Monday 14 December 2009

Dracula, Fumetti and James Warren

I'm going to tease you with another recent production from the ongoing epic that is Cloud 109. The page in question is when Gina, Cary and Rabby manage eventually to re-boot themselves out of the increasingly hellish Dungeon of Death game and return to the cyber-lounge, but as you can see David's script required a horror version of the lounge.

This enabled me to have great fun with lots of goth symbolism and draw in a few references to films of yore. Sadly Tom and Sheryl are no longer an item, they've both gone and got themselves new partners - hence the bleeding heart with OTT dagger, but Sheryl is (I believe) still cool with appearing as the female lead in this epic and the thought of having to remodel Gina every time Tom ends up with a new G/F is too painful to contemplate. Sheryl is absolutely perfect for the role, so if you're reading this Sheryl you are still forever ensnared in the cyber world of Cloud 109. Bottom line is there is no escape until the books are completed.

Now the observant amongst you will doubtless notice one or two luminaries from the annals of horror but there is a delightful little detail regarding Rabby's jacket which I lifted from the jacket that John Van Eyssen wears in his portrayal of the luckless Jonathan Harker in the Hammer production of "Dracula" ("Horror of Dracula" in the U.S.) which was released in 1958. To my mind it still ranks as the best of the entire output of Hammer films. The adaption of Bram Stokers text does take terrific liberties but the result is a film full of pace and dynamism and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are perfect in their roles of Dr. Van Helsing and Dracula.

Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas all cite this as being a key influence on their cinematic sensibilities and you could add to this list a host of other creatives including one James Warren, publisher extraordinaire. Prior to the debut of Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella, there was a line of comic adaptations of horror films that Warren was putting out as individual titles in their own right as well as running some of them in his horror magazines, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Monster World. The comics were painstakingly assembled from a mix of production stills and blurry screen captures, in fact the process was such a nightmare that latterly the stories were redrawn by Russ Jones (Creepy's first editor) and Wally Wood with Joe Orlando pitching in. The experiment was a brief run and immediately preceded the debut of Creepy magazine but there were some interesting anomalies thrown up by the adaptation of Dracula for the one off Curse of Frankenstein/ Horror of Dracula magazine.

Hammer films were apparently released in three different versions due to censorship requirements. The longest versions were released in Japan and had the least censorial excisions, next came the U.S. version and last and most heavily excised came the U.K. version. The scene of Dracula's facial decomposition was removed from the U.K. and U.S. releases but did appear in Japan and also in Warren's adaptation.

But well worth a check out, there is a beautifully pristine print which was used for the U.S. DVD release which does include the re-instatement of the Lucy Harker stakeing.


  1. As kids we used to get minded by the older children of my parents friends and their son had stacks of old Hammer magazines and model kits of Dracula he kept in a shed used to scare the crap out of this 6 year old.

  2. I think those must have been the amazing Aurora Kits - they were just unbelievable!

    I think my favourite was The Phantom of the Opera kit.

    Really amazing stuff!

  3. I saved up for four weeks to buy the Aurora Creature from the Black Lagoon kit. (10 shillings, I think it was - 50p in modern money!) But when I arrived at the model shop I suddenly decided to buy Dracula instead. Eventually collected them all, and in fact only chucked them out a couple of years ago when my mum sold her house.

    What I really like about these posts is that they're reminding me of all the influences on my imagination growing up. Marvellous stuff!

  4. Btw Gina looks super hot in that outfit :)

  5. Thanks Dave, I've got to admit I'm having a lot of fun with these posts too. One thing prompts another and James's mention of the Aurora kits has just created the potential for another post.

    Glad you like the Gina/Sheryl gear. I remember Sheryl treating me to a discourse on the various incarnations of Goth Coteur including Cyber Goth which requires exceptional dedication as it often involves wearing contact lenses to add to the effect of neon lighting coming from within.

    Definitely a lot of potential for more freaky stuff as the story progresses.