Crucible of the Vampire SNIP

In Review: Crucible of the Vampire Graphic Novel

Crucible of the Vampire Cover

The new graphic novel by Iain Ross-McNamee adapted from the feature film
Limited signed 1st edition includes double-sided A3 poster by Charlie Adlard and fold out map
120 A4 PAGES | Colour | Mature | £10.99

 

The Book: Isabelle, a young university researcher, is sent to a country manor house in rural Shropshire to verify an ancient artefact that a family has uncovered during the renovation of their home.

However, the artefact has a cursed history and it soon becomes apparent that the house holds a dark secret. While Isabelle sets to work verifying the object she becomes the obsession of the owner’s daughter, and they develop a dangerous attraction.

A chance finding of a 200 year old journal confirms Isabelle’s suspicions that the family are not the only residents of the house and that there is something much darker lurking within its foreboding walls.

Uncovering the truth, she finds herself trapped in the clutches of the house’s malevolent occupants. She will be tested to her limits as she tries to escape from the Crucible of the Vampire, a story stretching from the English Civil War to the present day.

Crucible of the Vampire - Graphic Novel Sample Art

Crucible of the Vampire - Graphic Novel Sample Art

The Review: In part promoting Ghost Dog Film’s second feature film, Crucible of the Vampire starring Katie Goldfinch, Florence Cady, Angela Carter, Neil Morrissey and Larry Rew, if you’re waiting to see the movie then be warned, the graphic novel is one massive spoiler! Reading this was like me reading Walt Simonson’s adaptation of Alien ahead of seeing Ridley Scott’s SF horror when it debuted – it can rather take the edge off some of the shocks.

Crucible of the Vampire - Graphic Novel Sample Art

That warning ahead, Crucible of the Vampire offers a photonovel retelling of the upcoming horror film which has had positive advance reviews over on Starburst and other sites. What’s on offer is your classic British horror film, mashing up themes from the best of Hammer horror with a modern feel, and throwing in at least one nod to The Shining along the way (at least, that’s how it looks in the book).

Accompanied by extras that include a smashing Charlie Adlard poster and a guide to the village in which the story is set, the story of Crucible of the Vampire is also interspersed with diary entries from protagonist Isabelle (Katie Goldfinch) as she’s drawn into a dark mystery in a creepy English mansion.

If you like the photonovel approach to comics storytelling, then the Ghost Dog Films team have done a pretty good job on adapting the film into a graphic story, which has certainly gone down well with members of the cast. Some sequences, such as the opening flashback to the English Civil War, work particularly well, but at my feeling is that at times, other scenes suffer from the use of too many panels where less would probably have given the story more room to “breathe”.

For me, a sequence like this would have worked better with less frames and the emphasis on odd character Scarlett's sudden appearance
For me, a sequence like this would have worked better with less frames and the emphasis on odd character Scarlett’s sudden appearance
A good use of a silent sequence that nicely establishes a scene from Crucible of the Vampire
A good use of a silent sequence that nicely establishes a scene from Crucible of the Vampire

What, sadly, lets all the hard work down on this project for me is the lettering on the book, which I’m afraid is mars the storytelling with badly placed balloons and an ill-chosen font that doesn’t do the rest of the book justice.

Crucible of the Vampire - Graphic Novel Sample Art

Crucible of the Vampire - Graphic Novel Sample Art

As photonovels go, it’s quite apparent that a lot of work has gone into this, with the kind of  production values that reflect the source material, which looks terrific, based on released previews and the imagery in the book. It’s just a shame that one element, the lettering, detracts so much from the whole.

If you’re a fan of this film then you’ll certainly want a copy of this – my reservations aside, it’s a decent marker for what can be achieved with a photonovel and associated “trimmings”, and if you can’t wait for the film’s release then this will certainly whet your appetite.

Hopefully, not in blood…

Crucible of the Vampire is available from select stockists and available to buy direct from the Ghost Dog Films website (www.ghostdogfilms.com) by early August

• Ghost Dog Films is online at www.ghostdogfilms.com | Follow Ghost Dog Films on Twitter @GhostDogFilms

 

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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