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    Troma's most beloved and best-selling character (and official mascot), The Toxic Avenger – whose twisted visage has graced tons of movies, events, comics, cartoons, and countless other media – will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his big-screen debut next year, and the folks at Fright-Rags have marked the occasion (a bit early) by introducing three new limited-edition shirt designs.
    Toxie is one of their most requested designs, and now they're giving the public what they crave with the “Toxic Avenger Almost 30th Anniversary Limited Edition” line, featuring the three designs shown here.
    When they say “Limited,” they mean it: these shirts will only be available during a four-day window beginning next Thursday, June 13th at 10AM Eastern, and ending at 10AM on Monday, June 17th. The shirts range from $25.95 for the short-sleeve tees to $37.95 for the baseball tee.

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    Celldweller, the electro-rock band and media brainchild of multi-talented artist Klayton, has been a long-time favorite here on FEARnet, and our last visit to their dark futuristic world came in the form of a concert DVD/Blu-ray combo (details here), which documented Celldweller's promo tour for the album Wish Upon a Blackstar; that album also scored our list of Top 10 albums last year. It's been ten years since Klay rolled out his self-titled debut album, and to mark the occasion he'll be unveiling an Anniversary Edition spanning two discs' worth of classic and new material.
    Even before Celldweller was a thing, Klayton had established himself as a talented producer and multi-faceted artist in the world of industrial rock and cyber-metal, and chances are you've heard his music at some point, especially accompanying pulse-pounding visuals: Literally all 18 original tracks on this chart-busting album (disc 1 of this edition) have found their way into movie trailers, TV episodes, ads, video games and other media, and many of them have also performed well as singles, starting with arguably the most iconic Celldweller track, “Switchback.” Other high-profile songs include the pensive "Frozen," the wildly dynamic "Stay With Me" and the intense industrial epic "The Last Firstborn." The album is also divided by brief atmospheric interludes – the “Cell” series – each opening with the effect of cell doors being slammed (either shut or open... you decide). Other strong singles to be found here include “I Believe You,” "Symbiont" and "Own Little World," and all of them reflect the well-established Celldweller earmarks of sharp-edged guitars bolted onto pulsing synth patterns, highly danceable four-to-the-floor and drum 'n' bass rhythms, moody bridges and breaks, and dynamic tempo change-ups – with Klayton's strong melodic vocal blend of rock & pop styles standing firmly front-and-center.
    The second disc is a virtual treasure trove for Celldweller fans and any serious EDM buff; it's loaded to overflowing with new material, previously-unheard mixes and demos, and remixes by Klayton and his many collaborators and fans, all of which have been remastered, many for the first time. The collection is kicked off by the new track “Ghosts,” a moody and cinematic collaboration between Klayton and composer Tom Salta, whose work is well known among gamers for the scores to Cold Fear, Halo CEA and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. (You can hear “Ghosts” at the end of this review, via an exclusive lyric video.) Also new to this record is the frantic drum 'n' bass rocker "Uncrowned," and a popular entry from 2006, Klay's cover of the Bee Gees' "Tragedy" (yes, it totally works). Demos from 2005 and 2006 are newly presented, including the never-released cuts "06-06-06" and "IRIA," the electro ballad "Blood from the Stone" and the cool cybergothic number "Waiting For So Long."
    Also included is the symphonic “Dead By Dawn” remix of “Switchback” by No I'm Not, the winner of an online contest (in which yours truly also participated, but didn't make the final round); another contest winner included here is a wild remix of “Frozen” by Copy Paste Repeat. Klayton's unique reworking of "Switchback" resurfaces, along with his own remixes of "The Last Firstborn" and two versions of "Shapeshifter" featuring Styles of Beyond. Frequent Klayton collaborator and Celldweller touring partner Blue Stahli (alias Bret Autry) is onboard too, providing a glitchy, urgent version of "Own Little World.”
    It's a foregone conclusion this release is the ideal go-to source for old and new Celldweller, and represents all facets of Klayton's musical career – we're talking hooky, urgent electro-rock singles, massive cinematic instrumentals, club-worthy remixes and frantic EDM mash-ups, all collected in one place. If you've never heard Celldweller in any form (although I'm betting you probably have, even if you didn't know it at the time), this is the perfect launch point; and if you're already a fan like me... well, you know what to do. This one drops next Tuesday, and you can preorder it now through Klayton's own label, FiXT Music.
    Here's something else you all have to get moving on: it's time to spin this lyric video for the track “Ghosts,” featuring Klayton and Tom Salta, which today you can only hear right here!

