Saturday, 30 October 2010

Saw 3D - Horror Film Review

Apparently Saw 3D is to be the last Saw film.  It is the seventh film in the series and the first to be in 3D.  When I saw Saw VI this time last year I was quite confused having seen only Saw I and II before that.  I was really confused this time around also.

The film takes place very soon after the events of VI.  The evil Detective bloke having survived the head trap Jigsaws wife gave him is out for her blood.  Knowing this the wife has seeked Police protection in exchange for providing evidence of the mans involvement with Jigsaw.  While the ex Detective hunts the wife of Jigsaw a new game is happening involving a man who has gotten rich by pretending to be a Jigsaw survivor.  The ex Detective says the game will be stopped, and in fact all games will be stopped if the Police release the wife of Jigsaw to him.

Despite the film not making much sense it is very entertaining.  As usual the people marked by Jigsaw to play his games are deserving of their plight.  It is ironic that the idiot pretending to be a survivor of Jigsaw is not only put into a game by the killer, but also forced to 'reinact' the very thing he brags about surviving.  Like the insurance man of Saw VI the pretender is forced to work his way through a series of challenges involving trying to rescue friends and family.  In Saw VI the insurance man was forced to put himself through lots of self inflicted pain to get through the tasks.  Here the fraudster rarely has to put himself in any peril as he works his way through the game.

There is lots and lots of violence in this film, it certainly seems to have the highest body count of any of the previous Saw films.  I would guess close to twenty people are killed here.  People get sawed in half, ripped apart by chains, have their eyes poked out, burned alive, and throats stabbed among others.  All very gory, but nothing like the stomach churning pound of flesh opener to Saw VI.  The opening scene in this film is let down by very fake special effects sadly.

The plot made little sense, but once again there are quite a few flashbacks to Jigsaws exploits while he still lived, as well as many flashbacks to various points of the previous films.  A highlight was a sequence showing what happened after the end of Saw I.

When a box set is released with all seven films I am definitely going to get it.  I have really enjoyed the Saw films I have seen.  Oh yes, I have yet to mention the 3D.  I was kind of nervous about how the 3D would be used in this film.  I was expecting lots of things flying into the screen constantly.  To my surprise the 3D was used quite subtlety here.  There were occasions when things did fly into the screen but these were few and far between.  Most the time the 3D was used to give depth to the proceedings, and was very moderately used.  At times I forgot I was even seeing a 3D film such was the small way in which it was used.

Saw 3D was good, I just don't think as an end to the Saw franchise it was a good closer.  There were slight twists but nothing major.  I still just don't know why the games were started in the first place, or why they continued after Jigsaws death.  The film is not at all scary, apart from the obvious of characters being kidnapped and finding themselves in traps.  Where does Jigsaw and his cronies get the time to set up all these games?


Friday, 29 October 2010

KettleHell - My idea for a Horror film

Recently I have started to lift weights.  My favourite type of weight to lift is the Kettlebell.  I love swinging that thing up into the air and back down!  When I was thinking about it the other day I suddenly had the idea of a horror film pop into my brain pipes.

In KettleHell an unknown killer is going around a College Campus slaughtering victims via Kettlebell.  Each succesive victim is discovered to have been murdered via a heavier Kettlebell than the last.  A Detective is on the case, gradually he works out who is responsible, and the whole thing ends in a abandoned warehouse at night, rain slashing down.  The KettleHell Killer (as he comes to be known) gets in an almighty fight with the Detective.  Both are armed with Kettlebells and as they swing them at each other sparks fly off as they connect, and lightning punctuates the sky.  Finally the Detective is down.  The killer stands triumphant, Kettlebell raised above his head, ready for the killing blow.  The floor of the warehouse suddenly collapses under the weight of the killer and his 30 pound killing tool, he plunges down landing in a heap as boxes and boxes of kettlebells fall through the hole on top of him.  The killer is dead! As the camera goes towards him (after the Detective has done his whole fake ending thing) a hand thrusts out of the pile of Kettlebells, clutching a 40 pound Kettlebell, with the words KettleHell written on the weight! Cue credits.

