In The Penumbra Of The Black Plague

I am not a huge video game player, and in fact I tend to enjoy watching other people playing more than doing so myself.  I buy games every once in awhile, particularly if I like the concept behind them, play for a few minutes, then lose interest.

Most of it has to do with my attention span, which for games can be particularly brief. I have always been more interested in the hype that surrounds a game than the game itself; so that when I finally own a game that I have been lusting for for months, if not years, it almost automatically loses what got me interested in the first place.

When Steam was relatively new I purchased six or seven games, two of them being Penumbra: Black Plague and Requiem.

Continue reading

‘Leprechaun: Origins’ Trailer

Unlike this trailer, I am not sure that I would ever call the character from the Leprechaun movies ‘iconic.’  

Sure, there were there were a few films based him, but he was never in the league of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.

Anyway, this version looks a bit more serious (and significantly less campy) than prior entries in the series.  The producers were also wise to realize that this probably wouldn’t do well in theaters, which probably has a little to do with it being direct to video.

‘Housebound’ Trailer

The last movie I reviewed, Calvary, was a pretty good film, despite a lack of balance between dramatic and comedy elements.  I mention it because I think that I found a movie that gets it right.  Gerald Johnstone‘s Housebound revolves around a woman (the aptly named Morgana O’Reilly) as Kylie Bucknell, the partner of a not-too-competent criminal who’s caught while failing to rob an ATM.

I assume that she’s considered to be be just an accomplice, a first offender, or perhaps she’s underage because instead of going to prison she has to stay with her mother in the boonies, and wear one of those electronic anklets that inform the police if she leaves the residence.

And Kylie hates living with her mum, who appears a bit daft, though it appears that that’s the least of her problems.  The house seems to be haunted (her parents, for whatever reason, didn’t pick up on the signs, such as lights that go on and off for no apparent reason, doors that open without the presence of a draft or a person on the other side, etc) by a ghost with murderous intent.

As I said, it looks like fun because it’s all about balancing the humor with the horror.

‘Tusk’ Trailer

Tusk comes courtesy of Kevin Smith, a director that I find more interesting as a media personality than as a director.  The last film of his I saw, Red State, I recall being disappointed over because it advertised itself as one thing–a horror film–when it was actually quite another–essentially a thriller about religious zealots.

His most recent effort appears to be vaguely similar to Stephen King’s Misery, in that someone (Justin Long) is held captive by a nutcase, though in this case it seems that the protagonist is less interested in breaking bones than changing the very form of his captive.

Into a walrus, by surgical means, if the trailer is at all accurate.

Looks like fun.

‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

Continue reading

‘The Gallery of Horrors Bundle’ StoryBundle

Gallery of Horrors Bundle

Ripping a still-beating heart from the chest cavity that shelters it, as the blood washes all over you in a warm, red fountain.  It runs in rivulets, like miniature water falls, down your face; some even winds its way toward your open mouth.

The penny-copper tastes coats your tongue before making its way down your throat.  At first you double over, gaging for a moment before feelings of revulsion are soon replaced by a sated feeling that–before now–you’ve been entirely unacquainted with.

If reading about such terrors is your idea of entertainment–it’s definitely mine–then The Gallery of Horrors Bundle is for you.

The books are offered by StoryBundle, and contains six books by writers such as Martin Kee, Brent J. Tally, and Tanya Eby.

Now here’s the cool part.  If you pay more than $12 for the Bundle, you get three bonus books:  Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig, I, Zombie by Hugh Howie and The Red Church by Scott Nicholson.

I can’t speak for everyone, but the scariest thing that I can think of would be to let such an awesome bundle of eBooks (readable in iBooks–my preference–or Kindle, Kobo or any other reader that accepts .epub or .mobi files) go away.

‘Alien: Isolation’ Trailer

Alien: Isolation, if the trailer does the game any justice, is gorgeous.  The original Alien, the movie that came out in 1979, directly inspired the videogame and was (and still is to many) considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

The game play (as far as I can tell) as well as cinematics are directly based on the movie, down to reintroducing familiar characters like Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Ash (Ian Holm), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and I assume Brett (Harry Dean Stanton, who recently turned up in last year’s The Avengers) as well as flashbacks to Kane (John Hurt).

