"Run-of-the-mill" seems like a modestly accurate way to describe myself in terms of horror fandom. In certain respects I find that valuable, since ideally I can make an appeal to those like myself, to those who may be testing the waters, and hopefully to the hardcore horror fans as well. (And I sincerely encourage feedback, especially from the latter.) It wasn't until several years ago, the present time of this writing being December of '09 to give perspective, that the genre genuinely appealed to me and I owe all that to the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT'. After that, it was a slow and steady progression that grew into watching more Stephen King film adaptations, then into watching general horror films. In more recent years it's branched from solely films into different mediums, namely: comics (comic books, manga, graphic novels, webcomics, etc.), purely written literature, and different games.

But let's get to the point, shall we? The Darkley Niche is something I've constructed after the comic-in-progress that a friend and myself plan on self-publishing, an anthology of short horror stories much in the same vein as 'Tales from the Crypt' and similar titles. The series centers around a faceless persona we've affectionately dubbed Alan Darkley, the Niche's namesake, and a cast of storytellers whose tales fall within particular subgenres and sister genres of horror. This site is the drawing board, if you will, where everything posted is either a form of research or a roughing out of ideas. It's all relevant in some fashion. By exploring these different horror stories and their mediums a better understanding and influence of the genre, as well as inspiration, can be put into the comic. Even if you have no personal interest in the project, perhaps you can glean something from the reviews and the like. And if nothing else, the Niche will work to serve my own purposes.

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Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

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Well, here's yours truly. The name's Drew, in case you were wondering. The Niche is my personal site, while the comic-in-progress is a partnered effort with Don, a lifelong friend of mine. We collaborate on the stories, but my partner's the writer in the outfit while I am the illustrator. This is currently little more than a side project, but we hope to make something of it.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black History Month, part II

This February, the Niche looks at some of the talented black men and women in horror, who are not only noteworthy actors, but also dignified in their parts. In commemoration of Black History Month, here is part II of our honorary mentions. (To read part I, select here.)


To action enthusiasts, he is Detective Roger Murtaugh from the 'Lethal Weapon' franchise; to Disney lovers, he is baseball manager George Knox from 'Angels in the Outfield' (1994). To those in the sci-fi community, however, he is Lt. Mike Harrigan from 'Predator 2' (1990) and even more recently to fans of horror/thriller films as a detective in 'Saw' (2004) and the conductor in 'Night Train' (2009). Talk about a diverse acting career, and the thing is that he's good in each situation. I'll be sure to elaborate more on Glover in a review of 'Night Train' that I've been neglecting.


I can't speak on the behalf of Romero's 'Dead' franchise fans, but 'Day of the Dead' (1985) seemed a bit off the mark. But what the third film did have going for it was Bub, the zombie that gradually learns. 'Land of the Dead' (2005) expanded on this concept, casting Clark as the zombie dubbed "Big Daddy", who leads a revolution as well as exhibits camaraderie and empathy with other zombies. The difficulty of portraying those characteristics as a zombie while remaining believable shouldn't be underestimated. On a side note, Clark has also played minor parts in master television programs the likes of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' ("User Deadly") and 'The Twilight Zone' ("The Wall").


Now, I've abstained from using the generalization of "African American", because we have something of a rarity, an Englishwoman in our midst. Ms. Harris has appeared in the latter two 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ('06 and '07) Disney films, and even more recently in 'Ninja Assassin' (2009), but what makes her remarkable, to myself at least, is her role in the gritty epidemic scenario seen in '28 Days Later' (2002). (Personally, I don't care if you call them "infected" or "zombies". Be technically correct if you like, I call it being anal retentive.) The story doesn't pull punches and neither does she, depicting a strong woman who has had to harden herself in order to survive this nightmare. Along with 'Resident Evil's Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), I would want '28 Days Later's Selena in my survivor group.


While 'Queen of the Damned' (2002) wasn't an especially great vampire film (though I will take it any day over 'Twilight' (2008) in a heartbeat), it does have its redeeming qualities, such as Aaliyah. Alluring and seductive, her role as Akasha, queen-goddess of the vampire race, was memorable even if you put the starlet's own untimely death out of mind. When she walks into the modern day London club, exuding a feral power and stride that I can only describe as a female panther personified, she immediately grabs your attention. The only shame is that we see so little of her in this Anne Rice adaptation.


Alright, so I confess that I grew up watching the 'Ernest' movies as a kid, 'Ernest Scared Stupid' (1991) being my hands-down favorite. Aside from Jim Varney, Eartha Kitt was the most interesting character, cast as "Old Lady" Hackmore, Briarville's town recluse with a yard covered in junkyard sculptures. She fits the part perfectly, absolutely perfectly. And while 'Ernest Scared Stupid' is at its heart a comedy, it's the closest to horror that I've seen Eartha Kitt act in. And from what I hear, it's a heck of a lot better than 'Troll' (1986) or 'Troll 2' (1990). "Oh, my Goddddddd...!"


Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information about either McCall or Prescott, but if you've seen 'The Skeleton Key' (2005), you will remember them very well as Papa Justify (McCall) and Mama Cecile (Prescott). Granted, their screen time is very short, but their characters are pivotal to the plot. And while most movies with voodoo (or hoodoo, in this case) come across as either hokey or outright offensive, 'The Skeleton Key' makes it seem all too real and something to fear. Watch the ritual with Papa Justify's Conjure of Sacrifice record playing and tell me that you don't get goosebumps.

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