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    Much is being made of the fact that Stephen King has—for the time being—decided to forego an eBook of his latest novel, Joyland. Several articles imply that he is no longer a fan of the digital format. Others argue that he shouldn’t get to decide how people experience a book, ignoring the fact that digital rights are separate from print rights and that authors get to choose how to exploit them.
    As illustrated in my first essay here at FEARnet, King has long been a champion of eBooks—an innovator, even. There was a digital version of The Wind Through the Keyhole last year and there will be one of Doctor Sleep later on this year. King isn’t challenging the format. He simply wants readers to have the retro feeling of holding a paperback in this one case. That’s what Hard Case Crime is all about, after all, as publisher Charles Ardai explained in an essay called Why Cling to the Past?
    Two other June releases negate the assumption that King doesn’t like eBooks. The first, released on June 3, is an enhanced eBook of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the musical he co-wrote with John Mellencamp. Then, on June 18, Coliloquy will issue Hard Listening, an interactive eBook by members of the Rock Bottom Remainders that includes an essay and a short story by King.
    Interactive eBooks are continuing to evolve. The enhanced version of 11/22/63 had a video of King discussing his research and an extract from the audiobook tacked onto the end. These two new releases take the concept to the next level.
    After years of escorting writers to signings and hearing how many of them were amateur musicians, Kathi Kamen Goldmark decided to form a group to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim. The Rock Bottom Remainders had such a good time that they decided to take the show on the road, as chronicled in Mid-Life Confidential. Since then, they’ve reunited from time to time to raise money for literacy campaigns.
    When Goldmark was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the group got together last year for one final concert. However, Goldmark passed away before the performance. The profits from Hard Listening are being used to defray her medical bills. The book contains essays by King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Matt Groening, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Sam Barry, and Roger McGuinn, as well as amusing e-mail exchanges among the band members. Who knew that Dave Barry had a brother (who was married to Goldmark) who is just as funny as he is?
    There is no print edition of the book, and the iBooks version for iPad is the most fully interactive. The photographs that illustrate it can be “popped out” for closer inspection and some pages contain embedded videos of on-stage and back-stage shenanigans. The clips are hilarious: King falling to the floor laughing at Albom’s Elvis costume, or him and Greg Iles being wheeled from the green room to the stage on a hotel luggage trolley. The audio clip of McGuinn performing “Sloop John B” with some of the band members should put to rest any question about their musical chops. Not all, though. Bruce Springsteen once told the Remainders not to get any better; otherwise, they’d just be another lousy band.
    The book contains interactive quizzes where readers choose who made certain statements or whether or not Scott Turow still has his spleen. After guessing, readers see the correct answers along with graphs showing how other readers and members of the Rock Bottom Remainders answered the questions. The final quiz involves picking which of four writers challenged to create a story in the style of Stephen King is the real deal.
    The interactive nature of the book makes for an entertaining reading experience. One comes away appreciating just how much this quirky little band meant to its members and the camaraderie they developed over the years.
    Last year, I wrote about the long road that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County took to get to production, and I reviewed the premiere. The all-star-cast recording, first announced in 2009, is now available in several versions, from a digital download that includes snippets of dialog to a hardcover libretto (script) that comes with two CDs (one omits the dialog) and a DVD with a behind-the-scenes video featuring King, Mellencamp, producer T-Bone Burnett and director Susan V. Booth. 
    The illustrated digital libretto designed especially for iBooks has animation, sound effects, video and graphics. Click on the sketch of the bunk beds from the cabin in Belle Reve and it squeaks. Click on the icons next to the lyrics and the songs play. Dialog snippets are accompanied by cartoons. Other sections feature Mellencamp’s hand-written lyrics, profiles of the contributors, a music video for the song “Truth” and the 8-minute behind-the-scenes video. The libretto contains a significantly different version of the text than what was performed in Atlanta. Scenes were shuffled and trimmed, and significant cuts were made late in the second act, presumably to tighten up the pacing.
    The album has strong vocal performances by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow. Burnett’s production emphasizes the story’s foggy, murky atmosphere. Some songs on the album (“Wrong, Wrong, Wrong About Me” and “So Goddam Good”) didn’t appear in the 2012 musical and others, like Costello’s “That’s Me,” were abridged. “You Don’t Know Me,” sung by Cash, was replaced in the musical with “What’s Going On Here?” Conversely, a few tracks from the musical are not on this recording, including “Lounging Around in Heaven,” “On Belle Reve Time” and “A Rose for Poor Anna.”
    One thing the album lacks compared to the musical production is the ensemble’s rich harmonies on songs like Kristofferson’s “How Many Days.” However, the haunting vocals provided by teenage newcomers Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz on “Truth” are perfect for the mournful and introspective finale. In the months leading up to the soundtrack’s release, Concord Music has been premiering tracks online via a variety of media outlets. You can find them collected on the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County website.
    It was announced recently that the musical will tour 20 cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast this October and November. At least some of the original cast members will be back, including Jake La Botz, who will reprise his role as “The Shape,” which is good news indeed.
    No one knows what the future holds for enhanced eBooks, but King continues to demonstrate that he isn’t afraid of the digital format. He might just use it to frighten you.
    Bev Vincent is the author of The Dark Tower Companion, The Stephen King Illustrated Companion and The Road to the Dark Tower. He has been writing “News from the Dead Zone” for Cemetery Dance for over a decade. He can be found online at Friend him on Facebook or follow his Twitter feed.

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    Scream Factory is just unstoppable this year, with another batch of summer Blu-ray/DVD titles in the pipe. This August, they're rolling out four more cult & horror titles: a double-feature set of obscure slasher X-Ray with the twisty giallo Schizoid; Larry Cohen's comic monster flick Q: The Winged Serpent; and alien action-thriller Dark Angel. Here's the full breakdown on each:
    X-Ray (aka Hospital Massacre), starring former Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton, was featured in our Be Kind, Rewind feature series, as it's previously been available only on VHS. It makes its Blu debut as half of a double-feature combo pack with Schizoid, a sleazy giallo-style thriller with legendary movie madman Klaus Kinski (as a therapist, no less!). The DVD presents both features in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and Dolby Digital Stereo, and the Blu-ray in 1080p high-definition widescreen and DTS-HD master audio stereo. Bonus features on this set include an interview with Schizoid actress Donna Wilkes, the Schizoid theatrical trailer, and an interview with X-Ray director Boaz Davidson. It's slated for release on August 20th (preorder now at this link).
    Larry Cohen's insane 1982 cult classic Q: The Winged Serpent, starring Cohen regular Michael Moriarty, David Carradine (Kill Bill) and Richard Roundtree (Shaft), plus a wicked stop-motion monster, gets the Special Edition Blu-ray treatment with newly-recorded audio commentary with Cohen, as well as the theatrical trailer and teaser. It's presented in 1080p high-def widescreen (1.78:1) with DTS-HD master audio, and will be released on August 27 (preorder here).
    Dark Angel (aka I Come In Peace) stars Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) as a Houston narcotics cop whose undercover investigation is complicated by an alien invader who preys on humans for their endorphins. Bonus features include interviews with Lundgren, co-star Brian Benben and director Craig R. Baxley, and the theatrical trailer. It's also presented in 1080p with DTS-HD master audio, and will drop on August 27th (preorder here).

