From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Plague Of The Zombies

It’s almost Halloween and what better way to spend this spooky time of the year than with Hammer Horror and their 1966 undead romp Plague Of The Zombies! Hammer is much like Universal.  They both brought the world classic movie monsters, and each did it with their own touch and style that entertained and scared moviegoers for decades. With Titan Comics dropping the ball on their Hammer Horror comic line, I have decided to go back to and make a custom comic taken from the Hammer House Of Horror Magazine in order to cover a classic Hammer Horror for a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update this Halloween season. So if you’re ready to enter the world of gothic horror, lets take a look at Plague Of The Zombies and all the horrors of voodoo it brings with it.

Before we travel to deep into the undead voodoo cursed world of Plague Of The Zombies, we should take a look at the killers that roam this film and comic. The main villain is the voodoo priest Squire Clive Hamilton who once lived in Haiti and learned the black art of voodoo and has used it on the villagers of his new hometown in England. He is able to use his evil ways and make the deaths seem like sickness and later make the dead rise and become his zombie slaves who will do his bidding. Hamilton himself uses his voodoo power to deal out death as well as fear to his targeted victims; he also has a short temper and lashes out when angry showing he is a man who can also use his hands to cause damage. Besides his zombies, Hamilton also has a batch of humans who also do his bidding. But Hamilton is just a man and this makes him have weakness like any other man as he can die by any means of violence and his temper and ego also leaves him open to mistakes. The zombies are slow moving grim messengers of terror who do not have a mind of their own leaving them to do the bidding of their master who mostly has them work for him in the mines near his house. But while they are mostly workers, they will also attack the living if given the commands to and can easily strike fear into the hearts of victims with their grey/greenish skin, white eyes, twisted cold faces and weird noises! They also move very quietly giving them the element of surprise and use their bare hands to choke the life out of the living. They can attack in packs or by themselves and when together they can over whelm their victims for an easy kill. Being undead does not mean they cannot be killed again as they can die by beheading, fire and damage to the voodoo dolls that made them into controllable zombies. While Hamilton and his zombies are not as brutal or bloodthirsty as some of the other killers we have looked at in a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, they still are a very deadly combo who have made their mark on those they crossed their paths.

So now that we have taken a look at Squire Clive Hamilton and his voodoo zombies we should take a look at the film they come from, Plague Of The Zombies, that was released at the peak of Hammer Horrors popularity before the 70’s and a change in the world of Horror Movies closed the company’s doors. The film’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB with me writing after a little about the films production and my connection and memories of the film. So if you’re ready to dive into the world of zombies powered by voodoo lets get to it.

Plague Of The Zombies (1966)

“Young workers are dying because of a mysterious epidemic in a little village in Cornwall. Doctor Thompson is helpless and asks professor James Forbes for help. The professor and his daughter Sylvia travel to Thomson. Terrible things happen soon, beyond imagination or reality. Dead people are seen near an old, unused mine. Late people seem to live suddenly. Professor Forbes presumes that black magic is involved and someone has extraordinary power. He doesn’t know how close he is: the dead become alive because of a magic voodoo-ritual, and so they must serve their master as mindless zombies…”

Plague Of The Zombies was released in 1966 as part of a double feature alongside “Dracula: Prince Of Darkness” and was a popular double feature at the cinemas. Peter Bryan handled the script with director John Gilling and James Bernard handling the score. The film went into production on July 28, 1965 and was filmed on the same sets as The Reptile and was a pretty normal shoot for Hammer. They also brought in such actors as Andre Morell, Diane Clare and Michael Ripper to lend their talents to the characters. The film was released to theaters in the U.K. on January 9, 1966 with the US release being only three days later. When released and still to this day, the film was well reviewed by fans and critics with many even going as far as saying this movie is the best Hammer has made. I know that many of my friends who really love classic Horror Movies have said that this is one of their favorites. The film was joined in 1966 by these selected other fright flicks Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Queen Of Blood, Manos: Hands Of Fate and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula showing it was a fun year for fans who enjoyed spooky films at the cinema and drive-ins. Plague Of The Zombies is a great film and those who enjoy classic or British horror should give it a watch.

The first time I got to see this classic Hammer Horror movie was when it came out on VHS, rereleased by Anchor Bay. My brother Bryan bought it and we watched on one of our many all night Horror Movie marathons. I can remember that while the film was very slow much like most of Hammer’s films (wouldn’t have them any other way) it had a great atmosphere and over all creepy vibe that made me enjoy it and go and get the film on DVD when released. And over the years I have watched the film a handful of times on my own as well as with friends who were major fans of Hammer Horror like Chris Workman. This is also one of those films that I have recommended to friends of mine who have gotten into classic horror as I find that it’s a good one to introduce to fans of modern zombie films as this is one that pre-dates the godfather of all zombie films Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and was after the underrated White Zombie from 1932. So while Plague Of The Zombies is not the most popular film among the releases of Hammer, it is one that is a solid and creepy film that is sure to please fans of 60’s and early 70’s gothic horror films. If you have not seen it, do yourself a favor and track it down on VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray and give it a watch. I want to also say that this film is in my top 10 best Hammer Horror films! Plus need to say that the score done by James Bernard is great and well sounding and fits so well for this film.

So as you can see this aging Monster Kid has lots of respect for Plague Of The Zombies and Hammer Horror in general as I found it a great source of classic style monsters done with more blood, busty female cleavage, color and gothic atmosphere then before, plus they picked up vampires, werewolves, zombies and Frankenstein’s Monster after Universal had drifted away from that type of Horror and was more into the atomic age horror and giant insects. But before we get into this custom comic book I want to thank Juliet Fromholt for formatting the pages while we were on vacation at Monster Bash and Eric Shonborn for putting it all together to be printed! I also want to thank Amanda for printing this comic making this update possible. I want to also let you all know that I read and reviewed this comic while sitting in Calvary Cemetery to help add to the over all spooky mood of this comic experience. And now I need to remind you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, lets travel to the cemetery and see why voodoo and zombies do mix!

Plague Of The Zombies # 1  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price 35p.   Top Sellers      # 1 of 1

Dr. Sir James Forbes and his daughter Sylvia are headed toward the small own of Tarleton on the request of one of his former students Peter who is the town’s acting doctor and is puzzled by the rash of unexplained deaths. While the father and daughter travel, they pass a fox hunting party and Sylvia gives them the wrong direction on purpose, causing the hunters to make a scene in town when they all arrive during a funeral even knocking over the casket and causing the body to roll out! The townspeople are not pleased and this of course angers the dead man’s brother who blames the young woman for causing the scene. Once at the home of Peter, they also see that his wife Alice seems to not be feeling well and Peter explains that for some reason people just keep dying and the cause is unknown and the townspeople will not help in finding out the reason. That night James and Peter hit up the local cemetery and find that the grave of the young man buried that morning is empty! Sylvia follows Alice into the woods as her friend is acting weird and is heading toward the old tin mine shafts, but before she can catch up with her friend Sylvia is kidnapped by the hunters she tricked and they take her back to the mansion home of Clive Hamilton the town’s squire who is not pleased at the behavior of his hired hands. Once back on the dark roads, Sylvia finds the body of her friend Alice as well as sees the zombie of the young man buried that morning! Peter is heartbroken over the death of his wife and even feels worse when he and James witness her rise from her grave and they are forced to chop off her head. Meanwhile Sylvia is visited by Clive who by “accident” scratches the young woman with his ring and this causes her to think about him all the time. James and Peter soon find out that Clive is a voodoo priest who is causing the deaths as he is making zombies to work for him in the tin mine shafts, and they go to his mansion to stop him. While inside the mansion, James fights with one of the hunters and during the fight a fire breaks out, meanwhile Sylvia in a trance is now in the grip of Clive who is going to sacrifice her to please his dark lords! But all ends well when the fire sets the voodoo dolls on fire that causes the zombie to be ablaze.  They turn on Clive who is eaten and burnt to death at the same time. In the end the town is safe, and James, Sylvia and Peter all walk away heroes.

I need to first start off by saying that Plague Of The Zombies is one of the Hammer Horror movies that lends itself really well to be a comic book adaptation and series, and Titan Comics really dropped the ball on not choosing this title to be a part of their very short lived Hammer Horror Comics line. The plot of this Horror Comic has a father and daughter going to a small town to try and help figure out why people are dying, only to uncover a sinister plot that involves voodoo and zombies! Our main hero is James Forbes, an old medical surgeon who wants nothing more than to solve why people are dying and why their graves are empty so close after being buried. He is strong minded and willed and even if he is old, he still will never give up until he solves it. Peter is a doctor who is also a former student of James and is baffled by the mystery of this town he now serves. He is a helpful hand but also is dealing with some bad stuff as his wife has fallen victim to death and being brought back from the dead. Sylvia Forbes is a good hearted person who cares about both humans and animals and becomes a sick pawn in this game of life and undead. And our villain is Clive Hamilton who acts as a caring member of the town even acting as the squire when in reality he is a voodoo priest who is using the town to mine tin in order to become rich and powerful and is killing people to bring back as zombies to do it. I think the fact he is a soulless murderer who allows greed to be his motivation behind taking a human life makes him a real bad guy. I do like the fact he gets what’s coming to him in the end as tons of zombies who are on fire swarm him ending his reign of terror once and for all. The comic has very little blood in it, but does have some gruesome deaths like a beheading and being burned alive. This comic adaptation while a quick read does capture the mood and spooky atmosphere of the film very well and brings a none-gory yet scary Horror Comic to readers who enjoy a classic style fright. The interior artwork is done by the team of Trevor Goring and Brian Bolland and is top-notch stuff and will remind you of artwork used in the Warren horror magazines. While this is a custom comic book, you can find this comic adaptation in the pages of “Hammer’s House Of Horror” and its worth tracking down if you like the film or just enjoy classic horror zombies. Check out the artwork below to see what the art style is and bask in its creepiness.

Hammer Horror will always be the bar just behind Universal Monsters when it comes to classic movie monsters, and they, just like Universal, deserve more comics based on their characters. I mean in a prefect Horror Comic world, we would have ongoing series based on Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolves, Mummy and Creatures from both companies and would be must reads for old school Monster Kids. Well I hope that Plague Of The Zombies helped add to your countdown to Halloween as it was a fun one for me to cover for sure. For our next update we will take a look at another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2003 monster movie Darkness Falls! So this dark night make sure you stay clear of your local abandoned mine as who knows what kind of zombies are lurking around looking for a new victim to become just like them. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you readers and friend’s next update for a creepy good time with the Tooth Fairy.

Hammer Horror Halloween Hootenanny!

It’s Halloween, and I hope you have a bellyful of sweet treats and are ready to have some spooky fun with me here at Rotten Ink. Halloween has always been special to me, and I can remember looking forward to this holiday more than any other and loving the cool fall weather with the leaves on the ground and a chill in the air as my brother and I would dress up and have our pillow cases ready for some door to door begging for candy. In the early years, our Mom would of course go with us as our Dad would pass out candy at our house.  Then as we got older, we went on our own or with a group of friends. Those of you who grew up in a small town or even fellow Waynesville kids that grew up with me know how magical this holiday felt back in the day before all the rules and Stranger Danger took full effect…but wait we did have the Satanic Panic at that time but even that could not stop us from having a good time. One thing that I would love to do some Halloween soon is what I spoke about before, have friends like Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Garrison Kane, Dave Wean, Maurice Blurton, Henrique Couto, Juliet Fromholt and a few others and sit around a fire in the middle of the woods on a cold fall night and exchange spooky stories and real legends.  Now that would be a real fun time. So for the first Halloween day update, I decided that I would go all out and have a spooky kooky packed house of things to talk about from horror host Count Gregula who answered 5 Questions, all the way to a scary trip to old amusement park Fantasy Farm! But the main attraction will be my look at Hammer Films.  I will talk about some of the films and actors that made this English company an icon of horror. I will also be reading comics based on Hammer films at real haunted locations in and around Dayton.  But enough with this introduction, let’s get to the scary and weird stuff, shall we?

Count Gregula

To start things off, I figured we would take a look at Chicago horror host Count Gregula. In 1998, a Vampire attended a Halloween party held by horror host icon Svengoolie, and this inspired this cool ghoul into becoming a host himself.  After centuries being undead the option of showing cheesy horror films seemed like a great idea. In 2005 his first show called “Count Gregula’s Crypt” aired as he hosted the film Night Of The Living Dead.  After two episodes, the show took a break and came back on the air in 2007 when he hosted Missile To The Moon and would again take a small break until 2010 when he scared viewers once more by coming back to TV/DVD with the hosting of the films Grave Of The Vampire and Eegah. Count Gregula would go on to also interview celebrities on his Youtube account as well as guest on many other horror host shows. In 2011 he also starred in a film called The Giant Rubber Monster Movie where he was able to show his acting fangs. On his show Gregula is joined by his wife Countess Gregula, the Daughter of Satan, and The Children of The Night. The Gregula’s were also some of the first none Ohio hosts to fully support and stand beside Baron Von Porkchop as he started hosting movies with his show Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. So now that you know a little about Gregula, let’s get to what I call ” 5 Questions With Count Gregula”!

Me: So tell me about your show, and that wicked cool theater you host your movies from in your crypt?

Gregula: Vell, ve host the good old classic horror movies that all of us grew up vith as little monsters. Only thing is that ve don’t have access to that theater anymore, but ve are planning on doing a live stage show version of COUNT GREGULA’S CRYPT in the near future! Keep checking my sites for further details.

Me: Very cool, live hosting is always fun. I have seen Dr. Creep and A. Ghastlee Ghoul host movies live and it’s been a real treat if your a horror host fan. So what horror hosts of the past inspired you to become a host yourself?

Gregula: Son of Svengoolie (a.k.a. Svengoolie) & Elvira!

Me: Both are so great and both are in the Horror Host Hall of Fame, proving how inspiring they were to viewers. So this is something I have always wanted to know: does drinking blood ever get old? And if the artificial blood like True Blood (from the HBO show of the same name) was real, would you drink it or stay with the fresh stuff?

Gregula: Drinking blood never gets old! Only the people I drink from get old. *vink* Oh, it has to be the fresh stuff! Nothing beats tapping a vein!

Me: No fake stuff for you.  I guess nothing does beat fresh on whatever your choice of drink is, well besides wine, the older the better. You travel around to many conventions of all types.  Who has been the one movie star you have been most hyped to meet and interview and what horror host as well?

Gregula: Finally interviewing Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster) of THE MUNSTERS made me the most hyped because I missed meeting her several years ago vhen I made the trip all the vay to Texas for a special Munster Masquerade that I vas invited to attend. I heard she vas too sick to make the trip there herself. I even mention about vaiting all these years to meet and interview her in my video and she seemed very pleased. Interviewing horror host Svengoolie vas my nightmare come true vithout a doubt!

Me: It’s always nice to meet a star you always have wanted to.  Sadly we are on our fifth question so I will ask something that my readers and I must know: who is the better Dracula: Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee?

Gregula: Bela Lugosi of corpse! He is the BEAST claws down!

Me: I am a Lugosi man myself, but I still have a hard time picking.  Both are so great as that character. So once more thanks for answering these five questions for us.

Count Gregula DVD 1Gregula and pretty ladyCount Gregula DVD 2

Gregula is such a fun undead ghoul to be around and at one Horrorhound Baron Von Porkchop, Juliet and I went out to eat with him and the Countess and he was in his full vampire gear and made for one fun dinner. Also in the Dayton market on DATV during the HHU (Horror Host Underground) showcase that plays when Baron is off filming a new season, we from time to time show an episode or two of his show. If you want to learn more about Count Gregula and his Crypt you can also always check out his website www.count-gregula.com. I would also like to show off a cool piece of artwork that was done by my talented friend Justin Wasson of Count Gregula that was made for the upcoming comic idea I had called “Who’s Who of Late Night Horror Hosting”.

count_gregula art

Speaking of artwork, while listening to my friends Jason and Eric’s podcast Gutter Trash, I found out about some cool projects that could have been made into a comic book series and a TV show based on the classic Vincent Price Horror Film “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” done by comic book icon Jack Kirby that looks like it would have been called “The Sinister Dr. Phibes”! Yeah, so think about that, a comic drawn by Kirby that would have been a companion piece to a weekly TV show based around Phibes who according to gossip would have had him as a detective working for the good of mankind and not for his quest of revenge. Phibes is said to have use his masks and traps to capture criminals, and the issues were rumored to have came out via DC Comics. I can’t tell you how amazing this comic series would have been, and I for one would have gotten them and for sure they would have been used as an update on this very blog! Test artwork came to light when the original art went up for sale on Ebay and many say that it was Kirby’s nephew that was selling off much of the artwork.  With this Ebay auction also came questions and the guessing game to what it was drawn for and this is one big puzzle that has many internet “answers.”  What ever the reason it was drawn, it’s a sweet piece of artwork that I wish would have gotten a full comic series. Below is the original artwork as well as a colored version done by a fan and of course of pic of Price as Phibes.

