Enormous is unlike most everything else on the shelves right now; it’s a marvel to behold and an utmost joy to read. I’m going to be a total ass and quote myself because I believe I this poignantly gets across what “Enormous” is at its core.
“Enormous is a monster movie within the frame work of a television show told through the freedom of the comic pages.”
An editorial by Torin Chambers
It’s a Kaiju film played out on the grandest scale imaginable. Godzilla and Pacific Rim fans will eat this book up. Ludicrously original and breathtaking monsters attack most major cities around the globe, they drastically very in looks and size. These are monstrosities in every sense of the word, each one looks like a Frankenstein hodgepodge of all of the worst natural predators our earth has to offer.
The viciousness and horrifically gorgeous monsters are just exquisite. If there is a single sure-fire draw to “Enormous” it’s the visual spectacle. Mehdi Cheggour kills it issue after issue with his incredibly unique style. He adds numerous little touches, such as lens flares, that all fit together to make it feel like you’re watching a big budget Hollywood blockbuster.
Now that I’ve drawn you in with all off this talk of monsters let me tell you about what really makes Enormous great, its protagonist: Ellen Grace. Tim Daniels expertly handles Ellen; she’s a strong woman who’ll do anything for those she loves. Almost everything we learn about Ellen is through her actions and how she intercts with the world. Daniel doesn’t treat the reader like an idiot and dumb the plot down to brain dead levels, such as the default when it comes to giant monster books.
He treats you, the reader, with respect. The majority of this first arc so far has been Ellen trying to get to and save her girlfriend amidst all of the creatures and chaos. Only two issues in and Ellen has already had one loved one torn from her life. Enormous moves fast and doesn’t dwell long on any one thing. When you’ve got real life nightmares destroying humanity as we know it there isn’t much time to smell the roses.
Although Ellen is the main focus she isn’t the only focus. There are numerous secondary plots going on in the background. Numerous different people, all in very different places, physically and mentally, help round out the Enormous world. There’s a father and his daughter holding up together in a basement that’s not as safe as they think. There’s also a whole side plot involving the government and how they are responding to the newfound hell that has befallen Earth. They’re all extremely removed from each other right now but the prospect of them eventually coming together is titillating.
“Enormous” is a monster movie with substance, don’t be a dangus, read it.
Need more help, here are some previews:
And Issue #4 hits today, read our review of it here.
Torin Chambers is a rad dude from the nineties who does film stuff or something. Thomas the Tank Engine is his favorite transformer. Find him on Twitter @TorinsChambers
While reading issue #3 of Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s “Low” I couldn’t help but indulge myself in the use of there “I can’t even!” internet meme. This series is so flippin’ gorgeous.
WRITTEN BY: Rick Remender
ART BY: Greg Tocchini
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: September 24, 2014
Reviewed by Nick Brehmer
Meanwhile, an imprisoned Marik is left alone with his guilt in accidentally killing the prostitute in issue #2. Surrendering in his own way, suicide seems to be the only way out, but not before his mother can intervene. At odds, the two journey into the wild seas beyond Salus in an attempt to retrieve the probe that may hold the key to humanity’s survival.
I can see the narrative of “Low” run the risk of alienating certain readers. I fear that the stark contrast between Stel’s optimism and Marik’s nihilism might come off as preachy. I’m not overly familiar with Rick Rememder’s work, but his letter to the readers in the back matter of issue #1 indicates that “Low” is new territory for him. He writes, “I’ve realized that in fifteen years I’ve never once written an optimist lead character…Writing Stel’s adventures and what she endures and how she endures it became incredibly cathartic.” We’ve seen just how dark “Low” can go and I think skeptical readers should note that Remender is aiming for a balance of harsh and hopeful.
I think a lot of readers (as one can witness in the back matter letters to the author) find “Low” to be incredibly healing. If anything, the series is preaching that cynicism and despair are easy to fall into. Resilience is the road less traveled. Just as Stel does, we need to put up with a lot of bullshit before we can step into the possibility of breakthrough.