I was thinking that I could get a current UFC fighter to play the part of the killer.  Sportsmen are always branching out into film.  For this film I was picturing Mirko Cro Cop as the killer.  Story could be his son was killed by the College Jocks or something.  The part of the Detective I was thinking could be played by Carlos Condit, he would look the part in a big raincoat, and with an ex wife, and a drinking problem.

Each of the kills would be exciting to see.  A chase sequence between the KettleHell killer and his female victim would end with a Kettlebell flying horizontally across the screen.  A large cracking noise as the Kettlebell hits the spine of the person he is chasing, close up of the shocked face as the girl falls to the floor.  Another kill via Kettlebell into the face, crushing the features, sending the poor victim (in this case a lecturer) out of a 2nd storey window.  Cuts to a ground shot of the man crashing into a heap, Kettlebell embedded in his face.

This film needs to be done! I amaze myself with my great ideas sometimes!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Tango - Official sponsers of Halloween (apparantly)

Tango; the makers of fizzy drinks has launched a new promotion to coincide with Halloween.  The promotion features cans of Orange, Apple, and Cherry Tango with fruit headed zombies in various poses on the cans.  The promotion features the slogan 'Tango turned me into a zombie'.

I have my fantastic friend, and her housemate to thank for informing me about this promotion.  I don't think I would have known about this if not for them.

The cans are kinda cool, though seems Tango has jumped on the bandwagon of zombies being cool to promote their drink.  I am a fan of Apple Tango, and Cherry Tango, just never been a fan of the Orange variety!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun - Zombie Webisode Review

Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun is a zombie webisode that takes place in eight 5 minute parts, so about 40 minutes overall.  The show is set between the events of Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2, though taking place in Japan (the games take place in the USA) has no relation to the actual stories of either game.  The webisodes are directed by the creator of the Dead Rising series; Keiji Inafune.

Two brothers (Shin, and his wheelchair bound younger brother George) have been hiding out at their home following a massive zombie outbreak in Japan.  They decide they must get to a safe house rather than stay where they are. They spend all day visiting various safe houses but none will accept them.  With it getting dark they decide they must take refuge in a secure warehouse (in the Dead Rising universe zombies are relatively harmless during the day, at night they turn violent and stronger).  While hiding in the warehouse they are discovered by a gang of vicious thugs who attack them resulting in Shins death.  The arrival of an infected Nurse (Mary) on a quest to find Zombrex; the zombie virus inhibitor gives George a reason to survive and to fight back against both the hordes of zombies, and the thugs.

The first few episodes of this show are quite boring, and terrible.  Most the show takes place in a vast warehouse, with the first episodes concentrating on the brothers battle with the thuggish gang which drags on too long.  After the arrival of the Nurse the show really picks up and gets quite exciting.  Most of the program is shown from a first person perspective of the wheelchair bound George.  This is quite a unique approach to filming, and is quite impressive after seeing how this was achieved (at times 4 people were needed to create the illusion of the show being done from Georges perspective).  There are quite a few flashbacks that are generally filmed more traditionally, such as the brothers journey through the streets of infected Japan, and the Nurses flight to the warehouse.

The acting is hard to judge.  It is definitely over the top, and purposely done that way, but the whole thing is hideously dubbed with terrible English voice actors who don't even attempt to match the facial motions the Japanese actors make.  I would have loved to see the show with the original voices. The effects are quite good on the other hand with plenty of gore, and fighting.

There a quite a few nods to the videogames.  The thuggish gang are of course the shows version of Dead Risings Psychopaths.  Psychopaths were crazed humans who showed up as Boss characters in the games.  The lead thug (they all appear to be warehouse workers) is extremely convincing, very mean, and scary.  It is no wonder his henchmen follow him so readily, he is a monster; having no respect whatsoever for anyone other than himself.  In Dead Rising 2 workbenches are introduced.  At workbenches the main character Chuck Greene can create custom weapons (such as a baseball bat with nails put through it).  A workbench is used here in this show also.  Georges wheelchair is crazily modified leading to a very exciting finale.  Zombrex - the zombie virus inhibitor is a big part of both the show and Dead Rising 2.

