Horror Host Icon: Morgus The Magnificent

On January 3, 1959, the House of Shock opened for business with Morgus the Magnificent hitting the airwaves on News Orleans’ WWL-TV.  For the next half-century Morgus would delight monster kids (and their kids and grandkids) in his home city of New Orleans as well as New York and Detroit via syndication.  Greetings, friends of science and members of the higher order!  It’s Juliet, proud to report for blogging duty to talk about this very special horror host that was part of my family’s late night movie experience as Rotten Ink brings you Horror Host Icon: Morgus the Magnificent.  horror_morgus

Momus Alexander Morgus was descended from a long line of scientists dating all the way back to Morgus the First who it is said was the architect of the Great Pyramid.  Morgus, the 96th of his name, attended the Vasco Da Gama Medical School (the Caribbean’s finest – where he later served as the chair of quantum mechanics and far-out physics) and currently serves as the head of the Momus Alexander Morgus Institute (MAMI) and is a member of the “higher order.”  He’s the author of several volumes of scientific research including New Hope for the Dead and Molecules I Have Known as well as the inventor of many technological breakthroughs. The early years of horror hosting, alas, aren’t as well documented as they could be, but from what I can tell, it looks like Morgus was the first host who wasn’t a ghoul or vampire and was also the first host to structure his show in an episodic fashion rather than a more sketch or stand-up style.  Each episode of the House of Shock had Morgus unleashing a new experiment, and if you took the movie out, the segments would be almost like an episode of a modern day sitcom.  This is the same structure Matt and Baron Von Porkchop use for Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. The man behind Morgus was Sid Noel, a WWL radio personality and actor who both created and played the character.  Morgus’ main assistant in his experiments was Chopsley, a tall masked executioner who never spoke. Like Dr. Creep’s sidekick Duffy the Dog, Chopsley was portrayed by a variety of actors over the years, but the original Chopsley was Tommy George, a 6-foot-7 Bernard Parish motorcycle cop, who’s now deceased.  Another mainstay of the Old Ice House (and my mother’s favorite character) was Eric, a talking human skull who alerted Morgus to presence of visitors and was known to agree with his master.

-5f8749f3ef2f4f17Morgus

In 1962, Morgus starred in the first feature film centered around a horror host as his hosting character (Vampira was in Plan 9 From Outer Space in 1959, but that film wasn’t centered around her horror host persona) in The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus.  It’s a fabulous B movie that has Morgus creating an Instant People Machine to help with easy travel.  People go into the device and are turned into sand for easy shipping around the world where they are then reconstituted into people using another of Morgus’ devices.  In true Cold War-era fashion, spies from the vaguely Soviet nation of Microvania want to use the device for nefarious purposes all the while a super stereotypically reporter, “Pencils,” is hot on the trail of breaking the whole story wide open.  The film recently, finally, got a proper DVD release after floating around the gray market for decades, and I’m proud to report that I’m writing this blog in the shadow of a cinema-sized poster for The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus (the yellow image below) that hangs in a place of honor in the apartment.

 Picture3MV5BMTI2OTU3MzIzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc0NTYxMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_wacky_worldl

In 1964, Sid Noel took Morgus to Detroit to produce a series of episodes for Storer Broadcasting as well as do an afternoon weather sketch.  The Detroit show was called Morgus Presents and only lasted in the Motor City until 1965 when Noel and Morgus returned to New Orleans to pursue a syndication deal, paving the way for Lawson J. Deming and Sir Graves Ghastly to take up Detroit’s horror hosting mantle.  Upon returning to New Orleans, Morgus followed the same formula he had in Detroit, a daily weather report using his Morgusso-Electromagnetic-Weather-Prognosticator and episodes of Morgus Presents (this time in color).  But that was also short-lived, and it would be 1986 until Morgus resumed production with another iteration of Morgus Presents.  The premise, set and characters were basically the same save for a few timely updates including Eric’s upgrade to E.R.I.C. (the Eon Research Infinity Computer), whose memory banks held all the world’s knowledge – basically classic Eric was attached to an Apple II.  There were 52 episodes of Morgus Presents produced between 1986 and 1989, and as you’ll see below, this is the series you’ll more than likely be watching if you track down old Morgus episodes.

2b8ca5ea2669703b8dde3cc5eee37e00hqdefault-1eric

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Mogus’ whereabouts were unknown for a brief period after the storm, leaving fans extremely worried.  Luckily, Morgus sent word that he was indeed okay and looking forward to returning to New Orleans TV sometime in the future.  In 2011, Morgus the Magnificent was inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class that also included Vampira, Zachlery, Dr. Creep and many others.  That same year, the Mystery of Morgus, a documentary on the host’s legacy, aired on WVUE-TV in New Orleans.  Reruns of Morgus continue to air in New Orleans under the name Morgus Presents: The House Of Shock, but Sid Noel has been keeping busy too.  In the 90s, he created “Uncle Noel’s Fun Fables,” a character building reading program for public school kids.  In 2013, Noel partnered with the New Orleans Public Library system to create The Internet Story Club of America, an online vault of stories for children as well as resources for parents and teachers.

10153080_326796200808071_986699759062779771_nHOS

Morgus’ popularity transcended far beyond the TV set and the silver screen.  One of his most notable contributions to a none-film medium is the pop song “Morgus the Magnificent” by Morgus and the Ghouls.  The aforementioned Ghouls were actually New Orleans music royalty Dr. John and Frankie Ford.  Dr. John also has a separate song called “Morgus The Magnificent” on his Mos’ Scocious Anthology.   Modern New Orleans funk band Galactic also pays homage to Morgus in “Friends of Science” on their Ya-Ka-May album.  In grand New Orleans tradition, Morgus has been featured on Mardi Gras doubloons and has been honored by many of the carnival krewes including Endymion and Athenians.  Not to be left out of the Morgus action, a Detroit newspaper had a short-lived comic strip based on the good doctor.  It’s also worth noting that George Noory of Coast to Coast AM cites Morgus as a major influence and has had him as a guest on the show several times.

r-b-rocker-morgus-the-ghouls-morgus-the-magnificent-vin-1013-halloween_20920436a00d83451d04569e2015434239e1f970c-800wihqdefault

So how does someone born and raised in Ohio become slightly obsessed with Morgus the Magnificent?  Is it the Michigan connection?  Nope.  As I mentioned when I wrote about Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, my mom is originally from New Orleans so in addition to spending some time there as a child to visit my grandparents and other family and friends who lived in the Big Easy, from a fairly early age I became really enamored with the city because of the stories she’d tell me about her childhood there.  Morgus was a part of that childhood.  My mom and my uncle both remember Morgus as being appointment viewing when they were younger, and had the ritual of sharing a bottle of Coke while watching the show – though according to my mom, you couldn’t drink it until the show began.  My mom even told me that when she moved to Ohio as an adult, she was really excited to discover Dr. Creep and Shock Theatre because she had such fond memories of Morgus, and though Shock Theatre was more sketch-based than episodic, I can see some similarities between the hosts.  But actually, Eric (who’s “just a skull”) is her all-time favorite – and now my adopted favorite as I’ve been delving into the Morgus Presents episodes, though I’m also super fond of Mogus himself (for the record, Matt is a Chopsley man).  Watching the Morgus Presents episodes have also made me truly appreciate what drew my mom to Morgus; the humor is right up her (and my) alley with a perfect mix of smarts and slapstick that’s a tad absurdist and just a little dark.

vlcsnap-122117991

And now, friends of science, it’s time to delve into some episodes featuring Morgus the Magnificent.  As I mentioned above, these are all episodes of the 80s Morgus Presents series as it’s nearly impossible to find any of Morgus’ older material, which is a shame because I’d love to see some of the episodes my mom watched as a kid.  Nonetheless (and lucky for us), the 80s episodes are pretty hilarious and well worth a watch.  As usual, I’ll be describing the host segments while the movie’s description comes to us via IMDB.

morgus brides of dracula dvd

Morgus Presents: Brides of Dracula
Starring – Peter Cushing & Martita Hunt     Not Rated     1960

Host: Morgus is getting ready to unveil his latest scientific achievement, a one-hour solution for baldness. He’s going to transplant the scalp of a donor onto the bald person while still allowing the donor to regrow his hair in less than an hour. Just as he’s about to show off the treatment, there’s a knock at the door, and in his first appearance, Wiley Faye, shows up and introduces himself. Faye has been watching Morgus on television and wants to be his manager. When Wiley hears about Morgus’ baldness solution, he calls up bald billionaire Cornelius Goodrich and arranges for him to come over. Before Cornelius arrives, the hair donor shows up. After a few minutes of negotiation, Larry is prepped for the transplant. Wiley and Cornelius arrive soon after, and Cornelius volunteers to receive the transplanted hair. After the surgery, Morgus has to pay Larry, but Cornelius isn’t awake yet. Wile tells Morgus to write the check and that Cornelius will cover it. But Cornelius only makes donations to people who are married. So Morgus has Chopsley bring out Zelda, a rather zombie-esque young woman who was in the room where he keeps former patients. Cornelius asks Morgus what he’d do with an unlimited amount of money, and Morgus tells him about his dream of Morgusity, a science city. Cornelius writes the check, but it’s his policy to always give the check to the wife of the family – so he enters the room marked Keep Out where Zelda and the other patients reside….

Movie: A young teacher on her way to a position in Transylvania helps a young man escape the shackles his mother has put on him. In so doing she innocently unleashes the horrors of the undead once again on the populace, including those at her school for ladies. Luckily for some, Dr Van Helsing is already on his way

morgus CREATURE walks among us dvdMorgus Presents: The Creature Walks Among Us
Starring – Jeff Morrow & Rex Reason     Unrated     1956

Host: Morgus is finally going to open up the secret room (the one marked “Keep Out” at the far end of the lab). He explains that vampire are real, though not like we see in Hollywood, and that there’s a blood shortage to feed them. Morgus has been breeding all-weather mosquitos that he sends out to sample blood from people living in the city. He then recalls the mosquitos and puts them into a device to extract the blood to feed Victoria and other vampires like her. So Morgus implores the viewers to open their windows and contribute their blood to science. He explains the conditions of vampirism and says that if you have the symptoms, you should visit the lab for blood treatment. For those who aren’t experiencing the conditions of vampirism, Morgus and E.R.I.C. have set up a special hotline (555-Morgus) to volunteer to be mailed leeches to contribute blood for the afflicted. The calls begins coming in and Chopsley works hard to pack leeches as Morgus presses more mosquitos. We meet Norman, another vampire in Morgus’ care. More sufferers of vampirism show up at the lab, but the mosquitos aren’t coming in as fast as they need to and soon Morgus has a bigger problem, the blood machine is leaking. In an effort to get more donations quickly, Morgus offers some entertainment – just like on all the other telethons. He, Chopsley and E.R.I.C. sing Home on the Range. A man from pest control arrives, saying he’s killed all of the mosquitos at the request of Alma Fetish, Morgus’ landlady. As Morgus tries to explain to the man what he’s done, the vampires attack.

