From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Giant Spider Invasion

The 70’s were filled with nature run amuck Horror Films, and many of them had to do with animals and one of these films was the 1975 cult classic Giant Spider Invasion, a film that was so cheesy and goofy that movie goers for decades have enjoyed! And you guessed it, this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update will be all about Giant Spider Invasion as I feel this is a great time to chat about this movie as well as the promo comic adaptation of it. So arm yourself with spider repellent and watch out for webs as we don’t want to fall victim for these giant spiders who want us all dead!

So let’s first take a look at the Giant Spiders, their killing ways, and why they are so massive! The Spiders’ origin is that they have fallen from space while inside rocks that also contain diamonds. Once freed from their stone homes, they wreak havoc on people and animals as they eat the flesh of both and grow very rapidly to massive size. The Giant Spiders use their speed and size in order to take down their victims as well as their many legs and sharp fangs that they rip and tear human flesh with. They also use their webs in order to trap humans so they can go in for the kill. The larger ones can use their size also to bring down homes and hiding spots while the smaller ones can get into tighter spaces and cause damage and harm. They also can use fear to their advantage as most people freak out when they are seen and cause people to panic and make mistakes when trying to flee. They also can kill in packs, making them deadly not only on their own but more so when they are together and can swarm and overwhelm. They also can shrug off gunfire, as it has no effect on them. While the Giant Spiders are dangerous, they do have some weakness and it all comes from a hole that was created by them falling to Earth that acts as a black hole and is the source of them living; if the hole can be closed the Giant Spiders die off! So as you can see these, Giant Spiders from Space really are very deadly and they have a taste of human flesh!

So now that we have taken a look at the Giant Spiders, we are at the point where we should take a look at the film they are from. As always, the film’s write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB with everything that follows coming from my own words. So if you’re ready, I am ready to talk about some very large and angry space spiders who want to ruin days and make us all their human prey.

Giant Spider Invasion (1975)

A black hole hits North Wisconsin and opens a door to other dimensions. Giant 15 meter spiders emerge from it, who have an appetite for human flesh! Dr. Jenny Langer and Dr. Vance from the NASA try to save the world.”

Transcentury Pictures teamed with director Bill Rebane to make a Horror Science Fiction film that would feature giant spiders running wild in a small town. And with a budget of only $300 thousand the film Giant Spider Invasion went into production in order to cash in on the killer animal trend of Hollywood with Bill Rebane as the director and the script by Robert Easton. Richard L. Huff handled the casting that included aging actors like Alan Hale Jr., Steve Brodie, Barbara Hale and Leslie Parrish as well as fresh faces like Diane Lee Hart who would do the film’s nude scene. The film’s special effects for the giant spiders was mostly done with puppets as well as a car made up to look like a spider, adding to the film’s over all cheap and silly feel. The film’s score was handed by Bill Rebane as well, and once done the film was released by Group 1 and was a Box Office hit here in the US as it did $2,347,000.00 making it very profitable. After the film was done with its theatrical run, it would gain more fans when shown on ABC a total of three times. It would also gain more fans again when it was featured on the Horror Host shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 plus Dr. Creep’s New Shock Theater and even was praised by Razzie Movie Award creator John Wilson as being a bad movie worth seeing. The film would also be released on VHS, DVD and even Blu-Ray and became a massive cult classic film! Director Bill Rebane is known for his other very cheesy films Monster a Go-Go, Rana: Legend Of Shadow Lake and Blood Harvest to name a few. This film in 1975 was released alongside such other Horror Movies as Jaws, The Devils Rain, Legend Of The Werewolf, Night Of The Seagulls, Bug, Deep Red and many more! So while this film was lost in the shuffle of better films, it still made its mark on the world of Horror.

My first memories of seeing this film was when Dr. Creep showed it on his public access rebirth show New Shock Theater back in the early 2000’s, and I also remember it showing on MST3K proving the Horror Host are a great way to be introduced to movies. The thing about seeing Giant Spider Invasion is that it was a cheesy film that, while entertaining, I would always just wish I was watching the films that inspired it like the Universal Monster films “Deadly Mantis” and “Tarantula” or even the films that followed it like “Grizzly” and “Day of the Animals.” Now I am not saying that Giant Spider Invasion is bad, it’s just an okay animal runs amok film that features lots of aging actors and poorly put together giant spiders. When watching the film, I can remember always laughing out loud about just how bad the spiders looked in many of the scenes, but always enjoyed the quick nudity scene of Diane Lee Hart who I knew from the comedy film The Pom Pom Girls. It’s also really funny to see Alan Hale Jr. as the police chief when all you can really see him as is The Skipper from Giligan’s Island, even at one point he calls someone little buddy…so cheesy! The thing about this film is while I have seen it multiple times I just never really had a connection to it and for the longest time only owned the Horror Hosted versions of the film before finally breaking down and getting the Retro-Media release in order to get the comic reprint to cover for this blog update. So if you like Horror Sci-Fi films based on giant spiders that attack humans in a small town that is directed by a master of b-movies and is packed with old TV actors…this film is for you! And keep in mind I do not hate this movie. I really do enjoy it just don’t have much to say about it nor any cool stories about watching it besides the fact Dr. Creep hosted it.

So with that it’s time we take a look at the promo comic for Giant Spider Invasion that was originally given away at the theater and was later reprinted for the DVD release. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this DVD & Comic combo in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind you all that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to put your arachnophobia aside and come take a look at Giant Spiders from Outer Space with me, we should get to it!

Giant Spider Invasion # 1    **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price FREE      Group 1      #1 of 1

Ev and Dan Kester discover a meteor that fell from space and crash landed on their farm and inside this space rock is diamonds like they have never seen before! But they fail to notice there’s also a spider…while this is going on Dr. Jenny Langer is calling NASA to warn them of the radiation that also has came with the meteor. Little do Dan and Ev know that their house is being over run by the space spiders who are also growing in size, and with this the couple meet their end by the fangs of the spiders who are also now making their way toward town! Dr. Jenny along with some soldiers arrive and think that a black hole in space is what’s feeding the spider and causing them to grow massive! While the townspeople arm themselves and try to kill the spiders and save others, a massive 30-foot spider has entered the town and all looks doomed as our mini promo comic comes to an end and informs us to go to the theater and see this movie!

This is a very cool little theater promo comic from the 70’s that I am sure did its job and got movie goers to flock to their local cinema and see the film! This is one thing movie makers are lacking right now is making free promo comics to give away to movie goers I mean imagine if movies like Hell Fest, The Conjuring and Sinister had cool comics made and given out…these From Horror Movie To Horror Comic updates could go on forever! Now I need to also stress this promo comic is super short and is only 4 pages long as both front and back cover is used for story as well. Our plot is also very simple and has a meteor falling from space that is also caring space spiders that grow massive here on Earth and start killing in a small Wisconsin town. Our hero of this short comic is Dr. Jenny Langer who is the one who warns of the fallout of radiation from the meteor and is the one who tries to enlist the help of NASA as well as find the source of the spawning point. Dan and Ev Kester are a couple who seem more into harvesting the diamonds and not paying attention to their farm being infested by spiders who are growing large at an alarming rate, but they of course meet their end by fangs. The Giant Spiders are the baddies of the comic and man once they grow they become aggressive, are unstoppable and very mean spirited. In fact even smaller the spiders are very much blood thirsty and want to kill any human who comes close to them. The comic does not have any blood and has two confirmed deaths that happen off panel, but while it does not show the red stuff, it does have a great classic horror atmosphere that will surely please fans of old school 50’s horror movies. I am not sure on who did the art, but I will say one thing it’s pretty dang great and I wish that Dell Comics or Gold Key Comics would have made this into a full comic with the same artist brought on board. The cover is pretty great as it’s the movie poster mostly with the bottom half being the first four panels of our adaptation. Over all this is a pretty great promo comic that adapts a cheesy B-Horror Movie that also leaves us as a reader on a cliffhanger making us want to see the movie to figure out how we can rid ourselves of these pesky Giant Spiders! Check out the art below to see how great the art is in this promo comic.

So as you can see Giant Spider Invasion is a fun movie that had a fun promo comic book that shows even the cheesiest of the B-Movies can make a great comic book for fans of Horror Comics. Plus for many people spiders let alone giant ones will always strike fear into their hearts and this short comic delivers scares for those with the heebie jeebies of these eight-legged creatures. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Movies behind and will be taking a look at another Atlas Comic superhero with Demon Hunter, should be a real fun time. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we go on a demon hunt!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: The Mole People

The Universal Monsters are in some of my most favorite Horror and Science Fiction films and have been something I have really been into since I was a very young kid. Looking over my list of comics to choose for a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” I quickly decided on the Warren Photo Comic Magazine for The Mole People as I think they are very underrated when it comes to classic monsters and are sadly often forgotten when fans talk about great Universal Horror. So for this update we are going to showcase the Mole People and let them shine in the spooky spotlight of Rotten Ink. So if you’re ready, let’s go underground and visit with the Mole People!

Let’s first take a look at the Mole People who are the film’s bad guys and also good guys as they walk the line. The Mole People are a race of humanoid moles who walk upright and are underground dwellers who have been forced to be slave labor to the Shadow Dynasty who are a batch of albino people who think they are the only living people. The Mole People have a very odd appearance with a lumpy style skin and have big eyes plus weird mouths. The Mole People, while slaves, do act out and have ideas and motives of their own, and they are also very much a horde society that have a history of eating human flesh! The Mole People, while slow and lumbering, use their weird appearance to scare victims with their main source of killing coming from their massive clawed hands that can rip and tear human flesh with ease. They also can burrow deep underground to travel faster and can pull victims under with their raw power that is well above an average man’s. But while The Mole People are killing machines when pushed, they also have some intelligence that makes them loyal to not only each other but also those who are nice to them. But like all things the Mole People do have some weakness like sunlight that blinds them and can possibly also burn them to death. They can be beaten with items as well as killed like any normal human, as they are not immortal. And let’s not forget that they can also be kept at bay with a flashlight that hurts their eyes. The Mole People’s slowness also makes them easy to get away from while walking on land, and they can also be starved to death as they do need to eat in order to get energy like any normal living thing. So while Mole People are not the most brutal nor vicious monsters we have covered here, they still are very efficient when it comes to killing humans.

So now that we have taken a look at The Mole People, we should dig our way into the film that spawned them. As always we will be taking the film’s plot from our friends at IMDB and after I will share some production notes as well as my thoughts on the film as well as other cool little information about it. So if you’re ready, let’s dive into some talk about this great Universal Science-Fiction Horror flick!

The Mole People (1956)

“On an archaeological dig in Asia, Dr. Roger Bentley finds a cuneiform tablet referring to an ancient society, the Shadow Dynasty, that was destroyed. An earthquake soon after reveals an ancient artifact and the scientists discover the ruins of an ancient temple world on a remote mountain site. It leads them to an underground world, lost in time, where people have adapted to low light. The High Priest Elinu doesn’t welcome the presence of the new arrivals and wants them eliminated.”

In the 1950’s Universal had moved away from Horror Films that dealt with Dracula, Wolfman, Mummy and Frankenstein’s Monster and headed toward giant insects, atomic age and mixes of science fiction and horror. And in 1956 they made such a horror film when they released The Mole People to the cinemas all across America. The film was written by Laszio Gorog, and produced by William Alland with the directors chair going to Virgil W. Vogel who was originally an editor for Universal, and this was his first film as a director. The film would cast John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont and Alan Napier as its leads and was one of the first Universal Monster films to show a woman disrobing, pushing the limits of what they did for their monster films. Rumor also has it that the film’s budget was $200,000.00 and its returns are unknown. When the film was done, it was released on December 1, 1956, and in some places it was shown with the jungle monster film “Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon”. The film was released the same year as these other classic Horror Flicks: Creature Walks Among Us, Bad Seed, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Godzilla, Rodan and Indestructible Man to name a few. The film over the years has had a very mixed response and mostly is met with negative reviews by critics and fans that enjoyed when it was blasted on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film went on to be released on home media like VHS and DVD and Blu-Ray in our and foreign markets.

The Mole People is a film I learned about at a young age as I used to read any and all books I could get my hands on that featured classic Universal Monsters and many of them featured The Mole People. One of the books I remember the most was the Crestwood House book that was all about The Mole People and acted almost as an adaptation of the film. Sometime later I can remember seeing the film on broadcast TV and was drawn in by the Mole People themselves and was angry when the Shadow Dynasty were on the screen being mean to them. Some years later I found the film on VHS at an event called Belmont Days from a small video store that had a ton of Horror Films for sale on VHS when it was still king of home media, and in 2014 I got the film on DVD thanks to Universal’s Vault series of releases. Over the years I have shown Mole People to friends who enjoy classic horror and even have toyed with the idea of doing a fan film sequel to it…but that will never happen. So while this film was released many decades before I was born, for some reason it has always been in my life…for some reason I also remember my Mom talking about this movie when I was a youngster! So if you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and track it down and give it a watch.

So as you can see, the Mole People, while not bloodthirsty, can and will murder and eat humans when the time is right! We also learned a little about the film and my connection to it, and now we are at the point of reviewing the photo comic magazine. I want to first thank Mile High Comics for having this magazine in stock and making this update possible. I need to also remind you all that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, make sure to grab your flashlight to fight off the Mole People and let’s get into this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update.

