Marvel At The Dead Of Night

Welcome back to Rotten Ink!  Can you believe that we are just a short time away from Halloween? Something about this time of year just fills me with creative plans, and so far, I have planned many great new episodes of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre as well as many great ideas for future comics to be released by Sparkle Comics and it’s sister company Blood Scream Comics. For this 5th update in our Countdown to Halloween, we will be going old school with Marvel Comics as we take a look at a comic series they released in the 70’s that reprinted classic horror and science fiction stories that were originally banned after the Comic Code witch hunt.  I will also talk about a Horror Movie Marathon that my gal Juliet and I had; plus the most scary thing we will talk about is the Comic Code itself! So open the windows and let a chill in as we travel to the Dead of Night!

Comic Book Graveyard Pic 0

On June 27th – 28th Juliet and I decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon, and for the pre-show we decided to eat a little dinner and watch two horror motion pictures to set up the mood for the next day.  We selected “Silent Night Bloody Night” to start with, a creepy Christmas themed horror film that plays on the whodunit. We then watched a 2015 slasher film called “Kill Game” about a white masked killer stalking and killing some young adults who used to pull pranks, and as always one went wrong and someone was killed. Both films were solid and a great way to start off our marathon, and both Juliet and I selected Silent Night Bloody Night as the best film of the night as it was a nice blend of horror and thriller and was shot well with scenes looking like they were lifted from German Expressionist films of the 1920’s. Plus the film starred John Carradine, who is mute in his role and rings a bell or writes on paper to communicate with others, strange and amazing. After reading a Marvel Tales issue and watching The Rifleman on ME-TV, I headed to bed to start a day of horror and scares.

silent night bloody night dvdKill Game dvd

On the 28th we woke up at 7am to start the marathon and loaded up on Ruffle Regular Potato Chips, Peanut M&M’s, for brunch we had breakfast casserole and for dinner home made chicken wings with the “Oh My Garlic” sauce. The fist movie of the day was a Universal Monster classic called “Man Made Monster” that starred Lon Chaney Jr. as a man who becomes a living breathing electric chair after an experiment goes wrong. The 2nd undead feature starred Bela Lugosi and was called “Voodoo Man” and was about a doctors rituals to try and bring his dead wife back to life that leaves many women missing and turned into mindless slaves. The third film was “The Body Beneath” a weird almost retelling of the Dracula story vampire film directed by Andy Milligan.  The world’s first basher film “Methodic” was the fourth film about a super natural serial killer who wants to kill his sisters. The found footage film “Hangman” was about a killer who watches and stalks families in their own home while living in their attics and watching them from hidden cameras.  The sixth film of the day was the Fullmoon Entertainment film “Ooga Booga” about a little doll that gets the spirit of a wrongfully killed man who wants revenge inside it. “Hellbilly” a short film about a killer who wears a skin mask and kills any person he runs into was the seventh film of the marathon.  I should also note it was directed by Massimiliano Cerchi. Vampire flick “Dracula’s Widow” was the eighth film and was about Dracula’s Bride being on a rampage when she finds out her husband has been killed and wants to return home and uses a Wax Musem owner as her slave to achieve her goals. Shot On Video film “Spine” was the ninth film and was about a twisted killer who targeted nurses as his victims. “666: The Demon Child” was the tenth film and followed a group of scientists being killed by a small demon baby who could bring on the end of the world. The 1980 splatter classic “Nightmare” scared up the eleventh spot and was about a killer with mental issues on the loose looking for some kills…or is he? The twelfth film was “The Redeemer” a film about a class reunion that has a murder loose who has the power of God on his side and an extra thumb! Unlucky number thirteen went to the heavy metal horror film “Shock’Em Dead” starring Traci Lords that follows a rock star who sold his soul to the devil in order to be the best in the world, but his wish has bad side effects as he has to kill in order to live! The time with Juliet was lots of fun and many of the movies were fantastic, but the weakest film, aka the Golden Turkey of the day, is one we both picked for the same reasons, Ooga Booga.  It was not funny and down right dumb and was too much about pot…just not good…besides the puppet for Ooga looked good. My top three films of the day are as follows: # 1 has to be The Reedemer, a great slasher film filled with a creepy killer who changes costumes for every kill and the run down school makes for a creepy background.  In fact on a fun note, the late great Andy Copp and myself talked about remaking or doing a sequel for the film many years back. # 2 goes to Nightmare, a great bloodbath slasher film with a killer who has some extreme mental issues and will not go down without a fight. # 3 was a hard one to pick but I settled on Dracula’s Widow as I am a sucker for the classic monsters, and I think the taking a bride of Dracula and placing her in more modern times made for a great horror film that took some great film tricks of German Expressionist films. I should also note that VooDoo Man almost made my # 3 spot as it’s a great Bela Lugosi film. Juliet’s top three go like this: # 1 Nightmare, # 2 The Reedemer and # 3 Hangman! Very close order for our top two, but her third surprised me but she really enjoyed the grim feeling of Hangman. The Horror Movie Marathons are always a great way to unwind and watch some horror films for the first time or even again after many years. But now it’s time for the spookiest part of our update the Comic Code…..a cold shiver just went down my spine.

Man Made Monster dvdVoodoo Man dvdThe Body Beneath dvdMethodic dvdHangman dvd
Ooga Booga dvdHellBilly dvdDraculas Widow DVDspine dvd666 demon child dvdnightmare dvdThe Redeemer dvdshock em dead dvd

Back in the 50’s comics based on horror, crime and thrillers were a popular cheap entertainment for kids as well as adults who enjoyed a good read. But all this was about to change thanks to Charles F. Murphy, a juvenile delinquent specialist plus author, and psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and his book Seduction of the Innocent that took a fight to the comic industry that went all the way to the Senate and put book companies like EC, Marvel and DC in the hot seat of making comics that were corrupting the youth in their judgmental eyes. You see, they claimed that comic books about subjects of horror, crime and thrillers were giving kids bad ideas that crime was cool and that murder was okay.  This of course was the raving of two sticks in the mud who wanted to ruin the joy of comics for kids. And worse, these two loons made it so parents as well as the government listened to their theories of comics causing crime.  So began the comic companies being put on trial as well as parents holding public burnings of comics all in the name of saving our children. Murphy and Wertham pitched a code that had to be met in order for comics to be made that they called The Comic Authority Code.  Each comic had to meet the rules that had been set that included such wonderfully stupid things like bad guys always had to lose, no werewolves, zombies or vampires, horror & terror could not be used in a comic series title, as well as many sexual acts like seduction, rape and sadism were forbidden, police could not be killed by bad guys.  This was just the tip of the iceberg of the rules they set! If a comic company did not follow these rules, retails shops would stop carrying issues from that company so they all had to put the Comic Authority Code Stamp on the cover to prove they met the code. Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie and many others fell in line and followed the rules.  Marvel even canceled many of its horror titles to fit the newly placed guidelines. The company was the most affected by this code was EC Comics who were making titles like Vault Of Horror, Tales From The Crypt and Crime SuspenStories; they tried to fight it but lost the battle and even closed up shop due to the lack of support from retailers and fans. The Comic Authority Code ruled the comic world for decades with their strict rules and at one point even attacked writer Marv Wolfman’s last name as it was against their rules. DC Comics had to fight the case and add full credits to their titles. The odd part about this code is that they had no real power over the companies and could not enforce any kind of fine or punishment.  But all retailers would not stock a comic that did not support the code so they won out anyway.  Oddly enough Gold Key and Dell never did embrace the code and were still well stocked. By the 70’s, the Code was outdated and needed to update, and it did as monsters were allowed to be back in comics as were drugs because at the time they could use the comics to teach kids that drug addiction was bad. The Code stuck around for many years but by the 2000’s most companies stopped placing the stamp on covers.  Archie was the last hold out but also discontinued using it in 2011. The Comic Authority Code was a terrible modern day witch hunt that riled up parents, government officials, religious groups and retailers all over the theories of two out of touch old men who just wanted to say that only their voice mattered. But while The Comic Authority Code did lots of bad for the world of comics in my opinion as it kept horror titles at bay, it also helped build the independent comic industry, who grew from their strangle hold to give comic readers an alternative to check out that didn’t play by their strict rules. One things for sure, love it or hate it The Comic Authority Code is a large piece of comic book history, and its appearance shaped the comics that filled newsstands for years that followed its birth. To close this part, just imagine if this code was still around to this day and they never updated it.  I would guess that Marvel and DC both would be out of business and comics would not be as iconic as they are today.

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The Comic Authority Code – now that’s scary to think how loons can wield so much power! I think it’s time to get to our comic reviews, and I want to thank New Dimension Comics in Cranberry Pa, Ebay, Mavericks, Bell Book and Comic and The Peddlers Mall for having these issues in stock for this bone chilling haunted filled update.  Each of those fine places made it possible for me to find these spooky issues and share them with you like ghost stories around a campfire. So turn off all the lights, pull the covers over your shoulders and bask in the light of your computer screen as it’s time for your dose of spooky Marvel tales of terror on this dead of night.  While the moon is full and the jack o lanterns are lit, I should remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I think we should now take a long look into The Dead Of Night and hope the monsters of these rotten ink pages don’t look back at us!

