The Rotten Ink From The Mummy’s Tomb

The wind is blowing sand all around the great pyramids of Egypt and the air is hot and dry.  For this update to Rotten Ink we will be heading to the world of the unknown to take a look at the Universal Monster The Mummy in honor of the new film in theaters starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella.  The Mummy that is rebooting the series for Universal and will kick off the new Dark Universe! The Mummy is one of those monster characters that is overlooked by many classic monster lovers as he is always overshadowed by Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man, and my girlfriend Juliet has always wondered when The Mummy will get its time to shine and be the next “it” monster like zombies have been for so long now…and she is right, it is time for The Mummy to be in the bloody spotlight and claim his throne at being a major draw at the cinema and home media market again! During this update I will cover not only the 1932 film and its sequels but also The Mummy in pop culture and merchandise and everything I can in between! I have decided that I will not cover the 1999 Mummy reboot by Universal as I feel those are not connected to the old films in any way and are just goofy and fun adventure films. So get your wrapping ready, walk like a Egyptian and let’s take a look at The Mummy…yeah, I just made a Bangles song reference.

In 1931 Universal had major hits with Dracula and Frankenstein, and they were itching to have another Horror mega hit the following year.  So they once more started to look at horror novels for inspiration, and producer Carl Laemmie Jr. was inspired by the legends of the Curse Of The Pharaohs and hired Richard Schayer to find this novel and make him a Egyptian Mummy film. After looking and reading many classic novels none was found so they decided to come up with their own original story, but many have noticed that the story by John L. Balderston for The Mummy has many resemblances to the story “The Ring Of Thoth” written by Arthur Conan Doyle and no credit was given. After taking elements from a nine-page treatment called “Cagliostro” screen writer John L. Balderston was hired to pen the movie now being called “The Mummy”. The script took elements from multiple sources planned for his movie and Balderston added his own touches and made changes. Once written, they brought in director Karl Freund, who was the cinematographer on Dracula and who was making is American directorial debut with this film. Casting was also set as Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan and others were brought in for their respected parts and make up master Jack Pierce was brought in to design and create the look of The Mummy. The filming was your typical Hollywood horror production with Karloff having the most trying time of having to sit for hours in the make-up chair to be done up as The Mummy. The Mummy was a box office hit when released and has become one of the respected and well loved Universal Monster films of its golden age, and to this day Universal itself has lots of love for The Mummy and its legacy. I also want to note that this film, much like Dracula, uses Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky as its main theme and when released in 1932 it was joined by such other horror classics as Freaks, White Zombie, Island Of Lost Souls, The Old Dark House, Doctor X and The Mask Of Fu Manchu to name a few.

After The Mummy became a box office hit for Universal, they decided that a sequel was needed, and with it they did away with The Mummy Imhotep and introduced a new Mummy named Kharis in the film “The Mummy’s Hand” that was released in 1940 and had actor Tom Tyler as Kharis.  This film would spawn three sequels based on his terrifying killing ways. The next film in the series was released in 1942 called “The Mummy’s Tomb” and had Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis who would go on to play the character in the remaining two films in the series. 1944 saw the release of “The Mummy’s Ghost” and “The Mummy’s Curse” and with that came an end to the mainline classic movies based on this popular Universal Monster. That is, unless you count “Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy” from 1955 as well as “The Mummy” reboot that started in 1999 that spawned two official sequels “The Mummy Returns” and “The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor” as well as a spin off series “The Scorpion King” as well as an animated series. Just this year, in 2017, Universal rebooted “The Mummy” again as part of their Dark Universe film series and had the stunning Sofia Boutella as The Mummy Princess Ahmanet. But I will not spend too much time on these sequels as we are here to chat about Imhotep and not the other Mummies of these films, but I did want to make you all aware of them. Check out the super cool VHS covers of the sequels released by Universal below.

When my brother Bryan and I were young, our Dad was really into watching old classic comedy teams like the Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy and of course Abbott & Costello, all of whom had some amazing bits of classic comedy. One of my all time favorite films of the latter has to be Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy as for some reason I could never get enough of the film.  I would watch it every time it was on TV and would rent it from the library and of course would buy it on VHS and DVD. The film was released in 1955 and was the last of the comedy team meeting a monster and the final original feature film they would make for Universal. The film is about a pair of Americans who were stranded in Egypt and find their ticket home when they find a Doctor who is searching the tomb of Princess Ara who is said to be protected by the Mummy Klaris! Throw in some thieves who want to steal the treasures, as well as Klaris coming alive and you have this silly goofy horror comedy. The Mummy Klaris in this film was played by Eddie Parker who was a stand in for Lon Chaney Jr. in previous Universal Mummy films and was a stuntman and bit part actor for Hollywood.  He mostly starred in westerns and horror pictures. Parker sadly died in 1960 of a heart attack but while not a household name, he left his mark in cinema. This film is lots of fun and has some good laughs as Abbott and Costello just meshed so well with Monsters as they played really well off the their scary nature and added the right about of humor to lighten up the moments of spooky horror. If you have not seen this film and enjoy classic horror, classic comedy and good family friendly entertainment make sure to check this film out as you can watch it on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray or even streaming it or even better yet catch it on TV when Horror Hosts like Svengoolie host it!

I think its time we took a quick look at the man who made Imhotep come alive on the silver screen, Boris Karloff.  William Henry Pratt was born on November 23, 1887 in Camberwell, London and was the youngest of nine children. When young, he had bowed legs, a lisp and stuttered and had to work hard to beat the stutter but always had the lisp. He made his way through school and even attended King’s College London as he wanted to get a career in British Government’s Consular Service, but later decided to leave England and take farm labor jobs in Canada. And while working these jobs, he also found a love for acting in stage plays and this is also when he took the name “Boris Karloff” as he found the name to be exotic. When coming to America he would go on to star in minor parts in many silent films like The Lightning Raider (1919), The Last Of The Mohicans (1920) and Parisian Nights (1925) among many, many others. His big break came in 1931 when he played Frankenstein’s Monster in the Universal film Frankenstein and this film started him as being one of the biggest horror actors of the time. From their he did a score of amazing Horror Films like The Dark House (1932), The Mask Of Fu Manchu (1932), The Mummy (1932), The Ghoul (1933), The Black Cat (1934), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son Of Frankenstein (1939) and The Ape (1940) to name a select few and all the while he as well was acting in crime and thriller films as well. By the 1950s Karloff was still in demand but the budget of the films he was in were doing down as was the quality as he took roles is such films as Frankenstein 1970 (1958), The Terror (1963) and Monster Of Terror (1965) among a few gems like the Roger Corman films based on Edgar Allen Poe stories as well as the TV Specials How The Grinch Stole Christmas! and Mad Monster Party?. His last major budget film was Targets (1968) and to many this was one of his best roles in many years. Karloff’s last film was in 1971 and was called Alien Terror and was a micro budget film. While he was a major star in the cinema, he was also in demand on TV as he hosted the show Thriller and The Veil as well as made appearances on shows like Route 66 and The Wild Wild West! Karloff also lent his voice to radio and spoken word recordings, plus he even hosted spooky stories in comic books and he really was a jack of all trades when it came to the world of media. In his personal life Karloff was married five times and had one child a daughter named Sara.  He was a man with a big heart as he would dress as Santa and hand out presents at a local children’s hospital during Christmas.  He was plagued with back problems due to the labor jobs he worked and was very outspoken about hating to have the makeup applied during filming the Universal Frankenstein films. Karloff also has two stars of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, one for his movie work and one for his TV work and is still one of the most respect Horror actors of all time. Sadly the world lost Boris Karloff in 1969 at the age of 81 from pneumonia, and due to the fact he worked in so many films many were released years after his death. This is just a quick crash course about Karloff and I really think that if you love this actor and or classic Hollywood do yourself a favor and read up on his life and career. Gone but never forgotten, this update is for you Boris!

