Review

Little Library of Horrors Reviews: A Simple Plan

Little Library of Horrors Reviews: A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan

By Scott Smith

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

 

Have you ever been watching the news or scrolling through your news feed and come across a story about how a civilian came across a large amount of cash and turned it in? What was your reaction? My guess is that it’s much like the rest of us; “I would have kept that”. Now, I’m sure some of you are going to play the high and mighty card and swear you would turn it in as a good person should. Well, let’s up the amount. Say instead of a couple thousand, you come across four and half million dollars. A duffel bag filled to the seam with envelopes neatly packed, holding bands of ten thousand dollars each. You could move anywhere you want, do anything your heart desires and buy things you only dreamed of. A real life restart button. Would you still turn it in? Surely, someone is looking for an amount this large. But, then again, you haven’t heard of any news stories about a large sum of money disappearing. You can just hold onto it until it gets too hot to hold on to.

What if it was you and two friends who found it? You know you can keep a secret, but how well do you really know your friends? Enough to risk a brand new life? How far are you willing to go to keep that secret? This seemingly impossible situation is one that Hank Mitchell, Jacob Mitchell, and Lou Chambers find themselves in when they come across a downed plane. The pilot is dead, but next to him is more money than any of them could have ever imagined. Two brothers and a friend, all with the glimmer of a new life just out of their reach, only have to wait. Just a few months and they would all be richer than ever. It was all so simple…

Scott Smith wrote one of my absolute favorite horror novels of all time, “The Ruins”, and I read that close to five years ago. “Why wait so long to read more of his work if you have such high praise for that book” I hear you ask? Well, simple. I couldn’t bring myself to finish all of his work because I knew once this was done, there were no others to go to next. Scott Smith has only written two novels, “The Ruins” and “A Simple Plan”. He just sort of fell off the face of the Earth after that. You’re not here for that, though. You’re here to find out about the book.

If you’re going to read this book, I highly suggest getting two copies. One for reading, and one for your shelf that can stay in better condition because chances are you’re going to rip a few pages by accident due turning them too fast to realize. From start to finish, “A Simple Plan” is a thrill ride that will have you staying up way into the wee hours of morning to find out what happens next. The characters, the action, and the plot twists all compliment each other so perfectly that I honestly can’t recall a book in recent memory that had me gripped so tightly like this did.

What really makes this book so good is the realism and the actuality of a situation like this happening. It’s something that while not likely, could very well happen to us. It presents situations that you can put yourself in and really think about how you would act. There’s no magic or super natural influence, just real people in a real situation. Smith manages to pull up every single scenario and thought that a person would have in that situation and it just adds so much more depth and connectivity to the story. I mean, really think about it. We would all love to find a random stack of cash, but what if we really did find it? How would you tell your partner if you had one? How long is long enough before you feel okay spending the money? Can I spend the money without seeming suspicious? Is the money marked? So many questions and they’re all present in the story.

The best thing about the book is easily the pacing. I never felt bored or detached from the story. Every scene felt necessary and added significance to the plot. Oh, and the plot twists? My god, the plot twists. Smith makes his plot twists flow so seamlessly into the story and is unlike any I’ve ever seen. The story is just going along and you’re there enjoying the ride and suddenly one sentence completely throws it into over drive. The thing is, that one sentence is not the reveal of a plot twist, but the one leading up to it. There was one scene in particular that had my jaw not been hinged to my face, it would have hit the ground and cracked a tile from the speed it fell at. I just couldn’t believe it.

If I had to gripe about one thing, it’s that there was something in the book that was made to have some sort of significance through out the story, but it just kind of disappeared without any sort of explanation. I may have missed it with my brain constantly needing to slow down and comprehend the madness I just read, but I’m fairly certain it just never lead to anything. Which is fine, it doesn’t take away from the story, but I hate when authors put so much focus on something in a story and just let it fizzle out later.

“A Simple Plan” is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. Not just as a suspense novel, but as a story. The characters are grounded and realistic and they pull you in with their realism. The action is never over the top, but it demands your attention and doesn’t let up until that chapter is done. There’s a constant feeling of unease as the characters start to develop and just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they pull the unthinkable. While you unfortunately will not find this book in any top suspense novel lists, I would easily put this up there with books like “The Silence of the Lambs” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

While Scott Smith may have only written two novels, they were two of the best damn books I’ve ever read and I feel that he is one of the literary greats. If you’re looking for a story that will have you forgetting the world around you and second guessing your closest friends, you absolutely need to read Scott Smith’s “A Simple Plan”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a man I need to see about a one way flight to New Zealand.

