Horror Host Icon: Gorgon The Gruesome

How many of you readers and friends have a great memory of staying up late watching your local Horror Host on TV as the movie scared you and the host segments delighted you with humor or creepy flare? Here in Dayton, Ohio I grew up with the likes of Dr. Creep on Channel 22, A. Ghastlee Ghoul on DATV and The Creeper on MVCC, all local icons of Horror Hosting who have all been covered here on Horror Host Icon updates and all three are in the Official Horror Host Hall Of Fame! And for the people of Fort Worth, Texas during the 50’s-70’s the Host that was must watch TV was Gorgon The Gruesome and his show Nightmare. He was a true icon of local television and spread his horrors for generations of monster movie lovers. Texas has had a long history of great Hosts that include names like Professor Cerberus, Professor Anton Griffin, J.R. Ghul, Miss Jami Deadly, Peter Lorre Jr. and Dr. Zekow, to name a few, and while they are all fantastic, none are as iconic as Gorgon with the only Texas based host that is his equal being Joe Bob Briggs. So sit back, turn off all the lights as it’s with great honor that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Gorgon The Gruesome!

Gorgon is a ghoul who lives in a massive creepy castle that is complete with cobwebs and spooky storms outside. And with no humor and no laughs (besides his own) Gorgon loved bringing viewers his shows over the decades, as he truly loved to scare the wits out of them and educate them not only about the film being shown but mostly in fright. Gorgon was a well-dressed ghoul who wore a white button up shirt as well as a long black cape. He had black circles around his eye and a mole under his left eye. Gorgon was well spoken and would make the viewers hang onto every word as he would speak of the spooky stuff that chilled their blood and sent shivers down their spines. Gorgon would also famously be holding his candelabra to light the darkness of his castle as well as add to the eerie mood of the show. Gorgon would make his first appearance 1957 hosting the Shock Package on his show “Nightmare” and became a true icon of late night viewing. While Gorgon is no longer on the airwaves of Texas, his memories still haunt all those in the Lone Star State who watched his Nightmares! He is also very powerful and has supernatural powers that can both amaze and as well as kill you stone dead!

Bill Camfield was the man behind Gorgon The Gruesome, and he was a beloved TV personality in the Fort Worth area and beyond. William Joseph Camfield was born on June 27, 1929 in Mineral Wells, Texas to parents Joseph and Nina Camfield and lived in the area where he was born until 1935 as he and his mother moved to Fort Worth after the passing of his father who was a coal miner. He graduated from High School in 1947 and got a job working as a writer for Leonard’s Department Store doing ads, and later worked on writing and starring on a show called “Hometown Harmony” that was produced by Leonard’s who would go on to promote Bill to the job of Radio-TV Director for the store and would go on to develop many shows over those years including “Man About Music”, “Meet The Candidate”, “Let’s Go Shopping” and “Billboard”. But it was in 1954 that his career really started when he took a job at KFJZ-TV Channel 11 as a jack of all trades as he not only created original programming he also wrote advertising copy as well as commercials and he would star in many of them. His first most loved role was the voice of Hoover The Hound, a dog puppet that was the costar of the show “Million Dollar Matinee” hosted by I believe Ann Harper. He then would become Gorgon The Gruesome for the show Nightmare in 1957 and would play the character off and on for many decades. And his most popular character and show he created was “Slam Bang Theater,” a kids show that started in 1959 that would aired Three Stooges shorts as well as cartoons and he played the lovable host Icky Twerp that would become a true icon for kids of the time as the show would run until 1972 and would even go on to influence such actors and comedians as Mike White, Gary Panter and Bill Paxton! Playing Icky would also lead him into starring as Wyatt Earp in the film “The Outlaws Is Coming” along side the Three Stooges in 1965. In 1972 Bill would leave the Fort Worth area for awhile and take a job in Denver Colorado for a short time only to return of Fort Worth and work for KDAF-TV Channel 33, and in 1985 he even brought back the iconic Icky Twerp on a show called “Icky Twerp’s Summer Reunion” that had him and his real son performing skits and hosting summer themed films. But sadly Bill Camfield passed away in 1991 after battling brain cancer, and while gone, his legacy of entertainment lives on forever with those who grew up watching him and for those who discover him thanks to things like YouTube and The Horror Host Hall Of Fame.

Nightmare started in September 1957 on Channel 11 in Fort Worth, Texas when they got the “Shock” Movie package from Screen Gems that featured many of Universals classic Horror and Thriller films from the 1930’s and 1940’s. And with this they hired Bill Camfield to play the shows host Gorgon The Gruesome, and the show would run until 1959 as a weekly Saturday late evening show that started at 8:00pm and would show a double feature of films. And starting in 1959 over the years Nightmare would return for Halloween specials that would have Gorgon hosting single and sometimes triple features of fright and became something that viewers of Fort Worth would look forward to every season. And every time the show aired it was must see TV and Monster Kids young and old were glued to the horrors of the small screen and wanted to see what Gorgon had in store for them in his castle. But like all good things, Gorgon and Nightmare would come to a full end in 1976 with the last of the Halloween Specials. And while Nightmares ongoing show only lasted about three years and the Halloween Specials were not an every year thing, the impact Nightmare made on viewers is long lasting and it as well as it’s host Gorgon are a true part of Texas TV History and will forever be a show that is chatted about by fans of the past and those who newly discover it.

Gorgon The Gruesome is a classic Horror Host that I first learned about thanks to the Internet and sites like E-Gor’s Chamber Of TV Horror Hosts and his look always caught my attention not to even mention when reading memories from his past viewers hyped me up as he was a none jokey host and had a spooky edge to him, and this made me want to see footage of his show! And sometime later, thanks to YouTube and Compilation DVDs, I was able to see some of his work, and I must say he is really good at what he did and delivered some good chilling creepy moments as he brought the fears of the night film into your living room. It’s crazy to me that Gorgon The Gruesome is not talked about as often as he should be when the topic of the true icons of Horror Hosting is brought up as I feel he is that good and should be considered a true icon of the genre. It’s a shame that not more footage has been uncovered of Gorgon and his show Nightmare as the world needs to see it and remember just how amazing his style was. And man his laugh is great and reminds me of classic horror from the 60’s!

Horror Hound Weekend on March 23, 2013 in Cincinnati at 10am that Horror Host Hall Of Fame began to induct the 2013 class that included the one and only Gorgon The Gruesome! The turnout for the Hall Of Fame seemed to be very happy to see him take his place among the icons that came before him in the Hall Of Fame. In his class he was joined by the likes of Sivad, Commander USA, Shock Armstrong, Chuck Acri, Svengoolie and I, Zombi to name a few. And as you can see, he is joined by some amazing hosts and it was fantastic to be there to not only watch Commander USA and Sivad get inducted but also Gorgon.

So as you can see, Gorgon The Gruesome really is a truly iconic Horror Host who had a great style of hosting the spooky films of the night. I think what made him so amazing is that he did not go for the cheap laughs nor did he relay on repeated gimmicks. So let’s get ready to talk about the two fan reproduction episodes I have in my collection. I would like to thank a Horror Host Tape Trader for having these episodes and trading them to me. I also would like to remind you that I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and I will be writing about the host segments and the film’s plot is taken from our friends at IMDB. So if you are ready lets see what this Nightmares has in store for us!

Nightmare: Pit and the Pendulum
Starring – Vincent Price & Barbara Steele     Not Rated     1961

Host: Gorgon comes walking down stone stairs and sends away his hunchback helper as he claims he can pick up the fear of the viewers! He then takes us on a tour of where they damned once stood and then takes us inside a cell and a woman is chained to a table with a blade hanging above her, he tells us this use to be so normal back in time for those who have done bad as this is justice. We join Gorgon again as he talks about the night’s film and the pendulum blade starts to swing as the woman tries to escape her chains and save her life. When we join Gorgon next he is speaking to us about the fear that is building in us as the blade is getting closer to the woman he takes us to a commercial break. Once we join Gorgon again as he watches the blade get closer to the young woman, and he is loving her fear and sends us back to the movie. Gorgon and his hunchback friend are watching as the blade is so close now and Gorgon talks very poetic about her upcoming death before sending us to the movie with a sinister laugh. The last segment has Gorgon talking about the blade and we hear a scream and then see it covered with blood as he laughs and the episode ends.

Movie: Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the most brutal torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle.

Note From Matt: This is one of the better Fan Reproductions I have ever seen as the print of the movie fits the age of the footage and the cuts in and out look really good! So in other words great work to who ever did this episode, as well I should note Gorgon’s segments are in color!

Nightmare: Spooks Run Wild
Starring – East Side Kids & Bela Lugosi     Not Rated     1941

Host: We join Gorgon in his as he enters his dungeon lab and a man with a knife sneaks up on him and stabs him in the back and as his body hits the floor another Gorgon appears and as well gets stabbed and then another appears and with the clap of his hands the man disappears and dies in pain as Gorgon talks about his powers and says tonight they will show a more funny look at horror and sends us to the film. We then get a few Nightmare logo we will be back before we finally see Gorgan again who this time gives us a tour of monsters trophy room as they are his what’s dear to him! He shows us Mad Ghoul, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula’s Daughter and Wolfman’s Coffin, Rou Morgue torture items, The Mummy and the park bench that where Werewolf of London killed a man on…he is filled with joy as he sends us back to the movie. The final time we see Gorgon he wishes us well and says he will be ending Nightmare for awhile and gives a few secrets away that his monsters are not real, that is until Frankenstein’s Monster goes on a rampage on set and Gorgon ends his first TV run with a evil laugh!

Movie: The boys are sent to a mountain camp. Stranded in a small rural town, they hear about a “monster killer” roaming the countryside. At night, they sneak out. Peewee is shot by a grave-digger, and they are forced to seek aid at an old mansion. The owner of the mansion insists that the boys spend the night. After seeing PeeWee walk around the house in a trance, the boys decide that the man turned him into a zombie. They gang up on him and tie him up. The nurse at the boy’s camp sets out to find the missing boys with Von Grosch, who has come to rid the town of the killer- or has he?

Note From Matt: this is a pretty good fan reproduction and showcases classic black and white footage and is cut together pretty well.

Gorgon The Gruesome is Texas’s most ionic and important Horror Host of all time in my opinion and is truly one of the all time greats in the art of hosting. Not many Horror Hosts play it frightful and that’s really what sets Gorgon apart from others. One day I hope more footage of Gorgon is found as I would love to see more of his work and style! Well let’s leave Nightmare behind and with our next update let’s go back to the world of Marvel Horror and take a look at The Living Mummy! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for our first in our countdown to Halloween updates that shows Marvel used to know how to do Horror!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Snakes On A Plane

In the year 2006 horror cinema was alive and well with many films hitting theaters as well as video rental shelves, and all styles of horror were covered from slashers to horror comedies and of course the horror action thriller had its fair share of releases. I mean hell, even I released my shot on video film The Sadness that year! And one film that was released that year had a whirlwind of online press, a catchy name, a big name star attached and was an animal run amok action, thriller horror film, and I am sure you guessed that I am talking about Snakes Of A Plane! And back when the film was released in 2006 comic company WildStorm that was a branch off DC Comics who is owned by Warner Brothers who owns New Line Cinema released a two issue mini series based on the film and that’s what we will be reviewing here for this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So if you are ready to take the frightful flight of your life that not only has Samuel L. Jackson on board but also a whole lot of snakes, so stock up on anti-venom and let’s take to the skies of Horror Comics.

Lets first take a look at the Snakes that took over a plane and killed numerous passengers that was in their site. The Snakes are of many breeds that include King Cobras, Rattlesnakes, Pit Vipers, Coral Snakes, Pythons among other snake species and are in high numbers on the plane. The Snakes are very sneaky and can hide in small areas as well as use said small areas to travel around and target their prey as they attack not only singly but also at times attack in packs making them even more dangerous. The snakes are made to be super aggressive by pheromones and this makes them act as if anyone in their sight is really the enemy and drives them mad. The Snakes have many different ways of dealing death with many of them having venomous bites that can leave people dead in a matter of minutes to hours while others will squeeze and devour those foolish humans that could not escape. The snakes are just animals that have been made to be aggressive and because they are just living creatures they can be killed by any normal means such as being shot, burned with fire, cut and stabbed by a knife and even smashed. And because they are just creatures does mean they are not as deadly as some of the killers and creatures we have chatted about on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, but with that said they still are very deadly and can make those poor souls stuck with them on a plane meet the Reaper.

So now that we have talked about the killer snakes from the film and their death dealing ways its time that we talk about the film they are from. As always I will be taking the films plot from out friends at IMDB and I then will write about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready lets take a Plane trip with some very dangerous snakes.

Snakes On A Plane (2006)

While practicing motocross in Hawaii, Sean Jones witnesses the brutal murder of an important American prosecutor by the powerful mobster Eddie Kim. FBI agent Neville Flynn persuades him to testify against Eddie in Los Angeles. They board the red-eye Flight 121 of Pacific Air, occupying the entire first-class section. However, Eddie dispatches hundred of different species of snakes airborne with a time-operated device in the luggage to release the snakes into the flight with the intent of crashing the plane. Neville and the passengers must struggle with the snakes to survive.”

At University of Pittsburgh back in 1992 an administrator by the name of David Dalessandro was working on a film script that he called “Venom” that was originally about a brown tree snake loose on a plane before becoming more about tons of snakes loose on a plane that caused issues for the passengers. He shopped the film around for years and its rumored that by 1995 over 30 Studios rejected the script! In 1999 he finally found a producer at Paramount took interest in the script and New Line Cinema took over the production, that’s right the studio called The House That Freddy Built was now involved in “Venom”. When originally looking for a director Ronny Yu was on tap and from early on actor Samuel L. Jackson signed to be a lead in the film because he loved these type of films as a kid and thought the title was great that was changed to “Snakes On A Plane” after a brief time of it going to be called “Pacific Air Flight 121” and Jackson was not having it and made New Line change it back to the title that was getting tons of internet buzz. The film brought on David R. Ellis to direct with John Gutierrez and John Heffernan coming in to touch up the script. The casting of Samuel L. Jackson also attracted a few more names that fans knew including Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Sunny Mabrey, Kenan Thompson, Rachel Blanchard, Lin Shaye, David Koechner, Tom Butler and Kevin McNulty to name a few and the buzz from bloggers made New Line Cinema think they had something very big on their hands even ordering days of reshoots in order to turn the film from PG-13 to rated R thinking that they were giving the online world what they wanted. The film opened on August 18, 2006 and was the # 1 film for that weekend but quickly dropped and under performed at the US Box Office only doing $34,020,814.00 on a budget of $33 million for New Line Cinema and causing it to be one of their biggest misses for a Cult Thriller Action Horror Film in some time. While the film did ok with critics and fans the film just did not draw at the theater and it was over all a bomb with it really building a cult following once on Home Media. This was an example of a Hollywood studio trusting the online community and it backfiring. On a side note it’s said that at a screening of the film in Arizona someone let two rattlesnakes loose, lucky for moviegoers no one was bitten or hurt. The film was the # 93 grossing film of the year and did beat out such other Horror films as The Decent, The Wicker Man, Stay Alive, The Black Dahlia, Pulse, An American Haunting, Black Christmas, See No Evil, Slither, The Return, Turistas, BloodRayne, Basic Instinct 2, Hard Candy and Night Of The Living Dead 3-D showing that while it was not a hit, it still beat out some great Horror Titles.

Snakes On A Plane was one of those films that when released I was so annoyed with as all my friends would go around in bad Samuel L. Jackson impersonations talking about “Being Sick Of Mother F’N Snakes On This Mother F’N Plane” and it made me want to stay clear of seeing the film at the theater, so I was one of those who did not watch on the big screen. And to be honest it was one that it took me a very long time to get around to watching as it was not high on my radar of must see films, and while it would be on at friends houses during hanging out I never did truly sit down and pay attention to it, that was until 2021 when I made myself sit down and watch it on DVD that I truly got to soak the film in. And after watching the film I found it to be a fun silly rides that was filled with your normal style disaster movie characters, lots of CGI snakes attacking and was a more modern day animal runs amok film set on a plane that gave the film a Closter phobic feel. I think Samuel Jackson is great in his role as FBI Agent Neville Flynn and plays the role pretty normal for almost the whole film and does not yell and scream his lines until the end and seeing Julianna Margulies as flight attendant Claire Miller was cool as well as seeing here in a fright flick again after the 2002 film Ghost Ship. But while I found it to be a good watch I also did have some issues with the film as the CGI Snakes look terrible and in most shots ruin the scene with how bad they standout, and the cussing comes into play at the very tail end of the film and feels tacked on by New Line Cinema to get the R rating and to play up on people wanting to hear Samuel L. Jackson drop the F-Bomb. Plus we have the films bad guy Eddie Kim who beats a man to death with a baseball bat and then also is the mastermind of releasing the snakes on a plane that kills man gets his justice off screen. I would also say I can see why it dropped so hard after opening weekend in theaters as the hype train that was around the film built it up so big in the eyes of viewers who were a little underwhelmed once seeing the film and that letdown word of mouth helped it tank. New Line Cinema use to be a great company for Horror Films and they use to take some chances under the run of Bob Shaye, but now under the watch of AT&T they are a shell of what they are in the world of Horror with only The Conjuring universe being the bright star. Over all Snakes On A Plane is a silly movie with a silly title that was very fitting for the time of Horror at the cinema.

Now that we have talked about The Snakes on the plane and the film about them being on said plane I think its time we get to the two issue comic mini series that is about it all. And once more proves that any and all Horror Movies or even films with Horror elements can and should be turned into a comic book. I would like to think Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and would like to also remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets see if we can survive these killer snakes.

