‘Night Of The Ghoul’ #2 is a horror comic that drips with gothic atmosphere and chills. A cursed film, a damaged director and a hellish hospital all add up to one terrifying tale.
With its similarity, in tone, to more silver age classic horror and classic EC horror comics Night of the Ghoul #2 continues to offer up an alternative horror series for the modern reader. It’s a series far more steeped in the gothic literary tradition than his other current comiXology horror comic series, We Have Demons, as well as other horror comics on the shelves today. While they are more contemporary horror titles, this one leans into the convention of the gothic, with a carefully crafted tension building across its pages and overwrought emotional moments too. It’s certainly allowing writer Scott Snyder to flex his literary muscles with a more creepy and intense narration too, with a creature – the titular ghoul – most certainly more linked to the ancient world of Dracula than the modern day slashers of contemporary American cinema. Far more John Whale than John Carpenter, and a much better suited story for the comic book format too.
And in Francesco Francavilla he couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate artist. An artist well suited, and well versed in gothicism of this kind himself. And much of this tradition is reflected in the lost film that bookends this issue as well as throughout the modern day setting of this tale of terror. There is one splash page that is a quintessential example of this slow burning, emotionally-charged horror which, at the tun of of page (I know, I know, this is a digital comic but you get the idea) is the comic book equivalent of the jump cut and works extremely well. It helps that Merrit, the old-time film director looks something of a ghoul himself, and only adds to the fear factor of the issue.
The colouring of the comic – subdued and minimal – also helps evoke and sustain the sense of impending horror Snyder puts across so well I his scripting and dialogue. And as the issue progresses and the colours shift again to darker hues, with darker accompanying artwork, and sparse dialogue, the call factors begin to ramp up. Especially as we learn of Merrit’s dire situation.
Brilliantly paced, with plenty of horror and several great, truly chilling moments, this issue really landed with me as a long time lover and student of gothic literature. And out now on comiXology Originals.