Realm Of The Damned, the most metal comic ever (the first issue of which we gave away free with issue 283 in June), has hit the big screen! The Realm Of The Damned movie tells the tale of a world succumbing to werewolves, mummies and other ancient ghouls, all at the behest of ancient vampire Lord Balaur, who’s voiced by none other than Cradle Of Filth’s Dani Filth. Just to add to the film’s metallic credentials, the vampire is resurrected by black metal band The Sons Of Balaur – now a real act, signed to Season Of Mist – and the film also features appearances by Huntress’s Jill Janus, former Morbid Angel frontman David Vincent, and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Naturally, this was a big part of the appeal for Jill, who plays the Vampire Queen, Athena.
“I identify with her – we both love blood!” she laughs. In fact, Jill enjoys being around it so much that in her downtime from Huntress, she’s a phlebotomist. “When you’re drawing blood,” she says, somewhat terrifyingly, “that lifeforce is so powerful. I’m like Athena – I have a clit-boner for blood!”
Jill sees the character as an extension of her stage persona – she recently played a vampire in the video for Huntress single Sorrow – and describes the process of preparing to play Athena as tapping into that same role: “You look at the character from all aspects, and delve into them as if you’re going to be playing them on stage or in a movie.”
For Dani Filth, the performance of Lord Balaur – who speaks in huge block capitals in the comic – came very naturally. “It’s more death metal than my normal style. I just had to practise a really massive voice,” he says. But he doesn’t relate to the character quite as much – which is something of a relief, given Balaur’s penchant for dispatching people in rather gruesome ways, not to mention his ultimate goal of bringing about the destruction of civilisation.
“My stage persona isn’t about evil; it’s a personification of the gothic horror imagery in Cradle Of Filth’s lyrics. Whereas Balaur is quite a fucking nasty character!” he chuckles.
Jill’s commitment to the part extends to carrying out promotional duties in costume.
“For vocals, you really have to work on portraying the character,” she explains. “I’ll be doing photoshoots in costume as Athena to make her come to life.” While this will, as Jill says, “give fans something latch onto, visually”, those hoping to see Dani appearing as his vampiric alter ego shouldn’t hold their breath. “I think Balaur’s supposed to be eight feet tall,” he laughs, “so that’s me out of the equation!”
Vampire queens, demonic black metal and buckets of gore: so far, so metal. “When you look back, you had Judge Dredd featuring in Metal Hammer,” recalls Dani. “I think Realm Of The Damned is the cream of the comic book crop. Plus, everybody likes monsters!”
For Jill, it’s even simpler: “Every little girl dreams of becoming a Vampire Queen…don’t they?”
REALM OF THE DAMNED IS AVAILABLE ON DVD AND BLU-RAY FROM REALMOFTHEDAMNED.CO.UK