Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm Still Here!

It's been a while since I've posted, and I'm not even sure that anyone even really reads this blog anywhoo......but I just wanted to let anyone who was interested know, that I'm working on a few articles to post up soon.  So stay tuned!

And while I don't have any new material for you at this moment, if you check out the links section to the left, you will see that it has grown QUITE substantially!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Vestron Dynasty


Today, let's take a look at the history of Vestron Video, one of the pioneers of the home video era, and of course my namesake!

Vestron was founded in 1981 by an HBO executive who was hired to dismantle Time-Life's Theatrical, Television and Home Video assets.  Having sold the Theatrical and Television properties with no issue, he couldn't find a buyer for the Home Video Division, so he kept it, naming it Vestron Video.

They first started to distribute B-Movies, releasing such cult classics as Blood Diner, CHUD II: Bud The CHUD and Earth Girls Are Easy.  They eventually started to distribute more mainstream titles through thier subsidiary Vestron Pictures such as The Princess Bride and Dirty Dancing.  The powers that be in the company started to shift thier interest to soley A-list films.....ignoring the 20 or so B movies still in the works.  This lead to a fall through in financing and the company filing Chapter 11.  In 1991, LIVE Entertainment bought out Vestron.

Now LIVE Entertainment, began life in 1982 as USA Home Video, which was a division of Family Home Entertainment (who also owned Thriller Video and The Video Late Show).  Still with me so far?  Okay good, because it gets a little more convoluted from here.  In 1986, the company changed it's name to International Video Entertainment (IVE), which was then acquired by Carolco Pictures.

So far so good, right? Well there's more and if you're still reading, then I will have to assume that you (like myself) are a nerd such as myself and actually find this fascinating.....good for you!  Okay, so here we go:


In 1990 they became known as Live Home Video.  They then acquired Vestron video and started to release Anime films from Pioneer Entertainment.  Now in 1995, Carolco ceased to exist and StudioCanal acquired the rights to the full film library.  LIVE struck a deal with StudioCanal and continued to distribute Carolco's films on video.  Around this time Live Entertainment absorbed Tenth Avenue Video as well as Magnum Entertainment.  In 1998, the company and all absorbed properties were renamed Artisan Entertainment.



In 2003 Artisan was acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment, who also acquired Tri-Mark Pictures about the same time.   So the long and short of is that Vestron never really died, but became part of a much larger entity, who has become a giant in the home video industry and film production.  With the huge cataloge of movies at Lions Gate's disposal, one has to wonder when the more obscure movies (such as Blood Diner) will get a proper US release. 

For now, I shall be satisfied with the steady stream of genre films that rolls out of Lions Gate on a steady basis.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Zombie In My Pocket



Hey kids, it's your friendly Wizard here, and I wanna tell you about a great solitaire game that I like to play every now and then.  The name of the game is Zombie in my Pocket and it's a fantastic game from Jeremiah Lee.  It's a quick, addictive game that can be played in anywhere from about 5 - 15 minutes (Depending on your luck!)

You are in a house besieged by zombies!  You must locate the Evil Zombie Totem, which is located in the Evil Temple which is somewhere in the house.  Once you have located the Zombie Totem, you must bury it in the backyard cemetery before the stroke of midnight!  Fail, and zombies will take over the neighborhood and then the world!  Mwaaaa-huaaa-huaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!

The game is a tile placement/modular gameboard style game.  By flipping over facedown tiles, you create the layout of the house as you move along, creating a new layout every time you play.  The same goes for the outdoor tiles.  I've played this game countless times and I can't say that I've ever had quite the same outcome!
The zombies and all events are dictated by a series of event cards.  You start off at 9pm, in the main foyer of the house.  Every turn you flip over a new Event Card, which will tell you if you found an item (chainsaw, crowbar, gasoline......bones of a deceased relative...), attacked by zombies or other various happenings.  After each event card has been drawn, the player reshuffles the deck and the time now becomes 10pm...and so forth.  You must search the house, find the Zombie Totem and bury it all before Midnight. Should you fail, you lose.   Games can go by quite quickly (I've had games where I've discovered the Evil Temple right next to the foyer and the cemetery was right off the patio!) and I've had games that laster much longer (Evil Temple and Cemetery were both the last tiles of the respective piles).


This is a great way to spend a few ghastly minutes, packs extremely small (they don't call it Zombie In My Pocket for nuthin' ya know!) and can be played virtually anywhere you have a bit of a flat surface.  If you like to play games and don't always have a friend around to play with.....if you are tired of playing solitaire with a deck of cards.....if you just love zombies and wanna have a little fun...you owe it to yourself to check this game out!
Zombies In My Pocket is a free print and play game.  Go to the Zombie In My Pocket page at BoardGameGeek.com (just follow the link!) and you'll find everything you need to print out and play your game!  

Beware......the undead have risen from their graves.....and only you can stop them!


