From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Orphan Killer

Welcome back to my blog, Rotten Ink, a place I love to talk about comic books, horror hosts, video games, toys, TV shows, cartoons and movies.  As long time readers know, I have grown up watching and enjoying horror films and over the years made my own like “The Sadness”, “Werewolf of Ohio”, “It’s In The Crawlspace” and “Bark At The Moon: Scars” and produced many ohers like “Phantom Of The Grindhouse”, “Babysitter Massacre”, “Amityville No Escape”, “Church Of The Eyes” and “Alone In The Ghost House” to name a few.  Let’s forget the ones I have acted in like “Woodsman: Forest Of Pain”, “Quite Nights Of Blood And Pain”, “The Wolf Hunter 2” , “Razor” and “Atrocity Circle” among many others. So as you can see, I really do love independent horror films, and I always jump at the chance to get copies of ones that pique my interest and better yet, ones that add a little something extra for fans like comic books based on their characters.  One that did just that, and has been on my radar for a very long time, is called “The Orphan Killer,” a slasher film that was released in 2011 and was a film I heard lots about from friends who said such things as the gore was fantastic, the soundtrack was heavy and the lead actress was smoking hot.  All these things made me want to see the film even more! I ordered the comic based on the film from Indy Planet many years ago and waited to try and get the film from a convention or from Amazon, but they never seemed to have it. So finally in 2016, I tracked down a DVD copy of the film thanks to the film’s official website and knew that in 2017 an update based on this film and its comic was a must! So this update is for all you independent horror fans who like me love the films gory and enjoy the comics that follow.  So make sure your doors aren’t barb-wired shut as we dive into the psycho world of The Orphan Killer! I should also note this is another of our “From Horror Film To Horror Comic” update and is a great way to kick off our countdown to Halloween!

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It’s time to briefly learn about the film/comic’s killer. Marcus and his sister Audrey witness the killing of their parents at a young age.  Now an orphan at the nearby church, Marcus becomes too protective of his sister and does bad things to other kids who get to close. For his mean nature the nuns beat, torture and force the youngster to wear a mask to keep the other kids from wanting to talk to him and getting too close. Marcus is dubbed a monster, and the name The Orphan Killer is placed on him by the other kids, who claim he drinks the blood of kids and other horrific things. When his sister is adopted and he is left behind, his mind twists even more and Marcus becomes the living embodiment of punishment. Growing up, he becomes the killing monster they all thought him to be, and he starts at the church that kept him prisoner for all these years.  Wearing his mask and armed with barbwire, knives and an ax he goes on a killing spree that leaves blood flowing like wine and body parts flying. The Orphan Killer wears a mask that looks like a leather skull.  He loves to whistle after a kill or during torturing and has no emotion when killing his victims. He talks about being chosen by God and blessed as if he thinks that his mission from heaven is to kill anyone he feels has done him wrong. Strong, brutal and crazy is the best way to sum up Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer is a tour de force murder flick that defies classification. It goes far beyond current trends in gore and breaks open a new suffering genre of horror. Marcus Miller is a serial murderer hellbent on teaching his estranged sister Audrey what it means to have family loyalty. His lessons are taught in massive doses of vulgar and unimaginable pain. Throughout her brutal torture we learn that Marcus is not the only Miller with Killer in the bloodline as Audrey proves to be a formidable adversary.”

