Developer Frictional Games has been quietly toiling away on their upcoming sci-fi survival horror game SOMA for some time now. A few weeks ago, the studio apologized after a somewhat lengthy silence — often a bad sign for far-off horror games — and this weekend they broke their silence again by sharing some more exciting news.
“If all goes according to plan the beta for SOMA, our upcoming sci-fi horror game, will be done in 4 weeks,” Frictional announced on Facebook. “It feels both exciting and scary that the game is really nearly completed now. After several years of hard work, release is finally a clearly visible milestone.”
The news of imminent beta testing is something to celebrate, both for the developer and for the fans who have been itching to get their hands on this game since it was revealed nearly two years ago. Don’t get tooexcited though, because the beta won’t be a public one.
“Note that we already have all the testers we need, so no need to make requests. [SOMA] is still incomplete so just hang in there a little longer, and you’ll get the polished and proper version to immerse yourself in!”
Satan is coming to Showtime.
Showtime has shared a devilish new TV spot for “Penny Dreadful”, which begins its 10-episode run on Sunday, May 3 at 10PM ET/PT.
This season, Vanessa and Ethan form a deeper bond as the group, including Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and Sembene (Danny Sapani), unite to banish the evil forces that threaten to destroy them.
Meanwhile, Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), the Creature (Rory Kinnear) and Brona (Billie Piper) are all waging battles of their own.
Patti LuPone will guest star as a mysterious character of great importance in Vanessa’s past. Helen McCrory returns as Evelyn Poole (a.k.a. Madame Kali), the seductive spiritualist who will pose a unique threat to our protagonists this season, along with Simon Russell Beale, who is back as eccentric Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle.
With Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green returning, additional guest stars include Douglas Hodge as a Scotland Yard investigator; Sarah Greene as Poole’s powerful daughter, Hecate; and Johnny Beauchamp as a man with a singular past.
Back in August we were given our first look at a new The Walking Dead — this time from Overkill Software and Skybound Interactive — which promised to be the opposite of Activision’s embarrassing Survival Instinct game.
Overkill’s take of the increasingly popular zombie franchise has more potential than Survival Instinct ever did, but it’d sure be nice to know something about it, aside from its nebulous 2016 release window. Enter series creator Robert Kirkman.
“I can say that it will be Payday-esque because [Starbreeze and Overkill] are currently doing Payday,” Kirkman told Polygon. “But I’m told it will be in a bigger world than Payday currently encompasses. They are going to be learning a lot of stuff from Payday that they will be incorporating into The Walking Dead game.”
This Walking Dead won’t be the same kind of generic experience we usually get from licensed games. Overkill and Skybound are looking to create a unique and engrossing storyline within the Walking Dead universe that follows brand new characters.
“So instead of like it being a derivative experience, where you kind of enjoyed a movie so you’re playing a game and it’s not as good as the movie and there is some lame things about it, we’re doing a thing that is its own experience that stands on its own as a cool game, rather than a licensing barnacle to this popular movie,” Kirkman added.
Kirkman also confirmed that, like the Payday series, this game will be “online and interactive.”
Here’s the game’s announcement trailer, if you missed it the first time around. It’s beak as hell, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from something that’s a part of The Walking Dead.
One of my favorite genre films of the year, Spring, will be arriving in select theaters and on VOD March 20, 2015.
It’s a super fucked up Lovecraftian horror romance that follows a young man (played by Evil Dead‘s Lou Taylor Pucci), in a personal tailspin, who flees the U.S. to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.
In the spirit of Spring, we caught up with directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead who select 10 of the most f*cked up on-screen romances!
DRACULA: Dracula & almost every female character in the book
When we first meet Dracula he is in a cohabitating relationship with three undead sisters in his Transylvania Castle, which is arguably polygamy, incest and necrophilia. Apparently not satisfied with this, his desires redirect to his Victorian real estate agent’s fiance, as well as her best friend, and travels super far all the way to goddamn London for the attempted hook-up.
Making the Vampire Lestat feel puritanical.
Mike Mignola’s name is synonymous with a certain type of monster in comics. This week sees the release of his long anticipated “Frankenstein Underground” #1. A comic I called “another homerun for Dark Horse, another incredible chapter to Mignola’s world, and a story unlike anything you’ve ever seen from both. It’s compelling from cover to cover, and manages to exceed expectations with haunting art on almost every page. I wish I could read #2 right now, and frankly damning myself for reading this one so damn early.”
I sat down with Mike to talk about how he chooses to flesh out his incredible world, the work that goes into making a monster a character, and the whole host of influences on this incredible adventure. Get ready for Wednesday with this interview.
BD: Why can “Frankenstien Underground” be enjoyed on its own without any knowledge of the preexisting Hellboy universe?
Mike Mignola: I hope it can. It focuses on the Frankenstein monster thrown underground and although it exists in a world that has already existed for a long time, reading the book doesn’t hinge on any knowledge of that stuff. It has monsters, hyperborean legend, and all that stuff. And if this is your first introduction I think that’s fine.
It’s always a focus with these different things that we do. We don’t want to trick you into buying other things. It’s not about big crossovers. There may be a couple characters who crossover into separate adventures but if you don’t read their main book you won’t be lost. We make sure to introduce everything in a way that’s digestible to the reader.