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    If you are in the Los Angeles area, you may want to check out a special screening and panel for Holliston at the University of Southern California. Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Laura Ortiz, and director Sean Becker will be on hand to take questions after screening of three episodes from the new season. The panel is part of USC's School of Cinematic Arts' Outside the Box (Office) series, which presents independent, documentary, and world cinema with the goal of introducing greater diversity into entertainment. 

    The event takes place on June 12th at 7pm on the USC campus. It is free and open to the public. Visit the USC Cinema page for more details and to RSVP for the event.

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    Ever wanted to design a new creature to join the ranks of Universal's classic monsters? Well, now's your chance: in the run-up to this year's edition of Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights, the studio is offering the opportunity for aspiring monster-makers with their “Design a Character” Contest.
    Anyone interested in participating can enter a detailed drawing or written description of a character design based on Universal icons like Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and more. Note that likenesses of the actors who played them onscreen are apparently not allowed; only new interpretations of the monsters themselves. (Detailed instructions are available via downloadable PDF at this link.) If your design is selected, you and a guest will be invited to attend the unveiling of your creation at Halloween Horror Nights' red carpet opening night in Hollywood.
    All entries must be submitted no later than 5pm Pacific on July 1st, and fans can then vote on the finalists featured on the Halloween Horror Nights Facebook page on July 2nd.

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    Yes, the invasion of horrifying real-life monsters is still going on, and now we've come across a new creature to wriggle into your darkest nightmares: an undersea monstrosity called – wait for it – the “Sarcastic Fringehead.” Oh sure, laugh at the name, but this creature is not so much sarcastic as just really pissed off.
    As revealed in the utterly horrifying video below, shot by Jeff Litton of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with the support of United Global Environmental News Agency, this ferocious predator is aggressively territorial, and when confronted by a rival, puts a lip-lock on them that is anything but romantic.
    No evidence has been shown that these beasts are capable of climbing out of the water (unlike this monstrous walking catfish stalking New York's Central Park) to savagely French-kiss unwilling victims, but if I were you I'd exercise caution when swimming in the Channel Islands... unless you like it rough.

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    First, I have to say congrats to Grimm for making it into a successful second season, and getting me totally hooked in the process. When the show first premiered, I was underwhelmed by cheap FX, a flimsy premise, and a cast that hadn’t jelled yet. But I have gotten slowly hooked on the show, and when the second season wrapped up, I actually yelled at the “To be continued” card that ended the season.

    Season two had it’s share of frustrations; namely that Juliette had turned into a whiney, needy, stereotypical girl for most of this season. Sure, there was a reason behind it: the whole coma / curse / amnesia thing. But that whole storyline really felt dragged out. Similarly, the mythology of the keys and Renard’s involvement with his family was sparsely spread throughout the season. Luckily in the last four or five episodes of the season, I feel like we finally started to go somewhere. Plus, you know, zombies. Any show that can introduce zombies in an organic way gets respect from me.

    So.... season three. Where are we going to go? When we ended the second season, Nick has been zombified and locked in a coffin. This could go one of two ways: it could be quickly resolved in the season three premiere and the focus returned to the Eric-Adalind-Royals axis of evil; or Nick could be shipped off to Europe and the mythology could continue in that direction. 

    I like option #2 better. I don’t believe that the zombification is incurable like Rosalee says. Surely the Baron can cure it at any point if he wants. But Nick, being our hero, has not really faced any true danger. He is the almost annoyingly-perfect leading man, who can best any attacker, be the perfect boyfriend, and never leave a case unsolved. I want to see him get a little un-perfect, even if it is while he is in an altered state.

    Now I suppose the other main questions are: what is so valuable about Adalind’s baby, and what is so valuable about the keys? I suppose the royal baby could be good as blackmail or as a way into the royal family. I think there have been various “rumors” in the show about where the keys lead: immeasurable wealth, eternal youth, etc. So it can’t be anything like that. I’m going to go with... it is something that would grant the finder uncontested rule over the land or something along those lines. Power is usually the one thing that people will do anything to protect.

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    New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!
    Abe_SapienAbe Sapien No. 3
    Abe Sapien, the amphibi-man sidekick to Hellboy, is off on the run. He was almost killed, then spent some time unconscious in an isolation tank. But when we woke up in the B.P.R.D. headquarters (that’s his job; an agent for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) he wordlessly slipped out and is now wandering the country during a terrible monster plague. This issue finds Abe in the middle of a small town that seems to have gone mad. The residents try to lynch their priest, and a strange, monstrous transformation occurs.
    Bag it or board it up? For being such an intelligent and thoughtful guy, Abe Sapien the comic sure does have a lot of high octane action. There were explosions, giant monsters, fist fights, and shotguns in this issue! And the final panel in this issue is so artfully drawn and serene that it’s clearly all about balance for creator Mike Mignola and crew.
    ColonizedThe Colonized No. 3
    The Colonized is an action/sci-fi/horror/comedy comic book about a saucer full of aliens that land in a cemetery and accidentally reanimate all of the town’s dead. It’s a small town, a secluded, sequestered, independent colony. Now that cut off colony, without anyone to reach out to for aid, is in dire straits. This issue a secret stash of weapons is revealed and a new plan of hatched on the back of a runaway train.
    Bag it or board it up? This is a great comic that gives you a lot of bang for your buck (well, for your $3.99). The comic oscillates between slapstick buddy comedy (between an uptight bunch of aliens and southern renegades) and intense action. And it’s a great length, too! Check it out - it has zombies and aliens for crying out loud!
    Haunted_HorrorHaunted Horror No. 5
    Here’s another serving of classic, archived horror comics for you nostalgia freaks. Haunted Horror collects tons of classic horror comics in one thick book. This issue features a few sports stories (Baseball, Football, and Bowling), a story about a dragon egg that hatches a monster man, and an amazing story about a bunch of skeletons in burgundy robes called Valley of Horror.
    Bag it or board it up? This is a real trip to read. Some of these comics are amazing... and some are duds. The bowling episode in particular really cracked me up. It’s a story about a couple who get obsessed with bowling... and the results are deadly! It’s cheesy, antiquated, and a real dud. But with these classic comics, even the dud stories are entertaining as historical content.
    VictoriesThe Victories No. 2
    Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories is my kind of superhero comic. Presenting a cast of misfits and powerful do-gooders and do-not-so-gooders, Victories shows a lot of sass, attitude, filthy language, action, gore, and charm. It doesn’t hurt that the villain of this issue is a beast-man who can tear superheroes in half and starts the comic off by eating the head off of a beloved hero. This is wild, high-gore, splatterhouse fun!
    Bag it or board it up? I normally don’t go for cel-shaded, highly stylized artwork, but this comic is a beauty. The use of shadow and light in this issue is very masterfully crafted. And this villain, Tarcus, he’s silent. He just shows up, rips a hero (or twelve) into shreds, and moves on. It’s creepy and it’s right up our alley!

