#WCW: Drusilla, the Forgotten Hostess of the Vault of Horror

There have been many ho-sts by many publishers throughout the history of ho-rror comics, but the only GhouLunatics belong to EC Comics.

The GhouLunatics were the kings (and queens) of all illustrated ho-rror ho-sts, and they are known to those who tend to favor the gruesome side of comic books. Due to the popularity of both the Amicus and HBO takes on Tales from the Crypt, The Cryptkeeper is BY FAR the most well-remembered of the GhouLunatics. That’s not to say that the other two original ghost ho-sts (The Vault-keeper and The Old Witch) don’t get a fair amount of mad love, but they are still two halves of a whole Ringo. Ho-wever, if Old Vaulty and Witchypoo are Ringo, Drusilla is Jimmie Nicol, the man who was a Beatle for 13 days.

Even if you are a seasoned fright fan, you may have never heard of Drusilla. She made her debut in The Vault of Horror #37, the fourth-to-last issue of the series. In those four final issues, Drusilla co-hosted the comic with Old Vaulty, although she didn’t have much to say. Drusilla never had so much as a single speech balloon, but there was something fascinating about her… something profoundly peculiar. Her features were Hollywood gore-eous, but her eyes had a dark wisdom behind them. Was she human or vampire? Witch or ghoul? Nothing is known about her, but she must’ve been eXXXceptionally terrifying to be a GhouLunatic.

The Vault closed its door in December of 1954, so one can only speculate on what creator Johnny Craig had planned for the raven-haired ho-stess. She may have gotten her own tit-le, if the Comics Code Authority didn’t execute EC’s brand of ho-rror. Debuting only a few months after Vampira, one could argue that Drusilla was one of the original glamour ghouls. Perhaps if she had just a few more years, she could’ve joined Morticia, Lily Munster, Elvira, and the aforementioned Vampira as one of the great icons of dark beauty.



Drusilla may not have reached the iconic status of her fellow EC Creeps, but she has a special place in the cold, black hearts of us here at KH. With the recent return of EC’s Tales from the Crypt, perhaps Drusilla will get her night in the moon. Her time was brief, but wonderfully creepy. Here’s to Drusilla, the Mysterious Mistress of the Vault of Ho-ror!

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “You Big Dummy” Edition

Dedicated to Don Rickles. xoxo

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Salutations from the Carnival, culture vultures! Our dead-lining act is real wooden one from the demented dummies at EC Comics! It concerns a voice-thrower with a secret so shocking, it’ll leave you speechless! From the putrid pages of Tales from the Crypt #28, it’s The Ventriloquist’s Dummy!

Y’know, my fabulously freaky friends… horror dummies are a rather dull bunch. They either come to life to engage some rather tired terror or they play mind games with weak-minded. Well. our performer ain’t no dummy-dummy! This seasoned pro has an act that’s really FLESHED out! Impressively, for a monster from the ’50s, there ain’t a single termite to be found. Armed with a twinning secret, this old-timer is ready to show Today’s dull dolls how it’s done!

For your amusement and education, I give you The Ventriloquist’s Dummy!

Heh. How’s that for a punchline, creeps? I gotta HAND it to Larry: he kept his brother close!

Of course, with a yelp yarn this disgusting, HBO just had to take a stab. They got a Scream Team to Hand-le this one! Richard “The Omen” Donner helmed this doll scripted by Frank “The Walking Dead” Darabont. The late. great Don Rickles played the ventriloquist with a fistful of terror. As a terror-ific tribute to the creep-comic, Rickles’ voice-thrower shares a last name with artist “Ghastly” Graham Ingels. Don’t be a dummy! Check out this Chiller-Diller below!

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “Pranks for Nothing!” Edition

(Submitted by that Interdimensional Man of Mystery known only as…The Talker. Thanks for this festive fiXXX, Ho-rror Ho-mie! :)) xoxo

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Step right up, my foolish friends! To-day is indeed a rare one: April Fools’ Day. What a truly glorious howl-iday this! Ghouls and boils are encouraged to commit as many horrible, nasty acts to their “friends” and “loved ones” as possible, and the victims are just supposed to laugh it off ’cause tradition! Heck, lyin’ is grinned upon, if you do it well enough! It’s cruel! It’s mean! It’s a gas! Even your old boney Talker likes to gag around on this day! Why, about an hour ago, I gave a fellow a peanut can full of snakes… Cobras, that is!