Phibes colorphibes Jack Kirby artDr Phibes

In the 1960’s and 70’s, a Bigfoot like creature frozen in a block of ice traveled around state fairs, carnivals, sideshows and shopping malls as an attraction of the macabre, and the creature was called The Minnesota Iceman. People all over America and Canada paid money to see this creature in the ice who had a back story told by the body’s owner Frank Hansen.  He said the Iceman was shot and killed in Siberia and that it’s true owner was a rich man who allowed him to travel around showing the creature off to all who want to pay and see it. Some people at the time thought that the Iceman could be a caveman, a person that time forgot who was shot and killed, while others thought it was a murder victim who was dressed up to look like a creature so that the killer could hide the body in plain sight. Bigfoot researchers back then have even examined the body and claimed that some of the creatures flesh could be touched via some melted ice and that it was 100% real and was proof that Bigfoot is real! The body even caused some panic at the Canadian border when officials would not allow it to cross because it was a cadaver, but after some smooth words Hansen was able to get it across. But in the late 1970’s the Iceman just vanished from the public eye and as quickly as it hit the sideshow scene it disappeared, causing many people to wonder what had happened to the evidence that Bigfoot was real. But like all things, not everyone believed that The Minnesota Iceman was real and many labeled it as a hoax claiming that it was nothing more than a prop to con people out of their money. Eyewitnesses and some photos of the creature showed it to be a hairy humanoid that stood about 6 feet tall and had a bullet wound to its eye, and many say that its arm appeared to be broken.  For many this sight was horrifying and chilled the bones of many customers. For years the Iceman was missing until this year (2013) when The Minnesota Iceman showed up….on… Ebay for sale! The listing blew the top off what the creature was and stated it was in fact a hoax and was crafted by a team that later went on to work for Disney. The Minnesota Iceman sold for an accepted offer to a man who plans on putting it on display in Texas.  This marks the end of what the Iceman was, fact or fiction and thanks to Ebay it’s been proven as a hoax. But while the body and freezer sold online, many think that the Ebay listing was the true hoax and that the real body of the iceman is still out there. Only time will tell what the true fate of the Iceman is and rest assured, I will be waiting to discover the truth. I should also say that I learned about the Iceman from a old book I checked out from the library in Waynesville and after seeing the creature’s picture I became obsessed with finding out all I could about it and spent many days reading about it.  Once the internet hit I would spend time trying to find info on where it was….sadly though the image and wonder of the Iceman is now shattered over an online auction for me.

minnesota icemanThe Minnesota Iceman nowThe Minnesota Iceman hoax

Wow, we have just gotten started and thus far we have talked about horror host Count Gregula, Jack Kirby’s could have been Dr. Phibes comic and hoax of The Minnesota Iceman, and yet we have so much more to come! So now I would like to talk to you about a moment in my life that scared that crap out of me.  While it was not a near death experience or a Halloween prank gone bad, it was a moment that has stuck with me for years. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and for summer vacation my parents took me and my brother to Fantasy Farm, an amusement park and petting zoo in Middletown, Ohio, a place that we would go every summer (that or Americana) to ride all the rides and pet and feed all the animals. Two events at Fantasy Farm always stick with me, and one is more traumatic for me than the other so let’s get to the less scary one first. As you long time readers know, I grew up as a monster kid and loved everything horror.  At Fantasy Farm, they had a haunted house ride with the side of the building was painted with images of Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster and I can remember taking my old camera out and snapping a picture (that I still have to this day and that I will post on here for you all to see) and before we went in I remember my brother Bryan teasing me about how scary the ride was going to be and how Frankenstein’s Monster was going to grab me. I acted like I was not scared, but to be honest I was terrified.  Back then I believed what my brother said and didn’t understand he was just teasing and having fun and adding to the horror of the haunted house ride. Bryan and my Dad were in one car, and my Mom and I were in the other.  I still was acting tough and as if the horrors that awaited me in the ride were nothing but pure cheese and nothing to be scared of.  All the while I was waiting for Frankenstein’s Monster to jump out and get me! As the ride started I had this idea that I would close my eyes, making it so that he could not find me in the dark.  I missed the ride but heard all the spooky sounds, and it just added to the fear that was building up in me.  At one point my Mom, not knowing that my brother said anything about him, said look it’s Frankenstein as the attraction had a cardboard version of The Monster and this triggerd the “this is the end” moment for me, but in seconds nothing happened and I opened my eyes as we approached the end of the ride and I remember a skeleton. After the ride my Dad and brother made fun of me for having my eyes closed but deep inside I was just happy to have not been taken away by The Monster! But the scare of Frankenstein’s Monster getting me was nothing compared to the terror that awaited me in the petting zoo! Besides monsters, I also love animals and one of the highlights of Fantasy Farm was always petting and feeding the animals.  It was always cool feeding goats corn that they would eat from your hand. But this one time we went into one of the barns that held the animals, and I spent time petting cows and other barn yard animals and in the last stall in the barn was a giant bison.  I mean he was huge and as I walked up to this massive animal he started to make this weird snorting and throat noise and he locked on staring at me.  I was scared yet I still walked forward and stuck my hand out to pet him, as my hand touched his face he let out a load snort and I jumped back at least 4 feet and was scared as this giant animal kept making noises.  Needless to say I got they hell out of dodge. The moment when that Bison snorted could have been one of the biggest scares I had ever gotten in my life. Sadly Fantasy Farm is gone, and it’s a shame as it was a place I would have loved to taken my future kids to.  I blame Kings Island for it’s departure. 

Bison-Ceasol

By 1955 with the Universal Comedy film “Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy,” the end of the classic monster movies based on Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and The Mummy had came to an end.  By this time the classic monsters were not treated as scary but as jokes as the horrors of the real world and the coming atomic age seemed much scarier. But by 1958 with the release of Horror of Dracula, classic monsters were making a comeback and this time they were laced with blood and large breasted women.  The company responsible was English company Hammer who up to this point were known more for film noir movies. With the success of the film they found that making horror films was more profitable than noir and drama and started turning out films based on many classic monster to the delight of monster kids of the time. Hammer became so popular in in the UK that USA companies took notice as Paramount, Warner Brothers and even Universal started to release their films in theaters across America exposing even more fans to the blood soaked monster mayhem. Hammer was getting so popular in its home country that in 1976 a magazine called “House of Hammer” was released by Top Sellers.  The issue showcased Hammer stars and films as well as had comic book adaptations of their popular films. But like all good things, the classic monster film ride came to an end again as Hammer’s box office draw dwindled in 1979, and the company closed the production doors until 2007 when a new group came in and breathed life into the company once more and started making films again like Let Me In, The Woman in Black and The Resident. I grew up watching many of the Hammer Horror films, seeing many of them on Commander USA’S Groovie Movies and Super Scary Saturday and then later on VHS tapes. While I liked the Hammer versions of the classic monsters, I still feel Universal did them better, but that said, Hammer was and still is one of my favorite studios to make classic monster movies.  They added just the right amount of blood and sleaze to make the viewer think they are watching something they shouldn’t be, but at the same time they do so with such class you feel as if the budgets on these films were bigger than they were. I credit a lot of Hammer’s early film success to a director named Terrance Fisher who seemed to get the gothic feel and tones of these movies really well and was able to bring that dark and brooding feeling to the movie screens.  My friend Chris Workman is a huge Fisher fan and could teach a class at a college about the impact of Hammer films on the horror genre. If you love classic monster and have never seen a Hammer film, do yourself a favor and go watch one. I am sure you’ll become a fan just like I did.

Hammer logo

The biggest series in all of Hammers classic monster films was its Dracula series that had a total of 9 films that are as follows Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Dracula: Price of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968), Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula AD 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973) and ending with The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires (1974). In all but two of the films Count Dracula was played by Christopher Lee who grew to dislike and despise the character and films Hammer was making.  The rumor goes that he was forced to play the part when studio higher ups said basically that if he did not act as Dracula then a lot of people would be put out of work. As the films went on and Lee grew more bored with the scripts, rumors say that he refused to do the lines because he felt that they were all just so poorly written. But Christopher Lee made for an amazing Dracula and in moments he comes off super scary and in control whenever he’s on screen, making for the perfect vampire king.The two films that Lee did not play Dracula were Brides of Dracula, that in fact didn’t have Dracula at all in it, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires where actor John Forbes-Robertson played Dracula. While Lee might have grown tired of his character, actor Peter Cushing seemed to enjoy playing the hero Van Helsing and played him a total of five times. In this series Dracula has been killed by stake in the heart, frozen in ice, sunlight and even captured in thorns, but after every death by the next film he would come back to life with the help of some numbskull or freak accident. My favorite film in the series has to be Horror of Dracula and my least would be Satanic Rites of Dracula as I feel by that time they were running out of ideas and putting Dracula again in modern times like they did in Dracula AD 1972 and it just lost its charm. Over all while Hammer’s Dracula films were great, the next series was my favorite!

Horror of Dracula posterScars of Draula PosterSatanic Rites of Dracula poster

Before Dracula Hammer gave Frankenstein and his monster a try and made The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 that was followed by a total of 6 sequels.  Unlike the classic Universal series their Frankenstein series focused on the Doctor and not the monster, as each movie had a new monster and the same Doctor almost always played by the amazing Peter Cushing, with Ralph Bates playing him in Horror of Frankenstein. The films in that series are as follows: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974). Baron Von Frankenstein in the Hammer films was a selfish man who did whatever he wanted in order to make his creations work, from murder to rape! Changing the focus of the movies and taking away the likable element of the Doctor allowed Hammer to make the characters their own. These are by far my favorite series done by Hammer with my favorite film being Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and my lest favorite being Revenge of Frankenstein.  While a good film the “monster” in this film is the weakest. I recommend watching these films if you’re in the mood to watch some classic gothic horror with that touch of sleaze and blood.

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Besides Dracula and Frankenstein, Hammer did lots of other creatures of the night films! They have done films on vampires, mummies, a werewolf, zombies, devils and so much more, and each of them were well done on lower budgets and had just the right amount of horror to make them chill your blood on late night viewings. As the years passed, Hammer also added in more gore and nudity to try and spice up their films and compete with the boom of Grindhouse and shlock films that were filling up the theaters and drive-ins, and while it made the films more R-rated, the charm of the classic monsters had once more lost it’s appeal to movie going audiences.  This lead Hammer into trying many different monsters and ideas to stay on top of the growing horror market. I for one am glad that Hammer has risen out of the ashes in the past years and are backing making horror films that are solid shockers with time and passion put into each production. My favorite none Dracula/Frankenstein film has to be Curse of the Werewolf, and my lest favorite is, well, I can’t really think of one really! I know that one I have not seen that I really want to is The Gorgon, and I look forward to watching it on DVD or even VHS very soon. 

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Hammer is also a studio that helped create stars that almost every horror, sci-fi and just movie fans will know! First, we have Christopher Lee, an actor who for Hammer has played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and even Sir Henry Baskerville (Hounds of Baskerville) and is known also to me for playing Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II and III, Stefan Crosscoe in The Howling II, and Doctor Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch among many other roles. Lee, who is 91 years old as of this year (2013) and has also been knighted, is the last remaining true icon of the the classic horror era. Peter Cushing was the true face of Hammer for me and during his amazing career with Hammer stared as Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and even the Sheriff of Nottingham and is also know to me for playing Grand Moff Tarkin is Star Wars Episode IV, Arthur Grimsdyke in Tales From the Crypt, Professor Paul in Legend of the Werewolf and Baron Corofax in Land of the Minotaur. Cushing truly is one of my favorite actors, and sadly he passed away in 1994 at the age of 81. Oliver Reed is another great actor who got his acting chops sharpened in Hammer films with roles like the werewolf Leon Corledo in Curse of the Werewolf, Lord Melton in Sword of Sherwood Forest and a bouncer in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll to name a few and is also know to me for roles Dr. Hal Raglan in The Brood and Antonius Proximo in Gladiator. Reed was an actor who just seemed to have it and could play any role that he was given.  Sadly Reed passed away in 1999 at the age of 61. Lastly I would also like to mention David Prowse, who in the 70’s and 80’s was the Kane Hodder of his time and could rock a monster suit like it was his job..wait it was his job for Hammer.  He played The Monster in Horror of Frankenstein and The Monster from Hell in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, and even a Strongman in Vampire Circus. I also know him for Julian The Body Guard in A Clockwork Orange and Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes IV-VI! Prowse is the man, and don’t let George Lucas tell you any different as the two seem to have had a falling out that has lead to Prowse being banned from official Star Wars gatherings. These are also only a drop in the hat of the talented actors, actresses and directors that worked for Hammer!

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Besides the blood and monsters, Hammer was also known for its lovely large chested actress who helped add to the gothic and gritty new legends being told about classic monsters. By this time films in the horror genre were changing, but they were still not using females as full eye candy.  Hammer figured a way out to get sexy yet talented actresses to star in films and have them showcase their acting talents as well as their massive cleavage! I remember growing up and seeing Hammer movies on TV or VHS and crushing on Hammer starlettes Madeline Smith and Yvonne Romain and being taken by their beauty. Smith drew me in with her amazing eyes and girl next door looks while Romain has the exotic beauty to her. Two of the most popular actresses that worked for them are Raquel Welch and Caroline Munro who both went on to be in bigger Hollywood productions. The women of Hammer are so popular and have made such a mark on fans that many books, magazine articles and conventions showcase them. Now I could spend all Halloween update talking about Madeline Smith and how sexy she is, but you are here to be spooked so let’s move on! And for those wonder Smith is the first picture and Romain is second. 

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So before I dive into the spooky world of Hammer Comics, I would also like to talk about a brief two-day long mini horror movie marathon I had at my apartment with Juliet that consisted of a handful of films and one horror host Halloween special! The first film of the night was the new Child’s Play movie called “The Curse of Chucky” where the killer doll comes back one last time to torment a wheelchair bound young lady and her family in a giant mansion. The film was a little slow paced but it was nice to see Chucky back. The second film was “Frankenstein’s Army,” a neat found footage film about Russian soldiers during World War II that stumble on Dr. Frankenstein who is making an army of monsters! Really cool creature designs, great gore effects and an original plot made this one a good watch. Juliet than wanted to watch “Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales of the Macabre: Halloween 2012” episode were Baron and Melvin go trick or treating and have a run in with New Burlington’s Headless Horseman.  The film he is hosting is Werewolf of Ohio! I will say out of all of the specials we shot, this could be one of my favorites. “Razorback” was next, an Australian film based on a giant Razorback hog that is killing people in the outback and has to be stopped by an American who lost his wife to the beast.  I waited along time to see this film, and Warner Brothers put it out via their on demand disc burn service and I will say the film is fun. The next day of film watching started with “Wrong Turn 5” that follows a group of collage kids going to a music festival that has a deadly run-in with the inbreed hillbillys. This one was a bloodbath and not as bad as I had heard it was, it was filled with blood, boobs and killers and was just ok. Then we went into “World War Z” about a zombie outbreak that leaves the world at the mercy of the undead and one man must find a way to stop them. I saw this in theaters as well and I must say I liked it, a good PG-13 horror film and nice to see Paramount make a bigger budget horror picture. The next film I went for a Universal Classic with the 1935 film “The Raven” were a mad doctor played by Bela Lugosi sets his sight on a young female he has saved the life of and wants to use torture to get ride of those who stand in his way. The film stars Boris Karloff as well as a disfigured brute who is used as a tool. It’s a very fun old black and white horror filmed based very loosely on the work by Edgar Allen Poe that’s worth the watch! Next up was the underrated film “Waxworks” about a wax museum that kills people by having them meet the monsters of wax. If enough souls are taken, the horrors of the past and classic monsters are set loose in the world. It’s a very cool film that I have loved since I was young, filled with lots of great effects. October horror movie-thons are the best.

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So let’s get to the comic reviews, and this first Halloween update I have gotten some comics based on Hammer films and I read them at haunted locations in and around the Southwestern Ohio area. Almost all the comics came from a U.K Magazine called House of Hammer and were then made into normal modern sized comics complete with custom covers and numbering! So how this update will go is I will tell you about and share picture of the haunted location and then get into the comic review of the issue I read at the location, and will share the mood and such of the location and if it helped add to the horror of the issue. And as always I want to remind you readers I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ranking and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So with this, let’s get into some creepy reviews and places! 

Scary Pumpkins

Carpenters Road in Beavercreek Ohio is the area’s most haunted road, and stories of what has happened there have been around for generations.  My Dad and his friends use to travel that road to scare dates and each other as the road use to be filled with woods, fields, swamp lands and hardly any lights. When I was a teenager, my friends and I use to go up and down this road late at night hoping to be scared silly, and a few times I am sure our imagination got the best of us. The road has many legends that range from super natural to real life horrors, and many people swear that they have been scared by something on this road. A ghost farmer on a tractor is said to chase off anyone who is parked on the road during the fall months and is said to be very aggressive and mean. A hooked hand killer is said to have once roamed the swamp lands in the area and looked for young couples making out to make them his next victim. A car on prom night is said to have crashed on the street’s sharp turn killing the young couple, and it’s said on late nights you can see the car crash and watch as the ghosts of the two killed teens climb out of the ditch.  This is said to work if you turn your car lights on and off three times than exit the car and watch the horrific event unfold before your eyes. The most popular ghost on the road is that of a man who hung himself from one of the roads large trees in the 1970’s.  It’s said if you park your car under the tree at midnight and turn off your head lights, you can hear the mans feet drag across your roof top and hear him moan and gasp for air! So on this road I have one legend killer, one mean farmer ghost and three sad case spirits who left this world before they should have! Some scary stuff happens here, and it still remains a popular destination for teens around Halloween. 

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So with that let’s get into our first comic as at Carpenters Road I read “Curse Of The Werewolf”! 

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Curse of the Werewolf  # 1  ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 1

An old beggar makes the mistake of wandering into the castle of a lord who has just gotten married, and after he is made into a fool, he is locked into a dungeon where he grows into a savage man that attacks a maid some years later who has been locked up for not making out with the now old and creepy lord of the manor. She is raped, and once she is let out, she kills the lord and escapes into the night where she is found by writer Alfredo and his sister Teresa who nurse her back to health.  Sadly she dies in child birth, and they raise the woman’s son Leon as their own nephew. But young Leon has something very wrong with him as he is struck with the curse of the werewolf and kills the locals farmers sheep, and while a werewolf he is shot by the local hunter and returns home were his uncle discovers his dark secret. Years pass and Leon grows up and leaves home and takes a job at a winery where he meets the owners lovely yet soon to be married daughter Cristina who he falls madly in love with. Leon can’t control his sinister curse and kills his co-worker and some female bargoers and roams the land as a werewolf.  This murder leads to him going to jail where he transforms once more at the full moon and runs wild in the village and Alfredo uses a silver bullet and kills him as sadness rushes over him as well as Cristina and Teresa for the loss of a man they all truly loved.