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    night of the cometWhen I was growing up, horror movies and popcorn happened every weekend.  I have three brothers – two older half brothers and one younger brother.  Naturally, I usually lost the battle over what movie we rented to three boys – they wanted all horror, all the time.  I gradually became a horror fan myself (and now I’m obsessed), and I attribute my early horror love to my brothers, but also to Thom E. Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet (1984).  Finally, a horror movie that was made for young girls – I had been lost, and Night of the Comet found me and made me a diehard fan of the genre.  Not only that, but the film showed several more times on cable television, so I got to watch it over, and over, and over again.  Released the same year that I was born, my brothers and I rented Night of the Comet on VHS when I was about nine years old; CBS/FOX released the first VHS and CED videodisk copy in 1985.  In 1990, Goodtimes Video released a second VHS printing.  You can get a copy of the CBS FOX version for $30.00 on, but there is only one copy left!

    A burning and flaming comet turns almost everyone in Los Angeles into a pile of red dust – the world is officially over.  The only signs of life are two surviving cheerleaders and a whole lot of zombies (another comet-related effect).  A combination of Valley Girl and end-of-the-world zombie takeover films, Night of the Comet opens with Regina “Reggie” Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart), 18 years old, working at the local movie theater while everyone else in town is in the streets awaiting the giant comet that will wipe out humanity and turn them into flesh eating monsters. Meanwhile, Reggie’s 15-year-old sister, Samantha (Kelli Maroney) fights with her stepmother at home, taking a slap to the face. 

    The next morning, the girls and Reggie’s boyfriend, Larry, wake up to discover a reddish haze over the town – and everyone is gone.  Larry encounters a zombie and is instantly killed.  We’re not in Kansas, anymore!  At first, the girls are excited – they hit the shopping mall, free from all of the rules that constrained their teenaged lives.  Then, reality hits them and they realize that they need to fight for their lives.  Both Samantha and Reggie step up to the challenge: they save the lives of a few other survivors, and they fight the zombies to the death.  Mary Woronov appears as Audrey, one of the survivors.

    Thom E. Eberhardt does a great job directing with an equal balance of suspense and comic levity.  He also did a great job interjecting several dark and hard horror elements for a PG-13 movie. One of the funniest scenes in the film involve a shopping montage which turns into a fighting zombies scene at a nearby mall, scored with a version of Cyndi Lauper’s biggest hit, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Beyond that, there are plenty of funny lines, and the most memorable for me, even as a child, is when the girls are doing some defensive target practice. Samantha’s Mac-10 gun jams up on her and she turns to Reggie with a sour face and says, “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis.”

    Recently, FEARnet spent some time with the lovely Kelli Maroney, discussing Night of the Comet.

    How did you get involved with Night of the Comet?  Do you remember your first audition for the film and meeting director Thom E. Eberhardt?  What was it like working with him as a director?

    I had come to Los Angeles for pilot season.  I was in New York, and I was working on a soap opera and I had already done Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but I didn’t know how to drive a car at the time and Los Angeles scared me.  I went back to New York, which my agent discouraged.  I didn’t want to do Broadway – I couldn’t do Broadway, I couldn’t sing or dance, and I didn’t really want to do daytime TV anymore because I had done it for three years already.  I wanted to be in movies, so my agent suggested that I be in California.  I remember being very happy hearing about the audition for Night of the Comet, and I thought I did a good job, but I went back to New York shortly after.  I got a call from my agent a few days later, and he wanted to know where I was, because I had landed the role!  I jumped on a plane and got back to LA as fast as I could.  I was trying to grow up, and I wanted originally to audition for the part of Regina, Catherine Mary Stewart’s role.  The producer simply said, “No”.   They already had Cathy in mind for that, but Thom E. Eberhardt had said specifically that he wanted “someone like that girl who played the cheerleader in Fast Times.”  So, of course, I was hired for the role of Samantha.  The producers told the director, “Well, we got her!”

    Working with Thom as a director was really wonderful.  He was very fatherly toward us.  In the living room, there is actually a picture of Cathy and I as younger kids, and the picture of our “father” in the green beret is Thom!  He was very nurturing and a worrier, and he had a dark sense of humor.  That’s one of his trademarks, actually.  He’s not wacky; he always has a social commentary going on in his work.

    There weren’t a lot of great roles for women in the 80s, especially in horror – and you weren’t a typical “scream queen” in this role, either.  Why was this role unique for you, personally, being a woman in a mainstream horror film?

    I really didn’t think of it that way at the time.  Vincent Canby, in his review, said that Cathy and I had a future in action comedy.  We didn’t think of Night of the Comet as a horror movie, and at the time zombies were not a distinct and popular genre like they were now…  we just didn’t think of it in that sense.  Actually, Cathy and I, as time went on during that film, we thought we’d maybe have to wear bags over our heads when the movie came out [laughs] because it was just so low budget for us.  I wasn’t focused on being a horror or sci-fi actress; I was focused on getting work, being the best actress that I could, and working on my craft.  That’s what it was all about for me. 

    Was there a lot of improvising with the script on your part – because your performance makes the film feel so natural – I’m wondering if you changed parts of the script so it would feel more genuine to the youthful, female audience?

