Dracula

dracula1 Dracula…what can be said of the most legendary vampire and one of horror’s oldest and greatest icons that hasn’t been said? This harrowing and creepy novel has been adapted to several movies ranging from the greatness of Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee to the crap shoot that was Dracula 2000 and the awesome manga/ anime Hellsing, which kind of inspired me to write this review. The story is told through a series of letters, newspaper articles and journals either by the characters or pertaining to them in some fashion, which I thought was really cleaver for the time. For this review I’ m going to skip a direct synopsis because let’s face it, after watching several adaptations and then reading the novel, the plot seems cemented into the public’s mind one way or another: a Gothic manor in the mountains of Transylvania, an immortal bad ass rising from a coffin to do battle with men armed with torches, wooden stakes and garlic, and the names Harker, Van Hellsing, and of course Dracula feasting on the blood of the innocent. I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would have; and good news  to all of the people like myself that have a hard time dealing with old English, the dialect isn’t as intense as many other books I’ve read from the time period. There are lags in the pacing but a great sense of atmosphere and tension. Dracula is far more OP than people give him credit, I mean shit dude, he can control werewolves. He’s more closer in ability to Alucard from the Hellsing manga/ anime series or the 2014 film Dracula Untold. Van Hellsing, despite what the 2004 movie with Hugh Jackman would have you believe, is not a expirenced monster-hunter but a wise physician and teacher. Still epic in his conviction and a great character. My only real issue is the ending is anticlimactic, especially after a well paced race against time, but I can let it slide. If you’re a upcoming writer like myself or want a great horror story, definitely worth a pick up…which I got to give a shout-out to my  Bestie for giving me the E reader I read it on a few years back, you were amazing as always:) may the gaming gods bring you all glory and god help me for my next review, for Dracula maybe the best of vampire stories, but next I cover the worst…gulp…

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Phantasm

phantasm I will never look at jawas the same again…Phantasm is a cult late 70’s horror movie about a kid named Mike who saw too much. Mikes a normal kid who’s had it rough, his parents recently passed away and for now he lives with his older brother Jody, who besides dealing with his new responsibilities and the death of his parents, is dealing with a friend’s death too. Mike shadows Jody and his best friend Reggie as they attend the funeral. Suddenly Mike sees something disturbing during the funeral procession that none of the adults seem to see; the elderly undertaker lifts the casket out of the hearse and carries it under his arm like it was nothing. And he knows he was being watched. Mike tells Jody what he saw but Jody just assumes his little brother was just pulling his leg. Mike almost believes him until the nightmare, which provokes him to visit the mausoleum of the cemetery; only to be nearly killed by a mysterious blade-pronged floating orb. But even that deadly sphere is nothing compared to the Tall Man, who has it out for Mike and his family…

I fell in love with Phantasm at the tender age of 18 when I first had the pleasure of watching it. It’s not a slasher movie, or a ghost movie, or a even a creature movie. With a simple premise of a kid seeing something bizarre grown ups don’t believe, the movie blows up into a wild mix of compact inter-dimensional zombies, a killer flying ball (that has one of the greatest kills I’ve ever seen in a horror movie), other worlds, a bad ass villain whose almost immortal and immeasurably powerful, and a great ending that makes you wonder what the fuck you just watched. Angus Scrum as the Tall Man is intimidating as hell, wearing a eerie grimace as he slowly walks, rarely speaking in his deep, gruff voice. I love the keyboard score with the suburban atmosphere and the use of darkness. It may not be hugely action packed but visually it’s interesting and the plot is just strange but original. If your a horror fan in the making and your tired of the staples of conventional horror, definitely check it out. May the gaming gods bring you glory and beware the Tall Man…oh god beware the Tall Man!

 

Area 51

a51 I must admit, when it comes to this game I’m pretty bias. I love aliens, government conspiracies, zombie plagues, The X Files, and Marilyn Manson, so to have a gave that encompasses all these things hooked me. It’s the only game I’ve ever collected 100% of the hidden collectibles. Of the PlayStation 2/ XBox era, I feel Area 51 is a well overlooked title that at the very least deserves a PlayStation 4/ XBox One re-release.