 

5/5

Posted by Kryptic Kollector in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, FICTION AND POETRY, THRILLER, 0 comments
Digital Dismemberment: The Last Call (Short, 2019) Screener Review

Digital Dismemberment: The Last Call (Short, 2019) Screener Review

Digital Dismemberment: The Last Call (Short, 2019) Screener Review

 

Director: Marcus Slabine

Producers: Dee Imbert, Elizabeth Piper S., Denvi Rose, Marcus Slabine and Karolina Tyszkowska

Special Effects: Elizabeth Piper S.

Cast: Terry Alexander (Day of the Dead [85], The Horror Show (1989)), Dee Imbert, Elizabeth Piper S., Geoff Lerer, David Morwick, Marcus Slabine, Richard Bird, Lori Cardille (Day of the Dead [85]0 and Paul Sheehan

Released By: Into The Labyrinth

Release Date: 10/19/19

 

The Premise: “Today is legendary radio DJ Harry Cunningham’s final day working at WQRX FM radio before he makes the transition to XM. He came into work expecting to just do a clip show, takes some calls, and say his goodbyes. However, when a strange caller demands he unearth a dark secret live over the radio, Harry refuses. One by one everyone in the station is being picked off by this strange caller who only has one request…play the tape or DIE.”

While I do not normally review shorts as part of the Digital Dismemberment series (usually because there is not enough content for an extensive review), I made an exception for THE LAST CALL because of another short its Director Marcus Slabine directed back in 2008 called ZOMBIE LOVE STORY. I was fascinated to see how far he had comer as a filmmaker and THE LAST CALL does not disappoint. The film has a certain claustrophobic vibe once all of the characters are contained within the radio station and it certainly becomes more stifling as there becomes fewer and fewer places to hide from the mysterious caller/killer. The camera angles in certain scenes helped to make the spaces feel even more confined and help lend to the illusion of having nowhere to go…

Full marks also go out to casting choices. Terry Alexander was ABSOLUTELY the right choice to portray Harry Cunningham. His voice is the perfect embodiment for a radio host and certainly took me back to his role in Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD (85). Imagine the double delight to also see Lori Cardille in the role of Francine (who also has her own place in Romero’s zombie delight). It was nice to see the two of them together again and you can see the same chemistry as in their previous work together. The rest of the cast blended seamlessly together and everyone came across as genuine in their roles. The chemistry between the cast and crew is obvious when watching this short…

If you are looking for a gorefest, this short may leave you wanting more as far as the mayhem goes. People certainly get dropped in various ways, but you will not be getting fountains of blood spraying everywhere. However, I feel what use of blood we see is more enhanced by the fact that most of it takes place in dark situations that leaves your mind imagining more. The real horror in this story is in the cat and mouse game between Harry and the caller/intruder as well as the twisted history that they share. The rest basically become victims of circumstance but Marcus finds a way to make it interesting by making it sudden and out of nowhere. The twist at the end is a nice dynamic it certainly makes you think back to when prank calling was big business in radio. I think a full length treatment of this short is a good possibility and could make for an interesting watch as the suspense can be spun out even further…

Overall, this is a well made and chilling tale of horror starring Terry Alexander that will leave you with second thoughts of answering the phone! As i mentioned before, I could see this being the basis for a full length film where you could draw out more of the suspense, character development, blood and more. A new URBAN LEGEND tale perhaps? The plot is nice and tight, the acting never comes across as cliched or mailed in and the technical points like camera and sound are on point. It will be interesting to see where Marcus decides to go from here but I certainly hope he continues to look down the path of horror. I also hope that we start to see more of Terry Alexander (and Lori Cardille) in genre fare. It was nice to see faces and a voice from the past brought up fond memories..

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Posted by Dedman in Digital Dismemberment, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Jebediah (2011)

MOVIE REVIEW: Jebediah (2011)

By Nicole Robinson

They are a few things in life that are better than a satisfying horror movie. Finding one has become much more difficult since the era of the comic book splashed onto the big screen. In times such as these, some horror fans choose to kick rocks and whine rather than turn to the straight to streaming gems that can be found. This is a mistake and if you need proof, go to Amazon. There you will find Jebediah, a story of a menacing, sickle wielding Amish man with a creative and expressive love of killing from director Joe Ripple and starring Brian Greenwell.

