Thursday, 27 February 2014

Home Sweet Home (2013) - Short Horror Film Review

Just as I was trying to decide what film to watch this Friday night I noticed an email in my inbox about indie film Home Sweet Home (written, produced, edited, and directed by Adam Krause). As fate had decided my film choice for me there was no over choice than to watch it! For the astute of you out there you may realise that today is not in fact a Friday, that is due to me writing this review then promptly forgetting I had done so.

Home Sweet Home follows a young couple; Liz and Jason who are searching for their perfect home. With their estate agent proving to be no help they search themselves and stumble across what appears to be a gem; a large house out of the city selling for a low price. Unable to contact the seller they decide to visit the property anyway, and as luck would have it the back door is open and so they are able to explore the uninhabited property. Is the apparently vacant house actually empty though?

For a horror short this sure does appear to take a long time to get going, around a third of the film is dedicated to a long dialogue between Doug the estate agent and the couple about house prices and other such things, if not for the great intro sequence (that had a real vibe of The Strangers to it) then I'm sure it would have bored me, but with a taste of things to come I patiently soaked in all the talk. It was a way to create motivations for the main characters for sure but I do feel the film would not miss much for having this sequence drastically shaved down.

The real meat of the piece comes from the following two thirds though. The exterior shots of the house of the film manages to exude a feeling of menace even though it takes place in broad daylight, the interior being as it is sparsely furnished not so much, with strong light pouring through the windows I figured it would be hard to create any sense of chills. Now while I watch a heck of a lot of films I rarely actually get scared but Home Sweet Home managed to hit that (home) sweet (home) spot with great editing and directing combining to great effect, even if when the scares did come they could not live up to the anticipation. As a whole it looks fantastic, the sound quality is mostly good, and the camera angles used were solid.

The villain of the piece doesn't get much screen time but still leaves an impression. He is dressed as an old fashioned school boy (cap, blazer, and shorts) and armed with what appears to be an ice skating shoe taped to a long pole that he uses to deadly effect. His acting as well as the others is all decent, I have certainly seen far, far worse, better than the usual standard even if I found it hard in my head to see the couple as actually being a couple.

While Home Sweet Home doesn't do too much new it succeeds due to it's frankly expertly directed and edited scenes, certainly an enjoyable piece.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

General News Post - February 2014

I have just noticed that it has been a week and a half since my last post, this simply is not good enough! My day job has been really busy. Some brief news. I have finally found the wire for my Kobo device. I have upwards of twenty e-books waiting to be read for review so hopefully I can crack on with that now. I also have many films and even some music and audio books waiting to be reviewed also.

I recently got a decent phone, and as it is capable of taking good quality photos I thought I would share some of the horror themed stuff I got for Christmas and my birthday. It's all really cool and fits into The Rotting Zombie HQ well.

And last but not least:

Going to be a busy year for my blog, I really need to get rich so I can quit my job and work on this full time.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Zombie Women of Satan (2009) - Zombie Horror Film Review

Over a year ago I borrowed three zombie films off a close friend of mine, ever since she has been belligerently asking when I'm going to be done with them. Kind of a fair question I guess. Zombie Woman of Satan is an English based zombie comedy.

A popular travelling freak show that includes Pervo the Clown (Warren Speed who also wrote and directed the film), Zeus the dwarf, Skye the rock star, Harmony Starr the burlesque dancer, Damage the mute knife juggler, and Johnny Dee Hellfire the ringmaster (Seymour Leon Mace) are invited to a remote farmhouse to conduct an interview for a popular internet based TV channel. The owner of the TV channel; Tycho Zander has quite a few dark secrets though; his family's farmhouse is actually host to a brain washed cult made up of scantily clad girls, also his father conducts sadistic experiments on these girls, and one such experiment results in a zombie virus being unleashed just as the freaks arrive. Now the group must try and work together to not only escape the outbreak, but also to rescue Skye's sister who turns out to be one of the brain washed cultists.