Bwaaaaaa-huaaaa-huaaaaaa!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ladies of the 80's....The Action Figures

It's time to put on your speedo, and tuck it in, because here come the Ladies of the 80's....The Action Figures!  In the first in a series of articles which will explore the many facets of the fairer sex in the decade on excess, we will take a look at some of the femme fatales who loved the toy aisle.  I'm talking action figures here people!  Rather than go with the girls that every boy used to play with, I'll be delving deep into the Hologram Time Machine (located in the castle's basement, natch) to bring you some ladies who didn't recieve as much love in thier day.

Starting off our stroll down mammory....er....memory lane is Mara, The Princess of Secret Power.  She was part of the Blackstar line of action figures from 1983 - 1985 put out by Galoo.  The figures were based on the 1981 Filmation cartoon.  A common misconception is that Blackstar was a rip off of Masters of the Universe, but this is untrue as MotU premiered in 1983, a full two years afterwards.  However, I digress:

Mara, The Princess of Secret Power is an Enchantress who aids Blackstar in his quest to stop the evil Overlord from overtaking the world of Sagar. 
She is clad in a skimpy red swimsuit with orange gloves and boots......old Blackstar could have done worse!


Next up we've got the Butterfly Woman toy line.  There were a cross between being a knock off of the She-Ra toy lines and Barbies.  There were only three figures (that I know of) that were produced:  Butterfly Woman:  Invinsible Heroine, Amandla: Super Psychic and Felina: Half Cat/Half Woman Vixen.  The figures were all African American based.  Felina however was red skinned....which I don't know how they figured a cat woman would be bright red....but it IS a fantasy universe, so be it! 



In 1983, Revell hired author/artist Wayne Barlowe to design a line of science fiction action figures for them.  Thus, the Power Lords were born.  This is quite a bizarre line of toys and one that I was absolutely fascinated by them.     The story goes a little something like this:  The evil Arkus wants to take over the galaxy.  Adam Power is given the Cosmic Power Jewel, which transforms him into Lord Power to defend the galaxy from the evil tyrant.  Helping him are Sydot the Supreme and Shaya, Queen of Power.  The cool thing about Shaya (as well as Adam) have two forms and are two sided figures.  Shaya's cape hides her "red form".  To switch between forms, you simply slide the cape around.   I will get more in depth with the Power Lords at another time.


Captain Power was an interesting toy line/TV show in that the two were interactive.  Even more interesting is the fact that the show, while made primarily for kids, didn't forget about the parents who watched with them.  Corporal Jennifer 'Pilot' Chase was the tactical systems expert and also seemed to have a romance going with the Cap'n as well.  One of the few kids shows (Besides Jem and the Holograms) that I can remember characters actually kissing.  There were even some sexual innuendos that the savvy adult might catch.



In She-Ra:  Princess of Power (basically He-Man with a uterus) there were a great many female characters, but I'd like to take a moment to recognise one in particular.  The evil femme fatale feline Catra.  She was originally slated to be She-Ra's main nemesis, but ended up becoming one of Hordak's hench(wo)men.  She had a magic mask that would transform her from woman to panther, and back again.  Pretty cool trick!


The Goddess of the Ultra Cosmos line I know little about, but from what I've found it's a low rent knock off of the Masters of the Universe/She-Ra lines.  Goddess Bornite, being the leader of The Goddesses of the Ultra Cosmos......



I originally was going to have a longer article on the Ladies of the 80's action figures, but this is going to have to suffice for now!  I hope you enjoyed this brief look back at some of the unknown and unsung babes of the 80's!

April Issue of Rue Morgue

The April Issue of Rue Morgue looks to be absolutely STELLAR!  Can't wait to dig into this one!          

On Stands April 1st!


FREDDY VS. FREDDY

One, two, Freddy’s born anew…

Robert Englund passes the glove to Jackie Earle Haley for the remake of A Night on Elm Street. Both actors help us dissect the iconic boogeyman.

Plus: Interviews with the remake’s director Sam Bayer, Heather Langenkamp and the makers of a new documentary on the original series, and the weirdest Freddy merchandise ever made.

by Aaron Von Lupton, Dave Alexander and James Burrell


GROSS ANATOMY

Yes, it’s exactly what the title promises – The Human Centipede is a nauseating exercise in mad sciences that broadens the scope of body horror, segment by segment.

Plus: Confessions of a Rogue Taxidermist and Taxidermia.

by Stuart F. Andrews, The Great Orbax and Rodridgo Gudiño


FLESH FOR FIENDS

Philadelphia tattoo phenom Paul Acker expands the art of horror ink, one ghastly visage at a time.

by April Snellings


ATLAS TO THE ARCANE

A hefty new tome by Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth and author Gavin Baddeley brings the band’s darkest influences to light.

by Evan Davies


DEPARTMENTS:

NOTE FROM UNDERGROUND

Of ’burbs and boogeymen.


DREADLINES

Forgeries on the ride in vintage horror movie poster market; The 2010 European Film Market offers sneak peek at international genre titles; Miskatonic University planned for Montreal.


