Matt Goes To The Movies 2019

Welcome to the first update of 2020, and of course that means it’s time for my Best Of 2019 at the Cinema! Last year really was a great year filled with some top notch Action films, stunning Superhero epics, out of this world Science Fiction flicks and of course spine tingling Horror pictures! Plus this year going to see movies with family and friends helped make what was a stressful year way more relaxing. So grab your ticket, buy some popcorn and soda and find your seat…it’s time to talk about some movies! I also would like to say thanks to Cinemark Dayton South, Cinemark At The Greene, Neon Movies, Danbarry Huber Heights, Englewood Cinema and Cranberry Cinema for being the places that showed the movies that entertained me throughout the year of 2019.

Let’s start with the Action films I saw in the theater. While I did not see too many of them, the ones I did see were very entertaining popcorn films that brought excitement to viewers. It’s crazy to think that Action Movies in the 80’s and 90’s were some of the world’s must-watch movies, and over the years with a few exceptions Action is not the massive box office draw it used to be. It makes me wonder if it’s because the Action Heroes of the past have gotten older and the younger generation of actors have not stepped up to take their places. Well with that, grab some popcorn and let’s talk Actions films!

# 4

The world is in major trouble when a bio weapon goes missing and MI6 agent Hattie Shaw is blamed, when in reality she is now the carrier for the weapon and has been set up by cyber enhanced terrorist Brixton Lore who wants to use the weapon for the downfall of mankind. What is the world to do? Well they call in DSS agent Luke Hobbs and former mercenary Deckard Shaw to work together to save the day as Hattie is Deckard’s sister and they both get to witness first hand just how skilled and brutal Brixton is. This is a great action comedy that delivers a great time as you eat your popcorn and watch the story unfold on the big screen. The film has a great cast. Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba and WWE superstar Roman Reigns all deliver sold performances in such an overt the top film. The film did good for Universal at the Box Office here in America bringing in $173,810,100.00 on a budget of $200 million, with world wide gross being even higher. Worth watching if you enjoy fun over the top action films.

# 3

When the California John Bosley retires a new Bosley takes his place, and when another Bosley along with two Angels, Sabina Wilson and Jane Kano, are set up when talking to tech worker Elena Houghlin that leads to the Angels being defeated by an assassin and their Bosley dead. This hit was placed as Elena knows that new energy tech can be used as a weapon that will devastate the world, and it’s clear the company she works for has a rat that wants to sell the tech on the black market! With the new Bosley, the new Angels group of Sabina, Jane and Elena must find the rat, get the tech and most importantly stay alive and watch out for each other….and worse, it also seems as if someone in the Angels agency has also turned rogue! So who are the rats and can the Angels save to world from a massive and deadly tech attack, watch this 2019 sequel and find out. This was a fun watch, and, much like Hobbs and Shaw, was filled with over the top action and humor. The three new Angels are fantastic and lovely and played by Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott, with the latter being an amazing actress and super beautiful. The movie sadly tanked for Sony bringing in a very low $17,765,238.00 on a budget of $48 million. While the internet critics trashed the film, do yourself a favor and make up your own mind. Go in checking your brain at the door and just enjoy this woman empowerment action flick.

# 2

John Wick is on the run, and the High Table has a price on his head for conducting business in a safe zone. Now he must fight for his life and find a way for a second chance at life as well as call in old friends to help him find the high order and try to make the wrongs right. This third film in the John Wick series is fantastic and is nonstop action and proves that action movies still do have a place in America cinema. Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as the assassin turned target John Wick, and the fight scenes are so amazing that they will remind you of classic Jackie Chan style action. Not to mention the end of the film leaves the plot thickening even more and really makes me look forward to the fourth film that is in the works. The film did fantastic for Lionsgate and brought in $171,015,687.00 on a budget of $75 million. This film is a great watch and worth owning on home media.

# 1

John J. Rambo is trying his best to live a normal life on his family ranch, and when his adoptive daughter Gabrielle travels to Mexico to find her real father and she gets kidnapped and sold into human trafficking. This sets Rambo on a rampage to get her back as well as get revenge on those who are responsible! This 5th film in the Rambo series is great stuff and shows that Sylvester Stallone is still one of the world’s best action movie stars, and that the character Rambo still has many stories to tell. Plus a movie that shows a pissed off Rambo massacring human traffickers is oddly relaxing in this day and age. Stallone is, as always, great as Rambo, and actress Yvette Monreal is great as Gabrielle. While this film was trashed by many “film critics” and even some viewers, I for one found it to be my favorite action film of 2019 and John Wick 3 is the only other action film that came close. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in $44,819,352.00 on a budget of $50 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Rambo films.

While Horror is my favorite genre of films to watch in theaters, I do also enjoy a great Sci-Fi and Fantasy film on the big screen. I mean who doesn’t love a good alien invasion or an epic quest gracing the silver screen as you get wrapped up in the story. So 2019 had some great films in this genre and this was also tough one to list as I enjoyed so many of them almost equally! So take a drink of your soda, and let’s get to this.

# 10

The world has been taken over by aliens who are stealing all of Earth’s natural resources and a group of underground fighters want to fight back and stop this invasion and prove that mankind will not just roll over. But these freedom fighters also have to face the cops who are also on the payroll of the aliens. Like all good science fiction, not all is what it seems as the story takes many twists and turns leaving viewers guessing on what is what and who is what. This film was a good popcorn flick and stars such fantastic actors as Vera Farmiga and John Goodman. The film tanked at the US Box Office for Focus Features bringing in a low $5,958,315.00 on a budget of $25 million! While this is not a groundbreaking alien invasion film it’s still an entertaining one that should have done better. Check it out on DVD or streaming on a boring night.

# 9

Explorer of the unknown Sir Lionel Frost wants to join the prestige group “Society Of Great Men” and makes a deal with the snooty Lord Piggot-Dunceby that’ll join if he can bring in a living Sasquatch. But once Sir Lionel Frost finds one, he befriends the beast and the pair go on an adventure to find the Sasquatch’s relatives called Yetis, but while they are doing so Lord Piggot-Dunceby and some hired guns are on a mission to kill the Sasquatch so Frost will never be able to join the group, and Piggot-Dunceby will go down in history as the world’s best adventurer. This is a truly fun kids’ film that has a charm much like “Wallace and Gromit” films, and has an amazing voice acting cast with names like Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldanna and Emma Thompson to name a few. The film did very poorly for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in only $16,649,539.00 on a budget of $100 million. While this film might have tanked, I for one very much enjoyed it and would have loved to have seen a sequel that I am sure will never be in the works.

# 8

Agent H in 2016 along with High T saved the world from a massive infestation of aliens called The Hive and after the battle High T climb to the top of MIB while Agent H seemed to have slightly lost it. But when Molly Wright was a young girl she witnessed the MIB at work and even helped protect an alien on the run, and now she is a member of the group and being called Agent M who is the new partner to Agent H! The pair are sent on a standard easy mission to guard an Alien royal that ends with an assassination and our agents are blamed and have to go on the run as there is a alien mole deep in the MIB and they must clear their names and expose the true alien invaders. Oddly enough this film did not do well for Sony as it only brought in a very low $80,001,807.00 on a budget of $110 million. While the film did not set the movie going world ablaze, it was a very fun popcorn film that was filled with some funny and adventurous moments. Worth watching if you like the other films in the series and Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson all do fantastic jobs as MIB agents in the film.

# 7

Gomez Addams and his new bride Morticia must flee their old home and find a new place in an abandoned mental asylum to start their family! So with former inmate now turned butler Lurch and their hand only friend called Thing, they make this asylum a home that ends up being filled with their kids Wednesday and Pugsley. But when a reality home improvement star buys and transforms the town below the Addams home things turn bad when the reality stars turns the town against them. Now The Addams Family must prove they are not monsters and that they are just a normal…well weird family. This was a fun little family film that features everyone’s favorite weird family and did really well for United Artist at the US box office brining in $95,720,779.00 on a budget of $40 million. This film was a great way to introduce a new generation to The Addams Family, and I am very much looking forward to the sequel that is in the works. Worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray for fans of these characters.

# 6

A down on its luck circus welcomes a newly born baby elephant to the family, but to the horror of owner of ringmaster Max Medici, the baby is born with massive ears and is named Dumbo! With his circus losing money he is forced to sell Dumbo’s mom and this sets the baby elephant along with his caretaker’s children on a path to bring redemption to the failing circus. But when a rich con man amusement circus park owner gets involved, Dumbo’s safety and happiness are in danger and his friends will not let this happen. This take on Dumbo is done by director Tim Burton and has elements of the classic animated movie plus new additions to make it feel like a new tale. The effects are great, and Dumbo is adorable and the movie’s villain played by Michael Keaton is super greedy and sinister. This movie did pretty good for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $114,766,307.00 on a budget of $170 million and brought in over $2 million internationally! Worth watching if you enjoy the animated movie and want to see those characters done with a Burton twist.

# 5

The Beast is still one the loose and kidnapping and killing young women when he is finally found by The Overseer, who is a man with superhero powers that is a vigilante who wants to stop his killing ways. This fight leads to both men being caught and brought to a mental hospital were they, alongside evil mastermind with brittle bones Mr. Glass, are being treated for their superhero complex disorder. But when Mr. Glass and The Beast team up and escape the asylum with a plan to show the world that super humans exist, things come to ahead and cards are played that expose those who want to put a lid on super beings and do whatever it takes to keep the secret away from the world. The is the third film in director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable universe series as well as it appears to be the last, and this film mixes elements of many different film genres like superhero, science fiction, drama, thriller and even a dash of horror. The film did great for Universal at the US Boxoffice bringing in $111,035,005.00 on a budget of $20 million. A pretty solid ending the Unbreakable movie series.

# 4

Aladdin and his pet monkey Abu are thieves in the streets of Egypt and meet a beautiful woman while stealing that Aladdin falls for, the issue being she is the Princess! And when Aladdin finds a magic lamp, the Genie inside helps him via wishes try his best to get the attention of the woman of his dreams, but he has a thorn in his side as the Jafar the Grand Vizier of the Sultan is also an evil sorcerer who craves power and wants to control the genie in the lamp who wants his own life as well and wants to be free. This live action film based on the hit animated film is really well done and cast with Will Smith doing great as the Genie and Naomi Scott is not only stunning as Jasmine but also does an amazing job making the character seem very important. And Mena Massoud was the prefect actor to bring Aladdin to the big screen. The film did great at the America Boxoffice for Disney bringing in $355,559,216.00 on a budget of $183 million. Worth watching and owning and a must for fans of the animated film.