Snakes Of A Plane # 1  **
Released in 2006     Cover Price $2.99     WildStorm    # 1 of 2

Sean Jones is riding his dirt bike around Hawaii when he witnesses the murder of a Prosecutor from LA at the hands of feared and violent gangster Eddie Kim who ends the mans life with a baseball bat, and Sean is able to escape just in time as Kim and his men spot him leaving and track him down thanks to DNA he left behind on a energy drink can. Eddie Kim wants Sean dead and sends two very dangerous goons to his apartment to put a bullet in his brain, but lucky for Sean also in his apartment is F.B.I Agent Neville Flynn who makes out the hired killers and talks Sean into going to LA in order to testify against Kim to send the crime lord to prison for life. The plane is flight 121 and crewmembers aboard are Tiffany, Ken, Grace and Claire who is on her last flight as she is leaving to become a lawyer. The pilots on this plane are Captain McKeon and Rick and its also filled with some odd passengers like rapper Three Gs and his bodyguards Troy and Big Leroy, socialite Mercedes and her pet dog Mary-Kate, Young kids Curtis and Tommy, Chen a kick boxer, mother Maria and her infant baby daughter Isabella and a handful of more and for all of them they now have to ride coach as first class is now taken over by the F.B.I as Sean is escorted by Agent Neville and Agent John Sanders on the flight and that area gives them also a phone in order to contact to Special Agent Hank Harris who is working the Kim case. As the passengers get the news of their seating class change they are also all given leis and welcomed aboard. During the flight a clock counts down and once at zero tons of angry venomous snakes are let loose from boxes in the luggage hold! A young couple having sex in the bathroom are the first humans to die from the snakes bite and then the Captain while fixing a issue in the belly of the plane falls victim, the snakes even kill a poor cat who was in the hold! When Rick finds that Captain he calls for the help of Agents Neville and Sanders and they all think he has past from a heart attack. As Rick takes over the flight all hell breaks loose as the Snakes come out to play their deadly game both in the cockpit as well as the rest of the plane!

The first issue of Snakes On A Plane is a very quick read and sticks pretty well to the film its based on making some changes mostly in the way of flow, and by that I mean it moves at a very faster pace and lands us pretty much in the middle of the films plot in just one issue. They speed up the boarding of the plane and cut much of the interactions that the passengers have with each other as well as even the moments of friendship that the crew have with one another, and we also skip much of the moments of Sean and Agent Neville starting up a friendship and talking about surfing and such, plus they get to the snake attacks and invasion of the plane way faster. The major downside to this speed up approach is that I feel they make Claire feel less special and they also don’t quite capture the scary moments of the turbulence and death of the Captain that well. But they do a better job really showing and speaking about just how much of a scumbag Eddie Kim is as he enjoys dealing death and they even talk about how he in the past feed an eyewitness against him to pigs. I also like that Agent Harris is talking about being in a bidding war against a kid for a Billy Idol velvet painting, I would totally buy a Billy Idol velvet paiting. Now that I am writing this I feel that almost all the characters are not flushed out and that hurts the reader to get a bound with any of them, and while the film didn’t do a great job of doing so the comic does even less. Agent Neville Flynn is a guy who is good at his job and wants to bring down Eddie Kim and will do what it takes to protect the states star witness. Sean Jones is a young guy who likes dirt biking and surfing and is caught up in this murder case and is not fully ready for all this danger, but wants to do the right thing has a price is on his head. The snakes are really mad and are dealing out death to anyone in site and by the end are all over the plane ready to attack. None of the other characters really stand out and are hard to talk about. The cover for this comic is very fitting for WildStorm Comics circa 2006 and is eye-catching if you liked the film and the interior art done by Gordon Purcell and is pretty good stuff as he does a good job of capturing the likeness of the actors with out being to specific on their looks. Over all a good issue that was a fun read and as I have stated while the story and characters are condensed I still very much enjoyed the comic, so lets see what issue two is like.

Snakes Of A Plane # 2  *1/2
Released in 2006     Cover Price $2.99    WildStorm    # 2 of 2

The Snakes are now biting passengers and panic is running wild, as Agent Neville armed with a stun gun rushes to coach to try and help people, he tells them to head toward the front of the plane and to try and use baggage to make a wall to keep the snakes in the coach area. During the madness many people are bitten and some die youngster Timmy and Big Leroy are bitten and Agent Sanders is bitten and dies! As the passengers build the wall of bags they are scared and at each others throats, as Rick is worried that the snakes could cause electric issues and cause the plane to crash and Agent Neville has the duty to called Agent Harris to inform him of the attack as well as the death of Sanders. While the bitten and wounded are treated Agent Neville and the others find what they can to use as weapons that include broken bottles, golf clubs and fire extinguisher and get ready to fight off the attacking snakes. Meanwhile in LA a plan is in the works to get snaked expert Dr. Price ready with some anti-venom for those bitten, but Agent Harris finds out that this will be way more hard as each snake has its own cure shot and the serum is harder to get for the snakes that are not from the US. All the passengers rush to first class and come up with the idea to use Mercedes phone camera and send the pictures of the snakes to Dr. Price via email, but as they work on this Rick is bitten by a snake while flying the plane causing it to start to go down! While Claire and Agent Neville try and get the plan back on track, Sean tries to help the people that are being knocked around and things get worse when a giant Python crashes down from a light and an old bitter passenger throws the dog Mary-Kate for the snake to eat, but also finds himself being killed by the massive snake. Once the plane is taken out of the nose dive Rick wakes up and takes over the flying as now Agent Neville has to go to the cargo hold and reseat the planes air and while down there he figures out that the snakes were brought aboard via flowers and as he fights of the snakes Agent Harris in LA finds the mane who used pheromones on the snakes to make them aggressive and also raids his anti-venom case as he is a snake from around the world collector. New gets to Agent Neville that they have the shots ready for them when they land, but things get bad again when Rick this time is dead from multiple snake bites and Agent Neville and bodyguard and video game player Troy have to try and land the plane at LAX! But before they do so Agent Neville has everyone buckle in and then shoots out a plane window that sucks out all the snakes and causes the landing to be even harder, but the pair do so! When they land Sean is attacked by a snake but is once more saved by Agent Neville and all the bitten are given their shots. In the end Agent Neville and Claire start a relationship, Sean is ready to help put Kim behind bars as well as hooks up with Tiffany and Sean and Neville end up going surfing.

The second issue continues to cut and cram as much of the movies plot into the pages of a comic book and to be honest the cuts in this second issue really does take away the Horror and Drama and just delivers a very water downed story with one dimensional characters that as a reader I could not connect with any of them as they had zero personality and even Agent Neville seemed very plan and paint by number like taking away the edge and coolness he had in the film. Many characters that meant something in the film are thrown away and have zero impact to the story like Maria and her baby as well as Grace who gives her life in order to save the baby from the snakes, this was a big moment in the film that is removed for this comic. The drama of some of the passengers freaking out on each other is also removed and so many characters are just wasted background bit players who could have been removed and it would not have affected this comic series. I feel that even the friendship between Agent Neville and Sean is none existent and the love that Neville and Claire build for each other also makes no sense in this mess of a comic. While I enjoyed this first one pretty well this second issue is not as good and for the most part skips around like a ball in a pinball machine. The snakes that are the creatures of death in this comic series also seems to be none factors over all as they are barely seen and used as the death venomous death machines they are in the film. And that really sucks as I would have liked to see more Snake mayhem in the comics as the comic has no blood and no major scares. And I wish that the creative team behind this comic took the adaptation a little more serious and delivered a better comic series then what we got. I also wish that WildStorm would have chosen to do more Horror Comics based on New Line Cinema Horror Films from 2005 and 2006 as we could have gotten ones based on such films as Final Destination series. The cover for this one is good and eye-catching and the interior art by J.R Klebs is good stuff and is fitting for the time of release comic art for DC and WildStorm comics. Over all I would say that Snakes On A Plane is a very lackluster Horror Comic adaptation that is a cool read for fans of the film who would like to see just how WildStorm could water down a films plot to fit into two issues. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Klebs used in the second issue.

Now that we have landed this Horror Comic plane and we found out that WildStorm just filled it with rubber and garden snakes I want to say that while I was not a big fan of this comic adaptation it does not mean you wont find the faster pace better then the films, so I would still say check it out if you are a fan of the film or just like comics based on films. But now that we are off the plane we will be leaving the snakes behind and will be taking a look at a classic comic character that got the DC treatment and that’s Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we take a look at a classic hero.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Meathook Massacre III First Hunt

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  For this update we will be having another look at a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” and will be talking about the film Meathook Massacre III and the comic based on it! That’s right, an indie film that was smart enough to understand a comic book is a great way to promote the film and helps add extra excitement for fans and can also add to the lore of the film and its characters. So if you are ready to dive deep into the world of the Meathook Massacre, we should put on a butchers apron to avoid the splatter and see what this killing family and this comic have in store for us, as this will be a first time watch as well as read for me and I am looking forward to both! So let’s sit back and look at the first comic based on Bubba Fleisher and the Meathook Massacre film series.

Let’s first take a look at the Fleisher Family and their ways of killing people off before we get to deep into this review. The Fleisher Family are cannibalistic backwoods hillbillies who kill innocent people in order to harvest their meat in order to eat and survive. Pa Fleisher is a man who cares about his family very much and while he doesn’t like the killing he has to do all that much, he will do what he has to in order to put meat on their dinner table for them to eat. Pa seems to really enjoy his chainsaw when it comes to dealing death to his victims. He also has a short temper and has a killer instinct when it comes to people messing with his family. Sister Fleisher is one mean young lady as she seems to enjoy the killing of others and almost gets off on it. She is also very loyal to her family and will use her stunning good looks to draw victims in and then use her trusty switchblade knife or kitchen knife to end their lives. Bubba Fleisher is simple minded but once he got the taste for killing, he loved it and can not stop, Bubba wears the skinned faces of some of his victims and this tends to freak out people before he makes the kill with his choice to deal death being meat hooks. The Fleisher Family as a whole are very odd people and use their hunting styles in order to hunt, stalk, lure and slaughter their targets and besides Bubba when wearing a human skin mask, none of them look like they are about to cut your belly open. While Ma is a killer as well, she lets her family do most the killing unless she is pushed or feels as if someone has wronged them. The Fleisher Family do have weaknesses as they are just normal humans and can be killed with any kind of weapon from gun to a knife. They also at times seem to be in their own world and if you are smart enough, you can escape them as well as even in return fight back against them. While The Fleisher Family might not be the most dangerous killers we have ever covered here on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, they are hands down still very skilled in the art of killing and should be taken very seriously.

So now that we know about The Fleisher Family and their ways of dealing death, let’s take a look at the film they are from and that’s the third in the Meathook Massacre series…also keep in mind Bubba is the series’ main killer and has been in all of the films. I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB and will then write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So sharpen your knives and let’s dive into The Fleisher Family tree and try dodging all the knives, hooks and chainsaws coming our way.

Meathook Massacre III (2017)

Meat the whole family and see where it all began as Pa takes Bubba on his first hunt!”

The indie series Meathook Massacre started in 2015 and was brought to life by filmmaker Dustin Ferguson who was known for his films “The Legacy Of Boggy Creek”, “Terror At Black Tree Forest”, “Silent Night, Bloody Night 2: Revival” and “Demon Dolls” before he made the first film that built a cult following. Dustin would go onto make Meathook Massacre II in 2017 and director Jim DeVault made Meathook Massacre III the same year! What set DeVault’s film apart is that it acts as a prequel and broke away from Ferguson’s style of filmmaking of flashbacks of past films. Jim DeVault was coming off of making such other Indie Horror films as The Sisters Four (2008), Jebadiah’s Axe (2013) and the Blood Reunion film series. Meathook Massacre III was the only film I know of that Jim did with Dustin and this film is well liked among the fans of the series.

The Meathook Massacre series was an indie film series that has always been on my radar as I have seen images of the film as well as trailers and even a NES Video Game based around it, and when finding out a comic was made about one of the sequels I knew I had to track it down and cover here as I have always said more Indie Horror Films need to use comic books as a way to promote their films! I have to say that after watching Meathook Massacre III: The First Hunt I understand why this series has a cult following as its very low budget but has a Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Wrong Turn feel to it, and you can tell that the makers of the film put their heart and soul into the production. Now a few things that did throw me off is at times the editing was a little off and scenes seemed disjointed as did the story at times, plus characters seem to always make very dumb decisions that always leads to them dying when they could have easily gotten away, but welcome to indie horror. I will also say the digital gore effects are a little off as is some of the practical, but they did not take me out of the film. The acting is your typical low budget fare as at times you can see actresses trying not to laugh or smile as they are talking to each other about murder. The two best actors in the film hands down were Robert Lankford who played Pa Fleischer and the shining star was the beautiful Leah Gradney who played Sister as she was good in the role and just easy on the eyes…I say more Horror Filmmakers should be casting her. I also like that in this film Sister is so good in bed that a young man helps the Fleischer family kill his own mom and sisters…this guy is a goof! Not much more to say about Meathook Massacre III besides it’s a fun and cheesy indie slasher film that makes for a good watch on a late Saturday night.

It’s now time to have dinner with the Fleisher family and I heard they have meat on the menu…wait I am sure the meat they are serving is not the kind we would want to eat! So maybe we should just order a Pizza. But I want to thank Creamy Rat Studios for having this comic in stock and would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s hang out with Bubba as its suppertime!

Meathook Massacre: First Hunt # 1 **1/2
Released in 2017   Cover Price NA   Creamy Rat Studios   # 1 of 1

Pa Fleisher, the owner of a Gas Station, is talking to his young son Bubba who is a mongoloid that the family is running very low on meat and that today he will be come a man as it will be his first kill! Pa gets out all types of weapons used to slaughter and Bubba grabs himself a meat hook as Sister Fleisher is in the background hurling insults at her younger brother and his intelligence. The family heads to a lake and Pa tells Bubba not to attack anyone if there is a group of more than two people, and Bubba with hook in hand heads into the woods looking for a kill. A young woman is naked near the lake as someone is watching her, she calls out and Bubba comes walking out with a goofy grin on his face and he also shows off his two meat hooks! The woman then knocks Bubba to the ground and starts beating him up when Pa comes from out of nowhere and helps his son and they kill the woman as Pa goes to get the truck Bubba skins the woman’s face and wears it like a mask. Pa returns and is proud of his son and they load her into the back of the family pickup truck. When they get home Sister Fleisher has captured a man who was sneaking around the station and they decide to keep him as meat for the future as well as to allow Sister to have some fun with him.

The story of Bubba and the Fleisher family comes alive in this comic that also acts as the first part of the movie…well give and take a few moments that is. The comic’s plot is that we get to see the first kill that Bubba ever made as well as get to see his family and understand why they are they way they are. This Indie Horror Comic based on a Indie Horror Movie is a super fast read and is sure to please fans of the film. The differences between the comic and the film is that the first kill is a naked white lady in the comic and a bathing suit wearing Asian lady in the film also Bubba in the comic his more deformed and in the film he is just a strange acting kid. Bubba in the comic is a young kid who enjoys pain and likes to kill once he gets the taste for it, he also likes to wear faces and eat human meat. Pa Fleisher is a man who takes pride in his family and wants to keep his family feed and the only way he knows how is by hunting humans and turning them into dinner. Sister Fleisher is also very sinister and loves killing and also likes picking on her younger brother. The comic has some pretty gory moments as chainsaw and meat hooks slaughter the woman who becomes meat and the blood pours out from her wounds. The comic does a great job of capturing the characters of the film and just the whole universe in the Meathook Massacre film series. The one thing I will say as well is that I wish it was a bit longer and almost a full 22-36 page comic that was a full adaptation of the film as it reads so fast leaving you wanting more, but on the other hand it does a great job of making you want to see the film…so I guess it did its job! The cover is pretty eye catching and has the family posing with a person they caught by a lake as if they are a fish, the interior art by Joe P. is good and has a cool raw style to it making it feel truly like a indie comic. This comic feels like a true promo comic that does what it can to add to the world of the film its based on and for that I would say check it out if like the Meathook Massacre film series. Check out the artwork below to see they style of Joe P.

While Meathook Massacre III might not be a household name when it comes to Horror Movies it proves that even cult films and low budget ones can benefit from having a comic book or series based around it! I am sure when Dustin Ferguson first created Bubba and The Fleisher Family, he never fully dreamed it would become a shot on video cult classic series that has entertained thousands of people all over the world. And something also has to be said for director Jim DeVault who made a great sequel that helped build the story of Bubba. But our time with The Fleisher Family has come to an end and supper is over, so as we make our way out of the house I should tell you all that the next update we will be staying with the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update and will be taking a look at Snakes On A Plane! Also before I sign off I want to once more stress that if you are a Indie Filmmaker and are working on a Horror Film and want a great way to help promote your film do a comic book…I can not stress this enough! So until next time read a Indie Horror Comic or three, watch a Indie Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a trip with some damn snakes on a damn plane.

UPDATE: I was told by Creamy Rat Studios that the comic came before the film and that the film was really based on the comic! Very Cool!

Horror Host Icon: M.T. Graves

Over the decades so many amazing Horror Hosts have graced TV and computer screens worldwide, and in Florida back in the late 50’s and early 60’s young and old would tune into WCKT-TV Channel 7 at 4pm to watch The Dungeon with Host M.T. Graves who was super popular and would deliver both chills and humor with his goofy hosting style. I would say that M.T. Graves in fact might be the state’s biggest host maybe only rivaled by Dr. Paul Bearer, and that’s saying something as over the years Florida has had a great amount of great Horror Hosts that have had their own style. So with this being the 10th year of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame and me doing a Horror Host Icon update a month, I think that this is the best time to bring to you my readers and friends Horror Host Icon: M.T. Graves, a host who has been long overdue for an update.

M.T. Graves was a strange looking man with bucked teeth, bushy eyebrows, a hook for one hand, big feet and a massive scar on his face! He is a prisoner who’s locked away in a dungeon cell with a coffin for a bed and was forced to watch horror and science fiction movies that The Warden has selected…M.T. calls them the Warden’s “Home Movies”. When the show was going on, M.T. would find ways to amuse himself like conduct a fake orchestra or even talk to fellow prisoners or guards all the while enjoying the night’s movie with the viewers. Sometimes The Warden would allow M.T. Graves to make public appearances as well and he had to be accompanied by guards and people would rush to get to meet M.T. who was a true icon of Florida TV and proved just how important local Horror Hosts can be to their community. M.T. started hosting his show The Dungeon on Saturdays starting in the 1950’s and by the late 1960’s he was set free from his prison and the show ended, and this was a truly heartbreaking day for viewers as they watched their favorite inmate walk out a free man ending his time with them and sharing the Warden’s movies. Some people think that once freed from his Dungeon Cell M.T. went on to be blasted into space along side his old cellmate and he changed his name to M.T. Space…while others say that they are from the same family tree but different Horror Hosts all together. Say what you will about M.T. Graves but this strange looking prisoner sure made being stuck in a dank cell fun for all who watched.

Charlie Baxter was the actor behind M.T. Graves was born on March 29, 1925 in Toledo, Ohio making him an Ohio boy! After school he joined and survived the United States Marine Corps as well as lent his voice as he became the announcer for the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team. Later he moved to Florida and started working for WCKT-Channel 7 and later WKID-Channel 51 and was a major TV personality as he and the characters he created for both Horror Hosting and Kid Show Host like M.T. Graves, Captain Kidd, Professor Klinker and M.T. Space all became household names and must see TV. Charlie was super kind to his fans and was on TV from the 1950’s-1970’s and after this he started to work on shows for schools from Broward Community College. After this he decided to retire and in the mid 80’s he moved away to Nashville, Tennessee where he spent his time watching movies, reading books and listening to music, but he also loved to still keep in touch with his former co-workers as well as fans. Sadly Charlie Baxter passed away on October 3, 2007 at the age of 82 and in one last kind act he wanted his body donated to Nashville school Vanderbilt University School Of Medicine. Charlie Baxter will never be forgotten as M.T. Graves will forever live on in the hearts and collections of Horror Host fans.

Like all great Horror Hosts M.T. Graves had his fair share of cohosts and sidekicks that helped add to the laughs. Off screen The Warden and The Guards would interact with M.T. and while they most of the time were nice to him they also seemed to get joy messing with him! The Warden also howled like a wolf and this would be M.T.’s cue to start the movie or go to a commercial break. Reginald was his cellmate a monster who lived in the walls and would chat with him and even deliver messages from The Warden. And lastly there was Count Down The Vampire who as well would pop in from time to time to spend some time with M.T. and the viewers and get into some sort of adventure. Each and every one of these characters added to the show and made for so many funny moments and kept M.T. Grave on his toes. Check out the pictures below to see Count Down in all his glory.

In 2011 at Horror Hound Weekend for the first class inducted into The Horror Host Hall Of Fame the iconic M.T. Graves received the honor. He was inducted by Victor Von Scary and joined the likes of Dr. Creep, Vampira, Sammy Terry, Ghoulardi and Sir Graves Ghastly to name a few. It was great to hear the crowd erupt with cheers and claps as his name was said and it was clear that he truly was a very impactful Horror Host not only to his home state but also to the genre as a whole. It was truly a great moment to see, and I hope that M.T. Graves in that great Dungeon in the sky got a smile on his face knowing that he is remembered and still very much well loved.

I have been a big fan of Horror Hosts since I was a youngster and read about many of them in magazines and later on the internet and one I knew about was M.T. Graves as his image always stuck with me, and what’s funny way before I seen any skits of his I always imagined him to be a little more sinister and have a way different voice then what he had once seeing him in action. Plus his name always cracked me up; as it’s a nice play one words and sounds as if you are saying “Empty Graves” when you speak his name. But for years and years I searched for an episode of his and knew that one of the only ways I was ever going to see an episode was by finding a fan reproduction…and several times I did…and each time the DVD would not work. I would get the episode in a trade or buy it from a Grey Market site and every time I would try and play the disc the it would not work and this was the start of what I called The M.T. Graves curse, and I say it every time now I get a Horror Host DVD and it does not work! But finally thanks to Horror Host Dr. Pureblood I was able to get a M.T. Graves disc that worked and made this update possible. And after finally seeing M.T. Graves in action I can say I am a fan as his style and humor is fantastic! So do yourself a favor and check out clips of M.T. Graves on YouTube and enjoy his zany personality and the real strangely cozy nature of his Dungeon cell.

So like many Horror Hosts of this time almost every episode and inch of footage is gone as stations would tape over them, they would be recorded live or over the years they would just throw away the tapes! So the one episode I have here is a fan reproduction that took some of M.T.’s found footage to build a viewing experience. So as you readers know, I will not be rating this episode of a star scale like I do the comics and will be taking the hosted films write up from IMDB and will myself write about what the host does during the episode. So if you are ready, let’s head to The Dungeon and see what M.T. has in store for us.

The Dungeon: Revenge Of The Creature
Starring – John Agar & Ricou Browning   Not Rated   1955

Host: M.T. Graves starts the episode in his dungeon cell with the gate opening and is playing with a yo-yo and is talking about how we are all in our own dungeons and sends us to the night’s warden home movie. We next join M.T. who is reading a book about hypnotism and wants to use his newly learned skill on the Warden in order to escape, instead he finds that he is the one being hypnotized by Warden who figured out his plan to escape. After snapping out of it we next see him portending to conduct an orchestra that plays the Lone Ranger them that causes and earthquake! M.T. Graves is banged up after the earthquake and a man on a horse rode through, and worse this horseback madman knocked out the air conditioning leaving them all burning up. The episode ends with the air conditioning being fixed and is quickly becomes super cold and even starts snowing and the cell gate lowers.

Movie: The Creature from the Black Lagoon has been captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida. Once there he becomes attracted to the lovely female scientist and manages to escape and kidnap her, and heads to Jacksonville, with her real life love in pursuit.

Note From Matt: This episode is a fan reproduction as they used what little footage of M.T. Graves is out there for fans to see.

Classic Horror Hosts like M.T. Graves truly are something special as they are the pioneers of this genre we all love and lead the way for all the hosts that have followed all the way up to this very day. Horror Hosting is alive and well and with outlets like Facebook, YouTube, Public Access TV, Broadcast TV and Streaming Stations the world is filled with so many options of Hosts to choose from that fans are so lucky. Again I want to stress this Horror Host Icon update was long overdue and if not for defective discs this update about M.T. Graves would have happened way before 2021! Well for our next update we are leaving The Dungeon and the world of Horror Hosting and will be heading to the world of Horror Comics again that is based on a film as we take a look at Meathook Massacre III and the Creamy Rat Comic one-shot issue that was released in alongside it. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a meaty spooky good time.

Horror Host Icon: Commandant Gore

Horror Hosts have always been an important part of Dayton, Ohio culture with Channel 22 bringing Shock Theatre with host Dr. Creep to viewers starting back in 1972 and many amazing hosts followed in the good Dr.’s footsteps like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, The Creeper, Baron Von Porkchop, Iris & Retina, Rayne and Dr. Freak to name a few and all made impacts with viewers. But one host here in Dayton never reached a cult statues with viewers and faded away into obscurity with very few ever speaking his name and I am talking about Commandant Gore and his show Gorevision that haunted airwaves on MVCC Public Access here in Dayton. With this I have searched the VHS vaults and trade lists high and low to bring you this Horror Host Icon(?) update based on the one and only bringer of the gore, the master of splatter, the duke of mayhem Commandant Gore. I should also note that this update will be a fast one as there is not much to say and or information about this show and host out in the world. On a side note due to some timing issues Juliet’s look at Horror Host Stella Desire has been pushed to a later date.

Commandant Gore 1

Commandant Gore is a shape shifting dead nazi who is upset with the living and is seeking vengeance and revenge on the them and he figures what better way to get what he seeks then to host classic horror movies as well as showcase death metal bands from the area on a public access show! He would host the show via the studios of MVCC as well as in the basement of an apartment complex from the Kettering, Ohio area. The Commandant was not a fun joking kind of host and hosted with a snarl and a sinister tone. He also really liked the gore and violence from the movies and embraced all things evil. His appearance would change from episode to episode as would his body size making viewers wonder just what the Commandant was up to as sometimes he would look like a zombie while others he would have grease paint smeared on his face. The show Commandant Gore hosted was called Gorevision and started in 2000 on Centerville, Ohio public access station MVCC and only lasted a handful of episodes before the show faded away and was not even shown in reruns, and this happened around 2003-2004. In 2005 Commandant Gore tried to bring the show to the Internet, but that never happened and that marked the final end to the show. The show did become the subject of lots of public access urban legend as to why MVCC pulled the plug on the show and booted it from air with some claiming it was because some of the subject matter they showed while others talk about how by accident they put peanut butter in one of the editing machines causing hundreds of dollars in damages and that was the nail in the shows coffin! Even word is that all the master copies of the show have been destroyed and that Gorevision can only be found in the collections of diehard Dayton Horror Host collectors as well as those who were apart of the Horror Host Underground who might have gotten the episodes to play on other Access stations. While Commandant Gore might not be a household name I am sure some fans remember his show and enjoyed his bloody antics. I should also note that many people including Rick Ammon as well as many of his friends played Commandant Gore, and he as well made a small amount of public appearances mostly at Cinema Wasteland Convention as seen below in this pictures, he is the one behind A. Ghastlee Ghoul in the first two and is almost cut off in the third.

Commandant Gore 2Commandant Gore 3Commandant Gore 4

Growing up I watched lots of shows on MVCC with host shows like The Ghastlee Movie Show, Moraine Playhouse Theater, Cult Theater and New Shock Theater being must watches! Not to mention oddball shows like Eat More Carp, Media Only and Neon Maddness were enjoyed as were music shows like Metalmania and Zoo World. And yes I do remember when Gorevision hit the airwaves and while I enjoyed seeing movies like the Blind Dead I was never a mega fan of the show and didn’t watch that often. While I have always been a huge fan of Horror Host shows Gorevision for me was just lost in the sea of other Dayton area hosts who brought shows and antics that I found to be way more enjoyable. Plus I had always found the show to slightly lack focus when it came to presenting the host Commandant Gore as he needed to be the main attraction of the show and not random title cards and local metal bands. But while I might not have been a fan I can still give credit that Commandant Gore and his Gorevision is apart of Dayton, Ohio Horror Host history.

Commandant Gore 5Commandant Gore 6Commandant Gore 7

Gorevision also spawned other Horror Hosts or should I say Horror Host personalities who claimed the mantel of being a host and yet never produced or made a show in the case of one! As these hosts were Dr. Horrific and even a Dr. Creep Jr. emerged after the disbanding of Commandant Gore’s short time on TV. I have only heard rumors of Dr. Horrific having a show or two and I had heard zero of Dr. Creep Jr. ever having one. So I don’t want to spend too much time on these two as they have no legacy of Hosting on TV, but I do sadly want to say that Jeff Ammon who played Dr. Horrific passed away in 2020 and Lonnie Ray Lynch who played Dr. Creep Jr. passed away in 2014. And I do make this promise if any episodes of either of these “Hosts” are found I will give them the honor of having a full Horror Host Icon update, as I have always said all Hosts mean something to their viewers and no Host is two big or small to be given these update respect.

Dr Horrific 1Dr Creep Jr and Dr HorrificDr Creep Jr

Gorevision and Commandant Gore was very much a more underground Horror Host here in Dayton and with that comes episodes that are hard to find and if not for the likes of A. Ghastlee Ghoul and the late great Andy Copp this update would have not been possible as they both had episodes to share. I want to remind you that I will be taking the movies plot write up from our friends at IMDB and will myself write the breakdowns of the Host segments. So if you are ready put on your glasses as its time to see the world in Gorevision!

Gorevision American Nightmare Pt 2 DVD

Gorevision: American Nightmare (1983)
Starring – Lawrence Day & Lora Staley     Rated R     1983

Host: Commandant Gore does not make an appearance in this episode and we start the show with a few songs from a local metal band.

Movie: A man investigates the disappearance of his sister with the help of her roommate. He uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, blackmail…and murder.

Note From Matt: This episode has the second part and final part of the 1983 film American Nightmare.

Gorevision Itchi The Killer Ep 0 DVD

Gorevision: Itchi The Killer: Ep 0
Starring – Chihiro Suzuki & Takashi Miike     Not Rated       2002

Host: A Title Screen off center welcomes the viewers to Gorevision, and no appearance from the shows host or characters.

Movie: A masochistic mobster meets his match in the dark streets of Tokyo. His nemesis, Ichi, is a psychopathic killer with an unrelenting thirst for bloodshed. A horrifying secret burns in his mind, and his hands deal death without mercy. At last, the shrouds of mystery are parted to reveal the origin of the monster. The city will know its greatest fear at the unveiling of Ichi the Killer.

Note From Matt: This episode is very poorly put together and is Episode 3 from them. And I think they forgot that the Host is what makes an iconic Horror Host show and that he needs to appear in your episodes!

Gorevision Return Of The Evil Dead DVD

Gorevision: Return Of The Evil Dead
Starring – Esperanza Roy & Tony Kendall     Not Rated     1973

Host: Commandant Gore opens the show sitting in the studio with red and black grease paint smeared all over his face. He informs us this is another of the looks he takes on and talks about the nights film and then ushers us in to it.

Movie: 500 years after they were blinded and executed for committing human sacrifices, a band of Templar knights returns from the grave to terrorize a rural Portuguese village during it’s centennial celebration. Being blind, the Templars find their victims through sound, usually the screams of their victims. Taking refuge in a deserted cathedral, a small group of people must find a way to escape from the creatures.

Note From Matt: The movie has bad audio at the start of the film and has a hiss throughout.

Gorevision SS Experiment DVD

Gorevision: SS Experiment
Starring – Paola Corazzi & Mircha Carven     Rated R     1976

Host: The only Host segment for this episode is a title card of center that says the night’s movie is presented in “Gorevision Sytle”.

Movie: Near the end of WW2, prisoners of war are used in experiments to perfect the “Aryan” race.

Commandant Gore 8

Commandant Gore is one of those hosts that I think had potential of being a creepy host if only he had direction and scripts. They should have kept the same actor in the role and showcased him more in the episodes, as there is no reason why he should not be seen in every episode and he should be shown more than once per episode when he did appear. Over all while he was not the cream of the crop when it comes to Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts, he still has his place in the area’s history and as I said before I am sure he had his fans. And here at Rotten Ink I made a promise to myself to cover any and all Dayton, Ohio Horror Host from the past and present and I am sure many of you are learning about Commandant Gore for the first time! For my next update we will be walking away from the world of Horror Hosting and will be heading to the world of Forgotten Heroes as we will be taking a look at Tiger Girl from Gold Key Comics! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie of two and as always support your local Horror Host! Say do you think Gold Key Comics Tiger Girl is related to Atlas Comics Tiger-Man?

Tiger Girl Preview Logo

From Horror Movie To Horror Comics: Blade The Iron Cross

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update series. For this one we got something very fun that I have been looking forward to covering on here since it was announced as I am a fan of the character, the film series he is from, a fan of the production company as well as all the comics that have been released around his universe…and this pint size terror is the main star for many of the fans of the films as he is very cool looking and is one badass dealer of death to good and bad people depending on who’s pulling his strings! And if you have not guessed it yet, I am talking about Blade from the Puppet Master film series created by Charles Band and his Full Moon Entertainment! And Full Moon Entertainment understands that comic books are an amazing way to promote films and even opened their own company to release them! So if you are ready, let’s head into the world of Puppet Master and chat about everyone’s favorite tiny knife handed killer Blade!

Let’s take a look first at Blade and his was of dealing death to foolish humans that cross his path or set as his target. Blade is 1’9” tall puppet that wears a black hat as well as a black trench coat and shoes. He has a white face with spiked bullet eyes and white hair. His left hand is a hook and his right hand is a razor sharp knife and all this above is part of his tool to set up the kill as it puts fear into the hearts of those who see him. Because of his small size, he is super fast and can use it to rush in for an attack as well as can use it to hide from those he wishes to get away from or be undetected. His hook and knife hands are booth sharp and he uses them to cut, stab and slash human flesh and are the main tools of his death dealing. He also has two tiny blades in his eyes that can cut and stab through human flesh. The soul that resides inside Blade is that of Dr. Hess, a surgeon who was forced by the Nazi’s to use his skills in order to try and create super soldiers, and when his kidnappers killed him, his soul was placed inside one of Andre Toulon’s puppets. Blade is also very much a pack hunter as while he kills on his own he is also kills alongside his fellow Puppets and when they kill together he is very much more dangerous. The fact that while Blade has a soul it for the most part don’t effect his personality as what really does is who controls him at the time, and because whomever is the Puppet Master at the time brings us to one of Blade’s weakness…the fact he can be controlled and told what to do as via all his movie appearances Blade has went from a good guy to a bad guy several times. Another weakness of his is that he needs a serum made of brains to survive as that is what makes his puppet body and gears come alive, but if he don’t have it he will become weak and at some point just stop moving and go into a freeze state. His small size, while a good for attacks and hiding, also can be a weakness as people can knock him around if they get their hands on him. Blade can be broken as well and stuff like gunshots, fires and dismemberment can stop him and cause him to have to be repaired…stopping his killing spree cold. While Blade is pint sized, he is super dangerous if you become one of his attended victims.

