A while ago I wrote about Betty & Veronica, a reboot of the two classic Archie Comics characters. In this review I mentioned the two Horror book adaptations of other characters. One is the zombie chiller Afterlife with Archie, in which Jughead’s dog is brought back from the dead by Sabrina and turns into a zombie. The dog then starts infecting Riverdale. The second one is Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. You might know Sabrina from her 90’s show Sabrina The Teenage Witch starring Melissa Joan Hart.
The TV-show In a nutshell: when Sabrina turns 16, she finds out she is a witch. With the help of her two aunts and their familiar (a black cat), she tries to balance a normal teenage life with her witch life. In the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the series is remade in a classic 60’s occult supernatural thriller. On the October 26th, the TV adaptation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is coming to Netflix; so there’s time enough to read the comic and get in the mood for the coming Halloween season.
What’s it about?
Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda Spellman, who are her guardians. The teen is a half witch, who has to decide on her 16th birthday either to become a full fledged witch or pursue a mortal life with her boyfriend Harvey . And to make matters worse Madame Satan, an old flame of her estranged dad, is hellbent on revenge on Sabrina and the rest of the Spellman family.
Here’s what Archie comics themselves have to say about the plot:
On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda.
Come to the Coven
I loved the TV-series, it was campy and funny. It was like a wholesome version of Charmed, with a wisecracking black cat named Salem. I never read the original comic books. But what I can gather it’s just like the Archie comics: colourful and for the whole family.
Chilling adventures of Sabrina interprets the source material in a more PG-13 manner. For example, there is more blood and the themes became a lot darker. As comparison: the original Sabrina was like the 60’s Batman series, this book is like Batman Begins.
The makers did a great job of recreating the feel and the style of 60’s comics. The pages look like storyboards instead of dynamic panels. Next to that the art is similar to books like Tales from the Crypts and other Horror comics from that time.
The story is given a great occult twist : the coming of age ritual of Sabrina takes place in the woods at night, including sacrifices. Her aunts are part of a Coven of witches and warlocks named The Church of Night. They worship Satan and try do to his bidding, while trying to blend in normal society. Movies like The Exorcist and The Wicker Man come to mind theme-wise, maybe even Hereditary.
Sabrina on Netflix
Chilling adventures of Sabrina is a great spin on the original series. It’s a loving homage to the horror movies/comics of old. You have evil witches who worship Satan. And there is a villain named Madame Satan who tries to subvert a town to her will to get her revenge.
There is a major downside though. Only eight issues came out since 2014. Six of them bundled and there are two loose numbers. That’s not a lot and there’s a big chance the story will never be finished. Or it has to happen in the Netflix series. If you are let down by open ended series, give this one a pass.
I’m looking forward to the Sabrina Netflix series, it will be great Halloween fodder next to the Castlevania series. And big plus for the show, Michelle Gomez( Missy from Doctor Who) will play Madame Satan! Here’s a sneak peak at the new leading lady Kiernan Shipka: