99 percent of the movies Vanja and I watch in the cinema are horror movies (wow, what a shocker), and 2019 has definitely been a really strong year for the genre. In fact, I can’t remember another year where there have been so many horror movies in the cinema, and I’m speaking of my home country Norway. Most of the horror movies we’ve seen at the big screen this year has already been reviewed on our new site horrorghouls.com we launched in March. And to our excitement it looks like 2020 will be a strong year for horror as well.

But, yeah, we do see other types of films too, on the rare occasion when there pops up titles that are worth our attention. For example, Rambo V: Last Blood. We also saw the Joker movie on its premiere day, which I also will share some thoughts on later. But first, let’s take a look at what our old friend John Rambo has been up to lately:

 

Rambo: Last Blood

Since Rambo slaughtered a gang of local infantry units in Burma’s war zone eleven years ago, he has settled down on a farm in the quiet country side in Arizona with his old friend Maria and her granddaughter Gabrielle. Even though Rambo is still struggling with trauma, a misanthropic worldview and keeps chewing pills, he finally seems to have gotten some inner piece while he train horses and builds underground tunnels by the farm. Well, the little peace he has achieved is going to be shattered soon, when Gabrielle wants to go to Mexico to track down her biological father who abandoned her and her mother years ago. A very bad idea, but after John and her grandmother strongly advice her to stay as far away from the place as if it was the plague, she goes anyway, under their radar.

And what could possible go wrong..?

Mexico looks like a big, broken, rusty toilet filled with criminals and corrupt police officers lurking in every corner, and it doesn’t take long before she gets drugged in a nightclub and sold off to a Mexican cartel. They throw her like worthless trash in a basement filled with other young women, who have been forced into prostitution for the all sleazy men to enjoy like they were wild animals, including the police. Welcome to Mexico. Rambo drives straight to the border to rescue her, which ends up in a spectacular tirade of merciless body counts that would even put Jason Vorhees to shame. I’m actually a little baffled that this got only a PG-rating when it feels way more like an R-rating. But okay, I eat movies like this for breakfast anyway.

There is nothing new to learn about Rambo here, we know what we need to know, where he comes from and the zero tolerance he has for garbage people who dare to make his life miserable, or if they hurt the few people he cares about. At the age of 73, Stallone is in great shape and more intense than ever, and is practically evolving into a walking killing machine in full psychotic rage where he has nothing more to lose, and getting his revenge is the only thing that matters. Even though his mind is pretty broken and gone, his physics tells a whole other story. Heads are cut off, limbs dismembered, and I couldn’t avoid giggling when one of the cartel members got his collarbone ripped out with Rambo’s bare hands. Pure gold!

Rambo 4 from 2008 had a perfect ending and closure, so I’m lying if I say this movie doesn’t seem a little unnecessary. Last Blood feels more like one big encore, and is made for fans and the fans only, who still wants more with a straight-forward revenge premise for those who think Death Wish seems outdated and The Expendables too tame. It’s a simple and no-brainer popcorn flick at its best, and it is not trying to be more than what it is. It’s steadily directed by Adrian Grunberg who also made “Get the Gringo” with Mel Gibson in 2012. The same raw vibe from Rambo 4 is also still here, but it seems somewhat underdeveloped in some places. What ever happened to his sidekick, Carmen, who just comes and goes? Well, whatever. Still, it’s an entertaining ride of an epilogue to the Rambo saga with a pretty insane, bloody climax where it goes in full-blown slasher film territory. Fun!

Bella Mortis is celebrating four years today, and for that occasion I have decided to make a quick Top 10-list over my personal favorite episodes.

So far there’s 18 episodes from three seasons (six episodes per seasons), and it’s almost two years since the last episode. Yeah, it’s been a while, but as soon the next episode of Sally The Ghost Hunter is finally finished, which I’ve worked on-and-off for five years  now in between all the other projects, I’ll start right away with new episodes. Vanja have already written the episodes to fill the next seasons, and I look really forward to draw some horror shorts again.

Here we go (not in any particular order):

 

Pizza Delivery 

http://bellamortispresents.com/comics/pizzadelivery/

This episode is one of my favorites, probably number one, because Vanja and I had a lot of fun with the brainstorming and collaboration for the script, throwing around a lot of ideas for the progress and the ending. And we chose a pretty meaty one. With its 40 pages it’s so far the longest episode.Bon appetit!

 

 

The Window

http://bellamortispresents.com/comics/thewindow/

In this episode, a prank goes horribly wrong. Fun fact: The house in this episode is a reference from The Sallie House, and the window from the American Gothic painting. I really enjoyed drawing from those references, so this is thus one of my favorites.

 

 

The Cabin

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/cabin/

The first episode with the introduction of Bob Sims the Exorcist and Bella Mortis herself. Also watch out for a quick cameo by Vanja and I. The Norwegian-inspired mountain landscapes was a real joy to draw, which made this first episode fun to work with.

 

 

Found Footage

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/foundfootage/

A young couple are hiking in the deepest part of the woods, where they find a video camera with some disturbing images. While I have to admit that I was really, really tired of drawing trees upon finishing this episode, I still think back to it as a very fun episode to draw, and I liked the “found footage” theming.

 

 

Flower Girls

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/flowergirls/

If you want blood and boobies, you’ve got it! I really liked being able to draw some tits, cryptids and monster girls in this episode, and the jungle theme was really fun to draw as well (warming a bit up for the Zombolia project!).

 

 

Your Favorite Christmas

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/yourfavoritechristmas/

A local newspaper is having their annual drawing contest for kids, where the children can draw their favorite Christmas. The editor is enjoying the contributions so far, until a boy named Tim is sharing a far more… well, unconventional Christmas memory, to put it mildly. What I really liked about drawing this episode, was trying to go for the “child’s drawing” look.

 

 

Thalassophobia

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/thalassophobia/

Vanja is a big fan of sea-monsters, creature-feature-flicks and overall the deepest mysteries of the ocean, which is reflected by this episode. And I got to draw a huge sea-monster over two pages, which also ended up on a T-shirt. So I had a lot of fun with this one!

 

 

The Smiling ghost

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/thesmilingghost/

In this episode, a girl thinks she’s seeing a smiling woman at the end of the stairs. What I enjoyed about working on this episode, was drawing the actual ghost woman and her appearance…and I also liked doing that “happy” ending 😉

 

 

FOREST FAIRY

http://bellamortispresents.com/comics/forestfairy/

A young man is revisiting the forest he used to play in as a kid. He had a vivid imagination, but certain things proves to have been a bit too real. In this episode, I had a lot of fun drawing the boy’s imaginative monsters, and the slight “fantasy” tone in it.

 

 

Cabin Fever

http://www.bellamortispresents.com/comics/cabinfever/

A family is going to their cabin for the winter holiday, but a snow-storm keeps them locked inside. After a trip outside to bring in some firewood, the parents starts acting strange…very strange. In this episode I had to draw snow-filled scenery, something that was quite fun to do. And of course, there were some blood ‘n gore to draw as well, which is right up my alley! 😉

 

And at last, some honorable mentions: the rest of the episodes!

happy helloween

the house by the road

the stalker

my daughter’s room

working late

the last hike

trick or treat

the white cat

 

Vanja’s been providing me with convenient scripts that have both given me guidance and freedom when creating these comics, so like I said, I’m already looking forward to start on the next season!