From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Halloween (1978)

Happy Halloween! I have decided to do something a little different for this haunted holiday update as I will not be having “5 Questions With A Horror Host” or even visiting a haunted place as this year I am going to bring you a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update as I have a blast doing them.  Plus I wanted to do this update in honor of the new Halloween movie in theaters right now thanks to Universal and Blumhouse! The Halloween movie series has always been one of my all time favorites and has always entertained and chilled my blood since I was a youngster, and I have been very much looking forward to covering it on Rotten Ink since I started this blog in 2012. So if you’re ready, travel to Haddonfield, Illinois on this Halloween in 2018 with me and not only go trick or treating but also be look out for the Boogeyman known as Michael Myers as the one thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t kill the Boogeyman.  No matter where you hide, he will find you!

Now I think we should start by taking a look at our killer, The Shape. Michael Myers started his killing ways at 6 years old when he brutally stabbed his sister on Halloween night while she was in her room. He was locked away at a mental ward where he never spoke and was considered pure evil. But many years after his first murder, he escapes and returns to his hometown in order to kill again and again. Michael Myers is very mechanical and cold in his movements and is a slow stalker who watches his victims before he murders them. His means of killing are brutal as he uses all types of weapons from knives, axes, needles and often his bare hands to choke the life out of someone or even snap their necks. His appearance also strikes fear into the heart of his victims as he wears a white mask and coveralls making him a very blank slate embodying the faceless horrors we all fear. Michael is also un-killable as he has been shot, beaten, stabbed, set on fire and electrocuted and only stays down for moments before getting back up to attack and kill some more. He is also very strong and has above human strength as he can easily pick up, break and impale a human with brutal power. The combination of all of the above mentioned makes him one of the most, if not the most powerful killer we have covered on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update! As far as weakness goes, Michael has very few but I would say his slowness can work against him and leave him open for counter attacks.  He also seems to only kill on a cycle making one safe for most months minus October. As you can see, Michael Myers is a killing machine who cannot be stopped and will come back again and again to kill and butcher.

So now that we have taken a look at Michael Myers aka The Boogeyman aka The Shape, we should take a look at the first film in the series that was released in 1978 and was directed by John Carpenter and sparked 10 sequels as of this update. I will be taking the film’s write up from our pals at IMDB, and after, I will write about the film’s production as well as my connection and thoughts on the original film. So if you’re ready lets head on down to the Myers house and chat about one of the Grandfathers of Slasher films, Halloween.

Halloween (1978)

“The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.”

Film producers Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans wanted to make a Horror Film about a killer on the hunt for babysitters and sought out director John Carpenter and writer Debra Hill to make if for them! With the film to be set on Halloween night, the original title “The Babysitter Murders” was changed to just Halloween to capture the mood of the spooky holiday. The film’s $300,000.00 budget was put up by Akkad, and Carpenter would take a small fee for directing plus scoring the film as well as only 10% of the film’s profit. The film’s props were made or bought for cheap including the casts wardrobe and Michael Myers’ mask that was just a reworked Don Post Star Trek Captain Kirk mask spray-painted and tweaked. When casting the film, they originally wanted Peter Cushing to play the role of Dr. Sam Loomis but ended up getting Donald Pleasence in the role, and for Laurie Strode they wanted Anne Lockhart before hiring Jamie Lee Curtis! They also brought on other talented actors like Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers and John Michael Graham with Carpenter’s friend Nick Castle taking the role of adult mask-wearing Michael Myers. The film was shot on a short film schedule and rumor has it that when watching the film without the score, the producers were not scared and a little worried that the film would bomb, but once Carpenter placed the score music, they knew they had a spooky hit on their hands. The film when released to theaters was a major hit bringing in a total of $70 million worldwide! Plus the film would go on to be re-released in theaters bringing in more money, and in 1981, NBC paid $4 million to show the film on TV with new footage added to pad out its runtime as well as tie it into the second film that was hitting theaters around the same time. In 1978, Halloween was released alongside other Horror Movies like Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2, It Lives Again, Magic, Grapes Of Death, Dracula’s Dog and Mardi Gras Massacre to name a very select few. Halloween would go onto spark the modern slasher film craze and was the first to bring to light the sex, drugs and death formula to all its clones. This was a very brief look at the production of this classic Horror Movie, and I suggest that if you have some spare time, look up the full history of the film and give it a read, as it’s very interesting to see how a small budget horror film changed the face of horror for generations after its release.