Area 51 is the story of a monstrous outbreak in the deepest depths of the legendary facility; something is loose and spreading a mutagenic alien virus that turns it’s victims into vicious mutants. A Haz-mat team is dispatched to quell the outbreak and discover the secrets of Area 51 and the deadly Pact man made with the Greys. You play as Ethan Cole, voiced by David Duchovny of the X-Files, a member of Bravo team and soon to be lone survivor.  One by one Cole’s team is killed gruesomely by the forces at hand. When he finds Delta team, there almost seems to be hope until in a final stand against the mutant horde, the creature that began the madness emerges, invulnerable to gunfire, strong and armed with unhuman technology. Again, Cole manages to nearly escape Area 51 until a trap is sprung, his body comes crashing down stories, and Cole awakens to a mutant biting him and suddenly Cole ceases to be fully human. Mutating horribly, he sees a green light surround the body of one of his dead teammates as it levitates and begins speaking to him in a eerily distant voice, that of Edgar, amazingly voiced by Marilyn Manson. Edgar guides Cole towards his only salvation while dragging him through the lies we’ve been raised to believe.

The best part of the game is the voice acting by Duchovny and Manson. Cole begins and ends every chapter with a intimate account which drives the story forward and sets a grim, desperate tone to the narrative. Manson as Edgar is creepy as hell and his presence is ambiguous, not knowing even up until the end if his intentions are for good or evil. The human weaponry is meh but the primary alien weapon, the BBG, is fun firing bursts of alien energy bubbles that latch onto its target and pop; for aiming there’s a niffty feature where you can pull a special laser sight that can bend around angles and corners and ricochet the shot from behind cover. Best of all, it doesn’t require ammo, it recharges fairly quick on it’s own. Being a mutant is fun- increased strength, ability to launch parasites from your hands to steal health, and even the ability to spread the plague, and these abilities stay as long as you slay everything around you with your clawed hands. The hidden myths of area 51 are original and weird ( like aliens being responsible for the JFK assassination with super soldiers created from telepathy and matter manipulation-yep) So what’s the flaw you ask? Well the ending sucks…pretty bad. No real final boss, just a quick beat the clock rush and a cutscene and that’s it. You will have questions but good luck getting those answered 12 years later.

I love the hell out of 90% of this game and I definitely at least recommend watching a play through at the very least. As always may the gaming gods shine glory on you and you’ll know the truth of the moon landing after this shit.

Red Faction 2

rf2 COD before COD (sigh). First, Red Faction 1 and 2 have almost nothing in common except that they are first person shooters about rebellions and the tiny thread of nano experimentation. Red faction 2 is about a mad tyrannical dictator named Chancellor Sopot who is making a army of Nano-tech super soldiers and the band of his of enhanced soldiers gone rogue join the Red Faction. You play as Alias, the demolitions expert of the squad. The first half of the game is pretty routine, get to evil guy and blast his ass…which Sopot’s death is hysterically over the top, especially considering the fact Sopot is a spiting image of Sadam Hussein (this game came out somewhere between late 2002, early to mid 2003). Second half of the game is a split between the squad, when Molov, the head of the squad plans to take over the Commonwealth where Sopot left off and it’s up to Alias and the remainder of the Red Faction to stop him. Red Faction 2 is an inferior sequel. Whereas the first game had more freedom to jump into vehicles and go, the second limits it to a few stages here and there. Also, the first game saving was totally up to player and could be saved anytime, anywhere in the game. Two breaks the game into lengthy stages, which makes saving kind of tricky. The only ability you get as a android is the ability to activate night vision which doesn’t really come in handy too often and can hurt your eyes after a while. The weakest feature is the karma system, you get green stars for good deeds or hidden things and red stars for just killing random people like a dick. I’ve never seen the good ending; the bad ending is kind of funny. As for the goods of the game, Lance Henriksen voices Molov, which is the best voice acting of the game. The shooting is solid and the Battle Armor is a fun ride. Overall it’s a meh game. Fun once but the replay value ain’t really there.

Red Faction

rf1 Red Faction, a game ahead of it’s time, holds up remarkably well remastered on PlayStation 4. Red Faction is the story of Parker, a minor on Mars working for the oppressive company Ultor. The minors are slaves under the heavily armed guards, living in crappy conditions while dying of a mysterious plaque. Revolution strikes in the name of the Red Faction led by Eos, aided by technician turned traitor against Ultor, Hendrix. Parker takes part in the rebellion, and the struggle to survive everything Ultor has to throw at him.