Despite a slow start the show does get quite good.  It is a shame that the English voice overs are so terrible, and that the whole thing is obviously on a very low budget.  The show includes some interesting interviews with Keiji Inafune who explains how he went about directing it.  Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun can be downloaded from X-Box Live Marketplace, as well as found on the web.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Vampire Ball 2010 - Halloween at the Northampton Roadmender 30th October

Northampton Roadmender is quite an average nightclub in Northampton Town, UK.  Still it is not a Towny place, and so one of the only places to go on the weekend (though the smaller Embargo has better music on).  This Halloween Shock Horror magazine are holding a Vampire Ball at the Roadmender.

The night will be a traditional Halloween event, in that you can turn up in fancy dress if you are so inclined to do so.  The best fancy dress costume will win a goody bag courtesy of Dean Boor and the Shock Horror crew, as well as get their photo taken for a future issue of the magazine (probably issue 3).  Shock Horror will also be roaming the event taking pictures, so a chance to appear in the magazine even if your costume is lame (like mine will be!)

The event takes place on the 30th October 2010, and entry is free before 11pm.  I will be there representing my humble blog...ok I will be there, but to get drunk, not to promote myself.  I am thinking of going as one of the Smiley gang members (a gang from Rockstars ace Manhunt videogame).  This depends on the arrival of funds to pay for paints, and other things needed to make my costume.

If you are in the area over Halloween then you should definitely check out the event!  Of course if you are not in Northampton Town UK then it is a given that every tow in the civilised world will most likely have a Halloween party somewhere or other!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Road Train - Horror Film Review

Road Train is an Australian horror film filmed in the Australian outback.  The film is also known as Road Kill in the USA.  The film was released in 2010.  Be aware that my opinion on this film seems to be vastly different to the majority of other people!

Road Train starts off very similar to other road trip horrors, most notably Wolf Creek.  Four friends are on a trip across the Australian outback.  Riding along one day they see a gigantic lorry in their rear view mirror; a road train.  Road Trains are giant lorries that have multiple carriages.  The road train crashes into the groups car causing it to barrel off the road. Stuck in the middle of nowhere the group see that the road truck has stopped down the road.  They decide to confront the lorry driver about what he has done, as well as to get help off him.  Arriving at the truck they find it deserted.  Sudden gunfire heralds the arrival of a crazed gun man, in panic the quartet leap in the lorry and ride off, but it isn't long before a hypnotic radio signal knocks them all out.  They awake to find themselves, and the truck in the middle of nowhere.  Things start getting more and more bizarre.  The foursome most unravel the secrets of the sinister lorry, and it's secret cargo.

The first 15 minutes of this film feel near identical to Wolf Creek.  The daytime location of the Australian outback gives a strong feel to it.  When the lorry turns up everything changes.  A friend said upon the appearance of the road train 'here comes the bad guy' I replied 'no, actually that's a lorry, I bet the bad guy is inside driving it', but I was proven wrong, the sinister road train seems to be a diabolical thing of evil, able to drive itself, and run on the blood of victims.

Most of the film is set in and around the train. The characters get increasingly brainwashed by the evil, to varying degrees.  It has the power to make people want to kill for it.  It appears (via inserted images of red eyed dogs) that the train is the physical manifestation of Cerberus; the 3 headed dog guardian to Hell.  Other than this nothing is explained, and that's where most the films faults come from.  There is no explanation for the origins of the road train, or even what it really is.  The train has 2 metal containers, one of these you never discover what is inside of.

There are a lot of plot holes, and mistakes.  There is a gun used at various points in the film that appears to have infinite bullets, the ending while obvious never really made any sense, characters manage to warp locations with no explanation, a key plot point of one of the characters seeking out a shack she saw makes no sense as she was unconscious at the time she was supposed to have seen it, and most bizarrely one character finishes his only bottle of water, immediately afterwards he urinates into the empty bottle and tries to drink that, then later throws the urine in someones face who reacts as if it were acid!  The acting is also of an average standard, though I do love the Australian accent.