I can remember the first time I saw Halloween was with my older brother Bryan sometime in the mid to late 80’s when we watched it on cable TV one late night. I can remember being glued to the screen and finding myself drawn into the feeling of dread as Michael Myers stalked and killed the friends of babysitter Lorie Strode before coming after her. I can remember the true atmosphere of the holiday Halloween being captured on the screen as kids ran around in costumes as a masked killer walked among them. I can remember the lights in the room were off and the glow of the screen helped deliver the chills as the music of John Carpenter filled my ears. I can remember being wide eyed over P.J. Soles and her stunning good looks, being into Nancy Loomis as I really liked her character Annie, and most importantly I can remember becoming a fan of Halloween and Michael Myers for life! After watching that film, I became obsessed with Michael Myers and had to see the sequels and even used to draw him in art class as well as in comic strips. My brother ended up finding the score on cassette tape, and I used to sneak and listen to it on my little stereo in my room and would also tape the main theme onto another tape so that I could listen to it anytime. We would also go on to see all the sequels and own them on VHS and DVD. We would watch Halloween II on the USA Network all the time! In other words, Halloween was a staple for the Brassfield Brothers who between the both of us bought and read so much stuff about this film series. In fact over the years I have been a fan of almost all of the Halloween films with the only one I am not too fond of being Rob Zombie’s Halloween II as I find it very poorly written and directed. While many say that Halloween is the start of the slasher movie genre I would say Psycho from 1960 is but Halloween perfected it and is the one that inspired all the clones that were released in the 1980’s. To be honest, my love for Halloween is hard to put into words on this blog as it really does remind me of my youth, has inspired my own shot on video film The Sadness and just has always been one of my favorite Horror Film series, has one of the best scores in horror cinema, gave me my first and still going celebrity crushes Danielle Harris and is one I have to watch every Halloween! Before I ramble too much more, I just want to say that Halloween is an iconic film that grew into a solid franchise (with the original Halloween 2 being my favorite of the sequels) that everyone should watch at least once in their life as the film really does capture the mood and atmosphere of the Halloween season. This will not be the last time I talk about the Halloween movie series so with that bit of news I will wrap this part up.

Over the years Halloween has become one of the biggest horror franchises in movie history and like most big movies in horror it has had its fair share of merchandise! Over the years Michael Myers and the Halloween logos and images have been used on posters, t-shirts, art prints, drinking glasses, buttons, patches, magazines, hats, dolls, books, action figures and video games. Not to mention the films have been put out on Beta, VHS, DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray for fans to own and watch over and over. The score has also been released on vinyl, cassette, CD and digital! Over the years I have owned all types of cool items that Michael Myers has been on with some of my favorites being the score done by John Carpenter on CD, the McFarlane action figure and the Atari 2600 Video Game cart. So if you’re a fan of Halloween and enjoy collecting horror merch, there is so much great stuff out in the world for you to collect…I also recommend the paperback adaptations as they are amazing and great reads as I had them growing up and can remember reading them on dark nights.

Halloween has always been a very special film to me as it like Psycho introduced me to the world of Slasher Films and really opened my eyes to Horror Movies that did not have werewolves, vampires, phantoms or Frankenstein’s Monster in them. I also need to credit the Friday The 13th movies and Horror Host show Commander USA’S Groovie Movies for that as well. But now we are at the point of this update where we must take a look at the comic series based on Halloween that was put out by Chaos Comics. This is one of those comic series that when issue one was out, I made sure to have Mavericks save me back a copy and they did and in fact I still own that copy to this day. I can remember reading the copy and enjoying it.  That was 18 years ago so it will be cool to see if I still enjoy it as much. I was able to buy off issues 2 and 3 off Ebay many years back and oddly enough am just getting around to reading them! I want to also remind you readers that I am grading these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well these comics stays to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. So with that let’s dive into the Chaotic world of Halloween on this Halloween.

Halloween # 1  ***
Released in 2000    Cover Price $2.95    Chaos Comics    # 1 of 1

Survivor Tommy Doyle is now grown up and writing a book about serial killer Michael Myers and heads three hours away from his home to pick up old case files written by Dr. Sam Loomis for research. Before Tommy arrives, the doctor who is waiting for him is killed by Michael Myers who is lurking in the dark as Tommy comes and goes and no one finds the murdered body of the doctor as Myers has pinned it to the back of the door. Once back home Tommy starts to read the files and finds out that Loomis wanted to separate young Michael from the other young kids at the asylum and even with the help of Dr. Jennifer Hill (who Loomis is starting to have a relationship with) they could not get it to happen, and even after he attacks and almost all the other kids around him die, they keep Michael around others as he can never be connected to the deaths. Finally after years of terror, Michael kills Jennifer Hill and makes it look like a suicide and this makes Loomis forever be the person who will be the thorn in Michael’s side and be the one who tries to keep him locked up forever. As Tommy finishes part of the files, Michael Myers shows up in his home and tries to murder him, but Tommy is able to shoot him as well as set his face on fire and knocking him out of the window! But like before as Tommy looks down from the broken window, Michael Myers is missing.

