The unwelcome return of Megan is Missing

Megan is Missing is a 2011 found-footage film that at the time made most people who saw it say ‘this is utter shite’, before going off to watch better films that don’t exploit the subject as badly as Megan is Missing does. Made at a time when the genre was enjoying a small revival with the likes of Cloverfield providing a push a few years earlier. In 2011 it was rightfully dismissed while better films like The Poughkeepsie Tapes and the haunting Lake Mungo built up small, but cultish following. Megan is Missing found its place as a footnote at best in the horror genre and vanished down the back of the sofa of people’s collective memories.

Then nine years later it returns during the hellscape dystopia that we’re all living in during 2020 thanks to a ‘TikTok influencer’ which may well be the most 2020 way of calling someone a cunt that you can get. As TikTok is inhabited by kids with social media profiles made up of anime pictures, this means loads of people who probably shouldn’t watch a piece of horror exploitation trash are, and fuck me, they think the thing is real! Of course, they’ve not been hardened to years of watching horror and whenever non-mainstream horror breaks into the mainstream it’s always funny to see people used to jumpscares and creepy dolls shite themselves at the more exploitative end of the genre, but Megan is Missing isn’t very good but the director, Michael Goi, is saying with a perfectly straight face is saying this is an ‘educational’ film and giving out trigger warnings, which kind of defeats the point of horror films in that they should force you to face your fears.

So basically the lesson in all of this is that Michael Goi’s bank account is going to be fatter once this scare is over, a few kids might be interested enough to watch decent horror films and ‘influencers’ will carry on being cunts which I suppose is no lesson at all but this is 2020.

Anyhow, the film is online on various platforms but here’s the trailer in all its terrible glory.

From Hell is one of the greatest comics ever made

Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell is by far, one of the greatest works of comics every created. A collision of Moore’s densely researched writing, and Campbell’s densely researched art gave us hundreds of pages which on the surface is just conspiracy theory (and there’s a large aspect of the book which plays with that) but it ends up telling a story of class, privilige and poverty while humanising the victims of Jack the Ripper in a way you rarely, if ever see.

So although on the surface this is a horror comic which does not hold back on the horror, there’s depths normally unseeen with Jack the Ripper fiction. This is one of those comics you give someone who says comics can’t do the complexity of a great novel which is one of the most snobbish, elitist comments anyone can utter. As an aside I often find these sort of people are defensive and antagonistic towards comics because they find comics something they can’t read. Comics uses us a lot of the brain and if you don’t understand how they work, you’ll come a cropper, and in From Hell you really need to grasp the tricks of the medium.

From Hell’s greatest trick though is that it tells a damn good story. Like much of Moore’s work if all you want from it is a Jack the Ripper tale then that is exactly what you’ll get. If you want a deep tale about the nature of evil you can get that too. You want commentry on poverty and privilege you’ll get that. There’s a lot going on here and for me, I can come back to the book every few years and find something new I missed last time and that’s not something you’ll get from your typical Marvel or DC book.

If you don’t beleive me, have a look at what the Cartoonist Kayfabe lads have said about the first few chapters.

You need to own this comic. Go get it now and read it for Halloween!

How one comic collection changed the history of comics

Back in the 1970s the comic book market was slowly melding into place on both sides of the Atlantic, but it was nothing like how it is today. Dealers were still relatively few, and actual bricks and mortar shops were also thin on the ground or part of science fiction and fantasy bookshops. Problem with this is many of the owners of these shops cared little for comics but stocked them to help get people in and make a bit of extra money however one collection turned comic book retailing from a minor hobby for most and a living wage for a few into an industry. It cemented the importance of grade for collectors and made clear how rare some comics are over others.


The Edgar Church collection was bought by Chuck Rozanski in 1977 and while there’s various versions of the story (spun mainly by fans envious of Chuck’s find) the facts are consistent as laid out by Chuck himself in a lengthy piece on his website. Purchased for around $1,800 (which works out at roughly $7,900 today), Chuck knew he had a bargain not to mention a once in a lifetime deal, Today the collection would be worth $50 million and the last few copies in the wild were auctioned off recently.


Over the years the story has become myth & there’s many a collection that’s boasted to be Edgar Church pedigree, but in reality they were never of the same quality or number. And although big collections have hit the market in the decades since which did match the Church collection few changed the industry in the was this did.

