Comic Corner: Tales For A Halloween Night Vol 8

Storm King Does it Again with: Tales For A Halloween Night Vol 8!

I’ve been a fan of horror ever since I first watched Candyman when I was a child. The movie crawled deep inside my brain and affected me for weeks. Since that time I’ve found many different ways to devour horror content, whether it be movies or books, or most recently: graphic novels. The latest is an anthology collection from Storm King Comics called Tales For A Halloween Night Vol 8, so join me on my journey into the horrors of it all.

Let’s Start in Hell

The first story in the collection is called Tartarus, written by the horror master himself, Mr. John Carpenter. It features the brilliant art of Luis Guarangna with an amazing color palette by Sian Mandrake. The story centers around a sanitation worker by the name of Junior who has been contracted by a very wealthy stranger.

When he arrives to do the job he is instructed to follow, he finds himself stuck in is a maze of staircases rising to the sky at every possible angle. When he finally reaches his destination he is led to yet another elevator that only goes down. Junior’s cleanup job will be in the basement, literally as low as you can go. Soon, he finds himself face to face with Hell.

The writing on this is fantastic, it hints to a previous job gone wrong and a story that has yet to be told. The art is fantastic and really made me want to see what else would come to pass. The colors were beautiful and really complimented everything that was going on. This was a fun one that left me wondering, was Junior dead and ready to face his afterlife or was this just going to be the hardest cleanup job of his career? You decide.

Cats Always Know

The Caretaker was written by Alec Worley with the art duties being handled by Tim Foster. It opens on the new caretaker’s first night on the job while he’s trying to figure out who broke into a poor elderly woman’s unit. Nothing was taken, but a vase that was important to her was broken and the caretaker promises to fix everything.

After a ghostly vision in the bottom of the vase (the caretaker attributed it to a flashback from his wilder days), he decides to call it a night. The caretaker believes all the trouble is coming from a group of teens that keep hanging around and that night while he is sleeping the same thing happens to his apartment. It’s overturned with no sign of a break-in. He notices a cat in the courtyard and follows it to the boiler room where the teens confront him while the cat coughs up a toe. The caretaker is driven to madness and it is then revealed that the previous caretaker had murdered the teens and they were just searching for their heads.

The art works perfectly to compliment the story in this short burst of horror brilliance. The way the story slowly unfolded and gave us the tiniest bits of info trickling in was done very well. The poor caretaker wanted nothing more than to do a good job and ended up paying for the sins of the person who previously held the job. Hopefully, the cat and some therapy can help him bounce back but I imagine vengeful ghosts looking for their heads would be hard to get over.

Welcome to Club Vampire

The Night The Lights Went Out In Brooklyn was written by Frank Tieri with art by Cat Staggs and tells the story of a journalist trying to get to the bottom of the Millennium Massacre that took place during a blackout in 1977. The journalist finds himself not welcome at an apartment building until he mentions the massacre and is allowed to come up for an interview by the only person known to survive the event. As the man dives into the story of that night in ‘77 it becomes clear that during the blackout the club became under attack from vampires. Our journalist finds this believable and wonders how he made it out alive. As it turns out, our survivor was bitten and transformed that night.

This story had some amazing artwork and I really enjoyed how the vampire was at times toying with the journalist as he told his story. The twist wasn’t completely a surprise but it was fun to see this take on the old “the calls are coming from inside the house.” When the pizza boy finally did show up, he made the proper choice and got out of there fast.

A Cottage in the Afterlife

Beautiful Beast was written by Elena Carrilo with art by Jaime Carrilo and colors from Michelle Madsen. It tells the tale of what happens when you die.

Our lead is found in the woods by a beast that leads her to a warm and inviting cottage. While investigating the beast’s garden she discovers that the scarecrow is actually the bones of a dead police officer. As she makes her escape time begins to feel funny to her and back in Central Park she discovers the bones of her rotting body. She recalls looking at her phone and feeling a strange sensation in her head, which turns out to be an aneurysm. She decides to return to the cottage and spend her afterlife with the beast.

This story had some of my favorite art from the entire book, and a compelling story. The art really brought the little story to life and I loved the design of the beast. Part fantasy and part the horror of facing one’s mortality, you can’t really ask much more from a short piece that this didn’t provide. It was actually quite beautiful for a horror story.