The good points though; the film looks amazing, the natural beauty of the Australian outback brings both a sense of isolation, and wonder to the film.  Some of the shots are amazing, one in particular sees a character standing in the centre of the screen with the vast outback stretching into the distance behind him.  Quite well directed with good special effects.  The films score is also of a mostly high quality, and really fits the tone of the film well, I loved the music used, apart from a bizarre super hero/descent into hell type music that occurs twice involving Craig newly possessed by the train.  The plot is also quite unique, there have been other tales of demonic vehicles, but none quite like this one about a Demon lorry from Hell that runs on the blood of innocents!

I really enjoyed the weirdness of this film, it never sticks completely to the conventions you expect, instead morphing constantly.  It is certainly a low budget acquired taste, and not for those expecting a scary film, or a traditional one.  I found it a lot of fun despite (or maybe due) to its many many flaws.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Zombie Halloween Premium Theme - Theme Review (X-Box 360)

Kinda bad in that I cannot actually find a picture of this anywhere on the Internet, plus my webcam is not working, nor is my mobile phone. For this reason there will be no picture of what the Theme looks like.  As it is coming up to Halloween I thought I would treat myself to Disruptive Medias Zombie Halloween Premium Theme.

The theme is based on zombies rather unsurprisingly.  The Realm of the Dead Theme was based on a zombie street scene.  This one is far more traditional.  The background picture has a spooky realistic looking mansion in the centre.  From the mansion are shambling zombies.  On the left of the screen is what appears to be a giant monstrous tree made up of monsters, a pile of skulls at its base.  The right side of the screen has a old gate leading to woods.  A stone gargoyle stands on the gates pillar, and the trees of the wood has bodies hanging off of them on hooks.  The incidental pictures are quite cool.  These include a legless zombies with a chainsaw sticking out its back, a zombie holding a severed arm, a hung body with its insides spilling out, skeletons and more.

The Theme cost 240 Microsoft points, it does look good, but the Realm of the Dead Theme is the better one.  Still for Halloween I will have this Theme up (need to make my moneys worth on the expensive thing!)  Wouldn't really recommend wasting money on this.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

General update for October - Halloween is coming!

Another month, and I am around 3 weeks from being jobless.  On the bright side I will be able to work on my blog more (much much more).  Halloween at the end of the month, which is my favourite celebration of the year! I plan to do a blog post on the top 5 (or maybe 10) Halloween films to watch at that time.  Also I plan to do a blog post on the Northampton Roadmenders (a nightclub) Halloween party that is being done by Dean Boor of Shock Horror magazine fame.

Now I don't know if you know this, but the UK Supermarket Tesco usually has a wonderful collection of Halloween themed items.  They have everything from skull shaped candles to masks, laughing skulls, fake body parts, sweets, and fake weapons.  The best day to get any of this stuff is the day after Halloween as it all goes immediately to half price.  My house is full of this stuff, I pick up a bunch every year (though 2009 was a poor year for them).

In film news; at the moment, or maybe just gone there were a few horror films at the Cinema.  Devil (which I recently reviewed), as well as Buried have just stopped being shown.  Later this month the next and apparent final installment in the Saw franchise is to be shown, titled Saw 3D.  Look forward to that one!

In game news.  Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was recently released.  It does not feel like a Castlevania game, being a God of War clone, but the music is very epic, and it looks amazing.  The demo is available on Playstation 3, and X-Box 360, and mainly sees you as a Vampire hunter (voiced by the bloke from 28 Weeks Later) fighting Werewolves in a forest.  Costume Party is out around Halloween time.  The game is a downloadable role playing game (RPG) by Tim Shafer that sees you as 3 children on Halloween night fighting monsters.  Should be really good.  This Friday (the 22nd) sees the release of Fallout: New Vegas which is the latest entry in the fantastic Post Apocalyptic RPG series.  Expect plenty of mutants, ghouls, bandits, and crazed wildlife to fight!  Dead Space: Ignition was recently released on X-Box Live Arcade, and Playstation Network.  This is a prequel to the forth coming Dead Space 2, and is set as a (slightly) interactive comic.  Not supposed to be great, but I expect plenty of Necromorph violence to be shown.

