From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Gorgo

For this second update of my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” Kaiju Month, we will be traveling to jolly old England to take a look at their giant monster named Gorgo! This is one of those Horror Movies I grew up watching on TV as TBS use to show it all the time, and I can always remember being glued to the screen when it was on. Many fans of giant monster movies seem to forget about Gorgo as he is always over shadowed by the likes of Godzilla and King Kong, but today he and his Momma will be getting the respect they deserve and it will be lots of fun to talk about them. So if you’re ready to find some shelter as Gorgo goes on the destruction city stomp, let’s talk about him and the film he’s from.

So first let’s see what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his destruction ability and his way to dispatch humans who are unfortunate enough to be in his way. Gorgo stands at 200 feet and has a reptilian appearance and an aggressive attitude. Gorgo hates humans and will not only use his massive size to stomp and smash but will also use his sharp teeth and claws to dispatch human lives. He also can use his appearance and roar to scare humans into being in frenzy, leaving themselves open for panic and leading to accidents that could cause death. Gorgo not only is a threat on land, he is also very dangerous in water as he can swim and breath underwater for long periods of time. What makes Gogro a big threat to mankind is the fact his mother Ogra is over 250 feet tall and is even more pissed and can cause way more damage. While Gorgo is a massive creature, he can be hurt as he hates fire, and even explosions and firepower can cause some damage. He can also be captured and by large nets and be kept as a prisoner by mankind. So while Gorgo might not have any special fire breath nor any other powerful abilities, he and his mother do have the tools to bring mankind to their knees if they truly go on a rampage.

So that’s what Gorgo brings to the table when it comes to his path of destruction and his way to deal with pesky humans. We should now take a look at the 1961 film Gorgo that this Kaiju appears in. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB and I will talk briefly afterwards about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you’re ready, I am ready to take a look at Gorgo!

Gorgo (1961)

A salvage vessel is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.”

Gorgo is a British giant monster horror movie that was released by MGM in America and British Lion-Columbia in England. The film was directed by Eugene Lourie and cast such actors as Bill Travers, William Sylvester and Mick Dillon as the man in the Gorgo suit. The film had a pretty normal production for this type of movie at the time and MGM was hoping that this film would be a mega hit for them and would be their Godzilla at the Box Office and usher in a new monster icon. Gorgo was released in 1961 alongside such other frightful shockers like Konga, The Curse Of The Werewolf, Reptilicus, Brainiac, Doctor Blood’s Coffin, The Pit And The Pendulum, The Beast Of Yucca Flats and Mr. Sardonicus to name a few. And the film ended up doing pretty well and built up the world of Giant Monsters at the cinema that was sparked by the success of Godzilla in 1954. There’s not much special about this production besides at one point the film was going to be set in Japan first and then was changed to France, Australia and finally was settled on England. And the film for the time was also praised very highly for its monster special effects.

Much like King Kong and Godzilla, the mighty Gorgo has always seemed to be a part of my life as I have seen this film so many times on TV as well as home media like VHS and DVD, and I have seen this film over a dozen times…in fact even while writing this update I re-watched the film again on DVD! And while I really enjoy Gorgo as a film, I have talked to many other Horror Fans of Kaiju films and one phrase always seems to come up and that’s, “It’s good but it’s kind of bland” or some phrase like it, and I think I know what they mean as the film is a little slow moving in spots and has a very British slow paced feel until the amazing climax. And I get what they mean for the most part as the film itself is a great giant monster film that showcases two massive and cool monsters, but it does have a very slow pace like many of the Hammer Horror films released in the 60’s and 70’s. But for me, the pacing and slow build are kind of what makes this film special as the over all runtime is pretty short at only 78 minutes long. The film also spawned not only the comic book series but also had a novel adaptation of the film, model kits, shirts, posters and many more merchandise items showing that Gorgo does have his own cult following. There’s not much more to say about Gorgo besides it’s a fun Kaiju film that delivers monster mayhem and shows just how popular these giant monster movies were back in the 60’s.

So now that we have taken a look at Gorgo as a Kaiju as well as the film he is from, I think it’s now time we take a look at the comic book adaptation of the film that was released by Charlton Comics! I want to send a big thank you to the Ebay seller that had this comic in stock and made this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I grade this comic 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 see just how monstrous Gorgo really is when it comes to the world of Horror Comic Books.

Gorgo # 1  ***
Released in 1961    Cover Price .10    Charlton Comics   # 1 of 24

Sam Slade and Joe Ryan are business partners who search the sea for hidden treasure when a massive storm hits that is so bad that fish from the bottom of the sea are coming to the top. And after the storm they return to a small port that as well has been hit hard by the storm and are run off by Professor McCartin who is searching the sea for something. They soon follow one of McCartin’s ships, and they send a diver down who later comes back with a fist full of Viking gold but also dies of fright before their eyes! Sam and Joe dive next as Joe wants the gold and Sam wants to make sure his greedy partner comes back alive, and while down in the ocean they soon come face to face with a giant monster that makes them flee. Once back at the island they watch as the townspeople do a ritual and then watch as a massive creature Gorgo comes from the water and is forced back by fire by Joe and Sam who have figured our the creatures weakness. The villagers praise the pair as they Joe comes up with an idea to capture the massive creature with a steel shark net and the idea works and they take their massive find to London and are making tons of money showing it to the world. But Professor McCartin warns them that Gorgo is just a baby and that his mother is on her way to get him back, and she does show up and rampages across London until she gets her son back! The army, fire, electricity and everything is useless against the mother who grabs her offspring and heads back to the water ending her terror.

Gorgo was made for comic books and that’s why he lasted 24 issues even though the final issue was renamed Fantastic Giant as he is a cool monster that has an amazing look to him. This comic follows the plot of the film pretty well and has humans capturing Gorgo and turning him into a paid attraction and by kidnapping him they unleash his even more massive mothers rage on the city to get him back. Our hero is Sam Slade, who is a man who co-owns a company that finds treasures at the bottom of the oceans and also is the one who don’t like the idea of capturing a massive Kaiju when all around him warn of dangers and bring it to a city…he and they were wise for their fears! Joe Ryan is a sleazy conman who allows money to rule his life and seem to not even care about other peoples lives and safety if money is involved, in fact even when everything goes to hell he is still willing to wait it out in order to see if he can come out ahead. Ogra is Gorgo’s Mother and she is one massive creature of the sea who can not be stopped once she starts and her child is involved, she brings down the military with ease and even shrugs off fire like its nothing…in other words she is really unstoppable! Gorgo while just a baby as well is a creature of destruction and if not for his fear of fire he could have crushed the small island and all those on it! Gorgo, just like his mother, seems to always be in a destructive mood and always in a bad one. While this comic does a good job capturing the film, it does feel a little rush and some characters from the movie seem to take more of a back seat in the comic like the Professor and the young boy who is his assistant. The comic is bloodless but does have death, injury and destruction in it and has a real classic Horror Comic feel to it. The cover is very eye catching and fans of the movie I am sure flocked to get a copy of the comic just based on it! The interior art is done by the amazing Steve Ditko and is top notch stuff and shows that his art and giant monsters go hand and hand. Over all this is a great adaptation of a solid Kaiju film and is one that you should check out if you like Gorgo and other giant monsters like him. Check out the art below to see what Ditko brought to the table.

Gorgo is a Kaiju that I think the world seems to be gaining more respect for over time as his design, movie and legacy is pretty great, and he deserves to find his cult following. Now that we have survived the rampage of Gorgo and Ogra and before that we barely got out of the way of Reptilicus’, it’s time for the main destruction event as our final Kaiju for this month long themes updates is the one and only Godzilla from the 2014 film and the graphic novel Awakening that was spawned from it! So be ready for that as it will be a massive good time. Until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! I hope you’re prepared for the Kaiju that is Godzilla!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Reptilicus

For the month of May, in honor of “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” hitting theaters and it bringing us one step closer to King Kong and Godzilla battling it out in 2020, we are going to have Kaiju month here on the blof that will be filled with “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates all featuring giant monsters! And our first Titan will be Reptilicus, a sinister dragon-like beast who was the first Danish monster in cinema! Many people seem to forget about the likes of Reptilicus when they think of Kaiju and just giant monsters in general so that is why he was selected as my first choice to start off this event month. So if you’re ready, let’s see the terrors Reptilicus has in store for us and what destruction he leaves behind.

Reptilicus is a massive snake-like reptile that was frozen underground for centuries and is very combative in nature once awoken. The massive Reptilicus has many means to snuff out the life of humans as he can use his size and weight to crush and smash any and everything that gets in his way. He also sports very sharp snake-like teeth that could easily eat, impale and rip apart a man in no time. He doesn’t only attack on land but also water and even air with a strike upward. He also has the ability to grow back missing limbs and can heal from attacks pretty quick as he is a massive monster who can regenerate. Bullets, missiles and even fire from tanks do not hurt him, as he is able to shrug it off and keep on his path of destruction. And we are not even sure what his green acid spit could do when in contact with human flesh! Not to mention just the sight of him will cause panic and leave his human targets more easy to pick off as they make mistakes with minds full of fear. While he is massive and very hard to truly hurt, he can be killed as he hates fire and if burnt too long, he would die. He is also pretty slow moving on land and this also leaves him open for attacks and other means to stop him. He can also be drugged, and it’s even possible make him die of an overdose. While he might not be the most massive or destructive Kaiju in the world, Reptilicus is one of the most cold blooded who goes out of his way to kill and destroy, making him one deadly foe.