Now that we know just how deadly Blade is, I think we should take a few moments to talk about the film this one shot comic is based on! The film’s write up is coming from our friends at IMDB and then I will write about the film’s production and history as well as my thoughts of the film. So if you are ready, let’s talk about this film in Full Moon Entertainment’s Deadly 10 film releases.

Blade: The Iron Cross (2020)

“In 1945 a psychic war journalist gains a telekinetic link to a murderous puppet and uses its help to sabotage a top secret Nazi experiment that involves using a Death Ray to transform people into zombies.”

In 2019 Charles Band, the owner of Full Moon. made a major announcement that sent shockwaves through fans of independent horror films when he talked about the “Deadly 10” film releases and showcased the 10 films on the list. Fans were super excited when titles started to be announced as new titles like Grim Rapper, Hourglass, Shadowheart Curse and Weedjies peaked interests, but the sequels were what drew everyone in as we finally were getting new films in the worlds of Subspecies, Necropolis, Sorority Babes In The Slime Bowl-O-Rama, Head Of The Family, Femalien and of course Puppet Master with it being a solo Blade film! Full Moon teased fans with not only the titles but also posters of the titles as well with the bombshell that the only way to see them first was to subscribe to their streaming service called “Full Moon Features Streaming” and that they would be released over the next several years. The film went into the filming stages and as always Full Moon did a fantastic job of showing clips and on set images to build up the release of the film. They also released a comic book based on the film to promote it and many Horror Websites covered the film coming out and kept building the hype for the film. The film had John Lechago as the director who had directed many of the companies Killjoy sequels and had such actors and actresses as Tania Fox, Vincent Cusimano, Griffin Blazi, Angelica Briones and Roy Abramsohn in big roles and even indie film director and creator Dustin Ferguson as a production assistant, not to mention Richard Band doing the score music! And finally when the fright flick was released in 2020 it was met with mixed reviews with many fans enjoying it and even some critics enjoyed it! After a little time of it being on the streaming platform it was released on both DVD and Blu-Ray for collectors to own. The film was one of three of the Deadly 10 films released in 2020 with the other two being Necropolis: Legion and Weedjies, both who also got comics and will be covered her on Rotten Ink soon! Blade: The Iron Cross was one of the biggest releases for the Deadly 10 films and made its impact on the world of Puppet Master as that is a massive indie horror franchise and this film is apart of its legacy.

When Full Moon announced the Deadly 10 releases, I was super hyped as I have been a life long fan of the company and even a member of the old fan club, I joined it when I was a teenager! I was really the most excited by Subspecies V: Blood Rise as them bringing back Anders Hove as Radu and Denice Duff as Michelle with Ted Nicolaou back as director was something I was waiting for many years now, but a solo Blade movie was also on my radar as the Puppet Master series hands down is Full Moons most iconic movie series. As the film was in production I noticed many websites as well as Facebook groups I was apart of promoting it and then I noticed that even indie filmmaker Dustin Ferguson was on the crew showing that as always Full Moon was helping up and coming filmmakers get their name and experience in film. I of course bought the comic when released and waited for the film to be released on home media before watching it as I am a fan of physical media and theater and not so much of streaming a film as I feel the streaming aspects makes the movies seem disposable. Juliet and I choose to watch the film in January 2021 while eating a good meal from Ajanta a great Indian food restaurant. And the first thing we both noticed was the weird bigger size of Blade as he was way to large and his jaw was weird looking, but Blade looking weird aside the film was an alright watch that had some pretty cool kills and made me more of a mega fan of actress Tania Fox who has played the character Elisa Ivanov in two Puppet Master films, she is a great actress and very lovely. The over all acting of the film as well was good with a few bit part players being way to over the top and hammy, I also would say that the film needed more Blade as the first solo film in the Puppet Master series he sure did seem to take a back seat in much of the plot. But I would say that while the film was flawed it was over all a fun watch on a late cold night, Juliet thought the same as said it was “Ok”. Puppet Master is Full Moons main franchise and Charles Band knows it and this I think will be the start of many more solo films featuring the Puppets to come.

The Deadly 10 is a great concept from Charles Band and allowed Full Moon fans a look at films to come and had films for everyone, while Blade: The Iron Cross was not a mega hit with critics or fans it still is a film that fits into the legacy and story of the series. Now let’s take a look at the comic that was released along side the film a very cool promotional item that helped spark even more interest for the film. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me a copy of this comic and would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s see what Blade has in store for the Nazi’s in this Horror Comic one-shot!

Blade: The Iron Cross # 1  **1/2
Released in 2019    Cover Price $3.99    Full Moon    # 1 of 1

The year is 1939 and Andre Toulon and his young apprentice Peter are about to go to bed, but they first welcome Blade to their puppet family. You see Blade is really German Dr. Hess a man who was working on a project that would bring dead soldiers back to life for the Nazis, you see while he had to work for them he was not loyal to them and was killed when he helped Toulon escape a camp. Once Toulon is asleep Blade gets up and runs out into the streets and towards his old lab and watches as two Nazis are talking about stealing the dairy and notes of Hess and sealing them to the Americans so that both sides can kill each other off! Once inside they find the notes just as Major Vogt enters and takes the notes from them as he wants the glory for turning them into the Reich. As the two soldiers grab more from the lab Blade ends their life by slitting ones throat and then rips another out with a hook! As Vogt and another Soldier enter they as well fall victim to Blades vengeance as he slashes the belly of the soldier, and then massacres Vogt by cutting his eyes and removing both his tongue and head! But Blade is not done and also kills the Nazi truck driver before returning back to his new home with Toulon and his fellow puppet brothers. But the solider with the belly slash is not dead and has the notes and escapes into the night.

What a fun comic based on Blade of the popular Puppet Master film series! The story has Blade trying his best to get rid of loose ends from his human life and he wants to stop the tests to try and bring the dead back to life as well as deal good old fashioned death to some Nazi scum. The issues main bad guy is Major Vogt who serves the Third Reich and wants to be the one who gets the glory of finding the notes of Dr. Hess so that the tests and project of re-animation can continue, he clearly was a man driven by ego and greed and that’s why he gets the most gruesome death in the issue! The Nazi soldiers as well are spineless worms who are looking out for themselves and would sell away secrets that will coast many of human lives for their own gains, and that’s why its nice to see them pay…well, all but one maggot that is able to get away. Andre Toulon and Peter are just trying to hide and get some sleep in a war stricken building, and deep inside I think Andre Toulon knew that Blade was going to go and massacre some fools that night as when the puppet returns its as if Toulon was waiting for him. Blade is on a mission in this comic as he heads to his lab, listens to plans, sizes up how many targets he has and then takes his shot and brings them all down super fast and super brutal. He is silent, tiny, deadly and focused and shows that while the puppets from Puppet Master can be pack killers they are just as deadly on their own. The comic is pretty violent and is filled with blood and gore as a head is removed, blood is pouring out of massive slash wounds and a tongue is ripped from a skull, great stuff for a Horror Comic like this! I should also note that this comic is opened and closed by The Gore Collector from the Bunker Of Blood series that was released by Full Moon that showcases clips from their most popular films. The story was written by Shawn Gabborin who is a great writer for Horror Comics is the man behind the stories for Action Lab comic series like Puppet Master and Black Betty to name a few and his story for Blade: The Iron Cross fits really great into the world of the films and shows that Shawn understands the Full Moon world he is writing in. The cover I have is very eye catching and has Blade standing on a mountain of skulls with the Charles Band Deadly Ten logo at the top, very cool! The interior art for the Blade segments is done by Yusup Idris and is fantastic stuff and he is super skilled in the world of Horror Comic art, I would love to see him tackle more comics based on spooky films. Over all Blade: The Iron Cross is a great comic book that is well written and fits like a glove in the cinema world created by Charles Band. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Idris and you will see just what I am talking about when I say I want to see him do other Horror Comics based on films.

I am glad that Charles Band has opened up Full Moon Comics and has the likes of Shawn Gabborin who was once the main man at Action Lab Comics on staff. As Full Moon has so many great characters that would make for great comics like Castle Freak, Killjoy and Tourist Trap all films that have never gotten the comic treatment. Blade is the most popular puppets in the Puppet Master series it was cool seeing him not only get a solo film but also a solo comic adventures and I hope more of these type of films and comics are released in the future as I am looking forward to a Jester ones if they every decide to do them. Well for our next update I will be turning over Rotten Ink to Juliet and she will be covering a Horror Hostess that she loves as she will give Stella Desire the Horror Host Icon treatment! So that should be a great update for Horror Host fans like myself and until next time read a Indie Horror Comic or three, watch a Full Moon film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a update with Stella and her show Saturday Night Deeeeaaaddddd.

Horror Host Icon: Crazyman

It’s Saturday night in 1974, and Saturday Night Live has just ended and as always the comedy skits of Belushi, Aykroyd, Murray, Radner and Morris have tickled your funny bone but you need more! You are watching KVOA-TV Channel 4 in Arizona and you are still up and looking for entertainment as you finish your drink and bowl of snack food and to your delight Crazyman TV is on and he is hosting a cheesy horror movie for the night.  In other words you get more comedy and a dash of Sci-Fi and Horror. And while Crazyman might not be a household name when it comes to the world of Horror Hosting, he for sure means something to his viewers as when looking into him, the viewers of the show surely loved every second they spent with him on those light nights. So if you readers are ready, I know I am ready to bring you Horror Host Icon: Crazyman! So let’s enter the dungeon cell or asylum room and chat about this true crazy man of Horror Hosting.

The Crazyman is a strange man with a bald head who wears a lab coat and was spending his life in a dungeon cell for his crimes against humanity! All he has in his cell is an old radio, a coffin to sleep in, and an eclectic chair, and he spends most of his time having fun hosting the movies and getting orders from The Warden off screen who is keeping him in the cell for what’s best for all mankind. But from time to time Crazyman was allowed visitors that were fans of the show or even his only true friend, a talking floating head by the name of Streamline. The Crazyman had a very loud voice and was over all very good natured as in some episodes it seemed like The Warden loved to pull pranks on him like dumping food items on his head as he talked to viewers. At some point due to his good behavior and bringing so much laughter and chills to his viewers, The Crazyman was set free back into the world and his journey ended for many years. But in 2010 he was minding his own business driving down the road and was chased by the cops, and this time is forced to spend his life in an Insane Asylum! So as you can see, for some reason those in power here in America really want to keep Crazyman away from the population and want to keep him locked away and forced to entertain those who watch his shows. While he has been off the airwaves and web streams for a while now, who knows when and if The Crazyman will appear again and where this time they will keep him locked up. Crazyman was played by Gary Craig who is a man of many talents as he is not only a Horror Host but is also an actor, writer, radio host, comedian and is known for his roles in movies like Echelon 8 (2009) and American Hustle (2013), and for those who want to learn more about Gary Craig, you should read his book “Tugging On The Sleeve Of Fame” about his life as an entertainer.

The Crazyman Show started in 1974 and aired very late nights on KVOA-TV Channel 4 and was one of those the makers paid to have it played right after Saturday Night Live. It took viewers by storm as it gained a cult following but sadly only lasted a couple of years before going off the air. But while only lasting that short amount of time, the Crazyman Show made an impact of viewers of Arizona TV, but some might find it also interesting Crazyman also was on the Radio as part of Gary Craig’s show. But after decades off the airwaves, The Crazyman Show would appear again this time via YouTube with an all new season of short shows that would have him hosting a clip from a popular movie that he would add himself into. This Internet version of the show would last 5 normal episodes and would also have a small handful of Holiday Specials, and would show that Crazyman still had lots of laughs yet to deliver. The fun thing about both the broadcast TV show and the YouTube web show is while they really are very much different in appearance and location (Dungeon Cell to Asylum Room), the vibe and zany humor is still there for both. While Crazyman Show is not having new episodes, I do have a gut feeling this is not the last we will see of it and its host Crazyman.

As I have said before, all good Horror Hosts have their fair share of great sidekicks and cohosts and Crazyman had his fair share. His most used had to be The Warden, a voice that echoed out in order to tell his prisoner things as well he always liked to mess with Crazyman during segments and tried to throw him off his hosting game. Also around in the Dungeon Cell was Streamline, the talking head that would stop in to visit Crazyman and carry on talks about things going on. Both these sidekicks added their own level of fun and silly moments to the show, and they each had their own fans that looked forward to seeing what they would be doing on their next appearance on the show. While The Warden and Streamline are not in the hosting history books, they were great characters that made The Crazyman Show a better watch for viewers. I also want to give a shout out to The Head Docto,r the voice from the speaker box for the rebirth of the series that took place around 2010/2011.

Crazyman is a host that I discovered via YouTube and after watching clips of his classic show from the 70’s, and I laughed at their silly nature and knew I had to see more! I searched far and wide to see if anyone had any full episodes as I checked trade lists and sadly it appears that there just aren’t any classic episodes in the world. One thing that I 100% noticed is that The Crazyman borrows lots from Florida Horror Host M.T. Graves, most notably with the prison setting, The Warden being an off camera co-host and even a head that was the hosts friend. And it’s clear the makers of this show were huge fans of M.T. and his influence is felt in the Crazyman’s episodes. I myself like to think the two are linked and The Warden is the same Warden who went from imprisoning Graves to Crazyman and enjoys what he does. What drew me into Crazyman is the fact that everyone who made the show come alive seemed to have a blast filming it and The Crazyman with his voice is just silly fun stuff. The comeback series of The Crazyman that was started in 2010 was more of a comedy skit with a dash of Horror Hosting and is very different in appearance, but still in my opinion holds the charm of the 70’s show.

So for this Horror Host Icon update I searched every Dungeon and Asylum looking for Crazyman as I wanted to take a few moments and ask him a few questions, and lucky for you and me…. I found him!! So here we go 5 Questions with a true Crazyman!

Me: Welcome To Rotten Ink Crazyman, my first question for you is what or who got you into Horror Hosting?

Crazyman:  I’ve been in radio and TV since 1971.  Worked at numerous radio stations, and had different TV shows in a few states.  Hosting came naturally to me. Loved to be on camera, and to be totally in charge of writing and performing the episodes.  Early in my career, Charlie Baxter was very kind to me.  He had a character named M.T. Graves and was very popular in Florida.  I performed on his show, and “borrowed” a few ideas from his show when I was writing mine.

Me: M.T. Graves is a true legend of Horror Hosting! So out of your first classic episodes what was your favorite movie you got to host?

Crazyman: That’s a tough one because I didn’t really pay that much attention to what the movie or show was…too busy writing and producing my portion of it.  I do remember we had some Doctor Who episodes.  I do remember years later in Hartford Connecticut.  I hosted the film, “Gorilla at Large” and I did it IN a gorilla costume.

Me: Ha that’s great! So if you could host any film what would you pick?

Crazyman: It would be difficult to pick a film now because it would depend on what I would do in the episode…and if I were doing it today, I would be reacting specifically to the film.

Me: Understand that, What does the future hold for you Crazyman?

Crazyman: UPS just arrived with 40 cases of Purell.  I’m going to put my hazmat suit on and watch some Elvira episodes.

Me: So finally what advice do you have for any future Horror Hosts reading this?

Crazyman: Yes. Youtube

I want to thank Crazyman for taking his time to answer these five questions for me here at Rotten Ink, and I hope you readers enjoyed it! It’s very interesting that he sees the future of Horror Hosting being YouTube and I can see what he means as it’s one of the best ways for any creator to get their work seen by millions of people, but I also do think at times some very talented shows and Hosts on that platform get overlooked as its an outlet that is very much over saturated, and things get lost in the shuffle. I think that YouTube along with Public Access TV and streaming stations like The Monster Channel, Shudder and The Vortexx working together will be what is what will keeps Horror Hosting alive for generations to come.

So now that you understand The Crazyman a little more I think it’s time that we get to the episodes I have of his, and like I said sadly the 70’s episodes as of right now are lost to time with only a few clips surviving and being shared on YouTube. So what I will be reviewing is Crazyman’s 2010 returns episodes as well as the holiday specials he did. I want to remind you that I will not be giving these episodes a star rating and watching these for the first time just for this Icon update! I will be taking the films’ writes up from IMDB and will be writing the host segments breakdown myself. So let’s go visit Crazyman in the place he feels right at home in the Asylum.