I know all the characters, and I know what we’re doing in every book. But, I’m doing this for the reader who’s never read any of the other books.
So these guys that do crossover from Hellboy, it’s more of a wink to the long time reader. We establish Fabrice and who he is and what he’s looking for, but without too big a question mark attached to him. Then we leave him behind. It’s sometimes a trick to do that. But I think we did it well enough here.
BD: With the massive world you’ve built over the last 21 years how do you decide what story to tell next, what was it about Frankenstein that made his story so compelling.
MM: To create these other books have them share a world and have a range of tones is a total joy for me. I you want Victorian occult detective stuff and you only want to read Witchfinder, that’s perfectly fine.
But if you want to read that and Lobster Johnson, and Hellboy, you get a way bigger picture of what’s going on in that world. But! You don’t need it. There continuities still make sense, but every so often you’ll get a character from there, over here. You don’t need to know but it helps.
I don’t know if Frankenstein was even that compelling. I know after The House of the Living Dead graphic novel, something prevailed about the monster after that was all done. Sometimes you tell one story with a character and you’re ready to move on. I’m not even exactly sure when I developed another story for Frankenstein. It was almost out of the blue that I thought of the idea to do him underground, and with a world this big you just kinda tease these things around.
It wasn’t a burning sensation to tell this story, but after Ben Stenbeck expressed interest to work on something other than The Baltimore series, you know I had several ideas to pitch to him. One of the ideas was Frankenstein Underground and he didn’t even skip a beat.
So the project came together because we had the right artist for it. Without Stenbeck coming on it may have never gotten done. The nice thing is, it does something for the Hellboy world. So I’m glad it existed, but had Ben not wanted to do it, we would have found something else to flesh out the world.
BD: So do you draft up stories that only exist in these separated pockets of the world in the effort to flesh out side characters whenever the right artist comes along?
MM: Yeah… There’s always a lot of that. It’s almost an experiment. Or an exercise, it’s this or this. I kind of store them away. I also give them different avenues in where they can go. The direction is up to the right artist. I had stories of characters that are left completely undeveloped in the Hellboy world. I often give certain characters and time periods and try to get them to the artist it appeals to most.
“He’s just this kind of lumbering tragic character. He had to be the Mary Shelley here, and the trick was getting the roots of it in this comic.”
And when they choose, we come up with a story for those characters by throwing around possible ideas. So we do that until its something that we respond to strongly and before we know it, we have something we’re really happy with.
BD: The design of Frankenstein has the Karloff body with the Christopher Lee hair, how did you plan the look of the character? Was it more you or Ben?
MM: Oh, I didn’t think of that… Well I had originally designed that character for The House of the Living Dead graphic novel, and I had drawn that type of character many times before. But, when it came time to do the book I had given Ben a quick drawing of roughly that type of Frankenstein. I started the whole design.
At first when it came time to the series, Ben took things in a pretty extreme direction and the result was taking it back in a more human proportion.
BD: You call Frankenstein “a corpse with a conscience” in this first issue, I love that description, but Frankenstein is made to suffer, how do you plan to give him more agency than pain in this series? And why is so pained?
MM: He’s been living for a couple hundred years and he’s been almost entirely abused during that time. From birth he’s been a monster, it hasn’t really got much better. I’m sure he had a couple years on a beach relaxing somewhere during a few beautiful summers. [Laughs]
But mostly its been pain. We see it in the opening pages of this first issue. He wasn’t having a great time in the lead up to this series. He was misunderstood and met by a lot of men who just wanted to shoot him.
Calling him a monster, at least at first makes the most sense to me. If you’ve read the Mary Shelley novel he has almost no dialogue. He’s just this kind of lumbering tragic character. He had to be the Mary Shelley here, and the trick was getting the roots of it in this comic.
He could have been this elegant well-spoken creature, even a portrait of us. But he’s been so abused and so beaten down that he was reduced to that dumb brute.
BD: So is he trying to learn more about himself here, is he trying to be something more?
MM: No. He’s not the type of character to search out who he is. He’s such a well-defined character already that it was never in my mind that this would really be about him and who he is. This book is really about this situation we throw him into.
His situation is influenced by Edger Rice Burroughs Hollow Earth stuff. It’s so much a thing that the simple pitch for this book was “Frankenstein in Pullicider.” We throw him underground and it’s just a parade of monsters. But, that is only really sustainable for one issue. I could only do so much before it wore thin, so it started out very simple and I brought my other influences into it. The kind of ancient history I love and the elements of my world, that’s when it went from a simple pitch to a great story.
BD: How has Ben Stenbeck’s work complimented your script? I found his work influenced by your own in Hellboy in Hell it really opened up and felt crazy at times, but in a very calculated way.
MM: Ben’s been doing books that take place in specific time periods so this was a chance for him to open up. He’s done a lot of world war I era Europe in Baltimore so here was a book where he could go wild. We have previously sprinkled this level of strange in the Hellboy stuff but no we’re going into uncharted territory.
