At the Samudra Beach Hotel on the south coast of Java, there is a room forever reserved for a unique guest: Nyi Roro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Sea in Indonesian mythology. Room 308 is completely furnished and features several paintings of the female spirit, as well as offerings, flowers, and altars. People visit the room, which is guarded by a “spiritual doorman,” to meditate and pray for their welfare.
This curious little room is the inspiration for Indonesian director Jose Poernomo’s new film, 308. It’s not about people traveling to the hotel to pray though – that would be boring as hell – it’s about a group of believers intending to use the room for much more sinister reasons. Mixing elements of horror with regional folklore and fantasy, 308 is a pretty tense ride and the type of slow-burn horror I really dig. Poernomo takes his time dishing out little clues and bits of exposition so by the time the shit hits the fan, there’s some real weight to the terror. I was confused a bit about some elements of the spirit, but overall the whole ride is interesting and delivers some well-earned scares.
Naya (Shandy Aulia) is a recent college graduate who’s starting to get desperate for a job. When a friend tells her she can score her a gig housekeeping at a plush hotel, Naya jumps at the chance. She takes care of her little sister, Airi, so she brings her along. It’s a massive place and one of the hotels where the housekeeping staff lives in-house. When she arrives, the hotel manager Sena drops a bomb on her: the hotel is actually shut down for the next four days and no one can leave because they’re having the outside fumigated. This is super sketchy and probably where Naya should’ve grabbed Airi and bounced, but she needs the job. I’ve been there, sister.
Sena lays some lame excuses on Naya on why she’s never to go into room 308, but it’s quickly apparent that he’s hiding something. The rest of the the hotel crew is shady too. There are two other housekeepers and one excitable chef. The whole cast is solid except for the chef who does some seriously goofy overacting. His tiresome zaniness feels out of place here. I guess he’s supposed to be the comic relief since everyone else plays it straight, but it didn’t work for me.
Naya begins snooping around the hotel and unraveling the plot as the horror starts slowly trickling in. There’s some stuff we’ve seen before (spider-walk, flying utensils), but it all feels fresh within the story of 308. The violence is mostly implied and a lot of the scares are delivered in brought day light, in well-lit rooms. Visually, the film is very impressive. I found the most effective sequence to be the chase during the finale. Good chases are hard to come by nowadays and the one in 308 totally delivers the white-knuckle goods. The enormous hotel space is used effectively as well. Since it’s shut down, many of the floors are shrouded in darkness. Little Airi likes playing hide and seek, which obviously leads to some trouble.
Like I mentioned earlier, I got a little lost myself in the story of the mythological spirit and how it related to what was going on in the hotel. Luckily, there’s a bit near the end where it’s all tied together nicely and explained in full. So if you’re a little slow like me and couldn’t follow, don’t sweat it.
308 is an interesting story that blends Indonesian mythology with contemporary scares. It’s also the highest grossing horror film in Indonesia for 2013, if that helps sell it a little more for ya.
308 is making its U.S. premiere at Screamfest on 10/10 at 5pm and 10/12 at 5:30pm.
“Full Circle’s” Keke Palmer, pictured, is currently shooting the film Animal, an original movie produced by the horror network Chiller, reports BlackFilm.
She joins a cast that includes Elizabeth Gillies, Parker Young, Jeremy Sumpter, and Paul Iacono.
“When plans for a weekend vacation hit a dead end, a group of close-knit friends find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing, blood thirsty predator. Holed up in an isolated cabin, tensions mount as long-buried secrets are revealed. As the body count rises, the group must put their differences aside and fight for survival.”
Animal is from executive producers Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen, and producers Chris Miller, Ember Truesdell, Kelly Smith and Thommy Hutson for Flower Films. The film is written by Thommy Hutson and Catherine Trillo and directed by Brett Simmons; creature effects are by Gary J. Tunnicliffe.
Animal is set for a 2014 release, where will get limited theatrical runs via Synthetic Cinema International before debuting on VOD in partnership with NBCU Digital Distribution.