The above is the plot that IMDB has for this blood soaked film that is sure to please fans of films like “Murder Set Pieces” and “Pieces” as it captures the raw nasty feel of those splatter films. The film was released in 2011 and directed by Matt Farnsworth who also wrote the script and starred in as Officer Mike Hunt and created the killer Marcus aka The Orphan Killer. Farnsworth directed the 2005 film “Iowa” as well as the short films “Poor Man’s Dope” and “Dying For Meth” as well as acted in films like “Gacy”, “The Last Place On Earth” and “The Stepdaughter”. The film stars the actors like Diane Foster who plays the lead actress Audrey, David Backhaus plays The Orphan Killer and Ed Winrow plays Father Chuck and that’s one thing the film really has going for it is the acting is great for a Independent Slasher film with Diane Foster stealing the show. The films score and metal music is licensed from Bullet Tooth and is a heavy and moody score that helps add to the downbeat nature of the film. The film won a Festival De Cine De Terror De Molins De Rei award for Best Picture in Italy with Director Farnsworth being honored with an Antonio Margheriti award at the Tohorror Film Festival for his work on the film. When released the film was meet with very mixed reviews with many gorehounds enjoying the brutal nature of the film and its twisted plot while many other critics and Horror Fans had good and bad to say about it with many claiming it was just a cheesy cash in on a genre long gone from the mainstream. One of the films biggest none supporters was Fangoria Magazine who said this about the film “these filmmakers had everything they needed to create something special, and simply chose to go the least interesting route”. IMDB reviewers were also not overly nice to the film that holds a 3.9 rating out of 10 stars. As for my opinion I really enjoyed it and found it well worth the wait of seeing it as it lived up to the hype my friends told me about. I found The Orphan Killer to be as brutal and sadistic of a killer like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers before him and Audrey was a likeable character I found myself routing for to make it out of the slaughter alive. While I liked the score music some of the heavy metal music sometimes was very distracting in scenes but still didn’t fully take me out of the movie. I did like that The Orphan Killer had his own nursery rhyme and chuckled at the metal remake of the song “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys movie that acts as the song between this brother and sister. If you’re a slasher film fan and enjoy lots of gore, metal music and a truly smoking hot lead actress then check out The Orphan Killer for sure.

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In the world of Independent Horror Films I have many favorite actresses who embody the skills needed to draw the viewer into the characters they are playing and it takes more than just being pretty for me to put you on the top of my lists of actresses I would say are must watch if their names are attached to a Horror Film. Names like Danielle Harris, Denice Duff, Tina Krause, Asia Argento, Brinke Stevens, Charlie Spradling, Erin R. Ryan, Haley Madison, Maria Ford and Sara Bay are a few names on this list of actresses who are the total package who are not only beautiful but can truly act and have the ability to draw me as a viewer into the film they are in. After watching The Orphan Killer I am proud to say that actress Diane Foster has been added to that list as she is stunning and really good in her role as Audrey as she made me feel that she really had been tortured by a madman who wanted her dead from her screams and tears. What I really enjoyed about her performance is that she is not just some cute bimbo character in fact she is the opposite and is smart and sweet and when pushed just don’t role over and die…oh no she fights back and Diane truly makes the character seem real and legit. I would love to see her in more Horror film roles and think she would be a perfect cast for the next Halloween, Friday The 13th and Tombs Of The Blind Dead films and its shocking that she has not been in anymore films with her last role being this 2011 film! But while she might not be currently acting she also has roles in the 2005 film “Iowa” and the 2003 film “Descendant” that is as well a Horror Film. With lots of talks of a sequel to The Orphan Killer here is hoping that Diane will return to her role as Audrey as she is really fantastic in her acting ability and very easy on the eyes.

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The Orphan Killer is a film that clearly the films creators really believe in as the quality of the script, acting and gore are all top notch. So with this pride they had also comes merchandise products like a comic book, a limited action figure, poster, film soundtrack and even a Halloween Masked based on the title killers look! While I do own the Comic Book and the Soundtrack that came with my DVD it would be cool to own a poster of this film signed by the director Matt Farnsworth and actors Diane Foster & David Backhaus. But if you enjoy this film you can find many great items to collect and I recommend checking out the comic if you’re a Horror Comic reader. Also on December 13, 2016 thanks to Reel Gore Releasing a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack the film is now way easier to find.