Curse of The Werewolf transfers to a comic really well, even if major plot changes happen from the lack of Cristina’s fiance to the rush death of his co-worker this short comic adaptation does it right and makes you almost forget about the elements that are missing. The one thing that doesn’t work as well is how fast and out of nowhere it seems that Leon and Cristina fall in love. The werewolf murders are all done fast paced, and all the blood is left out making this a bloodless horror comic.  While it would have been nice to see the red stuff, it doesn’t effect the well written story line or the likeable characters. Leon is a sad case and is a man who really just wants to live a normal life, hold a job and find true love and once he leaves his hometown this all goes to hell when his curse of being a werewolf runs wild. The town hunter in the comic plays a smaller role, but it’s still his silver bullet that brings down the blood thirsty beast. Cristina is used in the comic as both a love interest and a trigger as her first rejection of Leon is what sets the curse back off. The story is simple a baby is born out of rape on Christmas Day, and this is a bad omen and causes him to have a curse of being a werewolf. The love of his adoptive family keeps the curse at bay for years until he grows older and moves away and the rejection of a woman he falls for triggers the curse back up and in the end love is what has to kill the beast once and for all. The artwork is amazing, and I truly wish more comics would have been made about Leon so artist John Bolton could have worked on them and made them looked as stylish and artistic as this issue. The cover is also very eye catching and would have been a perfect match on comic shelves with the likes of Werewolf By Night and Tombs Of Dracula. Over all this is an amazing good creepy comic that should be read by fans of the Hammer film and fans of horror comics.

The day I read this, Carpenters Road was covered with fog and the sky was grey. I parked near the swamp where the hook handed killer was said to have prowled and began the trip into werewolf madness. The fog helped add to the creepy feel, and I was very much getting into the over all feeling of the comic. The downside is that many cars passed and this broke the brooding danger feel of the location. The area has changed for the worse as many new houses and even the back of a giant high school are now around. The curve where the wreck was to have taken place is now gone and has given way to a new housing neighborhood.  The hanging tree has been cut down and even the stump removed! The only things left is the swamp of the hook handed killer and the field of the ghost farmer. Nothing happened this evening of reading and while the fog and swamp made the reading more fun, it’s a shame that what use to be a kick butt haunted road is now just a shell of what it once was.

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Woodland Cemetery in Dayton is the area’s most haunted site, hosts many spooky stories, and is one of the oldest graveyards in the area. The cemetery is the final resting place for many famous people such as Wilbur & Orville Wright, inventors and first humans to fly in a flying machine, Loren M. Berry the inventor of the Yellow Pages, James Ritty inventor of the cash register, Leslie Carter silent film actress in movies like Rocky Mountain Mystery and The Heart of Maryland, not to mention the King and Queen of the Gypsies Levi and Matilda Stanley are also buried there. But while it’s a peaceful and lovely place, it also is a source of many haunts that include a blonde college teenage girl who wears jeans, a stripped shirt and white shoes who talks to those she comes in contact with.  It’s also said the gravestone she hangs out around glows blue/green at night. She is said to haunt the area because she is mad that she is buried so far away from her father and this is her way at getting back at those she thinks did this as well as fill her loneliness. The cemetery is also said be haunted by many other ghosts from all ages and decades and many “orbs” have been seen in the area. The most famous ghosts are that of Johnny Morehouse, a five year old boy who drowned in a canal and his dog who died at his gravesite when it refused to leave its deceased master’s side. Johnny and his dog’s ghost can be seen walking in the cemetery after close through the gates and his dog’s bark can be heard at night. His tombstone also has a statue of him and his dog that was put up in 1861 to honor their bond. This is a perfect place to read issue’s one and two in the Hammer Dracula series so I will be covering Horror of Dracula and Brides of Dracula at this amazing and creepy place! 

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Now let’s get spooky and take a read of the first two issues of Hammers Dracula.

Horror of Dracula 1

Horror of Dracula # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price 30p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 9

Johnathon Harker is an invited guest to Castle Dracula to look over some papers, but that first night you see that he is not just there to look at papers but to try and find the real secret of who and what Dracula is. He hides his journal in the woods near the castle and finds that he is in the mist of vampires as Dracula and his bride show him their true nature. The next nigh,t Harker kills the bride but in return is killed by Dracula himself who is now on his way to the Harker home to seduce and turn his soon to be wife Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, a long time friend of Harker’s, has found the journal and is on a quest to kill Dracula and save Lucy, but sadly he is too late as Lucy becomes one of the vampire brides.  Her brother Arthur is the one to end her blood sucking ways, but this death also angers Dracula who now has sights set on Arthur’s wife Mina! Van Helsing and Arthur are tricked, and Mina becomes a slave to the vampire king.  The two vampire hunters track him down at his castle, and it’s Van Helsing that uses sun light and a cross to burn the vampire to death and free Mina’s soul.

This comic book is AMAZING! I enjoyed every second of it and found it to be very close to the film that it’s based on. Van Helsing is a great hero, and this first issue shows that while he is smart, he is not yet the vampire killer he soon will be in many other issues and films.  The artwork also makes the character look like actor Peter Cushing, who played him in the film, and this helped add to the mood and vibe of the comic that sucked me in. Dracula is a pimp in this comic and truly loves the ladies as he jumps from bride to would-be bride with the drop of a stake in the heart.  Plus when he is mad in this comic, his rage comes out and his fangs are flashed. The rest of the supporting characters in this little vampire romp are all well written and each serves a purpose. The death of Dracula looks great and seeing his face being burnt by the sun is stuff of nightmares. The comic takes its time and builds the story and captures the true soul of a Hammer film.  This is why I think that this issue will be hard to beat for any of the following Dracula issues, and I for one wish that this would have been made into a comic series that would have 100% truly followed each film. I could not find the artist who drew this comic but I must say he did a fantastic job, and each character looks like the actor who played them on film.  His Lee Dracula is stunning and made the horror kid in me very happy to see. The cover is okay and the use of Yellow makes it very eye catching, but the cover art does not do the comic justice as the work inside is so much better. 

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Well let’s move onto Brides of Dracula and see how well issue 2 compares to the first.

Brides of Dracula 2

Brides of Dracula # 2   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 2 of 9

Marianne Danielle is a young woman who is left by her coach driver near an inn where she meets and befriends an older woman named Baroness Meinster who invites her to stay at her castle. Marianne, while in her room, looks out her window and sees a man standing on the balcony below.  She finds out that he is Count Meinster, the Baroness’ son who is supposed to be a mad man. When she sees him again, it looks as if he is going to jump off the balcony to kill himself, and Marianne rushes to stop him to find that he is chained to the wall. She is shocked by his treatment as he seems real sweet to her and cons her into getting the key to free him and she does just that. Count Meinster is in fact a vampire and turns his own mother into one setting his site to make Marianne his bride. Enter Van Helsing, who gets wind of the vampire and sets out to stop him and save Marianne from his evil grip.  Along the way Count Meinster turns a friend of Marianne’s into a vampire and she tries to trick her one time friend into following her so that Count Meinster can turn her too! Van Helsing has a final battle with Count Meinster at a mill and uses holy water and the blades of the windmill as a cross and kills the vampire.

This second issue is a fun quick read, but the quickness of it is also its down fall. It’s only 13 pages long, and the story moves so quickly that I didn’t get an attachment to or fear any of the characters.  That’s a shame as I feel that the story line was really well done. The comic does follow the film but as one would guess, large chunks have been cut out. Count Meinster is a smooth talking vampire whose reign of terror could have been avoided if Marianne just left the blood sucker alone like his mother told her to. Marianne, while sweet in nature, does not fully get to shine in the comic like she does in the film.  I did find myself trying to get behind her in the comic. Van Helsing is once more back as the hero, and in this issue he is more than ready to kick some vampire butt and even when things go south for him, when he looses his cross, he makes due with what he has and gets the job done. The story is simple girl enters house, helps a stranger who in turn is a crazed vampire and she spends time trying not to become his next meal while a hero comes to her aid and rids the area of his curse. The art work is well done like all of these comics thus far ,and once more I could not find the artist’s name who did this cool short comic. The cover is good but not great and is a take on the official movie poster. Over all it’s a good follow up but not in the same league as issue one.

On the day I went to read these comics, Woodland Cemetery was quiet and a cool slight breeze was in the air. I was pretty relaxed to read these, and the lack of sounds around me made the mood just right. I read them both pretty fast and had very little interruption making the time nice and not very spooky. I wish I could have gotten into the cemetery at night as I feel that this would have been the prime time to get the true spooky feel, imagine sitting around the grave of Johnny Morehouse with a flashlight reading about Count Dracula and Count Meinster while the moon is full and the air chilled, and as you turn a page you hear a dog bark….now that would have been amazing! Over all not much to report on the reading of these two besides Woodland is a beautiful place to relax and read a comic. 

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To finish out Hammer’s Dracula series of “Dracula Prince of Darkness” and “Legend of The 7 Golden Vampires,” we will be reading them at Yellow Springs, a place filled with many ghost and ghouls, a perfect small town to read these spooky comics. The town is the home of many ghosts like the “Thunderstorm Ghost,” who is a woman who was stuck and killed my lightning durning a thunderstorm at the turn of the century near an oak tree.  It’s said when she was found, her face was stuck in a half scream and her arms were outright, and it’s said that durning thunderstorms if you go and sit under that oak tree that when lighting flashes you can see the woman’s ghost looking the same twisted way she was found. “The Jersey Angel” is the ghost of a 1870’s cattle rancher named Joseph S. Saberton who was the first rancher to bring Jersey Cows to the area and was land owner of what would be now John Bryan State Park. Joseph was a good man who loved his cows so much he gave them all names and treated them not just as livestock but as pets. Joseph passed away from an infection and asked to be buried in his pasture next to his cows, and it’s said after his death and even after his cows had been sold off, late at night you can hear Joseph call for his cattle. The ghost of Helen Birch Barlett, for whom The Glen Helen Nature Preserve is named, is said to haunt the woods around the area. In life Helen was said to have been a spoiled brat who died at a young age of cancer. “Woman in Blue” is an angry ghost that brings down the vibe at The Olde Trail Traven and knocks things off the walls and counters an is always in a foul mood. “The Twilight Man” is one of the towns biggest legends.  He is a ghost who walks the roads at night wearing a blue shirt, overalls and a red handkerchief around his neck and always has his left hand in his pocket he just walks the road and disappears before he reaches Meredith Road. Other takes on Twilight Man have him being a man in a car who watches and does sinister things, almost like a small town serial killer! Besides these, many other ghosts and orbs have been seen all over town and on the Antioch College campus. So with that, I am going to kick back and read these two comics outside near John Bryan Park, Near Town and Near the Collage wish me luck that the Twilight Man doesn’t get me!

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I should note that I am a dork and didn’t bring a camera to all these locations, so I would like to send a big thank you to all the people who took these pics! I did take two of the pictures at Carpenters Road with my crappy cell phone…go me! Well, let’s get back to the creepy and Dracula.

Dracula Prince of Darkness 3

Dracula Prince of Darkness # 3   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 3 of 9

A group of travelers are stuck at the side of a road and speak of how while in town no one would give them a ride near the old castle at night. The travelers are Alan, his wife Helen, his brother Charles and his wife Diana, and they are shocked when an un-maned stage coach comes for them and takes them to the castle where they meet Klove, the servant of the dead Count Dracula who has rooms and a meal waiting for them. That night Klove tricks Alan into following him into the basement where he kills him and drains his blood into the coffin of Dracula’s ashes.  The blood brings him back to life! Kove then tricks Helen into the basement and she becomes the first new bride of Dracula as her husband’s body hangs from the ceiling with his neck slit. As Diana and Charles wake up the next morning, they see that their family members are gone and that something is not right with the castle so they flee.  But Charles can’t leave his brother behind and after returning he finds that his sister in law is now a vampire and that his brother is dead! Klove tricks Diana to return to the castle and after a run in with Dracula and vampire Helen, the couple barely escape and have a terrible coach wreck and are rescued by Father Shandor who takes them to the church for safety. But they are only safe for a short time as Dracula, Klove and vampire Helen come for Diana, and a battle breaks out that leaves Klove and Helen dead and Diana kidnapped by Dracula! In the end Dracula tries to escape with Diana over a frozen river and meets his doom when they break the ice from under his feet and he falls into the moving water below.

The third issue in the Hammer Dracula series is pretty good but does lack the charm of the film as a 90 minute movie got squeezed into a 16 page comic book. The story has Charles and Helen’s battle to survive from the grip of Dracula and meeting their only hope Father Shandor who teaches them how to out smart and kill the vampire king with nothing more than running water. Sadly, you don’t get a full attachment to either Helen or Charles as they are not fleshed out enough for me to truly care about.  Helen is given less than Charles who kind of is a laughable hero in this comic because he kind of just in a round about way manhandles Dracula with lame stuff like makeshift crosses and ice covered water. Dracula is as always bad ass, but man is his death in this comic as well as the movie lame.  Ice is shot from under his feet and he falls into the running water below and dies…yep, I know that could be the worst death of a vampire ever. In the issue Dracula kills zero people and transforms only one person into a vampire. Dracula seems more into scoring Diana than killing and feeding in this comic. Klove, the strange servant of Dracula, is one sadistic son of a gun and tries to kill a few and at least has the body count of one. Vampire Helen seems like a second thought in this comic and is killed off pretty fast.  While an extra threat to the heros, she is wasted. Father Shandor takes the place of Van Helsing, and while he is interesting, he is not as cool.  In fact I feel that he comes off a little preachy with his advice on how to kill vampires. The art in this comic is done by John Bolton, who is known for his work on such comics as Kull, X-Men Classics, Man-Bat and The Book of Magic, and it looks amazing! His drawings of Christopher Lee’s Dracula is very well done and makes this all right comic adaptation a little better. Bolton’s style has an almost solid pencil look to it, and his shading is well done and makes his work pop. The cover on this issue is also pretty eye catching, and I am sure caught the eye of horror kids of 1977! Over all this issue is just okay with a rushed storyline, cheesy Dracula death, great artwork and some creepy classic monster moments.  

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After this issues 4-8 have been M.I.A. for decades.  Many think they were never made, while others say they are lost in a haunted crypt.  This brings us to our next issue, “7 Golden Vampires.” So let’s chill our blood some more here in Yellow Springs, test our luck against Twilight Man, and read the last issue in the Hammer Dracula series. 

7 Golden Vampires 9

7 Golden Vampires  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 9 of 9

Dracula kills a man who is in charge of guarding the legendary 7 Golden Vampires, and after killing him Dracula takes his appearance. Meanwhile across the world, Van Helsing is giving a lecture about the legend of the golden vampires when he gets a visit from a man named Hsi Ching, who tells him that the legend is true and that he comes from that village and needs his help to stop the remaining 6 Golden Vampires who wish to avenge the death of the 7th on the seventh moon! Leyland Van Helsing, his son, and a rich young widow Vanessa Buren are attacked by a warlord, and his men and are saved by Ching’s brothers.  This act and the money of Vanessa send the Van Helsings, The Chings and Vanessa on a quest to stop the 6 Golden Vampires who attack along the way. The battles are filled with lots of death, and both sides lose many.  Once more Van Helsing tricks the overly cocky Dracula into showing himself to be staked,and as the vampire king dies so do the remaining golden vampires.  Once more peace is brought to the small village.

This final issue in the Hammer Dracula comic series is well done and is a comic adaptation of a film done right. The down side of the comic is the fact it is very talkie and the action seems like the second thought and is crammed into only a few panels while the long talks of legend and fears seem to take up pages. In the issue  Dracula is not in his true image for most of it nor is his taken image….in fact Dracula is barely in the comic at all! Dracula in the issue is just not a threat at all and is almost forgotten about.  Not to mention Van Helsing kicks his butt quickly in the end, and this makes the supposed vampire King look like a cheap fool. The 7 Golden Vampires while spoken about being complete evil killing machines, they don’t kill as many of the brothers as the reader would think and makes them more of a threat than Dracula but still not totally challenging. Van Helsing is the main hero of the story, and he is once more filled with the knowledge and the means to kill some vampires. His son Leyland seems to be thrown into the mix only to fall in love with the Chings’ only sister.  This is the drama that was needed to make the film have some “oh no” moments as his love is kidnapped by the vampires. The Ching brothers are cool and have an almost Shaw Brothers feel to them that comes out even on the comic pages.  They are bad asses, and they know it. Vanessa Buren seems like a background character until she turns into a vampire and is killed by her crush Tsi Ching who also kills himself in freeing his would-be lover’s soul. Over all the comic is well done and got three stars for sticking pretty close to the movie and making the pages they had very enjoyable. Thoough this is a sad way to end the Hammer Dracula comics and not to mention the film series with a weak lame Dracula who does not look like nor is played by Christopher Lee. Sadly I could not find who did the artwork in this issue, but I will say that its well done and captures the feel of the film. The cover is also well done and is very eye catching! Over all I would say a good issue with a cool story that has the worst payout for any iconic bad guy character, but is totally worth a read.  

While reading these comics in Yellow Springs, the sun was going down and a slight breeze was in the air making it a little chilly. Noises of birds and squirrels in the trees filled the air as well as the thuds of walnuts falling from the trees echoed like sounds of heavy footsteps pounding the ground.  Fall was in full effect this day and the atmosphere was just right. Bugs were all over the air flying around in large groups and landing on my arms making me have to swat at them to knock them away. As I sat on a old park bench in the middle of a field that had trees all around me making almost a perfect circle that I was trapped in, I waited to hear a whistle or a ghostly noise from something from beyond the grave! After Dracula Prince of Darkness, I heard and saw nothing besides normal nature sounds.  So for 7 Golden Vampires I decided to walk around and read, as the sun was fading fast the air got a little cooler and helped add to the spooky nature of the Golden Vampires. But sadly after reading this comic and being in Yellow Spring,s I can 100% say that while the atmosphere was right the evening of reading, these comics just was not scary. So here is to hoping I can get a creepy charge from Frankenstein’s Castle! 