This is not a good film, it is not good for a variety of reasons. First and foremost the humour for the most part is terrible, it just doesn't work. There are many 'skits' that are far too over long and end with very unfunny payoffs, such as one stupidly dragged out one of Zeus trying to go toilet in the woods. A lot of the jokes revolve around toilet humour, though sexist and homophobic jokes also feature in high abundance. There is some half decent dialogue at times, mostly the interactions between the travelling group who appear as a tight unit. The characters Pervo the Clown and Johnny Dee Hellfire in particular spar off each other very well. The same can't be said for the evil family, Christian Steel as Tycho is about the only well acted one, the characters of Red and Blue Zander could not act their way out of a paper bag making their scenes nearly unbearable to watch.

Misogyny runs rampant throughout, only the characters of Skye and her sister (eventually) come across as strong females, everyone else is just weak, weak, weak. Harmony Starr is portrayed as an air headed girl, and the woman members of the bad guys all submissive to the males of that family. The worst is that nearly every single zombie is a barely clothed female. For reasons unknown all the girls of the film are dressed in just lingerie, and even more baffling when they turn into zombies nearly everyone of them ends up going topless meaning there are hordes of half naked women running around. Really not good to watch, and I can think of utterly no reason other than to try and provide some titillation and appeal to the male demographic.

If the zombies had been varied, if there had been more a plot then people just running around aimlessly and occasionally splitting up for no good reason, if there had been better written humour then Zombie Women of Satan could have worked. Some of the gore effects are quite cool (only some, for example a zombie getting it's head sawn in half is let down by it blatantly being a dummy), the film's score is decent,  and the interactions with some of the cast are quite entertaining. When it comes down to it this is not a good film, it's desire to draw in viewers using female nudity is a terrible idea and one I just can't get past, it just was not needed.


Children of Sorrow (2014) - Horror Film Trailer

Sure, I have been doing a lot of blog posts solely about trailers lately, but hey, maybe if I actually kept up to date with my inbox they would be more evenly spaced out! Coincidentally coming after yesterdays Coyote review is another film starring Bill Oberst Jr. (this time playing crazed cult leader Simon Leach). Children of Sorrow (directed by Jourdan McClure) has already won awards at the Sacramento Horror Film Festival and Hollywood's Shockfest Film Festival including best actor (Oberst Jr.), and best acting for ensemble cast.

From the trailer it seems to be about a cult led by a charismatic lunatic whose extreme methods for controlling his group leads to all kinds of dark mayhem out in the middle of nowhere where the cult's compound is located. It certainly looks to be an interesting film. Children of Sorrow is to be released later this year by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

The Butcher of Banner Cross Issue 2: Meat is Murder by Craig Daley (2013) - Horror Comic Review

To coincide with the release of the third and final issue of the Butcher of Banner Cross murder mystery here is my review of issue 2. As with the first issue art is by Chatri, while the story and layouts is by Craig Daley.

To briefly sum up; a serial killer is on the loose in Banner Cross, someone or something that is able to dismember it's victims in seconds and leave them neatly laid out in chunks. The first issue saw wild card Punchline brought in to assist the police, here he does some more investigating as the body count rises. As Punchline himself says, he will only reveal what he knows to be going on once five victims have been killed.

Again in black and white, and with an almost Sin City style of using red as the third colour but only sparingly. I did seem to find it easier to follow the dialogue this time around. Daley's comics always focuses on conversations and so was good that for what ever reason it seemed to flow better. I had  been slightly confused with just which characters were which before but here they are all easy to identify thanks to the clothes they wear.

A load more clues are revealed this time around, and I do want to find out who the killer is, but I get the strong impression there is going to be a supernatural reason for it all, nothing has quite lived up to the amazing reveal at the end of Daley's previous comic Football Crazy. As always I am quite sure that clues are littered everywhere in the background and in what the characters say to each other.

With Punchline Daley has created a great character, and the whole theme of meat is one I have not seen discussed in comics before. Both Meat is Murder, and the third issue titled Sliced & Diced, as well as all of Daley's previous comics are available from various online stores and are priced around $2/£1.30 each.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Coyote (2013) - Horror Film Review

I have fallen far down the rabbit hole it seems. After watching the bizarre and uncomfortable 7th Day I was introduced to Coyote (directed by Trevor Juenger); a film in a similar vein, and one that seems somehow even more strange. Things like this it is hard to know what to make of, I must confess I spent a good deal of Coyote stressing about how I would actually approach reviewing it.

