The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

I Bid You Welcome! The moon is full, and we are at our third update in our countdown to Halloween.  A thick mist is covering the ground as we all wait for the carriage of Count Dracula to take us to his castle. This is an update that I have been looking forward to since I started Rotten Ink over three years ago.  As all you long time readers know, I grew up a Monster Kid and loved everything Universal Monsters. Not only did I have such things as a Christmas themed Frankenstein Monster t-shirt and VHS tapes of many of my favorite monsters, I also spent much of my time drawing pictures of Dracula and all of his Universal pals in art class and at home. This update I get to cover one of the true icons of Universal Monsters, the one who brought the studio back from approaching closed doors after having too many films that did not perform at the box office, a character that also brought Universal into the monster movie business again and proved that horror was a hit with moviegoers. I am of course talking about the 1931 masterpiece Dracula.  For this update we will be taking a look at not just the film and it’s Spanish counterpart, but also Universal Dracula in merchandise, culture, my connection to the film and the main attraction will be the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of this classic flick.  So let’s wait here at Borgo Pass for our ride to Castle Dracula and chat about Universal Dracula in film, comics, toys and more. And to be safe, if you believe the rumors about Count Dracula, you might want to wear those cloves of garlic around your neck!

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was a hit when it was released in 1897, and in 1922 filmmaker F.W. Murnau made his silent masterpiece “Nosferatu” based around the book.  He did not, however, get permission to do so and he was sued and all prints of his film ordered to be destroyed. Lucky for us some prints of the film did survive but that’s for another update based on the comic adaptation of the film and the series that followed. During that time a young film producer named Carl Laemmle Jr. bought the film rights and wanted to make a silent monster movie that would follow in the footsteps of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and wanted to use the script from the stage play, that was a huge hit on Broadway, and even Nosferatu for inspiration to bring his version to the silver screen that would not be a silent film but now a talkie. While casting Laemmie passed on stage actor Bela Lugosi who was the talk of the town for his performance of Dracula on the stage and talked to actors like John Wray, Ian Keith and Paul Muni, while the films Director Tod Browning wanted to cast Lon Chaney Sr., but sadly Chaney passed away from cancer before the film’s production started. Lugosi lobbied hard and tried all he could to get the role he felt he was born to play not only on stage but also on the big screen and finally won over Universal and the executives when he took the small pay of $500.00 a week for seven weeks of work. The production of the film was slightly disorganized as director Tod Browning was not fully behind the film and at times would even leave the set and have his cinematographer Karl Freund take over shooting and directing scenes.  You see, at the time of this film Universal had gotten away from making horror films as they thought it was beneath them as a company, but after some shake up from inside the company, horror films were back on the slate but not taken too seriously as the company had major financial issues.  In my opinion, that is why Browning didn’t take this film as seriously as he should have because he looked at it as a low budget throw away film. The film had its premiere at the Roxy Theatre in New York on February 12, 1931, and as part of its marketing Universal reported that people fainted while watching the film.  This helped the big buzz for Dracula when it opened wide two days later. Dracula was a gamble for the studio but proved to be a risk worth taking as it was a major hit and bringing in the highest profit for them in 1931 as it did better than any of their other films released that year. The film received mixed reviews with most being positive and some negatives with complaints that it wasn’t too scary and comparing it to the stage version.  But most all agreed that Bela Lugosi was fantastic as Count Dracula. I don’t want to get into the film’s plot as I feel that the Dark Horse Comic adaptation we will be reviewing will take care of that.  Instead I would like to talk briefly about the first time I saw Dracula.  The Christmas after the one that we first got our VCR, my brother Bryan bought me Dracula as a gift.  I was pretty excited to see it, as the year before, my parents got me Frankenstein and my love for Universal Monsters was at an all time high! Like before, after the Brassfield side of the family came and went from our house in Waynesville, we sat down as a family and watched it, and I was hooked and loved every second of it. Bela Lugosi, who I had drawn pictures of for years as Dracula, crept his way into my brain and became the true Count Dracula in my eyes. Dwight Frye, who played Renfield, a sad one-time sane man who becomes Dracula’s bug eating slave, is fantastic.  Edward Van Sloan plays a cool and wise Van Helsing, while Helen Chandler was stunning and well cast as Mina Seward, the woman who captures Dracula’s eye. So before we move on, I want to give a big thanks to my brother Bryan for getting me that VHS tape all those years back and allowing me to see the film that inspired monster kids for generations.

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

In 1931, at the same time as the Browning production of Dracula, Universal was filming a Spanish language version, rolling at night after the American production wrapped for the evening, that was directed by George Melford and starred Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula.  The cast and crew had the lucky advantage of watching the dailies from the American production before they would film and would try to one up them with better lighting, angles and acting as they wanted to be the better of the two productions. While the two films are very similar and both filmed using the same script, the Spanish Dracula changed things up and tried to make scenes more creepy for the time and was able to push the “sex appeal” up a notch by allowing their actress, Lupita Tovar, to wear more risque clothing as she played Eva who took the place of Mina in this version. This version of this film was also a hit with moviegoers of the 30’s and chilled the bones of those who watched it. But over time, the film became lost and a print of the movie would not be found until the 1970’s when it was restored so that a new generation of horror fans could enjoy it. Many critics and fans think that the Spanish version is better than the American version, and while it’s fantastic, I still find the Lugosi version of Dracula to be the better of the two.

Spanish Dracula 1931 Still 1Spanish Dracula 1931 VHSSpanish Dracula 1931 Still 2

After the runaway success of both Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal decided to make sequels to those films and poof! franchises were made. Dracula’s Daughter was the first sequel and came out in 1936.  It follows Countess Marya Zaleska, who is Count Dracula’s Daughter, who wants to be cured of her vampire ways..or does she? The next sequel, in 1943, had Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard and was called Son Of Dracula. Count Dracula would go on to make appearances in both House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula for Universal that would combine all their classic monsters into the films.  In these two films, the part of Dracula was played by John Carradine. Bela Lugosi would play the role of Count Dracula again for Universal in 1948 in the horror comedy film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  This sadly would make the second and last time Lugosi would play the role in the movies. In 1979, Universal made a “remake” of Dracula that starred Frank Langella as Dracula and was a nice update to the film series. I would love to get more into films like Dracula’s Daughter and Son Of Dracula, but at some point in time I want to have some one of a kind comics made based on those films so I will hold off talking too much about them.  I really enjoyed each of the films I mentioned above and have spent countless hours watching them over the years and have owned them on VHS and DVD.

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

Bela Lugosi, who’s real name was Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, a small town in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Lugo, Romania) and was the youngest of four children. By the age of 12, he dropped out of school and got into acting and by 1903 had roles in many local plays, not only having small roles but also major ones which him to getting great roles in Shakespeare plays. In 1911, he moved to Budapest and had a long a great run in many theater performances.  Lugosi would claim he was the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre, but many factors go against his claim. From 1914 to 1919, Lugosi was an infantryman in the Austro-Hungarian Army and during World War I he was ranked Captain of the ski patrol and was wounded during combat and awarded medals for his service for his country. During this time, Bela also was taking on many roles in Hungarian films like The Colonel and The Caravan Of Death. During the 1919 revolution of Hungary, he was forced to flee his homeland when the actors union went crazy causing many actors to find work elsewhere.  This lead Bela to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1920 and also lead to him using the last name Lugosi in honor of his birthplace Lugos. Bela Lugosi moved to New York and by 1931 became naturalized as an American citizen. While in New York, he and other immigrant actors formed a stock company and entertained fellow immigrants with small production plays, with his first English Broadway play being the 1922 production of The Red Poppy and soon after The Devil In The Cheese, a comedy fantasy play as well as many other theater productions. His first American movie role came in 1923 for the film The Silent Command and this lead to many more roles in silent films cast mostly as the villain. His big break in Hollywood came after he wowed audiences with his portrayal of Count Dracula in the play Dracula that lead to him getting the role in the 1931 Universal Monster classic Dracula! This sparked him to be asked to play Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein but Bela turned it down as he felt that the part was not acting and just grunts and thus beneath his talents…or so rumor goes. Many more amazing horror film roles followed as Bela starred in White Zombie, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son Of Frankenstein, The Black Cat, Ghost Of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and Black Friday to name a few. His role as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein is looked at as one of his finest roles by many horror fans. But Bela would not stay on top of the horror world forever as his addiction to opiates and his box office appeal was slipping.  This lead to him taking roles in many B-movies like such titles as Mother Riley Meets The Vampire, The Ape Man, Return Of The Vampire, Voodoo Man, Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla and The Black Sleep. During his decline, he started taking roles in a young filmmaker named Ed Wood Jr’s film like Glen or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster.  His final film appearance was in Plan 9 From Outer Space as old stock footage Wood shot was added into the film. Bela was able to get off the drugs before his death in 1956 at the age of 73 from a heart attack, and he was buried wearing one of his Dracula capes. Bela Lugosi remains one of my favorite horror actors of all time and his work lives on to frighten and entertain a new generation of Monster Kids.

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

Carlos Villarias was born on July 7, 1892 in Cordoba, Spain and was acting in his first movie in 1917 with the Spanish film “El Pobre Valbuena” and would star in many more Spanish productions throughout the 1930’s.  In 1931, he landed the role he was best known for, the Spanish version of Dracula for Universal. He continued to make movies for many years that followed and had roles in films like “The Mystery Of The Ghastly Face”, “Nostradamus”, “Tropic Holiday” and “The House Of The Fox” to name a few. His final film was in 1953 in a film called “Decameron Nights”. Carlos passed away in 1976 at the age of 83. While he might not be as well known as Bela Lugosi to horror fans, his acting and portrayal of Count Dracula for the Spanish market is amazing, and I am sure he chilled the bones of all those who watched him in the role back in 1931. I just wanted to touch on Carlos Villarias’s life as he is just as important to the Universal Dracula history as Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning and everyone else on the crew that made this movie come alive.

24482625_120291616966villarias

Don Post is considered the godfather of Halloween by many and made some of the worlds first latex masks.  He also attached himself to makings masks based on some of Hollywood’s top ghouls and monsters from The Wolf Man to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and of course he made several based on Dracula; the most important ones were based on the likeness of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal for Universal. Growing up, I can remember old ads in and on the back cover for Famous Monsters Magazine that acted as an order form to buy this classic mask. I always wondered why Dracula’s skin is green and also marveled about just how awesome the ad made the mask seem, and ideas of wanting the mask to run around my neighborhood would spring into my brain. Years later I would get to see the mask in person at the Magic Hat, a store on Brown Street, and while a great looking mask, it did not live up to the epicness of the ad. Check out the ad picture below and try not to be tranced by its latex greatness!

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

In 1963, Hasbro unleashed a board game to masses called “Dracula Mystery Game.”  It would allow 2-4 players to kill time and chill their bones with the horror of Dracula. The plot of the game has you and the other players rolling dice trying to avoid Dracula who wants you dead! I own this game, but sadly when I bought it from my friend David J. Getz it was missing the Dracula pawn piece, making it so that we in the Dayton Board Game Society never played it during a meeting. The game is pretty pricey and on Ebay, depending on condition, can go form any were from $20.00 – $300.00! So if you like cheesy board games, try and track this one down and give it a play for a spooky good time.

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

Back in the 1960’s, kids loved to put together and paint models.  For Monster Kids, the ones everyone wanted were the 1962 Aurora Monsters, and one of the most popular ones in that line had to be Count Dracula.  The Dracula model had a Bela Lugosi looking Dracula standing in a stone and grass field next to a dead tree that houses bats. When I was a very young kid and living in Waynesville, I had one of the Dracula model kits but only the Dracula piece that was unpainted as my Mom got it for me from a garage sale. I can remember setting it up on a shelf next to Wizard of Oz dolls I had and always wishing it was an action figure and not a model. Nowadays I have seen the original model kit at many antique malls for around $30.00 – $50.00, depending on how complete it is as well as how poorly it was painted and on Ebay I have seen them go for around $10.00 to $250.00, once more depending on condition and paint job. I wish I sill had my old Aurora Dracula Model Kit, but sadly he is gone in time.

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

In 1964, Palmer Plastics released 3” PVC mini figures based on monsters from horror movies as well as science fiction ones. And of course one of the figures released was based on the Universal Dracula. The figure was crudely designed and would come in many colors and would be sold in a three pack or even singly, all for a super cheap price. I sadly never had a Palmer Dracula, but they can be found time to time on Ebay and go for around $20.00 to $60.00 on average.

Palmer Dracula Figure

Remco was a classic toy company who, in 1980, made a deal with Universal to make action figures of their monsters, and of course Dracula was in the line. They made two styles; the first was 9” doll that had cloth clothes with movable limbs.  The Dracula one was very cool but looked nothing like Bela Lugosi. I can remember seeing this figure at flea markets and antique stores, but even loose it always carried a high price tag that my mom would not spend in order to get it for us. To this day, I do not own one but do however own Frankenstein’s Monster thanks to my friend David J. Getz. In 1981, they then released the 3 3/4” action figure versions of the Universal Monsters, and Dracula of course graced this line with his blood drinking presence. These figures were the size of Star Wars and were ones in our youth we so badly wanted but never could find them at garage sales nor flea markets. The Dracula figure’s face glowed in the dark, and he came complete with a vinyl cape.  The downside of these figures was the fact the paint chipped off very easily, and poor Dracula’s nose always had a bare spot as did his fingers. While I never did own one of these figures in my youth, a few years back for my birthday my friend Jason Young gave me almost the full run of the figures as well as the Lab playset! And yep, the Dracula had paint missing on his nose and fingers. The 9” Remco Dracula on Ebay in good shape goes for $35.00 to about $65.00, and the 3 3/4” version goes for about $8.00 – $36.00 dollars loose and in good shape. Both of these figures in package sell for over $100.00 and for collectors like myself are well worth the high price tag.

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

Imperial Toys didn’t want to feel left out of the Universal Dracula toy releases, so in 1986, for their Universal Monster toy series, they made a Dracula that was made of hard plastic with moveable arms and head.  For some reason his face and hands are a very bright white, and he has bright red lips and cheesy rings on his fingers. The figure was sold two ways; one was loose with a tag attached to his neck and the second was in a package that showcased his castle in the background that was covered in spider webs and dust. I can remember seeing the Imperial Dracula figure at Kay-Bee Toys and wanting it to go alongside my Imperial Frankenstein’s Monster and Wolf Man that my Mom and Dad got for for Christmas that year. Sadly in my youth I never did get Dracula nor The Mummy but with in the last 3 years I was able to get them both.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to snag Dracula with The Mummy coming from Monsterbash Convention. If you’re looking for Dracula on Ebay, this Imperial figure in good shape goes for around $4.00 all the way up to $25.00, and I must say the likeness of Bela Lugosi on this one is pretty far off, but what did you expect from a cheap toy company that made low cost figures.

Imperial Dracula

But these were not the only figures based on Dracula that have been made over the years, they were just the most popular ones. Some other amazing ones include Ben Cooper’s Dracula Jiggler and the other knock off companies that made versions. Just Toys made a very cool Dracula Bend-Em for their Universal Monster collection, and this is one figure I did own and once more got it for Christmas one year alongside The Wolf Man. Imperial also made Universal Monster Pogs that featured Dracula, not only on the milk caps but also on his very own Slammer, and yep I had this in my youth. Those are just a drop in the hat of all the cool toys made based around the Universal Dracula character. So needless to say, if you’re a toy collector and you also love Universal’s version of Dracula, you can find many great collectibles for your collection!

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

When I was a kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most popular cartoon as well as toyline, and in 1993 when Playmates, the makers of the toys, decided to combine the Turtles with Universal Monsters, an amazing thing happened for Monster Kids like myself. Ninja Turtle Donatello was the one combined with Count Dracula, and the figure came with not only a cape but also weapons like a wooden stake.  Growing up I never had the Don as Dracula figure, but I did have a few of the others and over the years have seen this figure at many places for sale like Mavericks Cards And Comics, Game Swap Kettering and Feathers. On Ebay, the figure in package sells for about $25.00 – $40.00 dollars and loose and incomplete for about $2.00 – $4.00. So if you want this figure for your TMNT collection, it’s not too expensive.

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

World Candies produced a sugar candy stick in a small box that featured a monster of Universal Studios fame, and as far as I can tell, these began in the 1970’s and were simply called Monster Candy. I remember them in the late 80’s and early 90’s because around Halloween time at Odd Lots or Big Lots, they would sell these candies by the bag full for like $1.00 or two and I would get them to give out and pig out on. The candy back then was a flat stick, and two would be in a box and on the candy would be monster faces.  Now they are more like candy sticks aka candy cigarettes. These candies were a big part of my childhood, and while they were kind of gross, I still love the idea of them to this day. Check out the super cool box for Dracula.

Monster Candy Dracula Box

In Waynesville, I lived very close to the Library and would walk there with my brother Bryan, mother, father, and we would rent VHS movies, books and comics. One of the book series I would check out the most and even make copies of the pictures on a copy machine was the Crestwood House Monster Books. I used to love sitting and reading about each monster and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Dracula’s Daughter. The Library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. Some of them were based around Dracula and many of those books are a fun read for fans and the young at heart. On Ebay, you can get a used copy of the Crestwood Monster Dracula book for $10.00 – $20.00 depending on condition and if it’s a hard or soft cover.

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

Puzzles have been a staple for kids of all ages, and to this day, puzzles are put together by kids and adults alike.  It comes as no surprise that Universal licensed out Dracula’s image to companies to make ones based around this icon of fright. The puzzles have some great artwork and are clearly geared towards younger kids with them being mere 100-200 pieces. Not much to say about these, but I figured they should at least get some respect here on Rotten Ink.

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

Back in the 90’s, Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store, and I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in Downtown Waynesville I would get a bag of this chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos – always have and always will – and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember how happy I was when I got the Dracula sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safe keeping.  When I got an extra, I put it inside the VHS tape giving my tape a little something extra. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. But check out below and see how cool the Dracula one is.

Doritos Dracula Sticker

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal, and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots alongside Universal Monsters! Let’s first breakdown Count Chocula as a character and his cereal. Count Chocula is vampire who is brown and wears brown clothes.  He is a friendly vampire to kids but hates Frankenberry and Boo Berry and thinks his cereal is the best. His feelings can be hurt when people run away from him, and he is scaredy cat. It’s clear as day that he is inspired by Lugosi’s version of Dracula because the mascot sounds like a poor man’s Bela. The cereal has a chocolate flavor to it and is my favorite out the the monster cereals.  It is one that I could eat every morning! But sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s, they put Lugosi as Dracula on the box with Count Chocula making a cool box for us kids to look at in the morning. Many items have been made in the image of Count Chocula including stuffed dolls, pencil tops, toys and shirts.

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

Dracula has also made it to handheld video games like the ones made by Micro Games of America in 1994 and even ones made by Tiger have graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and even had a full fledge game called simply Dracula for the Game Boy Color that was an official Universal Monsters product.  Not to mention, the mountains of other games that the character Dracula has appeared in making him one of the top classic monster bad guys used the most in video games.

Dracula Handheld gameUniversal Dracula Game Boy Color Game BoxGame Wizard Dracula Game

In 1997, fast food joint Burger King decided to have Universal Monster toys in their kids meal, and Count Dracula was one of the cheesiest and least wanted figure as for some reason his skin was flesh colored and it looked nothing like the classic Lugosi played vampire. Standing about 4 inches tall, the figure had a removable cape, a coffin and a glow in the dark sticker. The figure was perfect size to fit in with those kids of that day who played with G.I. Joe and Star Wars toys, and the best part was, they got it free for eating a cheeseburger and fries.  A pat on the back to Burger King for also bringing Dracula to a new generation of kids with these kids meal prizes even if the figure was lame in appearance.

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

Not to be outdone, another fast food hamburger joint also gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters, and unlike Burger King, they also included The Bride and did it twice! The first batch came in 1999 and had Dracula who looked just like the Burger King version in skin tone but had a weird grabbing feature as his action. Then in 2002, they put out a quick change magic trick Dracula that would have him turn from human into a bat via his coffin.  These figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy, but still worth owning for those who love all things Dracula. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

Jack In The Box Logo 0Jack In The Box Dracula Figure

The Universal Dracula Series has also been a big part of horror hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like hosts such as Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films but a few have survived, and some hosts have hosted them as late as early this year, 2016. But here are a few of the hosts I have that brought you some films from the Universal Dracula including Morgus The Magnificent and Baron Von Wolfstein.

Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 1Horror Host DVD Hosting Dracula 2

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books, so we should talk about comics that are based around Dracula that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two; one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “Dracula”, with it later being paired with The Mummy by Dell. The other is the Dark Horse comic “Universal Monsters Dracula” that was released in 1993 and is the subject of this epic update. The Dell comic is a new story about Dracula, while Dark Horses is just based on the script and is a movie adaptation. Both of these are comics we will get to at some point here on Rotten Ink as well as Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula series.  I am looking forward to bringing you those.

Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell 10Universal Dracula Comic Book Dell with Mummy 20

One of my favorite internet shows has to be The Angry Video Game Nerd.  What is not to like about a funny character playing old video games from my youth and making fun of the flaws that have tortured many kids that played them. The Nerd is played and created by James Rolfe who also grew up as a Monster Kid watching the classic Universal Films, Horror Hosts like Joe Bob Briggs, making his own films and loving all things spooky. Every Halloween, he has a Nerd Special where he reviews a horror themed game, and in 2008, The Nerd covered Dracula themed games and he was in fact a vampire in the episode himself wearing a cape and all. But of course, the games he plays are terrible, including the NES unreleased game Drac’s Night Out, and uses the suns rays to commit suicide so he didn’t have to play any more terrible Dracula games. Every HalloweenJames Rolfe also has a show called Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness where he talks about Horror films, and one year for this show he did sequels and covered the whole Universal Dracula series. Fun shows and worth checking out at http://cinemassacre.com.

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 12:50pm at the Cinemark theater at The Greene Juliet, her mom and myself went to see the 1931 Universal Dracula on the big screen just in time for Halloween! We were all pretty hyped as the event was supposed to have a cool new intro from a film historian and was to be followed up by the Spanish version of Dracula.  With some candy and drinks in hand, we were ready for some classic horror film frights. There was a decent amount of people in the theater including mothers with their children who were talking about how scary the movie was when they where little.  This put a huge smile on my face as this classic Universal film was being passed down to a younger generation of Monster Kids.  Joining us were senior citizens who came to relive watching Lugosi in all his caped glory. But what was going to be an epic afternoon of Universal Horror once more turned into the ultimate blunder of Cinemark as they cut the new intro by the film historian, started the Lugosi Dracula film after the opening credits and to boot never showed the Spanish version! I was pretty annoyed by this as Cinemark at the Greene is my go-to theater, and they fouled up showing a classic monster movie event.  But with all blunders aside, it was great to see Dracula on the big screen along with Juliet and her Mom, who also loves a good classic Horror fright flick! So while fun, I still want to say shame on you Cinemark, for charging full price for an event you didn’t show fully.

Dracula On The Sign at CinemarkDracula Ticket CinemarkThe Theater Gearing Up To See Dracula 1931 at Cinemark

So we have arrivied at Castle Dracula, and I can see our host making his way down the long stone stairs so while we wait for him to bid us, welcome I should thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this Dark Horse adaptation in stock. I also hear the children of the night telling me to remind you all that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. Plus I want to say that I am really happy to present this update to all you readers and friends this close to the Halloween season, and hope I did this classic, iconic and impactful film justice with this update. Our host is here and inviting us in for a glass of wine, so let’s head on in and take a look at this blood sucking comic!

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

Dracula # 1  ***
Released in 1993    Cover Price $4.95    Dark Horse    # 1 of 1

Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula in Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, a client who is buying the Carfax Abbey in England, but during his first night there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula who is a vampire. The next day Renfield is now the slave of Dracula, and they are aboard a ship bound for England when Dracula comes from his coffin and kills the crew during a massive storm. Renfield is the only one found alive on the ship when it docks, and he is found to be mad and taken away to an asylum as Dracula walks the streets sucking the blood of a young lady selling flowers he stumbles upon. Dracula goes to the symphony and meets the Dr. Seward who runs the asylum near the Carfax Abbey, his daughter Mina, her fiance John Harker as well as her best friend Lucy. Later that night Dracula targets Lucy to become his first bride and bites her on the neck as she sleeps, and by doing so kills her and turns her into a vampire. Dr. Seward goes to his friend Dr. Van Helsing for answers to Lucy’s death, and he in turns knows that Renfield must be the helper to the vampire that is stalking England, but he is not sure who it is. Meanwhile Dracula has now selected Mina as his next bride and also wants to use her to help bring down her father and Van Helsing only slightly turning her to a vampire and more as a slave that will do his bidding. The next day while Mina explains a bad dream she had to her father, John and Van Helsing, they spot two bite marks on her neck and as Count Dracula enters and thanks to a mirror, Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is the vampire they seek. Dracula returns later that night and allows Mina to drink his blood forming a bond between the two and later takes her to his safe place at Carfax Abbey. John and Van Helsing follow Renfield who has escaped the asylum to the Carfax Abbey, and Dracula rips the heart out of his one time slave and rushes to his coffin.  The sun is coming up after he spots John and Van Helsing have entered his home! Van Helsing drives a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Mina snaps out of her trance and returns home with her lover leaving this nightmare behind.

I first want to state that I enjoyed this comic book adaptation of the classic 1931 Universal Monster film Dracula from Dark Horse, but I also want to say that writer Dan Vado took some liberties with the story by doing such things as cutting Dracula’s Brides out of the opening, having Dracula cut his own arm for Mina to drink from, shows the stake going into the heart of Dracula, Renfield has his heart ripped out of his body by Dracula, Lucy just disappears once she becomes a vampire as well as adds blood to the hand of the flower girl that’s bitten by Dracula after he exits the ship. The story is this Dracula comes to England from his home in Transylvania and tries to turn two friends into his vampire brides but is soon on the radar of a highly intelligent doctor who is aware of the vampire legend and travels to the dark side of the world to free the soul of his friends daughter who is in danger by the curse of Dracula’s bite. So lets break down our cast of characters starting with Mina Seward who is the eye candy for Dracula who is your typical naive young female character who is under the spell of evil and does nothing to help herself to escape. But with that said Mina is a great character as she fits the part of the damsel in distress that is needed in all great fairy tales. John Harker is a man who loves his fiance and will do what ever it takes to keep her safe, while he talks a good game he is not the man who steps up and saves Mina from her fate. Van Helsing is the real hero of this tale as he is the one who knows the vampire legends, understands what can stop them, figures out who the vampire is and is the one who ends up driving the stake into the heart of Dracula ending his terror. Dr. Seward is just like John while he wants to keep his daughter safe he just has no clue how to do so. Renfield is a man who is driven insane and has enter battles with what his dark side tells him to do and what he knows is right. The poor fool who does what ever he can for Dracula is rewarded with having his heart ripped from his body as it was clear the vampire had no real care for his insane slave. Count Dracula is suave, violent and very cold as he don’t care about life and only wants his needs meet as he did not care who’s lives he ruined in his quest for new brides. Dracula in this comic is so much more evil in the film as he seems to get joy from killing and has no remorse for when he does kill. Lucy as well as the asylum workers and maids are all just secondary characters and fit their roles well. The odd thing about this adaptation is that it takes a classic black and white horror film that is known for it’s lack of blood and gore and decides to add in both! While I am sure some readers disliked these changes I looked at them as the artists and writers trying to add their own spin on this classic story. The art is done by John D. Smith and is a very cool paint style that captures the look of Lugosi very well as Dracula, but oddly enough NONE of the other characters look like the actors who played them in the 1931 film with them even going so far to give Van Helsing a beard. But while Dracula might be the only one who looks like he should I found myself really liking the art as well as the cover that is really amazing and showcases just how talented Smith is at capturing the creepy feel of Bela. Over all this was a great read and an amazing read to lead us into the month of October! If your a fan of classic Universal Monsters and love comic books I would say for sure check it out! Check out some of the art below from this comic and see just how cool it looks, I must say sorry for the poor quality of the pictures as I had to use my iPhone in order to get them and not a scanner.

Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 1Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 2Universal Dracula Dark Horse Art 3

So we have made it out of Castle Dracula alive and with all our blood intact, and we should count ourselves lucky as this far we have not only survived Count Dracula with out countdown to Halloween but also this far Jaws and The Tallman! This update was lots of fun to write and really helped me get into the Halloween spirit as Universal Monster movies always kick of the spooky mood and feeling that goes along with the months of October and September for me. I hope I did this 1931 film and its legacy justice with this update as it’s in honor of Bela Lugosi, who is a true horror actor icon. But I am sure you’re wondering what’s next for out countdown to Halloween.  We are leaving Castle Dracula and heading to Ireland to come face to face with the one and only Rawhead Rex! So until next time, read a comic or three, see a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host…See you next update my ghoulish friends and readers.

PDVD_000

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Phantasm

You Write A Good Blog, Boy…But Now You Die! Those words are something I would like to think The Tall Man would scream at me if he was here at my apartment while I write this update.  The Phantasm film series is a horror franchise that breaks the mold of what one thinks of when comparing it to other horror films that came before.  The film was not made up of vampires, zombies, a slasher killer, ghosts or even animals running wild; oh no, this film was something more with a killer who was beyond the realms of normal horror bad guys as The Tall Man is so much more than your normal villain of cinema. When choosing Horror Comics for this year’s countdown to Halloween many titles were considered, but one I knew for sure had to be in this year’s roundup was this Xmachina comic based on Phantasm as the movie series as well as this comic deserved to be talked about here on Rotten Ink. This marks not only our second update in our countdown to Halloween but also the first in our “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates that join our returning update themes like “Horror Host Icon”, “Alien Invasion”, “Undead Files”, “NES Challenge” and “Marvel At The Movies” among others. What I am trying to showcase in these updates are horror movie themed comics that lasted for 1-4 issues (some cases could be more issues) and can be from any comic company from Marvel all the way to Blackthrone and can be an adaptation or its own story or a prequel based on the characters of the film it’s named after. This also can apply to promo comics that used to be given away at video rental stores and now come inside DVDs and Blu-Rays, plus still sometimes at the movie theaters! Many great horror movie themed comics have been released and sadly many have been forgotten, so I feel it’s my duty here on Rotten Ink to dig them up from the comic long box graveyard and give them life once more and share them with you, my friends and readers, who might have interest in tracking them down to read or collect. So with that, let’s move into the graveyard and dodge those evil metal flying spheres and get one step closer to the world of The Tall Man!

dvd-phantasmii-bluray-500

The Phantasm movie series is the brain child of director and writer Don Coscarelli who grew up a fan of horror and wanted to make his own in the booming market. Inspired by the book “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury as well as from elements from films like “Suspiria” and “Invaders From Mars,” he made a film that became a hit at the box office as well sparked a cult-like following that is still going strong to this day. So before we dive too deep into this update, I want to talk about the films. The write ups will once more come from our friends at IMDB with some info and my brief thoughts and memories of the films…so let’s dodge the spheres and leap over some tombstones and get to talking about the films that are near and dear to many horror fans’ hearts.

phantasm1phantasmphantasm-2

Phantasm (1979)

Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, is afraid to lose his brother. This fear causes him to follow his brother to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lift a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate and discovers a horrible world where the Tall Man, along with his flying spheres, shrink them to half their normal size and reanimate them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.”

