- Seems like a lot of great series are coming to end soon. Daredevil, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Johns run on Aquaman. I also heard Marvel will be rebooting a bunch of titles over again to #1. So now series will only last until issue number 32 or something then they restart them over again at number 1 to get the boom in sales that number one issues bring. I’m torn about this practice – on one hand hand I get it and can get behind the method to the madness – it does make it an easier access point for new readers and sometimes its cool to get a new starting point. But on the other hand it it also seems a tad jarring to always be starting and stopping and restarting the same goddamn comic books. This could also backfire on Marvel, because just as this practice makes it easier to jump on titles, it also makes it easy to drop them. You could be collecting Uncanny Avengers and really digging it and then BAM it ends and restarts with new creative team that you may not like. Perfect time to bid that book sayonara. BUT if the book kept going and didn’t restart and Marvel brought in that same creative team I think you might be apt to stick around for one or two more issues to check it out – if only to keep up with the story being told. But if they start over with a new number 1 why bother? I don’t know man, comics can be a funny business sometimes – these 22 paged soap operas keep going and going and we keep buying and dropping, buying and dropping, buying and dropping. It is a never ending battle.
- As you know last week the Pull Lists took forever to get up, there is a reason behind this – basically the process we have set up to do them is beyond donkey dick sucking and if there is a Hell I’m pretty sure that making pull lists like that will be the ninth level of it. Most of my free time was spent constructing these pages and the time I had set aside to write articles and reviews was eaten up by them. I was not prepared for the amount of time that would have to be devoted to pull lists. I have articles that are half done and that I know you would love to read, but I cant finish them because DC decides to release 68 fucking comics on that week. The other staff members know what I’m talking about and feel my pain. I know you dudes out there like the Pull Lists and I like the end result to, but something has got to change. And change it will – starting tomorrow NBC will no longer cover comics by BOOM, Dynamite, and IDW (unless something significant is released by them) for now on its Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and Valiant. And also there will now be only ONE page per publisher. Each page will have the covers for the comics coming out that week and the creative team and small description – and that’s it. No longer will each comic book have its own page. No longer will there be a rating poll. It just takes too long guys. I’m sorry. You will still get to comment on those pages about the comics you like and are pulling, and yeah I know those publisher pages may be a little long in the tooth in regards to amount of comments and might take some time to read them all, but just think of the bonus – you’ll be getting more articles from ME! Shit what more could you want?
- I thought up a new contest. NBC needs a new logo. So, design us a logo and you will win the following: USER Comic of the Week privileges – The site name changes to yours for a day – AND you also get to pick out any trade paperback under 40 dollars that is available to buy online! NBC will get and mail it to you! How cool is that? Free comics! So crack open the Photoshop and Coreldraw, or just Windows Paint and start designing. It can simple, it can be elaborate, but there are can be only one. Send your designs to me directly at 3Dchain@gmail.com.
Wow the plot really came out of left field this time and I loved it! Honestly one of the best issues of any comic I’ve ever read. I want a poster of that cover!
If you enjoy space monkeys and references to “Every Which Way But Loose”, chances are you will enjoy this trippy psychedelic adventure. I’ll have what Matt Fraction’s having.
The art in this issue was very disorienting. Asrar was just fine but I found Jacinto’s work to be extremely ugly and distracting. Singh’s covers are real beauties though. The story by Waid was solid as usual.
GHOSTMANN’S TOP TEN HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME!
Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Carol Lynley, Barry Atwater
Plot: Carl Kolchak is a newspaper reporter with an abrasive personality that has gotten him fired ten times from various big-city papers. Now he’s reduced to reporting for a relatively small-time paper in Las Vegas. It’s here he gets the story of his life. But will the local sheriff, or the D.A., or even his own boss, let him print it? He has an ally in the FBI agent brought in to investigate this strange case. It seems someone is biting the necks of young girls and draining their blood. Can this killer with supernormal powers really be a 70-year-old Rumanian millionaire? Can he really be a vampire? And can an aging reporter do anything to stop him?