It’s hard to believe that Michael Myers and the Halloween Horror Movie series first made their way to the comic book world in 2000 way after the likes of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, Pinhead, Norman Bates, Chucky and Leatherface! And even more crazy, it was Chaos Comics who finally brought him to Horror Comic readers! The plot of this first issue has Tommy Doyle, a survivor of the 1978 babysitter massacre grown up and now wanting to write a book and dive into the history of the killer Michael Myers who is now back and targeting Tommy! The other cool thing is that this issue showcases the files of Dr. Sam Loomis with him trying his best to warn everyone that Michael Myers even as a kid was a danger to others and shows that at one time he was in love and engaged to a fellow doctor who was killed by Michael who made it looked like a suicide. Tommy Doyle is a very focused man who wants to write the best book about his would be murderer and when faced with the fact he has been targeted by the mask killer again he snaps into action and takes the fight to his attacker. Sam Loomis as always is a hero who has his sights on Michael as he knows that the young man is a cold, evil killer who will do so over and over if and when he gets the chance. Having both Loomis and Tommy in this comic really ties it into the film series as both are featured in the first film and both have gone on to be in some of the films sequels. The rest of the workers at the asylum are fooled by Michael and his silent act, besides Jennifer Hill who kind of trusts the words of Loomis but also just becomes a victim to the pure evil youngster who targets her to get as Loomis who is his doctor. Michael Myers as a youngster and as a masked un-killable adult is a pure evil killing machine that is silent and brutal and is the ultimate in slasher killers and one heck of a great Horror Comic bad guy. The comic has some great kills and does have some blood, and while bloody, it’s not over done and not a total gorehound’s dream but will please fans of early slasher films. The cover for this issue has a classic movie photo of Michael Myers and is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of the film and the interior art is good and done by David Brewer and has a classic late 90’s style look. Over all this is a pretty great comic that does a fantastic job of blending the past and present and shows that Halloween was long overdue for a comic series. Oh and I have to say that this comic holds up for me as I enjoyed it back in 2000 when released and enjoyed it now in 2018!

Halloween II # 1  **1/2
Released in 2001    Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle grabs his gun and heads to the old Myers house as he thinks that’s where Michael will return to after getting set on fire, shot and knocked out of the window. As Tommy Makes his way there, Richie Castle, a man who also came face to face with Michael in his youth, has had his life in ruin since then, as he knows he came face to face with evil and on this night wants to set the Myers house on fire! While across town Tommy runs into Keith and Lonnie who are friends of Richie and have spent their lives making fun of Tommy and his quest to hunt down the boogeyman. While Ritchie is killed in the Myers house by accident by former Sheriff Leigh Brackett who thought he was Michael and has now taken the body to hide in a field is followed by Tommy who has gotten away from his bullies.  The pair talk about the true history of the town and how it’s filled with Samhain worshipers who are the ones who made Michael the way he is and that his babysitter the old woman Blankenship is one of the leaders of the cult! Meanwhile back at the Myers house Michael brutally kills Lonnie and Keith who had shown up in order to find Ritchie who owed them weed. While back in the field Tommy and Brackett are attacked by the cult who tie them up and keep them prisoner in the basement with Blankenship wanting to kill them and the priest wanting to let them go. Michael is on his way to the church basement as the priest sets Brackett and Tommy free just in time as Michael shows up and kills the priest and stabs Brackett. Tommy is able to once more set Michael on fire and push him into a power box electrocuting him and allowing himself to pick up Brackett and escape the now burning church only to run into the cultist outside. Our issue ends with Tommy being blamed for all the current murders and fires and is sitting in an asylum figuring out a plan to escape and stop Michael Myers once and for all.

This second issue is good…but not as good as the first as this time around they added in much of the plot twists of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” with the whole Thorn Cult.  While I don’t mind the cult aspect, I did feel they took away lots of panel time from the main star of this comic Michael Myers. The plot of this issue has Tommy Doyle on the trail of Michael running into Brackett, former town sheriff, and together they want to stop the masked killer but soon find themselves at the mercy of a cult who has protected Michael for decades and who will do whatever it takes to cover for him and try and control his rage. This time around Tommy Doyle is way more focused and is ready to take the fight to Michael, plus he is a likable character who brings a touch of the classic Halloween to this comic series. It’s also great to see Sheriff Leigh Brackett back as he really does have a bone to pick with Michael as he killed is daughter Annie in 1978 and now is back in town with revenge on his mind. Ritchie, Lonnie and Keith are the goofy younger kids from the first film that tell Tommy that the Boogeyman is coming for him, and in this, they are still very mean spirited adults who all get murdered for being terrible people doing terrible things at the wrong house. Blankenship and the cultist are all cold blooded people who will do anything for the spirit of Samhain and that includes murder, kidnapping and framing others for their crimes. Michael Myers is as always an unstoppable killing machine who’s only goal is to kill and kill some more. This issue ups the blood and gore as many of people meet their end by Michaels knife, and it really feels like a 80’s style slasher film! The cover on this issue is great and eye catching to not only Halloween fans but also fans of Horror Comics in general. Jerry Beck this time around does the interior art and I think it’s better than the art in issue one as this one seems darker and more independent in style. Over all we once more have a great issue that builds up a great cliffhanger that comic readers had to wait a year in order to see how it all works out. So let’s not wait a year ourselves and see what the third and final issue has in store for us.

