How did us horror fans get so lucky?
The second NBC’s “Hannibal” finale came to an end I had to sit in silence for a few minutes just to digest it all. Not only was it one of the bloodiest hours of television I can ever remember, but it was such beautiful camerawork and storytelling. If NBC had canceled the series after two seasons, I would have no hesitations in calling “Hannibal” a masterpiece, and one of the best dramas to ever grace the small screen.
Knowing that the season finale of “Hannibal” was shot before NBC renewed it for a third season was an instant spoiler in itself, but still didn’t take away from the weight of the final moments. It just pre-determined that the season season would end in a cliffhanger, at least depending how you look at it.
When we last see Will (Hugh Dancy) laying on the floor, one of two things could happen. If the series were to be canceled, the audience could assume that Will had died, and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) is free to continue his murderous rampage elsewhere. But, with a third season being ordered, it’s safe to say that Will will survive (let’s not forget there’s a shot where Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) calls the police reporting shots fired), and thus it can be assumed that Season 3 will be an international manhunt for Hannibal.
No matter the case, I just hope prolonging the series doesn’t impact the great overall arc that’s been constructed. There’s nothing worse than when a show is extended just for the sake of extending it. Hopefully, the team behind “Hannibal” have always envisioned how this third and what will probably be the final season would end. There is nothing I look forward to more than “Hannibal’s” return to NBC.
How did you guys feel about the ending? Was it everything you hoped and dreamed for?
Gravitas Ventures is releasing Fox Hill Productions' The Last Light on June 3rd, and while it does involve the familiar trope of strangers locked up together, it adds in a post-apocalyptic twist. Intrigued? Check out the flick's brand new trailer!
Written and directed by Andrew Hyatt (The Frozen), the film stars Ed Quinn, Edward Furlong, Jeff Fahey, Tahyna Tozzi, Molly Hagan, and Yvonne Zima. Produced by Fox Hill's Seth David Mitchell and Samantha Lusk, The Last Light will be available on VOD and iTunes on June 3, 2014.
Seven strangers find themselves trapped in an abandoned building after an unexplained apocalyptic event. Not only are they haunted by memories of what they’ve lost, they are also forced to fight off mysterious creatures that hunt them down one by one.
They’ve done it, zombies are everywhere. There’s no escaping them. They’ve permeated every medium of entertainment, from movies to television, books to video games, and we let it happen. We sat back and watched as the undead hordes shuffled and shambled their way into every facet of our lives. Whether or not you’re okay with this, they’re here to stay, it’s best if you just embrace it. Among them is Contagion, a crowdfunded spiritual successor to the popular Zombie Panic: Source! mod for Half-Life 2.
After going through a Steam Early Access phase, the game released in full last month. Find out if it’s worth your time in my review.
For starters, you should know that this is in no way a story-driven game. Contagion doesn’t waste any time trying to shoehorn an explanation for why there are zombies roaming the streets, and I’m thankful for it. I’ve heard so many stories that try to make a zombie epidemic sound something other than completely nonsensical, and it never really works.
Maybe there’s no more room left in hell, or perhaps there was a leak in a secret lab underneath the city that somehow spread to the surface — you can come up with a reason for it if you like, but why the dead have risen is never as important as what you’re going to do about it.
The think I love the most about Contagion is that unlike nearly every other zombie game I’ve played in the last five years, where ammo is bountiful and headshots aren’t required, this game takes the subgenre back to its roots. You can’t blindly shoot into a gaggle of walkers, because that would be a massive waste of precious ammunition and it’d also make you look like an idiot.
In Contagion, the only way to take a zombie down is by swiftly embedding a bullet in its cranium before it embeds its teeth in yours.
I absolutely love that about this game, because it’s the way it should be. And more than that, when you pair it with the borderline ridiculous rarity of healing items and the fact that your character can’t endure many hits before you become another statistic, it makes even a lone zombie a threat. It’s a smart idea, in terms of design, since it makes the game scarier and it forces players to be strategic. Because when life is precious, fleeting, and there’s always something lurking just out of your field of view waiting to take it from you, the “badass” and “hero” approaches are no longer options.
Since Contagion is very much a community-driven game, it’s always changing, evolving and improving. Developer Monochrome has done a splendid job so far supporting it with a steady stream of updates, new content, and special events. They’ve also been both communicative and open to feedback. If they keep that up, I can see Contagion’s community staying strong for years, and that’s obviously very important for a game like this.
Contagion currently only features three game modes: the co-op centric Escape and Extraction modes — both of which can be played solo or with other players via LAN or online — and the competitive free-for-all Hunted mode.
In Hunted, it’s survival of the fittest, as players are dropped into a map and turned against each other in a fight to see who can survive the longest. You’ll need to either eliminate or outlast your foes, while evading the occasional smattering of walkers. Escape is completely different, in that it forces teamwork by having players locate a group of survivors, defend them from the undead hordes, and lead whoever is left to safety. The third mode, Escape, is a more traditional gametype where a team of four players must make their way through a map and to the extraction point (i.e. Left 4 Dead).
