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Comics 101 for 10/20/2005
The Horror Art of Bryan Baugh, Bill Bronson and Tom Mandrake, Movie Review - Dellamorte, Dellamore (a.k.a. Cemetery Man) and The Return of The Incredible Two-Headed Marathon Update
For all of this month and just in time for my favorite holiday, Halloween, Comics 101 will be featuring articles of the more macabre variety as we focus on the theme of 'horror' (one of my favorite genres of comics and film). So here each week in October, sink your plastic fangs into a horror flavored Comics 101 feature!For this week's feature I thought I'd shine the moontlight on some of my friends artwork from all corners of the Weird Wide Web. These 'horrific' illustrators specialize in tapping the darkest corners of their twisted imaginations and to get you primed for the unholiest of holidays I'm inviting you do some cadaverous cavorting at the following links.
First up, we have my pal Bryan Baugh, scare-meister extraordinaire, who recently launched his official website called Crypt-Logic.
Bryan is an animation storyboard artist for Sony Pictures having worked on Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, Men In Black and Batman to name a few. His characters, Wulf and Batsy, appearing in their first graphic novel titled We Have No Home, has recently been published by Chanting Monks Studios with a cover illustration by renowned artist Joe Chiodo. Be sure to head over to their site and pick up a copy but in the meantime visit his Wulf and Batsy gallery.
Also, check out his book called Scared!: How to Draw Fantastic Horror Comics from Watson-Guptill.
Next up we have my fellow CCAD grad and arch-nemesis, Billy 'The Squid' Bronson. He's more tentacle now than man, twisted and evil. His first publication from SQP Publishing, Chicks and Monsters, collecting his illustrations and original stories is now available and you can check out this sneak preview.
If you enjoy these tasty morsels then whet your monstrous appetite at Bill's official site.
Saving the 'creepiest' for last, I dare you you to explore the artistic mysteries of Tom Mandrake. You've seen his work recently in Marvel's Punisher, Weapon X, The Hulk: Unchained and not to mention his fantastic work on DC's JLA: Destiny, Martian Manhunter and The Spectre. But if you haven't read his creator owned series from Image entitled Creeps, then you are definitely missing out! Chitter, Booger, Gelulite - these are just some of the creep-tastic characters you'll find lurking in the pages of this enjoyable spawn of comic evil from artist/creator Tom Mandrake and his partner in crime Dan Mishkin.
Sneak a peek at Creeps in his Buy Stuff section. If those pages don't freak you out then shamble on over to his portfolio page.
Tom and I just finished collaborating on production artwork for the independent horror/musical feature Zombie Prom and keep your eyes peeled for his new comic book Pat Novak For Hire written by Steven Grant and shipping Februrary 2006 from Moonstone Books. Check out this sneak preview!
Movie Review - Dellamorte, Dellamore (a.k.a. Cemetery Man)
Zombies seem to be popping up, or rather rising up, left and right at the local cinema these days. The highly enjoyable and frightening 28 Days Later really kicked off the 'New Zombie Revolution' in spades. In the years since we've had a revoltingly rancid renaissance of horror flicks featuring our favorite kind of mindless monster from the superb Dawn of the Dead remake, the hilarious and yet still cringe-worthyShaun of the Dead and even a fourth entry in George Romero's 'Dead' franchise, Land of the Dead (starring Simon Baker, Asia Argento, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo and available on DVD as an unrated director's cut!). But for every movie of their caliber we get sucker punched with another lackluster Resident Evil, House of the Dead or even The Fog remake.
But fear not, oh lovers and perverse purveyors of resurrected, shambling corpses and freaky phenomenon. I've come bearing the decayed fruit of a true Italian horror gem of a movie known as Dellamorte, Dellamore (or Cemetary Man as it's referred to for it's American release). It will keep the loathsome depths of your nightmares filled with the morose melodies of incessant incorpreal wailing ... and will also actually enlighten you with it's layered philosophy on life and death and mysitfy you with it's incredibly stunning visuals.
