Tag Archives: Vampires

DVD Blu-ray Review: DAN CURTIS’ DRACULA (1974)


The early 1970s made possible a very cool television movie starring legendary tough guy actor Jack Palance as Dracula. Imagine Clint Eastwood as Dracula. Close, but no cigar. Today, Liam Neeson could do it, but he probably won’t. The ’70s were a good time for vampires, along with zombies. It was a more innocent time. They had not even begun to claw the surface of today’s oversaturation. Dracula, as both a literary and horror figure, played well with audiences. And certain older actors were welcome too. There was something about Palance, his affinity for the dark side, that made him a natural for the role.

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Filed under Dark Shadows, Dracula, movies, MPI Home Video, Richard Matheson, Television, Vampires

Interview: Director Eduardo Rodriguez and ‘Fright Night 2: New Blood’

Jaime Murray and Will Payne in FRIGHT NIGHT 2: NEW BLOOD

Jaime Murray and Will Payne in FRIGHT NIGHT 2: NEW BLOOD

Eduardo Rodriguez is the director of the latest “Fright Night” movie and it’s really good. “Fright Night 2: New Blood” has style and a nice mix of horror and humor. I had the opportunity to talk with Rodriguez about his career, horror movies, and even what he’s currently reading. We also chatted about Jaime Murray, who plays the professor with an evil secret in “Fright Night 2: New Blood.” Was it just me, or was I onto something when I suggested that Jaime Murray would make an excellent Lisa in a remake of “Weird Science”? Rodriguez agrees with me, Murray would make a great Lisa. And, just so we’re clear, there will be a remake of this John Hughes classic.

Kelly LeBrock and Anthony Michael Hall in WEIRD SCIENCE

Kelly LeBrock and Anthony Michael Hall in WEIRD SCIENCE

Back to our subject, Eduardo Rodriguez has made some very cool movies with an intense vibe to them, like “Stash House,” “The Messengers,” and “El Gringo.” It is safe to say that he has a taste for action, horror, and the offbeat. It is a treat to get to listen to him relate his student days and then compare that to being a professional. And it’s fun to listen to a pro praise something current like, “The Conjuring.” Clearly, he comes across as someone who loves a good story. And it was nice to have him share with us what he’s currently reading, “Unwelcome Bodies,” by Jennifer Pelland.

UNWELCOME BODIES by Jennifer Pelland

UNWELCOME BODIES by Jennifer Pelland

Rodriguez has come a long way in his career. He advises those in film school to cherish their time in school since those days don’t come back. He sounds quite happy with where he is now. It does look like he has a great career ahead of him. I went back and discovered one of the movies that Rodriguez worked on, “The Messengers.” That has got to be a very scary movie. I have yet to see it and will need to get back to you on it. Here’s a trailer:

Here is a link to the full interview:

“Fright Night 2: New Blood” arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1. You can read my review here.


Filed under Eduardo Rodriquez, Horror, movies, Vampires

ANGEL AND FAITH #21 Review — Can You See An Animated Movie?


With this new arc, “What You Want, Not What You Need,” the scope of this saga hits you. A story has been allowed to breathe freely and unfold luxuriously. It feels well lived in and we don’t want it to stop. You don’t care, on some level, if Rupert Giles ever comes back to life. Part of you knows it’s just wrong. And part of you knows that some things just need to happen. And that’s okay. It’s not like the characters are totally in agreement on what should happen next! That’s okay too. We want conflict. And, you read it here at Comics Grinder first, there’s a lot to be said for taking this whole thing and turning it into an animated movie! That says a lot for the comic, is what I’m saying, really. It does engage you in such a way that you get lost in the characters. Now, the fact is, stories should get to breathe and follow one thought to the next. That is what supposedly happens when you have an event comic but, in reality, that is too often an opportunity to just string along a fan base. Not so here. Dark Horse Comics cares about its readers and “Angel and Faith” is an excellent case in point.