The current offering of game modes does a good job of covering all the bases. Each mode has been thoughtfully constructed and well-balanced, including the maps, which have seen numerous tweaks to their layouts and objectives since the game was in Early Access. The items you’ll find, which include various guns, ammunition for those guns, melee weapons for when you’re out of ammunition, and miscellaneous other goodies are randomly spawned each time the world is loaded. This means if you find a room filled with a treasure trove of life-saving loot during one playthrough, don’t expect it to be there in the next.
As for the available maps, it really is a matter of quality over quantity, with three maps available for Escape, two for Extraction, and four for Hunted.
The environments are expansive and usually do a fine job of rewarding those who take the time to explore them. If I had accrued enough ammunition to stray off the beaten path, I always took advantage of it. Even if there’s nothing in terms of loot, these environments are interesting enough to make them worth exploring. I was never stopped being impressed by the sheer amount of detail that’s been invested into every environment. The world feels alive, even if it is filled to the brim with the undead and the dying.
All of the above is aided by a top notch presentation and stellar sound design that gives away Monochrome’s impressive attention to detail. This is an indie game, though you wouldn’t know it just by looking at it. The graphics aren’t likely to have anyone picking their jaw up off the floor, but they do their job and then some. The lighting is especially well done; fires burn, casting flickering shadows that are easy to mistake for a threat when the tension is high, and muzzle flashes in a dark room can temporarily give away a particularly well hidden enemy.
The production values — or in this case, talent — extends to the sound design, which is greater than you would normally expect from a low budget indie game. There’s not much in terms of voice acting, but the undead howls, growls, and gurgles are enough to send shivers down your spine if you hear it after having strayed from the group. The guns, too, sound powerful, like their real-world counterparts.
When playing Contagion online, it’s always a good idea to stick together, because other players can join the game as the undead, or if a survivor falls, they can return as an enemy. This introduces a welcome layer of suspense, as human-controlled zombies tend to be significantly more difficult to dispatch. And as if that’s not intimidating enough, when playing as a zombie, a player can actually summon nearby walkers rallying them to their cause. There’s nothing quite as scary as seeing a horde of zombies coming at you, led by someone who used to be your ally.
Usually, indie games with multiplayer components require a certain level of know-how to set up a multiplayer lobby. Monochrome has kept casual PC gamers in mind, so if you’re like me and you don’t necessarily understand or want to deal with trying to set up a server so you can play with friends, Contagion has you covered with an impressive 500 official servers for all to enjoy.
Assuming you haven’t gleaned this a few paragraphs back, Contagion is a great game. It can sometimes be a little rough around the edges — especially when the zombie AI gets a little wonky trying to traverse the game world — but it’s a more polished multiplayer experience than most games like this tend to offer.
The Final Word: In its current state, Contagion is a gory, addictive horror game that’s well worth its $20 price tag, especially seeing as it will only get better, thanks to a developer that’s more interested in fostering a strong community around a great game, rather than making a quick buck.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the game, Wolfenstein: The New Order features lots of Nazis. Nazi flags, Nazis blowing stuff up, Nazis wearing Nazi arm bands, etc. They’re all over the game, and when BJ Blazkowicz is through with them, they’re literally all over the place — a Nazi giblet here, a newly severed Nazi limb there. For most of the Nazi-hating world, this isn’t a problem, but Germany is still a wee bit sensitive to the whole thing.
For a Nazi-heavy game like The New Order, the fact that it’s illegal in Germany to display symbols of “unconstitutional organizations” — a category in which Nazis would most definitely be filed under — could become a problem. So in order to get the game approved for a release in Germany, developer MachineGames had to go through and make a few changes first.
This before-and-after video from Eurogamer shows off the level of censorship the Nazis endured before the lovely folks in Germany could enjoy it.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is available everywhere — including Germany! — for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The latest trailer for the upcoming supernatural mystery thriller Murdered: Soul Suspect offers another in-depth look at the upcoming game, its uniquely realized world, as well as some welcome details on a few of its investigation mechanics. As a newly deceased detective, Ronan has been given a second chance to solve his own murder and take down the Bell Killer before he has a chance to claim any more lives.
I’m genuinely interested in this supernatural romp, especially now that it’s coming to current gen consoles. In a sea of similarly themed games, this looks refreshing.
It truly bums me out when I see all of the unnecessary hate that surrounded Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs following its lukewarm reception last September. It’s far from perfect, but it is a solid horror game with a fantastically unsettling story that was almost immediately written off by many horror fans because it didn’t quite live up to the terrifying legacy of its predecessor.
A Machine for Pigs wasn’t disappointing, there’s no denying that. Even still, I’ve always respected what The Chinese Room accomplished with it, and I feel they deserve a bit more credit for their truly unique — and still mildly terrifying — take on the world Frictional established with The Dark Descent.
This game had the potential to be an unforgettable experience, but the questionable decision to remove two mechanics that were the source of much the tension that permeated every second of The Dark Descent — the oil lantern and sanity system — largely neutered the game’s ability to build suspense. With a lantern that never ran out of fuel and a protagonist who seemed to have a significantly tighter grip on his sanity, A Machine for Pigs lost the ability to be effective as a survival horror game.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the game, Gamasutra has a fascinating postmortem on it that sheds some light on the development process, what went wrong, and why The Chinese Room made the decisions they did. If you have some spare time, it’s a fantastic read.
