Is it possible? A horror anthology comic set in a New Jersey movie theater? That requires a really obnoxious fugetaboutit! Words cannot express how close to my heart the mere thought of that comic is. Old movie theaters, The Garden State, and sexy fishnet stocking-clad movie usherettes comprise Velvet Rope and there’s no way I can go wrong with it.
Since it was a based in New Jersey, I’ve owned Mark Poulton’s (Savage Hawkman, Avengelyne) Horror Anthology from Arcana Comics, Velvet Rope since it was released, but now is a perfect time to spotlight it because our fellow NJ’er, Poulton, and the Underbelly crew have created actual movie pitch trailers for the book to show the Arcana bigwigs the potential of making it into a feature film!
The anthology’s frame tale features a phantom movie theater, a possibly demonic (and hot) theater usherette, and an unsuspecting dude who’s just trying to get his horror movie marathon on. Oh, and adding to the pot, it’s freaking Halloween night, 2008!
Out of the roughly 10 stories contained within the book, there were a few that should definitely be included if a film ever gets made. First is Poulton’s own story, Baker’s Dozen, a deliciously sick yarn about beef jerky that takes place just outside Atlantic City and recalled classic late night Tales From the Crypt episodes.
I dont want to give too much away, but Friend Request by Tyler James had the vibe of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Carrie but for the modern era. It’s perfect to add to your Halloween reading list considering the awesome masks seen in a few of the panels which are also illustrated by James as well.
Since it’s a comic, turning the page to find an intermission never crossed mind, but it helped infuse an authentic atmosphere. The intermission includes a few coming attractions in the form of movie poster art and previews of other Arcana projects like Poulton’s Atlantic City-set Daddy’s Little Girl, a comic I adore.
The final story brings us back to 1969 for the origin of our mysterious usherette. She’s the most compelling character in the book and I would definitely watch a feature length movie if she’s doing all the haunting! She can haunt my nightmares anytime.
In the video below, the NJ video team from Underbelly introduces the trailers and provides insight on their creation. The first trailer shown is superb and offers a sinister cinematic experience. The synth background score sets the tone, while the actual shot composition and overall look of the trailer creates the ultimate case of why this should be made into an actual movie. Hey, Netflix – you should snatch this one up early! Even with no budget, the second trailer perfectly captures the first couple of pages of the comic. Awesome job all around. If there’s ever a Kickstarter for this, I’m in!
I worked at the local movie theater for about 6 years in high school and college so I have a personal connection with stories like this. There were times when I ran through the theater dressed as Ghostface for the Scream movie premieres and then as Batman for the opening weekend of the absurd Batman and Robin. Hell, this life altering part time job even spilled over into my own film review column in the high school newspaper called “World’s Greatest Theater Usher Reviews the Movies.” It was such a cool job where I met lifetime friends and have a ton of awesome memories. Some of those memories involve being the last one in the theater late at night and are slightly creepy, so I can relate to the trailers contained in the video below. Check them out, and you never know, we may see the entire film someday!