May 24, 2013

Bad Kids Go to Hell

Here's an independent comic-book series I just learned about:

Exclusive: The Pull List Reviews Antarctic Press’ ‘Bad Kids Go to Hell #2′

By John CarleWhat would happen to the Breakfast Club if instead of just dealing with teenage angst and a hard-nosed disciplinarian they had to worry about a curse caused by all of their parents building a library over a sacred Apache Indian burial ground? Bad Kids Go to Hell explores this scenario as four members of a pretentious high school’s elite class find themselves in detention with a kid from the wrong side of the tracks trying to avoid heading back to juvenile hall and a cynical Goth girl in tune with the occult.

Each of the elitists, the overachieving daughter of a lawyer, the injured jock son of a councilman, the homecoming queen cutter and the pressured son of an Afghani immigrant, all try to examine how they got themselves in to the trouble that landed them in detention. The odd thing is that none of them can explain why they did what they did other than saying the idea just came over them and they didn’t feel like they were in control of themselves at the time.

The issue begins with the kids beginning their punishment, researching and writing a speech for the library’s dedication. What they find backs up the rumors they had begun discussing last issue that the school had been built on sacred Apache land. Upon further examination, they unearth some information about the last guardian of the tribe who had been forced from the land by eminent domain, committed to an asylum and took his only life after feeling he failed to protect the sacred land. And of course, before he died he made sure to place a curse on the land. Like any Goth girl, Veronica offers up the idea to have a séance to find out if there really is a curse on the school. Reluctantly, the others agree and the circle sets themselves up around a table.

When things begin to get a little too heavy for some of the participants, Megan, the overachiever who landed herself in detention for stripping in class and making out with another female student has an asthma attack and runs off, breaking the circle. And then, like any classic horror movie tale, people start dying. Locked in the library together with no one to get them out after Veronica tainted the coffee of their teacher with eye medicine, the five remaining students try to find their way out and quickly begin to turn on each other in typical horror movie fashion.
It was made into an equally independent movie:

Bad Kids Go to Hell

By Leah ChurnerThe real mystery of BKGTH isn’t who’s doing the killing, but where the passion went in this independently produced screenplay-turned-comic-book-turned-movie by Dallas filmmakers and co-writers, Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick. Did they outgrow the project in the six years it took to complete? Certainly they were stymied by limited funds. Comic-book adaptations call for dozens of set-pieces, and this movie only has the budget for three or four–hence the copious slo-mo shots, a seeming effort to re-create the book’s still images.

If a high school English teacher were grading BKGTH, he or she would have to give writers points for using the thesaurus. The phrase “dead Indian” is eventually replaced with “Native-American wraith,” for instance, and the headmaster (The Breakfast Club’s Judd Nelson hiding behind a huge beard and glasses) is totally quotable: “Never before have I seen a greater blight on organized education. Like a massive gravity sinkhole, he deforms every positive thought he encounters before sucking it into a vortex from hell.” The operative word is sinkhole.
Comment:  I'm not totally opposed to the idea of Indian spirits haunting the land. I used that idea in the first PEACE PARTY story I wrote. But I like to think I gave it an original twist. This sounds like a completely clichéd version of the idea.

And using the Apache as the culprits? Ho-hum. Name a violent, war-like tribe. Oh, yeah, the Apache.

I think someone said that one student is descended from the "last Apache." This student is probably the one killing the others to avenge his ancestors. Oops, I hope that didn't spoil the comic book and movie. I'm just guessing, so don't mind me.

For more on Indians and the supernatural, see Tonto vs. Wendigo and Cannibal Indians in My Ghost Story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, besides the fact that there are still Apaches around, "descended from the last Apache" is just plain silly, for obvious reasons.

Hmm...five kids from different cliques forced to work together on an Indian burial ground. Seriouisly, is there just a pair of wheels listing every Hollywood cliché ever for the X meets Y format, or have they gotten all technological and now it's like a name generator? Vampires fighting werewolves meets love triangle! Indian burial ground meets Breakfast Club clone!