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Frankenstein’s Castle/Witches Tower is a haunted tower in Kettering that is the source of many haunts and strange things. The “Castle” is the source of many orb spottings all around it that interfere with people taking pictures and video of the area. A ghostly blacked cloak figure can be seen at the top peering over and watching people below late nights.  It’s said that the cloaked figure is a witch who curses those who get to close. A shadow man roams the woods near by and has been known to kill animals and chase cars of those who cross its path. The ghosts of four teens who were killed inside the tower during a thunderstorm that had lightning hitting the metal rail as they climbed down, are also said to haunt around the tower. The giant metal monument of Henry Patterson is also said to be haunted and that the book he carries is said to have occult writings in it, and the head of the horse he is riding is said to follow you. The tower itself seems to be a mystery as no one can find why it was built and by whom. I have been to this location and the woods around it many times late at night and have in fact had some odd things happen mostly having to do with the shadow man, I have also had camera issues around the tower that at one point locked up a camera that we were using to film an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. I very much look forward to reading Curse of Frankenstein in this area and wish that Eric and Kurt could have gotten “Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell” comic adaption done in time.  But like all good things, these things take time ,and I will review it and do a whole write up on that film and comic when it’s done. Well with that, let’s get scared and have some spooky times at Frankenstein’s Castle. 

Frankensteins Castle Ohio

Yep, just look at it….I know its creepy and yet super cool!

Curse Of Frankenstein 1

The Curse Of Frankenstein # 1  ***
Released in 1976   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 7

Baron Victor Frankenstein along with his good friend Paul are robbing bodies from graves and hangmen nooses to try and build a new super being and to give life to the dead. Paul is getting cold feet and is backing out of helping, and to make things worse Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiance, has come to live at the castle and he has very strong feelings for her. Frankenstein continues his experiment and even hides the fact he has been sleeping with his maid from everyone.  His obsession gets worse as he kills an old Professor friend for his brain that is damaged when Paul and him have a fight over what he is doing. The Monster awakens and is out of control and escapes, and this leaves Paul and Frankenstein having to shoot and kill the Monster and bury its body in the woods. But as days pass Frankenstein can’t let his creation go that easily and digs it up and brings it to life once more.  This time he fixes the damaged brain, and the Monster acts more like a dumb dog than a raged-filled monster. This doesn’t last long as The Monster kills the maid and tries to kill Elizabeth, leaving Frankenstein to have to torch his monster with an oil lamp and knock it into acid. But it’s not a happy ending for Frankenstein as he loses Elizabeth to Paul who also does not come to his friends aid, and he is hung for the murder of his maid.

This comic adaption is super fun, even if the first six pages are super fuzzy and are hard to read. The comic is filled with sinister deeds and paints Victor Frankenstein to be an evil man who does what he wants when he wants and will take a life if it benefits his needs. That’s what makes Victor one of the best bad guys of any of these comics; while Dracula and Leon are monsters, Victor is a real man who does not feel bad for his deeds. Paul plays the good guy who for the most part is also kind of a scum bag as he had helped Victor up to a point and only started to get odd about it once it came close to the monster getting life. The Monster, while a killer, doesn’t do much in this comic and is more of a tool to show the evils of its creator. I like the fact that Frankenstein has a lovely woman in his life, but also likes to slum it and get some of his maid who he kind of treats like a no good whore. The fact that Frankenstein dies in the end of this issue just like in the film is shocking and helps add to the message that being an evil doctor with a bad heart leads to death. The comic captures the mood and terror of the film, and right behind “Horror Of Dracula” this could be one of the better comics we looked at this Halloween. It’s crazy to think that no other Hammer Frankenstein comics were made because this series of films were perfect for comics. The art work is well done and once more no artist name was given.  The cover is one of the better in the Hammer comic series. Over all this is a great read and I recommend finding this one.

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Frankenstein’s Tower was in full effect when I went to read this comic, and the leaves were falling from the trees all around.  The sounds of people in the park filled the air, and the air was chilled and that perfect temperature to read a horror comic in. Sounds of leaves blowing around and animals running about filled the air as The Monster came alive in the comic. After reading the issue, I drove around the park at night and waited for The Shadow Man who didn’t come this night, but I could kind of see The Black Cloaked Witch at the top of the tower.  I am sure it was all in my head, right?

What would Halloween be without a fantasy warfare?  So in this one we will pit Hammer’s heavy hitters Count Dracula, Leon The Werewolf and Victor Frankenstein against each other at a haunted Ohio location known as Prospect Place that is filled with many hauntings and ghost. The day the battle will take place is Halloween Night, and the moon is full.  A storm is coming, but for now the stars are bright. So let’s get into this epic battle of Hammer Horror icons!

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The moon is full and is shinning and a storm is blowing in at the old mansion that is known as Prospect Place.  Inside near one of the windows is an oil lamp, and a man sitting at a makeshift desk writing down notes of the morning’s failed experiment.  The man is none other than Baron Victor Frankenstein! The air is so cold he warms his gloved burnt hands over the lamp and is deciding if he should try and get some sleep. Meanwhile in one of the second story rooms, a coffin sits.  Inside is Count Dracula sleeping in the box filled with his home land’s soil, and he his now getting up and looking for a blood snack. The coffin door creaks and this noise alerts Frankenstein who now knows he is not alone in this creepy old place.  He makes a decision to leave the old house and hold up in the barn until morning for he knows he can’t be seen because he is a wanted man for all his crimes against God. The Baron turns off the lamp and grabs his top hat and slips out the front door.  As he looks back he sees that a man is watching him leave the house.  Unbeknownst to him, that man is Dracula who has just found his next victim.  Victor rushes to the barn to fetch his horse.  He has been seen, and he knows it’s time for him to leave and not look back. As he enters the barn, he finds that his horse has been killed, and a werewolf is the killer.  As the beast is drinking the blood from an open wound on the dead animal’s neck, Victor backs up slowly and right into Dracula who lets out an unearthly hiss.  This noise alerts the werewolf who now is up and ready for a fight! The Werewolf lunges toward Victor who just in time side steps, and the werewolf tackles Dracula instead.  This enrages the vampire king who in turn grabs the beast by the neck and starts to squeeze.  As Dracula’s death grip tightens Victor runs to the house and grabs the oil lamp.  Meanwhile the werewolf scratches at Dracula’s face ripping chunks of flesh off, but this does not phase the vampire as he gives one more powerful squeeze and ends werewolf Leon’s life and torment. As Dracula turns, Victor throws the oil lamp at him and it explodes covering him in oil.  Victor strikes a match as quickly as he can and as he is about to flick it at Dracula, the rain starts to poor down.  Victor looks at the wet match as Dracula moves closer. The wind blows and the last scream of a evil yet brilliant Baron fills the air.

 Winner: Dracula

So there you have it.  While both Werewolf Leon and Victor Frankenstein tried, they just could not beat Dracula on this haunted battlefield.  But make it near running water, and they stand a chance. This was a fun Halloween, and the month was filled with lots of good times as well as sad times but I hope you all enjoyed yourself and hope your bellies are filled with candy. Next update we will take a look at Wally The Wizard, one of Star Comics’ original characters.  So until then, stay spooky and read some comics!

Wally The Wizard Logo

Should Have Beens From My Friends


Welcome back to part two of the wish list of what should have been made by Star Comics/Marvel.  With my top 10 picks done, let’s take a look at a few others people’s thoughts and wants. This is going to be a long update, so sit back, scroll down and have fun looking at these picks down memory lane!

Bryan Brassfield

First up is my brother, Bryan Brassfield who is only three years older than me and also grew up through the 80’s and 90’s. Bryan is a collector of movies and toys and also enjoys a good comic. In fact, when we were younger he used to make his own comic called “Weird Tales of Waynesville,” a fun horror comedy look at our home town. Bryan has also directed a few no budget films that include Twisted Batman and Nightmare.  He also was making a film called The Kenny Rogers Project that fell into development hell. Bryan also has acted in many Andrew Copp films that include Black Sun, Atrocity Circle and Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain, and played a drunken abusive father for Josh Weinberg in his One Second Too Late series. Bryan now is married and lives peacefully with his wife and daughter in Germantown, Ohio. So without further ado, let’s get on to his top 5!

#5

suckerman logo

Most people wouldn’t give a shit, but I would have loved to seen a Sucker-man comic book with him being a crime fighter!

suckermansuckerman in boxSuckerman 2

#4

AWA

Hey WWF and WCW had their own comic books, why not the AWA! Imagine Sgt. Slaugher, Rick Martell, and Greg Gagne battling the likes of The Road Warriors and Baron Von Rashke.

Sgt SlaughterAWAOfficialLogolod

#3

Garbage Pail Kids Logo

Gross out humor comic that would be a combination of Mad/Cracked magazines with the Garbage Pail Kid gang. This would have been really cool.

Evil EddiePail Kids PackBrainless Brian

#2

Battle Beast Logo

Another comic book that would have a good cast of characters who could have dealt with the mythology and back story. If I’m not mistaken, I think it also had a Manga based on it.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher BlackThorne had a 4 issue run of Battle Beast in 1988.

battlebeast1BATTLE BEASTSBattle_Beast_Loose_Sloth

#1

Muscle logo

They probably made a Magna out of this, but I think they could have done one for American audiences that would feature Muscle Man and his “Thug Busters” battling Teri-Bull and his “Cosmic Crunchers.”

Muscle ManMUSCLE BATTLETeri Bull

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Stephen Alexander

The second to share his list is my cousin Stephen Alexander II, who just so happens to also be one of my best friends.  At a young age Stephen lived for Bon Jovi, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Horror Films, and Nintendo, but he was terrified of Chucky from Child’s Play that lead to many pranks that I am sure warped him to this day. Nowadays Stephen is one of the founders of a beard & mustache club in Dayton called the Gem City Gentlemen of the Guided Beard who have been seen on the IFC show Whisker Wars. Stephen also is a no budget actor who has starred in such films as Wolf Hunter 2, Vampire Peeper of Greene County and Bark at the Moon: Oliver to name a few. He also enjoys a fine glass of beer and repairing old smoking pipes. He also is responsible for helping me to find and dig up Baron Von Porkchop to host the show Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. So let’s get to his top 5 list!

#5

gpkn6bi1 copy

To me this is a no-brainer, you have just the right amount of disgusting mixed with a cast of crazy characters to make a great comic.  They could have literally done anything with this (besides make a crappy movie).  A comic would have been a perfect route for this franchise.

adam bombles vegasStuffed Stephen

#4
Pog Logo

This one may take a little bit of imagination, but it could be done. The way I picture it is you follow a main character or several main characters that are on a quest to defeat arena Pog masters all over the world to be crowned Pog king or champion or whatever. While he/she/they are on their quest they run into all kinds of insane Pog warriors. I think it would have made a great series of comics, and hell I probably would have owned the whole set.

pog_classicpog-fire-sticksPOG-The-Game

#3

Creepy Crawlers Logo

I think this was another huge missed opportunity on it’s creators part. This could have been an epic journey through the mind. As a mad scientist creates these nasty Crawlers to take over the world, but one hero/heroes stands in his way. Every edition could have different ways the mad scientists makes new Creepy Crawlers, and the hero/heroes have to find a way to stop him. It would have been comic gold!

creepy_crawlerscreepy playsetcreepytoon

#2

MST3K

I loved this show as a kid, and it would have translated into comics amazingly. They could have just continued the travels of Mike and the robots through space, and we could have caught a glimpse of what happens when they don’t have to watch a terrible movie. Every comic could even be a continuation of one of the shows even. It would have been something I would have owned for sure.

mstMST3K-hoststhe-mystery-science-theater-3000-collection-volume-xviii-20100618033053045

#1

are-you-afraid-of-the-dark-LOGO

One of my all time favorite Nickelodeon shows. This could have easily translated into a comic. They would just take the Midnight Society and make them do what they do best, tell ghost stories. It practically writes itself, and they could do more with the comic that the show maybe wouldn’t allow, effects and that kind of jazz. Drawing it the pages of a comic would be much more cost effective I would think and it would have been a great comic book line for kids of all ages.

areyouafraidofthedarktaleofthelongagolocketAre%20You%20Afraid%20of%20the%20Darkareyouafraidofthedarkthetaleofthefinalwishs02e01

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Matt Hoffman

Next up is Matt Hoffman a friend of mine since high school and one of the co-founders of our no budget film company Independent B Movie. Matt is a comic fan and some would say a super fan of Superman.  Matt used to have a crush on Britney Spears and is one hell of a good cook.  Matt, known to his friends as Hoffman or Hotch, has been in many no budget films like Teen Suicide, Vampire Peeper of Greene County, Werewolf of Ohio 2, Bark at the Moon: Scars, Farmer Joe and is known for playing The Wolf Hunter in numerous films as well as writing and directing two films so far in that series. Hoffman no longer lives in Ohio but is still hunting wolves in Colorado. He also worked at Mavericks Cards and Comics as an early teen. Hoffman is a great friend and has picked some franchises that have had comics, and some odd choice ones for kid comics, but who am I to cross the Wolf Hunter! 

#5

starcraft_logo

I would have love to see this in a comic book form because it really reminds me a lot of a mix between Starship Troopers and Avatar.  Both has its own merits , but if you took both those concepts and visual graphics, it would have been a cool concept to make as a regular series. Imagine the story would continue from the first game that then leads into the second game where its a terran all out battle. The last remaining of the hive enslaves the photos to destroy the terrans last stronghold before total annihilation.

Note From Matt:  Publisher WildStorm had a 7 issue run of Starcraft in 2009.

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#4

matrix_logo

The movie left out a lot of details and information as of how things really happened and what happened there after the peace between man and the machines. I would have loved to seen the different aspects of the creation of it to the total enslavement of all humans as batteries. I see the comic story breaking into several different titles given focus on certain characters like Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus along with Agent Smith. I can see one off branch giving the pre-story while others follow each character as it leads into the movies while even finishing the story after the movie series end.

Note From Matt: Small Publisher Burly Man had a 2 issue run of Matrix in 2003.

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#3

2012

Hear me out on this one. With all the folklore and myths about the end of all supposed humanity and life will never be the same again based off of 1000 years old testimonies of a forgotten tribe, you could really have played with in so many ways. The movie was okay , but the comic could show different parts of the world or even how the world gets destroyed. The story could involve characters from all parts of the globe and how their civilizations and countries are preparing for an unknown disaster and not knowing how to prepare for it. Mass chaos would erupt and violence and devastation would rule the land. And it comes down to the exact moment, and the series ends just like that. 

los-angeles-sinking-ocean2012-the-end-of-the-world-291x300BOOOOMMM

#2

Resident_Evil_logo

Now tell me that isn’t self explanatory . The story is awesome, you can go with different stories, different levels. The action and the graphics are killer and just overall it’s my favorite game of all time. I don’t really have to create to much imagination just to have it continue on where the games and movies have left off. I would love to have known more about Leon and Claire and the town of raccoon city before it got hit with the T-virus to during the initial onslaught of the zombies. Kind of like The Walking Dead but with those characters instead.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Marvel had a 1 issue run of Resident Evil in 1996 that was a free give away. In 2009 Wildstorm had a 4 issue run and then a 6 issue run that started in 2000.

Lickers_resident_evilre legendsnemesis

#1

wolf hunter loo

Now I know you expected this one to pop up. The story behind the movies are so in-depth that they really can’t be translated to film as well as into a comic form. The vast amount of characters and villains would be ample amount of writing material to create a graphic novel/comic series. I see it picking up from after Armageddon to find that The Wolfhunter has been left blind in one eye and one of his hand has been ripped off from his battle with Ravenger. Malice has been killed and Ravenger disappeared.  The government has created a lethal army to hunt down and kill all remaining werewolves and to capture the Wolfhunter. Oliver was able to transform back to human form and is aiding in the capture efforts of the Wolfhunter. Duke and the Wolfhunter guild are in hiding while trying to regain forces to make one last stand against the Werewolves den. The Wolfhunter trains his apprentice to carry on his legacy as he fights his last battle.

MaliceDuke and The Wolf HunterOliver

Note from Matt – In 2008 a Wolf Hunter comic book was in the works and was being worked on by local comic artist Justin Wasson. The series while not fully dead in the water, is on the back burner and has been there for many years now. But never say never that this series might see the light of day, below is some art for the comic, so enjoy!

WH PromoPanthorHeaven

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A Ghastlee Ghoul

Now it’s time for a dear friend of mine named A. Ghastlee Ghoul, a local horror host from Dayton, Ohio. Ghastlee has been hosting his show “The Ghastlee Movie Show” since 1989 and has tickled the funny bone of late night TV viewers. Ghastlee also has appeared on many other shows such as New Shock Theater, Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, Media Only and many more. Ghastlee is the godfather of the Horror Host Underground, a show trading network that allows hosts to show fellow hosts in their area. He also hosts Weird Web Theater, a YouTube horror host show, and has done Friday Monstercasts on The Monster Channel. He’s also been nice enough to have me on his show to play his “son” or a crazed guy who says he is his son! Ghastlee has also directed movies like “Joe Nosferatu Homeless Vampire” and starred in films Black Sun, Songs in the Key of Satan.  He’s written books and short stories and plays music in two bands! His band Splattertude is also the official band of Cinema Wasteland Horror Convention. Ghastlee also loves a good cigar and is a master of the Karaoke arts.  I call Ghastlee Father and great friend, and a man who has inspired me in ways to create.  So let’s get into his top 5 because I could go on forever on the legend A. Ghastlee Ghoul!

#5

rock_em_sock_em_robots

One of my favorite games as a kid. Robots punching each other until their heads pop off. How cool is that? Long before Robot Jox or Real Steel, the Marx toy company knew how cool it is!”

rockem_sockem_robotstoyrockemartred robot

#4

Here Comes The Grump logo

A bizarre late 60’s/early 70’s cartoon by Dave DePatie and Friz Freleng. Vibrant, surreal art and smart writing. The show only ran for seventeen episodes, but the concept has so many possibilities. In the right hands it could still make a great comic book series today. Maybe they could write in a robot.”

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#3

forbidden-planet-original

Classic sci-fi. I’m surprised it was never turned into a comic. The Krell, monsters from the Id AND Robby the Robot?! Yes, please!”

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Inovation had a 4 issue run of Forbidden Planet in 1992.

forbiddenplanetRobbie the Robot, from the film 'Forbidden Planet', 1956.Robby+and+Altaira

#2

academylogo

It’s a concept you could have as much fun with today as we did on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Pre-Power Rangers stories where the kids are heroes…and, oh yeah, there are robots and things blowing up!”

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#1

Shock Theatre logo

A given for me. My childhood hero! I could see Creep as your gentle, wry guide through the world of the macabre, and then at the end of every vignette he shows up and kicks the bad guy’s butt with a mighty HOO-HAH-HAAAAA!!! The best of all worlds! And Big Robot from Clubhouse 22 could even make a cameo!”