They Came From the Corn

The One Night Of The Year was written by Kealan Patrick Burke with art by Tom Mandrake and colors from Jack Mandrake. It tells the story of Halloween night for a farmer and his dog named Rufus. Every year three monsters come from the corn to torment the old man, taking the form of his dead wife and his two children. This story even features a cameo from John Carpenter himself, working on a film with the farmer’s grown son. Both children are alive and it seems that the family kind of fell apart after the death of the farmer’s wife and his drinking problem. Every year after the creatures show up to further torment the farmer.

This was a very cool short, the designs on the monsters from the corn were fantastic. I love anytime someone wears a sack for a mask, it’s always creepy and the dead wife sporting a pumpkin head with glowing candlelight coming from the eyes and mouth was a very nice touch. It’s a touching story about a man dealing with the demons of his past while trying his best in his present.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Street

Sweet Dreams was written by Sean Sobczak with art by Conner Doyle. The story revolves around a couple very much in love who are about to return to Paris for the first time in years. Before they are able to leave, Harold (the husband) is in a horrible accident when he’s hit by a bus and put in a coma. Tilly (the wife) is devastated and doesn’t know what to do. Soon she begins to see Harold in her dreams as he is trying to convince her that he can’t return to his body, that he’s too far gone but they can be together in the dreamland. Is Harold really looking for peace or is something sinister at play?

This visuals matched the writing well, complimenting each other. It wasn’t so much of a horror as it was a sad tale of love and loss and how far someone will go to be with their person. This was my favorite short in this anthology and I personally think it would make a fantastic film. It’s very moving with just the right amount of horror.

Never Look a Cat in the Eye

Purr was written and illustrated by Sara Richard and tells the tale of a man in the 1800s who is visited in the early morning hours by a cute kitten he affectionately names bright eyes. After the man promises the kitten a home and good food to come he is sucked into the eye of the cat. What was once a joyous morning turns into a living nightmare as he discovers the horrors that wait just behind those bright eyes.

This was probably the quickest of the shorts and was carried by visuals alone. There was very little dialogue but it was effective that way. The story has some of the best art in the book as far as having its own style goes and as a quick read, it was a fun and creepy proof of what I’ve said for years: Cats are cute but they are secretly demons sent to take us out.

Don’t Drink and Drive

Gutted was written by Neo Edmund with gorgeous art by Jason Felix. It tells the story of a young lady who had too much to drink at a Halloween party and died in a car accident only to wake up on the table during her autopsy. She flees the scene and runs into other people in a place that’s sort of in-between worlds. A child explains to her what happened and that her heart was going to be used to help her live a very long life. She must have been a donor.

The short starts like many horror shorts of the past, on the table but it quickly takes a left turn into something original. Her spirit not quite passed on gets to meet others who are in transition, and one who clearly is going to get to leave that plain and make it back to the land of the living. I enjoyed that little twist quite a bit.

Cheaters Never Prosper

Proof was written by Amanda Deibert with art by Cat Staggs. For a short piece, it really takes us on a roller coaster of events. It opens with a murder followed by a news report that a serial killer is on the loose. As the story unfolds Chloe (our main character) slowly discovers various clues that she discusses with her best friend that all point to him being a big cheater. Slowly as each clue is found we begin to think that he is the murderer and Chloe is next but hang on… could it really be that simple?

The art really knocked it out of the park and the story had a great twist, making me truly believe it was the awful boyfriend. Of course, some of the details used to convince us made the reveal a little confusing. Still, it was a fun ride.

Holidays Are Scary

Red Meat Flag was written by David J Schow with art from Andres Esparza and centers around a detective who is searching for a serial killer who likes to work on the holidays. They dubbed him Mister Tweezers due to the way he managed to never leave any clues at all to his killings. The detective eventually finds himself in the killer’s sites and realizes he was outmatched. The killer kills on.

This is another that would make a really interesting feature film. The insanely smart killer and the determined detective on his way out of the business are prime for an adaptation. The creative way in which each person was killed added to an already visually exciting piece, especially in the horror space. This was noir meets horror in the best of ways. I want more of this.