The key word being “possibility.” It helps having an artist like Tocchini bring these sentiments to life in the panels of “Low.” The designs he’s come up with, from the underwater vessels to the gear and attire of the characters, are just brilliant. Not to mention the vast array of sea creatures we are shown in this issue. With that said, I’ll end with this:
A product of the harsh lands of Northern Ontario, Nick Brehmer is in fact a sensitive flower currently blooming in the GTA. He spends his downtime wishing he was British. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @nicholasbrehmer
Tim Daniel further expands his world with “Enormous” #4 a pulse pounding story that is filled with action, this may be the best chapter of the book yet. What we get here is equal parts mystery, action set pieces, and character driven drama, in short it’s absolutely thrilling, thanks to incredibly tight pacing.
WRITTEN BY: Tim Daniel
ART BY: Mehdi Cheggour
PUBLISHER: 215 Ink
RELEASE: September 23, 2014
As this point it should come as no surprise that “Enormous” has it all figured out. The book has been crafted with a evident level of care that shows the intimate planning process of building a huge world, but does it through awesome action and character.
This issue begins with a showdown in Tucson Arizona. Everything here seems to be unrelated to Ellen’s journey, but proves interesting thanks to the nature of the showdown on the page. Everything feels completely compelling. The man we’re introduced to gives us a heaping dose of person on person violence and shows the world of “Enormous” isn’t just crumbling thanks to giant hulking beasts.
Ellen’s story reaches fever pitch as she continues to search for her girlfriend. It’s the type of fool’s errand that would have you yelling at your television we’re this a horror movie, but I gives a great sense of her character, she’s driven to a flaw. It’ll be her saving grace, but her it’s almost her demise.
But the real star of this issue is the incomparable Mehdi Cheggour. His stylistic blend of photorealism with gigantic set pieces gives every little panel some heart. He’s able to create an irresistible world thanks to the level of detail in his work with the human characters, but explodes the book outward whenever the beasts are on the page. The result is a finely tuned experimentation in pacing that really allows the visual flow of the book to control the action.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the final pages of the issue. They tease a larger world that’s about to be introduced to the reader. Something else is going on, and it’s not all giant beasts. Humanity is evolving in a response to these new threats. How this will all manifest in the pages of the comic is still unclear, but this month offers a tasty tease.
“Enormous” is quite unlike most other monster stories. It’s got your standard fare Kaiju, and it’s got the destruction porn, but the exception is character. There are actual humans on the ground struggling to survive, and it makes all the difference.
I’m new to these parts so I thought I would introduce myself in list form, specifically my end-all-be-all favorite horror flicks.
By no means are these the best horror movies ever made but they are my favorites. If desert islands had TV and DVD hook up capability these are the ones I would bring with me.
Enough blathering on and let’s get to the movies!10. Candyman:
The 10 spot in my ultimate list goes to the only 90s horror movie that will appear on this list. As a whole I don’t really subscribe to the 90s meta/cynical idea of a horror movie. Of course there are exceptions like Scream and I do love Urban Legend as flawed as it may be but generally my tastes reside in the 70s/80s fare.
What I love about Candyman is it remains socially relevant no matter when you watch it. Every time I turn it on I see bits and pieces of world events today happening within the story, events that hadn’t even happened yet are depicted in this film. In the horror genre it’s hard to make a movie that doesn’t eventually date itself. We all the style of the 80s slashers and 70s psychological hits but most come away dated in some way.
Not to mention I was always the lame ass at slumber parties who refused to do anything related to Bloody Mary lore. I’m 24 and I still refuse to call that bitch out. Obviously Candyman follows in the same vein but instead of scaring you to death or whatever it is Mary does he rips you from groin to gullet with a big tetanus-y looking hook. No fucking thank you.9. Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (aka Blade of the Ripper):
My love for Giallo, and other Italian sleaze, was born of Edwige Fenech, George Hilton, and Ivan Rassimov’s warped love triangle. If you are new to the genre, or looking to indoctrinate your friends to it, I highly recommend starting with this film. It’s basically a step by step guide on how a Giallo formula works.
I fell in love with Strange Vice upon first viewing because I didn’t know there were movies like it, let alone an entire catalogue of them. I always loved the slasher type of film but this made me realize it can also be done with a dash of sex appeal and class. It’s also a great mystery and the twist is almost perfect and brings a smile to my face every time!