DrCreepmysteria Creep DuffyDr Creep 3D

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Louie Lerma

Next up is my pal Louie Lerma who is known around here in Dayton for being a founding member of the lucha surf rock band Team Void and for also being Retina on Horror Host show Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go! Louie is one cool guy, and we have worked on many TV shows and concert events together. In fact Louie is also the uncle of one of my friends, Bruce.  So without anymore wait, let’s get to Louie’s List!

#5

RAY!

1960’s – Starting with one of my heroes Ray Dennis Steckler. He was an actor/director/ camera man/writer/ producer. He worked on low budgets. Ray Dennis Steckler was inspired by and used what was around him: friends/ family/ location/ costumes. He believed shooting without a script freed up the storyline which made his movies better. Scripts and props especially crippled movies because once you chase a script and must buy certain props you have stopped the movie’s creativity.

Ray’s Movie List: Wild Guitar. Thrill Killers. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who died And Became Mixed Up Zombies. Lemon Grove Kids. And so many more…

I would like to see this comic based on him as he is making one of his crazy movies. Each movie that he made is the issue title. Depict Ray putting together his movie and convincing other people to become part…. as the comic unfolds you will see the full feature itself. Just like in Ray’s movies such as the “Thrill Killers,” it starts out as an intense thriller and ends as a cowboy chase on canyon roads… wild ride plot twists always surprising and fun!!

One of my favorite Ray Dennis Steckler movie is “The Adventures Of Rat Phink And Boo Boo.” It starts out as a hostage movie, then the characters become superheroes by jumping into a closet to save the day! Leading up to the “Incredibly Strange” issue that would be a monster musical. You never know where each adventure will take you, loose storyline written as we draw up this comic using his stan!

Rat Finkblood+shackWild GUITAR

#4

svengoolie

1970’s – A comic based on horror show host, Svengoolie from Chicago on his show Screaming Yellow Theater. The comic would be drawn in R. Crumb style and follow Svengoolie as he hosts a mondo crazy movie. Each issue would open up with a special guest sneaking over to his coffin -knocking ever so gently to wake the star up!

The comic must highlight Svengoolie’s quick wit one liners firing off to the audience, draw them in left and right directions across the page, go wild with the comic like his style joke delivery. It would have to have him waving around a rubber chicken and having fun while having a blast with his guests, sketches sick parodies breaking out. Include commercial page inserts of products to use during his movies as funny jokes for breaks…

I would like to see this one made because I’m a horror show host myself and love Jerry G. Bishop as the original “Svengoolie” funny cool style.

svenhorror_svengoolie_old2sven rules

#3

reanimater logo

1980’s – A fly-on-the-wall comic based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West” and drawn Brian Yuzna style. Lead character likeness of 80-s actor Jeffrey Combs. The issues would be printed black/white using textured highlights in Re-animator neon green and bloodiest reds.

Issues begin at private research laboratory as Professor Grubber goes all through West’s career coming to experiment at America’s unsuspecting colleges. Feature his curt wit working through daily wicked routines. A day in the life of Re-animator: who he befriends to conduct experiments and his enemies due to his demoralized ethics. Have to feature taking off the Dean’s head; the head becomes a voice for devils advocate to West’s gruesome fun.

 Note From Matt: Small Publisher Adventure Comics had a 3 issue Movie Adaptation in 1991, and a 4 issue run in 1992 followed. Dynamite Comics had a 1 shot issue in 2005.

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#2

twinpeaks1

1990’s – Twin Peaks -The Comic Saga. This was one of my favorite shows through early 90s. I love mysteries but I do believe David Lynch and the writers were messing with everybody! In this series the comic will explore Laura Palmer’s death affecting all Twin Peaks neighbors: quirky characters that knew and loved her.

The comic would be taking place in Twin Peaks after Laura’s death, narrated by Special Agent Dale Cooper, FBI speaking into his voice recorder to his secretary, Diane. Interjections by D Lynch via intercom speaker, telephone, one final cameo in front of the camera.

Twin Peaks soundtrack brings the dark mood: reverb resounding echoes of everyone’s life and thoughts. Too bad you cannot hear the music while you read the comic! (2012? Yes, easily the comic cover would have a CD insert/i Phone code/ recommendation for the reader to listen to the score by Angelo Badalementi as you feel this twisted story.)

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#1

logo_crypto

2000’s – Based on true facts for paranormal and supernatural unexplained phenomena. Name this comic “Uncovered True Paranormal; Ghosts, UFO,s USOs, Mothman, Bigfoot, Sea Creatures, All Strange Creatures And Mysterious Landmarks As We Discover Them.”

Each issue would follow three cases/ encounters and their witnesses in regional proximity to each other. Maybe discover links as the comic explores the topics.

Each situation would feature experts to the scenario and bring the reader knowledge about each witnesses experiences. I would really love to see this comic use all new, latest technology invented to investigate these claims. A compelling comic series dealing in facts that keep growing as people learn more about all these phenomena and our world.

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If anybody wants to take on these comics with me, please do. Thank you for reading my thoughts about the 5 decades of my life for comic books. This goes out to my buddy Matt Brassfield who inspired me to write this page.

Yours truly,
Luis Lerma

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Bizcut

Chris “Bizcuit” Corwin is next up, and I have know this man since I was in my late teens when he was one of my managers at Blockbuster Video, and one of my favorite co-workers. Bizcuit nowadays works for a movie theater in the Greene and is also a stand up comedian that can been seen on the stage of The Funnybone Comedy Club! Bizcuit is a film lover and a comic book reader who has also was an extra in the Sylvester Stallone film Driven. So with that in mind let’s get onto the funny man’s picks for his top five should have been comics in his youth.  Oh yeah, and he was a rebel and could not keep his picks to 5.  So he did 8, and I am okay with that!

#8

MacGyver logo

I think this would be great because there were so many more stories that are to be told and situations to get out of using everyday objects, gum, and paper clips. It would be like a “How To” guide if you were ever held hostage or had to defuse a bomb with only 30 seconds left.

 Note From Matt: Publisher Image had a 5 issue run of Macgyver in 2012.

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#7

Sheriff Lobo logo

Crooked small town sheriff and his inept deputy who moves like a jungle cat (watch the show to get that joke) and their misadventures solving crime. With guest appearance occasionally by B.J. and the Bear. I liked Lobo even though he was flawed he tried to do good.

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#6

Magnum P.I. logo

This just screams comic to me. Writers could delve in to Magnum’s history and his time in Vietnam. What is Higgins’ background? He could be a super badass and you would never know. How about Rick and CC? Plus as an added bonus it is set in Hawaii so comic book girls in bikinis.

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#5

Pennywise the Clown Logo

Stephen King’s IT terrified me as a novel but as a movie not so much. IT took the form of Pennywise more than once over its lengthy existence. I want to know what that tale is. What is IT? Where does it come from? Why the clown? I feel there is way more horror to be expounded upon.

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#4

The Shirt Tales Logo

The what? The Shirts Tales. It was a cartoon from the 80’s that starred a panda (Pam), tiger (Ty), mole (Digger), raccoon (Rick) and an orangutan (Bogey- who was voiced with a Humphrey Bogart impression) and were a group of super agent spies with all the gadgets that lived in a tree in Central Park. Seriously, do I have to say more?

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#3

Last Starfighter logo

Aliens use a video game as a test to find the ultimate fighter pilot and then come to Earth to take him back so he can save their world. Spoiler alert: he totally wins. Is that it though? I mean there are a lot of bad guys in the universe. There is as many stories as there are stars.

 Note From Matt: Marvel Comics Did a three issue movie adaptation of the film in 1984.

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#2

Goonies logo

Perhaps the greatest kids movie ever made. My apologies to Surf Ninjas but you know it is true. I wanted and STILL want more Goonie adventures. They live in a coastal town there has to be more treasures find and bad guys foil.

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And the number 1 thing I would have like to seen turned into a comic book is…..

#1

logo

The French Chef with Julia Child! I know you just read that and said WTF?! Yes, I said Julia Child. Why? Well quite simply I loved watching that woman cook. Yes I know they mad a crappy movie about her. Do you know what they left out of that movie? That Julia Child was a spook, a spy if you will for the Office of Strategic Services which in WWII was the forerunner to the CIA. She was Jane Bond and she could handle a knife and she could cook. She travelled the world under the guise of THE celebrity chef and was spying on people when she did it and no one saw her coming. Would anyone suspect her? Um no, because she is Julia F’n Child. It practically writes itself. Julia travels, cooks and spies. Throw in a bad cooking pun for some comedy whilst she is killing a bad guy or two and pesto! ( see what I did there) instant comic book heroine. You also get a positive role model for young girls. For those who like to cook you can put a recipe on the last page or two.

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So, that is my list. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks to Matt for asking me to do this. I had fun.

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Jason Young

I have known Jason Young for a very long time and met him via Mavericks Cards and Comics in Kettering Ohio.  He was always trying to help me to find classic back issues and Topps comics when I was a teen shopping at the store. Jason is an award winning comic book artist who makes his own bio comics called Veggie Dog Saturn that comes out via his own comic company Buyer Beware Comics. Jason is also a no budget actor and has been in many films like Werewolf of Ohio 2, Slashers Gone Wild, Wolf Hunter 2 and Cocktober Blood to name a few. Jason also loves the 80’s hairband Poison and even has the band’s logo tattooed on his arm! Jason also does a podcast with our friend Eric called Gutar Trash. I also lived with Jason for a few years, and he was a great roommate and a good cook of tofu and eggs! Jason is a man who loves comics and movies and hates Magic the Gathering and with that let’s take a look at his top 5!

#5

highwaymen logo

This TV series from the late ’80’s was more like a cartoon than the live action show it actually was. It featured not only a semi truck that could turn into a helicopter (I know right?!?) but also the Australian bodybuilder “Jacko” who used to do commercials where he screamed at the top of his lungs and burst through walls all in the name of selling Energizer batteries.

I would have bought this comic. It would’ve been drawn by Rob Liefeld and featured foil embossed covers. It maybe even would’ve included a trading card bagged in issue #1. It would’ve been so bad that it would’ve been amazing. So, so amazing.

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#4

Eagle Force logo

This was a super short lived toyline that me and my brother went crazy for… and then it disappeared. It was like a cross between M.U.S.C.L.E.S. and G.I. Joe. They were tiny little metal army guys each one with distinct personalities (the fat bearded Harley was my favorite). Although Wikipedia says there was a comic I don’t believe it. I’ve worked at a comic book shop for more than two decades and have never seen one. There were six panel comics on the back of the action figure packages and those made me long to see a full length book!

The comic would’ve been pretty much like the ’80’s G.I. Joe comic. I mean let’s be honest here… Eagle Force was a G.I. Joe rip off pure and simple (they fought a terrorist organization called RIOT which featured soldiers and ninjas and was led by General Mamba) but it still remains one of my favorite toy lines ever and I would’ve absolutely loved to read a comic book about them.

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#3

Ed Grimley logo

This was an amazing cartoon from the late ’80’s based on Martin Short’s character from SCTV and Saturday NightLive. It was bizarre and subtle at the same time and featured science lessons by the Amazing Gustav Brothers and the live action horror host Count Floyd. This show could be an adult swim show… truly ahead of it’s time this thing was.

 The comic most likely couldn’t have captured the vibe of the show but I still would’ve bought it. I definitely would’ve wanted all the different segments from the show as those were some of my favorite parts (The Gustav brother are responsible for my to this day only using unwaxed dental floss).

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#2

Garbage Pail Kids Logo copy

What young man in the ’80’s didn’t love the Garbage Pail Kids? The grossest, weirdest most hilarious trading cards ever to exist would’ve been great as a comic book! I mean, look how sweet the movie turned out? Okay, so the movie is kind of hard to watch but a comic could’ve been great especially since Art Spiegelman (a brilliant comic book writer/artist) came up with the series!

 In my mind the comic would’ve been a series of short stories involving no more than a handful of G.P. Kids at a time. Maybe like those old Richie Rich, Casper and Hot Stuff comics where you’d get a few stories each issue. That way they’d be short and sweet… and hopefully gross and hilarious!

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#1

Muscle logo copy

(Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere) : This would definitely be the ’80’s property I’d most liked to have seen made into a comic book. There were just so many great characters (like the evil Michael Jackson glove!) that it was mindblowing! When I was a kid I loved wrestling, monsters,robots and toys so this line was a no-brainer as it included all of those things. It was basically a toyline of two inch tall characters that would be right at home in a GWAR stage show… simply amazing.

I guess what I’d like to see in the comic would be quite simply: Mondo Violence! Sure you could throw in some comedy and perhaps some allegiances between some of the characters but I have to say the violence would be key. Since their name suggests they’re tiny little creatures maybe the intergalactic wrestling could take place under kids’ beds as they watch in delight while they should’ve been going to sleep… I don’t know. As long as it was uber violent and funny it would’ve been great to see.

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Eric Shonborn

Eric Shonborn is an amazing artist who back in the day worked on books like Razor Baby, and nowadays has his website Shonborn’s Carpal Tunnel where he gives his thoughts and shares a sketch a day. Eric has tried his hand at acting as well and has been on episodes of Terrifying Tales of The Macabre and starred in a movie called All The Marbles. He has also worked on many DVD covers that include Werewolf of Ohio for Warlock Home Video, Vampire Peeper of Greene County for Independent B Movie and did many covers for the releases of New Shock Theater on DVD. He also has three podcasts that include Gutter Trash, The View Masters and The Stupid Sexy Podcast in which he and his co-hosts talk comics, movies, TV shows and many more fun topics. I met Eric via Mavericks and became friends with him thanks to Jason Young and am proud to call him a friend! So with that let’s take a look at his top 5 picks!

#5

Night Court logo

My favorite sitcom as a kid, and quite frankly, as an adult. I still find it to be an absolute delight. I don’t think it’d be a great comic, but it’d be a weird comic, and 8 year old me would be all over it. During the later seasons, Night Court got more wacky and over the top and was almost like a living comic book anyway. In an actual comic, the sky would be the limit and nothing could be held back. The comic book adventures of Harry Stone and The Criminal Court Part 2 could be in session anywhere, anyway, anyhow. 

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#4

Max Headroom logo

Max Headroom was such an oddity. An ad campaign for Coca-Cola that took on a life of its own as a weird Britishy/American 80s vision of the post-apocalypse sci-fi tv show. Admittedly as a comic, Max would lose it’s greatest asset – actor Matt Frewer. But like Night Court, with comics there’s no budget or human limit to adhere to. The comic could up the ante in the sci-fi and apocalyptic imagery and go places the show could only have dreamed of.

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#3

Starman logo

It’s weird. I’ve never thought of myself as a sci-fi fan, and yet so much of what I loved as a kid was rooted in it, much like John Carpenter’s rebuttal to his own earlier movie, The Thing. He wanted to create a positive, friendly alien movie and in the process created the sympathetic and heroic Starman. There was a short-lived TV show that followed the movie. I’d imagine the comic would pick up from that, and maybe even gear the lead character to be a stripped down, low-level superhero of sorts while still playing with the Stranger in a Strange Land themes.

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#2

turbo teen logo

Man, this cartoon is so dumb and ridiculous. Even as a kid, I’m pretty sure I thought that, but I still loved it. I remember watching it all the time, but can barely remember it outside of the origin of the character. A young kid gets in an accident and fuses with his car, which he then can transform into. It’s so weird. The comic would just be a continuation of the cartoon, and it would be weird and make no sense and I would devour every issue and beg for more.

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#1

url-3

This is one is kind of a cheat. There was a three issue comic released in 2008 written by William Katt himself. There’s also a great parody/homage comic from the early 2000s called “Truth, Justin and the American Way”. The show was itself a sort-of knock off of Green Lantern. Aliens give a worthy human a powerful tool to save the world, but he loses the instruction manual. Wackiness ensues. The comic would be the show, but bigger and bolder. More comedy, more action, more emphasis on the haphazard superheroics of Ralph Hinkley and his friends and perhaps more superpowers. So like I said, there eventually was a comic, but not when I was a kid – when I wanted one and when I would have loved one.

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Jeremy Hoyet

Next up is my good friend and fellow co-worker at Mavericks, Jeremy Hoyt, who is a man who loves almost everything from Japanese culture that includes everything from Godzilla to Manga. Jeremy also is a super fan of Voodoo from the super hero team Wild Cats and also is a man who loves the Muppets and owns a few life size replicas. He is also a fellow member of the board game club I belong to and is a fellow PS3 player that has helped me beat such games as Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 2 and Aliens Colonial Marines. He has also acted in a few no budget films that are not completed like Long Dead Winter and Frankenstein vs. The Werewolf. Hoyt is a living legend and one cool guy to call a friend, so let’s take a look at his top 5! 

#5

RushnAttack logo

This was a great action game on the NES back in the 80’s and would make a great “period piece” comic series. I enjoyed the game and the art sensibilities of those 80’s video games would really make it stand out in the market today. A smart licensor could pair it with promotion of that show “The Americans.”

I see the story developing as a cross between political intrigue and all out action, think “Ghost in the Shell” meets “Rambo.” A group within Russia makes the calculation to launch a covert war against America and our allies and only one man, and his team of tactical advisors and espionage experts, can stop them.

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#4

The Mysterious Cites of Gold logo

This was one of my absolute favorite cartoons back in the day, mid 80’s. I and my little sister would stop whatever we were doing when it time for the show, and it dominated our lives for an entire summer.  Fantasy adventure with a hint of a history lesson thrown in, what’s not to love.

The comic adaptation could follow the adventures of some of the secondary characters or maybe take place years before the show as a prequel. Fantasy and ancient technology merge in the midst of the Spanish conquest of South America and the subjugation of its people. Add in a possible alien invasion and boom instant classic.

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#3

Metroid logo

This is one of those no brainers that I’m amazed never came to be. Yes, there were Metroid villains in “Captain N” and Metroid manga in Japan, but here in the states in the 80’s we got left out in the cold by Nintendo when it came to Metroid merchandise.