Movie: In this third Gill-Man feature, the Creature is captured and turned into an air-breather by a rich mad scientist. This makes the Creature very unhappy, and he escapes, killing people and setting fires in the process.

morgus dracula dvd

Morgus Presents: Dracula
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Helen Chandler    Unrated   1931

Host: Morgus tells the viewers that this may be the last time they see him. He’s asked the governor to send over the state’s best minds to join him in a journey to the future. Using his Morgo-Megafreezer, Morgus explains that he’ll cryogenically freeze himself and his volunteers to then be unfreezed in the future. Naturally, Morgus will go to the future so he needs someone to take his place in the present and sets about unfreezing his grandfather who’s encased in a block of ice. While Grandpa Morgus recovers from the unfreezing, distinguished scientists show up at the lab to be frozen. Alma Fetish interrupts to complain about the noise, but soon Bill Anderson, an accountant shows up, with a get-rich-quick scheme for when they’re unfrozen. Unfortunately Grandpa Morgus doesn’t recover well so Morgus arranges for Wiley Faye to take care of his business in the current era while he’s frozen. Wiley will also help run the museum that Morgus proposes will open in the lab while everyone is frozen.

Movie: After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina’s health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

Morgus Eyes Of Charles Sand dvd

Morgus Presents: The Eyes of Charles Sand
Starring – Peter Haskell & Joan Bennett     Not Rated     1972

Host: We pick up from a prior cliffhanger (from the Godzilla Raids Again episode) with the real Morgus outside the lab listening in to his evil clone angrily proclaim that he’s placed his Morgusaroid clones throughout the city strapped with explosives, but the real Morgus has a plan. He’s going to sneak into the lab through the secret bookcase passageway and will pretend to be one of the clones. Evil Morgus decides to create more Morgusaroids to try to grow his evil empire to the state capital. The new clone is a bit scrawny so Evil Morgus decides to arm a new clone and picks the real Morgus who succeeded in sneaking into the lab. Chopsley boxes him up for shipment to the governor with a bomb attached. A workman comes to take the box away and hearing Morgus’ screams, frees him. Morgus defuses the bomb and heads out the window to sneak back into the lab. Evil Morgus rails against the TV station for cutting off his evil speeches and gets ready to send a clone strapped with dynamite to the station. The governor calls and concedes the state to Evil Morgus, who now decides to go after the whole country. Evil Morgus hops on to the cloning machine to create more clones of himself, but the real Morgus reverses the polarity of the machine and zaps Evil Morgus into oblivion. Morgus recalls the clones to the lab for their subsequent donation to the army along with a donation of Chopsley clones to the sanitation department. The first Chopsley clone makes himself right at home and locks himself in the original Chopsley’s hide-y hole behind Morgus’ chalkboard. Morgus has a deal to sell the cloning machine to the government, and a representative from the pro-football scouting organization shows up to strike a deal for one of the Chopsleys. When he asks a Chopsley to sign the contract, they all being fighting over it and smash Morgus’ cloning machine.

Movie: A young man inherits the ability to see visions beyond the grave. He helps a girl investigate her brother’s alleged murder.

Morgus Frankenstein Conquers The World DVD

Morgus Presents: Frankenstein Conquers The World
Starring – Tadao Takashima & Nick Adams     Not Rated     1965

Host: Morgus is ready to make history as aliens make first contact with the inhabitants of the Old Ice House. The aliens communicate through music, which Morgus employs E.R.I.C. to translate, but the TV station interrupts this momentous occasion by starting the night’s movie. When we return, Eric has translated the message; it’s pi. The aliens continue to communicate, addressing Morgus by name and telling him that to prepare for a cultural exchange. Morgus realizes that they mean a cultural representative of the Earth, and of course nominates himself. As Morgus prepares for space, he explains that the aliens must be highly advanced and will bring peace to the Earth, which he’ll help negotiate. Part of the preparations include rigging up a system for Morgus to eat liquified bologna sandwiches in space via a rubber glove and having Chopsley stuff Morgus into a dryer to see how he can withstand the g-force of launching into space. Morgus calls Wiley Faye, and tells him to get the media over to the Old Ice House as soon as possible. E.R.I.C. informs them that the aliens are getting closer as Morgus begins to pack for his journey and the first reporter arrives to interview Morgus. The alien arrives with a bang, and flashes the sign of the higher order before freezing Morgus to scan him. Morgus is unsure how to communicate with the alien, but Chopsley makes some headway with a game of tic-tac-toe. While Morgus is getting ready to go, the alien says that it doesn’t want Morgus, it actually wants E.R.I.C. and in his place, they send alien-version of the skull hooked to a computer in his place.

Movie: During WWII, a human heart taken from a certain lab in Europe (Dr. Frankenstein’s) is kept in a Japanese lab, when it gets exposed to the radiation of the bombing of Hiroshima. The heart grows in size, mutates and sprouts appendages, and eventually grows into a complete body and escapes. Later, a feral boy with a certain physical deformity (a large head with a flat top) is captured by scientists who refer to the boy as Frankenstein. The creature grows to the height of 20 feet, escapes again, fights police and army, and is practically indestructible. Later, a reptilian monster goes on a rampage. Eventually the Frankenstein creature and the reptile face off in a terrible battle.

morgus godzilla dvd

Morgus Presents: Godzilla
Starring – Takashi Shimura & Akihiko Hirata    Unrated   1954

Host: Morgus is trying to get a hold of the president because our country’s biggest weapon is at risk. Morgus goes on to explain that the battle of the future is the battle of the brains. Therefore Morgus has created a device to help preserve the best brains of the nation, giving up their bodies to hook into a device that resembles a giant E.R.I.C. Morgus calls forth the great brains of the nation, especially those of the higher order, to come to the lab and volunteer for this service while Morgus continues to try to call the president. Chopsley offers up his own brain, but Morgus says that in fact Chopsley’s brain is too valuable to preserve in this fashion (because it’s never been used). Someone calls in and suggests that Morgus preserve his own brain. E.R.I.C. chimes in with his agreement so Morgus talks Chopsley through performing the surgery and transporting Morgus’s head onto the device. From his position on the device (and looking rather like E.R.I.C.), Morgus expresses his dismay that no one has volunteered to preserve their brain at the Mt. Morgus Brain Preserve. Chopsley’s solution is to make bumper stickers that proclaim “I Heart My Brain.” An FBI agent arrives because Morgus has been calling the White House talking about the end of the world. The agent says he’ll take Morgus to see the president, but gets grossed out and runs into the room marked “Keep Out” when he sees Morgus’ headless body sitting at the lab table. Morgus goes on to explain that once the brain is separated from the body, it becomes more powerful and demonstrates this by sweeping the lab with his mind and then fools Chopsley into playing chess with his headless body. Morgus finally decides to replace his head on his body, but when he ordered Chopsley to do so, E.R.I.C. interrupts and reminds Chopsley of their deal – a body for E.R.I.C. and he’ll fix Chopsley’s face. With his skull on Morgus’ body, E.R.I.C. when accepts a phonecall from the president inviting Eric the Excellent for a visit to the White House.

Movie: A 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster reptile with radioactive breath is revived, thanks to nuclear testing. It goes on a mad rampage, destroying Tokyo – can it be stopped? Should it be killed?

Morgus Godzilla Raids Again dvd

Morgus Presents: Godzilla Raids Again
Starring – Hiroshi Koizumi & Setsuko Wakayama    Unrated    1955

Host: E.R.I.C. introduces the show because Morgus is still under arrest from the previous episode. Soon Morgus and Chopsley arrive in handcuffs, and Morgus explains a bright idea from Wiley Faye and his cloning machine, which was used to create the Morgusaroid clones, had caught the attention of the law. But now Morgus sets about the business of creating more Morgusaroids to sell to the public. There are different models ranging from the very basic un-housebroken Morgusaroid to a fully customizable model. While Chopsley feeds them (they only require dog food and water), Morgus shows a video by order of the judge that released him, of the Morgusaroids doing community service throughout New Orleans. The newly trained Morgusaroids are prepared for shipping, and a rock and roll musician shows up seeking Morgusroids to fill out his band. The Morgusroids rock out, and Morgus makes a sale. But Morgus cautions that they need to be careful with the duplicator machine’s intelligence control. Before he can explain further, a woman arrives to buy a Morgusaroid to serve as her permanent escort. The orders for Morgusroids keep coming in so Morgus hops back onto the duplicator. Chopsley gets distracted by the phone ringing and a Morgusaroid flips the wrong switch (the intelligence switch) and creates an evil version of Morgus. A man from the department of labor shows up to arrest Morgus for employing clones that are only 10 minutes old, and when he tries to warn him about the Evil Morgus, the man takes the Real Morgus away. Evil Morgus closes the show by vowing to take over the city.

Movie: Koji Kobayashi, a spotter for a Japanese fishing fleet crash lands his plane on a barren island. His best friend, Shoichi Tsukioka, manages to find him and lands his plane next to his so he can be rescued. The two pilots are shocked when they see two giant monsters waging war before falling into the ocean. The two pilots race back to Japan to inform the government what they saw. Soon the world comes to the realization, that a monster closely related to the original Godzilla is on the loose as well as a new monster named Angilas. Soon, the two monsters arrive in Osaka where they resume their battle. Will the two monsters destroy Osaka before they ultimately destroy each other?

morgus godzilla vs mothra dvd

Morgus Presents: Godzilla vs. Mothra
Starring – Akira Takarada & Hiroshi Koizumi    Not Rated   1964

Host: Morgus promises that the evening’s experiment will answer all of our unanswered questions about physics. He reveals an invisible table, created with a special formula of liquid molecules that when treated properly will vibrate and make an object invisible. Morgus quickly proceeds from solid molecules in solid objects to animals, showing off his invisible hamster named Albert, which he then makes almost reappear with yet another formula. A visitor appears at the lab, Claude, an invisible scientist who turned himself as such during a botched experiment. Claude wants Morgus to perfect his visibility formula and cure him. But the formula must be injected directly into the adrenal gland so Morgus performs invisible surgery on Claude who begins blinking in and out of view. The operation doesn’t appear to work so Morgus wraps up Claude like the Invisible Man. The next thing they try is to give Claude the formula orally after-which he freaks out and starts throwing things at Morgus. He and Chopsley finally get Claude calmed down (and sedated) and use clown makeup to fool him into thinking he’s invisible. While Claude jogs to supposedly make the medicine work, Morgus waits for the doctors from the sanitarium that he’s had his fans call for Claude. The doctors arrive, but Claude’s unwrapped himself and disappeared, and the doctors think Morgus is the crazy one.

