Zombieland

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Oh Zombieland. This is one of those movies that if you walked up to me and pitched it I would most likely call you insane.  Add in Woodie Harrelson with some soon to be A list actors and you got yourself a flick.

The basic premise is typical. Zombie apocalypse happens strangers get together in various ways but this time instead of this being a serious survival movie they loaded it up with comedy right down to small details like a guy with a cowboy hat painting the number 3 on all of his trucks to finding guns in a hummer and yelling “thank god for red necks” they really attempted to make it comedic but not outlandish. The zombies actually look pretty good for what it is and the movie basically starts out with some Metalica (for whom the bell tolls if you care) this is another great movie blessed by the gaming gods, and may they also bring you glory.

Insidious

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This is a weird A for effort kind of thing. It’s not your standard ghost story or possession story…well it is but isn’t or is but infused with LSD. Seriously if Dr Strange walked into this story and started fighting the lipstick demon I wouldn’t question it. So we start with typical happy family who move into a new house and weird shit begins to happen. The youngest child goes comatose. The family is now torn but holding, ditching that new house because for once they do what every horror movie family should- get the hell out of the house. But the occurrences continue still. It’s the son we discover is the problem. We discover the father and son share a unusual gift that’s explained by an old psychic lady, they can breach into the Further- a world/ dimension of the dead on the astral plane. The boy’s caught in a bad out of body experience by a demon with long ass nails, enjoys weird old time music, and looks like Darth Maul’s cousin. This demon wants to take over the child’s body. So the father has to dive into the bad acid trip of the Further and save his son’s inner self…

The first time watching it, I wasn’t a fan but the second and third time it grew on me. I have a lot of respect for James Wan, who you can tell put his heart into this and really appreciates the genre. It’s interesting how the story goes from haunted house to possessed child story to something reminiscent of Suspiria if it was the Alice in Wonderland remix. The settings, imagery, and music blend together excellently. The characters are good. I recommend giving it at least two viewings in case the first doesn’t sit right right with you.

Poltergeist

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Riddle me this: how the hell is a PG movie more disturbing and scary than a a huge slew of PG-13 modern films, including the bullshit remake that was…well bullshit. Answer: get Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg to make it. I didn’t see this classic until I was old enough to drink and I’m going to say admittedly that it surprised the hell out of me- again another simple idea carried out beautifully. Pretty much a normal happy American family discovers that malevolent spirits are amongst them, becoming more violent when the activity becomes undeniable and the youngest daughter, Carol Anne is taken into there world and it’s up to the family to free her and uncover the reason all this is happening at all…

What sticks out to me are some of the iconic scenes: the boy getting attacked by the toy clown, little Carol Anne sitting in front of a white static screen talking innocently with the voices we can’t hear, the rotting bodies floating in the muddy pool, the shaving scene. Even quiet moments like the chairs suddenly being stacked on top of each other suddenly is unsettling. The actors have great chemistry as a happy believable family and you do root for these people. Seriously check this movie out and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas are those that hit us the hardest, and none more so than the people we come across in the middle of nowhere. Texas Chainsaw Massacre debuted in 1974 and immediately became known as one of the most shocking, disturbing movies of all time and yet the movie is bloodless, brilliantly forcing our imaginations to carry us to those dark sinister places. The 2003 remake was good in my opinion; as a kid I preferred the remake but as a adult I can appreciate what made Hooper’s classic so terrifying. Both start with the same premise, a group of friends are traveling through the back roads of Texas and find a hitchhiker on the road. In the original, its a creepy ass dude with a red patched face who is obsessed with meat and photographs who suddenly becomes hostile, setting the pictures of the kids on fire when they refuse to pay him, cutting himself and then one of there friends before getting thrown out; in the remake, it’s a pale young woman bleeding between her legs who immediately begins weeping, muttering that her family is dead, they are going to die, and a very bad man before drawing a gun hidden between her legs and killing herself. The original is slow building, almost letting us get bored as nothing happens even when the kids find a creepy old house they came to find. There doom comes from the nice manor with the long grass lawn. Through the screen door we see the crimson walls, animal bone decorations, and heavy silver door we assume leads to a basement. Suddenly the door opens when our victim is near, revealing a tall man in a apron and disturbing leather mask with a mallet as he strikes and we watch the body flail, hear the bone crack with every strike, and the final thunder of the door slamming as we end the intro of Leatherface.  Leatherface picks the kids off one by one as we learns all the people the friends come in contact with are part of one big macabre family of cannibals that sell human barbecue. The dinner scene at the end of the original is one of the most influential horror scenes of all time, where we are treated to sheer madness. In the end, our heroine survives at the cost of her sanity, covered in blood laughing wildly as Leatherface dances with his chainsaw in the sun rise. So what’s the difference between the two iterations? The original is very grainy and filmed without a score, the actors look like real people; there wasn’t a moment during it felt like a Hollywood picture but some kind of found footage or crime show reenactment. That’s the remakes fatal flaw. The remake is entertaining and suspenseful but with the glossy cinematography, professionally composed score, and actors you’ve seen before- you know damn well it’s just a movie. Gunnar Hanson will always be the true Leatherface, may he too rest in peace; he has a beautiful moment of pathos in the original after killing one of the girls where he seems regretful and saddened by what he’s done but slowly we see him begin to smile through the mask in the natural sunlight. Both actors did a great job but Hanson rocked it. I highly recommend both but more so the original, which you maybe able to find on Youtube for free. May the gaming gods bring you glory, and may you never experience the real life horror of “one of the most shocking and sadistic crimes in the annals of American history: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