# 3

When baby Simba is born, he becomes the next in line to take over the massive animal kingdom in Africa. But when is father is killed by his uncle Scar, the baby lion is forced to run away from the kingdom and thinks his fathers death is his fault. While on his own he strikes up a friendship with Timon a meerkat and warthog named Pumbaa, and the three spends years together, while the kingdom falls under the rule of Scar who teams with the hyenas and keeps all the lionesses as almost slaves. But in the end Simba returns to the kingdom with his new friends, and they bring down Scar and his hyena’s and reclaim what was always his. This live action version of the classic Disney animated film is well done and even brings James Earl Jones back as the voice of Mufasa! Also in the voice cast is Beyonce Knowles Carter, Seth Rogen and Donald Glover to name a few. The film was a hit for Disney at the U.S. Boxoffice bringing in $543,638,043.00 on a budget of $260 million. Over all this was a great film and one that should be watched and owned if you enjoy the animated film version.

# 2

The First Order is being run by Kylo Ren who has set his sights on not only destroying the rebels but also tracking down the evil and still alive Emperor Palpatine who when found wants Kylo to be his new appetence and will allow him to combine the Empires forces that have been in hidden with the First Order making them unstoppable! As Kylo still battles his inner demons, Rey is training to be a Jedi and her friends are doing their best to try and figure out how to stay ahead of the First Order and also bring them down. When Princess Leia, Rey and the rest of the rebels figure out that the Emperor is still alive and is threatening to destroy planets again as all the new Star Destroyers have weapons that can do just that! And now Rey and Kylo are on a path to change the universe and all out war is in the cards in this final film in the Skywalker series. I don’t want to say too much about the film’s plot as I do not want to give away any major spoilers as this film is still very fresh in theaters. This was a very fun mega budget Sci-Fi film to sit in the theater and watch while eating some popcorn with a large crowd of people, and while the film is flawed and had some head scratching moments, it also delivered some top-notch action. I also have to say the cameos of classic characters also made me pop in the theater. Like always, the films did fantastic for Disney at the American Box Office despite “fan boys” bad word of mouth bringing in $407,782,706.00 on a budget of around $300 million. Make up your own mind and stop depending on the opinions of Rotten Tomatoes or random net critics on social media and watch the film for yourself and make up your own mind, while not a perfect Star Wars film it still was entertaining.

# 1

Dani Ramos is a young woman who works in Mexico City at an auto plant along with her brother, but what starts as a normal day turns bad when a new breed of Terminator called a Rev-9 is sent to kill her from the future, but she as well has a guardian that is a enhanced solider from the future named Grace. Later they are joined by Sarah Connor who has dedicated her life in hunting down and killing Terminators as they appear, and she knows the locations thanks to an anonymous person he texts her the locations. With the Rev-9 hot on their trail and no clear way of defeating it, they track the person who’s been helping Sarah only to find out it is a T-800 who after filling his mission of stopping John Conner found away to blend in with normal humans. Now the new motley crew of survivors set up a showdown to stop the Rev-9 and stop a new version of Judgment Day. This 6th movie in the Terminator series acts as a direct sequel to T2 and does a pretty great job of bringing a new layer to the storyline, as while Sarah and John stopped Skynet another tech terror rose in its place and has its own version of judgment day in the works. It was great seeing Linda Hamilton return to the series as well as having Arnold Schwarzenegger return as the T-800. Actress Natalia Reyes is great as the new “John Carter” for the futures resistant’s hero and Mackenzie Davis is okay as Grace the enhanced solider of the future, though at times I feel like she over does the tough woman approach. The film sadly did very poorly for Paramount at the American Boxoffice only bringing in $62,253,077.00 on a massive budget of $185 million ending what was suppose to be a new trilogy of films with these characters. While it was not a mega hit at the cinema, I still found this film to be a fun one that I will own on DVD when released and do feel it’s a shame that moviegoers just didn’t come out to see this film.

So as you have just read, 2019 had some really good Sci-Fi, Fantasy and even Kid films! But we are going to now take a look at the film genre that has been dominating the Box Office for many years now and of course I am talking about Super Hero films!

# 7

Hellboy as well as his friends of B.R.P.D. are on the hunt for monsters all over the world and when an evil sorceress is set free, the whole world is in trouble as she is uniting the monsters of the world for a takeover! Hellboy, who is a demon, is the key for her to totally take over, and this hero must fight his instincts and listen to his human side. This film was a great monster fight film but was a mess otherwise. Really don’t have much too say about this one besides the effects were good and I had fun watching in the theater. The film bombed at the US Box Office for Lionsgate as it brought in only $21,903,748.00 on a budget of $50 million. This film is for diehard fans of Hellboy, and while it was not the best Superhero movie I saw this year, I would have liked to see what would have happened in a sequel if it was made.

# 6

Kree Empire warrior Vers and her people are at war with the Skrulls, and during one of her fights she escapes capture and crash lands on Earth where she soon finds that the Skrulls have taken residence and she wants to settle the score with her enemies! While on Earth she meets Nick Fury an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who helps her not only track down the Skrulls but also figures out what really is going on that leaves Vers aka Captain Marvel wondering what her real mission is as well as learn about her past that she does not remember. This is a pretty fun Marvel Superhero adventure that brings the powerful female hero Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while some “fans” try and say this film is too preachy about Girl Power, I found it to be entertaining and a cool flashback to the 90’s culture. I mean you cannot go wrong seeing a Blockbuster Video again. My only real complaint about the film is that I felt at times actress Brie Larson is wooden in her emotions. At the U.S Boxoffice the film did great brining in a massive $426,829,839.00 on a budget of $175 million. Love it or hate it, this film is a part of the Marvel movie juggernaut and Captain Marvel is here to stay for years and movies to come.

# 5

With half the universe’s population gone thanks to Thanos, the rest of the world’s heroes track him down and kill him after he informs them that he has destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet. Once the threat is gone, the heroes don’t know what to do as they and the whole rest of life across the galaxy seem lost and with no direction. But the heroes find out that there is a chance that they could travel back in time and get the gem stones and bring back all those they have lost. So after having to push to get Iron Man and Thor on board, heroes like Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, War Machine, Nebula and the returning from the micro world Ant Man break off in teams and get the stones from the past! But this also alerts the past version of Thanos who uses his army to once more get his hands on the stones, and when the dusted heroes of the past like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch return, it’s all out war to end this madness once and for all that leaves some heroes dead and others changing their future. While this film is very epic, I myself found it to be both good and very disappointing as some of the goofy humor and “Big Lebowski” Thor just didn’t work for me. Coming off the downbeat, truly epic feel of the last Avengers movie, the humor of this one really does take away all the gloom the last one built up. Plus making The Hulk into Professor Hulk was not something I wanted to see in the movie universe as by making Hulk super smart it takes away the character’s….well, character. On the other side it was very cool to see Chris Evans’ end as Captain America as I felt they did it right and it was great to give characters like Nebula and Hawkeye big story plots. The film did amazing for Disney at the American Boxoffice bringing in a massive $858,373,000 on the budget of $356 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Marvel films.

# 4

The X-Men are sent to space in order to save some astronauts whose ship was damaged by a solar flare, but while saving them, another massive flare erupts and Jean Grey absorbs it all to save the lives of her teammates. Once home she starts to feel odd and has fits of rage that unleashes raw power. She soon finds out that Professor X has messed with her mind making her forget what she did that caused her mother’s death and lead her to be at the school. With her mind filled with raw power and rage, Jean tracks down her father and the meeting leaves her raging that ends with her friend and X-Men member Mystique dead. Jean becomes a loose cannon and even tries to find shelter with Magneto, but finally meets up with Vuk, an alien shape- shifter who wants to drain all her cosmic powers. Can Professor X, Magneto and the X-Men save their friend and get Jean the help she needs or will the aliens take her powers and destroy the universe. This final film in the Fox X-Men series in my opinion was really good and while flawed in some part still was a very entertaining film that I enjoyed. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey/Phoenix is fantastic, and she has quickly became one of my favorite actresses going in Hollywood, and she does a fantastic job of going from scared to cold blooded. The action is well done, and the story of Jean getting the power of the Phoenix and learning about her past is fantastic, oh and I should also note that Dazzler makes an appearance. Sadly this film did not do well for Fox at the Boxoffice here in America bringing in only $65,845,974.00 on a budget of $200 million. While it might not have had the hype of the Disney Marvel films, I for one found this film to be very entertaining and worth owning on home media.

# 3

Billy Batson is a kid who has bounced in and out of foster homes, as he just wants to be reunited with his mother who got separated from him while at a carnival. He is placed once again in a foster home that has caring parents and many siblings, one who is a fan of superheroes and is handicapped, and when at his new school he takes up for his new foster brother against bullies and ends up losing them at the train station. And while on the train, he is taken to another world and meets the Wizard Shazam, who has chosen him to carry on the powers of the gods! Now when he says the word Shazam, Billy turns into a muscle bound superhero who still has the mind of a young teen! But an evil power hungry man that was deemed unworthy to be the new Shazam as a kid is armed with demons attacks and wants Billy dead…and so starts Shazam to rise and find his own inner strength to not only save his own life but those of his new foster siblings, and together they fight and save the day. This was a great Superhero Comedy film and was very well done, and while I do understand that they changed Shazam (Captain Marvel) from the comics, it still was fitting and was a great way to introduce kids of 2019 to the character. The film did okay for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $140,371,656.00 on a budget of $100 million, and over seas it did even better! I really enjoyed this one. The trailer made me very worried that this film would be really cheesy, but after seeing it I even own it on DVD now!

# 2

Arthur Fleck is a man with mental illness who lives with his equally unstable mother and his work is an advertising clown for hire. When he loses his job he is pushed too far when some rich dudes mess with him on the train ends their life, and so begins his downward spiral into madness, revenge, love and murder. And when Arthur who wants to become a stand up comic is made fun of by a late night host live on the air and called a joker and he finds out that his mom has lied to him his whole life, he starts to think that Thomas Wayne (yep Bruce Wayne’s dad) is his father as well and it finally comes crashing down and Arthur Fleck is no more and where this once broken man stands is The Joker. This dark themed film deals with mental illness, depression, deception, fame, poverty and sadness, making you as the viewer feel all types of different emotions. Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic as The Joker and makes the character his very own, plus Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy are all great in their roles. The film did top fantastic for Warner Brothers at the American Box Office bringing in $333,453,468.00 on a budget of only $55 million. This is not your typical Superhero film and is very dark in nature and worth owning in your collection on any home media format.

