Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Terror of Dread Isle

The Terror of Dread Isle might be the most original ACE story I post here all week, and saying this, it is also possible this tale borrows a bit from John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? And though some of you are likely to disagree (as usual), today’s classic to me seems a bit more surreal and efficiently sophisticated than most pre-code stories published in the 50’s; it could definitely make a great movie today… though Hollywood would no doubt F-up the doom ending with something more happily safe and mundane.

From the November 1952 issue of The Beyond #17









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12 comments:

Horror pariah said...

That was absolutely disquieting in its bleakness,and yes this would've made a great movie,Francis or Bava would've had a field day.

Absinthe said...

I liked that one alot - yes you need a nice unhappy ending now and then.

Mr. Cavin said...

I enjoyed the art on this one. I particularly liked the occasional stabs at Dali surrealism (at the bottom of page two, for instance) and the occasional cameo of the famous Isle of the Dead trees in the rocky landscapes. Moody.

But are these people stupid? It really damages my sense of empathy to watch the characters forget information they've already received every few panels. Why go on accusing each other of acting erratically when it's been proven over and over that the mysterious island fog is assuming the shapes of the cast? Eventually, one must assume these are the reasons everyone keeps acting so surprisingly, and reasonable people would survive first and ask questions later. Also, if the fog just blows away at the slightest touch, well, there's a pretty good test for figuring who is or isn't real.

But whatever. I really liked the sequence of three panes at the top of page two. Together, they reminded me of a forties print ad for space aged convenience food. But I don't really know which food--what the heck is that guy eating? A stack of spoons? It's toasted!

And what is that in the splash? Why, it's the Scottish subarctic saltwater bat. Those things are pretty rare, let me tell you.

Tenebrous Kate said...

I really dug this story! I'm in agreement regarding the sophistication of the plotline and the awesomely downbeat ending. Super-great stuff, sir!

Horror Pariah--I'm kinda drooling over the notion of a Bava-directed version of this. YUM!

AndyDecker said...

I liked the ending - even if it is like Mr. Cavin said: morons :-)

Some interesting art here.

fishmorgjp said...

Very cool story. And...can you imagine Bava directing his own version of "The Thing from Another World"?

Anonymous said...

THESE ACE STORIES CONTINUE TO SURPRISE ME. ITS A SHAME THEY ARE SO OVERLOOKED WHILE THE WORLD CONTINUES TO ONLY THROW PRAISE AT EC AND ATLAS. I MEAN BOTH ARE DESERVING OF THE ATTENTION BUT ACE SEEMED TO BE RIGHT UP THERE WITH THEM. AWESOME ART, AWESOME STORY, DONT CARE HOW DUMB THE CHARACTERS ARE, ITS A COMIC BOOK. THEIR ACTIONS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN IN THE MOVIES OF THE TIME THAT ARE CONSIDERED CLASSICS.

Karswell said...

Nice Bava thread, he was definitely a master with controlling fog on film, and if he hadn't died the same year as Carpenter's The Fog 1980 release, John should have hired him as Master Fog Consultant.

Still an awesome movie though.

The Fortress Keeper said...

Nice story. If the creators had more than a few pages to tell their tale, we probably wouldn't have seen the protagonists break so quickly.

The part where hundreds of Pollys and Kens appeared is quite cool though, and would drive anybody nuts ...

goblin said...

Damn! Beyond #17 is a kick-ass issue!

I liked the ending - even if it is like Mr. Cavin said: morons :-)
Don't most characters in horror media act like morons? It's part of the fun!

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed the story and I, for one, agree with you, Karswell: I was reminded of 'Who Goes There?', too, with all the paranoia and shapeshifting going on in this one.

Dane said...

"You're still beautiful, Polly, but I can never again consider you sensible"

What a dick.

todd said...

Highlights:

1. "I can't stand this any longer! I'm going mad!" for the artwork.

2. The Scottish subarctic saltwater bat, for the writing.