End note: Edwige Fenech made me realize one of my two “girl crushes”.8. Videodrome:
What can I say about David Cronenberg that hasn’t been said? The man is a genius of the body horror and was always YEARS ahead of his time and none of his films prove that true as well as Videodrome does. In a world where we are consistently “hyper-stimulated” by social media and portable technology it’s uncanny how close this movie mimics us.
And really, that’s what makes this movie so scary to me. It’s not quite as grotesque as The Brood or The Fly but it taps into the psychology of the modern world so acutely that you can’t help but come out of it worried about what further advances could do to us as a whole. That doesn’t mean I’m going to put down my iPhone or stop gulping down as much media as I can, it just means I know the inevitable consequences of over saturation.
Bonus love: James Woods and Debbie (oh sorry, DEBORAH) Harry are so deliciously sleazy it’s impossible to not acknowledge how perfect they are.7. Suspiria:
Please, oh please let this be one remake idea that remains shelved at least until I am cryogenically frozen somewhere. If Strange Vice was my introduction to Giallo then Suspiria was my introduction to the bat-shit crazy side of Italian horror cinema. Dario Argento has fallen pretty hard off the good-movie-making wagon but his films from the late 70s to mid 80s are something to be adored.
Suspria is a film of its time and I don’t mean it’s dated, actually it shows the type of filmmaking that can never be duplicated in the mainstream. The amalgamation of lighting and sound design are what sets Argento apart from everyone else at this time. Honestly, it’s no surprise Argento generally makes shit nowadays he probably used all of his creative genius to make his early films.
The story does get a bit muddled as we hit the half way point but it never loses the audiences attention. We are constantly worried for Jessica Harper’s character and are just as confused about the surroundings as she is. Suspiria made me realize that a film doesn’t need to be completely linear or coherent to be good and it made way for me to enjoy other directors like David Lynch.6. Creature From the Black Lagoon:
As I’m sure most of you did, my first introduction to horror movies came from the Universal Monsters Collection. As I got older my favorites began to cement themselves and my appreciation for the Monsters grew, especially after learning how they saved Universal Studios from going bankrupt. It’s a goddamn shame that Universal Studios them park is taking out The Universal Monsters attraction because of lack of interest.
Creature From the Black Lagoon is my favorite of the originals, I even got him tattooed on my leg. Though this isn’t one from the “hayday” of the 30s, it still captures the same magic as Dracula and Frankenstein did. In fact if you look at the number of horror movies made in 1954, only 6, you’ll see that Creature is in fair company when it came to monsters sharing the spot with Godzilla and Them!
Though it is the “younger” of the original monsters it still holds that same magical otherworldly feel from the others. Watching the Creature himself interact with the characters is always mesmerizing given he has no dialogue, not even groaning like the Monster in Frankenstein. Ricou Browning and Ben Chapman, the actors who brought Creature to life, are grossly overlooked in their talent. They aren’t even credit for Christ’s sake! From a technological aspect this is clearly the best of the entries but it holds dear to my heart for its simple and beautiful story.5. Hellraiser:
The second Clive Barker story turned horror film to top in my list is Hellraiser. Despite it’s really weird and confounding ending I will forever adore this movie for an array of reasons. Namely: Pinhead. Pinhead is a great character because he isn’t the true villain of the film or really any of the ones to follow. He is simply a minion of Hell who has a job to do and I bet he gets employee of the month every time! It’s really Julia and Frank who are the real villains.
I’m also a big fan of mixing animation and live action so the incredible use of claymation effects is beautiful to watch. Hellraiser is just a fun movie and I even enjoy some of the sequels.4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984):
Unlike Pinhead, Freddy is indeed the villain of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise but there is just something about him that worms his way into our hearts.