# 1

Peter Parker is upset after the passing of his friend and mentor Tony Stark and decides that he is going to go on a school trip overseas with his classmates instead of being the masked hero Spider-Man and have a somewhat normal life. But while on his school trip one time S.H.I.E.L.D leader Nick Fury calls on him to help an interdimensional hero named Mysterio who has been fighting giant monsters that have been appearing around the world. And worse for Peter is that Tony Stark has left him in his will a very powerful pair of sunglasses that if hacked can be used as a powerful weapon, and when he feels that he is not worthy of them, he gives them to Mysterio who he thinks is a real hero. But when Mysterio is found out to be a con man, Spider-Man must risk his life to save his classmates and the world from his evil plan. This hands down the best Superhero film of 2019 as I found it to be true to the Spidey character and hands down Tom Holland makes the best Spider-Man and Peter Parker. I was also happy to finally see Mysterio make his big screen debut, and he is done right by Jake Gyllenhaal who took elements from the comic as well as added his own touches to make him work. The film did fantastic for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $390,532,085.00 on a budget of $160 million. If you like Spider-Man, make sure to watch this film. It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray and having a place in your home media collection.

2019 was, as always, the year of the Superhero films as four out the top 10 grossing films in America were made up of them! But for me the main attraction for any year in cinema is the Horror Movies, and 2019 had its fair share of them that covered everything from psycho slashers to ghosts to even killer animals. This year was filled with some really good ones and choosing my top spot was really hard, so sit back relax in Rotten Ink Theater and let’s talk Horror.


# 26

Strange things are going on around the world after the Earth is rocked by too much fracking in the arctic, and this causes the dead to rise from their graves and look for human meals as well as do the things they did when alive. Now in the town of Centerville, the police force made up of Chief Robertson, Officer Peterson and Officer Morrison must find a way to protect themselves as well as warn the townspeople about the undead uprising. Throw in some zany locals like the horror film loving gas station owner Bobby and the samurai sword swinging funeral home owner Zelda, and you have a cheesy zombie comedy. The film was directed by Jim Jarmusch and has an all star cast featuring such names as Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits and Danny Glover to name a few. For me this film fell flat on both comedy and horror, and while the actors all did great jobs in their roles, the film’s script was filled with plot holes, characters that go nowhere and “hip” dry humor. This film was a major letdown and came off too aware and preachy about the director’s own message of consumerism. The film had a limited release and brought in $6,563,605.00 for Focus Features and was one I ended up giving a second chance once on DVD and I still found it a disappointing bore. I should also note this almost made it to my Worst Films list!

# 25

Danni Ardor is a young woman who has suffered a major loss and travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to attend a secret festival, but once they get there, they find that the this peaceful place filled with oddly friendly people is really a strange cult that has some very deadly rituals. Can Danni and her friends escape…or do they even want to…check out this Drama Horror Film by Ari Aster and find out. Now this is another one of those films that I was looking forward to seeing in the theater that ended up letting me down as I found it to be overly long, poorly written and at times laughable on how cartoony it got with over acting moments and dumb decisions. Actress Florence Pugh does great for most of the film as Danni even though they make her break down in over the top ways. The film did ok for A24 at the US Box Office as on a budget of $10 million it brought in $27,426,361.00. While a disappointment on my first viewing, this will be one I will watch again someday on DVD.

# 24

Aaron returns to his small town home when is father passes away and must rebuild is relationship with his mother. And while home, he also reconnects with his old friends as well as his ex-girlfriend who is now dating the town cop. But things get weird when Aaron finds an urn and makes wishes that come true, but each one have very sinister outcomes. He soon learns that his wishes have unleashed a demon who is after his soul and wants to leave a path of deaths behind him. This is a great creepy little horror movie that is all about a Djinn demon that grants wishes and ruins lives doing so. While the movie does have some plot flaws that make for some cheesy moments, it was a film that got some good scares out of the audience I saw it with who all seemed to like it as they left the theater. The film brought in $22,912.00 at the US Box Office playing for only one day for Fathom Events. This is one I bought on DVD when released.

# 23

Frances McCullen is a young woman from a small town who is now living in New York with her friend Erica. While on the subway, she finds a purse and returns it to its owner an older woman named Greta that she befriends when she learns that the woman’s daughter now lives in France. But the friendship soon turns creepy when Frances finds out that Greta is really an unstable stalker who has set her sights on her and will not leave her alone. What is Frances to do when Greta steps over the line and will stop at nothing to become not only her friend but also her “mother”. This is a great Horror Thriller and has some really great creepy moments as Isabelle Huppert who plays Greta is devilishly sinister as Greta and Chloe Grace Moretz is fantastic as Frances and proves she needs to be in more Horror Movies as she plays a likable character very well. The film did okay for Focus Features at the US Boxoffice doing $10,519,425.00. This is one that is a fun watch and one I own on DVD once released.

# 22

The Firefly family that consists of Captain Spaulding, Otis Driftwood and Baby survived being shot over 20 times and find themselves in prison on death row and becoming almost folk heroes to the masses. And after the execution of Spaulding, the once crazy family is down to only two…or so the world thought! While out on work duty, Otis is sprung by his half brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, and the pair sets up the prison warden in order to free Baby. Once the three are reunited, they head to Mexico to lay low and unlucky for them they have caught the eye of a cartel who is run by one of the sons of a victim of theirs during the escape. Now what’s left of the Firefly family must once more fight for their lives when death comes looking for them. The film was a Fathom Events release and did really well for its limited run at the US Box Office for Saban Films bringing in a total of $2,172,949.00 on a budget of $3 million. Fans of Rob Zombie films will enjoy this bloodbath film for all its slaughter and foul-mouthed characters, worth watching, and I even bought once it was on DVD.

# 21

Riley Stone goes to Hawthorne College and is a member of the MKE sorority with her close friends Kris, Marty, Jesse and Helena and it’s Christmas time right before the winter break and she was the victim of an attack that was done by a sorority frat house leader who oddly was able to get away with it! But also masked killers are attacking and murdering young women around the college, and soon Riley and her friends find themselves on the hit list of these masked killers who seem to hate women and act like soulless emotionless killing machines. Throw in some humor, PG-13 kills, and message that “Boys Be Boys” is not okay and you have his remake of the classic holiday slasher film. This film does not take elements from the original film nor the 2006 remake and tries its best to make a new story set at a sorority house. The film’s main actress is Imogen Poots who plays Riley, and she is fantastic as is Lily Donoghue who plays Marty as I found them to be the best characters in the film. The downside of this film is at times it comes off preachy about its message and the characters at times seem like the after thought to it. The film did very poorly for Universal at the U.S. Box Office and only brought in $10,086,145.00 on a budget of $5 million. While this movie is not perfect, it was still a fun watch in the theater that once out on DVD I will watch again.

# 20

The Creed family have moves away from the big city to a farm house with lots of wooded lands in Ludlow, Maine and soon meet their new neighbor Jud. All seems well, that is till Louis who is a university doctor cannot save a young man hit by a car and that seems to talk to him even after death. But things for the family get worse when their daughter’s cat Church is hit by a car and Jud shows Louis a part of his land that brings the dead back to life, with some changes…Church is back, but he is not the same at all! During her birthday party daughter, Ellie is killed when she is hit by a truck and heartbroken Louis does the unthinkable and brings his daughter back…and this joy soon turns to horror. This remake is okay and does not stack up well to the original that is a true classic. This film takes its own twists and turns from the book and original film adding a new layer to the story…in fact you could almost look at this as a sequel that takes place in modern times that has history repeating itself. John Lithgow who plays Jud is fantastic at playing the aging man who knows the town’s evil secret. And actress Jete Laurence plays Ellie, and she is as well great in the role as she can snap from sweet kid to evil killer kid with ease. Not to mention all the cats who played Church also steal the film with their performances. The film did okay for Paramount Pictures at the American Boxoffice bringing in $54,724,696.00 on a budget of $21 million. While not great, this creepy tale was worth seeing in the theater and is one I have on home media. Check it out if you like the tale of Pet Sematary.

# 19

Stella is a young teen that wants to become a writer and has some emotional issues dealing with her mother leaving her and her father behind. On Halloween night she along with friends decide to break into the town’s local haunted house, and when the town’s bullies lock them inside a hidden room in the house, they find the storybook written by Sarah Bellows and take it with them…big mistake as the book seems to be writing itself and bad things are happing to people in town just like in the stories! Now Stella and what’s left of her friends must find away to stop the book, save their lives and set Sarah Bellows spirit free. This spooky PG-13 film is based on the hit book series and delivers some great creatures designs as well as brings many of the books classic tales to the big screen. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate bringing in $68,947,075.00 on a budget of $25 million. If you enjoy the book series or even like the Goosebump movies series, this is one you will want to check out. I own this one on DVD when it was released.

# 18

Mia and sister stepsister Sasha head out with some friends to a hidden swimming hole that is also an opening to a underwater tomb and tunnels that their father and his team are exploring, and for fun the girls enter the water and tunnels only to get trapped by a cave in and are being stalked by blind cave sharks who are hungry for human flesh! Can the young ladies survive this shark attack or will they just become lunch for these underwater terrors? Watch the movie and find out. This animal attack film was a pretty good follow up for “47 Meter Down” and has a really feel of dread in moments that add to the horror theme of the film. The film is well acted with Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx and Brianne Tju being the standouts. The film is rated PG-13 so it’s not overly bloody but does have some pretty brutal shark attack moments. The film sadly did not do that great for Entertainment Studios at the US Box Office as it only brought in $22,260,900.00 on a budget of $12 million. Worth watching if you enjoy shark horror movies.

# 17

Detective Jack Radcliff and his niece Ashley Radcliff are close and to his horror, she and her parents are murdered one night and his world changes. After the murder oddly enough he keeps getting phone calls from his dead niece who is calling from the past and now he must change her future as he must research the past to find out who killed them. Can he save her in time and will he be able to bring the killers to justice or will he become a victim himself. This Horror Thriller is a great watch and is well acted with very likable characters. The film had the budget of $5million and brought in only $5,215,062.00 for OTL Releasing at the American Box Office. I cannot say too much as I don’t want to ruin the films twist and turns, but this film is really good and a must see for fans who like Thrillers with Horror elements.

# 16

A massive hurricane is about to hit Florida when university swimmer Haley Keller gets a call from her sister who is worried about their father who is not answering his phone and whose house is in the path of the massive storm! When checking his home, she finds he is not there and heads to the family’s old house where she finds him in the basement bitten by an alligator as several have made their home their and keep the father and daughter from escaping as the hurricane rages on inside. As the water rises and the alligators pour in, Haley and her dad must fight to survive. This Sam Raimi produced animal attack film is a fun fright flick that showcases some very brutal gator attacks and likable characters. Many times in the movie both Juliet and my cousin Stephen jumped showing the film did back some scares. The downside to this film was not anything about the film itself but the other people in our row who talked almost the whole movie!! The film did good for Paramount at the American Box Office bringing in $39,014,193.00 on a budget of $13.5 showing that lower budget Horror does make money. Well worth seeing and owning on DVD for those who love physical media like I do.

