Get The Giggles with Dr. Giggles

It’s almost October, and that means only one thing: HALLOWEEN! So coming off Dark Horse Comics’ two issues based on horror film baddie Pumpkinhead and before we get into the super fun horror filled month of October, I decided we will take a mini look at a horror film doctor…no, it’s not Dr. Butcher M.D. (no comic company has been that cool to make a series based on him) and it’s not Dr. Frankenstein who has many comic based around him and or his monster or even horror host Dr. Creep.  You give up? Well it’s Dr. Giggles who Dark Horse Comics had a two issue mini series based around his 1992 film from Universal Pictures.  The good Doctor also made a few appearances in the comic series “Dark Horse Presents”, but let’s not waste any time and jump into the very small legacy that Dr. Giggles made in the world of horror. Beware of spoilers in this write up.

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Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. was a young man who helped his father, a small town doctor, kill some of his patients to steal their hearts to transplant into his mother who had passed away.  Rendell Jr. was given the nickname Dr. Giggles because of his sinister laugh. When the townspeople find out about the crimes Rendell Sr. is killed and Jr. is locked away in an asylum. 35 years later, Jr. escapes and returns to the small town to finish his work of “helping” the sick and testing his bizarre twisted methods of health care. Dr. Giggles was a town legend used to scare children at night, but a real person became town folklore with many stories of his killing ways. Every town has a boogeyman: Haddinfield has Michael Myers, Springwood has Freddy Kruger, Crystal Lake has Jason Voorhess, Skull Island has King Kong and the town of Moorehigh has Dr. Giggles.

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The film follows Dr. Giggles who escapes from the asylum, returns home to the sleepy small town of Moorehigh and starts killing towns people when he finds their old files in his father’s now run down clinic. Dr. Giggles sets his sight on Jennifer Campbell, a young woman in need of heart surgery and spends his time stalking her and killing poor innocent people along the way. The local cops go after the good doctor where he is shot and then left for dead after an explosion. The burnt Dr. Giggles shows up at the hospital where Jennifer is getting her emergency heart surgery and is finally killed off when he is electrocuted then stabbed with his own nasty interments of death by Jennifer who in turn gets her surgery and is cured. The film starred Larry Drake as Dr. Giggles and Holly Marie Combs of TV’s Charmed fame as Jennifer Campbell, along with others and was directed by Manny Coto who also directed Star Kid. The film was met with poor reviews and was only a small box office earner for Universal who at this time was making more money on the Childs Play films. I first saw this film by renting it on VHS with my brother from K&L Video and remember being entertained but disappointed at the same time.  While the film has some fun moments, it really just felt like a cheap direct to video horror film with a small budget and lots of tongue in cheek humor that had a terrible pay out when it comes to the main villain’s death. Over all the film is a dumb good time and is a fun one to waste a night watching with your favorite snack food and late night beverage.

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The film had a score done by Brian May, who also did the scores to such films as Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Missing in Action 2 to name a few. The score can be found on CD as can the soundtrack to the film that has such bands as House of Lords, Ten Inch Men, Copperhead, Paul Rodgers and Girls Bones Found. The soundtrack is pretty much the only merchandise that was released around this film besides the comics from Dark Horse. Giggles didn’t get an action figure, t-shirt, Sega Genesis game or anything, he just came and went at the theaters and at some point showed up on home video. I mean come on, you know you would have played a side scrolling horror game based on Dr. Giggles on your Genesis!

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So there you have it, a brief look at Dr. Giggles the character, the film and soundtrack.  So let’s gear up and get ready to dive into the two issue mini series based on the film from Dark Horse Comics.  Remember I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So the Doctor is in and ready to be reviewed! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having these in stock. 

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Dr. Giggles # 1  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 2

Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. aka Dr. Giggles has escaped the insane asylum and on his way out kills a few of the staff for good measure. High School couple Jennifer Campbell and Max are having issues as Jennifer is having some major health issues with her heart that she is keeping hidden and her sudden limits on after school activities is making this an awkward situation between them. Dr. Giggles has returned home and has taken up in his fathers old home clinic.  He makes quick work of a few kids who have decided to snoop around his dad’s old killing field and recovers his dad’s old client records to restart the health care his father was dishing out, roaming around town killing off all those he can. Meanwhile Jennifer is mad at her boyfriend Max and even more disappointed in her father and his new younger hippie girlfriend who are going out for dinner that night leaving Jennifer alone and mad at her illness as she looks out her window and sees her boyfriend with another woman. As Dr. Giggles sneaks into the dinner party Mr. Campbell is at, the cops are just starting to piece things together that they have a killer on the loose.

This first issue of the film adaptation starts off with a bang and has Dr. Giggles using the scalp of a victim to try and escape the looney bin.  Gruesome stuff as the man-made wig is still oozing blood as he closes in for a kill on a young nurse. Dr. Giggles is clearly shown in this issue to be insane and a pun spewing smart ass much like Freddy Kruger and kills a number of people from beheading, torture and poisoning. So in short, this first issue is a nice way to show the evil murdering side of Dr. Giggles and makes him one hell of a bad guy for the hero Jennifer to get away from. Speaking of Jennifer, she is your normal teen besides the fact she has a weak heart and hates the fact her father is dating a new woman a few months after her mother’s death. Her boyfriend Max is pretty much useless and the cops are as well besides Magruder who seems more aware that something bad is going on. The story is fast paced and all that you really need to know about the history of Dr. Giggles is told via quick talk panels by teens or the cops. The art is well done and has that pure 90’s Dark Horse look, using lots of blood to express the horrors, but while the inner art is great the cover is just meh and not really that eye catching and for the most part is pretty lame. So far this is a good start to the film adaptation and delivers enough over the top kills to please most slasher horror comic fans, so let’s see how issue two holds up, shall we?

