May 29th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Original Comic Strips |
This has been on my own website for ages, but I thought I’d post it here too, just ‘cos.
Click image to view full size.
This has been on my own website for ages, but I thought I’d post it here too, just ‘cos.
Click image to view full size.
WARNING! : This segment of the film contains explicit use of the word “b**bies”.
A very, very small peek at my horror comic debut ‘Beaten Path’. It’ll appear in FutureQuake’s Something Wicked. I’m the writer and Neil Roberts is the artist. Due out sometime in the Autumn.
Watch this space.
The Cottage is a British comedy horror film, written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams. It stars Andy (Gollum, Gollum) Serkis, The League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith and the buxom Jennifer Ellison as token eye candy. Apparently Ellison’s character was originally meant to be a 40 years old woman but was changed to a young hottie to make sure the film achieved maximum sales.
The story concerns 2 very different brothers, Serkis’ hard-man and brains of the outfit David, and Shearsmith’s wet lettuce of an accomplice Peter. It’s clear from the off that the brothers have a very strained relationship to begin with and Peter is extremely upset he has now been dragged into David’s seedy world of crime and corruption. Their crime? The kidnapping of a local crime boss Arnie’s daughter Tracey to be held for ransom for the huge sum of £100,000.
Now it’s obvious that Peter isn’t cut out for this kind of work. Highlighted when the foul mouthed Tracey attempts to escape and beats Peter to a pulp with her hands, literally, tied behind her back. Unfortunately the third crime partner in this escapade, the victim’s stepbrother Andrew, is even more incompetent than Peter. Andrew was supposed to deliver the ransom but instead unwittingly brings a bag of tissues and the crime lord’s knife wielding henchmen in tow.
David’s realisation that he to is a fool for using 2 complete idiots as business partners comes too late. As his pathetic plan slowly slips out of control the hostage escapes in to the woods where things suddenly take a turn for the even worse.
This is a film of two halves really. The first half is a comedy crime heist gone wrong with witty one-liners that will have you chuckling with delight. The second introduces a deranged killer and some good gore shots where the comedy becomes more physical and slap stick. Therein lies its problem.
I really enjoyed the first half and what I can only describe as the worst ransom negotiating attempt ever. Serkis and Shearsmith are absolutely hysterical bouncing off each other with great comic timing. Both characters work well as complete opposites, each infuriated with the others attitude. There’s no horror involved, unless of course you count when Reece Shearsmith’s moth-phobic character gets stuck in a room full of the little winged devils, but the film rollocks along at an entertaining pace.
The second half of the film is quite unusual and doesn’t quite work as intended. The audience has spent so long laughing at the catastrophic criminal cock-ups that we’re incapable of being scared by any of the horror. I’m too busy waiting for the next gag to be able to feel any of the main characters fears. The film is still funny in places but it now comes as standard that modern horrors will try to outwit each other with amusing and inventive deaths. The Cottage offers nothing new on it’s limited budget and originality eventually runs dry.
Dont let any of the negatives put you off. As a comedy this film is a success! The next in a good line of recent comedy horror Brit flicks such as Severance (2006) and the legendary Shaun of the Dead (2004).
Watch it for laughs and you’ll thoroughly enjoy every minute as the script and acting has some great comedy moments but don’t expect to be scared or you’ll be severely disappointed. Overall a highly respectable 8/10.
Storm Warning is an Australian horror film directed by Urban Legend director Jamie Blanks. The film stars French actress Nadia Farès and Aussie Robert Taylor as a happily married couple who, after an enjoyable afternoon boating, are stranded on an remote island and take shelter in a local farmhouse.
Unfortunately the farm is home to a family of lawless Aussie rednecks made up of the psychotic Jimmy his mental brother Brett and their insane tyrant of a father Poppy. Already pissed off with the intrusion in their house the sadistic hillbillies imprison the yuppy couple and submit them to degrading abuse and torture. It soon becomes clear that in order for the pair to survive the ordeal they’ll have to play the tormentors at their own game. To quote the film’s heroine, “To catch a mad dog, you must think like a mad dog – only madder.”
I’m trying not to sepnd too much time talking about this movie. It has both good and bad points, the marvelous amount of gore being one of it’s finest attributes. However, it’s just another torture-porn movie in a time when every other horror film is just another torture-porn movie.
Robert Taylor’s portrayal of Rob, the ‘hero’ of the film is rather lack lustre but maybe that’s because his character is a complete and utter pussy. You almost want him to get his ass tortured just so maybe he will grow some balls. In comparison Pia, his wife, becomes a hardened killer bitch, dishing out bloody retribution with unnatural ease.
The 3 villians are suitably crazy enough to fill the standard crazy redneck role we see in so many of these movies. There’s nothing hugely original though. It feels like any other movie where some one gets lost in the woods and stumbles across a proper nightmare.
Nothing new to see here but it will keep you mildly entertained. 6/10
Any fans of Hammer Horror films would drool rabidly at the news; Royal Mail are releasing 6 stamps to honour 50 years of British Film industry. Three of them are Hammer Horror related and the other three are from the Carry On series.
Their film posters were adapted for the stamps. The films honoured were; Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy. Not only are they honoured on stamps but they are on postcards and stamps sheets.