Halloween is my favorite holiday as it’s filled with candy, spooky stories and being able to dress up as your favorite monster. Besides Ben Cooper, one of the most popular mask makers was Don Post Studios run by… who else but Don Post. The company started in 1938 making halloween masks for costume parties and Halloween and became the first company to make and sell latex masks. They also made masks based on actors like William Shatner and Tor Johnson, with Shatner being later customized and used in the 1978 film Halloween and Tor’s being a very popular and top selling mask. But Don Post also made masks based on the Universal Monsters, and you guessed it, he made one based around The Mummy! The company also made hands that would complete your costume.  Take a look at the picture below and tell me that this was not a great mask done by the legend of mask making!?

The Mummy Mystery Game was made by Hasbro in 1963 and has you as the player having to play as The Mummy and explore ancient Egypt. Sadly, I do not own this game and have only seen it once for sale at Cinema Wasteland many years back.  It’s a shame because I would love to own it and get the Dayton Board Game Society back together to give it a good play through or two. Sad thing is, it’s pretty high end to get the game complete and will cost you over $200.00, but for fans of this classic horror icon it’s worth getting for the collection.

One thing I always remember were the old ads in comic books for model kits for Universal Monsters made by a company called Aurora in the 1960’s. The model kits were said to be easy to put together and would allow you to have your favorite monster on your shelf to look at and have your friends be spooked by their nightmare appearance. I remember being a kid and thinking that these were like action figures that moved and such and both my Mom and Brother having to explain to me that models don’t move, they are to look at. I remember seeing these at a garage sale once, and I ended up buying one and it fell apart in no time as I used it to fight other toys.  What monster you ask, well when I get to them, I will tell you. These models are huge collectors items and can fetch high prices for ones that are complete and in box and are the originals.  These models were re-released and can be found still online for decent prices. The Mummy kit is pretty cool and has him walking around his crypt! The models box art is also amazing and makes you wish that who ever drew them would have made a comic book based on the Universal Monsters in that style!

In 1969 toy company Marx made solid plastic figurines of the Universal Monsters, and The Mummy was of course in the line to get that treatment. The molds were later re-issued in 1991 and put out by Uncle Milton. The original releases were mostly done in blue and orange plastics, and the reissued ones were tan or glow in the dark. The ones I remember growing up were the glow in the dark ones, and they were being sold at a local pet shop called “Jack Aquarium and Pets” as decorations for your fish tank and for the most part all, they would always have an over stock of was Hunchback and Phantom of the Opera and The Mummy always seemed to be sold out. One of my friends named David J Getz had a few of the originals over the years so I did get to see them in all their prime.  They are very simple yet cool toys. You can pick up an original for around $20.00-$25.00 on Ebay and reissued one for around $8.00-$13.00.

Toy company Remco also put out a few Mummy figures in 1980 with a 9″ action figure that had moving arms that responded to a button.  The figures also had glow in the dark heads and nylon clothes and each monster came with an iron on patch and a glow in the dark ring. That same year, they also released a 3 3/4″ figure of The Mummy that fit perfectly with your Star Wars figures! I am the proud owner of the figure thanks to it being traded into Game Swap Kettering. They also did a hand puppet of The Mummy in a line called Monsters At Home. The 9″ figure goes for about $26.00- $31.00 loose on Ebay and the 3 3/4″ one goes loose for about $30.00-$55.00. And the Puppet goes for about $50.00- $175.00 loose all of course depending on condition.

Imperial made a Mummy figure that came out in 1986 as a part of their Classic Movie Monster line. The figure was hard plastic and had moveable arms and head and faintly looked like Eddie Parker who played The Mummy in “Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy”. I remember KB Toys in the Dayton Mall stocking these, and for Christmas 86 my Mom & Dad got me both The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster.  I was super happy to have them and in fact still have them both to this day. And I was able to get The Mummy many years later at a Monster Bash Convention. The figures were cheap back then and have not aged well in the collectors market as you can easily pick up a loose figure of The Mummy on Ebay anywhere from $3.00-$15.00. This figure is well worth picking up and will forever have a place in my collection.

Many other items have been made in the image of Universal’s The Mummy through the ages from banks, action figures, t-shirts, jigglers, masks, bendies, belt buckles, rings, games, bobble heads and so much more. The Mummy’s image with the wrinkled face and bandaged body is iconic thanks to Universal and Jack Pierce who created the most known look for the character. Below are a few pictures of other cool new and vintage Mummy items that might get the attention of the monster kid inside your soul.

In 1993, Playmates struck a deal with Universal to mix the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the Universal Monsters making for a fun toy line and a good way for kids of that time to discover the joys and horrors of the classic monsters. The Mummy was mixed with the rude dude turtle Raphael making this a funny mix up as The Mummy does not strike me as a partying pizza eater, but the figure works and for the most part is pretty cool looking. This monster turtle loose is not too expensive and you can get Mummael for about $8.00-$22.00 loose and again depending on condition.

Image walking into a gas station in 1963 to pay for your gas and being given a cool Universal Monster glass that featured many of the company’s famous monsters that included The Mummy! This was in fact a true occurrence as these promotional glasses were given out as premiums at stations. These glasses are amazing and for the time are well designed with slick spooky artwork. The Mummy’s has him standing in his crypt and has a green tent to the paint. But if you want one, it will cost you as they go for $85.00-$150.00 but is worth it if you collect this kind of stuff.

Crestwood House Monster Books are books that I use to love sitting and reading about each monster they showcased and all the classic films that featured them.  The books would also fill you in on old legends about that monster and even talk a little about the source material they were based on whether it be a urban legend or a novel. They put out a second series as well that were more like kid novels based on the movies like Bride of Frankenstein or Dracula’s Daughter. The library used to also have a huge sale where they would sell you a bag of books for so many dollars, and I was lucky enough to snatch up many of these titles when they decided they didn’t need them anymore and still have them to this day. I find myself from time to time still dusting them off and enjoying these fun books of my youth. And from the first batch of books, I got all those years ago from the library sale is one based on The Mummy! If you have young kids who are into monsters, I suggest getting them these.

1963 was the year that The Mummy Soaky was released.  What is a soaky, you ask, well they were plastic bottles in the shape of a character that’s head acted as the cap and inside the 11 oz bottle was bubble bath. The Universal Monsters line had the saying that they would spook you clean.  Imagine some terrified kid being told it was bath time and he knew that once he got into that tub he would have to come face to face with the plastic cold stare of The Mummy who he just watched on Shock Theater the night before just to get clean…this by far is one of the silliest products to bare The Mummy likeness. These bottles are semi rare and will cost you to collect.

Back in the 90’s Doritos Chips gave away Universal Monster stickers in the bags you would find at your local grocery store. And I found myself begging my mom to buy this snack food so that I would be able to collect the whole set of these stickers. So every time we would go to Ellis, a small store in downtown Waynesville, I would get a bag of these chips.  Now I should tell you, I HATE Doritos, always have and always will, and this shows you my love for Universal Monsters as I suffered through eating those nasty chips. I can remember getting The Mummy sticker for the first time, and I proudly put it away for safekeeping. No matter how hard I tried and how many bags of powdered death, I ate I never did get a full set of these stickers making all my efforts even that more sad. I still have the stickers to this day, and they are stored away at Independent B Movie studio waiting for the day that I will proudly display them in my home. Check out The Mummy sticker below and see just how cool these chip giveaways were.

The Mummy has also made it to handheld video games like the one made by Tiger has graced the hands of gamers. He has also been in pinball games at your local arcade and has been in a few PC games, and hopefully soon there will be a new game based around him for modern console systems as the 2017 movie could spark it.

But this is called Rotten Ink and is a blog mostly about comic books so we should talk about comics that are based around The Mummy that are licensed by Universal. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three, one being released by Dell in 1963 as part of their Movie Classics line called “The Mummy.”  It would also get reprinted along side Dracula. Monster Comics in 1991 also released a mini series based on The Mummy and finally Dark Horse comics had “Universal Monsters The Mummy” that was released in 1993. The Dell and Monster comics both are new stories about the Mummy while the Dark Horses release is just based one the script and is a movie adaptation. Once we cover this Dark Horse one here, we will have covered two of the three comic releases as we took a look at the Dell one a few years back. Over all these comics are worth reading if you’re a fan of this classic movie character.

