Cameron: Anthologies are cool. Horror movies are cool. Despite this, I’ve never really been enthused about horror movie anthologies. For me a lot of horror relies on world building. It’s the slow increase in tension; the building of fear as I lose myself further into the movie. When there is less room for this slower build I feel a lot of horror loses what makes it scary. V/H/S, however, proves me wrong.
V/H/S has five separate found footage stories surrounded by a sixth story about some burglars stealing videotapes. Each tape they watch makes them realise that perhaps everything going on in the house isn’t kosher.
Of course, an anthology is only as strong as its segments – and the majority of them work. Unfortunately the first one, Amateur Night, leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully it’s followed by Second Honeymoon by Ti West (The House of the Devil, Cabin Fever 2), who happens to be one of my favourite new directors. 10/31/98 brings a little levity to the proceedings, as well as really ramping things up in the special effects department, making it a terrific segment to end on.
Summation: Horror anthologies can rule, especially when relating to dead formats.
Alastair: Film noir is something really unique. It’s absolutely fantastic when it’s done well – and a hilarious stereotype when it misses the mark. Given its dark and often foreboding tone, it seems inevitable that someone would blend horror and noir. Fatale, another recent addition to the Image line-up, blends classic noir with bone-chilling horror, creating a really high-calibre comic. It’s the best kind of horror, too – Lovecraft!
It’s no secret that Cameron and I are fans of Mr Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and I love it when his classic style starts to creep into the comic world. Written by comic stalwart Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Daredevil) and drawn by Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Marvel Zombies), Fatale blends suspense, cosmic horror and one hell of a mystery.
Fatale’s first volume, Death Chases Me, follows more than one narrative: in the 1950s, reporter Hank Raines Josephine [and] the ever-mysterious titular femme fatale. Before long, he is caught in a vicious conflict between a crooked cop and a secretive and deadly cult. In the modern day, Nicholas Lash runs into the same woman – as seductive and ageless as ever, and on the run since the 1930s. Both men are inevitably drawn to Josephine and the secrets she harbours – but they’re not alone. Before long, both men are running for their lives, decades apart, but both with the same woman: the femme fatale.
It took me a while to wrap my head around just what was going on in the story, but it all cleared up with a re-read.
Reading Fatale is much like watching a classic film noir story: once it hooks you in, you can’t look away. Brubaker and Phillips make an excellent combo, and set the stage for an excellent series. While Fatale is more aimed at a niche market, it’s still an excellent read; and if film noir is your thing, it deserves a spot on your bookshelf.
Written by Cameron Urqhuart and Alastair McGibbon