Okay, so there’s never been a Hack/Slash movie – which is a crime against movie-goers everywhere – but Tim Seeley’s creator-owned epic is about as ingrained in the culture of horror film as a comic can be. Besides the B-movie aesthetic, gory action, and schlocky humor, the very concept is a response to a common trope in slasher films. Cassie Hack is the idea of the “final girl” made literal. You’ve seen in countless times. A slasher attacks and, in the end, a final scream queen survives. The final girl. Hack/Slash celebrates the survivor by turning her into a hero who hunts down slashers and gives them their due. What’s especially fantastic about Hack/Slash, in addition to it’s almost Buffy-esque send-up of the idea of women as victims in horror, is that the series builds a mythology around the idea of the unkillable slasher, seeking to not only pay homage to the horror films that have popularized this undead menace, but giving a scientific reason that explains their existence, allowing for virtually all horror films to exist within the Hack/Slash continuity. It’s… well, it’s awesome.
One of the coolest things about this long-running series, though, is that it’s made good on its premise by crossing over with some of the most iconic figures in horror history. The most thrilling of all of these is the relatively recent Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash, which joins AoD/Evil Dead hero Ash Williams with Cassie Hack in a road trip adventure that amazingly does justice to both series. We’ll be taking a look at that series, but first let’s see the other horror heroes and villains that have fought with and against Cassie Hack, the “Serial Killer Killer.”
When this one came out, Cassie had only ever been up against other comic book characters, namely Evil Ernie. Things got taken to the next level when she crossed paths with Chucky, the iconic evil doll from Child’s Play. Chucky has been haunting the silver screen since 1988, so it was a sort of legitimizing honor to see him fight against, then with, and then against Cassie. And Cassie, as she tends to do, served up a healthy dose of ass-kickage, and seeing that never gets old.
Herbert West is originally a character from a short story by Lovecraft, but he became a cult horror legend with the 1985 film The Re-Animator. What made this arc fascinating was how little ceremony the crossover was given. Dr. West is organically woven into the ongoing Hack/Slash story, and his role ultimately leads to a cathartic confrontation between Cassie and the Lunch Lady, the slasher who started it all for Cassie… her own mother.
Cassie also crossed over into an annual of The Living Corpse. To be fair, Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson’s The Living Corpse started as a comic, but in 2012, it became a 3D film titled The Adventures of the Living Corpse, so I thought this worth a mention.
ARMY OF DARKNESS vs. HACK/SLASH
Now, here’s the biggun. I’m big on both Hack/Slash (I’ve made that clear, no?) and Army of Darkness, but I had no idea how much I’d enjoy reading them together. Both of these properties have crossed over with their fair share of other titles, as their premises very easily lend themselves to such a thing. I can’t say I could’ve predicted, however, how seemingly effortlessly writer Tim Seeley brings Ash Williams, resident ass-kicker and quip-maker from the Evil Dead and AoD flicks, into Cassie’s world.
And, yes, this is very firmly in Cassie’s world. The ongoing Hack/Slash book ended a bit before this, in the wake of a devastating loss for Cassie. A lesser writer may have picked this series up later in Cassie’s life, giving us more distance from the older series, so there would be less narrative “baggage” – not Seeley. The emotional core of Hack/Slash remains and Cassie is very driven by her loss, which adds an unexpected level of give-a-shit. It’s not just a crossover for the sake of a crossover. It’s a story that makes a statement about Cassie and Ash as heroes, and Hack/Slash and Army of Darkness as stories, and it does it while having a lot of blood-soaked, perverted, twisted fun.
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash is a blast and, besides being the best in a series of great crossovers, it’s every bit as good an introduction to Cassie Hack and Ash Williams as either of their own solo titles… which is saying a lot, because both of their titles kick not-small amounts of ass.
Also, Ash teaches a toddler to say, “Gimmesum shugo.” All hail the king, baby.
PAT SHAND writes comics (Robyn Hood, Charmed: Season Ten, and Grimm Fairy Tales) and pop culture journalism (Blastoff Comics, Sad Girls Guide). He’s been a big fan of horror movies, comics, and novels since he was a kid… although he distinctly remembers running out of the room whenever the trailer for Nightmare on Elm Street would play on the TV.