Fast food hamburger joint Jack In The Box gave away figures based on the Universal Monsters and unlike Burger King, they included The Mummy into their promotion. The first batch came in 1999 and had The Mummy, who comes with his tomb that he rises from. Then in 2002 they put out a windup and pop out Mummy who once more came with his tomb, these figures are really cheap looking and kind of cheesy but still worth owning for those who love all things Universal Monsters. I don’t know much about these because there is no Jack in The Box in my area.

The Universal Mummy Series has also been a big part of Horror Hosting as the films were a part of The Shock Theater and Son of Shock movie packages that allowed local TV stations to air the films with a host. Many of the old shows are lost like Vampira, Sammy Terry, Dr. Creep and Melvin hosting these classic films, but a few have survived and some hosts have hosted them as late as 2016. But here is a host I have that brought you some films from the Universal Mummy Series that is Jeepers Creeper who hosted The Mummy’s Curse from many, many decades back.

I grew up in the age of breakfast cereal and some of the best out there were the General Mills Monster Cereals with Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry and the wonders of how the world works when they put the cereal mascots along side Universal Monsters! Let’s first break down Yummy Mummy as a character and his cereal. Fruity Yummy Mummy is monster who is wrapped with bright color bandages and is a friendly monster to kids. The cereal has a fruit flavor to it and is my third favorite out the monster cereals, and sadly it did not last in the world of breakfast cereal as it was introduced in 1987 and by 1992, it was put into the cereal crypt until 2013 for one Halloween season it was released with all the other monster cereals. Growing up I can remember eating Fruity Yummy Mummy and even still have the send away crayon of the character.

So now that we have talked about the Universal Monster The Mummy and its impact in the world of horror cinema as well as the merchandise it spawned and delighted monster kids through out the ages, I think that it’s time that we tempt fate and enter the cursed crypt of Princess Ankh-es-en-amon and try not to awaken the mummy Imhotep as we enjoy reading and reviewing the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of the 1932 classic film The Mummy! But I see some hieroglyphics written here that say “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.” So with the dust in the air and the Halloween season just months away, let’s chill our blood with some good old classic horror!

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

Sir Joseph Whemple has made the discovery of a lifetime when he finds the mummified body of an Egyptian priest named Imhotep who was wrapped and entombed alive as he was in love with the Princess Ankh-es-en-amon, making him die a horrible death. Dr. Muller comes to the site and tries to warn them that this mummy is bad news and not to read the scroll that of course gets read by a bumbling assistant.  This awakens Imhotep who steals the scroll and slinks off into the night but not before driving the assistant crazy with fear. Many years pass and Frank Whemple and his friend Professor Pearson are called by Ardath Bey (The Mummy Imhotep) who is living a new life and who needs them to dig and find the tomb of Princess Ankh-es-en-amon and the pair does and gives all their finds to the Cairo Museum. But Imhotep soon slips into madness as he has a plan to kill a woman named Helen Grosvenor whom he thinks is the reincarnation of his Princess lover and its up to Frank and the aged Dr. Muller to save her from a fate worse than death and that’s to be a undead bride! But when Helen really does turn out to be Princess Ankh-es-en-amon it is she who saves her own life when she prays to the goddess Isis who sets the scroll ablaze and turns Imhotep into dust.

The Dark Horse creative team did a fantastic job with this adaptation of the 1932 film as they captured the mood and setting of the Universal film perfect and yet added their own touch in the presentation. The story is about Imhotep, a priest who was mummified and buried alive for his undying love for the princess and who is resurrected many years later and spends his time in modern times living as one of us.  When he meets a woman he finds is the reborn love of his life, he tries to make her is wife eternal and it’s up to a group of scientist not to allow this to happen. This is a classic horror tale that pits good vs. evil and has love to the main goal for either side to try to win the struggle. Imhotep is a wise and sinister Mummy who has adapted to modern times in order to blend in and find his goal of being reunited with his love, the thing is he does not care who he has to hurt in order to achieve his goal. Not to mention, he is an undead being who can pass for an older man and can walk among us and turn on us at any time. While he is bad, he also has a side that makes you pity him as he truly does love the Princess. Helen Grosvenor is a woman who is a damsel as she really is the reborn Princess Ankh-es-en-amon! Frank Whemple is our hero, and he is a classic hero who is noble and is trying to stop The Mummy for all the right reasons and along with his friends does just that. This horror comic is bloodless and its scares comes from the mood and subject matter as this is what Universal Monster movies where all about. The cover for this comic is amazing and captures the look of Boris Karloff as The Mummy and the interior art is great stuff and is done by Tony Harris who also did the cover! The things that work well in this comic are the art and they did a great job of adaptation the 1932 film into a comic book! The downside is that while it’s a classic film, it is very slow moving and this as well makes this horror comic very slow moving! But even though it moves at a slow pace, I would say that if you enjoy the movie make sure to get a copy of this Dark Horse Comic. Check out the artwork below to see they style of art that Harris brings to this adaptation.

Again sorry for the delay of this update as I have moved from the trusty apartment and now have a new home base and during the move my issue of The Mummy were misplaced. It’s also crazy to think that in 2017 we had a new Mummy movie from Universal that was supposed to kick off the new shared monster universe called The Dark Universe, but only time will tell if this will really happen as the box office and critics were not kind to this re-boot. Also weird is that this was the final Dark Horse adaptation of a Universal Monster that was made as we have taken a look at Dracula, Frankenstein and Creature From The Black Lagoon.  I wonder why Dark Horse never did make issues of The Wolf Man, Invisible Man or Bride Of Frankenstein? But that is a mystery that I am sure I will never know the true answer to unless I can chat with someone from Dark Horse who knows the answers. For our next update, we are walking away from Monsters and into the world of Robots as we will chat about Robotech: Defenders, a model kit line that ended up being the name sake of a popular Japanese import cartoon series. So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a Universal Monster movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I think I am going to go watch a few horror films now!

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The Universal Dracula: Blood Drive Countdown To Halloween

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

Dracula 1931 Poster 0

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

Dracula 1931 Still 1Dracula 1931 VHSDracula 1931 Still 2

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

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

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

Draculas Daughter VHSSon Of Dracula VHSDracula Remake VHS

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

Bela Lugosi 0Bela Lugosi as Dracula

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

24482625_120291616966villarias

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

Don Post Dracula Halloween Mask

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

Dracula Mystery Game BoardDracula Mystery Board GameDracula Mystery Game pawn

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

Aurora Dracula boxAurora Dracula model

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

Palmer Dracula Figure

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

Remco Dracula DollRemco Dracula figure

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

Imperial Dracula

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

Dracula JigglerDracula Bendie ToyDracula Pog SlammerBig Head Dracula Figure

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

TMNT DON AS DRACULA

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

Monster Candy Dracula Box

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

Crestwood Dracula BookCrestwood Daughter Of Dracula

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

Universal Dracula PuzzleDracula Puzzle

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

Doritos Dracula Sticker

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

count choculacount chocula dracula boxCount Chocula Figure

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

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

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

BK Kids Club LogoBK Dracula Figure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AVGN as DraculaAVGN Art Dracula EpisodeAVGN as Dracula 2

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

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

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

Dracula 1 Dark Horse Comics

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

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

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

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

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

PDVD_000

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Of Dracula

Welcome back, readers!  I know that one of the top questions on your mind is what did I do for Friday The 13th in September 2013…did I go to Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang at Gillys Jazz Club to see bands Nightbeast and Todd The Fox with performers like Sunny Wonderland? Nope. Did I stay home and watch Horror Host Riggor Mortiss on DATV hosting the film Five? Nope. What I did was something I love to do, going to a haunted location in Ohio with friends to see if we can experience anything from the unknown.  That night we decided to go to Fudge Road in Gratis, Ohio. Fudge Road is spoken of as being filled with legend and myth, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either the most haunted road in all of Ohio or is a road that is filled with nothing but B.S. stories. Now before I get into the story of us going there and what we saw or didn’t see, I want to give you all a little run down of all the odd things/creatures/people that are suppose to be on the road.

