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RUE MORGUE #6: Blood in four Colours

Launched in 1997 by Rodrigo Gudiño, RUE MORGUE is the world’s leading horror in culture and entertainment brand, spearheaded by its multiple award-winning magazine, RUE MORGUE and RUE MORGUE DIGITAL; RUE MORGUE TV specialty horror channel; RUE MORGUE LIBRARY book series; RUE MORGUE PRESENTS FRIGHTMARE IN THE FALLS horror expo and RUE MORGUE PRESENTS CINEMACABRE MOVIE NIGHTS monthly film series.

MARRS Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min

AS A CHILD GROWING UP IN THE 1970S, MY EXPOSURE TO THE HORROR GENRE WAS LIMITED, to say the least. A Restricted rating in Ontario meant that even with the aid of an adult, there was no way I was entering the cinema to see Halloween. As for television, in those barren days before home video or pay channels, the scariest thing I was likely to see was Goober and the Ghost Chasers. Sure, I’d occasionally stumble upon a horror flick on the tube, but these were heavily edited and, at any rate, they aired way past my bedtime. No, my earliest horror memories sprang from the local 7-Eleven comic book spinner rack. Here was a world that any six-year-old could easily enter. After all, most parents equated comic books with…

5 min
1930s and ’ 40s: shudder pulps

BEFORE COMIC BOOKS, THERE WAS PULP FICTION. BACK IN THE DAYS OF BREAD LINES AND HOBO JUNGLES, millions of readers found escapist thrills in the pages of cheaply produced magazines printed on rough pulpwood paper. Known as “the pulps,” these all-fiction titles catered to every imaginable reading taste, from detective yarns to pirate stories, from jungle adventures to science fiction and even romance. But the wildest of them all were the notorious horror tomes known collectively as the shudder pulps. The so-called “shudder” or “weird menace” titles were a blood-red splash of colour in the grey days of the Great Depression. They announced their monthly wares with circus poster-style covers featuring voluptuous, underdressed beauties pursued by hordes of leering lunatics as bent as boomerangs. Their promise: cheap thrills, and plenty of…

7 min
golden age batman

FOR MANY, FILMS SUCH AS TIM BURTON’S BATMAN (1989) AND CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S The Dark Knight (2008) came as something of a revelation. Those movies served to dispel popular notions of the Caped Crusader as a gadget-happy, wisecracking crimebuster. Suddenly Gotham City was darker, grittier and a lot more horrific. While this was nothing new to those who had been reading his comic exploits on a regular basis, the emergence of the Dark Knight was a shock for viewers who were familiar with the character solely through Adam West’s 1960s TV interpretation. While Burton in particular had been clearly influenced by such seminal ’80s books as Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, the retro design of his first Batman film indicates he was also turning his…

2 min
return to form

WHEN THE COMICS CODE AUTHORITY WENT INTO EFFECT in 1954, it was the final nail in the coffin for Batman’s first era of horror-centric storylines and characters. Gotham found itself stripped of its dark undertones, and the Caped Crusader essentially became Superman without the powers. His opponents lost their bite, too, and the ’50s saw a subdued Rogues’ Gallery that opted for mischief over mayhem. Just as Kane and Finger drew their inspirations from the films of the time, the writers of the ’50s looked to the growing sci-fi movie boom, and soon Batman was fighting three-headed monsters from outer space. The ’60s then saw Batman turn groovy and campy – though ironically reaching new levels of popularity. But the original Dark Knight wasn’t dead; he was merely biding his time. The…

11 min
the crypt never closes

WHEN 25-YEAR-OLD BILL GAINES WAS UNEXPECTEDLY THRUST INTO THE ROLE OF publisher and co-editor at EC Comics, he couldn’t have been less interested – after all, these cheap, gaudy newsprint publications were kids’ stuff, right? Not always, it turns out, as Gaines’ early indifference eventually turned into passion, thanks to the gory potential of a pen-and-ink army of shuffling corpses. In just a few years, EC’s trend-setting, adult-minded titles – including Tales From the Crypt – built the company into one of the most influential publishers of the decade. Although Tales From the Crypt and EC Comics’ other horror publications spent a mere five years on newsstands after being introduced in 1950, the groundbreaking titles have been consistently revived in some form every decade since their publication, in everything from reprinted…

2 min
tales from the screen

MUCH OF THE CONTINUED POPULARITY OF EC COMICS HAS TO do with the film and television adaptations, which brought EC’s trademark style to many viewers who would have never even considered reading the comics. In 1972, British studio Amicus Films made Tales From the Crypt, a horror anthology starring Joan Collins and Peter Cushing that featured five segments based on stories from the EC horror title. The film starred venerable British stage actor Ralph Richardson as the Crypt Keeper, who tells five lost tourists how they will die. A sequel, The Vault of Horror, was released the following year with five more spooky stories. In the 1980s, the George A. Romero/Stephen King project Creepshow, which featured poster artwork by Jack Kamen, was also highly influenced by EC Comics’ shocking, gory style. The franchise…