I should 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 a vendor at Cinema Wasteland many years back for having these comics in stock. So if you’re ready to once more walk with the Living Dead, let’s see what this Fantaco mini series has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 0  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $1.95     Fantaco     # 0 of 3

Actress Kate Koresh is taking a vacation in Haiti and becomes the target for a voodoo cult who wants to sacrifice her to zombies of the sea, and unlucky for her, they kidnap her and take her to the beach to do the ceremony. Meanwhile zombie hunter Randy Von Richtofen is also on a getaway in Haiti as he is staying at the hut of Papa Shaka while he is away, and Randy is lucky when he meets Amber and Bianca two beautiful women who are the trainees of Shaka. While relaxing in the hot tub, Randy hears the drums on the beach and rushes off and he and the ladies end up saving Kate from being eaten by zombies and they kill not only the undead but also the voodoo cult! In the end Randy and the ladies return to the hut as Kate returns to America never wanting to see a zombie again! We end with the government talking about a satellite in space and hope that this time around it does not start another zombie outbreak.

This quick read is an odd one as it was a fun read and really does capture the indie zombie horror comic feel of the 90’s from that time…but it also has a weird very cheesy over the top nature that is nothing like the spirit of Night Of The Living Dead as it all just seems a little off! The plot follows two people on vacation, one being an actress and the other being a zombie hunter who cross paths when a cult wants to feed and please the undead from the ocean. Our main hero is the sleazy and overly gun happy undead basher Randy Von Richtofen who is a man who has seen and done so much to rid the world of the zombies that have infested it. We know he loves the ladies, and he loves to blow away zombies. Bianca and Amber are two hot women who are loyal to their teacher the voodoo master Papa Shaka and who are very handy with guns and taking down zombies. Our would-be victim, the snooty actress Kate Koresh, is also a survivor as she as well fights for her own life and takes on cult members as well as zombies to escape. The Cult, who are the issue’s baddies, are silly and love bikinis and want to please the zombies of the ocean that are divers, swimmers and seamen and are no major threat as they are taken out with ease. The comic, while horror, also has a dash of comedy to it, as the over all feel really is cheesy as well as comic indie action moments. Thus far as well I am not 100% sold on Randy and am more cheering for Amber and Bianca who seem more like the heroes of the book and are not just into killing zombies to be macho and brag about it. I do like the nice addition of the government once more making a mistake in space and this could spark another zombie upraise and spell doom for mankind. The cover for this issue 0 is not all that eye catching and besides the name does not make one think of NOTLD! The interior art is done by Rik Rawling and is pretty standard indie horror stuff. Over all this is an average comic that offers some blood and kills but is not scary and was worth the read. Let’s see what this story arc has in store for us with issue # 1.

Night Of The Living Dead # 1  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 1 of 3

The Government’s Star Wars satellite is set to be used in a foreign land in order to test if it can do mind control when the machine decides to choose another target and hits in California and hits the set of Kate Koresh’s TV show killing many of the crew as well as infects others to become zombies! Para-gliders Phil and Phred land and find that zombies are all around and want to eat some human flesh, and as they flee the beach they come across Kate Koresh who has returned from Haiti and finds herself as well being attacked by zombies and the two dudes with attitudes try and save her! After the pair kill the zombies attacking her the trio rush off to a house in the hills to wait out the outbreak! Meanwhile the Government is in damage mode and realize that they once more have created a undead uprising again and set to come up with a plan to neutralize it. Meanwhile the safe house for Kate, Phred and Phil is being swarmed by zombies, and the guns they are using to protect themselves are running out of bullets when they remember an ad in the newspaper and call Randy Von Richtofen who shows up and kicks some undead butt! They all team up and trick the infected townspeople into entering a meat factor and fill it with gas blowing it up and containing the outbreak in California, but the satellite has fired again this time in Florida!

The first issue in the series as well lacks the true charm of Night Of The Living Dead and once more is a little too sleazy/cheesy and not so scary, making me a little puzzled why they moved away from their first style of NOTLD comics and went for more of a The Dead and the original Walking Dead mood and feel. The plot has the satellite firing in California causing a zombie outbreak that once more poor actress Kate Koresh is stuck in, but she is lucky enough that two goofy dudes are around to protect her and that once more zombie killer Randy Von Richtofen is back in town as well! This issues main heroes are Phil and Phred who are a pair of beach bums who enjoy chicks and paragliding, but while goofy when the dead start to rise and crave human flesh these two step up save a life and protect themselves and others. Kate Koresh can not win to lose as she returns from vacation were she was attacked by zombies only to once more find herself on the menu for lunch, but just like before she defends herself well and has the survival instinct. Randy Von Richtofen is still the same as the last issue and is a butt-kicking machine with no real personality. The Zombies in this issue attack in hordes and are hungry for human meat and flesh, not much else to say about them besides they are lined up to be slaughtered by our heroes in gory fashion. The real bad guys of this issue are the Government as they with their Star Wars program are what has caused all this chaos, seems they learned nothing from the outbreak they causes in 1968! The issue has some great bloody and gory kills and the pacing is good keeping my attention throughout. The cover is eye catching for fans of zombie comics and the art by Rik Rawling is ok. Over all another average and entertaining zombie book that is an odd direction for one based on such an iconic film.

Night Of The Living Dead # 2  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco     # 2 of 3

The amusement park McKie Moose World in Florida is hit by the laser from the Star Wars Satellite next and this causing employees to turn into flesh eating zombies! Randy Von Richtofen sees the reports on the news and calls in a favor to Papa Shaka and his two trainees Amber & Bianca for help to rid the park of the undead. Meanwhile at the park, the President’s Daughter is enjoying here time when the zombies attack and she is stuck with a Secret Service who is scared and offers her no protection! Meanwhile when out zombie hunter group lead by Randy shows up they use the voodoo skill of Papa Shaka to flood the park and kill off the zombies who infested it. Meanwhile the Government tries to destroy the satellite and fail as now it begins to fire randomly all over the planet!

This second issue is a mix of horror, comedy and sleaze and comes together pretty well and is an entertaining read. The plot follows once more Randy as he takes care of a zombie outbreak that this time takes place at an amusement park. And he brings in voodoo master Papa Shaka and his lovely ladies to help! I really love the idea of a zombie outbreak taking place in an amusement park all the while the President’s daughter is stuck inside as the Government and a group of zombie hunters are the only hope for those stuck inside…and while this sounds fantastic right, the issue never offers any real moments of danger as they are easily killed and are wiped out by water! The zombies in this issue are not scary or a threat, the Government this time around come off more like fools and not major baddies leaving a void for any serious threat. Randy Von Richtofen shows slightly more of a personality when he knows that he is out numbered and needs help to take out the zombies that was eating people in Florida, a cool generic badass hero character that so far just doesn’t do much for me. Papa Shaka shows that he doesn’t need a gun as the man’s voodoo skills are great, and he wipes the floor with the zombies. Amber & Bianca are very much downplayed in this issue and are more eye candy than zombie fighters, very disappointing as they could be very cool characters. Again the setting for this issue is great, the feel and mode are off, the comedy didn’t work for me and the horror is very slight. The cover is great and eye catching for fans of 90’s Horror Comics and the interior art done by Rik Rawling is the same level as the other issues. Over all this issue was slightly better than the previous two and was worth reading, let’s see what the final issue has in store for us.

Night Of The Living Dead # 3  **
Released in 1994       Cover Price $3.50     Fantaco      # 3 of 3

Outbreaks are taking place all over the world as the Star Wars Satellite has gone crazy and fired its ray all over creating zombies everywhere! The American President knows that things are bad and that under his watch this terrible thing has happened so he calls Randy Von Richtofen to help give pointers to S.C.U.D (Specialist In Cannibal Undead Destruction) a team that is government based and are ready to save the world. Randy agrees to give them some pointers and is shocked when he finds that actress Kate Koresh is one of the team’s leaders and he soon finds that he is being forced to join her group of soldiers as they head to Germany to ride the area of zombies that are breeding! The team is made up of Jane Redhawk, Jimmy Woo, Waylon Creole and Lunk. Once there they find out that the zombies are way more powerful and that this mission is going to be very hard tor pull off and survive. Kate takes Randy and Redhawk on a recon mission and they pair soon finds that they are at odds with each other as both have different ideas on how to deal with the zombies all around them, as those who are left behind at the base camp must fend off a wave of zombies. Once they make it to a massive tower made of dead humans that is acting as the base for the zombies, they find that the undead are reproducing at a fast pass and the only way to bring them down is to get into the tower and blow it up! Once back at camp Randy leaves the group behind as he thinks this is nothing more than a suicide mission, and Kate gets super mad and leads her team on the mission and to her horror one by one they are taken out by the zombies! Kate starts to lose her mind and shuts down as Redhawk is able to get them both to the center of the tower and as the zombies close in Randy appears again with his zombie bashing car and saves Kate as Redhawk sets off a bomb killing herself and also bringing down the tower and the zombie horde around it. In the end Randy and Kate stand at the graves of her fallen soldiers and pitches the idea of her and Randy becoming a team as he gives a none committed answer.

This final issue in this mini series goes out as average as it started as the story wraps up with no major impact nor does it have horror in sight. The plot of this issue has Randy joining Kate as she leads a rag tag team into the heart of a major zombie outbreak in Germany that is the worlds last defense to truly get this undead emergency under control. And I must say that the stakes in this final issue are bigger and it does feel as if the dead could truly win the final battle as they are all over and ready to kill and eat our heroes. And this is refreshing as through out this mini series I never found the zombies to be a threat nor dangerous as they were easily taken down and barely killed any one who could see. Our series main hero is Randy Von Richtofen, who is a man who enjoys killing zombies and has no real personality at all, and while I did not hate this character, I also had no real connection to him as he also just felt to dang generic. Our second main hero would be Kate Koresh as she grows as a character and goes from cheesy actress to leader of a military team! She is way more interesting of a character she just lacks the major will to kill like Randy does. The side characters in this series are pretty good and I would say my favorites would be Jane Redhawk, Amber & Bianca as they all had potential and all could have been better used in this series. As you long time readers know, I am a major Horror Comic reader and have always enjoyed a good zombie comic and love Night Of The Living Dead and its legacy and I think would have enjoyed this series a little more if it did not carry the NOTLD name as the comics holds none of the spirit of that film and again really comes off as a clone of other dark indie zombie comics that came out before it. The series does have some great moments of carnage and bloodshed, but does not get too overboard. The cover for this issue is just okay and is nothing special, the interior artwork is again is good normal indie style done by Rik Rawling. The best way to sum up this comic mini series is that it’s entertaining and also very disappointing. If you like dark horror comedy comics this might be one you will want to check out, if you’re a pure NOTLD fan you might find yourself finding this one a little of a letdown as even the zombies just feel all wrong. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Rawling used in this series.

So while this Fantaco NOTLD comic series has not the best zombie comics I have ever read, it still delivered an entertaining read for this update. It’s odd that no comic company is making comics based on Night Of The Living Dead as it just lends itself to be an amazing comic series. I want to also stress that if you love classic movie monsters, comics books and cool old toys you need to do yourself a favor and go to one of the Monster Bash Conventions as they are great events that deliver a spooky good time. So to keep up my love for classic monsters I think our next update we will be taking a look at the Marvel Horror character The Golem! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a classic monster movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for my first Marvel Horror Showcase.

American Hero: Rambo

Happy Independence Day 2019 to all you readers, family and friends. This is a very important holiday for Americans as this the day that we truly celebrate our Independence! On this holiday we all prepare for the fireworks and are gathered with friends and family grilling out burgers, steaks and hotdogs. Here at Rotten Ink I have been working hard to once more bring you an update about an America Hero in the world of comic book, and this year I have chosen to take a look at John J. Rambo, the iconic character of novels as well as a film series that later this year sees a fifth installment! And I feel 100% that Rambo goes alongside other American themed heroes we have covered in the past like Captain America, Fighting American and The Original Shield who all fight for freedom and deliver amazing comic adventures. So while the burgers are grilling and the gathering is going strong, let’s sit back, relax and celebrate the one and only Rambo!

Let’s talk about the book that started it all for Rambo. First Blood was a novel written by David Morrell in 1972 and was about a Vietnam Vet named John Rambo who is being harassed while hitchhiking through a small town in Kentucky and fights back when the police department treat him like scum and cause him to flashback to when he was a POW. He escapes and this causes a manhunt for him that leads to a terrible shoot out where in the end both Rambo and the sheriff meet their maker, as Rambo dies by a shotgun blast to the head at the hands of his one time commander Trautman. The novel is a dark sad twisted ride as one man who served his country is treated like a common scumbag by the hands of those he defended just because of his look and the length of his hair. The book is a great read and is worth checking out if you like war books and or like the films.