In non Horror news.  Sonic 4 Episode 1 is out.  It has been a long 16 year wait between Sonic 3 and 4 but is kinda worth it.  The game is super fun, and has amazing music.  Only 4 zones, and they are heavily influenced by past Sonic games (respectively Green Hill Zone, Casino Zone, Labyrinth Zone, and Metropolis Zone).  The special stages are very similar to the look of Sonic 1's maze.

I am currently working my way through the excellent Battlestar Gallactica.  BSG is a Sci-fi show about the Human survivors of a robot invasion (the robots being man made machines called Cylons).  Each episode bad stuff seems to happen.  Is very exciting, and thrilling due to the nature of the scary Cylons who appear both in the robotic form ( a cross between Terminators and Nightriders KIT), and also as carbon copy Humans who are able to infiltrate the Humans and cause bad things to happen.  When I have seen the entire 4 or 5 seasons I will do a big blog review of the show.

Happy Halloween everyone, hope it is really scary, and cool for you! Oh yeah, it is Day of the Undead soon, a day of zombie films at some place in Leicester organised by Zombie Ed and the Terror4Fun crew.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Case 39 (2009) - Horror Film Review

Case 39 sounded like a boring thriller type drama, but watching the trailer there was all manner of screwed up stuff so I decided to give it a go.

Case 39 sees a social worker Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) investigating reports of child abuse at a strange household.  The parents of the child are completely weird, and the child terrified to speak out against them.  Told by her boss to leave the Case alone due to no evidence she instead pursues it.  Luckily she did as she, and a Cop buddy (who looks very much like Al Pacino, I believe it is the actor who played Lovejoy) burst in on the creepy parents to find them trying to cook the daughter Lilith alive in a giant oven.  Taking pity on the child Emily agrees to look after her until a suitable family can be found.  As those she loves start dying around her Emily comes to think that the seemingly benign Lilith might somehow be responsible.  With no evidence on hand Emily sets out to find just what the deal is with the creepy girl and find a way to stop her.

I am so sick of spooky little girl films, I think Orphan (while a good film) was the one that broke the camels back.  Hide and Seek, The Reaping, The Ring et al - stop it! I no longer find creepy little girls in creepy little girl films creepy, they are just annoying, and irritating.  I really wanted to just punch Lilith (played by Jodelle Ferland) in her cocky mouth.  Lilith acts nice and sweet around some people, while around others she mind messes with them.  She seems to have psychic powers, able to read minds to find out peoples deepest secrets, and use them as a form of torture.  By phoning the victim she chooses Lilith is able to create extremely vivid hallucinations.  One example sees a character attacked by thousands of hornets in his bathroom. They swarm out of his eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and is totally disgusting.  I really hate insects, ugh!  She uses this power to control people, threatening them with extreme fear if they don't do what she says.

The character of Emily is totally stupid.  She starts the film as a real sickly goody two shoes. Each case she deals with she has a real (unintentional) arrogant air to her. Yet with utterly no proof whatsoever she decides this little girl Lilith is a monster and sets about trying to find a way to murder her. It is quite silly how quickly she decides the girl must die when she has no reason whatsoever to think this. The film ends on a kind of positive note, but Emily is in for a hell of a lot of trouble.  Good, the lame character deserves it!

I am going to go into spoilers, the film is not very good, so I don't feel bad about ruining it. It is hypothesised during the film that a spirit was reincarnated into the body of Lilith during her birth but retained all its knowledge of past lives, and so is very crafty. Then it is actually shown there is a demon inside the girl, a demon that can Jekyll and Hyde like transform the girl into a lumbering brute. Thankfully apart from a giant arm this monster is never shown, even then it looks totally stupid. My main problem is that this whole film is near identical to a episode of the ace Supernatural.  They did the whole plot a whole lot better in a 45 minute episode than was managed here in a hour and a half with a larger budget. 