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Cry Baby Bridge

Every small town has this legend.  The small village of Gratis is no exception, and has a few stories about the bridge. One is that sometime in the 1800’s, a mother tossed her baby over the bridge, and the infant’s spirit is suppose to haunt the cold waters below. Another ghost that is supposed to haunt the bridge is that of a truck driver who drove his rig off the side of the narrow road and into the ditch near the bridge, and he died at the scene. Another legend speaks of the ghost of a woman who was killed on the bridge by a biker gang who beat her with baseball bats even knocking one of her eyes out.  She is said to haunt the bridge and the woods around the bridge. The most famous ghosts of the bridge are those of a mother and child.  When the child passed away, the mother was so struck with grief that she hung herself on the bridge, and now late at night you are supposed to park on the bridge and say “Mama” three times and wait to hear a baby cry and sometimes see the ghost of the woman who in turn seems to be looking for her child. Also some people who have gone to this haunted bridge have claimed that they have seen dead animals such as deer and dogs hung up and gutted hanging by the neck from the rails under the bridge!

White Fur Monster

The Cocker/White Fur Monster

The Cocker is a white furred humanoid, Bigfoot-type creature who is said to have been spotted numerous times around the woods near the “Midget House”. The creature is known to make loud high pitched screams sounding like a woman and seems to not have a pattern on when and what time to witness it. Some accounts say that the creature is more of a killer and is known for killing animals and leaving their mangled bodies as a warning to all those who enter his domain. The creature is said to be about 6 foot tall with long white hair all over and is ape-like in appearance. Some also think that this creature is from another dimension and moves through portals and that’s why it’s seen less than other spooky “attractions” on the road.

Fudge road Midget house

The Midget House

There is a strange tiny house that sits back aways from the road on a plot of land that is said to be a place that houses giant pigs or also sometimes reported dogs that are used in scarifies for witches and or the KKK. The pigs in some stories also are said to be man-eaters, and those who trespass on the land could find themselves in their bellies! The house is said to also be a source of evil, and those who walk around it get odd feelings and feel as if they are being watched. The white furred Cocker monster has been spotted around it a few times making it a major source in spotting it. The house cannot be seen at night via the road as it has no lights in or around it and is surrounded by a barbwire fence. Also around this part it’s said that a barn sits somewhere nearby that was the site of 17 teens who were murdered. The Midget House location is one of the most popular attractions on the road next to Cry Baby Bridge.

Fudge Road Old Lady

Crazy Old Witch Lady

The locals of Fudge Road don’t like wanna-be “ghost hunters” or thrill seeking teens to drive up and down the road, and one of the worst for hating these people is a shotgun carrying old woman who also video tapes everyone that drives up and down and also is known to chase them down the dark and narrow road. She is said to own all the houses on the road besides one and that many of the houses are really empty but she leaves a lamp on in each to make it look as if someone is home. Some reports have her riding around with an older man in a black/red truck and chasing people down the narrow road video taping and firing guns in the air as warning shots. Some reports also have her hiding in the woods and the corn fields on the road ready to call the police or even fire her trusty shotgun at you. Many say that she is a witch and that she is known for killing animals and having large satanic gatherings in the woods and can place curses on those who drive down her road. Is she a witch or just a batty old lady with a shotgun? All that’s really known is it’s not safe to ask her!

Fudge Road Baby on Bridge

So on that Friday The 13th after work around 8:15pm at night Stephen Alexander II, Josh Weinberg and myself decided to go visit a haunted place for the night.  We went through a list of possible locations that included the classics like Carpenter’s Road and Frankenstein’s Castle, but Fudge Road ended up being the winner so we piled into Stephen’s white Lumina and headed out to the famed road in Gratis.  On the ride there, I used Stephen’s smart phone to look up stories to read aloud in the car to help build the mood of the spooky road we were about to visit. We found the road with no issues and turned onto it.  On one side was a farmhouse with lots of land and a shed, while on the other side was a massive corn field.  We made jokes about Children Of The Corn and even killer Scarecrows as we slowly drove down it keeping our eyes open for a white furred monster, ghosts and yes, the crazy old lady with a shotgun! As we reached the bridge, we saw that it was blocked off.  So we turned around all hyped on just how creepy this smaller part of the road was. and we knew we had to find the other end of the road to see what spooky horrors it held. We stopped at a small gas station and filled up with gas and some drinks and headed back out to find the road. After driving a few minutes, we found the other side of the road and traveled down it.  The road was dark, and the worst part was the road was barely big enough even for one car, let alone two! We passed a carload of kids who were leaving the area and clearly were also there to find a good scare, and they were nice enough to pull all the way over to allow us to get past them and get deeper down the dark road. The sites from the road were odd as many of the houses did seem empty with just one single light on in each, making me wonder if the crazy old lady really did own most of the road. We past one house that was boarded up with a big fence around it as well as no trespassing police tape, but it was clear that someone or something had lifted part of the fence to allow people to sneak onto the land. Some parts of the road had some wicked turns and with it being pitch black and both sides covered with deep woods, you had to pay more attention more where you were driving. When we made it to the other side of the closed up Cry Baby Bridge, we parked the car and we all got out.  While Steve and Josh walked over to the bridge, I began snapping pictures around the car wanting to get as much of the creepy atmosphere as I could so that I could share it here on Rotten Ink. The Bridge was covered with graffiti with words like R.I.P and a number of names, and as I snapped pics, a flash of light went off in the woods near the car. I waited and saw it again…it was super fast and almost reminded me of a cellphone being awoken from sleep mode.  So I alerted the guys, and we headed back to the car and got out of dodge! We began talking about what we thought the light could be, and I stuck with my cellphone theory.  As we pulled out of the road we noticed a cop drove by, turned on Fudge Road and blocked it from anyone else going down it.  I truly think that the light was the Crazy Old Woman calling the cops on us! On the way home, we talked about the creepy feel of the road and wanted to find another haunted location to visit.  We ended up not going to another and while we have talked about going back to Fudge Road, we never have made the journey back. While we didn’t see any white furred monsters or even giant pigs in a tiny house, we did, it seems, have contact with the Old Lady of the road, and while no shotguns or car chases happened, it’s clear as day she doesn’t want you around. Below are some of the pics I took that night of the road near the bridge as well as the Corn field straight out of Children Of The Corn.

Fudge Road CornFudge Road BridgeFudge Road Woods

But enough of Fudge Road, let’s talk about Count Dracula also known as TV’s Count Dracula of “Horror Incorporated” that ran from 2000-2002 on Channel 45 in Minneapolis. Count Dracula began his hosting career in 1984 on a show called “Count Dracula Presents” that lasted for two years on Channel 29 out of Minneapolis, and after the show ended, he came back to TV and did a few more shows before landing the host gig on Horror Incorporated that for years was a un-hosted program.  This was in 2000, and for two solid years he hosted the show with his vampire charm. I just wanted to make you readers aware of Count Dracula and don’t want to spew too much knowledge about him just yet because who knows, maybe in the future I’ll do a Horror Host Icon update about him!

Count Dracula (host)

As you all know, I am a video game player and enjoy sitting with my controller in hand and playing the newest Resident Evil or WWE game on a big TV screen. Growing up during the good old days of handheld games, I always found myself not buying a Gameboy, Game Gear or even an Atari Lynx and would choose a console game or even a Tiger Handheld game instead. So this last winter, my girlfriend Juliet’s mom and dad gave us an Apple iPad, and the only thing we use it for is games. Juliet plays a game called Smurf Village, and I play Simpsons Tapped Out and an odd little gem called Zombie Cafe, where you build a cafe and have zombies and monsters act as your waiters! As of June 13th 2014 I have a total of 6 main waiters on staff that include Mummy Fritz, Female Mummy Megan, Zombie Hipster Gary, Female Zombie Eliza, Zombie Construction Worker Jason and my long time staff zombie Alex. This game is silly and a way to waste time on a bored night. The game also allows you to send your workers to another cafe and attack them and some of these cafes are owned by the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster! If you’re looking for a fun, simple and free game to play on your iPad, I would say check this on out. Below are most of my staff minus Mummy Megan as she joined the staff a little later on.

