Movie trailers are amazing. Other than a poster, a movie trailer is the only visual we have of a film before it is released to the public. What I believe a movie trailer should do is show us glimpses of a film that give us a general idea of the plot and show us enough to get us interested. Unfortunately, it seems to take a lot more to get people to the theaters nowadays, so studios (or whoever cuts movie trailers) have resorted to show major spoilers in the trailers they release. From showing main character deaths to showing the actual final shot of the film, it’s almost become dangerous to watch a movie trailer before you see the movie itself (don’t even get me started on Red Band trailers). Let’s look at some trailers that are the biggest offenders. ***WARNING: SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED BELOW***
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! It’s not exactly a horror fan’s dream holiday, but we have been “gifted” with a franchise that uses its very mascot as a villain. While it might be a little cliché to do a post on the Leprechaun films, I figured I’d still give it a shot! Up until this weekend, I had seen every film in the franchise except for the “In The Hood” entries, so I spent my Sunday watching those two in order to form an accurate opinion on the rankings of each film in the series. Let me be clear: I don’t think any of the Leprechaun movies are good, but most of them are entertaining, so without further ado, I give you my rankings of each of the Leprechaun films, from worst to best!7. Leprechaun: Origins
I actually had high hopes for this film. Call me crazy, but when it was announced I thought it was a great idea. Leprechaun is a perfect candidate for a reboot, and the crew behind this film had the opportunity to make it a truly scary film. Instead, we got a film that ripped off countless other films, barely showed the Leprechaun (or whatever that thing was…it looked like a cross between an Orc and the cave creatures from The Descent), and only had one good death (the spine rip). To make matters worse: it’s boring. I can handle a bad Leprechaun film, but at least make it entertaining. What a disappointment.
The SXSW Film Festival just had a Deathgasm, and the theater is covered in blood.
Deathgasm is a mix between Evil Dead 2 and “Metalocalypse”, and delivers on its promise to be the most metal horror film ever.
Drawing inspiration from Black Roses (1988) and Trick or Treat (1986), Deathgasm is a New Zealand horror comedy from Jason Lei Howden that pushes the film as far as it can go.
In Deathgasm, Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) is new to town. He meets Zakk (James Blake), a fellow heavy metal fan. The duo form a band, and sing lyrics to an ancient Satanic ritual, which unleash a horde of demons onto the town.
Other than some pacing issues, Deathgasm is the horror film a 15-year-old me would have creamed his pants over. The film revs up tons of chainsaws, decapitating dozens of demons; you’ll see giant dildos jammed into demons heads; and there’s plenty of sharp objects used to cut demons in pieces.
A slight flaw is that, in an attempt to push the limits of onscreen gore, the filmmakers ham up what could have been something a bit more impactful. What they do is, after a decapitation of sorts, hang on the shot a bit too long to where the audience can see just how fake the gag is. If it had been edited down a bit tighter, the impact would have been ten fold. Still, I admire the attempt to push the boundaries, even though nobody will ever top Dead Alive.
Frankly, the thing I liked best about Deathgasm, besides the heavy metal plot, was the relationship arc between Brodie and Medina (Kimberley Crossman). It’s rare when a horror film actually connects the romantic dots and creates real sexual tension.
Also, I think it’s important that Deathgasm felt authentic. At no point did I feel as if these kids (or the filmmakers) were posers. Can you imagine a heavy metal horror film in which the characters looked and felt like “Melrose Place” actors wearing dark makeup? Ugh.
Deathgasm isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s satisfying. It’s got spirit, a great heart, and it’s really fun. It’s a record you can spin over and over again with friends. It may just as well work itself into the lore of cult classic fandom.
These days franchises, sequels and reboots are taking over Hollywood. And while most are just cash-grabs, there are a lot of filmmakers who are fighting to create “art” because it’s something they believe in.
Say what you will about the long-gestured second sequel to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but both Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have been dedicated to making it a reality since its inception. Even when Reeves was the biggest star in Hollywood he would openly campaign to return as Ted “Theodore” Logan in a third film.
Shit, there’s been a director attached for several years: Galaxy Quest‘s Dean Parisot.
After traveling through time, and going to both Heaven and Hell, Bill & Ted have yet to transport through dimensional time and space – something that could wrap up this heavy metal comedy franchise. And even with various incarnations of the script, there’s been no serious fan clamoring to see it made. And the financiers behind it clearly don’t have faith in it.
