The Ghost Who Walks Among Us And Can Never Die…The Phantom

In the world of comic books, crime doesn’t pay thanks to the Superheroes who protect the innocent and punish the guilty. I mean Gothom City has Batman, The City has Dick Tracy and New York has many like Spider-Man, Daredevil and Fantastic Four, to name a few. But while the big cities have their protectors, so does the jungles of Bangalla in Africa who has the one and only The Phantom! What is really cool about The Phantom is that he is much like Batman and Dick Tracy as he has no superhuman powers and is just a man who is a vigilante and dedicates his life to defending the weak and beating evil down. If you think about it as well, The Phantom, who was created in 1936, is a character who bridged the comic strip hero and the comic book superhero and is the first hero to really walk that line. So let’s kick 2017 off right and spend some time in Bangalla and see what The Phantom is all about and how DC brought him back to comic books in 1988.

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First, we must take a look at the life of the creator of The Phantom, the one and only Leon Harrison Gross aka Lee Falk, who was born on April 28, 1911 in St. Louis Missouri and had a decent childhood growing up Jewish.  Things would take a slight turn for the bad when his father passed away when Lee was still young, but his mother remarried sometime later and this gave Lee a stepfather he loved and respected and looked up to. The older he got, he began making comic strips and made up a fake bio story for himself as he claimed to be a world traveler who experienced so much out in the world which lead him to create the characters Mandrake The Magician and later The Phantom who were both picked up by King Feature Syndicate. He created The Phantom as he grew up loving the stories of Tarzan and The Jungle Book and decided to also add in pirates and thugs from around the world as it was a topic that also interested him.  Originally he wanted to call the character The Grey Ghost and wanted his costume and all to be grey but things changed when he liked the name The Phantom better and the news printer screwed up and made the costume purple, and the color stuck with readers. Weirdly enough, Falk did not have faith in his characters and thought they would only last a few weeks and was shocked that they lasted his whole lifetime, During World War II Falk worked for KMOX radio and was the chief of propaganda.  Also, the older he got the more world traveling he did in order to not have to lie about his background stories. Lee Falk was married three times and had three children with two daughters and one son. Lee Folk also loved the theater and over the years wrote 12 plays, directed 100 of them and produced over 300 others! Not to mention over his lifetime he even ran five theaters! His plays would have such Hollywood actors as Basil Rathbone, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Chico Marx and Charlton Heston acting in them! As you can see Lee Falk was a very creative man who did lots of very cool things. Lee Falk passed away from heart failure on March 13, 1999 at the age of 87 and up to his death he was still working on his comic strips…a true man who loved his characters and creations. It’s amazing to think about just how many comic strip creators worked on their strips all the way up until their deaths showing that unlike the comic book world, the creators loved their creations and got joy of bringing them to life for the readers. This update is dedicated to you, Lee Falk, a true icon of comic strip artists and a man who lived for what he loved to do.

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The Phantom is a hero who has no super powers and uses his wits, fists and guns to right the wrongs and protect his friends and tribes around his home in Africa. His costume is the following: a black eye mask, a skull ring and a purple costume that was based on an old African idol.  The look is used to scare criminals and pirates, who are his main targets. The Phantom is a costume and legacy that is passed down from generation to generation within the Walker family who do this in order to give the appearance that The Phantom is not human and immortal to strike even more fear into the hearts of those who do evil. The Phantom is a trained fighter with his fists, and I would guess that he has the punch of a heavy weight boxer! He is also skilled with a gun and while not a full dead shot, he hits his target when it’s needed. The Phantom is very smart and has the same kind of mind for solving crimes as Batman, The Shadow and Dick Tracy as he is also quick to get out of a bad situation. The Phantom’s main weapon is fear as legends spread of him being a ghost and not able to be killed, using superstition of the unknown to his advantage of just passing on the title to the next in the family bloodline. The 21st Phantom also has a pet wolf named Devil who helps him uphold justice and has his white horse Hero to get him places faster. Say what you will, The Phantom is a kick butt hero who might not be super but sure knows how to get the job done!

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On June 7, 1996, thanks to Paramount Pictures, a film based on The Phantom was released to theaters and was directed by Simon Wincer and had Billy Zane as The Phantom himself. Also in the cast were Catherine Zeta-Jones, Treat Williams and Kristy Swanson with the score being done by David Newman. Before it was made The Phantom had many different directors attached to it including big names like Sergio Leone, Joe Dante and Joel Schumacher who all left the project at one point or another for reasons of their own. Paramount picked the relativity unknown Simon Wincer, who had directed a few films before it like Quigley Down Under, Free Willy, Lightning Jack and Operation Dumbo Drop to name a few and they gave him a $45 million budget.  He is the one who hired Zane to play the title role as they both were fans of the character since childhood. The film’s production went smooth, and the hype was high for the film’s release as Paramount was wishing for the same kind of success as Warner Brothers had with Batman in 1989 and Touchstone had with Dick Tracy in 1990…but the box office and critics were not nice to this film as it only brought in $17,323,326.00 in the US and didn’t even get released in theaters overseas! The film came in at #93 of the year and beat out such films as The Frighteners, Trainspotting, Thinner and Mulholland Falls to name a few. While the film bombed at the theater, it developed a cult following when it was released on VHS and DVD, making the film turn in a small profit for Paramount. While I am a fan of The Phantom character, I skipped this film at the theater and waited for home video.  I found it to be a fun dumb popcorn movie that, while it didn’t 100% capture the magic of the comic strip, it at least delivered some fun action and adventure. And I must say that the outfit for The Phantom that actor Billy Zane wears was pretty well done and looked like a modern version of the classic suit and brought out elements to make it stand out on the big screen.

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But the 1996 film was not the first time The Phantom made the jump from comic strip to media on the big and small screen as the first was the 1943 Columbia Pictures serial simple called “The Phantom” that had a total of 15 chapters and had Tom Tyler as The Phantom. A serial sequel for The Phantom was in the works in 1955 with actor John Hart in the role of The Phantom and as production was chugging along they soon found that they no longer owned the rights to use The Phantom and quickly changed it over to calling it “The Adventures Of Captain Africa.” This was followed by the cartoon “Defenders Of The Earth” that aired on TV in 1986 and had Peter Mark Richman voicing the character for a total of 65 episodes, only lasting one season. In 1994, a cartoon called “Phantom 2040” was released as a series that lasted for 35 episodes and a total of 2 seasons with Family Ties actor Scott Valentine lending his pipes to make the character speak. And in 2009 they made a TV mini series based on the character and called it “The Phantom” that had two feature length movies to tell this new version of the character.  This time around actor Ryan Carnes landed the role of the character. So as you can see, Hollywood has had many plans for this character to be the next comic character to be on every kid’s t-shirt and have toys on every chain store shelf…while they tried, it just was not meant to be as it was clear the youth was just not biting at The Phantom to replace their Batman toys and comics. I can proudly say that as a youngster I did my part, as I owned The Phantom action figure from the Defenders Of The Earth toy line.

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Besides the movies and cartoons getting released on VHS and DVD, some other really cool stuff based on The Phantom has been released over the years from action figures, t-shirts, posters, statues, comic books, novels, card game, video game, Halloween costumes, replica skull rings, bobble heads, lunch box and so much more! The Phantom has had his fair share of collectibles for his fans to collect and enjoy, not to mention, besides DC, other comic book companies like Pacific Comics Club, Gold Key, Whitman, King, Pioneer, Dynomite, Marvel and Moonstone among others have printed adventures of this character. Besides some of the comics and the Defenders action figure, one thing I had in my teens was a skull ring replica that a fellow classmate gave me, and I can remember wearing it around school and feeling super cool…yeah, I know –  I was young and didn’t know any better. I wonder if that ring is still someplace in my parent’s basement, also know as Independent B Movie Studios. So in closing, if you enjoy The Phantom, the world is filled with collectibles for you!

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Speaking of Independent B Movie, the old shot on video company that my friends and I use to make films together under that brought you such shot on video classics as The Wolf Hunter, Farmer Joe and Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa to name a small few.  For a small time we toyed with the idea of doing fan films based on some of our favorite movies and characters with lots of things being written and talked about at our annual company meetings. Characters like Superman, Lone Ranger, Leatherface, Spider-Man and Neo from The Matrix all had fan scripts written or talked about, and one of the characters I was developing a fan film for was The Phantom! The idea for my film would have had Matt Hoffman or Jason Gilmore playing The Phantom who was sent on a mission to stop Dr. Frankenstein from creating a monster for the Nazi’s who needed this super solider to turn the tide of the war.  The setting was Frankenstein’s Castle in Kettering and the woods around it would have acted as the jungle with all the typical friends taking on roles like Josh Weinberg who I wanted to play Dr. Frankenstein.  Garrison Kane would have played The Monster and Dave Wean, Patrick Neeley, Mike Ritchie and Jason Young would have made up the supporting cast. If memory serves me right, I think the title of it would have been called “The Phantom vs. Frankenstein,” real original right? The costume was going to be ordered offline and The Frankenstein’s Monster mask was something we would have gotten from Foy’s in Fairborn. But the film idea went nowhere and a script was never written as only scraps of paper with notes was all I had taken down for my idea for this flick, and sadly that are long gone by now. I could have only imagined if we were to have filmed this just how cheesy and terrible the action fights would have been, but I am sure much like all the films we made, it would have had a small cult following for being so bad it’s good. Below is a mock-up poster for this movie done by my friend Jason Young who I’m sure would have been cast in this could-have-been fan made film.  Check it out!

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Speaking of Jason Young – before we get into the reviews of DC Comics first run of The Phantom, I want to share something very cool with you: my good friend Jason has started a comic review blog called “The Bewildering” for independent comics issue # 1’s he finds in .25 and $1.00 boxes at stores as well as conventions! And with his reviews, he breaks down the issues’ plots really well and will update about once a month.  It’s worth checking out if you enjoy your comics on the moldy side of the comic racks. Jason Young is a super talented dude as he is the owner of “Buyer Beware Comics” that puts out his bio comic called “Veggie Dog Saturn” among other titles. He is the co-owner of “Sparkle Comics” and its horror comic branch “Blood Scream Comics” and is working on a very cool comic called “Defenders Of The Planets” based on knock off He-Man toys from the 80’s! He also is co-host on the comic podcast called “Gutter Trash” with artist Eric Shonborn, not to mention he works at Mavericks Cards And Comics, a local shop that helps hook me up with comics for this blog! So in other words you are for sure in for a high quality good read with his blog, and I recommend that you check it out and show him some love.

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So now that we have taken a look at The Phantom from comic strip to an old never made fan made film that would have been directed by me, lets get to the main attraction here at Rotten Ink and that’s the comic book reviews! When choosing The Phantom as this update I had to think long and hard about what comic company I wanted to choose as many have tackled releases for The Phantom.  Most of the time I would just gone with Marvel Comics but decided to go with DC as the covers caught my attention more and looked like it could be a fun mini series.  Plus I feel like sometimes poor DC gets the short end of the stick here as I cover Marvel way more often. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock to make this update possible and want to also say thank you again to the late great Lee Falk for creating this iconic character for all us comic readers to enjoy! And as always, I need to remind you that I grade these issues on a standard 1-4 star scale rating and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, let’s enter the Skull Cave and see what kind of adventure we can share with The Phantom!

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The Phantom # 1  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics   # 1 of 4

A young boy named Kit Walker is writing in the journal in the Skull Cave as he is the next in line to be The Phantom, the ghost who cannot die.  He is talking about his fears and reads back to the first Phantom who watched as his father was killed by pirates and he himself washed ashore in Bangalla, Africa near death.  He was taken in by its tribe and found that if the world was going to get justice, it was by him becoming justice itself and becoming the first Phantom who wanted to protect his new home and get revenge on the pirates! Now Kit Walker is an adult and the 21st Phantom who along with his step-nephew Rex, wolf Devil and white horse Hero are called upon by the tribes people as some drug smugglers have kidnapped two of the patrol men and are waiting for the big drug transaction. As The Phantom rushes off to save his friends the patrol men, one who even is under his protection for saving his life some time back, Rex starts to read the history of The Phantom journal and learns that the 13th Phantom was tricked onto a pirate ship by a evil men named Chessmen and captured! In modern times, The Phantom arrives too late as one of the patrolmen is shot dead, and as he frees the other, he soon finds himself looking down the barrel of a gun of a hired gun of one of the original Chessmen who has always been told to kill The Phantom and his supporters!

Three Phantoms’ tales are woven together into this issue’s plot as we take a look at what sparked the 1st Phantom to take on the mantel of being the ghost of justice as well as follow the 13th on a set up mission and are in present day with the 21st who is battling relatives of enemies from the past! And while this might sound confusing, it’s really not and by all accounts is really well done and gives each of The Phantoms their own characters and own traits letting you get the feel that this is truly a mantel that is handed down from father to son over the decades. All three of the Phantoms are very strong-willed people who understand that evil in the world will prey and destroy the weak if someone does not watch out for them.  Each puts his life on the line to rescue the innocent and stomp out the evil that is running loose. Rex is a young man who while is not blood to current The Phantom, he is adopted into the legacy and feels very much connected to it all and wants to learn the history and family secrets to prepare for the day he is called upon to wear the purple costume of good. The pirates and captain are the villains of the story thus far and when they are not stealing or selling drugs, they are killing and have zero remorse for ending lives too soon.  One of them shoots a man in the head without a care all because he had the mark of The Phantom on him! And what’s really shocking is they show the aftermath of the gunshot with a body on the deck in a pool of blood; that’s pretty crazy for a comic based on a comic strip character. The only thing that kind of made this comic a hard read was that some of the lettering for the journal was written in cursive and at times it was hard to read as it felt piled up and a little sloppy. The cover is well done and has The Phantom doing what he does best and that’s beating up pirates! The art is great and is done by Joe Orlando who I think did a fantastic job of mixing the normal 80’s DC Comics style with a touch of Sunday Comics appeal. Over all I am very impressed with this first issue and really kick myself for waiting until 2017 to read this comic as younger me would have really enjoyed this back in 1988!

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The Phantom # 2  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics   # 2 of 4

Rex is reading the history of The Phantom in the Skull Cave as The Phantom kicks into high gear and saves the remaining officer and takes down the captain and his men, but all he could get from the captain as who is his boss is the name Chessman because his own shipmate shoots and kills him before turning the gun on himself. The officer calls the colonel on the ship’s radio for back up and help as The Phantom slips into the jungle with anger and revenge on his mind as the name Chessman is attached to those who did his father wrong many moons back. After a few hours The Phantom contacts the colonel and finds that a man named Charles Chessman from New York is the prime suspect of being the head of the drug smugglers, so alongside Devil, The Phantom as Kit Walker boards a plane for New York to get his answers and justice…but soon finds that his American girlfriend Diana’s family are long time friends with Chessman! The Phantom heads to the office of Charles Chessman only to find himself under arrest! All the while young Rex is reading about the 13th Phantom and his struggle to break free from the pirates who sold him into slavery.

The Phantom once more shows why he is the man who cannot die when he beats up a boat full of pirates and heads to America to settle a score with a person connected with the torture of his father. While he is dealing with his want for revenge, his adopted nephew is learning the history of The Phantom. This issue feels like a great classic hero tale and adds in just enough violence, drama and modern settings to give it an appeal to readers who enjoy Batman, Superman and classic stuff like Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon. The Phantom is as heroic as he can be in this issue and saves not only the life of an officer but also a whole plane full of passengers and crew when a man tries to take it over and with one quick punch that threat comes to an end. Rex, like any young man, is wanting to learn all he can and prove that he could be very worthy of The Phantom legacy someday. The pirates and the captain are such scum that they even turn on each other when the odds are out of their favor.  The Captain has no spine and is about to squeal like a pig on who hired them before his own right hand man put a bullet to good use. Diana Palmer is a woman who clearly cares about her boyfriend The Phantom and understands his odd way of life, but her mother doesn’t like the relationship and thinks The Phantom is too creepy. Something that is working really well for this comic mini series is that like his father The Phantom is trying to get the revenge that his father was unable to dish out all those years back and this adds to not only the drama but also the action. The cover is pretty slick and holds a classic look and the interior art is done by Joe Orlando again and is fantastic.  Again, the only complaint I have is that some of the cursive lettering is hard to read in spots but that’s very minor and didn’t take away any of the enjoyment of the issue. So with issue two being as good as issue one, I cannot wait to see what issue three has in store for us the readers, and I wish I would have bought this series when I was a kid as I would have enjoyed it a lot.

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The Phantom # 3  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics   # 3 of 4

The Phantom and Devil outsmart and out-maneuver the officers and as they go on a wild goose chase to track him down he slips back into the office of Chessman and beats him up and tells him he has a short time to turn himself over to the police and tell them the truth about his drug selling and stolen good ways or that he himself will be the judge, jury and executioner. After taking his leave, Diana comes to see Chessman and is upset over the fact that he beat up one of her friends who she thinks is truly a nice guy and decides to go on a dinner date with Chessman and has a terrible argument with The Phantom leaving the couple at odds and even possibly broken up. The Phantom goes out the night of the date and gets information on all of Chessman’s thugs.  Meanwhile, during dinner Chessman hires a hitman named Stryker to hunt down and kill The Phantom who is in turn now hunting down Chessman’s right hand man! All the while, we get flashbacks to the 13th Phantom who escapes his chains and goes on a hunt and kills the first of The Chessman brothers to send a message to the others that no one crosses justice and The Phantom.

This third issue ushers in the idea that The Phantom is now onto the man who has not only killed his friend and is pushing drugs but also is a relative of the evil men who pushed his father, the 13th Phantom near death’s door. And while trying to put a stop to the evil of this man he might lose his girlfriend as well as his life as now the hunter might just very well become the hunted. The Phantom is a man alone in New York as his own lady thinks he is on the wrong track, and this leaves him trying to fight this fight without her knowledge of the target, but at least he has Devil by his side and is kind enough to give Chessman a choice of turning himself in or become a body in the morgue. Diana is making a big mistake by thinking that her longtime family friend is a nice guy and not scum.  This leaves her also at the madman’s mercy as she is now at his house for dinner and he is desperate to rid the world of The Phantom.  I would not put it past him to use her as a human meat shield when the action goes down. Chessman is just so slimy and plays the role of a nice guy who really has a black selfish heart, and I can’t wait for him to get served some cold justice. Stryker is a mystery and looks like your typical mafia style hitman, and he could be a challenge for The Phantom once they meet! The story of the 13th Phantom from the past and the 21st Phantom’s paths are one in the same dealing with the same evil and crappy people The Chessman family is good story telling and writer Peter David is doing some amazing things to make The Phantom cool for comic readers of 1988 and beyond. The cover once more holds a classic look and captures the adventure style of the character and his legacy as again the art by Joe Orlando is top notch and amazing stuff. Once more this issue is as good as the other two so far and leaves the reader wanting more and wanting to see how the story ends in the next issue. So like The Phantom, let’s lurk into the shadows of your favorite place to read comics and see what happens next.

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The Phantom # 4  ***
Released in 1988     Cover Price $1.25     DC Comics   # 4 of 4

At dinner Diana overhears Chessman telling Stryker about his right hand man being busted by the cops thanks to The Phantom and that this spoiled a major drug deal for him.  Before she can get away, Chessman and Stryker take Diana hostage and want to use her as bait when they find out she knows him! The Phantom spends the next nights breaking up Chessman’s illegal operations but finally finds a message that Diana is in trouble and heads to Chessman’s house and into a trap. The Phantom sets Diana free but she is soon recaptured by Chessman who throws her into his car and hits the streets to get to his private plane.  While The Phantom and Devil make short work of Stryker, who, armed with a sniper rifle, hardly put up hardly before being knocked out. The Phantom watches as his enemy takes his true love away and borrows a police horse and tracks them down to bridge where traffic has come to a standstill and with a gun to her head Diana is forced to watch as Chessman and The Phantom have a showdown that leaves them both falling off the bridge. Chessman is in bad shape and rushed to the hospital but is suspected to live and will face charges for his drug empire.  The Phantom is thought to be dead until he shows up with Devil to Diana’s house and they patch things up and all ends well. We also see that the 13th Phantom also had an epic fight with the pirate Chessman brother that as well left them both falling off a mountain that they both died from, but this once more proved that the legacy of The Phantom would live forever.

This four issue mini series took us on an adventure that had us in the past and modern times as well as in the jungles of Africa and the slums of New York and pitted good vs. evil and justice against law breaker. The Phantom in this issue not only brings down many drug and gambling rings but also takes down a hitman as well as defeats a rich business man who is the ring leader of smugglers and has lived his life as a lie and gotten the support of many with his phony good guy persona. And most importantly, he also wins his girl’s heart back as well as keeps the legacy of The Phantom going and intact. The best part about The Phantom is that while he is super talented in hand to hand combat, he also uses his mind to really bring down those who are doing bad and wicked things. Devil is a loyal wolf and is a big help when it comes to fighting crime and is the best ally as he is threat with his razor sharp teeth! Rex learns lots about The Phantom legacy by going into the records, a place he is not meant to be, but a place it is known he would enter as all future Phantoms have interest in the past adventures. Diana Palmer is a woman who stands by her man…well that is until he beats up and points the figure at a rich family friend and then you turn on him and try and send him home until everything he said turns out to be true and he saves your life and then you fall back in love with him. Diana should have had faith in her superhero boyfriend as she clearly has a brain in her head. Stryker is all talk as he acts as if it would be easy to kill off The Phantom and when he gets his chance, he crumbles faster than a house of cards in a hurricane! The 13th Phantom in this series is a hero who is beaten, sold and near death but finds his inner power to get his revenge and to prove that his family legacy is not to be taken lightly. Charles Chessman is a man who has no morals and only cares about making money and getting his own fat out of the fire and would kill an innocent woman to get away, even after being given the chance to turn himself in he decides that he would rather not and try to kill his nemesis. He is much like the Chessman Pirate Brothers as his ego is what causes his downfall and leads him to a life in jail. The one thing that shocked me about this comic series was the fact that it shows not only blood but also a suicide and shows them both very gritty and this brings a more raw and natural feeling to it. The cover on this issue also is very well done and captures the heroic nature of The Phantom and adds the touch of mobsters and gritty city life to its appeal. The art is again done by the talented Joe Orlando and his work helped make this comic series even better of a read and added to the enjoyment of the sold story written by Peter David. Over all, if you enjoy classic hero tales that are filled with drama, action and a more realistic hero, then I suggest checking out this 4 issue mini series as I am glad that I did all these years after its newsstand run. Check out below to get a taste of the artwork from Joe Orlando and see just how good it is.