Zombie Cafe Workers

Growing up, for one Christmas I got some Imperial Universal Monster toys for The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster, and I loved them and played with them a lot.  I even have them to this day, and then when Juliet and I went to Monster Bash this year I was able to finally get my hands on The Mummy.  With him I was only missing one of the figures from the series so I pulled the trigger and ordered it from Ebay and that figure was for the Vampire King Count Dracula! The figure has a very loose likeness to Bela Lugosi and stands taller than The Mummy. The figure I was able to win at opening bid of .99 due to some paint loss to its fingers and hair, but over all I think its a nice display figure. If you’re a classic Universal Monster fan and collect action figures based on them make sure to check out the Imperial line.  They fit in very nicely with your Remco and Marx figures. Check out the pic below for what the Dracula figure looks like.

Imperial Dracula Toy

Now that we talked about Fudge Road a haunted location in Ohio, iPad game Zombie Cafe and a little about Horror Host Count Dracula, I think it’s time we get to the main attraction, Eternity Comics’ mini series called Ghost of Dracula! Now I have to be honest many years back when I was a teen I had some of these issues from this mini series that I got from Mavericks, but when I could not find all the issues I never fullly read them and they got sold way back when with almost all my comics to pay rent for me and my then girlfriend Misty. So it being 2014 and getting the whole set thanks to Dark Star Books, I can finally read the whole series. Just a friendly reminder I graded on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s sit back and see what kind of Ghosts Dracula has, and if we should also call the Ghostbusters for him!

Ghosts of Dracula 1

Ghosts of Dracula  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #1 of 5

The year is 1925, and the city is London as a man named Mr. Beck is asking for help not to fall asleep from a doctor who in turns makes the mistake of drugging the patient who then transforms and kills his would be savior. Meanwhile in New York, Count Dracula is roaming the streets and snacking on people late at night! In Amsterdam, Professor Van Helsing is dealing with his wife who has slowly slipped into madness and is in an asylum, and returns to London when a rash of murders breaks out that has victims with ripped out throats. Dracula meets Harry Houdini who exposes a fraud medium, and the two exchange stories of trying to contact old loved ones.  Dracula turns into a bat and disappears as Van Helsing finds that Mr. Beck, his old friend, is in fact the killer and is a demon! Dracula barely makes it back to his coffin in time and it’s shown he has a female vampire named Ellen who he does not care for but uses her to keep his coffin safe.

This is a fun issue, and a great way to kick off a mini series based on Count Dracula! I love the way it has numerous stories going at once and not only shows you what Dracula is doing but also shows that a demon killer is on the loose and shows all the crappy stuff that is going on in an aging Van Helsing’s life. The addition of real life magician Henry Houdini is also bad ass and a great way to keep a person like me truly interested in the story. The issue’s plot is this: London has a killer that is a demon, and Van Helsing goes to stop him thinking it to be Dracula, while Dracula himself is in America looking for a way to contact his old love. I also like Ellen who is clearly crazy and wants nothing more than to be a full fledged wife of Dracula, all the while he wants nothing to do with her and treats her like a cheap porn star! The art work is that pure 1990’s independent horror comic look, and Count Dracula has short curly style black hair and a classic 70’s porn mustache and looks like the love child of Burt Reynolds and Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Van Helsing looks like a crazy old man, a perfect look for an aging hero. Over all I dig the art work and think that issue 1’s cover is just okay. I am looking forward to see where this story goes. Oh I should also say that for a horror comic this has very little blood and is more of a story driven issue than a blood bath.

Ghosts of Dracula  2

Ghosts of Dracula  # 2  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #2 of 5

Harry Houdini is a mess after seeing Dracula and comes to grips that vampires are real, but in acting strange, he is pushing is girlfriend Bess away! While Dracula himself is hung up on Lucy (from the novel), Ellen uses her blood and charms to seduce the vampire king, but makes the mistake of mentioning Lucy causing Dracula to freak out and set her free no longer in his control or bond.  This leads to Ellen jumping off a cliff to her death. Van Helsing meanwhile tries to get an ageing friend to help him in his Dracula/demon hunt and is turned down and returns home to find Mr. Beck there asking for help! Houdini, after one of his shows, gets information about a person who can help him, but is warned by Dracula not to go and if he does death awaits him. In the end we see that the man Houdini is supposed to meet with his Van Helsing and the threat from Dracula does not work as he prepares to travel to London. Meanwhile at the town morgue, Ellen is alive and well and is now a fully fledged vampire!

Issue two slows the pace a little, and with this much story, it makes sense to flesh out the true missions of each of the characters. I like how it’s clearly showing that Harry Houdini is being geared up to be the mini series’ hero and Van Helsing seems to be spinning his wheels and knowing he is too old to do this alone.  Also I am not 100% sure yet, but I think the friend he goes to and asks for help from was none other than Sherlock Holmes! While the issue does not say the detective’s name, his look and hat are a giveaway, and I hope that this is looked at further in the series. Dracula in this issue seems to be an emotional mess and has Lucy on the brain; he even makes the mistake of giving into Ellen who he hates! Plus love the fact Dracula could kill Houdini but doesn’t because he respects him as a human.  Wow, Dracula must love magic in order to spare his life! Mr. Beck almost seems like a Jeykell and Hyde type character as the good side wants help and the evil side just wants to kill. The art is still great in this one, and this time they add a tiny bit of blood and the cover is a tad bit better than issue 1’s. Over all the story in this one is good but a little crammed making this one a solid issue just not as impactful. I can’t wait to see what issue 3 has in store and hope that these characters all start interacting I mean a Dracula and Mr. Beck demon fight could be epic! So let’s get onto issue 3.

Ghosts of Dracula  3

Ghosts of Dracula  # 3  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #3 of 5

Both Dracula and Houdini cross the sea to Europe to get the answers they seek. Van Helsing takes Beck to a church where there is a young girl named Angelica who has the power to heal anyone she comes across that needs to be saved, but each time the young girl does this she herself becomes more and more weak and even gets the wounds of Christ. Not to be left behind, Ellen also comes across the sea to be close to her beloved Vampire King! Beck is taken to the church’s dungeon where he once more turns into the evil Demon and scares all the nuns as Van Helsing gets a late night visit from Dracula who now has Houdini as his servant after he forces him to do his bidding! Dracula and Helsing meet outside on a cold snow filled night in a epic stare down.

Wow, this issue takes some twist and turns and takes Harry Houdini who you think is going to be the hero of the series and turns him into Dracula’s slave! I didn’t see that coming at all, and in fact, you find yourself cheering for Harry to break the spell. Dracula in this issue is pissed and kills a bunch of sailors and dock workers letting everyone know that he is not to be messed with. Ellen as well shows a little more of a mean streak and kills a young woman who is thinking of suicide and takes a dock worker who has a family as her slave. Beck as the demon is one scary soul stealing creature of hell, and when even being inside a holy place doesn’t seem to bother him, you know Van Helsing has his hands full. Speaking of Van Helsing, old age seems to have slowed him down a little, but he still is a warrior of fighting for good. Angelica is an interesting character that is as pure as snow and seems to be a young woman with such amazing power. The story is starting to heat up, and now all in one place are Dracula, Van Helsing, Demon Beck, Angelica and Houdini so let’s just get into issue 4 and see what big battle is about to go down! Oh yeah, the art work is still good, but this cover is a little lame and has zero to do with the comic.

Ghosts of Dracula 4

Ghosts of Dracula  # 4  **1/2
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #4 of 5

Demon Beck has escaped and has kidnapped Angelica and taken her to a castle that belongs to Dracula! A horrified nun runs out in the middle of the Dracula and Van Helsing stare down and tells them that Angelica is gone.  The two along with Houdini put all their differences aside and decide to team up to save the young girl who is the key to something they all want or need. For Van Helsing, she is the key to saving the soul of his friend Beck; for Houdini she is the key to talk to his dead mother and for Dracula it’s so he can talk to Lucy, his lover who died many years back. Ellen travels to Dracula’s castle and has visions of what, why and how Dracula became the vampire he is to this day, but while there she sees the demon and tries to save the young girl and get this demon out of her master’s house.  She fails as Dracula and crew come in and challenge the demon!