So now that we have taken a look at the destructive and killing nature of Reptilicus, we should now take a look at the film he is from. The film’s write up is taken from our friends at IMDB, and after, I will talk a little about the film’s production as well as my connection with and feelings about the film. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the film.

Reptilicus (1961)

A portion of the tail of a prehistoric reptile is discovered in Denmark. It regenerates into the entire reptile, which proceeds to destroy buildings and property and generally make a nuisance of itself. It can fly, swim, and walk, and has impenetrable scales, which makes it difficult to kill.”

In the 1960’s, giant monster movies were all the rage, and in 1961 American International Pictures and Denmark company Saga Studio teamed up to make Reptilicus! The film was directed by Poul Bang for the Danish version and Sidney W. Pink for the English one…as you see, the film was made in two different language in order to maximize the film’s audience with the only major change being the actress who played the character of Connie Miller. Another story goes that the English version was so bad that American International Pictures called in screenwriter Ib Melchior to help shape it up for release. This also caused Pink to be upset and threaten to sue the company, but rumor has it, after watching his version he dropped the lawsuit as he saw how bad it was! The film built a cult following in Denmark as well as the US, but critics were not kind to this film as they all mocked its cheap looking production values. So while Reptilicus might not be as loved and respected as King Kong, Godzilla or even Gamera, it still made its mark on the world of giant monster cinema. A fun fact is that in 2001 director Sidney Pink wanted to remake the film to try and cash in on the 1998 American Godzilla movie…but sadly this did not happen as Pink passed away in 2002 from a long illness.

Reptilicus was one of those movies I know I saw when I was a youngster and cannot remember if it was just shown on broadcast TV or if it was on a Horror Host program but I can remember enjoying the heck out of it. It would be years and years later that I would see the film again when my friend Jason Gilmore bought it on DVD and we watched it on one of our many late nights of video game playing and Horror Movie watching hangouts. Gilmore and I had a blast laughing at the Reptilicus puppet as it went on its rampage and for a while it was a film we loved to laugh at and reference. One surprising thing isthat growing up I never did have one of the comics by Charlton nor did I have the paperback novel adaptation even though I was into all those things at a young age. I would go on to own the film on VHS and DVD and from time to time still dust it off to give a watch. Many modern Horror Fans have also seen it on the rebirth of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that is on Netflix. I feel that, much like Konga we have talked about in a past update, Reptilicus is often over looked when it comes to Kaiju in movies as the monsters of Toho dominate it, and I feel that’s not fair as many of these less known Giant Monsters are as cool as those we all know and love. While Reptilicus might not be a household name, he is a movie monster that has built a cult following and has left his green acid spit all over the world of Horror Cinema.

So now that we know the killing power of Reptilicus as well as took a look at his only film appearance, I think we should gather our nerve and take a look at Charlton Comics adaptation of the film that ended up spinning off into a comic series. While we run for our lives from the rampage of Reptilicus, I want to remind you all that I am grading this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and making this update possible! So let’s seek shelter and enjoy this horrifying adventure of Reptilicus.

Reptilicus # 1 **1/2
Released in 1961     Cover Price .10     Charlton Comics   # 1 of 8

Svend Alstrup is a foreman and is drilling for copper when he uncovers a bad smell and a chunk of skin that is covered in scales from deep in the Earth. After closing down the drilling, Svend calls for Professor Martens who takes the flesh to his lab. Later on as Svend finds more hunks of flesh of the beast, he delivers them to the Professor whose two daughters have formed a crush on him. One night by accident the freezer door where the flesh is held is left open, and this causes the flesh to grow and heal causing them to inform the United Nations of the discovery who in turn send two military men to supervise the experiment. The army once at the lab dismiss the chunk of flesh as a joke and seem not to be bothered that it has grown 100 times its size in eight days. But things change when a freak thunderstorm roles in and a blot of lightning strikes the tank releasing the flesh that has now grown massive and is called Reptilicus! Professor Martin and the Army come together fast to try and figure out a way to bring down this massive monster and each attempt fails as Reptilicus keeps growing and even learns to fly causing chaos and destruction every where he goes. In the end General Grayson and Professor Miller create a drug that they load into a shell and fire at the creature knocking it out and leaving it open to be disposed of, but little do they know a piece of Reptilicus skin is in the ocean waiting to grow and bring the monster back.

The plot of this comic adaptation is based on both the American Version of the film as well as the Danish Version and delivers a fun read for fans of this monster flick. The major downside is that it’s an hour and twenty minute movie crammed into twenty pages and keeps lots of the boring science and military talk from the film in. The plot is pretty cut and dry and has a blob of flesh being discovered that regenerates into a massive monster that breaks free from a lab and goes onto a massive rampage in Demark as the scientist and army try to figure out a way to stop it. Professor Martens is one of the heroes of this tale as his knowledge of these types of creatures as well as his research on the skin allows him to stop the army from making big mistakes like blowing it up and causing all the small pieces to become full fledged Reptilici (Repitilicuses?)! General Grayson is also a hero as he does not back down from the creatures and does not allow his failed attempts to shake his nerves as he wants to save the people and stop the monsters rampage once and for all. Reptilicus is one mad giant monster who wants to take out all his rage and hatred on humankind and seems to not be phased when attacked by some of mankind’s most used weapons of murder. He also is so powerful that he does not stop when attacked and in fact it only seems to make him rampage more! The comic is bloodless and the body count is very low and all shown off pane, but it fits for this style of Horror Comic. The scares come more in the vein of nature running amuck and the idea of a massive beast crushing your city than blood, guts and gore. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is very eye catching for fans of 60’s monster movies, and the interior art is done by the team of Bill Moino and Vince Alascia and is fantastic classic style. If you like the film Reptilicus and enjoy Kaiju in your Horror Comics, this is one you should read, while not a perfect adaptation it is an enjoyable one. Check out the artwork below to see the style of this issue.

Reptilicus’s rampage might have came to an end, but not to worry friends and readers, Kaiju Month continues next update as we leave Denmark and travel to England and see what destruction Gorgo and his Mother will do! It’s weird that some Kaiju have never gotten a comic book adaptation or series as ones like Kraa!, Q The Winged Serpent and Deadly Mantis all would have made for great comics, and only time will tell if they ever will get their time to shine in the pages of a comic. So until next time, watch out for giant monsters, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we witness the destructive power of Gorgo!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Konga

Giant Monster Movies were all the rage back in the 1960’s and many followed in the giant footprints of the 1933 film King Kong and none followed more closely than the 1961 film Konga as it as well featured a giant gorilla running wild in a major city! And I figured covering the first issue of Konga by Charlton Comics would be a great way to talk about the film and its title monster as it’s an adaptation of the movie! So if you’re ready to once more take a look at a giant hairy movie monster with me this winter and take another journey on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. It’s a great honor that I bring you this look at Konga, a very underrated monster movie.

We need to take a look at Konga himself before we dive into the film that he comes from. Konga was a baby chimpanzee from Africa who is brought to London, England by Dr. Charles Decker, a famed botanist who has discovered a serum to make planets and animals grow very large. Konga is the test subject for this serum and grows to the size of a full-grown gorilla, and, after being given too much of the serum, he grows to super size! Konga has a very violent streak and uses his brute strength and power to choke the life out of humans when he’s gorilla-sized and has been given the orders from Decker. As a giant ape, he has no loyalty and wants to crush and smash people in his way. Konga’s way of killing includes choking, throwing and crushing, and he can easily do so no matter his size. He not only can use his power and strength to dispatch his victims but can also use his massive size to his advantage as he towers over buildings and homes and can carry a person in his hands like a doll. But while he is a giant and strong, Konga does have weaknesses as he can be hurt by weapons like guns and rockets and while large, it also appears as if he loses some of his smarts and becomes confused easily, leaving himself open to attacks. But while he can be stopped and killed, Konga is still a force to be reckoned with and is a killer primate brute who don’t realize he is a killing machine frightful bad guy.

So as you can see, Konga is a massive powerhouse of fury and animal instinct who is a giant monster who can smash and crush us humans. But now that we all know about Konga the giant monkey, we now have to take a look at the movie he stars in! So I will be taking the film’s plot from our pals as IMDB and after I will talk a little about my connection to the film as well as some cool other facts. So let’s learn a little about Konga the film that was supposed to be the first colorized version of King Kong.

Konga (1961)

“Dr. Decker comes back from Africa after a year, presumed dead. During that year, he came across a way of growing plants and animals to an enormous size. He brings back a baby chimpanzee to test out his theory. As he has many enemies at home, he decides to use his chimp, ‘Konga’ to ‘get rid of them’. Then Konga grows to gigantic proportions and wreaks havoc all over the city of London!!”

Anglo Amalgamated and American International Pictures teamed up in around 1959 to make a release of the film Konga thanks to British producer Nat Cohen asking American producer Herman Cohen to make another Horror Picture in the U.K. after “Horrors of the Black Museum” was a major hit in theaters and drive-ins. Herman, who was a big fan of King Kong, decided that he was going to make a colorized version of a giant gorilla this time around running wild in London. So Herman, along with Aben Kandel, wrote the script to the film that was being called “I Was A Teenage Gorilla” and was later changed to Konga. Herman would hire John Lemont to direct and brings on actors like Michael Gough, Margo Johns, Claire Gordon and Paul Stockman as the man in the Konga suit. Gerard Schurmann was brought in to score the movie and was filmed in Croydon and Merton Park Studios in England. With a budget of $500,000.00 production went by pretty easy and smooth and was ready to take cinemas by storm. For marketing the film Herman also paid RKO Pictures a pretty big sum in order to use the words King Kong on his posters and marketing. When released, it was shown on a double feature with the film “Master of the World” and would go one to be a cult classic film. The year of Konga’s release, it was joined in the cinemas by such other Horror titles like Curse Of the Werewolf, Doctor Blood’s Coffin, Beast Of Yucca Flats, Gorgo, Reptilicus, Snake Woman and Brainiac to name a few. When released the film also spawned a comic book series as well as a paperback novel adaptation.