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So now that you know just how sick and demented The Orphan Killer is I think its time we took a look at his nasty deeds from blood to ink as we look at the 2012 comic based on the movie. As I am sure his kills will be just as brutal from the movie screen to the comic pages and I really want to see if this is just an adaptation or a new killing spree for our killer. I want to thank Indy Planet for having this in stock and I want to remind all you gorehounds and maniacs that I grade these 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 beware of the splatter and make sure to avoid his machete as we take a look at the sinister murdering deeds of The Orphan Killer.

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The Orphan Killer # 1   **1/2
Released in 2012     Cover Price $ 0.00     Matt Farnsworth    # 1 of 1

Audrey is a woman who is beaten and bloody and crawling away from a masked killer who is holding an ax and they share some words as it’s clear they are brother and sister and they don’t like each other, just as the killer is swinging down a blood splatter hits. We flashback and we are in New York as Audrey is going to her job at a Catholic School and has been dropped off by her boyfriend Mike who is a cop. The young ladies who are in the show are talking about an urban legend that has been around the school for years about Marcus Miller aka The Orphan Killer who has shown up to the church and has locked the doors after the show and the young ladies have went home. Audrey as well as the Father and workers are left inside and one by one The Orphan Killer butchers the workers and nuns in blood splattering ways. The Orphan Killer tracks down Audrey in the hallway and knocks her out and when she wakes up he has her bound by barbwire and cuts the Father’s arm off before her eyes all the while talking about God and Jesus telling him what he is doing is the right thing, you see Audrey is his sister and even at a young age he had a twisted mind and was tortured by the nuns as he was stricken with evil in their eyes and now he wants revenge on his sister for not being their for him. Mike shows up to the church to find his girlfriend and is attacked brutally by The Orphan Killer and while this is happening Audrey breaks free from her razor sharp binds and mercy kills the Father who is bleeding to death and has a showdown with her brother The Orphan Killer on top of the building that leaves the wounded Mike shooting The Orphan Killer who falls off the roof and he and Audrey have survived the massacre.

This Horror Comic is an adaptation of the 2011 film and does an ok job of translating the film into a comic, and I say ok because if you had not seen the movie many of the films key plots are speed up and looses the impact of not only the kills but also the twists of the films brother and sister plot. The plot that is used is very simple for the most part and follows Audrey a woman who is a teacher at a Church and who also has a psychotic brother who has targeted his old school and his sister for revenge on how he was treated when he was younger and an orphan, his hatred for his sister was because she was adopted and he never was plus he was forced to wear a mask and treated poorly by the nuns who thought he was evil and when becoming older and still wearing the mask he thinks God wants him to bring sinners to justice. Audrey in the comic is just kind of a bland character and her personality is not really able to shine besides the fact we see that she has the will to live and that she truly hates her brother and what he has become. It’s a shame as Audrey in the movie was a complex and great character and in the comic she is just merely around. Her cop boyfriend Mike is only at the start and end of the comic and is only around to in the end shoot the killer and to save his ladylove. The Church workers, nuns and The Father are just filler and add zero personality to the issue and are just around to be killed in horrific ways. The Orphan Killer himself is a scripture speaking, sharp weapon swinging brute of a man who just kills cause he is crazy and has been sense he was a kid, but the Nuns instead of getting him help just mentally and physical abused him and helped creature the psycho killer personality he has. But just like Audrey he is cool in the comic but way better in the film. The comic has some splatter moments but oddly enough the comic is way more tame than the movie and for the most part the violent acts seem like a second thought and pass panels way to fast loosing the impact the murders should have, but keep in mind it does have the read stuff flowing. The artwork from what I can gather is done by the films director and the creator of The Orphan Killer universe Matt Farnsworth and has a style that blends underground and American manga and for the most part while not a style I am a super fan of it looks good. The cover is very eye catching and screams independent horror comic and that’s a great thing for someone like me who loves that style of comics. While this comic adaptation of the film is good I would say that for fans of the flick this is a great comic for your collection, for those who have not seen the film I think it might be one that will not find a home in your comic box. But in closing I love the fact this comic is out in the world and wish more independent horror films would follow this idea. Check out some artwork from this comic and see they style you will see in the issue.

