Haunted

haunted

A couple of years ago, I had no idea Fight Club was originally a book. After loving the book, I was kind of surprised learning writer, Chuck Palahniuk had written a really acclaimed horror story. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to check out Haunted. Haunted is a strange book to talk about, but I can say I haven’t read many like it if any. The core premise is simple: a group of weirdos is drawn to a three month long writer’s retreat by a rich old guy named Whittier and they are told to bring what matters most to them. They are brought to a secluded place, locked away with a limited supply of food and no kind of contact with the outside world. What ensues is a catalog of desperation becoming madness as they run out of food, become deprived of sleep, water and utter sanity as they create their own stories that gives us a window into the lives of our “victims”. These stories are, excuse my language, are fascinating as they are fucked up. There is a story of a dude who lost part of his small intestine in a pool filter, a professional foot fetishist, a woman who named her cat after her dead cat, and a dude who told some real nasty lies about a former child star to name a few. I warn you, do not read this book if you have weak constitutions or get freaked out easy, don’t read this book.

While I didn’t love every single short story or every free form poem, this maybe one of the best books I’ve ever read. By the end, I legitimately felt different then when I started and that maybe the best compliment I can give. The overall story is disturbing but relate-able as are many of the short stories. Palahniuk’s writing style is a lot easier to get into this time around then Fight Club; in fact I was pretty engulfed by how well everything flowed. Haunted is a great read I highly recommend if you want to read something really different but really deep. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

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Leman Russ: The Great Wolf – Review — The Past Due Review

Leman Russ: The Great Wolf by Chris Wraight Cover illustration by Mikhail Savier Published in 2016 Pages: 171 Genre: Science fiction, military fiction “The night was clear of cloud, lit only by a scatter of blue-white stars above the towering flanks of Krakgard.” Leman Russ: The Great Wolf, by Chris Wraight, is the second book […]

via Leman Russ: The Great Wolf – Review — The Past Due Review

Fight Club

fight club book

There’s one quote that comes to mind, made synonymous with this story: “Rule one, don’t talk about Fight Club. Rule number two, don’t talk about Fight Club.” And weirdly enough because of the movie, we do…

Fight Club is a strange story of a hapless white collar smuck who hates his boring, meaningless, empty life. The only solace he gets is wandering into support groups where he meets up screwed up Marla, a woman he is fascinated by but too meek to really engage. Until one night he meets Tyler Durden, his exact opposite. Cool, badass, mischievous, and outspoken. They come to a conclusion, start a Fight Club to make them feel alive and get out there frustrations; this soon becomes a new kind of revolution on it’s own, albeit a malevolent one. Durden is a full scale Anarchist and wants to tear the world down and our weak narrator is in the middle, trying to stop the only real friend he ever had.

Fight Club is a strange beast, it’s such a BRO story with some strong philosophic innards, enough to satisfy both demographics. I read the book as well as saw the movie. The book is written very strangely I admit, Palahnuik’s writing style takes a bit of getting used to but becomes addictive once you get immersed and the end feels more appropriate. The movie is stylish and damn near perfect but I do like the book ending better and the expansion to the characters themselves in the book. Either way, Fight Club is a messed up story  that is irresistible as hell and I highly recommend it. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

fight club movie

The Ultimates

the ultimates

Since we still aren’t totally done with the Marvel haul for the year as far as cinema goes, let’s talk about the Ultimates, the book that kick-started  Marvel’s Ultimate universe as well as influenced some key factors of the MCU, while also giving us movies like Amazing Spider-man and Fant4stic as well as an entertaining but watered down animated adapation called Ultimate Avengers.

Ultimates begins in WW2 as the war seems to be coming to a head. Captain Steve Rodgers faces off against a seemingly unkillable Nazi that has been feeding them really advanced alien tech. Seemingly, Cap defeats him but appears to have died saving us from a deadly missile. He survived but finds himself frozen, kept alive by the serum in his blood. Pretty much, the end of Captain America: the First Avenger Awake, walking amongst us, he is hit with the conclusion that Nazi dude still ain’t dead and ain’t even human to begin with. Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D searches out the mysterious Iron Man, delusional protester  “Thor”, disgruntled scientist Hank Pym and his way more awesome mutant wife Janet, as well as recruiting agents Black Widow and Hawkeye, fickle aid from the mutant duo Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and lovers gone cold Betty Ross and a sedated and tortured Bruce Banner. They hardly make a team though. Between the disastrous ego of Pym, Banner’s inner demon coming to almost be a bigger threat than the aliens, and Fury’s secrets, can these rejects come together and beat an old evil?

While I’m not a huge Ultimate fan as I stated in my My thoughts: DC New 52 vs Marvel Ultimate post, I do like a lot of the changes made to some characters. I like that Thor hangs out with hippies, I like the dark, creepy tone of Banner/ Hulk, and while I hate Pym’s character from a standpoint, I love watching him get his ass kicked. Giant Man is a piece of shit in this story but it leads to one of my favorite Cap 1 liners “Get big,” before he beats him into the ground at full size. Cap is a full on action movie hero, not quite the super goodie as before. Aesthetically, you’ll see a lot of where the MCU got inspiration in modernizing the looks of a lot of there characters. It’s an entertaining story and the characters are good but a flaw I felt was that the final boss fight was almost anti-climatic compared to other events in the story. If you are new to Marvel, this is a good place to jump in but remember, this isn’t classic Marvel. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

The Hobbit

hobbit

I’m not really a major fantasy nerd by heart but I’ve always been told to read it if you want to become a writer. So I did, finding myself perplexed but impressed at the same time. While not as grim or action packed as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is in fact an epic adventure to the core and I love that Tolkien writes in a particular style of not dumbing his world down for us to understand it, he challenges you to experience it for yourself. I respect that.