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Being a fan of The Phantom since a young age, it really is shocking that it took this long for me to read this mini series as to be honest I remember seeing it at comic shops in my teens and never pulled the trigger on buying the issues. I really think fans of such characters, as Batman, Dick Tracy, The Unknown Solider and Moon Knight should check out The Phantom if you have not already. With our next update, we are staying with DC and taking a look at one of the biggest events in comic history in my life time and one that some say brought the beginning of the end for the comic boom and I am of course talking about Doomsday: The Death Of Superman! So until next time, make sure to read a comic or three, read a novel or two and as always support your local Horror Host, and I will see you next update for Superman’s deadliest fight ever.

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Who Remembers Solarman?

Welcome to another update, our first one in our countdown to Thanksgiving here on Rotten Ink, as we once more take a look at a superhero that failed to capture readers and lead to a short-lived comic series that left the character almost forgotten in modern times.  For this one we will be taking a look at Solarman, a Marvel Comic character that’s long been forgotten by most. What’s really crazy is that this character is one that Marvel really wanted to take off as you will see during this update. It’s crazy to think that Thanksgiving is weeks away, and that great food and family time is just around the corner. I am sure some of you can’t wait to smell that turkey cooking, and for all my vegetarian friends, I am sure you hyped for the tofu turkey and all the wonderful sides like corn, mashed potatoes and green beans.

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When you think of holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, one thing comes to mind, the word home. For me, the old two story house in Waynesville on Royston Drive will always be home.  One day I would love to buy it and have Juliet and I live there, but another place I call home is the basement of my parents’ house that was dubbed Independent B Movie Studios as it is the place that ideas for films like Werewolf Of Ohio 1-2, The Wolf Hunter and Cocktober Blood were all brainstormed. It was the “set” for no budget films Nightmare and One Second Too Late. It was the place that the first ever Horror Movie Marathon took place, and it hosted many long nights of playing video games with my pal Jason Gilmore as we tried to beat games like Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill and Clock Tower. It was the place that my old computer sat were I would write scripts for possible films and during breaks would play cheesy DOS games like X-Men, Waxworks and Plan 9 From Outer Space from hard disks. It was a place that acted as shelter for me and my past girlfriend Misty as we were in-between apartments and acted as a place for me to stay when I needed a place to lay my head for the night. Now, in 2016, it’s completely different from what it use to be in its heyday.  Gone are the movie posters all over the walls; gone is the floor model TV along with the VCR, DVD player and many video game systems.  Gone are the old computers, and gone are the days of it being the house of ideas for no budget movies but it will forever be a special place for me and many of my friends as it was a magical place filled with lots of amazing memories and great times. Below is a modern picture of the old “studio” with the amazing orange carpet that has been down there since the start of its legacy.

Independent B Movie Studio

In 1979-1980, David Oliphant created three digest-sized comics based on a character he created called Solarman that were more educational comics than your normal superhero fare.  The character was named Davos who lived inside the Sun and came to Earth.  He became a baseball player and taught the wonders of Solar Energy. In 1989, Marvel decided to buy the character rights and use him as a new hero that would set the world ablaze with his comic that was to be written by Stan Lee. They changed the character from just being a solar alien to the a teenager getting the power from a dying alien.  In other words, Stan Lee went the route he has traveled so many times and wanted to reproduce the magic of Spider-Man, but unlike that character, this one failed to capture the readers, and issue one came and went with a whisper. But this did not stop Lee and Marvel as in 1990 they tried again with an issue # 2, and this as well came and went with little to no fanfare. A third issue was not in the cards nor has a re-launch ever seen the light of day from Marvel. So what went wrong with Solarman as Marvel pushed so hard and even had the comic legend Stan Lee write his adventures? My opinion is that in 1990 the character had a dated feel to it, and by this time kids and readers were more into Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men and a character who’s a kid with sun powers was just too silly and tame for them.

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In the 90’s, Marvel Comics captured the Saturday Morning Cartoon world with such classics as X-Men, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer and The Incredible Hulk, but in 1991, they also tried again with Solarman by turning him into a cartoon pilot for FOX with the intent of turning it into a full cartoon series.  This also failed as FOX never ordered the series after its airing. The plot of the cartoon was that of the first issue of the comic with a little added and taken away and done in the style of The X-Men that was a huge hit for FOX’s Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup later on. I was a major Saturday Morning Cartoon viewer when I was a young, and in 1991, I was watching such toons as Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, Bobby’s World, Darkwing Duck, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, Tom & Jerry Kids to name a few.  I can 100% say that I don’t remember the Solarman cartoon at all and don’t remember a single kid on the playground or at lunch talking about it! So do any of you, my readers or friends, remember this cartoon special airing? Did you watch it? Was it good? Comment below and let me know.

Animated Solorman 1Animated SolormanAnimated Solorman 2

So now that you are up to date on who and what Solarman is, I think we are at the point of the review where we will take a look at the comic series from Marvel based on this forgotten hero. I want to thank Dark Star in Yellow Springs for having these comics in stock in their dollar bin and must also once more like a broken record tell you readers that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to travel to outer space and back to Earth again, let’s grab some water and a snack and visit the world of Solarman.

Solarman 1

Solarman # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel Comics     # 1 of 2

Gormagga Kraal and his robot warriors are traveling in space and draining suns of their solar energy in order to feed his ultimate weapon that will help him rule the universe. Aboard the ship is an old scientist named Dr. Sha-Han and his young daughter Altarra, both of whom are shocked by the evil of Kraal who has now set his sights on the sun the Earth orbits. Sha-Han as seen enough and steals the Circle Of Power, an item that can create a powerful life that can stop the path of destruction Kraal is blazing.  When Sha-Han’s escape pod is shot down, it crashes to Earth, and while dying he meets young want-to-be comic book artist Ben Tucker who he gives the circle of power (a bracelet) to and visits him as a spirit as he dies on the beach to tell him whenever he is in danger let the sunlight hit the bracelet and that will unleash the power of Solarman! Ben Tucker is a teenager whose dad owns a gym and wants his son to train to be a jock, while all he really wants to do is draw comics for Marvel.  On his way to school, he is attacked by some robots who are looking for the bracelet who kidnap him and take him to space where Gormagga Kraal orders for his arm to be cut off so he can reclaim the bracelet.  But Ben is saved by Altarra (who dies saving him) and her tiny robot Beepie who allows sunlight into the ship, and Solarman takes over the body of Ben and blows up the massive ship forcing Gormagga Kraal to escape on a tiny escape pod vessel. Ben returns to Earth with his new friend Beepie and starts to work on his next comic called “Solarman”.

The best way to start this off is saying that this is Marvel Comics version of Green Lantern with teen drama with a main character that looks a lot like a young Peter Parker. This first issue is pretty well done, and I for one think that if they should have put it out via Star Comics and played up the fact that it’s a superhero for kids as it mixes comics and old scifi films together to create a world where aliens want to steal the energy of our sun and robots in trench coats can walk freely down the road. The plot is: an alien overlord wants to rule the galaxy and is stealing the Sun’s energy to store for his powerful super weapon.  He targets Earth’s Sun but is set back when one of his own helpers steals a powerful weapon to crash land on Earth, passing the weapon onto a nerdy kid who now gains super powers. Yep that sums it up pretty well, and I should also add in that it has a Shazam (Captain Marvel) feeling to it as well. Ben Tucker is a button up, white shirt and tie kind of kid who spends his free time drawing comic strips with the hope of being hired by Marvel.  While most geeky kids can identify with him, the downside is he comes off like a stereotype of how people think comic “nerds” act. But while he is a nerd, Ben is still a likeble kid who I am sure has a touch of us all who are creative. Solarman is powerful and wears lots of orange and yellow and has cheesy lines that would make Flash Gordon blush.  This first issue only gives me a small taste of their hero and not enough to fully judge, I would say he’s not terrible as he makes me want to check out the next issue. Oh and I should say he’s like Solar Man from the movie Superman IV: Quest For Peace as he has to get his power from the sun and without it he’s useless. Beepie is a generic tiny robot that fans of R2-D2 and BB-8 from Star Wars will surly love.  He’s a loyal little guy who wants Earth not to be destroyed so he is kind of a hero. Sha-Han and Altarra are blue skinned aliens who serve a purpose and move the story along.  Not much more can be said about them besides they are both dead. Gormagga Kraal is also a blue skinned alien who has a metal arm that can stretch and has a terrible attitude and does not value life as he doesn’t care how many have to die for him to complete his goal of galaxy ruler.  This guy would be great friends with Zardoom (Defenders Of The Planets) and Ming The Merciless (Flash Gordon), and I could picture them at a Starbucks plotting how to take over Mars. The cover is pure late 80’s cheese and has a Star Comics look to it.  The art is done by Jim Mooney with the story by Stan Lee. While Marvel really wanted Solarman to be the next big thing for them, this issue just was not a draw for readers at the time. I for one enjoyed it and think it’s a solid above average comic that’s aimed for young readers.

Solarman 2

Solarman # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel Comics     # 2 of 2

Ben Tucker and his friend Jeanie are watching the news, all about holes in the ozone layer, and as Ben draws Dr. Doom, the friends chat about him and how he is the ultimate bad guy. Meanwhile Dr. Doom has shot a satellite into space and is the one who is causing the holes and wants a ransom from the world in order to stop it. Later in the day, Ben goes to his Dad’s gym to find his father being strong-armed by some goons and quickly goes out side and turns into Solarman and runs them off. When returning as Ben, he tries to tell his Dad he is Solarman but his father thinks his son just reads too many comics. Ben decides that he must keep his secret to himself as well as must stop Dr. Doom and travels to his location and tricks him into thinking he needs an interview for the school paper as they view Doom as a legend or so his story goes.  But Doom is not fooled for long as he throws Ben into a prison room. Lucky for Ben, the room has windows and sunlight and this allows him to turn into Solarman who flies into space and destroys the satellite and comes back down to tangle with Doom until the sun is about to set and leaves Doom in a foul mood! In the end as Ben returns home and bonds with his Dad with a picture he drew him, and it’s reveled that the Dr. Doom he had fought was nothing more than a hologram as the real Doom was in the basement sick with the flu.

This is the final issue of the series before Marvel gave up on trying to make readers care about Solarman and his adventures in Sun powers at least in the comic world. This issue’s plot has Ben Tucker and his hero side Solarman dealing with Dr. Doom who is trying to ruin the ozone layer as well as try and gain the respect of his father who wants a jock for a son and not an artist. The pacing is well done, and the action of Solarman is kept being used at the right times to further the plot more and not to waste panels with fights that were just put in to take up pages. Ben Tucker this time around is more skilled in his art and seems to have a crush on his friend Jeanie who always seems to be around and pushing for him to get his big break in comics in a sly kind of way. Ben himself is weak physically, but mentally he is strong and knows after a failed attempt that he must keep his hero side a secret. Solarman is as cheesy as ever as his power is high but his one liners are so bad they would make Spider-Man cringe.  Besides his power, he can also fly and breath in space with no problems. Ben’s Dad is as gym orientated as ever but shows he is no push over as he does not back down to three thugs who want his gym to pay them for street protection. It also shows that he loves his son no matter what he does or does not do. Dr. Doom is once more mad with power and wants to world to beg at his feet as he wants to be their ruler.  The fun part about this is the whole fight I as the reader was like come on, Doom could mop the floor with Solarman.  Then at the end you find out the real Doom is sick in bed with the flu…that’s right Victor Von Doom has the flu in this comic and the Doom that’s doing all the bad things is really just a hologram. The cover is pure early 90’s ham and eggs as it’s as basic as they come, and the art inside the issue is well done by Mike Zeck. Over all while Solarman is a very lame in nature superhero, but I still found the comic to be entertaining and could not see really why it only lasted two issues and became a forgotten Marvel Comic. If you find any issues in your local comics shops .25 or $1.00 box, give it a chance as you might just find yourself enjoying it. Below is some artwork from the series so give it a look as it might be what pushes you over the edge of wanting to check it out.

Solarman art 1Solarman art 2Solarman art 3

Solarman was a character who had lots of potential, and for the most part his two comic adventures were lots of fun and could have lead into more and more if fans of the 90’s would have supported it. But let’s flare away from Solarman for our next update and this time take a look at another Horror Host Icon, Iowa’s own Dr. Morbius as we continue our countdown to Thanksgiving. So I hope you enjoyed this quick update, and that you’re having a great November so far and are just enjoying life as we all live it on this great planet we share and call Earth. So until next time, read a comic or three, support your local Horror Host and as Bill & Ted would say Be Excellent To Each Other.

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The Conspiracy Of Sexy Cyber Vampires From College

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

VHS the forgotten art of making movies

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

The Sadness Killer 1

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

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

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

Original The Sadness DVD Cover

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

Pog Slammer Team 2016

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

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

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

Camp Chase GatesBen Allen Grave at Camp ChaseCamp Chase Graves

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

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

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

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

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

Evil Toons 1Evil Toons VHSEvil Toons 2

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

Madison Stone 1Madison Stone 2Madison Stone 3

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

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

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

The Vampire Conspiracy 1

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

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

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

Vampire Conspiracy Art 1

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

Vampira Logo 0

Starriors: The Robots Who Ruined Christmas

When I think of the month of December, lots of things come to mind like Christmas, cookies, hot chocolate, family, snow and of course toys! Kids of my generation and before know the wonder of all the cool toys that became the must-have gifts you wanted from Santa or your parents so you could go to school and show off all your new stuff. And in the 80’s robots were super hot, and toylines were very popular and on many wish lists. One line that many kids of my time wanted was Transformers, with a smaller group wanting the likes of GoBots or Robotix, and then there was a toy line that disappointed kids with their cheap appearances and loose arm joints.  Those toys were Starriors. So as you already know, these cheap robot toys made by Tomy as well as the mini-series made by Marvel are the topic of this update. But before we move onto that I want to share some Christmas memories with you about how Marvel and DC Comics were a part of my Christmas mornings as a youth. Do you remember when you were younger on Christmas Eve night, and you were in your bed trying to sleep but you were so hyped for all your gifts the next day?  You’d be ready for when your cousins came over to play Nintendo or ball tag, weather-permitting, and by the time you finally fell asleep it seemed like you slept for only a few minutes before you were up and ready to open your gifts! Most years we would start with our stockings that “Santa” would leave, and they would be filled with such things as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies, Cracked Magazines, magic grow sponge animals and lots of comic books! Most of the time, it would be issues of Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman or Incredible Hulk or some other weird kids comic based on a cartoon, like Little Dracula and Count Duckula. I can remember that it was like clock-work, once Christmas was over and all the family went back home, I would go to my room and sit in bed and read the comics I got so that I could tell my brother and mom about what crazy thing happened to Spider-Man or what new bad guy he was facing. Those early years of Christmas for me were something special and filled with so many good times spent with family who would all gather to spend time together and eat a good home cooked meal that my mom would make. I miss those days, as they seem to be a thing of the past as we all got older and holidays began becoming less of family gatherings.  It’s a shame, but things change. But I would like to say thank you to Marvel, DC and all the other comic companies who made my Christmas day more special and entertained me on a day filled with lots of great memories. Below is a picture of me from Christmas morning 1990 when I was 11 years old and just opened my stocking, and as you can see that year I got Spectacular Spider-Man # 171 among my stack of comics.  Also check out that sweet Beta player, my Joker t-shirt, the warm fire going, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies as well as the Sugar Bear ornament on the tree!

Me Christmas Morning 1990

Sometime in 2004, an idea was floating around Independent B Movie Studios to have a slasher film made that would be shot in the winter.  Mike Ritchie was just coming off making Farmer Joe and took the project on that was to be called “Long Dead Winter,” and he came up with evil jester mask serial killer called The Jester Killer who was brutal and sadistic and who was attacking people during a massive snow storm leaving a body count.  Mike was not only going to direct this feature but he was also going to write it. One day when hanging around at Mike’s, we began to bounce ideas back and fourth on this film that’s start date was creeping up super quickly, and that’s when we came up with having a second killer added to the film that would be the opposite of The Jester Killer and not enjoy the fact he kills, and we called him The Sadness. The film began production soon after, and Mike Ritchie cast himself to play The Jester Killer, Garrison Kane played The Sadness and the two heroes were played by Matt Hoffman and Josh Weinberg and the film had the budget to add blood, gore and boobs. I acted as the cameraman, and we shot during the winter during and after snow storms to add the right atmosphere to the grim storyline. So I am sure you’re wondering what the film’s storyline was going to be, well let me tell you:  it was set in a small town during a nasty winter filled with blizzard-like weather and a serial killer wearing a twisted court jester mask goes on a killing spree.  Not to be outdone, another masked killer gets mad that his name is no longer in the town paper so he decided to go on a rampage as well.  With each kill, the killers were trying to out do each other. The town’s only hope is a pair of cops who are hot on the trail of the killers, but while they are good cops, do they have what it takes to stop the madness? The film shot for many days and was going pretty well with lots of deaths being shot from stabbings to a hammer to the skull, each done with cheesy backyard effect goodness! Sometimes the creepy vibe of the film was off track as Mike added many lame inside jokes toward friends of ours, and like Farmer Joe 2, the film stopped filming as Mike began delaying production.  Finally the film was scrapped as films like Razor, Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa and Two Seconds Too Late started productions, and Mike never did get back on track getting the film done. The footage we shot sat on VHS for many years and at some point I put it on Mini-DV and even used some shots on a couple of Baron Von Porkchop episodes! The Sadness would go on to get his own film in 2006 written and directed by me, but that’s for another update. At some point I would love to take some of the old Independent B Movie scripts and turn them into comic books, and Long Dead Winter would be at the top of that list! Any takers my comic book-making friends…Jason Young? Bruce O Hughes? Justin Wasson? Eric Shonborn? Below are some screen grabs from the VHS master tapes complete with time code.

Long Dead Winter 1Long Dead Winter 2Long Dead Winter 3

Speaking of long winters, this time of the year also makes me think of one of my favorite bands Cinderella and their album Long Cold Winter! Growing up I listened to pop music like Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Adam Ant and Janet Jackson, but I also listened to lots of rock due to my Dad, who is a music lover.  At a young age he introduced me to the likes of Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon and ZZ Top and from there wit the help of MTV and radio station 104.7 WTUE I started to find bands from my generation that I enjoyed like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol, W.A.S.P. and RATT and one of the tops on my list was Cinderella, a band that mixed hair metal and the blues so well with releases like Heartbreak Station. I can remember how hyped I was when I found the cassette of their first album Night Songs at Half Price Books. I took that tape home and almost wore it out from all the times I would crank it on my tiny little boom box radio. In 1988, they released Long Cold Winter, and I can remember seeing it in ads for places like K-Mart and wanting it so badly.  The singles off that album included Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), Gypsy Road, The Last Mile and Coming Home, all that charted and all of them played on our local radio stations. I was lucky that my mom and dad listened to my wish list and got me it on cassette for Christmas that year and just like Night Songs, I can remember cranking it up. So after writing this, I think I am going to make myself some hot chocolate put on the vinyl of Long Cold Winter and reflect on a time when big hair ruled the music world, and to be honest if you have not heard this album, make sure to check it out!

Cinderella Band 1Cinderella Long Cold WinterCinderella Band 2

I want to also talk about something a little more creepy, something that might send shivers down your spine thinking that this thing might be real and wondering the world we all live in. In July of 2007 in Bahia, Brazil, a 15 year old girl was walking alone along a riverbed and woods when she was attacked by a horned monster who grabbed her and was trying to force mud into her face and hair for unknown reasons.  Luckily the young girl was able to escape by knocking this creature off balance making it so that she could flee and take this one single picture of the beast giving chase while in the water. The girl went home, and she and her dad released the photo, and since then another picture of it has been released from another person who saw it roaming around.  This thing is now called The Bahia Beast, and what it is is up for debate. The Beast is believed by Cryptozoology fanatics to be a mud demon, a foul creature who gets pleasure in degrading his victims before eating them. But many people think that it’s a hoax and is nothing more than a man in a cheap Halloween mask and costume roaming around to try and bring tourists to the area to see if they can spot the monster in the woods. I have also heard that some people think that the young girl’s story is fake and that she just snapped a picture of an actor in a costume while an independent horror film was being made. So as you can see The Bahia Beast is an unknown thing/person with an unknown origin, and this makes you wonder is this mudslinging demon out there waiting to make you taste mud?

Bahia beast 1Bahia beastBahia beast 2

While we are on the subject of spooky and horror I should take a brief moment to cover a comic book I got off the website Indy Planet that is about a zombie cop hunting a werewolf in the snow! I figured this update would be the best place to cover it as we are talking about the cold month of December, so let’s take a quick look at it.

Corpse Cop Arctic Wolf Front 1

Corpse Cop: Arctic Wolf # 1  **
Released in 2013   Cover Price $3.00   Black Box Comics   # 2 of 2

Corpse Cop is dropped off in Alaska as something has been killing hunters and the wildlife off and he has been hired to exterminate it. While wandering around in the snow, he finds the corpse of an animal and knows he is on the track to find the monster. Corpse Cop takes shelter in a cave for the night and while trying to warm up his undead body near the fire, he is attacked by a bear and must kill it. After the fight, a woman appears and sits with him near the fire and turns into a werewolf and attacks but is quickly killed as Corpse Cop cuts off it’s head and leaves her body to be eaten by animals.