Mole People # 1  ***
Released in 1964       Cover Price .35     Warren Publishing     # 1 of 1

Researchers Dr. Roger Bentley, Dr. Jud Bellamin, Dr. Paul Suart and Prof. Etienne Lafarge along with others are in Asia looking for artifacts from a lost civilization, and get their dreams fulfilled when they find a tablet and lamp connected to them. They head to the mountains as that is where their finds lead them, and after an earthquake happens at the sight of ruins, a hole opens up and Dr. Suart falls to his death and Bentley, Bellamin and Lafarge are trapped underground! Once down in the dark only armed with a flashlight, they wander the caves and find buildings from the old world, and when they decide to get some rest, a race of humanoids called the Mole People attack while they sleep and drag them underground. When they awake, they are met by two albino guards who take them to see the High Priest who orders them to death as he claims they do not have the food to feed them! Our heroes fight and escape their albino captors and find themselves in a place that has Mole People all around who are being treated like slaves by albinos with whips. While trying to escape, Lafarge is killed by a Mole Person and Bentley and Bellamin figure out that the flashlight hurts both the albinos and Mole People giving them power and are now in the favor of the albino king. Once back at the kingdom Bentley meets a young normal servant girl named Gizelle who he saves from a whipping, and she is given to him by the King as a gift. The pair of doctors try to figure out a way to return above ground and even save some Mole People from being beaten by the albinos, but while they save them, the flashlight also goes dead as its batteries die! The High Priest dislikes the outsiders and thinks they are not gods like the King does but just normal guys and even sacrifices a group of woman to the burning light in order to please their god. The High Priest is able to convince the King that the Doctors are mortal and not gods, and they drug their dinner and set to murder them. But luckily for our heroes, Gizelle runs into the caves and tries to get help from the Mole People who have grown to respect the doctors for saving them from beatings and death sentences. The Mole People attack and kill the albinos, and the Doctors along with Gizelle escape the underground and once back to normal life another earthquake hits and a stone falls and kills Gizelle before she could even live a few moments of life above ground and our tale ends.

This is one cheesy and yet fun Photo Comic that blows through the movie really fast and delivers an entertaining quick read for readers that holds true to the film for the most part, but also adds its own touches with a few twists not from the movie. Our story has a group of doctors on the hunt to find a lost city that end up falling into a hole in the ground that leads them to the lost city as well as to the people still living there and a race of humanoid mole people. The doctors must fight for their lives to find away to escape, and their only weapon is a flashlight that is getting low on power! Dr. Roger Bentley is our main hero and the one with the flashlight. He is also the one who is saving peoples hides from beatings as it’s clear he does not like the albino people of the lost city and their cruel and selfish ways. The one down side to Bentley is that at times he as well comes off as kind of full of himself, and I think gets a slight god complex as he knows he has the power. Dr. Jud Bellamin is a smart man who clearly follows the leader as he is a fish out of water when it comes to the underground world. Prof. Etienne Lafarge is an old goof who leads himself to his own death and also is the weak link of the group and his dead body is also the one who leads the albinos back to the headhunt of our heroes as it showed they are also mortal. Slave woman Gizelle, who is normal, is also very sweet and is the true hero of the story as she is the one who gets the Mole People to help the doctors. The Albinos are very cruel and keep slaves, beat and kill those who cross the King and treat the Mole People like scum. The High Priest is the worst of the albinos as he is very much the one who pushes for cruel punishments and hates the power the Doctors and their flashlight had over the King. The Mole People are starving and will attack and kill people and yet also have a loyalty to them as they will help those who help them. Some of the changes made in the magazine are noticeable and are nice surprises, and I will not spoil them for you readers as you should read it and catch them yourselves. The comic downplays the horror elements and does have some blood via a massive scratch done by one of the Mole People and does have death as many albinos die during the final attack. The cover is eye catching and is that classic 60’s Horror Magazine look, the picture layouts is done by Russ Jones who also did the script for this photo comic. Over all this is one of the better Photo Comics I have read and is cool retro Universal Monster item for a Science Fiction Horror Movie that is often forgotten. Check out the panels below to see they style used in this magazine.

So while many comic readers don’t like Photo Comics (Magazines) and others view it as a dated style of comics, I for one find them fun and enjoyed reading this one. Plus it’s been very fun talking about the Mole People as well as the first time I have covered Warren Publishing here at Rotten Ink. But I fear it’s time we walk away from the underground world of the Mole People. We will be heading to the old west for my next update as we take a ride with the one and only Rawhide Kid from Marvel Comics! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Universal Monster Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. So hope you’re ready for a western done Marvel style!

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Ink!

Rotten Ink…The Final Frontier…This Is The Blog Of A Grown Up Monster Kid….His Mission Is To Write About Comics, Movies and Horror Hosts…And To Boldly Read And Review Lots Of Fun Comics!! Welcome to Rotten Ink. For this update I felt like I really had some unfinished business with the world of Star Trek. While I covered the original TV series and the Motion Picture, I did not get to really talk about the sequels that starred the original cast, and I think now is the time to travel back to space with the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise and take a look at the most well respected and loved film in the original crews sequels, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan! During this update mission we will talk about the film, its legacy, merchandise, my thoughts on the film and will of course review the IDW adaptation of the film! So put on your none-red Star Fleet Uniform and let’s take a space journey with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew.

So to do this update right, we must take a look on the screen and talk about the film in general. For that we will be taking the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB and then after I will share my thoughts and memories of the film from over the years. And no joke, my friends and readers, I am really looking forward to talk about this film as well as all the other sequels in future updates as for me Star Trek films are as big of events as Star Wars films. So if you’re ready, I am ready to discuses the Wrath of Khan!

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

“It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is an instructor at Starfleet Academy and feeling old; the prospect of attending his ship, the USS Enterprise–now a training ship–on a two-week cadet cruise does not make him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when his nemesis Khan Noonien Singh–infamous conqueror from late 20th century Earth–appears after years of exile. Khan later revealed that the planet Ceti Alpha VI exploded, and shifted the orbit of the fifth planet as a Mars-like haven. He begins capturing Project Genesis, a top secret device holding the power of creation itself, and schemes the utter destruction of Kirk.”

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek wrote a sequel to his first motion picture that would have had Captain Kirk and crew having to set history right after the Klingons change events on Earth going back in time. Paramount Pictures however was not impressed with his script and the poor performance of the first film in their eyes that they also felt had too big of a budget. After fights over the script, Paramount booted Roddenberry from the film, and Harve Bennett was called to executive produce the film. The downside of Bennett was that he was not a fan of the series and had to binge watch the original series after which he selected the character Khan Noonien from episode Space Seed as the villain for his film. The film’s script went through lots of drafts that even at one point had Kirk’s son being a leader of rebels, and finally they all agreed on a script that was done by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer and production started. The film’s shocking moment was having Spock die early in the film, but after it leaked to the press, this was twist was changed to the end of the film. Nicholas Meyer also directed the film, and production started on November 9, 1981 and made Paramount happy as the film’s budget was way smaller and even their TV branch was put in charge of its over all production. When dailies started to come in, Paramount knew they had something very special and that this film would make up for the failure of the first film in their eyes. The film’s production like all bigger blockbuster titles had a few hiccups but over all came together very well and was released in theaters on June 4, 1982 and was hit for Paramount Pictures as it was the 6th grossing film of 1982 in America bringing in $78,912,963.00 on the budget of $11 million. The film beat out many great titles that year like First Blood, Annie, Poltergeist, Dark Crystal, Friday The 13h Part III, Tron, Blade Runner, Road Warrior and many more cult and respected films. Say what you will about Star Trek, but the proof is in the Box Office that this is a film series that has had ups and downs but will forever have a place in the hearts of the Trekkies worldwide.

As I stated before, I grew up a Star Trek fan and can remember the excitement when I first got to watch Star Trek II on cable. The one thing I cannot remember was if it was on HBO or Cinemax as that part of my memory is fuzzy. I remember that we all sat as a family and watched it, and after it was over, I can remember playing with my Mego 3 ¾” Star Trek Kirk Toy and having him take on the Empire and try and outsmart Darth Vader like he did Khan in the movie I had watched. It was a film that I would watch anytime I would find it on cable and can even remember asking my Mom to check the cable book to see when it was playing. I can also remember watching the film on VHS with my aunt Theresa, my uncle Thurman and my brother Bryan at my grandparents’ house as my Uncle was a big Trekkie! In the 80’s I feel like Star Trek films were events and would get old and young excited to get to the cinema, and these were films I can remember talking to classmates about. And this film was one of the biggest of Trek movie talk as the topic of Khan being the biggest threat to the crew and being the most iconic of their villains always being a hot topic, plus let’s not forget the most important moment of this film and that’s the death of Spock! I have had so many amazing talks about this film as it’s one of the best in the series…but this is not my favorite of the Trek films, and you readers will have to wait till I review it to find out. Star Trek II is a film I have bought on VHS and DVD and is a film I watch about once a year either at home or at work. The one thing that has always worked well for me about this film is that it always feels as if a cloud of gloom is overhead and the threat of Khan is very high and really set the tone and pace of future films in the series and showed that Star Trek could also deliver Science Fiction action just like Star Wars and Flash Gordon. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is a very iconic and well-respected Sci-Fi film and is one I would recommend seeing if you have not. Plus I am not going to lie, actress Kristie Alley was really hot as Starfleet crewmember and Vulcan/Romulan Saavik. I thought so as a kid and still will stick by that in 2019!

The most iconic scene in the movie is of course when Captain Kirk screams the name of Khan with pure anger. And like all iconic scenes, this has been parodied a number of times on many different movies and TV shows like Robot Chicken, In Living Color, Big Bang Theory as well as many more internet parodies. It’s amazing to think how impactful this scene is as many movie watchers and lovers know this scene and some have gone on to say it’s one of William Shatners best performances. So right now I want you to take a deep breath and scream “KHHHHAANNNNNNN”…felt good didn’t it?

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan was a big hit and like all big box office hits, this film had its share of cool merchandise over the years that was and is very cool for Trekkies who can not get enough of Khan and his Wrath. We got books, magazines, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts and even playing cards and so much more, much of which I owned when I was younger. Growing up I had the movie on VHS that as I stated before would watch pretty often. I had the paperback novelization that I read while living in Waynesville and later when older I even had the Playmates action figure of Khan! And all of the above stuff that I owned then, I still own now and the one thing I do want is the soundtrack on CD as I find the score by James Horner to be very good as is all of the scores for the Trek movies. So if you’re a fan of Star Trek II and are a collector, there are lots of cool items for you to collect.

For many Trekkies Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is their favorite film in the franchise and is the bar that all the sequels that followed had to live up to and for sure that bar was set high due to this sci-fi motion picture as it’s a true classic. And shocking that this film did not get a comic adaptation until 2009 thanks to IDW who knew the world needed one. And thanks to Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics, I was able to get copies of these issues for this review. The voice on my communicator is wanting me to tell all you red shirts that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle Khan with the crew of the Enterprise, let’s boldly go where IDW allowed us to go thanks to this three issue comic mini series.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 1  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 1 of 3

Saavik is training to be a Captain for a starship and fails her test under the watch of Admiral Kirk who is feeling his age as well as really wants to leave the his promotion as he would rather be a Captain again and be with his crew on the Enterprise. Meanwhile Checkov has landed on a planet and soon finds himself as the prisoner of super engineered human Khan! And while Kirk is hanging out on the Enterprise with his old crew, Khan is controlling the mind of Checkov who is now tricking his way into taking the Genesis project away from Carol Marcus and her crew including Kirk’s son David he had with Carol! After Carol calls Kirk who denies the order to take Genesis and he takes back over the Enterprise and heads to Carol to get answers.

It’s amazing to think it took over 20 years for comic readers to get an adaptation of Wrath Of Khan, and I must say in this first issue IDW delivers the goods and fills that gap that used to be void of this comic in the collection of Star Trek issues. This issue’s plot has Kirk wanting to take his role of Captain of the Enterprise back and Khan who blames Kirk for abandoning him on a planet that has been left baron for decades. Now Khan is playing a game and is luring Kirk and the Enterprise where he wants them with a trick of taking the world builder tech Genesis. Kirk in this issue has gotten a promotion some time back and is now an Admiral for Starfleet when all he really wants to do is be a Captain for the Enterprise as he misses his friends and crew as well as the thrill of exploring space. Kahn is filled with anger and yet is calm and just wants his revenge on Kirk who he really does blame for everything that went wrong for him and his people that Kirk sent into space decades ago. Carol and her son David are the heads of Genesis and are also at odds over Kirk as the young man has lots of built up anger toward his father. One thing that puzzles me is when Kirk keeps calling Saavik a Mr. as clearly she is a she! The cover is amazing and is very eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by Chee Yang Ong is great stuff and characters look like the actors who played them. Over all this first issue is a great build up for the action that is to come and makes me look forward to reading the next issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 2  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 2 of 3

Kirk along with Spock and McCoy are watching a file about the Genesis Project and how in the wrong hands it could wipe out a whole planet killing everybody along with it. As Kirk and the Enterprise are about to set out to get answers of who really gave the order to hand over the project, another Starship appears and attacks taking out power and when coming on screen Kirk finds out that Khan is the man in the other starship and he wants Kirk to surrender as well as Genesis! Kirk stalls for time and in turn sets up Khan and damaging his starship as well leaving both Captains coming up with battle plans and becoming a game of chess in space. The Enterprise rushes to the Genesis labs and finds many scientist dead as well as the Genesis project, Carol and David are all missing. Kirk, McCoy and Saavik beam aboard the lab and they find Checkov who seems to be confused and things seem very bad. Kirk ends up figuring out where Carol is hiding and finds that she as well has Genesis & David with her, but it was a set up as Khan still had Checkov under control and beams up Genesis to his ship and thanks to McCoy’s fast actions he breaks the hold he had on Checkov. Now they are all stuck in the lab! But after hours pass Spock is able to fix the transport room on the Enterprise, and now Kirk is on a mission of revenge.

Our second issue has Kirk and Khan going after each other and both using their minds in order to get the upper hand. While Kirk is blindsided in this first encounter, it’s his years of being a Captain that turns the tide and allows him and his crew to figure out what to do from here by giving them a few moments to plan. And in the second chess move, Khan gets the upper hand and outsmarts Kirk and even is able to get his power monger hands on Genesis. In this issue Kirk goes from gaining is confidence back, to doubting himself due to age to getting into rage mode. Khan goes from being cocky to rage filled to blood thirsty showing that he really is a madman who only cares about his own goals and his own revenge plan. I like how David Marcus also has lots of build up anger toward his father Kirk, and this also adds a layer of stress to Kirk who has lots on his plate this far. The Enterprise Crew seems to be around but also take a back seat in the story with even Spock not being a major focus…and that’s shocking as Spock is one of the biggest characters in the series. This issue also brings in a good amount of Star Trek style action and brings us readers to a great point in the story where in the next issue Kirk and Khan’s blood feud will come to an end. The cover I have for this issue is okay and is a photo of Spock from the movie and the interiors once more are being done by Chee Yang Ong and is good stuff. This second issue is as good as the first and is a great way to lead us to the final issue in this adaptation series, so with that let’s take a look at the final issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 3  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 3 of 3

Kirk and the rest are now back on the Enterprise and must make a run for it fast as Khan and his starship are gunning for them. Kirk figures out that if they enter the nebula Khan’s shields would stop working and after sending a message that mocked Khan, the madman follows and after being out moved and outsmarted, his ship is blown up but not before the Enterprise also takes a hit that leaves the engine room to fill with radiation. Before he dies, Khan triggers the Genesis that is about to go off that would leave not only Khan dead but also the whole crew of the Enterprise, and worse Scotty cannot fix the warp engine due to the radiation! Spock takes things into his own hands and enters the engine room and fixes the core and allows the Enterprise to get away before Genesis goes off. Kirk rushes to the engine room and is able to share some words with Spock who passes away from the radiation. Kirk and the crew send Spock’s coffin into space with it landing on the new planet created by Genesis and Kirk feels the sadness of losing his best friend but does gain the respect of his son David. In the end, Kirk is back and has found himself once more and is ready to explore space.

This final issue brings us the final showdown between Kirk and Khan that shows no matter how smart and evil Khan is, he is still outclassed by the wise Kirk. I also like that this comic really does make it clear that both Khan and Kirk have massive egos and each does not want to lose to the other. The whole main part of this final issue is the fight between the two. Their weapons of war are starships, and the odds are even. Only Kirk’s experience is what wins the day. The Genesis Project is something that could really help the universe by given new places to live as well as food supplies that could last forever, but as seen here, in the wrong hands it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction and can kill the population of a whole planet if used that way. Another of the subplots going on in this issue is Carol and David having to get the help of Kirk who is the one time lover of Carol as well as the father of David who they both don’t speak to. And yet we also have the fact Kirk is having issues about getting old as he wants to be doing more for the Starfleet than just being an Admiral. And finally, the major story of this series is that fact Spock puts his life on the line and is willing to die in order to save the Enterprise Crew that he views as his friends. Sad stuff as Kirk and Spock speak for the last time (well in this comic) as Spock slowly dies. Over all this comic adaptation of The Wrath Of Khan is well done and captures the mood and vibe of what many think is the best Trek movie. The pacing is well done and keeps you on your seat for the final battle as Khan is so revenge thirsty that you want to see him be brought down…even if you do understand why he is so angry with Kirk. The photo cover on this one is as well okay, but I would have liked to have gotten the one with art. The interior art is done by Chee Yang Ong and is very good and as I said before he captures the look of the characters really well. Over all, this is a fun and great comic mini series and is a must read for fans of the film it’s based on. Check out below for the style of Chee in this issue.

So it looks like our space adventure with the crew of the Enterprise has came to an end, and next year we will take a look at DC Comics adaptation of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock! Star Trek really is a blast to the past for me and brings me back to my youth when Trek was very popular in our household. But for our next update, we are going to dive into the world of forgotten superheroes as we take a look at the masked hero Rottweiler and maybe a few other surprises. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Sci-Fi film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a indie hero good time!

Matt Goes To The Movies 2018

The Rotten Ink Theater is open once more, and man, was this a crazy year at the cinema filled with lots of Superhero, Horror and Sequel motion pictures that all lead to great times at all my normal favorite theaters like Rave, Cinemark, Regal and Cranberry. One thing that really made this year a great one is the fact that so many Horror Movies were released as well as many highly anticipated sequels to big franchises making for almost weekly visits to see films I was excited for. Last year really was a busy one for me as I had lots of things to do for Sparkle Comics, Independent B Movie, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Game Swap, Danberry Cinema and even Rotten Ink so getting away to watch a movie at the cinema was really a great way to relax and put all my stress away for a small time and enjoy the wonders of the silver screen. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the movies of 2018, and I’ll share my favorites with you.

So to kick this off right, let’s take a look at the Action Movies of 2018 that I saw in the theater. While we did not get a new Arnold or Sly film, we did have some pretty good ones as you will see below. So get ready to see what Pure Action films made my list!

# 11

12 Strong is based on real events that took place after September 11, 2001 and follows Captain Mitch Nelson and his team of 11 soldiers as they join forces with General Abdul Rashid Dostum of The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and his horseback soldiers as they take on and defeat the terrorist scum who pulled off that coward attack. This film follows their battles as they defeat the terrorist and push them out of cities they took over in Afghanistan. The film documents the first US battle with the terrorist after 9/11. This was a pretty good war film based mostly on true events and stars Chris Hemsworth as Nelson, who does a great job in the role. The film did okay for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $45,500,164.00 on a budget of $35 million. While I am not a War Movie fan, this one was entertaining and delivered a good popcorn film on the big screen.

# 10

The classic 1974 vigilante film Death Wish gets the remake treatment thanks to MGM and director Elli Roth! Dr. Paul Kersey is a man who has it all; a nice house, a beautiful wife and a daughter who is a sport star and about to go to collage. But his perfect world changes when a group of three burglars break into his house while he is at work and attack his daughter, putting her into a coma, and murder his wife. The police have no leads and with this Paul decides to take the law into his own hands and becomes a vigilante, killing criminals and tracking down those who did this to his family. Actor Bruce Willis steps into the role of Paul Kersey, and while he does an okay job, he is by no means as good as Charles Bronson who played the role before him in 5 films. The film is gritty and not too over the top with blood, delivering a solid and entertaining action film that was a fun popcorn film to sit in the theater and watch. The film did poorly for MGM at the US Box Office bringing on only $34,013,419.00 on a $30 million budget. While not a perfect film and a very much unnecessary remake, it packs a small punch, and I was entertained. Check it out via rental or DVD.

# 9

Will Sawyer was a FBI rescue team leader who during a hostage situation has one of his legs blown off  and is now a security expert who along with his family are in Hong Kong to check the security of a high rise called The Pearl that becomes the target of a terrorist group. Worse, his family is stuck inside the now burning building with a group of highly armed men who want the building creator’s secrets, and he must find out a way to get inside and save them. This is a like a 2018 version of Die Hard, and The Rock does a great job as Will Sawyer. It was cool to see Neve Campbell again in a blockbuster movie playing his wife. The film did not do that great at the US Box Office for Universal as it only brought in $67,796,355.00 on a budget of $125 million, by all accounts making it a bomb. While it might not have been a massive summer hit, Skyscraper was a fun one to see on the big screen.

# 8

Mary is a tough as nails hit woman for a crime family that feels bad after a hit leaves a young child homeless and having to work the streets as a drug runner for a sleazy drug pusher. But once Mary saves the young kid’s life, she turns her own life upside down and risks it all in order to give him a better life now. This is a really fun action drama that keeps you as the viewer entertained, all the while unwinding the plot that is filled with lies, corruption and greed, and once Mary gets started in the final scene there is no stopping her! This film stars Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown and Danny Glover, and they are all fantastic in their roles. Sadly this film did just okay at the US Box Office for Sony as it only did $20,877,013.00 on a budget of $14 million. While this might not have been a life changing action drama film, it still was a very entertaining one that sadly slipped under the radar for most of the move going public.

# 7

England is under a cyber attack, and the identities of all the members of M17 have been exposed to the world. The prime minister is in a bad spot when cyber attacks keep happing. So they call in former M17 spy now school teacher Johnny English to find out who is behind the attacks while English government brings in cyber hot shot Jason Volta to try and stop the attacks. Armed with old school spy tech and his trusty assistant Bough, our goofy spy hero uncovers not only a beautiful Russian spy but also who is behind the cyber attacks now threatening the world’s internet! And with his bumbling ways, Johnny once more stumbles his way into saving the day. This third film in the Johnny English series is lots of goofy fun and has some silly moments that will have you chuckling out loud. Rowan Atkinson is master of facial expression comedy and really does a fantastic job of making Johnny English a fun comedic character. This fun action comedy film also stars Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy, Ben Miller and Olga Kurylenko. This film sadly did not do well for Universal in the US as it brought in only $4,285,545.00 on a budget of $25 million. While this third film was not a mega hit, I found it to be a very entertaining film that features one of the world’s best comedians. Check it out if you enjoyed the other two films in the series or just like spy films mixed with childish humor.

# 6

CIA Special Activities Division Officer Matt Graver has been hired to start a war in Mexico that would pit the cartels against each other, and he calls on his crew including Alejandro Gillick as all rules are off the table. But things go wrong when they kidnap a drug lord’s daughter and the local police set up an ambush that leaves Alejandro behind with the daughter in Mexico and Graver getting orders from the Government to kill everyone who can link the U.S. to this war including the young girl and Alejandro! So the film becomes a fight to get over the border and back in America for Alejandro, who refuses to leave the young girl behind and must come face to face with gang members who deal in human trafficking who as well want him dead as one of their own knows he works for our Government. This is a great sequel that adds more thrills and action to the Sicario saga, and once more Benicio del Toro does a fantastic job of being an action star who adds elements of drama and real life feel to his character. The film did just okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $50,072,235.00 on a budget of $35 million. Worth watching if you enjoyed the first film or just want to see Benicio take on drug cartels again.

# 5

Laura Croft is a young woman whose rich father went missing when she was just a young girl, and after years of being a strong minded independent woman she has found a clue to where her father disappeared to and sets out on a adventure to find him, but things are not that simple as she finds that he is on an island with some very bad people who have very bad intentions. Is Laura’s father alive? Will she be able to get off the island alive? Who is the main person behind the bad guys? All these questions are answered in this reboot to the Tomb Raider movie series. This was a fun video game inspired movie and holds true to the route the game series is taking. Sadly the film did not do that great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only did $57,409,662.00 on a budget of $94 million and the foreign box office is what saved the day and make it profitable. If you enjoy adventure films, this is one you need to check out on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital.

# 4

Youngblood Priest is a low key drug kingpin in the world of cocaine, and he is so low key that another drug ring has moved in called the Snow Patrol and when things get bad Priest thinks of one final hustle that will leave he and his two girlfriends and friends set for life…all he has to do is out smart his rivals, a Mexican drug cartel and a pair of dirty cops to do it! This is a modern remake of the 1972 movie of the same name, and to my surprise, it was one heck of a good action crime drama film. The film works on so many levels and really brings the classic Blaxploitation film to a modern audience, and while the film is its own, it does justice to the original. Actor Trevor Jackson was a great choice to play Priest as he makes you really care and cheer for a drug seller! Plus actress Andrea Londo is stunning and does fantastic in her role as Cynthia, one of Priest’s girlfriends who is also a fighter when it comes to fight or flight situations. Sadly the film did not do that well for Columbia at the US Box Office as it had a budget of $16 million and only brought in $20,545,116.00. This is one of those films I will own on DVD and hope that it finds a cult following on home media and digital.