Halloween III # 1  **
Released in 2001     Cover Price $2.99     Chaos Comics     # 1 of 1

Tommy Doyle has been in the asylum for two years now for the “murders” of Ritchie Castle and Brackett, and on this day he finds out that he is to be killed by the orderlies in order to make it look like a suicide via orders from the cult, but lucky for him he is able to fight back and escape. Meanwhile back in Haddonfield, survivor of the 1978 massacre and now reporter Lindsey Wallace is looking into the disappearance of Laurie Strode who went missing after changing her name and becoming a headmistress at a California academy and was attacked by Michael Myers. She also learns that the bodies of the three victims of the 1978 massacre have been stolen and that Tommy has escaped the asylum! Tommy of course meets up with Lindsey who has the private diaries of Dr. Loomis, and they talk about Laurie Strode being Michael’s Sister. But before they can come up with a plan they are attacked by Michael who ends up chasing Lindsey out of the house and down the street and right into the old Myers house. Once inside, Michael tries and kills Lindsey but Tommy comes rushing in and stabs and removes the mask to find that Laurie Strode is now crazy and has killed her brother back in California when he came for her and she as well dug up her friends and has taken over at being the Boogeyman! Tommy and Laurie have a struggle and both fall out of a window with Tommy dying and Laurie is now an inmate at an asylum not speaking a word and bidding her time to escape like her brother before her. Lindsey is left to wonder is evil real or was it all just metal illness in the Myers family.

This third and final issue in the Chaos Comic Halloween series does its best to try and tie in “Halloween H20” to the rest of the series and adds a two year gap in the story from issue “2” and itself. The plot of this issue has both youngsters Tommy and Lindsey who survived the 1978 killing spree of Michael Myers coming back together as adults only to be attacked again by Myers who this time around is not Michael but his sister Laurie who was the one who kept them save from the first attack! Tommy in this issue is a doomed man as the cult wants him dead as does the Boogeyman and he gives his life to save his childhood friend.  Once more Tommy makes a great hero in this comic even though he also walks the line of being crazy. Lindsey Wallace is a great reporter now who as well has become obsessed with the legacy of terror of Michael Myers and wants to write a big report about him, and she as well finds that she has the will to fight when pushed by the masked killer. The cult members this time around take a back seat and are only at the start of the issue as they want to murder Tommy and pass it off as a suicide. Michael Myers sadly is nowhere in site as he is “dead” by the hands of his sister Laurie Strode who is now wearing the mask and wanting to go on a killing rampage in her old hometown. This is the twist I dislike about this comic series as with issue 1 and 2 we have Michael Myers doing what he does best and that’s slashing and stabbing people who are in his way, with this third issue we lose Michael and have to believe that Laurie has lost her mind and has taken the spirit of Samahin in her and is now a cold blooded killer…and to that I say no thanks as Laurie to me is best being the one who wants nothing more than to get away from her past and her mask wearing brother. By turning Laurie into a killer, they also undid all the heroic stuff she did in the first, second and H20 films and just made her feel so generic. The issue also has very little blood and gore and while it’s around, it almost feels like a PG-13 movie making it the least bloody in the series. The cover for this issue is pretty great and showcases Michael Myers with a full moon. Handling the interior art for this issue is Justiniano, and while it’s okay, I would also say it’s my least favorite in the series. Over all this third and final issue in the series is a little of a letdown and the build up to this issue was so good and we got a lame payout in this Horror Comic reader’s opinion. Below is some artwork from all three issues to show you the styles of each artist and I must say while the ending is a little bit of a letdown I do recommend tracking down this series and given it a read as the first two issues are very solid.

It would be seven years after the comic by Chaos before Michael Myers would return to the world of comics thanks to Devils Due…but those comics are for another update for another year. I also hope that you readers went and seen the new Halloween film in cinemas because by doing so, maybe we can get a new batch of sequels made and have Michael Myers be a box office draw again at the cinema! Also thanks for spending a part of your Halloween with me as I really do look forward to doing these updates on this day even if this year we did something a little different. For our next update we are leaving the world of horror behind and will stark our countdown to Thanksgiving with a forgotten superhero with this year’s being one from the pages of Mad and it being Captain Klutz! So until then read a Horror Comic or three, watch a slasher film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. And oh yeah remember you cannot kill the Boogeyman even if you shoot him six times.

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Playing With Dolls

Slashers are very brutal killers in the world of Horror Movies, and in comics the killers are able to up the gore and brutal nature of how they murder their victims. For this update, we are going to take a look at a very brutal slasher killer called Metalface or Prisoner AYO-886 from a movie series called Playing With Dolls. This film has spawned two sequels and is a franchise that seems to be bigger overseas than here in America. So lets prepare for a brutal look at the film and comic for Playing With Dolls as this one is prefect for a Halloween countdown From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update!

