From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Zombi 2

Happy Scary Halloween! For this year’s spooky holiday update I decided to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update based on one of my favorite Italian horror movies that was directed by one of Italy’s best directors, the godfather of splatter & gore, Lucio Fulci, and the comic series released by one of the world’s best Indie comic companies going, Eibon Press! I am sure that by now you guessed that I am talking about “Zombi 2.” This is one that is long over due and one that I have been looking forward to reading and reviewing here at Rotten Ink, and after a very terrible 2020, I figured why not make it this Halloween update as this is sure to make your holiday a little more spooky! So if you’re ready, let’s get on this boat the S.S. Eibon and set sail for the island of the dead. Along the way we have to watch out for sharks and the zombies of the ocean as they are both super hungry and super deadly. Oh, I do want to say that this update does have spoilers.

Let’s first break down the zombies of this film and their way of dealing with the living that are foolish enough to be in their paths. The zombies in Zombi 2 are undead reanimated bodies that range from freshly dead to the long dead and have a hunger for human flesh and guts that drive them to find their meal. In appearance, the zombies range from rotten flesh to bloody flesh and can use their looks to frighten and shock their human victims as, for example, they can be missing eyes and have open eye sockets complete with worms crawling out! The zombies will shuffle and stalk alone or in large groups and seem to also be smart in some of their attacks, not to mention that in a massive horde they could overtake and overwhelm a person or even a group of people. But I also do not want to downplay how dangerous they are on their own as one zombie could easily sneak up and take a bite out of you. These zombies can swim and walk under water. They do not need air and can take gunshots and massive hits to the body and still get back up to try to rip you apart. The zombies use their hands and teeth to rip away your flesh and do not slow down or get tired, making them super dangerous to the living; not to mention a bite from them can be toxic and lead to becoming one yourself. The zombies do have a few weaknesses though.  The main way to bring them down is head trauma and that means a gunshot to the brain or bashing the brain in with a heavy object. They can also be stopped with fire; if you set them ablaze, they will eventually fall and not get back up. Like all zombies, the ones in Zombi 2 are very hungry and very dangerous and the more of them there are, the more your days are numbered.

Now that we all understand that the zombies of Zombi 2 are flesh eating terrors that will not stop until they are ripping your guts out and scarfing them down, we should now take a look at the cult classic film that they are from and that really is one of my all time favorite films from Italy. As always, I will be taking the film’s plot from our friends at IMDB and after I will write briefly about the film’s production and then share about my thoughts on the film. So sit back and alert the crew that the boat can leave now.

Zombie (1979)

“A zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West, a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, an ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the islanders into horrifying zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible.”

In 1978, George Romero with Dario Argento released Dawn Of The Dead as Zombi in Italy, and the film was a mega hit. With that enter producer Fabrizio De Angelis, who wanted to make a “sequel” and tried to bring filmmaker Enzo G. Castellari on to direct but he turned it down. And then enter Lucio Fulci who was coming off two very good splatter horror films and was making a name for himself as an up and coming horror director. The screenwriter was Dardano Sacchetti, who called the script “Nightmare Island” and was very much inspired by the novel The Island Of Doctor Moreau and classic zombie films like Voodoo Island and I Walked With A Zombie.

Filming started in June 1979 in Latina, Italy with shots in New York City and Santo Domingo. Actors like Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Olga Karlatos and Al Cliver were hired on with Fabio Frizzi joining to score the zombie fright flick. During filming, the producers lied to the actors as no trailers were provided for them and it was a very demanding film to shoot, with even the classic shark vs. zombie scene being shot without Fulci even knowing about it!

When finished, the film was rushed to Italian Cinemas for release on August 25, 1979. It would hit English speaking markets in 1980 and was a major hit world wide and built a very big cult following. In fact, in England the film was labeled as a Video Nasty and was banned! Years after its released it found even more success on home video, DVD and Blu-Ray, becoming a must have film for horror collectors.

When the film was released in 1979, it was joined by such Horror Classics as Phantasm, The Amityville Horror, Alien, Tourist Trap, Savage Weekend, Capture Of Bigfoot and Salem’s Lot, to name a few. The film was followed by Zombi 3 (that was also partly directed by Fulci) and then the series here in America would have more sequel numbers slapped on VHS boxes that really were just other films from foreign markets like After Death, Killing Birds, Absurd and A Virgin Among The Living Dead, to name a few. If you have never seen Zombie and are a major fan of zombie films or even Italian horror, do yourself a major favor and give it a watch.

I first heard of Zombie thanks to the book Gore Score by Chas Balun, who peeked my interest when he kept talking how about a splinter going into a woman’s eye changed his life and gave it very high on the gore level. I would see more coverage of the film in the pages of old Fangoria Magazines, and seeing pictures of the worm-eyed zombie locked it in my mind that I had to see the film someday! For years I waited for the film to play on TV as well as looked for it at video rental stores my parents visited and could not find it, and this was so frustrating.

Years would pass, and as a teenager, I was finally able to find a copy of the film on VHS at Suncoast in the Dayton Mall and I was hyped to get home and watch it. While the quality of the film transfer was poor, after watching the film I became hooked as I loved so much about it. The gore was fantastic, the zombies looked creepy, the score was top notch, the atmosphere was spooky and the ladies were beautiful with Olga Karlatos who played Mrs. Menard being stunning. Plus seeing the splinter to the eye scene that haunted the nightmares of Balun was as gruesome as I imagined and truly grossed me out. The crazy thing is that this film is a sequel to a sequel that spawned more sequels…and in reality this film has zero to do with Dawn Of The Dead and was a cheap cash in that ended up being really good and can stand on its own and became a cult classic. Plus I am not going to lie, I really do also like Zombi 3 that was its follow up, but Dawn Of The Dead’s follow up Day Of The Dead is my favorite zombie film of all time.

Over the years I have often recommended this film to my friends who enjoy horror films if they have never seen it and enjoy Italian films. And of course over the years I have owned this film on VHS and DVD and it still remains in my top 10 best zombie films of all time list! I will say that at times some horror fans tend to make fun of this film due to a scene of a zombie fighting a shark and hands down that scene is awesome and sets it apart from all the other undead films that flooded the market at that time. Over all this is a great film and if any of you readers have not seen this film, make sure to check it out!

Like all cult horror movies, Fulci’s Zombie has had its fair share of cool merchandise for fans that include posters, t-shirts, buttons/pins, toys, comics, hats, books, CDs, magazines and of course the film on all types of home media. Over the years I have had my fair share of items based around Zombie like the classic Blackest Heart Media soundtrack on CD, the original Zombie graphic novel, and t-shirts with worm eyed zombie on it. I own a rubber figure of worm eyed zombie that was made by Rubber Monsters, and I have the enamel pin that my cousin Stephen got me. Plus of course I have the full set of comics from Eibon Press that in my opinion are must own comics for any horror comic reader.

I also want to take a moment to remind readers about Eibon Press, the masterminds behind the Fulci Comic universe that not only includes Zombie but also mini series based on The Beyond, Gates Of Hell and House By The Cemetery!

Eibon Press is an indie comic company that is for fans of horror comics and horror movies as. They do a fantastic job of bringing these films to pages and keeping true to the source but also adding their own touches and adding to the classic stories delivering ghoulish nightmare soaked pages. They also have comics based on other film series like 1980’s Maniac and Laserblast, plus original series like Bottomfeeder and Wasteland 1989 proving they can also deliver original frights to readers. Shawn Lewis, who is also the main man behind Rotten Cotton, is the brains behind Eibon Press, and hands down if you readers and friends have yet to check them out, make sure to do so as they are doing some really killer horror comics. Make sure to support indie comic companies as they are the ones who are truly allowing creative minds to express their ideas and bring stories to life. They are also the ones who are not taking the cookie cutter route of Marvel and DC and making comics based on fresh ideas as well as cult classic films that go beyond Star Wars and other Hollywood blockbusters. Long live Eibon Press as well as all the other micro and indie comic companies that are making comic reading fun again!

Before we move on, let’s also talk about just how crazy the world of Zombi is and how it has sparked a truckload of sequels and re-labeled films shoehorned into the series!

So we all know that Zombi is the title for George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn Of The Dead in Italy and that the Fulci film Zombi 2 called Zombie here in America is an unofficial sequel. But here is where things get crazy: the real Zombi 3 was directed by Fulci, and yet there is Zombie 3: Return Of The Zombies that is just the Paul Naschy film The Hanging Woman renamed and released in the U.S. on VHS.

The fourth film in the series, Zombie 4: After Death, is really just the film After Death that has the Zombie title slapped on it, and there is also Zombie 4: A Virgin Among The Living Dead, a VHS release here in America that is just a Jesus Franco film with the Zombie 4 prefix tacked to it! And the tacked on title of Zombie continued with the fifth film as Zombie 5: Killing Birds was an Italian film called just Killing Birds, and here in the U.S. on VHS we had Zombie 5: Revenge In The House Of Usher that is another Jesus Franco film. Now we are getting into the rest of the VHS releases here in America, all put out by T-Z Video with Zombie 6: Monster Hunter that is just the Joe D’Amato film Absurd!

Many other films have been tagged with the Zombie label such as Anthropophagus, Night Of The Seagulls, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Zombie Holocaust, Nightmare City, Pulgasari, Panic, Burial Ground, Zombie ’90 and The Dead Next Door, to name a few! So as you can see, this series is a mess and is filled with tons of false sequels to the original films, and to be honest, someone in the indie filmmaking world should take up the mantel from T-Z Video of making and releasing zombie films with the Zombie brand taped onto the covers. Below are the covers for the films that have Zombie tagged onto the film by T-Z Video.

So as you can see, these zombies are true flesh eating soulless killing machines and are in one of Italy’s best horror movies ever made, and thanks to Eibon Press, they also got this comic series! First I want to thank Shawn Lewis and everyone at Eibon Press for doing these comics as the world needs more spooky comics based films and they are delivering and have many more to come. I also want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head to this island filled with the dead and see why the dead are rising.

Zombie # 1  ***
Released in 2016   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 1 of 8

A voodoo ceremony is going down, and after a sacrifice, a zombie tribal priest type figure named Biacando comes alive! Doctor David Menard wakes up from a feverish dream of that event and then has to shoot a dead patient in the head that was bitten by his dead wife. This is when Menard knows that the dead have risen. We then cut to a boat in New York that appears to be unmanned. The harbor cop comes aboard, and they find that a fat bloated zombie is on the ship. He kills one cop and the other guns down the bloated zombie down who falls overboard into the cold water below. Reporter Peter West reports to work and gets an assignment to check out the pier near where the cop and the bloated zombie were killed. While at the hospital, the dead cop comes back and kills the two doctors, spreading the zombie infection. Near the edge of the water a homeless man is attacked by the bloated zombie, who is now also in New York! Meanwhile Peter West meets Ann Bowles, the daughter of the man who owned the abandoned boat, and together the sneak into the pier at night to see if they can get answers as her father has been missing for a while now while working on an exotic island and the police are being rude and no help. While on board Anne finds a letter from her father that tells of a disease, a native tribe and unknown things on the Island of Matul. Peter gets his bosses at the paper to allow him to travel with Anne to the island to break this scoop that could be the biggest story in the world. While in Jamaica, Anne and Peter hire vacationing couple Bryan Hull and Susan Barrett to take them to Matul as a man with a voodoo doll watches them sail off.

This first issue of Zombie brings elements of the Lucio Fulci film as well as original plots from the mind of writer Stephen Romano! The plot of the issue has zombies infecting the island of Matul as well as later New York and a journalist and a missing doctor’s daughter are traveling to get the answers they seek after reading a letter written by her dad and left on a boat that washed into NY’s harbor.

The new plot elements that break away from the film show the natives of Matul bringing on the curse of the undead, complete with a clearly powerful zombie named Biacando! They also add in the fact that Peter West had a brother that was murdered on his first day out as a cop by a drug pusher, and that they were close…I smell the dead brother returning from the grave in a future issue. They also show the classic bloated zombie coming out of the water and making his way into New York and also stress that he is in fact the one who starts the zombie invasion in America.

Peter West is a goofball who admits to himself he is bad at his job of being a reporter and if not for his uncle owing the paper, he would have been fired long ago. But while bad at it, he still has the heart and right frame of mind when he gets wind of this story that could be the biggest the world has ever read if all works out right.

Ann Bowles is a strong willed woman who is not taking crap from the cops and wants to find her father and figure out why his boat was being sailed by someone other then him, and she even will team with a reporter she doesn’t know in order to get what she seeks.

We are only introduced briefly to Doctor David Menard, who worked with Ann’s father on Matul and who is stressed out and worn down by the zombies, as well as Bryan and Susan, the married couple who are enjoying life off the island of Jamaica, as Bryan is a retired Green Beret and Susan is a journalist for a nature publication.

The zombies are flesh hungry and brutal in nature as they just don’t eat the living, they massacre them! It’s great seeing the bloated zombie come alive in comic pages, and plus I want to know more about Biacando, who I am sure is a major force in what’s spreading this disease, as with every zombie kill, it seems maybe his spirit is around.

The comic does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and nudity and each kill is done in a glorious splatter fashion, and fans of comics like The Dead (Arrow Comics) and the original Walking Dead (Aircel Comics) will surely be pleased in the gore department. The cover for this first issue is very eye catching and will surely please fans of the film as it showcases the film’s most popular zombie. The interior art work is top notch and is a team up of artists Michael Broom with additional art by Derek Rook, and these guys capture the gritty nature of indie horror comics as well as Italian horror movies really well. To sum up this first issue, I will say that it’s a very solid horror comic that is doing the film its based on justice thus far and the creators adding their own touch makes it feel fresh and new. Let’s see what issue two has in store for us via story and gore!