The indie Forgetting the Girl will be playing theatrically in LA at the Downtown Independent, starting October 11th. For the premiere screening, there will be a live Q&A with director Nate Taylor, star Christopher Denham, and more.
Check out an exclusive clip that will have you gasping for air!
“Haunted by a traumatic history, photographer Kevin Wolfe struggles to systematically forget all his bad memories, seeking a girl who can help him with the endeavor. Unfortunately, all his encounters with the opposite sex inevitably go afoul, creating more awkward experiences than he can cope with. As the rejections mount, the tense narrative slowly boils under the surface, until it unleashes in an unsettling climax that will not be easily forgotten.”
Here’s the film’s trailer, too.
SHOWTIMES Oct. 11th-Oct. 17th
Friday, October 11th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM*
*The Friday, October 11th 7:00PM show will be in our main theater and will be followed by a special Q&A by cast and crew members including Christopher Denham and Elizabeth Rice. All other shows will be in our 16-Seat Mikro Kino.
Saturday, October 12th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Sunday, October 13th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Monday, October 14th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Tuesday, October 15th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Wednesday, Oct. 16th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Thursday, Oct. 17th: 5:00PM, 7:00PM
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with UK rockers Heaven’s Basement to bring you an exclusive acoustic performance video for “Fire, Fire”, the hit track from their debut album Filthy Empire (purchase on iTunes). On top of that, we’re also giving you a free download of the track! Just head on down to check out the video and pop your email into the widget to get your free download! These guys are badasses and I cannot stop listening to them. Make sure to check out my review of Filthy Empire here where I call the band, “…the new Guns N’ Roses of the 21st century“.
Heaven’s Basement is currently on tour with The Pretty Reckless and will be touring Europe with Black Veil Brides. All tour dates can be seen below.
10/9 – San Diego, CA @ House Of Blues
10/10 – Anaheim, CA @ House Of Blues
10/11 – Los Angeles, CA@ House Of Blues
10/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
10/14 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
10/15 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
10/16 – Vancouver, BC @ Rio Theatre
10/18 – Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room
10/19 – Calgary, AB @ The Den
10/20 – Saskatoon, SK @ Louis’ Pub
10/21 – Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre
10/23 – Minneapolis, MN @Varsity Theatre
10/25 – Orlando, FL @ WJJR’s Halloweenie Roast
10/26 – Tampa, FL @ 98 Rock’s Halloweenie Roast
with The Pretty Reckless
10/27 – Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues
10/29 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
10/30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/31 – Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
11/1 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
11/3 – Washington, DC @ The Fillmore
11/4 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theater
11/5 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle
11/8 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre Corona
11/9 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
11/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre Of Living Arts
11/11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
with Black Veil Brides
11/23 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg
11/24 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega
11/26 – Helsinki, Finland @ Nosturi
11/27 – Tampere, Finland @ Klubi
11/29 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Klubben
11/30 – Gothenburg, Sweden @ Sticky Fingers
12/1 – Hamburg, Germany @ Gruenspan
12/2 – Poznan, Poland @ Eskulap
12/3 – Berlin, Germany @ Columbia Club
12/4 – Vienna, Austria @ Arena
12/6 – Munich, Germany @ Theatrefabrik
12/7 – Cesena, Italy @ Vidia Club
12/8 – Rome, Italy @ Init Club
12/9 – Milan, Italy @ Factory
12/10 – Zurich, Switzerland @ The Komplex
12/12 – Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
12/13 – Paris, France @ La Cabert Sauvage
This week on Visions of Horror, Bloody-Disgusting’s Farah Al-Hakkak (ShadowJayd), spotlights one of Creepy’s most classic comic book covers, illustrated by legendary artist, Frank Frazetta. Specifically, “Creepy” #7, which features Frazetta’s vampire vs. werewolf painting as an accompanying piece to Archie Goodwin and Angelo Torres’ “The Duel of the Monsters” tale.
Frank Frazetta is one of the most emulated and influential artists of the 20th century, predominantly known for pioneering the fantasy and pulp sci-fi art genres. His high concept, signature style — which features heavily muscled, loincloth wearing men, naturally curvaceous, scantily clad women, and hideously detailed, oversized creatures — continues to inspire an entire generation of artists to this day.