Dead of Night 1

Dead Of Night # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 11

“The Ghost Still Walks” a frat house prank went wrong years ago and left a pledge named Bub Lame dead after he had a heart attack in an abandoned house after seeing a fake zombie. Now a new batch of pledges are at the house, and they all know the Lane Curse that says his spirit will get into a body of someone in the house and will get revenge on the pledge master. Those who laugh at the curse soon find it’s real as one of them is the rotting corpse of Lane who wants his revenge. “House Of Fear!” Home investigator Charles Boyd and female reporter Jean are looking into a haunted house that’s up for sale.  Charles wants to prove it’s all fake so the house can be put up for sale, but while in the house they come across a ghost who attacks Charles, who now sees the house differently as he joins the six feet under club. “My Brother…The Ghoul” Hugo Luther is a man who digs up graves at the local cemetery and steals from the dead.  When he is seen by the night watchman, his identical brother is blamed for the crime and sentenced to death, but in the end the twins share more than just looks. “ I Want You To Meet My Brother Henry…He Dwells In A Dungeon” Jean is a new wife who married her husband George to get a piece of his new wealth that he was left from his uncle when he passed, but in the house she also meets Henry, his brother who is simple and deformed.  She hates Henry as she feels he is getting in the way of her master plan of driving her husband nuts and having him locked away in an asylum. Jean goes to the basement where Henry lives with a gun and fires a single shot into his room and hits a shadow. Upon returning to her room she soon finds out she killed the wrong brother.

This first issue is amazing, and if the rest of the series follows the lead of this one than this is shaping up to be a fantastic Marvel Horror Comic Series. To me it looks like all four stories in this issue are originals made just for this first issue and all of them pack an amazing creepy vide and capture the horror themes that were popular at the time. To choose the best story from this issue was very hard as they all reminded me of tales that would be seen on Tales From The Darkside or read in the pages of Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror, but if I had to pick one I would say The Ghost Still Walks the opening story as I love his the story is told by a pledge who is scared yet laughs at the story of a curse, but he finds that in fact the curse is true and he is selected to be the messenger of the spirits revenge. This issue has no real weak stories as each tale of terror has it’s own charm and sinister appeal to it. The issue is packed with such ghouls and ghosts like a dead pledge ghost, a grave robbing ghoul, a deformed killer and a haunted house and each add a fright to their respective stories. The cover is great and very eye catching and this cover for this very issue is what made me select this series as this Halloween update! The art inside is also fantastic and this made for a fantastic read on this chilly fall night! I am looking forward to reading the next issues in this series and see if they hold up as well as this one that sets the bar very high and packs just enough cheesy horror to make for a solid spooky read. Over all I recommend this to any fan of classic horror comics.

Dead Of Night 2

Dead Of Night # 2  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 2 of 11

“He Walks With A Ghost” Barney Grill is a crook who gets his money mugging people on the mean streets, but his luck changes when we is visited by a lawyer who tells him a rich uncle has died and left him a mansion and lots of money in Hungry! Barney rushes to his new home and decides that the old family cemetery needs to be bug up and cleared away so he can add a pool and soon learns that they dead don’t like to be disturbed when they use his own tools against him. “The House That Fear Built” John and Mary live in a small house in the middle of the country when a new house is built over the next two nights, and even weirder strange lights are coming out the window so they decide to go visit and see who their neighbors are and soon find that they are aliens who are conducting an experiment to find out the weakness of mankind in order to take over our planet! It’s up to John and Mary to stop the next couple from coming over and in the house or we are all doomed! “The Nightmare” has a psychiatrist and his female patient during a visit telling him about her nightmare of living in a nice house with a loving husband and kids, you soon find out that she is an ugly witch and her psychiatrist is a skull face warlock and that to them nightmares or that of living a normal life. “The Girl Who Didn’t Exist!” Walford is a student of American Collage and he along with his fellow class mates under the teaching of Professor Haywood have found a statue of Claudia Caligara and for some reason Walford feels that she is calling to him, and over night he goes to visit the statue again and finds a tunnel to the past were he meets the real Claudia and fights an evil general to win he had in marriage! In the end Walford of 1973 is no more but now next to Claudia’s statue is one of him! Our final twisted tale is “The Frightened Man!” Franz Hyle is a dictator of a small country and he has run off the peoples only hope a man named Professor Rolfe, but things are not all sunshine for Hyle as he is visited by a green haired man who tells him that enemies are among his most trusted people. After this green haired man opens up Hyle’s mind he hears and see’s his own people plotting to take him out of power and he in turns has them all arrested. In the end Hyle is all alone and soon finds out that his green haired friend is his worst enemy and must face his real enemies the people he rules over.

This second issue is packed full of some really cool old school style horror stories as well as some that feel like filler. I think my favorite story was He Walks With A Ghost the opening tale as I love the idea of a no good scummy worm of a man getting lots of money and land only to disrespect the dead and have them come back and teach him a lesson in manners. Plus this one really reminded me of a classic style ghost story that would have been found in an issue of Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror. The story that was good and my second favorite was The Nightmare while it was the shortest of all the tales it had a Twilight Zone feel and I love the idea of normal everyday like being scary to monsters! My least favorite one had to be The Frightened Man! as it really was not scary nor really that shocking as to who was the man with green hair, in fact this as well as The Girl Who Didn’t Exist should not have been in a Marvel Horror Comic and should have found a place in a Science Fiction series as no monsters, aliens or ghosts were in these stories and they felt like filler. So for those wondering this issue’s monsters and mayhem that appear are Zombies, Aliens, Witch, Warlock and Time Travel. The artwork in all the stories are top notch and fitting for this style of comic, and the cover while miss leading on so many levels (the main picture has zero to do with any of the stories and it claims to have four tales of terror when there are five) still has a great 70’s Marvel Horror Comic charm to it. Over all this was a fun issue and a nice follow up to the first so lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Dead Of Night 3

Dead Of Night # 3  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 3 of 11

“The Hidden Graveyard” three hunters are following a dying elephant so that they can find the graveyard these beasts go to die in, they don’t care about finding it for study or science they just want the ivory! They were all warned by the natives of a meat eating beast named Kubba that makes home in the graveyard and kills what every trespasses on this land, but they think it all to be stories of myth. When finding the graveyard they soon find the myth is true and each must come face to face with the hairy meat-eating beast if they want the ivory. “Waitin’ For Satan” Mathews is a down on his luck bum who hangs out at the docks when he makes a deal with Satan to become rich and win the woman of his dreams, the pack also comes with a way for Mathews to escape being dragged to Hell that is if Satan comes to soon for him the agreement is broken, and after years of building up money and marrying his dream woman Mathews tricks Satan and gets out of the deal or so he thinks, by living a life the way he does a ticket to Hell just might be in his future. “While The City Slumbers!” an old man during a card game with his son and his friends tells a story of when he was twenty about a clan of pale skinned people named Mole Men who lived underground and wanted to over take the city for revenge for how their ancestors were treated many decades back. But on the Day they are about to attack an Earthquake happens forcing them to flee back underground and their cave was blocked sealing them in forever. No one believes the old man but in the end he has the proof a stone they gave him for safe passage during the would have been raid. The final story is “Only A Rose!” Helen is a jealous wife and when her husband Chester keeps leaving home late at night and she can’t get him to answer why she decides to follow him and watches as he delivers flowers to young women, she in a rage decides to get revenge and sends poisoned candy to the women killing them. After many nights of this and many deaths of young women she soon finds her husband was only working as a delivery guy and was not cheating as he was using the money to buy her stuff for her birthday! Worse he brings her flowers, candy and a watch and after eating the candy she finds out that the candy was returned and was the last box of poisoned ones she sent out…so in the end she dies the way she made others.

This third issue is really good and better than the second as I felt all four stories were top notch and had a good horror story appeal to them. I love the flow and vibe of this issue as it’s very down beat and only one story has a happy ending as that’s the mole men not taking over the town, but on the other hand people think the old mans crazy and the town is hot by an earthquake and massive fires so I guess it is pretty gloomy. My favorite from this issue has to be Only A Rose as I love how one woman’s insecurities leads to the death of many younger and prettier girls cause she could not trust her husband who in fact was a really good guy working as a delivery man to make extra money to but her something nice for her birthday. In the end she gets her date with death by her own hands and feels the same pain her victims did and has that classic EC Comic style ending! One that I enjoyed was Waitin’ For Satan as I loved the idea of a con man trying to pull one over on Satan who tells him while I cant take you to hell now the way you lived your life already gave you a one way ticket and I’ll be seeing you soon! Great stuff and proves you should never make a deal with the devil. My least favorite is really hard to pick cause I really enjoyed them all but if I had to say one being the weakest one I would pick While The City Slumbers while it had the feel of dread the Mole Men really never did anything to terrible and run away from the fire only to be sealed into their cave forever, while a good story not to scary. The cover is once more great but miss leading as slime people are not in the comic nor does anything come from the sewers. The art is great again and is what horror comics at this time and before were made of. For those keeping score the monsters and themes of this issue are Big ape like beast, underground pale skin men, the devil and a female killer who uses poison. So this is another great issue in this series and well worth the honors of being on a Halloween update, so lets move onto issue four and see what full moon fury we can get into.

Dead Of Night 4

Dead Of Night # 4  ***
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 4 of 11

“Werewolf Beware” Hugo is a man with a curse that turns him into a werewolf every full moon and worse he has fallen in love Erika a lovely towns girl. Things are going great till the next moon when Hugo must leave Erika behind after an argument and she follows as he tries to fight the urge to change, in the end love and a wooden stake to the gut ends the curse once and for all. “The Death Of Me!” Joe is a man who notices that when he looks into a mirror for a brief second he catches the face of a man who looks like him but his face is always twisted with hate! The man tricks the man in the mirror and captures it talking to the mirror version of his wife about killing Joe and his wife Betty off so that they can live, Joe goes around the house smashing the mirrors and is taken to an asylum were he soon finds out mirrors are not the only things that give off reelections. “We Meet At Midnight!” Hugo is a disfigured man who has grown up to a world that treats him poorly for the way he looks and now he hates everyone and everything besides books and finding the secrets of Egypt via the Sphinx. Hugo travels to Egypt and soon learns that the true secrets of the Egyptians is preservation of dead bodies via making them Mummies! The final terrifying tale is “ Worse Than Death!” George is a slumlord that only cares about money that he keeps in his home as he loves to just look at it whose apartments are fire hazards and one day a fire breaks out and kills hundreds, in the end a husband of one of the victims takes all of Georges money and flings it out the window driving the greedy man insane.

