No. 214 – Psychos A-Go-Go!

The Burning, Maniac Cop and Killer Klowns From Outer Space posters ©Filmways, Inc., Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment and Trans World Entertainment Corporation, respectively

Progs 20962099‘s (2018) Survival Geeks story Slack N’ Hash, written by Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie, and drawn by Neil Googe with colours by Gary Caldwell v a variety of cult slasher films such as The Burning (1981), [we’re going to assume that hedge trimmers are a logical progression from garden shears, and we’re also going to assume that “Maniac Fireman” is a logical progression from] Maniac Cop (1988) and, well, anything with a scary clown[1] in it – among others – and tropes and paraphernalia pertaining thereto

The most references to horror films are to be found in the archetypal cabin in the woods serving as headquarters to the twisted Final Girls[2], and features:

  1. Jason Voorhees’ machete from the Friday the 13th (Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros., 1980) franchise
  2. Madman Marz’s (Paul Ehlers) axe from Madman (Jensen Farley Pictures, 1981), or indeed a generic axe used in any number of slasher flicks
  3. Leatherface’s (Gunnar Hansen, 1947–2015) chainsaw from Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Bryanston Distributing Company, 1974)
  4. The baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire could be a reference to Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) “Lucille” as seen in AMC’s The Walking Dead
  5. Sharpened sticks, perhaps part of a boobytrap (undetermined)
  6. Large hooks on chains, probably from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  7. Possibly the metal spike that impaled Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton, 1920–1987)) in The Omen (20th Century Fox, 1976)
  8. Mounted wolf’s head, possibly from The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate Films, 2012) – but for entertainingly exploiting horror film tropes, well worth a mention anyway
  9. Hunting knife from The Prowler (Sandhurst, 1981)
  10. Sickle from Children of the Corn (New World Pictures, 1984)
  11. Fred Krueger’s (Robert Englund) arm with bladed glove from Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (New Line Cinema, 1984)
  12. Severed arm with hook, possibly from Candyman (TriStar Pictures, 1992), although this is a common weapon employed in slasher films
  13. Fishhooks on chains form Hellraiser (Entertainment Film Distributors/New World Pictures, 1987)
  14. Possessed mounted deer’s head from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II (Rosebud Releasing/Embassy Communications/De Laurentiis Entertainment Group/Palace Pictures, 1987)
  15. Hair curlers from a rather innovative murder in Sleepaway Camp (United Film Distribution Company, 1983)
  16. Billy Murphy’s (Daniel Norris) machete from The Final Girls (Stage 6 Films/Vertical Entertainment, 2015)
  17. Cargo hook either from John Carpenter’s The Fog (AVCO Embassy Pictures, 1980), or possibly from I Know What You Did Last Summer (Columbia Pictures,1997), but again, a common enough weapon in slasher films
  18. Cropsy’s (Lou David) garden shears from The Burning
  19. Jason Voorhees’ hockey mask from the Friday the 13th (Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros., 1980) franchise
  20. Billy Murphy’s mask from The Final Girls
  21. Trapdoor from Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (New Line Cinema, 1981)

The irrational fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia[4], and although its origins are unclear, some maintain that it dates back to 19th centrury works such as Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809–1849) Hop-Frog (The Flag of Our Union, 1849), Catulle Mendès’ (1841–1909) La Femme de Tabarin (Parade, 1876), and Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s (1857–1919) opera Pagliacci (1892), all of which featured murderous clowns. In the modern era, however, Stephen King’s novel It (Viking Press, 1986) is largely accredited with popularising the idea.The slasher horror film genre has seldom had good press in its time, but has recently undergone a more serious re-evaluation among film theorists and cultural historians, prompting discussion in both conservative (the inefficacy of sexual freedom) and liberal (adjustment of gender representations; legitimising female rage at male aggression) camps.