Movie: A greedy developer has placed huge machines to suck dry a part of the ocean near Tokyo so he can put luxury condos there. After a storm, a giant egg washes up on the beach nearby and is immediately put on public display. The developer’s plans go awry when he disrupts Godzilla’s rest and the monster goes stomping through Tokyo again. It’s up to the elderly Mothra, and then to its two offspring, to save Tokyo from destruction.

morgus godzilla vs the sea monster dvd

Morgus Presents: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster
Starring – Akira Takarada & Kumi Mizuno     Not Rated    1966

Host: Morgus sends Chopsley to the store for sandwiches saying that there’s precious little time to eat while they finish their latest scientist breakthrough. As he greets the viewers, Morgus alerts journalists in the audience that they’ll want to pay special attention because this invention will give them an edge on the competition. The Morgusoscopic Prognosticator allows you to see into the future and find out what’s going to happen before it happens – so, among other things, news reporter could know the news before it happens. The Prognosticator works by employing Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which Morgus take it upon himself to teach the viewers about, and spits out the future readings via the computer E.R.I.C. is wired to. Morgus uses the machine to predict a nearby fire, which moments later in started by Chopsley, who is barbecuing in the hallway. Once the firemen leave, the chief stays behind to ask Morgus how he knew to call for help ahead of time. Morgus demonstrates the machine successfully, but as the chief leaves, his landlord Alma Fetish pays him a visit. She’s fed up with Morgus’ experiments, but he cons her into helping him by rigging her up with a camera so he can break the news as it happens using the machine’s predictions. Morgus launches the Futuristic News with himself as chief correspondent, Alma as roving reporter and Chopsley as the weatherman. As a car pulls up, Morgus is excited because he thinks the station manager is coming to write him a check for the Prognosticator and the Futuristic News service. Morgus uses the machine to see what kind of contract the manager will offer, but it tells him that a well known TV scientist will die live on the air in 1 minute. Morgus tells the viewers not to worry as he keels over. Morgus’ ghost watches in a panic as the station manager arrive with the contract.

Movie: Some teenagers want to obtain a boat to find a brother. When they look around a boat without permission, they find a thief who takes them on his escape. They are caught in a storm and arrive at Letchi Island where natives of Infant Island have been enslaved by the terrorist organisation Red Bamboo. Red Bamboo runs a heavy water factory to process a juice which holds off the monster, Ebirah, which otherwise traps them on the island. The young men meet beautiful but tough Daiyo and wake up Godzilla to put an end to the Red Bamboo.

morgus house of frankenstein dvd

Morgus Presents: House of Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Lon Chaney Jr.     Not Rated     1944

Host: Morgus is ready to shake up the medical world with his revolutionary DIY Clinics, where the average person can learn to diagnose and treat their own ailments using books and video cassettes made by Morgus himself. Patients begin to arrive at Morgus’ clinic including a woman about to have a baby, a man with a bloody injury and a woman who needs Morgus’ help to lose weight. Two babies are delivered, and a man named Perry Hoolihan arrives, suffering from halitosis. Morgus preps Perry for surgery (yes, for bad breath), and after a few explosions, he’s sent to recovery with aspirin (Morgus’ cure for everything). The clinic quickly fills up with patients in recovery (taking aspirin distributed by Chopsley) and Morgus reminds a man removing his own appendix to wear gloves. As more patients come to the Clinic, Morgus tries to get them up with television (via a telescope looking into the window of an adjacent building) and hospital food. Meanwhile, babies continue to be delivered and Morgus invites the doctors of the world to become franchisees of his DIY Clinic. Mr. Carter, the man who removed his own appendix, is recovering and Morgus urges him to take aspirin. But another patient is having a bad reaction and Morgus realizes that Chopsley’s been giving boric acid (roach powder) to all of the patients instead of aspirin, making them all drop…like roaches.

Movie: After escaping from an asylum the mad Dr. Niemann and his hunch back assistant revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster in order to extract revenge upon their many enemies.

morgus invasion of the body snatchers dvd

Morgus Presents: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Starring – Kevin McCarthy & Dana Wynter   Not Rated    1956

Host: Morgus proclaims that the world is running out of food. The world’s population is growing and so are human beings – like Chosley, who Morgus declares is far too tall. Morgus has two experiments for the evening that will allow food to grow larger and people to grow smaller. After some persuasion, Chopsley agrees to be part of the experiment and enters a compression chamber to become half his size. Morgus and the smaller Chopsley move on to the next experiment of trying to make food larger, but as they get started, Chopsley proves rather useless because he’s no longer strong and is too short to reach anything on the lab’s top shelves. As Morgus grows a watermelon to 3 times its size, a man from the phone company arrives to collect on the payphone in the lab. The man mentions that he hates his job and always wanted to be a jockey but he’s too tall. Of course Morgus and his invention can help. He shrinks the man, who leaves the collection money with Morgus. As Morgus grows more vegetables, Chopsley pouts about being small, and the small telephone man and his wife return. The wife is furious and wants Morgus to make her husband big again, but instead Morgus talks her into getting into the compression machine too with the promise of being thinner. Mr. Wallace from the Defense Department arrives, and Morgus strikes up a deal with him to get this new technology to the Secretary of Defense. Meanwhile, Chopsley attempts to inject himself with the serum for the watermelon so he can grow large again. Morgus tries to stop him but ends up injecting himself and growing into a giant.

Movie: Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon.

morgus son of godzilla dvd

Morgus Presents: Son of Godzilla
Starring – Tadao Talashima & Akira Kudo    Not Rated    1967

Host: Morgus is very excited to welcome the stock brokers in the audience as his latest invention will make millions for the lucky investor. He’s created a perpetual motion machine using bionics so that the human heart is the source of the perpetual energy or MAMI Energy. Of course, the machine won’t be powered by the heart of a living human; a corpse is delivered, and Chopsley sets about connecting it to the machine. Morgus explains that the body requires no fuel other than plain water, and then calls out the press for printing an article calling him “The Weakest Link” (placed next to the funnies). Using a car battery, Morgus and Chopsley jumpstart the body and the machine. Shortly after it starts, they’ve created enough energy to power a fan. A workman arrives to read the gas meter and sneaks some photos of the machine in operation, and soon afterward, JP Randolph arrives from OEC to present Morgus with an award, The Oil Energy Cartel Peace Prize. Randolph says that OEC has authorized Morgus to make a donation of his machine to them, and they’ll of course give him $100,000. But they’re not planning on giving the donation to the people, rather they want to keep it away from the public. Luckily, Morgus calls a “code 3” and Chopsley hauls Randolph away. As Chosley returns, Morgus notices that the corpse is beginning to smell, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of the bug man who’s there to spray (and looks suspiciously like the gas meter reader and takes pictures of the machine just like him). Later, Morgus is making arrangements with the press, and a building inspector (with the same accent and look as the others) visits and snoops around, After he leaves, Morgus fields some audience questions via the phone in the lab about the device, and unfortunately we don’t know how things turn out because our copy of this episode ends with the movie.

Movie: A group of scientists are on tropical Solgel Island in the Pacific to conduct weather control experiments. Just before they begin, they find giant preying mantises measuring 25 feet tall called Kamakaras. They decide to go ahead with the experiments, but a malfunction in one of the devices and as a result a radioactive storm that pushes the temperature up to two hundred degrees. The storm also causes the mantises to grow even bigger to 100 feet tall. The mantises then make their way to a huge mound where they uncover a giant egg which contains a young Godzilla, later named Minilla. Eventually, Godzilla shows up and saves his offspring. The rest of the movie features Godzilla taking care of and teaching his young son the skills that will eventually help him to become the new “King of Monsters” as well as fighting the Kamakaras and a giant spider named Kumoga.

Morgus Terror Of Mechagodzilla DVD

Morgus Presents: Terror Of Mechagodzilla
Starring – Tomoko Ai & Goro Mutsumi     Not Rated    1975

Host: Morgus is catching up on fanmail, which includes many propositions from his female viewers. But alas, Mogus has an announcement. As the last of the Momus A. Morguses (Morgusi?), he must marry and produce an heir. With the help of his manager, Wiley Faye, the perfect candidate to be the bride of Morgus will arrive at the lab later in the show. But all is not well, as Chopsley packs his bag to leave. During the movie, Morgus convinces Chopsley to stay, and the executioner is helping his boss spruce up his hair as Wiley arrives with not one, but three perfect candidates. Morgus conducts a blind interview and chooses his bride, but he’s not to wed her; he needs her genes. DOA, the woman Morgus is to marry is in pieces on his lab table. He eventually assembles and revives her, and he sets to work teaching her to speak so that she can say their wedding vows. Later that evening, Morgus follows the advice of his father’s book, The Morgus Mating Manual, and tries to court DOA, but Chopsley’s stolen most of the diagrams from the book. Wiley returns with the rest of the wedding supplies and guests. As the Justice of the Peace begins the ceremony, he asks if there are any objections and the bride speaks up saying that she wants Chopsley instead, and Morgus is left chasing after the happy couple.

Movie: Aliens from a dying galaxy plan to destroy our cities and build their new home on Earth. Their weapon is Mechagodzilla, a 400-foot-tall robot armed with powerful lasers and guided missiles. Only Godzilla is mighty enough to stop the colossal machine, but when Professor Mafune joins the aliens, not even Godzilla will be able to defeat them. Mafune controls Titanosaurus, a gigantic amphibious dinosaur, through a biochemical connection with his cyborg daughter, Katsura. Godzilla is no match for Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla together, but Interpol agents have discovered Titanosaurus’ weakness, which may give Godzilla the fighting chance he needs to save the world!

morgus wolfman dvd

Morgus Presents: The Wolfman
Starring – Claude Rains & Lon Chaney Jr.      Not Rated     1941

Host: Morgus has a brand new invention with which to rock the scientific community. He’s solved the problem of transportation with a machine that will modify the matter of people and turn them into a sand-like substance for easy shipping and transportation. Chopsley returns from Alma Fetish’s apartment with a frozen turkey for demonstration purposes and brings along Michael the dog. Morgus puts the turkey into the machine and delivers the particles to the Morguso-Restorator machine to demonstrate how matter is then rehydrated and put back together. Morgus then decides to demonstrate the machine on a live source, Michael. Some of the resulting sand lands on the floor, and when Morgus puts it into the Restorator machine, Michael returns as a smaller dog but is safely returned to Alma. The next test subject is Kid Diamond, a local rock star, who insists that Morgus try out the machine first. After a successful test, Kid is turned to sand and placed in a labeled jar on Morgus’ shelf ready for shipment to Mexico City. The next visitor is Jack Smith, a shady character who want Morgus to send some jewels through the machine for shipment to his “dear old mother in Mexico City.” Jack had intended to fly to Mexico City, but Morgus is happy to send him right through the machine and then sends Chopsley down to the police station with the jars of the jewels and thief. Morgus is in the midst of arranging for the jars and the Restorator to be shipped to Mexico City when a policeman arrives, confused about Chopsley’s delivery. Morgus restores the thief, who’s promptly arrested. Then members of a bowling team arrive and ask to be sent to Mexico City. He passes the jars off the Chopsley and tells him to up to “put all four in the box.” So Chopsley dumps the contents of the jars into a box, mixing up all of the sand. Morgus attempts to restore all four people from the mixed up sand and creates a giant blob monster made of their matter. Note: this episode’s plot is very similar to that of the feature film.