This fourth issue is really good and three out of the four stories are fantastic and they type I would hope for in a Horror Comic series done by Marvel. Each story is different and are about monsters, greed and supernatural beings and all I am sure sent shivers down the spines of readers of the early 1970’s. My favorite story in this issue is The Death of Me as I truly loved the idea of your refection being a being from another dimension who wants you dead so that it can live fully, makes you want to look a little closer at your mirrors next time you walk past them or use them to do your hair and brush your teeth. Werewolf Beware was almost the winner, as I do love a good tale about a lycanthrope that’s ending reminded me of a Paul Naschy werewolf film, not to mention Don Heck did the artwork. The weakest story has to be Worse Than Death as I feel that it was a good story it really was not scary and had zero elements of horror. The issues baddies include a werewolf, greed, the Sphinx and mirror spirits, it’s a great mix and gives the pick your chill/scare factor to this issue. The cover on this issue has to be my second favorite in the series as the werewolf looks fantastic and ties into the opening story. Over all this is a sold issue and one that proves this series has some bite to it and proves that classic reprint comics can be done if they are done right. Lets see how the next issue of Dead Of Night holds up on this Halloween update!

Dead Of Night 5

Dead Of Night # 5  **
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 5 of 11

“Deep Down” a man is walking when strange men began popping up from the ground and asking him for help and if he can help them they will make him rich! When the man goes down the tunnels with them he finds a giant gold nugget and they tell him they cant remove the nugget cause it blocks the entrance to a cave that houses a lizard dragon monster they call Dragila who will become loose and kill them all. You see all the men down in this hole are not ghouls or zombies but they are all men who are greedy and want a way to get the nugget away safe, the man spends some time thinking about how to get away safe with the gold but he comes to terms that it’s not worth it and walks away as does the 50 other men who wasted their lives waiting for this gold. “The Worst Thirst” Pete and Joe are brothers who live on a farm and their well has ran dry thanks to new neighbors who dug their well to deep stealing all the water. They now have to buy water from a trucker who brings it in from the city and this makes them very mad! So they decide that at night they will use pipes to steal the water back and in the process even kill a man to get their water back, and when they do they are so happy as the water flows high and they drink and bathe in the water. In the end the truck diver shows up and they tell him they don’t need the water but the neighbors will and the driver informs them that the well water has been poisoned and anyone who drank from it will die in two hours! “The 13th Floor” Mr. Creel owns a building and when he gets visited by ghouls wanting to rent out the 13th floor of his building he is confused as he don’t have a 13th floor but rents it to them anyway. After a the lease is up and wondering were the ghouls go he gets to see the 13th floor but his happiness to make more money turns to terror as he learns that floor only exists for ghouls. The last story is “One Must Die!” Doctor Zorg runs a zoo were he experiments on animals and how they will kill their mate in order to survive, his wife Millie is in love with Jim a helper of her husband and they have a plan to kill him via a bomb under his bed. But Zorg catches the two and dugs them and grafts their body together and in order to escape the approaching hungry wild animals they must figure out a way to get suppurated even if that means killing the other!

This issue is pretty weak and does not offer the chills and terrors of the past ones delivered. In fact I think almost all the stories in this issue are very weak and have a filler vibe to them. The best by a landslide story is The Worst Thirst as I like the feel of a backwoods brothers killing to get water something we all need and when they think they have won the really just killed themselves by drinking deadly poisoned water. The one that was ok and this is even a stretch to pick is One Must Die as I love the idea of two love birds turning on each other like wild animals to survive, and nice touch that the only way they can come apart after being fused together is a sharp giant ax. The worst is hands down Deep Down a clearly horror comedy type idea that’s pay out is that they wasted their lives over gold that they can never get, yeah not scary nor chilling just lame. The cover is based on Deep Down and shows ghouls coming from the ground and what we get is something very lame, the art once more inside is fantastic and is just like all the others very well done. This issue had a pretty good rotten ink smell and this helped add to the dead in the water feel of the issue. Over all so far this is the weakest issue in the series and I cant wait to see if the next issue pulls this series out of the grave this one placed it in. Oh yeah the monsters in this issue are greedy miners, poisoned water, a lizard dragon thing, ghouls and hungry animals.

Dead Of Night 6

Dead Of Night # 6  **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 11

“Jack The Ripper” is about a graveyard that is haunted by the spirit of Jack The Ripper that kills anyone who dares to look for his gravestone, an American who thinks its all a hoax travels to England to find the grave to prove it all fake finds out that Jack The Ripper’s ghost still has a knife to sharpen on human bone! “Down In The Cellar” old man Judson is a taxidermist who loves birds and when a hunter keeps bringing him in ones he shot the old man begs him to stop and to hunt big game, Judson begs him to check out his collection of stuffed big game that he has in his cellar and the man just laughs it off and brings in more birds for him to stuff! Finally the Hunter realizes he has gone to far by killing a bag of peacocks and takes the old man up on seeing his collection of big game that turns out to be stuffed bird hunters! “The Snowman” two mountain climbers in the Himalayas find the footprints of the Abominable Snowman and the go of to track the beast, but the would be fame has them turn on each other and they soon find out that man and his greed is the only true monster of the mountain. The last story is called “Sarah” and is about Sarah a woman who collects old artifacts and decides that if the old farmer wont sell her his sword of Benedict Arnold than she will steal it, and when she thinks she has been caught her only choice is to turn herself in!

This issue is packed with three good stories and one that’s more like a telling of a joke with a silly ending, but with that said I can say this is another good issue and almost a three star rated one at that! One funny thing before I go to far into this review that I have to point out is that according to Stan Lee who wrote the opening story Jack The Ripper was found, killed and buried and his real name was Jack The Ripper…classic comic book stuff and this made my night seeing this. The best story in this issue is Down in The Cellar another story that reminded me of Tales From The Crypt and had an ending I seen a mile away but still loved the pay off of a crazed old man who hunts bird hunters! The Jack The Ripper is a good story and shows that even after death the killer stalks and murders those who cross his path in the way of being a knife-wielding ghost! The weakest story is Sarah as its more of a joke story of a woman who thinks she’s been caught stealing by an art dealer and turns herself into the cops only to find out the man she thought had caught her cant speak English and was just a lost traveler. The Snowman is a fun story that only shows the footprints of the legendary monster and the two feuding men turn out to be the real monsters as one goes so crazy he wonders around the snow barefooted after killing his one time friend. The issues evildoers are The Ghost of Jack The Ripper, A Human Hunting Old Man and Human Greed, and the art inside is great as is the cover even if Jack The Ripper is shown on the streets and in the story he never leaves the graveyard. Well lets move onto issue # 7 and see if the quality of this horror series maintains the level of perfect reading of the Halloween season!

Dead of Night 7

Dead Of Night # 7  **1/2
Released in 1974    Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 7 of 11

“Corpse In The Streets” Arnold is a doctor who reanimates a corpse of a killer in order to turn him into a zombie that will kill for him as he is trying to raise money for a high end coat for his wife, the zombie kills his patients and Arnold robs the bodies and even sells off their cloths to make extra cash. In the end the zombie turns on his master when he falls in love himself with the doctors wife! “The 13th Floor” Hugh and his wife Mary are both sick and Hugh is working day and night to save money so they can move away to a place that rains less and the air is dry. In the office he gets on the elevator and gets off on the 13th floor and is puzzled as the building only has 12 floors and soon finds out the that floor is death and talks his way back to life only to have to live without his wife who dies that night, and they were trying to take him early so he could be with her! “Man Lost” Al is a jealous man of his brother Greg who has invented a time machine and when he drugs his brother over dinner and tries to go back and fourth in time to win at the horse races, but he should of listened as he becomes a man that time forgot and is just a shell of himself that no one can see nor hear! The last story is “Deluge!” Jason is a man who thinks the world works due to magnetism and is mocked and fired from his job, he later builds a machine that controls magnetism and this puts the world is chaos as he controls the very world and dies trying to stop what he started as the machine will not turn off!

This issue has some good stories and it has some real stinkers causing it to be a pretty standard issue that don’t pack any major frights but does have some good ghost story/campfire tales appeal. The best story in this issue is a tie between Corpse In The Streets and The 13th Floor as both were fantastic tales and each had their own charm. I like the zombie slave who falls in love with his masters wife in the first story and enjoyed the man who loved his wife so much that Death himself tries to rig time for him to pass the same time she does! The worst story hands down was the final story Deluge as it was boring and really cheesy and had no place in a comic about Horror, the only thing this story has going to it was that Steve Ditko did the art. The comics ghouls and horrors are a killer zombie, a world changing machine, a time machine and an elevator that leads to the Grim Reaper. The cover and art in this issue are both very well done and I really like the Grim Reaper on the cover who reminds me of the old Monster in My Pocket figure of that character. Over all this issue has two great stories, one that is pretty good and one that is just plan terrible! Worth a read and still is perfect for this late night Halloween update!