The novel was turned into a film in 1982 and starred Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and made some major changes to the story having Rambo and the Sheriff both living and Rambo going to jail in the end. The film still followed the manhunt through the woods and the stand off in the town making this open for a sequel that came in 1985 with “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” This time Rambo is asked to go back to Vietnam and take pictures of POWs but instead rescues them! “Rambo III” was released in 1988 and had him helping Afghanistan fight off Russia as they tried to invade them. This film also had Rambo fighting a tank with a bow and arrow while on horseback! 2008 saw the release of “Rambo,” the final film in the series thus far that had Rambo saving some missionaries in Burma, and proving that he is a man of honor as he also helps take down an evil general who is committing genocide on his own people. The Rambo films are all badass and rank as some of the best action/drama films ever made! I could go on and on about the films and will in a future review. I just wanted to touch up on the films for this write up. If you have not seen these films, do yourself a favor and go watch them. You can find them on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray.

2019 is filled with many great films like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” and “Star Wars IX,” but for me my most hyped film of the year is “Rambo V: Last Blood”! I have been a fan of not only actor Sylvester Stallone but also the Rambo films for as long as I can remember and to see what is reported as the final film in the series this year is something very special for me as the character has been a big part of my childhood and even adulthood. In fact many people are shocked when I tell them my favorite actor, writer and director is Sylvester Stallone as many people always think that I would say John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Tod Browning or some other icon of Horror Cinema. But do me a favor, if you’re reading this and enjoy the Rambo films or even just action films in general, make sure to go to your local cinema on September 20th and see this film as I am sure its going to be one amazing ride as Rambo takes on a drug cartel!

Now let’s talk about the man John James Rambo, who is the son of R. Rambo and Marie Drago. He was born in Bowie, Arizona and in 1964 at the age of 17 he was drafted to fight in Vietnam straight out of high school, and after his tour at war, he returned to the U.S and joined Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg and was trained by Colonel Trautman. Rambo returns to the Vietnam War as part of the SOG brigade in 1969 and during this time he is traumatized by events he sees with one being the death of his close friend Joseph Danforth. He would later also become a POW. and he was repeatedly tortured and only he and one other member of his team were able to escape the camp. A short time later, Rambo asked to return to the war and even learned new skills like how to fly a helicopter. By 1974 he finally was discharged from the military holding a pretty high rank, mostly likely a Captain. Once back home in America he returns to find that people are very hateful towards the soldiers returning home and he himself is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Rambo, now a drifter and homeless, goes to Hope, Washington to visit an old war friend only to find he is dead and that the local law enforcement don’t want him around as they are cruel and try and bully him to leave their small town. Rambo is pushed and he fights back and takes the war to the Sheriff’s office, and it’s only Colonel Trautman that is able to talk him down. After these events Rambo is sent to prison, but Colonel Trautman is able to get him out to do a secret mission for the government to find out if Vietnam still has prisoners of war…Rambo takes this mission and disobeys orders as instead of just taking pictures and reporting back, he saves them and brings them home. In 1988 Rambo is next sent to Afghanistan in order to help the people fight the Russians who have tried to invade their country. In 2008 Rambo is now living in Thailand and makes his living capturing snakes and selling them to locals for fighting as well as giving rides on his boat. Rambo is asked by a bunch of missionaries to take them to Burma that is a warzone in order to help its people with medical and spiritual aid. And after saying no at first, it’s because of a woman named Sarah he agrees to…and once he does his job and the Burmese army captures and kills some of the missionaries, it’s up to Rambo to go in and save them, and of course he does. At the end of this rescue Rambo decides to let it all go and returns home to America. And this is where we are at in the life of Rambo as the events of the fifth film will tell us more about his life and who knows maybe death. Rambo is very layered and deep character, and the film and novel versions have different paths for his life, but one thing is for sure, Rambo is an iconic character of American pop culture.

Rambo has also made it to the world of video games and has had games on systems like Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Arcade Machines and as of late a rail first person shooter for PS3 and X-Box 360. The one that most know about is the NES version that has you playing Rambo who is wearing red spandex pants and mostly uses a knife to fight Vietcong, spiders and other animals. This game was also on the receiving end of a review done by The Angry Video Game Nerd for his popular YouTube show. So for those who like Rambo, there are video games out there for you to play. I thought about doing a NES Challenge for the Rambo game but decided that maybe we will tackle that on a later update.

In 1986 Rudy- Spears Productions was at it again when they decided to turn the R rated Rambo films into a cartoon series called “Rambo: The Force of Freedom” in which Rambo was no longer a loner but instead helped lead a group called The Force of Freedom alongside his friend Colonel Trautman into doing battle with a terrorist group code named S.A.V.A.G.E. lead by the General Warhawk who was a trader in his home country in Europe. The series ran for one season and a total of 65 episodes before being canceled, and the episodes would have Rambo and gang stopping such plots as stopping takeovers of small countries, fighting cults, stopping missiles and everything else in between. While Rambo and Trautman were the main attractions, characters like White Dragon and Touchdown Jones were the support that helped make the cartoon series more fun. While it only lasted one season, it had a lot of episodes and helped fans of Rambo with the wait in between movies. Growing up I remember watching this show from time to time and found that all I wanted in the series was to watch Rambo kick some S.A.V.A.G.E. butt! Not a lot of kids I knew watched the series, and by this time a lot of them were watching more Nickelodeon shows or the more popular shows on ABC, NBC and USA. The series did get some VHS releases as well as later some episodes released on DVD.

So besides the movies and cartoon on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and other home media and the novels and video games, many other very cool merchandise items have been made based on Rambo! Many action figures have been put out and have been done by companies like Coleco, NECA and Toy Island to name a few…my favorite is the Coleco Rambo figure that was based on the cartoon that I had as a kid. Also made were the films’ score soundtracks that have been released on Vinyl, Cassette and CD! These scores are amazing and the song “Home Coming” by Jerry Goldsmith from the First Blood album is powerful and iconic. There were also T-Shirts, Posters, Comics, Buttons, Chewing Gum, Trading Cards, Stickers, Magazines, Lunch Boxes, Halloween Costumes, Erasers, Toy Guns, Arcade Machines and so much more amazing products! So if you are a fan of Rambo, there are many amazing things in the world for you to collect…and I suggest not only the Coleco toy but also do yourself a favor and get the score soundtracks for the film as they are top notch.