This comic is too short for its own good with only 12 pages. I didn’t get to build a bond with Corpse Cop nor did I feel the werewolf was any threat to him. The story moves super fast and has the supernatural enforcer being dropped off in the snow doing very little investigating and killing his target, a werewolf, with ease. Corpse Cop seems to be an undead man with a sarcastic attitude and a real dislike for things of the supernatural. The werewolf is a female who seems to be in hiding in the cold caves as she knows that once she turns into the beast anything around her is as good as dead. But what stinks is that the werewolf is killed in seconds as Corpse Cop chops off its head, and the comic ends with it on a stake. While I was not to impressed with the story, I was impressed with the scratch board art of the comic done by Alan Bennett that helps add flare and style to this comic with it’s dark colors. Over all this has major potential for being a cool comic series as long as the next issues go longer than 12 pages and the characters are developed. The artist and creator Alan Bennett does not want you to share images from this comic or so I took it as via his website so out of respect I will not.  So instead I will show off some of my friend Rachel Lare’s sketch board artwork. I think she does fantastic work, and one day I hope that I can work alongside her and make a comic book just for Rotten Ink based on a cool horror film like Night of the Demon or Project Metal Beast! So check out her work below based on some icons for horror.

Rachael Lare Art 1Rachael Lare Art 2Rachael Lare Art 3

Does anyone remember those really cool comic catalogs that use to come out via Superhero Enterprises called “The Superhero Merchandise Catalog” that featured stuff like toys, posters, shirts, jewelry and all other manner of goodies that featured the likeness of your favorite hero like Spider-Man, Batman or Conan The Barbarian? It was place where you could order your Mego Toys and Spider-Man pajamas from the same order form. Nowadays, they just don’t do this kind of thing unless you count the giant Diamond ordering book used for customers to place what they want via their favorite local comic shop. I should also note that while writing this review I have been listening to two “Weird Al” Yankovic CD’s “In-3D” and “Polka Party!” and I must say it was a lot of fun going back and listening to his parodies of 80’s pop music classics like “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer and even “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and hearing him turn them into juvenile silly songs about food or some other off the wall thing. In 3-D came out in 1984 and to be honest was one of the first vinyl records I owned when I was a kid, and listening to this again after so many years was like listening to an old friend telling you stories that you heard so many times but the way they tell it keeps you happy and entertained. My favorite tracks off In 3-D have to be “Nature Trail To Hell,” a song that is about Friday The 13th and other slasher camp movies, “The Brady Bunch,” a fun take on The Men Without Hats song Safety Dance that deals with not wanting to watch the Brady Bunch on TV. “Eat It” of course is the take on Jacksons Beat It and is an all time classic Weird Al song, but to be honest this whole CD is packed with great songs and really took me back to being a kid sitting in the room with the NES playing a game and listening to this on vinyl.  Good memories, and this Weird Al album will always have a place in my heart for making me go back to the past. Polka Party! was released in 1986 and was one of those albums that I would see on cassette at K-Mart in the discount bin and for some reason my Dad would always say that we didn’t need that because it had no good songs on it! While I will agree that it’s not as great as In 3-D it does have it’s charm and some of my favorite songs from off the CD are “Addicted To Spuds” as I myself love eating potatoes and “Living With A Hernia” that’s a parody of James Brown’s Living In America is silly and fun but also makes me think of Rocky IV and the death of Apollo Creed! I should also note that this CD also has a Christmas song that adds to this time of the year, and it’s called “Christmas At Ground Zero” and is about a nuke being dropped on the jolly holiday, a grim song that’s done with a upbeat spirit makes for a fun listen. So yeah, I just wanted to share what I have been listening to these days.  I feel that music was also very important to me growing up and help shape me into the person I am today just as much as friends, family, comics, movies, horror hosts and video games did. So next year (2016), once a month I am going to let a friend of mine pick their favorite band or artist and have me listen to their favorite album by said artist. But at this point we should get back our look at The Starriors!

Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D CDThe Superhero Merchandise Catalog 1975Weird Al Yankovic Polka Party CD

In 1984, Tomy released a toy line with the help of Marvel that was a spin off of Zoids and gave the characters a storyline that involved humans going underground during solar flares and leaving robots up top to awaken them once the disaster was over. The toys were broken up into two lines, one being the good guys called the Protectors who were led by a laser chested bot named Hot Shot and the bad guys called the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave. The figures’ gimmick was that they would perform actions via windup, pullback or remote control making them more “alive” than Transformers. They also came with mini comics made by Marvel to help showcase the characters and their backstories. The series of figures would last for two waves and could be found at many department stores at the time of release. Growing up, I can only remember having one of these figures when I was super young and that was Hot Shot, but if memory serves me I am pretty sure its arms fell off and my mom ended up throwing it away.  Needless to say, this series of toys was not one that the Brassfield Brothers had to have. None of my school friends had any of these figures that I know of, and the only other people I personally knew who had any were my old Vietnamese neighbors when I first lived in Kettering and my Brassfield Grandparents because my grandma would buy toys all the time to keep at her house for my cousin Nathan from garage sales. Starriors was slated to get an animated mini series in 1985 but production on the series seems to be a mystery as it has never seen the light of day.  This is what makes this toy line so interesting, it had no back up from TV, movies or video games.  All it had was the Marvel Comics and the time put into the story shows that everyone involved believed in them and wanted Starriors to be the next big thing in action figures. I feel that Marvel and Tomy really loved the mythology of The Starriors much like Marvel and Remco loved what they came up with for The Saga of Crystar, and this helps make this toy line all the more fascinating for a person like me who grew up knowing very little about them. While I might not have been a fan or had many of the toys, I am sure some kids of the time loved them and looked forward to getting the figures to play out their own robot adventures. Below are some pictures of the figures as well as the checklist of figures so enjoy.

Starriors Hot Shot toyStarriors Character PosterSlaughter-Steelgrave toy

Before we get to the Marvel Comic mini series I would like for those readers who have had Starriors toys to reflect back to that time and remember all the adventures and battles you had with them during your youth…go on take a few moments, I don’t mind. So are you ready now to travel to a time when Earth is no longer man’s but that of machines that we left in charge? If so I need to remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see if Hot Shot can bring back man and if he can stop Steel Grave once and for all. I want to also thank Lone Star Comics and Dark Star Comics for having this mini series in stock.

Starriors 1

Starriors # 1 **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel    #1 of 4

Hot Shot, Crank, Cut-Up, Tinker and Nipper are robots called Protectors, and they are helping rebuild a wall while robots called Destructors (Slaughter Steel Grave, Gouge, Sawtooth to name a few) shout orders and act as if they are slaves to them. Nipper finds a human skull and rushes to show her friends when Gouge jumps down and smashes her to pieces and tells them to get back to work. Hot Shot and Tinker take Nipper’s body to Think Tank hoping he can place her circuits into a new body, and they do. But this has caused a riff between the Protectors lead by Hot Shot and the Destructors lead by Slaughter Steel Grave that leaves Hot Shot using his laser against Gouge who was going to hurt one of his friends and Steel Grave unleashing the massive dinosaur robot named Deadeye to kill off many of the Protectors. In the end a small amount of the good robots are left alive after they flee to look for man, who they think can help them win the war.

This is a pretty cool first issue, but I did find it to be crammed with way too many characters and not enough character development for the main ones. The plot has two different types of robots fighting it out for the fate of their planet.  The Protectors are worker robots who are gentle in nature and are waiting for humans to come back, while the Destructors are mean spirited and bullies who get joy in mistreating and back stabbing. Hot Shot is wise and truly thinks that man can help them.  His main weapon is a laser, and his mentor is Think Tank who gives him advice. Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who loves the power he holds and enjoys destroying the weaker robots using them as slaves.  He even hates humans and doesn’t want them back as he fears they will take his power away. The rest of the characters as well fit in this generic bad guy and good guy style with only a few being in the grey, who could go either way. I must also say that the names of many of the robots are just silly and not fitting for what they look like. I mean a blind all red robot who looks like a T-Rex is named Deadeye…you get it, because he’s blind. The art is well done and helps make the characters’ personalities pop a little more allowing them to be more deep than what’s been written for them.  It’s done by Michael Chen who it seems didn’t do much work for Marvel after this series and that’s a shame as I think he was a talented artist. So far this is starting off pretty good, and I am hoping that by the next issue they explain more about the characters and that it also packs in a little more fights as this issue was more drama than action. So let’s get to issue # 2 and see what Marvel has in store for us.

Starriors 2

Starriors # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #2 of 4

Hot Shot, along with the remaining Protectors, are in the desert to look for man and are climbing a mountain towards a volcano. Slaughter Steel Grave is leading his men to go after them and has given orders to destroy the Protectors and even turns on Sawtooth and buries him under rocks as they leave him and continue their hunt. Think Tank and Crank enter the volcano to try and mind meld to get locations when they are attacked by Deadeye who is in turn attacked by a giant mutant spider! As the Destructors enter the volcano, they as well attack the spider and during this rocks fall on Crank.  As the other Protectors, escape he becomes the prisoner of the evil robots who plan on wiping out his memory and ripping him apart. Hot Shot and his men can’t let this happen as Crank is their close friend and his body also hosts the mind of Think Tank because the mind link was interrupted and didn’t allow things to go back to normal. During the fight Steel Grave and his men capture some of the Protectors and plan on executing them.  This causes Hot Shot and crew to enter the bad guys’ camp save their friends by stealing a powerful transfer ring that gets Think Tank’s mind back in the right body.

This second issue showcases just how much Slaughter Steel Grave hates the Protectors and humans and how he will do whatever it takes to stop them both even if that means killing! The search for the truth and for a better life is all Hot Shot and his followers are looking for, and they have to travel to a forbidden land in order to find the answers as well as escape the evil bots who are after them. This issue is a solid giant robot story, but it is also pretty dull in spots. I think the story is dragging along to fill out the four issues in this mini series, and this issue is a clear filler as the coolest thing that happens is a fight between the good robots, the bad robots and lava spiders.  But while this sounds amazing in words, the battle is too quick and leads to nothing but Hot Shot and his men escaping again. It’s interesting what they are doing with Sawtooth who clearly is not sold on the evil ruling of Steel Grave and is more of a leader than Grave ever will be. Hot Shot is a cool leader of the good guys and while at times he should fight back harder, he still does what he feels is right. The art is done by Mike Chen again and is well done and has a great 70’s comic toy tie-in look. While this issue is not groundbreaking and for all accounts a very mediocre issue, I still can’t wait to see what happens in the third issue so we should not waste anymore time and check it out.

Starriors 3

Starriors # 3  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .75   Marvel   #3 of 4

Sawtooth is warning his fellow robots about the lies of Slaughter Steel Grave about man, and this leads to Steel Grave ordering the death of Sawtooth who is torn apart, and ordering his followers to get the transfer ring back! Meanwhile Hot Shot and his friends are thinking about how they must find man and fight back if they are pushed. The Protectors send Runabout to scout ahead and find the hidden base of the humans as Slaughter Steel Grave sends Speedtrap after her.  The two robots fight and both are left hurt and dying. Meanwhile Slaughter Steel Grave leads a sneak attack on The Protectors that leaves all the good natured robots slaughtered! Meanwhile a robot named Stinger comes out of the base and kills Speedtrap and brings Runabout back to life and tells her that the base had been attacked many years back by Slaughter Steel Grave who wants to snuff out mankind! Stinger gives Runabout a transfer ring, and she rushes back to the Protector camp and finds all her friends slaughtered.  She uses the ring to heal those she can including Hot Shot who tells his friends it’s time to go to war and not only save themselves but also mankind!

This third issue is really cool and has a hint of Transformers to it and that makes the story feel more epic and builds the doom of Slaughter Steel Grave who doesn’t care about anything besides himself. The story in this issue is Hot Shot and his friends are shown to be weak as the Destructors fight them and leave them all destroyed, but thanks to one robot who is kind of a chicken, they are rebuilt because she faces the odds and comes to her friends aid. Slaughter Steel Grave is shown to be even worse than before as he kills his own if they cross him and has a plan to kill off humans because he thinks he should be the one ruling the world! Hot Shot, who is an honest good robot, also finds that he needs to go against his programing and fight for what’s right and comes to see Steel Grave is one evil bot. Motormouth, who is the Protector who is telling Slaughter Steel Grave secrets, is a terrible little robot and when Steel Grave has him ripped apart for being a rat I found myself cheering for him to bite the dust. Mike Chen once more does the artwork, and it’s really good.  As I said before, the story has really picked up, and I can’t wait to see what the fate of mankind is! So with that let’s move onto the fourth and final issue in this Marvel mini series based on a cheap toy line.

Starriors 4

Starriors # 4  **1/2
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75   Marvel   #4 of 4

Slaughter Steel Grave and the Destructors are heading toward the base to rid the world of man as Stinger watches on frozen with fear, but things are not going to plan as many of the Destructors turn against orders to attack the base as they don’t want to kill man and the base has some defenses of its own to slow down the attack on it. Hot Shot and the rest of the Protectors bring back Sawtooth who joins them in the fight against Steel Grave, who he looks at as a major threat to the world. The Protectors and The Destructors have all out war that leaves many of them dead as ThinkTank, Deadeye, Stinger and Crank fall in battle, but Hot Shot won’t back down and with the help of the base, they chase off Steel Grave and are able to bring back all the hurt Protectors to life! In the end Hot Shot finds man and brings them back to life where humans and robots make an alliance and decide to stand with each other in the war against The Destructors.

The final war in this issue is filled with so much death and destruction it was like watching a war movie like Saving Private Ryan or Glory! The wrap up story of this issue has Hot Shot getting the good robots ready for war and fighting for their lives as Steel Grave is shown to be a bully, but when clearly they start fighting back, he retreats so not to be defeated. Hot Shot grows as a character by the end of this mini series.  A first, while he is kind of a wimp, he still stands up for what’s right, and by this issue he is filled with revenge and rage and even leaves Motormouth out in the sun to rust showing he no longer is going to be pushed around and has no mercy on bad robots. The Protectors are all pretty cool characters, and all of the main cast had some sort of small storyline going on from a love triangle to friendships, making them all come off human like and not just robots. I also liked how Sawtooth as well as other The Destructors turned to the side of good when they saw that the orders they were getting were that of a madbot! Slaughter Steel Grave is a robot who is on a power trip and uses power to bully and force his fellow robots into doing what he says when he says.  He took so much joy in killing either by his own hands or having it ordered that he remained me of a evil prison warden in those old women in prison movies. The humans do nothing at all, even when they wake up they are dressed as if they are in some weird superhero cult with the lead bearded man looking like he is some new age Charles Manson. I just don’t trust them…all joking aside, they don’t do much and only come into play for the last two pages of the comic. In fact the whole story to me seemed like the creators of the comic and toyline sat at a table and took elements from The Transformers, The GoBots and Mad Max and scribbled them onto a notepad and out came The Starriors, and I am okay with what they came up with for the most part. This was a great way to give these generic toys a backstory and personalities and proved that while they might not have been as cool as The Transformers, they still could deliver an entertaining comic adventure. So if you grew up a fan of these figures or even collect them today, do yourself a favor and check out this Marvel series you’ll be glad you did. Check out a piece of Chen’s artwork below to see the quality of his work and the style that brought these characters to life.

Starriors art 1

Man this update took us all over the place, and we covered The Starriors, a unfinished Mike Ritchie no budget movie, Weird Al music CDs and so much more makes me really look at and love my blog! Well it’s getting cold in here so I am thinking I am going to crawl under some covers and pop in a DVD movie or watch the WWE Network and relax this night away. I wouldn’t want to get sick! And speaking of, sickness that is the topic of the next update as we take a look at Lifeform, a man who could infect the whole Marvel Universe with an infectious disease and it’s up to the likes of Daredevil, The Hulk, Punisher and Silver Surfer to stop him from doing just that. So until next time stay warm, stay healthy, read a comic or three and have a safe winter.

Lifeform Logo

The Axeman: The Killer Of New Orleans

A chill is in the air, and we are getting so close to October and Halloween time so I figured we would take a look at a graphic novel based on an unknown killer from the early 1900’s. This killer claimed he was not human and loved the sound of jazz music and would stalk his victims at night, but as quickly as the murders started, they also stopped. I am a true crime buff and always enjoy reading a good novel about an unknown killer, and next to Zodiac Killer and Phantom Killer of Texarkana, The Axeman of New Orleans – this strange case of an unidentified killer – has always peeked my interest.  I was curious about who he was and why he did what he did. So for this update we will be taking a look at the information Rick Geary collected to try and bring to life in his graphic novel based on this sadistic brutal killer. So lock your doors and shut your windows as Rotten Ink takes a look at The Axeman who tormented New Orleans.

The Ax of The Axeman

On May 22, 1918 in New Orleans, Italian grocer Joseph Maggio and his wife Catherine were asleep in their bed when The Axeman entered the home, slit their throats with a straight razor and then bashed them in the head with an axe. Catherine’s wound to her neck was so bad that her head was almost severed from her body, while Joseph lived for a short time after his brother found the victims and was able to get him help. On June 27th 1918, the killer struck again when he attacked and nearly killed Louis Besumer and his mistress Harriet Lowe.  Both were hit with a hatchet but were found in time by a delivery driver named John Zanca. Sadly, Lowe would later die from surgery linked to her attack, and Besumer would go on to be a suspect in his own attack as well as a German spy and was arrested and died in jail. On August 5th 1918, the killer struck again.  This time his victim was a 28 year old pregnant woman who he bashed in the face repeatedly cutting her scalp wide open, and if she hadn’t been found by her husband, she could have bled to death.  Five days later, the Axeman attacked and murdered Joseph Romano in his home with two ax blows to the head.  Romano was found by his two nieces, who were able to get him help, but sadly he died two days later from trauma. Charles Cortimiglia and his wife Rosie and baby daughter Mary were attacked on March 10th 1919.  All were hit with an ax, and Mary passed away while Charles and Rosie were treated and released. On March 13th 1919, a letter was sent by the Axe-Man claiming he would not kill anyone who played jazz all night and that he was in fact not human but a demon among many other claims. On August 10th, 1919, Steve Boca was attacked in his home with an ax and was lucky enough to survive. 19 year old Sarah Laumann was found in her home with ax wounds to her head and several of her teeth knocked out; she would survive the attack. The Axe-Man’s final target was Mike Pepitone, who was killed with ax blows to his head. Over the years of his attacks many people were suspects and some were even arrested but none were ever proven to be the real killer.  A letter was written by the killer claiming unworldly things, and he was even compared to fictional character Mr. Hyde. One thing is for sure, he was never caught and if he truly was a demon or a monster, he still might be out their waiting to strike again.

Axeman Trading CardAxemans Jazzaxeman shadow

So there is a quick run down of all the mayhem this killer caused in New Orleans, but his crimes and infamous style of murder also went on to be in many media projects besides this graphic novel. In 1919, a song called The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) was written by Joseph John Davilla. Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection Of Louisiana Folk Tales, a book with a chapter about the Axe-Man, was released in 1945. In 1984, The Beasts of Bourdon released their first album called The Axeman’s Jazz after the killer. 1991 saw a fiction novel based on the murders called The Axeman’s Jazz written by Julie Smith. In issue # 94 of Swamp Thing, DC Comics also did a take on the Axeman. 1992 saw the release of True Crime trading cards, and in the second series, The Axeman was a featured card. English band Fila Brazillia used parts of the Axeman’s letter as lyrics in their 1998 song Tunstall And Californian Haddock. In 2004, I wrote a movie script for Independent B Movie called The Return Of The Axeman that was to take place in modern times and have the killer back, killing college age people on a trip to a rural farmhouse.  Sadly, the script was not picked by the group to turn into a movie. Red, White And Blood is a 2012 novel by Christopher Farnsworth that has an evil spirit called the Boogeyman who body jumps into people throughout history and was written to be inside the Axeman during his murders. A year later in 2013, The Axeman, played by Danny Huston, was a character in the TV series American Horror Story: Coven. Ray Celestin wrote a fiction detective novel called The Axeman’s Jazz in 2014. And this is just a drop in the hat of the stuff this case has influenced.  It’s a shame that the real case never had an ending like all these media projects did as it would have been nice for the killer to have been brought to justice and his victims to have seen their tormentor captured.

Gumbo Ya-Ya, A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales bookBeasts of Bourbon CDThe Axemans Jazz Book

So as you can see, The Axeman has chopped his way into history as well as in to the comic world as he not only has this graphic novel based on his crimes but also inspired an issue of Swamp Thing! I think it’s time for the main event, and I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s try to solve this case and see what Rick Geary has in store for us this Halloween update season!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans GN

The Terrible Axe-Man Of New Orleans  ***1/2
Released in 2010     Cover Price $15.99     NBM Publishing   #1 of 1

The story begins with a history of Louisiana, how it became a state, how New Orleans came about and who it was named after as well as some of the ups and downs throughout the city’s history. It covers the culture that grew in the city from music like blues and jazz to Mardi Gras all the way to the Union holding it during the Civil War and terrors that stalked the nights like Needleman, a chap who injected poison into his victims and even Jack The Clipper, a freak who liked to cut schoolgirls hair in theaters and buses. But our main story starts in 1918 when Andrew awakens to hear thuds and strange noises coming from his brother’s room.  Upon checking on him, Andrew finds that his brother is dead as is his wife in what is described at the bloodiest crime scene in the city’s history! A razor was used and found on the bed as was an ax that was left in the bathtub.  Nothing was stolen from the house, and the killer got in by using a chisel on the back door’s lower panel and crawling in, and even more oddly, a strange message is left on the sidewalk in chalk that is linked to the crime. Andrew and his other brother Jake are arrested for the murders but are both later cleared of the charges.  As one old time police officer remembers, some cases from 1911 that had Italian grocers being killed in this fashion, and the Mafia and a group called The Black Hand became the suspects. More murders and attacks accrue, many with the killer using the victims’ own axes or hatchets to attack them with as well as entering via door panels or open back windows. Many people are accused of the crimes and all are proven not guilty, and the lucky ones who live through the attacks are unable to describe the killer. One case with survivors has the wife accusing another family who runs a store that competes with their own, and it seems as if anyone can be a suspect! Over time people start buying guns, and The Axeman fails at many attempts at breaking into houses.  Things seem to go back to normal until he attacks a family and murders an infant child! He then sends a letter to the Times-Picayune on March 14th 1919 stating he is a demon who chooses to kill whenever he wants and that he will strike on the following Tuesday and will murder anyone who is not playing jazz as he is very fond of that style of music.  All over town that night jazz music echoes, and the killer does not strike. The Axeman strikes once again in 1919 but also during this year he is run off by aware townspeople who react and scare away the killer before he can claim a life. And after killing a total of six people and wounding six others, the killings just stop, and The Axeman fades away into the shadows and memories of New Orleans. On December 2nd 1920, a man named Joseph Mumphre was shot and killed on a sidewalk in Los Angeles by Rose Pepitone, who was the wife of the Axeman’s final victim.  She claims that Joseph was the Axeman and that she wanted nothing but revenge on him for killing her husband; others don’t think this was the case at all. So ends the story of The Axeman who could have died a man or lives on as a demon roaming the world looking for his next time to strike terror.