Many of the mechanics of the game still hold up great today, including the shooting, driving, and platforming. The graphics can be ify, even after a touch up. The voice acting is meh to fair with the exception of Dr. Capek, creator of the plaque and the monstrosities you come across later, his brief performance is genuinely creepy. There are genuinely pain in the ass parts of the game including a boss battle against a giant asshole robot that rivals the difficulty of the bosses of Dark Souls- warning he’s a pain in the ass. Gryphon- screw him too. The ending is a tad disappointing but not the worst. If you see Red faction on a Psn sale, pick it up if not for the good story but for the great couch Co-op multiplayer, sometimes it’s just better the old way.

Alien Trilogy

alien tril People that know me best know I’m a humongous Alien fan. Aliens scared me out of bath time as a kid, and screw your boogeyman, I was afraid of a nine foot tall, drooling, acid blooded, phallic two-mouthed monster that wanted to lay eggs in my chest…also the people that know me best would tell you this explains a lot. When my dad bought me a PlayStation, I received three games with it- Tomb Raider, Spyro the Dragon, and Alien Trilogy. By today’s standards, Alien Trilogy’s graphics are complete dogshit. Watching playthroughs on YouTube, I laughed my ass off as a full fledged adult. The gameplay runs similar to classic Doom, not very original but trusty at the time. The motion tracker is a nice addition to to the HUD, even making that iconic, chilling beep when something comes at you. So what’s the story of Alien Trilogy? Well, it’s a disjointed clash of environments either from the Alien Trilogy or inspired by it, which rationally ain’t such a bad thing. Alien and Alien 3 only had one  Xenomorph each and no weapons to real fight with, whereas Aliens there was a horde of the bastards and ammo aplenty; what sick bastard would want to try playing Alien: Isolation on a PlayStation graphics and mechanics? Cheat Codes were a fun addition to the game, giving you unlimited ammo, unlimited health, unlocking every level which gave us the Queen’s liar. So many memories man… what sticks out to me even a decade and a half later are the death scenes. The screen turns to a screen of running blood and every each means of demise changes the foreground: alien death- alien mauls Ripley, roaring at the screen with a bloody face. The Queen stands behind Ripley, tearing her savagely in half with it’s four arms. Trilogy is not the best but if your a huge Alien fan with a PlayStation , give it a try and may the gaming gods be with you all.

A Clockwork Orange

clkwk o bk I will never listen to my old droog Ludwig Van the same after this real horrorshow book and film. Whether you prefer Anthony Burgess’s telling in invented British slang or you want to get blown away by Stanley Kubrick’s trippy visuals and sound, A Clockwork Orange is a story both thought provoking, disturbing, and grim but beautiful. Clockwork is the story of a young ruffian named Alex and his band of droogs who enjoy mischief and chaos in a dystopian future Britain that thankfully never came to be. In fact, Alex is king of his own little world. His droogs follow his every whim, his parents don’t ask questions why he never goes to school, and everything he does gets a slap on the wrist. In one night they beat a homeless man, steal a car, and get into a giant gang brawl with their rival Billy-Boy, and end the night with some spiked “Milkako” (milk). But Alex isn’t just rage and the ol’ ultraviolence, his greatest love is that of Beethoven. Even when his droogs seem to want a change in the group dynamic, Alex doesn’t seem to care, he merely brings them back into line. But one night, one of their escapades goes wrong, a woman dies and Alex is left alone to suffer the consequences, betrayed by his friends. In prison, serving a twenty year sentence Alex discovers a new kind of experimental government treatment for violent criminals that will get him out in a matter of weeks. It uses a mix of violent imagery and audio to subliminal discourage acts of violence, causing feelings of intense pain. But when Beethoven is part of the program, Alex comes into a dilemia. Released back into a populace he misused, beat, and molested with no way to defend himself Alex truly learns the error of his ways as everything bites him in the ass.

Both movie and book are pretty similar with only some minor changes; the book has an additional chapter as an epilogue that carries the story farther than the movie does and Alex is a tad bit younger in the book, which makes some of the horrible things he does a little more disturbing but the movie has the iconic scene of “singing in the rain”. Either way, I love them both. It’s something I think everyone should experience at least once. So until next time, I’m Torsten V, your humble narrator.

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