So as you can see, Rambo and America go hand in hand and in fact all through the 80’s he was used as an icon to show the American Spirit and even the likes of President Ronald Reagan used him as an inspiration to hype up his run. And now that the burgers are probably almost done and the fireworks are about to fill the sky, we should get to the review of the Blackthrone Comic simply called Rambo! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this issue in stock and want to also remind you all that I grade this comic 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 get your red headband ready as we are going to war alongside the one and only John J. Rambo.

Rambo # 1 *1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone      #1 of 1

Major Valane was a bad apple and was dealing in the black market during his time in Nam and after being investigated by higher ups in the US Military, things turn bad and he is believed to be dead…until he is spotted on a nature documentary. The government sends for Rambo to make sure that he can spot Valane and make sure he is alive as Rambo was one of his solider who witnessed the Major set up his own people and even killed Rambo’s friend Wild Bill and forced a wounded Rambo to be in a prisoner of war camp! So ready for a rematch and revenge against Valane, he heads to Canada and battles the harsh weather until he can track Valane and his band of militant hoods. During his search Rambo is attacked by a mountain lion and is saved by one armed vet Brewster who befriends the war hero and helps him stand his ground when Valane’s men track them down and Rambo comes face to face with the man who helped murder his friends.

Sad to say this is really bad and does not capture the feel, mood or character of John J. Rambo at all and really just feels like a cheesy C-Grade army comic! The plot has Rambo traveling to Canada to find a beloved to be dead army Major who was a trader and a black market dealer that set up his own men leaving many of the dead and Rambo a prisoner. Rambo then fights for his life and finds that his old foe is indeed alive and surrounded by a new group of mercenaries. John Rambo in this comic is a man who loves America and loved his fellow solider who survived beside him in Vietnam, he also is a survivor and is willing to run into danger to get the Intel his country needs. But this does not feel like the Rambo from the films, as he is way to positive talkative, makes lots of mistakes and seems to be really aligned with the army in this comic….so in other words the comic Rambo seems very much off. Brewster is a pretty cool side character who is missing an arm that happened during the war being a hero and lives alone in a cabin in the woods of Canada, and the best part is he is still great with a gun! Major Valane is a scumbag who sold out his own team in order to gain money and now has faked his death and is still doing crime! He is cocky and surrounded by tons of militant soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed for him. He is a great bad guy for this style of army comic and sadly didn’t get to live up to his full potential…and the reason being is that the series was canceled after this issue and we never even get to know how Rambo escaped Major Valane and his goons grip! Yep Blackthrone pulled a Star Comics and canceled this series before it got a proper ending for readers. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching if you’re a Rambo fan even if the art is only so-so. The interior art is very hit or miss as at times it looks like your standard late 80’s indie comic and other pages almost seem unfinished or rushed, and I am sure artist Aaron Lopresti knows that this is not his best work. Over all this Rambo comic is a big letdown as it does not tell all that great of a story, does not do justice to the character and is over all below average. Check out the art below to see the style used in this comic…and yeah Rambo looks nothing like Sylvester Stallone.

While the comic might have been a letdown, we still have all the movies we can watch to scrub this from our memories. I hope you are having (or had) a good fourth of July as this day is one we should truly take pride in our nation and celebrate our freedoms. For the next update we will be leaving Rambo behind and will be going on vacation to once more visit Monster Bash and talk about Night Of The Living Dead as we spend some time in Evan City Cemetery! So until next time, watch a Rambo film or four, see Rambo V in the theater and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we spend more time with the undead.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is one of the oldest movie monsters in the world of cinema, only behind the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, Vampires and Witches to name a few. Over the years, many amazing films have been made about his deeds to save a young gypsy from the crooked arms of the law and church with the most popular being the 1923 version starring Lon Chaney Sr. as Quasimodo aka the Hunchback. But one of the most respected versions of the film came in 1956 and was a French and Italian production that brought together actors Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida as the main leads. And with this version came a very cool comic book adaptation done by Dell Comics in order to promote the movie and make a few coins while selling copies. And with this we will be having a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update all about this amazing film! I should also remind, and I am sure most of you never forget, that all the films based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame are based on the 1831 novel of the same name written by Victor Hugo. So if you’re ready let’s take a look at one of the world’s most classic movie monsters who in fact is no monster at all, it’s the cruel people around him that are the true monsters!

Before we take a look at the 1956 production we should come to understand the misunderstood “monster” of the film Quasimodo and the ways he deals with those who are evil and cruel. Quasimodo in this version is simple minded with his speech being bad. He has some strength and is easily told what to do by those he trusts. His means of dealing with people who stand in his friends’ or his way is the following: his appearance is deformed and it seems to shock those who look at him causing hysterics, he uses large stones, wood beams and even hot boiling metal that he drops from high above his Church home! He also will use his bare hands to throw humans off the roofs as well. Quasimodo also can use this knowledge of the Church itself to his advantage when it comes to fighting off his enemies. He also has a very high tolerance for pain making him very hard for people to hurt. But Quasimodo does have weaknesses as he is a normal man who can easily have his feelings hurt and can be killed with any manner of weapons like a sword or arrow. He is also very easy to confuse, and if you are a beautiful woman, he can be controlled and tricked. While Quasimodo might not be the most powerful nor even the most deadly we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, he is one that is a force to be tangled with when he thinks those he cares about are in danger.

So as you can see, Quasimodo in this version is not super bloodthirsty unless you mess with the love of his life and then he would attack like a savage. But now that he have looked at the Hunchback Of Notre Dame himself we should now dive into the film he is from and chat about it. As always I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and it will be followed by some production chat and then some brief memories and thoughts I have on the film. So I hear some bells ringing in the distance so I think that’s our cue to take a look at the 1956 version of Hunchback Of Notre Dame!

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1956)

Paris, 1482. Today is the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square outside Cathedral Notre Dame. Among jugglers and other entertainers, Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy, performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo, an alchemist, gazes at her lustfully. Later in the night, Frollo orders Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his faithful servant, to kidnap Esmeralda. But when the ugly freak comes close to her is touched by the young woman’s beauty.”