Let’s take a look at our brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886, also known as Metalface, a masked madman with murder always on his mind. Prisoner AYO-886 is a cold blooded killer who was once just an inmate at an asylum who is now a tool in a sick game of life and death as he is controlled by The Watcher Scopophilio, who enjoys watching him kill the women he sets up for him. Prisoner AYO-886 has a truly creepy look as his leathery style mask is highlighted by metal braces as well as barbwire giving him the element of fear when seen by his victims. He also is very quiet and can move quickly making him super dangerous when he is stalking and setting up his prey. He uses all type of weapons from knives to hammers to kill his victims and does so with no remorse and has no loyalty to anyone, even others who work for Scopophilio, who only can control him with threats of being sent back to his cell. While he is a mass murdering killer, he does have weaknesses as he is after all human. Prisoner AYO-886 can be killed like any normal man so if shot, he will bleed. He also is told what to do so sometimes he leaves himself open for an attack and makes it as if he does not have a mind of his own until he is told to rampage. He also seems to get sloppy when he is set to rage and this is also a weakness as it leaves him open to making mistakes. So while he is only a human madman in a mask, he is one mean spirited killer who is a true master of splatter in the world of modern horror.

So as you can see, Prisoner AYO-886 is a killer who does not care about human life and is cold blooded like many masked killers before him in the world of Horror Movies. So now that we have taken a look at the killer, lets talk about the first film in the series as it’s the only one to have a physical media release while the sequels only got digital here in the US. When released on DVD here, the film Playing With Dolls turned into Metalface and we got a DVD-R release. For this, the films plot will be taken from our friends at IMDB, and the brief production notes and thoughts will be written by myself of course. So let’s get to the look at this underrated modern slasher film.

Playing With Dolls (2015)

“A serial killer is purposely released from an asylum for the criminally insane so that he can continue his rampage.”

Playing With Dolls (also known as Metalface) is a 2015 slasher film that is directed by Rene Perez and was released digitally worldwide with some home video release. The film was written by Perez and Barry Massoni and brought in actors like Natasha Blasick, Richard Tyson and Charlie Glackin as Prisoner AYO-886, with each actor doing a great job in their respective roles. Many Horror fans will recognize Richard Tyson as he has been in many great cult films over the years like Dark Tide (1994), Big Bad Wolf (2006), Flight Of The Living Dead (2007), Bigfoot (2009) and Hayride (2012) to name a few. The film spawned two sequels, “Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust” that came out in 2016 and the following year “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” was released. These two films made it to DVD in the foreign markets and digital here in America, but I have heard a rumor of Havoc coming to DVD here as well.

I first found out about Playing With Dolls while surfing the web for cool independent slasher horror films and the look of the killer drew me in! I found the trailer for the film on YouTube and it made me know even more that I had to see this film as it had all the elements of a Horror film like this needs…cool killer…lovely ladies…lots of gore…and a creepy story. There is this guy who comes into my work that we all call VHS Steve as he loves to collect Horror Movies on VHS and has for many years now as he is in his late 50’s or early 60’s.  He always talks about the elements of a Horror Movie: blood, story and nudity, and Playing With Dolls definitely fits his requirements and none are over done to scare away the more causal watcher. Once the film was released on DVD under the title Metalface, Juliet and I watched it during one of our Horror Movie Marathons and both of us found it very enjoyable. This film also seems like it would have fit perfectly on a video rental store shelf in the late 80’s or early 90’s and would have built up a cult classic status if released then. So there’s not much more I can say about this film but if you like slasher killers who kill in the snowy weather, then check this one out.

Now that we have taken a look at the film and it’s killer we should move on and take a look at the comic based on them. The comic was released around the same time as the third film in the series called “Playing With Dolls: Havoc” and was used to help promote the film and bring interest to the series. The comic was a digital comic release and lucky for me with permission from the makers, I was allowed to make a print version of it so that I could review it here on Rotten Ink! So I want to thank artist Simon Laprise for hooking me up with the digital files to make this review happen. I would also like to remind you all that I grade 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 think your stomach can handle it, lets dive into the world of Prisoner AYO-886.

Playing With Dolls # 0  **1/2
Released In 2017     Cover Price $0.00     Rene Perez     # 0 of 0

A man is in a motel room with a prostitute and has blindfolded her and has handcuffed her to the bed. He then rushes into the bathroom to pop some pills and meets his doom as a meat cleaver cuts the top of his head off and he is just another victim of Prisoner AYO-886 who then disembowels the man and goes into the room and puts the mans guts into the woman’s mouth who is still blindfolded. Once her blindfold comes off, she notices that she has human guts in her mouth and that a masked killer is in the room with her, and he quickly cuts one of her hands off and places a hook in her flesh and throws her out the window. As the woman falls, the hook tears out her skeleton and her flesh splats on the street below as cops watch in horror. Prisoner AYO-886 then grabs the body of the man and goes to the top of the building and throws it on top of the police helicopter causing it to crash and kill all the cops below. As this happens on top of the building stands the brutal killer Prisoner AYO-886.