Phantasm was one of those films that when I first viewed it as a youngster, I was lost by the twist and turns of the plot, but nonetheless was so drawn in by the atmosphere. Looking back, I think I first saw this film on the USA Network or some other cable station as I can remember watching it with my brother late on a weekend night while living in Waynesville. As I grew older and into my teens when I started to collect more and more horror films on VHS, the Phantasm series was on my must-own list, and part one always remained a chilling and bizzarre classic in my eyes. The film was directed by Don Coscarelli, who also was the brain behind the idea of characters, and the cast was made up of such talents as Michael Baldwin as Mike, Bill Thornbury as Jody, Reggie Bannister as ice cream man Reggie and Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man. At the US Box Office it brought in a total of $11.988,469.00 on a $300,000.00 budget. The year it was released, it was joined by such other Horror Films as “The Amityville Horror”, “The Driller Killer”, “Tourist Trap”, “Zombie 2”, “Screams Of A Winter Night”, “Cannibal Holocaust” and “The Dark” to name a few. This first one is a true cult classic in my book and is one that you should watch this Halloween season if you have not seen it, and hell even if you have seen it, watch it again!

maxresdefaultphantasm_2_poster_01tumblr_lphrbsQj331qbjgano1_500

Phantasm II (1988)

Mike is released from psychiatry, when he agrees with the doctors that the terrible happenings in his past were just in his imagination. But once he’s free, he contacts Redge and they team up to hunt down and eliminate the “Tall Man”, who plunders the graveyards and abducts the sleeping with help of his terrible gnomes. A beautiful strange girl starts to appear in Mike’s dreams. He assumes she’s in danger and needs their help – will they find her before the Tall Man can do her any harm?”

I can remember when Phantasm II was coming out to theaters as Fangoria Magazine was pushing it, and the TV spots playing on the local stations always captured my attention. My first time seeing the film was when it hit home video and my cousins Dino and Norman rented it and had me and my brother over to watch it. I can remember when the sphere killed one of the Tall Man’s funeral workers, Norman and I cheered and were in wonder as the effects looked fantastic.  This sequel was also directed by Don Coscarelli with actors James LeGros as Mike, Reggie Bannister as Reggie, Paula Irvine as Liz and Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $7,282,851.00 on a $3 million dollar budget. The film came in at 103 for the year and beat such cult films as Waxwork, Hot To Trot, Mac And Me, The Unholy, Braddock: Missing In Action III, Elvira Mistress Of The Dark, Monkey Shines, Night Of The Demons, Pumpkinhead, Maniac Cop, Hero And The Terror and Critters 2: The Main Course to name a few. The sequel packs a wicked punch and adds to the mystery of The Tall Man and his wicked dead spreading ways, a great watch for your Halloween season for sure.

tumblr_ngh1hieKy11skmvzoo1_1280471758.1020.Aphantasm3

Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

The Tall Man, that imposing menace from Morningside Mortuary, is back and once again haunting the thoughts of the now-adult Mike and his friend, ex-Ice Cream vendor Reggie. The two continue their hunt for the mysterious figure and in his path of destruction encounter a variety of dangerous situations, friends and enemies. They also must contend with the resurrected dead plus a growing number of the infamous and deadly silver spheres which aid the Tall Man as he sets his sights on indoctrinating Mike and finishing the fight begun so many years ago”

Phantasm III was the first of the series not to make it to theaters, and the rumor going around about why it went direct to video was because Universal and Don Coscarelli were at war with each other and they did this as a way to flex their muscle, but by doing this they created one of the top selling direct to video films of all time. I first saw the film when my brother Bryan and I rented it from K&L Video, and both of us liked it but were also confused by some of it.  But that’s the real charm of the Phantasm films, they reveal answers but also make it so there are more questions that need answers from film to film. This one also adds female characters named Rocky and Tanesha who are also on a quest to take down the sinister Tall Man…part three in this series is great and was one that was worth renting and now owning on DVD.

angusscrimm526209ebff8db75d7d50f27ed0debc13p4demon

Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)

Taking off immediately where the last one ended, in this episode Mike travels across dimensions and time fleeing from the Tall Man, at the same time he tries to find the origins of his enemy, and what really happened the night that his brother died. Meanwhile, Reggie (accompanied by a beauty he picked up on the road) battles the spheres and the undead in a quest to find Mike before the Tall Man can complete his transformation.”

The fourth film in the series was another one that my brother Bryan and I rented from Blockbuster Video.  While good, I did find it to be the weakest in the series, but even with that said, it’s still an amazing and strange film. I don’t have much to say about this film besides I bought it on VHS and later DVD. It was great seeing The Tall Man back in 1998, and it was released by MGM this time around and not Universal. Also a fun fact is that the film was originally written under the title “Phantasm 1999 A.D.” and would have been set in a post-apocalyptic world and would have co-starred Bruce Campbell, but that script could not find funding so it disappeared into developmental hell. This film also had the lowest budget out of all the sequels that were made up to that point. Over all it’s a solid sequel that adds to the legend and mysteries that is The Tall Man.

Phantasm3-copyphantasm-v-ravager-postermaxresdefault-1

Phantasm V: Ravager (2016)

The final installment of the long-running Phantasm series.”

Not much is known about this fifth film in Phantasm series besides it was filmed in secret from 2012-2013.  Oddly enough the film has been scheduled for release this year and has yet to see the light of the movie theater or even the home viewing market, but just recently the release date of October 7th, 2016 was announced. This fifth film is also supposed to be the end of the series and is also the only film not to be directed by Don Coscarelli as David Hartman steps into the director’s chair. I am hoping that the Neon Movies in Dayton will get this film to screen when released, but I won’t hold my breath. I am very much looking forward to this film as the world needs another nightmare of celluloid featuring The Tall Man. So you friends and readers, are you looking forward to this fifth and final Phantasm film?

Tall Man in The Crypt

I am sure some of your readers would like to know who is Tall Man and what is he about. In the 19th century a mortician named Jebediah Morningside had become obsessed with finding out the connections between the worlds of the dead and the living.  He researched and built a machine that would allow him to travel through time and space via a portal that when stepping into it, lead him to an unknown destination and when returning he was no longer Jenediah; he was different…he was now The Tall Man. With these changes he became immortal, super strong, can shape shift, is telekinetic and able to control not only people but also objects with his mind.  When having a body part cut off, the severed limb not only grows back but the amputated limb can transform into insect-like creatures.  His helpers are many as he not only has humans to help in his goal to make the world a graveyard, but also small dwarves, gas mask wearing guards and spheres to name a few. His only known major weakness is cold as it’s believed that the dimension he came from is very hot and this makes is body not able to deal with freezing temperatures. Another fact is that with the change his blood is no longer red but yellow, and while he can be hurt, he has never been killed as shown for 4 films thus far (could his death be in the fifth film?). What makes The Tall Man a fascinating character is the fact that his motives are unknown for the most part besides he wants the land of the living to be the land of the dead. While he can talk, he is a bad guy of few words and mostly uses his face and eyebrow movement to show his feelings. The Tall Man is said to be 6 feet 4 inches tall, have grey hair and is always wearing a black suit. Actor Angus Scrimm has played The Tall Man for five films and his portrayal will forever lock The Tall Man as a true iconic character in the world of horror films. And one has to wonder if the Creepypasta Slenderman is slightly based on The Tall Man…think about it.

Phantasm_5_tallThe_Tall_Mantumblr_inline_nfie8dXXdu1t5qutw

Let’s talks a little about actor Angus Scrimm, shall we? Born on August 19, 1926 in Kansas City, Kansas, Scrimm started his media journey when he wrote and edited for such magazines as TV Guide and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and would also write the liner notes for LPs and CDs for bands like The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and even won a Grammy for his work on liner notes. Hits first acting role was in 1973 in the film “Sweet Kill” with another role that year being in “Sceam Bloody Murder” and after another small role in 1976 for a film called “Jim The World’s Greatest.”  His career changing role would come three years later in 1979 when he landed the role of The Tall Man in the film Phantasm.  This launched his career in acting in horror and cult films, landing roles in “Wiches’ Brew”, “Subspecies”, “Wishmaster” and “John Dies At The End,” to name a few. Angus would travel around the world acting and appearing at conventions and was always a man who made time for his fans. But sadly on January 9th 2016 at the age of 89, Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends.  This marked another major blow for fans of horror as the year before we lost Wes Craven and Christopher Lee. While gone, his work will live one, and I just wanted to take a moment and honor the man who truly made The Tall Man come alive and scare all those who witnessed his cinema and home video madness. This update is for you, Mr. Scrimm.

angusphantasm_bigas8664341CYV307TUAAArCR0

The Tall Man has lots of creepy helpers that are trying to usher in a world of death.  Let’s take a few moments to take a look at them. The most popular of his helpers are the Spheres, also known as Sentinels.  They are flying weapons of death that are packing drills, knives, lasers and saws inside of them and are pure killing machines. The Dwarves, also called Lurkers, are pint size terrors who are crushed down dead bodies that have their brains removed and act as his main forces in his quest. The Hearse is another of his allies, a roaming self controlled four wheeled death machine, and lastly we have the Gravers, who are gas mask wearing slaves who act as guards. All these minions help make The Tall Man a true menace that the world fears and has to combat in order to save their towns from becoming wastelands of death.

phantasm_ball tumblr_nuu5qon6I21qzr8nao1_500p4_0058_p06

Phantasm has had its share of merchandise and only VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray and other home media releases. Over the years Phantasm and its character The Tall Man have appeared on t-shirts, posters, a comic book, action figures, posters, books, wall clock, hats and many more official and unoffical products. Over the years my most favorite Phantasm item I own is my NECA action figure that not only showcases The Tall Man but also a Lurker.  I also really like my Xmachina Comic as well as an item I will be talking about very shortly. So if you’re a fan of Phantasm and are also a collector of cool things, you can find some very kick butt stuff that showcases characters and the logos for this cult classic horror film.

phan3-clock41G638GQFJLphantasmexhumed

In 2009, a Phantasm homebrew video game was made for the Atari 2600 by Scott Dayton.  During its limited release, it was placed on a cart, and I was lucky enough to get a copy of it to play. It’s an adventure game and has you looking around doors in the mausoleum trying to find your shotgun and fighting off the dwarves and dodging The Tall Man who says/screams “Boy” at you. The best part of the game is the midi version of the film’s theme…amazing! While not ground breaking, the game is very much a fun play and makes you flashback to the days when a joystick and one button were all you needed to play a game. While out of print and pretty hard to find, from time to time it will show up on Ebay, and for a high price, you too can get yourself a copy of the horror video game.

47341505941151_orig5127434

The score music for the 1979 classic Phantasm was done by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave and could be some of the most memorable horror film music to come out of the 70’s next to Goblin’s Dawn Of The Dead work. The opening theme has a creepy organ sound that blends the sound of the 70’s and yet also mixes in the eerie feel of the 60’s horror score music. The soundtrack has been released on vinyl and CD, and both are pretty much out of print and fetch a very high price in the used market. I was lucky to find a special edition CD release for Phantasm that puts the scores for the first and second film on one CD-R and play the main title during the Halloween show of Alpha Rythms on WYSO. If you’re a music score fan and have extra cash, you should check out this soundtrack as it’s worth buying and listening to.

folder

Back in 2011 as part of the podcast Gutter Trash’s Halloween special, I was asked to be a guest to review Phantams alongside hosts Jason Young and Eric Shonborn, and wow was it a fun time! We ate take out Chinese food and watched the film over at Eric’s house and after the film recorded the podcast in the Gutter Trash studio….and I was the only one trying to defend it! It was a great time, and if you want to take a trip to the past and listen to some movie and comic geeks chat about Phantasm and other topics, make sure to give it a listen here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.14.09 AM

So we are now in the heart of this Horror Comic Mortuary where good scary comics go to die, and it’s my job to bring them back to life and share them with you my readers – I should warn you that I have had to dodge so many Lurkers who have tried to stop me! I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this issue in stock. I also want to also tell you that this Phantasm comic series was planned to be a four issue mini series, but after Xmachina closed up the comic shop, only one issue was released. But I would like to make a prediction that may could come true; Eibon Press, the new amazing Horror Comic Company who is releasing the missing issues from the Xmachina Gates Of Hell comic series, could take the chance and release the remaining issues..again, just a guess that I could be WAY OFF on. As I am writing this, I can hear a Lurker mumbling this, “Remind them that you grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.” And that Lurker said it best..let’s move onto the Phantasm comic that is the perfect way to countdown to Halloween with as well as kick off my new themed updates “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” so dodge the spheres and try to outrun The Tall Man and see what this comic has to offer as this is my first time reading it.

Phantasm01

Phantasm # 1 ***
Released in 2002    Cover Price $4.95    Xmachina Comics    # 1 of 4

Mike is stuck in a world of his memories of his past run-ins with The Tall Man and his strange world and followers. He remembers back to when he was convinced it was all a dream and that his brother Jody died in a car crash and was not taken away by The Tall Man.  He also remembers when The Tall Man took him into his world and he witnessed the bizarre and weird place in between dimensions that he walked between.  He remembers going along with his best friend Reggie and meeting a female survivor named Rocky and how they had to fight to stay alive, and he remembers how The Tall Man removes his brain to show him not all is what it seems…and then he wakes up attached to machines, greeted by a hippie looking doctor named John Andrew Quezada who is dream specialist.  The year is 2047, and he has been studding Mike who he claims has been in a coma since 1979, a year after his brother Jody and friend Reggie were both killed in a car wreck.  He also claims that the world went crazy some years back and that many people went into dream comas and that The Tall Man is something that lives in dreams and only one other person has ever lived this long in a coma. Mike is still young as a serum was used to keep him youthful, and now Quezada wants him to help find a cure for the dream coma that is sweeping the world. The woman who survived is Rocky, and Dr. Quezada puts them both through dream tests that pits them against The Tall Man and his army of minions, but also what ever weapon they dream up to fight him with can be made as the clinic has a weapon manufacturing room! In one of his dream tests Mike has his own mind taking the appearance of Reggie telling him that this is all a trick of The Tall Man to get him and Rocky out of the way so he can spread death around the world and that they must fight back and end The Tall Man’s path of destruction. When he awakens, he questions Quezada who in turns answers questions but soon turns into The Tall Man and along with spheres and his minions attack Mike and Rocky, only for them to run away and smack dab into a twisted grotesque version of The Tall Man…and our story ends.

Just like the movie series this is based on this comic took so many twist and turns and was so odd that it fit perfectly into the world of Phantasm! The plot mixes the elements from the four films and tries to twist Mike’s memories into nightmares and say that he has been in a coma for decades – and that The Tall Man is nothing more than a nightmare man who has infected the sleep world of many people on earth causing ones who dream of him to go into comas…this of course is all a trap as Mike and Rocky, a returning character from the film Phantasm III, soon find out that this clinic to help them is just another sick game being played by their most hated enemy The Tall Man. The things that work the most about this issue are that while you are reading it and being drawn deeper and deeper into the possibility that these nightmares of Mike are what’s causing these major and evil problems, you know in the back of your mind that it has to be the work of The Tall Man as his sinister mind games are on par with the Marvel Comic villain The Red Skull as they both get joy in watching their targets squirm as their twisted plans unfold. Mike is a great character as by the point we join him in this comic issue, he has already been through so much and he seems to be fed up with all the strange and sinister antics he has had to deal with in his young life.  Plus he knows that he is the key that can stop this approaching end of the world, and he is ready to take up the fight! Rocky is also a fighter, and she tries her best to have no fear even when the odds are stacked against her.  The best way to describe her to modern horror comic fans is that she is much like Michonne from The Walking Dead. While we see Reggie and Jody in flashbacks mostly, they are missed in the story, but I have a feeling that later on they would have played a major part in the story. Doctor John Andrew Quezada is one of those characters that from the moment you see him you’re not sure if he can be trusted and after getting to know him a little better you lighten up only to again quickly question his motives…is he good or bad or a pawn of The Tall Man…I can’t say for sure, but by the end of this issue, he sure does seem evil! The Tall Man always seems to be around in this issue whether its in flashback, on TV screens or in person, and he just wants to screw things up and mess with the minds of those who can stop his rampage. Tall Man is always also surrounded by his minions and his spheres making him a major threat. The cover has a dark mood look and for some reason The Tall Man looks like he is part Terminator with his glowing red eye.  The interior art is done by Michael Broom and is creepy and fitting for this style of story based on these characters. The story is well crafted and put together by Stephen Romano, who you could truly tell was a fan of the series.  I wish that Xmachina Comics stayed around longer so that this series could have been finished up and we horror comic readers could have seen how the story played out. Here is to hoping that sometime in the future companies like Eibon Press or Rough House Publishing will pick up the series and put out the remaining three issues in the planned miniseries. Over all, this is a great read and something that fans of the film series should track down as well as horror comic readers. Below is artwork from the comic that shows the badass nature of what this comic has in store, so enjoy!

Scan 2

So I hope you’re not too scared as we have just started with our countdown to Halloween 2016, and I think taking a look at Jaws 2 and Phantasm was the right way to kick off this season. Phantasm is one of those cult classic films that has a loyal fanbase that just cannot be beat, and I for one will always stand by the fact that I am a fan, or as they say Phan, of this film! Our next update is a comic based on another film that I am a super fan of, the 1932 classic film Dracula.  We will be taking a look at the Dark Horse Comic adaptation of that Universal Monster Classic as well as Lugosi’s Dracula and the impact it has had on society.  So make sure to join me back here for that as you will not want to miss it.  Until next time, avoid The Tall Man, watch a horror movie or two, read a horror comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host. Also watch out for flying spheres as they can be a real pain in the neck!

Universal Dracula Logo

Terror Of The Deep Blue Sea…JAWS!!

GET OUT OF THE WATER! I am not screaming this at you because you just ate a hamburger and dove into the pool.  We all know you could get a cramp from that, but I am screaming this because our 1st countdown to Halloween update is all about that terror of the ocean Jaws! Humankind has always had a slight fear of the ocean and the Great White Shark has always been the foe of those looking for a good time in the ocean as they are known man-eaters and are not afraid to take a bite out of you! But in 1975, thanks to Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios, the world became afraid to go swimming as the film JAWS chewed its way to the top of the box office and made viewers scared to enter the water! The first time I saw Jaws is when my Dad showed it to me on cable TV, and I can remember even at a young age loving the mood and slow burn approach as the final showdown of man vs. shark unfolded before my young eyes. I can remember getting the same charge and wonder when watching JAWS 2, but the series lost steam for me when I watched part 3 and the revenge. So this update is going to be a fun one that I hope helps build you up for Halloween that is just around the corner.  So lets get on our wetsuits and dive into the water as we take a look at JAWS 2 and the Marvel adaptation of this classic late 70’s drama horror film.

The Shark Is Waiting For You

To understand JAWS, we must first travel back to 1916 and the Jersey Shore line as a rogue shark attacked people along the coastline and beyond.  For 12 horrifying days, this man eater went on its rampage leaving four dead and one injured. The first attack took place on July 1 with the victim being Charles Epting Vansant, who was 25 years old and was attacked by the shark while on vacation and swimming at Beach Haven.  His legs were being bitten by the shark and by the time help got to him, the shark had stripped the flesh off of his left thigh.  Charles would go on to bled to death from his injuries. Witnesses claimed that the shark even followed Charles up to shore before returning back into the Atlantic Ocean. The next attack took place on July 6th when 27 year old Charles Bruder was swimming at Spring Lake where he was attacked by the shark who bit his abdomen and, rumor goes, even severed the young man’s legs turning the water around him blood red in color.  He also bled to death from his injuries. On July 12, a group of boys went swimming in Matawan Creek when Lester Stilwell, who was 11, was attacked by the shark.  The other boys fled and ran to town for help.  Among them was Watson Stanley, a 24 year old business man who dove into the water to save the youngster, but he was bitten by the shark in the thigh and bled to death from his injuries. Stilwell’s body was found later downstream on July 14. Less than 30 minutes after the deaths of Stilwell and Stanley, in the water near Wyckoff Dock, Joseph Dunn, who was 14 at the time, was bitten and attacked by the shark who clamped onto his leg.  Dunn’s brother and a friend saved his life when they pulled Joseph away from the shark and were able to get him to the hospital in time.

After the attacks, panic filled the good people of the New York and New Jersey coastlines and many fishermen and trackers tried to hunt down the wicked rogue shark. Most believe that Michael Schleisser, a lion tamer for the circus, caught the shark when on July 14 he did battle with one that nearly sunk his boat and was nearly 8 feet in length. After beating the shark with a broken oar, he found the belly of the beast was filled with human flesh and bone! The shark was dubbed “The Jersey Man-Eater” and was mounted and placed on display in a shop off Broadway, until the body of The Jersey Man-Eater went missing some time later. But even after this, people still didn’t think that this was the right shark and that the real killer shark was still out in the water looking for more humans to chomp on.  Over the years, TV shows and channels like In Search Of, History Channel, Discovery and many more have covered this case and have given their own opinions on wheter the real Jersey Man-Eater ever was caught. The real downside to this story is that in 1916, before many of these attacks, boat captains had warned people about seeing the shark or sharks in the water, and they were laughed at and ignored.  Lives could have been saved if only they would have listened to those who know the sea better then most. Below is a picture of The Jersey Man-Eater and Michael Schleisser, the man who captured him and “stopped” the 12 Days of Terror.

As a youngster, author Peter Benchley loved to go fishing with his dad in Nantucket, and during this time, he would encounter sharks.  This sparked his fascination with these powerful predators of the waters. These boyhood memories would stick with him, and he would spend years thinking about writing a novel about a shark that attacked people and would not go away as its bloodlust was just too powerful. In 1964 fuel got added to the fire when a 4,550 pound shark was caught off the shore of Long Island, New York.  By 1971, Benchley was struggling as a freelance writer, but fate was about to change when he had lunch with his editor Thomas Congdon who encouraged him to write his fiction book about the shark attacking a resort.  History was made as the novel Jaws hit bookstores and became a hit with readers and some critics. The book had many titles during its production like “Leviathan Rising” and “The Stillness In The Water,” but out of the need for something easy to fit on the cover, they stuck with a simple title “JAWS.” A funny fact about the book is that it climbed California’s best seller list when the film was going into production as Steven Spielberg and many of the other producers bought hundreds of copies of the book to hand out to crew and family! Growing up, I had a paperback copy of JAWS and can remember reading through it but never finishing it.  I’m not really sure why I never finished it as I always enjoyed the movie and like most kids was in awe of the ocean and all the fish and animals that live in it. I could go on and on about the book and go into more detail on its creation as well as it’s impact on culture, but I just wanted to give you a little nibble and not a chunk about it.  So to sum it up, if you love the film make sure to read the novel if you have not done so yet.

Jaws Novel 1peter benchley and a sharkJaws Novel cover 2

So up to this point, we took a look at the true events that inspired JAWS with the 1916 attacks near the Jersey Shore, and we also took a quick look at the novel that inspired the film series, written by Peter Benchley. Now I think its time to go out into deeper water and take a look at the JAWS franchise that has a total of four films under its man-eating belt. Growing up, I watched these movies so many times, and for me, the shark “JAWS” was just as much an icon of horror as Norman Bates, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Chucky, Dracula, Tallman, Cemetery Zombie and so many other amazing characters that shaped my youthful mind! So let’s get to the fat of this review and take a quick look at the films in this series with film write ups being taken from our good friends at IMDB.

Jaws 1Jaws Posterjaws 1975 roy scheider

JAWS (1975)

It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat.”

Jaws 2 1Jaws 2 PosterJaws 2 2

JAWS 2 (1978)

The small island resort town of Amity is trying to bounce back from the financial troubles that suffered after becoming known as the site of shark attacks four years earlier. Mayor Larry Vaughn is welcoming developer Len Peterson and his new resort to Amity. Two scuba divers are exploring the area where the Orca sank after police chief Martin Brody killed a huge shark four years ago. A shark shows up and devoured the two divers, but not before one of the divers takes a close-up picture of the shark’s eye, and sometime later, while a mother is driving a boat that’s pulling her water-skiing teenage daughter, the shark devours the daughter and causes the mother to accidentally blow up the boat, then a killer whale is found on the shore with a huge bites on it. After Brody sees this, he knows there’s another huge great white shark in Amity’s waters, but Vaughn and Peterson explain these attacks away as non-shark accidents, because the thought of another shark in Amity’s waters would drive…”

I decided that since Jaws 2 is the film the comic adaptation we are reviewing for this update, I would share a few fun facts about the film. Steven Spielberg was asked to direct the sequel but turned it down as he felt he made the “definitive” shark movie and claimed that “making a sequel to anything is just a cheap carny trick.” He later stated that he would have possibly come back to direct the sequel if he didn’t have a troubled production at sea with the first one. One of the film’s early ideas was to have the sons of Brody and Quint be on the hunt for a new man eating shark that was causing chaos. One of the scripts was a downbeat one, and Universal stepped in and made them make it a little more cheery! Susan Ford, daughter of former president Gerald Ford, shot the film’s publicity photos.  Martha’s Vineyard was used as the location of Amity’s town scenes, and the crew was met with mixed reactions this time around as many of the locals thought that the big production and its workers were rude and not happy go lucky like the first film’s crew. Roy Scheider, who played Sheriff Brody in the original film as well as this sequel, was not to happy to be in this film and was paid a large weekly salary but was always in a bad mood and would complain and argue with the director. Students from Gulf Breeze High School were hired to play extras at $3.00 an hour and were able to miss school in order to film. Just some fun facts that I wanted to share.

Jaws 3 1Jaws 3 PosterJaws 3 shark

JAWS 3-D (1983)

Michael Brody and Sean Brody, the sons of former Amity police chief Martin Brody, work at Florida’s Sea World, a seaside park run by Calvin Bouchard. Sean befriends Kelly Ann Bukowski, and Michael’s girlfriend Kathryn Morgan is Sea World’s head scientist who always works with Sea World’s dolphins Cindy and Sandy. In its man-made lagoon, about 40 feet under the water, Sea World opens the Undersea Kingdom, a new set of underwater glass tunnels that have their own control room, and Calvin’s friend Philip FitzRoyce is there to do some filming. When Sea World diver Shelby Overman vanishes, everyone is worried. Michael and Kathryn head into the water, where they find a baby great white shark and decide to bring it to Sea World to put it on display, but at Sea World, the baby shark dies. When Overman’s body is found, Michael vomits when he sees it. Kathryn looks at the body and knows that the baby shark could not have been the shark that killed Overman, because the baby shark’s bite radius …”

Jaws Revenge 1Jaws Revenge Posterjaws Revenge 2

JAWS: The Revenge (1987)

Ellen Brody still lives in the island resort town of Amity, and her sons Sean and Michael don’t work at Sea World anymore, and some time ago, Ellen’s husband Martin Brody died of a heart attack that happened because he was afraid of sharks. Sean is now a deputy in Amity. One night, during the Christmas season, Sean is called to untangle a log from a buoy, and when Sean goes to the buoy, he’s killed by a great white shark. After hearing about this, Michael, who is studying to be a marine biologist, visits Amity with his wife Carla and his 5-year-old daughter Thea. Wanting to get away from Amity and spend Christmas with Michael, Carla, and Thea, Ellen goes with them to their house in the Bahamas on an airplane whose pilot is Hoagie Newcombe, and Hoagie starts falling for Ellen. Michael’s friend Jake, who is also studying to be a marine biologist, lives next door to Michael. Sometime later, while Michael and Jake are out at sea, their boat is attacked by the shark that killed Sean. …”

The first film in the series was directed by Steven Spielberg and was a mega hit not only at the box office but also with critics.  The sequels were directed by Jeannot Szwarc for part 2, Joe Alves for part 3, and the 4th and final was directed by Joseph Sargent.  While mostly hits in their own right, they never did capture box office gold like the original. In 1975, Jaws was the top grossing film, beating out Rocky Horror Picture Show, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Deep Red, Death Race 2000 and Dog Day Afternoon to name a few and bringing in a total to date of $260,000,000.00! Jaws 2 in 1978 was the 7th highest grossing film with $77,737,272.00 beating out such classics as Dawn Of The Dead, The Deer Hunter, Revenge Of The Pink Panther, Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Debbie Does Dallas and Damien: Omen II. Jaws 3-D in 1983 was # 15 with $45,517,055.00 beating out films like Scarface, Psycho II, Porkys II, Twilight Zone The Movie, The Outsiders, Cujo, A Christmas Story, Krull, Strange Brew, Amityville 3-D and The Evil Dead. Poor old Jaws: The Revenge was not a shinning star in 1987, locking in the # 54 spot and only bringing in $20,763,013.00.  It did, however, beat out other cult films like Born In East L.A., Masters Of The Universe, Over The Top, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Hellraiser, Creepshow 2, Prince Of Darkness, The Gate, Back To The Beach, House II, Who’s That Girl, Death Wish 4 and The Chipmunk Adventure to name a very select few. It’s clear that Universal decided not to make a 5th film due to the poor performance of Jaws: The Revenge that had a massive drop in box office dollars and was showing signs of a tired franchise. With no new JAWS movies being talked about and the idea of remaking it shot down by fans and Hollywood itself, those looking for shark movies to send shivers down their spine will have to watch the series on DVD or get their fix with the many clones that this series has sparked like Deep Blue Sea, Shark Attack, Open Water and countless terrible made for TV films. I will always say the first two JAWS films are fantastic and a great way to spend time watching right before you vacation or head to your local beach. I should also say I would love to see Universal do another JAWS sequel as I feel the time is right to unleash the giant shark again on movie goers. Oh, and my girlfriend Juliet would kill me if I didn’t mention that the mechanical shark from JAWS was named Bruce and that many special effects people had to work very hard to get it to move and work right as the salt filled water and air made for a very tricky production.

