"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, July 25, 2010

ZotB: The Goon trailer

ZotB: The Walking Dead, animated

In anticipation of the upcoming 'The Walking Dead' AMC television series, an adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic of the same name, this animation was made from the original artwork of the first issue. Even if you aren't necessarily a fan of the zombie subgenre, it's fascinating to watch what were once still illustrations given motion. However, if you are a fan, yet are unfamiliar with 'The Walking Dead', it's a unique icebreaker into Kirkman's comic.

original artwork by Tony Moore

Don't have a friend that can lend you past issues of 'The Walking Dead'? Try referring to your library system. Chances are if it's linked with libraries across the state, like Michigan's MeLCat, for example, the trade paperbacks are available to borrow. Or, if you're like me, perhaps find a comfortable chair in a Schuler Books or Barnes & Noble and read theirs.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

randomness: Sebastian's Voodoo

Maybe not horror per se (personally, I would include it), but it does have that theme of poetic justice often seen in the likes of vintage, classic horror comics, such as EC's Tales From The Crypt. And EC certainly had their share of voodoo stories.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stephen King's Cell

For those who are about to read their very first Stephen King novel, perhaps you're like myself and find that you approach this with an equal degree of anticipation and trepidation. Especially if you've watched many of the films inspired by his writings and have become a fan, even if it has undergone the filters of those who have adapted it for the screen. Will the written works be anything like these, for better or for worse? Maybe the biggest dilemma in this anxiety is choosing exactly which novel to read from the breadth of King's extensive bibliography.

Do you start from the beginning, with Carrie? It seems like the sensible thing to do, to read the earliest writings and work onward from there. However, and I may receive some flack for this, I never took much of a shining to its story. So 'Salem's Lot, then? Later perhaps, but what I realized by then was that I wanted a story that I actually hadn't seen adapted into a movie or television mini-series. And a theme to which I've developed into a definite follower. Combine the zombie apocalypse scenario together with Stephen King and what do you have? In one word: Cell.

Beginning with an outbreak reminiscent of '28 Days Later', had it happened in Boston, Massachusetts, aspiring graphic novel artist Clayton Riddell's dreams go up in smoke like the very city in which burns around him when what is later called "the Pulse" causes anyone communicating on a cell phone to essentially go mad and murderous. During the initial chaos that ensues, Clayton comes across Tom McCourt, a shorter, gentle-hearted man whose sexual orientation was very subtle to what I was originally led to believe (read Stephen Colbert's interview with Stephen King), and teenager Alice Maxwell. Together, the three travel by night to avoid the "phone crazies" and head north towards Maine, where Clayton's son lives.

Likely this is an oversimplification of Cell, but what really drives the book comes down to two devices: the fear that the phone crazies inspire not simply by their murderous nature, but more so by their eerie evolution, and the intriguing perspective King takes on the standard viral effect of zombie infection and transformation from the biological to the technological. Both devices are quite brilliant, really, in my humble opinion. Later into the novel, a little less than halfway through, we are given the writer's convenience through Gaiten Academy professor Charles "the Head" Ardai but particularly through his pupil, Jordan. Here's an excerpt from Jordan's theory regarding the effect of the pulse:
"No one has any real idea what that ninety-eight percent [of the human brain] is for, but there's plenty of potential there. Stroke victims, for instance... they sometimes access previously dormant areas of their brains in order to walk and talk again. It's like their brains wire around the blighted area. The lights go on in a similar area of the brain, but on the other side. [...] If you wipe a computer hard drive, it can't regenerate spontaneously... except maybe in a Greg Bear novel. People are different. [...] Me and the Head -- the Head and I -- think that in addition to stripping people's brains all the way down to that one unerasable line of code, the Pulse also kicked something on. Something that's probably been sitting inside all of us for millions of years, buried in that ninety-eight percent of dormant hard drive."
As to what Jordan is leading up to, I'll leave to you to learn for yourselves. With creative re-imagining of the zombie subgenre, Cell is a remarkably intriguing read. My only grievance is the occasional interjections that the characters, usually Clayton, make from time to time for borderline annoying anecdotes. That aside, I have no other complaints. I give it four-and-a-half out of five Lawrence Welks. (Trust me, it will make sense once you've read Cell.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

randomness: FlashForward Halloween

Recently I've begun watching ABC's series 'FlashForward', a sci-fi conspiracy thriller. Now normally this would have no relevance to the Niche, given that our interest lies in horror, horror crossovers, and horror-related subgenres. However episode six of 'FlashForward', "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" (the title derived from David Bowie's song of the same name -- kudos for their good taste in music), takes place during Halloween. What caught my attention was babysitter Nicole Kirby (Peyton List), who was dressed in costume as Sally, the living rag-doll girl from Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas', greeting trick-or-treaters. It was a cute homage, even if it was a small one.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Canada Day and Independence Day