THE CORONER'S REPORT

Weird stats and morbid facts. Sick Top Six: Television Trauma.


NEEDFUL THINGS

New Nightmare Glove, Dethklok Fountain, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Journal and Postcards, Red-Eyed Zombie Sleep Mask.


CINEMACABRE

CineMacabre features reviews of The Wolfman, The Crazies remake, Legion, Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated, Sorority Row, Phantom Racer, Cabin Fever 2, Alone in the Dark II, 5ive Girls, 100 Feet and 2010: Supernova. The Latest 8 to Die for examines the fourth installment of Lionsgate’s After Dark Horrorfest, including reviews of Dread, The Final, The Graves, Hidden, Kill Theory, Lake Mungo, The Reeds and Zombies of Mass Destruction. And reissues reviews Day of the Dead (1985) Blu-ray, The Wraith (1986) and Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay (1992).


CINEMARQUEE

Them! (1954).


BOWEN'S BASEMENT

The Night Flier, Gotham Café and Desperation.


BLOOD IN FOUR COLOURS

Features The Waking, plus reviews of Punisher #14, The Astounding Wolf-Man #21, Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost #1 of 3, Supernatural: Beginning’s End #1 and Ghostbusters: Tainted Love.


THE NINTH CIRCLE

Spotlight: Christopher Moores’s Bite Me. Plus, reviews of American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, Features from the Black Lagoon: The Film, its Sequels, the Spinoffs and the Memorabilia, Halloween: New Poems, Lesser Demons, In the Closet Under the Bed, The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology, How to Speak Zombie: A Guide for the Living, The Frenzy Way and Strange Magic.


TRAVELOGUE OF TERROR

The Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato – Travelling Exhibit


THE GORE-MET

Menu: The Toolbox Murders on Blu-ray.


AUDIO DROME

Featuring Italian metalcore outfit Stigma. Blood Spattered Guide features A Nightmare on Elm Street composer Charles Bernstein. Plus reviews of The Entity OST, The Descent: Part 2 OST, Silent Night Bloody Night OST, The Caller OST, Calabrese, Nekrasov/Aderlating, Sons of Azrael, Disfigured Dead and The Beast of the Apocalypse.


PLAY DEAD

Calling, Heavy Rain and Bioshock 2.


CLASSIC CUT

Carol J. Clover’s Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. (1992)

GIVEAWAYS THIS ISSUE!

10 new subscribers will win a 3-DVD prize pack containing The Daisy Chain, Smash Cut and Dread, courtesy of E1 Entertainment.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse


Coming soon to a theater near you:  More Sparkly Vampires!  Yes, The Cullens are back again in the third installment of the Twilight series, trying to discover who is behind a new wave of murders in Washington.  Could it be the doing of the evil beeyotch Victoria?  Well, if you are reading this article, then you probably are familiar with the plot and know of course that it IS Victoria and her army of newbie vamps.  The Cullens and the Wolves team up to fight off the menace, Edward and Jacob, hide Bella in the forest from Victoria, who wants nothing more than to rip the future Mrs. Cullen to pieces (revenge for her lover being killed in the first book/film).

Well, as these things go, things don't go exactly according to plan and a serious vampire/werewolf smackdown ensues with (I'm told) some serious carnage.  Now I have not actually read any of the books myself, but my darling wife is a HUGE fan and has relayed the story to me, so I've got a pretty good idea what's goin' on!  I won't bore you with furth plot details that I'm sure you're already fully aware of.



David Slade is directing this installment, which is actually pretty exciting for me.  Slade directed the highly underrated 2005 film Hard Candy (starring Ellen Page of Juno and Whip It!) as well as the awesome 30 Days of Night.  So I'm hoping that Mr. Slade is going to bring on some (much needed!) gore for the film!  I must say that I was not a huge fan of the first movie.....I found New Moon to be marginally better, and if what my wife tells me about the third chapter is true, then this film looks to be very enjoyable. 

As far as the soundtrack is concerned, there is still debate as to whether or not Muse will be contributing a song.  You would think they would, seeing as how Slade directed some of thier videos.  There is also talk of Jackson Rathbone's band 100 Monkeys appearing on the soundtrack.  Both Twilight and New Moon have had incredible soundtracks, so I will be most intersted to see the track listing for Eclipse.

Eclipse hits theaters June 30th.  If you are going to the midnight showing (as I'm sure we will be) make sure to bring along some comfortable shoes.  It's a LONG time standing in them lines!  If you (or in my case, you're spouse) love the Twilight series, you really can't afford to miss the theatrical experience.  The cinematography in these films is absolutely outstanding and it is truely a sight to behold on the big screen.  It's a great date movie whether your trying to get snuggly with your new girlfriend or just taking your lovely wife out for the night.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Neon Maniacs



Alright kiddies, settle down and let The Wizard tell you all a little story about the Neon Maniacs!  This gem from 1986 is one of my absolute favorites and is watched quite often here at the Castle.  The plot is 100% pure 80's cheddar.  The Neon Maniacs are a group of 12 monsters that live in the Golden Gate Bridge (You'd think that between 12 of them, they could have afforded a nice townhouse) coming out at night to prey on the locals.  I'm not exactly sure why they call themselves The Neon Maniacs....they don't glow....but they do sometimes leave behind a bright green/yellow slime substance.  My guess is it was '86 and they were just trying to be hip. 