An 'artsy' zombie movie dare you say? As a matter of fact, yes.
Directed by Michele Soavi (The Church, The Devil's Daughter) Dellamorte, Dellamore is by far one of the most stylish and beautiful zombie films, or horror films for that matter, ever made. Soavi is the protege' to the Italian "giallo" master, Dario Argento. Argento is the auteur responsible for many an Italian horror masterpiece (also being responsible for 'producing' the lovely Asia Argento) including one of this comic book artist's favorites, the horrifically and hyponotically beautiful Suspiria. While watching Soavi's film one can easily see the influence from one of the masters of great Italian horror but this student of the macabre really comes into his own and excels in true form here.
Dellamorte, Dellamore is based on the novel by Tiziano Sclavi and is inspired by the popular Italian comic "Dylan Dog: The Detectives of Nightmares". The film is every bit as violent and gory as any good zombie flick should be but it's the style of direction, the execution of the story and the memorable characters that set this one above the rest in my book.
The film stars a ruggedly cool Rupert Everett (yep, the same un-ruggedly cool Rupert Everett from My Best Friend's Wedding) as pistol-packing cemetary night watchman Francesco Dellamore who must kill 'returners' - corpses who, for whatever reason, always come back to life seven days after they are laid to rest. Rupert plays the Francesco character like a horror version of the Spaghetti Western 'Man-With-No-Name' staple made famous by Clint Eastwood even moreso than a Bruce Campbell, zombie butt-kicking, 'Ash' type character that you might expect from this film.
He soon encounters a young widow, the insatiably beautiful Anna Falchi (trust me guys, this is the most gorgeous woman to grace a horror movie since the mouth-watering Hammer horror princess Caroline Munro in Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter), visiting the cemetary to say her farewells to her deceased, elderly husband. After humiliating, seducing, and then accidentally murdering this woman known only as 'She', Francesco slowly slips into madness, starting to confuse the world of the living with the world of the dead. His delusions are spurned by his mad love for the woman he accidentally murdered who keeps "haunting" him and reappearing as different characters throughout the film.
As he ponders the mysteries of love and death in his delerium, Francesco's one true friend, his loyal side kick, the gravedigger Gnaghi, who is, shall we say, mentally challenged and rarely ever says a word, becomes his only constant in the film, his only connection to reality in the maddening dementia that escalates in the second and third acts of the story. But Gnaghi doesn't really adhere to any semblance of reality either as he falls in love with the severed and zombified head of the Mayor's teenage daughter. When Francesco truly arrives at the descent of his downward spiral, he kicks off a murder spree that is both hilarious and frightening in it's absurdity.
In fact, not since the original Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later has there been a horror movie about zombies this refreshing and unique with its macabre subject matter balanced with an appealing, philosophical approach on life, love and death itself. The film also complements the over the top violence and perfectly staged gore gags with artfully done cinematography and dialogue. It really is levels above your typical zombie-horror fare. The film's exceptional score really enhances the moody characters and twisted plot. I wish I could track down and own this soundtrack on CD, it's that good. Everything in this film is really much deeper than at first glance. It's layers, upon unfolding layers and the final scene should make you go back and watch the opening frames of the film with an even more attentive eye.
Do yourself a favor this Halloween and track this movie down. Especially if you're an Evil Dead or Romero fan. It's not to be missed and even if you don't like the plot or get the philosophy there's at least plenty of Anna Falchi throughout to tide you over.
The Return of The Incredible Two-Headed Marathon: Revenge of the Horror Hosts 2!
