"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.

Be sure to browse over the column of banners below if you're looking for posts on a particular topic. (And at the very bottom of the blog, if you would like to consult the complete listing of post labels.) Otherwise, scroll down past them to get to the most recent articles. Likewise, refer to the right side for our latest tweets.

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

My photo
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.

artwork by yours truly

artwork and artist features

movies, short films, TV, webisodes, etc.

frightful films for your year-round festivities

book reviews: consult the niche's necronomicon

comic-related news and reviews

zed in the head randomness

Monday, February 8, 2010

Black History Month, part I

While the recent hype is Women in Horror Month amongst bloggers, February is remembered here in the States, and Canada, as Black History Month. With that in mind, the Niche recognizes the talents of a select handful of the many black men and women who have contributed to the genre with a particular dignity, generally not perpetuating the negative racial archetypes seen, unfortunately, in numerous horror films. (I'm not just referring to blaxploitation flicks, I'm talking to the likes of the Wayans, too, with films such as 'Scary Movie'.) Here are half of a dozen individuals who will be acknowledged this time around. The remaining six will be accredited in a second post. It should be noted that they are not listed in any particular order.


No respectable list would be complete without Duane Jones, the lead in Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968) with Judith O'Dea. Jones later went on to star in a lesser known horror film called 'Vampires'/'Abandon' (1986), though I haven't seen this one, myself. Still, this one-hit wonder would be immortalized in zombie horror cinema as the predecessor to the "survivor" role seen regularly in such films.


Portraying the only black, supernatural slasher among the likes of Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees in the 'Candyman' trilogy, Tony Todd also cameos in the first three 'Final Destination' films as well as playing Duane Jones' part in the 1990 remake of Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead'. Say "Tony Todd" in front of the mirror five times. Go on, we double-dog dare you.

"... When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth."

'Dawn of the Dead' (2004 remake) was one of the first real zombie films that I had seen early on, aside from 'Shaun of the Dead' (2004) and 'Resident Evil' (2002). Something between the background music and Ken Foree's televangelist message gave me a sense of legitimate dread. Probably just the very notion of a zombie outbreak as something more than an infection, rather a form of apocalyptic punishment in the likes of Revelation. While Foree will always bring the remake to mind first for myself, he is better known in the original '78 film by George A. Romero. Some additional film appearances by Foree include: 'From Beyond' (1986), Rob Zombie's 'Halloween' (2007), and 'Zone of the Dead' (2009), among others.


Personally, I'm more familiar with Keith David's talents as a voice actor than a physically present one. Voicing Goliath from Disney's 'Gargoyles' ('94-'97) and Al Simmons, a.k.a. Spawn, from HBO's 'Spawn' ('97-'99) television series, his rich and deep vocals are easy to recognize. However, David has acted live in such films as John Carpenter's 'The Thing' (1982) and 'They Live' (1988), as well as 'The Puppet Masters' (1994) and 'Pitch Black' (2000).


A regular jack of all trades, "Scatman" Crothers was an actor, dancer, musician, and singer. To horror fans he is best remembered as the Overlook Hotel's cook, chef Dick Hallorann, in Kubrick's 'The Shining' (1980). Crother's character is the whole reason behind the title of the story, telling Danny Torrence, "I can remember when I was a little boy. My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it 'shining'..." Crothers also appears in 'Twilight Zone: The Movie' (1983) in the second segment of the film, a remake of the episode "Kick the Can".


Much for the same reason that Ms. O'Toole earned a place in the Niche's "Women in Horror Month" part II, Tim Reid is recognized for his role in the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT' (1990). Mike Hanlon (Reid) is key to the story, serving as watchman by remaining in his hometown of Derry, Maine to keep vigil for Pennywise's reemergence and calls the other "Losers Club" members together. Granted, while this is his main contribution to horror, Reid proves himself more than capable of adapting to the genre.

No comments:

Post a Comment