Bill Oberst Jr stars as Bill; a forty something loner, insomniac, and failed writer who has set out to be successful. He is somewhat mentally disturbed and due to constantly having nightmares about people killing him in his sleep he sees sleep as his enemy and does anything not to do it which likely helps his madness. At first working for a racist delivery guy Bill then gets a job at a local TV station where he hopes to conform and fit in. However with his deep issues it isn't long before he leaves all traces of sanity behind and sets out on a journey of bloodshed, violence and also self introspection.

Coyote actually has many similarities to 7th Day, both feature psychopaths in lead roles, both films follow this main character around his day to day life, and both feature really strange, and unsettling behaviour which may or may not be real. Oberst Jr really delivers and has Bill come across as someone who is on the edge of revealing to the world his secret madness. The narration is fantastic, he has a voice made for this and his tone is just hypnotic, like a story teller. At a few points in the film small stories are told and these had me captivated. The character of Bill telling these tales makes sense with his writer background.

Special effects are really something else and gel so well into the hallucinations that Bill has. A videocamera with female private parts really evoked for me Videodrome with it's fusion of organic and mechanical bits, while the frequent sequences of Bill having an insect body hidden under his skin where quite icky and fit with his notion that something just isn't right with him and that could be the reason he just can't function in society. Insects feature a lot, usually in or around Bill, usually I hate insects in horror films as they can just be a lazy way to create fear, but their inclusion here not so much as it seemed to represent his squirming madness.

What I got from Coyote was how modern day living really can screw with the mind. Living in vast concrete coffins it seems only when Bill retreats to the woodland that he truly feels free to embrace just who he is. Returning for a fun sequence in which he wears a coyote skin hat while speaking Hamlet's famous 'to be or not to be' soliloquy from the Shakespeare play Hamlet (a speech which for reasons unknown I have had  burned into my memory for years now) and then a blistering end sequence.

Coyote is frequently violent, very gory, and an uncomfortable film to watch but also one I could not stop viewing, an interesting film which occasionally steps a little too much into arthouse territory but also delights with some of it's direction. I loved the 4th wall breaking moment when Bill acknowledges the cameraman filming the scene for instance. The images of wild dogs, the scenes repeated to play out in different ways, the brutality of it all is well done.

All in all I am glad I witnessed Coyote. The plot may be confusing and maybe even non existent, sometimes it may wander a little too far into extended shots of not much in particular, and it can never be called a fun ride what with being put into the head of a truly sick individual, but the direction means this acid trip gone bad never gets old and remains consistently engaging right up to the great end credits.


Escaping the Dead (2014) - Zombie Horror Film Trailer

By the amount of short blog posts I'm doing you can probably tell I'm trying to clear out my over flowing in-box. It is frankly shocking the amount of work I have to do for this blog, I just wish I could afford to work on it full time. Sigh, maybe one day I will win the lottery! Escaping the Dead is an upcoming Danish zombie film directed by Martin Sonntag and Bastian Brinch Pederson.

Using the horrific real life Russian drug as a starting point (Krokodil which literally rots the flesh off of the addicts body) it then proposes what if there was a similar type of drug in use, one which goes one further and turns the user into a flesh eating zombie. Whether they are crazed humans or actually undead ghouls is not made clear, but these ones are runners, and they certainly eat flesh. It seems that David; the main character is actually the cause of the outbreak after selling the drug at a night club - a nice twist.

Escaping the Dead looks to have quite a low budget but did feature some fun special effects in the trailer. It looks to live up to the titles name as there were lots of scenes of people being chased by zombies. Hard to tell if the acting is terrible as the film is in Danish with English subtitles. Still as long as it is edited well and doesn't become over long this could be a fun film, and it does feature Kim Sonderholm (Sinister Visions, Little Big Boy) which is not a bad thing.

White Zombie (2014) - Zombie Horror Film Trailer

The original White Zombie was released in 1932 and is one of the first zombie films ever to be made to my knowledge. It starred the horror icon Bela Lugosi and was ok, but not a true classic like Dracula, Frankenstein etc. In White Zombie the zombies were more of the real world kind; people who had been given a poison that kept them malleable and passive and then forced to work out on a plantation. Now in 2014 it is to be given a remake courtesy of Ragnbone Productions.