And don't forget, I invite you to join me next weekend as I'll be attending The Return of The Incredible Two-Headed Marathon: Revenge of the Horror Hosts 2 at the Drexel Grandview Theatre here in Columbus, Ohio! After last year's smash success and groundbreaking collaboration between Bruce Bartoo and Joe Neff, the INCREDIBLE 2 HEADED MARATHON has returned for another delirious descent into sleep deprived dementia. This year's festival of fright returns to the Drexel Grandview in beautiful (and soon to be blood splattered) downtown Grandview Heights, Ohio for 14 hours of maniacal mirth and mayhem. The premiere all night celebration of cinematic excess begins 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 and continues with blood chilling precision until Noon on Sunday, October 23.
The event is once again being presented by the horrifying terror twins of Neff and Bartoo, rising from the murky depths to distill their forty-three years and over two-thousand hours of marathon experience into one blood curdling night of unrelenting scream-a-rama terror. The slate of celluloid nightmares for this year's Nightmarathon includes:
The Ohio Premiere of Three... Extremes - The groundbreaking horror omnibus from Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer), Chan-Wook Park (Oldboy) and Fruit Chan! Vibe Magazine calls it "the sickest, most twisted flick you'll see this year"! For a sneak preview of this film, starring the beautiful and exotic Bai Ling, head over to FilmForce.com.
The Shining - Jack Nicholson stars in this controversial terror classic as the leering looney of a husband, Danny Lloyd is one of the great cinematic kids in peril and Shelly Duvall just tries to keep her wits together. With Scatman Crothers and plenty of "REDRUM"! A 25th Anniversary screening of Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece of horror!
Black Sabbath - A rare 35mm screening of the *original Italian cut* from a true master of the macabre, Mario Bava. Boris Karloff serves as host (and participant) for three atmospheric tales of terror, all bathed in Bava's tradmark lush colors.
The other films that round out the festival include:
The Brood - Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar star in director David Cronenberg's (History of Violence) disturbing classic. Cronenberg followed up Shivers and Rabid with this one which is perhaps his most personal film, a disturbing story of repressed memories, the legacy of brutality and the unholy art of Psychoplasmics!
Demons - Dario Argento (Suspiria) produced this gonzo gorefest directed by Lamberto Bava about a group of horror fans trapped at a horror movie premiere with a band of bloodthirsty creatures! Yes, it's all that and more in this absurdbly entertaining romp that was a smash hit in Europe. A horror marathon within a horror marathon, will real life imitate art? Come see this film and find out!
Legend of the Wolfwoman - Thanks to the good folks at Grindhouse Films, the Nightmarathon audience has a chance to see lycanthropy run wild in this infamous erotic Spanish thriller in 35 mm. Daniella is a nubile young lycanthrope on the prowl for fresh prey. Can any man hope to satisfy her bloodthirsty desires?
Kung Fu Cannibals - It's got kung fu! It's got cannibals! And it comes from the vaults of Hollywood sleaze maven Johnny Legend. What more could a Nightmarathon audience ask for?
Plus a calvacade of vintage trailers and shorts! Coffinloads of prizes! The annual costume and scream contests! And even more surprises!
Tickets for the Marathon are $16 in advance and $20 at the door, and are now on sale at the Drexel Grandview (1247 Grandview Ave.), Drexel Theatre (2254 E. Main St.) and Laughing Ogre Comics (4258 N. High St... right next door to our dear departed Drexel North). You can also charge by phone at (614) 222-0947 Monday through Friday (a $1 service fee per ticket applies.) Tell a friend! Tell a fiend! The unstoppable horror juggernaut of THE INCREDIBLE 2 HEADED MARATHON is prepared to rise from the grave once again!
For more information on the event and to purchase tickets check out the The Drexel Grandview Theatre's official website.
In the meantime, check out this interview with Marathon host extraordinaire Joe Neff from my pal Kevin Carr at 7 (M) Pictures and learn even more about the The Return of The Incredible Two-Headed Marathon and this year's line-up of films-
You'll be too scared to sleep and too tired to scream! See you on Saturday night!
I hope you enjoyed this week's Comics 101 and remember... he is, she is, you are and I AM ZOMBIE!
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