I don’t really need to say why this would be cool do I? Bad ass bounty hunter Samus Aran combs the galaxy fighting space pirates and monsters while in search of lost alien technology and the truth behind the living weapons known as Metroids.

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#2

Robotix logo

To be honest I don’t remember too much about Robotics other than its amazing theme song…ROOOBOTIX, robotix… Anyway, it was a cool build it yourself toy line of giant robots.  Transformers meets Legos. Yes, there was one issue made back in the 80’s but that was it, no series, no resolution.

Simply put I love robots, kids love robots. The possibilities of launching a franchise on the scale of Transformers would wet any executives’ appetite. Technology run amok, terrorists with giant robots to back them up, and a rag tag group of heroes working with sentient machines for the good of Earth. Oh, and a killer theme song… uhh, comics don’t have theme songs you say. Well, as a bonus the first issue could come with a soundtrack CD.

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#1

Final Fantasy logo

Yes, there have been manga, but as with Metroid, back in the 80’s we got none of that here in the states, and to be honest, there isn’t a Final Fantasy presence in comics today. It’s a huge franchise with limitless possibilities.

The story could literally go anywhere. Medieval fantasy epic, check, futuristic cyberpunk, check, alternate reality hoping, check, time travel, check.  You name it, and it could happen in this book. It could even be an anthology series with different creative teams and different worlds for each story arc.

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Bruce O Hughes

Bruce O Hughes is a local comic artist who I met via Mavericks Cards and Comics thanks to my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn.  I quickly became friends with this talented man. Bruce has worked on many great local comics like Clobber Vance, Iron & Ink and Razor Baby, and has done many great DVD covers that include Terrifying Tales of The Macabre, Goatman of Maryland and episode 4 of The New Shock Theater. Bruce also does a comic podcast called The Break Ins where he and fellow local comic artist Justin Wasson talk about all things nerdom. Bruce has also tried his hand in acting and has been in All The Marbles and Missing. Bruce works for a local TV Station and also does some animation for Minor League Baseball Teams.  So in short Bruce is your go-to guy when it comes to your artwork needs! So let’s get a few words from Bruce and then go into his top 5.

I was born in 1978 & prone to reading comic books on the many 4 hours drives to see my Granny in Kentucky once a month so I am no stranger to Star Comics. Many of its short lived titles such as Silverhawks, Heathcliff, Madballs & Count Duckula were right up there with Spider-Man & Batman for me. I loved being able to take their adventures with me where ever I went & having the oppurtunity to sit down & study exactly what they looked like as well as the world around them. Truth be told, I probably make my own comics because of the comic books that my dad bought me at the Hook’s corner drug store before every car ride down south. Thank Gawd I was an impatient child!

#5

Flight of the Navigator logo

This is a movie I watched many times in school for some reason. I think it’s one of the few VHS tapes that the school owned so anytime we could not go outside for recess this, got crammed into a tape deck & rolled out in front of us. The story is simple in an unnecessary kind of way. There is a reason for the characters to spend some time together at odds with one another, then once they have achieved their goal they move on… but what if this was made into a Star Comic back in 1986, what would have happened after the credits rolled? I’d like to think the comic would have ignored the second half of the movie where David gets to go back in time & live a semi-normal life with his family & new alien pet. I’d like to see the comic start with Max & David showing up in the future, or an alien world, anywhere but where they wanted to go. The stories could have been about them trying to get David back home or Max completing his mission or even them returning all the other aliens on the ship to their homes. Each issue a different planet, a different problem. I would have bought this on sight!

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#4

Bravestarr logo

What started out as a spin off of the Filmation Ghostbusters gave me an appreciation for not only westerns but also good old fashion sci-fi! I remember coming home from school to see the namesake Marshall & his horse, Thirty-Thirty, keep New Texas safe from Tex Hex & all the other no-count outlaws. It was perfect. There was that sense of old-timey home spun morals mixed with robots, aliens & even a time traveling Sherlock Holmes! These stories ended after 65 episodes & a failed movie… but what if they continued? There was a BraveStarr comic series but it didn’t last long & was in 3D. I’m talking old school blue & red 3D. Who liked that? Yuck. I like to imagine that the adventures of Marshall BraveStarr, Thirty-Thirty, Deputy Fuzz & JD would have translated to a universe spanning epic. There could have been other Marshalls, more of the legal system could have been explored, what happens when all the ore has been mined? It’s such a broad canvas to explore.

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#3

Doogie houser logo

The teen drama that should be given credit for almost every CW show! Doogie was a super smart teen doctor. That’s it. The show had a straight forward concept but it used it to explore so many social issues… such as racism, sexism, insurance & its prices, aging, losing your virginity, spousal abuse, etc. This was a much deeper show that we would all like to admit & it ended abruptly. The last thing we ever saw was Doogie quitting his job & heading off to Europe. He was unhappy with the direction his life was going & had made the decision to leave it all behind & see what he could do with his natural talent besides make money & save a few while a majority suffered. If this story ever continued it could be the equivalent to “a hero’s journey” tale. Our young, once doctor, could travel around the world looking for something bigger than himself, stopping here & there to improve the lives of others along the way. It lends itself well to a monthly comic but even better a series of graphic novels. Hell, this may be the one idea on my list that could come back on television if done right!

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#2

Teen wolf logo

First Teen Wolf was a movie, then a cartoon, then a TV show… why not a comic book? The cartoon differed a bit from the movie.  For one, Scott Howard was still hiding his Wolf-ness from the town.  The second big change was that he had more family, two grandparents & a younger sister. The cartoon only lasted two seasons & none of the episodes pushed the envelope when it came to new or original ideas. But… if there had been a comic I’m sure someone would have seen this for what it could have been; awesome! Think of a world that already has Werewolves, now why not other “monsters”? Vampires, ghosts, zombies, etc. could have all made appearances in the Teen Wolf world. This was ripe for new stories!

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#1

Back to the future logo

What can I say? Michael J. Fox was a big part of my childhood! We’ve all seen the movies, we all know the characters, there was even an animated series for a few years. Time travel will always lend itself to endless stories & in comics the budget is a lot less for a lot more than you could get out of a movie. Imagine if the story continued after Doc Brown & family drove off on their flying train (ignoring the animated series for a bit). Where did they go next? What did they do? Who did they meet? Why hasn’t there been another movie already?!?

Note From Matt: Publisher Harvey Comics had a few issues of the animated Back To The Future in 1991.

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Garrison Kane

Garrison Kane is a friend I meet via Fairmont High School who was in the media class ahead of me, and one the the first times I met him, he was doing a prank call on the school radio station’s phone! After school I worked with Garrison at two jobs: Krogers and Blockbuster Video, and he works with me again currently. Garrison is a man who collects Nintendo products, Legos and Masters of the Universe vintage figures. Garrison is also known as Dr. Gakman to his friends and many video game forums, and has also been in many low budget films like The Sadness, Vigilante C: The Hunt For Man-Beast and Wolf Hunter 2. Gakman is also a member of the board game club and has been a great friend for many years so before we get to his top 5, here are some words from the one and only Dr. Gakman.

Hello, my name is Garrison Andrew Kane, and I’m here with my list of 5 franchises that never had a comic book series. It’s not really a “top 5” for me as I just came up with these rather quickly to put together for a friend upon his request on short notice. Also, as such, this isn’t going to be a comprehensive/descriptive list of what I’d personally want or think is needed to become a comic as most things that I really would want to be on a “top 5” list is probably already a comic.

#5

Garbage Pail Kids Logo copy

This one is kind of a throw away which is why I list it first (I guess #5). As an ‘80’s child I can tell you it was HUGE for me and a lot of kid’s back then. As with anything that kids like and makes money it was a target for persecution by the powers that be (the “we hate _____ ‘cos it’s ruining our children” police, the media, hell…parents). Eventually they put an end to the fun, but not before Topps continued with GPK series’ reaching double digits, responding with an even more radical (and more violent) “Dinosaurs Attack” trading cards set to the theme of the old “Aliens Attack” cards before them (both of these also deserving of a comic) and then finally a Garbage Pail Kid’s major motion picture. If anyone remembers this would’ve been an easy conversion to comics as many cards had comic-book like panels on the back featuring silly stories about the gross characters from the universe.

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#4

Ronin Warriors logo

If you know me you know I had to put in a Japanimation-themed franchise up for an American comic. There are TONS of Japanimation franchises, but I wanted to limit myself to one for this list. I looked up whether or not there was a Robotech (AKA Macross) comic (mind you, back when the cartoon first made it’s way to American TV circa ’85) in America and there actually was so I went with something less-known and Ronin Warriors (AKA Samurai Troopers) popped in my head. Now there certainly is a Japanese manga of this series, but nothing adapted into an American comic like was done for the Robotech cartoon. I think this one could make a cool comic mainly ‘cos of the armor and weapons…I imagine a really good artist could get lost on the details there. 

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#3

Skysurfer Strike Force logo

Speaking of detail SSSF had amazing detail in the animation and character designs and again, this would translate best in comic for with the right artist. This entry is probably very obscure/unknown to most, but it was a short-lived (and equally short-loved) ‘90’s American toon that appeared soon after the “Con: The Adventurer” cartoon series was done and featured many of the same people (including voices) from said Conan cartoon. It seemed to follow the ‘80’s toy/cartoon formula much like say…He-Man or TMNT and the like, but it didn’t work as well. It was mean to be deeper, darker…more grown-up than those cartoons before it, but just never was a hit.

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#2

Neutrinos logo

Mentioned TMNT already and that started as a comic and had the Casey Jones & Usagi Yojimbo spin-off comics too…but never a Neutrinos spin-off. So yes, I would like to find out more about these hot rodin’ teenagers from Dimension X (in fact, that should be the name of the comic, hmm: HRTFDX or maybe HTDX?). In this case it wouldn’t be so much about the art or even detail…but just to read what these far-out futuristic ‘50’s inspired daddy-o’s would say and where a hover car & dimensional portal would take them!

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#1

Metroid loggggoo

I’m a Nintendo nut…and my favorite franchises from them or…from anyone, is Metroid! Yes there was a Super Metroid comic in Nintendo Power magazine and there was a Japanese manga, but I would like more. But not too much more really…sometimes certain things are better left to mystery…so we can use our own imagination. When it comes to the Metroid games, I think it is better when there’s not too much story in it and likewise if they were to adapt it into a cartoon, movie or comic I would say just show the action…less story please! Too many sci-fi themed franchises spend too much time explaining everything and look ridiculous or boring as a result, with something as precious as Metroid is to me…I’d want the opposite. Metroid is at the top of any list you throw at me, but at the same time, I’m torn as to whether I’d want something like a comic or movie based off my favorite franchise ever to tarnish it. If either were a go, art (great special effects or 3D if a movie) like lenticular pages, holographic images implanted into certain panels of the comic or add glow-in-the-dark ink to find “secrets” while reading the comic in the dark would be what I’d want along with very detailed art. Action and art being the focus NOT story…leave that to mystery…which is part of Metroid’s charm.

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Juliet Fromholt

Next up is my girlfriend Juliet Fromholt, a young lady who puts up with all my weird loves in all that is nerdom and who also loves all this geeky stuff! I meet Juliet at a used media store where she worked called CD Connection, and after a few years of being friends we ended up dating and are going on five years now.  Juliet is a bright young lady who got a degree from Wright State and ran their Radio Station for 2 years. Juliet now works for a local NPR station as a reporter, DJ and webmaster.  She can also be found as a movie and video game reviewer for Bloodline Video, and also acting in local no budget films like Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain and episodes of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. Juliet is a great friend to the local media art scene and is a supporter of all things local, and a lover of theater arts. So with that let’s take a look at her top 5 picks. 

#5

poundpuppieslogo

They’re lovable; they’re huggable; they’re Pound Puppies! I was the proud owner of several Pound Puppies and Pound Purries (their feline counterparts) as a child. My 4th or 5th birthday was actually Pound Puppies themed complete with a pin-the-tail-on-the-Pound-Puppy game and a cake topped with figurines of Cooler, Nose Marie and the rest of the gang. I also still own the VHS of 3 Pound Puppies cartoon adventures including The Newborns at Camp Okay Boney. That story alone would make a great comic book, but really there are so many things they could do with the Pound Puppies characters all the while helping make a case for adopting shelter pets (and of course, the non-profit employee in me even envisions the proceeds going to help real-life shelter animals).

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#4

Count Chocula

Based on the classic Universal Monsters, Count Chocula & company have become pop culture icons in their own right. They’re so iconic in fact that I can recite many of the commercials that aired during my childhood, without having actually eaten the cereal until I was well into adulthood. I was actually really surprised that there was never even a single-issue, prize in the box/mailaway comic created for these characters. When Matt asked me to make my Star picks, this was one of the first franchises that came to mind and it’s because of one particular commercial. In 1988, the Fruity Yummy Mummy and his accompanying cereal were introduced. The Yummy Mummy was, of course, another try at a mixed fruit flavored cereal, the first mascot thereof being the Fruit Brute. In the commercial, we see Count Chocula and Frankenberry exploring a pyramid. They fall through a trapdoor, into the tomb where the Fruity Yummy Mummy emerges from his sarcophagus and sings to them about his cereal (and yes, you can see this on YouTube). An expanded version of this story alone would have made a really fun comic – it’s like Indiana Jones meets Universal Monsters meets a well-balanced but sugary breakfast. While I don’t particularly think a series based on Count Chocula would have lasted more than 3 or 4 issues, I could dream up a wealth of story lines to keep it rolling for a while including sugary parodies of each monster’s Universal film/legend and the traditional Addams Family/Munsters-style haunted hijinks. 

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#3

california-raisins

The California Raisins were born in 1986 when a member of the California Raisin Advisory Board exclaimed in a marketing brainstorm session, “We’ve tried everything except singing, dancing raisins!” So what did they do? Created singing, dancing raisins. The first appearances of the California Raisins were in claymation commercials and the Emmy-winning Claymation Christmas special, which is still one of my favorite TV holiday specials of all time. The Raisins made a few more claymation appearances as the individual characters were developed, and then they made the leap to Saturday mornings with their own cartoon. The cartoon only lasted 13 episodes, but it certainly made an impression on me as my mom and I still talk about the episode where the punk rocker Lick Broccoli (who was a guitar slinging stalk of broccoli) tried to steal the girl Raisins’ (The Sweet Currants) new song. Like that episode, most of the cartoon’s plots were based on the musical adventures and mishaps of the Raisins, and a comic based on the characters could certainly do the same. One of the things I always remember about the cartoon was the clever use of other fruits and vegetables for the supporting cast of characters. I think that would be so much fun and could have been done so well in a comic. One relic from the California Raisins brief media saturation is a really great line of Raisin figurines, similar to the Smurf figurines that made their way from Europe to the US in the 1980s. I have a fairly decent collection of the Raisins, but just learned that some of the side characters from the cartoon are also lurking out there somewhere. But that’s probably an issue to take up in a different blog.

 Note From Matt: Small Comic Company BlackThrone Did a five issue 3-D run of the raisins in 1988.

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#2

shera logo

It was just a given in my mind: there are He-man comics, therefore there are She-Ra comics. But we all know what happens when you assume….you’re wrong and you get no She-Ra comics because they don’t exist. Someone was seriously missing the boat on this one. I could actually see a comic version of She-Ra being almost like Sailor Moon in terms of franchise: a multi-arc book based on the title character and her universe with plenty of room to explore side characters either in their own arcs or even their own books. While there are certainly more female comic characters, especially in the hero’s role, today than ever, I still don’t feel like there are necessarily a lot of comics geared towards girls, and this franchise could have easily filled that void. I could see the series following the cartoon closely to appeal to younger readers, or, again, following the Sailor Moon model, it could taken the base action/adventure/fantasy storyline a bit deeper to appeal to teenage/adult readers. They could even follow DC’s Teeny Titans model with super kid-friendly stories about Adora, Glimmer and Madame Razz for the younger set and then a regular, more adult series. There’s of course, crossover potential with He-man characters and stories, and I could even see some of the She-Ra side characters getting their own mini-series/one-shots. A smart comic company with good writers could actually probably still make this happen with some success today – banking on nostalgic young ladies of the 80s like myself and then introducing the She-Ra characters to a whole new generation of young women. There’s such a wealth of stories to be told….if anyone needs me, I’ll be re-watching the cartoon series and taking notes.  

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#1

jem logo

Glamor and glitter, fashion and fame – Jem is truly outrageous…and much cooler than Barbie. The dolls were incredibly fun and each came with his or her own cassette tape featuring original music “performed” by the characters, and if you were super lucky, you’d play those cassette tapes in the built-in player in Jem’s toy limo. The cartoon series, which was recently released in its entirety on DVD, was also really fun and so of its time with lots of 80s rock and roll fashion and the popstar vs. punk rock vs. new wave story arc. As with the aforementioned ideas for She-Ra, a Jem comic would have been an awesome way to get more young women reading comics from an early age. The lead character has your classic comic trope of the alter ego – Starlight Music owner Jerrica Brown is really international rock sensation Jem. How does Jerrica balance her two lives and with whom does she share her secret? Throw in some amazing villains who are as loveable as the heroes in the form of the Mistfits and the Stingers, super computer/holographic helper Syngery and poor confused Rio who can’t decide if he loves Jem or Jerrica, and this book writes itself. It’s crazy that this wasn’t a comic, and even crazier when you consider that Marvel Productions had a hand in the cartoon.

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Josh Weinberg

Josh Weinberg has been one of my best friend since I moved back to Kettering when I was in the 9th grade and was one of the first kids to go out of his way to be friendly to the strange guy in his Evil Dead T-shirt. Weinberg and I have worked many jobs together that include Krogers, Blockbuster Video and Game Swap and have worked on many films as well that include Andy Copp’s Black Sun, Matt Hoffman’s Wolf Hunter, and he has starred in many of my own films like Werewolf of Ohio, The Sadness and Cocktober Blood. Weinberg has also made his own films that include One Second Too Late, Two Seconds Too Late and Bark At The Moon: Oliver. He also spends holidays around Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as he works the photo sets located in the malls around here. He is also a sports nut and loves both the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals. He also loves to hunt ghosts and Bigfoot and doesn’t mind roaming the backwoods of Ohio trying to find the legends with me. He also is a fellow music lover and has been to many concerts with me that include seeing bands like Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Cinderella, Poison, Dokken and Kiss to name a few. He is married to his wife Lisa, and I was his best man in the wedding.  Josh is a kick ass guy that I am happy to call friend and with that let’s get into his top 5.