See, without this Rozanski wouldn’t have grown as he did. Mile High wouldn’t be such an important company as it grew. The benefits of this showed a premium collectors market existed and the profits from this meant that in a few years MIle High would be pushing for what’s now called the Direct Market.  Had that collection been thrown out we’d be in a very different place in the industry.


On this side of the Atlantic a few copies of the collection made it’s way over here. You’d see as well some American dealers show off copies at conventions back in the 90s, but the UK suffers from having less Golden Age around so prices tend to be higher than in the US so for most of us these comics will only be things we look at in awe.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is the found-footage film that disturbed me


Back in the 2000’s things were all over the place for horror films. There weren’t that many great ones (the footprint of 911 cast itself over the first part of the decade) but as the decade progressed things improved especially on the independent film front. I’m a horror fan since a wee boy, so the odd gem that’d come up I’d swallow up like a hungry prisoner, and by the end of the 00’s most of the once-banned video nasties were coming out on disc either uncut, or close to uncut.

Tracking down video nasties used to be fun, but now everything was easy to buy from your local HMV or through Amazon. Then in 2007 a rumour flew around the internet about a film which was deeply disturbing even if it was a found footage film which even by 2007 was wildly overused and full of awful, awful films. The Poughkeepsie Tapes was a low budget film in the found footage/mockumentary style which was familiar by now but what made it attractive was it was bloody hard to get in those pre broadband days. Sure you could find it on P2P sites but it took ages to download, and when it did there was less than an hour of the film. It wasn’t until checking online that you had to use VLC Player to watch it. In short, it was a bit of a hunt to watch the bloody thing in an age when media was readily available at the click of a mouse.

Once I did see the film it was clear this was, well, fucked up. From the off the entire film felt wrong, in a deeply disturbing WTF type of way. Yes there were easy shocks but the entire thing uneased me and even the sometimes awful acting in these films washed me by as another disturbing set-piece came up. I can’t say I enjoyed the film, but I certainly remembered it afterward.

And so it passed into memory only to pop up in conversation during those drunken ‘what films freaked you out’ conversation you’d have. Then the other day this video popped up in my recommendations.

Apart from being a pretty good review of the film, it brought back that slightly disturbed feeling so I found my copy of the film and watched it again. Yes, it still disturbed. The crap bits are still crap. However, there’s that tone and feel that this is right, in that, the film is designed to make you walk away from it feeling like you need a shower which is the sign of a good horror film, but maybe not one you’ll watch over and over again.

So give it a go, but do it in the dark.




RIP Max Von Sydow

As a child, my image of Max Von Sydow was from staring at pictures from The Exorcist, as at that point I was too young to watch it and it’d be at least 15 years before I did see it. I saw him as an old, frailish man.


Yet when I saw him in Flash Gordon he was a relatively young man in all that film’s hot campy glory.


Of course, it was a mix of Von Sydow’s wonderful acting and Dick Smith’s still astonishing makeup, and so for a while Max Von Sydow was my favourite actor. I’d eat up all his films when they landed on TV in those pre-digital, even pre VHS days so everything from The Seventh Seal to his still remarkable Jesus Christ (there’s something alien about his version of Christ I’ve never seen since) in The Greatest Story Ever Told, my favourite of the biblical epics with Ben Hur.


There’s a ton of lost gems in Von Sydow’s C.V including the gloriously bizarre adaptation of Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf which simply has to be seen, preferably while off your face on MDMA.

1980 and 1981 saw him in some of my favourite films, including the mental Escape to Victory and Death Watch, a great SF film filmed here in a post-industrial, but pre recovery Glasgow. It’s a film I’m always recommending because it simply is a lost gem.

If I sat down and wrote a list of my favourite films, Max Von Sydow’s name would pop up over and over and over again in the credits, from Dune, to Dreamscape, to Hannah and Her Sisters, to Until the End of the World, to What Dreams Will Come, and fuck, even Judge Dredd has some moments.


A great actor not afraid to play in genre film as well as mainstream film, and one who was such a talent he made it look effortless, but it really wasn’t. Another one who’ll be missed.

RIP Russ Cochran

If you’re a casual comics fan the name Russ Cochran will never grace the same ‘geek’ documentaries or films that lay homage to Stan Lee or Robert Downey Jr, but Cochran is quite possibly one of the most important figures in comics who sadly died this week.

