Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bookmonkey vs Hack/Slash: Day Twenty Three

Jack and Delilah Hack in happier days
Family History

Moving through the series I’m hit with a dilemma; either I can give more detailed information on the storyline, potentially spoiling some of the surprises for people who are reading my blog before the series, or I can write about overall themes and concepts, but as the storylines get more complex I end up writing less about the series and more about the Slasher sub-genre in general. So I’m going to compromise.

As the main series is complete (currently there is a six-issue post-series crossover with the Sam Raimi film Army of Darkness (1992)), but featured many stand-alone stories, I’m going to focus on one key story arc from 2008, which has Cassie meeting her father for the first time since her childhood. The story is fairly straight forward, and takes place in the first third of the overall series, so although there are spoilers, keep in mind that the series still goes a long way after this specific arc.

In issues 14-17 of the series Cassie and Vlad become involved in a standard horror convention, the sins of the fathers will be visited upon their sons. It’s important to remember that in the Horror Genre, and especially the Slasher sub-genre is that many of the concepts used are both ancient and primal. Classic Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft began his 1927 essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” by stating “THE OLDEST and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” (Lovecraft, 1927), in these four issues, Seeley connects Cassie, her mother, and father with yet another figure from both classic and modern horror; Doctor Herbert West, created by H.P. Lovecraft in 1922 and adapted to film in the 1988 film Re-Ainmator and its sequels, Bride of Re-Animator (1990), and Beyond Re-Animator (2003). The character is a doctor looking to defeat death, which he attepts to do by bringing various corpse and corpse-parts back to life.

In the series Cassie’s father, Dr. Jack Hack is one of the government scientists who have been examining the phenomenon of Slashers, the reanimated killers that Cassie and Vlad spend most of the series tracking down and destroying. In issue 15 Cassie comes into contact with her father for the first time in years and finds he has been on the run from his old job with the government and is now working with Doctor West on a number of strange experients. What neither Jack or Cassie are aware of is that Doctor West has managed to get his hands on the remains of Cassie’s mother, (Delilah, better known as the Slasher The Lunch Lady, who was Cassie’s first kill), and plans to use his reanimating serum to bring her back to life.

The story arc shows through flashbacks that Jack met Delilah through his work in Slasher-research, typing her as a likely candidate for becoming a Slasher later in life – in the world of Hack/Slash Slashers often reappear in the same bloodline, and although their relationship starts out professional, they fall in love, get pregnant and go on the run to protect themselves and later their daughter Cassie.

As I don’t want to explain everything about the storyline I’ll leave it there, but I will bring up the fact that even though explaining exactly how a monster works in a horror story usually damages, rather than helps the story, (as the unknown has become the known), this story arc helps show more of Cassie and Vlad’s world, and works as set up for even bigger things to come.

Jack and Delilah Hack in Hack/Slash #16, Retrieved online from

Lovecraft, H.P. (1922) Supernatural Horror in Literature.  Retrieved online from

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