Movie: Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns from America to his ancestral home in Wales. He visits a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by Bela, a gypsy who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf but is bitten during the fight. Bela’s mother tells him that this will cause him to become a werewolf at each full moon. Larry confesses his plight to his unbelieving father, Sir John, who then joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. Transformed by the full moon, Larry heads for the forest and a fateful meeting with both Sir John and Gwen Conliffe.

morgus-1-1

And there you have it, Friends of Science, my look at Morgus the Magnificent.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know or getting reacquainted with this legend of horror hosting.  It was really interesting to me, as I researched Morgus’ on air history, to see the affection for him in multiple cities – most notably New Orleans and Detroit.  We tend to think of horror hosts, especially those early hosts, as being so of their city, and while Morgus is certainly of New Orleans, the character and the writing of the show is of such quality that it’s easy to see why viewers in other cities could so easily adopt him as their own.  Very special thanks to Matt for asking me to write about Morgus and for his persistence in tracking down the episodes for me. For the next update, I’ll be retreating back to my own little corners of the web and handing the reigns back over to Matt who will have you peeking under your bed and into your closet when he covers the Boogieman.  Until then, pleasant dreams….

The Boogieman logo

Hammer Horror Halloween Hootenanny!

It’s Halloween, and I hope you have a bellyful of sweet treats and are ready to have some spooky fun with me here at Rotten Ink. Halloween has always been special to me, and I can remember looking forward to this holiday more than any other and loving the cool fall weather with the leaves on the ground and a chill in the air as my brother and I would dress up and have our pillow cases ready for some door to door begging for candy. In the early years, our Mom would of course go with us as our Dad would pass out candy at our house.  Then as we got older, we went on our own or with a group of friends. Those of you who grew up in a small town or even fellow Waynesville kids that grew up with me know how magical this holiday felt back in the day before all the rules and Stranger Danger took full effect…but wait we did have the Satanic Panic at that time but even that could not stop us from having a good time. One thing that I would love to do some Halloween soon is what I spoke about before, have friends like Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Garrison Kane, Dave Wean, Maurice Blurton, Henrique Couto, Juliet Fromholt and a few others and sit around a fire in the middle of the woods on a cold fall night and exchange spooky stories and real legends.  Now that would be a real fun time. So for the first Halloween day update, I decided that I would go all out and have a spooky kooky packed house of things to talk about from horror host Count Gregula who answered 5 Questions, all the way to a scary trip to old amusement park Fantasy Farm! But the main attraction will be my look at Hammer Films.  I will talk about some of the films and actors that made this English company an icon of horror. I will also be reading comics based on Hammer films at real haunted locations in and around Dayton.  But enough with this introduction, let’s get to the scary and weird stuff, shall we?

Count Gregula

To start things off, I figured we would take a look at Chicago horror host Count Gregula. In 1998, a Vampire attended a Halloween party held by horror host icon Svengoolie, and this inspired this cool ghoul into becoming a host himself.  After centuries being undead the option of showing cheesy horror films seemed like a great idea. In 2005 his first show called “Count Gregula’s Crypt” aired as he hosted the film Night Of The Living Dead.  After two episodes, the show took a break and came back on the air in 2007 when he hosted Missile To The Moon and would again take a small break until 2010 when he scared viewers once more by coming back to TV/DVD with the hosting of the films Grave Of The Vampire and Eegah. Count Gregula would go on to also interview celebrities on his Youtube account as well as guest on many other horror host shows. In 2011 he also starred in a film called The Giant Rubber Monster Movie where he was able to show his acting fangs. On his show Gregula is joined by his wife Countess Gregula, the Daughter of Satan, and The Children of The Night. The Gregula’s were also some of the first none Ohio hosts to fully support and stand beside Baron Von Porkchop as he started hosting movies with his show Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre. So now that you know a little about Gregula, let’s get to what I call ” 5 Questions With Count Gregula”!

Me: So tell me about your show, and that wicked cool theater you host your movies from in your crypt?

Gregula: Vell, ve host the good old classic horror movies that all of us grew up vith as little monsters. Only thing is that ve don’t have access to that theater anymore, but ve are planning on doing a live stage show version of COUNT GREGULA’S CRYPT in the near future! Keep checking my sites for further details.

Me: Very cool, live hosting is always fun. I have seen Dr. Creep and A. Ghastlee Ghoul host movies live and it’s been a real treat if your a horror host fan. So what horror hosts of the past inspired you to become a host yourself?

Gregula: Son of Svengoolie (a.k.a. Svengoolie) & Elvira!

Me: Both are so great and both are in the Horror Host Hall of Fame, proving how inspiring they were to viewers. So this is something I have always wanted to know: does drinking blood ever get old? And if the artificial blood like True Blood (from the HBO show of the same name) was real, would you drink it or stay with the fresh stuff?

Gregula: Drinking blood never gets old! Only the people I drink from get old. *vink* Oh, it has to be the fresh stuff! Nothing beats tapping a vein!

Me: No fake stuff for you.  I guess nothing does beat fresh on whatever your choice of drink is, well besides wine, the older the better. You travel around to many conventions of all types.  Who has been the one movie star you have been most hyped to meet and interview and what horror host as well?

Gregula: Finally interviewing Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster) of THE MUNSTERS made me the most hyped because I missed meeting her several years ago vhen I made the trip all the vay to Texas for a special Munster Masquerade that I vas invited to attend. I heard she vas too sick to make the trip there herself. I even mention about vaiting all these years to meet and interview her in my video and she seemed very pleased. Interviewing horror host Svengoolie vas my nightmare come true vithout a doubt!

Me: It’s always nice to meet a star you always have wanted to.  Sadly we are on our fifth question so I will ask something that my readers and I must know: who is the better Dracula: Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee?

Gregula: Bela Lugosi of corpse! He is the BEAST claws down!

Me: I am a Lugosi man myself, but I still have a hard time picking.  Both are so great as that character. So once more thanks for answering these five questions for us.

Count Gregula DVD 1Gregula and pretty ladyCount Gregula DVD 2

Gregula is such a fun undead ghoul to be around and at one Horrorhound Baron Von Porkchop, Juliet and I went out to eat with him and the Countess and he was in his full vampire gear and made for one fun dinner. Also in the Dayton market on DATV during the HHU (Horror Host Underground) showcase that plays when Baron is off filming a new season, we from time to time show an episode or two of his show. If you want to learn more about Count Gregula and his Crypt you can also always check out his website www.count-gregula.com. I would also like to show off a cool piece of artwork that was done by my talented friend Justin Wasson of Count Gregula that was made for the upcoming comic idea I had called “Who’s Who of Late Night Horror Hosting”.

count_gregula art

Speaking of artwork, while listening to my friends Jason and Eric’s podcast Gutter Trash, I found out about some cool projects that could have been made into a comic book series and a TV show based on the classic Vincent Price Horror Film “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” done by comic book icon Jack Kirby that looks like it would have been called “The Sinister Dr. Phibes”! Yeah, so think about that, a comic drawn by Kirby that would have been a companion piece to a weekly TV show based around Phibes who according to gossip would have had him as a detective working for the good of mankind and not for his quest of revenge. Phibes is said to have use his masks and traps to capture criminals, and the issues were rumored to have came out via DC Comics. I can’t tell you how amazing this comic series would have been, and I for one would have gotten them and for sure they would have been used as an update on this very blog! Test artwork came to light when the original art went up for sale on Ebay and many say that it was Kirby’s nephew that was selling off much of the artwork.  With this Ebay auction also came questions and the guessing game to what it was drawn for and this is one big puzzle that has many internet “answers.”  What ever the reason it was drawn, it’s a sweet piece of artwork that I wish would have gotten a full comic series. Below is the original artwork as well as a colored version done by a fan and of course of pic of Price as Phibes.

Phibes colorphibes Jack Kirby artDr Phibes

In the 1960’s and 70’s, a Bigfoot like creature frozen in a block of ice traveled around state fairs, carnivals, sideshows and shopping malls as an attraction of the macabre, and the creature was called The Minnesota Iceman. People all over America and Canada paid money to see this creature in the ice who had a back story told by the body’s owner Frank Hansen.  He said the Iceman was shot and killed in Siberia and that it’s true owner was a rich man who allowed him to travel around showing the creature off to all who want to pay and see it. Some people at the time thought that the Iceman could be a caveman, a person that time forgot who was shot and killed, while others thought it was a murder victim who was dressed up to look like a creature so that the killer could hide the body in plain sight. Bigfoot researchers back then have even examined the body and claimed that some of the creatures flesh could be touched via some melted ice and that it was 100% real and was proof that Bigfoot is real! The body even caused some panic at the Canadian border when officials would not allow it to cross because it was a cadaver, but after some smooth words Hansen was able to get it across. But in the late 1970’s the Iceman just vanished from the public eye and as quickly as it hit the sideshow scene it disappeared, causing many people to wonder what had happened to the evidence that Bigfoot was real. But like all things, not everyone believed that The Minnesota Iceman was real and many labeled it as a hoax claiming that it was nothing more than a prop to con people out of their money. Eyewitnesses and some photos of the creature showed it to be a hairy humanoid that stood about 6 feet tall and had a bullet wound to its eye, and many say that its arm appeared to be broken.  For many this sight was horrifying and chilled the bones of many customers. For years the Iceman was missing until this year (2013) when The Minnesota Iceman showed up….on… Ebay for sale! The listing blew the top off what the creature was and stated it was in fact a hoax and was crafted by a team that later went on to work for Disney. The Minnesota Iceman sold for an accepted offer to a man who plans on putting it on display in Texas.  This marks the end of what the Iceman was, fact or fiction and thanks to Ebay it’s been proven as a hoax. But while the body and freezer sold online, many think that the Ebay listing was the true hoax and that the real body of the iceman is still out there. Only time will tell what the true fate of the Iceman is and rest assured, I will be waiting to discover the truth. I should also say that I learned about the Iceman from a old book I checked out from the library in Waynesville and after seeing the creature’s picture I became obsessed with finding out all I could about it and spent many days reading about it.  Once the internet hit I would spend time trying to find info on where it was….sadly though the image and wonder of the Iceman is now shattered over an online auction for me.