And if you missed our review of A Machine for Pigs, you can watch it below. I only ask that you forgive the audio quality, I recorded it before I upgraded my recording equipment to the swanky, aurally pleasing stuff I use today.
Let’s say you’re in the market for a PS4. So you, being the savvy consumer that you undoubtedly are, decide to look up the console’s best-rated titles on Metacritic to see if the platform has enough quality games to make it worth its $400 price tag. After scrolling through the list, you reach the bottom and are greeted with Basement Crawl, Bloober Team’s horror-themed Bomberman clone that released this February to scathing reviews (it sits at an abysmal 27, based on 16 reviews).
If you read Bloody Disgusting prior to the game’s release, you may recognize the title. I gave the game a fair amount of coverage leading up to its release because it looked like a genuinely eerie little game. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s scary about Basement Crawl is how awful it is, and this is something its developer is fully aware of.
Speaking with GameSpot, Bloober Team’s Marc Colhoun detailed their plan to try and make it up to those who spent money on what was largely an unfinished, buggy mess of a game. According to Colhoun, they’re not only deeply apologetic for the state of the game, they’re working on remedying the situation by rebuilding the game and making it available as a free download to those who bought the original.
“Usually, what you will see at this point is a lot of marketing talk and maybe a patch. Rather than accepting defeat on this and issuing a patch that kinda fixes this or kinda improves that, we have decided to just come out and explain to you where we are right now and what we plan to do. We have been rebuilding the game, completely from scratch and on a new engine.”
“I know that this isn’t really the way things are usually done in the industry, but I think that if you have put a bad product out to people it is your job to do what you can to fix that. Even if it means going back to the drawing board on a game that has already been released.”
“We don’t want to come out and say that this [new version] is going to be 10/10 GoTY, but just a way for us to regain the trust of gamers. We also really don’t want anyone to think that this is some kind of quick money grab. So, we will be giving this game for free to people who bought the original game. This is our priority, to ensure that we give you what you expected from us. To do this we are getting in touch with as many people as we can that bought the game to get feedback and help ensure that you guys are just as much part of the process as we are.”
“This deals with the technical issues we ran into but a few of you spoke about how there needs to be a tutorial, AI, more game types and so on. We have added all of these things into the game and more. We aren’t talking about it too much right now simply because we are in no position to be making promises to people.”
It’s clear that Bloober Team wants to fix this. That’s admirable, and it may even be enough to restore faith in the developer. No studio wants to be known for making a console’s worst reviewed game, and Basement Crawl has some definite potential, at least in terms of its atmosphere and creepy/quirky cast of characters. You can see a little of each in its debut teaser below.
The official theatrical artwork and trailer have arrived for the highly acclaimed horror drama Nothing Bad Can Happen, directed by German filmmaker Katrin Gebbe. The flick will be getting a June 27th release in Los Angeles and New York with an expanded national rollout to follow, so be sure to check your local listings when the time comes.
Nothing Bad Can Happen stars Julius Feldmeier, Sascha Alexander Gersak, Annika Kuhl, and Swantje Kohlhof.
After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013, Nothing Bad Can Happen was met with praise and awards such as:
AFI Fest 2013 (WON – New Auteur Award)
Fantastic Fest 2013 (WON- “Next Wave” Spotlight Competition,” Best Actress)
German Film Critics Association 2014 (WON – Best Feature Film Debut, Best Actor)
Bavarian Film Festival 2014 (WON – Best Young Direction)
Tallinn Black Night Film Festival 2013 (WON – Best Youth Film)
Zurich Film Festival 2013 (Official Selection)
São Paulo International Film Festival 2013 (Official Selection)
Inspired by horrifying true events, Nothing Bad Can Happen follows Tore, a young lost soul involved with an underground Christian punk movement who falls in with a dysfunctional family who test his seemingly unwavering faith.
After a chance encounter helping stranded driver Benno, where Tore manages to start his car with an apparent miracle, he is invited back to Benno's home and becomes friendly with him, his wife, and two children. Before long Tore moves into a tent in the garden and gradually becomes part of the family. However, Benno can’t resist playing a cruel game designed to challenge Tore’s beliefs. As his trials become more and more extreme, Tore finds his capacity for love and resilience pushed to its limits and beyond.
"Witches of East End" is set to return to Lifetime for a second season beginning July 6th, and to help kick off the long Memorial Day weekend, here's an extended promo. Witches have never been hotter - will you be tuning in?
Starring Julia Ormond, Madchen Amick, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Rachel Boston as a family of witches, the series has proven to be Lifetime's youngest-skewing original to date. Season 2 of "Witches of East End" will contain 13 episodes.
"Witches of East End," based on Melissa de la Cruz's popular novel of the same name, comes to Lifetime from Fox 21 and is executive produced by Maggie Friedman, Jonathan Kaplan, Erwin Stoff, and Josh Reims.