Producers Raymond Hakim and Robert Hakim teamed up with director Jean Delannoy to bring the Victor Hugo story Hunchback Of Notre Dame to cinemas for the first time in color! The film was an Italian and French production, and it followed a very sword and sandal style of filming as those films were very popular at the time. The film’s two leads Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida were the only two who spoke English and the rest of the cast all spoke French and were dubbed over to play western theaters. The film’s production was for the most part pretty smooth, and the budget of the film was $1 million dollars. The film brought in $2.25 million in the US making it a success for distributer Allied Artist Pictures. The film was also the first to more closely follow the novel and has the character Esmeralda die in the tragic ending. Anthony Quinn who played Quasimodo is also known for being in such classic films as Lawrence Of Arabia, Last Action Hero and Avenging Angelo to name a very few and was on TV shows like Hercules And The Legendary Journeys and the Cosby Show. While the lovely Gina Lollobrigida is known for her roles in films like Beat The Devil and Death Laid An Egg. The film is well respected by film critics as well as film lovers and is truly a well made film.

I first saw this film when I was a youngster and it was on regular TV and can remember enjoying it as I have always been a fan of the tale of the Hunchback as he is truly a misunderstood man who people think a fool and a monster. I can still see in my mind the bright colors of this film and can remember thinking even as a kid that Gina Lollobrigida looked beautiful. And while I enjoyed this film, I never did own it until 2018 when I ordered it on DVD from Ebay…and that’s shocking as I have collected Horror Movies on VHS and DVD/Blu-Ray for many years and am a true sucker for classic monsters. And to be honest, I know why I didn’t own this film and just recently re-watched it after all these years and that’s because I forgot all about it as the film oddly fell out of the light and was not shown on cable nor was the home media release easy to get. The one thing that always stuck out to me about this film was the fact that the horror aspects are very much downplayed and the drama is turned up on high, not to mention even the look of Quasimodo is downplayed with less deformities and even his back is not as humped like in other film adaptations and is more just curved. But while the film is by no means scary, it is a great watch and is another great film released about the world’s favorite bell ringer. There’s not much more to say about this film besides if you have an extra 2 hours and enjoy the Hunchback, I recommend checking this one out.

We are now at the point of this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update where we will talk about the comic adaptation of the film. This one was done by Dell Comics as part of their Four Color comic series that featured fun comics based on not only movies but also TV shows and cartoons. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible as well as my gal Juliet who ordered this comic for me. And before the bells start ringing, I want to remind you that I will be grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the issue stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s join Quasimodo and see if this comic captures the magic of the film.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame # 1  **1/2
Released in 1957     Cover Price .10     Dell Comics   # 854 of 1354

It’s the Feast Of Fools in Paris, and the town’s people of Notre Dame are drunk and rowdy and are even ruining the play done by Pierre Gringoire. When it comes to picking the King Of Fools, they disturb Church Archdeacon Claude Frollo with their noisy ways and he sends hunchbacked, deaf and deformed Quasimodo to ruin the throne. During the celebration, gypsy Esmeralda and her pet goat Djali are singing and dancing in the town square and has captured the attention of all the males in the crowd as she is beautiful. And then comes the time to choose the King Of Fools, an honor given to the ugliest man in Paris, and thanks to Esmeralda the crown goes to Quasimodo who soaks up all the attention. But as always, the stick in the mud Claude Frollo orders Quasimodo to follow him and wants him to kidnap Esmeralda and bring her to the church! But as Quasimodo does what he is ordered, he is stopped and captured by the King’s guards lead by Captain Phoebus who leads Esmeralda away where the two hit it off before Esmeralda runs off into the night. Meanwhile poor poet and play writer Pierre Gringoire is mugged and set to be hung by the gypsies but is saved by Esmeralda who agrees to take him as a husband for four years. The next day Claude is visited by the King who wants the Archdeacon to use alchemy to make gold as Paris needed more riches, after they talk they watch as Quasimodo is whipped and is shown mercy by Esmeralda who gives him water. And later that night the soon to be married Captain Phoebus meets Esmeralda at an inn, little do they know they are being watched by Archdeacon Claude who has as well fallen in love with the gypsy girl and he uses her own dagger to sneak and stab Phoebus in the back leaving her under arrest and the Captain shamed for cheating on his fiancé. The next day Esmeralda is tortured to confess she is a witch and is set to be hung, but Quasimodo saves her and brings her into the church where she is safe from the laws of man. While in the church, Quasimodo and Esmeralda become friends and she learns that Archdeacon Claude is a cruel man who wants her dead for she does not return his feelings of love and has convinced the King to go into the church and remove Esmeralda to pay for her crimes. When news spreads, the Gypsy rush the church to save her and are attacked by Quasimodo who believes they are there to hurt her. In the end the Kings men show up and kill Esmeralda with an arrow! Quasimodo in a rage throws Archdeacon Claude from the top church window ending this sad tale.

This Dell Comic Four Colors issue does its best to try and cram an almost two hour movie into pages of a comic book. The main story is intact with Quasimodo falling in love with Esmeralda and wanting to protect her because she also showed him compassion when he was in need of help and a friend. But many moments from the film are missing like the build up of Captain Phoebus healing from his stabbing and turning his back fully on Esmeralda when she asks for him to meet her at the church. It also changes the ending and does not have Quasimodo going to the crypt where Esmeralda’s body is and dying next to her of sadness. It also has Archdeacon Claude begging not to be thrown from the church, but in the movie, he embraces his death and does not say a word as he wanted to die. One other change this comic makes is that Quasimodo uses his fists and punches lots of people in the face and uses brute strength. So while it has most of the core of the film, it does change lots making it feel a little off as far as a full adaptation, but it is a great read for fans of the story and the 1956 feature. Quasimodo in this comic is a man with a big heart who allows love to guide him to do what’s right. The sad part is he knows he is “ugly” and the people of town treat him really badly and tease and mock him. Esmeralda is a gypsy who everyone loves as she as well has a big heart and is stunning to look at and wants to always do the right thing. Her only flaw is how good looking she is as she gets the attention of a Hunchback, a Captain, a Poet and an Archdeacon, and this becomes her downfall. Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a man of not only the church but also science who is not a good person as he would rather a woman he has a crush on die than to not return his feelings and be his. This comic has a few moments of violence but is bloodless and really feels like a Drama/History/Horror story with the latter being the most down played. The cover for this comic is a photo from the movie and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film. The interior art is done by an unknown artist and is pretty good classic 60’s style art and very loosely looks like the actors from the film. Over all this is a cool comic based around one of cinemas classic movie monsters. Check out the art below to see how this comic looks.

