By Patrick Wolf
There are two kinds of horror stories: masterworks that move us and filth that sickens us. While Untold doesn’t fit smoothly into any of these categories, it definitely leans more towards the latter. So, if you’re into smut stories like The Human Centipede or I Spit on your Grave, this is probably right up your lane. If you’re looking for something more akin to The Shinning or Aliens, however, I’d keep looking.
Untold follows Alice, a young, teenage girl who’ll stop at nothing until she finds out what happened to her missing grandfather. It takes her nearly 10 years, but she finally manages to wrest the truth from her parents. Unfortunately, life isn’t always peachy and the horrible revelation Alice receives is just the surface of a much more terrible reality.
While Untold is coherent, well-structured, and easily categorizable, it suffers from a number of issues that really hurt its chances of being a much better story. For starters, none of the characters are likable. The parents are despicable, the grandfather is deranged, and Alice is annoying. In fact, from the three, the most semi-likable is the grandfather, but when we find out what he really is, nothing he can do or say will ever redeem him.
This revelation, in particular, is very irritating since most of the comic consists of flashbacks intended to build our affection towards Alice and her grandfather. While Alice comes off as foul-mouthed and rude, the grandfather seems like a fairly upstanding guy. So, when the curtain is lifted and we finally see him for what he really is, not only are we abhorred by his actions, but we also feel kind of cheated since the emotional investment we’ve just fostered was for nothing.
In fact, this general sense of nothingness is the predominant feel of the story. Since there are no likable characters to latch onto, we’re left with a narrative that feels more like smut than horror. It’s kind of like choosing between The Shining or The Human Centipede. While both stories are filled with gore and terror, The Shining is by far superior since it’s more than just filth: it’s suspense mixed with strong characterization. The Human Centipede, on the other hand, lacks these elements, so it comes off as more akin to smut. We’re not really scared or moved; we’re just sickened. Untold, unfortunately, is more akin to The Human Centipede.
Of course, Untold obviously isn’t as bad as The Human Centipede, but it leaves the same kind of empty feeling that comes such narratives. When I’m reading horror stories I want to feel terrified, moved, and uplifted. I don’t want to feel so dirty I need to scrub myself right after reading. I know there are audiences for this kind of entertainment—just as there are audiences for rape porn and authentic murders. But if you’re not into that sort of thing, you’re probably not going to be into this one either. The Untold is a story that’s better left untold.
Untold # 1
Writer: Daniel Farrand
Artist: Johannes Vick
Colorist: Johannes Vick
Letterer: Erica Vick
Publisher: Untold Productions