This graphic novel is a well-done true crime spectacular that will wrap you up into trying to figure out who was the Axe-Man of New Orleans and also lets you look at the horrific crimes he committed in glorious black and white art. The comic covers a very brief history of Louisiana and New Orleans and then goes into the horrific acts committed by the Axeman and gives you dates and facts about each crime and even a little history about the poor victims. While it’s about a brutal killer, this graphic novel does not go overboard on the blood and gore, but that’s not to say that the red stuff don’t flow from wounds nor splatter walls cause it does, just very tastefully. The interesting part about this is that in 1911, years before the official Axeman attacks, horrific murders with the same M.O. were committed showing that this killer could have had even more victims than reported, and it also brings light to the fact someone in New Orleans really disliked Italian grocers. But the million dollar question that this graphic novel really gets you thinking about is who was The Axeman as the suspects are plenty and almost all of them at some time were ruled out even if they had motive to commit the murders.  Plus the thought of several murderers all doing the crimes to look like one also comes to my mind when reading it. But I really do think the main suspect, and probably the man who was the Axeman of New Orleans, was Joseph Mumphre.  When he was in jail, the killings stopped for a brief time, and then once he moved away to L.A. the killing were done.  This is clearly the main suspect and the right one for the police to have kept an eye on even though they didn’t, and it took the widow of one of the victims to give him justice at the end of a bullet. Rick Geary’s artwork is fantastic and captures the mood and feel of this grim subject and brings a touch of class to such a horrible crime in American history. If you’re a comic book fan and love true crime, this is a great read on a late fall night, really worth checking out.  After reading this one, I ordered more of his work, and I am sure you will see them pop up here on Rotten Ink as future updates. Below is some art from this graphic novel of the Axeman, so sit back and give it a look, and you also might want to look over your shoulder because who knows, he might still be out there!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans Art 1

We finished this a little early, and I know you want to be scared a little more from this Pre-Halloween update so we will take a look at Swamp Thing # 94! I have been a fan of Swamp Thing for many years, and when I was a kid I had The Saga Of Swamp Thing # 1 comic and thought I had a true collectors item…now being 36 and a comic store connoisseur, I see that that issue is not worth the thousands of dollars I thought it would be when I was that comic collecting youth. Also, thanks Lone Star Comics for having this in stock so that I could cover this issue for this update!

Swamp Thing 94

Swamp Thing # 94   **
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics    # 94 of 171

The Axeman is back and has killed in the small town of Houma during Mardi Gras leaving the bodies in the swamp where they are found by Swamp Thing. In town is a jazz band named Cocodrie whose lead singer has gotten an ax from a fan that holds magical powers of music for every blood drop on it.  This ax really came from a descendent of the original Axeman of New Orleans who wants the legacy of the killings and the spreading of jazz music to continue. Abby Holland, the wife of Swamp Thing, wants him to come to the big concert tonight as she thinks no one will notice him as everyone will be in costume and too drunk to care.  All the while murders are happing, and the new Axeman is collecting blood and setting jazz music free from the hearts of his victims.  You see, while the singer plays the jazz, the killer does his thing and murders poor people in their homes. The killer is being pushed by a giant purple demon who is getting joy of the madness and terror these killings are causing. While at the concert Abby has to leave as her baby daughter starts to cry because the infant can see the demon.  This makes them the target of the Axeman, and just as he is about to chop them up, Swamp Thing appears and beats not only the killer but also the demon.  This marks the end of the terror of the Axeman as even the band’s singer is effected by the defeat.

This issue while good is a disappointment and clearly a filler issue in this series as both Swamp Thing and The Axeman of New Orleans are after thoughts to the demon who is the cause of the murders as well as the lead singer of Cocodrie and his love for his musical ax and wanting to be the top jazz musician in the world. The plot is this a demon who us the man behind making a man become an ax murder is back and is using a new batch of goons to commit the crimes is stopped once Swamp Thing gets wind of what’s going down and saves his wife who was the next target to be chopped up. Swamp Thing in this issue is disgusted by the murders and wants to seek answers to what kind of demon could be pushing a person to do these acts, he also takes no mercy on how quick he takes down The Axeman! Abby Holland is a free spirited woman who loves her family and also loves running around the swamp naked and trying to get Swamp Thing to do normal activities. The Axeman has two different types of axes one for killing and one for making music and when he kills he wants to be a brutal as possible and targets many woman this time around, really like how the killer is related to the original axeman and that a demon is really calling the shots just as the letter stated back in 1919. The Cocodrie are used a filler to help spread Jazz music and the lead singer is the pawn in a sick game of promised fame and fortune, I mean who ever has heard of a magical musical wood chopping ax? The issue has some horror elements as people are chopped up and a Demon jumps for joy when people are killed, the downside is the story is weak and has a lame pay off with Swamp Thing stopping the Axeman with ease and at no point is he or Abby really in any danger! The major plus side to the issue is that they use the song The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) as the motivation of the killer and his musical butthead lacky. The artwork is done by Kelley Jones and the story is done by Doug Wheeler and while a little lacking they both are fitting for this Swamp Thing filler issue. Over all I am a Swamp Thing fan I just was let down by this issue and I think it might have been my own fault as I might have over hyped it in my head.

Swamp Thing 94 Art 1Swamp Thing 94 Art 2Swamp Thing 94 Art 3

So this Halloween season while zombies, vampires and werewolves might scare you late nights in movies, comics, video games and novels know that the real horrors of the world are people like The Axeman of New Orleans who stalk the innocent to satisfy their sick bloodlust! Our next update I am very happy to say that the first update for October is going to be Panic Beats another very cool comic based on a Paul Naschy film! So until then watch a horror film or two, read a horror comic or three and support your local Horror Host as this time of the year is made for having a good scare or two.

Panic Beats Logo

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014

Matt Goes To The Movies 2014 Logo

2014 was a pretty good year for movies, and while I didn’t get to visit the theater just about every week like last year, I still was able to catch many great films at my favorite theaters. It’s odd that after all these years I still feel the excitement of watching a film in the theater with some popcorn and an Icee. But before we get into my lists, I should say that my favorite theater is Cinemark at the Greene in Beavercreek, but man since they bought the theater from The Rave that place has had some issue and cutbacks that have really taken away from the place. The first thing you will notice is that on many days they are understaffed and many of the faces from last year are no longer working there, although my friend Chris still does so that’s a plus. Plus they did away with the flavor powder to put on your popcorn….so no more cheese popcorn for this movie goer. Others issues I have had is that during John Wick they left the lights on.  When my pal Jeremy Hoyt went and told them they turned off all the lights besides the center one that sadly we were sitting under…I felt like I was being interrogated by Dick Tracy! During November Man almost all the speakers besides the front two didn’t work, and worse, they had the front two cranked and it sounded like crap. During some movies, due to them going all digital with no projectionist when the film would start it would have no sound or no picture. Plus one of the most annoying things is the fact that they cram so many Coka-Cola and Microsoft ads at the start of every movie that it feels like your watching network TV! But to be fair for every bad experience, I have had way more good and that’s why it’s still my favorite theater. So let’s take a seat here at the Rotten Ink Theater lobby and let’s talk films of 2014!

Rotten Ink Cinema Lobby 2014Let’s get those bad films out of the way first, the ones that I left the theater wondering why film or even digital pixels were wasted on making them! So let’s take out this stinky trash before it smells up the joint! This year since I didn’t go and see one or two films a week, I was lucky enough to miss many stinkers but here are at least two that left a fowl smell in the theater.

WORST copy

# 2

300 Rise of an Empire

A direct follow up to 300 takes place at the same time and after the events of the first film, and instead of land battles, it’s mostly all about water warfare. Themistocles and his brave warriors go to war at sea with Xerxes and his evil sister Artemisia all for the glory of Greece. The film has some fun over the top boat battles and even a few sword to sword fights, but many times the action is pure cheese and some of the green screen effects look as if it was a made for the Sy-Fy Channel film. The scene that has Themistocles riding a horse from boat to boat and throwing fire is down right silly and mind numbingly bad. Highlights include a naked Eva Green who plays Artemisia. Over all, it’s a very poor follow up to the original and was a bland sword and sandal film. The film grossed $106,580,051.00 at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers.

# 1

Million Ways To Die In The West

This film just plan sucked! I saw it with my pal Jeremy Hoyt with a theater semi-full of people, and hardly no one laughed and many groans were heard at the poor attempts at humor. The film follows sheep farmer Albert Stark, who is a weak man with no backbone and no shooting skills, that is until he meets Anna, the wife of a gunslinger outlaw who has set his sights on killing Albert who has fallen in love with his wife! It’s up to Anna to help Albert get a backbone and survive not only a fight with her husband but that also with his ex-girlfriend’s mustachioed boyfriend. The film was written, directed and starred Seth McFarlane, who is a one trick pony with his gross and pop culture humor. So in other words, if you think fart jokes are top of the line comedy than Seth wrote this one for you. The film’s only real highlights are cameos from celebrities playing famous characters they have played in past Western films like Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown from Back To The Future Part III! At the US box office, this film brought in $43,139,300 for Universal. I hope they don’t make a sequel to this film…as the thought makes my brain hurt.

Those were the only bad films I saw in theater, but I should also note that I saw two really bad ones that went direct to video like Wolf Creek 2 and Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D. But let’s not inhale any more of this stinky trash!

Wolf Creek 2Trash CanArgentos Dracula 3D

Up second, we are going to take a look at action.  While last year we called it 80’s action, this year we are going to add more into it besides films starring aging action stars; plus I am going to add action thrillers into this category. So get your Rambo headband ready because I am about to tell you my top 6 action packed films of 2014!

80s action copy

# 6

sabotage

Arnold Schwarzenegger geared up in this action thriller film that was pretty solid even though it had many plot holes. Breacher is the leader of an elite DEA team.  His wife was murdered by drug lords in Mexico, and he has his team steal money from their busts. When $10 million goes missing from one of their heists, the DEA turns up the heat and disbands the team. But when members of the team are starting to be murdered off, the team must figure out who is killing them and what happened to the money they stole that went missing. The film takes many twists and turns; it also has a solid line up of supporting actors like Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard and Mireille Enos and some great gun play that all help add to the over all action film feel. The film sadly did very poorly at the box office grossing only $10,508,518.00 in the US for Open House Films, but both Juliet and I enjoyed it.

# 5

The Equalizer

Who doesn’t like seeing Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names? This action drama follows Robert McCall, a retired black ops agent who is now working at a home improvement store after his wife’s passing. He comes out of retirement and takes on the Russian Mafia when his young friend Alina is beaten badly by her pimp who happens to be a Mafia member.  The bodies pile up as Robert takes the war to the streets and to crime that he witnesses. It’s a fun action flick based on the old 80’s TV show on CBS, that has Robert killing scum bags with all types of weapons from guns to hammers. Denzel is fantastic as is Chloe Grace Moretz who plays Alina.  In fact I think Chloe is an actress to keep an eye on because if Hollywood gives her the roles, she will pull them off. If you want to see scum bags get what they deserve at the hands of a man who knows no fear, then check this one out! The film did pretty well at the US box office and grossed $99,306,000.00 for Sony. I saw this film with pal David J. Getz, who was way too hard on it and took the stand of Denzel being to old to be an action star, and to that I say he’s wrong!

# 4

november man

The November Man is an action thriller that stars former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan who plays Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA agent who must go head to head with his former protege David Mason when a large plot involving a Russian general and a young female witness to crimes he has committed’s life is in danger. Throw in a hit woman who has been hired to kill her and you have a race to find out the truth and who is the real bad guy! One thing I like about the film is the good guy Devereaux is not a real nice guy as he lies and even hurts innocent people to make things go his way, but with that said he has his reasons and over all he truly is a “good” guy. Pierce Brosnan is fantastic in the role of Devereaux, and that’s what makes this over all average film a heck of a lot better. Sadly this is the movie that when Jeremy and I saw it at the theater, only the front speakers were working and to “fix” it when Jeremy told them, they turned up the front ones louder…doh! The film grossed $25,018,119.00 for Relativity via the US box office.

# 3

John WickThis was the surprise action hit of the year for me as I can safely say that I really enjoyed every bullet riddled moment! Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a one time enforcer for a crime family who has retired to spend time with his wife who passes away from an illness. After her death, she leaves John a puppy and together they morn the loss. But when the son of the crime lord makes the mistake of stealing John’s car and killing his dog, they awaken “The Boogeyman” who will not stop till the son is dead. What follows next is nonstop action that felt like a video game come to life as bullets and fights break out in clubs and hotels, all ending in deaths! Plus it was funny to see WWF Superstar Kevin Nash in a small role, not to mention the supporting cast was also fantastic with names like William Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki and John Leguizamo all doing great performances for an over the top action film like this. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US box office, grossing in $40,649,000.00 and bringing them in a profit. This is a movie I will buy on DVD when it’s released to show to Juliet and my parents.

# 2

Expendables 3

My favorite action star of all time, Sylvester Stallone, returns as Barney Ross for The Expendables 3.  The film has Barney disbanding his old crew when he finds out that Conrad Stonebanks, an old teammate turned enemy, is still alive when Hale Caesar is injured by him in a raid. Barney turns to his pal Bonaparte to get a younger crew that consist of such actors as Kellan Lutz, Rhonda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell, and when they go after Conrad and fail and become his prisoners, it’s up to Barney and his old crew to save them and stop Conrad once and for all. This film has a paper thin plot but is heavy on the action! It was nice to see Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger all return for a third time. Plus the addition of other classic action stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas (who steals the movie) was a nice way to spice up the cast. The new crew sadly are all forgettable besides Rhonda Rousey, who is a great looking tough UFC chick who can rock a red dress and bash a head in and look fantastic doing it. Not as great as the other two films in the series, but still a solid action flick that sadly did poorly at the US box office for Lionsgate only bringing in $39,322,544.00, but thank God the overseas viewers loved it where it brought in $166,850,000.00! Here is to hoping Sly will give this franchise a break and focus on a new Rambo film…or a sequel to Cobra.

# 1

Walk Among The Tombstones

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a film that mixes many genres together and does so really well; it takes elements from Action, Horror, Thriller and Drama and sprinkles in elements like Noir, Detective and Serial Killer. The film follows former cop now unlicensed private detective Matthew Scudder, who takes a case that involves kidnapping, ransom and murder, and once he’s involved he becomes a player in this sick and twisted game set up by a group of killers. Along the way he meets a young boy on the streets who becomes his somewhat partner and helps him stop the killings and expose the identities of the killers. I really dug this film and enjoyed the fact that it was a Noir Action film that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Plus the film’s killers are true scum of the earth! I saw this film with a pretty packed house and with my friend Jeremy, and you could hear many people talking at the end about how much they liked it. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, and the story has some surprises that are best left for you to discover when you watch it. The film did pretty bad at the US box office bringing in a total of $26,307,600.00 for Universal on a budget of $28 Million, and that’s a shame cause this film was pretty badass!

Liam beating Sly on my top action films, I would have NEVER seen that coming! So we whooped some ass with action now let’s get our nerd minds a good workout as we take a look at my top four Sci-Fi and Fantasy films! So charge up your Lightsaber and set you phasers to stun, we are talking Science Fiction now.

SciFi

# 4

transformers age of extinction

I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed Transformers: Age Of Extinction in the theater while eating popcorn, drinking a blue Icee with my gal Juliet.  That says a lot for me because I was by no means a fan of the other three films in this series directed by Michael Bay. This one’s plot is simple; the people of Earth have turned on the Autobots and have ruled it open season on killing them and taking the bodies away to be studied to see if we could create ones that would become weapons of war. When the Yeager family find and help Optimus Prime, they become the target of the CIA, and worse, Megatron is back in the form of Galvatron! Can Optimus and the remaining Autobots stop them from ruining the world..well of course they can! The film is packed with stupid robot one liners, wall to wall over the top action and the worst cameos for the Dinobots ever, who only have a few minutes on screen and are a waste of film as they really add nothing to the story. The film scored big for Paramount at the US box office bringing in $245,439,076.00 and when adding in foreign gross, it did over a billion dollars! So if you don’t mind checking your brain in at the door and want to see Mark Wahlberg team up with Optimus Prime, then this Sci-Fi Action film is for you.

# 3

Robocop

I generally dislike remakes of classic films, and when I heard Sony was remaking Robocop, my eyes rolled and I thought here we go again another heartless retelling all for the sake of a quick buck. But after seeing Robocop the week it came out, I must admit I was wrong and I think the people who made this film really tried to capture the feel of the original and update it all at the same time. This time around Alex Murphy is a cop on a mission, and when going after a crime boss he is blown up via a car bomb. OmniCorp, who create robots to fight wars, wants to make a super cop and use Murphy as the test subject and create Robocop! And once he gets revenge on those who originally set him up, he also soon finds that Raymond Sellars, the CEO of OmniCorp, is not a very nice man and wants Robocop shutdown for good when he finds he can’t control his mind and looks at him as nothing more than a computer. Can Robocop stop the evil corporation? Will his wife and son accept him? Will Raymond succeed in pulling the plug? All these questions are answered in this fun PG-13 action romp. Joel Kinnaman plays Robocop/Alex and does a pretty good job, but he is no Peter Weller. The supporting cast is also fantastic with such names as Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Jackie Earle Haley. The film did weak in the USA box office grossing $58,607,007.00 making the film a miss for Sony. It’s a shame; I would have liked to have seen a part two.

# 2

maleficent

Maleficent was fantastic ,and when seeing it in IMAX 3D, I felt like a kid again watching a Disney take on a fairy tale unfold before my eyes. My favorite animated Disney film has always been Sleeping Beauty so when I heard they were doing a live action film based around the villain Maleficent my interest was peeked. The film follows Maleficent, who is a fairy, and when a human boy misleads her and cuts off her wings to gain power in the nearby kingdom, she turns mean and waits for her revenge on the day the boy is now King and is going to have his first child.  Maleficent places a curse on the child to sleep forever until true loves kiss awakens her on her 16th birthday. But the film takes a twist as we see that Maleficent ends up befriending the young Princess and wants to try and undue the curse but can she do it? And worse the King has sent his whole army to kill her. This family fun flick was amazing and added so much more depth to the Maleficent character.  Plus Angelina Jolie does a top notch job as the “evil” fairy Maleficent. The special effects are top of the line with the fairy moors being breathtaking, as is the dragon that appears to help her in her fight against the army. The film did really well for Disney at the US box office, grossing in $241,381,217.00 and proving that the classic characters never go out of style. If you have not seen this film, you should check it out.

# 1

dawn of planet of the apes

The Planet of the Apes films have always been some of my favorite Sci-Fi films to watch, and these new films being made by Fox are just as great as the originals! This second film in the rebooted series follows Caesar, the leader of the ape population trying to work alongside the remaining humans who have survived a mass sickness that killed off most of the population.  This team up pisses off primate Koba who was abused by man many years back, and he sets a plan in motion where he makes an attempt at Caesar’s life sparking a war with the humans and apes. But can an injured Caesar stop the war or is it too late? The film’s special effects are top notch and throughout the whole movie, you forget that the apes are CGI! Plus with actors like Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and Kirk Acevedo playing the humans, you know you’re getting sold acting. My favorite ape in the film has to be Koba; he is so bad yet somehow I think he really thought he was doing good by starting the war and killing any man or ape that got in his way! This was one of the films I was most looking forward to this year, and it was by no means a letdown as I loved every minute of it! The film was a hit for Fox and grossed $208,532,326.00 here in the United States showing that people still love seeing a world run by primates!

I saw a few other films that fit this genre this year that were entertaining but just couldn’t make the cut for this list: “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson, a film about a drug that allows a woman to use 100% of her brain after she is used as a mule to smuggle it to the USA when it’s surgically placed into her body.  When the bag leaks she becomes less and less human. “Pompeii” is about the town that was covered in lava and ash via an erupting volcano and follows a gladiator who has fallen in love with a young woman of power, and it turns into a tragic love story starring the likes of Kit Harington, Kiefer Sutherland and Emily Browning. “Legend of Hercules” is about a clean cut son of Zeus who is more of a gladiator than the hero we all know and love. All are entertaining movies in their own right but none were strong enough to make the list.

LucyPompeiilegend of hercules

So let’s trade our phasers in for capes as we now take a look at my top 7 Superhero films of 2014, and man I must say that films based on comics are dominating the box office and shows that comics are more powerful money makers then any company could have ever imagined.

SUPER HERO copy# 7

sin city a dame to kill for

This follow up to Sin City was laced with all the same techniques that wowed audiences upon it’s release in 2005 and even brought back many of the actors from the first film. Sadly it tanked at the box office and put the nail in the coffin for this series. The film follows many stories from Marv, who can’t remember why he killed a bunch of rich brats, to Dwight McCarthy falling for a woman who is using him and many others to get what she wants. There is also a story line of a lucky gambler named Johnny who tests his luck against corrupt Senator Roark and stripper Nancy who wants to kill Roark for crimes he committed in the first film. All the stories come together in the end and all ends well for some, while others end up dead.  The film was a lot of fun and not nearly as bad as many critics would have you think, but as I said it bombed and only did $13,757,804.00 at the box office for Dimension Films. The film also has an all star cast like Josh Brolin, Micky Rourke, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Lloyd and Jessica Alba to name a few.

# 6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I was very lukewarm on the idea of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was a reboot to the series done by those masters of butchering of childhood memories, Platinum Dunes. But I must say the film was way better than I could ever expect it to be, and while it is flawed with a cheesy script and a Shredder who looks more like he should be in Transformers, the Turtles’ banter is well done even if they look like steroid goofy faced mutants. The film follows the Turtles who are going up against the foot clan who are tormenting New York and even have a plan in motion that will poison and kill many thanks to a gas they will be pumping into the air.  Alongside April O’Neil, the Turtles clash with the foot and their leader The Shredder, and of course along the way we learn about Master Splinter as well as a connection they all have to April. Again the film is flawed, but I enjoyed checking my brain at the door and watching a comic book/cartoon inspired film that tried to keep some of the basics of source material and also tried to add more of an update to it for modern fans. For me I would put it on par with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and say while bad, it was fun to watch. The film did pretty solid numbers at the US box office for Paramount bringing in $191,204,754.00!

