Dracula Meets The Wolfman # 1

Posted in Comics, Dracula, Werewolves with tags , , , on 31 October, 2008 by Cavan

“How similar love and hunger are. Both make a man want. And both Man will kill for.”

Any fan of 1970s fantasy art knows the name Frank Frazetta. His covers for Tarzan and Conan are legendary, but while I’m no fan of sword ‘n’ sorcery, I love both his sci-fi pulp covers and his dabblings in classic horror. Take Dracula meets the Wolf Man for example. Originally appeared on the cover to Creepy #7, which hit the newsstand in 1965, its a wonderfully gothic compostition, complete with ruined cathedral and graveyard. I used to have a dog-eared poster of this on my wall when I was a kid so was very excited when I saw this one-shot from Image.

This is one of the recent run of comics that attempts to tell the story behind the picture. Writing duties fall to 30 Days of Night‘s Steve Niles with art by Francesco Francavilla. Sounds good so far. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype. The story is minimal and hardly world shattering; Drac needs to drink the blood of a virgin and is about to sink the old fangs in when her lover, a Loups Garoux pops up and they have a wrestle. And that’s about it. The climax is a bit of a cop-out and the abrupt ending irritates rather than leaves you gagging for more. 

This a comic that relies on nostalgia and buckets of atmosphere to save a razor-thin story and it almost pulls it off. Unfortuanately, almost isn’t enough. If it didn’t have Frank Frazetta’s name connected to it, Dracula Meets The Wolfman would be dismissed as an instantly forgettable and ultimately disappointingly unoriginal rehash. 

1 (out of 5) Tana Leaves


Curse from the Mummy’s Tomb

Posted in The Mummy with tags , on 30 October, 2008 by Cavan

Half bone, half bandage…all blood-curdling terror!

For a movie about the curse of eternal life Hammer’s second Mummy movie is just plain lifeless. The plot, which is strangely obsessed with people’s hands being chopped off, is painfully drawn out and the acting lack-luster. Of the bad guys, Dickie Owen’s faceless mummy is a lumbering, uninspiring throw-back to the worst of the Universal Kharis pictures and Terence Morgan’s Adam Beaucamp is signposted so early on as the villain of the piece that any mystery is washed down the nile within seconds of his apperance. He might as well be wearing a sign saying ‘I’m controlling the Mummy, me, me, over here!’ The reason for his villainy is actually quite a nice twist and is one of the films few saving graces (one being the ever-watchable Fred Clark and the American showman determined to make his millions from the Mummy and our linen-wrapped juggernaut’s particularly nasty dispatch of George Pastall. It ain’t nice having your head popped beneath the foot of a 5,000 year old living corpse even if it does happen out of shot).
A weak effort from Hammer at the time where they could do little wrong.  

2 (out of 5) Tana Leaves

Dead Set

Posted in Zombies with tags , , on 28 October, 2008 by Cavan

Just watched last night’s episode of Dead Set, a new zombie drama on E4. If you’ve not seen it, Dead Set follows the events of a zombie outbreak that takes place on the eviction night of Channel Four’s Big Brother. As the sun rises on a new dawn, the only survivors are the contestants in the house, a terrified show runner and the smarmy producer.

I absolutely loved it. Fantastic pacing, more gore than you’d expect for a TV show (but not enough to be silly) and good scary zombies. The frenzied cuts of the zombie outbreak itself were unsettling but the aftermath the next morning really brought up the goosebumps; zombies are almost licking the monitor screens showing the bliss-fully unaware housemates who we watch through the usual two way mirrors – the only difference is that the two way mirrors are now smeared with blood. Some really nice touches for geeks, er fans like me, the throwaway reference to the Manchester Morgue for example. 

Oh yes, and then there’s the zombie Davina. Lovely touch, and good on you Queen D for getting stuck in – literally.

As good as any zombie movie I’ve seen recently. Can’t wait for episode two tonight…


The Mummies Live

Posted in Mad Monster Merchandise with tags , , , , , , on 22 October, 2008 by Cavan

These are amazing. I followed the link from the ever wonderful Frankensteinia and found myself browsing the site of Cheshire born sculptor Mike Hill who has left the UK for the sunny climbs of LA. I’d seen his amazing Batman and Superman wax-statues in the DC Mythology book but have never seen these amazing busts. His Frankenstein sculpts have to be seen to be believed but the accuracy on these mummy busts of Karloff and Lee is staggering. Just look at that expression in the Hammer Mummy’s face and Karloff’s the Uncanny’s gaze has perhaps never been so hypnotic… 

The Mummy’s Shroud

Posted in Hammer, The Mummy with tags , on 21 October, 2008 by Cavan

Beware the beat of the cloth-wrapped feet

Some people hate this movie, and I’ve yet to work out why. Sure, it has its faults (what Hammer horror doesn’t) but it also contains some bona fide chills that set it head and bandaged shoulders over other mummy capers.

