zombie

Monster Reviews: The Dead Don’t Die 2019

Monster Reviews: The Dead Don’t Die 2019

When it comes to zombie films, they’re traditionally all very similar. Lots of blood, guts and brains. They rely heavily on the gore and they’re usually rich with social commentary. The storylines are generally very light and its always about the aesthetics.

The Dead Don’t Die is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Rosie Perez, RZA, Sturgill Simpson and Selena Gomez. The residents of Centerville are left to battle for their lives as the dead begin to rise and invade their once tranquil town.

Let’s face it, when it comes to the actors and characters in films, they can single handedly make or break a picture. They can make you fall in love with them, or they can make you hate them. You can root for them to survive, or cheer for their defeat. However, when executed properly, a legendary performance can be eternal and sometimes even immortal. 

The Dead Don’t Die is full of dry wit and laugh out loud humor that will tickle your funny bone to the core. It’s a killer horror comedy unlike any other, with the largest ensemble cast ever assembled for a zombie film. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, hold on tight as director Jim Jarmusch brings viewers a side splitting comedy about the end of the world.

This film is absolute genius. It’s managed to take the nearly beat to death subgenre and flip it on its axis. Instead of the tired old gore and blood drenched cannibal feasts that we’re used to, this film focuses more on gut busting laughs and hysterics from its amazing cast. Bill Murray and Adam Driver headline one magnificently talented lineup that’s guaranteed to entertain.

There are some seriously amazing performances in this. Murray was awesome as the cool, laid back Sheriff, and Driver was the perfect level headed sidekick. Chloë Sevigny was also great as the shy and awkward third wheel of the law, and Steve Busvemi was a riot as the crazy racist farmer. Tom Waits was savage as Hermit Bob, but the best has to be Rosie Perez as a news reporter with the hilariously similar name.

It’s not your average fast paced, chew em up and spit em out, insane, over the top type of zombie film. Instead it’s a much slower, more comedic based style where the zombies are essentially the background noise to the jokes and one liners. It’s a truly entertaining laugh filled odyssey.

Not evry film needs to employ off the wall kills or loads of gore. With the subgenre currently on a downslope, it’s pleasing to see a fresh take on the outdated monsters. It’s nice to see the undead reinvented and not taken so seriously, like they normally are. With all the zombie themed content out there, it’s hard to leave a mark on the genre and that’s exactly what this film has done.

The film looks amazing. The cinematography is great and the countryside sets are very soothing. Jarmusch’s storytelling is always slower paced, which seems to work really well with the Romeroesque zombies. It amps up the fun quotient and lightens the intensity. 

While fans might not be so accepting of a film like this, it’s definitely delightful and a worthy addition to the zombie subgenre. Stellar performances and a solid cast make it one of the best modern undead films to date. It’s a hilarious centerpiece and a great all around film.

If you’re bored of the same old tiresome zombie films, look no further. The Dead Don’t Die is an off the path, unconventional, entertaining undead film unlike the rest. Tons of laughs, awesome special effects and even its own theme song. It’s the best ZomCom yet.

Posted by Donovan Smith in EVENTS, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HISTORY, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, SCI-FI HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
OVERLORD (2018)film review

OVERLORD (2018)film review

 

 

Overlord is the newest film release from major Hollywood film maker, J.J. Abrams who has brought you such blockbusters as Mission Impossible: Fallout, Star Wars: episode viii, Star Trek :Beyond ,and Cloverfield just to name a few. So with that arsenal of big budget movies, I’m expecting greatness!

The story line of the movie is a platoon of American paratroopers are dropped in behinds enemy lines in a small town in France to take out a church tower that has been utilized  by Nazis to shoot down American  fighter planes during WWII.

Once on ground the now small platoon runs into a lab where local town folk are being forced as lab rats by the Nazis who are trying to create the ultimate soldier. By injecting the now prisoners  with a serum that they have created, the subjects basically become a zombie of sorts on a roid rage.

 

Overlord is a fun movie, and I have a feeling its going to be a but of a cult film. A coworker of mine actually brought it to my attention with great praise saying it was about Army guys and zombies. So the first thing I thought of was Dead Snow. What I got was more of a cross between Saving Private Ryan crossed with the video game Return to Castle Wolfenstein, not that either of them are bad, but it wasn’t what i had prepared myself for.

Overlord moves at a pretty decent pace and has a few worth wild scenes and some pretty good effects of specimens in the lab. But sadly Overloard is not a horror film. It almost has a made for cable movie with a decent budget, but then I keep J.J. Abrams in mind, and I am left wanting a lot more. Overloard would however make an incredible graphic novel and I’m sure I’ll see cosplayers take a stab at it future conventions.

Do I recommend Overlord? Sure, it is a fun movie that you can easily watch, just don’t be looking for a serious or gory movie, cause that’s not what you’re going to find. Sorry Mr. Abrams, don’t think your going to be filling many theaters this time around.

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
Seasons Greetings with STALLED (2013)

Seasons Greetings with STALLED (2013)

STALLED is a British movie that was released in 2013. It is a Christmas focused zombie comedy, exploring on a serious zombie outbreak in an office building during their annual party. The plot is easy to follow “W.C is a discontent office manager, who decides to rob his boss during the office Christmas party. Sadly for W.C he becomes trapped in the ladies room stalls as a hoard of zombies plague the building! While trapped in the stalls he befriends a female in another stall and the two attempt to escape the zombie onslaught together.”