In the 1960s, while his illustrated fantasy book covers were gaining wide popularity — especially those depicting the iconic and seminal, Conan the Barbarian — Frazetta had his hands full with painting covers and contributing a few black and white, pen and ink stories for various Warren Publishing horror magazines. His love for the genre really shined through his work for “Creepy”, “Eerie”, and “Vampirella”, as he impressed readers with his stunning renderings of classic monsters like Frankenstein, Wolfman, and Dracula, etc. Not only had he produced some of the most recognizable covers to come out of the Silver Age, but he initiated a ground-breaking standard for illustrators’ rights to own their original artwork, as well.
On the first of February in 1966, “Creepy” #7 was published, and Frazetta’s painting was his sixth consecutive cover for the magazine. This specific piece was chosen, not only because it’s one of the most recognizable pieces of art “Creepy” has ever featured, but because it represents Frazetta’s significant — though short — foray into classic horror comics territory. Furthermore, it has gone on to inspire numerous creative works, spanning a variety of different mediums from a comic book collaboration between Steve Niles and Francesco Francavilla, to wickedly awesome hand-crafted statues, and more.
In August of 2008, Image Comics released Frank Frazetta’s “Dracula Meets the Wolfman” as a limited edition graphic novel, with Steve Niles writing the script, and Francesco Francavilla providing pencils. While the story is based on Frazetta’s original cover art, it’s more than just an iconic clash between two legendary monsters. The writer manages to bring a level of modern significance to a classic tale, that’s very much inspired by those old black and white films of the past, with a strong element of romance at its core. Channeling a time-honoured EC Comics feel within the pages, Francavilla establishes a stunning and traditional gothic-horror setting, that’s both grim and beautiful to the eye; effectively presenting a fantastic period piece on paper, and bringing life to Frazetta’s original artwork.
Featured below, is the original renowned cover by Frazetta for “Creepy” #7, which showcases some of his distinguishable style qualities of that era. He used a common dark and moody colour palette, and incorporated areas of well-placed lighting to create dramatic effect, emphasize space, and magnify time. Frazetta’s werewolf, like most of his characters, is typically brawny. And while seemingly on the losing end, there’s evidence of the vampire’s strength marked all over the ripped fur and skin on the werewolf’s arm. Frazetta had a habit of rendering mossy trees and landscapes in his paintings, and there’s a tiny hint of that here as well.
Also featured below is ReelArt Studios’ amazing Dracula Meets Wolfman statue, which immortalized the iconic moment between vampire and werewolf. Troy McDevitt sculpted this beautifully, with subtle paint mastering by Joy and Tom Studios.
The night that Miller’s Comet passes over Earth, four couples who seem like they don’t really like each other that much get together for a dinner party. On her way to the gathering, Emily’s cell phone screen cracks as she’s talking on it. That’s Coherence‘s first warning sign, and one of its many recurring clues, that this comet is seriously going to screw up everyone’s dinner plans. Stupid outer space crap and its crummy orbital periods.
Co-written and directed by James Ward Byrkit, Coherence is a high-concept/low-budget sci-fi thriller that gets off to a shaky start. We’re introduced to eight characters rather quickly – none of them all too interesting or indelible. They convene at the home of struggling actor Mike, played by Nicholas Brendon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. Besides him and Emily, the rest of the characters are pretty unremarkable. The entire cast is uniformly excellent though and the urgent, hand-held camera work help make up for the underdeveloped characters. And honestly, who the hell cares about poorly fleshed-out pawns when you’re watching a genuine mind-bender like Coherence. Think Primer, only set in one night with more cheese and wine.
Once the film does find its footing it knocks the wind outta ya with its barrage of mysteries and dark twists. Shortly into dinner, the power goes out. The candles and glow-sticks (that Mike oddly enough has a surplus of) are busted out, then they notice that one house down the street still has its lights on. When two of them go investigate, they make an alarming discovery: it’s Mike’s house.