This short promo comic of Playing With Dolls is a brutal Horror Comic that is sure to please fans of gore and over the top deaths. The issue’s plot has our killer Prisoner AYO-886 in a motel on a killing spree and after killing a man and his paid for woman, he takes the battle to the cops that are waiting to take him down once and for all. The old man who is just a victim is a sleazy guy who is into paying for sex and doesn’t stand a chance once our killer shows up and cleavers his head in two. The poor sex worker also does not stand a chance and meets her end even more brutally than the man as her skin is ripped from her bones and before that, she has one of her hands cut off! Prisoner AYO-886 is quiet and brutal and showcases his killing skills as well as his mental process of getting out of trouble before getting caught by the law. This comic’s story is very basic and is your typical set up for any slasher comic or film and has a masked killer targeting a couple who are about to have sex, but what does make this different is the fact that it turns up the gore and sleaze and is a true gorehound’s delight as the mood is pure grindhouse and the blood, guts and gore are plenty. The only major downside to the comic is that it’s a very fast read and leaves you wanting more! The cover for the comic is very cool and has a great modern day Horror Comic look to it, plus it also seems like it could fit in a modern art gallery that’s theme is killers. The interior art is done by Simon Laprise and is really great stuff, In fact his style would have been perfect for companies like Dead Dog Comics, Blackthrone and B-Movie Comics and it would have been great to have seen him do work for those companies. Over all this comic might be short but is a great read for fans who enjoy their Horror Comics based on independent Horror Movies. Check out some art below to see the style of Laprise and see just how cool Prisoner AYO-886 looks as a comic villain.

Playing With Dolls is a film that could make a great ongoing series and proves that more independent Horror Movie makers should look at comics as a way to advertise their film as many fright flicks fans are also comic readers. I want to also let you readers know that artist Simon Laprise also does “Gorehound Fanzine” a great magazine that can be obtained in Canada. With it being our countdown to Halloween, we are going to stay in the world of Horror Comics and in fact our next update will be another From Horror Movie To Horror Comic, and this time it will be Plague Of The Zombies, another Hammer Horror custom comic made from the old adaptations of the Hammer Magazine! So until next time, watch out for slasher killers, read a Horror Comic or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a Hammering undead good time.

The Axeman: The Killer Of New Orleans

A chill is in the air, and we are getting so close to October and Halloween time so I figured we would take a look at a graphic novel based on an unknown killer from the early 1900’s. This killer claimed he was not human and loved the sound of jazz music and would stalk his victims at night, but as quickly as the murders started, they also stopped. I am a true crime buff and always enjoy reading a good novel about an unknown killer, and next to Zodiac Killer and Phantom Killer of Texarkana, The Axeman of New Orleans – this strange case of an unidentified killer – has always peeked my interest.  I was curious about who he was and why he did what he did. So for this update we will be taking a look at the information Rick Geary collected to try and bring to life in his graphic novel based on this sadistic brutal killer. So lock your doors and shut your windows as Rotten Ink takes a look at The Axeman who tormented New Orleans.

The Ax of The Axeman

On May 22, 1918 in New Orleans, Italian grocer Joseph Maggio and his wife Catherine were asleep in their bed when The Axeman entered the home, slit their throats with a straight razor and then bashed them in the head with an axe. Catherine’s wound to her neck was so bad that her head was almost severed from her body, while Joseph lived for a short time after his brother found the victims and was able to get him help. On June 27th 1918, the killer struck again when he attacked and nearly killed Louis Besumer and his mistress Harriet Lowe.  Both were hit with a hatchet but were found in time by a delivery driver named John Zanca. Sadly, Lowe would later die from surgery linked to her attack, and Besumer would go on to be a suspect in his own attack as well as a German spy and was arrested and died in jail. On August 5th 1918, the killer struck again.  This time his victim was a 28 year old pregnant woman who he bashed in the face repeatedly cutting her scalp wide open, and if she hadn’t been found by her husband, she could have bled to death.  Five days later, the Axeman attacked and murdered Joseph Romano in his home with two ax blows to the head.  Romano was found by his two nieces, who were able to get him help, but sadly he died two days later from trauma. Charles Cortimiglia and his wife Rosie and baby daughter Mary were attacked on March 10th 1919.  All were hit with an ax, and Mary passed away while Charles and Rosie were treated and released. On March 13th 1919, a letter was sent by the Axe-Man claiming he would not kill anyone who played jazz all night and that he was in fact not human but a demon among many other claims. On August 10th, 1919, Steve Boca was attacked in his home with an ax and was lucky enough to survive. 19 year old Sarah Laumann was found in her home with ax wounds to her head and several of her teeth knocked out; she would survive the attack. The Axe-Man’s final target was Mike Pepitone, who was killed with ax blows to his head. Over the years of his attacks many people were suspects and some were even arrested but none were ever proven to be the real killer.  A letter was written by the killer claiming unworldly things, and he was even compared to fictional character Mr. Hyde. One thing is for sure, he was never caught and if he truly was a demon or a monster, he still might be out their waiting to strike again.