Stalled

I’ll start by discussing the one thing I didn’t get about this film. All it was is that STALLED does start with a rather unnecessary lesbian scene between two females.  Simply it didn’t add any value to the story line, but it wasn’t offensive or anything either. I just found it rather unnecessary. W.C is played by Dan Palmer. Palmer actually wrote

Dan Palmer in Stalled

the screenplay himself. So I know that the feeling of him being able to connect with his character was evident because he portrayed W.C based on how he wrote the character himself. The concept is good! Similar to films like Phonebooth (with Colin Farrell), or even Devil (with Logan Marshall- Green), it is set ultimately in ONE location throughout. This doesn’t slow the film down, nor does it restrict the evolution of the plot. In fact it creates some unique experiences, to be seen on-screen. Our pragmatist is caught in the stalls throughout the majority of the film. As he is bumbling and fumbling his way to safety, we see him repeatedly fail and his faith diminish. It’s not for his lack of attempts of course, but the various

Stalled

obstacles he faces – primarily the zombies. W.C may be a criminal, but through the film we develop compassion for him. He often sticks his proverbial foot in his mouth and is actually very apologetic. We see a sweet side to him, as well as the misled cad he’s become. STALLED

Stalled

really does just follow a simple plot formula. There is basic makeup use, everyday costumes, one primary set. However it is still ultimately a most enjoyable film. In fact some of the make up jobs made me think of the original Night of the Living Dead, which made it somewhat nostalgic. I think it’s the simplicity that one can enjoy most. It doesn’t exceed your ideas of how it will unfold. It’s an independent films and it doesn’t maquerade as a bigger budget films. Palmers writing compliments Christian James’ smooth direction perfectly. The duo pace the action well enough to remind us of the great danger on-screen, and yet add in little emotional moments sweetly. There’s a few zesty one liners, some really good kills and a  well-rounded performance from our lead actor. So this film is easy to like, I honestly can’t hate on it.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments
Remembering George A Romero: One Year Later

Remembering George A Romero: One Year Later

It was a Sunday afternoon one year ago today and the news popped up on Social Media. George A Romero had passed away at the age of 77. Today we are remembering George A Romero: One Year Later.

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

George A. Romero as seen in the documentary Birth of the Living Dead

Born in New York in 1940, Romero started out shooting short films and commercials after college in the early 1960s. In 1968, a film he made with John Russo would change a horror sub-genre as we knew it. With a budget of $114,000, Night of the Living Dead unleashed itself on October 1, 1968.It gave a new life and spin on the zombie film. The Godfather of Zombies would make several films over the years, but the —– of the Dead titles would always be what he would gain his fame for. There are six —– of the Dead films in total, with the last one, Survival of the Dead, released in 2009. Romero directed all 6 films.

georgeromero-zombielove / Fair use doctrine. George Romero and friends / Fair use doctrine.

Romero attended several horror cons starting in the early 2000s and continued until right before his passing. He would frequently talk about his films, give his thoughts on the state of the zombie film and share memories with the fans. Romero battled a brief battle with lung cancer, before passing away in his sleep last year on this day. Three months after his passing in front of the Hollywood Toys and Costume Store at 6604 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood honored him posthumously. On October 25th, he finally was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The bittersweet moment of the award is that many felt it should have come years earlier and while he was still alive. He was also honored this past March in the Oscar Memoriam presentation.

ZombieGurl with George A. RomeroCrypt Keeper Clint with George A Romero

Please join everyone at House of Tortured Souls in remembering the “Godfather of the Zombie Film”, George A Romero on the one year anniversary of his passing.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EDITORIALS, STAFF PICKS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Train to Busan (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean zombie flick that is a breath of fresh air!! The storyline... Well, like in any other zombie film: run and don't get eaten! Okay, that's the same here. Our story centers around a divorced father and young daughter who are traveling by train to get to... you guessed it, Busan. They are trying to get his daughter back to her mother. The father sadly is a workaholic and spends no time with his daughter, and that also plays an emotionally important part in the story.
While the father and daughter are travelling, an outbreak has begun and, yes, people are starting to turn into zombies. Only becoming aware of the situations via cell phones while en route, the crowded train learns the hard way at a scheduled stop that things are a lot worse than what they had expected - having been anticipating a military welcome in what was supposedly a safe area.

Without giving anything away from the film, you use your imagination as to what happens next...on its way to Busan.
What sets Train to Busan apart from other recent zombie films is how it's shot. The first thing that really hit me was how sharp and bright the colors in the film are. Most are dark and almost dingy, but this could have been used for a Clorox color-safe bleach commercial. The colors just seemed to pop and everything just seemed to be so damn clean!
The makeup and special FX used were spot on! No masks and no use of dirt and buckets of blood for decay value, all while still packing a punch and throwing a few holy shit moments at you. It was a near-perfect zombie film.
Lastly, one thing I’ve learned over the years with Asian horror films, they are either so far over-the-top-what-the-fuck-did-I-just-watch kind of film or they are extremely brutal and violent and usually very sexually oriented, often in a somewhat perverted way. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy all those qualities in a good wholesome Asian horror film, but Train to Busan possessed none of those stereotypical qualities. It is just a straight-ahead zombie film, with a great ending!

Train to Busan was directed by Sang-ho-Yeon, runs just under 2 hours long, is subtitled, and is currently on Netflix. I really can’t suggest Train to Busan enough!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (1 of ?)

TRIBUTE: GEORGE A. ROMERO (1 of ?)

Remembering George A. Romero

George A. Romero, as many of you know by now, passed on Sunday, July 16, asleep in his own bed. Romero had a small but aggressive bout with cancer, but that is said not to be the cause of his death. Romero was 77.
When one thinks of zombies these days, sadly, most think of The Walking Dead and believe this to be the greatest zombie representation in film (or TV). Not to take anything away from the abundance of talent that goes into making TWD, but if you were to ask its main man Greg Nicotero who he himself was inspired by (as well as any true horror and or zombie fan) and who is the master and father of the modern zombie, you'll get the same answer from them all. That name would be legendary filmmaker George A. Romero.
George A. Romero was born in New York City in 1940. After graduating school, George made many short film and did some commercial work as well. He and friends formed IMAGE TEN PRODUCTIONS where they all chipped in about $10,000.00 each to produce and direct a black and white horror film that became an instant horror classic and a legend among all zombie film to ever be made: Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Romero went on to write, direct, produce, and even act in more than a combined 78 films. Films titles such as The Crazies (2010/1972), Diary of the Dead (2007), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Land of the Dead (2004), Creepshow (1982), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and many more.
George A. Romero was always known for his trademark thick rimmed black frame glasses and safari vest. But, more so, was always known for being a warmhearted man who always cared and took the time for his fans. I personally wasn't fortunate enough to have met Romero at any of the conventions that he had attended as a celebrity guest, but I always heard from those who did that he was a very personable and kind man.
The legendary horror/zombie films that Romero made in his lifetime were inspiring to future filmmakers and loved by audiences across the globe. Romero's Night of the Living Dead became the standard for all other zombie films. All, in some way, seemed to be compared to that of Romero, but none ever seem to make the same impact. While Romero's films were always full of great gore, blood, and BRAINS(!!!!), the films always had great stories. They were always driven by characters whose main goal was to survive among the dead for their life. And it always worked!
Mr. Romero, you have been inspiring, admired, respected, loved, and now, most of all, missed.
On behalf of myself, John Roisland, founder and CEO of House of Tortured Souls, thank you, sir, for all the memories you have given to all of us.
Keep It Evil.
Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Zombieopoly (2013)