In the role of Jebediah, Greenwell portrays a silent and creepy Amish man with a presence that creates an intimidating persona instilling fear into the victims and the viewers. Greenwell manages to capture a spark of madness as a silent killer. This is no easy task. While a silent killer like Michael Myers can be seriously terrifying, it can also be comical if not portrayed properly. Greenwell almost makes it look easy, leaving the viewer wondering what dark place this actor had to go to in order to embody the role of this madman in the title role of Jebediah.

The main point that can be said about this flick is the violence leaves the viewer wanting nothing in the end. No one is safe and by the end, the carnage leaves no one unscathed. What starts out as a seemingly innocent camping trip among a small group of girlfriends, ends in a blood bath while leaving the audience trying to figure out who among them is going to make it out alive. Lacking predictability is an important feature for any horror movie, and Jebediah manages to make it look easy. Don't bother trying. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. And don't worry, the annoying blond one who is wearing the wedges while walking in the woods does die in the most glorious of ways. Writer Robert Ziegler held nothing back when he penned the deaths of Jebediah's victims. Spoilers withheld, this is not a film for the faint of heart.

From the moment Jebediah curb stomped an infant strapped to a car seat, the audience knows they are in for a treat. Jebediah is not just creepy, but disturbingly violent, providing a level of satisfaction for the viewers that has been seemingly lacking in recent years from the blockbuster films on the big screen. By the end of this slasher film, an uncomfortable, yet satisfying feeling of dread is left with the viewer, probably hoping there is a sequel (there is not sadly). One thing is for certain, this is a fine piece of horror.

Starring: Danielle Lozeau, Jessy Danner, Lauren Lakis, Jemma McDime, Sabrina Taylor-Smith, and Brian Greenwell

To find out more or get your own copy, CLICK HERE 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S06E15, East – The Death of Daryl Dixon?

RECAP: TWD, S06E15, East – The Death of Daryl Dixon?

By Nicole Robinson

Glenn and Michonne

Things are not looking good for Rick and friends now that the Saviors are starting to retaliate against the Alexandrianites for their attacks on the mysterious group. With a large section of muscle missing from behind the walls, the community is left exposed while Rick and Morgan team up takes off to look for a runaway Carol in a porcupine car and a disapproving Glenn gains the help of Michonne and Rosita in chasing after the ever impulsive Daryl on his hunt for Dwight. The smartest words of the episode were spoken by Glenn when he said “Daryl is going to get himself killed”.

Despite the warnings of Dwight’s burnt face, Daryl went chasing after the Saviors out of revenge for Denise’s untimely death last week at the hands of Dwight. This is a clear set up for the highly anticipated first appearance of Big Bad Negan. The end of this week’s episode put Daryl at the mercy of the Saviors, cutting to black after being shot and blood splattered the screen leaving viewers to wonder if Daryl is still alive after the credits rolled.

The end of Daryl Dixon?

Deep Breaths. Do Not Panic. Put down the riot gear…..  For now.

“Exactly what you see happens, happens. It’s not a trick. It’s definitely Daryl getting shot. I won’t tell you where he’s getting shot. But you see [Dwight] pull the trigger, and that’s Daryl’s blood,” Norman Reedus told TVLine.

At least they are not trying to fake out the audience like the dumpster mess.

Several viewing and pausing frenzies later point to a shoulder wound for Mr. Dixon leading to the belief that he is indeed alive and injured. How bad he is injured remains to be seen but is likely really regretting not killing Dwight earlier this season on a whole new level. One thing is certain, this is not going to end well. Daryl has made a lot of stupid decisions this season, but this was by far his worst. Dwight clearly stated that The Saviors knew where Alexandria is so he was eventually going to show up at the gates. Daryl did not need to go after him.

The puzzling transformation of Carol from scared survivor to warrior back to scared survivor began to make more sense last night. How else do we expect our characters to discover just how big this new world is if they stay behind the walls? Something has to drive them beyond the safety of Alexandria besides food runs back and forth to the Hilltop. With so many other important character focused on the Saviors, Carol’s subplot allows for a pleasant distraction and real glimpse into the psychological effects this world has on those who live in it. The build-up between Morgan and Carol this season made it obvious he would go after her in hopes of saving her. This is all leading to something.