# 3

Robert McCall is at it again helping others out in a world filled with injustice and crime that slips under the radar. But things get really personal when someone makes the mistake of killing his best friend, and now they don’t know what they have unleashed on themselves! Along his journey to uncover the truth and get revenge, he befriends a young troubled youth who also becomes a pawn in the sick game of the bad guys who all now have a trained killer on their tail known as Robert McCall. This is a great sequel that delivers some great action and a solid story and is just another chapter in the quest of Robert McCall, and I hope a third film is to come. Denzel Washington is fantastic as Robert, and this film did just okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $102,084,362.00 on a budget of $62 million and was a great summer popcorn film that I enjoyed seeing in the theater.

# 2

Adonis Creed has fought his way to become the boxing heavyweight champion and soon finds himself the target of the son of Ivan Drago who wants to bring honor back to his family’s name.  Now a showdown between two families with a long bad history must once more clash to settle scores and for their own pride. And worse for Adonis, he must also come face to face with his love becoming more deaf, becoming a father as well as facing a true butt whooping during their first encounter. This is a great film that, just like the original, captures the magic and feel of the Rocky series and leaves you wanting to see more movies and more of the life of Adonis Creed and his family. Plus seeing Sylvester Stallone as Rocky once more is always a must see on the big screen. Plus for those who don’t know Drago’s son is trained by Ivan who is once more played by Dolph Lundgren! This movie did well for MGM at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $112,148,125 on a budget of $50 million. This is a must see film for fans of Rocky, boxing, Drama, Action and those who just enjoy a great movie…also a must own on home media for me!

# 1

Ethan Hunt and his team are at it again, and this time they have to go undercover to stop a sinister plan that involves nuclear bombs and saving the life of a known terrorist. The bad thing is someone has set them up as well to look like they are working with the bad guys as double agents. Now Ethan must kick it into high gear and clear his name as well as save the world from a terrible bomb. This is hands down for me the best film in the Mission Impossible series as, to be honest, I have never been that big of a fan of the series. The thing about this film is that it has lots of action as well as twists and turns that kept me glued to the edge of my seat. And this is a pure popcorn film that was a great way to enjoy a big budget blockbuster flick on the big screen. Tom Cruise is fantastic as Ethan Hunt and brings a very likable quality to the character as you find yourself cheering for him the whole way. The film did great for Paramount in the US bringing in $220,159,104.00 on a budget of $178 million, and worldwide it did even better bringing in over $500 million more! This action film is worth seeing if you like spies and car chases in your films. Worth owning for sure as well if you are into Mission Impossible movies.

So as you can see, the cinema was packed with some great action films that not only brought the explosions but also brought some laughs and sporting flare. So with that, let’s take a look at Sci-Fi and Fantasy films that entertained me this year in the theater.

# 10

At birth Samson was chosen by God to lead the Hebrews to a better life and is given lots of pure power and strength, but these Godly gifts came with rules like his hands could not touch the dead, he cannot drink wine and must not ever get his hair cut. Samson is a showoff who enjoys his gifts, and when he meets the love of his life Taren, who is a slave girl to the Philistine King and his evil son, he is pushed to break two of the rules in his quest to marry her as he drinks wine and must touch the dead in order to settle a debt. After the murder of his bride at the hands of the King’s Son, a war is waged that leaves Samson alone killing hundreds of soldiers and being left alone to rule his people. That is until he falls in love with Delilah, who is working along side the Philistines and cuts his hair that allows the army remove his eyes and take him prisoner! In the end Samson finds that God is still with him, and he brings the pillars down in the castle before he can be killed and becomes an inspiration to Hebrews to rise up for their God. This religious sword and sandal film was lots of fun to watch on the big screen, and while a little too long, it was entertaining. The film brought in $4,719,928.00 for Pure Flix as the US Box Office on an unknown budget. It was lots of fun to see if you enjoy cheesy sword and sandal films that also pack a religious history lesson in made for TV production levels.

# 8

A science experiment goes horribly wrong in space, and an accident sends canisters to earth that ends up turning a wolf, alligator and a white gorilla into rage filled giant monsters! The gorilla is named George and was living in a zoo, and Davis Okoye was the man saved him from poachers when he was a baby and now wants to find a cure and save his friend from a fate set by the government who want to kill them and the company responsible for the canisters want to cover their tracks. This was a fun and silly film that brought the Midway video games alive to the big screen. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and the movie did poorly for New Line Cinema at the US Boxoffice only bringing in $95,089,209.00 on a budget of $120 million. But the film did do well at the foreign box office, making it a hit over all. Worth seeing if you enjoy giant monsters and like the video game, even if it strays very far away from it.

# 7

Grey Trace is a mechanic who fixes up classic muscles cars as his wife Asha works for a company that develops computers that are to help mankind. But when out to celebrate a car sale, the couple are attacked. Asha is killed, and Grey is shot and paralyzed leaving him to a life in a wheelchair and help from robots and his mother. But Grey gets a second chance at life as well as revenge when one of his clients, a tech genius, designs a chip that will help Grey walk again as well as will talk to him in his mind as well as take over when needed! The chip is called STEM, and together they must find his wife’s murderers as well as dodge the police and the tech maker who wants to stop their quest for just revenge. This is a fun action and sci-fi film that seems like it could fit perfect in the world of Blade Runner if that world had a rich suburbs! Logan Marshall-Green does a fantastic job as Grey and Simon Maiden is great as the voice of STEM, and this once more shows that Blumhouse is one of the best film producing companies going today as they get Horror and Science Fiction and they almost always deliver a entertaining movie. The film did okay for Blumhouse at the US Box Office bringing in $11,916,615.00 on a budget of $5 million. This one is an enjoyable film with some cool surprises and blends action and sci-fi together really well.

# 6

Robin Of Loxley is a rich man who has fallen in love with a thief named Marian who ends up also falling madly in love with him. The pair spend lots of time together until Robin is drafted to fight in the crusade war.  Years pass, and he is reported dead and returns to find that he has lost every thing his love, his house and his money all because of the greed of the Sheriff Of Nottingham who has plans to gain power. Working with an Arab Warrior named John, they come up with a plan to rob from the rich and greedy church and help lead an uprising of the people who have been drained dry of their money by the rich and greedy. But when things get really bad, and the poor are being bullied and killed, Robin must make his move and bring down the Sheriff as well as win the heart of Marian once more. This was a very fun and silly film that was not only an adventure film but does also have a message about the poor standing together against the 1% who rule our their lives. The film stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn and Eve Hewson who is singer Bono’s daughter! This film did very poorly for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in only $30,637,019.00 on a budget of $100 million. While the critics and reviews will tell you how terrible this movie is, I will tell you it’s a fun watch that you can check your brain at the door and eat some popcorn and enjoy a new adventure for classic hero Robin Hood.

# 5

Christopher Robin is a young boy whose best friend is a small stuff bear named Winnie the Pooh, who is alive as well as other plush dolls that he meets after crawling through a whole in a tree. Grown up Christopher has a family, a demanding job and seems to forget about his youthful friends who all await for his return. But when Pooh comes to visit him in London, Christopher must balance his work as well as his family who have also seemed to be left behind due to work. This is fun family film that brings the classic character to life in a live action film that will warm your heart. All the characters are done so well and will surely please the fans who grew up loving them. The film did just okay for Disney in the US bringing in $99,215.042.00 on a budget of $75 million. If you like Winnie the Pooh and classic Disney family fun, check this one out.

# 4

Cybertron is at war, and the Autobots must leave in order to regroup and gather their troops as they are losing. Bumblebee is sent to Earth in order to set up a base for the Autobots once they are all gathered up. Once on Earth, he is attacked by the army as well as a Decepticon and loses not only his memory but also his voice and turns into a VW Bug before shutting down. Time passes, and young lady Charlie ends up getting the rundown bug from a junkyard and fixes it and discovers that her car is really a robot. They become close friends and must fight when Decepticon bounty hunters team with the army in order to find the reactivated Bumblebee! With the army really wanting to kill all the space robots and the Decepticons wanting to not only kill the Autobots but wanting to take over the Earth, things are really stacked against Bumblebee and Charlie. This is a Transformer film done right and wipes away the bad taste of the Platinum Dunes series that spent more time making the main characters look nothing like they should. This one makes them look like their cartoon counterparts. Over all this is a great fun Transformers film and shows that this series is on the right track and has lots of offer still at the theater. As of this update’s posting, the film has done $67,178,020.00 on a budget of $135 million making it have a fight to meet its budget for Paramount. I would say this is the best live action Transformers movie thus far and is worth a watch.

# 3

Han is a young man living on a terrible planet that forces the orphaned to steal for slimy crime bosses, and he wants to smuggle some coaxium to get his girlfriend Qi’ra and himself off it and away from it all. During their escape, he makes it out, and she is captured. Over the years Han joins the empire and meets a group of smugglers that he ends up joining with the end goal being to get his own ship and take Qi’ra off the planet. But things go wrong as he gets in deep with an evil smuggler ring that wants his group to pull off a crazy heist and finds that his true love Qi’ra is also tied to this dangerous group! Also along the way, he meets Chewbacca, a Wookie, and smuggler Lando Calrissian who become friends of his for life. This Star Wars Story film is filled with action, drama and twists and brings a classic Han Solo legend story to life. The downside is none of the threats are really threats as we all know Han, Chewie and Lando will come out of this film unharmed. The film did blah for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $213,767,512.00 on a budget of $275 million making it the least profitable in the film series. While not life changing, it was still a very enjoyable film that has that Star Wars charm. I should also note that Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover all do fantastic work in their roles, and the film does have a really cool cameo from a classic Sith character from the past.

# 2

Clara is a young woman who is an inventor and is having a very hard time dealing with the death of her mother, and this has stressed her relationship with her father. On Christmas, Clara gets a final gift from her mother that’s a locked egg box with no key, and after going to a big Christmas party and talking with her Grandfather, she finds herself following a string to get her gift and ends up in another realm that is at war with itself and finds that she is now the Queen of the land as her mother was before her! Now she must get a key from Mother Ginger who is blamed for the worlds’ issues. But soon Clara along with her new friend, a nutcracker soldier Captain Hoffman, must find a way to bring peace to the world as well as learn who to trust as well as Clara to find answers about her mother. This was a real fun popcorn movie to watch in the theater and was one I had zero expectations for that I ended up really liking as I found it to feel like a classic 80’s style family film. The film sadly did not do that well for Disney at the US Box Office only bringing in $54,509,683.00 on a massive budget of $120 million. While a bomb in the theater, I hope this film finds more success on the home media market. Worth a watch and one I would watch again.

# 1

The dinosaurs of the now defunct Jurassic World theme park are in trouble as the volcano on the island is about to erupt and kill them all off! Many in the government are saying that we should not save the dinosaurs, while a group of protesters lead by Claire Dearing want to save them as they are living creatures. With backing from the former owners of the park, a rescue mission is put into place, and they even are able to get former park trainer Owen Grady. But the rescuers soon find out that their backers really didn’t care about saving the lives of the dinos and really want to engineer them as well as sell them as pets to the rich and powerful. This is such a fun adventure film that adds in lots of horror elements and has some surprises as well as twists that make for a great popcorn film that was a great watch in the theater. In fact, this film sets up another sequel that I am very much looking forward to watching once released in 2020. The film did fantastic for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in a massive $416,769,345.00 on a budget of $170 million showing that this franchise is back and is a powerhouse when getting viewers into the theater. This was hands down my favorite Sci-Fi film of the year and is one that’s a must own for me on home media.

Some pretty great new sequels released this year for Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and as you can also see, some pretty great original ones as well. I mean this year we got movies starring characters like Han Solo, Samson, Robin Hood and Bumblebee and all entertained this moviegoer. But next let’s see what 2018 had to offer in the way of Superheroes!

# 7

Teenager Miles Morales witnesses the death of Spider-Man, but only after he himself has been bitten by a radioactive spider and gained powers. Kinpin has created a dimension portal in hopes of bringing his wife and son back after their deaths, and by accident he brings spider people from other dimensions in like Spider-Gwen and Spider-Ham! Now Miles must find his inner Spider-Man in order to send all his other Spider cohorts back to their dimensions as well as stop the Kingpin and his goons from ever using the world changing machine again. This is a fun animated film that brings the nature of Spider-Man onto the big screen and delivers moviegoers their first real look at Miles Morales, who was shown to comic readers many years back when he took over as Spidey after the “death” of Peter Parker. This film has been a hit with critics and viewers alike and as of this update being posted has brought in $104,148,730.00 on a budget of $90 million for Sony. While many say it’s the best Spider-Man and or Superhero film of all time, I found it to be enjoyable but far from the best. Worth watching for those who like their hero movies animated and silly as it delivers the action.

# 6

Eddie Brock is a hard-hitting TV news reporter who makes the mistake of trying to bring down a high-powered businessman who has the power to ruin Eddie’s life and he does just that as the one time popular reporter looses his job, his fiancé as well as his home. But years later, when one of the scientist who work for the businessman comes to him for help over the company killing homeless people for experiments, he soon finds himself infected with an alien being that turns him into a super-powered monster known as Venom! Now this anti hero must stop the coming invasion of alien beings who want to take over the earth and infect us humans. This is a fun superhero film that is based around one of Spider-Man’s most popular foes and brings him to the cinema in a better light than Spider-Man 3 did. Tom Hardy is fantastic as Eddie Brock/Venom, and the action and humor blend really well together. The film did well for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $213,205,181.00 on a budget of $100 million. Worth watching for fans of Venom and is one I will own on DVD!