The Crazyman Show: Season 1
Starring – Dr. Phil & Morris Katzman     Not Rated     2010/2011

Host: “Episode 1” The Crazyman is on the run from the law and when he is captured while at a cigar and joke shop, he is sentenced to spend his life at the Happydale Mental Hospital! Crazyman gets locked in a room and over a speaker The Head Doctor informs him that he will never be released and that his word is law, The Head Doctor also tells him that people are watching and he needs to show them a movie and he does just that as it’s a clip from “Wizard Of Oz” and Crazyman inserts himself into the scene. The clip is interrupted by a phone call from David Letterman who gives him a Top 10 List of things to do in a mental hospital. In the end Crazyman sits down and reads a book about straight jackets. “Episode 2” Crazyman gets a visitor and it’s his accountant, and as the visitor is making his way to his cell Crazyman shows a clip from the movie “Saw” and like before he places himself into the film. And after being told he is broke he has a flashback of being a late night talk show host and is like Johnny Carson and even chats with Donald Trump. When back to reality Crazyman can’t picture himself as a host on TV. “Episode 3” Crazyman this time gets a phone call from his agent as he thinks that if me makes some entertainment deals he could get out of the Asylum and offers him a Capital One commercial, and of course Crazyman botches it by not getting the lines straight and ends with the crew annoyed with him for it. “Episode 4” Crazyman is dancing around and gets a visit from Dr. Phil who informs him that Oprah is the only person who can free him from the asylum, but she is mad at him for eating all the Twinkies, and gives him a mental test that ends with Dr. Phil telling him off. We then see a clip of Crazyman in the film “Forest Gump” and right after a nurse enters his room and gives him an injection, right after The Head Doctor gets on the speakers and warns everyone that the nurse is a fake and is really a patient and to not let her inject ya…we end with Crazyman looking at the viewers. “Episode 5” Crazyman starts the show off with a visit from rock n roll icon Ozzy Osborne who is lost and can not find his room that is 212, after Ozzy leaves The Head Doctor calls and reminds him that he has a meeting with the hospital shrink today and Crazyman shows a clip of the film “Psycho” that has him of course in it. Crazyman while talking to The Shrink tells him about a dream he had about being on the show The Apprentice and that Donald Trump fired him! And after Crazyman spills his guts on all his weird dreams, we find out the Shrink is not listening and is looking at a gentlemen’s magazine.

The Crazyman Show: Specials
Starring – Dr. Phil & Morris Katzman     Not Rated     2010/2011

Host: “Crazyman Gets A Gift” It’s Christmas at Happydale and its snowing outside and The Head Doctor has allowed Crazyman to spend the holiday at his house, but with one condition that he behaves himself…he then has Crazyman open a gift that turns out to be a generic Apple iPad! “Happy New Year At Happydale” Crazyman is feeling down as it’s New Years Eve and he is stuck spending the day at the Asylum, when The Head Doctor gives him an old TV for his room so that he can watch the ball drop, while Crazyman and a female nurse plug it in he shows us a clip from “Casablanca” that of course has him in the movie. We then join Crazyman as the ball drops and he is clearly down, as a Doctor comes in his room and he gives him a party favor and a pat on the shoulder. “The Crazyman Is The New Pope” The Crazyman is now the new Pope and is given a speech about new rules as well as just silly crazy talk! “Halloween At Happydale” Head Nurse Sunny Valentine alerts all the patients that they will be having a gathering and The Head Doctor forces Crazyman to attend and then promises that maybe he will allow him out for an hour to go Trick Of Twerking! Crazyman imagines what it would be like to be free for awhile to get candy and after he thinks the world would be mean to him he decides to stay safe and sound in the asylum.

There you have it – Crazyman is a Horror Host that lives up to his name and his show really is crazy and over the top and heck of a lot of fun! One day I hope to see not only new episodes but also that someone will find complete episodes of the classic show! While The Crazyman is very much inspired by M.T. Graves, he adds his own touches to the formula and creates something very special on its own and delivers lots of laughs! And who knows maybe one day The Crazyman will find himself in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as I feel he should be as he delivered the antics and shows that entertained the people of Arizona and later YouTube. But for our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting and the Happydale Mental Health Asylum and will be taking a look at the Shot On Video film Suicide 2 that was released by Independent B Movie! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update SOV fans!

Horror Host Icon: Rocky Rococo

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! One thing that goes hand and hand with late night watching of Horror Hosts is a good old pizza pie! That’s right, sitting back with the lights turned down watching your favorite host deliver some laughs alongside the horrors on the small screen all the while munching down on a slice was a way of life for many monster kids over the ages. But what if the world of Horror Hosting and the world of pizza combined and made a show that was like no other? For the folks of Wisconsin this was reality as the restaurant Rocky Rococo brought viewers Masterpizza Theatre, hosted by Rocky Rococo himself, and delivered good times to those who tuned in. So for this update, it’s with great honor that I bring to you Horror Host Icon: Rocky Rococo. Make sure to get some pizza by the slice and enjoy this quick and fun update. Also this is my second Horror Host Icon update of this year to celebrate the 10th Year Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame!

Rocky Rococo was born in New Jersey in 1948 and got his love of pizza from his mother and even spent time pushing a food cart in the streets selling pizza by the slice to hungry Jersey residents, all the while wearing down his shoes and making money for his family. Rocky did this for 20 years and decided to leave real pizza behind for a while and spent sometime selling pizza peels for ovens, selling coupons & encyclopedia books as well as running the ring the bell game for a traveling carnival! While selling the pizza peels he ended up in lots of pizza restaurants trying many different styles and while he enjoyed them, he knew he could do better…and in 1974, he proved it when he opened his own restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin and like that, Rocky Rococo became a pizza juggernaut. Rocky is a white suit wearing, wise guy talking, sunglass wearing, pizza loving nice guy who really does enjoy selling pizza by the slice. Rocky is also married to Bess Quality, and together they have one child named Dinah Mite Rococo. Besides selling pizza by the slice, Rocky also really enjoyed rapping, meeting with fans and of course hosting cheesy films for viewers. His hosting style was very fun and upbeat, and he would do skits and such in-between. While Rocky Rococo might not be a household name when it comes to Horror Hosting, he did make his mark and made a major splash in Wisconsin not only with his show MasterPizza Theatre but also with his amazing restaurants.

Rocky Rococo and his MasterPizza Theatre started in the 1990’s and was a way for the pizza chain to showcase their food as well as have their mascot host all types of cheesy family friendly films. The show was viewed late night on Fox 47 in the fine state of Wisconsin and was a fun treat to viewers. The show would feature fun and goofy breaks featuring Rocky and was filmed in the chains restaurants and would have fellow “workers” as people around him all the while promoting the pizza and salad bars they had. They would also feature comedians as well as musical and dancing bits and all the while Rocky would have a smile on his face. MasterPizza Theatre had a fantastic and super fun vibe and was a smart why to not only entertain but also showcase the food they could get for lunch and dinner, I for one would have had friends over and ordered a couple of pizzas from Rocky Rococos and had a movie night when the show was on air…that is if I lived in Wisconsin during this shows run on TV. While MasterPizza Theatre might not be a massive household name when it comes to Horror Host shows and while Rocky Rococo is more known as a mascot for a fast food pizza place then a Horror Host…they both made an impact in the world of Horror Hosting and meant something to the viewers.

James Martin Pedersen was the actor who played Rocky Rococo and was in fact the whole face of the pizza brand as he starred not only in MasterPizza Theatre but also was in their commercials as well as in their logo. James Martin Pedersen was very well loved in Wisconsin and was by all accounts an icon of the state’s culture. But sadly James passed away on February 6, 2016, and this was indeed a sad day for fans. With his passing the people of Rocky Rococo Pizza, his fans, pizza lovers and of course his family suffered a big loss. While he is gone, the icon that is Rocky Rococo will live on forever.

I first found out about MasterPizza Theater in 2019 when the man Rocky Rococo was suggested to be considered for a future Horror Host Hall Of Fame ballot, and after getting an episode I myself became a fan of Rocky as a Horror Host as I found his style silly and very fun and I can see why the state of Wisconsin loved him so much. What was so surprising is that Rocky Rococo, who was a fast food pizza joint mascot, worked really well as a movie host, and of course it was a great way to make viewers and myself crave some pizza as they clearly used the show as one giant commercial. The thing that really made this show work was Rocky Rococo himself as he is just such a fun character who had such a fun loving attitude as well as seemed like a cartoon character come to life. I am sure some viewers at the time would get annoyed at all the plugs for the types of pizza they had on the menu, but to me that just added to the over all good natured charm. I feel that many local TV stations are missing the boat nowadays by not featuring a local or even syndicated Horror Host on their networks. I mean sure some are lucky to have a Host from their neck of the woods on broadcast TV and all those who get ME-TV get Svengoolie…but to me this is sadly not enough and as you fans of Horror Hosts know streaming services are delivering the hosting goods as Joe Bob Briggs is on Shudder and for awhile Mystery Science Theater 3000 returned on Netflix…while stations like USA Network, TNT, TBS and our local stations like Channel 22 are just playing terrible reruns of crime shows and could bring back the likes of Up All Night, Monstervision, Super Scary Saturday and Shock Theater. In other words the world needs more fun Horror Host shows like MasterPizza Theatre and hosts like Rocky Rococo.

Here in Ohio, we have no Rocky Rococo’s anymore due to the fact our state just didn’t support it when they did take a chance. Ohio, believe it or not, is a state that is filled with many pizza restaurants with some of Dayton’s most popular being ones like Marion’s Piazza, Cassano’s Pizza King, The Pizza Bandit, Flying Pizza, Happy’s Pizza, Troni’s, Cousin Vinny’s, Jet’s Pizza and The Pizza Factory. But to do this Horror Host Icon update right, Juliet and I knew we had to drive over 6hrs away to have a meal at the closest Rocky Rococo’s to us…well that was until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 that put a big damper on our plans and canceled our trip to Racine, WI to have a slice of Rocky Rococo pizza along with our pals Scott Scarborough and Damien Brunk. Now I cannot complain too much as safety during these times should come first, and while I really wanted a piece of pizza from Rocky, it was just not meant to be. Once things get back to normal, Juliet and I will try and make this quest, and I will update this Horror Host Icon update with it!

So as you can see, Rocky Rococo pizza is pretty tasty treat for fans of the pizza chain, and now we are at the point of this update where I will take a look at the episode I have of MasterPizza Theater. I only have one episode, and I want to thank Horror Host Freakshow for hooking me up with it. I want to remind you that I will not be giving this episode a star rating and I will be taking the film’s write up from IMDB and will be writing the host segments breakdown myself. So grab a pizza by the slice, and let’s see what MasterPizza Theatre has to offer.

MasterPizza Theatre: Stoogemania
Starring – Josh Mostel & Victoria Jackson     Rated PG      1986

Host: Rocky Rococo opens the show at one of the restaurants and before we start the first part of the movie, we go to a music video with a song by Rocky who talks about the Pizza Blues. Next is a storybook skit about pizza told by Patsy and then Rocky talks about his birthday bash and a sale they have going on. Rocky next brings in a comedian named Dave to do a quick stand up act for the people in the studio of MasterPizza Theatre. And then Rocky once more promotes his pizza and then Dave returns with more comedy in a Twilight Zone skit. Next are fans trying to do lines for a Rocky Rococo Pizza Commercial, and they are all terrible. Rocky then introduces a new segment he calls “Guys That Can’t Rap” and two terrible guys try to rap and dance…and they are bad. In the end Rocky comes out and thanks the cast and crew plus the viewers and the janitor comes in to clean up. Oh and I should say throughout is commercials for Rocky Rococo Pizza!

Movie: The film centers on Howard F. Howard, an overweight everyman. Engaged to Beverly, the woman of his dreams, Howard has one problem – an overactive fixation with The Three Stooges. Everywhere Howard goes, he sees Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard intruding on his life. Determined to overcome his fixation, Howard and Beverly prepare for their wedding. But on his way to the ceremony, Howard descends into Stoogemania and finds himself walking into the city streets with other Stoogemaniacs. His only hope is commitment to the Stooge Hills sanitarium, under the care of a renowned psychologist, until the inmates take over the asylum on graduation day.

Rocky Rococo and MasterPizza Theatre is a great example of how a business can develop a Horror Host program, deliver family entertainment by choosing mostly comedies and old horror films with gorillas, all the while making them hungry for a slice or your company’s pizza or even a salad from your salad bar. I am really happy that Freakshow introduced me to this show as this was lots of fun and made a fan out of me. And I am going to do my best to track down more episodes of MasterPizza Theatre and when I find them, I will add them to this update…so make sure to check back and see! For our next update, we will be walking away from Rocky Rococo and Horror Hosting for the time being as we will be trading Pizza for a look at Fast Food Seafood as I will be covering the free promo comics from Captain D’s. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a greasy fried fish good time!

The Voyage To Star Trek IV

Welcome back to Rotten Ink.  Once more we will be heading to space with the crew of the USS Enterprise as we take a look at Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and the DC Comic adaptation of it! Many Trekkies find this film to be one of the best sequels in the series only slightly behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and I must say this film is fantastic and is one that I have seen many times. I know I have said this before and I will say it again, back when these original cast Star Trek movies were released in the late 70’s and all the way to the early 90’s they were big deals and I can remember the TV ads talking about them being in theaters. I also remember the ads in the local newspaper when they would show theater air times complete with mini black and white posters that I would cut out keep. Sadly Star Trek has lost steam at the Box Office for the most part, but has found a new life on CBS All Access with new series being made. So if you are ready, let’s step foot once more on the Enterprise and go on a space adventure with Captain Kirk and his crew.

So let’s start this off the way we should and begin our talk about The Voyage Home with taking a look at the film itself. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB and after I will be writing about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on this fourth Star Trek film. So let’s take a look at this fourth and iconic Star Trek flick.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

“The most acclaimed Star Trek adventure of all time with an important message. It is the 23rd century, and a mysterious alien probe is threatening Earth by evaporating the oceans and destroying the atmosphere. In their frantic attempt to save mankind, Admiral Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco where they find a world of punk, pizza and exact-change buses that are as alien to them as anything they have ever encountered in the far-off reaches of the galaxy. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy return as Kirk and Spock, along with the entire Star Trek crew.”

Before Star Trek III was even finished and out, Paramount Pictures was already talking about a fourth film in the series, and they wanted Leonard Nimoy to return to direct and come up with the story as they liked the way his ideas were going. You see at this time Paramount was very much behind the Star Trek property and knew they had something special in their hands and started to truly understand that it has a majorly loyal fan base…unlike most modern Star Wars fans. At first the fourth film had a rocky start as William Shatner was not wanting to return to play Captain Kirk and only agreed to after a massive raise that got him $2.5 million to do the film.   Nimoy wanted to make a more fun picture as the first three films were very serious and filled with drama, and this go around he wanted to add a little humor. The original idea had the Enterprise Crew returning to Earth to stop a virus whose only cure was destroyed way back due to the cutting of the rainforests in the past…but people dying this way was not the way they wanted to go and so they went with the idea of returning home to get a whale to sing its song to save Earth from being destroyed by a weapon that only responds to their calls. The original script had a part for comedian and actor Eddie Murphy, who is a Trekkie, to play a professor who believes in aliens…but he disliked the role and went on to make the film The Golden Child instead. The script for this film also had lots of issues as not only was William Shatner displeased with many of them but so was Paramount Pictures who brought back Nicholas Meyer to help rewrite it and he joined names like Daniel Petrie Jr, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes and Harve Bennett all of who, had ideas and wrote parts of this script! And after rewrites, Paramount was finally pleased with the scripts, and the film went into the filming stages. Leonard Rosenman ended up doing the score for the film and when released it was met with great reviews from critics and fans, and over the years it’s rated as one of the best films in the series. When released in 1986, it was the # 5 to grossing film in America bringing in as of this date $109,713,132.00 on a budget of only $21 million and beat out other films like Aliens, Short Circuit, Pretty In Pink, Friday The 13th Pat VI: Jason Lives, Howard The Duck, Legend and Labyrinth to name a few. And when released on home media, it was a top selling film showing that this fourth film in the Star Trek series really is a great film that has kept over the decades its popularity with Trek fans.

When Star Trek IV was being released in theaters, I can remember seeing the ads in the paper as well as commercials all over TV as this one seemed to have more hype around it and to be honest is the one I remember the most from the early films as I was the perfect age. The first time I ever saw the film was in science class in Middle School in Waynesville as my science teacher Mr. York was a big fan of Star Trek and college football and would often uses a Star Trek reference during teaching. He wanted the class to watch the film to show how actions have reactions; he was an awesome teacher. Plus it was a great way to spend a few classes taking a break and watching a Sci-Fi film with your classmates. I remember liking the film as it was cool to see them in more of a modern setting as well as tackling the issue that was the world killing whales and limiting their population, something that is sadly still a struggle to this day thanks to over fishing and whalers killing them to sell the blubber for cosmetics and other products. Kirk and Spock are fantastic as they try and figure out a way to bring a whale to their time, and Scotty talking to the computer mouse is classic stuff. Plus who doesn’t laugh seeing the Enterprise Crew trying their best to fit in to the late 1980’s society and being super awkward doing so. Over the years I would go on to get the film on VHS as well as later DVD and would watch pretty often along with the other films in the series featuring the original cast. This film as well is considered one of the best in the movie series and many place it right behind Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan as being the second best over all, I however would place it in my top three for sure, but at # 3! If you have not seen this one and want to watch Spock put the Vulcan Nerve Pitch onto a Punk Rocker on a RTA Bus after he flipped off, Kirk check this one out.

Like all the Star Trek movies that came before it, Star Trek IV had its fair share of amazing merchandise for fans to collect over the years like a paperback book adaptation, comic book, action figures, posters, magazines, soundtrack, trading cards, t-shirts and even buttons to name a few. This was the one Star Trek movie from my youth that when it was released I can remember the hype train being around and many of these items at stores my family shopped at like Hearts, Hills and Gold Circle. Star Trek IV had some great merchandise and I can remember over the years owning the film on both VHS and DVD. I had and read the paperback book, owned the comic book plus of course had the soundtrack on cassette and later on CD.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home really is a great sequel in the Trek movie series and brought a more modern feel to the series that many younger viewers had started to see as dated. And while not my favorite of the sequels, it is one I 100% enjoy and have watched many, many times over the years. And we are now at the time of this update that we take a look at the comic adaptation, and I am very much looking forward to reading this one again as I have not since I was a very early teenager. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this comic in stock all those years ago and want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s climb aboard the Enterprise once more and go on a trip with Captain Kirk and his crew and let’s save the world and the whales!