Carol surrenders

While Rick and Morgan were out searching they came across a farm where a man was looking for a horse. As this man was running away, Morgan stopped Rick from shooting him allowing the camera to show viewers a very specific glimpse at the man’s attire. Morgan hit the nail on the head when he said that man was not from the Hilltop. Comic readers may have recognized the armor the man was wearing and Glenn did say the world is bigger than they thought. It is hard to believe that the three communities so far are the only ones out there in the New World. Having gone the opposite direction than The Savior’s camp, Carol led Morgan to unexplored territory and it is unlikely he will find nothing in his search.

This episode accomplished the goal of setting up the 90 minute minutes season finale coming this Sunday. It ended with some dark twists. With Maggie having severe abdominal pains and Denise being dead, her choices are to stay in Alexandria on the hope she won’t be eaten from the inside out by her baby or head to the Hilltop Ob doctor with the ultrasound machine. The choice is clear and she will not go alone. Rick and friends have another journey ahead. With The Saviors at every turn, it could be the most dangerous one they ever take.

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S06E13, The Same Boat

RECAP: TWD, S06E13, The Same Boat

By Nicole Robinson

The aftermath of the premature attack on the Saviors Compound resulted in the kidnapping of Carol and mom-to-be Maggie at the end of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. This week found the two women with guns to their heads by a small group of Negan’s followers - a chain-smoking woman named Molly, a dark haired woman called Chelle, a man named Donnie, and a fiery redhead leader, Paula - while Rick and friends held hostage a member of their group named Primo. Guest star Alicia Witt (Urban Legend, Vanilla Sky) played Paula and went toe to toe with Carol this week in “The Same Boat”, revealing her to be the voice on the walkie at the end of last week’s high energy episode.

The Walking Dead, S06E13_01

Carol and Maggie are held hostage after Carol shoots Donnie, a member of the Saviors, in the arm. The Saviors group tie-up and gag Carol and Maggie and hold them hostage in an old slaughter house while trying to decide if they will accept Rick’s offer to trade. Donnie claims that Primo could patch up his worsening gunshot wound courtesy of Carol. The Saviors split up to dispatch some walkers and one drops a of set rosary beads while being dragged out which Carol quickly grabs.

The Walking Dead, S06E13_02

With the Saviors distracted, Maggie tries to free herself, not getting far before the captors return. In the past, Carol has been a master at being someone she is not in order to disguise herself, and this time was no different. She pretends to hyperventilate. Maggie gets their captors' attention and persuades them to take off the gags. Carol feels for the rosaries, and chain-smoking Molly helps her. "Oh, you're one of THOSE," she quips.

"How did you make it so far? Paula asks Carol with a clear disapproval of her “weakness”.

Carol weakly says, "Just don't hurt Maggie. Don't hurt the baby."

The Walking Dead, S06E13_03

Donnie demands revenge against Carol as Paula insists no medical assistance is coming to help him.  He suggests shooting her in the arm as she did him, and Paula disagrees citing “insurance”. He hits her and starts kicking Carol. Maggie kicks Donald; he knocks her back, then returns to kicking Carol. Paula pistol whips him and sends Chelle and Maggie to another room, to “see if she knows anything". The two do some bonding over pregnancy and Chelle’s severed finger which she got as result of stealing gas to look for her blown up boyfriend (thanks to Daryl).

The Walking Dead, S06E13_04

Meanwhile on the kill floor, Carol thanks Molly and Paula for helping Maggie only to be shut up very quickly by Paula when she starts to talk about Ed. She knows that Carol is a pathetic, weak little bird and isn’t surprised that her husband abused her, but her relationship with Donald isn’t some domestic violence thing. He is just a “warm body for her bed” and she could kill him in his sleep without a second thought. Attempting some more sympathy points, Carol tells them that her faith got her through the death of her daughter. Paula and Molly are unaffected by her faith, instead showing annoyance at Carol’s weakness.

Rick’s voice comes over the walkie offering supplies to make the trade fairer. Paula rejects the offer despite Carol’s attempts to convince her that Rick can be trusted. Molly steps in and points out that Carol’s people have already blown up all of their people. Carol counters with the argument that they were ambushed. Paula says that it is fair because they were defending themselves but wonders why they did not just stop there. Carol claims that they said they were working for Negan, and he sounded like a maniac that had to be stopped. “We are all Negan,” says Molly.