My first memory of Konga was watching it on cable when I was a youngster as I think it was on TBS and I was glued to it as it was like a generic King Kong.  Over the years, the film faded in my mind and it was not until MGM released it on DVD and VHS that I remembered it and was able to watch it again, and man did I enjoy this cheesy and fun giant monster run amok film! While Konga is no King Kong, he is a nice knock off version that offers some great moments and a super sad ending that will leave an image of a street and a small chimp forever burned into your memory. Another way I remember Konga is the comic series that was released by Charlton Comics in the 60’s as I would see them at comic shops and even in a few antique stores growing up. The thing about Konga is that he is not super respected by fans of Kiju Films as many do not even put him in that category of Horror and Science Fiction Films and look down upon his rampage and size. Now most of the Kiju we think of all come from Japan or some weird island and are the likes of Godzilla, Gamera and King Kong and most lists of these films leave Konga off, but I feel he belongs.  While smaller than many of the above mentioned, he still is a giant monster on a rampage. So here right now on Rotten Ink we are going to give Konga the respect that is long over due and say he is a Kiju Monster and that his film is entertaining and underrated.

So now that we have taken a look at Konga as a monster and the film that spawned him, I think we should dive into his comic adaptation released by Charlton Comics in 1960 a short time ahead of the films release as a tool to promote it before it hit theaters and drive-ins. I want to thank the Ebay seller who had this comic in stock and made this update possible. I also want to remind you that I am grading this comic 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 it’s art and story. I also want to say that I am only reviewing the first issue in this series as it’s the adaptation of the film and it would cost me a small fortune to get all the issues in this series as well as its follow up series. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at Konga in the world of comics.

Konga # 1 ***
Released in 1960       Cover Price .10      Charlton      # 1 of 23

Doctor Decker along with his pilot are flying over Africa when the plane starts to have issues. Before it crashes, Decker is able to jump out and is found by a small monkey named Konga who takes him to a village of giants. While with the giants, Decker discovers a plant that brings growth when eaten and can bridge a link between planets and humans! Decker returns home to London with some seeds and Konga and has some experiments in mind that will help mankind become more powerful than ever before. Along with his wife Margret, they inject Konga with some of the seed serum and he grows showing this experiment will be a success, but also Decker must return to his teaching job and takes on a new student aid named Sondra who’s boyfriend Bob is not happy nor is the Dean of the school who thinks Decker’s claims of planets and man being linked looks poorly on the school and says he is going to request that Decker takes time away. Decker returns home very upset and injects Konga with more of the serum and now the monkey has turned into the size of a gorilla and he picks up the anger of Decker for the Dean and escapes his cage and kills him! After the attack, Decker meets a fellow scientist who is coming close as well on figuring out planet growth being used on humans and once more after Decker thinks bad of this man Konga escapes and kills him! The crimes are going unsolved and when Sondra steps down from being Decker’s aid due to her boyfriend Bob he once more returns home and upset with the young teenage lovers, and Konga once more escapes and this time injects himself with more serum and grows to be giant and busts the house in pieces. By this time Decker has figured it out and is able to call the police before he and his wife are killed by the house falling apart after Konga busts out. The massive Konga is now in the streets of London and thanks to the Police and Army, they are able to kill the beast who shrinks back down to small monkey size.

This comic was used to help promote the movie a year before it was released, and boy is this story way different in this comic than in the movie! The plot here has Doctor Decker returning from Africa with the idea to help mankind with his experiments done with the seeds of massive planets, and when using his friend, a small monkey, as the test subject the primate grows and picks up the anger thoughts of his friend and kills his enemies for him. But things really get out of hand when the monkey injects himself with lots of the serum and grows into a massive ape that terrorizes London and must be brought down by the army. So as you can see, in the comic Konga is the true bad guy who kills and is out of control with Decker being a kind man who just wants to help mankind, while in the movie Decker is the one who uses Konga to kill and he himself is a sleaze ball with Konga being the gentle one who is forced to be a massive ape. Plus in the comic, Margret is Decker’s wife when in the film she is his assistant who loves him, not to mention in the comic he only wants Sondra to help in in class, while in the movie he wants to have relations with her! Decker here in the comic world is a nice guy who took a bad situation like a plane crash and turned it into a plan to help mankind. He has a big heart with lots of goals in life and wants nothing more than to get his experiments done and become famous for doing something that a positive. Konga starts off as a small ape who is friends with Decker as he watched after him in Africa and comes to London to be a help and soon turns their friendship into a gateway to murder as the more Konga grows, the more bloodthirsty he gets. Just like in the movie, Konga dies in the comic when he is fired on by the Army and Police and in death shrinks back down to his normal size. The comic does not have any blood or gore and the horror element comes from the off panel deaths and the fact it’s a giant ape running loose in a city! The cover for this issue is great and classic and showcases Konga bringing in fans of giant monsters as well as King Kong fans. The interior art is done by comic artist legend Steve Ditko and is really great early comic art from a man who first drew Spider-Man for Marvel and by all accounts co-created him. I think about it two years after this comic that Ditko did Amazing Fantasy # 15. Over all, this is a great early Horror Comic that was based on a film that never has gotten the respect it should. Check out the artwork below to see some of Ditko’s early comic work.

Konga is a cool cult classic film that is also a great comic book that is worth checking out in both forms of media. And think, while the film was only one, the comic series lasted 23 issues and had a second series that lasted 3 issues. So if you love Konga, his giant sized adventures continued in ink for you to enjoy. So while we must leave London and Konga behind, our next update will place us on Christmas Eve and after some major thought and eliminations I decided that I will take a look at Garfield’s Christmas Special as well as have a NES Challenge of the unreleased Garfield video game! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a giant monster movie or two and as always spend some time with your loved ones. See you next update for a fun time with Garfield as well as the NES.

Anne Francis Stars In…Our Look At Forbidden Planet

Pop quiz time, Rotten Inkers! Can you name the ten films that are referred to in Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Science Fiction Double Feature”? It’s okay, I’ll give you a minute to sing through it in your head. Done? Alright. Even if you didn’t get all of them, I can bet that one you did catch was in the chorus. Sing it with me, “Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet.” This musical exercise is my less than clever way to introduce today’s update, all about seminal science fiction film Forbidden Planet. I’m Juliet, occasional co-pilot here on Rotten Ink. As you may guessed by now, having read my prior contributions to Rotten Ink, although I have massive love and respect for the horror genre, my earliest and continuing love is for science fiction. If Matt’s the Monster Kid of our house, I’m the spaceships and robots kid for sure. So it’s perfect that we’re about to dive into a film, and the comic books adaptations of it, that not only feature spaceships and robots but really influenced all of the spaceship and robot things to follow it. We’ll start with some history.

Forbidden Planet was released in 1956 by MGM and was shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope. It was written by Irving Block and Allen Adler (who was blacklisted from Hollywood during the second part of the Red Scare), directed by Fred M. Wilcox and stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen. It was the first science fiction film to take place entirely on an interstellar planet that was far from Earth, and the first to show humans traveling faster than the speed of light in a ship of their own creation. These are two of the many reasons Gene Rodenberry names Forbidden Planet as one of his main inspirations for Star Trek. You can also see its visual and design influence on the Star Wars franchise. And remember, this film was released 13 years before the moon landing and five years before cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to travel to space.

Another first for Forbidden Planet is its score. It was the film to have an entirely electronic music score, though at the time, it was referred to as “electronic tonalities” to avoid music guild fees. The composers, Bebe and Louis Barron were discovered accidentally when an MGM producer was visiting New York and saw them perform at a beatnik club and then hired them on the spot to create music for Forbidden Planet. Many people think that the pre-Moog synthesizer electronic drones were created with a theremin, similar to part of the score for Hitchcock’s Spellbound, but the effect was actually created by electronic circuits and modulators that Louis Barron built himself. For this and their work, Heavenly Menagerie, which is considered the first piece of electronic music committed to magnetic tape, the Barrons are considered pioneers of electronic music.

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Robby the Robot is notable for both his design and characterization. Robby’s design was developed from initial ideas and sketches by MGM production designer Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie, art director Arthur Lonergan, and writer Irving Block. The concepts were refined by production illustrator Mentor Huebner and perfected by MGM staff mechanical designer Robert Kinoshita, and Robby was built by the prop department. For his time, Robby sported one of the most complex robot designs moviegoers had ever seen, comparable in design only to Maria, the Menschmaschine in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (another of my favorite robot films). MGM spent a reported $125,000 on Robbie, which with inflation is about $1.1 million today, and compared to the overall budget of Forbidden Planet, he remains of the one most of expensive single props compared to the overall budget of the film he’s in. The suit itself is unique; made of three pieces that completely surrounded the actor and contained all of Robby’s electronics, it could be filmed from any angle without a reset unlike Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still, whose suit had to be reset for different angles to cover special fastenings that allowed for movement.