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Dr. Giggles # 2   **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.50    Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 2

Jennifer is now home alone, drinking and upset over her boyfriend’s cheating ways as Dr. Giggles, who has just killed two teens, is now creeping into Jennifer’s house as she leaves to confront Max. Mr. Campbell and his girlfriend return home to find Jennifer missing and the house disheveled.  As he goes to look for his daughter, his girlfriend gets her flesh eaten off the bone by a chemical Dr. Giggles placed in her make-up remover. Jennifer goes to the town fair and sees Max.  The two fight as she runs into the fun house.  Dr. Giggles follows, makes short work of Max and follows Jennifer to help her with her weak heart. While Dr. Giggles is doing so, he kills a cop but not before he takes a shot to the gut that he himself removes.  Jennifer goes to her doctor’s office, leading Giggles along with her who kills her doctor and kidnaps Jennifer to perform surgery on her.  She is saved by Officer Magruder who fights with the crazed man and blows them both up as well as the Giggles homestead. Jennifer is rushed to the hospital where she is once more attacked by Dr. Giggles who has survived the explosion and is burnt badly but sill wanting to help fix Jennifer’s heart.  In the end, she electrocutes Giggles and wakes up with her heart fixed and her father at her side who she thought dead after Giggles attacked him at the Campbell home.

This is a nice wrap up to a silly, over the top horror story about a killer doctor. In this one, Dr. Giggles acts like he did in issue one, delivering more cheesy lines and acting even more like a nut as he kills victims with knives and scalpels and sets his sites on truly helping Jennifer with her broken heart. Jennifer is part victim and part hero as she becomes the captive and then fights back against the crazed Doctor. Max and her father are useless once more as Officer Magruder is the one who helps set up the end of Giggles’ night of terror and dies like a true hero of the horror screen. The issue is even faster paced than issue one making for a quick read with lots of fun over the top deaths. The only real issue is the fact you can tell they rushed a little too much and lots of questions are never answered like is Max dead? In the comic they never really say, while in the film he is alive at the end. Plus it’s 100% silly in the movie and in the comic that Dr. Giggles survives a massive explosion, let alone is well enough to travel, kill and fight. The art is well done and once more the cover is just boring and not eye catching  To wrap it up, this is a fun movie adaptation that uses the film and script as a guideline but makes its own choices to cram it into two issues of a comic. I chuckled at Dr. Giggles and his silly comic book murdering adventure. 

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So there you have it, Dr. Giggles made a fun silly read and was a nice follow up to reading Dark Horse Comics’ two issues of Pumpkinhead.  I actually had an idea about doing a fantasy warfare between the two titans of two issues just to add a little more fun to this quick pre-halloween update.  So let’s set the mood and get ready for a fight between a crazed doctor and a demon of revenge. This will take place in the backwoods of Eaton, Ohio, a location where the White Eyed Bigfoot has been spotted as well a werewolf.  Dr. Giggles is hiding out from the cops, but he has something more dangerous then the cops to worry about as a loved one of his last victim has called upon Pumpkinhead to avenge their death.  So the mood is set and the battle ground chosen, let’s see who would win in a fight between Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. 

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Dr. Giggles is running through a soybean field towards a covered bridge that is surrounded by woods.  His medical bag filled with his metal instruments of death is tucked under his arm.  As the police sirens fade, he makes his way across the bridge and into the woods where he finds a place to rest and eat his lunch, nothing special just a ham sandwich, potato chips and a can of Mt. Dew he has packed along side his items of death. As he enjoys his lunch, a man with a shotgun creeps up behind him and aims the barrel at the back of his skull and tells the Dr. to get up.  This triggers the Dr. to start giggling like a school girl. The man explains to him that his name is JC Jazz, a one time low budget film editor who had his girlfriend murdered by Dr. Giggles in Xenia, and that it’s time for Dr. Giggles to meet his end.  This makes Dr. Giggles’ day as he drops whats left of his sandwich, stands and turns toward JC.  He flips a sharp scalpel at him that strikes him in the throat, knocking his attacker to the ground grasping his neck that is now oozing blood.  Dr. Giggles chuckles as JC manages to get words out and warns him it’s too late.  As the wind picks up and the sounds of locus fill the air, a lumbering monster makes his way towards the Dr. fast.  That monster is Pumpkinhead! Giggles is able to grab a large knife from his bag and and plunges it into the stomach of Pumpkinhead who shrugs it off as if he didn’t feel a thing and quickly grabs Giggles by his skull as JC takes his final breath.  Pumpkinhead smashes the skull of Giggles and collapses as well as the one who called upon him is also dead. The woods are quiet as JC lies motionless, the body of Pumpkinhead starts to shrivel and the brains of Dr. Giggles are mush on the ground as ants have already started to collect around the massive wound that was once the mad doctor’s head. The ham sandwich also sIts on the ground but not for long as the White Eyed Bigfoot shows up and picks it up and eats whats left of Giggles’ Lunch and watches as the clouds go by.

Winner: Pumpkinhead

So yeah, Pumpkinhead would win hands down and would have made really short work of Giggles.  That’s why I had to add in JC Jazz, who in fact was an editor for some of Independent B Movies’ early work and was a fake name that I used when I didn’t want my name all over credits. So with that I hope you had fun with this update and hope you are looking forward to next month as much as me as Rotten Ink kicks off the Halloween season with Dell Comics’ look at classic Universal Monsters like Dracula, The Mummy and Wolfman! So until then, read a comic and be ready to be scared to the bone next update,and stay nerdy.

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It’s The Great Pumpkinhead, Charlie Brown!

The day I am writing this, the sky is grey and foggy and rain is pouring down.  As I look out my window, everything is dark and bleak like there was no hope and for some reason this made me think of a film.  No, not “The Fog” and not “Silent Hill” but Pumpkinhead directed by FX master Stan Winston. Then I thought, wow Dark Horse Comics did a four issue mini series based around this demon of revenge, and then I thought hell, why not take a look at it for the blog. But before we get into that, there has been talk about a Black Panther being on the loose in our area! To me, this is something amazing.  While no attacks have been reported, the beast has been seen several times! This kind of thing can add some spice to an area that is better known for its normal city crime. Imagine coming out of your house and seeing the panther near your car or on your front porch! Some say it’s a hoax, while others think it is just an escaped pet. All I know is that Baron Von Porkchop and I might have to go look for it for an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre.