GAME REVIEW: Zombieopoly (2013)

Zombieopoly, is a horror-based board game that is a blast to play! Most of us grew up playing the the great board game Monopoly. Through the years, though, specialty versions with their own twists on the timeless classic have emerged. Monopoly variations are everywhere and are inspired by everything. One version is based on legendary rock band band KISS, another on fast food giant McDonald’s, and another on the great city of Chicago. You can even play Monopoly slots in casinos.
Well, the folks over at Late for The Sky have put their horror minded twist on it. In 2013, they released their adaptation for coffee tables and families everywhere ― ZOMBIEOPOLY! And it is a lot of fun!
The overall structure and layout of the game is the same as the original: pick your piece, buy properties, get rich, and rule the game! It’s the small details that make Zombieopoly so amusing to play.
For example, Chance and Community Chest cards have been replaced by Stagger and Crawl cards. Be careful while pulling a card. Most are harmless but some are interactive. My son, for example, had to crawl on the floor doing his best zombie impression and yelling for BRAAAAAAAAINS!
Zombieopoly at John Roisland's house.
Zombieopoly at John Roisland's house.
Properties are all there as well as the utilities but with a few small changes. All properties are now zombie-related and tailored to the type of zombie. I played this about three weeks ago with my kids, and we all had a lot of fun.
Zombieopoly board / Fair use doctrine.
All spaces now contain beautiful, detailed art work.
The object of Zombieopoly, just as the original, is to own as much property as possible and have the most money for the win. Now, as most of you know, you’ve never heard anyone say, “Let’s play a quick game” because there is no such thing! I know first hand that playing can go on in to the wee hours of the night and competition can bring out the worse in some players ― especially when playing with zombies, and Zombieopoly is no different! So, if you’re going to sit down and play with friends or even the kids, you’d better get comfy.
John Roisland and family enjoy a game of Zombieopoly..
John Roisland and family enjoy a game of Zombieopoly.
I’m thrilled to see more horror-related games available that don’t require an Internet connection and a remote. Zombieopoly is available at most retail stores and online, including Walmart, Amazon, and TOYS-R-US, and ranges in price from $19.99 ─ $38.99.
Fair use doctrine.
ZOMBIEOPOLY: A KILLER GAME WHERE THE FUN NEVER DIES!
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Contracted: Phase II (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Contracted: Phase II (2015)

CONTRACTED: PHASE II (2015)

Director: Josh Forbes
Writer: Craig Walendziak
Stars: Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka
For those of you who have seen 2013's Contracted and enjoyed the film which, I personally did, you're in luck because Contracted: Phase II starts off at the exact minute that the original ended. I like that it picked up exactly where you left off – there are no holes, there are no gaps, and no wondering whatever happened to this person and that person... It's a continuation and, in my opinion, one at its best. And considering that the films were both written and directed by completely different people from the original, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
Some of the same cast for the most part are present, there are obviously some new faces thrown in there because a lot of the people from the first one are dead, but are referenced to periodically to keep the story consistent. The movie unfortunately does drag little bit here and there, but then again, the original film wasn't exactly a fast-paced action horror film either.
Contracted: Phase II, definitely continues with the same feel and emotion. It does definitely stay true to itself and isn't blown out of proportion as so many sequels sadly are. The thing that I like so much about these two movies is in my opinion its original as hell!! I mean seriously, where else have you seen zombies that are contracted from a necrophiliac!
Overall, Contracted: Phase II is a good movie. It's got a couple of decent little gory almost squirmish kind of parts in the film but doesn't feel the need to have to over do it, and I appreciated that quality. I felt for this movie because it was a perfect balance.
My only gripe with the film, and this is not a spoiler, but in the first one, the disease is originated by a perv in a morgue who is banging dead chicks. In the sequel, there was a purpose for that. I didn't really care for it. I thought that just having a corpse fucker gave it a twisted edge on its own, but that's not to say that it took away from the story either.
Contracted: Phase II is now on NETFLIX . If you’re in the mood for a horror movie that isn't over the top , and not a splatter-fest or a extreme gore but is story-driven, then I think you'll like this. I definitely think it's worth a watch.
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
RECIPES: Spirited Halloween Beverages

RECIPES: Spirited Halloween Beverages

By John Roisland


As the Halloween weekend rapidly approaches, many a party will be had and much holiday spirits will be consumed. There are many out there for the connoisseur to savor. Some are sweet and some are sour, but all are always creative with keeping the holiday in mind!

So if you’re hosting or heading to a Halloween coven – er, party – here’re a few ideas for you to mix in your cauldron!

Axe Murderer

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 1 oz. rum, light
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz. tequila, light
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 splash 7-Up
  • Pineapple juice to top
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Pour spirits in collins glass.
  2. 2. Add some ice.
  3. 3. Top with pineapple juice.
  4. 4. Enjoy!

Brain Hemorrhage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp grenadine
  • 1 tsp Irish cream
  • 1 oz peach schnapps

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Pour the peach schnapps.
  2. 2. Slowly add Irish cream but do not mix! The creme will clump together and settle at the bottom of the schnapps, giving the appearance of an internal organ.
  3. 3. Pour the grenadine over the creme for additional disgusting appearance.
  4. 4. Enjoy!

