Queens’oween pumpkin art, found on a porch in Maspeth, NY. Photo © 2017 Steven A. Roman.
Queens’oween pumpkin art, found on a porch in Maspeth, NY. Photo © 2017 Steven A. Roman.
Looking for illustrated tales of the supernatural to enjoy as you anxiously await the arrival of Halloween? Then look no further than StarWarp Concepts’ backlist of comic books and graphic novels that are perfect for horror fans young and old!
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to the adventures of Pandora Zwieback and her monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia, and a preview of Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1. Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world.
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).
Lorelei Presents: House Macabre is Lori’s debut as the hostess of a horror anthology comic. Behind a cover by bad-girl artist supreme Louis Small Jr. (Vampirella, Vampirella/Lady Death), you’ll find stories by me and Dwight Jon Zimmerman (Iron Man, Web of Spider-Man). Art is provided by Uriel Caton & “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Heartstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa), Lou Manna (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), John Pierard (Graphic Classics: Horror Classics), and Juan Carlos Abraldes Rendo.
Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings is a general readers’ graphic novel about a group of supernatural-superheroes-for-hire taking on their first case. The team consists of a wizard, a female ninja, a sorceress, a werewolf, and a rock ’n’ roll lighting designer wearing high-tech armor. Sure, they might not be on a power level with the Avengers or Justice League of America—they’re more like superpowered Ghostbusters—but they get the job done. The graphic novel is written by the husband-and-white team of Richard C. White (Terra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination, For a Few Gold Pieces More: Tales of the Rogue With No Name) and Joni M. White, and illustrated by Reggie Golden and Randy Zimmerman.
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual, Lorelei Presents: House Macabre, and Troubleshooters Incorporated are available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information, as well as sample pages.
Hey, horror fans! On October 13, Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, be releasing Tales to Sorta Tremble By, the second title in its new SWC Horror Bites series of dark-fantasy chapbooks. It’s a collection of little-known mini terror tales that first appeared during comics’ Golden Age. To quote the back-cover copy:
The Flower of Evil. Jardini’s Jaw. The Living Brain. The Walking Dead.
These, and many others, are the tales you’ve long forgotten—or never even heard of before. They were the text stories, sometimes written anonymously or pseudonymously, that 1950s comic book publishers inserted in each issue of their macabre series to meet postal mailing requirements in order to be considered magazines.
This collection spotlights a baker’s dozen of those time-lost terror shorts, so gather round the jack-o’-lantern and prepare to be a little bit shocked and a tiny bit horrified by these…TALES TO SORTA TREMBLE BY!
Includes: The Walking Dead • Jardini’s Jaw • The Lonely Place • Call for Claws • Land of the Dead • Call of the Werewolf • The Flower of Evil • The Lady in Black • The Living Brain • The Shadow in the Moonlight • Just What the Doctor Ordered • Death and the Maiden • The End of the Line
Just as with SWC’s debut Horror Bite, Clemence Annie Housman’s White Fell—The Werewolf, Tales to Sorta Tremble By will only be available through the StarWarp Concepts webstore, so be sure to order a copy when October 13 rolls around!
Believe it! In a major undertaking for this blog, I’ll be writing thirty-one straight days of posts about horror movies, horror comics, and other horror stuff for you to enjoy as we wait for the arrival of Pan’s favorite holiday (mine, too)—as well as the publication of Blood & Iron: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 3, which will occur right in time for Halloween!
The annual Countdown to Halloween is a blogathon event started in 2009 by comic writer John Rozum and blogger Shawn Robare, and every year the list of participating sites gets longer as more folks join in—and this year, Pan’s online home is getting involved!
The fun starts October 1st. Be sue to mark it on your calendar!
Happy Halloween! If you’re a horror fan like me (and Pan, of course), then All Hallows’ Eve is probably your favorite time of year, so in keeping with the fine tradition of handing out free treats to boils and ghouls everywhere, the folks at Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, and I have some digital-comic offerings for you!
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A full-color introduction to the young adult novel series of the same name, hosted by Pan herself. Pan is a girl with the ability to see the monsters that regular humans can’t, and with the help of a 400-year-old monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, she’s going to protect the world from danger—and maybe even have some fun while doing it.
This 16-page comic features a seven-page story written by me, with art and color by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, Lorelei: Sects and the City), and includes two sample chapters from Blood Feud, the first Pan novel.
Heartstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa #1–3: Before she became Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne Mazarin made her debut in this short-lived, 1990s Mature Readers series from Millennium Publications. A nefarious heavy metal band has arrived in New York City, and its lead singer is more than just a sex magnet for his female fans—he’s an incubus! Will Annie put an end to his plans for worldwide chaos, or fall prey to his supernatural charms?