minnesota icemanThe Minnesota Iceman nowThe Minnesota Iceman hoax

Wow, we have just gotten started and thus far we have talked about horror host Count Gregula, Jack Kirby’s could have been Dr. Phibes comic and hoax of The Minnesota Iceman, and yet we have so much more to come! So now I would like to talk to you about a moment in my life that scared that crap out of me.  While it was not a near death experience or a Halloween prank gone bad, it was a moment that has stuck with me for years. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and for summer vacation my parents took me and my brother to Fantasy Farm, an amusement park and petting zoo in Middletown, Ohio, a place that we would go every summer (that or Americana) to ride all the rides and pet and feed all the animals. Two events at Fantasy Farm always stick with me, and one is more traumatic for me than the other so let’s get to the less scary one first. As you long time readers know, I grew up as a monster kid and loved everything horror.  At Fantasy Farm, they had a haunted house ride with the side of the building was painted with images of Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster and I can remember taking my old camera out and snapping a picture (that I still have to this day and that I will post on here for you all to see) and before we went in I remember my brother Bryan teasing me about how scary the ride was going to be and how Frankenstein’s Monster was going to grab me. I acted like I was not scared, but to be honest I was terrified.  Back then I believed what my brother said and didn’t understand he was just teasing and having fun and adding to the horror of the haunted house ride. Bryan and my Dad were in one car, and my Mom and I were in the other.  I still was acting tough and as if the horrors that awaited me in the ride were nothing but pure cheese and nothing to be scared of.  All the while I was waiting for Frankenstein’s Monster to jump out and get me! As the ride started I had this idea that I would close my eyes, making it so that he could not find me in the dark.  I missed the ride but heard all the spooky sounds, and it just added to the fear that was building up in me.  At one point my Mom, not knowing that my brother said anything about him, said look it’s Frankenstein as the attraction had a cardboard version of The Monster and this triggerd the “this is the end” moment for me, but in seconds nothing happened and I opened my eyes as we approached the end of the ride and I remember a skeleton. After the ride my Dad and brother made fun of me for having my eyes closed but deep inside I was just happy to have not been taken away by The Monster! But the scare of Frankenstein’s Monster getting me was nothing compared to the terror that awaited me in the petting zoo! Besides monsters, I also love animals and one of the highlights of Fantasy Farm was always petting and feeding the animals.  It was always cool feeding goats corn that they would eat from your hand. But this one time we went into one of the barns that held the animals, and I spent time petting cows and other barn yard animals and in the last stall in the barn was a giant bison.  I mean he was huge and as I walked up to this massive animal he started to make this weird snorting and throat noise and he locked on staring at me.  I was scared yet I still walked forward and stuck my hand out to pet him, as my hand touched his face he let out a load snort and I jumped back at least 4 feet and was scared as this giant animal kept making noises.  Needless to say I got they hell out of dodge. The moment when that Bison snorted could have been one of the biggest scares I had ever gotten in my life. Sadly Fantasy Farm is gone, and it’s a shame as it was a place I would have loved to taken my future kids to.  I blame Kings Island for it’s departure. 

Bison-Ceasol

By 1955 with the Universal Comedy film “Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy,” the end of the classic monster movies based on Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and The Mummy had came to an end.  By this time the classic monsters were not treated as scary but as jokes as the horrors of the real world and the coming atomic age seemed much scarier. But by 1958 with the release of Horror of Dracula, classic monsters were making a comeback and this time they were laced with blood and large breasted women.  The company responsible was English company Hammer who up to this point were known more for film noir movies. With the success of the film they found that making horror films was more profitable than noir and drama and started turning out films based on many classic monster to the delight of monster kids of the time. Hammer became so popular in in the UK that USA companies took notice as Paramount, Warner Brothers and even Universal started to release their films in theaters across America exposing even more fans to the blood soaked monster mayhem. Hammer was getting so popular in its home country that in 1976 a magazine called “House of Hammer” was released by Top Sellers.  The issue showcased Hammer stars and films as well as had comic book adaptations of their popular films. But like all good things, the classic monster film ride came to an end again as Hammer’s box office draw dwindled in 1979, and the company closed the production doors until 2007 when a new group came in and breathed life into the company once more and started making films again like Let Me In, The Woman in Black and The Resident. I grew up watching many of the Hammer Horror films, seeing many of them on Commander USA’S Groovie Movies and Super Scary Saturday and then later on VHS tapes. While I liked the Hammer versions of the classic monsters, I still feel Universal did them better, but that said, Hammer was and still is one of my favorite studios to make classic monster movies.  They added just the right amount of blood and sleaze to make the viewer think they are watching something they shouldn’t be, but at the same time they do so with such class you feel as if the budgets on these films were bigger than they were. I credit a lot of Hammer’s early film success to a director named Terrance Fisher who seemed to get the gothic feel and tones of these movies really well and was able to bring that dark and brooding feeling to the movie screens.  My friend Chris Workman is a huge Fisher fan and could teach a class at a college about the impact of Hammer films on the horror genre. If you love classic monster and have never seen a Hammer film, do yourself a favor and go watch one. I am sure you’ll become a fan just like I did.

Hammer logo

The biggest series in all of Hammers classic monster films was its Dracula series that had a total of 9 films that are as follows Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Dracula: Price of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968), Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula AD 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973) and ending with The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires (1974). In all but two of the films Count Dracula was played by Christopher Lee who grew to dislike and despise the character and films Hammer was making.  The rumor goes that he was forced to play the part when studio higher ups said basically that if he did not act as Dracula then a lot of people would be put out of work. As the films went on and Lee grew more bored with the scripts, rumors say that he refused to do the lines because he felt that they were all just so poorly written. But Christopher Lee made for an amazing Dracula and in moments he comes off super scary and in control whenever he’s on screen, making for the perfect vampire king.The two films that Lee did not play Dracula were Brides of Dracula, that in fact didn’t have Dracula at all in it, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires where actor John Forbes-Robertson played Dracula. While Lee might have grown tired of his character, actor Peter Cushing seemed to enjoy playing the hero Van Helsing and played him a total of five times. In this series Dracula has been killed by stake in the heart, frozen in ice, sunlight and even captured in thorns, but after every death by the next film he would come back to life with the help of some numbskull or freak accident. My favorite film in the series has to be Horror of Dracula and my least would be Satanic Rites of Dracula as I feel by that time they were running out of ideas and putting Dracula again in modern times like they did in Dracula AD 1972 and it just lost its charm. Over all while Hammer’s Dracula films were great, the next series was my favorite!

Horror of Dracula posterScars of Draula PosterSatanic Rites of Dracula poster

Before Dracula Hammer gave Frankenstein and his monster a try and made The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 that was followed by a total of 6 sequels.  Unlike the classic Universal series their Frankenstein series focused on the Doctor and not the monster, as each movie had a new monster and the same Doctor almost always played by the amazing Peter Cushing, with Ralph Bates playing him in Horror of Frankenstein. The films in that series are as follows: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974). Baron Von Frankenstein in the Hammer films was a selfish man who did whatever he wanted in order to make his creations work, from murder to rape! Changing the focus of the movies and taking away the likable element of the Doctor allowed Hammer to make the characters their own. These are by far my favorite series done by Hammer with my favorite film being Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and my lest favorite being Revenge of Frankenstein.  While a good film the “monster” in this film is the weakest. I recommend watching these films if you’re in the mood to watch some classic gothic horror with that touch of sleaze and blood.

revenge of frankenstein posterhorror of frankenstein posterfrankenstein and the monster from hell poster

Besides Dracula and Frankenstein, Hammer did lots of other creatures of the night films! They have done films on vampires, mummies, a werewolf, zombies, devils and so much more, and each of them were well done on lower budgets and had just the right amount of horror to make them chill your blood on late night viewings. As the years passed, Hammer also added in more gore and nudity to try and spice up their films and compete with the boom of Grindhouse and shlock films that were filling up the theaters and drive-ins, and while it made the films more R-rated, the charm of the classic monsters had once more lost it’s appeal to movie going audiences.  This lead Hammer into trying many different monsters and ideas to stay on top of the growing horror market. I for one am glad that Hammer has risen out of the ashes in the past years and are backing making horror films that are solid shockers with time and passion put into each production. My favorite none Dracula/Frankenstein film has to be Curse of the Werewolf, and my lest favorite is, well, I can’t really think of one really! I know that one I have not seen that I really want to is The Gorgon, and I look forward to watching it on DVD or even VHS very soon. 

Curse of werewolf postergorgon posternight creatures poster

Hammer is also a studio that helped create stars that almost every horror, sci-fi and just movie fans will know! First, we have Christopher Lee, an actor who for Hammer has played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and even Sir Henry Baskerville (Hounds of Baskerville) and is known also to me for playing Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II and III, Stefan Crosscoe in The Howling II, and Doctor Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch among many other roles. Lee, who is 91 years old as of this year (2013) and has also been knighted, is the last remaining true icon of the the classic horror era. Peter Cushing was the true face of Hammer for me and during his amazing career with Hammer stared as Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and even the Sheriff of Nottingham and is also know to me for playing Grand Moff Tarkin is Star Wars Episode IV, Arthur Grimsdyke in Tales From the Crypt, Professor Paul in Legend of the Werewolf and Baron Corofax in Land of the Minotaur. Cushing truly is one of my favorite actors, and sadly he passed away in 1994 at the age of 81. Oliver Reed is another great actor who got his acting chops sharpened in Hammer films with roles like the werewolf Leon Corledo in Curse of the Werewolf, Lord Melton in Sword of Sherwood Forest and a bouncer in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll to name a few and is also know to me for roles Dr. Hal Raglan in The Brood and Antonius Proximo in Gladiator. Reed was an actor who just seemed to have it and could play any role that he was given.  Sadly Reed passed away in 1999 at the age of 61. Lastly I would also like to mention David Prowse, who in the 70’s and 80’s was the Kane Hodder of his time and could rock a monster suit like it was his job..wait it was his job for Hammer.  He played The Monster in Horror of Frankenstein and The Monster from Hell in Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, and even a Strongman in Vampire Circus. I also know him for Julian The Body Guard in A Clockwork Orange and Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes IV-VI! Prowse is the man, and don’t let George Lucas tell you any different as the two seem to have had a falling out that has lead to Prowse being banned from official Star Wars gatherings. These are also only a drop in the hat of the talented actors, actresses and directors that worked for Hammer!

christopher leepeter cushingOliver Reeddavid prowse

Besides the blood and monsters, Hammer was also known for its lovely large chested actress who helped add to the gothic and gritty new legends being told about classic monsters. By this time films in the horror genre were changing, but they were still not using females as full eye candy.  Hammer figured a way out to get sexy yet talented actresses to star in films and have them showcase their acting talents as well as their massive cleavage! I remember growing up and seeing Hammer movies on TV or VHS and crushing on Hammer starlettes Madeline Smith and Yvonne Romain and being taken by their beauty. Smith drew me in with her amazing eyes and girl next door looks while Romain has the exotic beauty to her. Two of the most popular actresses that worked for them are Raquel Welch and Caroline Munro who both went on to be in bigger Hollywood productions. The women of Hammer are so popular and have made such a mark on fans that many books, magazine articles and conventions showcase them. Now I could spend all Halloween update talking about Madeline Smith and how sexy she is, but you are here to be spooked so let’s move on! And for those wonder Smith is the first picture and Romain is second. 

madeline smithYvonne RomainCaroline Munrojulie

So before I dive into the spooky world of Hammer Comics, I would also like to talk about a brief two-day long mini horror movie marathon I had at my apartment with Juliet that consisted of a handful of films and one horror host Halloween special! The first film of the night was the new Child’s Play movie called “The Curse of Chucky” where the killer doll comes back one last time to torment a wheelchair bound young lady and her family in a giant mansion. The film was a little slow paced but it was nice to see Chucky back. The second film was “Frankenstein’s Army,” a neat found footage film about Russian soldiers during World War II that stumble on Dr. Frankenstein who is making an army of monsters! Really cool creature designs, great gore effects and an original plot made this one a good watch. Juliet than wanted to watch “Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales of the Macabre: Halloween 2012” episode were Baron and Melvin go trick or treating and have a run in with New Burlington’s Headless Horseman.  The film he is hosting is Werewolf of Ohio! I will say out of all of the specials we shot, this could be one of my favorites. “Razorback” was next, an Australian film based on a giant Razorback hog that is killing people in the outback and has to be stopped by an American who lost his wife to the beast.  I waited along time to see this film, and Warner Brothers put it out via their on demand disc burn service and I will say the film is fun. The next day of film watching started with “Wrong Turn 5” that follows a group of collage kids going to a music festival that has a deadly run-in with the inbreed hillbillys. This one was a bloodbath and not as bad as I had heard it was, it was filled with blood, boobs and killers and was just ok. Then we went into “World War Z” about a zombie outbreak that leaves the world at the mercy of the undead and one man must find a way to stop them. I saw this in theaters as well and I must say I liked it, a good PG-13 horror film and nice to see Paramount make a bigger budget horror picture. The next film I went for a Universal Classic with the 1935 film “The Raven” were a mad doctor played by Bela Lugosi sets his sight on a young female he has saved the life of and wants to use torture to get ride of those who stand in his way. The film stars Boris Karloff as well as a disfigured brute who is used as a tool. It’s a very fun old black and white horror filmed based very loosely on the work by Edgar Allen Poe that’s worth the watch! Next up was the underrated film “Waxworks” about a wax museum that kills people by having them meet the monsters of wax. If enough souls are taken, the horrors of the past and classic monsters are set loose in the world. It’s a very cool film that I have loved since I was young, filled with lots of great effects. October horror movie-thons are the best.

Curse of Chucky DVDFrankensteins Army DVDTerrifying Tales of the Macabre Halloween 2012 DVDRazorback DVDWrong Turn 5 DVDWorld War Z dvdThe Raven DVDWaxwork Poster

So let’s get to the comic reviews, and this first Halloween update I have gotten some comics based on Hammer films and I read them at haunted locations in and around the Southwestern Ohio area. Almost all the comics came from a U.K Magazine called House of Hammer and were then made into normal modern sized comics complete with custom covers and numbering! So how this update will go is I will tell you about and share picture of the haunted location and then get into the comic review of the issue I read at the location, and will share the mood and such of the location and if it helped add to the horror of the issue. And as always I want to remind you readers I grade these comics on a 1-4 star ranking and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. So with this, let’s get into some creepy reviews and places! 

Scary Pumpkins

Carpenters Road in Beavercreek Ohio is the area’s most haunted road, and stories of what has happened there have been around for generations.  My Dad and his friends use to travel that road to scare dates and each other as the road use to be filled with woods, fields, swamp lands and hardly any lights. When I was a teenager, my friends and I use to go up and down this road late at night hoping to be scared silly, and a few times I am sure our imagination got the best of us. The road has many legends that range from super natural to real life horrors, and many people swear that they have been scared by something on this road. A ghost farmer on a tractor is said to chase off anyone who is parked on the road during the fall months and is said to be very aggressive and mean. A hooked hand killer is said to have once roamed the swamp lands in the area and looked for young couples making out to make them his next victim. A car on prom night is said to have crashed on the street’s sharp turn killing the young couple, and it’s said on late nights you can see the car crash and watch as the ghosts of the two killed teens climb out of the ditch.  This is said to work if you turn your car lights on and off three times than exit the car and watch the horrific event unfold before your eyes. The most popular ghost on the road is that of a man who hung himself from one of the roads large trees in the 1970’s.  It’s said if you park your car under the tree at midnight and turn off your head lights, you can hear the mans feet drag across your roof top and hear him moan and gasp for air! So on this road I have one legend killer, one mean farmer ghost and three sad case spirits who left this world before they should have! Some scary stuff happens here, and it still remains a popular destination for teens around Halloween. 

Carpenters Road 1carpenters 2carpenters 3

So with that let’s get into our first comic as at Carpenters Road I read “Curse Of The Werewolf”! 

Curse of The Werewolf 1

Curse of the Werewolf  # 1  ***
Released in 1978   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 1

An old beggar makes the mistake of wandering into the castle of a lord who has just gotten married, and after he is made into a fool, he is locked into a dungeon where he grows into a savage man that attacks a maid some years later who has been locked up for not making out with the now old and creepy lord of the manor. She is raped, and once she is let out, she kills the lord and escapes into the night where she is found by writer Alfredo and his sister Teresa who nurse her back to health.  Sadly she dies in child birth, and they raise the woman’s son Leon as their own nephew. But young Leon has something very wrong with him as he is struck with the curse of the werewolf and kills the locals farmers sheep, and while a werewolf he is shot by the local hunter and returns home were his uncle discovers his dark secret. Years pass and Leon grows up and leaves home and takes a job at a winery where he meets the owners lovely yet soon to be married daughter Cristina who he falls madly in love with. Leon can’t control his sinister curse and kills his co-worker and some female bargoers and roams the land as a werewolf.  This murder leads to him going to jail where he transforms once more at the full moon and runs wild in the village and Alfredo uses a silver bullet and kills him as sadness rushes over him as well as Cristina and Teresa for the loss of a man they all truly loved.

Curse of The Werewolf transfers to a comic really well, even if major plot changes happen from the lack of Cristina’s fiance to the rush death of his co-worker this short comic adaptation does it right and makes you almost forget about the elements that are missing. The one thing that doesn’t work as well is how fast and out of nowhere it seems that Leon and Cristina fall in love. The werewolf murders are all done fast paced, and all the blood is left out making this a bloodless horror comic.  While it would have been nice to see the red stuff, it doesn’t effect the well written story line or the likeable characters. Leon is a sad case and is a man who really just wants to live a normal life, hold a job and find true love and once he leaves his hometown this all goes to hell when his curse of being a werewolf runs wild. The town hunter in the comic plays a smaller role, but it’s still his silver bullet that brings down the blood thirsty beast. Cristina is used in the comic as both a love interest and a trigger as her first rejection of Leon is what sets the curse back off. The story is simple a baby is born out of rape on Christmas Day, and this is a bad omen and causes him to have a curse of being a werewolf. The love of his adoptive family keeps the curse at bay for years until he grows older and moves away and the rejection of a woman he falls for triggers the curse back up and in the end love is what has to kill the beast once and for all. The artwork is amazing, and I truly wish more comics would have been made about Leon so artist John Bolton could have worked on them and made them looked as stylish and artistic as this issue. The cover is also very eye catching and would have been a perfect match on comic shelves with the likes of Werewolf By Night and Tombs Of Dracula. Over all this is an amazing good creepy comic that should be read by fans of the Hammer film and fans of horror comics.

The day I read this, Carpenters Road was covered with fog and the sky was grey. I parked near the swamp where the hook handed killer was said to have prowled and began the trip into werewolf madness. The fog helped add to the creepy feel, and I was very much getting into the over all feeling of the comic. The downside is that many cars passed and this broke the brooding danger feel of the location. The area has changed for the worse as many new houses and even the back of a giant high school are now around. The curve where the wreck was to have taken place is now gone and has given way to a new housing neighborhood.  The hanging tree has been cut down and even the stump removed! The only things left is the swamp of the hook handed killer and the field of the ghost farmer. Nothing happened this evening of reading and while the fog and swamp made the reading more fun, it’s a shame that what use to be a kick butt haunted road is now just a shell of what it once was.

curse werewolf art 1curse werewolf art 2curse werewolf art 3

Woodland Cemetery in Dayton is the area’s most haunted site, hosts many spooky stories, and is one of the oldest graveyards in the area. The cemetery is the final resting place for many famous people such as Wilbur & Orville Wright, inventors and first humans to fly in a flying machine, Loren M. Berry the inventor of the Yellow Pages, James Ritty inventor of the cash register, Leslie Carter silent film actress in movies like Rocky Mountain Mystery and The Heart of Maryland, not to mention the King and Queen of the Gypsies Levi and Matilda Stanley are also buried there. But while it’s a peaceful and lovely place, it also is a source of many haunts that include a blonde college teenage girl who wears jeans, a stripped shirt and white shoes who talks to those she comes in contact with.  It’s also said the gravestone she hangs out around glows blue/green at night. She is said to haunt the area because she is mad that she is buried so far away from her father and this is her way at getting back at those she thinks did this as well as fill her loneliness. The cemetery is also said be haunted by many other ghosts from all ages and decades and many “orbs” have been seen in the area. The most famous ghosts are that of Johnny Morehouse, a five year old boy who drowned in a canal and his dog who died at his gravesite when it refused to leave its deceased master’s side. Johnny and his dog’s ghost can be seen walking in the cemetery after close through the gates and his dog’s bark can be heard at night. His tombstone also has a statue of him and his dog that was put up in 1861 to honor their bond. This is a perfect place to read issue’s one and two in the Hammer Dracula series so I will be covering Horror of Dracula and Brides of Dracula at this amazing and creepy place! 

Wood Cemetary1graveWood Cemetary3

Now let’s get spooky and take a read of the first two issues of Hammers Dracula.

Horror of Dracula 1

Horror of Dracula # 1   ***1/2
Released in 1976   Cover Price 30p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 9

Johnathon Harker is an invited guest to Castle Dracula to look over some papers, but that first night you see that he is not just there to look at papers but to try and find the real secret of who and what Dracula is. He hides his journal in the woods near the castle and finds that he is in the mist of vampires as Dracula and his bride show him their true nature. The next nigh,t Harker kills the bride but in return is killed by Dracula himself who is now on his way to the Harker home to seduce and turn his soon to be wife Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, a long time friend of Harker’s, has found the journal and is on a quest to kill Dracula and save Lucy, but sadly he is too late as Lucy becomes one of the vampire brides.  Her brother Arthur is the one to end her blood sucking ways, but this death also angers Dracula who now has sights set on Arthur’s wife Mina! Van Helsing and Arthur are tricked, and Mina becomes a slave to the vampire king.  The two vampire hunters track him down at his castle, and it’s Van Helsing that uses sun light and a cross to burn the vampire to death and free Mina’s soul.

This comic book is AMAZING! I enjoyed every second of it and found it to be very close to the film that it’s based on. Van Helsing is a great hero, and this first issue shows that while he is smart, he is not yet the vampire killer he soon will be in many other issues and films.  The artwork also makes the character look like actor Peter Cushing, who played him in the film, and this helped add to the mood and vibe of the comic that sucked me in. Dracula is a pimp in this comic and truly loves the ladies as he jumps from bride to would-be bride with the drop of a stake in the heart.  Plus when he is mad in this comic, his rage comes out and his fangs are flashed. The rest of the supporting characters in this little vampire romp are all well written and each serves a purpose. The death of Dracula looks great and seeing his face being burnt by the sun is stuff of nightmares. The comic takes its time and builds the story and captures the true soul of a Hammer film.  This is why I think that this issue will be hard to beat for any of the following Dracula issues, and I for one wish that this would have been made into a comic series that would have 100% truly followed each film. I could not find the artist who drew this comic but I must say he did a fantastic job, and each character looks like the actor who played them on film.  His Lee Dracula is stunning and made the horror kid in me very happy to see. The cover is okay and the use of Yellow makes it very eye catching, but the cover art does not do the comic justice as the work inside is so much better. 

horror drac art 1horror drac art 2horror drac art 3

Well let’s move onto Brides of Dracula and see how well issue 2 compares to the first.

Brides of Dracula 2

Brides of Dracula # 2   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 2 of 9

Marianne Danielle is a young woman who is left by her coach driver near an inn where she meets and befriends an older woman named Baroness Meinster who invites her to stay at her castle. Marianne, while in her room, looks out her window and sees a man standing on the balcony below.  She finds out that he is Count Meinster, the Baroness’ son who is supposed to be a mad man. When she sees him again, it looks as if he is going to jump off the balcony to kill himself, and Marianne rushes to stop him to find that he is chained to the wall. She is shocked by his treatment as he seems real sweet to her and cons her into getting the key to free him and she does just that. Count Meinster is in fact a vampire and turns his own mother into one setting his site to make Marianne his bride. Enter Van Helsing, who gets wind of the vampire and sets out to stop him and save Marianne from his evil grip.  Along the way Count Meinster turns a friend of Marianne’s into a vampire and she tries to trick her one time friend into following her so that Count Meinster can turn her too! Van Helsing has a final battle with Count Meinster at a mill and uses holy water and the blades of the windmill as a cross and kills the vampire.

This second issue is a fun quick read, but the quickness of it is also its down fall. It’s only 13 pages long, and the story moves so quickly that I didn’t get an attachment to or fear any of the characters.  That’s a shame as I feel that the story line was really well done. The comic does follow the film but as one would guess, large chunks have been cut out. Count Meinster is a smooth talking vampire whose reign of terror could have been avoided if Marianne just left the blood sucker alone like his mother told her to. Marianne, while sweet in nature, does not fully get to shine in the comic like she does in the film.  I did find myself trying to get behind her in the comic. Van Helsing is once more back as the hero, and in this issue he is more than ready to kick some vampire butt and even when things go south for him, when he looses his cross, he makes due with what he has and gets the job done. The story is simple girl enters house, helps a stranger who in turn is a crazed vampire and she spends time trying not to become his next meal while a hero comes to her aid and rids the area of his curse. The art work is well done like all of these comics thus far ,and once more I could not find the artist’s name who did this cool short comic. The cover is good but not great and is a take on the official movie poster. Over all it’s a good follow up but not in the same league as issue one.

On the day I went to read these comics, Woodland Cemetery was quiet and a cool slight breeze was in the air. I was pretty relaxed to read these, and the lack of sounds around me made the mood just right. I read them both pretty fast and had very little interruption making the time nice and not very spooky. I wish I could have gotten into the cemetery at night as I feel that this would have been the prime time to get the true spooky feel, imagine sitting around the grave of Johnny Morehouse with a flashlight reading about Count Dracula and Count Meinster while the moon is full and the air chilled, and as you turn a page you hear a dog bark….now that would have been amazing! Over all not much to report on the reading of these two besides Woodland is a beautiful place to relax and read a comic. 

Brides of Dracula art 1Brides of Dracula art 2Brides of Dracula art 3

To finish out Hammer’s Dracula series of “Dracula Prince of Darkness” and “Legend of The 7 Golden Vampires,” we will be reading them at Yellow Springs, a place filled with many ghost and ghouls, a perfect small town to read these spooky comics. The town is the home of many ghosts like the “Thunderstorm Ghost,” who is a woman who was stuck and killed my lightning durning a thunderstorm at the turn of the century near an oak tree.  It’s said when she was found, her face was stuck in a half scream and her arms were outright, and it’s said that durning thunderstorms if you go and sit under that oak tree that when lighting flashes you can see the woman’s ghost looking the same twisted way she was found. “The Jersey Angel” is the ghost of a 1870’s cattle rancher named Joseph S. Saberton who was the first rancher to bring Jersey Cows to the area and was land owner of what would be now John Bryan State Park. Joseph was a good man who loved his cows so much he gave them all names and treated them not just as livestock but as pets. Joseph passed away from an infection and asked to be buried in his pasture next to his cows, and it’s said after his death and even after his cows had been sold off, late at night you can hear Joseph call for his cattle. The ghost of Helen Birch Barlett, for whom The Glen Helen Nature Preserve is named, is said to haunt the woods around the area. In life Helen was said to have been a spoiled brat who died at a young age of cancer. “Woman in Blue” is an angry ghost that brings down the vibe at The Olde Trail Traven and knocks things off the walls and counters an is always in a foul mood. “The Twilight Man” is one of the towns biggest legends.  He is a ghost who walks the roads at night wearing a blue shirt, overalls and a red handkerchief around his neck and always has his left hand in his pocket he just walks the road and disappears before he reaches Meredith Road. Other takes on Twilight Man have him being a man in a car who watches and does sinister things, almost like a small town serial killer! Besides these, many other ghosts and orbs have been seen all over town and on the Antioch College campus. So with that, I am going to kick back and read these two comics outside near John Bryan Park, Near Town and Near the Collage wish me luck that the Twilight Man doesn’t get me!

Yellow Springs 2Yellow Springs 3

I should note that I am a dork and didn’t bring a camera to all these locations, so I would like to send a big thank you to all the people who took these pics! I did take two of the pictures at Carpenters Road with my crappy cell phone…go me! Well, let’s get back to the creepy and Dracula.

Dracula Prince of Darkness 3

Dracula Prince of Darkness # 3   **1/2
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 3 of 9

A group of travelers are stuck at the side of a road and speak of how while in town no one would give them a ride near the old castle at night. The travelers are Alan, his wife Helen, his brother Charles and his wife Diana, and they are shocked when an un-maned stage coach comes for them and takes them to the castle where they meet Klove, the servant of the dead Count Dracula who has rooms and a meal waiting for them. That night Klove tricks Alan into following him into the basement where he kills him and drains his blood into the coffin of Dracula’s ashes.  The blood brings him back to life! Kove then tricks Helen into the basement and she becomes the first new bride of Dracula as her husband’s body hangs from the ceiling with his neck slit. As Diana and Charles wake up the next morning, they see that their family members are gone and that something is not right with the castle so they flee.  But Charles can’t leave his brother behind and after returning he finds that his sister in law is now a vampire and that his brother is dead! Klove tricks Diana to return to the castle and after a run in with Dracula and vampire Helen, the couple barely escape and have a terrible coach wreck and are rescued by Father Shandor who takes them to the church for safety. But they are only safe for a short time as Dracula, Klove and vampire Helen come for Diana, and a battle breaks out that leaves Klove and Helen dead and Diana kidnapped by Dracula! In the end Dracula tries to escape with Diana over a frozen river and meets his doom when they break the ice from under his feet and he falls into the moving water below.

The third issue in the Hammer Dracula series is pretty good but does lack the charm of the film as a 90 minute movie got squeezed into a 16 page comic book. The story has Charles and Helen’s battle to survive from the grip of Dracula and meeting their only hope Father Shandor who teaches them how to out smart and kill the vampire king with nothing more than running water. Sadly, you don’t get a full attachment to either Helen or Charles as they are not fleshed out enough for me to truly care about.  Helen is given less than Charles who kind of is a laughable hero in this comic because he kind of just in a round about way manhandles Dracula with lame stuff like makeshift crosses and ice covered water. Dracula is as always bad ass, but man is his death in this comic as well as the movie lame.  Ice is shot from under his feet and he falls into the running water below and dies…yep, I know that could be the worst death of a vampire ever. In the issue Dracula kills zero people and transforms only one person into a vampire. Dracula seems more into scoring Diana than killing and feeding in this comic. Klove, the strange servant of Dracula, is one sadistic son of a gun and tries to kill a few and at least has the body count of one. Vampire Helen seems like a second thought in this comic and is killed off pretty fast.  While an extra threat to the heros, she is wasted. Father Shandor takes the place of Van Helsing, and while he is interesting, he is not as cool.  In fact I feel that he comes off a little preachy with his advice on how to kill vampires. The art in this comic is done by John Bolton, who is known for his work on such comics as Kull, X-Men Classics, Man-Bat and The Book of Magic, and it looks amazing! His drawings of Christopher Lee’s Dracula is very well done and makes this all right comic adaptation a little better. Bolton’s style has an almost solid pencil look to it, and his shading is well done and makes his work pop. The cover on this issue is also pretty eye catching, and I am sure caught the eye of horror kids of 1977! Over all this issue is just okay with a rushed storyline, cheesy Dracula death, great artwork and some creepy classic monster moments.  

Prince of Darkness art 1Prince of Darkness art 2Prince of Darkness art 3

After this issues 4-8 have been M.I.A. for decades.  Many think they were never made, while others say they are lost in a haunted crypt.  This brings us to our next issue, “7 Golden Vampires.” So let’s chill our blood some more here in Yellow Springs, test our luck against Twilight Man, and read the last issue in the Hammer Dracula series. 

