Monday, 25 May 2009

TMNT (2007) - Super Hero Videogame Review (PS2)

Hang on, I hear you cry, this is not horror! I disagree, 4 giant mutated Turtles rampaging round a city? Sounds like horror to me! Ok so it isn't horror at all, but there are plenty of Monsters in this game.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles was my favourite cartoon when I was a kid. A few years back a CG film was released, I haven't seen it, but it appears this game is the game of that movie, and includes cut scenes, as well as I assume the soundtrack, and story.

The basic plot is that the Turtles have kinda parted ways, but when an evil millionaire employs the Foot clan to seemingly help him open a portal to a alternate dimension they must unite once more.
The game has two different styles to it. Half the game is a 3D and sometimes 2D platformer. As one of the 4 turtles you leap and swing your way Prince of Persia style round New York. The other half of the game is a 3d brawler. Every so often you will come into an arena where waves of enemies will attack you, though there's only really 1 button to use to attack.

The game is very easy, but to make up for this, it is also thankfully amazingly fun. True, a large amount of levels take place on New York rooftops, but there is still variety. It is a good design choice to keep the platforming, and fighting enemies separate. The platforming in particular is really cool. The turtles can run along walls, swing from poles, and basically do anything the prince can do. The soundtrack is also a real highlight, and for a PS2 game it looks amazing!

Tesco's had reduced the price of all it's PS2 games to just £3, so was quite a bargain. As a side note, bizarrely it seems Shredder is dead pre game, you fight him in a flash back, but that's his only appearance.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ju-On The Grudge 2 - Horror Film Review

I've had this for the longest time. A friend of mine is always moaning at me for not watching it, but I thought the original Grudge film was utter tripe, so had no desire to watch the sequel.

I watched the American sequel and loved it. Amazingly this is even better than that! I am so surprised at how good this film is. The plot is really clever, The film is split into about 6 different stories. A film crew has visited the haunted house of the first film. Each story focus's on a different member of the crew and cast, and ends with their gruesome and terrifying demise. It is really clever in how the stories entwine, seemingly events are shown in random order, but it all comes together to make sense in the end, and is damn creepy!

Don't let the poor original put you off. This is a damn good film, a really good Asian horror, and real creepy, I'll be having nightmares for sure!


Red Faction - Sci-fi Videogame Review (Playstation 2)

Recently re-purchased Red Faction for the Playstation 2. I had it in the past, and really enjoyed it with its 'destructible' environments. This time I literally had to drag myself through the game, it was so hard! I was saving my game after nearly every single bad guy I killed. I'm sure I must have accidentally played it on hard mode, heh, least that would make me feel better about my struggle.

You play Parker - a miner working on Mars. The miners are hideously treated by the Ultor corporation, and theres been increasing signs of revolt by the brutalised and over worked miners. Minutes into the game a miner snaps and attacks a guard, initiating a total riot. A secret underground organisation called 'Red Faction' uses this to strike at the Ultor corporation. Most the game sees you taking orders from the Red Faction, going to various places to investigate a man made disease which is sweeping the colony.  Look; there are zombies in the game, sure the game is pretty much all sci-fi so doesn't really fit in this blog, but it has zombies in one section of the game!

The game is kinda Half-Lifeish in that there are no 'levels' as such, but is just one massive pretty linear level, it's quite cool. Mainly you fight Ultor Security forces, and a Mercenary group stationed on Mars. There is a variety of weapons as standard - machine guns, pistols, rocket launchers. The most annoying weapon is the Rail Driver, it's a one hit kill, so many times an enemy miles in the distance will pixel perfect take you out before you even know they are there. You also get to drive vehicles, theres ground based vehicles, as well as flying ships, and submarines, all heavily armed.

The game is hella cheap now, I think it cost me about £2. It is a really big game for an first person shooter, so is value for money.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Outpost - Zombie Film Review

Outpost is an ok film, it just fails to get as creepy as it at first seems it will be.

The plot concerns a man who hires a band of mercenaries to get him to a location of interest in the middle of a war torn country in Eastern Europe. The location turns out to be an old Nazi bunker, seemingly abandoned. Mysterious bright lights, and figures in the woods surrounding the bunker force the mercenaries to take shelter inside. As the film goes on it is revealed what exactly the man who hired the mercenaries is looking for, and also who the mysterious figures are (hint: they are Nazi ghost/zombies).

The film starts off real good, it's mysterious, unsettling in a kind of 'House on Haunted Hill' way (the remake obviously), but after people start getting killed off it goes downhill. Despite bullets being hammered into peoples eyes, and people being knifed, the violence is very mellow, hardly any blood at all, and extreme close ups kinda hide the violence.

The films plot is intriguing to begin with. It is actually partly based on rough truth (Wiki 'Die Glocke' to see what I mean), but I found reading about that, much more creepy than the actual film. The ending is really lame, in the commentary the director reveals the ending they intended to have for the film couldn't be done due to lack of time and money. There is an alternate ending on the DVD, and I think if that had been part of the film it would have ended much better than the petering out it does do.