Horrors of the Past

Hound Out Of Mind was written by Jennie Wood with art from Richard P Clark. The story begins with a loving couple, Holden and Wade, adopting a new puppy. Very quickly Wade begins to have memories of his past causing him to hallucinate and break a bit from reality. His childhood was full of fighting parents and bad times and the puppy is reminding him of that, even seeing the puppy as a demon hell-bent on killing him. Holden tries to reason with him and that sends Wade on a trip down memory lane where he’s forced to battle the demons of his past before he can be ready to live happily ever after.

The star of this one was definitely the art. I feel like if they had more pages then maybe the story wouldn’t have felt a little rushed. Overall, it was a good reminder that now isn’t then and we can live happily even if how we grew up wasn’t the best. We can confront those demons and find peace in the here and now.

Cosmic Horror Time

Dark Sky Park was written by Michael Moreci with art from Scott Hampton. We find our lead, Ted, in search of a mysterious Alex who has information about the disappearance of his father. When he arrives he immediately begins to get bad vibes about the very cult-like nature of the people he has found. Alex confirms that his father was there for two months and then he left, much like Ted would. That night, as Ted tries to escape after rightfully being mega, crept out, they knock him unconscious and tie him to a rock facing the night sky. Soon we learn what happened to Ted’s father and what fate awaits him.

Cosmic horror is something that I’ve only recently started getting into, it isn’t that I didn’t like it before it’s that I was unaware. This is a really good short that takes the stranger in a cult trope and adds in that cosmic element. The art is fantastic and meshes with the writing perfectly. The ending was unexpected.

Following a Feeling

The Gangster’s Grave was written by Duane Swierczynski with art from Heather Vaughan. It centers around the descendant of a murdered police officer coming home after another family tragedy. As a writer, he thinks it would be a good idea to try and crack the 100-year-old case. First, he has to find the grave of the gangster that killed his relative all those years ago in an abandoned and forgotten cemetery so he can make peace with the past.

This was less a horror story and more of a gothic exploration of what one will do for a story. The art and writing were terrific as a very subdued “listen to what I have to say” trip down memory lane with beautiful visuals. I really enjoyed it.

Don’t Mess With The Van Fleet Women

Buried Deep was written by Sandy King with art from Trevor Denham and colors by Ryan Winn. It begins at a funeral and tells the tale of the latest Van Fleet woman moving back into the family home. The home is haunted by the ghosts of all the women who have come before and they all have a confession, their husbands were NOT lost at sea. They were all murdered by their wives. There’s only one more murder to go and that is to get the last standing Van Fleet woman to be single again. Will the ghosts telling their stories be enough to convince her to murder the man who has been trying, for better or worse, to court her?

I can see so many of these as film adaptations, and this is another to add to the list. The suspense could be played out nicely. The fact that it was just a long line of murderous women was a really fun twist. Have to keep that family tradition alive!

Final Thoughts:

This was a fantastic collection of horror shorts and really what could we expect coming from the King and Queen of Horror, John Carpenter and Sandy King. Their stories book-ended an assortment of stories that range from regular serial killers to ghosts to vampires to the past to space, everything that one might find frightening. There’s something in this volume for everyone and I can’t recommend it enough.

Storm King Comics have been doing this for years and if you haven’t browsed their shelves, you really need to get on that. Horror movies are great but there’s just something about holding a scary book and it making you turn the pages when you could very well just set it down. The choice is yours but I for one am looking forward to Vol 9.

For more information on Storm King Comics click here.

Cinematic Nightmare Candy: Becky & Evil Dead Rise

Welcome to Cinematic Nightmare Candy. Providing your horror sweet tooth its (hopefully) terrifying fix.

For this Cinematic Nightmare Candy, I catch up with two films with festival origins, one from 2020 and one from this year. Each are fairly short, with their own flair and full of savage delights.

Becky (Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion)

source: Quiver Distribution

With the sequel coming out soon, it seemed time to dig into this violent foray!

Becky (Lulu Wilson) is a stubborn, grieving teen who doesn’t make it easy for her father (Joel Mchale) when he takes her and their two dogs to a remote cabin to spend some quality time.