Axeman Trading CardAxemans Jazzaxeman shadow

So there is a quick run down of all the mayhem this killer caused in New Orleans, but his crimes and infamous style of murder also went on to be in many media projects besides this graphic novel. In 1919, a song called The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) was written by Joseph John Davilla. Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection Of Louisiana Folk Tales, a book with a chapter about the Axe-Man, was released in 1945. In 1984, The Beasts of Bourdon released their first album called The Axeman’s Jazz after the killer. 1991 saw a fiction novel based on the murders called The Axeman’s Jazz written by Julie Smith. In issue # 94 of Swamp Thing, DC Comics also did a take on the Axeman. 1992 saw the release of True Crime trading cards, and in the second series, The Axeman was a featured card. English band Fila Brazillia used parts of the Axeman’s letter as lyrics in their 1998 song Tunstall And Californian Haddock. In 2004, I wrote a movie script for Independent B Movie called The Return Of The Axeman that was to take place in modern times and have the killer back, killing college age people on a trip to a rural farmhouse.  Sadly, the script was not picked by the group to turn into a movie. Red, White And Blood is a 2012 novel by Christopher Farnsworth that has an evil spirit called the Boogeyman who body jumps into people throughout history and was written to be inside the Axeman during his murders. A year later in 2013, The Axeman, played by Danny Huston, was a character in the TV series American Horror Story: Coven. Ray Celestin wrote a fiction detective novel called The Axeman’s Jazz in 2014. And this is just a drop in the hat of the stuff this case has influenced.  It’s a shame that the real case never had an ending like all these media projects did as it would have been nice for the killer to have been brought to justice and his victims to have seen their tormentor captured.

Gumbo Ya-Ya, A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales bookBeasts of Bourbon CDThe Axemans Jazz Book

So as you can see, The Axeman has chopped his way into history as well as in to the comic world as he not only has this graphic novel based on his crimes but also inspired an issue of Swamp Thing! I think it’s time for the main event, and I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s try to solve this case and see what Rick Geary has in store for us this Halloween update season!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans GN

The Terrible Axe-Man Of New Orleans  ***1/2
Released in 2010     Cover Price $15.99     NBM Publishing   #1 of 1

The story begins with a history of Louisiana, how it became a state, how New Orleans came about and who it was named after as well as some of the ups and downs throughout the city’s history. It covers the culture that grew in the city from music like blues and jazz to Mardi Gras all the way to the Union holding it during the Civil War and terrors that stalked the nights like Needleman, a chap who injected poison into his victims and even Jack The Clipper, a freak who liked to cut schoolgirls hair in theaters and buses. But our main story starts in 1918 when Andrew awakens to hear thuds and strange noises coming from his brother’s room.  Upon checking on him, Andrew finds that his brother is dead as is his wife in what is described at the bloodiest crime scene in the city’s history! A razor was used and found on the bed as was an ax that was left in the bathtub.  Nothing was stolen from the house, and the killer got in by using a chisel on the back door’s lower panel and crawling in, and even more oddly, a strange message is left on the sidewalk in chalk that is linked to the crime. Andrew and his other brother Jake are arrested for the murders but are both later cleared of the charges.  As one old time police officer remembers, some cases from 1911 that had Italian grocers being killed in this fashion, and the Mafia and a group called The Black Hand became the suspects. More murders and attacks accrue, many with the killer using the victims’ own axes or hatchets to attack them with as well as entering via door panels or open back windows. Many people are accused of the crimes and all are proven not guilty, and the lucky ones who live through the attacks are unable to describe the killer. One case with survivors has the wife accusing another family who runs a store that competes with their own, and it seems as if anyone can be a suspect! Over time people start buying guns, and The Axeman fails at many attempts at breaking into houses.  Things seem to go back to normal until he attacks a family and murders an infant child! He then sends a letter to the Times-Picayune on March 14th 1919 stating he is a demon who chooses to kill whenever he wants and that he will strike on the following Tuesday and will murder anyone who is not playing jazz as he is very fond of that style of music.  All over town that night jazz music echoes, and the killer does not strike. The Axeman strikes once again in 1919 but also during this year he is run off by aware townspeople who react and scare away the killer before he can claim a life. And after killing a total of six people and wounding six others, the killings just stop, and The Axeman fades away into the shadows and memories of New Orleans. On December 2nd 1920, a man named Joseph Mumphre was shot and killed on a sidewalk in Los Angeles by Rose Pepitone, who was the wife of the Axeman’s final victim.  She claims that Joseph was the Axeman and that she wanted nothing but revenge on him for killing her husband; others don’t think this was the case at all. So ends the story of The Axeman who could have died a man or lives on as a demon roaming the world looking for his next time to strike terror.

