"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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

ZotB: SNL's People Getting Punched

If you haven't seen this already, just wait for it. It'll make sense near the end. Well, some sense at any rate.

birthdays and memorials

This past week marks a number of birthdays for both living and deceased actors, as well as a recent death, who have played a role in horror cinema. So for this post we're going to briefly touch on each, highlighting certain parts that they have played, respectfully. Normally we wouldn't mark the birthdays of deceased actors, mind you, but because of the close dates it seemed too conspicuous to ignore.

(May 26, 1913 - August 11, 1994)

Cushing seen here as Van Helsing in 'Dracula' (1958)

For Don and myself, Peter Cushing will be best remembered in the role of Grand Moff Tarkin from 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope'. After all, we were sci-fi geeks first, branching out into horror fandom later on. Especially Don in regards to the former, who had, and still does have, a love for 'Star Wars'. Lucas aside, Cushing had a history with Hammer Film Productions, cast as Baron Victor Frankenstein in 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957) and Doctor Van Helsing in 'Dracula' (1958). Cushing continued these parts on into the sequels that followed. Regrettably, neither Don nor myself have seen any of the movies released by Hammer Film Productions as of yet, but will eventually rectify this.

(May 27, 1922 - present)

Lee seen here as Lord Summerisle in 'The Wicker Man' (1973)

Like Cushing, Christopher Lee has a long-standing history with Hammer Film Productions, cast in similarly iconic roles as the Monster in 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957) and Count Dracula in 'Dracula' (1958). Furthermore, Lee continued these parts on into the sequels that followed, making Cushing and himself regular colleagues and sensibly led to their friendship. Again, while Don and myself haven't watched the Hammer Film Productions' movies, we have seen him in a number of other roles, be they purely horror or horror comedy, such as 'The Wicker Man' (1973) and 'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' (1990). And of course during the past decade we've become familiar with Lee's contributions to 'The Lord of the Rings' and the newer 'Star Wars' trilogies.


(May 27, 1911 - October 25, 1993)

Price seen here as the inventor in 'Edward Scissorhands' (1990)

Sharing the same birthday as Christopher Lee, May 27th also marks the late and great Vincent Price's birthday. Where do we even begin? Price has done it all, from hosting PBS' 'Mystery!' television series to starring in many, many horror films to lending his talents as a voice actor (ex: Tim Burton's tribute, 'Vincent') to even appearing on family programs such as 'The Muppet Show'. Talk about a healthy work ethic. For myself, and likely for Don as well, it's bittersweet each time that we watch 'Edward Scissorhands' (1990), knowing that his part as the kindly old inventor would be one of his last, reverberated by the inventor's own saddening death. I'll confess, I've choked up during that particular scene.

(May 17, 1936 - May 29, 2010)

Hopper, seen right, as Kaufman in 'Land of the Dead' (2005)

Yesterday, due to complications with prostate cancer, Dennis Hopper passed away at age seventy-four. We remember Hopper best for his contributions to horror cinema, though the late actor has worked in various other genres over the years. Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' (1986) and Paul Kaufman in George A. Romero's 'Land of the Dead' (2005) are two horror roles that specifically come to mind. Horror aside, we also remember Hopper in Quentin Tarantino's 'True Romance'.

(May 27, 1958 - present)

Quigley seen here as Trash in 'The Return of the Living Dead' (1985)

Last on our list of birthdays, but certainly not least, we have Ms. Quigley to mix things up a little. Definitely standing out from these older gentlemen, perhaps fate does have an odd sense of humor.* A scream queen, B-movie actress, Linnea is most memorable in her role as Trash, the pink-haired, punk rock chick in Dan O' Bannon's 'The Return of the Living Dead' (1985). ...And if you're interested, we just so happen to have a postcard-sized print of zombie Trash available for purchase. *cough* shameless self-promotion *cough*


Coincidentally, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price starred together in the 1983 horror-parody, 'House of the Long Shadows'. Three out of five; not bad.

See also: The Vault of Horror's "The Vincent Price/Christopher Lee Birthday Throwdown!"

excerpt from 'The Return of the Living Dead'
Trash: Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying? You know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die?
Spider: I try not to think about dying too much.
Trash: Mmm. Well for me, the worst way would be for a bunch of old men to get around me, and start biting me and eating me alive...
Spider: I see.
Trash: First, they would tear off my clothes...
Chuck: Hey, somebody get some light over here; Trash is taking off her clothes again!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


♪ Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew? Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two? The Candy Man. Oh, the Candy Man can. ♫

Nope, we're not talking about Daniel Robitaille, i.e. Tony Todd as Candyman. Nor are we talking about Willy Wonka... Well, not Mom and Dad's 1971 musical with Gene Wilder, anyway. (Although that creepy boat ride deserves credit, we'll give it that.) More like a dark parody that perverts what made the former charming. Example? Imagine if the directors of 'SAW' or 'Hostel' got their hands on the old screenplay and went, "Yeah, we could have a landscape of gumdrop trees and chocolate rivers... But how about a dank and decrepit factory warehouse, instead?"