So while Hunchback Of Notre Dame from 1956 might be more drama than horror, it’s still a very cool film based on a classic monster movie character that spawned a comic book from those crazy folks at Dell. And while Quasimodo aka The Hunchback Of The Notre Dame might not be as brutal as Uber Jason from Jason X, as silent and deadly as Michael Myers from Halloween or even as menacing as Tall Man from Phantasm, he still has the skills to kill, and while he is not a bad guy, he is a killer. For our next update, we are leaving the world of Horror and Notre Dame far behind and heading toward the world of DC Comics to take a look at another hero they barely use as a main character, and that’s The Atom! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a micro hero good time.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is out in theaters, and this update is our final  for Kaiju Month. For this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, we will be taking a look at Godzilla: Awakening that was released in 2014 based on the Godzilla film by Legendary Pictures that is part of their Monsterverse. Godzilla is one of the world’s biggest icons when it comes to Kaiju and giant monster films, and he has proven that his films can be successful here in America, not only in Japan. I also would like for you readers to know that Godzilla comics have been released by many different companies like Marvel, Dark Horse and IDW and all of them are well worth finding and reading as well. So if you’re ready, let’s see what kind of mayhem and fear the one and only Godzilla has in store for us.

So before we get into Godzilla from 2014, we need to take a look at Godzilla from this film and his powers of destruction. Godzilla is a massive Kaiju that is 350 feet tall and weighs 164,000 tons making him a massive force to be reckoned with and so big that he could crush city blocks with one stomp of his foot. His appearance is reptilian and just the sight of him sends humans into a frenzied panic causing them to also to be involved in accidents that leads to human injuries and deaths. Besides his massive body size he also can use his long tail to knock down buildings and other giant monsters that get in his path. Godzilla’s main weapon of attack is his atomic breath that is so extremely hot that it can melt steel and severely burn and even kill other giant Kaiju so just imagine what it can do to a normal person! He also has a wicked loud roar that sends fear and chills down the spine of all those who hear it. And let’s not forget that Godzilla also has razor sharp teeth that can shred and grip onto his enemies. While on land Godzilla is a little slower but he can also swim and be in the water for long periods of time making him a threat on both land and water. In this film Godzilla does not go out of his way to kill humans or even cause destruction as his main focus is to protect the world and stop other Kaiju who do have very bad attentions. But with this said, just with battling the other Kaiju creates collateral damage. Godzilla cannot be hurt by bullets or normal ways of stopping a threat and for all accounts he does not seem to have that many weaknesses as it looks like maybe attacks from other Kaiju might be the only thing that can hurt him! Godzilla is a true Kaiju who is very powerful and if he wanted, he could massacre most of the world’s populous, so let’s be happy that he is on our side…for now.

So as you can see, Godzilla is the most powerful of the three Kaiju we have looked at this month as Gorgo nor Reptilicus don’t even come close to the power of the King Of The Monsters. But now that we know about Godzilla and his ways of destruction, we need to know take a look at the 2014 film that spawned this update! The film’s plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB and after I will talk about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So take shelter as Godzilla is on the loose!

Godzilla (2014)

“In 1999, the Janjira nuclear plant was mysteriously destroyed with most hands lost including supervisor Joe Brody’s colleague and wife, Sandra. Years later, Joe’s son, Ford, a US Navy ordnance disposal officer, must go to Japan to help his estranged father who obsessively searches for the truth of the incident. In doing so, father and son discover the disaster’s secret cause on the wreck’s very grounds. This enables them to witness the reawakening of a terrible threat to all of Humanity, which is made all the worse with a second secret revival elsewhere. Against this cataclysm, the only hope for the world may be Godzilla, but the challenge for the King of the Monsters will be great even as Humanity struggles to understand the destructive ally they have.”

Hollywood originally tried their hand at making a Godzilla film in 1998, and the film was a bomb as its budget was way too high and word of mouth was brutal causing all plans for a franchise to be cancelled. But while Toho continued to make Godzilla films, America was out of the game until 2014 when Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures released a new film…but it was a very long road for them to get this in theaters and even was responsible for putting the death nail in many other Godzilla films that were being developed or even stuck in developmental hell including “Godzilla 3D,” a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah that was being done by Yoshimitsu Banno. Once Legendary worked out a deal with Toho, all these other projects were cancelled, and by 2010 they took complete control and decided to develop their own story and direction and would even make sure to let the world know that this would not be connected to the 1998 film. By 2011 they had Gareth Edwards on board to direct, and David S. Goyer was brought in to rewrite the script with Drew Pearce putting the polishing touches on it in 2012. This whole time Legendary Pictures did press appearances at comic cons and interviews on websites to keep the build for the film as well as to answer concerns that this film would be a letdown as they could not shake the dread of the ’98 film. And crazy enough, in 2013 Frank Darabont was brought in to add more to the script that was original written in 2010 and was penned by David Callaham! During this time as well, the film started to be cast with names like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe to name a few and of course during this time as well the design of Godzilla was being worked on to perfect his new American appearance. And from here production went like all mega budget films go and took place all over the world and much time was spent to make sure this was made just right for fans of Godzilla. On May 16, 2014 it was released in theaters and was met with pretty big fanfare and delivered a better Godzilla film for America. Godzilla was the 13th grossing movie in 2014 and brought in $529,076,069.00 worldwide on a budget of $160 million. The film beat out such other cult films as Annabelle, The Purge: Anarchy, Dracula Untold, Ouija, Deliver Us From Evil, Oculus and I Frankenstein to name a few, and would make it to # 6 out of 11 for my “Matt Goes To The Movie 2014” update. So as you can see, Godzilla was a massive hit for moviegoers worldwide and had lots of other great Horror Films released alongside it that year.

In 2014 when this movie was released, both Juliet and myself were really hyped to rush to the theater and see it as we are both massive fans of Godzilla, and we got our tickets to see the film on the IMAX Screen at the Cinemark Theater at The Greene and rushed to get the best possible seat. We had ourselves a large popcorn to share, and I drank a Blue Icee as we settled in and waited for Godzilla to smash his way back onto the big screen! As the theater filled up and the lights went down, we both were glued to our seats waiting for the film to start…and after watching it, we both left the theater a little under whelmed and slightly annoyed by the film’s choice to only show Godzilla in glimpses for most of the film until the end. While I did not hate the film and for the most part was entertained, it was Juliet who really had a dislike for it. And as time went by even at work we talked about Godzilla from 2014 as one of my former employees Jeremy really loved this film and even has said its better than “Kong: Skull Island” and to me that’s crazy talk! When this film was released on home media, I did end up buying it on DVD, and after watching it a few more times I have learned to enjoy it a little more. While Godzilla 2014 is not even close to being my favorite film in the long going movie series, it at least is one that brings destruction thrills and chills to the big screen and has sparked more interest in the character here in America. So while some of you readers love this film and others dislike it, one thing that I think we can all agree on is that it’s great to have new Godzilla films coming out that as well sparked some new King Kong films so for that I will say, Thank You Legendary Pictures! Oh and I call this version of Godzilla old fat neck as his neck is huge, and this nickname seems to annoy Jeremy who really does love this film and the Godzilla attached to it.