Sleepy Hollow

Ingredients

  • 1/4 oz. Irish cream
  • 3/4 oz. pumpkin liqueur (Bols Pumpkin Smash)
  • 1 oz. vodka, spiced (Skyy)
  • 1 piece (Brachs Mellowcreme Candy Pumpkins) candy
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Combine spirits in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. 2. Shake well.
  3. 3. Strain into glass.
  4. 4. With a warm knife, slice a slit into the bottom side of the pumpkin candy.
  5. 5. Place candy on rim of glass.
  6. 6. Enjoy!

Vampire

Ingredients

  • 1 oz chambord raspberry liqueur
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Combine all in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. 2. Shake well.
  3. 3. Serve as shots in a highball glass.
  4. 4. Enjoy!

Vampire's Kiss

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz dry gin
  • 1 tblsp tequila
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz tomato juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Combine all in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. 2. Shake well.
  3. 3. Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass.
  4. 4. Enjoy!

Witches’ Brew

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vodka (chilled)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (2 liter) bottle chilled lemon-lime flavored soda or ginger ale
  • 3 cups pineapple juice (chilled)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package lime gelatin
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Place gelatin in punch bowl.
  2. 2. Dissolve with hot water, stirring well.
  3. 3. After gelatin is dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. 4. Add ice.
  5. 5. Enjoy!

Wolf (Howlin')

Ingredients

  • 1 oz blue curacao
  • 1/2 oz creme de menthe, white
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • Sprite
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Pour spirits in glass.
  2. 2. Add some ice.
  3. 3. Top with Sprite.
  4. 4. Enjoy!

Zombie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz creme de almond
  • 1 oz rum, light
  • 1/2 oz rum, 151 proof
  • 1 1/2 oz sweet and sour
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1 1/2 oz orange juice
  • Ice cubes

Mixing Instructions

  1. 1. Combine spirits (except 151 proof rum) in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. 2. Shake well.
  3. 3. Strain into collins glass over ice cubes.
  4. 4. Float the 151 proof rum on top.
  5. 5. Add a cherry.
  6. 6. Enjoy!


The coolest thing about Halloween drinks is that you can decorate them endlessly. Head to Dollar Tree, Party City, or Spirit Halloween and grab a handful of plastic eyeballs, skull shaped ice trays, dry ice, or even gummy worms and add them to your drinks to spook them up!

Now, get your costume on and go howl at the moon, Time Warp, and Monster Mash the night away! Just do all of us a favor, and please drink responsibly. Just because you party with the dead, you don’t need to be dead yourself. So, yeah, don't drink and drive. Just don’t.

And without further adieu, let’s get our Halloween on!


Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in FOOD AND DRINK, 0 comments

GAME REVIEW: Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill

By Margeaux "Nrrdeh" DeMott

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Gameplay

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a board game by Avalon Hill Games. To play Betrayal at House on the Hill you need a minimum of 3 players and a maximum of 6 players. Betrayal at House on the Hill is for ages 12+ and takes about an hour to finish a game. Each player gets a character tile that has two different sides with a character on each side that has its own stats.  Once the characters are chosen, you place plastic clips on the character’s base stat and then place your corresponding character piece in the entrance hall of the house. We had some problems with the plastic clips and had to place paper slips behind them to keep them in place.

The board itself is made up as you go with room tiles that you draw as you move through doors to discover new parts of the three story house. When you move from room to room, you will often have to draw one of the following three cards: item card, event card, or omen card. Once the room is discovered and the card is drawn, anyone else who goes into that room cannot draw that card. Item cards are self-explanatory - you gain an item. Event cards cause something to happen, such as an effect or forced dice rolls. Omen cards are much like item cards because you acquire a usable tool or gain a companion who can raise your stats. However, omen cards are the biggest deal because they force a haunt roll at the end of your turn.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill character miniatures.

Haunt rolls can trigger the haunt or allow the players to play together peacefully. In order to start the haunt, the person who draws the omen card must roll a number less than the amount of drawn omen cards. When the haunt begins, one player becomes the traitor and the rest become the heroes. At this time the traitor will leave the room with the rule book for the traitors called the Traitors Tome, and the heroes will stay in the room and read from their rule book called Secrets of Survival. The haunt is chosen by the room and omen card combination of the player who made the roll that started the haunt. After reading the scenario, the traitor and the heroes create plans on how to destroy each other.  In total there are 50 different haunt scenarios to play. The only time players can start to die is after the haunt begins. Death is achieved by losing all your stats in a skill. Your skills are speed, might, sanity, and knowledge. You can be attacked mentally or physically and you can divide the damage inside the appropriate category.

My Thoughts

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill character cards.

I absolutely love the design for Betrayal at House on the Hill. Visually it is pretty spooky. The box has a wonderfully creepy blue/green and black color palate with yellow accents. It looks very Lovecraftian to me. The cards have different symbols representing them with a raven for the omen card, a bull’s skull as the item card, and a spiral for the event cards. To me they are reminiscent of Poe, but that might be influenced by the omen card. The designs on the character cards are excellent. They all look pretty disheveled and a bit nervous, e.g., they really they look as if they could be smack dab in the middle of a Tales from the Crypt comic. Unfortunate. The miniatures that represent the characters are okay. Personally I would have preferred one color models so I could just paint them myself. The little girl model is creepy as hell, though. She’s just a little girl smiling from ear to ear with a teddy bear that has a x shaped patch of what I believe is bandage tape. Why she is happy that she is stuck in a scary abandoned house on a hill with a bunch of (probable) strangers is beyond me. Not once was the person who played her picked as the traitor so maybe she just waits to see who is left over to feast on or do whatever it is creepy children do to their victims. One of ours, the blue lady, had a hard lean forward and looked as if she was Michael Jackson. This is because she’s just a plastic model that was packed in an unfortunate manner. All attempts to correct her posture have been futile.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at the House on the Hill cards.

Playing Betrayal at House on the Hill was so much fun that as soon as the first game was over we immediately played it again. The first round was spent with myself exploring the entire third floor by myself and everyone else remaining on the ground floor until after the haunt started. My strategy was to go to an area to open as many rooms and hopefully gain as many skill upgrades through drawing cards as possible. That didn’t work out for me, and I actually ended up losing skills. I wanted to prolong the time before the haunt for as long as possible so every time someone had to make a haunt roll I was on the edge of my seat. Eventually it happened, and we played the haunt scenario known as Comes the Hero. I will not reveal anything about the haunt because part of the fun of the game is not knowing what you will be doing until you are doing it.