To make things worse, he doesn’t let Becky know when he invites his girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and Kayla’s young son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe). What starts off as an awkward familial situation quickly turns dire, when the worst situation imaginable becomes a nightmare.

While relationship discord spikes, escaped convicts and white supremacists Dominick (Kevin James), Apex (Robert Maillet), Cole (Ryan McDonald), and Hammond (James McDougall), show up in search of a mysterious key. What the Key is or does remains a secret, but this group is willing to do whatever it takes to find it.

They take the family hostage, but Becky, having retreated to her childhood hideout, is on the loose. When she realizes what’s happening, the anger that she’s carefully held deep down is released in a fury of blood and vengeance.

In other words: don’t fuck with Becky.

The Key to Carnage

They underestimate the scrappy 13-year-old at every brutal turn, and she makes their mistakes, fatal.

Kevin James is quite convincing as the menacing lead villain. It’s a funny, vicious turn for the commonly portrayed family man. Their rapport makes for some interesting comedic moments and biting scenes of disarray. One in particular, with the cutting off of a dislocated eyeball, will have you squirm.

For its simple premise, Becky has a lot of meat on its bones. With elaborate kills and resourceful survival skills, this young badass doesn’t shy away from a cumulation of assaults. The fast pace bodes well as this home invasion premise becomes an intelligently written and vicious tale of vengeance.

Becky, is by no means a horror/thriller that lives in reality, or seems entirely original, but the revelry imbued in its core makes it a worthy watch.

Evil Dead Rises (Lee Cronin)

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Evil Dead Rise, the newest of the franchise, hopes to connect a built-in fan base with new horror lovers. While it doesn’t quite reach the epic commune of horror and comedy as its predecessors, it has some fun and deliciously twisted shocks.

I admire what the film set out to do. It aims to carry the torch, but also add some new, gory flames.

This focuses more on family. Facing an upcoming eviction, Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and her three children are visited by her younger sister Beth (Lily Sullivan). Beth is a music technician who, after discovering she’s pregnant decides to visit.

Evil Dead Rise teases a cabin-lake story but instead settles into an apartment building that’s on the verge of being destroyed. The inhabitants come across a vault that contains some ancient, insidious text.

“I gotta kill the creepy crawlies that I got inside my tummy.”

Lee Cronin brings some new context to the story but doesn’t utilize it as much I had hoped. What transpires is an adrenaline rush, to be sure, and will undoubtedly please most looking for an onslaught of deaths and disturbing visuals. I admire the decision to shift the locale and I think it has shining elements that showcase creativity. If I separate myself from my love for the previous entries, I can appreciate this horror for its disturbing take.

Alyssa Sutherland‘s Ellie and her performance as the misery-loving deadite is one of my favorite aspects. She has some killer lines and distorted moves, which are increased by the limited space and isolated apartment floor.

There’s no shortage of chaos or kills, or blood. Some characters seem like fodder and don’t have much depth. While others garner more screen time, but still aren’t as fully fleshed out as one would hope. Flesh though, there’s plenty. It also features some throwbacks to the originals, including a voice cameo from Bruce Campbell and a showing of the versatility of a chainsaw.

If you have a weak stomach or are faint at heart, most likely you won’t be tuning in. It veers into disgusting as often as it can. While sadistic and amusing, pacing issues stifle some of the enjoyment of watching one of the worst family reunions on screen.

After an opening that effectively sets the tone, the film takes a few plotted steps back. The creepiness is shelved for gory exploits. A real misstep was the lack of the campy humor that the originals had in spades. There are moments of humor entwined with entrails and special effects, but it feels at odds with the other serious tones. The camera work is impressive, but even that is eventually ratcheted up to a frenzy.

Evil Dead Rises is a formidable yuck-fest which some tricks up its bloody sleeves, but it doesn’t quite nail the groovy nature of its predecessors.

Both are available digitally.

A Woman Kills (1968)

Restored by Radiance films, written and directed by Jean-Denis Bonan, and emerging over 40 years later, A Woman Kills is a stylish and gritty French new wave noir that taunts and disturbs in equal measure.

