For a series that’s been strangely hit or miss, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight finally knocks one out of the park with issue #7, finding that perfect balance of gore, lust, and monsters. And for the first time in a while, I’m looking forward to the next installment.
Here’s the official word from Dark Horse:
Lace up for the “Flesh Feast”! Built on the site of a Puritan-era curse, Camp Oneida is better known today for vicious hockey matches and even more intense pie fights! But when the Devil Doll returns to seduce and kill once more, the Oneida hockey girls make with the high-sticking!
Hats off to writer Alex de Campi — within the space of 24 pages she’s been able to pull off one of the best set-ups of this entire series. With issue #7 we meet Renae, a mousy kid who’s been shipped off to a hockey camp which, unbeknownst to her, was the scene of an satanic ritual gone sour back in 1725. If this sounds like the set-up to every horror movie you’ve ever seen, that’s because de Campi is borrowing liberally from the horror canon here and hitting every familiar note the genre has to offer. But, hey, that’s what makes Grindhouse is all about — over the top self-awareness is exactly what a good Grindhouse script demands and this first installment of Flesh Feast of the Devil Doll gives readers big helpings of everything horror fans love: haunted summer camps, femme fatale monsters, clueless jocks and final girls. Best, de Campi has finally found a bit of range with issue #7; she underplays some elements of the narrative so that the louder parts can really roar. In previous issues everything was over the top, which meant nothing really stuck out.
Gary Erskine offers a perfect matchup for de Campi’s style — his characters are expressive, and his style is crisp. Erskine’s rendition of the title monster is particularly delightful — he’s found a nice balance between seductive and horrific which is generally pretty damn hard to pull off.
After some less than satisfying issues, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight #7 starts off with a bang. Let’s hope it stays that way.