Included below is the trailer for this remake which is due out later on this year I believe. It doesn't seem like it is going to deviate too much from the originals story of a man enlisting the help of a Witch Doctor to take a woman away from her true love. I imagine the zombies of the tale will again be realistic ones rather than undead fiends released from the gates of Hell itself. It could be interesting, does not seem to be the greatest of budgets and some of the acting seemed a bit suspect, but if it manages to get the feeling of a period piece right than this could have some promise to it and be something a bit different from the norm. Anyway check out the trailer and see what you think...

Friday, 14 February 2014

Belzebass - Welcome to Hell (2014) - Horror Themed Music Video

I just watched the video for Welcome to Hell by Belzebass and it was pretty awesome. Belzebass are an Italian two piece group and have recently released an E.P fittingly called Welcome to Hell, which features this song as well as two others.

The video is a mini film and features some people who awaken to find themselves in orange jumpsuits out in some woods. It soon becomes apparent they are being hunted, as they flee and start to be picked off one by one the tables start to turn leading up to a cool twist that I really did not see coming.

It helps that the song itself fits the video so well, even down to the only words in the piece being spoken in time by characters in the video. Anyway check it out below if you so wish. It has gore, thrills, twists and more in it's 4 minute run time.

Thomas Tessier's World of Hurt - Horror Film News February 2014

Apparently Thomas Tessier is a prolific horror author. I am sad to say I have literally no idea who he is or what he has written. This is probably to my shame as he has won praise from such horror greats as Stephen King and Peter Straub. Tessier has written a tonne of short horror stories and it is five of these that are to be adapted to film.

I have a special fondness for anthologies despite them often coming across as feeling rushed. The five short stories to be contained in World of Hurt are: I Remember Me, In Praise of Folly, The Infestation at Ralls, The Ventriloquist, and Evelyn Grace. Intriguing titles at the very least. Each of the five films in the anthology will be directed by a unique director. Tessier has said of the project:
"I’m thrilled to be working with such a talented and accomplished group of directors and filmmakers. They are going to create powerful moments of fear, dread and horror, and riveting cinema."

Production is due to start this year, and Well Done Productions are currently seeking qualified lenders and investors. Who knows if this will actually be made, and apologies if Tessier is a well known author, either way I do like anthologies so will keep my ear to the ground when more news about this becomes known.

*UPDATE 18.02.2014*
Thomas Tessier's World of Hurt has now got a distributer for the U.S and Canada - All Channel Films Inc.

Black Spot (2014) - Short Horror Film

Black Spot is the new horror short from the director of Creak; Luther Bhogal-Jones. It was intended as a test of a new (badly rated) 3D camera he had received for Christmas. As the film was shot in 3D, and intended to be seen in 3D I don't feel comfortable actually reviewing it as I was only able to see the 2D version.

Black Spot stars Raine McCormack as Paul; a man whose car breaks down in a notorious accident black spot out in the middle of nowhere in the English countryside. Heading off on foot to find assistance he instead finds another car, also broken down and then the madness begins...

At six minutes long this is a condensed horror, even more so when the last minute of the piece is the end credit sequence. This is really well done, bits of story inter cutting with the credits which are shown via various road signs, really clever even if the signs do all look like they are made out of cardboard. The film was made on a very small budget, the camera itself used to film cost just £28, while local actors were used to keep costs down.

It brings to mind elements of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and in general it's feel is very of that time - the 70's with neutral clothing used, and only really the fact that the cars shown are modern to show it is modern times it is set in. Black Spot went to a familiar place I have often seen before, but was also unexpected as the muted opening led me to believe this would be a journey of the mind. Dialogue is at an extreme minimum, it was good to see Paul is not chatting to himself on his own as characters often do for exposition. Flashbacks reveal that Paul is not exactly a saint but silence during this sequence stops us the viewer from being spoon fed an opinion of if he is a good or bad person.

All in all Black Spot was an enjoyable six minutes that show just how versed Bhogal-Jones is in creating captivating short stories, especially considering the innumerable problems he faced creating this. You can check out the horror short here where you can choose between seeing the 2D version, or two different versions of the 3D one.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

MediEvil (1998) - Horror Videogame Review (Playstation)

I fondly remembered MediEvil as one of my favourite Playstation games, having brought a copy on it's launch day. Recently I thought I would replay it, wondering if the winds of time have made this classic now unplayable.