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The first time I saw Pumpkinhead was on a VHS rented from K&L Video in Kettering.  My brother rented it on one of our many horror filled weekends, and we always knew the image of Pumpkinhead but had never fully gotten to see the film. Fangoria Magazine was always a huge help for us to read about the horror flicks of our time as well as John Stanley’s Splatter Guides and horror icon Chas Balun’s Gore Score books.  Each made it a little easier to learn about horror films of the past and present. My brother and I would spend many hours reading these books and wowing over films like Zombi 2, Igor and the Lunatics, Blood Feast, Rawhead Rex and many more years before we could finally see them. While some titles lived up to our hype, many didn’t as well, but this was way before the internet and before video stores were at every corner so it would take you longer to find videos or for it to show on HBO or a Horror Host to guide you through it.

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Pumpkinheand became one of my favorite cult films of the time after watching it.  The plot has a shop owner Ed Harley whose son dies when city kids hit him with their dirt bikes. Stricken with anger, he goes to the old witch in the woods and raises town legend, demon of revenge Pumpkinhead to avenge his son’s death. After each of the deaths at Pumpkinhead’s hand, Ed Feels pain and comes to realize he was wrong and goes to stop the demon and save his own soul before all the teens are killed. The atmosphere of the film and the use of lighting made this a creepy film, not to mention the amazing creature design by Winston and his FX team is straight out of nightmares. The film stars Lance Henrikson who plays Ed Harley and does an amazing job as always. I first owned this film on VHS and quickly bought it on DVD when it was released and then again on DVD when the special edition was released. This film has been released on VHS, DVD, Beta and Laserdisc via MGM. So far no Blu-Ray has been released.

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Pumpkinhead sparked three sequels.  While alright, none captured the charm or horror of the original. First came 1994’s Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings and took more of a normal direct to video approach to the legend making the creature Pumpkinhead more of the sad character. This film has been met with very negative reviews but did gain a cult following years later. Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes was next and brought back Ed Harley as a spirit who is trying to warn of the evil of Pumpkinhead.  Throw in a evil town doctor played by Doug Bradley and you have the third film. This was a fun film that was a nice way to see the legend again. The last sequel thus far was Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud.  It was released in 2007 and showed two feuding families with one side using Pumpkinhead to get the upper hand.  This was as well was just an okay direct to cable film. The Pumpkinhead legend is quiet for now but who knows who will raise the demon again in the future.

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Besides movie sequels many other products have been made with Pumpkinhead’s image that include model kits, action figures, t-shirts, posters, soundtrack CD’s, comics and even a PC video game.  All these items kept his image out there, in fact Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics for review, has one of the action figures on a shelf display that is tearing apart a G.I. Joe!

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So now that your mind is on the creature of revenge named Pumpkinhead, let’s take a look at the mini series done by Dark Horse Comics, the company who brought comics based on The Predator, Aliens and Dr. Giggles to our hands. I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So with no more delay, let’s go to our look at Pumpkinhead!

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Pumpkinhead # 1   **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #1 of 4

The old witch Haggis is sick and looking for a replacement.  She finds one in Mariah, a young woman who was traded to her by a farmer some years back in exchange for good crops. Mariah is called to the cabin in the woods, and Haggis shows her the legend of Pumpkinhead via visions. David is the son of the town’s doctor and is madly in love with Mariah and has come up with a plan for them to run away and leave the small backwoods town behind.  Mariah is torn between her love and her duty of being a witch in training. A stranger by the name of Angus Brenner has also arrived in town with the intent to find Haggis and get the location of the Pumpkinhead’s husk remains so that he may perform an exorcisim and rid the world of the demon of vengeance once and for all. But on the night of the escape, Mariah finds Haggis dead of natural (or is the supernatural?) causes and now must become the town witch to keep the tradition alive.

Issue one is a nice build up for the story to come and does a great job of tying in the film this series is based on. The story is a simple one of a young woman torn between love and duty and has a subplot of honor and salvation. Mariah, who is the star of the issue, is a likable character who while a witch uses her power to help her fellow man and is freaked out when she has the vision of Pumpkinhead. David is a normal throwaway boyfriend character so far, simply a young man with big dreams. Haggis is as snippy and creepy as ever and takes glee in the fact she owns Mariah’s life.  Plus it’s shocking when in issue one she is killed off. Angus has very little panel time but I am sure this hero is going to come into play very soon. Pumpkinhead is not around much in this issue and when you do get to see the demon, it’s only in flashbacks. The comic does a good job with staying with the concept of the original film and seems almost like a part two, as this came a little before Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. The art is pretty well done and has that early 90’s Dark Horse Comic look. The cover, on the other hand, is not well done and makes the issue look like a cheap throw away. The comic is bloodless and has no shocks or thrills, but it’s clear that this is the build up for things to come. Let’s see how issue 2 goes and if it brings Pumpkinhead out to play.

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Pumpkinhead # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse Comics   #2 of 4

Mariah sits in the woods alone waiting for David, but she is not fully alone as a group of bullies attack and accidentally kill her.  David shows up just as they are fleeing and filled with anger and sorrow takes Mariah’s body to Haggis’ cabin and digs up the husk of Pumpkinhead, bringing the demon to life.  As Pumpkinhead starts his killing ways ripping one of the bullies jaw off, Angus finds David and takes him home where he tells him and his father that there is hope for him to live through this if they put faith in him and stop the creature once and for all.

Issue 2 brings Pumpkinhead out to play as he wastes no time killing one of the people he was raised to go after. Mariah, who was set up to be the hero of the story, is killed in the opening moments of this issue making for a shocking moment. David quickly becomes the series’ focus as he takes the curse and becomes responsible for Pumpkinhead’s latest killing rampage. Angus is now given more of a purpose and a back-story making him more important to the plot. The asshole bullies are your normal backwoods punks who not only rough up Mariah but also attempt to rape her, making you want to see them all die. Again this one delivered the full plot into effect and is setting up issue 3…that never was made. The art is well done again and is pure early Dark Horse, and Pumpkinhead looks pretty sweet in all his evil glory.  This issue packs a little more gore and blood. This series or what was made of it was a good average read that had a good plot and some good characters. I think the coolest thing about this unfinished comic series is that it clearly was a follow up to the film, making fans of Pumpkinhead happy at the time.

One of the best things about this two-issue run is the fact we do get to see Ed Harley in the first issue, really tying it into the film. It also dives into the rumor of what Pumpkinhead really is and shows there is more than just one of these creatures in the world. Dark Horse Comics struck out by not finishing this series and to this day I cannot find out why they cancelled the series at the half way mark. They had a good horror movie tie-in series going, and the only reason I could think for them not to finish is very poor sales for the first two issues. It is said that a model kit was made to tie into this comic series that had Pumpkinhead with wings and has a booklet where the creators of this series were able to finish the storyline. So we do know that a booklet has the end of this story and that wings were to come to Pumpkinhead. The odd part about all this is when a film sequel was made, its subtitle was Blood Wings. 1993 was the first and last time a comic was made about Pumpkinhead, and that’s a shame when in 2010 IDW had the means to make one via its Midnight Movie line. So with some empty slots here, why not take a look at a few other comics all of which had the same fate as Pumpkinhead.

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Fangoria opened up a comic branch in 2007 and closed it that same year.  Rumors of it re-opening went on for years but finally died in 2009. Fangoria Comics made issues based on horror films and some that were completely new ideas.  Many of these issues got great reviews at the time. But much like many series before it, when the company went belly up they never were completed. Some series did get the rest of the remaining issues made into digital comics thanks to The Scream Factory. So let’s take a look at two of these comic series that started but never finished via print issues.

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What do you get when you mix horror films, comic books, 80’s hair metal and body modification? You give up? Well you get Strangeland, a horror thriller written by Dee Snider lead singer of rock band Twisted Sister. Captain Howdy is a bad man who gets his joy in life by kidnapping and modifying his victim’s flesh. He finds his young victims via online chat rooms where he tricks them into coming to his house for a fake party. But when he is captured and convicted, he tries to turn his life around only for the townspeople to drive him back into his killing ways. This is a fun little b-movie horror film that is well written by Snider who also happens to play Howdy. A sequel was supposed to start filming in 2011 but has since been cancelled.  This Fangoria 4 issue mini series was to be the prequel to the original film, but sadly only one came to print. So let’s get onto a look at Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1.

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Strangeland: Seven Sins # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of 4

Carlton Hendricks aka Captain Howdy is a man with many deep secrets.  His basement is filled with young men and women, all of whom he has modified in some way, and rumors are flying at club Sin that he is doing some very bad things. Sin himself owns the fetish club and is getting tired of hearing about how Carlton is scaring his customers and how others look up to this scum bag who seems to turn up everything a notch or 12 past people’s pain threshold. So one night Sin and the workers of the club set up Carlton, having him come to the club as a guest where he’s beaten badly by all.  This issue ends with him ko’d on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

For a prequel this comic still starts off with Carlton being one sick bastard who has his torture chamber already set up and youths already in pain. Carlton is a smug asshole kind of guy whose whole existence is based around his wants and needs.  His knowledge of what he likes is high, but his treatment of others in and out of his chamber is something that most would find to be rude and dickish. Not much can be gathered from this first issue besides the fact the club owners and goers hate him, and he is already a sick s.o.b. who forces his love for pain on others. I am sure the rest of the story had to have followed his revenge on the club workers who set him up. It’s a shame that Fangoria pulled the plug on the comic line because I would have liked to have seen where this series would have gone. Yeah, I know that the rest of the story is out there via a download comic, but let’s face it people, digital comics just are not the same! Nothing can beat holding an old 60’s or 70’s issue in your hand and smelling the old ink as you read an adventure, flipping through the pages and holding a piece of comic history in your hands.  No computer screen will ever have that. Strangeland was a good choice for a comic and would have been a good series if given the chance to grow.  The story from issue one was average but it was clearly the foundation for something more.  The art was not my style but was by no means an eyesore. Only time will tell if Captain Howdy will get another chance at comics and movies and while I would be happy to see either, both are very doubtful at this point.

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Next up is another Fangoria Comic that was a new idea but could have spun off into a film: The Fourth Horseman. What was supposed to be an ongoing series only got two issues before its parent company closed doors. I have owned these comics since they came out and never got around to reading them.  So this will be a new experience for me. So let’s dive in and see if it’s any good. Unlike Strangeland this series never did get finished even on a digital comic format.

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The Fourth Horseman # 1   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #1 of Unknown

Bear is a Native American hunter who is special and powerful.  Some say he was born with special powers that made him one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Bear’s tribe worship him, and he is, for all account, their leader and giver. The white men are his victims who he robs and scalps giving himself a memento of their death. The warrior turns on his tribe and kills them all looking for a challenge, but Bear thinks all his kills thus far have been of weak men so he challenges the US Army to a fight and wins. The warrior known as Bear is like a plague that sweeps across the land and is the first of the Horsemen also known as the White Rider.

This is more of a picture book then a comic and has very little words.  It’s clearly a build up for a much bigger plan that was to have all the riders doing some sort of world changing event. Bear is a cold uncaring character who has a bloodlust that knows no bounds.  He is very unlikable and is not only cruel to his fellow man but also very mean towards animals. The issue is packed with blood as Bear kills man and animal alike, and the gore and red stuff is aplenty. Nice art, interesting story, wish it had more reading and less of picture book feel, great cover not much more to say so let’s move on, shall we?

The Fourth Horseman 2

The Fourth Horseman # 2   **1/2
Released in 2007   Cover Price $3.99   Fangoria Comics   #2 of Unknown

The Red Rider is Maggog, a Chinese master of marital arts and a man who killed many white men who tried to hurt his mother causing he and his father to fight over the wrongs of killing. The fight leaves his mother dead by accident, and his father killed by his hands. Maggog goes across the land killing anyone who he comes across and when the law finds him, he comes up with a plan that has him escaping jail and killing those who locked him up. After he kills his jailers, he finds that a bomb as been set and that Bear and another rider have blown up the city!

This one is much like the first and is more pictures then words.  It’s a nice way to build up the character and show you just how evil he really is. Maggog is one blood thirsty confused character who, after watching his mother die, decides that death is a good thing and that many should die, but while this is his thought, he is so filled with anger that he kills for the lust of it. The issue is filled with blood and gore, and the story is pretty solid and entertaining. The art is well done and once more so is the cover. The end builds up the team up of Maggog, Bear and a cowboy character, and the end says we get to meet the Brown Rider in the next issue that never saw the light of day. Over all this issue as well was a nice build up for something that was to be a bigger picture.