# 5

Deadpool is back and is an X-Men member in training and blows his chances when he kills some doctors and orderlies who work at an orphanage for mutant kids after one of the youths confesses they abused him. Worse, a mercenary from the future named Cable has come to our time in order to kill the youth who in the future brings the end to his family. Now Deadpool must bring together the youth, Cable, the X-Men and his new team of misfits called X-Force in order to stop this coming end of mutants and to right all the wrongs of the past. The film did fantastic for Fox at the Box Office in the US and brought in $318,491,426.00 on a budget of $110 million. If you like your superhero movies crude and rude, this one is for you! Plus Ryan Reynolds is truly the right actor to play Deadpool.

# 4

Ant-Man is under house arrest and his partners the Wasp and Hank Pym are on the run from the authorities, and a super villain named Ghost is trying to steal experiment equipment from Pym as it’s needed as she is dying from an accident that leaves her body uncontrollable and unstable. Now Ant-Man must risk getting off house arrest in order to help Wasp and Pym get the equipment back in order to save Pym’s wife, who has been stuck in a limbo world for decades. This film is packed with action and laughs and brings together the new and old as the original Ant-Man and Wasp are with the current versions and also brings in Ghost and Black Goliath as the baddies who might not be as bad as you think. The acting is great. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Ant-Man, and it’s always great to see Michelle Pfeiffer on the big screen. The film did good for Disney at the Box Office in the US bringing in $216,648,740.00 on a budget of around $170 million. If you liked the first film in the series like I did, then this sequel will surely bring you joy. Also worth owning on home media if you’re wondering.

# 3

Aquaman is saving people in the ocean from not only storms but also pirates who all want to kill him for his good deeds. But while he helps the surface world, Atlantis, the birthplace of his mother, is at war with itself over attacking the land walkers above who have polluted their world for centuries. Now Aquaman must travel to Atlantis as he is the true ruler and must face is stepbrother The Ocean Master, who has plans of being the world’s ruler and has gotten the help of a one time pirate now turned super villain named Black Manta. Can Aquaman bring peace to the two worlds, and can he finally find out what has happened to his mother who has been missing for decades? Between this and Wonder Woman, DC Comics have shown that they are not down for the count when it comes to making big budget superhero movies, and they still have some fight in them to challenge Marvel. This film has some great action moments, and the film’s main villain Ocean Master, while doing bad things, is not a soulless character as he truly thinks what he is doing is right adding to the tension between the two estranged brothers. Jason Momoa is good as Aquaman, and my only complaint about his performance is I hate that he smirks so many times after delivering eye-rolling lines of dialogue. Plus when the actors wore their masks and costumes, both Black Manta and Ocean Master looked great and made me wish they would have kept the costumes on more. The film as of this update is doing okay for Warner Brothers bringing in this far $189,375,000.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of around $160 million. While not the best DC Superhero film from this modern re-launch (that honor goes to Wonder Woman), this is definitely a step in the right direction for their shared hero universe.

# 2

Prince T’Challa has become the King of Wakanda after the death of his father and has been faced with challenges that include Man-Ape who wants to try his hand at claiming the thrown, but after defeating him he must now find a terrorist criminal who is stealing Wakanda tech and has lead his cousin Killmonger to the kingdom where he challenges and wins the thrown. Now Black Panther and his closest friends must regroup and fight to take back the Kingdom and stop Killmonger’s thirst for war and power. Black Panther is a fantastic film that does a great job of bringing in drama into the action superhero movie mold. Adding in classic villains like Man-Ape and Killmonger felt right, and their looks were great updates to dated characters. The action in this movie is great, and the battles between Black Panther and Killmonger will have you on the edge of your seat. The film at the Box Office in the US did amazing for Disney bringing in $700,059,566.00 on a budget of $200 million and making this film the top grossing film in America for 2018! A great watch and one that will please any superhero fan, this one is a must own now that it’s out on home media.

# 1

Thanos wants to collect all the Infinity Gems in order to kill off half of the population in the universe with one thought, and after collecting some, he gets another after killing Loki and many of the Asgardians and leaving the Hulk and Thor defeated. Now the world’s mightiest heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Falcon, War Machine, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Man-Ape, Winter Solider join Thor and Hulk in the battle to stop Thanos and his army from getting the remaining stones and fulfilling his desire. But can the world’s best defeat the odds, or are we all in trouble? This is what a superhero movie is all about, as the stakes are high and the threat to the universe is real! Seeing all of these characters from Marvel films from over the last 10 years in one single film is truly amazing and seeing them battle the likes of Thanos, who is one of the companies best villains, is pure big screen magic. Not mention the film’s climax that leads us to the next sequel will leave you feeling defeated and sad! The sheer amount of talent in this film also boggles ones mind, and this was hands down one amazing popcorn flick that kept me super entertained and wanting more movies from Marvel! The film did top notch in the US Box Office for Disney bringing in $678,815,482.00 on an estimated budget of $350 million, and with overseas money their gross is over $2 billion dollars! If you like superhero movies and want to see one epic fight between the forces of heroes and villains, then check this movie out. And yep I did buy this movie on DVD when it was released

Superheroes films are all the rage when it comes to toping the Box Office here in America, and many of them make up the top grossing films of the year! But while you readers know I am a big comic book reader and superhero movie watching junkie, my top films that I love seeing in the theater are the ones in Horror genre. This year we got some great ones from Slashers to Ghosts to even a giant Shark. 2018 was a great year for Horror Cinema and was a blast for me sitting in the theater listening to fellow movie goers shriek in fear or even nervously laugh at the scares on the silver screen. So here is my ranking of all the Horror Movies I seen in theater this year.

# 20

The Quinn family of New York have became the obsession of evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy who was found in the old house of R.L. Stine as well as the book writer’s unfinished first book called “Haunted Halloween,” and when the family makes a mistake and opens the book and Slappy chooses them to be his new family, the horrors of the book are unleashed and the world is in trouble unless they can stop Slappy who’s plan is to unleash monsters all over the world as they are his true family. This sequel is a little of a letdown and does not have the charm and fun nature of the first film, and to be honest, I found myself a little bored during most of the start of this kid friendly Horror flick. This film stars Jack Black, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Ken Jeong among many others and is well acted as the actors all do a good job with this plot holed script. The film did poorly for Sony at the US box office as it only brought in a total of $46,700,633.00 on a budget off $35 million. Over all, this a onetime watch and fans of Goosebumps might want to check it out.

# 19

Matias is a young man whose girlfriend is deaf and his lack of sign langue is causing issues in their relationship. So he steals a laptop from his work at a cyber café to add an app that will run smoother on this better computer. While having a Skype game night with friends, he soon learns that the computer he stole belongs to a very bad man who works on the deep web as a murderer for hire as people pay him to torture and kill people for their pleasure. Now Matias and his friends must play a game of life and death as the killer wants his laptop back and his employers want blood. This second film in the Unfriended series removes the supernatural aspects of the first film and adds in the real life spookiness of the Dark Web. It’s a fun watch and is a solid follow up to the first film and takes the same style and makes it feel like its own. The film did pretty well for Blumhouse at the US Box Office bringing in $8,783,985.00 on a budget of $1 million dollars. Worth seeing if you enjoy the world of the net mixed with Horror.

# 18

A group of four friends decide one night during a sleepover to try and contact the Creepypasta legend Slender Man by watching a video. And after doing so, one of the friends go missing and the rest are now being haunted and driven crazy by Slender Man who wants to also take them. The film has gotten the worst hate from fans and critics on the web for any Horror Movie released this year, and I found the hate to be a little over done as the film is nothing special and is not nearly as bad as many want you to think. The films pluses are it has some cool creepy moments. Slender Man, when not CGI, looks pretty good, the music score is top notch, some shots are really cool and actress Joey King who played character Wren is great and makes me want to see her in more Horror Movies. The downside of this film is its pacing, terrible side storylines that go nowhere and Slender Man is never scary in the film. The film has done okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $30,569,484.00 on a budget of $10 million. Over all worth seeing if you like the Creepypasta or movies that take inspiration from The Ring.

# 17

A batch of drafted newly out of boot camp soldiers are being sent on a mission to bring down a communication scrambler set up by the Nazi’s at a church in a small French town in order to help our side to receive messages to do air raids! But when they are forced to jump from a damaged plane, they find themselves surrounded by Nazi’s with many of their own being killed off. But things get worse when they discover that the church is also being used for experiments to create the ultimate soldiers, and now our group of heroes must not only complete their mission but also survive and stop these cruel and brutal experiments that are also on the loose. This is a Horror Movie that is mixed with a War Movie that delivers some good intense moments as well as a few scares along the way. The main cast of our good guys are all likable, and the bad guys come off like very terrible people, making it work. The one downside for me was that the experimented zombie soldiers are not in the film much and many of the good guys make dumb decisions causing more issues for them down the line. This film was an enjoyable watch on the big screen and did very poorly for Paramount at the US Box Office bringing in only $21,704,844.00 on a budget of $38 million. While not a groundbreaking Horror War Movie, it was an entertaining one worth a watch when out on home media.

# 16

Jonas Taylor is one of the best deep-sea rescue divers who has been labeled crazy after he claims something attacked a sub that left two of his crew dead. Now when his ex-wife and her crew get stuck at the bottom of the ocean, he must come out of retirement and face his haters in order to save her, but while doing so he unleashes a massive Megalodon Shark who is now on a killing and eating rampage! Proving he’s not crazy, he and a research group must try all they can to stop the Megalodon before its body count of victims rises! This is a fun Action Horror Movie that was a great popcorn summer film that tried to be this generation’s version of JAWS. The film stars Li Bingbing and Jason Statham, and sadly did not do so well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office only bringing in $145,443,742.00 on a budget of $130 million. While not a groundbreaking ocean terror film, it was sure an entertaining one! Worth watching on Blu-Ray and DVD and even worth having in your collection to go along side your other shark themed Horror Movies.

# 15

The Purge movie series gets a prequel! The New Founding Fathers have just taken office and have a wild idea to make America great again and that’s to have one night that for 12 hours all types of crimes are legal including murder. They are testing it in New York on Staten Island. They also are offering payouts to residents who stay in town for the night as well as those who kill, and the more you kill, the more money you will make. This experiment is called The Purge and was created by Dr. Updale in order for people to lash out and unleash their inner beasts. We follow those who are protesting it lead by Nya who gather in a local church. We also follow Dmitri, a local drug lord and his crew who decided to protect the people as well as we follow the militant gangs sent in my the Government plus the local scared up nut job Skeletor who is killing anyone who gets in his way. This movie is a time bomb of violence and people standing up for each other and human rights and is a good sequel to a great series of films. The main characters are likable and you find yourself cheering them on to make it through the night. The downside for me is I felt it offered nothing really new to the series and just kind of felt like a sequel made to promote the USA Network TV show that is as well a prequel to the rest of the films in this series. The film did well for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $69,086,325.00 on a budget of $13 million making it a hit for them. While my least favorite in the series, this is one I own on DVD and recommend to fans of the other films. I also want to say that I do hope Blumhouse and Universal do make another in this series as I do really enjoy them.

# 14

Olivia and her friends go to Mexico for spring break and meet a young man who tricks them to going to an old monastery and play a game of Truth Or Dare that is being run by a demon, who, once you’re in the game, forces you to play. Now one by one, the group of friends is forced to tell hurtful truths and dangerous and murderous dares! With time running out and her friends dropping like flies, Olivia must find away to stop the game once and for all and return the demon to captivity. This Universal and Blumhouse team up was a fun silly film that had moments of thrills and horror that delivered an enjoyable watch at the cinema. While the film and its plot was nothing special, it was very cool to hear moviegoers after the film ask their friends Truth Or Dare. The characters, while generic, do have a likable quality, and I really liked how the demon disfigured people’s mouths to ask them truth or dare. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in only $40,531,430.00 on a budget of only $3.5 million. While not one I would say is a must see, I would watch again once out on DVD.

# 13

Doctor Eric Price is hired by Winchester Gun Company to evaluate their majority share owners mental state as Sarah Winchester has suffered great loss as her husband and child have both passed on. She herself is spending tons of money on building new rooms to her mansion as she claims the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifles have told her to do so in order for forgiveness. At first Eric thinks that the aging widow has lost her connection with reality due to her grief of the death of her loved ones, but soon he himself must face the facts that maybe the ghosts of those killed by the rifles are indeed in the house looking for a place to stay and be set free. This is a pretty solid ghost film that packs lots of atmosphere and holds a true classic Hammer Horror feel to it as they were the original company to release this before selling off the script rights. The film is a slow burn and plays up on fears of the unknown and plays with what we think we see and hear, and then turns right into a vengeful ghost story complete with a very mean disfigured ghost who is the main one causing problems. The film did alright for Lionsgate at the US Box Office as it did about $25,091,816.00 on an undisclosed budget. This was a pretty cool Horror Flick and was the second one released in theaters in 2018 and was a spooky little popcorn flick.