Godzilla from the 2014 film is a true Kaiju that seems to not have his sights on stomping out human lives and almost seems a little more interested in protecting us, but even with that said he still is a master of destruction and could be one of the most dangerous monsters we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this graphic novel in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I will grade this comic 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 it’ art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s spend a little destructive time with Godzilla…from the 2014 film that is not the original Toho one.

Godzilla: Awakening # 1 ***
Released in 2014     Cover Price $12.99    Legendary Comics   # 1 of 1

An older man named Serizawa invites his son over and starts to tell him that all he knew of his work was all false and that he has worked for the government for many decades and that the world is filled with giant monsters! He tells his son that the first time he ever saw the Kaiju known as Godzilla was when America dropped the big bombs on Japan and that he later saw him again when he was a member of a ship’s crew that was called to help an American ship a year later on a small island. Serizawa meets Shaw, an American who has been hired to study Godzilla as well as the other massive monsters of the world and is trying to now save his crew who are trapped on the ship that has been docked on land in the trees! Once they save the crew Serizawa finds himself joining Shaw as a team member that is made up of both Japanese and American Soldiers that are working for Monarch in order to find and stop giant monsters that are running wild throughout the world with one being Godzilla and the other being a bat-winged Muto. While Godzilla is talked about as a savior, the Muto is talked about with fear by those who have seen them. The team travel even to the bottom of the ocean to find out more about Godzilla and then also find out that the Muto is really multiple living organisms that come together and grow as they feed on radiation and the bombing of Japan is what awoke the creatures and that we have pretty much doomed ourselves and that Godzilla is really our only hope of bringing it down as he is the creatures life long enemy! When they finally meet, Godzilla destroys half of the Muto creature and the government tracks down the other half later and nukes it killing off the Muto once and for all. But back in present day Serizawa passes away and now his son joins Shaw and sets his sights on bringing down and understanding Godzilla!

Legendary Pictures did a fantastic job taking the film and making a good solid action horror comic read with Awakening that delivers a Godzilla rampage to fans of the film. The plot of this comic is not so much about Godzilla nor the Bat-Winged Muto but mostly follows Serizawa, a Japanese survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who has become a bitter person toward America and learns to work alongside them when he becomes a part of a team that is exploring the Kaiju that have been awakened from the bombing as well. Serizawa, as the story goes along, grows as a person as well and finds that he really cares about human life and does whatever he can to save lives as well as learn what he can about each of the giant monsters they are hunting and studying. Serizawa is a really interesting style of hero as he does not do amazing fight moves nor does he have any superpowers…all he has is his brain and a caring soul. Shaw is a military man all the way, and he befriends Serizawa when he saved his life as well as many of his crew members from a Muto attack. Shaw also seems to be a good person, but he does seem to doubt his friend about the legend of Godzilla throughout the graphic novel. Serizawa’s son is learns a lot from his father when he comes clean about what he really did for a living, and this also sparks the son into wanting to follow in his footsteps and he as well joins Monarch in order to study and stop all the Kaiju. The Bat-Winged Muto is sadistic as the multiple organism creatures goal is to eat radiation, kill humans and grow to a massive size and become truly unstoppable! Godzilla is the story’s main hero as he protects the world and fights off the Muto and trying his best to keep him from growing in size. But while he is the main attraction, Godzilla in this graphic novel much like in the movie takes a backseat to the human leads that take up 85% of the over all book, and while the story is good, I am not going to lie, way more Godzilla would have been nice! The graphic novel is bloodless and has very little death in it but does bring one some destruction and deep meanings about us being our own worst enemies with all our mass weapons of war. It was written by Max and Greg Borebstein and both are clearly fans of Godzilla as they do their very best to capture the mood and feel of the 2014 film its spawned from. The art is really good and is done by a team that includes Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet and Alan Quan and all of its pretty solid stuff and each draw Godzilla really well! Over all this is a solid and fun graphic novel tie-in to the 2014 Godzilla and was an amazing tool to help promote the film. Check out the art below to see what Godzilla looks like in this book. Oh and if you loved the movie, make sure to give this a read!

So as you can see, the Godzilla from the 2014 film makes a great comic book character and with “Godzilla King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters in just a few days, another graphic novel is in the works and you can look forward to be covering it as well here at Rotten Ink! I also hope you enjoyed Kaiju Month, and we will have another one next year for the release of King Kong vs. Godzilla so you will have that to look forward to in 2020. But for my next update we are leaving the Kaiju behind and will be taking a look at super powered cows that were the mascot of for the chicken restaurant Chick-Fil-A! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Kaiju film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for an epic cow hero good time!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gorgo

For this second update of my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” Kaiju Month, we will be traveling to jolly old England to take a look at their giant monster named Gorgo! This is one of those Horror Movies I grew up watching on TV as TBS use to show it all the time, and I can always remember being glued to the screen when it was on. Many fans of giant monster movies seem to forget about Gorgo as he is always over shadowed by the likes of Godzilla and King Kong, but today he and his Momma will be getting the respect they deserve and it will be lots of fun to talk about them. So if you’re ready to find some shelter as Gorgo goes on the destruction city stomp, let’s talk about him and the film he’s from.

So first let’s see what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his destruction ability and his way to dispatch humans who are unfortunate enough to be in his way. Gorgo stands at 200 feet and has a reptilian appearance and an aggressive attitude. Gorgo hates humans and will not only use his massive size to stomp and smash but will also use his sharp teeth and claws to dispatch human lives. He also can use his appearance and roar to scare humans into being in frenzy, leaving themselves open for panic and leading to accidents that could cause death. Gorgo not only is a threat on land, he is also very dangerous in water as he can swim and breath underwater for long periods of time. What makes Gogro a big threat to mankind is the fact his mother Ogra is over 250 feet tall and is even more pissed and can cause way more damage. While Gorgo is a massive creature, he can be hurt as he hates fire, and even explosions and firepower can cause some damage. He can also be captured and by large nets and be kept as a prisoner by mankind. So while Gorgo might not have any special fire breath nor any other powerful abilities, he and his mother do have the tools to bring mankind to their knees if they truly go on a rampage.