This has always been one of my all-time favorite vampire movies. It was made for TV back in 1972 and became the most watched movie in that year and held that honor for a few years after. The reason for the massive success of The Night Stalker is two-fold: one, the charisma of Darin McGavin as Carl Kolchak and two, the story which at the time was the first vampire movie to be “self aware” and modern day. Before Night Stalker vampire films mostly took place in Gothic castles and foggy moors. But this one took place in present day Las Vegas and instead of the Van Helsing vampire hunter character, we get a newspaper reporter that at first thinks he is chasing a lunatic that thinks he is Count Dracula – but soon he comes to find out that this dude may very well be the real deal. The character of Kolchak was so great that he got his own television series there for awhile and influenced future TV shows like the X-Files. While there are certain parts of The Night Stalker that are a bit dated and cheesy, but holy shit dudes, the ending inside the vampires creepy old house is one of the best vampire scenes to ever be filmed. For the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film it’s just Kolchak sneaking around the house taking snap shots of coffins and pints of blood and finding a tied up victim of the vampire. The whole time there is NO music – just creaky floor boards and bumps out of sight. Each time we are expecting the vampire to pop out! A great, great scene and gives me goosebumps every time. WATCH IT!
Directed by: F. W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder
Plot: Wisbourg, Germany based estate agent Knock dispatches his associate, Hutter, to Count Orlok’s castle in Transylvania as the Count wants to purchase a isolated house in Wisbourg. They plan on selling him the one across the way from Hutter’s own home. Hutter leaves his innocent wife, Ellen, with some friends while he is away. Hutter’s trek is an unusual one, with many locals not wanting to take him near the castle where strange events have been occurring. Once at the castle, Hutter does manage to sell the Count the house, but he also notices and feels unusual occurrences, primarily feeling like there is a dark shadow hanging over him, even in the daytime when the Count is unusually asleep. Hutter eventually sees the Count’s sleeping chamber in a crypt, and based on a book he has recently read, believes the Count is really a vampire or Nosferatu. While Hutter is trapped in the castle, the Count, hiding in a shipment of coffins, makes his way to Wisbourg, causing death along his way, which most attribute to the plague. Hutter himself tries to rush home to save his town and most importantly save Ellen from Nosferatu’s imminent arrival. In Wisbourg, Ellen can feel the impending darkness as Nosferatu gets closer. But she learns that a sinless woman can sacrifice herself to kill the vampire. Will Hutter be able to save Ellen either from Nosferatu and/or her self-sacrifice?
Vampires have always scared the shit out of me. More then zombies, werewolves, ghosts, and mummy’s, the vampire was the monster that kept me up at night as a kid with the covers pulled up over my neck. Something about a human being that use to be a loving, caring person, maybe even a family member, coming back from the dead to feed on you just always struck a nerve within me growing up. These days my nights are no longer filled with terror and I can watch Christopher Lee suck the shit out of some busty blonde and sleep like a baby, but back when I was a kid my bedroom window at night held the most unimaginable horrors – right outside behind that glass – waiting for me to pull back the curtains and see their yellow eyes. The first film adaption of Bram Stokers novel Dracula, Nosferatu still stands as one of the best even 90 years later. This silent film had to change the names of Stokers characters due to never getting the rights from Stokers widow, thus the vampires name is now Count Orlok and Harker is Hutter, so on and so on. But the story is the same and director F.W Murnau does a fabulous job of retaining much of the novels key moments and overall tone – that of complete dread. There are beautifully creepy scenes here that play with shadows and light, invoking the dreariest of the German expressionists. But the real star of this movie and the key to it’s long lasting success and following is actor Max Schreck, who played the vampire Count Orlok. He is quite simply, the most terrifying film vampire ever. Schreck embodies everything that the undead should – complete evil and absence of humanity. Schreck plays the Count as something not of this realm, something that has awoken in our world and brings with him the foulness of the dark place he is from. He is an abomination.