# 12

Susie Bannion, a young woman from Ohio, moves to Berlin after the death of her mother and wants to join the Markos Dance Academy under the teaching of Madame Blanc. But while she is a skillful dancer, there is more to this dance school that meets the eye as young women keep going missing and rumors of a cult of witches running it travels around. With one dancer named Sara wanting to get to the bottom of it and find her missing friend and an old doctor as well looking into the disappearances, Susie must find her own inner dancer and come face to face with a clan of witches who have sinister plans for her as well as the other dancers. This film is a remake of the Dario Argento film of the same name and while it holds some elements from the original, it is really its own thing and brings in a very strong art house feel. While the film is a slow burn and has a long runtime of over two and a half hours, it does pack in some pretty cool chills as well as bloody deaths that reminds you that you are watching a Horror Movie. The film has a great cast with such names as Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz and Mia Goth who steals the show with a great performance. The film had a limited release and but did help bring in $2,483,472.00 for Amazon Studios who had a $20 million dollar budget in this film. While I do not find it as spooky or haunting as the original, this remake still was a fun one to see in the theater and did have some cool and creepy moments. Worth owning on home media for those who like slower paced art house Horror flicks.

# 11

While on a sniper mission, Quinn McKenna is the only survivor when a spacecraft crashes and a Predator is once more loose on the Earth. Before he flees, Quinn is able to steal the alien’s helmet and arm guard and sends it home, but this causes the Predator to as well track the package that’s been opened by his autistic son and worse for everyone, a super genetically engineered 11 foot tall Predator wants stolen cargo that’s on the crashed ship and will kill anyone and anything that gets in his way. So it’s up to Quinn and a rag tag bunch of mentally unstable soldiers to save his son, dodge the government and stop the Predators from their hunts. This fourth film in the Predator series is a fun Sci-Fi, Action and Horror hybrid film that delivers some good kills and over the top moments. But while enjoyable, the film does have its flaws. For one, some of the editing leaves plot holes and the character of Quinn McKenna is just a very unlikable hero character…or at least he was for me. While I did enjoy this film I do need to say that of the main Predator film series this is my least favorite. The film did okay for Fox at the US Box Office bringing in $51,024,708.00 on a budget of $88 million dollars. With this film leaving the door wide open for Shane Black to continue with another sequel, I for one would like to see Predator continue as I want the see the suit in action…watch the film and you’ll see what I am talking about.

# 10

Ashley has just picked up her husband Max from jail, and they are traveling home through the woods of the Pacific North West when they have an accident by striking a pedestrian who seems to have been attacked by a wild animal. Things get worse when Max is struck by a thrown rock that knocks him out and into the river below, leaving Ashley to go in after him. Now the couple is alone in the woods with something stalking them and even when finding help from a group of asshole hunters, they all soon realize that Bigfoot is real and he is pissed and enjoys hunting humans! Throw in a Native American Sheriff and an old witch that lives in the woods, and you have yourself this fun horror film that takes elements from the Predator films and turns them more primal and laced with folklore. This film had great practical effects with many of the kills being brutal, an amazing Bigfoot who was part wild primate and part Rambo, stunning lead actress Casey Gagliardi and one heck of a fun ride of a plot. This film was shown in theaters for one night only as part of the Fathom Events and was one heck of a fun time. The film brought in a total of $21,903.00 for its one night showing in the US for Fathom. This one was lots of fun and worth owning on DVD, Digital or Blu-Ray.

# 9

Blood Fest is an event that celebrates all things horror, and Dax, a mega horror movie fan, disobeys his fathers wishes and along with two of his best friends heads to the event only to find that the events organizer is a crazy man and all the killers and ghouls of the event are there to kill all attendees and create the ultimate Horror Movie from the footage. This is a really fun and gory Horror Comedy that blends the two genres together so well and delivers a highly entertaining watch. The film has killer clowns, zombies, a puppet, masked killers and vampires and has some over the top and brutal kills. The film was shown at a Fathom Event and has a great cast lead by Robbie Kay and Seychelle Gabriel and did pretty well for Cinedigm at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $82,744.00 on a budget of unknown. This is a must see film for fans of Horror Comedies and is one I bought on DVD/Blu-Ray when released.

# 8

Megan Reed is a former cop who was let go from the force when she became an addict after an accident left her partner shot. She now is recovering and has taken a graveyard shift job at the city morgue. But when the mutilated and burned body of a young woman named Hannah Grace is brought in, things start to get real weird as a person breaks in to the morgue to burn the body and staff from the hospital above are going missing. And things get even scarier for her when she notices that Hannah seems to be alive and moving around, and worse when she does some research on the dead girl, she finds out she died during an exorcism! When the demon inside Hannah fully wakes up, Megan must fight for not only her life but her soul. This is a possession film that is set in a morgue that is very cold in look and this helps add the over all vibe of this creepy little film as most of the movie takes place in the morgue and the parking garage that leads to the drop off area. Actress Shay Mitchell plays Megan and is very likable. Her performance has you cheering for her to make it out alive. Plus, it was great to see Stana Katic, who played Kate Beckett on TV Show Castle, in a small role. Over all while this is just another standard demon possession film, its setting and creepy demon woman Hannah made it an entertaining watch for me, even if the people I went with did not really enjoy it. The film did ok for Sony at the Box Office here in America bringing in $14,560,796.00 on a budget of $9.5 million. While this film was trashed by critics and Horror Fans across the board, I found it a fun watch on a late night at the cinema and is one I plan on buying on DVD when released.

# 7

The grandma of the Graham family has passed away, and young 13 year old Charlie takes it the worst as she was close to her strange grandma. But when an accident also leaves Charlie deceased, her family is left heartbroken and looking for answers as strange things start to happen all around them and mother Annie seems to be losing her mind…but things are very sinister as friends are not what the seem and forces are in play to get what they need from the Graham family. This film was a great slow burn horror movie that built the feelings of sadness, dread and anxiety as I watched to see how the story played out. No joke, when the character Charlie played by Milly Shapiro dies in the film, I really did find myself filled with sadness, and that’s crazy for me as most kids in movies annoy me! The film has done well for A24 at the US Box Office as it brought in $44,069,456.00 on a budget of $10 million. Well worth watching and one I bought on DVD when it was released. And will also say it’s the best A24 Horror Movie release I have seen this far.

# 6

A group of friends head out to the area’s biggest Halloween event and soon find themselves being stalked by a masked killer who enjoys turning the horrors of the haunted houses real. And during Hell Fest, a massive Halloween attraction he sets his site on Natalie and her group of friends. One by one, he stalks and kills them for his own twisted reasons, until the survivors and the killer have a showdown. This was a fun modern slasher film set in great background of a massive haunted attraction and adds a layer of shock. The film also has a great soundtrack and really is a sadly over looked film as it did okay for Lions Gate at the US Box Office bringing in only $11,107,431.00 on a budget of $5.5 million. With the film being left open for a part 2, I hope that Lions Gate takes a chance and allows it to be made. Worth seeing, and I even made sure to buy the film on DVD when it was released. Oh and I have to say I am becoming a fan of actress Bex Taylor-Klaus who plays Taylor in the film and is also known for being on MTV’s Scream show.

# 5

The Abbott family are living in a world where they must always remain quiet as monsters are roaming around that are blind but attack and kill any noise they hear. The family is struggling not to make a noise in a world where it means death, plus the family is having some issues over the loss of one of them, and worse, the mother is about to have a baby! This movie uses sign langue for almost all the dialogue and really plays up the tension of a family struggling with the loss of a loved one making the horror of the monsters outside even more intense as every little sound made me as a viewer feel nervous. A Quiet Place is a really good indie horror movie that was a great watch in the theater and with a fellow movie goers who were all silent during the film. The movie did really well for Paramount at the US Box Office bringing in $188,024,361.00 on a budget of $17 million. This is one that when released I bought the DVD and would recommend to Horror fans who enjoy their scary films with a touch of arty and emotions.

# 4

Insidious: The Last Key was the first Horror Movie released in theaters in 2018 and it was a great way to kick off a great year of Horror cinema. Elise Rainier has had a hard life as she can talk and see ghosts and uses her gift to help others who are being haunted. And her next case takes her to her old family home where she must help the new owner and come face to face with the sinister spirit called Key Face who can steal the souls of the living and force the living to also do his bidding when living in that house. Elise along with her team must enter the house, face her fears and torment of the past, patch things up with her estranged brother, meet her nieces and help save them and stop Key Face from unlocking the doors of the spirit world. This movie takes lots of twists and turns and packs some great jump scares. It’s shocking that this Blumhouse series just seems to be solid throughout its sequels, and I for one can not wait to see what Chapter 5 brings to the story. The film did well for Universal at the USA Box Office bringing in $67,347,895.00 on a budget of $10 million making it yet another hit for Blumhouse! If you enjoyed the first three movies in the series, you will surely enjoy this one as well. Also this is one I bought on DVD when released.

# 3

Kinsey is a troubled teenage girl who is being driven by her parents and brother to a small vacation to their family’s seasonal trailer park before she is sent to a boarding school. But while the family tries to spend time with each other and heal hurt feelings, they soon find out they are not alone as The Strangers are also in the trailer park and have set their sights on the family being their next victims. One by one they stalk and kill the family, but soon find out that this family is not going to go down without a fight. This sequel was 10 years in the making and it lived up to the wait as this was one heck of a spooky ride filled with cool kills, amazing score and some eerie shots. This film feels like a classic 80’s slasher film and does a great job of ending the story of The Strangers but also leaves the door cracked if they ever want to revisit this series for a third film. The film did great for Aviron at the US Box Office bringing in $24,431,472.00 on a budget of $5 million! Really enjoyed this film and was a solid follow up and was a great film to see on the big screen, worth buying on DVD, Blu-Ray of Digital. And in fact I did buy the DVD when released.

# 2

The body of a nun who hanged herself is found at an old monastery in the hills of Romania, and the Vatican sends in a priest and a nun in order to find out why. While there, they find that the locals think it’s haunted as well as the land around it…and when night comes they soon learn that it is indeed, as the demon Valak has claimed it and is looking to enter our world for good and cause fear and chaos. In order to stop the evil spirit, they must truly have faith and risk everything to stop its coming of power. This creepy film in the Conjuring expanded universe is a fun watch with some creepy moments that felt to me as if it had a dash of Italian Horror mixed into a demonic ghost American fright flick. Valak is a great horror monster and the film’s downbeat atmosphere truly made for a great late night watch at the theater. The film did great for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in $117,450,119.00 on a budget of $22 million showing that The Conjuring films are here to stay for awhile. This movie is worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray and I in fact did buy the DVD when it was released. If you like demonic ghost movies, you should check this one out.

# 1

It’s been 40 years after Michael Myers went on a killing spree, and Laurie Strode was one of the only survivors. Spending this whole time in an asylum, on Halloween 2018 he breaks free and once more goes on a killing rampage in Haddonfield, Illinois that leads him to cross paths again with Laurie Strode as well as her daughter and granddaughter. Will Michael be able to finish what he started in 1978, or will Laurie finally get her revenge for that night of terror he put her through? This sequel to the hugely popular Halloween film series takes place after the original film and is the start of a new batch of sequels being done by Blumhouse and Universal that have been bringing us Horror Fans a bunch of great scare flicks. This sequel brings Michael Myers back to the core of who what he is, a cold blooded killer and wipes out the family connection between he and Laurie and just plays up on the fact the two hate each other. It was great to see Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode as well as that the original Michael Myers actor Nick Castle got to also be apart of this film. The kills are great and some are pretty brutal, and the score is done by John Carpenter and brings that true Halloween feel to it. Another plus is that almost all of the main characters are likable and are pretty well developed. The one major downside for me was some of the Danny McBride written humor just seemed out of place and really dumb and that was mostly spewing out of the mouth of Laurie’s son in law. Over all I think that Halloween series is in good hands with Universal and Blumhouse, and I am very much looking forward to see what’s next. The film did amazing for Universal at the Box Office here in America bringing in $159,326.595.00 on a small budget of $10 million. This really was hands down my favorite Horror Movie I saw in theater in 2018 and lived up to what I wanted from it.

So as you can see, this was a great year in movies in all genres and for this movie goer, I got to watch film is all kinds of cool theaters from Neon Movies to Cinemark and got to spend time with some amazing friends like Natalie Claude, Theresa Daniels, Stephen Alexander and Josh Weinberg plus as always got to see many with my gal Juliet. Well I can see the clean up crew is here and are ready to clean up the Rotten Ink Theater, so we should probably clear our, but before we go I would like to say that our next update is going to be about those 80’s toy The Popples! So until next time, watch a movie or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See ya for a Popple good time next update!

 

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Konga

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

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

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

Konga (1961)

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

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

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

So now that we have taken a look at Konga as a monster and the film that spawned him, I think we should dive into his comic adaptation released by Charlton Comics in 1960 a short time ahead of the films release as a tool to promote it before it hit theaters and drive-ins. I want to thank the Ebay seller who had this comic in stock and made this update possible. I also want to remind you that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and it’s art and story. I also want to say that I am only reviewing the first issue in this series as it’s the adaptation of the film and it would cost me a small fortune to get all the issues in this series as well as its follow up series. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at Konga in the world of comics.

