Mention Cradle of Filth to me and the only thing I can conjure from my metal loving memory was a group of lads from up north (it’s all up north to us Londoners) with a cool black metal gimmick, and many a blurred out T-Shirt dubbed in mail order catalogues as the, “Vestal Masturbation” shirt that got many a school kid in trouble. Fast forward 20 odd years and I see lead singer Dani Filths name pop up in the blurb for “Realm of The Damned” alongside Morbid Angels David Vincent & Huntress Jill Janus. Two names I maybe should know if I actually listened to that strain of music, but with all this metal in the voice acting booth for this motion comic it should be pretty hardcore right?
Realm of the Damned for the uninitiated is a comic book series that features the world as we know in the hands of demons, monsters and generally unpleasant types with fangs. The humans last line of defence the Vatican, finally succumbing the forces of darkness and leaving only a handful of heroes scattered around the globe. One of these heroes is Van Helsing, now it seems a shadow of his former glory stands alone fighting an insurmountable enemy, while suffering addiction problems. What remains of the good however now face an even bigger bad in the form of an evil called Balaur, something more ancient and unpleasant than the current bad guys which force them to form a “the enemy of my enemy” pact to stop it.The fact this is a motion comic taken directly from the pages is both it’s strength and weakness, the art is very stylistic and works well for the subject. It’s Sin City-esq monochrome with liberal splashes of red works well and makes it stand out but… the motion part lets it down on occasion though, there are moments where it really needs more than a slow slide upwards to help encapsulate the action and feeling of the story. It still feels very static and doesn’t help the emotion, it takes you out of the action as the movement doesn’t match up. Also pinching and stretching the art really does it no flavors and ruins the effect massively.
Other things that don’t quite match up is the voice acting, the talent being used wildly varies, while the main cast especially David Vincent shine in their parts, some incidental characters sound like they’re doing a straight line reading. The metal crew don’t always shine however, but the blame there lies more with the script, which I imagine works perfectly when you read it page by page but as a continuous dialogue it suffers from being choppy and slightly out of context, going from subtle… calm… dialogue … to ANGRYSHOUTYSHOUTYANGRYSWEARS!!!! In seconds.It’s a mish mash of quality really overall, the story line and art are good and keep you interested but it doesn’t always work as a movie. Something that definitely adds to the story is the soundtrack but it’s usage is limited.
So whether this is an experience that would be more enjoyable on paper while listening to the soundtrack you’ve downloaded from Limewire… and wearing a “Jesus is a C**t” shirt… is the main question. I’m not sure it would be, but as an introduction to the world it’s a good one. I’d weigh up the pros & cons of how much it costs compared to the Trade paperback and decide yourself really. If they ever made a full animation using this art style with a modified script I’d be right on it.