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Rip and Tear: Revisiting the Glorious Insanity of the Doom Comic

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Sometimes it takes awhile for great art to be appreciated.

Take John Carpenter’s The Thing, for instance. A remake of the classic b-movie The Thing from Another World, the 1982 version held an unrelentingly grim tone and shocking scenes of body horror.  Both critics and fans railed against the movie, and it didn’t help that it opened beside Spielberg’s warm and fuzzy E.T.

This response is unthinkable now since The Thing is considered a classic, but back then it was branded a disaster. It was only years later when people rediscovered it on video and television did opinions slowly shift.

That’s just one example out of countless others, but time is the great equaliser and work of exceptional quality will eventually rise to the surface. This brings us neatly to the Doom comic from 1996, a promotional tie-in that few read and even fewer liked. The comic was initially a free giveaway at a gaming convention, before being included in an anthology boxset from iD Software.

At first sight, the Doom comic should be easy to dismiss. After all, it was just a cheap tie-in for a game and the artwork is hardly exceptional. But wait, don’t turn away just yet, for awaiting each reader is sixteen pages of glorious insanity. It’s a plotless, excessively violent descent into madness featuring the most incredible dialogue ever crafted for a comic.

While the comic remained obscure for years after it was published, it slowly started finding a fanbase who were drawn to how unhinged it is.  Just like the game, the “story” follows Doomguy, who is portrayed as a hyper-macho, one liner spouting death machine.

Doom pic 3

The term “So Bad It’s Good” gets thrown around so much it’s nearly lost all meaning, but if it ever applied to anything it’s this comic. It’s either a sly parody of childish action fantasies or the best example of one, but in a way it doesn’t even matter. The only thing that matters is it’s delicious fun to read.

Page one has Doomguy in the midst of a Berserk rage – which Doom players will know is the power up that lets you punch monsters into red paste – and is seen ripping out a demon’s spine. His inner dialogue reads “Who’s a man and half? I’m a man and a half! A Berserker packin’ man and a half!” On the next page, he’s gripping the severed spine, his face distorted with pure fury. He mocks the dead demon with “That’s your spinal cord, baby! Dig it!” before promptly kicking down a door.

The third page – where he confronts a Cyberdemon – has sealed the comic’s place in history. He states his desire to rip the creature apart, screaming furiously “YOU ARE HUGE! THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS! RIP AND TEAR!” He tries to punch it, only to realise his power-up has worn off. Then he flees in search of a gun, while the monster just stands and laughs.

Doom pic 1

That’s just a small taste of the craziness within, and it justs keeps getting weirder from there. To the comic’s credit, it does a decent job of recreating Doom’s basic structure. The Doomguy’s quest is to find the BFG 9000, and along the way, he gradually gathers more powerful weapons; from a chainsaw to a shotgun, and all the way up to a plasma rifle. It also features a line-up of classic Doom monsters like zombies, cacodemons (or as Doomguy calls them “BIG MOUTHED FLOATING THINGIES!”) and imps.

While Doomguy in the game has no real personality to speak of, in the comic he’s an absolute gem. He’s a Frankenstein’s Monster of every beefed up eighties action hero you can think of, and his dialogue ranges from corny to downright sublime. Throughout the story he appears to be in the grip of a severe breakdown, where he switches from internal to external monologues, even narrating a change of scenery with “Wow! Now I’m in a completely different place!

The credited writers – billed as Steve “Body Bag” Behling and Michael “Splatter” Stewart – were either high off some quality stuff while writing it, or they were going for a very specific meta tone. It often draws attention to its own absurdity and dials the madness all the way up. The best example of this is the moment Doomguy falls into a pool of radioactive waste.

Doom pic 4

He climbs out and ponders who left an open-pit of waste there – which is a fair question really – before exclaiming “Now I’m radioactive! That can’t be good!” He then gives a heartfelt speech about the environment and wonders what kind of world his children, and their children, will inherit. It’s a tangent that wouldn’t look out of place in Steven Seagal’s eco-thriller On Deadly Ground, and the randomness of it only adds to the fun.

Reaction to the comic is split within the Doom fanbase, with some feeling it’s an embarrassment whilst others embrace its campiness. Surprisingly, the comic has even made an impact on the games. Brutal Doom – a mod that upped the gore to apocalyptic levels – took a few cues from it, especially in the way you can literally rip and tear enemies apart.

Doom II for the Xbox 360 named achievements after dialogue from the comic and the most recent game includes the line “Rip and tear” in the opening narration. It’s fair to say the comic has had an interesting journey, going from barely read obscurity to beloved meme even non-fans are aware of. Every day new fans are drawn to it, and grow to love it for the exact reasons they probably shouldn’t.

Doom the comic may not technically be great art, but for sheer page, to page lunacy, it’s hard to beat. If that sounds fun to you, why not give it a try right here? It’ll send your testosterone levels through the roof, but it’s worth it.

Doom

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Vampire Hunter D: The Series Gets Writer For Pilot Episode

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard news about “Vampire Hunter D: The Series”, the CG-animated series based on Hideyuki Kikuchi’s titular character. However, some new news broke today over at ANN as they’ve reported that Brandon Easton, who is writing the scripts for new Vampire Hunter D comics, has been tapped by Unified Pictures to write the pilot for the series. The pilot will be based on Kikuchi’s “Mysterious Journey to the North Sea” storylines, which make up the 7th and 8th titles in the book series. Unified is making this series in conjunction with Digital Frontier, the Japanese animation studio behind the CG Resident Evil titles.

Easton told the site, “I’ve had to manage the expectations of three entities: the creator Hideyuki Kikuchi, the producers at Digital Frontier and Unified Pictures, and ultimately myself. This means that you have to find new and exciting ways of telling a story that has a set of concrete rules that have been fully established by the novels.

