Archive for the ‘horror’ Category

(First Impressions) Lords of Shadow – You Like Castlevania Don’t You?

August 28, 2010

Do these ice titans just wait around in frozen lakes for grieving warriors to show up?

I can’t help but compare Castlevania: Lords of Shadow to Metroid: Other M. Both long-anticipated, 3D-oriented sequels to well-respected, often troubled franchises trying to do a lot at once to please old fans who hold a certain “Metroidvania” title as the paradigm, while welcoming new players used to God of War and Ninja Gaiden.

It’s an unenviable task!

But from what I played of the final build yesterday, Lords of Shadow seems up to it. I picked up the Dual Shock in the middle of someone else’s playthrough, so after taking a few minutes to acclimate myself to the controls I was whipping and dagger-throwing like a, well, like a Kratos or Ryu Hayabusa.


Predators – Homages! Homages Everywhere!

July 13, 2010

Predators does exactly what we want it to. Nearly every beat, character moment and action-packed set piece arrives how we want it to, when we want it to, sometimes even executed the way we want it to. In that way Predators fulfills 23 years of waiting for the sequel the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic always deserved. In another way, doing exactly what’s expected makes Predators a predictable, even staid, entertainment experience.  But still entertaining!

So let’s do the review thing and talk about what works and what doesn’t.

I really gotta do something about this underbite (more…)

Splice – Sugar, Spice and Everything …

June 13, 2010

… Everything awful! Jeez! What a movie Splice turned out to be.

Scientists/lovers, Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrian Brody, in the first movie I ever liked him in), break laws and bends morals to create the Ultimate Being, Dren, a cocktail creature consisting of various animal DNA including human. A modern day Frankenstein’s monster born of hubris and just plain craziness (science? feh!) , Elsa asks of its birth — frequently — “What’s the worst that could happen?”


D: Dial D for Distinct

June 3, 2010

There were several reasons why I decided to get a Sega Saturn, and one of them was to experience the unpredictable mind of Kenji Eno, founder of the dearly departed developer Warp. Never heard of Warp? I wouldn’t be surprised. Their reputation has faded into nothing more than a piece of video game trivia  from the mid-to-late 1990s. An esoteric Japanese game developer, Warp was helmed by Eno and taken in some rather interesting directions. Their first stateside release was Puyo Puyo rip-off Trip’d on the 3DO, which I guarantee no one here has heard of or played. Their second, however, was D.


Suspiria: Sumptuous Scarlet Screams

October 28, 2009

It’s that time of year again! People dress up in silly/sexy costumes and put out ghost cut-outs and jack-o-lanterns and basically take all the balls out of Halloween. Well not here! You may remember last year I covered Jacob’s Ladder, a disturbing psychological horror film that served as a major visual inspiration for modern horror multimedia franchise Silent Hill (which has seen better days). This year it’s something closely-tied, yet completely different. While Jacob’s Ladder may be the father of Silent Hill, according to interviews of the Japanese staff of the original Silent Hill, Dario Argento’s Suspiria is very much the mother.



Resident Evil 2 – 11 Years Later, Still a Bloody Good Time

October 26, 2009

Survival horror is pretty much dead. Ironic, I guess that it didn’t … survive. It was very much a product of its time, when pre-rendered graphics and static camera angles were the height of sophistication. And c’mon, how long could monsters jumping out of windows stay scary? Things are different now. Silent Hill has been franchised to death, though a dubious remake of the original creeps on its way. The Resident Evil series mutated into an action game in a weird cyclical cannibalistic situation — Resident Evil 4 spawned Gears of War which spawned Resident Evil 5 and, ah, the rest of this generation.

Although, really, Resident Evil’s been an action series since Resident Evil 2. Beyond a few jump scares it’s a straight-up shooter with a few puzzles sprinkled on top. The game’s packed with ammo and weaponry despite the rudimentary aiming system. You just hold R1 to aim, swivel in one spot to select a target and mash away on the X button. But hey,  11 years after release, Resident Evil 2 remains a tense, effective game. I still jump, my heart still races and I still remember where every monster and item is, and that doesn’t take away from the experience to this day. It’s snappy, simple and constantly rewarding.

So I think I’ll just spout out what I love about it.



(grumplet) Drag Yourself to Drag Me to Hell

June 5, 2009

Director Sam Raimi exhibited some signs of campy horror withdrawal in his Spider-Man series – if you remember the operation scene with Dr. Octopus’ tentacles you know what I mean – and with Drag Me To Hell he gets to do what he really loves again. I hope he has more in store ‘cuz I love it too.

His first horror/comedy since Army of Darkness, Drag Me To Hell plays a lot like that goofy flick. A terrible, often invisible evil – a gypsy curse – torments poor dopey Alison Lohman who takes as many slapstick hits as Bruce Campbell did in Army. Campbell ought to be proud of his successor as Lohman is quite the trooper. She puts up with a lot of gross shit and it’s a lot of fun to see the abuse Raimi puts her through, physically and psychologically. As the curse puts her through the paranormal ringer she has to make some decisions and the way they’re all handled are hilarious.

ohhh somebody clean me~~

It’s classic storytelling that sets up all sorts of conventions, rules and gags that pay off in the end. Raimi shows what you can do with a simple idea (a gypsy curse) and how far you can take it. In today’s horror film atmosphere Hell is unique – there are no kids anywhere to be seen, no busty scream queens getting chopped to bits, no torture gadgets, it’s not boring, it doesn’t take itself seriously and it’s not a remake. It’s juuuust about a near-perfect horror movie… rated PG-13 no less.

There is one scene in particular that involves an anvil that goes so over-the-top it pulled me way out of the flick. It’s not even that necessary, it felt pretty throwaway. I guess that’s the one complaint I have with the movie. The other thing I was worried about, Justin Long as Lohman’s kind-hearted boyfriend, turned out to be nothing to worry over. I was lukewarm towards the guy before, but this is probably the best bit of acting he’s done. He manages to play the whole movie with a straight face. Not once does he crack a wry smile or wink at the camera – that’s for Sam to do.

So, yeah. If Raimi’s excellent work in the past, or the incredibly warm reception from critics doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. I grinned and laughed the whole way through. It’s a scary, funny, gross, fun fucking time at the movies Go to a theater with GREAT sound and drag as many people as possible with you.

ahhhh nooo I dont want to go to Lodi, NJ