MediEvil takes place in a fantasy land where a hundred years previous an evil Sorcerer named Zarok tried to take over the kingdom of Gallowmere. He and his forces where defeated and legend had it that he was slain by Daniel Fortesque; a knight of King Peregan, but in actual fact Fortesque was the first to be slain in the battle that took place. Now Zarok has returned to once again take over Gallowmere. He casts a spell that resurrects all the dead in the land, as well as turns the populace into his mindless slaves. One of the resurrected dead is Fortesque who sets out to defeat Zarok for real and live up to the legends of himself.

MediEvil is a third person action platformer that sees you as the undead Knight battling monsters and solving simple puzzles (mostly of the find the right key for the door variety). Starting off in the graveyard where you where interred you pursue Zarok across the land to finally confront him at his base of operations. Along the way you travel through corn fields, a mental asylum, ruins, swamps, woods and loads more. There is variety throughout the games levels, one level for instance sees you solving a series of riddles, while another level has you shrunk down to the size of an ant and exploring an ant's nest for items.

The game has a slight RPG feel to it in that sometimes you need to discover specific items to proceed, and there is a vague levelling up system in that you can gain more units for your health bar, and defeating a certain amount of enemies in levels gives you a chalice that transports you to the Hall of Heroes where legitimate heroes from time grant you more powerful spells and weapons. You get a heck of a lot of new items to use, far more than I actually ever felt the need to use. A few are required for level elements, for example the wooden club can be set alight and used to do things such as fire cannon balls from cannons.

Combat is sloppy but fun, your weapons having a satisfying feel of clout to them. Enemies are mostly all monsters, zombies, skeletons, demons, evil scarecrows and imps. Bosses are frequent and can be quite tricky at times. If it seems like I'm going down a list then that's because I am, to be truthful I never thought I would struggle to write this review, but hey, what can you do when the writing block bites?

At the time the solid graphics and the great score combined with the horror aesthetics really impressed me. Even now the CGI cutscenes are decent, they hold up well, the game itself looks...not as good. Textures can appear flat and lifeless and the enemy design can seem a bit plain. The score is still fantastic, and the British voice cast bring some unique accents even if some of the conversations had fall flat on the comedic angle a bit. A lot of the jokes revolve around Fortesque not being able to talk properly due to his missing jaw, so everything he says is a mumble.

The camera is an absolute nightmare to control. it gets stuck on objects and while the shoulder buttons are meant to be able to move it around the game wrestles with you over this. On at least one occasion I walked off a cliff as the camera simply refused to show me what was ahead of me. On the subject of cliffs if you fall into water, or off one you instantly loose an entire life bar. Quite a few of the levels require precise jumping, something the skittish character you control struggles at as he attempts to constantly break into a run, or skid off a platform, kinda annoying.

MediEvil is still a good game, it has gone down slightly in my estimations though and is starting to show it's age. Still quite a fun game and has lots and lots of content in it. This was later remastered on the PSP with improved graphics and new levels and monsters, would like to try that one day. There was also a sequel set in Victorian era London that I did not think much of but would like to re purchase.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014) - Fantasy Horror Film Review

The trailer for I,Frankenstein told me everything I needed to know about this film. It heavily reminded me of Van Helsing - I gathered it was going to be an average fantasy action film using horror as it's backbone. Sadly this film completely met my dampened expectations.

After the events of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein story the monster of that story (here played by Aaron Eckhart) is attacked by demons whose master Prince Neberius (Bill Nighy) wishes to capture him for reasons unknown. Saved by gargoyles he is taken to their stronghold where the Queen of the gargoyles tells him there is a secret war ongoing through the ages between the forces of Satan, and the forces of God. Deciding he cares not for this war the monster (named as Adam by the Queen) heads off to live his own life. Two hundred years later in modern day Adam returns to civilisation to fight the demons hunting him. Soon he finds himself caught up in a battle between the gargoyles and the forces of Hell as they fight to alternatively capture and kill him.