Written by me (of course), issue 1 is drawn by Pan and Annie co-creator Uriel Caton (JSA Annual) and inker Alan Larsen (Femforce); issue 2 is penciled by Uriel, Holly Golightly (School Bites), and David C. Matthews (Satin Steele) and inked by Larsen; and issue 3 is penciled by Holly, with four pages of inks by “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales).
Heroines and Heroes is our latest free digital comic. It’s a collection of comic stories I’ve drawn over the years, starring indie characters the Blonde Avenger, the anthropomorphic Motorbike Puppies, and the humanoid-rabbit spy Snowbuni. The feature story is “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (in the Summertime),” a short adventure that I wrote and drew in the late 1990s as an audition for DC Comics’ Batman: The Animated Series comic (spoiler: I didn’t get the job), and pits the Harley Quinn—Clown Princess of Crime and star of this past summer’s blockbuster film Suicide Squad—against none other than Wonder Woman!
All these comics are available for download right now, so visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts and add them to your digital trick-or-treat bags today!
Wrapping up our overview of U.S. cable-TV Halloween programming, this time we focus the spotlight on the mother lode of classic horror flicks: the schedule for TCM, Turner Classic Movies. Halloween’s a major event for TCM—they dedicate the entire month of October to it! This year’s marathon is hosted by Ron Perlman (Hellboy himself!).
Halloween weekend is especially busy for the network, and a must-see for horror fans; this past Friday night’s lineup alone boasted Bela Lugosi in 1931’s Dracula, Boris Karloff in 1932’s The Mummy, Claude Rains in 1933’s The Invisible Man, and Lon Chaney in 1941’s The Wolfman! And the classic shocks continued all day Saturday and Sunday, leading up to tonight’s and tomorrow’s schedules:
Starting at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 30, it’s Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, and Peter Boyle in the Mel Brooks–directed 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein, followed by another horror-comedy classic, with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello on the run from Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Lon Chaney’s Wolfman, and Glenn Strange’s Frankenstein monster in 1941’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (one of my all-time-favorite movies).
At midnight (Halloween!), it’s Lon Chaney making an immediate return to the movie schedule in 1925’s silent horror-comedy The Monster, followed by 1955’s French psychological thriller Diabolique. Charles Boyer tries to drive wife Ingrid Bergman crazy in 1944’s Gaslight. Bela Lugosi and on-screen daughter Carroll Borland rise from the grave in 1935’s Mark of the Vampire. Producer Val Lewton springs were-panther Simone Simon on audiences in 1942’s Cat People. Another Lewton production, 1943’s I Walked With a Zombie, has nurse Frances Dee encounter one of the walking dead. Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) makes his proper directorial debut in 1963’s Dementia 13, produced by B-movie master Roger Corman.
Then Vincent Price stalks the halls of 1953’s House of Wax. Boris Karloff introduces the three tales of director Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, from 1963. It’s followed by another anthology: 1945’s Dead of Night. Vincent Price returns in 1958’s House on Haunted Hill, produced by B-movie-gimmick king William Castle. The Haunting is director Robert Wise’s 1963 adaptation of author Shirley Jackson’s acclaimed novel The Haunting of Hill House. Then it’s a Christopher Lee triple feature, with 1968’s The Devil’s Bride (aka The Devil Rides Out), 1959’s The Mummy—with Lee as the title character and his longtime friend (and Dracula film series nemesis) Peter Cushing as the hero—and the 1959 adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, with Cushing as Holmes and Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville.
The Halloween celebration winds down in the wee hours of November 1’s morning, with three final Lee entries: 1961’s Scream of Fear, 1960’s The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, and 1976’s To the Devil…a Daughter. Six Christopher Lee films in a row—that’s one hell of a way to close out the holiday!
And then Halloween 2016 is over. But don’t fret, horror fans, it’s a good bet that TCM is already making plans for next year’s countdown!
It’s part 3 of our overview of the kind of scare-related programming you’ll find on television this Halloween. This time we’ll take a look at a couple of cable movie channels in the U.S. that are showing old-timey horror films.
For the Movies! TV Network, the day starts off with 1959’s The Tingler at 8:00 a.m. (ET), starring master of the macabre Vincent Price (younger Panatics might recognize him as the creepy voice and sinister laugh at the end of Michael Jackson’s hit single “Thriller”: “The foulest stench is in the air/The funk of 40,000 years…”). The Tingler is a parasite that can only be halted from killing you if you scream at the top of your lungs—a plot device that made a lot of sense when the movie was in wide release, because the sales pitch to audiences was that at some point the Tingler would be loosed in your theater! It involved certain seats being wired with an electrical current that would mildly shock the “victims,” causing them to scream—scream for their lives! (In the late ’80s, I saw The Tingler in a small movie house here in Manhattan—and yep, they wired the seats, just like back in the day. That was the best!)