With that said, it’s now or never for Bill & Ted 3.
2015 is all about returning franchises, remakes, reboots, spinoffs, and giant crossovers. And with Keanu Reeves having a career renaissance, thanks to John Wick, 2015 is the year Bill & Ted 3 has to happen.
Winters echoes this sentiment in a new interview with Yahoo! Movies where he basically says it’s do or die for Bill & Ted.
“We’re really close. We’re just about there,” Winter said, before cautioning: “In Hollywood parlance, [that] means we’ll either be shooting soon, or it’s never going to happen.”
His passion is shared when asked if he’s sick of being asked about it:
“We’re trying to get the movie made, so how could we be sick of it? It’s really been us driving the whole thing, me and Keanu and [writers] Chris [Matheson] and Ed [Solomon]. So we’re producing it and we’re actively trying to get it made. We’re not tired of it, but I think for our fans, we are eager to stop talking about and actually shoot the damn thing.”
Picking my favorite between Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey is like picking between apples and oranges. And although no sequel will ever compete, it would be a blast to see two failed rockers attempt to save the planet one last time.
Wyld Stallyns for life.
This is something I don’t think anyone could have seen coming, but hell, I’m into it. Under the Secret Wars mega event later this year, Marvel is launching an all new digital first series that embodies the tone and the feeling of the X-Men cartoon. I’m sure many of you were first acquainted with mutants during the 90′s and Marvel is hoping you’re still a fan.
If only the theme fired up whenever you open a new issue…
Everyone’s favorite version of the X-Men are back! That’s right, this June, the most radical team of mutants ever assembled make their triumphant return to the world of comics in X-MEN ’92 #1! Debuting as a Marvel Infinite Comic series in May, X-Men ’92 is optimized specifically for mobile devices, pushing the boundaries of comic storytelling to new heights!
“Toys. TV. Arcade games. Trading Cards. The X-Men were everywhere that year,” exclaims series co-writer Chad Bowers. “Kids who didn’t even care that comics existed were suddenly into the X-Men, and asking me questions about Gambit at recess. That was nuts and it blew my preadolescent mind, but it was also completely awesome! It’s a period that really resonated with and inspired countless fans, and X-Men ’92 is going to remind you why you were totally obsessed with it!”
Marvel newcomers Chris Sims & Chad Bowers join artist Scott Koblish (Deadpool) to take you back to the days of big guns, big pouches, and big action! Baron Kelly, ruler of the Westchester domain has called upon the Clear Mountain Project and it’s mysterious new director to deal with the mutant menace – by any means necessary! Can the X-Men put a stop to the threat of “mutant rehabilitation”? And just what are “Free Range Sentinels’? Find out in X-Men ’92 this May!
Available right at your fingertips, these new Infinite Comics will be available for purchase this May on the Marvel Comics app (for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod Touch® & AndroidTMdevices) and online in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop!
X-MEN ‘92 #1
Written by CHRIS SIMS & CHAD BOWERS
Art by SCOTT KOBLISH
Cover by PEPE LARRAZ
Print Issue On Sale in June!
Archaia, an imprint of award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios, is pleased to announce the April debut of acclaimed Israeli illustrator Asaf Hanuka’s autobiographical original graphic novel The Realist. Collecting Hanuka’s weekly strips in English for the first time, The Realist is an emotional, deeply personal commentary on his life and raising a family in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“Asaf Hanuka can say more with a single illustration than some people could say in a whole book,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “The Realist is a rollercoaster of emotion, filled with humorous strips of trying to raise a family and stunning, quiet images of the dangers of a war-torn country. Marjane Satrapi introduced Western audiences to a post-Islamic Revolution Iran in Persepolis, and now Asaf Hanuka gives us a window into modern life in Tel Aviv with The Realist.”
Asaf Hanuka’s autobiographical webcomic, The Realist, began winning awards shortly after its launch, including a Gold Medal from The Society of Illustrators. Collected for the first time in English and including never-before-collected strips, The Realist delivers both honesty and whimsy from a master of his craft. With echoes of R. Crumb and Daniel Clowes, Hanuka moves readers with his depictions of everyday life, commenting on everything from marriage to technology to social activism through intimate moments of triumph and failure.