First of all the script for I,Frankenstein stinks, it is terrible, I honestly believe even if someone as unskilled as myself was given it to edit I could improve it a hundred fold. It is written to appeal to the lowest common denominator, facts are told over and over again just in case you miss them, the dialogue is stilted and unnatural and how anyone can talk about gargoyles and demons keeping a straight face I do not know. The film is meant to take place in our world, the war between the forces of darkness and good secret yet for the entire film they are killing each other in full view of the humans of the city the film takes place in. I guess this doesn't matter much as apart from the very start of the film, and not including the two human scientists there does not appear to be any humans at all living in the city. Deserted streets all throughout that makes little sense.

Eckhart looks the part of Frankenstein, and he does do the best he can with the awful script. Nighy also does his best, again the script does not help. Other characters such as all the gargoyles (they are able to transform between humanoids and gargoyle forms at will) are all pretty lame with little identity to themselves, exemplified by the Queen of the gargoyles played by Miranda Otto who has nothing to her at all. Thankfully I,Frankenstein is saved from being a true piece of trash by some pretty decent and exciting action scenes. There are several gargoyle vs demon fights scenes that are pretty cool and full of tonnes of CGI, and a couple of pretty well choreographed fight scenes between Adam and boss character type demons. A lot of the special effects are quite well done, not the best ever seen but they at least fit into the look of the film and don't take you out of the experience.

If you liked Van Helsing then you may like this, but in my opinion that so-so film is better than this one. The plot is weak, the script is terrible, and the soundtrack while epic enough frequently doesn't seem to fit with what is happening on screen. The characters are flat and lifeless for the most part, you can really tell who the good actors are as their roles stand out (Eckhart in particular comes across as an imposing presence). With some decent action sequences though this is saved from being a complete disaster. As an aside Frankenstein is technically a zombie, technically at least.


Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone (2011) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Live Arcade)

If there is one message to be taken from Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone it is this; be careful what you wish for. Back in 2009 a single screen twin stick shooter called Zombie Apocalypse was released and reviewed by me (here). In my review I lamented the fact that there was no semblance of plot, that it was confined to a single screen, and that the 4 characters to choose from were all identical to use. All these have been fixed for the sequel (I believe in name only as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with that games world).

Never Die Alone takes place on an island where zombie apocalypse has broken out. Four different survivors wind up together and they unite to locate a boat that one of the group owns, so that they can escape the nightmare. These four include Jeremy - an ultra annoying man child who only speaks in videogame speak (constantly calling everyone Noobs), Money - A black rapper from Britain who speaks all cockney, a moody girl who is a weapons expert, and a hippy priest who speaks really, really mildly. These four unite to make irritation into an art form.

While it is good to see levels are now designed as actual levels and not just single screens, coming after the excellent Playstation Network shooter Dead Nation it all feels a bit flat. That game had fantastic level design, places felt realistic, here not so much. Trailer parks, power stations, docks and gas stations just don't have any real character to them. The environmental kills from the first game make a return (electrified pools of water, meat grinders, even a bucking bronco) but their inclusion here is less well done, many not really being in the path you would take, going out your way to use them seemed a bit pointless.

Each of the four characters has their own weapons. Jeremy has a machine gun, explosive teddy bear and a special move of double strength and speed. The priest has a shot gun, Molotov cocktails and a special move that heals everyone. The girl is armed with a rifle and can also throw a gas canister, her special move has her constructing a gun turret. Lastly Money the rapper is armed with duel pistols, has a ghetto blaster that makes the zombies dance and his special arms him with a cricket bat for powerful melee attacks. All the characters are different shades of unbearable. Again going back to Jeremy - he just never shuts up, the voice acting is atrocious and to have these four unlikeable characters constantly bleating on is just too much of a distraction not to call it into question.

For the most part you fight zombies of various types but who all look the same, the isometric view makes the zombies a bit hard to define, there are red ones who seem to move faster, and there are giant zombies who usually initially turn up as bosses but other than that not really much identity (not bad as zombies are supposed to be in masses). Killed zombies drop cash that can be used to buy upgrades for the characters, as well as tools that quicken up your special power charge.

The games world looks dark and grim, the zombies are not shown as cartoon like and there is a heck of a lot of blood yet for some reason the game makes attempts to be humorous, case in question the end boss has comedy sound effects when it dies, along with applause. The comedy tone just does not sit well with me, the first game was not like this, and here the 'fun' feels so shoe horned in. I just do not know who the developer Backbone  Entertainment thought this would appeal to.