# 5

Hercules

I am pretty sure many people who went to seen Hercules had no idea that it was based on a comic book from Radical Comics and to be honest, much like my cousin Steve Alexander said, this is truly one of the year’s most underrated films. The film stars WWF Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules, a mercenary who alongside his friends are creating the legend of Hercules, the son of Zeus. But when he finds out that he was hired to help the wrong side in a conflict, he and his friends stand against the odds and leave everyone wondering if he truly is the son of a God. The film is filled with great Sword and Sandal action as well as likable characters; this is one film I would have loved to seen sequels made about. The Rock as well does a fantastic job as Hercules and pulls off the role of being maybe a con man yet maybe not, making the character tough when needed and light hearted when the mood is right. The film sadly did not do as well as it should have and grossed only $72,688,614.00 for Paramount at the US box office. With the film being out on DVD and Blu-Ray, do yourself a favor and check it out.

# 4

Amazing Spider-Man 2

I feel like Amazing Spider-Man 2 was judged way too hard by critics and fans who seemed to want to try and nitpick it to death.  I for one really enjoyed it and found it better than the overblown Spider-Man 2 made by Sam Raimi that I think was praised way too much by fans and critics. This time around Spider-Man is locking horns with three super villains who are all gunning to take Spidey down for the count! You have the Rhino, a man in mechanical suit who feels as if he has been wronged by Spider-Man; you have Electro, a man who was a one time Spider-Man fan who after an accident finds that he has the power of electricity; and Green Goblin, who is really his long time friend Harry Osborne who is slipping into madness! And worse as Peter Parker is having issues coming to terms with the death of his girlfriend’s father to whom he made a promise that has him staying away from her. Action, Drama and Spider-Man one liners help make this one a good Super Hero film! Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Spider-Man, and Emma Stone makes one hell of a Gwen Stacy. The strangest casting had to be Paul Giamatti as The Rhino…his performance is down right silly! The film did pretty well for Sony at the US box office grossing in $202,853,933.00 even though they try and act as if it wasn’t a hit for them. I for one am looking forward to Amazing Spider-Man 3 as well as the spin off Sinister Six movie.

# 3

guardians of the galaxy

Guardians Of The Galaxy is the Marvel Comic team that showed the world that you don’t have to be a triple A team to have a hit movie! The film is about Starlord, a goofball outlaw who teams up with other misfits of space like the living tree Groot, talking raccoon Rocket, psycho brute Drax The Destroyer and green skinned female assassin Gamora to protect a infinity stone from getting into the hands of Ronan The Accuser, who is an evil Kree alien who is back stabbing the powerful Thanos in order to collect the jewel and become all powerful. The movie has lots of sci-fi action, drama and comedy and has some of the most likeable characters of any movie this year! Plus I really liked Ronan as a bad guy, and he is a prime example of a cold blooded super villain who will kill whomever gets in his way. When Juliet and I went to see this movie in the theater, it was a pretty packed house and it was clear that everyone in that theater that day had a blast watching it.  The overly positive remarks of people leaving their seats when it was over was a clear sign that Disney and Marvel Studios did something very right. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US box office grossing in an impressive $332,309,276.00 making this a huge hit. If you have not seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and check it out!

# 2

captain america winter

Captain America is one of my favorite Super Hereos of all time and has been ever since I was a kid.  This second film from Disney and Marvel Studios was a fun kick butt action film laced with enough drama to make the film feel very important in the over all movie universe they are creating. This time around Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury have became a target by a group controlled by a very high official in America, and they even bring Cap’s old World War II buddy Bucky Barns back from the “dead” and call him Winter Solider, a well trained killing machine. Can Captain America stop this evil group and talk sense into his one time friend? Watch and find out! While the original film was set during World War II, this second film takes place in modern times right after the events of The Avengers and trades in Red Skull for The Winter Solider and does a nice job of making the odds looking against Cap at every twist and turn. I must say Christ Evans makes the perfect Captain America/Steve Rogers and who would have thought that was possible? The film did great for Disney grossing in a massive $259,766,572.00 at the US box office. If your a fan of the star spangled Avenger like myself, make sure to give this film a watch.

# 1

X-Men Days Of The Future Past

The X-Men films, as well as the spin offs like “First Class” and “Wolverine,” are fun comic book action films that make for some amazing popcorn munching theater watches, and “X-Men: Days Of The Future Past” was just that and more as I found it to be my favorite Comic Book film of 2014! I know what those of you who know me are saying, the X-Men beat Captain America? But let me tell you, while Cap was amazing, X-Men was a fun thrill ride filled with some great faces from the franchise’s past. The film follows the future where mutants are being hunted and killed by Sentinels made by Bolivar Trask, and their only hope is to send Wolverine to the past to unite the mutants and stop an event that triggered the mutants’ death sentence. The whole mess is started by the younger Mystique, so can Professor X and Magneto put aside their differences and stop the terrible events to happen in the future…watch and find out. The film is based on one of Marvel Comics’ top story lines for the X-Men and FOX did a fantastic job of making it come alive on the big screen. The film stars all the classic characters from the series rich history with many actors returning such as Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Halle Berry (Storm), Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man), Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) and Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) all returning from the first three films as well as actors who played the younger characters in First Class like James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Not to mention the addition of new characters like Bishop, Quicksilver, Blink, Sunspot and Warpath. I don’t want to ruin the end but let’s just say it feels like a High School Reunion, and all the faces you see are ones that make you smile and feel good about the journey you made to get there. The film did pretty well for Fox at the USA Box Office grossing in $233,921,534.00 and even more overseas! While I like the First Class actors, I am hoping that the next film based on The Age of Apocalypse story will feature more of the originals.

So now that we are retiring the cape, let me talk a little about some cool things Game Swap Kettering did this year for me.  They allowed us to have private screenings of Baron Von Porkchop specials. The first one was near Halloween, and we set up a projector, screen and big speaker as well as a buffet of wings, pizza, chips and cookies. Friends in attendance included Juliet, Stephen Alexander, Maurice, Joe G, Garrison, Todd The Fox and V and we all watched Baron host White Zombie as he tried to enjoy a peaceful Halloween that’s interrupted by an ax murdering zombie named Fulci! They also got a sneak peak at an episode for season three that has Baron hosting the film Face Of The Screaming Werewolf. Then around Thanksgiving we did it again, and they got a sneak peek at the new Baron Von Porkchop Black Friday special where he hosted the Independent B Movie film Razor as well as the First Black Friday special whose film was Farmer Joe. Those specials has his feud with a Chicken Man he made that has become a thorn in the Baron’s side. But a big thank you goes to Game Swap in Kettering for allowing us to do these fun screenings. Whenever I get a bigger place to live with a basement I would love to start a Horror Host Fan Club that has meetings once every two months and we project and watch host shows…who knows maybe 2015 will be that year! Below is a cellphone pic from the Halloween episode screening.

Baron Von Porkchop Screening

So while doing a rundown of the films of 2014, I figured I would take a brief moment to give you my top three best Survival Horror Games of 2014 as well as the worst, because those of you who know me understand that I love to play a good solid Survival Horror game! Now I need to state that of the “modern” game systems, I have a PS3 and will soon get a PS4 so all games on the list are ones I got for PS3. I also want to say that the games I buy are on physical disc, and I do not download games so while many horror themed games did come out as digital only games, I have not played them and won’t unless a disc is released.  I like to own what I pay for. So let’s start off with what I found to be the worst of the horror games that came out in 2014 that I have played. And I won’t ramble much I promise…okay, maybe a little rambling.

Worst Horror Video Games

# 1

Escape Dead Island PS3

Escape Dead Island is one of those games that just reeks of a quick cash in with boring fighting mechanics as well as a storyline that is a little weak. This game follows Cliff, a party boy who wants to get his dad’s respect so he goes to the island of a zombie outbreak along with his friends Linda and Devan and finds out that the stories are true and zombies are running wild on the island! Along the way he also meets Xian, a woman who is looking for her friend Rob who went missing while getting intel on the corporation responsible for the outbreak. While the other two games in the series “Dead Island” and “Dead Island Riptide” are first person shooters, this game changed to a third person game.  In the two games that came before you could customize your weapons multiple ways, and in this game your weapons are very limited and barely upgradeable. Plus I can’t help but notice the style of animation is clearly trying to rip off Tell Tale Games’s style with the more cartoonish look. Over all this is not a bottom of the barrel game, but it’s close.

So now that I spoke about the “worst” Horror Game this year that I would more label at “weakest,” let’s move onto what I considered the three best games that helped make 2014 a pretty good year for horror themed games!

Best Horror Video Games Logo

# 3

Alien Isolation PS3

After the complete mess that was “Aliens: Colonial Marians,” Sega redeemed themselves with this fun moody game that allows the player to take control of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen who travels to a space station that has been sending out distress signals.  Once she gets there, things go wrong as she is separated from her small crew and finds that Xenomorphs are on the prowl and hungry for a human host! The game stacks the odds against you, and the player must use their wits in order to survive this terror in space. The downside to the game is that I felt it took forever for the story to really kick in and that slowed the scares from coming in. The game is a first person shooter and plays much like Call of Duty and so many other shooters like this. I must also say that some of the cut scene graphics are really ugly on PS3, and it’s clear that the development team spent more time on the newer generation consoles versions. A major plus for this game comes via DLC that allows you to play as Ellen and has many of the original characters from the first film like Dallas and Ash back, and they are voiced by the actors who played them in the film! While not a perfect game, it was a fun game that helped make 2014 in gaming a little spookier!

# 2

The Walking Dead Season Two PS3

The Walking Dead Season Two is a great follow up to Season One and helps add more to the story it created. This is a point and click adventure game made by one of the best independent game companies, Tell Tale Games, who have made some of my top favorite games of the past 4 years and this game adds another hit to the list. This time around we follow Clementine (who was a major character in the first game), a young girl who is trying to survive this zombie outbreak.  Along the way she meets people and she loses people all of whom are running from Carver, a man that use to lead them in a group.  All comes to a head when she meets Carver herself, a jerk of a man who runs a camp that is held up in a home improvement center and who takes Clem and her friends hostage and makes them work for the group’s needs putting them in danger. Your choices impact the story so when playing make sure to choose wisely. One cool aspect of this game is some returning faces from the first game as well as references to choices you made. The downside is the new characters seem to have less development then those from the original and the settings are a little less impactful as in the first game I truly felt like I could be zombie food at any moment. But with that said, this is a great game and one hell of a fun play.  So if you liked the first or just want to play a fun story driven point and click adventure horror game, then this one is for you.

# 1

The Evil Within PS3Take video games Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Clock Tower and mix them with Horror films like As Above So Below, and you have the new Survival Horror Game by Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the original Resident Evil series as well as Dino Crisis! This game is about Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who along with his partners Juli and Joseph, go to a distress call at the Beacon Mental Hospital.  When they get there, everything is in chaos and the world as they know it has changed and infected people and monsters are wandering the world above as well as below. Can Sebastion get to the bottom of what’s going on as well as unearth the truth of why and who is responsible! The game is packed with great atmosphere and at all times I feel as if the odds are against me as ammo comes in only ones and twos and most the time it’s better to run than to fight. So if you’re not too scared, get this game and beware of Safehead!

It was very hard to pick between Evil Within and The Walking Dead Season Two for the # 1 spot as both are solid and super fun games, but in the end I had to go with Evil Within as I felt that it truly captured what a Survival Horror Game is all about and at all times I felt as if the odds of survival were against me. One game that came out that while I bought I have not played yet is Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2, so who knows where it would have placed.

Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 PS3

So we talked a little about screenings of Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop as well as Survival Horror Video Games, now let’s get to the bloody meat of this update and take a look at the Horror Films of Hollywood!

horror copy

# 11

Tusk

Tusk was so close to being on my worst films of the year list as once more Kevin Smith smoked a bunch of pot and unleashed another over the top film onto the small masses who still watch his films. But then I read some interviews with Smith and he explained that he wanted to make this film because he wanted to and not for a studio or for quick cash.  I began to see that the film is labor of love much like the film The Wolf Hunter is to Matt Hoffman. It’s about a podcast host who travels to Canada for an interview with a kid who is a Youtube sensation after cutting off his own leg with a samurai sword.  When he gets there, he finds the kid has committed suicide, and he then travels to an old mansion to talk to an old man who has a story to tell or so the letter left in a mens room says. The rest of this film has the old man turning the podcaster into a human walrus as his co-host and his girlfriend try to find and save him.  Oh yeah and throw in a dimwitted investigator, and you have the film. When the podcaster is turned into full Walrus, I laughed out loud in the theater and thought to myself what and why am I watching this! I should also note that Juliet and I were the only people at the theater watching this film at the time. It stars Justin Long, Johnny Depp, Haley Joel Osment and Michael Parks and all do fantastic with the silly parts they are given. Again when you see Long, who plays the podcaster, as a walrus you can’t help but to laugh as he swims and grunts around. The film did poorly for A24 and only grossed $1,826,705.00 and didn’t even get a foreign release. If you are to watch this cheesy thriller/comedy horror film check your brain at the door and be prepared for long goofy dialogue and unlikable characters.

# 10

the pyramid

Hollywood horror films are lacking mummies, and when The Pyramid was announced I was hyped believing that we got a mummy film in 2014…I was sadly wrong. I first need to say that I was hyped to see this film and was ready for a creepy Egyptian found footage film taking place in an old pyramid where the viewer was not sure what was stalking our characters.  So when this film was a disappointment, I think it’s because of my own hype I made for it. The hype I made for it was the fact it was the last theatrical horror film of the year and again the setting and the possibility of it being about a Mummy. The film is about a father and daughter team as well as her boyfriend being followed by a documentary crew who are in Egypt during stressful times who find a pyramid that could be the oldest one ever found.  When they are told to leave due to the outbreak of civil uprising, they send in a robot real quick to get a sneak peek and when the bot looses contact, they go in to retrieve it and soon find the pyramid was a place to keep something in and not things out! One by one, they fall victim to the hunter who is a jackal headed god who has been placed there because it went mad after the death of its father. Can any of them survive and can they also dodge the evil cats that are roaming around…yeah the film has evil cats. The characters all seem brain dead with the cameraman and father being the worst two.  The CGI for the cats and jackal god are downright eye rolling, and the film was just kind of boring.  I was not the only one who felt this as Juliet and several others in the theater also expressed these feelings. The film was pulled from wide release to limited, and we had to see it at the Regal Cinema in Beavercreek.  Doing this made the film only gross a small $ 2,638,300.00 for FOX at the US box office. No Mummy but a heck of a lot of CGI Cats is what I got in The Pyramid.

# 9

Ouija

Ouija is a film based on the Hasbro board game and produced by those masters of crap Platinum Dunes.  It’s your typical paint by number ghost story. When a young woman commits suicide, her friends don’t believe it and soon find that she was messing with a Ouija Board on her own and had unleashed something terrible, but they only learn this after they themselves use the board to try and speak to her. Now the evil is after them, can they find the answers on how to stop the spirit or will they all become victims? No major gore, some cool spirit effects, some good creepy shots, pretty actresses, released at Halloween time and a fun film to torment my friend Jeremy with as he had to be dragged to this film kicking and screaming! The film did $50,856,010.00 for Universal and is clearly a teen PG-13 horror film that was nothing special and not fully terrible.

# 8

The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones is a Hammer Horror Film that follows a camera man who takes the job of documenting a college professor who, along with his helpers, are trying to cure a sick and possessed young woman named Jane whom they have locked in a room and wont allow her to sleep for any long period of time as well as keep her human interaction to a minimum. But when her treatments become more and more cruel, the camera man must come to a decision on whether to help Jane escape who he has fallen for or stay true to his assignment as the Professor thinks she can be cured. So is she possessed or being abused…watch and find out. The film is a little slow and while well acted for the most part, many decisions characters make are annoying and add to frustration as a viewer. Olivia Cooke plays Jane, the sick girl, and she is fantastic and probably the best actor in the film. I saw the film with Stephen, Garrison, Todd and Josh, and all of us felt the same way about it and that’s it was okay but way too slow and a little too long as a good 15 minutes could easily be cut out of the 1 Hour 38 minute run time. The film at the US box office brought in $8,509.867.00 for Lionsgate.  All I can say was much like Ouija, it was just okay.

# 7

deliver us from evil

A group of soldiers from Iraq have come back and are acting very aggressive and all have strange behavior. New York cop Ralph Sarchie is called in to investigate the crimes and soon learns the truth that demons are real and want to teach him a lesson for butting into their plans. Along with a Castilian priest, he must find faith and save the souls of the infected as well as save his wife who has been kidnapped by the possessed. It also shows that Sarchie is gifted and can spot evil. The film is said to be based on a real case and the real life of Sarchie. The film stars Eric Bana as Sarchie as well as the likes of Olivua Munn, Sean Harris and Edgar Ramirez with music by Christopher Young. The film was nothing special and for the most part is a run of the mill possession film with no surprises and a few gross moments. I watched the film with Jeremy and watching him go crazy with the overly religious tone of the movie made me laugh. The film didn’t do so hot at the box office only grossing in $30,577,122.00 for Sony on a 30 million dollar budget in the US. Not much more to say about this one, besides if you’ve seen one modern possession movie, ya pretty much have seen em all.  It’s not bad and has some good creepy moments – worth a watch to fans of this horror film topic boom.

# 6

Godzilla

I have been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid and can remember watching the films all the time on TBS on Super Scary Saturday hosted by Grandpa Munster. But when Godzilla is made by Americans, it tends to not be so good; I mean just look at the over blown 1998 film that Hollywood spewed out to the fans that seemed like it was made more to sell toys and Taco Bell Cups than to entertain the movie goers. So when Warner Brothers said they were releasing a Godzilla film, I was stand offish even though in the back of my mind I was scream YES, a new Godzilla film on the big screen,  The more time passed and after seeing the trailer I became very hyped to watch it! The film has an accident that happens at a power planet in Japan that’s caused by a giant monster who is looking for its mate and when it wakes up it causes havoc and destruction.  As this is going on a US Solider is trying to get home to his family, and Godzilla has come from the sea and is on a path to clash with the other two monsters. You see Godzilla is acting as Earth’s protector! The human parts are what they always are in my opinion in giant monster films, and that’s filler. The major flaw I had with the film is more time is spent on the boring solider trying to get home and less on Godzilla who is why we all went to see this film in the theater. I must also say the shaky camera and pull away shots of the early monster fights was annoying and didn’t add suspense for me as much as it added frustration. Even with those small flaws I really enjoyed the film for the most part and am looking forward to part two as well as the announced Japanese Godzilla film in the works. The film did great for WB at the US box office bringing in a whooping $200,676,069.00, making it a hit for them this year.

# 5

i frankenstein

Frankenstein’s Monster was back on the silver screen this year with an Action Horror film called I, Frankenstein that followed The Monster who was a pawn in a war between Heaven and Hell who need him to find the secrets of life created by man and not God. The good side is gargoyles who at first want to protect or kill The Monster, and the Demons who are working for evil and they want him to study and make soulless husks so demons straight from hell can take over the bodies of the newly made soulless bodies. But what none of them counted on is that The Monster is a fighter, and he will be pawn to no man or creature! The film has a real Underworld feel to it, and the action is fun and over the top, plus for the most part is well acted. I think this film is pretty underrated and was judged way too much just by the trailer, the fact it’s PG-13 and that Aaron Eckhart plays The Monster. The film did terrible at the US box office and only grossed $19,075,290.00 for Lionsgate on a $65 Million Dollar budget, and it’s a shame as it’s not at all that bad of a film.

# 4

As Above So Below

As Above So Below is a “found footage” style film that follows Scarlett, an alchemy scholar who wants to find the famed philosopher’s stone that is said to be able to heal the sick and dying among other amazing things. She follows clues and finds that the entrance to achieving her goal is inside the catacombs below Paris, and along with her camera man and friend they hire some local urban explorers and find that this quest is more then they bargained for as they face sins of their past and find the gateway to Hell. This film was packed with some solid acting and atmosphere that was downright spooky and well done unlike The Pyramid that had a very similar type of feel. All the characters are likable and while they do make some dumb decisions, I still found myself hoping they all make it out okay. The film is by no means a bloodbath but what it lacks in the red stuff, it makes up for with heart and mood. I saw this film with Juliet, Todd The Fox and V, and we all left the theater thinking the film worked and was okay. Universal released this film and at the US box office it grossed in $21,321,100.00 on a $5 million budget. If you are a fan of the found footage horror genre then make sure to check this one out, oh yeah liked this one so much even bought the DVD when it was released.

# 3

The Purge Anarchy

The first Purge film was my # 9 horror film of 2013 out of thirteen and while I enjoyed it, I found it lost among many other solid horror pictures. The sequel The Purge: Anarchy in my opinion is a way better film and that’s why it’s locked itself as the 3rd best Horror film I saw in theaters in 2014! The film follows a man named Leo who is going out to purge a man who killed his son in a drinking and driving accident, but he gets side tracked from his task when he saves a mother and daughter as well as a young couple all of whom are being targeted by what seems like a government elite team hired to reduce the population not to mention a rag tag bunch of mask and makeup wearing youngsters who have set their eyes on them as well. Leo does his best to keep them all alive as well as get to his goal. The film is filled with surprises as well as a positive message in the end and that’s why I think I enjoyed it so much.  It was not your typical modern downbeat horror flick. The film is also well acted with actors like Frank Grillo, Cameron Ejogo and Zach Gilford. The film did great for Universal at the box office here in America grossing in $71,962,800.00 and making it that a part 3 is in the works. More action and suspense then the original and a solid good sequel, check it out if you liked the first one. I saw it with Juliet who also really liked it!