As Coherence gets more and more complicated, several clues are presented to help the audience keep track of what the hell is going on: band-aids, hand-written notes, numbered photos, and the aforementioned cell phone screens. These small, repeated visual indicators work wonders in a film devoid of any special effects. It’s infinitely more effective too. Just seeing a different band-aid on someone’s brow elicited me pointing at the screen like some excited toddler watching Blue’s Clues. The more you pay attention to these clues, the more enjoyable the “oh shit!” experience will be in the end.
The film thankfully doesn’t get too tied up in its discussions of quantum mechanics and Schrodinger’s cat, which pops up in a lot of media nowadays, huh? It is weird that one of the characters conveniently happens to have a book on the subject in the trunk of his car. As their paranoia increases, interpersonal relationships start to crumble under venomous accusations of infidelity, jealousy, and body-double-switcheroos. There’s something being said about human nature here and the way we react when our entire existence is threatened. As one character says, people are always talking about how they want to “find themselves.” Now that these eight characters literally found copies of themselves, they realize it’s not exactly the enlightening experience they expected.
These heady subjects are thinly examined though. What the film boils down to is a clever little thriller with a solid cast. Leave that stupid cat in the box, look past the drab characters, and approach Coherence like an extended Twilight Zone episode and you’ll have a good time.
Film Arcade and Paramount Home Media Distribution have announced that the independent film Ghost Team One will be released day-and-date in select theaters, on VOD, and on Digital on October 11. Check out three clips from the laughter that Bloody’s Patrick Cooper sorta enjoyed.
“Ghost Team One follows two friends who are both trying to impress a girl who believes the spirit of a vengeful madam is haunting their home. They set out to make a documentary about a murder that took place in their house decades ago and, much to their surprise, soon capture some terrifying—and uproarious—supernatural activity that leads them to believe that the ghost is not only real…she’s also into them.”
Ghost Team One is produced by Hernany Perla (My Bloody Valentine) and Adam Mutchler, directed by Ben Peyser (Sucks Less with Kevin Smith) and Scott Rutherford (writer on “Workaholics”), and stars actor and comedian Carlos Santos (host of MTV Tr3s’ “Mi TRL”), J.R. Villarreal (Akeelah and the Bee), Tony Cavalero (Son of a Pitch), and Fernanda Romero (RPM Miami). PHMD acquired the worldwide rights to the film in a deal that was brokered by Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian of XYZ Films and Chris Sablan of Original Artists.
“When roommates Brad and Sergio accidentally arouse the dead, they team up with a sexy amateur ghost hunter, Fernanda, to expose the evil inside their home. But just as the guys start to get close to their hot new partner, they discover that a horny demon wants in on the action. Now, cameras are up and more than fear is rising in this outrageous romp where only one thing is certain: Someone is gonna get screwed.”
Marvel Comics and Disney announce that this January, “Seekers of the Weird” will be there very first comic series under the new Disney Kingdoms banner. The new branch was created in order to bring to life attractions and characters from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The series, written by Brandon Seifert (“Witch Doctor”, “Hellraiser”) with art from Karl Moline, will explore the Museum of the Weird, as I suspected a few months back. The Museum of the Weird was an amazing concept dreamed up by Rolly Crump in 1965 that was meant to compliment the Haunted Mansion, but unfortunately was never built.
Marvel & Disney are proud to present your first look at Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1, the first comic series published under the all-new Disney Kingdoms banner! Created in close partnership with designers, producers, and creative directors from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disney Kingdoms line promises new and exciting adventures expanding upon already beloved lands, attractions, characters, and worlds of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
This January, experience the first all-new adventure inspired by Disney’s legendary – but never constructed – Museum of the Weird! Dreamed up by famous Imagineer Rolly Crump in 1965, the Museum of the Weird was home to a collection of mystical curiosities said to have been unearthed from all corners of the globe. Originally conceived as a spooky walk-through attraction connected to the Haunted Mansion, Crump’s innovative designs were left on the drawing board following the passing of Walt Disney….until now!