Dead Of Night 8

Dead Of Night # 8  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 8 of 11

“Alone In The Dark” Donald is a 10 year old boy who is left alone with his Uncle Claude who spends his time reading the youngster horrible fairy tales filled with death, you see Claude hates his brother and wife and wants to kill Donald and then them on this night! And at the stroke of midnight knife in hand Claude is about to make the kill but who is really the killer and who is the victim in this twisted tale of family issues. “The Eavesdropper!” Tony is at a bar when he over hears a plan between a man and a woman to kill her husband that night and collect the insurance money. Tony decides to follow them instead on calling the police so he can blackmail them and get a piece of the money, but he soon finds out that the attended victim might just be to close to home for his liking. “The Old Witch” George is a simple man who’s wife Helen has a heart of gold and feeds local stray pets as well as homeless people and gives them a place to stay in their home. Matilda is a old woman that she has brought home and George has a bad feeling about her and the first night catches her performing black magic in their guest room! George gets a wooden stake and while the old woman sleeps he drives it through her heart and buries the old woman out back, but to his shock his wife and neighbors call the police and he soon finds he killed his true love as a witch’s tricks are very sly. “The Slave!” Joe killed a man during a bar fight and fled before the cops could catch him, while on the run he falls ill and a poor villager takes him in and nurses him back to health were he finds that the small towns cemetery is filled with gold and jewels, and when the villagers suspect him of stealing he dresses as a slave for a man who has died and soon finds the not just riches are buried with the dead!

This is another good issue that is packed with four solid stories that are sure to chill the blood of old school horror comic fans. The issue has many horror characters showcased like an old witch, a killer and even a child werewolf showing this one was a true grab bag of monsters. The best tale in this issue is The Slave as I really liked the idea of a sleazy man who is so greedy he would steal from the dead of the people who helped him when he was near death, gets what he deserves when he is trapped in a tomb were he rots away slowly dying from starvation. The worse twisted tale is really hard to pick as none of them in this issue are bad at all! So I guess I will say the most predictable one is The Old Witch as the twist of the souls of the women changing place and the husband killing the wrong woman is something I seen a mile away. Over all this is a solid spine tingling issue that shows that old reprints can pack a punch for a new generation of ghoul kids.

Dead Of Night 9

Dead Of Night # 9  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 9 of 11

“The Empty Bus” it’s a dark and stormy night and when a bus stops to pick up Nick he is the only passenger on the bus or so he thinks, an old man appears out of thin air and sits with Nick who pulls a gun and the old man tells him a story of a night just like this about a man with a gun and murder in his eyes who dies when he tries to kill a man who use to run crimes with him, Nick does not listen and he in fact turns the story into reality. “Sazzik, The Sorcerer” Boris Grumm is a TV Producer who’s shows are so twisted that the station drops them with the help of multiple complaints, so to get even he comes up with another show based on a cruel black magic sorcerer named Sazzik! In then end Boris comes face to face with the spirit of Sazzik and he isn’t happy. “They Melt At Night!” Jeremy Miller is a scientist that people mock so to get revenge he makes a formula that melts peoples cars, his idea is to sell them the cure to make the cars no longer melt and make a ton of money, but soon finds that greed is not the answer to life and in turn has a change of heart. The final tale is “The Sudden Storm” hurricane Tessie is in full effect and the rain and winds are causing so much damage, a group of guys try and save an old couple who own a petting zoo but they refuse to leave, as the water raises we soon find out that the zoo is an arch and the owners are Noah and his wife!

This ninth issue in this series of mostly reprinted horror and thriller stores is well done but it’s clear they were running out of ideas for true horror inspired stories. The best story in the issue is the opening one The Empty Bus as it truly has a Twilight Zone feel to it and I love the message of a spirit trying to warn a troubled man not to try and kill cause it will back fire and he himself will be the one dead. My least favorite and really has no spooky nor horror elements to it at all is the last story The Sudden Storm as the pay out is a tie in to the Bible. The cover of the issue is fantastic and I love how the Grim Reaper is playing chicken with a bus, but sadly a bus is in one of the stories but this version of The Grim Reaper is not. The art inside is well done and just like all the others holds a classic horror comic look as they were originally done when horror comics sold well for companies. The monster run down in this issue is this an Old Man who could maybe be The Grim Reaper, a Hurricane, a formula the melts cars and an evil The Sorcerer. Over all an average issue with nothing that makes it to scary nor a stand out in the series.

Dead Of Nigh 10

Dead Of Night # 10  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 10 of 11

“I Dream Of Doom” a man is tormented by a monster in his dream and goes to a doctor for help as he fears if he sleeps the monster will get him! The doctor tricks him and gives him a sleeping pill and when he sleeps he meets the monster again who is not what he seems nor is the man…dreams are a key to the universe and this opens those doors wide. “I Wore The Mask Of Drothor!” is about a mask maker named Markas who is running out of ideas for masks and his sales are slipping, that is till he decides to make a mask based on a black magic cultist named Drothor who was so ugly that if anyone captured his image a curse was placed on them, the mask is so good he decides to wear it and rob a mansion but soon finds out the curse is real as his looks will now forever be that of Drothor. The last story is “I Was Face To Face With The Forbidden Robot!” Ralph is a man who wants to get fame and fortune in order to give his wife a better life and decides to reanimate a robot and set it free to capture it as robots are banned in society as they are viewed as threats to mankind. Ralph tracks the robot and has a terrible battle with it in abandon castle that leaves the robot at deaths door but before it dies it saves the life of Ralph as the castle catches on fire. In the end Ralph tells the truth about the robot being a hero and the world allows robots back into society.

This issue is pretty good and is filled with horror and science fiction and is pure marvel horror comic goodness. And the monsters in the issue are a dream machine giant purple monster, a black magic curse and I guess a robot. My favorite story is I Wore The Mask Of Drothor a great mean spirited tale about a mask maker who laughs off a curse and in Twilight Zone fashion has the curse strike and make him as ugly as the mask he made. The good one is I Dream Of Doom as I like the idea of a man being scared to sleep as it reminds me of A Nightmare On Elm Street and I like that the idea of him being wrong about the monster who is not there to hurt him but take him back to his dimension were he is a king! The weakest story as I will not say it’s bad is I Was Face To Face With The Forbidden Robot as I feel that once more while it’s a good story it feels more like one that should have been apart of EC Comics series Weird Science and it has a happy ending as Ralph gets the respect of his wife, changes the laws against robots and even will get the robot who saved him as a reword. Good story just kind of out of place and by no means a horror story. The cover is great and as always miss leading as the monster attacking a roller coaster is not in the comic and makes that scene that does happen in the opening story in a small dream sequence look way more bad ass than it is. The art as always is great and to sum it up this is a good issue. Well sadly we only have one issue left and this Halloween update will be coming to an end so I hope your not to scared as we take a look at issue 11.

Dead Of Night 11

Dead Of Night # 11  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price .25     Marvel Comics     # 11 of 11

“The Sinister Scarecrow” Two goat masked members of a cult called Cult Of Kalumai break into an auction house to steal a painting of a sinister Scarecrow but they soon learn that The Scarecrow from the painting can come alive and kills them. We cut to the auction and The Scarecrow painting is up for sale and it’s a bidding war between Jess Duncan who is there with his girlfriend Harmony and his brother Dave who is a writer for a magazine against a creepy sleazy rich man named Gregor Rovik. Jess wins the painting and this puts Gregor into a rage who claims that painting will be his one way or another. Jess gets the painting home and as he talks with Dave and Harmony talk about it the Cult Of Kalumai bust in and knock out Jess and Dave and kidnap Harmony as a sacrifice to their dark master who’s image in under that of the Scarecrow in the painting! The leader of the cult is Gregor and just as he is about to kill Harmony The Scarecrow goes to life and kills all his cult members and chases him out into the yard were he had the near by trees come alive and crush him to death! In the end Jess comes to the side of Harmony and they relize that the painting is powerful and the key to fighting pure evil is in the hands of The Scarecrow.

This is the first issue of Dead of Night that does away with the multiple stories and focuses on one story that was made just for this series. The plot is about a cult who needs a painting and a human sacrifice to bring back their evil dark master, but they are blocked by a protector who is a Scarecrow that is painted over their masters portrait. The Scarecrow is a laughing killing machine who gets joy in killing the cult members and by all accounts is kind of an anti-hero. His powers are that he can control crows as well as trees and have them attack his enemies and evil-doers. The Cult Of Kalumai are terrible people who as well kill and steal and don’t feel bad for what they do, their only goal is to bring their Dark Master back to our world. Jess Duncan is a man who loves odd art and seems to want to figure out the mystery of the Scarecrow painting and has wanted to own that painting most of his life. Dave Duncan his brother is more interested in helping his brother so that he can write a story for his magazine about it’s history. Harmony is a loving girlfriend who also can take care of herself and wants nothing more than to help her man on his quest for answers. The comic is pretty violent, and while blood is not shown, many people die brutally from gunshots to necks being broken showing that Marvel Horror titles wanted to push the comic code as far as they could. While I like The Scarecrow, I like the issues with the multiple stories better, and it was clear as glass that Dead Of Night was going to become a full fledged Scarecrow series with this issue as they tried so hard to make the character iconic like their other horror characters. But sadly, this issue was to be the final as The Scarecrow was brought in as a new original story to try and help the poor sales Dead Of Night that was not a major hit with reprints only. The cover is well done and captures what the story is about, and the art inside, done by Rico Rival, is fantastic and makes The Scarecrow spooky and the Cultist sinister looking. It’s sad to think that Dead Of Night only lasted 11 issues and that even if it had continued, many of the issues that followed would just been about the adventures of The Scarecrow, if not all of them. Over all Dead of Night is a fun series that brought terror and horror to Marvel readers in the 70’s and earned its place alongside other horror titles like Werewolf By Night, Tombs of Dracula, Man-Thing and Monster of Frankenstein. While none of them reached the creepy nature of the first issue, the rest of the series had more hits than misses making for a top notch update for our Halloween showcase. Below is some artwork for the series that features the Kubba monster from issue 3, the werewolf from issue 4, and last is The Scarecrow from issue 11.