The film does look good, and it did keep me watching right up till the end. The hallucination inspired death scenes were quite cool, as were some of the effects (though some of those hornets sure looked a tad computer generated)  First film I have seen Zellweger in, she's an ok actress but nothing special.  It also had Bradley Cooper in it, as well as a Cylon (from Battlestar Galactica), and the 80's antique dealer Lovejoy.  Not a completely terrible film, just not a very good one.

As an end note; there was a scene in which Emily had a hallucination that she was being chased by a zombie like woman which was kinda cool I guess.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Devil (2010) - Horror Film Review

Devil is yet another film by M.Night Shyamalan, he co-wrote the script, as well as produced the film.  It is yet another horror, and again it has a twist to it (of a kind). It does feel similar to his other works.

Devil is set in an office building in the middle of a bustling City.  Five apparent strangers all get into a lift.  The five people include a security guard, salesman, rich lady, middle aged woman, and a scruffy looking ex military man.  Soon after the lift starts it promptly breaks down. This is the least of the occupants worries though, as bizarrely people start getting killed off one by one. Yet despite security guards, and Police monitoring the lifts security camera, and despite the cramped conditions of the lift itself it is not apparent which of the five are the killer due to convenient power cuts that plunge the place into darkness for minutes at a time. One of the guards monitoring the situation comes up with the idea that what is happening is a 'Devils Meeting'; a scenario where guilty strangers are brought together in one location, and then tortured and killed by the Devil in human disguise. As events unfold it is revealed that each and every person in the lift has dark secrets, and have many enemies who would wish them harm. Could it be that was is happening is actually a real Devils Meeting?

Shyamalan manages to spin this simple tale into a hour and a half.  The premise is interesting, and there is a real chill factor due to knowing one of the five people trapped in the lift is actually a murderer. The scariest moments of the film are when the lifts power goes out, as this usually results in another death. The characters come to really fear the dark. Violence happens in the darkness, for example; one character gets a shard of glass jammed through their neck, another is hung, while yet another has their head completely twisted around. To go with this tale there is a sub plot involving a depressed detective investigating a suicide. He gradually gets caught up in the events of the lift.

There is not a lot of mystery surrounding the plot (other than who the killer is).  There is some effort to make the viewer question if the events are actually a supernatural event, or if there is a more human explanation.  Each of the peoples backgrounds are revealed during the film.  Each person has done terrible things in their lives, and so give motive for them being killed. To be honest though there is never really any real doubt due to demonic images turning up on the surveillance footage of the lift, as well as a voice over throughout the film which tells of a fable the narrators mother told him as a child of a Devils Meeting.

The film is really quite creepy, and had me tearing up a bit towards the end.  One of the last scenes when it is just the final survivor trapped in the titchy lift with the Devil is almost too much. Just thinking about that situation sent chills down my spine. There are quite a few violent deaths in the film, but due to the nature of the deaths they are done in pitch black, so only the aftermaths of the killings are shown. As well as the victims in the lift there are also quite a few other characters who end up dead as a result of their efforts to stop the Devils Meeting from resolving. The plot ends quite well with all the loose ties tied up. The film does have a similar feel, and resolution to many of Shyamalans other films.

Well worth a watch, the film shouldn't have enough material to carry it for the length of a normal film, but didn't feel padded out.  Quite creepy, though I don't know if that come from the fact that I was watching it in a big Cinema totally alone at night.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

'The Hellbound Heart' by Clive Barker - A Horror Book Review

The Hellbound Heart should be familiar to anyone who reads it, as it was turned into a film, quite a iconic film in fact.  The Hellbound Heart is the book that Hellraiser was based on.  Written by Clive Barker (a very famous author whose other work I have not yet read) the book is a Novella, or short story.