Long story short, the heroes lost. I was on the hero side and losing sucked. Losing sucks normally, but I thought we could have pulled our plan off, but we had no idea what the traitor had to do to win and it turned out that we were in the perfect place for him to achieve his win. The second haunt we played was called The Feast. I was on the hero side again, and we lost. Again. You have to be very well organized to win against the traitors that I played against.

Betrayal at the house on the hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk expansion.

GUYS! There will be an expansion called Widow's Walk that is coming out this fall! I can't wait to get my hands on that one too.

Posted by Alan Smithee in FAMILY HORROR, GAME 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
VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

chasingdead1

By Nick Durham

As one of the apparently few owners of a Wii-U on the FUCKING PLANET, any time I see a horror title on Nintendo's downloadable e-shop, I end up downloading it. The Letter, Molly Maggot, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water...I fall for it every fucking time. And you know what? I end up hating myself almost immediately after I play it. Some shit never changes. Chasing Dead really isn't any different either in all honesty, although it winds up being better than all those aforementioned games (except for Fatal Frame) , but it still ends up being a bit of a mess.

Chasing Dead is a first person shooter where you play as a cyborg-ish dude named Jake, and you're tasked with mowing down shitloads of zombies. Along the way you get some help from an assistant named Luna (who is filmed in live action, which kind of makes this feel like a Sega CD game from fucking 1993) and there's a super confusing plot involving multiple earths and other ridiculous shit that really has no place in a zombie FPS, but I digress.

The game itself looks like...well, it's kind of hard to describe. There's moments where Chasing Dead looks pretty good...and then it gets choppier than shit due to its piss-poor frame rate. Sometimes during gameplay things appear to be going pretty smooth, and then if anything gets frantic, forget about it. The frame rate drops and the character models glitch, and it doesn't take long for the whole thing to become a mess. The shooting mechanics aren't too bad, but the controls are slightly delayed, so it doesn't really help matters at all.

While playing through Chasing Dead, I felt as if a decent chunk of this game just comes off as unfinished, and it turns out I wasn't totally wrong on that either. In addition to being released on the Wii-U, the game was also released on Steam for the PC, with it's original price of 25 bucks dropped to 10. This was due to those behind the game admitting that the finished product isn't exactly...well, finished. Apparently they're going to be tinkering with it more down the line, but honestly I can't imagine this game becoming any better. After all, you put as much lipstick on a turd as you want to, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a turd.

So yeah, you'll definitely play worse games than Chasing Dead, but you'll play far, far better ones too. It's an unfinished and fairly uninteresting and uninspired zombie shooter, and you're better off spending your cash elsewhere. If you're a Wii-U owner looking for a new horror game to sink your teeth into...well, I guess you're still stuck with your copy of ZombiU from 2012.

Rating: 2/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 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, S06E10, The Next World

RECAP: TWD, S06E10, The Next World

By Nicole Robinson

Sunday’s episode of the The Walking Dead took a little time leap forward to a community in recovery and normalizing of daily routines in “The Next World”.  After a brutal opening to the second half of season 6, Rick and friends have spent the last couple of months (so it seems), rebuilding the walls of Alexandria and settling in to the comforts of having a place to call home. While one could superficially see this episode as somewhat slow and boring up until the end when every Richonne fan wept with joy, this episode highlighted the important fact that our beloved Rick Grimes and friends have become comfortable in their new home. The mundane details of daily life that have been lacking from the lives of our group of survivors have become so routine that have the ability to become happy. It seems the looming threat of Negan has been forgotten.

After a conversation between Rick, Michonne, and Carl about a need for toothpaste, a short scene between Maggie and Enid provides another clue to the developing relationship between these two much in the fashion that Maggie and Tara bonded during season 4. Maggie offer Enid the ability to talk to her and no doubt after the incident in the Woods with Carl, she will be taking her up on that. Perhaps these two will bond even further?

Comic Fans Rejoice! Jesus Walks…….

Jesus

In a world where zombies roam and people are few and far between, the idea of literally bumping into another breathing human seems almost comical but Daryl Dixon managed to do just that. A Jordan Catalano look-a-like for the apocalypse going by the name of Jesus, aka Paul Rovia, bumps into Mr. Dixon while running from walkers at a local gas station after liberating a truck full of food from a storage shed.  Played by British actor, Tom Payne, Jesus, introduces himself by pulling down his mask to reveal a man bearing a set of striking blue eyes even a Daryl Dixon lover would swoon for.  Unarmed and seemingly unafraid of our Rick and Daryl, he warns them of walkers coming, bids them good luck in the New World, and takes off despite Rick’s attempts to engage him in conversation against Daryl’s wishes.

Jesus tricks our favorite duo into being distracted by firecrackers and successfully steals the booty leading Rick and Daryl on a wild goose chase. Chasing down the truck to find Jesus changing a flat tire, they ambush him, tie him up loosely enough so he can wiggle out once they are long gone, the two drive off smiling and happy believing to be rid of the nuisance they call Jesus….. Or so they thought.

we have ammo

A little ways down the road in an almost conveniently open field with a few walkers, Jesus bangs on the roof revealing he has not given up just yet. Rick slams the breaks causing him to fly off the roof and he runs off into the field to escape after Rick guns it after him. Daryl jumps out of the moving truck and starts a laughable cat and mouse game with Jesus, chasing him all over the field. Rick gets out of the truck to kill the walkers, leaving it wide open for Jesus to jump in the cab.

As funny as this entire scene is, it shows the audience that this guy is crafty and despite causing the truck to sink, he may be a likeable guy. After all, he did not try to kill Rick or Daryl and never pulled a weapon. There is something respectable about a guy who prefers hand to hand combat even in a world full of walkers. He did get a pretty decent knock to the head as a result which can be considered punishment enough and he did save Daryl from being bitten.