Dead of Night Art 1Dead Of Night Art 2Dead Of Night Art 3

Dead Of Night is a fantastic little series from Marvel, and I was happy that I was able to get them all and share with you on this Halloween countdown update! For the longest time I collected Marvel Horror titles like Tomb of Dracula, Supernatural Thrillers, Werewolf By Night to name a few and looked past the chills that a comic series like Dead of Night had to offer, but when I first found some issues in Cranberry, PA and read them I was hooked and knew I had to get the series and see what horrors it offered. I hope you are having a fun October filled with tricks, treats, parties and loved ones, and I hope your costumes will – and have – made people shriek with fright.  So until we meet again, make sure to read a comic or three, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a chilling good night! Oh yeah, you’re wondering what our next countdown update is about – well let me tell you, it’s from the bakery of horror as we take a look at The Gingerdead Man!

The Gingerdead Man Logo

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!

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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.

Curse of Chucky DVDFrankensteins Army DVDTerrifying Tales of the Macabre Halloween 2012 DVDRazorback DVDWrong Turn 5 DVDWorld War Z dvdThe Raven DVDWaxwork Poster

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! 

7 Golden art17 Golden art 27 Golden art 3

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!

Dracula LeeVS copywerewolf reedVS copydr frankenstein cushing

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

Start Halloween with the Universal Monsters!

The late night has a chill, and the leaves are blowing in the air as we approach my favorite month with my favorite holiday that’s filled with ghost, goblins, witches and ghouls.  Of course I am talking about October and Halloween! Growing up, Halloween, also known as beggars night, was always one of the highlights of the year.  Dressing up in whatever costume you or your parents wanted and going around town and getting free candy from neighbors and hearing spooky stories shared amongst friends always seemed like a perfect night. In Waynesville, Halloween always seemed more special as I was younger and enjoyed seeing friends from school walking around town dressed up, getting the free candy and walking around with my brother and his friends. When we moved back to Kettering, I was much older and spent most Halloweens watching horror films on tape or TV or driving around backwoods with Matt Hoffman or Josh Weinberg. One funny story about driving around had Matt Hoffman and I driving late around Bellbrook on Halloween night.  I was dressed up as Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th), and he was dressed as The Wolf Hunter (a character he played in the movies we made).  We got lost and drove up what we thought was a small road that turned out to be someone’s driveway, and when we got to the house, a group of people were sitting on the porch and one had a shotgun in hand! Hoffman and I saw this, and I rolled down the window in the mask and all and said we were looking for the killer party, and then we quickly backed up and they just stared at us.  In my mind I was hoping they thought that we were real ghouls looking for a secret party. Before we get into the comic reviews on DELL Comics take on Universal Monsters Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature From the Black Lagoon, I am going to share things that I look forward/think about every Halloween season!

The first thing is the Halloween decorations from cheap plastic skeletons to the traditional Jack O Lantern.  They make the season of fall seem so much more magical. Growing up my mom use to let me decorate the living room for Halloween.  It was quickly filled with ceramic painted ghosts and vampires, cardboard skeletons and frankenstein monsters in the windows and Addams Family flashlights of Lurch and Fester on the mantel. I like to drive around and look at Halloween displays people have in their yards and windows like some people do with Christmas decorations. I have seen some really cool stuff in Kettering, Waynesville and Fairborn.

witch halloween Decorationsjack-o-lanternwerewolf halloween Decorations

Another thing that kicks off the fall/Halloween season for me is the Sauerkraut Festival that my hometown Waynesville has put on for 44 years that’s always held of the second full week of October. The event is filled with great food, outdoor vendors that sell homemade crafts and almost all the amazing shops and restaurants are open for business. Over the years I notice the crowds at the event get bigger and bigger and lots of kids come and have fun. One of my best memories is buying ceramic halloween decorations that me and my mom later painted in her craft room that was also taken over as the NES Game Room, and also buying really cool homemade buttons of Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson and Billy Idol. If you have not ever been to this event and are a fan of homemade crafts and food and like the feel and fun of a small town, I would highly recommend you check out this fun festival.

Sauerkraut Festival  logo

Of course one of the best parts of Halloween is finding the right costume and dressing up as your favorite hero, fiend or celebrity. Over the years I can remember dressing up as Rell the Cyclops from Krull, Skeletor from Masters of the Universe, Dracula, a Clown, The Wolf Man, Bigfoot, Jason Voorhees, Billy Idol and Alice Cooper. The Rell costume was one that scarred me.  Longtime readers will know the story.  I dressed as The Wolf Man from my own film Werewolf of Ohio for a Halloween party held at my friends’, brother and sister Chris and Rosetta Workman’s old house in Troy. The lamest costume I can remember is being a clown.  My mom was too scared to put the black makeup close to my eyes so she left them bare. I looked like a meth addict clown who just couldn’t get his stuff together for that one last show of the night. One of my favorites was Dracula it was pretty cool putting in the fake teeth and wearing the cape with white grease paint on. But I also loved dressing as Bigfoot for my cousin Steve and his then girlfriend Emily’s Halloween Home Warming Party.  It was great spending a spooky night with friends like Max Ervin, Nate Stevens, Josh Weinberg and all the rest of the gang. Halloween lets anyone feel like a star as they can dress up and act like what ever they want to be.  If you want to be a zombie, then be it.  If you wanna be Lady GaGa, then dress like her! Below are a few pics of me from the ages dressed as all types of ghouls and fools.

me as clownme as draculame as wolfman couto as philme as bigfoot

The main point of Halloween is to go trick or treating, and every kid, with his pillow case, plastic pumpkin or plastic bag, hopes for the good stuff like Snickers, Kit Kats and Milky Ways and dreads candy corn, pennies and taffy. Some of my favorite treats to get were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  They were and still are my favorite candy to treat my sweet tooth to. I like the old wax type wrapper better then the more lame plastic type. Another favorite was Monster Candy sugar sticks put into boxes that showed Universal Monsters on them. We use to buy these to give out for Halloween by my request and before Halloween I would sneak and eat a few.  I am sure my Mom and Dad knew but didn’t care. One other fun one I use to love was Wax Lips.  Terrible candy, but a fun trick! I remember getting a pair one year that I would wear around and then in a few hours I decided to chew on them and made them into a wax ball….such a lame treat but really fun and lame entertainment. I wonder if I dressed as Bigfoot this year and went door to door here in Dayton, if people would give me candy….hmmm makes me wonder!

wax lipsreeses peanut butter cupmonster candy

Halloween TV Specials were also something I looked forward to and some of my favorites include The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” every year.  They are fun horror themed stories that have The Simpson family in situations that are not in the normal season story arcs. Roseanne had some of the best Halloween episodes on TV.  The Conners understood the spirt of Halloween, and the episodes were done so well and had that blue collar appeal to them that made them over the top yet realistic. As the series went on, they slowly lost some of the charm but Roseanne had some of the best episodes for this holiday. Two specials that used to air when I was younger every Halloween and that I still love to this day are “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” and ” Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.” Both were fun animated family entertainment.  Charlie Brown is the better of the two, and who can forget Chuck’s many holed ghost sheet and the fact he got a rock for a treat, classic stuff. Garfield had that wonderful ghost story meets John Carpenter’s The Fog feel to it, and the creepy old man that tells them the story is great stuff for young ones to get their bones chilled by. Halloween Specials are a fun way for TV Shows to cut loose and have fun and CBS, FOX, ABC and the rest need to look back at the golden age of specials on TV and bring this generation some spooky stuff for their Halloween nights.

The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror dvdRoseanne Halloween dvdcharlie brown halloween dvdGarfield Halloween Adventure VHS

Speaking of TV, another thing that Halloween Season always makes me think about is Shock Theatre and The New Shock Theater both hosted by the late great Dr. Creep! Late night TV watching in October was always a treat when Dr. Creep and crew would host a terrible b-movie shocker, and the Creeper would be on the screen hamming it up in skits and later interviews with the horror stars of the past and present. Halloween time in Dayton and the surrounding area always belonged to Dr. Creep who will always be the icon of fright to anyone who grew up watching his show. During the holiday time Creep would make many public appearances, one of which was the charity horror film event called Horrorama where films would be shown from 35mm prints and Creep, along side Andy Copp and Rick Martin and later myself, would hold contests and entertain the crowd in between films.  Fall will never be the same without the Creeper who sadly passed away in early 2011, and while he might be gone, he will never be forgotten and his local TV work will forever have a legacy that will entertain generations to come thanks to DVD and VHS.

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This time of year also brings the Halloween Specials of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre to local Dayton airwaves.  These hour long specials are some of my favorite episodes I shoot in a season and are for Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon, a long block of Horror film programing that airs on both DATV and MVCC. Baron Von Porkchop, the host of the show, always seems to get himself into trouble during this time of the year and for the first one The Baron meets the killer The Sadness from the film of the same name at Wright State University during another one of his killing rampages.  The second one had Baron hosting “Werewolf of Ohio” and going trick or treating with his weird hunchback friend Melvin.  They make the mistake of getting the wrath of The Headless Horseman after them! These episodes are so much fun to make and rank always as the top sellers for us at the end of each year. I hope that the fans have as much fun with them as The Baron and I have making them. I am also so glad to have dug up The Baron from his grave and share his silly adventures with the fans, and I hope that The Baron adds to people’s Halloween experience as Dr. Creep did for mine. I should also mention another great Halloween event is Boo-Fest, a Halloween party put on by a friend of the show named Len, that he has Baron Von Porkchop as the guest judge of the costume contest, a fun time with really good people.