While this can be fun in multiplayer overall it just does not really fit in anywhere. The super annoying characters and ridiculous attempts at humour makes what could have been a halfway decent game into something that I just could not wait to finish.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Gothika (2003) - Horror Film Review

Before I watched this film I hated everything about it, I hated the pretentious title, I hated the emo style cover picture of a cut up arm, and I hated the fact Halle Berry was the main character. For whatever reason I do not like her, thought she was terrible in Die Another Day, and I thought she was terrible in the X-Men movies so I had no urge to ever see this. Today I did however, and I watched it so that I could review it for this blog; isn't that noble of me?

Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) works as a psychiatrist at the local creepy mental asylum. One Friday night she leaves work as usual but a closed road leads her on a detour into the middle of nowhere where a young traumatised girl standing in the middle of the road causes her to swerve her car and crash. Going out to check on the girl she gets engulfed in flames and passes out. Waking up Miranda discovers she is locked in a cell at her mental asylum, her psychiatrist friend Pete Graham (Robert Downy Jr.) informs her that she has been catatonic for the last 3 days and reveals to her that she appears to have gone insane and murdered her husband; Dr Douglas Grey several nights back. Now a patient of the asylum and with no memory of the events that led her there she starts to get visited by a ghostly presence, that of the young traumatised girl she first saw standing out in the road. With the ghosts help Miranda begins to uncover a dark secret.

For a film that stars an actress I really do not think much of it really was not that bad. Maybe it helps that her character has an awful time for the duration of the film. The asylum she is in is a grim place where she is now forced to mingle with her previous patients. The staff of the asylum hate her for her crime of murdering her husband, and the local Sheriff has it in for her due to his being best friends with the deceased. On top of this the ghost that is haunting her is not the friendliest, at several points pretty much terrorising Miranda (not actually sure why) beating her, cutting up her arm, and providing a fair few attempts at jump scares.

Often the budget defeats ghost films, Boo was the film this brought to mind, but only as a comparison. Boo was badly made, badly directed and really not good at all, here Gothika provides ghosts in a mental hospital setting far better. That is not to say it is a scary film in the slightest but the plot more than makes up for this, a classic ghost story mixed up with elements of 8MM and even featuring an end sequence that would not have looked out of place in the videogame Deadly Premonition. By far the many thrills and twists of the plot where what kept me glued to the screen.

There are the usual faults though, jump scares always sit uneasy with me, I think they are a lazy way to make scares, some of the special effects are pretty awful (the fire is very fake looking) and the parts of the film where Miranda is sneaking around and hiding various places are very silly. A few pacing issues also seemed to crop up but thankfully the last third of the film is well done with some fantastic directing in the near end scene. Robert Downy Jr. surprisingly brings the film down a bit, I had expected Berry to, but instead it is Iron Man who seems to be phoning in his performance, just doing his stereotypical kooky guy routine (pretty much acts as the same character as he was in Ally McBeal). This was an unwelcome distraction as led me to thinking he was a bad guy or something due to his irritating behaviour.

Gothika despite it's issues was not a bad film, it was a good distraction for 90 minutes and did enough to stand out on it's own, heck it even made a film where Halle Berry is the main actress bearable, if only for the torture she is put through, not at all someone I particularly cared about but she did not ruin her role.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Crimson Screen Horror Claymation by Trent Shy - Horror Film Festival News

First off this news post is quite specific, I tend to not usually bother with localised news such as this but with a promo claymation video made by Trent Shy (who did Monster Zombie Claymation) I just had to blog about it, mostly as an excuse to show another of his fantastic creations.

Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival is South Carolina's first ever horror festival. The festival takes place on the 19th and 20th of April in Charleston, USA. Film festivals are rarely bad so if your in the area be sure to check it out.

The claymation short begins with a woman watching various clips of horror classics, I didn't get all the references but ones I did get (or least think I did) include Gremlins, The Fly, and Basket Case. Rather than delve into one of these little film snippets like in Monster this instead moves back to reveal the real horror may not be something being shown on the TV while at the same time flashing up details about the event.

What I love about Shy's videos is just how close in the camera is, it makes it all look so real in such a bizarre way. Loved the little details in this one like posters on the wall of the woman's house about the film festival and about his previous video. Anyway check it out below...