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The Orphan Killer is a great splatter film and an okay comic book and was the perfect way to kick off our countdown to Halloween! Again, I want to stress this comic was entertaining and well done for fans of the film, it’s just that people unfamiliar with the movie might not be as impressed. But our next update takes us out of the church and into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland as we take a look into The Blair Witch Project and the comics made by Image and Oni based around the cult classic flick. So until next time, watch a Horror Movie or two, read a Comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time….wait, what was that noise.. sounded like….Ahhhhhh!!

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The Undead Files: Zombies From Hell

On this Undead Files, we will be taking a look at the not so mainstream version of the living dead.  You know, the stuff that people would say is scraping the bottom of the barrel, the black slime of the genre that most fans would like to throwaway and act as if it never was. After searching local comics stores, horror conventions and the web I have found a backyard zombie comic that fits the bill; all my friends who are fans of underground and independent comics have never heard of this one and neither had I until I found it listed on Ebay for $1.49 plus $1.99 shipping.  This zombie comic is called “Zombies From Hell” and was made by Robert Bennett.  So let’s travel the unsafe world of the living dead once more and take a trip with some zombies down a generic road that leads to the bargain basement of undead doom!

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This is part is not so much about a low budget zombie story but one you all might find funny. In 2015 during the Christmas season, a couple in Cincinnati, Ohio decided to mix Halloween in with their Christmas decorations and made a zombie nativity scene complete with a zombie baby Jesus! In 2014, they had done the same thing as a publicity stunt for a haunted attraction that they ran and most the locals seemed to dig it, but the city didn’t and in 2015 they tried to charge the couple $500 a day for not getting a permit to build the horror themed nativity! Think about that, they were threatened with fines for being into horror and turning Halloween decorations into Christmas ones!  This upset the wound-too-tight city officials who in turn got the law enforcement involved…what have we become!?! In 2016, neighbors of a Texas homeowner were upset over his zombie babies Halloween display, and sadly this crybaby (get the pun) behavior is spreading as many other people getting into decorating for Halloween and Christmas with a touch of horror are being targeted by sticks in the mud who want to take the fun out of everything and are way too judgmental on those who like dark entertainment. So if you are one of these people who have extreme Halloween decorations or mix zombies into your Christmas ones, I say keep being you and there is nothing wrong with being a monster kid and making the holiday more fun for those who enjoy the spirit.

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Horror films were a staple for my brother and I growing up, and we would see many of them on the USA Network.  That goes for the film I have chosen that should have been made into a comic book series, and that film is “Zombie Nightmare,” a classic undead flick that’s been shown many times on USA Saturday Nightmares and is also known being riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000. This 1987 low budget horror film is about a young baseball player who’s dad was murdered saving the local voodoo woman from some punks when he was very young.  Once he grows up, he’s killed in a hit and run and comes back to life thanks to the voodoo woman who makes him a zombie who has revenge on his mind. The film starred rockstar John Mikl Thor and Adam West and is a truly cheesy flick filled with lots of over the top acting and kills. If I could make the comic via Blood Scream Comics, the plot would be this:  It’s modern days, and Tony Washington’s old neighborhood has gotten worse.  Crime is out of hand, and gang violence is out of control.  When his mother is murdered in a home invasion gone wrong, the voodoo of Molly Mokembe brings the long dead Tony back from the gave and with his trusty ball bat, he embarks on a one zombie war against the gang members responsible. Throw in the cops and you have a mix of action and horror.  The artist I would love to see on this one would be Damien Brunk as his style would be perfect for it. I would also live to see Eibon Press do a comic book based on this film as an adaptation.  While Zombie Nightmare might not be one of the 80’s most popular zombie films, it sure as hell has a place in my black heart and should have gotten a comic book back in the late 80’s and it’s a shame that it didn’t.