Star Trek IV: Voyage Home # 1  ***
Released in 1987     Cover Price $2.00     DC Comics     # 1 of 1

The USS Saratoga is trying to communicate with a probe that is not responding and is draining the ship of all its power. We then cut to a Starfleet Court as Captain James T. Kirk is on trail for many counts that go against the fleet as well as the killing of the Klingon crew as well as stealing the Bird Of Prey ship. The Klingon spokesperson also accuses Kirk of using the Genesis Project and claims all the destruction it caused was part of his plan. Speaking on behalf of Kirk and his crew is Ambassador Sarek who gets the court to dismiss the claims of the Klingons who claim that they will never be at peace as long as Kirk lives! Meanwhile on the planet Vulcan, the crew of the USS Enterprise are stranded as Scotty works his magic on the Bird Of Prey so that they can return to Earth and face the courts. While getting ready to leave, Kirk allows Lt. Saavik to step down and stay behind on her home planet, as the re-born now adult Spock is learning the ways of his culture and decides to go to Earth with his former crewmates. Meanwhile the Probe is heading for Earth and is shutting down all the Star Fleet ships and even their bases and is causing the planet to be covered in a fog! As Kirk and his crew head to Earth, they get a message from the President who is warning all ships not to come close to Earth as a Probe has it under attack by creating mass flooding and can shut down any and all ships, Spock figures out that the Probe is trying to talk to a whale and that Earth is in trouble as they had all been killed in the 21st Century! Kirk decides that the way they can help the Earth is by going back in time and bringing two whales back to their time in order to answer the Probe and save the Earth. Once they travel back in time they do their best to blend in and split off into groups as they not only have to find the whales but also build tanks for them to take back as well as they need a nuclear reactor to recharge the ship’s crystal that gives it the power needed to return! McCoy, Scotty and Sulu head out to try and find the materials needed to build the tanks and even change history a little along the way, Uhura and Chekov find the place to get the nuclear power needed and Spock and Kirk head out to find the whales! Dr. Gillian Taylor is in charge of two whales in captivity, and Spock and Kirk make their way to visit. Spock dives into the tank and mind melds with one of the whales and learns that the female is pregnant and they both hate how people treat them and they are willing to go to the future to save the Earth from the Probe. Kirk goes out to dinner with Gillian after she drops Spock off at the park where their ship is hidden. Meanwhile Scotty, McCoy and Sulu find a manufacturer and give them the idea to make a stronger plastic that they can use to transport the whales on the Bird Of Prey back to the future. Meanwhile Chekov and Uhura are on a ship trying to get the nuclear energy needed they are spotted by the military and while Uhura gets away, poor Chekov suffers a head injury. And now they have to get to the hospital to save him from surgery and Gillian also returns to the park and is beamed aboard as she has bad news that her boss has shipped off the whales to the ocean! Kirk and this crew get to the hospital and save Chekov and then track the whales and save them from blubber hunters and get them on the ship and along with Gillian they return to the future and the whales answer the probe and the Earth is saved! But even after saving the day Kirk and his crew must face the court, and what they get as punishment is Kirk is demoted from Admiral back to Captain and he is assigned a new ship with his crew and their adventures continue.

First things first, this could be the best Star Trek Movie adaptation we have covered thus far as it truly captures the adventure and nature of the film! The plot of this comic and the film is pretty simple: a Probe that can destroy a planet sends out a whale song that is not answered as mankind has killed them off in the future and now they are paying the price as the probe is causing a massive flood on Earth and it’s up to Kirk and the Enterprise Crew to travel back in time and bring whales from the past to the future to answer the Probe’s call. Captain Kirk in this issue is in deep trouble with Star Fleet as he disobeyed orders in order to save the reborn Spock and even blew up his own ship that was high jacked by Klingons that leave all the invaders dead! I also should note that Kirk is an Admiral for most of this issue and even though he is in trouble he and his crew take action and save many lives as well as Earth from becoming a massive swimming pool. Spock is starting to get his mind back after being dead, and is slowly remembering his friendships and memories of being Spock. He also as always he one who figures out how to save the day as well as has the skills to talk to the whales that are needed to save the day. Scotty as well is a lifesaver as his knowledge of space crafts and compounds make the transport tanks possible. Poor Chekov while trying to get nuclear power needed for the ships crystals gets a nasty head injury and must be saved from the hospital and treated by McCoy to heal him up. And the rest of the Enterprise Crew McCoy, Sulu and Uhura are all doing their part to get the stuff they need in the past to save the future. Dr. Gillian Taylor is a woman who loves her job and cares very much for the two whales that have been in her care, and I also respect that she leaves her life behind to travel to the future to stay with them and help teach the future about caring for them. DC Comics so far has delivered two very well done adaptations of Star Trek movies and this one does a top notch job of capturing the true fun, silly and sci-fi action of the film. The thing that works the best for me is the fact that this comic does a great job of capturing the humor of this film, and while “Hello Computer” is a little weak in the comic, other gags work great in ink. The cover is really good for the time and is eye catching as the interior artwork done by Tom Sutton is great stuff as he captures the look and attitude of each character. If you like Star Trek IV, this comic is one that should be in your collection as it will surely entertain you. And to be honest I am very much looking forward to reading the comic for Star Trek V next year as these update are truly a blast for me to write. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Tom from this issue, and I picked panels that are from some of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Star Trek IV is a fun film as well as a fun comic and for me. While I enjoy the other Star Trek shows like Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery, none of them are as good as the original series and the movies that followed with them. Captain Kirk is for me the best of the Captains, and I wish William Shatner would return one last time to Star Trek and unite with the remaining cast for one last voyage. But for my next update we will be leaving space and heading to the world of Horror Hosts for our first in our celebration of 10 Years of the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as we take a look at Miko Macabre of Cryptique! So until next time, read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek Movie or Show and as always support your local Horror Host! See your next time as we cover one of YouTube’s best Horror Hosts from the past.

Hercules Thanksgiving Dinner Unbound!

It’s Thanksgiving again and that means it’s time for us to once more travel to ancient Greece and visit our good friend Hercules. This time around he is living in the DC Universe and is ready to share his adventures with you on this holiday to make it even more special! What also makes this special is the fact that this is the last time, at least for a long while, that we will be visiting Hercules on Thanksgiving so I really hope you enjoy this update while you eat your turkey, ham or vegan meal! Looking back its been a great time writing these updates based on Hercules from all types of comic companies as I have covered ones from Marvel, Topps, Radical, DELL and Graphic Universe! We have chatted about his Legendary Journeys, his Twelve Labors, and even meeting the Three Stooges! We have gone to war alongside him; we even traveled to space with him in order to find his true calling. In other words Hercules and his comic adventures really have been a Holiday Tradition, and while it’s sad its ending, it for sure is not a full goodbye as one day Herc will return for Thanksgiving! But let’s not harp on the farewell and let’s get to this DC Comic Hercules Turkey Day update!

Hercules has had a strange journey in his life in the DC Universe. His first appearance was in All Star Comics # 8 where he appeared alongside Wonder Woman, and while that version of Hercules would appear in a handful of issues and was pretty much a jerk, it was the Earth-86 version that is our subject for this update. This Hercules is based on the Greek mythology and has been bound with chains for centuries, and only breaks free in the future after World War III has taken its toll on the world. Now wandering the apocalyptic world, he wants revenge on those who bound him as well as his brother Ares, the God Of War. This version of Hercules was introduced by DC in 1975 and sadly became wiped from the DC Universe thanks to the acts of the mini series “Crisis On Infinite Earth” that collapsed many of the Multiverses. This event took place in 1985-1986. I was a young man when I first discovered and started reading Hercules Unbound. If I had to guess, I would say I was around 12 or 13 and got issues from the Bookie Parlor as well as Mavericks Cards And Comics, and I can remember they were always very cheap and were in the .50 and $1.00 boxes. This was also a series that I knew I had to have every issue of and can remember reading them and enjoying them as it was like Hercules in a Mad Max type world, just less extreme. Over the years, somehow a box of my DC Comics became missing and this series was in the box as well as my complete set of The Joker comics, but thanks to all the comic shops around here as well as online comic retailers I was able to track them all down again and re-read them. If you enjoy Hercules in comics or just like classic 70’s DC Comics, give this series a chance as it’s pretty dang fun.

Remco teamed with DC Comics to make a toy line that would be a cash-in on the popular Mattel series Masters Of The Universe that was a must have for all the kids of the 80’s. The series was called “Enter The Lost World Of The Warlord” and brought out many amazing DC Comic characters based on mythology characters and warriors. The series was headlined by Warlord of course but also had characters Arak Son Of Thunder, Machiste, Mikola, Deimos and Hercules! Growing up I can remember seeing the figures at garage sales and I myself at one time had Hercules as well as Arak, in fact I still have them both to this day. At my Brassfield grandparents, I remember that they had Hercules there and when playing with my cousin Nathan, I would choose him to be one of my heroes in the toy battles. And of course I remember the amazing full-page ad for the toy series that appeared in DC Comics and showed the figures as well as let you know you could get them at K-Mart. These figures were pretty cool and while cheaply made, they were must-have toys for me in my youth as they were based on the classic Sword And Sandal heroes of the films I enjoyed watching. On a side note, I really do want to get a Machiste figure in good shape and if I ever do, I will let you readers know.

You readers want to know another fun silly Hercules movie that I enjoy? Well let me tell you about “Hercules And The Masked Rider” from 1963, one silly and goofy film that has our muscle bound hero teaming with a Zorro like masked hero in order to fight a ruler and the rich who are pushing the poor down. The plot from IMDB is this: “In 16th century Spain, Don Francisco reluctantly betroths his daughter, Blanca, to the arrogant Don Ramiro in order to preserve the lands in the family estate. Then Don Juan, Don Francisco’s nephew and Blanca’s true love, returns from the war in Flanders. Don Juan dons a mask and joins with a gypsy band led by Estella to fight against the forces of Don Ramiro. In this effort he’s aided by a bare-chested muscleman and also by Captain Blasco who works for Don Ramiro but whose sympathies lie elsewhere.”

The crazy thing about this Hercules film is the fact that, for the most part, Hercules takes a backseat to Don Juan and his quest to get his true love. The fun aspect of this film is that it truly does blend together a Hercules film with a Zorro movie and a dash of Robin Hood is thrown in for good measure. This is a film that I discovered on DVD thanks to the company Cheezy Flicks and my friend Josh Weinberg, who used to sell movies at a local Flea Market, gave it to me as a gift, as he knew I enjoyed classic Sword And Sandal films. Alan Steel is the actor who played Hercules in the film, and while he is good as the muscle bound hero, he is not in the same league as Steve Reeves, but does do a solid job in the role. So if you like over the top cheesy movies with poorly dubbed dialogue, then check this one out!

Alan Steel was born Sergio Ciani in Rome Italy on September 7, 1935 and started his career in movies in 1958 in a unaccredited role in the film “Herod The Great”, but his big break came in 1959 when he became the stuntman and body double for Steve Reeves in the movies Hercules Unchained and The Giant Of Marathon, the latter of which he also had a role in. And when he changed his stage name to Alan Steel, more roles in Sword And Sandal films started to pour in, and being also a bodybuilder helped locked many roles in such films as Samson (1961), The Fury Of Hercules (1962), Hercules And The Black Pirates (1964), Hercules Against The Moon Men (1964), 3 Avengers (1964) among many other films of this genre with his final film being in 1979 with the film Baby Love. With Italian Cinema moving away from the Peplum Films (Sword and Sandal), Alan Steel retired from acting in 1979 and went on to still be a bodybuilder. Sadly on September 5, 2015 at the age of 79 the cinema strongman passed away in his sleep just two days away from his 80th birthday. It’s crazy to think that Alan Steel played Hercules about four times and next to Steve Reeves I think more fans of this style of cinema know him as the popular mythic hero than many of the other actors that played the role. Over the years of doing so many Horror and Comic Conventions it’s a shame that I never got to meet many of the icons of Peplum Cinema as it would have been great to have meet the likes of Steve Reeves, Alan Steel, Brad Harris and Reg Park to name a few before they passed away.

So before we get to the comic review of DC Comics series Hercules Unbound I would like to take just a moment to chat and update you readers about the Hercules Comic that Jeff Potter and I was creating for Sparkle Comics. As you longtime readers remember we wanted to start a Sword And Sandal comic line that would feature all the heroes of those films coming back for more adventures. The first in the series was Samson by Don Stephenson and sadly the sales of that book were below average and the feedback was mixed as everyone praised the amazing artwork Don did but they wanted more action in the story. So with that we feared that readers would not be ready for more Sword And Sandal comics so Hercules took a back seat for awhile and Jeff and I went on to work on a few other projects first like Black Jack # 1, Eternal Sleep # 1 and Babysitter Massacre # 0 to name a few. But I have some great news for those Sparkle Comics readers who want to see Hercules once more come alive in the pages of comics that has a cinema feel to it and that’s I think in 2022 we will begin work on the comic that will feature Hercules fighting off a horde of cannibalistic cavemen in order to save a beautiful woman who’s being sacrificed to them in order to appease the King of her village! I am very much looking forward to developing this issue as well as several issues that will follow that will pit our hero Hercules against so many amazing creatures and foes.

When I made the a hard decision to stop covering a Hercules Comic on Thanksgiving, it really was a tough one to make as I have been doing so since 2013 and it was something that I and many of you readers looked forward to every Turkey Day. But over time and eight years of covering him and his comic adventures it was time to walk away for awhile, and keep in mind I am not saying Hercules will not return for a Thanksgiving update, I just don’t see me doing so for a very long time as I have said above. But when coming to an end I knew I must cover the DC Comics universe version as we have covered Marvel’s twice and growing up I can remember reading the DC ones and loving them.

Hercules Unbound # 1 ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 1 of 12

World War III has ended four weeks ago and on a small island Hercules breaks free from chains that have bound him to a boulder for many decades. Once free he has one thing on his mind and that’s revenge on the one who has held him captive that long, and that person is the God Of War Ares! But before he can think too much about it, he notices a young man and his dog on a ship being attacked by water demons! Hercules dives in the water and beats down the demons and comes aboard the ship and meets Kevin, a blind young man with the bravery of a warrior and the dog is Basil, who is friendly and loyal. Kevin tells Hercules about how he and his brother Jason were on vacation with their dad when World War III started and his brother was killed and many the people were affected by a nuclear bomb’s radiation that has caused them to be blistered mutated monsters who want to eat humans! And if not for Basil guiding him to the boat, he would have been killed. Hercules does not like what he hears and now has a goal to get Kevin to his father and to then take the fight to Ares who is watching the war from Mount Olympus and loves the death and destruction all around him and is even playing all sides against each other in order to cause more deaths. While Hercules with Kevin are now on land Hercules tells how he was set up by Ares as he was mad at Hercules for his stance on wars, and tricked him and chained him up. Hercules and Kevin are now in town and are attacked by Minotaur demons and once they take them down Hercules and his friend head for Rome, but Hercules notices that Kevin was very skilled with a slingshot even though he is blind. Once In Rome Hercules stops men from war and calls out Ares who sends his purple skinned champion Smasher to deal with Herc, and after a fight that leaves Hercule hurt and Basil the dog down, Kevin uses a rock and hits Smasher killing him. As Hercules is back up he notices that Ares has run away and worst of all Kevin finds that Smasher was his father mutated and now dead by his own hands.

This first issue of Hercules does a great job of building the world it takes place in, a world that is ravaged by war and nuclear fallout that has caused most men and women to mutate and go crazy all the while the old Gods of the world are playing their own sick and twisted games. Hercules has been chained to an island for around a thousand years and only by a miracle is he set free and when free finds a blind boy named Kevin and his dog Basil who helps him understand what is going on this this world he has been long removed from. That’s the thing about Hercules thus far, his instinct to be a hero and stand up for what is right is still a part of him, even if he does want revenge on Ares the God that placed him in chains. Kevin is an interesting lad as he is a true survivor and, while blind, does well for himself when it comes to protecting himself and his friends, truly there is more to him then meets the eye as his skill with a slingshot with no sight is too good. Ares The God Of War is living up to his name and is getting joy in playing all remaining sides of the world against each other as he loves death and battle and he is getting his fill of it in this new chaotic world. The comic does a great job of feeling like a classic hero story, but also does a great job of making the gloom and doom feel like a real threat to our heroes. This issue really did hold up for me after all these years, and I cannot wait to read the rest of this series again! The cover is great and eye catching and has a true classic 70’s DC Comic look to it. The interior art is done by the team of J.L. Garcia Lopez and the great Wally Wood and is great stuff and showcases why DC Comics at the time was a delivering some topnotch comic series. Over all if you like fantasy comics based on Hercules with a dash of Superheroes, then give this issue a read.  Now let’s see how issue two holds up!

Hercules Unbound # 2  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 2 of 12

Hercules with Kevin and Basil are now in Paris, France and are being attacked by more sinister demons and after taking them down, they meet fellow World War III survivors the Simon St. Charles a British older man, Dave Riggs a young man and Jennifer Monroe a pretty blonde woman. They invite Kevin and Hercules to come hide with them in a hideout that is stocked with drink and food. Meanwhile Ares is upset that the demons have failed to kill Hercules and summons Cerebus and his pair of two headed hounds of hell as he gets orders to attack and stop Hercules so that chaos and war can rule the Earth. Hercules and Jennifer go for a walk and it’s clear the God has fallen for the young woman who was once a supermodel, but their walk turns bad when the Hounds Of Hell attack Hecules and Cerebus runs off with Jennifer kidnapping her. Cerebus and Hercules fight for a few moments and Herc is knocked out and found later by Kevin and the rest that later who are upset that Jennifer is missing. Hercules, Kevin and Basil follow the trail and soon find that they have to enter Hell in order to save their new friend!