We love Christos Gage in charge of the script. We love Rebekah Isaacs in charge of the art. The whole look and feel is outstanding. And where did Faith’s tattoo come from? I’m sorry, maybe that’s from the original television series. Well, I’m sure it is but I have only seen a few episodes. Not a true believer, huh? I have to do some marathon viewing someday. Is anyone rocking a Faith tattoo? You’re probably out there. Ah, those little details. Then there’s Angel’s nipple ring! We know, for sure, what that’s all about. It is a little relic that helped in the hunt for remnants of the soul of Ruper Giles. And here we are, all the elements to the Giles soul have been safely gathered into a magic bowl and the body of Ruper Giles has been carefully preserved and sits nearby on an operating table. The question is, What to do next? Proceed? Or run like hell? Well, there’s always that tricky question of getting enough super magic juice to jump start this project. That sticky issue comes to a head here because where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Is that Pearl we see reflected in Faith’s sword on the cover art above? Why, I believe it is. And why would that be, do you think? Well, Pearl and Nash are the baddies feverishly looking for any bits of magic still around. And you’ve also got Whistler, Angel’s former mentor, now arch-nemesis, in on the hunt too. Since Angel needs magic like nobody’s business, there’s a strong likelihood of there being a clash and so it is in this issue. It is a wonderful clash, interlaced with the action involved in attempting to bring Giles back from the dead! When you think of all the explanations out there for time travel, some tend to be more poetic and some try to sound as authentic as possible. We’ve got a little of both going on with the Giles resurrection project. Alasdair Coames, in all his fuddy-duddy wizardy, leads the operation in a brilliant fashion. But, as the title for this final arc suggests, is it all for naught? Or worse yet, should one really give pause and ask if they should be careful for what they wish for? At such a late date, should this still be a question? Well, read and find out.

“Angel and Faith #21” is available as of April 24. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics here.

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Filed under Angel & Faith, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics, Horror, Supernatural, Vampires


Elvis Van Helsing Kriozere Altman

With distinctive wit, writer/producers Steve Kriozere (“NCIS”) and Mark A. Altman (“Castle”) present “Elvis Van Helsing.” This was intended to be a TV show so that provides added interest to the graphic novel that resulted in 2010. In this case, the graphic novel stands alone very nicely as offbeat horror.

Elvis Yang is a 20-something who would be quite content to have no goals for the rest of his life, just be a whirling dervish. However, during his six years (and counting) as an undergrad, he has demonstrated flashes of sheer brilliance. It has attracted the likes of Bob Woodward and Stephen King. If Elvis needs something, these guys have his back.

Elvis Van Helsing Stephen King 2010

Kriozere and Altman have faithfully captured that wating, that unfocused yearning, for greatness experienced by an endless array of “losers” quietly aging on a multitude of campuses. But Elvis is supposed to be different, right? He’s the slacker that makes it, right? Kriozere and Altman leave you guessing.

Elvis Van Helsing Steve Kriozere Mark A Altman 2010

The artwork by Jason Baroody and the production by Zach Matheny are sympathetic to this kind of deadpan goofy humor. Even after Elvis discovers his true calling as Elvis Van Helsing, heir to a distinguished traditon of killing off vampires, demons, and various ghoulies, the action remains disconnected and low-key. Kinda cool, huh? That said, the art is not dull. It’s dynamic in its own way, in an ironic cool way. I’d call it a “sarcastic flatness.” Or maybe it’s an endearing flatness. Either way, it works.

Why do I like “Elvis Van Helsing”? Well, because it’s the sort of thing I would be proud to say I had written. It runs the risk of being misunderstood but it is a risk worth taking. If you’re going to take an offbeat path, then embrace it, baby. And that’s what this creative team does with this graphic novel.

Elvis Van Helsing graphic novel 2010

It’s also important to point out that this story, while unconventional, it not just random. You’ve got a well crafted plot with characters that have key roles to play. The whole dynamic between Elvis and the couple who adopted him is intriguing. He’s an Anglo surfer dude and his parents are a traditional Korean couple. Their idea of letting loose is singing karaoke after dinner, especially Elvis songs. Evis’s best friend, Randy, is a perfect foil as an even less focused version of Elvis, if that’s even possible. And then you’ve got two beauties competing for the mind and soul, if not heart, of Elvis: Vanessa, a Vamparella type; and Ariel a seductive and mysterious blonde who will only meet after midnight.

Elvis Van Helsing Ait Planet Lar 2010

The payoff to this graphic novel is that you have a journey worth taking. Ultimately, you get a story about a dude way over his head, on some excellent adventures that leave you wanting more. Along the way, Elvis Yang becomes Elvis Van Helsing, the heir to the greatness he’d been searching for but was clueless about. Has he grown wiser? Was he wise all along? That is the enigma worth exploring.

“Elvis Van Helsing” is an offbeat horror graphic novel that provides twists and turns to an overall engaging story.

“Elvis Van Helsing” is published by AIT Planet Lar. You can purchase a copy here. Check out the video trailer here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Comics Grinder will publish an exclusive interview this Wednesday with Steve Kriozere, the co-creator with Mark A. Altman, of the hit show, “Femme Fatales.”