Zombie # 2  ***
Released in 2016    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 2 of 8

Doctor David Menard is once more having a dream about the tribe and the undead Biacando, who is doing more and more brutal sacrifices, and worse Doctor Menard finds that the hospital’s radio is no longer working and his wife Olga Menard is now upset. They get into an argument as she wants to leave and he wants to stay as he thinks he is close to finding a cure! And when things get too heated, Doctor Menard slaps Olga and she alerts him that she hates his guts! Later that night Olga is home alone taking a shower and unbeknownst to her, zombies are outside watching and looking for a way inside. They break in and force her eye onto a giant wood splinter and end her life. Meanwhile Peter, Ann, Bryan and Susan are on the boat heading toward Matul when Susan asks them to stop so that she can dive and get some underwater photos. Once in the water, a zombie attacks her and she only escapes from by using razor sharp coral that she scraps across its face. As Susan swims back to the boat and tells her story of a bloody man in the water which insights Bryan to be mad at Peter as he feels the reporter is not telling him the truth on what is going on in Matul. Meanwhile, the zombie ends up fighting with a shark! After Peter shares what he knows about the island and the rumor of the undead curse, they get on a rowboat and head toward Matul as Doctor David Menard watches them approach.

In this second issue our “heroes” are almost to the island, and while taking a break, they find a zombie under water. The threat of voodoo and the undead really starts to sink in, while Doctor David Menard decides that he will find a cure, even if it costs him his marriage and life.

The second issue once more is mostly based on the cult film from 1979, and once more the Eibon Press crew added their own touches to it that add a fresh layer to the comic and also adds more of a backstory to many of the characters! First, they show that David Menard was a man who really only has cared about experiments and even was a part of some in World War II. Olga Menard was shown to have been a lady of the night way before she married Menard and has looked at all these people who used and abused her as monsters. Lastly they hint that Susan was assaulted by her father when she was a youngster…adding many dirty secret layers to them.

Peter is one of those “hero” characters that have somewhat good intentions, but along the way he comes off as a snarky smartass. At one point when Bryan is upset that his wife was attacked by a man at the bottom of the Ocean and looks to Peter for answers as its on his request they are heading toward a cursed island that will only really benefit Peter (and somewhat Ann) as he will get a story that will make him famous. Ann kind of takes a backseat in this issue and is on the boat but keeps mostly to herself besides trying to keep Susan calm after seeing the zombie in the water. Bryan and Susan at first seem to be game to drop their paying guests at the island and start to second guess their decision when they notice that the legends of the island could be true.

Doctor David Menard is a man on a mission for answers, but sadly his want to find a cure is not fully in order to help mankind as its more to fulfill his ego to be the best. Poor Olga Menard; we hardly get to know her before she becomes dinner for zombies.

This issue again pulls no punches on the blood and guts and delivers the splinter to the eye death and its done pretty damn well! The cover is cool and eye catching and features another key zombies from the film, and the interior art is top notch and done by Michael Broom with others. So far this is very great series, and I cannot stress how cool it is that this adaptation has some new fresh elements added to the plot to deliver a familiar and yet new experience. Let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Zombie # 3  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 3 of 8

Doctor David Menard has the island’s new guests in his jeep and is heading back to the hospital when he tells Ann about the death of her father that had him being taken into the tribe of Biacando and that he along with the hospital crew went into the tribe and shot all the undead including Biacando and returned her father to the hospital where he was infected and turned into a zombie and Menard himself pulled the trigger when he reanimated. The boat crew was sent to New York for supplies and had orders to dump infected bodies into the ocean, and Menard says they must have been infected before they arrived in America. Once back at the hospital nurse Stephanie runs out and alerts Menard that his friend Fritz is inside in bad shape. Menard gives his guests the keys to the jeep and asks them to check in on his wife and to wash up as he will come for them a little later as he rushes inside. Peter, Ann, Susan and Bryan take the jeep and head to his house, and they don’t think his story of voodoo adds up. Things get worse for them as they enter the house and find his wife being eaten by zombies that are now all over the place as they are hungry and they are on the menu! Bryan snaps and grabs a shovel and smashes zombie skulls, and the group makes it safely to the jeep as the voodoo drums once more fill the air. Unlucky for them, a little way down the road the jeeps engine just stops working and they know they have to get to the hospital for shelter as the zombies are coming. While at the hospital, Doctor David Menard has to shoot his injured friend who turns into a zombie and orders his two helpers Lucas and nurse Stephanie to lock all the doors and windows. Meanwhile Peter and the rest are making a run for the hospital and have to go through an old cemetery, and as they take a momentary breather, the ground beneath them starts to rumble. The long dead are also coming back to life, and one with worms in one of his eye sockets takes a bite out of Susan’s neck, killing her! Peter and Ann help the shocked and sad Bryan as more and more zombies are coming.

This third issue is super action packed as the plot has our heroes meeting the island doctor who gives them answers to some of their questions. They discover the half eaten and mutilated body of the doctor’s wife, battle their way through zombie and lose one of their own to the series’ top zombie in Worm Eye! And this all happens super fast.

We also get more of a look into Biacando whose voodoo that is causing all of this and who is the one who infected Ann’s dad with the infection that lead to his death and then re-death at the hands of his own friend.

It’s clear by this third issue that Doctor David Menard is a man on the edge as the stress and the horrors he has seen on this island are starting to really get to him, and being the kind of guy he is, giving up and running away is not an option. I mean it’s crazy as so far in the series, he has had to shoot two of his close friends in the head after they have returned as zombies, not to mention all the other villagers he has had to do this with and soon he will find out his wife as well has fallen victim to this infection!

Bryan and Susan are clearly second guessing themselves as they went to this cursed island only because strangers offered money and they had a intriguing story…but thus far all they have gotten is Bryan losing his mind and flashing back to his military days and Susan ends up dead with a bite hole in her neck! Peter and Ann have gotten answers about the death of her father as well as a little about the infection that is bringing the dead back to life, but they don’t fully trust what they have been told! Also it’s clear that they are now also starting to fall for each other and that they all must watch out for one another if they want to get off the island alive.

Poor Stephanie and Lucas are trying to help with the sickness and the dead at the hospital, but it’s clear they are scared out of their minds.

The main attraction of course is seeing the Worm Eyed Zombie do his thing and take a chunk out of Susan’s neck! Like before, this issue adds its own touches to the adaptation like showing Ann’s father was under the cursed charm of Biacando and Bryan going crazy with a shovel and bashing and smashing zombies at Menard’s home. The jeep’s engine fails, and they don’t crash into a tree like in the film. Those are just some of the small and big changes. The story is reaching the fever pitch of what is to come with the living against the dead in a showdown of survival, and this comic series is doing a great job of building the hype! The cover is eye catching and once more showcases a zombie from the film, and the interior art by Michael Broom and Derek Rook is top notch and is perfect for a horror comic based on a film. This issue also pours out the blood and guts on the pages and has some true splatter moments! So let’s see what issue four has in store for us.

Zombie # 4  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 4 of 8

Peter takes charge in the cemetery as Bryan is breaking down over the death of his wife Susan while zombies are surrounding them. Finally Peter is able to get them all to run and make it to the boarded up hospital. Inside Doctor David Menard is getting Stephanie and Lucas to get bottles and kerosene to make molotov cocktails, and then lets in Peter and the others who inform him that his wife is dead and that the hospital is being surrounded by zombies! Doctor David Menard informs Bryan to go to a closet to fetch guns to arm themselves, and then the Doctor wanders off and records his final message before being eaten by a zombie as he has embraced death. Poor Stephanie and Lucas also get attacked and eaten by zombies leaving Peter, Ann and Bryan to fend for themselves. The three hold their ground and use guns and the molotov cocktails on as many of the undead as they can, and once the hospital is burning down, they run out the back door and standing there is the zombie of Susan…who bites Bryan. Peter shoots her, and the three rush back to the boat and set sail to get back to New York. Meanwhile Doctor David Menard is now a zombie and gets the call from Biacando, who clearly had more plans for the dead. As Peter and Ann listen to the confessions of war from Bryan, he dies, and they store his body in the belly of the boat to use him as proof of their story. As the couple get close to New York, they hear on the boat’s radio that the zombies are now in New York and have started to slaughter and kill and that things are really bad. As they listen, zombie Bryan busts out of the door and charges for an attack as we end this issue with hordes of zombies entering the city.

The adaptation part of this comic series comes to an end with this issue, and it goes out with a massive bang and does a great job of building up the excitement of what is to come as it’s clear the zombies are many and mankind needs to take a stand to try and end this terror. And I have to say that writer Stephen Romano did a fantastic job of capturing the feel and spirit of the Fulci film as well as added his own touches that truly brought a new level of fright to the story. The stuff he added was well done as he fleshed out the characters of Peter West, Ann Bowles, Doctor David Menard, Olga Menard among others and this was wise as it made you understand the characters better and showcased some of their dark secrets.

I also like how he added the touch that maybe the zombies are not being brought back by voodoo or an infection as it could also be the fault of toxic waste that has been hidden on the island thanks to Doctor David Menard and his shady war crime past. That’s the thing, Doctor David Menard clearly did some terrible things during war and should have been jailed, but thanks to his knowledge and friends in dark places, he and his wife were spared paying for what he did…it’s also crazy as he is now a zombie, and I am sure he will be coming back into play later in the series. To me it seemed like when he got the news that his wife was dead and zombie food, he lost the will to live and was sick of running from his past.

Peter West is the story’s main hero as he fights through the fear and doubt and does what he can to keep Ann safe as well as watch after Bryan who is losing it due to the killing of his wife. Peter shows great growth as he starts off as a snarky reporter and by the end he turns into a reluctant hero.

Ann and Bryan are great backup characters, and I like that Bryan at the end is a zombie and could continue on in later issues. Biacando, the zombie witch doctor, is also still around as Dr. Menard as a zombie goes to him, and this is cool, as I cannot to see what Biacando is and why he is!

The end of New York being attacked by zombies is truly awesome as it’s a bloodbath of flesh and blood being spilled all over the place and shows just how easily a zombie apocalypse could be upon us all if one would to break out. With that said, the issue does not shy away from blood, guts, gore and some nudity delivering a truly classic horror comic feel. The cover is great and showcases another amazing zombie from the film, and I cannot praise the interior artwork of Michael Broom and Derek Rook enough as their style is so fitting for a comic like this. I have to say that the first four issues of Zombie is really great stuff and everyone at Eibon Press and the creators who have done this series should be proud of it, as it truly is a treat for horror comic readers! So with that, let’s see what issue five has in store for us and where this series goes beyond the movie’s plot as I am really hyped to read and find out!

Zombie # 5  ***
Released in 2017    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 5 of 8

The zombie of Doctor David Menard is now under the orders of zombie witch doctor Biacando who has chosen Menard to continue his experiments this time, on zombies…and has replaced his fingers with needles. Meanwhile in New York, the city is overrun with zombies. Peter has taken Ann on a date to a fancy restaurant. When zombies bust in, Peter guns them down and after clearing them out, the couple is confronted by Colonel Louis Fulci who at first thinks that Peter and Ann are looters but soon after killing more incoming zombies takes them along to their base. Meanwhile in a cemetery William West, who is Peter’s brother who was a cop and murdered while on duty, has returned from the grave and is mad when he flashes back to his funeral and the fact his brother did not cry for him. Now the zombie cop wants answers! Back at the base camp, Colonel Fulci informs them that he and his men are the only hope right now of keeping these zombies in New York, and Peter tells him about the Island as well as how they had stayed on the boat for months after killing their friend Bryan again once he turned into a zombie. He says that after running out of food they had to come to shore to get something to eat when he and his men found them. Colonel Fulci then alerts them that he has heard of Doctor David Menard and is looking for a toxic waste dump site that is said to be what is bring the dead back to life! Colonel Fulci’s campsite is a grindhouse movie theater and he takes his two new allies out and shows them the street that is filled with thousands of zombies. He and his men open fire on the zombies as well as blast them with flamethrowers, after many of the zombies are down for the final count, Ann informs him she might have an idea where the toxic dump is!

Months after the events of the film, the state of New York is in really bad shape as the zombies are all over and have killed most of the living. A group of Army soldiers lead by a tough as nails Colonel is our only hope, and Peter and Ann find themselves in another blood soaked adventure as they tag along for the ride with the soldiers.

Peter and Ann are clearly a couple now and just want to have a little bit of normalcy to their lives as they live on Bryan’s boat until they run out of food and only then adventure into the city only to find it a wasteland of death and destruction.

Colonel Fulci is a man on a mission to kill all the zombies they see and get to the bottom of this undead nightmare, though he clearly has a dark side as he has a very bad reputation that is known by Peter West. On a side note, I love the fact Colonel Fulci looks like director Lucio Fulci as it’s a great touch to let the true godfather of gore’s memory stay alive. I also look forward to seeing more of Colonel Fulci’s history unfold and if the world can really trust him.

The zombies are truly everywhere now and are looking for blood and guts as they want to show that this is their world now and that mankind is coming to an end. Biacando is using his voodoo to bring the zombies all together on the island as well is forcing the undead Doctor David Menard to do some experiments that I am sure will help make the zombies even more unstoppable. I also like that Doctor David Menard has embraced his undead nature and even removes his own fingers to replace with needles. Something tells me what ever they are up to on the island will be very bad for the world.

The use of 42nd Street in this issue is also really cool as the street back in the 70’s and 80’s was very much filled with many adult theaters and shops and was the place to see grindhouse films…so it’s great seeing it the way it was not the tourist stop it has become. The issue is filled with lots of blood and gore like before, and we even get cameos from The Worm Eyed Zombie as well as the Bloated Zombie and they are always welcome additions to see in issues.

Writer Stephen Romano did a great job making this feel like it belongs in the Zombie universe and ties it into the film really well by delivering classic characters in a new storyline as well as bring in new ones with a plot that has depth. The cover is fun and has Peter and Ann looking like they just stepped out of a James Bond movie poster, and the interior art is done by Pat Carbajal and is great as his style does a great job of capturing the likeness of the actors and characters. Over all this original story kick off in the Fulci Zombie universe is well done and feels like a true sequel to the film series. Let’s see what issue six has in store for not only us the readers but also the characters!