This graphic novel is a well-done true crime spectacular that will wrap you up into trying to figure out who was the Axe-Man of New Orleans and also lets you look at the horrific crimes he committed in glorious black and white art. The comic covers a very brief history of Louisiana and New Orleans and then goes into the horrific acts committed by the Axeman and gives you dates and facts about each crime and even a little history about the poor victims. While it’s about a brutal killer, this graphic novel does not go overboard on the blood and gore, but that’s not to say that the red stuff don’t flow from wounds nor splatter walls cause it does, just very tastefully. The interesting part about this is that in 1911, years before the official Axeman attacks, horrific murders with the same M.O. were committed showing that this killer could have had even more victims than reported, and it also brings light to the fact someone in New Orleans really disliked Italian grocers. But the million dollar question that this graphic novel really gets you thinking about is who was The Axeman as the suspects are plenty and almost all of them at some time were ruled out even if they had motive to commit the murders.  Plus the thought of several murderers all doing the crimes to look like one also comes to my mind when reading it. But I really do think the main suspect, and probably the man who was the Axeman of New Orleans, was Joseph Mumphre.  When he was in jail, the killings stopped for a brief time, and then once he moved away to L.A. the killing were done.  This is clearly the main suspect and the right one for the police to have kept an eye on even though they didn’t, and it took the widow of one of the victims to give him justice at the end of a bullet. Rick Geary’s artwork is fantastic and captures the mood and feel of this grim subject and brings a touch of class to such a horrible crime in American history. If you’re a comic book fan and love true crime, this is a great read on a late fall night, really worth checking out.  After reading this one, I ordered more of his work, and I am sure you will see them pop up here on Rotten Ink as future updates. Below is some art from this graphic novel of the Axeman, so sit back and give it a look, and you also might want to look over your shoulder because who knows, he might still be out there!

The Terrible AxeMan Of New Orleans Art 1

We finished this a little early, and I know you want to be scared a little more from this Pre-Halloween update so we will take a look at Swamp Thing # 94! I have been a fan of Swamp Thing for many years, and when I was a kid I had The Saga Of Swamp Thing # 1 comic and thought I had a true collectors item…now being 36 and a comic store connoisseur, I see that that issue is not worth the thousands of dollars I thought it would be when I was that comic collecting youth. Also, thanks Lone Star Comics for having this in stock so that I could cover this issue for this update!

Swamp Thing 94

Swamp Thing # 94   **
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.50     DC Comics    # 94 of 171

The Axeman is back and has killed in the small town of Houma during Mardi Gras leaving the bodies in the swamp where they are found by Swamp Thing. In town is a jazz band named Cocodrie whose lead singer has gotten an ax from a fan that holds magical powers of music for every blood drop on it.  This ax really came from a descendent of the original Axeman of New Orleans who wants the legacy of the killings and the spreading of jazz music to continue. Abby Holland, the wife of Swamp Thing, wants him to come to the big concert tonight as she thinks no one will notice him as everyone will be in costume and too drunk to care.  All the while murders are happing, and the new Axeman is collecting blood and setting jazz music free from the hearts of his victims.  You see, while the singer plays the jazz, the killer does his thing and murders poor people in their homes. The killer is being pushed by a giant purple demon who is getting joy of the madness and terror these killings are causing. While at the concert Abby has to leave as her baby daughter starts to cry because the infant can see the demon.  This makes them the target of the Axeman, and just as he is about to chop them up, Swamp Thing appears and beats not only the killer but also the demon.  This marks the end of the terror of the Axeman as even the band’s singer is effected by the defeat.

This issue while good is a disappointment and clearly a filler issue in this series as both Swamp Thing and The Axeman of New Orleans are after thoughts to the demon who is the cause of the murders as well as the lead singer of Cocodrie and his love for his musical ax and wanting to be the top jazz musician in the world. The plot is this a demon who us the man behind making a man become an ax murder is back and is using a new batch of goons to commit the crimes is stopped once Swamp Thing gets wind of what’s going down and saves his wife who was the next target to be chopped up. Swamp Thing in this issue is disgusted by the murders and wants to seek answers to what kind of demon could be pushing a person to do these acts, he also takes no mercy on how quick he takes down The Axeman! Abby Holland is a free spirited woman who loves her family and also loves running around the swamp naked and trying to get Swamp Thing to do normal activities. The Axeman has two different types of axes one for killing and one for making music and when he kills he wants to be a brutal as possible and targets many woman this time around, really like how the killer is related to the original axeman and that a demon is really calling the shots just as the letter stated back in 1919. The Cocodrie are used a filler to help spread Jazz music and the lead singer is the pawn in a sick game of promised fame and fortune, I mean who ever has heard of a magical musical wood chopping ax? The issue has some horror elements as people are chopped up and a Demon jumps for joy when people are killed, the downside is the story is weak and has a lame pay off with Swamp Thing stopping the Axeman with ease and at no point is he or Abby really in any danger! The major plus side to the issue is that they use the song The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa) as the motivation of the killer and his musical butthead lacky. The artwork is done by Kelley Jones and the story is done by Doug Wheeler and while a little lacking they both are fitting for this Swamp Thing filler issue. Over all I am a Swamp Thing fan I just was let down by this issue and I think it might have been my own fault as I might have over hyped it in my head.

Swamp Thing 94 Art 1Swamp Thing 94 Art 2Swamp Thing 94 Art 3

So this Halloween season while zombies, vampires and werewolves might scare you late nights in movies, comics, video games and novels know that the real horrors of the world are people like The Axeman of New Orleans who stalk the innocent to satisfy their sick bloodlust! Our next update I am very happy to say that the first update for October is going to be Panic Beats another very cool comic based on a Paul Naschy film! So until then watch a horror film or two, read a horror comic or three and support your local Horror Host as this time of the year is made for having a good scare or two.

Panic Beats Logo