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So before we get to the extremely zero budget comic, I think I should talk about a cheesy zombie video game that I played in my youth. My brother was the first to buy a PC in our household, and he was so hyped to get onto the internet that was new at the time.  To be truthful, part of the reason we were hyped is because we could look up stuff about horror films, comic books, video games and pro wrestling, and we wanted to check out the TNT Monstervision website! But while the net was cool, we were also hyped that we could play video games not only on CD but also 3.5” diskettes, and this opened the door for us to play many games like Doom 2, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Free Ski, You Don’t Know Jack, Waxworks and a little cheesy first person gem called “Isle Of The Dead.” The plot of this game has you as a survivor of a plane crash on an island that is overrun by zombies and is ruled by a mad scientist who is the madman creating the flesh eaters. The game, besides being a first person shooter that had you use guns and a machete to hack the baddies, also had elements of a point and click adventure as you have to find items and weapons in order to survive. While I have lots of great memories about the game, it did have many flaws as it was prone to freezing during play, was repetitive and by all accounts just a really bad game, but something about it made me love it. I can remember spending hours playing it on my brother’s old computer and always wondering if they every made a sequel…they didn’t. The game was made by Rainmaker Software and published by Merit Software in 1993.  It was poorly received and came and went with out making a splash in the world of Doom and Wolfenstein dominating the first person shooter PC Gaming world, but at the Brassfield house Isle of The Dead was a popular survival horror game that to this day is one of my favorite PC games and had one amazing music score that I still hum to this day. Do yourself a favor if you love cheesy first person zombie shooters and your PC/Mac can play old DOS games, get yourself a copy and have a great time trying to survive the isle of the dead!

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Well we are at the Undead Graveyard and in this section the cardboard gravestones are starting to fall over.  From here you can see just how far away Zombies From Hell is from The Dead and Resident Evil that came before it in “The Undead Files” updates. From here the zombies wandering around look like they are just wearing K-Mart brand Halloween grease paint and rubber masks but for me that kind of cheesy stuff is backyard effect gold.  Now lets see if this no budget approach can also do well in the horror comic world. One of the zombie is mumbling from his rubber mask and the muffled words sound like he wants me to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s take a seat next to this bent tombstone under this rotting tree and see what horrors Zombies From Hell has in store for me.

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Zombies From Hell # 1   **
Released in 2014    Cover Price $2.99    Middle Atlantic Comixs    # 1 of 1

Sam has found a book that is the key to open the Gates of Hell.  He calls his good friend Professor Griffin along with a busty blonde female, they follow the book to the location that is said to hold the opening to Hell. Sam speaks a chant, and a door appears on an old tree.  When they pry open it, they find a hotel lobby that is the waiting area before Hell and meet Zeus, the son of Satan and the manager of the hotel that has not seen a mortal in over 500 years. They soon find they are trapped in the lobby until they die, but meanwhile in our world, a band of bank robbing females are on the run after killing a guard and find the door in the tree and also enter to find they are now trapped.  The girls panic and use guns on Zeus to no effect and even open the door that frees zombies after they were warned not to! Zombies come out of the door looking for meat and attack not only the robbing women but also Sam and his friends.  The cops have tracked down the robber’s car and open the door in the tree allowing the survivors to escape but make the mistake of opening the door again, allowing the zombies to escape and eat them all!