If there’s any group of creeps who appreciate a sick joke, it’s the fine fiends over at EC Comics! Their joke concerns two doctors and a corpse that’s not quite dead. Puzzled, my abominable audience? See, I’m not the sort to spoil a good punchline, so I’ll let the comic tell this twisted joke. Chickens need not read on! With sickening artwork by Jack Davis, this one will surely knock ya dead! From the putrid pages of Tales from the Crypt #37, it’s Dead Right!

Still craving some jolting japes, folks? Well, good ol’ Horrorwood’s got ya covered! See, when HBO’s Tales from the Crypt was still hauntin’ the airwaves, they adapted just about every EC chiller-diller they could get their slimy claws on, including Dead Right! Under the new title of Abra Cadaver, the HBO skeleton crew made the men brothers and added some good ol’ fashioned nudity and a tinge o’ gore! For your amusement and education, I present Citizen Kane

APRIL GHOULS’!

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!

Happy Birthday, William Gaines!

A very Happy Birthday to beloved comics MADman, William Gaines! 😉

Bill Gaines is the groovy ghoul who published EC Comics, creating generations of wonderful lunatics! Gaines introduced light-hearted gore and morbid merriment to comics, and gave us a true comic book hero: The Crypt Keeper. If you prefer yuks to yuck, Gaines was also the man who drove us mad… by publishing Mad Magazine!   When his comics were under attack for their “questionable morality,” Gaines fought the good fight and spoke at the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to defend  his horror comics.  Some say it was a mistake, but we salute Mr. Gaines for having the courage to stand up for his medium. For making the world Madder and publishing the best terror tales, we will always love the Holy Heck out of Bill Gaines! 🙂 xoxo

For all you EC Fan-Addicts out there, check out this segment from the Horror Hall of Fame with Gaines himself:

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “Heartbreaker” Edition

(Submitted by that Super Mysterious Man o’ Mystery known only as “The Talker”…Thanks, you Magically Mysterious Manster, you!! 😉 xoxo)

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Gather ’round, gather ’round!  It’s time to take a ride on our dilapidated, safety-violating Tunnel of Love here at The Carnival! Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us, so your humble Talker is here to break your heart in two with another Clas-Sick from the certifiable creeps at EC Comics! This time, we’re going to peak under the tent and take a look at Poetic Justice, a vicious Valentine’s Day tale that’ll make you puke up your candy hearts!!

Poetic Justice is a pure EC story in every sense of the word. You have some really nasty fellows picking on a saint of a man to the point of his death… and some EC-style vegeance from beyond the grave. “Ghastly” Graham Ingels’ delivers on the “Ghastly” goods, with drippy corpses that ooze off of the page. What we have here is a compact little chiller-diller with a gloriously sick punchline that’ll stop your heart… but then I’ve said too much! Get ready for an arrow through the heart, ’cause this is  Poetic Justice!

If you sickos are still craving some Valentine’s violence, allow me to offer forth this grisly gem from Amicus’ 1972 take of Tales from The Crypt. You get the same tawdry tale… but with terror titan Peter Cushing, in the role he was born to play… a zombie! Get a mop, folks… this one gets real messy at the end! For your amusement and education, I present to you Amicus’ Poetic Justice!

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!

Creepy Comic Carnival: The “Mummy and Deady” Edition

(Presenting a brand spanking new feature, submitted by a newcummer here who chooses only to be known as “The Talker”…Thanks and welcum, you wonderfully weirdwordsmith, you! 😉 xoxo)

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“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please!
Come in close, so everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell.
A listen don’t cost a dime..
..And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine!”

Step right up, my freakish friends! Don’t be shy! Ready your barf bags and prepare to have your gray matter scrambled like eggs! Have I got a classic creeper to plague and mystify you! I’m your humble host, the Talker, with a Still Show stocked with the most hopelessly corrupt comic carnage your mama doesn’t want you to read!   This fearsome fairground fare is a comic origin of a “hero” I can really sink my teeth into! You are about to witness the origin of a “man” so wicked and vile, they gave him his own television show! From the pages of Tales from the Crypt #33, it’s the horror of Lower BerthI If you have a heart condition, please be warned!