The plot is identical to the film based on it.  A married couple move into the husbands brothers house.  It turns out the brother (Frank) was stole away to a Hellish Demon dimension after opening up a magical puzzle box which promised eternal pleasure.  It seems for Frank to return to the World he needs blood sacrifice to rebuild his shattered body.  Blood sacrifice that Julia (Franks brother Rory's wife) is all too happy to provide due to her obsession with Frank.  It all ends with a friend of Rory's (the miserable, love sick Kirsty) accidentally unlocking the puzzle box and summoning a host of Cenobites (Demons) to claim back the escaped Frank.

Being a Novella, and not a full blown book means the tale is quite short, around 125 pages of largish text.  The story is near identical to the film, though is some differences.  I seem to recall that the Kirsty character in the film was Rory's daughter, rather than friend.  The Cenobites are described well, though seem to be more repulsive, and gory here.  In the book there is not a main Cenobite, and it is interesting to note that the character of Pinhead is actually female here, and that she has her tongue full of pins similar to the head.

I never had much interest in Hellraiser (the first film in the series I mean), it seemed too grim, but here it makes slightly more sense.  Frank opened the box expecting extreme pleasure, he had no idea of the pain and suffering the box would bring.  The character of Julia hates her marriage, and regrets marrying someone she did not love, while the Cenobites themselves are not actually from Hell, but some unexplained place.  I found the book easy to read, and enjoyable, some disgusting descriptions, and violence.  Also, I only realised it after reading this book, but Frank is pretty much a zombie!


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Scanners - by Leon Whiteson: Horror Book Review

Scanners is a novelisation of the film of the same name directed by the genius David Cronenberg.  I know for a fact I have seen the film, yet I cannot recall anything about it, apart from the infamous head explosion scene (which the book has a photo of on the back cover), and the fact that Patrick McGoohan is in it (he of The Prisoner fame).  The book I guess closely follows the plot of the film.

A transient;  Cam Vale is recruited by a shady company ConSec who deal in protection.  Part of their business involves a Dr Ruth who trains 'scanners'.  In the world of the book scanners are a rare type of people who have the ability to read peoples minds, as well as control them via 'scanning'  they also have the ability to literally overload peoples brains causing their heads to explode.  Dr Ruth wants Cam to use his scanning gift to track down an evil scanner called Darryl Revok who seems to be power mad, and very psychically strong.

The book is really quite short.  There are around 150 pages, but the writing is very large.  Leon Whiteson (the author) does not seem to branch off into any detail anywhere.  It reads exactly like a film with no additional background, or plot to differentiate from the film.  It is a real roller coaster ride.  Cam is tracking down Revok, but also being hunted by the man, with Revok's soldiers constantly gunning for him, and everyone he comes into contact with.

There is a bit of violence in the book, and the actual psychic violence is well described, with eyeball poppings, head explosions, and bleeding nostrils a plenty.  There is a love interest, plot twists, and action, but it all flies by at such a pace that there is never any room to actually care about any of the characters.

The book took me around 45 minutes to read, was brainless fun really, not remotely deep, it wont leave you thinking, but simply written to ensure its appeal to the masses.


Monday, 11 October 2010

Doom 3 - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box)

Doom 3 is a vastly under rated videogame in my opinion.  Many many people were disappointed with how vastly different it was to the previous iterations.  Where Doom 1, 2, and Final Doom were arcady shooters Doom 3 is a heavily scripted descent to Hell.

The game starts with a small space craft landing at a UAC Base on Mars.  Among the passengers is a Solider; you, who has been hired due to a number of fatalities around the Base.  Your Boss 'Sarge' gives you your first assignment - to locate a missing Scientist.  Soon after finding him chaos descends on the troubled Facility.  Demons - lots of them have invaded the base and are quickly possessing people by the bucket load, and killing everyone in sight.  With Pistol in hand you head off to confront this threat.  But are you Doom(3)ed?