#5

frosted-flakes

Number five on my top five would have to be Tony the Tiger. Growing up I would always love to see that tiger come on the screen to advertise his cereal. Nothing wrong with sugar coated cereal in my opinion. I think it would have been cool to make Tony the Tiger a super hero. Kind of like Batman or Superman in the sense that he would have an alter ego as the cereal selling tiger but by night he would be out fighting crime. He could even team up with other mascots to aid him in this. The possibilities for this are endless as far as story lines.

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#4

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Number four on my top five list would be Secret of the Nimh. Growing up this was one of my all time favorite movies. I used to watch it over and over again just to see what would happen. As if anything would change each time I watched it. I think it would have been cool to see maybe some adventures that the characters could have had exploring the world of Nimh after the second movie. They would just go off and explore the rest of the world. Mix in maybe some more back story into the main characters of the first film that did not survive.

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#3

Willy-Logo

Number three on my top five list would be Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Same thing as Secret of the Nimh, this was another childhood favorite of mine. To this day I still love this movie and hated to see it remade. The movie portrays all the diferent types of people that are in the world all the way down to your average good person that may or may not have everything they want but make the best out of everything. Proving that hard work and dedication as well as some morals really do pay off. If I was writing the comic, I would love to see where Charlie takes the chocolate factory after he takes over. To see if he would open it up more or keep it just as secret as always.

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#2

Montezumas_Revenge_SMS_ScreenShot1

Number two on my top five would be the video game Montezuma’s Revenge. I remember this game growing up because it was on the first video game system that we had, the Atari. It was contained on the floppy disk. I just remember sitting there for hours playing this game and not getting bored but somewhat frustrated with it, trying my hardest to beat it. The comic for me would be simple; just show the adventures Panama Joe would have while trapped in the temple. The whole goal would be to escape the temple and free himself and his people.

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#1

706

Number one on my top five list would be the Cincinnati Reds, especially the 1990 squad that went wire to wire. Growing up I was like most kids, loved sports and playing outside. Then came the 1990 Reds. They are the reason I still love the Reds to this date. They had so many characters on that squad that just made you want to watch. Everyone from Chris Sabo (which I had a book as a kid where he was my coach) to Eric Davis, Paul O’Neil and of course Barry Larkin. I would have loved to be able to have read a comic based on that year. Then going on into Reds history in general. There is a lot of rich baseball history in Cincinnati. Even though most of those players did not last very long in the majors. That year and that team to me remain one of the best in baseball history.

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Kipp Poe

Kipp Poe Speicher is a fellow no budget filmmaker that I met in my days of traveling to horror film conventions, and we quickly became friends. Kipp Poe has made the short film Dreadful and has worked on many other films that include Werewolves of the Relic, Cult of the Jester and Church of the Eyes. Kipp is also an author of digital books now and is one all around great guy. Kipp also is the man who filmed Josh & Lisa Weinberg’s wedding! So with that in mind, let’s get to Kipp’s Top 5!

#5

Max A Collins logoMax A Collins Nathan Heller series made into comic form as the Private Eye revisits popular True Crimes of history and gives us an alternate reality of them as he tries to solve them.

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#4

Universal Monsters Logo

Universal Monsters was a big influence on my childhood I didn’t watch many cartoons but always loved it when Super Host would have on any of the Universal Monster shows on. I think a comic book of them teaming up would have been a cool read.

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#3

The Wall Logo

It was an album that formed my life and I could see a series based on it as a youth and being alienated and building a world around you of Art and noise.

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#2

Manos Logo

Manos The Hands of Fate …Why because it would have to be incredibly awful and a total trip.

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#1

Dragnet logo

A comic book series geared towards crimes that happen in today’s world and the steps that Law Enforcement takes to put an end to it. The series would give insight to children what cops do and hopefully bring social acceptance between youths and Police. This would also work with Adam 12.

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Blood lineRick Martin

I meet Rick Martin via my brother Bryan and friend Andy Copp and quickly became his friend. Rick is the owner of RMM Agency that put out Ultra Man, Cannibal Ferox and Best of Shock Theatre on VHS.  He is also one part of the team that brought Dayton horror host icon Dr. Creep back to TV with The New Shock Theater. Rick was also Dr. Creep’s manager and close friend. Rick Martin loves board and role playing games as well as horror films, Godzilla, Samari Cinema and the hit BBC show Dr. Who. He also is one of the original team members who put on Horrorama, an all night horror movie marathon for charity! Rick also taught classes at Sinclair Community Collage about classic horror films and is currently teaching classes at SWORD about the films of Kurosawa. I am proud to call Rick and friend and with no further ado here is his top 5.   

#5

hamiltons-invaders logo

The action figure and toy line called Horrible Hamilton. These toys were of giant space insects and the humans who are fighting them off from world domination. They toys were amazing and a comic would have rocked!

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#4

King Zor  logo

King Zor was a giant space dragon toy from my youth. A comic series about his exploits, conquests and battles would have been a child of the 1960s dream!

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#3

Rat Patrol logo

I would have loved to have seen a comic book of the Rat Patrol TV series. Watching those soldiers fight Rommel’s Africa Corp on TV was fantastic – a comic could have been even more so!

 Note From Matt: Publisher DELL had a 6 issue run of The Rat Patrol in 1967.

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#2

Universal Monsters logo 2

I always wanted a comic series following the exploits of the Universal Monsters. It would have been cool to see them all meet up and fight!

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#1

Hammer Frank logo

Last but not least, I always wanted to see a regular comic book series following the adventures of my favorite anti-hero of the movies – Peter Cushing’s Dr. Frankenstein from the Hammer film series! Imagine him moving from town to town trying to perfect his perfect creation while the church and the judicial authorities try and catch him and make him pay for his unholy experiments!

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Blood lineThe Warlock!

The titan of no budget fright, The Warlock is next! I met The Warlock thanks to Chris Seaver and came to respect him for his love for low budget cinema. The Warlock, for those of you who don’t know, is the spokesghoul for Warlock Home Video, a company that puts out shot-on-video films on both DVD and VHS. I have even had the honor of being interviewed by The Warlock about making Werewolf of Ohio and The Sadness! Now be warned, The Warlock lives and grew up on the darkside so his picks are a little more sinister than most! So here is a few words from the man and then let’s take a look at this cool ghoul’s top 5.

Greetings Horror Fiends, The Warlock here from Warlock Home Video. While resting in my crypt, I came to contemplate why so many amazing things in this world have not been turned into ghoulish comics. Here is the Warlocks Top 5 list of things that should have been comic books:

#5

henry portrait of a serial killer logo

Who wouldn’t want to read about the comic misadventures of one of the most beloved psychos of all time?

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#4

Night of the creeps logo

Invading naked aliens dropping weird space slugs on to earth, creating zombies out of college kids+Atkins= MAGIC!

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#3

Monster Sqaud 1

Our hero’s come back to try and take over the world from those pesky kids that get in the way.

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#2

Night of the demons logo

Angela throwing more parties from hell would be a charming bedtime read for any young goblin.

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#1

Warlock logo

The Warlock! There has yet to be a comic of the most feared and revered member of the occult. I would be a perfect fit for the pages of a devilish comic. Eat your heart out, Archie. I am coming for you!!!!!!!!

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Mike Ritchie

Mike Ritchie is a legend and is one of my only friends that when you speak of him we all use his full name. I met Mike Ritchie some years back when I was a teenager and he worked at Blockbuster Video.  Later I also became an employee, and we worked the same store for a short amount of time.  We became friends over the fact we both love old school pro wrestling and horror films. Mike Ritchie has also done a few acting bits for such films as Wolf Hunter 2, The Sadness and Farmer Joe, a film he also wrote and directed. Nowadays, Mike Ritchie writes concert reviews for Dayton Most Metro and a few other news websites.  He also works a factory job and looks a lot like The Son of Hercules from the horror host show Terrifying Tales of The Macabre. Mike Ritchie is a good and loyal friend and has picked a few odd choices and some modern ones, but no one tells Mike Ritchie about rules! So with that let’s look at his top 5 picks. 

#5

The Ring Logo

The Ring with a Grudge tie in-two rare movies that creeped me out, maybe have characters encounter each other and have a final battle ala Freddy vs Jason. The video could be watched in the grudge house to start things off.

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#4

Alcatraz logo

I was really disappointed when this got cancelled leaving lots of unanswered questions. I don’t know if they had already written out the reason the prisoners were coming back without aging or not but I’d read them if the series continued.

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#3

F13TH SERIES LOGO

Some people hated this show (which had nothing to do with the movies) but I really liked it and thought it was cool and spooky. Each issue would be based on an episode and they could continue where the series stopped. As a wink wink joke the comics themselves could be put into a vault.

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#2

Dexter logo

Two potential versions 1.Satisfying his dark passenger Dexter travels through time stalking and killing histories most infamous mass murders and serial killers either before, after or during their storied kills. 2. Dexter imprisoned for life trying to avoid being shanked, having no choice but to control the urge as well as he can, must resort to imagining/dreaming his kills, spending time in the library reading about histories greatest serial killers. He could get so obsessed he starts imaging prisoners as these killers or use the code to figure out which inmate deserves to die the most.

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#1

The Boogie Man logo

The Boogie Man-WWE-he wasn’t a great wrestler but I liked his makeup, entrance and character. He’d make a great comic guy, good or bad. The worms could be the symbolic swallowing of souls if he was a bad guy.

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Count Gregula

Next up is Chicago area Horror Host Count Gregula, who besides the hometown hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Freak and Dr. Creep welcomed Baron Von Porkchop and myself into the horror host family with open arms and blood soaked fangs. Count Gregula began his show “Count Gregula’s Crypt” in 2005 and continues to film episodes from time to time. Gregula is a huge fan of all things Grandpa Munster, Svengoolie and cheesy horror films.  He lives and stalks the streets of Illinois and is an all around cool undead blood sucking ghoul! One fun time I had with him was when at a Horrorhound Weekend Baron Von Porkchop, Viola Poison, Susie The DJ and myself had dinner at a small diner with Count Gregula, and the looks he got for his full-on vampire appearance were the stuff of vampire folklore. So with that, let’s get to this vampire horror host’s top 5 picks!

#5

Rockfire logo

Loved them back in Da Day! These characters from my favorite animatronic band of the 1980s could have individual lives in the comics along vith a background story of how they met to form their famous band!

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#4

Inspector Gadget logo

I loved this cartoon as a little vamp! Read the comic adventures of Inspector Gadget panel by panel and see in living color all his gadgets go crazy in the process!

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#3

The Monkees logo

The 4 band members of this show are comics so for them to be made into a comic is just the next step. The comic can even be more of a lampoon than the show and maybe include an actual monkey in the mix!

 Note From Matt: Publisher DELL had a 17 issue run of The Monkees in 1967.

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#2

son Svengoolie

He is a perfect living character to make a comic because he defends the earth vith his ever present rubber chicken by his side. FYI, Alex Ross actually did put Sven in the Justice League graphic novel JLA: Liberty and Justice.

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#1

Munsters Logog

Comic Munsters vould be right up my dark alley! The misadventures on my favorite Family of Fright in print!

 Note From Matt: Publisher Gold Key had a 16 issue run of The Munsters in 1965 and in 1997 TV COMICS! had a 4 issue run.

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Todd The Fox

Todd The Fox is a great friend who happens to also be one of my favorite local musicians! I met Todd via my friend Henrique Couto, and this led to a friendship that has had us working on a number of projects that include concerts like The Baron’s Ball and A. Ghastlee Night at Gilly’s, both at Gilly’s Jazz Club in Dayton as well as in-store shows at Game Swap in Kettering. Todd has also acted in and been interviewed on Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. Todd is a man of a thousand talents as he is also a Civil War re-enactor and hosts open mic nights at a local bar. Even though he is a busy man, he always makes time for his friends and that’s why I say Todd The Fox is one hip cool cat to have as a friend! So let’s take a look at his top 5 picks.

#5

Encyclopedia Brown logo

A series of children’s books based on the adventures of Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown were released beginning in the 1960s. Brown is a boy detective Leroy Brown known for his intelligence and knowledge of many wide-ranging topics. This allows him to open a neighborhood detective agency and solve crimes for “25 cents per day, plus expenses – No case too small.” He is aided by partner and bodyguard Sally Kimball.

The mysteries range from finding lost items, helping other children outsmart bullies and con men, and even helping his father (the police chief of Idaville) solve crimes while at the dinner table. The books usually had ten or more mysteries divided into chapters. The stories always contained enough clues to allow the reader to solve the puzzle the same way Encyclopedia would. A graphic novel series could introduce a whole new level of sleuthing by adding visual cues to the various crimes.

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#4

Time Lord logo

Released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, “Time Lord” was a side scrolling action game. Set in the year 2999 Earth has been attacked by an alien race called the Drakkons. They have sent their armies to various historical time periods and you, the Time Lord, must travel back and defeat them using weapons of the time; also you must collect five power orbs to return to the future and defeat the Drakkon leader. Since the game features 4 different times in human history it would make a great four-part mini-series comic book.

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#3

Native American legends logo

I always thought it would be interesting to follow the legends of various tribes and nations of Native Americans. If this was turned into a comic series we could use the artwork to tell the story. Powerful, vivid images with no dialogue would lend a certain sense of timelessness and power to the stories while allowing a stylistic interpretation.

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#2

Q logo

How cool would it be to see a comic that follows the early career of the man who creates all the gadgets that allows Comdr. Bond to survive and overcome the most extreme situations. The genius with the code name Quartermaster (or Q for short) heads up Q Division, but we never really knew much about his past. How cool would it be to have a graphic novel to flesh out his history?

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#1

Blind Willie Johnson logo

An interesting comic could be made from the details, stories, and tales surrounding legendary bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. Blinded by his mother at age 7 during an argument, Johnson went on to pioneer a style of music that influenced the blues, folk, and even rock ‘n roll. Artists such as Son House, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, Depeche Mode, and many others have covered his songs.

Although very influential Blind Willie remained poor his entire life. After his home burned down he had no place to go. He eventually died from a fever contracted by sleeping in what was left of his bedroom.

The story could even take a sci-fi turn since Blind Willie’s song “Dark was the Night” was included on the Voyager Golden Records, which were mounted on both of the Voyager I and II spacecraft. Currently they are just outside of our Solar System. That means his music is part of the farthest man-made object ever sent into space.

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Brett Prescott

Brett Prescott aka Felix Wussington is a fellow Waynesville townie who happens to also now live on the street I grew up on! Brett as Felix plays punk rock horror pop and travels around spreading his music. Brett is a shopper at Game Swap and that’s how I met him because he has a love for classic gaming and loves himself some NES game carts…in the box complete. Brett also loves cartoon character Felix The Cat and works more hours at his job than any other human I know! So let’s take a quick look at his Top 5!

#5-1

Rick Logo

There were an unlimited amount of things that I got myself into as a child, and if I had to sum it up to 5 things for some reason…… I’d probably have to start with the few things that I did every week.  Which was dig holes, play 8 bit Nintendo, watch a lot of media, take things apart, and drink a lot of soda.

 So, let’s say someone had asked me how I would have combined these amazingly fun things into one entity. Now to start, obviously, I’d have to figure up a character, that was all these things.

 So I know this guy named Rick that in his day to day life, you know, his 9-5 life. Rick is a grave digger, and in his spare time loves to fix old electronics and other types of manly things. All of his friends and family always call him when stuff doesn’t work. And, being such a swell guy, always comes through on fixing anything that’s broken. Lucky enough for everyone else, Rick never asks for anything in return.. because he loves doing it in the first place. People always ask him why he doesn’t just get out in the world and fix things for a living, you know… get out there and be a handyman! Well.. Rick is addicted to digging up the earth, and he found his profession already.

Now Rick himself hates coffee.. But he has an amazing need for different types of cola. You could say he is a Cola Savant. He loves them all, but goes to ridiculous lengths to import home brews and oddities from around the world. If it comes in a bottle or can, has a high sugar and caffeine count.. Rick is in. You might say.. without it.. Rick can get a bit on the “Hyde” side of life.

 But! What Rick doesn’t know, is that he also has the power of none other than Gumby Himself. And I know you are all thinking.. oh he is rubbery and claylike. WRONG! Rick will soon find out that he can travel into any sort of multimedia and live out the experience of a new character in the world.

So what worlds will this grave digging, cola-holic, media junkie get into?

 EVERYTHING AND EVERYWHERE.

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Blood line

Wow, is your mind in overload with all these ideas and missed opportunities from comic companies to cash in on what the youth of each generation would have loved to read ongoing issues about? I noticed that many of my friends and family picked Garbage Pail Kids and a few picked M.u.s.c.l.e, Metroid and Universal Monsters, making them the winners when it comes to impacting a childhood. I Also noticed that only one of my friends picked a same choice as me when Count Gregula selected The Rock-A-Fire Explosion, and while the same pick, we had different ideas on what the comic would have been about. I want to thank all my friends who took time to send me top 5 lists and would like to hear from you the readers: whose Top 5’s did you like and which ones mirrored your youth? Our next update we will be taking a look at Star Comics Defenders of The Universe! Until then. pick up a comic or two and enjoy whatever adventure awaits inside.

Defenders of the earth logo

Rotten Pixels

This update I think I am going to take a break from comics and films and talk about another great past time for me:  video games.  So I’m dubbing this one Rotten Pixels. I grew up in the prime time for gaming and was a fan of home gaming consoles from the start.  While I never owned a Atari 2600, a childhood neighbor named Brad Burns did when I lived in Waynesville and I remember playing games like E.T., Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark and being captivated. A few years later my parents got my brother and I a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for Christmas after our cousins Dino and Norman showed us the wonders of Super Mario Brothers, Ninja Gaiden and Contra. The system was a hit at the Brassfield house, and even my parents would play on occasion.  My Mom liked playing Mario, while my Dad would play sports games like Blades of Steel and WCW Wrestling against us. Those times spent playing the system with my family will forever be amazing memories. The games that seemed to capture my attention were games based with horror themes like Castlevania, Friday the 13th and Ghost and Goblins.  The more monsters, the better, I always thought.