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Plot: Malcom Crowe is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the task of curing a young boy with the same ills as the ex-patient. This boy “sees dead people”. Crowe spends a lot of time with the boy (Cole) much to the dismay of his wife. Cole’s mom is at her wit’s end with what to do about her son’s increasing problems. Crowe is the boy’s only hope.
Most of “My Thoughts” have to do with the first time I saw the film I’m talking about. Remembering that thrill and excitement of the experience is half the fun of doing these posts – so, I’ll make no exception here with The Sixth Sense and recall my first viewing way back in the days of 1999. I first saw the trailer for The Sixth Sense during some summer blockbuster. I remember not being terribly impressed with it and said to whoever I was with, “That looks sorta lame.” And soon after all but forgot about it. Then the month of August rolls around and I had pretty much seen everything there was to see at the movies so when The Sixth Sense opened I decided I would waste 10 bucks to go check it out. My expectations were low – there had not been a great scary movie is such a long time and I was sure this one would join the long list of failures. Then the movie started. And from the opening shot of that basement lightblub slowly turning on and the woman standing there, off to the far left of the screen, staring at something “not there” in the right side of the screen I knew something special was about to happen. I felt goosebumps. And the movie just got better from there. This was a freakin’ scary ghost story and I gave myself over completely to M. Night’s masterpiece. I left the theater seats and was there with the Malcom and Cole and the dead people that made the hair stand up on your neck. This was brilliant film making and I was enthralled and invested so much that when the “twist” happened I couldn’t breath. I was dumbfounded and ecstatic that a movie had just taken me on such a ride. This was epic. This was powerful. This was moving. This was horror at its most delicate. Wonderful.
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman
Plot: A mysterious video tape is killing off anyone who watches it. Whenever the victim watches it, the phone rings, telling them they have only one week to live. A young reporter named Rachel is investigating these events, but after she and her small son watch the tape, it becomes a race against time to find out why the tape is killing everyone and how it could be stopped
This remake of the Japanese film Ringu is a total downer – but in a good way. The whole movie has this grey/blue tone to it that just makes you feel depressed the moment the movie starts. Nothing in this film is happy. Nothing makes you smile. This is all out fucking bleakness at it finest – and I love it! The Ring makes you want to run out and spend a week at a sunny beach afterwards, just to wash off all the creepiness. And this movie IS creepy. Great performances and directing help bring The Ring above all the rest of the “Scary Kids” Horror Sub-Genre. This one is the best and most worth your time.
quick side note: I had bought this movie when it first came out on DVD back in the days and after watching the film I went to check out the special features. The DVD had the “video” that they watch in the movie where after you watch it the phone rings and someone on the other end tells you you are going to die in 7 days. Well, I watched the video. Pretty weird shit man and I have to say, there was a little apprehension right before I hit play. I mean, what if this video really is cursed? Naaa. So I watched it. After it was over the DVD went back to the main menu. I had gotten up to go to the kitchen or something when all of the sudden THE PHONE RANG! But it didn’t come from my home phone, it came from the DVD. Sneaky fuckers scared the shit out of me.
Watch the Cursed Video here for yourself – if you dare!
Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tim Curry, Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Annette O’Toole, John Ritter, Seth Green
Plot: In the quiet town of Derry, Maine, Seven friends Bill, Eddie, Mike, Bev, Stan, Richie and Ben (the losers club) have all been seeing and hearing strange things. Most of which revolve around a Clown called Pennywise in which they all admit being real, the kids eventually discover that the leader of the club, Bill’s little brother fell victim to this evil. The group sets out to stop the force and put it to rest once and for all. 30 years after defeating IT, Mike Hanlon, the only Member who remained in Derry, is suspecting that IT has returned and is forced to call back all of the Losers club, due to a promise they all made to return if its evil shall ever resurface. Uncovering new powers, clues and evil the club reunites as adults and come face to face with the evil that has haunted and fed on Derry for the last centuries.