While only two issues, The Fourth Horseman seemed to have a good story going that I am sure would have been worth the wait. Between Bear and Maggog, I think I liked Bear slightly better but found Maggog’s issue to be slightly better then Bear’s. I would have loved to have seen the other riders’ back stories and would have loved to find out what was to happen. But with the closing of Fangoria Comics came the end to all their series as well. One thing that was to come out via Fangoria Comics was a series based on horror icon Paul Naschy and his Waldemar Daninsky werewolf character.  It was supposed to come out in 2009 during the last relaunch, but sadly this was not to be. The comic, much like others in the company’s comic line, came out only as a digital comic. So here is to hoping that Fangoria will finally get their act together and get their comic branch back up and running.

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Well thanks for once more joining me.  Next time we are coming back to Dark Horse Comics as we take a look at Doctor Giggles.  Till then, stay young!

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Welcome back boils and ghouls as we continue my look at horror films that should be made into video games for PS3, Xbox 360 and even the WII.  Yeah, I know that the next gen systems are coming very soon, but these titles could carry over onto, say, a PS4. Working at a second hand video game store has given me the chance to buy and play many different systems, and one that I have found to be a fun 8-bit experience that has many horror themed games is the Commodore 64 (C64).  While mostly known for being a computer and really is nothing more then a keyboard that you buy floppy disk and datasette drives for, it’s a surprise in the gaming department. This system has games based on the films Friday The 13th, A Nightmare of Elm Street, Psycho, Nightbreed, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Evil Dead and even cartoon vampire duck Count Duckula! It also had games based on Dracula, ghosts, Frankenstein, Bigfoot and Werewolves, not to mention horror hostess Elvira Mistress of the Dark had two games based around her.  While the NES also had games based on Friday and Nightmare, the C64 versions are way different giving gamers a little more to play, and best of all the controls for this gaming computer are just like the Atari 2600 joystick.  In fact you can plug in and use a 2600 joystick.  The wonders of classic gaming is something I hold near and dear. If you would like to read up on some of my thoughts on these video games, you should read my reviews over at www.bloodlinevideo.com for both games and movies.

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So without me blabbing on some more about my love of survival horror games, classic gaming and my website, let’s just get right into the list starting with number 10.

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# 10.) The Wolf Man

Larry Talbot is a man who comes from a well to do family.  When returning home, he falls in love with a shopkeeper’s daughter who is set to be married. Larry charms the young woman and gets her to go out with him to a local gypsy carnival of sorts.  While out on this date, he is attacked by a werewolf who passes the full moon curse onto him. Larry struggles with his new curse, and the fact he is responsible for the deaths of many locals.  This causes him to have a death wish and by the end of the original film, he meets his end by a silver cane wielded by the woman he loves. But you can’t keep a good monster down as Larry would return in many more films trying to find a way to be cured and also doing battles with Frankenstein’s Monster, crazy scientists, Count Dracula and even Bud Abbot and Lou Costello. Like the Phantom of the Opera, this is a perfect game for a company like TellTale Games to snatch up and turn into a solid, fun point and click spooky horror adventure. Imagine playing as Larry Talbot during the day trying to right the wrongs you have done the night before during the full moon as The Wolf Man! The ultimate goal is to find a cure or even find peace in death; all these decisions would be up to you the player and your actions would determine what course the game would take. Lon Chaney Jr. who played The Wolf Man’s son Ron Chaney should also do a voice in this game, adding to the over all feel. I for one would flip out for a game like this and would support a whole line based on Universal Monster Movies! And really this is one of my top five favorite movies of all time, and while the sequels don’t have as much impact as the first, they also are amazing watches during the cold month of October.

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While a company has made a free to play internet MMO of The Universal Monsters, the Wolf Man has had some what of a presence in the world of video games.  In 1988, a text based game was released for the Commodore 64 and while the name of the game is WolfMan, it’s not a Universal sponsored product and in no way ties into the Larry Talbot myth, but sure did try and cash in on it. The only other game I can think of is a Handheld game made by Tiger sometime in the mid to late 90’s. While the moon still gets full and the game systems around the world fire up, maybe one day we will all be able to howl with fear and play a true console game based on this iconic character.

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# 9.) Pumpkinhead

When you have felt that you have been wronged and what has happened is truly something you want unforgiven revenge for, there is an old witch that lives in a rundown cabin in the woods that can help, but her help comes with a price as Ed Harley found out when a group of city teens accidentally kill his son with a dirt bike. The revenge is a demon called Pumpkinhead who will murder all those who are on your hit list, and the price is your soul! Now imagine a game developer like Rock Steady getting to work on a game like this, and how epic and scary and deep the plot would be. I see this as a game that you play as two characters, one being the poor fool who summoned Pumkinhead and the other being one of the poor saps he’s after. In the end you must choose who is right in this situation and and this will effect the outcome of the game. All the while during this plot you are running for your life away from the revenge demon and watching as your friends are being brutally killed. Plus for the fun of it, you can add in the spirits of those who summoned this monster in the past to haunt and warn the player of the dangers, giving the game the freedom to tie it into the film series and a way to have Lance Hendricson (Ed Harley) in it.  To me once again this movie has all the right tools to become a video game series if done right.

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Pumpkinhead has had one shot at the video game market when the second film “Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings” was released in 1994, and it got the PC Game treatment with a game called “Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead’s Revenge” a year later. The game is a first person shooter that used clips from the film and was looked at as a rushed mess with no direction and no real scary moments by almost all gamers. But with this bomb of a game way in our past, I truly think Pumpkinhead should rise once more and show us all just how scary he can be!