As a character, Robby was one of the first science fiction robots to have a distinct personality and to be considered an integral supporting character in his film. Again, Maria from Metropolis and Gort are good precursor comparisons. Contrary to Forbidden Planet’s poster and much of the advertising leading up to the film, Robby isn’t the villain, and in fact, follows a version of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics throughout the film including (and most important to the climax of the story), the fact that he cannot kill a human being. He is portrayed as physically strong, benevolent, extremely loyal to Alta and Dr. Morbius, and, at times, he’s a bit sassy.

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It’s unknown whether Robby takes his name from Fantastic Island’s Robbie – a mechanical decoy used by Doc Savage or from the Asimov story of the same name, which was published in 1940. However, after Forbidden Planet was released, Robby became a pop culture icon. He had another starring film role in MGM’s 1957 movie The Invisible Boy and makes a cameo in Gremlins. He appeared in many TV shows, including the The Addams Family, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mork and Mindy. He and and several props from Forbidden Planet were used in the “Uncle Sam” episode of The Twilight Zone (the original Rod Serling version), but Robby donned an alternate head for that appearance, based on one of the original, rejected models created for Forbidden Planet. Robby also appeared in several episodes of Lost in Space, in which he battled Robot B-9 (aka Robot), who he’s sometimes confused for. In 2004, Robby was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.

If you haven’t seen Forbidden Planet, by now you’re probably wondering what the heck it’s about. Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the story follows the crew of the starship C-57D, lead by Commander Adams, as they travel to Altair IV with the goal of discovering what happened to an Earth expedition sent to the planet twenty years prior. When they arrive on the planet, they find its only inhabitants are Dr. Morbius, his beautiful daughter Altaira, and Robby, their robot servant. But something sinister lurks on the planet, and Dr. Morbius is keen to keep it a secret. I’ll leave the story at that for now as we’ll dive further into it when we review Innovation’s comic book adaptation of the film.

As I mentioned above, I am a lifelong scifi fan, and I’m particularly fond of space stories and robot stories so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with Forbidden Planet. I first saw it when I was around thirteen years old. In 1996, MGM re-released the film on VHS and laserdisc with a special widescreen presentation for its 40th anniversary. My dad got the VHS as a gift, and one day I decided to check it out. At the time, I didn’t know about Forbidden Planet’s place in science fiction history, how really important it was the genre and how it influenced the creators of many of the things I already loved. What I knew back then was that it was a great movie. It’s lush, beautiful and puts you completely into its world. All of the characters are smart, including Altaira who is naive about certain things, having never lived with other humans, but can handle her own with the ship’s crew. Robby has such personality, and his look, as well as that of the other props, is yet another argument for practical effects and design over CGI. The story gets at all of the great science fiction questions of forbidden knowledge and its power, the ethics of being an outsider in someone else’s world and how far artificial intelligence should be allowed to go without human intervention. Forbidden Planet instantly took a space in my top five all time movies where it’s remained ever since.

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After Forbidden Planet was released, Robby the Robot became a pop culture icon and a favorite for collectors of science fiction merchandise. He’s been a toy, a Funko pop figure, a talking bank, and a bobble head, among other things (I own all of those, by the way). There are also model kits for both Robby and the ship. The iconic Forbidden Planet poster (a reproduction of which hangs above my bed) has made its way onto lunch boxes, t-shirts, and variety of print formats. The film itself has been released on VHS, laserdisc, DVD and BluRay, and the soundtrack is available on CD and both vintage and new edition vinyl.

In 1992, Innovation Comics, in association with Turner Entertainment, released a four part comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  These comics are the subject of today’s update, and Robby reminds us that here are at Rotten Ink, comics are graded on a scale of 1 to 4 stars and that we are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s prep to board our spacecraft and journey to the Forbidden Planet.

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Forbidden Planet  # 1   ****
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 1 of 4

Commander J.J. Adams and his crew have been traveling the vast unknown of space for over a year on a mission to find out what happened to the crew of the spaceship Bellerophon, sent to Altair 4 twenty years prior.  Upon approaching the planet’s orbit, Adams’ ship receives a message not to land, but they do so anyway.  At first the planet appears to have no trace of any survivors of the Bellerophon, but the crew is eventually greeted by Robby the Robot, who takes Adams and his command crew, which includes Doc Ostrow, to meet his master Dr. Morbius.  Morbius is cautious, if not downright suspicious of the newcomers, informing them that, while he is the only survivor from the Bellerophon, he is not in need of rescue.  The issue ends as Adams and his companions meet Altaira, Morbius’ nineteen year old daughter who was born on the planet.

This first issue, titled Relief Ship, is a really nice start to our adaptation of Forbidden Planet.  David Campiti’s script follows the beginning of the film faithfully and closely, so you don’t miss anything that’s been shortened or adapted to work in comics.  Daerick Gröss’ painted artwork really captures the distinct look and feel of the film, and the way the panels are structured loosely on larger, more atmospheric backgrounds is really interesting.  I’ve not seen that done in other books.  My only hesitation is that occasionally Innovation’s adaptation books get too artsy and lose the story completely, and/or worse, the art slows down the pacing of the storytelling and the title is cancelled before we get a complete adaptations (I’m looking at you, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour).  So I’m proceeding cautiously because I don’t want that to happen with Forbidden Planet.  Hopefully the association with Turner for the publishing helped move things along a bit, and we’ll get the full story in these four issues.  So I guess it’s a good time to move on to Issue 2 and see if that’s the case.

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Forbidden Planet # 2 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 2 of 4

Commander Adams and crew learn more about Altaira, Dr. Morbius’ daughter who we (and they) met at the end of issue #1.  Altaira is nineteen and was born on the planet.  Until this point, she had never met a human other than her father, and that combined with mysterious properties of the planet have somehow given her the ability to communicate with the animals residing on Altair 4.  This begins to change, however, as Altaira becomes intrigued by the crew of young men currently stationed on her planet, in particular Commander Adams, who at first spurns her rather naive advances but is ultimately unable to resist her charms.  Dr. Morbius is concerned for his daughter and for what her newly awakened passions might mean for all of their fate.

This is another great adaptation issue that, although it moves a few things around from the movie for a better page flow, once again stays faithful to the film’s story.  This issue, called The Innocence of Altaira, focuses on Morbius’ daughter.  This particular storyline is really interesting in both the film and the comic, and takes a scifi approach to the age-old story arc about the loss of innocence through the gaining of knowledge, either literal (which we’ll see more of soon) or sexual…or both.  Although she isn’t drawn to look like Ann Francis, the comic book version of Altaira is faithful to the film version, both highly intelligent and a bit naive and with a sassy relationship with Robby.  Once again the painted artwork is fantastic and full of the vibrant colors we expect from this portion of the film.  We’re at the halfway mark for this comic book series, and I think, if done correctly, based on our current pacing we could get the full film by the end of issue 4.  So onward, to Issue 3.

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Forbidden Planet # 3 ***
Released in 1992      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 3 of 4

It’s time for Dr. Morbius to finally explain the truth to Commander Adams and Doc Ostrow, that Altair 4 does, as they’ve been suspecting, hold a dark secret.  Taking them through a passageway in his office, Dr. Morbius leads the spacemen into an old laboratory belonging to the Krell, a long dead race of super beings who inhabited Altair 4 in the planet’s ancient past.  The Krell were highly advanced and had managed to harness the power of their own minds to build a great civilization and in turn use the machines they created to further enhance their minds. But in doing so, they unlocked the Id, a powerful monster born from their own thoughts that was eventually responsible for the downfall of the Krell and the deaths of the crew of the Bellerophon.  Morbius is concerned that through his own actions and the arrival of Adams and his crew, the monster has once again awakened and will destroy them all.

In this issue we get the Krell mythology and the origin of the Id monster, and again, although a few things were slightly rearranged for the comic, by and large this reveal worked in the comic just like it did in the film.  The one minor place where I felt like the comic felt a little short, however, is that I don’t feel like the artwork has the same impact as the graphics in the film when it came to depicting just how vast, advanced and intricate the Krell technology was.  Don’t get me wrong, it beautiful artwork, but in the film, you could really feel the size and scope based on the both the design and the camera set up.  But don’t let my complaints fool you into thinking this isn’t a great comic with great artwork, it really is – and, unless something goes completely haywire next issue, it looks like we are poised to get the whole film adaptation in the scheduled four issues.  So let’s get to it!

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Forbidden Planet # 4 ****
Released in 1993      Cover Price $2.50      Innovation     # 4 of 4

With the secrets of the Krell revealed, the Monster of the Id is growing stronger and threatens to destroy all of Altair 4.  Commander Adams and his crew are left with a choice: to flee the planet or to stay and fight.  Morbius, knowing that his own dabbling in Krell technology is in part to blame for the monster, encourages them to leave and to take Altaira with them.  As they try to make their escape, the monster attacks and Robby is unable to defend them because of a protocol that prevents him from harming Morbius or his family — you see, the Morbius has become part of the collective Id from which the monster is formed. So all hope is lost for the doctor.  Altaira and the recovered Robby agree to flee with Adams and his crew, and the ship blasts off into space as the planet implodes.

And there we have the epic conclusion to the comic book adaptation of Forbidden Planet, and yes, Innovation made it happen in the scheduled four issues.  This final issue holds the bulk of the action as our heroes must escape Altair 4 as the Id Monster grows stronger threatening to destroy them and the entire planet.  In this issue we see Altaira making the difficult choice to leave her father and Morbius having to reckon with the consequences of the damage he’s caused.  We also see Robby put to the test in a great example of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics when he cannot kill the monster because it and Dr. Morbius have become one in the same.  The was a great conclusion to a great comic book adaptation of the film.  From the script to the artwork, everything was done with care and respect for the source material which makes it a great read for fans and newcomers alike.  Take a look below at some of Daerick Gröss’ artwork.

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Often comic book adaptations of films are really hit or miss, but Innovation’s Forbidden Planet is definitely a hit for the casual or diehard fan.  Be sure to track this one down and check it out.  For our next update, we’re leaving outer space and landing back in the U.S.A. for Rotten Ink’s annual Fourth of July update wherein Matt will return to once again look at a title with a patriotic theme.  This time around he’s going with a classic, and I do mean classic – a reprint of the very first issue of Captain America.  So get your grill out and your sparklers ready (though keep them away from comic books for safety’s sake!) and get ready for our next update here on Rotten Ink.Captain America Logo 00

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Die, Monster, Die!

In the 1960’s Dell Comics was a major comic publisher who made lots of great comics based on cartoon characters, TV shows and movies. And among these titles, of course, many Horror Films got the comic treatment with many being the Edgar Allen Poe films of Roger Corman as well as a handful of others. One of the Horror films that got the Dell Comics treatment was the 1965 film Die, Monster, Die! This film stars Boris Karloff and has inspired many creative minds even in the world of music like The Misfits who based a song around this movie. This Horror Film is based off the story “The Colour Out Of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft and did its part to shock movie goers with its thrilling, mystery style of horror. So it’s my pleasure to bring you this very classic horror version of one of my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” updates as we take a look at this creepy horror film and the comic based on it.

The first thing we need to look at is the film’s evil villain that is the wheelchair bound Nahum Witley and his radiated meteorite that he uses on planets and humans. Nahum is a man who likes to be in control and hide what he is doing as he is just following in the weird footsteps of his late father. Nahum has in his green house his mutated maid as well as planets and animals that are not under his control with his maid Helga hating him, and even his wife and daughter seem to have a dislike for him and his demanding cold ways. After an accident Nahum himself is mutated into a glowing green monster who is filled with rage as well as has the will to choke and kill his target victim! As a man he is not a threat as he is a weakened old man whose mind is being poisoned by the meteorite and cannot cause any damage. But as mutated Nahum, he is more powerful and has the power to kill with his bare hands as well as use his glowing green skin appearance to strike fear into the hearts of his victims. He also is radioactive and gives off a loud humming noise that is distracting to his human prey. The thing about Nahum is that he did not intend to be a bad person, it’s his vanity of wanting his estate to be beautiful that has driven him to be the keeper of the radiated meteorite, and when trying to rid himself of it, he soon pays the price of owning it as it takes him over. He does have a weakness that can lead to his destruction and that’s being radiated leaves his body very combustible and with a good fall or if hit hard enough, he will break apart and catch fire! While Nahum might not be the most powerful or spooky monster we have covered in one of these updates, he still is a deadly one if given the chance.

So now that we have learned about Nahum Witley and his meteorite that causes mutations, its time for us to take a look at the movie. As always we will take the films right up from our pals at IMDB and after I will write a little about the production of the film as well as some memories of watching it for the first time and my thoughts about it. So if you’re ready lets get to the film aspect of Die, Monster, Die!

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

“A young man visits his fiancée’s estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in his greenhouse to giants. When his own wife falls victim to this mysterious power, the old man takes it upon himself to destroy the glowing object with disastrous results.”

Die Monster Die! was released in theaters on October 27, 1965 and was an American and British co-production that was produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff and released by American International Pictures. Jerry Sohl, who also wrote novels as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, wrote the script, and he based it on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and the directing duties went to Daniel Haller who also directed the horror film The Dunwich Horror. The film brought on a solid and great cast with names like Boris Karloff, Patrick Magee, Suzan Farmer, Nick Adams and Freda Jackson all who delivered top notch performances. When released originally, it was shown as a double feature with the film Planet Of The Vampires and was met with mixed reviews from critics and movie goers. The film later found a fan base when it finally was shown on TV and later on home media like VHS and DVD. While not held as an all time classic horror movie Die, Monster, Die! has gained a cult following over its release.

The first time I saw this film was on cable when growing up. I can remember it was a weekend when it came on and I found it to be an entertaining and was always drawn to films that starred Boris Karloff. The thing that I have always liked about this film is the atmosphere of the old mansion and its over grown land that has think fog rolling around, the creepy silence of the massive home not to even mention the creepy mutated people, animals and plants! The other great thing about this film is that it mostly takes place at the Witley mansion and its grounds that is so far away from the town or any neighbors giving the viewers a sense of isolation and dread. The cast is fantastic with Boris Karloff as Nahum Witley who gives a fantastic performance as does Nick Adams as Stephen Reinhart.  The way they play off each other with distain and distrust is classic horror movie stuff. As a life long horror fan growing up watching everything from silent films to slashers films, I have always enjoyed this film and think that it’s a sometimes over looked horror thriller that blends both haunted house movie and alien unknown creature sub genres together and delivers a spooky film that relies on chills and not blood spills. If you have never seen this film and enjoy the works of Boris Karloff and even H.P. Lovecraft then make sure to check this film out, as it’s a good old school horror film with some great characters and a paperback novel like story.

Die, Monster, Die! Is an interesting film to make into a Horror Comic, as it will be very hard for DELL Comics to capture the eerie mood and atmosphere that made this film work and be so scary for viewers in the 60’s and beyond. I also want to point out that up to this point, I think this is the oldest film and comic adaptation that I have covered on one of my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates! So while we make our way through this fog, I want to remind you all 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. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having this issue in stock and making this update possible. So we are now at the Witley Mansion, and I think it’s time to relax for a moment and take a look at the comic adaptation of this 60’s horror fright flick! Oh yes and I must say that this comic was a part of DELL’s “Movie Classics” comic line.

Die, Monster, Die!  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1966       Cover Price .12       DELL       #603 of ?

Scientist Stephen Reinhart has received a letter to come visit the home of the woman he loves, Susan, who lives in the small town of Arkham. But Stephen soon finds that no one wants to drive him to the Wintley Mansion, and once he walks there, he finds that her father Nahum does not want him there, but seeing Susan makes him not listen to her father’s words. Susan shows Stephen around the mansion and introduces him to her sick bedridden mother Letitia who speaks to Stephen alone and begs him to take her daughter far away from the mansion! Stephen starts to notice strange things and finds books on the occult as well as the family butler faints for no reason. All the while Nahum is mad over the young man being there and argues with his wife about it and his secret work that he thinks will bring the family riches. While wandering the grounds of the mansion is a strange hooded figure with long fingernails who seems to spy on Susan, causing Stephen to really want them to leave as soon as possible. And later that night the Butler dies and Stephen watches in the shadows as Nahum buries him in an unmarked grave in the green house. Stephen needs to speak to someone about the weirdness of the family and goes to town and talks to the mostly retired doctor, who shares info about how some of the past Wintley members died. Once back at the mansion Stephen and Susan sneak into the locked greenhouse and find that animals and planets have grown to large size and are very dangerous! The couple soon go back to the mansion where Stephen goes to the cellar and finds the massive rock that is causing all the sickness and death as well as is confronted by Nahum who finally sees the errors of his ways, but before anything can be done, Letitia who is now transformed rushes outside into the rain and has the water drops kill her as those infected cannot get wet! After the burial of Letitia, the family makes plans to split ways as Susan is to leave with Stephen and Nahum goes back to the mansion to destroy the rock that, when hit, spawns a living energy that enters Nahum who attacks Stephen, as the possessed energy Nahum leaps at Stephen he falls to the ground dying on impact and catching on fire his remains and the mansion. In the end Stephen and Susan escape the burning mansion, and so ends the legacy of the Wintley family.

I want to start off by saying this while this comic adaptation is really entertaining and a good classic spooky horror comic read, it does however seem to be lacking all the great atmosphere from the movie and speeds up the plot taking away the suspense. The plot is very simple and has a young man visiting his girlfriend’s family at the request of the sick mother and soon finds that the family has a very dark secret that revolves around a rock that fell from space and the father’s quest to make the family’s name mean something again. Our stories hero is Stephen Reinhart, a man who is smart and in love with his lady who rushes to her hometown in order to visit and has been chosen by her mother to take the young woman away from their mansion home. Stephen also really heroes up when needed and saves the day numerous times including fighting off killer planets and even going toe to toe with a radioactive killer. Susan is a normal young woman who is trapped in a home that is surrounded by mystery and does not want to leave her sick mother behind.  She is also clueless as things around her are clearly odd and she does not question nor seek the truth until Stephen forces her to see the stuff going on. Letitia Wintley is a sickly old woman who is slowly losing her mind due to the radiation off the stone.  She loves her daughter very much and is starting to question her husband and his attentions as she slowly gets sicker and sicker until she turns into a ghoul that is killed by water. Nahum Wintley is a man who is proud of his family heritage, and even after it was run through the mud, he craves to make the name mean something again and thinks that a rock he found that fell from space and makes things grow fast is the key to become the star he thinks he should be.  Sadly this consumes him and forces him to make bad decisions that even leaves people he cares about dead. While he’s not a bad person, he is a very self absorbed person who by the time he snaps out of it is possessed and taken over by the rock that turns him into a walking radioactive unstable firebomb. The comic does have some classic spooky moments, and while it does have deaths, none of them are bloody and gory. The cover for this comic is a photo of Boris Karloff as Nahum Wintley with an ax and is pretty eye catching for fans of the film and classic horror actor. The art was done by an Un-Credited Artist and is pretty good stuff and has that Dell Comics charm to it, as strangely enough the character art looks oddly like the actors who played them. Over all this is a pretty cool comic adaptation that does an okay job of bringing the film to pages, only down side is plot had to be crammed down and the atmosphere of the film is missing. Check out the art below to see the art style used in this comic, and really is worth a read and owning for fans of the film.