I’m very luck to work with Ben. There was no point where I scripted something and had any doubts that Ben could draw it. At this point Ben can do anything, there were things I asked him to do that I’ve never seen from him before, but that was half the reason he came onto the book. And there were a few places in the script were he gave me something far beyond what I had imagined. I’ll never tire of working with him, because when you have someone like Ben you never want to let them go.
I don’t do real plot style scripting. I’m always writing something akin to what ends up on the page. But for the most part when the action gets heavy I let my artist take it in their own direction. Some places I really break it down, like exactly the layout and the sizes of the panels on the page. It depends on how I envision the page, but I’m always spelling it out in one way or another. All this stuff is in my head, but it would be a full script if I had the time.
I always like to reletter my work after the artist has drawn everything. Sometimes they alter a facial expression, or change the direction of a scene, and it looks like someone who never had dialogue before should be speaking. I like adding after the fact because it gives the comic a much more organic feeling.
BD: Obviously Frankenstein has an incredibly rich history and you know it well, there are all kinds of little tributes to the character’s past in these opening pages, but what iteration of the character do you find most dear and why?
MM: I read so much mythology, and it’s been cooking up in my head for so long that coming up with a backstory for my world. I’ve got all this stuff, and to some extent I make my own history. So it’s always a question of how much of my influence can I put into a new story. Is there room to put this history in there, and how can I make it work.
For the Frankenstein character I took my in head mythology. My first love is that Karloff monster. I found my own voice somewhere between the Mary Shelley novel and the Karloff monster and I think I found something special. I couldn’t do Mary Shelley, so I took the elements of the character and distilled it down to something I could write. I had to make him mine.
I was really hoping the tentatively titled “Fear The Walking Dead” series would be a completely separate entity instead of living closely in the world of “The Walking Dead”. As “Fear” is a prequel spinoff, clearly it’s going to live in the same world as AMC’s smash hit zombie series. Still, I’m praying the quality and writing are different as I’m not s huge fan of “TWD” series (I adore the comic by Robert Kirkman).
EW has some new answers to questions we’ve been asking since day one. Appearing at panel titled “Creative Activism” at the South by Southwest conference in Austin on Saturday, writer-producer Robert Kirkman was asked how his new spin-off* series will creatively fit with the comics and his existing “Walking Dead” flaghship series.
“It’s not going to relate to the comics at all,” Kirkman said. “From the beginning of the show one thing we’ve heard is, ‘What’s going on over here or there.’ So the intent of the new show is to expand that world and show another corner of the United States and what’s happening there. The timeline is taking place a little bit earlier timeframe than the original show. Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and was like, ‘Oh, man, zombies, weird!’ We’re going to possibly see that unfold a little more in the other show. But I wouldn’t call it ‘prequel’ because the entirety of the show is not going take place before ['The Walking Dead']. It will eventually form a path running concurrently.”
That the two shows will eventually be unfolding at the same time is definitely interesting because it opens the door to the possibility to having characters cross over between the shows, adds the site. Kirkman hinted there might be narrative connective tissue between the two shows, but only cited elements that would play out in the mind of the viewer and emphisized the shows would stand on their own.
Here’s how he explained it: ”One thing that we’re doing with the new show that we’re trying with everything is it’s not derivative,” he said. “It’s standing on its own. You can watch it by itself and get your own experience. But if you are watching both shows there are things like, ‘Oh they discovered this, or they discovered that in a different way.’ There are a lot of things about The Walking Dead world these characters have to learn or figure out to get by. And there may be some things that are discovered in the companion show that haven’t been discovered in the other show yet. So there could be like a thing where, ‘Oh, they encountered a zombie in season 4 in The Walking Dead that could do this and now we know why that was.’ So we’re going to be doing things like that are going to be pretty cool, but for the most part [the two shows] should be able to stand alone.”
He ended with this shocker, which may or may not be a joke: “And then we’re going to cross it over for an Avengers movie and it will be great.”
Creating a massive “The Walking Dead” universe is an awesome idea, so long as creatively they’re separate. I don’t want to see rehash after rehash with the same crew. Instead, I would prefer the new series to be told from different perspectives (male/female, old/young), and various directors and writers.
David Robert Mitchell’s must-see It Follows started it’s life in just 4 theaters across America, and destroyed them all taking it a whopping $40k per screen average. expanding into more theaters next week, I don’t think The Weinstein Company understood what they had on their hands, and are about to have their hands on the next great indie horror hit.
While we wait for it to expand closer and closer, the new art poster does the exact same. “It” may be in the rearview mirror, but it won’t stop until you’re dead…or you pass the curse along to someone else.
I gave it a perfect score, calling it “a classical horror masterpiece.” Mike Pereira referred to as a creepy, mesmerizing exercise in minimalist horror” when reviewed out of the TIFF last September.
“For 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.”
Monroe, who is becoming a legit Scream Queen, stars with Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi and Lili Sepe.
For whatever reason, Lionsgate is holding back the second batch of Saw films from Netflix Instant, but has just now released the first four in the franchise that spanned from 2004-2010.
James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s SAW played the 2004 Sundance Film Festival before blasting through the October box office. It quickly had Lionsgate scrambling for a new director to take the reigns for its sequel, which would find Darren Lynn Bousman behind the helm for the next three.