It’s true that you do have to wait an awful long time for any mummy-action – the prologue is almost unbearable and when you get past a flashback sequence which features acting and sets that a school play would be ashamed off you then have to cope with a lot of mucking around in the desert – but when it happens, it’s certainly worth the wait. The mummy itself has been the cause of some controversy. Some say that it’s a step back from the make-up of either the Universal flicks or Hammer’s own 1959 effort. But there’s one thing to remember. This bad-boy was actually based on a real-life mummy (so to speak) found in the British Museum. While you’re missing the pathos of Lee in The Mummy, you’re treated to an unstoppable killing machine. It’s like the Terminator wrapped in linen. And once the killing starts, the fun begins. Our avenging slave, Prem, is as creative as he is unrelenting. My favourite death (which is an odd-thing to write sometimes) is Prem’s second victim who is knocked to the ground and then burnt to death after the mummy has smashed a bottle of acid over his head. Nasty doesn’t begin to cover it. Here we also have a mummy who kindly clears away after himself by hanging up the corpses in the cleaner’s cupboard, but still is apposed to braining someone against the wall when time is short. The fact that this is all carried out by a killer with an emotionless mask for a face is all the more unsettling.

Of the mummy’s co-stars, John Philips shines in his blustery performance as the glory-hunting bigot, Stanley Preston, but is acted off the screen by Michael Ripper as Preston’s put-upon and eternally nervous agent, Longbarrow. I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by his sad exit, poor soul.

Yes, I will admit that The Mummy’s Shroud has its problems. The low budget means that the sets leave a lot to be desired and some of the supporting players seem plain bored, but there’s still much to enjoy, not-the-least in the final showdown in the museum complete with an axe in the neck, words of death, a pre-Doctor Who Roger Delgado and a fantastically crumbly undead head. 

3 (out of 5) tana-leaves

What’s monstrous? Mummydogs

Posted in Uncategorized on 20 October, 2008 by Cavan

Having a wander around what I think I’m supposed to call the blogosphere, I stumbled upon Exploitation Retrospect’s review of Dawn of the Mummy, which I’ve never seen but one day aim to hunt down like the rabid dog it’s supposed to be. 

It also pointed me in the way of these mummydogs. That’ll be what I’m making with my daughter for her halloween part then…

“Cowabunga effendi!”

Posted in Mad Monster Merchandise with tags , , on 20 October, 2008 by Cavan

So, if you’re attacked by a mummy and don’t have any Twinkies or Special Mummy Ray, you’re pretty much doomed. Unless of course, you’re attacked by a mummified Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and then all you need is some pizza hidden somewhere on your person. In 1993, Playmates teamed up with Universal to release classic horror versions of the heroes in a halfshell. Raph found himself wrapped up. 

I remember seeing this and being an oh-so-mature 20 year old thought it was too childish to buy one. Now I’m wondering if I can find it on ebay. I shouldn’t look… should I?

In the meantime, here’s the blurb from the box:

“Taped up in a pyramid for thousands of years, disturbed by the foul Foot, Raph the Mummy lives and breathes! And he’s glowin’ to get out of his tomb and stalk the earth, just like the classic Universal Mummy! Rising from its deep dark depths, Raph the Mummy climbs out of his sarcophagus in search of Shredder – and pizza. And he’ll make anyone who gets in his way pay! The cost will be nothing less than one killer curse! And this is a curse that cannot be broken, except with a pepperoni pizza, drownin’ in olives. Raph’s easily won over with pizza, yes, but he’s still scary, cuz he glows in the dark! That helps him see at night, but it’s been so long since he’s seen the light of day, he may not know what he’s swingin’ at with his cobra sais and stealthy stone dagger! So beware – and if you ever hear a Mutant moan, you can be sure it’s Raph, the mummblin’, mummified monstrous Universal monster! Whoever wakes him better have a wedge to serve him – or you will be forever cursed, just like the Clan! “