It makes you wonder if DELL Comics would have lasted past 1974, what other Horror and Science Fiction films would have gotten the comic adaptation treatment? Then it also makes me wonder why no one has brought Dell back to the world of Independent Comics. Imagine some of the other Karloff titles they could have made that would have gone along with the likes of Die, Monster, Die! For our next update, we will be staying in the world of Horror Comics but will not be looking at one based on a movie but one from a indie company that much like Dell makes you wonder what could have come from them. The company is B-Movie Comics, and the title is Vault Of Doomnation. So until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for some spooky good times.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Phantasm

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

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

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Phantasm (1979)

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

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

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Phantasm II (1988)

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

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

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Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

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

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

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Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)

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

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

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Phantasm V: Ravager (2016)

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

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

Tall Man in The Crypt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Horror In Amityville, New York!

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

112 Ocean Avenue House

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

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

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

The Lutz Family

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

The Warrens Ghost HuntersDemon Boy of Amityville

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

The Amityville Horror Book

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

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The Amityville Horror (1979)

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

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

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Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

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

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

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Amityville 3-D (1983)

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

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

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Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

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

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

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The Amityville Curse (1990)

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

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

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Amityville: It’s About Time (1992)

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

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

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Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

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

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

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Amityville: Dollhouse (1996)

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

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

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The Amityville Horror (2005)

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

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

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Amityville: The Awaking (2017)

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

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

Amityville Horror House

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

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

Amityville No Escape Teaser Poster

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

The Amityville Horror 1979 Soundtrack CD

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

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Okay, I think it’s time that we gear up to enter the house at 112 Ocean Avenue and see what Rosen Publishing has in store for us! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for me to review. Wait, did you hear that? It’s like a voice out of the darkness saying that I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that message from beyond, we should step over the green ooze and see what horror awaits us in these comic pages.

Ghosts of Amityville 1

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

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

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

Ghosts of Amityville Art 1

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

Madballs Logo

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.

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# 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!

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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!

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# 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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The Haunted Holiday Tomb Of Ligeia

Brrrr…it’s getting cold outside so why not throw another body on the fire and spend some time drinking hot chocolate with Dell Comics, Edgar Allen Poe and Vincent Price as we take a look at Tomb Of Ligeia. The holiday times are always so stressful and filled with the pressure of buying loved ones gifts, and if you work retail then you know as well as I do that work can be total hell no matter how much you like your job. So for me around this time, I love to sit back turn down the heat a little and crack a window open to let in the perfect amount of chill, then make myself a mug of hot chocolate and pop in a DVD of a horror host or horror film and relax on the couch and let the stress float away as I watch the horrors of what Hollywood have to offer or the zany humor of the host. One other thing that always is stressful around this time is driving on snow and ice covered roads.  I have a blue Chevy Cavalier that I nicknamed The Blue Demon who is too light and slides all over the place, making the drive to and from work not only interesting but also dangerous! The first and only car wreck I ever had was on a snow covered night as I crashed a coworker’s car into a pole by being young and dumb and driving too fast on a slick parking lot.  I am just glad that no one got hurt including myself. So to de-stress this update I figured why not also write about a horror film that was adapted to a comic by Dell, and then I figured why not one of the of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe films starring the horror legend Vincent Price! So with that combination I choose Tomb Of Ligeia, a very underrated film in Corman’s Poe Series. So let’s warm up and get less stressed and have some spooky good times with Mr. Price.

Santa Claushot chocolateSlumber Party Massacre DVD

Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1809 in Boston Massachusetts to two actors, but in 1810 when he was only one years old his father up and left his family and sadly a year later in 1811 his mother passed away leaving he and his older sibling orphans. Edgar was taken in by a family but never truly adapted were he spent his youth with a male father figure who was tight with money when it came to paying for Edgar’s collage education at the University Of Virginia. So he chose to drop out and inlist in the Army in 1827 and at this time also began writing such poems as Tamerlane. But after awhile he switched from poems to becoming a a literary critic and was known for his unique criticism on others works. In 1835 Edgar married his 13 year old cousin Virginia and 10 years later he wrote his most famous poem The Raven making him a success but sadly two years after it was published his wife passed away from tuberculosis. Over the years Edgar kept writing and wanted to release his own journal called The Penn but never was able to get it off the ground. On October 3rd 1849 Edgar Allen Poe was found wondering the streets of Baltimore in another persons cloths delirious and needing medical help, a stranger named Joseph W. Walker found him and took him to Washington Medical College for assistance, Edgar died a few days later on the 7th of Congestion Of The Brain tho many other causes of death have been talked about everything from Suicide to rabies and no one is for sure as over the years both his medical records and death certificate have gone missing. Edgar the who time never made sense in his ramblings as he was at deaths door and it’s said his last words was a name he shouted “ Reynolds” while others reported it was “Lord Help My Poor Soul”, very interesting words from a dying man. Many people think that Edgar also was a victim of Cooping a vicious 19th century act were citizens were forced to vote for a candidate over and over and by a gang of thugs on the politicians payroll who would force the person to drink and do drugs and go to the voting booth and vote for the same person over and over, they would even force the victim to wear disguises. In some cases after they got the votes they needed they would beat the victim and sometimes kill them, and this is what many believe happened to Edgar Allen Poe. After his death a fellow author named Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote an obituary that was very mean spirited and showed through with true jealousy and a hatred for a man who’s work has lived on way past his death. Poe’s work is very iconic and is embraced not only by the Goth Culture but as well as many creative people from Roger Corman to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Here is to you Edgar Allan Poe and may your soul find rest and may your work forever entertain all those who read it.

Edgar Allen Poe ArtEdgar Allen PoeTales Edgar Allan Poe Book

Vincent Leonard Price Jr. was born on May 27th 1911 in St. Louis Missouri and was the youngest of four children, his father was the President of the National Candy Company and his Grandfather Vincent Clarence Price was the inventor of “Dr. Price’s Baking Powder” and set the family up to have a big fortune. Vincent went to Yale and got a degree in History in 1933 that lead to him going to London to try and get his Masters in fine art but while there is were he fell in love with acting and theater. Vincent began acting in plays that lead to even work on “Orson Welles’s Mercury Theatre”, but his break into films came in 1938 in the film “Service De Luxe” and he took other character actor roles, he also starred along side Boris Korloff in the 1939 Horror flick “Tower Of London” and in 1940 he starred in “The Invisible Man Returns” but made a splash in the film “Laura” in 1944. Many great roles followed in the Horror genre like “Shock (1946) “, “Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)”, “House of Wax (1953)”, “The Fly (1958)”, “House On Haunted Hill (1958)”, “The Tingler (1959)”. “Return Of The Fly (1959)”, “The Bat (1959)” and then went on to be in many films based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe like “House of Usher (1960)”, Pit And The Pendulum (1961)”, “Tales Of Terror (1962)”, “The Raven (1963) and “The Masque Of The Red Death (1964)”. But this did not stop him from being in other films as well as other horror flicks like “Diary Of A Madman”, “Twice Told Tales”, “The Haunted Palace”, “The Comedy Of Terrors” and “Last Man On Earth”. In 1964 he played the lead role in the Poe based film “Tomb Of Ligeia” that is the topic of this December update, and through out the late 60’s he starred in other great horror films like “The House Of 1,000 Dolls”, “Witchfinder General” and Poe inspired flick “The Oblong Box”. But in the 70’s Vincent really turned up the chills with such films as “Scream And Scream Again”, “Cry Of The Banshee”, “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”, “Dr. Phibes Rises Again”, “Theatre Of Blood” and “Madhouse”. By the 80’s he was still getting many great Horror films to star in like “The Monster Club”, “House Of The Long Shadows”, “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”, “Bloodbath At The House Of Death”, “Terror In The Aisles”, “From A Whisper To A Scream”, “Dead Heat” and Tim Burton’s odd family flick “Edward Scissorhands”. But during his time Vincent also did some great TV work like playing Egghead on the 60’s Batman and roles in The Muppet Show, The Brady Bunch and The Bionic Woman to name a few. I remember him also doing the voice of Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective and also for his work on the album and movie Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper. Sadly the world lost Vincent Price in 1993 of lung cancer at the age of 83, many odd things have been written and spoke about Vincent Price and some things are for sure he loved art and his impact on the world of movie is major, so here is to you Vincent Price! This is just a brief look at Vincent Prices’s life and career if your looking for more make sure to read up on him, you’ll be glad you did.

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So Tomb Of Ligeia is the film adaptation that we will be taking a look at for this update done by Dell Comics and I would like to take the write up from what imdb has for it and then share my thoughts on the film. “Some years after having buried his beloved wife Ligea, Verden Fell meets and eventually marries the lovely Lady Rowena. Fell is something of a recluse, living in a small part of a now ruined Abbey with his manservant Kenrick as the only other occupant. He remains infatuated with his late wife and is convinced that she will return to him. While all goes well when first married, he returns to his odd behavior when they return to the Abbey from their honeymoon. The memories of Ligea continue to haunt him as well as her promise that she would never die.” So one late night in October I decided to watch this film pretty much for the first time, while I am pretty sure I seen it when I was a kid I truly only remembered bits and pieces so this watch was like seeing it for the first time all over again! The pacing is very much like your standard ghost horror film of the 60’s and the film is more shock horror then blood splattering. Vincent Price is great in the role of Verden Fell and while its not his best performance its a very solid one. If you haven’t seen the film and like the work of Price and films based on Poe stories then check it out.