Zombie # 6  ***
Released in 2018    Cover Price $10.00    Eibon Press    # 6 of 8

Doctor Menard is being followed by zombies as they enter a hut of a female villager and her son. It’s clear that Menard is not like the other zombies as he can talk and takes the life of the young boy and alerts the mom that the future is here! While back in New York the fires still burn as Colonel Fulci goes on the news and explains that it’s up to him and his men to save the world from the undead. As Ann and Peter argue over the tactics he is using to do so, Colonel Fulci shows up with a gun to the head of Peter as the Colonel alerts Ann to the fact that Peter is the one who got him thrown out of the military and his story lead to the death of many soldiers! Colonel Fulci then says that he is going to kill Peter as all he really needs is Ann to find the island of Dr. Menard! Meanwhile Dr. Menard has taken the woman from the hut and has her rigged up to machines and then shows her his grand plan of making the zombies more powerful with upgrades. He also speaks of time travel and the ways of the past with the ways of the future. Menard then shows that if he injects his blood into the zombies it makes the stronger, and their power comes from their eyes…he also shows that he has saved Worm Eyed Zombie and places one of the zombie’s worms into the eye of the mom and alerts her that he is the kid’s father and once they had an affair that lead to the child…but the mom fights off the infection, and this is interesting to Menard. The President Of The United States is then shown to be the one who sent Colonel Fulci into New York. He wants the zombie hordes taken care of fast as he is worried the press will figure out the he ordered the attack on the city by the rogue military that has left many civilians dead! As Colonel Fulci and his crew head to the island, they push Peter out of the helicopter into the middle of Central Park with a gun that only has six bullets, and unlucky for him, the park is packed with tons of zombies! Ann meanwhile has had enough and when the soldiers are ordered to torture her for information on the island, she snaps and kicks some ass, which even leads to Colonel Fulci being shot. She alerts him that her mom was a Marine and now she is in charge of this mission. In the end Peter watches as a escaped zoo gorilla rips apart zombies, and when the beast sets his sights on him, his undead zombie cop brother shows up and starts fighting the beast!

This series is getting more and more crazy as the lore of the Zombie universe gets more and more dark and weird!

The plot of this issue has Dr. Menard doing experiments on the dead to make them more powerful as he is preparing for war and wants to take down the world as we all know it! While Peter and Ann are stuck with a crazy man and his army that are secretly being given orders by the American President!

Dr. Menard has changed so much thus far in the series as he starts out as a man trying to crack the code of what is causing the dead to rise. By now he himself is a undead mad scientist who loves creating this new type of zombie and even as a man he took advantage of a young village girl and had a child with her! Speaking of that villager, her name is Jamilya and she was only 16 years old when he met her, and with the promise of teaching her medicine he seduced her, got her pregnant and now has turned their son into and zombie and wants to do the same to her, but she seems like a fighter!

Colonel Fulci is a sadistic madman who clearly doesn’t care about human lives and only cares about finishing his mission, plus it’s now clear he is the hired gun for the President! Ann and Peter are prisoners of Fulci, and when Peter is shown to have a past with Fulci that gives him a death sentence and Ann shows that she is sick of this all and proves she can take care of herself!

Plus the issue features Worm Eyed Zombie, Bloated Zombie and as well as zombies based on other cool zombie film characters! Now I have to say that I feel that the machine experiments are a little blah as I like the voodoo aspect of the curse more, but with that said, I cannot wait so see how it plays out and makes me wonder where this is going…and I guess I should also say it’s an interesting twist to add these wires and machines and takes it out of the classic style of zombie films and comics. One really cool aspect of the comic is that the President looks like one of my favorite horror actors Joe Spinell and the Gorilla is based after the look of King Kong from 1976! Oh I should also say that Peter’s undead cop brother fighting the gorilla is the Zombie vs. Shark moment for this comic series.

The cover for both the Eibon Sleeve and the issue are great and show case zombies as well as the Kong inspired Gorilla! And the interior art by Pat Carbajal is fantastic like before. I have to stress that thus far Eibon Presses Zombie series is a fantastic read and is the best comic series that features zombies I have ever read…and is way more entertaining then Image Comics Walking Dead Series and more bloody and creepy than it as well!

Zombie # 7  ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 7 of 8

Jamilya is fighting hard to not become a mindless zombie and watches as Dr. Menard and Biacando take the heart of her son and place it inside a weird humanoid that was born from her when she threw it up! She escapes her bindings and runs off into the jungle after taking out a few zombies and promising to return for her son. While back in New York, Peter and his undead cop brother William team up and with a bullet to its brain kill the rampaging gorilla. Peter is in shock as he watches his brother speak and the zombies around listen! While in Washington D.C. the President has a plan to use a nuke on New York to stop the zombies, and when questioned about his motives, he shoots and kills a general and continues with his attack plan. Back at the base, Ann has Fulci tied up and is torturing him with his own sword, as she has ordered some of his soldiers to go back to Central Park and rescue Peter and if her boyfriend is dead, she tells Fluci that his life will also come to a bloody end. When the Helicopter arrives Peter along with William are on board, but so is a horde of zombies that attack Fulci and his remaining men who become lunch! While Jamilya uses her own voodoo knowledge to try and beat the curse on herself and gears up for war against Biacando! Back at the base Ann along with Peter know that they have to return to the island and end this undead curse once and for all.They soon learn that Colonel Fulci and his men are now zombies and willing to be the army needed to fight against Biacando and burn Matul to the ground!

The war between the living and the undead is about to go off, and this issue is the build up to that war and sadly also to the final issue in this series!

Ann, Peter, William and the undead Colonel Fulci and his men are gearing up and ready to go to Matul and wipe out the evil voodoo curse that is plaguing the world. Ann is showing that she is one tough lady as she proves she has a killer instinct when she tortures Fulci and barks orders at his men that are listening to her orders!

Colonel Fulci, who is an S.O.B., is mean spirited all the way until the very end, and even when he gets his eye poked out and faced slashed up, he still trash talks! And oddly enough, once he is attacked by zombies and turned into one he seems to be more on track to team with Ann and Peter to head to the island and bring it all down. Peter and his zombie brother William are a team once more, and we learned that they moved to America after they defended themselves and left one person dead. Now William can speak to the dead and some zombies seem to follow his orders.

Jamilya..what can be said about her besides she is awesome and not only does she escape the zombie hell, but she also shakes off the infection with her will and own voodoo powers and is also on a one woman warpath to save her son and end these zombies’ reign of terror.

Dr. Menard and Biacando are showing they are pure evil and are mixing old voodoo with modern technology and medicine to create super zombies whose eyes are the key to their souls. And the President clearly doesn’t care about the lives of the people as he is willing to drop a nuke on New York to kill the zombies and save his own hide and bury his dirty little secrets.

This is a great read and I am cheering for Jamilya as she is a great original character created by the Eibon team, and I am sure will be joining with Ann and Peter in the fight against the evil zombies. The issue has a lot of blood and guts, and sadly the Gorilla meets his end with a bullet to his brain, and it’s a shame as it would have been awesome to seen the Gorilla turn into a zombie and go on a rampage in New York and end up being around the Empire State Building before being gunned down. That would have been amazing and played more into the King Kong connection. Writer Stephen Romano has really has killed it with this series so far and did the film adaptation portion justice and then has added new layers to the characters and lore. The super talented Pat Carbajal did the interior art again and he captures the savage nature of this story and his gore art his great. Well we only have one more issue in this series to go and it’s a shame as I wish it had more then 8 issues! So let’s see how this war of the dead and living ends.

Zombie # 8 ***
Released in 2018   Cover Price $10.00   Eibon Press   # 8 of 8

On the island of Matul, the zombies have all been treated and are ready to march into the ocean and start a war with the living, and Biacando is leading the way and even smacks down Dr. Menard when he gets too cocky about his blood being part of what is giving them the power. Jamilya meanwhile is in the jungle watching the rift in the ranks between the two zombie leaders and plans an attack with the goal to save her zombie son and return his heart. Ann and Peter are in a helicopter that is on its way to Matul to start a war, and Peter notices that Ann has changed, as she is now so cold and filled with the want for revenge. Back in Washington, the President has killed many of his aids and now is forcing the last two to help in his plan to blow up New York. When the helicopters get to the island, they find that over a thousand zombies are on the beach, and Colonel Fulci orders for fire to be fired into the horde, and he does so in waves taking down many of the zombies! Biacando is not having it as he uses the two zombie kids in order to get into the minds of all the zombies and causes the helicopters to crash and William West and Colonel Fulci to lead their undead army against the remaining island horde! William West was in bad shape after fighting the gorilla in New York, but after biting and tasting the blood of an island zombie he regains his missing limbs and leads them to victory. Meanwhile Peter and Ann find themselves in the jungle and being stalked by Biacando who in turn is being stalked by Jamilya! Biacando and Dr. Menard are at it again when Jamilya armed with a bazooka fires on the pair and then stabs Menard in the eye killing him once and for all! She then gives her own life of immortality to her son and turns him normal. Ann and Peter show up just in time to witness this act of love and this triggers Ann to give her life in order to stop Biacando once and for all. In the end Peter watches out for the son of Jamilya as The President goes ahead and nukes New York!

Wow, what an ending for one of the best comic series based on a film. I mean it –  the creators as Eibon Press nailed this one out of the ballpark as they not only captured the mood and spirit of the Fulci film but they also added a new level to the over all story and allowed us to see what happened to some of the characters we became attached to in the film!

The biggest change comes from Ann as she goes from being a worried daughter to a survivor and ends by being a hero who brings the terror of Biacando to an end…and even gives her life to end his madness.

Peter loses so much in this series as he loses his job and story because New York is blown up, his brother has returned from the grave and is now a zombie commando and worst of all, he lost his true love Ann! Peter also faces death many times and cheats it and by the end he ends up having to watch over a child who’s mother he watched be eaten by a zombie kid including the one he is watching over now! Peter is a character that you start off thinking is a scumbag and by the end you find yourself cheering for him as well as Ann as what started out for them as a missing persons case turns into a fight to save the world from evil voodoo and zombies.

I love that Jamilya is able to save her son’s soul and life, plus she gets her revenge on the terrible Dr. Menard, but I do wish she had survived, as I would have loved to see her character continue on in more zombie comics or even other releases from Eibon Press.

Dr. Menard in this series goes from a drunken doctor trying to dodge his past and doing what he can to make up for his sins, to being an undead right hand man to Biacando who has a god complex because his blood is what gives the zombies the extra power. Biacando is pure evil and shows his voodoo power is very strong and wants to be the only one in power of the army of the dead, and want to give to credit to Menard and his science. I also like that Biacando can use his powers to take over the body and souls of the living to keep his powers strong and to give his evil spirit a vessel to live in.

William West and Colonel Fulci are zombies who lead other zombies in war and in the end becomes supped up on the blood of Dr. Menard and have a mission to stay a team and make the world safe. The President is…well, crazy, and to be in charge he kills all his men and then still blows up New York thinking he is ending the war for everyone, and more importantly himself.

Now let’s talk about the over all series as it’s fantastic on almost every front as the writing and art are top notch and I cannot stress enough that it does the film its based on justice. The characters are likable and have growth and the ones you are suppose to despise you do as the baddies are truly evil and have no redeeming quality. The blood and gore is brutal as so many eyes are popped like grapes, guts are ripped out, blood is splattered and violence happens to men, women, animals and children. So in other words, gorehounds will love this!

The comic is fast paced, and the 8 issues fly by as the story draws you in, and that to me is a sign of a good comic mini series.

Now I have to point out some of the issues I have with the series and they are pretty few and far between as the only thing I wished for is that some characters got a little more panel time as sometimes with some characters like The President it would have been really cool to see why he is such a self centered ass. And my major complaint is this…I wanted more than 8 issues as they were just not enough as this could be an ongoing series and I for one would be game to get every issue! I mean imagine Peter being placed in the situation of Zombi 3, like what would he doing during the events of that film…and what if he would be mixed in with the survivors of that film in future issues of Zombie…just saying, Eibon GIVE US MORE ZOMBIE! The cover and the Eibon Sleeve are great and eye-catching, and the interior art by Pat Carbajal is great as always. To sum it all up, if you love the films of Lucio Fulci, love indie horror comics, love great art and story telling then do yourself a big favor and check out this series, hell, check out all the titles from Eibon Press! Check out some artwork below from this series.

Eibon Press is really one of the best Indie comic companies going as they really do make some of the best horror comics today, and they clearly care about what they make and it shows in every issue. Not to mention, they pack each Eibon Sleeve with some amazing extra goodies like stickers, trading cards, bookmarks, posters and even CDs that have soundtracks for the comic and or the film its based on, giving you more bang for your buck! But with that said, let’s leave the island of Matul behind and head into the world of myth as our next update will be about the titan Atlas and a Dark Horse Comics mini series based on an adventure on modern Earth. So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a Fulci film or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. Wait, if Atlas is in a comic book who’s holding up the sky?

Talk Back: The Morton Downey Jr. Show – Slasher Films

In the 1980’s talk shows, both daytime and nighttime, were all the rage as names like Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Arsenio Hall, David Letterman, Johnny Carson and Oprah Winfrey all hosted must-watch shows TV for viewers. Each covered topics that the masses cared about like celebrities, racism, devil worship, gay rights, wrestling, scandals, horror movies, heavy metal music, teens dressing weird, serial killers and everything in-between. While thinking of what kind of subjects I wanted to cover for my Made For TV updates, I knew that late night and day time talk show episodes had to be talked about as they were shows I grew up watching and have good memories of some of the over the top topics! When selecting the first talk show host and episode to showcase, many came to mind and Geraldo Rivera was always in the lead as his show was always my favorite and some of his episodes are ones that are blog worthy for sure! But I made the choice to cover an episode of The Morton Downey Jr. Show as I really think he was the true start of trash TV when it comes to talk shows and was Jerry Springer long before over the top antics and overly sleazy TV was cool. So for my first every “Talk Back” update here at Rotten Ink, I have decided to cover a Morton Downey Jr. Show that I feel captures the true nature of the show as well is a topic I am interested in back then and still am now and that’s Slasher Films! That’s right the topic, I will be covering is about the 80’s boom of Horror Films that not only flooded theaters but also the video store shelves. So this will not only be my first Talk Back update but will also be my first update in my countdown to Halloween! So let’s sit back and Zip It with this first update in my Talk Back theme.