# 15

A new phone app is sweeping the nation that tells you the exact day and time you will die. Young nurse Quinn Harris downloads it when a patient shows her the app that says he will die the time he would go into surgery. Now Quinn is starting to see demonic things as her death date is getting closer and she cannot get the app off her phone. Along her countdown she enlists the help of a cellphone dealer, a weird priest, a young man who also downloaded the app and even her very own young sister who has also made the mistake. Will Quinn out smart this demonic app and save all the lives that are on the line or will she become just another victim to the growing list? This was a pretty fun film that brought together tech and classic biblical demons that felt like it could have been right at home in the late 90’s Horror releases. The film did pretty good for STX Entertainment bringing in $$25,569,747 on a budget of $6.5 million. I really enjoyed this one and will own it on DVD when it is released.

# 14

Miles was born a special child with high intelligence, but he seems to be having a very hard time making friends and interacting with kids his own age. And worse, he seems to be getting more and more aggressive even leaving painful traps for his babysitter and attacking a fellow student in class. Soon his mother finds out that the spirit of a serial killer has entered her son at birth and wants to finish a kill he started. ow she must find a way to save her son’s soul and rid the world of this killer once and for all. This is a pretty great possession/evil kid Horror Movie that brings some solid spooky moments as Miles has very sinister things on his mind and acts on his urges to hurt and kill others. The film also was a great way to see the Orion logo once more on the big screen, and the film really did feel like one that would have been right at home in the early 80’s. The film did only so-so for Orion Pictures at the US Boxoffice bringing in $14,852,586.00 on a budget of only $6 million. While this film might not be ground breaking when it comes to the killer kid Horror genre, it still was a fun watch at the cinema and one I own on DVD.

# 13

Zoey Davis is selected to take part of an Escape Room along with a group of strangers that is put on by a big company called Minos, but once the game starts, the group soon find out that the rooms are designed to kill those who don’t solve the puzzle. Now Zoey and her fellow players must use their sharp minds in order to survive and find out who is responsible for this twisted game. This was the first Horror Movie for the cinema in 2019 and was a great way to start the year as it was a thrilling PG-13 SAW inspired flick. The film also keeps you as the viewer on the edge of your seat wondering how the characters were going to escape each death trap room. The film did well for Sony at the Box Office here in America bringing in $57,005,601.00 on a budget of $9 million. The film leaves itself open for a sequel, and I hope they do one as there is more to tell about Minos and their deadly escape rooms. It’s worth owning on home media if you’re a fan of this style of Horror.

# 12

Maggie Thompson is the new girl in a small town in Ohio, and she quickly makes friends who like to hang out and drink, but being to young to buy alcohol they end up meeting Sue Ann Ellington (who likes to be called Ma), an older woman who ends him helping them get alcohol and allows the teens to party in her basement. But while it starts out fun, things soon turn weird when Ma is not what she appears and is a woman with lots of mental issues, secrets, lies and has set her sights on revenge and control on those she feels have wronged her! Blumhouse and Universal once more team up and deliver a highly entertaining Horror Thriller where the films villain is both evil and yet you do feel bad for her throughout. Octavia Spencer is fantastic in the role of Ma, and I really hope that a sequel or even a prequel is made to allow her to return to the role. The film did pretty well for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $45,373,120.00 on a budget of only $5 million! This is worth owning on DVD, and when released I bought it for my collection.

# 11

Brandon Breyer is adopted by Tori and Kyle, but from any orphanage as he really came from a rocket that fell from the sky and on his 12 birthday he starts to change and the sweet boy they raised has turned into a egotistical super powered being who wants to take over the world and will silence anyone who stands in his way. With deaths and missing persons piling up around them, the Breyer’s must figure out a way to stop their son who is really a monster. This film is almost like a ‘’What If” Superman was evil story and is really a fantastic watch as the tension is high and the character of Brandon Breyer is so cold that he truly is scary. Elizabeth Banks who plays Tori Breyer does a fantastic job as well as being the voice of reason for Brandon and the one who keeps him slightly in line and keeps his raging evil powers in check…well at least hidden. The film is gory in spots with some of the kills being brutal and gross, and this was refreshing in a world filled with Paranormal Horror Films. I for one hope this film does get a sequel as I would love to see how the world will fight back against Brandon, and the film’s credits tease that there are more like him in the world with different powers and how would they fit in…so come on Gunn family give as a sequel. The film did really well at the US Box Office for Sony brining in $17,300,439.00 on a budget of only $6 million. So if you like Superhero films as well as Horror, do yourself a favor and make sure to see this one as I even rushed out to get it once on home media!

# 10

Andy and his young mom have had to move back to the city she grew up in when they fall on hard times. Andy is having a hard time making friends, and the cop who visits his mom down the hall is the only one he is making. But things change when, for his birthday, Andy gets a Buddi doll that is defective, but still makes him the talk of the school and he makes friends as they use the doll to pull off pranks…you see the doll that is very high tech and can learn and move and is named Chucky! When Chucky feels that Andy is being wronged or that someone is standing in the way of their friendship, he takes bloody revenge on them as he learns to murder by watching horror movies. But when Andy wants nothing to do with Chucky, the doll is mad and wants revenge and sets up a bloody showdown at the department store his mom works for that leaves several dead, many injured and a son fighting for the life of his own mother. This remake is very familiar and yet also very different as Chucky this time around is a computer powered doll who is sinister, but does not hold a candle to the classic Chucky who was the reanimated spirit of a serial killer. Mark Hamill does great as the voice of Chucky, and Audrey Plaza plays the mom and is fantastic. The film also has some good kills and has a them song sung by Hamill that will be stuck in your head for days. The film did okay for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in $29,208,403.00 on a budget of $10 million. While not in the same ballpark as the original, I was still very much amused by this remake and was a fun popcorn film at the Cranberry Cinema. When released, I  bought it on DVD to join my Child’s Play movie collection.

# 9

Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock are back years after the events of the first film and have made a home for themselves in the White House, and life is a normal as it can be with zombies all around them. But things change when Columbus purposes to Wichita. Things get crazy again as she and Little Rock run away stealing the car again! While heartbroken, the pair go shopping and Columbus meets Madison, a young ditzy blonde, and the pair start to date. But Wichita shows back up and informs them that Little Rock has ran away with a hippie and they need to get her back! Now with emotions high Wichita leads Tallahassee, Columbus and Madison on a quest to save Little Rock that leads them all over from Graceland to a Sanctuary that is weaponless! In a world filled with zombies and weirdo people, this mission is dangerous and funny and made a great sequel to this Horror Comedy. Woody Harrelson is funny and fantastic as always, having Rosario Dawson as an owner of an Elvis Hotel was a nice touch as she as well is great. One of the funniest actors in the film is Zoey Deutch who plays the ditzy Madison as she cracked me up! The film is packed with good jokes, zombie kills and over all was a great popcorn film. The film did alright for Sony at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of $42 million it brought in $72,785,288.00! This was a fun sequel and one I will own on DVD when released, and I do hope they make another film in the series.

# 8

Tree Gelbman’s life is going good as she has broken the cycle she was in and had stopped her killer for good…but things get bad for her again as she is once more stuck in living the cycle of her birthday and murder…but there is a twist as this time around she finds herself not the main target and stuck on a loop in another reality where her mother is alive but her boyfriend is dating Whitney, her main frenemy! Now Tree must choose to stop the killer in this new world and stay to be with her Mom or go back to her own reality and be with her boyfriend! The choice hard, and the Baby Face Masked Killer is on the loose what is Tree to do? This is a very fun sequel that blends elements of Horror, Comedy and Sci-Fi together to make for a fun ride to figure out who the killer is and what will Tree do when it comes to her decision. Sadly this film did not do overly great at the US Box Office for Universal as it brought in $28,051,045.00 on a budget of only $9 million…yeah Universal was not pleased even though the film made a profit and sadly it looks like the third film is now in limbo. But if you liked the first film and enjoy the replaying world around Tree, this is one you must see, and yep bought it when released on home media.

# 7

Young Adelaide separates from her family on Coney Island and finds herself in a hall of mirrors when a thunderstorm knocks out the power and she sees a reflection of herself that seems to have a mind of its own. Years later Adelaide is married to Gabe Wilson, has two kids and they are about to vacation near Coney Island and her memories of that night are making her uncomfortable. And her worries are corrects as attacks start to take place all around by what appears to doppelgangers of the victims, and when Adelaide and her family come face to face with twisted versions of themselves, they must fight to stay alive! This second Horror Movie by Jordon Peele is a really cool mind bending journey that not only tries to scare you but also tries to enforce that nothing is stronger that a family bond. The film has some great twists and turns, and I will not spoil them here for you, but do yourself a favor and check this one out. The film does a great job of blending humor into the blood horror and the pacing is excellent. The film did outstanding for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in a total of $174,702,345.00 on a budget of $20 million. This was the highest grossing Horror movie of 2019 and really does show Horror is back being a draw at the cinema! I bought this fright flick as well on DVD when released.

# 6

Danny Torrance is an adult now and the events of the Overlook Hotel have left him a drunken mess with no direction in life, that is until he drifts his way into a small town and finds friends, a job and the help he needs. He also uses his shining power to make friends with a young girl named Abra Stone, and life seems to be going good as he also learns how to capture and lock away all the spirits from the Hotel that have tormented him for years. But both Danny and Abra’s life is about to change as Rose The Hat, a cult leader who has her followers feed off the psychic powers of folks with The Shining, is on the track of Abra who has so much power. ow Danny and Abra must fight back in the real world as well as the spiritual, and this fight leads them all back to the Overlook Hotel for a showdown that will leave you chilled and thrilled. This sequel to The Shining is really well done and Ewan McGregor as the adult Danny Torrance delivers a top-notch performance. Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat is creepy, and in my opinion one of the best villains in Horror Cinema this year. The film for some reason did very poorly for Warner Brothers at the Box Office here in America bringing in only $31,488,764.00 on a budget of around $55 million. I’m not sure why this film did not do well as it was a fun Horror Thriller ride that delivered some good scare moments and likable and frighting characters. I will own once out on home media as I would like to watch this one again sooner than later.

# 5

Grace is marring Alex who is part of the Le Domas board game empire, and while the family is odd, she loves her soon to be husband, and after the wedding she is told that the family plays a weird game as a family to welcome her into their fold…the game is picked at a blind random by Grace and unlucky for her its Hide And Seek as this means while she hides the family armed with weapons hunt her down to kill her! You see their family made a packed with a Devil that if that card is drawn they must kill the person as a sacrifice or they themselves will die by morning light! Now Grace must fight to escape with her life from a family that is crazy and are fighting for theirs! This is a great Horror Thriller that even adds a dash of Comedy to bring entertainment to the viewers. Samara Waving is great as Grace and is a hero I found myself cheering for the whole film as she fights back, in fact she is the female hero the genre needed this year! The film I should also say has some great kills and adds in that supernatural element to make for a soon to be cult classic for sure. The film did pretty well for Fox at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of only $5 million the film brought in $28,901,546.00! While it could be a stand alone movie I do hope that it gets a sequel as I would like to see were the story goes with The Devil and his deals. And of course when released on DVD I got it for my collection and think you should get yourself a copy as well.