This is Stephen Kings love letter to his childhood growing up in Maine in the 1950’s. In a way IT, along with The Body (Stand By Me), is almost his autobiography instead of a work of fiction. You can tell that the characters in this story are based on real friends and enemies and episodes that may have really taken place in young King’s life. If so, then no wonder Stephen King writes some of the most fucked up scary shit ever. Although I think Salems’ Lot is his most frightening novel, IT scares in a different way, it taps into our early fears. Fears that we had as kids that over the years faded – replaced by real world problems: Mortgages, Jobs, Economy, etc. King captures in his story those nights alone, in our bedroom, when the shadows of our closet held monsters. IT the movie does a fantastic job of adapting the novel and translating those pages, realizing Kings world for all of us to see. Unfortunately this 2 part made-for-TV mini-series loses a lot of its steam in part 2, which focuses on the adults. It is in part 1 where this mini-series truly shines and where the clown Pennywise makes the strongest impact. In the book Pennywise the Clown is a malevolent force that haunts the kids but as with all novels, we make our image of what Pennywise looked like. In the movie Tim Curry brings Pennywise to life with such flair and power that cast members would avoid Tim while shooting the film. Pennywise is one of the greatest horror creations of all time.
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P. J. Soles, Nancy Loomis
Plot: On a cold Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his teenage sister after she had sex with her boyfriend. Michael is then locked inside Smith’s Grove Warren County Sanitarium where he is placed under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis who is the only one who sees the pure evil within the soul of Michael. On October 30, 1978, Michael escapes from the sanitarium. After witnessing the escape, Dr. Loomis heads back to Haddonfield where he knows Michael will kill again on Halloween night. Michael begins stalking three teenagers, Laurie Strode and her friends Annie and Lynda. With the help of the town sheriff, Loomis hunts for Michael and hopes to put an end to his grisly murder spree
There are two main reasons why Halloween is one of the scariest films of all time: One, it convinces us that the boogeyman is real. Two, the music. John Carpenter originally set out to make an extremely low budget horror flick about a dude that kills babysitters. In fact that was the name of the project in the early stages, “The Babysitter Murders”. But during post production something happened – they stumbled upon a formula that since 1978 has been copied more times then I can count. Using a cheap mask bought at the local grocery store and hiring a non-actor to play the killer, Carpenter created the ultimate boogeyman. A faceless, emotionless killing machine that you cannot stop and that will always be around the corner in the dark. The Fucking Boogeyman! Then, to top it off Carpenter himself scores the most bone chilling music in the history of film. Like theme to Jaws, the music in Halloween is the harbinger of evil. Nowadays we hear it playing in the aisles of Target in the costume section, but can you imagine back in ’78 and watching Halloween in a dark theater and that music comes on? Jesus Christ. This is a perfect horror film. I suggest watching it again but try and get rid of all the stuff that came after it, all the sequels, all the cliches that it created, everything. Just watch it tonight, with the lights off, hopefully it’s windy outside, turn off your cellphone, put that laptop down and just give yourself over to the movie. I guarantee that for the rest of the night every bump you hear will be the boogeyman coming to get you. Happy Halloween.
THIS IS AWESOME. WATCH THIS YOUTUBE CLIP WITH AUDIENCE AUDIO TAKEN FROM A 1979 VIEWING OF HALLOWEEN.
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall,Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Plot: A novelist – Jack Torrance take a job interview as winter caretaker of the isolated, old, huge and beautiful Overlook Hotel. In the interview, Jack is told by the manager himself, that the previous caretaker – Grady, chopped his family and later killed himself with a shotgun. Ignoring the story, Jack brings his wife – Wendy and his son Danny. It happens that Danny, has a mysterious power known as “The Shining” that shows him things from the past and future. Some of the visions come from Tony – “the little boy who lives in Danny’s mouth”. Danny meets Hallorann – the hotel cook in their first day arriving at the Overlook, who also has this “Shining” and he warns him about the hotel and the sinister Room 237. As the days go by, Danny has visions of previous guests and employees who died at the hotel years before, meanwhile Jack starts driving into insanity, turning more and more aggressive, at the point that Danny and Wendy gets convinced that Jack might try to do the same thing, Grady did.