Featuring a trim size of 6.875 x 10.1875 and containing 192 pages, The Realist original hardcover graphic novel arrives in comic shops from Archaia on April 22nd with a cover by creator Asaf Hanuka for the price of $24.99 under Diamond order code FEB151166.
The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is March 30th. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer? Use comicshoplocator.com or findacomicshop.com to find one! It’s also available for order directly from boom-studios.com.
BOO! WGN America has released a new promo for the all-new season of their breakout hit supernatural thriller “Salem,” returning on Sunday, April 5 at 10pm ET/9pm CT. It features Lucy Lawless, the last “true” witch.
The promo features a first look at new recurring guest stars Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”, “Spartacus”) and Stuart Townsend (“Betrayal,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) who have joined the series for season two. Lawless joins the cast as “Countess Marburg,” one of the last remaining survivors of the legendary line of ancient German witches and Townsend portrays English aristocrat “Samuel Wainwright” – a doctor looking to uncover the secrets of “Salem” and keep his own from those who would seek to discover them.
“Salem”, a bold re-imagination of the infamous 17th-century witch trials, returns for season two at the dawn of a Witch War. As the disease and devastation unleashed by a deadly supernatural ritual spread through the war-torn village, Salem’s most powerful witch, Mary Sibley, must face off against adversaries old and new who are vying for her throne.
“Salem” is a gripping one-hour drama that boldly re-imagines the infamous 17th century witch trials in colonial Massachusetts. The series stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West (“Nikita,” “ER”), Seth Gabel (“Arrow,” “Fringe”), Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant (“Jane Eyre”), Elise Eberle (“The Astronaut Farmer”) and Iddo Goldberg (“Mob City”).
Check out some really cool posters here:
While Focus Features Insidious Chapter 3 trailer leaked this morning, it has since been pulled and replaced with a trailer teaser and official poster. The trailer releases officially tomorrow, so until then you at least have a look at this awesome poster that shows your death.
Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the terrifying horror franchise, directs the third film in theaters June 5, 2015.
“This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.“
The full cast of Insidious Chapter 3 includes Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County) and Stefanie Scott (Jem and the Holograms) starring alongside Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Mr. Whannell, with the latter trio reprising their roles from the first two movies in the franchise.
Few people are as successful with their very first game as Finnish developer Jesse Makkonen was with his hauntingly beautiful psychological horror game, Silence of the Sleep. To put it in perspective, that was his first stab at making video games, and he did it alone. His next project is another 2D horror game titled The Human Gallery, and it looks every bit as terrifying, eerie and visually unforgettable as his last.
The Human Gallery follows an artist who decides to enter the mind of a psychopath in order to find inspiration for his next work. This guy clearly hasn’t seen Cell, because if he had, he’d know how bad that idea is.
Like Silence of the Sleep, the emphasis is on atmosphere. The interface will be minimal, the controls simple but polished, and it’ll be backed by another moody soundtrack. I can’t wait.
Here’s some news that ought to warm your soul. This weekend, YouTuber Dawko held a Five Nights at Freddy’s-themed Play Live event with the goal of raising $15,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I doubt he expected series creator Scott Cawthon would take notice, much less donate a quarter of a million dollars to it.
Here’s Dawko’s celebratory video.
With Cawthon’s generous donation, Dawko’s Play Live page was able to raise an impressive $256,474 total. Not bad for a day’s work.
If you would like to donate to St. Jude, you can do that right here.
Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day, Bloody Disgusting reader Dimitri A.C. Ly just linked us to his video compilations that recaps the entire Leprechaun franchise in less than five minutes!
Plus, the one true way to kill a leprechaun…
Warwick Davis starred as the Leprechaun in the 1993 film, which spawned multiple sequels (Leprechaun 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun: In the Hood, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood), as well as the awful WWE remake Origins. Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl starred as the Lep in the 2014 reboot.
The ’93 film starred Jennifer Aniston in which an evil, sadistic Leprechaun goes on a killing rampage in search of his beloved pot of gold.
Here’s a text-heavy festival one-sheet for XLrator Media, Content and Alistair Legrand’s The Diabolical, which marks Legrand’s directorial debut, who co-wrote the script with Luke Harvis.