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

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

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

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

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Driller (2006)

The world of Horror Movies and Horror Comics both have so many independent releases in their respected media.  Sometimes we are lucky, and they blend together and a comic is released based on a film. Today we will be taking a look at one of them with Driller, a cool promo comic based on the 2006 film. Driller is one of those independent Horror flicks that slipped under the radar, and many fans don’t know anything about it. So if you’re ready, lets take a few moments and take a trip into the world of Driller to see what horrors and gore this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update has in store for us.

Lets look at the alien-made killer of the film and comic that is called Futuristic Driller! As a regular man, he sat alone in a field drinking beer and hating on a woman who had broken his heart, but to his horror, a UFO appears and beams him up mutating him into a freaky deformed looking killing machine that is a pawn in their plan to take over the world. Futuristic Driller uses a power drill to dispatch his victims and is silent, cold and uncaring and rocks a scarred up face and a weird half face mask. Besides killing, he also helps create more weird alien soldiers to join the invasion as he also wants a bride. Futuristic Driller kills his victims with a massive power drill, plus has power & strength and uses his odd and creepy appearance to strike fear into their hearts before he drills a hole through it. He also can be hurt but fatal blows seem not to kill him, making him an unstoppable force like so many masked slasher killers before him. While it looks like he cannot be hurt, he does have some weaknesses like the fact he can be hurt, and this slows him down even more than normal. His slowness is also a weakness; if a victim is smart they can outrun and move around him. So while he is not an icon of Horror Villains like many others killers who have come before him and after, he is one dangerous killing machine who could be unstoppable and has made his bloody mark in the world of Horror.

So as you can see, The Futuristic Driller is one mean killing machine, and now that I have chatted about him, lets take a look at the film he comes from. As always I will be taking the film’s write up from our friends at IMDB and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about it. So if you’re ready, lets take a look at Driller the movie!

Driller (2006)

“A dark and amusing tale of alien abduction, drugged up youth, drilling and killing.”

Driller was released in 2006 and was directed by Jason Kartalian who also wrote it. The film had a festival run and even was selected to be a part of Another Hole in the Head Film Festival and was well received. The film would also go on to make it to DVD and would have a solo release as well as come out alongside the 1979 film Driller Killer as part of a double feature. The film had a rumored budget of $300,000.00 and used practical effects to pull off the gore. The film starred such actors as Tanya Dempsey, Ivy Joeva, Eric Spudic and Jeb Rowen as the Futuristic Driller. It’s a true independent feature that blends Horror, Science Fiction and Comedy together and makes for a fun fright flick filled with backyard gore, a slasher style killer and attractive women. The film when released in 2006 had lots of competition from titles like Hatchet, See No Evil, Saw III, Rest Stop, Evil Bong, Wolf Hunter 2, Behind the Mask and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning to name a few! So as you can see, it was sadly lost in the shuffle.

Driller is one of those films I discovered while searching Ebay for comic books based on Horror Movies, and after a short while, I stumbled onto this promo comic that came along side the double feature DVD of this release. Once ordered, I decided that I was going to order also the single feature version of the film as I already had a massive two disc collector’s edition of Driller Killer and only needed the double feature to get the comic book. I chose to watch the film on a day off from work as outside massive thunderstorms brewed and helped set the mood. And when watching it I can say I really enjoyed it and found the killer to be cool and the gore effects very effective for the budget they had, not to mention the ladies of the film are easy on the eyes. My favorite kill in the movie has to be when he kills the apartment peeping handyman and the woman in the shower he is watching as The Futuristic Driller shows no mercy and drills them to death. I wish I had more of a connection to this film as I just discovered it this year so I have no amazing story of watching it with friends or finding it at a video store. All I can say if you enjoy Indie Horror Movies like I do, you might want to check this one out if you can find the DVD at a cheap price.

So as you can see Driller and it’s killer The Futuristic Driller are a bloody and entertaining combo that was one I am glad I discovered. I want to thank Ebay for having this comic in stock and want to thank also the makers of this film for making this promo comic to go along with their film. I need to also remind all you readers that I am grading this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, lets take a look at this short and mini comic based on 2006’s Driller.

Driller # 1  **
Released in 2006     Cover Price $0.00     Viewfinder      # 1 of 1

A man named Joe is asleep on his couch dreaming of being able to murder his uncaring and overbearing wife when he is awakened by her telling him to get to work. As Joe leaves, two stoned hillbillies smoking pot in their car see a UFO fly by, and sadly for Joe, he is the target of the aliens who beam him aboard and experiment and torment him in order to turn him into a mutated killing machine. The aliens drop Joe, now a freaky looking killer, back to earth who picks up a power drill and hits the streets and kills a man who is peeping on a woman in a shower and makes his way to get her as well and that’s how our comic ends.

This is a quick read that is the start of an adaptation of the film that I think was planned but never fully released. The plot of this comic follows a man who hates his life and wife who sadly is targeted by aliens who turn him into a killing mutated freak-killing machine! Joe is a slob who works a job and has a wife who likes to smack him and boss around and he does what he is told even though he hates every moment of his life he still does what he can to survive. Clearly he spends his time drinking beer to try and forget about how bad his life is. So in other words, Joe is a normal middle class man who has family issues and is down on his luck. But once Joe is turned into the Futuristic Driller, he no longer is human and has no issues with killing humans who get into his way! This comic, while very short, does have some of the red stuff as Futuristic Driller uses his power drill to kill the pervert watching the woman shower as well as blood is spilled when the aliens work on Joe to turn him into the killing machine. Not sure who did the comics interior artwork, but it’s solid stuff and captures the raw silly nature of the film, plus the cover is pretty cool and has that indie horror comic feel. Over all this is a fun and good short promo Horror Comic read that just makes me wish a full comic was released. Check out the art below to see what style you’re in for when reading this comic.

So while this comic might be very short and ends before any major mayhem takes place, it’s still a cool Horror Comic that many readers might not know exists and might want to get their hands on. I really do wish more indie Horror Films would make comics based on their films as I think comics are a great way to advertise the film to a market that most of the time would be very much into what they are presenting. So I think for our next update we are going to stay in the world of Horror and in fact what I have in store next was originally a comic book and was turned into a movie that was released by Troma, so in other words it’s a reverse From Horror Movie To Horror Comic! The comic and movie we will be talking about is The Killer Condom and this one is weird, funny and horrific! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch an indie Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a Killer good time.

Anne Francis Stars In…Our Look At Forbidden Planet

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

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

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

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

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

forbidden_art1Robby Anne Francis9115ptDPsDL._SL1500_.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

863153

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War Ready: The Robotic Tale Of Pacific Rim

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers.  This month at your local cinema, the second film in the Pacific Rim series called “Pacific Rim Uprising” will be released and once more has giant robots taking on Kaiju in order to save the world from destruction.  This film series is a part of the Legendary Pictures Monsterverse world, making these characters in the same world as King Kong and Godzilla! This update will be a quick one and will just add to the excitement of the film’s release. So let’s climb into this giant robot made out of old metal mop buckets and Campbell soup cans and get war ready to fight the giant Kaiju and save this blog from their invasion.

So before we dive too deep into the world of fighting giant monsters with giant robots, we should first take a look at the first film that not only inspired the sequel now in theaters but also the comic mini series that we will be reviewing today. I will be taking the movie’s plot from the good folks at IMDB, and after, I will give my thoughts about seeing the film in the theater and the impact it has had on my friend Jeremy Hoyt!

Pacific Rim (2013)

“When monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee  – who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.”

When this movie’s trailer first appeared at the theaters and on the internet, I was pretty hyped for it as I love giant monster movies and wanted to see what this film had to offer in the way of destruction and creature designs. And while I enjoy giant robots, I am not a fanatic about them nor am I a super fan of the film work of Guillermo del Toro who I find good but not fantastic like many of my friends do. I went into the theater with an open mind, armed with a blue ICEE and a medium popcorn, and was ready to watch giant robots fight giant monsters alongside my pal Josh Weinberg. After watching the movie, I can remember both Josh and I just thinking that the movie was entertaining but nothing too special. I really did enjoy the look of the Kaiju, and the look of the giant robots were very well done.  What I didn’t enjoy is all the drawn out human aspects of the film that were laced with what I call Independence Day speeches given by characters to unify the troops. While I enjoyed the first film, I was in no way a super fan and am looking forward to checking out the sequel at my local theater. On the other side of things, my pal Jeremy Hoyt loved the movie and enjoyed every second of it. I must also say that some of his favorite comics and cartoons in the world are Transformers so I think he just really likes giant robots! Like all good movies, lots of merchandise was released for fans of this film, including the soundtrack, comics, novel, toys, shirts and posters. Personally, the only merch I got was the movie on DVD and the comics. So while I enjoyed Pacific Rim and the world it created, I would by no means say that I am a mega fan but am looking forward to the sequel.

The major threat of this film series are the Kaiju, who are engineered by beings from another universe and are sent to Earth via a portal with the sole goal of killing all of humankind. So in other words, these giant monsters were created to be a biological weapon to use against the enemies of their creators. There are all types of Kaiju, all with different appearances, powers, and strength, and each are major threats in their own ways. Some of the different Kaiju include Knifehead, Onibaba and Hammerjaw, to name a few. These monsters use their giant size and powers to destroy any thing or robot that gets in their way. But they can be stopped by the Jaeger, who are the giant robots controlled by two human pilots that are Earth’s only hope of survival. While it’s not been made official (and this is just a theory and wild guess by me), I think soon you will see the Pacific Rim Kaiju and Jaeger mixed into the world of Godzilla and King Kong that Legendary Pictures has established. So as you can see, the Kaiju are very dangerous and very much your typical giant monsters that are infused with powers thanks to science. Below are some pictures of some of the Kaiju from Pacific Rim, so check them out.

So as you can see these Kaiju are a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens that for the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and their Jaeger drivers for keeping the world safe from these threats. But now we are at the point of this review where we will be looking at the comic books, and I chose Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift for my reviews.  While a graphic novel based on Pacific Rim was released in 2013 called Pacific Rim: Tales From The Year Zero years before Tales From The Drift, I wanted to read a mini series of floppy issues and not a GN. I want to thank Mavericks and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and weirdly enough I’ve had most of this mini series for years and just now have sat down and read them.  Here is to hoping it’s a solid and fun read! I want to also remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, it’s time to witness the Tales From The Drift!

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 1  **
Released in 2015     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 1 of 4

Duc and Kaorl are a husband and wife that control the Jaeger known as Tacit Ronin. During a fight with a massive Kaiju, they are injured when the beast continues his attack. We flashback to when Duc and Kaorl first meet when Duc manned a helicopter that saved a sub that Kaorl was in that was gathering data on the breach line that the Kaiju use to enter our world. When we cut back to modern times, Duc and Kaorl are injured, and their robot is being filled with radioactive gas. Their Jaeger Tacit Ronin is being dragged into the breach line, and they are clearly loosing the battle and their lives if they do not get help!

This first issue is a mix of drama, action, horror and romance as we follow a husband and wife team who are in the battle for their lives against a massive Kaiju, who is brutal in his attack. As our main characters are being beaten up, they have a flashback to what looks like their first meeting that lead to their romantic link. Our heroes Duc and Kaorl are likable based on what little we know about them as they both love their jobs, they both would risk their lives to finish their jobs and they seem to really love each other even if their first meeting went bad. The Jaeger they power, Tacit Ronin, seems like a powerful machine but to be honest, it gets taken down and beat up pretty easily and it almost seems like they should not have been sent in to fight the monster alone. The Kaiju himself is big, mean, filled with hate and does what he was created to do, smashes and tries to kill what ever gets in his way. This issue is very thin plotted, and the story is a little all over the place as we go from modern to flashback to modern to flashback and so on with no clear reason or explanation. The characters seem like wooden generic action characters that say silly lines to each other and have over all bland personalities. The battle between Jaeger and Kaiju is one sided and makes our heroes seem like failed fools as they seem lost for the most part on how to repower the robot and get the toxic gas out of their area. Now I know it sounds like I didn’t like this first issue, but I did enjoy it as it had good art from Marcelo Maiolo, who has a very modern independent comic style. The cover is also well done and very eye catching for fans of the film, and seeing a giant robot fight a giant monster is still cool no matter how one sided the fight is. Over all, this is a middle of the road comic that is not terrible and is not amazing.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 2  **
Released in 2015     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 2 of 4

Duc and Kaorl are in serious trouble as they are slowing losing energy from the gas that has filled their control room, and the Jaeger they command Tacit Ronin is taken a beating. The pair drift in and out of consciousness as they flashback to being forced to act as a team in order to fight the giant Kaiju that threaten the world, and how at first they could not stand even being around each other but they ended up coming to respect each other. Back in current times, the Jaeger Coyote Tango comes to their aid so they can retreat and get out of Tacit Ronin as soon as possible so they do not die from the gas. But when Coyote Tango starts to lose the fight with the Kaiju, Duc and Kaorl use all the strength they can in order to attack the Kaiju with one massive blow. But this act of heroism leaves Duc passed out and possibly dead!