Movies! continues its programming with 1967’s Berserk!, starring Joan Crawford; 1965’s Die! Die! My Darling!, with Tallulah Bankhead and Stephanie Powers; 1971’s The Mephisto Waltz, with Alan Alda and Jacqueline Bisset; the 1988 remake of The Blob, with Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon; John Carpenter’s 1980 thriller The Fog, with Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) and Adrienne Barbeau (Escape From New York); Wes Craven’s 1982 adaptation of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jordan, Ray Wise, Adrienne Barbeau, and Dick Durock as the walking, talking swamp critter; and 1975’s Bug—about killer cockroaches—starring Bradford Dillman and Joanna Miles. Wrapping up the marathon with 1967’s The Deadly Bees, with Suzanna Leigh and Frank Finlay.
Not a bad lineup at all. So what’s happening on those higher TV-remote numbers?
Get TV—a cable channel owned by Sony Pictures that runs TV shows and movies from Sony’s extensive library—hosts a brief Halloween schedule, starting late Sunday night (October 30) at 10:00 p.m. (ET) with the one-hour documentary Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain, an overview of the actor’s life and career. It’s followed by the 1954 Price vehicle The Mad Magician, about a murderous illusionist who terrorizes costars Mary Murphy and Eva Gabor.
Then comes 1944’s The Return of the Vampire, starring Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi, as he tries to put the bite on Nina Foch and Frieda Inescourt. After a break for a Western (1954’s Jesse James vs. The Daltons—what the hell?), horror returns for a trilogy of documentaries: Bela Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dark Prince; Boris Karloff: The Gentle Monster; and Peter Lorre: The Master of Menace. Then another break, with episodes of the TV series Nanny and the Professor and Ensign O’Toole, before a final, minor supernatural-themed show: an episode of the ghost-comedy series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, starring Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange as the eponymous characters.
Hey, Get, if you’re owned by Sony, and you have access to their film library, where are the Sony horror movies for a full-out marathon? What about The Howling for the overnight hours? Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II for prime time? (GB’s producer, Columbia Pictures, is a subsidiary of Sony.) Producer William Castle’s The Old Dark House or Homicidal? Maybe Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre in the 1942 horror comedy The Boogie Man Will Get You?
Let’s…er, get on the ball for next year, okay?
Continuing our look at U.S. cable-TV station that will be celebrating Halloween this year, this time we shine the spotlight on a couple of basic-cable channels and a pay-TV one, all with something to offer.
AMC—home of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead—spends All Hallows’ Eve celebrating the monstrous acts of unstoppable serial killer Michael Myers (aka The Shape) with an all-day Halloween marathon. John Carpenter’s chilling 1978 masterpiece Halloween starts the day at 9:00 a.m. (ET), with Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode just trying to survive the night and Donald Pleasance trying to put a bullet between the eyes of her silent, murderous escaped patient. Then Curtis and Pleasance return for more Shape-bashing in 1981’s Halloween II (which is set immediately after the original). It’s followed by immediate encores of Halloween I and II.
AMC skips over the sole non-Michael entry in the franchise, 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and picks up the narrative with Donald Pleasance back on the case in 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, to prevent Michael from killing Laurie’s daughter, Jamie (played by a young Danielle Harris). And in 1989’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Pleasance uses Jamie as bait(!) to trap Michael. (Hey, now who’s the bad guy—huh, Dr, Loomis?) The night ends with a second rerun of Halloween (three showings in one day!).
Antenna TV—home to reruns of genre shows like The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch—is running an all-day marathon of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes, starting at 3:00 a.m. (ET) and continuing right up to 11:00 p.m. A decade-long (1955–1965) anthology series in the vein of The Twilight Zone, AHP dealt with thriller and mystery stories rather than fantasy and science fiction, and every episode featured Hitchcock as on-screen host in dark-humored introductions (he even directed 18 of them). Probably its most famous episode is “Lamb to the Slaughter,” adapted from a story by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG), about a housewife who murders her husband with a frozen leg of lamb—but it’s not part of this marathon! What the hell, Antenna? Well, at least they’re running AHP’s adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s classic short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” so that’s something.