    Not at all, there was no ad-libbing on my or Cathy’s part.  We would get our pages the day before or whatever, and we would read our lines exactly as they were written.  Although, there is one example of some ad-libbing; the guns we were using on set would often jam, which was really frustrating for Thom.  They jammed all the time, and it was a huge issue on the set.  Why did we have guns that jam?  Every time they jammed, we’d have to do another take, but we couldn’t keep stopping for that issue, so he told us, “Okay, if the gun jams again, just make a comment about the guns jamming, improve that.”  So, when I look over at Cathy and I say, “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis”, and Thom gave me that line.  When I said that, I was referring to Thom when I was talking about “Daddy” in the film.  That’s about the only thing that wasn’t written in the original script that I said.

    What was your preparation for the role like and were you inspired by any other actresses, performers or even characters you had played in the past?

    With Comet, I just thought to myself, “The whole world is gone, what would that really feel like?”  Looking at the bodies on the ground – that’s a person – that person had a life and a family.  I made it very real for myself, and that’s really how I got into character. 

    Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey (1957) was a big inspiration, and her relationship with Alice Brady in that film, the two Bullock sisters.  Thom suggested that film to Cathy and I.  Also, there was someone in my family that I used for inspiration.  I tried putting myself in her shoes and what it was like growing up with her.  You know, there was very little time to prepare for the film itself, so I didn’t have much time to stress about the preparation of the role.  My whole life has been like that, I find out that I’ve gotten a role – and then I’m on set the next day.  I would learn as I worked.  On Fast Times, I didn’t even know what “valley girl” speak was at all, I had to learn it while I was on set. 

    Night of the Comet had a very tight budget.  Could you feel the constraints of that budget in terms of shooting time, schedules and/or how the production was run?

    Ohhh yeah.  That being said, it was nothing like it was today.  I thought Comet was low budget then, but today, some films are made on such a shoestring budget.  I had no idea!  The last film that I did, I was in the middle of nowhere, it was super cold and they had one trailer for wardrobe and makeup and the trailer didn’t have a toilet.  That’s low budget.  We’d be shooting downtown at night, and standing outside of the catering station, and homeless people would get in line with the actors because they thought it was a soup kitchen!  It actually was kind of funny.  But here’s the tip off:  I’m standing there in hair rollers and a bathrobe – so actually, I probably fit right in! [Laughs.]

    You know, and to add to that last point, some people think that Comet is a cheesy eighties flick, but it wasn’t at all – we had a theatrical release, it got two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert, we were reviewed by Vincent Canby – it was a real movie.  It wasn’t a direct-to-video kind of thing.  Chopping Mall also had a theatrical release.

    What is your favorite memory working on Night of the Comet?  Any behind-the-scenes secrets or stories you can share?

    Well, I remember the first day, and remember we were all moving so fast, we were all having such a great time.  We were all very serious about what we were doing.  We were like an intimate family.  The first time I met Cathy we were instant friends.  The first day we were shooting, we shot in order for the most part.  Cathy comes home and I’m going to pep squad practice.  So, when she goes, “Look! Here’s Chuck!” I started laughing SO hard that I had to shut the door.  Thom wanted me to shut the door, but I had to do it because I was on the floor.  Even thinking about it now, I’m laughing!  I’m not sure why, but it cracked me up.

    You know, it all blends together, we were shooting so quickly… fans ask me about outtakes from the film, and I always tell them the same thing:  we just didn’t really have any.  We would do one take a comedic way, and then another in a more serious way, and then we were moving on.  That was it!   There are also a lot of rumors that I’ve read online about Comet, like apparently there is a nude scene!  That is crazy, there is no nude scene, and we never shot anything like that.  There was no nude scene; there isn’t anything that didn’t make it into the movie. 

    Comet was actually funnier on paper; I thought the screenplay was really funny.  The one producer on the set though, he wanted us to do one take that was more serious each time.  So, between our comedic takes and our serious takes, there wasn’t much of a difference.  We needed the film to feel real, to be grounded in reality.  The situation that we are in is funny, but that’s it.

    Were you and Cathy the best of friends during the production?  And I have to say, as a girl myself, I watched horror movies with my older brothers every weekend, so when I saw Comet, I really felt like – finally – a horror movie made for me!  I really connected with Comet because of you two girls.

    Aw, thank you, that’s such a sweet compliment!  I’m so happy to hear that!  I think people, especially women, can relate to my character because I play a regular girl – but something bad happens, and I am able to take care of business.  People want to find that out about themselves, young girls want to think, “Hey, if I had to, I could do that, when push comes to shove!”

    Cathy and I had to be close friends, didn’t we? [Laughs.]  At the very end of the movie, we were really close.  It’s not like we speak every day, but we’re still friends.  She’s a wonderful person.  Toward the end of the film, we got really squirrely because we knew it was almost the end.  We had a lot of fun!

    You know, there was one scene where we are sitting on the cop car, where the stores are open.  I worked on that a little bit and I thought, “What does it mean when no one else on Earth is left?”  And it brought tears to my eyes, it made me cry, I really tapped into that feeling.  The producers were thinking, “Why is she crying?  This is a comedy,” but it wasn’t cut from the film.  One of the producers really liked it, and he thought it fit.  Sure enough, when the film was tested with some teenagers, that scene that the producers thought was so stupid really brought tears to the eyes of the kids watching it.  The audience really responded to my character, and that’s why that scene is left in. Watch it again; it’s not really a finished scene, because they thought they were going to take it out.  It’s my favorite scene in the movie.

    Night of the Comet came out in 1984 and years later, it’s still such a fan favorite, a cult hit in the horror genre.  Why do you think this film has stood the test of time so well?  In your opinion, why do you think fan still fall in love with it and cherish it?