Baron Halloween Special 1 DVDBaron Von PorkchopBaron Halloween Special 2 dvd

When I was young, McDonald’s was the cool place to eat for kids, and Happy Meals and the toys inside were things we all collected and traded on the playground. Some years around Halloween time they would also have pumpkin and ghost buckets for sale and when released they were everywhere in kids hands during trick or treat. But another thing I always remember is when the Chicken McNuggets in a commercial dressed as classic monsters.  I mean who can forget the Vampire McNugget or The Mummy McNugget? The commercial had them doing all kinds of silly stuff that all was to make their own dipping sauce.  Later in the short commercial Ronald McDonald just gave them dipping sauce. I don’t know why, but this commercial has always stuck with me and I thought it was even cooler when they gave away McNugget toys in the Happy Meals that had them dressed as the monsters. Fun stuff, and man now I am hungry for McNuggets!

mcnugget monstersMcNugget toysmcnugget dracula

Kids and the young at heart always wish that Halloween Town from Tim Burtons “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was real.  Well here in Ohio, we have something very close with Foy’s Halloween Shop and all of it’s other shops (adult and kids costume stores, a haunted house supply shop, etc) in Fairborn! Foy’s is run by Mike Foy and is a one stop shopping for all your halloween needs they have masks, costumes, candy, decorations, make up, gag gifts and so much more. In October the store really comes alive with a DJ outside that plays music.  When Dr. Creep was with us, he signed autographs and DVDs out front. They have a Batman on top of one of the buildings and lots of animatronics of people puking! The street is filled with people just hanging around and having a good time.  Every year I try and make at least one trip to Foy’s in October because the over all energy of that area is great Halloween fun. If you ever find yourself in Ohio in October, do yourself a favor and check out Foy’s.

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Speaking of costumes the older I got, the more I took notice of the sexy halloween costumes that are just wowing. Halloween is one time a year when many hot ladies dress up as French Maids, Sexy Cats, Nurses and Playboy Bunnies and it’s like cosplay for the masses. Don’t want to spend to much time of this one, but I just want to say that women in sexy costumes is another reason I love Halloween! Thoough I will say that my girlfriend Juliet made a good observation that it’s harder for girls to find costumes that don’t have the word sexy associated with them.  Guys can be a scary Freddy Kruger while woman have to be Sexy Freddy Kruger.

sexy nursesexy bunnysexy jazsexy she ra

Halloween time also makes me think of my friend Max Ervin, a guy I knew for over 10 years and a guy that I worked with at two jobs. Max was like me, a big kid at heart and loved to look at Halloween stores and decorate the stores we worked at. His family also used go all out and decorate their house, and this I think always made the holiday special for Max. He also loved dressing up and every year jumped at the chance to come to work in costume. Max and I also loved to go to abandoned houses and root around hoping to find some cool stuff and maybe even get a slight chill. He also worked on many horror films with me and was a fan of cheesy horror like myself. Sadly, the world lost Max this year and I will forever miss his friendship.  He truly was a fun spirit who knew how to make the world around him laugh. Rest In Peace my friend, this Halloween blog is for you. Below are some pics of Max in Halloween costumes and one of him and I at Steve’s Halloween Party.

max and memax as indianmax outlaw

What is Halloween without The Universal Monsters? The answer to the question is a little less fun for me! Growing up I loved the classic black and white horror films.  Every Halloween I use to watch the 1932 Frankenstein on VHS, and as I acquired more of the Universal Monsters VHS releases, they joined in the October must watch list. Besides the fact they are great films, the characters themselves are traditional scary monsters that kids and adult dress up as and all seem to mimic when thinking of that said monster. I can remember a few years back sitting in my darkened room with the TV glow as the only light as a thunderstorm poured down outside as I watched Frankenstein on DVD.  The sensation of watching the classic film on a night like that in mid October made me think of how terrifying this film was for movie goers in the 1930’s.  They must have been in total shock as The Monster, played by Boris Karloff, first appeared on screen with his bolted neck and flat scarred up head. The Universal Monster films are also a fun way to watch “scary” movies with your kids and help add to their Halloween experience.  So this Halloween do me a favor and watch a Universal Monster Classic and enjoy the horror pictures of the past.

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Horror films are my favorite kind of films.  Up to 89% of my movie collection is made up of horror movies, and like most people during the fall and October, I watch a lot of them. When thinking of horror films during this time of the year, the series that always pops into my head is “Halloween” with its white masked killer Michael Myers who stalks and kills teens and adult alike on Halloween night. This series happens to be my favorite of the mainstream franchises and is a series one should watch the week of the holiday. Modern horror fans might also think about the “Saw” or “Paranormal Activity” series.  Both that had sequels that came out every October.  While I like the Saw films, the Paranormal Activity series has run its course after the second film. At least one day in October I set some time back and watch mass amounts of them, and this year I watched Hatchet III, Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead (2013), Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, Cabin In The Woods, Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, Corpse Eaters, Stephen King’s IT, Demons, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,  Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Mummy’s Hand, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Venom, Dawn of the Mummy, C.H.U.D., Frankenstein Stalks,  Miss Werewolf, The Wolf Man (1941), Curse of the Werewolf, I, Madman, The Wolf Hunter, Maniac Cop, Dracula (1931), An American Werewolf in Paris, Curse of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and so many more! So this holiday season try and watch a film series like Friday The 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Howling, Re-Animator, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Phantasm, Psycho, Tombs of The Blind Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or whatever you choose and have a fun fright filled night, cause Halloween is not complete without the horror films!

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One film that takes place around Halloween and is one of my favorite cheesy 80’s horror films is a little film called “Trick or Treat” directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Marc Price as Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer, Tony Fields as Sammi Curr, Lisa Orgolini as Leslie Graham with cameos from Gene Simmons of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne. The film is about rockstar Sammi Curr who dies in a hotel fire coming back via a vinyl record.  When his # 1 fan Eddie plays the record backwards he gets messages from Curr on how to get even with the bullies of the school. When Eddie turns against the orders of Curr when people start getting hurt, Curr comes back to life to finish the killing spree he wanted. The film is pure 80’s hair metal horror that has the killer Sammi Curr traveling through electricity and using his guitar to kill teens with bolts of lightning. I first saw the film when I was 10 years old while my brother Bryan and I were being babysat by our older cousin Chris Jones who before this fed us Taco Bell and bought me a Hulk comic off the comic rack at a local convenience store. He and his friend put it on, and I watched it and thought wow this movie is great.  As I started collecting Horror films on VHS, I went out of my way to find a copy of it for sale at all the local video stores and second hand stores. A fun fact: my cat Leslie is named after the love interest of Eddie in this film. If you like 80’s rock, a killer who dances, plays guitar and sings, then this is a film for you. Be warned the film is not a bloodbath slasher film but more of a supernatural film. Also last year’s Horrorama and the last one we were able to show 35mm film prints for, Andy Copp was able to get a print for us to show so that I could see the film the way it was suppose to be seen. The film was also planned to be a franchise with many sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street, but the it did poorly at the boxoffice and the plans for the series were scrapped. So in the words of Sammi Curr aka Fastway (the band who did the soundtrack) “Knock, Knock. Knockin For A Sweet Surprise..It’s a Trick Or Treat”!

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When I was younger I use to really want to get a group of my friends together in the woods next to a camp fire and tell scary stories like in the Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark” but this sadly never came about. But what I did spend a lot of time doing was reading ghost stories from old cheap paperbacks that I would by from the school book fairs. My favorite one to read was “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” by Alvin Schwartz that had creepy drawings by Stephen Gammell and all that book’s sequels. That series of books had short stories about murders, ghosts, ghouls and pranks gone wrong and each story was well written and had a creepy illustration to accompany it. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a book that has a cult following to this day and I know many of people my age and younger that still love reading these creepy stories from time to time. Two other popular series of books that were big when I was younger were both written by R.L. Stine, the geared for kids”Goosebumps” and the geared for teens “Fear Street.” Growing up I read many of these books and for some reason read Goosebumps: The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb a lot. Also around this time teen thriller novels based on Michael Myers (Halloween), Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) and Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street) hit the market, and while they were very cheesy they still were fun.  I remember reading the Friday the 13th ones after I checked them out from the library. One of my favorite books to read were the “Crestwood Monster Series” that were facts, plots and later the novel adaptations of classic horror and sci-fi films.  The series would cover Dracula, Godzilla, The Mummy, King Kong and so many more monsters. I own some of these books that I bought when I was younger from a library sale in Waynesville. More great reads that I learned about in my teens were the “Haunted Ohio” series written by Chris Woodyard.  They are real life tellings of hauntings in the state of Ohio and covers all the famous stories that are said to spook us Ohioans. If you’re a ghost hunter and sprit chaser like myself, these books are worth a read. And of course there are all the classic novels one thinks about around this time like Bram Stokers “Dracula”, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, H.G. Wells “Invisible Man” & “War of The Worlds” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to name a few. Or you could even read novelizations of horror films that flooded the market in the late 70’s and through out the 90’s. Novels are fun ways to work the mind and give yourself a fright this halloween season!