Bilbo Baggins is an ordinary hobbit in The Shire, boring, polite, and something of a homebody. That it is until Gandalf the wizard shows up, and then after that the pesky dwarves show up to his cozy hobbit-hole, requesting his presence in their party as a master thief on Gandalf’s behalf. Bilbo hasn’t done a damn thing like thieving. The dwarves, led by Thorin, a monarch who’s family was forced out of his kingdom and castle full of gold by a badass dragon named Smaug. Thorin wants Smaug gone and his shit back. The group sets off, facing trolls, spiders, a sweet barrel ride, and an important encounter with Gollum and a ring he is obsessed with. The whole time Bilbo grows into the role Gandalf set up for him, armed only with a glowing sword and the ring that let’s him become invisible, but can he raise to the challenge and defeat Smaug?

The Hobbit is a simple classic that has a great range of characters, setting, and world building. Of the three times I’ve read it, it does get better each time I read it. It is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy but I love that it’s not a A-B prequel, which was a huge reason I loved that direction for Prometheus ; you can read it perfectly fine as a standalone book. The book was cut into three full fledged, 2 hour plus movies even though the book is just about 300 pages. What almost drew me to the movies was Benedict Cumbatch’s portrayal as Smaug, which was terse but perfect; friends that are way more into Tolkien than I am told me the trilogy was a waste of time in the end. I highly recommend the book, especially if you are a aspiring writer, but I can tell you it’s ok to skip the movies. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Children of the Corn

children of the corn

I will never step foot in a corn field, or anywhere predominately full of kids without thinking I’m going to get mauled and put on a damn corn cross. At the same time, Children of the Corn is my favorite cult movie. I briefly talked about the short story when I talked about the book Night Shift by of course Stephen King, but let’s go a bit more in depth…

General premise: under a demon influenced child preacher, the children of Gatlin Nebraska murder all the adults and take to human sacrifices for “He who walks behind the rows” lurking in the corn, and a couple stumbles upon this after running over a kid they found with his throat cut. This is pretty much where the similarities end.

In the story, Burt and Vicky are a couple who hate each other driving through the deep nowhere of corn because Burt has a interview. They hit the kid and uncover some weird shit in his possession. They park in town and split up. Vicky gets taken by the kids, which is the last time we see her alive; the last time she’s on the cross with her eyes ripped out and corn husks jammed in her sockets. Burt discovers that the kids murdered there parents and murder anyone past 18; and that they’ve been procreating extremely young. A kid named Amos is seemingly the one who started all this and Issac and Malachi are on the chopping block. Burt finds what’s left of Vicky, but He who walks behind the Rows finds him first…no happy ending, not even close.

In the movie, Burt and Vicky are married and mostly happy but there’s a rift because Burt has issues with kids. They talk to a old mechanic that lives on the outskirts of Gatlin that directs them away, but the corn is never ending and traps them there, then they hit the kid. Issac is the preacher that brought this madness, aided by his violent lieutenant Malachi. Again Vicky gets taken while Burt finds some messed up shit. But unrest in the group keeps her alive; Malachi turns on Issac and hosts him up for sacrifice with Vicky. Burt gets rescued by nonbelievers Jobb and Sarah, and together they ban together to get Vicky back and stop the children.

There’s a remake which blends both but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it; does this premise at all seem fit for a made-for -TV movie?

I love both story and movie but for different reasons. The story is bleak and very ambiguous; piecing what those kids were doing was half the morbid allure of it. We really didn’t see faces, no speeches, just remains they left behind. While the movie has creepy parts, I love the look and the child actors, especially Issac and Malachi and how over the top they could be and some of the shitty effects are just fun. Either way, I’d check either out, and may the gaming gods bring you glory  Outlander!

The Shining

the shining bk

Heeeere’s Torsten with another long overdue book/movie review. Savior once covered the movie, link here to see his thoughts: The Shining

Either way you go, the Shining is the story of the Torrance family spending a winter care-taking for the Overlook Hotel. Father, Jack, is a disgraced English Professor and struggling novelist and ex alcoholic. Mom, Wendy, silently resents Jack because he’s a F-up and last time he got drunk accidentally broke there psychic son, Danny’s, arm. While Danny sees things inside the hotel, Jack discovers the dark secrets of the Overlook’s past, things go shit up when they are trapped inside the Hotel and madness ensues, turning Jack against his family…

While the premise is the same, the executions are really damn different. Remember those creepy ass images from the movie: creepy twins, elevator full of blood, and whatever the hell was going on between the bear suit guy and that guy in the tux? Well there’s none of that in the book. In the book we got hedge animals that come alive and a hornets nest… Ok, so sorry no really creepy visuals in the book. What sells the book is the atmosphere and the build up to Jack losing it. The characters in the book are very deep but I can’t say I ever really found the book scary but a family drama with a dark ending. I like the movie better for a few reasons. Whereas I found the Overlook’s history ok in the book, I love the imagery Kubrick created from the same backstory (though the bloody elevator was all him.) I felt the family in the book was actually a loving family that would have been Ok if this didn’t happen, but the family in the movie seemed off, like a family pretending they weren’t about to explode. In the book, it’s plain that it’s a freaking ghost story but it was more intriguing that we didn’t know for sure what the hell was going on. Last was how the movie had a darker ending which I felt more fulfilling.

In the end I thought the book was Ok but the movie is legendary. Stephen King again proved he’s a master storyteller. May the gaming gods bring you glory and happy Easter from us to you.