There are two major problems with Realm Of The Damned. Firstly, it hasn’t any idea what it really wants to be. Pitched as a ‘motion comic,’ it’s neither a graphic novel nor an animated movie, but rather a series of still images with occasional movement — blood splatters, bullet shots — that remind one of video game cutscenes from a decade ago. Secondly, and crucially, while some of the artwork is decent, the script and voice acting are excruciatingly awful, immediately destroying any atmosphere the images can create. But when the voice talent is led by Morbid Angel’s David Vincent and the always ridiculous Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth, that’s hardly surprising. History recognises that very few singers can make actors, and this isn’t going to change opinion.
Writer Alec Worley has taken elements of the black metal genre and horror and smashed them together with good intention, but the result is as ridiculous as Filth’s own band. The world is overrun by supernatural forces and humanity is now defenceless now The Vatican’s final line of defence — The Congregation — has been overthrown. Vampire hunter Van Helsing hiding from the creatures he once destroyed, fighting a blood addiction and trying to stay alive. But when a death metal singer resurrects a Norwegian demon lord, he’s forced to take action before the earth is destroyed by evil. And, in all honesty, that synopsis sounds like it could be a whole lot of fun (or a fabulous concept album) but the presentation of the material destroys any guilty pleasure.
Worley first brought his story to the pages of Judge Dredd Magazine and 2000AD, and in a longer format, with better character development, you could see it working. But this motion comic comes in at around 55 minutes, and feels long at that, while the constant barrage of demons, zombies, gore and Filth’s ridiculous screeching make it an endurance test. If metal and horror are your thing you might find some pleasure here, but there is much, much better available — try Neil Gaiman’s Sandman instead.
DVD & BLU-RAY
7 Apr 2017