I don’t really understand the poster, which carries huge text and a hard-to-see image of a crusty girl standing behind it. I mean, it’s a cool looking poster, but it doesn’t really tell me anything about the movie, which stars Final Destination and Resident Evil fav Ali Larter.
“The Diabolical follows Madison and her children in their quiet suburban home as they are awoken nightly by an increasingly strange and intense presence. Madison desperately seeks help from her scientist boyfriend Nikolai, who begins a hunt to destroy the violent spirit that paranormal experts are too frightened to undertake.”
Patrick Fischler (“Mad Men”), Arjun Gupta (“Nurse Jackie”), Merrin Dungey (“Betrayal”) and Joe Egender (“American Horror Story: Asylum”) also star.
Day 6 of filming brings DOOM-HEAD.
Here’s another name added to Rob Zombie’s now-filming 31, his Halloween slasher that’s heading to Murder World.
Joining the previously announced cast is Zombie regular, Richard Brake, who will portray ‘Doom-Head’.
Malcolm McDowell plays ‘Father Murder’, the owner of Murder World for which the film is based.
Judy Geeson plays ‘Sister Dragon’, who runs Murder World alongside McDowell. She joins David Ury, who will be playing Schizo-Head, one half of murderous team of brothers living inside Murder World. Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs was recently cast as Panda Thomas, with Elizabeth Daily (E.G. Daily) playing ‘Sex-head’, and Torsten Voges as the insane partner of Death-Head.
Daniel Roebuck plays Paster Victor, an unfortunate participant in last year’s game of 31.
“31 follows five carnival workers who are kidnapped the night before Halloween and held hostage in a large secret compound known as Murder World.
Once there, they have 12 hours to survive a terrifying game called 31 in which ‘The Heads’- murderous maniacs dressed as clowns – are released to hunt them down and kill them.”
It Follows was released in New York and Los Angeles on March 13th. While I won’t get to see it until March 27th, when it’s finally released in Austin (damn you South By Southwest!), I have to say that I am incredibly excited about it (read both of our glowing reviews here and here), but a tiny part of me is terrified that I’m not going to like it as much as I think I’m going to. My reasoning for this is because it is becoming incredibly hyped, and I am a person who can let hype really get to me. Now, before I go on: I would like to point out that I am fully aware I could choose not to read reviews and news about movies before they are released, but it’s kind of part of my job. Call me masochistic if you want. All of this got me thinking about movies that have been overhyped for me in the past. I’m also quite interested to hear your thoughts on movies that have disappointed you in the past.
The most recent example of overhype for me was my experience with The Babadook last year. I had been following it for a while since it premiered at Sundance last January. Think about it: that is about 11 months of me reading glowing things about the film (I finally saw it in November). I probably should have expected to be disappointed, and I definitely was. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie. It just didn’t live up to the admittedly impossible expectations I had set for it. I’ve already pre-ordered the BluRay on Amazon though so I’m hoping that a second viewing with more perspective will help, but mostly I just want it for the special packaging.
Haute Tension was also a victim of overhype for me. This was due mostly to the fact that I still can’t stand the ending (and yes, I have seen it more than once). I don’t appreciate movies that flat out lie to the audience and this movie was one of them. It was very well made, had some amazing gore effects and all of the performances were great; but every time I watch it the final 10 minutes completely take me out of the film. To this day I still do not understand the hype this film still receives.
The biggest example of overhype for me isn’t even a recent film. It’s Suspiria. I have only seen Suspiria once, and it was over a decade ago when I was still in high school. I admit that I probably need to watch it again. I’ve been to film school and taken a few classes on horror films since then so I could probably appreciate it a little bit more now. I just remember being incredibly bored the first time I watched it. Suspiria is the reason I don’t buy movies without watching them first anymore. This is probably something most people do already, but since Suspiria is such a highly regarded classic, I thought it was pretty much guaranteed that I would like it. Undoubtedly, that added to my bad memory of the film. Nevertheless, whenever someone mentions overhype my mind always goes back to the first time I watched Suspiria.
My goal in writing this post is not to bash on the movies I have listed. I have a respect for most films and the effort that goes into them, but I fully realize I may be inviting a lot of backlash by writing this post. The three films I listed above had a lot of care and effort put into them, and I take most of the blame for allowing myself to fall victim to overhype. I’ve tried to not actually read the reviews for It Follows and just read the blurbs on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed, but I am still wary about it. Fingers crossed it lives up to my (slightly more managed) expectations!