This second issue has our heroes at death’s door from not only the Kaiju’s attack but also because the toxic gas is zapping them of life! The plot in this issue is paper thin and has our heroes getting their butts kicked and thinking back to them being brought together to be a team and then risking their own lives in order to help their fellow Jaeger drivers. Duc and Kaorl in this issue are pretty much still cool characters who lack an real depth besides the fact that now they care for each other but in the past they did not. The Kaiju is doing what he does best, trying to kill and destroy,  is just like the last issue. Coyote Tango is there to help, but we really know nothing about him nor do we even get to see who his controllers are. This second issue, while entertaining, is very weak on story and delivers nothing really new to the story as most of this just feels like rehashed plots from issue one just spiced up a little with different situations. The cover for this issue I feel is a little weak and does not really deliver in the eye catching department and the interior art by Marcos Marz seems just slightly more sloppy and rushed in this issue. Over all there’s not much to talk about as this second issue just kind of putts along and delivers another middle of the road comic issue in this mini series.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 3  **
Released in 2016     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 3 of 4

Duc and Kaorl have survived the battle, but their powerful blow to the Kaiju has left both Jaegers, the Coyote Tango and Tacit Ronin, down for repairs. While recovering in the hospital, the husband and wife team are told by Captain Stacker Pentecost that they have been discharged from the Pan Pacific Defense Corps as going back in to control a Jaeger would overload their brains and kill them. As Kaorl and Duc try and deal with early retirement, a massive Kaiju starts to attack and destroys the only ready Jaeger, Victory Alpha, with ease. With many of lives of innocent people in the balance, Stacker must reinstate Duc and Kaorl who have volunteered to put their lives on the line in order to wait for back up from Japan to save the lives of many.

This third issue sets up that our heroes Duc and Kaorl all in one day are forced into retirement due to injury that would leave them dead if they try and pilot a Jaeger to, by the end, forcing their old boss to put them back on duty in order to save innocent lives that are now in danger because of a Kaiju attack. The story in this issue is a little better as it gives our heroes a real time to shine as they would rather die themselves than to stand by and do nothing as people die around them. It’s very weird because while they have not flushed out really real personality for Duc and Kaorl, as a reader, I have found myself cheering for them in every issue! Captain Stacker Pentecost is a man with lots of pride and hates the fact that he had to discharge his friends and later has to risk their lives in order for them all to do their jobs. Victory Alpha, the only Jaeger in the area and the only hope for the people around, is truly outclassed as the monster smashes him to bits. A team of a brother and sister are controlling him, and they do manage to escape the robot before it’s smashed! The Kaiju in this issue is called Ragnarok, and he is one bad monster who has multiple arms and is ready to smash and kill anyone that gets in his way. Nice to see that the plot for this third issue at least thickened and seemed to have gone somewhere different and, as I stated before, gave the main characters a little more personality. The cover for this issue is kind of bland and reminds me of some lame space romance title Image Comics would have released. The interior art once more is done by Marcos Marz and is good with once more a few panel and pages seeming a little rushed. Over all this was once more a middle of the road issue in this comic mini series that is nothing too special.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 4  *1/2
Released in 2016     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 4 of 4

Duc and Kaorl enter Tacit Ronin and go out to face Ragnarok, who is also ready for another battle. Our heroes give it everything they have and battle the giant beast pushing it back to the water and away from the city all the while hammering and cutting the giant monster trying to slow him down. But sadly as they fight the monster, they themselves are taking massive damage and are slowly killing themselves. As they get weaker, they know they have to kill the monster and do just that by cutting him in half, but this brave act also leaves them dead and the world lost some true unselfish heroes. Our tale ends with the pair being buried, and the world knowing what they did for them.

This last issue is just one massive battle issue that has lots of splash panels and fight scenes that are chaotic, and at times you are not so sure what you’re looking at. This final issue’s plot has our heroes going into war one last time and giving their lives in order to save others. I have to say this because it’s really how I feel, Tales From The Drift could have been wrapped up nicely in two issues but seems to have been dragged out so that Legendary Comics could get enough pages in order to do a graphic novel as this mini series plot was super thin and lots of pages seemed to be taken up with filler and plot elements that went nowhere with the flashbacks being the worst for this. Duc and Kaorl are cool character who were great heroes in the story, and while likable, they sadly fell into being generic style science fiction heroes.  While they died heroes, they were just not written well over all. The Jaegers felt like after thoughts in this series with all of them until the last fight getting their butts kicked and all seeming like they would never have stood a chance against the monsters. Another thing I hate to say is while Ragnarok was a powerful Kaiju, his look was super cheesy and reminded me of a Power Ranger baddie. The cover on this issue is pretty cool and looks more like two astronauts looking into the face of Satan in Hell than a moment from Pacific Rim. Marcos Marz’s art in this issue is kind of bland and was nothing special, and while some might think it’s good, it’s definitely not a style I can say I really like. Over all as a long time comic reader who really enjoys comics based on films, I have to say that Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift was nothing special and was kind of a drawn out bland generic story that was made in order to cash in on the film’s fans and to get a graphic novel in comic and book stores. While I didn’t hate this mini series, I can’t say I was a fan and would only suggest it to diehard fans of Pacific Rim. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Marcos Marz, and see what you think of his work.

While I feel that this comic mini series does fit well into the movie universe that Pacific Rim has created for itself, I found these comic issues to be very slow and have a lackluster plot. But while this comic series was not all that great, I am still very much looking forward to seeing Pacific Rim Uprising at my local cinema. It’s time to leave the Jaegers and Kaiju behind as our next update will be another in my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” series and will feature the newly released comic based on the 1990 film Ghoul School that was released by Seduction Cinema Comics under their new branch called Camp Comix! I am very much looking forward to this update as I have always enjoyed this sadly mostly forgotten shot on video gem! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as the bell is ringing and Ghoul School will be in session!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Killdozer!

Back in the 70’s and 80’s made for TV films were very popular and were the networks’ way of trying to keep viewers staying at home instead of heading to their local cinemas. And in 1974, thanks to ABC a Horror/Science Fiction hybrid film based on an old 1940’s novel was unleashed on viewers and sparked a cult following…that film is Killdozer! This made for TV movie not only got the comic book adaptation treatment from Marvel Comics but also has been talked about in TV shows like Beavis And Butt-Head, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Tonight Show as well as in the film Planet Terror. In fact, some people think that the real life rampage of Marvin Heemeyer, who used a bulldozer to cause panic and destruction in Colorado, was inspired by this film and even the media used the name Killdozer when covering the tragically ending event. So as you can see, this film really has become a cult film and is the newest entry in my From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So put on your hardhat, as Killdozer is ready to strike fear into our hearts and souls!

Before we get to the film and the comic, we must first get to know and understand our “monster.” Killdozer started out as a normal giant bulldozer that was doing work on an island. It makes the mistake of trying to remove a metallic rock that fell from space, and in turn, the alien rock takes over the bulldozer and turns it into a human killing machine that runs on its own and seems to have a mind as well with one goal, to kill. Killdozer does not talk, does not listen to reason, and almost seems to like to stalk its human prey before going for the kill. Killdozer’s power came from the rock that fell from space and not much is known about its full power and whether the glowing blue life force that left the rock to enter the bulldozer was indeed a living being. Killdozer pretty much ruled the small island it was on and used much of the environment against the humans. Killdozer is massive in size, and his main tools for killing are its large blade plate with its other tools of death being its continuous track that can run over and crush as well as its ripper that can shred human flesh. Killdozer can withstand fire and explosives and even can keep moving without fuel. But while Killdozer might seem unstoppable, it does have some weaknesses like it can be tricked and out maneuvered as it is slower moving, and it as well does not like electricity. So while Killdozer can be stopped, it will take lots of will to live and strategy to do so, and while only a machine with a mind of it’s own, it still is a killing machine that humans should be afraid of.

So as you can see Killdozer! is a several ton terror that is driven by unknown powers from space and almost seems like it could be a prequel character to the Stephen King story and movie Maximum Overdrive! Now we are at the point where we will take a look at the film and its legacy as well as my first time viewing of the film. The movie’s plot will be taken from our pals at IMDB, and the rest will be written of course by me. So let’s take a look at the film that was inspired by a book that sparked a comic.

Killdozer! (1974)

“Construction workers building an airstrip on a small Pacific Island encounter an ancient non-material lifeform which has lived in the ruins of an ancient temple for millenia. The entity is of course malevolent and commandeers the earthmoving equipment to the general detriment of all concerned.”

Killdozer started out as a novel by Theodore Sturgeon and was released in 1944. Thirty years later, ABC along with Universal Television developed a made for TV movie based on the book in order to scare viewers and keep them from going to the cinema to watch a horror film. The film premiered on February 2, 1974 on ABC and was met with mixed reviews by critics and viewers. It would be many years before Killdozer! made its way to home video when Universal, through their DVD-R on demand service called The Vault, released it. Killdozer! It was released on TV the same year as these other Horror Films scared viewers on the big screen: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, The Bat People, The Ghost Galleon and It’s Alive, to name a few.

I watched Killdozer! for the first time on January 16, 2018 via the Universal Vault DVD-R release…and I must say that while it’s was nothing too special, it had a fun early 70’s cheesy horror film feel to it and was very entertaining. What worked for this movie was the atmosphere as it was set on a very small island that gave our contract workers a very small area to hide in from the killing machine. The film starred Clint Walker who was in other made for TV Horror movies like Scream Of The Wolf and Snowbeast. It co-starred Neville Brand, who was in a number of Horror Films that include the 1977 Tobe Hooper film Eaten Alive, and they, along with the rest of the cast, do a great job pulling off that they are scared of a killer bulldozer. Another thing that shocked me is how good the score for the film was as it added to the over all Sci-Fi and cheesy nature of the film and was done by Gil Melle, who did scores for such other films as The Sentinel, Blood Beach, Frankenstein: The True Story and Death Scream, to name a few. Over all I must say that if you enjoy movies that have machines that running wild and try to kill every living person they see, then Killdozer! is one you will want to watch. I should also note that this film is bloodless, and all the deaths do not show harm coming to the characters.

Killdozer! found itself getting the comic book treatment the same year as the film aired on TV thanks to Marvel Comics and their series called Worlds Unknown that features cool science fiction and horror stories in every issue.  They have covered the likes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, to name a select few. And for issue 6, they adapted Killdozer! and even played up the fact it was also a made for TV Movie! I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock for this review. So before we frightfully dive into this comic, I need to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s travel into the comic world and see what kind of mayhem Killdozer! has in store for us.

Worlds Unknown # 6  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel Comics     # 6 of 8

A war in space that took place long before our written time caused a killer cloud that took over machines and made them act as if they had a mind of their own. And during this battle, one of these machines was blown out of space, and it fell to Earth on an island where it remained for many centuries! Tom Jaeger and six of his workers are dropped off on the island a billion years after the cloud has fallen, in order to make a landing strip for the air force in three weeks. One of the workers finds a temple and after hitting it with his bulldozer, he unleashes the cloud that takes the machine over and kills the worker driving it and turns its attention toward Tom who does his best to shut the machine down. The bulldozer does not stop there and targets and kills two more of his crew, causes Tom’s own workers to think maybe he is the one doing the killing. But once the Bulldozer goes on a rampage again, Tom and his worker Chub figure out a plan to stop it once and for all by making it enter the water and then electrocuting it! As they set their plan into motion, Al the other living crew member tries to sell out his fellow man, but if does not work as Tom’s plan kills the Killdozer.  He and Chub then watch as Al loses his mind.

Marvel Comics tried to take the novel and movie based on Killdozer and make a comic adaptation of them, and sadly, after reading it, they fell a little short. The plot is about seven construction workers on an island who become the target of a killer bulldozer that has been taken over by a cloud alien from outer space, and the humans must stay strong and together in order to stop the dozers killing rampage. The story has elements of the film as well as some of the novel and blends them together to sadly make a mediocre horror comic that does not pack any major chills and all the kills happen off panel. While it is only mediocre, it still is a fun read and it’s very cool to see Killdozer itself as a comic character. I do enjoy that in this comic Tom’s crew start to turn on him and wonder if he is the one killing them off until they finally see the Killdozer roaming around on its own. I also liked the idea of a temple being built around the cloud from an ancient civilization in order to keep it prisoner. The downside to this comic is none of the characters are that likable nor do we really get to know them at all. The pacing is fast and yet still pretty lackluster. Tom is a focused man who tries his best to warn his crew of the Killdozer! and Al is a coward who is willing to throw his fellow man under the dozer in order to save his own butt! The rest of the crew members are throwaway characters who are all manner of generic. The cover to this issue is very eye catching and showcases Killdozer about to kill. The comic interior art is done by Dick Ayers and is well done and has that classic 70’s Marvel look. Over all, this was a fun read and is a cool comic for fans of the film or novel of Killdozer but is not what I would called a must read for Horror Comic readers. Check out the art below to see Killdozer in all its Marvel Comics glory!

So while Killdozer did not set the comic world on fire, it was still very cool to see a comic based on a made for TV horror film. And while Killdozer has a very small cult following, it still made its mark in the world of Horror Films and Horror Comics, no matter how small the mark is. My next update will be about another DC Comic Superhero that I feel is very under used, and that’s Hawkman! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for our flying adventure with Hawkman.

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!