On today’s Scream Queen Saturday we will be staying within the world of graphic novels as we delve into the bloody world of monster serial killers and the undisputed queen of taking them down. She’s known as the “Slasher of Slashers,” and she puts the “Grr” into Grindhouse. She is Cassie Hack.
Name: Cassandra “Cassie” Hack
Best Known For: Hack/Slash (2004, 2007 onwards) by Tim Seeley.
Look: Black hair, bad attitude, gothic makeup, skimpy Riot Grrl-type attire, trademark “Kiss it” nail bat.
Cassie Hack was the typical mild-mannered, timid outsider at school. Plain, unassuming and unattractive, Cassie was often bullied by the other kids. But that was all to change one day when her mother Delilah, the school’s lunch lady could take no more of her daughter’s abuse and went on a bloody killing spree before taking her own life, with Cassie witnessing her mother’s suicide. With her father long gone away, Cassie was placed into a foster home and sent to a new school. Two years later children started to disappear, only for it to be revealed that it was Delilah Hack – reborn as a vengeful “slasher” behind it all. Cassie confronted her mother and shot her dead before leaving to live a life on the road. Her mission? Make sure to bring an end to all the other slashers in the world.
Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash series has become a bit of a sleeper hit. Published by the relatively small Devil’s Due Publishing, the comics have gone from a set of one-offs to a full-blown series, with the lead character becoming a star in her own right. And for good reason too – Hack/Slash is an unashamed tribute to every slasher flick you’ve ever loved. It’s fair to say that Wes Craven’s Scream exposed the slasher flick rulebook and deconstructed a genre which has never quite been the same since. But Hack/Slash gleefully takes those same rules and turns them upside down, with our heroine Cassie being the most lethal killer of them all.
And let’s face it, Cassie is the reason we love Hack/Slash. She is one dangerous, sexy vixen. In a world full of exploitation such as horror, Cassie fits right in with her gothic beauty, sheer tops and bottom-skimming miniskirt. Gratuitous? Of course, but that’s the point. Slasher movies are all about gratuity – whether it’s the “obligatory titty-flash,” premarital sex scene or gory money shot. Our leading lady is totally self-aware of the rules so famously established in Scream, and uses them to bring down her prey in as brutal a way as possible.
The other part of the comics’ appeal is the frequent appearance of some of the most famous movie slashers in history. Cassie has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of The Re-Animator’s Dr. Herbert West and Child’s Play’s evil doll Chucky, as well as the legendary Elizabeth Bathory and a deranged Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. And like the others before them, Cassie and her partner Vlad have put them back down into the ground.
Cassie has also appeared in a theatre production of Hack/Slash in 2005 where she was played by Stefani Bishop and the rights for a movie adaptation were secured in 2006 by Rogue Pictures (Limitless, Doomsday) where news on its production has been quiet ever since. Cassie also has the honour of becoming the world’s first and only (to my knowledge) fictional member of the Suicide Girls, a collective of alternative models. Not bad for a schlocky horror pinup.
Hack/Slash has since moved home to Image Comics and new releases have been quiet since 2011. However Cassie herself continues to be fondly remembered and much like the monsters she slays, I’m sure she will come back stronger and more lethal than ever before. Mindless fun, yet clever at the same time, Cassie Hack is a reminder that horror is very much its own unique beast and is a celebration of the genre’s rich and bloody history.
And if you don’t like it, KISS IT.