Sean Morton Downey was born on December 9, 1932 in Los Angeles, California to parents Morton Downey who was a popular singer in the 1920’s-1930’s, who was given the nickname The Irish Nightingale, and mother Barbara Bennett who was an actress known for her roles in films like Black Jack from 1927 and Syncopation from 1929. Downey was raised rich and lived a good life even attending college at New York University. In the 1950’s he started work in radio, first as an announcer and program director and then became a disc jokey where he started perfecting his snarky attitude and take no prisoners rants. Around this time as well Downey tried his hand at becoming a singer songwriter and recorded such songs as Green Eyed Girl that charted on Billboard reaching # 95! While he was not a popular singer, he was a solid one that showed he did get some of his father’s talent.

Downey was a loose cannon, and by the mid 80’s he had been fired by and avoided by radio stations. Also in 1980 Downey made a bid for the President as a Democrat; he was not selected but he did stay active in politics for a short time hosting Pro Life rallies. In 1987, Downey decided to try his hand at TV and started a show called the “Morton Downey Jr. Show” that started on local New York/New Jersey station WWOR-TV and by 1988, the show went into syndication and became a very controversial late night talk show, and made the phrase “Zip It” popular in the vernacular of viewers.

His rise came fast and hard, as viewers seemed to not be able to get enough of his in your face style of talk show hosting and this lead to him getting appearances on TV Shows and even Movies…and even more crazy is the fact that his own peers in the world of Talk Shows seemed to be puzzled to why people enjoyed his show. On his show, Downey covered all types of taboo topics of the time, and he played two sides against each other and would be rude to everyone by playing devil’s advocate during most shows. But because of his type of hosting, many stations got worried about airing the show and sponsors as well were reluctant to advertise during it…and this was the beginning of the end for it! In 1989, Morton Downey Jr. also recorded another album this time based around his show, during that same year Downey was “attacked” in the bathroom at the San Francisco International Airport by neo-nazi’s who held him down tried to shave his head and painted a swastika on his face….this was looked at as a fake incident that Downey fabricated in order to help his falling ratings.

On September 15, 1989 the show came to an end and as fast as he rose to power, he just as fast crashed and burned. After the show was gone and his star fading, he filed for bankruptcy in 1990, but still took small roles in films like Revenge Of The Nerds III, Body Chemistry II and Meet Wally Sparks to name a few. Things got worse for Downey as in 1996 he was diagnosed with lung cancer from years of chain smoking, and this made the pro smoker change his stance on cigarettes and he spent years trying his best to warn others of its dangers. But sadly on March 12, 2001 Morton Downey Jr. passed away from pneumonia and lung cancer. While in modern times Morton Downey Jr. and his show are almost forgotten, his legacy of “take no crap” hosting style lives on with shows like Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos. Plus for those readers who want to know more about Morton Downey Jr., there have been books written by him as well as a documentary movie made about his life, so check those out as well.

Growing up I can remember the craziness that was The Morton Downey Jr. Show as my parents disliked him lots. I can remember my Mom always saying that he was a jerk to his guests and that she didn’t understand why people watched his show…this of course made me and my brother more curious about it and even made us watch a few episodes from time to time. I can also remember him being parodied in MAD and Cracked Magazine. But for me the main reason I knew who Morton Downey Jr. was came from WWF WrestleMania V that took place in 1989 when the loud mouth Downey Jr. came face to face with Rowdy Roddy Piper on the set of Piper’s Pit! In this segment while Piper tried to interview Downey kept smarting off and blowing cigarette smoke into the face of the wrestler, and finally Piper asks for a cigarette of his own and when Downey is lighting it up, Piper gets a fire extinguisher and blasts Downey several times in the face with it! As Downey flops around on the mat, Piper seems to be enjoying himself. This was 100% classic old school WWF wrestling and showcased that Roddy Piper was the man when it came to putting celebrities in their places when they entered the squared circle. I also growing up enjoyed Morton Downey Jr. as Tony Pope a loud mouth journalist in the 1990 Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Predator 2, and this role was perfect for him!

One thing about Morton Downey Jr. is the fact he loved drama and pushing boundaries as well as pushing the buttons of guests and viewers. And many of these style episodes will be the ones we will cover here on my “Talk Back” update and the one I choose to start with is the episode were Morton Downey Jr. talks about Slasher Films and their impact on viewers. So I am not going to give this Talk Show a star rating nor a grade, but instead I am going to just break down the episode from commercial break to commercial break and discuss the topic and mood of the guests and audience on hand. I want to thank my brother Bryan for getting me this copy of the show for this update, and now I must Zip It so we can get to this classic episode of the Morton Downey Jr. Show.

Morton Downey Jr. Show: Slasher Films
With: Michael Berryman & Rick Sullivan       Topic: Movie Violence     1989

Morton Downey Jr. starts the episode off wearing a Freddy Kruger glove and mask and tells the viewers about how Horror Movies are super popular, and then asks the question if they know what kind of films their kids are renting from the local video store…he then says Slasher Horror Movies are the night’s topic and we are treated to his overly cheesy theme song as well as the amazing graphics of him that go along with it. The crowd already seems hot and ready for some arguments and extreme debates.

Morton starts off with his big white teethed grin and pulls out his pack of cigarettes and warns parents that in this episode they will be showing clips from slasher films, and warns that some of the weaker stomached viewers may puke! He then introduces us to his first two guests, John Anastasio, a film critic, and Rick Sullivan, who works for Gore Gazette and claims slasher films are “Cotton Candy For The Mind.” After asking Rick a question, Morton quickly cuts him off to show a clip of “Last House On The Left” by Wes Craven, and then asks Rick what he finds so sweet about the clip that showed a young woman being stabbed. Rick takes up for the film and says that most viewers go to see the state of the art effects, and to watch the villains get theirs in the end when John adds his two cents in claiming that all the viewers really go to these movies for is the blood and gore that rots the viewers’ minds and hearts, and the crowd goes crazy cheering him on.

Morton then asks the question that while kids cannot see these films in theaters, they can however rent them from Video Rental Stores, and both Rick and John agree that the same rules should be held at both to not allow kids to view these films without a parent’s permission, But then John turns it around to that no one should watch these films all the while Morton is making jokes about his ex-girlfriend and then asks Rick about Good beating Evil in these films. Rick says that everyone knows in the last reel good will win and that kids love these films because people like John tell them not to, and compares it to Rock N Roll Music.

Morton then brings out an issue of Rick’s magazine with a graphic image on the front and John spins it around to his other issue with Slasher films being the sex and degrading nature of women in the films. Morton stands up for the magazine and Horror when he claims there is nothing sexual about the image on the cover! Morton then asks if films like Cannibal Holocaust should be used to teach people about good and evil, and John says no movies like the Star Wars Trilogy and Universal Monster Movies Dracula and Frankenstein should be uses as it shows good beating evil without blood and extreme violence, Morton says to him in Frankenstein good did not prevail over evil as you are set as the viewer to feel bad for The Monster. And with that Morton brings in our first commercial break.

I must say that in this first segment I am shocked about how Morton does a great job of being down the middle for the most part, but does seem to be more on the side of the Slasher films as he points out more of what he dislikes about what John is saying as he comes off really bad as a snotty film critic who thinks his opinion is what matters. Meanwhile Rick Sullivan is pretty well spoken and is clearly a true fan of Horror Movies as he is ready to debate to stand up for the genre he loves. The crowd is also mixed, but so far seems to be more on the side of John thinking these films are trash cinema, with only a small amount cheering for the Slasher flicks…in fact, the crowd while cheering at times are pretty tame for now with only a few outburst of laughing at the guests. So far I would say the mood is pretty tame and Morton is doing a great job of keeping the topic fast paced and entertaining.

When back from the commercial the crowd is yelling and cheering as Morton next welcomes actor Michael Berryman to the show who is the star of films like The Hills Have Eyes, and they show a clip from the film. Also on stage is Feminist Paige Mellish who is against pornography and claims that Slasher Films have studies done about them that prove men want to attack women more after watching them. The crowd does not like her statements.

Michael comes back and says that if people find the sick actions of what happens in horror movies sexual then they are unbalanced people, and he does not make films that promote that kind of thoughts. The Crowd loves what Michael says and he gets a loud cheer and a few laughs at his jokes about dates jumping into your arms during Horror Movies in the theater. Paige then comes back and claims that all the violence in these films is sexualized and says a quote from serial killer Ted Bundy and the link of sex and violence before he was “killed” when Morton says he was not killed, he was executed and goes on to call Bundy a liar and slime!

Paige is un-phased and sticks by the statement that Horror Movies and violence toward women go hand and hand, Rick is asked if Slasher Films and his Magazine are pornographic and he says they are not, when John points out the Gore Gazette code that links some sex to the films…Rick claims it’s taken out of context. Because of this Rick and John start to go back and fourth over the topic, and Michael chimes in that even TV Shows have rotten moments and Morton once more cuts a joke acting like the actor was going to say his show, as Rick and John still go back and fourth with John saying his magazine is garbage!

Morton comes into the argument and says the magazine is sold to 17 and up, and they are adults and no one needs to be their censors, when Paige chimes in that its adult males that attack women when Morton brings up a case of a woman who was attacked an put into a coma by teenagers in New York. Paige agrees but goes back to saying men who watch horror attack women, and Morton cuts her off and takes us to our next commercial break.

Once more I will have to say Morton does a pretty good job of walking the line between the two sides, but it is clear he sides slightly more with the Slasher fans as he hates the fact John is talking censorship and Paige is on a role that all horror is porno! Plus I love how Morton gets worked up over Ted Bundy and runs the psycho’s name through he mud and back again. Michael Berryman comes of well spoken and funny, as Paige Mellish seems really hung up on the “facts” that horror and adult films and crime go hand and hand, and that’s crazy talk. I think Paige really chose the wrong talk show to get her message out as the crowd does not like what she is saying nor does the host. Watching Rick and John go back and fourth is lots of fun, and I almost wish it would have gone on longer as John clearly was getting annoyed as he sunk so low to trash another guests magazine. The crowd is having a blast with this topic as they seem to be laughing, cheering and booing all the while with grins on their faces, so far a solid episode for Morton as he is handling the topic at hand really well.

Morton comes back and welcomes guest Doug Harpool, a representative from Missouri who wants to pass a law that makes it illegal to rent rated R movies to minors and talks about how he heard about a 12 year old and his friends renting Slasher movies from the video store and his parents being so upset about it.

His next new guest is Tony Timpone of Fangoria Magazine who says to him the government should not be stepping in and saying what kids can and can’t watch as the video store should regulate themselves and not be forced by the government. Morton says that Video Stores will not do that as he compares it to the lewd acts that happen at adult video stores and says the regulation needs to happen with the people who make the movies, and Tony disagrees and says it should be up to the person if they want to watch the movie or not, and that parents should be the ones who step in with their own kids and decide if they should be watching the movie or not. Morton mocks him for this statement and acts like parents cannot be everywhere to look into everything that their kids like or want to do, and before Tony can respond, the crowd cheers for Morton’s snarky response.

Paige quickly jumps in with a law that was being drawn up that is about if victims of a terrible crime can prove that a film is what caused the crime, the company who put out the film can be sued. Morton laughs that off and says the it would never pass the Supreme Court, and many of the guest get riled up over this as both sides clash. Doug Harpool takes up for his bill and says the government has had to step in on many issues when it comes to what kids can read and watch and that times are hard as many families have both parents working, leaving kids alone to make decisions. As Paige talks more about adult males hurting women, Tony screams about kids liking Horror Movies! John chimes in after Morton asks him about if he caught his child watching “I Spit On Your Grave” about how he would react, and Michael Berryman chimes right in with you need to talk with your kid and about it!

John then admits he has never even watched a full Slasher film from start to finish, and Rick lets him have it.  Paige once more starts in on adult men watching these films and attacking women and her study facts, and Morton once more just goes past her claims. Doug Harpool talks about the laws on what type of films would be off the books for kids from the Horror genre and says his bill would not block kids from seeing Slasher films – they could with a parent renting it for them.

John does not like what he hears and starts to go after Morton for saying that parents cannot always see what their kids are watching, as Morton once more says how can they when many worth 10-12 hours a day and that both parents have to work now because of mistakes of the government. John says it’s a matter of money or being there to make sure your kids grow up right. Paige starts on adult males and Ted Bundy talk again when Rick screams “Oh come off it with The Ted Bundy…are you in love with him or something?” And Morton takes us to the next commercial break.

This part of the show is a little more heated as I think Rick and Tony are very much sick of the Slasher film bashing. John clearly has zero clue on what he is protesting and Doug Harpool and Michael Berryman chime in when needed as Paige just babbles about Ted Bundy and crimes done by adult males. At this point of the show it’s also more clear that Morton is stirring the pot and getting both sides worked up against each other and playing up to his audience. And it’s clear both sides of the argument are just ignoring the words of Paige who almost seems like a broken record at this point. The crowd was loving all the back and fourth, and this segment showcases the true nature of Talk Shows being trash TV, and it’s amazing.

Morton welcomes us back, and he has a new guest filmmaker Dave Juskow, who made the indie Cannibal Slasher Musical film “Splatter Girls.” They show a clip, but not before Morton takes a few shots at the film and its production. After the clip the crowd boos, as they clearly did not like what they saw and some shout that it was stupid as Paige enters the talk and brings up more violence against women as Dave looks annoyed.

Morton asks an audience member what she would do if her kid brought Splatter Girls home, and she responds she would throw it away and Morton once more pokes fun at the film. Tony tries to take up for the film saying its no more violent then a cartoon, as Paige again talks about adult male violence against women and Dave gets worked up and pushes Paige off the microphone. Morton asks why he has an upside down baby for an earring, as Dave and Paige go back and fourth about Horror films and if it pushes toward real life acts of violence against women. Morton once more corrects her and says teens also do bad crimes and Michael Berryman says that people who do these acts should be thrown in jail.

Morton asks would Splatter Girls fit in the bill that Doug Harpool wants to pass about video rentals and he says yes. Tony quickly tries to win the crowd back with a statement about what would you rather have your kids doing smoking crack or watching Horror Movies. The crowd as started to turn on some of the Pro Horror Guests as Dave has come off as a loud mouth wise guy punk. As he starts saying kids should be able to watch these movies with no restrictions, the crowd boos him loudly and Morton asks if kids should be able to watch snuff films or even a fake snuff film? Dave says they should not watch a real one but a fake one is okay. Morton then takes us to a commercial break.