Having its roots in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s (1899–1980) Psycho (Paramount Pictures, 1960) and Michael Powell’s (1905–1990) Peeping Tom (Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors, 1960), the slasher film evolved quickly into the easily recognised formula of the isolated, masked male pitted against young, sexually active women, whose promiscuity – or even tantalising prudishness – triggers the killer’s murderous fury, usually based on the recollection of some past trauma.

The Video Recordings Bill passed by the British Parliament in 1984 – with legislation following soon after in the US – led to the labelling of many slasher films as “video nasties,” and however arbitrary and self-defeating that may have seemed to many, it did lead in the mid-80s to a decline in slasher film production and distribution of material deemed to contain “excessive violence”.

Subsequent films, however, which were to become known as “yuppie slashers,” like Fatal Attraction (Paramount Pictures, 1987), Pacific Heights (20th Century Fox, 1991), and the Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs (Orion Pictures, 1996), brought an air of respectability to the genre, and with the appearance of convention-bending slashers such as Scream (Dimension Films, 1996), Scream 2 (Dimsension Films, 1997), and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (Dimsension Films, 1998), the genre was back on track and open to a new range of possibilities.

Notes

  1. There are, at time of publication, more than 50 horror films featuring clowns
  2. “Final Girl” referring to the ultimate – usually female – survivor of a slasher film, eg. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in John Carpenter’s Halloween
  3. As it happens, there was indeed a very real (but non-homicidal) Bobo the Clown, performed by Chester Eugene Barnett (1903–1985), whose successful circus career in the US lasted from the late 1920s to the early 1970s
  4. “Coulro,” from ancient Greek word for “one who goes on stilts”

No. 200 – Fame in the Fifth Dimension!

Click on picture for larger image (opens in new browser tab)

Prog 2083’s (2018) time travel-themed Survival Geeks cover for the story Geek-Con (progs 20822086) written by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby, and drawn by Neil Googe with colours by Gary Caldwell v…

Click on picture for larger image (opens in new browser tab)

… containing no less than 48[1] external [non-2000 AD] references (not including the twelve monkeys) and taking two weeks of Mr. Googe’s time to complete

We’ll start with the main Survival Geeks characters, indicated by numbered red dots, and from there work our way around in a roughly clockwise direction; Twelve Monkeys‘ Jeffrey Goines is indicated by a numbered magenta dot and eleven magenta circles for the monkeys (two monkeys are paired, and one is located extreme bottom left, almost out of frame); everyone else is numbered with maroon dots [blue hyperlinks notwithstanding – anyone not indicated, including the weird sheep-type thing and a couple of nicely designed alien cosplayers in the foreground, are red herrings]:

  1. Clive
  2. Sam
  3. Simon
  4. Rufus
  5. Cthulhu Howard
  6. Kevin
  7. Geek-Con Rufus cosplayers
  8. Geek-Con Clive cosplayer
  9. Barillion sphere planet alien from Galaxy Quest (DreamWorks Pictures, 1999)
  10. Tyrell Corp. uniform from Blade Runner (Warner Bros., 1982)[2]
  11. Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) from series four and five (2010–2013) of the current run of Doctor Who (BBC Cymru Wales, 2005– )
  12. Phil (Bill Murray) with The Groundhog [or “Punxsutawney Phil”] (played by Scooter) from Groundhog Day (Columbia Pictures, 1993)
  13. Kyle Broflovski (voiced by Matt Stone), Stan Marsh (voiced by Trey Parker) and Eric Cartman (voiced by Brandon Hardesty) from South Park [UK site link] (Viacom Media Networks/Debmar-Mercury/20th Television, 1997– )
  14. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror (CBS Television Distribution, 1970)
  15. Spock (Leonard Nimoy (1931–2015)) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror
  16. Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) from the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror
  17. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from Back to the Future (Universal Pictures, 1985)
  18. Marvin [the paranoid android] (Warwick Davis, voiced by Alan Rickman (1946–2016)) from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Buena Vista Pictures, 2005)
  19. Frank [a “pooka,” by the way] (James Duval) and Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) from Donnie Darko (Pandora Cinema/Newmarket Films, 2001)
  20. Marvin [the paranoid android] (Stephen Moore, voiced by David Learner) from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, TV mini-series (BBC Two, 1981)
  21. Rick and Morty[3] (Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. Television, 2013– )
  22. Booster Gold (DC Comics)
  23. Austin Powers (Mike Myers) from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line Cinema, 1997)
  24. Samurai Jack (voiced by Phil LaMarr) (Warner Bros. Television, 2001–2017)
  25. Kamelion (voiced by Gerald Flood (1927–1989)), Doctor Who companion
  26. Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) from Futurama (20th Television, 1999–2013) [Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio) appears in the story in prog 2082]
  27. Turanga Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal) from Futurama
  28. K9 [or K-9], Doctor Who companion cosplayer
  29. Doctor Who cosplayer (based on Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor, 1974–1981)
  30. William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Orion Pictures/De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, 1989) [Grim Reaper (William Sadler) from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Orion Pictures, 1991) appears in the story in prog 2082]
  31. Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves) from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  32. David Freeman (Joey Cramer) with “Puckmaren” alien from Flight of the Navigator (Buena Vista Pictures, 1986)
  33. Spock from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Paramount Pictures, 1986)
  34. Lt. Sulu (George Takei) from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  35. Timecop (Universal Pictures, 1994) TEC (Time Enforcement Commission) uniform
  36. Soviet Superman [or “Supermanski”] from Mark Millar’s non-canonical Superman: Red Son (Elseworlds, 2003)
  37. Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) from Monsters, Inc., (Pixar Animation Studios, 2001)
  38. Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan) from Primer (THINKFilm/IFC Films, 2004)
  39. Makoto Konno (voiced by Riisa Naka [Japanese], Emily Hirst [English]) from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [時をかける少女 Toki o kakeru shōjo] (Kadokawa Shoten, 2006)
  40. Gabe Law/Gabriel Yulaw/Lawless (Jet Li) from The One (Columbia Pictures, 2001)
  41. Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) from Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (Universal Pictures, 1995) [and twelve monkeys (circled)]
  42. Ashley J. “Ash” Williams (Bruce Campbell) from Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz, 2015–2018), The Evil Dead franchise
  43. “Real life” Men in Black (Columbia Pictures, 1997) [image based on CCTV footage], conspiracy theory
  44. Lola (Franka Potente) from Lola rennt [English: Run Lola Run] (Prokino Filmverleih, 1998)
  45. Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014) United Defence Force recruitment poster
  46. “Titor Time”, referring to supposed US military time traveller from the year 2036, John Titor, a hoax perpetrated in 2000–2001 by computer scientist John Rick Haber[4]
  47. “Visit Taured,” a non-existent country where Andorra is located[5]
  48. Geek-Con characters
  49. The Time Tunnel (ABC, 1966–1967) Tic-Toc agency recruitment poster
  50. Steven, Geek-Con character
  51. Indred [sic] Cold (aka. The Grinning Man [voiced by Mark Pellington in The Mothman Prophesies (Screen Gems, 2002)]), along with Demo Hassan and Karl Ardo, originally from Visitors from Space: The Astonishing True Story of the Mothman Prophecies (Panther Books Ltd., 1975) by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel (1930–2009)[6]
  52. Jase Darkmater, Geek-Con character
  53. Diana (Jane Badler) from V (NBC, 1984–1985) and the reimagined V (ABC, 2009–2011) mini-series
  54. Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, alien conspiracist
  55. Geek-Con character
  56. Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) from Quantum Leap (NBC, 1989–1993)
  57. Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (AVCO Embassy Pictures, 1981)
  58. Polly, a 2.75 m (9 ft) tall, “Blue Avian” extraterrestrial from the “blue sphere” – she wants our seed, apparently – conspiracy theory
  59. Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil again
  60. Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage Books, 2011) by E.L. James, combined with Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) (Universal Pictures, 2011)
  61. Inspector Qui (Geek-Con character), inspired by comedian/musician Bill Bailey’s Doctor Who parody “Doctor Qui” from his live show, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra (2008–2009) at the Royal Albert Hall
  62. Countess Eternity, Geek-Con character
  63. Kevin (left) and [legs of] Overlord (right), Kevin’s alter-ego

Also referenced in Geek-Con, Doctor Who companions/associates (left to right) Leela (Louise Jameson), Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney (1929–2011)) and Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding)

  1. And there may well have been more, but copyright issues became a concern when it came to the branding of the Geeks‘ t-shirts on the cover, which were ultimately left blank – which also accounts for the distinct absence of Boba Fetts and bikini-clad Princess Leias usually to be seen at such events
  2. The Tyrell Corp. logo appears for only a few seconds in the film, emblazoned on Dr. Eldon Tyrell’s (Joe Turkel) dressing gown
  3. The characters Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith are based on Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future, hence the bemused looks
  4. Who was John Titor, the ‘time traveller’ who came from 2036 to warn us of a nuclear war? The Telegraph, 21 October 2015
  5. Based on unverified accounts of a well-dressed, bearded man arriving at Haneda Airport, Tokyo, in 1954, claiming citizenship of a country named “Taured”, and who supposedly vanished while under guard by Japanese immigration officials in an airport hotel, along with his Tauredian passport (containing multiple, official immigration stamps) and Tauredian driver’s licence, both of which disappeared from a security locker in Haneda Airport at the same time
  6. The song titles Your Heart is Like a Broken Bridge and My Love is Like a River Full of Presents appearing on the poster refer to the collapse on 15 December, 1967, of the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to Gallapolis, Ohio, killing 46 people and linked in popular culture to sightings of the supernatural Mothman; and the allegedly shared, prescient dreams of local residents of Christmas presents floating down the Ohio River. The bridge collapsed due to a cracked eyebar in a suspension chain link (initially a defect of 2.5 mm (0.1”) aggravated by poor maintenance and overloading

Sincere thanks to Neil Googe for his cordial and patient assistance on this entry – visit his website, while we here at HoH contemplate early retirement

2000AD Megaverse

No. 129 – Geek Wars

Survival Geeks: Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind graphic novel cover by Neil Googe (colours by Gary Caldwell) vs. Tom Jung’s poster for Star Wars (1977)

 

So why two near-identical posters from two different sources for the same film? Quite simply Lucasfilm panicked at the last minute and, approving of Tom Jung’s composition but considering it too dark, gave the job of brightening it up to Greg & Tim (1939–2006) Hildebrandt to be completed within the following 36 hours (C-3P0 and R2-D2 were added prior to printing).

The title Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind is an homage to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Columbia Pictures, 1977) [although there was also an episode of Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven entitled Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind].

Art director Tom Jung also features in HoH No. 31

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No. 120 – Cthulhu Howard

Bottom: Michael Komarck’s cover for The Art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos by Jeremy McHugh (Fantasy Flight Games, 2006)

Cthulhu* Howard from prog 1975’s (2016) Survival Geeks story Geeks Fatales (progs 19731977) written by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby and drawn by Neil Googe, colours by Gary Caldwell v H.P. Lovecraft’s (1890–1937) Cthulhu [not necessarily this particular image]

Lovecraft achieved relatively little success as a writer in his own lifetime, and it has only been posthumously that his work – particularly his “Cthulhu Mythos” stories – has gained literary recognition and garnered a large cult following that has resulted in numerous reprints of his short stories, and merchandise that includes Cthulhu stuffed toys. His work has been hugely influential in comics.

*Earns a place in HoH as it’s not actually Cthulhu him- or itself

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