    Yeah, it’s heavy how much people love it.  I hear great stories all the time from fans of the film.  For example, one man told me about how he felt Cathy and I raised him because Comet was on cable television so often at night, and he would watch the film over and over.  People expected the film to be a B-movie, but we all have so much heart in the film, that Comet is really a surprise.  I think people connected with that.  The film really speaks to loneliness in our culture, as well, and I think that’s even more prevalent now.  I think we tapped into that, and that’s why people like it.  I’m not consulted on matters of remakes, but I do hear about ideas tossed around about a Comet remake, and I just don’t think the film needs that.  I would be happy if that never happens.  I don’t think Comet needs to be remade.

    What are you working on right now?

    Right now, I’m working with a friend of mine and we are doing a series called Space Cowgirl, and it’s a paranormal dramedy about falling through the cracks.

    I just want to express my gratitude that Comet means so much to people – please don’t be shy about coming up and speaking with me at a convention, because it really means a lot to me. This is why I went into acting; this is why I put my everything into Comet.  It’s so wonderful that years later, people still appreciate the film and resonate with it.  I never thought at the time that, years later, I’d be getting chased down to do interviews about this film, honestly.  Originally it was called Teenage Comet Zombies, so I thought for sure it would come and go.  The name was changed to Night of the Comet, of course.  Before the internet though, you could do a film and maybe no one would see it – and it would be a thing of the past.  Of course now, because of the internet, everything I’ve ever done is readily available!  But I’m so happy that Comet is available to a new generation of fans.

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    At first, he seems unsure. Hesitant, even.  His voice is coming out metered, measured, and his reading feels more like recitation than performance. Then, something astounding happens: he hits dialogue, and everything ramps up. Voices, it seems, help Michael Kelly find his voice.  
    For those used to listening to crime stories on audio, Kelly’s take on Joyland might be jarring. The narrators of Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder series, for example – Alan Sklar, William Roberts, Mark Hammer – explore every word as a threat, pummeling headlong toward finales composed of shock and sadness (only Block himself, on Eight Million Ways to Die, seems to get to the deep sorrow of the character). On the other hand, the more stately readings of both Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series (Michael Prichard, who has taken on Tom Clancy’s techno-thrillers with the same endearing seriousness as John Irving’s The World According to Garp) and many of Harlan Coben’s suburban tragedies (the incomparable Scott Brick) treat crime like literature, molding these stories of guns and bloodshed into narrative poetry.  
    Joyland exists in a different place, and rightly, given Stephen King’s refusal to let the novel remain in any one genre for long. King is used to this sort of balancing act in text, but on audio, where the story slows down and cracks are easy to hear, narrative credulity is crucial. Add that to the fact that Joyland is Michael Kelly’s first audiobook, and it might have been easy for things to fall apart or grow tedious. As it turns out, Kelly’s gently Southern voice is exactly what the Carolina amusement park story requires, even though our main character, Devin Jones, is from Maine. Kelly, raised Georgian and educated in South Carolina, grows more captivating as his somewhat laconic, somewhat hushed narration continues.  
    It’s important to once again stress his proficiency with dialogue. Good narration is sometimes undone by odd character-voice decisions (see Craig Wasson’s recent take on King’s 11/22/63, in which Jake Epping’s tragic friend Al Templeton apparently screams everything). Here, Kelly applies accents and lilts judiciously – gender, age, and origin are always tricky for narrators – allowing his voice to color the characters without overwhelming them.  
    It’s doubtful that Joyland will be Michael Kelly’s only audiobook, but because his voice is unique, he has to be paired with the right projects. John Grisham novels might benefit from this sort of reading, or those by Greg Iles. Or, if Stephen King decides to write a third book for Hard Case Crime – something similarly medium-boiled and sweetly nostalgic – Kelly might again be the perfect choice.  
    Kevin Quigley is an author whose website,, is one of the leading online sources for Stephen King news, reviews, and information. He has written several books on Stephen King for Cemetery Dance Publications, including Chart of Darkness, Blood In Your Ears, and Stephen King Limited, and co-wrote the upcoming Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. His first novel, I’m On Fire, is forthcoming. 

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    Sony announced that Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: The Video Game was coming to the Playstation Vita with an additional episode titled “400 Days.”  Thankfully, this additional content is coming to the games’ other platforms as early as next month.

    The DLC will be released in July for $5 on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, XBLA, and PSN, and will launch one month later for the Playstation Vita.  According to Joystiq, choices made in the original game will have an impact on “400 Days,” and these additional choices will carry over to the second season of the game.  Telltale Games’ Richard Iggo says that players can play the “400 Days” content without having played the main game, but Iggo advises against doing so for the full effect.

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    The folks at horror & pop culture blog Freddy in Space have done it again... last week we saw their concepts for old-school frozen treats based on classic horror characters, and their latest gallery will make you scream for even more horror ice cream.
    Artist Frank Browning recently teamed up with the site to create a wish list of horror-themed Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors, each one cleverly employing the famous brand's usual play on words. 
    The series has become the site's most popular, with thousands of shares to date.
    Fans of the Devil's Rejects-themed “Tutti Fuckin' Frutti” even include that film's co-stars: Bill Moseley has been signing prints of the image at conventions, and it's been shared on Sheri Moon Zombie's official Facebook page.
    These all come from two monthly posts (the first went up last month); they're all collected in their own gallery at the Freddy in Space FB page. No doubt more concepts will follow, so stay tuned!

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    Sony’s Playstation 4 reveal has been filled with a shocking amount of indie titles (most of which don’t really fall under the FEARnet umbrella), including the pun-derfully titled Ray’s the Dead.

    Billed as a spiritual successor to Wideload’s cult classic Stubbs the Zombie, Ray’s the Dead was originally running a Kickstarter campaign, which was quickly cancelled due to Sony apparently funding the project for console exclusivity.  The art direction looks like a delight, and the zombie-herding gameplay looks both accessible and fun.  Check out the trailer below!