Wow, while Michael Berryman, Tony Timpone and Rick Sullivan have done a good job defending Horror Movies and their fans, indie filmmaker Dave Juskow undid all their hard work by coming off as a cartoon parody of a punk rocker indie horror movie maker with his dumb responses and goofball faces. It feels that Dave’s whole function on being in this episode was so the producers could show a stereotype of what mainstream media and critics thought all horror fans was like. Morton again is clearly just stirring the pot and getting the guests and the crowd to feel more emotions from his questions and the answers given. Poor Paige really is this episode’s punching bag as she has a one-track mind and the crowd and the guests are sick of hearing it. A good segment this was even, if Dave made Splatter fans look like goofs.

With this part of the show, Morton opens up the microphones to his audience and lets them talk about their thoughts on the topic of Slasher Films being a bad influence on those who watch them and kids.

Paige gets into with a guy in the audience about males being the attackers in crimes against females as he points out most crimes against other males are done by males. As a female member of the audience goes off on Dave about him saying that kids should be able to watch any of these types of films. She said when she was twelve she was able to get into an R rated movie at the cinema and she thinks that it was wrong. Tony asks how it affected her and the crowd is getting worked up as all sides are trying to make points and counter points against each other with Morton playing devil’s advocate in the middle. One audience member who is against Slasher films starts to talk about Child’s Play and says that the killer is a little kid with a knife named “Charlie” once more proving that the haters of Horror have never really watched these films and just want to jump on the hater train, and they compare kids with guns to them renting Horror films. The sides are split as Morton goes to our final commercial break.

With the audience now joining the debate the tensions are growing as both sides are super passionate about why they hate or love Slasher films and as always Morton plays both sides as he takes up for them and also trashes them. Both sides make good points and both sides as well make some eye rolling points, with the young woman who was allowed to go into a theater to see an R rated film being very well spoken and a true New Yorker…I think they should have given her a talk show. A very quick portion of this Hot Topic of the 80’s themed show and helped both sides get their message out to home viewers.

Morton ends the show  asking why the side for Slasher films are for it, but before an audience lady answers, she takes a shot at Paige for saying these films are what causes attacks on women, with a gentleman from the none-fans speaking against them as he brings up that kids emulate and look up to what they see on the TV and that kids should not be watching Horror Movies, the Slasher fans saying parents need to teach their kids and make the judgment call on what their kids watch. The sides go back and fourth on kids watching Horror Films, and Morton once more clashes with Dave Juskow who still thinks kids should be able to watch all types of Horror Movies.

In the end Morton takes a shot at Tony Timpone for not wanting ratings on direct to video films and calls him “Uncle Barney” and implies that he would do things with kids before running off and ending the show as the crowd and guests clap and cheer and Tony looks annoyed.

This last segment is pure audience member arguing with audience member with the guests chiming in and Morton lurking around. For me the whole show the Horror Fans make more sense and are correct in that parents should be parents and that not all who enjoy and love these films are weirdos looking to commit crimes against young ladies. I do think Morton Downey Jr. does a great job of handling this topic and while he does take a few shots at the guests who are pro Horror, it’s clear he is more on their side even if its only by a little. The one thing that Morton did that was a cheap shot is the joke he makes about one time Fangoria Magazine worker Tony Timpone as it was uncalled for and then he runs off with the microphone not allowing him to respond as he had to stand their with an annoyed smile on his face as the show ends.

Over all a great episode and one that’s topic is something I am very interested in. Also I really want to say that I am not sure if Dave Juskow was a director and producer of Horror Movies as youcan not find anything about his film Splatter Girls and its very strange they let his clip go on for longer then the others, you almost get a feeling that he and the film could be fake or he maybe he was just a shot on video filmmaker who never made it.

I grew up on watching Horror Movies as the classic Universal Monsters, Godzilla and King Kong were films that I could not get enough of, and thanks to many Horror Hosts like Commander USA and Grampa Munster and shows like USA Up All Night and Saturday Nightmares, I was introduced to so many other types of Horror and Cult Cinema. And with rental stores, the doors to these films opened even wider and helped grow my love for the genre and introduced me to so many Slasher films. And while I have seen films like A Nightmare On Elm Steet, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday The 13th and Trick Or Treat at a young age none edited, I have never had a notion to go out and do a terrible crime. I mean sure, I have had my fair share of fist fights and arguments, but I have never grabbed a rubber mask and a knife and stalk people in the night. And that’s because from a very young age I was taught by my parents that you can not do the things you see in movies or on wrestling to other people as that would hurt someone and was not right…you see, I have fantastic parents who took time with me to shape my creative mind and also really put me on a path to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, right from wrong and respect. I take the stand that if your kid was like me growing up and a monster kid who is into horror movies, let them watch them and teach them they are fantasy and that it’s not ok to mimic what they see in any film, TV or Sports Entertainment! Just my quick two cents on this topic as I for one loved Horror Movies as a kid and still love them to this day.

I hope you enjoyed this first “Talk Back” update as I had a blast writing it, and to be honest I as well hope you enjoyed this format for it as I think this is how these updates will end up looking on future update for Talk Back as well! Plus I feel that Slasher Films on Morton Downey Jr. Show was also a great way to kick off my countdown to Halloween 2020! And I should say with these Talk Back update, we will be covering some very fun stuff like Films, Music, Celebrities and Oddballs but we will also cover topics that are very serious like Murder, Racism, Religion and Politics, so please keep that in mind when our next one goes up in 2021. But for our next update we are walking away from Talk Shows and Slasher films and are heading to the forest that a witch roams around in…but she is not the topic the troll that wonders those woods named Irwin is! That’s right, we will be taking a look at Broom-Hilda’s Own Irwin Troll and the paperback comic made around him. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a Talk Show or two and as always support your local Horror Host. I cannot wait to chat about Irwin Troll, as he is a true icon of classic comic strips.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Fog (2005)

In the 2000’s Hollywood filled the cinema with remakes of iconic Horror Movies of the past.  Many of them were not well received and are still very much snubbed by viewers and fans who wonder why they were even made. One of the films remade was The Fog, a classic 1980 spooky ghost flick that was originally made by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and the weirdest thing about this one is, rumor has it, they wanted it to be remade! And as you guessed this countdown to Halloween and From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update will be all about the 2005 remake of The Fog as well as the Dark Horse Comic prequel based on it! So if you are ready to brave your way into The Fog, I think we should get started on this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update!

The Fog Ghosts from this 2005 remake are evil spirits who have many ways of killing people, and before we get too deep into this update we need to take a look at their ways of dealing death. The Fog Ghosts come from the sprits of people who were lepers who were sold a patch of land in order to live their lives out, but instead they were tricked and killed by men who robbed them and then killed them all by burning them alive on their ship. And after many years of being dead at sea, the lepers have returned and want revenge on the ancestors of the people who wronged them. The Fog Ghosts travel by sea on their massive ghost ship as well as by turning into a very thick fog that they also do on land in order to stalk and terrify their prey on land. By turning into the fog, the Ghosts are able to get into just about anything from closed doors to inside cars via the vents making them super hard to escape from. The Fog Ghosts’ ways of killing a human are this: they can appear out of nowhere and use objects like knives and such, they can use their powers to explode glass and then use the shards to slash and stab their target. They can spread sickness and cause healthy people to became very ill with leprosy similar to their human lives, not to mention the fact they can melt not only metal but also human flesh causing a person’s skin to melt and rot off their bones! The Fog Ghosts also do not seem to care who they kill or injure as their main goal is revenge and this makes them super dangerous. Another aspect of them is their rotten appearance which, once they get into human form, also terrifies and shock the humans that are to be their victims. Nothing is really known to hurt The Fog Ghosts as they are spirits and things like guns, knives and other weapons have no effect on them. The Fog Ghosts are very powerful and no matter where you run you can’t hide as they will find you!

So as you can see, these Ghosts of the Fog are super deadly and are truly some great movie bad guys…well at least in the original film, they are awesome, and in the remake they are passible. But now that we know about The Fog Ghosts’ killing ways, it’s time now to move onto the remake film that spawned them. The film’s write up, as always, will be taken from our pals at IMDB with the production and my thoughts being written by me. So if you’re brave enough, let’s chat about The Fog from 2005!

The Fog (2005)

“The inhabitants of Antonio Island, off the coast of Oregon, are about to unveil a statue honoring the four men (Castle, Wayne, Williams and Malone) who founded their town in 1871. Nick Castle is one of the descendants of the men, and owns a fishing charter company, using his vessel, the Seagrass, for tourism. When his girlfriend Elizabeth Williams returns to the island after spending six months in New York, a bizarre series of events begin to occur, including several gruesome deaths and the presence of a mysterious fog. When Elizabeth slips in Nick’s boathouse and falls into the sea, she finds an old journal from 1871, written by Patrick Malone, one of the town’s founders. It tells how a man named Blake bought half the island for use as a leper colony. While bringing his people to Antonio Island in their clipper ship, the Elizabeth Dane, Blake is betrayed by Castle, Wayne, Williams and Malone. The four men locked Blake and his people in the vessel, stole their money and possessions.”

The film was made to help cash in on the rise of Horror Films being remade, as many filmgoers were feeling nostalgic for films they grew up watching and the studios thought remakes were better than sequels so they pumped them out. And when John Carpenter and Debra Hill made the mistake of saying they would like to remake The Fog, enter Revolution Studios (Sony) who green-lit the film before a script was even written as they saw the names Carpenter and Hill attached and they wanted to try and cash in on the slight Horror boom. The film was written by Cooper Layne with Rupert Wainwright stepping in to direct and Graeme Revell doing the score. When it came time to cast the film, they brought in Tom Welling who played Nick Castle who was best known for playing Clark Kent in TV Series Smallville and he was joined by Selma Blair, Meggie Grace, DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh and Sara Botsford, to name a few. The film shot in Oregon and Canada and actress Selma Blair did her own stunts showing that she is one of the best actresses of my lifetime. The film sadly would also mark one of the last productions that Debra Hill was apart of as she sadly lost her battle with cancer and passed away on March 7, 2005. The film was released on October 14, 2005 as was met with poor reviews from both fans and critics and brought in $29,550,869.00 at the US Box Office for Sony and $16,650,563.00 via Foreign screenings. The film ranked # 92 for the year and beat out other cult films as Doom, Dark Water, Land Of The Dead, Cursed, The Devils Rejects, Wolf Creek, The Cave, Cry Wolf, Alone In The Dark, High Tension, Stay and Venom showing that while hated it did bring in movie goers who wanted to see The Fog Ghosts once more on the big screen. The film also would go onto win the Worst Film award for the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards showing the Horror fans just did not really care for this film and found it not to be scary at all.

The Fog (2005) was one of those films I decided to skip seeing in the cinema and just waited for it to come to DVD as I was very lukewarm on the trailer and I heard terrible things about it from friends. I can remember the day it hit home media, my then girlfriend Jennifer and I headed to Wal-Mart and I bought a copy on DVD, and we made a dinner and a movie at home night out of it. And I can remember the dinner was good as was spending time with Jennifer…the movie we both thought was just okay and nothing special, and I for one did not find it even close to capturing the spooky nature of the original. The film was one that I had only watched once and only for this update did I dust it off and watch again. Even after watching it for a second time, I had the same opinion about it just being okay. The best thing about the film is actress Selma Blair, who played DJ Stevie Wayne as she does a great job with what she is given and as always she is just beautiful on the screen. The other thing that I can praise is the effects of the Fog Ghosts are pretty cool for an early CGI PG-13 Horror Movie, and while in some shots they seem a little off, they still are pretty cool and can deliver some fright to younger viewers. Over all this remake of a classic is unnecessary and adds nothing to the folklore of the characters and only really seems to tame them down. It’s not a terrible movie and not one of the worst remakes, made but it’s up there.

So now that you know about The Ghosts Of The Fog and why & how they kill as well as have chatted about the remake Horror Movie that houses their nightmarish killing spree. Now let’s take a look at this prequel graphic novel that was released by Dark Horse Comics in order to help promote the film. I want to remind you that I grade these comics on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, the entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s find a safe place away from the fog and gather around an old oil lamp and chat about the ghost pirates of The Fog!

The Fog # 1  *1/2
Released in 2005     Cover Price $6.95     Dark Horse   # 1 of 1

A thick fog is rolling in and is worrying the poor and the rich, as it seems like a bad omen for those who live on the island. Richard is the town’s richest man, and his brother Francis is a penniless loser who seems to have a nasty infection on his hand that he claims he got by moving a log in the fireplace. Meanwhile the Chinese workers are being paid very little and are being disrespected by the uneducated white farmers around the town. Richard dislikes his brother, as, after his visit, he finds the same raw rash has now appeared on his shoulder. Francis has kidnapped and murdered a Chinese man as he is a man who is sick in the mind and enjoys the pain death brings. Whatever the skin sickness Francis has starts to spread throughout the island infecting everyone, besides the Chinese who have their own worries as they are upset about their missing loved one that has really been murdered, and worse they are the ones who have brought the fog and the sickness as they have been cursed by a Monk and this curse follows them all over! The Chinese set sail to leave the island as the sickness spreads even more, and Richard, the island’s main authority, is slipping into madness over the stress of the illness and his perfect island society crumbling down all around him! In the end the leader of the Chinese workers is killed when the town is at war with themselves over the pain, and with that the curse stays on the island with the locals as the Chinese workers sail away to San Francisco. Richard and Elizabeth along with the rest of the folks on the island have their skin rotten, and they decide that it’s the island that is making them sick and that they will make a new home on another island.