“We’re thrilled to be part of this historic launch that taps into the immense creativity of Walt Disney Imagineering to create background stories for so many beloved attractions,” said SVP of Marvel Publishing David Gabriel. “Grounded in rich Disney history, Disney Kingdoms is a great way to link Disney fans and Marvel fans!”
“Disney Kingdoms is the ultimate team-up for fans of Disney and Marvel,” said Editor Bill Rosemann. “Working hand-in-hand with the world-famous Walt Disney Imagineers, Marvel’s best and brightest creators will unleash entire worlds inspired by and built around the attractions and characters that you’ve always known—but will experience for the very first time!”
Written by Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor) and drawn by Karl Moline (Avengers Arena) – when their parents are kidnapped, teens Maxwell and Melody are thrust into a thrilling race through the world’s strangest – and most dangerous museum! Together, they must join forces with their mysterious and swashbuckling uncle as they attempt to rescue their family and save the world from an evil secret society! And they just might discover the truth behind their wild and weird destiny along the way!
What terrifying secrets lie inside the mysterious Museum of the Weird? Find out this January as the harrowing journey begins in Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1!
Plus, don’t miss this Saturday’s fan-favorite Cup O’ Joe panel at New York Comic Con (4pm in Room 1E) for an exclusive, first ever look at Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird!
DISNEY KINGDOMS: SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD #1 (of 5)
Written by BRANDON SEIFERT
Art by KARL MOLINE
Cover by MIKE DEL MUNDO
Variant Cover by WALT DISNEY IMAGINEER BRIAN CROSBY
On-Sale In Print & Digital This January!
Last night I attended a Blu-ray/DVD release event for “American Horror Story: Asylum” at the legendary (and supposedly haunted) Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles. We saw some special features from the Second Season set that looked pretty in-depth (given the location of the event, a lot of what we saw focussed on the sets for Briarcliff Asylum) and were treated to a lengthy Q&A with Asylum regulars Naomi Grossman (“Pepper”) and Barbara Tarbuck (“Mother Superior Claudia”).
As interesting as that stuff was, my most anticipated moment of the evening was the premiere of the first episode of “American Horror Story: Coven“. I was a huge fan of the first season of Ryan Murphy’s out-of-its-mind anthology series but my enthusiasm cooled somewhat during the first couple episodes of Season 2. Obviously the good news in regard to this show is that, unlike “Homeland”, its literally impossible for them to write themselves into a corner for too long. Each season is a fresh reset button, something “Coven” takes great advantage of.
In hindsight, I think the reason I ultimately tuned out of “Asylum” was the setting. The characters Murphy comes up with are so insane it’s a shame to put them in a context that so openly reminds the viewer of the divide between “AHS” and reality. They work much better in the real world, where they contrast with and rub up against normal people, normal settings and normal societal conventions. Consciously or not, “Coven” recognizes and rectifies this.
Fans who loved Taissa Farmiga in Season 1 will be happy to know that she’s front and center here, the world here seems to be as much through her eyes as the world of Hogwarts is through Harry Potter’s. That’s not an accidental analogy either -Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies Farmiga stars as a Zoe Benson, a young witch who is only beginning to be clued into her powers (via a scene that echoes Rogue’s self discovery in X-Men with the sexuality turned up to 11). She’s sent to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a “finishing school” for young witches in New Orleans, and we’re off to the races.
Murphy makes an excellent move here by keeping the number of students at the school to a bare minimum. There are only three other attendees – Emma Roberts (“Madison Montgomery”), Gabourey Sidibe (“Queenie”) and Jamie Brewer (“Nan”) – and it’s refreshing to see the show focus on a few well-drawn characters rather than populating the house with half-baked stereotypes. The Academy is run by Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia Foxx, a kindly witch who tries to rule with a benevolent hand but is often stymied by the mischievous, and perhaps villainous, Jessica Lange (playing the vampier than thou Fiona Goode). There are two different side stories that feed into the narrative at the Academy (one featuring Kathy Bates, the other focussing on Lily Rabe), but it’s better if you discover for yourselves how they tie in.