Cochran’s massive contribution is carefully caretaking, and releasing the work of EC Comics in formats which do the work justice. The giant hardback box-sets are the easy sign a comics fan is not just an historian but a lover of some of the best comics ever made.


Cochran was a comics fan who loved EC Comics, as well as the work of Carl Barks who started the entire idea of releasing comics in carefully curated editions with serious academic as well as artistic intent to preserve them for current and future generations.


These editions were, and still are, massively expensive but Cochran also released EC reprints in a variety of formats more affordable to the average fan.


Cochran’s contribution to comics as a medium and its fandom is immeasurable. These comics will teach you storytelling, design, scripting, everything and they’re great but for many in the 70’s and 80’s these were how people learned their first steps into the industry.

My dream is that before I die to have a full set of EC’s comics. I’ve got around a shelfload, with the Mad books being some of the most well-read comics I own. Thanks to Cochran making these things available maybe one day I will.

About the Resident Evil 3 remake trailer

The first three Resident Evil games are works of modern art. The remakes are extraordinary in they manage to capture the joy of the original games, and in some cases even improve what went before. Last year we saw Resident Evil 2 come out in a spectacular way as a remake and although the third game was obviously going to be remade nobody really expected it a year later.

But here it is. I shall be looking forward what they do as this trailer looks fantastic.

World War 3

Donald Trump is attempting to start a third world war by killing Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran, which basically means that many of us in the UK woke up to see ‘WW3’ trending on Twitter which is quite terrifying. Now there is a school of thought that WW3 has been underway for some time mainly fought in cyberspace, but this ensures things become as risky as although Iran won’t launch a ground fight with the US (it’d last a day) but one step wrong in the Middle East and we’re in a potential nuclear situation.

Of course those of us of a certain age growing up in the 70’s and 80’s are only too aware of living under the constant threat of nuclear death. In fact we grew up with it as it was carved into our DNA as we’d been exposed to the fear of nuclear death since before we were all born.

Then it all got better once the Cold War ended and we hit that strange time in the 90s up until the 11th of September 2001, but of course I’m only talking of people in the West. Most of the rest of the world was suffering some sort of strife and didn’t enjoy that time in remission we did.

And now it’s all coming back for all of us.  It might not happen but that niggling horror in the back of my head I thought gone is back, and we can only hope wise heads prevail in the months, and years, ahead.

My top ten horror comics: 2 : Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing is DC’s version of a mud-monster archetype that goes back decades in comics, and even further, but it is by far the best known as well as being host to at least three classic runs. The first by creators Len Wein and Berni Wrightson.


Wein and Wrightson’s run is full of Gothic angst as Swamp Thing tries to regain some measure of his lost humanity while fighting other monsters, not to mention Batman. In that story is writer Len Wein’s favourite ever panel of Batman and he’s not wrong in how bloody great it is.


Wein and Wrightson’s run is lovely old-school horror but it was short-lived, and followed on was a run memorable only for some nice Nestor Redondo art but nothing else. Swampy was a character who drifted for nearly a decade before a writer by the name of Alan Moore was assigned the book when it was one of DC’s worst-selling titles. Moore, along with Steve Bissette, John Totleben and Rick Veitch redefined the horror comic from issue 20 of Saga of the Swamp Thing to an extent where its influence hangs over comics today. Current best-seller The Immortal Hulk owes a lot to this title, and Moore’s approach in particular.

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Moore was less influenced by horror comics of the past, and instead took a literary approach assuming the reader could, well, read, and wasn’t an idiot. Very quickly the title crawled from the swamp of near cancellation to being one of the flagships of how DC reinvented themselves in the mid-80’s by producing a critical and commercial success.

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This run is simply the best horror comics produced by either Marvel or DC. Moore also slips in and out of horror genres so one issue would be a monster of the week, followed by a sort of slasher story, then a werewolf story and then something entirely from leftfield.

SOTSTv2 p110-150By the end of the run, it was hard to imagine how to follow it but writer/artist Rick Veitch took over the chores, and did so well until DC pulled his run over a story where a lost in time Swamp Thing would meet Jesus Christ.


But we were left with nearly 80 issues of classic stories, with Moore and company’s run being near perfection, and Veitch’s being high-quality work throughout. Sadly since then, Swamp Thing as a character hasn’t been served well (though Mark Millar’s run does deserve a mention for trying) which is a shame as there’s still potential there but to be honest how can you really follow what Moore, Veitch, Bissette and Totleben did?