The Fog is a great story that has some great spooky elements, but sadly this comic prequel is just kind of boring and lackluster and lacks any real chills or thrills. The plot of this Horror Comic is about how a group of Chinese workers who have been cursed land on an American island as cheap labor, but soon the curse of the fog catches up to them and the white people of the island become very ill with a plague that is bringing down their normal ways of life and causing them all to have fits of anger and rage plus it’s slowly and painfully killing them all! The graphic novel’s main stars are Richard and his wife Elizabeth, who are the town’s wealthiest citizens and the ones who have the dream of making this island a perfect home for all who live on it! Richard Blake is a man who had it all and now is facing the fact his skin is rotting off his body and everyone around him is also infected. He is also a visionary who wants to create a perfect place to live for not only himself but for all those infected on the island. Elizabeth Blake is a kind woman who tries to keep peace between her husband and his scumbag brother. She as well is sick and fights through the itchy pain of her sickness. There is one ghost in the comic of the Chinese worker who was killed, as he comes back for his revenge as well as to save his one time wife from drowning…or is it he tries to drown her? But the issue’s main bad guy is Francis Blake, who is a real nut who not only enjoys murder but also hurting himself, plus his act of murder is what unleashes the curse on his fellow islanders! This graphic novel downplays the ghosts of the fog and shows more about how fast a cursed sickness spreads and how it affects all the people in a small island town. The Horror element really is lost here, but I should say you do get some blood, gross skin and even a zombie ghost of a murder victim. The cover of this graphic novel is pretty cool and eye catching; the interior art is done by Todd Herman is pretty great and has that Dark Horse Comics charm. Over all this is nothing groundbreaking when it comes to a Horror Comic based on a movie, it did entertain me and the last few pages of the comic are pretty good. I would say skip this one over all unless you are a mega fan of the 2005 remake of The Fog. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Herman.

So while The Fog remake was neither a great movie nor a great graphic novel, it did make its mark on both mediums. I think that the worst thing about this graphic novel is the fact the pacing is so slow and it doesn’t deliver any real horror. But maybe our next update countdown to Halloween will bring the chills and lots more blood as we take a look at Jeepers Creepers and the Dynamite Comics based on the films. So stay out of the fog, watch out for ghost pirates and be ready for more Horror Comics out next update! 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 bloody good time with The Creeper!

 

Rawhead Rex: The Sinister Pagan God Of Womanizing!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my ghouls and ghosts.  It’s hard to believe that October is here as it feels like just yesterday I was in Pittsburgh at Monster Bash with Juliet, and to top it off, we are at our 4th update in the countdown to Halloween.  For this one, I decided to leave the horrors of the sea and the supernatural and instead look into a monster god of Ireland that was created by the master of the twisted macabre himself, Clive Barker –  your horror fans know I am talking about Rawhead Rex. This quick update will be a good way to chill your blood as we take a look at the book the character came from as well as the movie and comic book that followed. So make sure to hide your girlfriend or wife as the mighty and sinister Rawhead Rex is on the prowl here at Rotten Ink, and he has been gone for way too long and his want for female companionship is out of bloody control.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Rawhead Rex 0

Who or what is Rawhead Rex? Before we dive into this update, I feel that it’s my duty to give you a quick crash course on him. Rawhead Rex is an ancient demigod demon who is the living evil embodiment of the male sex drive as well as macho-ness, and the need to kill and make it with women. He spent his time tormenting villagers eating kids and foundling and impregnating women. But when the town finally had enough of his rampage, they defeated him by burying him alive where he would sit for centuries. That is until a farmer set him free and reignited his rampage of murdering, including corrupting a worker at the nearby church in order to help him kill. Rawhead is so cruel, he sets a policeman on fire and even eats a child in front of his father all the while being so gleeful about his nasty deeds. The father and townspeople come together, and, with the help of an idol that represents pregnant women, are able to defeat Rawhead Rex, who is killed when the idol is used to bash his brains in. The movie version is very similar to the above origin that’s from the book besides the fact that a mother has to use the idol to send Rawhead back into the ground where he is buried alive once more. In the book, Rawhead is a 9 foot tall skinny penis headed monster with a mouthful of razor sharp teeth, shaggy black hair and tiny evil eyes, while the movie version is more of a muscle bound giant ogre looking creature with glowing red eyes and messy hair. His weakness is women who are pregnant or on their period as well as that idol. Rawhead is very cruel and doesn’t care who he kills or corrupts and is just a foul demon who enjoys the extreme sins of life and gets his sick jollies of using and abusing women. Below are pictures of the two looks of Rawhead Rex from today’s comic as well as two from the movie based on the short story that started it all.

Rawhead Rex From Eclipse ComicRawhead Rex In Cheesy ActionRawhead Rex From The Movie

Clive Barker is one of the world’s best horror writers and should be looked at with the same respect that people have for the likes of Stephen King. In the mid 1980’s Barker released a series of books that were titled The Books Of Blood Volumes that compiled many creepy dark horror themed stories.  Many of these stories would go on to be made into full films like “Candyman”, “Lord Of Illusions” and “Midnight Meat Train” to name a few, and many would also get comic adaptations thanks to Eclipse Comics. The book series lasted for six volumes that ran from 1984-1985 with each story being written of course by Clive Barker.  This is the series that put him on the map of must-read horror authors as they were highly praised by readers and critics alike. I can remember that my brother bought several of the Books Of Blood from Half Price Books and the Mary L Cooke Library sale in Waynesville when we were growing up, and I can remember the covers that had Halloween masks with eerie lights behind them and always wanting to read them but comic books and movie adaptation novels always seemed to win out when I wanted to read something. The older I got, the more I read – and not just comics but novels and short stories – and can remember reading Books Of Blood Volume 1 and enjoying the creepy horror and fantasy mixed short stories. This book lead to me reading more of Barker’s novels, and he quickly became my favorite horror author even over Stephen King! If you enjoy good spooky short stories, I recommend that you give the Books Of Blood a read, as I am sure you will truly enjoy them on a cold October night.

The Books Of Blood Volume 3

Rawhead Rex was made into a movie in 1986, directed by George Pavlou and starred the likes of David Dukes, Kelly Piper and Donal McCann with a script by Clive Barker himself. Empire Pictures was the distributer with Colin Towns doing the film’s score, and it was released in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The film was released to select theaters in 1987 and was pretty much panned by critics and fans as they found it boring and the title monster Rawhead not to be scary and too fake looking. But many diehard horror fans of the 80’s found the film enjoyable and grim as the film tackles many topics from the loss of a child to religion and tying it all together is the brutal killing machine Rawhead Rex. The film is really just a monster flick with gore and taboo subject matter thrown together into 89 minutes that show that with good is always evil and with religion comes history of violence. I first saw this movie with my brother Bryan when we rented it from K&L Video, and we both watched in amazement at how weird and cheesy the film was.  A short time later I watched it again via buying a VHS copy of the film and watched it with my pal Jason Gilmore and can remember having a grand old time as we both laughed at the rubber bouncy headed monster and some of the best and oddest dialogue of all time like a worker for the church busting our leads camera and then telling him to get the F out of the church as it has nothing for him. As time would pass and the more times I watched it the more I found myself really loving it.  In fact, I own the film on a overpriced DVD, the movie poster and even showed it on year at Horrorama. If you like monster run amuck movies that mix in old religions and a monster who pees on people to baptize them…check out Rawhead Rex as I am sure you’ll enjoy it.

Rawhead Rex 1.0Rawhead Rex Poster 00Rawhead Rex 2.0

Collecting horror films on VHS was always a fun time, and I can’t count how many times friends like Jason Gilmore and even my brother Bryan would hit video rental and used stores looking for tapes of films we really wanted to see or just own and watch again. I was a collecting machine and had so many VHS horror films that my room was packed with them.  I would collect your mainstream horror like Friday The 13th and Halloween, all the way to weird shot on video films like Death Row Diner and Blood Hook. And some of my old hard to get crown jewels in my collection were Evil Dead, that was out of print and for some reason really hard to find used in the Dayton area, the 80’s rock n roll slasher flick Rocktober Blood and Rawhead Rex, another one that was super hard to find but when I did it made my day. I can’t count how many times me and Jason Gilmore watched it and laughed and had a good time at the expense of the rubber suit that was crossed eyed in shots and head bounced as he ran. To this day I regret selling off my VHS horror collection to use the money to by the then new format DVD as many of the titles I got ride of never made it to disc, and I miss the amazing cover art of the VHS that some how made even the worst movies seem like gold. And the same place I got my copy of Rawhead Rex from called Second Time Around was the place that ended up getting my collection way back when and looking back at it, man, they really did short change me on what they paid out for them! But here is to all of you who were wise and kept your VHS tapes, and here is to all you new collectors as VHS is a great and grainy way to watch the horror flicks and no streaming or disc will match it.

rex-2Rawhead Rex VHS Coverrawheadrex

Rawhead Rex might not be a household name like other horror movie icons of the 80’s, but this doesn’t mean he didn’t get his fair share of merchandise to keep fans happy. Rawhead Rex has made appearances in many horror magazines as well as graced the cover of a few.  Of course he has his story in Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood Volume 3; he has had his own comic book issue as well as guessed starred in the Epic Comics Nightbreed series.  He has a movie poster, t-shirts as well as statues and even a mini figure as of late made as part of the Video Nasteez limited figure collection. So if you like this pagan god and his womanizing killing ways, you can find some cool collectables for your collection.

Rawhead Rex on a TshirtRawhead Rex SatueRawhead Rex Mini FigureRawhead Rex on the cover of Fangoria

As you can see, Rawhead Rex for some reason has always been around in my life.  To me he is up in the same class as other 80’s monster icons like Pumpkinhead and The Predator.  So while the moon is rising in the sky and I think that Rawhead Rex is awake and out of his unmarked tomb, I can hear him growling and screaming at the top of his lungs to have me remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. He is also reminding me to thank an Ebay seller who had this comic in stock for me to review for this update. So before Rawhead Rex wrecks my apt and knocks over all my comics, I think we should just dive right into the comic book review and see how well this pagan monster transfers from a short story to a comic!

Rawhead Rex Comic 1

Rawhead Rex # 1  ***
Released in 1994    Cover Price $9.99    Eclipse Comics    # 1 of 1

Zeal is a small village in England that is being filled with city tourist looking for a slice of the good old country life.  The locals like the money, but they don’t like the drama the tourists bring. A farmer working in his field comes across a stone in the ground and spends time digging it up and notices a foul smell coming from the ground around it.  After working for some time, the stone starts to move by itself, and a giant creature known as Rawhead Rex emerges and kills the farmer, stuffs him in the hole and starts its way into the country side as a bad storm blows in. The villagers are taking shelter to get out of the rain, and so is Rawhead, who picks a barn and slaughters and eats the pony that was inside! Ron and Maggie Milton are in Zeal looking at the house they bought some time back that’s still not ready for them to move into yet, and they plan on staying in town for a couple more days for an upcoming festival. Meanwhile Rawhead Rex decides that he is going to kill the family that the barn belongs to and makes short work of the father, has the mother fall down a flight of stairs and eats the child alive! At the church, Reverend Coot and worker Declan both have felt something odd at the day’s service as if they had sensations of extreme joy and lust.  This puzzles them, yet also brings about stories of the village’s past before God ruled the world, a time when Rawhead Rex walked and ruled. The police have left the scene of the farmer’s death, and while driving, Rawhead Rex attacks killing them and even ripping off one’s penis before the patrol car explodes. Reverend Coot is up late thinking when he catches a shadow outside in the graveyard and goes for a look only to find Declan kneeling before Rawhead Rex who is now urinating on the one time holy man who is 100% under his control now. Coot runs as Rawhead gives chase, and in-between the attack, Coot is able to phone the police for help.  But with the help of Declan the Reverend meets a brutal attack as Rawhead breaks his bones and guts him.  The police are too late to stop the attack but after shooting at Rawhead, he retreats into the woods and hides. Ron decides that Maggie and the kids should leave Zeal until the killer on the loose is caught as stories of the brutal murders begin to spread. The next day, while driving his family, his son is killed and eaten by Rawhead before his eyes. After reporting the murder to the police, Ron goes and visits the dying Reverend Coot who tells him with his dying breath that he thinks an item inside the alter at the church is the key to stop Rawhead Rex. Ron rushes to the church and finds a naked and crazy Declan who tries to kill him, but the fight turns as fires outside in the village set by Rawhead Rex distracts Declan.  Ron beats him down and finds a stone in the shape of a woman in the alter and rushes to town to battle Rawhead who has accidentally been burnt by the fires he set.  Declan tries to help his new god but falls prey to Rawhead who rips him apart to show his strength. But with the help of the villagers who attack Rawhead, the death of the monster comes brutal as Ron bashes his head in with the woman stone leaving the monster dead in the street.

This was a very cool comic based on the short story by Clive Barker, but I should also note that it’s very slow-paced and is filled with lots of dialogue mixed in-between brutal kills and the conflicts between city life and country life. The simple plot is of an ancient monster freed from its tomb in a small village in England and runs amuck and is stopped by a grieving father and townspeople once and for all when they stand together against it. The complex story part of this comic is that Rawhead Rex is truly the raw nature of man who wants to kill and eat and is self-absorbed and is gluten for sins.  Add in a Father who is questioning his faith and finds that this demon demi-god is the answer as well as a family who must deal with the brutal death of a son and you’re just skimming the top of this wild story. Rawhead Rex is one mean spirited killing machine as he uses his hands, teeth and size to torment and kill and the only emotions he shows is joy when killing, disgust when around a woman who is having the time of the month or a baby in the oven and fear when he knows that the stone has been found. The fear for Rawhead was so bad for the stone that the demon demi-god poops himself with fear!! But with that said Rawhead Rex is very evil and not a demon monster that anyone would want to tackle if real. Declan is a madman who turns on God in order to worship and due the bidding of Rawhead who ends up not being his savior but his angel of death, very interesting character as his madness comes on fast and his loyalty knows no bounds. Reverend Coot is a man who tries to use the power of God to stop the evil of Rawhead but sadly just becomes another body for the meat wagon, but his dying words are what leads to the plan to defeat the demon. The poor Milton family are just in the wrong part of England and the hungry of eating kids leaves the son dead and the father in such a rage the revenge is the only thing on his mind, and this rage leads to the death of Rawhead once and for all. The fact that Ron bashes the brains out of Rawhead shows you just how mad he is!! The comic is filled with curse words, some slight nudity and lots of gore with my favorite death being the death of the Milton son who has his head bitten off, dragged away and later picked apart and ate by Rawhead who is relaxing in the hills acting like he was eaten a bowl of potato chips! Rawhead really is one sick son of a devil as he really does eat children in this comic! The cover is cool and showcases the razor sharp teeth of Rawhead Rex but also really does feel dated and has the 90’s independent horror comic look to it, the art inside is done by Les Edwards and has a nice painting meets pen look and this captures the dark and sinister story really well. I should also note that this comic has a back of story taken from the Books of Blood called “Twilight At The Towers” and it’s a good read as well and a perfect backup story. Over all I really enjoyed this comic adaptation of Rawhead Rex and while some parts dragged the over all feeling of dread made it a good comic to read on this October night. If you’re a fan of the short story or even the movie give this comic a read as I am sure you’ll be pleased with the brutal nature and creepy monster. Check out the art below to see the style of Edwards as well as see the glory of what Rawhead looks like in this twisted comic tale.