So now that I’ve shared my experiences with you and I would like to hear about yours. When has overhype ruined a movie for you? Let me know in the comments below!
When it comes to terrifying and scary creatures, it’s hard to find a better breeding ground than the combination of Sci-Fi and Horror. Mad scientists creating destructive monstrosities, viruses infecting hosts, alien beings that are bent on total domination… These are only a few examples of the types of beasts that have come forth from this marriage of genres.
Let’s kick-start a discussion whereby we choose some of our own personal favorites that fit into this category. To start things off, we’ve got UK rock band False-Heads and their “5 Scariest Sci-Fi/Horror Creatures”! Head on in to check out their choices and then make sure to check out their single, “Wrap Up”, at the end of this post.
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the band’s new EP Wear And Tear via Bandcamp.
Developer Frictional Games has been quietly toiling away on their upcoming sci-fi survival horror game SOMA for some time now. A few weeks ago, the studio apologized after a somewhat lengthy silence — often a bad sign for far-off horror games — and this weekend they broke their silence again by sharing some more exciting news.
“If all goes according to plan the beta for SOMA, our upcoming sci-fi horror game, will be done in 4 weeks,” Frictional announced on Facebook. “It feels both exciting and scary that the game is really nearly completed now. After several years of hard work, release is finally a clearly visible milestone.”
The news of imminent beta testing is something to celebrate, both for the developer and for the fans who have been itching to get their hands on this game since it was revealed nearly two years ago. Don’t get tooexcited though, because the beta won’t be a public one.
“Note that we already have all the testers we need, so no need to make requests. [SOMA] is still incomplete so just hang in there a little longer, and you’ll get the polished and proper version to immerse yourself in!”
Satan is coming to Showtime.
Showtime has shared a devilish new TV spot for “Penny Dreadful”, which begins its 10-episode run on Sunday, May 3 at 10PM ET/PT.
This season, Vanessa and Ethan form a deeper bond as the group, including Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and Sembene (Danny Sapani), unite to banish the evil forces that threaten to destroy them.
Meanwhile, Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), the Creature (Rory Kinnear) and Brona (Billie Piper) are all waging battles of their own.
Patti LuPone will guest star as a mysterious character of great importance in Vanessa’s past. Helen McCrory returns as Evelyn Poole (a.k.a. Madame Kali), the seductive spiritualist who will pose a unique threat to our protagonists this season, along with Simon Russell Beale, who is back as eccentric Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle.
With Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green returning, additional guest stars include Douglas Hodge as a Scotland Yard investigator; Sarah Greene as Poole’s powerful daughter, Hecate; and Johnny Beauchamp as a man with a singular past.
Back in August we were given our first look at a new The Walking Dead — this time from Overkill Software and Skybound Interactive — which promised to be the opposite of Activision’s embarrassing Survival Instinct game.
Overkill’s take of the increasingly popular zombie franchise has more potential than Survival Instinct ever did, but it’d sure be nice to know something about it, aside from its nebulous 2016 release window. Enter series creator Robert Kirkman.
“I can say that it will be Payday-esque because [Starbreeze and Overkill] are currently doing Payday,” Kirkman told Polygon. “But I’m told it will be in a bigger world than Payday currently encompasses. They are going to be learning a lot of stuff from Payday that they will be incorporating into The Walking Dead game.”
This Walking Dead won’t be the same kind of generic experience we usually get from licensed games. Overkill and Skybound are looking to create a unique and engrossing storyline within the Walking Dead universe that follows brand new characters.
“So instead of like it being a derivative experience, where you kind of enjoyed a movie so you’re playing a game and it’s not as good as the movie and there is some lame things about it, we’re doing a thing that is its own experience that stands on its own as a cool game, rather than a licensing barnacle to this popular movie,” Kirkman added.
Kirkman also confirmed that, like the Payday series, this game will be “online and interactive.”
Here’s the game’s announcement trailer, if you missed it the first time around. It’s beak as hell, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from something that’s a part of The Walking Dead.
One of my favorite genre films of the year, Spring, will be arriving in select theaters and on VOD March 20, 2015.