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Tomb Of Ligeia has been released on many home viewing formats including VHS via HBO and on a double feature DVD from MGM, with the DVD its paired with “An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe” that also stars Vincent Price. Its on Laserdisc via Orion as well can be watched via instant streaming. So if your looking to watch the film there are many ways to do so.

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So many comic companies have made comics based on Vincent Price and his films, companies like Dell and Bluewater have done several but much like Night of The Demon and Curse Of The Cannibal Confederate there is another film that I feel that would and still could make a fun comic book and that film is called The Video Dead! The film is about a TV set that holds the spirits of zombie like monsters who come out of the TV and kill those they come in contact with, brother and sister Jeff and Zoe Blair are fixing up a house their parents bought and are delivered the cursed TV, and of course this is bad news for them as the Video Dead escape and target the neighborhood and even kidnaps Jeff’s new girlfriend! Their only help is a man named Joshua Daniels who has spent his life trying to find and kill the Video Dead. The film is a dark Horror Comedy were The Dead laugh their butts off as they murder people and they can be tricked into thinking they are dead again with simple arrows and other ways of killing a normal man. I first seen the film years back on the USA Network on their popular weekend show Saturday Night Nightmares, and was drawn in to the totally cheese story and the fun 80’s looking zombies. After seeing the film I was a fan and even had a nightmare about the wedding dressed chainsaw caring female zombie in the film, who was chasing me around the Waynesville house I lived in! The films woods scene also reminded me of the woods by our house that we played in, and my brother Bryan and I use to play the “What If” game and acted as if we wondered what if The Video Dead were waiting for us. The comic series could follow Mr. Joshua Daniels as he tracks down the cursed TV from town to town and has to kill and deal with all The Video Dead that have been left behind, but he also has to find out who is the person sending out the TV to people like a curse. So the comic could act as a prequel to the film and capture lots of the 80’s culture and attitude. This is one that IDW could have done during their MGM Midnight Movies Comic Line as MGM owns the film, if I could make the comic for this blog I would love to have Rachael Lare or Eric Shonborn on board for it cause both would do a fantastic job on bringing the zombies alive on paper. So here is hoping that one day The Video Dead will come alive in a comic book some way or another.

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Well lets place an extra log on the fire and top off the hot chocolate and dive into Dell Comics adaptation of this Edgar Allen Poe inspired film. Before we get to far though 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. I also want to think Mavericks for having this comic in stock when I bought it some years back. So with the winter nip in the air lets take a look at this spooky comic for this Holiday season.

Tomb Of Ligeia 1

Tomb Of Ligeia  # 1  ***
Released in 1965   Cover Price .12   Dell Comics   #508 of ?

Verden Fell has to bury his wife Ligeia who he thinks is not truly dead, but in some sort of state of mind because she willed herself not to die therefore she is not dead. The townspeople want nothing to do with the funeral that even has a black cat leaping out of the fresh grave! While on a fox hunt Rowena Trevanion, her father Lord Trevanion and Christopher Gough are on horseback in the woods.  An accident leaves Rowena being thrown from her horse after she broke from the group and landing on the grave of Ligeia where she twists her ankle and meets Verden who she falls in love with, and later marries. But things are not well for Rowena as the black cat tries to hurt and kill her at every turn, and Verden himself is acting odd at night leaving her always alone. Christopher later finds out that his friend Rowena can’t be married to Verden as legally his wife is still alive due to the fact there is no death certificate! In the end Rowena finds a hidden staircase that leads to a room where Verden hangs out with the dead body of Ligeia, as Christopher digs up the grave of Ligeia and finds a wax dummy in the coffin! As Christopher gets to the room he finds that Rowena has “died” from blood loss as she cut her wrist on a broken mirror and when she comes to Verden strangles her.  As Christopher gets her body out of the house Verden comes face to face with the Black Cat as the room catches fire and both man and beast are burned alive. Oddly enough when the cat and Verden die, Rowena comes back to life.

First thing I need to point out is this comic had a great Rotten Ink smell and this helped add to the classic comic book reading experience. The comic adaptation of the film is pretty good but also could be a little confusing for younger readers as the plot is squeezed into pages and plots are not fleshed out like they should be. The story is this man loves his wife even after death.  She was a witch and placed a trance on him thinking that she would return from the grave, he falls in love with another woman later in life who looks like her and a war in his mind consumes him. Verden Fell is an interesting character who wears giant sun glasses during the day and is very secretive in nature.  We also learn that he can hypnotize people as well as sculpt with wax. While he does some bad things, he is clearly not a bad guy just a man who was in love and under a witches spell. The Spirit of Ligeia who also seems to poses the Black Cat is very mean and tries to murder several times in the issue, she truly is an evil witch. Rowena Trevanion is a lovely young woman who is drawn to the tormented Verden and wants to make him happy, but sadly is just a pawn in the game Ligeia is playing. Legal man Christopher Gough who is Rowena’s bestfriend is a man of action when he thinks his friend is in trouble and when things just don’t seem right with Verden; he truly is a classic horror comic/movie hero. Lord Trevanion is just a background player and the only other major player in this story is Verden’s servant Kenrick who in the end has all the answers of the spell on his master. The issue is bloodless and offers more spooky mood chills then monster thrills holding true to the movie it’s based on. I could not find who did the art but they did do a fantastic job and it has that Dell Comic charm. If you like the movie, like spooky old horror comics then I would say check out this adaptation comic for sure.

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So Tomb of Ligeia is a good horror comic that is packed with charm and a great rotten ink smell! But next update will be our Christmas Eve update, and last year we took a look at The Thundercats.  This year we will be looking at the Tim Burton Batman movie series and the DC Comic adaptations that followed, so you can say Rotten Ink will be having Batmania! So make sure to come back for that one but until then have a safe winter and make sure to read a comic or three, see you next update.

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It Takes All Kinds Of Critters…To Read IDW’s Motel Hell

So last update we took a look at IDW’s “IT! Terror From Beyond Space,” and this update we are going to look at Motel Hell, thus far the second and last in IDW’s Midnite Movie comic series. From an early age I found myself drawn to horror films, and some of my first memories of TV were of watching Shock Theater hosted by Dr. Creep, Star Trek, MTV and wrestling making my likes from an early age fantastic, scary and over the top entertainment. My brother Bryan was also very much into horror films and would get old Fangoria & Starlog Magazines from time to time, and one image always stuck with me and that was an ad for an older issue that had a man with a chainsaw and a pig’s heads! Being little, I called him Pig Head Guy and thought Motel Hell was about this killer Pig who killed with a saw.  This image made my imagination run wild as I pictured sexy blonde ladies being chased by this pig killer who would oink super loud as the women would scream at the top of their lungs. In my mind this was a slasher film with a mutant Pig Man! My brother never seemed to show it as much attention as me but would also call him Pig Head Guy when we spoke of the film we both had never seen. But my version of the film was about to come to an end thanks to a childhood icon of mine, and through him I was about to see the real story of the Pig Head Man!

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In the 1980’s and 1990’s, TV had many great horror hosts, many of whom I watched and some of whom are the key reasons why I make movies and shows now, and on one of these horror host shows is where I got to see Motel Hell for the first time and that show of course was Commander USA’s Groovie Movies! When the movie was about to be shown I remember being super hyped to see this killer Pig Man do all types of evil things, and after watching it I felt let down.  In fact, the version of what the film really was to me was only a so-so slasher film that packed very little punch to younger me. After viewing it the first time the charm of Pig Man who I found out was really farmer Vincent Smith who was a mortal man who killed people to make into meat snacks and only puts the pig head on in the final moments of the film in a crazed state, wore off and I soon forgot about the film. The film would run again on USA’s Saturday Nightmares, a great little block of horror inspired program that would show a film and TV shows like The Hitchhiker and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I would skip the showing of the film and watch the horror shows after. The next time I would see this film was when my brother rented it from K&L Video, and we gave the film another shot.  Now in my late teens, I found the film to be a fun cheesy film that had some good horror moments.  I would then see it again years later hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervision and again found it to be fun, but I am sure Joe Bob also made the watching of it more so fun. After all these years a film that after seeing it crushed my vision of it, still remains a fun silly, cheesy, hammy watch that I have grown to like.

Commander USA!USA Saturday NightmaresJoe Bob Briggs

Motel Hell is about Farmer Vincent Smith and his fat and nasty sister Ida Smith who kill people along side the road and who stop at their motel called The Motel Hello.  They mix the human meat with pig meat to make meat snacks like beef jerky and BBQ. But Vincent, who is an old man, falls in love with a young woman who he has caused to get memory loss after he kills her boyfriend.  Their human crop, who they bury and remove the vocal cords from, are getting fired up to fight back. Throw in brother and cop Bruce Smith, and you have one bad situation. I don’t want to spoil to much of the film so I will stop here. The film has been put out on many home media like VHS, Laserdisc and DVD making it easy to find for those who would like to check it out.