7 Golden Vampires 9

7 Golden Vampires  ***
Released in 1977   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 9 of 9

Dracula kills a man who is in charge of guarding the legendary 7 Golden Vampires, and after killing him Dracula takes his appearance. Meanwhile across the world, Van Helsing is giving a lecture about the legend of the golden vampires when he gets a visit from a man named Hsi Ching, who tells him that the legend is true and that he comes from that village and needs his help to stop the remaining 6 Golden Vampires who wish to avenge the death of the 7th on the seventh moon! Leyland Van Helsing, his son, and a rich young widow Vanessa Buren are attacked by a warlord, and his men and are saved by Ching’s brothers.  This act and the money of Vanessa send the Van Helsings, The Chings and Vanessa on a quest to stop the 6 Golden Vampires who attack along the way. The battles are filled with lots of death, and both sides lose many.  Once more Van Helsing tricks the overly cocky Dracula into showing himself to be staked,and as the vampire king dies so do the remaining golden vampires.  Once more peace is brought to the small village.

This final issue in the Hammer Dracula comic series is well done and is a comic adaptation of a film done right. The down side of the comic is the fact it is very talkie and the action seems like the second thought and is crammed into only a few panels while the long talks of legend and fears seem to take up pages. In the issue  Dracula is not in his true image for most of it nor is his taken image….in fact Dracula is barely in the comic at all! Dracula in the issue is just not a threat at all and is almost forgotten about.  Not to mention Van Helsing kicks his butt quickly in the end, and this makes the supposed vampire King look like a cheap fool. The 7 Golden Vampires while spoken about being complete evil killing machines, they don’t kill as many of the brothers as the reader would think and makes them more of a threat than Dracula but still not totally challenging. Van Helsing is the main hero of the story, and he is once more filled with the knowledge and the means to kill some vampires. His son Leyland seems to be thrown into the mix only to fall in love with the Chings’ only sister.  This is the drama that was needed to make the film have some “oh no” moments as his love is kidnapped by the vampires. The Ching brothers are cool and have an almost Shaw Brothers feel to them that comes out even on the comic pages.  They are bad asses, and they know it. Vanessa Buren seems like a background character until she turns into a vampire and is killed by her crush Tsi Ching who also kills himself in freeing his would-be lover’s soul. Over all the comic is well done and got three stars for sticking pretty close to the movie and making the pages they had very enjoyable. Thoough this is a sad way to end the Hammer Dracula comics and not to mention the film series with a weak lame Dracula who does not look like nor is played by Christopher Lee. Sadly I could not find who did the artwork in this issue, but I will say that its well done and captures the feel of the film. The cover is also well done and is very eye catching! Over all I would say a good issue with a cool story that has the worst payout for any iconic bad guy character, but is totally worth a read.  

While reading these comics in Yellow Springs, the sun was going down and a slight breeze was in the air making it a little chilly. Noises of birds and squirrels in the trees filled the air as well as the thuds of walnuts falling from the trees echoed like sounds of heavy footsteps pounding the ground.  Fall was in full effect this day and the atmosphere was just right. Bugs were all over the air flying around in large groups and landing on my arms making me have to swat at them to knock them away. As I sat on a old park bench in the middle of a field that had trees all around me making almost a perfect circle that I was trapped in, I waited to hear a whistle or a ghostly noise from something from beyond the grave! After Dracula Prince of Darkness, I heard and saw nothing besides normal nature sounds.  So for 7 Golden Vampires I decided to walk around and read, as the sun was fading fast the air got a little cooler and helped add to the spooky nature of the Golden Vampires. But sadly after reading this comic and being in Yellow Spring,s I can 100% say that while the atmosphere was right the evening of reading, these comics just was not scary. So here is to hoping I can get a creepy charge from Frankenstein’s Castle! 

7 Golden art17 Golden art 27 Golden art 3

Frankenstein’s Castle/Witches Tower is a haunted tower in Kettering that is the source of many haunts and strange things. The “Castle” is the source of many orb spottings all around it that interfere with people taking pictures and video of the area. A ghostly blacked cloak figure can be seen at the top peering over and watching people below late nights.  It’s said that the cloaked figure is a witch who curses those who get to close. A shadow man roams the woods near by and has been known to kill animals and chase cars of those who cross its path. The ghosts of four teens who were killed inside the tower during a thunderstorm that had lightning hitting the metal rail as they climbed down, are also said to haunt around the tower. The giant metal monument of Henry Patterson is also said to be haunted and that the book he carries is said to have occult writings in it, and the head of the horse he is riding is said to follow you. The tower itself seems to be a mystery as no one can find why it was built and by whom. I have been to this location and the woods around it many times late at night and have in fact had some odd things happen mostly having to do with the shadow man, I have also had camera issues around the tower that at one point locked up a camera that we were using to film an episode of Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. I very much look forward to reading Curse of Frankenstein in this area and wish that Eric and Kurt could have gotten “Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell” comic adaption done in time.  But like all good things, these things take time ,and I will review it and do a whole write up on that film and comic when it’s done. Well with that, let’s get scared and have some spooky times at Frankenstein’s Castle. 

Frankensteins Castle Ohio

Yep, just look at it….I know its creepy and yet super cool!

Curse Of Frankenstein 1

The Curse Of Frankenstein # 1  ***
Released in 1976   Cover Price 35p   Top Sellers   # 1 of 7

Baron Victor Frankenstein along with his good friend Paul are robbing bodies from graves and hangmen nooses to try and build a new super being and to give life to the dead. Paul is getting cold feet and is backing out of helping, and to make things worse Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiance, has come to live at the castle and he has very strong feelings for her. Frankenstein continues his experiment and even hides the fact he has been sleeping with his maid from everyone.  His obsession gets worse as he kills an old Professor friend for his brain that is damaged when Paul and him have a fight over what he is doing. The Monster awakens and is out of control and escapes, and this leaves Paul and Frankenstein having to shoot and kill the Monster and bury its body in the woods. But as days pass Frankenstein can’t let his creation go that easily and digs it up and brings it to life once more.  This time he fixes the damaged brain, and the Monster acts more like a dumb dog than a raged-filled monster. This doesn’t last long as The Monster kills the maid and tries to kill Elizabeth, leaving Frankenstein to have to torch his monster with an oil lamp and knock it into acid. But it’s not a happy ending for Frankenstein as he loses Elizabeth to Paul who also does not come to his friends aid, and he is hung for the murder of his maid.

This comic adaption is super fun, even if the first six pages are super fuzzy and are hard to read. The comic is filled with sinister deeds and paints Victor Frankenstein to be an evil man who does what he wants when he wants and will take a life if it benefits his needs. That’s what makes Victor one of the best bad guys of any of these comics; while Dracula and Leon are monsters, Victor is a real man who does not feel bad for his deeds. Paul plays the good guy who for the most part is also kind of a scum bag as he had helped Victor up to a point and only started to get odd about it once it came close to the monster getting life. The Monster, while a killer, doesn’t do much in this comic and is more of a tool to show the evils of its creator. I like the fact that Frankenstein has a lovely woman in his life, but also likes to slum it and get some of his maid who he kind of treats like a no good whore. The fact that Frankenstein dies in the end of this issue just like in the film is shocking and helps add to the message that being an evil doctor with a bad heart leads to death. The comic captures the mood and terror of the film, and right behind “Horror Of Dracula” this could be one of the better comics we looked at this Halloween. It’s crazy to think that no other Hammer Frankenstein comics were made because this series of films were perfect for comics. The art work is well done and once more no artist name was given.  The cover is one of the better in the Hammer comic series. Over all this is a great read and I recommend finding this one.

curse of art 1curse of art 2curse of art 3

Frankenstein’s Tower was in full effect when I went to read this comic, and the leaves were falling from the trees all around.  The sounds of people in the park filled the air, and the air was chilled and that perfect temperature to read a horror comic in. Sounds of leaves blowing around and animals running about filled the air as The Monster came alive in the comic. After reading the issue, I drove around the park at night and waited for The Shadow Man who didn’t come this night, but I could kind of see The Black Cloaked Witch at the top of the tower.  I am sure it was all in my head, right?

What would Halloween be without a fantasy warfare?  So in this one we will pit Hammer’s heavy hitters Count Dracula, Leon The Werewolf and Victor Frankenstein against each other at a haunted Ohio location known as Prospect Place that is filled with many hauntings and ghost. The day the battle will take place is Halloween Night, and the moon is full.  A storm is coming, but for now the stars are bright. So let’s get into this epic battle of Hammer Horror icons!

Dracula LeeVS copywerewolf reedVS copydr frankenstein cushing

The moon is full and is shinning and a storm is blowing in at the old mansion that is known as Prospect Place.  Inside near one of the windows is an oil lamp, and a man sitting at a makeshift desk writing down notes of the morning’s failed experiment.  The man is none other than Baron Victor Frankenstein! The air is so cold he warms his gloved burnt hands over the lamp and is deciding if he should try and get some sleep. Meanwhile in one of the second story rooms, a coffin sits.  Inside is Count Dracula sleeping in the box filled with his home land’s soil, and he his now getting up and looking for a blood snack. The coffin door creaks and this noise alerts Frankenstein who now knows he is not alone in this creepy old place.  He makes a decision to leave the old house and hold up in the barn until morning for he knows he can’t be seen because he is a wanted man for all his crimes against God. The Baron turns off the lamp and grabs his top hat and slips out the front door.  As he looks back he sees that a man is watching him leave the house.  Unbeknownst to him, that man is Dracula who has just found his next victim.  Victor rushes to the barn to fetch his horse.  He has been seen, and he knows it’s time for him to leave and not look back. As he enters the barn, he finds that his horse has been killed, and a werewolf is the killer.  As the beast is drinking the blood from an open wound on the dead animal’s neck, Victor backs up slowly and right into Dracula who lets out an unearthly hiss.  This noise alerts the werewolf who now is up and ready for a fight! The Werewolf lunges toward Victor who just in time side steps, and the werewolf tackles Dracula instead.  This enrages the vampire king who in turn grabs the beast by the neck and starts to squeeze.  As Dracula’s death grip tightens Victor runs to the house and grabs the oil lamp.  Meanwhile the werewolf scratches at Dracula’s face ripping chunks of flesh off, but this does not phase the vampire as he gives one more powerful squeeze and ends werewolf Leon’s life and torment. As Dracula turns, Victor throws the oil lamp at him and it explodes covering him in oil.  Victor strikes a match as quickly as he can and as he is about to flick it at Dracula, the rain starts to poor down.  Victor looks at the wet match as Dracula moves closer. The wind blows and the last scream of a evil yet brilliant Baron fills the air.

 Winner: Dracula

So there you have it.  While both Werewolf Leon and Victor Frankenstein tried, they just could not beat Dracula on this haunted battlefield.  But make it near running water, and they stand a chance. This was a fun Halloween, and the month was filled with lots of good times as well as sad times but I hope you all enjoyed yourself and hope your bellies are filled with candy. Next update we will take a look at Wally The Wizard, one of Star Comics’ original characters.  So until then, stay spooky and read some comics!

Wally The Wizard Logo