LowerBerth9Our featured exhibition comes from the wilds of pre-code EC Comics all the way back in 1953! This fright fest deals with that most noble of attractions, the sideshow! What we have is a beautiful love story that reveals what happens when a two-headed sideshow freak and a mummy get together and do the horizontal Monster Mash! Romance is undead and well! The man behind the atrociously awe-inspiring art is Mr. Jack Davis, the legendary lunatic who would go on to work for the usual gang of idiots at MAD Magazine. What makes this particular tale so darn memorable is that it reveals to us the origin of that original Master of Scaremonies, The Crypt Keeper! For your amusement and education, I present to you Lower Berth!

 

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Doesn’t it just do your heart good to read a really beautiful love story, folks? That baby Crypt Keeper sure was a cutie! Being the classic that was, Ol’ Hollyweird just couldn’t keep their fleshy fingers off of it, resulting in this 1990 episode of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt! Directed by the same Kevin Yagher that gave Freddy and Chucky their good looks and written by Fred “Monster Squad” Dekker, this retelling keeps things real freaky-deaky, just the way we like it here! Give the man your grimy little dime, if you haven’t done so already! This is a 2-in-1 show like no other! Ladies and Gentleman, HBO’s Lower Berth!

Sorry, Folks! The Carnival is closed. All Out and Over, All Out, All Over!

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#FBF: The Evil-lution of “And All Through The House…”

(It’s just not Cryptmas without a look back at this Ho-rrorday Cl-ass-ic…Submitted by Anton Phibes. Thanks, you festive fella, you!! 😉 xoxo)

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December… That it was time to begin our Ghoultide Celebration! To most fright fans, the festival of Christmas is as sacred as Halloween. After all, this is the time of Grinches, Krampus, and other mythical creatures. We tend to celebrate this time of year in our own inimitable way. ‘Tis the season to be scary, after all! We’ll kick off this slayride by discussing a classic Holiday tale, “…And All Through The House!”

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“…And All Through the House” first appeared in “Vault of Horror #35,” and it may just be the single most famous terror tale those GhouLunatics at EC every devised. illustrated by legendary artist Johnny Craig, it is the story of an adulterous murderess and a mental asylum escapee dressed as St. Nick. As always with EC, this putrid shocker ends with a wonderfully morbid punchline. What makes it great is that it builds tension in only a few pages, and ends with a terrific black-as-coal final panel. Not only is it a wonderful chiller, it may also be one of the first horror stories in media to depict a murderous Santa, now a trope in horror fiction. For those who haven’t read this classic, you can read that poisoned chestnut below:

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So popular was the story that when Milton Subotsky and Freddie Francis made their adaptation of Tales from the Crypt in 1972, And All Through the House was the first segment. Joan Collins stars as the adulteress who learns that Santa ain’t as jolly as one might think. I have a soft spot for this one. The maniac in this one has almost a melancholic quality and the blood is a wonderfully bright mix that makes me think of my beloved Hammer Horror films. Not bad, but the next version is so good, it’s become a classic to people who have never even read an EC comic…

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In 1989, producers Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, David Geffen and Robert Zemeckis lauched the horror anthology series Tales From the Crypt for HBO, featuring the beloved Cryptkeeper, a creature far removed in appearance to his comic counterpart, but alike in his corn-on-the-macabre attitude. (HA!! Good one!! -D.P.)

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The first episode produced was a new version of”…And All Through the House” written by Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad) and directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit).In this take, the great Larry Drake of Darkman and Dr. Giggles fame stars as the Kreep Kringle from the asylum. Unlike the 1972 version, this one feels very much like an EC story, with over-the-top gruesomeness, Hitchcockian suspense, and a gleeful blak humor to it. As it stands, I don’t think anyone could top this small-screen classic.

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Any of these takes are just the ticket for the horror fan to start the season with. Merry Christmas, and don’t let anyone in, no matter how rosy his cheeks are.