Though my introduction to horror was through Universal Monsters , Nightmare on Elm Street was the ultimate test of my loyalty. I was probably about 10 or 11 when I first saw Freddy in all of his glory. It was late at night and I was staying at a friends house and we were searching for scary late night movies on TV. Low and behold this was what happened to be showing on Big Chuck and Little John that evening. As I watched in unending fear while one of my friends laughed at me I knew it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. From then on all I wanted to watch was horror. I wanted to regain that fear I had first experienced and to this day the scene where Tina shows up in her body bag still gives me chills.3. Carrie (1976):
It’s a damn shame that now whenever anyone wants to search for Carrie they will have to differentiate between 1976 and 2013. Brian De Palma is a great filmmaker but for me Carrie will always be my favorite. Carrie hits close to home for me, and I think many other girls, who were hesitant about going into High School. The psychic aspect of this movie is really the least frightening thing about this film, the scary part are the terrible classmates.
Sissy Spacek is one of the only performances in horror that has ever made me feel really really terrible for what was happening to them. In a lot of horror movies we don’t get a lot of chances to really feel for our inevitable victims. Usually we just eagerly await for them to get picked off one by one. The character of Carrie in the FILM (not the book!) is so heartbreaking that any female, whether you were popular or not, can’t help but feel bad for her. As a 13 year old girl my first experience with Carrie was a terrifying one considering I was just about to go into High School.
Thankfully my school experience was nowhere near as horrible as Carrie’s I still can’t help but feel so emotionally drained after each viewing.2. Creepshow:
Taking the second spot on my list is another Stephen King adaptation and the film that made Anthology Horror my second favorite sub-genre. Creepshow is damn near perfect in my book, it combines horror and humor seamlessly and never favors one over the other. Coming in at 2 hours long it is also probably one of the lengthiest of anthology horrors.
Creepshow is a collection of 5 stories written by Stephen King and directed by zombie grandfather George Romero. It’s one of the few times we get a non-zombiecentric film from Romero and is the best of his King adaptation projects. It also nails it with a great wrap around story featuring Tom “Thrill me” Atkins and King’s son Joe Hill.
This movie made me seek out other anthologies and ultimately led me to my desire to, eventually, write a guide to every single one I can seek out.
Side note: “They’re Creeping Up On You” is my favorite segment despite my crippling fear of cockroaches.1. The Shining (1980):
Okay so I really didn’t mean to make my top 3 horror films of all time Stephen King adaptations, I really didn’t. But looking at the movies I have chosen of his work can you blame me? Although, I almost feel like this isn’t considered to be a real adaptation of his considering he hates it so much.
I find every aspect of this film to be fascinating and every time I watch it I pick up on new things and new feelings. It also gave me the lifelong fear of creepy dead kids. Even though I know exactly when the twins will appear I can’t help but get goosebumps every time Danny starts riding his big wheel over the wooden floor.
Side note: Strangely enough the building I live in reminds everyone of The Overlook.
And there you have it! My personal favorites of this wonderful genre we all love. I’m sure you won’t all agree with everything on my list and probably not the order but I loves what I loves. What are your favorites?
I’ve featured South African hip hop group Die Antwoord a few times here on Bloody-Disgusting. Their insane music videos are 100% right up the alley of any horror fan, thanks to unreal, nightmarish visuals. And with their current US tour, I began thinking about those videos, which are as engaging as they are deranged.
So, to celebrate the group and their incredibly unique visual style, I wanted to grab several of their music clips and drop them into one article as a way to kick off your week. Note that these videos are extremely NSFW due to language, sexual imagery, gore, violence, and a general aura that will have you asking yourself, “What in the absolute fuck was that?”
You think you know weird? Get ready to expand your definition of that word as you watch Die Antwoord.
Here’s a clip, trailer and some images from Craig Efros’ Hollows Grove that looks inspired by V/H/S, right down to the editing in the trailer.
“In Hollows Grove, a young filmmaker, Harold Maxwell, is filming a behind-the-scenes documentary about his friends – the Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team (S.P.I.T) and their ghost hunting reality show. Harold joins the S.P.I.T crew as they head out to their next assignment, to film an old, abandoned and supposedly haunted orphanage, Hollows Grove. Soon after arriving at the orphanage the team begins to realize that what they thought would be a routine investigation is turning into a nightmare from which they can’t escape.“
We also have an exclusive clip that shows the faux opening to the “S.P.I.T.” series.
You can pick the film up on October 3 here.