# 4

Judy Warren is left with a babysitter while her parents Ed and Lorraine are out. Her babysitter is Mary Ellen and her friend Daniela Rios decide to bake a cake for Judy as her birthday is coming up, but things for not go well once Daniela goes into the Warrens room filled with cursed objects and touches things and even opens the case that houses the evil doll Annabelle! After doing this the three young ladies are in for a night of terror as Annabelle awakens many of the ghosts and demons that were trapped in that room and they want nothing more then to torment and kill with the likes of such creatures as a werewolf, The Bride and The Ferryman running loose looking for souls. Now Judy must be as brave as her parents and return and lock Annabelle into her case to stop this madness before it’s to late! This film has some good twists and turns as you learn lots about Judy Warrens as well as why Daniela touched the cursed items, this third film in the Annabelle series is well done and adds more to the story of this cursed doll. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $74,152,591.00 on a budget of around $32 million. Another great film in The Conjuring universe that delivers some very amazing evil sprits with The Ferryman being the best in my opinion!

# 3

Anna Tate-Garcia is a single mother and a caseworker who stumbles upon a client who has locked her kids into a closet with bruises on their body and this sparks for them to be taken away from their mother. Once in custody the kids have a fear of a woman…but not their mother and when they are found drowned in a nearby stream while in care their mother is blamed for the killings and is arrested. But things get worse when Anna and her own children soon find themselves being marked by La Llorona who is an evil sprit who was responsible for killing the kids in the stream as well as hundreds of others over the decades and now wants to murder Anna’s kids! Now Anna must find a way to save her kids before they end up just another number in the body count of La Llorona! This supernatural horror flick is part of The Conjuring universe and is filled with creepy moments and lots of jump scares that truly bring the classic Mexican legend to the big screen, that is perfectly casted and has a suspenseful pace. This movie did well for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in $54,733,739.00 on a budget of $9 million dollars showing that New Line is a very solid player in the Horror World again. This film is worth seeing for those who like The Conjuring films, enjoy the Weeping Woman Legend and who get scared from Supernatural Horror. Worth owning as I bought on DVD when released.

# 2

Years have passed and Pennywise The Dancing Clown has not been seen, until 23 years after the Losers Club brought him down in Derry, Maine. Now much older and forgetting the pas must reunite in back in Derry and try and end Pennywise once and for all, but this time this killer clown is fighting back and wants to end the Losers Club before they end him. This is yet another amazing, scary and spooky film based on the hit novel written by Stephen King. This second chapter is filled with some very nasty kills and moments and brings a feel of dread throughout it, not to even mention that Bill Skarsgard is once more fantastic as Pennywise and brings a real mean spirit to the character. What really works for this film is that it flows so well with Chapter 1 and the elements of youth and adulthood facing a terror are done so well. It’s crazy to thank that Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema are climbing back to the top when it comes to making Horror Movies with its only other main rival being Universal! The film did great for WB bringing in $211,593,228.00 on a budget of $79 million at the American Box Office. IT Chapter Two is a fantastic film that almost took my # 1 spot and was only slightly edged out, and yes worth owning on home media for sure.

# 1

Godzilla King Of The Monsters is one of those films that critics and online “fans” doomed at the Box Office with their over trashing and poor scores…but I for one say ignore all that nonsense and never trust Rotten Tomatoes and make up your own mind on films. This film as Monarch in trouble over not sharing with the world about all the Titans that live among us, and worse a terrorist group has decided to wake them up with the hopes they will destroy mankind and become the rulers of the world once more! So they wake up Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah among others….and the worlds only hope is Godzilla who needs to defend his thrown as Alpha when Ghidorah decides he wants to rule all the monsters and make the Earth in his own vision. In other words it’s Godzilla vs. Ghidorah with Rodan and Mothra injecting themselves into the fight! Add in the drama of Monarch and the terrorist group with a dash of family drama between a husband, wife and daughter and you have one entertaining film! The film stars the likes of Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe who all do fantastic and the score from Bear McCreary is amazing! This sequel to the 2014 film makes major improvements and delivers a good Kaiju film that is filled with some cool fights as well as badass monsters. The film sadly did not do great for Warner Brothers here in America bringing in only $110,500,138.00 on a massive budget of $170 million. While the negative modern Horror Fans may have trashed it on their social media those who go into movies to be Entertained and don’t spend the whole movies runtime looking for flaws enjoyed the hell out of it. Worth owning for sure!

2019 was filled with lots of great films and it was amazing to see all of the listed above in the theaters with my friends at all the different cinemas. I must say this year in Horror Movies was really good filled with so many good ones with only one being on the border of being one of the worst films I have seen in a very long time. But as you can see the usher is here and wants to clean up all the spilled drinks and popcorn from the floor, so I think it’s time for us to wrap up this review and before we go, I want to let you know that my next update is going to take us to an evil cursed house as we talk about Ju-On as the new film in the American Grudge series is in theaters now. So until next time watch a movie or three and support your local theater. See you next time to settle a Grudge.

Start Halloween with the Universal Monsters!

The late night has a chill, and the leaves are blowing in the air as we approach my favorite month with my favorite holiday that’s filled with ghost, goblins, witches and ghouls.  Of course I am talking about October and Halloween! Growing up, Halloween, also known as beggars night, was always one of the highlights of the year.  Dressing up in whatever costume you or your parents wanted and going around town and getting free candy from neighbors and hearing spooky stories shared amongst friends always seemed like a perfect night. In Waynesville, Halloween always seemed more special as I was younger and enjoyed seeing friends from school walking around town dressed up, getting the free candy and walking around with my brother and his friends. When we moved back to Kettering, I was much older and spent most Halloweens watching horror films on tape or TV or driving around backwoods with Matt Hoffman or Josh Weinberg. One funny story about driving around had Matt Hoffman and I driving late around Bellbrook on Halloween night.  I was dressed up as Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th), and he was dressed as The Wolf Hunter (a character he played in the movies we made).  We got lost and drove up what we thought was a small road that turned out to be someone’s driveway, and when we got to the house, a group of people were sitting on the porch and one had a shotgun in hand! Hoffman and I saw this, and I rolled down the window in the mask and all and said we were looking for the killer party, and then we quickly backed up and they just stared at us.  In my mind I was hoping they thought that we were real ghouls looking for a secret party. Before we get into the comic reviews on DELL Comics take on Universal Monsters Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Mummy and Creature From the Black Lagoon, I am going to share things that I look forward/think about every Halloween season!

The first thing is the Halloween decorations from cheap plastic skeletons to the traditional Jack O Lantern.  They make the season of fall seem so much more magical. Growing up my mom use to let me decorate the living room for Halloween.  It was quickly filled with ceramic painted ghosts and vampires, cardboard skeletons and frankenstein monsters in the windows and Addams Family flashlights of Lurch and Fester on the mantel. I like to drive around and look at Halloween displays people have in their yards and windows like some people do with Christmas decorations. I have seen some really cool stuff in Kettering, Waynesville and Fairborn.

witch halloween Decorationsjack-o-lanternwerewolf halloween Decorations

Another thing that kicks off the fall/Halloween season for me is the Sauerkraut Festival that my hometown Waynesville has put on for 44 years that’s always held of the second full week of October. The event is filled with great food, outdoor vendors that sell homemade crafts and almost all the amazing shops and restaurants are open for business. Over the years I notice the crowds at the event get bigger and bigger and lots of kids come and have fun. One of my best memories is buying ceramic halloween decorations that me and my mom later painted in her craft room that was also taken over as the NES Game Room, and also buying really cool homemade buttons of Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson and Billy Idol. If you have not ever been to this event and are a fan of homemade crafts and food and like the feel and fun of a small town, I would highly recommend you check out this fun festival.

Sauerkraut Festival  logo

Of course one of the best parts of Halloween is finding the right costume and dressing up as your favorite hero, fiend or celebrity. Over the years I can remember dressing up as Rell the Cyclops from Krull, Skeletor from Masters of the Universe, Dracula, a Clown, The Wolf Man, Bigfoot, Jason Voorhees, Billy Idol and Alice Cooper. The Rell costume was one that scarred me.  Longtime readers will know the story.  I dressed as The Wolf Man from my own film Werewolf of Ohio for a Halloween party held at my friends’, brother and sister Chris and Rosetta Workman’s old house in Troy. The lamest costume I can remember is being a clown.  My mom was too scared to put the black makeup close to my eyes so she left them bare. I looked like a meth addict clown who just couldn’t get his stuff together for that one last show of the night. One of my favorites was Dracula it was pretty cool putting in the fake teeth and wearing the cape with white grease paint on. But I also loved dressing as Bigfoot for my cousin Steve and his then girlfriend Emily’s Halloween Home Warming Party.  It was great spending a spooky night with friends like Max Ervin, Nate Stevens, Josh Weinberg and all the rest of the gang. Halloween lets anyone feel like a star as they can dress up and act like what ever they want to be.  If you want to be a zombie, then be it.  If you wanna be Lady GaGa, then dress like her! Below are a few pics of me from the ages dressed as all types of ghouls and fools.

me as clownme as draculame as wolfman couto as philme as bigfoot

The main point of Halloween is to go trick or treating, and every kid, with his pillow case, plastic pumpkin or plastic bag, hopes for the good stuff like Snickers, Kit Kats and Milky Ways and dreads candy corn, pennies and taffy. Some of my favorite treats to get were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  They were and still are my favorite candy to treat my sweet tooth to. I like the old wax type wrapper better then the more lame plastic type. Another favorite was Monster Candy sugar sticks put into boxes that showed Universal Monsters on them. We use to buy these to give out for Halloween by my request and before Halloween I would sneak and eat a few.  I am sure my Mom and Dad knew but didn’t care. One other fun one I use to love was Wax Lips.  Terrible candy, but a fun trick! I remember getting a pair one year that I would wear around and then in a few hours I decided to chew on them and made them into a wax ball….such a lame treat but really fun and lame entertainment. I wonder if I dressed as Bigfoot this year and went door to door here in Dayton, if people would give me candy….hmmm makes me wonder!

wax lipsreeses peanut butter cupmonster candy

Halloween TV Specials were also something I looked forward to and some of my favorites include The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” every year.  They are fun horror themed stories that have The Simpson family in situations that are not in the normal season story arcs. Roseanne had some of the best Halloween episodes on TV.  The Conners understood the spirt of Halloween, and the episodes were done so well and had that blue collar appeal to them that made them over the top yet realistic. As the series went on, they slowly lost some of the charm but Roseanne had some of the best episodes for this holiday. Two specials that used to air when I was younger every Halloween and that I still love to this day are “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” and ” Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.” Both were fun animated family entertainment.  Charlie Brown is the better of the two, and who can forget Chuck’s many holed ghost sheet and the fact he got a rock for a treat, classic stuff. Garfield had that wonderful ghost story meets John Carpenter’s The Fog feel to it, and the creepy old man that tells them the story is great stuff for young ones to get their bones chilled by. Halloween Specials are a fun way for TV Shows to cut loose and have fun and CBS, FOX, ABC and the rest need to look back at the golden age of specials on TV and bring this generation some spooky stuff for their Halloween nights.

