Prog #67: Yer Can’t Kill the Undead! (The Cursed Earth, part 7: Night of the Vampire)

Case File

Dredd and the convoy find themselves facing a mythical mystery when they discover a series of “vampire” attacks.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd describes the townsfolk here as “simple hillbillies”, but then goes on to say to himself that they are good people for sharing their hospitality. He seems to put the pieces of the puzzle together very quickly here – has he been made aware of the inhabitant of Fort Knox before?

Friends of Dredd

Spikes feels no desire whatsoever to help out the townsfolk. He’s sceptical of “crazy legends”.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

The trek has reached what used to be Kentucky, so it’s time to hit those stereotypes full blast! Hillbillies-a-plenty. There’s so indication that they’re muties at all, and they seem to respect and even value the presence of the Judges here. The hallmarks of the attacks lead the townsfolk to lay the blame on a vampire.

Nearby is old Fort Knox, hit by a fusion bomb in the Atomic War but still filled with gold. It seems very unlikely it hasn’t been looted before now. It’s guarded by automatic laser guns (which could deter amateur bullion hunters I guess), but the Killdozer makes short work of the defences.

The Law

The Killdozer finally gets a moment to shine here, and doesn’t disappoint.

Creeps

The “vampire” is in fact a trio of medic robots with a joint personality and an annoying habit of finishing each other’s sentences. Some demented genius determined to give everyone nightmares designed them with two hypodermic needles where the front two teeth would be on a human. They’re also bulletproof and sticklers for orders.

They’re obeying orders to collect “rhesus negative” blood and take it back to their base of operations in Fort Knox, apparently for the last President of the United States who lies in some sort of suspended animation.

Resyk

The robots have apparently killed a lot of the townsfolk, and we see an attack on the daughter of Ikkabod here.

Verdict

Another big change of pace here with a bizarre take on vampire stories. I like this one, even with some of the easily criticised elements such as the unlikelihood of both Fort Knox and this town existing at all given what we’ve been told about the Cursed Earth.

The trio of medic robots are a creative and different threat, and the needle-teeth are shudder-inducing. The cliffhanger is also just such a left-turn that it really works.

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