The Walking Dead, S06E13_05

This famous comic line makes very little sense to Carol but clearly this group has a strong loyalty to the yet-to-be-seen leader of The Saviors. Up until this point in the episode, it appeared Carol was faking her meek, little bird ways. Half expecting Carol to break out of her bonds and rain fire down on her captors, the viewers were left scratching their heads wondering what is going on inside Carol’s head. Why isn’t she fighting back?

She does eventually break free, using the metal crucifix to cut through the tape. Instead of going commando like she has in the past with Terminus and The Wolves, she sneaks around. She finds Maggie and tries to convince her just leave instead of killing them all, which is hormonal Maggie’s preference and probably the smarter choice. This season has been laced with humanity being a greater threat than the dead. Leaving others alive has come back to haunt Rick and friends since the beginning of the series, a lesson Carol should have learned by now.

The Walking Dead, S06E13_06

Carol and Maggie return to the kill floor and quietly tie up Donnie who has died (kill count: 19) and is turning. The Zombie on the leash bites Molly when she returns and Maggie takes her down, bashing her head in with Donnie’s gun. They try to escape and hit a dead end of walkers on spikes set up to stop others both in and out of the slaughter house.  Paula shows up shooting and runs out of ammo. Carol points her gun and tells her to run. Maggie tells her to shoot her and while she hesitates, a walker gets loose of the spike and lunges for Carol. Carol shoots Paula and Chelle shows up. Maggie ambushes her and the two fight until Chelle swipes a knife at Maggie’s belly. Carol shoots her point blank (kill count: 21) and Paula gets up. Finally answering Paula’s “what are you afraid of" question, Carol says, “I was afraid of this”.

In one last attempt to fight, Paula lunges and knocks the gun out of a shaky Carol’s hand. In the altercation, Carol impales her on a spike and her face becomes a walker snack. A special round of applause to Greg Nicotero’s special effects team for this scene. Among the noise of Paula gurgling death, Carol picks up the walkie and tells the other Saviors to meet them on the kill floor. There she uses a cigarette set the two ablaze Karen and David style bringing her kill count to 24 this week.

Maggie and Carol walk out to be met by Rick and the group. A visibly shaken Carol is comforted by Daryl while Rick questions Primo about Negan. He states that he is Negan, and Rick apologizes while shooting him. Roll credits. Clearly Primo is not Negan, and this is only the start of the war with the Saviors.

The Walking Dead, S06E13_07

Carol appears to be breaking down in this new world. Spending a few months behind the safety of Alexandria’s walls have allowed for her to reflect on the time she spent on the road as a ruthless killer willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. It seems that her kill count is getting to her and as it rises, she withdraws into her old defenseless and weak self we saw in the beginning of the series. Viewers are left to wonder if Carol is going to be able to handle the new world and its new rules of survival. Everyone has a breaking point and Carol has finally reached hers.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S06E01, First Time Again

RECAP: TWD, S06E01, First Time Again

By Nicole Robinson

TWD herd

The Walking Dead returned to AMC on Sunday with an intense 90 minute premiere entitled “First Time Again” that still has fans talking. In the first 60 seconds of the start of the mega hit zombie drama, we found our fearless leader, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, standing in front of what can only be described as a mega herd trapped in a quarry not far from where our survivors our laying their heads at night. Surrounded by new and old faces, the group watches as one of the 18 wheeler trucks blocking the herd into the quarry falls off the side, leaving a path wide open for the herd to escape.

*WARNING: If you have not seen the Season 6 Premiere of The Walking Dead. STOP reading now. Spoilers ahead.

In an interesting twist on the storytelling, the season premiere used flashbacks in black and white to show us on what our survivors have been up to since we left them back in March after Rick shot Pete. Rick and his group have taken matters into their own hands to protect the Alexandria Safe Zone. With the new blessing of a grieving Deanna, (Tovah Feldshuh) the survivors have been given carte blanche over the future of the town and its inhabitants.

Not all of the residents of Alexandria are quick to allow Rick to start setting up shop as the leader of the Safe Zone. Carter (Ethan Embry), an outspoken resident, clearly does not trust Rick or his plans to lead the mega herd away. Carter quickly learns that screwing with Rick Grimes is a terrible idea after putting a gun in the face of everyone’s favorite mullet. Rick gladly offers him some friendly words of advice and everyone goes back to playing nicely. Carter was sparred... For now.