    [Source: Joystiq]



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    One of the best things about horror film posters is the obligatory tagline. Some of them are catchy and increase your interest in watching the film, others are silly, some are unforgivably campy, and others are outright ridiculous. The best horror film poster blurbs, however, are typically a blend of all the aforementioned components. Many of our favorite taglines are almost a lampoon of themselves, but somehow, that has become part of the magic. It’s almost as if the worse the pun, the better the audience response. The heyday of the outlandish promo blurb was at its height when the slasher film was at its peak, but that’s not to say that contemporary horror cinema hasn’t brought us some dandies. With that in mind, we present to you 20 of our most favorite horror poster taglines from the 1970s to present. 
    "Horror has found a new home."
    This tagline wasn’t really representative of the film’s content – nor was the cover art - but both were completely memorable and completely awesome. The film itself is a lot of fun. We give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. 
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 
    "If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all."
    One of the greatest slasher films of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street sported an equally great tagline and a fantastic hand-painted poster, to boot. The whole experience oozes awesome. 
    Maniac Cop
    "You have the right to remain silent... forever."
    Maniac Cop was fairly average slasher fare. Bruce Campbell made the film more enjoyable than it should have been. The tagline, however, is anything but average. It showcases the hybrid of creativity and stupidity that was requisite to most of the great horror film taglines of its era.  Well done. 
    Return of the Living Dead: Part II 
    "Just when you thought it was safe to be dead."
    This sequel to the fantastic Return of the Living Dead is not of the same caliber as its predecessor. But, it’s not half bad, either. The film’s branding slogan rose above the quality of the film, itself. We think it was a stroke of genius. 
    Cheerleader Camp
    "Give me a K. Give me an I. Give me an L. Give me an L."
    This late ‘80s slasher is memorable for starring Leif Garrett, as well as for its misleading cover art, and ridiculous promo text. Though the film isn’t that bad, the poster art and slogan are far better than the film is. 
    Bubba Ho-Tep
    "The King of Rock and Roll vs. The King of the Dead."
    This Don Coscarelli comedy horror hybrid is all sorts of outlandish. It’s derived from an absolutely wild concept and it’s only fitting that it would have a tagline to match. 
    The Initiation
    "They pledge themselves to be young, stay young… and die young."
    Future Melrose Place star Daphne Zuniga plays identical twins in this sorority house slasher. The movie poster art features a co-ed who is also a candle. Like the poster, the film’s tagline is a little silly, but combined with the over-the-top nature of The Initiation; we find the artwork and slogan to be completely fitting and completely awesome.
    Chopping Mall
    "Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg!"
    Chopping Mall is a blast. The blurb and the hand-painted poster merely serve to enhance the experience. Nothing about Chopping Mall suggests that you should take it seriously, but everything about it suggests that you will have fun.
    The Prey
    "It’s not human, and it’s got an axe!"
    We revisited this flick for the latest installment of Be Kind, Rewind. As we said, before, it’s pretty forgettable. The phrase “It’s not human and it’s got an axe” is pretty unforgettable, though.
    "Buy a bag... Go home in a box."
    This 1990 slasher always makes me feel like it’s from an earlier time – like the ‘80s. The slogan is a personal favorite of mine and the movie itself is pretty great, too. The way Popcorn pays homage to monster movies of years past makes it a winner by our calculations. 
    The House on Sorority Row
    "Where nothing is off limits."
    The House on Sorority Row came out in 1983, as the slasher boom was beginning to wind down. It is an excellent specimen of a film, though. The sisters are wickedly fun to watch and the film’s tagline fits it perfectly.  
    Piranha 3DD
    "Twice the terror. Double the D’s."
    A blurb that is just as silly, just as offensive, just as mindless, and just as fun as the film. We find it perfectly fitting. It’s obvious that John Gulager had fun making Piranha 3DD and you should have fun watching it. But by no means should you look for even a modicum of deeper meaning in it. 
    "You don’t have to go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre!"
    Both the feature and its promotional slogan are derivative of the superior Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but Pieces is not to be discounted. It is a very amusing work of grindhouse cinema. The film has a certain giallo quality about it. It keeps the viewer guessing as to who is responsible for the seemingly random acts of violence plaguing the college campus within the feature. And, though derivative, the tagline is quite inventive. 
    Graduation Day 
    "The Class of ’81 is running out of time."
    We are suckers for a catchy tagine. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more than a catchy tagline and creative poster art to this picture. Graduation Day is another example of a film with cover art and a promotional caption that are better than the actual movie. This Troma film is B-grade at best. Tromaville has much better titles to offer horror fans. Click here for some of our suggestions.
    "The night He came home!"
    This is such unique and effective marketing text. The poster doesn’t even tell us who "He" is, but it makes prospective viewers curious and also furthers the positioning of Michael Myers as a shape or an inhuman entity.
    Silent Night, Deadly Night
    "You made it through Halloween. Now try and survive Christmas."
    Like Pieces, one could say that the catch phrase for Silent Night, Deadly Night is derivative, but it is also very clever. SNDN is possibly the most controversial slasher film of all time. It’s interesting that it stirred up so much controversy when films like Christmas Evil and Black Christmas predated it by several years and were also violent tales of Christmas fun gone horribly wrong. Regardless, we commend the film’s publicity team for referencing the success of Halloween and stirring up controversy with their tagline
    The Innkeepers
    "Some guests never check out."
    Like a lot of critics and fans, we assert that Ti West brought a valiant effort to The Innkeepers, and for the most part, that shows in the finished product. The film’s tagline could easily be from a 1980s fright flick and we suspect that was the intended association. Regardless of intent, the film’s promotional blurb is brilliant. 
    My Bloody Valentine
    "There’s more than one way to lose your heart..."
    My Bloody Valentine is about as bloody as they came in the 1980s. The MPAA was determined to make an example out of MBV and forced the censorship of several scenes in the film. The blurb that the poster uses might be a little bit cliché and a little bit expected, but truthfully, we think it was the perfect choice. 
    Dead Alive
    "Some things won’t stay down… even after they die."
    The bloodiest film of all time deserves an equally garish tagline. And we regard Dead Alive’s catch phrase as a fitting and highly appropriate choice. It’s always a bit of a shock to think that this came from the same mind that brought us the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 
    "Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders… and another one on a dish on his desk."
    Re-Animator has one of the wordiest taglines of any ‘80s horror film, but it perfectly matches the wry wit that this Stuart Gordon masterpiece so gracefully employs throughout the course of the film.  

