Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979/Titan Books reissue/Archie Goodwin &
Walter Simonson/softcover)/Dark Shadows:
The Visual Companion (2012 by Mark Salisbury/Titan Books/hardcover)/Johnny Dickie’s Slaughter Tales (2012/Briarwood/MVD
DVD)/Wolf Lake: The Complete Series
(2001/CBS/E1 DVD Set)
Picture: X/X/C-/C+ Sound: X/X/C-/C+ Extras: X/X/D/C+ Main
some varied Horror releases of interest…
have a reprint of the classic Archie Goodwin/Walter Simonson comic book
adaptation of Ridley Scott’s Alien
(reviewed on Blu-ray, along with its endless sequels, elsewhere on this site)
originally released by Heavy Metal Magazine and entitled Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979) by Titan Books. Like the magazine that backed it, it came out
of the underground Comix tradition and may very well be the first of what we
now consider a standard in this industry: the graphic novel.
first issued, it was considered impressive then and faithful at a time when the
film was the first-ever R-rated science fiction film. After all these years, it holds up
extraordinarily well and can go more than a few rounds with any other graphic
novel ever made. Even if you have seen
the film many times, if you have missed out on this adaptation, you have missed
out on one of the great tie-in publications of all time and a real classic in
comic book publishing.
softcover has excellent color and picture reproduction on very high quality
paper. Nice to see it back in print.
also issued Dark Shadows: The Visual
Companion off of the 2012 Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film, here written by Mark
Salisbury as a fancy hardcover meant as a gift-0quality book as well. You can read about the actual film on Blu-ray
and DVD at this link:
was disappointed (and people still are coming up to complain to me about the
film since that Blu-ray coverage) by the film, this extensive volume is pretty
thorough on the cast, their characters, production design, costumes and much
more so if you liked the film or want to see how the money actually did go on
the screen, this is worth a look.
say the same about Johnny Dickie’s
Slaughter Tales (2012), a lame, goofy, uninspired exercise in “found
footage” so bad that it may not be as sickening and boring as most exercises in
such with blood and gore since the makers think they are making something
interesting and good. However, this
looks like amateur hour in the worst way and the worst part is if they had
really concentrated and tried to do much more, this could have been something
more than “the last videotape you’ll ever watch” instead of yet another dud
you’ll quickly forget. We even get 2
trailers, 2 featurettes and some odd audio commentary, but the actual feature
looks like something low-def off of YouTube and not even VHS, so see it at your
won risk… of falling asleep.
we have Wolf Lake: The Complete Series
(2001) which was one of the many series made to capitalize on the massive
then-success of The X-Files, but the
show we saw originally (nine episodes, including the last three broadcast
belatedly on the then UPN Network) was not the show conceived for the pilot and
the result is a show that should have stuck with its original vision. CBS and Cherry Pie Productions (finally
having a big hit with Homeland
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) had turned to John Leekley (Kindred The Embraced, HBO’s Spawn) to create this show about
werewolves and filed a pilot so good and dark, that CBS foolishly rejected it.
CBS throw away a big hit show that had the potential to make hundreds of
millions of dollars? Well, besides the
huge hit cable TV series True Blood
and huge hit movie series Twilight
being very similar and following relatively soon after, plus how interesting
the pilot it, the answer is absolutely yes!
Once again, CBS played it sage and lost out big time.
to say I like the pilot and feel the episodes throw out potential story arcs
that could have made this the next X-Files,
but that was a decade ago and we can now only watch what went wrong. Besides a strong never-before-seen pilot, the
nine shows that were made (you can tell more were being planned when the plug
was pulled), the cast is one of the better in recent TV history of cancelled
Fahey was good in the original pilot and is noticeably missing in ways you can
only see after viewing the pilot, but his loss was bad for the show, despite
retaining an interesting cats that included Lou Diamond Philips, Tim Matheson,
Mary Elizabeth Winsted, newcomer Paul Wesley, Graham Greene, Mia Kirshner,
Bruce McGill and even Sharon Lawrence.
It is interesting how it almost plays like Twilight without catering to young viewers, but CBS just had to
mess it up. You think they could have
tried selling it to Showtime or the like, so this tale of a town with clans of
wolves who in some cases, are much more is lost in the world of bad network TV
judgment, but having it on DVD is a plus sop people can see it and it is
ironically one of the few X-Files
imitators that even came close.
include Wolf Lake: The Original Werewolf Saga featurette and an audio
commentary track on the pilot with Creator/Writer/Producer Leekley and Pilot
Director Rupert Wainwright.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Tales
takes a 16 X 9 image and sort of sticks it in the middle of the frame with
black bars on all sides, so it is a visual mess and despite some good color,
some of the most bizarre (for al the wrong reasons, none of which have anything
to do with the storytelling) framing of anything we have ever seen on DVD in
DVD history. The lossy Dolby Digital sound
is poor as well with bad location recording where even the stereo might as well
other hand, Wolf Lake has its pilot
in a nicely filmed 1.33 X 1 frame with fine color and some good atmosphere,
while the regular episodes of the show are here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78
X 1 presentations that should look better but do not, in part because
atmosphere, style, visual language and color have all been paired back to the
detriment of the show. The lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo on all shows is professionally recorded and well mixed, so I
hope we get a Blu-ray edition sometime down the line.
- Nicholas Sheffo