# 2

anabelle

The Conjuring was my # 1 Horror film of 2013, and this off shoot titled Annabelle is my # 2 for 2014 showing you that the makers of this film series are doing something right. It’s the 1960’s and satanic cults are all the rage, and a young couple is attacked in their home by cult members that leave the would be attackers dead.  When the female attacker dies in the baby’s room holding the Annabelle doll the odd events start happening. It gets so bad that something seems to be trying to hurt the woman and her unborn baby, even at one point setting the house on fire! After the baby is born, they move and find that whatever it is followed as the doll the cult woman held when dying is possessed by a demon who wants to take a soul real bad! Can they get rid of the demon before it’s too late? The Annabelle doll is the same one used to open The Conjuring and is over all creepy looking.  That’s one thing I really liked about the film, the longer it went on, the more sinister looking the doll became. And while the doll is never seen moving on its own, the dead eyed stare of its porcelain face is what terrified the audience. The demon who is the real baddie of the film is not seen too much, but when he is, it’s effective. This is supposed to be based on a true story and is a nice appetizer for the next Conjuring film that should be out in 2016. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $84,273,813.00 making it a hit for them. For some reason the film also seemed to get a lot of hate from Horror fans, but most of the ones I knew who trashed it, I question their taste anyway as they go to see Seth Rogen movies! I saw the film with Juliet, who loved it.

# 1

Dracula Untold

Universal is trying to breath new life into their classic Monsters, and the first on the list was Dracula.  This film, Dracula Untold, is about how Prince Vlad became a vampire! I was really hyped for this film that was set to release in October…yeah finally Hollywood gets that Horror Films and Halloween go hand and hand. The film follows Prince Vlad whose people are being bullied by the Turks and the sultan who want all the male kids to be given to them to become soldiers in the large Turkish army. So Vlad makes a deal with a Vampire that lives in a cave to gain powers to stop the Turks.  By doing so, he is putting his own soul at risk, but he gains the powers to single handedly kick the butt of his enemies. But when things go wrong Vlad goes full vampire, and once he does that, there is no going back. This film is filled with horror and a heck of a lot of action and is really well done. Luke Evans plays Dracula and does so with grace and it’s the first time that I can remember that you find yourself cheering for Dracula as he is not the bad guy and only takes the curse to save his son as well as the sons of all his people. I saw this with Juliet and Jeremy Hoyt, and both of them really enjoyed it as well did all the others in the IMAX Theater as praises were being said as people left. This film ends as well with a lead up to a sequel or to link to another Universal Monster film, and this makes this Monster Kid happy. The film did okay for Universal at the US box office bringing in $55,991,880.00 and did more overseas. If you like your horror mixed with action and enjoy classic monsters, then check this one out, because I really enjoyed it locking it in as my # 1 Horror Film of 2014.

2014 in Horror Films was filled with lots of ghost/possession films, and I have a feeling this trend will continue for awhile as they seem to be films that can be cheaply made and return a big profit. While sitting in the theater this year the two films that I noticed seem to have the audience in it’s grip were Annabelle, that had a few people gasp and jump when the evil things would happen on the silver screen, and As Above So Below where the audience had an eerie hush as the characters went deeper into the catacombs. Ouija had the worse response as people laughed at many of the scares and many of the younger people in the audience seemed to be having a fun time teasing the young ladies with them. 2014 was an okay year for Horror in the theaters, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store to send shivers up my spine. Well the next update is something terrifying as we take a look at another Draculina Photo Comic based on a film of Jess Franco called Tender Flesh! So until then, support your local theaters, read a comic or two and always support your local Horror Host and see you next update.

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Mari-Cookie Smothered In Gravy

It’s getting close to Thanksgiving, another great American holiday filled with family, stories and food and some great times spent with my family. When I was younger, we would have Thanksgiving a lot of times at both my grandparents’ house (mostly the Brassfield side) and even at my Aunt Laverne and Uncle George’s, but as for the most part for the past 10 years or so we have had a very small one at my parents’ house.  It’s always a fun time of chatting with my parents and my brother and his family about work, pro wrestling, MMA, TV Shows and movies all the while football is on the TV and great food is on the kitchen table ready to be eaten. The food highlights of what my mom fixes are the Thanksgiving classics mashed potatoes and turkey, glazed ham that is super tender and this corn dish that has boiled eggs and italian sausage in it…I think it is my favorite holiday dish. So for this pre-Thanksgiving update, we are going to take another look at a Draculina Photo Comic based on yet another Jess Franco shot on video film called “Mari-Cookie And The Killer Tarantula.”  So grab a turkey leg and load those mashed potatoes with gravy, ’cause this is going to be one cheesy filled quick and fun read.

thanksgiving turkey dinner

Mari-Cookie And The Killer Tarantula aka “Eight Legs To Love You” is a 1998 shot on video film by Jess Franco that is a mix of horror and comedy and stars many great aging scream queens like Michelle Bauer, Lina Romay and Linnea Quigley as well as 90’s B-Movie actress Amber Newman. This was yet another cheapie, shot fast and put out direct to video in the US market by the company Sub Rosa who was releasing many of his 90’s video work. The film is about two missing people that are trapped by a human spider…yeah it’s as odd as it sounds. I first saw this film on a DVD that I got as a screener from Sub Rosa as I was a movie reviewer at the time and invited my pal Jason Gilmore over to watch it as he enjoyed watching terrible films like this with me. I can remember that both of us were amazed by the train wreck we were seeing on the TV screen as Lina Romay wore all types of silly outfits and wigs, and we were both wondering what Quigley and Bauer were thinking when they signed on to make this film as I am sure the money could not have been that good. The film was neither scary nor funny and was in fact more strange and laughable due to just how dumb the script was and not for the humor that was intended. If I remember on the review I did for the film on the Independent B Movie website, I gave it 1 out of 4 stars and was by no means a fan of the film nor was Gilmore, making this another miss for me of “modern” Franco work. Look below for some screen shots of the movie as well as the DVD cover.

Mari-Cookie 1Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula DVDMari-Cookie 2

Linnea Barbara Quigley was born in Iowa in 1958 where she spent most of her youth until 1976 when the family moved to Los Angeles.  She began working for a health spa, and her friends pushed her into doing some modeling that lead to her first major acting role in 1979’s “Fairy Tales” that lead to more roles in horror style b-films like Don’t Go Near The Park, Graduation Day, The Black Room, Savage Streets and Silent Night Deadly Night to name a few. But in 1985 when she played the part of punk rock chick Trash in the zombie film Return Of The Living Dead is when her popularity exploded and lead to many other classic roles in 80’s horror films like Creepzoids, Nightmare Sisters, Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Dead Heat, Night Of The Demons, and Witchtrap to name a very few. During the 80’s she became one of the biggest horror actresses and was considered the top scream queen of that decade. In the 90’s Quigley’s roles didn’t slowdown as she was in such films as Innocent Blood, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Stripteaser, Jack-O, Burial Of The Rats, Death Mask, The Killer Eye, Kolobos as well as Jess Franco’s film Mari-Cookie And The Killer Tarantula . Throughout the 2000’s to present day she continues to work in major and minor roles in many types of B-Films on all types of budget levels.  Some of these films that fans would know include Blind Target (another Franco film), Corpses Are Forever, the 2009 remake of Night of the Demons, Terror Toons 3 and is rumored to even be in the remake of the film Crazy Fat Ethel. Some cool things you may or may not know about Linnea are the following: she was in two rock bands, one before she acted in films called Mad Whistle and one after called The Skirts. Linnea was also a Playboy flashdancer and shared a photo with other dancers in a 1983 issue. Linnea has a very tiny cameo in A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master where she is the topless soul trying to bust out of Freddy’s chest in the end shot. Linnea and fellow Scream Queen Brinke Stevens in the 80’s did many adult photo shoots together even one for Playboy. In 1978 Linnea did a nude spread for the biker magazine Easyriders. I have meet Linnea many times via my convention travels and must say she is a sweet, down to earth real person who took her time to always talk to me and treat me as if I was a friend. And while she does that to every fan she meets, it still makes ya feel special and makes you respect her for all she has done in film and beyond. Here is to you Linnea Quigley, thanks for all the years of entertainment and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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Speaking of Return Of The Living Dead, did you know that at one point a comic sequel based on a original 1985 script by actor Don Calfa who played mortician Ernie in the original film was in the works in 2008? I didn’t either until earlier this year, and man was I let down when I found out it was completed with a total of 70 pages and that for some reason even in 2014, the comic has not found it’s way out into the hands of the fans of the film and horror comics. The story of the comic would have the military missing dropping the bomb at the right place and by doing this, all the characters you love from the first film are alive and well and trying to figure out a way to stay alive in the zombie filled world around them. The art is done by Gary Smart who later went on to write the book “The Complete History Of Return Of The Living Dead” as well as the upcoming book based around Hellraiser called “Leviathan: The Story Of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II” showing that this comic had the combination of a great script and great artist who knew the source material and knew the characters better than anyone. Years would pass and besides some of the the art work and covers for the graphic novel and even normal comic style covers, no release date was ever set, and last I heard about it was in 2012 when on a message board and a Myspace post said that the comic was stuck in limbo due to the film’s rights holders not being found and getting back to Don and Gary. It’s 2014 and still no comic and all I can say is for godsakes please some comic company get the rights to this comic and get it into all our hands…you owe it to Tarman to do so.

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Man I really hope that comic can find a distributor soon. I mean Horrorhound Magazine, if they ever decide to get into the comic game, would be perfect for the release as would IDW if they would have stayed with the MGM Midnight Movie comic lines. But only time will tell if and when this comic will see the light of day. So let’s get to the main event of this update, a look at the photo comic for Mari-Cookie done by those fine sleazy folks at Draculina who also brought us the Lust For Frankenstein photo comic we reviewed back in May 2014. And before we get into the review, I want to give a list of the actress that play parts in this film:  Lina Romay plays Mari-Cookie and The Tarantula, Amber Newman plays Precious, Michelle Bauer plays Sheriff Marga, Linnea Quigley plays Tere and Analia Ivars plays Queen. I want to thank a seller on Amazon for having this comic in stock, and I want to remind everyone once again 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 with no more wait let’s get captured in the web of Mari-Cookie And The Killer Tarantula.

Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula 1

Mari-Cookie And The Killer Tarantula # 1    1/2
Released in 1999   Cover Price $4.95   Draculina Comics   #4 of 4

The Tarantula is the Dock’s newest and hottest stripper but with her appearance also has come disappearances that are rocking the community. Mari-Cookie is a goofy woman who is married to Martin and is the prime suspect in the missing person case that female Sheriff Marga wants nothing more than to solve. Mari-Cookie and Martin have a terrible sex life, and her best friend is Tere who just so happens to have a knockout for a daughter named Precious who seems to have caught the eye of many of the town’s females. Sheriff Marga and her Deputy Barney alongside one time most popular stripper Queen are all trying to figure out who The Tarantula is and if she really is linked to the missing people. So Queen uses Precious to attract The Tarantula as she and Martin follow the two, also on the trail is Sheriff Marga who is with Tere who is upset to see her daughter making out with another woman and not with her! In the end The Tarantula, who in fact is really Mari-Cookie and has the power to turn into a spider, convinces the women to throw Martin out of the mansion and Sheriff Marga , Queen, Tere and Precious all join The Tarantula in a orgy. 

Oh My God! This could be the worst comic I have ever read and makes the last Draculina Photo Comic for Lust For Frankenstein seem like a masterpiece! The plot is so rushed and basically at no point do you ever feel like any of the characters matter nor do any of them make any sense. The plot or paper thin story is this: people go missing after visiting a strip club and all are seen with the town’s most popular dancer who in fact is a real life spider who can trans-morph at will who also hides out in the world playing the part of a dim witted blonde housewife.  She is being tracked down by a group of females who by the end of the issue all are in love with her and want to make love to her and her silly Rick James like wig. Mari-Cookie/ The Tarantula is the main baddy of the comic, and she is not scary nor really threatening as all she really wants to do is capture women and some men and make love to them, and forces them to drink a brew that is filled with puss and monkey balls. Her look as The Tarantula is silly as she wears a terrible wig and walks around pretty much nude; she is a bland character. Sheriff Marga is a stuck up mean spirited woman who seems to enjoy making out with women and wants to solve the case not for the good of the town but for her own gain of getting power in the ranks of government. Queen is a hot bitter stripper whose only motivation is to help bring The Tarantula down so that she can be the top stripper again.  She also seems to have some love affair going with Precious who she uses like a dumb dog. Precious is the daughter of Mari-Cookie’s best friend who is hot but also dumb as a box of rocks. Tere is Precious’ mom and friend to Mari-Cookie who likes to suntan by the pool and at some point has fallen in love with her own daughter…yep it’s a sick one. Martin is a waste and is just the husband of Mari-Cookie who likes to screw around behind her back. Deputy Barney is a nobody who does zero in the hunt and there is also The Tarantula’s driver who loves to lick and suck on female toes. This whole comic was such a waste and sadly the only highlight was all the nudity of the Scream Queens.  The comic as zero art and most the pictures used are okay with a few being blurry. The cover is eye catching, and if you’re a Lina Romay fan the image of her will draw you in. This so far is the lowest rated comic I have ever reviewed here on Rotten Ink and was not worth the money I paid for it let alone the original cover price nor the printing coast of the issue. I would say skip it unless you want to take a look at one of the worst comics in history of Horror Comics. Oh yeah the humor in the comic doesn’t work and it never made me smile let alone laugh. And I should say the comic follows the film pretty well, but is a more rushed version with even a character name change as Precious is named Amy in the movie. 

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Well I hope this warm up to the main course of November’s updates didn’t turn your stomach too badly.  I mean while the comic was terrible as is the move it’s based on we did get to take a look at Scream Queen Legend Linnea Quigley as well as talk about the needs to be released Revenge Of The Living Dead comic so those are two big pluses. But next will be our Thanksgiving Day update and to keep the tradition of the first, we will be looking at Hercules again this time based on the TV show “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” with comics done by Topps.  So make sure to check back! Until then read a comic or two, support your local Horror Host and watch a horror film because any thing is better than Mari-Cookie!

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Happy Spooky 60th Birthday Creature From The Black Lagoon!

Imagine that you are alone on a boat floating down a lagoon whose waters are pitch black in the moon lit sky.  It’s the fall, and the sounds of the leaves can be heard hitting the water and with each noise you wonder just what’s out there. You have heard the local legend of a fish man in these very waters, but you always laughed it off as local folklore to scare away tourist, but now you’re not so sure! The wind has picked up and a shiver goes down your spine as you wonder if the creature is watching you. You decide to go into the boat’s cabin to get out of the cool air, as a large clawed hand appears on the edge of the boat…This is what classic horror stories and films were made of back before slashers and undead zombies became the normal fare for on screen horror. This year marks the 60th Anniversary for Universal’s 1954 classic monster film Creature From The Black Lagoon, and this made it a perfect selection for the 2014 Halloween updates. So let’s get out scuba gear on and let’s take a look at Dark Horse Comics’ one shot issue based on this classic monster.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo 2Universal Studios was known for making monster films in the 1930’s with the likes of Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster, but during the 1940’s the classic monsters were loosing steam and they started to loose their scare appeal to the viewing audience.  They even decided to turn them into a comedy act as comedians Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein’s Monster and even The Mummy. During the 1950’s things changed from supernatural to atomic age scares, and this is when Universal released the last of the classic monsters The Creature From The Black Lagoon in theaters in 1954. Think about it Gill-Man or The Creature is the last true classic Universal Monster, the company known for delivering frights last major monster was created in 1954…makes me wonder why they stopped making iconic horror characters like this. Growing up I first learned about the Creature thanks to a book I checked out at the library from Crestwood that was all about Gill-Man, and from that day on I knew I had to see the film. When I finally tracked down a VHS copy of the film and watched it, I was hooked as a fan, loved the look of the creature and mesmerized by the underwater effects. As I got older I also noticed many of my friends who enjoy horror films all seemed to pick Creature From The Black Lagoon as their favorite classic horror film, and one of these friends happens to be comic creator Jason Young. The Creature or also known as Gill-Man is a different kind of monster as he really just minds his own business in his own water world when man comes to him and causes all the issues by messing with nature and trying to take a “wild” animal out of it’s element. I am also very happy to say that over the years of vending and being a guest at horror film conventions, I have gotten the honor of meeting many of the stars from the 1954 classic film. The first ever convention I ever did was called Fright Vision, and at this event I got to meet Ben Chapman the actor who played Gill-Man on land. Over the years I have met the lovely Julie Adams, the actress who played Kay, the woman who captured the Creatures eye many times. And just this year I finally got to meet Ricou Browning the actor who played Gill-Man under water! So let’s take a look at the three films in the Universal Creature From The Black Lagoon series so that those of you readers who don’t know the Creature can learn a little about him. The write ups are taken from IMDB because as with most things, if I wrote the plot outlines, they would last forever!

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Creature From The Black Lagoon – A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Note From Matt: On a very cool note Creature From The Black Lagoon was first thought of during a 1941 filming party for Citizen Kane when the Black Lagoon producer William Alland spoke to Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa about legends of a fishman in the Amazon waters. The film idea floated around for a while and with the success of the 1953 film House of Wax, the idea to make it 3-D was born. So think about how cool that is this is the only classic Universal Monster film shown in classic 3-D!

Julie Adams and the Gill Man in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, 1954.Creature From The Black Lagoon Poster 1Creature From The Black Lagoon 2

Revenge Of The Creature – The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! This time he’s captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida. Naturally, he’s attracted to the lovely female scientist and manages to escape and kidnap her. And its up to her friends to rescue her from Gill-Man’s grip of terror and stop him from harming others.

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The Creature Walks Among Us – In this third Gill-Man feature, the Creature is captured and turned into an air-breather by a rich mad scientist. This makes the Creature very unhappy, and he escapes, killing people and setting fires in the process.

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The movies stopped at being a trilogy and by all accounts the way Creature Walks Among Us ended, The Gillman died in the ocean by drowning, and that’s sad Universal could have easily kept this film series going. But in 1954 slightly before Creature From The Black Lagoon hit theaters, the TV show Colgate Comedy Hour has comedian genesis Abbott and Costello on and they traveled to the Universal prop room where they ran into Frankenstein’s Monster who scares Abbott but in return is scared of Costello’s face and falls through a crate…as Costello chuckles it up that he scared The Monster, he is in turned scared by Gillman who happens to appear. The skit lasts a little over 15 minutes and has many moments that were inspired by their film “Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein”. The live audience ate up the comedy and were also very happy to see Gill-Man and Frankenstein’s Monster as they cheered at their arrival into the skit. One cool thing I have to point out is the fact Glenn Strange once more played the Monster and Ben Chapman played the Gill-Man for this TV appearance. Makes you wonder that if Abbott and Costello would have stayed together as comedy partners for a while longer would a film been made where they would have meet Gillman officially… makes one wonder indeed. Below are some screen grabs from the skit as well as a fan made poster for the movie that could have been.

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So when you think of The Creature, is one of the first things to pop into your mind a musical…cause Universal thought that in 2009 when they replaced their Fear Factor Live attraction at Universal Studios Theme Park. The musical was loosely based on the 1954 film and had the Creature not only singing but also growing to be a giant. The musical ran till 2010, only lasting under a year as an attraction, the reason for the closing was the lack of interest from parkgoers who just were not drawn to the musical version of Creature From The Black Lagoon. While I give Universal credit for trying something new and trying to do something with their Monster IPs, a musical just seems like an odd choice. One cool fact is the Julie Adams came to the premier that for all accounts was a success. When the musical closed, the attraction was changed to a special effects stage show. For those who want to see the musical who couldn’t make it to California’s Universal Studios, you can find clips on YouTube. And I must end it with why in the world does The Creature turn into a 25ft giant? Now that’s silly.

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Growing up if you were a Monster Kid and you played with toys, you could find some really cool ones of Gill-Man! Some of the best have to be the Remco action figure and doll, Marx’s plastic Creature figure as well as Penn-Plax Creature figure. Growing up I never had a Creature action figure but man I would have loved to have had the 3 ¾” Remco figure as he would have been a perfect fit in my Toy Wars battle! Now at the age of 35, I own two of the Remco Creature figures and both are the Glow In The Dark versions. Oh yeah, I also should mention that fast food restaurants Burger King and Jack N The Box also gave away action figures of Gill-Man in their Kids Meals . Growing up I did however own one of those classic windup toys of the Creature that shot sparks from its mouth as it walked; an antique store in Waynesville stocked them for a short while when they were re-released. The wind ups were great toys, and I also owned King Kong and my brother had Godzilla.  I can remember winding them all up and having them race each other on the kitchen table.

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Besides toys, Gill-Man also has a ton more merchandise and his green scaled likeness has been on novels, comic books, t-shirts, drinking glasses, trading cards, Halloween masks and costumes, buttons, puzzles, coloring books, candy boxes and so much more! Gill-Man’s look seems like it was made for merchandise and some of my favorite none-toy stuff I own with his fish face on it would have to be the t-shirts and of course my Crestwood Creature From The Black Lagoon book that I was able to buy from the library that I use to check out when I was a kid. So if you’re a fan of the film or just the look of the monster, there is some great stuff out there for your inner collector.

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One thing that Universal as well as video game makers have dropped the ball on is the fact they never made a game based on the film and believe me they could easily make a Triple A title using the Gill-Man as the game’s bad guy. What has been made is an amazing pin-ball machine made by Bally’s in 1992 that had a holographic creature pop out of a lagoon to spook the player. Also a Casino Electric Slot Machine has been made based on the film that sports the Creature’s clawed hand that could help you unlock bonus winnings. One cool thing floating around the internet is a really cool fan made cover box for a NES game about The Creature, as a kid I would have went nuts for a game like this and still to this day if someone would make one for the original Nintendo and put it on a cart I would buy it in a second. As you longtime readers know, Creature From The Black Lagoon made my # 7 pick of a horror film that should be made into a modern video game on my Rotten Pixels 2 update, and I still stick by the plot I made for the game as well as the fact TellTale Game should be the ones to make it happen.

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Hans J. Slater was the man Universal came to for the music scores to go along with many of their monster films; his music can be heard in such films as The Wolf Man, Son of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, The Mummy’s Hand, This Island Earth, Creature From The Black Lagoon as well as many others. His score for Creature From The Black Lagoon is perfect and captures the mood of the film the cue that appears when the Creature does is so amazing that I even used it when I made my first film Werewolf of Ohio as The Wolf Man’s cue! Not to mention, the more tender and water moments that his score helps truly bring to life. From time to time during the Halloween season on Alpha Rhythms, I will play a track off the soundtrack CD to help add to the listeners spooky evening. If you’re looking for the score music to this classic film you can find it on CD and while a little pricy, it’s worth it if you love the classic monster movie music.