What I find so bizarre about the Saw franchise is that a lot of you grew up watching it hit theaters, and are now adult readers here on Bloody Disgusting. A lot of the younger generation hasn’t even seen them all yet! What’s the next big thing? We’re all sitting and waiting. Until then, Lionsgate will ponder whether Saw needs a sequel, remake or television series.
Image Source: Lionsgate/Twisted Pictures
“The Returned” uh, returned tonight with its second episode, “Simon,” and it was a slight improvement over the pilot episode, if only because we got to know the characters a little bit better. We don’t get many more answers this week, but a few revelations are made as more and more people start to find out about the dead coming back to life. Lets get to the recap:Simon
The episode begins with a flashback to six years ago, when Simon and Rowan were preparing to get married. We see a younger Lena playing the drums and Simon walks over to take a picture with Lena. We then cut to the wedding day, where Rowan tells Simon she is pregnant. He gives a look that suggests he isn’t thrilled by the news. At the church, Rowan is waiting for him to show up, but Tommy comes in to tell her that Simon has died. Cut to the present day and Rowan is sitting in the same church with Tommy preparing for their own wedding. Tommy gets called away to investigate Lucy’s stabbing. Meanwhile, Chloe notices a disturbing black sludge coming out of the sink drain. While talking to her priest, Rowan decides she has to accept her visions of Simon in order to move on and be happy with Tommy.
Simon goes to the bar and asks Tony the bartender where he can find Rowan and he tells her she works at the library. He leaves without paying. Tommy comes in and starts interrogating Lena’s friends and the Tony about Lucy. Lena remembers taking the picture with Simon six years before and finds it on the bulletin board. Tommy and Nikki take Tony to the station to interrogate him about Lucy. They believe he attacked her, just like “that woman seven years ago.” Apparently, one woman survived and many others died. They show him pictures of the stab/bite wounds of the previous victims and he looks visibly shocked. After asking Nikki to leave Tommy asks Tony if there is something he isn’t telling him. Tony hesitates.
Simon goes to the library and finds Rowan. She begins talking with him, thinking she is hallucinating. She tells him that she will always love him even though she is with Tommy. She touches him and is interrupted by children entering the library, then he leaves and is picked up by the police (for running out on his bar tab from earlier). In the interrogation room, Nikki tells him that he is supposed to have died six years ago. Tommy asks him about Rowan, and Simon gets defensive. Tommy orders Simon to be locked up.
In the middle of the night, Tommy is in bed with Rowan and walks to the basement and begins rummaging through boxes. He comes across a picture of Rowan and Simon, finally making the connection and realizing that Simon was telling the truth about his identity.Camille
Camille finally realizes that she died four years ago.Lena starts a fight with her parents and runs out of the house. As Jack follows her she brings up the fact that he had hit her before. Camille goes into Lena’s room and begins looking through her things, noticing a picture of Lena and Ben. While Claire and Peter are talking downstairs, Camille comes down and asks Peter why she is here but none of the other kids from the bus are. Camille watches from Lena’s window as Peter kisses Claire when he leaves. She sneaks out of Lena’s window and Claire freaks out. Jack comes over, drunk, and she gets upset and leaves to go search for Camille.
Camille goes to the bar where Lena is at and speaks with Ben’s friend Hunter. Claire finds Camille crying about Hunter not recognizing her. She is upset that everyone forgot about her and moved on. After coming home, Lena asks Camille what she did to her room. Camille lets on that she knows about her and Ben’s relationship.Victor
Julie is at the police station trying to see if there were any missing person’s posters of Victor. While trying to tell a policeman that she saw him at the bus stop (rather than just telling him that she took him home) she slips up and mentions the color of his eyes, which she couldn’t have possibly seen if she had just seen him while driving by. The cop, understandably, finds this odd so he takes her to the back for questioning. While following him, she makes awkward eye contact with Nikki (Agnes Bruckner) and they have a moment. Julie goes home and asks Victor why no one is looking for him. She interrogates him and he just hugs her.
Later, her across-the-hall neighbor Annie (feelings girl from Mean Girls) starts asking Julie about Victor. Lets her know that Mr. Goddard (so that’s his name) committed suicide by jumping off the dam (this would be Helen’s husband). Victor gives her an evil look. As Julie is putting Victor to bed, she tells him that she is afraid of the dark, just like him, so she leaves the night light on for him. She goes to the bathroom and begins crying. Rather than going to sleep, Victor begins drawing the town with a black hole in the center. As Julie undresses for her bath, the camera lingers on her stomach, where there are scars that match the stab/bite wounds Tommy showed Tony earlier in the episode. Looks like Julie is the survivor from the serial killings from years before!
Overall, I think that this episode was better than the pilot. If only because we weren’t bombarded with 10-12 characters to connect with immediately. Now that “The Returned” is settling into a groove, we get to spend time with the characters we’ve already been acquainted with. Sadly, there’s no Helen this week, but she’ll become more important in later episodes.
After only getting to spend two brief scenes with Mary Elizabeth Winstead last week, we get most of the episode spent with her and Simon. I’ve always thought Winstead was an underrated actress, and her acting in this episode only proves me right. She kills it in all of her scenes and it’s almost heartbreaking to watch her scene with Simon. I’m eagerly awaiting the scene where she realizes that Simon is actually back.