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, graphic novels, Horror, Humor


I recently reviewed “The Night Projectionist” here at Comics Grinder and that has led to this interview with its writer, Bob Heske. Let me tell you, “The Night Projectionist” is a must-read, whether or not you’re into horror, simply because the story is so well crafted. Bob Heske is a writer, first and foremost. It’s that skill, along with a passion for horror, that makes him so good. Now, let’s explore more of Mr. Heske’s works including a movie project, the supernatural thriller, “Blessid.” We’ll begin with this brief press statement seeking support for “Blessid” at Indiegogo (http://www.indiegogo.com/blessidthemovie):

My name is Bob Heske and I am the writer/producer (and partial funder) of Blessid. I am a screenwriter with IMDB credits, a graphic novelist and indie comic creator. My IMDB credits include the award-winning short film WAITING (starring Richard Schiff, Izabella Miko and Earl Brown). Most recently I wrote the critically praised graphic novel THE NIGHT PROJECTIONISTwhich has over 11,000 “Likes” on Facebook and has been optioned for film by Myriad Pictures. Blessid is important to me because, quite frankly, it’s a film with an important message. Being a horror guy, it has its dark elements but the ending will move you — I promise — and you will be glad you joined us on the indie-making journey.

COMICS GRINDER: “The Night Projectionist” is truly something unique. My connection with you is my review of this graphic novel that you wrote with artwork by Diego Yapur. I wanted to ask you about the initial reaction to the book. And, well, let you make your pitch.
BOB: First off, thanks for your solid review Henry. Overall, the book has gotten very strong reviews (4 out of 5 stars) and we appreciate the time individuals like yourself take to review the work of independent artists like myself and Diego, represented by the folks at Studio 407. It helps a lot in giving our work credibility and building our fan/reader base. 
How’s the book selling? It’s selling okay, more so in the digital version at comiXology and Graphicly but also doing okay in print at local comic shops and most prominently on Amazon. For example, it’s first month out  THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST was Studio 407’s biggest selling comic at comiXology.
My pitch? If you like a vampire tale that brings hard core gore and blood by the buckets with an original story line and some ass-whupping art, you will love this book. It’s entertaining and a quick read … and at a retail suggested price of $12.99 (you can get it for less in many places) it’s a blood-curdling steal. My recommendation is to buy it in paper but I’m a comics purist.
COMICS GRINDER: The idea of a movie coming out of this is really exciting. Anything you can tell us about that?
BOB: Back in 2009 when issue 1 came out, the publisher (Studio 407) shared office space in the same building with the folks at Myriad Pictures. Myriad saw some of the issue 1 galleys and was very impressed. In short, they saw the potential and the comic was optioned. As luck would have it, Diamond raised their sales threshold the very month THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST issue 1 came out making it near impossible for independents like this book to be picked up for issue 2 in Previews. Hence, rather than rolling out THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST in 4 one-shot books, Studio 407 took a breath and took it’s time in getting the book done right. We lost some marketing momentum in building an audience but in a short time we are getting that audience back. We have over 11,000 LIKES on Facebook and continue to rack up strong reviews. As for the movie, I think THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST would be even stronger as a film and would make a cool vampire franchise worth watching. As of now, fingers crossed for the project to pick up steam, get funded and get developed. Stay tuned!
COMICS GRINDER: I am intrigued by your background. You are a screenwriter and have branched out into writing comics too. You’re establishing yourself quite well in horror and yet you began with comedy. Tell us about your development as a writer.
BOB: Well, I just hit 50 so it is a long, slow arduous road. I’ve had many contest-winning feature and short film scripts, a fistful of options, and a few scant credits. Some of my best work has come very close to being produced only to have the funding fall through or finish second to another script the producer fell in love with. While I wait for THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST to be made (I am not only writer, but also co-creator of the story — Think Stan Lee and Spider Man), I have created a few micro budget films that I hope to make in the next 1-2 years. Life really is short and if you wait for others, you’ll be left disappointed and only have yourself to blame. In this era of DIY filmmaking and self publishing you need to grab the bull by the horns and make it yourself.
I started writing comedy and have a few short and feature gems waiting to be made (and that I will sell to the right talented director/producer for cheap!). In fact, that is what attracted my wife (aside from my sparkling personality and manly good looks — ah, no!). After we got married and had kids, I started writing horror non-stop. She said, “Whoa buddy … what have I created here?!”
COMICS GRINDER: You’re a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. Tell us how that came about.
BOB: The New England Horror Writers Association (NEHW) is a talented, supportive, ultra cool group of New England horror writers that are as fun to hang out with as they are to read (their books). I just reached out to them and they brought me on board. I’ve done a handful of writers events with them and always have a nice time (although I never sell as many books as I’d like). If you are from New England and are getting into writing horror, check them out at http://nehwnews.wordpress.com/tag/horror-writers-association/. Membership is free and you get out of it what you put into it. I truly wish I could hang out with these guys more!
COMICS GRINDER: Among your movie projects, I was quite impressed with a short film entitled, “Waiting,” starring Richard Schiff. It has such a creepy vibe and manages to compress so much into a short film. People need to see this and I will make sure to post the IMDB link where they can see it. Would you talk about it, how this came about it?