Jaws Attacks

Amusement park Universal Studios Florida had an idea to take a popular tour attraction from their Hollywood sister park that had during the tour of the studio seeing Jaws who would try to attack as they passed and turning it into a full ride of its own! Universal along side Ride & Show Engineering with consultant Steven Spielberg began planning on constructing the Jaws Ride that they hoped would be a major attraction for the Florida theme park. The ride opened on June 7, 1990 but was plagued with many issues as the special effects of the ride seemed not to want to work and many times daily it would have to be evacuated from all the breakdowns. The ride was a flop at first as Ride & Show Engineering failed to make the ride to work and failed at designing the ride to work in water, and for years Universal tried to make the effects and ride work, but could never make it happen as it was just to poorly made by the designers. But hope for a solid and iconic ride was in the cards as Totally Fun Company, Oceaneering International and ITEC Entertainment came to the rescue and redesigned the ride almost from the ground up! The ride reopened in 1993 with Roy Scheider, Steven Spielberg and Lorraine Gray being on hand to introduce a crowd of fans and riders to the horror ride experience of their life! In 2004 the ride was shutdown for a short time and then became a seasonal ride in 2005 when gas prices rose after hurricanes slowed down production of the petroleum, but due to the mass amounts of complaints from guests they opened it full time again in 2007. While it was a major attraction on January 2, 2012 Jaws The Ride was closed down by Universal Studios Florida to make room for new attractions that turned out to be Harry Potter World and the ride “Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts” and this was terrible news for me as I have always wanted to ride Jaws but never got a chance…stupid Harry Potter! I am guessing for those who don’t know what the ride was about I should fill in. The ride has a “captain” taking guests around Amity Island all the while Jaws attacks as explosions and special effects go off all around. In the end thanks to a power cable JAWS is defeated and you make it out of the boat alive! On a cool side note on March 31, 2001 Universal Studios Japan was able to get a version of the JAWS Ride that is still open till this day, showing that they understand that the ride is iconic and didn’t need to break it down for Potter and his magic world. By the way I have nothing against Harry Potter…or do I? My cousin Stephen Alexander was able to ride it in his youth as has many other of my friends so at least they have their memories of this iconic and groundbreaking ride. Below are some pictures of the ride taken by happy guests as well as an old school ad for it.

Jaws Ride 1Jaws Ride AdJaws Ride 2

One thing about JAWS I remember just as well as the films I grew up watching, is the scene in Back To The Future II when Marty McFly played by Michael J. Fox is walking down the street in his hometown Hill Valley now in the future (2015) and playing at the Holomax Theater is Jaws 19 directed by Max Spielberg, who is the real life son of Steven, the director of the original JAWS. The film’s tagline is “This Time It’s Really Really Personal,” and as Marty walks by the cinema, a giant holographic JAWS pops out and comes toward Marty who screams and soon finds its all just an illusion to sell tickets to the film. Sadly 2015 has passed, and so far we have not gotten a JAWS sequel since 1987, but here is to Robert Zemeckis and the cast and crew of Back To The Future Part II for making a fun moment in that classic film.

Back To The Future 2 Jaws

JAWS also made it so that it was not safe to play you video game system of choice as many games have been made based around this killer great white shark. The Commodore 64 version was released by Box Office Games a game sadly I have never played but will track down and do so someday. The Nintendo Entertainment System got one put out by LJN and this is the one I remember the most as it was a game I have owned for years and have spent many hours going from port to port to get shells to trade for tools of the trade to try and defeat JAWS. More modern games made for PS2, Xbox and WII were made by Majesco and has you the player control JAWS and complete missions that including humans and other ocean life. So as you can see JAWS in video games allows players to be humans but also the shark depending on the systems you play it on and the companies who developed them. I really do have good memories of playing JAWS on the NES and even with the last few years I watched my cousin Stephen beat it! So for all you readers who are gamers there is many ways to pick to play JAWS.

Jaws for C64Jaws for NESJaws Unleashed for PS2

The Angry Video Game Nerd in 2012 episode 101 entitled Spielberg Games reviewed JAWS for the NES and gives his typical funny review of it all the while ripping it a new one over it’s beyond repetitive game play and the over all cheesy way and awkward way you must beat JAWS in the final battle that has you as the player spear him in the neck with the end of your boat! Also during this episode he looks at NES Games like Jurassic Park and Hook, so if you like funny and crude reviews done by one of my favorite internet stars make sure to give it a watch.

AVGN Jaws

Like all good Horror Movie Franchises JAWS has had it’s massive share of merchandise from video games to soundtracks and everything in-between. Topps did trading cards for JAWS 2, many pool toys where made to make your swimming pool a scene from JAWS, T-Shirts, Pog Slammers, Novels, Hats, Posters, Magazines and even in 2015 ReAction figures were made! Some of the things I have owned about JAWS over the years to present include the Novels, Marvel Comic Adaptation for JAWS 2, the POG Slammer, trading cards, soundtracks and just last year (2015) Juliet got me the ReAction figure of the shark! So all you fans of this film there are many great collectables out in the world for your collections. Oh and I am almost pretty sure that my cousins Dino, Norman and Nick had the pool toy JAWS as I can remember us one summer playing out the movie in their pool!

Jaws Pool ToyJaws 2 Trading Card packJaws ReAction Figures

John Williams is the master of movie music and has done the scores for such films as Superman The Movie, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, E.T., Raiders Of The Lost Arch and JAWS! These titles are just a drop in the hat of the amazing work he has done in films that have inspired and entertained viewers for decades. The JAWS 2 soundtrack is refreshing, as Williams did not recycle his old music from the first one and added a new flavor to fit the over all nature, mood and characters of this sequel. While the familiar JAWS theme is present it’s done in a new way with only it playing along with a new piece of music to sandwich it between. While I find JAWS 2 to have a fantastic and fitting score it still does fall a little short at being as iconic as it’s predecessor. While I wrote much of this update I played my CD of JAWS 2 as background music and found it very fitting and really put me into the frame of mind to write about these series of films and the Marvel Comic. The track from this soundtrack that I like to play on WYSO is called “End Title. End Cast” that mixes soft melodies and booming horns. Over all if you like score music to films like I do this one is a good one to have in your collection. This soundtrack can be found on Vinyl, Cassette and CD so many ways to own it in your collection.

Jaws 2 Soundtrack CD

There is blood in the water now and the sharks are starting to circle us so I think its time that we take a look at the Marvel Super Special of JAWS 2 and see just how well this comic holds up to the film. I want to point out that I will call the great white shark JAWS through out this review and in fact did so throughout the update, I know that’s not the sharks name in the film but as a youngster I grew up calling the shark that name and find myself still to this day doing it, so in other words old habits die hard. I want to thank Lone Star Comics from Texas and my favorite store to order comics online from for having this issue in stock. I want to also point out that make sure your oxygen tank is filled and your flippers not broken as I grade on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if your ready this cool September night lets dive deep into the ocean and come face to face with the one and only razor toothed menace of the ocean JAWS.

Jaws 2 Comic

JAWS 2  # 1  ***
Released in 1977    Cover Price $1.50    Marvel    # 1 of 1

A pair of lobster divers find a sunken boat and think of the money they can make of the salvage, but soon find that they are not going to live long enough to make that money as Jaws the great white shark is back and makes a quick meal of them. On Amity Island Chief Brody is still scared by the events that took place there three years before as is the town that has lost traction of being a good place to vacation. Brody and his fellow officers find the divers boat abandon and later a group of collage age skiers are attacked by Jaws and their boat blown up leaving no evidence of the shark attack. While Brody is being laughed at for his obsession of sharks his young sons teenager Mike and youngster Sean are taking a boat out to a small island that holds a lighthouse and spending time with friends, but as they are in the water so is Jaws who once more targets some divers who are sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brody along with a helicopter hit the water to bring the teens in as it’s now clear that Jaws is back! Mike and Sean along with friends are having a great time when Jaws attacks and eats and kills many of the youngsters with her powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth, the beast of the ocean also brings down the helicopter and kills it’s drivers! Finally Brody is able to trick Jaws into bitting down on a power line that was at the bottom of the water and brought to the surface thanks to a drag line and once Jaws chomps down on it, the great white shark is fried and Brody meets all the surviving teens and his sons on the Light House island.

Jaws 2 translated from movie to comic very well and has enough cut and some slight adds that make it feel like it’s own adventure, as they could not squeeze a nearly 2 hour movie into a standard comic magazine special. The plot is this Brody and the town of Amity are not over the shark attacks that took place three years in the past and now the shark is back and hungry for flesh and revenge and when Brody’s own children are on the menu he must try his hardest to save them and the town form the sharks warpath of chaos. Sheriff Brody is a man stuck in the past who has grown to fear sharks and even the ocean and spends most days on duty watching the waters. He is getting to the point were is paranoia is effecting his relationship with his teenage son Mike are he wants him to stay clear of the water as he fears that another shark attack could happen. But even while paranoid Brody still has the respect of the towns people and steps up to be the hero again when the shark comes calling for human hide to chew on. Sean and Mike are just normal youngsters who want to just enjoy the summer and travel the waters on Mike’s new boat. But when they don’t listen to their fathers they of course run into trouble that leaves many of their friends dead! The Shark or as I call JAWS is one mean mama who wants to eat as many people as possible before summers end, she travels the waters looking for divers, swimmers and skiers and seems as if she has a bone to pick with Brody as she targets his children. That’s one thing I really do like about this comic adaptation they really push home that JAWS is a female so that should make female readers happy that the killer of this horror comic is indeed a female. The comic is pretty bloody and has the shark eating and ripping people apart with also depictions of blood in the water. The horror element of the comic is present as they try and build the idea into the readers mind that JAWS is always in the water and will not stop killing and eating humans, they add the drama factor with Brody and his son Mike not seeing eye to eye and mix them all together with a small town feel. The art work is done by the team of Gene Colan and Tom Palmer and for the most part its fantastic, the only downside is that none of the characters besides JAWS looks like the actors who played them making for a slight disappointment. But with that said the shark art and murders are top notch stuff and pretty brutal for a Marvel Comic from the late 70’s. The cover as you can see is good but also very cheesy and does great job of mixing sex and violence. Over all I must say I had a fun time reading this comic and it was a great way to kick off the first update in my countdown to Halloween! So check out some artwork below and see just how cool JAWS looks in this fun comic adaptation.

Jaws 2 art 1Jaws 2 art 2Jaws 2 art 3

So now that the waters are safe, and we made it safely past the jaws of that great white shark, we should take a look at another horror icon that has made the leap to comics.  I am thinking that in honor of his fifth film, we should look at the Tallman from the Phantasm series and the comic made by Xmachina! So make sure to come back for that one as I am sure it will be a bone chilling good time! It’s now time that I leave you as I have some Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre and Sparkle Comics duties I need to get done, so until next time, stay out of the water, watch out for sharks, read a comic or three and support your local horror host.

Phantasm Logo

Dawn Of The Monster Bash Vacation (2016)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers.  Once more it’s my time to travel to Pennsylvania for the Monster Bash Convention, something that Juliet and I look forward to every year as we both love classic monster movies as well as enjoy Cranberry Township and all the wonders around it, from Evans City Cemetery to New Dimension Comics and everything in-between. This year I was really looking forward to spending some time with my lady and enjoy my time away from work and the stresses of TV Show making and comic book creating.  The start of this year was not a pleasant one for me as not only did my cousin Norman pass away, but I also had some stress health issues that were a major pain and downer.This year’s convention guests include Audrey Dalton from films like “Mr. Sardonicus” and “The Monster The Challenged The World”, Jimmy Hunt from “Invaders From Mars” as well as Horror Hosts like Son Of Ghoul and Chilly Billy Cardille in what could be his final convention appearance. So you, my readers and friends, are welcome to jump into the backseat of our Mazda 3 and go on another fun filled trip to Pittsburgh for Monster Bash.  For this update I am very happy to say we will be covering the George A Romero film Dawn Of The Dead as well as the IDW adaptation of this cult classic and iconic zombie film. So jump on in, and let’s have some fun with classic monsters and a town that almost seems like a second home to Juliet and me as we travel to Monster Bash 20016!

Monsterbash 2016 logo

On July 7th 2016 we started our quest for Monster Bash and stopped first at Ghostlight Coffee to get some good drinks to start our over 4 hour quest. On the drive we listened to two more chapters of the audio book “Marvel Comics The Untold Story” and chatted about Stan Lee and the mismanagement of Marvel Comics in the mid to late 90’s. In-between Ohio and West Virginia we stopped to get some lunch at Ruby Tuesday where I munched down on a New York strip steak and a baked potato.  The meal was pretty good and nothing too special. But outside by the Ruby Tuesdays was a strange giant McDonalds billboard with a sinister looking Ronald McDonald that was hidden in the woods…very strange indeed. The drive was smooth for the most part; we did run into some very wicked traffic in one section, but during this time we just chatted about comics and what our plans were for the following days. Once we hit our official hotel, the Comfort Inn of Cranberry Township, we checked in and loaded in our bags and for dinner decided to order the classic Eat’n Park where I got my usual liver and onions with mashed potatoes and rice, while Juliet ate chicken with sweet potato fries and strawberries. That night we watched some TV, and while Juliet read her book and played on her iPhone, I read a comic with thoughts of Monster Bash running in my head as a quick rain storm came down outside. A good first day and a very low key evening.

Marvel The Untold Story BookCreepy Ronald McDonald in the WoodsLiver and Onions Mmmm

The second day, we woke up around 9:30am, and after getting ready, we had some breakfast from Einstin Bros. where I had a tasty sausage, egg and cheese bagel with orange juice to drink.  Due to some electric issues, they gave us our meal for free! Once done, we had to find something to do to kill time until 3pm when Monster Bash opened and decided to drive around and just see some of the sights that include weird blocked off roads and a place called “Fun Fore All,” an arcade, miniature golf and family fun center. After the drive we stopped back at the hotel and waited for The Bash. When the time ticked down, I wondered what kind of theme car would be out front and more importantly what the statues were going to be this year as my guess would be aliens from Invaders To Mars, but again only a guess. We ate lunch at Max & Erma’s and headed to Monster Bash, and man was I hyped to get this convention adventure started. Walking across the parking lot, we noticed that there was no monster car up front and once entering the Hilton were the convention is held at, we noticed that major remodeling was going on and this worried me as the place where the statues have always been was gone. But after buying our three day badges, we quickly found them and I must say I was WAY OFF on what they were this year. The statues this year were the old woman from House On Haunted Hill, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Christopher Lee version of The Mummy. Walking around we saw lots a great classic monster stuff like posters, DVDs, comics, magazines, shirts and so much more. We saw familiar faces like Ken and Pam who own and run Cinema Wasteland, Jill from Lix Online and Horror Host Son Of Ghoul. A highlight of the day was when Juliet got to see original screen used props used in her favorite science fiction film “Forbidden Planet” including a very cool UFO. We walked around a while and enjoyed the world that is Monster Bash, and after awhile walked back to our hotel and read some comics and books and planned for dinner and a movie on the laptop for the night.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 1Monster Bash 2016 Day 1 pic 2Monster Bash 2016 Day 1 pic 3

For dinner who chose Wing Kings as they seem to be our go-to when it comes to eating and watching a movie on our trusty old laptop, and the film of the night we selected was the 1975 film Inn of the Damned as it was one I had seen many years back on VHS and how can you go wrong with a western horror film..right? From Wing Kings I ordered 12 garlic wings to keep the vampires away as well as some onion rings. Juliet ordered 6 Garmesan wings (a mix of garlic and parmesan cheese) and some Jalapeno Poppers, and we sat in our chairs and ate our food and watch a horror motion picture. The wings and the onion rings were fantastic, and Wing Kings really hit the spot.  The movie Inn Of The Damed was as weird, long and dumb as I remember it being when I saw it as a teen. I would say this was a great meal with a cheesy horror film that was a good combination for the night and a great way to end the evening.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 1 Dinner and a Movie

So your wondering what my first day haul was right? Well let me share with you my treasures this time around. I got the documentary DVD “Creature Feature 60 Years Of The Gil-Man” for $20.00. I also picked up the DVD-R’s for “Inn Of The Damned” for $5.00 (it’s the Cheezy Flix release) and a classic black and white chiller called “Valley Of The Zombies” for $10.00. I ended up finding some comics this first day like Attack Of The Mutant Monsters # 1 for $3.00, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes Graphic Novel for only $6.00, Giant-Size Man-Thing # 2 for $3.00, Chamber Of Chills # 6 for $4.00, Worlds Unknown # 3 for $5.00, Hellraiser/Nightbreed Jihad # 1 for $5.00 and lastly The Tomb Of Dracula # 26 for only $4.00! Over all a pretty good haul but nothing to special but all worth buying in this monster kids head.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 1

We started day three around 8:30am, and after getting ready and watching a little TV, we went to brunch at a place right next door to the hotel called Pig Iron (not to be confused with the Zoo Crew member from DC Comics) where I had Chorizo Hash that was mighty tasty. Before brunch we also hit New Dimension Comics, and I found lots of great reads like some issues of Captain America, Night Of The Living Dead, Marvel Tales and Werewolf By Night. Plus at the comic shop I found the only missing issue of Marvel’s The Frankenstein Monster which means I now I have the full run. After brunch we walked back over to Monster Bash and found that a replica of the Ecto-One from Ghostbusters was parked outside, and this sparked a convention between Juliet and I on how cosplay Ghostbusters are taking over conventions. Once inside we walked around and I kept my eyes open for David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to buy some of his films, but sadly the quest today came back empty-handed. I did finally get my picture taken with John Russo, the man who helped create the “Living Dead” universe and picked up a few items before we decided to wonder back to our hotel and plan the rest of the days adventure. Below are some pictures from the second day of Monster Bash including the picture of me and John Russo.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 2IMG_1144Monster Bash 2016 Day 2 pic 3

The second day Monster Bash haul was pretty weak with me only picking up three items! First, I got another DVD-R copy of the Paul Naschy film Vengeance Of The Mummy aka Mummy’s Revenge for the overprice of $20.00.  This will mark my third attempt at watching this movie on a DVD-R! I got the Marvel Magazine size comic adaptation for the film Meteor for only $3.00.  And lastly, the best find of the day is a Golden Book graphic novel adaptation of the classic epic adventure film Clash of the Titans for $5.00! The second day’s haul, while light, still delivered some great things for me to read and watch…if this copy of Vengeance of the Mummy works.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 2

After Monster Bash and us coming up with a game plan, we settled on the fact we had to visit the Snowman again as I really needed a Yeti Shake! As we started on the magical road to The Snowman for our tasty cold treats, the poor Mazda 3 started to have issues, and we had to turn back around and return to the hotel.  Once back, we looked for a Mazda dealer to take the car to on Monday morning and worked on some Sparkle Comics business while the weather outside looked like a storm was blowing in. Because of the car issues, we were stuck for the evening at the hotel, and I took this time to read some comic books and work on some Rotten Ink updates as Juliet spent time writing and reading.  Dinner was coming up, and we picked the ever popular Eat’N Park as they were just across the street and we knew the food would hit the spot for this disappointing day. My meal once more was liver and onions with mashed potatoes with gravy, a sticky roll and rice and for a treat a Smile Cookie that’s a pirate in honor of the MLB team The Pittsburgh Pirates. After dinner and reading, I decided to watch some TV before bed and wondered how the third and final day at Monster Bash would go and hoped I could get some David “ The Rock” Nelson DVD’s as they would be the perfect films to cheer this Monster Kid up.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 2 ComicsMonster Bash 2016 Day 2 Sparkle Comics Website WorkMonster Bash 2016 Day 2 Dinner

Day three of Monster Bash and day four of our vacation started with breakfast from Einstein Bros and good talks about Dawn of The Dead and Sparkle Comics while eating.  Once done, we walked across the street for the final day of the convention, and my quest to buy David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs continued. Once we walked into the convention my quest came to an end, and I found David Nelson and chatted for a moment and picked up two of his films! For awhile we walked around and just looked at all the tables and made our final pick ups as the convention closed a few hours later. With the car being down still, we walked to Max & Erma’s for lunch and headed back to the hotel to work on some Sparkle Comics business and to read, watch TV and just have fun being around each other. Below are some pics I took of the last day of Monster Bash including a very cool Dr. Phibes statue and a bad ass Wolf Man painting, plus the picture of me and Independent film maker icon David “The Rock” Nelson with one of his horror characters, The Devil Ant.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 3 pic 1Monster Bash 2016 David The Rock and MeMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 pic 2

The third and final day of Monster Bash haul was the following items: the VHS of the cheesy film The Bat People for $4.00, the CD soundtrack to Demons 2 for $10.00, Hulk Hogan hosting the 1985 CBS Saturday Morning Cartoon previews on DVD-R for $10.00.  I also got two Horror Host DVD-R’s for $10.00 each that were Zacherley hosting a teen dance show called Disc-O-Teen and clips from Ghoulardi show.  My favorite pick ups for the day had to be the two David “The Rock” Nelson DVDs as I got the movies The Demon Monster From Outer Space and The Fishman for $20.00 each.  I always feel good supporting true independent filmmakers and David is a great guy! Over all I got some great things this Monster Bash and many of them will be talked about again here at Rotten Ink.

Monster Bash 2016 Haul Day 3

That night we ordered dinner from Pig Iron where I had a chorizo grilled cheese and fries, and we watched the Hulk Hogan 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoons preview that was not so much Hulk Hogan as it was Rowdy Piper doing a talk show style show with guests like Pee Wee Herman, New Edition and Patti LaBelle and in between showed quick clips of cartoons that would be airing on CBS. It was a fun watch as seeing Pee Wee and Piper talk to each other using sock puppets are things the 80’s were made of. After dinner we worked on more Sparkle Comics website stuff, and later I read some comic books that I picked up from New Dimension Comics days before. Over all the day was good but we both looked forward to getting the car fixed the next day so that we could zoom around town and visit some of our favorite sites in and around Mars.

Monster Bash 2016 Day 3 dinner pig ironMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 Hogan CBSMonster Bash 2016 Day 3 me and the comics read that night

On Monday July 11th after the Mazda 3 was taken into the shop for some TLC, we finally got to go out and do things on this Dawn Of The Dead themed vacation. We ended up having to rent a car, but this helped us at least be able to go out and do things for this vacation and not be stuck in the hotel.  We first went out to lunch and had a good meal at Moe’s where a steak burrito was calling my name. After lunch we headed back to New Dimension Comics, and I bought a ton more comics as I found their dollar room. After walking out of New Dimension Comics with many issues of Incredible Hulk, Marvel Super Heroes and Detective Comics in hand, we went to TCBY so Juliet could get her yogurt for dessert as she was craving white chocolate mousse.  As for me, I did a weird mix of chocolate and strawberry with sprinkles. After driving around in traffic, we headed back to the hotel, and later that night we had dinner at Eat’N Park and then watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network. Over all a fun day filled with great weather, comic books, good food and the friendly staff of all the places we visited. Check out the pics below for some of the highlights of the day!

Moes Lunch 2016Thors Hammer New D Comics 2016TCBY Juliet 2016

On Tuesday July 12, 2016 we had to squeeze so much fun things in one day as it was our last full day in Mars and also the last full day that we had the rental car. So we decided to first go see a movie at the Cranberry Cinemas and saw The Purge: Election Year at its first showing. I really love the Cranberry Cinema as it has the look and feel of a independent owned theater and has a personality that many of the giant chain theaters are lacking and makes me miss Dayton local theaters like Page Manor and Englewood Cinema even more. After the film we went and got some lunch from Moe’s, and the meal was good as always.  Then we headed toward a place that is a shrine of Pittsburgh film making as well as what I would say is “Graceland” of horror, Evan City Cemetery. When driving to the cemetery I was telling Juliet that I wished that Dayton has a location like this that was used in a horror film that made an impact to the genre. Once at the cemetery and driving up the lane, I spotted in the woods next to the road a rooster and a turkey hanging out together.  Now that was random and amazing! The weather was nice and warm with a cool breeze and walking around the cemetery always recharges my batteries and makes me want to be even more creative and to drive my self more when it comes to making a Horror Host show and comic books. Plus walking around with Juliet in this place is something special and something I look forward to every year. After Evan City Cemetery, we drove to The Snowman where I drank a Yeti Shake made with vanilla ice cream and blue raspberry shaved ice and watched the horses in the field next to this landmark. Once done we returned to the hotel and chatted, read some comics and watched TV and ate some Wing King for dinner and ended the day watching TV.  This was a great day that was super fun filled with good times and memories of why I love this town!

Cranberry Cinema 2016Evan City Cemetery 2016Snowman 2016

On Wednesday July 13, 2016 we had to spend the morning returning the rental car and getting our car back and then hit the road back to good old Dayton and listened to the last chapter in “Marvel The Untold Story” and ended our Monster Bash Vacation…but this update has just started as we’re now going talk about Dawn Of The Dead, the second film in the Romero Dead series, and I review the IDW adaptation of this film. So let’s take a trip with the undead and chat about this beloved zombie film!

dawn_of_the_dead 0000

In 1978, George A. Romero teamed up with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento to bring the movie going public a sequel to Night Of The Living Dead, and one of the worlds most classic zombie films was born, simply called Dawn Of The Dead.  Theater goers poured into the cinemas to watch as the living and the dead clashed once more in a battle of the living keeping their human sides in line as the dead do what they do and that’s eat. The start of Dawn of the Dead was in 1974 when George Romero went to the Monroeville Mall with his friend Mark Mason, who worked for a company that managed the mall.  After seeing all the ins and outs of the building and just how happy shoppers were, the idea of people surviving in a mall during a crisis became a joke between them that sparked the desire to start writing the script. Romero, along with his producer Richard P. Rubinstein, started to get investors, and when news broke of a Night Of The Living Dead sequel, Dario Argento jumped on board and helped get international investors among many other helpful things in return for international distribution. Once ready, they secured the Monroeville Mall and shooting started on November 13, 1977. The filming would start at 11pm and would end at 7am as during the day the mall was packed with holiday shoppers and doing late night shoots was better for not only the crew but also the mall. Other locations for filming included Harold W. Brown Memorial Airfield, Firearms Unlimited and Romero’s own studio, the Latent Image; all things in and around the Pittsburgh area. Shooting ended in February, 1978 and so began the editing of Romero’s next epic zombie film. The man behind the effects for the film is the master of splatter Tom Savini who also played one of the bikers in the film. In the lead roles are some fantastic actors all who are the true backbone of what makes this film work so well.  You have Ken Foree as Peter Washigton, David Emge as Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews, Gaylen Ross as Francine Parker and Scott Reinger as Roger DeMarco, not to mention such actors as David Early, Howard Smith and Jese del Gre, to name a few. Doing the music for the film is the Italian band Goblin, who scored many of Argento’s films as well as De Wolfe Music Library stock music. Romero has a cut of the film as does Agrento.  Each are different in many ways from music to runtimes as the US print is 127 minutes long, but Italy’s is 118 minutes long.  On top of that a “Directors” cut of the film was released on home video in the 90’s that is 137 minutes long! One of the biggest changes between the American version of Dawn of the Dead and the Italian version is that Romero’s is packed with comedy elements with the zombies being treated like jokes by a invading biker gang while Argento toned that way down and tried to keep the undead scary. The film also brought some very memorable zombies to the screen like Machete Kill Zombie, Helicopter Chop Top Zombie, and my favorite, the red flannel zombie; all of them gave the world of horror iconic scenes. The budget for Dawn of the Dead was $1.5 million, and it made $55 million at the box office, making it a huge hit for United Film Distribution who released the film. It was released with other 1978 horror films: Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Damien: Omen II, Halloween, I Spit On Your Grave, Jaws 2, The Redeemer: Son Of Satan, Toolbox Murders and many others.  While Dawn Of The Dead might not have brought in as much money as say Jaws 2, it is way more respected by Horror Fans around the world. Now I am sure many of you who have not watched this classic film are saying, “but what’s the film about?” We will cover that with the IDW Comic Adaptation reviews.

Plaid Shirt Zombie 1Dawn Of The Dead Poster 0Dawn Of The Dead Zombie

Growing up I was (and still am) obsessed with the Romero Dead films.  You long time readers know about my first time seeing Night Of The Living Dead on broadcast TV and seeing Day Of The Dead on the USA Network in my past reviews for the Monster Bash vacations that featured the Prelude and Aftermath of Night Of The Living Dead as well as the Fantaco Adaptaions of Night; not to mention my USA Saturday Nightmare update where I covered other films I have on DVD taped off the USA Network including Day Of The Dead that was given to me by my pal Jason Young. The first time I saw Dawn of The Dead was on a VHS copy of the film my brother had bought on a boring weekend.  We made a whole night of watching it that included snacks and making dinner that consisted of boxed spaghetti that I could swear he used to live on.  I took my place sitting on the floor with my bowl of spaghetti, bag of Andy Capp Hot Fries and my glass of Mountain Dew and was glued to the TV as I watched one of the most iconic and beloved Zombie films ever made.  I was drawn into the dark mood and grim nature of the events that were unfolding before my eyes. I can remember going from amazed to annoyed as the bikers entered the mall and began throwing pies into the faces of the undead.  I didn’t understand why the zombies were being treated like jokes taking away their scare appeal. After the film was over I can remember my brother and I chatting about it, breaking down scenes and talking about our favorite kills and zombies from the movie. My favorite character was Peter, and I can remember my brother and I laughing and joking about Flyboy and how he kept screwing up at major times during their flight to get to shelter and even in the mall. Dawn of the Dead will always have a special place in my heart as watching it with my brother was a fun memory, and I can still remember the the pure enjoyment as I watched the horrors of the living dead unfold before my very eyes. To this day I own the clam shell Thorn Video VHS release of this film and must say that the film is definitely in my top 10 zombie films of all time!

Dawn Of The Dead VHS 1Dawn Of The Dead VHS 2Dawn Of The Dead VHS 3

The Goblin score for Dawn of The Dead (Zombi) is one of the best in the world of horror films as each track fits the scene it accompanies.  The main title is so iconic, it makes almost everyone’s top 10 list of best scores in horror history. There’s something about the way the score just makes the scenes pop, and the opening title sends shivers down the listeners’ spines. If you’re a fan of this score, you can find in on CD and vinyl, and it’s well worth the purchase. I also want to note that I play tracks off this soundtrack all the time on the WYSO show Alpha Rythems. Just wanted to touch up on this score as I truly think it’s one of the best in the horror film world. Plus the song called “The Gonk” that is played as one of the muzak songs in the mall is also the end credits theme done to the beat of chickens for the stop motion show Robot Chicken. I want to also note that the first time I ever owned this soundtrack was thanks to a old website called Rogers Basement that used to have custom made soundtracks.  He had one called The Dead Trilogy and had the music for Night, Dawn and Day as well as dialogue from all three films.