An ok film, looks great, good soundtrack, and atmosphere, but runs out of ideas mid way into the film.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Undead: Volume 2 Skin and Bones - Zombie Horror Anthology Book Review

Zombie books are great. Zombie compilation books can be even better sometimes. This book contains 14 short stories, 1 novella, and 1 preview.

Short stories are nearly always fun to read. In this book each story has it's own piece of art work to accompany it. It's a shame that nearly all the pictures are utterly dreadful. Here's a run down of the stories;

Cyclopean by David Wellington
A strange fungus has taken over an office building, and the workers contained within. I loved David Wellingtons trilogy (Monster Island, Monster Nation, and Monster Planet) so was looking forward to this one, and yes, it was a great start to the book.

The Abbot and the Dragon by David Dunwoody
Set in a medieval fantasy land. It concerns a young boy who has been exiled from his village and is being hunted by both a zombie dragon, and a crazed warrior. Has a cool ending.

The Wranglers by Eric Brown
A story about Zombie Cowboys. Not too great.

Casual Friday by Matthew Shepherd
A fun story set mostly in an office, about a man whose job is sending him crazy. A twist on the usual zombie story.

Agent Red by Philip Hansen
A high action story following a group of soldiers battling the undead in an urban setting.

Something Fishy this way comes by Joel Sutherland
An odd story, about a boy who survives zombie Armageddon, and the strangeness that comes after.

The Hill by Eric Shapiro
The first (and only) creepy tale. I miss being scared by zombie stories, so many just fail or don't even try to be creepy. In this tale no one ever leaves their homes anymore. There is something bad outside. A boy and his sister decide to head out to see for themselves just why everyone is in hiding.

The Finger by Matt Hults
A fun morality tale. A man has a plan to sue a restaurant by faking an accident. Quite humorous.

Food for the Dead by Meghan Jurado
A fantastic short essay about the consequences on the food chain caused by zombie Armageddon.

The Traumatized Generation by Murray Leeder
An unpleasant story about desensitising the young to the undead. A good tale, and a sad one.

Alive eye for the dead guy by Ryan Thomas
Comedic story about a TV producer who decides to do a zombie makeover show. Fun.

'Til the Lord Comes by Scott Standridge
A young mortuary worker witnesses the dead rising. But is it really happening, or is there another explanation?

Ravenous Angels by A Courters
This would make a great film. A sheriff in a small American Town investigates the bizarre behaviour of the Towns teenagers. Cool twist as well to it.

Misfortune by Vince Churchill
The shorts end with a classic zombie Armageddon tale. Perhaps the unluckiest man left alive attempts to survive, and also to keep hold of his winning Lotto ticket.

The rest of the book is a story by D.L Snell. The story takes up about 1/4 of the book, and is rubbish. It's a coincidence that he's the Editor of the book, and also has the biggest story. Skin and Bones is about a necromancer who has brought the dead back to life to get his revenge on a grave digger and his family. Unpleasant, boring, and just plain bad.

Overall, as compilations go it's not the worst one out there. It would have been nicer to have more actual creepy stories, but overall most the stories were good.


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Day of the Dead (2008) - Zombie Film Review

Day of the Dead (1985) is one of my favourite films of all time. It is definitely the best zombie film in existence. The idea of a remake horrified me. The Dawn of the Dead remake was good, and that was mostly due to the fact that it had virtually no similarities to the ace original. The Night of the Living Dead remake was not very good at all. This was because it was near identical to the amazing original. Which path would this remake follow? Would it be a pale imitation, or would it run with the themes of the original and be a totally different film?

As the film started I watched in horror, the film seemed to be a complete joke, ruining my fond memories. But then I started to realise - sure it was an insult to have the same title, but as it's own film it was entertaining, and also quite original.

The film is a stand alone one, not related to Dawn of the Dead (2004). In this film a small town has been put under quarantine by the American government. The Army have set up roadblocks around the town. No one is allowed in, no one is allowed out as there is an airborne virus in the town. It starts off with flu type symptoms (swine flu?) this is then followed by death, and zombie resurrection. A small group of young survivors who find themselves immune must find a way to escape the horror.

Now for the weird bits. The zombies are runners, as is the vogue nowadays. They also have some intelligence. zombies play dead, set ambushes, and are able to use guns. They also have super powers. zombies crawl along ceilings, have immense strength, and can jump really damn high, which reminded me of the old Fulci Italian zombies. This looked quite ridiculous at first. When the infected turn into zombies they literally do with no gradual change; when infected the victim rots in super quick time, as in a few seconds they go from healthy looking, to green and rotting.

The film has plenty of gore, and has nice nods to the original without being an awful parody of it. There is an underground bunker involved, as well as a similar character to the almighty Bub (the character in this film is called Bud). So yes, recommended, ot also helps the main female character (played by Mena Suvari) is hot!


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Cooper Temple Clause - Homo Sapians (Music Video)

Rather embarrassingly, I have only just worked out how to embed YouTube videos on to my blog!

The music video of the single Homo Sapians by the Cooper Temple Clause is an obvious and fantastic homage to zombies. A group of friends head out to the wilds for a zombie safari adventure...

The zombie theme is done really well, and I love how the bands instruments vary between being instruments and guns, and the white for the blood is ace. Very stylish, fits the songs themes very well.