I’m still not completely involved with Jeremy Sisto’s Peter. As of now his character is kind of useless/annoying, and I’m hoping the show finds a better use for him soon. His scenes with Claire were probably the weakest part of the episode for me. I like Sisto and don’t want to see him wasted on the show. Camille and Lena’s dynamic is the most compelling to me. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get more scene with them together this week but I’m guessing they’ll clash more next week since Lena knows that Camille knows about her and Ben.
I’m also excited for the inevitable episode about Tony, which will give us his backstory with the serial killer (I just looked it up, it’s episode 5). We weren’t really given a lot of information with that today, but that’s just how this show rolls.
While not much headway was made on the Victor front, we did get a major revelation about Julie: she was attacked by the person who was committing the murders years ago. Clearly, that murderer was dead and is one of the returned. I assume we will meet him/her soon. I thought that reveal of her stomach was a great way to end the episode though. Oh, and that look between her and Nikki has to mean something. This is going to be a show were the smallest detail could be important in the future so keep an eye out for things like that. Nevertheless, I’m sure we’ll find out more about that next week.
- In my review of last week’s episode, I referred to “Lucy” (played by Leah Gibson) as “Kris” (played by Chelah Horsdal). This was my mistake. Sorry about that!
- I don’t know about you guys, but I really miss the opening credits of the French version.
- I know I’ve already said it, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead did some fantastic work on this episode.
- Curious to know if anyone else called Julie being the lone survivor victim after Tommy mentioned that there was,in fact, a survivor. I don’t think I called it when watching “Les Revenants” so I’m intrigued by your reaction.
- The series is definitely moving at a much faster pace than “Les Revenants” did. Granted, that’s probably due to the shorter episodes, but since the remake has two more episodes than the French series, I’m curious to see what is added come the season’s end.
- That’s it for Simon’s episode! Check back here next week for episode 3: “Julie.” I’m guessing we’ll see more of what happened the night Julie was attacked by this mysterious killer (and probably learn more about their connection with Tony).
This week: Is Hotline Miami 2 a worthy sequel? Does Episode 3 of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, take a misstep? And another Friday the 13th?
I don’t know what’s going on over the CW- it’s either a renaissance or they’re developing out tons of awful teen-based horror series (from “Tales From the Darkside” to “Colony”, “Dead People” and “Cheerleader Death Squad”).
Sean Cunningham, the creator and director of the 1980 Friday the 13th, attended the Monster Mania convention this weekend in New Jersey where he revealed the CW may be interested in the new “Friday the 13th” television series.
Here’s what F13franchise says:
“Sean Cunningham confirmed interest from the CW in regards to pickup for the tv show. According to him, the basic premise focuses on the REAL city of Crystal Lake, and the effect that the serialized films had on its real life counterpart. This allows them to reimagine Jason in a more grounded reality, as the films would be based off the real life killings that took place at the Camp. (ie, both the Hockey Masked Jason and a more serious backwoods inspired killer will be making appearances throughout).”
The idea that Crystal Lake is a cursed town where there are multiple murderers is a really interesting arc, although does that diminish the lore of Jason Vorhees? I think that, if he’s not the centerpiece of the series, it makes him “just another” serial killer, which is lame. But until I know exactly what they’re developing, it’s impossible to judge. Frankly, just seeing the Voorhees back on TV is enough for me.
After finding the Powers pilot to be a mixed bag, “Like A Power” does very little to quell my fears thanks to uneven pacing, unrelatable characters, and a script that does little to offer much exposition.
Take for example the opening scene of the episode. We pick up exactly where we left off last, with Walker on the rooftop after being saved by Retrogirl. He’s greeted by a spirited old security guard who talks about their past together. The relationship that they hint at is interesting but never clarified. Instead it offers an awkward level of exposition that doesn’t clarify but instead confounds.
I’m feeling a little lost in the world of Powers. Full disclosure, I’m not really acquainted with the comic series in which it shares its namesake, and for what it’s worth that doesn’t really seem to matter. The show is distinctly different after the initial set up. But, after a pilot steeped in over-exposition this episode felt like a complete 180.
The basics of every character’s motivation are offered, and while I understand narratively it makes no sense for Johnny Royale’s plans to be completely revealed, they aren’t eve given any real context. But I digress.
The mystery around Calista deepens. Everyone seems to be playing around her character and in a way it offers a lens on the idea of powers like no other character could. But, even when put against the iconic Retro Girl, Calista just spouts the things we knew about her before. She’s a ball of lies, and Retro Girl is a bitchy alpha female who dismisses anything she says in an effort to get Walker involved. But even when Walker gets involved, Retro Girl then doesn’t want to hand her off.
The history of Retro Girl and Christian Walker is interesting at a glance. But, again we learn nothing new about them in this episode that would otherwise add depth to their interactions.
The one saving grace of “Like A Power” is the developments undergone by Deena Pilgrim’s character. She’s feisty and determined and even takes charge in a powers arrest. Although she doesn’t quite have the necessary powers smarts to be strong in this world yet, teaming with Walker will eventually make her into a dominant member of the powers unit.