The great pleasure of “Coven” comes from watching all of these personalities collide with each other (and the surrounding world) in inventive ways. As dumb as “American Horror Story” pretends to be, its incredibly smart about the business at hand – which is entertaining and shocking its audience. And make no mistake, I was shocked by a lot of it. There’s some subject matter here that I might have expected to see on HBO (albeit, I’ve never seen an HBO show take a similar tonal approach to this kind of material), but not on FX. Still, once I got past my own moral queasiness, it was easy to dive back into being enthralled with the program.
I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, so I’m going to have to end it here. Just be sure to check into FX tomorrow night at 10PM. “American Horror Story: Coven” is bloody, sexy, hilarious, gloriously tacky and out of its f*cking mind – just the way we like it. It’s wrong in all the right ways.
ComiXology is having a massive digital sale on all issues of “The Walking Dead” from Oct 8th thru Oct 14th as a means of celebrating the milestone 10th Anniversary of the series. The first 114 issues, including most recent issues, are all up for for .99 cents each, plus Volumes 1-18 are on sale too. If you have been a bad zombie fan and haven’t read a single issue, you can snag “The Walking Dead” #1-114 Bundle for only $99. That is a helluva good price.
Official Press Release:
October 8th, 2013 – New York, NY – In celebration of The Walking Dead’s 10th anniversary and the premiere of Season 4, here’s your chance to see how the worldwide phenomena all began with a week-long The Walking Dead sale on comiXology – the revolutionary cloud-based digital comics platform available across iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the Web at comiXology.com.
Watching the show, but never read the comic series? You now have no excuse with every issue of The Walking Dead comic on sale at .99 cents. You’ll also find collections Volume 1 through Volume 18 on sale at a reduced price. In addition to these great savings, comiXology will be offering a “web-only” bundle of The Walking Dead issues 1-114 for only $99. These special discount offers run from today, Tuesday, October 8th, through midnight EST Monday October 14th. The sale gives fans a chance to experience the original The Walking Dead comic series that inspired it all—the show, the novels, the games and the entire universe of The Walking Dead.
Once you catch up, jump on board with the new highly anticipated The Walking Dead issue #115 – which hits comiXology this Wednesday marking the 10th Anniversary of The Walking Dead comic series. It also marks the beginning of bi-weekly releases as new issues start to arrive every other week—one more The Walking Dead comic every month for fans to enjoy.
“ComiXology is a perfect way to experience The Walking Dead comic series and a great way for fans of the TV show around the globe to experience my original vision,” said Robert Kirkman, creator and writer of The Walking Dead and writer/Executive Producer of The Walking Dead AMC TV show. “We’re super excited to offer the entire run of the comic series for half-off to new comic readers eager to get into the stories, as well as provide value to our existing, rabid Walking Dead fans with comiXology’s great digital comics platform and awesome reading experience. It truly is going to be an epic sales event”
“No fan of The Walking Dead TV show should wait another day to experience the comic,” said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. “There’s no better way to gear up for the premiere of Season 4 and celebrate the 10th anniversary than reading the comic series that started it all.”
Based on one of the most successful and popular comic books of all time, written and created by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead captures the ongoing human drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series follows a group of survivors, led by sheriff Rick Grimes, in search of a safe and secure home. However, instead of the zombies, it is the living who remain that truly become the walking dead.
Even after becoming a cop, Eve can never forget what happened that night in the woods. Eve and her best friends performed a dark ritual, unknowingly unleashing an evil presence in the town of Coffin Hill. Eve thought she could outrun her past, but now she has been forced to return home in Vertigo Comics’ “Coffin Hill” #1.
Caitlin Kittredge (author of the “Black London” series) talks about making her comics debut with “Coffin Hill,” making the leap from fiction writing, and the consequences Eve will have to face for playing around with black magic.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tell me how the inspiration behind “Coffin Hill” came about?