As I said, it’s an attractive game, but begs the question:  Why are they mining so deeply into the Alien franchise?  While some of the sequels weren’t particularly good (arguably, Alien 3 and indisputably, Alien: Resurection, the screenplay which was written by Joss Whedon), you can’t mine the past–in either games or movies–if the makers of either expect to have any sort of a future.

Which is why I am wondering why the designers of the game didn’t use a new scenario and characters that revolved around the Alien and an isolated group of humans.  If the gameplay was good I am reasonably sure that players would have no issue with characters they were unfamiliar with.

Hemlock Grove, Season One Review

 


'Hemlock Grove' LetterRecently I received a letter from Netflix telling me that the second season of Hemlock Grove was coming July 11th, tomorrow.  With that in mind, I thought that I’d do a write-up on the first season.

They were also character posters released, which I included below.

When I first wrote about the series, I emphasized the nature of Netflix productions, which was to release an entire series of a particular show at a time.

So, in preparation for the second series, I have been rewatching, and I don’t think has aged well–which considering that it’s barely over year old isn’t in any way a complement.

The first series revolved around the city of Hemlock Grove, where a animal-like creature that may be a virgulf (an insane werewolf) has begun slaughtering local women.

Though the oddest thing was that the idea of rabid werewolf was the clearest part of the narrative, which isn’t a good sign.

Continue reading

‘The Damned’ Trailer

When I see that a movie is from IFC Midnight I take it as a given that it’s going to be well done.  As far as I know, they don’t actually make any of the movies that bear their name, though what they do do is almost as important, which is to purchase quality horror films and bring them to a larger audience.

Or if you want to think of it another way, consider them the anti-Asylum.

The trailer begins  with a three or four people on the way to somewhere, on a day that become a dark and stormy night.  The driver (Peter Facinelli) is helpless as the SUV they’re in is caught in the path of a mudslide, which flips the car over, and off the road.

Everyone survives the accident, though their vehicle is totaled, and they need to reach shelter.  Out of the rain they spot an old villa that anyone who had every seen a horror movie would be extremely reluctant to enter.

Though enter they do, and learn that it used to be a hotel, and there’s one person, an old man, that remains.

Or is there?  Here’s where things get pretty predictable, because soon the visitors discover a room (held shut by an unlocked padlock, for some reason) and something in it that looks like a little girl.

I write “predictable” because it feels like the entire idea was lifted from The Twilight Zone episode, The Howling Man, which I have included below.

Though maybe I am being too tough because it’s not like the idea was new even when the Zone used it.

‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Review

Deliver Us From Evil movie poster

“There Is A Devil, Of This There Is No Doubt.  But Is He Trying To Get In, Or Trying To Get Out?”

One of of the worst horror films that I can recall was 1978’s Cruise Into Terror.  It’s been awhile, but I remember that it starred George Kennedy (going about things in his typically mildly-befuddled fashion) as the captain of a cruise ship.

The ship was also transporting a child-sized Egyptian sarcophagus for some reason.   It contained an evil entity, perhaps even Satan itself.  It never manifested physically, but it’s baneful influence was felt by everyone aboard the ship (kind of like Cthulhu-lite), till someone chucked it overboard.

Two things in particular stuck in my head:  The first was that, when the sarcophagus was sinking to the ocean floor, you clearly see that whatever was within it was breathing (by the sides of the sarcophagus pulsing).

It wasn’t an accident, but it was particularly dumb because a sarcophagus is essentially a very ornate coffin, so the body within isn’t resting directing against it, never mind being constructed in such a fashion that that just isn’t possible.

Though the important thing to remember is that there’s no way to tell if an occupant was breathing or not from the outside.

The other thing was that, when Satan was on its way to Davy Jones’ Locker, a woman said ominously in voiceover:  “There is a Devil, of this there’s no doubt.  But is he trying to get in, or trying to get out?”

And do you know what?  That simple line wedged itself in my teenaged mind, and in retrospect virtually redeemed everything about that damn waste of celluloid.

Continue reading