Though Neon Maniacs is a pretty friggin great titlefor a movie (C'mon, NOTHING screams 80's more than NEON!), the film was released in the Phillipines under the ultra cool title Evil Dead Warriors.  Wicked!  The US release was distributed by the awesome Vestron Video.


The story revolves around our three protagonists, Natalie, Steven and Paula.

Let's meet Natalie (Leilani Sarelle), a high school chica who survives an onslaught by the Maniacs that claims the lives of all her friends as they party in the park.  Some good kills in this opening scene, including a fellacio beheading.....yipes!  Natalie, being the clever final girl type hid in the van until the monsters vanish.  Some police show up in the morning (presumably because worried parents called after thier kids didn't come home) and rescue her.  She tells the police what happened, but naturally they scoff at her claims of monsters attacking them.



Next up, say hello to Steven (Clyde Hayes), love interest and 80's New Wave musician extraordinaire!  Steve delivers groceries for his parent's market, and while delivering Natalie's groceries, musters up the balls to ask her out to the movies.....with of course the stipulation that they don't go to a horror movie.....


And last, but certainly not least, a warm welcome for Paula, the youngest of the bunch and a huge horror film buff.  She is kinda the driving force behind the trio trying to solve the riddle of the Maniacs.  Why do they kill?  What do they want?  Why don't they come out when it rains?  Well, I've got nothin' on the first two, but apparently the evil dozen has quite the aversion to H20, as is discovered by young Paula.  

Now lets take a look at the Maniacs (In diabolical order, as the trailer suggests!):



Doc - He's decked out in surgeon scrubs.  Interesting note:  Doc was played by Andrew Divoff (The Djinn from Wishmaster I & II)...which was his big screen debut.
Archer - Ugly mofo with a mean crossbow.  I think he might be related to Samurai...they look kinda alike.
Decapitator - Likes to chop of heads with a large blade.
Stringbean - I don't even know quite what to say about this dude.  He's a.....er....thing.  One eyed thing.
Samurai - Archer lookalike with a sword!
Slasher - Nasty, goopy lookin' dude.  Wears plaid.
Biker - He's a biker.  Likes to strangle people with a length of chain
Juice - Robot/Cyborg dude who likes to electricute folks
Mohawk - Seriously pissed off Native American dude with a serious nose problem
Axe - Nuther beauty pagent winner with a big ol axe!
Ape - He's....uh...an Ape.  Man.  Thing.
Hangman - Carries around his noose looking for fresh victims....



If you love 80's schlock as much as I do, then you cannot afford to miss this delightful scoop of velveeta.  It's got everything a bad movie should.  Bad acting?  Check.  Whacked out plot?  Yuppers.  Weird monster?  Try TWELVE of them!  Awesomely bad 80's music?  That's a big 10-4 good buddy.  As a matter of fact, close to the climax of the film takes place at a battle of the bands taking place at the high school.  And what a battle it is.  Steven's New Wave band versus a crazy Metal Band.  each performs one song, and both of them are absolutely awesomely bad.  To make it even better, the battle of the bands scene is also the only scene that has any neon in it (at least, that I can remember.....)



I really can't recommend this movie enough.  If you have not delved into the deliriously, deliciously diabolical world of Neon Maniacs, then do so immediately!  You won't be disappointed! 

I give Neon Maniacs an easy 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Destination Truth Returns!

Josh and crew are back in all new episodes of Destination Truth, kicking off tonight at 10pm, where the head to Israel in search of The Ghosts of Masada....Jay and Grant from Ghost Hunters will be on hand to help analyse thier findings.  After that, the gang heads to Ireland to investigate, what else, Leprechauns!  End St. Paddy's day on a mysterious note with Destination Truth!





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Battle Beasts!!!



Fire! Wood! Or Water! ... You'll never know until you own them!


Battle Beasts were a line of 2" action figures that could really be counted as a collectable miniature game version of rock, paper, scissors.  The Beasts were humanoid animals with armor and hand to hand weapons...some of them actually having a hand replaced by some kind of sharp instrument.  It's pretty much like The Island of Dr. Moreau on steroids.  The series was created in 1987 (which is like one of the greatest years EVER!  I mean seriously, this is the same year that gave us movies such as RoboCop,  Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, The Lost Boys, Full Metal Jacket, Lethal Weapon, Predator...video games such as Bionic Commando, Boulder Dash, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Contra, Mega Man and Mighty Bomb Jack!  Okay so apparently I'm going to need to write and article on the 1987!), and was tied into the Transformers franchise, even netting thier own episode on the Transformers: The Headmasters series in Japan.