And of course the teens turn out to be the secret ingredient to Wonka's chocolate. Hang on, didn't 'Epic Movie' do this already? (For the record, don't watch it. Just... just don't. Seriously Crispin Glover, you can do better.)

Crispin Glover as "Willy" in 'Epic Movie' (2007)

Sounds rather lame, doesn't it? However, writer and director Eric Appel does what is essential for a premise of such ludicrousness to actually work: make it a black comedy. Right from the get-go of the 'Gobstopper' trailer it's made obvious. Case in point, take it away atypical, comedy relief guy.

Girl #2: "Guys, look at these weird, old candy bars."

C.R. Guy (right): "My boner's got weird, old candy bars."

Oh, you card, you. You can tell from the other guy's incredulous expression that he must be thinking, "Really? -- Really?" or something similar. But I digress.

The real stroke of genius was casting Christopher Lloyd as Willy Wonka. He can do comical and creepy all at the same time. (ex: 'Dennis the Menace') Not too many actors can pull that off effectively. Sorry Johnny Depp, but you were creepy in a more Michael Jackson sort of way. Even then, the "creep factor" was unintentional on your part or Mr. Burton's, I'm sure. (We're Burton and Depp fans, so don't be hating. Same with M.J., at least musically speaking.)

Johnny Depp (left) as Willy Wonka and Michael Jackson (right) as, well, himself

From what I understand this is a faux trailer, although it could make for an amusing movie. There are plenty of flop films out there that would be halfway decent if they were done as a black comedy. Pity that 'Gobstopper' doesn't go all the way to the silver screen, or even direct-to-video. Still, it stands well enough on its own as a trailer. 'Gobstopper' gets four out of five "weird, old candy bars."

Friday, May 21, 2010

ZotB: new post label and Zombie Majority

After some thought, due to the consistency of zombie-related "randomness" posts on the Niche, we've decided that it would be better to give them their own label: Zombies on the Brain. So when you read "ZotB", like in this current post's title, that's what the abbreviation stands for. Keep in mind that the content is essentially the same, simply set apart because of their subject matter. Posts that are more in-depth and lengthy, though they may be addressing something zombie-related, won't fall into the "Zombies on the Brain" category.

Occasionally these are personal finds, but more often than not these posts are derived from other horror blogs that we follow, such as The Zed Word and The Zombie Nation. It's only fair that credit is given where credit is due. If we don't happen to mention where we found said post material by name, chances are two-out-of-three that we were tipped off by another horror blog.

So to get the ball rolling for this new post label, here's ThoseArentMuskets' zombie survivor parody, "Zombie Majority".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

memorial: Frank Frazetta (1928-2010)

Frank Frazetta

Monday it came to my attention that Frank Frazetta, an artist whose work has made him a veritable titan in comics, died yesterday at a dignified age of eighty-two. It comes with some sheepish admittance on my part that I am not especially acquainted with his artwork, a double-strike as an illustrator and one interested in comics as well. Regardless, even my substantial ignorance recognizes the importance of such a man to the art community, in addition to the broader fantasy and science fiction community, and the loss with his passing. The Vault of Horror wrote a respectable article in remembrance of Frazetta, which I would encourage you to read, here. So instead of writing a few words about the artist, it seemed more fitting to post a handful of horror-related, cover artwork from 'Creepy' that I have seen and can admire.

On a side note, I've learned of a documentary entitled 'Frank Frazetta: Painting with Fire', so if you find yourself in a similar situation as myself perhaps you will give it a watch.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Childrin r Skary: The Mockingbird Song

Don, our good companion and confidant in the Darkley comic endeavor, referred to me a video on created by one Katy Towell, entitled "The Mockingbird Song". It has all the nuances essential to a gothic fairytale and the animation is rendered in that sort of simplicity that is appropriate to convey such a story properly, like a children's book. We recommend that you learn more about Ms. Towell and her macabre machinations by visiting her website, Childrin r Skary. Without further ado, here's "The Mockingbird Song".