The game is a first person shooter (FPS) and is very very good.  The location of a Mars Research Facility is well realised, lots of incidental details such as flashing lights, steam vents, and electronic beeps create a sense of a living, breathing place.  Throughout the game you come across lots and lots of PDAs from various Staff who worked on the base.  Everyone from Soldiers, to Scientists are represented.  Usually each PDA contains a few emails, while some also have audio recordings.  These bring lots of life to the game world, and really reinforce the feeling of the Mars Base being a (badly run) Scientific Facility.

The root plot of the game is that during experiments with Teleportation the UAC Scientists accidentally opened up a gateway to Hell.  Rather than abandon their research, the head of the Base Malcolm Bertruger instead decides to study Hell, and bring back live specimens, and technology.  Slowly madness infects most the Staff. Berturger is the main antagonist, seeming to have led the Demon invasion of Mars.  Throughout the game he taunts you, mostly by just laughing evilly every now and again.  Your character has access to a radio, which is where most the plot direction comes from.  The first 5th of the game is very exciting as various squads of Soldiers communicate with each other via the radio, and die 'live' on air.  You are led by Sarge who wants you to send out a distress signal to Earth.

The enemies have all existed in previous Doom games, but are near unrecognisable here.  The main enemy to start with are zombies.  Staff who have been possessed by Hell and turned into brain dead ghouls.  Imps are another main enemy type.  These are Demons who can fling fireballs.  There are lots of other Demon types.  There are giant spiders, Caco-Demons, Hell Knights, basically look the same but have various powers such as shoulder mounted rocket launchers, tentacled arms, and plasma balls.  Bosses turn up throughout the game.  These are all giant beasts, and introduced via short cut scenes.  They all look the same kind of monstrous; lots of browns.  Bosses are quite fun to fight, but with the exception of a few don't require any real tactics to take down.

The weapons all feel quite wimpy.  The old favourites such as Shotgun, and of course the mighty BFG turn up, but it is only really the mini gun which feels like it has much of an impact.  Later on in the game you get a weapon called a Soul Cube which basically acts as a smart bomb once powered up.  Overall though the weapons are quite lame feeling, though sound the part (well some do).  Nearly the whole game is set on the ruined Mars base.  The locations are created to feel real, so you have Science labs, Server rooms mixed in with Cafeterias, and toilets.  A later section of the game sees you take the fight to Hell.  This location is very different in feel to the solid corridors of Mars, and brings a nice slice of variety with it's ever transforming environment.  Music is near non-existent, but instead lots of ambient noise is made, as well as lots and lots of screams, shouts, laughs, and explosions.

The game still holds it's own nowadays, looking good, and is still a joy to play.  Sure it is nothing like the previous Dooms, but the atmosphere is fab.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Jelly Baby Zombie Apocalypse

Once upon a time at work I had some Jelly Babies.  Unknown to me there had been a Zombie Apocalypse in the Jelly Baby bag, I managed to take a few photos on my phone before the Apocalypse ended with my divine intervention (the zombie virus thankfully cannot be transmitted between Jelly Babies and Humans!).

The series of pictures shows the last Jelly Baby survivor surrounded against a stack of paper by the zombie hordes.  It all ended well (for me anyway!).

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Resident Pico - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (PC)

There seems to be a load of games covering different genres all involving a ginger haired kid named Pico.  I played one called something like Pico at School which involved a group of murderous Goths butchering his school.  That was a really short, yet fun point and click game.  Resident Pico is a mouse controlled single screen shooter.

The game starts with a girl informing Pico that there is a zombie invasion.  Pico offers to protect the girl, but she says she would rather take her chances, and then runs off.  Soon after zombies enter the screen from left and right and the madness begins.

You move Pico via mouse, where ever the mouse goes Pico goes.  Holding down the mouse button fires Picos machine gun.  Zombies enter from left and right.  All look an identical grey colour and all die in the same way, they fall to the floor with their intestines being puked up.  After a while a hulking giant zombie shows up, he struts menacingly towards Pico wherever you go.  After a lot of shooting the uber zombie explodes.  Pico starts break dancing and that's that.

A very short game, looks great, but is quite boring, and not at all challenging.