We here at the Niche hope that our Stateside readers are currently having a good Independence Day, and that our neighbors to the north had a nice Canada Day as well. To commemorate the latter, we've recently added this holiday to our extensive calendar of seasonal horror films. Feel free to consult the calendar, however for your convenience we've included our selection for both holidays in this post.

July 1st - CANADA DAY

'The Thaw' (2009)
Doctor David Kruipen and his expedition team come across the preserved remains of a mammoth, recently unearthed by the melting ice, in the Canadian arctic circle. Unwittingly, the scientists bring along with them a deadly parasite that has been alive inside of the carcass all these millennia. *cough* preachyenvironmentalistmessage *cough*

Additional Canada Day recommendations:
- 'Pontypool' (2008; abstract, viral outbreak in Ontario, Canada's town of Pontypool)
- any horror film created by Canada, regardless of the holidays, such as: 'The Mask' (1961), 'The Changeling' (1980), 'The Brood' (1975), 'Black Christmas' (1974), 'My Bloody Valentine' (1981), 'Prom Night' (1980), 'Fido' (2006), and so on
- 'Friday the 13th Part III' (1982) and the rest thereafter, because Jason Voorhees dons his iconic hockey mask -- can't have Canada without the hockey


'Uncle Sam' (1997)
When teenagers unpatriotically burn an American flag over the grave of a Gulf War veteran, the soldier rises from the dead to wreak vengeance on his hometown during the Fourth of July festivities.
Additional Independence Day suggestions:
- 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' (1997; high school kids cover up a hit-and-run accident during the Fourth of July)
- 'The Shining' (1980; Overlook Hotel's 1921, July 4th Ball)
- 'ID4: Independence Day' (1996; more action than horror, but has monstrous alien invaders)
- 'Jaws' (1975; more thriller than horror, shark attacks near Fourth of July festivities)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

ZotB: 10 Downing St. and Vivos bunkers

'The Daily Show' - May 10, 2010 - "Clustershag to 10 Downing: Hung Parliament" excerpt
"So while the [British] election itself was a bit of a disappointment, the coverage was fascinating and top shelf. The BBC took one correspondent and planted him into a virtual world by digitally rendering hundreds of members of parliament all around him before blasting lasers through their heads. Having completed level one, they took the same reporter and transported him to a virtual staircase inside an M.C. Escher drawing where he correctly named several past prime ministers. And then onto the boss level, where he was forced to build a Magneto-style walkway that he used to approach and enter the famed 10 Downing Street, where once he was there he encountered -- ZOMBIES! Nooo! It was a trap! Noo! Nooooo! ... You should have never unlocked the door on level two!"
"ZOMBIES! Nooo! It was a trap! Noo! Nooooo!"

'The Colbert Report' - June 28, 2010 - "Doomsday Bunkers" excerpt
"Folks, when the end of the world comes, make sure you have a spot in a Vivos bunker... if you want to die! [...] Because I have uncovered an even ancienter, Summerianer tablet predicting Armageddon within the Vivos bunkers. That's why the Prescott Group has designed an exclusive, highly secure, under-the-bunker bunker where you and your family can safely retreat in the event of an intrabunker Armageddon. For just 1.2 million dollars, you'll be spared the chaos in the bunker above while enjoying such amenities as corridors, handguns, and a very attentive zombie staff. Act now before it's too late."
"...corridors, handguns, and a very attentive zombie staff."

Not entirely sure from which game (at least I'm assuming that it's a game) 'The Daily Show' borrowed the CGI zombies. However, 'The Colbert Report's footage is most definitely from the Left 4 Dead games. If someone should let me know about the former, I'll be sure to amend this post.

See also:
Better Know A Stephen: Stephen King