The first three series of Beasts are numbered 1 - 76, while the fourth series (known as Laser Beasts in Japan and Shadow Warriors in America and Europe) had 36 figures.  The first three sets of Beasts feature of heat sensative sticker mounted on thier chest which would reveal which tribe they belong to (Fire, Wood, Water)  Fire beats Wood, Wood Beats Water, Water beats Fire.  The 4th series did away with the heat sensative stickers and replaced them with a marble or "crystal" mounted in the chest.  When you held the figure up to the light, you could see his designation.  There were only about 12 figures of the 36 released in America.  Series 1 - 3 released figured in blister packs of two characters, while the fourth series packaged them in lots of eight figures.  There were also playsets and vehicles available for the sets.  More on that later.... 

I used to have a ton of these guys and there's probably still a few hanging around the dark, mysterious corners of my parent's houuse.  I have many a fond memory of waging giant Battle Beast Wars in the yard as a kid.  Those guys were so awesome!  Now remember this was an age before Pokemon, Digimon or any other "mons".  This was new and fresh.  This was incredible!  Kids at school would bring thier beasts in and trades would be made.  Battles would take place where-in the loser would have to forfeit his beast that lost that confrontation.  It was a good way to build your collection!  Though sometimes, the next day you had to give it back, cause the other dude's parents got mad.....sheesh!

So what is so cool about these pint sized animal warriors of the elements you ask?  Well, what's NOT to love?  Humanoid alien animals wielding sharp weapons and armor?  Um...hello?  That's awesome. 
There have been many great figures released, but here are a few of my favorites:

Pirate Lion - This guy was bad ass!  I always made him the lead of my armies.  I think maybe it was the wicked eye patch and the kick ass sword.


Triple Threat.  HOLY COW!  He's got SNAKES FOR HANDS!  I saw something like that once in The Curse II: The Bite
Blitzkeig Bat....he's got a hook for a hand.  I wonder if that is why he's also got the eyepatch?  Hhhmmm....



Rubberneck Giraffe's got an antler blade.....with lots of sharp pointy parts.  Probably uses it to punish those who make fun of his long neck...

Web Slinger Spider...not your friendly neighborhood Spider Man.

Antic Anteater.  Really?  An anteater?  Huh.

Cutthroat Cuttlefish.  This guy is like an armoured Kraken of Doom.  Bad ass!


Fight Horn...one of the Shadow Warriors / Laser Beasts.

As you can see, these figures were pretty damn awesome all by themselves, but they didn't stop there.  Oh no, far from it.  That had vehicles and playsets too!


The Deer Stalker....wow that thing is evil lookin'!



!
The Shocking Shark playset.....never had it, but damn I wanted it

 
Now as if all of this goodness wasn't enough, there was lots of other goodies that were being merchandised. 
Spin-off toys, comic books and even costumes!  Shyeah!  COSTUMES!  Oh yeah, and my personal favorite.....the Battle Beast Lunch Box:


It's awesomeness cannot be described in words.  The Battle Beast Lunchbox.  Good for holding your lunch.....or a shit ton of Battle Beasts!



Whoa child sized weapons!  Perfect for beating up your little sister, or generally just causing havoc around the house.....gee whiz, I wonder why I never had one?

The Battle Beast comic, which only ran four issues, which really sucked because issue #4 left off on a cliff-hanger.  Bastards.....

The Battle Beast Halloween costume.  Ah yes, the days when a plastic mask and a vinyl bib constituted a costume. 
Well, as you can see, The Battle Beasts are a pretty awesome slice of 80's goodness.  If you wanna get in on the action, there's tons of stuff to find on E-Bay.  So get bidding! 

I hope that you have enjoyed this little retrospective on a great product from my childhood!  If you love Battle Beasts as much as I do, lemme hear from ya!

Corey Haim RIP 12/23/71 - 3/10/10

80's Icon Corey Haim has passed away at the age of 38.  Having died this morning somewhere between 2:00 and 3:30 am (conflicting reports as of this time), from an apparent accidental drug overdose, though an autopsy will reveal the official cause of death. 

The Canadian born actor was found unresponsive in his Los Angeles apartment and was pronounced dead at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.  Haim's mother is reported to have been with him at the time of his death.



Haim was indeed a teen idol of the 80's starring in such classics as Lucas (1986),  Dream A Little Dream (1989) and Silver Bullet (1985).  He perhaps best known for his role in The Lost Boys (1987), in which he starred beside his counterpart, Corey Feldman.

The two became fast friends, and the "Two Corey Craze" took off like wildfire.  Films such as Dream A Little Dream and License To Drive cemented them as cinematic gold.  In more recent years, they reunited for the A&E show The Two Corey's.....which I actually liked. 