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# 8.) Return of the Living Dead

Two medical supply workers accidentally open a military drum filled with a toxin that turns the dead into brain eating zombies.  A group of punk rock teens, a mortician, the two workers (who are now very ill) and the medical supply warehouse boss must fight to stay alive as the dead just keep on coming up from the nearby cemetery. Zombie video games are super popular, and while some would say they are flooding the market, they are still selling well and gamers seem to not get enough of the gut munchers. That’s why taking something like Return of the Living Dead and turning it into a gaming franchise is a no brainer. This could easily become a series of games that could give House of the Dead, Dead Island and even Resident Evil a run for their money by adding in the punk rock feel of the films and score music lifted straight from the movie. Imagine this as the plot of a Return of the Living Dead game that plays like a updated version of Resident Evil in which you play as a punk rocker teen who alongside friends have been caught in the acid rain.  You see, you are friends of the punk rockers from the first film and must fight to stay alive using what ever you can find to fight off the undead.  The game could be multiplayer so friends can join in the game of survival.  Add in cameos from characters from the first film and of course have the famous Tar Man Zombie be a boss fight, and you have the making of a great classic movie tie in game. This could then lead into games that tie in the second film and then onto the third and so on, even though parts 4 and 5 are terrible. Game companies that I would love to see tackle this game include Rock Star, Capcom, Konami and WB Games. Only time will tell if some game company decides to take the chance on this amazing IP. 

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# 7.) Creature From The Black Lagoon

The Creature is considered by many as Universal’s last great horror monster icon and has three solid films behind him making the video game world a perfect outlet to continue his legacy. A group of scientist go to the lagoons of the Amazon rain forest and come across a human like fish man dubbed “The Gill-Man” who has taken a liking to the female of the team.  When he kidnaps her, it’s up to the crew to get her back but not before our fiendish fish man kills as few humans off.  The creature in his film appearances has also been captured and put on display at an aquarium and last time we saw him, he had been turned more human like, wanted to set lots of fires and is believed to have drowned after his escape. This is where our game should begin and would show that the Creature has survived and in fact has hid out and healed to become his former scaly self.  The game would have a family lost on a fishing trip in the back waters of the Evergreens in Florida.  To the families, surprise they have also caught the eyes of Gill-Man who has set his eyes on their college aged daughter.  As the father, you must survive the horrors of the swamp and the terrors of the Creature in order to get your daughter back. This one again would and should be made by TellTale Games and showcase the Universal Monster in a great episodic survival horror adventure. I also feel that the character and his whole story could make for a very solid and fun game that would sure to please classic horror flick fans, kids and even most survival horror fans. This is another game I would order the moment it was announced! And with a re-make of the film in the works, we might just get this!

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The Gill-Man has made it to the video arcades back in 1993 when Bally made a pinball machine based on the Creature From The Black Lagoon that was complete with a hologram creature that would appear in the game’s lagoon.  This is one of my favorite pinball machines, and I can remember going to a local arcade called “Krazy Kats” and playing this machine a lot in my youth. This is truly a retro machine that I would love to own and put into my place of work to let a whole new generation enjoy. If you get the chance you should check it out and give it a play.  It combines a classic Universal Monster, Drive-In Theater and Pinball, what more could a horror kid ask for.

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# 6.) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Leatherface alongside his brothers W.E, Choptop and Hitchhiker Sawyer with their ancient Grandpa are a sick family that come from the slaughterhouse industry who are way to much into the meat business as they kill humans and use them for dinner. W.E is the brains of the family and not only does he run a small gas station, he also travels around selling the human meat products to hungry football fans. Leatherface is the dumb brute who acts as the butcher, Chop Top is a vet with a metal plate in his head who is as blood thirsty as a psycho gets as the Hitchhiker is just bat shit crazy. Many have died and only few have survived.  Now imagine a game where you must survive the Sawyer family’s attack as you are alone and stranded by their infamous farmhouse.  The plot would have you, a young man driving through Texas to get to Mexico to meet up with friends on vacation when you have an accident that leaves your car totaled and your spirt low.  Things get worse when Leatherface comes calling, and you must run and fight for your life. I see this playing like Clock Tower 3 but with more of a chance to fight back.  Another feature would be if Leatherface hits you with his chainsaw your injury stays with you through out the game.  So say he cuts one of your hands off, you are stuck with no hand for the rest of the game. Throw in some other characters for kills and you have yourself a video game bloodbath waiting to happen. The game would be filled with strong violence and be set in the late 70’s or early 80’s making room for follow up games. Not to mention this game could go many different routes, it could follow the 1974 series that had 4 films or even the 2003 reboot series that had 2 films.  This is just a rough idea for this game and with more sequels to this franchise in the works, it only makes sense that it should get the game treatment. Companies who should make this game include Konami, THQ, Activision and WB Games. Only time will tell if a game company ever will gas up the old chainsaw again and give us survival horror fans a real classic Texas treat.

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Sadly Leatherface has made it to home consoles thanks to Wizard Video Games.  In 1982 they brought a pixelated mess of a game to Atari 2600 that had you playing as Leatherface chasing girls down in a field and cutting them up with his chainsaw. The goal is to kill as many girls as you can before the gas that powers your saw runs out.  When your turn’s over, a woman runs up and kicks you in the butt! What a shameful only game for a horror icon to have.

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# 5.) Friday The 13th

Camp Crystal Lake has a death curse surrounding it that took hold when a young deformed boy named Jason Voorhees was thought to have drowned in the lake and a pair of counselors were murdered. Jason’s mother Pamela went crazy and killed some teens that were there to reopen the site many years later, and she met her end when she was beheaded by one of her would-be victims. But to everyone’s displeasure Jason didn’t drown, and now is an unstoppable killer who hacks and slashes his way to avenge his mother’s death and to keep all away from his home. Jason has had 11 films that followed each other and a 2009 remake of the original.  This lends itself to be made into a video game for this generation’s systems, and in fact lots of fans of both the films and video games have been waiting for some company to be a hero and make one. This one could take three routes and give the player the choice of playing as a camper who has become the target of Jason, play as Tommy Jarvis who has battled Jason in a total of three films or as Jason himself giving the game replay value.  All three would tie in at the end giving the game a closing. The camper story line would have you trying to get teens out of the camp before they become worm food thanks to Jason’s weapons of death.  Along the way, you must battle the wilds and traps the killer has set, not to mention a copycat killer who is also lurking in the woods. Tommy’s story line would have you tracking down Jason and coming across the government who is there to take Jason away as if he is some sort of super solider weapon. This gives you plenty of action as you must fight them off while Jason is attacking. And Jason’s story would simply be kill.  Kill all the teens, kills the agents, kill Tommy, Kill the camper and kill the fake you! In the end it all comes together for an epic end battle. Again, this is just an idea, and I am sure game makers could make an idea that is way better and give us all a good scary gore filled game. Companies that should tackle this one would be WB Games, RockStar, Konami or Capcom. It’s a shame that we have not gotten this game yet, and I hope one day a game company will listen to what the fans want.

