For any fan of classic horror films, some of the best movies ever to appear were the amazing films created by the legendary Hammer Studios in the twenty-year period between 1955 and 1974, when iconic horror stars like Christopher Lee, David Peel and the great Peter Cushing starred in a series of unforgettable and amazing horror flicks. These movies combined a wonderful British attention to period detail and lushness with an intense Technicolor bloodiness of the kind seldom seen in that era. Movies like Dracula Has Risen from the Grave and The Evil of Frankenstein are almost magical creations, surprisingly timeless horror tales that have a surprising impact when watching them even today.
Not surprisingly, those classic Hammer flicks have attracted a long lasting and passionate fandom that has created the next generations of horror comics, movies and novels.
And now the great Hammer fans at Monsterverse have brought us the first volume of the new graphic novel series Flesh and Blood as a tribute to those amazing Hammer Horror films. Taking its cue from Hammer's later Carmilla films, writer Robert Tinnell and artist Neil Vokes deliver a delectable stew of horror, creating a fantastically entertaining and wonderfully lurid tale of lesbian vampirism, Frankenstein, mass murders and werewolves. It's full of blood and boobs and vicious, nasty battles, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This is the best kind of tribute book: one that stands on its own as a terrifically entertaining book while at the same time providing knowing winks and in-jokes for the cognoscenti who love the stuff that is being referenced. A reader who's never watched Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing chew scenery for two hours will still be carried away in the wonderfully fast-moving intensity and fun of this book. But longtime Hammer fans will smile all throughout the book as favorite scenes are referenced, favorite lines are repeated, and favorite characters appear in comics form.
Neil Vokes obviously loved illustrating this book, because you can see his passion for the work in every frame. I especially loved how Vokes shifted his art style in subtle ways to fit the moment that he was depicting. At times Vokes' art reminds me of Bernie Wrightson and at other times of Jacob Pander, but it always has a fantastic intensity to it that fits the comic perfectly.
Flesh and Blood took me back to the classic 19th century setting of its story and the classic 1960s Hammer horror elements. But it does both in a thoroughly 2011 way that was tremendously satisfying.