This second issue’s plot has Hercules heading to Paris only to find more survivors with one being a love interest, but Ares has plans to bring down Hercules and sends Cerebus to cause mayhem and take the young woman to Hell and force Hercules to follow him there were they could kill the God once and for all. Hercules in this issue is not trusting of other people, but yet his heart falls hard for Jennifer a model who as well seems to have an attraction to Hercules as well. Good old Hercules is headstrong in this issue and also finally questions how well Kevin gets around if he is blind, but does trust his young friend. Kevin and Basil are loyal to their friend Hercules and even rush into battle to be at his side and help the best they can. Jennifer is a young woman who at this point is trusting and seems to just accept the fact that Hercules is real and falls for his kindness and chiseled looks. Simon St. Charles and Dave Riggs seem like good guys but are also very much cowards and while they care about Jennifer they are not willing to risk themselves to save her. Ares is as evil as ever and wants to bring on total war and ride the world and himself of Hercules, a total ego driven God. Cerebus is a man who does what Ares asks and is super powerful and has the support of two hounds that have two heads and are ready to shred flesh. I do like that they give Cerebus a backstory of being sent to Hell over the love of a cheating woman that he would love to kill…man she did him wrong. This issue has some great drama and action and like before did a great job of blending them together and not making the story drag and keeping you wanting to see what is going to happen next. The cover art is solid and eye catching as the use of white and the red hounds of hell makes it stand out and the interior art once more is perfect and done by the team of J.L. Garcia Lopez and the great Wally Wood. So as you can see, this second issue is great and like the first held up with me when reading again.

Hercules Unbound # 3  **1/2
Released in 1976     Cover Price .25     DC Comics     # 3 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin and Basil jump into the deep hole and find a man named Orpheus who plays a lyre as well as the ferryman Charon of the river Styx, but Hercules and Kevin before they can set sail are attacked by a shadow demon that there is no way to defeat…that is until Kevin tells Orpheus who Hercules is and he uses his music to distract the demon allowing Hercules to defeat it. Orpheus asks to join them on their journey to save Jennifer and they take him along for the adventure and start the journey on the river after paying the toll. Meanwhile Cerebus arrives at the castle of Hades with Jennifer and informs the god of Hell that he is waiting for Hercules to try and save her, while waiting Cerebus opens up to Jennifer and the two start to become friends and she understands his reasons and loyalty to Ares. Meanwhile Orpheus tells Hercules about how he lost his bride and how Hades set him up to once more loose her with a cruel and yet simple trick. Hercules finally arrives at the castle and he is ready for war as he throws a tree trunk through the castles window alerting Cerebus who charges out ready for a brawl. Hercules and Cerebus are battling to the death as Orpheus talks to Pluto to just allow Jennifer to leave, and by accident Hercules punches a wall and it crumbles down and kills Cerebus who has now found peace. In the end Hercules, Jennifer, Kevin and Basil travel back to the overworld as Orpheus shows that he himself was a ghost as well and returns to the place he belongs. On Earth Simon and David are attacked by demons and are kidnapped and taken to speak to Ares The God Of War.

In this third issue Hercules with his friends travel to Hell in order to get Jennifer back as Cerebus has taken her there on the orders of Ares as Hades himself has agreed to host the epic showdown…and in the end the battle leaves Cerebus dead, but yet free from his torment of lost love and no longer being controlled by Ares. Hercules in this issue turns on his full hero mode as he battles a shadow demon as well as a very angry Cerebus in order to save Jennifer who clearly he is fallen in love with. Kevin and his dog Basil does what they can to help in this quest as does the spirit of Orpheus whose music can weaken the demons that stand before them. Cerebus himself is a bad guy, but does have a good heart and is only doing the bad stuff as his heart was broken many decades ago and Ares has taken advantage of his pain and uses him as a tool of battle and war. But while a bad guy you do kind of feel sorry for him when he gets crushed to death, but you also feel good about it as he has found peace. You also now know that Hades is on the side of Ares as he has allowed this all to take place in his kingdom…and it makes sense, as War equals more souls for him. One thing that is clearly going to come back on Hercules that takes place in this issue is the taking of Simon and David as you know Ares has no good plans for these two. The cover for this issue is good and eye catching and showcases the powerhouses fighting, and the interior artwork done by J.L. Garcia Lopez again and its solid work and brings me back to the days of reading old DC Comics. Over all a great issue that sets the stage even more for the Hercules and Ares showdown that we are building towards.

Hercules Unbound # 4  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 4 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin, Jennifer and Basil the dog are on a boat and are being attacked by a war ship, and when their foes try to board their ship our heroes fight back and find that their attackers are animal humanoids people who were attacking on the orders of Hunter Blood a madman who claims he is the ruler of England! Hercules has heard enough and heads toward England to break up this empire as well as see if the missing David and Simon are there, and once their Jennifer brings up that the note they found written by their missing friends could be a fake written by Ares, and Hercules blows that off and unknowingly insults her by saying that she is a woman and should leave things to him…and this of course enrages Jennifer! Meanwhile Hunter Blood is as well furious at his Cat Man who lead the attack on Hercules ship for failing and uses his radioactive eyes to fry him and then orders his men to bring him Hercules and his crew or they will as well will share that same fate. That night while camping Hercules and crew are attacked by the Animal People and are taken prisoner when they use sleep bullets on them, while Hunter Blood tries to charm Jennifer, Hercules and Kevin find themselves chained to tower bells! Hunter Blood explains to Jennifer that he collects fine art and treasures but that he can not see them as the effects of World War III have left him blind and his eyes now fire beams that decay things it hits! And this upsets him and says that Kevin and Hercules must pay and starts ringing the bells causing our heroes massive pain. With the words of Kevin going through his brain Hercules uses all his power and brings down the bell tower and crushes Blood Hunters collection, and as Blood Hunter starts to choke Jennifer to death Hercules appears and challenges him to a final fight.

This issue is a fun ride and has Hercules and his crew traveling to England in order to find their missing friends only for them to find a crazed madman and his animal humanoid henchmen! Hercules in this issue is on a true quest as he is really on a warpath to bring down Ares as well as try to bring peace to this world gone mad. He as well feels that he must protect his friends from harm, but does have a boneheaded look at women as he feels that they can not be the hero like him and that they should not think about battle and traps as that as well should only be left up to him…he has a lot to learn. Jennifer in this issue shows that she can fight and takes out a few of the animal people on their ship and as well seems to be wise on looking at all aspects of things before just rushing in like Hercules. Kevin and Basil are as helpful as ever and it’s clear that at this point Kevin looks at Hercules as a close friend. Hunter Blood is a man turned mad thanks to the radiation fallout of the war that has given him powerful eyes that decays anything he looks at! This power and also curse has driven him mad as he loves classic art and the fine things of life that he could never afford when the world was normal…he gets what he wants and because he can not see them he lashes out in fits of rage. The Animal Humanoid People are mindless followers who do what they are ordered in fear of what Blood Hunter would do to them if they did not. I like that the issue ends as well with a cliffhanger as Hercules freed himself from a deadly trap and is now wanting to beat the hell out of Hunter Blood who he himself wants death as his collection is gone…this is going to be an epic showdown for sure! The cover is eye catching and has Hercules raging in the streets of London and the interior art is fantastic and done by icons J.L. Garcia and Wally Wood! This is another great issue in this series and one that was fun to reread after all these years, and I really am looking forward to looking back at this whole series. So with that let’s see how this fifth issue holds up.

Hercules Unbound # 5  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 5 of 12

Hercules grabs a concrete pillar and is ready to go head to head with Hunter Blood as he wants him to let Jennifer go! And with his eyes Hunter Blood zaps the pillar and makes it rot and then hits the ground from under Hercules to fall through it and hit hard the subway that is below and then he smacks and knocks out Kevin and then drags Jennifer away as his Animal Humanoids follows. As Hercules wakes up he meets Durak Malloy a Ape Humanoid who leads a army of other animal humanoids who are at war with Blood Hunter and his people, and then they go above and find Kevin and Basil who are now both coming two and are all happy to see each other alive and well. Durak Malloy tells Hercules and Kevin that before World War III he was just a regular primate that was a lab animal and after the bomb went off spilled chemicals from the lab filled the air and made him and other animals intelligent! While Hercules and Durak sit in a theater and watch a movie, Kevin and Basil are attacked by Hunter Blood’s animal people and this alerts Hercules who springs into action who starts to rumble with them as Blood Hunter appears and uses his eyes on Big Ben to try and bring the landmark down onto his enemies as well as his own Animal people as he looks at them all as expendable. Hercules rushes to Hunter Blood who falls from his perch on a building and his own Animal Humanoid soldiers beat him to death, but Big Ben also falls and Hercules holds it up as long as he can as everyone gets to safety…but poor Basil the dog is not lucky as a stone falls and crushes him…Hercules and Jennifer’s hearts break as they watch Kevin mourn the loss of his faithful dog.

This fifth issue in Hercules Unbound has a mix of Planet Of The Apes thrown into it as I could swear that Ape humanoid Durak Malloy could have easily been taken out of the Marvel Comics series of that film that was running in 1975-1976! The plot of this one has Hercules taking on Hunter Blood as he tries his best to rid the world of this hero as well as anyone that is in his way that includes his own soldiers! Hercules in this issue is headstrong once again and thinks that his raw power can stop any enemy and he is quickly sent fallen to the ground when he finds his opponent is a more powerful mutant when it comes to his twisted eye beams. But while Hercules fumbles the first fight his power and hero attitude does end up saving the day and he even proves to Jennifer that he is a good person even if his thoughts sometime are primitive towards women. Poor Kevin tries his best to help in this issue and suffers the worst loss as his best friend and loyal dog Basil is killed by a fallen stone, sad to see Basil gone from the series. Jennifer takes a backseat in this issue and is pretty much just held captive until she is saved, and she herself got the best first look madness of Hunter Blood as she seen his true fall into madness. Durak Malloy is a cool character as he is Patient Zero of the animal humanoids and is at odds with the crazed Hunter Blood and his group, he is also the one that explains why the world now has human walking and talking animal people. Hunter Blood is a true madman who a deadly power that he abuses in order to rule with fear and threats of death, plus life to him really is cheap as he claims is own loyal foot soldiers are nothing more then mindless slaves to him…he is a fool and it’s great to watch him get beat to death at the hands of his own one time men. This issue also shows briefly David and Simon on a warship with Ares who alerts them they are being used as bait to snag Hercules, as the showdown between the Greek Gods is counting down. This issue was a fun and fast read filled with action, drama and some great sci-fi elements and yet still has that classic Sword and Sandal feel. The cover is great and has Hercules holding up the falling Big Ben tower and the team up of Garcia and Wood are on interiors again and it looks great, in other words another solid issue of Hercules Unbound.

Hercules Unbound # 6  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 6 of 12

Hercules, Jennifer and Durak Malloy along with his animal humanoids are all quite and sad as they walk along with Kevin who is hold the body of his canine friend Basil, and worse before they can really do anything to comfort him they are attacked by two waves of Ares’s Warriors and with Hercules might and Durak and his men’s firepower they make quick work of these soldiers. After the battle Hercules tells Kevin that he has a way to bring Basil back to life and this makes the young man very happy to hear, as Jennifer takes Hercules off to the side and asks how he plans to do so he explains to her that he witnessed Ares bring his dead pet hawk back from the dead, and that he planes on forcing his brother to do the same for Basil. Meanwhile Ares along with his army and his captives Simon St. Charles and Dave Riggs and they are heading towards Stonehenge, when Dave escapes with the help of Simon and this angers the God Of War who tells Simon he will pay for this, and he means it as he chains him to the barrel of a tank! Hercules wishes Durak and his men well as they are now splitting from Hercules quest and soon after a warn out Dave appears and tells them were Ares is and that they still have Simon, and this is all Hercules needed to hear as he makes his way to the landmark to have a final showdown with his brother. When Hercules arrives Ares sends his warriors to fight his brother and after making short work of them Ares joins the fight after being mocked by his brother, and the fight goes back and fourth and in the end Hercules uses his wits and might to bring his brother down! In defeat Ares uses his power to bring back Kevin’s dog Basil and rides away letting Hercules know that next time they meet one of them will have to die! So with that Hercules stands among his friends Kevin, Basil, Jennifer, Simon and Dave and in a world that has been destroyed by Nuclear War.

With issue six the Hercules on a path to fight Ares comes to an end in a battle at one of the most mystic sites in the world! This issues plot is really just the build up of Hercules making his way to Ares and along the way we learn that Ares can bring the dead back to life, Dave escapes being a prisoner and that Durak Malloy and his men have their own quest and break away from Hercules once they help him fight off some attacking warriors. Hercules in this issue is very focused on finding Ares and saving Jennifer’s friends from him as well as now knows he must force his brother to use his powers to bring back Basil from the grip of death. And once he gets into battle Hercules knows that his power will not fail him and that he must win at any and all coasts, and Herc even shrugs off a direct hit from a tank. Ares in this issue is very cocky and surrounds himself with warriors and war machines, as his end goal is the death of all humans! And even in defeat Ares stands by his word to help Basil but still warns that he will be back and next time he planes on killing his brother. And the characters of Kevin, Jennifer, Simon and Dave all take a backseat as the main focus is the showdown of the Godly brothers clashing, and again the end fight is lots of fun and holds a classic cheesy Sword And Sandal Film appeal to it. It’s a shame that Durak Malloy and the rest of his animal people soldiers are a second thought in this issue and they write them off in one panel after they just helped against a handful or warriors, I would have liked for at least Durak Malloy to be with them for the rest of this series. At the end of this issue they also alert us that the “direction” of this comic series is changing and the only thing I can think of as to why they would do this is cause low sales or a new team of creators taking over the series. The cover is great and eye catching for the time and the Garcia does the interior art once more once more, and its great and so fitting for 70’s style DC Comics. Issue six of Hercules Unbound holds up just like all this series this far and I really have been enjoying revisiting it, so let’s move onto issue seven to see how the new direction holds up.

Hercules Unbound # 7  ***
Released in 1976     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 7 of 12

Hercules along with Kevin, Basil, Jennifer and Dave are on a quest to find the lake known as Loch Ness, and after getting across a dam they find their destination! Once around the lake they are greeted by three beautiful women who are apart of a group called The Order Of Tarn and invite them to have a meal and rest for a bit with them and the fellow members, the others rush to the idea of a free meal as Hercules is a little more untrusting…but soon gives in. During the meal all is well and everyone is having fun, that is until they all pass out as they have been drugged and when they awaken they are tied up and near the lake and meet an old man with a staff named Casper Zedd who informs them that he has been give great power by the Master Monster God of the lake and that for the Master to regain full power he must kill Kevin as the alerts them all that the boy is something more special then a human, and when the Master is summoned to Hercules shock he sees that he is no Lake Monster but is the Titan Oceanus! Hercules warns Casper of the dangers of Oceanus as the Titan wants to really rule the world and when the old man don’t listen, Hercules breaks free and saves Kevin and the rest of his friends and they rush off to the Dam after knocking down Casper who is now enraged and wants them all dead. The heroes make it to the dam and Dave works fast to make the electricity that the dam creates into a weapon that they can use on Oceanus who has now arrived at the dam and is fighting Hercules with the intention to kill him! Dave is able to overload the dam and Hercules grabs the raw electricity and throws a massive bolt at Oceanus killing the Titan! The fight takes a lot of Hercules who falls down and is out cold, while the magical staff of Casper Zedd explodes his followers leave and the old man is nothing more than a weak person all alone.

So the new direction of Hercules appears to be to take the Mythic Hero and place him in typical 70’s superhero comic book situations and sprinkle in a bash of mythology…and I have to say I didn’t hate it back then and I still don’t hate it now! This issue has Hercules and his friends going to Loch Ness only to have to fight a Titan and his crazed followers. And with the help of his human friends Hercules is once more able to save the day and ride this war-ridden world of evil. Hercules once more is untrusting to strangers, and is proven right and uses his might and battle ridden mind to bring down a Titan! But it must be said that if not for Dave and his knowledge of how water dams work, Hercules would have been killed by the Titan, so to be honest Dave is just as much of the issues hero as Hercules. Jennifer as always is being set off to the side in the action as Hercules still has very dated views that women can not help in “men’s work” and she is starting to get really annoyed by his primitive thoughts. Kevin in this issue is shown to be something more special then a normal blind man, and its clear that he is something special as with out sight this whole series he acts as if he can see all around him. Casper Zedd and his The Order Of Tarn Cult are easily fooled as Casper is just a pawn for the true evil that is Oceanus a Titan who wants to kill, enslave and rule the world. Oceanus really is one of the most dangerous villains we have meet in this series and in this issue he is super weak, imagine what he could have done if at full power? While the battle between Oceanus and Hercules is slightly lackluster the Titan’s ending really does have a true epic myth feel to it and also is fitting for a quest for Hercules who pulls “lightning” from the sky to throw at his enemy. The cover for this issue is well drawn, but is only ok when it comes to eye catching and this issue has artist Walt Simonson doing the interiors and its fantastic as well! Issue seven keeps up the fact that DC Comics knew how to create an entertaining Hercules comic series.