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To be fair, Friday The 13th has made it to home consoles twice, but both game are considered bad.  The first is for the Commodore 64 made by Domark and came out in 1985.  It has Jason almost being a bodysnatcher who is hiding in the body of a fellow person, and you must find out by clues who it is and kill the one you think is the killer. Then in 1989, LJN made a game for the NES that had you playing as camp counselors trying to save kids from a rampaging Jason who would just appear and attack the kids in cabins and you on paths. While the Commodore 64 version is kind of lame and lackluster, the Nes one, while a bad game, is super fun and I kind of enjoy it. Not to mention a few Homebrew games have been made for the Atari 2600 by Salem Frost Games based on parts 2 and 3. With many years removed from these titles, one would hope the hockey mask killer will return to stalk home consoles soon.

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# 4.) A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger is a razor clawed glove wearing, child killing, dream stalking bastard son of a 1000 maniacs who has tormented and killed many teens. Freddy when human was killed by vigilantes for crimes against children and during this he was burned alive and making his spirit haunt and kill the children of those who killed him, making the youths pay for the sins of their parents. Many have tried to stop Freddy and all mostly have lost their lives.  The only one who has been able to beat him twice and live is Alice, a young woman who can bring people into her dreams and take the powers of friends who have passed. Now think about this, Freddy has a total of 8 films and 1 remake he has appeared in, and is one of the most well known horror icons of the slasher years. Now imagine a game where you must fight Freddy in our world and in the dream world and how mant crazy levels could be made, not to mention places from the films like the junkyard, high school and Nancy’s house all thrown in for a nice touch. I see you playing as a young woman who has lost most of her friends to Freddy Kruger while they sleep one night.  When he comes for you, it’s discovered that you have the power to fight him off, and now the war is own as Freddy uses your friends and fears as pawns in order to break you down and steal your soul. This is a film that lends itself to being a very visual game and the possibilities of levels and bad guys are endless, not to mention Freddy can take on many different forms. It makes no sense why WB Games, whose parent company owns the rights to Freddy, would not make a game based on the burnt dream slasher. Here’s hoping that WB finally opens their eyes and sees that this film series would make a perfect game series and that fans would love to step into a nightmare and battle Freddy. And of course Robert England would have to voice Freddy ’cause no one else should!

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Freddy Kruger is no stranger to the video game world and has made a few appearances in some such as 1989’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” by Monarch for the Commodore 64 that has characters from the third film and has you trying to save Joey from his evil clutches. A year later, LJN released a game of the same title that was a 4 player side scroller that had you fighting monsters and Freddy in order to gather Kruger’s bones to burn them and put him to rest. In 1994 a pinball machine based around Freddy was released to arcades. Then in 2011, Freddy Kruger based on the remake look was a downloadable fighter for the newest Mortal Kombat game. So as you can see, Freddy is ready for an all new full game!

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# 3.) Frankenstein

Henry Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz have built a “man” that is looked at as a monster who has super human strength, fears fire and has the hatred of all the villagers coming down on his patched together body. Henry at first stands by his creation but quickly turns when the monster gets loose and goes on a rampage. The Monster in this film series has been burned, blown up, sank in quicksand, fought the Wolf Man, had his brain switched, fallen in hot molten sulfur, been frozen and even had a Bride who wanted nothing to do with him! The Frankenstein Monster is the first classic horror monster to have a long running series that totals 8 films, and this is something Universal should be very proud of. Once more this is a great chance to get sequels made for these classic films in the way of a video game, and once more TellTale Games should be the ones to tackle it. In fact this is a game that I would love to make and have spoken to a few people about maybe getting this ball rolling on getting one made.  So if anyone at TellTale is reading this, contact me! The beauty of these classic monster games is that you can make the ratings E or T and make them scary and fun for all ages. Plus the Universal Frankenstein lore is so rich and has so many amazing characters that a company could turn out a few games based on this IP. Imagine a game where the player is in control of both Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster and some other familiar faces show up like the Bride and Ygor.  The plot I have in mind would be an epic spooky tale that would sure to please gaming and film fans!

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Frankenstein’s Monster sure is not a stranger to the video game world, and his image has been used in many games from NES’s “Castlevania” to Atari 2600’s “Frankenstein’s Monster” but very few have been based on the Universal Monster license. Once more a quick cash-in text-based game for the Commodore 64 called “Frankenstein” was released by CRL in 1987, but once more had no real ties to the Universal film. Some time in the 90’s Tiger Electronics released a handheld game based around The Monster, and in 1998 Williams released a pinball game called “Monster Bash” to arcades that featured all of the Universal Monsters in a rock band.  In 2012 a free to play online MMO called “Universal Monsters Online” was released, and while a cool concept, the character designs are generic. So here is hoping that some stormy night lightning strikes, and Frankenstein’s Monster comes alive on our PS3 systems.