I can’t help but feel this show was made on a shoestring budget, and it shows. It has a less than cinematic feel. With an idea like this, the cinematography should be grand and detailed. Instead every single scene feels bland and generic. There are so many concrete walls or smooth “futuristic” settings that nothing seems to stand out. The color correction is nothing to write home about, and visually the show falls flat.
That wouldn’t be such a problem if everything didn’t look so cheap. I’ve personally been on student sets that look better than these. I don’t know if it’s a product of a limited time or what, but the special effects are about one step above The Secret World of Alex Mack.
This causes a rift for me. It ruins my suspension of disbelief and causes me to second guess everything. But more than the budget I can’t shake the idea that Sharlto Copley is miscast as Christian Walker.
I love Copley. I think he’s a tremendous actor with a lot of range, but here he feels trapped in shallow motivation. His character never really moves past the initial ide of losing his powers. He’s not an overly good cop, and he’s not overly charismatic. He’s actually quite loathsome. He doesn’t have much in the way of redeeming qualities, and despite the other characters telling us all the time; we know nothing of his days as a hero. I get it; the antihero is in right now. But, the best antiheros have a shrewd of humanity or vulnerability. Walker doesn’t have either.
Powers for me is a grand experiment, that is stumbling out of the gate. It’s by no means a bad show, but it is tonally inconsistent and narratively a mess. It doesn’t have any visual appeal at all, and somehow doesn’t do anything to define itself outside of bringing gore to the superhero drama. I want this to be good, but it just isn’t there yet.
Let’s hope “Mickey Rooney Cries No More” is a little more focused and begins to address the problems I outlined.
What do you think of Powers so far?
Am I being too hard on it?
For those of you still not watching, here’s what you’re missing:
I love a good console mod, and of the many I’ve seen over the years, this Xbox 360 mod may be one of the best. The only thing that could make it better is if it was a modded Xbox One that I could buy, love and cherish until the end of my days.
This beauty is from the ridiculously talented folks at CS Mods, who took the bloody essence of the Dead Space series and turned it alchemy-like into a work of art that’s as glorious as it is gruesome.
Playing in the upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival’s Midnighters section is Mickey Keating’s hotly anticipated Pod (trailer), which will World Premiere March 16th at the fest in Austin, Texas.
We caught up with Keating to talk about his new horror film (full interview tomorrow), which details what happens after a family intervention goes horrifically awry within the snowy confines of an isolated lake house. While we’ll get into detail on Pod tomorrow, today we have details on not one, but two new projects from the up-and-coming filmmaker.
While Pod premiere this weekend, Keating is already is post-production on Darling, pictured, which was shot in November with Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix, starring Lauren Carter, Brian Morvant, and Sean Young.
“I wanted to do something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Pod, so this one’s a black-and-white, 1960s style descent into madness,” Keating exclusively tells Bloody Disgusting. “It’s more experimental, like nightmare or a bad drug trip. A surreal nod to The Innocents, Eraserhead, Diabolique, The Haunting, Repulsion, The Tenant, Altman’s That Cold Day In The Park, and to the works of Hollis Frampton.
“Strangely though, it’s definitely my meanest, goriest film yet,” he adds.
In addition, it was announced in February that Keating is set to get behind the camera for the survival horror Carnage Park.
“It’s going to be a very vicious horror film set entirely during the day, in a cruel stretch of California desert,” explains Keating. “It’s my first period piece – set in 1978 – and it’s about a botched bank heist that quickly spirals into a horrific fight for survival. It’ll be a nod to the legendary Sam Peckinpah and his masterpiece The Getaway, the new French Extremism films of the 2000s, and The Most Dangerous Game.
“We’re locking down a pretty cool cast now and I’m very excited to make a cruel, pulpy horror film,” he excitedly adds.
Hopefully we’ll see Darling hit the festival scene later this year. Pod premieres at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas March 16th.
Here’s another shot from Darling…
Can we all just take a minute to really enjoy that headline? That’s my favorite headline. I’d go so far as to say it justifies not only the six years I’ve been writing about video games, but my entire existence. Thank you, Undead Labs. Thank you.
If you’re wondering what I mean. It’s simple. Back when State of Decay was in development, some contract artists packed it full of hidden penises. Secret penises.
The revelation of this comedic cock-up comes from the fine folks at XBLAFans, who wrung one of my favorite news stories from Undead Labs senior designer Geoffrey Card. “Some of our contractors worked a ridiculous amount of genitalia into the background,” Card explains while simultaneously making today a goddamned holiday for me.
Alas, the copious amounts of covert genitalia have since been removed.
“Undead Labs was not aware of the textures in question until they began the process of exporting textures for State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition, and they are not visible in the original edition of State of Decay,” Microsoft explained in a statement sent to Game Informer. “Undead Labs is no longer working with the contractor in question, and this material will not be present in State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition.”
They sound like they’re angry with this mystery contractor. This person’s a hero. They’re the hero Microsoft deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
In related news, the State of Dickay State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition is slated to hit Xbox One on April 28 for $29.99.
We have some spooky new screenshots from Quadrant: Chapter One, an episodic sci-fi horror game set in the 1970′s that follows a waste disposal team who’s sent in to a NASA lab to investigate a recent… contamination. What ensues involves what appears to be giant alien spiders — the worst kind of spiders, I think we can all agree, aside from giant alien spiders wearing clown makeup.