It’s almost time for season 5 of The Walking Dead! We’re finally going to find out what Rick meant when he said, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” We’re going to see if Daryl can find Beth. Basically, questions will be answered and then more questions will be dumped upon us! Oh, and some zombies will be killed along the way.
Speaking of that, how about we celebrate the vast multitude of zombie kills throughout the series by taking a look at a video set to some wonderful “can-can” music?
Video creator Robert Jones says that he, “…counted around 97 kills” and it definitely shows. There are a TON of kills, far more than I actually remembered from the series.
Now, head on below and let the killing commence!
We have a pretty gross new exclusive clip from Asmodexia, the feature debut of Marc Carrete (short films “Mal cuerpo” and “Castidermia”).
IFC Midnight has slated it for release on VOD September 26, and has since shared the clip that gives homage to The Exorcist. Watch a car crash, and then exorcism, and then a small vomit of pea soup all over someone’s face…
Asmodexia unspools over five days in the lives of an exorcist and his granddaughter, working in the Barcelona area.
“Eloy de Palma is an exorcist pastor roaming the darkest corners of the country with his granddaughter Alba. Their mission is to help those possessed by The Evil One, an infection of the soul that is spreading fast, especially among the most vulnerable members of society: children, mental patients, and drug addicts. There is also a mysterious cult following them, making it more difficult to help those in need. Each exorcism is tougher than the one before, and every battle with Evil reveals a piece of young Alba’s forgotten past – an enigma that if unconcealed could change the world as we know it.“
Andrew Adamson, who directed two of the Chronicles of Narnia movies, is attached to helm Breath of Bones, an adaptation of the acclaimed Dark Horse Entertainment comics miniseries, reports THR.
The three-issue story, later collected into a hardback graphic novel, was written by Steve Niles, a known name in the horror comic field (he created “30 Days of Night”), and Matt Santoro. Artist Dave Wachter received a 2012 Russ Manning Award nomination for his gorgeous work.
The unique “Bones” is set during World War II and tells of a British plane that crashes into a Jewish village. The crash brings Nazi attention, forcing the villagers to defend themselves, with one rabbi and his grandson building a Golem creature and bringing him to monstrous life.
“Telling a story can be tough,” Niles said to Heat Vision. “It’s the one monster rooted in religion and mysticism, so I wanted to be respectful. I decided to tell it as a World War II fable. It’s a story of a grandfather teaching his grandson how to make a monster to defend his village against a Nazi invasion.“
Go back-to-back with another double-vision look at “American Horror Story: Freak Show”! FX is set to debut the fourth season on October 8th at 10:00 PM on FX.
It begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952.
“A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.“
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
Ridley Scott, the man behind Alien and Blade Runner, is out promoting his latest, Exodus: Gods and Kings, which stars Christian Bale as Moses and tells the story of the legendary Old Testament leader.
Yahoo! caught up with the director who turned his attention to two major sequels in development.
While he may be in the midst of pre-production on The Martian, starring Matt Damon, work on the second Prometheus movie is also well underway. And it won’t feature the famous H.R. Giger Xenomorph…
“Right now, as we speak, it’s being written,” he tells the site. “I’ve had 15 drafts evolving. I definitely want to do that again because I really enjoyed doing ‘Prometheus’.
“The beast is done. Cooked,” he added. “I got lucky meeting Giger all those years ago. It’s very hard to repeat that. I just happen to be the one who forced it through because they said it’s obscene. They didn’t want to do it and I said, ‘I want to do it, it’s fantastic’. But after four (he has conveniently forgotten the ‘AvP’ movies), I think it wears out a little bit. There’s only so much snarling you can do. I think you’ve got to come back with something more interesting. And I think we’ve found the next step. I thought the Engineers were quite a good start.”
In a small spoiler, he also reveals a small plot point in the sequel: ““You’ll probably have to go with [Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw] and [Michael Fassbender’s android David] – without his head. Find out how he gets his head back on!”
In regards to a second Blade Runner, “It’s on the charts,” he reveals, “I can’t say when that would be yet, because of [Ford’s] thing with ‘Star Wars’. It’s a sequel – it’s what happens next. It’s quite surprisingly clever.”