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Tobe Hooper, R.I.P

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I’ll keep this short and sweet my friends; yesterday we lost another horror legend: Tobe Hooper, the man who gave us The Funhouse, Poltergeist, and of course The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a sadly underappreciated film that brought a gritty realism to a slasher story about a group of kids and a very unfriendly family; I find myself having to convince many it is in fact just a movie. 26 years old I can’t escape the chills Ii get watching a beautifully simple movie that changed how we look at a genre taken for granted. So on behalf of Savior and I, R.I.P Tobe Hooper, you will be missed.

Alien and Predator: Fire and Stone

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Fire and Stone is a four book Prometheus, Aliens, and Predator crossover from Dark Horse comics that spans multiple stories of multiple characters. It begins immediately after Prometheus with a crew going to find what happened to the doomed ship on planet LV-223. They begin to find the strange creatures on a planet they thought barren- the products of the Engineer’s black pathogen. As they go deeper and an experiment with the pathogen is conducted on a synthetic named Alden, they come across the horrors of the Xenomorph. After a massacre by the aliens, comes a threat by a mutated Alden and the Predator lurking in the background, seeking vengeance on the Engineer that wounded him.

So this is kinda a weird story to cover because there’s so much going on and each story is remarkably different. The Prometheus book and Predator book, were tied for my favorites. The Prometheus book is straight up mayhem and wickedly bad ass monsters

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The Predator book is a cool revenge of the strange alliance between a Predator and a human, ending in a sweet fight between Predator and Engineer. If I had to pick a weak link it was the Aliens book, which really didn’t have many aliens in it, but the story was just kind of meh. The art is the best thing about the series, every book has it’s own unique art style and are gorgeous to behold. Overall Fire and Stone is a cool crossover with great artwork but it’s not my favorite Alien piece and doesn’t answer much of the questions Prometheus asked. The series goes: Prometheus-Aliens-Aliens vs. Predator- Predator.

 

 

Nailbiter: vol 1 there will be blood

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This year I’ve really gotten worn out on the standard superhero comics and I wanted to branch out and see what else there was out there. Nailbiter from Image comics quickly became one of my favorites. Nailbiter is the story of Buckaroo, Oregon, a town responsible for breeding 16 serial killers- the most famous being Edward Charles Warren, the Nailbiter they called him because of how he would chew his victim’s finger’s to the bone before killing them. In a very publicized case, Warren was found not guilty and the legend of the Buckaroo Butchers bloomed. Nicholas Finch, a army interrogator, goes to Buckaroo looking for his missing friend, Eliot Carrol, a investigator trying to connect the mystery of the Butchers together. Finch quickly meets the town’s sheriff, Shannon Crane, once Warren’s childhood girlfriend. In fact, Finch begins to discover many of the towns residents are either descendants of the Butchers or somehow connected to them- it’s a small town they say. Finch and Crane are lead to Warren, living a regular quiet life despite his epic pariah status. When questions start being asked, a new killer arises and it’s not Nailbiter…

Nailbiter is a cool story with some pretty creepy imagery. The lore of the Butchers alone got me hooked. I really couldn’t put it down. The tone feels very reminiscent of a blue collar Silence of the Lambs or Seven if James Gunn directed it in his Slither days. I really can’t wait to see what happens next. If you want to get into comics but superheroes aren’t your thing, give Nailbiter a try; I found the first few volumes super cheap on amazon super cheap. You guys are awesome, and may the gaming gods bring you glory because…

nailbiter “there’s enough to go around.”