So that’s what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his path of destruction and his way to deal with pesky humans. We should now take a look at the 1961 film Gorgo that this Kaiju appears in. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB and I will talk briefly afterwards about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at Gorgo!

Gorgo (1961)

A salvage vessel is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.”

Gorgo is a British giant monster horror movie that was released by MGM in America and British Lion-Columbia in England. The film was directed by Eugene Lourie and cast such actors as Bill Travers, William Sylvester and Mick Dillon as the man in the Gorgo suit. The film had a pretty normal production for this type of movie at the time and MGM was hoping that this film would be a mega hit for them and would be their Godzilla at the Box Office and usher in a new monster icon. Gorgo was released in 1961 alongside such other frightful shockers like Konga, The Curse Of The Werewolf, Reptilicus, Brainiac, Doctor Blood’s Coffin, The Pit And The Pendulum, The Beast Of Yucca Flats and Mr. Sardonicus to name a few. And the film ended up doing pretty well and built up the world of Giant Monsters at the cinema that was sparked by the success of Godzilla in 1954. There’s not much special about this production besides at one point the film was going to be set in Japan first and then was changed to France, Australia and finally was settled on England. And the film for the time was also praised very highly for its monster special effects.

Much like King Kong and Godzilla, the mighty Gorgo has always seemed to be a part of my life as I have seen this film so many times on TV as well as home media like VHS and DVD, and I have seen this film over a dozen times…in fact even while writing this update I re-watched the film again on DVD! And while I really enjoy Gorgo as a film, I have talked to many other Horror Fans of Kaiju films and one phrase always seems to come up and that’s, “It’s good but it’s kind of bland” or some phrase like it, and I think I know what they mean as the film is a little slow moving in spots and has a very British slow paced feel until the amazing climax. And I get what they mean for the most part as the film itself is a great giant monster film that showcases two massive and cool monsters, but it does have a very slow pace like many of the Hammer Horror films released in the 60’s and 70’s. But for me, the pacing and slow build are kind of what makes this film special as the over all runtime is pretty short at only 78 minutes long. The film also spawned not only the comic book series but also had a novel adaptation of the film, model kits, shirts, posters and many more merchandise items showing that Gorgo does have his own cult following. There’s not much more to say about Gorgo besides it’s a fun Kaiju film that delivers monster mayhem and shows just how popular these giant monster movies were back in the 60’s.

So now that we have taken a look at Gorgo as a Kaiju as well as the film he is from, I think it’s now time we take a look at the comic book adaptation of the film that was released by Charlton Comics! I want to send a big thank you to the Ebay seller that had this comic in stock and made this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade this comic 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 if you’re ready let’s see just how monstrous Gorgo really is when it comes to the world of Horror Comic Books.

Gorgo # 1  ***
Released in 1961    Cover Price .10    Charlton Comics   # 1 of 24

Sam Slade and Joe Ryan are business partners who search the sea for hidden treasure when a massive storm hits that is so bad that fish from the bottom of the sea are coming to the top. And after the storm they return to a small port that as well has been hit hard by the storm and are run off by Professor McCartin who is searching the sea for something. They soon follow one of McCartin’s ships, and they send a diver down who later comes back with a fist full of Viking gold but also dies of fright before their eyes! Sam and Joe dive next as Joe wants the gold and Sam wants to make sure his greedy partner comes back alive, and while down in the ocean they soon come face to face with a giant monster that makes them flee. Once back at the island they watch as the townspeople do a ritual and then watch as a massive creature Gorgo comes from the water and is forced back by fire by Joe and Sam who have figured our the creatures weakness. The villagers praise the pair as they Joe comes up with an idea to capture the massive creature with a steel shark net and the idea works and they take their massive find to London and are making tons of money showing it to the world. But Professor McCartin warns them that Gorgo is just a baby and that his mother is on her way to get him back, and she does show up and rampages across London until she gets her son back! The army, fire, electricity and everything is useless against the mother who grabs her offspring and heads back to the water ending her terror.

Gorgo was made for comic books and that’s why he lasted 24 issues even though the final issue was renamed Fantastic Giant as he is a cool monster that has an amazing look to him. This comic follows the plot of the film pretty well and has humans capturing Gorgo and turning him into a paid attraction and by kidnapping him they unleash his even more massive mothers rage on the city to get him back. Our hero is Sam Slade, who is a man who co-owns a company that finds treasures at the bottom of the oceans and also is the one who don’t like the idea of capturing a massive Kaiju when all around him warn of dangers and bring it to a city…he and they were wise for their fears! Joe Ryan is a sleazy conman who allows money to rule his life and seem to not even care about other peoples lives and safety if money is involved, in fact even when everything goes to hell he is still willing to wait it out in order to see if he can come out ahead. Ogra is Gorgo’s Mother and she is one massive creature of the sea who can not be stopped once she starts and her child is involved, she brings down the military with ease and even shrugs off fire like its nothing…in other words she is really unstoppable! Gorgo while just a baby as well is a creature of destruction and if not for his fear of fire he could have crushed the small island and all those on it! Gorgo, just like his mother, seems to always be in a destructive mood and always in a bad one. While this comic does a good job capturing the film, it does feel a little rush and some characters from the movie seem to take more of a back seat in the comic like the Professor and the young boy who is his assistant. The comic is bloodless but does have death, injury and destruction in it and has a real classic Horror Comic feel to it. The cover is very eye catching and fans of the movie I am sure flocked to get a copy of the comic just based on it! The interior art is done by the amazing Steve Ditko and is top notch stuff and shows that his art and giant monsters go hand and hand. Over all this is a great adaptation of a solid Kaiju film and is one that you should check out if you like Gorgo and other giant monsters like him. Check out the art below to see what Ditko brought to the table.

Gorgo is a Kaiju that I think the world seems to be gaining more respect for over time as his design, movie and legacy is pretty great, and he deserves to find his cult following. Now that we have survived the rampage of Gorgo and Ogra and before that we barely got out of the way of Reptilicus’, it’s time for the main destruction event as our final Kaiju for this month long themes updates is the one and only Godzilla from the 2014 film and the graphic novel Awakening that was spawned from it! So be ready for that as it will be a massive good time. Until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I hope you’re prepared for the Kaiju that is Godzilla!