Dawn Of The Dead Soundtrack 1Dawn Of The Dead Soundtrack 2Dawn Of The Dead Soundtrack 3

Did you know that Dawn Of The Dead had it’s own strategy board game? I first learned about the game in the mid 1990’s thanks to my friend Geoff Burkman (who I’ve known since I was a kid.  I job shadowed him when I was 16, and we watched Dawn of The Dead to see if we could spot Gaylen Ross’s nipple in a scene!) who had the game and told me all about it.  You see, Geoff is a huge fan of the Romero dead films and even played a zombie in Day of The Dead…but that’s for a future update. When I started working at Game Swap in Kettering, a man named Martin started showing up and bringing in tubs and tubs of horror toys, movies, posters, comics, magazines and board games and in his collection that he was selling was the Dawn Of The Dead board game. This year I asked for a reunion of the Dayton Board Game Society so that we could play this game and the the group and I could share our thoughts on it.  The players were Josh Weinberg who was Fran, my Cousin Stephen Alexander playing as the Zombies, Jeremy Hoyt took the role of Roger, Thomas “Maurice” Smith was Peter and I played as Flyboy. The game was very strategy-based and Josh, Jeremy, Thomas and I had to think wisely as the goal for us as the human survivors was to lock all the mall entrances, get the rifles for Steve and Fran and lastly kill all the zombies left in that mall. The zombies goals are to kill at least three of the players, and if Fran dies the game is over.  They also try to infect the survivors, and once infected they can be turned into a “Super Zombie” and can amp up the other nearby zombies and add to the players’ panic meters. We decided to shorten the game and just go for the shutting of the doors as we bent the rules a little as really it was made only for four players with two playing as the zombies and two playing the survivors.  But we added one extra player and only had one man playing the zombies.  The reason for shortening of the game was that it was getting to be over two hours just to complete that task. Peter, Roger and Fran survived the game, and Flyboy was infected and later become a Super Zombie, but I must say I was proud that as Flyboy I was able to lock two of the doors before I was killed. Over all the game was lots of fun and was a good and spooky time to play with great friends. So if you and your friends are into table top games and are looking for something to play this Halloween season, I would suggest Dawn Of The Dead as we all had a good time playing it.  I am sure that if we played by the official rules it would have been equally as enjoyable.

Dawn Of The Dead Board Game 1Dawn Of The Dead Board GameDawn Of The Dead Board Game 2

Besides the board game, soundtrack and home video releases of Dawn, some other great merchandise has been made based on this cult classic zombie film like t-shirts, posters, a homebrew Atari 2600 game, hats, books, magazines and of course action figures. Two companies stepped up and made figures based on this film.  The first was Reds Inc. whose designs were cheap and were not the major must have items for fans and collectors. The next company to make figures was NECA, and their figures were way better in detail and quality.  These figures were very much must-haves for fans as I can remember Andy Copp wanting them when released and had me order them for him when I worked at Mavericks. So if you’re a fan of Dawn Of The Dead, you can find yourself some great official and unofficial merchandise. Below are some pictures of the action figures that were made of characters from the film.

Dawn Of The Dead Toys 1Dawn Of The Dead Toys 2Dawn Of The Dead Toys 3

The film has many memorable zombies, from the Hare Krishna Zombie all the way to Machete Zombie, but for me the stand out and the most iconic from the film has to be the poster boy known as Plaid Shirt Zombie, a tall undead bold flesh eater that our heroes run into at the airfield and who meets his fate from Roger’s gun. This grey skinned flannel shirt wearing zombie is so iconic that he has his own Halloween Mask as well as a zombie in the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead was made up to look like him in a episode.  Paul Musser is the man who played Plaid Shirt Zombie and is pretty much only known for playing this role. Below is a picture of Plaid Shirt Zombie from Dawn of the Dead, and the two following pictures are him from The Walking Dead. This is update is in honor of you, Paul Musser, for playing one of the best zombies of cinema.

Plaid Shirt Zombie 2Plaid Shirt Zombie 3

On October 18, 2015 I finally bit the bullet and visited the Monroeville Mall.  I had heard rumors from so many people that the mall was not a safe place to be and that it was rundown and filled with shady characters, who wanted to rob you of your cash.  Plus it’s been said that the mall has changed so much that things didn’t look the same as they did in 1978. But Juliet and I were in town to meet Blue Demon Jr., and our great friends Pat Steele and Ann Rotolante were also in town and it was fun showing them the Evans City Cemetery as well as the Dead Museum.  The mall was on their must-see list as Ann is a huge Romero fan, and Juliet and myself had always wanted to visit it so it seemed like a great day to do so as the weather was cold, cloudy and rainy.  When setting up our trip to the mall, I talked to my friend David who knows a guy who gives big tours of the mall and shows you places scenes were shot and even could get us on the roof, but David informed us the night before we visited the mall that his friend had a family emergency and could not do the tour, but this didn’t stop us and we went anyway.  Below are my thoughts and feelings about visiting the main set for one of world’s most important zombie films, Dawn of the Dead.  So follow me into the Monroeville Mall!

Monroeville Mall

On the drive up to the mall’s parking lot I kept humming songs from the film as Juliet would chuckle, and upon entering the parking lot I noticed the place had a good amount of cars with many people heading into the main entrance as well as many of the big stores entrances like JC Penny. When entering the mall, a rush of horror nostalgia swept over me as I realized so many great actors like Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger and Gaylen Ross stepped into that mall and acted out war alongside extras as zombies and bikers.The mall was filled with lots of empty storefronts and had a clash of old indoor mall appeal mixed with a modern 90’s updated look.  We walked around the upstairs looking for any kind of familiar sites or even some sort of plaque stating that this was the mall from the film.  While some spots triggered memories of the film, we walked past a vape store that was playing Dawn Of The Dead on a big screen TV and that helped add to the mood of the mall.  Also upstairs, in one of the side entrances, was a giant mural the depicted lots of classic stuff from Pennsylvania like Mr. Rogers and yes, a zombie.  Walking around we took many pictures of hallways, doors, stores and elevators all the while having good conversations about Dawn Of The Dead among other topics. Juliet was happy when she spotted a TCBY.  So naturally we all had to have a small bowl of frozen yogurt as we continued our quest of the mall. The mall had a giant Cinemark Movie Theater in it, and this made me flashback to the days of Dayton Mall having one. The ground floor was more of the same with stores like Spencer’s and no clear signs of objects or landmarks from the film.  One cool store had something called Zombieburgh Lazer Tag in it, showing the owner embraced the history of the mall. Finally toward the end of our tour of the mall, Ann found tucked away down a small hallway some photos and a plaque for Dawn Of The Dead as well as a room that read “Muzak Room.”  While small, it was very cool to see that they gave the film some love and added to our growing collection of pictures. After we were done and leaving the mall, it was nice to reflect on Dawn Of The Dead and just how Romero made so many places landmarks for horror fans in Pittsburgh.  At the time we came, the mall was not filled with shady people but normal families and lots of hot woman in tight pants, and not once did I feel like someone was up to no good. I was sad that the bridge, clock and fountain were all gone but times change and sadly in the world of corporate malls, those items take up room that could be used for vending machines or another lame pretzel cart. I’m very glad to have gone to the Monroeville Mall and to have spent time there with people who also love the history and atmosphere of this landmark. Below are some more pictures from the mall that I took while I was there.

Monroeville Mall hallwayMonroeville Mall DoorsMonroeville Mall Zombie painting

So there you have it, I wandered the halls of the Monroeville Mall just like so many zombie fans before me, and I can’t stress how amazing it felt to be there. While not as special to me as the Evan City Cemetery, it still is a must visit for fans of the Romero Dead series. So while I sit here in the hotel room in Mars, PA, I think it’s time for me to start taking a look at the IDW comic adaptation of Dawn of the Dead and see how well they capture the bone chilling magic of the film. I want to think Ebay, Dark Star and Bell Book And Comic for having these in stock and as always must remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So let’s head out to the mall with Fly Boy and see what kind of undead fun we can stir up!

Dawn Of The Dead 1

Dawn Of The Dead # 1 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 1 of 3

Fran is asleep and wakes up at her job at the TV station during a debate between a host and his guest. The doctor is talking about the dead coming back to life and eating the living, and worse, the station is showing outdated safe zones causing people to die by trying to reach them as the station manager is still worried about ratings.  Fran is met by her boyfriend Steven who is the station’s helicopter pilot and wants her to meet him on the roof later so the pair can escape using it. Meanwhile, downtown a SWAT team is surrounding a building being overrun by a gang, and they soon find out that besides the gang, the building is filled with normal residence as well as zombies.  Roger is a good team member and is friends with Steven.  He’s suppose to escape with them as well, but when he meets fellow SWAT member, Peter, they bond over the horrific things they are having to do in this building killing zombies.  Roger invites Peter to get away with them. The helicopter is ready and Steven, Fran, Roger and Peter all get aboard and while flying high above see that the zombies are everywhere and that humans are trying to fight back. Stopping at a small airfield, they have run ins with some zombies and tension between Peter and Steven breaks out as by accident Steven almost shoots Peter while trying to kill a zombie. They are low on fuel and need a place to sleep and soon find a giant mall and land on it’s roof.  The parking lot is filled with the undead, and they decide to go into the mall to look around.

This first issue in the adaptation of the cult zombie film Dawn Of The Dead packs a punch but also pulls many of its powerful blows as many iconic scenes from the film have been cut for this comic book. Gone are many of the scenes of Peter, Roger and the SWAT Team blowing away zombies in the apartment building.  Gone is Peter having to shoot the zombie kids at the small airfield.  Gone is Steven and Fran fighting for their lives against zombies in the hanger on the airfield as well as the iconic zombie who gets his head chopped off by the helicopter twirling blades. I do understand that things would have to be chopped out of this adaptation of a over two hour film to be able to fit into three issues  that total only 26 pages each, but these things I mentioned are things that should not be cut as they are very iconic scenes in the movie. But even with these cuts, I still found this IDW Comic to be very entertaining, and it captures the emotion and characters of the film pretty well on the slick comic pages. Fran and Steven come off as a loving couple who are both bull headed yet will watch out for each other no matter what, Fran has a sense of responsibility, and she goes into a rage when she finds out that the station she works for is giving out very outdated info to the public, while Steven is more a man who wants to protect himself and those he cares about. Roger and Peter are SWAT team members who have a terrible job of clearing out a apartment building where the residents are hiding the undead as well as gang members, and this sets them off to run away and go on a unknown quest with Steven and Fran in the helicopter. All the characters are very likable right now with Peter being my favorite as one panel shows him crying for having to slaughter some zombies, but he is still as tough as nails. The zombies are everywhere but have not been too much of a major threat yet for our survivors, and the classic Plaid Shirt Zombie is played down but still present. I can’t wait to see more zombies become more threatening and add that true gloom and doom to our story. The comic is pretty bloody and filled with gore as many zombies and people are blown away complete with brains and guts spewing everywhere.  The zombies do get to bite the flesh off of some humans making it feel slightly like a gore comic…with my favorite kill of the comic being the head shot of a SWAT member by the hand of a gang member as the panel is gross and well done. The cover is pretty sweet and has the feeling of the late 70’s mixed with a independent comic cover of the early 2000’s. The art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong, and it’s fantastic as he knows how to draw zombies and has many times with his work on other undead titles like Wake The Dead and Zombie Tales. Over all, this is a great comic adaptation, one that captures the mood and feeling of being here in Pittsburgh. Let’s see what issue two has to offer as we now enter the mall.

Dawn Of The Dead 2

Dawn Of The Dead # 2 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 2 of 3

The survivors enter the mall from a skylight and find cases of spam to eat and a small safe room to rest in.  As Steven sleeps, Peter and Roger decide to hit the mall stores and try to get things they might need like a TV, radio and food, all the while dodging and killing the zombies that are wandering around inside the mall. The noise of gun fire awakens Steven who decides to go down and help, along they way he picks up the blue prints of the mall and is attacked by a zombie lurking in the shadows, but thanks to a handgun he found, he is able to save himself. Steven joins Peter and Roger, and together they get the supplies they need and find that ducts above the stores can lead them from store to store without being attacked by zombies. During this time they also decide that they may all just stay in the mall for awhile. Fran is pregnant, plus she wants to learn to fly the helicopter and come up with a plan to rid it of zombies and keep them out. The plan is for Fran to keep watch with a rifle on the mall’s roof, Peter and Roger to drive trucks to block the entrances and for Steven to fly high above them and keep watch in his helicopter. The plan is going well but Roger gets sloppy and is bitten by a zombie, and this marks him for turning into a undead flesh eater.  But before he turns, he wants to help ride the mall of the zombies. Thanks to the gun store and a prize car inside the mall the group is able to kill off all the zombies and bask in the glory that is the spoils and goods from the stores.

The heat is on for our survivors as they are faced with not only hordes of zombies but also the fact one of their own has been bitten and is dying and at some point will turn into a zombie.  The plot of this issue really has them at the mall discovering what treasures are inside the stores and working together to secure the mall and rid it of zombies. Fran is a little more on edge as she feels like they are treating her like a den mother and not a member of the team because she is going to have a baby, and I give her big props for standing her ground and demanding respect. Steven, Roger and Peter all have dreams of staying for awhile at the mall and relaxing and coming up with a plan as well as listening for any news on what’s happening in the outside world. The zombies, while slow, are flesh hungry and try as hard as their undead bodies will allow to attack, eat and kill our heroes, and sadly for Roger, he has chunks of his flesh eaten and now is infected with the disease that is bringing the dead back to life. This issue is blood and gore filled as well with many gruesome zombie deaths being present complete with exploding heads. So fans of blood soaked comics will be happy as the splatter is present and gore-tastic in nature. Like in issue one, many scenes are missing like Steven running from the zombie and wasting bullets trying to hit him in the boiler room, and many other scenes are cut or trimmed down. I will also say that while Peter is still my favorite character so far in the adaptation series, with Fran’s attitude change her character has broken out of being just a generic background character and into the front of the pack showing she has more to offer than just standing around whining about having to eat spam. The cover like before is great and show cases zombies as well as the iconic Dawn of The Dead logo, and the art is once more done by Chee Yang Ong and looks great. I do need to make the comment that the characters look nothing like the actors who play the parts in the film, but they hold all the characteristics of them to make it work. This issue is not only very horror themed but also has the drama appeal that made the film so iconic.  So over all we have another great issue in this Pittsburgh zombie cult classic adaptation.  Let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Dawn Of The Dead 3

Dawn Of The Dead # 3 ***
Released in 2004    Cover Price $3.99    IDW    # 3 of 3

They clean up all the zombie bodies and place them into the freezers to kill the smell and tighten and lock all the doors.  The mall is theirs, and they go on a shopping spree and enjoy the spoils of their hard and dangerous work. Things are not all good are Roger is becoming more and more sick, and death is near for him.  Fran, Steven and Peter wait in the other room as Roger is dying and watch the news that features more arguments and less reason to why the dead are rising. Roger dies and returns as a zombie, and Peter is waiting for him and quickly kills his close friend. Time passes and Fran learns how to use the helicopter, and while training, a group of bikers spot them and decide they want what’s in the mall and don’t mind killing to get it. They enter the mall, and by opening the doors, thousands of zombies also enter causing an all out war that leaves many of the bikers dead, tons of zombies dispatched and poor Steven dead and now a zombie. Peter and Fran wait for an hour in their mall hideout home, and finally the zombie come calling lead by Zombie Steven.  Peter kills him and urges Fran to leave as he will not be joining her…as she is about to fly away, Peter changes his mind of committing suicide and decides to join her on the escape. As they fly away the helicopter has very little fuel and the whole area is covered in zombies, making it clear that no matter how far they run the zombie will be there.

Dawn Of The Dead Lite is the best way to sum up what this three issue comic series is and while that might sound like I am saying it’s bad, I am not as I found myself fully enjoying it and loving every undead blood soaked moment. The reason I call it lite is many scenes and iconic characters seem to be missing from this comic adaptation, and with this issue many moments came to mind that are just nowhere to be seen or are so chopped up and shorten they seem like they are missing. Iconic moments like the Hare Krishna Zombie trying to attack Fran is gone, the Machete Head Zombie and his scene of the blade going into his skull is gone…in fact the whole climax of the biker gang invading the mall and running wild is so cut down they seem like just a small plot ink blot to move the zombie back into the mall. Now as I said before I understand things needed to be cut and trimmed in order to fit into three issues of a comic book, but to remove iconic characters and scenes seem very silly. I mean the talk show host and doctor arguing over zombies is left in but no Hare Krishna Zombie death? It j seems like a very odd choice of things to keep and things to cut. I should also note that the Hare Krishna Zombie does make an appearance in the comic, but his death and attack on Fran does not. Plus the comic at times does some odd things like for some reason a Elvis Presley Zombie is the first zombie to come through the elevator and try and eat a hurt Steven…why? But again while changes are present the comic holds a real charm to it and does a pretty dang good job of smashing all the drama elements into the pages, much like the film in the comic each character has their own personality and each are likable people that you find yourself cheering for to make it out of whatever situation they are in. Peter is clearly the man with the plan from the group, while Steven is the brains figuring out blue prints and escape routes. Roger is the wild card reckless but also skilled at tactics, and Fran is more of the voice of reason pointing out the dangers and also coming up with back-up plans. The bikers are a bunch of thieves who feel they are owned the stuff they steal who kill and destroy and to be fair when they are killed by the zombies or the bullets from the survivors guns you can’t help but feel that they deserved it. The bikers that are truly missed in this comic is Blades, played by Tom Savini (who is seen in just one panel), and the blood pressure machine using biker who gets eaten while testing it. The zombies are a threat in this issue as the hordes of them that enter the mall are hungry and want to chomp on any human they can get their rotten fingers on. The blood, guts and gore are present again in this comic and many of the deaths (or is the re-deaths?) in the comic are more graphic than those in the movie and that’s sure to please many gorehound comic fans of such titles as The Dead and the original Walking Dead. The cover for issue three is good but the weakest of the three, and the art inside is done by Chee Yang Ong again who really captures the zombie nature of the film. I wish IDW would do more of these horror movie adaptations or even original stories based on classic cult films.  So far, off the top of this comic reader’s head they have done Motel Hell, The Fly, Land of The Dead, Masters Of Horror and IT! Terror From Beyond Space, and all those were entertaining and well done for the most part minus The Fly. I would love to see them tackle the likes of Pumpkinhead, Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Night Of The Demons, to name a few. Over all, while it’s is not 100% perfect, this three issue Dawn of The Dead series hit home and was the perfect comic series to read during this vacation to Monster Bash. If you’re a fan of the Romero Dead films, check this one out and take a look below for a examples of Chee’s work in this comic series.

Dawn Of The Dead Art 1Dawn Of The Dead Art 2Dawn Of The Dead Art 3

So we are leaving the zombies of Dawn of The Dead behind as well as the 2016 vacation to Monsterbash and Pittsburgh and as always it was a blast and it’s a shame it had to come to an end. It’s always great to take in the local Pittsburgh eateries like Eat’N ‘Park, Wing Kings and The Snowman as well as support local businesses like New Dimension Comics, The Dead Museum and Cranberry Cinemas and visit iconic sights that horror classics like Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead were filmed. And the thing that brings us to town is Monsterbash, a convention that feels like home and offers so much to an aging monster kid like myself. So I want to thank Juliet for always being not only my girlfriend but my Pittsburgh pal. I want to thank my co-workers at Game Swap Kettering for holding down the fort, and I also want to thank my cousin Stephen Alexander for feeding and watching over our two cats Leslie and Streets J while we were out of town. And a big thank you to everyone we meet while in Cranberry Township as they always make us feel welcome. In closing, Dawn Of The Dead is one of the most iconic zombie films ever made and George A. Romero could be one of the best directors to make zombie films ever and thanks to IDW, we horror comic readers got to enjoy a pretty fun and bloody adaptation of this cult classic. Our next update will take us away from the undead and will pit DC Comics top detective Batman against the hairy beast man of the Himalayas the one and only Snowman. So forget about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice this is the real battle you have been waiting for. So until next time, watch a zombie film or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local horror host! See you next time for this epic showdown!

Batman vs Snowman Logo

The Horror In Amityville, New York!

Do you believe in haunted houses? Do you believe in ghosts? How about urban legends? Well one of the most well known haunted houses in America is a home with the address 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, the location of a brutal family murder and later the site of a terrifying haunting.  This update on Rotten Ink is about Amityville and the horror of that house in honor of the upcoming film in cinemas from Dimension Films called “Amityville: The Awaking”, that will be released  in 2017.  So get your ghost hunting nerves in check and bust out your proton pack as we are traveling to Amityville to see if this haunting is fact or fiction.  We take a look at the murders, the haunting, the films and the comic based on this nerve shattering spooky experience.

112 Ocean Avenue House

On November 13, 1974, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. armed with a Marlin 336C rifle shot and murdered his parents and his four siblings at around 3am. After he killed them, he rushed to the local bar and asked for help pretending he found his parents shot. When the police arrived, they noticed that all of the family members were in bed on their stomachs with each of the kids killed by a single gun shot, while the parents were shot twice. Ronald claimed to the police that he thought the murders were done by a mafia hitman and even supplied them with a name.  This lead turned out to be bogus as the hitman was out of town when the murders took place. The next day Ronald confessed to the killings and said that once he started he could not stop, and took them to where he hid the rifle and his blood stained cloths. Ronald, who was 23 years old at the time of the murders, was a drug addict who had many fights with his father Ronald Sr. and during trial claimed that he heard the voices of his family plotting against him and that’s why he killed them all. The judge convicted Ronald on six counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced 25-life six times. Ronald is still in jail at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, New York and all attempts at parole have been shot down.

defeo family 1DeFeo FatherButch DeFeo Mugshot

What was an open and close case for Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. also has its fair share of theories and conspiracies thanks to amateur detectives and Ronald himself.  In 1986, Ronald claimed that his 18 year old sister Dawn was the one who killed their father and that his mother, in a fit of revenge, killed her children and in self defense he killed his mom and claimed he took the blame as he was afraid his grandfather who had mob ties would kill him for speaking ill of his daughter. 1990 saw yet another story from Ronald who claimed that his sister Dawn and a unknown male killed the whole family and that he only killed her in self defense while trying to get the rifle away from her.  The judge dismissed this, but it did not stop Ronald from spreading more of his stories. In 2000, during a interview with author Ric Osuna, Ronald claimed that his sister Dawn, two friends and himself killed his parents, and he killed Dawn after he found out that she killed their siblings. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the stories about happened that November night as stories of evil spirits, an Indian burial ground, a very unnatural relationship between Ronald and Dawn, insurance money fraud and so many others are talked about and shared. While we may never really know what happened that night, one thing is for sure, six people lost their lives in a senseless act of violence, and may the DeFeo family rest in peace.

Butch being arrested

After the murders, the house on Ocean Avenue was put up for sale, and for 13 months it sat empty until December 1975 when George and Kathy Lutz bought it for only $80,000.00 and moved their newly formed family in. You see, Kathy had two sons, Daniel and Christopher, as well as a 5-year-old daughter named Missy from a previous marriage, and they had a family dog named Harry. While moving in, a friend of the Lutz family encouraged them to have the house blessed as it was the scene of the grizzly murders a little over a year before they bought it.  They did so and the priest who blessed it heard a voice tell him to “GET OUT” in one of the second story bedrooms, and after leaving the home he developed a high fever as well as blisters. When trying to call the Lutz family to warn them not to go into that room, his call was interrupted by static. For 28 days the Lutz family lived in the house and each of them reported strange and creepy things like doors & windows slamming, green ooze pouring from walls and keyholes, a demon face was seen in the fireplace. Missy became friends with a imaginary friend called Jodie who had the body of a pig.  Hoof prints were found around the yard of a giant pig.  Glowing red eyes were seen outside, items moved, family members shape shifted, foul orders filled the air, large amount of flies would gather in the house and George even found a room he called the red room that freaked out the family dog! And this is just the drop in the hat of what the Lutz family claimed happened to them during their time living in the house. George claimed that he would even wake up every night at 3:15am and have the urge to check out the boathouse.  The time was that of the DeFeo murders! During this time The Lutz family themselves tried to bless the house on their own, and one time a chorus of voices said “will you stop?” The final straw happened on January 16th 1976, when the Lutz said something so horrific and terrifying happened that they left the house for good leaving behind all their belongings, never to return.

The Lutz Family

After the Lutz family fled the house on Ocean Avenue, it became a hot bed for ghost chasers and thrill seekers as the story spread quickly of the evil spirits within its walls. On March 6 1976, the house was investigated by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren as well as reporter Michael Linder for Channel 5 News to find if the house was indeed haunted.  What they found that night via time lapse photos was a image of a demonic glowing eyed little boy who was captured at the foot of the staircase. The Warrens went on to claim that the house indeed was home to many malevolent spirits and was indeed haunted. For those who don’t know who the Warrens are, they are the basis for the Conjuring horror film series and have been said to have captured and stopped many hauntings and are even said to have cured a man who was a werewolf! Below is a picture of the Warrens as well as a picture of the demon boy captured by their camera.

The Warrens Ghost HuntersDemon Boy of Amityville

In 1977 The Lutz Family told their story to Tam Mossman, an editor for a publishing house who introduced them to writer Jay Anson, who, alongside 45 hours of footage about the terrible events at the house on Ocean Avenue, wrote a book called “The Amityville Horror” that became an overnight success as people were drawn to read about this real life haunting. The book’s name was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book The Dunwich Horror and would go on to sell over 10 million copies but also spark lots of talk if the haunting was fact or hoax! Many things have risen the eyebrows of people who want to debunk this haunting as no other residents of the house have ever reported any strange occurrences.  The book came out after The Exorcist hit theaters, and many think that it was a way to cheaply cash in by using it as a marketing tool to sell the book, not to mention the priest who is said to have blessed the house has changed his story a number of times and even made a appearance on the Leonard Nimoy hosted show In Search Of…, claiming to have heard the voice tell him to get out. The Lutz family made lots of money off the book as well as selling this story to newspapers, magazines, TV and film, and George would later go on to say that most of what’s in the book is true. George and Kathy would get a divorce in the 80’s, but both claimed the haunting was real all the way up to their deaths. Kathy passed away in 2004 from emphysema, and George died in 2006 from heart disease. Do you think 112 Ocean Avenue is haunted? Or do you think it was a hoax and a way for the Lutz family to get fame and money from a terrifying story? I’m not 100% sure what to believe, but one thing is for sure, it’s one hell of a good yarn and is the stuff campfire tales are made of. But here are some fun and creepy facts about the house: actress Christine Belford who is known for her roles in such TV shows as Chips, Incredible Hulk and Silver Spoons lived in the house for years, and her parents are the ones who sold it to the DeFeo’s! Peter O’Neill lived in the house for 10 years, and he sadly lost his life in the September 11th attacks. The address to the home has been changed, and renovations have been made to keep tourists and sightseers off the property, as the residents get very annoyed by all the attention the home gets. But if you find you have some extra time this year and want a good read around the fall and wintertime, give The Amityville Horror book a read and see what you think is real and what’s fake.

The Amityville Horror Book

So of course, the book being a best seller sparked Hollywood’s attention, and in 1979 they made a film based on the events. So below we are going to talk about the films and all the sequels that spawned off the original film,.  I got the write ups from our friends at IMDB, and after each write up I give a little information about the films. So be prepared to get a quick crash course on the Amityville Horror flicks!

The Amityville Horror 1Amityville Horror PosterThe Amityville Horror 2

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Based on a true story that was claimed by writer Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is about a large house on the coast of Long Island where newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into the house that they hope will be their dream house which ends up in terror. Despite full disclosure by the real estate agent of the house’s history, George and Kathy buy the house. George says, “Houses don’t have memories,” but they turn to their family priest Father Delaney who believes the house is haunted and performs an exorcism on the house. But the evil spirit in the house causes him to become blind and makes him very sick. With the help of another priest Father Bolen and a police detective, George and Kathy face the fears of the house, but not knowing the spirit is planning to possess George and then the children…

The film was a major hit at the box office, bringing in a total of $86.4 million and was the # 2 film of the year! It beat out such films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Moonraker, The Muppet Movie, Meatballs and Alien! Stuart Rosenberg directed, and it stars James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Murray Hamilton and was released by American International Pictures.

Amityville-II-Possessionurlamityville-2c

Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

An Italian-American family move into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The oldest son is possessed by an evil spirit, and is forced to murder his family. The family’s priest feels responsible, and tries to save the possessed boy’s soul.

This second film mixed possession and slasher and did okay for Orion Pictures, bringing in a total of $12,534,817.00.  It was # 61 for the year, beating such films as Silent Rage, Savannah Smiles, Trail Of The Pink Panther, The Beast Within, Cat People and The Last Unicorn. This film was directed by Damiano Damiani and starred Burt Young, James Olson, Moses Gunn and a very lovely Diane Franklin, and remains a cult classic.

untitledamityville_3d_poster_01amityville-3d-demon-pool

Amityville 3-D (1983)

A man who is separated from his wife moves into the infamous Amityville House. Their daughter dies in a boating accident (after being told that she is not allowed to go to the house) and now the mother sees her deceased daughter “alive” in the house. Mr. Baxtor calls a paranormal investigator in to help and the investigator finds out the source of the household problems.

The film was not a hit for Orion Pictures, bringing in a very low $6,333,135.00 and was # 88 for the year. It did beat such films as The Hunger, Chained Heat, Smokey & The Bandit Part III, Curse of the Pink Panther, The Evil Dead and Pieces. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and featured Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy and Meg Ryan in the cast.  While a misfire, it still remains a cheesy classic for fans.

110amityville-4-postervlcsnap-2013-01-03-18h48m27s5

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

The demonic force lurking in Amityville for over 300 years escapes to a remote California mansion. It encounters a struggling family living together by uncertain means. The beast manipulates a little girl by manifesting itself in the form of her dead father. Soon it will be able to possess her completely… is it too late for a young priest to defeat the demon and end the curse?

This film was made for TV for the fine folks at NBC and never made it to the big screen of theaters! The film was directed by Sandor Stern and starred the likes of Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne.

am curse come on nowamityville-curse-postervlcsnap-2013-01-05-15h38m10s11

The Amityville Curse (1990)

Five people spend the night in an abandoned house, the Amityville haunted house, and soon find themselves terrorized by assorted ghosts, venomous insects and ghostly apparitions.

