Digitally released in September 2018, Bil Richardson’s “savage second issue” of “1000 Nightmares” undoubtedly demonstrates its creator’s desire for his publication not to be “your typical horror anthology” with its disconcerting look at religious fanaticism, a hapless human’s intimate relationship with an extra-terrestrial, and a savagely brutal case of animal cruelty. In fact, a number of this comic’s stories are so disturbingly thought-provoking and deeply troubling that, having finished digesting its concerning contents, many readers were probably very grateful to know that “all proceeds from the sale of this book” were due to “go to the mental rehabilitation of the truly sick individuals who created it.”
Opening this collection of ‘shorts’ is the filmmaker’s take on just what appalling lengths of behaviour people will go to supposedly “in the name of God”. Focusing upon the adolescent Ali, and the far older Aslam’s belief that the boy must “die now” so he can “go to heaven a hero of Allah” before the youngster acts upon his “sinful lusts”, this visually striking eight-page tale momentarily appears to be about to provide its audience with a genuinely happy ending. However, as the author’s point behind this narrative is that “it’s a good thing God is not as cruel to us as we are to each other”, the fact the child’s bearded guardian suddenly reveals he is carrying a remote controlled detonator for the suicide vest the lad is forced to wear, soon makes it abundantly evident that the unwilling pawn in the grown-up’s game is destined to face an explosive fate.
Perhaps far less provocative, albeit similarly as stimulating, is “STD”, which portrays Mister Jones’ admission to hospital following the man’s seemingly innocuous intimacy with a woman who “had a tattoo of a playboy bunny over her breast.” Infected with a truly horrendous-looking alien virus, Meg’s clearly suffering victim finally manages to locate the lady’s address “way out in the sticks” only to come face to face with a very hungry visitor from outer space; “When the thing exited Meg, her body exploded.” Wonderfully pencilled in black and white by Andy Dimitt, it is clear just why Richardson decided “colouring would only detract from it.”
Arguably in some ways though, this book leaves its best anecdote until last, courtesy of its writer’s “adaption of a short story I wrote a long time ago.” Inspired “by people who treat animals better than humans” this narrative is definitely not for dog-lovers as an apparently quietly-spoken, well-meaning rancher decides to treat a cruel pet-owner with a lesson the beer-swilling “King of the Trailer Park” will never be allowed to forget…