Clean Room from Gail Simone and future superstar artist Jon Davis-Hunt is an immediately engaging and absolutely brutal comic and I couldn’t love it more. The story centers around a self-help/pseudo-religion/maybe-cult. When a journalist decides the book that formed the basis for the group is to blame for her fiance’s suicide, she sets her sights on its founder. Simone’s script is as mean and nasty as she gets and it’s a treat to see. The real star here, though, is Davis-Hunt. He’s got a lot to work with- a suicide attempt under a beautiful night sky, monsters aplenty, and great gore shots. This is the kind of book you remember stumbling upon in the ‘graphic novel’ section of the bookstore and tricking your parents into buying for you because what could be so bad in a comic? So now that you don’t need to sneak it by mom, put it in your shopping cart and have fun.
Cognetic from James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan isn’t exactly related to Tynion’s previous series Memetic (TPB is out this week! Buy it! It’s great!), but it shares a lot of thematic DNA. Tynion knows just what spot to hit to make you terrified of society and human interaction, a talent he puts to great use in this story about a higher intelligence gradually taking control of individuals. It’s a great balance of horror, suspense, and philosophical musing that I heartily recommend.
The ‘Darkseid War’ storyline going on in Justice League right now is some of the best no-gimmick super-hero work currently being published. Read it.
As for Marvel’s relaunch, Invincible Iron Man stays strong with its second ish. If this book is full on Tony/Doom team-up then I’m all in. Astonishing Ant-Man is as fantastic as the last series was, so pick it up. Uncanny Inhumans was kind of meh, but maybe that’s just because none of the nu-humans click for me. Karnak plays a lot better, fashioning the character into a sort of zen-martial arts master who’s a total jerk to everyone. The less said about what otherwise-decent writer Dan Slott is doing in Spider-Man right now, the better.
With the Odinson clearly having a ball running down some of the best scares that pop-culture has to offer, I felt like I had to throw in my two cents. So here’s a random assortment of some of my favorite horror flicks (with trailer links!) to watch when you wanna get spooky:
The bigger horror franchises can be a little overwhelming to jump into, so just watch the best of each of them (not counting the first, obviously):
Nightmare on Elm Street numbers 3-5 (Dream Warriors, The Dream Master, The Dream Child) win because I’m a comics fan so I love continuity. The oh-so-meta Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is also pretty good, if a little less fun than the main series.
Halloween is probably my least favorite of the big three (which is probably why I’m partial to Rob Zombie’s brutal remakes) but I can still get down with Halloween Resurrection‘s reality show antics and the mediocre but aesthetically comforting late-90’s/early-00’s look of Halloween: H20.
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series gets pretty shaky pretty fast but Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (which features some great practical effects) and the giant ball of WTF that is Hellraiser: Bloodline are worth a look.
Child’s Play 3 wins the Chucky series for me. It’s crazier than the first two flicks, but not as arch as the later films.
The Leprechaun series is a veritable pot-of-gold with all the trips to space and ‘tha hood’, but Leprechaun 3 wins out on the basis of one kill alone (it’s the casino owner).
The After Dark Horrorfest has been a godsend to fans of indie horror, but there’s a lot to wade through. Good thing I’m here to list off the best ones: Dark Ride (80’s tinged slasher), Wicked Little Things (zombie children), Penny Dreadful (claustrophobic siege slasher), Mulberry Street (zombie rats), Borderland (Mexican death cult, ‘true’ story), Tooth and Nail (post-apocalyptic cannibals), Autopsy (murder hospital), From Within (witches), and Perkins 14 (mad scientist’s creations amok in suburbia).
And finally a random list of movies I love to recommend to anyone looking for something they may not have seen before:
The Dead Pit combines two of my favorite horror subgenres- zombies and mental hospitals- for a blast of 80’s gore goodness.
The Town the Dreaded Sundown (2014) is a master class in how to combine a ‘true story’, metafiction, and good old fashioned slasher tropes into a near-perfect horror flick.
Speaking of meta- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a must watch for all horror fans as it breaks down the genre’s tropes while embodying them.
Necronomicon: Book of the Dead is an anthology of Lovecraft stories that’s a shining example of why practical effects can’t be beaten in the horror genre.
The 2008 remake of The Crazies is a criminally underrated flick that keeps the tension high and often aims to disturb.
The Scream-inspired slasher craze of the late 90’s produced a lot of imitators, one of the best being Cherry Falls which is sharp as a butcher’s knife and features a delightfully unhinged Jay Mohr.
John Carpenter is one of the best genre directors out there (re-watch Ghosts of Mars now and tell me it doesn’t feel like a modern Image comic) so it’s no surprise that even his lesser-known works are awesome. Prince of Darkness concerns a group of scientists studying a cylinder found in the basement of a church that is said to contain ‘the liquid embodiment of satan’, which is just too crazy of a premise to pass on.
Finally, Night of the Creeps is one of the movies that manages to walk that fine line between horror and comedy to deliver on both.