This was the first in the film series to go direct to video, released by Vidmark and was directed by Tom Berry and starred Kim Coates, Dawna Wightman and Cassandra Gava.

time3amityville-1992-its-about-time-movie-poster-1992-1020258143amityville-1992-2

Amityville: It’s About Time (1992)

When an old clock arrives at home as a gift, strange things begin to happen. The family that proudly assigned a privileged place to the clock in the living room, is unaware that this thing is a link to an old and evil house…

Another direct to video sequel that was directed by Tony Randel and starred Stephen Macht and Shawn Weatherly and was released by Republic Pictures.

hqdefaultAmityville_new_generation_(1993)hqdefault-1

Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

Photographer Keyes is given an old mirror from an homeless person he photographs on the street, takes it home and gives it a friend. He doesn’t know yet that people see horrible things happen to themselves in the mirror and later these things come true. Are these really suicides or is there a demonic force behind the mirror?

Another direct to video release that was directed by John Murlowski and stars the likes of Ross Partridge, Julia Nickson and Lala Sloatman.

url-1amityville-dollhouse-posteramityvilledollhouse1

Amityville: Dollhouse (1996)

A dollhouse that is a replica of the infamous Amityville haunted house is given to a little girl. Soon after, all sorts of horrible unexplained accidents start to happen. The family must work together to fight off the terrifying evil that has inhabited their lives.

You guessed it, this went direct to video and is directed by Steve White and stars Robin Thomas, Starr Andreeff and Allen Cutler.

the-amityville-horror-2-1The_Amityville_Horror_posterthe_amityville_horror08

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

This was a remake of the 1979 film produced by those goons at Platinum Dunes and brought in $65,233,369.00 and was # 38 for the year.  It beat out such films as Red Eye, White Noise, Corpse Bride, The Skeleton Key, Boogeyman, Legend of Zorro and House of Wax. The film is directed by Andrew Douglas and stars Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Chloe Grace Moretz.

BvrB6O2CMAAaFqSMV5BMTc0NzcwMzQ3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTQ3Nzk1MjE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_Amityville-2015

Amityville: The Awaking (2017)

Belle, her little sister, and her comatose twin brother move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother, Belle begins to suspect her Mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

This movie is up against some other great horror films next year and is making me really hyped to see not only which one will take the highest spot at the box office but what will rank highest in my year-end review for 2017. 

Amityville Horror House

While those above are the more “official” sequels, many independent and no budget companies have made films to cash in on the Amityville name. Amityville Death House, Amityville Asylum, Amityville Theater, Amityville Haunting as well as many documentaries and even short films like High Hopes, a school project flick from my friend Dusty Austen from Wooster made that breaks down the DeFeo murders, all have flooded video shelves as well as streaming sites. The cool thing about these films are that while Hollywood would backburner the “official” series, these films kept the story fresh and added new twists to the terrifying haunting tale. Baron Von Porkchop even hosted High Hopes by Dusty on one of his Halloween special adventures, and he was able to share that film with viewers who may have never gotten the chance to see it. So if you’re a fan of Amityville Horror, make sure to give some of these independent films a watch.  Who knows, they might scare you more than the official films!

Amityville+TheaterMV5BNDE2MzM0Mzc3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY0MzIwOQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_81eNFJxrUOL._SL1296_

My close friend and filmmaker Henrique Couto has also released a Amityville film this year called “Amityville No Escape” that is a found footage style film.  One of the coolest thing about this film is that my cousin Stephen Alexander II and myself have cameos in it. That’s right, I am in an Amityville Horror-inspired film! I play a worker at a shop in Amityville that is being asked questions by the film’s lead, and I am not ashamed to say I ham it up on the screen telling him that he doesn’t want to go around that house. The set we used was Game Swap in Kettering and being asked to star in this film came at the right time as I was all ready doing research for this update. So make sure to check out this film when it’s out DVD and also support your local hometown filmmakers as they are the new breed of creators that will bring films to the big and small screens across the world. I am proud of my friend Henrique as well as my other filmmaking friends Dusty A, Chris Seaver, Chris LaMartina, Fred Vogel, Matt Hoffman, Eamon Hardiman, Eric Widing, David “The Rock” Nelson and so many others all who are talented and skilled masters of what they do.

Amityville No Escape Teaser Poster

I would also love to take a moment to talk about the 1979 score soundtrack for The Amityville Horror done by Lalo Schifrin. The score is something that I bought on CD many years back when I started to collect horror film scores.  The main theme is something I have played for many years on WYSO’s Alpha Rhythms Halloween Special, and it always gets high remarks and “thank you” for playing messages. The main title is pretty iconic and most old school horror fans can name that tune only a few bars into the song, but the rest of the score as well is really well done and fits the mood of the film and is great background music when working on a blog update like this or any other horror themed update. If you enjoy creepy mood music that is the perfect background to not only your halloween party but also your relaxing comic book reading time, I would say check out Schifrin’s score as it is well done and is sure to please any score music fan.

The Amityville Horror 1979 Soundtrack CD

Before we move on, I want to talk a little about my connection to The Amityville Horror book and movies. Growing up, I can remember my Mom and Dad talking about The Amityville Horror when it was coming on TV, and my brother Bryan and I wanted to watch it. My Mom being her normal self told us that while the film claimed it was based in fact, it was indeed not and that she thought that the family made up the haunting in order to get rich. I can remember watching it in the dark sitting in the living room at our house in Waynesville and being a little creeped out by the glowing eyes looking in the home via the window, but also being slightly bored as I wanted to see the ghosts! Over time I can remember seeing the book at garage sales and second hand book stores and always asking to get it to read but my Mom always saying no.  When she finally gave in, I remember reading most of it and saying this is good but not nearly as scary as I was led to believe. As I grew up, the Amityville Horror films found their way into my VHS collection, and I found a new love for how cheesy and over the top the sequels were. When I met my friend Mike Ritchie, who was working at Blockbuster Video at the time, his love for The Amityville Horror helped spark our friendship and still to this day I look at him as one of my nearest and dearest friends. Plus I can remember being a young teen and thinking just how hot Margot Kidder, who played Kathy Lutz in the first film, and Diane Franklin, who played Patricia Montelli, were and marveled at their near nude scenes. Nowadays I own all the official Amityville Horror films on DVD and even have an import of Amityville: The Curse to complete my collection and have a soft spot in my heart for this series as growing up it always seemed more of a major franchise than it was. Check out the pics of Kidder and Franklin below to see why the younger me had horror film crushes on them.

Hot margot kidderHot Diane Franklin

Okay, I think it’s time that we gear up to enter the house at 112 Ocean Avenue and see what Rosen Publishing has in store for us! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for me to review. Wait, did you hear that? It’s like a voice out of the darkness saying that I should also 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. So with that message from beyond, we should step over the green ooze and see what horror awaits us in these comic pages.

Ghosts of Amityville 1

Ghosts In Amityville # 1  **
Released in 2006    Cover Price $7.95    Rosen Publishing    #1 of 1

In 1975, The Lutz family move to Amityville, New York in a big house on Ocean Avenue, but their dream house has a dark side as a year earlier a young man murdered his family and claimed voices in the house commanded him to do so. The Lutz Family start to hear noises late at night, see shadows and ghosts as well as a sinister pair of glowing eyes that watches them from the outside from the windows. The youngest Lutz child makes a friend with the spirit of a child and more odd things start happening around the house including George being sick many nights, him waking up at 3:15am in the morning with the urge to check the boathouse, loud doors slamming, moving shadows and furniture that arranges itself in the middle of the night. Things kept getting worse including finding giant hoof prints outside, and finally the family has had enough and leaves the house never to return. After the Lutz leave, a paranormal investigator group comes to look at the house and makes a judgment that something wicked does live there.

This felt like a stub on a Wikipedia page; it gave you some basic information but over all by the end you fell like you really didn’t learn anything new. The story of the comic is based on the tale of the Lutz family and has them moving into a house and being scared off by ghosts and evil spirits. None of the Lutz family is fleshed out, so you don’t build up to much of a bond with them.  The father, George Lutz, is the only one who kind of shines as he is shown to have gotten sick while living in the house and is the last of the family to see a ghost as they flee the house for good. The evil spirits on the other hand are pretty mean and seem to enjoy tormenting the family and even at one point try to kill the family dog! The comic is not scary and has zero blood show.  This is pretty normal as it is a kids horror comic meant to help kids to read and learn about a unknown phenomenon. The comic goes by fast and seems to be more pictures than dialogue and most scary moments are dulled down in the art as they didn’t go for many scares. At the end, the comics has Did You Know Facts, Glossary, Index and a link to websites taking up space that could have been used to flesh out more of the story. The art is done by Q2A and is pretty good stuff, basic but good as the story is written by Jack DeMolay and is summed up as good for the level of reader this comic was made for. Over all this is a cool little graphic novel comic for horror fans and was at least a tool for me to write a fun update. Check out some artwork below…sorry for the quality, I had to take it with my cellphone.

Ghosts of Amityville Art 1

So we made it out of Amityville, and it looks like the evil spirits might have been on vacation as this Jr. graphic novel failed to deliver a scare or even a chill. But with it being for kids, I knew that it would not be to over the top in scares or blood. It was really fun talking about Amityville and was something I wanted to do for a couple of years now, but our next update might be even scarier than the haunting in Amityville, and I am sure grossed out kids of the 80’s…that’s right, we will be taking a look at Madballs! So until then, go on a ghost hunting adventure with friends, read a comic or three and support your local Horror Host!

Madballs Logo

The Conspiracy Of Sexy Cyber Vampires From College

Welcome back to another update here at Rotten Ink.  It’s crazy to think that 2016 is already here, and this is shaping up to be one heck of a year for horror films as well as super hero flicks as this year we get a new Conjuring, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Phantasm as well as a new Captain America, X-Men and Superman! For this update I decided to take a look at a comic based on a film and maybe share some more stories of working on one of my own micro budget flicks! The comic we will be covering is the last of the Draculina photo comics based on a film called The Vampire Conspiracy, and the film of mine we will take a look at is The Sadness.  So get your mind ready for the world of low budget films and enjoy this update.

VHS the forgotten art of making movies

In 2005 I was itching to make a movie.  At the now defunct  Precinct 13 Video in Kettering, I was talking to my friend and shop owner Jason about an idea I had about a supernatural style killer who targeted women and video taped the aftermaths of his crimes. Jason liked the idea, and I went to the normal Independent B Movie alumni Dave Wean and Josh Weinberg and told them the idea as well, and got the same feedback! The idea stewed around in my brain for a few months, and I decided that the killer I created for “Long Dead Winter,” a film never finished by Mike Ritchie, would be used as the killer.  His name was The Sadness. I kept the idea from the unfinished film of The Sadness hearing his father’s voice in his head driving him to kill no matter what.  The Sadness went from a serial killer to a cold blooded Michael Myer style slasher in a blink of an eye. At the time I had just gotten out of a long relationship with a young woman named Misty, who viewers of our films know for her parts in Razor and Farmer Joe, and had just met a young woman who I fell head over heels for named Lindsey who was a sweet and caring person.  This was to be a short lived thing as all things in life change and she stopped calling and we stopped hanging out with one another…but with this came the motivation to complete my script and make The Sadness come alive on the TV Screen. I spent months with my notebook and wrote scene after scene. I added a character named Jason played by comic artist Jason Young who was as confused as me about a woman he cared for.  I added a radio DJ character as we had access and permission to film inside Wright State University to use their media area.  Garrison Kane came back to play The Sadness just as he did for the footage for Long Dead Winter. I then cast the rest of the spots with great actors and friends like Josh Weinberg, Mindy Becker, Andrea Seay to name a few, and production was soon on it’s way. The script was mostly a dark mood with lots of effects kills and lots of drama elements between characters. The plot has a woman witnessing the murder of her neighbor and decides to talk about it on her collage radio show.  Big mistake as this draws the killer to the college as he is silent, deadly and never leaves a witness alive! I should also say that The Sadness is a cold blooded killer who does not talk, does not feel pain, does not have remorse and wears a red and black mask, has long black hair and always has a black suit on. The dumbest mistake we made with the character was trying to use and change up a WWF Kane mask as his face plate.  If I could go back, I would change it 100% to just a solid red mask like all the character’s promo art. I should also note at the start of filming I had just met and started dating Jennifer.

The Sadness Killer 1

We decided to shoot all the college footage first as it was the most demanding of the sets as students were still in the building even as we filmed for many days starting at midnight! The area we picked next to the radio booth was perfect for our location as lots of scenes took place in the radio room as well as the waiting room.  On the first day of shooting things were going pretty well for the most part. Jason, Sam and Mindy were hitting their marks but things went south pretty quick as I would soon find out the Mindy had snuck alcohol in and was getting more and more drunk as the filming went on, and by 5am she went missing in action! I was annoyed but realized that she did not mean to get that out of control.  So I filled the rest of the first night with shots of The Sadness wondering around the college. The second day of filming was way more relaxed with everyone showing up and having fun, I even allowed for some ad-libbed lines that were comical to bring the mood up for the DJ characters to show they were just fun loving students. But we did have an accident that night as Garrison as the Sadness could not see out of his mask and wig and really stabbed Jason in the back! After checking the wound and seeing that it was not that deep, Jason was a sport and continued the shoot. After all the DJ stuff with The Sadness as well as the final scenes of the film were shot, I finished up all the inside college shots of The Sadness chasing Jason as well as him stalking the hallways. As I got this footage shot, Jason Wilson from Precinct 13 Video was uploading it and started to do the first edit of the film. What followed next was some of the outside shots of The Sadness killing random people, getting the voice over of his father played by a co-worker of mine named James as well him preparing for his kills and other small fill in shots. By this time Jason Wilson informed me that the film needed another kill so I had to add in a couple of new college kid characters and re-film at the school of them being introduced and the female one being killed off, for these shots I had to have Josh Weinberg fill in for The Sadness as Garrison was swamped with his day job. Jason added these scenes into the film and made the pacing a little better for a drama slasher film the extra kill added some more horror to a film that was quickly becoming a drama about lost love. In a odd twist I was able to talk Lindsey into playing the part that was based on her and she did a fantastic job of what lines she was give, it was nice to see her and for her to understand that I had to make the film and way I needed to as I was a person who was amped up and need to get the hurt, anger and ideas out of my brain and into this movie. Josh Weinberg stepped up and became my assistant director and even filmed some shots as I was also at this time hired to play a big part in a film directed by my film mentor Andy Copp called Fun In The Old Town Tonight. The final day of filming was the films opening kill and I was so hyped when my close friend Andrea Seay took the role of the first victim and we spent the whole night filming the scene that I not only had to direct but also do the special effects for, this being the end of the movie that was a personal one made my emotions run high as I was one happy film maker to get this off his chest on questions of why people drift apart, and like a bonehead I made a terrible mistake that coasts me my best friend and someone who I still care about to this day as one of my actions made Andrea and my friendship come to an end. Looking back all this time away from this film and production while it was a great experience to be able to get heartbreak off my chest and that came via Misty who I had to break up with for both of our sanity and Lindsey who just was not meant to be, got to work on special effects and watch a killer from my own mind come alive, have friends come together to make something personal of mine alive, the worst part of this production was loosing Andrea as a friend as she was always their for me as I was always around for her. Even if I have not spoken to her sense 2006 I still think very highly of her and hope that some day the wounds can be healed.

The Sadness Killer 2The Sadness Tub Kill 0The Sadness Killer 3

As Jason Wilson finished editing, I obtained music for the film and was able to get tracks from the likes of Centerfold, Winter of Discontent, Patrick Neeley, Society’s Whore, David Wean and Ed vs. Radio, and with their music, we added a whole new level of entertainment to the film. The film premiered at Precinct 13 Video in 2006 and showed at midnight.  I was happy to see that the place was packed and many people were hyped to watch the film. It was super cool to hear people clap when my name popped up as director and even cooler to hear them clap and cheer when the film ended. Many people who attended came up to me and loved the idea of a drama slasher film and got the nature of the film.  Others came up to me and didn’t like that the film was more dark and only had some comedy to it as they wanted more Werewolf of Ohio type films from me….it was very split and this was really amazing to hear the two sides out. For me the film was made to let out stress and was packed with drama, comedy and horror with a touch of cheese and was meant to just entertain and allow me to make a killer like Michael Myers of Halloween who is my favorite slasher icons and I did what I set out to do! The film came out on DVD by Bloodline Video for a short time, would play on local TV, and screen at conventions as well as come out via Warlock Home Video a few years back. The film is pretty much out of print nowadays, and while it may be gone, it’s not forgotten as I have had people make comments to me about the film in the past year as well as The Sadness himself will have a cameo in the comic series We Kill The Dead alongside the likes of other independent horror characters. In 2008, I started to work on The Sadness II that would have followed up right after the events of the first film.  We filmed a first kill scene, and quickly it was clear that the rage was missing from the script and it was nothing more than a slasher film that would have been packed with way more gore and boobs and no heart and plot.  So as soon as I started filming, I quickly pulled the plug on the film. Now in 2016 I have the bug again and really want to make a reboot to The Sadness and bring him to modern times and explore his back story, his anger and his legacy.  So who knows, maybe soon I will film this and share the experience with you readers. Out of all the old no/low budget films I have shot, I think I am the most proud of The Sadness as it truly did capture what I was trying to pull off, and while it is flawed, I still find it to be one of the best things I did for Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video. Below is the cover for the film’s first DVD release.  Yeah, it was cheesy and was made by Patrick Neeley.

Original The Sadness DVD Cover

On January 1st 2016 my cousin Stephen had a get together at his house to play a POG tournament! That’s right POGS the game that I had not played sense I was in the 9th grade mostly against my friend Jade during breaks in-between classes and during lunch. For those who don’t remember this game you would stack 10 or more cardboard POGS on a mat or the ground and use a heaver metal or plastic round disk and slam it onto the pile hoping to turn them over and for each one you got a point, in the end the player with the most points wins. I remember that I use to collect POGS and that we would play for keeps, as the winner would win all the caps they turned over during the match. My go to Slammers where a Universal Monster Dracula one that was made of plastic and a thin metal one that had a big haired red skull face skeleton creature on the front with the message No Drugs on it. I owned many other slammers like Star Wars and other comic and cartoon characters as well as other generic ones but those two were my favorites. This POG rebirth sparked from a small POG Tournament set we bought in at Game Swap and after seeing it Stephen bought it and we chatted and before we knew it a tournament was set for New Years Day! Looking at the invite that was sent out on Facebook and seeing the likes of friends like Thomas Smith, Josh Weinberg, Garrison Kane, Spencer Lucus, Jeremy Hoyt and Theresa Lopez to name a few all saying they were entering I new the competition was going to be tough and then hearing that comic artist Jason Young as well my own girlfriend Juliet were entering I knew I had to get the perfect Slammer Team in order so I hit Ebay and Amazon and dug deep to find what I considered the best of the best in Pog winning greatness, and now I will present them to you in all their glory, also cue Sirius by Alan Parsons Project! The first one I bought was “Jaws” a red light metal slammer featuring the icon of cinema of the same name, the second Slammer to join the team was a light plastic one featuring a large sharp toothed islander looking guy called “Da Cruncher”, next was a metal slammer that featured the MTV cartoon character “Butthead”, then I was lucky and found the red skull big hair skeleton just like I had when I first played so “No Drugs” became my third metal Slammer and my final main roster Slammer was a Universal Monster thicker plastic one that I call “Universal The Mummy” as that character was featured on the front and that those were the ones I selected as my starting line-up. I also for safe measure I brought a few fill in Slammers just in case any of my A-Team failed me in a match and they where a plastic Star Wars one that had “Han Solo” on it and for good measure I brought the worst slammer in the world called “Bad News” that featured a Grim Reaper on the front and was a medium plastic one that had no grace or style. Below is a picture of my Slammer Team and the back ups.

Pog Slammer Team 2016

Juliet and I showed up ready for battle as my Slammer Team was about to be put to the test as the competition all seemed ready with their chosen Slammers. My first opponent was my good friend Jeremy Hoyt and my slammers of choice were Butthead and Bad News and with a semi quick match I won and moved on in the tournament thanks mostly to Butthead who was a slamming beats! The Second round I faced Stephen Basile a really nice guy whom I have meet through my cousin Stephen with the same slammer combo I started out strong but by the end of the battle Basile smoked me and gave me my first loss. But with this loss I was not out of the game as I dropped to the lower bracket and would have to earn my way back into the race for the trophy and the $10.00 prize, my third match was against Justin Barlow and this was one epic pog match as we ended up at a tie and had to go into sudden death the first of the night, just barely I was able to pull off the win thanks to slammers Butthead and Jaws! Moving back up my opponent was Charles “Bubba” Walters who is my uncle and Stephen’s dad and I must say I really stunk in this match and Charles made quick work of me as Butthead and Jaws really failed to deliver and with this loss I was out of the running to win. Juliet however beat her first round opponent Jennifer Barlow and then forfeited her spot as she had to bartend at her second job….yeah she left the game. But this was a blast and I am hoping that Stephen decides to do this again next year as I for one would enter again and try even harder to win a torphy and bring it back here to show off on Rotten Ink. For those wondering who won the rundown is this Josh Weinberg won 3rd place, Charles “Bubba” Walters won 2nd place and the 1st place winner was Theresa Lopez! And the best part about it was that Theresa didn’t lose one match she cleaned house and is one amazing pog player! Oh I should also say that other players that have not been mentioned yet who entered and played were Thomas “Maurice” Smith, Garrison Kane, Ashley Knox, Nate Stevens, Dan Lopez and Spencer Lucas all great Pog warriors who made the event even more fun!

Pog 2016 thrid place WeinbergPog 2016 second place BubbaPog 2016 Champ Theresa Lopez

On February 3rd 2016, a quest to visit a Haunted location was on the books and Josh Weinberg and I traveled to Camp Chase Cemetery, a Civil War graveyard that houses over two thousand confederate soldiers who were prisoners of the war, many of whom died from smallpox and lack of food. After the war, the camp became mostly a forgotten cemetery with cheap wood makers placed for tombstones with no care the site started to fall into shambles. It was not until 1895 that the poor souls buried at Camp Chase got the proper respect as retired Union Colonel William Knauss took it upon himself to lead an effort to restore the site and give the soldiers stone tombstone markers as well as held a memorial service for those who were buried there. By 1902 a new stone wall was built around the cemetery as well as a statue of a rebel solider above a boulder with the simple word American on the archway. The ghost that is said to haunt the area is Louisiana Rainsburgh Briggs aka Lady In Grey who is said to have been in love with a solider that died and is buried there named Benjamin F. Allen a private from the 50th Tennessee Regiment, and it’s said you can see this woman in grey wonder around the tombstones and cry at the grave of Private Allen as well as leave flowers for her lost love. On this day the weather outside was sunny with a cool breeze blowing as it was in the upper 50’s when finding the cemetery the first thing I noticed is that it sat between a home and a closed for the season ice cream shop with a school being behind it. We parked at a nearby BP Gas Station and walked to the iron gates and entered and noticed that the area was way smaller than we expected, we walked the among the tombstones looking for Ben Allen’s tombstone and when finding it we first noticed that no flowers were at the grave, we then waited around hoping to see or hear the Lady In Grey and all we could hear was the mass amounts of traffic that was driving on the busy street the cemetery is on. As we left we both agreed that while the area was amazing for the history aspect as a haunted location it was lacking as the noise of the busy city killed the element of atmosphere and the Lady In Grey was nowhere in sight. Fun trip over all and great place to visit and see a history landmark, check out some pictures I took below including the grave of Ben F. Allen!

Camp Chase GatesBen Allen Grave at Camp ChaseCamp Chase Graves

After the long yet fun holiday season and the tragic loss of my cousin Norman D., I decided that once more Juliet and I needed to have a Horror Movie Marathon to unwind from the stresses of work and the post holiday blues so Tuesday February 9th 2016 became the date with horror film destiny. We decided to do a pre-show Monday night and we started off with the cheesy film “Guru, The Mad Monk” about a crazed monk and his vampire girlfriend and hunchback assistant who all run a church where the guilty go to die.  Throw in a love story between one of the jailers and a woman from his past, and you have this no budget cheesefest. “Teenage Slumer Party Massacre” is about some girls having a sleepover on Spring Break and being stalked by a goof in a old man mask wielding a power drill.  This one was a real stinker! To my surprise. Juliet enjoyed Guru, and we shared lots of laughs about its terrible yet fun nature. Teenage Slumber Party Massacre was a complete bore and could have been best summed up with cute girls talking about guys and hotdogs with very little slasher action, super lame. After the films, I read a couple of comics and went to bed with visions of horror films in my head.

At 7am Tuesday we started the event and as always loaded up on snack foods and prepared Breakfast Casarole and made slow cooked a roast in the crockpot for dinner. The film to kick it all off was a Universal film called “Night Monster” thats stars Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill and is about a mansion that holds murder and mystery when doctors end up dead while staying with a patient they left crippled. The 2nd film of the day was the zero budget film called “Alien Beasts” that is about enter dimensional beings attacking Earth and a group of government agents that try and stop them. The 3rd haunting flick was “Amityville Theater” about a young woman who’s parents have died and she inharites they old theater only to find out like everything in Amityville the ghosts and demons don’t rest! The under rated slasher “Alice Sweet Alice” was the 4th film of the day and is about a murder of a young girl that is blamed on her sister, but did she really do it? Paul Naschy as the Mummy Amenhotep was in the 5th film of the day called “The Mummy’s Revenge”, a Horror Movie Marathon is just not the same without a Naschy film But sadly we did not get to finish Mummy’s Revenge as two different copies of the film on DVD-R’s had such bad digital breakup that the film would freeze, DVD-R’s really suck and anytime we have had issues at a marathon it has been with films on this format, for shame that it had to be the Nachey film that had issues. The 6th film of the day “Born Of Earth” is about creatures that live in the ground and steal people and one mans fight for the truth about his missing children. Movie # 7 was the Full Moon Entertainment flick “The Dead Want Women” thats about 1920’s silent actors who were murdered by a fellow actor return to to life during present day to find sexy ladies. “The Reeker” was the 8th film of the marathon and is a monster slasher film about a group of friends out of gas in the desert and a foul smelling ghoul with death on it’s mind is stalking them one by one. The 9th film is a guilty pleasure film for me called “Rocktober Blood” about a 80’s Hairband Singer who slashes his friends from beyond the grave or is he? Number 10 keeps the slasher theme as its “Cinco De Mayo” about a killer in a Mexican skull mask killing collage kids who don’t want to learn about heritage. Another slasher film called “The Mutilation Man” was the 11th movie and was about a killer getting revenge on some people that got away with a crime from the past, also this is not to be confused with with Andy Copp’s film of the same name. The 12th and final film of the night was “Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” that follows the Daughter of Henry Jekyll who is battling her families curse that is mixed with the werewolf folklore and makes you wonder is the curse real or is someone trying to drive her mad!

Another great Horror Movie Marathon in the history books and it was the pefect way to combat a day that was filled with snow and cold winds! As always, after the films Juliet and I sat and chatted about the films of the day and picked our worst and top 3 best of the day.  This was a pretty tough one as I enjoyed many of the films we watched. For me the turkey of the bunch was The Mutilation Man as I found it to be boring and kind of bland in terms of the reveal of the killer’s identity.  The gore worked pretty well, and the acting was okay’ for this films budget level. Juliet’s Golden Turkey of the day went to Alien Beasts as she felt it made no sense and was too scattered to be entertaining. My top three list goes like this: # 1 hands down is Alice Sweet Alice, a film I grew up watching on TBS and find to be a great slasher with twists and turns and some great creepy moments. # 2 goes to Rocktober Blood, a film I have been a fan of since I was a teenager.  The music rocks, the story is silly, and the killer Billy Eye is so cheesy they should name a shredded cheese after him! And # 3 has to go to Daughter of Dr. Jeykll, a great classic black and white horror film that captures the mood and feeling of the book the film’s characters spawned from. Plus a femele version of Mr. Hyde who is represented as a werewolf is some great early horror film stuff even if they were just nightmares. But I also really enjoyed The Reeker, Night Monster and The Mummy’s Revenge that would have taken the # 3 spot it we were able to finish it. Juliet’s Top 3 went like this: # 1 Alice Sweet Alice, # 2 Cinco De Mayo and her # 3 was Rocktober Blood with The Reeker coming very close to making her list. Once more this was a great way to unwind, and I am looking forward to the next big one I will be holding in April, and of course when it’s over I will cover it here on Rotten Ink.

Guru The Mad Monk DVDTeenage Slumber Party Nightmare DVDNight Monster DVDAlien Beasts DVDThe Amityville Theater DVDAlice Sweet Alice DVDThe Mummy's Revenge DVDBorn Of Earth DVDThe Dead Want Woman DVDReeker dvdRocktober Blood dvdCinco De Mayo dvdThe Mutilation Man 2011 DVDDaughter Of Dr. Jekyll DVD

One film that I would love to see be turned into a comic book that’s also about sorority girls is Evil Toons.  It was released in 1992, directed by Fred Olen Ray and stars David Carradine, Dick Miller and a ton of beautiful woman like Michelle Bauer, Monique Gabrielle, Susanne Ager and my favorite of the bunch Madison Stone. I first saw this film when my brother and I rented it on VHS from K&L Video in Kettering, and from the start, I found myself loving this film and went and found it on VHS to buy. It’s about a demon who is accidentally unleashed from a spell book by four sorority girls who have been hired to clean a old big house before the new owners move in. The demon, who is a cartoon, attacks and kills the girls and anyone else silly enough to get in his way. This is a perfect source for a mini-series of comics that has the book of spells being delivered once more to a wrong address, this time a sorority house filled with all types of college babes.  On Halloween night, they all have a mass sleepover where they watch horror films, eat junk food and by mistake read a spell that sets the demon free, and it runs loose in the dorm killing and possessing as many young woman as he can! The lead in the series would be a sweet woman who grew up in a small town and was taught not to mess with evil and her knowledge is what keeps the few who live alive! The comic would be part horror and part comedy and have enough blood and nudity to please fans of the film. And if they really wanted to spice things up you could mix Evil Toons with Ghoulies and have mayhem at the college as both set of demons try to out do each other in the kill department. If this comic was to get made I would like to see Fred Olen Ray’s own company Retromedia release a line of comics based on his movies, and if one of my friends were to tackle this project I would say Bruce O’Hughes or Damien Brunk as both would understand the cheesy sleazy nature of the comic. Maybe Ray is reading this update (doubtful) and will like the idea and make a comic based on this film as well as his other work come alive…

Evil Toons 1Evil Toons VHSEvil Toons 2

So while I have the chance, I should also talk about Madison Stone from Evil Toons as I won’t get the chance to for any other update, and with the lack of info about actresses from The Vampire Conspiracy, this seems like the best time. Madison Stone was born on January 12th 1965 in Miami, Florida and started her acting career in adult films where she ended up starring in over 100 titles with such classic names as Jail Babes, The Anus Family and Voodoo Vixens. Her adult film career was so big, she is a member of the AVN Hall of Fame, and in 1993 she was voted XRCO Fan Favorite! Madison went on to be in “mainstream” movies like Evil Toons in 1992 and Daylight in 1996 alongside Sylvester Stallone! Madison continued to appear in adult films until 2004 when she retired. She is known for her raven dark hair and now for her tattoos and piercings, even having one named after her The Madison Piercing that’s at the front of her neck! She is now a tattoo artist and owns her own shop in California called “Madison Tattoo Shoppe” and sings in bands like Kiss The Monkey and Four Ugly Women. Even now at the age of 51, she is as stunning as the first time I saw her in Evil Toons! If I ever were to make another independent horror film and had a good budget and she was willing to come out of retirement, I would for sure cast her as well as it would be cool to have her on a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. Check out some classic pictures of her below.