BOB: Sure! “Waiting” was based on a short film script I wrote called THE WAITING ROOM.  Of all the short scripts I’ve written, this was the one that got the best initial reaction. I had submitted it into 2-3 contests where it was either being considered as the winner or was going to be the winner but I had to pull it because it was optioned. The short film “Waiting” (seen in its entirety  here) won some awards and is a very cool adaptation of my original short script. It was co-written and directed by Lisa Demaine (who bought the rights to the short script from me) and stars Richard Schiff (Toby on the hit TV show “West Wing”), Izabella Miko and Earl Brown. It was filmed by a crew consisting of several Emmy winners and the production value is top notch. It played in several film festivals and did very well. I eventually did a graphic tale version of my script THE WAITING ROOM which is in my BONE CHILLER graphic anthology that won a Bronze medal for horror at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2009.

COMICS GRINDER: “Blessid.” Please tell us about this project.
BOB: BLESSID is an amazing script that I wrote and am now producing as a micro-budget film. It will shoot in the Fall in Massachusetts. It’s about a disturbed young pregnant woman searching for the will to live who meets an enigmatic immortal that has moved in next door. Throughout the movie, the audience is curious about the 2028 year-old guy and what his life experiences have been and his insights on modern times. But BLESSID is really about the young woman looking into her past and, ultimately, finding forgiveness for herself to get over a tragedy that happened that was beyond her control. We have an amazing, committed crew on board and some very talented actors we are bringing in from Los Angeles including David Fine (The Pursuit of Happyness), Rachel Kerbs (Splinter), Chris DiVecchio (Wolf Moon) and Gene Silvers (The Whole Banana). We have just added a producer named Amy DePaolo whose short film “Ordinary Man” was accepted into Sundance this year. And we are seeking to get a recognizable TV/Film actress on board too. The director is a guy named Rob Fitz who has over 10 years experience on big budget film sets as a maekup artist and horror effects specialist. Rob also wrote/directed/produced the ultra low micro-budget film “God of Vampires” which has become a cult classic in New England and among hardcore horror circles.
We are in pre-development now and are building a fanbase on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BlessidTheMovie) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/blessidthemovie).
The “official” website is www.blessidthemovie.com.
Readers can also support us on indiegogo at www.indiegogo.com/blessidthemovie and get some great perks for their generosity.
COMICS GRINDER: Is there any news about “Unrest,” with Eric Roberts you can tell us about?
BOB: UNREST — a psychological horror tale in the vein of “Last House on the Left” meets “Stir of Echoes” — has had a lot of interest from directors and actors that I’ve shared the script with. The problem was that the budget needed to make the current script was more than I originally intended (~ $400,000). I am making BLESSID now for $80,000 and will circle back to UNREST if (I mean “when”) BLESSID is successful. Both scripts are fresh, entertaining and unique in their respective genres. Once again, if there are any director/producers out their with funding in place but in need of a killer script, contact me. 😉
COMICS GRINDER: You mention some influences in connection with “Unrest,” a UK indie from 2008, “Eden Lake” and “Stir of Echoes,” from 1999, with Kevin Bacon. Would you share some thoughts on horror movies, or movies in general, that have inspired you?
BOB: Anyone who has ever visited my “cold blooded chillers” website (www.coldbloodedchillers.com) — and there are nearly 50,000 of you — knows that my brand of horror veers more toward “the monster who lives next door” (aka, serial killers, psychopaths, femme  fatales and evil kids) than vampires, werewolves and zombies. Full disclosure: Yes, this interview did start with me talking about a vampire graphic novel I wrote, but that is out of the box for me. I am more drawn to tales of suburban murder and malice, as the tagline on my cold blooded chillers website attests. “Eden Lake” is one of those tortuous tales about teen hooligans tormenting a couple on romantic holiday that chills the blood in your veins. “Stir of Echoes” is just a well-acted film with some smart, squeamish effects and the best hypnosis scene in film ever. It’s a ghost story and mystery wrapped in one and I love to watch it every now and again. The horror films I like most combine story, suspense and characters. Some recent examples I liked were “Absentia” and “Midnight Son” which were both made for well under $200,000.
COMICS GRINDER: Anything else you’d like us to know that we can anticipate from you?
BOB: Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I write a web column called IndieCreator on www.investcomics.com. Jay Katz, the principal behind InvestComics has been absolutely phenomenal to me, and I’m glad to call him a friend (although we both live in separate states and have only conversed — many, many times — over the phone). If you love comics, you should check out www.investcomics.com and read Jay’s weekly Hot Picks.
COMICS GRINDER: And where can we visit you on the web?
BOB: You can find me on these web sites:
robert heske

