Back before the age of streaming video, video rental stores reigned supreme. Across the nation, video stores lined their walls with VHS tapes creating labyrinths with every new shelf. The best section by far was always the horror aisle. Every box cover looked more gruesome than the one next to it. Each worn cassette carried a promise to scare you out of your mind. But then the era of the Video Rental Store ended and the beautiful terrors of the horror section drifted into memory.
While the VHS horror section may be dead, its spirit is alive and well in upstart publisher Lunchbox Press’s latest Kickstarter project, Graveyard Slaughter #1, which is written by Cullen Bunn and Kevin Watkins, with art by Javier Saltares, Blacky Shepherd, Adam McLaughlin, and Gary Bedell, and with letters by Troy Peteri, this is one horror anthology you don’t want to fast forward through.
Things are dead at Video Hell. With few customers and nothing to do, working the night shift can feel like being in a graveyard. But every once in a while, oddballs find their way to the video store. Sometimes they’re creepy kids and other times they’re unsettling women who can’t stop smiling. But whenever one shows, they leave behind a single VHS tape. No one has seen what’s on them before. No one until you. If you survive the night at Video Hell, be kind and rewind.
Graveyard Slaughter #1 is an anthology horror comic that at the time of writing is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Along with a team of artists, writer Cullen Bunn imagines four separate nightmares that would be right at home on a VHS tape. The first, “Barbaric Days,” takes a young joystick junkie to an arcade he’ll never forget. “Truth or Dare” follows a Halloween party gone bad, while “Cheating” proves it’s always good to follow the rules. My favorite of the collection is the pseudo-slasher “Kill With One Eye Open.” It is a by the book slasher at first glance but this gory story has more going on than meets the eye.
Graveyard Slaughter #1’s four gruesome tales are broken by brief vignettes set at your local Video Hell These interludes introduce us to the store’s different crews, as well as the eerie weirdos that walk through its doors. While brief, those sections left me thirsty for more. Half the fun of horror anthologies comes from their horror hosts after all. Graveyard Slaughter #1 introduces us to four, each with a great look pulled straight from a box cover. Hopefully, we’ll see more of them.
It’s hard not to love this book. Graveyard Slaughter #1 embraces the off the wall mania of the VHS horror section. It also draws plenty of water from the well of E.C. Comics and their tales from the crypt. Combined, these traditions merge into a gleeful celebration of a bygone era. It’s light, fun, and full of gore. Even in black and white its pages soak through. While the artist varies between issues, each story is wonderfully rendered in bloody monochrome.
If you’d like to see this book in the hands of a horror fiend near you, you can help make that happen. Graveyard Slaughter #1 is looking for backers on Kickstarter. The more funds the campaign raises, the more behind the scenes coverage will be added to the first issue (up to four pages). It might even help fund a Graveyard Slaughter #2. After tearing through this issue, I’m ready for more odd nights at your local Video Hell.
Graveyard Slaughter #1 is currently looking for Kickstarter backers.
Graveyard Slaughter #1
It’s hard not to love this book. Graveyard Slaughter #1 embraces the off the wall mania of the VHS horror section.