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For those who are looking to own a copy of Creature From The Black Lagoon to add to their home video collection, you can find it on many different formats from VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and even Blu-Ray! Not to mention for those who love horror hosted films, you can find episodes of it hosted by the likes of Svengoolie and even Captain Crypt. My favorite has to be the Creature From The Black Lagoon Legacy Collection DVD set that not only has the three films in the series but also lots of great extras. So if you’re looking for Gill-Man to grace you TV screen there are many great ways to own the film out on the market.

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Around 2009 (or was it 2010?) Independent B Movie was trying to make a grand comeback to the world of shot-on-video horror films and the idea was to make a few films under series banners like “Bark At The Moon” with all films being about werewolves or “Bad Movie Night” being cheesy comedies. One other series planned was remakes of classic Universal Monster films done in our own low budget styles, and the first one to be filmed was “Matt Hoffman’s Creature From The Black Lagoon.”  As you could tell by the title Matt Hoffman, who directed such films as The Wolf Hunter and Wolf Hunter 2 would have sat in the director chair and made the magic happen. The film was being produced by Stephen Alexander II and a Creature body suit was purchased as well as fake blood and other filming supplies as Hoffman wrote the script that would have followed a drifter coming into a small town and falling in love with the sheriff’s daughter and also the government trying to cover up a toxic waste spill that created The Creature. It was being filmed on a JVC Mini-DV camera, and Stephen stockpiled tapes for Hoffman to use for the epic shoots. The film would have starred Bruce Lerma, Jessie Ellis and a lovely young lady named Brandi as well as many more extras. The film began production and cast as the part of the drifter first was Thomas Blurton, who quit the film after only one day of shooting, and he was replaced by Bruce Lerma who went from being in a minor role to becoming the main star. Hoffman along with his crew filmed many days and even a few Creature attacks in the lakes and streams around town, but sadly the film was not to be as Hoffman was dealing with some personal issues and cancelled the film and this marked the end of the Universal Re-Boots from I.B.M as we looked at the cost to make them being very high and with the first one being dead in the lagoon water, they just proved to be more than the dying shot on video company could take. It’s a sad day, but I would also like to make the announcement here on Rotten Ink that as of October 31st 2014 Independent B Movie will close it’s doors for good and fold up shop making the end of one of Ohio’s longest running shot on video companies.  It’s a sad day but one that has been coming for a very long time. Maybe at some point I will do an update about the closing and get some memories from all those friends and fellow directors involved with making the company what it was. Below are some screen captures of footage from “Matt Hoffman’s Creature From The Black Lagoon”…And for those wondering, I was going to direct the re-make of Frankenstein, Josh Weinberg was slated for Dracula and Bruce Lerma was going to do The Mummy.

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During season one of Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre, host Baron Von Porkchop is out fishing using his butler Bean’s brain as the bait to try and capture a giant killer catfish to serve at the following weeks gathering dinner to honor the late Dr. Creep who had just passed away, but instead of catching the man eating catfish he hooks The Creature From The Black Lagoon and decides to use the green tinted creature meat to serve to his guests! The next episode for the Tribute To Dr. Creep, the Creature’s head can be seen as the centerpiece to the dinner…so thanks to Baron Von Porkchop your swimming pools and waterways are safe from the hideous Creature of the water.

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Gill-Man is no stranger to comic books, and in 1963 Dell Comics released a comic book based around him, and it was pretty good and one of the better ones from their Universal Monster series line. In fact last Halloween time I did a massive update about all of Dell’s Universal Monster titles called “Start Halloween Off With The Universal Monsters!” and if you read that update then you would know that it was one that came very close to capturing the mood and feeling of the film and the artwork is well done and is just what he should have looked like for a comic made in the early 60’s. If your interest is peaked on the comic as well as the rest of the Dell Universal Monster comics, I suggest that you give the update all about them a read. Just to help along the urge to read that update for the first time or again below is some of the artwork from the comic as well as the cover to the issue.

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In 1954, the same year of the film, Atlas Comics put out issue #35 of Sub-Mariner where Prince Namor took on a half fish and half man creature called Elmer who in fact looked allot like a bloated version of Gill-Man. Elmer had some issue and his creator wanted to try and fix them making it so his “monster” could breath under water. So long before Atlas became Marvel Comics, they had a generic version of Gill-Man fighting one of their top super heroes of the time, and this is pretty cool as nowadays if they would have had Gill-Man show up in a comic he would just be an actor in a suit or something lame like that. The issue when it was first put out cost .35 and now it goes for lowest $100.00 all the way up to a thousand. Check out the art and cover to this issue and enjoy the fun bloated version of The Creature named Elmer.

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I want to touch up on a few other fun Creature comic appearances like a re-imagining one simple called “Creature From The Depths” that was put out by Image Comics but originally suppose to come out via Dead Dog Comics. This one-shot issue is really cool and will for sure be the subject of a future update! Archie Comics as well had many issue where The Creature was the guest on the cover, and this helps add to the Abbott & Costello making Universal Monsters funny and not scary mindset for the youth of the time as well as turning the classic monsters into things that no longer gave kids nightmares. Even if they are done in silly ways Gill-Man has been on the cover of “Archie’s Pal Jughead” and “Laugh” and both covers are really well done and makes me wish Archie Comics would have made issue based on the Universal Monsters! Below is the cover so give em a look at and enjoy.

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The comic industry is packed with companies making books about super heroes and the ones making stuff horror-related mostly deal with zombies because the undead seem to be the flavor of the decade thanks to comics/ pop culture stuff like The Walking Dead. Many companies in the past have tackled Universal Monsters but mostly they are all one-shot issues and never a full series.  Companies like Dell, Dark Horse and Monster Comics all released comics about Dracula, Wolf Man and The Mummy and all did them pretty well for the time they were released. In 2014 as I write this, no company has a comic series going based on a Universal Monster and that’s sad because I really think that if the right artist and writer were on board, a comic series based on the likes of The Creature could be fantastic! I could see the comic taking place after the events of Creature Walks Among Us and show us the readers how he survived his surgery and apparent drowning, and then they could flash forward to modern times and make it more scary and show that the classics really don’t have to go out of spooky style. I would love to see Dark Horse Comics get back on board with Universal to make more comics based on Creature From The Black Lagoon, and if they don’t I think IDW could really do him justice and one could only imagine the Gill-Man crossovers with The X-Files or even Ghostbusters being super kick butt. One other company who I think could do a Creature From The Black Lagoon comic series really well would have to be HorrorHound Magazine! As of right now they only do a music label outside of the magazine and conventions but here is to hoping that they will get on a comic branch sooner then later. Below is some amazing artwork of Gill-Man I found snooping around the web and any and all of these great artist would be perfect hires for a comic series that should be made…so check em all out!

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Speaking of IDW and if they made a comic on Gill-Man with the possibility of an X-Files crossover, I just want to share this picture of Gillian Anderson Agent Scully herself with a version of the Gill-Man that was used for Rolling Stones Magazine! Just think of the possible plot of this cool crossover that should but sadly proudly never will happen. Before we move on I also want to point out how stunning Gillian looks with this pin-up model look.

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So are you ready to travel to the black lagoon with the S.S. Rotten Ink? As your captain I feel I must warn you about a few things that all passengers should know about this journey into the unknown. 1st don’t drink the water; while the lagoon H2O might look tasty it is filled with bacteria that can cause sickness. 2nd there have been reports of a giant fishman who really likes dark haired women so we suggest if your female and look like Julie Addams for God sake don’t go swimming! And 3rd and the most importantly I want to remind my readers I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So before we set sail, let’s thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this Dark Horse Comic in stock, and let’s hope we have a fun and safe ride. And oh yeah this comic is a film adaptation based on the original film!

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Creature From The Black Lagoon # 1  ****
Released in 1993   Cover Price $4.95   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 1

Dr. Maia finds a strange claw in the middle of the amazon buried.  It’s like nothing he’s ever seen as it’s almost human-like yet also very fish like. Maia leaves his native workers to watch camp as he travels back to the USA to show fellow scientist his discovery as well as hope for help to get an expedition to find the rest of the body and study it. His team consists of Dr. David Reed, Mark Williams, Kay Lawrence, Dr. Edwin Thompson and ship boat captain Lucas, and they head down the Amazon river to the location the fossil claw was found, but instead of being greeted by Maia’s native workers they are treated to finding their dead bodies! They are freaked out but go about the dig and turn up nothing, David gets an idea that maybe some thousand years back maybe the rock the fossil was found in was washed away and is somewhere in the water below. Lucas tells them of a place called the black lagoon where the river ends and that’s where the group travels to find the fossils they seek. David and Kay are in love, and it’s clear as they arrive to the Lagoon that Mark has strong feelings toward Kay and this adds tension between the co-workers as they dive into the waters below and remove a sample of rock. While the men go study the rocks Kay goes for a swim and this is when we see that Gill-Man is in the waters and is in love with the beauty he sees in his waters! The next time David and Mark go diving they see Gill-Man, and Mark shoots him with a spear gun wounding him and making him very mad as he gets revenge later that night as he kills a boat hand. The group fights back as the use a numbing poison that they dump into the water causing him to slowly become paralyzed but not before killing another boat hand and trying to kidnap Kay! As Gill-Man falls from the effects of the drug Mark bashes him in the head with a log sparking even more tension between he and David. On the ship Gill-Man is kept in the tank and this don’t hold him long as he escapes but not before ripping at Edwin’s face leaving him very injured. All the group have had enough and want to leave the Lagoon but Mark of course doesn’t when he thinks of the money that could be made off the Gill-Man and when Lucas says they are leaving they find that the entrance is blocked! While trying to move the large tree that has been placed to keep them in by Gillman, Mark is attacked and killed by the creatures hands leaving another death for the crew to deal with. David uses the rest of the drug in a air gun and uses it against Gill-Man as he hooks a rope around the tree, as they try and lift the tree out of the way Gill-Man comes aboard and grabs Kay and takes her to his underwater cave hideout. David dives in after them and comes face to face with Gill-Man who he stabs with his knife and just as it looks as if David and Kay are in terrible danger Lucas and Dr. Maia appear in the cave with shotguns and shoot Gill-Man a number of times. The comic’s ends with the remaining crew watching a bloody Gill-Man shuffle into the water and collapse.

This is one of the best film adaptation comic books I have ever read.  The story follows the film’s script and the artwork is top notch. David Reed is a good man who is in love with Kay and does his scientific work for all the right reasons, while his fellow collogue Mark wants the glory David wants to find the fossil for the things the world could learn from it. Plus when things go bad and Gill-Man appears, it’s David who is the hero that risks it all to save Kay the woman he loves. Kay is much like David as she is a sweet and nice person who just so happens to be super hot and has a charm to her that not only captures the eye of David but also Gill-Man and Mark! Lucas is your typical boat captain of that time and has heard many spooky stories and never believed them until he is force to when he meets Gill-Man! Mark is just a jerk who thinks that cause he has money and some fame that he can act any way he wants.  The fact he is so cruel to Gill-Man shows just how little he respects the world around him, and he gets what’s coming to him when he is killed by Gill-Man. Dr. Maia and Dr. Thompson while players in this story really don’t add much besides extra bodies for the hunt and for the attacks. Gill-Man is a great monster in this comic as for the most part he starts off pretty peaceful and it’s not till that dumbass Mark shoots him with a spear that he becomes violent.  I mean I’m pretty sure he would have kidnapped Kay either way but he might not have killed many of the crew. But then again he did kill Maia’s native workers for no reason so maybe he is just a killing machine. The comic’s story is super close to that of the film and that’s pretty cool and reading this reminds me of the update I did called “Marvel At The Movies Part 1” and makes me really looking forward to doing a second update on that subject. This comic would have been a perfect launch point for Dark Horse to make Creature From The Black Lagoon into a full fledged series, and they also could have done adaptations of Revenge of The Creature and Creature Walks Among Us if they wanted to test the comic buying market to see if they had interest in this character. The comics art was done by Author “Art” Adams and Terry Austin and it’s really well done and captures the mood and feeling of the film it’s based on. The one thing that’s shocking is the use of blood in the comic as when the Gill-Man is shot and stabbed they use a lot of the red stuff, in fact one panel is heartbreaking as Gill-Man has blood pouring out of his wounds and he’s marching into the water as his safety place…it’s a sad sight. But to sum up this comic if you’re a fan of the film or even just like classic style horror comics then I would recommend you buy this comic and give it a read. Below is some of the art work used in this comic and as you can see it’s amazing!

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I hope you enjoyed this Birthday Bash for Gill-Man, a true classic Universal Monster icon who has terrified film watchers for 60 years now.  Plus with my birthday being in September I figured why not celebrate his on the same month as mine! Also if you’re a fan of the art above done by Author “Art” Adams make sure to Google some more of his artwork. I think he does fantastic work not only with Monsters but also Women, he captures the beauty of the female figure and does a great Wonder Woman and Black Canary. But our next update is going to be another spooky comic series as we take a look at Blackthorne’s comic run based on the 80’s monster TV show Werewolf! So until then make sure to watch a Creature From The Black Lagoon film, read a comic or two and support your local horror host and get ready to bark at the moon with me on the next update! And in closing let’s say it all together HAPPY BIRTHDAY GILL-MAN!

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Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak

Ohio is a cesspool of creative media and it’s the mecca of horror hosts as the state has showcased such talents as Ghoulardi, Dr. Creep, The Ghoul, The Cool Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and so many more. But Ohio also spawned “The Worlds Youngest Horror Host” Dr. Freak! What a great gimmick being the youngest horror host to date, and while many hosts have their kids help on shows, Dr. Freak made and starred in his own show he called “Cult Theater” at the age of 12, and this set him apart from the rest of the youth in hosting at the time. Growing up I watched a lot of public access shows like Moraine Playhouse Theater, A. Ghastlee Movie Show, Media Only, New Shock Theater and Eat More Carp, and I can remember seeing this strange kid with a white lab coat on many of the shows with white grease paint on his face and black grease paint making a thick unibrow.  He even was at many of the Horrorama’s my brother and I attended as well as other events.  If you lived in Dayton in the early 2000’s, than I am sure you had a run in with Dr. Freak! So this update is a quick look at the one and only Horror Host Icon: Dr. Freak.

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Dr. Freak, also known as Freak E. Guy, was a teen ghoul who always wore a lab coat even though viewers never seen him do any thing medical or scientific.  He was a fun loving silly goofball who took joy in hosting cheesy films for the viewers of local access. During his very short time on air hosting Cult Theater, Dr. Freak entertained the masses while hosting some of the best the public domain had to offer and even survived a zombie attack! During this first run Dr. Freak would pop up on other horror hosts shows in the area like Dr. Creep’s New Shock Theater, I, Zombi’s The Witching Hour and A. Ghastlee Ghoul’s Ghastlee Movie Show and spread the word of his Cult Theater.  These appearance helped lock Dr. Freak as a full fledged horror host. I can remember catching his show from time to time and around this time as well I became great friends with the young man behind the grease paint, Henrique Couto, who was a youngster with big ideas and many dreams. Couto, who seems like a little brother to me, around this time also opened up his own film company that he called Couto Films/Freak Productions and began making his own films that he released on DVD and VHS and would sell at horror film conventions. While his first film was called “The Henrique Couto Show Movie,” it was his second feature that would have his film world and his hosting world collide.

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Dr. Freak Vamp Killa was a short 20 minute film made in 2004 that had the young horror host killing a bunch of vampires that were wandering around his hometown causing deaths and destruction because he killed their leader some 5 years back and now the new leader wants this host dead! So armed with wooden stakes and garlic powder cream pies, Dr. Freak swings into action and fumbles and bumbles his way to victory. The film was shot over a weekend and marked Dr. Freak as one of a few horror hosts at the time that were in a film based around them as the character; the other ones that come to mind is Morgus The Magnificent in “The Wacky World Of Dr. Morgus” from 1962 and Elvira Mistress of The Dark in the film of her own name in 1988. The film was put on VHS by Independent B Movie with the DVD-R being made by Dr. Freak in house.  The cover art on the original media release was done by Jason Gilmore and looked pretty dang cool. In an interview some years after the film’s release for Gates Of Gore Dr. Freak talked about two ideas for a possible sequel one that would have him in Da Hood and the other one would have been more of a Kung-Fu film. He also talks about the sales of the film being pretty good.  Sadly the sequel never was in the cards. Dr. Freak also co-starred in a DVD special feature show called “Freak TV” were he went missing and Henrique Couto had to go out and find him. Dr. Freak also had a cameo in the Bob Hinton movie “Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire” where in a graveyard he tries to stake the lead vampire all the while doing a terrible Crocodile Hunter impression. While by no means a movie star, Dr. Freak has made his mark on B-Movie with these appearances.

Dr Freak Vamp Killa

From 2005 on Dr. Freak, while making public appearances and co-starring in others shows from time to time, seemed to be phasing himself out of the world of horror hosting and with only a total of 4 original episodes under his belt.  It became clear that his other side Henrique Couto was wanting to make movies and even music under the name PineappleHead, and by 2006 Dr. Freak was phased out and the character was not seen again….well that is until 2011 when the master of Freak came back to TV to appear on Baron Von Porkchop’s tribute to the late great Dr. Creep, and the one time World Youngest Horror Host shared some stories of working with the Creep and was back home among fellow hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Baron Von Porkchop and Reverend Zealot. This appearance helped spark the hosting bug once more in Dr. Freak who became the host of an event called “Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon” that aired all over the Dayton area public access in 2011 and marked the first new episode of Cult Theater in over 6 years! Even with the time away from the hosting spotlight Dr. Freak didn’t miss a beat as he brought his silly brand of humor to the viewers of this Halloween season event. Then over the course of the last few years Dr. Freak has became a semi-regular returning guest on Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, and he and Baron Von Porkchop have became hosting pals. The character also at this time has changed his look and no longer has the think black unibrow but instead has went for more of a pale face and crazy facial hair. While only one new Cult Theater episode has been made, I have heard rumors that a new one could be in the works in the near future.

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So next I would like to take a few moments and ask Dr. Freak to answer a few questions for all you fine folks who read Rotten Ink, but I am not going to ask 5 questions but 6 cause why not! So I traveled down to his Crypt hideout and waited for a few hours till finally the man showed up so this is my 6 Questions with the one and only Dr. Freak…

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Me: Welcome, Dr. Freak, to Rotten Ink.  My first question has to be what or who got you into hosting and becoming The World’s Youngest Horror Host?

Freak: Seeing Dr. Creep on the New Shock Theater was my sole inspiration in the beginning, other than USA Up All Night he was the only example of horror hosts I had seen at all at that age.

Me: Dr. Creep, a true legend in the hosting world and has inspired many! So out of your first classic episodes of Cult Theater what is your favorite one?

Freak: I think my favorite episode was Night of the Living Dead, because myself and my camera man at the time James were just such big fans of the film, we really just ran with it and had a really fun time making it.

Me: Truly is a great film and a very fun episode of yours indeed to watch, so there is a rumor of a classic episode that is lost any clues what movie you showed and the wacky adventure you got into?

Freak: As awful as it is, I really can’t remember! I was such a young kid back then and we did all kinds of silly gags and videos they sort of run together, but if I ever find anything I wouldn’t keep it to myself for certain.

Me: You always have been a busy ghoul Dr. Freak, and I hope the episode is found someday. So this brings me to my next question with your last New episode being made in 2011 is there any plans for a new episode in the near future?

Freak: You just never know when Dr. Freak will pop up again, but as of right now he is on indefinite hiatus.

Me: So that’s a warning that he is still out there waiting for the word to return! So if you were to host again and could host any film what would you pick?

Freak: I would love to host the original Dawn of the Dead. That would be a blast to do.

Me: Would be interesting to see what ideas you come up with on that film and a great pick, so this brings us to out last question, do you have any advice to future horror hosts?

Freak: Host movies because you love movies and love being in front of the camera. Find people as passionate as you, and go fourth!

Me: Thanks My Ghoul Friend…Wait that sounds odd..Thanks my Pal!

Freak: Anytime! 

I can remember when I was in my upper teens watching Cult Theater episodes on MVCC and enjoying them.  While they were not as well produced as New Shock Theater with Dr. Creep nor zany and crazy like the Ghastlee Movie Show with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, it was a nice third option to enjoy a horror host program on the Dayton, Ohio airwaves. Plus it was always a treat seeing those three hosts at movie screenings or horror conventions showing the bond between them and once more proving that horror hosting is one big strange dysfunctional family. After the Cult Theater episodes aired, they also made their way to DVD thanks to Freak Productions and can still be ordered on the website as can his comeback episode that is also on sale at Game Swap in Kettering.

Cult Theater DVD Collection

So it’s time to write about the episodes of Cult Theater with Dr. Freak I own. I will not be giving them star ratings like I do the comics, but I will break down what he does for the host segments as well as a write up for the film he is hosting that will be taken from IMDB. I want to thank Henrique Couto and Bryan Brassfield for getting me these episodes over the years, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed watching and writing about them. So with no more wait, let’s enter the Cult Theater..

Dr. Freak Zombie 4

Cult Theater:  Zombie 4: After Death
Starring – Jeff Stryker & Candice Daly   Not Rated   1989

Host:  Dr. Freak and A. Ghastlee Ghoul sit down in the studio to watch the film Mystery Science Theater 3000 style and cut wise cracks and jokes all the while. Also from New Shock Theater, Reverend Zealot pops in to share a little information out the night’s movie, and by the end A. Ghastlee Ghoul attacks Dr. Freak with peanut brittle and knocks him out, taking over the show for the rest of the episode! By the end Ghastlee is tormenting the boy and gives him a lobotomy, and they wrap the film heckling up.

Movie: A woman goes back to the island where her parents were killed. They had been working on a cure for cancer and accidentally raised the dead by angering a voodoo priest. With the woman is a group of mercenaries and they meet up with some other researchers. They raise the dead again and all hell breaks loose.

