Once a horror movie becomes a franchise, it opens itself up to a brand new world of merchandising possibilities. Fans will be able to wear all manner of apparel, from T-shirts down to shoes. The more diehard crowd can even collect action figures, novels and comics based on their favorite horror films.
These last two often involve brand new stories separate from the motion picture, some even attempt to bridge gaps and continuity errors. All of these stories are officially licensed, but they do not have the same committee working on them that the films do. In some ways, this can be very good for the end result, as there is more creative freedom afforded.
But as is sometimes the case, there may be too much creative freedom granted, because some of these stories have gone to some pretty weird places. Here are some events that have taken place in officially licensed horror comics that you will have to see to believe.
Laurie Takes Up Michael’s Habits in Chaos! Comics’ Halloween
The first comic book based on Halloween came from Chaos! Comics during the height of their popularity in 2000. It got off to a very promising start. Daniel Farrands, who wrote Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was a consultant on the series which was written by genre expert Philip Nutman. The release schedule was also enticing. The series ran for three issues, each issue published in October, a year apart from the last. As the comic went on, its ambitious scope became apparent: This comic was written to explain the numerous gaps between Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween H20. There are so many continuity errors between those sequels that many fans have just accepted them as separate timelines.
This series had a lot of work to do and as expected it didn’t totally pull it off. Especially in the third act, so to speak, when it is revealed that the Michael Myers that has pursued our heroes through the final chapter is not actually Michael at all. It’s Laurie Strode. The Curse of Thorn, which supposedly gives Michael his evil rage and powers, was passed to her the moment she cut off his head at the end of H20. As hammy as this is, it’s almost better than the explanation we eventually got in Halloween: Resurrection.
Yes, that’s right. Years before Freddy vs. Jason hit the screen, two titans of terror got together in Topps Comics’ Jason vs. Leatherface. And when we say they got together, that’s about as accurate a description as possible. This three-part miniseries is about a misunderstood, lonely human being who finally meets someone like himself. He is accepted by this other misunderstood person and taken into their home, where he is welcomed with open arms and feels content for the first time in his life.
Except, of course, it’s about Jason Voorhees being adopted into the Sawyer family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This series is full of head-scratching moments, it’s hard to pick just one that stands out as the most surprising. The eventual fight between the two feels more like a fight between two stubborn friends or even a lover’s spat than the epic showdown we were expecting. The timeline also doesn’t match up at all.
Here, Jason starts out chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake (which happened in Part VI) but meets up with the incarnation of the Sawyer family from the very first Massacre. Highlights include bonding exercises like the Sawyers being impressed with Jason’s hunting skills and teaching him how to prepare the meat for dinner.
This comic passes itself off as a prequel to the original Re-Animator film. It starts off in Switzerland with Herbert West studying under Dr. Gruber. Good so far, because that’s where the movie opens. Then it goes insane. Gruber is kidnapped and West has to do his best Indiana Jones and go deep into the jungles to find him. There, he finds a racist Voodoo cult that worships a death god. West steals their magic and creates the reagent formula from it.
On top of all the head scratching confusion, this really undercuts the movie itself. Now, it’s not West’s big discovery that could change the world because now it’s not even West’s discovery. Instead, he stole it just as Dr. Hill was going to do in the movie. In the films, West is also a scientist above all else. Every single thing he does, every action no matter how horrible, is done in the name of science. But this is also thrown out the door when his formula here isn’t based in science at all.
If you thought the premise of Jason vs. Leatherface was weird, hold onto your butts. This series takes place shortly after the Jason X movie. You may think there would be nowhere to go after that, but there’s no better time than this to mention that Jason X spawned a series of five novels. Anyway, the nanobots that created the Uber Jason in the first place pick up chunky Jason bits left in the remnants of the Grendel and use them to clone a brand-new Jason.
So this original-looking Jason is actually a new clone and the robotic Jason is the original Jason. That might make this the only instance in history where a time travel plot would have been way less confusing. The two different Jasons eventually meet and fight, which is a little weird, as you would think they’d have a lot in common. It’s a little sad that Jason can apparently get along with Leatherface, but he can’t get along with himself.
It’s important to note that this was a fairly recent comic from a major publisher (WildStorm is a division of DC) and a veteran comic book writer, before getting into what the comic is actually about. This one centers on a group of social outcasts, which is par for the course for Nightmare on Elm Street. These kids are also sick of getting picked off in their sleep and decide to take matters into their own hands. Which is also reasonable.
It’s the way they go about it that makes things weird. They decide to summon a demon from Aztec mythology to do battle with Freddy in the dreamscape. It becomes a battle of who can better manipulate dreams, which sounds OK on paper. It could have been David Cronenberg’s take on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Instead, it mostly becomes about two monsters throwing rocks at each other throughout an Aztec temple.