This is truly an underground comic as its clearly put together using a copy machine from a library or even maybe an Office Depot as well as a glue stick that is holding the first page to the cover! And while some of you readers might be discrediting this comic for its cheap production, others are now more intrigued. The story follows a man who has been looking for a book that has been missing for 500 years that holds the secrets of Hell.  He cons his friends into going on the quest with him and soon finds that his book only leads him to a boring lobby of a hotel.  Throw in some female bank robbers, a creepy hotel manager and a horde of meat eating zombies, and you have the plot of this fun silly independent horror comic. Sam is the comic’s lead, and we are never filled into why he wants to find the opening to Hell.  It’s clear that he is a jerk as he forces his friends by gunpoint to enter the door he thinks will lead them all to Hell! Griffin and his blonde female friend are just used as background characters who are trapped in the classic “Wrong Place Wrong Time” scenario. The three female robbers are bad news and are killers who don’t listen and the ones who cause the zombie outbreak, but they meet a fitting gut munching demise. Zeus is weirdly enough the voice of reason and also kind of crazy in delivering his warnings, I mean he is the son of Satan! The comic has some blood and gore but it’s nothing too gruesome, and has tiny bits of nudity as you can see slight female nipples during the zombie attack.  Speaking of zombies, they are pretty cool looking and are your classic skull face looking ones. The cover is ok but does not truly capture the nature of the comic.  I do, however, love the fact the color is done with colored pencils.  The black and white art inside is done by Robert Bennett who also wrote the story, and while both are sloppy, they have a charm for this style of underground comic book making. This is clearly not for everyone, but I for one sure did enjoy every cheesy moment of reading it!

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So as you can see, just because this comic was put together using a glue stick and some copy paper didn’t mean it was at least not entertaining, proving that comic books much like films don’t have to have huge budgets to bring on the enjoyment.  But guess what readers, we are not done with zombies just yet as our next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and will showcase the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake and the promo comic that was released along with it.  So until next time, make sure to have a plan set in case of a zombie apocalypse, read a comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update readers and friends.

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The Boogieman Of Wooster!

Are you scared of things that go bump in the night? When you were a child did you ever look under your bed to see if monsters were under there waiting to steal your toes? How about your cracked closet door, was an unknown creature in there waiting for you to close your eyes? These type of thoughts and stories have scared children all over the world and are the source of childhood nightmares and sleepless nights for parents. This quick and spooky update is about the king of urban legend fright, the stalker of the night, the creep who terrified kids way before Slender Man and Freddy Kruger, we are talking about the one and only Boogeyman, the true icon of fright! So pull the covers over your head and stay close to the light of your computer screen as we take a trip into a nightmare world of terror!

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You’re six years old, and it’s past your bedtime.  You have snuck downstairs and are watching Sammy Terry host King Kong Escapes on Nightmare Theatre.  You know you could get in trouble and you don’t mind because Sammy is your friend and King Kong is your favorite giant monster. Just as Sammy is talking to his pet spider George, your older brother busts you and tells you that if you don’t get to bed The Boogeyman will get you. The name sends shivers down your spine as just last week you heard from a friend that his cousin’s neighbor was taken by this evil creature so you rush to jump into bed and pray that The Boogeyman is not under your bed…waiting to take your soul.  This is a scenario that I am sure plagued many kids. The Boogeyman is the embodiment of evil and is a mythical creature used around the world to scare bad children into good behavior. He’s a tool for kids to stay good or a punishment by the hands of this creature could change them forever by stealing their toes, eyes or some other body part or worse yet could take you away to his dark world. Growing up my parents never used The Boogeyman defense to make me behave, and I can remember my brother mostly using the term when we were really little to get me to leave the basement that was his bedroom. When I was in kindergarten, his name was mentioned almost in a hush like if we didn’t talk about him he didn’t exist and couldn’t haunt your nights.  While I never believed in him, the “What If?” question did pop in my mind in my youth. The United States is not the only country who has a Boogeyman as other nations also have their versions like Sack Man from Spain, a creature who carries bad children away in his sack and Egypt’s Abu Rigl Maslukha who is a burnt man who kidnaps bad children and cooks and eats them.  These two are just a small drop in the hat of all the versions of The Boogeyman that scare children all over the world! While The Boogeyman is still around, he has taken a backseat to the modern generation of kids as Slenderman is now the creature that haunts their dreams, but that creature will be saved for a future update…but I should also say that a comic book called Slenderman vs. The Bogeyman should be made by some company or independent comic maker…IDW? Bruce O’ Hughes? Any takers? Whether the Boogeyman is real or fake is a subject that up for debate and all I can say is tonight as you go to bed, you might want to check the closet and look under your bed because you never know.