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    Bayonetta was a hell of a lot of fun, taking the Devil May Cry formula and stirring in a sizable dose of steroids and psychedelics as player controlled the titular witch with an arsenal of acrobatics and follicular fatalities. 

    Platinum Games is revisiting Bayonetta in the Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2, and the trailer looks like the same sort of wholesale insanity that made the first game such a deranged delight.  There’s wholesale slaughter of angels and massive monsters, physics are looser than a post-palak paneer bowel movement, and Bayonetta’s trademark hair-based executions are back in full flesh-flaying effect.  Don’t ask me how they work, as Bayonetta’s once-flowing locks are now replaced by a close-cropped pixie cut.  Between that, the glasses, and all the impossible physical gyrations…I’ll be in my bunk.




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    Already a celeb in the Los Angeles club scene, self-styled “underground pop” artist Audrey Napoleon is rapidly making a global name for herself in the world of electronic dance music, thanks in part to the success of her single “#Mysunrise” (which accompanies a Heineken ad starring Audrey herself), a killer New Year's Eve performance with Deadmau5 in New York City, and a dark, stylish and sensual video for the track “Poison” (directed by Nicole McDonald, whose credits include the 2003 Marilyn Manson mini-feature Doppelherz).
    Audrey's new EP Ornamental Egos is available as a free download at this link, so be sure to grab it while you can... but first, check out this exclusive interview, where she talks about her creative influences, her spooky new fashion line for The Rodnik Band, and her many visual projects, including an upcoming short film/music video for the song “Dope a la Mode,” which will feature a bloody, Carrie-style climax.

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    Among the internet memes picking up steam lately is a series of photos featuring two infamous sci-fi/horror franchise monsters, usually depicted as mortal enemies (in movies, comics, games and so on), now fully reconciled... and frolicking like, uh, young lovers?
    Proving the notion that we really all can get along, the “Alien Loves Predator UK” collection was dreaned up of a creative team of fans who took their love of monster cosplay to a whole new level.
    Xenomorph players “Abi T. Xeno and “Alice T. Alien” pair up with Predators “Peyton T. Pred” and “Pedro T. Pred” (and several other friends) in a huge photo collection, compiled on the Alien Loves Predator UK Facebook Page.
    The various themed photo albums depict the former enemy species engaging in adorable activities together.
    They romp on playground equipment, sniff flowers, play games, ride motorcycles... they're just so into each other. 
    Even their favorite shared activity of terrorizing humans has been toned down – although they have been known to photo-bomb some social gatherings.

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    According to, Anchor Bay's upcoming 35th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of John Carpenter's 1978 classic will receive some major upgrades, including a new high-definition transfer overseen by the film's Director of Photography and a new commentary track featuring Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis.
    Academy Award winning cinematographer Dean Cundey is now confirmed to be supervising the new HD transfer, which will hopefully correct some issues that have troubled previous video releases.
    Carpenter and Curtis had previously teamed up for an entertaining commentary on Criterion's 1994 laserdisc, which was ported over to subsequent disc releases, but we're thrilled to hear they will be reuniting for a new track, which will hopefully provide some new insights 35 years down the line.
    The release date is yet to be announced, but we can safely assume it will arrive in time to celebrate the movie's 35th year this fall. Stay tuned as more updates creep in...

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    Archie Comics has been pretty much insane lately. They introduced Kevin Keller, the first gay dude to get married in mainstream comics. They did an Archie Meets KISS miniseries, in which KISS cures Riverdale from being obsessed with boring vampires. Archie sort of had a baby with Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. They have this whole ongoing comic called Life With Archie that has parallel storylines, and in each one Miss Grundy dies. Things are nuts.    
    That’s when Eisner Award-winning artist Francesco Francavilla did his one-off variant cover for Life With Archie #23. Francavilla did some really nifty retro alternate covers for Archie Meets Kiss, and this one was even more kick-ass. He titled it AFTERlife with Archie, and boy was it full of zombies. Bad girl Veronica crawling out of the grave, ponytailed Betty shambling about, and Jughead reaching his arms out toward a living Archie, his crown tilted on his dead skull. In grave-graveled voices, they’re moaning his name: EEAARRCHIEE!  
    See?  Nuts. 
    And then it got nuttier: in early 2013, Afterlife with Archie was announced as a new, ongoing title in the Archie Comics line. No, seriously: 
    A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this brand-new, spine-tingling ongoing series—but be warned, kiddies, this one’s NOT for the faint of heart! 
    Unspeakable evil! In an Archie comic! And not only that, but the second story arc is called “R.I.P Betty.” What the hell?
    Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the screenplay for the remake of Carrie and who wrote the fantastic 31-issue adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, will take on writing duties. “I was bummed when the interior of that comic book [Life with Archie #23] wasn’t about zombies,” he said, “and …  we all thought it at the same time: ‘Holy crap, a zombie apocalypse in Riverdale would be an awesome story!’”
    Francesco Francavilla will be taking his retro EC Comics style to the inside of the ongoing title as well as the covers, but like any Archie event worth its salt, Afterlife With Archie will have some killer variant covers. We here at FEARnet are pleased to bring you the EXCLUSIVE DEBUT of this awesome variant cover of Afterlife with Archie #1, by Andrew Pepoy:
    Stay tuned to FEARnet for all your Afterlife With Archie coverage! The undead come to Riverdale (and comic-book shops) October 9th!
    Kevin Quigley is an author whose website,, is one of the leading online sources for Stephen King news, reviews, and information. He has written several books on Stephen King for Cemetery Dance Publications, including Chart of Darkness, Blood In Your Ears, and Stephen King Limited, and co-wrote the upcoming Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. His first novel, I’m On Fire, is forthcoming.

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