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This time also makes me think of video games and all the horror themed ones that have come out in my generation of being a gamer. I play a lot of video games and have played so many survival horror games that I could write a full blog on just that so I will be brief and only talk about a few. I remember playing “Haunted House” for Atari 2600 at Brad Burns’ house, a neighbor from across the street in Waynesville.  The game is simple and has a pair of eyes looking around a dark maze trying to finds pieces of an urn while dodging bats and spiders. The game was pretty lame but I remember always asking to play it because it was a horror themed game. I also remember Brad making fun of the game. Another game I played a lot was for PC and was on diskettes that he bought from a thrift store called “Isle Of The Dead” when he first bought his own PC. The game had you play a surviver of a plane crash that landed on an island run by a mad scientist and overrun by zombies.  This was a first person shooter that was one on the imitations of Doom. The game was super cheesy and would crash a lot but I remember so hard trying to beat it and not coming close. Another PC game I played a lot was “Waxworks,” a horror game that would send you to different time periods to retrieve stolen goods and kill evil beings. I used to play this game a lot and had fun doing so.  It was pure first person meets point and click game and had a great soundtrack. Lastly I will talk about “The Walking Dead: The Video Game” made by TellTale Games, a point and click adventure that follows Lee who was on his way to prison for murder and escapes when the zombie outbreak happens and comes across a little girl named Clementine who he in turns protects through out this amazing plotted game. This was one of my favorite horror games for the PS3 era of survival horror. But this is just a drop in the hat to all the wonderful horror games out there like the series Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Dead Space, Castlevania, F.E.A.R., Doom and so many more. Horror video games much like the movies, shows and novels go hand and hand with the season, and are worth playing for a bone chilling good time.

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One thing I look forward to every Halloween that takes place on the internet is “Monster Madness,” a show done by James Rolfe aka The Angry Video Game Nerd where he talks about horror films and gives mini reviews and facts about the movie he is covering. James knows his stuff, and it’s cool to see that he not only loves video games but also horror films, and he also has a soft spot for the Universal Monster films and holds them in a high respect so he goes up on the cool points in my book. I highly recommend his sequel-a-thon where he covers Universal’s Frankenstein, Hammer’s Dracula, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween series.  It’s a super fun watch and filled with some great opinions and facts. Also his Godzilla series retrospective is an amazing watch and brought back many great memories of the past sitting and watching them on TBS and VHS. Another good watch is his Top Ten Lost Horror Film Countdown.  While not part of Monster Madness, it is still one hell of a good watch, as are his Nerd Halloween specials that cover horror themed games. James Rolfe and his shows are now apart of my holiday tradition and are worth checking out.

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Horrorama is a charity event that happens every Halloween and was started in 1997 by horror host Dr. Creep, filmmaker Andy Copp and Rick Martin and is going strong to this day. I joined the group over 6 years ago and have been helping out ever since, bringing great films to the screen all for charity and for the audience to have a good spooky time. The event has trivia, contests and even one year a Miss Horrorama Pageant that had a young lady named Jesi Witt win for being a female Beetlejuice and let me say the ghost with the most never looked that good. The event is a mainstay here in the Dayton area and I hope it’s something many people look forward to every year.  I will say that the event this year will be a little sadder for me as Andy Copp my friend, film mentor and all around great guy passed away early this year.  I always looked forward to planning this event with him and hearing his ideas and opinions on what films we should show. Andy was the one guy who really pushed me into making films and much like my old media teacher, I think he saw the potential in me. Andy is truly missed, and this year’s Horrorama is for him!

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Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon is a public access marathon of horror films and shows that Terrifying Tales of the Macabre does Halloween Specials for. The event was the brain child of Henrique Couto, a filmmaker who is like a little brother to me, who decided Halloween around here needs a little more. The event aired on both DATV, MVCC and via DVD at Game Swap and also marked the return on Dr. Freak, who at one time was the world’s youngest horror host, as he did a new “Cult Theater” just for this marathon! The event also played many Pop Cinema horror titles and one year had live segments with callers! Overall this block of TV programming is some good stuff and is perfect for the background at any Halloween party. Oh yeah I should also say that during the live segments two years back, I dressed up as Scars, a werewolf I played in the Independent B Movie film “Bark At The Moon: Scars.”  So that was a nice fun tribute to that film. Scare-A-Thon is taking a break this year, but here’s top hopping it makes a return for Halloween 2014.

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I know I’m not alone in knowing that October also brings the breakfast monster cereal back onto shelves as General Mills puts out Count Chockula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry for a limited time, but man it sure does make Halloween even sweeter. The best out of the three is Chockula, and my least favorite is Boo Berry, but mixing Boo Berry with the other flavors is really good and worth trying if you haven’t. Growing up I remember the animated commercials and wishing they would be full cartoons that would have aired on Saturday mornings and sparked toys and comics that I for sure would have bought. I remember growing up when they sold the cereal year round and eating many of boxes for breakfast and snacks over those years. Previously Fruit Brute and the Fruity Yummy Mummy didn’t get re-released because they were shorter lived on store shelves than the rest of the monsters, but this year they’re making an appearance next to the big 3. I have crayons of all the monsters besides Fruit Brute (who was not made) and they are some amazing sculpted prizes that were given away with proof of purchase. The Breakfast Monsters just help add to my Halloween excitement and are something I look forward to every year.

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Those are just a few of the things I remember and look forward to every Halloween time, but now it’s time to get to the comics that are Dell’s take on the classic monsters of Universal films. A total of five comics were made and were released from 1962-63 are were a part of the “Movie Classics” line that was popular for them. It’s a shame that none of these one-shots sparked a full run comic series because I would have loved to have collected a run of comics that told me what The Wolf Man was doing after the films had stopped. The only one of these issues I had ever read was The Wolf Man and that’s been some 8 years ago.  The rest I am going into blind so I am very much looking forward to reading what ideas this comic company had for these classic characters of the silver screen. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that, let’s get onto these spooky reviews! Oh yeah and these will have spoilers to the issues so you have been warned. Thanks to Bell Book and Comic, Mavericks Cards and Comics, Ebay and my pal David J. Getz for hooking me up with these comics and making this Halloween update of Rotten Ink possible.

The Mummy 1

The Mummy # 1   * 1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #211 of ?

A unknown tomb is found in Egypt, and when it’s opened The Mummy of Ahmed is set loose.  The Mummy goes out for revenge on the ancestors of those who buried him alive after he was convicted of being a follower of Seth, the God of evil and was left to suffer for generations in a tomb that was hidden away. Ahmed uses his eyes to hypnotize a few men and has them do his bidding, eventually killing themselves in horrific ways. But when Egyptian beauty Kipa gets a scroll that is a death note, her American boyfriend Bart figures out that she is next to be killed and along with the police they are able to capture The Mummy Ahmed.  The Mummy escapes but is killed as he falls from pyramid steps and shatters at the bottom. But Bart and the police chief wonder if The Mummy really gone as his laughter fills the night air.

This is one of the weirdest and dumbest Mummy stories I have ever read! The Mummy Ahmed can talk and uses his eyes to hypnotize people into doing what he wants and worst of all he can run and move fast plus shoots lasers from his eyes.  One of the goofiest things about this Mummy is that when trying to run away he is tackled by the American Bart and then handcuffed and put into the back of a police car….how weird and lame is that? Just think about that image of The Mummy in handcuffs in the back of a cop car.  It’s mind numbing. Plus The Mummy dies after falling down stairs, what a lame way to go.  The heroes of this comic are Bart and the police chief, and both are pretty much a waste and only add a very generic good guy character to this rushed story.  Kipa is also a waste and adds nothing to this story besides being the would-be victim . One funny moment has Kipa showing that she wore special contact lenses to protect her from the stare of Ahmed, and this so reminds me of something you would have seen in a classic Dick Tracy comic strip with BB Eyes or an episode of the 60’s live action Batman TV show. This comic is a pure disappointment and is a bad start for Dell’s Universal Monster comic tie-ins. This comic has nothing to do with the Universal films based on The Mummy and really comes off as a cheesed version of a horror story comic that was written by a 10 year old who likes sci-fi films and thinks lasers are cool. The cover is very well done and by looking so cool helps lead you to the disappointment that is this issue.  The interior artwork is pretty good and The Mummy looks like Kris, played by Lon Chaney Jr. in several of The Mummy sequels. Over all this is a bad start for the Dell series and makes me hope that Dracula will be better.  So with that let’s move onto that issue and the second in this series.

Dracula 1

Dracula # 1   **1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #212 of ?

Basil Shawcross is driving late during a rain storm to get to the home of his close friend Janos Tesla, an expert on myths and folklore. Basil is there to ask about vampires and dismisses everything his friend is telling him as medical issues and nothing more. Janos questions why his friend came on a night like this only to argue about the information he is asking for.  Basil breaks down and tells Janos his son died in Transylvania and how be believes he has been wrongly pronounced dead, especially after his son met a girl in the graveyard named Irina.  Basil wants his friend to travel and get answers with him. The pair travel to Transylvania and only get news that his son’s body is missing and more talk of vampires. Basil still doesn’t want to hear this and late that night he gets a visit from his son, who, along with Irina, takes him to Castle Dracula where Count Dracula tries to bully him into bringing them fresh blood.  Unbeknownst to all, Janos has followed and uses wolfsbane and garlic powder to frighten off the vampires, but its too late for his friend Basil who dies during the commotion. In the end Janos tells the townspeople that he will kill Dracula and the vampires and avenge his friend.

This title is a slow moving classic comic style thriller that has one weak payoff in the Dracula department and in the “final” battle. Most of the issue features Janos Tesla and Basil Shawcross in a den late at night during a rain storm speaking in front of a fire about vampire folklore and about Bruce Shawcross’ odd death in Transylvania. While this aspect is interesting and helps build the scares, the payout is not worth the wait as Dracula only appears in three pages of the comic and when around really adds nothing but a few lines, one a rehash of him talking about not drinking wine. The idea that Dracula really just wants blood delivered to him so that he doesn’t have to go out and kill is something that should have been more of the focus of this comic and maybe had Basil being torn about doing it in hopes this would help his son in some way.  But then again that would have taken away from the den talking. The end makes you think that this comic would have sparked a series based on Janos and his quest to end Dracula but instead it lead to a comic series about a super hero named Dracula who uses bat blood….yeah. This comic has very little to do with the film it was based on, and that’s a shame because I would have loved this to be all about Count Dracula. The cover is great and eye catching and captures the Bela Lugosi Dracula look and mood.  The art inside is okay and looks like most Dell comics from the 60’s, and Dracula inside only slightly looks like Lugosi. While this is not a bad horror comic, it just is a weak comic based on Universal’s Dracula, and would have gotten at least another 1/2 star if it would have not claimed to be connected to the film. Let’s see how the Creature does and if Dell can deliver a solid comic based on these classic cinema monsters.

