Monster Monday: Mr Swivel from Colder: The Bad Seed, by Paul Tobin & Juan Ferreyra

Comics are fast becoming our favourite way of consuming quality horror on the Haunted Eyeball. Our latest crush is the newish series ‘Colder’. The introduction to the first collected volumes run like this:

Declan Thomas is an ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person’s madness—and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him.

However, what got our attention was this character from Colder: The Bad Seed. The terrifying Swivel is a very particular variety of monster with a chilling speciality…

It gets worse...

It gets worse…

Just looking at him is enough to make you shit kittens. But it gets worse. Swivel collects human fingers and isn’t too particular about whether you’re still attached to them. Yeah. Most issues from The Bad Seed open with him, er, ‘harvesting’ from hapless people who are innocently hailing taxis or walking dogs. Swivel might just make you careful where you waggle your most useful appendages from now on. *waves*

Swivel's mini-scythe has devastating effectiveness.

Swivel’s mini-scythe is devastatingly effective. *shits kittens*

That said, there’s a brilliant moment where he and his little mouth-fingers (still with us?) delicately remove a splinter from a little girl’s pinkie. Think it’s actually our favourite bit.

mm - Colder splinter swivel 6 panel

The guy just really, really loves himself some good quality fingers. Not your usual Eldritch being, right? The guy is a true aesthete…of fingers. Yeah. Shudder.

Colder is weird and troubling and truly insane. So naturally, we highly recommend that Eyeballers get hold of Colder volume 1 and volume 2: The Bad Seed, as soon as possible! If you love gorgeously upsetting visuals, this is for you.

Oh, and this is the cover for Colder: Volume 1. It’s awesome. It’s also terrifying. So you’ve been warned. Firstly, we present a kitten. If you scroll down further down than the kitten well,  just don’t have nightmares:

Don't scroll down don't scroll down just think about the kitten...

Don’t scroll down – don’t scroll down  – just think about the kitten…

Ready?

Issue 1 doesn't have Swivel and his fingers. But it's still freakin' weird. Also recommended.

Issue 1 doesn’t have Swivel and his fingers. But it’s still freakin’ weird. Also recommended.

Yeah. Would you like some brain bleach? Come back next time, y’all 🙂

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Review: Dark Passage by Griffin Hayes

Tyson’s nightmares are overwhelming him, fracturing his mind, his family life and his business. In a final, desperate measure he takes on a clinical trial of a new drug, allegedly designed to aid his sleep, which soon reveals some rather grim side effects. At first, things seem to be going well and it brings him considerable benefits. However, nothing is quite what it seems, least of all his encroaching nightmares and the real source of his problems. We reckon it’s not exactly what the reader will expect either.

This unpredictability made Dark Passagea very compelling read. While at first it appears to be a typical thriller outline, and the order of character deaths are not really going to shock you, there were enough curveballs in the mix to keep us pushing on to the next chapter, eager to get to the next scene and chew on the next crumb of information. As we said, it’s not quite clear what’s going on until it all clicks near the end. Another character attempting to make sense of insanity is the ambitious, and obsessive, Doctor Hunter, and he is nicely woven into the uncanny web of Tyson’s problems.

The tightly written characters were a pleasing range between banal, brave and pure evil. Really, really evil. But it’s also great to have a real hero to root for amidst all the horror, and Tyson was a very likeable lead. Your eyelids will ache in sympathy as he battles his sleepless state, attempting to dodge his debilitating dreams. It was very easy to get behind him as the awful truth emerges, and the battles against his nightmares become increasingly lethal.

From its sinister opening chapter, to a rather clever finale, this was a solid horror thriller that made great use of some very surreal twists. We were thoroughly hooked on the story, from its unsettling start, all the way up to an unexpectedly heart breaking conclusion. Vividly written (although we’d still love to see a graphic novel version), if you enjoy well-written action, not-entirely gratuitous gore, and freaky monsters from Beyond (and who doesn’t?), then Dark Passage is very definitely for you.