Dr. Freak Night Of The Living Dead

Cult Theater:  Night of the Living Dead
Starring – Duane Jones & Bill Hinzman   Not Rated   1968

Host: Dr. Freak is out with his friend when they are attacked by a zombie, and Freak and his cameraman must flee and survive the attack and find shelter in a home. They argue about whether they should stay upstairs or go to the basement, and in the end they get stuck in the basement and then decide to go out and fight the zombies where they are attacked and Freak shoots and kills the undead only after his cameraman dies!

Movie: Barbra and her brother Johnny travel by car from Pittsburgh to the countryside to visit the gravestone of their father in the cemetery. Out of the blue, they are attacked by a strange man and Johnny is murdered. Barbra runs and releases the brake of Johnny’s car since the keys are in his pocket, and flees to an isolated farmhouse, where she locks herself inside. Barbra is in shock and soon she finds a man, Ben, who is also escaping from the inhuman creatures and he reinforces the doors, windows and openings in the house. He also finds a shotgun and a radio and they learn that the radiation from a satellite that was returning from Venus has somehow reactivated the brain of the dead. Then they find five humans hidden in the basement: Harry Cooper, his wife Helen and their daughter Karen that is sick; and Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Harry has an argument with Ben, since he believes that the basement is the safest place for them and Harry goes not agree. Along the night, the tension rises. 

Dr. Freak I Bury The Living

Cult Theater:  I Bury The Living
Starring – Richard Boone & Peggy Maurer   Not Rated   1958 

Host: Dr. Freak is giving a tribute to Albert Band, filmmaker and father to Richard and Charles Band, by showing his film as well as showing Fullmoon Entertainment trailers. This also marks his return to TV after some time off, something like 4 years.  He does some silly stuff like steals a kids bike, plugs websites and gets kidnapped in the end of the episode via a red truck!!

Movie:Through a series of macabre “coincidences,” the newly-elect ed director of a cemetery begins to believe that he can cause the deaths of living owners of burial plots by merely changing the push-pin color from white (living) to black (dead) on a large wall map of the cemetery that notes those plots.

Dr. Freak Horror Express

Cult Theater:  Horror Express
Starring: Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee   Rated R   1972

Host: Dr. Freak returns to TV for the Dayton Scare-A-Thon, a half day Halloween marathon event.  In his new hideout, his crypt hangout, the good Dr. makes a drinking game out of every time you see a shot of the train, take a drink. As the episode goes on, he gets more and more drunk and uses dynamite to fix the bad camera feed and spews out goofy jokes and one liners.

Movie: An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the missing link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a Trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one.

While in Ohio Dr. Freak might not be a household name like Dr. Creep or The Ghoul, he still is one of Dayton Ohio’s originals who has entertained the viewers off and on for many years all the while going from the Worlds Youngest Horror Host to a full fledged adult ghoul whose humor and style have changed along with his appearance. Here is to hoping that a new Cult Theater will grace the TV screens again soon, and I’m crossing my fingers the missing episode will be found for us all to enjoy. Thanks to Dr. Freak for not only being a Horror Host but for also spending some time with us here at Rotten Ink and answering 6 Questions for us.  The next Icon update will be about none other than Dr. Creep! And our next update will be all about Questprobe, the Marvel Comic series based around text video games! So until then, support your local Horror Host and watch a horror film or two.

QuestProbe Logo

Waldemar Daninsky Lives!

When I was younger, my favorite monster was the werewolf.  At times I use to dream and use my imagination that I was a werewolf on the prowl, and I am sure people thought that I was crazy or had a bad case of Lycanthropy. I for one just think that my spirit animal is a wolf. I mean my family has lots of Native American blood in the tree so it’s very possible. To me, the top werewolf of film is Universal’s The Wolf Man played by Lon Chaney Jr. and for comic books, it was Jack Russell of Werewolf By Night. The older I got, the more werewolf media came into my life such with movies like An American Werewolf In London, Werewolf of London, The Howling, Curse of the Werewolf and Legend of the Werewolf, not to mention TV show Werewolf and comic series Werewolf At Large. But my brother used to always tease me about one actor who played a werewolf more times then any other actor, one that he always claimed was the best and that was Paul Naschy.  At first I am sure it was just a way to annoy me, and boy did he take pleasure in finding goofy things like this to get under my skin.  After watching the heavily cut version of Night of The Werewolf called The Craving that we rented on VHS from Blockbuster Video, I was not impressed with what I saw and still stood by my stance that Chaney is the best. Over the years I saw more and more of Naschy’s werewolf films and started to find respect for them and liked the idea that like Chaney who played the character of Larry Talbot who was cursed to turn into a werewolf every full moon, Naschy also played the same character in every film as he played Waldemar Daninsky in over 11 films and 1 lost film! Now that’s some heart and a passion for a character. Every film the Werewolf’s look would change; sometimes it would look great like it does in Curse of the Devil, and in other films it would look like cheap Halloween do it your self kit make up like in Fury Of The Wolfman.  But even at its worst, the Daninsky werewolf has my respect. Another cool thing about this film series is that they all take place during different time periods and even have the Werewolf tangling with vampires, phantoms, space aliens and many more monsters and creatures.

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Paul Naschy, whose real name is Jacinto Molina Alvarez, grew up during the Spanish Civil War and lived a comfortable life with his parents. Growing up, he tried his hand at writing pulp western novels, drawing comic books, weightlifting and acting, and acting seemed to be his perfect fit. He made his acting splash in the 1961 film “King of Kings” in a uncredited part and later was an extra on an episode of the TV show I, Spy where he got to meet horror icon Boris Karloff. It was 1968 when Naschy wrote and stared in a film called “Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror” that kicked off his long lasting Waldemar Daninsky werewolf films and also made him a horror icon in Spain as he would go on to play almost every classic horror character from Count Dracula all the way to The Mummy in a number of films that were hits at the box office. Naschy, who grew up loving the Universal Monster films like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, was making films that meant so much to the kids at the time watching them just as he had watched Universal films. Naschy became one of Spain’s most popular actors, and his films were even being seen all over Europe and the United States and became popular at the drive-in theaters at the time.  This lead to him teaming with many other producers from around the world to make more of his werewolf films and other horror inspired flicks.  But like all good things, Naschy’s time at the top started to come apart in 1984.  After the lose of his father, he became depressed and only returned in 1987 to direct one film called “El Aullido del Diablo” that stared his son Sergio and Caroline Munro. In 1991, Naschy had a near fatal heart attack that sparked a death rumor around the horror world.  Naschy himself had to get the word out that he was very much alive. In 1996, Naschy made his 11th werewolf film called “Licantropo” and this was said to be his big comeback film, but sadly the film did poor at the box office and the critics panned it. Naschy did not allow this to hold him back as he did a wave of b-movies that included the 12th Daninsky film called “Tomb Of The Werewolf” directed by American film maker Fred Olen Ray. Naschy would also tour the horror convention circuit and would be swamped with eager fans who wanted to chat with the horror icon. While he was not well off with money and he hated the way Spain’s film industry was going, he was touched by how well his loyal fan based loved him. Sadly in 2009 the world lost a horror icon when Naschy passed away from pancreatic cancer.  While he might be gone, the man’s legend lives on with his films. Naschy is truly missed, and I would have loved to gotten the chance to meet him at least once in my life.  Rest in peace, Naschy.

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Really quickly, I want to touch up on a few things before we get into the films and comics based on Waldemar Daninsky. First I want to say that if you are a Paul Naschy fan or if this blog has sparked your interest in learning more about this horror icon, I truly recommend his biography called “Paul Naschy: Memoirs Of A Wolfman.” It’s a great read and all the stories come straight from the man’s own words. I also would like to point out that besides the comic series “Return Of The Werewolf,” a few more comics have been made including one based on his film “Panic Beats” and another Daninsky inspired comic called “Waldemar Daninsky: The Origin of the Curse” that is based around his film “Beast And The Magic Sword.”  While the issues of Panic Beats are in English, I have gotten word from the artist Javier Trujillo that Origin of the Curse is only in Spanish.  So here is to hoping that some day this comic will be translated. 

Memoirs of a Wolfman BookWaldemar Daninsky The Origin of the Curse

Before we move onto the films of Waldemar Daninsky, I would also like to invite all you readers to look up art based on the Daninsky Werewolf cause you will be amazed at how kick butt many of these pieces are! Many of them also make me wish that a full fledged comic series was being made around the character, and it also makes me really mad at Fangoria Comics for closing up shop way too quickly because stuff like this would have been a reality, as would many other cool horror film themed comics.  Oh well, can’t cry over spilled milk, right? But take a look at a few of these great art pieces before we look at the films.

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So as you know, this update is all about Waldemar Daninsky, and to get the full effect of the comic I should at least give you a rundown of the films that inspired the comic series and have been cherished by horror film fans for decades. Now I am going to only give you a small write up on what the films are about, and I am going to take them from IMDB because when I write about a Naschy werewolf film, I ramble and we can’t spend seven pages one just one film.  I am sure none of you want that! So sit back and give the film descriptions a quick read.  I should also note that I own all these films on DVD and the covers used are the DVD releases I own of the film. 

Frankensteins Bloody Terror

Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror (1968)

A man suffers from the curse of lyncanthropy and seeks out the aid of a German doctor and his wife who are experts in the occult. Unknowingly, the cursed man has summoned two vampires instead, who have plans of their own for the werewolf.

Dracula vs Frankenstein

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1970)

Aliens from a dying world plot to conquer earth by praying on man’s superstitions. Bringing two dead scientists (Michael Rennie and Karin Dor) back to life, they use their knowledge to re-animate various earth monsters, including the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy Tao-Tet, and the vampire Count de Meirhoff.

Side note from Matt: This film is mostly known as its alternate title Assignment Terror.

Werewolf Shadow

Werewolf Shadow (1971)

Elvira is travelling through the French countryside with her friend Genevieve, searching for the lost tomb of a medieval murderess and possible vampire, Countess Wandessa. They find a likely site in the castle of Waldemar Daninsky, who invites the women to stay as long as they like. As Waldemar shows Elvira the tomb that supposedly houses the countess, she accidentally causes the vampire to come back to life, hungrier than ever. Daninsky has a hidden secret of his own, but will it be enough to save the two girls from becoming Wandessa’s next victims?

Side note from Matt: This one is better known under the title “Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman”.

Fury of the wolfman

The Fury Of The Wolfman (1972)

A man has had a werewolf curse cast upon him. If he doesn’t get rid of it, he turns into a killer werewolf when the moon is full.

Dr Jekyll vs The Werewolf

Dr. Jekyll vs. The Werewolf (1972)

Paul Naschy returns as El Hombre Lobo for the sixth time as he searches for a cure to his full moon maddness by visiting the grandson of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. What ensues next is a lovers’ triangle, and a savage sadistic Mr. Hyde who roams modern London and transforms into a werewolf on the disco floor.

Curse of the Devil

Curse Of The Devil (1973) 

The great inquisitor Ireneus Daninsky has Countess Bathory burned alive and her female followers hanged. Before perishing in the flames the countess puts a curse on Daninsky and his descendants. Four centuries later, Waldemar Daninsky accidentally shoots a gypsy while hunting a wolf. The angry gypsies, who knew of the curse, summon up the Satan and the beautiful Ilona is chosen to seduce the young lord. During a night of love, Ilona bites Waldemar who turns into a werewolf killing his preys on full moon nights. His murders are first attributed to a mad killer escaped from the asylum. Waldemar, who suspects the killer is none other than himself, falls in love with Kinga, the daughter of a professor from Budapest. When Maria, Kinga’s jealous younger sister, manages to seduce Waldemar and sleep with him, she is killed by the young man, once again turned into a werewolf.

The Werewolf and The Yeti

The Werewolf And The Yeti (1975)

Waldemar, the renowned adventurer, joins an expedition to find the Yeti in the Himalayas. While hiking the mountains, he’s captured by two cannibalistic demon nymphets guarding a remote Buddhist temple and becomes their sex-slave. They transform him into a werewolf setting him loose to roam the mountain where he encounters a sadistic bandit.

Side note from Matt: This film is also known as “Horror Of The Werewolf” and “Night of the Howling Beast”. 

Night of the Werewolf

Night Of The Werewolf (1975)

An evil witch brings back to life the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, who was executed several hundred years previously for murdering young woman and bathing in their blood.

The Beast and the Magic Sword

Beast And The Magic Sword (1983)

In the 16th century, Waldemar Daninsky goes from his native Europe to Japan, seeking a way to cure himself of being a werewolf. Only a Japanese sorcerer named Kian and a magic silver sword can save him. This film moves the Daninsky family curse back to a medieval setting, as Naschy felt the Daninsky saga need not always be confined to a modern day setting.

Licantropo

Licamtropo (1996)

Waldemar Daninsky is an aging writer still suffering from his werewolf curse, and seeking the pure woman that is the only permanent cure. A serial killer pops up in Naschy’s neighborhood, and the two compete for victims.

Tomb of the Werewolf

Tomb Of The Werewolf (2004)

Pre-credit opening sequence consists of Countess Erzabeth Bathory, making a pact with the devil in exchange for eternal youth & beauty from sacrificing young, nubile virgin women. After credits flashes to modern times, as a reality show TV crew visits Castle Daninsky, in search of hidden treasure hidden with the castle dungeons. Instead, they discover THE TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF, unleashing the cursed servant of the Countess, centuries later for all those in cable television land to see!

Licamtropo Werewolf

The films are all epic and each hold a charm that makes them worth watching.  Missing from this list are two films.  One film Naschy claims to have made but no known copy has ever been seen, and the second one is an off the wall film where Naschy plays a down and out actor who slips into many different horror icon characters that includes a werewolf. I also want to talk real quickly about the fact many horror hosts have hosted Naschy werewolf films including Commander USA who hosted The Werewolf And The Yeti under the title Horror Of The Werewolf, and many hosts have treated late night viewers to Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman. But one showing of a Naschy werewolf film that was iconic around here in Dayton, Ohio was when Dr. Creep hosted Assignment Terror (Dracula vs. Frankenstein) on his New Shock Theater in 1999 that marked the titan of late night fright’s return to TV in over 16 years! The episode was directed by Andy Copp and was about two grave robbers being sent out to find the grave of Dr. Creep and dig up the horror host’s body.  They get a surprise when the grave is empty and Dr. Creep instead keeps them prisoners and makes them watch the Naschy classic with him. The episode was filled with other funny and silly skits and showed that our host Dr. Creep was back. It was a major deal around here when Creep came back to TV, and this episode will forever have a special place in my heart. The first time I ever saw this movie was on an old VHS tape I got at Kroger’s for a cheap price under the Dracula vs. Frankenstein title.  The tape was unwatchable and was way too dark so it was nice to see it on TV with a slightly better print. This episode of New Shock Theater has come out on VHS and DVD-R so if you want to see it for yourself, it’s out in the world.

NewShockTheaterEpisode1_new

In 2011 during the first season of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre on episode, 6 Baron Von Porkchop hosted the Paul Naschy werewolf film “Fury of The Wolfman.” The episode had Baron Von Porkchop and his butler Bean going to Duke’s house for an interview with a professional werewolf hunter. For those who don’t know who Duke is, he is a character from the local horror film Wolf Hunter 2 who spends every waking moment killing werewolves in the state of Ohio. During the episode Duke shows the Baron a werewolf he has trapped in a shed and tells him of his first hunt.  The downside a wild pack of cicadas have shown up and try to ruin the interview. When planning the first season with Baron, we both knew we had to show a Paul Naschy werewolf film, and we both agreed on Fury of The Wolfman. This episode aired a number of times on DATV, MVCC, The Monster Channel and The Vortexx and remains in the airing loop still to this day. If you’re looking to watch this episode, it is on DVD-R and can be found as I stated airing on one of those stations. 

ep 6-1 copyBaron Episode 6 copyep 6-2 copy

So with a look at all the Waldemar Daninsky films, horror hosts that have shown the films and even a look at the life of Paul Naschy, we are now at the point of the update where we review the comic series “Return Of The Werewolf,” a digital only comic that I was lucky enough to get a physical copy of thanks to a team up of some friends.  So a big thanks goes out to Garrison, Eric and Amanda who made this update possible. This comic series was suppose to have come out via Fangoria Comics, but sadly the company folded before it was released.  So it’s a true honor to be able to read this comic series and review it for you. Remember I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So with that, let’s howl at the moon and return to the werewolf! 

Return of the werewolf 1

Return Of The Werewolf # 1   ***1/2
Released in 2011   Cover Price $1.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of 2

Countess Elizabeth Bathory and her followers have been sentenced to death for crimes of murder, vampirism and witchcraft.  While her followers have a quick death, the Countess’ is long and drawn out as she is walled up in her room. Also that day Waldemar Daninsky is killed with a silver cross to his heart for being a tool for evil when the full moon was out and for being controlled by Bathory as a killing machine of revenge. Flash forward and Erika, a young student, kills her teacher for a medallion that belonged to Bathory with the hope she can use it to bring the Countess back from the dead! At the old castle two grave robbers make the mistake of removing the silver cross from the dead corpse of Daninsky who springs to life as a werewolf and kills them both with one mighty hit. Erika, along with her friends Karin and Barbara, show up to the castle and explore the crypts underneath looking for the tomb of Bathory, but what Karin finds is Daninsky and his burnt faced maid and friend, Mircaya, who scare Karin and cause her to fall and hurt herself. Durning this time Waldemar Daninsky takes as the host to the girls and allows them to stay in the castle cause its been seen by Mircaya that Karin is the woman who will love and free his spirit from the curse of the werewolf. The night of the fullmoon as Erika and Barbara get ready to try and bring Bathory back Daninsky turns into a werewolf and if not for the silver cross held by Mircaya, Karin would have been a late night snack! Waldemar Daninsky as the werewolf crashes through the castle window and flees into the night.

What a fun comic that feels like the 12 film in the Waldemar Daninsky werewolf film series! This far in the series Erika is the lead baddie and kills her mentor and teacher in order to get an item that will help her bring back an evil and selfish vampire, she is also using her two friends to achive her goal. Karin is not fully flushed out yet but you get the idea that she is a good person who don’t like messing around with things that are evil. Barbara seems like a follower and I am sure this attitude will get her killed very soon in the next issue. Mircaya is a great character who while one side of her face is badly burnt she has a beauty to her that draws you in to caring about her, I love her back story of being accused of being a witch and was sent to burn at the stake and as they did so a rain storm came and saved her life. Her village still hating her sent her away and she found safety and friendship at the castle and has been close to Daninsky sense he was brought back to life by those two numbskull grave robbers. Waldemar Daninsky is as noble as ever and once more has found a woman to love and is hoping that she is the one to finally break his curse, as a human he is very caring and a likeable guy but as the werewolf he is a pure killing machine who has no remorse for his killing ways. The comics story is done by Paul Naschy based on his film of the same name and it shows that he knows and loves this character cause he delivers a classic feeling Spanish horror film adaptation comic and his love for the film “Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman” shines through as elements of this comic are clearly inspired by that film. The art in this comic is done by Javier Trujillo and its amazing stuff and her captures the mood and look of Naschy’s vision, his artwork is truly something special. This is a great first issue and I am itching to get to # 2 so I think I will not delay any more and will move onto the final issue in the series, but before that look at some of the cool artwork from issue 1.

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Pretty great stuff right? Trujillo’s werewolf art is amazing and I wish he would do more Daninsky inspired comics. Well lets get to issue # 2! 

Return of the werewolf 2

Return Of The Werewolf # 2  ***
Released in 2011   Cover Price $1.99   Fangoria Comics   #2 of 2

Erika uses the blood of Barbra to bring back Elizabeth Bathory who repays them both by turning them into her vampire slaves and together they torment and kill near by villagers. Sadly Waldemar Daninsky at night during the full moon does the same thing, but during the day he and Karin try to find the resting spot of the vampires so they can kill them while they sleep. Bathory gets upset by this hunt and they attack and transform Mircaya into a vampire and try to do the same to Karin who defends herself and kills the vampire Barbara with the silver cross. This attack means all out war and leads to Karin being bite and being the slave of Bathory and Daninsky finding their hideout and killing Erika and turning into the werewolf and battling Bathory to the death, in the end the Werewolf kills the vampire queen but he himself is killed with the silver cross by the hands of Karin who has had the vampire bite reversed and has set the one she loved soul free.

The second issue is the wrap up issue and while it’s good I do feel it was very much rushed and lacks some of the chilling appeal of the first issue, most the the storyline comes via dialogue and not via art and this takes you a little out of the atmosphere. Waldemar Daninsky knows he does bad things and in this issue he kills a few townsfolk, but even tho he is a killer he knows that Elizabeth Bathory is the greater evil and does what he can to kill her before his own death that he knows will be coming soon by the hands of his lover. Werewolf Daninsky is a cold blooded killer and makes short work of the vampire queen Bathory and shows his power and domination. Bathory is cold hearted and along with Erika they turn both Mircaya and Karin into vampires causing Waldemar to have to kill his friend and save the soul of his loved one. I really dislike the death and transformation of Mircaya and feel that both of these acts seemed like a second thought and not that important, and that saddens me as besides Daninsky she was my favorite character. Karin while important to the story just seemed like she was around to in the end kill the werewolf, and I felt as if I could not connect with her. The issue is filled with lots of blood and murder and when the werewolf goes off he shreds and kills with no remorse and this is just perfect for a horror comic. Javier Trujillo artwork is again breath taking and amazing and his work I feel is very underrated, while he works mostly doing sex art his horror stuff is truly the best. The cover on this issue showcases the Vampire Women and is as well eye catching. 

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This is a perfect horror comic and one of the better adaptations I have ever read, the joy of finally getting copies of this comic in my hand was a highlight of 2013 and for as long as I have heard about this comic I have wanted to read it so you can imagine my delight of being able to read and review these for you my readers. With these comics being so good I would have loved to see this be turned into a full fledge comic series and companies like Fangoria, Topps and Dead Dog would have been he perfect companies to put a series like this out, but sadly they all have closed. I figured that while I am in a horror comic mood the next update will be another adaptation as we will take a look at Topps Comics three issue run based on the New Line Cinema film Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, so I hope you will join me for that one. So with the sun coming up and the curse of the werewolf lifted I hope you enjoy a horror film or two and stay clear of wooded areas cause you never know a werewolf might be watching!

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