TWD Embry

The crap your pants moment arrives when Daryl slowly creeps his motorcycle as the massive horde of decaying flesh eaters trial behind him like a redneck pied piper. Even Daryl looks a little scared right then. Over the course of the seasons we have watch as the walkers slowly decay in front of our eyes. This mega horde of walkers puts in front and center just how disgusting they have gotten over 6 seasons and we cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us in the first half. And bravo at the ping pong walkers, bouncing off the steel walls. Seeing those exploding heads gave us all that warm and fuzzy feeling that we missed all summer.

After weeks on the rode out on a supply run, Heath returns quickly finds himself herding the dead with our group of survivors, showing his potential to be a valued member of the group in episodes to come. Teaming up with Glenn and Nicholas, who seems genuinely sorry for trying to kill Glenn last season, Heath takes out a store full of walkers successfully preventing the noise from drawing the mega herd off the chosen path. So far so good.

It wouldn’t be an episode of The Walking Dead if everything went as planned. First, after admitting Rick was right after all and making the mistake of redeeming himself during the apocalypse, Carter gets a kiss on the cheek from a walker. Screaming in terror as his face is being bitten off, he draws the mega herd off the road towards him. Thankfully Rick comes along and sticks a knife into his skull, allowing the group to redirect the herd back on track. Just when they thought the plan had worked, an obnoxiously loud horn starts going off from the direction of Alexandria turning the mega herd back where they came from.

TWD flares

We will have to wait until next week to find out how Alexandria handles itself against the massive walker horde. Most of the people living inside the walls have been there from the start and are not well equipped to defend themselves. Those steel fences are strong but not strong enough to keep a herd of that size from ripping it down.

Next week will also be exploring the even more of the relationship between Morgan and Rick. Morgan is clearly trying to get a read on the new Rick as well as dealing with everything he has been through on his own. He started as a man trying to protect his son Duane and grieving for his wife, then he slipped into madness after Duane’s death at her walker hands. Now, he’s a ninja warrior, with a six-foot long stick, the deadly use of which was taught to him “after”, he says. These are two men who have been profoundly changed since they first met, and need to completely rebuild their relationship. We assume that means Morgan’s going to be a big part of this season, which is great because Lennie James does a wonderful job with the character, and that stick...

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

GAME REVIEW: Fingerbones (2014)

By Margeaux DeMott

fingerbones

Fingerbones is a very odd, indie, psychological horror game. It is less a "game" and more of a "narrative"... think walking simulator. You just wander around the room clicking on everything you can until you find the next piece of the puzzle. You begin the game in the first room with no weapons or knowledge of what you're really supposed to do. Looking around the room you find some scattered notes. They're written by... yourself - or rather - the character that you are playing. Like a sort of found journal. Using the information from the notes you are able to unlock the other rooms in the game. The point of this is to get the rest of the notes in this safe house to remember who your character is. You are not going to like him. If you do like the character please do the world a favor and lock yourself away forever, and unsubscribe from my YouTube channel.

The first note you find throws a thought into your head screaming "This guy is an asshole!" That thought is correct - but hold on it only gets worse. I can not stress enough how completely terrible this guy is. It really hits harder when you finish the game and think about the contents of those notes. No spoilers needed here. because…

The game only takes about thirty minutes to complete in its entirety. There is no save option so make sure that if you exit you do so on purpose and not accidentally. I did that within the first 5 minutes because I forgot that one of the doors is the game exit. Whoops! The music in it is perfect for this creepy lonely shelter. In the game you can hear eerie sounds of a child. They really ratchet up the tension because you are sure that when you turn around or finish reading there will be an angry something ready to get you. Which makes up for the basic graphics. They're so bad. The whole game looks like Minecraft with a sepia filter. The notes look like QR codes. If you are a graphics snob, then you should not bother with this game.

The game was made and produced by David Szymanski. It is currently available on Steam, IndieDB, and Game Jolt for free. If you have thirty minutes to waste and would like to lose a little faith in humanity then go for it. If you don't want to play it, but still want to know the contents of the notes then you can watch me play it here: Fingerbones Let's Play.

3/5 Oldboy fingers

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

PRODUCT REVIEW: Neca’s Alien3 Collectible Figurine

Alien³ Dog Xenomorph?
Yes, please.

By Nick Durham

Alien3 Neca

Oh Neca, how you've gotten so much of my money over the years.