The city is at unease as prostitutes are being found murdered in a similar fashion to crimes already seen. But, serial killer Hélène Picard has already been caught and executed. Is it a copycat?

source: Radiance Films

It follows investigating officer Solange (Solange Pradel) who is having a relationship with the strange, executioner Louis Guilbeau (Claude Merlin). With his regaling of executions, mysterious Louis gives off a twisted vibe from the onset, but as the film unfolds, we see how far that goes.

A Woman Kills feels psychological, social and political. It encapsulates the era and the strife of the time. The film feels unencumbered by one defined genre, instead burgeoning into a unique hybrid that feels procedural and experimental simultaneously.

The Psyche of a Killer

With narration (Bernard Letrou) that feels calculated and indifferent, and camerawork that aims for claustrophobic and dizzying, one of the most memorable elements of A Woman Kills is its unyielding presence. Monochromic filming and genre blending make it a unique presence in cinematic history.

The unsettling songs written by Daniel Leloux add an intriguing layer to an already unnerving jazzy score. With a temperament that’s Avant Garde yet borders on imperceptible at times, the film carries itself boldly and confident which makes the feat admirable, especially for 1968.

source: Radiance Films

Any disconnected or disjointedness that it suffers from further invokes curiosity. The film’s format, which is odd to say the least, plays like a series of distorted snapshots that infuriates and unbalances the audience.

As a surreal portrait it still holds onto a tangible embodiment, simmering with the strife of the May 68 movement. The historical discord is felt in each step, while the music and narration orchestrate a discomforting journey. Visually and sonically, A Women Kills is masterful. It’s got wry commentary that marries words and images to alluring effect.

The work of cinematographer Gérard de Battista is playfully bleak, following the victims through the street like a documentary. It pairs well with the 68 minute runtime and never over stays its welcome. A Woman Kills chooses visual prowess over narrative substance, with the mystery weak in comparison to the presence of its visage.

While it draws comparisons to other French New Wave films of the time, as well as masters of psychological horrors like Hitchcock, A Woman Kills paves its own path.

I would have loved to have seen more of Solange Pradel, who was compelling but didn’t get enough screen time. Otherwise, the acting works, even if some of the plot points don’t always click as some of the choices, including the “reveal” haven’t aged well.

Despite any narrative concerns, a perceived lack of confidence in the script, and perhaps a product of the controversy and dismay of the time, I was hooked. A Woman Kills was tucked away for many decades and in ways, it has become crystallized.

There’s a beauty in the madness that makes this bizarre piece resonate. A Woman Kills is a bold undertaking, and it’s worth discovering.

Comic Corner: The Coffin Road

On a backwoods road in Maine, hidden in the shadows of night, a woman wakes up from a car wreck, scared, and disoriented. Her memories are a haze, but she calls for help.

Assistance comes in the form of Owen, a young man who responds from his uncle’s garage. He gets in his tow truck and heads out to find her on the Coffin Road.

Before the dangers or secrets of the road are unveiled an eerie ambiance embeds itself into the pages.

This marks the intriguing opening of John Carpenter’s Night Terrors: The Coffin Road.

Secrets Amid the Specters

Owen discovers the papers refer to someone named Alex, but the young girl can’t recall who or why she is there. When Owen opens the trunk he finds a disturbing discovery: the woman is dead.

The dead roam the area frequently, and many are lost souls, trapped. In order to keep her from being stuck forever he must get her out of the coffin road, but… someone else is after them too, determined to finish what they started.

They each have a backstory, and Coffin Road holds both answers and more questions.

I was immediately taken in by the cover art which captures the danger, the terror that both of our leads are in the throes of. The shattering glass and roaming ghoulish hands are reminiscent of a life (or lives) devastated.

As a horror, it favors eerie over violent, creepy over visceral. It plays like a ghost story told over a campfire with plots doled out in hushed voices and animated physicality.

Some images are especially striking, specifically some of the larger page panel-less spreads. The overall design occasionally shifts to non-rectangular panels adding some interesting flair to the overall visual.

The coloring and the lettering pull you in, with the dialogue and description consistent and clear. Emotion is conveyed through both our leads and linear storytelling. With purple, blue and red hues there are some gorgeous pages that evoke a creepiness and a sense of wonder.