Madison Stone 1Madison Stone 2Madison Stone 3

The Vampire Conspiracy is directed by Geoffrey de Valois and was released in 1995 to the direct to VHS market as filler for ma & pa video rental stores around the good old USA. The film starred such talents as Heather Lemire, Liddy Roley, Barbara Savage and Jasmine Jean and is clearly a softcore film sprinkled with horror elements as the plot is about cyber vampires selecting a collage sorority to be their breeding slaves…this film reeks of pure sleazy cheese and to be honest while I have seen the cover box on video store shelves and on the pages of Alternative Cinema Magazine, I never took a chance at renting or buying it as it looks like it’s terrible. That’s the thing that younger people who didn’t have the joys of walking around a good well stocked video store will never have, the memories of walking around and looking at all the cover boxes and wondering what film awaited you on the VHS tape or DVD disc. Reading this comic will be the first time I have had any contact with this film so I am pretty hyped to see how it stacks up against the likes of Lust For Frankenstein, Tender Flesh and Mari-Cookie in quality and enjoyment. Before I even open this book, I want to make a few predictions on what this photo comic will showcase and that’s lots of bare female breasts and terrible lines of seduction. Below is the VHS Cover as well as the only still from the flick I could unearth on Google. Another thing I could not find much on was the actresses, so sadly no showcase on any of them.

The Vampire Conspiracy VHSThe Vampire Conspiracy still 1The Vampire Conspiracy Vampire

So we covered The Sadness, Evil Toons, a recent Horror Movie Marathon, a POG Tournament and took a look at the film for The Vampire Conspiracy so now I think it’s time we let the cyber vampires feast! The clouds have uncovered the moon and the dust has settled, as I am proud to say Rotten Ink is at the final issue of the Draculina Photo comic series as I have finally gotten my hands on The Vampire Conspiracy thanks to Ebay! Before I dive into this photo comic I should remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle some large chested cyber vampires, we should jump right into this review with garlic and some holy motor oil!

The Vampire Conspiracy 1

The Vampire Conspiracy # 1  *1/2
Released in 1998    Cover Price $4.95    Draculina    #2 of 4

Lisa is a strange woman who wants to join The Beta Sorority and is at the beach with the girls who all dislike her because they find her odd. But things are cut short when a vampire woman named Jana attacks and kidnaps some of the sorority girls to take to the Vampire HQ so that they can be breed with vampire DNA and the mindless offspring can be used as slaves. The lead vampire also runs a adult video company and makes vampire female centerfold videos, as Jana tortures the prisoners. As Lisa is dealing with her personal issues, the video that’s sent out is a way for the vampires to turn some viewers into vampires who have a trait in their blood, and shocker, Lisa turns out to be just that person.  After killing the coeds that teased her, she heads to Vampire HQ and decides that she wants to be the Queen of the Sorority and saves her fellow students and kills the Vampire King with a cross! In the end she is still a vampire as is her friends, and they decide to open a new all female vampire sorority.

Yep, this is what I thought it would be: page after page of naked boobs and a story that is as weak as ice melting in the hot summer sun. So the “plot” of this stinker is vampires want to use young woman as breeders for hybrids that will be used as slaves, and they are using all types of ways to turn people into vampires including a VHS tape that has the power to make people turn.  It’s up to the oddball girl to chose between saving her fellow coeds or joining the King of the Vampires. The main character is Lisa, a pretty woman who wants to be voted queen of her sorority and feels like she never fits in.  She is turned into a vampire by the video and kills those who tormented her and even takes out the Vampire Queen! Is Lisa a good person…no not at all as she kills her fellow coeds as well as her shrink in cold blood. The Vampire King who is the main bad guy is pretty lame and mostly barks orders, makes love to his assistant and gets his ass kicked really easy in a fight with Lisa. Lana is a sexy vampire in leather who gets joy in torturing her prisoners, but while she is badass in beating up humans, she as well goes down like a chump. The rest of the characters are all disposable and add nothing but pairs of boobs to the story. While the woman are nice to look at, the photos put together loosely make a story and for the most part this is a very forgettable read. After this photo comic I don’t think I would ever really track down the film to watch as I didn’t enjoy what I saw and read here. Not much more to say; vampires and boobs are cool, but that only takes a photo comic so far.

Vampire Conspiracy Art 1

So that’s the end of the Draculina Photo Comics, and I must say it ended the way I thought it would and that’s on a low note! While photo comics are a good idea and Draculina was onto something that could have been an amazing idea, I think they chose the wrong films to do this with as the films they gave this treatment already had weak stories and became even weaker when squeezed into a comic. But let’s wash the taste of this vampire comic out of our mouths as our next update will take a look at the Queen of Horror Hosts, the one and only Vampira! So until then read a comic or three and enjoy being around your loved ones.

Vampira Logo 0

The Plagued Journey Of The Dust Devil

Welcome to Rotten Ink.  Our topic today is about dust devils, you know those whirl winds of dust that happen in the desert; they swirl like a tornado while most of the time harmless they can sometimes grow more powerful and cause damage to people and property! Oh wait, we are not chatting about those dust devils so we must be talking about the vacuum cleaners named after those whirlwinds that took homes by storm with their technology of sucking up dirt action…right…oh that’s not the topic either. Well are we talking about the Dust Devil villains in the online multiplayer games World of Warcraft or RuneScape or are we chatting about the song Dust Devil by 80’s ska band Madness or even the DC Comic character Dust Devil who is a member of the Blasters team? But while all those things would make for an odd update, the Dust Devil we are covering is the 1992 film by Richard Stanley and the small promo comic that came with the DVD when released! So grab your sunblock and cover your eyes we are heading into the harsh sand to tail a killer who might be a little more than human.

Dust Devil VaccumDust Devil WhirlwindDust Devil pc

But before we travel into the weird world of Dust Devil, I got an order from Indy Planet not too long ago that had an interesting looking horror comic in the batch and I figured we could take a look at it here real quick to help add to the horror theme of this update. So here we go as we take a look at “Ghastly Goodies,” a comic put out by Almost Normal Comics.

Ghastly Goodies 1

Ghastly Goodies # 1  ***
Released in 2015   Cover Price $2.99   Almost Normal Comics   # 1 of ??

Our first twisted tale is called “The Hand Of Glory” and is about a thief who cuts off the hand of a hanged man that is supposed to be a good luck charm if you light candles around it’s fingers.  It works for awhile until the crook soon finds out the hand has a mind of its own and is killing the victims he is only stealing from! The second story is called “The Howling Jar” and has two young boys spying on their old neighbor that they think is a witch as she drinks from a large jar in her basement.  They break in to see what’s in the jar and find out the old woman is a witch, and they are the next drink in her jar! Third story is “Dance Of The Corpse Worm.” Ed’s uncle has passed away and during the funeral he strikes up a one night stand with the young attractive mortician who worked on his uncle.  He soon learns that this young lady really “loves” her work and passes on a nasty little pet to Ed! “The Sickness” is the final story and has parents being attacked by their ill baby who wants them to be just like him!

This is a great little independent comic that is much like Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow in its anthology styling. Its host is a strange man in a black hat with candles around the brim with a handlebar mustache wearing a straight jacket who acts as the pun master after each gruesome tale of terror…or is that ghastly tale of terror? Each story has its own charm and each seem like they could have easily been a story in Creepy or Vault Of Horror as each doesn’t end well for those involved and the outcome is always gruesome and fitting for their fates. It’s hard to pick a best and worst story as all of them were well done but I will say the weakest story was The Sickness as the zombie baby with a knife killing its parents was creepy but also the shortest and tamest of them all. The best one was tough to pick, and I had to think about it for a day before choosing, but I finally picked one and it is the opener The Hand Of Glory.  The reason I picked it was because it had a classic horror story feel to it and for some reason reminded me of a Hammer Horror Film! Warren E. Elliott is the writer and artist for this comic, and his style is great and holds a charm of 60’s underground comics mixed with late 80’s horror independent comics charm. This needs to be an ongoing series, and I wish my local comic shops Mavericks or Bell Book And Comic would stock it if a full series is in the works. I would recommend this to fans of classic horror anthology comics as I think the over all creepy and fun feel to it is sure to please. One last thing before I give you some samples of the artwork is I want to know who the host of these tales is!

Ghastly Goodies ART 1Ghastly Goodies ART 2Ghastly Goodies ART 3

But before we get to Dust Devil, I should talk about an area here in Ohio that is said to be a portal to Hell called “Satan’s Hollow” in Blue Ash, Ohio.  It’s said that Satanist use this place to meet and sacrifice people and animals and was even said to have opened a gate to Hell and that Satan himself appeared! This is a place that I have wanted to visit on one of my adventures into the Unknown Ohio but never got the chance as stories of it being on private property among rumors that it is also used as a drug hub always pushed it back on the list of stuff to do as none of us wanted to mess with any of that kind of drama. But over the years I kept looking into Satan’s Hollow as a place that is said to have housed Satan for a short time peeked my interest and this is something that I think at some point this coming year Stephen, Josh and I might take a look into. But I have heard that it’s just really a drainage tunnel that kids have turned into an urban legend about Satan that they have spray painted with creepy messages and that the tunnels the further you get back into them get tiny, but I still want to see for myself. Below is a photo of Satan’s Hollow from the blog Creepy Cincinnati.

Satans Hollow

I first heard of director Richard Stanley from my friend and film mentor Andy Copp who was a huge fan of his renegade film style and would often talk about him in the same breath as Quentin Tarantino and Alejandro Jodorowsky showing his amount of respect for his directing style. Stanley was born on November 22 1966 in Fish Hoek, South Africa and at a young age followed his mother Penny Miller as she traveled the world to document witchcraft and folklore from all over the world for her books as she was a artist and anthropologist. Stanley got the film bug in High School when he joined the Young Filmmakers Workshop and created a 8mm short film called “Rites Of Passage” that won him an IAC International Student Film award! He would go onto follow it up with another 8mm short film called “Incidents In An Expanding Universe” and it as well won a IAC award showing that this young filmmaker had a bright future in cinema and he continued making short films. Stanley now older moved to London, England and started making music videos for bands like Public Image Limited and Fields Of The Nephilim and did a documentary on the Soviet war in Afghanistan called “Voices Of The Moon” that followed the lives of Afghani people. In 1990 he made his leap to feature films with “Hardware” a cyberpunk film starring Iggy Pop and Lemmy of Motorhead! The film made a splash and the Weinstein Brothers picked it up for distribution exposing the film to a wider audience. In 1992 he made the film “Dust Devil” and had a terrible time with the production as the budget was small and distributor Miramax kept messing with the editing of the film, this was his first bad taste of Major Hollywood studios. His next project as well was a headache as he worked with band Marilion on a video for their concept album Brave and this to was messed with during editing, so much so he disowned the finished product! His next project came in 1996 when he landed the writer and directing gig for his dream project a telling of “The Island Of Doctor Moreau” for New Line Cinema and this turned out to be a doomed project as it was plagued with lots of setbacks, heartaches and disappointments and this lead to Stanley being fired only a few days into production. Most of the drama for Stanley came from star Val Kilmer who clashed with the director and caused lots of problems for many of the cast and crew. This was the final straw for Stanley as after he watched his project get taken away he walked away from film making for awhile and returned to making documentaries and short films including 2008’s werewolf epic called “Black Tulips” among many others. Stanley also started writing films and comics for others and 2011 he directed a segment for the film “The Theatre Bizarre” called Mother Of Toads. In 2014 Stanley was interviewed for a documentary about The Island Of Doctor Moreau called “Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island Of Dr. Moreau” that told his side of the story of what happened on set. Stanley has also hinted that his original version of Dr. Moreau might be made into a comic and a film sometime soon, and this is something I would love to see. While Stanley has been mistreated by Hollywood the man is very talented and I would love to see him make more stylish Horror Films in the future. This was just a quick look at Stanley as he is a very interesting person with some creative beliefs and if you get time you should Google him and read more about not only his cursed productions but also his interviews.

Richard Stanley 1Richard Stanley 2IMG_0448.JPG

Dust Devil started filming in 1991 in Namibia, and the story was loosely based Nhadiep, a serial killer who was said to have had dark magic powers that helped him in his killings. The film’s plot follows many paths including a cop, a female traveler as well as the killer known as The Dust Devil! IMDB has the film’s plot described like this” “A shape shifter comes from the desert in search of victims, a spirit the locals call ‘The Dust Devil’. He prays on the lonely and the unloved, those who have already lost everything but life itself. Wendy has broken up with her husband and wanders aimlessly in her car. She picks up a stranger and begins having misgivings about picking him up when strange things begin to occur. Meanwhile a local police officer tracks the killer. Aided by a shaman’s admonishments about witchcraft he sets off to try and stop the beast before it can complete its grisly task”. Late in 1991, Stanley cut the film to 120 minutes and then to 110 minutes hoping that the longer cut would be the European version as Miramax had the US rights and they wanted a much shorter film, and boy did they chop it down to a runtime of 87 minutes when they released it on VHS and Laserdisc. Off and on the film was getting cut by Miramax until finally Stanley was able to get the film prints back and cut a final cut of the film that lasted 105 minutes and later a directors cut that lasted 114 Minutes long was released on DVD by Subversive Cinema in America. The film is a weird one, and I can remember buying the DVD when I found it at a local second hand media store in Dayton called Second Time Around, and my then girlfriend sitting with me to watch it…yeah she didn’t last long as she was bored pretty quickly of the odd story line and pacing of the film. In 2015, my friends Jason Young and Eric Shonborn covered Dust Devil on their podcast Gutter Trash and that was a fun listen. Love it or hate it, Dust Devil is one strange horror film that has made it’s mark on the world. This update I would like to dedicate to Andy Copp as I am sure he would have enjoyed this one.

Dust Devil Movie 1Dust Devil VHSDust Devil Movie 2

So are you ready to face The Dust Devil in this short promo comic? Are you ready to see what kind of horror this has in store for us? I mean what kind of murder will this fiend commit on these pages and even better will it keep to the film’s odd nature? Before we travel to with the Dust Devil, we should grab some water or your choice of a cold beverage, and I need to remind you that I am grading this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. Also thanks to Game Swap in Kettering for having this comic in stock as now I have two of them as one was also placed inside by single disc DVD release. So let’s get ready to witness a tale of madness!

Dust Devil Comic 1

Dust Devil  # 1  **1/2
Released in 2006   Cover Price FREE   Subversive Cinema     # 1 of 1

The Dust Devil is looking at why he does what he does and talks in thought about how the souls of his victims call to him even before he has murdered them.  To top it off he also shares that he has been around for decades and even was there to kill Hitler! He says it’s the scent of his victims that draw him to places. He shares that over the years he has taken the look of animals and even things in-between human and animal but has as of late settled for a human look which opens him up for the weakness of pleasure and wanting to sex up the women. He loves what he is and loves what he does, and the thrill is wandering the world and not knowing were the scent of victims will take him.

This comic is short and sweet and is used to give you a inside look at the Dust Devil and all his bloody deeds from being the real Jack The Ripper to killing a young woman who he meets and has sex with and then decides to kill her with a knife! It shows that he collects the fingers of the famous people he kills and that as a human he has the desires of humans. I love the fact also it has taken the shape of animals as well as monsters and has disposed of many people. The Dust Devil is clearly evil and in this comic it shows that he loves to kill and that he does not care who is on his list of death. The comic also does a great job of helping you really understand the film and is a nice counter piece as it teaches you a little more about the character before you watch the film or even after! The comic is pretty violent but doesn’t go overboard on blood but does keep the sleaze and uneasy nature of the film. The cover is pretty bland, and if this was a issue that could be picked up at your local comic shop I am sure you all would look over it as would I.  The art inside is pretty cool and is done by Phil Avelli who also wrote the script.  His art is cartoonish yet holds a horror appeal. To sum it up, while very short, it is a great comic that fans of the film will surely enjoy as much as I do.

Dust Devil Art 1

Well this was a fun quick update that allowed me to relive the film Dust Devil as well as enjoy this cool promo comic that added more layers to the legacy of the film. I truly wish that more companies would make comics based on films they release besides Arrow Video.  I would love to see Troma and Pop Cinema get back in the comic game as well as would love to see companies like SRS Cinema, Tempe and Retromedia Entertainment make comics based on their films. Speaking of films being turned into comics, our next update is yet another of the Draculina Photo Comics based on The Vampire Conspiracy so make sure to grab some garlic and cover your neck for that one. Until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local horror host! Oh yeah and beware of the Dust Devil as he could be anywhere, even at your local coffee shop….beware take care…beware…see what I did there worked in a little Ed Wood Jr. for the fun of it!

vampire conspiracy logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015

Matt Goes To The Movies 2015 Screen Logo

This past year was pretty solid for the movies as fans of all genres had something to look forward to with three of the top choices being The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jurassic World and Star Wars: Force Awakens! But while many movie goers were waiting for those three films, I was silently waiting for the new Mad Max, Rocky and Terminator sequels as well as all of the horror films that were released last year. This time, I didn’t just see movies at my favorite theater Cinemark at the Greene but also watched flicks at Regal, Cinemark Dayton South and Cranberry Cinema and watched films along side the likes of Juliet Fromholt, Josh Weinberg, Jeremy Hoyt, Stephen Alexander II, Anne Rotolante, Patrick Steele and my brother Bryan and his family! I ate many bags of popcorn and drank many Icee’s and loved the cinema experiences…well for the most part! This year was flooded with lots of other moviegoers who brought rowdy kids to the films, morons on cell phones and of course the loud talkers, but even these pesky people couldn’t bring down the mood and feel of the cinema. The ones who annoyed me the most were the loud talkers and kids during horror films, as their behavior took away from the atmosphere of films like Woman In Black 2, Green Inferno and Insidious Chapter 3! But let’s not waste too much time on cell phone zombies and talkers; let’s get to the Rotten Ink Theater and discuss the films I saw! Be sure to read on with caution as some write ups might have spoilers!

MMMMMM Popcorn

As always, we are going to take out the trash first as I present to you the worst films of the year…and oddly enough, I didn’t see too many bad films this year.  Only one film has made the list and while it was not terrible, I found it to be a major letdown.  So let’s get to the worst!

WORST 15 logo

# 1

Vacation 2015 poster

Rusty Griswald decides to take his family on a trip, not to Europe, but to Wally World, the same place his father Clark took him to so many years back. So Rusty hits the road with his wife and two sons, and along the way, they run into all types of crazy and crude adventures till they reach their goal of Wally World.  Throw in cameos from Clark and Ellen Griswald, and you have Vacation. The things that work for the film is some moments will make you flash back to the other films in the series, the downside are the moments that reminded me of the crude humor of American Pie and The Hangover. While I didn’t hate this film, I was just very much disappointed with it as I was really looking forward to a true National Lapoon’s Vacation sequel, not a crude humor cash in. The film did just okay for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in a total off $58,863,141.00 on a $31 Million Dollar budget. Again, if you have not seen this yet, skip it and just pop in the DVD of the original and enjoy a comedy classic.

So now that the stinky worst film has been taken out, let’s take a look at action…and oddly enough, this year I didn’t see too many action films and that’s a shame as it’s a genre I enjoy seeing in the theater! I missed the new Fast And The Furious film as well as several others, but here is the list of the ones I did get to see! I even added a sports drama in the action section to help add depth.

Action 15 logo

# 2

No Escape (2015) Poster

No Escape” was a fun action thrill ride that has Owen Wilson playing a father who took a job overseas in the water service and soon finds that who he works for forced themselves into the market.  Now a group of rebels have risen up and are killing anyone who they think is ruining their county.  So Wilson has to save his wife and two daughters and get them to safety before they become victims in a bloodbath of anger. This was a fun edge of your seat movie that had many moments that made you wonder how the family was going to survive this riot uprising! The film also adds in Pierce Bronson as a man who is trying to help the family out but also has his own reasons for being there.  Really, this was a good action flick that mixed in just the right amount of a thriller to make it work. The film did pretty good for the Weinstein Company and brought in $27,079,507.00 just in the US Box Office on a $5 million dollar budget. Well worth the watch in the theater, even if the person I went with was Josh Weinberg and he kept texting throughout it!

# 1

Creed Poster

Creed was hands down one of the best films of the year for me and was one that I was most looking forward to as I have been a fan of the Rocky franchise since I was a youngster.  This movie lived up to everything I wanted from it, from drama to sports action, it had it all. Adonis Johnson-Creed is the son of Apollo Creed from a woman he had an affair with.  He fought his whole life to prove something to himself and thanks to the guidance of Rocky Balboa, he stands a chance at becoming a famed fighter like his father. Adonis must learn not only to fight as a trained boxer but also balance his life with his mom (Apollo’s wife), girlfriend Bianca and learning that Rocky is sick. I don’t want to spoil too much of the film’s plot nor the ending but fans of Rocky and Rocky II will eat it up. Sylvester Stallone is fantastic as the aging Rocky and gave the performance of a lifetime, and Michael B. Jordan is amazing and makes Adonis Creed a likable character and delivers the “Rocky” of this generation. The film had a great showing for Warner Brothers bringing in a total in the U.S of $98,756,653 on a $35 million dollar budget as of Dec 30th 2015. Again, I can’t stress enough how great this film is and when seeing it in the theater with my girl Juliet, she teared up at moments of well written and acted drama.  Do yourself a favor, and check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Yeah, I really was slacking in the action department.  I mean I had to add a sports drama film to the list, but it counts because it has Sylvester Stallone and boxing action in it, right? But what I did not slack on is science fiction and fantasy films that had some major heavyweights duking it out, not just at the box office but also for my # 1 spot! So let’s take an epic journey and see who won the pick to be the best 2015 had to offer.

SciFi 15 logo

# 8

Pixels Poster

Aliens have sent Earth a challenge and are using our classic video game characters like Frogger, Pac-Man and Space Invaders as their warriors to battle our top arcade players of the past in a best of three match that pits the humans against real life pixel characters. This film got a lot of hate for no reason and many judged it because it starred Adam Sandler who for some reason is now the kiss of death for a film.  But while it’s no masterpiece of cinema, it is a fun space invader comedy film with cool retro video game characters like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders & Q*Bert and some fun chuckles. Pixels failed at the US Box Office only bringing in $66,412,189.00 for Columbia Pictures on a $88 million production budget. If you watch this film on DVD or Blu-Ray, go in with a clear mind and all the pre-online hate washed from your brain.  You might find yourself having a good time.

# 7

seventh son poster

The evil witch Mother Malkin has escaped and is causing death and terror.  The only hope is Master Gregory, a monster hunter who captured her many years back.  But when his ward dies in battle, he must find a new one who has to be the seventh son of a seventh son and finds him in a young farmer named Tom who he trains to become a killer of witches. Things get tricky when Tom falls in love with a witch and Malkin has called some of the top generals in the world of supernatural.  Gregory must face massive odds to save the world as we all know it. This is a cool fantasy film set in the age of knights that has many monsters and over the top battles that are sure to please most fantasy film viewers. The film was panned by critics, and sadly it tanked at the box office.  I feel like this is yet another of those films that got unfairly judged due to all the delays this production was plagued with. With that said, though the film does have some goofy moments like the over the top accent Jeff Bridges uses while playing Master Gregory, but for the stuff like that there is a dragon, attractive women and a foul troll like monster to make up for it. The film only grossed in $17,223,265.00 at the US Box Office for Universal on a $95 million dollar budget, but luckily it did a little better overseas.

# 6

jupiter ascending poster

Jupiter Ascending is one of those films I think was unfairly judged before it even opened in the theaters, due to delays, and the so called internet “press” before it came out was very negative.  Many moviegoers listened to these “critics” who said it was no good before even seeing it…this is what I call The Lone Ranger Effect. Juliet and I happened to enjoy this sci-fi flick that seemed like a mixture of many genre classics of the past thrown together. It felt like Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Masters Of The Universe had a child that was filled with lots of explosions and air chases. The story follows a young woman named Jupiter who works as a maid for a cleaning service run by her family, but she soon finds out she is much more as she has the soul of a reincarnated galaxy queen in her genes.  The Queen’s two sons and daughter want to manipulate and kill her to retain all she left them when she died in the past! But one lone bounty hunter along with his allies want to keep her safe and allow her to rule without the harm of her children’s greed. How can one woman change the fate of the world, and how will a simple maid deal with all the power and drama? This film’s plot has so much more to it but I don’t want to spoil too much as I think it’s worth a watch for sure. The film stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Sean Bean, and all of them do a good job pulling off their characters.  The film was directed by The Wachowski’s who are known for The Matrix films. It did poorly for Warner Brother only bringing in $47,387,723.00 at the US Box Office, but while it did poorly in theaters I can see this film gaining a cult following on the home video market.

# 5

Cinderella Poster

Disney has been doing a great job of making live action versions of their classic cartoon films, and Cinderella, much like Maleficent, is a perfect example of that. The story follows Ella, the daughter of a traveling merchant who sadly loses both her parents but not before her father remarries and she has to take care of her stepmom and two step sisters. They treat her not as a family member but more like a slave as they make her cook, clean and wait on them hand and foot. Poor Ella is even made fun of, and they start calling her Cinderella as they tease her looks after she cleaned the fireplaces and had ashes on her. The Prince of the kingdom is having a ball and with the help of her fairy godmother, she is able to attend and steals the Prince’s heart.  After she leaves before the magic of her glamorous life runs out, she leaves behind a glass slipper that is used in finding her. The classic story has never looked this good on the big screen, and I really liked all the actors casted as Lily James is perfect as Cinderella and Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as The Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is sinisterly good as the Step Mother. The film did pretty well for Disney at the U.S boxoffice bringing in a total of $200,025,513.00 proving that the classic stories never go out of style.

# 4

Terminator Genisys poster

The fifth film in the Terminator series was one of the films I was looking forward to this year as I heard that it was a film that would change the series timeline as we know it.  After viewing it, the film lived up to what I wanted it to be. In the future John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah, but when he gets there he finds things are not like they should be as Sarah alongside a Terminator she calls Pops are hunting down and killing every attempt that’s made by Skynet to take her life! They travel through time and soon find out that John Connor himself has been compromised by Skynet and he is the ultimate Terminator! Can Sarah, Kyle and Pops stop the coming of judgement day or is all hope really lost for mankind? The film has lots of action and some cool twists that made it a solid sci-fi action adventure, and while Juliet and I both liked it, it appears that the moviegoers in America were not as hip to the idea of a 5th Terminator film and would rather have spent money on such classic 2015 films like “50 Shades Of Grey”, “Get Hard”, “Spy” and “Trainwreck”! The film did very poorly at the US Box Office, only bringing in $89,760,956.00 on a $155 million dollar budget. While this film was suppose to be the lead in to another trilogy of films, it appears Paramount has pulled the plug on that idea ending the threat of Skynet once and for all…or until they remake it…ugh!

# 3

jurassic world poster

Finally, after 14 years of being closed, Jurassic Park reopens with the fourth film in the series called Jurassic World, and it was amazing and well worth the wait! The film is packed with the charm of the original series but also brings in a touch of horror to make the dinosaurs a little more scary. The plot has the park opening and becoming a huge attraction for families around the world to come and see living dinosaurs, but like all big business comes the want and need to bring in more visitors.  So in come genetic hybrid dinos, but they make a mistake with one that becomes the ultimate killing machine and worse it escapes and is on a killing warpath! Throw into the mix a park big wig and her nephews as well as a trainer who has bonded with a pack of raptors, and you have one fun rampage film! The film stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt and B.D. Wong, who fans of this series will know as Henry Wu. The film was a mega hit all over the world and brought in $651,519,326.00 for Universal at the U.S. Box Office, and by doing so, left itself open for many sequels in the coming years.

# 2

Star Wars The Force Awakens Poster

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records and washed the bitter taste of the prequels out of the mouths of fans with a solid and well done sequel directed by J.J Abrams, the man who also rebuilt the Star Trek movie franchise. The story has Luke Skywalker missing and in the shadow of the Empire arose The First Order who is also trying their best for galaxy domination! Scavenger Rey alongside one time stormtrooper Finn must deliver a droid called BB-8 to the rebels lead by Leia Organa and get help from some familiar faces, namely Han Solo and Chewbacca! Throw in a new sith named Kylo Ren and add in some drama, action and heartbreaking moments and you have one hell of a great space war movie! Plus the new characters of Rey and Finn are likeable and great additions to the Star Wars universe. I saw this in IMAX 3-D opening weekend, and the place was packed.  It was amazing seeing how many grown men and women cried during this movie and how many got swept up in nostalgia when the opening credits popped up or when Han and Chewie first appeared. The score was fantastic and done by John Williams once more, and I can’t stress how amazing after all these years it was for me to see iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, C3PO and R2D2 on the big screen again. The film is doing fantastic for Disney bringing in an amazing $629,034,583.00 as of the day this update went up just at the US Box Office! If you enjoy Star Wars movies, video games, comics, novels, cartoons or toys then check this out for sure as major things happen, some that just leave you stunned and heartbroken.  It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray when released.

# 1

Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road was one of the films that I was the most hyped for in 2015, and it lived up to everything I wanted and more! The film follows Max who is kidnapped by a group of wasteland warriors known as War Boys and is used as a human blood bag for their ill warriors. Furiosa is a driver for the War Boys and their leader Immortan Joe.  On a run to get gas, she steals some things that mean a lot to Joe, and he will do whatever it takes to get them back! Max ends up free and tags along for a wild and furious ride with Furiosa that pits them against Immortan Joe and his War Boys! This movie is filled with lots of amazing car action and lives up to what a Mad Max fan would want from a new film in the series. While I did miss Mel Gibson as Mad Max, Tom Hardy does a pretty good job filling his boots. Immortan Joe who is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toe Cutter in the first Mad Max film, is fantastic and is one screwed up false idol! The film is not so much about gas as it’s about the shortage of water and how one crazy person/company in the future could control it all…cough: Nestle. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Furiosa who has become a very popular character and is a cool strong female character. The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Warner Brothers as it brought in $153,636,354.00. Here is hoping that this film did well enough to make another sequel as I am ready to travel in that wasteland again in my favorite local theater.