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Like any monster of myth and legend of course Hollywood has to make movies based around it. One of the most popular films based on this legend came out in 1980 called The Boogey Man and was directed by Ulli Lommel.  It’s a slasher/possession horror film about a brother and sister that are being haunted by a pantyhose faced killer who comes out of mirrors to kill and twist reality. This series sparked 2 sequels The Boogey Man 2 and Return Of The Bo0gey Man and a rumor of a Part 4 or a remake has been floating around for a couple of years now. I love these films, and while they are very low budget and very cheesy, they have a charm that make them entertaining. In 2005, a film called Boogeyman hit theaters, directed by Stephen T. Kay.  It’s about a man who witnessed a horrible event in his childhood having to go back to the scene of the terror and come face to face with the creature that caused him so much trauma as a child. This series also had two sequels, and while the original is okay, the series got worse over time and is pure direct to video shelf filler. I should also note that a Stephen King short story called The Boogeyman was turned into a film in 1982. Not to even mention that in Halloween Michael Myers is called The Boogeyman as is John Wick in the film of the same name. While the films based on this icon of fright might have slowed down, I am sure his return to film or TV will come to a rise again soon!

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I would love to see a comic mini series based on Ulli Lommel’s Boogey Man series; this could be a very fun and spooky comic series with atmosphere and bloody kills! The comic series could pick up with Lacey, the survivor of The Boogey Man curse, moving out to the country to get away from all the drama and death that has happened over the years. While in the small country town she finds life to be perfect, that is till a mirror shows up in the town’s antique store that holds the spirit of The Boogey Man who uses his evil power to turn the town into killing drones who all want to murder Lacey and put her head on a flag pole. Lacey must hide out in her farm house along with a worker named Mark who was helping fix her barn and the town’s 84 year old priest.  Together they must fight for their lives as well as come face to face with The Boogey Man with pantyhose on his head and all. This comic series would be a great way to promote the new film coming in the series and could also turn the cheesy aspects of the film into a solid scary blood soaked comic series helping bring the respect to the film series that it deserves. I would love to see IDW tackle this and of my friends I would say Bruce O’ Hughes or Eric Shonborn would be great choices as I could see them both capturing the horror and terror of the story I proposed. While I doubt this mini series would ever happen from a major company, who knows, maybe one day I could team up with one of my comic making friends and bring this series to life for Rotten Ink.

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The Boogeyman’s appearance is up to the imagination of the person telling the story or even what the mind of the terrified child thinks it looks like. When I was a kid I thought of The Bogeyman with a zombie-like face dressed in a Count Dracula-like suit with long sharp fingernails and black stringy hair, but that’s just what my young mind thought it looked like. Matchbox, with their very cool toy line Monsters In My Pocket, thought that The Bogeyman looked like slender longhaired and faced freak who wore sandals and had pants pulled up over his belly. WWE’s Boogey Man looked like a toothless red-faced muscle bound goon who ate worms, loved clocks and danced like he was having a seizure. And Halloween costume makers Horror Dome think The Boogeyman looks like a red eyed goat with grey and black fur who wears a long coat and has long fingers. Marvel Comic’s Boogeyman is a pasty-white skinned large mouthed short man who was once human and is like a shadow now and can posses the likes of Luke Cage and other super heroes. So as you can see, The Boogeyman has no solid look and can be as gross or as human as your imagination allows.