Rick brings Jesus back to Alexandria despite Daryl’s objections and locks him in the cell. Time to clock out and head home for the twosome leading us to the highlight of the episode, overshadowing the appearance of comic fan favorite Jesus. As Rick relaxes on his couch, Michonne returns home from a long day of Deanna hunting with Spencer in the woods and joins him. Small talking by firelight sets the romantic stage for the two’s first kiss after Rick wins the samurai’s heart with breath mints. The little things…….

This week’s cliffhanger left us feeling almost as awkward as our two lovebirds. They found themselves standing naked in front of Jesus after he wakes them up while in bed together. A bit of a rude awakening after some deep Ricking for Michonne and one can imagine she is feeling a little vulnerable at the moment. But none the less, the two are armed and ready after discovering Jesus is in the room, having jumped to their feet with sword and gun in hand respectively. Considering that he was supposed to be in a cell and somehow is not anymore, Jesus clearly has a message to bring to Rick and friends. Whatever that message may be, one thing is certainly clear, Alexandria is not alone in the New World.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 1 comment
GAME REVIEW: Dead Island

GAME REVIEW: Dead Island

images (3)

By : John Roisland

For a while there I was pretty big into video games. But time gets away from ya, kids take over your consoles, etc. Dead Island was one of the last games I picked up for myself during that time frame. This was a title I had been waiting for!

Brought to us by the folks over at Techland and released in September of 2011, Dead Island brought RPG (role playing game) to life using the dead....or in this case, the undead. The basis, well...they're all pretty much the same aren't they...an outbreak.

This time, you're on a beautiful tropical island at a paradise resort. At the beginning of the game, you are given the option to choose your character, all of course having different strengths and weaknesses. I personally always played as Sam B: a gangster wrapper who gave the title track to the game, Who Do Your Voodoo Bitch. At one point I liked the song so much (lyrically) that I used it for my ring tone for a while.

You play through the game, meeting up with other survivors who ask you to complete different missions earning you more personal points. During your missions you will obviously encounter zombies, so you must arm your self with whatever you can find.  I always enjoyed a broken ore, or using a rusty street sign post. You are also given the option during points of play to make and use make-shift weapons.Also, finding enough spare parts, or bartering for items at the black market, you can also get vehicles running. Now, running over these dead beach bums, I will admit, is fun as hell!

The gameplay is okay, movement over all wasn't bad, graphics were pretty good, and the background scenery was actually very impressive! If you're like me, and you take your time, you can loot through almost everything you find: desk drawers, other peoples luggage, finding anything from batteries, to deodorant, to money. You learn quickly what you can use, and what you can't use.

The game is HUGE!!! Honestly, probably the biggest make I've ever seen.  Now I'm sure some 13 year old who flies through GTA (Grand Theft Auto) could finish this game during a pep rally at school... but like I said, I like to take my time and explore, and there were a lot of options to do so in this game!

Zombies do attack you, but in all honesty, it can be a slow moving game at many points. If you're wanting to run a muck and blow the heads off zombies as you would in Left For Dead, you're in for a rude awakening.  The game isn't bad, but I actually put it in for a replay about a month ago after not having played it in over 4 years, and was almost put to sleep twenty minutes into gameplay.

It's not a bad game, and I commend them on their attempt at bringing us the next best thing in zombie/horror games...but it just lacked a certain excitement. Sorry guys.

4/10

Keep It Evil

Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMIC REVIEW: The Other Dead

COMIC REVIEW: The Other Dead

otherdead1

By Nick Durham

Zombies are fucking everywhere. Movies, books, comics, video games, TV...they are literally everyfuckingwhere that you can think of. Saying that the zombie genre is super oversaturated is saying it lightly, but every now and then, we get a little something special within the genre that breathes just a little bit of life back into it. The Other Dead does just that. Published by IDW Publishing (responsible for numerous comic adaptations of Clive Barker works among others), The Other Dead is a unique and interesting take on the zombie apocalypse.

Based on an unused film treatment by Digger T. Mesch and scripted by Joshua Ortega (along with crediting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman as a consultant for some reason); The Other Dead revolves around a zombie outbreak...except these zombies are of the animal variety. That's right, dead animals are returning from the dead and wrecking havoc on the human race. In the midst of all this, a Katrina-sized hurricane is about to hit (the story takes place in Louisiana), just as President Obama is getting ready to make a visit (yes, you read that right).

It should be noted that among the many characters featured in The Other Dead, Barack Obama plays a prominent role alongside a dickhead redneck and some annoying teenagers. Hell, even Dick Cheney makes in appearance in the book's hilarious opening pages. Make of all that whatever you will.

Anyway, there's a lot going on within the pages of The Other Dead. Interesting premise aside, it's really easy to lose track of what's going on in terms of plot points, etc. In fact, most of the characters are so blankly-written that we care little about them. Add to that some inane dialogue, and we get what should be a relative snoozefest...yet somehow it isn't necessarily. This is mainly due to the fact that the artwork from Qing Ping Mui is simply amazing. The linework and detail are beautiful and wonderfully flowing and worth the price of admission here alone. No seriously, check this out just for the artwork if nothing else.

So yeah, while The Other Dead has an intriguing premise, it isn't anything too special in the least. That aside, the artwork provided by Qing Ping Mui is so damn good that it's worth tracking this down for alone. As for the rest of what this book has to offer...well, it isn't much, but for die hard zombie fans looking for something a little different, this might be worth a look.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Maggie (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Maggie (2015)

MAGGIE_web_1

By Nick Durham

I really want to see that horror/drama film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger…file that under things I’d never, ever think I’d ever hear myself say.

Maggie had received a lot of press since its inception, mainly because it features Arnold fucking Schwarzenegger as the lead in a zombie that doesn’t feature him taking down hordes of the undead. Instead, it’s a subdued drama about a mid-western (yet Austrian accented) farmer trying to take care of his bitten daughter (Abigail Breslin) as the whole world begins a descent into hell. By all rights and purposes, such a film should not exist, but here we are.

Maggie isn’t quite a horror film for the most part. It’s actually kind of hard to really classify this flick. The zombie element of course is rooted in horror, but the film is actually more of a drama…and holy shit is it a fucking depressing one at that. From the stark landscapes and haunting imagery, to the overall tone of the world this film is set in teetering on the verge of an apocalypse (yet the humans are still in control), this is where Maggie manages to succeed the most.