The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror dvdRoseanne Halloween dvdcharlie brown halloween dvdGarfield Halloween Adventure VHS

Speaking of TV, another thing that Halloween Season always makes me think about is Shock Theatre and The New Shock Theater both hosted by the late great Dr. Creep! Late night TV watching in October was always a treat when Dr. Creep and crew would host a terrible b-movie shocker, and the Creeper would be on the screen hamming it up in skits and later interviews with the horror stars of the past and present. Halloween time in Dayton and the surrounding area always belonged to Dr. Creep who will always be the icon of fright to anyone who grew up watching his show. During the holiday time Creep would make many public appearances, one of which was the charity horror film event called Horrorama where films would be shown from 35mm prints and Creep, along side Andy Copp and Rick Martin and later myself, would hold contests and entertain the crowd in between films.  Fall will never be the same without the Creeper who sadly passed away in early 2011, and while he might be gone, he will never be forgotten and his local TV work will forever have a legacy that will entertain generations to come thanks to DVD and VHS.

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This time of year also brings the Halloween Specials of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre to local Dayton airwaves.  These hour long specials are some of my favorite episodes I shoot in a season and are for Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon, a long block of Horror film programing that airs on both DATV and MVCC. Baron Von Porkchop, the host of the show, always seems to get himself into trouble during this time of the year and for the first one The Baron meets the killer The Sadness from the film of the same name at Wright State University during another one of his killing rampages.  The second one had Baron hosting “Werewolf of Ohio” and going trick or treating with his weird hunchback friend Melvin.  They make the mistake of getting the wrath of The Headless Horseman after them! These episodes are so much fun to make and rank always as the top sellers for us at the end of each year. I hope that the fans have as much fun with them as The Baron and I have making them. I am also so glad to have dug up The Baron from his grave and share his silly adventures with the fans, and I hope that The Baron adds to people’s Halloween experience as Dr. Creep did for mine. I should also mention another great Halloween event is Boo-Fest, a Halloween party put on by a friend of the show named Len, that he has Baron Von Porkchop as the guest judge of the costume contest, a fun time with really good people.

Baron Halloween Special 1 DVDBaron Von PorkchopBaron Halloween Special 2 dvd

When I was young, McDonald’s was the cool place to eat for kids, and Happy Meals and the toys inside were things we all collected and traded on the playground. Some years around Halloween time they would also have pumpkin and ghost buckets for sale and when released they were everywhere in kids hands during trick or treat. But another thing I always remember is when the Chicken McNuggets in a commercial dressed as classic monsters.  I mean who can forget the Vampire McNugget or The Mummy McNugget? The commercial had them doing all kinds of silly stuff that all was to make their own dipping sauce.  Later in the short commercial Ronald McDonald just gave them dipping sauce. I don’t know why, but this commercial has always stuck with me and I thought it was even cooler when they gave away McNugget toys in the Happy Meals that had them dressed as the monsters. Fun stuff, and man now I am hungry for McNuggets!

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Kids and the young at heart always wish that Halloween Town from Tim Burtons “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was real.  Well here in Ohio, we have something very close with Foy’s Halloween Shop and all of it’s other shops (adult and kids costume stores, a haunted house supply shop, etc) in Fairborn! Foy’s is run by Mike Foy and is a one stop shopping for all your halloween needs they have masks, costumes, candy, decorations, make up, gag gifts and so much more. In October the store really comes alive with a DJ outside that plays music.  When Dr. Creep was with us, he signed autographs and DVDs out front. They have a Batman on top of one of the buildings and lots of animatronics of people puking! The street is filled with people just hanging around and having a good time.  Every year I try and make at least one trip to Foy’s in October because the over all energy of that area is great Halloween fun. If you ever find yourself in Ohio in October, do yourself a favor and check out Foy’s.

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Speaking of costumes the older I got, the more I took notice of the sexy halloween costumes that are just wowing. Halloween is one time a year when many hot ladies dress up as French Maids, Sexy Cats, Nurses and Playboy Bunnies and it’s like cosplay for the masses. Don’t want to spend to much time of this one, but I just want to say that women in sexy costumes is another reason I love Halloween! Thoough I will say that my girlfriend Juliet made a good observation that it’s harder for girls to find costumes that don’t have the word sexy associated with them.  Guys can be a scary Freddy Kruger while woman have to be Sexy Freddy Kruger.

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Halloween time also makes me think of my friend Max Ervin, a guy I knew for over 10 years and a guy that I worked with at two jobs. Max was like me, a big kid at heart and loved to look at Halloween stores and decorate the stores we worked at. His family also used go all out and decorate their house, and this I think always made the holiday special for Max. He also loved dressing up and every year jumped at the chance to come to work in costume. Max and I also loved to go to abandoned houses and root around hoping to find some cool stuff and maybe even get a slight chill. He also worked on many horror films with me and was a fan of cheesy horror like myself. Sadly, the world lost Max this year and I will forever miss his friendship.  He truly was a fun spirit who knew how to make the world around him laugh. Rest In Peace my friend, this Halloween blog is for you. Below are some pics of Max in Halloween costumes and one of him and I at Steve’s Halloween Party.

max and memax as indianmax outlaw

What is Halloween without The Universal Monsters? The answer to the question is a little less fun for me! Growing up I loved the classic black and white horror films.  Every Halloween I use to watch the 1932 Frankenstein on VHS, and as I acquired more of the Universal Monsters VHS releases, they joined in the October must watch list. Besides the fact they are great films, the characters themselves are traditional scary monsters that kids and adult dress up as and all seem to mimic when thinking of that said monster. I can remember a few years back sitting in my darkened room with the TV glow as the only light as a thunderstorm poured down outside as I watched Frankenstein on DVD.  The sensation of watching the classic film on a night like that in mid October made me think of how terrifying this film was for movie goers in the 1930’s.  They must have been in total shock as The Monster, played by Boris Karloff, first appeared on screen with his bolted neck and flat scarred up head. The Universal Monster films are also a fun way to watch “scary” movies with your kids and help add to their Halloween experience.  So this Halloween do me a favor and watch a Universal Monster Classic and enjoy the horror pictures of the past.

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Horror films are my favorite kind of films.  Up to 89% of my movie collection is made up of horror movies, and like most people during the fall and October, I watch a lot of them. When thinking of horror films during this time of the year, the series that always pops into my head is “Halloween” with its white masked killer Michael Myers who stalks and kills teens and adult alike on Halloween night. This series happens to be my favorite of the mainstream franchises and is a series one should watch the week of the holiday. Modern horror fans might also think about the “Saw” or “Paranormal Activity” series.  Both that had sequels that came out every October.  While I like the Saw films, the Paranormal Activity series has run its course after the second film. At least one day in October I set some time back and watch mass amounts of them, and this year I watched Hatchet III, Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead (2013), Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, Cabin In The Woods, Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, Corpse Eaters, Stephen King’s IT, Demons, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,  Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Mummy’s Hand, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Venom, Dawn of the Mummy, C.H.U.D., Frankenstein Stalks,  Miss Werewolf, The Wolf Man (1941), Curse of the Werewolf, I, Madman, The Wolf Hunter, Maniac Cop, Dracula (1931), An American Werewolf in Paris, Curse of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and so many more! So this holiday season try and watch a film series like Friday The 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Howling, Re-Animator, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Phantasm, Psycho, Tombs of The Blind Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or whatever you choose and have a fun fright filled night, cause Halloween is not complete without the horror films!

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One film that takes place around Halloween and is one of my favorite cheesy 80’s horror films is a little film called “Trick or Treat” directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Marc Price as Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer, Tony Fields as Sammi Curr, Lisa Orgolini as Leslie Graham with cameos from Gene Simmons of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne. The film is about rockstar Sammi Curr who dies in a hotel fire coming back via a vinyl record.  When his # 1 fan Eddie plays the record backwards he gets messages from Curr on how to get even with the bullies of the school. When Eddie turns against the orders of Curr when people start getting hurt, Curr comes back to life to finish the killing spree he wanted. The film is pure 80’s hair metal horror that has the killer Sammi Curr traveling through electricity and using his guitar to kill teens with bolts of lightning. I first saw the film when I was 10 years old while my brother Bryan and I were being babysat by our older cousin Chris Jones who before this fed us Taco Bell and bought me a Hulk comic off the comic rack at a local convenience store. He and his friend put it on, and I watched it and thought wow this movie is great.  As I started collecting Horror films on VHS, I went out of my way to find a copy of it for sale at all the local video stores and second hand stores. A fun fact: my cat Leslie is named after the love interest of Eddie in this film. If you like 80’s rock, a killer who dances, plays guitar and sings, then this is a film for you. Be warned the film is not a bloodbath slasher film but more of a supernatural film. Also last year’s Horrorama and the last one we were able to show 35mm film prints for, Andy Copp was able to get a print for us to show so that I could see the film the way it was suppose to be seen. The film was also planned to be a franchise with many sequels like A Nightmare on Elm Street, but the it did poorly at the boxoffice and the plans for the series were scrapped. So in the words of Sammi Curr aka Fastway (the band who did the soundtrack) “Knock, Knock. Knockin For A Sweet Surprise..It’s a Trick Or Treat”!

sammi currTrick or Treat PosterSami Curr Lives

When I was younger I use to really want to get a group of my friends together in the woods next to a camp fire and tell scary stories like in the Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark” but this sadly never came about. But what I did spend a lot of time doing was reading ghost stories from old cheap paperbacks that I would by from the school book fairs. My favorite one to read was “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” by Alvin Schwartz that had creepy drawings by Stephen Gammell and all that book’s sequels. That series of books had short stories about murders, ghosts, ghouls and pranks gone wrong and each story was well written and had a creepy illustration to accompany it. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a book that has a cult following to this day and I know many of people my age and younger that still love reading these creepy stories from time to time. Two other popular series of books that were big when I was younger were both written by R.L. Stine, the geared for kids”Goosebumps” and the geared for teens “Fear Street.” Growing up I read many of these books and for some reason read Goosebumps: The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb a lot. Also around this time teen thriller novels based on Michael Myers (Halloween), Jason Voorhees (Friday The 13th) and Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street) hit the market, and while they were very cheesy they still were fun.  I remember reading the Friday the 13th ones after I checked them out from the library. One of my favorite books to read were the “Crestwood Monster Series” that were facts, plots and later the novel adaptations of classic horror and sci-fi films.  The series would cover Dracula, Godzilla, The Mummy, King Kong and so many more monsters. I own some of these books that I bought when I was younger from a library sale in Waynesville. More great reads that I learned about in my teens were the “Haunted Ohio” series written by Chris Woodyard.  They are real life tellings of hauntings in the state of Ohio and covers all the famous stories that are said to spook us Ohioans. If you’re a ghost hunter and sprit chaser like myself, these books are worth a read. And of course there are all the classic novels one thinks about around this time like Bram Stokers “Dracula”, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, H.G. Wells “Invisible Man” & “War of The Worlds” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to name a few. Or you could even read novelizations of horror films that flooded the market in the late 70’s and through out the 90’s. Novels are fun ways to work the mind and give yourself a fright this halloween season!