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The comic we are going to review today is called The Boogieman, and I know very little about it besides that I have owned it for years and never read it until now.  I got it at Mavericks so thanks to them for having it in stock. Nuclear Age Comix appeared to be a very small independent comic company owned by Dan Berger, who was making his books out of Wooster, Ohio and having them printed in Carrollton, Ohio making it one very cool piece of Ohio history. Nuclear only published three issues before closing its doors in 1986.  Besides The Boogieman their catalog included two issues of a comic series called Rion 2990 that looked like a Japanimation inspired adventure comic. I’m not sure why Nuclear closed shop as quickly as it started, and I’m not even sure if they continued on by printing their follow up issues on their own. Plus I am pretty sure Dan Berger is also the one that worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures for Archie Comic back in the day! So with all that in your head, I also need to remind you that I’m 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 let’s go into the world of The Boogieman and see what we can scare up…    

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The Boogieman # 1  **
Released in 1986      Cover Price $1.50    Nuclear Age Comix    #1 of 1

In the back alley of an unforgiving city, a man is about to club and kill an old drunk over a dollar when a werewolf shows up and runs off the attacker saving the drunk’s life! The would-be robber runs into a police officer and tells him about the werewolf, and as the cop rushes off, the crook steals his wallet! The werewolf meets up with a masked man who is his friend and tells him to go home as he has a cure for his curse.  As the werewolf runs off, the man in the masked called The Boogieman disappears like mist as the cops give chase to the werewolf. The Boogieman visits his friend’s wife and tells her the good news that he can cure him this night.  As the werewolf is busting his butt to get home, he is shot by the police, and The Boogieman must appear and save him by scaring off the officers. Boogieman gets the werewolf home and cures him of his curse and then goes out and busts the crook from the start of the comic and drops him off right into a jail cell. The second story in this comic is about a character called Pumpkin Head, a vigilante hero who wears a pumpkin mask and has wheels for feet who kills three crooks who did his friend Greg wrong.

This independent comic is not played for scares but is more of a super hero vigilante kind of comic as the monsters are the good guys killing off the scum bag criminals that plague their streets. The Boogieman story is very simple and had him trying to help a werewolf to get home so that he can be cured but thanks to a no good crook, the police are on his tail and The Boogieman must use his power of fright to get them off the trail and end a curse.  The odd thing about the end is that it’s clear The Boogieman is owed something for curing him, and it sounds like he has the power to turn him into a monster again! With this being the only issue to come out, it leaves the reader wondering what was to come in the series – was The Boogieman getting a team of monsters together? The Boogieman is a man of few words and looks like a film noir trench coat version of The Spirit and a homeless man. He looks like a man and not a monster and wears a mask around his eyes like The Lone Ranger or even Robin and is by no means scary. The Werewolf, whose name is Glen, looks like a bulky version of The Werewolf By Night and for some reason does not have the killer instinct like most comic book werewolves. The crook is just a scumbag who tries to rob an old drunk man and an old woman and is taught a lesson by The Boogieman as he gets a one-way ticket to jail. The art is really good and holds an almost Tick look to it.  The artist and creator of the story is Dan Berger who did a fantastic job on both. The second short story in this issue, Pumpkin Head, is interesting and has a pumpkin-masked vigilante hero with wheeled feet killing off the people who murdered his pal.  The story is solid and had potential of being a good comic series on its own. The art is not as good as The Boogieman’s but holds an independent charm to it and is done by Jim Pallotta who also did the story. It’s a shame this only lasted one issue as I would have loved to have seen what else this Wooster, Ohio comic company had in store for the future, but much like Topps, Fangoria and Dead Dog Comics before them, this company came to an end way too soon. Over all while not a horror comic like you would think, this comic was well worth the read. Check out some art below. The first two are from The Boogieman with the last being from Pumpkin Head.

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So while The Boogieman in comics didn’t chill my bones or scare me into a sleepless night, it did very much entertain me and made me want to track down Rion 2990 and see what that series has to offer. One other thing that I should point out is at the end of this issue, they mention a character called Dog Man a character who looked like a wild man on a chain held by a teen with a shotgun.  It looked like it could have been interesting if it would have been made. So for our next update, we will leave The Boogieman behind and hit the open road with the one and only Biker Mice From Mars! So until then, read a comic or three, support your local horror host and try and get a good night’s sleep…

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