In putting together Night Trap, Lion Forge’s first horror title by critically acclaimed writer Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, Deadpool), it seemed at first like a comfortable, instantly familiar slasher movie homage. You’ve got your terrifying backwoods villain who can’t be stopped, not even by an FBI swat team hot on his trail. There’s a gang of beautiful coeds up for a weekend of good fun, but heading straight for their bloody doom instead. And, of course, there’s Cullen working at the top of his game, taking out all the boring parts from the B-grade flicks we loved growing up and leaving only the ceaseless, brutal scares.
As a horror fan, that would normally be enough for me, but then comes the twist. Rather than follow the paint-by-numbers plot we all know and love, as soon as the murders start, Kelly, our “final girl,” whips out a beastly attack of her own and fells the bad guy in the first act. Before you can recover from that shock, more baddies appear, and then the real fun begins. From that point on, the only thing you know for sure is that the body count will rise; you just don’t know how many will be the victims or the killers. “What happened to you, Kelly?” her best friend asks towards the end, and that becomes the dramatic question of the whole miniseries, one that upends the slasher genre in an exciting, progressive way while staying true to the things that make it work.
As a hard-R comic full of violence and trauma, Night Trap is certainly not for everyone, but it’s most definitely for the monster kids and the die-hards who have been waiting for a comic that takes on one of horror’s most popular sub-genres.