There were so many sci-fi and fantasy films this year and to boot, so many great ones! But sorry, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, while you both were great, you’re just no match for Mad Max on the Fury Road! Next up, we move to the topic of comic books as we once more were treated to many super hero films in 2015.  So grab your cape and let’s take a wild ride to see what hero took the # 1 spot for me!

SUPER HERO 15 logo

# 3

Fantastic Four Poster

Fantastic Four was another movie that suffered from being judged before it even hit theaters, all based on a poorly put together trailer and the fact they changed the Human Torch Johnny Storm’s race.  Like Pixels, I think people were way too hard on this movie. Now I must say that this film does have lots of flaws and at times it felt as if the actors had no real direction or motive to put in a powerful performance. The film’s plot has Reed Richards being offered college tuition as he has mastered sending objects to another realm and along with Victor Doom and brother and sister Sue and Johnny Storm, they make a machine to send humans to that dimension.  An accident leaves them all with super powers and turns them into freaks of nature, even his best friend Ben Grimm is suckered in to this mess and transformed. Reed gets the power to stretch his body, Sue can turn invisible and create forcefields, Johnny can turn into a walking talking fireball, Ben turns into a living rock creature and Doom becomes something more and builds a godlike complex that leave the four having to battle Doom in the other dimension to stop his takeover of Earth. The film is silly, and the characters at time seem lost or as if they are bored, but over all I had fun seeing it at the theater. The film did poorly for Fox and is considered one of the biggest bombs of the year as it only brought in $56,117.548.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of $120 million! Love it or hate it, the film entertained me so it did its job.

# 2

avengers age of ultron poster

The Avengers came swinging back into action in 2015 and was an entertaining summer popcorn film that combined two of my favorite things: movies and comics. Iron Man wants to save the world, and by accident, he creates a living robotic being named Ultron who wants to clean the world of humans and start over! Tensions mount as The Avengers are defeated for the first time by Ultron and his two new mutant helpers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! But in the end, the team comes back stronger than ever and gets the help of the twinsas well as a clone of Ultron named Vision who all soon learn Ultron is a menace.  Together they save the Earth and defeat the robot armageddon. The film was a lot of fun, but I didn’t feel as it was as strongly as the first film and some subplots seemed out of place and were too Wheadon “Buffy” for me as now Black Widow and Bruce Banner have a forbidden love..silly. With this said, I enjoyed this superhero mega budget action movie and am looking forward to Avengers 3! Avengers 2 did amazing for Disney bringing in a total of $459,005,868.00 at the US box office showing that these heroes still pack a punch for movie watchers.

# 1

Antman Poster

When I first heard they were making a movie based on Ant-Man, I chuckled and thought who is going to play Hank Pym! Then when I heard Hank Pym was being played my Michael Douglas and he was not the focus of being Ant-Man as that was going to Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd, I thought Marvel had lost their minds putting an actor who’s been in a bunch of cheesy comedies as the title hero. But when I saw the trailer, all those doubts flew out the window and I became even more hyped to see this film based on a B-grade Marvel Comic character. The plot has Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, having to trust a master cat burglar named Scott in order to stop his one time company from getting the shrinking human technology.  So Scott becomes Ant-Man, and along side Hank and his daughter Hope, must stop this from happening as well as defeat the sinister Yellowjacket! This film is not only a superhero one but also part heist with a dash of comedy. Paul Rudd surprised me and turned in a great performance, and everything from the acting to the soundtrack worked. In my opinion, hands down this was the best superhero film of the year! The film did well for Diseny at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $178,780,134.00 on a budget of $130 million and at the foreign Box Office add on another $275,900,000.00! Say what you will, but Ant-Man packed a big punch for movie fans.

Never in my life would I think a film about Ant-Man would beat out a film that had Captain America and Hulk in it.  Crazy, but it did and took my # 1 spot! Up next is my favorite genre of films and one I look most forward to writing about for this Best Of update, horror! Once more this year was filled with lots of ghost and possession films as Hollywood thinks that’s all we horror fans want to see at the theater, but I think they are starting to learn as many of these titles did good but not great at the box office. Give me Slashers and classic monsters back and keep the ghost films away for awhile.  I would like to see more Halloween, Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre films in the theaters. But let’s waste no more time and jump into my top 15 list of horror films I saw in the theater this year!

horror 15 logo

# 15

The Boy Next Door Poster

Jennifer Lopez looks fantastic in this horror thriller that has her playing a single mom who is a high school teacher that is trying to move on past her ex-husband who is trying everything in his power to get her back! Her neighbor is a sick old man whose nephew has come to live with them after his parents died in an accident.  This young man befriends J-Lo’s son. After a bad date and a few glasses of wine, she is seduced by the young man next door and they have sex.  This starts her downward spiral as the young man is unstable and becomes so obsessed with her that it leads to possibilities of losing her job, her husband and possibly her life! This film was a fun cheesy thriller that has some moments of suspense and even violence that help it along to be entertaining.  While the plot is mostly predictable, it was still very much worth watching. I saw the film with Josh Weinberg, and he also thought the film was okay. The film at the US Box office has brought in $35,423,380.00 for Universal on a lower budget making it a good solid hit for them.

# 14

the lazarus effect poster

Is there a afterlife? And what if science could find away to bring you back after death? This is the plot for The Lazarus Effect. Zoe is the leader of a research team that includes her fiancee Frank.  They are being filmed by a student as they embark on using a serum they created to bring the dead back to life and have success in bringing back a dog. But things go wrong when the college pulls funding and their research becomes property of a major drug company! Zoe and her crew sneak into the lab for one last test, and an accident leaves Zoe dead and her team using the drug on her.  But when she comes back, something is different, and their beloved co-worker is now an evil killer who is out for blood and can’t get past the major sin of her past. The film was a fun watch, and on the day we saw it, Juliet and I were the only people in the theater watching. The film has some cool yet cliched spooky moments, and Olivia Wilde who plays Zoe does a great job of being the sweet doctor who turns into a black eyed demon.  But the film does have some major plot flaws and characters who make some of the dumbest decisions in any movie I have seen this year, with Frank being one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a long time who seems to be as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to the fact his mate is not his sweet girl anymore. The film was not a huge hit at the US Box Office but did well for Relativity bringing in $25,784,902.00.  While not a great film, it was worth watching for sure.

# 13

The Gallows Poster

The Gallows was one of those lower budget horror films that when I heard about it piqued my interest and was one that I wanted to see if it could be the next franchise in the genre.  Sadly, while I had a good time watching it in the theater, it was a letdown for the most part. When I saw the name New Line Cinema attached and the trailer dropped the names of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees and compared them to this film’s villain, named Charlie, I thought for sure we would get a supernatural slasher film, but instead we got another Paranormal Activity clone with a killer that is hardly seen. The film is about a young man who is hanged by accident during a play in 1983, and in 2013, the school is trying the play again.  A group of teens get trapped in the school at night and are hunted down by the ghost of the dead actor who wears an executioner’s mask and carries a noose. The film is bloodless and is of the found footage nature, making for lots of moments of shaky camera work and jump scares but has no really bloody moments. The film’s main attraction for me was actress Pfeifer Brown, who plays the character Pfeifer, the queen of the drama department who was easy on the eyes, as well as the setting of an old creepy school at night which worked in spots. The film did okay for its low budget for New Line and brought in a total of $22,764,410.00 for them at the US Box Office. It could have been better and could have been worse.  This is a film I might watch one more time when it hits DVD to see if I missed anything that might have made this scary.

# 12

Unfriended Poster

Laura Barns was a girl in high school who was filmed passed out at a party after she had an “accident.”  Someone posted the video to Youtube, and so Laura’s harassment and bullying began, which leads to Laura killing herself. On the anniversary of her death, a group of friends meet up for a Skype chat that is hijacked by the account of the dead Laura wanting answers about who posted the video, and if it doesn’t get the real answers people begin to die! One by one the friends drop off but not before each person’s dirty little secrets are shared.  In the end does the spirit of Laura get the answers she seeks? Check out this horror film that takes place almost solely from the view of a computer screen.  While silly in parts, it at least tries to have a message about thinking before you put something on the world wide web that could be hurtful to others. The film’s murders are a little cheesy and amateurish, but they at least get an A for effort in having the guts to murder someone with a curling iron. The only major downside to the film is the ending that felt tacked on and takes away from a more powerful ending that it could have had by having one of the characters have to live with her mistake and secrets out in the world, but instead they went the route of spooky ghost coming to get you. The film made some money for Universal bringing in a total of $32,482,090.00 at the US Box Office. While not a fantastic horror film by any means, I still was entertained by this modern digital way to showcase horror by adding in social media and the cruel nature of high school drama.

# 11

poltergeist poster

This is one of those cases when you look at a film that been remade by Hollywood and ask yourself why would they do that? The original Poltergeist is a perfect rated-PG horror film that scared kids and parents alike and was a team up between Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg that was just a good scary flick. Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures decided that they needed to remake it, and while they believed in their remake, moviegoers didn’t as the film performed very poorly at the theater. The film follows the Bowen family who are down on their luck and must move into a house in a not so nice neighborhood that seems to have some odd issues with the lighting and static electricity. After they learn that the house was built on top of a graveyard, their young daughter Maddy is taken away by spirits, and the family along with paranormal investigators must find a way to save her before it’s too late! The film adds some changes that help make it different from the original, and by all accounts Raimi should have made a sequel and not a remake.  Over all it was okay and was a nice summer popcorn film. The film only brought in $47,425,125.00 for MGM and shows that maybe movie goers are getting tired of remakes of classic horror films. I should also note that I am not a fan of kid actors, but the ones in this film do a good job!

# 10

The Green Inferno Poster

The Cannibal gerne was alive and well in 2015 thanks to Eli Roth, the director of Hostel and Cabin Fever. The film follows Justine, a young college girl who gets wrapped up in helping an activism group try and stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  After they help slow it down, their small plane crashes and they become captives of a tribe of cannibals who kill not only to eat but also for ritual. Justine must muster up the inner strength to make it out alive.  This really gives a new meaning to who will survive and what will be left of them! The film is brutal, but not as brutal as one would think of when watching a cannibal film of the 70’s as only one scene really pushes the envelope on the splatter. Lorenza Izzo plays Justine and is fantastic as she is likeable and you find that you don’t want her to end up as dinner for the tribe. The film was supposed to be released last year but was pushed to this year and made High Top Releasing $7,105,595.00 on a $5 million dollar budget in the US.  So while this leaves itself open for a sequel, it was by no means a hit at the box office.

# 9

krampus poster

The Engel family have gathered for Christmas but when young Max looses faith in Santa Claus, he unleashes the sinister Krampus and his helpers who are out to ruin his Christmas or is that save it? One by one Max watches as his family disapear by the hands of Krampus and his minions.  As they fight back, the odds seem grim.  Can Max take back his Christmas and save his family…watch and find out! This film is one part horror and one part comedy and is brought to you by Michael Dougherty, who also did the holiday themed film “Trick r Treat” and made for a fun watch in early December when it was released in theaters. The film had a good atmosphere as the family is stuck at home with their neighborhood deserted during a freak snow storm with no power and no cellphone reception, and one pissed off shadow of Santa Claus looking for some new souls to take! The creature effects are pretty cool with twisted elves wearing human masks being the most freaky and killer gingerbread men being the silliest and dumbest.  Over all the film was okay and nothing too special. I found other Christmas themed horror films like the original Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night to be way better to chill the holiday season. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in this far $41,333,325.00. If you like Christmas themed horror films or are looking for a fun watch, check it out.

# 8

goosebumps poster

Goosebumps was a popular book series and TV show when I was a youngster, and it’s still popular with today’s youth.  When I heard a film was being made I was pretty hyped, but when I heard Jack Black was in it playing the series creator R.L. Stine, I lost some steam on wanting to see it. But all that changed when I saw the first trailer and all the classic Goosebump monsters on the prowl – I was sold on the idea of seeing it! The film follows a young man who is new in town and in next door to a strange man and his daughter.  You soon find out the man is R.L Stine and that when one of his Goosebumps manuscripts is opened, it frees the monster from within its pages.  Worse, the books are in the hands of that evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy all thanks to the young man accidentally opened one and caused a panic. Can R.L. and the teens stop this monster invasion of their town or will they end up being the monster capital of the world! This is “The Monster Squad” for this generation and was lots of fun, even for me at the age of 36.  It’s well worth seeing in the theater and was a nice change of pace to see a family friendly horror film in the theater! The film made $78,121,323.00 at the US Box Office for Sony, making it not as big of a hit as they were hoping but still one heck of a fun watch for those who wanted to see zombies, a yeti, a werewolf, gnomes and so many others ghouls and monsters at their local theaters.

# 7

Crimson Peak Poster

Edith Cushing is the daughter of a wealthy New York businessman who can see the souls of the dead.  As a child she gets a visit from her mother, who had passed away, warning her to stay away from Crimson Peak. Grown up and after the death of her father, Edith moves away to England with Sir Thomas and his sister Lucille and soon finds that their crumbling mansion is filled with not just red clay but also ghosts, all disfigured and haunting.  Once Edith figures out she is at Crimson Peak, can she not only survive but also solve the mystery of this dreaded family and their home? This film is a gothic romantic horror film that embraces the ghost genre but also tries to add its own charm and atmosphere the way only director Guillermo del Toro can. The film has lots of twists and some surprises that sadly I could see coming 5 miles away.  While this did make the movie slightly less enjoyable for me, it did not take me out of it and I will not spoil the surprises and twists for you here. What kept this movie entertaining for me was not only the set designs and the gruesome ghost effects, but the acting that was top notch with Mia Wasikowska who played Edith being the stand out.  She is fantastic, and I found myself cheering for her to escape Crimson Peak! The film was not a US Box Office winner, only bringing in $31,090,320.00 for Universal on a $55 million dollar budget. While this is not del Toro’s best horror film, it was at least entertaining and had some great moments mixed in with the predictable ones.  It’s worth checking out if you like gothic horror.

# 6

insidious chapter 3 poster

Insidious Chapter 3 is not so much a sequel as it’s a prequel to this new popular horror series. Quinn is a young woman who lost her mother to cancer and wants to have one last chat with her.  She goes to talk to a retired Elise, a former medium who had to give it up after her husband died and an evil spirt tries to attack her whenever she now does a reading.  Her mistake is that she tries to do one for Quinn and by doing so, has a spirit called The Man Who Can Not Breath (an old looking ghost with a oxygen mask on) start to follow Quinn! A bad accident happens that leaves Quinn in a wheel chair with broken bones and even had her flatline in the hospital.  The spirit claims half of her soul when this happens, and it’s up to Elise and Quinn’s father to save her from its evil grips! The film once more is filled with pop up frights as well as a cameo from the series original evil ghost The Black Bride, and adds more to this series back story and shows that while a horror film is slow, it can still back many good scares as Juliet, who I saw this with, jumped out of her seat many times! The film did okay at the U.S Box Office for Focus Features, bringing in a total of $52,218,558.00. The film ends with a possibility of an Insidious Chapter 4, and it will be interesting to see what they did with the new spirit thats introduced at the end.

# 5

The Woman In Black 2 Poster

Hammer Horror has cranking out films about ghosts and possession since their comeback and don’t skip a beat with this sequel to The Woman In Black. The film takes place in England during World War II and follows a group of children and their teachers leaving the city for the safety of the country.  One little boy is targeted by the spirit of a vengeful mother who is The Woman in Black, and she wants him to die like her child did so many years back. It’s up to one brave school teacher and an air force pilot to save the child and find out the secret of this evil spirit. The film has some great atmosphere with the old house and ocean scenery and a chilling soundtrack but is plagued with cheap loud jump scares and a predictable story. Over all The Woman In Black 2 is a fun PG-13 rated horror film that was a nice way to kick off the horror films of 2015 as it was the first to be released to theaters. The film brought in $26,501,323.00 for Relativity and sadly was not a big money maker, but will hopefully do so on home media and digital.

# 4

The Visit Poster

Paula has been at odds with her parents for years after a big blow up causing them never to meet their grandchildren until one weekend that has Rebecca and Tyler meeting them and staying with them after a train ride. Rebecca brings along some cameras and wants to make a documentary for her mother about the trip, but what seems like a fun time with the grandparents turns into a bizarre creepy one as they act odd, complete with good old Grandma running around the house like a wild woman late at nights! This film has a twist ending like all M. Night Shyamalan films, and this one works better than most. The film is not a blood bath and has none of the red stuff flowing.  What it does pack is spooky elements and creepy old people doing odd things that makes you as the viewer uneasy. I don’t want to spoil the ending and twist so I will just say check it out on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a creepy good time with a film set out in the middle of nowhere! The film did okay for Universal and brought in $63,882.720.00 at the US Box Office on a small $5 million dollar budget! Check it out if you want to see a cool film with great atmosphere.

# 3

Victor Frankenstein Poster

Victor Frankenstein suffered from bad marketing and a trailer that made it look more like a dark comedy than a sci-fi, horror drama film that it really is. The film follows Victor Frankenstein and his assistant who he names Igor after rescuing him from a life of being a hunched back clown for the circus and their scientific journey into creating life! The pair build a primate creature, and this leads to the main goal of bringing a man back to life.  Along the journey Igor wins the heart of his dream girl and the pair do business with a rich cut throat scientist and must dodge a police officer who is obsessed with stopping them from messing with God’s nature. This was a fun classic monster film that showed that done right the classics will never go out of style…well at least for fans of the classic monsters. The acting is well done with James McAvoy playing Victor and Daniel Radcliffe playing Igor.  The pair blend the horror, sci-fi, comedy and drama elements perfectly together, and they make the characters seem like legit friends. The moving going public once more did not come out and support this film making it a bomb for Fox and bringing in a very small $5,747,301.00 in at the US Box Office, showing that Americans would rather spend their money at the theater seeing Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy play the same roles over and over again. The Frankenstein Monster shows up at the end of the film and is a pretty cool design and the action that takes place in the final battle is pretty fun and packed with fantasy epic moments. Do yourself a favor, and check this film out when it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray.

# 2

Sinister 2 Poster

Sinister II is yet another film this year that I feel was unfairly judged by critics and fans that caused it to strike out at the box office when it was a solid follow up to the original that was packed with creepy moments and some brutal deaths. The film follows Courtney Collins and her two sons Dylan and Zach who live in a old farmhouse hiding out from their father who is abusive.  Meanwhile Deputy So & So is on the hunt to figure out who has been killing families that leaves one child always missing. But we all know that Mr. Boogie and his ghost kids are to blame, and when one of the kids is targeted to watch 8mm films of brutal deaths the cycle continues! This film was lots of fun and have some really disturbing deaths as well as some jump scare moments, I for one really like the Mr. Boogie character and would like to see a part 3 sometime in the future. This film does not just rely on gruesome deaths to chill the bones of the viewer it also uses lots of cult and paranormal elements to add more shivers. The film has some great surprises and elements that are sure to shock and scare. The film didn’t do that well at the US Box Office for Focus Features only bringing in $27, 714,992.00, sadly not sure if this will ger a sequel but here is hopping it does as it was the closest thing I got to a Slasher film this year overrun by films about ghosts and possessions.

# 1

IT Follows Poster

It Follows is one of those independent horror films that shakes up the world of horror and shows that not every film this generation needs to be a ghost or possession story. The film is about Jay, a college co-ed who goes on a date with a young man.  After they make love, he knocks her out and when she awakens, she is tied up and he tells her that she will now be followed by It, a shapeshifting walking thing that if she is touched by she will die! The only way to save yourself is to sleep with someone else and pass it along. The film follows Jay as she comes to terms with a thing that follows that her friends cannot see, just so desperately want to help defeat. The movie is filled with surprises and twists that will sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. I saw this film at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek with Jeremy Hoyt, and we both agreed that this was a top notch thriller with an original and entertaining plot and is worth watching for sure. While this was a hit at filmm festivals and art house theaters when it opened wide, it brought in only $14,674,076.00 in the US for Radius, and thats a shame as I would have hoped horror fans would have went to the theater and supported this great film.

It was a great year for movies at the cinema, and it was made better by all my friends and family that came with me to the theater. It was amazing seeing sequels to films like Star Wars, Mad Max, Terimator, Rocky, Jurassic Park, Sinister and others that didn’t take the cheesy remake or reboot route. The Horror Films of the year did a pretty good job of scaring viewers when they were suppose to. This year is also filled wall to wall with great films and will be another year of films that will make me nerd out! So up next we are going to take a look at the mini comic based on the Atari 2600 game called YARS’ REVENGE so all you old school gamers and comic readers make sure to come back for that one! In the comments below make sure to let me know what you favorite film of 2015 was as I would love to see what you my friends and readers are enjoying these days. So until then watch a movie or two and support your local movie theater.

Yars Reveng top of game logo

The Spooky, Kooky Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Boo! I’s sure that I scared no one with that, but welcome to this very spooky Pre-Halloween update here on Rotten Ink that’s sure to chill the bones of at least a few of you readers as we take a look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all media including the book, movies, video games and of course, comics! This update we will look at all types of things from a creepy voice mail to a horror movie marathon Juliet and I had, as well as take a look at another independent horror comic and of course the history of Mr. Hyde! So open the windows and let that chill fill the room because it’s going to be a creepy and spooky good time with Mr. Hyde and all his bizarre friends! In the world of classic monsters, most people think of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Wolf Man and even The Mummy but many seem to always forget about Mr. Hyde, a character who is so twisted and brutal that he enjoys turning people’s stomachs as well as murder.  So this update is for fans of the mostly over looked classic horror character.

All Hallows Eve Hyde Mood

In 2009 a voicemail message was uploaded to Youtube by a member named Hellsinger85 that had a man warning him not to answer they door if he came to it because it wouldn’t really be him.  As the message goes, the man lets out a yell and seems to turn into something sinister complete with evil laugh and his last words are a name, Kaylee. Hellsinger, the uploader, seemed puzzled and a little scared of the message as he did not know who the strange man was on the other line and wanted help to see if it was a prank or really some sort of psycho with a Mr. Hyde side. He claimed that a CD arrived in the mail and that the message was what was on it taken from someone’s answering machine.  It’s complete with a message left by AT&T. Now for some time this message was up for debate on whether it was real or a stunt cooked up by Hellsinger85, who was working on a movie about the strange things going on in and around his town of Amory, Mississippi that included zombies and sewer people.  His work on this film has many people thinking it’s a hoax and all part of the plan for his film and website. So if you’re not too scared make sure to look it up on Youtube under the title “Creepy Voice Mail” and give it a listen and see what you think…is it real or fiction? Is there a Mr. Hyde running loose in Mississippi? Only those who have come face to face with him when he came to the their door knows for sure. So during this Halloween season if you get a knock on the door, think twice before opening it.  Who knows, it could be Hyde.

Creepy Voice Mail

So before we get to far into this strange case of a doctor with a split personality, I would like to take this time to look at an independent horror comic book that I got from a cool little website called Indy Planet that only deals in small independent comics that you can buy digitally or print on demand.  Since I am an old school comic reader, I buy the physical copy because digital just doesn’t have the soul of a paper comic in my hands sitting in my favorite spot. But any way let’s see what this spooky comic made by Zak Greene Comics has to offer on this creepy update!

Tomb Of Madness 1

Tomb Of Madness # 1  **
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   Zak Greene Comics   # 1 of 1

The first spin tingling tale of terror is called “ The Creeping Vine” and has a man in the middle of the jungle with a broken GPS and a cellphone battery that’s about dead.  He finds a flower he has never seen before and when asleep at night, the vine of the flower infects his foot and body with a rash that causes open wounds! The man must stop the infection the only way he knows how and that’s with a very sharp machete! The second story is a slasher called “Night of The Massacre” and has a masked killer butchering a dorm of college girls but get the surprise of his life when they return as zombies!

This horror comic is entertaining in its own right, but I should also point out that it’s by no means original as many elements of the plots of the two short stories are lifted from horror films like The Ruins, Maniac and Slaughter High. The first story, The Creeping Vine, is a nice way to start the comic as it’s a very simple plot with some very gruesome moments as the flesh is peeled away around the wounds as well as the fact the man chops off his own body parts with a machete.  The reader never finds out  who the man is, and I like it that way. The second story had some major potential and is the better of the two stories as it follows a masked killer who is killing off some coeds but gets the tables reversed on him as the girls begin to rise again in death…are they zombies or demons…I couldn’t tell you. In my mind I would like to think that this segment took place right when the zombie outbreak is happing in the film Return of The Living Dead or if they are demons, then some one read the book of the dead like in Evil Dead. The killer is a mix between Michael Myers of Halloween and ChromeSkull from Laid To Rest, and once more we have zero background of who he is nor do we even get a name to attach to him. And the lack of backstory on this story is what hurts it from becoming a solid horror story. The art is good and is done by Zak Greene and has a very independent comic look to it. As far as I know a follow up issue was never made, and the Tomb of Madness only stayed open for one issue, so who knows what other terrors awaited us if Greene would have made an issue two. Over all fans of cheesy independent horror comics might get a kick out of this one as I know I did. Also just look at the killer’s mask…it reeks of cheap and cheesy slasher films and reminds me of the Conscious Killer from the film Frightmare released in 2000.

Tomb of Madness Comic Killer Art

Man, I love a good Horror Movie Marathon, and Juliet and I decided to have another on August 11th 2015 to relax and watch the horrors that our DVD player had to offer. I really enjoy having these events with Juliet as well as a house full of friends who all have fun dissecting the films after they have completed. We skipped doing the pre-show as I was worn out from work and went to bed early so that I could be fully charged for the day of horror watching that started at 7am! As always we loaded up with all types of yummy snack foods like potato chips, M&M’s, hummus and trail mix and ate breakfast casserole for brunch. We spiced up dinner this time around as normally we always fix a bunch of chicken wings but instead we went for a roast cooked slowly in a crockpot and it was fantastic! The first movie to kick off the marathon was “Night Of Terror” starring Bela Lugosi about a scientist who invented a serum that can bring someone back to life after 8 hours without oxygen.  But during his test run a killer is one the loose around his mansion and twists and turns take hold. The next film called “Curse Of The Witching Tree” has a mother moving her two children into a farmhouse that some terrible crimes took place in, and now the spirit of the witch hung in a near by tree wants revenge for her death. “Tales Of Dracula” is a black & white film that’s in the spirit of the classic Universal Monsters movies that has Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and a Werewolf all arriving in a small village around the same time and each have their own reasons.  It’s a fun film but a terrible ending that is tacked on for a sequel. The next film has a slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic book and was called “Billy Club” about a baseball team getting back together to honor some of their teammates that had been murdered way back when by a fellow team member.  Now someone dressed as an umpire is killing off the rest of the team. “IT Follows” was next an amazing film that was great when I saw it in theaters and was just as great on watching it on DVD.  The film follows a young woman who is being stalked by an unknown force. The sixth film was “Jinn,” a flick that pits a man against an evil Jinn who has cursed his family for centuries. A found footage style film called “The Den” was next and was about a woman who is on a chat site that’s targeted by a killer who ruins her life along his hunt. Next was another found footage flick called “The Pigman Murders” and follows a group on a hiking trip being killed by some hill people who wear pig masks. “Jessabelle” is about a woman who is injured in a car wreck and must return to her Dad’s home and finds some freaky tapes that her mother made before she passed away, and worse some evil spirits are on the loose, and the story has twists and turns. The reboot to “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” was next and followed a young woman in 2013 who was attacked by the Phantom Killer and her race to figure out who or what the killer is. Low budget slasher flick “Blood Slaughter Massacre” was next about a clown masked killer on the loose and a cops quest to stop him. The last film and another slasher that will appear in the We Kill The Dead comic called “Jonah Lives” is about some youngsters playing with a oujia board and bring back a zombie who has blood lust on his brain! The event was a blast and Juliet and I had a lot of fun watching all these different types of horror flicks and as always we had a blast picking our worst film and our top three best! We both agreed for the worst film as The Pigman Murders was a boring bland film with no real horror elements to it.  In fact, by the time the killers start their murder party, I found myself not caring about the people they were killing off. Juliet felt the same way and this was the only film of the day I couldn’t wait for it to end. My top three best of the night are # 1. IT Follows as I love the atmosphere, characters and creature of the film.  I don’t wanna say too much about this film as I think it’s well worth the watch for those have not seen it. # 2. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a movie I waited for a long time to come to DVD and it lived up to what I wanted.  While by no means a must see film, I love the small town feel as well as seeing The Phantom Killer once more on a rampage was a fun time. And my last # 3. was The Den, a cool film that mostly takes place as if you’re watching it from the lead character’s laptop.  It’s filled with suspense, horror, good looking women and even some funny moments, good stuff and if you like found footage films check it out! Billy Club and Jessabelle almost made it to the list as I found them both really cool as well. Juliet’s top three are as follows #1. IT Follows, # 2. The Den and # 3. Jessabelle, all good choices for sure! Horror Movie Marathons are a fun time, and I suggest that if you and your friends like horror get together and have one.  It’s a fun way to share your love for horror and be around good friends all day long.