Hercules Unbound # 8  **
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 8 of 12

Hercules and his friends are on a raft in the waters of Ireland when they are attacked by four old fighter planes that open fire and cause them all to fall into the water, and during this attack Dave drowns and this angers Hercules who hurls objects at the planes causing three to crash and damage another. Hercules still mad about the death of one of his friends follows the damage plane back to a massive metal factory, and after taking down an army of robotic women a voice echoes out from a loud speaker and apologizes for the attacks and invites them in. When inside the meet an older woman named Lady Agatha Simms who as a young woman was hit by an army jeep that left her crippled, but made her mind stronger as she has built war machines for the Government and now is playing a war game with an unknown opponent, and she by mistake thought Hercules and his friends were apart of the “war”. And while she shares her story her base is under attack and then she shares that all the old battle planes, tanks and ships she uses a machine she made that pulls them from the past! She asks Hercules to help her win this battle and if he does she will grant Kevin his site back! Hercules agrees to these terms and along with Kevin, Jennifer and the Female Robots they rush her opponent’s island base. Meanwhile to everyone surprise Dave washes up on shore and is alive and finds himself wondering toward a small town that is filled with robots who take him as a recruit for their “war”. Meanwhile Hercules on the island finds a hidden door to their targets base and to their shock in the chair hooked up to the machines is Dave!

This issue slips a little for me as the “War Games” between two mechanical hooked people just is kind of bland for me, and while I enjoyed the Hercules stuff it still is the least interesting issue in this series for me. And lets be honest they also make Hercules seem like a fool when his friend is drowning and Jennifer tells Hercules to save him, and Hercules says nah its to late only for Dave to be alive…it makes you feel like did Hercules want Dave to die as he could have helped and chose not to bother? Hercules in the issue is also filled with the want for revenge and even does a few acts that he would normally not do and that includes going into a strange building blindly on the request of a total stranger who had already attacked them twice. Jennifer and Kevin are just around and the only major plot point they serve is that if they help in this war game Kevin could be given his site back. Lady Agatha Simms is a weird sort of villain as she is really just wanting to play her War Games with the unknown as she has nothing else better to do, and she also is super brilliant as she can pull weapons from the past to help her cause…but she also does seem to be a little less sweet then she wants people to think. The cover is pretty good and eye catching as I like the World War II planes raining bullets and Hercules and his friends and the interior art by Walt Simonson is good. Over all this is an average issue with a story line that I hope ends in the next issue.

Hercules Unbound # 9  **1/2
Released in 1977      Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 9 of 12

Hercules tries to attack the now mechanical hooked up Dave who uses a giant magnet to take down the female robots as well as it effects Jennifer, as Hercules grabs Kevin and Basil and they flee from the war room as the plastic robots under Dave’s control start to pour in. Hercules with Kevin are trying to dodge traps and find a way out as Jennifer wakes up and finds the plastic robots out of the room and the wired up Dave shut down and this is her chance to flee. Meanwhile Agatha Simms is upset as she thinks that Hercules has failed so she pulls the atomic bomb from the past and sends it towards the island, as she wants to truly win this war game once and for all. We then learn that a electronic being that is of the worlds defense is who is calling the shots, and after blowing up the original Atomic Bomb over the sea he forces Dave to pull a trigger that will unleash a massive atomic warhead as well as many missiles to destroy Agatha Simms and the land all around! Hercules and Kevin make it back to the war room but are to late to stop the event, but thanks to Jennifer who uses a pipe and pushes a self destruct button the Being is stopped cold and Dave is set free from his mechanical trap. Hercules is able to stop the rest of the missiles by throwing heavy metal at them chopping them in half…but the atomic missile is still on its way. Hercules, Kevin, Basil, Jennifer and the wounded Dave all make it to a boat just as the island explodes from the self destruction button. The heroes sell back to Agatha Simms’s island and are puzzled as it seems to be find as if the atomic missile never hit, and as Hercules and Kevin enter she greats them and informs them that she sent the missile away with a portal that dropped in in Greece in 1986…as this game they played is what started World War III and is what killed Kevin’s Father and Brother…and this makes him walk away from Agatha Simms not wanting her help with his site.

This issue brings the war games to a whole new level as they throw in the original Atomic Bomb into the mix and that’s crazy as in order to win a side is ready to cause total destruction to all living things on the island as well as the land it’s self! This issue has Hercules along with his friends on the island trying to fight of the hooked up mechanical version of Dave who is also controlling plastic robots all for the faith that the crazy old woman they just meet will restore Kevin’s eye sight, and during this battle Hercules runs away with Kevin leaving Jennifer behind who passed out of a magnet was used to take down a ton of robots…making you wonder is she a robot? Hercules in this issue is brave but is also kind of dimwitted as he rushes into battle, blames Dave to being a traitor when he himself left him to drown and gave zero attempts to save him, leaves Jennifer behind and acts like a full caveman with muscles over the calculated hero he has been most of this series. Kevin is just kind of around and wants his site back and acts as the voice or reason for Hercules who is kind of acting different, plus he delivers the shock of the issue as his actions with Hercules is what helped create the events that have caused the world to have fallen apart. Jennifer has a true mystery around her as why did the magnet make her faint? Is she part robot or was it just from all the craziness doing on that she passed out? Dave shows that while he is ego driven he is stronger than people give him credit for as he not only survived almost downing even though he could not swim, he also does what he can to fight off the will of the Defense System Being! The true bad guy in this issue is Agatha Simms who does not care about people’s safety and only wants to win a war against her unknown opponent, and to save herself she sends an atomic bomb to 1986 to a city that is packed full of people to save her hide as well as to claim a victory…she is scum a truly selfish evil person. Over all a entertaining issue and I am glad the War Game story arch is over as it was just an ok adventure for Hercules to be a part of and I must also throw in not keen on the “New” direction this far as the last two issues just feel so generic. The cover is pretty good and eye catching and interior art by Walt Simonson is solid and good. Let’s see what issue ten has in store for us.

Hercules Unbound # 10  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .30     DC Comics     # 10 of 12

Hercules, Jennifer and Kevin are in London, England during a rain storm to bury Dave who passed away from his injuries from his run in with the Defense Being, as they are at the cemetery morning their friend a group of scientist are messing with a fragment they found and during an experiment the fragment erupts into a massive geyser of water and Hercules has to think quick to save not only his friends lives but those as well that belong to museum workers and using a lamp poll he quickly makes a ditch to house the water. After everyone is safe Jennifer spots one of the scientist who is dying and warns them that a bigger fragment was found in America and that they must warn them not to experiment on it as the effects will be way worse then this! So they take a Flying Wing Plane from the Museum and Kevin is the one to fly it and oddly enough Kevin also glows with energy showing that the effects of the war has really impacted him. Hercules and crew arrive at the great lakes and find them bare and also meet the Atomic Knights a group of heroes that ride giant Dalmatians and who inform them that a super villain named Dr. Scuba who turned major bodies of water into those blocks! As Hercules grabs a fragment from the block they all head back to the tent to see if they can figure out how to safely bring the water back, but unknown to them the Atomic Knight at the tenet is no longer human and is really a space being! Hercules catches on that the Knight is no longer human as the being inside is getting power from the water cube fragment and makes its move as it wants even more power from the bigger cube in the lakes dried bed, as hit escapes and heads for the water cube Hercules follows and the pair fight it out! The Being Knight is getting stronger as they are close to the water cube and in an act of pure power Hercules lifts the cube and shoves it down the mask whole of the possessed knight causing it to explode and killing the being and filling the lake once more with water! In the end Hercules comes out of the lake and now The Atomic Knights truly know he is Hercules.

This issue has Hercules and his friends coming to America to find that that nation has been rocked by a water shortage thanks to a bad guy named Dr. Skuba that turned it all into blocks of pure energy. I should also note that those events by the villain took place in issue 7 and 8 of OMAC. And while in America the mighty Hercules also meets The Atomic Knights a brave group of giant Dalmatian ridding scientists who have survived World War III. The plot of this issue really does feel like a cheesy DC Superhero story complete with an epic fist fight and a super villain who has caused so much world sadness. And let us not also forget that poor Dave Riggs who survived almost drowning, and becoming a plaything for a Defense Department Entity only to finally die from energies…poor Dave his life could have been saved really if Hercules would have just made a tiny attempt to have saved him when he fell into the water. Hercules in this issue is pure hero and not only once more uses his power and brains but once more also goes by his gut instinct that ends up truly being the thing that saves the day. Jennifer and Kevin are around with only Kevin having a little more character development as its shown he can store power and can fire it from his hands like a laser blast when fully charged. The Atomic Knights are around and are no match for their quick fight with Hercules but once they are proven to be friends they also act as a source to explain what the water cubes are and why for those who did not read the OMAC issues, and while they are not major players in this issue it was great to see them in the issue as it was a cool way to bring other DC characters into this world just like they did before with Durak Malloy and the other talking animal people that are from the Jack Kirby created series Kamandi, well not them per say but talking animal people. The issues bad guy is a being that takes over the armor of one of the dead Atomic Knights and while he is powerful once he is near the water cubes, he is outsmarted and destroyed by Hercules with extreme destruction. The cover art is great and has Hercules fighting a massive knight and the interior art by Walt Simonson is great like before. Over all a good and entertaining issue that shows that Hercules Unbound might be back on track of delivering amazing adventures of the Mythic Hero in a world of chaos and war.

Hercules Unbound # 11  **1/2
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

Hercules along with Jennifer, Kevin, Basil and The Atomic Knights are in Detroit at a factory were the Knights have just created a new set of armor for Hercules that can withstand heat, cold and brute force! After an accident at the factory leaves it in rubble they all get back onto the Flying Wing and once more Kevin and his weird power take the wheel, but something goes wrong as Kevin turns evil for a second and his actions end up knocking The Atomic Knights and Hercules from the Wing and is going crazy with power endangering Jennifer and Basil who are stuck on the flying machine with him and he is using the weapons on the Flying Wing to attack the base of the Knights! Hercules shakes off the fall and acts quickly and uses a giant rock to throw into the near by water to cause the Flying Wing to crash land, and once down he and The Atomic Knights rush over to pull everyone from the wreck. Meanwhile on Mount Olympus the Gods lead by Zeus are stuck in their castle as a strange storm is outside keeping them trapped inside and with one last chance to warn Hercules of the Earths doom by Anti-Gods and send a message his way via a bolt that hits Jennifer, and this message comes at a terrible time as Hercules has his friend Kevin in changes and he along with The Atomic Knights are trying to tell him that they had to put him in chains for his own safety as the blind young man does not remember his rampage from earlier. Jennifer via the Gods warn them that danger is coming and just like that a massive red fire breathing dragon appears and attacks them and Hercules once more springs into action and does his best to fight off the Dragon and protect his friends. Hercules uses dirt to smolder out the Fire Dragon, but in the fight poor Jennifer died of fright! Hercules unchains Kevin and they bury their friend, when once more Kevin has an attack of energy and rushes to the Flying Wing with Hercules just able to grab the wing in time to try and save his friend. The Flying Wing crashes in the ocean and to Hercules shock its by the rock he was chained to for centuries, and its there that Kevin turns into Ares who tells Hercules this is the spot that shall bring back the Anti-Gods!

Ok the first thing I have to say about this issue is that I hate the new armor look of Hercules and I am not a fan of the interior art done by Walt Simonson this time around as I find it very sloppy and rushed and to be honest has a unfinished look…not a fan at all. But with that said this issue really surprised me as the more I read the more I enjoyed the story as at first I was kind of middle of the road about it as it started to feel like a filler issue, but by the end I was hooked and wondering who the Anti-Gods are and what Hercules will have to do to stop them in their tracks! Hercules in this issue comes off as generic hero as he show no real personality and is all just “Ill Save The Day” in his attitude and actions. Kevin going crazy with power is interesting, but also with only one more issue to go it needs to be explained and better have a good payout, as it also begs the question was he Ares all along? Jennifer is just hanging around and is not used much to really further her storyline in this series, besides to die of fright…what a lame way to kill a character off. The Atomic Knights are clearly just background players in these last few issues and don’t really offer much in the way of the story. Zeus and the rest of the Gods are finally being shown and it’s their story that really made me take notice as they seem both to feel sorry for what’s going on with Earth as well as seem very made at people that live on the planet. Plus who are the Anti-Gods and why do they hate the old Gods and also the people of Earth, and why is Ares The God Of War wanting them to be brought back? The action in this issue starts right off the bat with the accident at the factory and then gives us action on the Flying Wing and then wraps with the fight with the Dragon showing that it was not pulling any punches. The cover is eye catching in layout and colors, but again not a fan of the art Walt is using. Over all a slightly above average read that was entertaining and is a nice build to the final issue.

Hercules Unbound # 12  ***
Released in 1977     Cover Price .35     DC Comics     # 11 of 12

On the tiny Island Hercules finds out that it is not Ares The God Of War that stands before him instead its Anti-Ares and after trying to fight him he finds that he muscles will not bring him down as the fighting only makes him stronger! And in the end Hercules is buried under rumble and Anti-Ares jumps into a portal to join together with his brothers and sisters and what comes back out of the portal is a multiple headed creature that is known as the Anti-Gods! The Anti-Gods fly away and out from hiding comes Basil who helps Hercules get out from under the ruble, but soon after touching the chains that kept him held on that island in the past he finds himself all of a sudden riding two thunderbolts that brings him to Mount Olympus and travels through the storm and finally comes face to face with his father Zeus who tells his son that he was the one that created the Anti-Gods as he and the others removed all their anger and evil to find perfection and instead created this God Killing being! And that it was he not Ares that chained him to the rock on that island as he as well gave that order as he did so cause the chains and Hercules power is what kept the Anti-Gods trapped in that rock…he then tells him that Kevin has been possessed by the Anti-Ares from the first day he meet him! This sickens Hercules who is angered with his father, but that changes fast when Anti-Gods appears and is ready to kill them all! Hercules watches as The Anti-Gods and the Gods clash its clear that the battle will leave many dead, so Hercules takes the chains that once held him and starts to bring down Olympus, and this makes the Gods and Anti-Gods both rush to stop him and by them being on the same page this combines the Anti-Gods back into the Gods ending the fight and causing Hercules to stop his rampage as he knew this would cause the Anti-Gods being to be no more. Hercules is sick of being used by Zeus as a pawn to only protect him and he returns to Earth were he is joined by Basil and to his surprise Jennifer as well as Zeus has brought her back from the dead to undue the wrongs that have been done to his son. In the end Hercules, Jennifer and Basil walk away from the sun set into a war rattled world.

Hercules Unbound is one of those really good series that got canceled by poor sales as DC Comics had a very bad habit at this time of canceling titles if they did not sell Batman and Superman level of copies. This final issue has Hercules learning that all along he has been used by his father in order to protect his own mistakes that he was even willing to chain his son to a rock on an island for thousands of years in order to keep monsters he created captured…in other words Zeus is a real jerk in this issue, but by the end he does feel bad for what he has put his son through. Hercules through this whole series goes from protective hero of his friends, to cocky head strong muscle head to a son who has been treated poorly by his family…and through out it all he maintains that he must do the right thing! I like that Hercules in this series stops all types of bad guys and makes friend with others along the way showing that this old Greek Myth Hero really is the champion the world needed during the fallout of World War III. Kevin the blind young man that was Hercules right hand man during this series has never been who we all thought as he as been just a shell that housed the evil Anti-Ares…and while this is a cool twist it also makes no sense as why would the Anti-Ares help Hercules out like he did throughout the series if he just wanted death to all the Gods. I am so glad that Jennifer came back from the dead as the way she died was really cheesy as fright of a Dragon is what killed her…its almost as bad as Padme Amidala’s death by heart break in Star Wars Episode III. Zeus and the rest of the Gods are shown to be very selfish as they created pure evil for their own quest for perfection and even don’t mind ruining and killing others to protect their own hides. The Anti-Gods are super powerful and while I am sure could have caused so much destruction on Earth and Mount Olympus, it’s down played as they had to wrap him up in one issue. It’s a shame that Hercules Unbound did not last longer as a comic series as I would have love to have seen more of the Anti-Gods, I would have loved to have seen what other monsters he could have faced and what other DC Comics series would have been tied in. The cover for this final issue is eye catching and like before not a fan of Walt’s style for this issue as its back to being that sloppy unfinished look. Over all Hercules Unbound is a comic series that I loved when I was a kid and for me it stood the test of time as most of the issues in this series where highly entertaining and is one of the better Hercules in comics series ever made. If you have not read this comic series and like Post Apocalyptic Stories, Sword And Sandal films mixed with Sci-Fi elements or just classic heroes do yourself a favor and give it a read. Check out the art below to see the styles used in this series.

Well as you can see I think DC Comics did a fantastic job with Hercules and I would say that I think Hercules Unbound is a better series then the Marvel Hercules in space mini series we have covered here before. And its crazy that after this update we will be walking away from Hercules on my Thanksgiving updates and I don’t know how to really feel about it as I have very much enjoyed covering Hercules and all his adventures throughout the world of comics, but while this is a goodbye to Herc for now its not a forever one as we will at some point in time revisit him on Thanksgiving and will start it back up as to me Hercules and this holiday go hand and hand. So as always thanks for spending apart of your holiday here with me at Rotten Ink and I have something very cool for my next update as we will be leaving the world of comics and will be taking a look at a the first film of Independent B Movie called Teen Suicide and this will also mark the first in my updates that will talk about all the Shot On Video films that my fiends and I made over the years. So until next time eat turkey leg or two, watch a Hercules film or three and as always support your local Horror Host. I cannot wait to take you all back to my past of SOV filmmaking!