It’s been awhile since we last heard from the sci-fi horror game Routine. Back in August, developer Lunar Software confirmed the game won’t be coming to Steam Early Access, because they’d like to release the game when it’s finished. I can definitely respect that, especially after fairly recent controversies, like The Stomping Land’s removal from Steam.
The developer recently took to Steam to post an update about the game, which keeps looking better every time it resurfaces from the depths of that freaky abandoned lunar outpost, or wherever it keeps going for months at a time.
We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get another video, but they did offer up some new screenshots.
It looks great, and that’s all Unreal Engine 3. Unfortunately, despite Epic Games’ recent decision to make UE4 free for all, “Routine is far too deep into development for us to switch engines but we can’t bloody wait to get our hands on it for future projects!” That’s too bad, but I get it.
El Rey Network and Miramax announced today that Danny Trejo (Machete, Machete Kills) has joined the sophomore season of Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.”
Trejo has been cast in the roll of “The Regulator,” a horrifying agent of evil who has been summoned to perform a deadly errand. Trejo appeared in the “From Dusk Till Dawn” film franchise as “Razor Charlie.”
Briana Evigan (pictured below; Burning Bright, Sorority Row, Step Up 2) has also joined the cast of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” as Sonja – an American expatriate working as a tattoo artist in a Mexican Mercado – who also has a sideline forging papers and passports out of her back room.
The returning cast includes: D.J. Cotrona (Dear John, G.I. Joe: Retaliation); Zane Holtz (Holes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower); Jesse Garcia (Quinceañera, Sons of Anarchy); Eiza González (Lola: Érase Una Vez); Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show, To Whom It May Concern); Madison Davenport (Noah, Shameless); and Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder, Ender’s Game, Incredible Crew).
Season one of “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” centered on bank robber Seth Gecko (Cotrona) and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko (Holtz), who were on the run to Mexico when they encountered former pastor Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his family, who were taken hostage. Using the family RV to cross the border, chaos ensued when the group detoured to the Titty Twister, a strip club populated by culebras, snake-like ancient creatures who survive by drinking human blood. They were forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive.
Season Two explores a new chapter in this supernatural crime saga that travels from Mexico to the edgy, tricked-out Texas of Robert Rodriguez. It also deepens and complicates the core relationships between the characters, while adding new faces and new dynamics. Season Two begins with our characters in their separate worlds – Santanico (Gonzalez) and Richie (Holtz) are outside Houston, living like Bonnie and Clyde; Seth and Kate (Madison Davenport) are scraping by South of the Border; and Freddie Gonzalez (Jessie Garcia) is protecting his wife and young daughter in a Houston suburb. And Carlos Madrigal (Valderrama) and Scott Fuller (Brandon Soo-Hoo) emerge from the Titty Twister, changed men. They will all come together once again – this time facing off against an even bigger threat.
Reviewed By Eric Switzer. Someone realized that “hellbreak” sounds like “Jailbreak” and developed the concept for this series from there. “Hellbreak” #1 is about Project Kerberos, a team of scientists and mercenaries that have developed the means to break into hell and rescue the souls that are trapped there. Its one of those perfect ideas that I can’t believe isn’t already a series. If you’ve ever wanted to take a rocket propelled grenade up against the horrors that lurk in your nightmares, “Hellbreak” will be a cathartic experience for you.
WRITTEN BY: Cullen Bunn
ART BY: Brian Churilla
RELEASE: March 11, 2015
I would describe “Hellbreak” as an experience more on the side of the visceral and carnal rather than theoretical or metaphysical. I make the distinction to let you know that what you are about to get into doesn’t ask a lot of hard questions or present anything especially high concept, but this isn’t my way of saying “Hellbreak” is low brow either. This is a shoot first ask question later kind of book, and its really engaging and fast paced from beginning to end. There aren’t a lot of big ideas here to sink your teeth into, but in the end, thats just fine with me. “Hellbreak” is near the top of my “enjoy it for what it is” pile.
“Hellbreak” has the structure to be an incredibly imaginative and constantly changing book. There are thousands of different hells, and Project Kerberos will have to explore tons of different scenes from demon dinner parties to post-apocalyptic wastelands to “Predator 2” style Los Angeles; you name it and its a potential battleground in this book. The members of the special forces team that infiltrates these hells is introduced “Ocean’s 11” style with a close up, a quip, and their role listed under their name. None of them are particularly memorable or unique in the first issue, but they’re all pretty good at shooting demons in the face and I can get on board with that.
“Hellbreak” #1 is definitely more action than horror, and it will be interesting to see how dark and disturbing they decide to take things as the series progresses. At this point even if its just a hell-of-the-month exploration I’m way into that. You need a balance of light and heavy in your reading stacks, but that doesn’t need you have to sacrifice quality to get your action adventure fix. In that regard, “Hellbreak” delivers
Eric Switzer is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at email@example.com.
From developer Rubycone comes Hektor, a first-person psychological game that visually calls to mind titles like Penumbra and Amnesia but features a quite unique little gameplay twist: as players explore the world, the world itself changes dynamically around them.