Night Terror dvdCurse Of The Witching Tree DVDTales Of Dracula DVDBilly Club dvdIT Follows DVDJinn dvdThe Den dvdThe Pigman Murders dvdJessabelle dvdThe Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 dvdBlood Slaughter Massacre DVDJonah Lives DVD

So I think its time to take a quick look at the man whose mind created Mr. Hyde as well as the first time I fully read the book! Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13th 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland and from a young age was a very sickly person as his body was sensitive to cold weather giving him coughs and colds very easy.  This caused the family to move several times and affected his schooling and ability to make friendships. His father’s family’s trade was in lighthouse design, while his mother’s side has his grandfather being a preacher. Much of his education came from tutors as he was sick more often than not and could not attend school, but as he got older and well in health he attended many schools and universities and formed friendships that helped shape him into a worldly person. Over the years Robert became a traveling man and visited France, United States and all over the South Seas, all the while writing and becoming very good at it! In 1880 Robert married Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne who was a divorcee with two children at the time of their wedding from her first husband who was a solider in the Civil War.  He fell madly in love with her the first time he met her and risked his own health to travel to be with her as he fell ill many times on his journey. When better and now a married man Robert did some more traveling and took his journeys as inspirations for his writing.  That’s one of the coolest things about him, he used life experiences and things he had seen as the foundations for many of his wonderful stories. Sadly in 1894, his life would come to an end when trying to open a bottle of wine for he and his wife he collapsed after asking her if his face looked strange.  He died a few hours later to what’s believed to have been a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44. The man lived a life full of adventures and illness and wrote some of the world’s most classic stories like Treasure Island in 1883, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886 and The Master of Ballantrae in 1889, to name a few.  Not to mention, he co-wrote in his later years with his stepson Lloyd as well as authored tons of short stories used in magazines and such. This tiny write up doesn’t do the man justice so I encourage you to go out and read more about this interesting and talented man who’s mind brought us all Mr. Hyde.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was a young kid, I used to love to get paperback novels and read them, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was one of them that I owned but for some reason I never got around to reading the whole book until about three years ago when I picked up another copy of it on paperback from Half Price Books and spent a cold winter day relaxing on the couch with the novel in my hand and under covers, and I was blown away by it! The atmosphere of the writing and setting really draws out a dark and grim picture, and I am sure scared people of 1886 silly as he wrote about Hyde’s twisted deeds. The original novel I had was from Wal-Mart when they had a ton of classic literature paperbacks two for a dollar.  I loaded up and read many of them like The House of Seven Gables and The Invisible Man, but for some reason I never got around to reading The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and if memory serves me right, I am sure I didn’t cause I was starting to work on a comic series based on Bat-Bat from Mighty Mouse and was getting into also writing my own horror short stories. But if you have not gotten around to reading this classic novel, please take the time sometime this winter and give it a read, I know I was glad I did!

The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 1The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 2The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Novel 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the years has been transformed from the pages of the novel to the silver screen in many film adaptations with some good, others bad, and some just plan odd like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. But whichever are your favorites below I am going to give you a quick rundown of five of the most popular classic ones that chilled the bones of movie goers from the 1910’s all the way to the 1940’s and one from the 50’s that tickled funny bones. The write ups are taken from IMDB, a good site to learn all those who were involved in your favorite horror films as well as all other type of films. So enjoy this quick look at Mr. Hyde in cinema!

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 2Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1913 3

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1913)

“Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.” On imdb it has 5.4 out of 10 stars.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – King Baggot

Utterson – William Sorelle

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1920 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1920)

“Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll’s enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll’s affairs.” It’s imdb star ratting is 7 out of 10!

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore

Utterson – No One The Character Does Not Appear

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 1 Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1931 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1931)

“Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men – a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late.” This is my favorite film version of the story and has a 7.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Fredric March

Utterson – Arnold Lacy

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 1Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 posterDr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1941 2

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1941)

“Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone. Experiments reveal his evil side, named Hyde. Experience teaches him how evil Hyde can be: he kills Ivy who earlier expressed interest in Jekyll and Sir Charles, Jekyll’s fiancée’s father.” This version has a 6.9 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Spencer Tracy

Utterson – Cut from the film again

Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 1Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 posterCostello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde 1953 2

Abbott/Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1953)

“Slim and Tubby are American cops in London to study police tactics. They wind up in jail and are bailed out by Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll has been murdering fellow doctors who laugh at his experiments. He has more murders in mind. At one point the serum that turns Jekyll into the murderous Hyde gets injected into Tubby.” This fun and silly comedy has a 6.7 out of 10 star ratting on imdb.

Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde – Boris Karloff

So as you can see, Jekyll and Hyde have been on the silver screen quite a bit, and these are only a drop in the hat of the films based on the characters as I left our such ones as “Mary Reilly”, “Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde” and “Dr. Black And Mr. Hyde” to name a very few more. But they were not just in movies. I should also note that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has also been turned into TV mini series and made for TV Movies as well as turned into a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. So let’s spend some time taking a look at the video game that haunted many players’ dreams. In 1988 Bandi and Toho teamed up to release a side scrolling action horror game that followed Henry Jekyll trying to get to the church in time for his wedding but for some reason the towns people are not having it and attack the good Doctor as he walks through the town. As Jekyll, you have no weapons to defend yourself so you must try and dodge and jump your way to safety, but if you take to much damage you go into a nightmare world and become Mr. Hyde who can punch and use his Psycho-Wave powers to fight off strange creatures. As Hyde you play the stage backwards and if you don’t calm down by the time you reach where Jekyll transformed, you will be stuck by lightning and die ending the game and causing you to start over. The game is very challenging and as Jekyll it’s almost impossible to dodge every bomb placed for you and every crazed animal out for your blood. As Hyde it feels like a normal side scrolling game were you as the player are trying to get from point A to point B. I can say that I have beat this game some time back and found it to be one of the hardest NES games I have every played. The game is pretty much hated by most gamers and has been the butt of many jokes on the net. I will say while it is a pretty bad game it is not as bad as people say it is and I for one have played a lot worse.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 1Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES BoxDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES 2

The Angry Video Game Nerd hates the NES Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  He considers it the worst game in history and has made two videos about just how terrible it is! The first one is just him sitting in a chair cutting to gameplay as he rips the game apart. The second one is fantastic and has him playing the game more in-depth all the while he is drinking hard liquor and getting more and more worked up over the game. Finally he gets so drunk that he blames Robert Louis Stevenson for ruining his life and turns into Mr. Hyde and goes to the graveyard and digs up the body of Stevenson who is now an evil skeleton who overpowers the Hyde Nerd. When Nerd wakes up he finds that the game he has hated for all these years is in fact a deep game that teaches players about Good and Evil and after playing a few more seconds he remembers that nope the game just sucks. If you’re a classic game fan and enjoy good old comedy, check out his video for this game.

AVGN Hyde 1AVGN Hyde 2AVGN Hyde 3

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have had such an impact on society that many other products have been made with their image from posters, t-shirts, toys, model kits, comics, Halloween masks, magazine covers, video games and so much more! There is something to be said about a horror character who was created in 1886 who has had so many items based in its image even in 2015! Some of my favorite Mr. Hyde items have to be the NES game because while its cheesy and frustrating it still has childhood memories for me, the Marx model kit and the Silent Screamers action figure. One that I wished I had was the Don Post Halloween Mask as if I would have had it in my teen years I would have surely made a film that pitted The Werewolf of Ohio against Mr. Hyde, and if I had it now as an adult you would surly see it on an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre! So from comics to toys, if you are a fan of the sinister Mr. Hyde there is merchandise out in the world to make the collector side of you very happy.

Hyde on Famous Monsters MagazineMr. Hyde Halloween Mask 0Reel Monster Hyde Figure

My favorite comic company has to be Marvel Comics and even to this day I find myself buying golden, silver and bronze age issues from local comic stores and beyond. And while we are on the topic of Mr. Hyde, I feel the need to talk about the character that has had many appearances in Marvel issues! While he has been featured in Marvel Classic Comics and Supernatural Thrillers, the one we are going to look at is Calvin Zabo who after drinking a serum turns into the super strong criminal Mister Hyde. Mister Hyde was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in 1963 with his first appearance being in Journey Into Mystery # 99 where he fought Thor who would go onto be the thorn in his thieving side alongside other superheroes like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and Ghost Rider. The character’s appearance in the Marvel Universe is a twisted and brutish face, muscle bulk with messy hair, and most of the time wears a green coat. He is super strong and has a very bad attitude as greed and power is what drives him to commit the crimes he does. I don’t want to spend to much time on Marvel’s Mister Hyde, but I must say I did really enjoy the storyline that had him on the hunt for his one time partner in crime The Cobra who he blames for them getting busted and ratting him out.  He is so filled with rage you know that he would crush his skull like a melon if you could get to him, but thanks to Spider-Man, no Cobra head smashing happened. Below is a picture of Marvel’s Hyde, not as scary as he’s described in the novel but still a great character in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Mister Hyde

So are you scared yet…are you thinking about that odd voice mail or text you have gotten this past week? Are you thinking about the horror film you just watched or the survival horror game you just played? Or maybe deep inside you fear Mr. Hyde because you realize that we all have a monster side just itching to get out and do whatever your primitive urge is…or maybe you’re just scared because we are getting so close to Halloween! So to keep up the cold chills running up and down your spine it’s time we look at Classic Illustrated look at Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a classic comic adaptation of the novel. I need to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this issue in stock and need to remind all you ghouls 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. So get your lab coat on as we are about to help Jekyll defeat his evil Hyde side, or at least witness this strange case unfold on comic pages that are given off a true rotten ink smell.

Classics Illustrated 13

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde #13   ***1/2
Released in 1968   Cover Price .25   Classics Illustrated   #13 of 169

Dr. Henry Jekyll is acting odd and calls his close friend Mr. Utterson to his estate and draws up a will that leaves everything to a man named Edward Hyde, and when Utterson tries to ask questions, he is asked to leave. The next day Utterson goes on a walk with his friend Richard Enfield who tells him a story of a man who ran into a young girl on this very street and stomped on her! He chased the man down and made him pay the parents of the young girl for her pain, and this creep’s name was Edward Hyde! Utterson now wants to know more about Hyde and wonders what he has on Jekyll that makes him leave all his wealth to this strange looking man. Hyde and Utterson meet, and the meeting does not go well, nor does the one with Jekyll after to tell him of the foul things Hyde is doing in town. Later that night it’s shown that Jekyll, after taking a serum, turns into Hyde who goes out on the town and this goes on for awhile until one night Mr. Hyde stomps and beats a man to death as Jekyll’s maid witnesses the attack.  Now the police and Utterson are on the hunt to bring the murderer to justice. Utterson goes to Jekyll and finds that his old friend looks sick and makes a promise that Hyde will never be seen again, and gives his old friend a letter written by Hyde but is found out to be written by Jekyll! Time passes and Hyde is not seen, and Jekyll seems to be doing better health wise that is till he once more drinks the serum and turns into Hyde and robs and causes mayhem. Worse now Jekyll is turning into Hyde without the serum and sadly his secret is known by a fellow Doctor friend who watches him turn from Hyde to Jekyll with his medical help the think they might have found a cure.  This sadly is not the case and in the end Hyde/Jekyll take a lethal dose of what could be a cure and dies.

This is a great comic adaptation of a classic horror novel that keeps all the classic chills and thrills of the source material. The story is pretty close to that of the novel and has a well liked Doctor falling victim to having a split personality due to an experiment that went wrong. As Doctor Jekyll, he helps the people of London and spends time with his friends and servants, making him a model citizen. And as you the reader as well as other characters notice a change in his health and even attitude of Jekyll it makes you worry about him showing that he is a well-developed character. Mr. Utterson is like a poor man’s Sherlock Holmes who is loyal to his friend and won’t give up until he solves the mystery of who Hyde is as well as what hold he has on his dear friend. Mr. Hyde is a nasty man who is odd looking and has a face that reminds you of a mix of a primate and a drug addict who has been strung out for 3 days on a bender.  Plus it’s said he has a face that makes people hate him and look away with disgust. He is short in stature and always walks with a cane, hat and long coat. Hyde is a thief and a murderer and even gets joy on stomping on a young girl who by accident runs into him on the street.  In fact that seems to be Hyde’s thing as he also stomps a man to death in the road, makes me wonder why he stomps so much and let alone that a pretty brutal way to kill someone. I think that is what makes Hyde such a scary character, the fact he don’t care about his fellow man and he is so filled with barbaric rage that he is willing to crush them with his feet. The two sides of Jekyll also reminds me of friends who have battle drug and alcohol addiction and how when they did their said poison they became a totally different person, not quite like Hyde but one could see a change in who they were. While some of the plot is changed, and the story felt a little sped up in spots Classic Illustrated did a fantastic job on making a comic that I didn’t want to put down and enjoyed reading for his Halloween update. The cover of this 1968 reprint edition is cool and has an oil painting look to it, while the interiors is stuff classic horror comics are made of as the colors are not too bright and in many panels lots of black is used on and around Hyde. I could not find the name of the artist who did this comic, but from what others say, it’s a man named Arnold L. Nicks.  If he is in fact the artist I have to say I really like his take and look of Mr. Hyde. The comic had a great rotten ink smell to it and best of all the night I read this comic the wind was howling and the air was super chilled helping add to the comic’s atmosphere. The one downside that I must point out is that in the book it’s a nice slow burn into finding out Jekyll is Hyde, and the ending when the servants and Utterson along with the police are at the door and they find the body loses lots of impact in the comic as its rushed into a small amount of panels. But even with those flaws I would say that this is one heck of a fun read and classic horror literature fans should check it out. Below are some of the artwork from this comic so you can see the cold stare in Hyde’s eyes and the look of a madman who wants to stomp your guts out!

Screen-shot-2012-03-19-at-7.34.03-AMClassicsIllustratedStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde56525-ClassicsIll-JekyllHyde_13-04

So I hoped this update didn’t scare you too much on this cold October night but I also hope it opened your eyes to be on the look out for Mr. Hyde, a nasty guy who wants to stomp the life out of you! I can’t stress that if you have not read the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde you should and after that you should give this comic a read. After reading this comic and doing this write up this October night, I figured out that we have covered The Fly, unknown serial killer The Axeman of New Orleans, a ghost knight named Alaric de Marnac, Horror Host Dr. Creep and the mean Mr. Hyde but what’s next on the major Halloween update is a mystery to me as I am not sure what my friend and great artist Eric Shonborn has in store for us! So until then make sure to visit a local haunted place, watch a horror film or two, support your local Horror Host and have a creepy and fun time!

Whats Next logo

The Undead Panic Beats Of Alaric de Marnac!

It’s October, the time of the year when the wind blows cold and a chill is in the air.  For me, this month belongs to Halloween, horror films, horror hosts and of course one good scare. Being scared is thrilling and gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing.  I can remember one time when I was a teenager, my friend Kevin and I went to a local cemetery late at night during October.  The wind was blowing, and it was very chilly as we were walking around we were talking about film ideas and even exchanging ghost stories.  The cemetery was pitch black as we walked deeper in with ideas of vampire and werewolf films echoing among the tombstones. As we reached the center, a loud clang was heard and it sounded like metal hitting metal.  I was startled, and as I turned around to ask Kevin what that noise was, I saw a shadow and a dust cloud as he was so scared he was running at full speed back to the car.  Even though I figured out it was just the flag pole making the noise in the wind, he wanted to leave. This experience also made me think of the old ghost story of the woman who used the letter opener to stab the ground in the graveyard and by accident pinned her own dress to the ground.  She became so scared that an undead force had her, she died of fright! And that brings me to this update based on the Paul Naschy film Panic Beats that is about fear, revenge and a curse and also brings up the question, could someone die from fear? So hopefully you have nerves of steel as we take a look at Panic Beats, fear and other spooky and weird things on this October update!Fear of Death

Fear is defined as “to be afraid of (something or someone), to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant) and to be afraid and worried” by Webster, and I think that at some time in our life we have all tasted fear in some way or another.  Whether it’s a fear of animals or even death itself, fear has placed its cold grip on us all. When I was a youngster, being a total dumb kid and on a dare from friend Brad Burns, I poked a nest of hornets with a baseball bat and paid the price as they chased me across the street to my home stinging and biting me all the way! Needless to say, for many years after I had a very strong dislike for bees, wasps and hornets as when they would fly at me the fear of being stung would creep into my brain.  Of course now as an adult I have come to peace with them as I realized I was the butthead in that attack and was the one who provoked that stinging frenzy. Growing up, my mom was afraid of dogs and pigs as she grew up around them and saw the mean side of them.  My brother Bryan was scared of a ventriloquist dummy named Willy Talk when he was younger,  My cousin Stephen was scared of dolls like Chucky.  My friend Jason Young feared death for a short while as we all do, and my girlfriend Juliet was scared of the thought of her home catching fire and this gave her some sleepless nights for sure.  So as you can see, fear has even gotten to those close to me! So what did or do you fear?

mean hornet

This all makes me wonder if anyone has 100% truly died of fear as we have all heard the terms “you scared me to death” and “scared to death,” and the answer is yes! You see many people have died from fear during crimes, earthquakes and other natural disasters people’s hearts have stopped from fear and being overly charged with it! You can also die from any major emotional rush like even cheering for your favorite sport teams or being so hyped playing a video game! While this is not super common, it can happen and makes one wonder has anyone every been scared to death by a Halloween prank? So I did some deep searching on the web to try and find a case, and to my shock I could not.  I found cases where pranks on Halloween went wrong and led to the death of someone like accidental hangings and such and uncovered cases of people who died of fear as they were going to be executed via firing squad, but nothing solid to say someone died of fear from a prank pulled on Halloween. But for all you pranksters out there who like to pull a good rib on Halloween as well as you sports fans cheering for your favorite team, think twice before you do so because who knows, a sudden death might await you!

2 skulls scared to death

I can recount one time in the fall that I got a cold shiver up my spine while at a local cemetery called Beavertown Cemetery in Kettering.  You see Josh Weinberg and I were in the cemetery scouting it out for the purpose of maybe using it for a zombie flick I had written called “Stairway to Heaven” that followed a small town during a zombie outbreak.  We had shot some test footage at a cemetery in Beavercreek and liked what we saw but wanted to find an alternative just in case as a road was really close to that one and we wanted more of a quiet location like the Kettering one. I knew Beavertown Cemetery well as it had been the location for press pictures for my film Werewolf of Ohio 2 and was a place I use to take my girlfriend Misty to make out so. As we were wandering around, I was near a tombstone that was as tall as me as I stand 6 ‘ 2 “ and the name I saw was Sarah Houston.  As I got closer, I heard a knock. I was taken back as the knock sounded as if it was coming from the tombstone itself! I called for Josh who came over and as well heard the knocking that was coming about 15-20 seconds apart.  We stood around for a few minutes listening to the knocks and even returned the knocks on the tombstone, but as quickly and as mysteriously as they started, the knocking stopped. Josh and I tried our best to figure out what the knocking noise was as I am sure it was not a spirit or at least I don’t think it was! But the pure emotion of that whole situation was something amazing as it sent shivers down my spine but also made me feel alive and full of wonder. That grave and that experience even made me write a short film script called Sarah’s Grave about a man who lost his girlfriend in a car wreck and by a miracle she is able to come back to him for one day before having to return to her eternal slumber. It’s been many years since I went back to visit that grave and from what I have heard some scum bag Kettering d-bags decided it would be fun to tip over and break tombstones, and it appears as if Sarah’s grave was one of these buttheads targets. I am by no means saying that the knocking was that of the undead, but I am also not 100% ruling it out all I can really say is that it was a fun experience that made that year’s Halloween a little more spooky and added to the season for sure. I should also note that the knocking only happened that one time, and Josh and I went back several times after at all times of the day and never heard it again. Below is a picture we took of Sarah’s Grave as it appeared in 1999, the year of the knocking.Sarahs Grave

A murder took place on August 1st 2015 at 5:46 am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one that shocked not only the world but also the internet as the lovable hitchhiking robot named hitchBOT was decapitated, arms dismembered and left like trash on the side of the road. A video of the attack was posted, but many think it was a hoax to gain hits to the website that posted it.  But one thing is for sure, someone brutally killed that poor little robot and even stole all the wires from his body and it looks like he might be beyond repair. For those who don’t know, hitchBOT was made by Canadian team David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, and was a robot with a plastic beer bucket body, pool noodle arms & legs with gloves and boots on, with a cake saver head with a display screen face that smiled and talked to those who were nice enough to give him a ride or even pass him by on his journey. On his adventures he made it across Canada, parts of Germany as well as Europe! He went to weddings, baseball games, comic conventions and landmarks all the while documenting it via his website and Instagram account.  In other words, he was enjoying the interaction with strangers. It’s clear as day that whomever killed hitchBOT was a real lowlife scum bag kind of like the people who broke tombstones in Beavertown Cemetery and destroyed it because they didn’t understand him and probably wanted to steal his wiring to sale for scrap.  Total scummy and is sad that one/several lowlifes did this and gave America a bad name as it looks as if we have to destroy things that are here for fun. I hope that someday the freak(s) who did this is found so at least we can get an answer to why hitchBOT was killed and see if they have any remorse for what they have done.  Who knows if the poor little hitchBOT will be repaired and continue his journey as only time will tell. All silliness aside, it does really stink that hitchBOT was destroyed as I would have loved to have taken him around Ohio to visit Waynesville, Frankenstein’s Tower, Fifth Third Field, Game Swap Kettering, King’s Island and of course have him in a episode of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre with Baron Von Porkchop! Here is to you hitchBOT, may your journey to the robot other world be a peaceful one, and to your creators, I am sorry that he meet his fate this way in our great country. Below are some pics of hitchBOT, but be warned, one is of his murder scene.

hitchBOT 1hitchBOT deadhitchBOT 2

But let’s move away from knocking tombstones and murdered robots and talk about something wicked that’s coming your way via your local comic shop! As I am sure you readers know, I am a huge fan of horror comics as well as independent horror films, and I am super hyped for a new comic mini series that’s in the works called We Kill The Dead that combines them together for what’s for sure to be a bloody good read. The mastermind behind this series is John Lepper, who also runs a horror website called The Blood Shed and grew up watching slasher flicks and became hooked when his dad showed him Halloween when he was a teen, with art done by Bryan Revell. The series will follow Joanna, a young woman who joins an elite group of soldiers who go after unstoppable killers called Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau lead by Nathan Scrimm who are on the trail of a resurrected Jack The Ripper and his undead slasher army! Sounds like lots of fun right? Well the most kick-ass part about this series will be that it will feature cameos from slashers from independent horror films! You will see the likes of Thorn from Legacy of Thorn, The Dollman from Methodic, Gurdy The Clown from 100 Tears, Porkchop from Porkchop, The Black Knight from Dead of Knight, The Bowling Bag Killer from Gutterballs, Billy from Billy Club, Dorchester Stewart from Crinoline Head, Bonesetter from The Bonesetter, Jonah from Jonah Lives!, Verden Fell from Frightworld, Jack-O from Jack-O, Stitches The Clown from Stitches, Blood Widow from Blood Widow, Mary Hatchet from Blood Night The Legend of Mary Hatchet, Charlie from High Beams: The Break In, Jimmy Fisher from Evil Night, and I am proud to say my own low budget slasher The Sadness will be slashing his way into the action! Plus he has one huge name he can not announce yet and who knows if more will be added! I am really proud to say that I helped with this comic’s Kickstarter and am looking forward to reading the issue and seeing not only The Sadness as well as the other slashers but also myself! You see I am going to be a member of the Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau as I am super hyped to have chosen that perk and can’t wait for you all to see what slasher waits me in combat. I already know, but I’m not telling as once this series is done we will have a major update about it. When the comic is done make sure to ask your local comic shops to contact The Blood Shed website and order some for you and fellow shoppers. The other thing that I can’t wait for is to see what other twisted horror comic tales are coming out via Lepper’s mind as I am sure they will be amazing. Plus it’s nice to see a new horror comic rise to take the place of the fallen companies like Fangoria Comics, Dead Dog Comics and Northstar Comics and give us fans series and issues to look forward to. Once I get the physical copies of We Kill The Dead, I will be sure to deliver an update to all my friends and readers here at Rotten Ink.

Jimmy Fisher Evil Nightwe-kill-the-dead-concept-artThe Sadness on swing

But we are now at the main course of this update as it’s time to talk about Panic Beats, a film that was made and starred the legend of Spanish horror Paul Naschy. Panic Beats was released in 1983 and was the brain child of Naschy who wrote, directed and starred in the film as Paul/Alaric de Marnac and it shows that his heart was in this film as it’s a solid chiller that has twists, turns and lots of bloody deaths that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. IMDB has the films write up as being this “The spirit of a deceased knight returns every 100 years to clean a house by graphically murdering the women who are making the life of his descendants unbearable.” and has the rating of 5.8 out of 10. While the film was a hit around the world, it only reached cult status here in America thanks to drive-in and grindhouse theaters. The issue that Panic Beats had here in America is that it was up against many now classic films like Psycho II, Sleepaway Camp, Cujo, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Jaws 3-D, Christine, Twilight Zone The Movie and Amityville 3-D! Not to mention, it was up against many other cult films like Scalps, The Final Terror, Mausoleum, Deadly Spawn and A Blade In The Dark to name a few so sadly it was overlooked and many places didn’t even show it in America until years later. I first saw the film thanks to Mondo Macabro who released it on DVD in 2005 and by this time I had already seen many of Naschy’s werewolf character Waldemar Daninsky film on VHS and was becoming a fan. I ordered Panic Beats on DVD from the Blockbuster Video I was working at and when it came in I quickly bought it and rushed home to watch it, and was blown away from the story as well as the effects used for the deaths. And when I discovered that artist Javier Trujillo who also did the Naschy comic called Return of The Werewolf also did a comic based on Panic Beats, I knew I had to read it!

Panic Beats 1Panic Beats DVDPanic Beats 2

Javier Trujillo, the artist behind this comic, has quickly become one of my favorite modern artist as his style is a blend of a Renaissance painting with a touch of fantasy and when put together, the art is absolutely stunning. Javier is the master of drawing Paul Naschy as every piece of art with his image looks as if you’re viewing a picture of the actor, not to mention the way he draws the female body is much like Art Adams as the both understand the curves of the female forum. His currant project is called Dreams, which can be bought on Amazon for your Kindle, and is a erotic comic. I am also proud to call him a friend. While I have never met the man face to face, thanks to social media I have been able to write to him and pick his brain on art as well as share good talks of physical paper comics vs. digital comics as he is sure to be a pioneer of bringing digital comics to the front with his amazing work. While he at this time has moved away from horror comics, I still will say his work on the Paul Naschy-inspired werwolf comics rank as some of my all time favorite comic series, and I am super hyped to read his Panic Beats comic and review it for you all today. In closing, thanks, Javier for being you and making quality books with top notch art.

Javier Trujillojaviertrujillo

I am a comic book reader and have been since I was a youngster, and while I love classic Marvel Comics, I have always had a soft spot for the independent comic companies as most of the time they delivered the best in the world of horror comics.  I cannot tell you how hyped I am to read and review this comic based on Panic Beats! So before we see if this comic can scare me to death, I should remind you all 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. So I am ready to see what terror awaits me and how close this comic captures the spooky nature of the film so with no more wait let’s take a look at Panic Beats. I want to warn readers this review does contain spoilers for both the comic and the film, so read with caution if you have not seen the film.

Panic Beats comic 1

Panic Beats  # 1 ***1/2
Released in 2015    Cover Price $2.99    Javier Trujillo    #1 of 1

A woman in a panic is running naked through the woods trying her best to get away from a knight who has bloodlust in his eyes. The knight’s name is Alaric, and he murders the woman in cold blood and seems to enjoy every brutal moment. We skip to France, the year 1983, and Paul, a relative of Alaric, has just gotten word that his wife Genevieve has a weak heart and that she needs to go to his old family house in the middle of nowhere to get fresh air and peace and quiet. The maid and her niece Julie are getting the old home ready and talking about the ghost story of Alaric and how he killed his wife and became into the occult and was executed for his crimes.  The two woman exchange thoughts and go about getting the home ready. While on the road Paul and Genevieve run out of gas.  As Paul walks to get gas, some local thieves attack Genevieve and start to rob her but she is saved by Paul who beats them up. Paul and Genevieve make it to the old family house and quickly things turn bad as Julie tells Genevieve of the legend of Alaric and this triggers nightmares, delusions and panic attacks that lead to her death! But we soon find out that Paul used the legend as well as the help of Julie and the two local thieves to drive her into complete fear and give her a heart attack. Paul and Julie team up and kill the maid as well as Paul’s secretary from work and then marry after Genevieve’s funeral. But while Paul and Julie seem like a happy evil couple, it’s not so as Julie electrocutes Paul while he is taking a bath as she only married him for the money he inherited when Genevieve died! But as this twisted tale ends, we soon find that the evil spirit of Alaric is real and he brutally murders Julie for her crime against his ancestor.

This is a fantastic example of a well made top notch comic adaptation of a horror film and once more shows why Javier Trujillo is one of my favorite artists and creators working now! The plot of this comic is filled with twists and turns and surprises that keep the reader wondering what is the true nature of characters and what is real and what’s legend and superstition. Paul is a man who, when we first meet him, you think is a loving husband who wants his ill wife to get better and is trying his best to get her well, but when his true intentions and evil side come out we see he is just a sinister spirited man who cares more about money and power than his wife whom he never loved and only married for her money. The way he uses her weak heart against her and with the help of other scumbags forces her to have a heart attack is stuff of real life nightmares. Genevieve comes off a a very weak and ill person, who believes in her husband and thinks that by going to his old family home this will help her heal, but sadly she dies never knowing her scumbag husband has literally scared her to death. Julie is a young woman who as well has a black heart as she jumps on board with scaring Genevieve to death, and then in return seduces Paul into marrying her so that she can kill him and collect all the money! Julie is the perfect evil woman who uses her looks to draw people in and then uses them to inflect doom on those foolish enough to trust her. The maid, the two hired crooks and the secretary all are great background players and all fit their part well whether it be victim of accomplice. Alaric in life was a crazed madman and even as a spirit lives up to his reputation of bloodlust and murder.  His sinister legend is what’s used to kill Genevieve and in the end his curse is what avenges Paul by brutally killing Julie for her betrayal. The comic is packed with some great blood and gore and while not over done it’s very much effective, as is the use of change of colors when a character is having a nightmare or when panic has set in Trujillo is that master of capturing the mood of these Naschy films and making it come alive in the comics. The comic’s script was based on the film’s script written by Paul Naschy and is a great twisted tale that in my opinion still holds up to this day in the creepy and moody department.  The comic that was originally done in Spanish was translated by Elena Romea Parente, and while it does have some slightly rough patches it does its work. The artwork by Javier Trujillo is top notch art and feels like a painting come alive! The way he draws Paul Naschy really makes it feel like the late actor is alive and well on the screen/pages before your very eyes. This comic captures the magic of the film and delivers a well done horror comic that should not only please the fans of the film but also those comic readers who enjoy a good fright. Check it out as it’s worth every penny, and in closing this was a perfect comic to kick off my October and I can’t wait to see what Naschy inspired comic Javier Trujillo comes out with next! Check out this piece of artwork from the comic below.

Panic Beats Art 1

This fourth update to our countdown to Halloween was a great one and has truly gotten me in the mood to read more and more horror comics and with our next update we will be leaving the world of Paul Naschy and will be heading to the lab of Dr. Jekyll as we cover Comics Classic Illustrated’s adaptation of the novel The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! I hope Panic Beats didn’t scare you too badly and that you do join me back for the next update as I am sure it will as well scare you to the bone! So with the chill in the air and the ghost and goblins of Halloween running loose it the streets, it’s my cue to bid you a fun time reading a horror comic or three, watch a Paul Naschy Horror Film and support your local Horror Host.

jekyll hyde logo