The Creature 1

The Creature # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 302 of ?

Scott Warden is a paleontologist who has been sent a hand of some sort of creature that once lived in the deep waters of the Amazon.  When the scientist who sent it goes missing near the site the hand was found, Scott tries to go along on a trip with a rich man named Dudley Gaustad.  At first he wants nothing to do the Scott until his diver Mitch Love and his olympic swim star sister Monica Love convince him it’s a good idea to have him aboard and that he can also help dive and find the treasure that Gaustad is looking for. Upon arriving in the Amazon, they meet the ship captain and against the crew’s wishes Gaustad hires former Nazis as crew members who are clearly helping to gain something in return. When they get to their spot, the weather is super hot and Monica goes for a swim and captures the attention of The Creature who watches her every move.  When Scott and Mitch go for a dive they are not sure but think they might have seen something in the waters. That night The Creature attacks and kills some of the crew and this is when the remaining two Nazi’s make their move and hold the group captive, wanting to use them to find the gold that they think is hidden in the waters below. The next morning Mitch, Scott and Dudley are forced to dive and into the water.  Dudley is attacked by The Creature and then becomes lunch for piranha.  As Scott and Mitch flee, The Creature comes aboard the ship, killing the nazis and flinging them into the piranha feeding frenzy and chasing Monica in the water as she swims to get away. Scott and Mitch see this and come to her aid and kill the Creature with spear guns and take his body back to the USA to be studied as the boat is going away the waters below is shown to house many more Creatures.

This issue starts off very slow and the build up is for the most part boring, but once they get to the Amazon and meet the one time Nazi’s and The Creature shows up this comic starts to become really fun. Scott is your typical smart hero, who while a nerd is still a strong heroic guy who wants to get to the bottom of what The Creature is and when it comes time he deals with him and delivers quick painful death. Mitch Love is just the background friend who adds the extra muscle and filler to make it all connect to Scott as Mitch was once in the navy with him. Monica Love is the beauty for the hero and the monster to both fall in love with and the comic also adds two other sleazy characters to fall for her, making Monica the most powerful character in the comic as she has all the love of the major and minor players. Dudley Gaustad is a rich asshole who is not a total creep but gets the worst death in the whole comic.  It’s pretty messed up how he goes from punching bag to fish food in mere panels. The Nazis are scum as always and are the true bad guys of the comic while The Creature does what he does best:  kill and try to make it with human women. The idea behind the story is pretty good and as I stated while it takes time to really get going, it does have that old horror film charm to it.  I was not too keen on the fact that a whole race of Creatures are living in the waters.  I like the idea of only one being left in the world. Adding the Nazis was a nice touch as well and really gives the reader some characters to hate because let’s be honest, no one reading this comic can truly hate the Creature. The cover is okay and only somewhat looks like The Creature (Gillman).  As for the art inside, I really liked it because it had the EC comic feel and The Creature looked like he should. This comic is a closer to the Universal films based on the character and is a big improvement over The Mummy! Next up is The Frankenstein’s Monster so let’s see what Dell does with him.

Frankenstein 1

Frankenstein # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 305 of ?

Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz are creating life in the lab, but things go wrong when Fritz steals a criminal brain and The Monster awakens after being struck by lightning. The Monster stumbles around the room and is angered by Fritz who uses a torch to keep him at bay.  The Monster decides to leave the castle and roam the countryside where he accidentally leads two young teens to their deaths.  The townspeople are furious and burn down Frankenstein’s Castle as The Monster, Fritz and the Dr. hide in a secret bunker.  As days pass, Dr. Frankenstein gets an idea to leave Europe and head to New York to show a group of scientist that he has created life.  Frankenstein uses hypnosis on The Monster to listen to his commands and along with Fritz, the three are smuggled to America, but along the way the Dr. becomes power mad and uses The Monster to kill people that are getting in his way to become the top scientist he thinks he should be. In New York, Dr. Frankenstein speaks to the science community, but Fritz once more screws up and sets The Monster free.  It goes on a rampage and heads back towards the boat that brought him there and makes the mistake of getting on one with explosives and starting a fire! Frankenstein and Fritz try to save The Monster but it’s too late.  As they dive into the waters The Monster is left to burn on the boat.

This is a fun re-imagining of the classic 1932 Universal Frankenstein film and is truly what these comics should have been like! While I would love to have them directly follow the films, I am fine with them taking the characters from the film and proposing a what if world around them. The Monster is very much the confused brute he should be at first and while people die, he does this by accident and feels terrible for what he has done. You really feel for him when Dr. Frankenstein barks orders at him to kill and he must do so against his will. Plus his death is very much in the same vein as how he dies in the film.  Instead of a windmill in Europe, it’s now a boat in New York. Fritz in this comic is a pure dumbass and is the cause of most of the troubles in the issue, from stealing the wrong brain to waking The Monster at the wrong time he is a true moron! And with him being such a pain, it makes you wonder why Dr. Frankenstein would bring him all the way to New York knowing all his mistakes in the past haved caused so much issues. Dr. Frankenstein is a power hungry man that only cares about fame and proving his critics wrong.  The fact he would order his Monster to kill changes him so much from the film that you find yourself disliking him in the comic. He almost feels like the character is only a pinch of Universal Dr. Frankenstein and a whole lot of Hammer Horror Dr. Frankenstein who was way more mean spirited. The plot is well thought out and brings the horror to America and closer to home for the younger readers of 1963.  I am sure this added to the shock and wonder. I for one really enjoyed this issue and would have loved to see this go onto a full series.  This marks the best so far of the Dell Movie Classics Universal Monsters run. So let’s see how the final issue in the series holds up as we take a look at The Wolf Man!

The Wolf Man 1

The Wolf Man # 1   *1/2
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 308 of ?

Milo Zak has just graduated collage and is now a doctor who wants to return to his hometown, a small village that still cures its sick with an old witch and a gypsy and bases everything off superstition. When returning home he is reunited with his girlfriend Lyana and his aunt & uncle and quickly opens a doctor’s office that does no business.  This makes him want to set out to prove that his medicine is better than any of the old remedies. But his goal to prove superstition and supernatural takes a turn for the worse when he meets Vorcla, a man who can control wolves and uses his power to take money from the villagers.  Milo decides to prove him as a fake and embarrasses him in front of the whole town! The town starts to believe in Milo as the witch and gypsy warn him that his future looks bad.  It indeed turns bad as Vorcla, who has been banned from the town, comes back and kills his aunt and uncle and many of the townspeople and then bites Milo making him a werewolf. Lyana calls for one of Milo’s school buddies who comes to town and kills Vorcla with a silver cane and frees Milo of his curse.

This comic has absolutely nothing to do with the Universal film and should not have The Wolf Man named attached to it.  This comic does not have a single mention of Larry Talbot. Vorcla is the bad guy, and he is only somewhat a werewolf as he walks around even during the day looking like a crazed beast with style in his suit, cape and hat. His only real power is he can control wolves and he can pass on his curse of being whatever he is. Milo Zak, who is the main focus of the comic, is a man who has embraced modern medicine and turned his back on the old ways of his home town, and by doing so he messes with the wrong person and some of his family and friends pay the price as he is also cursed with werewolf meets vampire like powers. Tha’ts the one dumb thing about this comic, the “Werewolf” Vorcla always looks like a hairy freak who walks around and talks like a normal man and controls the minds of wolves.  When he’s passing on the curse, he bites Milo on the neck like a vampire and neither casts a reflection in the mirror….yeah, who ever wrote this mess got the legends of vampires and werewolves mixed up. This is the most disappointing of the Dell Universal Monster Comics for me as The Wolf Man has always been my favorite, and he deserved way better than this mess that only uses his name to try and draw in readers. The art is okay and once more has that classic 60’s horror comic look.  The “werewolf” Vorcla looks more like Jack The Ripper meets Mr. Hyde, and the cover is pretty generic showing the outline of Wolf Man with a snow background.  Much like the name, the cover is misleading as this comic doesn’t have a flake of snow in it. This comic didn’t live up to what it could have been and gets only one and a half star because it’s so far away from the source material that it’s an insult to fans of the film. And that marks the end of the Dell run!

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I want to say that these comics are NOT terrible, and while The Mummy and The Wolf Man got low stars it’s because they went way too far away from the source material. This series is very dated and the twists that they took with characters for the most part don’t work! I went in looking at these as re-imaginings of the films, and while I can respect the attempt at reinventing the monsters’ images and stories, I am not sure why some of them lost the very essence of what the monster was. Dracula is the closest one to what he should be followed closely by both Frankenstein’s Monster and The Creature, while The Wolf Man is the farthest away from the source followed by The Mummy. The best drawn of these comic would have to be The Creature followed really closely by Frankenstein.  Both have a great style, and Frankenstein has some amazing panels that use odd colors very well to enhance the chilling factor. Once more The Wolf Man comes in with the worst as his comic is very bland and run of the mill cheap horror comic style, though I will say I do like how they tried to use shadows in many of the panels. Over all I did have a lot of fun reading these comics and did enjoy the fact that Dell tried to update and deliver Universal Monsters to comic readers of the early 60’s and wish more comic companies today would take chances in what they put out besides 7 different books with Wolverine or Batman in them. Our next update will continue the Halloween spirit, and we will take a look at a small company called Northstar as they did a four issue loose comic adaptation of the film “Leatherface: A Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.”  So until then, stay scared!

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