I love a good old fashioned Halloween romp. Moreover, I feel like it’s an experience growing scarcer and scarcer. We’re losing the mischievous kind of horror that audiences enjoyed from gems like Gremlins and Tales from the Crypt. Thankfully, we have Dead Peasant’s new horror comic series, Blood & Gourd. The series combines everything you love about Halloween horror films with the splatter-happy glee of E.C. comics. The folks over at Dead Peasants gave PopHorror the first three issues of Blood & Gourd to review.
Really, I could leave you with those two words and spent the rest of this article moonwalking. Only an imagination fueled on pure candy corn and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (read our retro review here) could come up with something as elegantly schlocky and marvelous as a pumpkin patch gaining sentience and a taste for human flesh.
The plot follows a family headed for the 47th Annual Ain’t That Somethin’ Pumpkin Contest at Henderson Farms. What they don’t know is that an evil genius working for Seminal Chemical has engineered the pumpkins of Henderson Farms to grow teeth and crave human flesh. The reasoning for this evil plot eludes the first three issues, but the Seminal Chemical scientist behind it all seems more than pleased with what happens. That result is depicted in full, gore-gasmic beauty by the book’s art team, including Dave Acosta, Juan Antonio Ramirez, and Jonas Scharf.
There’s no panel of violence that isn’t imbued with the destructive glee of a heavy metal sketchbook. The pumpkin monsters are grotesque and evoke the best parts of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) but flavored just in time for fall.
The series’ lead cast, from the survivors to the villains to the plucky owner of Henderson Farms, is rewarding and as emotionally gripping as George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). There are plenty of characters to identify with and genuinely worry about as the swarm of pumpkin-headed zombies grows and threatens them.
This empathetic approach to wanton violence is thanks to the grounded, naturalistic writing of the good guys versus the hilariously over-the-top villainy of the bad. The series’ writer, Jenz K. Lund, provides the perfect texture to a mad-scientist-zombie-pumpkin gorefest that still somehow manages to target sociopolitical topics like industrial agriculture and genetically modified crops. There’s enough of Monsanto in Seminal Chemical to set some ears burning in the corporate offices.
For horror fans looking for a fun romp with bloody rural energy similar to James Gunn’s Slither (2006 – read our review here) and Ron Underwood’s Tremors franchise, they can look forward to a badass time spent with the Blood & Gourd series.