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# 2.) Hellraiser

A puzzle box holds the secrets of both pleasure and pain but knowing this information comes with a terrible price if you solve the box’s riddle: the cenobites! Led by Pinhead, the cenobites will torture and kill you and damn your soul to a hell like limbo where you will forever face your own private hell. The cenobites’ world is a giant maze, and their god is Leviathan.  Only one man has ever escaped them and that was Frank Cotton who in turn brought this nightmare onto his brother’s family, specifically his niece Kristy who in turn is the first human to defeat the cenobites.  Like A Nightmare on Elm Street, this is a perfect fit for the video game world and has so many characters and possibilities that could make this game a creepy experience. Even though, I am not a full fan of this genre this would be a cool first person shooter and could tap into the creepy atmosphere of the maze-like Hell and deliver scares like the F.E.A.R. series or even Doom 3. The plot could have you opening the box by mistake and being sent to Hell.  You must use the Puzzle box to fight off Cenobites and other worldly creatures in order to get back to life as you once knew it. Pinhead would be the final boss, and it would be cool if through out the game he taunts and sets you up making you think you have won at many different moments. This could also be made into an amazing third person game and take all the great elements that make a game like Silent Hill work and add them into a game were you must travel to the Cenobites world in order to save your loved one from the hell they have made for themselves as they were dumb enough to open the box. Imagine creeping around the maze like world and running into Chatter. Once you save them and return to our world that game doesn’t end and Pinhead and his crew come to claim whats theirs in what could be an epic final boss battle in a game! The game makers should allow Clive Barker, the master mind behind this story, to write the script and of course have Doug Bradley voice Pinhead.  It should include all the classic Cenobites from the first two films (Female, Chatter and Butterball). Hellraiser has a total of 8 sequels and a remake is being planed showing this series does have a good following even if some of the sequels were direct to DVD stinkers. With the Weinstein Company opening TWC Games in 2011 this game could one day become a reality and while I don’t think it will make it for the PS3 life cycle I do have faith that the PS4 will. They make the game, and we would play!

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Hellraiser is no stranger to the video game world but almost seems to be a cursed IP with games based around it never seeming to see the light of day.  In 1990 Color Dreams (a unlicensed game maker) attempted to make a Hellraiser game for the NES, it was set to be you in a maze fighting monsters but sadly the plug was pulled when they realized Nintendo was on a rampage, running these rogue game companies out of store shelves and that the cost to make this game was becoming to high.  You see, they designed a better cart with better chips to make the game bigger and better. Even Color Dreams PC version was ditched and ended up at the pixel graveyard. Also sometime in the 90’s, a rumor was going around that Konami, the fine folks who brought us Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Castlevania and Saw, were developing a game for the original Sony Playstation,  Once more cost kept this game from seeing the light of a TV Screen.  This game would have had you collecting charms from Cenobites. And then in 1996 Magnet Interactive was working on a game called Hellraiser: Virtual Hell that was a first person shooter that had the player solving puzzles and fighting off cenobites and other creatures. Doug Bradley was in this game as they filmed him for cut scenes during breaks of filming Hellraiser: Bloodlines. This game was scraped due to a terrible game engine and the lack of faith and effort given to the project from the company. The only game that did make it somewhat to home consoles is a home brew Atari 2600 game called Helloween that combines Hellraiser and Halloween,and is really more of a Pitfall clone. So sadly there were many games planned, and none of the official ones ended up in gamers’ hands.  So here is hoping a company will come through and make a scary, chilling and gross game based around Pinhead.

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So here we are at the # 1 spot, and I have chosen everything from silent horror icons, Universal Classics to slashers and zombies and each of these I truly think would make amazing games.  That’s the one thing about video games nowadays, they seem to not want to take a chance and they only seem to want to stick with things that have been done and rehash sequels and recycle the game over and over.  I mean do we really need a new Call of Duty or Madden every year?  But with this said let’s go onto the # 1 Horror Film that I think should be made into a video game.

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# 1.) Halloween

Michael Myers killed his older sister at a young age and had spent most of his youth in a mental asylum where he shut down and never spoke.  His doctor, Sam Loomis, sees that the young man no longer has emotions and had turned into a nothing more than a ticking time bomb. Many years pass and now an adult Myers has escaped and is on a murderous path toward his hometown of Handenfield, Illinois targeting teen girls and more importantly his baby sister who was adopted. Michael Myers has returned in 6 sequels and has had a remake that also spawned a sequel and is one of the most popular slasher icons of the silver screen. While at first he was just a sick and twisted human, he later became a undying killing machine.  This film is perfect for a video game and has so many great levels and backgrounds that can be used from the mental asylum to the run down Myers house, each spooky in their own way. Imagine playing a level in the basement of the Myers house and all you have is a flashlight and that white mask of Michael comes popping out of the darkness, you know you would scream. When I was a teenager I even wrote a Halloween game that I wanted to make for the Sony Playstation with the help of Konami.  The idea I had then I think still works now as you play as Dr. Loomis who must stop Michael Myers’ rampage that has him targeting a young woman once more on Halloween night.  It would take you all over the town and famous sites like the Myers home, the asylum and the high school. The goal is to set traps and fend Michael off until you can get the girl to safety and if she dies, the game is over. This was just the old idea of a teenage boy; imagine the epic game we could get if Capcom, RockStar or even TellTale put some AAA game writers on it. This is a game I truly hope makes it into my game library so that I can enjoy the chills late night in the TV’s glow.

Wizard Video struck again in 1983 when they released Halloween for the Atari 2600 and had gamers play as a babysitter of tons of kids in a huge house.  You must guide the kids away from Michael Myers.  The film’s theme plays in 8-bit glory every time Michael shows up. Halloween had to have been the most bloody and violent game released at the time and depicts decapitations and murder of young children both complete with pixelated blood. But much like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the game was a bomb and was not showcased at retail stores causing poor sales. And for years gamers have asked for a new game based on this series that has yet to be made.  With TWC Games still open, one could only hope that we will get one in the future. And I should say that while the Atari 2600 game was by no means great, I still have a blast playing it. 

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So there you have it, 21 horror films that I think should be made into a video game for current generation home consoles.  Survival Horror and and plain horror themed games have been a staple in the industry, and while I feel they don’t get the push and quantity they deserve on home console, it seems the PC Gaming world gets plenty. One of the best ones has to be the free to play slasher fighting game called Terrordrome.  Imagine a game that allows you to fight as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or Freddy Kruger and beat up the likes of Candyman, Manaic Cop or Ash! Sadly this game came under attack from companies like Warner Brothers and now it’s in limbo. 

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Survial Horror will forever live on, and I hope someone in the gaming industry is reading this and takes a chance on one of these IPs so that the fans are finally able to play the blood chilling horror game of one of our favorite horror icons. Next update we go back to the world of comics as we take a look at Marvels Saga of Crystar series.

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