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One thing before we get into this review, much like last update in which I noticed the rise of super cute nerd girls who read comics, play Magic and dress up as characters,  with all this talk of pork, I need to talk about this weird trend of hot girls who love bacon! Bacon is a greasy mostly breakfast food that is known for being bad for you.  Fast food places like Wendys add bacon to many of their cheeseburgers and for the most part this food product is junk food. But somewhere along the way girls have found that this pork product is good comfort food and has now become an obsession to some. Bacon is now everywhere in culture from stuff dolls, tattoos, shirts, bras, fetish pics, chip dip, hot sauce, lip baum, gummi candy, bubble gum, vodka, sandwich spread, breath mints, books, popcorn, potato chips, car air fresheners, cup cakes, more fast food burgers and the list can go on and on! While I don’t get the love of bacon, I find that if you love it then enjoy it just don’t get the tattoos.

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Now let’s get down to the review of IDW’s 3 issue mini series of Motel Hell! Just a reminder 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. And after I will throw in another review for an old Marvel horror comic. All the comics on this update are thanks to the team up of Mavericks Cards and Comics, Game Swap Kettering and a special thanks to Bell, Book and Comic for having Motel Hell issue 1 after mine went missing, so thanks Pete! 

Motel Hell 1Motel Hell # 1  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #1 of 3

Farmer Vincent Smith and sister Ida are back, and this time besides making their famous smoked meats they are also making fine wine! And they start the issue off attacking a family with twin girls. Holly Bell is a reporter who has been sent to write a story about the wine the Smiths are making and is a guest to the Motel Hello Spa alongside wannabe rock star Sage, Desirae a rich bitch, con man Joss, perverted old man Rupert and NFL star and dog killer Freddie. The group climbs aboard a run down old plane and are taken to the Motel Hello Spa, but the first night the peace and quiet are disrupted as the plane takes off.  Ida, now in Pig Mask, has Sage tied up and dead bodies all around and jumps from the plane leaving him to die in the crash. The other guests watch in horror, and so ends issue 1.

This first issue is a little disappointing and changes the whole core of who and what the Smiths do! The idea of them inviting all these high profile people to the motel to kill is a little over the top and leaves way too many openings on how they will be caught.  I mean I understand they want the outside world to believe that they all died in the staged plane crash, it just seems overdone. Vincent seems more off his rocker in this one and seems to snap in and out of being sweet farmer and raving lunatic. Ida in this issue the main killer who plops on the pig mask and does all the killing.  She also seems to enjoy humping some of the victims again changing her film tomboy nature. The issue has some blood and gore, and while well done, the story so far just seems to be lacking something to really draw me in. The art is pretty cool, and I enjoy the dark nature of the presentation. The cover is really well done and has the American Gothic Painting nature to it. The comic has some basic elements of the film but has taken many liberalities with the source materials that thus far I am not sure how I feel about. Plus how the hell are Vincent and Ida still around after the events of the film? Over all the series is starting slow but let’s see how issue 2 does and if it can bring this so far average series up a notch or two. 

Motel Hell 2

Motel Hell # 2  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #2 of 3

The next morning the group meets for breakfast, and Freddie gets insulted by Vincent.  The old farmer uses a stun gun to knock out the young man and forces the rest of his guests outside for a long hike. Freddie is taken and becomes Ida’s plaything, as Vincent takes them 3 miles out and explains to them no matter which way they walk they will never leave Motel Hello alive! They are then forced back into their rooms and the doors are locked.  Freddie meanwhile wakes up in a cage where Ida lets her giant pet Boar attack him.  After he’s badly hurt Vincent and Ida try and pry the boar off and so ends issue 2.

This issue is the same as the first and seems to be lacking something.  Being the second in the series and next issue being the last, it makes me worried that the end of this story is going to be so badly rushed. More of the same in this issue as Vincent this time lets more of his evil side out and lets his guests know he has a greater plan for them all.  Ida is once more a fat crazy sex craved killer, and both brother and sister wear the pig masks. Holly who is clearly the main hero of the story don’t seem to have much to do in this issue and makes you wonder how much of a threat is she to the killers. The rest of the group seem to be throw aways and none of them seem like good likeable characters. This one has blood as well but has no kills. The giant pet boar is funny and its name Hogsquatch reminds me of the legend boar himself Hogzilla. The art is the same as last issue so it’s good.  The plot is a little lack luster, and the cover this time around is kind of lame. Let’s see if the 3rd and final issue will be a gem in this slightly disappointing series. 

Motel Hell 3

Motel Hell # 3  **1/2
Released in 2010   Cover Price $3.99   IDW Comics   #3 of 3

Freddie is taken and buried to where only his head is out, as Joss and Rupert escape their motel room only to be captured by Ida. Holly and Desirae also escape but are seen by Vincent who wants to turn it into a cat and mouse game. After running, the two woman find the twin girls locked up in a barn and free them only to be ambushed by Ida, who kills Desirae and is then attacked my Holly with a hammer.  Before she can kill the fat crazy bitch, Vincent comes to his sister’s aid. With Holly tied up and the twins on the run, they release Hogsquatch to bring them back. Vincent and Ida go to work on making their next wine batch that is made of human eyes that they get from all the captured guests as the twins free Holly.  Together they make a plan that leaves brother and sister dead as well as their giant pet boar.

This final issue seems rushed, and the story is not fleshed out making it a disappointing read. The way they blow through all the guests this issue just seems tacked on and not impactful, as are the “deaths” of the bad guys, Vincent and Ida go down way to easy and the end “fight” is a rushed anti climatic way to end the terror. The fact they use human eyeballs in the wine is also not as shocking as I think they were hoping it would be, if you have seen the film you knew that the secret had to be some human body part. Holly who turns out to be the hero to no ones shock seems cold blooded as she sets the place on fire with some of her eyeless fellow guests still alive. Using the Twins at the end was a fun nice twist as they add a little humor and spice to the plot. The art in this one also seems as rushed as the plot making the final issue an average read. This issue does step up the blood and for those who hate eyeball violence, you might not want to read this series. Issue 3 was not the saving grace I was hoping it to be, and oh yeah why the hell does Vincent start talking about Charles Manson as he’s “dying”?

Motel Hell was a comic mini series that had lots of potential but never seemed to reach it.  While the film’s plot was a dark comedy horror style, this comic series seemed more of a rushed horror comic that tried to spice up the characters. First Vincent, while the character is a psycho he never was as mean spirited in front of multiple people nor would he have given away the fact he wanted to kill them all that easily. Ida, while a stone cold bitch of a character never was a sex crazed rapist. But in this comic mini series they both did the stuff mentioned and then some. Plus were the hell is Bruce Smith, their brother and Terry, the woman he kidnapped in the film? They just seem to be phantoms. Motel Hell the comic was a letdown much like the film was when I first viewed it many years back, making this second Midnite Movie IDW mini series an average at best horror comic that packs some blood and gore, cult horror characters, a rushed storyline and good art. This one changed the source material, and I think by doing so is what lead to the so-so run of the series. IT! was a fun surprise that I found entertaining, Motel was just a nice warm up for what I hope are more Midnite Movie mini series to come.

Motel Hell artFarmer VincentPig Head Hump

Marvel Comics has also had its share of great classic horror inspired comic series that chilled the bones of the youth of the past. Many great titles like Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider and many more kept the youngsters reading as they hid under cover late at night with flashlights and read these spooky issues. But some but not many of today’s readers remember a series called Uncanny Tales From The Grave or also known as Uncanny Tales, Marvel’s Tales From The Crypt style comic. But what the series really was reprints of past old short horror comics crammed together to make a new series from. So while we can, let’s take a look at issue 5 in this series and see how good it holds up to a first time reader. 

Uncanny Tales From The Grave 5

Uncanny Tales From The Grave # 5   **1/2
Released in 1974   Cover Price .25   Marvel Comics   #5 of 12

4 stories to chill your blood in issue 5 of Marvel’s Horror comic. “The Strange Machine” is set during the Spanish Inquisition and has a mean ass judge getting what’s coming to him via his own hands when he tries to set up his rival. In “A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody” a dentist is cruel to his wife and patients, and when he comes home and finds a world famous brain surgeon hitting on his wife he snaps! But the Dentist has one slight issue with passing out and when he awakens it’s revenge time by the hands of his enemy. “The Man in Black” ia a cold hearted spy who comes to America to steal weapon plans but makes a big mistake that could lead him to his own death. In “The Little Pests,” a man and his girlfriend kill his wife for the insurance money, but the truth might come out thanks to some winged insects.

This is a very cheap imitation of Tales from the Crypt that crams 4 reprinted stories into an issue and passes it off as a bone chilling read. Each story is a bloodless horror thriller with a twist ending that is set to shock. The big issue with this comic is the fact none of the stories stick out and there was no host such as Vault Keeper or Old Witch to keep the pacing up and to add some spice to the mediocre stories. The best story out of the 3 has to be The Little Pests.  While it’s simple in nature, the shocking pay out in the end is well done. The art in the comic ranges from good to so-so as do the stories themselves. The issue’s cover is super misleading and nowhere in the issue does this take place with a raving monster, in fact there is not a monster to be seen! Over all this is my first time reading an issue of Uncanny Tales From The Grave, and this did not make me a fan.  While I would be fair and check out another issue, I am not going to be in any hurry.

So we stayed three issues at Motel Hell and then got an uncanny tale.  Now it’s time we say goodbye for now but I am sure you’re wondering what the next update is going to be.  Well in my youth one thing would always make me happy in comics and film, epic battles between two things that shouldn’t be fighting but are.  So next update, we will be looking at battles in comics that are so amazing you will be cheering for a side and finding out who I think should have won! So see you next update, and get ready for some epic rumbles!

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