Rawhead Rex Art 1

Rawhead Rex has been defeated again and sent to his grave thanks to a very determined father armed with a statue of a pregnant woman, and with that womanizing monster out of the way, we can continue our countdown to Halloween. While the Halloween update won’t be a custom made comic from a artist friend, it will be something fitting for this year. But before we even announce what that topic will be, I should share what our next one will be about – the classic Marvel comic reprints called Dead Of Night! So I hope you come back to visit for the 5th update in our countdown. Before we go I want to once again say I truly do enjoy the legend of Rawhead Rex, and this update was a fun one to write, even if the comic much like the DVD and VHS was hard to find and cost a good penny to get. So if you’re a farmer, whatever you do, don’t free Rawhead Rex as your town won’t be ready for his path of rage and gross behavior. Until next time, watch a horror film or two, read a horror comic or three and support your local Horror Host and have a great October!

Dead Of Night Logo Marvel

It’s The Great Pumpkinhead, Charlie Brown!

The day I am writing this, the sky is grey and foggy and rain is pouring down.  As I look out my window, everything is dark and bleak like there was no hope and for some reason this made me think of a film.  No, not “The Fog” and not “Silent Hill” but Pumpkinhead directed by FX master Stan Winston. Then I thought, wow Dark Horse Comics did a four issue mini series based around this demon of revenge, and then I thought hell, why not take a look at it for the blog. But before we get into that, there has been talk about a Black Panther being on the loose in our area! To me, this is something amazing.  While no attacks have been reported, the beast has been seen several times! This kind of thing can add some spice to an area that is better known for its normal city crime. Imagine coming out of your house and seeing the panther near your car or on your front porch! Some say it’s a hoax, while others think it is just an escaped pet. All I know is that Baron Von Porkchop and I might have to go look for it for an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre.

scary black panther

The first time I saw Pumpkinhead was on a VHS rented from K&L Video in Kettering.  My brother rented it on one of our many horror filled weekends, and we always knew the image of Pumpkinhead but had never fully gotten to see the film. Fangoria Magazine was always a huge help for us to read about the horror flicks of our time as well as John Stanley’s Splatter Guides and horror icon Chas Balun’s Gore Score books.  Each made it a little easier to learn about horror films of the past and present. My brother and I would spend many hours reading these books and wowing over films like Zombi 2, Igor and the Lunatics, Blood Feast, Rawhead Rex and many more years before we could finally see them. While some titles lived up to our hype, many didn’t as well, but this was way before the internet and before video stores were at every corner so it would take you longer to find videos or for it to show on HBO or a Horror Host to guide you through it.

fangoria magazineSplatter Movie Guidegore score

Pumpkinheand became one of my favorite cult films of the time after watching it.  The plot has a shop owner Ed Harley whose son dies when city kids hit him with their dirt bikes. Stricken with anger, he goes to the old witch in the woods and raises town legend, demon of revenge Pumpkinhead to avenge his son’s death. After each of the deaths at Pumpkinhead’s hand, Ed Feels pain and comes to realize he was wrong and goes to stop the demon and save his own soul before all the teens are killed. The atmosphere of the film and the use of lighting made this a creepy film, not to mention the amazing creature design by Winston and his FX team is straight out of nightmares. The film stars Lance Henrikson who plays Ed Harley and does an amazing job as always. I first owned this film on VHS and quickly bought it on DVD when it was released and then again on DVD when the special edition was released. This film has been released on VHS, DVD, Beta and Laserdisc via MGM. So far no Blu-Ray has been released.

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Pumpkinhead sparked three sequels.  While alright, none captured the charm or horror of the original. First came 1994’s Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings and took more of a normal direct to video approach to the legend making the creature Pumpkinhead more of the sad character. This film has been met with very negative reviews but did gain a cult following years later. Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes was next and brought back Ed Harley as a spirit who is trying to warn of the evil of Pumpkinhead.  Throw in a evil town doctor played by Doug Bradley and you have the third film. This was a fun film that was a nice way to see the legend again. The last sequel thus far was Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud.  It was released in 2007 and showed two feuding families with one side using Pumpkinhead to get the upper hand.  This was as well was just an okay direct to cable film. The Pumpkinhead legend is quiet for now but who knows who will raise the demon again in the future.

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Besides movie sequels many other products have been made with Pumpkinhead’s image that include model kits, action figures, t-shirts, posters, soundtrack CD’s, comics and even a PC video game.  All these items kept his image out there, in fact Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics for review, has one of the action figures on a shelf display that is tearing apart a G.I. Joe!

Movie Maniacs Pumpkinhead toypumpkinhead modelbloodwings pc

So now that your mind is on the creature of revenge named Pumpkinhead, let’s take a look at the mini series done by Dark Horse Comics, the company who brought comics based on The Predator, Aliens and Dr. Giggles to our hands. I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So with no more delay, let’s go to our look at Pumpkinhead!

pumpkinhead 1

Pumpkinhead # 1   **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 4

The old witch Haggis is sick and looking for a replacement.  She finds one in Mariah, a young woman who was traded to her by a farmer some years back in exchange for good crops. Mariah is called to the cabin in the woods, and Haggis shows her the legend of Pumpkinhead via visions. David is the son of the town’s doctor and is madly in love with Mariah and has come up with a plan for them to run away and leave the small backwoods town behind.  Mariah is torn between her love and her duty of being a witch in training. A stranger by the name of Angus Brenner has also arrived in town with the intent to find Haggis and get the location of the Pumpkinhead’s husk remains so that he may perform an exorcisim and rid the world of the demon of vengeance once and for all. But on the night of the escape, Mariah finds Haggis dead of natural (or is the supernatural?) causes and now must become the town witch to keep the tradition alive.

Issue one is a nice build up for the story to come and does a great job of tying in the film this series is based on. The story is a simple one of a young woman torn between love and duty and has a subplot of honor and salvation. Mariah, who is the star of the issue, is a likable character who while a witch uses her power to help her fellow man and is freaked out when she has the vision of Pumpkinhead. David is a normal throwaway boyfriend character so far, simply a young man with big dreams. Haggis is as snippy and creepy as ever and takes glee in the fact she owns Mariah’s life.  Plus it’s shocking when in issue one she is killed off. Angus has very little panel time but I am sure this hero is going to come into play very soon. Pumpkinhead is not around much in this issue and when you do get to see the demon, it’s only in flashbacks. The comic does a good job with staying with the concept of the original film and seems almost like a part two, as this came a little before Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. The art is pretty well done and has that early 90’s Dark Horse Comic look. The cover, on the other hand, is not well done and makes the issue look like a cheap throw away. The comic is bloodless and has no shocks or thrills, but it’s clear that this is the build up for things to come. Let’s see how issue 2 goes and if it brings Pumpkinhead out to play.

pumpkinhead 2

Pumpkinhead # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 4

Mariah sits in the woods alone waiting for David, but she is not fully alone as a group of bullies attack and accidentally kill her.  David shows up just as they are fleeing and filled with anger and sorrow takes Mariah’s body to Haggis’ cabin and digs up the husk of Pumpkinhead, bringing the demon to life.  As Pumpkinhead starts his killing ways ripping one of the bullies jaw off, Angus finds David and takes him home where he tells him and his father that there is hope for him to live through this if they put faith in him and stop the creature once and for all.

Issue 2 brings Pumpkinhead out to play as he wastes no time killing one of the people he was raised to go after. Mariah, who was set up to be the hero of the story, is killed in the opening moments of this issue making for a shocking moment. David quickly becomes the series’ focus as he takes the curse and becomes responsible for Pumpkinhead’s latest killing rampage. Angus is now given more of a purpose and a back-story making him more important to the plot. The asshole bullies are your normal backwoods punks who not only rough up Mariah but also attempt to rape her, making you want to see them all die. Again this one delivered the full plot into effect and is setting up issue 3…that never was made. The art is well done again and is pure early Dark Horse, and Pumpkinhead looks pretty sweet in all his evil glory.  This issue packs a little more gore and blood. This series or what was made of it was a good average read that had a good plot and some good characters. I think the coolest thing about this unfinished comic series is that it clearly was a follow up to the film, making fans of Pumpkinhead happy at the time.

One of the best things about this two-issue run is the fact we do get to see Ed Harley in the first issue, really tying it into the film. It also dives into the rumor of what Pumpkinhead really is and shows there is more than just one of these creatures in the world. Dark Horse Comics struck out by not finishing this series and to this day I cannot find out why they cancelled the series at the half way mark. They had a good horror movie tie-in series going, and the only reason I could think for them not to finish is very poor sales for the first two issues. It is said that a model kit was made to tie into this comic series that had Pumpkinhead with wings and has a booklet where the creators of this series were able to finish the storyline. So we do know that a booklet has the end of this story and that wings were to come to Pumpkinhead. The odd part about all this is when a film sequel was made, its subtitle was Blood Wings. 1993 was the first and last time a comic was made about Pumpkinhead, and that’s a shame when in 2010 IDW had the means to make one via its Midnight Movie line. So with some empty slots here, why not take a look at a few other comics all of which had the same fate as Pumpkinhead.

Pumpkinhead

Fangoria opened up a comic branch in 2007 and closed it that same year.  Rumors of it re-opening went on for years but finally died in 2009. Fangoria Comics made issues based on horror films and some that were completely new ideas.  Many of these issues got great reviews at the time. But much like many series before it, when the company went belly up they never were completed. Some series did get the rest of the remaining issues made into digital comics thanks to The Scream Factory. So let’s take a look at two of these comic series that started but never finished via print issues.

fangoria comics logo

What do you get when you mix horror films, comic books, 80’s hair metal and body modification? You give up? Well you get Strangeland, a horror thriller written by Dee Snider lead singer of rock band Twisted Sister. Captain Howdy is a bad man who gets his joy in life by kidnapping and modifying his victim’s flesh. He finds his young victims via online chat rooms where he tricks them into coming to his house for a fake party. But when he is captured and convicted, he tries to turn his life around only for the townspeople to drive him back into his killing ways. This is a fun little b-movie horror film that is well written by Snider who also happens to play Howdy. A sequel was supposed to start filming in 2011 but has since been cancelled.  This Fangoria 4 issue mini series was to be the prequel to the original film, but sadly only one came to print. So let’s get onto a look at Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1.

Strangeland Seven Sins 1

Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of 4

Carlton Hendricks aka Captain Howdy is a man with many deep secrets.  His basement is filled with young men and women, all of whom he has modified in some way, and rumors are flying at club Sin that he is doing some very bad things. Sin himself owns the fetish club and is getting tired of hearing about how Carlton is scaring his customers and how others look up to this scum bag who seems to turn up everything a notch or 12 past people’s pain threshold. So one night Sin and the workers of the club set up Carlton, having him come to the club as a guest where he’s beaten badly by all.  This issue ends with him ko’d on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

For a prequel this comic still starts off with Carlton being one sick bastard who has his torture chamber already set up and youths already in pain. Carlton is a smug asshole kind of guy whose whole existence is based around his wants and needs.  His knowledge of what he likes is high, but his treatment of others in and out of his chamber is something that most would find to be rude and dickish. Not much can be gathered from this first issue besides the fact the club owners and goers hate him, and he is already a sick s.o.b. who forces his love for pain on others. I am sure the rest of the story had to have followed his revenge on the club workers who set him up. It’s a shame that Fangoria pulled the plug on the comic line because I would have liked to have seen where this series would have gone. Yeah, I know that the rest of the story is out there via a download comic, but let’s face it people, digital comics just are not the same! Nothing can beat holding an old 60’s or 70’s issue in your hand and smelling the old ink as you read an adventure, flipping through the pages and holding a piece of comic history in your hands.  No computer screen will ever have that. Strangeland was a good choice for a comic and would have been a good series if given the chance to grow.  The story from issue one was average but it was clearly the foundation for something more.  The art was not my style but was by no means an eyesore. Only time will tell if Captain Howdy will get another chance at comics and movies and while I would be happy to see either, both are very doubtful at this point.

captain howdystrangeland dvddee snider

Next up is another Fangoria Comic that was a new idea but could have spun off into a film: The Fourth Horseman. What was supposed to be an ongoing series only got two issues before its parent company closed doors. I have owned these comics since they came out and never got around to reading them.  So this will be a new experience for me. So let’s dive in and see if it’s any good. Unlike Strangeland this series never did get finished even on a digital comic format.

The Fourth Horseman 1

The Fourth Horseman # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of Unknown

Bear is a Native American hunter who is special and powerful.  Some say he was born with special powers that made him one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Bear’s tribe worship him, and he is, for all account, their leader and giver. The white men are his victims who he robs and scalps giving himself a memento of their death. The warrior turns on his tribe and kills them all looking for a challenge, but Bear thinks all his kills thus far have been of weak men so he challenges the US Army to a fight and wins. The warrior known as Bear is like a plague that sweeps across the land and is the first of the Horsemen also known as the White Rider.

This is more of a picture book then a comic and has very little words.  It’s clearly a build up for a much bigger plan that was to have all the riders doing some sort of world changing event. Bear is a cold uncaring character who has a bloodlust that knows no bounds.  He is very unlikable and is not only cruel to his fellow man but also very mean towards animals. The issue is packed with blood as Bear kills man and animal alike, and the gore and red stuff is aplenty. Nice art, interesting story, wish it had more reading and less of picture book feel, great cover not much more to say so let’s move on, shall we?

The Fourth Horseman 2

The Fourth Horseman # 2   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #2 of Unknown

The Red Rider is Maggog, a Chinese master of marital arts and a man who killed many white men who tried to hurt his mother causing he and his father to fight over the wrongs of killing. The fight leaves his mother dead by accident, and his father killed by his hands. Maggog goes across the land killing anyone who he comes across and when the law finds him, he comes up with a plan that has him escaping jail and killing those who locked him up. After he kills his jailers, he finds that a bomb as been set and that Bear and another rider have blown up the city!