Caitlin Kittredge: I grew up in New England, where the book is set. I have always been fascinated with the history – the Salem Witch trials – all this really spooky historical stuff that happened. I always really wanted to set a horror story using that history. I started playing with the idea as a novel. I am a novelist. This is my very first foray into comic books. It never quite came together. Then I heard from Shelly Bond, from Vertigo. She was looking for a horror story. I thought this would just work as a comic. I came up with Eve Coffin, the heroine and I just kinda ran with all the stuff I wanted to write about. The witchcraft was a natural addition. The story is mostly tied to the Salem Witch trials. It’s a story I’ve always wanted to write.
BD: Eve Coffin is rebellious to her own police superiors as well as to her high society family. Tell me what interests you about her.
CK: She’s really interesting to me in terms of the characters I’ve written. Eve is not really a hero if you really think of one in comic books. She’s more of a person who does bad things for a good reason. She’s that kind of morally flexible. She’s more of a gray area. As we come into her story in the first couple of issues, she was a cop but she’s been disgraced. She’s been really badly injured. She comes home to Coffin Hill but finds much darker, much worse things going on, in terms of witchcraft and black magic, all the stuff she tried to get away from by moving to Boston to become a cop. She was the powerful witch who wasn’t afraid to use black magic to get what she wanted. I’m really fascinated with stories of characters who deal with the darker side of themselves. Eve’s very much doing it to protect the people she cares about. There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in Coffin Hill. She’s the only person who can put a stop to it and she started it in the first place, when she performed that ritual when she was a teenager.
BD: Was it a challenge transitioning from fiction writing to comic book writing?
CK: It was a challenge! It was a great challenge and it was a very fun challenge, but it definitely had moments where I thought, “What am I doing! This is so completely the opposite than what it’s like to write a novel!” Once I got through the personal learning curve in the first script, I actually had a great time. I love writing in script format. It really just required a little bit of a shift in my thinking because I am working with the artist in the art. I’m one half of a whole instead of having it all spelled out on the page, like it is when I’m writing novels. It’s really been a rewarding experience so far. I really relish to get into this medium that I’ve always wanted to work in, but never had an opportunity before now. It’s been an experience, even while I’m working with my editor. I’m still working on my first couple of issues.
BD: What’s your collaboration like with artist Inaki Miranda on this project?
CK: He’s been fantastic to work with! It’s better than anything I could have ever imagined! His art in the look is still aligned to what I imagined for the way the story is going to go. It’s exactly what I was trying to evoke with my script and dialogue. His artwork is such a perfect match for the story that I’m trying to tell. We had this big discussion before I actually started working on the script; the mood we were trying to convey. There’s going to be a lot of dark forests, a haunted mansions and I wanted the characters to look a little bit different. They’re inhabiting a world that’s a little bit dreamy. With that discussion, he went away and came back with the first issue, and it was just spot-on. I really don’t have to give him more than a few lines for anything. He comes up with these beautiful, tight layouts. I feel very lucky he was the first artist I got to work with.
BD: Did you feel your writing style changed knowing your prose was going to be illustrated?
CK: In terms of dialogue that I’m working with and things like that, I actually don’t really. In my opportunity to work in comics, I feel my style of writing works with a visual story. Once I got over the learning curve in the first issue, I felt it really clicked. It’s been an incredible experience! I love the dialogue between Eve and the other characters. There’s a character in the second issue who you will meet is the Chief of Police in Coffin Hill. I had so much fun writing that dialogue for them in that issue. It’s been a great fit!
BD: The story shifts between Eve’s past and present. Tell me about the use of flashbacks as a storytelling technique.
CK: I love a good flashback, I will freely admit. I love a good dream sequence. I love anything that holds both the reader and character out of the linear narrative. I think of the story of “Coffin Hill” specifically as more a labyrinth that circles back on itself, rather just a straight course between past and present. She keeps going back to that night of the ritual. There is a black magic ritual that went wrong, which basically turns her life upside down. She sees different pieces of it. She needs to see it as a whole. I go way back in time to Salem, when she was an officer in the Boston PD. It all kind of circles back on itself to what’s actually going in Coffin Hill. I had a really fun time playing with the structure of that. I really do love writing nonlinear storytelling where you piece everything together, that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy reading. It’s been a lot of fun to be able to layer so many different times, so many different pieces. Once you start piecing together what Eve is seeing, it’s not what actually happens.