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As time passed, we moved up to a Sega Genesis that we bought off a guy Bryan went to school with for $30.00.  While the system had better graphics and some amazing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast and Golden Axe, it failed for the most part in the horror department.  While some great horror games would come out like Castlevania Bloodlines and Splatterhouse 2-3, the system was bogged down with some off the wall and down right crappy movie tie in games like Bram Stokers Dracula, Marry Shelly’s Frankenstein and The Lawnmower Man. The Sega Genesis years for me belonged to the super hero games like Captain America and the Avengers, Spider-Man Maximum Carnage and Incredible Hulk.  While I still loved a good spooky horror game the games were just not being made as fast leaving me fighting super villains and not horror icons. The Super Nintendo would come along, and my brother would be the one to take that step and get the system when we moved to Kettering.  While the system had great games, once more I found it had the same bad horror film game tie ins and even less horror games coming.

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We made the next move to Nintendo 64, and while it was a solid system, the lack of horror inspired games led this to be the system of “name brands” for me like Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda Ocrina of Time and Goldeneye. But in 1995 Sony released the Playstation, and things would never be the same.  The system had many great titles and a ton of horror games that become known as survival horror, making this my favorite system and making me a loyal Playstation buyer. Games like Clock Tower 1-2, Resident Evil 1-3, Silent Hill, D and Nightmare Creatures 1-2 kept the gamer in me happy with chilling monster filled games. But during this time there was also a lack of games based on horror films, something that continues to this day.  Sure, every once in a while we will get a game like PS2’s Underworld: The Eternal War and Microsoft Xbox’s Land of the Dead: The Road to Fiddlers Green, but the Underworld game was a European only release, and Land of the Dead was a rushed mess.  But back to the system at hand, Sony Playstation would have many horror inspired games come out during its run like Evil Dead Hail to the King , Juggernaut, Over Blood, Legacy of Kain, Dino Crisis, Castlevania Symphony of the Night to name a few. I spent many of late nights in my room or in the family room playing these chilling games alone or with great friends like Jason Gilmore and Andrea Seay, and enjoying every spooky moment. The PSX had a few movie tie-ins that were based on horror/sci-fi films like Evil Dead, The Crow and Alien. Then In 2000 the Playstation 2 was released and like its predecessor it had a nice amount of Survival Horror games released including sequels to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Evil Dead and Clock Tower, and introduced new series like Siren and Fatal Frame.

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In 2006, the Playstation 3 was released and along with it came HD survival horror games! Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Siren, Splatterhouse and Castlevania all have sequels that came out with top notch graphics and continued the amazing story lines. The PS3 also had horror writer and director Clive Barker help make a game called Jericho.  Konami released games based on the SAW movies to be a companion to their popular Silent Hill franchise.  There were many more great games like the goofy cult classic Red Seeds Profile, zombie first person shooter Dead Island, and the F.E.A.R. series that added end of the world themes with the supernatural.  These are just a handful of amazing titles that have come out on this amazing system. While they are not the best of the PS3 horror titles, the SAW games are some entertaining games that show that horror films CAN make some good solid games! Kanomi has only released two in the series and there is a rumor of a third game which, as a fan I am hoping will come.

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In 2013, PS3 and Xbox 360 were supposed to get a game based on Childs Play’s killer Chucky! TikGames is the company that making the game, and they claim that in game you will play as Chucky and spend the time plotting against and killing all those who are in your way. The downside to the game is that as of this point it will not be a disc based game but a download only title that it appears will not feature the voice talents of Brad Dourif who has voiced the doll killer in five films. While I am hyped for the game I am still a little let down in the game’s handling, and I feel like the download games are most the time just throw away games. As you can see by these pics at least his look is well done. But as of late 2012, it looks like this game has been canceled.

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I could go on and on about video games, but that’s not the full reason for this update.  The main reason is the fact that there are many horror films that would lend themselves to becoming amazing video games for a present generation system (aka PS3, XBOX 360, WII).  So I would like to do a Top 20 list of films that should be made into games.  I chose from a list of many, and it was hard to choose just 20, but I was able to limit down my list and choose ones that would lend themselves to the gaming world. But enough of the build up, let’s start the list with a nice runner up one that came close to making the final cut.

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# 21.) Puppet Master Series

Andre Toulon is a puppeteer who has the secret to turn his puppets into living, killing beings! At first Toulon used his puppets for good to fight the Nazi’s that were responsible for the death of his wife. But after his suicide, others used the Puppets for evil as did Toulon when his secret formula later brought him back to life. The Puppets (Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Miss Leech, Torch, Six Shooter, Tunneler) have become good and bad guys and have dispatched  ancient demons and even had a fight with The Demonic Toys, another film series from Full Moon Pictures. What the game could be about is that at first you play as Alex Whitaker (psychic from the first film) who must find a way to fight and capture the puppets and turn them from evil to good at Bodega Bay Inn and must use them to help stop a evil cult who wants to steal the secrets of the puppets for an evil plot. The rest of the game is spent playing with your choice of a team of three from all the puppets and using them to fight back against the cult. While the game at this point would not be a huge IP (Intellectual property) for a company to pick up, its cult following and 11 films done and one on the way proves this franchise has a good fan base.

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# 20.) Rawhead Rex

Clive Barker’s short story of the same name from The Books of Blood Volume 3 came to the silver screen in 1987 and told the story of a pagan god who was released onto the countryside of Ireland and an author who must risk his life and that of his family in order to stop the killing machine once and for all. The film’s subject would be a perfect fit for a video game as Rawhead would be the main boss and his followers, the goons you must fight off. Rawhead would pop up through out the game and give chase much like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3. It would be great if the character you are is caught off guard from the start of the game and must use whatever he can find to fight off the crazed followers. The gameplay would be very close to Silent Hill and Red Seeds Profile and would have the vast world of Ireland’s countryside complete with farms, barns and small towns. The movie, while very low key and having a cult status, should be and should have been made into a bloody good survival horror game.

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# 19.) Wishmaster

 A evil Djinn grants wishes to those who posses a gem that binds him to do the bidding of the owner.  The Djinn, who can become more powerful by capturing the soul of the possessor, must do so to bring on the end of mankind and the age of the Djinn’s. The film sparked three sequels, and while the second in the series had the same Djinn, the following two sequels had a new one showing that there is more than one of the powerful beings. The game would be a fun one that would have the player making the mistake of waking the Djinn from the gem and causing chaos all around them, with many Djinn’s and the fact they can use their power to create monsters and have the ability to steal the looks of those they choose.  It would make this game a fun time trying to figure out who is friend and who is foe. They could get all crazy with enemies and backgrounds given the fact the villains are so powerful and will be as cruel as possible to get what ever they want. Plus getting Andrew Divoff who played the Djinn from the first two would be a must to voice him again for the game. This could make a great PS3 game and would have also made a great PSX game. While the series has lost a little steam in this day and age, it still leaves itself wide open for a good game.

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# 18.) Phantom of the Opera (1925)

At the Opera House in Paris, a deformed madman roams the sewers causing terror and killing those who go against his wishes to turn a young singer (Christine) into the star of the show. But the singer’s lover Raoul wants to marry her and take her away from the demanding Phantom.  This clash leaves people dead and the Phantom being hunted like a wild animal. The game could follow the aftermath of the film and follow up to what happens when the Phantom who is believed to be dead is in fact not and sets out to get his songbird back, leaving the player to control Raoul having to find Christine who has been kidnapped in the underbelly of France. Besides the Phantom the player would have to also beat rats and vagrants that have been hired by Phantom to stop him at all cost. This could be a mix between a game like SAW and Uncharted and mix horror, action and puzzles together to force Raoul to stop the madman and rescue the lovely lady. The look of the Phantom would have to be taken from this 1925 version and keep the whole Lon Chaney Sr. look of the character.  It would also be cool if his grandchild Ron Chaney would lend his voice to the Phantom character. The legacy of The Phantom of the Opera has lived on not only in the reprints of the novel the whole property is based around, but also in stage and film making the character a classic in the world of horror. I think TellTale Games would be the perfect company to make this one come to life.

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The Phantom has made it to a few games for the PC.  The first is called “The Return of the Phantom,” a game that is very similar to the idea I would want but is one of those early point & click adventures.  The second is “Mystery Legends Phantom of the Opera,” both helping tide over fans of the character. And if ya need more Phantom there was also a pinball machine made by Data East for arcades. So PC gamers they have gotten a Phantom fix, but what about us home console guys, why are we left out in the cold?

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# 17.) Tombs of the Blind Dead

The Knights Templar were the Catholic Church’s right hand men and were the warriors who spread the word of God, until they were all set up and murdered by the same church they worked for and were accused of witchcraft. The Knights were blinded by fire pokers before they were killed, and for this the Knights placed a curse on the small European town that they were executed in. Years later they return as blind zombies to get their revenge and make all pay for their wrongful deaths. The series of films featured them in old ruins and even on a ghost ship showing you cannot escape the blind dead who hear you breath and your heartbeat. The film had three sequels and a handful of copycat films making it a very well loved iconic Spanish horror series.  So if you have not seen them, I recommend them. The game could take place in the small town and could follow you and a group of other survivors as you must survive the night of the Blind Dead’s attack.  Guns, torches, swords and blunt objects are your weapons, and the game will send you into harm’s way many times to save fellow men from what could be their deaths.  Everything in town can be used and every building is open for hiding because the main focus of the game is to save others and survive! The game’s path can change whether or not you are able to save people in your group and depending on the amount you don’t affects your ending. The game could also be multiplayer and would allow you and friends to try and survive the night of terror. This game would fit in perfect with the zombie craze that is sweeping the consoles now and is one that could appeal to fans of the film and those who don’t know the series.

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# 16.) Leprechaun Series

Forget about Lucky from Lucky Charms cereal, this pint sized terror is an overprotective mean magical terror of his pot of gold and will murder you and your friends to get it back! A family moves into an old house and after taking a dried up four leaf clover off a box a newly freed Leprechaun torments them. His weakness is not only the power of the four leaf clover but also that of dirty shoes that he feels like he must clean. The Leprechaun has been in a total of seven films and has been to Las Vegas, Space and even the Hood twice.  He kills in all types of silly yet fun ways, and delivers funny rhymed remarks while doing so. The game could take place with a group of friends who stumble upon his gold and make the mistake of splitting it and making themselves the target of the pint sized terror. This one would be fun to play as either the human who must get the gold back from his friends and or stop the Leprechaun or you could play as Leprechaun and avoid the means of defeating you from the thieves and collect all your gold back. This is just a small idea that would make for a good cheap download game, but I know that there is a full disc-based game to be made with some other idea beyond what I’ve come up with here. This character lends itself to the world of video games and with the cult following, it could easily be a good selling game as well. Warwick Davis is a must to voice Leprechaun and it would be nice to see the look captured in video game form as well. With a reboot of the series in the works for 2013 from Lions Gate and WWE, there might be some hope this film series might get the game treatment.

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# 15.) Phantasm

After the death of a long time friend, brothers Mike & Jody and ice cream man Reggie go to the funeral and find out that the new mortician called the Tall Man is not what he seems.  He is super strong, super tall, loves the cold and controls hooded dwarves and silver flying spheres that can kill a man in seconds! Tall Man has spread death and chaos around the world for many years and wants to ruin the whole world. This amazing yet odd series has four films total and begs to be made into a video game that could be almost an official number 5 in the film series that seems to have had problems for years getting made. The game could finish the storyline that has been presented into the films and could have you play as Reggie and Mike and have them go to war with Tall Man and his followers.  You would have to switch between the two depending on the mission and at times the two would have to complete a mission together. I would love to see this game made, and it should have all the actors from the films voice the characters they played in the films.  It would be a must to have Angus Scrimm voice the Tall Man. Someone should pitch this idea to director and creator Don Coscarelli and a game studio and get this game made! Also when you die, Tall Man should say “You Played a Good Game..But You Died” then laugh…that would be amazing!

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I should also mention for gamers who still have an Atari 2600, they can get their hands on a fan made game cart based on this popular film series.  It’s a maze-based game and plays like an early version of Final Fantasy. The game has not only Tall Man and the dwarves but also an amazing midi version of the films main theme. This is a must have game for fans of the film series and all that’s horror for the Atari 2600. Copies of this cart pop up on Ebay from time to time so keep your eyes open. I happen to be the proud owner of a copy of the game, and I must say while simple, it is a fun gaming experience.

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# 14.) The Howling

The Howling series is one that’s run for a total of 8 films so far and for the most part each follow a different town with different issues dealing with werewolves. The first film follows TV reporter Karen White who helps in the capture and killing of a brutal serial killer whom she thinks turned into a beast before he was gunned down. The station sends her away to a nice resort to relax but instead she finds out that she is in the company of a town filled with werewolves and the killer she thought to be dead is back and is in fact a werewolf! The sequel to the film had Karen’s brother trying to get to the bottom of his sister’s torment and fighting the queen of werewolves. While low budget after the original, the series has a wide open door to making a good video game and has enough characters and locations to keep it fresh. It would be great if in the game you must escape the resort only to find that the whole town is werewolves and it becomes a race to escape the hellish location. Throw in key werewolves from the other films in the series and bam, you have a great survival horror game like Resident Evil that substitutes the zombies for werewolves. Or another idea could be that you are a hunter who goes to different locations from the films to kill off werewolves, you see one of them killed your wife and now you want revenge on them all. This one also could be a first person shooter and support motion controllers. Or one last idea would have you play Ian the werewolf from part 6 and have him at war with other werewolves, that way you can have them fight! While this series does have some stinkers, it still could be a fun cheap IP that could make for an entertaining gaming experience.

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# 13.) The Hills Have Eyes

The Carter family goes out into the desert looking for an old family mine, and while on the quest they suffer some car issues that lead to them fighting for their lives against an inbreed family lead by the father named Jupiter.  The death toll rises and only one family will make it out alive. The film spawned an official sequel and a remake that also had a sequel. The game could take place in the desert and would have you playing as a new family that finds themselves the target of the hills family.  The goal of the game would be to rescue and dispatch the cannibal family before you and yours become dinner. It would be a prequel as well that way you can add in all of the family and show a little backstory of who and what they do, and as well they could make up and add new family members. The plot of the game could also take many twists and turns and could really build up the suspense and horror of what this family does. It should be based on the original films and not the remakes and must have Pluto look like Michael Berryman, and include the rest of the family and from the first and second film making this a full tie in. This one could be made and while the IP is not a major household name if the right amount of survival horror and terror is placed in the playing experience I am sure horror gamers would check it out. I would like to see Rock Star or Konami handle this title.

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# 12.) SCREAM

Sidney Prescott is a teenage girl who is dealing with the murder of her mother and the relationship she has with her boyfriend. But when fellow classmates are being slaughtered and she gets haunting phone calls, she becomes the focus of a killers sick game.  The killer known as “Ghostface” is out for blood and fame, and Sidney must fight to stay alive and to figure out who the killer is! This one also was made to be a video game and with the graphics and advanced programing this could be an amazing game! The game again could play like Silent Hill mixed slightly with Resident Evil and could follow you as Sidney Prescott or another young lady who is being stalked by Ghostface and how you must find who the killer is and save those he has also targeted. I know many people have said they would like to play as the killer but to me that would not be as fun as trying to survive his attack. With the The Weinstein Company getting into the video game business with the birth of TWC Games, one would think it’s only a matter of time that a home console gets a game based on this film series. Fans want a game as you can see by this “fake” PS3 cover.

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TWC Games did make a Scream 4 game, but sadly it’s just an iPod/cell phone game and to me those are not really true games they are just small games for none gamers who play the games while waiting. In the game you play as Ghostface and must kill your target and avoid being captured by the cops. So with this I must say come on TWC Games get on making a full game for PS3 and Xbox 360.

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# 11.) Hammer Frankenstein Series

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is a man hell bent on creating life and finding the secrets of life and death.  Along the way he doesn’t care who he has to kill or swindle to get what he wants. After many failed attempts to create life Victor has been hung, been burnt and attacked by his own monsters many times.  If fact when we last see him, he is a patient in a mental hospital who is in fact running it.  The Hammer Frankenstein series has a total of seven films and every installment has a different monster! Victor Frankenstein was played by the amazing british actor Peter Cushing who American fans also know as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.  In fact David Prowse who played two monsters in the series was also the man in the Darth Vader suit! The series left itself wide open for another sequel and what better way then to do one in the video game world.  It could take place in the asylum and have you play as The Baron as the inmates have turned on you.  You working on a new monster, but something goes wrong as you must battle your old monsters from the past.  All the creatures from the past seven films could be present and you must destroy them and your new creature all the while trying to escape the inmates, guards and monsters. Or you could play as a man who has had his girlfriend kidnapped by Victor who has taken a shine to her and has decided she will be his.  So you travel to the asylum and must battle inmates and all the monsters of the past that have been rebuilt by Victor in order to save your woman. This would be a Hammer fan’s dream, and this could happen if Hammer that has now been reopened decides to get into the growing game market. I would line up to play a game based on this series, and I am sure many others would as well. I would like to see Konami, Capcom or THQ tackle this one.

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Well this is the end of the first wish list for horror films that should be video games, and we have made it from 20 to 11 and have even had one bonus film! To me it’s odd that more film companies have not gotten into the game business.  I mean WB has been in and has made a killing on their Batman titles. Universal has gotten kind of into the game world with working alongside companies like Telltale Games and TikGames to bring Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and the soon to released Childs Play to gaming consoles, and even Paramount has released new games based on Days of Thunder and Top Gun. The Weinstein Company has said they will be making games when the only thing that has been released is a cell phone game based on Scream, and one company that should get into the gaming market is Lions Gate that owns the rights to many horror properties that could make great games.  I mean Lions Gate has the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie coming out made by the people who did the SAW series and what’s keeping them from teaming with Konami and Zombie Studios to make a game based around Leatherface and his family? Well while you try and figure out the answer I will see you all back for part 2!