This one is much like the first and is more pictures then words.  It’s a nice way to build up the character and show you just how evil he really is. Maggog is one blood thirsty confused character who, after watching his mother die, decides that death is a good thing and that many should die, but while this is his thought, he is so filled with anger that he kills for the lust of it. The issue is filled with blood and gore, and the story is pretty solid and entertaining. The art is well done and once more so is the cover. The end builds up the team up of Maggog, Bear and a cowboy character, and the end says we get to meet the Brown Rider in the next issue that never saw the light of day. Over all this issue as well was a nice build up for something that was to be a bigger picture.

While only two issues, The Fourth Horseman seemed to have a good story going that I am sure would have been worth the wait. Between Bear and Maggog, I think I liked Bear slightly better but found Maggog’s issue to be slightly better then Bear’s. I would have loved to have seen the other riders’ back stories and would have loved to find out what was to happen. But with the closing of Fangoria Comics came the end to all their series as well. One thing that was to come out via Fangoria Comics was a series based on horror icon Paul Naschy and his Waldemar Daninsky werewolf character.  It was supposed to come out in 2009 during the last relaunch, but sadly this was not to be. The comic, much like others in the company’s comic line, came out only as a digital comic. So here is to hoping that Fangoria will finally get their act together and get their comic branch back up and running.

the return of the werewolf fangoria comic

Well thanks for once more joining me.  Next time we are coming back to Dark Horse Comics as we take a look at Doctor Giggles.  Till then, stay young!

Doctor Giggles Logo

 

It Takes All Kinds Of Critters…To Read IDW’s Motel Hell

So last update we took a look at IDW’s “IT! Terror From Beyond Space,” and this update we are going to look at Motel Hell, thus far the second and last in IDW’s Midnite Movie comic series. From an early age I found myself drawn to horror films, and some of my first memories of TV were of watching Shock Theater hosted by Dr. Creep, Star Trek, MTV and wrestling making my likes from an early age fantastic, scary and over the top entertainment. My brother Bryan was also very much into horror films and would get old Fangoria & Starlog Magazines from time to time, and one image always stuck with me and that was an ad for an older issue that had a man with a chainsaw and a pig’s heads! Being little, I called him Pig Head Guy and thought Motel Hell was about this killer Pig who killed with a saw.  This image made my imagination run wild as I pictured sexy blonde ladies being chased by this pig killer who would oink super loud as the women would scream at the top of their lungs. In my mind this was a slasher film with a mutant Pig Man! My brother never seemed to show it as much attention as me but would also call him Pig Head Guy when we spoke of the film we both had never seen. But my version of the film was about to come to an end thanks to a childhood icon of mine, and through him I was about to see the real story of the Pig Head Man!

The Pig is LawFangoria 9Farm Land Massacre

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, TV had many great horror hosts, many of whom I watched and some of whom are the key reasons why I make movies and shows now, and on one of these horror host shows is where I got to see Motel Hell for the first time and that show of course was Commander USA’s Groovie Movies! When the movie was about to be shown I remember being super hyped to see this killer Pig Man do all types of evil things, and after watching it I felt let down.  In fact, the version of what the film really was to me was only a so-so slasher film that packed very little punch to younger me. After viewing it the first time the charm of Pig Man who I found out was really farmer Vincent Smith who was a mortal man who killed people to make into meat snacks and only puts the pig head on in the final moments of the film in a crazed state, wore off and I soon forgot about the film. The film would run again on USA’s Saturday Nightmares, a great little block of horror inspired program that would show a film and TV shows like The Hitchhiker and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I would skip the showing of the film and watch the horror shows after. The next time I would see this film was when my brother rented it from K&L Video, and we gave the film another shot.  Now in my late teens, I found the film to be a fun cheesy film that had some good horror moments.  I would then see it again years later hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervision and again found it to be fun, but I am sure Joe Bob also made the watching of it more so fun. After all these years a film that after seeing it crushed my vision of it, still remains a fun silly, cheesy, hammy watch that I have grown to like.

Commander USA!USA Saturday NightmaresJoe Bob Briggs

Motel Hell is about Farmer Vincent Smith and his fat and nasty sister Ida Smith who kill people along side the road and who stop at their motel called The Motel Hello.  They mix the human meat with pig meat to make meat snacks like beef jerky and BBQ. But Vincent, who is an old man, falls in love with a young woman who he has caused to get memory loss after he kills her boyfriend.  Their human crop, who they bury and remove the vocal cords from, are getting fired up to fight back. Throw in brother and cop Bruce Smith, and you have one bad situation. I don’t want to spoil to much of the film so I will stop here. The film has been put out on many home media like VHS, Laserdisc and DVD making it easy to find for those who would like to check it out.

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One thing before we get into this review, much like last update in which I noticed the rise of super cute nerd girls who read comics, play Magic and dress up as characters,  with all this talk of pork, I need to talk about this weird trend of hot girls who love bacon! Bacon is a greasy mostly breakfast food that is known for being bad for you.  Fast food places like Wendys add bacon to many of their cheeseburgers and for the most part this food product is junk food. But somewhere along the way girls have found that this pork product is good comfort food and has now become an obsession to some. Bacon is now everywhere in culture from stuff dolls, tattoos, shirts, bras, fetish pics, chip dip, hot sauce, lip baum, gummi candy, bubble gum, vodka, sandwich spread, breath mints, books, popcorn, potato chips, car air fresheners, cup cakes, more fast food burgers and the list can go on and on! While I don’t get the love of bacon, I find that if you love it then enjoy it just don’t get the tattoos.

Bacon GirlSlab of BaconBacon Girls

Now let’s get down to the review of IDW’s 3 issue mini series of Motel Hell! Just a reminder once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. And after I will throw in another review for an old Marvel horror comic. All the comics on this update are thanks to the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Game Swap Kettering and a special thanks to Bell, Book and Comic for having Motel Hell issue 1 after mine went missing, so thanks Pete! 

Motel Hell 1Motel Hell # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #1 of 3

Farmer Vincent Smith and sister Ida are back, and this time besides making their famous smoked meats they are also making fine wine! And they start the issue off attacking a family with twin girls. Holly Bell is a reporter who has been sent to write a story about the wine the Smiths are making and is a guest to the Motel Hello Spa alongside wannabe rock star Sage, Desirae a rich bitch, con man Joss, perverted old man Rupert and NFL star and dog killer Freddie. The group climbs aboard a run down old plane and are taken to the Motel Hello Spa, but the first night the peace and quiet are disrupted as the plane takes off.  Ida, now in Pig Mask, has Sage tied up and dead bodies all around and jumps from the plane leaving him to die in the crash. The other guests watch in horror, and so ends issue 1.

This first issue is a little disappointing and changes the whole core of who and what the Smiths do! The idea of them inviting all these high profile people to the motel to kill is a little over the top and leaves way too many openings on how they will be caught.  I mean I understand they want the outside world to believe that they all died in the staged plane crash, it just seems overdone. Vincent seems more off his rocker in this one and seems to snap in and out of being sweet farmer and raving lunatic. Ida in this issue the main killer who plops on the pig mask and does all the killing.  She also seems to enjoy humping some of the victims again changing her film tomboy nature. The issue has some blood and gore, and while well done, the story so far just seems to be lacking something to really draw me in. The art is pretty cool, and I enjoy the dark nature of the presentation. The cover is really well done and has the American Gothic Painting nature to it. The comic has some basic elements of the film but has taken many liberalities with the source materials that thus far I am not sure how I feel about. Plus how the hell are Vincent and Ida still around after the events of the film? Over all the series is starting slow but let’s see how issue 2 does and if it can bring this so far average series up a notch or two. 

Motel Hell 2

Motel Hell # 2  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #2 of 3

The next morning the group meets for breakfast, and Freddie gets insulted by Vincent.  The old farmer uses a stun gun to knock out the young man and forces the rest of his guests outside for a long hike. Freddie is taken and becomes Ida’s plaything, as Vincent takes them 3 miles out and explains to them no matter which way they walk they will never leave Motel Hello alive! They are then forced back into their rooms and the doors are locked.  Freddie meanwhile wakes up in a cage where Ida lets her giant pet Boar attack him.  After he’s badly hurt Vincent and Ida try and pry the boar off and so ends issue 2.

This issue is the same as the first and seems to be lacking something.  Being the second in the series and next issue being the last, it makes me worried that the end of this story is going to be so badly rushed. More of the same in this issue as Vincent this time lets more of his evil side out and lets his guests know he has a greater plan for them all.  Ida is once more a fat crazy sex craved killer, and both brother and sister wear the pig masks. Holly who is clearly the main hero of the story don’t seem to have much to do in this issue and makes you wonder how much of a threat is she to the killers. The rest of the group seem to be throw aways and none of them seem like good likeable characters. This one has blood as well but has no kills. The giant pet boar is funny and its name Hogsquatch reminds me of the legend boar himself Hogzilla. The art is the same as last issue so it’s good.  The plot is a little lack luster, and the cover this time around is kind of lame. Let’s see if the 3rd and final issue will be a gem in this slightly disappointing series. 

Motel Hell 3

Motel Hell # 3  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #3 of 3

Freddie is taken and buried to where only his head is out, as Joss and Rupert escape their motel room only to be captured by Ida. Holly and Desirae also escape but are seen by Vincent who wants to turn it into a cat and mouse game. After running, the two woman find the twin girls locked up in a barn and free them only to be ambushed by Ida, who kills Desirae and is then attacked my Holly with a hammer.  Before she can kill the fat crazy bitch, Vincent comes to his sister’s aid. With Holly tied up and the twins on the run, they release Hogsquatch to bring them back. Vincent and Ida go to work on making their next wine batch that is made of human eyes that they get from all the captured guests as the twins free Holly.  Together they make a plan that leaves brother and sister dead as well as their giant pet boar.

This final issue seems rushed, and the story is not fleshed out making it a disappointing read. The way they blow through all the guests this issue just seems tacked on and not impactful, as are the “deaths” of the bad guys, Vincent and Ida go down way to easy and the end “fight” is a rushed anti climatic way to end the terror. The fact they use human eyeballs in the wine is also not as shocking as I think they were hoping it would be, if you have seen the film you knew that the secret had to be some human body part. Holly who turns out to be the hero to no ones shock seems cold blooded as she sets the place on fire with some of her eyeless fellow guests still alive. Using the Twins at the end was a fun nice twist as they add a little humor and spice to the plot. The art in this one also seems as rushed as the plot making the final issue an average read. This issue does step up the blood and for those who hate eyeball violence, you might not want to read this series. Issue 3 was not the saving grace I was hoping it to be, and oh yeah why the hell does Vincent start talking about Charles Manson as he’s “dying”?

Motel Hell was a comic mini series that had lots of potential but never seemed to reach it.  While the film’s plot was a dark comedy horror style, this comic series seemed more of a rushed horror comic that tried to spice up the characters. First Vincent, while the character is a psycho he never was as mean spirited in front of multiple people nor would he have given away the fact he wanted to kill them all that easily. Ida, while a stone cold bitch of a character never was a sex crazed rapist. But in this comic mini series they both did the stuff mentioned and then some. Plus were the hell is Bruce Smith, their brother and Terry, the woman he kidnapped in the film? They just seem to be phantoms. Motel Hell the comic was a letdown much like the film was when I first viewed it many years back, making this second Midnite Movie IDW mini series an average at best horror comic that packs some blood and gore, cult horror characters, a rushed storyline and good art. This one changed the source material, and I think by doing so is what lead to the so-so run of the series. IT! was a fun surprise that I found entertaining, Motel was just a nice warm up for what I hope are more Midnite Movie mini series to come.

Motel Hell artFarmer VincentPig Head Hump

Marvel Comics has also had its share of great classic horror inspired comic series that chilled the bones of the youth of the past. Many great titles like Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider and many more kept the youngsters reading as they hid under cover late at night with flashlights and read these spooky issues. But some but not many of today’s readers remember a series called Uncanny Tales From The Grave or also known as Uncanny Tales, Marvel’s Tales From The Crypt style comic. But what the series really was reprints of past old short horror comics crammed together to make a new series from. So while we can, let’s take a look at issue 5 in this series and see how good it holds up to a first time reader. 

Uncanny Tales From The Grave 5

Uncanny Tales From The Grave # 5   **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #5 of 12

4 stories to chill your blood in issue 5 of Marvel’s Horror comic. “The Strange Machine” is set during the Spanish Inquisition and has a mean ass judge getting what’s coming to him via his own hands when he tries to set up his rival. In “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody” a dentist is cruel to his wife and patients, and when he comes home and finds a world famous brain surgeon hitting on his wife he snaps! But the Dentist has one slight issue with passing out and when he awakens it’s revenge time by the hands of his enemy. “The Man in Black” ia a cold hearted spy who comes to America to steal weapon plans but makes a big mistake that could lead him to his own death. In “The Little Pests,” a man and his girlfriend kill his wife for the insurance money, but the truth might come out thanks to some winged insects.

This is a very cheap imitation of Tales from the Crypt that crams 4 reprinted stories into an issue and passes it off as a bone chilling read. Each story is a bloodless horror thriller with a twist ending that is set to shock. The big issue with this comic is the fact none of the stories stick out and there was no host such as Vault Keeper or Old Witch to keep the pacing up and to add some spice to the mediocre stories. The best story out of the 3 has to be The Little Pests.  While it’s simple in nature, the shocking pay out in the end is well done. The art in the comic ranges from good to so-so as do the stories themselves. The issue’s cover is super misleading and nowhere in the issue does this take place with a raving monster, in fact there is not a monster to be seen! Over all this is my first time reading an issue of Uncanny Tales From The Grave, and this did not make me a fan.  While I would be fair and check out another issue, I am not going to be in any hurry.

So we stayed three issues at Motel Hell and then got an uncanny tale.  Now it’s time we say goodbye for now but I am sure you’re wondering what the next update is going to be.  Well in my youth one thing would always make me happy in comics and film, epic battles between two things that shouldn’t be fighting but are.  So next update, we will be looking at battles in comics that are so amazing you will be cheering for a side and finding out who I think should have won! So see you next update, and get ready for some epic rumbles!

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