Night of the Ghoul is one of eight new series from Scott Snyder in an initiative that launched right in time for Halloween. Unfortunately for the series, the second issue out today might be even scarier. Night of the Ghoul #2 continues the story co-created by Francesco Francavilla about a film called, fittingly, “Night of the Ghoul”, which features a monster found during World War I that may be more real than any silver screen horror story. In the second issue, we learn not only are our main characters in danger, but possibly the world.
This issue opens with remnants of the film playing for the reader. We see the Ghoul hunger and it appears to be brought back to America with the rest of the American soldiers. Something isn’t quite right with one of them named Kurt, and soon his son can see he’s not his father. Told through black and white pages, Francesco imbues a haunting sense of unease like something out of the 1920s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. That unease hangs over the rest of the book that’s so strong you might check behind you as you read.
From there the story picks up where we left off as a man named Mr. Inman and his son are visiting an old folks home late at night. Inman wants to know more about a mysterious film he came across and any truths the very sick and grotesque original director might know about it. It’s the old man’s turn to ask questions though, which has the two going back and forth in sometimes uncomfortable ways. Inman’s obsession with the tape and the truth behind it blinds him from seeing the danger he’s in, although he does get nervous at times.
While new information is uncovered, Inman’s son pokes around the old folks home, which is now deserted. Once again, Francavilla ups the creepy factor with the boy going down into the depths and subtle shadow hands enveloping him, only for him to turn towards the light he came from to see freaky gasping faces. As he discovers atrocities in the basement Inman also realizes truly awful things are taking place.
It’s a cat and mouse sort of story, only told verbally. In between Inman and the old man are more clips from the film which further reveal who the Ghoul is in the story. The final page is a disturbing image that may just be burned into your brain. I will say it’s a reveal you’ll see coming, but the horror imagery works.
Night of the Ghoul follows up the first issue with an even creepier and disturbing second issue. I was teetering on this being my least favorite series from Snyder’s first three titles, but this second issue has swayed me. Night of the Ghoul is a hair-raising and disturbing horror story that rivals some of the best horror classics of our time.
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