It sounds like fans will be doing the waiting game even more than Scott as he can’t possibly direct three films at once. Which would you like to see next? Martian, Blade Runner or Prometheus?
From the producers of American Pie, Cabin Fever and The Ring comes Zombeavers; the allegedly hilarious no-holds-barred schlock horror releasing in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD October 20, 2014.
Announced earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival, it garnered over 2 million trailer views and became quite the social media and festival sensation. Zombeavers is the horror comedy with hysterical interludes, gross-out gore and old school animatronics.
Check out these pretty hilarious exclusive “Zombeavers” warning signs!
“The film follows a group of college students headed out into the wilderness for spring break, unaware of the danger that lurks beneath the lake. Unbeknownst to the vacationers a chemical spill has irreversibly altered the wildlife and Zombeavers are on the prowl. As a weekend of sex, drugs and debauchery gets underway, the beavers close in on their prey and the bloodthirsty beasts really do take the term ‘killer weekend’ to the next level.“
Producers Jon and James Kondelik have debuted the trailer for the horror feature The Divine Tragedies.
The trailer shows the brothers Charles and Thomas LoBianco on a terrible killing spree. Shot in bright colours, the trailer shows more of the film’s characters and the brothers’ terrible motivations – to get away with murder!
The Divine Tragedies is based on a brutal crime. The Leopold and Loeb murder case, of Chicago, would shock the world. Two brothers thought they could commit the perfect crime, the murder of a young boy. But, the authorities were hot on their trail. In the film’s story, actor Ken Foree plays Det. Homer Gaul. Gaul is intent on ending the brothers’ wanton killing; he just has to find them first. But, Charles and Thomas have plans of their own.
The trailer was shot by director Jose Prendes (The Haunting of Whaley House).
Metal band Job For A Cowboy have announced that they will be releasing their new album Sun Eater on November 11th via Metal Blade Records. This will be the band’s fourth studio album and follows Demonocracy, which came out in April 2012.
To announce this new album, the band has released a stream of the track “Sun Of Nihility”, which you can hear below. There are some who state that the song sees the band taking on a more “tech death” approach, which many are lauding.
Guitarist Tony Sannicandro recalled:
This album came together very smoothly. We had the concept before hand and I took it upon myself to try and portray that concept through the music. I took a much more melodic approach than “Demonocracy”: focusing on the structuring and the layering that would complement the story to my ears/
Bassist Nick Schendzielos added:
[Guitarist] Al [Glassman] riffs long and hard for greater the good of everyone involved. He really used a lot of foresight in his revisions during the writing process, creating ample room for me to mood-out the tracks with bass that you can actually hear. in the end I think we really brought the character out in each and every song.
Sun Eater is available for pre-order through Metal Blade.
Waxwork Records posted a photo of the “woodland green with blood splatter” variant of their Friday The 13th vinyl, which begins shipping next week. The photo makes it look absolutely breathtaking, with rich, vibrant colors and a wonderful center label that stands out while still being simple. I ordered a copy and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Check out the photo below.
The soundtrack, which was composed by Harry Manfredini, features package artwork by Jay Shaw.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies has truly risen from the grave.
Deadline reports on two major developments on the Burr Steers film that mixes the mannered, brain-challenging prose of Jane Austen with brain-eating corpses from hell.
Sony Screen Gems has closed a deal for U.S. distribution rights, which means that we’ll probably be seeing the film in theaters come 2015!
Also, two of “Game Of Thrones‘” villains, both Charles Dance, below, and the wonderfully evil Lena Headey, pictured above, have joined the cast! Headey is a big genre icon having starred in the “Terminator” series, Dredd, 300 and even Laid to Rest and The Purge!
The film also stars Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcoate, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, and Suki Waterhouse.
“This mash-up that begins with the tangled relationship between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England, and is complicated by a full on outbreak of zombies.“
Latest script is by Steers, who rewrote a previous draft by David O Russell.
Ready at Dawn’s PS4 debut The Order: 1886 has gradually become one of my most anticipated games. I love Victorian era London, I love ancient wars between man and monster, I love steampunk weapons and gadgets, and I especially love using those steampunk weapons and gadgets on werewolves.