Corey will be missed by all.....but hopefully this Lost Boy has found his way home.
God Speed, bro.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Attack of the Movies 3D for the Wii

Coming this may, to a Wii near you is Attack of the Movies 3D, Panic Button's shooter for the Nintendo Wii.  In AotM3D, an on-rails shooter, you will be pitted against monsters and enemies inspired heavily by the movies, including fighting aliens in space, blasting underwater monsters and trying to fight of a giant insect invasion.  If you love the cheesy old monster movies, with the old red and blue cardboard anaglyph glasses, then this game looks like it's for you!  You will be supplied with four (4!) pair of glasses to don with your friends as you make your way through the levels, blasting away at everything that moves.


AotM3D is the "first 3D shooter" for the Wii.  It's expected to be release May 2010.
I'm not expecting it to revolutionize the gaming world, but I think that it'll be a fun quick shooter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lovecraftian Horrors in High Altitude

In the upcoming film Altitude, a rookie pilot and her friends take to the skies for a joy ride, when a freak malfunction takes control of the plane, causing it to climb uncontrollably.  As if this isn't ass-puckering enough for these poor kids, there apparently is also some Lovecraftian monster in the clouds just itching to get it's tentacles on them.  The film stars Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Gull, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron and Jake Weary.  While some of the cast appears to have been taken from the CW crowd (Lowndes, Donowho), there also seems to be some notable horror performances on these resumes (Guill in Friday the 13th '09, Lowndes in the Masters of Horror Episode:  Dance of the Dead).

The poster that is currently making the web rounds is nothing short of fantastic.  Is simplicity itself, but it tells me everythign that I need to know....let's take a look:




Ominous storm clouds?   Check
Giant Cthulhuesque Monster?  Check
Dude about to be snatched by said monster?  Check


There is also a few trailers circulating the web.  You can see two of them here:  

Apparently these trailers are just promo pieces used in the festival circuits to garner attention for the film and as such will not reflect the finished film itself. 

I find the concept of this film to be quite intriguing.  On one hand, you've got the claustrophobia of being stuck in the plane's cabin.  On the other hand, there is the hopelessness of being stranded out in the middle of nowhere....quite literally.  Stuck in an endless climb into the clouds......persued by an unimaginable horror.  I really hope that this film lives up to it's premise, because damn if it isn't one of the more original ideas I've heard in some time!  This seems like it's going to be one of those movies where there's no happy ending for the characters.  I like those films every now and then.  It serves to remind us that life isn't always about happy endings.




Saturday, March 6, 2010

Freddy's Back!

Hard to believe that it's been twenty six years since Freddy started haunting the silver screen.  I, myself, was about 7 years old when I first laid witness to the phantasmagoria of the razor gloved child killer.  See, my older sister and I used to be babysat by a cousin who pretty much let us do whatever we wanted, so long as we didn't A) Burn the house down or B) Maim one another......fair enough, I would say....but I digress.  It was my sister who spotted the video high up on my parents video shelf.  

"Let's watch it!" She said.
"NO!  We'll get in trouble!"  I said.
"Don't be such I wuss" She smiled.

That was all she needed to say.  I was in.  I wasn't a wuss, damnit!  So we popped the video into the VCR.....yes, that's right kiddies, I said VCR......The old Wizards been around a few years.....and I've never been the same since.  I was absolutely terrified, which of course I couldn't let me sister or cousin know....they'd never let me live it down.  I lost my innocence that late autumn afternoon, when I witnessed Tina's demise at the hands (and glove) of an invisible Freddy.  I couldn't sleep that night, every sound....every shadow had me convinced that Freddy was coming for me.  Of course, I couldn't tell my parents, because we'd be busted for watching the movie.  As I laid in bed, with the covers pulled up over me, I couldn't stop thinking of the carnage I had witnessed.  It played over and over in my head in gory detail. 

I'm sure I don't need to tell you the plot, but for those who may not be initiated, in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger was a child killer who was freed from court on a technicality.  The parents of the children he murdered hunted him down, trapping him and burning him alive.  Well, that was just the beginning for the dream demon.  He started to hunt down and slaughter the children in their dreams.

">

It wasn't until years later, in my teens that I discovered (by that time) the multitude of sequels.  In October, there was a station out of New York called WPIX, who would play a horror movie every weeknight at 8.

">

This is where I discovered the rest of the Elm Street films over the course of a week.  Of course there was quite a bit of material edited out for the basic cable station, but it was still enough to hook me for life.  I was a full blown certified Freddy Fanatic.  What was especially nice was that (through some cosmic luck) they played the entire series (Parts I - V) over the course of the week, in order.  I remember quite vividly my mother and sisters would be downstairs watching sitcoms, while I hunkered down in my room, curtains closed, lights off, big old glass of soda and some pizza rolls waiting for my nightly Freddy Fix.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part II:  Freddy's Revenge is probably one of the oddest entries in the series.  I actually really liked what they tried to accomplish with this film.  Though it doesn't delve as deep into the twilight nightmare world of Freddy, it tries to take Krueger and put him more into reality.  There was also quite a debate over whether this film had intentional homosexual undertones when it came out.

