Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight issues #5 & 6 – Bride of Blood
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Federica Manfredi
Colours: Dorotea Gizzi
Cover artists: Francesco Francavilla (5) & Dan Panosian (6)
The third story in the Doors Open at Midnight series is much different in tone and style of the first two. There is very little fun in any of these pages. Instead of campy gore and witty dialogue, “Bride of Blood” is gritty and almost painful to read.
“Bride of Blood” styles itself as a sort of rape and revenge comic styled after movies like I Spit on Your Grave (Day of the Woman) and Last House on the Left. Just like those films, this is hardly something to enjoy. But this comic puts its own distinct twist on the story: the victim/heroine is Branwyn, a girl who is seeking her revenge, but with sword and chainmail.
Issue 5 sets the story off in a tragic way. Branwyn is betrothed to the Lord Callyreath, who’s spine is weaker than his sword skills. As the wedding begins, the guests and family are slaughtered by the wild reavers. Branwyn is raped and her tongue is cut out, leaving her for dead. She spends her days grieving and recovering up to the burial for her brother. While many thinks she should be grieving, the girl has only revenge on her mind. She steals her late-brother’s armour and takes matters into her own hands.
The following issue switches to the perspective of Lord Callyreath. Readers learn of his terrible plans. All along he had orchestrated a plan to end the lives of Branwyn’s family in order to give himself total control over the lands in the north that she would inherit.
This part was quite interesting because the readers could grow to despise the Lord. But they could also enjoy the full amount of terror he goes through as Branwyn seeks her revenge. It would have been more fun to include more of her story and plot, but it still works to see her as some sort of ghostly figure.
To be completely frank, I don’t know if I would recommend this story as much as the first two. The artwork on the covers got me really excited to read these, but I found it really tough to read. I was never a huge fan of rape/revenge films because they are difficult to handle for me personally.
Out of the entire Grindhouse series, this is probably the weakest title. The story doesn’t always add up completely (like bringing a certain character who was totally dead in issue 5!). But the art is quite nice in these two issues, and the rest of the series has been quite fun so far that it would be a shame to give up without reading the final story, “Flesh Feast of Devil Doll.”