Strongly recommended.

The Eyeball picked up Dark Passage in January during a Kindle sale.

Griffin Hayes – related links Blog: griffin-hayes.blogspot.com Twitter: @griffin_hayes Griffin’s spooky mailing list (excellent image on the site)! Facebook Goodreads Find Dark Passage on  Amazon.com Amazon author page

DRIP (1996) Short film. Dir. Steven Gomez

Yes, another short horror film from youtube,  only this time I’ve sought it out deliberately. It took a bit of finding, too. I can remember catching this on a very late night Channel 4 screening, according to imdb it was in 1996. Jeez, quite a while back then.

Anyway, the story itself should be familiar to anyone who’s been told scary stories by sadistic older kids growing up, or who takes even a passing interest in urban legends. The YouTube video of this which I’ve posted below is a bit grainy but otherwise not bad.

I ask you to give it a chance, in a dark room fairly late at night, and see what you think. I found a large but not full screen version the best way of viewing this.

SPOILERS AND ANALYSIS

I remember ‘Drip’ being a lot scarier, actually, proving that those who watch things through their fingers are actually sparing themselves less scary dodgy animatronics and effectively making films more terrifying than they really are. But the atmosphere of isolation, the rising dread in the creaking house and the gliding, stalking camera that tracks the ‘lonely woman’ work beautifully. With just two – or perhaps three characters – this is a great short horror film.

It really isn’t one for dog lovers – I feel even worse about the Fly’s fate than I did the first time I watched it, he’s such a sweetheart; but to warn anyone of this before viewing is just spoiling the scare. It is a horror, and pets are usually first in the murder line. I also think most people will already know this story. It’s a very well known urban legend, albeit with a very supernatural pay-off, frankly it’s is up there with ‘hook man’ and ‘Bloody Mary’. It was even subtly referenced in an episode of Supernatural. It’s part of the reason I remembered this short film so clearly.

While I was looking for this piece of nostalgic horror, I noticed several hundred other versions of the ‘Drip’ story just searching on YouTube alone. The story evolves all the time, from when it’s being told around the campfire or by an evil older sibling. The version I’ve heard is the other most common one, with the creature under the bed the requisite escaped lunatic, and sometimes the lady is infirm, very elderly or completely blind. While this was a more down to earth, more scarily possible version of the story, I like the way that in Drip (2006) the thing is a demon of some sort which she has somehow disturbed.  Now, the problem with the reveal of a demon, rather than a creepy man, under the bed is mainly that I’m a bit surprised the demon didn’t simply nip her fingers off while she was patting it for reassurance. Is it just messing with her? Was it using the dripping noise deliberately, to lure her upstairs? That suggests a level of central plumbing knowledge that demons may or may not possess, whether they’re fictional or not. Given how the poor dog ends up, I’m going with the monster ‘messing with her’.

The strength of true horror, and the urban legends in particular, rests in being unaware of how close you are to something evil until its proximity is revealed. The scary thing about ‘Drip’ is the realisation that she (standing in for us, the viewer) has touched the horror, put herself in danger. That the threat has been barely avoided, but is still lurking somewhere in the house, hiding under the very bed she/you were just sleeping in. And you put your hands on it!
As a final note:
The story ends at its most terrifying point, and leaves me curious about what happens next. Does she run out of the house screaming, driving off? Would she make it as far as the door before it came after her? Is that even what it wants? Is it just under the bed because the previous owners kept it as a pet to keep out burglars? What is it? I honestly remember a more terrifying face under the bed than the one here, but realistically I still wouldn’t want to run into it in the dark, on my own, in a house when I’d just found the eviscerated remains of my pet dog. Nope, pretty much anything is a best-case scenario compared to that.
That’s why Steven Gomez’s ‘Drip’ is a terrific retelling of an urban legend which refuses to die.