Normally, I am not a stamp collector, but I might get them for myself. I loved Hammer Horror films as I used them to watch late at night when I was 8 years old. Dracula was always my favourite horror character and Christopher Lee topped them all.
Junji Ito is currently Japan’s top horror “manga-ka”, and, with his “Museum of Terror” series, I had a lot of fun finding out why.
Currently there are three volumes of “Museum of Terror”, a reprint in English of his short stories, which also follow the right-to-left reading format. His “Tomie” stories are well-known, and are collected in “Museum of Terror” vols. 1 and 2 as well as being made into movies.
Ito’s style is realistic and atmospheric, but strongly Japanese. His stories tend to disturb with grotesque twists, instead of just relying on violence and gross-outs…although there’s certainly no absence of gore, either.
His characters seem to be trapped in a capricious world where there isn’t any objective good or evil, only evil consequences. At first glance, I felt bored by the absence of flashy art and the rather simple page layouts, but one plot twist later, and I’d pretty much lost my taste for big-eyed manga pap.
(As a quick digression, I have fond memories of my first contact with his work, which was MoT vol 3. I really didn’t know what to expect, except that buying a volume of short horror stories instead of one long story seemed like a good idea with a new manga author. )
So, I was waiting for the train home, listening to some pleasant lounge type music, and reading “Bio House”, a story about a powerful old businessman who tries to tempt his pretty young secretary to join him in indulging her more…interesting appetites. So there she is, sitting at the lavish, gruesome dinner table, and casually holding up a refreshing glass of “snake’s blood?”… that was when I knew I’d found something…special. After devouring, sorry, enthusiastically reading, the rest of the book, I moved on to read Ito’s “Tomie” stories.
Tomie is an eternally young, perfectly beautiful Japanese schoolgirl who drives women mad with envy and men crazy with desire. In fact, they become so obsessed they usually feel the need to dismember her for some reason…but she just won’t stay gone. Men, women, children, Tomie destroys the lives of everyone who is unfortunate enough to come across her…
Interestingly enough, the characters meet their doom through their own actions rather than hers. But these tales are not morality plays, because in Tomie’s world, it seems that no-one is too innocent or too sane to escape untouched. There is a certain sense of fatalism about these stories.
The variety of the stories comes from the widely different characters who meet Tomie, and the different ways she works on their individual psyches to the inevitable, destructive conclusion. But the violence against Tomie isn’t some sad, mysogynist fantasy, because somehow Tomie always seems to win in the end. She regenerates, and propagates, with the inevitability of a virus, and in one story involving jealous brothers, her attempted destruction results in multiple Tomies, once again stalking their way into an unsuspecting world.
It’s a fascinating, disturbing look at sexual desire, obsession, and beauty, taken to a very…Japanese…extreme, and I do mean that as a compliment. Japanese horror tends to be more disturbing than our fare over here in the Tame West.
This is some of the best horror manga around…recommended to anyone who likes a true femme fatale…
(The images in this article are from the Tomie stories and are © Junji Ito and Dark Horse Comics.)
It’s Monster Monday again! With Kenny still in hospital it’s up to Uncle Terry to try and figure out how they can be reunited. Looks like Terry’s got his own style of doing things “You badd! Youu go waaayy!
Another spooky tale from the Back from the Depths team. Story by Ghastly McNasty, artwork by Milne.
We’re always looking for new artists and story writers here in the Theatre of Terror. If you need a platform to showcase your comic book skills then please get in touch today.
Spanish horror film The Orphanage (El Orfanato) is director Juan Antonio Bayona’s debut movie. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is listed as a producer of this film and it’s possible to draw some similarities between this movie and Toro’s own Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), both drifting between reality and fantasy in an unusual but effective manner.
Spanish actress Belén Rueda gives a strong performance as a mother who returns with her husband and son to the orphanage she spent time in as a child, to re-open the home as a sanctuary for disabled children. Located near a lovely beach and overlooked by a lighthouse the beautiful house holds many secrets that our heroine doesn’t know as she was re-homed before the orphanage was closed. Secrets that the living want kept secret and the dead need the world to know!
The family’s only child Simón, who was adopted by the couple, starts playing games with a group of imaginary friends who teach the child thing about himself he has yet to be told by his parents. When suddenly Simón disappears without a trace, his mother has to join in the ghostly games to solve the mystery and save her son.
It’s nice to watch a ghost film that has an original plot and charming storyline. The majority of modern horrors churn out the same gang of teenagers being brutally murdered in as many horrific ways as possible. The Orphanage manages to get its scares without relying on gore.
It’s not massively scary. There are a few moments that will tighten the sphincter, in particular a very tense séance session that gets your heart racing. There’s also a little deformed orphan boy that wears a mask that could give you a few nightmares. Mostly the film relies on creaks and groans and things going bang in the night to put the frights up viewers.
This film is about the terror of losing a loved one to the unknown and relies on you becoming emotionally involved with the movie in order for you to fully appreciate it. As the film nears its conclusion there is a twist that’s both heart breaking and joyous. It should stay with you for a few days after which is often an indicator of a good film.
Beautifully shot film relying on atmosphere for its creepiness. A chilling yarn without any bloody violence, and for that it gets an 8/10.
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