A Spellbinding Page Turner

As the plot unspools, carrying with it a slew of spirits that are upended, the narrative foreshadowing is a bit heavy and some of its resolutions unclear. Despite this, there are some intriguing plot lines, including a spot at a diner that provides ample thrills as it surprises.

Sometimes dreamy, sometimes nightmarish, the tale draws you in. The intensity of the storytelling and artistry can, at times, feel overwhelming, but mostly speaks in effective tones that warn: beware.

There is a palpable suspense that builds to a haunting final page.


With chilling artwork, and slowly dealt blows, The Coffin Road is a compelling story with arresting visuals to accompany. It may occasionally veer off course, but it’s a road I’m happy to get lost on.

Storm King Comics knows what it’s doing and I can’t wait to read more from these masters of storytelling!

Night Terrors: The Coffin Road is available to purchase. For more information on Storm King Comics, click here.

Clash of the Remakes: George Romero

Horror remakes. Love them or hate them, they keep rising from the dead.

Has there been another director who has had their movies remade as much as George Romero? Perhaps, but when it comes to horror, he may take the cake.

Over the years there have been many, and I’ve chosen three that I feel are the cream of the bloody crop. Who will come out victorious among them?

It’s a zombie (sort of) feed for all. Let’s see:

First Contender: “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”

Night of the Living Dead (1990- Tom Savini)

This remake which Romero rewrote is a movie I had on VHS at a young age and fell for immediately. It’s fittingly directed by the horror makeup/effects master Tom Savini and stars Tony Todd as Ben and Patricia Tallman as Barbara, our protagonists for the undead proceedings.

It follows similar beats as the original but is dressed in a 90s style and a larger budget. The film moves fast, more rapidly than our attackers, starting from the iconic scene of Barbara and her brother being attacked in a graveyard, to her finding a house to hide away from the dead who have risen.

There she meets other survivors who hole up, without transportation. Of course, there is some discourse among them, with warring personalities that have different ideas about what should be done. What’s worse: the monster outside or within?

This sequel relishes the love of practical effects and promotes plenty of scares within the confined space. Savini’s look and feel translated to corpses from the beyond dusty, dirty, and mindlessly driven.

Night of the Living Dead is a remake that may have not been necessary but is an enjoyable revisit to what makes the living dead frightening, and endlessly reanimated.

As well as those still breathing.

Second Contender: “How do you kill what’s already dead?”

Dawn of the Dead (Zach Snyder)

Let’s live in a mall.

Dawn of the Dead is a rare sort of remake wonder as it gives a respectful nod to the original but still finds its own exemplified, gory, identity.

In a frenzied and heart-racing intro, we follow Ana (Sarah Polley) as she narrowly escapes the bite of her recently deceased, reanimated husband. Hysteria happens fast as the quiet suburbia that she resides in becomes a feeding ground for the flesh-craving creatures.

Zach Synder (in what I may argue as his best) directs this group of survivors who find shelter in their local mall as zombies ravage the world outside.

Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and Michael (Jake Weber) are among the others that form their own offbeat family inside the shopping center. Not a bad place to ride out the impending apocalypse, but, eventually you’ve got to leave. Right?

Its satirical but blood-soaked grin of a script comes alive with a smattering of jokes and a splattering of carcasses.

Dawn of the Dead provides new digs for the Romero classic, with heightened energy and gory thrills.

Third Contender: “Don’t ask me why I can’t leave without my wife and I won’t ask you why you can.”

The Crazies (Breck Eisner)

Timothy Olyphant is nearly reason enough for this dicey endeavor, but Breck Eisner’s The Crazies has a lot to offer in this disturbing delight.

After a government plane (housing some insidious chemicals) crashes into the town’s water supply, the people of Ogden Marsh find themselves driven to madness.

Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife Dr. Judy (Radha Mitchell) are forced to fight for their lives, as they come to terms with the fact that their quiet life faces destruction.

The film is gorgeously shot which makes for some intriguing dissimilarities as the characters take some depraved dives.

The Crazies is a visually attuned reimagining that doesn’t slack on lunacy or acting chops.

And the winner is…

Tough choice, so the real suggestion is: watch all three!