BD: Eve has a punkish style haircut and a tattoo of a feather on her arm. Tell me about Eve’s look in her character design.
CK: I gave Inaki very loose descriptions of all the characters. My only real note about Eve is that she should be dark-haired and kind of small, petite. He came out with several designs. “Let’s give some tattoos.” He showed me a cool design. They were all fantastic. “Let’s run with these.” Inaki’s great! He comes up with these wonderful designs. I had a vague idea of how each character looked when we first started. I just referred to him because I knew he’d do an amazing job!
BD: What can you tease about the second issue?
CK: I can tease a little bit. Eve meets the Chief of Police, who was also one of the kids in the woods, the night of the ritual. He’s still there. Their meeting again touches off the story that will run for the next couple of issues. Eve figures something is off in Coffin Hill ten years later. She’s probably responsible for it because of what she did that night in the woods.
BD: What other projects are you working on now?
CK: I’m working on a new fiction series for Harper Collins. That and “Coffin Hill” have been in my life. I’ve been working on it since January. It’s been great and intense. I’m up against the deadline right now!
“Coffin Hill” #1 hits comic shops on Oct. 9th. Writer Caitlin Kittredge will be at New York Comic Oct. 10-13th.
Interview by – Jorge Solis
Progressive metal mastermind Ihsahn (ex-Emperor) has released a lyric video for “NaCl”, which comes from his upcoming album Das Seelenbrechen (out October 21st via Candlelight Records). It’s a fun track, one that’s playful but also builds in very interesting ways. I highly recommend checking it out!
Das Seelenbrechen can be pre-ordered here.
The Seventh Annual B-Movie Celebration takes place at the Hollywood Boulevard Cinema in Woodridge, Illinois (Suburb of Chicago) from October 25th-27th.
From their press release, founded in 2007 by Franklin Indiana resident and genre producer, Bill Dever whose goal was to celebrate the diverse and artistically vital segment of cinema known as “B’s”. Often the term B-Movie is thought carry an attitude of derision and scorn. Low budget “B” or Genre filmmakingis considered to be second class or in some way inferior to Hollywood’s slick corporate product. They know otherwise. They know that for the most part the grand American cinematic tradition has evolved from origins in B-Movies. The weavers of images, whom they as a collective culture deem as masters of the cinematic arts; Scorsese, Coppola, Kaufman, Demme, Leone, Bogdanovich, Lucas, Spielberg and Tarantino. All either toiled in the fields of B-filmmaking or consider themselves primarily influenced by this cinematic tradition.
The B-Movie Celebration realizes that Hollywood has taken the stock-in-trade of B-Movies and subverted the exploitation aspect of it for its own ends, often ignoring the passion and the creativity of the B-Movie auteurs, and have created mega- budgeted flicks which have no heart and do not move the art of cinema further. The product Hollywood now produces often acts as a kind of celluloid Eurasian Milfoil, crowding all other of forms of cinema off the viewing public’s radar and demanding that only they have the right or ability to bring entertainment to the world. They take deep exception to this and intend to offer an alternative.
The B-Movie Celebration recognizes that most of the innovation and indeed the very definition of the cinematic arts came as a result of B-Movies. There is a tradition and legacy here that should not be forgotten. Filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux, Ida Lupino, Samuel Fuller, Jacques Tourneur, Lloyd Kaufman, Robert Lippert, Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski have all contributed significantly to the tradition and the emerging art form that is Movies. Some of them still do.
This year they are showcasing a global overview of emerging genre filmmakers as well as reminiscing by screening classics. The slate of films has been curated by Avery Battles and Bill Dever. These filmmakers are from around the globe and are responsible for creating what they at the B-Movie Celebration know will influence and impact the next generation of movie fans. These people have taken on the banner of advancing the art of the motion picture and they like their predecessors must be celebrated. Come and share their works with them this October when the B-Movie Nation comes together to celebrate Everything B in Woodridge, Illinois at the Hollywood Boulevard Cinema.
For further information please go to Bmoviecelebration.com.