scary stories to tell in the dark bookGoosebumps The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb bookhalloween old myers place bookmonster series mad scientist bookHaunted Ohio booklegend of sleepy hollow book

This time also makes me think of video games and all the horror themed ones that have come out in my generation of being a gamer. I play a lot of video games and have played so many survival horror games that I could write a full blog on just that so I will be brief and only talk about a few. I remember playing “Haunted House” for Atari 2600 at Brad Burns’ house, a neighbor from across the street in Waynesville.  The game is simple and has a pair of eyes looking around a dark maze trying to finds pieces of an urn while dodging bats and spiders. The game was pretty lame but I remember always asking to play it because it was a horror themed game. I also remember Brad making fun of the game. Another game I played a lot was for PC and was on diskettes that he bought from a thrift store called “Isle Of The Dead” when he first bought his own PC. The game had you play a surviver of a plane crash that landed on an island run by a mad scientist and overrun by zombies.  This was a first person shooter that was one on the imitations of Doom. The game was super cheesy and would crash a lot but I remember so hard trying to beat it and not coming close. Another PC game I played a lot was “Waxworks,” a horror game that would send you to different time periods to retrieve stolen goods and kill evil beings. I used to play this game a lot and had fun doing so.  It was pure first person meets point and click game and had a great soundtrack. Lastly I will talk about “The Walking Dead: The Video Game” made by TellTale Games, a point and click adventure that follows Lee who was on his way to prison for murder and escapes when the zombie outbreak happens and comes across a little girl named Clementine who he in turns protects through out this amazing plotted game. This was one of my favorite horror games for the PS3 era of survival horror. But this is just a drop in the hat to all the wonderful horror games out there like the series Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Dead Space, Castlevania, F.E.A.R., Doom and so many more. Horror video games much like the movies, shows and novels go hand and hand with the season, and are worth playing for a bone chilling good time.

Haunted house atariisle of the dead pcWaxWorks pcWalking Dead the video game ps3

One thing I look forward to every Halloween that takes place on the internet is “Monster Madness,” a show done by James Rolfe aka The Angry Video Game Nerd where he talks about horror films and gives mini reviews and facts about the movie he is covering. James knows his stuff, and it’s cool to see that he not only loves video games but also horror films, and he also has a soft spot for the Universal Monster films and holds them in a high respect so he goes up on the cool points in my book. I highly recommend his sequel-a-thon where he covers Universal’s Frankenstein, Hammer’s Dracula, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween series.  It’s a super fun watch and filled with some great opinions and facts. Also his Godzilla series retrospective is an amazing watch and brought back many great memories of the past sitting and watching them on TBS and VHS. Another good watch is his Top Ten Lost Horror Film Countdown.  While not part of Monster Madness, it is still one hell of a good watch, as are his Nerd Halloween specials that cover horror themed games. James Rolfe and his shows are now apart of my holiday tradition and are worth checking out.

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Horrorama is a charity event that happens every Halloween and was started in 1997 by horror host Dr. Creep, filmmaker Andy Copp and Rick Martin and is going strong to this day. I joined the group over 6 years ago and have been helping out ever since, bringing great films to the screen all for charity and for the audience to have a good spooky time. The event has trivia, contests and even one year a Miss Horrorama Pageant that had a young lady named Jesi Witt win for being a female Beetlejuice and let me say the ghost with the most never looked that good. The event is a mainstay here in the Dayton area and I hope it’s something many people look forward to every year.  I will say that the event this year will be a little sadder for me as Andy Copp my friend, film mentor and all around great guy passed away early this year.  I always looked forward to planning this event with him and hearing his ideas and opinions on what films we should show. Andy was the one guy who really pushed me into making films and much like my old media teacher, I think he saw the potential in me. Andy is truly missed, and this year’s Horrorama is for him!

rick martin dr creep andy copp old schoolhorrorama 2011rick martin me andy copp

Dayton’s Scare-A-Thon is a public access marathon of horror films and shows that Terrifying Tales of the Macabre does Halloween Specials for. The event was the brain child of Henrique Couto, a filmmaker who is like a little brother to me, who decided Halloween around here needs a little more. The event aired on both DATV, MVCC and via DVD at Game Swap and also marked the return on Dr. Freak, who at one time was the world’s youngest horror host, as he did a new “Cult Theater” just for this marathon! The event also played many Pop Cinema horror titles and one year had live segments with callers! Overall this block of TV programming is some good stuff and is perfect for the background at any Halloween party. Oh yeah I should also say that during the live segments two years back, I dressed up as Scars, a werewolf I played in the Independent B Movie film “Bark At The Moon: Scars.”  So that was a nice fun tribute to that film. Scare-A-Thon is taking a break this year, but here’s top hopping it makes a return for Halloween 2014.

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I know I’m not alone in knowing that October also brings the breakfast monster cereal back onto shelves as General Mills puts out Count Chockula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry for a limited time, but man it sure does make Halloween even sweeter. The best out of the three is Chockula, and my least favorite is Boo Berry, but mixing Boo Berry with the other flavors is really good and worth trying if you haven’t. Growing up I remember the animated commercials and wishing they would be full cartoons that would have aired on Saturday mornings and sparked toys and comics that I for sure would have bought. I remember growing up when they sold the cereal year round and eating many of boxes for breakfast and snacks over those years. Previously Fruit Brute and the Fruity Yummy Mummy didn’t get re-released because they were shorter lived on store shelves than the rest of the monsters, but this year they’re making an appearance next to the big 3. I have crayons of all the monsters besides Fruit Brute (who was not made) and they are some amazing sculpted prizes that were given away with proof of purchase. The Breakfast Monsters just help add to my Halloween excitement and are something I look forward to every year.

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Those are just a few of the things I remember and look forward to every Halloween time, but now it’s time to get to the comics that are Dell’s take on the classic monsters of Universal films. A total of five comics were made and were released from 1962-63 are were a part of the “Movie Classics” line that was popular for them. It’s a shame that none of these one-shots sparked a full run comic series because I would have loved to have collected a run of comics that told me what The Wolf Man was doing after the films had stopped. The only one of these issues I had ever read was The Wolf Man and that’s been some 8 years ago.  The rest I am going into blind so I am very much looking forward to reading what ideas this comic company had for these classic characters of the silver screen. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So with that, let’s get onto these spooky reviews! Oh yeah and these will have spoilers to the issues so you have been warned. Thanks to Bell Book and Comic, Mavericks Cards and Comics, Ebay and my pal David J. Getz for hooking me up with these comics and making this Halloween update of Rotten Ink possible.

The Mummy 1

The Mummy # 1   * 1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #211 of ?

A unknown tomb is found in Egypt, and when it’s opened The Mummy of Ahmed is set loose.  The Mummy goes out for revenge on the ancestors of those who buried him alive after he was convicted of being a follower of Seth, the God of evil and was left to suffer for generations in a tomb that was hidden away. Ahmed uses his eyes to hypnotize a few men and has them do his bidding, eventually killing themselves in horrific ways. But when Egyptian beauty Kipa gets a scroll that is a death note, her American boyfriend Bart figures out that she is next to be killed and along with the police they are able to capture The Mummy Ahmed.  The Mummy escapes but is killed as he falls from pyramid steps and shatters at the bottom. But Bart and the police chief wonder if The Mummy really gone as his laughter fills the night air.

This is one of the weirdest and dumbest Mummy stories I have ever read! The Mummy Ahmed can talk and uses his eyes to hypnotize people into doing what he wants and worst of all he can run and move fast plus shoots lasers from his eyes.  One of the goofiest things about this Mummy is that when trying to run away he is tackled by the American Bart and then handcuffed and put into the back of a police car….how weird and lame is that? Just think about that image of The Mummy in handcuffs in the back of a cop car.  It’s mind numbing. Plus The Mummy dies after falling down stairs, what a lame way to go.  The heroes of this comic are Bart and the police chief, and both are pretty much a waste and only add a very generic good guy character to this rushed story.  Kipa is also a waste and adds nothing to this story besides being the would-be victim . One funny moment has Kipa showing that she wore special contact lenses to protect her from the stare of Ahmed, and this so reminds me of something you would have seen in a classic Dick Tracy comic strip with BB Eyes or an episode of the 60’s live action Batman TV show. This comic is a pure disappointment and is a bad start for Dell’s Universal Monster comic tie-ins. This comic has nothing to do with the Universal films based on The Mummy and really comes off as a cheesed version of a horror story comic that was written by a 10 year old who likes sci-fi films and thinks lasers are cool. The cover is very well done and by looking so cool helps lead you to the disappointment that is this issue.  The interior artwork is pretty good and The Mummy looks like Kris, played by Lon Chaney Jr. in several of The Mummy sequels. Over all this is a bad start for the Dell series and makes me hope that Dracula will be better.  So with that let’s move onto that issue and the second in this series.

Dracula 1

Dracula # 1   **1/2
Released in 1962   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   #212 of ?

Basil Shawcross is driving late during a rain storm to get to the home of his close friend Janos Tesla, an expert on myths and folklore. Basil is there to ask about vampires and dismisses everything his friend is telling him as medical issues and nothing more. Janos questions why his friend came on a night like this only to argue about the information he is asking for.  Basil breaks down and tells Janos his son died in Transylvania and how be believes he has been wrongly pronounced dead, especially after his son met a girl in the graveyard named Irina.  Basil wants his friend to travel and get answers with him. The pair travel to Transylvania and only get news that his son’s body is missing and more talk of vampires. Basil still doesn’t want to hear this and late that night he gets a visit from his son, who, along with Irina, takes him to Castle Dracula where Count Dracula tries to bully him into bringing them fresh blood.  Unbeknownst to all, Janos has followed and uses wolfsbane and garlic powder to frighten off the vampires, but its too late for his friend Basil who dies during the commotion. In the end Janos tells the townspeople that he will kill Dracula and the vampires and avenge his friend.