Now, let’s talk about the acting. Everyone’s made a big deal out of Ah-nold here, and with good reason. Believe it or not, he does fairly well here, and I can’t believe I’m actually typing those fucking words. If there’s one major flaw with having Arnold in the lead of a movie like this…well, it’s that he’s ARNOLD FUCKING SCHWARZENEGGER! No matter how old he is, no matter how much he manages to emote and actually put on a decent acting performance, I just can’t get away from the fact that he’s ARNOLD FUCKING SCHWARZENEGGER. This is The Terminator, this is Conan the motherfucking Barbarian, this is the ultimate action hero from the 80s and 90s and one of the most recognizable stars in the history of celluloid. Seeing him in a role like this, it’s just hard to separate him from his other screen personas and still take him seriously here, but that’s just me. Aside from Arnold, the rest of the cast does well, particularly Breslin as the doomed teenage daughter who is literally seeing herself rot away.

In closing, Maggie is an interesting dirge of zombie horror/drama, made all the more interesting because of its star. Arnold aside, this movie is worth watching if you want to see a zombie flick doing something different, which in itself is a nice change of pace. Still though, it’s nothing really special in the least, but I can think of way worse zombie movies, and Arnold movies, that could waste your time more.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
The Walking Dead: Who is Negan?

The Walking Dead: Who is Negan?

By Nicole Robinson

Negan

Fans of The Walking Dead comic book series have long awaited to find out who was going to be playing the notorious villain Negan. It was recently announced that The Good Wife and Supernatural alum, Jeffery Dean Morgan, was cast, bringing about speculation that Negan will be appearing sometime during season 6. This was all but confirmed after that mid-season finale’s sneak peek of Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham’s encounter with The Saviors. For those fans that do not read the comic series, you are probably wondering to yourself “Who is Negan and why should I care?”

For those of you wondering this very question, here are some answers.

Negan is a very important comic character and first appears in the series during issue #100. He is the leader of the Saviors. The sneak peek gave us our first introduction to Negan’s group in a very accurate portrayal of their comic counterparts. This is not a small group, but in fact is an entire community like Alexandria and Negan is their leader. He uses fear and brutality to secure their loyalty with burning faces with an iron as example of one punishment for breaking the rules.

From the very beginning, it is very clear that Negan has a special type personality. In his first appearance, his introduces Rick and friends to Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire which he uses to random choose his first victim. He knocks at the gates of Alexandria demanding HALF of everything. Half of all of the supplies, weapons, and ammo that the community has collected in exchange for protection. The protection they need is from The Saviors.

Negan randomly choose a victim from a subdued group which happens to be Glenn. While a pregnant Maggie, Rick, and Michonne watch, he beats Glenn to death with Lucille in one of the most memorable and graphic scene of the entire series. This also establishes a lot about the character that is Negan and his impact on the dynamic of the story.

The death of Glenn is one which strikes at the very hearts of Rick and Maggie as well as the rest of the survivors. We learn very quickly that Negan is very narcissistic and charming with absolutely no sense of remorse. He hears Glenn beg for his life and yet he still smashes Lucille into his skull and at one point even laughs and says “He is taking it like a champ”. Rick swears to avenge Glenn and kill Negan but this does not even phase him. He just laughs more and beats Rick with his bare hands before leaving.

Negan is a psychotic, witty, intelligent, and brutal. He occasionally will display a warped sense of sympathy but lacks empathy completely. And he is coming to the TV counterpart during the second half of season 6. Jeffery Dean Morgan was recently announced to have been casted as the iconic villain settling any questions as to whether or not Rick would come face to face with Negan before season 7. Does this spell the end for Glenn?

So far the television series has mixed up the death count to be different from the comic counterpart. Bob replaced Dale as tainted meat. Tyresse died at Shirewilt Estates last season in a reverse of sorts having first appeared at Wiltshire Estates previous to the prison in the comic. Sasha seems to be taking over the role of Andrea as the sniper. Chances are the writers will do the same for Glenn especially after the whole dumpster ordeal. One major theory that seems to hold the most weight is that Daryl will be the one to meet Lucille if and when Negan shows up this season.

Before you start getting out the riot gear, think about this a little. We have been seeing less and less of Daryl this season as if we are being weaned off of him. His story seems to have become very stale since Beth died. What more does Daryl Dixon really have to offer The Walking Dead? He has come to terms with his past and who he is. He trusts people a lot more now, even going out as a recruiter for Alexandria. He became a valued member of the group, really growing out of the whole racist redneck image we had of him in season 1.

Another aspect to consider is that Daryl is second only to Rick as the most popular Character on a show that claims “No One Is Safe”.  The moment that Negan arrives and brutal ends Glenn is one of the moment significant moments of the entire comic series. Glenn has played second fiddle to Daryl since the start, having has a much larger role in comic series as well as being a fan favorite. Whomever gets Lucille has to make a huge impact.

The major point about Glenn’s death is that is makes the readers really hate Negan. There is no one else besides that Daryl that could make the audience hate Negan on the level we need too for the TV series. The legions of fan screaming “If Daryl Dies We Riot” can only keep him safe for so long. The appearance of Negan brings about a new chapter for The Walking Dead and Lucille is thirsty.

It will a long wait for the 2nd half of season 6. The first 8 episodes started out strong and ended…. Well…. Good. When season 6 picks back on Valentine’s Day with the episode “No Way Out”, here is to hoping they make it up to us with a lot of death, especially for Sam. He really needs to die for speaking a syllable while walking through a herd in a walker gut covered bed sheet.

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, EDITORIALS, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, 0 comments
AMC’s The Walking Dead: Start to Finish

AMC’s The Walking Dead: Start to Finish

 No Way Out

By Nicole Robinson

Walkers take Alexandria

Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead saw the wall of Alexandria come tumbling down when the tower fell and “Start to Finish” picked right where it left off after a foreshadowing opening scene of ants devouring a cookie in Sam’s room.  A flood of walkers came pouring into the streets of the community where the group calls home and Rick has fallen to the ground.