This is a good issue that serves as mostly the back story of Dracula, and while it’s cool and a fun read, I almost feel they just added this all in as filler and to get one more issue out for this mini series so that it would be one issue longer. Dracula and Van Helsing having to team up to save Angelica is a cool concept and makes one wonder what if Universal or Hammer decided to do this in their films, how would fans have taken that idea. Plus it’s nice that already Houdini has broken the hold Dracula has on him and is like yeah, this ain’t happening no more. Ellen once more shows that she is way too in love with Dracula who up to this point uses her and dislikes her to the point of hate, but it is cool to see her try and take a stand against the demon Beck even if she does lose fast. The players are all set for an epic battle of good & evil and something in-between. The artwork is the same as other issues, and Dracula still looks like a porn star of the 70’s mixed with Tony Stark.  The cover this time around is pretty cool and eye catching.  The use of the bright red I am sure helped it get some attention on the stands when released in 1991. So with this let’s move onto the final issue and see how this epic final battle plays out.

Ghosts of Dracula  5

Ghosts of Dracula  # 5  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.50   Eternity Comics   #5 of 5

The demon Beck is not impressed with the team-up before him, and it’s clear that Dracula is the only one who stands a chance in fighting him. Dracula sends wolves after demon Beck, and Van Helsing rams a stake through its body allowing Beck to turn human for a few moments.  Houdini shoots him in the head killing Beck, but this frees the demon who now is ready for all out war. While Dracula tries his best to fight the demon, Van Helsing and Houdini take Angelica away and try to get her to safety. Dracula puts up one hell of a fight but is no match for the raw evil power of the demon, who then goes after Angelica who in turn awakens and is able to defeat the hell spawn herself. After the battle, Van Helsing goes and rams a stake through Dracula’s heart, and Angelica uses her powers to answer many questions.  For Houdini, she tells him she is truly able to speak to the dead; Dracula even in death in now able to find peace, and Van Helsing comes to the realization that his wife is a vampire and must not be protected but destroyed for his own mental health.

If this issue and even series teaches you one thing, it’s don’t mess with Dracula even if you are a demon from Hell, cause when he’s mad he is going to try his best to kill you! Dracula in this issue is still a a bad guy but he knows that he must team with these humans in order to rid the world of an evil demon that is trying to open the gates making the world a dangerous place for humans and vampires alike. Dracula, while a mean blood sucker, also shows compassion and love as he is shown to care for Lucy, and in death is finally able to find that inner peace and light that he has been lacking for centuries. 70’s porn mustache Dracula is a well written character and is clearly the antihero from start to finish. Van Helsing is still a noble hero, but it’s clear that he is old and broken down and has the stress of the world on his shoulders.  His hatred for Dracula is out of control and consumes him at times. The real cool aspect of the character this time around is that his true love has been affected and now a vampire herself, and he is in denial that she has becomes what he hates most. Plus while Dracula gets a happy ending, Van Helsing only kind of does and he kills his wife and then spends his time in a cell for murder! Angelica is a powerful young woman who has unknown powers racing through her body.  It would be cool to have seen just all the things she could do, and would have been a great ally for Van Helsing if he would have continued to hunt and kill creatures of the unknown. Houdini is a character that adds something to the story that’s hard to place your finger on.  While he doesn’t do anything too heroic nor does he kill any of the enemies at hand, there is just something so cool about this magician’s appearance that helps add a level of cool to this mini series. The demon is one mean sucker who kills and torments anyone who gets in his way.  It’s saying something when you as the reader are worried for Dracula, the world’s most powerful vampire when he has to step toe to toe with this powerhouse of hell fire might. This was a well done series that showed with the right writers and artists, a Dracula comic series can be done well.  I for one would have loved to see another mini series done with Houdini, Van Helsing, Dracula and Angelica going up against another major threat to all kind. The artwork in the series is done by Seppo Makinen and is fantastic and has that classic early 90’s horror comic look to it, and I would like to see some modern Dracula comics done by Seppo. While a horror comic, the series is bloody but not too over the top adding a level of Hammer Horror charm turned up a bit for more shocking aspects. Over all this is one fun comic series and was worth revisiting and completing for sure! Below are some of the artwork from this mini series of Dracula and his ghosts.

Ghost of Drac Art 1Ghost of Drac Art 2Ghost of Drac Art 3

Folklore and magic collided in this comic series that was surprisingly very good! It was nice to see yet another adventure being done around Count Dracula and taking him out of the same old same old element and placing him in a position where he must come face to face with evil that is straight from Hell. Taking an iconic horror character and turning him more good was really cool to read and was way ahead of the Dracula TV series on NBC that was kind of doing the same before it was canceled. And it looked like we didn’t even have to call in The Ghostbusters to help with Dracula and his Ghosts! Well, while May is in mid month, our next update will be about a giant and not just any old giant but that of an icon of the squared circle known as Andre! I want to also remind everyone that Ghost of Dracula was supposed to go up in August 2014, but due to the issues being misplaced before my write up was complete, it was placed on the back burner, and finally Dracula got his time in the sun…oh great I forgot he dies in the sun! So make sure to go out and enjoy this weather, and visit a amusement park or two, read a comic under your favorite tree and watch a big blockbuster movie at your favorite theater and as always support your local Horror Host.

Andre The Giant Logo

Night Of The Living Monster Bash Vacation (2014)

Have you ever been to Mars? Well I have! It’s not like one would think.  It’s filled with lots of restaurants and hotels and it does have a U.F.O in its downtown, but it’s not as hot nor is the air unbreathable as you’d be lead to think. Okay, I am not talking about the planet Mars but the one in Pennsylvania that hosts the amazing horror convention known simply as Monster Bash! And this update is going to be all about our trip to Monster Bash for vacation and for our comic reviews, I will be covering FantaCo’s Night of the Living Dead comics called “Prelude” and “Aftermath,” and I will be reading them at Evans City Cemetery, the same one that George A. Romero filmed the movie in! So buckle your seatbelt, Rotten Ink is going on the road with Juliet and I as we have one spooky vacation! And for those wondering Blood Feast will be coming up after this one..

Monster Bash Logo

Juliet and I were long overdue for a vacation and after the passing of my grandfather John on June 15th just a few days before this trip, I really needed to go and charge my batteries. So on Thursday June 19th we jumped in our Mazda 3 and hit the road for a fun and relaxing trip.  We first stopped in Columbus to have lunch with our friend Mike McGraner who is the producer/director/editor and even sometimes writer of Nite Owl Theater starring the horror host legend Fritz The Nite Owl.  We ate at the Blue Danube and had great conversations about horror hosting, movies and life! I always look forward to chatting with Mike as we have a lot in common and both know how it is to direct a host. After lunch we hit the road for the trip, and Juliet and I had a blast talking and listening to podcasts like Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast as he talked with classic comedian and F-Troop actor Larry Storch.  We also listened to Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling where he talked to Iron Sheik, Angelina Love and Gangrel, and I must say that both of these podcasts are some of the best going right now. We made one more pit stop at a Burger King so that I could get a Coke Icee, and we hit our hotel late and ordered room service and relaxed for the night.  As Juliet slept, I for some reason couldn’t and watched Pawn Stars almost all night. Over all it was a fun day to kick off what promised to be an amazing weekend for sure!

Gilbert Gottfried Amazing Colossal Podcastblue danubeThe Art Of Wrestling Podcast

The first day of Monster Bash was on June 20th 2014 and the weather outside was in the upper 70’s and at times the clouds came out and made the sky look as if it was about to storm something awful. Juliet and I started the morning off eating lunch with David J. Getz, who was vending at the convention, at Max and Erma’s, and while there who walks in but Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame.  We didn’t bother him as I had all weekend to do that and after lunch we headed back to the hotel for a hour or two and watched some TNT show called “Cold Justice” that’s about two women who travel to small towns and solve cold cases. We then headed to Monster Bash, and I must say that next to Horrorhound Weekend it’s a convention I feel at home at, and the reason I say this is because I am a classic monster fan and this is the place that really is made for fans like me who don’t care about meeting the Walking Dead cast for the 50th time, not that there is anything wrong with that if that’s your thing. Walking in, you’re treated to a very nice staff who all seem to love what they are doing as well as amazing statues of classic Universal monsters like Dracula and The Wolf Man.  This year’s main display was for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and was complete with sound effects and dialogue from the film, and even the crate that the Monster was shipped in! You then walk down the hallway and see the celebrities like Julie Adams (Creature From The Black Lagoon) and Judith O’Dea (Night of the Living Dead) and the ball room is filled with the merchandise dealers and is where the horror hosts are. The first day I was more about shopping and seeing the lay of the land and decided that Saturday would be the grand fun time of chatting with the stars. The attendance seemed a little light but the people who were there seemed to really be into the whole vibe of the classic monsters. While shopping around we ran into our music making pals The Midnight Syndicate, and we had a really good time just shopping around and looking at all the cool stuff at every booth. Below is the cool set up of the Universal Monsters that meet you as you enter the convention.

Frankenstein Monster and Dracula SatueThe Monster CrateWolf Man Satue

I got some great stuff this first day: I found an Imperial Mummy figure from Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy for $6.00 and a Burger King Frankenstein figure for $1.00. Supernaturals # 2 magazine/comic from the U.K for $2.00. The following CD soundtracks (that will be played on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO when I get back): An American Werewolf in London, Phantom of the Opera and Gates of Hell all for $10.00 each. Four Son of Ghoul DVD’s that has him hosting Tourist Trap, Tarzan The Fearless, The World of the Vampires and his 28th Anniversary Special, they were $10.00 each. As well as two wrestling DVD-R’s one being 1991’s WCW War Games and the other being WWF’s Country Boys about Hillbilly Jim and Uncle Elmer, and they as well were $10.00 each. Over all while I am super happy to get more Son of Ghoul episodes, the thing I am most hyped about getting was The Mummy figure!

Day 1 Goods

Dinner the first night came from a place called “Eat’ N Park,” a restaurant that was a lot like Big Boy but is a Pittsburgh original. They were started in 1949 by Larry Hatch and Bill Peters after being inspired by a Frisch’s Big Boy that Hatch had visited in Cincinnati Ohio.  They reached an agreement with Big Boy founder Bob Wain to allow them to open franchise Big Boy stores in Pittsburgh under the name Eat’N Park for 25 years and that’s what they did. In 1974 they decided to break away from Big Boy and made a legacy of food on their own. On our trip to Pittsburgh in 2013, we saw these restaurants all over and never stopped, but this year we decided it was time that we did! We ordered more food than we could eat because we wanted to try a little of everything; we got two appetizers Jalapeño Cheddar Poppers and Fried Ravioli, and they were great and a nice way to start our meal, out of the two I think the Ravioli was the better one. Juliet had the Buffalo Chicken Salad and was happy to see french fries on it; she used the word “wonderful” to describe it. I got what’s called a Original SuperBurger that was much like a mix of a Big Boy and a Big Mac, and it was pretty good.  While the secret sauce was good it had a very heavy super sauce taste. The fries that came with the burger were a little lacking and were not as good as fries served at fast food places like Burger King or McDonalds. I also ordered a smily face cookie that is something they are known for, and I must say I liked it! The taste reminded me of Monster Candy, and that’s a good thing. We also ordered two slices of Oreo Pie that we had to eat way later in the night, cause we were about to bust from all the good food in our bellies. Oh yeah, and their mascot’s name is Smiley, and he is a cookie man!

Eat N Pack LogoDay 1 Eat N ParkSmiley

Right before I left, I got a package in the mail filled with horror host shows to air on the DATV Horror Host Underground block so I decided on the night of the first day of the convention, I was going to watch one on the laptop to add even more chill to the evening as all the ghouls and ghosts who were at Monster Bash were now wandering the night all around the hotel. I turned down the air conditioner to 60 degrees and popped in GraveDigger Grimm of Unearthed Midnight Theater hosting the classic Vincent Price film House On Haunted Hill. I remember GraveDigger who was at many of the early Cinema Wastelands when the horror host gatherings use to be be a big deal there.  He was always a super nice guy, and it was clear he loved the art of horror hosting and horror films all together. GraveDigger Grimm is a caretaker at a cemetery that he has worked at for 40 years, and while there he buried many people with 35mm prints of cheesy horror films and in 2004 he decided that it was time to dig them up and share the horrible horrors of the films with the viewers. The film is classic and always a pleaser when you want to watch something with Vincent Price. GraveDigger Grimm was also pretty good, you could tell he was a little green in this episode that seems to have been his first, but even with this you could still see the raw talent. At some point I would like to find more episodes and maybe even do a horror host Icon update about him. But when the movie ended so did the first day of the bash.

GraveDigger Grimm 1GraveDigger Grimm VHSGraveDigger Grimm 2

On the second day of Monster Bash, I woke up with a nerve in my spine going crazy.  This made moving around very difficult so I hung out in the hotel for a few hours and watched WCW War Games on the laptop and ate Bob Evans carry out that Juliet went to pick up for breakfast. We then headed back to Monster Bash and walked around looking at goods, and I was lucky enough to be able to walk right up to Ricou Browning and get not only an autograph but also a picture with him.  The line for Joel Hodgson was not super long, and Juliet and I got a picture with him and Tom Servo. As Juliet watched David’s table I walked around so that my back would not lock up and while I found a few things there was not as many great finds as there were yesterday. I kicked myself for not buying the Imperial Wolf Man and Frankenstein Monster, cause they would have been nice additions to Game Swap. The day was spent at Monster Bash as well and just relaxing as my back was pretty messed up. One other cool thing about Monster Bash is in the parking lot in front of the entrance, they had a cool Creature From the Black Lagoon green car and The Munsters Dragula car, nice additions to help add to the fun nature of the convention. That night we had dinner once more at Eat ‘N Park, and the second day was kind of a bust due to a injured back, I ended the night watching Halloween H20 on SYFY and hoping for a better back in the morning!

Ricou Browning and I copyCreature From The Black Lagoon Car copyJuliet Joel Tom and I copy

The second days pick ups are a Universal Monsters coloring book by Golden from 1991 for $4.00, Superman’s Metropolis DC comic book for $3.00, the Golem Soundtrack done by Hob Goblin for $10.00 and Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing the cheesy sci-fi classic The Amazing Colossal Man on DVD-R for $10.00. The best pick up on day two for me has to be the MST3K DVD-R because they are always a fun watch. I’m looking forward to raiding the dealer tables one more time tomorrow and seeing what goodies I can find!

Day 2 Goods

Day Three is the final day of Monster Bash, and I woke up with my back feeling way better! We had a little breakfast and headed to the convention where we saw that Joel had added Crow T. Robot to his table and after snapping a picture that turned out blurry and terrible, we headed to the last day of the shopping and monster filled good time. I found some pretty cool stuff and got some great deals on others and even walked around with David J Getz and watched him talk missing planes with Arch Hall Jr.! I even found someone who may have some episodes of Commander USA on VHS that he tapped off TV, and that would be a great for a fan like me to get my hands on episodes I don’t have in my collection already! After a couple of hours we left the convention and headed to The Twilight Zone…

Me and Crow T RobotCritters in a BoxKiss Poster

The last day’s haul was the following The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on VHS from Video Treasures for $2.00, Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffing the film Cave Dwellers on VHS for FREE! The Addams Family Halloween Special from 1977 on DVD-R for $10.00. The Werewolf of Woodstock on DVD-R for $10.00. The Creature of The Walking Dead on DVD-R for $5.00. Cheesy horror flick Half Human on DVD-R for $10.00( and to be honest look for some of these films to be on future seasons of Baron Von Porkchop). Halls of Horror All Comics Winter Special Magazine for $3.00. Horror Host Hullabaloo DVD-R that is clips of horror hosts like Morgus The Magnificent and Uncle Ted for $15.00. Dracula 3-D comic book for $3.00. Marvels The Frankenstein Monster # 14 comic for $2.00 as well as Fright Night Part II comic for $2.00 and The Tomb Of Dracula # 35 comic for $1.00. Sadly the thing I am most hyped for is to re-watch the Addams Family Halloween Special again.

Day 3 GoodsJuliet and I had to stop in downtown Mars to check out the Flying Saucer statue that they had for all the tourists to see and enjoy. We then took a walk around the small town and it was like a pure Americana experience as we passed by all the small shops and old time houses.  The best part is that also in downtown they had a working railroad track and this reminded me of Mayberry. Another cool thing we saw was an old fashioned barber shop that had a green plastic alien with a ray gun in the window as well as a coffee shop called Mars Brew House that claimed to be the finest coffee in the universe! Sadly it was closed and we were not able to try a cup, but we were able to help a family take a picture in front of the UFO. While Juliet and I were walking around the town, we both chuckled when I said that the town was given me a Twilight Zone feeling and that when we tried to leave we would always just end back up downtown and that we will find out that all the residents really are from Mars. We spent some time in Mars, and I must say it was a cool old town filled with some very cool business including a tiny diner called Susie Q’s Place, and this is the type of town you would like to raise your kids in.

Alien in Window  copyMars UFO copyMars Coffe  copy

We started our journey back to Dayton on Monday, and we kicked this day off visiting Evans City Cemetery, the place George Romero filmed the opening scene of Night Of The Living Dead so that I could read two comics there just for Rotten Ink! We then hit Moe’s to eat, a great burrito place that puts Hot Head and Chipotle to shame. While on the road we hit a massive traffic jam that held us in the same area for about an hour and when we got to what was causing the jam, it of course was construction where they had one lane closed and all the workers were pretty much doing nothing, including one guy who was just eating a bag of chips….yeah needless to say in 90 degree weather sitting still and then seeing workers being super lazy, I was a little ticked. We then stopped in Columbus at a cool little toy and comic store called Evil Twin where I found a cool Incredible Hulk called The Secret Story Of Marvel’s Gamm-Powered Goliath, a graphic novel that I can remember borrowing from the library when I was a kid, and someday I will also review it for this blog as well as the other Marvel graphic novels from this series. We then made it back to Dayton and had some ice cream from Ben & Jerrys on Brown Street and later ordered wings from Wing Zone and watched Horror Host Hullabaloo. Over all even the drive back home was a fun filled day filled with good times and great memories.

Moes Logoincredible hulk the secret story of marvels gamma powered goliath graphic novelTwin Evil Store

So as all you horror film fans know, George A Romero shot many of his Dead films in and around the Pittsburgh area and these locations have become shrines to fans as they flock to the locations to reenact their favorite scenes and to find the spots the actors stood. Evans City Cemetery is the place he filmed the opening to Night of The Living Dead, you know the place the Cemetery Zombie played by Bill Hinzman attacks young Barbra played by Judith O’Dea right after her brother Johnny teases her about being afraid of the cemetery. Evans City Cemetery in reality is a very small cemetery that is off a long lane surrounded by woods and in the middle of semi rural area just outside Pittsburgh.  The first time we visited it in 2013, it was pouring down rain making pictures and exploring the area impossible, but this changed this years! The day was nice and was in the upper 70’s.  When we arrived the sun was fighting to peek out of a grey sky as we noticed that we were not the only people their to soak in the landmark and to enjoy the fact it was a set for one of the most iconic horror films of all time. It was really quiet from manmade noises as you could hear crickets and watch the groundhogs rush into the woods as you passed by. Words can not express the feeling you get as you think you pass by the tombstones and trees seen in the film and being able to read two comic books written about the film that was shot were I stood was an amazing feeling. If your ever in Pittsburgh I suggest you visit Evans City Cemetery and soak in all its grand spooky atmosphere.

Evans City Cemetery 1 copyMe in Evans City Cemetery copyEvans City Cemetery 2 copy

Okay, so for those who don’t know the plot of Night of the Living Dead here is a quick rundown. Something is making the recent dead come back from the grave and attack the living to consume them like today’s lunch. Barbra and Johnny are at a cemetery placing flowers and such on a grave for their mother when Barbra is attacked and Johnny is killed by a zombie! Barbra runs to a nearby farmhouse were she is joined by Ben, Judy, Tom and the Cooper family, and drama and horrors happen as the zombies want in and no one can agree how to survive this crisis. Now I should also say that if you have not seen this film, what are you waiting for?!! The two comics I have picked to read are the Prelude and Aftermath of the events of the film so they act as the buns of the flesh sandwich that is the film. Remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get going because They Are Coming To Get Me…So I better read fast! 

Night Of The Living Dead Prelude 1Night Of The Living Dead: Prelude   ***
Released in 1991    Cover Price $1.50    FantaCo    #1 of 1

Two satellites are covered in space radiation and are crashing to earth when they are blown up near the atmosphere.  When they do so a rash of murders spread around the USA. The year is 1968, and the dead have come back to life even as far as California as a family falls victim in their own home. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania at the Eastman farm, Mary and Fred have an accident on the stairs that leaves Fred dead for a moment as he comes back and eats his wife’s face! Tom and Judy are walking through the woods when on their portable radio they hear about the rash of murders going on around the world and rush to the near by house the Eastman farm and lock themselves in the cellar. Meanwhile Harry and Helen Cooper as well as their young daughter Karen are lost and needing directions and as her parents argue the young girl gets more and more upset.  Harry finally pulls over to ask for directions when his car is attacked by zombies and his daughter is bitten on the arm! The family escape and run to a near by farm that also happens to be the Eastman’s as well. We end with the family also thinking they are safe now.

If you ever wanted to know how Tom and Judy as well as the Cooper family ended up at the farm house, this is the missing piece to the puzzle. Plus I really like that they show what happened to the old farm couple who lived in the house, the Eastman’s. The downside to this comic is nothing is really fleshed out and its clear as day this was just a quick cash in for you to buy the bigger movie adaptation of the film from FantaCo as the story in this issue is short, sweet and to the point. The plot is this simple: satellites go boom in the sky, radiation effects the dead who come back to life and want to eat the living as two groups of people who don’t know each other end up at the same house they believe is safe. Tom and Judy are not given much but still come off as likable youngsters. On the other hand Harry Cooper is an ass even in the comic book and helps add fuel to the fire for you the reader to hate him even more. This comic, while very short, has zero ads and holds the answers to what the movie left out and takes the focus away from the film’s main characters (Ben and Barbra) and places it with the ones who act as more support to the film’s story. The art is well done and has a sketch book appeal to it, and while at times I find that style very distracting, artist Carlos Kastro does a fantastic job and brings a creepiness and classic horror feel out of the pages. Over all this is worth a read for fans of the film and classic zombies.

Prelude Art 1Prelude art 2Prelude art 3

And now that we’ve seen what happened before the movie, let’s see what happened after, shall we?

Night Of The Living Dead Aftermath 1

Night Of The Living Dead: Aftermath   **
Released in 1992   Cover Price $1.95   FantaCo   #1 of 1 

Sheriff McClelland and his men are killing zombies all around the Eastman farm house, but when the zombie versions of Barbara, Johnny and Karen Cooper show up things turn for the worse as the humans become the hunted and all meet a gruesome end. We then cut to New York 1968 as a woman is rushing to get to the airport as zombies and mayhem are going on all around her.  She gets to the plane but is bitten on the neck and is heading to London.

This issue really kind of annoys me as its clear to me that it was used just to try to get people to buy their upcoming Night Of The Living Dead: London mini-series done by Clive Barker, and while thats cool and all don’t tag it as the Aftermath of the film and only have a little bit be about the Sheriff and his men being attacked by zombies. It was cool to see the zombie versions of Karen Cooper who is still using the spade to cut human flesh, and it’s cool to see Barbra and Johnny, the brother and sister duo, back together as flesh eating zombies. The second part of this story with the girl with no name trying to make a flight holds nothing for me as it seems out of place in this comic. Over all this is nothing special and is pretty forgettable. The art work is done by Carlos Kastro again and in spots is very distracting again, and its’ hard to tell what is happening to who in some panels. I would say skip this one.

Aftermath art 1Aftermath art 2aftermath art 3

Reading these comics in the graveyard was a great experience and something I would like to do again with FantaCo’s film adaptation of Night of the Living Dead. I must say that this was a fun time and being able to hang out with Juliet with no stress of our jobs looming in our minds was something I am looking forward to again when vacation time comes around. Plus it was cool seeing friends like David J Getz, Mike McGraner and 42nd Street Pete who all helped add to the vacation! I should also thank Stephen Alexander, Josh Weinberg, Todd The Fox, Garrison Kane and Dan Harkless for running Game Swap while I spent time with monsters. Well I guess it’s back to work for us and not to worry Blood Feast will be coming right up! So until then enjoy life my friends it’s a fun and wonderful thing.