The latest dev diary for the upcoming game digs into all that steampunk goodness, as well as the process that went into creating each weapon and gadget.
If you ever wondered what it would look like if the visceral melee combat of Dead Island and the badass spellcasting of Skyrim was thrown into a medieval fantasy world filled with demons and monsters that need slaying, Hellraid is basically that. Back in April, Techland revealed they had decided to eschew a release on last-gen consoles in favor of bringing their dungeon hack ‘n slash game to current-gen consoles.
The move meant the game would be rebuilt from the ground up to make full use of the new consoles. It also meant it’d look and play better, so few people complained when they announced a 2015 release, rather than its initial fall 2014 window.
As we can see in the video below, this game has benefited greatly from that decision.
Hellraid releases on Steam Early Access later this year, with the retail version hitting PC, PS4 and Xbox One in early 2015.
Bob Clark managed to direct two of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time in his career. What makes that even more amazing is that he directed them for two completely different audiences. The first being Black Christmas which came out in 1974 and starred Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussy and John Saxon. The story follows a group of girls being systematically slaughtered by a killer within their sorority house. Really gets you in the Christmas spirit, no? Well if that isn’t your thing (in which case why are you here?) then you have undoubtedly seen his other classic A Christmas Story in which the most horrific elements come from boyhood pranks and the overshadowing fear of permanent eye dislocation.
So Clark has had an eventful career to say the least and when I picked up Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things I was sure I would enjoy it. I wasn’t wrong, actually I low balled my expectations and I fucking loved it!
I’ll be the first to jump on the “zombies are old news” bandwagon but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them from time to time.Children, though a zombie movie, strangely follows the slasher movie formula. We have a group of young actors visiting a cemetery to entertain their tyrant of a director Alan, who is quite possibly the vilest of characters in movie history. He treats his troupe like dirt, even referring to one of them as “meat”. We have other formulaic characters as well such as the love struck couple, the funny fat guy, the bitchy girl, etc. However, though these characters all fall into some sort of typecast some still manage to be legitimately likable and funny except Alan who keeps insisting these people put up with his shenanigans lest they find themselves unemployed. Why they don’t just seek employment elsewhere I will never know. I guess times were tough in Miami for actors in 1973.
Now according to IMDB this is a horror/comedy which was basically unheard of back then. Sure, we laugh at a lot of horror movies from the 70s and 80s for their camp and bad acting but most of them weren’t funny intentionally. Writer Alan Ormsby (who plays the horrid director Alan) really nails it on dark comedy here while also balancing the disturbing factor. I laughed but I never lost the creeping feeling of what was going on.
Basically, Alan has his acting troupe sail to a, unbeknownst to them, (spoiler!) faux cemetery island that he and some of his friends have built in addition to the actual cemetery already there. After trying to raise the dead, and failing, Alan gives up and leads the group to a cabin but not before he digs up a real corpse named Orville to bring along with them.
And here is where the movie really takes a hard left and descends into lunacy. Turns out the dead really are coming back to life and when they do it’s a sight to behold. I will go on record and say that these zombies are the scariest I have seen. Romero/Savini zombie are all well and good but these zombies really look dead and some have been dead for a long, long time. And these aren’t your modern “virus” zombies either these are the real deal bursting out of their graves kind (read: the best kind).
I’ll admit the first part of this flick does sort of drag. There isn’t really any clear plot going on, it’s just these people going to a cabin on an island with their terrible boss. Essentially the first half hour is the worst team building exercise I have ever seen. Once it gets going though it’s a force to be reckoned with and I’m willing to look past a few flaws.
For instance, it doesn’t seem the zombieism is contagious in any way. Many characters are scratched and bitten but none of them turn. So at the end when the zombies climb aboard Alan’s boat to go back to Miami- ala Lucio Fulci’s Zombie- there really doesn’t seem to be a threat of spreading the disease. But really, that’s less of a “flaw” and more of a breath of fresh air and in a way Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is sort of the precursor to The Evil Dead. The zombies or more like deadites in that they are brought back by a Necronomicon-esque Grimoire. I definitely can see a lot of imagery and ideas that were spawned from this criminally underrated movie. After all both The Evil Dead and Zombie came out well after Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.