Rick being Rick, shots at the incoming herd in a fury of wasted bullets as he screams for everyone to get into their houses and keep quiet. Deanna is injured after she falls on a blade and is bleeding from her side and leg.

The action came fast and furious after that as the survivors all separated into different hiding spots — Carol and Morgan in one house, Rick, Carl, Michonne, an injured Deanna, Jessie, and the kids in another. Maggie is trapped up on a tower, while Eugene, Rosita, and Tara are in a garage. Denise is stuck with the Wolf that Morgan has locked up.

Each group takes stock of their situations, none of which seem to be very good considering the streets are quickly filling up with zombies.  Deanna discovers that, in addition to her other rather painful and threatening wounds, she had been bitten in the side during her fall. In what are probably the most appropriate words of the entire episode, she says “Well Sh**”.

Carol appears to have a concussion as the result of a fall and tricks Morgan into thinking she is resting so she can escape and kill the wolf he has locked up. The two fight after a stand-off but both are knocked out just as Tara, Eugene, and Rosita walk in and the Wolf takes Denise hostage with a knife to her throat. He demands their weapons and Tara and Rosita kick over their guns while Eugene surrenders his machete. This is a seemingly odd move considering they had two guns and outnumbered him but for entertainment purposes we can let it slide. He escapes with Denise as hostage leaving us wondering if one or both of them will survive the mega herd that is flooding into Alexandria.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, teen angst posterchild Ron locks Carl in a garage in an attempt to kill the son of the man who killed his father. Walkers break up the fight and get into the house.  Carl takes Ron's gun and gets in the best line of the night in response to Ron's attack, "Your Dad was an A**hole". Deanna takes on the herd until her six bullets are gone in a final stand of strength that results in being eaten off camera.

The group decides to shroud themselves in bedsheets covered in walker guts to make an escape by walking right through the crowd. Sam decides that walking through a massive herd of flesh eating zombies is the perfect to get his mom’s attention and says “Mommy” right before the credits role and we are left to process until the show returns on Valentine’s Day next year.

 

LUCILLE IS COMING

Meeting Negan's henchman

During the first commercial break of Into the Badlands a 2 minute sneak-peak showed Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl on their way home in a truck when they are stopped by a group of bikers with big guns. A shiver of glee goes down every comic reader’s spine as the speaker for this group tells them ALL of their property belongs to… Negan. That’s right. The Saviors have arrived and Lucille is coming.

Negan and the Saviors, first appear in issue 100 of the comic book counter part of the series and knocks at the gates of Alexandria demanding half of everything in exchange for not killing everyone. When Rick turns him down he uses a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire named Lucille to beat to death fan favorite Glenn as Rick, Maggie, and the rest of the survivors watch helplessly as Negan taunts them, saying things like “He is taking it like a champ”.

The Saviors are a mix between a biker gang and a psycho cult and Negan is the most ruthless one of them all, using fear to exploit supplies and loyalty out of the members as their leader. He does the same to the Alexandria and Rick as well as the surrounding communities that we can look forward to coming soon as well. The Hilltop also appears around this time in the comics and that brings about the arrival of resourceful badass Paul Monroe aka Jesus. Tom Payne was announced to be playing Jesus back in September bringing the assurance we will be seeing him at some point during the second half.

Not long ago it was announced that Jeffery Dean Morgan has been casted to play Negan and will appear during the second half when it returns in February. For those of us that read the comic, it will be a long winter break waiting to find out how this is going to play out on the small screen. Looks like there is going to be a lot of itch a**es until The Walking Dead returns.

In case you missed the sneak peek, watch it here: 

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Escape Dead Island (PS3, XBOX 360)

GAME REVIEW: Escape Dead Island (PS3, XBOX 360)

By Nick Durham

Escape_Dead_Island

Fuck...this...fucking...game.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Dead Island franchise, like severely. I enjoy the idea of what the Dead Island games offer: survival horror on a zombie-infested island where you have to be resourceful and use whatever you can at your disposal to survive. What's always killed those games for me is that they all wind up being the same thing: go from point A to point B (and occasionally point C) to do some shitty fetch quests, stab a zombie now and then, rinse and repeat. Boom. That's Dead Island. Critics and gamers have always been split on the end result of the games, but the series has its fans, and that's all well and good.

And then we have this...fucking...game.

Escape Dead Island is a game that promises to be something different. It's a third person action game that starts out kind of interesting enough, as you play as a sword-wielding ninja taking down zombies in a lab. Plus the graphics are cell-shaded so it looks like you're playing a moving, breathing, comic book. Sounds pretty fucking cool right?

Yeah well, it's not. Like at all. Escape Dead Island is a tiring bore that makes me want to staple my balls to a ceiling fan and turn it on full fucking blast.

The ninja level I mentioned earlier only lasts for the game's prologue, as immediately after you are put in the shoes of the game's toolbag main character Cliff; who is investigating the zombie events taking place on the island from the original game...or an island close to that island...I don't fucking know, it doesn't matter, it's still a fucking island. There's no RPG-ish elements here like there are in the other games, and the action is pretty straight forward, and just plain fucking boring. Customization options are practically nonexistent for anything and everything here too, so yeah...boring.

Now believe it or not, I can get past a game being boring for the most part...if the thing's mechanics aren't broken that is. The mechanics of Escape Dead Island are so damn broken that it isn't even funny. Controlling your character is a chore as most of the time it feels like you're walking through fucking molasses, hit detection is all over the place, and the game's AI  is a joke. Not to mention the stage design doesn't help matters. So many times I lose track of where the fuck I'm supposed to go because everything either looks the same, or because there's no real clear distinction of where the fuck I'm supposed to go. Half of that is due to the blandness of the game's environments, while the other half is just due to shoddy game design. Oh well, at least the game has fluid graphics and the sound design isn't bad. Well, mostly that is.

So yeah, if you like the Dead Island franchise, Escape Dead Island may be worth your time just because it's a spinoff of the series. Other than that though, there's damn little here to recommend for anyone else. If you've ever wanted to play a shittier version of Ninja Gaiden with zombies, then I guess give this a look. For the rest of you, leave this game on the shelf. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drown my sorrows away with bottom shelf liquor.

 

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