I’ve written about The Shining about a billion times, the most recent being when this 1980 classic made my Top 50 Movies of All Time List at #30. Everyone knows The Shining is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, but the funny thing is, if you read the novel it is almost a completely different story. Kubrick only takes a few beats from King’s novel and goes from there to make his own version of The Shining. And honestly, I sorta like Kubrick’s vision a little bit better. Here, in the movie, the sense of utter dread begins right from the opening shot. There is no, “oh Jack Torrance is a nice guy and gets corrupted by the evil of the Overlook Hotel.” as it happens in King’s story. Not in the movie though, Jack is already on the edge when we first meet him, and to me, this enhances the horror 10 fold. We know this dude is a hair away from snapping and the tension is incredibly thick because of this – almost too tense to watch. The film builds and builds and builds on this tension until Jack comes bursting thru the bathroom door looking for Wendy and Danny so he can split their heads open. It is a moment that has gone down in film history not only because of Nicholson’s ad libed line “Here’s Johnny!” but because we as the audience over the course of the two hours have looked for someone to relate to – to latch onto as our link to something good and pure – and Wendy Torrance has become that person. We ARE Wendy by the time she is facing off with her husband. And when she is screaming in that bathroom, crying for Jack to stop, we feel her terror. Jack is coming for us.
Directed by: John Landis
Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne
Plot: Two American students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a Werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The Werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he find a way to die to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths
Werewolves are one of my favorite monsters, right after vampires. The trouble is there are very few werewolf movies that are good. There is the classic 1941 Wolfman with Lon Chaney Jr. and a few of the sequels that followed that are pretty good – not scary but very atmospheric, and that goes a long way. But then, for like years, nothing. Sure there were some attempts like that one werewolf movie starring Oliver Reed and one with Peter Chushing The Beast Must Die but really, there was nothing worth writing about until the year 1981 rolled around. By ’81 the special effects field had grown by leaps and bounds and now Hollywood was able to give us more realistic horror then ever before. This was good news for a young director named John Landis. Landis had been sitting on a screenplay he wrote for years called An American Werewolf in London. He was waiting until the time was right to make his monster movie. Waiting for special effects to get better – he knew it was only a matter of time before you could show a human transforming into a werewolf in real time, and not using old tired techniques like lap-dissolves. He was right, and in 1981 a make-up artist named Rick Baker showed the world for the first time how it would look if a man changed into a wolf – for fucking real. And it fucking ruled! Baker would go on to win the Academy Award for his work on this movie and pave the way for practical effects to change the horror genre for ever. An American Werewolf in London is a fantastic movie and a truly frightening one as well. One of the reasons this movie works so great as a horror movie is that we genuinely like the two American dudes hiking through England. David and Jack are our brothers, our uncles, our best friends, we know these guys, went to school with these guys, hung out with these guys. They are good dudes, and what happens to them is unreal and supremely horrific. It pains us to see then go through what they go through and what makes it even worse is that in all this terror and darkness they still manage to joke around and try and laugh – and that makes it all more painful. An American Werewolf in London is depressing yes, but it also one of the finest examples of a horror movie that has ever been made. There is nothing else like it. A remarkable film.
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Starring: David Soul, James Mason, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres
Plot: Salem’s Lot is a town which a new member, Mr. Straker, has taken as his new “home”, and has a mysterious partner, namely Mr. Barlow. Not too long after Straker arrives in Salem’s Lot, people start disappearing from sight and dying from odd causes, and no one is sure why, including Ben Mears who is in town to write a new book on the town’s rumored haunted house called the Marsten House, which overlooks the town and hides a terrible secret about to be unleashed.