It’s a super fucked up Lovecraftian horror romance that follows a young man (played by Evil Dead‘s Lou Taylor Pucci), in a personal tailspin, who flees the U.S. to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.
In the spirit of Spring, we caught up with directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead who select 10 of the most f*cked up on-screen romances!
DRACULA: Dracula & almost every female character in the book
When we first meet Dracula he is in a cohabitating relationship with three undead sisters in his Transylvania Castle, which is arguably polygamy, incest and necrophilia. Apparently not satisfied with this, his desires redirect to his Victorian real estate agent’s fiance, as well as her best friend, and travels super far all the way to goddamn London for the attempted hook-up.
Making the Vampire Lestat feel puritanical.
Mike Mignola’s name is synonymous with a certain type of monster in comics. This week sees the release of his long anticipated “Frankenstein Underground” #1. A comic I called “another homerun for Dark Horse, another incredible chapter to Mignola’s world, and a story unlike anything you’ve ever seen from both. It’s compelling from cover to cover, and manages to exceed expectations with haunting art on almost every page. I wish I could read #2 right now, and frankly damning myself for reading this one so damn early.”
I sat down with Mike to talk about how he chooses to flesh out his incredible world, the work that goes into making a monster a character, and the whole host of influences on this incredible adventure. Get ready for Wednesday with this interview.
BD: Why can “Frankenstien Underground” be enjoyed on its own without any knowledge of the preexisting Hellboy universe?
Mike Mignola: I hope it can. It focuses on the Frankenstein monster thrown underground and although it exists in a world that has already existed for a long time, reading the book doesn’t hinge on any knowledge of that stuff. It has monsters, hyperborean legend, and all that stuff. And if this is your first introduction I think that’s fine.
It’s always a focus with these different things that we do. We don’t want to trick you into buying other things. It’s not about big crossovers. There may be a couple characters who crossover into separate adventures but if you don’t read their main book you won’t be lost. We make sure to introduce everything in a way that’s digestible to the reader.
I know all the characters, and I know what we’re doing in every book. But, I’m doing this for the reader who’s never read any of the other books.
So these guys that do crossover from Hellboy, it’s more of a wink to the long time reader. We establish Fabrice and who he is and what he’s looking for, but without too big a question mark attached to him. Then we leave him behind. It’s sometimes a trick to do that. But I think we did it well enough here.
BD: With the massive world you’ve built over the last 21 years how do you decide what story to tell next, what was it about Frankenstein that made his story so compelling.
MM: To create these other books have them share a world and have a range of tones is a total joy for me. I you want Victorian occult detective stuff and you only want to read Witchfinder, that’s perfectly fine.
But if you want to read that and Lobster Johnson, and Hellboy, you get a way bigger picture of what’s going on in that world. But! You don’t need it. There continuities still make sense, but every so often you’ll get a character from there, over here. You don’t need to know but it helps.
I don’t know if Frankenstein was even that compelling. I know after The House of the Living Dead graphic novel, something prevailed about the monster after that was all done. Sometimes you tell one story with a character and you’re ready to move on. I’m not even exactly sure when I developed another story for Frankenstein. It was almost out of the blue that I thought of the idea to do him underground, and with a world this big you just kinda tease these things around.
It wasn’t a burning sensation to tell this story, but after Ben Stenbeck expressed interest to work on something other than The Baltimore series, you know I had several ideas to pitch to him. One of the ideas was Frankenstein Underground and he didn’t even skip a beat.
So the project came together because we had the right artist for it. Without Stenbeck coming on it may have never gotten done. The nice thing is, it does something for the Hellboy world. So I’m glad it existed, but had Ben not wanted to do it, we would have found something else to flesh out the world.
BD: So do you draft up stories that only exist in these separated pockets of the world in the effort to flesh out side characters whenever the right artist comes along?
MM: Yeah… There’s always a lot of that. It’s almost an experiment. Or an exercise, it’s this or this. I kind of store them away. I also give them different avenues in where they can go. The direction is up to the right artist. I had stories of characters that are left completely undeveloped in the Hellboy world. I often give certain characters and time periods and try to get them to the artist it appeals to most.
“He’s just this kind of lumbering tragic character. He had to be the Mary Shelley here, and the trick was getting the roots of it in this comic.”
