Creating Commando Comics: Nightmare Express writer Daniel McGachey

Commando 5693: Action and Adventure - Nightmare Express - cover by Mike Dorey

Commando 5693 – Nightmare Express, written by Daniel McGachey, with art by Mike Dorey, is on sale now in all good newsagents. Here, Daniel reveals the origins of the gruesome issue – and we offer some alternative covers for the issue…

Portmanteau horror films – anthologies featuring several short horror stories in a single film – have been around for over a century, and have been made all around the world, from the silent German horrors of Eerie Tales (1919) and Waxworks (1924), the Japanese ghosts of Kwaidan (1964), Black Sabbath (1963) from Italy or Tales Of Terror (1962), Trilogy Of Terror (1975) and Creepshow (1982) from America. 

But the biggest influences on my new Commando story, Nightmare Express, are classic British portmanteau pictures, from the post war horrors of Dead of Night (1945) to the quirky creatures introduced by a vampiric Vincent Price in The Monster Club (1981). Most of all, it is inspired by the films made by Amicus Productions, whose films rivalled the horrors of Hammer.

The Monster Club (1981)

I first encountered Amicus’s films as a kid during one of the now legendary Horror Double Bill seasons which ran on Saturday nights on BBC2 in the 1970s and 80s. The film was Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), in which Peter Cushing’s mysterious Doctor revealed the fates of his fellow travellers – including Cushing’s regular sparring partner, Christopher Lee – in a train compartment. The short story segments meant that in a single film audiences encountered a werewolf, a voodoo curse, a killer plant, a crawling hand, and a vampire – real value for money for horror fans!

Amicus followed up Dr Terror’s successful outing with Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), Asylum (1972), and From Beyond The Grave (1974), and made two anthology films based on the infamous banned EC Comics of the 1950s, Tales From The Crypt (1972) and The Vault Of Horror (1973). And a newly relaunched Amicus have recently announced a new anthology, In The Grip of Terror, brought to life through a crowdfunding campaign that raised over £170,000 in support.

Commando 5693 - Sample Art

When the chance came to write a Commando script, I cast my mind back to those late-night Horror Double Bills to imagine a previously unseen anthology, featuring some of the iconic stars of classic horror cinema, but set against a wartime background. 

So, in tribute to those classic compendiums of creeps, curses and creatures, I invite Commando readers to take a journey into the unknown and step onboard the Nightmare Express

• Commando Issue 5693 is on sale now in WHSmith stores, or online from

Daniel McGachey is a writer of comics, radio and ghost stories. Also, he says on Twitter, Archivist in Chief at the Institute of Special Inquiry & Investigation – Unrecorded Records Division

  • Commando 5693 Alternate Cover by Mike Dorey
  • Commando 5693 Alternate Cover by Mike Dorey
  • Commando 5693 Alternate Cover by Mike Dorey

Commando 5693: Action and Adventure – Nightmare Express
Story: Daniel McGachey | Art and Cover: Mike Dorey 

At a mist-shrouded railway station, a quartet of mismatched troops are assembled, their recent actions marking them out as the ideal escort detail for a mysterious cargo.

But as they hurtle through the night, curiosity, greed, and terror lead them in turn to enter the cargo compartment, each to discover the eerie train of events that led them to this fateful assignment.

As the journey detours through a series of nightmarish tales, can any of them hope to disembark before the night train reaches its final destination?

The demonic Daniel McGachey makes his debut to Commando alongside artwork from the malevolent Mike Dorey! Dare you take a ticket to ride this horror train bound for doom?! Will anybody survive the eerie train of events about to unfold?!

• Commando Issue 5693 is on sale now in WHSmith stores, or online from

• Commando Comics is online at | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Commando Comics on AmazonUK

See Also…

Reviving Terror: Inside Lawrie Brewster’s Vision For Amicus Productions

Categories: British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News

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