TLDR- Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is well worth your time if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. It has the perfect feel for this time of year and really should be held among the top zombie movies of all time. It even almost makes up for Alan Ormsby’s other horror venture 1982′s Cat People…almost.
Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be in a coma, existing in some tenuous space just outside the reach of total consciousness? What if you had no agency in this world, but rather were forced to experience fragments of a previous existence without understanding the events themselves?
That’s the best nutshell explanation for Dear Esther I can muster. It is a concise, indelible experience, a playable metaphor without traditional structure or scope, but because I understand so little about it, who knows, I could be wrong about that, too.
Nevertheless, it is an experience worth having. The game is a beautifully rendered, auditorily pleasing adventure, and it only takes a single sitting to complete. Anyone who cares about video games as an art form should be interested in Dear Esther’s overall purpose, even if he – like me – does not quite understand what it might be.
It should be pretty obvious from the intro that Dear Esther is an experimental game, so placing it within the context of the horror continuum is going to be difficult. It is not obvious occultish phantasmagoria like Clive Barker’s Jericho, but neither is it a narratively rich deconstruction on par with, say, Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves.
Dear Esther has no real game mechanic save for exploration, and it is not long enough to really warrant a full-on analyzation, especially not here. It’s brief, even by indie standards, but without it, arguably, we wouldn’t have games like Gone Home, which I would consider a much more mainstream and palatable example in this… genre?
In Dear Esther an unnamed character — not necessarily the narrator — wanders various parts of a seemingly uninhabited island, stumbling upon items that trigger chunks of epistolary VO and reveal fragments of a story to the player and, thus, the audience. Without giving too much away – and I kind of think explaining anything else about the game would only confuse uninitiated readers – suffice it to say, that’s just about it.
There isn’t even a ‘use’ button to interact with items, so it is the barest of configurations, and plenty of people would argue for that reason it’s not even a video game.
Horror fans might also be puzzled to find the review on Bloody Disgusting, for God’s sake, because what about this game could be construed as horror?
Rest easy. Dear Esther exists without a staple of traditional scary, gory, or disturbing elements, yes, but it is haunting and tonally dark, which ironically will make it more memorable than many horror gaming experiences I’ve had over the last few years. Something about the way the ambient music interacts and complements the baffling, fragmented narrative sets my teeth on edge, which places Dear Esther in a category unto itself.
As the player explores the rocky cliff side of this island, random VO narrates a splintered perspective of…someone. Or someones, I suppose. The narrative bits are not revealed with any linearity, so good luck in trying to decipher the story’s actual or metaphorical meaning. One would expect that, as the game progresses, the pieces of the puzzling story would begin to align, but they don’t in an intentional way.
From what I understand, plenty of sites feature detailed explanations of the game’s plot. I haven’t searched for what the game is “about” or anything and my instinct is to resist that temptation. I’ll eschew them in favor of my specific experience. To that end, Dear Esther is a mystery box I’d rather leave closed. So much of our world is dominated by knowledge that it feels empowering for something to be vague and apocryphal. It’s oddly life-affirming.
Honestly, it’s difficult to actually review this game as a game, because the game almost manages to sidestep the need for critical judgment. I realize that’s a copout. Being a small art project does not absolve it wholly; that’s not what I’m saying. I’m going to give Dear Esther a numerical value, however weird that feels in this situation, but more than that I think it’s important to get across the idea that people should experience this game.
That said, Dear Esther is not for everyone. I cannot condescend to say that by not playing this anyone is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. That is not the case. Nor am I trying to say it’s too “smart” for anyone. It is weird and brief and intentionally vague, kind of like LOST before they tried to explain everything, so this game just might not be enjoyable for you on any discernible way, and I think that’s okay too.
But I still think you should play it.
The Final Word: Dear Esther is less a game than a guided narrative, but its benefit lies not necessarily in how it attempts to deconstruct gaming and narratives and how we interact with digital worlds, but rather in the world itself. The bucolic surroundings are easy to look at, and the combination of visuals with the ambient sounds and odd little narrative pieces make it something to experience, kind of like a dream you don’t quite understand but will remember forever because of the particularly unsettled way it made you feel.