And when they choose, we come up with a story for those characters by throwing around possible ideas. So we do that until its something that we respond to strongly and before we know it, we have something we’re really happy with.
BD: The design of Frankenstein has the Karloff body with the Christopher Lee hair, how did you plan the look of the character? Was it more you or Ben?
MM: Oh, I didn’t think of that… Well I had originally designed that character for The House of the Living Dead graphic novel, and I had drawn that type of character many times before. But, when it came time to do the book I had given Ben a quick drawing of roughly that type of Frankenstein. I started the whole design.
At first when it came time to the series, Ben took things in a pretty extreme direction and the result was taking it back in a more human proportion.
BD: You call Frankenstein “a corpse with a conscience” in this first issue, I love that description, but Frankenstein is made to suffer, how do you plan to give him more agency than pain in this series? And why is so pained?
MM: He’s been living for a couple hundred years and he’s been almost entirely abused during that time. From birth he’s been a monster, it hasn’t really got much better. I’m sure he had a couple years on a beach relaxing somewhere during a few beautiful summers. [Laughs]
But mostly its been pain. We see it in the opening pages of this first issue. He wasn’t having a great time in the lead up to this series. He was misunderstood and met by a lot of men who just wanted to shoot him.
Calling him a monster, at least at first makes the most sense to me. If you’ve read the Mary Shelley novel he has almost no dialogue. He’s just this kind of lumbering tragic character. He had to be the Mary Shelley here, and the trick was getting the roots of it in this comic.
He could have been this elegant well-spoken creature, even a portrait of us. But he’s been so abused and so beaten down that he was reduced to that dumb brute.
BD: So is he trying to learn more about himself here, is he trying to be something more?
MM: No. He’s not the type of character to search out who he is. He’s such a well-defined character already that it was never in my mind that this would really be about him and who he is. This book is really about this situation we throw him into.
His situation is influenced by Edger Rice Burroughs Hollow Earth stuff. It’s so much a thing that the simple pitch for this book was “Frankenstein in Pullicider.” We throw him underground and it’s just a parade of monsters. But, that is only really sustainable for one issue. I could only do so much before it wore thin, so it started out very simple and I brought my other influences into it. The kind of ancient history I love and the elements of my world, that’s when it went from a simple pitch to a great story.
BD: How has Ben Stenbeck’s work complimented your script? I found his work influenced by your own in Hellboy in Hell it really opened up and felt crazy at times, but in a very calculated way.
MM: Ben’s been doing books that take place in specific time periods so this was a chance for him to open up. He’s done a lot of world war I era Europe in Baltimore so here was a book where he could go wild. We have previously sprinkled this level of strange in the Hellboy stuff but no we’re going into uncharted territory.
I’m very luck to work with Ben. There was no point where I scripted something and had any doubts that Ben could draw it. At this point Ben can do anything, there were things I asked him to do that I’ve never seen from him before, but that was half the reason he came onto the book. And there were a few places in the script were he gave me something far beyond what I had imagined. I’ll never tire of working with him, because when you have someone like Ben you never want to let them go.
I don’t do real plot style scripting. I’m always writing something akin to what ends up on the page. But for the most part when the action gets heavy I let my artist take it in their own direction. Some places I really break it down, like exactly the layout and the sizes of the panels on the page. It depends on how I envision the page, but I’m always spelling it out in one way or another. All this stuff is in my head, but it would be a full script if I had the time.
I always like to reletter my work after the artist has drawn everything. Sometimes they alter a facial expression, or change the direction of a scene, and it looks like someone who never had dialogue before should be speaking. I like adding after the fact because it gives the comic a much more organic feeling.
BD: Obviously Frankenstein has an incredibly rich history and you know it well, there are all kinds of little tributes to the character’s past in these opening pages, but what iteration of the character do you find most dear and why?
MM: I read so much mythology, and it’s been cooking up in my head for so long that coming up with a backstory for my world. I’ve got all this stuff, and to some extent I make my own history. So it’s always a question of how much of my influence can I put into a new story. Is there room to put this history in there, and how can I make it work.
For the Frankenstein character I took my in head mythology. My first love is that Karloff monster. I found my own voice somewhere between the Mary Shelley novel and the Karloff monster and I think I found something special. I couldn’t do Mary Shelley, so I took the elements of the character and distilled it down to something I could write. I had to make him mine.