">


A Nightmare on Elm Street Part III:  The Dream Warriors was the end of the "Nancy Thompson" Trilogy and the begining of the "Kristin Parker/Alice Johnson" Trilogy.  This was also another new direction for the series, placing a collection of sleep deprived misfits in a mental facility against Freddy.   This film is where they really started to have fun with the nightmare sequences and special effects, including the awesome "Freddy Worm" scene in this film!  What I thought was cool in this one was the premise that each of these misfits had special dream powers and through Kristen, they could all band together to fight Freddy.  Plus there was a killer tune by Dokken!

">



">">



A Nightmare on Elm Street Part IV:  The Dream Master continued where Part III left off, finding Kristen out of the mental asylum and back into high school with her new group of friends.  Surprise, surprise Freddy rises from his dream grave to terrorize anew.  In this film we are introduce to Alice Johnson, who inherits Kristen's powers after she falls to Freddy's blades.  As each of her friends drops, Alice inherits their "power" as well and makes a transformation to shy little school girl to Dream-Demon-Ass-Kicker.  A lot of people say that this is the weakest entry....and while it's certainly one of the silliest, it just oozes 80's goodness that I can't help but love.  This is definitely one of those "check-your-brain-at-the-door" films.

">

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part V:  The Dream Child  concludes the "Kristen Parker/Alice Johnson" Trilogy.  After surviving the onslaught of Part IV, Alice and her boyfriend Dan graduate high school with their friends....new ones....who didn't die.  Isn't it weird how these people just seem to accumulate new friends that quickly?  Did they have a special at Walgreens or something?  Anyway....everything seems to be going well, until Alice starts to have nightmares while she's awake.  Freddy is slowly building his strength up.  Dan shuffles off the mortal coil when Freddy "posseses" his motorcycle in his dream.  "HEY DAN!  DON'T DREAM AND DRIVE!!!!"  Heh heh....love that part.  Anywhoo, Alice discovers after Dan's death that she's pregnant.  This is how Freddy is getting back into the world....through her baby's dreams.  Alice must now convince her unborn son that the "man with the funny hand" is not a friend and that if he doesn't help her fight him, they will both die.  I personally thought this was one of the weaker entries.....

">

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part VI:  Freddy's Dead.  Well.  There's not much you can say about this one, besides WTF.  They tried to go 3D.  In 1991.  Now, I love me some 3D, but this was just pathetic!  The story revolves around the "last of the elm street children"  who while trying to escape is knocked out and develops amnesia.  He's brought to a home for wayward kids and one of the councelors tries to help him.  John Doe starts to remember little bits and starts to think that he's Freddy's kid.  There's cameos by Tom and Rosanne Arnold, Alice Cooper and Yaphet Koto.  All very cool.  There's also a pretty cool sequence in Freddy's abandoned house where Freddy plays one of the kids like a Nintendo Game and even has his own special Power Glove! 

">

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part VII:  Wes Craven's New Nightmare completely took the series and turned it on it's head.  Taking the idea that an evil entity can actually find a home inside a story, character or script and bring it to life was a great idea!  Heahter Langenkamp, Wes Craven and Robert England all play themselves (Englund also plays the demon who thinks that he's Freddy) caught up in the supernatural happenings as Craven writes a new Nightmare script.  A definite departure from the norm, and a great flick!

">

1994 was the last we saw of Freddy for almost a decade on the big screen, until at last, the long rumored crossover titan fight finally took place.
Freddy vs. Jason was released in 2003 and gave Freddy a new bad attitude as he tries to worm his way back into the nightmares of the children of Elm Street.  He manipulates Jason Vorhees and sends him to Springwood to start a killin' to make everyone thing Freddy's back.  Well things work out pretty well at first, but then Freddy loses control on the supernatural hulk.  The smack down that ensues is out of this world.  Blood spurting at 300 psi, limbs torn asunder.  Blood, gore, boobs, and everything else that us horror nerds love.  Fuck yeah!

">

Freddy also had some stints on TV, in the short lived Freddy's Nightmares....which was sorta like a cross between Tales From The Darkside, Friday the 13th: The Series, The Hitchhiker and Alf.  Okay, I made that last part about Alf up.  Sue me.  Most times, Freddy just functioned as a proverbial Crypt Keeper, or Rod Serling.  Sometimes he appeared in the episode story itself.  I liked it....I've seen worse shows......

">

My man Krueger also got in on the merchandising by shoing his mug on lunchboxes, stickers, toys, pens, buttons, keychains, bobble-heads and pretty much anything else you can think of including board games and video games!

">



">">


">">


">






And now, at long last, after 26 years, Fred Krueger will once again stalk the collective nightmares of Elm Street..............and it looks like it's going to be a wicked ride. 
















Monday, March 1, 2010

Midnight Snacking: Doritos Late Night: All Nighter Cheeseburger

I originally wrote this back in 2010.....and never "published" it on the site.  After going back over some older stuff, I've decided to release it.  To the best of my knowledge, the Dorito's Late Night flavors are no longer available.....but it's still a fun little junk food review.  I went back in and made a few tweaks, but in essence it's the same article.