This title is a slow moving classic comic style thriller that has one weak payoff in the Dracula department and in the “final” battle. Most of the issue features Janos Tesla and Basil Shawcross in a den late at night during a rain storm speaking in front of a fire about vampire folklore and about Bruce Shawcross’ odd death in Transylvania. While this aspect is interesting and helps build the scares, the payout is not worth the wait as Dracula only appears in three pages of the comic and when around really adds nothing but a few lines, one a rehash of him talking about not drinking wine. The idea that Dracula really just wants blood delivered to him so that he doesn’t have to go out and kill is something that should have been more of the focus of this comic and maybe had Basil being torn about doing it in hopes this would help his son in some way.  But then again that would have taken away from the den talking. The end makes you think that this comic would have sparked a series based on Janos and his quest to end Dracula but instead it lead to a comic series about a super hero named Dracula who uses bat blood….yeah. This comic has very little to do with the film it was based on, and that’s a shame because I would have loved this to be all about Count Dracula. The cover is great and eye catching and captures the Bela Lugosi Dracula look and mood.  The art inside is okay and looks like most Dell comics from the 60’s, and Dracula inside only slightly looks like Lugosi. While this is not a bad horror comic, it just is a weak comic based on Universal’s Dracula, and would have gotten at least another 1/2 star if it would have not claimed to be connected to the film. Let’s see how the Creature does and if Dell can deliver a solid comic based on these classic cinema monsters.

The Creature 1

The Creature # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 302 of ?

Scott Warden is a paleontologist who has been sent a hand of some sort of creature that once lived in the deep waters of the Amazon.  When the scientist who sent it goes missing near the site the hand was found, Scott tries to go along on a trip with a rich man named Dudley Gaustad.  At first he wants nothing to do the Scott until his diver Mitch Love and his olympic swim star sister Monica Love convince him it’s a good idea to have him aboard and that he can also help dive and find the treasure that Gaustad is looking for. Upon arriving in the Amazon, they meet the ship captain and against the crew’s wishes Gaustad hires former Nazis as crew members who are clearly helping to gain something in return. When they get to their spot, the weather is super hot and Monica goes for a swim and captures the attention of The Creature who watches her every move.  When Scott and Mitch go for a dive they are not sure but think they might have seen something in the waters. That night The Creature attacks and kills some of the crew and this is when the remaining two Nazi’s make their move and hold the group captive, wanting to use them to find the gold that they think is hidden in the waters below. The next morning Mitch, Scott and Dudley are forced to dive and into the water.  Dudley is attacked by The Creature and then becomes lunch for piranha.  As Scott and Mitch flee, The Creature comes aboard the ship, killing the nazis and flinging them into the piranha feeding frenzy and chasing Monica in the water as she swims to get away. Scott and Mitch see this and come to her aid and kill the Creature with spear guns and take his body back to the USA to be studied as the boat is going away the waters below is shown to house many more Creatures.

This issue starts off very slow and the build up is for the most part boring, but once they get to the Amazon and meet the one time Nazi’s and The Creature shows up this comic starts to become really fun. Scott is your typical smart hero, who while a nerd is still a strong heroic guy who wants to get to the bottom of what The Creature is and when it comes time he deals with him and delivers quick painful death. Mitch Love is just the background friend who adds the extra muscle and filler to make it all connect to Scott as Mitch was once in the navy with him. Monica Love is the beauty for the hero and the monster to both fall in love with and the comic also adds two other sleazy characters to fall for her, making Monica the most powerful character in the comic as she has all the love of the major and minor players. Dudley Gaustad is a rich asshole who is not a total creep but gets the worst death in the whole comic.  It’s pretty messed up how he goes from punching bag to fish food in mere panels. The Nazis are scum as always and are the true bad guys of the comic while The Creature does what he does best:  kill and try to make it with human women. The idea behind the story is pretty good and as I stated while it takes time to really get going, it does have that old horror film charm to it.  I was not too keen on the fact that a whole race of Creatures are living in the waters.  I like the idea of only one being left in the world. Adding the Nazis was a nice touch as well and really gives the reader some characters to hate because let’s be honest, no one reading this comic can truly hate the Creature. The cover is okay and only somewhat looks like The Creature (Gillman).  As for the art inside, I really liked it because it had the EC comic feel and The Creature looked like he should. This comic is a closer to the Universal films based on the character and is a big improvement over The Mummy! Next up is The Frankenstein’s Monster so let’s see what Dell does with him.

Frankenstein 1

Frankenstein # 1   ***
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 305 of ?

Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz are creating life in the lab, but things go wrong when Fritz steals a criminal brain and The Monster awakens after being struck by lightning. The Monster stumbles around the room and is angered by Fritz who uses a torch to keep him at bay.  The Monster decides to leave the castle and roam the countryside where he accidentally leads two young teens to their deaths.  The townspeople are furious and burn down Frankenstein’s Castle as The Monster, Fritz and the Dr. hide in a secret bunker.  As days pass, Dr. Frankenstein gets an idea to leave Europe and head to New York to show a group of scientist that he has created life.  Frankenstein uses hypnosis on The Monster to listen to his commands and along with Fritz, the three are smuggled to America, but along the way the Dr. becomes power mad and uses The Monster to kill people that are getting in his way to become the top scientist he thinks he should be. In New York, Dr. Frankenstein speaks to the science community, but Fritz once more screws up and sets The Monster free.  It goes on a rampage and heads back towards the boat that brought him there and makes the mistake of getting on one with explosives and starting a fire! Frankenstein and Fritz try to save The Monster but it’s too late.  As they dive into the waters The Monster is left to burn on the boat.

This is a fun re-imagining of the classic 1932 Universal Frankenstein film and is truly what these comics should have been like! While I would love to have them directly follow the films, I am fine with them taking the characters from the film and proposing a what if world around them. The Monster is very much the confused brute he should be at first and while people die, he does this by accident and feels terrible for what he has done. You really feel for him when Dr. Frankenstein barks orders at him to kill and he must do so against his will. Plus his death is very much in the same vein as how he dies in the film.  Instead of a windmill in Europe, it’s now a boat in New York. Fritz in this comic is a pure dumbass and is the cause of most of the troubles in the issue, from stealing the wrong brain to waking The Monster at the wrong time he is a true moron! And with him being such a pain, it makes you wonder why Dr. Frankenstein would bring him all the way to New York knowing all his mistakes in the past haved caused so much issues. Dr. Frankenstein is a power hungry man that only cares about fame and proving his critics wrong.  The fact he would order his Monster to kill changes him so much from the film that you find yourself disliking him in the comic. He almost feels like the character is only a pinch of Universal Dr. Frankenstein and a whole lot of Hammer Horror Dr. Frankenstein who was way more mean spirited. The plot is well thought out and brings the horror to America and closer to home for the younger readers of 1963.  I am sure this added to the shock and wonder. I for one really enjoyed this issue and would have loved to see this go onto a full series.  This marks the best so far of the Dell Movie Classics Universal Monsters run. So let’s see how the final issue in the series holds up as we take a look at The Wolf Man!

The Wolf Man 1

The Wolf Man # 1   *1/2
Released in 1963   Cover Price .12   DELL Comics   # 308 of ?

Milo Zak has just graduated collage and is now a doctor who wants to return to his hometown, a small village that still cures its sick with an old witch and a gypsy and bases everything off superstition. When returning home he is reunited with his girlfriend Lyana and his aunt & uncle and quickly opens a doctor’s office that does no business.  This makes him want to set out to prove that his medicine is better than any of the old remedies. But his goal to prove superstition and supernatural takes a turn for the worse when he meets Vorcla, a man who can control wolves and uses his power to take money from the villagers.  Milo decides to prove him as a fake and embarrasses him in front of the whole town! The town starts to believe in Milo as the witch and gypsy warn him that his future looks bad.  It indeed turns bad as Vorcla, who has been banned from the town, comes back and kills his aunt and uncle and many of the townspeople and then bites Milo making him a werewolf. Lyana calls for one of Milo’s school buddies who comes to town and kills Vorcla with a silver cane and frees Milo of his curse.

This comic has absolutely nothing to do with the Universal film and should not have The Wolf Man named attached to it.  This comic does not have a single mention of Larry Talbot. Vorcla is the bad guy, and he is only somewhat a werewolf as he walks around even during the day looking like a crazed beast with style in his suit, cape and hat. His only real power is he can control wolves and he can pass on his curse of being whatever he is. Milo Zak, who is the main focus of the comic, is a man who has embraced modern medicine and turned his back on the old ways of his home town, and by doing so he messes with the wrong person and some of his family and friends pay the price as he is also cursed with werewolf meets vampire like powers. Tha’ts the one dumb thing about this comic, the “Werewolf” Vorcla always looks like a hairy freak who walks around and talks like a normal man and controls the minds of wolves.  When he’s passing on the curse, he bites Milo on the neck like a vampire and neither casts a reflection in the mirror….yeah, who ever wrote this mess got the legends of vampires and werewolves mixed up. This is the most disappointing of the Dell Universal Monster Comics for me as The Wolf Man has always been my favorite, and he deserved way better than this mess that only uses his name to try and draw in readers. The art is okay and once more has that classic 60’s horror comic look.  The “werewolf” Vorcla looks more like Jack The Ripper meets Mr. Hyde, and the cover is pretty generic showing the outline of Wolf Man with a snow background.  Much like the name, the cover is misleading as this comic doesn’t have a flake of snow in it. This comic didn’t live up to what it could have been and gets only one and a half star because it’s so far away from the source material that it’s an insult to fans of the film. And that marks the end of the Dell run!

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I want to say that these comics are NOT terrible, and while The Mummy and The Wolf Man got low stars it’s because they went way too far away from the source material. This series is very dated and the twists that they took with characters for the most part don’t work! I went in looking at these as re-imaginings of the films, and while I can respect the attempt at reinventing the monsters’ images and stories, I am not sure why some of them lost the very essence of what the monster was. Dracula is the closest one to what he should be followed closely by both Frankenstein’s Monster and The Creature, while The Wolf Man is the farthest away from the source followed by The Mummy. The best drawn of these comic would have to be The Creature followed really closely by Frankenstein.  Both have a great style, and Frankenstein has some amazing panels that use odd colors very well to enhance the chilling factor. Once more The Wolf Man comes in with the worst as his comic is very bland and run of the mill cheap horror comic style, though I will say I do like how they tried to use shadows in many of the panels. Over all I did have a lot of fun reading these comics and did enjoy the fact that Dell tried to update and deliver Universal Monsters to comic readers of the early 60’s and wish more comic companies today would take chances in what they put out besides 7 different books with Wolverine or Batman in them. Our next update will continue the Halloween spirit, and we will take a look at a small company called Northstar as they did a four issue loose comic adaptation of the film “Leatherface: A Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.”  So until then, stay scared!

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