All totaled I figure I lost about 582 hours of sleep thanks to the Salem’s Lot mini series. I was 8 when this this made for TV movie first aired and I remember my parents would not let me watch it – but I did see the ad’s in the TV Guide and paperback book in Safeway showing the vampire Barlow, in all his Nosferatu glory. But it really wasn’t Barlow that haunted my pre-teen nights, it was the other vampires in the movie – the townsfolk that have been bitten by Barlow and turned into the most appalling bloodsucking undead creatures ever shown in film. These vampires are unholy abominations that exist only to feed and damn the living to hell. This is how vampires should be portrayed I’ve railed for years about how I hate the “romantic” vampire – I mean, there are some movies out there were it shows that vampire curse to be almost the opposite – that being a vampire is pretty awesome! You get to stay up all night, fly, turn into bats and wolfs, get to have sex with hot chicks, can’t die, live forever, mind control people, shit man, if this the case fucking turn me into a vampire RIGHT NOW! But in Salem’s Lot being a vampire is possibly the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being. It does not look fun. Anyway, yeah I love this movie. I still get the chills when the kid vampire floats outside the window of his friend, scratching at the window, asking to be let in. I mean, just writing that sentence I got creeped out. Stay away from the Rob Lowe remake – it’s bullshit – stick with this one. In fact, go out right now and buy this at your local video store or record store or wherever you can find old DVD’s for sale and watch it tonight. It’s the perfect film to get you in the mood for Halloween tomorrow. It’ll be playing tonight at my house for sure.
SCRATCHY SCRATCH SCRATCH
Directed by: William Friedkin
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Linda Blair
Plot: A movie actress taking up temporary residence in Washington D.C. has her troubles. The script for the movie she’s filming seems inadequate. Her ex, who is also the father of her adolescent daughter, Regan, neglects to call the girl on her birthday. And the attic has rats. Meanwhile, Father Karras, a priest and a psychiatrist, is losing his faith; and he’s dealing with a sick mother who needs medical care he hasn’t the money to provide. Another priest, the old and ailing Father Merrin, has just returned from Iraq with forebodings of evil. These three persons meet when the sweet and cheerful Regan turns foul-mouthed and violent. But her sickness is beyond the reach of a medical doctor or a psychiatrist. What Regan needs is an exorcist.
H.P Lovecraft wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” The Exorcist taps into that primal fear unlike any other work of fiction. Our fear of the unknown is put on glorious display in William Friedkin’s 1973 horror film and once it was seen, things would never be the same. The Exorcist is based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, which in turn was based on a real life event that took place in Maryland in 1949 where a young boy was supposedly possessed by a demon and given an exorcism – and it seemed to have cured him. I won’t waste time going into the debate of whether or not demon possession is real or just a brain disorder, I’ll just say that this is a real phenomenon where the cause is, you guessed it, unknown. So why do we love to be frightened? Why do we flock the the theaters to see a 12 year old girl turn into a hideous demon? Is it because we need to be scared to remind ourselves of the goodness of our lives? To be able to experience something so horrendous from a distance, like a voyeur? It’s probably these reasons and more but the bottom line is – we just love a good scare. The Exorcist does an excellent job of that. I’ve heard it said by filmmakers that the more outlandish and ridiculous the subject matter the more seriously the director needs to approach it. Friedkin took this notion to heart and set out to make not just a horror movie but a movie that rings true and doesn’t take any shortcuts or cheats the viewer. It’s a movie that never backs down or turns away, even when what we are seeing is abominable and leaves us with a sick feeling in the pit of our stomach. The power of The Exorcist lies in the camera never flinching and thus exposing us to lurid and savage scenes. We are forced to bare witness to a battle between good and evil. To a battle of faith and unbelieving. Battles that we face in our own lives day to day, but never to the degree that’s displayed in The Exorcist. And I guess in the end that is why this movie has stood the test of time, and continues to scare generation after generation – because through fear we feel alive.