While on a recent jaunt to Wal*Mart to pick up some supplies for the Midnight Cinema Barn of Doom, I noticed a large Doritos Floor Display (Hereby known as the DFD for the rest of the article....should I mention it again....you'll know what that is!).  Amongst the regular line-up of tasty artery clogging flavors, I notice some new bags.  Late Night.  Ooooh....I stay up late at night!  Neon lights!  Yes!  I love the 80's!  Let's see now....what have we got for flavors......Tacos at Midnight.....interesting, though I've had taco flavored chips before.  Last call Jalepino Poppers.....sounds a little too spicy for me.  All Nighter Cheeseburger.  WHAT?  I LOVE CHEESEBURGERS!!!!!!!!  But seriously, how is that going to taste in chip form?



In a word:  Great.

The bag is absolutely awesome as well.  I don't know exactly what it is....the neon sign, the color scheme...I dunno...something just screams BUY ME!  Oh yeah, and I've heard that after you eat all yer chips, you can put the inside of the bag up to a webcam and if you go on the doritos website there's a way to put a concert in your bag.  I don't know exactly what that means yet.....but I'll do some research and let y'all know!  *I never did try this*

I love it.  I'm not going to lie, I opened the bag with great trepidation....but once I stuck that triangle of goodness in my mouth, I was instantly transported to summer's day. *insert flashback/daydream here*  Dad has the BBQ fired up and is making his famous burgers.  Delicious dead cow meat topped with grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo......and of course a side of Doritos (usually cheddar or ranch).  *End flashback/daydream*

Why the daydream you ask?  Because these chips taste exactly like the chips that got soaked in beef juice and condoments.  Those soggy little guys were so tasty.  Sure I probably love these because of the nostalgia factor, but I'm okay with that.

If you wanna try something new and crave some cheeseburgers, give these a shot!  *If you can still manage to find a bag that is!*

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Movie Monster Game



The Movie Monster Game
Commodore 64
Epyx: 1986
1 Player


















Back when I was about knee high to an artichoke, my father bought our family's first home computer:  The Commodore 64.  My only experience with computers before this was the Atari 2600.  Now, I love me some Atari, but THIS.....this was something special indeed.  64K of RAM!   In the immortal words of Joey Lawrence....WHOA!


It didn't take me long to start compiling a large catalog of games.  There have been MANY favorites (of which you can be sure I will write about!) but there was a certain appeal that The Movie Monster Game had......perhaps it was the fact that I could now control 8-Bit incarnations of some truly awesome monsters, including the King of all Kaiju's.....GODZILLA!   Forget King of the Monsters, forget Nintendo's Godzilla.....you want oldschool Kaiju action?  Check out TMMG.   






Now back in the day, games weren't slick and streamlined like they are now.  There were no CD-ROMS and load times took what seemed like forever.  Back in the day, in the time that it took to load a game, you could order a pizza, have it delivered, have dinner and STLL have to wait about ten minutes!   Okay....perhaps that's a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.  Anyway, my point is that some companies tried to be creative in finding ways to keep you occupied whilst waiting for your game to load.  Epyx, did it best with this game.  The load screen was the inside of a movie theater and while the game was loading, it would show "trailers" for upcoming games.  Granted the trailers were actually just a picture, but still, it was a cool little slide show.  



Now, onto the good stuff!  The game allows you to select from a variety of Monsters: 

 Godzilla (The King of the Monsters....YEAH!)
 Spectra (a giant mosquito/wasp)
 The Glog (Big green blob with crimson red peepers....he was awesome!)
 Tarantus (giant spider....)
 Mr. Meringue (The Stay Puft Marshmellow Man's cousin....)
 Mechatron (the token giant robot)

You could also select which city you wanted to decimate, including:

New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Moscow

And as if that wasn't enough, you actually could select differnt storyline/missions:

Escape - simple enough to understand....get your ass our of dodge!
Lunchtime - Again, no surprises here....mangia!
Landmark - destroy a city's famous landmark!
Search - Being a kaiju and a parent is hard work....apparently you've managed to lose your young one, so start searchin' the town!




The mechanics of the game itself are quite simple.  Walk around town, use your special power (radiactive breath, spit goo, laser beam, etc) destroy buildings, army tanks, jets, helicopters and soldiers.  The view is a slightly isometric, giving a nice 3D feel to the game.  Depending on whether you complete your mission or are defeated you will get various ending screens.  This game isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, so you'll get a chance to see PLENTY of these closing screens.  The good news is that the next monster movie is always ready to go, just awaiting your selection.

The instruction manual was also pretty great because it gave a listing and synopsis of movies that were inspiration for this game.  


If you wanna try some great retro kaiju fun, then get yerself a Commodore 64 and a copy of MMG off of E-bay.   Or download an emulator.  You can find this game for download on a few different sites including my favorite:    http://www.lemon64.com/

This is a great game for a lazy, rainy sunday afternoon.  Best played with a friend, a bottle of soda and some popcorn or candy!