We have seen plenty of procedurally-generated games over the last few years but few-to-none which feature a system that shifts so dramatically during play, rather than during loading screens, between scenes, or after in-game deaths.
The members of Rubycone sat down for a phone interview all the way from GDC to discuss the particulars of Hektor just before its slated March 13 release.The Jigsaw System
The idea came about when Project Lead Felix Nordanåker and Programmer Michael Notarnicola met on Reddit and began working together on a game idea, which eventually hit a snag and fizzled. The collaboration was re-sparked by a message a few months later, when Nordanåker told Notarnicola about the Hektor project and asked if he could design a system that could rearrange geometry and shift rooms around the player, a prospect that intrigued Notarnicola.
What they came up with is something they call the Jigsaw System, and it is the mechanic at the heart of Hektor. Notarnicola said, “It really is the core building block to the rest of the experience. We like to think of it kind of like the AI Director from Left 4 Dead.”
The Jigsaw System keeps a constant tally on players, as they make their way through the game, and the effect is intensified as players become uncertain or lost or afraid. It actually increases the level of insanity as players come into contact with monsters or other in-game effects.
Notarnicola said, “This insanity value that we are keeping track of over the course of your playthrough is essential, really, to all of the systems that branch off of it, such as the the dynamic music system that Shaun and Felix worked on.”
Players who get lost and lean toward insanity might experience darker, more foreboding environments — basements and so forth — as opposed to more sterile, well-lighted office spaces until they find their emotional footing again. It is sort of a cyclical system: players who get lost act more irrationally, which then drives the player increasingly insane.
It seems like an interesting way to keep players on their toes without relying on scripted jump scares, which only really work once. And for those worried about encountering a Shining-style maze moment, do not fret: the game constantly assesses the player’s location and can nudge the player in the right direction to keep the experience moving forward.The Story
The story is sort of BioShock-ian in nature, since players are trapped in an abandoned, sort of dystopian underground facility in Greenland, and though the narrative came later, after the development of the in-game systems, it fits perfectly with a horror-themed game.
“Felix [Nordanåker] had the core idea of being trapped in this defunct mind control facility in Greenland,” Notarnicola said. “Once we kind of had that idea — we had done some research on it — but we knew from that point that that’s kind of a cool direction that we wanted to head in.” He later added, “At a later point, we did fit other aesthetics — a timeline, a story — that kind of melded into it somewhat naturally after we started with the core concept.”
One of the more compelling bits of pre-release footage was stock footage rendered as a documentary about the underground station where the game takes place, and Composer and SFX Designer Shaun Chasin put the game into perspective by discussing it: “Hektor is a very dystopian world, sort of the worst of the worst it could be, and so with that video, we almost thought about it as if it were a propaganda film, where the government puts it out and they’re like, ‘Look how grand everything is. Like, even the dog is helping out…but then it’s this terrible, terrible thing.’”
In addition to the creepy, ever-changing world in Hektor the game features a monster that will trail, menace, and attack you, but the developers are keeping mum about that particular aspect of the game. “When it comes to the details that haven’t been announced, we’ve kind of kept that under wraps. We don’t want to reveal too much. We want the first experience for every player to have a certain…finesse to it.”
One of those “core set[s] of things” as yet unreleased involves a monster deemed “The Predator.” Notarnicola said, “We’ve been really hesitant to release a lot of information regarding him, because we really are anticipating that first, initial reaction that players will have to seeing it.”
It is apparent, even without the revelation of what, exactly, this monster is, that combat is not in the cards for the protagonist of Hektor. And even though players can run, they are, for obvious reasons, encouraged to avoid any contact whatsoever.The Music
The music, too, is dynamic, as is explained by Composer Shaun Chasin. They used a 40 piece string orchestra to give the soundscape some depth, but they also knew they needed to be able to construct an aural experience as varied as the visual one.
“We created this score that is able to change itself based on your actions and your behavior, as well as your progress into the game and specific events, [like] your insanity level,” said Chasin.
Additionally, each element of the game, including the monsters, possesses an original leitmotif or theme that accompanies an appearance in the game. If a monster looms nearby, its theme might be introduced and blended into the current musical score, and as players proceed into or recede from an encounter, the music changes to fit that experience, too.
To compound the feeling of paranoia within the game, the sound design is also meant to toy with the player’s sense of reality. Chasin said, “We’ve edited the audio in such a way and placed [hallucinations] in the game that you’re unsure, often, if it’s coming from your own mind or if you’re actually hearing that girl crying from behind the door or if you’re just imagining it altogether.”
He added, “You might go looking for a sound, and it gets closer as you get closer to the door, but then it sort of dissipates and some of them are quiet enough that you’re like, ‘Did I hear that at all? Am I actually going crazy while playing this game, or is it just the game?’”
Horror games have traditionally preyed upon the idea of messing with the player’s sense of sanity as a game construct, but until recently, those experiences had to be scripted and choreographed in a cinematic way to create tension. With games like Hektor, the scares will hopefully prove to be more organic and driven by player experience, rather than wrought manipulation.
Hektor is produced by Meridian 4 and will be available on Windows and Mac via Steam next week. You can find the developers online at meridian4.com.