Meanwhile, the studio has also announced that Ryan Benjamin is taking over as the artist and colorist on the Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars series with Richard Friend inking the issues.

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Watching A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski Get Scared by Freddy on Ellen Will Brighten Your Day

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I was just researching the new Platinum Dunes horror-thriller A Quiet Place and stumbled across this video. It features the film’s writer-director and star John Krasinski getting scared by a man dressed as Freddy Krueger on “Ellen.”

It’s as much fun as it sounds, and I’m sure it will make your day. It sure as hell just brightened mine.

Give it a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

John Krasinski directs the film, which will be the opening night entry at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Emily Blunt stars alongside Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds.

A Quiet Place will then open wide on April 6.

Synopsis:
In the modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threatens their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

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Interview: Director Jeff Burr Revisits Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

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Director Jeff Burr was gracious enough to give us here at Dread Central a few minutes of his time to discuss the Blu-ray release of his 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Recently dropped on 2/13, the movie has undergone the white-glove treatment, and he was all-too-happy to bring us back to when the film was being shot…and eventually diced thanks to the MPAA – so settle in, grab a cold slice of bloody meat, read on and enjoy!

DC: First off – congrats on seeing the film get the treatment it deserves on Blu-ray – you excited about it?

JB: Yeah, I’m really happy that it’s coming out on Blu-ray, especially since so many people bitch and moan about the death of physical media, and this thing made the cut, and it’s great for people to be able to see probably the best-looking version of it since we saw it in the lab back in 1989.

DC: Take us back to when you’d first gotten the news that you were tabbed to be the man to direct the third installment in this franchise – what was your first order of business?

JB: It was fairly condensed pre-production for me, and there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the import or the greatness of it – it was basically just roll up your sleeves and go. It was a bit disappointing because a lot of times in pre-production you have the opportunity to dream what could be – casting had already been done, but certain decisions hadn’t been made yet. A very condensed pre-production, but exciting as hell, for sure! (laughs)

DC: R.A. Mihailoff in the role of Leatherface – was it the decision from the get-go to have him play the lead role?

JB: No – I totally had someone else in mind, even though R.A. had done a role in my student film about 7 years earlier, and we’d kept in touch, and I’d felt strongly because I’d gotten to know him a bit that Gunnar Hansen should have come back and played Leatherface, which would have given a bit more legitimacy to this third movie. He and I talked, and he had some issues with the direction that it was going – he really wanted to be involved, and it ended up boiling down to a financial thing, and it wasn’t outrageous at all – it wasn’t like he asked for the moon, but the problem was that New Line refused to pay it, categorically. I think the line producer at the time was more adamant about it than anyone, and Mike DeLuca was one of the executives on the movie, and he was really the guy that was running this, in a creative sense. I made my case for Gunner to both he and the line producer, and they flat out refused to pay him what he was asking, so after that was a done “no deal” I decided that R.A would be the right guy to step into the role. Since New Line was the arbiter of the film, he had to come in and audition for the part, and he impressed everyone and got the part. He did an absolutely fantastic job – such a joy to work with, and he was completely enthusiastic about everything.

DC: Let’s talk about Viggo Mortenson, and with this being one of his earliest roles – did you know you had something special with this guy on your set?

JB: Here’s the thing – you knew he was talented, and I’d seen him in the movie Prison way back in the early stages of development and was very impressed with him, and he was one of those guys that I think we were really lucky to get him on board with us. I really believe that The Indian Runner with he and directed by Sean Penn was the movie that truly made people stand up and notice his work. Every person in this cast was one hundred percent into this film and jumped in no questions asked when it was time to roll around in the body pits.

DC: It’s no secret about the amount of shit that the MPAA put you through in order to get this film released – can you expound on that for a minute?

JB: At the time, I believe it was a record amount of times we had to go back to the MPAA after re-cutting the film – I think it was 11 times that we went back. What a lot of people don’t realize is after Bob Shaye (President of New Line) had come into the editing room and he thought that it was very disturbing, and cut out some stuff himself. He thought that it would have been banned in every country, and it was banned in a lot of countries but so were the previous two. It was definitely on the verge of being emasculated before even being submitted to the MPAA, and I would have thought just a few adjustments here and there – maybe a couple of times to go back…but eleven? It was front-page news in the trade papers then, and I think that the overall tone of the film was looked at as being nasty. The previous film (Chainsaw 2) had actually gone out unrated, and with the first film being so notorious, I think it was a combination of all of that, and now even the most unrated version of this would be rated R – that’s how far the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

DC: Looking back at the film after all this time – what would be one thing that you’d change about the movie?

JB: Oh god – any film director worth his salt would look back at any of their films and want to change stuff up, and with this being 28 years old, I can look back and say “oh yeah, I’d change this, this and this!” You grow and learn over the course of your time directing, and this was my third movie and my first without producers that I had known, so the main thing that I’d do today would be to make it a bit more politically savvy. I had always thought that they wanted me to put my vision on this film, and that wasn’t necessarily the case, so maybe I’d navigate those political waters a little better.

DC: Last thing, Jeff – what’s keeping you busy these days? Any projects to speak of?

JB: Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple of movies that I’m working on – I’m prepping a horror movie right now, and then I’ve got a comedy film that I’m doing after that. You haven’t heard the last of me! I’ve had a real up and down (mostly down) career, but I still love it – it’s what I love to do, and it’s still great that after 28 years people still want to talk about this movie, and are still watching it – that’s the greatest gift you can get, and I thank everyone that’s seen it and talked about it over all these years.

BUY IT NOW!

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