IndieGoGo page:
indiegogo.com/blessidthemovieBLESSID LLC
9 Floral Street
Shrewsbury, MA  01545Tel: (508) 868-3116
Email: bobheske@gmail.com

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Filed under Comics, Horror, movies, Robert Heske, Screenwriting, writers, writing


This is how you tell a good vampire story. You can’t take yourself too seriously. You need to know more about vampires than the average reader. And you can’t be afraid of blood, actually, a lot of blood. Robert Heske has written a damn good vampire story with his graphic novel, “The Night Projectionist.” There is a goofy-as-hell premise here but it works: the damned but well-intentioned Dragos will ultimately fullfill his destiny on the last night of the last picture show in town.

Unlike zombies, that are so full of subtext since they’re basically ciphers for social commentary, vampires are highly sophisticated creatures. A vampire story is a character driven story lest you get lost in the trappings of goth. What Heske does is jump right in and lay claim to his vampire history in broad strokes at the start of his book: Kisilova, Hungary, 1709.  There is Dragos, a dashing young man who doesn’t believe in vampires while the rest of the village is terrified of vampires. Dragos is the man. You can’t convince him that Burak, a mad scientist who some claim turned into a monster, is indeed alive and well and behind the village terror. No talking sense to Dragos. He’s too cool and good-looking. He is going to go to the house of Burak’s daughter and warn her that the villagers want her dead because they’ve concluded she’s a revenant, basically her father’s accomplice. But, finally, once Dragos does find Carmilla, he discovers to his own horror, that, yeah, she’s a vampire. Dragos meets Burak, is finally convinced he’s way over his head, and the once vampire naysayer finds himself tunred into a vampire! Jump to present day Crosston Falls, Massachusetts and that night’s entertainment, the closing down of the old movie theater on Halloween night with a Draculathon. Many of the town’s teenagers, and loose cannons, will be out to catch the show. And Dragos will be at their service as the night projectionist.

A good horror story, let alone a good vampire story, will intertwine things in interesting ways: the time, the place, and the supporting characters. The vampire history lesson we begin with dovetails into the closing of a scary, yet sweet, bedtime tale as told by mother to child in a modest home in present day Crosston Falls, Massachusetts. Nicki is a young mom who has made the mistake of letting her sister, Tina, stay with her, a woman who has no inhibitions about bringing men back home to have loud raucous sex. The little boy, Michael, must make do with trying to have a childhood while unsavory reality is pounding against his very walls. Then we jump to that night’s activities. Where there’s a small town, there’s definitely high school football, and desperate longings. Halloween night will take the cake and leave no crumbs, just scorched earth. As evil as vampires might be, a spoiled brat jock, like J.C., the mayor’s son, who thinks he owns the town is pretty evil in his own right. For starters, he almost burns down the high school. Even worse, he nearly rapes a girl. Tonight, his misdeeds will fan flames that will take the whole town down.

The artwork of Diego Yapur is right in step with the kooky offbeat world of horror. Yapur has a great eye for characters. He brings to life a whole town of misguided youth, shiftless and corrupt officials, and a bloody-happy crew of vampires. It’s a fineline between being offbeat and inaccessible and being offbeat and way cool. Yapur is way cool. The chemistry between him and Heske is solid and we readers are rewarded. Between Yapur and Heske, we get lost in the narrative and feel for the victims caught in the crossfire. Even a rather subtle subplot involving Danielle, a goth girl with asthma who “hates” her grandfather for no apparent reason, is saved my this writer/artist team that provide the much needed authenticity. At his core, Dragos is a vampire, a monster who drinks human blood to stay alive. But, with the proper attention to detail, Dragos is much more than that. He’s a conflicted hero. What makes this story so enjoyable is that Heske and Yapur both believe enough in Dragos’s journey that we want to read about it ourselves.

“The Night Projectionist” is a 132-page graphic novel published by Studio 407. Visit Studio 407.


Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, graphic novels, Horror, Studio 407