Showtime Beyond—the horror- and fantasy-themed movie channel—kicks off Halloween on Sunday night, with the 11:00 p.m. (ET) showing of 2015’s The Funhouse Massacre, starring horror legend Robert (Freddy Krueger) Englund. It’s followed by 2014’s millennials vs. man-eating bear film Backcountry; 2015’s torture-porn tattoo-artist flick Anarchy Parlor; the 2004 wedding horror Zombie Honeymoon; the urban fantasy Walter; 2013’s Space Warriors, about a group of young space cadets rescuing astronauts; 2006’s magic-man The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti; 2015’s The Wicked Within, with Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine of the Resident Evil movies) starring in a sort of Satan meets The Usual Suspects mash-up.
The 2014 malevolent-ghost story Jessabelle pops in afterward, followed by Blair Witch Project director Eduardo Sanchez’s 2008’s Chinese-ghost story, Seventh Moon; the 2015 monster-at-the-beach film Blood Sand; and an encore of The Illusionist. The evening’s programming consists of the 2014 hit It Follows; The Hills Have Eyes (either the Wes Craven original from 1977 or the Alexandre Aja 2006 remake—Beyond’s schedule doesn’t say); and the telekinetic-killer thriller Patrick (either the 1973 original or the 2013 remake). The night ends with an encore of The Wicked Within.
An okay lineup for these stations. But if you want to experience real horror, you can take a trip over to the Hallmark Channel—which starts running its Countdown to Christmas 2016 movie marathon tonight.
Fifty-six days of overly schmaltzy Christmas movies—God help us all!
The day of spooks and monsters, tricks and treats, and horror movie marathons on television is almost upon us, so I thought now would be the perfect time to see what some of the cable-TV networks—at least those in the United States—are offering viewers for Halloween. We’ll start with a look at what’s on the schedule for two of the most well-known genre-related stations on October 31st…
Chiller TV gets its Halloween programming under way this year on Sunday (October 30), with a 9:00 p.m. (ET) showing of 1986’s Poltergeist II: The Other Side, starring Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Heather O’Rourke. Poltergeist III from 1988 follows, with O’Rourke’s Carol Anne moving the ghostly action to Chicago. Rising from the film crypt after it are 1988’s Pumpkinhead, with genre master Lance Henriksen, and 1993’s Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, followed by 1990’s Flatliners, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Bacon (and which is getting a 2017 sequel with Sutherland, Ellen Page, and Nina Dobrev of The Vampire Diaries). Bacon returns in 1999’s Stir of Echoes, with Rob Lowe picking up the spirit-seeing mantle in 2007’s Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming.
Then in the afternoon the movies get shifted around for a string of reruns that carry us into the evening: Pumpkinhead, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, and Poltergeist III. Halloween wraps up with the broadcast of 1999’s “found footage” trendsetter The Blair Witch Project, with Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard; and 2000’s Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, starring Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) and Kim Director (Gotham).
A disappointing lineup, wouldn’t you say? With all the movies at Chiller’s disposal you’d expect them to put together something more exciting for their most important holiday of the year. No Hellraiser or Evil Dead? No Tremors? No Halloween?! Not even an appearance from Chiller’s own productions, Steve Niles’ Remains, The Monkey’s Paw (with Stephen Lang of the recent thriller Don’t Breathe), or Brian Keene’s Ghoul? Definitely a missed opportunity.
Over at Chiller’s sister network, The Syfy Channel—home to such TV series as Channel Zero, Van Helsing, Z Nation, and The Magicians, as well as those goofy Sharknado movies—things are a little more interesting. It, too, has its Halloween programming carry over from Sunday night, with the 11:00 p.m. (ET) showing of the 2011 home-invasion horror You’re Next. It’s followed by 2013’s Grave Halloween, set in Japan’s notorious “suicide forest” (the same setting of the recent film The Forest), and an encore of You’re Next. Then comes a trio of episodes from Rod Serling’s classic Twilight Zone series: “The Man in the Bottle,” “Nervous Man in a $4 Room,” and “A Thing About Machines.” Then it’s encores of—yep, you guessed it—Grave Halloween and You’re Next.
The heart of the marathon starts at 10:30 a.m. (ET), with the 2012 Joss Whedon–produced The Cabin in the Woods, with Chris (Thor) Hemsworth; 2003’s hillbilly-cannibals flick Wrong Turn, with Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto; 2012’s creepy home-movies monster Sinister, with Ethan Hawke; 2003’s Jeepers Creepers 2, starring Ray Wise (and yes, there’s a Jeepers Creepers 3 in development); the other popular home-invasion film, 2008’s The Strangers, with Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler; and 2009’s walking-dead comedy Zombieland, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. The night wraps up with a repeat showing of The Cabin in the Woods.
Set your DVRs now!