For those who might not know, Neca is a toy company that offers a wide variety of toys and collectibles featuring a lot of horror and sci-fi licenses. Everything you can think of between Friday the 13th to Pacific Rim they've covered, with wide varieties of action figures that are just plain awesome to display and collect. One line in particular from Neca involves variations of classic characters and monsters that are designed based on various video game appearances. We've already had Batman, Predator, Jason Voorhees, Rambo, and more - all of whom are usually featured in deluxe boxes based on the box art of the video games they are drawn from, which also feature a special window box so you can display them without ever having to take them out of the package. Yes sir, I love this kind of shit.

Neca has done it again with this Dog Alien based on the Alien³ NES game from the early 90s. Now say whatever you want about the film and its game adaptation, but this figure is fucking awesome. Featuring an awesome color scheme, an extendable inner mouth, and over 30 points of articulation; this figure is a true work of art. From a personal standpoint, I've always preferred the more traditional Xenomorph designs from the classic first two films, but I've always had kind of a soft spot for the Dog Alien from Alien³. Something about it has always seemed a little more nasty and scary. I can't quite explain it, but that's just how it's always been to me anyway.

Personal feelings aside, this Alien³ figurine is another wonderful toy/collectible from Neca that you know you want to display on your shelf for everyone to see. If you've never picked up anything from Neca before, this is a great place to start. That being said, though, be warned: once you get one, you're going to want to get more...and more...and more, more, more.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

By Travis Love

I AM NO ONE
Tonight's film is none other than JABB Pictures' I Am No One. This 2013 release was written and directed by Jason Hoover. The film is shot entirely documentary style in Chicago Illinois and follows the everyday life of Charles Lake, a man obsessed with gambling scratch offs and a gnawing need to engage in murderous endeavors by night.

The beginning narration sets the tone for the film, the short tale of how the Documentarian came to meet Charles Lake. With that tiny snippet of discussion that took place before filming, "If you think that's scary, you should follow me around for a while", you get that twinge of foreboding wash over you and the dark downward spiral of a journey begins.

During the film, you are witness to multiple series of interviews between the filmmaker and Charles Lake. The interviews are casual, relaxed, and normal. The subject matter of these interviews, however, finds Charles reminiscing over his past endeavors as far back as childhood. Morbid tales ranging from almost beating his childhood baseball team catcher to death with a baseball bat to murdering a middle school child 3 to 4 years prior to the interview. Morbid moments like this engross you in the story that much more.

During the journey, things quickly spiral out of control as you go from watching Charles disassemble random Barbie dolls to the first recorded confrontation of him engaging his victim. I don't want to spoil this scene. so let's just say the brutal moment that occurs is vicious and merciless - to say the least. When the filmmaker tries to capture the aftermath on film, things become immediately hostile and without warning the flood gates are opened as the filmmaker realizes that he's plunged into a darkness that is both terrifying and gruesome.

While I won't ruin the ending scene because it's best left to first time viewers to see with virgin eyes, I will say that the tension in the end scene is so thick that it makes you feel almost claustrophobic. This isn't a gore soaked film, but what it is, though, is a film that proves that you don't need buckets of blood if your story writing is this enthralling and immerses you in it completely.

7/10 for this amazing JABB Pictures feature.

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 or Stanley Kubrick's Shining Vision of the US?

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Rodney Ascher; Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner; Rating: NR; Run Time: 102 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: UK; Language: English; Year: 2012

Room 237 begins with a lengthy disclaimer about the expressed opinions not being those of the filmmakers, and it's not difficult to see why this disclaimer was added. Stanley Kubrick was a master filmmaker, a director whose every scene is packed with clues and symbols that may not be evident on a first or fifth viewing. This documentary examines possible interpretations of many aspects of Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, a masterful examination of life and death, the natural and supernatural, the real and unreal, penned by the king of horror Stephen King. Because there are multiple interpretations presented, Room 237 seems, at times, haphazardly put together. We move back and forth through The Shining as each theory addresses various aspects of the film that supports that specific interpretation.

Room 237 feels stilted and sometimes forced, but the overall documentary is an interesting examination of Kubrick's reinvisioning of The Shining as well as the minds of the participants. Indeed, we cannot help but bring our own experiences into our interpretations, but the key is to remember that we must look at the larger picture – something some of these critics seem to neglect. Theories range from the plausible to the confusing and finally to the downright comical. Since Kubrick's films are layered with detail and significance, not all theories can be dismissed, but how can we tell which is right? Kubrick may have included aspects of all of these theories, but I'm not entirely convinced. It will take many more viewings for me to weigh in on those.

5/10 claws – the pace is uneven, but it is worth at least one viewing

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments